Sunday, December 25, 2016

Emmanuel - God With Us

There was a sacrifice that Jesus had to make in order to be "God with us". He had to be forsaken of the Father (Mark 15:34). Jesus never sinned but you and I did and we deserved to be forsaken by God and all the curses that this entails (Deut. 28; 31:17-18). But Jesus suffered that curse of being forsaken for us. Now God promises to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Jesus is the reason for this season!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Lord SENT It - Free Kindle Book FOREVER!!! only allows me to do the free Kindle deal for five days at a period of time which is understandable since they are in the business to make a profit. But I am not in the business of making PROFITS, I am in the business of making PROPHETS. So, if you missed out on the free Kindle book for "The Lord SENT It" and would still like a free Kindle edition, I uploaded this to a site called Smashwords where you can the Kindle version absolutely free. AWESOME. I will figure out later how to put this on our web page. But, in the meantime, go to Smashwords and get your free book anytime in the link below:

Friday, November 25, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Lord "SENT" It - Part 1 (Video)

Part One of our new video teaching series, "The Lord 'SENT' It" is now on our YouTube channel:

Synopsis: There are numerous places in Scripture where God says that He will “send” or is said to have “sent” a disaster, a plague, pestilence, delusion, an evil spirit, a cruel and ruthless enemy army, ferocious man-eating wild animals, and other harsh judgments. Atheists use such passages to castigate the God of the Bible. Some theologians use such passages to present theological views of God that make Him appear to be harsh, unloving, and unfair. Other Christians avoid such passages altogether, believing that certain parts of the Bible are too difficult or irrelevant. However, an often neglected principle of Bible interpretation is found in the statement that "God is said to 'send' or to 'have sent' that which He merely did not prevent or hinder." When we understand this truth then we get a better picture of the God who is exactly like Jesus Christ.

You can also watch it directly on YouTube by clicking on the link below:

We also encourage you to download a free .pdf copy of our latest book, "The Lord 'SENT' It". Click on the link below to get your free book today:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

How Does God and Satan Work on the Earth?

How Does God and Satan Work on the Earth

Get a .pdf copy of this blog by clicking here

A friend of mine had been reading my book, “Why? A Biblical Explanation for Evil”.  Certain statements I made in the book prompted him to ask me some very important questions. On page 102 of the book I wrote, “Though Satan’s time is short, God must honor the covenant He made with man (Rev. 12:9-11).” My friend asked, “Can you tell me more about your understanding about that or direct me to anywhere you have written about it? I could not see the connection with Rev 12:9-11. Where are the details of such a covenant?”
Furthermore he wanted to know if I had any verses that supported the fact that, “God searches for someone on the earth to display His strength on their behalf. By covenant right, God cannot just do anything that He wants on the earth.” (p. 105) Finally, his last question is worth quoting verbatim:

Then you wrote: “Man became responsible for inviting God into the earth to intervene on his behalf.” The question I have is: since at the fall, mankind basically handed that dominion over to Satan why isn’t it Satan who invites or bars God from intervening? I know Satan would rather not have God involved and objects when God does act (eg blessing Job). So why does man still have the option of praying to ask God to act or not? Does man continue to have some degree of dominion? Perhaps man has dominion just over himself but not over the earth?

I believe that these are important questions to address if we are to fully understand the problem of evil and why (as some claim) that God doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. It is essential to tackle the difficulties that my friend presents in order to understand why God can be good, loving, kind and powerful yet does not stop evil (via Satan) from reigning in this world.

God’s Covenant with Mankind
When God created man He made some unconditional statements to him:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (Gen. 1:27-30)

A covenant is a binding agreement between two or more people. Once God said these things to Adam He was bound to them and there was no taking them back. Anything that God says is binding on Him due to His inability to lie or go back on His Word (Ps. 89:33-35; Titus 1:1-3; Heb. 6:17-18). He cannot even change His mind concerning unconditional statements (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Rom. 11:29; 2 Cor. 1:19-20). God is very serious about His fidelity to His Word and in order to prove His trustworthiness He has placed His Word above His very name. The Psalmist says:

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name (Psalm 138:2).

If God places His Word above His very name then we can have confidence in His commitment to it. After all, God’s Name represents His person and character. He regards His Name as holy (Lev. 22:2, 32; 1 Chron. 16:10, 35; Psalm 99:3; 111:9). For Him to place His Word above His Name means that He has a serious regard for it. God cannot have a different and separate “will” than that of His Word since He places this above His very Name which represents His character.
God cannot “sovereignly” do things that contradict His Word because doing them would call His character and integrity into question. We can fully trust His Word as a clear revelation of His will. Otherwise, we couldn’t, “praise thy name…. for thy truth
Whenever God states a word or gives a promise then this is binding on Him, thus it is a covenant. A good example is found in 2 Samuel 7. God gave the prophet Nathan a dream concerning His wonderful plans for King David and his descendants. Nowhere in 2 Samuel 7 does God (or Nathan) use the word “covenant.” Yet, later revelation tells us that God considers his promises to David as having made a covenant (2 Chron. 7:18; 13:5; 21:7; Psalm 89:1-4, 33-36; Jer. 33:21). Once God who is unable to lie said these things to David they became binding upon Him, thus it is considered to be a covenant.
Therefore, when we read, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16), this was binding on God. Later, man abdicated his authority over the earth to Satan (Luke 4:5-6). God has the omnipotent power to take back the authority over the earth by force if He so chooses, but to do this would be at the expense of His integrity.
Therefore, the only way for Him to get back all authority on the earth is to become a man Himself. In order to restore that authority to His beloved man, He would have to allow Satan to illegally kill Him, which Satan blindingly did in his blood lust. But by doing so Satan lost his legal rights to have permanent authority. He no longer has a legal right over any man because the blood of Jesus has potentially redeemed all men. Mankind now has a right to come from under Satan’s reign.
But Satan does not back down easily. He continues to assert his claim over the earth and over men by making continued accusations against them. This is where Rev. 12:9-11 fits in. The blood of Jesus frees man from Satan’s accusations. Furthermore, the blood of Jesus guarantees us that Satan’s time is short and that he will only be able to continue these activities but for so long before he is permanently removed from the scene forever.

God Searching for Men to Work Through
The whole Bible from the time of Adam’s fall is a revelation of God seeking a man that He can work through in order to save the people of the earth. When the destruction by water came in Noah’s day God had to work through Noah to build an ark to save his family and most species of earth’s animals. Had Noah disobeyed then mankind would no longer exist.
Later, God found Abraham and, through him, He would extend His blessings on the earth to the rest of the nations. He told Abram:

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Gen. 12:2-3)

There could be no blessing on the earth apart from God finding a yielded person on the earth that He is able to work through. Since Abraham yielded to God, he and his descendants (Israel) became God’s channel of blessing for the earth.
As we continue to look at Bible history we find that God needed to work through Moses to rescue Israel from Egypt. Not one plague came upon Egypt nor did one plague cease apart from Moses using the authority that God instructed him to use. In Judges, whenever the people sinned and suffered the consequences God had to raise up a judge to work through in order to rescue His people from it. Later, we find God working through kings and prophets. In the New Testament there is no spreading of the gospel and no miraculous intervention of miracles, healing and deliverances apart from men who were yielded to God.
Because God cannot go back on His Word to Adam He is ever looking and searching for those who will yield themselves to Him so that He can work through them on the earth. When Israel demanded a king against God’s will, God, being the ever loving God that He is, chose someone at the time who had the best qualities, which was Saul. However, Saul allowed his position to make him become arrogant and disobedient. Therefore God, speaking through the prophet Samuel, told him, “But now, your authority will not go on: the Lord, searching for a man who is pleasing to him in every way, has given him the place of ruler over his people, because you have not done what the Lord gave you orders to do.” (1 Sam. 13:14; Bible in Basic English).
The Psalmist wrote, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God” (Psalm 14:2) God is always having to look and search for yielded vessels that He can work through in order to accomplish His plans and purposes on the earth. He told Asa:

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. (2 Chron. 16:9)

Because of God’s word to Adam, He cannot intervene in the affairs of the earth apart from finding someone who has a heart for Him. Jesus Himself told us, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23). Father God is actually seeking sincere worshippers. He needs yielded vessels on the earth in order to accomplish His goals for mankind. Ezekiel offers the most profound, but also, somewhat complicated statement concerning this:

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD (Eze. 22:30, 31)

God sought for a man to stand in the gap? Why? So that He would not have to destroy the land. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze. 33:11). However, God cannot intervene to stop disaster apart from someone inviting Him.
We see from this passage that God needs someone to pray in order to stop His judgments. On the other hand, if no one prays then He seems to be able to judge without anyone’s consent. This appears contradicting at first but if we understand God’s method of bringing judgment it removes the seeming contradiction.
Verse 31 says, “Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath.” Here God takes personal responsibility for the impending disaster. However, one must learn to interpret Scripture with Scripture in order to understand the method by which God will do this. Ezekiel himself describes this method only one chapter earlier:

And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy (Ezekiel 21:31)

In His wrath God will not personally do the destroying but He will “deliver” His people over to evil destroyers. The word “recompensed” in Ezekiel 22:31 and the word “deliver” in Ezekiel 21:31 are both translated from the Hebrew word “nathan” which means to allow or permit. God’s method of “destroying” is to remove His protection and allow the forces of evil to have their way (Hosea 11:8-9). He has no choice but to allow this apart from our praying.
Sin is forfeiting God’s protection. God wants to protect but men continue to rebel against Him. He looks for a man who will invite Him in to stop the impending judgment but He is unable to find anyone so He is left with no choice but to allow this destruction to come.

How God Works in the Earth
The Psalmist wrote, “For thou hast made him but little lower than God, And crownest him with glory and honor. Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:5, 6; American Standard Version). According to an older version of the Webster's dictionary, the word “dominion” is sdefined as, “Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling.”[1] William Wilson says that Hebrew meaning of the word dominion is “authority as lord and proprietor.”[2]
God gave man domnion – sovereignty, authority, supremacy, lordship, and propietorship – over the works of His hands. This is why I say without hesitation that we must be careful when using certain Christian catch phrases like “God is in control.” The church has simply left it in the hands of God while God is trying to tell us that, due to covenant reasons, He is unable to demonstrate His omnipotence apart from our cooperation. God has delegated authority to us and, in most cases, He will not usurp that authority He has given even though He has the raw power to do so.
God is not a covenant breaker (Psalm 89:33-35). When He delegated authority over the earth he placed its destiny in our hands. Furthermore, He has made us free moral agents which means that He will not force us to cooperate with Him. The covenant keeping integrity of God coupled with the free-will of the humans God has created gave Him limitations that he would not have had if He had not chosen to do it this way. Andrew Murray writes:

In creating man with free will and making him a partner in the rule of the earth, God limited Himself. He made Himself dependent on what man would do. Man by His prayer would hold the measure of what God could do in blessing.[3]

We must recognize that when God gave the earth to the children of men, regardless of whatever capacity in which he gave it to them, He was limiting Himself and sharing His sovereignty over the thing that was given. What we do on earth determines what God will do in Heaven (Matt. 18:18-19). Our failure to invite Him in can have devastating effects (2 Chron. 16:12, 13; Jer. 10:21; James 4:2). A profound statement is made concerning Jesus in the gospel of Mark:

And he was unable to do any work of power there, but only to put his hands on one or two persons who were ill, and make them well. And he was greatly surprised because they had no faith. And he went about the country places teaching. (Mark 6:5-6; Bible in Basic English)

He was unable to do any mighty work. It did not say that He wouldn’t do it. It says that He was unable to do it. Our omnipotent God obviously has the sheer raw power to force His will on our lives if He so desired. However, His love and integrity prevents Him from doing so. This is why He cannot work on the earth apart from a yielded vessel.
If God violated His word to Adam by intervening apart from man’s invitation then Satan will have something by which to accuse God since he is always looking for a way to make God look unfair in the eyes of others (Job 1:8-10; Gen. 3:1-5). In order for God to be trusted by men and angels He cannot go back on His Word or break covenant. Satan may rule by force and violence. He may attempt to get his way by force. Satan wants to convince men and unfallen angels that his methods are the most effective. For God to do anything outside of His love and integrity would be to prove Satan right and Himself wrong. From a power aspect, He could destroy Satan easily in order to have His own way but then He must eternally live with the consequences of having brought doubt into the minds of the rest of His creatures concerning His integrity, righteousness, love, and holiness. To maintain His integrity in the eyes of the watching universe God must work in the earth through yielded vessels.

How Satan Works in the Earth
On the flip side of this equation, Satan is also unable to do any work on the earth apart from men yielding themselves to him. Unlike God, Satan seems to have the majority of the earth’s population under his control and they are more than willing to do his bidding. The thing that makes him the “god” of this world is how he has deceived the majority of men in order to control them:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Cor. 4:4)

Satan is “god of this world” because he is able to blind men and deceive them into doing his will. 1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (New King James Version). Satan has authority and control over the earth because he has deceived the majority of men who God has made stewards over it. In Rev. 12:9 we read:

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Satan gained this power and authority over the earth through deception (Gen. 3:1-7, 13; Luke 4:5-6; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14) and he maintains this power through deception.
Like God, Satan cannot work on the earth except through willing vessels (Gen. 4:7; Luke 22:2-6; John 8:44; Acts 13:7-12; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 2:2; 2 Thess. 2:8-9; 1 John 3:8-12; Rev. 2:9, 13; 3:9; 16:13-14; 20:7-10). Unlike God, Satan seems to have an almost endless supply of willing vessels ready to do their master’s will. While some, specifically those who proudly deem themselves as “Satan worshippers” knowingly do his will, the majority of men are deceived into believing that they are serving God (Islamic terrorists being one of many examples) or their communities (abortion doctors being among several examples). If some had their eyes open to know that their actions were furthering Satan’s agenda they might have second thoughts.
Despite some false teachings in Evangelical circles that claim that man is so totally depraved that he cannot choose apart from an “irresistible grace” that violates the freedom of his will, God has allowed men the ability to choose between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness:

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)

Men have the ability to choose between God’s kingdom of light, life and love and Satan’s kingdom of darkness, depression and destruction. Sadly we are told, “….and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19b). The reason why Satan continues to exercise such dominion over the earth is because men love his ways more than God’s.
The day will come when God puts a permanent end to Satan’s rule (Rev. 20:10). However, for the end of Satan’s reign to be complete, God must also forever ban from His presence and from the universe those who followed after Satan (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11-15). Satan’s time is short. The end of evil will come, but sadly, this ending of evil means the eternal damnation of the majority of the world. This is not something God desires which is why the end has been so long delayed (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:8-9; Eze. 33:11).
In conclusion, evil reigns and Satan reigns on the earth because men, using their God-given free-will, choose to do Satan’s bidding rather than God’s. If men would do God’s will rather than Satan’s then evil would be gone. Since the majority of men love darkness and since God has covenanted with man to allow his freedom to choose the bad as well as the good without force or coercion on His part then evil reigns until the coming of Christ. Be blessed.

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[1]Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of American English, E-Sword edition.
[2]Wilson, William Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies (MacLean, VA: Mac Donal Publishing Co.), p. 132
[3]Murray, Andrew God's Best Secrets (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Classics, 1993), p. 71

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Why Didn’t God Stop Peter from Sinning?

September 4

Why Didn’t God Stop Peter from Sinning?

“Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Mat. 26:34).

Some people believe that if God doesn’t want us to sin then He can stop us. After all, He already knows what we’re going to do anyway. Satan so often feeds us “half-truths.” Satan neglects to tell us that God usually does not override our free will and does not usually intervene apart from our asking.
Peter swore that he was ready to die with Jesus even if the rest of the disciples denied Him. Yet, Jesus knew exactly what Peter was going to do. However, Jesus also knew that the future can be changed through the praying of His people. Jesus makes an attempt to teach this to Peter:

And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mat. 26:40, 41)

Peter did not have to deny His Lord. Had he prayed as the Lord instructed him he would not have entered into temptation but would have been strengthened by God. Prayer can change future events because the God of the future answers prayer. Therefore, Peter’s problem was his self-assurance. We have all failed in this regard.
The person who truly wants God to “stop him or her” will follow Scripture’s teaching to go boldly to the throne of grace and get the help we need to overcome temptation (Heb. 4:15, 16). Unfortunately, when we have been hypnotized by Satan’s enticement then we will not want God to really intervene but use His lack of intervention as our excuse to yield to the temptation.
God will not force His way and His will upon us (Matt. 23:37; Luke 7:30; Rev. 3:20; etc.) but will invite us to come to Him for help. If we want God to keep us from temptation then we must submit ourselves to Him and the Tempter will flee (James 4:7). Never let theological speculation about God’s omniscience keep us from appropriating His promises of victory through prayer.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Are God's Commandments Too Hard?

Are God's Commandments Too Hard?

  • For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3)

There are some who embrace a theology that paints God as arbitrary and unfair. Some have told me that God, in His sovereignty, indeed gives us commandments that are impossible to obey. Oh what a blight this puts upon the love of God. However, the Bible itself speaks quite differently on this subject. John. under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that God's commandments are NOT grievous.

The Greek word for "grievous" is "barue" which means "violent, cruel, unsparing." Is this a description of God's commands? The apostle says, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Romans 7:12) How can something that God says is "just" be seen as "violent, cruel, and unsparing".

The Easy to Read Version renders 1 John 5:3, "Loving God means obeying his commands. And God’s commands are not too hard for us." The New International Reader's Version says, "In fact, here is what it means to love God. We love him by obeying his commands. And his commands are not hard to obey." God told the Israelites:

  • Deut. 30:11-14
  • 11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
  • 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
  • 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
  • 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, THAT THOU MAYEST DO IT.

God's commands are able to be obeyed, He does not give unjust commands or commands that are impossible to obey. To say otherwise is a clear contradiction of His Word and borders on blasphemy. Be blessed as you do the commands of God.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Should Christians Ignore the Old Testament?

Should Christians Ignore the Old Testament?

Does Avoiding the Old Testament Solve the Problems of Christians Explaining God’s “Ungodly” Behavior?

Troy J. Edwards

It is…. unwise to declare that the wrath of God or the love of God is any more or less obvious in the Old Testament than in the New. Despite popular opinion, the primary characteristic of God in the Old Testament is love. His love is intense and unremitting, His love is forever.[1]

Many Christians are taught to avoid the Old Testament. The reasons for ignoring the largest portion of our Bibles both vary and intersect. We are told that “we are no longer under the Old Testament law,” “it is not for the Christian dispensation,” “only the New Testament is applicable to the Christian,” “God worked in wrath under the Old but has grace and mercy under the New,” “it is too difficult to understand,” “Jesus changed everything” and a variety of other reasons.
Some of this avoidance is not limited to the books in the section of our Bibles dividing the Old from the New. Some will minimize the importance of the four gospels (and some extreme dispensationalists will include the book of Acts in this list as well). We are told that the gospels are irrelevant because Jesus had not died and resurrected, thus bringing in the dispensation of grace.
This issue is not something unique to our generation but has been debated almost near the time the New Testament had been completed.[2] For the most part, people have a difficult time loving and worshipping God as the Old Testament supposedly depicts Him. Rather than making use of the tools provided to us to resolve the issues about the [alleged] Old Testament picture of God, many would prefer to simply dismiss it altogether.
Why concern ourselves with Old Testament statements about God cursing people, smiting the disobedient Israelites, inflicting sickness, bringing natural disasters, deceiving and sending lying spirits, hardening hearts and then punishing the one hardened, and the numerous other horrific acts attributed to Him when we can just acknowledge its lack of importance for the Christian? We’ll just keep it around if we need some divine poetry and some fun stories for Sunday (or Sabbath) school.
However, do we truly and sincerely believe that if we divorce the Old Testament from the Bible that this will resolve some of those embarrassing difficulties we have been led to believe only occur in the Old Testament?

The Old Testament is Inspired by God
If we are going to issue the Old Testament a certificate of divorce we probably need to check with its primary author first. You see, Paul tells us that this document is “God-breathed:”

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16)

The word “inspired” in the passage above means “God-breathed”. Some believe that it is an allusion to when God breathed into Adam’s nostrils and he received the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). God is the one who formed and gave life to the Scriptures. Note that Paul said that He did this with all Scripture. This would have to include the Old Testament writings since they are called Scripture: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
It was the Holy Spirit who moved upon men to record the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:20-21). While scholars continue to debate the type of inspiration the Holy Spirit had over the Bible writers (whether it was mechanical, plenary, etc.), the fact is, God personally gave us the Bible (the Scriptures) and refers to it as His Word: “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). The “Word of God” and “the Scripture” are synonymous terms. Shouldn’t the author of the book have a say in what part of His book should be dissected from the rest?
It is also important to note that Paul stated that all Scripture is profitable. That means that everything from Moses to the prophets has some benefit for the Christian today. Paul tells us that the Old Testament was written to us to allow its teachings and historical events to assist us in our walk of faith (Rom. 4:16-23; 1 Cor. 10:1-11). Perhaps it is not the wisest thing to rip the OT from our Bibles after all.

God Sending Delusions
From the above we must conclude that giving the Old Testament (or any other portion of Scripture) a place of irrelevance is an insult to God since this is His Word. But even more, to do so would never resolve any of the embarrassing difficulties anyway. Let’s look at an example:

And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel (Eze. 14:9)

Here the Old Testament clearly depicts God as a deceiver. Even worse, God threatens to destroy the prophet He deceived. Not a very loving picture of God now is it? The simple solution for many is, “Well, that’s the Old Testament. I am a New Testament Christian. I am a disciple Jesus, not a disciple of Ezekiel. So I am only concerned about the New Testament.” That might appear to resolve the issue and ease the mind until one runs across this little gem right there in their New Testament:

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:11-12)

As we can see, the New Testament doesn’t exactly let God off of the hook here. Hence, chopping the Old Testament from the Bible is not the “great escape” that some make it out to be. Thankfully there are better ways to deal with these issues in both testaments. The good news is that the issue of God being a deceiver is not unresolvable. But trying to down-grade the Old Testament’s level of importance is not one of the solutions.
The best way to resolve this is to remember that there is a permissive idiom in the Hebrew language. Concerning Ezekiel 14:9 the late Wesleyan scholar, Adam Clarke, wrote, “I have often had occasion to remark that it is common in the Hebrew language to state a thing as done by the Lord which he only suffers or permits to be done.[3] (Emphasis is mine)
When we interpret Scripture with Scripture we will see that this permissive idiom is true. While God often gave His Word using the language, customs, and idioms of the Israelites, He gave plenty of information in other parts to help the Western mind understand what is actually being said.
Often we can find explanations for the causative language in the context of the passage itself or from other passages. For example, God tells Jeremiah that He did not send those prophets that deceive (Jer. 14:15; 23:32; 29:8-9). Actually, God restrains these lying spirits but when people persist in wanting deception then God, at some point, allows them to have what they want (Isaiah 30:9-10). When God releases His restraints then He takes responsibility for the results even if He is not the direct cause of them.
This truth is made even clearer in 2 Thessalonians. In the context we see that God is only said to “send delusion” because He is no longer holding back the deceiver (2 Thess. 2:6-9). Satan is the one who deceives the whole world (Rev. 12:9) and God allows him to have his way. In that sense God is said to send delusion.

God Hardening Hearts
Another example we find in Scripture is how, upon a careless (or theologically bias) reading of the Old Testament, God hardens people’s hearts and then punishes them for doing that which the hardening made them do:

And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn (Exodus 4:21-23)

Now tell me that this isn’t unfair. Seriously, God uses divine power to harden Pharaoh’s heart which causes Pharaoh not to let the people go and God in turn punishes Pharaoh by killing his son for acting on that hardening. It is difficult to defend this language so the easy escape for numerous Christians is to claim that this was under the law (for many dispensationalists, anything in the Old Testament is supposedly under the law, even if the incident happened before the law of Moses came into effect).
Since, as they believe, our focus is only on the New Testament because of the finished work of Christ, then there is no need to concern ourselves with God hardening people’s hearts. It’s all OT stuff. Yet, those who go through that escape hatch might crawl to a dead end since the New Testament makes an even stronger statement about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart:

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth (Rom. 9:17-18)

As we can see, the New Testament, using an example from the Old, employs the exact same language. Therefore, cutting the Old Testament from the Bible is like the ostrich that hides its head in the sand thinking that it has escaped danger. The danger is still there. Both testaments claim that God personally hardens hearts and then punishes the one “divinely” hardened. Again, the only resolution for this that vindicates God’s character is found,

….in the Scripture idiom, God is often said to do what he only permits, or does not interpose to prevent. The means by which Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, were God’s withdrawing the plagues one after another, when Moses, at the king's entreaty, interceded for the nation.[4]

If we truly read our Bibles carefully, we will see this “permission” concerning Pharaoh taught very clearly. Going back to Exodus 4:21 we read, “And the LORD said unto Moses ….but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” When we compare this to other Scripture we can see that God was only predicting Pharaoh’s response to the Lord’s chastisement.
God told Isaiah to “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes.” God did not give Isaiah divine power to make people’s hearts hard. God simply told Isaiah the results that would occur from his prophesying over the people (Isa. 6:8-10). This same truth is taught in other passages (Jer. 1:9-10; Eze. 32:17-18). This exact same truth applies to God’s statement concerning Pharaoh:

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said ….Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said (Ex. 8:15, 19; see also 7:13-14)

In Exodus 4:21 God only predicted how Pharaoh would react to Moses demands to let God’s people go free. However, since God Himself foretold the event He took responsibility for its coming about. Therefore God does not literally harden hearts. Yet, one cannot come to this conclusion by ignoring the Old Testament since the New Testament makes the same claim. The only way to resolve it is remember the permissive idiomatic language of the Hebrews.

An Angel of the Lord Inflicting Disease
In one final example, we have a case where the angel of the Lord is said to inflict disease on Israel as a punishment for David’s sin of numbering the people of Israel:

So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite. (2 Sam. 24:15-16)

This is a very difficult one for us Word-Faith people. What do we do when someone tells us that God sent sickness and He used one of His very own angels to do it? Certainly we can say, “Ah, that was just Old Testament. We don’t live under the Old Covenant of law and works. God doesn’t do that kind of stuff anymore.” As with the previous examples, one will find that this is not as simple a maneuver as one might be led to believe:

And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost (Acts 12:21-23)

Once again we find that there is no hiding behind, “I am a ‘New Testament only’ Christian” since the New Testament appears to present God as an inflictor of sickness. The best resolution is once again found in knowledge of the Hebrew permissive idiom in which God is said to do that which He merely permitted. Concerning the angel that allegedly inflicted sickness on Israel one writer notes:

When they make God the author of the pestilence, it is clear they do not mean to say he is the immediate cause in so fearful a calamity, from the fact that in other places they represent God as the author of moral evil, where they certainly do not mean to say he is the immediate author of such evil. In a somewhat recent period of their history it cannot be denied that, instead of making God the author of evil, they attribute it to a malignant spirit of high origin—viz., Satan; but still they were aware of the origin of this being, that he was the creature of God, and acted beneath his superintendence. The difficulty, then, in regard to their representations arises from this source. God, in a certain sense, is the author of all things. This is true. But the ancient Hebrews do not appear to have distinguished with sufficient accuracy that liberty or permission which is given us, in the course of Divine providence, to do or not to do, to do good or evil, from the direct and immediate agency of God himself.[5]

The truth that this writer expresses is seen in Rev. 7 where the angels are commanded not to hurt the earth:

And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads (Rev. 7:1-3)

Note that the angels were holding back the winds of destruction. They were told by a commanding angel “not to hurt the earth” until a certain task had been accomplished. Hence, the only way for the angels to “hurt the earth” is to release the winds of destruction that they held back from destroying it. It is by removing their protection that they hurt the earth.
This is the exact same way that the angel of the Lord can be said to bring pestilence to Israel and to strike Herod with worm disease. In Psalm 91:1-12 the angels protect people from numerous things to include pestilence.  God and His angels are only said to be the cause of sickness and disease in the sense that they leave the sick ones unprotected. Herod’s and David’s sins caused the angel to remove his protection over them.

Attempting to teach a loving and kind God by doing away with the Old Testament or relegating it to an insignificant and unimportant attachment to our New Testament Bible will never work since many of the same issues in the Old Testament are in the New. From the Biblical examples given above, we can see that there is no way to vindicate God’s character apart from recognizing the idiomatic expressions inherent within the Hebrew language and culture in which God is said to do that which He merely allows or permits.


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[1] Olbricht, Thomas H. He Loves Forever: The Enduring Message of God from the Old Testament (Joplin, MS: College Press Publishing Company, 2000), pp. 10, 11
[2] Kaiser Jr., Walter C. Tough Questions about God and His Actions in the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publishers, 2015. On pp. 9-11 Old Testament scholar Walter C. Kaiser Jr. gives a brief but very interesting account of how the Old Testament was first divided from the New and a number of scholars in history have attempted to dismiss it as an authority for the Christian’s life and walk.
[3] Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary
[4] Ritchie, David Lectures, Explanatory and Practical, on the Doctrinal part of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans (Ediburgh: Neill and Co. Printers, 1831), pp. 209, 210
[5] Jahn, John, DD Biblical Antiquities (London: Thomas Ward and Co., 1835), p. 89