Etikettarkiv | kill

Was the apostle Paul, or Saul, a murderer?

evil eyesDid Paul kill someone before he was converted?

There is no evidence for that Paul actually killed someone in his life, but he was still acting violently in his goal to pursue his religion which he had adapted to a Pharisaic variant where he was actively searching for converted Jews with the aim to get them imprisoned.

Paul first enters the Biblical scene with his original name Saul (later changed to Paul by Jesus himself), and this is when he consented to the stoning (to death) of Stephen in Acts 7-8. Paul did not participate in the stoning itself, but he did not decline to guard the clothes of those who did – which means that they trusted him in the matter, and he was on their side.

Consenting to someone being killed/sentenced to death (or ”capital punishment”) is not the same as being a murderer himself. If that were the case, loads of people would be charged for being murderers today just for voting ”yes” to capital punishment. Paul would just be one in the crowd. Still, due to Paul’s actions there were some disciples of Jesus who were put in jail and received a death sentence. Paul had no authority to decide about the sentence/punishment, but it certainly looks like he was not against capital punishment.

Acts 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

So Saul caused mayhem in the church, and he entered into houses and caused people to end up in prison. Below we can also see that he was breathing threats and murder against them, but we still do not have any actual evidence that his violent treatment caused anyone to be killed. He did not hesitate to cause converted Jews to be brought bound to Jerusalem because of their (as he thought) incorrect belief – but this does not necessarily mean that anyone ended up being killed. Maybe there would be an increased risk of this if he had been able to pursue all his plans, but he was stopped by the famous vision of Jesus on his way to Damascus. 

Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

So Saul/Paul was halted in his plans and chose not to pursue them after being converted. It is not certain that his aim even was to get Christians killed, but he definitely wanted to prevent them from maintaining their faith and spreading their faith to others – through all means possible.

Even if there is no evidence for that Saul/Paul actually killed someone, was he not a murderer in heart since he approved of the stoning of Stephen, and probably would not mind if even more converted Jews were stoned to death?

1 John 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

It is true that whoever hates his brother is a murderer and is therefore not saved, but this is a different matter than the subject of whether Paul actually killed someone physically. There are people who store hatred in their hearts towards others but who have not killed anyone physically whether directly or indirectly, and who might even refuse to do so if they had a chance. They would therefore not be considered murderers. (Likewise, not all people would consider someone a murderer just because he/she votes for capital punishment in his country.) God will nevertheless one day judge our hearts on judgment day, and the key question is if we have repented for our sins or not.

We can get some more information about Paul:

Phil. 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

1 Cor. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

Acts 9:21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

Blood of JesusPaul repented for his past sins and left the old man behind

Paul was converted, and when Ananias placed his hands on him and prayed for him, he was healed from his blindness and was filled with the holy Ghost:

Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Acts 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. — 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.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.18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Just because Paul was ”chosen” vessel does not mean he had no choice in the matter. Jesus might have chosen him because he understood that Paul would respond positively to the task, and because Jesus wanted his help to spread the gospel to the gentiles and to shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake”. (I. e. Paul would get a similar treatment to the one that he himself had chosen to give others.) Remember the parable in Matt. 22 about the wedding feast for the King’s son, and where those who chose to go (and chose to dress properly) were called the chosen ones, rather than those on the guest list (list with invitations) who declined to go:

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

When Paul was converted, he changed his way of thinking and left the old man behind. He walked the talk, and the man who wrote most letters in the New Testament was no hypocrite. Paul expected the followers of Jesus to have a pure heart and a good conscience, and he admitted that he was formerly a blasphemer and persecutor of the church.

1 Tim. 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,—12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;13 Who was BEFORE a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Paul acted the way he did because he thought it was the right thing to do. He acted ignorantly in unbelief. This can be compared to situations where a sinner is fully aware  that his deeds are evil (perhaps through stealing from someone else, or perhaps through being involved in adultery and lies) and his own conscience confirms it. The sinner might not want to be treated the same way that he himself treats others, and this is evidence of a sinful heart. This is how God will judge our hearts:

Rom. 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Many Christians misunderstand Rom. 7 as though Paul is speaking about his life as a converted Christian, even though he is only expressing the thoughts of someone (like himself) left to himself under the law. In Rom. 7 he says for instance:

Romans 7:14 But I am carnal, sold under sin

And in the following chapter he claims that those who are carnal will reap DEATH – which would include himself, unless he changed his life style:

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is DEATH 

It is absolutely clear that Paul did in fact change his life style and expected fellow Christians to avoid sin just like he did:

I Cor. 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and SIN NOT

Romans 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.-—   — 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of SIN UNTO DEATH, or of obedience unto righteousness?  — 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—:That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.— 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Paul claimed that he (and his two coworkers) were holy, just and unblameable (which is the same as being ”perfect”), and he also claimed to have lived ”in all good conscience before God until this day”. A person who sins evidently does not live with a good conscience.

1 Thess. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how HOLILY and JUSTLY and UNBLAMEABLY WE BEHAVED OURSELVES among you that believe:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory

Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I HAVE LIVED IN ALL GOOD CONSCIENCE BEFORE GOD UNTIL THIS DAY.  

Acts. 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men. 

2 Cor. 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Tim. 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with PURE CONSCIENCE, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day

Annonser

Zipporah: ”A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision” – Ex. 4:24-26

covenant 3”Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me” (Ex. 4:25)

What is this all about? The textual context is a great help and also a corresponding passage in The book of Jasher – which is Jewish secular history, not claimed to be the inspired word of God but the text can nevertheless provide some light.

Exodus 4:19 And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

There seems to be a link between God’s speech about Israel being the firstborn son (in a figurative sense) and the verses which immediately follow (see below) – about Moses’ first born son. We have to remember that an important covenant had been established between God and Israel, through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and a covenant is supposed to be respected by both parties. God had promised the patriarchs and their offspring protection and the land of Canaan under the condition that they stayed faithful to him. The law of Moses was still in the future at this point in history, but in order to reach to that stage faithfulness from Moses and the Israelites was required. A circumcision was an outward sign of being a follower of the one true God and a crystal clear divine commandment which was not optional. Moses was of course well aware of this commandment from God, yet he still neglected to obey him apparently due to fear of man – his father-in-law. That is like saying ”I respect you God and you have done so much for me and my people, showing us miracles, etc, but there are limits for how much I can obey you. I prefer to obey my father-in-law in this matter so that I can be on a good standing with him. That is more important than having a good relationship with you or being able to save the people of Israel”. Here is the rest of the story:

24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him.25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision. 27 And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:30 And Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

If Moses and the Israel would be faithful to God and stay away from sin (like murdering, stealing, lying, adultery, witchcraft, etc), it would mean that Israel would indeed be a ”peculiar” people who would be able to show other people that they (the Israelites) were a morally upright people who lived for the Lord. God is just but he also requires obedience from his people. If the Israelites were just like anyone else, God’s reputation would consequently also be attacked and other people would see no reason to seek the God of Israel nor improve their pagan life styles. Therefore it is not a light matter to choose to disobey God despite having seen divine miracles and despite knowing that breaking the covenant would risk the safety of his own family and many other Israelite families.

Ex. 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Below we can read the same story from the book of Jasher’s point of view. God really wanted to save his people from their Egyptian yoke. He was ”jealous of his people and his inheritance”.

Jasher 78:8 And Zipporah walked in the ways of the daughters of Jacob, she was nothing short of the righteousness of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.9 And Zipporah conceived and bare a son and he called his name Gershom, for he said, I was a stranger in a foreign land; but he circumcised not his foreskin, at the command of Reuel his father-in-law.10 And she conceived again and bare a son, but circumcised his foreskin, and called his name Eliezer, for Moses said, Because the God of my fathers was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.11 And Pharaoh king of Egypt greatly increased the labor of the children of Israel in those days, and continued to make his yoke heavier upon the children of Israel.–16 And the Lord was jealous of his people and his inheritance, and heard their voice, and he resolved to take them out of the affliction of Egypt, to give them the land of Canaan for a possession.

Jasher 79:5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, return to Egypt, for all those men who sought thy life are dead, and thou shalt speak unto Pharaoh to send forth the children of Israel from his land.6 And the Lord showed him to do signs and wonders in Egypt before the eyes of Pharaoh and the eyes of his subjects, in order that they might believe that the Lord had sent him.7 And Moses hearkened to all that the Lord had commanded him, and he returned to his father-in-law and told him the thing, and Reuel said to him, Go in peace.8 And Moses rose up to go to Egypt, and he took his wife and sons with him, and he was at an inn in the road, and an angel of God came down, and sought an occasion against him.9 And he wished to kill him on account of his first born son, because he had not circumcised him, and had transgressed the covenant which the Lord had made with Abraham.10 For Moses had hearkened to the words of his father-in-law which he had spoken to him, not to circumcise his first born son, therefore he circumcised him not.11 And Zipporah saw the angel of the Lord seeking an occasion against Moses, and she knew that this thing was owing to his not having circumcised her son Gershom.12 And Zipporah hastened and took of the sharp rock stones that were there, and she circumcised her son, and delivered her husband and her son from the hand of the angel of the Lord.

”The Angel of the Lord” is not a created angel, but as you can see in this article it seems to be none other than a form of God and likely therefore a form av Jesus (who was with his Father from the beginning). Zipporah knew that the angel of God visited them due to Moses’ neglect to obey God when it comes to their first-born son’s circumcision, and maybe this was also according to the plans of the angel. If it was a tangible reaction that the angel was after, he certainly got one when their son Gershom eventually was circumcised – and Moses was thereafter delivered from the hand of the angel of the Lord. If a person neglects to obey God when it comes to simple matters due to fear of man, he might not be ready for greater matters like saving his people from Egypt. The presence of the angel of the Lord sorted it out, and he continued to hold his protective hand over Moses, his family and Israel.

Can we all be called GODS, as per John 10:34 and Ps. 82:6?

Jesus4Is it not written in your law, I said, YE ARE GODS? (John 10:34)

Yahve (Strong’s 3068) is used 6220 times in the Bible, and it’s the name of our only Creator God. No one else but our only true God is called by this name. (Yahve was one of three who ate with Abraham outside his tent – see my article about the angel of the Lord.)

Elohim (Strong’s 430) is another name for God and is used 2598 times in the Bible. This word has a little broader meaning even if our only true God is the most common meaning. – divine (1), divine being (1), exceedingly (1), God (2326), god (45), God’s (14), goddess (2), godly (1), gods (204), great (2), judges (3), mighty (2), rulers (1), shrine* (1).

El (Strong’s 410)  is used 248 times in the Bible and also means God in singular or plural. (A suitable name for a trinity.)

Adon (Strong’s 113) is used 325 times in the Bible and means Lord or Master, which of course God is

Theos (Strong’s 2316) is used 1327 times in the Bible (NT) and means God and/or Creator of all

People who refuse to accept the Biblical message that Jesus Christ is God

Whenever the above titles for GOD are used, the majority of the time they concern either 1) our only Creator God, or 2) false gods who are not real Gods at all according to the Bible. It’s not difficult to understand whether the text is referring to our real God or false gods, and we also get a great help by knowing Jahve is only used for our real God. However, it seems like the only times when some people are in doubt about which type of god the text is talking about, it’s only in those verses where Jesus Christ is called God, as in Hebr. 1:8. That’s because they often have an agenda to never accept the deity of Jesus, even if the verses clearly say so. It’s actually not surprising that some people take it as their mission to promote the idea that Jesus is not the WORD who was with God and who was GOD and lived among us (thus Jesus is God) because the spirit of Antichrist is active among us:

John 8:24 I said, therefore, to you, that ye shall die in your sins, for if ye may not believe that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.’ Young’s Literal (I AM = ego eimi)

1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and anantichrist.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD.The same was in the beginning with God.All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.—14 And THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Excuses – ”Anyone can be called God, so it’s not a big deal that Jesus too was called God in Hebr. 1:8”?

We can read that Moses was to be AS GOD  for Pharao, and it’s not to be understood as though Moses is one God among many other gods. That would only make God the Creator to be a liar for suggesting that he is the only God if the truth is that polytheism is a reality. JAHVE (God) is only applied to our only Creator God in the Bible, but here Elohim is used.

Ex. 7:1 And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god (Elohim) to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (KJV)

Ex. 7:1 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you LIKE God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. (ESV)

Ex. 7:7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you AS God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. (NASB)

God said something similar about Aaron, and his status in relation to Moses:

Ex. 4:15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and THOU SHALT BE TO HIM INSTEAD OF GOD. (KJV)

Ex. 4:16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and YOU SHALL BE AS GOD TO HIM. (ESV)

Ex. 4:16 Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and YOU WILL BE AS GOD TO HIM. (NASB)

So the above cannot be used as support for that people other than God can be called gods. There is, however, one particular verse that some people desperately put all their hope and energy on, in order to escape the clear meaning that Jesus is God – and that is John. 10:34

John 10:34 and Psalm 82:6 – ye are Godsjesus 4

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for BLASPHEMY; and because that THOU, BEING A MAN, MAKEST THYSELF GOD.34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?*) 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand (* See Ps. 82:6)

The above is a reference to the below psalm, and psalms often contain POETRY that MIRRORS the truth and uses SYMBOLIC PHRASES with a deeper meaning. Let’s keep this in mind so we don’t interpret such text in the wrong way and end up starting a false doctrine.

Ps. 82:1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

To start with, the reason these jews provide for wanting to stone Jesus is due to blasphemy, ”because you being a MAN, make yourself GOD”. The jews were experts on the Scriptures, and they understood that human beings should not call themselves GOD. The first commandment is, after all:

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

If people other than GOD can literally be called ”gods” (like mighty judges) by others, then we end up having other gods before GOD, and we also end up making God to be a liar for falsely saying that we should have no other gods when he himself endorses multiple gods. But doesn’t Jesus confirm the availability of other gods in his statement in John. 10:34? He confirms this PSALM and the correct meaning of both the psalm and the term ”gods” in its proper context – the way they are supposed to be understood. If certain individuals (like judges and leaders) can also commonly be addressed as gods, then there would be a huge risk that the above commandment would be watered down, and this wouldn’t be according to God’s plans. The jews did not relax the slightest bit when Jesus confirmed that he was the son of God and that the Father is in him and he is in the Father, because calling oneself the son of God and suggesting that the Father and the son are inside each other, is still calling oneself GOD! God certainly doesn’t have any children together with a woman, so if you’re a son to God you have your origin in God himself which means you’re God. So the jews still wanted to kill Jesus, and they knew exactly which psalm that Jesus was quoting from.

The jews were familiar with all the psalms, including Ps. 82:6 which Jesus was referring to when he said ”Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods”. If godly judges can be called ”gods” because they represent God, how much more should not Jesus Christ be able to call himself this (despite not being a judge) since he is sent by God the Father who was with him from eternity past in the trinity? This seems to be the way the jews understood him too, because we can read n v. 39 that THEREFORE (for this reason) they tried to take him once again. They felt Jesus confirmed his deity by referring to that passage where he gave his arguments for why he had the right to be called God.

The word for God in Ps. 82:6 is not ”Jahve” but ”Elohim”, and while this usually refers to either the Creator God or ”false gods who are no real gods”, it can also be translated as ”mighty ones” which could apply to judges who are ordained by God to do his work, and God himself is a mighty one – even the mightiest one. ”I have said, Ye are gods”, i.e. ”in my law I have called you gods”. They are given such name and status since they judge on God’s behalf and act as his representatives, but they are not ”gods” in the strictest sense. They are possessing a derived divinity, and in a sense ”children of the most high”. In the law, they were so by God’s appointment because he constituted them judges and  although they were gods by office, they were also mortal men and would die. It’s not likely that any of those judges were at any time literally called ”god” in real life, due to the commandment to have no other Gods but GOD.

Examples of judges appointed by God to do his work:

Deut. 1:13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.

2 Cron. 19:And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.

Ps. 58:1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.—Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord.—10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Rom. 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Paul explains why there on one hand exists only ONE God, and on the other hand we learn about multiple gods, and even multiple lords. ”There is none other God but ONE”, says Paul, and ”TO US there is but ONE GOD”. (Do read my blog article about the claim ”the only true God” in this blog article.) Surely we can trust him? So if God the Father dares to call his son ”GOD” in Hebr. 1:8, he isn’t contradicting what Paul is saying here, and neither does he contradict himself from his own previous claims where he says there is ONE GOD only. Other lords are only lords in the sense of being ”masters” (and they are certainly not ”Lord of Lords” which the Father AND the son call themselves), and other gods are either false gods (so no gods at all), or gods in the symbolic sense due to their office and they are likely never literally addressed as gods by others (in order to not disobey God’s commandment about serving only one God).

1 Cor. 8:As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idolswe know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that THERE IS NONE OTHER GOD BUT ONE.For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)6 But TO US THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

5 Mosebok 4:35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.— 39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

John is told to NOT worship the angel but to worship GOD. John didn’t ask ”which one of all gods should I worship?”

Rev. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: WORSHIP GOD: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Rev. 22:And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: WORSHIP GOD.

If it’s alright for other individuals apart from God to be called God, then why was the prince of Tyrus (or Satan, which is the angelic comparison) sinning for also calling himself God? As a prince (or as a messenger of God, as Satan was) he would be a person in lead of others, and he was also supposed to act as a judge for them, so maybe calling oneself ”god” in the Psalm 82:6- sense was rather fitting? Yet, God is not at all pleased with prince of Tyrus calling himself a god, and he criticizes him heavily and calls him proud. Why did God motivate his criticism towards him with ”yet thou art A MAN and not God”? That sounds like God finds it preposterous for a mere human being to call himself God. So did the jews who wanted to kill Jesus!

Ezekiel 28:Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God

The house of David will be ”LIKE” God, so LIKE the angel of the Lord (who is Jesus Christ incarnate) going before them – just like the angel of the Lord (Jesus) went before the Israelites in the desert.

Zechariah 12:8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going before them.

Jesus is trying to get the jews to understand that if the symbolic term god can be applied to certain individuals with a certain mission from God and with a proper office, and this is NOT considered blasphemy, then neither should they accuse Jesus of blaspheming, because he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Who can make such a claim unless you’re the son of God? Being the son of God equals having the source in God, meaning you originated in God which means you’re GOD!

Do read another blog article about Hebrews 1:8 where Jesus is called GOD by his Father.

Gun control has helped the UK to have one of the lowest homicide rates in the world

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Homicide rates for the USA, and for the UK (info for 2011 not available for the UK)

The homicide rate 2011 for the USA was 5,1 (by any method) and 3,6 (by gun) per 100.000 population (10,3 for ALL gun deaths 2011)

The homicide rate 2009 for the USA was 5,48 (by any method) and 2,98 (by gun) per 100.000 population

The homicide rate 2009 for the entire UK was 1,2 (by any method) and 0,22 (by gun) per 100.000 population (0,25 for ALL gun deaths 2010)

The homicide rate 2009 for Scotland was 1,9 (by any method) and 0,04 (by gun) per 100.000 population

From gunpolicy.org.  Chart with comparison between the USA and the UK here.

 

I try to not engage too much in American gun laws discussions even though I often see rude comments where some people demonize those with opposing views (those for strict gun control laws) and equate them with ”leftists” (I’m not), but when incorrect claims about gun laws in Europe are in focus I’d like to say something. I’m certainly not a fan of all laws in Europe (and they are vastly different from country to country) and we should be able to handle the subject of gun control without talking about politics in general. Where I live ALL are for gun control (left to right) because we all share the same goal to NOT place guns in the hands of criminals, and the only way is to do this is to prohibit ALL to buy guns for protection. This has led to the pleasant fact that we don’t need guns for protection since there is no threat. If you’re a criminal it’s a different matter, because criminals tend to want to harm each other.

Britain – a country with one of the lowest homicide rates in the world

It happens time and again that people against gun control (usually either Americans or criminals) falsely claim that the violent crime rate in the UK has ”sky rocketed” ever since the country started to apply gun control, but that is an exaggeration and doesn’t change the fact that the homicide rate in the UK is one of the lowest in the world and VERY much lower than the rate in the USA. It’s also common that the same people are not interested in facts that speak against their desired scenario, so they either continue spreading the incorrect statements as though they haven’t heard, or they go elsewhere in their hunt to find support for their idea that low murder rates are not correlated to strict gun control. When being presented to world-wide statistics that show homicide rates listed per country – indicating that the US homicide rate is enormously high compared to other western countries – they usually say ”you can show anything with statistics!” and immediately brush it off. Instead they find youtube clips or Facebook posts with pictures with claims such as ”Australia’s homicide rate sky rocketed ever since the gun control laws, bla bla” and choose to trust these figures thoroughly! Then the song isn’t ”statistics can show anything” any more.

USA compared to other western countries (the most fair way to compare)

Comparing an American state with other American states is of course not an honest way to make a proper analysis, since it’s not impossible to take guns across the boarders or get hold of guns in other ways. Guns used for crimes in NY and other cities can in some cases be traced back to states with more liberal gun laws. In order to appear in a better light when it comes to the comparison with other nations, it’s common that Americans against gun control would like to be compared with countries with even higher homicide rates, and that’s why they must go to infamous countries like Colombia, Venezuela and South Africa to look better. However, a more honest approach is of course to compare with those countries which are closest in culture, wealth, politics, etc. That’s why a comparison with Canada is interesting (but not perfect since it’s possible to take guns across the boarders there too), and other western countries. The below information is from Politifact Virginia, and the text is actually an attempt to HELP the US to appear in a better light! Still, the outcome is devastating for the USA and liberal gun laws.

The U.S. gun homicide rate is 20 times the combined rate of other western nations”. The number is based on a study of the homicide rates of wealthy nations in 2003, conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health. The report, published in 2010, uses data from the World Health Organization to compare gun-related homicide, gun-related suicide and unintentional and undetermined gun deaths for all ages and both sexes. Vital statistics from the U.S. were compared to those from 22 other high-income countries with populations over 1 million people who reported causes of mortality to WHO for 2003. Researchers relied on The World Bank’s definition of a high income  nation. In addition to the U.S., the study included Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Wales), United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) and United Kingdom (Scotland). The rate of homicides with guns in the U.S. was 4.1 per 100,000 people; the same rate combining the 22 other countries was 0.2 per 100,000 in 2003. The rate of homicides using guns in the U.S. was 19.5 times the rate of the other countries.

Below is an attempt by the writers to change these stats to improve the scenario for the US, and they took the most favorable and updated stats for the US but not so with the other countries with stats mostly from 2009. They also chose to compare with NATO countries, and  by doing so they would also include countries that are NOT considered wealthy but actually rather poor (such as Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, etc) and by doing so of course the stats will improve.  But is it an honest comparison? For instance, in Bulgaria (in the east block of Europe) middle class people can’t afford to have the electricity on all day so it’s not in the same wealth bracket as western countries. Despite the attempt to improve the scenario for the US, the conclusion is still that the homicide rate in the USA TOWERS over other wealthy European nations: 

The most recent gun-related homicide rate for the U.S. was 3.0 per 100,000 compared to an 0.3 for the rest of the NATO nations. If you compare the most recent data on the same group of nations, mostly based on 2009 statistics, the U.S. gun homicide rate is 15 times higher than the other countries. The number fell to 10 times as high when we defined the inexact term of ”western nations” as countries belonging to NATO. However, that gun homicide rates in the U.S. tower over those of other wealthy  European nations — holds up.

Wikipedia – Britainguns0

People who are desperate to find statistics that show that gun control doesn’t work search high and low, and lately the crime statistics in Britain have been in focus. Those against gun control certainly can’t use the charts for homicide rates as a basis of their reasoning (since those all speak heavily against them) so they have to look for other columns (not homicide). So they found poor Britain, but is it an honest approach make a fair comparison and judgment?

The UK and the USA actually have very close figures when it comes to ”violent crime” rates, with the number for the UK slightly higher. The difference is of course that the UK has a considerably lower homicide rate than the USA, and the difference is HUGE! When studying statistics for Britain or any country, it’s important to understand what is behind the numbers. An affray is considered a violent crime in the UK, while in some other countries it will only be logged as such if a person is physically injured. While the UK ranks above South Africa for all violent crime, South Africans suffer more than 20,000 murders each year – compared with Britain’s 921 in 2007! Some crime cases are not reported at all in certain countries and not only the ”poor” ones. For example, I saw an American documentary about a murder in Philadelphia where a man had raped several women and ended up also murdering one. The investigators discovered that the first rape was not reported due to the aim to improve the statistics for this particular police department, and it was very unfortunate since the follow-up rapes in the same area would have been easier to pin down to the rapist a lot sooner, and before he ended up murdering someone. It’s impossible to know how many other such cases there are for the USA and for other countries. That’s why the HOMICIDE RATE (rather than crime rates) is the best crime to compare with since this is the crime that countries are most likely to report. 

Below is what wikipedia says about the gun situation in the UK and since the data shows that gun control has done the UK a lot of good  (having one of the lowest homicide rates in the world is surely good) it’s a risk that pro-gunners will immediately scream that wikipedia is not a trustworthy source. But they think various youtube clips and information in cute Facebook pictures are reliable sources? Wikipedia might not always be correct whenever ”opinions” are involved, but more trustworthy when it comes to boring facts with proper sources listed. That’s why it’s interesting reading. Interestingly Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where owning firearms for protection is allowed, and it’s also the part with the highest homicide rate in the UK.

In the United Kingdom, firearms are tightly controlled by law—The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. There were 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010, compared to the 3.0 in the United States (over 40 times higher) and 0.21 in Germany (3 times higher).

Northern Ireland has a very high rate of gun ownership, one of the highest in the world. In contrast England and Wales have considerably lower rates and Scotland has the lowest in the United Kingdom. The gun crime rate rose between 1997 and 2004 but has since slightly receded, while the number of murders from gun crime has largely remained static over the past decade. Northern Ireland: Under the new law, first-time buyers will be required to demonstrate they can be trusted with the firearm. —  Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where personal protection is accepted as a legitimate reason to obtain and own a firearm and is the only part of the United Kingdom where handguns and semi-automatic firearms are permitted. Also, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed without a permit. However a firearm certificate for a personal protection weapon will only be authorised where the Police Service of Northern Ireland deems there is a ‘verifiable specific risk’ to the life of an individual and that the possession of a firearm is a reasonable, proportionate and necessary measure to protect their life.

A Home Office study published in 2007 reported that gun crime in England and Wales remained a relatively rare event. Firearms (including air guns) were used in 21,521 recorded crimes. It said that injury caused during a firearm offence was rare, with fewer than 3% of offences resulting in a serious or fatal injury.

For 2010/11, police in England and Wales recorded 648 offences as homicide, of which 58 (9%) involved the use of firearms — a rate of 0.1 illegal gun deaths per 100,000 of population. The number of homicides per year committed with firearms in England and Wales remained between 39 and 81 in the nine years to 2010/11, with an average of 58.3 per year. During the same time period, there were three fatal shootings of police officers in England and Wales, and 149 non-fatal shootings, an average of 16.5 per year. The overall homicide rates per 100,000 (regardless of weapon type) reported by the United Nations for 1999 were 4.55 for the U.S. and 1.45 in England and Wales. The homicide rate in England and Wales at the end of the 1990s was below the EU average, but the rates in Northern Ireland and Scotland were above the EU average.

Britain has had few firearms rampage incidents in modern times. During the latter half of the 20th century there were only two incidents in which people holding licensed firearms went on shooting sprees and killed on a large scale

A legislation was introduced in 1997 to prohibit ”Small firearms” with a barrel length of less than 30 cm or an overall length of less than 60 cm. Whilst intentional firearm homicides did in fact eventually decline —homicides involving the class of firearms prohibited initially increased in the early years following the legislative change before commencing a downward trend in 2008. With an alternative view, in 2012 the Home Office reported that, ”in 2010/11, firearms were involved in 11,227 recorded offences in England and Wales, the seventh consecutive annual fall”. Firearms statistics in England and Wales include airguns and imitation guns, which make up a high proportion of these recorded offences.

Fully automatic (submachine-guns, etc.) are totally prohibited from private ownership and self-loading (semi-automatic) weapons, including shotguns and .22 calibre pistols, are totally banned other than in Northern Ireland. Shotgun possession and use is controlled, and even low-power air rifles and pistols, while permitted, are controlled to some extent. A firearms certificate issued by the police is required for all weapons and ammunition except air weapons of modest power (of muzzle energy not over 12 ft·lbf for rifles, and 6 ft·lbf for pistols).

Any person who has been sentenced to three years or more in prison is automatically banned for life from obtaining a firearms licence.[35] Similarly, persons applying for licences with recent, serious mental health issues will also be refused a certificate. Any person holding a Firearm or Shotgun Certificate must comply with strict conditions regarding such things as safe storage. These storage arrangements are checked by the police before a licence is first granted, and on every renewal of the licence. A local police force may impose additional conditions on possession, over and above those set out by law. The penalty for possession of a prohibited firearm (section 5) without a certificate is a maximum of ten years in prison and an unlimited fine.  

From the 6 April 2007 the sale and transfer of ”air weapons” by mail order became an offence (they may still be purchased in person), as well as the sale of primers, and realistic imitation firearms (RIFs).

While the number of crimes involving firearms in England and Wales increased from 13,874 in 1998/99 to 24,070 in 2002/03, they remained relatively static at 24,094 in 2003/04, and fell to 21,521 in 2005/06. The latter includes 3,275 crimes involving imitation firearms and 10,437 involving air weapons, compared to 566 and 8,665 respectively in 1998/99. Only those ”firearms” positively identified as being imitations or air weapons (e.g., by being recovered by the police or by being fired) are classed as such, so the actual numbers are likely significantly higher. In 2005/06, 8,978 of the total of 21,521 firearms crimes (42%) were for criminal damage.

Most of the rise in injuries were in the category slight injuries from the non-air weapons. ”Slight” in this context means an injury that was not classified as ”serious” (i.e., did not require detention in hospital, did not involve fractures, concussion, severe general shock, penetration by a bullet or multiple shot wounds). In 2005/06, 87% of such injuries were defined as ”slight,” which includes the use of firearms as a threat only.

In 2008 The Independent reported that there were 42 gun-related deaths in Great Britain, a 20-year low. However, in late 2009 The Telegraph reported that gun crime had doubled in the last 10 years, with an increase in both firearms offences and deaths. A government spokesman said this increase was a result of a change in reporting practices in 2001 and that gun crime had actually fallen since 2005.—A 2006 statistical analysis found no measurable effect detectable from the 1997 firearms legislation.

In the year Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 there were 11,227 recorded offences involving firearms, broken down as follows.

  • Long-barrelled shotgun = 406
  • Sawn-off shotgun = 202
  • Handgun = 3,105
  • Rifle = 74
  • Imitation firearm = 1,610
  • Unidentified firearm = 957
  • Other firearm = 670
  • Air weapons = 4,203

Only those items proven to be ”imitations” (which includes BB/soft air types) or air weapons are classed as such, otherwise they are placed by default in the main ”live” categories, e.g. an imitation pistol not proven to be such would be counted as a live ”handgun.” ”Other firearm” includes CS gas (223 crimes), pepper spray (118), and stun guns (149).

Gun comic 4

Judas was not predestined to betray Jesus, Acts 4:28

Judas acted against God’s will when he betrayed Jesus

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel DETERMINED BEFORE to be done. (Acts 4:26-28)

The above are words from a prayer by Peter and John, and these verses are sometimes used as an attempt to support the idea that God predestines all things, including predestination of individuals to do ”evil” (and that this in effect doesn’t make it ”evil” since God is always good). The sacrifice of Christ is a holy and acceptable offering to God and he didn’t force anyone to kill Jesus. This unique event cannot be used as a blanket statement throughout the entire scriptures to show that God causes people to do whatever they are busy doing including SINNING.

What was ”determined before” to be done? It was the death of Jesus (the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world)! However, it does not say that God predestined anyone to make this goal come true. Peter and John expressed in their prayer that people came to do what was determined, but  it doesn’t say that God predestined/caused/forced anyone to betray and kill Jesus, because then God would be the only reason for their sin.  (You’re not guilty of something if God is the one who made you do it.) Jesus is said to have laid down his own life and we can trust his words. There was certainly no shortage of people who wanted to kill Jesus, so God did not have to bother about predestining anyone to harm him. They went after Jesus on their own accord, and this was known from the foundation of the world. It wouldn’t be hard for the Father to remove his protective hands over Jesus and let someone with the desire to kill him be successful in his attempt, and Judas was  apparently first in line to betray him which eventually lead to his death. If Judas was predestined to betray Jesus, he would end up in heaven and not hell.

 John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

We can read that what happened was FOREKNOWN by God, but foreknowledge is not predestination. We can read that WICKED HANDS had crucified and slayed Jesus. If God predestined people to slay Jesus, then it would have been GODLY hands who slayed him. Those are wicked who do things contrary to God’s will.  By using an event for something good doesn’t mean that God caused it to happen.

 Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and FOREKNOWLEDGE of God, YE have taken, and BY WICKED HANDS have crucified and slain? 

We can see that it was not GOD who placed the desire to harm Jesus inside Judas but SATAN.

Joh. 13:And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him 

Jesus asked his Father to forgive those who harmed him, but if they were predestined to do so, then what is there to forgive? Why asking the Father to forgive people for doing exactly what he caused them to do?! If Judas OBEYED the Father by betraying Jesus which he was CAUSED to do, then shouldn’t Judas be rewarded instead of punished for what he did? Instead we can read that it would have been better for Judas had he never been born.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Fatherforgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots

Jesus was delivered into the hands of SINFUL men, so we are not talking about innocent people who only did what they were predestined to do by God. THEY chose to sin, and we know that God doesn’t even TEMPT people. Much less force people to sin.  There is no darkness in God.

Lukas 24:7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

The Apostle Paul ”determined to sail by Ephesus” (Acts 20:16). Does that mean that the sailors on the vessel that he determined to sail on were acting under Paul’s compulsion or control? No. Paul determined to sail on a certain vessel to a certain location, but that does not mean that the vessel he determined to sail on was under his causation. When Paul sailed to Ephesus, he could say that what occurred was what was ”determined before to be done” instead of something which occurred by surprise or accident. But the occurrence of what was determined before to be done did not exclude the freedom of those who participated in its occurrence. In the same way, God determined the crucifixion of Christ, but that does not mean that those who participated in His crucifixion and contributed to it were not free in what they did. What they did to Christ was not a surprise to God. What they did was what God had ”determined before to be done”. In order to accomplish His purpose of slaying the Lord, God delivered Christ into the hands of those who already wanted to kill him by their free choice.

There certainly was no shortage of people who wanted to kill Jesus because of the way that He preached. Jesus said that ”the world” ”hateth” him, ”because I testify of it, that the works thereof are EVIL” (Jn. 7:7). But the enemies of Christ were unable to kill him as long as the Father was protecting him (Matt. 4:6; Lk. 4:11; Jn. 7:30; 10:31; 10:39). The Bible says ”Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (Jn. 7:30).

God determined to deliver Jesus unto wicked men and God foreknew what they would do to Jesus if He did. This is because the Father knew the hostility and hatred that was already freely in their hearts. God was able to incorporate their voluntary wickedness into His plans and even turn it around and use it for good. This, it seems, God also did with Joseph’s brothers (Gen. 50:20). But this does not mean that God caused their wickedness. It is one thing to say that God ”worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11), and it is quite another thing to say, ”God CAUSES all things after the counsel of his own will”. God can work with the free will choices of men to accomplish His purposes without causing all the choices of men.

Pilate said, ”I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee” (Jn. 19:10). Pilate certainly was conscious of possessing free will. He was aware of the fact that what he was doing, he was doing by his own free volition. Responsibility or accountability presupposes free will. Men will be judged according to the free choices of their wills. Since these men were responsible for taking Jesus and for killing him, though God had determined that Jesus should be delivered unto them and slain, they still took Him and killed him by their own free choice. The Bible goes on to say

”Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:36-37)

Apparently, Peter’s audience had not taken his previous words about the determinate counsel of God to mean that they had no free will in the matter or that they were only acting under the control of God. Otherwise, they could not have been pricked in their hearts for their action or have seen any reason why they needed to be saved for acting in such a way. But they were pricked in their hearts and sought for a way of salvation because they internally knew that what they had done was caused freely by their own wills and, therefore, they were rightly responsible and accountable for it.