Lie #2: ‘God is huge and unapproachable, and He wants you to labor, struggle and live in guilt.’

2000 years ago, they wouldn’t even dare say the word ‘God.’ God was distant, remote, terrible.

But Jesus had his own words for God, and he used them freely. They were controversial, even scandalous.

His words for God:

‘Daddy.’ And ‘Your heavenly father.’

So when the Religious Gestapo condemned him for hanging out with ruffians and women of ill-repute, he told an even more scandalous story:

‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Dad, I wish you were dead. Why don’t we pretend you are dead, and give me my share of the family estate.’ So the father divided his property between them.

A few days later, the disrespectful son packed his bags and headed for a distant land. He squandered his inheritance on wine, women and song. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he got hungry.

So he got a job feeding pigs. (Jewish people considered pigs to be utterly repulsive.)

This young man would gladly have eaten the pods that the swine ate; but no one gave him anything.

But when he came to his senses, he said to himself, `How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I’m here starving! He went back to his father. But while he was still far away, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

The son said, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

But the father said to his servants, `Go get the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and have a huge party; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’

Jesus sums it all up like this: ‘I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who comes back than over ninety-nine people who are already good.’

The father in the Prodigal Son story was not concerned with his dignity. He was not concerned with what was ‘fair.’ When his son wanted to go his own way, he let him go. But he was watching out the window the whole time, hoping he would come back.

That’s Jesus’ picture of God – just like the father in this story. Loving. Forgiving. Approachable. And that was radical.

In fact his very first public speech was scandalous because he was talking to the hometown boyz. Luke tells the story in chapter 4, like this:

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

This is not a guy who’s afraid to rock the boat.

Tomorrow I’m going to attack Lie #3:

‘You are not smart enough or good enough to think for yourself. We will do your thinking for you.’

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall

Get the whole story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:

Hear the Live “Uncut” version of 7 Great Lies:

64 Responses to “Lie #2: ‘God is huge and unapproachable, and He wants you to labor, struggle and live in guilt.’”

  1. Jerry Carter says:

    Dear Perry:

    I have appreciated your effort at assessing the various conditions that continue to roil the minds of mankind regarding Christianity.

    I will be 65 soon… grateful for the rich life I’ve been able to explore… yet, still amazed at the frailty and selfishness of man. For almost thirty years I served in various support ministry positions in the church. There are not many frustrations or disappointments that I did not (at least) view from some perspective during those years.

    I have lived through the “God is dead” era, the “hyper-evangelism era”, the “someone has written a book about that belief/activity!” era, the “charismatic gifts-pentecostal” era, and now, there is an undercurrent of destructive power-seeking that flows through the evangelical community. The “Conservatives”, and the “Liberals” even seek to control the politcal arenas, in the name of Christianity.

    The mega-church-super-pastor phenomenon continues to surge and expand. Churches now have a “Wal-Mart” philosophy. Offer everything to everyone 24 hours per day… If we offer it, they will come! I recall the principle of one-on-one that was the basis of Christ’s teaching. Love God, and your brothers and sisters. Simplicity. Constancy.

    At a particular crisis point, I realized that the focus of the continual contention within the church was not due to the argument relating to authenticity of historical occurrences, or even the countless doctrinal tenets that have attached themselves to “christianity” through the centuries. Most of us have learned to accept the variety of ways that others choose to approach, and connect with, God. The principles of good, decent living do not really threaten us. The human spirit needs love and acceptance. God has promised that He would provide that for us, if we want it. Quite simple, isn’t it?

    Man has created the laws, limitations, principles, tenets… God simply asks that we love Him. I’ve found that truth is fashioned in the cauldron of reality. Not through mere “acceptance”, or even the check-list of do’s and don’ts that we’ve accumulated. We often have to experience an abysmally frightening situation, or discover how completely weak and incompetent we actually are… then, we learn that truth. God loves us.

    And… Perry, that is really ALL we need to know.

    Sincerely,

    Jerry Carter

  2. Robert Timmons says:

    Dear Perry: I would like to tell you this story because i think it will help confirm your belief in our almighty god just as it has confirmed it to me. I now am and old man who through the years have made many mistakes. We raised four daughters and have been blessed with many grand and great grand children. I left Chicago in 1968 to go farming we had no knowledge of how to farm but we made it. Now the story.

    The last year of our farming was important, I had put in a corn crop about 35 acres there was a severe rout that year. For some reason i tried putting on the nitrogen and weed killer just after planting the seed. The corn came up fine, the weeds well controlled. Then no rain.

    The corn kept growing the surrounding farms had nothing but fired corn. As the corn was reaching the earring stage the drought got worse. This is crucial stage for corn. My wife was taking the children to the movies that afternoon and i was standing in front of our machine shed looking up in the sky. I swear to you this is what i saw.

    Not a cloud in the sky and i said to myself please dear lord this corn needs rain please help me. As these thoughts left my mind and as i was looking up something strange appeared up in the sky. It was falling i could see this coming from way up in this clear blue sky. They where the biggest rain drops i have ever seen in my life. To shorten the story i had a crop busting yield that year. My wife on her way with the children took the road around the property and ran into this same rain however at the border of our property the rain stopped.

    The crops of the neighboring farms did not have much corn that year we had people coming from 50 miles away just to look at this corn. It grew so tall and eared so well. We sold the farm that year because it was time to go we went on to other adventures but this event has been with me strongly to this very day.

    Trust in the lord and all things will be given to you. sincerely robert timmons

    • P. Peter says:

      Praise the Lord God Almighty, He listens to our prayers, thank you God for your love.

    • Thomas Ching says:

      Dear Mr. Robert, sir, I an orphan was and am ‘always aware’ of ‘Heaven and God’. But I regrettably neglected faith and hope in God (think of all the lost years) in order to struggle to earn a 14-hours day work supporting my aged parents. For 40 years, I live a ‘working life’ seriously avoiding all religions even after attending various sessions all the years as I have not known God, Bible or prayers. Sometimes, whenever out of job, I hope and prayed without compliants.
      Now, I wish to relate my story similarity to yours as it concerns rain:- I live in the tropics with unpredictable rain storms and I like jogging. NEVER in my outings was I fully drenched nor got a cold, not even sneezing from the strong winds which will dies down fast after I prayed. Yes, ONLY ONCE I was caught in a storm with an immoral, foreign ‘god-forsaken country (I think)’ acquaintaince and got very sick persistant cough (I must say I have a poor flu resistance body). Till last night storm I still went home dry ok.
      Thank God I live to hear your type of true story as it is very pleasing to the ears and it re-enforced my belief, vision, etc.
      I am happy to say that I am now A CHRISTIAN forever, no matter what other religions says or does, especially after 2 visions of CHRIST recently.
      Robert, I wish to call you friend and please do drop me an e-mail line to thomas116688@yahoo.co.uk anytime.
      GOD BLESS us and all believers, ok? Cheers and warmest regards, friend THOMAS.

    • Dear robert Timmons,
      i am very happy that there are still people like you who believe in God’s help when we ask for it in faith,God will respond to our needs.Ido believe you because in my life i had many that were impossible as i looked at them at that time,but you know what,God did give me what to me seemed impossible.But i prayed with Faith.I recieved what seemed impossible.

      • June Dewar says:

        Dear Charlie,

        It is so good to read how you have turned your life around. There is not one person on earth who doesn’t need to do likewise. Luke 15:7 The pharisees and scribes who put the son of God to death were haughtily and arrogantly speaking disdainfully against Jesus saying “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them”. Jesus replied “I tell you that thus there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance”.

        It is my belief that the more we come to know God and Christ the stronger we become in the fight against sin.

  3. dele jude johnson says:

    Dear Perry,

    There are those that God would gladly draw near to Himself (ofcourse am one of them) and those He will put His hands on His chin in a wait and see posture. God is never in a hurry,that was why He patiently created me after everything else on the sixth day!

    YES GOD IS BIGGER THAN WHAT YOU AND I MAY THINK, BUT HE WELCOMES HIS OWN ANY TIME ANY DAY. ALL WE NEED DO IS TO OBEY AND TOTALLY SURRENDER TO HIM. HE ACCOMMODATES OUR SHORT COMINGS AND ACCEPTS OUR REPENTANCE.

    May I encourage every true member of God’s household to spread the Gospel as fast as possible because lots of people out there really does not know God or believe in Him. We should witness and testify His goodness, His purpose of our coming into this earth,our mission and the expectation after this life. For me, I see my relationship with God as personal and I pray that He will help me to know Him the more and keep His doors open for me. I was totally lost to the lust of the flesh and the things of this world. I am forever greatful to Him for taking me out from the pit of death and bringing me back to living in His light.GOD IS EVER WITH US

  4. James Flood says:

    Perry,

    I’m very happy to see someone discussing God and the bible in a clear, logical manner and have been enjoying your site very much.

    I’m not sure this is exactly “on-topic”, but I was wondering what you think about doctrines of many “Christian” religions that have no basis in scripture and serve only to alienate people from God. Two that immediately spring to mind are the trinity (which paints God as being incomprehensible and contradictory in nature – father and son, sender and sent, etc.) and hellfire (which paints God as unloving, unjust and extremely cruel). What is your opinion on doctrinal issues like these and how they’ve made it harder for people to view God as a loving and just father instead of a distant, cruel and inscrutable deity?

    If you don’t wish to get into this online (which I can certainly understand) I would be happy to discuss it in private email.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful and thought-provoking site.

    Sincerely,

    James Flood

    • perrymarshall says:

      James,

      This is a very complex subject but in essence I think hell is a place of our own choosing. I do think it’s a real place and not just some metaphor by the way. But I think that some people clearly do not wish to have God in their lives and those people are freely given what they desire.

      I think the goodness that is in the world comes from God and when that is withdrawn, that is hell. Taking God out of the world is like what happens when you withdraw the lead control rods from a nuclear reactor – you get a runaway meltdown. Some people do genuinely want God OUT of the world and out of their lives and God WILL grant them that wish. God NEVER violates our free will. I regard this as the most fundamental truth of consciousness and being and the created order.

      It is no more manipulative to warn people about hell than it is to tell a child not to touch a hot stove. Some children will touch the stove anyway. In life we truly and genuinely have a choice – God’s way vs our way. Jesus warned that “our way” sounds good to our ears but it leads to destruction.

      The New Testament makes it clear that God is endlessly loving to those who choose him, and that there is justice and judgment for those who do not. It’s obvious from watching almost any movie or reading any fiction story that human beings desperately want justice to prevail in the world. But many people expect justice to somehow not apply to them. God does not desire for any to perish and He is merciful to all who come to him with repentance. People can escape justice but only by taking ownership of their own evil. If they remain in denial they will be judged and punished. Again this is not manipulative, this is right. As any movie implies. In any good movie, the bad guys are SUPPOSED to be caught and punished.

      As for the trinity, in my opinion the Bible does teach the trinity – it is present from the very beginning of Genesis (“Let US make man in OUR image”). Nearly every branch of Christianity has taught this from the earliest times – and yes, this doctrine was present well before Constantine who is often rumored to have invented this doctrine in 300AD.

      I have an analogy to the trinity that goes like this: I have a cell phone, you have a cell phone, communication takes place ONLY when our phones share the same protocols and are connected. A cell phone all by itself is completely useless, communication is not possible with one cell phone all by itself. Communication involves three parts – sender, message and receiver. God is a community, God communicates and God is love. Love cannot exist if there is not another to love. So God is ONE – in the sense that communication itself is one process – but God is also plural because God communicates and loves by His very nature.

      So in one sense it seems contradictory but in another sense it’s necessary for God to be plural.

      I have another website that goes into communication theory as proof of God’s existence. See http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/ifyoucanreadthis.htm and http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/faq

      Perry

      • James Flood says:

        Perry,

        Thanks for responding.

        By calling hellfire an unbiblical doctrine I didn’t mean to equate it with punishment of the wicked, which I agree wholeheartedly is a very biblical concept. It might be said that that’s the whole point of the bible: that godly qualities like justice will prevail over wickedness in the end. I think we both agree that “God cannot be mocked” and “all his ways are just” (Gal. 6.7; Deut. 32.4). However, I do believe that hellfire, as commonly taught (a place of eternal torment), cannot be reconciled with a god of justice, and I’ll explain why.

        Let’s take your example of warning a child not to touch a hot stove. This is a wonderful way of illustrating that doing things God’s way is best for us, and that disobeying Him can only result in our harm. We all will pay the consequences of our actions; we will reap what we sow. But the hellfire doctrine is not about consequences in general, it’s about punishment. You could illustrate punishment with a parent saying “if you keep touching the stove after I’ve told you not to, I’ll spank you”. But the hellfire doctrine goes way beyond that. It would be like saying to a child “if you keep touching the stove after I’ve told you not to, I’ll hold your hand on the stove so that it sizzles for hours”. To anyone with even the slightest sense of justice – and the best way to get that sense is by reading the bible – such a declaration is entirely abhorrent. But the hellfire doctrine has God saying exactly that to humanity, only to the umpteenth power. ‘Obey me or I’ll make you suffer all day, every day, for all eternity.’ How is that justice? How can we be expected to love such a god ‘with our whole heart’?

        In the movies, we want the bad guy to be caught and punished. But what if the police catch the guy, hook up the electrodes and start torturing the bad guy? Now the good guys become the bad guys. God is not a bad guy. He’s not some kind of Super Hitler with a benevolent side. “God is love.” He wants us to worship him out of love. And “there is no fear in love.” (1 John 4.18)

        Here are some more scriptures that I think bear on this:

        Romans 6:23 (New International Version)
        For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

        2 Peter 3:7,9 (New International Version)
        By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men…The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

        You will notice that repentance and eternal life are contrasted with perishing, death, destruction. You can see this over and over in scripture: you can either obey God and thus have the hope of eternal life, or disobey and suffer destruction. Destruction, not torment.

        How then, can we explain biblical references to hell? I did a search for the word ‘hell’ in the NIV on biblegateway.com and it came up with 14 references. In all except one (2 Peter 2.4) ‘hell’ is translated from the greek word ‘gehenna’. Wikipedia has this to say:

        “The name is derived from a geographical site in Jerusalem known as the Valley of Hinnom, one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City. Initially the site where idolatrous Jews sacrificed their children to the god Molech (2 Chr. 28:3, 33:6; Jer. 7:31, 19:2-6), the valley later became the common wasteyard for all the refuse of Jerusalem. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and rubbish, were cast and consumed by a constant fire. In time it became the image of the place of everlasting destruction in Jewish tradition…In the synoptic gospels Jesus uses the word Gehenna 11 times to describe the opposite to life in the promised, coming Kingdom (Mark 9:43-8). It is a place where both soul and body could be destroyed (Matthew 10:28) in “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43)…Many Christians understand gehenna to be a place of eternal punishment called hell. On the other hand, annihilationists understand gehenna to be a place where sinners are utterly destroyed, not tormented forever.”

        So, in the historical context, gehenna was a place of destruction, not torment. Whatever was thrown into gehenna – never anything living – was irretrievable. So the most obvious interpretation of the term gehenna would be everlasting destruction, and many people understand it exactly that way. So which interpretation is the most reasonable? Since eternal torment inflicted by a loving and just god, as punishment for sins committed during a few short years on earth, is surely a theological oxymoron, I believe the only logical conclusion – and the only conclusion that fits the historical and biblical context – is that the term gehenna (hell) refers to everlasting destruction.

        Does destruction constitute punishment? I don’t see why not. In many countries destruction is called capital punishment. And any kid who’s been grounded on the night of a party will tell you that grounding is a pretty severe punishment, even if his parents never laid a hand on him. Those who suffer destruction for their unrepentant wrongdoing miss out on the greatest party imaginable: eternal life.

        Incidentally, Matthew 10.28 brings up the interesting question of whether the soul is immortal, but that’s a subject for another day. So is the Trinity, which I’ll tackle soon.

        • perrymarshall says:

          James,

          I think this is a great question and most people are kind of nervous talking about it.

          The whole “eternity in hell” view used to bother me a LOT. I used to think about this and think about it and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it – for all the reasons you describe.

          When I read scripture on this subject I see some language that suggests that people suffer continuously in hell and other language that sounds much more like annihilation.

          Ultimately I think the answer is unclear. I see this as being like a lot of other dichotomies you find in the Bible, like:

          -Predestination vs Freewill
          -Primacy of male leadership vs Equality
          -Monotheism vs Trinity
          -Jesus’ humanity vs his divinity

          I see each of these things as being not ends of a continuum, but intersecting planes. Each of these apparent contradictions or conundrums exist because we’re trying to compress huge spiritual realities down to human language.

          Predestination isn’t the opposite of freewill, it’s at a right angle to freewill. Both exist and interact. Picture an etch-a-sketch where you can make a circular pattern by turning the two knobs – suddenly the picture is much more complex and interesting than a straight line.

          So I think judgment is similar. I tend to agree with what you’re saying here, but I don’t feel I have to have a definitive answer on this subject. For me the bottom line is, (1) I really do trust God to do what is right and just, and (2) I really do think that people choose their fate. As you said, “God is not a bad guy. He’s not some kind of Super Hitler with a benevolent side. “God is love.” He wants us to worship him out of love. And “there is no fear in love.'”

          • James Flood says:

            Perry,

            Thanks for your comments. Surely, there are things that are beyond our understanding, and if the bible were to explain everything it would be too big to read in one lifetime.

            That having been said, I do think it’s important to resolve apparent contradictions wherever possible. With regard to a ‘hot’ topic like hellfire, we’re talking about the very personality of God. Ephesians 5.1 tells us to “be imitators of God”, and history would seem to indicate that when people imitate a torturing god they wind up inventing things like the Inquisition.

            Also, 1 Timothy 2.4 tells us that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”. It would seem odd for Him to desire us to ‘come to the knowledge of the truth’, give us his word (presumably) for that purpose and then not clarify what the truth is on key issues.

            One factor that bears on the hellfire issue – indeed, the whole afterlife issue – is the question of whether the soul is immortal or not. Matthew 10.28 really brings the matter up when it speaks of “him who can destroy both soul and body in hell”. The idea of destroying the soul might seem a bit novel (or even heretical) but it probably didn’t seem so to first century Jews. I say this because of the way the soul is portrayed in the OT. Take, for instance, these scriptures:

            Ezekiel 18:4 (English Standard Version)
            Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

            Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10 (English Standard Version)
            For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun…Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

            Both these texts give us a peek into the afterlife to show us….that there is none. Not that there’s no hope for the dead – I’ll get to that in a second – but that the soul didn’t mean for the Jews of ancient times what it means for most people today. It simply meant the creature or person itself, or the life of the person. Notice how some translations confirm this by the way they translate the original language words for soul:
            Exodus 4:19 (English Standard Version)
            And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life [soul] are dead.”

            Genesis 2:7 (English Standard Version)
            then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature [soul].

            Matthew 20:28 (English Standard Version)
            even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life [soul] as a ransom for many.”

            In each case they translate the Hebrew or Greek word for soul as ‘life’ or ‘creature’.

            The resurrection of Lazarus (John 11) is a good case to illustrate this point. Conspicuously absent from the entire account is the mention of the immortal soul and the afterlife. From Jesus telling his disciples that ‘Lazarus is sleeping’ to Martha’s faith in a later resurrection, there isn’t so much as a hint of immortality. And that brings up yet another interesting point: if the soul really means the creature or the life thereof, we can remove the contradiction between immortal soul and resurrection. Because if you’re off living in heaven or hell after death, you have no need of a resurrection. Had poor Lazarus been up there basking in the glory of heaven, Jesus would hardly have been doing him a favor by yanking him back down to finish out his days in an unrighteous world.

            Resurrection, it would appear then, is the hope that the bible holds out for the dead. That doesn’t mean no one goes to heaven, since the bible is quite clear that some will (Luke 12.32; John 14.1-4; Rev. 5.9,10; 14.1-4). But hellfire without immortal souls just doesn’t work. Between that and what I wrote before, I feel that eternal torment is pretty much ruled out. As you mentioned, there are some scriptures that, at least at first glance, would appear to teach eternal torment (Matthew 25 comes to mind). Some may be translation issues, some may just need to be rethought, but I think all can be reconciled to their overall soulless, hell-less biblical context.

            • Dalibor Šver says:

              I think you might find this interesting;
              the author explains why he is convinced (based on Bible of course) that the hell is not eternal.

              http://www.douglasjacoby.com/view_article.php?ID=1493

              Author Douglas Jacoby is the scientist and the Christ disciple.

              • James Flood says:

                Thanks for this link. For some reason I get a ‘webpage not found’ message when I click the link for the pdf file, so I couldn’t read anything more than the short description. The problem of reconciling divine justice and eternal torment is one that apparently many wrestle with. Limited time torment is one solution, but for the reasons I listed above, I think zero torment agrees more with the Scriptures.

                • Dalibor Šver says:

                  Sorry to see that, that link doesn’t work for me also… However, I have copied&pasted it in the Openoffice document previously, can I send it to you somehow?

                  As the matter a fact, each time I read Bible, especially Gospels, I haven’t put much thought to descriptions of Hell/Hade/Sheol/Underground etc.
                  Now as I read Gospels, I must admit that it looks like hell is not eternal; the description of fire is eternal; it could be considered as quick destruction in eternal fire.
                  There are some pointers from Matthew that could be hell isn’t eternal:
                  – Mat 5:25-26 (could be God sending to hell; till one pays up the debt)
                  – Mat 10:28 (could be instant destruction in hell)
                  – Mat 18:34-35 (once more, paying up the debt until one repays, and Jesus explicitely says heavenly Father would act the same way)

                  Just my thinking out loud. I’m not creating the doctrine here!

                  Anyway, I am more focused on the OTHER SIDE!

                  God Bless
                  Dalibor

                  • James Flood says:

                    Dalibor,

                    I’m inclined to take Matthew 5:25,26 at face value as council on resolving differences, but the other two texts you mentioned do, indeed, seem to deal with judgment.

                    Matthew 10.28 seems pretty straightforward: it deals with destruction. This is one of the texts where the Greek word rendered ‘hell’ in some bibles is gehenna and referred to a burning garbage dump outside Jerusalem, as mentioned above.

                    The text at Matthew 18 is very interesting. It says:

                    Matthew 18:34-35 (New Living Translation)
                    Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

                    However, note a key difference in another translation:

                    Matthew 18:34-35 (English Standard Version)
                    And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

                    It literally says, in the original Greek, ‘delivered him over to the tormentors’. However, the word ‘tormentor’ also meant jailers, whether they actually tormented or not. As The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says: “Probably the imprisonment itself was regarded as ‘torment’ (as it doubtless was), and the ‘tormentors’ need mean nothing more than jailers.”

            • perrymarshall says:

              James,

              I look at passages like Daniel 7:
              11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

              Ezekiel 28:
              18 By your many sins and dishonest trade
              you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
              So I made a fire come out from you,
              and it consumed you,
              and I reduced you to ashes on the ground
              in the sight of all who were watching.

              19 All the nations who knew you
              are appalled at you;
              you have come to a horrible end
              and will be no more.’ ”

              When I read passages like this I’m swayed that the judgment of finite creatures is also finite.

              • James Flood says:

                Each of those scriptures seems to be talking more about destruction that torment, so I think you’re right. Nice to know the God we worship is, indeed, a god of supreme justice.

                Deuteronomy 32:4 (English Standard Version)

                “The Rock, his work is perfect,
                for all his ways are justice.
                A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
                just and upright is he.”

            • Richard Vidrine says:

              Dear James: Languages are tricky and none more so than English. Just comparing American English and England English will show just how inexact languages are. Throw in idioms and local vernacular and it is no wonder that so much confusion abounds. This is why context and corroboration are so vital in understanding scripture. Scriptural knowledge is gained “here a little, there a little” and prophecy is not of private (or personal) interpretation but must be resolved with all other scripture.

              For example, if twenty verses speak of destruction and one speaks of eternal punishment, we need to resolve the seeming conflict or contradiction. In the case of Matthew 25, it’s rather easy to do. Eternal or everlasting punishment simply means punishment that will last forever…a punishment that is final and not retractable. In this case, it means eternally dead or lost or separated from God with no future hope or chance. The PUNISHMENT is everlasting but it doesn’t mean being punished for eternity, as in the eternal torment doctrine. The punishment last forever, the PUNISHING doesn’t. Also, if you will notice in verse 41, this “everlasting fire” was “prepared for the devil and his angels” who, as spirit beings, already have eternal life and can, therefore, be tormented day and night for ever and ever. This resolves another often misunderstood passage, Mark 9:43-48:

              Mar 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
              Mar 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
              Mar 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
              Mar 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
              Mar 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
              Mar 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

              It’s easy to miss the difference in the possessive pronouns. Talking to His audience, Jesus says YOUR hand and YOUR eye and YOUR foot but when He speaks of the worm that doesn’t die, He says THEIR worm, clearly speaking of someone else. Of course, knowing (as previously covered) that hellfire was prepared for the devil and his angels, it is easy to see that the “THEIR worm” refers to those eternal creatures. This is further corroborated in the account in Rev. 20:14:

              Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

              This only states that the devil shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. What about the sinners that are cast into the lake of fire?

              Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
              Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
              Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

              Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

              They receive the SECOND DEATH! What could be more clear than that?

          • James Flood says:

            I mentioned before that I felt the Trinity was not a bible teaching, and I would like to explain why I think that.

            When I read the Bible, especially the NT, I constantly come across scriptures that describe Jesus as a separate and distinct being from God. Here is a brief sampling:

            Luke 22:41-42 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

            John 7:16-18 “So Jesus answered them, `My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

            John 12:49, 50 “For I have not spoken of my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

            John 14:24, 28 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me… You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

            Revelation 3:14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation’.

            These scriptures give a clear picture of Jesus as being not only distinct from God, but also subordinate, doing not his own will, speaking not on his own authority, being created by the One that is greater than him. I give more examples at the end, but really, you can’t read the NT without running into similar references in nearly every chapter. Even OT prophecies about the messiah clearly show the same distinction. (The Hebrew word ‘messiah’ and its Greek counterpart ‘christ’ refer to someone ‘annointed’ by a higher authority.) So whenever we find a scripture that would appear to equate Jesus with God Almighty, we need to ask ourselves if the bible writer really meant to contradict the rest of inspired scripture, or if something else is going on.

            One possibility is that we’re interpreting in the light of prior assumptions. Take Genesis 1:26 where God says ‘let us make man in our image’. It could be taken as support for the trinity, but it could also be understood that God was talking to a separate and distinct person. Which interpretation most fits the scriptural context?

            Another possibility is interpretation in the translation. Take John 1:1 (the Word was God) and Phillipians 2:6 (Jesus didn’t ‘cling to’ or ‘exploit’ his equality with God). These texts are often cited as proof that Jesus is one and the same with God Almighty. But as translated, neither text makes sense. How can the Word be with God if he is God? How can Jesus be equal to God and not ‘cling to’ that equality? How could he possibly relinquish it? And of course, how could the apostles John and Paul contradict themselves and so many other scriptures? In his book “Truth In Translation”, Jason Beduhn argues convincingly that many English translations of these (among other) texts are influenced by theological bias.

            A lot more could be said on this subject, or course, but this post is already embarrassingly long, so I’ll leave it at that.

            I would just like to add that I don’t mean to offend you or anyone else by making these arguments. I have the utmost respect for the right each of us has to our beliefs, and I am happy that your site can accommodate an interchange of religious ideas without finding the very concept offensive. I followed your debate on the infidels site and, like you, was amazed at the inquisition mentality of some of the supposedly enlightened, non-religious posters there. I admire the way you were able to debate such an emotionally charged subject without ever sinking to their level. Keep up the good work.

            James Flood

            Additional scriptures:
            Luke 20:41-44 (New Living Translation) Then Jesus presented them with a question. “Why is it,” he asked, “that the Messiah is said to be the son of David?  For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms:
               ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
                  Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
                until I humble your enemies,
                  making them a footstool under your feet.’
            Since David called the Messiah ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?”

            John 5:19, 20 “Then Jesus said to them, `Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing, For what the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.’ ”

            John 5:30 “I can do nothing on my own, As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

            John 8:28, 29 “So Jesus said to them, `When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him..’ ”

            John 8:38 “I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

            John 8:40 “But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.”

            John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

            John 17:8 “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you have sent me.”

            John 17:14 “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
            Colossians 1:15, 16 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by [means of – footnote] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

            Hebrews 5:7-10 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
            Revelation 1:1 A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.

            All quotations from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

            • perrymarshall says:

              James,

              There has been MUCH written on the trinity and it hardly seems necessary to repeat all those arguments here. For example http://www.layevangelism.com/qreference/chapter10c.htm

              Essentially what it comes down to is this:

              I think it makes more sense to understand that Jesus really was God in the Flesh, and that he completely emptied Himself of all his privileges and became subservient to the Father through the ministry of the Holy Spirit – than to take the many explicit claims in the NT that say He was God, and say they don’t really mean what they say.

              For example John 5:18 (New International Version)

              “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

              Or Hebrews 1:8 But about the Son he says,
              “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
              and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.

              The book of John is especially emphatic on this point. But all the Gospels make it clear – if you just go through them. As do the epistles.

              • James Flood says:

                Perry,

                Hope all is well with you.

                My posts regarding the trinity seem to be disappearing. Why?

              • Richard Vidrine says:

                Perry: You stated that there were “many explicit claims in the NT that say He [Jesus] was God”. Could you reference those scriptures? Although a couple of verses taking out of context might seem to make Jesus equal with God, Jesus was quite clear to show that, while He was one in spirit with the Father (in one accord), He was not equal to His Father.

                Mat 19:17 And He [Jesus] said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

                Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

                Mat 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

                Do a search on ‘my Father’ and see how many hits you get. Now, my dad and I share the same last name (just like a man and a woman when married become “one flesh”) but that doesn’t make us two in one or co-equal or any of those other trinity catch words. In fact, the very mention of Father and Son implies two separate entities.

                Nevertheless, I would like to examine the verses in the NT which theologians have said make Jesus equal with God.

                Thank you for your patience with my questions

                • perrymarshall says:

                  Richard,

                  Matthew 28:8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

                  He allowed them to worship him. Given the Jewish culture, that’s a definitive statement right there.

                  But that’s not all:

                  John 8:53Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”

                  54Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

                  57″You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

                  58″I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

                  “I AM” is a reference to Exodus 3:14

                  13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

                  14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am . [b] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

                  John 10:

                  24The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ,[c] tell us plainly.”

                  25Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[d]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.”

                  31Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

                  33″We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

                  34Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods'[e]? 35If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

                  He is CLEARLY identifying Himself as God here.

                  Two separate entities: Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.”

                  John 14:

                  7If you really knew me, you would know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

                  8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

                  9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

                  Then there’s Paul: Colossians 1:

                  15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

                  Hebrews 1:

                  3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

                  5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
                  “You are my Son;
                  today I have become your Father[a]”[b]? Or again,
                  “I will be his Father,
                  and he will be my Son”[c]? 6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
                  “Let all God’s angels worship him.”[d] 7In speaking of the angels he says,
                  “He makes his angels winds,
                  his servants flames of fire.”[e] 8But about the Son he says,
                  “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
                  and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
                  9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
                  therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
                  by anointing you with the oil of joy.”[f] 10He also says,
                  “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
                  and the heavens are the work of your hands.
                  11They will perish, but you remain;
                  they will all wear out like a garment.
                  12You will roll them up like a robe;
                  like a garment they will be changed.
                  But you remain the same,
                  and your years will never end.”[g] 13To which of the angels did God ever say,
                  “Sit at my right hand
                  until I make your enemies
                  a footstool for your feet”[h]? 14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

                  I’m sure you’re wondering what about Christ’s statements of humility. This is explained in Philippians 2:

                  5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
                  6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
                  did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
                  7but made himself nothing,
                  taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
                  being made in human likeness.
                  8And being found in appearance as a man,
                  he humbled himself
                  and became obedient to death—
                  even death on a cross!
                  9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
                  and gave him the name that is above every name,
                  10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
                  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
                  11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
                  to the glory of God the Father.

                  • Richard Vidrine says:

                    Dear Perry: Thank you for your kind response.

                    You referred to Mat. 28:9 where the disciples held His feet and worshiped Jesus. You say because Jesus “let them” worship Him that proves that Jesus is God. Note:

                    Jos 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
                    Jos 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
                    Jos 5:15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

                    Psa 45:11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

                    Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
                    Zec 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

                    Joshua fell down and worshiped at the feet of the angel (probably Michael), who clearly identified himself as not being God but, rather, as being sent FROM God.

                    In Psalms and Zechariah, the reference is to worshiping the King (who we know is Jesus), not God.

                    Nevertheless, as King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus is worthy of worship. As an emissary of His Father, any worship directed toward Jesus is directed toward the Father.

                    Jesus said “I AM” many times, often with a qualifier:

                    Joh 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I AM the bread of life:…
                    Joh 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I AM the light of the world:…
                    Joh 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I AM from above:…

                    Joh 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.
                    Joh 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I AM, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

                    Joh 10:9 I AM the door:…
                    Joh 10:11 I AM the good shepherd:…
                    John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I AM the resurrection and the life…
                    Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way, the truth, and the life:

                    Joh 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I AM the Son of God?

                    Yet, even as Jesus called Himself ‘I AM’, He never failed to identify Himself as a separate (and lesser) entity from God as in John 15:1:

                    Joh 15:1 I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

                    Jesus said that He was the farm (the crop) and that His Father was the farmer (the grower). They are clearly not the same. No one made this more clear than Paul. Note:

                    1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

                    Paul merely summed up what Jesus said all along.

                    The rest of the verses that you posted merely confirm that Jesus didn’t claim to be the Father but the SON. Your son may have your exact same name (a junior) but he will still be a separate being. Father and Son implies TWO people, not ONE. When Jesus said that His Father and Him were ONE, He meant of one mind and one heart and one soul. In fact, scripture says that Jesus is the express image of God. Yet, it also says this:

                    1Co 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

                    See, man was made in God’s image, after His likeness. Yet, no one would dare suggest that an image (photograph) of you is the same as you.

                    Now, having said all of that and having provided more than enough scripture to prove that Jesus and the Father are two separate distinct beings (as all father and sons are), Jesus’ special existence must be addressed. Jesus is called the second Adam because they are the only two humans that have ever lived which did not have a human father. Both were fathered by God through the Holy Spirit. In this sense, Jesus is half-God and half-human, or like the Catholics like to say, fully God and fully man. I have no qualms in seeing the divinity of God (He’s the Son of God, after all) but I am disturbed that (false) Christianity has made Jesus equal with God, which He is not. Notice:

                    Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten (G5461) it, and the Lamb is the light (G3088) thereof.

                    Two separate words are used to describe the kind of light that comes from God (photizo) and from the Lamb (lychnos). The Greek ‘photizo’ is the root of the word ‘photon’ and it represents the INVISIBLE rays of light; that is, the SOURCE of light. The Lamb’s light is represented by the word ‘lychnos’ from which we get the word ‘luminous’ and is best translated as lamp or illuminate; in other words, VISIBLE light.

                    How befitting. It is impossible to see God except through the Son.

                    Let’s by all means see the divinity of Jesus as “the Anointed One” of God (the ONE who anoints) but let’s not try to make the Son equal to the Father by contriving an unholy trinitarian doctrine that blasphemes God. As Revelation says to God’s people:

                    Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

                    Still, whatever we think about the complexities of God, let’s all not forget to give God glory and honor and respect by obeying His commandments…for this is the whole duty of man.

                    • Richard Vidrine says:

                      Hi, Perry:

                      I would like to add something to my previous post. You quoted Jesus when He said, “I and the Father are one.” That almost sounds like Jesus is saying that He and the Father are the same person but He’s not. Here’s why:

                      Joh 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

                      Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

                      Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

                      Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world…
                      Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

                      This is what it means to be one with the Father. Like the moon, our light is not our own. It is only a reflection of the Son, who is the reflection (or image) of God. God gave His glory to Jesus and Jesus gave the glory to us (His followers) and when the light (character) of God shines in us, we give the glory back to God. We are ALL one.

                    • perrymarshall says:

                      I agree we are all one but we are not God. Jesus is. John 1:1.

                      I agree Jesus and the Father are two separate people – John 1:1 says that too – but the Word WAS God. A clearer statement could not be made.

                      Yes, absolutely, Jesus in the flesh was subservient to God and the Holy Spirit (Luke 4). But that’s because he emptied himself. What did he empty himself of? His divine rights.

                      I liken the trinity to a communication system which has encoder, code and decoder (analogy father, son and holy spirit) – communication does not take place until all three are present. The encoder is the source of the information, the code is the expression and the decoder is the understanding. God is love because God is the desire that melds all three together in perfect harmony.

                    • James Flood says:

                      Perry,

                      I think if there’s one thing we do agree on, it’s that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. If it did, it wouldn’t be the word of God.

                      In my first post on the subject I based my assertion that Jesus is not God Almighty on a number of clear, unambiguous scriptures with no known translation issues. Since then Richard Vidrine has posted many more with strong arguments derived from them. So what do we do if we come upon a scripture that seems to contradict all those verses? There’s nothing parsimonious about leaving such a situation unresolved, so how do we reconcile the two sides?

                      One way is to examine the context of the scriptures in question. If a conflict with the context is found, then it’s logical to examine the translation. As I was careful to mention in bringing the subject up, translation is not an exact science. Sometimes there is more than one way to translate a given phrase, and the decision of which is best is in the eye – and possibly the theology – of the translator.

                      As a perfect case in point, I’d like to take another look at John 8:58.

                      First, what does the context say? To cite just three examples:

                      John 8:28 (NIV) So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”

                      John 8:42 (NIV) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.”

                      John 8:54 (NIV) Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.”

                      Clearly, Jesus is not claiming to be God in these verses, but rather someone sent by, taught by and glorified by God. Any apparent claim on Jesus’ part to actually be God should immediately raise red flags.

                      In my last post, I mentioned one issue with regard to the rendering “before Abraham was born, I am” at verse 58. That’s why some versions render that same phrase “I already was before Abraham was born” (Worldwide English NT – from Biblegateway.com). Moffatt and Goodspeed found similar solutions before either of us was born.

                      Another question that comes up is, are the words Jesus uses to say “I am” the same ones God uses to refer to himself at Exodus 3:14? As it happens, the answer is no. When Jesus says “I am”, in Greek it’s “ego eimi”, whereas when God tells Moses to tell the Israelites that “I AM” sent them, the Septuagint has “ho on”. (That’s without getting into the fact that we’re comparing Greek texts when Jesus was probably speaking Aramaic and God presumably spoke to Moses in Hebrew.) So the assertion that Jesus is referring to Exodus 3:14 and applying it to himself seems to bark up the wrong tree from the very start. (There’s no need to take my word on any of this, by the way. Just google ‘interlinear NT’ and ‘interlinear Septuagint’ and take the first things to come up. You don’t even need to speak Greek.)

                      A valid question is, if Jesus wasn’t claiming to be God, why did his fellow countrymen want to stone him?

                      It’s useful to compare other accounts where bible characters were killed (or almost killed) because of things they said. At Acts 7, Stephen was stoned to death because he said he saw “Jesus standing at the right hand of God”. (Side point: why at the right hand of God if he IS God?) At Acts 22 Paul was almost lynched for saying “the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” And at Matthew 26 and Mark 14 Jesus was condemned by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy, not because he claimed to be God, but because he claimed (rightly) to be the Christ, or Messiah.

                      The Jews might have correctly understood Jesus’ reference to having existed before Abraham as a claim to be the Messiah, the one ‘whose origens are from ancient times’ (Micah 5:2, 4). Or maybe they were just offended by his claim to be superhuman. No one can be dogmatic about it, since the scriptures don’t tell us what, exactly, they thought Jesus was guilty of. But it would be wrong to think that the only explanation is a context-defying claim to be the Almighty.

                      So, after careful analysis, John 8:58 supports the trinity doctrine only if we ignore the context, ignore the translation issues and make unfounded assumptions about the motives of the would-be executioners. That’s a shaky foundation to build one’s theology on.

                      I won’t take the time to get into John 1:1, but if you’re interested, Wikipedia has a fairly even-handed article on it. Not that Wikipedia is the ultimate authority, but you’ll see that it’s not as cut and dried as you may think.

                      I hope it’s evident at this point that my convictions on this topic are based on many, many scriptures that I feel prove the point, as well as a careful examination of the few that appear not to. There is nothing ‘suspicious’ about that.

                      I’ll end by quoting Jesus himself:

                      Revelation 3:12 (NIV) “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.”

                      Even after his resurrection and ascension to heaven, Jesus referred to God as ‘his God’. I have to accept what the text says.

                    • perrymarshall says:

                      James,

                      Are you a Jehovah’s witness?

                      Let’s examine two hypotheses about interpreting scripture:

                      A. Jesus was not God

                      B. Jesus was God but completely emptied Himself of all divine privileges and rights. He let the Holy Spirit testify on his behalf. He voluntarily gave up all powers that are not equally available to all of us regular human beings.

                      The problem with (A) is that I have to sidestep too many statements in the Bible that Jesus is God. For example Hebrews 1:

                      5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
                      “You are my Son;
                      today I have become your Father[a]”[b]? Or again,
                      “I will be his Father,
                      and he will be my Son”? 6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
                      “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7In speaking of the angels he says,
                      “He makes his angels winds,
                      his servants flames of fire.”[e] 8But about the Son he says,
                      “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,
                      and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.

                      In Judeo Christian theology, ONLY God is worthy of worship. In this passage the Son is worthy of worship. And this is not the only passage in which Jesus is worshipped.

                      I find that interpretation (B) comfortably fits all the data. Interpretation (A) requires me to throw out data or go to great pains to re-interpret dozens of passages of scripture. The fact that we have to delicately re-parse the Greek in every single one of these passages to arrive at your conclusion is very telling.

                    • Jay says:

                      Dear James Flood

                      What you say is what I was told by the messenger from God. I was told the person whom I was praying to was not Our Omnipotent and Omniscient God. I was told Jesus was my Saviour who is King Over all the Earth and who Is The Son of The Living God.

                      I was told to take off my shoes before entering the presence of the True God of all Creation. Moses was told to cast his sandals from off his feet Exodus 3:4. God’s name was told to me Yhaouvah’nissi-jirey the meaning of God’s name was explained to me. The meaning of nissi is found in Exodus 17:15 (because a hand is against the throne of Yhaouvah). And the meaning of Yhaouvah’jirey is in Genesis 22:14 where the messenger explained this to refer to the Ransom Sacrifice of His Precious Son Jesus who died on behalf of my sins and the sins of the whole world. I love my God, His Son and all the prophets. And I am grateful to My Lord Jesus Christ for his love and appreciate what he has done on my behalf and for the whole world of mankind who will benefit.

                      However I am disturbed and saddened because I have been searching for the persons who I have been directed to write to and have not to date been successful in contacting.

                      Please if it is not you who has been contacted to carry out the Will of Our Heavenly Father please pray for me and for God’s Kingdom to be established over the earth.

                    • Debra says:

                      This is confusing, The first part was correct thinking of our LORD and Saviour JESUS, but then you lost me. Who and what are you searching for? What will of God are you wishing to share? Take care and question everything being extremely careful to ask the Father for bread and not a serpent. We have an enemy out for our destruction. Stay at the cross my friend.

                  • James Flood says:

                    Perry,

                    At the risk of having my post mysteriously disappear again, I would like to briefly comment on the texts you cited in support of Jesus being God himself.

                    It’s my experience that most scriptures used to support trinitarian theology are controversial in some way, usually with respect to translation. It’s important to remember that most Christian denominations are trinitarian, and therefore their translators will approach any given text from a trinitarian perspective. That doesn’t necessarily mean their translations are wrong, but it does mean that there might also be other ways to translate a given passage that were discarded for theological reasons. With that in mind, lets look at your proof texts.

                    Matthew 28:9 Though the Greek word proskyneo can, indeed, be translated ‘worship’, it’s literal meaning is to ‘fall on one’s knees before’ as rendered at Matthew 18.26 in the same version you’re quoting from (NIV). Notice two examples of how the Septuagint used proskyneo:

                    Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. (Genesis 23:7 NIV)

                    [Spoken to Jacob] May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. (Genesis 27:29 NIV)

                    So this works as a support of the Trinity only if we assume that worship is involved, which may not have been the case. Not such a definitive statement after all.

                    John 8.58 Whether or not this text is a reference to Exodus 3.14 is hotly debated, as is the rendering ‘I am’. In John 14.9 (cited in your post) the NIV translates a grammatically identical passage (‘this much time with you I am’) as ‘I have been among you such a long time’. So it could also (some would argue should also) be translated ‘before Abraham was born, I have been’, as some translations have it, which makes perfect sense considering the context.

                    Once again, whether or not this text supports trinitarian theology depends on how it is translated. Translated a different way, the support vanishes. It should also be noted that in verse 54 we find a clear distinction between Jesus and the One who glorifies Jesus: “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me”. So, the context appears to conflict with trinitarian belief.

                    The words you highlight in John 10:36 would appear to do more to demolish trinitarian theology than to support it. Jesus describes himself as “the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world” and then poses the question “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” Nowhere do we find him claiming to be God Almighty, no matter what his enemies thought. In fact, he repeatedly refers to the Father in the third person.

                    There is also a translation issue with their assertion that Jesus claimed ‘to be God’. Since ‘god’ is without the definite article (the) it could also be translated ‘a god’. Given the context, that appears more reasonable.

                    Colossians 1.15-20 has a few translation issues, but I will focus only on one: Jesus is called, in the NIV, “the firstborn over all creation”. Notice how this phrase is translated in other versions:

                    “the firstborn of all creation.” (English Standard Version)

                     “the firstborn of all creation.” (New American Standard Bible)

                    “the firstborn of all creation.” (NAB)

                    Obviously, to be ‘firstborn of creation’ is to be created, so here again we have translation-dependent support.

                    Hebrews 1. Much of this chapter could be used to support the belief that Jesus is NOT God, as when God calls him his ‘firstborn’ and his son, and tells him to sit at his right hand. The verse you’ve cited before as support for the Trinity is verse 8, particularly the phrase “Your throne, O God”, directed to Jesus. However, as the NRSV footnote points out, it could also be rendered “God is your throne”. While neither option can be said to be wrong, the latter seems to me to have the least problems with the context. Note that one verse later, still talking to Christ, we find the phrase “God, your God”, and that at Psalm 45, from which the writer of Hebrews is quoting, all verses are directed to the king, none to God. To see how Psalm 45.6,7 is rendered by those with nothing at stake theologically, try looking it up in an on-line Tanakh. You won’t find “your throne, Oh God”.

                    And finally, Phillippians 2.6-11. First, ‘in very nature God’ is literally (as the NIV footnote confirms) ‘in the form of God’, which could easily refer to his having been a spirit being in his pre-human existence, and in no way demands equality with God. In this passage Jesus is ‘exalted by God’ and declared lord ‘to the glory of God the father’, language that evokes distinctness far more than sameness.

                    So I don’t think you have an airtight case, Perry. Your proof texts only work if certain translations are favored over others, and even then they consistently run into problems with their context. And I think, in arguing in favor of trinitarian theology, you run up against a sort of theological Ockham’s Razor. You can either take words like ‘father’, ‘son’, ‘firstborn’, etc. at face value, or you can complicate things unnecessarily trying to make them the same person. Which is the most parsimonious explanation?

                    • perrymarshall says:

                      John 8:58 clearly refers to Exodus 3:14 because of the pharisees reaction to what was said. They knew what he meants.

                      The fact that you have to re-translate every single one of these verses is cumulatively very telling. Over and over again – almost every single time – you have to say “They translated it completely wrong… again, and again, and again…”

                      Any time somebody has to do that to support their theology, I become very suspicious.

                      Are you a Jehovah’s witness?

                      One of the major problems with your interpretation is, it fails to explain what kind of being would be in the form of God, would accept worship; that the demons would call “The Holy One of God” in Luke 4, who Paul would say “in the very nature God”; In the beginning was the WORD and the word was with God and the word WAS God —- what kind of thing is that being if that being is not God?

                      The most parsimonious explanation is that John 1:1 means exactly what it says:

                      THE WORD WAS WITH GOD AND THE WORD WAS GOD.

                      I accept what the text says.

            • Dalibor Šver says:

              As I learned, the “Elohim” from the Genesis means plural of at least three.
              OT deals with Holy Spirit on many places, starting with Genesis 1:2. OT readers don’t have problem with accepting “duality” (Father and Holy Spirit). So why should it become problem when NT reveals Messiah as the third entity in God, as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 (“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”)

          • Richard Vidrine says:

            Dear Perry:

            I love your website and your emails and your love for truth and your eager desire to tell the world the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

            Having said that and having read the exchange between you and James Flood, I have to say that I agree with Mr. Flood concerning the Trinity and the eternal torment of sinners. Neither of these teachings is biblical but they are deceptions of Satan used to deceive the whole world.

            God indeed says ‘we’ in Genesis and it is clear that He is not alone during the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. However, this in no way implies a trinity. The first thing to remember is that there is only ONE God Almighty:

            1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

            Of course, Jesus confirmed this, time after time. He made it clear that He didn’t know everything, that there were things only known by the Father.

            Many are confused by modern translations of the gospel of John. Not only John 1:1 but also the fact that the Comforter is referred to as a ‘He’. In truth, the pronoun could have (and should have) been translated as ‘it’. The Holy Spirit is merely the essence or breath of God. It is the active force or POWER of God. Read all of the verses that refer to the Holy Spirit and see how often it is referred to in the possessive case (i.e., the Spirit OF God). It was this breath or spirit that God breathed into Adam that turned him into a living soul (with the breath of life). It was this same POWER that overshadowed Mary so that she became impregnated by the seed of God (Almighty). Notice:

            Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

            If you read this just as it is written, it is perfectly clear that the Holy Ghost is the power of the Highest. It is this same power that raised Jesus from the dead and will raise all the elect from their graves and the same power that was given to Jesus and to all God’s faithful which allows them to do powerful works. For example:

            Luk 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

            Luk 8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
            Luk 8:44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
            Luk 8:45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
            Luk 8:46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

            The word ‘virtue’ literally means ‘miraculous power’. The woman merely touched Jesus and just like connecting a dead battery to a hot battery, power flowed from the strong one (Jesus) to the weaker one (the woman).

            The best way that I have been able to explain it is this:

            God is the SOURCE (battery), the Holy Spirit is the POWER (electricity) that flows from the Source and Jesus is the Energizer Lamb that receives that Power in order to accomplish His work.

            One other observance should help you dismiss the pagan doctrine of the trinity. If the three are co-equal as the trinity teaches, then they would be given equal respect and consideration by the writers of the Bible. Yet, when Paul greets his fellow servants of Christ in his salutations in the letters to the various churches, the Holy Spirit is ignored. All of the salutations follow this same formula:

            Rom 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

            1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
            1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

            By all means, read ALL of the salutations to the various churches and you will see that Paul greets them with grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Mention of the Holy Spirit is noticeably absent. Co-equal? I think not.

            This post is already too long to include scriptures that show that eternal torment of sinners is a Satanic lie introduced into the church during the Dark Ages by Dante Alighieri in his spoof of the Bible called the Divine Comedy. People weren’t allowed to read the Bible (punishable by death) but they could read Dante. No wonder this picture of hell replaced the simple truth of scripture.

            Hopefully, I will post another response dealing with this false doctrine but, in passing, I would like to note that in order for people to burn in hell forever they would have to have eternal life. Yet, scripture is clear that only through Jesus Christ can one have eternal life (John 3:15,16; Rom. 6:23). As Ezekiel points out:

            “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”

            • Charity Romano says:

              Matthew 12:32 “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

              Matthew 12:31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
              ——————————————————————————–
              Matthew 12:32 “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

              Luke 12:10 “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him

              Mark 3:28 “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”

              Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”

              Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, bears witness of the covenant we have with God. He is the Comforter and Counselor

              Holy Spirit is a divine person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will. Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity/family of God. Same purpose – to fulfill the perfect will and plan of God, different function. Same name – God. Holy
              Spirit possess same characteristics of God – He is omiscient, all powerful, all knowing, everywhere at the same time.

              1 Corinthians 2:10-11 – “But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

              Acts 5:3-4 “Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself…How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” This is a clear demonstration that God and Holy Spirit are one and the same.

              Why fight it? Why try figuring out an immeasurable, immortable, limitless God, with our limited minds and understanding? Can’t you see it’s not possible to lean on our own understanding. By denying Holy Spirt and God are one, you are denying the omniscience of God himself. you are putting Him in a box. Your little box. You are telling God, that there are impossibilities for Him, that in fact, He can’t do anything and everything. That there are some things that are too hard for Him to do. This is just ridiculous can’t you see and is nullifying the faith we say we have in Him. Deny One and you deny All.

              Matthew 28:19 – “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

              Stop wasting time questioning God so much and just believe and receive. Holy Spirit has been given to us to testify of Jesus and the truth of His salvation. He will teach you the truth if you let him, if you let your doubting minds believe the hope of His Glory.

              Be blessed

        • Elaine Grimm says:

          To sum up the differences between an eternity in Heaven and an eternity in Hell relates directly to the Spiritual acceptances present within each realm. As God is Spirit, using Perry’s description via his cell-phone analogy, Heaven retains the phone service, and Hell does not. If one’s spiritual affections run to anti-God rebellion, there will be many of like mind to join in Hell; for what King will knowingly allow those who practise revolution against his Kingdom to have access to it? The Great fixed gulf which separates the two “spaces of place” in the spiritual realm (Heaven and Hell)is simply God’s version of a barrier to hostile enemies.

      • Wolfgang von der Rosen says:

        AMAZING stuff Perry…amazing stuff you got here, not often do I get to see something explained in good form, but filled with good matter…that analogy on the trinity

        I have a theory on hell, I’d like your opinion on it: God being endlessly mercyful (to a point, no human would understand, because we have human justice in our heads), will forgive us all, regadless of what we do, why?, because when you do wrong, your life has a sense of emptyness…you pay the bill here (kamra perhaps?), and when you do right, even though most of the times is harder (trying not to steal money when you’re about to file for bankruptcy)

        It’s your choices what define your life, thus, in death I believe ou’ll be confronted with god, he’d explain why you did wrong, the consequences, as in a classroom, and off you go, your sins are forgotten, go in peace.

        If God explained this a priori (as in softening the commandments), I’m sure people would abuse of them even more, but now feeling they have divine permission to do so…would be worse.

        Hell is a choice, ans it’s right here, on Earth, suffering, genocide, all that isn’t because God is evil, is the actions of men. One teacher once told me that “a rock so large exists, that not even God can move it” free will.

  5. Fajardo Osc says:

    reply to lie 2 :
    if we only read and understand properly the holy bible we will find out that Jesus taught us that God is never huge and far because he(GOD) is A FRIEND. “I call you no longer servants but friends for to you I have revealed the will of mu Father “

  6. frank cantu (Vietnam Vet) says:

    Lie #2: ‘God is huge and unapproachable, and He wants you to labor, struggle and live in guilt.’

    Ans: REALLY? where did you get that info from Stalin Diaries. I remember back in the fifties Where children in school pray for bread and milk, when they pray to Stalin, they open their eyes to cookies and milk…you see children there is no God, but father Stalin is your real father. Now the little man is dead and no resurrection he is now pushing daises!!!!

  7. Chris Parcon says:

    All religions are centered toward God, but there doctrines one way or the other vary to some degrees. What is irony, however, is that each claims that theres is the true religion. What can you comment on this? Please support with facts. Thank you very much!

    Chris

  8. Timi Bomodi says:

    There are only two peas in this religious pod, who although very much alike are so very different. I am sure James and Perry if you could just add a Catholic into this mix, then we can really get the stew cooking. No matter how logical you try to be about the truth as quoted from the Bible, it would be impossible to come to an agreement as to what the writers of the book really meant. Truth can never be found in any book written by man no matter how inspired. The best place to find it will be within. Each of us must learn to go within, to the silent place of God within.

    Why do we hold as sacrosant the opinions held by men two – five thousand years ago, and not think it reasonable to assume that some of the views they had about God were just simply wrong? Trying to filter meaning from all these text is like a dog pursuing its tail. We go round and round, end up exhausted, and then we go round and round again.

    Lets begin with the assumption that maybe, just maybe a few of those who wrote the Bible did get it wrong. Indeed let us make a whole leap to say this is so. Jesus did. Most of all he thaught were radical new ideas, he relied on the writings of the prophets, to create a bridge between the conciousness of the old order and the new order he proclaimed.

    Jesus repeatedly referred to the bond between himself and God, in a way that suggested a relationship beyond the ordinary, and this is true. But Jesus also, in reference to his miracles and works of wonder always did chastise his followers, when they stood in awe of his abilities. Why do you stand in amazement at the things that I do, he said, don’t you know that what I do you can do also, for ye are gods, to para-phrase his statement. He never said ‘well, don’t try this one at home folks’. Or, ‘these miracles can only be performed by special persons as myself’.

    The story of the prodigal son illustrates more than your initial explanation Perry. It actually cuts to the very nature of man. Who are we? And what is the relationship we have with our creator? The Bible does state that man was created in the image and likeness of God. We know that God has no physical properties. As spirit beings, the likeness we share with God is spiritual, or refers to the spiritual side of man. What then could this spiritual aspect of man be? Many have discribed man, as body, mind and spirit. The body we know, the mind we are only beginning to understand, but the spirit aspect of man, goes beyond the comprehension of many. How does a spirit being come to the awareness of itself as spirit. This should not be confused with any intellectual exercise of wit and the use of words. This is super-reality beyond the minds capacity, to dissect and analyse.This is the miracle of conciousness manifest in the ability of man experiencing himself as spirit.

    The spirit part of man is soul, eternal and wise, sharing similar characteristics as God.

    When we are unaware of this reality we are dead, ‘this my son was dead, and he is alive again. He was lost , but now he is found – has discovered who he really is. Our not knowing who and what we are, dresses us up in the cloak of beggers, instead of the robe of kings. It is instructive that the king at no time showed his anger or dislike for the attitude of his son, both before his leaving home and after his return. But the father was patient with him, knowing that the leasons he needed to learn were coached in his rebellion, his running away from his divinity. The father’s love is unconditional, and we should understand this in superlatives.

    It is impossible to offend God, just as it is impossible to make God angry. To offend God is to cause displeasure, resentment. God will never react to us, God acts only, knowing the end even before the beginning.
    Anger comes from disappointment, disappointment comes from not knowing what the reaction of another will be, or what the reaction to our actions will be. The all knowing nature of God leaves no room for surprises, because the outcome is known. Where God knows before hand what the outcome will be, how can he be stirred to anger?

    All souls are granted freedom to experience life in all its ramifications, but tied to action is responsibility. We are all accountable for our actions, but not in form of a ‘judgement day’. Judgement day is every day, as we sow, we reap. The harvest should propel the individual to sow good deeds, as the alternative is unpleasant for every sane person. There are no limits to the number of mistakes we can make, because in God’s world time is insignificant. If it would need one million errors to get a thing right, then God will grant those errors. All souls will eventually find their way back to God.

    We all believe what we choose to believe, and our choice is based on evidences we have accepted as relevant to us. Other people will make their own choices based on similar sets of evidence. These choices may differ from ours sometimes symbolically, sometimes fundermentally, but they will still be relevant and acceptable as legitimate ways of relating with God.

    Millions of people have been born into families that never heard of Jesus or his teachings, and they will go through life not being aware of it at all. If we go by your Christian beliefs, these will be condemned to death on judgement day, but these persons did not decide into which country, religion, or race they want to be born into, and you talk about justice? God is fair to all, as you give so you recieve, God’s love is unconditional, and not bound by space or time, if not in this life time, then maybe another? and another, and another, as many times as you will need to get it right.

  9. James Flood says:

    Perry,

    First, let me point out where I think we basically agree:

    Jesus voluntarily came down from heaven and gave up the privileges of heavenly life. This is amply supported by scripture:

    “Jesus…, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant…humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.” (Philippians 2:5-7 ESV; also Micah 5:2 and John 8:23.)

    The Holy Spirit testified on Jesus’ behalf:

    “You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:37-38 NIV.)

    Only God is worthy of worship:

    “Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only”’”. (Matthew 4:10 NIV.)

    So I would ammend interpretation (A) to say:

    Jesus was not God but God’s only-begotten son, a powerful spirit being sent by God. He voluntarily came down from heaven and gave up the privileges of heavenly life, and the Holy Spirit testified on his behalf. While on earth he was fully human, not superhuman.

    Interpretation (B) is yours, so I’ll leave it alone:

    Jesus was God but completely emptied Himself of all divine privileges and rights. He let the Holy Spirit testify on his behalf. He voluntarily gave up all powers that are not equally available to all of us regular human beings.

    Both interpretations have a lot in common, but the key point is whether Jesus is God himself, or someone sent by God. In previous posts I’ve cited around twenty scriptures which clearly show Jesus to be sent by God, inferior to God and obedient to God. Up till now, you haven’t addressed them, so I’m curious how you reconcile them with your beliefs. For good measure, here are a few more:

    Deuteronomy 18:17-18 (New International Version)

    The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

    Peter applied these words to Jesus at Acts 3. Does it sound like God himself would be the prophet, or that he would send someone else?

    Jesus, the one who fulfilled the prophecy, answered this question clearly on several occasions. Here are two:

    “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” (John 12:49 NIV.)

    [In prayer to God] “For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” (John 17:8, NIV.)

    Is Jesus in any way claiming to be God? And why is he praying?

    And then there’s this:

    Then the end will come, when he [Christ] hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:24-28 NIV.)

    How does Christ, long after returning to heaven, subject himself to God, if he IS God?

    Revelation 3:12 (NIV) “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.”

    If Jesus is God, how is it that he refers to God as HIS God?
    Even your example of Hebrews 1, as support of trinitarian theology, is not without serious problems. Jesus is referred to as God’s “Son, whom he appointed heir”, God’s “firstborn” who “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty” and was anointed by “God, your God”. Elsewhere in Hebrews, Jesus is shown to have been “designated by God to be high priest”. How does the idea that Jesus was God harmonize with this context?

    What about the issue of worship? Is Jesus really being worshiped at Hebrews 1:6? To answer that question, notice how Young’s Literal Translation renders this verse:

    “And when again He may bring in the first-born to the world, He saith, ‘And let them bow before him — all messengers of God;’”

    Whether the term proskuneo (Strong’s G4352, literally ‘to bow before’), refers to an act of worship or simply an act of deep respect for someone of higher rank (as at Matthew 18:26) is determined entirely by the context. Those who believe Jesus is God naturally conclude that at Hebrews 1:6 ‘worship’ is the correct rendering. But to then take the rendering ‘worship’ and attempt to use it to prove that Jesus is God is circular reasoning. This is not ‘delicate re-parsing of the Greek’; it’s a valid point, and disparaging the process by which I arrive at it does nothing to refute it.

    Unless we want to say that terms like “only-begotten son”, “firstborn”, “high priest” and “Christ” don’t really mean what they mean, or that when Jesus prays or says “my God” he’s actually talking to himself, or that when he ‘subjects himself’ to God it’s actually a charade, or that when he says he has ‘received authority’ he actually already had it, I really can’t see how interpretation (B) fits the data comfortably, or at all for that matter. Moreover, I think God inspired the bible writers to use terms like “father” and “son” to give us a clear picture of the relationship between Him and Jesus, in terms we can readily understand. That, in turn, makes it easier for us to put in practice the exhortation at James 4:8: “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

    There’s something else we probably agree on: If we all were to obey James 4:8, the world would be a much better place.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Are you a Jehovah’s witness? Please respond.

      Notice that Jesus does not refuse worship in [SCRIPTURE]. You keep not dealing with this.

      I HAVE dealt with your statement that Jesus is inferior to God. I said that Jesus submitted to God and as scripture says God raised Him above all other names.

      Yes, Jesus absolutely was a prophet. And a healer. And yes, high priest. And firstborn and only begotten son. You are assuming that God in the flesh cannot be all of those things. Of course he can. Which is why he can ask us to occupy multiple offices as well.

      Jesus is praying because he emptied himself of all divine privileges and made Himself dependent upon the Holy Spirit.

      “How does Christ, long after returning to heaven, subject himself to God, if he IS God?”

      Because God is three persons in one. Jesus is not talking to himself. You are willfully refusing to understand what is meant by the word Trinity.

      God is HIS God because God belongs to him as his possession.

      Hebrews 1: How can you possibly even imagine that God would bow to ANYONE EVER who was not divine? How can ANYONE EVER be higher rank than God? Hebrews one eliminates any possibility that Jesus is any less than divine.

      You are still dodging John 1:1, which is an unequivocal statement that Jesus is God. “The Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”

      I pray that you will accept the scriptures of John and Hebrews.

      Are you a Jehovah’s witness? please respond.

      • James Flood says:

        Perry,

        I’ve commented twice on the subject of worship directed to Jesus, once in my post of 15 January (with regard to Matthew 28:9) and once in my post of 21 March (concerning Hebrews 1:6). Whatever scripture you had in mind, I’m sure it’s thoroughly dealt with in those two posts. The short version: The word rendered ‘worship’ basically means ‘to bow before’ (see Matthew 28:9, YLT), and doesn’t necessarily imply worship (e.g. when Joseph’s brothers bow before him at Genesis 42). A translator’s decision that Jesus is being worshiped is no proof that Jesus is God.

        You said that “Jesus submitted to God and as scripture says God raised Him above all other names”. I agree. But how is that consistent with the idea that Jesus IS God? What’s more, in Revelation Jesus is still calling God “my God” (Revelation 3:12). Philippians 2 says that God exalted Jesus to the glory of God the Father. It seems obvious that if Jesus’ exaltation over all other names is ‘to God’s glory’, and that if he is still calling God ‘his God’ long after being exalted, that God is still the Almighty, with Jesus as his second in command. That also is the implication of Jesus being at the right hand of God (Acts 7; Hebrews 1). And the logic of Jesus submitting to God when he supposedly IS God still escapes me.

        Which illustrates another problem: If you want to enter the house of trinitarian belief, you have to check your logic at the door. Given that we were created in the image of God, it follows that God is the Father of Logic. And both Jesus and Paul made ample use of logic in their ministry (see Matthew 22:41-46; Acts 17:2,3). (In fact, a theologian named Gordon Clark translated John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Logic”.) I don’t think they would have made too many converts had they said anything so defiant of the most basic rules of logic as ‘God is God’s God because God belongs to God as God’s posession’. The early Christians used persuasion, not double-talk.

        I don’t think you’ve thought through the implications of Jesus as high priest. First, notice the description found at Hebrews 5:1 (NIV):

        “Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

        As you can see, a high priest is, by nature, an intermediary, which is in perfect harmony with what is said at 1 Timothy 2:5:

        “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.

        Now, if Jesus is a mediator, a high priest who ‘represents humankind in matters related to God’, does it make sense to say that he IS God? Is there any context in which a mediator is one of the parties between which he is mediating? (In law, that’s called a conflict of interests, and God’s justice is perfect according to Deut. 32:4.) Also, take note that Jesus is designated high priest AFTER returning to heaven, so we’re not talking about an office Jesus held while in the flesh (Hebrews 5:4-8).

        As for God being ‘three persons in one’, I notice you offered no textual support. Where does it say that in the Bible?

        I have to say, I’m totally baffled by your reference to God bowing to someone else. Where in the world does it say that??? Hebrews 1 doesn’t say it, and I certainly didn’t say it. Still, you may have stumbled onto something important in referring to Jesus as ‘divine’. According to dictionary.com, ‘divine’ means, among other things, “godlike, heavenly, perfect”. Certainly Jesus, as the only-begotten Son of God, fits that bill, as holy scripture confirms:

        “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine.” (John 1:1 Moffatt, Schonfield, Goodspeed.)

        I certainly have no problem with that statement. I have stated before that I believe that Jesus was a powerful spirit being before coming to Earth, and that belief is amply supported by scripture (Micah 5:2; John 6:38). He was certainly ‘godlike, heavenly, perfect’. But that doesn’t mean he was God Almighty. In fact, John chapter 1 shows in several ways that the Word was definitely NOT God Almighty. For example, he is shown, not as the Creator but as the agent through whom all things were made (v. 3, 10). He is called the “only begotten god” (v. 18), the Christ (v. 16, 41), the Lamb of God (v. 35) and the Son of God (v. 49). Verse 18 tells us no one has ever seen God, but of course many saw Jesus. And verse 1 says the Word was WITH God, which argues against him actually BEING God.

        Now, if you’re thinking that the translation ‘the Word was divine’ is some non-trinitarian perversion of scripture, not so fast. The opinion of respected bible scholars like Moffatt and Goodspeed cannot so easily be dismissed. Interestingly, after citing seven translations that render John 1:1c “…the Word was divine” or “…the Word was a god”, Wikipedia says the following:

        “The commonly held theology that Jesus is God naturally leads one to believe that the proper way to render the verse is the one which is most popular.[10] The opposing theology that Jesus is subordinate to God as his Chief agent leads to the conclusion that “…a god” is the proper rendering.[11] Some scholars staunchly oppose the translation “…a god”,[12][13][14] while other scholars believe it is possible or even preferable.[15][16][17]”

        This is what I meant when, in my post of 13 March, I told you that John 1:1, as a trinitarian proof text, is “not as cut and dried as you may think”. At least, as I’ve pointed out, the rendering “…the Word was divine” has the advantage of not clashing with its context.

        Yes, I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. Why is that important to you? It’s my experience that when someone wants to bring issues of denomination into a discussion where they are entirely irrelevant, it’s not a good omen. I hope that’s not the case here.

        In Lie #3, you said regarding the Bible that “Nobody will need to tell you what it means. You’ll be quite able to figure it out for yourself.” I tend to agree. But would anyone reading the Bible for the first time, with no prior theological commitments, ever get the impression that Jesus is God? I think not. This is later theology being read back into the scriptures. Like a puzzle piece from some other puzzle, it is a decidedly bad fit. What’s more, it serves only to augment the idea that God is too incomprehensible to ever draw close to. In your essay above, you contrast ‘religion run amok’ with the simple and beautiful truth of scripture, that is, that Jesus taught us we can view God as a loving father with whom we can all have a close personal relationship. I agree wholeheartedly, and I laud your desire to help people see that. But I think you undermine your own goal by following doctrines of men that ‘make void the word of God’. (Matthew 15:3-9.)

        • perrymarshall says:

          I knew you were advocating Watchtower theology from the start of this conversation, and your reluctance to admit that is telling. The Jehovah’s witnesses are very close to the only sect that espouses the views that you’re espousing. They painstakingly re-wrote the New Testament so as to conform to these views.

          In order to make your argument work, you have to do the same. You have to take a whole list of words in the New Testament and explain to me why dozens of translations picked a deeply misleading word. Such as “worship.” The reason that a plain reading of virtually every other Bible in existence supports a Trinitarian view is that scripture’s intent is Trinitarian.

          And yes, a person reading the Bible for the first time, with no prior theological commitments, will in fact get the impression that Jesus is God.

          John 20: 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

          28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

          Hebrews 1:8 But about the Son he says,

          “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
          a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

          I could go on but at that point we’d just be going around in circles.

          The Jehovah’s witnesses predicted the end of the world how many times during the 20th century and none of the predictions came true?

          My friend, God is going to save a lot more than 144,000. You can step off of that treadmill and into freedom. The Word was with God and the Word was God and He can usher you into freedom.

      • James Flood says:

        I recently discovered something very interesting: When I access this site from here in Central America where I reside, my post of April 21, in answer to yours above, appears as “awaiting moderation”. But when I access this site from the US or log on through the google translator (and thus through their server), it disappears.

        Due to the disconcerting implications of that,
        I’ve decided to post my reply on Amazon’s Christianity discussion forum, on the thread “Trinity-Do all Christians believe in it?”.

  10. Mike Korpi says:

    The bible was written as a history of man and what he thought he saw. It was rewritten by Constantine and James in order to control the populations and keep the people in line.. Mary indeed had a virgin birth but she was artificially insemminated by an astronaut not an angel.Many references in the history book say that he ascended or she ascended into heaven,Since the ancient people who saw this had no comprehension what it was and that it was simply an alien abduction. They reffered to smoke and noise and a flash of light too bright to look at. The Prophets of early man were actually humans that had been enlightened by These aliens from somewhere else.This is all I can tell you because my religion is my business and no one elses. I dont stand and shout in groups and hold my hands higher than the next guy in church trying to be holier than anyone else. Religioh is within ones self and is personal and is not to be shared or to be put on a stage or a pedestal.

  11. qkey says:

    i think God doesnt want us to be guilty or suffer or sad
    Life is just like kinda examination so that we will pass d ticket
    into a next better life
    if life is all about suffer..then why does it happen of happiness
    this examination is not how we keep struggle in life
    or how to defend suffering
    but it is also how to hold happiness..not to show off urself when u’re in a top of everythin it is how u can care about people below u…the rich help the suffering and the suffering help the rich
    we’re about helpin each other….
    if we live this life with love and smile
    always bein’ grateful in every condition
    everythin is gonna be fine n fun
    that’s what God wants…

  12. I differ with the trinitarian doctrine. When God said ‘let us create man in our image’, at the end of the creation the Bible says ‘in His image created He man’… not created they man. Have those who hold to this doctrine ever asked why the Jews called Jesus a blasphemer when He called Himself the Son of God? Proof, He asked them one day to tell Him for which of the good deeds He did that they wanted to kill Him. Their reply, ‘you are only a man but you want to make yourself equal with God.’ They knew that the Son of God was God in human form.
    Deut. says ‘ Israel Thy Lord is one God’. He told Philip that He and the Father are one and the person who sees Him has seen the Father. God appeared to Moses in the form of light in the desert, and gave His name as I AM. To Saul on the way to damascus a light appeared and called Himself Jesus. The Trinity I believe are the various dispensations of God. God the Father in the Old Testament,to Holy to tolerate seeing an animal cross a limit He set, Son in Jesus-Emmanuel- and Holy Spirit in His church. It should be noticed that the Light in the old and New Testaments gave comissions and the lives of Moses and Paul testifies that it was God who sent them. He is the same God bearing many titles as people living about us. A man can be a minister, medical doctor, a parent, a husband, a son, etc and it doesn’t make him four or five person. It takes and individual to have a personality. Our ‘God changeth not’
    As for hell’ i believe it is place of total destruction not one of eternal punishment else the person who goes there have ertenal life too. The righteous will have to walk on the ashes of the wicked meaning they are alterly destroyed.

  13. Aigars B says:

    Believers;
    You assume there’s a soul…
    Then you assume this soul assumption can survive death…
    And you assume there is a heavenly paradise for this assumption!
    Then you assume there’s a threat to the soul assumption…
    Because you assume there’s a hell…
    Then you assume there are propitiations for which one can perform and can be saved you from this hell assumption.
    And then you assume your particular assumtion is truth and all other religious assumptions are forgeries.
    Then you presume to know what the assumed creator wants and desires…

    And based on these unsubstantiated assumptions you claim this as knowledge..
    Then based on all these assumptions you presume that morality, love and the entire beauty of the universe was created by a magical man you have zero evidence for…

    This lack of thinking, integrity and credence amounts to nothing more than puerile circular reasoning and childish fanasy.

    Assumption ad infinity ad absurdum

    Carter von Riedel

  14. Pete Hodge says:

    Lie #2: ‘God is huge and unapproachable, and He wants you to labor, struggle and live in guilt.’

    Where on earth do you find such nonsense from? God is far from being unapproachable. The Bible says of Him, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Jesus was once asked , “Show us the Father (God)” He then added, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father (God).”

    In another place Jesus says “Come unto Me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” And as for living in guilt, the whole idea is that God removes guilt from us.

    Your ‘Lie 2’ is typical of one who has no idea of the real message of the Bible.

  15. darrell evans says:

    Hello Perry et al and God bless you all;

    I am of the opinion that we are a Christian Nation, and I fear I will see a rise again from our Christian brothers and sisters to sing that old world war II song; “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!”

    We have to be patient and wait on the Lord to do what He will do. This is a spiritual war that’s been going on since time begun, and now we are the ones that are privy to see it end.

    However, not with guns will it end, but with our consolidated prayers to our Lord God Jesus Christ, He will end it! Amen!

    The following is a letter I got while I was surfing the net, as I asked our Lord Jesus to show me how this last war will start and end and this is where I was led, so I will share it with you.

    Letter starts…
    JERUSALEM – The new Palestinian prime minister understands that terror against Israel must stop for peacemaking to go forward, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday. Israelis told Powell they want to see terror groups dismantled By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer, (May 11th 2003)

    The above cut and paste article of a few words is from a well known newspaper. Many wonder when this violence will end. We have seen that world’s great leaders are finding new map for peace for Israel and Palestine. Great map’s are been stretched out. Great words have been spoken off. Great plans are been created and recreated. But still there is no peace. I can see a tunnel and the darkness in it and the light is yet to be seen as we move forward for peace.

    Let us read and feel the Word in the book of Exodus 14:14; “The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace”

    If we will hold our quiet for a while, and then slowly and surely think what the Word is saying, it just excites my inner heart to my bones and my outer skin. What an awesome Lord we serve. He is the avenger, He is the warrior and I hold my peace. Let us meditate on the next verse 15, and feel what the Word says, “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.” We can see here that the Lord God almighty is telling the people of Israel through Moses the chosen leader, as they are about to cross the Red sea, to stop crying and have faith in ME. I may rewrite these words in this way.

    “Come on my people move forward, and I will show the enemies My Power and Might. And I am with you. “

    It is of great excitement to meditate on the next verse 16, as it reads this way “But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground and through the midst of the sea. ”

    The Lord is not only asking them to stop crying but He is commanding Moses the chosen leader to rise his faith and stretch out his hands as an action of faith, to divide the sea, so that they may walk the dry land in peace in the midst of the sea which is the storm and death. As we can later read and feel that these seas and the strong east wind which was friendly to the Israelis was a death to the following armies of Pharaoh. The Lord’s great Might was revealed to all.

    When I read these loving Words of Jesus in the gospel of John verse 27, I don’t have to doubt about my peace. The Word says it this way, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

    Yes we have troubling hearts that hold no life giving water and hence no peace. Jesus is the life giving water, and the Bread from heaven, and the awesome Peace Maker and the Peace Giver. In the midst of sea and storm in our life let us search for Him and keep our hearts closer to Him, so that we are not troubled and we can cross the dry ground to the other side with ease. Let’s, allow the Master to take control of our destiny.

    We each have a personal aim or agenda in our individual lives, let us stretch our aims with prayers and lovingly share what we have been gifted with by His Will.. If we have gifted hands let us stretch those hands to bring healing to others. If we have gifted voice, let us stretch our voice, so that it will comfort the ears of the sorrowful heart and bring life to their heart forever, through Jesus Christ our Lord using us as His instrument..

    John 14:30-31 “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming and he has nothing in Me.” “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.”

    What a wonderful and joyful Truth from our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is saying that, I am sent by God the Father, and I am sent to do the work He has told Me to do, so that the Father will be Glorified with the Son. Those who has seen the Son has seen the Father. Jesus spoke the Word with great authority and power with signs and wonders. This was not well taken by the Pharisees and Sadducees of those times, and it is the same in the present time.

    In the very near future we can see new world leaders taking some important positions through their new pledge and promises for a better peaceable world. Let me tell you beloved ones of our Lord Jesus Christ, their plans are going to be a total disaster. All eyes will be at Jerusalem with great hatred.

    Why?

    Well Jerusalem is the great city and throne that God our Father and Creator has chosen for His manifestation.

    The Jews along with the Christians are the chosen tree that God will stand with, in these last days. Israel is the nation that God has chosen as a table to serve the Lord’s Supper. God’s eyes are always on Israel and His people. Satan, who tempted the first Adam through Eve in the Garden of Eden in Iraq, has raised his ugly head for false peace propaganda. Satan loves to be the false peace maker rising from Iraq’s garden. Iraq a cradle of civilization known to all mankind, had one strong hold broken with bunker bombers, but another will rise up. Have you heard of the wall lizard in homes, that when you cut its tail, it will grow back? There is no use cutting off the tail. It needs to be destroyed completely, if the tail harms you. The God of Israel, tells me in the Book of Deuteronomy that I am the head and not the tail. The coming Anti Christ is a tail.

    Peace follows in accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior and following His teachings. We must be His disciples which is the high standard God wants of us.
    Holiness is very important if we are to see that Light in the dark tunnel. Are we a holy Christian or just in the organization of dark tunnels to inflict and experience wrong motives, not knowing whom to pray to and what to pray where to pray and when to pray. The word of God says, watch and pray, so that the tempter the Devil will not make his false peace with us. Today in the world all the five star entertainment gives false hope and peace. I pray that Israel and all the nations in the world need the bright and morning star, and His name is Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Truly Jesus Christ is the Matchless Peace.

    Letter End.

    God bless all of you with His Peace and Joy my beloved friends in Jesus Christ.

    Your humble friend, through our Lord Jesus Christ, darrell

  16. darrell evans says:

    Hello Perry et al;

    To my own personal views, do I allude to, when I say that all religious types of “Christian” sects are an attempt to copy the catholic (adj.) church our Lord Jesus said He was going to build, since Martin Luther’s Reformation and William Tyndale‘s English version of the Bible; “So every ploughman can read scripture for himself.“ got published after His crusifiction at Calvary. It is however, Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 – 25 October 1400), who was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat, who is best remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales. Sometimes called the father of English literature, Chaucer is credited by some scholars as the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular Middle English, rather than French or Latin, but it was Tyndale who really made it a ligitmate language when he transscribed the Bible from latin into Old English, to become England’s Great Bible, the King JamesVersion…

    I believe all of this was done through the teachings within them through the “Holy Ghost” and they then became fearless in the face of any threats because they were powered from within by our Lord Jesus in the form of the Holy Ghost. I also believe they knew what a veiled threat it would be for this work to be hidden by evil bent human overlords, and therefore His strength in His perseverance in completing His work as far as he (Tyndale) was able. Zephaniah 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent. So to my way of seeing things Tyndale was the under creator of the Words new ( Pure ) language that was to become an Ocean Language fed by many linguistic tributaries to today and is still developing, so that our Lord Jesus‘ name will be known in that “Pure” language world wide in English for us to praise Him with.

    Luther’s Reformation Theology was in many ways (though not all) synonymous with “Biblical Theology.” That is to say, MOST of the doctrines that the Reformed Church held were grounded solidly in the laws of God. This is in stark contrast to the many unbiblical doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, that sadly have invaded Protestant Churches in modern times all of which encourage their “Flocks“ to break every Law, precept and doctrine of our Lord Jesus. Matthews 6:1-6 state clearly, that Fasting, Tithing, and Prayer are all prejudicially done in “Secret”, a sin they cause all of their “Flock” to commit. Just how is a person supposed to tithe in secret if he is solicited for a tithing? Or if they deduct it from their taxes? The same goes with fasting and prayer, all done in secret. And in my view, being that Christianity is all “Spiritual” in Gods nature, then God should, and does, provide us with everything we need to survive on earth, ( even though some of us seem to think it’s themselves that did it, because they will have no other gods before them ), and so we do not, thank You Lord Jesus, have to resort to “Simony” to, (Ahem,) balance the financial “Books”, that those so called church sect’s covet so much.

    For when men are determined to have rule over God’s word, they take the obvious and make it abstruse or ambiguous. And when you join up, then you find you have been shorn because you see things happening that shouldn’t be happening so now you want to back out. Matthews 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthews 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
    Nevertheless, it was by the Spirit of God that the Reformation faithful of Luther’s and Tyndale’s time could discern that the Church was not built upon shaky human traditions sanctioned by men in the laity, but upon the solid Rock of the scriptures in their “hearts“, where the Holy Ghost Teaches us. Psalm 91:4 He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy Shield and Buckler. Exodus 33:21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a Rock: 1Corenthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

    For what authority could be higher than God’s very own inerrant word? Therefore, no obfuscating clever words of nullification could obscure from the faithful this simple truth, which was that; “God’s “Word” reigns supreme!”.

    A simple question deserves a simple answer and our Lord Jesus always comes up with simple answers to complex problems. Matthews 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. God’s Word alone, understood in light of Itself, “is” the ultimate authority for God’s Church, the catholic Church He said He would build, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

    The first duty of a witness is to testify to what they have personally have seen. And while Reformed theology is at its core, unwavering in its teachings of the doctrines of Grace alone, it is nonetheless ‘evangelical’ Christianity, holding to the superiority of the preaching of the gospel message of salvation over Church public praying, tithing, rituals, penance, ostentatious ceremony, and in other words, “Simony.”.

    Reformed theology according to our Lord Jesus, ( as He threw the money changers out of the temple), gives no provision for human merit, nor any atonement by man that would make God his debtor. Our Lord and Master is the “Boss of bosses”. Basic to true Biblical faith is the doctrine of inerrancy of the Word of God, and ultimate authority of Scripture, rather than leaders, over His Church. Matthews 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. It is self evident that following God, by necessity, entails following God’s Word, rather than the words of men. Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

    Biblical theology is anchored in the belief that sinners are saved from death and given the gift of eternal life through faith in the ‘finished’ work of Jesus Christ. Ecclesiastes 3 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be, hath already been; ( It is finished!) and God requireth that which is past. So, “finished” means that nothing else is required to receive it. He who has the “Fear of the Lord” is complete and needs nothing more.”

    The warnings to heed this are plethora in scripture; Colossians 2:8-10 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are COMPLETE in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: 2Chronicals 19:7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. Psalm 34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto Me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His Commandments: His praise endureth for ever. Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. Proverbs 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

    If a person professes and believes that they are “Christian“, why do so many who do so, live in fear? Psalm 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall “Teach” you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

    This is a “Spiritual” war we are seeing before us these days and they should be quite aware of that!

    Matthew 10:1 ¶ And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
    Matthew 10:16-22 ¶ Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour, what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

    Revelation 3:9-13 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

     Ephesians 6:10 -11″Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

    2Chronicals 15:7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

    Amen! Thank You Lord Jesus!

    God bless you all, in and through our Lord Jesus the Christ!

  17. Aigars B says:

    God does not exist – there is no evidence for this idea. If there would be that thing, it would be all over the news. There is love, there is hate, there is power, there are stars, there are bugs, there is Monsanto, there are pedophiles in churches, because sexuality is oppressed, the representative of god (pope) is driving in tank, because god does not provide security services.

    • perrymarshall says:

      “there are pedophiles in churches, because sexuality is oppressed”

      Really? You honestly believe that?

      • Pete Hodge says:

        Let’s face it, the church is full of hypocrites. Of course it is. But then, so is the world outside the church. Let’s see, this weekend we have celebrated Christmas. What is Christmas? Well, the common view is that it is a festival to celebrate the birth of Jesus.(Actually, as a Bible believing Christian (Not JW) I do not subscribe to the notion that Jesus was born on December 25th.) But, how many non believers have had their booze, eaten far too much, gave gifts, put up decorations? That’s right, millions. If that isn’t hypocrisy, what is?

        So, the point, are there pedophiles in the church? NO. Are there pedophiles in some religious bodies, quite possibly. Just as there are homosexuals and lesbians. There can be no practicing homosexuals or lesbians in the church, but most certainly in relgious bodies.

        As for the non existence of God, as Aigars B suggests, then the whole weight of history goes against him. Rather, the more science seeks to disprove God, the more evidence is revealed that shows He must exist. Of course, you aren’t going to hear about that in the media.

        • Jay says:

          Dear Pete, Jim Brechtel, Perry or others.

          1st question: Is it your belief that Jesus is God?

          2nd question: Jeremiah 23:32 gives warning of false dreams and false prophets. But Joel 2:28 says that in the last days old men will dream dreams and young men will prophesy. Acts 2:17 also reveals that in the last days God will pour out his spirit on all sorts of flesh and the prophesy in Joel is hence validated by the disciple Luke’s writing as in the book of Acts.

          I was spoken to by a messenger from heaven but no one I have contacted is able to believe. Everyone I have spoken to has a closed mind on the matter although what I have been told is written in scripture.

          I was told two persons will be directed by God through dreams to carry out his work in this time.

          These people will be instructed on how God purposes to judge the world.

  18. Christian Jesco says:

    GOD is gay, LOVE is divine.
    END of STORY !

  19. […] guy behind this scientific website, which I insistently recommend, and here’s what he said in a post written on his other personal (theology dedicated) […]

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