Showing posts with label evil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label evil. Show all posts

14 July 2020

A Few Thoughts About the Mystery of Iniquity

A mystery is
B1 an obscure matter that arouses curiosity and eludes understanding, often a religious or spiritual truth. (Source)
B2 any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation. (Source)

KJV: 2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
Other translations:
B1 2 Thessalonians 2:7 Anderson For the mystery of iniquity is already at work; only he that now restrains will restrain, till he be taken out of the way.
B2 2 Thessalonians 2:7 Pick NT For the mystery of the lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He removes Himself.
B3 2 Thessalonians 2:7 NIV For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.

It seems inappropriate to me to translate μυστήριον mystḗrion as secret. There is a difference in my mind between a secret and mystery. A secret is an unknown. A mystery is something known but not understood. The Apostles often quoted from the Old Testament of the suffering Messiah, His rejection, His resurrection, etc. They often quoted that Gentiles would be saved, too. It was known but not understood by the Jews.
B1 mystery applies to what cannot be fully understood by reason or less strictly to whatever resists or defies explanation. (Source)
B2 secret implies concealment on any grounds for any motive. (Source)
B3 Two different words: Romans 16:25 RSV Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages

The Greek word for “way” is μέσος mésos. It means middle. It is an adjective. The text has no noun for it to modify. I guess it would have the idea of standing between someone’s desire and ability to achieve it. This thing in the middle prevents one from reaching the other. Once this is taken out of the way, an action can take place. The Holy Spirit is the one hindering. It seems reasonable to understand this as lawlessness (the devil’s program of life) desires to have no hindrance to his (devil’s) plan. The Holy Spirit now prevents him. Once the Holy Spirit is out of the way, then the devil can carry out his plans to completion. Part of the devil’s plan is promotion and revealing of the man of sin which is written about in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

The anti-Christ is
B1 The man of lawlessness.
B2 He is both a pretend messiah and one against the true Messiah, Jesus.
B3 He is lawless, which refers to his breaking God’s laws.
B4 He is the ultimate human deceiver.
B5 He is empowered by satan. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 WEL This [Lawless] one is coming according to the energy of Satan with all lying miracles, signs, and wonders.
B6 He opposes everyone. The Greek word for oppose is ἀντίκειμαι antíkeimai. It has the idea of to oppose, be adverse to, withstand (Thayer). Compare: Galatians 5:17 NIV For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
B7 Exalts himself above every living thing—God, spirits, humans, etc.
C1 The Greek word for exalt is ὑπεραίρομαι hyperaíromai.
C2 Note that he exalts himself. Warning: Matthew 23:12 NLT But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
C3 Compare the real Messiah, Yeshua: Philippians 2:9-11 NIV Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
B8 He does miracles, signs, and wonders. The ability comes from satan. Compare: Exodus 7:11, Exodus 7:22, and Exodus 8:7.
B9 Unrighteous power, that is, power not to do good but to do evil, especially deception. The devil gives the anti-Christ assistance. The people were deceived because they hated the truth, which is the reality about God, God’s opinion of them, God’s worldview, God’s lifestyle, God’s rules, etc.

The mystery of iniquity/lawlessness is
B1 That a being (the devil) has a plan and a goal to deceive and have all recognize him as god (or at least through his chosen one—the anti-Christ). It is his plan. It is his method of enacting it. It is concealing his real goal and plan (it is under cover of darkness). It is his plan and method of deceiving all people to believe him (have faith in his chosen—the anti-Christ). He wants all people to be in rebellion against God and His ways. It will be exposed by God.
B2 Self-will. Instead of the will of God, there will be the will of myself. Isaiah 14:13-14 NLT For you said to yourself, 'I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. 14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.' (for more of this see resource B2 below).
B3 Self-rule. Instead of living by God’s rules, people will live by their own. Jeremiah 7:13, 23-24 NLT While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. ... 23 This is what I told them: 'Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!' 24 "But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.

Good and Evil
B1 God knows about good and evil:
C1 Genesis 3:22 NLT Then the LORD God said, "Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!"
D1 The word knowing is not knowing by experience but that God was not surprised by evil, rebellion, law breaking etc.
D2 Also referring to the idea that humans now know evil (experienced in doing evil). Clarke adds:
A very learned man has ventured the following paraphrase, which should not be lightly regarded: "And the Lord God said, The man who was like one of us in purity and wisdom, is now fallen and robbed of his excellence; he has added לדעת ladaath, to the knowledge of the good, by his transgression the knowledge of the evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever in this miserable state, I will remove him, and guard the place lest he should re-enter. Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, " etc.
D3 Genesis 3:22 CEV The LORD said, "These people now know the difference between right and wrong, just as we do. But they must not be allowed to eat fruit from the tree that lets them live forever."
D4 Genesis 3:22 New Century Version Then the LORD God said, "The man has become like one of us; he knows good and evil. We must keep him from eating some of the fruit from the tree of life, or he will live forever."
C2 Adam knew that doing this was evil because he had God’s law. Afterwards, Adam knows the experience of doing evil. Genesis 2:16-17 NLT But the LORD God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die."
B2 The source of our evil in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds is our heart, our innermost person: Matthew 15:18-19 NLT But the words you speak come from the heart—that's what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
B3 It was prophesied that God would destroy evil: Genesis 3:15 NLT And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
B4 One of the purposes of Jesus coming as Messiah was to destroy evil: 1 John 3:8 NLT But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.
B5 The devil was the first to rebel. He chose to do so. God sovereignly decreed a measure of libertarian free will: John 8:44 NLT For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
B6 Jesus’s death and resurrection proved that the devil is defeated. Later the devil will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
C1 Hebrews 2:14 NLT Because God's children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.
C2 Revelation 20:10 NLT Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
C3 2 Thessalonians 2:8 New Century Version Then that Man of Evil will appear, and the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath that comes from his mouth and will destroy him with the glory of his coming.

This mystery will be fully revealed during the 7 year Tribulation. This will be destroyed by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus will reign until all enemies will be under his authority. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. After the literal thousand year reign of Jesus in Jerusalem is completed, all nonbelievers are judged and sentenced, and death destroyed, then the New Heavens and New Earth will be created.

B1 Mystery of Iniquity by David Wilkerson.

23 February 2020

A Few Thoughts About Evil

In order to understand righteousness or evil, we must have a standard of right and wrong. If there is no standard, then it is impossible to decide. A short answer about God’s standards. God’s summary of the standard of right is Luke 10:27, the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20), and all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Definitions of evil:
B1 English:
C1 Can be something wrong, something harmful (disasters, health problems, etc.), misfortune, character, something unpleasant (odor), or an entity of power (demon), etc.
C2 Some synonyms: There are many, see here (need to scroll down).
B2 Hebrew:
C1 The most common word is רַע raʻ as it is used 663 times. It means, much like English, things unpleasant, etc. so in weather, animals, harm, emotions, distress, misery, etc.
C2 In the book of Proverbs, for example, it is used in various ways. This link is a list of the uses in Proverbs.
B3 Greek:
C1 One Greek word is πονηρός ponērós. It is used 76 times and means annoyance, hardship, physical ailments and weaknesses, and evil in character, words, and deeds, etc.
D1 Not only are they evil, they become more evil over time. This is a result of deception. 2 Timothy 3:13 GNB and evil persons and impostors will keep on going from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves.
D2 There is a contrast: Matthew 13:49 GNB It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good
C2 One other Greek word we will read about is κακός kakós. It is used 51 times and means something bad, so regarding morals, agriculture (bad fruit), breaking a law (as in wicked deed, etc.), not nice actions against people (hate, lying, stealing, etc.).
D1 Mark 7:21-23 GNB For from the inside, from your heart, come the evil ideas which lead you to do immoral things, to rob, kill, 22 commit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of evil things; deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride, and folly—23 all these evil things come from inside you and make you unclean."
D2 2 Timothy 4:14 WEB Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to me. The Lord will repay him according to his deeds,

Source of evil:
B1 When God created, He created a measure of free will. This is not a sovereign free will as some Calvinists define, rather a limited free will. We can resist. Also, I might want to do something but am unable.
C1 An article that explains my position: 5 Arguments For The Existence Of Free Will by Evan Minton.
C2 A followup of the above article responds to objects: Responding To Free Will Critics by Evan Minton.
B2 Love is a choice, not an emotion or feeling (see the above articles).
B3 The Lord Jesus states: John 14:15 GW If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
B4 Faith is believing God.
C1 The Greek word for faith (as is most frequently translated) is πίστις pístis. This is a noun.
C2 The Greek word for believe (as is most frequently translated) is πιστεύω pisteúō. This is a verb.
C3 Both have the idea of what is most reasonable. It is not blind faith. The root word for both is πείθω peíthō. I know that we are not to apply too much from these Greek words being related, nevertheless do show a relationship.
B5 The first sinner started loving himself. He is known as satan now.
C1 Ezekiel 28:12-17 ESV Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.
D1 Most interpret this as referring to the King of Tyre and only him.
D2 I have some problems with that interpretation.
D3 The king of Tyre was
E1 Never in the Garden of Eden
E2 Never the example of perfection.
E3 Never full of wisdom
E4 Never perfect in beauty
E5 Never covered with every precious stone
E6 Never an anointed guardian cherub
E7 Never on the holy mountain of God
E8 Never walked through the midst of stones of fire
E9 Never blameless
D4 It seems more reasonable to understand this as satan, the power behind the throne of the king of Tyre.
D5 Note how he loved himself (verse 17)
C2 Isaiah 14:12-14 ESV How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
D1 Most understand this to refer to Nebuchadnezzar and only him.
D2 Personally, I think it refers to Nebuchadnezzar and the power over him, that is, satan.
D3 The being described here fell from heaven. In supreme arrogance, he states that he will ascend into heaven. His plan apparently, is conquering, sitting his throne above all thrones, and ruling as the Most High.
D4 To me, it is kinda tough to think this of Nebuchadnezzar.
Evil humans
B1 The first human sinner was Eve, but she
C1 Admitted that she was deceived
C2 Made no excuses
C3 Received only one curse—pain in childbirth
B2 The second human sinner was Adam, and he
C1 Passed blame to Eve and then to God
C2 Did not admit his guilt
C3 Was the cause of the universe coming under God’s curse
C4 Note the Scriptures say Adam and man: Romans 5:12 NIV Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
B3 Sinners are punished to eternal torment, not because of Adam’s sin but our own sin (See here). The sin nature is passed on through the generations. Adam and Eve were no longed sinless. They had the curse of God. Death was coming to them. They could not have sinless children, because they were not perfect, nor sinless.
C1 They had the curse of God and a sin nature. Compare: 1 Corinthians 15:22 NIV For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
C2 We don’t die for Adam’s sin. Compare: Ezekiel 18:14, 18-20 NIV But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things: ... 18 But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people. 19 "Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
B4 There is truth, and there are lies. God lives in, speaks in, judges in, acts in truth. There is truth, and there is imagination. Truth is reality. Imagination is a substitute truth. Truth was resisted and rejected, so God punished. Humans did not believe God.
C1 Genesis 6:5 WEB Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
C2 Romans 1:17-21 WEB For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. 21 Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

Solution to evil:
B1 Punishment
C1 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 WEB No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers. 9 Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God.
C2 Revelation 21:8 WEB But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
B2 Believe the Gospel and trust in Jesus Christ
C1 Romans 1:16 LEB For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
C2 Ephesians 1:13 PickNT about whom, to be sure, we had heard the true Word—the Gospel of your salvation; by whom, since you also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
C3 Acts 20:21 PickNT solemnly proclaiming to both Jews and Greeks the repentance toward God and the faith into our Lord Jesus.
C4 Luke 18:13-14 PickNT The tax collector, staying a good ways off, did not even venture to look up to heaven, but started beating on his chest, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 I say to you that this one went back home justified rather than that one; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

05 October 2019

Job and His Suffering Part 4

B1 Job wanted to meet God face to face, and so they do.
B2 This is the pre-incarnation Son of God, Jesus Christ.
B3 God speaks to Job with a series of questions. God always speaks in wisdom, truth, and justice. He does not lie, deceive, or speak in symbolic language unless it is understood so in the context.
B4 Most of the questions deal with wisdom. Wisdom in creating, running the universe, and maintaining it.
B5 God’s knowledge is always complete.
B6 An important question. God asks Job
C1 Job 38:2
D1 Job 38:2 NLT Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? 
D2 Job 38:2 GNB Who are you to question my wisdom with your ignorant, empty words? 
C2 Comments
D1 The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges: who is this that darkeneth counsel] lit. who then is darkening counsel? The word then merely adds the emphasis of impatience or astonishment to the question, who …? The expression counsel suggests that the Lord had a plan or meaning in Job’s afflictions, which the perverse and ignorant construction put on them by Job obscured. The word might have a wider sense and refer to sound wisdom in general in reference to man’s life, which Job, by his particular utterances on God’s providence, only darkened.
D2 F. B. Meyer: A sublime series of questions is now addressed to him, not by a God of judgment and wrath, but by a Father arguing and pleading with His child and pointing out two things: first, the inability of mortal man to understand the ways of God; and second, the minuteness and tenderness of God’s providence. Job had thought of Him as remote, but He is near and is ordering all things wisely and lovingly. Can He forget His child? 
D3 The Pulpit Commentary: Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? It is very noticeable that God entirely ignores the reasonings of Elihu, and addresses himself, in the first instance, wholly to Job, with whom he begins by remonstrating. Job has not been without fault. He has spoken many "words without knowledge" or with insufficient knowledge, and has thus trenched on irreverence, and given the enemies of God occasion to blaspheme. Moreover, he has "darkened counsel." Instead of making the ways of God clear to his friends and companions, he has east doubts upon God's moral government, (Job 21:7-26) upon his mercy and loving-kindness, (Job 16:7-14) almost upon his justice. (Job 19:7 Job 31:1-35) He is thus open to censure, and receives censure, and owns himself "vile", (Job 40:4) before peace and reconciliation can be established.
C4 Job needed correction. He was wrong about many things. Now, God as loving father wishes to instruct Job and correct his wrong ideas. We are the same today. Consider all the wisdom and teaching in the Scriptures. Note Job’s willing humility and acknowledgment of his foolishness: Job 40:3-5 GNB (3-4) I spoke foolishly, LORD. What can I answer? I will not try to say anything else. 5 I have already said more than I should.
C5 Some things about humility
D1 To understand humility we should contrast it with arrogance. One promotes its wisdom, opinion, abilities, traits, record, etc, while the other does not.
D2 Humility is based on truth, that is, reality. It expresses itself by not promoting one’s self.
D3 The ultimate example is the Lord Jesus, God the Son. Philippians 2:4-8 GNB And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. 5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: 6 He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. 7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. 8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross.
D4 The end results of both pride and humility are very different: Proverbs 11:2 NLT Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
D5 The fruit of humility: Proverbs 15:33 NLT Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.
D6 It is a required character trait of a Christian: Colossians 3:12 NLT Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
D7 It is to be towards all people: Titus 3:2 NLT They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
D8 God’s wisdom teaches us humility: James 3:13 NLT If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.
D9 Serving and helping each other in humility: 1 Peter 5:5 NLT In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for "God opposes the proud but favors the humble.
B7 In Job 40-41, two creatures are mentioned which appears that Job would have been acquainted with. It seems most likely they existed in Job’s lifetime. This article might help: Were behemoth and leviathan real animals? 
B8 The intelligence and power to design the universe is beyond comprehension. Articles from Discovery Institute (Intelligent Design), Creation Ministries International, and Institute for Creation Research show this to be most reasonable compared to Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism, etc.
B9 Job’s response to God’s correction: Job 42:1-6 NLT  Then Job replied to the LORD: "I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, 'Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?' It is I--and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, 'Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.' I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.
C1 We learn
C2 We observe
D1 In Job
E1 Confession of sin
E2 Repentance (a 180 degree turn of thoughts, desires, words, and deeds)
D2 In his friends
E1 Job praying for them
E2 Job offering a sacrifice
C3 We note God’s blessings (spiritual, emotional, and physical). This is descriptive, not prescriptive, that is, this is what happened to Job, but it doesn’t guarantee it will happen for us.
May God give all of us this grace:

Habakkuk 3:17-19 GW Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle- 18 even then, I will be happy with the LORD. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me. 19 The LORD Almighty is my strength. He makes my feet like those of a deer. He makes me walk on the mountains. For the choir director; on stringed instruments.

04 October 2019

Job and His Suffering Part 3 + 21 Tips on Finding Good Advice

B1 F. B. Meyer summarizes Elihu well:
The controversy between Job and his counselors is now at an end. They have failed in making out their case; but before God Himself takes up the argument there is another side of the case to be presented by the fervid life of a younger generation. The name Elihu means, “My God is He.” He had preserved a respectful silence while his elders were speaking; but he was so conscious of the uprising of the divine that he could refrain no longer.
Elihu was greatly indignant, first with Job for not justifying God, Job 32:2; and then with his friends for their inability to cope with him, Job 32:5. But in addition to these criticisms, he has some positive contribution to make to the debate, and must needs make it. Silence is golden, but there is a time to speak. Be sure in inbreathe the Spirit of God as one long imprisoned in a close chamber inhales the breath of the salt sea. Do not speak, as John Woolman says, beyond the divine openings.
B2 Job’s errors, according to Elihu, are assuming that God is doing this, He is your enemy, and you are without sin. Job 33:9-11 NLT You said, 'I am pure; I am without sin; I am innocent; I have no guilt. God is picking a quarrel with me, and he considers me his enemy. He puts my feet in the stocks and watches my every move.
C1 This is descriptive, not prescriptive. This is applied to Job and the situation he is experiencing. It is not meant for all people who suffer.
C2 Truth is important. Job and the 3 friends also missed that fact.
C3 When horrible things happen, we need to ask why. Seriously, we will ask why, but we need to ask why. It seems (I’m probably wrong) there are 3 possibilities.
D1 I made a bad decision, and the consequences were not good. Perhaps, I text while driving, have an accident, and my family and I are injured. I can’t blame God for my own poor choice.
D2 Someone else made a bad choice, and the consequences were not good. Perhaps, someone else is texting while driving, has an accident, and my family and I are injured. I can’t blame God for someone else’s poor choice. There are those who blame God, though, by claiming that He could have prevented it, but God is not a micromanager. He gives us choice. In our history of Job, God allows us to see behind the scenes. There, we see satan making a poor decision, and as a result many suffered. Satan did not have to do this evil; he chose to.
D3 It is the result of living in a cursed world.
C4 Applying the 3 possibilities to Job’s situation:
D1 Did Job made a bad choice? If so, there is nothing to indicate this, yet his 3 friends(?) thought he had. Maybe we should say assumed that Job made a bad decision (did evil).
D2 Did someone else make a bad choice? This is the most reasonable, because all the tragedies happened in a very short time.
D3 Regarding the third choice, it is difficult to find this reasonable, since all the tragedies happened in a short time. Job 1:13 (one day) and Job 2:1 (one day).
C5 A few verses on making decisions (judgment) and truth
D1 The advice of the Lord Jesus, so this is a rule for us today: John 7:24 GW Stop judging by outward appearance! Instead, judge correctly.
D2 A principle, but not an interpretation of this passage, is to be looking for for the reason. We don’t need details other than what is offered and to clarify what is said. 1 Samuel 16:7 GW But the LORD told Samuel, "Don't look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the LORD looks into the heart.
E1 Job’s outward situation was considered by the friends, but not Job’s attitudes or motives. These three friends(?) had nothing reasonable to base their decision.
E2 Appearances can be deceptive.
E3 The example of good decisions and judgment is found in Messiah Jesus: Isaiah 11:2-5 GW The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of advice and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD.  3  He will gladly bear the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear.  4  He will judge the poor justly. He will make fair decisions for the humble people on earth. He will strike the earth with a rod from his mouth. He will kill the wicked with the breath from his lips.  5  Justice will be the belt around his waist. Faithfulness will be the belt around his hips.
C6 This is something for us to remember in difficult times: Job 34:12 NLT Truly, God will not do wrong. The Almighty will not twist justice.
C7 Elihu points out an wrong attitude in Job. We must learn, for we tend to have this very same attitude: Job 34:37 NLT For you have added rebellion to your sin; you show no respect, and you speak many angry words against God.
C8 All of God’s decisions are based on truth, wisdom, and love. He does not make decisions to gain something or to prove His sovereignty and great power (He is King of the Universe).
C9 When faced with horrible situations, we must rest in God, confide to true friends, and seek counsel from those Christians who are wise.
C10 Some tips for seeking wise advice:
D1 Many will claim to be wise or be promoted to be wise, but are they?
D2 What has been the results of their advice?
D3 How has their decision helped the victim spiritually, emotionally, and physically?
D4 How have others been helped by this person’s advice?
D5 Do they practice what they preach?
D6 Avoid those seeking to sell something or to influence one to buy anything.
D7 Do they give advice based on truth, wisdom, and love?
D8 Do they belittle, scoff, not listen, seek intimate details? If so avoid them.
D9 Do they truly understand?
D10 Have they experienced anything similar?
D11 Do they seek to overpower you or control you? If so, avoid them.
D12 Do they admit they are not perfect, that they have made mistakes? Or, to they put on an air that they would never do something like that?
D13 Don’t just seek advice from one age group. Ask someone older or younger. You might be surprised at what they can offer.
D14 Don’t assume that an “expert” is the best counselor. As a nurse, I learned from aides, patients, patient’s family, visitors, etc. even though supposedly, I was the expert.
D15 Sometimes we do need professional help. This is especially true for any type of emotional, spiritual, or other type trauma.
D16 Are they telling you what your decision must be? If so, avoid them. A advice counselor is to help someone make a better and informed decision.
D17 Just because someone is a pastor or religious leader doesn’t guarantee that the advice is the best.
D18 Are they pressuring you to make a decision right now? Avoid those people.
D19 Do they offer a starting step? Good counselors will offer some steps leading to a better decision.
D20 Do they clarify what you are saying? You need to make sure they understand you.
D21 Seek multiple trusted people for advice, not just your friends.

03 October 2019

Job and His Suffering Part 2

B1 This long section is the advice(?) of Job’s 3 friends(?) and Job’s replies to them.
B2 Basically, they accuse Job of great sin that has been hidden from everyone except God. God is now punishing Job for his evil. Job needs to confess his sin and get right with God.
C1 The grief and emotional burden of Job: Job 3:24-26 GNB Instead of eating, I mourn, and I can never stop groaning. 25 Everything I fear and dread comes true. 26 I have no peace, no rest, and my troubles never end.
C2 The “abuse the victim” starts with Eliphaz: Job 4:7-11 GNB Think back now. Name a single case where someone righteous met with disaster. 8 I have seen people plow fields of evil and plant wickedness like seed; now they harvest wickedness and evil. 9 Like a storm, God destroys them in his anger. 10 The wicked roar and growl like lions, but God silences them and breaks their teeth. 11 Like lions with nothing to kill and eat, they die, and all their children are scattered.
C3 These friends(?) are victim-shaming. The Lord Jesus addresses this here: Luke 13:1-4 GNB At that time some people were there who told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices to God. 2 Jesus answered them, "Because those Galileans were killed in that way, do you think it proves that they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did. 4 What about those eighteen people in Siloam who were killed when the tower fell on them? Do you suppose this proves that they were worse than all the other people living in Jerusalem? 
D1 Just because bad things happen to good people (this said in human terms, not God’s definition), does not mean that they deserve it, did something that caused it, or God is punishing them.
D2 Good things happen to evil people as well.
D3 A rather long passage, but it explains the feelings of one who is a believer and observe evil people having it good in life. Psalms 73:1-15 GNB God is indeed good to Israel, to those who have pure hearts. 2 But I had nearly lost confidence; my faith was almost gone 3 because I was jealous of the proud when I saw that things go well for the wicked. 4 They do not suffer pain; they are strong and healthy. 5 They do not suffer as other people do; they do not have the troubles that others have. 6 And so they wear pride like a necklace and violence like a robe; 7 their hearts pour out evil, and their minds are busy with wicked schemes. 8 They laugh at other people and speak of evil things; they are proud and make plans to oppress others. 9 They speak evil of God in heaven and give arrogant orders to everyone on earth, 10 so that even God's people turn to them and eagerly believe whatever they say. 11 They say, "God will not know; the Most High will not find out." 12 That is what the wicked are like. They have plenty and are always getting more. 13 Is it for nothing, then, that I have kept myself pure and have not committed sin? 14 O God, you have made me suffer all day long; every morning you have punished me. 15 If I had said such things, I would not be acting as one of your people.
D4 Nevertheless, he understood something that we can learn: Psalms 73:16-28 GNB I tried to think this problem through, but it was too difficult for me 17 until I went into your Temple. Then I understood what will happen to the wicked. 18 You will put them in slippery places and make them fall to destruction! 19 They are instantly destroyed; they go down to a horrible end. 20 They are like a dream that goes away in the morning; when you rouse yourself, O Lord, they disappear. 21 When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt, 22 I was as stupid as an animal; I did not understand you. 23 Yet I always stay close to you, and you hold me by the hand. 24 You guide me with your instruction and at the end you will receive me with honor. 25 What else do I have in heaven but you? Since I have you, what else could I want on earth? 26 My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need. 27 Those who abandon you will certainly perish; you will destroy those who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, how wonderful to be near God, to find protection with the Sovereign LORD and to proclaim all that he has done! 
C4 A few more quotes from his friends(?):
D1 Bildad speaking to Job. “Job you are evil to the core, and your children, too. God punished those bastards as they deserved.” Job 8:1-7 GNB (1-2) Are you finally through with your windy speech? 3 God never twists justice; he never fails to do what is right. 4 Your children must have sinned against God, and so he punished them as they deserved. 5 But turn now and plead with Almighty God; 6 if you are so honest and pure, then God will come and help you and restore your household as your reward. 7 All the wealth you lost will be nothing compared with what God will give you then.
D2 Zophar’s turn to revictimize. Look at his poor judgment. Let us learn, O Lord, not to do this! Job 11:1-5 GNB (1-2) Will no one answer all this nonsense? Does talking so much put you in the right? 3 Job, do you think we can't answer you? That your mocking words will leave us speechless? 4 You claim that what you say is true; you claim you are pure in the sight of God. 5 How I wish God would answer you! 
D2 Eliphaz again: Job 22:4-5 GNB It is not because you stand in awe of God that he reprimands you and brings you to trial. 5 No, it's because you have sinned so much; it's because of all the evil you do.
C5 Job speaks, but they do not believe. Victims experience the same much too often. We need to listen and to believe. Always start there.
C6 Job finally appeals to God, “Why, are you doing this to me.” Job knows he did nothing to deserve this.
C7 Read this and sense the Job’s pain at this revictimization. Job 16:1-8 GNB (1-2) I have heard words like that before; the comfort you give is only torment. 3 Are you going to keep on talking forever? Do you always have to have the last word? 4 If you were in my place and I in yours, I could say everything you are saying. I could shake my head wisely and drown you with a flood of words. 5 I could strengthen you with advice and keep talking to comfort you. 6 But nothing I say helps, and being silent does not calm my pain. 7 You have worn me out, God; you have let my family be killed. 8 You have seized me; you are my enemy. I am skin and bones, and people take that as proof of my guilt.
B3 Some things to learn
C1 God does not victimize. He does punish, but He does not victimize. He does not abuse. He hates abuse. Psalm 11:5 NIV The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
C2 God hates those who plan evil: Micah 2:1 NIV Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning's light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.
C3 satan and those who follow his ways will be punished:
D1 Revelation 20:10 GNB Then the Devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had already been thrown; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
D2 Revelation 20:14-15 GNB Then death and the world of the dead were thrown into the lake of fire. (This lake of fire is the second death.) 15 Those who did not have their name written in the book of the living were thrown into the lake of fire.
D3 Revelation 21:8 GNB But cowards, traitors, perverts, murderers, the immoral, those who practice magic, those who worship idols, and all liars—the place for them is the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
C4 Here is a warning from God. If you are an abuser, God will deal with you. If, like Job’s friends(?), you do this in ignorance, then repent. God knows that abusers fake repentance. Beware. Proverbs 6:16 GNB (16-19) There are seven things that the LORD hates and cannot tolerate: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness who tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends. 
B4 As Christians we can practice these principles:
C1 Speak truth (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
C2 Listen (Proverbs 18:13)
C3 Be slow to speak and  slow to anger (James 1:19)
C4 Be understanding (Proverbs 20:5, John 7:24)
C5 Give encouragement (Hebrews 3:13)
C6 Have fellowship (Hebrews 10:25) This would include the idea of a support group
C7 Ask for wisdom (Psalm 16:7)
C8 Asking appropriate questions (Proverbs 20:5) This would include open questions
C9 Clarifying This would include paraphrasing (restating what the speaker said using different words) and summarizing (repeating the main points of the speaker)
C10 Show compassion (Colossians 3:12)
C11 Give wise answers (1 Peter 3:15)