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Bible verses about people acting CONTRARY to God’s will and his word

seek GodIf ye — walk contrary unto me, then will I also walk contrary unto you” (Lev. 26:23-24)

Most Christians are naturally aware of that the Bible is replete with examples of people acting contrary to God’s law and recommendations, but Calvinists must assume that God makes people disobey – or else they believe that God is not sovereign.

”If” … ”then” … God often (or constantly) acts depending on man’s actions:

Lev. 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.3If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. —14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. — 21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. —23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. —27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. —40If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also THEY HAVE WALKED CONTRARY UNTO ME;41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.43 The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.

People can apparently choose their own ways, contrary to God’s ways, or is God making the choice for them? Why then can we read that ”they have chosen their own ways” if it is in reality God who is doing the choosing?:

Is. 66:3 — Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.

Surely the people corrupted themselves, rather than God doing it to them. ”They ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way” – would this be God’s fault?

Judg. 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their owndoings, nor from their stubborn way.

Prov. 1:31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

Is. 56:11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

Rebellious people oppose an authority, and in this case it is God himself. They walk after their own thoughts and not after God’s thoughts:

Is. 65:2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

God is not culpable for that fact that people delight in detestable things and their own abominations:

Is. 66:3 — Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.

Ez. 11:21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God.

God would have no reason to pour indignation over people if they always act according to his will:

Ez. 22:31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.

God should not be blamed for people who defile themselves because they act contrary to his will:

Ez. 35:17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.

We are not born in sin but we are fearfully and wonderfully made. If God’s ways always pan out the way he prefers, why can we read about the Spirit and the Flesh being contrary to one another? Paul’s solution is that we should be led by the Spirit (obey the Spirit), and in doing so we will not serve the flesh. The choice is ours and God will not make the choice for us or instead of us. If we sin, it is always our fault and God should never be blamed.

wonderfully madeGal. 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Gal. 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.— 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Annonser

Christ to reconcile all things to himself – meaning? – Col. 1:20, 2 Cor. 5:18-19

earth 6Reconciling all things/the world unto himself?

God brings the new world into existence by sending his son into the old world to transform it or reconcile it. God has done his part by coming in the person of Jesus Christ who died for the whole world, and now we are asked to be reconciled to him through believing in him.

The Bible says in 2 Cor. 5:19 that God was in Christ ”reconciling the world unto himself”. What does this mean? The meaning of this reconciliation is actually explained in the very same sentence. It means (in reference to ”the world”) ”not imputing their trespasses unto them” because he ”hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”.  

2 Cor. 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Reconcile, from the Greek verb καταλλάσσω (katallassó, Strong’s 2644), also meaning change or exchange. It is used 6 times in the KJV. Blueletterbible provides the example of two parties reconcile when coming (”changing”) to the same position.  

When did this reconciliation occur? It occurred when Jesus died on the cross – so past tense. Thanks to Jesus death on the cross, he provided the means for us to be totally cleansed from our sins. This offer was not provided to only a part of the world, but all of the world can benefit from Jesus sacrifice on the cross because he died for the whole world. God does not want anyone to perish … However, the requirement is faith and repentance, or else our sins will not be forgiven.

In the Old Testament we can read about the temporary Jewish animal sacrifice system but this was just a temporary law and a foreshadow of what was to come. In Lev. 16:20 we can read about the reconciliation that Aaron performed among the people of Israel by means of animal sin offerings, and particularly the scapegoat (a picture of Jesus Christ) who ran off into the wilderness with the sins of the people symbolically on its head. (Note about the atonement that Jesus Christ came to remove our sins rather than paying for our sins – but it is still possible to say that Jesus ”paid a big price” since he gave up his life for our sake.) It is important to understand that 1) this type of sin offering and cleansing was temporary and needed to be repeated, 2) the people of Israel did not become cleansed from their sins with no participation of their own. The people were also required to REPENT from their sins, or else Aaron’s rituals would be to no avail. The same requirement also applies in the New Testament.

Lev. 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: — 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.— 20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:— 22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. — 34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.–

As far as Aaron was concerned, the ”reconciliation” of the congregation and all the holy places was done just prior to letting the scapegoat run off. Despite of this reconciliation, the people of Israel was not ”once cleansed always cleansed”, because if they continued to sin in the future they would yet again become unclean and in need of an animal sacrifice.

We get more details of what Paul meant in the very same chapter – 2 Cor 5.

2 Cor. 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. —15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.— 17 Therefore IF any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.— –20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Notice above that we labor in order to be accepted by God. Jesus died for all, but this does not mean that all are saved. Only that he made provision for all. ”IF any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”, but what happens if a person is not in Christ? Right after v. 19 (about reconciliation) Paul requests his readers to ”be ye reconciled to God”, indicating that we too must do our part while living on earth. In heaven all will be considered righteous and will therefore already be reconciled to God, so we have to get things right with God while living on earth. It is he who endures to the end who will be saved.

Here is another well-known verse about reconciliation:

Col. 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Reconcile, from the Greek verb ἀποκαταλλάσσω (apokatallassó, Strong’s 604), also meaning change from one state of feeling to another. Apart from Col 1:20-21, it is also used in Eph 2:16.

Above we can see meaning of reconciliation yet again, and this time in the first half of the sentence. It means ”having made peace through the blood of his cross”, which is something that happened about 2000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross. This means that it has already happened. More information from the same chapter:

Col. 1:8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;—12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: — 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: — 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:23 IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; — 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Above we can see that having the Spirit of God seems to be something rather essential for a saved person. In. v. 12 we can see that the Saints (with the Spirit) are promised to be partakers of the inheritance. Jesus died for the world and enabled all to be saved, but only the Saints are promised this wonderful inheritance. V. 14 tells us again that we have redemption ”through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins”. In v. 21-22 we can yet again see that the reconciliation has already happened when it comes to the Corinthians. Jesus died for them to do his part (in the body of his flesh through death), and they have also done their part by repenting. Still, they are not once saved always saved, because already in the next verse we can read about a condition to remained saved. v. 23 says IF  ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel”. v. 28 tells us why Paul therefore continues to warn people, to be able to present them perfect in Christ Jesus.

More Bible versesearth 7.jpg

Below we can see in v. 10 that the reconciliation has already happened. Paul expects all those who are reconciled to also be saved through Jesus Christ and get eternal life, but he also mentions death and condemnation for others. He explains further that ”many” will be justified and righteous, and he tells us in most of his letters that those are the Saints – those who believe in Christ and have repented for their sins. Jesus died for the world, but the wonderful promises of eternal life in the new Jerusalem are made for the Saints who have chosen to come to Christ for reconciliation.

Rom. 5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. — 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. — 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) — 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

The topic below is Jews and gentiles, and the picture of branches being broken off the olive tree. For this reason we can read in. v. 15 that casting away of ”them” (the Jews) might result in reconciling of the world, which does not mean that none of the Jews will be saved but all of the other people. Paul goes on to explain that branches can both be broken off and added back in again, and for this reason we should all take heed.

Rom. 11:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; — 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

Jesus promises below that unless we are converted (repent for our sins) we shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus does not open the door for others.

Matt.18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. — 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.— 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. — 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Every man has been given the light, so there is no excuse for not coming to God. John explains below who the sons (the children) of God are. They are the ones who have received Jesus and who believe in his name. Jesus died to take away the sins of the world, but only those who repent of their sins will be cleansed and forgiven. If they do, they are truly the sons of God and will therefore be able to enter into the new Jerusalem:

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.–– 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: — 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. — 

1 John 1:IF we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But IF we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.— 9 IF we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

John explains that some people will not enter into the new Jerusalem, and those are the ones not written in the book of life. Only he that overcomes shall inherit all things, but not the sinners.

Rev. 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. — 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

God does not give us only one single chance to live a holy life while living on earth, but if we mix sins with righteousness we are still walking in darkness and do not know the Lord.

Biblical examples of POLYGAMY – a marriage form not supported by God

ringarThe Bible – contains advice concerning the marriage between a man and a woman 

List of examples of polygamy further down below 

When it comes to the question of marriage and the relationship between a man and his wife, the Bible contains plenty of good advice from the apostle Paul and from Proverbs, but never about other marriage constellations (same-sex marriages or polygamy). This naturally suggests that other variations are not according to God’s plans.

Unfortunately God’s view of an ideal marriage is attacked by some people and there are also people who try to find support for polygamy in the Bible. Nevertheless, the Bible explains on the first few pages that a marriage is a union between one man and one woman. No other variations are listed. The marriage union is intended to be:

  1. between a man and a woman
  2. between two individuals (who become one flesh with each other)
  3. unbreakable

Such a natural union is also ideal for the children who would then be born into a stable household, and each new generation would grow up with a mother and a father as role models. Men and women have different abilities and characteristics depending on their gender, and children benefit from both.

Gen. 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Prior to the time of Moses, marriages between cousins and siblings were legitimate (even if they might be rare), but then again Adam and Eve were created ”very good”, and had no deficient genes which might cause any defects in their children. Such risks did not arrive until much later due to gene pool bottlenecks.

If God would have accepted same-sex marriages, we would be able to find support for this somewhere in his word. Not only are there no such examples but we can find many warnings against this type of unnatural life style. If we choose to live against God’s intended purpose and creation order, we are also choosing to live a risky life style which could even lead to depression and an early death. In his great love, God wants something much better for us. If all people would adhere to God’s advice about this, there would be no room for any venereal diseases.

Rom. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.28 And 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;

1 Cor. 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

Lev. 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination

If something is an abomination in the old testament, it could not possibly be acceptable and right in the new testament.

LIST OF COMMONLY USED EXAMPLES OF POLYGAMY giftermål

Even if the ideal marriage union is between two persons, there are Biblical examples of men (never women) who have deviated from this rule and who have lived in a polygamous marriage with more than one woman. It is noteworthy that none of those marriages have been peaceful or successful.

God is not a fan of either polygamy or divorce but due to man’s own will and the hardness of the heart, God provides rules for the sake of the weaker part – the woman. During the time of the old testament there was no safety net for women apart from belonging to a household which could provide for her (and her children). A single woman who is neither a virgin or a widow would have great difficulties achieving a good standard of living with no protective laws giving her certain rights. As soon as people deviate from God’s intention, problems arise for one or more parties. In such cases one could only do the best of the situation. 

The first person we can read about living in a polygamous marriage is Lemech (Gen. 4:19) who was not a godly man. The book of Jasher provides more information about him and his wives, and discloses that he initially used only one wife for child-bearing.

Sometimes the reason for a polygamous marriage is not disclosed, but whenever it is disclosed among the godly men of the Bible, we can see that the reasons seem to be due to having been persuaded by a barren wife to have children with a handmaid, or possibly due to having been tricked into marrying more than one wife. These are not the reasons you would hear from Christian polygamy supporters today. They provide totally different arguments for a polygamous marriage – none of them Biblical.

They might suggest that God accept polygamous marriages since there are plenty of Biblical examples of them, but they are almost always in relation to ungodly men. Yes, there are a few cases when it comes to godly men, but if you see the details in the list below it is evident that these cases still cannot be used as support. Below, I do not list individuals in polygamous marriages who were never considered righteous in the first place, such as Lemech above or Jeroboam, Ahab, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Esau, etc.

Concubines in the Bible among godly men: The practice of taking concubines as ”wives” was used to provide a male heir for a barren wife (Gen. 16, 35, 36), but concubines did not have the same status as wives. The sons of some concubines were treated as co-heirs with the sons of wives. Multiplying children through concubines would also increase the available family workforce and the family wealth and power. The practice of having concubines was NOT to meet the sexual desires of the males. The practice could even provide a social safety net for poor families who could sell their daughters in dire times (Exod 21:7-10; Judges 19:1).

The list consists of the most commonly used Biblical examples when it comes to the attempt to support polygamy today.

1) Abraham 

Abraham allowed himself to be persuaded by his wife Sarah to go to bed with her maid Hagar in order to obtain a child with her. The reason for this was that Sarah herself was barren and likely eager to get pregnant with a son as per God’s promise. Perhaps Abraham was easily persuaded because he too was eager to see the divine promise fulfilled. Hagar did indeed become pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael. Even though a son was now born to Abraham and Sarah, it was still not the son of the promise. God had promised that Sarah would be giving birth to a son – and never suggested that she would make her own arrangements through another woman to see this promise fulfilled. Their second son Isaac was born by Sarah and he was the son of the promise. There have been many contentions between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael (even today).

Abraham also had a wife/concubine after Sarah’s death – Keturah, and Keturah and Hagar are likely the two concubines referred to in Gen. 25:6 (unless one would like to make a case about Abraham’s vague mentioning of Eliezer of Damascus which requires a blog post in itself and still would not prove yet another concubine).

Gen. 16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. — 4. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

Gen. 25:6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

Gen. 15:2 And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.4 And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

1 Chron. 1:32 Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan.

Jasher 16:29 And when Hagar saw that she had conceived she rejoiced greatly, and her mistress was despised in her eyes, and she said within herself, This can only be that I am better before God than Sarai my mistress, for all the days that my mistress has been with my lord, she did not conceive, but me the Lord has caused in so short a time to conceive by him.30 And when Sarai saw that Hagar had conceived by Abram, Sarai was jealous of her handmaid, and Sarai said within herself, This is surely nothing else but that she must be better than I am.31 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee, for at the time when thou didst pray before the Lord for children why didst thou not pray on my account, that the Lord should give me seed from thee?32 And when I speak to Hagar in thy presence, she despiseth my words, because she has conceived, and thou wilt say nothing to her; may the Lord judge between me and thee for what thou hast done to me.33 And Abram said to Sarai, Behold thy handmaid is in thy hand, do unto her as it may seem good in thy eyes; and Sarai afflicted her, and Hagar fled from her to the wilderness.

2) Jacob

Jacob was tricked by his uncle Laban to marry an extra wife – Laban’s oldest daughter Leah. Based on the book of Jasher (see below), Laban put out the lights in the house (claiming it was a tradition), and tricked Jacob to sleep with Leah by making him think it was his promised wife Rachel – the younger daughter. Jacob himself would have preferred to be married to his Rachel alone. Even though Jacob was innocent, he could not make what happened undone and with a promise to also get married to Rachel he accepted the fate of being the husband of two wives (against his will). This polygamous marriage produced problems (as polygamous marriages always do) when the sisters were jealous of each other, and due to being barren each of one of them managed to persuade Jacob two have children with their maids. Bilhah and Zilpah became Jacob’s wives as well and their offspring became his heirs.

Laban appears to be a polygamist as well according to Jasher, but since this information is not from the Bible I do not include him on my list. Moreoever, he cannot be used as support for a Christian polygamy since he was hardly a righteous man at all times. Since Jacob was tricked into marrying an extra wife (it was not his own choice), and since it was his wives rather than himself who suggested additional wives due to the reason of them being barren, this case cannot be used as support for polygamy today. Polygamists today usually use totally different arguments as support for polygamy.

Gen. 29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

Gen. 30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

Jasher 30:13 And Laban had no sons but only daughters, and his other wives and handmaids were still barren in those days; and these are the names of Laban’s daughters which his wife Adinah had borne unto him; the name of the elder was Leah and the name of the younger was Rachel; and Leah was tender-eyed, but Rachel was beautiful and well favored, and Jacob loved her. — 18 And in the fourth year of Jacob’s residence in the house of Laban, the Lord visited Laban and remembered him on account of Jacob, and sons were born unto him, and his first born was Beor, his second was Alib, and the third was Chorash. 19 And the Lord gave Laban riches and honor, sons and daughters, and the man increased greatly on account of Jacob.

Jasher 31:1 And in the seventh year, Jacob’s service which he served Laban was completed, and Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for the days of my service are fulfilled; and Laban did so, and Laban and Jacob assembled all the people of that place and they made a feast.2 And in the evening Laban came to the house, and afterward Jacob came there with the people of the feast, and Laban extinguished all the lights that were there in the house.3 And Jacob said unto Laban, Wherefore dost thou do this thing unto us? and Laban answered, Such is our custom to act in this land.4 And afterward Laban took his daughter Leah, and he brought her to Jacob, and he came to her and Jacob did not know that she was Leah.5 And Laban gave his daughter Leah his maid Zilpah for a handmaid.6 And all the people at the feast knew what Laban had done to Jacob, but they did not tell the thing to Jacob. 7 And all the neighbors came that night to Jacob’s house, and they ate and drank and rejoiced, and played before Leah upon timbrels, and with dances, and they responded before Jacob, Heleah, Heleah.— 10 And in the morning, when daylight appeared, Jacob turned to his wife and he saw, and behold it was Leah that had been lying in his bosom, and Jacob said, Behold now I know what the neighbors said last night, Heleah, they said, and I knew it not. — 12 And Laban answered Jacob, saying, Not so is it done in our place to give the younger before the elder now therefore if thou desirest to take her sister likewise, take her unto thee for the service which thou wilt serve me for another seven years.13 And Jacob did so, and he also took Rachel for a wife, and he served Laban seven years more, and Jacob also came to Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and Laban gave her his maid Bilhah for a handmaid. — 17 And when Leah saw that she had left bearing, she also took her handmaid Zilpah, and she gave her to Jacob for a wife, and Jacob also came to Zilpah, and she also bare Jacob two sons, Gad and Asher.

3) King Saul

bible 4Saul only had one wife, but one concubine is also mentioned. According to the story about Saul, God regret making him a king over Israel. Since Saul ended up being a rebellious and unrighteous leader, his case cannot be used as support for polygamous marriages today.

1 Sam. 15:10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,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.

1 Sam. 16:14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

1 Sam. 18:12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.

1 Sam. 28:15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

2 Sam. 3:7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine?

2 Sam. 21:11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. — 

It is possible that Saul had additional concubines who are not mentioned. Nathan quotes the Lord as saying, “And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more” (2 Sam. 12:8). Based on this information it seems like David inherited Saul’s wives, and we do not know the reason for this. See more below. David could have done it out of mercy, but also due to his impression that God would make David the king of Israel (and Jerusalem the capital city), which means David needed to be more powerful than his enemies. See more below.

4) King David

Eight of David’s wives are mentioned in the Bible. David started out marrying Saul’s daughter Michal, but later Saul gave her to someone else (1 Sam. 25:42-44). David eventually got her back (2 Sam. 3:13-14), but in the meantime he had married two other women (1 Chron. 3:1-3), as well as an additional four.

Later in his life he took still more wives and concubines (out of Jerusalem) and it seems like the motivation for those marriages was connected to God making him king of Israel and Jerusalem the capital city. David’s own words just prior to the information about those latest wives David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake”. David was likely under the impression that he could accomplish God’s goal much easier if he could produce more heirs and also bond with many different families to eliminate enemies.

Are these extra wives perhaps former concubines of Saul? Nathan quotes the Lord as saying, “And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more” (2 Sam. 12:8). Based on this information it seems like David inherited Saul’s wives, and we do not know the reason for this. David could have done it out of mercy, but also due to the reason mentioned above – David thinking bonding with different families would make him more able to withstand his enemies when uniting Israel. Have you ever heard polygamist supporters today use this particular reason for condoning polygamous marriages?

The above does not mean that it was God’s idea that David should take many wives, but it certainly seems like God tolerated it (even if God had totally different plans and ideas for David). If the extra wives were Saul’s, the damage had already been done.

1 Sam. 18:27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.28 And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him.

1 Sam. 25:39 And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife. —  43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives.44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.

2 Samuel 3:1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

2 Samuel 5:12 And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.13 And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.14 And these be the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shammuah, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon,15 Ibhar also, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia,16 And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphalet.17 But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold.

1 Chron. 14:2 And David perceived that the Lord had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel.3 And David took more wives at Jerusalem: and David begat more sons and daughters.

5) Solomo

Salomo had no less than 700 wives and 300 concubines, and this was due to the love of many strange women. Despite God’s commandments to not have relations with strange women, he did so anyway.

1 King 7:8 And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work. Solomon made also an house for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like unto this porch.

1 King 9:16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife.

2 Chron. 8:11 And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the Lord hath come.

1 King. 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

6) Gideongideon

Gideon was considered to be a wise and God-fearing man who considered God’s ways being the most important. However, he was not entirely faithful  since we can read about a great sin when he made an ephod out of gold which all of Israel used as an idol. Since Gideon clearly was not obedient to the end, neither can his case be used as support for polygamy among Christians. Quite obviously Gideon could have married several wives against God’s will.

Judg. 6:12 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

Judg. 8 27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house — 30 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.

7) Elkanah  

Elkanah is described as a God-fearing man but his choice to have two wives caused trouble in his household – just like all polygamous marriages do. A common problem occurs if one wife gives birth to children and not the other, when various negative feelings will follow. According to this story, it was even God who made Hannah barren, and could this be for a reason? Perhaps it was a way for her to put all her focus on God and to seek his divine plans for her and her son? Did God feel that she even deserved to be sad for a while since she had accepted to become a wife to a man who was already married? I am only speculating, but it is clear that Elkanah’s case is not enough to suggest that God is in support for polygamous marriages.

1 Sam. 1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. — 5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb.6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

8) Abijah

Abijah had great faith in God and his power, but why were not pagan altars and idols broken down during his own rule? Why did the people have to wait for his son Asa to do this job after his father’s death? Perhaps such altars were even erected in the end of Abijah’s life, like around the time when he started to marry multiple wives. When God is communicating with Jehoram in 2 Chron. 21:12 he (God) mentions Asa and Jehoshaphat as individuals who walked his ways, but he does not mentioned Abijah. 

2 Chron. 13:5 Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? — 21 But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters.

2 Chron. 14:1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God:For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:

9) Rehoboam

Rehoboam’s reason for polygamy was that he desired many wives. He is yet another man who forsook the Lord and can therefore not be counted as a righteous believer in a polygamous marriage.

2 Chron. 11:17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.

2 Chron. 12:1 And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.

10) Jehoram

Also Jehoram fell away from God, so neither his case could be used as support for Christian polygamy today.

2 Chron. 21:9 Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots.10 So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers.11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,13 But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself:14 Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:15 And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.16 Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians.

11) Joash

It may not have been Joash’s own idea to be a bigamist since we can read that it was his Father Jehoiada who arranged it. We do not know when Joash were provided his wives (and when the marriage was consummated) but Joash officially started to reign when he was 7 years old. He was a righteous man to begin with, but we can also read that he was disobedient to God and fell away serving other gods.

2 Chron. 24:2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters. — 17 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.18 And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.19 Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear

12) Moses 

Zipporah was the daughter of Reuel the priest of Midian, and Ex.4:20 only mentions one wife. So what is the deal with Num. 12:1 where a Cushite woman is mentioned? A former wife? Did the righteous man Moses disobey God by marrying a foreign woman? The book of Jasher is quoted and referred to three times in the Bible, and solves the puzzle about the wives of Moses. According to Jasher 73:31-32, the children of Cush placed Moses on the throne as well as gave him a wife – the Cushite queen Adoniah. She was the widow after Kikianus who was the previous king. It appears like the Cushite gave Moses the throne and let Adoniah maintaining the role as a queen. Moses never consummated the marriage with her because he never touched her, nor turned his eyes to her. Adoniah was a Cananite and belonged to a group of people which God had forbidden the Israelites to intermarry. Much later, in Jasher 77:51, we can read that Zipporah was given to Moses as a wife and this time Moses consummated the marriage.

The case of Moses was extremely unusual to say the least, and it involves a throne and ”inheriting” a queen (who he never touched). This case can hardly be used as support for polygamous marriages.

(Moses was generally a righteous man, but he did not always obey God. He killed an Egyptian guard who was assaulting a Hebrew slave and Ex. 4:24-26 provides another example where Moses contrary to God’s wish did not want to circumcise his son.)

If polygamy supporters suggest that they have no obligation to believe anything in the book of Jasher (despite it being referred to in the Bible and being highly respected by the early church fathers) the question remains where they find proof of the opposite – that Abraham consummated two parallel marriages?

Above is the whole list of candidates! Not much to hinge Christian polygamous marriages on.

brudparBible verses which support the marriage between 1 man and 1 woman

Below are some Bible verses which show God’s intended purpose with a marriage union. You will never see any examples of same-sex marriages, and you will never see support for a polygamous marriage:

Prov. 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.

Prov. 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Prov. 30:17 The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

Prov. 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Ps. 128:Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.

Below you can see what the law of Moses says about the marriage, as well as the words from Jesus Christ:

Deut. 25:If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.7 And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;9 Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.

Deut. 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;—-17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

Deut. 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

Matt. 22:24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.27 And last of all the woman died also.28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

Matt. 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Matt. 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 

Paul provides instructions for a man and a woman in a marriage unionchurch9

If Paul would be open for other alternatives than the natural marriage between a man and a woman, he had many chances to say so but he does the contrary – warns against them. Paul says that the man is the head of the woman and that the wife does not have power of her own body but the husband and vice versa, but what if there are even more women in the marriage or what if there is no man at all? Who has the power over which body, and who is the head of the family? Paul does not say, which naturally indicates that there are no such alternatives.   

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

Comment: Believe it or not, but some pro-polygamy people claim that all the world’s Bible translations are wrong (in all languages) and that ”one” wife should be translated ”first” wife, with the meaning that a bishop should not divorce his first wife. That would be a VERY confusing understanding, and of course only serves as a desperate attempt to find evidence for polygamy in the Bible (eisegesis – where you read things into the Bible). If that is the case, why no mention of the second or third wife (or more)? Is it not just as important to not divorce them? Paul was single and advised others to be the same but only if they could manage. The advantage would be greater focus on God with less distractions. Would therefore not a bishop with several wives risk living with even greater distractions? And what about the constant talk about husband and wife in singular and never in plural? What if Paul indeed wanted to express ”one wife” when he says ”one wife”? How should he better have expressed himself to display this meaning?

1 Cor. 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. —32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

1 Cor. 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. — 10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?—27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.— 29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;—33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.—39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Eph. 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;—28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.— 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Col. 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

God does not produce rules because he hates us, but because he loves us and wants children to grow up in safe homes with a mother and a father.

Does God predestine people to be non-elect, or do people corrupt themselves?

calvinism 19Is God making people wicked, or are they wicked against his will?

This is a hard question to answer for someone who believes that God forces no one to sin while at the same nothing comes to pass against his will.

Calvinists often speak from the both side of the mouth when they on the one hand claim that God predestines people to become elect or non-elect from the foundation of the world, and on the other hand claim that God forces no one to be wicked. Sometimes they try to blame Adam for people’s ”sinful nature”, but this does not solve the problem since he arrived on the scene after the ”foundation of the world” (and the Bible does not claim we have inherited his sin anyway).

So which one is it? Are people wicked against his will or according to his will? (Any of his wills …) Does God force people to be sinners or not?

Calvinists might suggest that God merely ”passes over” people and leaves them to their own devices, which means that such people will do what their nature urges them to do – which is performing all sorts of evil (like being wicked by default). Although, what choice do they really have? If only one single choice is available to them, and if God determines  to turn them into non-elect (for no apparent reason), must they therefore not become exactly as God has determined? Surely they could not have become elect if God wanted them to be non-elect? Would it not be surprising if someone who God did NOT want to become elect – but rather non-elect – still ended up as elect? That could not possibly happen, right? Again, I can see no other option but one (1) for the victims that were forced to become non-elect. Is not ”forcing” the proper word here?

The Bible tells us that people are separated from him due to their transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). This means that it is when people choose to SIN as they are  spiritually ”dead” and therefore also lost (until they repent, if they ever do). Calvinists often make a similar claim, but do they really mean it?

The whole Calvinistic process:

  1. People go to hell due to their sin. (So long it is fine, but it gets worse …)
  2. Why do they sin? Because they are bound by a sinful nature.
  3. Why are they bound by a sinful nature? Because they are wicked non-elect sinners.
  4. Why are they wicked non-elect? Because God created them as such from the foundation of the world – before they even existed, before they were born and long  before they could sin.
  5. This means that people are not dead due to their sins after all, but due to their bad luck of having been chosen by God to be wicked – with no way to escape from this misfortune.

Again, this Calvinistic process means that sin is NOT the reason for their damnation, but GOD’S CHOICE is. So why do Calvinists so often say that people are lost due to their sin if they do not really mean it? (Sinning would just be a consequence of God’s refusal to let people seek him and do good – from the foundation of the world.) Add to this the Calvinistic idea that 1) God is sovereign in such a way that he micro-manages everything, and 2) nothing comes to pass against his will. This means that if we criticize anything or anyone, we are criticizing God himself who caused it all to happen.

Not all Calvinists would agree that this is a proper understanding of their belief system (but many do agree). Still, they cannot escape from the many contradictions resulting from trying to save Calvinism.

Sinners commit sin against their nature

The Bible teaches that sinners do wicked acts against their nature, and not according to their nature:

Rom. 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is AGAINST NATURE

Once I heard in a podcast where a Calvinist asserted that a person bound by his wicked nature would not choose the right thing (like seeking God). He was then asked by the host ”Could he?”. The Calvinist replied ”He wouldn’t!”. He was asked ”Could he?”. The Calvinist replied ”He wouldn’t!” He was again asked: ”Could he, though?”, and the Calvinist continued to say ”He wouldn’t!”. It is easy to understand why the Calvinist was reluctant to answer the question (which was ”could he?” and not ”would he?”). If a non-elect person not only would not choose the right thing but neither is capable of it (by no fault of his own), the guilt must be placed on someone else but him. Namely on the one who caused this awful dilemma – namely God.

Fortunately this is not the God of the Bible. If people are wicked, it is their own blame and not God’s. God pleaded with his people Israel to do right, just like he pleads with all of us.

Ex. 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.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

People corrupt themselves

God is not the one corrupting people by determining/orchestrating/choosing/forcing/ordaining/predestining people to become wicked sinners before they are even born. The Bible says that man himself is to be blamed for being corrupt and not God. In order for someone to corrupt himself, he must first exist (and have a heart and a brain) in order to make choices. Man does not corrupt himself until he chooses to make sinful actions. Not a single day before.

Gen. 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Deut. 9:12 And the Lord said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.

Deut. 32:5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.

Judge 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

Hosea 9:9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.

2 Pet. 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

2 Pet. 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

Calvinists and their focus on a sovereign God who must submit to Calvinism

calvinism 38God is sovereign, but what does it mean?

Calvinists have a huge focus on God’s sovereignty, which would not be a bad thing had they not interpreted this unbiblical word in a very unfortunate way.

The Calvinist R.C. Sproul for instance wrote:

”If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled. ”R.C. Sproul.

Also freewillers believe that God IS sovereign but certainly not with the Calvinistic interpretation. God is so sovereign and powerful that he is able to create us in any way he likes, including creating us with free will where we are responsible for our own actions (rather than blaming our shortcomings on God). Or is this too difficult for him? Must he ask someone for permission before he can create us with free will?

While freewillers also believe that God is sovereign, their main focus is rather on God’s holy character and the fact that he does not tempt anyone, much less causes anyone to sin. This means, that if someone suggests that God directly or indirectly makes people sin (or endorses sin in any shape or form), it is clearly a huge misunderstanding and an attack on God’s character. Many would call it blasphemy. The fact that sin does exist is evidence of that God’s will does not always happen, which is quite clear in the pages of the Bible. God is in control of his creation even though he does not act through micro managing human beings.

”Sovereignty” and ”sovereign” are words not found in either the KJV nor the NKJV Bible (except for ”sovereignty” mentioned once in the NKJV but not in relation to God).  ”Sovereignty” is however found in the NIV in a couple of cases where it does not refer to God (Dan 5:18, Dan 7:27) and ”sovereign” is used multiple times referring both to God and others.

It is therefore not incorrect to say that ”sovereignty” and ”sovereign” are not Biblical words, if you exclude modern translations which many Christians are reluctant to use. When Calvinists are told about the lack of these words in the Bible, they usually bring up the trinity and say something like ”The trinity is not mentioned in the Bible either! Does this mean that it’s false?!”. They neglect to notice that the freewiller does not claim that absence of these words in the Bible automatically means that God is therefore not sovereign. What the freewiller does say is that the word must mean defined before we can conclude if it is a correct description of our holy God or not.

What if I asked a Calvinist if he believes that God is sympathetic. Yes, or no? Is he? The Calvinist might say that yes, ”sympathetic” could very well be one of many definitions applicable to God. What if I then said ”See?! Therefore God would never send anyone to hell! That would not be sympathetic at all but truly unkind!”. Then the Calvinist might rightly protest and say that this interpretation does not automatically follow. Of course God could still be sympathetic even though he rightly judges people’s hearts and sends some to hell due to their evil actions and refusal to submit under him. So the Calvinist might admit that God is sympathetic but he certainly does not admit to God being the sort of sympathetic that I propose. What right do I have to define the word ”sympathetic” in such a way? Therein lies the problem.

Non-biblical words must be defined or else you would not know whether you agree with them or not. Who has the authority to define unbiblical words, add them to the Bible with a strict definition tied to them? It is not always a watertight solution to let theologians define such words (even though they are usually right on target). If we truly want to learn and understand God’s true character, it is a lot safer to pay attention to the descriptions and examples which are used in the Bible. Or else anyone can select various unbiblical words, insist on a preferred meaning and add them to the Bible.

Atheists might suggest that if God is all-powerful and sovereign, he should be able to do absolutely everything, including performing logically contradictory ideas such as creating a square circle or even ceasing to be God. This is what one of my daughter’s  science teachers taught his high school science class, with the summary and conclusion that this is proof for God’s insufficiency and therefore non-existence. (For some reason  schools are supposed to be neutral when it comes to religion, but atheism can freely be taught with no consequences?). Although, the God of the Bible never promised to be this sort of omnipotent being who likes to perform ridiculous things – and by the way ”omnipotent” is mentioned once in the KJV Bible (Rev. 19:6) in relation to his reign.

The point is of course that both Calvinist and atheists make the mistake to insist on a certain definition of words which may not even be included in the Bible. They might erroneously assume that everyone sides with their understanding of these words.

Read more about 15 Bible verses Calvinists misinterpret in relation to God’s SOVEREIGN WILL

Biblical examples of bad / unregenerate / spiritually dead people who seek God and do good

acts 17 27We are created to seek and find God

Our reformed friends often claim that we cannot seek God, repent or do good unless God monergistically ”regenerates” us, which is a term that they unfortunately interpret as God making us see and enabling us (actually forcing us) to seek him and come to him. The Bible, however, explains that we are all created to seek and find God, and that he is not far away from any of us:

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but NOW COMMANDETH ALL MEN EVERY WHERE TO REPENT.  

Every single man (all people) has been given the light, and if we receive him and believe in him, God will give us the power to become the sons of God. It does not say the other way around; that God gives light to some people and gives them power so that they can believe in him.

John 1:9 That was the true Light, WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

Each time an atheist decides to not sin, it is surely a good thing. There are loads of atheists every day who do many good deeds by being helpful to complete strangers without expecting anything in return. This does not mean they are saved, but it shows that we can all do good. Seeking God and repent are good things which bad people are requested to do, and they are created by God to do so. If a person does not repent, the blame must be on him and not on God.

1. The prodigal son

The prodigal son came to his senses while living in deep sin away from his Father. He made a good decision to repent for his sins and return to his Father. He went from being alive, to being dead (due to sin), to being alive again:

Luke 15: 24 For this my son WAS DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN; he WAS LOST, and IS FOUND. And they began to be merry.—30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.—32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN AGAIN; and was LOST, and is FOUND. 

The prodigal son was clearly dead while living with prostitutes (Luke 15:30). The below verse is a good description of his status and (unless he repented), his future would be corruption – which means spiritual death since it is contrasted with everlasting life:

Gal. 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

2. Rahab, the harlot

Rahab rescued the Joshua’s men, which was a good thing to do. It is quite possible that she decided to rescue these strangers because she was aware of their God who was the God of both heaven and earth – which would include herself. She wanted them to swear by this Lord to return her kindness and letting her and her family stay alive. James says that she was justified by works (she combined faith and good deeds):

Josh. 2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

Josh. 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

Ja 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

3. Barbarian islanders of Malta

Barbarian inhabitants of Malta showed much kindness to Paul and his companions, and showed this compassion for them due to troublesome rain and cold. These islanders were not ”regenerated” because afterwards they thought that Paul was guilty of murder in his past and that he was justly bitten by a viper as a punishment for his past deeds (Acts 28:4).

Acts 28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

4. Evil fathers

Also evil people can do good to the children (which surely is a good thing), and even give good gifts to them. It is definitely possible to find multiple atheists who are being nothing but kind to their children, and even towards relatives, friends as well as complete strangers. There are even non-believing soldiers at war who have even given their lives for other fighting men.

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

5. Everyone

Peter asks everyone to repent (that would be both good and bad). If they do so, they shall receive the gift of the holy Ghost. It is not the other way around; that God gives the holy Ghost to certain people and in that way they enabling them (and forcing them) to repent.

Acts 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

6. Cornelius was not certainly not a bad person, but before he (and his family and friends) received the holy Spirit he had faith and did good

Cornelius with all his house feared God, and he gave much alms to people and constantly prayed to God. His urgent prayers, fasting and alms-giving were noticed by God who sent an angel to him in a vision. Prior to Peter’s visit to his house Cornelius had collected family members and friends who were all waiting for Peter’s arrival. Peter came and explained that he believed that Cornelius (and maybe his company too since Peter addressed them all) already knew the word of God – the gospel about Jesus Christ. ”— Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)37 That word, I say, ye know”. This means that they had faith, and consequently had good deeds to go with their faith (faith without works is dead) before any of them had received the holy Ghost. 

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.—

22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.—24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.— 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

8. Saul/Paul

Unlike Cornelius Paul was not a humble person but rather a dangerous pharisee. He saw Jesus in a vision on the way to Damascus, and fortunately he was not disobedient to the call that the vision involved. He obeyed the Lord Jesus and visited Ananias who was a child of God. Not until three days after the vision was Paul filled with the holy Ghost, with Ananias as a tool.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision

Other examplessin

I can also mention Lydia, who was already a God-fearing and worshipping woman when God opened he heart to attend the things spoken by Paul. (It does not say that God selected Lydia and opened her heart to believe.) She obviously already had the right mind and heart to hear and understand the deeper things of God presented by Paul. It is always a good choice to not be ”a natural man”. 

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 

Acts 16:14 and a certain woman, by name Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, worshipping God, was hearing, whose heart the Lord did open to attend to the things spoken by Paul (YLT)

People can also do bad things even though they are fully capable, and expected, to do good.

God expected Cain to rule over sin and naturally understood that he was created with this capacity. Still, Cain slew his brother against God’s will. Cain was already a sinner before this time, since he did not react well do God’s rejection of his offering (which makes one wonder about the condition the fruit since God rejected it).

Gen. 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fellAnd the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Do read my article about regeneration not preceding faith here.

Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter Matt. 24:20

Matt. 24Prayers make a difference

The first time we can read about people praying to God in the Bible (rather than having a conversation with him in person) is in Gen 4:26:

Gen. 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

Reformed Christians might pray just as much as other Christians, but the question is why they make this effort considering that they also believe that we are not able to thwart God’s predestined plans no matter what we do (as per Calvinism). They might reply that they pray because God tells them to do so, but what would be the difference if they did not? If all things pan out exactly as God wants, surely we can afford to be extremely relaxed when it comes to praying?

See the verses below. If we are able to cause the preferred season thanks to our prayers, then maybe we are able to influence people to have an open heart for the gospel as well? (Meaning; people are not predestined to be saved or damned from the foundation of the world.) Apparently God has not yet decided which season of the year the flight in question will take place, because Jesus asks us to pray about it. This is evidence that all things are not written in stone, and that we can affect things with our prayers. If we have an active prayer life, we will be stronger spiritually and will be better equipped to escape (and/or endure) hardship which will come to pass in the future:

Matt. 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:—20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

We can pray that we will not enter into temptation, and we will become stronger spiritually if we pray. This is something that we are supposed to do, rather than placing the responsibility on God. Combining prayers with fasting is a good advice, which can also be done alone. However, Paul tells married couples to be united again so that Satan will not be able to tempt them. Again, this is something we are expected to do in order to affect our mind-set and the future.

Matt. 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

1 Cor. 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

We can pray that God will send workers for the great harvest, which means that we can influence both people and God with our prayers:

 Matt. 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Speaking in tongues is something we should be eager to do (and do not let anyone tell you something else), but it is even better to be able to interpret the tongues. Speaking in tongues is one spiritual gift, and interpreting tongues is another separate one. The best combination is to have both gifts, because then we are able to edify even more people than just ourselves. We can pray about it!:

1 Cor. 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

When we pray, it helps if we believe that God can hear our prayers and that we are able to achieve what we pray and strive for (even if other elements are also involved). Our own faith can affect the outcome, and God will hear the prayer of the righteous. If we live in unrepentant sin, however, it is not certain that God will hear our prayers:

Mark. 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

1 Tim. 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Mark. 5:33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Prov. 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

Prov. 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination .

Dan. 9:4 And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

praying 4When Jesus became man in flesh, he prayed/communicated with his Father God just like we pray to God. Also Jesus can affect things thanks to prayer/communication, which of course is obvious since the whole world was created thanks to the divine words ”Let there be light”:

Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles

Jesus shows through a parable, that we can definitely affect God with our prayers. Even someone who does not fear God might very well adhere to constant pleadings. This does not mean that God will not listen to us the first time but requires constant pleadings before he does, but the point is that even a bad person might eventually give in for constant crying and pleadings, so would not our Father in heaven even more pay attention to his children’s urgent prayers?:

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Jesus taught us how to pray, and he gave us an example. We can pray for the outcome of things, we can give thanks for what we already have (regular food), etc. We can also pray that his will shall be done, which indicates that it is not certain that the best option for all mankind or individuals will always take place. Praying is therefore important tool. Notice the moral sense: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

Luke 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.3 Give us day by day our daily bread.4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Paul constantly prayed for others, and wanted to be prayed for himself. This is because he knew that prayers can influence things for the better:

Rom. 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers

2 Cor. 13:7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.

Rom. 15:30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

Phil. 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

2 Cor. 1:11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

2 Thess. 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

Col. 4:Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:— 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

2 Cor. 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

1 Thess. 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

2 Thess. 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

2 Tim. 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

Philemon 1:22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

We can pray that people will receive the Holy Ghost:

Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

As believers we can pray that people can get healed. All people will not get healed all the time and live forever (Lazarus, who came back to life thanks to Jesus, eventually died), but if you for instance check the mission by TLR and Torben Søndergaard, Christians indeed have been given the power to heal in the name of Jesus:  

Acts 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

Ja. 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

You cannot expect to fall in a miraculous trance or see visions, unless you spend time in prayer (like Peter, John, Daniel, etc):

praying kidActs 22:17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance

The prayers from righteous believers can be seen together with the smoke of incense before God:

Rev. 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

1 Pet. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

God heard the prayers of Zacharia:

Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.—13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

Cornelius was a righteous God-fearing man, and before he received the holy Ghost, God heard his prayers and saw his works:

Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

God heard the prayers of Hezekiah and saw his tears. He gave him support and added 15 more years to his life time:

2 King. 20:5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

We can learn a lot from the book of Jonah when it comes to prayer. Even the pagan mariners understood that it was a good idea to pray to God during times of trouble, and  the they and Jonah alike understood that this particular problem occurred due to Jonah’s resistance to God. God has prepared a big fish to swallow up Jonah, but God also heard Jonah’s prayer from the belly of the fish and helped him out. The king of Nineveh also understood the power of prayers, fasting and the importance of a sincere repentance. The attitude of the inhabitants of Nineveh made God change his mind, and he decided to not do what he had previously said he would:

Jonah 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

Jonah 3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Below an important secret is revealed. We are able to take on the full armour of God – praying included – and this will make our spirits stronger. Notice also that Daniel through fasting and prayers received a special revelation, and how the angel explained to him that although his prayers were heard the first day, the prince of Persia (among the rulers of the darkness of this world …) withstood him for some time. This means that we should not give up since we are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against  invisible powers:

Eph. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel

Dan. 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.—11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days