The Answer: Without comprehending the Divine Pattern and Path of the soul within the teachings of Messiah/Christ pertaining to the Prodigal Son/Daughter, the level of spiritual maturity of Christians of the simple faith who fail to understand how the wheel of rebirth and reincarnation affects them, can be likened to a fetus in relation to a mature adult. They remain carnal and of a temporal mind, and cannot embrace the fullness of the teachings of TheWay and move on to Spiritual Maturity and dwell in the Kingdom of Origination.
Yeshua/Jesus taught the reality of the pre-existent soul that fulfills the mandate of perfection at Matt 5:48 over the course of many lifetimes. Grace, being saved by the blood of the Lamb, and the resurrection which is a central theme in Christianity today, is not for either the non-believer, cultural quasi-Christians, or those who claim to believe with their lips but are unfaithful in their manner of living -- the resurrection is only for those who pick up their cross and follow the Master of TheWay into the Inner Kingdom (Luke 17:20-21). Thus, those who walk the "narrow path" and enter into Life, are the ones who are saved. Those who walk what Yeshua/Jesus referred to as the "Broad-way" of destruction, return again to reap what they have sown. The domains of what Yeshua/Jesus called the "outer darkness... hell... prison... and the place of judgment", all represent the reality of each one of us inheriting our own works! While this aspect of Yeshua/Jesus' teachings was more clear prior to the fourth-century Church of Constantine's editing of the scriptures, it remains true that once the doctrine of preordination is properly understood, the teaching of reincarnation is the most prevalent in the Bible. Without understanding the process of how the soul evolves to a perfected state as the prodigal son returns to the Kingdom of Origination, it is impossible for the believers of the simple faith to advance past the stage of entry-level people-in-training to be Christians. A Genuine Christian is a Nazirene Disciple of TheWay who is of an Anointed (Messiah/Christ) Mind -- and therefore being Illumed by the Holy Spirit, possesses the Divine Knowledge that is referred to throughout the scriptures as the Mysteries of God.
Do Christians derive their doctrines of belief from the Bible? Many would like to think so -- but under close examination we begin to see that the beliefs of the average Christian is in fact diametrically opposed to what the Bible actually teaches. The problem is that the Bible, as well as the essence of the teachings of TheWay, exist as a paradoxical enigma to modern Christianity -- a paradoxical enigma that causes an uncountable number of conflicting doctrines and sects to continue to arise -- and this paradoxical enigma will continue to envelop the modern Church under a cloud of spiritual ignorance, until which time Christians are prepared to seek the essence and roots of the teachings of Jesus -- a system of revelation that is spiritual, and has little in common with the multitude of doctrines proclaimed by the Church today.
can this be? That the teachings of TheWay is paradoxical, is
easily demonstrated in the words of the Rev.
Charles Spurgeon where he confided to his readers in his autobiography: “The
system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but
two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to
look at the two lines at once. For
instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, The Spirit and the bride say, Come.
And let him who hears say, Come. And
let him who is athirst, Come. And
whoever will, let him take the water of life freely [Rev. 22:17].
Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that it is
not of he who wills, nor of he who runs, but of God Who shows mercy [Rom 9:16].
I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see,
and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his
actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will.
Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no
control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and
if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that
man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into
Antinomianism or fatalism. That God
predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see
clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory, but
they are not. The fault is in our
weak judgment. Two truths cannot be
contradictory to each other. If,
then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained,
that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for
all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine
that these two truths can ever contradict each other” (Charles H.
Spurgeon, Autobiography Vol. 1: The Early Years. pp. 173, 174).
Do we have free will?
In many places of the scriptures it appears to suggest that we do.
And yet, in many other places the Bible reveals that Divine Providence --
which is the Will of God -- totally rules over every aspect of our lives.
If, therefore, we profess to believe in the Bible, and we desire to
embrace the Light, it is a fatal flaw when we embrace the manmade doctrines of
the Church and accept one of these paradoxical realities while
rejecting the other. If we are to
fulfill the role as a genuine and mature follower of Jesus, we must move beyond
the limited vision of the modern Church that clings to one truth while rejecting
the other -- and we must
instead embrace the premises that both are equally true.
How can we be responsible for what God Preordains? A most important question that Christians today are incapable of answering! In what is perhaps the most difficult concept for the average Christian to understand, is the fact that the Bible clearly teaches that we are responsible for the Divine Will that God exerts in our life. Moreover, from our limited perspective, we have done absolutely nothing to cause God to choose for us the life that we are presently living! And yet, somehow, the Church would have us believe that we are responsible for the choices that God makes for us. In the words of Jesus: “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!” (Matt 18:7 NIV). Why must they come? Because God has willed it. Again we must admit what the Apostle tells us at Romans 11:32 as seen in the commentary Barnes' Notes which writes of the word that we translate concluded, shut up, bound, committed and consigned: “It is properly used in reference to those who are shut up in prison”. Only when we begin to accept the fact that the life we are presently living has been individually designed to meet our personal needs, and it is as if we have been imprisoned by a Higher Spiritual Power to live out the circumstances and events in our life, are we able to get a sense of the purpose of life itself.
Jesus All-Inclusive? In the same way that “Even after Jesus had done all
these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in
him…”, we can progress no further in our own walk in TheWay until we
first understand why these people did not believe in Jesus, as seen in the
words: “For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says
elsewhere: ‘He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can
neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts’” (John
12:37-40 NIV). Contrary to
what we want to believe, it is important for us to realize what the Bible
actually states -- i.e., that the people who did not accept Jesus did not reject
him of their own accord, but because God did not permit them to believe in
Jesus. The problem is that, from a church perspective, when we
acknowledge this very clearly defined biblical fact, we not only undermine the
whole political structure of the church because what the Bible is actually
confirming is that man not only does not possess the freewill that gives him the
ability to choose to come to Jesus, but we further destroy the popular idea that
Jesus was the all-inclusive savior that modern Christianity portrays him to be.
How can Jesus be all-inclusive, when the Bible itself
clearly teaches that only those who were pre-selected will not only believe in
the Son of God, but will inherit the promise of salvation in the scriptures?
Using the Jews as an example: From a biblical perspective, it is of the
utmost importance that we begin to recognize the reason why there was a
pre-existent basis that caused the Hand of God to harden the hearts and minds of
the Jews, and not permit them to believe in Jesus.
Moreover, if what the Bible states is true, and it was the Hand of God
that hardened the hearts and minds of the Jews, then how can the Bible be
correct in its assertion that it was the Jewish people themselves who were
ultimately responsible for the conditions that God brought about in their lives
with respect to the rejection of Christ?
It is important, because these same conditions exist in our own lives as
a paramount truth that we must come to terms with if we are to continue our walk
in The Way. If, therefore,
God forces each of us into a certain role that causes us to either sin or
embrace the Light, we must ask the question as to what was the cause that is/was
responsible for these events?
In answering these profound biblical questions we must
steer clear of the pitfall of traditional church thinking, and insure that we do
not make the mistake of adopting one biblical truth over the other.
In this respect, we must refrain from asking which is true -- and instead
open our minds to the higher understanding that merges the two truths into
harmony. The answer cannot be
found until we realize that we must not choose one truth over the other -- and,
in the words of Spurgeon: “it is only my folly that leads me to imagine
that these two truths can ever contradict each other”.
We must begin the process of embracing the Higher Truth
by taking the words of Spurgeon to heart, and recognize that the fault in our
failure to understand is of our own doing.
What this means is that if we are to find the answer to the dilemma, we
must refrain from questioning which passages of scripture is correct.
Do we have free will? Or,
is the Apostle Paul correct when he states: "For he says to Moses, ‘I
will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have
compassion.’” -- wherein the Apostle then explains that “It does
not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy” (Rom
can never oppose Truth! I acknowledge that it is a difficult task, but in order
to begin to embrace the Mysteries and Higher Wisdom of God which the scriptures
speak of, we must come to realize that one biblical truth does not negate the
other. Paramount to
understanding the Mysteries of God is the absolute need to further realize that
our present-day doctrine that Jesus was all-inclusive in his revelation of the
Good News, is fundamentally flawed and defective.
Jesus was not all-inclusive! He
taught the multitudes in parables which each hearer interpreted in accordance
with their own understanding! Reserving his instruction of the Mysteries
of God for those who were pre-selected as being worthy of receiving their revelation!
If we, therefore, truly desire to be one of the few who are chosen to
receive the Mysteries of the Gospel, then it is paramount that we first
understand why the multitudes were rejected, and only certain pre-selected
individuals were chosen for this purpose.
In the words of the Rev. Spurgeon, we must open our minds
and learn to grasp the two lines of truth simultaneously. Though we may not initially understand it, we must
begin to recognize that all things are preordained -- and even though our lives
are preordained, we are responsible for not only the result, but also the very
events that the Hand of God has brought about in our daily lives.
Further, we must acknowledge the truth of those biblical verses that
teach that some people do not possess free will at all -- that what appears to
be choices for others are actually foreordained -- and that these people are
also ultimately responsible for what God has brought into their lives.
In order to accomplish this, we are going to have to open our minds to
concepts that far eclipses present-day human comprehension with respect to
everything that we think we know about life.
I understand full well that these spiritual concepts are
not in accordance with our perception of an all-inclusive Gospel that was, and
is, made available for all people to believe and be saved.
While it is true that God is all-inclusive, the paradox to the equation
is that He is not all-inclusive in the manner that we think.
In the same way that our system of public education is all-inclusive --
in that, everyone has an absolute right to access the system -- it is also true
that everyone does not have the right to access the system at any level of
instruction they choose. Thus,
each of us is entitled to access the system only at the appropriate level that
is determined by our own level of maturity and achievement.
We would no sooner permit a kindergarten student to attend college, than
we would provide a graduate level curriculum to an elementary school level of
If we truly desire to move beyond the elementary
teachings about Christ and “go on to maturity” (Heb 6:1 NIV), we must
begin to acknowledge that this is exactly what the Bible states.
The Mysteries and Spiritual Gospel of Christ was only revealed
selectively to a chosen group of people who were predestined to be taught what
was concealed from the eyes and understanding of the majority of people who
listened to Jesus teach. When we begin to acknowledge this biblical fact, only
then can be begin to understand the criteria that was used to select these few
from among the many. Ultimately,
only when we comprehend the criteria which the Lord uses, are we able to move
ourselves in that direction, and become the chosen who is deserving to receive
the Spiritual Gospel of the Light.
the Jews Kill Christ? For nineteen hundred years many Christians have condemned
the Jews for “killing Christ”.
Yet Peter states to the leaders of the Jews regarding Jesus that: “this
Man delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed
to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:23
NAS). The word “predetermined”
as used in this instance, should invoke a great many questions in the minds of
Christians. Did the Jews and
Romans crucify Christ? Commenting
on this verse, Barnes' Notes states: “The fact, moreover, that this was
predicted, shows that it was fixed or resolved on. No event can be foretold,
evidently, unless it be certain that it will take place. The event, therefore,
must in some way be fixed or resolved on beforehand”.
Speaking about the Hand of God upon the hearts and minds
of the people, Peter and John said: “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met
together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire
against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and
will had decided beforehand should happen” (Acts 4:27-28 NIV).
What the two disciples are conveying to the reader is that every event
that took place at the crucifixion was directly brought about by the Hand of God
acting upon the hearts and minds of the people.
Regardless of whether we understand it, in or to begin the journey of
walking in The Way, it is imperative for us to acknowledge the validity of this
biblical statement. Moreover,
if this is true, we must ask ourselves the question: How can man resist the “power
and will” of what God “decided beforehand should happen”? How could the Jews resist the Will of God?
What is clearly conveyed to the reader is that the
biblical teaching regarding the crucifixion was a pre-planned drama that God
brought about by imposing His supernatural and all-pervasive Will upon a group
of people who were little more than puppets on God's stage of life.
Unless Christians are ready to adopt the doctrine that man is more
powerful than the Will of God, then they must be ready to acknowledge the fact
that those who brought about the events which culminated in the crucifixion, had
little to no choice in what transpired.
This biblical fact is seen quite clearly documented in
the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia under the heading of Foreknow,
where it writes: “Thus, in Peter's speeches in Acts the predestination
which finds expression in (Acts 4:28) is practically identified with the term
prognosis in (2:23). Everything which happened to Jesus took place in accordance
with ‘the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,’ so that nothing
happened except that which God had foreordained”.
Who killed Christ?
“God had willed the death of Jesus (John 3:16) and the death of
Judas (Acts 1:16)”, writes Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament,
and then adds: “but that fact did not absolve Judas from his responsibility
and guilt (Luke 22:22)”.
If Judas was one of the instruments by which God carried
out what God Himself predestined -- and the scriptures tell us that both God and
Satan (Lk 22:3) worked in concert by using their supernatural powers to induce
Judas to betray Jesus -- and Judas was predestined for the purpose that he
performed -- it is imperative that we ask the question as to how can Judas be
held responsible for what God brought about?
For over a thousand years of Christian history it was
unlawful to publish or reveal the Bible to the people.
When it eventually was, and the reformers in the Middle Ages were called
upon to explain its paradoxes and inconsistencies, they could not.
Why? Because they did
not possess the same mindset as did the authors of the scriptures.
In reaction to the many paradoxical truths that they were unable to
explain, the doctrine which was adopted by Luther and the reformers is seen
embodied in Luther's words: “Reason, is the greatest enemy that faith has;
it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but - more frequently than not -
struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from
Because Luther himself was a priest in the Roman Church, and the very
foundation of their system of belief was carnal, and was devoid of the
understanding needed to synthesize and harmonize the paradoxes of the Bible.
While it can be said that they did the best they could under the
conditions of the time in which they lived, that Luther never progressed beyond
a very elementary understanding of the scriptures has continued to plague
believers to this very day.
The great error upon which Luther and the other reformers
founded the Protestant Church can only be seen when we relate the problem that
they saw in the scriptures with respect to man's other areas of life.
When confronted with a difficulty, the solution is not to surrender one's
power of mind -- but rather, to re-examine the manner in which one is thinking.
How can Judas be held accountable for what God brings
about on both His own, and in conjunction with Satan -- and if God and Satan are
eternal opponents, what caused the two opposite powers to act in concert in
order to move Judas to betray Christ?
We could speculate and say that Judas was an evil man who would have
perhaps done this misdeed anyway -- but so long as God's hand was upon him, and
Satan and God acted together to bring about these events, the final choice was
simply not his to make. Moreover,
if we are to even begin to comprehend the powerful supernatural influences that
effect the manner in which we think and live our lives, we must also ask the
question: How did God induce Satan to move in accordance with what was
preordained, unless God also maintains control over Satan?
Without the understanding of these questions, it is impossible for us to
ever begin to comprehend the true spiritual message of the scriptures.
The problem is brought into a more clear focus in the
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia where it is written: “It is
remarkable that Peter in one and the same sentence speaks of the death of Christ
from two quite distinct points of view. (1) From the historical standpoint, it
was a crime perpetrated by men who were morally responsible for their deed
('him… ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay'). (2) From the
standpoint of Divine teleology, it was part of an eternal plan ('by the
determinate,' etc.). No effort is made to demonstrate the logical consistency of
the two ideas”. From
the perception of the carnal mind of man, there can be no consistency of the two
ideas -- but if the believer is to obtain the salvation they desire, it is
absolutely necessary that they are able to merge these two contradictory facts
into one abiding truth.
Once it is realized that generation upon generation of
Gentile believers has, for the most part, skimmed over these many verses without
so much as a question of how these biblical concepts -- the working alliance of
God and Satan, and the preordination and predestination of the events in the
life of man -- effects their own life, it is easy to understand why the masses
of believers never progress beyond the superficial “milk” doctrines
of the Bible. Moreover,
because believers reject the counsel of the Lord, and turn instead to other men
to teach them -- and embrace concepts that their teachers themselves are
incapable of understanding -- the Bible and its may paradoxes will continue to
remain a great enigma. The
result is that the flock of believers are held captive in a pasture of spiritual
stagnation by the very shepherds they look to for guidance.
If man is to even begin to understand both the scriptures
and the life he is presently living, it is absolutely necessary to comprehend
how man can be held responsible for what God has brought about?
Quoting the Adam Clark Commentary: “…neither the Jews nor Romans
had any power here, but what was given to them from above”.
How could the Jews and Romans have killed Christ, if neither “had
any power” over their actions, because the event was brought about by the
power of God? When Peter
said: “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit
foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who
arrested Jesus” (Acts 1:16 NAS); Peter is stating that all of the people
who were involved were mere pawns in the hand of God -- who had hardened the
hearts of the Jews and Romans in order to fulfill what the Holy Spirit had
predicted in the scriptures.
These “two lines” spoken of by Rev. Spurgeon,
is again seen in the words of Jesus when he warned: “For the Son of Man is
to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man
is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born”
(Mark 14:21 NAS). How can
God, the Higher and Controlling Power, force men to perform a series of events
under His direct control, and then hold the people who God forced into the role
they played on the stage of life be held responsible for what God brought about?
Thus, we must answer the proverbial question which the Bible itself asks:
“Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” (Rom
9:19 NIV). Not one of us is
able to resist His will -- and because we fail to understand this great truth,
and condemn the manifest Will of God that we observe in others, we make
ourselves apostates to the New Covenant -- calling upon the name of the Lord in
The inability of those we look to as religious
authorities to comprehend these fundamental conditions of life, as well as an
uncountable number of other biblical paradoxes, is further expounded upon in the
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on Romans 9:22, where it is written with
regard to the Apostle's words Fitted to destruction: “It is well remarked
by Stuart, that the difficulties which such statements involve are not to be
gotten rid of by softening the language of one text, while so many others meet
us which are of the same tenor; and even if we give up the Bible itself, so long
as we acknowledge an omnipotent and omniscient God, we cannot abate in the least
degree from any of the difficulties which such texts make.
Be it observed, however, that if God, as the apostle teaches, expressly
designed to manifest His wrath, and to make His power (in the way of wrath)
known, it could only be by punishing some, while He pardons others; and if the
choice between the two classes was not to be founded, as our apostle also
teaches, on their own doings, but on God's good pleasure, the decision behooved
ultimately to rest with God”.
Do we have free will and choice?
Because it is impossible for our present-day religious authorities to
explain the relationship of these two biblical doctrines, many Christian
preachers and theologians are of the opinion that the biblical concepts of
predestination and Divine Providence should not be taught to the multitude of
believers. Their theology is
that you don’t preach what you do not possess the means to understand.
Yet, the ever looming problem goes far beyond the fact that it is not
only confusing, but instead is based upon the fact that the church itself does
not have an answer that can satisfactorily explain what the church itself cannot
How can modern Christians be comfortable with the idea
that God said of Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I raised you up, to
demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the
whole earth” (Rom 9:17 NAS). The
Bible teaches that even after Pharaoh told Moses to go, God's hand again came
upon Pharaoh and continued to harden Pharaoh's heart.
Why? So God could
persist in bringing plagues upon the Egyptian people.
Further, Pharaoh had already told Moses to take the children of Israel
and go, when God once again continued to harden Pharaoh's heart.
Why? The Bible teaches
that God did not want Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, until God first
demonstrated His power by killing all their first-born sons.
In view of the fact that God raised up Pharaoh for this purpose, and then
hardened his heart so as to make it appear that it was Pharaoh who opposed the
Israelites, it is imperative that we ask: Is this the loving and merciful God
that Christians proclaim?
People of faith are not prepared to gaze into the reality
of the Old Testament. Like
Luther, the people of the simple faith are unable to think along any other line
of thought than they have been instructed by their leaders to follow. It is comforting for them to believe that they have
made wise choices in their life by accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and
Savoir. Yet the Bible teaches
that their status as Christians -- and even believers -- was not of their own
choosing. Few Christians can
find solace in the biblical teaching that they believe, only because God has
permitted them to believe -- while others do not believe, because God does not
want them to believe. They
instead envision an all-inclusive God who desires all people to believe.
Most Christians have a loved one -- a child, spouse, a
family member, or a friend -- that has not come to Christ -- and by their manner
of thinking is not saved. They
would do anything to save this person that is dear to them. Yet, according to Christian doctrine, in the hereafter,
these people will not only be barred from the Kingdom that is to come, but might
possibly be confined to the regions of hell.
Why? According to the
Bible, because God has not chosen to bestow His blessings on these people. Christians,
who want everyone to be saved, cannot perceive the sense of the idea the Apostle
put forth when he wrote: “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He
hardens whom He desires” (Rom 9:18 NAS).
From a Christian doctrinal perspective, life is like a
sinking ship where all people are equally sinners -- or drowning -- and all
people are in need of being redeemed or saved.
God is there -- He has the power to save all of the people -- but He
chooses not to. Instead of
saving everyone, He selectively chooses from among the drowning people an
exclusive few who are to be saved -- not based upon their works or deeds, or
even their faith -- but as the Apostle states, God chooses indiscriminately, “that
the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him
that calleth” (Rom 9:11 KJV). Some
will of course argue that people are saved by faith -- but the Bible clearly
states that even faith is a gift from God that is not given to all people.
Innately, all of creation desires to be saved.
In the same way that no one wants to drown, neither would anyone choose
to be thrown into the “lake of fire” (Rev 20: 14-15).
Yet, according to the Apostle, because of the sin of Adam and Eve -- a
sin that God Himself ordained and brought about -- all people deserve to be
thrown into the “lake of fire”, and God chooses to save some, while
Perhaps the finest example of God's indiscriminate
intervention into some people's lives is best demonstrated in the example of the
Apostle Paul himself. Paul --
who was known as Saul prior to his conversion -- was not only a great persecutor
of the first Christians, but Saul/Paul was a leader among those who stoned
Stephen (Acts 7:57-60). So
vehemently did Saul/Paul oppose Christ and the church, that it is written that
“Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples
of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus
to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or
women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2 KJV).
In Saul/Paul we see a man who was a killer and a
persecutor of Christ and the church -- until God directly intervened into his
life, converted him, and supposedly made him an apostle.
Setting aside for the moment the fact that there are many people who,
from a biblical perspective, will be thrown into the lake of fire, even though
they are in no way guilty of the evil of Saul/Paul prior to his conversion, it
could easily be said that the most fervent Atheist and non-believer would be
immediately converted if they were subjected to the same experience as
Saul/Paul, where it is written: “As he neared Damascus on his journey,
suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard
a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Who are you, Lord? Saul
asked. I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, he replied. Now get up and go into
the city, and you will be told what you must do… Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing… For three days he was blind,
and did not eat or drink anything” (Acts 9:3-9 NIV).
When we start to delve into these many biblical stories,
we begin to get a better perspective of why Luther condemned the use of reason
among the body of Christian believers.
Does it mean anything that Saul/Paul served Christ after such an
experience? Was Saul/Paul who
called himself a Jew among Jews, and a Pharisee, any different than those who
crucified Christ? If God had
not Himself hardened the hearts of the Jews, and opened their perception and
understanding in the manner that He did to Saul/Paul, wouldn't all the Jews have
been converted? And even
today, would not all of mankind immediately repent, and be faithful to Christ,
if they too were subjected to an experience similar to that experienced by Paul? And does it mean anything that Paul changed his ways
after this rather extreme intervention in his life?
Isn't this in fact the cry of the agnostic who proclaims:
Show me a sign, so that I might believe!
Isn't the agnostic asking for nothing more than the same treatment that
was extended to Saul/Paul? And
are we to believe that the agnostic who has lived a good life -- a person who of
their own conscience had not embraced the evil of a man such as Paul -- that
such a person will be condemned to the lake of fire, while Paul is permitted to
One of the paramount elements of such words as goodness
and righteousness, is that one conducts themselves in a fair and evenhanded
manner. If the scriptures are
correct in those many places where it states that “The LORD detests
differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him” (Prov 20:23 NIV),
wouldn't the Lord himself treat all men with the same fairness?
Innately, Christians believe that God is fair and impartial -- but from a
biblical perspective, doctrinally they cannot demonstrate the validity of their
One of the fundamental doctrines found throughout almost
every book of the Bible is that the person you are today was predetermined by
God -- not merely at a time before you came into this life -- but at a time
prior to creation and the formation of the earth.
If the person you are today was predetermined by God prior to even the
first act of Creation, you must then ask how much of your own life is of your
For those who believe that they have made wise choices in
their lives, in the Calvinistic and Augustinian doctrine of preordination -- a
doctrine which they are able to demonstrate conclusively by using the Epistles
of Paul -- there is no fundamental difference between those who are doomed and
those who will be saved, with the exception that God so wills their fate.
“The supreme Disposer”, writes Calvin,
“then makes way
for his own predestination, when depriving those whom he has reprobated of the
communication of his light, he leaves them in blindness. Every day furnishes
instances of the latter case, and many of them are set before us in Scripture.
Among a hundred to whom the same discourse is delivered, twenty, perhaps,
receive it with the prompt obedience of faith; the others set no value upon it,
or deride, or spurn, or abominate it. If it is said that this diversity is owing
to the malice and perversity of the latter, the answer is not satisfactory: for
the same wickedness would possess the minds of the former, did not God in his
goodness correct it. And hence we will always be entangled until we call in the
aid of Paul's question, ‘Who maketh thee to differ?' (1 Corinthians 4:7,)
intimating that some excel others, not by their own virtue, but by the mere
favor of God”.
From a biblical perspective of what Calvin wrote, the
true statement that totally escapes his reasoning would be: “…we will
always be entangled until” we come to understand the Will of God with
respect to “who maketh thee to differ?”.
What we see in Calvin's words is the manifestation of a secular, carnal
religion, that bears the name of Christ, rather than a Spiritual Religion that
embodies the Word of Christ. Calvin,
one of the foremost authorities in the founding of the Protestant Church, did
not possess the answers to the biblical paradoxes -- and accepts these mysteries
as unknowable, only because he has embraced a static faith that is spiritually
dead. Yet, many Christians
today continue to embrace his doctrine.
With regard to the assertion of the Apostle that it is
not of our own choosing that we believe in the Gospel, but God's, Barnes' Notes
on this verse states: “Had not GOD interfered and made a difference, all
would have remained alike under sin. The race would have together rejected his
mercy; and it is only by his distinguishing love that ANY are brought to believe
and be saved”. If we
take the time to stop for a moment and think, what is being portrayed in these
words is altogether profound! What
they admit the Apostle’s doctrine of faith ultimately means, is that ALL of
mankind would reject Jesus and the gospel message and drown in the sea of
inequity, if God did not throw a life-preserver to a select few.
In the case of the Apostle Paul -- a murderer and persecutor of the
righteous -- it would appear that sometimes God throws the life preserver to
some of the most sinful and despicable among us, and yet denies this same
opportunity to others who are not near as sinful.
Christian doctrine states:
“God is the foundation of
all good; no man possesses any good but what he has derived from God. If any man
possess that grace which saves him from scandalous enormities, let him consider
that he has received it as a mere free gift from God's mercy” (Adam Clarke
Commentary on 1 Cor 4:7).
If you are a believer -- it is the position of the
Apostle that your belief is the work of God manifest in your life. There is no works that you can do which will earn
salvation -- you did not do anything deserving of God's blessings -- you merely
inherited the promise because God indiscriminately decided that He would throw
you a life preserver. The
problem that arises is in the biblical fact that, if you are a non-believer,
that too is the work of God -- who chooses not to throw you a life preserver.
The one who is saved is no different than the one who is
not -- i.e., quoting Paul: “As it is written: There is no one righteous,
not even one… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
(Rom 3:10;23 NIV). Moreover,
in view of the fact that God's criteria is not based upon either the works, or
the moral attributes of the person -- Paul and many others being an example of
this fact -- from a biblical perspective, the one who is not saved, and destined
to the sufferings of hell, may even exhibit a higher manifestation of virtue and
morality than did the one who is saved.
In the words of Calvin, who uses the Apostle Paul as his source of
doctrine: “God has chosen to deprive the unbeliever of the communication of
his light”, and for no reason other than “He has mercy on whom He
desires, and He hardens whom He desires” (Rom 9:18 NAS), Calvin admits
that “he leaves them in blindness”.
The Bible teaches that if you are a saint, a sinner, a
mass murderer, or even the likes of Hitler, your station in life is not of your
own doing -- but rather, the work of the Hand of God manifest in your life.
If you have not accepted Christ as your savior, it is because God has
withheld His Light from you that would enable you to believe and have faith.
Therefore, regardless of how good you are, or the moral code you exhibit,
or how great your humanity is towards others, from the perspective of the Bible,
you are destined to Hell because God has predetermined and chosen this as your
In view of the fact that it has been proposed by many
Christians that Hitler was merely doing the will of God by exterminating the
heretic Jews -- and there is speculation that Hitler believed that he had
himself been anointed by God to complete the task that Jesus never did --
Christian doctrine suggests that Hitler could be enjoying eternal bliss in
heaven, while the innocent Jewish children who he tortured and burnt in his
ovens -- children who never did an evil act to anyone -- are now burning in the
torments of hell.
In view of this biblical fact, ask yourself this
question: If you are a Christian, will you then greet Hitler when you go to
glory. Imagine for a moment
you and Hitler -- together in the Kingdom -- talking about how you were saved --
gazing upon the Jewish children who never even had the opportunity to do any
evil as they burn in the lake of fire?
Imagine you and Hitler, together, praising the glory of God in the shadow
of their innocence and agony.
Many Christians today are against abortion -- calling it
infanticide and murder. Yet,
is this any more of an atrocity of justice than the preordination of children to
live lives as “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (Rom 9:22)?
Will these same anti-abortion people stand by and applaud the sufferings
of these men, women and children who were predestined to dwell forever in the
lake of fire?
If these things seem outrageous and far fetched, let us
not forget the fact that when the Children of Israel were on their way to the
land of Canaan, God showed his power by bringing about the unmerciful
destruction of innocent people: “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us
pass through, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart
obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day”
(Deut 2:30 NKJ).
Did King Sihon possess free will as many of us believe
today? King Sihon did not
choose to block the path of the Israelites -- God “hardened his spirit”
(king Sihon's) and made him do it. Why?
In what modern civilized man would consider a detestable act of cruel and
senseless barbarism, the God of Israel rejoiced: “And the LORD our God
delivered him over to us; so we defeated him, his sons, and all his people. We
took all his cities at that time, and we utterly destroyed the men, women, and
little ones of every city; we left none remaining” (Deut 2:33-34 NKJ).
Are we supposed to applaud this atrocity -- this example
of injustice and inhumanity? Are
we to praise the Lord and acclaim His righteousness that He permitted the Jews
to slaughter even the “little ones”?
The Children of Israel were ordered to slay everything that moved and
breathed: “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is
giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.
Completely destroy them -- the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites,
Hivites and Jebusites -- as the LORD your God has commanded you” (Deut
The scriptures tell us that when the Children of Israel
crossed the Jordan, the hearts of the inhabitants of the land were hardened by
God: “For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war
against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them
without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses” (Josh 11:20 NIV). The Children of Israel were again ordered to slay every
man, woman and child in the land. In
view of the fact that the people of Heshbon were not believers in God -- only
because God Himself withheld His Light from their understanding -- the
implications are horrific. By
human standards, the actions of God as reported in the Old Testament are even
more diabolical than Hitler’s! The
great question that must be posed: Is this a merciful God who celebrates the
destruction of innocent children without any other reason than he enjoys
watching the carnage?
When it is realized that at any time that God wanted, he
could have unhardened their hearts, and permitted these people to believe, the
moral and humanistic ramifications are truly astounding. Why didn't God want to convert these people?
The biblical answer is because they were not of the seed of Abraham --
the person God chose -- not by works, according to the Apostle Paul, but for no
reason other than “He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He
desires” (Rom 9:18 NAS).
Moreover, if God didn't want the people of the Nations in
the land of Canaan, He could have willed it, and they would have simply migrated
from the land without the loss of one single life.
If God wanted them to worship Him, and only Him, He could have willed it,
and it would have been so.
From our modern perspective there is still another twist
to this biblical episode: In view of the fact that God not only knew that these
same Gentiles would become the chosen people of God when he caused the Jews to
reject Jesus, why did he bring death and destruction to women and children whose
ancestors would one day be called Christian?
If the scriptures are correct, and God has the power to control every
aspect of life, then a Supreme Being of Love and Mercy would have just willed
them to leave, believe, or anything else He desired, and it would have been so.
If there is any doubt from the perspective of Christian
doctrine that we are mere play toys in the hands of God, the proverbial question
that mankind should ask his Creator is already contained in the scriptures:
“You will say to me then, Why does He still find fault? For who
resists His will?” (Rom 9:19).
If evil men are evil, because God, in the words of Calvin, withholds “the
communication of his light”, and good men are good ONLY because God
bestows upon them the “communication of his light”, then are we not
as play people -- mere playthings -- in the hands of God, in much the same
fashion as a child playing with his toys?
The Apostle affirms this when he states in response to
the question of “For who resists His will?” and writes:
contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not
say to the molder, Why did you make me like this, will it? Or does not the
potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for
honorable use, and another for common use? What if God, although willing to
demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience
vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?” (Rom 9:19-22 NAS).
When the question is asked: “Who resists His
will?” It is important
for us to recognize the fact that the Apostle does not reply in the manner that
our present-day church authorities would, and respond that each of us has
choices to make in our lives. Paul
does not say this! From the
mindset and perspective of the Apostle, it is easily observed that choices are
not even part of the equation -- but rather: “O man, who answers back to
God?” The Apostle then
goes on to explain that, in the manner of a child playing with his toys, it is
God's right to make some people “vessels of wrath prepared for
destruction”, while He makes other people a “vessel for honorable
use”. In other words,
there are some people who were created for the express purpose of destruction --
not because they chose such a fate -- not because they had done anything wrong
-- but because in God's predestination, this fate was chosen for them prior to
even the creation of the world. Therefore,
what the Apostle very clearly conveys to us is that the role in life they lived
was not by their own choice, but was brought about solely by the Hand of God.
Regarding these very controversial verses and the
teaching on predestination, the Apostle writes: “It does not, therefore,
depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy” (Rom 9:16 NIV).
If you desire Christ, it is because God has permitted you to be a
believer, and has ignited within you the desire for Christ.
The Bible affirms the position that the choice was not yours to make.
As an example of this Divine Providence in the life of
the individual, the Apostle gives the example of Jacob and Esau, and writes: “For
though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in
order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of
works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, The older will serve
the younger. Just as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (Rom
What the Apostle is very clearly stating is that, before
either of the twins had been born, before either had “done anything good or
bad”, God not only decided their fate in life, but for no apparent reason,
He hated Esau and loved Jacob. Why?
Paul offers no explanation other than God does what he wants to do -- and
man does not have the right to question God's choices in these matters.
This is especially seen in the words: “Does not the potter have
power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another
for dishonor?” (Rom 9:21 NKJ).
In the Epistle to the Romans the Apostle confirms that we
are mere toys in the hands of God -- and like a child playing with his toy
people -- God will have “…mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom
He desires” (Rom 9:18 NAS). Mankind
is subject to this reality without any reason other than the fact that God wants
to create and sit back and observe the dramas of life that we experience -- and
ultimately, have fun with His play toys in any manner that He chooses.
Moreover, it would appear that those who are destined to what has been
described as the eternal sufferings and tortures of Hell, have received such a
fate only because God enjoys watching such carnage and suffering.
As toys, then, the Apostle tells us that we have no
rights -- and this is confirmed in the words of the Paul when he wrote: “On
the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will
not say to the molder, Why did you make me like this, will it?” (Rom 9:20
NAS). Thus, the Apostle
states to the believer that whether we are saved or judged to eternal damnation,
it is not of our own doing -- our fate was decided prior to the creation of the
world -- and we have no right to question the motives of God -- which motives
include the total annihilation of innocent women and children for no other
reason than God desires the carnage to come upon those who have done nothing to
deserve such a fate.
From a modern Christian perspective, the doctrine of
Divine Providence and predestination gets really scary when it is realized that
God chose who would believe and who would disbelieve prior to the creation of
the universe: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to
be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as
his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”
(Eph 1:4-5 NIV).
What is being stated is that when God was still in the
stages of contemplating Creation -- prior to what we would relate to the events
written in the very first verse of Genesis 1:1 -- God decided that He would make
a certain group of people who would inherit all the good that He could imagine,
and another group would be plunged into eternal suffering.
Why? Because God
wanted all people to know that He was superior to them -- that they were weak
and inferior beings -- and He wanted them to know that there was absolutely
nothing they could do in order to alter their destiny.
Thus, God created Satan -- a supernatural being that He (God) controlled
-- as an instrument to bring about the defilement of Creation in accordance with
God’s plan. Why?
In order that all mankind would equally be drowning in a sea of inequity.
In this way God could choose from among the race of sinful man -- “in
accordance with his pleasure and will” -- those who He would permit to
inherit the good.
In order to demonstrate to mankind God's absolute power
and authority, it is observed that God often chose the most morally degenerate
men to inherit the good. King
David, for example, was a murderer and an adulterer, as demonstrated by The New
Unger's Bible Dictionary in their sighting under David for First Samuel 13:14: “How,
ask some, could a man after God's own heart have murdered Uriah, seduced
Bathsheba, and tortured the Ammonites? An extract from one who is not a
too-indulgent critic of sacred characters expresses at once the common sense and
the religious lesson of the whole matter. ‘David, the Hebrew king, had fallen
into sins enough -- blackest crimes -- there was no want of sin. And, thereupon,
the unbelievers sneer, and ask, ‘Is this your man according to God' s
heart?’” (Carlyle, Heroes and Hero-worship, 1:277; from New Unger's
Bible Dictionary, originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois.
Copyright (C) 1988).
It would appear that God chose David -- a true sinner --
over Saul, because Saul possessed a conscience, and did not unmercifully wipe
out his enemies, as seen where it is written under the heading of Saul: “But
he disobeyed the divine injunction by taking alive Agag, the king, and sparing
all the best of the cattle and all that was valuable, destroying only that which
was despised and worthless. Instead of pursuing the campaign and finishing the
destruction of the fugitives…” (New Unger's Bible Dictionary).
Thus, Saul failed in his mission -- which was to totally wipe out all the
men, women, children, and everything that breathed among the enemies of Israel.
The Bible teaches that we do not choose God, but rather
God chooses those among us who will be saved -- regardless of their moral
standing. Thus, Jesus said to
his disciples: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16
NAS). The Bible goes on to
confirm that no one can come to Jesus unless God permits them: “All that
the Father gives Me shall come to Me” (John 6:37 NAS). On this verse Barnes' Notes writes: “[The Father
giveth me] We here learn that those who come to Christ, and who will be saved,
are given to him by God… All men are sinners, and none have any claim to
mercy, and he may therefore bestow salvation on whom he pleases. All people of
themselves are disposed to reject the gospel, (John 5:40). God enables those who
do believe to do it. He draws them to Him by His Word and Spirit; He opens their
hearts to understand the Scriptures (Acts 16:14); and He grants to them
repentance, (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25)”.
It is important to recognize the above biblical concept
that “All people of themselves are disposed to reject the gospel”,
and that only those who the Father has permitted to come to Jesus can be saved: “that
to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life” (John 17:2
The Book of Acts goes on to confirm that the very mind of
mankind is so controlled by the Hand of God, that only those who had been
predestined and previously appointed to be saved are even permitted to believe: “and
as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48 NAS).
Of this word “appointed” or in some translations “ordained”,
Barnes' Notes writes: “The word is NEVER used to denote an internal
disposition or inclination arising from one's own self. It does not mean that
they disposed themselves to embrace eternal life… it has uniformly the notion
of an ordering, disposing, or arranging from without; that is, from some other
source than the individual himself; as of a soldier, who is arranged or
classified according to the will of the proper officer. In relation to these
persons it means, therefore, that they were disposed or inclined to this from
some other source than themselves... They were then inclined by an influence
from without themselves, or so disposed as to embrace eternal life. That this
was done by the influence of the Holy Spirit is clear from all parts of the New
Testament, (Tit. 3:5-6; John 1:13). It was not a disposition or arrangement
originating with themselves, but with God. This implies the doctrine of
election. It was, in fact, that doctrine expressed in an act. It was nothing but
God's disposing them to embrace eternal life. And that he does this according to
a plan in his own mind a plan which is unchangeable as he himself is
unchangeable is clear from the Scriptures. Compare Acts 18:10; Rom. 8:28-30;
9:15-16,21,23; Eph. 1:4-5,11. The meaning may be expressed in few words -- who
were THEN disposed, and in good earnest determined, to embrace eternal life, by
the operation of the grace of God upon their hearts”.
Regardless of what we have been led to believe by those
we look to as religious authorities as they attempt to soften the message of the
scriptures in the endeavor to make it acceptable to a people who appear to
possess more mercy and kindness than does the scriptural portrayal of God, what
the Bible very clearly teaches is that the decision as to who would believe and
be saved was made by God prior to even the first act of creation.
With respect to the beast, the Book of Revelation states that: “all
who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written
before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb” (Rev
13:8 RSV). Thus, all mankind
has been predestined to worship the beast unless their name was written in the
“book of life… before the foundation of the world”.
This is again demonstrated in the words: “The beast that you saw was
and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go to destruction.
And those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in
the book of life from the foundation of the world” (Rev 17:8 NAS).
According to the scriptures, all people whose name was
not written in the book of life prior to the foundation of the world have
already been assigned to the fires of hell, as seen in the words: “If
anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the
lake of fire” (Rev 20:15 NIV).
With regard to the coming Kingdom it is written that “Nothing impure
will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but
only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Rev 21:27
NIV). What these things mean
is that, prior to the creation of the world, the hand of God was upon all whose
name is written in the book of life, and by virtue of God's Will -- and God's
Will alone -- these chosen individuals will not be “impure”, and will
not do anything that “is shameful or deceitful”.
In accordance with the Will of God, those whose names are not written in
the book of life will do evil, and this evil is often said to be also brought
about by the Will of God. According
to Jude, the brother of Jesus, even the unbelievers in the church were
foreordained by God: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those
who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who
turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord,
Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4 NAS).
When the Apostle Paul addressed the men of Athens he said
to them that God “made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the
face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries
of their habitation” (Acts 17:26 NAS).
He did not say that after giving people life He (God) permitted the
people to live in accordance with their own desires.
In fact, it was written in Daniel that: “And all the inhabitants of
the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the
host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His
hand or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’” (Dan 4:35 NAS).
That all events and occurrences in this world was predetermined before
the Creation is confirmed by Isaiah in the words: “I make known the end
from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose
will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isa 46:10 NIV).
If we pose the question as to what degree life on earth
is predestined? It is at this
point where the biblical teaching of predestination gets really frightening --
as demonstrated in Jesus' own words when he said: “Are not two sparrows
sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your
Father's will” (Matt 10:29 RSV).
If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the Will of the Father,
then we have no other option than to come to terms with the biblical fact that
everything in this life is directly orchestrated by God?
On this verse the Adam Clark Commentary states: “The providence of
God extends to the minutest things; everything is continually under the
government and care of God, and nothing occurs without his will or
In relation to this verse under the heading of Providence
in the Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary it is explained that: “Divine
government is the continued activity of God by which He directs all things to
the ends He has chosen in His eternal plan… He governs insignificant things
(Matt. 10:29-31), apparent accidents (Prov. 16:33), as well as man's good (Phil.
2:13) and evil deeds (Acts 14:16). God acts in accordance with the laws and
principles that He has established in the world. The laws of nature are nothing
more than man's description of how we perceive God at work in the world. They
neither have inherent power nor do they work by themselves. Man is not free to
choose and act independently from God's will and plan; he chooses and acts in
accordance with them. In His sovereignty, God controls man's choices and actions
(Gen. 45:5; Deut. 8:18; Prov. 21:1). God's actions, however, do not violate the
reality of human choice or negate man's responsibility as a moral being”.
This very clearly defined biblical doctrine possesses a
great truth -- the ramifications of which no person who calls themselves a
Christian can oppose: Ultimately, what these passages of scripture convey to us
is that at any time that man judges, imprisons or executes a fellow human being,
man is in essence imposing his judgment upon what could be deemed an innocent
person. What the Bible states
is that all sinners -- all evil people since the dawn of time to the present,
have all been preordained into the life that they lived by God's all pervasive
power over the mind of man. What
the Bible states is that the only difference between a good and moral
God-fearing man, and one who would be deemed a degenerate, is that God chose
that life for each individual person.
While such a biblical concept on the surface will
immediately appear to be unjust, there is yet another dimension to the problem
that few Christians today have ever pondered.
The question that every believer of the Gospel today should ask is this:
How can the modern church lead the people, when they cannot tell you how, if “man
is not free to choose and act independently from God's will and plan”, and
can only choose and act in accordance with God's Will; and “in His
sovereignty, God controls man's choices and actions”; how does this “not
violate the reality of human choice or negate man's responsibility as a moral
being”? The problem is
that our modern churches cannot possibly answer these all-important questions.
Moreover, it is because of the irreconcilable differences of these two
biblical teachings -- teachings that are both fully represented throughout the
scriptures -- that the Rev. Spurgeon admitted that: “…it is only my folly
that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each
Because the modern church cannot explain it, and
admittedly confesses that they do not understand it, most Christians feel they
have no other recourse but to ignore what the Bible teaches with regard to
Augustine and Calvin -- the very champions of the Christian doctrine on
predestination -- admit that they do not understand why God would seemingly act
in such an irrational way -- as if the world was God's play-toys.
Thus, Calvin writes: “Now, should some Manes or Coelestinus come
forward to arraign Divine Providence, I say with Paul, that no account of it can
be given, because by its magnitude it far surpasses our understanding. Is there
any thing strange or absurd in this? Would we have the power of God so limited
as to be unable to do more than our mind can comprehend? I say with Augustine,
that the Lord has created those who, as he certainly foreknow, were to go to
destruction, and he did so because he so willed. Why he willed it is not ours to
ask, as we cannot comprehend, nor can it become us even to raise a controversy
as to the justice of the divine will. Whenever we speak of it, we are speaking
of the supreme standard of justice. (See August. Ep. 106.)”
As can be seen, two of the most revered Christian minds
-- one Protestant, the other Roman Catholic -- not only confess they do not know
the Will of God, and cannot even begin to explain why God moves in the manner
that He does -- but that they do not have the capacity of mind to understand the
many narratives of scripture that pertains to the subject.
They therefore attempt to predict who will be saved and who will not, and
have faith that their prediction will be correct.
From the perspective of the modern Christian, the key
word here is predict. In view
of the historical evidence contained in the Bible that God brings evil upon
groups of people for no reason, and God admittedly moves in a manner that even
the church cannot understand, what if men such as David and Paul -- sinful men
who persecute and kill innocent people -- are truly the men who hold a special
place in the heart of God? What
if God caused the Gentile Church to violate his covenant so he could deal with
them in the manner that He did the Jews before them, and now show his wrath in
the condemnation of His new chosen people, the Christians?
That the doctrine of predestination is irrational, and
defies all human logic, is affirmed in Calvin's only defense that the Apostle is
correct and man does not have the right to even question God, as seen when he
wrote: “But when justice clearly appears, why should we raise any question
of injustice? Let us not, therefore, be ashamed to stop their mouths after the
example of Paul. Whenever they presume to carp, let us begin to repeat: Who are
ye, miserable men, that bring an accusation against God, and bring it because he
does not adapt the greatness of his works to your meager capacity? As if every
thing must be perverse that is hidden from the flesh. The immensity of the
divine judgments is known to you by clear experience. You know that they are
called 'a great deep', (Psalm 36:6.) Now, look at the narrowness of your own
minds and say whether it can comprehend the decrees of God. Why then should you,
by infatuated inquisitiveness, plunge yourselves into an abyss which reason
itself tells you will prove your destruction? Why are you not deterred, in some
degree at least, by what the Book of Job, as well as the Prophetical books
declare concerning the incomprehensible wisdom and dreadful power of God? If
your mind is troubled, decline not to embrace the counsel of Augustine, 'You a
man expect an answer from me: I also am a man. Wherefore, let us both listen to
him who says, O man, who art thou?' Believing ignorance is better than
presumptuous knowledge. Seek merits; you will find naught but punishment. O the
height! Peter denies, a thief believes. O the height! Do you ask the reason? I
will tremble at the sight. Reason you, I will wonder; dispute you, I will
believe. I see the height; I cannot sound the depth. Paul found rest, because he
found wonder. He calls the judgments of God 'unsearchable;' and have you come to
search them? He says that his ways are 'past finding out,' and do you seek to
find them out?' (August. de Verb. Apost. Serm. 20.) We shall gain nothing by
proceeding farther. For neither will the Lord satisfy the petulance of these
men, nor does he need any other defense than that which he used by his Spirit,
who spoke by the mouth of Paul. We unlearn the art of speaking well when we
cease to speak with God”.
Again, Calvin himself admits the irrationality of the
doctrine that he champions when he writes: “The human mind, when it hears
this doctrine, cannot restrain its petulance, but boils and rages as if aroused
by the sound of a trumpet”. The
question must be asked as to why the “human mind… boil and rage”?
The only answer is that our higher sense of reason cannot accept the
doctrine that, without justifiable cause, a child is born into a life where
their fate is predestined to destruction.
Moreover, the very foundation of the faith-based church that the Middle
Age Reformers created is summed up in the words: “Believing ignorance is
better than presumptuous knowledge. Seek merits; you will find nought but
punishment.” Thus, their faith is based upon un-knowledge --
anti-knowledge or even anti-Gnostic -- in view of the fact that it is their
position that they cannot know why the Hand of God moves in the manner that it
does. In their own words they
recognize that in all things that really matter, they are ignorant. Thus, the church which they created is in fact an
anti-Gnostic organization (without knowledge), based upon blind faith.
Christians may not like it, but Calvin goes on to
demonstrate that this doctrine of irrationality, which by his own assertion
promotes ignorance, is exactly what is contained in the scriptures when he
writes: “But were I to concede that by the different forms of expression
Paul softens the harshness of the former clause, it by no means follows, that he
transfers the preparation for destruction to any other cause than the secret
counsel of God. This, indeed, is asserted in the preceding context, where God is
said to have raised up Pharaoh, and to harden whom he will. Hence it follows,
that the hidden counsel of God is the cause of hardening. I at least hold with
Augustine that when God makes sheep out of wolves, he forms them again by the
powerful influence of grace, that their hardness may thus be subdued, and that
he does not convert the obstinate, because he does not exert that more powerful
grace, a grace which he has at command, if he were disposed to use it, (August.
de Praedest. Sanct., Lib. 1, c. 2.)”.
If you are good, then you are good because, prior to the
founding of the world. What
this means is that before there was even an earth, sun, moon and stars as
foretold in the events of creation in Genesis, God wrote your name in the book
of life and decided that you would be good -- and it was so.
If you are evil, mediocre, or even an average person who is just trying
to live their life the best they can -- then in like manner, you are the person
you are because prior to the time of creation, God decided that you would be
created as a “vessel of wrath prepared for destruction?” (Rom 9:19-22
NAS). This determination was
made at a time when you “were not yet born, and had not done anything good
or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand”
If you are wise, it is because God has made you wise: “and
in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom” (Exod 31:6
KJV). If the scriptures make
no sense to you, or to whatever degree you are permitted to understand them,
this also is of the Lord: “Then opened he their understanding, that they
might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45 KJV).
Whatever leader you are following has been decided
beforehand by the Lord: “And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went
with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched” (1 Sam 10:26 KJV).
If you are following the wrong leader, and listening to the wrong
teaching, this too is of the Lord: “And Absalom and all the men of Israel
said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of
Ahithophel. For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel,
so that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom” (2 Sam 17:14 RSV).
Thus, the Lord hardened the hearts of the men of Israel from
following the good counsel, and moved them to follow the counsel of Hushai that
eventually led to their destruction -- a destruction brought about by the Hand
The scriptures state that God can even control whether a
man's wife is unfaithful: “Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil
against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your
eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives…”
(2 Sam 12:11 NAS). Moreover,
if, as Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament suggests, it is the Hand
of God which brought about these events, and this “fact did not
absolve…” the people from their personal “responsibility and
guilt”, that means the wives who God forced to be unfaithful are guilty of
adultery -- even though it was the Hand of God that forced them to be
unfaithful. When these rather
astounding statements in the Bible were presented to the Middle-age reformers,
the only answer they could provide was that man’s exercise of reason was
detrimental to his salvation.
In our examination of the scriptures we must pose the
question as to who is the author of evil?
There are those who suggest the fallen Angel Satin is the author of evil.
The doctrine of Original Sin states that all mankind are sinners because
they share in the sin of Adam and Eve who fell from grace in the Garden of Eden.
Yet the Bible also clearly teaches that all these events were predestined
by God prior to even the first act of Creation.
Further, the Bible not only teaches that God created what we call evil,
but that all evil is under His direct control. Thus the question is posed in scripture: “Does
evil befall a city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:6 RSV).
And what does the scriptures state is the source of darkness and evil?
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create
evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isa 45:7 KJV).
On the phrase, “I form the light, and create
darkness”, Barnes' Notes writes: “Light, in the Bible, is the emblem
of knowledge, innocence, pure religion, and of prosperity in general; and
darkness is the emblem of the opposite. Light here seems to be the emblem of
peace and prosperity, and darkness the emblem of adversity; and the sentiment of
the verse is, that all things prosperous and adverse are under the providential
control and direction of God. Of light, it is literally true that God made it;
and emblematically true that he is the source of knowledge, prosperity,
happiness, and pure religion. Of darkness, it is literally true also that the
night is formed by him; that he withdraws the light of the sun, and leaves the
earth enveloped in gloomy shades. It is emblematically true also that calamity,
ignorance, disappointment, and want of success are ordered by him; and not less
true that all the moral darkness, or evil, that prevails on earth, is under the
direction and ordering of his Providence”.
Ultimately, it is clear that the Bible teaches that God
is the All-Pervading Power that controls every aspect of Creation -- i.e., the
author of all things -- light and dark, good and bad -- and most importantly,
that there is a Divine Plan as expressed in the words: “The LORD of hosts
hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I
have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isa 14:24 KJV).
Based upon this very clear biblical fact, we must question when our
church authorities ignore what the Bible itself proclaims, and state that a man
has freewill -- that each man has the power to choose good or evil -- or even
that he exerts control over his own life, when the scriptures themselves pose
the question: “A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone
understand his own way?” (Prov 20:24 NIV).
In our modern day the Evangelical Christians condemn the
doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses -- and each of these sects condemn the
doctrines of the mainline liberal churches.
While Christian’s are forever finding fault in the system of beliefs
that have been adopted by other sects, it is important for the disciple in
search of truth to as the question as to what is the source of these many
doctrines of belief? The
Bible teaches that even the doctrines of error, and the very limited theories of
science are the result of the Lord's doing -- as it is written: “And if the
prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that
prophet” (Ezek 14:9 KJV). The
Bible teaches that in many instances, spiritual powers beyond the perception of
man are at work behind the scenes that are responsible for what we would call
the error and misconceptions of the world -- as it is written: “And the
LORD said, Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his
death there? One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came
forward, stood before the LORD and said, I will entice him. By what means? the
LORD asked. I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his
prophets, he said. You will succeed in enticing him, said the LORD. Go and do
it. So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets
of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you” (1 King 22:20-23 NIV).
These evil spirits sent from God are well documented in
the scriptures: “The LORD has mingled within her a spirit of confusion; and
they have made Egypt stagger in all her doings as a drunken man staggers in his
vomit” (Isa 19:14 RSV); “Then God sent an evil spirit between
Abimelech and the men of Shechem” (Judg 9:23 KJV); “And it came to
pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he
prophesied in the midst of the house” (1 Sam 18:10 KJV); “And the
evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with javelin in
his hand” (1 Sam 19:9 KJV) -- a javelin that, under the influence of the
evil spirit of the Lord, Saul threw at David in an attempt to kill him.
Christians are often seen finding fault with leaders and
governments because they are under the control of satanic forces.
Yet, they condemn these often barbaric leaders of government even though
the scriptures state that this too is the work of God: “For God has put it
into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their
power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled” (Rev 17:17 NIV).
Regarding the satanic control over the hearts of the leaders of world
government which the Lord Himself has ordained and brought about, the Matthew
Henry's Commentary writes: “By the powerful influence which God hereby
showed he had over the minds of great men. Their hearts were in his hand, and he
turned them as he pleased; for, (1.) It was of God, and to fulfill his will,
that these kings agreed to give their kingdom unto the beast; they were
judicially blinded and hardened to do so. And, (2.) It was of God that
afterwards their hearts were turned against the whore, to hate her, and to make
her desolate and naked, and to eat her flesh, and burn her with fire”.
How, then, can fault be found with these leaders of government and their
people, and be judged by the church when they were “judicially blinded and
hardened” to do the Will of God by giving their kingdoms over to the
control of the beast?
That man does not perceive and understand the forces that
work upon him is clearly foretold in the scriptures: “I also will choose
their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them” (Isa 66:4 KJV).
That man cannot live in accordance with the higher spiritual precepts of
God that have been put forth in the scriptures is also of the Lord's doing: “O
LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from
thy fear?” (Isa 63:17 KJV). That
man does not see and hear the true teachings of God is written in the words: “They
have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot
see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand” (Isa 44:18 KJV).
Christians claim that Jesus came to make all things plain
and clear to the people that they might know the Divine Plan of God.
Yet, they ignore the fact that even the New Testament warns the reader
that what Jesus taught will not be clear to the multitudes, and they can never
understand the true meaning of his words: “With them indeed is fulfilled
the prophecy of Isaiah which says: You shall indeed hear but never understand,
and you shall indeed see but never perceive” (Matt 13:14 RSV).
Therefore, the doctrines published by the church -- that Jesus came to
save all people -- are easily seen to be defective.
What the Bible states is that Jesus came to save a chosen few at the
expense of the larger body of Jewish believers -- a people that God promised
never to abandon.
Both Calvin and Augustine recognized that Paul saw it as
a grievous sin for man to even question God's determination towards mankind in
the words: “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the
thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this? Does not
the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for
honor and another for dishonor?” (Rom 9:20-21 NKJ).
Calvin went as far as to write that those people who even
question the biblical teaching of Divine Providence and predestination are
sinning: “Therefore as those are in error who make the power of election
dependent on the faith by which we perceive that we are elected, so we shall
follow the best order, if, in seeking the certainty of our election, we cleave
to those posterior signs which are sure attestations to it”.
What this means is that, if you have a loved one who is
destined to be thrown into the lake of fire, that you should simply accept their
suffering and demise -- and even celebrate the manifestation of their destiny as
an exercise of God “in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Eph
1:4-5 NIV). As a believer,
you recognize the biblical assertion that your loved ones are not saved because
God has chosen before the foundation of the world those who would be permitted
to come to Jesus: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and
ordained you” (John 15:16 KJV).
As believers, you understand that those who come to Jesus have been
directed into the church by the Father: “It is written in the prophets, And
they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath
learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45 KJV).
And only those who have been predestined will be raised up: “And
this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has
given me, but raise them up at the last day” (John 6:39 NIV).
As a believer church doctrine suggests that you do not
have the right to question the suffering and demise of your loved ones who are
not saved. Will you celebrate
in heaven when you and the Apostle Paul -- a man who was a killer and persecutor
of the followers of Christ -- look down into the lake of fire and gaze upon the
suffering of your loved ones who were by human standards saints in comparison to
Paul? Will you rejoice with
St. Constantine the Great -- another despot and diabolical sinner -- that God
chose to indiscriminately save some of the most evil men the world has ever
known, while your loved one who tried to live a good life, but did not come to
Christ, has been confined to the torments of hell f-o-r-e-v-e-r!
If Calvin is correct in his interpretation of the
scriptures, then your mere questioning as to why your loved ones were not saved
could in fact cause you to suffer their fate, even though you affirmed your
belief in Christ. In analysis
of the scriptures, Calvin states that those who question Divine Providence and
the Will of God in relation to the predestination of God's chosen people, or
even seek knowledge in order to understand why God chooses one and not another,
are themselves doomed: “Among the temptations with which Satan assaults
believers, none is greater or more perilous, than when disquieting them with
doubts as to their election, he at the same time stimulates them with a depraved
desire of inquiring after it out of the proper way. (See Luther in Genes. cap.
26.) By inquiring out of the proper way, I mean when puny man endeavors to
penetrate to the hidden recesses of the divine wisdom, and goes back even to the
remotest eternity, in order that he may understand what final determination God
has made with regard to him. In this way he plunges headlong into an immense
abyss, involves himself in numberless inextricable snares, and buries himself in
the thickest darkness. For it is right that the stupidity of the human mind
should be punished with fearful destruction, whenever it attempts to rise in its
own strength to the height of divine wisdom. And this temptation is the more
fatal, that it is the temptation to which of all others almost all of us are
most prone. For there is scarcely a mind in which the thought does not sometimes
rise, Whence your salvation but from the election of God? But what proof have
you of your election? When once this thought has taken possession of any
individual, it keeps him perpetually miserable, subjects him to dire torment, or
throws him into a state of complete stupor. I cannot wish a stronger proof of
the depraved ideas, which men of this description form of predestination, than
experience itself furnishes, since the mind cannot be infected by a more
pestilential error than that which disturbs the conscience, and deprives it of
peace and tranquility in regard to God. Therefore, as we dread shipwreck, we
must avoid this rock, which is fatal to every one who strikes upon it. And
though the discussion of predestination is regarded as a perilous sea, yet in
sailing over it the navigation is calm and safe, nay pleasant, provided we do
not voluntarily court danger. For as a fatal abyss engulfs those who, to be
assured of their election, pry into the eternal counsel of God without the word,
yet those who investigate it rightly, and in the order in which it is exhibited
in the word, reap from it rich fruits of consolation”.
By definition what Calvin is stating would be considered
the doctrine of what would be called an anti-Gnostic church: That the ways of
God are unknowable, and cannot be questioned.
But is Calvin, Augustine, and even Luther correct?
Thus, the modern Christian dilemma: Regardless of the fact that many
Christians do not like to admit it, the scriptures clearly state that everything
in the life of man is predestined and controlled, and yet mankind -- not God --
is responsible for the choices that God has made for him.
What we have here can in fact be somewhat compared to the thinking
displayed by many rapists who reasoned when they were caught: i.e., she made me
do it -- she asked for it -- it was the way she was dressed -- she said no, but
I knew she didn't mean it -- it's her fault that I rapped her.
Only when we begin to perceive the irrationality of these
anti-Gnostic doctrines -- doctrines that remain to this day the foundation of
Christian thought -- can we understand why Martin Luther distained the use of
reason when it was used in analysis of what he believed, and wrote that the
exercise of the mind and the use of reason is a hindrance to the believer.
Thus, we must clearly understand the foundation of the Church of the
Reformation in the words: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it
never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but - more frequently than not -
struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from
Again to put the problem in it’s proper perspective we
can review the wisdom and observation of the Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon when he
wrote: “The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one
straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel
until he knows how to look at the two lines at once…
The fault is in our weak judgment. Two
truths cannot be contradictory to each other.
If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is
fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is
responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that
leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other”.
The foundational tenet of the very anti-Gnostic modern
Christian doctrine is that man cannot be certain of anything. He cannot use his mind in a rational manner.
He does not even have control over the manner in which he thinks and
perceives life. When
confronted with evidence that manmade doctrines have infiltrated the church --
or that the Bible has been severely altered -- the believer is required to close
their hearts and minds and do not question the accepted doctrines of the church.
Therefore, from this rather depressed vision of reality, it is easy to
understand the doctrine that man is saved by faith alone -- and only through
faith in Jesus. Yet,
ultimately, from a biblical perspective, there is good reason to assert that
believers today cannot be sure of anything -- including whether God will turn
upon them as He did the Jews when He hardened their hearts and caused them to
ultimately reject Jesus.
From a modern Christian perspective which is drawn
directly from the pages of the Bible: The destiny of every person is decided
before they are even conceived. God
alone -- in accordance with His good pleasure -- decides who will be saved, and
who will suffer eternal damnation. The
saved person, who is just as much a sinner as the unsaved person, will go to
glory simply because God willed it. God,
who is the potter, has total power over the destiny of the clay (mankind) -- and
for His own glory creates some people as vessels of honor, and others as vessels
of dishonor. In view of the
fact that God controls their very thinking, as well as their every footstep,
what the Bible states is that the people themselves have absolutely no power
over their own lives to alter their destiny.
In the words of the 19th century theologian Robert
Haldane: “For, by acting in this manner, God has clearly shown that He is
the Sovereign Master in their calling and election, and of their rejection -
that He chooses and rejects as seems good to Him any of the sinful race of Adam,
all of whom are justly objects of His displeasure, without regarding natural
qualities which distinguish them from one another”.
Whether a man is to be saved, or condemned to eternal condemnation, or
whatever other fate befalls him, is solely the will of God in accordance with
In the Westminster Confession of Faith, which contains so
scriptural a summary of Christian doctrine:
“The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of
God, so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extendeth itself even
to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare
permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,
and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to
His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the
creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor
can be the author or approver of sin. The decrees of God are His eternal
purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He
hath fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass. God executeth His decrees in the
works of creation and providence. God's works of providence are, His most holy,
wise, and powerful preserving and governing all His creatures and all their
actions... God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct, dispose,
and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the
least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible
foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise
of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy… By the decree
of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are
predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting
In the words of Robert Haldane respecting the above
Westminster Confession of Faith: “In
these articles it is asserted that God fore-ordained, decreed, and willed the
existence of all the evil which 'comes to pass.' It is also said that God brings
His decrees or His will into effect by creation and His governing providence, by
which, in the exercise of His wisdom and holiness, He powerfully governs His
creatures, and superintends and directs, disposes and orders, all their actions.
According to the above truths, so well expressed in the Westminster Confession
of Faith, to which so many profess to adhere as containing their creed,
everything without exception, great and small, that has ever taken place, or
shall ever take place in heaven, or on earth, or in hell has from all eternity
been ordained by God, and yet so that the accountableness of the creature is not
in the smallest degree removed. This is declared in the clearest manner
respecting the greatest sin that ever was committed, even the crucifying of the
Lord of glory. It took place according to the express ordination of God, yet the
wickedness of those by whom it was perpetrated is explicitly asserted”.
Based upon Luther's doctrine of Faith, and Calvin’s
doctrine of Predestination, the new Christian Church that enlisted under the
banner of Protestantism had become the most narrow of theologies ever known to
man. Because man's works
accounted for nothing, the mark of the true Christian was one who suspended
their powers of mind and reason in the endeavor to believe whatever doctrines
the religious authorities of the church created.
They believed that to even question the will of God was a sin -- and
mankind could do nothing on his own accord that could save him.
Christians accepted that their lot in both life and the hereafter were
totally beyond their own control. Further,
even the faith that was necessary for their salvation was said to be a gift from
God. Therefore, even the
question of their faith was a matter of Divine Providence.
From the perspective of the emerging Protestant theology:
If everything that ever happened on earth, in heaven, and in hell, was
foreordained by God, then man's existence was reduced to that of a mere puppet.
Hell existed at the foreordination of God.
Adam fell at the foreordination of God.
By virtue of original sin -- which sin was foreordained by God -- mankind
was doomed because of his inherent sinful nature.
From the population of doomed men, God choose certain men to be saved --
men who were in many instances themselves the most immoral examples of creation
-- and they were saved even though they did nothing to deserve His grace.
The Jews, who sought to live in the Light of God, were rejected -- while
the diabolical heathens who rejected the Light of God, were received as God’s
chosen people. Mankind was
reduced to nothing, and had no say whatsoever over his destiny.
As stated in the Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia: Predestination was
“…God's eternal decree, by which he determined within himself what he willed
to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather,
eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others”
(Institutes 3. 21. 5).
The New Unger's Bible Dictionary quotes The Westminster
Confession, which it states is “the standard of the Church of Scotland and
of the various Presbyterian churches of Europe and America”, and writes
the following: “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel
of His own free will freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;
yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to
the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes
taken away, but rather established. Although God knows whatsoever may or can
come to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath He not decreed anything
because He foresaw its future, or as that which would come to pass upon such
conditions. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory some men
and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life and others foreordained to
everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained are
particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and
definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that
are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid,
according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good
pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His
mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or
perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as
conditions or causes moving Him thereto; and all to the praise of His glorious
grace. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal
and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.
Therefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,
are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by His Spirit working in due
season; are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith
unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called,
justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only. The rest of
mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will,
whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as He pleaseth, for the glory of His
sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor
and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice’”.
Unger's Bible Dictionary then goes on to conclude: “In
support of this doctrine several arguments are made by Calvinistic theologians:
(1) According to the Scriptures election is not of works but of grace; and that
it is not of works means that it is not what man does that determines whether he
is to be one of the elect or not. For the descendants of Adam this life is not a
probation. They stood their probation in Adam and do not stand each one for
himself. (2) The sovereignty of God in electing men to salvation is shown by the
fact that repentance and faith are gifts from God. These fruits of His Spirit
are the consequences and signs of election and not its conditions. (3) The
salvation that is of grace must be of grace throughout. The element of works or
human merit must not be introduced at any point in the plan. And that would be
the case if repentance and faith were the conditions of election. (4) The system
of doctrine called Calvinistic, Augustinian, Pauline, should not be thus
designated. That though taught clearly by Paul, particularly in (Rom. 8:9), it
was taught also by others of the writers of sacred Scripture, and by Christ
Himself. Reference is made to (Matt. 11:25-26; Luke 4:25-27; 8:10; John
6:37,39); etc. (5) That the sovereignty of God is evidenced in dispensing saving
grace is illustrated also in His establishing the temporal conditions of
mankind. Some are born and reared in the surroundings of civilization, others of
barbarism. And precisely so some are blessed with the light of the gospel, while
others, dwelling in pagan lands, are deprived of that light and consequently are
What the modern believer must come to understand is the
fact that the foundation of Christian doctrine that emerged out of the darkness
of the Middle Ages was one of desperation.
They inherited the good -- Jesus -- from a corrupt church that was
overrun by a legion of despots who used the political power of Christianity to
live lavish lifestyles and maintain rule over the people. For over a thousand years it had been unlawful for man
to even read the Bible. Why?
Because the scriptures are the sacred writings of a mystical sect of
Jewish Gnostics -- writings whose very nature are intended to undermine secular
establishments of institutionalized religion, and open the door to genuine
spiritual religion. Jewish Gnostics have no problem with the paradoxes of
life and creation. In fact,
they understood that it is the contemplation of these paradoxes that develops
the mind -- and by enlarging the mental facilities in conjunction with spiritual
cleansing, begins to open man's innate spiritual centers which enables the
disciple of the Light to draw closer to God.
Because the reformers of the Middle Ages were anti-Gnostics -- and they
deplored the tenets of Mysticism and Spirituality -- their only means of keeping
Jesus, and appear genuine by still retaining the necessary connection to the
Bible, was to outlaw the use of reason.
The problem is that reason is the very soil within which Spirituality and
Gnosticism flourish -- and Gnostic scriptures are totally incompatible with an
In view of the fact that the masses of people they were
dealing with were themselves of an irrational and superstitious mindset -- i.e.,
the worship of nature, religious relics and images, illogical methods of warding
off evil and bad luck, burning witches, killing cats because they were devils,
etc. -- the doctrine of unquestionable faith in an unknowable God was easy for
the people to accept -- in fact, it was a natural outgrowth of their irrational
and superstitious manner of thinking.
Moreover, these mindless doctrines were very much the
product of their time. The
people neither thought in the manner of Hebrew mystics -- a people who rejected
the rule of man in order to remain faithful to God -- a people whose writings
they seized and reinterpreted in accordance with their own manner of thinking.
Therefore, the people who emerged from the Dark Ages had been reared in a
cultural environment where there was no such thing as freedom of thought or the
exercise of the intellect. The
people were not sovereign -- royal families and monarchies were the norm.
Further, it was a very real fact of life that their leaders were often
the most corrupt, degenerate and depraved examples of humanity that could be
In the same way that the people accepted religious
leaders that, in Luther's words, “…Antichrist himself, if he should come,
could think of nothing to add to its wickedness”, and the greater number
of secular leaders who were themselves ordained and embraced by the church were
for the most part tyrannical despots, it was normal for the people not only to
accept irrationality and depravity in their leaders, but these same people
easily extended this concept of irrationality to a supreme power who would
affirm and approve these degenerate men who ruled over every aspect of their
lives. Because the Church of
the Roman Empire had plunged the western world into the Dark Ages, irrationality
was the very core of their mindset and view of the world and its creator.
There were of course those who opposed the tenets of the
doctrine of Predestination -- claiming that it made no sense that man was
responsible for his actions unless he possessed freewill -- but that meant that
they put forth their doctrine in direct contradiction to the scriptures.
On what authority could they oppose the Divine Word when the Bible itself
states that even in those instances where man is permitted the freedom to
choose, that this freedom was bestowed upon this select group of people only
because God ordained it -- and the supposed choice they arrived at was in fact
predetermined by God for that individual.
Thus, the very presence of what could be called freewill, from a biblical
perspective was in fact preordained by God.
How could they argue and oppose what the Bible clearly declares when it
can be demonstrated that man's exercise and demonstration of freewill is nothing
more than the illusion of freewill ordained by God for the express purpose of
making men falsely imagine that they actually possessed the ability to make
choices in their life apart from what the Hand of God has brought about?
Regardless of what we choose to believe today, or what
your clergy states, Calvin and Luther were not wrong in what they saw in the
scriptures. The Bible really
does say that all things in this life are predestined -- and to ignore this fact
-- as many modern churches have done -- is to close ones eyes to the written
To this great insight I would only add that from a modern
day doctrinal perspective, there can be no resolution to the problem.
Regardless of the fact that any student of the bible can easily go
through the scriptures and point out all the many places where it appears that
man has freewill and choices, this fact does not negate the numerous citations
of scripture where it states that everything is brought about by Divine
Providence, and man only possesses the illusion of choice.
In fact, since the time of Augustine in the fourth century, the Christian
world has been at an impasse with regard to the doctrines of predestination and
freewill. The greatest of
Christian minds have struggled with the problem, and no amount of biblical
research or theological perspective can resolve this great Christian dilemma --
The majority of readers will predictably say that they
don’t believe in predestination. They
believe that mankind has freewill, and that he is responsible for the choices he
makes in life. And I will
agree with this assertion -- but herein lies the problem: What the modern
Christian has done is parse the scriptures in the endeavor to cling to little
pieces they agree with, while ignoring the most important part of the written
word they must understand in order to embrace the Spiritual Gospel of Christ.
With good reason a great many Christians today simply
ignore the biblical doctrine of predestination, and believe more from an
instinctual perspective than a scriptural one.
They know that God is real because they can feel His presence and power
in their lives. Innately they
cling to the concept that “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love
dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16 KJV).
They fundamentally believe that, in the same way that “The LORD
detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him” (Prov
20:23 NIV), somehow there is an answer to the paradox of predestination and
freewill that is not only just and right, but is rational and worthy of God's
Wisdom and Ordination.
Can we simply ignore or embrace the paradoxes of the
Bible? This mindset of the
modern believers presents a problem that in effect brings about their own
spiritual demise. The problem
is that in the process of ignoring the paradoxes of the scriptures, and in not
seeking to understand the spiritual meaning -- a meaning that reveals their
inherent spiritual nature -- these well-meaning believers are negating the very
purpose for which the Bible was created -- which is to provide man the knowledge
that enables him to open the gate to the Kingdom and draw closer to God. More importantly, though, is the fatal mindset that
Christians have permitted themselves to become imbued with. They preach to others -- they condemn others -- they
judge others, and find fault with others -- they point to the scriptures to
prove the validity of their doctrines -- and yet, they only use these scriptures
in a superficial manner, resulting in the fact that they are incapable of
knowing the Will of God with respect to any event that transpires.
The result is that they make themselves New Covenant apostates when they
ignore their own Bibles -- Bibles which openly declare that the fault which they
observe in their brothers and sisters, as well as all the other people they
judge and condemn, has been brought about by the Hand of God.
While in the time of Luther and the Middle-age Reformers
it was easy to close ones eyes to many of the seemingly unfair realities of
life, this becomes ever more difficult in modern times.
Medical science has now begun to entertain the reality that every sort of
human depravity and what would be considered sinfulness has actually been
brought about by genetic patterns in the life of the individual.
What many experts now conclude is that freewill to choose one’s path in
life is largely an illusion. Thus,
modern science has once more confirmed the tenets of the Bible with respect to
the predestination of the individual by a power that is beyond their conscious
Perhaps no finer example of this emerging scientific
viewpoint can be brought to light that exceeds the present-day struggle in the
church than that of the plight of the homosexual to find acceptance among
Christians. The homosexual
contends that because they were born homosexual, and God in fact created them to
be predisposed to a same sex relationship, they should therefore be accepted as
normal in the church. In view
of the fact that the Bible itself confirms that God preordains everything in
life, the questions presented by the homosexual poses a very serious problem to
the church. If all men are
sinners who are equally forgiven by the blood of Jesus -- and the homosexual has
been predisposed by God into a life of same sex relationships -- and man is
saved by faith over works -- then the position of the homosexual would appear to
be reasonable when they claim that the promise of the New Covenant applies to
them as much as the heterosexual. Moreover,
if it is true that the homosexual has been predisposed to the lifestyle he is
living by the preordination of God, isn’t it a greater sin when the
heterosexual Christian judges and attempts to exclude the homosexual from full
membership in the church?
The problem is seen in the fact that the modern church
does not have an answer to the scriptural dilemma that the question of freewill
versus preordination presents to them.
In their anti-Gnostic perception of the Bible, they are therefore driven
by fear -- a fear that does not permit them to question the irrationality of
their beliefs or perception of God. They
are unable to answer the simple question that, if man's life and destiny is
preordained, how can he be blamed or faulted for what God has brought about?
If there is fault, then, how can that fault be attributed
solely to mankind -- the mere puppet of the Divine Will? Moreover, they fail to acknowledge that if God wanted
life on earth to be different than it is -- or has been -- then He has the power
to change it.
The only reasonable answer to the dilemma presented in
the scriptures is that modern Christians do not know -- they know and
acknowledge that they do not know -- and as a consequence, they believe that it
is beyond man's ability to know. In
this respect, they condemn what they do not know!
They endorse what they do not know!
In not knowing the reasons why, they in essence know nothing!
They proclaim that only faith in Jesus can save you -- and yet, they do
not possess the wherewithal to explain why God gives some men faith, and others
are denied this gift.
More importantly, from a scriptural perspective, they can
never know anything, until they first come to the realization that they know
absolutely nothing! And when
they oppose and are offended by this statement, isn't this the same exact
message that was stated by the Apostle when he warned believers: “If any
one imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to
know” (1 Cor 8:2 RSV)?
In the same way that they judge and condemn what they do
not understand, the very answer to their dilemma is found in the people they
condemned as heretics. In
those writings known as the Clementine Homilies, which were written by Clement,
the disciple of the Apostle Peter, speaking of the power of Simon Magus to
manipulate and deceive the minds of the Gentile believers, Peter states to
Clement: “And with us, indeed, who have had handed down from our
forefathers the worship of the God who made all things, and also the mystery of
the books which are able to deceive, he will not prevail; but with those from
amongst the Gentiles who have the polytheistic fancy bred in them, and who know
not the falsehoods of the Scriptures, he will prevail much. And not only he; but
if any other shall recount to those from among the Gentiles any vain, dreamlike,
richly set out story against God, he will be believed, because from their
childhood their minds are accustomed to take in things spoken against God. And
few there shall be of them, as a few out of a multitude, who through
ingenuousness shall not be willing so much as to hear an evil word against the
God who made all things. And to these alone from amongst the Gentiles it shall
be vouchsafed to be saved. Let not any one of you, therefore, altogether
complain of Simon, or of any one else; for nothing happens unjustly, since even
the falsehoods of Scripture are with good reason presented for a test”.
What Peter is saying is that the Gentile mind is easily
deceived and manipulated because they accept and believe evil things about God.
They believe that God ordains the slaughter of innocent children.
They believe that God holds all people accountable for the sin of Adam
and Eve. They believe that
God ordains the most degenerate examples of humanity, while condemning the
innocent to the “lake of fire” (Rev 20: 14-15).
Moreover, Peter states regarding the scriptures: “…but
with those from amongst the Gentiles who have the polytheistic fancy bred in
them, and who know not the falsehoods of the Scriptures, he will prevail
much”. What, then, we
should ask, are the falsehoods of the scriptures that Peter speaks of? What Peter is stating regarding the nature of scripture
is the same as was echoed twelve hundred years later by Moses Maimonedes, one of
the most respected Jewish theologians, historian, and Talmudist, where he writes
about the nature of scripture: “Every time that you find in our books a
tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both
reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory
veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter,
the deeper the wisdom of the spirit”.
When Peter says that the Gentile believers are easily
deceived by Simon Magus because in their polytheistic mindset -- i.e., that they
quite readily embrace the “falsehoods of the scriptures”, and believe
“an evil word against the God who made all things” -- perhaps the
finest proof of the validity of these words is the Christian understanding of
preordination and predestination. What
other excuse can be given when a people blindly believe that God for no reason
ordains some men to glory, and for no reason ordains others to destruction.
Moreover, what can be said with respect to those who claim to believe in
the revelation of the Bible, and yet choose to ignore this prevalent teaching of
the scriptures -- in effect saying that they know more than the authors of the
Bible -- when they promote the idea in opposition to the written word that man
From the perspective of the Hebrew mystics who authored
our Bible, the first and foremost principle of truth is this: God, the Creator
of the Universe and all things in it, is the most rational Being in existence.
The very idea that Christians will even entertain the notion that God
indiscriminately bestows blessings upon one man, and deprives another, or that
He raises up some for glory, while He raises up others for destruction, is
simply absurd. Moreover, the
idea that God ordains the destruction of innocent men, women and children, as is
believed by many Christians today, is simply not worthy of belief.
Further, Peter is correct in his assertion that the Gentile mind is
incapable of looking beyond the biblical stories that Moses Maimonedes states
are “repugnant to both reason and common sense”.
What is being stated here by both Peter, the man who
according to Christian tradition was appointed to be the rock of the church (Mt
16:18), and one of the foremost Jewish theologians, is that there are events in
the scriptures that are not historically accurate, and there are evils
attributed to God that are not true.
Yet we, a people who do not know either what, or why God predestines, or
what choices man has in the Divine scope of reality, say that these men are in
error. Foolishly, in the
folly of our judgment, we fail to recognize the fact that in our inability to
understand the nature and conditions of life with respect to freewill and
predestination, we are incapable of explaining the relationship of the most
important aspects of our religious foundation.
In the early Church there were men of great spiritual
knowledge who understood the mysteries of God.
These men correctly grasped the reality that the wisdom of God is so far
beyond the comprehension of carnal man.
These men and women of an elevated vision knew that the very idea that
God moves in an irrational manner, and indiscriminately saves some, while
condemning others to destruction, would be viewed as a doctrine of foolishness
and ignorance. The problem is
that the church which calls itself Christian, either condemned or killed these
wise men who knew the secret to the dilemma that plagues the believer today.
Thus, because of our inability to merge the two lines into One, we have
in fact alienated ourselves from the very gospel message we claim to champion.
Everything that God does, He does for a reason -- and
this reason has only one purpose -- i.e., the perfection and return of His
Prodigal Sons. God is not
unfair -- neither is God unjust -- He does not move indiscriminately -- there
are no accidents -- neither are their victims who have not themselves invoked
their own suffering. Further,
if we fail to understand the reasons why everything in life is the way it is,
the fault is not with God -- but rather, is the product of our own blindness and
inability to understand the laws that control this realm of existence.
The answer to the all-confining dogmatic box that the
institutionalized church has imprisoned themselves within, is readily found in
the writings of the first people of the New Covenant -- the Essenes -- as well
as the original followers of Christ known as the Nazirene/Ebionites -- as well
as the writings of the early Gentile Christian Church who, unlike the church of
the middle ages, were very Gnostic in their perception of Life and Creation.
Thus, all we have to do is look to the very people whom the Church of
Rome condemned as heretics, and seek the answer to the dilemma from the Lord,
and we will find true freedom in the illumination of the Light and the opening
of the gate to the promised Kingdom.
Church on Predestination and Reincarnation: In the words of the third century Church Father Origen --
the man St. Gregory of Nyssa called “the prince of Christian learning in
the Third Century”, the man condemned by the Emperor Justinian who held
similar views regarding the soul of man as did Darwin: “We have frequently
shown”, writes Origen, “by those declarations which we were able to
produce from the holy Scriptures, that God, the Creator of all things, is good,
and just, and all-powerful… But since those rational creatures themselves, as
we have frequently shown, and will yet show in the proper place, were endowed
with the power of free-will, this freedom of will incited each one either to
progress by imitation of God, or reduced him to failure through negligence…
Now God, who deemed it just to arrange His creatures according to their merit,
brought down these different understandings into the harmony of one world, that
He might adorn, as it were, one dwelling, in which there ought to be not only
vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay (and some indeed to honor,
and others to dishonor), with those different vessels, or souls, or
understandings. And these are the causes… why that world presents the aspect
of diversity, while Divine Providence continues to regulate each individual
according to the variety of his movements, or of his feelings and purpose. On
which account the Creator will neither appear to be unjust in distributing (for
the causes already mentioned) to every one according to his merits; nor will the
happiness or unhappiness of each one's birth, or whatever be the condition that
falls to his lot, be deemed accidental; nor will different creators, or souls of
different natures, be believed to exist” (De Principiis, Bk 2 Ch 9).
What Origen is stating is that, in the beginning, each
soul was created equal and the same, and their place in life is not the result
of an accident, or the indiscriminate manifestation of God's Will in the form of
Divine Providence -- but rather, each soul's lot in life is the result of the
exercise of their own freewill, and consequently is arranged “according to
their merit”. This
merit is not the result of some unknown condition -- but rather, is imposed upon
each individual in accordance with what they have accomplished in their previous
Origen then goes on to demonstrate this truth by using
the very example which the Apostle Paul gave with regard to Esau and Jacob, and
writes: “‘What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?' And
that he might furnish us with an opportunity of inquiring into these matters,
and of ascertaining how these things do not happen without a reason, he answers
himself, and says, 'God forbid.' For the same question, as it seems to me, which
is raised concerning Jacob and Esau, may be raised regarding all celestial and
terrestrial creatures, and even those of the lower world as well. And in like
manner it seems to me, that as he there says, 'The children being not yet born,
neither having done any good or evil,' so it might also be said of all other
things, 'When they were not yet' created, 'neither had yet done any good or
evil, that the decree of God according to election may stand,' that (as certain
think) some things on the one hand were created heavenly, some on the other
earthly, and others, again, beneath the earth, 'not of works' (as they think),
'but of Him who calleth,' what shall we say then, if these things are so? 'Is
there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.' As, therefore, when the Scriptures
are carefully examined regarding Jacob and Esau, it is not found to be
unrighteousness with God that it should be said, before they were born, or had
done anything in this life, 'the elder shall serve the younger;' and as it is
found not to be unrighteousness that even in the womb Jacob supplanted his
brother, if we feel that he was worthily beloved by God, according to the
deserts of his previous life, so as to deserve to be preferred before his
God did not hate Esau and love Jacob for no reason!
To even believe such a preposterous concept of Divine Wisdom is to affirm
Peter's assertion that the Gentiles believe these absurdities because “their
minds are accustomed to take in things spoken against God.
Respecting the Divine Order of Creation, Origen then continues referring
to the Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and goes on to explain: “For God must
be believed to do and order all things and at all times according to His
judgment. For the words which the apostle uses when he says, ‘In a great house
there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth,
and some to honor and some to dishonor;' and those which he adds, saying, 'If a
man purge himself, he will be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the
Master's use, unto every good work,' undoubtedly point out this, that he who
shall purge himself when he is in this life, will be prepared for every good
work in that which is to come; while he who does not purge himself will be,
according to the amount of his impurity, a vessel unto dishonor, i.e., unworthy.
It is therefore possible to understand that there have been also formerly
rational vessels, whether purged or not, i.e., which either purged themselves or
did not do so, and that consequently every vessel, according to the measure of
its purity or impurity, received a place, or region, or condition by birth, or
an office to discharge, in this world. All of which, down to the humblest, God
providing for and distinguishing by the power of His wisdom, arranges all things
by His controlling judgment, according to a most impartial retribution, so far
as each one ought to be assisted or cared for in conformity with his deserts. In
which certainly every principle of equity is shown, while the inequality of
circumstances preserves the justice of a retribution according to merit. But the
grounds of the merits in each individual case are only recognized truly and
clearly by God Himself, along with His only-begotten Word, and His Wisdom, and
the Holy Spirit”.
Origen again demonstrates that our lot in life is the
result of our own deserts, and writes: “For God the Creator makes a certain
vessel unto honor, and other vessels to dishonor; but that vessel which has
cleansed itself from all impurity He makes a vessel unto honor, while that which
has stained itself with the filth of vice He makes a vessel unto dishonor. The
conclusion from which, accordingly, is this, that the cause of each one's
actions is a pre-existing one; and then every one, according to his deserts, is
made by God either a vessel unto honor or dishonor. Therefore every individual
vessel has furnished to its Creator out of itself the causes and occasions of
its being formed by Him to be either a vessel unto honor or one unto dishonor.
And if the assertion appear correct, as it certainly is, and in harmony with all
piety, that it is due to previous causes that every vessel be prepared by God
either to honor or to dishonor, it does not appear absurd that, in discussing
remoter causes in the same order, and in the same method, we should come to the
same conclusion respecting the nature of souls, and (believe) that this was the
reason why Jacob was beloved before he was born into this world, and Esau hated,
while he still was contained in the womb of his mother”.
Everything that we know about Creation affirms to us the
great reality that all things are controlled by natural laws.
Whether it be the movement of the heavenly bodies, the atmospheric and
elemental currents of the world in which we dwell, right down to the atomic and
genetic fabric and structure of life itself.
All of life is immersed in a sea of natural law that controls every
aspect of creation. The very
prediction of the atomic bomb as theorized by Einstein, is proof that once man
is able to envision the laws that control every aspect of Creation, he is able
to successfully foresee the eventual results.
The underlying principle of the scriptures that is
confirmed by the people of the New Covenant -- whether Jewish or Gentile --
prior to the institutionalization of the church in the fourth century, is that
our deeds and accomplishments in life remain with us -- and because of our
interaction with the natural laws that control this world, it is our own deeds,
caused by our own actions, that is returned to us in the future -- which future
can be in our present life, or a future life when we again re-enter this world.
The person who is in touch with their soul and spiritual
natures knew instinctively that this carnal and barbaric perception of God,
which has been portrayed by the church, is defective.
In fact, many Atheists and non-believes reject God because of the
outlandish image which the church promotes.
Innately, they knew that the Supreme Creator of the Universe could not be
the irrational God portrayed by the Christian Church.
Though they did not always comprehend the reason why, they knew that life
as we know it is the result of a Supreme Intelligence at work, and every event
in the life of all people are brought about for a purpose.
Those who possessed the desire to search for the Truth, were always
rewarded -- and what they learned was that every event in life is caused by a
pre-existent reason -- and these events which are brought about by the Laws
which control all of Creation, are in fact based upon our own deeds and actions.
Heed the words of the Apostle when he warned: “Do
not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal 6:7
NIV). If a soul, then, enters
this world as a “vessel of wrath prepared for destruction” (Rom
9:22), that soul is responsible for their lot in life that was brought about by
virtue of his own pre-existent deeds and actions.
If a soul enters this life as a “vessel for honor” (Rom 9:21
NKJ), this good that has been inherited is the result of that soul’s efforts
to “cleanse himself” from the defilements of this world, in order
that “he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master,
prepared for every good work” (2 Tim 2:21 NKJ).
That our deeds and the desires of our heart -- whether
good, bad or indifferent -- remain with us as we interact with the Laws of
Creation that God invoked when this realm came into existence, is the
understanding that we must possess in order for us to even begin to comprehend
the biblical doctrine of predestination -- and ultimately the Bible and Life
itself. That the reformers of
the Middle Ages did not possess this understanding, and they were unable to
explain the great void that existed in their thinking and understanding,
resulted in their reactionary position condemning the very use of the mind and
the exercise of reason among Christians.
Politically, they had no other choice.
How were they to maintain their position of authority among the body of
believers, when they were unable to explain the to the people the reason that
God moves in the manner that He does.
They could not!
we ask the question as to why the Middle-age Reformers were forced by the void
in their perception of the Word to take an anti-Gnostic view of the Gospel, and
condemn the very use of reason among Christians?
Their error was the result of their own Darwinist mindset that was in
direct opposition to the spiritual mindset that was the foundation of the
teachings of the New Covenant. Moreover,
our only fault today is that we have failed to re-evaluate the doctrines we have
inherited from previous generations of Christians in light of the new-found
knowledge that God has placed in our hands -- and the fact that we have not
sufficiently cleansed ourselves in order to learn through the illumination of
the Holy Spirit.
is no reason to believe the doctrines of men with regard to the Mysteries of
God. In like manner, there is
no reason to believe a word that I write. The promise of the New Covenant is that when we begin
to open our eyes and perception to these truths of a spiritual nature -- truths
that were possessed by the early church and thrown away when Christianity became
institutionalized in the fourth century -- we will be able to begin to embrace
the Mysteries of God that Jesus taught to his disciples.
With regard to the events of this life: Only when we begin to realize
that we are immersed in a sea of natural law -- that by virtue of this law we
come into this life in accordance with our own past deeds -- can we even begin
to bring together the two lines within the body of the scripture which the Rev.
Charles Spurgeon wrote about: “The system of truth revealed in the
Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a
right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once…
That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few
can see clearly. They are believed
to be inconsistent and contradictory, but they are not. The fault is in our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other.
If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is
fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is
responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that
leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other”
(Charles H. Spurgeon, Autobiography Vol. 1: The Early Years. pp. 173, 174).
I have demonstrated beyond a doubt is the existence of numerous voids and black
holes in our understanding about the most essential elements of our religion --
elements that each of us should desire to examine and learn more about with
respect to what we believe. One of the great promises of the scriptures is this: “If
you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32 NKJ).
The Bible does not say that you will believe the truth -- have faith in
the truth -- belong to a church that professes to know the truth -- and neither
does it say you will be appraised of the truth.
In fact, the promise of the scriptures is so profoundly personal, that
the word “know”, in this verse, has the same meaning as that where
Adam “knew” Eve, and had sexual intercourse.
The word “know”, as used in this promise, is not theoretical,
philosophical or doctrinal -- but rather, experiential -- to the degree that the
promise to the disciple is that they will become intimately conjoined with the
truth and God's Divine Plan for mankind.
Moreover, in the same way that when Adam knew Eve a child was conceived
-- when the genuine Christian opens his heart and mind to the Lord to the degree
that he/she becomes a holy and consecrated abode for the Light, then it is the
Child of Truth that is conceived within the disciple.
The knowledge that Jesus spoke of then, was the result of the
disciple’s intercourse with God. This
is the essence of the Hebrew Gnosticism that we now know is the true foundation
of the genuine Christian faith.
message that is conveyed in the scriptures is that the disciples of the Christ
will not only hear the truth -- but rather, see the truth, taste the truth, and
be totally immersed in the truth, as a fish is in the water.
The disciples of Christ will understand the natural laws that control
this realm, and they will understand that each person's lot in life is the
result of their own deeds and desires of the heart materialized by virtue of the
laws that manifest ones own past in their present life.
pattern of religion that was preached by Paul is indicative of that condition
when the disciples of Christ are released from their own past sins and inequity
through the grace they inherit as children of The Way.
They understand that man is not saved by dead works and rituals, but
through the grace that has been given to them by virtue of their spiritual
cleansing from the defilements of this world.
It is from the perspective of this total immersion and cleansing
that the Disciple John wrote: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil
has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested,
that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does
not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been
born of God” (1 Jn 3:8-9).
it is true that all have sinned -- but the genuine Christian no longer sins --
as seen in the Apostle of faiths own words: “What shall we say then? Shall
we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died
to sin live any longer in it? …knowing this, that our old man was crucified
with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer
be slaves of sin… Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you
should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of
unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the
dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not
have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then?
Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you
not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's
slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading
to righteousness?” (Rom 6:1-16 NKJ).
we no longer possess the same spiritual vision and mindset which was the
foundation upon which the Apostle Paul wrote his epistles, we cannot even
conceive of man's true potential as the prodigal sons of our Eternal Father.
It is therefore beyond our ability to even envision the concept expressed
by Paul that the followers of Christ are expected to live a holy life that is
free from the constraints of sin. It
is true when the Apostle writes: “As it is written: There is no one
righteous, not even one… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God” (Rom 3:10;23 NIV) -- but as the prodigal sons of our Heavenly Father,
we have been forced into lives of toiling and trials by God Himself -- i.e., “For
God has consigned all men to disobedience…” (Rom 11:1-32 RSV) -- because
“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will
be my son” (Rev 21:7 NIV). From
a biblical perspective, once a disciple of the Lord has been cleansed and made
whole, they are to “sin no more” (John 5:14; 8:11) -- and, “Whoever
abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him”
(1 Jn 3:6 NKJ).
believers at Corinth of whom Paul said they had been taught
“all utterance and all knowledge” concerning the “testimony
of Christ”, had not yet received the great profound truths of the Spirit
(1 Cor 1:5-6 NKJ), as seen in the words of the Apostle: “I fed you with
milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and
even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal” (1 Cor 3:2-3
NKJ). Paul even went as far as explaining to the believers at
Corinith that the “natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of
God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they
are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14 KJV), and informs them that they
are too “carnal, and walk as men” (1 Cor 3:3 KJV) -- and though they
have been baptized, and had received the Good News of the Gospel of Christ, and
possessed all the knowledge of the testimony of Christ, because they were yet
carnal, they could not comprehend the true Mysteries and Revelations of God.
to frame the problem in the exact message which the scriptures reveal to the
people of the simple faith -- i.e., those who have received “all utterance
and all knowledge” concerning the (historical) “testimony of
Christ” -- are not yet able to understand the paradoxes of the Bible,
because not being spiritual, they are not yet intimate with God's Enlightening
Spirit. It is of paramount
importance for us to recognize the exact message that Paul very clearly stated
with respect to the fact that what he wrote in his epistles was not the higher
knowledge that could only be imparted to the spiritually mature -- but rather,
the milk of the gospel that was intended for the edification of the Gentile
converts who were too carnal to perceive the Mysteries of God through their own
indwelling spiritual nature. What
Paul very plainly writes is that it is only the disciple -- he who is intimate
and totally immersed in the life of the Lord -- who can understand the Divine
Plan for mankind. It was for
this reason that the Gentile followers of Paul were historically known as
Gnostic Christians -- i.e., those who possessed the Knowledge derived directly
from Spiritual Sources.
of the paramount warnings of Jesus was that a genuine follower cannot be divided
between an allegiance to this world, and attempt to become a disciple of the
Light. Why would he say this?
Why can’t we just believe -- live a good life -- and inherit the
promise of the scriptures? Why?
It is not a matter of being taught.
In order to comprehend spiritual truths and man’s spiritual reality, it
is absolutely necessary to develop those parts of our mind that relate to our
soul and spiritual natures. The
mysteries, then, belong only to those who are themselves spiritual.
This great truth is confirmed in the words of Jesus to his disciples: “The
secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside
everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never
perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding” (Mark 4:11-12 NIV).
spoke in parables because the mysteries and secrets of God cannot be preached
and taught in the manner that we do today -- but rather, must be revealed “precept
upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little”
28:10 KJV) -- as the disciple is transformed from a carnal believer, into a
disciple in search of the Kingdom, and eventually into a true Child of God.
The prodigal son cannot return to his father philosophically!
He must raise himself us, leave the far country behind him, and commence
to walk in The Way which leads him on his journey home to the Kingdom from which
he originally emerged. Yet,
we must never forget that it is necessary to return in steps.
In the same way that we cannot take a child of tender years and enroll
him in graduate studies, it is impossible to convey to the natural mind of
carnal man the Mysteries of God that can only be perceived by the mature
spiritual mind of the prodigal son who has returned home to the Kingdom from
which he originated.
become manifest in this life through the process of physical birth, in order to
inherit the promise of the scriptures whereby we enter into Life, we must
complete the process by embracing and bringing about the next stages of soul and
spiritual birth. Our soul
which is that part of us which has developed as the result of all of our
experiences since the dawn of time as we understand it, is the essence of our
mental self. Understanding
this, the Hebrew and Gentile Gnostics placed great importance on the acquisition
of knowledge -- experiential knowledge gained through direct contact with our
indwelling soul and spiritual natures -- because the next stage of (soul) birth
is that of Mind. Thus, where
the original teachings of The Way provided a means for physical man to transcend
the three-dimensional limitations of this world in the endeavor to embrace the
Anointing (Christ/Messiah) of the Light -- which Light reveals the Knowledge of
all aspects of Creation to the mind of the disciple -- but the essence and
purpose of New Covenant teachings became lost when Christianity was converted to
the religion of Pagan Rome.
very word Christ or Messiah indicates one whose mind has been Anointed by the
Light. When Paul wrote to the
Hebrews: “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated,
you endured a great struggle with sufferings…” (Heb 10:32 NKJ), the word
illumination is totally inconsistent with terms such as faith and belief which
is the focal point of Christianity today, and indicates the enlightenment and
anointing/illumination of the mind. This process of illumination of mind through the
Anointing of the Light, is perhaps best portrayed by the Apostle Paul when he
speaks of the mission which he was ordained to perform, as seen in the words: “…to
open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the
power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an
inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18 NKJ).
first element of the equation is for the believer to “…open their eyes”.
The second is for the believer to “…turn from darkness to light”. This is accomplished through the act of genuine
worship, which is the Imitation of Christ in every aspect of the disciple’s
life. This total consecration
and embracing of the Light, brings about a release “…from the power of
Satan to God”. And as
the disciple begins to live their life as a citizen of the Heavenly Kingdom,
only then are they able to “…receive forgiveness of sins and an
inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith…” in the Lord.
Thus, the religion of Martin Luther and the Protestant Middle-age
Reformers was an anti-Gnostic church which being fundamentally quasi-Darwinist
in its self-imposed three-dimensional limitations of expression, attempted to
make the literal and historical interpretation of the scriptures as the focal
point of the new religion, and thereby severed itself from the spiritual realm
which Jesus called the Kingdom that each of us must return to in order to enter
into Life. Where Martin
Luther condemned the use of the mind, the essence of New Covenant thought
embraced the development of mind through the illumination of the Anointed Mind
of the disciple.
whole of the New Testament is a continual theme where the disciple is taught the
Sacred Secrets and Mysteries of God from the One True Source of all Knowledge --
the indwelling Light which is called the Son of God.
As the disciple moves closer to the Light, they begin to see and
comprehend all things with respect to the workings, pattern and purpose of
Creation. Through the
illumination of the mind, the disciple learns how all things came into existence
-- why the events that are presently taking place are manifest -- and how the
past and present will bring about the future in accordance with God’s Divine
Plan that envelopes every aspect of Creation.
Thus, the very term Christian, which denotes one who has received the
Anointing of the Light, has nothing to do with a people who call themselves by
that name and continue to dwell in darkness under the power of the god of this
world. Because the religion
of Martin Luther in effect severed the congregation from the illumination of the
indwelling Light, and instead focused the mind of the believer on the historical
personage of Jesus, the new church became a body of wannabe Christians -- rather
than Genuine Spiritual Christians. Being severed from the spiritual essence of New Covenant
thought, they therefore worshiped in temples made with hands, rather than the
One True Spiritual Temple that must be accessed as the disciple enters through
the “strait gate” along the narrow path that leads to Life.
Luther, who championed the gospel of Paul by rejecting the testimony of the
disciples of Jesus, undermined the whole essence of what Paul taught when he
ignored the words of the Apostle when he wrote: “Therefore, from now on, we
regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according
to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer” (2 Cor 5:16 NKJ).
That the true Christian must transcend the flesh, and become a spiritual
being, is further seen in the words of Paul when he wrote: “There is
therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk
according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit… He condemned sin in the
flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do
not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live
according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who
live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally
minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the
carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor
indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom
a modern perspective, Christians today cannot even begin the process of the next
stage of birth and spiritual transformation, because they do not possess the
knowledge necessary to comprehend the Divine Plan of Creation.
In clinging to faith in the historical personage of Jesus, and in failing
to prepare themselves physically and mentally to permit the entrance of the
Light into their life, they alienate themselves from the Living Word that is
attempting to enlighten and illumine their understanding.
In their failure to look beyond the flesh, they neither perceive the
pre-existent conditions that have brought about the events of life, or the
results that these events are intended to manifest -- and not knowing or
understanding the basic premises of life itself, they become entangled in their
own judgment of events which they very clearly do not possess the ability to
comprehend. The result is
that they violate the Royal Law of God -- a Law that the Bible continually warns
the believer not to ignore -- and they make themselves apostates to the New
Covenant when they judge what they do not understand.
Ultimately, in their parochial viewpoints, judgments and condemnations of
things they do not possess the wherewithal to comprehend, in their blindness
they in fact judge God. Thus,
it is impossible for Christians today to move beyond the “elementary
teachings about Christ and go on to maturity” (Heb 6:1 NIV), because in
their judgment of God and the events of life that they do not understand, they
become entangled in the very Laws that keep mankind from comprehending the
Divine Will. Moreover, it is
impossible for them to know the truth, until they are first able to understand
God's plan for mankind.
order for you to mature and perfect your walk with the Lord, it is absolutely
imperative that you possess the knowledge of the sacred truths that Jesus taught
his faithful disciples -- truths that are referred to as being revealed only to
those who were with Jesus “in the house”.
In view of the fact that it has already been demonstrated that your own
physical body is the house which the scriptures speak of, then you must first
embrace the milk, and then the meat of the Gospel in order to learn directly
from the Lord.
Bible is neither a chronicle of history, or a declaration of what to believe --
but rather, it is a handbook that directs the prodigal sons on their return trip
home. In order to begin the
journey, you must recognize that neither the church of this world, science, nor
the philosophy of men, can provide you with the answers to the many paradoxes of
life that can only be overcome by expanding one's vision and understanding of
life and ones own self. If
the church, science, or philosophy assists you in opening the door to the
Kingdom within you -- then it is beneficial. If the church, science, or philosophy focuses your
attention of the things created, instead of the Source of Creation, then it is
not good -- and this is the message of Paul in the first chapter to the Epistle
to the Romans.
philosophy of Darwin conveys to us that man had his genesis in the slime of the
earth. While it is true that
man’s physical body is comprised of the elements of the earth, his soul and
spirit is not of this world. In
view of this fact the Essenes and earliest of Christians viewed the physical
body as a prison from which the soul and spirit of man must overcome the
limitations of. This
perception of the physical body is especially taken note of by the first century
Jewish historian Josephus who writes of the doctrines of the Essenes: “For
their doctrine is this, that bodies are corruptible, and that the matter they
are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal, and continue for
ever: and that they come out of the most subtile air, and are united to their
bodies as to prisons, into which they are drawn by a certain natural enticement;
but when they are set free from the bonds of flesh, they then, as released from
a long bondage, rejoice and mount upward…”.
order to comprehend the higher reality which is revealed in the scriptures, we
must begin to understand that man is born from the essence of two worlds --
i.e., the body that is his vessel in this realm is very much of the earth; but
his mind which is an embryonic image of his pre-existent soul, is a reflective
expression of its source that originates in spiritual realms.
If, then, you desire to increase your conscious awareness of your true
self, you must begin to open your mind to the reality that, like the prodigal
son, you originated from another world -- that you are positioned in your
present station of life in accordance with your own past accomplishments --
which past has triangulated in the present with your future -- whereby your past
is presently working in conjunction with the direction you are moving to bring
about the process of your arrival at your eventual destiny -- which destiny is
the return of the prodigal son to the Kingdom of his Father.
bringing your past and future together into the moment of the present time, you
must become consciously aware that you are the person you are today, because of
the Hand of God acting upon your mind and being to bring about your maturity and
destiny in accordance with your soul’s own past actions and accomplishments?
While the Apostle’s words are true when he wrote: “For all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Rom 3:23 KJV), it is also
true that the old world of sin passes away for those who have been born in
Christ: “…knowing this, that our old self was crucified… that our body
of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for
he who has died is freed from sin” (Rom 6:6-7 NAS).
total transformation of the carnal self is perhaps best captured in the words of
Paul where he wrote: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your
earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which
is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in
these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all
such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from
your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with
its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge
in the image of its Creator” (Col 3:5-10 NIV).
The key, then, to putting away the old self who was of the flesh, is seen
in the words of Paul when he states that we must be “…renewed in
knowledge in the image of its Creator”
-- which is our indwelling spiritual nature that is not of this world.
make progress when we take what God gives us, and make the most of the
opportunity. What this means
is that you are predestined to your present station in life because of your own
past -- and the exercise of your freewill is the determining factor with regard
to your future. Simply put,
if you have used your freewill in the past to bring you into the jungles and
ghettos of life, why do you attempt to place the blame on anyone other than
the Bible states with regard to predestination is that as you progress from life
to life in the journey of the soul, you will reap exactly what you have sown in
your own past. That the
church while under the control of Pagan Rome had thrown away the keys of
knowledge, and no longer understood the process by which the soul of man is
perfected, is not a fault which can be attributed to God.
That the Lord's Anointed -- His Christ/Messiah -- has come and
demonstrated with his own life the manner in which we must live in order to
change our direction in our quest to return to the Kingdom -- and that we
instead remain attached to this realm and refuse to follow in his footsteps --
is not the fault of our Heavenly Father.
That this process of perfection will continue -- indefinitely -- until we
do follow the pattern of return, is a reality that we must come to terms with.
are no accidents -- and you have been predestined into the life you are living
based upon your past in conjunction with the requirements that must be met in
order to embrace your future destiny.
It is therefore paramount to ask the question: What are you presently
accomplishing with your gift of life?
If you are a religious person and go to church, then you must ask
yourself the question: If it is the Hand of God that has brought you into the
church, does it mean anything that you are not there on your own accord, but of
God's direct influence? If you are a non-believer, and like many modern
non-believers today, you see yourself as being enlightened, and you feel that
you are intellectually superior to the believer because you are able to
recognize the many flaws in church doctrine -- unless you recognize that it is
the Hand of God that has enabled you to see these flaws, your limited knowledge
is meaningless. The question
that you must ask yourself is this: Does it mean anything that you possess this
insight to see either the merits or the fallacies of modern religious doctrine,
only because God wanted you to see certain facts more clearly than the other
person? Moreover, in our very
limited understanding of Creation, doesn’t each person’s individual
perception also contain a germ of truth?
the parable in the twenty second chapter of Matthew where the king invites those
called to the wedding feast of his son, and those invited do not come because of
the cares of this world, and others are instead invited, what we must understand
is that all roads in life lead to the Kingdom -- whether in the church or out --
but the Hand of God can only bring us so far before the journey becomes a mutual
endeavor where the Lord directs and we must follow.
you will accept that the scriptures are correct, and the Hand and Will of God
impacts every aspect of your life -- regardless of the fact of whether you are a
believer, a non-believer, or even a confirmed Atheist -- what is important to
each of us is to begin to understand to what degree you are responsible for the
result of your choices? That
God desires you to see and experience life from a certain perspective -- as the
scriptures affirm -- is responsible for your present station in life.
Now that you have arrived at the starting point of your journey, we must
then pose the next question: Do you know what is expected of you?
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did the Disciples of Yeshua/Jesus believe?
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