Etikettarkiv | decree

FREE WILL is in the Bible, as well as CHOOSE

narrow gateIt’s interesting that words such as sovereign, sovereignty, depraved and depravity are not mentioned in the Bible (KJV), but free will, and choose are used several times – in relation to man’s ability to choose between two or more options. These words must not be present in the Bible for them to be true, because the Bible is replete with people who make choices – and often very bad choices against God’s will. We certainly can’t accomplish all the things we want in this world, but free will is often labeled as the ability to make contrary choices.

The lack of a word in the Bible is of course not necessarily evidence for that the concept of this word is non-existent in the Bible, because most christians believe in both monotheism and the trinity without the actual presence of these words. However, if the words themselves are not present in the Bible, then at least the concept of them must be there – just as the case is with monotheism and trinity. Problems start to arise when people change meanings of words, or add ideas into the Bible that simply aren’t there.

God is ”sovereign” but certainly not in the way that reformed believers suggest. A sovereign God can do whatever he wants, including creating man with free will.

Matt. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into thekingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

He who does the will of God the Father? I thought 100% of all people always did his will – in the calvinistic world?

Free will in the Bible

The following verses are mainly about man’s free will offerings, but if all of our offers are based on God’s decree and predestination, why even using expressions such as ”and of every one that willingly offered a free will offering unto the Lord” as though there is a free will and an actual choice involved? In the reformed view, are not 100% of all offers based on God’s will alone? So why all these confusing ”free will” terms? Isn’t it also strange that words must change meanings in order to fit with a preferred doctrine? It seems like some words have one meaning outside of the Bible, and another meaning inside the Bible – such as the term Free Will. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Leviticus 22:18 Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering;

Numbers 15:3 And will make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the Lord, of the herd or of the flock

Ezra 3:5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the Lord.

Ezra 7:16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

Psalm 54:6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O Lord; for it is good.

Hosea 14:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

”Choose” – chooseExamples where God is asking man to choose between options, and/or indications of that man can choose the wrong path

Deut. 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.—14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.—19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.—27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

2 Sam. 24:10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. (+ 1 Chron. 21:10-11)

Prov. 1:28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Prov. 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Is. 41:23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.

Is. 56:4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Is. 65:12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

Is. 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Ez. 21:18 The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying,19 Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city

Phil. 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which isfar better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, (NKJV)

”Chose” and ”chosen” – Examples in past tense, where God is asking man to choose between options, and/or indications of that man can choose the wrong pathcalvinism 4

 Gen. 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Gen. 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other

Jud. 10:13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation

1 Sam. 8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.—18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; (1 Sam. 12:13)

Ps. 119:173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

Is. 66:3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Jer. 8:1 At that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:—3 And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the Lord of hosts.—5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 14:7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. (NKJV)

Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Acts 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Annonser

Who is he that saith, and IT COMETH TO PASS, when the Lord commandeth it not? Lam. 3:37

lam. 3

Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it?Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That WOE and well-being proceed? Lam 3:37-38 NKJV

The Book of Lamentations  in the Bible is a collection of poetic laments for the destruction of Jerusalem, and it  consists of five distinct poems divided into five chapters. It’s not known if the author is Jeremiah, or maybe one or more other authors. The first four poems are written as acrostics – chapters 1, 2, and 4 have 22 verses each, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, where the first lines begin with the first letter of the alphabet, the second with the second letter, etc. The fifth poem is not acrostic but still has 22 lines. According to wikipedia an acrostic can be used as means to aid memory, and a famous acrostic was made in Greek for the saying ”JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, SAVIOUR” (Ιησούς Χριστός, Θεού Υιός, Σωτήρ; Iesous CHristos, THeou Yios, Soter—ch and th being each one letter in Greek). The initials spell ICHTHYS (ΙΧΘΥΣ) which is Greek for fish.

It’s evident that we shouldn’t make doctrines out of poems, since poems normally mirror the truth in a poetic way. Poems must be read through the filter of more clear non-poetic texts.

What else does the same chapter say?

My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.—12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.—16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. (KJV)

Hardly something we should understand literally.

21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

The jews in exile could very well have been consumed by their enemies, but God is full of grace and listens to earnest prayers. Since God is compassionate, he is hardly the guy who predestines people (before the creation of the world) to be tortured in hell for the only reason that they ended up as the non-elect group of people that God had always wanted them to be (if we should try to be consistent with TULIP).

25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It doesn’t say here that God decides to be good to only SOME random people, and that he makes them wait for him and seek him. No, it says that God is good unto those who wait for him and seek him, and the normal reading would be that people use their own free will to make this choice to wait for him and seek him.

29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.

Another example of something that can’t be understood literally.

32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth.

God doesn’t literally crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, but he does allow afflictions to occur (sometimes he even causes them directly, as he did with the global flood) and mostly due to the need to punish his people (Israel) for their rebellion and wickedness. It’s not always pleasant for a Father to discipline his children, but sometimes it’s necessary, and hopefully (albeit not certain) it might produce something good – depending on how those affected will react. God is always willing to forgive a truly repentant heart.

35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.

God does not approve of people who turn aside the right of a man and who subvert his cause. This means that neither would God deny anyone the chance to be ELECT and saved (which those are who believe in Christ), and to be able to seek him and repent for past sins that have been committed. A God who does not subvert a man’s cause would not predestine him to be a wicked non-elect, and send him to hell for being this wicked non-elect person. That would be contrary to being a just and compassionate God, who makes sure that each person has a chance to get his soul saved.

37 Who is he that saith, and IT cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

(v. 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed? NKJV)

V. 37 is a common ”proof text verse”, because taken out of context (and ignoring the fact that it’s from a poetic book), it might sound as though nothing happens that God hasn’t approved of and even predestined. It’s important to understand what ”it” refers to in relation to ”who is he that has said”. The verses right before speak about being fair and to not subvert a man’s cause, and the verses right after talk about God’s PUNISHMENT FOR SINS. There wouldn’t be a need for God to punish people for doing his exact will, so the only reason for punishing people would be because they acted against his will. If they acted according to his will (by rebelling against him and by worshiping false gods), they would rather deserve rewards and much praise. Out of the mouth of God proceeds both woe (calamity) and well-being, and that means that God is able to show mercy and to answer earnest prayers, just as he is able to punish people for being rebellious. It’s on judgment day when we are really supposed to be judged based on our deeds, and receive both punishments and rewards, but God can also interfere here on earth. Not as in predestining people to sin (God doesn’t even tempt anyone, much less cause anyone to sin) but as in allowing things to take place which could be used for discipline in relation to his chosen people Israel. Sinners ALWAYS act against the will of God with no exception, and that would even include Judas Iscariot.

40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.—47 Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destructions of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day.

The text doesn’t suggest that we should search and try GOD and the manner that he has predestined us and our ways. If God has predestined each one of our steps, then there is no need to investigate the way he has ordained things because we can always trust that he has done a proper job. In reality God has not at all predestined our actions, and that’s why it makes sense to be asked to search and try our ways – if perhaps we have sins to confess and if we can amend our ways. The author admits that they (the Israelites) indeed have transgressed and rebelled against God, and he also feels that God has not pardoned (due to the physical pain that had affected them in such a severe way). However, in other verses in the same chapter, the author still feels there is much hope and that God eventually will listen to their earnest prayers and come to their aid.

61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, and all their imaginations against me; 62 The lips of my enemies And their whispering against me all the day. 64 Repay them, O LordAccording to the work of their hands.

Notice that the author feels that it’s about their reproach, their imaginations, they who rise up against him and their device against him. He feels it’s the lips of his enemies which are at fault, and hopes that God will repay them according to the work of their hands. If God is the one who has merely used Israel’s enemy as a tool in his hands and caused them to act the way they did, it wouldn’t make sense to turn around and repay them for those exact deeds.

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is turned wherever God wants?

king's heart2Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will

It’s never a good idea to use a psalm or a proverb as a filter to read the rest of the Bible through, because poetic text might obviously not always be the literal truth. It’s shaky to start a new doctrine based on poetry and analogies, and you can reach almost any conclusion you want if you single out a verse out of context in Psalms or Proverbs (or anywhere) and use it as a foundation for a certain theology view.

The above verse is sometimes used by our reformed friends (calvinists) as an attempt to support the idea that God has an exhaustive control over all decisions of men – i.e. God predestines every step that a man makes and nothing happens against the will of God. There may be calvinists who disagree with this view, but then they are not consistent with their own doctrines – as in TULIP

It’s true that God may occasionally and in rare situations choose to override the will of man, but calvinists believe God acts in such way at all times and that he constantly steers our steps and wills so that we will always act and think according to his exact will with no exception. They believe that God is no longer sovereign if man has any independent control separate from his own will. Sovereign and sovereignty are not Biblical words (KJV), but also freewillers believe God is ”sovereign”, but obviously not the way calvinists understand this term. A sovereign and an all powerful God is mighty enough to create man with a free will and to be responsible for his (not God’s) own actions. If God is the one who causes us to think and act the way he wants, then of course he is the one to be responsible for our thoughts and actions, but that is not the God of the Bible because it would make him the author of sin.

Prior to the flood the people were purely evil (with an exception of Noah and his family):

Gen. 5:And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

It wouldn’t make any sense at all if God first caused people to have wicked thoughts and constantly perform evil, and then bring a global flood on everyone due to their wickedness that he himself predestined. The wickedness culminated after the nephilim were being born by the sons of God (fallen angels, as per other Bible verses) and female human beings, and wickedness is always against God’s will.

Proverbs 21:1  doesn’t speak about all the people in the whole world but about ”the king”,  and this verse might have been written by King Solomon concerning himself. The passage also doesn’t tell us that God controls the king’s heart irresistibly. It’s possible that Solomon is proclaiming that he is fulfilling his appointed role by allowing God to control his decision-making so that his decisions would essentially be the decisions of God, and it is not a statement that God is irresistibly controlling his heart but that the king has fully surrendered his heart and will to the will of God.

A good king was to represent God to his people in his judgments and decisions, and we can see this in Psalm 82 quoted by Jesus to the Pharisees in John 10:34-38.  In the psalm, the rulers of the people were called “gods” because they were to represent God to His people in their leadership and judgments.  In Psalm 82 God is seen to stand in judgment of the judges and rebuke them for their failure to represent God as they were called by God to do. If the Scripture could call wicked judges “gods”, how much more does Jesus deserve to be equated with God since He is sent into the world by God himself?

The wicked make plans and those plans seldom include their own destruction or judgment nor the many calamities that might result from their rebellion, but such is their future according to the Lord. Nothing can ultimately thwart God’s overall sovereign plan, and his ultimate control over the universe is in no way threatened by the free will decisions of his creatures. That is the gist of Proverbs 21.

What else does Proverbs 21 say?
king's heart

21:Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

It wouldn’t make sense if God irresistibly controls the heart at the same time as he ponders/weighs/judges the heart that he alone controls with no interference or involvement by man. Solomon is concerned about pleasing the Lord in righteousness and justice, and a sacrifice is usually made when a person has transgressed the law of God and needs to be forgiven through the blood of an animal sacrifice. Of course it’s better to be obedient to start with because then a sacrifice isn’t even needed, and we can read that this option is more acceptable to God. Solomon contrasts the desires and actions of men surrendered to God with those who are in rebellion to God and refusing to submit to Him. Solomon himself fell away from the Lord in his later years but when he wrote this Proverb Solomon was committed to the Lord.

21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

Is it really possible that God would want people to have a high look, a proud heart and being wicked sinners? It’s absurd to suggest that God could cause people to be evil because in God there is no darkness at all and he doesn’t even tempt anyone – much less cause anyone to sin.

21:The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

A lying tongue would also be something that God doesn’t want anyone to have, and we can read that the robbery of the wicked shall destroy them because they REFUSE to do judgment. It’s not God who leads them in that direction, but they do it to themselves.

21:The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

Solomon compares ”man” with ”the pure”. The work of the pure is RIGHT unlike the way of man, and this must mean that some people do NOT do what is right before God since all men are not pure. The soul of the wicked desire EVIL, and does it sound plausible that God causes certain men to be wicked and evil?

21:11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

A scorner is not showing a good conduct and that’s why he is punished. The righteous man is contrasted with the wicked man, and we can read that God overthrows the wicked for the reason that he is performing wickedness. Why would God overthrow and punish people for the reason that they are being wicked, if he himself caused them to be wicked in the first place? Instead of being punished they should get praise and applauds for doing the will of God – by being evildoers – if this is what God truly wanted them to be.

21:13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Does God want people to ”stop their ears” at the cry of the poor? Surely not, since God repeatedly tells us to be merciful and help those in need. Whosoever is a worker of iniquity must surely be acting against God’s will? The Bible says that God hates the workers of iniquity (psalm 5:5) so it wouldn’t make sense if he would be causing people to be just that, and then turn around and pretend to be angry at the same workers of iniquity.

21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

Here we can read about man wandering out-of-the-way of understanding. It doesn’t say God pushed him out-of-the-way of understanding or prevented him in any way to reach a better understanding, but that the man himself is guilty of this – and the dire consequence for this unfortunate choice is death. Does God want people to love pleasure and wine, and does he want them to be wicked transgressors? Again, I hope all will say NO WAY. Sinning is always against God’s will.

21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

God surely wouldn’t cause people to be foolish and waste expensive oil. The wise man is again contrasted with the foolish man, and it’s up to us to follow after righteousness in order to find life and honor, and it’s up to us to keep our tongue to save our SOUL from trouble.

24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.

Read this passage again about proud, haughty scorners who refuse to labor and who are greedy and covet things that don’t belong to them. The sacrifice of the wicked is an ABOMINATION before God, and the only reason they would even think about doing something like that would be due to a wicked mind. Would God cause people to be wicked and act in such a way? God directs the way of the upright, but the wicked hardens himself. Bad choice on their part.

Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.—28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

The thoughts of the wicked are an ABOMINATION to the Lord, and he is far from the wicked. Would God cause people to be so wicked that they were an abomination before him? That would not be the God of the Bible, but this type of God can unfortunately be seen in books authored by calvinists. Flee to another direction.

God’s will is not always done – Bible verses

Bible verses which show that God’s will can change depending on man’s actions

Man’s free will is even more obvious in the Bible than the trinity (which is VERY obvious) and we can be read about man’s free will from the first page of the Bible to the last. Below are just a few examples. One would think that the obvious FACT that people so often have hardened their hearts against God and rebelled against Him, would be proof enough that God’s will does not always happen, but strangely enough there are people who don’t feel this is clear at all. Believe it or not, but they believe that God predestines/causes/forces/decrees people to rebel against him! If this is true, then we would just be doing God’s will by being wicked and rebellious, and we really should be rewarded for doing His will instead of getting punished for something which is totally out of our control. The word ”sovereign” is not in the Bible (KJV) but isn’t our Lord powerful enough to create man with free will? Or is this too difficult for Him? Wouldn’t God be in control even though man has free will? The Bible is a book FULL of examples of people who are NOT obeying God, resulting in God’s wrath against them! If man does not have free will, then GOD is to be blamed for our actions. If we are born ”totally depraved” as some think (another unbiblical expression) then whose fault is that? Are we ”totally depraved” according to God’s will or against his will? Where did this depravity come from, if not by God? Please close your ”reformed” type of books with all kinds of gnostic claims which deceive you, and open up your Bible and see what it says. If I go for a walk with my dog and decide to let it loose for a  while, can we say that the dog has overpowered me and made me lose control over it against my will? Did the dog remove some of my sovereignty? Did I lose control over the situation even though I’m well aware of the likely behavior of my dog, including the tiny risk that it might find a rabbit and chase it?

New Testament

Matt 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matt 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Matt 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Matt 17:17 Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?  

Matt 15:6 …And you voided the commandment of God by your tradition.

Matt 23:37.O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how  often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Mark 7:13 making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have delivered. And you do many such things.

Mark 3:35 whosoever shall DO THE WILL OF GOD, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him

Jn. 7:17 Jesus said, If any man will do his will

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 

Acts 8 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness 

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,—: 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1 Tim. 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

1 Thess 4 brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you OUGHT to walk and to PLEASE GOD.. Therefore he who rejects this does not REJECT man, but GOD, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, BUT to the will of God.

2 Cor 5: 19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though GOD WERE PLEADING through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, BE RECONCILED TO GOD.”

1 John 2:7 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Old Testament

Zechariah 7: 11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. 12Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. 13Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: 

Exodus 13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt

Numbers 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me?

Hos. 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children

Isa. 5:Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

Isa.1:2 I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me?

Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured...

Isa.66:3 Regarding those who would not hearken to the Lord, God said ”I gave them up unto their own hearts lust: and they walked in their own counsels

Gen. 6:5 it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth

Exodus 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people

1 Samuel 15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

Lev 26:23 IF YOU WILL NOT be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; THEN will I also walk contrary unto you.”

Jeremiah 8:5Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. 6I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. — 9The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? 

Jeremiah 15:6 Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting evil that I thought to do unto them.

Jeremiah 26:3 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

Jeremiah 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech;which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Jeremiah 42:10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.

Eze:33:11-16 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then THEY turn from their sins and do what is just and right. If the wicked restores the pledge, gives back that which he has stolen, walks in the statutes of life, WITHOUT SINNING; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live.”

Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

Ezekiel 36:32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: BE ASHAMED and confounded FOR YOUR OWN WAYS, O house of Israel.

Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; andGod repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Ps. 81:11. Yea, they have chosen their own ways

Ps. 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heartGod judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Ps. 78 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. 

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. 

Theological Development Through the Scriptures (from PinPoint Evangelism)

Genesis 2:19
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them

From this passage, what was God’s reason to bringing the animals to man? It appears by the language used, God didn’t know what Adam would in fact name each animal; this appears to be the point being made.& is correct, then this could not be the actual reason why God performed this act, and the wording of Scripture becomes vague.

Genesis 18:20-21
The  outcry  against  Sodom  and Gomorrah is so great and their sin  so grievous that  I will  go down and see if what they gave done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me.  If not, I will know.

This verse is truly a stumper if absolute foreknowledge is true. God himself states quite openly that he will do something (go down) in order for him to know something. Now did he know it before he went or not?  How can God use the future tense when addressing his knowledge?  To say that God already knew but the wording is just saying that he will also know in the future does violence to language not to mention that it is stating the obvious. God uses language as we do.  To do anything else would be utter folly. How could God faithfully communicate with man if he pulled a Clinton speak.  If God’s word usage is different that ours is, we  have a communication dilemma of the first order. (The analysis of this story provides wonderful insights into God’s nature and will be the subject of another paper altogether.)

Genesis 22:12
”Do not lay a hand on the boy“, he said. “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Here again God states that he has just learned something.  Some scholars try to get around this by stating that the angel who delivered this message was interjecting his own opinion. Well if this is the case, then Abraham didn’t withhold his only son from the angel.  This is clearly preposterous, but it shows the length that theologians will go to in order not to change their theology.  God tested Abraham to know what he would do.

Exodus 4:8
Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground.

They MAY believe!  Why is God giving Moses all of these contingencies?  If God knew exactly how the Egyptians were going to react, then these instructions make little sense. Was he trying to give Moses the false belief that He didn’t know exactly how things were going to turn out? Remember that this is God instructing Moses. This sounds like plan A, B and C.

Exodus 13:17-18
When  Pharaoh let the people  go, God did not lead them  on the road through the Philistine country, though that was  shorter.  For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”

So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. This passage seems to let us in on God’s deliberation of how he is going route the nation of Israel.  It clearly says that the reason God didn’t take the most direct route was that the people “might” turn back. Here we see that God knows and inderstands the people’s hearts and their “probable” reaction to a war at this point, but clearly the outcome is not certain. Remember, this is God speaking as it is in quotation marks. God made the people take the long route through the desert because he was not sure of what the outcome would have been had he not.

Exodus 16:4
In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.

Why does God test us?  Theologians say that it is for our sakes and not God’s. This is indeed strange.  Do you learn anything in a test, or does that which is already in you become manifest. Clearly the schoolteacher doesn’t expect a student to learn from a test.  A test is to determine what a student already knows.  Now some may say that we cannot relate a school teacher’s knowledge to that of God, and I would indeed  agree.  However, this Scripture appears to correlate the two.  God tested them in order to find something out. Are we going to say that God already knew, but he wanted to stimulate his sense of vision?

Numbers 14:11-12
The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people that me with contempt?  How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?”  I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger then they.

Here we see God asking questions of Moses that we can confidently conclude that Moses didn’t have the answers to. Clearly God knew that Moses didn’t have the answers.  Why then was God making these comments?  Could it be to show his breaking heart?  Why would God ask these questions when he already knew the answer?  The final point is even more curious.  God states emphatically that he will do something that he knew that he would never do.  God didn’t strike them down with a plague, and he didn’t make Moses’s descendants greater and stronger than Abraham’s.  So, if God knew that these were all false statements, were does these lead us?  Did God mislead, lie to, and manipulate Moses?  If you cling to absolute foreknowledge, you are in fact leveling this charge whether you want to or not.

Numbers 14:30
Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Here again we see God reneging on a promise.  Now if God knew when he made the promise that he would not keep it, then he lied to the people. He gave them a false hope that he knew he would later dash to pieces. God even swore with an uplifted hand to do something that he knew he wouldn’t ever do. Where does this leave us?  If this is true, can we ever trust in a promise of God?  Does believing God require more stupidity than faith?

Deuteronomy 8:2
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in you heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Here again we bring up the whole testing issue.  This appears to be quite plainly stated.  Does our theology call God a liar?  Why did God humble and test the people?  A forty year long test appears to be a bit over the top if God already knew everything.  If God already knew what was in their heart, then I think God owes the people an apology.

Deuteronomy 13:3
The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Ditto.

Judges 2:22
I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their forefathers did.

Judges 3:4
They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses.

Does anyone think that this passage is talking about literal sight?  While this test does involve observation, it is not for observation purposed only.  For completeness however, the Judges 3 passage has a dual purpose as stated by God.  The first was to train the Israelites for battle (v2), and the second was to “see” what they would do as far as obeying God’s command (v4).

I Samuel 23:10-13
David said, ”O Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard DEFINITELY that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me.  Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to  him?   Will  Saul come down  as your servant  has  heard?   O Lord, God  of Israel, tell your servant.”   And  the  Lord said,  “He  will.”  Again  David asked,  “Will  the  citizens  of  Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will.”  So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

Now  what  do  we  have  here? David  asks  God two  very  direct  questions  and got two  direct answers.  David asked would the town be destroyed.  God said ‘Yes’.  David also asked would the  people  of the town  give  him over to Saul.   God again  said  ‘Yes’.  However,  none  of his happened.  Didn’t God know what David was going to do?  Was God misleading David?  Upon hearing this, Saul didn’t even go to the town that God said that he would destroy.  Why didn’t David simply throw up his hands and cry, “Woe is me”, when God told him his future?  Why did God tell David how things would be if he in fact knew that they would never be?  How can God say that Saul will go to the town and not be in error when Saul never goes?  Is God lying to David or just “pulling his leg”?  The obvious answer is that if David stayed there, these things would have happened.  David obviously didn’t believe that God’s knowledge of the future was unalterable or he would have just sat there and succumbed to his fate.   No, David knew what God  said would happen if  he  didn’t  change  something.  He also  knew that if  he  did change something, what God said would not happen and would be invalid.  The future is open!

I Kings 20:42
“This  is  what  the  Lord  says:  ‘You  have  set  free  a  man  that  I  had  determined  should  die, therefore, it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’”

God  determined  something  knowing that there was  no  possible way of it happening?   Also, “therefore” is a contingent word, but if God knew absolutely that he would spare the king, then there is no contingency about this or any other act.  God simple determined that he should die, and made up this scenario to justify his actions.  This is clearly a false statement, but what else could this mean?

II Chronicles 32:31
But when the envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

Again, wrongo!  God didn’t leave him to know anything!  What kind of radial theology is this! God already knows everything from eternity, from before the foundations of the world!  We need to rewrite the Bible and take out all of this bad theology and these misleading passages.

Jeremiah 3:7
I thought  that  after  she  had  done  all  this  she  would  return  to  me  but  she  did  not,  and  her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

This passage appears to have God admitting to a mistake in his knowledge. Was God mistaken? What about absolute foreknowledge of all future events, how could this be?  How can God think one thing  about the  future, be incorrect, and still  have  absolute  foreknowledge of all future events?

Jeremiah 3:19
I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.  But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of  Israel, declares the Lord.

What!  We have found another passage that needs to be expunged from the Bible!  Clearly the thought of God being mistaken about the future acts of man cannot be true!  Heresy, I say!

Jeremiah 7:31
They have build the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire – something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.

Jeremiah 19:5
They  have  built the  high  places  of Baal to  burn their  sons in the fire as offerings to Baal  – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

Jeremiah 32:35
They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though  I  never commanded,  nor did it enter my mind, that they  should  do  such  a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

All of these verses state the same thing.  Now I will be serious for a moment. God states that this thought ever entered his mind.  What can this mean except God did not think that man could stoop to  such  a level as to  do this horrendous thing.  Will you accept what God says about himself in his Word, or will you refuse to believe it, instead clinging on to what man’s tradition has told you is an attribute of God? Remember that the only concept of God that is correct is one that can be determined through the Scriptures.   Omniscience is  not  found in the Bible.  God knowing the future is never directly stated.  Some verses may appear on the surface to imply this attribute, but an implied attribute must square with all Scripture.  If it does not, the implication of God’s  character  or essence  is  incorrect.  If your logical  conclusions derived from selected Scriptures do not harmonize with other Scriptures, then you need to reconsider your theology. Do not wave your hands and try to explain away passages with obvious meanings.

Jeremiah 26:2-3
Tell them everything I command you do not omit a word.  Perhaps they will listen and each one will turn from his evil way.

“Perhaps”,  what  kind  of  word is this  for  God to  be  using?   This passage again  alludes to a contingent event, but our theology states that God knows absolutely what the outcome of the event will be.   To a god with  absolute foreknowledge no event is  contingent all events are absolute.  If this is indeed the case, why does God address man with contingent language?   Is God trying to portray an idea that is false? Would the prophet think that with such language that it was vitally important to not omit a word?  In the end, the people did not listen, so why did God have Jeremiah do this, to justify his own actions, to make the guilty guiltier?

Let me make one additional point here.  God  knows absolute reality.  If to God there are no contingent events (a  mandatory conclusion if absolute foreknowledge is true), the absolute eternal truth is that there are no contingent events.  If you believe that your future is contingent, then you must be deceived. It matters not how God knows the future and who determines it.  If God knows the outcome, then that outcome must occur. Therefore the concept of contingency is lunacy. Everything is  fate.  If  you think that the future is  open, then you cannot believe in absolute foreknowledge.  For centuries,  theologians  have been  arguing  if  we  are  free to determine our future or does God decree it.  This is unimportant for the discussion at hand.  If the future is fixed, then regardless of how it was fixed, it is fixed.  Your future has been determined absolutely,  and  you  have no  other choice except to walk those steps.  Your  future  has  been known, and therefore cannot be altered if God knows it unchangeably.

Ezekiel 20:6 & 15
On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands. Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the desert that I should not bring them into the land I had given them – a land flowing with milk and honey, most beautiful of all lands.

These passages reiterate one listed earlier, but they are listed here for more clarity.  Here God stated he searched out an area for the people knowing before the search which area it would be, and that the people would never see it. Strange actions indeed.  He then swore to them with an uplifted hand that he would so something, and then later  raised his hand again and swore the opposite.  Now did God mean it when he swore the first time or just the second?  How could he be sincere the first time if he knew inevitably that he could never do it?  Do we start to have a credibility problem with God?  How do we know when he tells us something that he will indeed do it and not renege?

Ezekiel 22:30
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

Did God just have some time to burn off so he performed a useless search?  Was God’s heart in the search since before he commenced searching, he knew what the outcome would be?  Was he constrained to search to prove a point?  The question is: Why does God do futile things?

Ezekiel 33:13
If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered, he will die for the evil he has done.

Again, we have more credibility problems with God.  He states emphatically that someone will live when he knows when he gives the statement that it could be false.  Then if someone takes God at his word (that he will live) and lets his guard down, he then risks death.  What kind of message is this?  If God tells you something, don’t believe it?

Psalms 69:28, Exodus 33:32
May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. But now, please forgive their sin – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.  The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.”

In the first verse we see that David has a notion that God will write someone’s name in the book of life, and at some later date, that person might be removed. Now if God knows absolutely who is going to be saved before he created the world, then what is the point of a holy eraser?  Where did David get such an idea?  Well one place might have been Moses.  Somehow, Moses had bad theology.  But wait, it appears that God propagated that bad theology.  God didn’t just let Moses’ theology  stand, but he compounded it even further.   The  fruit of  this theology is found in Revelation 3:5 when John the Apostle reiterated this idea thousands of years later.

Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white.   I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

The obvious converse of this passage is that non-overcomers will be blotted out.  Interesting!

What is not meant by the denial of absolute foreknowledge

By denying God knows the future free will choices of man, it is not assumed that God doesn’t know certain future events.  Clearly God has prophesied future events that have come to pass.

These events however could be spoken of as certainties previous to the event, because God has the power to do whatever he so wills.  Nothing can stop his plan.  Therefore, if God decided to have  Jesus  born in Bethlehem,  no force in the  universe  could thwart  his  plan.   He therefore knows the future act absolutely because he has determined to cause the event to occur when the time has been fulfilled.  This is how a Calvinist views every event.  However, I believe Scripture shows that this is the exception and not the rule.

The denial of absolute foreknowledge also does not mean that God does not know everything. Clearly Scripture teaches that God has  full and complete knowledge of everything that exists (I John 3:20).  The question therefore is, does the future exist?  If you decide that the future does in fact exist in some manner as related to God, then it is incumbent on the reader to prove such a position.  This position cannot be simply assumed.  If in fact the future does not exist, then it is not incumbent upon God to know it.

Now this is not to say that God couldn’t have created a world in which he did know the future, but that he did not.  One could ask themselves, if in this world God knows all  future free actions, how would a world where he didn’t know differ from it?  How would the Bible be worded differently?

All are not teachers, and about submitting to elders and other authorities

We are to be present in the body of Christ – not just spiritually

As the body of Christ we are supposed to come together physically so that we can edify each other in various ways, like praying and prophesying for each other. (If we can of course, and if there is a decent assembly to join.) The Bible tells us that we are different members of the same body, and the body is likened with a human body. All are not an ear, an eye, a knee, etc. If all would be an ear, then something would be utterly wrong with the body of Christ. The Bible tells us for example that all are not teachers, so it’s wise to not let anyone rise up to teach in Church. The greatest risk to end up with false doctrines  would be if we let unqualified teachers do the teaching in a teaching situation within a christian assembly.

1 Cor.12:27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all TEACHERS? are all workers of miracles? 

Rom. 12:6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that TEACHES, onTEACHING;

We should of course always be prepared to share the word of God and try to make disciples in various ways, but in an assembly we should let the teachers do the main teaching. This doesn’t exempt us from our responsibility to always act like the Bereans and compare all that we hear with scriptures (and test all things), and we must be prepared for that qualified teachers could still be wrong. Peter was an elder who exhorted other elders. Even if all of us are not teachers, we can still contribute in an assembly in many ways. We are encouraged to speak in tongues if there is a translation, make prophesies, share revelations, sing songs, pray for one another,  heal someone if we have this gift, etc. But all must be done in order!  Just because we are encouraged to share, it doesn’t mean we are allowed to jump off from our seats and burst out in a song or make a comment whenever we feel like it. That would be very annoying both for the teacher and for the listeners.

Some could be better used for teaching than serving tables. But also those who were appointed to serve tables in Acts. 6 must be qualified for it. They would have to be of honest report and full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom:

Acts 6:2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 

Jesus himself gave some to apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers:

Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

And for what purpose?

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

For how long?

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ

What would be the benefit of not allowing other people to be teachers?

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine 

2 Peter 2:1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  

With other words there is a risk that we will be caught up with false doctrines if we let unqualified people teach. We should be on our guards! When listening to a teacher we should show him much respect. Most churches that I have attended have allowed people to say ”amen” or ”hallelujah”,  and making brief questions and comments even in the middle of the preaching. Thankfully the comments never got out of hand, but I’ve heard comments which should have been made after the sermon instead of in the middle of it.  We must always show respect both to the teacher and to other listeners so we won’t disturb anyone. Who would like to be constantly interrupted when having a little lecture? If there are 50 listeners and half of them have a question, then the teacher would be forced to deal with 25 questions and could easily lose his thread. That could very well lead to chaos and that is exactly what Paul warns us against. He even says:

1 Cor. 14:34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home:

James tells us to NOT be many masters (teachers, instructors), and when we are sick we are asked to call for the ELDERS so they can pray and put oil on the sick person:

James 3 1My brethren, be not many MASTERS, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

James 5:14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (presbyterous) of the church (ekklesias) ; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 

There are special rules, compared to others, when it comes to accusing an elder for something, and if he is caught in a sin.

1 Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Peter seems to focus on exhorting the elders instead of exhorting the entire flock, since it’s the elders of a church who are supposed to be shepherding the flock in the right direction and feed it. The elders are compared with shepherds (so naming an elder ”pastor” makes perfect sense) and in a Church we are NOT supposed to take turns to be the shepherd. The elder/shepherd must be qualified and confirmed for this position, and no others should be elders. It would be great if there were more than one elder per church, but if that isn’t achievable then we would have to settle with one. The younger are asked to submit to the elder:

1 Peter 5 :1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder

We don’t need to be qualified teachers in order to share something from the Bible also within an assembly, but I’m referring to the actual ”teaching” here.  There are of course loads of examples of churches where the pastor is teaching falsehood, but this only means he should never have been confirmed as an elder in the first place. Thankfully ALL churches don’t work in the wrong way. It’s possible that people with an aim to be ”democratic” would like to open up for others to do the teaching, but if we don’t follow Paul’s instructions about elders and teachers, there is a risk for deception and that is why many churches don’t work as they should:

Titus 1:10For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 

2 Tim. 4:2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves TEACHERS, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry

Hierarchies?

It’s possible that people are terrified for anything that might smell like hierarchies in Church, and while the NT does not support an assembly where people are of different levels of importance, we can’t get way from the fact that we are different parts of the same body, resulting in that not all are apostles, teachers, elders or shepherds. The shepherd is equal in value compared to the flock, but the shepherd is still supposed to guide the flock and not the other way around. This does not mean we should follow the shepherd blindly. All members of the flock have a free will and a responsibility to follow God (the Bible) more than man.

Below is an example of an issue which could not be settled in the local church but had to go ”up” to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem so they could settle the matter. The apostles and the elders had the authority to give instructions, decrees, exhortations and confirmation of churches:

Acts 15:2When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders (presbyterous) about this question. —6And the apostles and elders came togetherfor to consider of this matter.— 22Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:—25It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,— 30So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:—31Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 32And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

Paul and Silas delivered decrees for the assemblies to keep, which were ordained by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. We are not able to read that the assemblies complained about this procedure, as though it would be unfair that some people can decide which rules others should keep. You might call this a ”hierarchical system” and therefore something that should be forbidden, but we are to submit to authorities (if they are godly). If we had all obeyed those instructions at all times from the beginning, then the apostles would be able to teach a group of people and confirm them, who could teach another group of people and confirm them, and so on. Clearly we have not always obeyed the instructions concerning elders because today there are some assemblies where the elders have many shortcomings – in traditional churches and particularly in Home churches. Each one should make sure to ”lay hands suddenly on no man” (confirming someone to be an elder) as Paul also instructed Timothy: 

Acts 16:4And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

1 Timothy 4:14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the HANDS of the presbytery.

1 Timothy 5:22 Lay HANDS suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

Paul gave Timothy instructions to make sure the assembly in Ephesus teach ”no other doctrine”. Timothy should also make sure they would not give heed to fables. Hopefully the assembly in question accepted Timothy’s authority and didn’t tell him” Who do you think you are, trying to teach us all those things and exhorting us? Mind your own business because we can take care of ourselves, thank you. We don’t need anyone over us and we don’t believe in a hierarchical system”: 

1 Tim 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

Timothy was to reprove, rebuke and exhort, and the reason was the risk for false doctrines which might sneak in:

1 Tim. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Read the above concerning some of the instructions for an elder. We are told that if his children don’t behave well, it’s doubtful he could keep the flock in the church of God. Being a pastor/elder in a church is likened with being the authoritative Father in a household. In a household a Father doesn’t take turns with his children to be the authority and the Head of the family. He should always be the authority! This of course does not give him the right to run his household in any way he wants, but he should always treat others the way he would like to be treated himself . Neither does it mean that he could not give his children a certain amount of liberty and responsibility. But it’s never the children who decides how much freedom and responsibility to give to their Father, but it’s always the other way around. 

The above verse is also yet another verse which confirms that a church gathering is often 1) away from home and 2) in a building and 3) RULED by someone. Here the church of God is CONTRASTED with a home, just like so many other verses.  We don’t always take the church with us, but we can GO to a church, and we can even be thrown out of a church by a person who is not even a true believer:

 3 John 1: 9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

The Holy Ghost has made some people overseers over a flock, to feed the church of God. Paul knows that after his departure grievous wolves will enter in among ”you” (the listeners here were the elders in the church of Ephesus, but this concerns all of us) and that’s why he wants them to take heed.

Acts 20:28Take heed therefore unto YOURSELVES, and to all the FLOCK, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made YOU OVERSEERS, to feed the CHURCH OF God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in AMONG YOU, not sparing the FLOCK.