PDA

View Full Version : Mark 4:11-12 help. Does Jesus want everyone saved?



Magnetic
Oct 4th 2007, 01:46 PM
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved.

Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

What is your opinion?

Phil Fourie
Oct 4th 2007, 01:56 PM
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved.

Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

What is your opinion?

My opinion?

This does show the doctrine of election. This is reflected in the parable you are referring to in Mark 4

God bless
Phil

Mograce2U
Oct 4th 2007, 03:09 PM
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved.

Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

What is your opinion?Hi Magnetic,
Jesus is quoting Isa 6:9,10. When the Lord sent Jeremiah to speak to the people to warn them about the coming judgment, those who were marked to receive this judgment would not be warned by it - but the remnant would.

This is the same election we see here in Mark for this remnant in Israel who would be warned before the judgment came upon Jerusalem, while those upon whom the judgment was aimed would not. That is why Jesus spoke in parables to fulfill prophecy.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 4th 2007, 03:23 PM
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved.

Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

What is your opinion?
Magnetic:
Jesus said that he came to seek and save the lost.

The Bible clearly states that God "is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9) and "takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezek). So in my view the passage in question must bear a different signficance.

I am very familiar with the passage, and how it functions in the book of Mark, and would like to say more about it; but I haven't the time just at this moment.

Roughly, though, I think Jesus' point is that he speaks in parables to challenge his hearers to faith -- to seek out the word, and take it deep within their hearts. The parable is about that very thing. Jesus emphasizes just afterward that nothing is hidden except to come to light. And most particularly, Mark, by use of a very peculiar phrase "when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve", refered to by Jesus as those "inside", emphasizes that the meaning of the parable is for all who want to take the trouble to understand what Jesus is saying. Thus "the measure you give is the measure you get."

I'll try to get back with a more complete explanation -- which also might include the following chapter (5) and the incident with the Syro-Phonecian woman (chapter 7) which many find problematic, for similar reasons, and which I think, read carefully in context, is again emphasizing Jesus' intent that his Gospel should reach as many as possible.

Blessings,
Scruff

Toolman
Oct 4th 2007, 03:59 PM
Mag,

I believe that God does want to save all men, in due time, but that blindness, in part and for a limited time, serves the purposes of God:

1 Timothy 2:5-6 - For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Here is an exegesis of Romans 11 that I posted a while back:

Romans 11 exegesis
Follow Paul's thoughts all the way from chapter 9 thru chapter 11. To not do so will leave you with an incomplete picture of what Paul is saying:

Paul starts by showing there is an elect:

Romans 11:4-5 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

A remnant of Israel according to election.

He then states:

Romans 11:7 - What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

He then makes a clear distinction and contrast between 2 seperate groups. "the elect" and "the rest".

The elect have obtained righteousness/salvation and the rest are blinded.

2 clear distinct groups.

Romans 11:11 - I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

Paul now states concerning "the rest" that they have not stumbled that they should fall, but their stumbling is for a divine purpose (to provoke jealousy in themselves and bring salvation to the gentiles).

Romans 11:25-26 - For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

Paul, then says that he does not want us to be ignorant of the mystery. Blindness has happened in part to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come and then all Israel will be saved.

This is clearly speaking of physical Israel, which has been Paul's topic since Romans 9 and through 10 and 11.

Romans 11:28 - Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

The "they" in the above passage are "the rest", those who have been blinded in Israel and who are not "the elect".

Romans 11:29 - For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

God is soveriegn, we both agree here so don't think there is much to discuss regarding that passage.

Romans 11:30 - For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, .

The "their", once again, is "the rest", the blinded ones of Israel who are seperate from "the elect".
We gentiles obtained mercy through their disobedience/unbelief.

Romans 11:31 - even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.

Once again, "the rest", those who are currently blinded and not a part of "the elect" will be shown mercy because of the mercy shown gentiles, who were also shown mercy in our disobedience/unbelief.

Romans 11:32 - For God has committed all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

The mystery, of which we are not to be ignorant of. God has committed all to disobedience/unbelief that He might have mercy on all.

This mystery/revelation makes Paul break into his doxology:
Romans 11:33-36 - Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
“ For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“ Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Saved7
Oct 4th 2007, 04:01 PM
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved.

Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

What is your opinion?


Simply, the OT explains this, God blinded them so that they couldn't see and understand because their hearts were set to be wicked. And God took advantage of that in order to have the crucifixion happen so that THE WHOLE WORLD could be saved, even the gentiles. If they had beleived then they wouldn't have crucified Him, and guess where that would leave you and me and the billions of other souls that have come to faith in Christ since that time. It is my belief however that they were forgiven for this, because Jesus said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." If Jesus said it, then it must be that they were forgiven. After all, Jesus is God in the flesh, right?;)

It is kind of like the scene where there was a wicked king in the OT that God sent a deceiving spirit to, to be a lie in the mouths of all the false prophets, and I believe it was the story of Elijah when he called them all together to prove who is God and who is not. That wicked king WANTED to believe lies he didn't desire the truth, so God let him have what he desired.;)

Magnetic
Oct 4th 2007, 04:09 PM
Thanks people. I can see what you all are saying and can make sense of it, so that's a good thing.

I was just wondering because of hearing preachers (John MacArther, to be specific) talk about not everyone being saved because they weren't "called by God as the elect".

Toolman
Oct 4th 2007, 04:13 PM
Thanks people. I can see what you all are saying and can make sense of it, so that's a good thing.

I was just wondering because of hearing preachers (John MacArther, to be specific) talk about not everyone being saved because they weren't "called by God as the elect".

Mag,

There are several different beliefs in Christianity:

1) Those who believe that God has chosen to save only some people and not save others (usually called reformed or calvinists).

2) Those who believe that God desires everyone to be saved but His desire can be thwarted by man's will (usually called free-will or arminian).

3) Those who believe God desires everyone to be saved and that He will accomplish that desire (usually called universalists).

Those are the 3 basic positions within evangelical/protestant Christianity.

Mograce2U
Oct 4th 2007, 04:35 PM
Mag,

There are several different beliefs in Christianity:

1) Those who believe that God has chosen to save only some people and not save others (usually called reformed or calvinists).

2) Those who believe that God desires everyone to be saved but His desire can be thwarted by man's will (usually called free-will or arminian).

3) Those who believe God desires everyone to be saved and that He will accomplish that desire (usually called universalists).

Those are the 3 basic positions within evangelical/protestant Christianity.Then there is the position I hold which sees the elect of Israel in the context of bringing Messiah into the world - which election is now extended to all who call upon the name of the Lord and shall be saved.

Toolman
Oct 4th 2007, 05:19 PM
Then there is the position I hold which sees the elect of Israel in the context of bringing Messiah into the world - which election is now extended to all who call upon the name of the Lord and shall be saved.

Robin,

I believe that position falls into one of the 3 groups mentioned. We can explore that if you wish.

Lars777
Oct 4th 2007, 05:57 PM
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved.

Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

What is your opinion?





And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables. And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven." (Mark 4:10-12 RSV)



That latter verse has caused a great deal of difficulty in many people's minds. What did he mean? Did he actually mean that he spoke in parables in order to hide the truth so that people could not understand it and thereby be forgiven?

This is what it sounds as though he said. But this is only one of three explanatory paragraphs Mark inserts here, right from the lips of Jesus which help us to understand the reasons why Jesus spoke in parables.

This first one gives us a very illuminating reason. The Lord himself points out that there are two kinds of hearers, and that this is why he speaks in parables: "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God." That is, one class of hearers is the disciples of Jesus -- those who follow him, who are obedient to him, who listen to him and accept his authority as Lord and teacher. To them is given the secret of the kingdom of God.

The word he actually uses is "mystery" -- the mystery of the kingdom of God. I am always entranced by these mysteries which are mentioned in Scripture. They are not vague and difficult to understand, the word does not mean that. But they are secret from the majority of people. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, says of the apostles, "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God," (1 Corinthians 4:1 RSV). That is, as men entrusted with sacred secrets which God has told to men.

What are these mysteries? Basically, as you read through the Scriptures, you see that they are inside information on life which only believers, only disciples, are given to understand.

They are, in fact, truths which the natural man cannot discover by himself. They are great missing pieces, if you like, of the jigsaw puzzle of life. Here is the world and all humanity, working away trying to explain what we are, to understand the universe in which we live, and the society in which we function -- how it works, and why it embodies such difficult problems.

The nuclear physicist comes along and puts in a piece of the puzzle. Then along comes the geologist and he fits in a piece. Then the psychologist and psychiatrist fill out a part of it, and we begin to understand a bit more.

Then the philosophers add their part. We keep working away at putting together this tremendously complex, amazing jigsaw puzzle of life, trying to understand it.

But Jesus declares here that there are certain missing pieces which only God can put in. And they are essential to the understanding of the problem! These he calls "the mysteries of God."

In Chapters 1 and 2 of First Corinthians, Paul describes them as the "deep things of God," (1 Corinthians 2:10 KJV). He says the natural man cannot understand them, for they are revealed only by the Spirit of God: "For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him?

So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God," (1 Corinthians 2:11 RSV). Only the Spirit of God knows these deep things of God, these great and enlightening secrets which help you to grasp fully what is going on in your life, or in anybody else's.

Therefore, this is not merely a certain amount of theological hogwash. This is practical truth which is hidden from us and can be revealed only by God himself.

Scripture speaks of various mysteries: In Second Thessalonians Paul speaks of the "mystery of lawlessness," (2 Thessalonians 2:7 RSV). This is what men all around us are trying to solve today -- the reason why evil persists in human hearts, why there seems to be a fountain of evil and violence in man which, no matter what we do to treat the symptoms, continues to pour out ever-increasing manifestations of violence and bitterness and hatred and prejudice and persecution.

This is where educators, legislators, and social planners wrestle. Why is all this true? The revelation which explains it is in the secrets God alone reveals. That is why more than anything else we need to understand the Bible, because it holds the key to the problems which are at work in our lives.

Then Paul speaks of the "mystery of godliness" (1 Timothy 3:16 KJV) -- the counterpart of the mystery of lawlessness. This is the secret of how to cope with life, how to handle these problems of violence and evil which you find even within yourself, how to handle pressures and disasters, perplexities, and all the common irritations which come our way, how to react to them, what to do about them so that you can handle everything which comes, and remain calm and poised and at peace, and effective in the lives of others.

That is the mystery of godliness -- Godlikeness, if you like, which is the full meaning of the word.

But here Mark speaks of the "mystery of the kingdom," (Mark 4:11 KJV). What does this mean? It means the understanding of what God is doing now in history -- how the events of our day are being used in the program and planning of God, God's rule over men at work in current events.

This is the mystery of the kingdom -- how God functions in human society, just exactly what he is doing today, and how he is doing it. The world would have us believe that everything takes place quite apart from God, that if there is a God he is sitting up there some place watching us poor, struggling mortals down here on the sinful plains of life, but that he really has nothing to do with it; he is just watching it happen.

But the Scriptures reveal that God himself is involved in every single event, that nothing occurs which God is not in touch with and has not arranged and brought into being.

Without destroying our will to choose, or our freedom to move, he nevertheless is working things out to a vast and cosmic purpose which he announces to us. That is the mystery of the kingdom of God. "And to you," Jesus says, "you who are disciples, is given that secret. You can understand it."

But there is a second class, described as "those outside" -- "for those outside everything is in parables." Who are these? Well, of course, they are everyone who is not a disciple.

There may be many right here on this board-- church members, or regular church attenders, but not really disciples, not really open to understanding and obeying the Lordship of Christ (which is what a disciple must be), and so the truth is hidden from them. To them the parables will be simple stories without much meaning.

Jesus then said this rather solemn, amazing thing: "...everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven."

This is the part which troubles many. It does indeed sound as though Jesus is saying "I don't want them to turn again. I've hidden this truth so that they won't. The last thing I want is for them to be forgiven." But we know immediately that is not true; that cannot be what this means.

We will be helped greatly if we understand two things about this account: One is that it is highly condensed. Mark's account of this statement is the most condensed of all.

We need the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke as well, particularly in Matthew, to understand what Jesus is saying here, and we will look at that in a moment.

The second thing we need to understand is that this is a poorly edited account. The editors have failed us at this point. It would help a great deal if you would take pencil or pen and put some additional quotation marks around these words: "'...they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.'"

Jesus is not originating this statement; he is quoting Isaiah. He is saying that this word of Isaiah is being fulfilled at the present time. He does not say, "I'm speaking in parables in order that it might be fulfilled"; he is saying, "I'm speaking in parables because it is being fulfilled."

That makes a big difference. It would be perfectly valid for you to insert the words "it is fulfilled" in Verse 12: "... so that it is fulfilled, 'they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.'"

If you look at Matthew 13 you see that this is exactly what has happened. In this parallel passage, the full quotation from Isaiah is given to us. Verse 14:

"With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says:
'You shall indeed hear but never understand,
and you shall indeed see but never perceive.'" (Matthew 13:14 RSV)

Then Isaiah goes on to explain why this is happening. Mark leaves this out, quotes only the conclusion. Verse 15 of Matthew 13:

"'For this people's heart has grown dull,
and their ears are heavy of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed...'" (Matthew 13:15a RSV)

Who closed their eyes? Not God. The people closed them. And why did they close their eyes?

"'lest they should perceive with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and turn for me to heal them.'" (Matthew 13:15b RSV)

The people did not want to be healed. That is the point. In order to prevent the healing of their spirit, of the hurt of their heart, which Jesus wanted to bring them, they closed their eyes and ears.

What did the people want? They wanted physical healing, and that is all they wanted. They wanted Jesus to cure their diseases and get rid of all their afflictions so that they could go on just as they were before.

Jesus, knowing this, tells them "You are fulfilling the very words of Isaiah the prophet, in that you are not willing to listen to what I have to say. You want me to heal only the body."

This is what happens in many of the so-called "healing meetings" of our day. Exactly the same principle is operating. People do not want the spirit to be changed, the real problem to be solved.

This was what was happening then; they turned off their minds when Jesus began to teach. So, to capture their attention, Jesus said, "I'll tell you the truth in parables. If you won't listen to this teaching, then I'll give it to you in a different way -- in order that he might reach them."

This gives us clear understanding of what he is saying here in Mark -- that parables are designed for the uninterested, for those who have turned their minds off. This is his first explanation -- that there are two classes of hearers.

Theophilus
Oct 4th 2007, 06:01 PM
Nice post, Lars...and just where have you been, anyway? First post since the end of August...Was it something I said? :hmm:

;)


As an aside, I love your sig...been meanin' to tell ya' that for a while.:)

Lars777
Oct 4th 2007, 06:25 PM
Nice post, Lars...and just where have you been, anyway? First post since the end of August...Was it something I said? :hmm:

;)


As an aside, I love your sig...been meanin' to tell ya' that for a while.:)

Hi and thank you......well I have been busy between landscaping and building a deck off my dads house and a little remodeling upstairs I have not had a lot of spare time.

But I will be filtering back in little by little as the deck is done and the grass is not growing as fast and the remodeling is just about done.

No nothing you said ;) On a forum board with all these members and all of the many posts each day for you to notice that I have not been here gives me a special feeling....one of belonging to a family....as family only notice these kind of things.............:pp

Theophilus
Oct 4th 2007, 06:33 PM
On a forum board with all these members and all of the many posts each day for you to notice that I have not been here gives me a special feeling....one of belonging to a family....as family only notice these kind of things.............:pp
'Sokay, bro...and by the way, Mom says to take out the garbage...and I'm wearing your shirt, 'cause I got a milkshake on your other one.

Can I borrow your car?


;)

Magnetic
Oct 4th 2007, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the post, Lars.

Brother Mark
Oct 4th 2007, 08:32 PM
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved.

Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

What is your opinion?

Well, the rest of the parable explains it's a heart issue. It's a great verse! But for those that think they see, they remain blind. For those that humble themselves and ask God what he was talking about, they get to see.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 4th 2007, 10:32 PM
The consistent theme of the parables in Mark 4 is that it is vital for us to listen. The passage you ask about comes in an interlude between the main parable that Jesus tells and its explanation. (Such an ABA literary structure is called a "chiasm".)

The parable itself -- the one which is often called "the Sower" -- is itself a chiasm. Jesus starts off saying "Listen" and ends "He who has ears to hear let him hear." The parable is sandwiched between these two admonitions (warnings, or instructions). The parable is about "the word", as Jesus makes clear when he gives the explanation. Thus it is about the need for the word -- the word Jesus brings to us, especially -- to find clear, fruitful, receptive soil, rather than to land on ears that are hardened, like the path, shallow in their reception, like the rocky soil, or choked with other concerns, like the seed that was choked with thorns. The soil in which the word brings forth abundant fruit -- 30 or 60 or 100 fold; a truly unbelievably fruitful crop -- is, as Luke (8:15) notes, people who "in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." Thus the parable itself is about the importance of listening, not superficially, but with one's whole heart, to God's word, and in particular to the truth that Jesus is bringing. This is reinforced by Jesus' placing the parable between telling us "listen!" and "he who has ears to hear, let him hear." This parable is the parable of listening!

The placement of the parable in Mark's gospel is important. Mark starts off his gospel by noting how John the Baptist's ministry was the fulfillment of the word spoken by the prophets. He further underlines the theme of the fulfillment of the word given to us in noting that just as John predicts that one comes after him who is greater, Jesus appears.

Then -- after the very briefest version of Christ's baptism and reception of the Spirit and his temptation -- Mark tells us that Jesus came proclaiming, preaching, the good news, saying "The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel." (Mk 1:15) Yet, surprisingly Mark in the next three chapters -- despite the fact that he tells us that Jesus told his disciples that preaching the word was at the center of his mission, the purpose for which he came out -- gives us relatively little of what Jesus actually taught. We hear, significantly, that it is about forgiveness, and welcoming back the lost and the sinner, and that it is a new and powerful teaching, but little else. What Mark concentrates on, instead, is the proclamation of the Gospel that Jesus undertakes by his actions: by healing, cleansing, restoring, and casting out demons.

Mark 4, then, arguably, stands as the first concentrated block of Jesus' teaching that we get in Mark. That gives to the parables here a special importance and prominance. The central theme of the main parable, about listening, and the life-giving power of the word -- if we are determined enough to let it sink deep into our lives free of distraction -- also echoes the opening emphasis on John's preaching fulfilling the word of the prophets, and Jesus' coming then fulfilling John's preaching, and the prophets as well. Receiving the word, and the power of God's word, and Jesus as the central fulfillment of that word, have been established as central themes.

In light of all this, Jesus says of the parable of listening "if you don't understand this, how can you understand any of the parables?" This parable is about the need to listen, very attentively. Unless one understands that one must pay close attention to God's saving words, unless one is attentive with one's whole heart, how can any of the parables, or any of Jesus' teaching, do one any good?!


The accompanying parables

Yet Jesus clearly is not saying that his purpose is to make it hard to hear. The problem is the opposite: no matter how clearly the word is spoken, people will not hear its true force. Thus Jesus follows the first parable, the Sower or parable of listening, with others that emphasize closely related points. "Be careful what you hear! The measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be added to you." For those who receive Jesus' word, taking it deeply in their heart, more and more will be given. The word will spring up 30 or a hundredfold. "Still more will be given, good measure, pressed down." But for those who let the word fall by the wayside, or get choked and peripheralized in their lives, or receive it only superficially, even the word they at first understood won't endure long in their lives. "To him who has, more will be given; but to him who has not" -- particularly, to him who has not bothered to make sure he receives -- "even what he has" (or thinks he has heard) "will be taken away." The power of God's word is mysterious, like seed that is planted and comes to fruit in one's life one knows not how. But all the more that means that one must try to take that word deep into one's heart, when one understands it and when one does not, and ask God to clarify it, and help it bear fruit.

For -- this is crucial to the question you ask -- "Nothing is hidden except to be shown clearly; and nothing is secret, except to come to light." This is Jesus' immediate follow-up to the parable. He's telling the audience plainly that if some things in his teaching are hard to understand, the very purpose of the inaccessiblity, the hiddenness, of his teaching is not to keep it secret, but to make it plain, to help the true meaning come to light. As soon as he's given the somewhat difficult, hard-to-understand, parable of "the Sower" (or of "listening") he is urging the people to seek out its meaning.


About why Jesus teaches in parables

Jesus' teaching is difficult for us to understand. Many things in the Bible are difficult to understand. Why? Why does jesus teach in parables -- which require interpretation, require thinking about? Why doesn't he just make immediately clear what he means? Why does he leave us with unanswered questions? Why?

Wouldn't it be better to give us words that are less mysterious, easier to understand, and which don't leave us wondering?

Jesus has said, in the parable of the Sower that word which falls upon shallow soil springs up at once -- people receive it with joy -- but it has no root in them. So when things get tough, the word that was sown doesn't have deep roots, and it withers. Perhaps, then, Jesus is putting things in a way that forces his listeners to reflect -- to ask about his teaching more deeply, to put down deeper roots, to keep trying to think about their own lives in terms of the puzzling yet intriguing things he's said -- because a process of questioning, listening, and wrestling with what he's said that isn't just intellectual, and isn't just directed toward quick and easy lessons, is part of what is required if the word is to take deep root in our lives.

We must struggle with our lives, and struggle with God's tough plans for us, and his deep and mysterious word to us, because we need God working deep within us, and changing us in difficult ways. We need to be like the wise man who dug down until his house was founded on the rock. If we are to come after Jesus, as Mark later (8) notes, we will have to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow him. Jesus' words probe our hearts; and he has put his teaching in ways that force us to think and think about what he has said.

Jesus expresses his preaching "in riddles and parables", as one modern listener has said, "to lead gradually to the hidden reality that can truly be discovered only through discipleship." (324) "For Jesus is not trying to convey some sort of abstract knowledge that does not concern us profoundly. He has to lead us to the mystery of God -- to the light that our eyes cannot bear and that we therefore try to escape" (192-3) Thus "the parables are ultimately an expression of God's hiddenness in this world and of the fact that knowledge of God always lays claim to the whole person -- that such knowledge is one with life itself, and that it canot exist without 'repentence.'" Jesus' teaching leaves us with questions because He intends for it to be a leaven at work within us, to continue to probe, and change, and shape our hearts.


About the text in Isaiah that Jesus quotes

As others have noted, the difficult words that were asked about are quoted from Isaiah 6. "In the year that King Uzziah died I way the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim ... covering their faces ... and crying 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory'" ... Isaiah is overwhelmed, stricken. "Woe is me! I am lost! For I am a man of unclean lips and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." But God touches Isaiah with fire, and takes away his sin. Then Isaiah hears God saying "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Isaiah now replies "here am I; send me" It is at this point that God says to Isaiah the words that Jesus quotes:

"Go and say to this people: 'Hear and hear but do not understand
See and see but do not perceive
Make the ears of this people heavy and their heart fat
lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed'"

But if this is what Isaiah is to say to the people, then clearly his words are sarcastic, ironic, biting. It's like a parent who -- fed up after a kid has again and again refused to hear the parent's wise counsel, which is vital if the kid is not to wreck his life in some respects -- says "OK, ruin your life if you want to. I don't care." The parent doesn't mean that about not caring. The parent doesn't mean to tell the kid to not listen and ruin his life instead. It's a last attempt to make the kid see that the parent's concern is not some fussy desire to be obeyed in a minor matter, not some matter that matters in the first instance to the parent, but rather something the parent cares about because it is of vital concern to the kid, though the kid refuses to see that. "I don't care" means "it's not about me". "OK, ruin your life if you want to" doesnt mean "I'm giving you permission to ruin your life"; it means "can't you see that what you are doing is ruining your life."

Isaiah replies "How long, O Lord?" And God -- in OK-ruin-your-life-if-you-want-to mode -- replies "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant ..."


About the tough words of Jesus that you originally asked about

Now we are ready to look at the exact context in which Jesus says "to you has been given the secret of the kingdom of god, but to those outside everything is in parables, so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn again and be forgiven" And then "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand any of the parables?" Recall that Mark says that Jesus says this because "when he was alone those who were about him, with the twelve, asked him concerning the parables." This is an odd concept of being "alone"! Jesus seems to have dozens of people still asking him what he meant! Perhaps, then, those who are not "outside" are simply those who have been eager enough to understand what it is that Jesus was talking about that they have stayed to ask questions. The secret is being opened up to all those who really wanted to hear, who have listened eagerly, who are giving themselves over to understanding the message -- the good soil, people "holding the word fast in an honest and good heart", seeking the kingdom of God, pondering Jesus' words, so that they can "bring forth fruit with patience."

Jesus, I believe, is giving teaching that is difficult, that gets under our skin -- even now as we as Christians read it having heard it many times -- because he is not interested in doctrine for the sake of doctrine. He wants the truths or doctrines he teaches to be taken to heart, and wrestled with, so that they change our lives. What he aims to do by giving us sayings we must ponder is to let the word start operating in a living and active way within us, if we will let it.


"Doesn't Jesus want everyone to be saved?"
He talks tough exactly because he wants everyone to be saved!

Thus, I do not think that Jesus is trying to keep people out of the kingdom, or leave them unforgiven. We know that he is the good shepherd who leaves the 99 to find the lost sheep. We know that God does not desire the death of the sinner but that the sinner should turn from wickednes and live. We know that God is longsuffering towards us, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentence. (Scripture says these things) Rather, I think that here Christ is brilliantly and urgently calling us to let his words challenge us, upset us, trouble us, work in us, heal us, and make us good grain that brings forth into this lost and needy world his powerful, transformative, and healing message 30 or 60 or 100 times over.

In making us his disciples, he is trying to get us to listen. To listen with our hearts. To listen to His heart.

This parable challenges me greatly -- I who so often do not listen to him (not really) or obey him, but let other things, or just plain indifferent hardheartedness, get in the way.

O Christ our God, though I am such a bad listener, you are always attentive to our cries!!
Please open my heart to your voice, that I may bear to do all those things you ask that I don't like to do, and give up those things that are bad that I like, and dare to look on you as you are, and be transformed, that your kingdom may come, and your will be done.
................................................Yo ur wayward boy, Scruffy.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 6th 2007, 05:25 AM
The word, living and active ...
the superabundance of God's gifts and His love

Well, I have studied Mark's gospel, with groups of friends, maybe 4 or 5 times, and Mark 4 & 5 maybe 10 times or more. So I think I know it somewhat. But no. This so often happens to me when I study a passage I think I know pretty well: God opens up something I've never really seen before. Like what Heb. 4:12 says: "the word of God is living and powerful ... discern[ing] ... the thoughts and intents of the heart." Just happened to me again, because of Magnetic posting this passage.


What's the point of the parable of "the Sower"?

Some scholars hold that each of Christ's parables has a single main point that it's getting at. (I'm not convinced, BTW.) However that may be, many seem to think that the thing that'd've be most striking, most astonishing, to Jesus' hearers was the last line "some 30-fold, some 60-fold, some 100-fold." For those folks, in an age before Green Revolution engineered "miracle grains", I may've heard it said, a yield in good soil of 10-fold would have been really good, and 15-fold quite astonishing. But the crop Jesus speaks about is about 2 to 10 times as productive as that quite astonishing yield. In fact a really miraculous yield. This point would have made, they say, a very big impression on the hearers. So far as that goes, if someone told me that there was an investment which could multiply 30 to 100 times in ten years, I simply wouldn't consider it -- I'd be sure it was a scam. No investments are that good.

As I've just argued, I think that Jesus' main point is the importance, the necessity, of listening, of heeding God's words to us. Many, many elements of the parable, the explanation, the words about why Jesus teaches in parables, the chapter, and its wider context in the book of Mark, converge, IMO, to reinforce this reading. And I think (as also argued above) that the message that God's fruitful word is indeed open to all who want to come is, most likely, the most important secondary theme, or at least one of the most important.

However, it now strikes me that the abundance of God's blessing and power, the incredible fruitfulness of the word when we take it into our hearts, is also a major theme here -- and one which is organically, inherently, linked to the theme of listening, of taking the word into our hearts; perhaps it is also closely linked to the theme of the availability of His life-giving word, the availability of the secret of the kingdom of God, to all who seek it wholeheartedly.

I'd like to discuss these interlinked themes, and particularly the theme of the fullness and abundance of God's word here.


The abundance of the harvest

The aim of the seeming obscurity of the parables is not to keep folks out of, but to draw folk into, the life-giving mystery of the gospel. Jesus, understood in context, is far from telling us that he aims to exclude some people from God's grace, or that his preaching veils the gospel in order that people may not hear and be saved. Rather, he is emphasizing that the gospel, meant for all, and available to all who take the trouble to seek it, can only be understood and embraced by -- and therefore can have its saving effects only in the lives of -- those who are willing to let it have deep roots in their lives. It's as if he were saying "The way is easy and the gate commodious, that leads to destruction, and lots of folks like to travel that path; but the way is difficult, and the gate hard to squeeze through, that leads to life, and few are willing to find it." It's a task that can be accomplished only with difficulty, and by God's miraculous help and grace, like getting the camel through the eye of the needle. Jesus, then, appears to be saying here not only that his veiling of the gospel is meant to lead us into that kind that kind of wrestling with what he has to say that we need to do in order to let it take deep root. Christ's words can do their work within us only if accepted faithfully: only if we understand and embrace them not with our intellects only, but with our hearts and our lives. It is those who remain outside the circle of those who are willing to put full effort into following after Christ's teaching who have, themselves, implicitly decided to see and not perceive, hear and not understand, lest (this is the problem: in the presence of light, people like the comfortable darkness that doesn't reveal their flaws) they might turn and be healed. Nothing is hidden except to be revealed; nothing is secret except to come to light. The parables, the difficult statements, are there to force those who are willing to to confront the murkiness and difficulties of their lives which must be painstakingly brought into the light if the healing light of the gospel is to have its effect.

Yet together with this tough challenge, Jesus is offering a superabundant promise of God's faithfulness. Jesus aims to get us to wrestle with his words, and they certainly do force us to grapple with difficult truths. Struggling with the problem of whether Jesus aims to exclude or include impels us to come to grips with the vital need for us to dig, work, labor to receive his words into our hearts and lives -- the need to "labor to enter his rest" (Heb. 4:11) rather than hardening our hearts when we hear his voice (Heb 4:7, Ps. 95:7-8). But it is also important that in our wrestling, our determination not to let go of God, we clearly see and remember God's gracious promise, the power of the blessing that he aims for us to receive.

For those who have ears to hear -- who persevere through difficulties and (Lk 8:15) "in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" -- Christ is promising staggering abundance. That promise, no less than the insistence upon listening, rings through the passage and its context over and over again.

This fits the development of Mark's gospel from its very first lines. Mark's opening emphasis upon the word of the prophets fulfilled in John, and John's word fulfilled in Jesus -- an "opening" which follows the unlimited promise of good news from heaven implied by his staggering and provocatively counter-cultural proclamation that this book is "the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God" -- not only underscores the importance of God's word, but also the sureness and abundance of its life-giving fulfillment. While Christ's baptism does lead to a struggle in the wilderness, a testing in which he must confront the devil (and, in Matt. and Luke, must struggle with scripture to get its purport right in the face to the devil's twisting of what God said), it is preceded by God's own spirit coming from heaven and resting upon Jesus like a dove -- all four gospels note this! -- and leads to Jesus' coming (in the power of the Spirit, as, again, Matt and Luke, the other two synoptics, note) to proclaim (Mk 1:15) God's fulfillment of His promises and the coming of His kingdom.

Similarly, the action-packed narrative that leads from Jesus' decisive proclamation of the Kingdom of God at 1:15 to the parables in chapter 4 is one whose action shows the lavish goodness of the good news Jesus brings. Demons are cast out and all marvel. knowledge of Jesus spreads through the whole region. The sick are cured. The whole city gathers and is healed of diseases and delivered from demonic forces. Everyone is searching for Jesus. Lepers are made clean. A paralytic, one unable himself to move or come to Jesus -- imaging those captive at the point of death -- is raised, through the faith of his friends. Those traitorous countrymen dividing and oppressing the land -- wringing tax out of their countrymen for Rome and for their own unjust profit -- change their ways and come back to God. Even Mark's enthusiastic and colloquial diction -- constantly repeating "all", "every", and "immediately" -- rightly serves to amplify our understanding of the power, immediacy, and fullness of the salvation that Jesus is demonstrating before people's eyes. This is just that fullness of blessing which Jesus' staggering parable ending -- "some 30-fold, some 60-fold, some 100-fold" -- again emphasizes.

Jesus follows up by reiterating the abundance (4:24-32), as well as the accessiblilty (4:21-23), of the God's coming Kingdom in succeeding parables. "The measure you give will be the measure you get" -- you will not be shortchanged for the (necessarily painstaking) efforts you put into letting God's loving, powerful, fruitful word take root in your life -- but further "and still more will be given you." You don't just get what you give, because blessing comes from God's infinite goodness, not mainly from our own efforts: you do get what you give, but that's just the beginning of the outpouring of God's bounty. "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over" as Luke (6:38) says in a related context. The kingdom of God is like the tiniest of seeds that springs up to form a huge tree, offering shelter to many.

Not only that, the mystery of the Kingdom of God includes that God works to bring about this luscious harvest almost without human labor "as if a man should scatter seed on the ground and go to sleep" before he rises to find the seed has sprouted and grown "he knows not how"! Sprouted, and grown, and increased to abundance: "first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." We do have to listen. We do have to accept and gather the blessings God gives. We can refuse to hear, refuse his bounty -- and alarmingly, Jesus keeps indicating that this is a usual response and an ingrained human propensity that threatens to exclude us from God's blessing. But while heeding God's word is essential and difficult, the accent is perhaps at least equally upon the amazing, free abundance of the harvest, the fulfillment, that God intends to pour out upon us, exceedingly abundantly beyond anything that we have labored for.

O God and most loving heavenly Father,
your love for all humankind surpasses all that we can conceive.
The abundance of your goodness, faithfulness and love
greatly exceeds our desires as well as our deserts.
By your grace to us undeserving and stubborn sinners,
through the love given us in Christ Jesus our Lord,
grant that we may love what you command, and desire what you promise,
that our hearts may be transformed and filled
by your abiding presence with us,
through Christ, who humbled himself to be a human being just like us,
and who ever lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God.
Amen.

And please help me most gracious and loving Lord,
messed-up and scruffy guy that I am,
to believe what you say, and to find delight and comfort in Who you are,
not to let my gaze rest discouraged upon my brokenness and sin.
For Christ's sake who bore our sin that we might bear his image and live his love.
Amen

jeffweeder
Oct 6th 2007, 05:53 AM
Now, why wouldn't Jesus want to do everything within his power to make sure everyone came to salvation? Some people may use this verse to show the "doctrine of election".

I dont know what this doc of election is but i dont like the sound of it.
You would have to conclude that Jesus couldnt do anymore than what he has done for us.
Contradicts him saying things like, " whosoever will let him come", and
"Anyone who comes to me ,i will not cast away"

It sort of waters down as to what True Grace really is.
Its undeserved...full stop.

This doctrine of election is saying that the Grace of God is NOT sufficient for some.

The more i think bout it, Id say its a ludicrous doctrine.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 6th 2007, 01:32 PM
The Gaderene man made whole:
The struggle to hear and the abundant harvest

Immediately after the parables of Mark 4:1-34 Jesus crosses the sea, encounters a man enslaved to deadly demons, frees him to live and to testify to the gospel, and then, at once, Jesus crosses back to where he came from. Jesus seems to have battled the storms and crossed over to reach the man who lived in the tombs.

The whole interaction between Jesus and this man is a shining light, a source of strength and encouragement we should never let go of.


Introduction: setting the scene

This healing (in fact, an exorcism) is part of three remarkable healings which follow Jesus' parables about listening and about the abundance of life God gives to those who receive His word by faith. The healing of the demoniac is followed by the healings of a woman with a flow of blood, and of Jairus's daughter. These healings in a sense culminate Mark's account of Christ's healings, in the sense that they give strong personal focus, are the major healings recounted before the miracles of Mark 6 and 8 -- the feeding of 5000 and 4000 -- and before the pivotal confession of Peter and the transfiguration. After that point, Jesus' ministry and mission shifts toward Jerusalem, where he is to go to die for our sins, and be raised from the dead. Finally, they culminate Christ's healings in the sense that each of the three, with the healing of Jairus' daughter as their summit, is a healing that carries forward the theme -- begun with the healing of the paralytic, which perhaps graces Jesus' teaching about the forgiveness of sins -- of Jesus' power defeating the ultimate enemy, the power of death.

However, it also needs to be seen in terms of its ties to other parts of Mark, and the development of the gospel message as Mark presents it. For one thing, arguably it picks up the way in which the calling of the twelve (3:14, & 3:13-19) is a calling for those who follow and proclaim Christ to be with him, to give their hearts and lives to him. But in relation to the message of the abundance of the harvest for those who receive the word which is strong in Mark 4:1-34, there is also, arguably, a strong connection between the healing of the demoniac and the feeding of the 4000, which itself seems to be tied to Mark's development of the message of the gospel being extended to the gentiles. (Mk 6:53-7:30)

What's the connection of the healing of the Gadarene demoniac with the feeding of the 4000? Mark, just after the feeding of the 4000, prefaces the confession of Peter and the change of Jesus' ministry toward His full revelation of Himself and his trek to Jerusalem and the cross with a healing of a blind man which emphasizes the work, the hard path, of following Jesus. Mark signals the significance of feeding the 4000, and with it its connection to the earlier incident in a similar way: before feeding the 4000 Jesus heals a deaf man, to whom Jesus clearly explains what he is about to do, symbolicly, before opening the man's hearing so that he can hear and speak directly and clearly. This healing, Mark gratuitously bothers to tell us, takes place in the region of the Decapolis, after Jesus passes by the Sea of Galilee. That location picks up the location markers that Mark gives us for the healing of the Gadarene demoniac.

In this incident, which Mark (following, as the early 2nd century author tells us, the preaching of Peter, who was an eyewitness) so carefully recounts, we see the love and wisdom of Jesus: his open heart and sensitive tenderness to those who are injured, and his determined strategy for needy humankind, for all of us, which comes from his ear always open to the Father's plans, and his gracious inclusion of even the scruffiest of us in that wonderful mission of salvation.


Jesus heals the whole person:
Jesus Listens to the Demoniac

In Mark 4:1-34 Jesus' central focus in his teaching has been on the importance of careful listening.

About Listening

To be sure, what Jesus is talking about is the necessity -- and the abundant benefits -- of our listening to God. Listening, as Jesus has developed the concept, is not a casual matter: it's a matter of serious seeking, of devoting our hearts to what God is saying, of struggling to understand, and above all of persevering to understand and embrace Christ's own teaching with our hearts and lives, not with intellects focused on the words or surface meanings. Jesus gives us living teaching, which can enter immediately with power into the attentive hearts of babes, but which may not ever be clear to learned folks who don't want -- and which of us ever consistently does want!? -- to hear the tough and challenging things, often painful things, that Jesus is telling us.

Yet it is almost always illuminating, I think, to also read Jesus' commands to us as telling us about who God is, as expositions of God's unchanging and life-creating character, as well as of injunctions about how we must live, according to God's ways. Thus when Jesus teaches Peter and the disciples about forgiving others, as at Matt. 18:21-22, perhaps the point is not just that Peter should be forgiving a brother who keeps offending 490 times, that is,without limit, but also that this is but a faint reflection of the frequency and whole-hearted generosity with which God is forgiving Peter, and us. That reading is exposited, in a way, by the succeeding parable of the unmerciful servant (18:23-35). [ :blush: Asking your pardon for the personal interruption, I, scruff, cannot in honesty go on here without shame-facedly admitting how very difficult it is, on an ongoing basis, for me to forgive some who I feel are causing injury to others, and to my church. Pray for me, a sinner!] Here Jesus points out that we must forgive if we are to be forgiven, and that what God forgives us is many thousands of times more than all we are asked to forgive others. Similarly, when Jesus asks us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44) He makes it clear that His intent is that our hearts should be made like God's heart, for "your Father in heaven ... makes his sun rise on the evil and the good" and "is kind to the selfish and the ungrateful" [Luke 6:35]. We are to merciful even as our father is merciful; we are to love that we may be children of our Father in heaven.

So it is striking here, IMO, to see Jesus (who has just told us, in Mark 4, how important it is for us to listen attentively to God) listening with great attentiveness to the inner thoughts of the hearts of the people he comes in contact with in chapter 5.

The setting

Jesus crosses -- calm through the storms which panic the fishermen who is managing the storm -- and comes to where a man comes who lives among the tombs, possessed by demons, crying out day and night, so agitated that no one can calm or subdue him, cutting himself with stones. The man, seeing Jesus from afar, runs up to Jesus and says "What have you to do with me" and "do not torment me." This is not so far from running up to Jesus and saying "leave me alone", and "don't touch me, for I fear you will hurt me."

Maybe I'm not quite as messed-up as this guy was just then, but, if I'm to be honest, I often come to God in a rather similar mood. Yeah, maybe my problems are of my own making, but I'm overwhelmed by 'em. I feel I can't take much more. And a tense unspoken desire is that God would not punish me, and that he'd let me alone. Yes, I see that God is good and that I am not, and yes I'd like to be better, but it's hard to relate to Him, and not least because if He starts bringing my screwed-up inner life into the light I think it's going to be unbearably painful. My words are "Lord have your way with me" and "Lord, make me your own" but nevertheless inside I'm hiding from God, running from God, not least because I'm troubled by what I kind of know (though I hide it from myself) is so disordered inside me.

Jesus listens to the man

So the man runs up to Jesus and says, in effect, "leave me alone", "I don't want much to do with you", "don't mess with me"!

How does Jesus understand these words?

Jesus does not seem to hear the man saying "leave me alone and don't hurt me". The central fact to which Jesus pays attention is that the man has, clearly, come to Him for help. The man runs up to Jesus -- seeing Him from far away runs up to Him -- and falls at His feet. This poor guy, who so vigorously and successfully resists those who try to tie him up, to contain his inner turmoil so that it doesn't disturb anything, comes to Jesus, whose power (he seems to recognize this) is far greater. He comes afraid, he comes begging Jesus not to hurt him further, he comes in effect asking Jesus not to mess with him, but he comes. This, through all his struggling and evading and denying is his central desire, and Jesus doesn't get bothered with the surface words. Jesus deeply hears the desperate appeal of this deeply troubled guy's fearful heart.

Jesus also asks the man about himself.

This graciousness is something remarkably characteristic throughout Jesus' ministry -- and indeed throughout the dealings of God with man in the whole Bible. Jesus is constantly saying to folks who come to him in obvious need "what do you want me to do for you?" He asks the disciples, rather than telling them, "Who do you say that I am?" Eager to hear our hearts (no matter how confused and incoherent our responses may be), Jesus draws out of us our own unconstrained responses. It is like God, who asks the utterly confused and disoriented Adam, "my son, where are you" and the still more self-wounded, distracted, and confused Cain "where is your brother?" Though to us it seems like God is not listening to us, actually it is we who find it almost impossible to listen to him. His listening to us is deep, patient, and gracious.

Jesus asks the man "Who are you?" -- "What is your name?"

This is the crucial question, the crucial thing that the man needs help with; for this man's fundamental problem is a complete and utterly painful confusion of identity. He can only answer with the demons' voice "My name is legion, for we are many." Having engaged with the man himself about the crucial matter, his identity, Jesus acts with power to free the man of the demonic energies that possess him.

The demons, however, have their own plea: please send us into the pigs, they beg him. Why? Sometimes it seems in Scripture that demons have a horror of being left in the void, left without some "house", some poor creature to inhabit and twist around. Luke (8:31) tells us further of these demons that they begged him not to make them go into the deep, the void. Jesus at Luke 11:24 (giving a fuller version of remarks briefly recounted at Mk 3:27 and Mt 12:29) tells us that demons cast out walk through dry places seeking rest, and find none, and return to the person they were cast out from -- with more of their demon-friends -- and try to reinhabit him. So, without pursuing why it's so, it seems the demons ask to go into the pigs so that they are not without a place, a living creature, to inhabit. Jesus, for whatever combination of reasons, is gracious to their request also: he lets them go into the pigs. What's really striking about the demons is what happens next: they are frantic, and run down the slope and are drowned in the sea. In fact, they did themselves almost no good in getting Jesus' permission to go into the pigs, for they end up in the deep, in the void, anyhow, at once, as soon as they've destroyed the pigs.

Actually, it gives one respect for the man who had been possessed. Apparantly, these are demons of self-destruction. They at once destroy the pigs, which they very much need and want as places to dwell. They cause the man to be preoccupied with death, dwelling among the tombs. And there he finds himself doing symbolically and partially what the less self-controlled pigs do literally and fully: he's cutting himself with stones, bent upon self-destruction. Yet this guy has plenty of stuff: inhabited by some 2000 of these spirits which can drive animals to drown themselves at once, he's held back from doing himself in, and has retained enough independence that he runs up to Jesus, whom the demons rightly fear will bring them to grief by casting them out.

But what I think is now really worth focussing on is Jesus' subsequent interaction with the man, now freed of demons. The pattern of what Jesus does both in this interaction, and also in the interactions with Jairus and his daughter, and with the woman with the flow of blood, I believe give us a profound understanding of Christ's heart.

I call this theme "Jesus heals the whole person". In these healings (including this exorcism), as I read the text, Jesus meets each person he encounters with healing that touches every dimension of that person's need -- physical, spiritual, psychological, social, emotional, and so on.

Further, I want to argue that this reflects Jesus' incredible, lightning quick, humane and spiritual discernment of the situation and needs of the people He is working with. This discernment and sensitivity reflects the way that Jesus listens deeply to our hearts and heart-felt needs.

As God knows that we need to listen deeply to his life-giving voice, even so He himself listens to us, and understands us much more deeply than we understand ourselves. And concretely, Christ Jesus, simply as a man here on earth, shows us, in these responses that the gospel writers have preserved so carefully for us, how deeply he listens to the human heart -- to the hearts of various diverse people with complex and profound needs. Paul prays for us that through the knowledge of God the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened (Eph. 1:18). Here we see Jesus with eyes to see and ears quick to hear the innermost lives and needs of those He encounters -- not least because He has trained his heart in quiet attentiveness to every breath of the Father's will, and turns to us with that same attentive heart of love.

Oh, as I try to see what Christ here so beautifully does, may my tumult and selfishness be quieted, and my heart readied to listen, both to God and to those about me whom God loves, and to whom he (so graciously unmindful of my unworthiness) sends me.
Examining how Jesus listens to the man who suffered from the legion of demons must continue in the next post, because :blush: I am out of room in this one! :lol:

Mograce2U
Oct 6th 2007, 05:52 PM
Scruffy this teaching is excellent. I can't wait to read the rest so I can print it and keep it. Thank you so much for presenting it.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 6th 2007, 07:44 PM
Jesus heals the whole person
Starting from his deep listening to the man's heartfelt needs:
The man who had had the demons

The account in Mark 5:14-20, six short verses, gives us a wealth of detail about how Jesus responded to this man.

One very interesting verse often doesn't startle us as it should. The townspeople returned and saw the man who had had the demons "sitting there, clothed, and in his right mind."

(1) Clothed. Have you ever told someone "I saw Joe in the library this afternoon, clothed and reading a book"? It would be strange! The sentence here implies that the man was newly clothed; not I suppose that he lived among the tombs stark naked -- Mark would have mentioned that I suppose -- but probably that his clothes were in tatters. Not surprisingly. He's living exposed on the hills, and cutting at himself with stones. His clothes would get ripped apart in pretty short order. Where did he get clothes? Not at Macy's. Clearly the only possiblity is that Jesus and the disciples had some spareable clothes which they gave him. Why? Jesus is concerned not just to cast out the demons, but to help him re-establish his life. Everyone regards this man as a crazy-guy, and a tattered, unkempt will continue to be interpreted that way. So the disciples, who probably can't afford many clothes, give him some of theirs.

(2) Sitting there in his right mind The swineherds go back to the city; tell there story; and then people decide what to do, and some of them come out to where the tombs are. It probably took a fair amount of time, since there were no mopeds during the Roman occupation. They find the man not running about frantically, or cutting himself, as in the past, but sitting. And sitting, surely, and talking with the Rabbi (Jesus) and his disciples. On one hand, this again establishes the man in a position of relative dignity: it's a way -- perhaps the only way -- of showing concretely that he is "in his right mind. OTOH, Jesus has a lot to talk about with this man. He's been through a lot, and by himself, and needs someone to listen. Jesus, though, also has a lot to tell this man. He has to help him deal with his predicament, and his presumably long illness of mind, and -- since Jesus is sending the man back to his city, to his friends and family, to have him tell them about "how much the Lord has done for you" -- Jesus doubtless wants to help the man know how to talk, and to impart to him some instruction about God, and life, and about Himself.

(3) The man "begged ... that he might be with him. But he refused ..." Why does Jesus refuse? No doubt there are several kinds of reasons, but the thing that I think is most compelling is that Jesus' ministry is no place for a guy like this, a guy recovering from severe mental troubles, to be. Jesus -- Mark's told us -- is constantly surrounded and jostled by crowds. The disciples can't find time or space to eat. Tumultuous events are always taking place. There are groups of people who are out to kill Jesus. Jesus and the disciples are constantly moving from place to place, with no stable home base. And moreover, Jesus comes up against lots of demon-possessed folk, with demons calling out in various ways. The whole circus is clearly not a good place for a man like this to work at recovering his equilibrium.

(4) That he might be with him. (Mk 5:18) Yet the man's request is a touching one; and that Mark describes it in the language he does is, arguably, very touching and also a kind of tribute to this man.

The only other place in Mark where the words "be with him" come together in at Mk 3:14, where the text describes Jesus appointing the 12. Jesus calls the 12 to preach the gospel (the primary task, Mk 1:14, 1:38, 3:14), and gives them authority to cast out demons and (though this is made explicit, in Mark, only in some rescensions of the text) heal the sick (Mk 3:14, Mt. 10:1, 10:8, Lk 9:1). But Mark puts in first place this, "he appointed them to be with him ..." Jesus' ultimate aim is that the 12, and those they also commission, will continue to proclaim the gospel and form the church after He is gone. Moreover, they are the people "he desired" to be with him. All this happens, as Luke notes in Acts 4:13, because they "had been with Jesus." Indeed the language echos the powerful insistence of Moses that the children of Israel can go nowhere, and the he Moses will not budge, "unless you go with us" (Ex. 33:14-16) and God's call to Moses to lead (3:12; cf. 4:12-15) -- and perhaps even foreshadows passages like John 1:1, John 17, I John 1:3, and so on which speak of our fellowship in relation to and fulfillement of the very fellowship of God.

In any case, while the herders and all the townsmen of the decapolis are begging Jesus to go away, the man whose life Jesus has changed begs Him that, as the Apostles are going to be, "he might be with Him." His brief encounter with Jesus has in some way, it seems, filled his heart with love, and a desire for Christ's presence.

(5) Go back to your friends and family. Jesus knows, however, that the man needs a more basic kind of fellowship that will heal and restore him -- and give him a social place within his own circle of life. Apart from the matter of the tumultuous character of Jesus' ministry, the man needs to be built back up just as a person with a normal life and family, after all that has happened. In any case, it may also be that the man's kin and friends also need reassurance about the man, and about what Jesus has done.

(6) And tell them how much the Lord has done for you. Remarkably, though, Jesus in a sense here grants something like the man's wish to be with him, as the 12 are with him: He gives the man a work to do that keeps drawing the man's heart back to Jesus, and how Jesus has been with him.

And He gives the man a something-like apostolic role: to tell the people of his own city about God's grace as the man has experienced it in Jesus. At the same time that God chooses us, because he loves us, and for our own sake, he chooses us also for the sake of others. (cf. the call of Abraham at Gen. 12:3b) Of course, it's a deliberate and significant shift in phrasing -- a kind that is used at other key places in Scripture (Luke 15:30,32; Exod 32:7, 11; etc.) when Mark, having reported that Jesus instructed the man to tell others "how much the Lord had done for him", then notes that the man goes back and tells "how much Jesus had done for him" (emphasis added).

This, again, allows this man to go forward in life with a significant sense of purpose, and also gives him a way of defining himself socially that has dignity. He's not just that guy who used to be crazy and demon-possessed. He's a guy who has a powerful and significant testimony to give, to God's grace, and to Jesus who came to him, and met and helped him at so many different levels of his being.


Christ's powerful and vivifying gospel, through this man who takes Christ's word to heart
Perhaps bears fruit 100-fold and more: Christ's promise of abundance realized later in Mark?

As noted above, the man is from the ten (gentile) cities area on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the "decapolis" (which means "ten cities"). The decapolis is mentioned only here and in Mark 7:31. Now in Mark 5, the people of this area, having seen an uncanny demonstration of unpredictable power from Jesus, and having lost 2000 pigs, "beg him to depart." Yet when he returns someone brings him a deaf man to be healed, and in fact there is a "multitude (7:33) about Jesus, and the word about Jesus' healing keeps spreading, even though Jesus tries to play it down (7:36). And in fact a great crowd gathers -- about 4000 people -- to hear Jesus' teaching. While we can't be sure that the scene has not changed between Mark 7:37 and the next verse, Mark 8:1, it seems likely enough that the crowd that gathered to hear him (8:1), and then was miraculously fed after they'd been with him some 3 days, was also from the Decapolis region. On any account, though, Jesus was dealing with a smaller or greater multitude here where before people just wanted him to go away.


(The feeding of the 4000 is also perhaps linked to Jesus' entry into this gentile, this non-Jewish area where folks are keeping pigs if one sees the movement (Mk 6:53-7:30) from the feeding of the 5000 (Mk 6:33-34 with a follow-up involving again Jesus' miraculous interaction with wind and waves, and disciles, 6:35-52) to the feeding of the 4000 (Mk 8:1-21) as being the development by Mark of the important theme of the inclusion of the gentiles. Besides simply the fruitfulness of Christ's healing and word planted in the life of the man who had had the demons, on this view, the passage in Mark 7 and 8 is part of a movement in Mark -- mainly initiated in the story of this man at 5:1-20 -- from ministry to the Jews only, to a ministry which extends to the whole world.

That's the way I read it; but it is not a conclusive reading: some excellent scholars, for instance, argue that the text doesn't necessarily suggest that the feeding of the 4000 was to gentiles. However, there's no space to go into that just here.)

But even in any case, the change, with many now coming to seek him out -- people wanting to see Jesus rather than wanting him to go away -- may perhaps reflects the man's testimony, just as the gathering of the 5000 in Mark 6 seems to reflect the testimony of the disciples Jesus had sent out to minister (6:33, drawing on 6:30 and 6:7-13). At least plausibly, through this man who, after deep upheaval, took Jesus' words deep into his chastened and plowed heart, Jesus has brought up a crop that has multiplied far more than 100-fold; and perhaps more than 4000-fold! The progression of the gospel at least can be seen as linking the man's reception of Christ's word into his life to the many-fold crop that later develops! The visit to the shores of Gadera which Jesus embarks upon immediately after his discourse of parables seems to illustrate a number of main themes from those parables: the gospel reaching out to unexpected soils, the potency of the word taken into a faithful heart, the importance of listening to Jesus, and the struggles that such listening often plunges us into, so that through our wrestlings the word may be embraced with our hearts and our lives as well as with our intellects.

Steven3
Oct 7th 2007, 05:47 AM
Hi Magnetic :)
In Mark 4:11-12, Jesus is talking about why he spoke in parables and he basically said that he does so in order that they will hear what he is saying, but not understand, because if they DID understand, they might get saved. Isn't it more a case of Christ expecting them to have the right attitude? There's something in the hearing that is a choice - they could choose to hear and understand or choose not to. If Christ's teaching had all been laid out openly that choice would have been missing. It's the opposite of a (Calvinist?) doctrine of election. They chose not to understand.
God bless
Steven

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 04:14 PM
Mag,

There are several different beliefs in Christianity:

1) Those who believe that God has chosen to save only some people and not save others (usually called reformed or calvinists).

2) Those who believe that God desires everyone to be saved but His desire can be thwarted by man's will (usually called free-will or arminian).

3) Those who believe God desires everyone to be saved and that He will accomplish that desire (usually called universalists).

Those are the 3 basic positions within evangelical/protestant Christianity.

Concerning your position, which is #3, in what way does Scripture say that those who die in unbelief come to the faith?

Secondly, in the following Scriptures, it says the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Here in these verses mention is made of ten classes of transgressors which the apostle excludes from the kingdom of God. Yet your position basically says they will inherit the kingdom.

1 Cor 6:9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,
1 Cor 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 04:19 PM
Concerning your position, which is #3, in what way does Scripture say that those who die in unbelief come to the faith?

I'm not following the question DSK. I'm not sure what you mean by "what way". Can you help me out there in understanding what you are asking.


Secondly, in the following Scriptures, it says the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Here in these verses mention is made of ten classes of transgressors which the apostle excludes from the kingdom of God. Yet your position basically says they will inherit the kingdom.

1 Cor 6:9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,
1 Cor 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

No, the unrighteous will never inherit the kingdom of God. Only the righteous.

And no one is righteous before God apart from faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, just as you yourself (and myself) once found ourselves in unrighteousness and practiced the list above and have now been translated, by faith in Christ, from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, so it shall be for all who are translated. None, until faith, shall enter.

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 04:28 PM
I'm not following the question DSK. I'm not sure what you mean by "what way". Can you help me out there in understanding what you are asking.

Being a universalist you believe everyone will eventually be saved, even those who die as unbelievers. Now most of us in this forum believe that in order to be saved a person must believe. In your view, how does God bring unbelievers to the faith (belief) once they have died? Please use Scripture as support.


Now, just as you yourself (and myself) once found ourselves in unrighteousness and practiced the list above and have now been translated, by faith in Christ, from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, so it shall be for all who are translated. None, until faith, shall enter.

You and I have come to faith before physical death. My question concerns those who die in unbelief. Scripturally, how does God bring those who die in unbelief to faith?

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 04:46 PM
Being a universalist you believe everyone will eventually be saved, even those who die as unbelievers. Now most of us in this forum believe that in order to be saved a person must believe. In your view, how does God bring unbelievers to the faith (belief) once they have died? Please use Scripture as support.

You and I have come to faith before physical death. My question concerns those who die in unbelief. Scripturally, how does God bring those who die in unbelief to faith?

The process would be no different. When God brings a person to the ends of themselves and they place faith in Christ.

There is no different process (though the particular manifestations may differ, as we see in our own testimonies), there is conviction of sin and a turning to Christ.

But, as you may know, in my particular view believers in this life share in rewards and benefits that unbelievers do not, i.e. ruling and reigning with Christ thru millineum, avoiding lake of fire, etc.

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 04:57 PM
The process would be no different. When God brings a person to the ends of themselves and they place faith in Christ.

There is no different process (though the particular manifestations may differ, as we see in our own testimonies), there is conviction of sin and a turning to Christ.

But, as you may know, in my particular view believers in this life share in rewards and benefits that unbelievers do not, i.e. ruling and reigning with Christ thru millineum, avoiding lake of fire, etc.

That really doesn't answer my question.

What I would like from you is to have you post Scripture which supports your universalist position of how those who die in unbelief are brought to faith in Christ.

mikebr
Oct 9th 2007, 05:06 PM
That really doesn't answer my question.

What I would like from you is to have you post Scripture which supports your universalist position of how those who die in unbelief are brought to faith in Christ.


I'm not Toolman but:

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

You were dead in your sin and you were brought to faith in Christ. Which is harder to reach a person with a dead spirit of a person with dead flesh? With God all things are possible.

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 05:11 PM
That really doesn't answer my question.

What I would like from you is to have you post Scripture which supports your universalist position of how those who die in unbelief are brought to faith in Christ.

Perhaps we aren't communicating on the same wave length. I want to make sure I'm addressing your question appropriately.

Do you want examples of "how" (which is what you are saying) someone is brought to faith or examples of people who come to faith after death?

The "how" is the same as in life. Conviction and faith. The "how" is no different... Law and Gospel... as it always is and has been.

For an example of people coming to faith after death I posted a fairly large exegetical post here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1324766&postcount=50) regarding revelation.

I also posted an exegesis of Romans 11 here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=880364&postcount=34).

Ezekiel 16 here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1371918&postcount=104).

Of course we have the verses in Romans speaking of Christ's work redeeming what was cursed in Adam, Corinthians stating that as in Adam all died so in Christ all shall be made alive, Colossians speaking of Christ's work reconciling all created things back to God, and Philipians speaking of every knee bowing and confessing Christ.

If those do not address what you are looking for please let me know and I will try to help.

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 05:49 PM
Perhaps we aren't communicating on the same wave length. I want to make sure I'm addressing your question appropriately.

Do you want examples of "how" (which is what you are saying) someone is brought to faith or examples of people who come to faith after death?

The "how" is the same as in life. Conviction and faith. The "how" is no different... Law and Gospel... as it always is and has been.

For an example of people coming to faith after death I posted a fairly large exegetical post here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1324766&postcount=50) regarding revelation.

I also posted an exegesis of Romans 11 here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=880364&postcount=34).

Ezekiel 16 here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1371918&postcount=104).

Of course we have the verses in Romans speaking of Christ's work redeeming what was cursed in Adam, Corinthians stating that as in Adam all died so in Christ all shall be made alive, Colossians speaking of Christ's work reconciling all created things back to God, and Philipians speaking of every knee bowing and confessing Christ.

If those do not address what you are looking for please let me know and I will try to help.

In the links you provided I didn't see any Scripture which says those which die as unbelievers are provided with a second opportunity to come to faith in Christ.

In fact I see Scripture says;
Matt. 12:32:
"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come."

When the above verse says "shall not be forgiven" it means absolutely not. That is, as Mark expresses it, Mark 3:29 “hath never forgiveness"

Yet in your universalist view you believe all sin eventually will be forgiven contrary to the teaching of those Scriptures

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 06:16 PM
In the links you provided I didn't see any Scripture which says those which die as unbelievers are provided with a second opportunity to come to faith in Christ.

My exegesis of revelation goes into specific detail on that very issue.

Sodom being restored to Israel is a prime example of dead people (who God says sinned less than Israel) being restored in due time.

God's direct words in Romans 11 that all Israel will be saved is a clear direct statement.

All men who die in Adam being made alive in Christ is a direct statement.

The reconciliation of all created things back to God is a clear statement.

I'm sorry you can't see what is there but that probably has more to do with your theological framework than the clear statements of the passages.


In fact I see Scripture says;
Matt. 12:32:
"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come."

When the above verse says "shall not be forgiven" it means absolutely not. That is, as Mark expresses it, Mark 3:29 “hath never forgiveness"

Yet in your universalist view you believe all sin eventually will be forgiven contrary to the teaching of those Scriptures

DSK,

How many times have we discussed this?

EVERYONE (yourself included) interprets scripture within a theological framework and each framework has passages that must be interpreted within that framework for the framework to hold.

I could lob out a few dozen texts that plainly speak of universalism, if taken at face value, and you would interpret those texts within your framework to discard their face value universalism.

Just for a quick simple example:

John 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Now, do you believe what that scripture plainly states? Does Christ truly take away the sin of the world? Did He take away your sin? Does He take away the sin of the world?

In your eternal torment view you believe some sin was not taken by Christ, contrary to the teaching of the Scripture.

See how that works? That is just one simple example of that type of argument.

So, since each framework has difficult passages which must be interpreted within them then I come to ask myself the question, "which of these positions is closest to the person of Christ and which is the most biblically consistent?".

Well, since I believe that God is all loving, all powerful and all wise. Since I believe He wills the salvation of all men, since I believe He is sovereign and able to actually accomplish His will, and I believe the bible over and over reveals that God is doing a work of redemption of the whole of creation I find that biblical universalism makes much more sense and brings greater glory to Christ than does a view where Christ's mission to seek and to save the lost results in Him losing the majority of what God sent Him to save.

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 06:58 PM
The reconciliation of all created things back to God is a clear statement.

I'm sorry you can't see what is there but that probably has more to do with your theological framework than the clear statements of the passages.

Heres what I see. I see Your view of Scripture as being filtered and interpreted through your Universalism, which the majority of us in this forum disagree with.

Secondly, you continue to believe that there will eventually be forgiveness of all sin contrary to the following Scripture.

Matt. 12:32:
"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come."

When the above verse says "shall not be forgiven" it means absolutely not. That is, as Mark expresses it, Mark 3:29 “hath never forgiveness"

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 07:29 PM
Heres what I see. I see Your view of Scripture as being filtered and interpreted through your Universalism, which the majority of us in this forum disagree with.

Absolutely. In fact that is what I stated in my post above. And the same is true of you, your view of scripture is being filtered and interpreted through the doctrine of eternal torment.

Eternal torment is in the majority on this board for sure and I have never claimed otherwise. My point to mag about there being 3 positions within Christianity was not limited to just this board though but to Christianity as a whole and historically.


Secondly, you continue to believe that there will eventually be forgiveness of all sin contrary to the following Scripture.

Matt. 12:32:
"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come."

When the above verse says "shall not be forgiven" it means absolutely not. That is, as Mark expresses it, Mark 3:29 “hath never forgiveness"

There are several ways to interpret the above texts.

One challenge is simple. Can you provide a single instance of scripture that states that someone blasphemed the Spirit? Most evangelicals can't even agree on what "blaspheme the Spirit" means let alone give examples of anyone who has ever done it or if God's graces restrains men from doing so.

We also have the greek discussion of "aion" and its derivatives which speak of a limited timeframe.

So, we have 2 passages. One speaking of Christ's taking away of the sin of the world, another which speaks of the sin of blasphemy of HS not being taken away. Given your eternal torment take on the passages it would seem scripture contradicts itself.

So, the universalist harmonizing these passages makes note of the above, the greek (http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?new=1&word=mark+3%3A29&section=0&version=nsn&language=en) in the passage which speak of "ou eis aion" (translated "never" in your quoted translation) and that the sin is "aionin" and concludes that if anyone does this particular sin the taking away of that sin will occur after "aion(s)".

In fact Young's literal translation states the verse in this manner:

Mark 3:29 - but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness -- to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment;'

So the harmony of the scriptures is upheld because blasphemy of the Spirit has age lasting judgement and Christ does actually take away the sin of the world when God's redemptive plan is completed.

mikebr
Oct 9th 2007, 07:51 PM
Heres what I see. I see Your view of Scripture as being filtered and interpreted through your Universalism, which the majority of us in this forum disagree with.

Secondly, you continue to believe that there will eventually be forgiveness of all sin contrary to the following Scripture.

Matt. 12:32:
"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come."

When the above verse says "shall not be forgiven" it means absolutely not. That is, as Mark expresses it, Mark 3:29 “hath never forgiveness"


For what purpose did God become a man, have Himself nailed to a Roman cross, and by His own power live again?

Could you answer this please?

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 08:04 PM
There are several ways to interpret the above texts.

One challenge is simple. Can you provide a single instance of scripture that states that someone blasphemed the Spirit?

Yes, I can provide quite a few. I will speak about that later


Most evangelicals can't even agree on what "blaspheme the Spirit" means let alone give examples of anyone who has ever done it or if God's graces restrains men from doing so.

That is true, however I am not in that same group labeled "Most evangelicals" And I believe I can answer that as well. But not at this time. That is mainly because I want to comment on what you posted next.


We also have the greek discussion of "aion" and its derivatives which speak of a limited timeframe.

So, we have 2 passages. One speaking of Christ's taking away of the sin of the world, another which speaks of the sin of blasphemy of HS not being taken away. Given your eternal torment take on the passages it would seem scripture contradicts itself.

So, the universalist harmonizing these passages makes note of the above, the greek (http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?new=1&word=mark+3%3A29&section=0&version=nsn&language=en) in the passage which speak of "ou eis aion" (translated "never" in your quoted translation) and that the sin is "aionin" and concludes that if anyone does this particular sin the taking away of that sin will occur after "aion(s)".

In fact Young's literal translation states the verse in this manner:

Mark 3:29 - but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness -- to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment;'

So the harmony of the scriptures is upheld because blasphemy of the Spirit has age lasting judgement and Christ does actually take away the sin of the world when God's redemptive plan is completed.

Lets post some Scripture.

Mat 12:32 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.

The Bible only speaks of two ages. One is temporary, and the other is eternal. I don't find any support for an age in between this present age and the age to come. Once this present age ends, at that moment the age to come has already arrived. There is no in between.

In The Age to Come
Scripture says there is a sin which shall not be forgiven Mat 12:32. (you say not so contrary to this Scripture)
Scripture says we do not marry, Luke 20:35. (Are you going to be consistent and say not so here as well)
We will receive eternal life (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30). (who is the "We" in that verse referring to? Believers only, or believers and unbelievers)

In This Age
People are given in marriage (Luke 20:34).
Jesus rescued us from the present evil age (Gal. 1:4). - Who is "us" in this verse specifically referring to?
The rulers of this age are coming to nothing (1 Cor. 2:6).

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 08:09 PM
For what purpose did God become a man, have Himself nailed to a Roman cross, and by His own power live again?

Could you answer this please?

To make Himself a sacrifice for sin. To atone for sin.

Just so we are on level playing field are you supporting universalism?

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 09:01 PM
Lets post some Scripture.

Mat 12:32 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.

The Bible only speaks of two ages. One is temporary, and the other is eternal. I don't find any support for an age in between this present age and the age to come. Once this present age ends, at that moment the age to come has already arrived. There is no in between.

In The Age to Come
Scripture says there is a sin which shall not be forgiven Mat 12:32. (you say not so contrary to this Scripture)
Scripture says we do not marry, Luke 20:35. (Are you going to be consistent and say not so here as well)
We will receive eternal life (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30). (who is the "We" in that verse referring to? Believers only, or believers and unbelievers)

In This Age
People are given in marriage (Luke 20:34).
Jesus rescued us from the present evil age (Gal. 1:4). - Who is "us" in this verse specifically referring to?
The rulers of this age are coming to nothing (1 Cor. 2:6)

I, of course, am not the only one who believes that scripture speaks of more than 2 ages. A step into "End Times Chat" will quickly reveal that and many of those who believe in more than 2 ages hold to eternal torment, so your opinion here is definitely not authoritative or all encompassing of biblical eschatology.

Ephesians 2:7 - that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3:5 - which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

Ephesians 3:9 - and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;

Colossians 1:26 - the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.

1 Corinthians 2:7 - But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

Hebrews 9:26 - Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Adam Clarke (who you quote often) on Ephesians 2:7 -
Verse 7. That in the ages to come] God has produced us an example, and one which shall be on record through all generations, that he quickens dead souls; that he forgives the sins of the most sinful, when they repent and believe in Christ Jesus. So that what God has done for the sinners at Ephesus will serve as an encouragement to all ages of the world; and on this evidence every preacher of the Gospel may boldly proclaim that Christ saves unto the uttermost all that come unto God through him. And thus the exceeding riches of his grace will appear in the provision he has made for the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles.

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 09:23 PM
I, of course, am not the only one who believes that scripture speaks of more than 2 ages. A step into "End Times Chat" will quickly reveal that and many of those who believe in more than 2 ages hold to eternal torment, so your opinion here is definitely not authoritative or all encompassing of biblical eschatology.

Did I ever say my opinion is authoritive? No.
Is your Universalist view, or the various views of others authoritive? No.

let me just make a comment on the floowing verse which you posted


Ephesians 2:7 - that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

That is the only verse found in the New Testament that mentions "ages" in a future sense.

"This statement is not saying that there are future ages, plural, which are not defined in scripture, anyway. Rather, it is a declaration that in the future state, the Christians will enjoy the "surpassing riches of His grace" -- in the totality of the future. The phrase "ages to come" is merely an expression.
This type of usage of "ages" to describe a very long time is also seen in Romans 16:25, "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past," In Greek, "long ages past" is "cronos aioniois," which is literally "time eternal(s)". This phrase is not saying that there are literally eternal past "ages," but that in long times past, the mystery was hidden. Other verses with the same usage of ages past are 1 Cor. 2:7; 10:11; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26; Titus 1:2; and Heb. 9:26. all the ages past are under the umbrella of "this age" in which we have evil, suffering, etc." - http://www.carm.org/uni/blasphemyage.htm

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 09:39 PM
Did I ever say my opinion is authoritive? No.
Is your Universalist view, or the various views of others authoritive? No.

Of course not and that is my exact point. We all attempt to understand the scriptures within a framework of our understanding and interpret passages within Sorry if that was offensive. It was not meant to be but to only show that the statement that there are only 2 ages in the bible is simply an opinion and there is scriptural evidence, which I supplied, to the contrary and many who believe scripture declares more ages than 2.


let me just make a comment on the floowing verse which you posted
that framework.


That is the only verse found in the New Testament that mentions "ages" in a future sense.

"This statement is not saying that there are future ages, plural, which are not defined in scripture, anyway. Rather, it is a declaration that in the future state, the Christians will enjoy the "surpassing riches of His grace" -- in the totality of the future. The phrase "ages to come" is merely an expression.
This type of usage of "ages" to describe a very long time is also seen in Romans 16:25, "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past," In Greek, "long ages past" is "cronos aioniois," which is literally "time eternal(s)". This phrase is not saying that there are literally eternal past "ages," but that in long times past, the mystery was hidden. Other verses with the same usage of ages past are 1 Cor. 2:7; 10:11; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26; Titus 1:2; and Heb. 9:26. all the ages past are under the umbrella of "this age" in which we have evil, suffering, etc." - http://www.carm.org/uni/blasphemyage.htm

I would not expect Matt Slick, a calvinist and amillennial in his eschatology, to interpret these passages in any other way than what he does above. He interprets scripture within his theological framework and does not accept the "plain statement" of future ages but interprets it within his amillennialism and therefore comes to different conclusions than myself and others.

Nothing wrong with that, I just disagree with his framework.

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 09:44 PM
I would not expect Matt Slick, a calvinist and amillennial in his eschatology, to interpret these passages in any other way than what he does above. He interprets scripture within his theological framework and does not acctept the plain statement of future ages but interprets it within his amillennialism and therefore comes to different conclusions than myself and others.

I agree with you there. Nevertheless, I don't believe everything the guy says should be discarded. I don't believe that even you would disagree with him at all times.

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 10:00 PM
I agree with you there. Nevertheless, I don't believe everything the guy says should be discarded. I don't believe that even you would disagree with him at all times.

Absolutely not and I have posted quite a bit on this board from Matt's site (CARM) regarding several essential doctrines (Trinity and Deity of Christ).

I have a great respect for Matt and his work of apologetics.

I understand he is amillinnial and I would not expect him to agree that there will be future ages. His eschatological understanding would not allow it.

Nevertheless, your statement was that you find NO support for there being more than 2 ages.

I post several texts speaking of multiple ages.

Eph. 2:7 says plainly "the ages to come". That is a plural declaration of more than a single age to follow this current age.

But you interpret that verse within your framework to disregard what it plainly says so that it will fit within your framework.

And I'm not putting that down. As I said, we ALL work within a framework and must take some "plain statements" and interpret them within that framework, as you did here.

Now, I obviously think my framework is the correct biblical framework for the reasons I mentioned earlier:

Well, since I believe that God is all loving, all powerful and all wise. Since I believe He wills the salvation of all men, since I believe He is sovereign and able to actually accomplish His will, and I believe the bible over and over reveals that God is doing a work of redemption of the whole of creation I find that biblical universalism makes much more sense and brings greater glory to Christ than does a view where Christ's mission to seek and to save the lost results in Him losing the majority of what God sent Him to save.

Which takes us back to my original point to Mag concerning his OP. There are basically 3 positions within evangelical Christianity:

1) Those who believe that God has chosen to save only some people and not save others (usually called reformed or calvinists).

2) Those who believe that God desires everyone to be saved but His desire can be thwarted by man's will (usually called free-will or arminian).

3) Those who believe God desires everyone to be saved and that He will accomplish that desire (usually called universalists).


All 3 are frameworks within Christianity (with lots of "flavors" under each), which was my point to Mag, his question being about John MacArthur's view on limited atonement and election.

DSK
Oct 9th 2007, 10:33 PM
Now, I obviously think my framework is the correct biblical framework for the reasons I mentioned earlier:

Well, since I believe that God is all loving, all powerful and all wise. Since I believe He wills the salvation of all men, since I believe He is sovereign and able to actually accomplish His will, and I believe the bible over and over reveals that God is doing a work of redemption of the whole of creation I find that biblical universalism makes much more sense and brings greater glory to Christ than does a view where Christ's mission to seek and to save the lost results in Him losing the majority of what God sent Him to save.

Which takes us back to my original point to Mag concerning his OP. There are basically 3 positions within evangelical Christianity:

1) Those who believe that God has chosen to save only some people and not save others (usually called reformed or calvinists).

2) Those who believe that God desires everyone to be saved but His desire can be thwarted by man's will (usually called free-will or arminian).

3) Those who believe God desires everyone to be saved and that He will accomplish that desire (usually called universalists).


All 3 are frameworks within Christianity (with lots of "flavors" under each), which was my point to Mag, his question being about John MacArthur's view on limited atonement and election.

Your framework in my opinion jumps through too many hoops.

Hoop number 1 is when Universalist's say all men will eventually enter the kingdom of God even though the following Scripture lists 10 sorts of individuals in which it says of them they "shall not enter"

1 Cor 6:9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,
1 Cor 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Should I believe Scripture which says they "shall not enter" or Universalist's who say they "shall enter" contrary to that Scripture.

Secondly, if they shall eventually enter, you haven't shown me any Scripture which specifically mentions how those 10 sorts will eventually reverse what is stated in those verses. You haven't yet shown from Scripture how those who have died are brought to the faith in Christ.

Hoop #2 is when you say there is no sin that will not eventually be forgiven contrary to Scripture which says there is a sin that will never receive forgiveness Mat 12:32. You must reverse the "never" which means absolutely never to not mean never.

Loop #3 is Scripture repeatedly says only those who receive Christ by faith are promised eternal life. Your Universalist view says even unbelievers after they die will be tormented temporary until they believe. I can visualize the scene of someone in torment, screaming uncle, ok God I believe, enough is enough. I believe already God knock it off will ya already. I don't see Scripture portraying people being whipped and tormented until they come to faith. I see them suffering eternally with no second chance.

And that is only three of the many hoops I visualize Universalist's must make a leap through to arrive at their framework.

If you really are serious about convincing me that Universalism is without error, then show me Scripturally how those who die in unbelief are eventually brought to faith in Christ.

Toolman
Oct 9th 2007, 11:21 PM
Your framework in my opinion jumps through too many hoops.

Well, I would think so. You, of course, believe your framework is the most solid otherwise you wouldn't hold it. I'm sure you believe the same about calvinism but I would think this is obvious.

I, of course, think your framework is with holes also (some I have pointed out) and obviously believe it to be the incorrect framework for scripture. I think this probably goes without saying, being fairly obvious.


Hoop number 1 is when Universalist's say all men will eventually enter the kingdom of God even though the following Scripture lists 10 sorts of individuals in which it says of them they "shall not enter"

1 Cor 6:9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,
1 Cor 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Should I believe Scripture which says they "shall not enter" or Universalist's who say they "shall enter" contrary to that Scripture.

Secondly, if they shall eventually enter, you haven't shown me any Scripture which specifically mentions how those 10 sorts will eventually reverse what is stated in those verses. You haven't yet shown from Scripture how those who have died are brought to the faith in Christ.

That one is fairly easy:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 -Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God

The scripture specifically states that those who used to be of the "10 group" are now no longer part of that group, because of faith in Christ. So, obviously, "never enter" was not Paul's intent.

Any who enter the kingdom will enter thru the same Gate...Christ alone and faith in Him.


Hoop #2 is when you say there is no sin that will not eventually be forgiven contrary to Scripture which says there is a sin that will never receive forgiveness Mat 12:32. You must reverse the "never" which means absolutely never to not mean never.

And you must reverse the "takes away the sin of the world" to "takes away SOME of the sin of the world".

I go to the greek and find harmony of what the text says.


Loop #3 is Scripture repeatedly says only those who receive Christ by faith are promised eternal life. Your Universalist view says even unbelievers after they die will be tormented temporary until they believe. I can visualize the scene of someone in torment, screaming uncle, ok God I believe, enough is enough. I believe already God knock it off will ya already. I don't see Scripture portraying people being whipped and tormented until they come to faith.

The prinicple is simple and is shown throughout scripture over and over. God brings judgement upon people to cause them to repent and turn to Him. It is a constant theme throughout scripture (both Old and New Testaments) and God does not change.

So, the little analogy above aside we see a biblical theme of God's judgement being for the good of the person, to call them to faith and repentance, not just to simply torture them.


I see them suffering eternally with no second chance.

I could counter with my own little analogy of this position but I don't believe it is a good way to discuss variance in understanding.


And that is only three of the many hoops I visualize Universalist's must make a leap through to arrive at their framework.

If you really are serious about convincing me that Universalism is without error, then show me Scripturally how those who die in unbelief are eventually brought to faith in Christ.

I feel no compulsion about convincing you that universalism is without error. I never have felt the need to do so, as I stated here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1327660&postcount=90) in your other thread.

I'll be glad to provide the answers I can within this limited format and to point to excellent sources (which I have) for those who are serious about studying but I feel absolutely no compulsion to convince you or anyone else. That is God's job, as He sees fit, and I trust Him fully with that :)

How do those who die in unbelief come to faith? In the same manner that the living do... they experience the consequences of sin, are convicted of them and come to faith in Christ. The "how" never changes... there is not some special new method. Scripturally all are saved in the same "how"... through faith in Christ.

DSK
Oct 10th 2007, 12:03 AM
Well, I would think so. You, of course, believe your framework is the most solid otherwise you wouldn't hold it. I'm sure you believe the same about calvinism but I would think this is obvious.

I, of course, think your framework is with holes also (some I have pointed out) and obviously believe it to be the incorrect framework for scripture. I think this probably goes without saying, being fairly obvious.



That one is fairly easy:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 -Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God

The scripture specifically states that those who used to be of the "10 group" are now no longer part of that group, because of faith in Christ. So, obviously, "never enter" was not Paul's intent.

Any who enter the kingdom will enter thru the same Gate...Christ alone and faith in Him.



And you must reverse the "takes away the sin of the world" to "takes away SOME of the sin of the world".

I go to the greek and find harmony of what the text says.



The prinicple is simple and is shown throughout scripture over and over. God brings judgement upon people to cause them to repent and turn to Him. It is a constant theme throughout scripture (both Old and New Testaments) and God does not change.

So, the little analogy above aside we see a biblical theme of God's judgement being for the good of the person, to call them to faith and repentance, not just to simply torture them.



I could counter with my own little analogy of this position but I don't believe it is a good way to discuss variance in understanding.



I feel no compulsion about convincing you that universalism is without error. I never have felt the need to do so, as I stated here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1327660&postcount=90) in your other thread.

I'll be glad to provide the answers I can within this limited format and to point to excellent sources (which I have) for those who are serious about studying but I feel absolutely no compulsion to convince you or anyone else. That is God's job, as He sees fit, and I trust Him fully with that :)

How do those who die in unbelief come to faith? In the same manner that the living do... they experience the consequences of sin, are convicted of them and come to faith in Christ. The "how" never changes... there is not some special new method. Scripturally all are saved in the same "how"... through faith in Christ.

Personally I see your intrepetation of Scripture as being faulty. I realize you will return the same compliment to me. Thats understandable in light of your Universalist position.

I will repeat myself , and then let it rest. I am not interested in your sources which put a Universalist spin on the Scriptures, or your opinion. Just show me the Scriptures which actually mention God bringing those who died in unbelief to faith in Christ. I have yet to see any Scriptures which support that from your side. From any understanding I have of Scripture it doesn't fare very well with those who die in unbelief, and by that I mean eternally not just temporarily.

Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

Commentary on that verse below

the same adjective aiōnios is used with kolasin and zōēn. If by etymology we limit the scope of kolasin, we may likewise have only age-long zōēn. (RWP)

The state of the righteous is "life eternal;" the state of the wicked is "everlasting punishment." (4) The duration of these two states is the same, exactly the same Greek word being used in each case (aionios). Then if the state of punishment has an end, so has the life. (PNT)

the same word is used to express the duration of the punishment, as is used to express the duration of the state of glory: (Adam Clarke)

that the word used here is the same in the original as that used to express the eternal life of the righteous; if one can be proved to be limited in duration, the other can by the same arguments. “The proof that the righteous will be happy forever is precisely the same, and no other, than that the wicked will, be miserable forever.” (Barnes)

spm62
Oct 10th 2007, 12:11 AM
Put me in the camp that Jesus will win out over evil and save his creation. I grew up in the church,mom was a sunday school teacher,everyone around me believed in the tradtional americanized version of eternal torment. I used to believe that, but deep down, it just didn`t seem to sit right with me. How could a loving God create beings who,the overwhelming majority, were going to suffer eternally for finite sins committed while alive on earth. How could God allow Satan to win out and destroy most of his creation? If we say the age of accountability is 8 and a child doesn`t accept Jesus but dies at the ripe old age of 9..that child will spend eternity in hellfire? I believe most people in this country believe that because that is what is taught from the money pulpits. That is what they have been taught. We need to dig deeper into the bible and try to understand how much God loves us...we can not comprehend it. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and forgive them. Should we forgive our enemies if God does not. There will be punishment for sure and rewards lost..a time of grieving. but in the end he will wipe every tear from our eyes...I believe it. God help us to humble ourselves and understand your word.To put aside our pre-conceived notions and ideas taught by man. Speak to our spirits and help us to see how much you love us. Speak to our hearts and give us knowledge of your word.

Toolman
Oct 10th 2007, 12:48 AM
Personally I see your intrepetation of Scripture as being faulty. I realize you will return the same compliment to me. Thats understandable in light of your Universalist position.

I will repeat myself , and then let it rest. I am not interested in your sources which put a Universalist spin on the Scriptures, or your opinion. Just show me the Scriptures which actually mention God bringing those who died in unbelief to faith in Christ.

For someone who gives their opinion on scriptures quite often and posts from quite a few commentaries that align with your spin I'm not sure why you don't expect the same back (this is a message board where we do more than just post scripture, you included, but share our interpretations of that scripture).

Nonetheless, I already shared the passages of revelation which speak of those who are judged in the Lake of Fire entering the New Jerusalem after their judgement but I'll post more scriptures here.

Romans 5:18: "Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for ALL men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for ALL men.

1 Corinthians 15:22: "As in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive

1 Timothy 2:3-6 - This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

1 Timothy 4:10 - "We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe

Titus 2:11 - For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people

1 Peter 3:18-20 - For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built

1 Peter 4:6 - For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

2 Samuel 14:14 - For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.

Psalm 86:9 - All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, 0 Lord; they will bring glory to your name

Isaiah 45:22-24 - "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, `In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.'" All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.

Jeremiah 32:27, 32, 37, 40 - I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? ...The people of Israel and Judas have provoked me by all the evil they have done ...I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furies anger and great wrath ...I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them (that includes all of Israel as Romans 11 points out).

Lamentations 3:31-33 - For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he may punish cruelly, yet he will have compassion in the fullness of his love; he does not willingly afflict or punish any mortal man.

Zapheniah 3:8-9, 15, 17, 19-20 - I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them-all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder .... The Lord has taken away your punishment... he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love ... I will ... gather those who have been scattered ... At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home.

That's just a quick sample. My understanding is built on more than just a few proof texts though. It is very much theologically driven believing that God is loving towards all of His creation and not just some of His creation (which I base on scripture).

I've noticed that you have in the OSAS thread been quoting the Church fathers and railing on Augustine. It has also helped me along to realize that many of the early fathers were universalists and that Augustine was the first formulater of the doctrine of eternal torment.

Augustine even said in his day:
"There are very many who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments.” (Enchira, ad Laurent)"

So, while we stick to Sola Scriptura, we do not throw out history or reason. The reconciliation of all things back to God was a very prominent belief in the Church until Augustine.

spm62
Oct 10th 2007, 01:24 AM
Amen to that....toolman...Who did the greater evil? Hitler who murdered millions or the people who murdered THE SON OF GOD on a cross?

Toolman
Oct 10th 2007, 01:32 AM
Amen to that....toolman...Who did the greater evil? Hitler who murdered millions or the people who murdered THE SON OF GOD on a cross?

Or me, who sinned against God in so many ways I can't begin to count!

spm62
Oct 10th 2007, 01:55 AM
If Jesus asked the Father to forgive them why is it so inconceivable that he could forgive anyone. The people who put him on the cross did not ask for forgiveness. Thank God his ways are not our ways. Thank God humans are not in charge of dulling out the punishment. How much does God love us? We can not comprehend it. It is too much for our limited finite minds to grasp.Some people are so quick to throw others into everlasting torment without understanding Gods grace,love ,and mercy. Why didn`t God throw Satan into everlasting torment a long time ago? Why does he allow him to torment the human race for the current age? Man is very capable of sinning on his own. Adam`s sin is here now... without Satan.Why does he allow Satan to continue to torment the creation he loves? Because he has a plan for the ages. In due time ALL will be reconsiled to the creator and savior of the human race. :hmm:

DSK
Oct 10th 2007, 12:27 PM
For someone who gives their opinion on scriptures quite often and posts from quite a few commentaries that align with your spin I'm not sure why you don't expect the same back (this is a message board where we do more than just post scripture, you included, but share our interpretations of that scripture).

I believe in equal opportunity. I would never attempt to stop you from presenting your view, or using what ever sources you believe help that cause. It's just that I personally am not really interested in linking to every source you post that you believe supports your view.


Augustine was the first formulater of the doctrine of eternal torment.

I believe it was taught before Augustine (see below)

Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

the same adjective aiōnios is used with kolasin and zōēn. If by etymology we limit the scope of kolasin, we may likewise have only age-long zōēn. (RWP)

The state of the righteous is "life eternal;" the state of the wicked is "everlasting punishment." (4) The duration of these two states is the same, exactly the same Greek word being used in each case (aionios). Then if the state of punishment has an end, so has the life. (PNT)

the same word is used to express the duration of the punishment, as is used to express the duration of the state of glory: (Adam Clarke)

that the word used here is the same in the original as that used to express the eternal life of the righteous; if one can be proved to be limited in duration, the other can by the same arguments. “The proof that the righteous will be happy forever is precisely the same, and no other, than that the wicked will, be miserable forever.” (Barnes)

Toolman
Oct 10th 2007, 02:42 PM
While we are discussing hoops that are jumped through I thought I would share why I believe your position is in error because of its "hoops":

1) Your doctrine makes God a semi-benevolent God.

He does not love and give grace to all men equally but only regenerates some (which you declared here (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1395720&postcount=51). You even agreed that your view made God less loving than other views and that if God did not give all men the same opportunity to choose Him then He was semi-benevolent and a respecter of persons.

I believe God is Love and therefore everything He does flows from an aspect of love. His judgements, severity, discipline and wrath are loving, just as they are holy and just.

Your view says God loves some people and the rest He will torment for all of eternity and that His mercy and love for them will come to an end, though scripture declares that God does not change.

Ezekiel 33:11 - Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.

John 3:17 - For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Lamentations 3:31-33 - For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.


2) The mission that Christ says He came for will end in failure for the majority of humanity

Luke 19:10 - for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The verse above clearly and plainly states that Christ's came to seek and to save that which was lost.

Now your position teaches that Christ will not be successful at what He came for. That He will NOT save that which was lost but only SOME of that which was lost. The rest of what He came for will remain lost and His mission for them will fail.

In like manner Christ states:

John 6:39 - This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

You would state that the Father has only chosen a select group to give to the Son and has not given Him all humanity, even though Christ clearly stated He came to seek and save the lost, which includes all of humanity.

You would deny that Christ is Saviour of all men even though scripture plainly states it so:

1 Timothy 4:10 - and for this we labor and strive, that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

You teach that Christ is not truly the Saviour of all men, i.e. He doesn't actually save them, despite the clear declaration of scripture that He is the Saviour of ALL men.

Your position makes Adam's condemnation greater than Christ's righteous act and says that grace does not actually abound MORE where sin abounds, in contradiction to what the scripture states:

Romans 5:18 - Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

Romans 5:20 - Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,


3) Sin is not truly taken away and sin/evil is allowed to continue for eternity

Your view states that all sin is not truly taken away, despite scriptures clear declaration that Christ will take away the sin of the world.

In your view sin is allowed to continue to exist for all of eternity. Death and evil will have no end but will be perpetuated throughout all of eternity. Men will continue to hate God forever.

John 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Hebrews 9:26 - He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26 - For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.


These are just a few of the areas where I see large, inconsistent leaps in your framework.

Toolman
Oct 10th 2007, 02:53 PM
I believe in equal opportunity. I would never attempt to stop you from presenting your view, or using what ever sources you believe help that cause. It's just that I personally am not really interested in linking to every source you post that you believe supports your view.

Actually the only sources I gave were in-depth theological works.

I believe that to truly understand a biblical framework one needs to study in-depth works and not just a few posts on message boards. A message board is nice but it is in no way the same depth as other mediums.

You obviously read the works of some theologians and commentators but whatever you choose is fine with me. As I said, I feel no compulsion whatsoever to convince you that UR is the correct framework.


I believe it was taught before Augustine (see below)

Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

the same adjective aiōnios is used with kolasin and zōēn. If by etymology we limit the scope of kolasin, we may likewise have only age-long zōēn. (RWP)

The state of the righteous is "life eternal;" the state of the wicked is "everlasting punishment." (4) The duration of these two states is the same, exactly the same Greek word being used in each case (aionios). Then if the state of punishment has an end, so has the life. (PNT)

the same word is used to express the duration of the punishment, as is used to express the duration of the state of glory: (Adam Clarke)

that the word used here is the same in the original as that used to express the eternal life of the righteous; if one can be proved to be limited in duration, the other can by the same arguments. “The proof that the righteous will be happy forever is precisely the same, and no other, than that the wicked will, be miserable forever.” (Barnes)

I didn't say it couldn't be scripturally supported.

What I stated was that before Augustine there was not a formulated doctrine of eternal torment and many of the greek fathers did not believe in eternal torment. They, being greek speaking, I put some weight into their understanding of the original language a bit more than Augustine who was a Latin father.

Obviously the Church Universal did not consider universalism a heresy because one of the Cappadocian Fathers, who formulated the Nicene Creed, was Gregory of Nyssa a believer in the "apokatastasis (restoration of all things) and a firm supporter that God would restore all souls back to Himself. His universalism was never condemned and he was greatly respected and called upon to defend the Christian faith.

So, while Augustine's views have obviously permeated all of western Christianity, this was not always the case and many did not believe the greek testaments indicated eternal torment.

Mograce2U
Oct 10th 2007, 03:26 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSK http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1405743#post1405743)
Secondly, you continue to believe that there will eventually be forgiveness of all sin contrary to the following Scripture.

Matt. 12:32:
"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come."

When the above verse says "shall not be forgiven" it means absolutely not. That is, as Mark expresses it, Mark 3:29 “hath never forgiveness"


DSK,

How many times have we discussed this?

EVERYONE (yourself included) interprets scripture within a theological framework and each framework has passages that must be interpreted within that framework for the framework to hold.

I could lob out a few dozen texts that plainly speak of universalism, if taken at face value, and you would interpret those texts within your framework to discard their face value universalism.

Just for a quick simple example:

John 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Now, do you believe what that scripture plainly states? Does Christ truly take away the sin of the world? Did He take away your sin? Does He take away the sin of the world?

In your eternal torment view you believe some sin was not taken by Christ, contrary to the teaching of the Scripture.

See how that works? That is just one simple example of that type of argument.

So, since each framework has difficult passages which must be interpreted within them then I come to ask myself the question, "which of these positions is closest to the person of Christ and which is the most biblically consistent?".

Well, since I believe that God is all loving, all powerful and all wise. Since I believe He wills the salvation of all men, since I believe He is sovereign and able to actually accomplish His will, and I believe the bible over and over reveals that God is doing a work of redemption of the whole of creation I find that biblical universalism makes much more sense and brings greater glory to Christ than does a view where Christ's mission to seek and to save the lost results in Him losing the majority of what God sent Him to save.The context of the passage explains what it means to blasphemy the Holy Spirit. It was the Pharisees accusing Jesus of working by the power of Satan in casting out demons when it was the evidence that the Holy Spirit was present among them in the person of Jesus.

Young's translates Mark 3:29 as showing the persistence of the penalty due for such sin as enduring throughout the age to come. What is that penalty? The 2nd death lake of fire. If one ends up there it is because he "hath not forgiveness".

The one who was possessed with a devil was both blind and dumb, meaning he could neither see nor hear what Jesus said to him. This was thought to be a special sign of Messiah since the Jewish exorcists could not cast out such a demon. The people respond to this miracle by wondering if Jesus is the Son of David prophecied to come. The Pharisees are denying that Jesus is the Christ and blaspheme the Holy Spirit to do so - and they will not be forgiven for rejecting this witness - ever.

If anybody can be retreived from the lake of fire in that age when time is no more, how long does Satan, death and hell have to stay there? The age to come does not bear the marker of "time" at all, therefore whatever occurs in that age is forever.

mikebr
Oct 10th 2007, 09:34 PM
To make Himself a sacrifice for sin. To atone for sin.

Just so we are on level playing field are you supporting universalism?


Yes...................;)

DSK
Oct 10th 2007, 11:06 PM
Yes...................;)

Thank you for both your openess as well as your honesty. I respect that in a person, and respect your view as well, even if I happen to disagree with that view.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 11th 2007, 08:54 PM
The parables of listening fulfilled in Jesus' ministry
of healing the whole person (the man who had the legion)

I have argued three things: (1) that we see in Mark 5:1-20 how Jesus heals the whole person; (2) that we see there also how Jesus lives out the vocation of listening in interaction with the man he heals; and (3) that in the life-creating and restorative word that Jesus brings to this man, we may later see the Word bearing fruit 100-fold and more; for this man, holding fast in his heart God's word to him, obeys, and tells those he knows how much Jesus has done for him, and, arguably, this leads to great interest in Jesus and his teaching, which is fulfilled when Jesus returns to the area of the decapolis in Mark 7:31f and Mark 8 (the feeding of the 4000).

(1) The interaction of Jesus with the Gaderene man who had a legion of demons shows how Jesus, moved with compassion, (that is, sphlanxnidzomai : wrenched in his guts) entered into fellowship with the man, and, characteristically, Jesus heals the whole person.

Jesus does not just cast out the demons, although that supernatural act is the pivot point in freeing and healing the man, but talks with the man, brings him into the circle of the disciples, clothes him, restores his dignity, prepares him to reenter the circle of his society, family, and friends, and gives him important work to do, and therefore a positive purpose for his life. Jesus provices social, emotional, psychological, familial healing for this man, as well as spiritual healing (evicting the self-destructive demons), because Jesus does not see him, first, as a crazy guy, a demoniac, but as a human being and child of God: therefore, Jesus is concerned with every aspect of the man's life, and with restoring the fullness of the man's life, and addresses him as a whole person.

(2) Therefore, second, I have argued that Jesus interactions with the man reflect the fact that Jesus is the best of listeners. He hears the man's true intent, to be made whole, and to be with Jesus, when the man's verbal responses to Jesus indicate that he want to be left alone, instead. Jesus holistic, multi-dimensional healing arises from Jesus' capacity to discern the various levels of the man's life and troubles. It is emblematic of Jesus' approach that his first words to the man are "Who are you?" -- that is, "What is your name?"

His being this kind of listener thus illustrates Jesus' previoius teaching, his parables on listening.

Jesus is the eternal Logos, the Word of the Father; thus he is the one who has fully received and expressed the Father. Jesus, as eternal Son, receives Who God the Father is so fully that He, too, is fully God with the Father. Jesus, then, emptying himself of eternity and immortality, and being found as a man, receives humanhood in its fullness: Jesus takes on human nature -- created in God's image -- completely, and He is therefore the completion, the fullness, the perfection of human character. In both regards, Jesus is the one who receives, who takes on board what another is, who takes within himself the heart and essence of another, and thus the fullly receptive one. Jesus, the eternal Word, is Word not only in the sense of proclaiming who God is, but first in the sense of receiving who God is. The Logos is God as dialogue, and thus as reception and articulation of the thought of God and the thought of man. Accordingly, He, the Lord Jesus, who has spent his whole life from childhood attentively listening to God, and to his parents and those around him, teaches us that we must know how to listen. The listening he enjoins upon us is, of course, first listening to God, to the life-creating Word that comes to us from God. But the inner and humble disposition of listening is also the gentle and masterful gift of interaction that Jesus brings to his interactions with the man with the legion.

(3) I also argued, as just noted, that the interest and welcoming Jesus received in the region of the decapolis, Mark 7 & 8 -- in total contrast to those who beg him to leave, in Mark 5 -- arises from the fantastic fruitfulness of the word received in the heart of the man who was freed from the legion of demons. Apparantly, he has so faithfully and convincingly told what Jesus has done for him that many have moved from their fear and desire that Jesus not bring turmoil to them, to hope to receive something of great value from him. Jesus' multi-dimensional social ministry opens the way for people to seek to be with him, and the desire of not a few to receive him into their country.


Jesus heals the whole person and Jesus as listener:
Jairus daughter and the woman with the flow of blood.

When Jesus returns to the area he left, he is met by a substantial crowd, and by Jairus, a ruler of the synagog. Jairus, like the man who'd had the legion, falls at Jesus feet, begging Him to heal his little daughter, who is at the point of death. The story of Jesus' ministry to Jairus and his family -- specifically, the healing of Jairus' daughter -- continues to the very end of chapter 5.

However in the midst of this story, another significant healing takes place: that of the woman with the flow of blood. Mark, and the other synoptic gospels (Matthew, Luke) following him elects to treat the two stories together -- retaining the historical sequence with the story of Jairus chiasticly wrapped around the story of the woman. Indeed Mark's choice of details he reports repeatedly underlines the connection between the two stories, emphasizing both the similarities and the contrasts.

The healing of Jairus' daughter: Jesus listens to her need, and acts to heal the whole person.

Jairus from the beginning tells Jesus that his "little daughter" who, Mark tells us, is about 12 years old is at the point of death. Jairus is an important personage, and a considerable crowd accompanies them as Jesus sets off for Jairus' house. Before Jesus gets there, however, they are stopped by messengers coming from Jairus house telling him that his daughter has already died. But Jesus, still surrounded by the crowds, and echoing his earlier words ("Why were you afraid? WHere was your faith?") to the disciples when, on the way to minister to the man of Gadera, they were terrified by a storm which, they thought, would cause them to perish, tells Jairus: "do not fear, only believe". But when the approach Jairus' house, Jesus makes the crowd stay away. He won't permit even the twelve to come with him, but takes only Jairus and Peter, James, and John. When they get to the house, the household is full of tumult, with people -- probably professional mourners -- bewailing the daughter's death. Jesus puts this new crowd outside, telling them to be quiet because "the youngster is not dead -- but only alseep." He will allow only the girl's mom and dad, and Peter James and John, to go with him, as he awakens the daughter with the very natural words "little girl, time to get up" ("talitha, cumi") She gets up, and Jesus tells her parents not to talk about the matter, but to give her something to eat.

Why does Jesus act as he does (and why does Mark bother to give us these details)?




Post is still under construction. Please be patient! :hug: