Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Matthew 18: What does it teach and other comments

There is a confusion among Christians as to what Matthew 18 teaches. So let us take a look.

When it comes to challenging a false teacher and I have had this similar point given to me, that we should speak to people privately if you have a concern about false teaching.

What does Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 actually say?
Firstly let's look at Matthew 18:
"15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”"

This is not addressing false teachers or heretics, it is addressing the topic of what to do with a Christian that refuses to repent. Jesus is laying out the steps that a Christian should take if a Christian brother is engaging in sin and refuses to heed warnings and instructions from them.

1 Corinthians 5 explains the following:

"5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.[a]

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”"

Paul further expands on what Jesus said regarding putting unrepentant Christians out of the church and goes as far as telling us not to even eat with that person, until there is sincere repentance.

Some would point to Jesus eating with tax collectors though they completely miss the point of that section. Firstly, the people that Jesus was eating with were not his followers and secondly, his intention was to bring them to repentance, NOT to let them continue in their life style. You cannot compare Jesus' compassion on sinners and his mission of repentance to Jesus' discipline in the life of the church.

When it comes to heresy, It is quite possible to challenge someone as found in Matthew 18, but that is to do with the church, it has nothing to do with another person who is a wolf in sheeps clothing misleading the flock.

Jesus tells us to beware of false teachers (Matthew 7:15) and John even tells us not to even with or greet false teachers lest we partake of their evil works (2 John 1:10). Heretics are people who are lost, they need to be prayed for and witnessed to, but a an unrepentant heretic is to be marked and warned. You cannot go to a false teacher in private, The false teacher is proclaiming his teaching in public, so therefore it stands to reason that he is to be marked, exposed and refuted in public. Matthew 18 is not addressing what to do with heretics in public, it's addressing what to do with a Christian in a local congregation.

In fact this is what Paul, by the authority of Jesus, told us to do with heretics if they refuse to repent:
"8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."

Heretics trying to divide those united IN TRUTH and cause ACTUAL division (I emphasize truth and actual because some falsely use division as an excuse to justify ecumenism or a refusal to expose false teachings) must be marked and separated from.

Some complain when names are mentioned when it comes to false teachers, that we shouldn't name names. I'm sorry, doth my ears deceive me? We can't name names? Paul named names, as did John (3 John 1:9), they warned us about false teachers BY NAME:
"2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[c] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”"

Talk spreading like gangrene, not a positive description when you think about how gangrene spreads and how destructive it is. False teaching is destructive and must be challenged. It cannot be simply reduced to a private matter.

False teachers can be challenged publicly and must be challenged publicly, Matthew 18 doesn't apply to them.

Answering Judaism.

Common lies about apologists

This is a general list commenting on many lies that are spread about certain well known and others not so well known apologists.

James White
The attitude towards James White from some individuals I have seen, there is almost a portrayal on their part that when James White is confronted with something he can't refute (according to them), he laughs it off in debate or out of debate, or there is even the claim that his arguments are not worth responding to.

I have already commented on the subject of his Dr title and some other false accusations so I'll just link to the paper: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/more-roman-catholic-and-eastern.html

From his debates, White has never demonstrated this attitude of laughing off someone's argument and does attempt to respond to what others are saying to him. I would challenge anyone to show me documentation where White does what is claimed about him.

Paul Washer and John MacArthur
Both these two are thoroughly misrepresented when it comes to Lordship Salvation and are accused of teaching works salvation. However, if you are to look at quotes in context or sermons, nothing could be further from the truth and they both actually preach against works salvation

Lordship Salvation is NOT saying you are saved by works. It recognizes that a Christian is under the Lordship of Christ once he or she has been taken under his wing. I would recommend reading this particular article on the subject: http://www.gty.org.uk/resources/articles/A114/an-introduction-to-lordship-salvation?Term=lordship%20salvation

Sam Shamoun
Many Muslims try to anger Sam Shamoun and record him and try to paint him as an ugly foul creature that shouldn't be followed.

HOWEVER, What most fail to tell you is this and this is what Shamoun himself has pointed out.
"I normally do not treat sincere Muslims, who ask sincere questions this way, In fact I DON'T treat sincere Muslims who ask sincere questions this way. Because when I see a sincere Muslim asking sincere questions, I want to answer his questions with the hopes that the Lord Jesus will touch his heart. However, when you deal with blasphemous internet trolls, blasphemous Muhammadans, who have no shame in blaspheming the Lord Jesus Christ and slandering the people of God, then I will not hesitate to give them a taste of their own medicine, treat them as they deserve."

and

"Muslims if you respect us and ask sincere questions, I'll respect you in turn, and I will answer all the questions by the grace of Jesus Christ, with the hopes that you'll see the truth and escape Islam. But Muslims, If you blaspheme the Lord Jesus and attack his people, then do not feel shocked when I give you a taste of your own medicine, treat you as you deserve, because there are passages in the Bible that say, sometimes if necessary to answer a fool according to his stupidity."

The comments can be found here in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oIEijB2rzc

Myself
I have already commented on other lies in another paper so I'll just simply link to that: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/just-few-comments.html

One set of lies pertains to me and Shamoun collectively, namely the false accusations of contacting his wife, emailing and inviting his kids to Islam, helping Anjem Choudary in a debate, being malicious to Shamoun, trying to steal his money and viewers through web trafficking etc. All of which are simply untrue. It makes me wonder if the people who spend time making rumours about others, be they me or other apologists I have mentioned have anything better to do with their lives.

If there was one thing I would say regarding Shamoun's website, it would be this, go to his website with my blessing.

More may be mentioned in a later paper Lord Willing

Answering Judaism.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Universalism and the Church Fathers: Addendum on Tertullian

This article covers quickly two chapters from Tertullian's apology which can be found here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0301.htm

Next, Chapter 48:

When, therefore, the boundary and limit, that millennial interspace, has been passed, when even the outward fashion of the world itself— which has been spread like a veil over the eternal economy, equally a thing of time— passes away, then the whole human race shall be raised again, to have its dues meted out according as it has merited in the period of good or evil, and thereafter to have these paid out through the immeasurable ages of eternity. Therefore after this there is neither death nor repeated resurrections, but we shall be the same that we are now, and still unchanged— the servants of God, ever with God, clothed upon with the proper substance of eternity; but the profane, and all who are not true worshippers of God, in like manner shall be consigned to the punishment of everlasting fire— that fire which, from its very nature indeed, directly ministers to their incorruptibility. The philosophers are familiar as well as we with the distinction between a common and a secret fire. Thus that which is in common use is far different from that which we see in divine judgments, whether striking as thunderbolts from heaven, or bursting up out of the earth through mountain-tops; for it does not consume what it scorches, but while it burns it repairs. So the mountains continue ever burning; and a person struck by lighting is even now kept safe from any destroying flame. A notable proof this of the fire eternal! A notable example of the endless judgment which still supplies punishment with fuel! The mountains burn, and last. How will it be with the wicked and the enemies of God?

Tertullian is confirming the destinies of the human race after death, either eternal life or eternal death, giving no evidence of universalism. The healing fire that is present is not a restorative fire, but simply fire that continues to burn, as if fuel is constantly being fed to it, prolonging it.

And finally, Chapter 49:
"These are what are called presumptuous speculations in our case alone; in the philosophers and poets they are regarded as sublime speculations and illustrious discoveries. They are men of wisdom, we are fools. They are worthy of all honour, we are folk to have the finger pointed at; nay, besides that, we are even to have punishments inflicted on us. But let things which are the defence of virtue, if you will, have no foundation, and give them duly the name of fancies, yet still they are necessary; let them be absurd if you will, yet they are of use: they make all who believe them better men and women, under the fear of never-ending punishment and the hope of never-ending bliss."
The argument that Tertullian means only for a time doesn't work in light of what he is saying and it's a similiar statement to what I and others have said. If hell is not eternal and conscious, neither is heaven. You cannot have one that is eternal but not the other.

Answering Judaism.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Addendum to Adam, Eve and the Fall: Response to Sophiee Saguy: Comments on Genesis 4:7

"People are not born into sin. People are born with an inclination to evil and may choose between good or evil. Again, this is clearly stated in Torah.

This is re-enforced in Genesis 4:7 when G-d speaks to Cain and tells him that good and evil are his choices and that he (Cain) should choose good. G-d tells Cain that he can master evil.

Ergo if Cain can CHOOSE he isnt born evil or born into sin."

The text actually says:
"Genesis 4:6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him."

While Cain was presented with a choice, he refused to take the right road. Barnes in his commentary has an interesting take on this text:
"And if thou do not well, at the door is sin lying. - Sin past, in its unrequited and unacknowledged guilt; sin present, in its dark and stubborn passion and despair; but, above all, sin future, as the growing habit of a soul that persists in an evil temper, and therefore must add iniquity unto iniquity, is awaiting thee at the door, as a crouching slave the bidding of his master. As one lie borrows an endless train of others to keep up a vain appearance of consistency, so one sin if not repented of and forsaken involves the dire necessity of plunging deeper and deeper into the gulf of depravity and retribution. This dread warning to Cain, expressed in the mildest and plainest terms, is a standing lesson written for the learning of all mankind. Let him who is in the wrong retract at once, and return to God with humble acknowledgment of his own guilt, and unreserved submission to the mercy of his Maker; for to him who perseveres in sin there can be no hope or help. Another sentence is added to give intensity to the warning." (http://biblehub.com/commentaries/genesis/4-6.htm)

The only theory I have is Cain was like Abel at some point in his life. Either he was righteous like Abel by God's grace and he fell away, or he feigned goodness (Abel didn't feign goodness to clarify). But here is the thing, Sin is not so easy to master as many would like us to believe, but that is no excuse to deliberately submit to it and that is indeed what Cain, sadly did. For that matter, Cain would only be able to overcome his sin if he allowed God to do a mighty work in him to restore him but obviously Cain hardened his heart and refused.

Anthony Rogers of Answering Islam provided his comments on this issue when I enquired about this point:
""People are born with an inclination to evil..."

True, people are inclined toward evil from birth. But this isn't the way God made man, i.e. Adam, and is a result of the fall.

In addition, this inclination to evil, being contrary to man's original "goodness," i.e. contrary to what man was when he first came from the hand of his Maker, is itself evil. Notice, for example, that Genesis 6 does not simply say that man is inclined to evil but that his inclinations themselves are evil:

"5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord."

What distinguished Noah and set him apart from the people of his time was not that he was good and chose the good but that he found FAVOR/GRACE in the eyes of the Lord.

Genesis 4:7 does say that sin is crouching at the door and that Cain must master it, but it does not say that he had the ability to do so, at least not of himself. The only way Cain would have been able to overcome his own (sinful) bent toward sin is if Cain, like Noah, would have "found favor in the eyes of the Lord.""

Hopefully the comments have been addressed adequately.

Did Justin Martyr believe in Universalism?

In this article, we are going to take a look at Justin Martyr's First Apology to see if he held to a universalist perspective. Here is the letter if you want to read for yourself.

Justin Martyr, First Apology
We observe the following in the context of Justin's letter. Firstly, let us take a look at Chapter 8:
"And reckon that it is for your sakes we have been saying these things; for it is in our power, when we are examined, to deny that we are Christians; but we would not live by telling a lie. For, impelled by the desire of the eternal and pure life, we seek the abode that is with God, the Father and Creator of all, and hasten to confess our faith, persuaded and convinced as we are that they who have proved to God by their works that they followed Him, and loved to abide with Him where there is no sin to cause disturbance, can obtain these things. This, then, to speak shortly, is what we expect and have learned from Christ, and teach. And Plato, in like manner, used to say that Rhadamanthus and Minos would punish the wicked who came before them; and we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which are now to undergo everlasting punishment; and not only, as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years. And if any one say that this is incredible or impossible, this error of ours is one which concerns ourselves only, and no other person, so long as you cannot convict us of doing any harm."

Justin isn't saying that hellfire came from the pagans, He is however saying that the pagans are teaching similar things to the Christians but points out Christ is the one to dispense judgement. He also points out that hell is eternal and NOT merely for a period of time, specifically, not for 1000 years only.

Let's also take a look at a section in Chapter 12:
"And more than all other men are we your helpers and allies in promoting peace, seeing that we hold this view, that it is alike impossible for the wicked, the covetous, the conspirator, and for the virtuous, to escape the notice of God, and that each man goes to everlasting punishment or salvation according to the value of his actions. For if all men knew this, no one would choose wickedness even for a little, knowing that he goes to the everlasting punishment of fire; but would by all means restrain himself, and adorn himself with virtue, that he might obtain the good gifts of God, and escape the punishments. For those who, on account of the laws and punishments you impose, endeavour to escape detection when they offend (and they offend, too, under the impression that it is quite possible to escape your detection, since you are but men), those persons, if they learned and were convinced that nothing, whether actually done or only intended, can escape the knowledge of God, would by all means live decently on account of the penalties threatened, as even you yourselves will admit. But you seem to fear lest all men become righteous, and you no longer have any to punish. Such would be the concern of public executioners, but not of good princes."

This is a very telling statement indeed, very similar to what was mentioned in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, If men know and believe that there is eternal judgement to come in the future, They would be begging God to rescue them from their evil ways and repent. Telling someone that judgement only last for a brief time isn't going to compel them to repent.

We also take a look at Chapter 20:
"And the Sibyl and Hystaspes said that there should be a dissolution by God of things corruptible. And the philosophers called Stoics teach that even God Himself shall be resolved into fire, and they say that the world is to be formed anew by this revolution; but we understand that God, the Creator of all things, is superior to the things that are to be changed. If, therefore, on some points we teach the same things as the poets and philosophers whom you honour, and on other points are fuller and more divine in our teaching, and if we alone afford proof of what we assert, why are we unjustly hated more than all others? For while we say that all things have been produced and arranged into a world by God, we shall seem to utter the doctrine of Plato; and while we say that there will be a burning up of all, we shall seem to utter the doctrine of the Stoics: and while we affirm that the souls of the wicked, being endowed with sensation even after death, are punished, and that those of the good being delivered from punishment spend a blessed existence, we shall seem to say the same things as the poets and philosophers; and while we maintain that men ought not to worship the works of their hands, we say the very things which have been said by the comic poet Menander, and other similar writers, for they have declared that the workman is greater than the work."

It is of paramount importance to note that Justin isn't saying that hellfire itself comes from the stoics or pagans, he is affirming the opposite, that the pagans are actually BORROWING from the Christians and that the Christians have the true, fuller picture of biblical truth. The same can be said of the following passage in Chapter 21:

The point of the pagans borrowing from the Christians I have already mentioned and can be found in the chapter, but let us look here at this particular statement:

"But, as we said above, wicked devils perpetrated these things. And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue; and we believe that those who live wickedly and do not repent are punished in everlasting fire."

Observe also Chapter 29:
"For among us the prince of the wicked spirits is called the serpent, and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And that he would be sent into the fire with his host, and the men who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration, Christ foretold. For the reason why God has delayed to do this, is His regard for the human race. For He foreknows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative. And if any one disbelieves that God cares for these things, he will thereby either insinuate that God does not exist, or he will assert that though He exists He delights in vice, or exists like a stone, and that neither virtue nor vice are anything, but only in the opinion of men these things are reckoned good or evil. And this is the greatest profanity and wickedness."

Justin makes the point here very effectively:
1. Satan and the demons and those who follow them are thrown into the fire for eternal punishment.
2. Those who follow Satan  and the demons are thrown into the fire for eternal punishment.
3. The word eternal isn't merely a duration
4. God has delayed judgement to give the human race a chance to repent
5. Only a few shall repent and turn to Christ with no indication of a second chance after death
6. All men are without excuse, a point that echoes Paul's own words (Romans 1:20)
7. Those who deny God exists and live in their sins are condemned.

Moving on to Chapter 45:
"And that God the Father of all would bring Christ to heaven after He had raised Him from the dead, and would keep Him there until He has subdued His enemies the devils, and until the number of those who are foreknown by Him as good and virtuous is complete, on whose account He has still delayed the consummation— hear what was said by the prophet David. These are his words: The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool. The Lord shall send to You the rod of power out of Jerusalem; and rule You in the midst of Your enemies. With You is the government in the day of Your power, in the beauties of Your saints: from the womb of morning have I begotten You. That which he says, He shall send to You the rod of power out of Jerusalem, is predictive of the mighty word, which His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere; and though death is decreed against those who teach or at all confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both embrace and teach it. And if you also read these words in a hostile spirit, you can do no more, as I said before, than kill us; which indeed does no harm to us, but to you and all who unjustly hate us, and do not repent, brings eternal punishment by fire."

I think this passage speaks for itself.

And finally Chapter 52:
"Since, then, we prove that all things which have already happened had been predicted by the prophets before they came to pass, we must necessarily believe also that those things which are in like manner predicted, but are yet to come to pass, shall certainly happen. For as the things which have already taken place came to pass when foretold, and even though unknown, so shall the things that remain, even though they be unknown and disbelieved, yet come to pass. For the prophets have proclaimed two advents of His: the one, that which is already past, when He came as a dishonoured and suffering Man; but the second, when, according to prophecy, He shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by His angelic host, when also He shall raise the bodies of all men who have lived, and shall clothe those of the worthy with immortality, and shall send those of the wicked, endued with eternal sensibility, into everlasting fire with the wicked devils. And that these things also have been foretold as yet to be, we will prove. By Ezekiel the prophet it was said: Joint shall be joined to joint, and bone to bone, and flesh shall grow again; and every knee shall bow to the Lord, and every tongue shall confess Him. Ezekiel 37:7-8; Isaiah 45:24 And in what kind of sensation and punishment the wicked are to be, hear from what was said in like manner with reference to this; it is as follows: Their worm shall not rest, and their fire shall not be quenched; Isaiah 66:24 and then shall they repent, when it profits them not. And what the people of the Jews shall say and do, when they see Him coming in glory, has been thus predicted by Zechariah the prophet: I will command the four winds to gather the scattered children; I will command the north wind to bring them, and the south wind, that it keep not back. And then in Jerusalem there shall be great lamentation, not the lamentation of mouths or of lips, but the lamentation of the heart; and they shall rend not their garments, but their hearts. Tribe by tribe they shall mourn, and then they shall look on Him whom they have pierced; and they shall say, Why, O Lord, have You made us to err from Your way? The glory which our fathers blessed, has for us been turned into shame."

Many will bow to the knee of Jesus when he returns, but it will be too late to accept him and they will be chucked into eternal hellfire.

That's all that I have to say on Justin Martyr, at least for the time being.

Answering Judaism.

Universalism and the Church Fathers

Origen, an early church Father is often considered the one whom universalism came from. Some suggest that Gregory of Nyssa even taught universalism, but that can be contested. Did the early Church Fathers teach universalism? Let's take a look at the letters of the Fathers
You can read Gregory of Nyssa's document here: http://newadvent.org/fathers/2908.htm

As I have said in a previous paper, To claim Universalism was taught by the early church because it wasn't condemned at that time but only later is an argument from silence. The fact the Bible itself doesn't teach universalism condemns their heresy regardless of a council, just as Anti Trinitarianism is condemned by the Bible regardless of a council opposing it. Tertullian in his letter against Praexeus condemned Modalism. Are we to assume that Modalism is valid just because a council condemned it later? A council isn't the ultimate authority, the Bible is but that doesn't mean it is the only authority. The council as an authority can be used but the council is subordinate to the Bible.

A church father not explicitly writing against or addressing universalism is irrelevant, but what they say about the destiny of man nevertheless, puts a lot of the arguments used by the universalists down.

Granted even if a church father was a hopeful universalist, it still gives NO credence to the universalist position as a valid position to take.

The argument that a church father saying "eternal punishment means he actually meant just punished for a long time" is not going to cut it either.

Irenaeus of Lyons may be explored in another article if the Lord Wills.

Ignatius of Antioch
We read the following from Ignatius of Antioch, a student of the apostle John and this is what he said:

"Chapter 16. The fate of false teachers

Do not err, my brethren. James 1:16 Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 If, then, those who do this as respects the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with any one who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified! Such an one becoming defiled [in this way], shall go away into everlasting fire, and so shall every one that hearkens unto him.

Chapter 17. Beware of false doctrines

For this end did the Lord allow the ointment to be poured upon His head, John 12:7 that He might breathe immortality into His Church. Be not anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of the prince of this world; let him not lead you away captive from the life which is set before you. And why are we not all prudent, since we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we foolishly perish, not recognising the gift which the Lord has of a truth sent to us?" http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0104.htm

Ignatius gives us a stern warning with respect to false teachers and even tells us the fate of such men in the context. He warns us against the false doctrines of men and those who hold to the false teachings will be lost, as well as those who take those false teachings as true.

He doesn't explicitly or implicitly say that those in hell will eventually be redeemed, he rather indicates that their fate will go on forever, not purely for an age or a period.

Second Clement
Within the context of this letter, there is a common theme running through. To love not the world nor the things of this world and to submit to Christ.

The letter itself speaks of a severe penalty for those who do not obey Jesus and the Gospel:
"2Clement 5:5 And ye know, brethren, that the sojourn of this flesh in this world
is mean and for a short time, but the promise of Christ is great and
marvelous, even the rest of the kingdom that shall be and of life
eternal. 5:6 What then can we do to obtain them, but walk in holiness and
righteousness, and consider these worldly things as alien to us, and
not desire them? 5:7 For when we desire to obtain these things we fall away from the
righteous path. 6:1 But the Lord saith, No servant can serve two masters. If we
desire to serve both God and mammon, it is unprofitable for us: 6:2
For what advantage is it, if a man gain the whole world and forfeit
his soul? 6:3 Now this age and the future are two enemies. 6:4
The one speaketh of adultery and defilement and avarice and deceit,
but the other biddeth farewell to these. 6:5 We cannot therefore be friends of the two, but must bid farewell to the one and hold companionship with the other. 6:6
Let us consider that it is better to hate the things which are here,
because they are mean and for a short time and perishable, and to
love the things which are there, for they are good and imperishable.
For, if we do the will of Christ, we shall find rest; but if
otherwise, then nothing shall deliver us from eternal punishment, if
we should disobey His commandments."

The warning is to believers, but the message still remains. Eternal punishment awaits those who do not listen to Jesus and resist his will, going their own way and making it clear we cannot live in the pleasures of sin and claim Christ as our rock and foundation. We also observe another point made by the writer:
"2Clem 8:1 While we are on earth then, let us repent: for we are clay under the
craftsman's hand. 8:2 For in like manner as the potter, if he be making a vessel, and it
get twisted or crushed in his hands, reshapeth it again; but if he have once put it into the fiery oven, he shall no longer mend it: so also let us, while we are in this world, repent with our whole heart of the evil things which we have done in the flesh, that we may be saved by the Lord, while we have yet time for repentance. 8:3 For after that we have departed out of the world, we can no more make confession there, or repent any more. 8:4 Wherefore, brethren, if we shall have done the will of the Father and kept the flesh pure and guarded the commandments of the Lord, we shall receive life eternal."

Once death occurs, the time for repentance and forgiveness ends. There is nothing in this letter to suggest that one has a second chance after death, Clement of Rome happens to believe there isn't such.

To further look into his words we see this:
"2Clem 16:1 Therefore, brethren, since we have found no small opportunity for
repentance, seeing that we have time, let us turn again unto God that
called us, while we have still One that receiveth us. 16:2 For if we bid farewell to these enjoyments and conquer our soul in refusing to fulfill its evil lusts, we shall be partakers of the mercy of Jesus. 16:3But ye know that the day of judgment cometh even now as a burning oven, and the powers of the heavens shall melt, and all the earth as lead melting on the fire, and then shall appear the secret and open works of men. 16:4 Almsgiving therefore is a good thing, even as repentance from sin> Fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving better than both. And love covereth a multitude of sins, but prayer out of a good conscience delivereth from death. Blessed is every man that is found full of these. For almsgiving lifteth off the burden of sin. 

17:1 Let us therefore repent with our whole heart, lest any of us perish by the way. For if we have received commands, that we should make this our business, to tear men away from idols and to instruct them, how much more is it wrong that a soul which knoweth God already should perish! 17:2 Therefore let us assist one another, that we may also lead the weak upward as touching that which is good, to the end that we all may be saved: and let us convert and admonish one another. 17:3 And let us not think to give heed and believe now only, while we have departed home, let us remember the commandments of the Lord, and not suffer ourselves to be dragged off the other way by our worldly lusts; but coming hither more frequently, let us strive to go forward in the commandments of the Lord, that we all having the same mind may be gathered together unto life. 17:4 For the Lord said, I come to gather together all the nations, tribes, and languages. Herein He speaketh of the day of His appearing, when He shall come and redeem us, each man according to his works. 17:5 And the unbelievers shall see His glory and His might: and they shall be amazed when they see the kingdom of the world given to Jesus, saying, Woe unto us, for Thou wast, and we knew it not, and believed not; and we obeyed not the presbyters when they told us of our salvation. And Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be for a spectacle unto all flesh. 17:6 He speaketh of that day of judgment, when men shall see those among us that live ungodly lives and dealt falsely with the commandments of Jesus Christ. 17:7 But the righteous, done good and endured torments and hated pleasures of the soul, when they shall behold them that have
done amiss and denied Jesus by their words or by their deeds, how that they are punished with grievous torments in unquenchable fire, shall give glory to God, saying, There will be hope for him that hath served God with his whole heart."

Pleasure is not the highest calling of the Christian life. While there may be debates about certain issues such as hobbies, sports, movies etc as to whether or not a Christian can do these things or not, Regardless of such, they are NOT the highest calling of Christian people.

There is a penalty on those who live wicked lives and not repent. They may witness the glory of Christ, but they will never be saved, neither in this age nor the age to come. We are told by Clement to repent NOW, to receive Christ NOW and not later.
You can read the letter in question here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/2clement-lightfoot.html

The Martyrdom of Polycarp
In this letter, we observe a few things:
"Polycarp 2:1 Blessed therefore and noble are all the martyrdoms which have taken place according to the will of God (for it behoveth us to be very scrupulous and to assign to God the power over all things). 2:2 For who could fail to admire their nobleness and patient endurance and loyalty to the Master? seeing that when they were so torn by lashes that the mechanism of their flesh was visible even as far as the inward veins and arteries, they endured patiently, so that the very bystanders had pity and wept; while they themselves reached such a pitch of bravery that none of them uttered a cry or a groan, thus showing to us all that at that hour the martyrs of Christ being tortured were absent from the flesh, or rather that the Lord was standing by and conversing with them. 2:3 And giving heed unto the grace of Christ they despised the tortures of this world, purchasing at the cost of one hour a release from eternal punishment. And they found the fire of their inhuman torturers cold: for they set before their eyes the escape from the eternal fire which is never quenched; while with the eyes of their heart they gazed upon the good things which are reserved for those that endure patiently, things which neither ear hath heard nor eye hath seen, neither have they entered into the heart of man, but were shown by the Lord to them, for they were no longer men but angels already. 2:4 And in like manner also those that were condemned to the wild beasts endured fearful punishments, being made to lie on sharp shells and buffeted with other forms of manifold tortures, that the devil might, if possible, by the persistence of the punishment bring them to a denial; for he tried many wiles against them.

Polycarp 3:1 But thanks be to God; for He verily prevailed against all. For the right noble Germanicus encouraged their timorousness through the constancy which was in him; and he fought with the wild beasts in a signal way. For when the proconsul wished to prevail upon him and bade him have pity on his youth, he used violence and dragged the wild beast towards him, desiring the more speedily to obtain a release from their unrighteous and lawless life. 3:2 So after this all the multitude, marvelling at the bravery of the God-beloved and God-fearing people of the Christians, raised a cry, 'Away with the atheists; let search be made for Polycarp.'

Polycarp 4:1
But one man, Quintus by name, a Phrygian newly arrived from Phrygia, when he saw the wild beasts, turned coward. He it was who had forced himself and some others to come forward of their own free will. This man the proconsul by much entreaty persuaded to swear the oath and to offer incense. For this cause therefore, brethren, we praise not those who deliver themselves up, since the Gospel doth not so teach us."

The believers who suffered for the name of Jesus were quite willing to endure a short time of persecution for the sake of Jesus and recognized the price of rejecting Jesus or not believing in him, which would result in not hell fire lasting for a season, but hell fire lasting for eternity.

Hear also what Polycarp says to the proconsul in the context:
"Polycarp 11:1 Whereupon the proconsul said; 'I have wild beasts here and I will throw thee to them, except thou repent' But he said, 'Call for them: for the repentance from better to worse is a change not permitted to us; but it is a noble thing to change from untowardness to righteousness' 11:2 Then he said to him again, 'I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, if thou despisest the wild beasts, unless thou repent.' But Polycarp said; 'Thou threatenest that fire which burneth for a season and after a little while is quenched: for thou art ignorant of the fire of the future judgment and eternal punishment, which is reserved for the ungodly. But why delayest thou? Come, do what thou wilt.'"

Here is a point to drive home, The proconsol would not be threatened by a judgement by that was temporary, that would not instill a fear into his heart, because it would be a place where he would look forward to getting out of said hellfire.

Here is the whole of The Martyrdom of Polycarp for you to read: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/martyrdompolycarp-lightfoot.html

The Epistle to Diognetis
Mathetes wrote this letter to give an exposition on the Christian faith to Diognetis, a ruler. This is what Mathetes says in Chapter 10 of his letter:
"10:5 For happiness consisteth not in lordship over one's neighbours, nor in desiring to have more than weaker men, nor in possessing wealth and using force to inferiors; neither can any one imitate God in these matters; nay, these lie outside His greatness. 10:6 But whosoever taketh upon himself the burden of his neighbour, whosoever desireth to benefit one that is worse off in that in which he himself is superior, whosoever by supplying to those that are in want possessions which he received from God becomes a God to those who receive them from him, he is an imitator of God.


10:7 Then, though thou art placed on earth, thou shalt behold that God liveth in heaven; then shalt thou begin to declare the mysteries of God; then shalt thou both love and admire those that are punished because they will not deny God; then shalt thou condemn the deceit and error of the world; when thou shalt perceive the true life which is in heaven, when thou shalt despise the apparent death which is here on earth, when thou shalt fear the real death, which is reserved for those that shall be condemned to the eternal fire that shall punish those delivered over to it unto the end. 10:8 Then shalt thou admire those who endure for righteousness' sake the fire that is for a season, and shalt count them blessed when thou perceivest that fire ..." http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/diognetus-lightfoot.html

Christians endure persecution for a season but will receive the gift of heaven at the end of their struggle, whereas the unrighteous people's punishment will last for ever. Why fear the second death if it doesn't have eternal consequences?

To Autolycus Book 1 chapters 1-14
"Therefore, do not be sceptical, but believe; for I myself also used to disbelieve that this would take place, but now, having taken these things into consideration, I believe. At the same time, I met with the sacred Scriptures of the holy prophets, who also by the Spirit of God foretold the things that have already happened, just as they came to pass, and the things now occurring as they are now happening, and things future in the order in which they shall be accomplished. Admitting, therefore, the proof which events happening as predicted afford, I do not disbelieve, but I believe, obedient to God, whom, if you please, do you also submit to, believing Him, lest if now you continue unbelieving, you be convinced hereafter, when you are tormented with eternal punishments; which punishments, when they had been foretold by the prophets, the later-born poets and philosophers stole from the holy Scriptures, to make their doctrines worthy of credit. Yet these also have spoken beforehand of the punishments that are to light upon the profane and unbelieving, in order that none be left without a witness, or be able to say, We have not heard, neither have we known. But do you also, if you please, give reverential attention to the prophetic Scriptures, and they will make your way plainer for escaping the eternal punishments, and obtaining the eternal prizes of God. For He who gave the mouth for speech, and formed the ear to hear, and made the eye to see, will examine all things, and will judge righteous judgment, rendering merited awards to each. To those who by patient continuance in well-doing Romans 2:7 seek immortality, He will give life everlasting, joy, peace, rest, and abundance of good things, which neither has eye seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive. 1 Corinthians 2:9 But to the unbelieving and despisers, who obey not the truth, but are obedient to unrighteousness, when they shall have been filled with adulteries and fornications, and filthiness, and covetousness, and unlawful idolatries, there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, Romans 2:8-9 and at the last everlasting fire shall possess such men. Since you said, Show me your God, this is my God, and I counsel you to fear Him and to trust Him." http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02041.htm

I think Theophilis who wrote the letter speaks for himself quite plainly. Need any explanation regarding hellfire?

Athengoras
In his plea for the Christians, this is what Athengoras said:
"But they have further also made up stories against us of impious feasts and forbidden intercourse between the sexes, both that they may appear to themselves to have rational grounds of hatred, and because they think either by fear to lead us away from our way of life, or to render the rulers harsh and inexorable by the magnitude of the charges they bring. But they lose their labour with those who know that from of old it has been the custom, and not in our time only, for vice to make war on virtue. Thus Pythagoras, with three hundred others, was burnt to death; Heraclitus and Democritus were banished, the one from the city of the Ephesians, the other from Abdera, because he was charged with being mad; and the Athenians condemned Socrates to death. But as they were none the worse in respect of virtue because of the opinion of the multitude, so neither does the undiscriminating calumny of some persons cast any shade upon us as regards rectitude of life, for with God we stand in good repute. Nevertheless, I will meet these charges also, although I am well assured that by what has been already said I have cleared myself to you. For as you excel all men in intelligence, you know that those whose life is directed towards God as its rule, so that each one among us may be blameless and irreproachable before Him, will not entertain even the thought of the slightest sin. For if we believed that we should live only the present life, then we might be suspected of sinning, through being enslaved to flesh and blood, or overmastered by gain or carnal desire; but since we know that God is witness to what we think and what we say both by night and by day, and that He, being Himself light, sees all things in our heart, we are persuaded that when we are removed from the present life we shall live another life, better than the present one, and heavenly, not earthly (since we shall abide near God, and with God, free from all change or suffering in the soul, not as flesh, even though we shall have flesh, but as heavenly spirit), or, falling with the rest, a worse one and in fire; for God has not made us as sheep or beasts of burden, a mere by-work, and that we should perish and be annihilated. On these grounds it is not likely that we should wish to do evil, or deliver ourselves over to the great Judge to be punished." http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0205.htm

The context of the letter is a plea to the government to treat Christians in a dignified way, as well as dealing with misconceptions about the Christian life, what polytheism is, true conduct among believers etc. Basically it is a lengthy paper dealing with numerous points. Athengoras points out that there are two destinies awaiting man, one of eternal joy and one of eternal damnation, but not hint of leaving hell is given implicitly.

Tertullian of Carthage, Apology
Let us now take a look at Tertullian. Here is Chapter 18:
"But, that we might attain an ampler and more authoritative knowledge at once of Himself, and of His counsels and will, God has added a written revelation for the benefit of every one whose heart is set on seeking Him, that seeking he may find, and finding believe, and believing obey. For from the first He sent messengers into the world—men whose stainless righteousness made them worthy to know the Most High, and to reveal Him—men abundantly endowed with the Holy Spirit, that they might proclaim that there is one God only who made all things, who formed man from the dust of the ground (for He is the true Prometheus who gave order to the world by arranging the seasons and their course)—these have further set before us the proofs He has given of His majesty in His judgments by floods and fires, the rules appointed by Him for securing His favour, as well as the retribution in store for the ignoring, forsaking and keeping them, as being about at the end of all to adjudge His worshippers to everlasting life, and the wicked to the doom of fire at once without ending and without break, raising up again all the dead from the beginning, reforming and renewing them with the object of awarding either recompense."

While he is giving an exposition on the Christian faith, Tertullian himself points out that hell itself doesn't end. He doesn't give any implicit evidence of hell ceasing.

We'll also look at Chapter 45:
"We, then, alone are without crime. Is there ought wonderful in that, if it be a very necessity with us? For a necessity indeed it is. Taught of God himself what goodness is, we have both a perfect knowledge of it as revealed to us by a perfect Master; and faithfully we do His will, as enjoined on us by a Judge we dare not despise. But your ideas of virtue you have got from mere human opinion; on human authority, too, its obligation rests: hence your system of practical morality is deficient, both in the fullness and authority requisite to produce a life of real virtue. Man's wisdom to point out what is good, is no greater than his authority to exact the keeping of it; the one is as easily deceived as the other is despised. And so, which is the ampler rule, to say, You shall not kill, or to teach, Be not even angry? Which is more perfect, to forbid adultery, or to restrain from even a single lustful look? Which indicates the higher intelligence, interdicting evil-doing, or evil-speaking? Which is more thorough, not allowing an injury, or not even suffering an injury done to you to be repaid? Though withal you know that these very laws also of yours, which seem to lead to virtue, have been borrowed from the law of God as the ancient model. Of the age of Moses we have already spoken. But what is the real authority of human laws, when it is in man's power both to evade them, by generally managing to hide himself out of sight in his crimes, and to despise them sometimes, if inclination or necessity leads him to offend? Think of these things, too, in the light of the brevity of any punishment you can inflict— never to last longer than till death. On this ground Epicurus makes light of all suffering and pain, maintaining that if it is small, it is contemptible; and if it is great, it is not long-continued. No doubt about it, we, who receive our awards under the judgment of an all-seeing God, and who look forward to eternal punishment from Him for sin—we alone make real effort to attain a blameless life, under the influence of our ampler knowledge, the impossibility of concealment, and the greatness of the threatened torment, not merely long-enduring but everlasting, fearing Him, whom he too should fear who the fearing judges,— even God, I mean, and not the proconsul."

Tertullian makes an interesting point regarding human morality from their own opinion to human morality from a divine perspective, that goodness is revealed by God and no one else and talks about what makes a blameless life. He even confirms a point that I have made previously, what everlasting actually means, namely something that lasts forever and not merely for a time.

We shall take a look at more church fathers in another paper.

Answering Judaism.

Just a few comments

Here in this article are a number of lengthy comments.

Answering such a group
The reason I call myself Answering Judaism is because I answer Jewish Objections to Jesus, whereas Sam Shamoun calls his website Answering Islam because he answers Muslim objections to Jesus.
You also have a case of Calling Muslims and Calling Christians. Is one borrowing from the other or stealing from the other? Not really.

Calling yourself Answering x or Answering y or even calling yourself Calling x and Calling y, doesn't mean you are stealing from another individual. If someone calls themselves Answering Atheists, are they stealing? No.

Donations

I do NOT ask for donations. I do not earn money through this site, let alone my ministry: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/donation-to-ministries-for-what-purpose.html. To put this in greater context, I don't make money through my website by "web trafficking" and I don't ask for donations, period. Answering Islam is much larger website, run by more individuals and is more well known. Little me isn't a threat to them or their audience.

If you want to give a donation to someone else's cause, that's fine, but I do not accept donations period.

You may remember a while back what Word Faith heretic Creflo Dollar attempted to do with his donations and you can find what he tried to do in the article above.

Considering the fact that false teachers abuse of donations from their followers, many Godly men have been falsely attacked and accused of the very things the word faith preachers do. Donations in this day and age tend to leave true men of God get attack thanks to the vile greed mongers who don't actually deserve the money.

I will happily accept prayers for safety, growing in holiness and asking the Lord to keep me pure and in check, those I'll happily take, but I will not accept donations and I don't ask you for such.

Answering Judaism never has, nor will ever request donations from anyone.

Mental Illness
This is indeed a subject that needs commenting on. Let's face it, It's not an easy thing to live with and it can be frustrating for the individual, be they sufferers of bipolar, austism, aspergers (minor autism) etc. I am not going to pretend that mental illness is something that can be lived with easily. Still, the love the Trinity displays to the person, can help them get through difficult times.

If we have any brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to be understanding of them, we need to have compassion on them and try to help them biblically anyway we can.

We cannot claim to know everything about an individual and claiming one knowingly abuses those who are mentally ill after only a few interactions is dishonest.You cannot assume someone knows everything about other people, be they on the internet or in public just because of one or two interactions. I know because I have been falsely accused of knowingly abusing mentally ill individuals in the past and I am certain that others have had the same done to them, Who knows?

There is also another factor to keep in mind, We CANNOT assume someone who suffers mental illness is demon possessed. While demon possession occurs today, That doesn't mean the person who suffers from mental illness is necessarily in that position. You could make the assertion that the person is demonically OPPRESSED by an external factor and that is plausible, but we need to be careful before we even bring such a charge, otherwise we are going to hurt people.

Anti-semiticism
This is a serious problem that should not be left unchecked. I have written some papers responding to Uri Yosef on whether or not the New Testament teaches anti-semiticism, so I recommend checking those out.

Anti-Semiticism is to be very blunt, evil. It offends me when Jews are blamed for all the problems in the world or just attacked because they stick out like a sore thumb. And it's doubling disgusting when I see Christians engaging in such behavior. It is one thing to say to a Jew that they have rejected God and need to repent, Every one is in that position if they are not in Christ, but to call them anti-semitic words which I dare not post here, is beyond reprehensible and to also accuse me of such is also slanderous. I would also take issue with someone being labeled anti-semitic when they are not like that.

We don't need this poison to exist.

Answering Judaism


Defense of Paul of Tarsus: Response to a Muslim 5

In this article I shall be tackling more objections raised by the Muslim author I am responding to.

What this Muslim fellow fails to mention to the people he is seeking to write to is Paul mostly quotes from the Septuagint reading of the TANAKH, rather than the Masoretic text.
"31.

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy"
(Ex. 20:8)

versus

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days"
(Col. 2:16)."

The subject of the Sabbath I have dealt with in another article: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/observance-of-torah-demanded-of-gentiles.html

"32.

...For it is written....The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain"
l Cor. 3:20

Paul misquoted Psalm 94:11
"The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity"."
The wise that Paul has in mind are wise in the sense of worldly wisdom rather than Godly wisdom. The individuals are plotting schemes with God knowing their hearts and their plans being brought to ruination.
The context of the same even makes that clear:
"8 Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
    you fools, when will you become wise?
9 Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
    Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
    Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11 The Lord knows all human plans;
    he knows that they are futile."
God wants those who are truly wise in his sight, not those who pretend to be.

"33.

"And again, Isaiah saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust")
Rom. 15:12

Paul misquoted Isa. 11:10

"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek....).
Isaiah does not say he shall reign or rule over the Gentiles
Isaiah refers to "it" not "him." This seems to be a trick taught by Paul which Christians have learned well and they apply it to the Comforter."

What the Muslim fails to mention is that the root and branch mentioned in the passage is a reference to the Messianic King, which even Rabbinic Jews would recognize, despite differing with Christians on who the Messiah is. The Gentiles who trust in the Messiah and come to him will accept him as their king and ruler. Both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity acknowledge that the Messiah will rule over all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike.

"34.

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him")
1 Cor. 2:9

he misquoted Isa. 64:4

"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him".
Nowhere in Isa. 64:4 does it say, "neither have entered into the heart of man."
Paul states, "the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Yet, Isaiah 64:4 does not state or even imply that there will be a future reward for those that love God. It merely states that God will work for those who wait for him.
Paul also omits, "no eye has seen a God besides thee,""

Coffman notes the following in his commentary on this issue:

""Neither hath the eye seen ..." (Isaiah 64:4). Lowth noted that commentators generally suppose that Paul was quoting from this passage in 1 Corinthians 2:9, adding that, "It seems very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile them."[7]

All such suggestions, implying that Paul garbled, misquoted, or otherwise erred in such alleged quotations are based upon a common error, noted frequently in comments on Paul's writings. As an inspired, plenary apostle of Christ, Paul was not "quoting" Scripture at all here, he was "writing" Scripture. What was more natural than that some of the phraseology of earlier prophecies should also occur in his own? The purpose of Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9 was utterly unlike that of Isaiah here. Isaiah was saying that "eye had not seen," etc. and the things God had already done for Israel. Paul was speaking of the wonderful things that "eye had not seen," etc. the wonderful things that God had laid up in the future for them that love him. There also are a number of instances of this same error on the part of commentators which we have cited in the New Testament. (See Vol. 8 (Galatians) in my New Testament Series of Commentaries, pp. 186-188.) It would be well to keep this in mind every time one encounters an allegation that Paul "misquoted" some passage of Scripture!"

That is one particular point raised.

Another was raised by Paul Apoc Elijah of Answering Islam in response to a muslim group and this is what he said:
"Placing a certain emphasis into a quotation can mislead readers to not carefully read the rest of the text. Let us change the emphasis in the above quotation to reveal that this quotation is actually not supporting the case of TM as much as it may appear at first sight.


1 Cor 2:9:[But as it is written] This passage is quoted from Isa 64:4. It is not quoted literally; but the sense only is given. The words are found in the apocryphal books of Elijah (Elias); and Origen and Jerome supposed that Paul quoted from those books. But it is evident that Paul had in his eye the passage in Isaiah; and intended to apply it to his present purpose. (bold and underlined emphasis ours)
It is obvious that Albert Barnes, the author of the above statement, is convinced that Paul quoted from Isaiah in paraphrase. As such Barnes is a witness against the hypothesis of TM, not in support of their claim. As is common in scholarly literature, Barnes also informs the reader of dissenting opinions. According to Barnes, Origen and Jerome SUPPOSED that Paul quoted from the apocryphal books of Elijah, but apparently these authors have not given sufficient evidence to convince Barnes of this opinion.
Thus, the only text that was explicitly quoted by the Muslim authors in support of their claim actually states the exact opposite of what they want the reader to believe. TM would have done much better if they had quoted Origen or Jerome directly in order to have at least a quotation that supports their case. As it is, they have none at all.
However, the TM team authors are not done yet with their blunders and misrepresentations. They claim: "The same commentary can also be found at Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament".Since TM have given us already plenty of reason to be suspicious of their claims, let’s see whether this is indeed so. Robertson writes:
... It is not certain where Paul derives this quotation as Scripture. Origen thought it a quotation from the Apocalypse of Elias and Jerome finds it also in the Ascension of IsaiahBut these books appear to be post-Pauline, and Jerome denies that Paul obtained it from these late apocryphal books. Clement of Rome finds it in the LXX text of Isaiah 64:4 and cites it as a Christian saying. It is likely that Paul here combines freely Isaiah 64:4; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 52:15 in a sort of catena or free chain of quotations as he does in Romans 3:10-18. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
Robertson explicitly states that these books are probably post-Pauline, and he does NOT think they are the source of 1 Cor. 2:9, i.e. TM are misrepresenting this author as well.
Furthermore, had the two Muslim authors carefully read the statement by Robertson, they would have realized that he also contradicts their quotation taken from Barnes. According to Robertson, Jerome actually argued against Origen’s opinion. This leaves TM with only one instead of the claimed two early Christians holding to this opinion." http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/paul_apoc_elijah.htm

See also Barne's notes on this particular section: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/isaiah/64.htm

"35.

"Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men")
Eph. 4:8

Paul misquoted Psalm 68:18

"Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men....")
Psalm 68:18 says "received gifts" not "gave gifts."
It also says "thou" not "he."
Jesus never led captivity captive, led others to a high mount, or gave gifts unto men.
There is a big difference between "giving gifts to men" and "receiving gifts for men.""

The gift that Jesus gives to mankind is forgiveness of sins and a new heart to do what is right in the sight of God and he leads men out of the captivity of sin and back to the Father.

"36.

"...as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged")
Rom. 3:4

Paul misquoted Psalm 51:4

"...that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest").
Psalm 51:4 says "judgest" not "art judged."
Psalm 51:4 also says "and be clear" or "blameless," not "and mightest overcome" or "prevail.""

Jamieson Fausset-Brown has an interesting perspective on Psalm 51:4 and Romans 3:4 which is worth quoting here:
"4. Against thee—chiefly, and as sins against others are violations of God's law, in one sense only.

that … judgest—that is, all palliation of his crime is excluded; it is the design in making this confession to recognize God's justice, however severe the sentence."

and

"4. God forbid—literally, "Let it not be," that is, "Away with such a thought"—a favorite expression of our apostle, when he would not only repudiate a supposed consequence of his doctrine, but express his abhorrence of it. "The Scriptures do not authorize such a use of God's name as must have been common among the English translators of the Bible" [Hodge].

yea, let God be—held

true, and every man a liar—that is, even though it should follow from this that every man is a liar.

when thou art judged—so in Ps 51:4, according to the Septuagint; but in the Hebrew and in our version, "when thou judgest." The general sentiment, however, is the same in both—that we are to vindicate the righteousness of God, at whatever expense to ourselves."
"37.

"But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand")
Rom. 15:21

Paul misquoted and misapplied Isa. 52:15

"...the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they have not heard shall they consider").
Isaiah 52:15 says nothing about "he was not spoken of"; it says "that which had not been told them." It says "that," not "he."
"They that have not heard shall understand" is not the same as "that which they have not heard shall they consider." Because something is considered does not mean it is understood."

The Pulpit commentary says the following on this subject:
"Verse 15. - So shall he sprinkle many nations. The Septuagint has, "So shall many nations marvel at him;" and this translation is followed by Gesenius and Ewald. Mr. Cheyne thinks that the present Hebrew text is corrupt, and suggests that a verb was used antithetical to the "astonied" of ver. 14, expressing "joyful surprise." It is certainly hard to see how the idea of "sprinkling," even if it can mean "purifying," comes in here. Kings shall shut their mouths at him; rather, because of him. In reverential awe of his surpassing greatness (comp. Micah 7:16). That which had not been told them shall they see. They will learn the facts of Christ's humiliation, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven - events that it had never entered into the heart of man to conceive, and of which, therefore, no tongue had ever spoken. "
"38.

"Then said I, Lo I come [in the volume of the book it is written of me] to do thy will, O God")
Heb. 10:7

Paul distorted Psalm 40:7-8
"Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart"). He left out the last phrase ("thy law is within my heart") which shows God's will is the law."
I have an article on Psalm 40 which I have written which I recommend people taking a look at.
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.com/2014/03/comments-on-psalm-40.html

"39.

"...then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?).
1 Cor. 15:54-55

Paul misquoted Isa. 25:8

"He will swallow up death forever")

and

Hosea 13:14

"...O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction").
Isaiah says death will be swallowed up "forever" not "in victory."
Hosea says "thy plagues" not "thy sting."
"Hosea was not written in interrogatory form.
Hosea says "thy destruction" not "thy victory." It is difficult to see how Paul's words could be accurately derived from Isaiah and Hosea."

Isaiah 25 has Isaiah praising YHWH for his mighty works. We read:
"6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8     he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,

“Surely this is our God;
    we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
    let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
10 The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain;
    but Moab will be trampled in their land
    as straw is trampled down in the manure.
11 They will stretch out their hands in it,
    as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim.
God will bring down their pride
    despite the cleverness[a] of their hands.
12 He will bring down your high fortified walls
    and lay them low;
he will bring them down to the ground,
    to the very dust."
The subject being mentioned here is Moab's destruction and there is also an end time application here in the passage, that many of the Israelites and possibly Gentiles will worship YHWH forever and death is removed from the world forever. The historical application refers to the Israelites having deliverance from their enemies in a physical sense.

In Hosea 13, YHWH will rescue only a few Ephraimites who place their trust in YHWH but destroy those who refuse to repent and turn from their evil ways.

"40.

"...ye might receive thy promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry")
Heb. 10:36-37

Paul perverted Hab. 2:3

"For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry").
Habbakuk says nothing about "he." The "it" in the verse is a vision, not Jesus. Hab. is referring to the maturation of a vision he has. The "it" referred to has nothing to do with the arrival of any individual.
Where in the OT, esp. Hab., did God promise "he will come and not tarry?""

Jamieson Fausset-Brown has made the following point in his commentary:
"36. patience—Greek, "waiting endurance," or "enduring perseverance": the kindred Greek verb in the Septuagint, Hab 2:3, is translated, "wait for it" (compare Jas 5:7).

after ye have done the will of God—"that whereas ye have done the will of God" hitherto (Heb 10:32-35), ye may now show also patient, persevering endurance, and so "receive the promise," that is, the promised reward: eternal life and bliss commensurate with our work of faith and love (Heb 6:10-12). We must not only do, but also suffer (1Pe 4:19). God first uses the active talents of His servants; then polishes the other side of the stone, making the passive graces shine, patience, meekness, &c. It may be also translated, "That ye may do the will of God, and receive," &c. [Alford]: "patience" itself is a further and a persevering doing of "God's will"; otherwise it would be profitless and no real grace (Mt 7:21). We should look, not merely for individual bliss now and at death, but for the great and general consummation of bliss of all saints, both in body and soul."

More objections may be answered in another article.

Answering Judaism.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Rapture: When it will occur?

I had done a video on the rapture in the past but I haven't released the article in written form until now, so now I think is the best time to post regarding the Rapture and when it takes place, with some changes.

Three positions are argued for, pre trib, mid trib and post trib. I will be arguing the a pre trib is not a position that deems to be scripturally tenable.

There is a interesting thing about the 2 letters to the Thessalonians. Let's read chapter 4 of the 1st letter, Then we'll look at chapter 2 of the 2nd letter.
"13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."

The rapture of the believers is taking place as well as the resurrection according to The first letter, but it doesn't mention the man of lawlessness, It simply talks about what will happen when Jesus himself comes. But the second letter does the opposite if we look at chapter 2.

"2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 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. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."

The second letter in this chapter notes what will take place before the coming of the Lord. The man of lawlessness or the Anti-Christ will, like Satan, mislead and decieve many, which includes, unbelievers, heretics and apostates. The second letter only talks about what will transpire before the coming of Christ and what Christ will do with Anti-Christ. Though these are two letters and two different letters, they still allude to the Lord's coming, but from two different angles. One is talking about what Jesus will do with the believers when he comes, the other refers to what Anti-Christ will do and what will happen before Christ returns. There is anothing about a pre trib rature within the context. Keep also in mind that 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 omits the resurrection whereas 1 Thessalonians 4 doesn't.

1 Corinthians 15:52 is often used as a rapture text. Let's see what it says.
"50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]"

However, it doesn't speak about the rapture but it's not a detriment to the rapture, it simply mentions the resurrection at the last trumpet, like 1 Thessalonians 4 does.

Now often 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is pointed to as a pretext for the pre trib rapture, but the context doesn't demonstrate an idea.
"5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

The wrath that is mentioned here IS NOT the tribulation, it is referring to our present status in Christ. In other words if we are in Christ, we are alert and not caught off guard when Jesus comes and that by remaining in Christ, we will not be subject to God's wrath. Jesus will allow his people to go through the tribulation but whether he takes them out during the tribulation or afterwards is another matter.

Another argument put forward is the parable in Luke 17 refers to a rapture of believers, but the text doesn't indicate that implicitly in the context.

"26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” [36] [e]
37 “Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”"

Obviously just a careful reading and not a careless one deomnstrates that some will be destroyed and some will be saved, it is a judgement text, It's quite the opposite of the rapture. The one taken is destroyed but the one who is left remains, similiar to what is said in 2 Peter.

"9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells."

Notice that it is those who are unclean that are swept away and removed while the holy remain, this is a similar theme that is seen in Jesus parable regarding those taken and left. To know what the events that transpire regarding the day of the Lord, we need to look at the overall context of those particular passages, not just the verses you like. The fact of the matter is, Some texts of scripture omit certain details and mention others whether briefly or in detail.

Revelation 12:6 is also used by pre-tribers and they say "Well the church here is being raptured". Problem, the context shows the believers are still on the earth and the dragon goes after them. The woman isn't the church, but the offspring are and of course the dragon or Satan is thrown out of heaven by Michael and his angels.

"Revelation 12:13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus."

Here is Revelation 13 in context:
"13 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,[a] that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.[b] And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
    to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
    with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence,[c] and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of[d] the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave,[e] to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.[f]"
When you read the context carefully, notice before the Lord's return that those who refuse to take the mark of the beast on their foreheads are killed by the beast's image, whereas those who take the mark of the beast are spared and worship the beast, not to mention those who do worship the beast DO NOT HAVE their names in the Lamb's book of life.

What's the connection here? Well if you have people being killed who refuse to take the beasts mark, How can you say that believers will not go through the tribulation at all? It's makes no sense when sound exegesis is justly done to a biblical text.

You must never do eisegesis, It's always text, context and cotext, but never a pretext, I hear many abuses of scripture, like Jude 1:24 has once saved always saved read into it though the context states otherwise* and of course John 14:28, John 17:3 and other passages from anti-trinitarians, especially JWs and Muslims.

Though you do have a concept of the rapture in scripture, I do not see a pre trib in scripture. Not only after looking at passages for myself, but listening to others input, not to mention a study of Revelation with a kind and godly sister in the Lord.

I hope this has been a help to you and I ask ALL reading this to look at the scriptures for yourselves and to see if what I am saying is right and true doctrine.

*PS. This article was written in a time where I confused once saved always saved and perseverance of the saints with each other and I was anti-Calvinist. I nowadays regard Calvinists as my brothers, I don't consider perseverance of the saints to be heretical even though I differ with the Calvinists on that point. 

A discussion on Jude 1:24 is definitely in order on what it means and I wouldn't mind seeing a discussion on the text in the future. if Jude 1:24 is used by those who believe in perseverance of the saints, that's one thing despite my disagreement, but if OSAS (In the sense of living in sin) is promoted, then we have a problem.

The topic of losing one's salvation can be tackled also in a discussion page. Any other details, you can ask for clarification.