…Fly me high through the starry skies
Maybe to an astral plane
Cross the highways of fantasy
Help me to forget todays pain
Ooh dream weaver
I believe you can get me through the night
Ooh dream weaver
I believe we can reach the morning light
~ Gary Wright, “Dream Weaver”
The above song keeps running through my head. It’s an odd song to listen to on the Sabbath, I’ll admit, but it is easier to compare worldly things with worldly things, even when the claim is just the opposite. Mostly, I keep focusing on the bolded word above — “fantasy”. That’s what dreams inherently are, after all.
It is also why for me this is a sad day. This article just plain wasn’t what I had planned to write about today. It isn’t fun watching someone sink into the depths of fantasy and lunacy, after all.
Trying to escape reality through various types of fantasy seems to be a human trait. It is, I believe, one of the reasons certain types of entertainment are so prevalent. Drug usage certainly is a means to escape a painful existence into some type of fantasy land. Other addictions work the same way.
I’ve had to watch far too many who would rather believe the lies they tell themselves, and that is just people who are related to me. However, to watch someone in the COG community dig down further into their own mire of self-deception is no less painful to watch. For my family members caught in the trap, there may still be hope, but what hope has one who claims to be sent by God and to speak for God, who may have possibly turned away from the truth for their own self-serving ends? I daresay, it is a scary thing to contemplate.
There is an obvious trend — no, not the right word — tendency — no, not the right word — push — yes, it is intentional even if not intentionally malicious — to be more like the world in the COG organizations. In one sense, it isn’t all that surprising that some might slip away into complacency — it has happened before. However, that some allow themselves to be dragged away by enticing vanities, self-gratifying promises or smooth words is a bit more worrying. Like lambs to the slaughter, they know not what comes until it is too late. They are dragged, cajoled, bribed, frightened — everything except loved — into the slaughterhouse by hungry wolves dressed up like men — shepherds to be exact.
There are several trends occurring at the same time to tear the Church apart, haven’t you noticed? Make no mistake about it. The Church is under attack, from without and from within. Why are some surprised at this, though? After all, even the 1970s were filled with speculations that the endtime Church would probably be scattered about. However, even then, little did we imagine we would be scattered by the hand of our own. It would always be “them”: the false Christians, the atheists, the Assyrians/Germans or even the Pope. We conveniently ignored the passages where brother would betray brother, flatteries (and who would flatter except those close to you?) would cause some to fall, and even relatives would turn on one another.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
I have been around the COG related websites enough times to know that there already are many false prophets out there. In fact, long ago I ran into one such “prophet” who evidently had dreams and believed them, so he eventually was or felt rejected by the church. Of course, he now has all sorts of dreams about the breakups of the organization that spurned him.
That too is nothing new. I remember one time trying to get some background material about a certain elder when I came upon a piece written by someone in Africa who obviously takes his dreams very seriously. He spoke of how he was not impressed by this elder, how he saw him in an unflattering light within a dream, and he “cursed” this elder. The downright slander was appalling, actually. I emailed this elder stating that it was shocking and that I would pray for him. He was kind enough to return my email with thanks, and he related that he had run into this individual, who felt spurned because the church wouldn’t give him any money.
So, when another more well known nonprophet prophet again toots his own horn to now beginning to claim that he is being led by dreams, it is only a slight surprise. After all, how long can one claim to be a prophet without some sort of supernatural backing?
When one errs and starts digging in his heels, then the inevitable occurs. He becomes more and more outlandish/childish. It is a lot like some of these “music” celebrities, whom I refuse to call “musicians”. For them, it is definitely not about the music. It is about the fame and attention. And, in their desperate cry for attention, they will seek to shock or titillate (and they don’t much care which, as long as it is at least one) in order to gain notoriety.
Gerald Flurry dug in his heels, and now he is so paranoid that even Feast sermons are not recorded and sent out (ask Richard Burkhard). Ronald Weinland kept digging in his heels in spite of his promise that if what he prophesied did not come to pass that he would step down as a false prophet — and he believed his own press so much that he did not pay taxes but spent everything on highly questionable trips and items. David C Pack continues to dig in his heels in spite of his public pronouncements upon three unidentified shepherds that never occurred. And, just to round out the crowd, James Malm continues to become more and more unhinged by covering up his mistakes with bald-faced lies, insinuations and gossip.
However, these are not as surprising as the desperation that Bob Thiel has stooped to now in “Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God“. I have already shown him to be a false prophet, but it has been barely under my breath that I’ve been muttering for a while, “It is only a matter of time.” Well, now we finally have it. That prediction of mine came true, but it wasn’t a matter of prophecy. It was common sense.
The Attitude and Mind of God
Unfortunately, he does not get it. I do not care if every dream he dreams comes true. I do not care if every pronouncement of his comes to pass. I do not care how large or how small of a following he has. I certainly don’t care about his Alexa ratings. I would not follow him even if all of these things were favorable, for they are not of God.
Anyone, and I mean anyone, who stands up and beats his chest and says, “I am of the Philadelphia remnant” is a liar. Their actions speak louder than words. Philadelphia means “brotherly love” and there is no room for love and a big ego at the same time. True love requires humility.
So, the easiest way to see if someone is not truly a “Philadelphian”? If they beat their chest and say they are, cross them off the list.
Likewise, the easiest way to spot a false prophet is when one continually claims to be one.
2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
~ Pr 27:2
It is important to read and observe. One cannot simply skim the Bible and get all there is to get. The passages must be thought through and meditated upon.
The prophets of old that proved they were true prophets either did so by their signs and miracles or not at all. They did not try to prove them by silly arguments. Likewise, they did not prove them by speculations. Most of all, they did not do so in order to draw attention to themselves. That should be obvious to a discerning mind as well.
How many of the real prophets ran around saying, “I am a prophet”? Many were persecuted in horrible ways, but they did not seek to elevate themselves. Instead, they would say, “Thus saith the LORD”, pointing to God rather than themselves!
Even Christ continually pointed to the Father. Some people erroneously assume that since Jesus did not come out and say, “I am God in the flesh,” in clear words that He was not divine. However, His example was one of extreme humility rather than trying to deny anything at all! It was a humility that few of us can probably understand.
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not regard equality with God
something to be possessed by force.
7 On the contrary, he emptied himself,
in that he took the form of a slave
by becoming like human beings are….
Jesus “emptied himself” rather than trying to grasp equality with God “by force”. These are opposing actions. Who tried to seize God’s throne by force? Who tried to bribe Christ into elevating himself? Did Jesus come to save the world by force? No, Christ came as a servant, humbly doing the work of the Father.
If Jesus, the only begotten and firstborn Son of God, came with such humility, then how dare one stand up and beat his chest to do otherwise? Let alone the Pharisaical attitude of pointing the finger at the “Laodiceans”, thus insinuating in such an action that he/his group is superior to all others?
Is that the attitude and mind of God at work? It does not take a great amount of discernment to see the truth on that matter.
I Have a Dream
It is one thing to have a dream. Some dreams, like that of Martin Luther King, Jr’s, are grand and wonderful. Some dreams might be smaller. Someone might have a dream of going into business for himself. However, they are still dreams as long as they are not realities!
Dreams while asleep are not reality, either. They are usually the subconscious mind struggling with various concerns, worries and stresses that one builds up in the waking life. Anyone who has awakened in the middle of the night with the solution to a problem they’ve had can attest to this. Writers sometimes wake up with ideas, particularly after periods of “writer’s block”. However, in order for any of these to become reality, they must be acted on while conscious.
Not all dreams are created equal, though. The Bible does record people having dreams that are different. They contained messages from God. So, while most dreams are going to be about abstract things that don’t relate or more concrete means of coming to grips with a problem or situation, there are the rare dreams that really mean something.
And yet, so what? Yes, I said that. So what? Does that make one a prophet?
I submit to you, no it does not. A prophet is a very specific position. That is why trying to claim it when not called to it is so dangerous. I myself have had dreams that came to pass, but am I a prophet? Of course not. I submit to you that such phenomenon is not that unusual, albeit uncommon, with people being led by God when put in proper perspective. However, the important thing is that those dreams, just like our everyday thoughts, cannot contradict the Bible. Just as important, our dreams and thoughts should never lead us to have an attitude that is contrary to the Bible.
I submit to you: Exhibit A, Job 33:15-18:
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
How ironic it is for men to be proud supposedly of the very mechanism used to bury it!
There are two instances (three, if you count Job’s recounting of criticism leveled at him) of people having dreams in the Book of Job. The first was by Job’s “friend” Eliphaz the Temanite, who claimed a prophetic type of dream (although to his credit, he did not call it such). However, in the end was he approved of by God? No! However, the second one, that I listed above by Elihu, turned out to be the more righteous answer. Yet, where does it say that Elihu claimed to be a prophet? Indeed, he was the last to speak out of humility!
Yet, even in his speech, he does not claim that God only speaks to human beings via dreams if they are a prophet. The answer really is simple. By stirring up the consciences of His children, they are bothered by lack of sleep and bad dreams when He chooses to break them or warn them.
However, saying all dreams come from God is as silly as saying that every thought or desire that enters our hearts and minds are of God. Yet, if we are truly His, do we not become anxious when we transgress? Do not our hearts yearn and burn to do what is right? Does His Spirit not speak to us very loudly when He desires something of us? So, yes, even thoughts and emotions can be driven indirectly through His Holy Spirit, so dreams can fall under that category.
However, does that make anyone a prophet? No. There is a difference between a dream that urges us to come clean or do something and one that claims to be the very words of God.
More to the point, however, is that even having a dream that is inspired of God does not of itself make one a prophet.
27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
There will come a time when dreams and visions will be common, but where will the prophets be?
3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.
4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
Consider this well, then. Not everyone who has a dream has the gift of prophecy. Neither does every prophet necessarily see visions in the night. However, this last passage should really make one think and consider: Just how important is prophecy, anyhow? Am I seeking to be led by a man, or am I seeking to be led by God through the Holy Spirit and His word?
Not All Dreamers Were Prophets
Furthermore, consider the biblical evidence that not everyone who dreamed a dream was a prophet.
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
Joseph was a righteous man, of that I have no doubt. But, was he a prophet? I see no evidence of that in Scripture.
If Joseph would have been a prophet because he dreamed three dreams (one to take Mary as wife, one to flee to Egypt, and the last to return from Egypt), what of Mary? She did not dream a dream, but she saw and spoke to an angel face to face! Was she elevated above Joseph then? I suppose if you are Catholic, you would have no problem saying she was, but I would disagree.
The only other Christian or Jew in the New Testament I’m aware of that had dreams was the Apostle Paul. However, he was a prophet. One cannot read the resurrection chapter without an appreciation of his clear view of the future, much of which is original to his teaching. Furthermore, he was transported up to the “third heaven” in a vision, which alone qualifies him.
However, notice I said “Christian or Jew”! Not all dreamers were of Jewish origin!
2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
These are not the only pagans who had dreams, either! Have you ever really thought about that? If all who have dreams are prophets, then notice these pagan prophets:
- King Abimelech (Ge 20:3)
- The baker and the butler of Pharaoh (Ge 40:5) — Joseph interpreted the dream, but it was not him who had the dream
- Speaking of Joseph, the Pharaoh over Joseph had a dream (Ge 41:1)
- Enemy soldier predicting Gideon’s triumph over them (Jdg 7:13)
- King Nebuchadnezzar, twice even (Da 2:1; 4:5)
However, I saved the best for last: We are not explicitly told that Balaam son of Beor was instructed by God in a dream, but the context almost forces it to be so:
8 And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.
9 And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee?
13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you.
19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.
20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.
21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
~ vv 19-21
While it does not come out and blatantly state so, it seems almost surely that God is communicating to Balaam in a dream.
And he is still a false prophet! In spite of God actually appearing to him in a dream, he did not change his ways, did he? He still did his best to work against God’s will and against Israel.
If you are looking for a dreamer to lead you, that should give you a headache. If that doesn’t, then perhaps the fact that there seems to be about as many dreamers who were pagan and not prophets as there were who were Jewish and of God just might.
What Do You Seek?
Are you looking for a sign? A miracle? A vision that comes to pass?
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
In the endtimes, there will be a powerful false prophet that will raise up and perform signs and miracles. Undoubtedly, he will have enough power to make “predictions” and make them come to pass. However, he will not point to God with all that power and might, but rather he will perform these for a Beast power that will attempt to control the world (and will for a short time). If we are seeking the wrong things, we too could very well wind up in his grasp.
Why seek these things? Do we not believe our own Bibles?
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
~ Lk 16:31
Excellent post, John. Some deeply insightful comments. Satan knows how to stir up our vanity, our pride, and there is an incredible amount of pride that saturates much of the Church of God today.
One point, I hope you give some thought and study to. My guess is only around 1% of Church of God members have done any significant study into the idea that Christ did NOT pre-exist. Almost all adamantly REFUSE to even consider that possibility. It scares them! The few that think they have looked into the teaching have done it quite superficially. It is clear you are not a superficial thinker. Understanding the truth regarding this changes ones paradigm and does give additional motivation AND insight in living the Christian way. For your consideration.
What kind of serious study beyond John 1 is needed?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4 NKJV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NKJV)
The Bible seems to state pretty plainly that Christ was there eternally. Such as in Exodus where he declares Himself the I Am, or as would a better rendering be “self-existing” or “eternally existing” one.
The only possibility would be that A) Christ wasn’t the God of the Old Testament (invalidating much of the New Testament writings in the process), or B) Christ has always existed, as the Bible says.
Do you think that most (probably all) people that believe Christ did not pre-exist are not very familiar with these scriptures? From your comment I would have to think you are not aware of the issues concerning this doctrine.
If you are interested at all in looking into this I will make one point by asking a question. Do you think it is possible that there has been SOME corruption in the translations of the New Covenant? Christ not being the God of the Old Covenant does not invalidate much of the New. It does invalidate SOME of the understanding most people have.
Jim Butler asked: “If you are interested at all in looking into this I will make one point by asking a question. Do you think it is possible that there has been SOME corruption in the translations of the New Covenant?”
On that verse, no. I’ve already looked into it, and people always claim either corruption or mistranslation on verses they do not like. It is the human way, just like it is on the topic I’m working on right now. Different subjects, same methods of the enemy.
“Christ not being the God of the Old Covenant does not invalidate much of the New. ”
Technically, correct, but only because it would invalidate all of the New rather than “much” of it.
I suspect that most have done a “superficial” study as you call it merely because only so much is needed to understand clear statements. If it were not backed up in several ways by Paul and even Jesus affirming it Himself that He is the “I AM”, then you would possibly have a point.
Seriously, I would offer some people dictionaries and concordances, but I fear I would go broke without cause.
I believe there has been corruption– clear and traceable, often limited in impact and scope. The Johannine comma is a good example, Passover being described as Easter in another.
But the argument you’re about to make is a slippery slope fallacy. The corruption on those is not the same as several passages between various books all giving the same statements of Christ as I Am, as the one in the wilderness, as the fact none have known the Father until Christ came to reveal Him.
No, that’s the kind of thing that if you claim corruption with, you do invalidate much of the NT passages. And really it becomes cherry picking what you want to believe instead of choosing to believe what the Bible states. After all, if there’s corruption there, why believe anything at all? Who’s to say He was ever resurrected? Wouldn’t that be just as likely to be corrupted as pre-existence? That’s what a lot if scholars also claim, after all, so why stop there at all with this one “corruption”?
Calling pre-existence into question seems to be less about finding a solid doctrine of salvation and more one in which people try to reconcile a concept they have preconceived with the Bible itself. Or as with others I know, one in which to pat themselves on the back for being much more intellectual and wise than the rest of the believers out there.
As I mentioned, most are not interested in looking into this. Comments like, “why believe anything at all?” and “Seriously, I would offer some people dictionaries and concordances, but I fear I would go broke without cause” is ample evidence. I will go back and try to learn how to read. Such Christian discourse.
Correct Christian discourse is about the truth. Look that up in the dictionary while you are at it.
It’s actually a serious question, Jim and not snide or unChristian.
When cherry picking beliefs, of deciding what is or isn’t corrupted, deciding to accept this scholarly view and not that scholarly view… It opens up a world of inconsistent belief patterns. Inconsistency even in the picking and choosing. So the question is legitimately “why believe anything at all”. Because the end result of picking and choosing and staying logically consistent is that there really is nothing to believe in. Not if you essentially choose to undermine the very foundation of the belief in going after pet doctrines.
That’s no more rude a statement than speaking how most Christians only give it a “superficial” view, after all. That could be read into just as easily. Perhaps instead of lashing out, you take the statements at their face value intention?
Jim, putting verses like Mt. 1:23, Lk. 10:18, Jn. 3:13, Jn. 17:1-18 (specifically vs. 5), and Eph. 4:8-10, aside I do have a major problem with your comment, “Christ not being the God of the Old Covenant does not invalidate much of the New. It does invalidate SOME of the understanding most people have.” As already stated, it does more than invalidate some of the New Covenant, or some of the understanding most people have – it invalidates all of who my Savior is.
If He was not pre-existent then He was merely flesh and blood like you or me. If that is all He was, then I don’t care if He lived a perfect life because all He would have earned is eternal life for Himself. That would be no different than if I were to live a sin-free life and then be crucified — all I would save would be my life — and of course even that is impossible for any of us. That being said, even if I could have lived a perfect life, my life is not worth more than that, my life, and neither is any other human being’s. The only one worthy enough, and worth enough, to pay the penalty for the sins of all humanity would be the one who created humanity. It is the GREATEST act of love and the greatest act of humility. It required the one who had created all (Jn. 1:3) humbling Himself and becoming like one of His creation. I think it more than interesting that the greatest act of love first required the greatest act of humility. It ties in with some of John’s previous posts on humility — humility is mandatory when it comes to true love. Unless the one who created all life was willing to give Himself for His creation, how in the world would we be able to have confidence in God’s love for us?
I have no desire to get into an argument with you, John, or Andrew. Your main point in the last paragraph, Ed, cannot be proven by scripture. If it does please provide scripture. God the Father decided how we would be saved. He decided this, not any human being. Human beings have assumed how God the Father should do it. It is one of the huge assumptions humans have made.
Christ was not a mere human like you or me. He was the unique savior that God the Father promised. He was sinless. He did not have carnal nature. Perhaps another point that most would disagree with. You and I are far from sinless. We have a lot of carnality. Hopefully we can agree on that.
Humility comes from honesty. Honesty helps us to be humble. If we are honest we will be know there is much we don’t know. That is a big part of humility. Everything that is godly is based in humility. A big part of humility is agreeing with what is true. We do not decide what is true. God does, as I’m sure you know.
Ed, let’s take one scripture you mention above, John 3:13. It says in the NKJV- “No one has ascended to heaven but he who came down from heaven, that is,the Son of Man,who is in heaven.” My question. Was Christ in heaven at that time? How do you understand the last part of that scripture?
There has been some scriptural corruption. The embryonic Catholic Church was an agent of Satan’s and played a significant part in the original translations. I believe God has winked at our lack of understanding on this doctrince. However, at this time with all the tools available it is time to look honestly at what the original words really say.
This is the isssue. What do the original words actually say.
There is a danger in the Church of God of putting Christ above the Father. I hope we all know that is exactly what the Catholic church and the Protestants do.
Andrew, the issue is what do the ORIGINAL WORDS actually say. This has nothing to do with cherry picking.
Lastly, Andrew, there is a BIG difference between making personal comments (personal comments are directed toward a specific person) and general comments (comments directed toward no one in particular). If we are not able to make general comments that would be offensive if directed toward a specific person than we are in big trouble. I hope you understand the difference. However, your comments above indicate something else.
I was being polite. Direct and honest about the heresy, but polite. It’s amusing to me that you go on to justify debateably rude comments as being okay because they were generalized, while saying comments to a specific person (which would naturally come when responding to anyone) within that same vein actually are rude– then go on to make specific comments about me. Just another matter of inconsistency to look at.
But let’s continue on the topic of you defense of an indefensible heresy.
It stands on a house of cards that actively works against itself. Your entire premise is that the Catholic Church (with Satan) in a great conspiracy has corrupted not just a single verse here and there, but multiple verses all throughout the New Testament books that would lead one to believe that Christ was pre-existent. Why? To validate their beliefs in exalting Christ above the Father.
That dog don’t hunt.
1) If the Catholic Church managed such a far reaching conspiracy with scripture, how are you able to actually track back the origins?
2) Why would they just imply that Christ pre-existed and not actually completely get rid of the Father, or make it plain in scripture that Christ was exalted above?
3) Why would they bother with this at all, given that they stand on their own authority and the Bible actively contradicts most Catholic dogma. They didn’t seem to desire to go forth in conspiracy on those in the scripture– not to the level you suggest took place here.
But let’s say that the conspiracy happened. Then my last question becomes even more important. If they did it with the pre-existence of Christ, why wouldn’t they do it with others? In fact the very suggestion and “proof” that they did it for his pre-existence would lend itself to their influencing other doctrines and falsifying them. So which ones do you accept at face value of the Bible? Which ones do you give the treatment of corruption and conspiracy? It is cherry picking. It’s cherry picking at its finest form, and makes for a very unstable doctrinal belief system when you can’t even believe your own Bible.
Denying the pre-existence of Christ is heresy, plain and simple. And there’s no logical basis for even denying the doctrine, other than to exalt oneself over others in trying to find ways to differentiate yourself and show “how much more I know”, or to allow yourself to be deceived for “secret knowledge”. You can couch it in the statement that it is to avoid exalting Christ above the Father, and yet the pre-existence of Christ does not do that. In fact, the scriptures that point to the pre-existence do a very poor job of exalting Christ above the Father at all. Especially when you have scriptures like:
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11, NKJV)
So either you jump into the wrong ditch in avoiding exalting Christ so much that you deny what and who He is, or you simply choose that as a justification that holds as much water as the heresy itself.
I don’t deny that you’re desiring to believe the right thing, but in your zeal (and perhaps pride of self in being “better than 99% of Christians”) you have gone off into heresy. I would give that some more thought.
I’ll admit, I’m still stuck on how someone can not want to get in an argument and take offense at “rude” responses when it started with a breach in netiquette to begin with. Calling 99% of the Body of Christ “superficial” readers is pretty rude, not to mention actually imputing emotions to them (“scared”) which is quite an unflattering generalization, but thread hijacking is blatantly rude.
Every heresy starts with picking a few favorite Scriptures out of context and then making the entire Bible revolve around them rather than starting with the big picture and working one’s way down. When the puzzle pieces cannot be forced, then get out the scissors and cut them down to size.
When something comes along that does not fit, then redefine the words. “Death” no longer means “death”. Calling out that Abraham saw Him is just a misunderstanding (which He conveniently did not correct in order to avoid being stoned?).
Last, but not least, if it cannot be redefined, then find a way to discredit it and throw it out. Even look at the words in red, which of course were used because of a lack of quote marks, and interject someone else’s opinion of who said what when in order to justify your stance that the verse is “corrupt”.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
It’s the virtual version of the Jefferson Bible.
It is only the more recent commentaries and Bibles, based upon sources which were not the main source for the AV for good reason, that omit anything at all in Jn 3:13. If you will note, however, it doesn’t change much of anything really. It still says Jesus came from Heaven. Why? Because coming from Heaven is the authority Jesus [through John] is appealing to.
“12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”
It is simple, really. Jesus had the authority to speak to Nicodemus about heavenly as well as earthly things because His origin is Heaven.
So, either He came from Heaven or He was a liar and a fraud. You cannot have it both ways.
Jim, I have just a few points in response to your question about the last four words in Jn. 3:13.
Actually no matter how you look at it, I do not see any problem in the words being there – there are multiple explanations for it.
#1) Since there was no punctuation in the original writings, it could simply be a parenthetical statement made by John. Stating the obvious, that at the time he wrote the book of John, He, Jesus Christ, was in heaven.
#2) Jesus said it and meant what He said, in the way that He said He was “IN the Father” (eg Jn. 14:10-11, Jn. 17:21).
#3) Jesus said it and meant what He said, in the sense that He knew the end from the beginning, just as He was “slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8). He knew the end result – it was a done deal – a fait acompli. He knew everything that He would go through and knew that He would return from where He came.
#4) Finally if you have a problem with the tense, then you would by necessity need to have a problem with Jn. 3:16 as it is written in the same tense – as having already happened. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” Obviously at the time that Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, He, Jesus Christ had not yet been “given”. Yes, He had been sent, but not given as a sacrifice for all, and yet it did not prevent Jesus Christ, or possibly John, from stating this fact.
No matter how you look at it, whether those last four words were in the original texts or not, it does not take away from the first part of the verse, as John Carmack has already stated – He, Jesus Christ, came down from heaven…. period… and He was the God of the Old Testament (Jn. 8:58). If you do not believe that, then I must respectfully say that you do not understand who the Savior is, nor the incredible love that He and the Father have for you.
When John mentions, “people always claim either corruption or mistranslation on verses they do not like“.
I’ve seen the same thing over CF forums in the Messianic Judaism section, where a few people believe the apostle Paul is a false apostle. So they explain how the entire letter of 2 Peter isn’t written by Peter just because of the one verse in 3:16.
Besides, I would guess that 99% of those who regularly post here have significantly studied the topic. The way I see it all Jim’s initial comment is a passive challenge to promote his personal theology of sorts. In my view it’s another topic that does more to divide than unite CoGs.