Tag Archive | god

God does not share his glory with anyone, and yet shares it with Jesus – Isaiah 42:8

helig ande I am the Lord: that is my name: and my GLORY will I NOT GIVE ANOTHER, neither my praise to graven images. Is. 42:8

Glory is here translated from the Hebrew word kabowd (Strong’s 3519), and apart from ”glory” it can also be translated honor. God’s divine claim does not mean that man will never disobey it or give the glory worthy of a Creator to someone else, but from God’s perspective HE will not give his glory to someone else.

We can read about the glory of the righteous, the glory of Lebanon, etc, but obviously Jahveh is in Is. 42:8 and 48:11 talking about a particular kind of glory that he will not share with anyone else, or else his claim would be meaningless. He emphasizes that he will not give his glory to anyone else, so obviously he is making a point. We can understand from the context that the glory that he does not share with anyone else is the glory that belongs to the Creator God – the Judge of all mankind. It is this type of glory that Moses could only see a glimpse of due to the magnificent power (Ex. 33:22). However, it is possible to behold the glory indirectly (or directly in another shape), like when Moses saw and spoke with Jahveh in a bush, and when Abraham was dining together with the Angel of the Lord.

Isaiah 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I WILL NOT GIVE MY GLORY UNTO ANOTHER. 12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

Jesus Christ is given glory, power and majesty confirmed by the Father. If the below verses do not describe the glory that belongs to the most powerful being, I do not know what is. The person in focus is Jesus Christ, which indicates that he holds the same glorious position as his Father. Either Jahveh is not telling us the truth about not giving his glory to someone else, OR we can solve the inconsistency by accepting that Jesus belongs to the same godhead as his Father (the trinity). 

Matt 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Revelation 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Who is ”him that liveth for ever and ever” above? Based on for instance Rev. 1:18 it is the son of man Jesus Christ, the Almighty Alpha and Omega. This means that Jesus Christ must be God.

Rev. 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.—13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.—17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

John 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever:and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

More examples of Jesus Christ receiving the utmost GLORY:

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

John quoting Isaiah – Jesus is given GLORY!

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.–10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Let us compare the section from Isaiah above with the below section from John where Jesus places a lot of focus on himself. All the ”me-me-me” would be completely blasphemous UNLESS of course Jesus truly is our glorious Savior and Creator.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his GLORY, and spake of him.42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John above quotes Isaiah 6:10 (in John 12:40) and says that Isaiah saw the glory of the Son of God! John combines the glory of Jahveh and the glory of Jesus Christ. Jesus has God’s appearance even in his ”very being”:

Isaiah 46:5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.

1 Kings 8:23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

Psalm 89:6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

Matt. 8:24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

The ”sons of God” (angels) in Ps. 89:6 above are the ones who are around Jahveh in verse 7.  This means that not even the angels around him can be compared to him. Then who is the Son that is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being?

Hebr. 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

Every knee shall bow to God, or to Jesus? Or both?varje knä skall böjas

Is 66:18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.

Based on the above, should we declare Jahveh’s glory among the gentiles or Jesus Christ’s glory among the gentiles? Or maybe there is no difference? Jesus is God in flesh! When we read about knees being bowed to someone, it is just about always in reference to worshiping (compare for instance 1 Kings. 19:18). Yet, we can read about knees being bowed for both Jahveh and Jesus Christ. Is. 45:23 we can read Jahveh saying ”unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear”, and yet we can read about Jesus Christ ”10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

1 Kings 19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Ps. 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

Is. 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Phil. 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

Rom. 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 

Mark 15:19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.

God alone created the heavens and the earth, AND Jesus Christ:

Is. 44:24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad the earth BY MYSELF

Col. 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:—16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Did Jahveh forget that Jesus Christ was with him during the creation? Of course not. God is one, and the godhead can say that he was alone. Either the trinity is valid, or the Bible is contradictory. Read more in this article about worshiping Jesus as God.

It is very clear from above that Javheh and Jesus Christ are both given the highest glory, and that every knee shall bow before them as in worshiping. Here are your choices:

  1. Jahve’s does not mean his own claim about not sharing his glory with anyone, and that every knee shall bow exclusively before HIM
  2. Jesus Christ is part of the godhead (the trinity) which means that the Biblical claims above pose no problem.

The philosophy of Calvinism more important than GOD for Calvinists?

tulips-2Why is it so important for Calvinists to believe in Calvinism, and that God predestined people to be elect and non-elect before they were even born?

Do they LIKE this story and the way it turns God out to be?

Is it because Calvinism is taught in the Bible? Or is it because Calvinism COULD be taught in the Bible if we ignore certain verses and read other verses in a vacuum to make the text conform to Calvinism? MUST we read the Bible as though Calvinism is taught in it, or is it possible that we can get another outcome (more flattering to God) without having to ignore or twist any verses at all? I would of course vote for the latter. Below are the options as I see it, and the absolutely most negative aspect of Calvinism is that it makes God out to be the author of sin, turning him into a tyrant who prevents most people from being saved. Or maybe there is something even worse – namely the idea that he does this FOR HIS GLORY! The mere thought should make a Christian cringe.

The Calvinistic option 

Note that I do not believe there are any Calvinists who are able to be consistent with their own doctrines, and consequently I do not believe they strictly believe what I write below. I believe they are way smarter than their own doctrines and that they more or less choose to be non-consistent Calvinists. Some try to be more consistent than others and openly admit that they believe God predestines even child molesters to commit their crimes, whereas others do all kind of gymnastics in order to avoid the absurd outcome that Calvinism demands.

  • This alternative makes God responsible for our actions, including our sins. Bringing up the topic of compatibilism does not help, because we cannot make mutually exclusive ideas become true just by describing an invented process with fancy words.
  • The idea is that nothing comes to pass against the will of God (at least if Westminster Confession of Faith is valid). Meaning that sin therefore (if we want to be consistent) happens according to his will. This God apparently also has at least two opposing wills, and one of his wills is attributed to his desire that get people to sin in order to accomplish his purposes.
  • Since God is the author of sin, he is someone who sadly does not make sense and is therefore difficult to approach with a sincere heart. How is it possible to love someone above everything else, knowing that he has predestined most people to be wicked non-elect sinners before they were even born, and even gets so mad at them for being what he created them to be that he sends them to hell?
  • Jesus did not die for everybody but only a select few, indicating that God never intended to offer salvation to all in the first place.
  • A Calvinist has good reason to be boasting, considering that God chose them to be the bright wise stars in the world and not others.
  • Ja. 1:13 must be ignored since it says that God does not tempt any man. Calvinists takes a step further since Calvinism teaches that God not only tempts people but makes them sin.
  • Why Jesus had to die on the cross is a complete mystery is Calvinism is true. Could the elect not remain elect unless Jesus died on the cross? Did Jesus die because something went wrong? Something against God’s plans? Exactly what went wrong, and against God’s will?
  • Hell is a place replete with people who have obeyed God to 100% (by being the wicked non-elect sinners that God predestined them to be.)
  • The word ”sovereign” is added to the Bible (in relation to KJV), which is not a problem per se, but the Calvinistic interpretation of this non-Biblical word is. By excluding the possibility that God could very well have created man with free will, this word must then by necessity mean that only God’s will could be in force on earth, leading yet again to that sin happens according to his will.
  • Preaching and praying do not make any sense if Calvinism is true. The elect cannot perish, and the non-elect can never be saved. Must we do these things because God has told us to? What will then be the horrible outcome if we do not obey?
  • Why all the fuss about sin, if Calvinism is true? If the idea is that nothing comes to pass against his will?

The free will option.

  • This alternative makes MAN responsible for his own actions, which means that sin must be blamed on man and not on God.
  • God does not want anyone to perish and there is much joy in heaven each time a person repents and can get his life restored. God’s sovereignty is not disturbed just because he chose to create man with free will and responsibility for his own actions. God does not have contradictory wills, and every single time a persons sins it is always against his will.
  • Man sins according to his own will and against the will of God. This means that the God makes perfect sense when he constantly persuades people to avoid sin. God is holy and therefore disobedience separate us from him. We are created to seek him and find him (Acts. 17).
  • Jesus died for everyone, showing his true love for every man. We are told to be merciful just like he is.
  • We have no reason to be boasting about our salvation since we are 100% lost without God. We have no authority to forgive ourselves our own sins, but we are completely dependent on the mercy of God. He expects us to repent for our sins, and doing so is not ”boasting” since all has been given this ability.
  • Freewillers totally trust the Biblical information that God does not tempt any man and does NOT make people sin.
  • Jesus death on the cross makes perfect sense. Something went terribly wrong and against God’s plans (sin), and there is no forgiveness without sacrificed blood. God was not surprised that Adam and Eve disobeyed him since he created them with the ability to love/hate and obey/disobey, and naturally then disobedience was a possible outcome. This is why it also makes sense that God made sure to warn Adam and Eve ahead of time about sinning, telling them that sin produces death. He told them NOT to eat, and they ate.
  • Hell is a place for disobedient people who have acted against God’s commandments. They had the opportunity to be sent to heaven but due to their pride and their choice to not be followers of God, they deserve hell.
  • Freewillers do not believe anything is too difficult for God, which means he is capable of creating man with free will and making man responsible for his own actions.
  • Preaching and praying make perfect sense, since by doing so we can make influences on the spiritual world and the outcome of things.

Why is not the Freewill option above the better one, and the only option that saves us from having to blaspheme God by suggesting that he somehow orchestrates sin?calvinism-41

I have spoken to many Calvinists and I sense that most of them do not even want the Freewill option to be true because then they would have to give up Calvinism. It seems like saving Calvinism is much more important than God himself. They have all chances in the world to study on apologetic sites that could help them overcome their Calvinistic hurdles and help them to see the Bible in  a different light, but they decline. They prefer to stick with their Calvinistic teachers and books, and whenever they run into a contradiction they choose to go to such sources to see if there is a solution. They would not consider going to freewill sources, since their goal is to save Calvinism. Saving the character of God from being attacked is not important? It is as though they already have their mind made up. They might ask me if they same does not apply to me – maybe I have also made up my mind beforehand? OK, but does it not make more sense to start off checking those sources that save God from being a selfish tyrant, and where there are no mutually exclusive contradictions that I have to battle?

Many Calvinists commonly ask why it would be a better alternative if God created
people knowing that there would be people denying him. It would be a better alternative since it would place the responsibility and culpability with man and not on God. Knowing something is a possibility ahead of time is not the same thing as predestining it to take place. Instead of ”God made me do it”, a person must face the consequences for his own choices.

Even if it is not a perfect example, I often compare it with a Christian parent living in a secular country (much like my own) and where she/he ”knows” that not all of his/her children will grow up to be believers, or even good respectful citizens, due to the agnostic/atheistic propaganda taught in school, among friends, in the media, and everywhere. Even if the Bible would be taught at home, and even if the parents would spend a lot of time encouraging their children to maintain their Christian faith, it is also close to a certainty that not all their children will make the better choice. So would the parent therefore decide to not have any children at all due to this sad reality? I have not met one person yet with this approach. Even if the parent would be told through a prophesy that not all his/her children would be saved, the parent might still decide to have children. If some of the children would turn out to be agnostics as adults, it would not be the parent’s fault. Each person must be responsible for his own actions and choices in life.

There are Calvinists who admit that there are contradictions in Calvinism, but then they often try to excuse their hopeless situation with this verse:

Is. 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For them this verse means that even if they have no idea how to solve their theological contradictions now, they expect to do so when they get to heaven. A freewiller, however, does not have to wait until heaven before the Bible makes sense, because there are no verses which must be ignored or twisted.

Does God give us GRACE and mercy upon certain conditions?

rom-8

God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble

The Bible says that God does not want anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9), that Jesus has given light to all men (John 1:9) and that we have no excuse for rejecting him (Rom. 1:20-21) since we are created for the precise purpose to seek him and find him (Acts 17:26-27). In this way God shows mercy to all, and Jesus also died for ALL (or else people would definitely perish, which God does not want).

Grace, favor, kindness, thanks, pleasure and benefit are some possible translations of the Greek feminine noun χάρις (charis, Strong’s 5485) used 157 times in the KJV, and we also have the Greek neuter noun χάρισμα (charisma, Strong’s 5486) meaning something like a divine favor, used 17 times in the KJV.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me.

Jesus Christ died for the whole world (John 3:15-17), so all are offered mercy/grace and must therefore not necessarily perish. We also know that not all people will choose to take the chance to be saved and rather prefer to live in darkness. The grace of God that brings salvation has been offered to ALL people, and the grace of God teaches us to stay away from sin here and now. We must not wait until death before we can stay faithful to God:

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL MEN,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

Both in the Old and the New Testament the teaching is that we must forsake our old way of living and start living a holy live, in order to be given mercy.:

Isaiah 55:7 says ”Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

So even if all people have been provided a way to God’s kingdom, God still chooses to resist the proud (those who refuse to believe, and/or those who refuse to follow him and serve him only). In this sense God gives grace only to the humble, because only the humble will benefit from the grace that God has offered to all:

Ja. 4:6 But he giveth more grace (χάρις). Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace (χάρις) unto the humble.

1 Pet. 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Matt. 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Bible does not teach ”once declared righteous, always righteous”. We will never be considered righteous unless we live righteous lives, and that goes for believers as well (see also Ez. 33). We are not ”free” to disobey God either in the old or the new testament:

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?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.

1 Pet. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

In Romans 9 (the Calvinists’ favorite) we can read about God’s mercy, which is a translation from the Greek verb ἐλεέω (eleeō, Strong’s 1653), and the term to have compassion which is a translation from the Greek verb οἰκτίρω (oiktirō, Strong’s 3627). Naturally God can choose to have mercy and compassion to whoever he wants, like those who have repented for their sins and who continue to follow him. You can read more about Rom. 9 in this article and this.

Rom. 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.—15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

We can also fall from grace, as you can read more about here. Examples:

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace

Hebr. 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and things shall be added to you – Matt. 6:33

seekBut SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33) 

In the reformed church you will often hear the teaching that man is not able to seek or come to God unless God first decides to ”wake him up” (something they incorrectly call ”regeneration”) and in this way enables a person to seek and come. They also believe (if they are consistent Calvinists) that God does not show this mercy to everyone but only to those he has decided to save already from the foundation of the world (the elect). In their view, Jesus did not even die for the rest of the people. The Bible however, teaches that God created all men precisely in order TO SEEK HIM, and the promise is that he is not far away from any of us if we should decide to do so. God does not want anyone to perish, and he will forgive us for our past ignorance, provided that we repent from our sins – all men everywhere:

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;—;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:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto ALL MEN, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:17 THAT THE RESIDUE OF MEN MIGHT SEEK AFTER THE LORD, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Those who seek him and come to him must start out believing that he exists, and that he does respond to our actions and rewards those who choose to seek him:

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK HIM.

Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God stands knocking at the door. IF any man open the door, he will come in and provides a wonderful relationship. This is a promise to all of us:

Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

John 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that ALL MEN through him MIGHT BELIEVE.

We have no excuse for not seeking him, since we CAN:

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.24 THEREFORE God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 FOR THIS REASON God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting (NKJV)

The below is a psalm, and psalms often contain poetic descriptions, or hyperbolic expressions. If Acts 17 claims that God created us to seek him and no one seeks him, then we have a problem. Does he want us to seek him or not? If he prevents people from seeking him, then our disbelief is not our fault but his fault and we would have an excellent excuse for not turning to God. Psalm 14 also mentions that ”no one” seeks God, but on the other hand the psalm contrasts such people with people who DO seek him!

Psalm 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

You can read more about such psalms quoted by Paul in Rom. 3:10 (”no one seeks God”) in this article.

Other psalms which urge us to seek him:

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 10:4 The WICKED, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after seek GodGod: God is not in all his thoughts.

Psalm 105:4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.

We can read about an instance where people do seek God and yet he has withdrawn himself from them, but this is part of a prophetic warning to the house of Israel which would not need to come true if Israel would cease with its pride and start obeying the Lord. Sin often produces serious consequences and it is not certain that God will step in to block such consequences from happening even if people have repented. For instance, King David repented from his serious sin and by doing so restored his life, but his child died anyway.

Hosea 5:6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.

Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this.

Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

In the Old Testament

Here are some more verses which show God’s expectations on us – that we should seek him. In 2 Chronicles 14:4 we can see that God specifically commands all Judah to seek him (and obey his commandments) and we know that all of them did not always do that. This shows our free will, and our ability to obey or disobey.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart 

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.

1 Chronicles 16:10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. 11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.

1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

2 Chronicles 11:16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.

1 Chronicles 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 14:4 And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment

 2 Chronicles 15:4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.— 12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

2 Chronicles 19:3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

2 Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 30:19 That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.

2 Chronicles 31:21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.

Isaiah 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

Isaiah 56:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near

Isaiah 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

Lamentation 3:25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

Ezra 6:21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

Amos 5:4 For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:-–6 Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.—8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name:—14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.

We can clearly see that we both have the ability and responsibility to seek God rather than the temptations of the world:

Numbers 15:39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

Numbers 24:1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

Isaiah 9:13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts.

Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

Zechariah 8:21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.

The holy Spirit is given after faith and repentance – not before

acts-10Repent, 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” (Acts 2:38)

Some Calvinist friends are of the opinion that God is the one selecting whom to save and provides the holy Spirit to the chosen individuals – and in this fashion enables them to believe (while he shows no courtesy to the others who are chosen to be non-elect before they are even born). The Bible, however, teaches that God does not want anyone to perish and that the holy Spirit is given to a person after he/she has repented (after having come to Christ and confessed his/her sins). You can read my article about regeneration (being born again after having been cleansed from sins) here.

Based on the Bible we can deduce that the presence of the holy Spirit (the holy Ghost) operates in different ways between the old and the new testaments (this deserves an article of its own). Suffice is to say that one could of course be saved also during the time of the old testament, before the time of Jesus Christ who later died, was resurrected and provided the holy Ghost as our individual Helper. Before his time, there was a lot of focus on the prophets of God who could provide extra light on the Torah. Faith leading to righteousness has always been required for salvation ever since the time of Adam.

2 Pet. 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Cornelius – faith and righteousness before the indwelling of the holy Spirit

The apostle Peter describes the truth about salvation ”in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him”. The ability to do this was available both in the old and the new testament, even if the holy Spirit operates in a different way today compared to the old times. One difference is that people did not speak in tongues in the old times, and miracles and healing were primarily connected to the prophets and holy men of God.

The story about Cornelius (Acts 10) is enough for us to understand that a person can believe in God, do many good works – before having been baptized in the holy Spirit.

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,2 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.—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.—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.—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?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Here is more evidence that faith precedes the indwelling of the holy Ghost:

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, WHICH THEY THAT BELIEVE ON HIM SHOULD RECEIVE: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

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.

Heb. 11 he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.

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. —30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee

2 Tim 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.21 IF a man therefore purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded

Jeremiah 4:14 Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved

Ezekiel 18:31 Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die… 

Rev. 2:21 And I gave her SPACE TO REPENT of her fornication and she repented not. 22 Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their DEEDS

Notice below that the order of events is 1) enlightenment to every man who comes into John 1.jpgthe world, 2) reception and belief in Jesus Christ, 3) resulting in becoming the sons of God (thanks to being cleansed and pardoned):

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

Notice also that ”his own” did not receive him. If that would signify the chosen elect, it is strange why God did not enable them (predestine them) to believe in him. It rather seems like it is our own responsibility – to react on God’s calling. This is not the same as ”saving ourselves” without God. We do not have the authority to forgive ourselves for our own sins, and we cannot be born again without the grace of God and unless he provides the opportunity for us to have all of our sins erased.

No one good but GOD, so we cannot ever be good? Matt. 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke. 18:19

luke-23Is God alone GOOD? 

Below are the three passages where we can read about Jesus claim that ”none is good but one, and that is God”. His statement has often been misunderstood in two ways 1) the idea that Jesus denies he is God (which he does not deny), and 2) the idea that no one apart from God can ever be considered good and we can forget about ever doing something that is considered righteous (which he does not say).

Matt. 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Markus 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Lukas 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

Jesus does not argue against being God, and let us not forget that God the Father himself calls Jesus God in Hebr. 1:8 (to mention one verse among many supporting the deity of Jesus). The rich ruler called Jesus ”Good Master”, and it seems like Jesus wanted him to reflect about his own statement. Does the man realize what he is saying and is he aware of who he is asking for advice? Jesus is not only a good master, but he can also forgive sins – which only God has the authority to do. Moreover, if Jesus would claim to not be God, we would have quite a few Bible contradictions to battle.

Notice also that the question was what to DO in order to inherit eternal life, and that Jesus did not answer ”just believe and do nothing”. Instead, Jesus answers the question by highlighting the commandments of God which are these: ”Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother”. When the rich ruler answers back that he has observed those commandments since youth, Jesus does not argue that such complete obedience is impossible but rather explains that the rich ruler still lacks one thing – to sell his many possessions and distribute the money to the poor. Here too we must try to understand what Jesus is saying. He is likely using a hyperbole since it would not be logical to ask the rich ruler to sell 100% of all this possessions. Not even Jesus and his disciples had done that themselves and Jesus was no hypocrite. Jesus was likely referring to the excess of possessions owned by the rich ruler, and that his heart was not entirely right before God. He was likely more concerned with his valuable possessions than having a prosperous connection with God.

If there is only one person (or God) who is good, does this mean the rest of human kind as well as angels are considered bad? No one can of course compare his/her goodness with the goodness of God, but if we have been cleansed from our sins then surely we must be considered ”good” (as long as we remain clean) since we have no sins left on our sin accounts. Babies might be considered neutral (they are not aware of the law), but since they have not done anything worthy of being called evil, another alternative is to label them ”good”.

Isaiah 7:16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Rom. 9: 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Jesus expected his disciples (who had already sinned earlier in their lives) to be perfect as their Father. Unless Jesus is lying, we can all be considered perfect if we live righteous lives:

Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The question is rather what Jesus might mean with being ”perfect”. We already know it does not mean ”to never having sinned and to never sin even once for the rest of your life”, because Jesus was talking to his disciples who had already sinned. Anyone can repent for past sins and become totally cleansed and perfect. Anyone can continue on the righteous path by being led by the holy Spirit and avoid evil. The promise is:

Gal. 5:16 —Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

The Bible tells us that there are indeed GOOD individuals

Good” is in Matt. 19:17, Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19 translated from the Greek adjective ἀγαθός (agathos Strong’s 18) which means good, generous, friendly, etc. There are other words which describe good and righteous individuals, but let us focus on this particular term. Joseph and Barnabas are two examples of good people according to the Bible:

Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a GOOD man, and a just

Acts 11:22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.—24 For he was a GOOD man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

Through Biblical parables and analogies, we can see that individuals can be labelled as ”good”:

Matt. 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.—21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Luke 19:16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

Matt. 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Matt. 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Matt. 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Matt. 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

There were even good slave owners (masters) during this time:

1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

Do read about the expression ”filthy rags” from Isaiah 64:6 here.

How did Noah get the approx. 16000 animals on board the Ark?

ArkenThe animals on board the Ark

According to John Woodmorappe’s ”Noah’s Ark: A feasibility study”, not a whole lot of animals were required to be on board the Ark in order to get to the animal position where we are today. According to his calculations, there would be enough with about 16,000 animals on the Ark and those animals would be the ancestors to the myriads of animals that we see around us today. We must remember that wolves, dogs, coyotes, dingoes, etc, all belong to the same ”animal family” and could have been included in the Biblical ”kind”.

The Bible, the book of Enoch, the book of Jasher and the book of Jubilees (to mention a few) all mention the time of the flood and both the antediluvian and postdiluvian periods. As Christians, it is the Bible that we view as the inspired word of God, but it is possible that the book of Enoch and the book of Jasher (both mentioned in the Bible) also contain much truth or even close to the whole truth since they confirm the Bible albeit with some more details. Therefore it is not totally illogical to use such books when speculating on what might have happened on earth about 4,600 years ago.

After the flood on Ararat:

Gen. 9:17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.

The reason for the global flood

According to many historical sources (including the Jewish historian Josephusgiants were actually born through the marriages between angels and human females. Wickedness escalated to enormous proportions during this time, and eventually every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. The flesh was corrupt, and that probably did not mean only thoughts and actions but the flesh itself was actually – as the word implies – corrupt. The book of Enoch explains, not only the ungodly mixture of angels and human beings which produced giants, but also the unlawful mixture and experiments between animal groups (and between human beings and animals). You can read the details in the book of Enoch, but here comes the Biblical version:

Gen. 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.—11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.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.

Construction of the Arkgrace 5

There is information about the construction of the Ark also in the previously mentioned books, but I settle with the Bible.

Gen. 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

What animals to bring

It is quite possible for God to have given Noah general instructions to start with, and God could have provided Noah with more detailed instructions when it was actually time to gather the animals and eventually get on board the Ark. It is also possible that it is rather the author who first makes a general description (and ends with the information that Noah is always obedient), and proceeds to make a more detailed description when the general outline had been sufficiently covered. (The same goes for the creation story in Gen 1 and 2.) My point is that the none of the instructions are contradictory but rather supplementary.

Gen. 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Gen. 7: 1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.5 And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.

After the flood on Ararat:

Gen. 9:19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

The book of Jubilees about Ark:

Ch. 5 And Noah made the ark in all respects as He commanded him, in the twenty-seventh jubilee of years, in the fifth week in the fifth year (on the new moon of the first month). And he entered in the sixth (year) thereof, in the second month, on the new moon of the second month, till the sixteenth; and he entered, and all that we brought to him, into the ark, and the Lord closed it from without on the seventeenth evening. And the Lord opened seven flood-gates of heaven, And the mouths of the fountains of the great deep, seven mouths in number. And the flood-gates began to pour down water from the heaven forty days and forty nights, And the fountains of the deep also sent up waters, until the whole world was full of water. And the waters increased upon the earth: Fifteen cubits did the waters rise above all the high mountains, And the ark was lift up above the earth, And it moved upon the face of the waters.And the water prevailed on the face of the earth five months -one hundred and fifty days. And the ark went and rested on the top of Lubar, one of the mountains of Ararat. 

katt 2Boarding of the animals – and the nature of the animals before and after the flood

Gen. 9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Based on the Bible, it appears as though the animals’ nature slightly changed after the flood (Gen. 9:2) since they started to fear man. This newly acquired nature became rather useful considering that human beings from this point onward were allowed to kill and eat animals. (At least some people killed and ate animals also before the flood, but not according to God’s commandments.) Based on the book of Jasher, animals also adapted a slightly new nature shortly before great flood commenced! According to this book, the animals were somehow attracted to the Ark (maybe God miraculously arranged so that the Ark had a certain odor attached to it) and they sought to come near it. Some of them behaved in a peculiar way before Noah, and their crouching before him was a signal for him to bring those particular animals on board the Ark. The book of Jasher does not promise that all animals under the sun were around the Ark, but perhaps only those animals that lived relatively close and were able to make it in time. We must also remember that the earth’s landscape could have looked entirely different before the flood, and it is possible that all land masses were connected. 

Gen. 10:25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.

Book of Jasher Ch.10:19 These are the generations of Shem; Shem begat Arpachshad and Arpachshad begat Shelach, and Shelach begat Eber and to Eber were born two children, the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the sons of men were divided, and in the latter days, the earth was divided.

Here is what the book of Jasher says about the boarding of the Ark and the behavior of the animals shortly before the flood:

Ch. 6:1 At that time, after the death of Methuselah, the Lord said to Noah, Go thou with thy household into the ark; behold I will gather to thee all the animals of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and they shall all come and surround the ark.2 And thou shalt go and seat thyself by the doors of the ark, and all the beasts, the animals, and the fowls, shall assemble and place themselves before thee, and such of them as shall come and crouch before thee, shalt thou take and deliver into the hands of thy sons, who shall bring them to the ark, and all that will stand before thee thou shalt leave.3 And the Lord brought this about on the next day, and animals, beasts and fowls came in great multitudes and surrounded the ark.4 And Noah went and seated himself by the door of the ark, and of all flesh that crouched before him, he brought into the ark, and all that stood before him he left upon earth.

Some of the animals seemed adamant about getting on board the Ark, and they acted according to their new instinct:

Ch. 6:5 And a lioness came, with her two whelps, male and female, and the three crouched before Noah, and the two whelps rose up against the lioness and smote her, and made her flee from her place, and she went away, and they returned to their places, and crouched upon the earth before Noah.6 And the lioness ran away, and stood in the place of the lions.7 And Noah saw this, and wondered greatly, and he rose and took the two whelps, and brought them into the ark.8 And Noah brought into the ark from all living creatures that were upon earth, so that there was none left but which Noah brought into the ark.9 Two and two came to Noah into the ark, but from the clean animals, and clean fowls, he brought seven couples, as God had commanded him.10 And all the animals, and beasts, and fowls, were still there, and they surrounded the ark at every place, and the rain had not descended till seven days after.

Sometimes terrifying things can cause people to reevaluate their bad habits and seek God, but when it comes to the people in the antediluvian world they did not cease to do evil but continued to mock God. Just like the situation in many secular societies today, people before the flood questioned God’s existence! If they did acknowledge his existence, they were angry at him.

Ch. 6:11 And on that day, the Lord caused the whole earth to shake, and the sun darkened, and the foundations of the world raged, and the whole earth was moved violently, and the lightning flashed, and the thunder roared, and all the fountains in the earth were broken up, such as was not known to the inhabitants before; and God did this mighty act, in order to terrify the sons of men, that there might be no more evil upon earth.12 And still the sons of men would not return from their evil ways, and they increased the anger of the Lord at that time, and did not even direct their hearts to all this.13 And at the end of seven days, in the six hundredth year of the life of Noah, the waters of the flood were upon the earth.14 And all the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.15 And Noah and his household, and all the living creatures that were with him, came into the ark on account of the waters of the flood, and the Lord shut him in.

It was not until it was too late – when God had already closed the door of the Ark – when people started to approach the Ark wanting to get on board due to the never-ceasing rain. The large amount of desperate people could not come close enough to the Ark due to the animals still surrounding it! Why did so many animals still surround the Ark? Possibly because they still had their animal children on board, and their instinct told them to protect the Ark from intruders who might harm their children. In this way, the animals prevented the crowds from breaking into the Ark because they viewed them as a threat. According to the book of Jasher, it was around 700.000 desperate people who eventually assembled to be close to the only source of salvation that was available – the Ark. Unfortunately they acted too late, and despite their great number they still did not manage to find a way to break into the Ark. The aggressive animals were in the way, the weather condition was chaotic and they might even have lacked proper tools.

Ch. 6:16 And all the sons of men that were left upon the earth, became exhausted through evil on account of the rain, for the waters were coming more violently upon the earth, and the animals and beasts were still surrounding the ark.17 And the sons of men assembled together, about seven hundred thousand men and women, and they came unto Noah to the ark.18 And they called to Noah, saying, Open for us that we may come to thee in the ark–and wherefore shall we die?19 And Noah, with a loud voice, answered them from the ark, saying, Have you not all rebelled against the Lord, and said that he does not exist? and therefore the Lord brought upon you this evil, to destroy and cut you off from the face of the earth.20 Is not this the thing that I spoke to you of one hundred and twenty years back, and you would not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and now do you desire to live upon earth?21 And they said to Noah, We are ready to return to the Lord; only open for us that we may live and not die.22 And Noah answered them, saying, Behold now that you see the trouble of your souls, you wish to return to the Lord; why did you not return during these hundred and twenty years, which the Lord granted you as the determined period?23 But now you come and tell me this on account of the troubles of your souls, now also the Lord will not listen to you, neither will he give ear to you on this day, so that you will not now succeed in your wishes.24 And the sons of men approached in order to break into the ark, to come in on account of the rain, for they could not bear the rain upon them.25 And the Lord sent all the beasts and animals that stood round the ark. And the beasts overpowered them and drove them from that place, and every man went his way and they again scattered themselves upon the face of the earth.26 And the rain was still descending upon the earth, and it descended forty days and forty nights, and the waters prevailed greatly upon the earth; and all flesh that was upon the earth or in the waters died, whether men, animals, beasts, creeping things or birds of the air, and there only remained Noah and those that were with him in the ark.