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Is the Bible infallible?

Query for the Month

of

May 2018

Next up-date: June 1st 2018 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

 

This article is available as a PDF file here.    Or as a WORD doc.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


Query:

My question is, WHY did God allow the Bible to be written in such a way as to portray His character so inaccurately?  Or did the writers just write their own thoughts - not God's thoughts?

If so, what then about the infallibility of the Bible?

Response:

If I may, I will start with another question.  “Who says that the Bible is infallible?”  I have not read that word in it except once in relation to the presence of Jesus the Christ and then it was used of the proofs of His divinity. “To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” . . .  Acts 1:3.  So it seems that it is various religious teachers who say this, with an effect that every word is chosen by God and cannot be disputed.

So the question should really be:  When He says, “Come unto Me” do we trust our lives to the words of the Bible, or to the Person who spoke the words?

Here’s what I understand:

Because this is an examination of the Bible itself, we must of necessity use much evidence from an external witness, so this article opens with quite bit from our inspired prophet. (A prophet is a person who has had a direct communication with God, has been given a vision, heard His voice and repeated His messages to us, (which sometimes come through an intermediary as in Revelation 1:1), and is in this way, special.  They will never directly contradict any earlier statement, but will certainly expand them.  But we are warned that there are false prophets and how to detect them!

    Matthew 7:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing [looking and sounding good] but inwardly they are ravening [very hungry] wolves.

16 You shall know them by their fruits [especially fulfilment of prophecy].  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil [bad tasting] fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits [plural] you shall know them. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening [hungry for money or power] wolves. 

A prophet is not one who has a message from other prophets, or from the books of the Bible, although they may use some of these as additions to their own message. 

One reason the Bible is written the way it is, is because God wants us to think about what we read (which can be hard work) and not just accept what others have to say, even if they are undoubtedly prophets.  For the Bible IS infallible in a sense, but that means a lot more than what most of us assume.  As Jesus also said, “The scripture cannot be broken” John 10:35, so every word in it is eerily correct, and yet was not directly controlled by God when it was written. (The teachers have it partially right as is often the case in Bible interpretation, but they are not correct in their final deduction.)

Some may think that I am contradicting myself here, but let me explain. 

As we go on I hope to show you that we cannot understand any part of the Bible unless the Holy Spirit explains it to us, and therefore no matter what the word or the language may be, no matter what the version, the right understanding is always available, but only by the Holy Translator, at the time.  He may vary His explanations from time to time as He pleases, but it is always right for you at your level of understanding.  It is after all, a living Book from a living God!

This makes every translation and every version disconcertingly correct!  You or I may see contradictions between them, but it is His job to smooth those out as we read, or direct us to another more reliable version (for us).  Take note when you are warned by Him.   Otherwise how can the Word of God reach every person who has ever had the opportunity to see it? 

But our other great problem is that we are dealing with copies and translations.  There are no originals that have ever been found.  So even if we trust our beloved King James Version we need to remember that it was only translated in 1611, about 400 years ago, by a group of men (from copies written in other languages) and there are many who think it has mistakes in it as witnessed by the multitude of other versions which are available today, most of which are even more heavily flawed, for the prejudices of translators cannot be prevented even in the best of men.  Even early editions of the KJV were edited, and since then many of the words used in it have changed their meanings, so we need to look carefully at it and enquire does it claim to be infallible? (See note 1.)

In fact, our prophet tells us the opposite of what most of us think about it!!

We are told that the Bible, like Christ, is both human and divine.

    {Volume 1 Selected Messages 21.1-2} 

The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God's mode of thought and expression.  It is that of humanity.  God, as a writer, is not represented.  Men will often say such an expression is not like God.  But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible.  The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen.  Look at the different writers [for proof of this].   {1SM 21.1} 

It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired[2 Peter 1:21.]  Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts.  But the words receive the impress of the individual mind.  The divine mind is diffused [dimmed].  The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God. -- Manuscript 24, 1886 (written in Europe in 1886).   {1SM 21.2}

If it were not so, we would not be able to use so many different translations, or have it in different languages.   

  {Volume 7 Bible Commentary 946.1}

The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, earthly perception, of earthly beings may comprehend His words.  Thus is shown God's condescension.  He meets fallen human beings where they are [with a translation in their own language].

    Isaiah 28:

9 Whom shall He teach knowledge?  And whom shall He make to understand doctrine?  Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts [are not holding on to Mum, their first church]. 10 For precept [a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action] must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 for with stammering [uncertain] lips and another tongue [language] will He speak to this people [this often makes it appear chaotic.] 

12 To whom He said, “This is the rest wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing”: yet they would not hear.

13 But the word of the LORD was to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go [choose to reject], and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken by the deceptions of the enemy.]      

    {Volume 7 Bible Commentary 946.1}  [continued]

The Bible, perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God; for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought. 

Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many people suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education.  Sinful beings can only bear to look upon a shadow of the brightness of heaven's glory (Letter 121, 1901).

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”.  1 Corinthians 13:12. 

    {Steps to Christ 108.2} 

It is true that many theories and doctrines popularly supposed to be derived from the Bible have no foundation in its teaching, and indeed are contrary to the whole tenor of inspiration [are totally wrong].  These things have been a cause of doubt and perplexity to many minds. 

They are not, however, chargeable to God's word, but to man's perversion of it. [Again, check your teacher, and only accept from the Teacher.]   

Yet the Spirit of Prophecy also says:

    {Volume 1 Selected Messages 17.3} 

I take the Bible just as it is, as the Inspired Word.  I believe its utterances in an entire Bible.  Men arise who think they find something to criticize in God's Word.  They lay it bare before others as evidence of superior wisdom.  These men are, many of them, smart men, learned men, they have eloquence and talent, the whole lifework [of whom] [those words have been added by the editors] is to unsettle minds in regard to the inspiration of the Scriptures.  They influence many to see as they do.  And the same work is passed on from one to another, just as Satan designed it should be, until we may see the full meaning of the words of Christ, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).  

    {Faith I Live By 18.3} 

The Word of God is a character-detector, a motive-tester.  We are to read this Word with heart and mind open to receive the impressions that God will give.  [But] We must not think that the reading of the Word can accomplish that which only He whom the Word reveals, who stands behind the Word, can accomplish.  Some are in danger of hastening to the conclusion that because they hold firmly to the doctrines [the letter] of the truth, they are actually in possession of the blessings which these doctrines declare shall come to the receiver of truth.  Many keep the truth in the outer court.  Its sacred principles have not a controlling influence over the words, the thoughts, the actions.  

So what can we do about it?

    {13Manuscript Release 245.1} 

Every soul that is sanctified by the Holy Spirit will look to God for himself.  The human agent will not look to other human agents to be told his duty.  The divine Guide will prepare his heart for divine light. 

The Holy Spirit's work is to write God's thoughts deeply in the heart of man.  “After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts” [Jeremiah 31:33].  Such alone are Christ's living epistles, written, not with pen and ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.   

    [We may read other writings to compare their understanding with our own,

but we should not learn from them. 

If they impart something we have not yet seen,

then we should check it out with the Holy Spirit (not our spirit),

with our own eyes.]

Moses told his people:

   Deuteronomy 8:

2 And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness [which was all their lives for most of his listeners at that time], to humble you, and to prove you, [for yourself and the spectators] to know what was in your heart [Jeremiah 17:9], whether you would keep His commandments, or no. 

3 And He humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.

“And God said .  .  .  and it was so.  Genesis 1:7 etc.    “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast”.  Psalm 33:9.

But was it inspiration when Paul was told of the condition of a congregation by other members of the church so that he could reply to their letter?  “For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you”.  1 Corinthians 1:11. 

    {Acts of the Apostles 300.2-4} 

A letter was sent to Paul by the [Corinthian] church, asking for counsel concerning various matters, but saying nothing of the grievous sins existing among them.  The apostle was, however, forcibly impressed by the Holy Spirit that the true state of the church had been concealed and that this letter was an attempt to draw from him statements which the writers could construe to serve their own purposes.   {AA 300.2} 

About this time there came to Ephesus members of the household of Chloe, a Christian family of high repute in Corinth.  Paul asked them regarding the condition of things, and they told him that the church was rent by divisions. [They were not gossiping or accusing, merely answering truthfully.]  The dissensions that had prevailed at the time of Apollos's visit had greatly increased. [1 Corinthians 1:12].  False teachers were leading the members to despise the instructions of Paul.  The doctrines and ordinances of the gospel had been perverted.  Pride, idolatry, and sensualism, were steadily increasing among those who had once been zealous in the Christian life.   {AA 300.3}

As this picture was presented before him, Paul saw that his worst fears were more than realized.  But he did not because of this give way to the thought that his work had been a failure. 

With “anguish of heart” and with “many tears” he sought counsel from God.  Gladly would he have visited Corinth at once, had this been the wisest course to pursue.  But he knew [was told] that in their present condition the believers would not profit by his labors, and therefore he sent Titus to prepare the way for a visit from himself later on. 

Then, putting aside all personal feelings over the course of those whose conduct revealed such strange perverseness, and keeping his soul stayed upon God, the apostle wrote to the church at Corinth one of the richest, most instructive, most powerful of all his letters.   {AA 300.4} 

Did not Isaiah speak to Hezekiah as a prophet when he told him to die?  “In those days was Hezekiah sick to death.  And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, Set your house in order; for you shall die, and not live”, and then had to go back and retract his statement.  Isaiah 20:1; 4-5.  Did God change His mind?  Was Isaiah speaking his own thought?  It was neither, but it was Hezekiah who changed.

And what about when the serpent spoke to Eve?  “And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die .  .  .” Genesis 3:4.  Who recorded that conversation?  Moses did, when it was told to him by the Spirit who was there when it happened.  Was it true or a lie?

Actually, it is both!!  It is exactly what Satan said through the snake, but he was originating a lie! Speaking to some church leaders, Jesus said to them, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father [initiator] of it [and you copy him]”.  John 8:44. 

So we have to use some common sense when we read – not all the words of the Bible are truthful, but they are all accurate.  God did tell us that we “should reason TOGETHER” – that means He and you alone.  Isaiah 1:18.   But reason alone will not work with our friends, we need to teach them to read about Jesus for themselves, and why He was crucified.  It also helps to know for sure who did it!!  Most of us are very hazy on that.

That’s what Paul found out: 

    1 Corinthians 1:

22 For the Jews [the church people] require a sign, and the Greeks seek after [human] wisdom: 23 but we preach Christ crucified [which is neither].  To the Jews [it is] a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness.  24 But to them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, [the Holy Spirit reveals] Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 

    1 Corinthians 2:

1 And I, brothers [and sisters], when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  [We witnessed, not just to your minds, but also to your hearts, for they are a pair, and we taught just a shadow of the truth.]

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling

[of my inability to explain what I had been shown.  2 Corinthians 12:4.] 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.  [See Romans 1:16.] 

    {Steps to Christ 109.3} 

God desires man to exercise his reasoning powers; and the study of the Bible will strengthen and elevate the mind as no other study can.  Yet we are to beware of deifying reason, which is subject to the weakness and infirmity of humanity.  If we would not have the Scriptures clouded to our understanding, so that the plainest truths shall not be comprehended, we must have the simplicity and faith of a little child, ready to learn, and beseeching the aid of the Holy Spirit.  A sense of the power and wisdom of God, and of our inability to comprehend His greatness, should inspire us with humility, and we should open His word, as we would enter His presence, with holy awe.  When we come to the Bible, reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself, and heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM. 

    {Steps to Christ 111 (1892).} 

Disguise it as they may, the real cause of doubt and skepticism in most cases is the love of sin.  The teachings and restrictions of God's Word are not welcome to the proud, sin-loving heart, and those who are unwilling to obey its requirements are ready to doubt its authority.  In order to arrive at truth we must have a sincere desire to know the truth and a willingness of heart to obey it.  And all who come in this spirit to the study of the Bible will find abundant evidence that it is God's Word, and they may gain an understanding of its truths that will make them wise unto salvation. 

It is the same procedure with the good guys – the true prophets and prophetesses. 

They recorded what they had heard and seen (or thought they had seen), but the only time they were exactly right was when the Spirit replayed the speech for them as they were writing.  Most of the time they were correct in principle, if not in words. The four gospels often have differing accounts of the same occasion, written by those who were there, but who saw the event from different perspectives.  One writer may even ignore what another considered important!

An important point to remember is that translators do not always agree on the meaning of a word, or indeed, which word to use in any particular case. 

There is the classic example of an American and an Australian interpretation.

“I am mad about my flat” appears to be plain English, but to one nation it means “I am upset about my punctured tyre on my car”, and to the other it says, “I am really happy about my new apartment!”  Similarly, an American might say, “I have a stupendous trunk” while the Aussie will say, “I have a large boot” both meaning the luggage compartment on the car.

The writers of the Bible, as men and women (the “seers” of old time, 1 Samuel 9:9), wrote using their own words and their own eyes to report what they had seen or heard, for the people of their own time, as well as for us. [Consider            1 Corinthians 7:7-17.]      So what the Spirit has had to do is to stand at our side and explain what they meant by their words.  That’s why we can’t just read the Bible by ourselves – “Come let us reason together”, God says.

Especially is this true when we are researching prophecy regarding the future. 

In that case every word must have its weight, for the Holy Spirit takes great care over their placing and meaning and at that time guides (not controls) the minds of the writer and/or the translator.  And yet it is when we are reading that He really guides our minds.  He often adds more detail as information is given in a later vision because some was missed earlier, but He never contradicts any previous fact, only expanding them as necessary.  (Consider Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, 11 as one, and the misinterpretation most of us have of those visions.) 

So we have these words:

    2 Peter 1:

19 [We do not have to trust our imagination every time, or even if we hear a voice, for] we have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day [of our conversion] dawn, and the Day Star arise in your hearts [and shine brighter and brighter]: 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [not even your own.  And do not imagine that you are the only one God is teaching.] 

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men [and women] of God spoke as they were moved [or shown and guided] by the Holy Ghost. 

We should note that though John wrote that “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them” describing what he saw in his vision (Revelation 20:9), Isaiah tells us “the fire [fanaticism] of Your enemies shall devour them” Isaiah 26:11.

Both are right, of course, because as Jesus said, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).  The “fire” is the power residing in the glorious majesty of the Son of God who is in the city of New Jerusalem while His influence reaches out to the “holy place” surrounding the city, and it is the action of the rebels rushing into that sacred area which devours them!  As they enter into the presence of the LORD God which is denoted by His fiery presence around the city, [Ezekiel 1:4], the sin in them is consumed by His energy. 

Think about that. 

You sometimes read the words that others have written and yet you know that God is not like that.  So how do you know?  You must have read the right explanation somewhere – or someone told you (and to believe that is very dangerous because it could easily be wrong, unless it was the Holy Spirit). 

But you don’t think you are misled.  Are you trusting just to your own ideas?  No.  Not if you are solidly based on the word of God.  But are you?

After you have read the following, think prayerfully about it:

    Genesis 18:

20 And the LORD said [to Abraham], “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come to Me; and if not, I will know”.  [Did He not already know?  Was it not for the benefit of others that He was doing this?]

22 And the men [Christ and two angels] turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before [in front of] the LORD [hindering Him, while knowing full well who He was].

23 And Abraham drew near, and said, “Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? [Where did he get that idea from?  It is not in the words.]

24 “Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: will You also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

25 That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from you: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” [He partially understood the character of his God.]

26 And the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes”.  [Abraham carried on till he reached ten righteous, where he stopped.  Why?]

What did you see in the story?

Were you like Abraham who was not concerned as to the destruction of the sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah, for he believed that that was justified (he accepted that God did destroy for good reasons), but he was worried that the destruction might affect some of the righteous!  He really didn’t think that God had thought this through!

How many of us are like that?  Can’t see the forest for the trees!!  We are expecting a certain explanation and that is all we see!

That’s why the Holy Spirit had to use 66 books from as many as 39 writers over a period of 1,500 years.  Most of the writers did not know each other and they came from all sorts of levels of society.  He even left out some records written by some known as true prophets because they did not have what He needed.  (For example, Nathan, Ahijah and Iddo.  2 Chronicles 9:29.)  But He has collected stories and records from others through which we can glean an understanding of the whole controversy, under His supervision.

So why did the Spirit also record faulty or apparently contradictory words?

What else has He got?  He must use that which is given Him unless He takes over and the man or woman becomes as a recorder machine for Him, as some people think He does?  But the Bible writers were not His pens!  So he brought together that which contained at least the essence of what He wanted.

And we have these words:

    {The Desire of Ages, p.  826.  (1898)}

In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work but gave them their message [without being too specific].  Teach the people, He said, “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28:20.]

The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. 

That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included.  Human teaching is shut out.  There is no place for tradition, for man's theories and conclusions, or for church legislation.  [Yet how much of that are we hearing in the church today?  Especially from the new lighters – who keep telling us that the fathers, the fathers (the pioneers), were absolutely correct.] 

No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission.  [No church rules are necessary.  e.g.  1 Corinthians 11:10-16.  Some are useful, but none are essential.] 

None of these are Christ's servants to teach.  “The law and the prophets [Moses’ writings and the rest of the Old Testament],” with the record of His own words and deeds [the four gospels and the rest of the New Testament], are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world .  .  . 

The gospel [the best news of the LIFE of Jesus Christ (not His death)] is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life.  God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power.

In other words, we are to say, “Taste (try) and see for yourself; it is real and it works, it is not a theory”.  It seems that many fall into the trap of proposing an alternative version to what a friend thinks – and that won’t work – for they are asking him or her to judge which is right!  (In fact, we often encourage them to make up their own minds.) 

However, we need to present the opposer (or enquirer) with BOTH sides of the scriptures, not just our ideas of what is right.  And we need to use them with the thought that both of them are right!  Not as pros and cons!  And there are enough scriptures like John’s and Isaiah’s for us to find the truth if we are listening, without discounting either of them. 

Here are a few important ones:

Who kills and has the power of death?

 

    Deuteronomy 32:39:

 “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand.”

    Hebrews 2:14:

 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

Who afflicts and oppresses men?

Deuteronomy 28:20:

“The LORD shall send upon you cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand unto for to do, until you be destroyed, and until you perish quickly; because of the wickedness of your doings, whereby you have forsaken Me.”

John 10:10:

“The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:    I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Who is responsible for good (light) and evil (darkness)?

Isaiah 45:7:

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

1 John 1:5:

“This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”

We need to keep in mind that BOTH of the verses used in these couplets are true.  We do NOT need to choose one above another – we just need to harmonise them – and only the Holy Spirit can do that for us.  And if we ask Him then He will show us – we do NOT need to ask another human being for their opinion, for that is certain to lead us astray eventually, even if they are correct this time – ask God Himself, you can be sure the comment you get will be true all the time.

You might have noticed that in those texts not only were some important words highlighted, but the pronouns are changed into their modern forms, and at the same time some have capital letters and others are left alone.  This is important, for we need to know who is doing or saying what.  And how do we know which to change and which to leave alone?  That’s right – ask the Spirit!

Here is a good one you need to consider very carefully if you read it literally:

Isaiah 19:35

And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand [185,000]: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

Until you are shown to read it this way:

35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand [185,000]: and when they [the inhabitants of Jerusalem] arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

But did it register with you as to who did it?  If we stop and think about it we may realise that this was not unusual and would happen over and over again, right up to the days in which we live – God prophesying beforehand what would happen, and then Him being blamed for it.  And yet how often in history have the people revolted against their superiors – for that is what really happened? 

So the very big question here is – does God punish and destroy humans?       And the answer is YES, the Bible writers say so in many places. 

But the next question is (and we should never stop asking questions, except for a break (for us, not Him) to contemplate the answers), is HOW (and when) does He punish or destroy?  And that is what the Spirit is anxious to tell us.  And He loves it when we keep asking questions!  (Like a grandparent loves their grandchild wanting to know.) 

Conclusion:

We need to read the Bible with an enquiring mind, and make sure that we connect with EVERY verse that pertains to that subject, and we will find that we have harmony.  But only the Holy Spirit can teach us that.  Or you can just read chapters or books as they are written and ask Him to explain what you are reading.

And we must watch closely how every word fits in the verses.  He will lead us to do that if we allow Him free rein in our mind, not sticking to just what we already know from previous study.  Then we can expect greater light to emerge.

It is in this way that the Bible is infallible.  Not because of the words, but because God the Holy Spirit is there to make it right for us, directly.

 

oooOooo

 

On a further note:

We are told by some men that God is “omnipotent”, meaning “all powerful”, that there is nothing that He cannot do.  Yet He cannot save a person against their desire, for it is written: 

    Ezekiel 18:

30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the LORD GOD.  Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity [that is, rebellion, the desire to rule your own life] shall not be your ruin. 

31 Cast away from you all your transgressions [actions], whereby you have transgressed; and [allow Me to] make you a new heart and a new spirit [mind]: for why will you die, O house of Israel?

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the LORD GOD: wherefore turn yourselves [repent], and live you [please!] 

We are also told that He is “omnipresent” meaning that He is in all places at every moment in many forms.  That is actually a characteristic of the Holy Spirit, for God the Father has a body and although He does move from place to place, He is not everywhere at once, for that is an ability only of the third Person of the Godhead.

This is what is written:

    Hebrews 1:

1 God [the Father], who at sundry [occasional] times and in divers [different] manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days [of the Jewish era] spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir [manager] of all things, by whom also He made the worlds. 

3 Who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image [exact copy] of His [the Father’s] person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high [for He is ever encumbered with a human body, which is also made in the image of God] .  .  . 

And:

    {DA 25.3}

To assure us of His immutable [never-changing] counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature [His physical body].

Here is an accurate record:

    {Early Writings 54.2}

I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and the Son.  I gazed on Jesus' countenance and admired His lovely person.  The Father's person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered Him.  I asked Jesus if His Father had a form like Himself.  He said He had, but I could not behold it, for said He, “If you should once behold the glory of His person, you would cease to exist [while you are in your present condition].” 

So this backs up the thought that we are made in the image of God!  If we reverse the thought then He looks like us!  Only that IS THE WRONG WAY TO LOOK, for going from the shadow to the reality will only lead us into distortion.  (This a lot more common than we think!)  Let’s learn to read from God to us.

And we are told that He is “omniscient” meaning “all knowing” in that he knows everything.  Yet it is obvious that He does not know what choice an individual may make when they are standing at the crossroads, otherwise He would not plead with us so strongly – He is not play-acting!

    Deuteronomy 30:

17 [As God’s agent, Moses told the people] .  .  .  if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish [in the second death by that choice], and that you shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither you pass over Jordan to go to possess it. 

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you Life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose Life, that both you and your seed may live: 20 that you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey His voice, and that you may cleave to Him: for He is your Life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD sware to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them [a new world.  “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith”.  Romans 4:13.] 

And Joshua confirmed it when he said, “And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood [back over the Euphrates River in the area of Babylon], or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”.  Joshua 24:15.

So He is none of those things really, but the following two bases are sure.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The LORD knows them that are His [after they have chosen and are adopted.  Romans 8:15; 23].

[Sometimes He seems to forecast this point,

such as in Malachi 1:1-3, but that is based on

the DNA of the unborn foetus. 

It still has to be accepted or rejected as the child grows up.]

And, “Let every one that names [claims] the name of Christ depart from iniquity [rebellion].  2 Timothy 2:19.  

And, of course, it is of this that it is written,

    Romans 8:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God [He uses those “things” to bring them closer to Him], to them who are the called according to His purpose. [The Spirit is referring mostly to those who are His people, for He does not have much guidance over the others.] 

[His purpose is]

29 For whom He did foreknow [before His purpose could happen], He also did predestinate [desired them] to be conformed to the image of His Son [both spiritually and physically], that He might be the firstborn [foremost] among many brothers [and sisters].   

30 Moreover whom He did predestinate [all humanity], them He also called: and [of] whom He called [those who responded], them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.   

oooOooo

 

 

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

 

Next query.  To be discussed from June 1st, 2018.

Query:

There has been a lot of agitation lately in the church about keeping the feasts of the Old Testament.  Their arguments sound convincing – so should we keep the feasts, especially the new moons?

 

For contact:

mail to:  nonconformist@mail.com  (Copy and paste if necessary.)

To see the list of some my past queries, click here.

To see past queries and my responses, click here.

 

 

From a correspondent.

Can force or coercion generate obedience?   -  Most often, yes it can.

Can force generate love and loyalty to the enforcer?   -  NO, definitely not.

What does a loving father want from his children - love and loyalty or forced obedience?

If our Creator is a loving Father, what is His desire for us?

Who then is the god that uses force?  And how dare we think of our loving Creator as a vengeful, punishing God?

 

 

 Note 1:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version  [the additions are mine.]

The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB) or simply the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.[a] The books of the King James Version include the 39 books of the Old Testament, an intertestamental [middle] section containing 14 books of the Apocrypha (most of which correspond to books in the Vulgate Deuterocanon adhered to by Roman Catholics), and the 27 books of the New Testament.

It was first printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker and was the third translation into English approved by the English Church authorities.  The first had been the Great Bible, commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535), and the second had been the Bishops' Bible of 1568.[3] In January 1604, James VI [of Scotland] and I [of England, for he was both] convened the Hampton Court Conference, where a new English version was conceived in response to the problems of the earlier translations perceived by the Puritans,[4] a faction of the Church of England.[5] The translation is noted for its “majesty of style”, and has been described as one of the most important books in English culture[6] and a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world.[7]

James gave the translators instructions intended to ensure that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology [church of England beliefs] and reflect the episcopal structure [clergy ranking from bishops upward] of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy [those who are given holy orders (yes, that’s right!) by bishops who can trace their authority back to bishops ordained by the apostles who were ordained by Christ].[8] The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England.[9]

In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament from Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Apocrypha [the extra books in the middle] from Greek and Latin.  In the Book of Common Prayer (1662), the text of the Authorized Version replaced the text of the Great Bible for Epistle and Gospel readings (but not for the Psalter, which substantially retained Coverdale's Great Bible version) and as such was authorised by Act of Parliament.[10]

By the first half of the 18th century, the Authorized Version had become effectively unchallenged as the English translation used in Anglican and English Protestant churches, except for the Psalms and some short passages in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England.  Over the course of the 18th century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English-speaking scholars.  With the development of stereotype printing at the beginning of the 19th century, this version of the Bible became the most widely printed book in history, almost all such printings presenting the standard text of 1769 extensively re-edited by Benjamin Blayney at Oxford [that black text was my emphasis], and nearly always omitting the books of the Apocrypha.  Today the unqualified title “King James Version” usually indicates that this Oxford standard text [one man’s re-editing] is meant . . . 

Two editions of the whole Bible are recognized as having been produced in 1611, which may be distinguished by their rendering of Ruth 3:15; the first edition reading “he went into the city”, where the second reads “she went into the city.”;[67] these are known colloquially as the “He” and “She” Bibles.[68]

The opening of the Epistle to the Hebrews of the 1611 edition of the Authorized Version shows the original typeface.  Marginal notes reference [refer to] variant [other possible] translations and cross references to other Bible passages.  Each chapter is headed by a précis [an abbreviated list] of contents.  There are decorative initial letters for each Chapter, and a decorated headpiece to each Biblical Book, but no illustrations in the text.

The original printing was made before English spelling was standardized, and when printers, as a matter of course, expanded and contracted the spelling of the same words in different places, so as to achieve an even column of text.[69] They set [used] v for initial [upper case] u and v, and [just] u for [lowercase] u and v everywhere else.  They used long ſ for non-final s. [Something like this ƒ] [70] The glyph j [see note] occurs only after i, as in the final letter in a Roman numeral

Punctuation was relatively heavy, and differed from current practice [which is why I sometimes change it in my readings]

When space needed to be saved, the printers sometimes used ye for the, (replacing the Middle English thorn with the continental y), set ă for an or am (in the style of scribe's shorthand), and set & for and.  On the contrary, on a few occasions, they appear to have inserted these words when they thought a line needed to be padded [extended].  Later printings regularized these spellings; the punctuation has also been standardized, but still varies from current usage norms.       

₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪₪

[A “glyph” describes the varying forms of a letter of the alphabet in a picture form to give the right pronunciation. It does not have to be a picture, it can be any symbol. Today we often use lines or dots above or below the character.  e.g.  ä as in father, ă as in hat, ā as in tame,

â as in fare, ą as in call.  These are in my Bible, plus a whole lot more.

 

They are sometimes called “umlauts”, which means “altered (in pronunciation)” in German.  There is a word in our text using a glyph; “précis” with é which is pronounced as “ay” instead of the usual “ee”.  The “i” has become “ee” without the umlaut!  And the “s” is silent.  This is because it is actually a foreign word imported into English without changing its original pronunciation.  Most of those words soon acquire an English sound, but this one is an exception.  Consider “garage”.  It now has a hard second syllable although the original had a soft one.  i.e. We now say “arge” instead of something like “arsh”.  The first “a” is also different in the English version.  It is ă instead of ä.]   BACK

 

 


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