End-Time Harvest: Matthew 13 and 24

English: Religious Jews prey in the Western Wa...

English: Religious Jews prey in the Western Wall (Wailing Wall, HaKotel HaMaaravi), Jerusalem עברית: יהודים מתפללים בכותל המערבי בירושלים (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Http://jesusprophecies.wordpress.com has a page called “Matthew and the End Times” and graciously invites bloggers to participate in the discussion.  So I did.  Here’s my input, right or wrong, on the meaning of Matthew 24.

“Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”  (Matthew 24: 3b NASB)

Notice that the disciples ask Jesus 3 questions.  Question 1: “When will these things happen?” (Referring to Yeshua’s statement about the temple buildings being torn down–“not one stone left upon another.”   

I believe that the answer to the first question was fulfilled in 70 AD. (My understanding is that the  “Wailing Wall” is a retaining wall, not part of the temple complex.)  However, I believe that this prophecy could be fulfilled AGAIN if (and when) the temple (or even the tent/tabernacle) is rebuilt  In fact, Jesus’ statement about the “ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION” indicates that the anti-christ will stand in the holy place an do what Antiochus IV did (verse 15)–desecrate the temple. In 2 Thess. 2: 1-4, Paul discusses the Second Coming and “our gathering” to Christ.  In verse 4, he explains that Christ will not return until he [“the man of lawlessness”] displays “himself as being God.”   This has not occurred.  As far as I know, Titus did not fulfill this prophecy.

The disciples then asked, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Regarding the “sign” of his coming, Jesus said that “after the tribulation” (verse 29), “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN [Daniel 7: 13, 14] COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY
with power and great glory (verse 30).”

The third question regards the end of the age.  A definition of “the end of the age” is found in Matthew 13: 39b.  “The harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.”  The wheat and the tares grow up together and are harvested at the same time (Matthew 13: 36-49). “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.  “From among the righteous” suggests that “the rapture” occurs at the Second Coming of Christ, not before.  (See Revelation 14: 14 also, which ties into Mathew 13: 39b.)

To put everything in context, it is necessary to read Luke 21, especially verse 24: “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  That prophecy was fulfilled in 1967 when Jerusalem became the capital of Israel. For this reason and others, I believe that WE are “the generation” that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24: 34.

English: "A symbol that Messianic Jews be...

English: “A symbol that Messianic Jews believe was used to identify the first Messianic congregation, led by Yeshua (Jesus)’s brother Jacob in Jerusalem” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One more thing (the most important thing that is often overlooked).  Jesus said that he would not return until his people [the Jewish people] say, “BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.”  No doubt, this is why Paul preached the gospel “to the Jew first, then the Gentile.”  Jewish people are beginning to recognize Jesus/Yeshua as their Messiah as never before.  Google “IAMCS” and “MJAA” to see what I mean.

Note:  We could discuss Matthew 24 until the Lord returns and still have questions until we see Him face to face.  The “end-times” is an important subject but not a salvation issue.  The tenets of our faith are best summed up in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed.  That said, be aware that Christ is coming again–soon.

As the Peter the Apostle said, “Where is the promise of His coming?  The Lord is not slow about His promise, but is patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3: 4a, 9)

 

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49 thoughts on “End-Time Harvest: Matthew 13 and 24

    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

      Hi Raphael. I love your wit! What happened was that I accidentally published the Matthew 13 & 24 page to THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER blog, instead of my new blog, DELIGHT THYSELF IN THE LORD. Funny. I’d been thinking about you in relationship to the verse in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is . . . patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” How does that square with Predestination?

      Also, it says–or implies–somewhere in the Torah (Deuteronomy?) that everyone’s name is written in the Book of Life when they are born. Then in Revelation 3: 5, Jesus says, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life . . . .”

      Sounds like some free will at play here. What say you?

      Reply
  1. bography

    Sheryl let me first comment on your post. Much of what you say seems kosher.

    About your:
    “Luke 21, especially verse 24: “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  That prophecy was fulfilled in 1967 when Jerusalem became the capital of Israel.”

    How did you conclude that “the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” in 1967?

    By the way the caption in the Wailing Wall” picture should read “Religious Jews prey ON the Wailing Wall.”

    Now let’s “free Willie.” Arminians do make is so hard when it is so simple.

    – 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is . . . patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

    Peter gets whisked away to a classroom somewhere in Kentucky, or make to my home town Port Elizabeth, darkest Africa. He is teaching a geography lesson to a bunch of recalcitrants. It’s hard, I tell you it’s hard for Peter. He can’t get a word in edgeways. And I can tell you he doesn’t waste words, when body language can do the job. Peter’s at the end of his rope. He stiffens, points a long finger:

    “I am patient with you, not wishing for any to fail, yada, yada, yada.”

    The Arminian interpretation is not only redundant (as “of you” in “ALL {of you} – the finger says it ALL) but is another attempt to show the irrational neural Calvinist that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, who wouldn’t touch our independent wills. What love is this! If God unilaterally regenerates my radically corrupt neutral will to love him.

    There is linguistics – verbal language, and there is paralinguistics – body language. Mr Bean, in one if his bodily gestures, said it ALL: “My bodee is my toooooool.”

    Reply
    1. bography

      On rereading my comment above, I tell myself, I must gargle my garble before I post online.

      “Any” and “all” obviously mean (in the context) “any OF YOU,” “all OF YOU.” To say that this refers to the world (another abused word) – ALL the world! – is, for one thing, to bring in all that “the Holy Spirit is a gentleman” stuff. Bad theology, good move.

      Peter is writing a letter and so is not pointing his literal finger at his audience.

      Reply
  2. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

    Dear Raphael, you have a brilliant mind and often leave me in the dust, wondering “what is he talking about?” The Calvinist/Arminian debate confirms my suspicion that theology does little to enlighten anyone but muddies the living water of the Word instead. I thank God that the disciples were mostly fishermen and did not have the benefit of going to cemetery . . . ah . . . seminary.

    Should we continue our debate on predestination versus free will or discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Seriously, I can’t resist a religious debate, so I’ll toss in a few more verses to bolster my opinion that predestination and free will are not mutually exclusive. If I fail to prove my point, I can always resort to “Who can know the mind of God?”

    The passage I quoted in 2 Peter appears to be addressed to followers of Christ who are being mocked for their belief in the Second Coming. Peter explains that God’s concept of time is different from ours and that God wants NONE to perish but ALL to repent. Of course, the “road is narrow,” so all will not repent. Repentance is a free will issue, is it not? However, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin.

    God says in Hebrews 10: 15, “I will put my laws upon their heart and on their mind I will write them.” That smacks of predestination. (We know that God hardens hearts also–just like he hardened the Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus.) And yet, in the same chapter in Hebrews, we read, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin” (verse 26).

    By the way, I think that God was willing to write His laws upon the hearts of His people at Sinai, but they “choose” to back away from the mountain. So God wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone instead (chapter 20).

    I see predestination and free will throughout the Bible, but I don’t fully understand how they work. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” An invitation requires a response. You either accept Christ’s redemptive work on the cross or you don’t. I hope this helps to explain my position (probably not). I seem to be talking in circles.

    One thing more. Regarding Jerusalem no longer being “trampled down by the Gentiles,” Jerusalem became the capitol of Israel in 1967–2000 years after the Romans destroyed the temple. Miraculously, it remains the capitol today. However, many are calling for a “two-state solution,” which would include dividing Jerusalem in half. Based on what I’ve read, I think that the UN (as well as the Vatican) would love to plant a flag in Jerusalem. That would bring disastrous consequences around the world. Obadiah 1: 15 points out that what we do to Israel will be done unto us. Israel is God’s time piece, and how we treat Israel (good or bad) comes back on our own heads. By blessing Israel, we are blessed. By cursing Israel, we are cursed.

    Oh! Thanks for the remark about my argument sounding “kosher” in the original post. I take it as a compliment. i celebrated Hanukkah for the first time this year, although I confess that I did not have a real menorah and candles. I bought an electric one for the window instead, but I plan to do better next year.

    Reply
    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

      Is this a trick question? My “heart and mind” tell me that you’re setting me up. Seriously, I notiice that you answer questions with questions–something that Jesus did too. I think my answer is “not necessarily.” I WILL myself to do the right thing. I’m not saying that I always do the right thing. (Even Paul struggled with his “old nature.)” As a believer, I have the mind of Christ, but I still struggle with the flesh. (“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”) Sooo–free will means that I choose to obey or disobey (through rationalization) God.

      Reply
        1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

          Well, I wish I could say that I always do what I think or feel is best; but the truth is that I am easily distracted and sometimes make bad choices. Keep trying. The odds are that eventually we can find something to agree on.

          By the way, I found your observations about growing up in an orphanage along with your brother engaging and profound. Perhaps he was misunderstood. He may have been struggling with attention deficit syndrome, which he grew out of later. I notice that you had more to say about your brother than yourself. Why is that?

          Reply
          1. bography

            Sheryl – “Well, I wish I could say that I always do what I think or feel is best; but the truth is that I am easily distracted and sometimes make bad choices.”

            If by “free will” (in religion) you mean all human beings in their natural state believe what they desire without any imposition from outside, then we are in total agreement. The difference between you and me is that you believe that you have the power in you to choose Christ, whereas I don’t. Be careful now.

            About the Orphanage days, I am embedded in there somewhere. After the Orphanage (from 10 years old) my “bography” becomes more of a b-I-ography.

            Reply
            1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

              Even in my natural state, I had a conscience; but my fleshly desires–more often than not–overruled conscience. After I accepted Christ as my Savoir, God wrote His laws on my heart. My spiritual eyes were opened, and I had a new awareness of the nature of sin and a genuine desire to please God.

              I know that you don’t like the phrase “after I accepted Christ,” because you think that I had no choice but to accept Him. I can see your point in that He revealed Himself to me in such a supernatural way that I couldn’t resist beleiving in Him.

              On the other hand, I can quote many verses that point to “free will” as a factor in salvation–although as I look for those verses, I keep coming across verses that suggest the opposite. For example, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” But a few verses later, I read that “He WHO BELIEVES has everlasting life.” (John 6: 44 and 6: 47)

              Here’s another passage with both concepts included:
              “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and who comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone WHO LOOKS TO THE SON AND BELIEVES IN HIM shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.'” (John 6: 35-40 NIV)

              Predestination alone cannot explain the fact that everyone’s name is written in the Book of Life before birth (Psalm 139: 16 and Deut. ??), and yet his name can be blotted out” (Rev. 3: 5). Once again, that gets us into the “can a believer lose his salvation” issue, and to be honest, I do not know the answer.

              Alas, “Who can know the mind of God?” sigh

              .

              Reply
  3. bography

    Sheryl Re your remarks on “free will.” I intend to study them and give a respectable (and respectful?!) answer. Before I do, I’d appreciate answers to two more questions, which will help me unpack your thought if not pack you off to “Arminia.”

    1. Do you think a person who rejects Christ deserves the eternal wrath of God?
    2. Do you ever pray that Christ would change a person’s heart to accept Him as saviour?

    Reply
    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum

      Before I run off to Arminia, I’ll try to answer those questions. For the moment, I’m caught in between Arminia and Calvinia, and I’m calling on the Lord to point me in the right direction wherever that may lead.

      So here we go. I opened the Bible at random, and my eyes lit upon the heading “MAKING ONE’S CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.” Coincidence?

      Underneath the heading are the following verses (2 Peter 1: 3-10 NIV):

      “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who CALLED us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them YOU MAY PARTICIPATE in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this reason, MAKE EVERY EFFORT to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For IF you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your CALLING and ELECTION sure. For IF you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

      Raphael, do you see a distinction between “calling” and “election” in these verses? In order to be elected, wouldn’t one have to respond to the call?

      Back to your original questions: “1. Do you think a person who rejects Christ deserves the eternal wrath of God?” Yes, but it makes me uncomfortable. Somewhere in the Bible, I read that God has the power to destroy the body and the spirit in hell. That I can handle. But the idea of a person “suffering eternally” makes me squirm.

      “2. Do you ever pray that Christ would change a person’s heart to accept Him as saviour?”
      I never gave it much thought until you asked the question. My answer is sometimes. But most of the time, I simply pray that so-and-so will come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

      I agree with your premise that a person can not change his heart. Only God can change someone’s heart. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Hebrews 10: 16b; Jeremiah 31: 33; 2 Corinthians 3: 3)

      Reply
      1. bography

        “Do you see a distinction between “calling” and “election” in these verses?”

        Calling and election in THESE VERSES (this context) is synonymous. In another context “call” may not mean “election” as in “many are called but few are chosen.”

        “In order to be elected, wouldn’t one have to respond to the call?”

        Election involves response. If you mean your response causes your election, no. On the contrary, you respond because you are elected. You (exercise your will to) accept Christ because he enables you to do so. Whom the Lord makes free is free indeed.

        “Back to your original questions: “1. Do you think a person who rejects Christ deserves the eternal wrath of God?” Yes…”

        So then you must believe that because you accepted Christ, you deserve the eternal love of God.

        “2. Do you ever pray that Christ would change a person’s heart to accept Him as saviour?”
        I never gave it much thought until you asked the question. My answer is sometimes. But most of the time, I simply pray that so-and-so will come to a saving knowledge of Christ.”

        You believe that God wants to save everybody. You also believe that if you pray that someone could accept Christ through your prayers. This means that you believe that God can override a person’s will NOT to believe. Can, then, the Holy Spirit be a gentleman, because, according to you, He is supposed to respect a person’s freedom to choose or reject Christ?

        “I agree with your premise that a person can not change his heart. Only God can change someone’s heart. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Hebrews 10: 16b; Jeremiah 31: 33; 2 Corinthians 3: 3).”

        You believe – if I am wrong, forgive – that God is knocking at the door of every person’s heart. You say above that only God can change a person’s heart (to believe). Now we know that most hearts are not changed. By your logic, God does NOT fail to open a hard heart but decrees not to do so. I agree. This is when you jump in the shouting “Calvin here I come.”

        On balance you no longer deserve to be packed off to Arminia.

        Reply
        1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

          I don’t see why “calling” and “election” would be synonyms here since that would be redundant. I don’t have access to my Greek/Hebrew key Bible at the moment; otherwise I’d check it out. Maybe later.

          Reply
  4. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum

    I did some research on Calvin and Arminius just now. I learned that Calvin’s teachings included a “limited atonement.” In other words, Christ died for “the elect,” not for everyone. Arminius studied under Calvin’s son-in-law. Eventually, Arminius rejected strict Calvinism after studying the Book of Romans.

    Ironically, some denominations have adopted parts of Arminianism as well as Calvinism. For example, I have known Baptists who stress free-will but insist that a person cannot lose his salvation (once saved always saved). Calvin also taught once saved always saved. At the same time, most Baptists and other Christians would be horrified to know that Calvin endorced “limited atonement.”

    Limited atonement does not square with the idea that our names are in the book of life and can be blotted out. Most Christians assume that their names are inserted into the book of life when they believe. But scripture does not teach that.

    The bottom line for me is this: when theology and the Bible do not agree, I toss out theology. Calvin was brilliant, and I assume that Arminius was too; but they were flawed human beings like the rest of us.

    I wonder which passage(s) in Romans put doubts about Calvinism in Arminius’ mind?

    Reply
  5. bography

    CALLING AND ELECTION
    “Redundancy” means Expressing the same idea in different words or in exactly the same words. There’re oodles or both kinds in the Bible.

    2 Peter 1 NIV

    10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to make your calling and election sure.

    calling  κλῆσις klēsis
    election ἐκλογή eklogē

    God’s efffectual call (not general call) to repentance means that He has elected you to salvation, which you can never lose.

    http://kjvonly2.blogspot.com/2011/03/when-redundancy-is-not-redundant.html?m=1

    Biblical Redundancy:

    The Bible is a message placed in the form of human communication, and not surprisingly, there are ample instances of redundancy in it.  In the Old Testament, we may note the parallel accounts of the books of Kings and the books of Chronicles, or the passages in the middle of Isaiah, duplicating the same stories as those found in Kings (Isaiah ch. 36-39 etc).   In the NT, we have three gospels with largely duplicated materials, and many of Paul’s letters dealing with the same topics in different words.  Even at the verse-level, Hebrew poetry and prose often repeats an idea or sentence in alternate words.

    Redundancy serves several functions in the Bible. 
    (a) it can fill in detail, and bring precision to a picture. 

    (b) It can provide alternative expressions to protect the meaning, for those with limited vocabularies.

    (c) It can protect message of the Holy Scriptures from damage through wear, copying, and even tampering.

    Redundancy in the Bible plainly fulfills important purposes, and cannot be viewed as ‘redundant’ in the common sense, as if repetitions were needless, or alternate expressions were merely ‘wordy’.   The Holy Scriptures have been designed in part by their own authors to reach the widest audience, and maintain the purity of the message by thoughtful use of repetition and alternate expression.

    Biblical redundancy is one of the deliberate means used by Bible authors to protect the message of the Holy Scriptures for future generations.  In the days of handcopying, parallel passages in Mark, Luke and Matthew could be compared for accuracy in transcription of the message.   Passages in Paul could be compared to ensure Paul’s meaning was well understood.  Redundancy is in that sense what Bible study is all about.

     

    Reply
    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum

      Yes, a lot of repetition is in the Bible–sometimes the same word or phrase is used repeatedly to drive a point home. However, I would not expect to find synonyms in the same sentence separated only by an “and.”

      For example, in 2 Thess. 2: 1, we read, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ AND our being gathered to him [the “rapture?”] . . . . Clearly the 2nd Coming of Christ and “our being gathered to him” are related, but not identical. (The “and” in this case suggests that the two events occur at the same time.)

      Back to predestination, if some are predestined to salvation, then some are predestined to eternal damnation. I cannot accept that because God’s desire is that none should perish but that all should repent (2 Peter 3: 9).

      Also, if one’s name can be “blotted out of the book of life” (Exodus 32: 32, Daniel 12: 1, Rev. 3: 5), the implication is that it was in there from the beginning (Ps. 139: 16).

      NOTE: Some make a distinction between the Book of Life and the Lamb’s Book of Life.

      Reply
      1. bography

        Here is an atheist view of predestination (correspondence by email) who prefers to remain anonymous, whom I think understands the issues very well

        This part Calvinists would agree with:

        “I guess the pre of ‘predestination’ means one’s fate has been
        determined before one is born or even generations before that.
        ‘Destination’ means the journey, including the end of the journey.
        One says, for example, ‘She is destined to be a writer..’  That means
        that she will BECOME a writer and also that she IS a writer.  All
        musicians, artists, dancers, writers, etc, etc, feel that they are not
        yet good enough, that they do not perform as well as they do in their
        heads, that they will never be satisfied, that they will never arrive.
        I think I’ve wandered off the point, but I am trying to show that
        ‘destination’ means the journey as well as the arrival.”

        And the following bit is common to both unbelievers and Arminians.

        “As for God  pre-ly deciding on our destination . . . that seems to me
        to be one helluva contradiction!   God decides in advance but we are
        expected–nay, it is demanded of us–to accept Christ.  If not we will
        go to hell.  In other words God has already committed most of us to hell.”

        Reply
  6. bography

    Re: calling and election.

    Perhaps this will clarify.
    Calling – God and me. There’s a communication between two personal beings.
    Election – God alone.

    So calling and election express different aspects of the process of justification/salvation. When I say these terms are synonymous, I mean that the one implies the other: if you are called, then you were elected (from eternity); and if you were elected, you shall be called.
    It all comes out in the wash – of living water.

    Predestination

    What do you think the “pre” means in “predestination?”

    Calvinism – Every human being is under God’s wrath. God says “I will have mercy on whom I will (want) to have mercy.” So, God elects some to salvation, and leaves the rest to their just desserts.

    Hyper-Calvinism – Double predestination, which is what you are referring to.

    You may retort that the end result is the same. Yep, it is but the issue here is that God is like a country’s president who decides to grant amnesty to some but not to others; with this difference, God’s decisions are always just. Now, you or your double might protest “it’s not fair.” I say to this, with the Apostle Paul, are you potty to talk back to your Potter!” (Romans 9 again).

    Reply
  7. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum

    bography December 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    “Perhaps this will clarify.
    Calling – God and me. There’s a communication between two personal beings.
    Election – God alone.
    So calling and election express different aspects of the process of justification/salvation.”

    OK. That makes sense. Also, we agree that God is just: “Righteous art Thou and upright are Thy judgments.”

    Plus, “God is love.” And, “He is the Potter; we are the clay.”

    I trust God and I know that His Word is true, including the parts that I don’t fully understand. After all, “Who can know the mind of God?”

    No doubt, Calvin had some answers, but not all of them. “For now we see in a glass darkly; but then face to face [Christ].”

    Reply
  8. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

    LOL.. I’m not so sure that we agree except on the potter/clay analogy and that God is just. I think that for every verse you can find to support predestination, you can find another to support free will. Here are some examples:

    1) A believer’s name can be blotted out of the book of life.
    2) We are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
    3) God is patient, wanting none to perish but all to repent..
    4) We (believers) were “chosen” before we were born.
    5) God turns the carnal Christian over to Satan, so that he will be punished in the flesh but spared in the spirit.
    6) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

    If our salvation is solely dependent on predestination, where does the need to believe in Christ fit in?

    It’s enough to know that I’m saved. Although I’m not afraid that Christ will blot my name out of the book of life, I don’t take my salvation lightly.

    Calminia

    Reply
  9. bography

    Sorry, I should have posted my comment here.

    Here is an atheist view of predestination (correspondence by email) who prefers to remain anonymous, whom I think understands the issues very well

    This part Calvinists would agree with:

    “I guess the pre of ‘predestination’ means one’s fate has been
    determined before one is born or even generations before that.
    ‘Destination’ means the journey, including the end of the journey.
    One says, for example, ‘She is destined to be a writer..’ That means
    that she will BECOME a writer and also that she IS a writer. All
    musicians, artists, dancers, writers, etc, etc, feel that they are not
    yet good enough, that they do not perform as well as they do in their
    heads, that they will never be satisfied, that they will never arrive.
    I think I’ve wandered off the point, but I am trying to show that
    ‘destination’ means the journey as well as the arrival.”

    And the following bit is common to both unbelievers and Arminians.

    “As for God pre-ly deciding on our destination . . . that seems to me
    to be one helluva contradiction! God decides in advance but we are
    expected–nay, it is demanded of us–to accept Christ. If not we will
    go to hell. In other words God has already committed most of us to hell.”

    Reply
  10. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

    Hi Raphael. I haven’t recuperated from our last round of discussion. I’ve been reading Numbers instead, which I find much easier to comprehend than Calvin’s theology. I went to my regular Friday night service last night. At the end of the service, the substitute preacher (our Messianic rabbi was out of town) invited “pre-believers” to come forward to receive Christ. What do you make of that? Meanwhile, I’m hunting for more material to back my “Calminianist” point of view.

    Reply
    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

      I’m reading and re-reading what the atheist wrote. The idea that God has already “committed most of us to hell” sounds more like Calvinism to me, but then I haven’t had the advantage (thank God) of delving into theology like you have. Back to you shortly.

      Reply
      1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

        I just looked up Calvin in “Baker Enclyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, by Norman Geisler, and oddly enough the term “predestination” was never mentioned. The author writes that Calvin’s followers are divided. Some are classical apologists; others presuppositionalists. Is that what you meant by Cavinism versus Hyper-Calvinism?

        He maintains that Calvin was a classical apologist. I looked up “Classical Apologetics” and didn’t understand a word of it, but I was happy to see that Augustine and C.S. Lewis are numbered among them.

        Reply
  11. bography

    “The idea that God has already “committed most of us to hell” sounds more like Calvinism to me, but then I haven’t had the advantage (thank God) of delving into theology like you have.”

    You don’t need more than your Bible.
    In Romans 1 it says all without exception are under the wrath of God.

    Romans 3:10-18
    As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

    By the way as soon as you apply your noggin to the smallest bit of Bible, you’re doin’ theaaaalogy.

    Reply
    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum

      I see your point about theaaaalogy. On the tiniest scale, I am doing what Calvin did. Romans 1 and Romans 3: 10-18 do make sense, although I agree with Peter that Paul’s letters are sometimes hard to understand. (What an understatement!)

      In Romans 1, Paul is saying that “since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes . . . have been clearlly seen, so that they [humans] are without excuse.” (I wonder if any atheistic evolutionists are listening in?)
      Paul goes on to say that our “hearts were darkened” so that we worshipped idols instead of God, and that resulted in utter depravity.

      Paul is quoting the Tanakh in Romans 3: 10-18. Then he goes on to say that man is justified by “faith.” (My rebbe says that the word should be “trust” rather than “faith.”)

      Speaking of the rebbe, he says that “the church” has been Helenized since Constantine hijacked the seat of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome. We have been throughly “Greeced” and need a Hebraic understanding of the Bible. I don’t know what–if anything–this has to do with Calvinism versus Arminianism but just thought I’d mention it for you to comment on later. (Anything to move the conversation away from election and/or free will–lol.)

      Meanwhile, my mind needs a rest before I tackle that “one daring Jew” (and the link above) again, who is contributing to my sleepness nights and messing with my comfortable theaaaalogy.

      Reply
      1. bography

        I pester, you peter, so I shall keep my reply for later. Just one thing; I need to know more about where your rebbe is coming from. Does he believe in the Trinity?

        Reply
  12. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

    Oh dear, i wrote a long essay about Constantine just now that vanished. Perhaps it was meant to be. To answer your question, YES, the rebbe believes in the Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), and he agrees with the Nicene Creed. His problem with Constantine has to do with his changing the Sabbath day to Sunday (to honor the sun-god perhaps?) and Christianizing pagan holidays. (At Zion’s Sake, we study and observe “God’s Appointed Times” in Leviticus 23.)

    Reply
    1. bography

      Constantine definitely did not change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The Sabbath had not been kept since the apostolic age (first century). What Constantine did do was make the “Sunday closure law”, (close those boutiques now!).

      Phew, at least our rebbe didn’t say that Constantine was the creator of the Nicene creed (you know, the Trinity and all that).

      As for his aversion (and yours?) to things Greek, here is something to put in his pipe, and if you smoke …

      Gen 1:1
      In the beginning the Logos created the heavens and the earth.., which any Jewish follower of Paul’s day would understand – and love.

      Reply
      1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

        I never realized that anyone attributed the teaching about the Trinity to Constantine until I read your blog. I had read that Augustine identified the Trinity by noting that Elohim is a plural noun. “Adonai (singular) our Elohim (plural) is one.” The Trinity is found throughout the entire Bible, and neither Augustine or Constantine invented it.

        In Genesis, we find God appearing in human form to Abraham (Genesis 18: 1-33). He appears to Issac (Gen. 26: 1-5). Plus there’s “the angel of the LORD”, who “called unto Abraham out of heaven . . . .” (Genesis 21: 15 KJV). “The angel of the LORD called to Hagar out of heaven . . . .” (Genesis 21: 17).

        “The angel of the LORD” appears to Hagar in Genesis 16: 7-13 (NASB), and she says, “You are a God who sees . . . . Have i even remained alive here after seeing Him?”

        In Judges 13: 2-23 (NASB), “The angel of the LORD” appears to Manoah and his wife (the future parents of Samson); whereas Manoah says to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” (But they did not die.)

        In Genesis 32: 24-30, Jacob wrestles with “a man” until daybreak and says, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved” (NASB).

        In Psalm 110, we read, “The LORD says to my Lord, Sit at my right hand . . .” (NASB). Question: Who is David’s Lord?

        Regarding the Holy Spirit, He is throughout the Bible. The Spirit fell on the 70 elders in Numbers 11, and they prophesied. The Holy Spirit came upon Saul (I Samuel 11: 6 and
        10: 10) and he prophesied.

        King David claimed that the Holy Spirit wrote through him. This is apparent, especially in Psalm 22.

        The doctrine of the Trinity is apparent throughout the OT, and I haven’t mentioned the NT. it’s late, so I’ll simply conclude with 3 scriptures: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1: 1); the Holy Spirit descending upon believers in Acts 2: 1-21 at Pentecost; and the Book of Colossians. “God was in Christ reconciling all things to Himself.” (Chapter 1: 20 NASB). “For in Him the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.(2: 9).

        Reply
      2. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

        I’m not as anti-Greek as you suppose. Alexander the Great spread the Greek language throughout his empire. Then Romans built roads (all roads led to Rome). The Roman roads and the Greek language made it possible to spread the Good News throughout the Roman empire. Thus Jesus came into the world “at the appointed time.” As always, God’s timing is perfect.

        Here’s my problem with the Greeks. After Alexander died, his kingdom was divided into four parts, The “king of the north,” the Syrian, whom the Maccabees later defeated, forbade circumcision and worshiping on the Sabbath. (Some see Constantine in a similar light.) The Greek gods were another problem. The same Syrian king, Antiochus IV, demanded that Jews worship Zeus. The Romans adopted the Greek gods and gave them different names. Is it not a fact that some of the Roman saints are named after Roman gods and have their own feast days?

        Reply
        1. bography

          Thank you about the rebbe’s view of miracles.

          About your “Roman saints are named after Roman gods and have their own feast days?” I didn’t know this. An example?

          Reply
  13. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

    “What does he [the rebbe] understand by miracle?”

    He had a “road to Damascus experience” that he shared some years ago on Sid Roth’s TV/Internet program, “It’s Supernatural.” You can listen to him describe his experience by googling the program and looking up Rabbi Eric Carlson in the archives.

    He believes in miracles and has seen them with his own eyes–especially during the mitzvah that some of us participate in on Yom Kippur.

    Recently, he spoke about the 3 miracles that Jesus performed, which identified Him as being the Messiah. Jesus opened blind eyes, raised Lazarus from the dead although he had been dead 3 days, and . . . I’ve forgotten the third miracle. The point is that no one–including Elijah–had performed these miracles in the Tanakh. Yes, the dead had been raised in OT times, but not after being entombed 3 days.

    The rebbe also believes that the gifts of the Spirit outlined in I Corinthians 12 & 14 and Romans 12 are just as applicable today as they were 2000 years ago. Sometimes someone prophesies during worship, and many of us pray in tongues though quietly (I Cor. 14: 28).

    Despite my wordiness, I may not have answered your question. However, I think the rebbe understands a miracle as a supernatural act of God that defies the laws of nature.. You’re probably going to ask me if man or God initiates a miracle. Right? I would say that God initiates the miracle. Even Jesus–who was fully human, fully Divine–said that He only did what He saw the Father doing.

    Reply
  14. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

    Actually, I was asking you. I can’t name a single saint named after a Roman god, although I heard something to that effect on the History Channel, I think. No matter. I should have asked something like “were a number of saints modeled after the Roman gods?” Every god had his or her feast day in ancient Rome.. Later the Roman church had feast days for their saints. According to the NT, all believers are saints. There must be a different criteria for becoming a saint in the Roman Church.

    It seems that I stepped on a land mine by bringing up Roman gods and saints in the same sentence. When I looked the subject up on the Internet, i discovered that it is a controversial topic.

    Years ago I was in Boston when a parade of people passed by following someone holding a statue. I don’t recall whose feast day it was, but it surprised me.

    Reply
    1. bography

      All this Roman stuff and statues through the streets are Roman Catholic accretions. For our (you, me and your rabbi) we must distinguish these from biblical Christianity. So when your rabbi or you talk about the Greek influence in Christianity, we should stick to its influence in the NT.

      Reply
      1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

        To be honest, I have had little contact with Catholics. Most Virginias are Protestants. However, years ago when I started a Bible study in my neighborhood, Catholics showed up. They were awesome–eager to study the Bible. As far for the Greeks, haven’t they influenced our culture, as well as the NT? Anyway, if you want to stick to the NT, that’s OK with me.

        Question: I have heard that the Greek word for “law” carries a negative connotation, whereas the Hebrew word for law is positive. True or false?

        The subject of law and grace fascinates me. Some Christians dismiss the law (Torah) saying it has been done away it, etc. I say “nonsense.” Jesus said that the law would NOT be done away with. When He spoke of fulfilling the law, I think he was talking about his substitutionary death on the cross.

        Paul’s letters confuse me, although I note that he observed the law, and he–along with the council in Jerusalem–encouraged the new Gentile believers to follow the basics (abstain from blood and fornication) and to attend the synagogues on the Sabbath to learn about Moses ( Acts 15: 20-21). Paul and Christ condemned “the doctrines of men,” not the Law of Moses.

        Have I succeeded in taking your mind off predestination thus far, Raphael?

        I am much more concerned about “walking out” my salvation than how I got saved (Calvinism vs. Arminianism). My goal is to follow Christ day by day, moment by moment. How easily I am distracted! Still, I press on, not wanting to miss the mark.

        Reply

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