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InCognitus

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  1. Welcome to the board. I think it's way cool that you are from one of the so called lost tribes. And I also find it interesting what you say above about your Jewish heritage. Let me also say that I'm no expert on this topic, but years ago I put together an Excel spreadsheet comparing the blessing of Jacob to his twelve sons in Genesis 49 to the blessing of Moses to the twelve tribes in Deuteronomy 33. In the Genesis 49 blessing, Simeon and Levi are combined in their blessing (Genesis 49:5-7 - and it's not particularly nice considering Jacob's displeasure with them because of what happened in Genesis 34:25-31). And in the Deuteronomy 33 blessing from Moses, Simeon is totally omitted. I was curious about the reason for the omission, and I found the following in a Jewish commentary: "We note the omission of Simeon [in Deut 33], who is joined with Levi in Jacob's Blessing, Gen. XLIX, 5. The probable explanation is that Jacob had foretold that both Simeon and Levi should have their territories divided up among the other tribes. As Simeon's possessions consisted of only 19 unconnected cities within the territory of Judah (Josh. XIX, 2-9), the tribe of Simeon was regarded as included in Judah." (The Pentateuch and Haftorahs - Hebrew Text English Translation and Commentary, Soncino Press, London, second edition, 1960 p. 911) This makes total sense, considering that Judah, Simeon, and part of the tribe of Benjamin comprised the kingdom of Judah. But if Simeon was indeed regarded as included in Judah, your heritage seems to account for that.
  2. I confess, I haven't read the entire thread, I only noticed a few of the later posts in this thread today (I don't have much time to read the board during the week lately - hopefully that will change in two weeks). I saw where you explained that we don't believe in creation ex-nihilo in relation to the predestination vs. foreordination discussion, is that the post you had in mind? I think I was responding to Nofear bringing up creation ex-nihilo (but I don't recall exactly). Which post exactly do you mean?
  3. @Saint Bonaventure: Before I respond to your post, I want to make it clear that I approach these discussions with you and other Catholics on the board not with the intent at disputing your position or in trying to prove you wrong on certain points (it's not a debate), but rather I do it to try to help explain my point of view relative to yours (I hope it's a discussion). I completely value your point of view and your respectful approach to these discussions on this board, and I hope I never do anything here to take away from that. I desire that we can both come to a better understanding of each other's positions. Hopefully I was clear in saying that I'm not trying to refute the idea that God exists outside of time. But I am saying that within creation there is a timeline and series of events that take place within that timeline, and the verses I referenced seem to indicate that God had set some things in a specific order within that timeline so that it would accomplish his purposes, like Jesus being foreordained to be the sacrificial Lamb (at the beginning) and God promising eternal life (at the beginning). I also find others who were foreordained to be born on earth at different stages of the timeline for specific purposes (especially with Jesus being born in the "meridian of time" and his second coming toward the end to help wrap things up). I see those things as God's "plan" for how the events on earth would transpire to bring about his eternal purposes. I'm not a philosopher (like mfbukowski ), so maybe I can't comprehend how those things are incompatible with a God who is outside of time (I might need help on that part). I think I understand the argument presented above, but I don't see how creation ex-nihilo makes any difference to that argument (if that's what you are trying to say). Let me try to explain how I see it: Everything that begins to exist has a cause: This is a relative statement and doesn't explain what doesn't begin to exist compared to what does begin to exist (or what that really means). From my point of view, the elements are eternal (they never begin to exist). Spirits or intelligences are eternal (they never begin to exist). When the eternal elements are organized into specific structures or forms, they (the specific structures or forms) begin to exist and have a cause. The cosmos (or universe) began to exist (consider, as evidence, cosmic background radiation, red shift etc.). I agree on this point as explained in #1. Therefore, the cosmos has a cause (God). I also agree on this point as explained in #1. I'm not sure how the translation issue changes my main point of the verse, which is that God promised eternal life "ages ago" or at a point relative to the events of creation (for which there is a timeline within it). Some translations, like the NKJV and NIV, translate this as "in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began", which is also perfectly acceptable to my point. I could say more here, but really I just hope that I'm not confusing things. I think I've seen you explain previously your view that God created the matter first out of nothing, and then created other things from that matter. But I think that explanation has issues, especially as expressed in the explanation you quoted in the bolded portion above, particularly with the assertion that the Hebrew word bara' infers a creation out of nothing "and never with an accusative of material indicating a substance from which he created." For one thing, I see the Hebrew word bara' in Isaiah 43:15, where God is saying he is the "creator of Israel" to be God creating a people group from among the pre-existing people of the earth, and the same word in Psalm 51:10 (or verse 12, depending your version), "Create in me a clean heart" to be David asking for God to cleanse him from his sins, and not to literally create a new heart for him out of nothing. (And that doesn't account for other verses like Joshua 17: 15 and 18, and Ezekiel 23:47 where the word bara' is used without God as the subject of the verb.) But I also see within Genesis itself, where the Hebrew word bara' is used when God says he "created" man in his own image, male and female (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 5:1-2), and the extended creation account explains that God created man "of the dust of the ground" (Genesis 2:7), from existing materials (or for Eve, from the rib of Adam). I think the creation ex-nihilo argument somewhat depends on the unproven (and unsustainable) assertion and presupposition that bara' means "out of nothing".
  4. This is how the Latter-day Saints view foreknowledge, I think. But this has a different twist to it if one believes in a God that creates all things ex-nihilo, since under that scenario God created the person out of nothing with God having complete foreknowledge of the person's future actions. As such, God is fully responsible for either the good or evil that comes about because of the person's actions (because he's the one that created them that way).
  5. I think he was saying that God plans things to occur within the timeline of human existence (which makes no difference if God exists within time or outside of time). Jesus was "foreordained before the foundation of the world" to be the "Lamb" that would be slain (1 Peter 1:19-20). And "eternal life" was "promised before the world began" by God (Titus 1:2). In Genesis and John 1, there is said to be a "beginning", and other verses speak of an "end". God declares "the end from the beginning" (Isa 46:10). There are others verses too, but all of this indicates some type of anticipation by God of events that would play out on earth in a timeline, with a "beginning" and an "end" in that timeline. But if God creates people ex-nihilo, at the point at which they come into the world, then who was God promising eternal life to before the world began? The angels?
  6. The book of Revelation is filled with prophetic imagery and symbolism. Chapter 19 verse 11 has the heavens open and Jesus coming from heaven riding on a white horse with the armies of heaven following him on white horses (verse 14), while at the same time the beast and all the kings of the earth and their armies are gathered together to make war against him and they have their own "horses" (verse 18). Is Jesus riding on Pegasus (a winged horse) as he flies down from heaven? Or is this symbolism of the victory of good over evil? While I think the white horse imagery is way cool, I'm not convinced it's literal (even though I secretly hope that it will be ). And, as has already been mentioned, there are certainly other ways an angel can "fly" without wings.
  7. I'll summarize the video (with time stamps on the bullet points). I've also inserted a few dates and a couple of my own comments: 1:34: Biblically accurate angels are Messengers, human or divine 2:10: Angels simply appear like humans, no wings, no abnormal amount of eyes, just men 3:10: An angel is humanoid, but depending on the perspective of the beholder, the angel can be awe inspiring or as completely non descript 3:30: For example, in Genesis 19, the two angels that appeared to Lot. Lot perceives them as holy, but to others they were just ordinary men Quoting Genesis 19:9-15 from the Joseph Smith Translation (obviously not found in the video): Back to the video synopsis: 5:00: So if angels look like humans, where do these so-called Biblically accurate angels come from? They are artistic renditions of three other heavenly creatures described in the Hebrew Bible: Cherubim, Seraphim, and Ophanim 8:23: But are these (the Cherubim, Seraphim, and Ophanim) "angels"? It depends, but none of these creatures are called mal'akh in the Hebrew Bible. 8:43: mal'akh (the word for angel) is more of a job description: A heavenly messengers that always appears in human form 8:46: Ophanim: Not a mal'akh. So calling these (Cherubim, Seraphim, and Ophanim) "Biblically accurate angels" is not quite correct. So case closed, meme debunked. 8:55: We shouldn't call these Biblically accurate angels, but Biblically-Accurate Hybrid Creatures 9:06: Whether we can call these creatures "angels" depends on WHEN you ask. During the early centuries of Israelite history, these beings are never called mal'akh. But in later centuries, Jewish and Christian authors started to create complicated angel classifications 10:30: Jews, after the Babylonian exile, start to equate [Cherubim, Seraphim, and Ophanim] with angels. "In time, the differences between these divine beings seem to have become blurred and forgotten in the minds of Jewish interpreters, who understood all of these different hybrid creatures as angelic beings worthy of imitation in liturgical practice and prayer." This continued into early Christianity as well. The early Christian text called On the Celestial Hierarchy (De Coelesti Hierarchia - 5th century AD) ranks nine types of angels. 11:20: Maimonides (1138–1204 AD) put forth a different hierarchy. 11:30: "So the idea of angels changed over time. The idea has a history. An angel (or mal'akh) started out as a job title for a humanoid messengers of God. But, in later centuries, Seraphim, Cherubim, and Ophanim and angels were all brought into a big family tree, lumping all these different heavenly hybrids under the same rubric." 11:53: "So are these memes biblically accurate angels? Only if we're operating under the post-biblical assumptions of mostly post-biblical writers, like whoever wrote On the Celestial Hierarchy or Maimonides ." 12:00: "Technically, if you want a perfectly valid example of a biblically accurate angel... just look at the nearest generic guy. A guy so generic, with a face so forgettable, that you would never guess he was an angel, until he launched into the sky in a pillar of fire". The point the video makes clear is that the concept of angels put forth by Joseph Smith was the original meaning of angels, (i.e. "[an angel] is more of a job description: A heavenly messengers that always appears in human form"), but the conflation of all the divine beings into a sub-classification as "angels" is a later evolution of the original doctrine, mostly post- biblical. Perhaps not necessarily "revelatory", but certainly another item on a long list of theological ideas that he gets exactly right.
  8. This topic ("angels") has been of interest to me because of the changes that have taken place through time on how people view angels. But related to the question on how people view angels, the Catholic Encyclopedia has an interesting article on Early Christian Representations of Angels: So according to this article, the appearance of winged angels in early Christian art didn't show up until after Constantine, and prior to that angels were depicted in a normal human appearance. I am curious about the statement I represented in a red font, above. What is the "abundant scriptural references" for winged angels? (I'm not asking you to answer this, but I would like to know what this article has in mind).
  9. And Joseph Smith hits another home run on this one (his batting average is pretty good).
  10. These are the guidelines for doing the Ward Mission Plan (in a video): https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2011-07-0210-the-ward-mission-plan?lang=eng
  11. That's an understatement. I find it far more reliable (but also not completely accurate) to use Google's advanced search instead.
  12. The article says: I'm not sure I know the difference between saying that there was a "Great Apostasy" (which is what I think the article means by the "term" that Joseph Smith never used) and a wide spread apostasy from the new covenant and some of the teachings. Joseph wrote about the apostasy several times, but he always described it as an apostasy from something (i.e. "from the true and living faith", or "from the apostolic platform" established by Christ). For example, the 1832 Joseph Smith History: And in this Letter of Joseph Smith to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833: Here, Joseph talks of the Holy Spirit being withdrawn from among the Gentiles (as a people) because of attitudes of pride, high-mindedness, and unbelief. But this is also said in contrast to "Israel" as a people, rejecting the covenant because of similar attitudes. And this is obviously speaking of the people groups collectively, and not individually, because in the Old Testament we see God passing similar judgements upon Israel as a people group, but not necessarily on some individuals within that people group. Ancient Israel went through periods of apostasy even though they had prophets come among them led by the spirit of God. So it would be wrong to think that the same thing happened during the so called "Great Apostasy" with the Gentiles. In connection with this, I don't remember ever being taught that God "withdrew from the world at that time and remained distant" (as the OP article said), or that God's spirit withdrew completely from the earth. The Book of Mormon's description of the period of apostasy (in 1 Nephi 13) is that it was a time of "captivity", where the designs of some men were to "bind" and "yoke" the people, which I see that as a means of preventing them from acting on the Spirit of God that was undoubtedly among some of them. In fact, the same chapter describes the Spirit of God influencing some individuals in that period of history. Revelation chapter 12 describes the "woman" (the church) fleeing into the "wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there" (verse 6), or that she is given "two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time" (verse 14). And the description of the parable of the wheat and the tares in Doctrine and Covenants section 86 says that the "tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness". Those verses don't describe the church being wiped completely off the earth, but instead it is secluded away for a time. And for the restoration of the church, the Doctrine and Covenants talks of the church coming back out of the wilderness (D&C 5:14, 33:5). And the "true and living church" verse in section 1 seems to support this too: "And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30) It's all been right in front of us this whole time.
  13. I thought you might be getting your ideas from James Tabor, but there are other possibilities as well. I have been working 10 billable hour days lately (it's that time of year for my line of work). On Monday when I read your post, I had one of the sources in mind that OGHoosier posted (from Michael Heiser), but he did a much better job of addressing the "wind body" problem than I could have ever done. That topic has been thoroughly put to rest. My “subtle” comment was regarding your use of Romans 1:3-4 to support the divinity of Christ. There is no mention in those two verses that Jesus is God, or of Jesus ascending into heaven (the part that you are bringing up now), but only that he was made the Son of God, and the resurrection from the dead. And what you said above is exactly my point about the early Christian teaching that men become gods. In the time and culture of the first century Christians, they recognized the future promise of sitting with God in his throne as teaching that men can become gods. And just because it isn’t recognizable to you it doesn’t mean it wasn’t recognizable to them. Becoming "sons of God" in the first century Jewish and Christian context, was equivalent to becoming divine. Even James Tabor, who sees Paul as our earliest witness in Christianity, understood Paul's "sons of God" teaching to be that humans can become divine. Matthew Thiessen makes the same argument about the sons of God in his book, Paul and the Gentile Problem. In making his case, he quotes from Tabor (shown in blue below): Tabor is a little more explicit in saying that Paul understood that men "become gods" in his book, Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity. (See Google Book image here.) On pages 134-135, he writes: This is something that originated in first century Christianity. I don't see how expunging Judaism from Christianity would make Christians more inclined to believe that men become gods, given that this was also a concept in Second Temple Judaism. But perhaps this is one reason why the teaching of the deification of humans fell out of favor in the later centuries. The NRSV seems to be inclined to use "worship" when the translators think the context refers to an awareness of divine presence, but not in other contexts. For example, in the story of the woman of Canaan, who sought out Jesus to heal her daughter, the NRSV translates Matthew 15:25 as "But she came and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, help me.'", whereas many other versions (KJV, NKJV, NLT, ASV) use "worship". So it's no wonder that the translators would not use the word "worship" for humans that Jesus exalts in Revelation 3:9. It all has to do with the translator's sense of "what's right". Most translators are uncomfortable with humans being worshipped, so that's no surprise. Humans have eternal spirits that came from God and are placed inside the bodies made of "dirt". And if Jesus is divine and was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb 2:17), then it doesn't seem that the present "dirt" situation makes a difference to the question of divine potential. And the "sons of God" were later changed into angels, in later texts. They weren't originally thought of as angels. You misunderstand my point. You said, “Reading the second century Christian fathers will tell you what Christians started teaching and believing in the second century.” You can't assert that they "started" teaching and believing a particular doctrine just because it may be the earliest written example of the doctrine. At the very least, you might be able to say it's the first written account of such a teaching (I disagree on that), but putting something in writing for the first time is not the same thing as "starting" to teach and believe a particular thing. And in order to prove it was the beginning of such teachings, you'd need to prove they were teaching something to the contrary prior to that point. And I agree that the mere existence of a teaching in writing in the second century alone doesn't prove anything about their teaching prior to that time. But I do find that there is much evidence that the teaching of the doctrine of deification came down to the second century Christians from the tradition of the apostles. One early statement on the exaltation of mankind comes from Clement of Rome (35 AD - 99 AD). And then we have a gap in time where there are virtually no Christian writings at all. And then we have clear statements on deification from Justin Martyr (100 AD - 165 AD), and then Theophilus of Antioch (c. 120-190), Irenaeus (c. 130-200), Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170-235), Origen (185-254), etc. etc. Over in the Apostasy folder, I noticed that you said, “There were many competing Christian communities in the first century - none of them could really be called "The Catholic Church"” The same thing might be said of Christians in the second century. But that being the case, then how did they have this doctrine in common among them if it did not originate from a common earlier source? Did they invent it independently in different parts of the Christian world? But I think there is good evidence that the first century Christians also taught this doctrine, some of it I have already presented. And apparently James Tabor agrees. It was part of the Jewish culture they came from as well as in the teachings of the apostles. There is more I could present on this, but I'll save it for another time (it's late and I'm getting sleepy).
  14. It is subtle in that it doesn’t come right out and say that Jesus is “God”. But at the same time you are looking for explicit language in the first century that says men become gods. So you’re not playing by your own rules when it comes to Jesus and his divinity. But if being a son of God makes Jesus “equal with God” (as John says), then why wouldn’t the same apply to all who “become the sons of God”, and are exalted to heaven and sit equally with Jesus on the throne of God? As I said in my earlier post, I agree that the earlier understanding of this verse has to do with the divine council of gods. But Jesus used Psalm 82 by appealing to the current tradition of his day, making the verse applicable to his time, as a way to argue for his own divinity. And regardless of where you think these ideas came from (there is evidence that the belief that humanity has the capacity to attain godhood was common to Israel and Second Temple Judaism), there is no question that the second century Christians understood these passages to be teaching that other gods exist and that humans can become gods. And Jesus’ usage of Psalm 82 as portrayed by John shows that this belief was part of first century Christian thought as well. Whether or not Acts is a second century document is irrelevant. The point is that it wasn’t written late enough to be contemporary with Marcion. Isaac Oliver (the source you referenced) agrees with that assessment. The “earliest versions” of Luke are fragmentary (P75 and P45), lacking large portions of Luke, including the first two chapters. We can’t say for sure whether they originally had the first two chapters or not. And the debate on anti-Marcionism in Luke is still a debate. And there are earlier allusions to so-called anti-Marcionism language from Luke elsewhere (like the letters of Ignatius), so there is proof that contradicts this theory. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus ate with them, then the multitude with swords and staves laid their hands on him and took him. They crucified him, and then they laid his body in a tomb. He had a tangible body, it was physical (they touched him). And after his body was laid in a tomb, when they came to anoint him the body was gone. The tomb was empty. That physical and tangible body was gone. The body had to be somewhere. That is the direct connection to the resurrection. (Otherwise there’s no point to having an empty tomb). We already discussed this. We already know that you, using your 21st century English speaking perspective to reinterpret Paul and misconstruing the phrase “spiritual body” to mean “spirit body” in the process, think that Paul thought that the resurrected Jesus was in a non-tangible form. But that’s nowhere explicit in Paul’s text, and in fact the earliest Greek speaking Christians who had learned their doctrine from the apostles understood Paul differently than you. And I noticed that you totally ignored the letter of Ignatius, where he quoted the early reading of Luke’s account of the physical resurrection of Jesus as a corporeal being having flesh. It’s funny you say this of me, but you don’t give the second century Christians the same consideration for their views on these same teachings. To me, this teaching (that men become gods) was obvious to the second century Christians and their interpretation of scripture because they were primed to believe that teaching through years of lessons from their predecessors (Sunday School and Seminary lessons). That teaching only became a problem to early Christian theology after the doctrine of creation ex-nihilo was introduced by Tatian and Theophilus of Antioch in the late second century, and then through the other changes on doctrine that occurred in the third and fourth century leading up to the first council of Nicaea. But that’s not the context of what is portrayed in Revelation 3:9, is it. The fact that some translations use the word “worship” proves that it’s not as simple as that, especially when the concept of humans being worshipped is a more difficult concept for some theological views to accept. “Made of different stuff than humanity”? What does that mean? Having eternal life and a resurrected glorified body the same as Jesus has? And angels are nothing more than messengers -- the words translated as “angel” in Hebrew and Greek are often used in application to mortal humans as well (look up the words in Hebrew and Greek). So that doesn’t help either. I’m trying to figure out how you distinguish that Jesus is divine but those who sit with him equally on the throne of God are not. What is the difference? God is a King, is he not? And why do those who overcome sit equally with Jesus on the throne of God if they are not made divine somehow? It tells you what they believed in the second century, but it may (or may not) tell you where it “started”. This is where you are making a logical error. In their writings they say they got their doctrines on this from their understanding of scriptures and from the teachings handed down to them. They teach this doctrine as if it is already known and accepted. And there is evidence that these teachings existed in Israel and Second Temple Judaism prior to that time. And it fits into their complete theological framework. In order to prove that it “started” in the second century, you’d need to show that the Israelite and Second Temple Judaism teachings on this had no influence on them, and the first century Christians taught something contrary to it prior to Clement of Rome’s first teaching on this doctrine. Other studies go about showing where a teaching “started” in a similar way. For example, since the second century Christians clearly taught that Jesus is the “second God” and that there are other gods and that men become gods, it can be shown that the teachings on strict monotheism “started” at a later date. As another example, the earliest Christians taught that God created all things from unformed matter. Therefore, it can be shown that the doctrine that God created ex-nihilo (from nothing) was invented at a later date. So you can’t assume that the second century Christians “started” this doctrine, when there is a definite tradition of these teachings prior to that time and no evidence to the contrary.
  15. I know a guy that fits this: He's one of the best Christians I know, and his favorite LDS hymn is #260, "Who's on the Lord's Side".
  16. I've always taken the "one in purpose" explanation as only one small part of the definition of what it means to be "one" in the Godhead. But the language of the prayer offered by Jesus on behalf of the believers in him seems to convey the kind of connection you describe, i.e. "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" and "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (John 17:21 and 23) The last part about conveying the "love" of the Father so that the "world may know" that Jesus and the believers are "sent" by the Father is especially telling, in my opinion.
  17. See Book of Mormon, 1840 Nauvoo Edition, 2 Nephi 30:3-6, also on the Joseph Smith Papers site - Book of Mormon, 1840, p. 115, "and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and delightsome people." Joseph Smith is the "church leader" that made that change in the 1840 edition, but subsequent editions used the 1837 edition for printing. The change made by Joseph Smith was restored to the 1981 edition. Look at Daniel 12:10 in the KJV Bible: "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." Also Daniel 11:35 "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed." Compare Daniel 11:35 to other translations: NIV: "Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time." NASB95 “Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time."
  18. I think Jeremiah would agree with Joseph and Brigham: "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." (Jeremiah 2:13) "Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words." (Jeremiah 18:18) Jeremiah wasn't very happy about Israel rejecting the word of the Lord that was being given to them at that time. He would definitely agree with Joseph and Brigham.
  19. I was always taught (by the best information made available to me in the 1960's) that One Million Years B.C. there was this: And then there was this: And then everything died and either became focalized, or it was buried and covered by water, deeper and deeper, preparing the way for the descendants of Adam and Eve to do this: All part of God's plan.
  20. This is partly why I asked you the question. Many of the New Testament teachings about the divinity of Jesus are rather subtle, so much so that there are groups that try to argue against the deity of Christ (Arianism, Jehovah's Witnesses, for example). This passage is a good example of that subtleness. And it’s interesting that you associate him being a “Son of God” with his Godhood. The Gospel of John does this too: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:17–18) “The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” (John 19:7) But John also explains that this “son of God” status is available to all believers, as well: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12) This passage is at least more explicit. Jesus was "with God" in the beginning and he, the Word, "was God". And, as I explained in a prior post, the gospel of John (in chapter 10) has Jesus quoting from Psalm 82 when Jesus is claiming to be divine in his human state. He argues that since other humans have been made divine through God by receiving the “word” in scripture (“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken”), then how much more so is the Son of God? And John of course points out that Jesus is the very Word himself. So according to Jesus, men have been called “gods” by virtue of receiving the Word of God. Have you even read your own sources? Scholars disagree with the scholarship of other scholars all the time, and they go about it by demonstrating the weakness or strength of the various possibilities. The Isaac Oliver article you referenced is no exception. He begins on page 1 with the following: Oliver explains how Richard Pervo has argued for a second-century dating of Acts, but that he "undergirds his argument primarily on internal grounds" (p.3). I agree with Oliver's assessment of Pervo's arguments. He states on page 27, “Detections of anti-Marcionism in Luke-Acts seem obvious only after one learns about the Marcionite phenomenon from external sources.” His footnote to the above is as follows: Oliver comes across as not convinced by the arguments presented by this “in vogue” trend on the studies of Marcion. Apparently, you can also disagree with scholarship on this as you please. Mark definitely has the empty tomb, with the tangible, physical body of Jesus missing from the tomb. The body has to be somewhere. And Luke 24 is attested to at an earlier date in the letter of Ignatius, where he quotes from an earlier reading of Luke: “Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit”. Ignatius goes on to explain: “And immediately they touched Him, and believed, being convinced both by His flesh and spirit. For this cause also they despised death, and were found its conquerors. And after his resurrection He did eat and drink with them, as being possessed of flesh, although spiritually He was united to the Father” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 3) The promise of sitting with God in his throne comes to those who “overcome”, which is a future promise following the resurrection. And John lays out all the breadcrumbs leading to godhood: Being a “son of God” makes one equal to God (John 5:17-18). -- Believers can also become “sons of God” (John 1:12) Jesus is the “Word of God” and is God (John 1:1-3) -- Other humans have also been made divine through the word of God (John 10:34-35) The Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father (John 14:10-11) -- Jesus is in the believers and the believers are in Jesus (John 14:20) The Father gave glory to Jesus before the world began (John 17:5) -- Believers are given the same glory that Jesus was given by the Father in the beginning (John 17:22) Jesus and his Father are “one” (John 10:30) -- Believers are to be “one” in the same exact way Jesus is one with his Father (John 17:20-23) Jesus came in his Father’s name (John 5:43) -- Those who overcome have the name of God written upon them (Rev 3:12) Jesus was given to sit with the Father in his throne (Rev 3:21) -- Those who overcome sit with Jesus in his throne (Rev 3:21) Isn't it obvious what this is teaching? Why use this red herring? The earlier textual variants of Revelation 3:9 don’t differ in relevant ways when compared to the Textus Receptus. The earlier textual variants don’t help your case here. In fact, the American Standard Version of the Bible, which uses the Westcott and Hort Greek text, translates the verse this way: “I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” Of course a word can mean different things depending on the context, but “good translators” may also have not so good theological biases that may prevent them from providing an accurate translation. The prospect of humans being worshipped may be one of those biases. And as I said before, this is the same bias that prohibits Jesus from being “worshipped” in the Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation. Made into divine beings who have the power and authority of God the Father. “Made into divine beings”? That’s a rather circular definition of what “people literally being gods” means, isn’t it? What does it mean to be a “divine being”? (And please don't say "people literally being gods" ) And those who “overcome” have the name of God written upon them (authority, Rev 3:12) and are given power over the nations (Rev 2:26). So what’s the difference? I'm not sure this question makes a lot of sense. Is there any throne higher than God’s throne? Are you saying it doesn’t make any sense because there is no throne higher than God’s throne? The New Testament sources lay out the basics. But the New Testament sources only give us part of what the New Testament Christians were taught. As the apostles went out to the world to teach the gospel, much of it was taught "publicly, and from house to house" (Acts 20:20, Acts 18:28, 2 John 1:12, 3 John 1:14, 2 Thes 2:15, 1 Thes 2:9). And the epistles were written by the apostles to those who had already been taught the gospel verbally, to those who were already members of the church. This is why there is value in reading how the earliest Christians understood the teachings of the apostles and how they interpreted the scriptures that were handed down to them. And the very earliest Christians taught that men become gods.
  21. I also like Weird Al's not so subtle slam at Alanis Morissette. Irony is not coincidence:
  22. When you posted this yesterday I looked up places where this verse has been discussed, and this one stands out to me. It's from the October 1986 General Conference, from Gordon B. Hinckley: It's a fundamental truth in the creation story, and it sets the stage of our relationship to God.
  23. There's a woman that works for one of my biggest clients, and she does this all the time and in every single email she sends. It drives me nuts. I just looked at an email she sent today and I counted four times where she used quote marks inappropriately in it.
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