IF “Christ is the ANSWER,” What Are the Questions?
To most Christians, biblical theology, church doctrines and creedal presentations are decidedly crystal clear, absolutely clear-cut, straightforward, no fooling around, entirely uncomplicated. Now I speak of the vast overwhelming majority of Christians who sincerely and equally gullibly call themselves “followers” of Christ. Have believers become a band of mindless mutants parroting clichés without substance? A follower of Christ is a disciple of Christ. A disciple as referred to in the pages of the Gospels is a first century term meaning a “student” or a “pupil” attending the MIC — Messiah’s Invisible College. That there could actually be questions relating to the Bible or to biblical theology eludes the dull and senseless mind programmed to weekly harangues concerning strict obedience to pastoral dictates and payment of tithes from the local sectarian pulpit. [We at BRI readily admit there are exceptions.] Are there questions? If so, what are they? I’ve got a few!
For starters, consider Matthew 5.44. “[Yeshua said] Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Do good to them that hate you. Pray for them who despitefully use you, and who persecute you, so that you may be the [authentic] children of your Father who is in heaven.”
We are not advised to do these things. We are not told that its a novel idea if we wish to pursue such ambitious and radical approaches concerning our fellow man. We are not requested to follow them. To achieve these ideals is specifically commanded by Our Lord. Doesn’t this tell us something about Messiah’s attitude toward His enemies, toward those who persecuted Him, and those who despitefully used Him… huh? Doesn’t it raise questions about our traditional view of the “Afterlife” particularly “hell”? We are required to be like the Lord Yeshua Himself. We are required to love our enemies (remember these are our enemies, NOT our friends), we are required not to hate them (remember these are our enemies, NOT our friends). We are required to pray for and bless those who hate us, despise us, and wrongfully use us (remember these are our enemies NOT our friends). And why? So we can be aligned to Our Heavenly Father’s own character image — Yeshua haMashiach (Yeshua the Messiah).
May we not safely infer from this requirement of us, that God really loves His enemies?
I think that is a reasonable assessment. God wants us to be like He is. God is love. Therefore He must love His enemies. Why then do Christians hate their enemies? Why do preachers point the finger at people involved in gay marches? Why do some preachers like to shout at their congregation, making personal sins (real and imagined) a negative major issue? Wasn’t sin dealt with at the cross? Why is their primary emphasis only on sins that involve the sexual side of humanity’s nature? Why do they seemingly harp on the evils of pornography? Why do they market car-stickers reading “Real Men Don’t Use Porn”? Why not market some that read, “Real Men Don’t Need to Use Underarm Deodorant” or “Real Men Don’t Need To Put Their Wives Down By Shouting”? Wouldn’t these bumper-stickers have the same impact? Apparently not. But aren’t theft, covetousness, lying, idolatry, gluttony, drunken behaviour, looking down the nose at others, and cursing equal issues as far as sin is concerned?
What is real evil?
Real evil has nothing to do with the keeping or not keeping of certain days, years, times, months, foods, rituals, places, garments, bare knees, bare breasts, or bare bears. Real evil has to do with the way we treat people — nothing more and nothing less.
Therefore: if God is going to torment some of His creatures eternally — is this real love or real evil? I do not request your forgiveness for asking this very pertinent question. But I do expect an educated, intelligent response. After all, the apostate Gentile churches have had their say (loud and clear) for about 1,780 years. During that period dissenters and dissentients (those who would think differently on a variety of issues other than those views espoused by the historic church) were simply murdered. They were drowned, or burned, or strangled. These types of responses, entirely negative, are disallowed by our modern technocratic societies. But I’m quite sure there are some out there who would still eagerly kill fellow believers, thinking that they are doing God a service (Jn 16.2).
I am also fully aware that many Bible expositors would have us believe that God is “unconditional love” — but only up to a point. They would have us accept that “God is all Grace” — but only up to a point. That “God’s care” for humankind “is paramount” — but again, only up to a point.
Let’s not be afraid of asking questions. Yeshua asked questions. Its interesting that almost every time he was approached with a question, he did the very Jewish thing and answered the question with a question. Have you ever noticed that?
I can visualise it now. A man approaches Yeshua and asks, “Why is it you always answer a question with a question?” Yeshua pauses for a moment to think, then says, “Do I?”
The Constantinian church in all three major divisions has been spoon-fed the corrupted Gentile Gospel for 1,780 years. The prophet Jeremiah says about the days of the coming of the Messiah: “The Gentiles shall come…and say ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies…'” from prophet, priest, minister and rabbi alike (Jer 16.19). Hosea cried out: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” And God blames the priesthood for taking away man’s right to learn the truth (Hos 4.6).
Its high time to hear the true Gospel of an authentic Grace through restored Jewish thoughtform. So I ask the question yet again! If “Christ is the Answer” then what are the questions?
In Romans 13.10, Paul tells us that love works no ill to his neighbour. If this is the case could God inflict an endless ill to even those His enemies He professes to love? Take some time to think about it. We are here discussing God’s very nature, His very character.
The churches respond: but sin is infinite and man must justly be punished, as a consequence, infinitely. Oh? Is this the case? Isn’t man a finite creature? How can a finite creature commit an infinite sin? If man as a finite creature cannot commit an infinite sin, then is justice served by punishing him endlessly?
I mean, just stop for a minute and really deliberate seriously about it!
Why haven’t the churches stopped and wondered that if one sin is really infinite, can a hundred billion transgressions be any more? And if one transgression isn’t infinite, does a hundred billion transgressions amount to an infinite sin? Moreover, if sin itself is infinite, how can one sin be greater than another? Further, if sin (which is the transgression of God’s Torah — 1 Jn 3.4) is infinite, is it really the case that “where sin abounded GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND” (Rom 5.20)?
I’m just asking questions.
Let’s not stop here. If the transgression of God’s holy law (Torah) is infinite, how can sin ever be brought to an effective conclusion? Answer that one so-called “Grace” churches! Yet Our Lord Yeshua, the Scriptures decidedly state, “must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Cor 15.25). The protest by these churches that sin is infinite, and thus hell is eternal, promises by logical extension that sinners as hostile enemies of Yeshua Messiah will perpetuate their self-willed opposition to God’s awesome gracious salvific will for all eternity.
Why don’t we think about what we read in the Bible? Why don’t we challenge our priests, our ministers, our elders to both explain and to justify their archaic (and in some cases blasphemous) ideas of God? People aren’t backward in hurtling accusations of one sort or another at this lecturer. How about some equal time already?!?
I well recall, when employed with the world’s largest international missionary radio organisation many years ago, that the Australian Director of that worldwide work enthusiastically embraced the concept that God desired the salvation of all men and he stated often that we ought to pray effectively and intelligently for that salvation to be implemented (1 Tim 2.1).
My question to him at that time, is the one I now put to all our readers. It is this. Should we pray for the salvation of all men in faith without doubting (Jam 1.6)? Some may think, what am I getting at?
Well, what I am getting at (simply put) is that the Scripture, which cannot be broken (Jn 10.35), states categorically “what-soever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14.23). And, if we are to pray without doubting for the salvation of all humankind, can it not be that God intends all to be saved? If we are praying for this result other than in faith then we are engaged in activating an actual sin in the presence of God. Unfortunately, he couldn’t answer (or perhaps wouldn’t answer) the obvious point of my perceptive thrust. I really don’t think he ever prayed the same again after that, especially for the lost. I mean, if today is the only day of salvation (which he held to be a self-evident fact of Scripture — which it isn’t by any means) and endless misery is the just lot of the lost (who fail to accept Yeshua as their Saviour in their present lifetime) then WHY should any of us “desire and pray” that endless misery and eternal torment may prove FALSE?
You want some more questions?
I accepted the doctrine of total depravity for years. I truly and sincerely believed the notion that my inner depravity — my inherited fallen nature — was the CAUSE of all my sins. But a little thought, and some serious study, years after my Damascus Road in 1981 and the founding of the BRI in that same year, brought to light that Adam did not inherit total depravity. Yet he too sinned. Not only is this the case, but Eve sinned prior to Adam when she added to the Word (Oral Torah) of God, and this sin was not counted to her at all (Gen 2.16,17 cf 3.2,3). The “Fall” came later when she succumbed to the temptation of ingesting the Sacred Mushroom.
Again, if we inherit a totally depraved nature then our children are unclean by extension being themselves also totally depraved. OK? Isn’t this what we’ve always believed? Well, if this is the case why could Our Lord Yeshua say, referring to little children, “that of such IS the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19.13,14)?
Again, if human beings are to be washed from their sins, iniquities, transgressions and faults (and they are) if they are totally depraved, pray tell, what is there to wash?
Again, and along the same line of reasoning, if Paul is correct in writing that the day will come “when evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim 3.13) how can they be totally depraved to begin with?
Again, if “we love God because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4.19) — and I have no problem with this revelation by the apostle John and I embrace it wholeheartedly — is it the case that mankind must first love God before He will love mankind? This is what we are told in today’s churches (protests by “Pentecostal hillbillies” to the contrary notwithstanding).
- Yet the very opposite is true.
For if God loved us once, and we are reminded that “God is love” (1 Jn 4.16), are we not to expect that same love to continue indefinitely, ceaselessly, eternally? Is it, in other words, consistent with the Divine Justice to love mankind when mankind did not love God? For, if God loved us when we did NOT love Him, our love toward Him must be the EFFECT and not the CAUSE, of His love toward us — wouldn’t you agree? Quite obviously He loved us when we did not love Him. Now with this in mind HOW can we have it any other way than that all must be saved, as God must FIRST love us in order for us to RETURN that love back to Him? So, if the love of God is the CAUSE that creates in the human heart a holy and acceptable love toward God, can ANGER, WRATH, HOSTILITY, INDIGNATION, RAGE and IRE produce the equivalent harvest?
Again, why does the Bible never use the term “Christ, the provider of salvation”? Why do theological books and treatises major on this same terminology? Why do they claim that Messiah as the Passover Lamb fulfilment only makes “provision” for salvation when the Scripture tells us that the Passover Lamb was “GIVEN” not “offered”? Can Messiah as the Passover Lamb be “Saviour” of any more than He actually saves? Can Messiah truly and authentically be called our “PERSONAL Saviour”? He is “Personal Saviour” only if he saves us personally! Can he be “Personal Saviour” if there are those He does not PERSONALLY save? For that matter, why does Paul call Yeshua “the Saviour of all men” (1 Tim 4.10) if He isn’t? Doesn’t Paul also say this notion is “faithful and worthy of all acceptance” (1 Tim 4.9)? And why is he “ESPECIALLY” SAVIOUR of those who presently believe (1 Tim 4.10)? Was Yochanon the Immerser correct in his assessment that Yeshua was the “Saviour of the world” (Jn 4.42) if the world remains as lost as ever? Can Yeshua be the “Saviour of the world” if he doesn’t save the world?
Again, is he the Saviour of unbelievers (1 Tim 4.9)? If Christ isn’t the Saviour of unbelievers, then why oh why is it insisted that unbelievers call upon the Saviour in belief? Is it a faithful saying that “God has concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy on all” (Rom 9.32)?
Again, why doesn’t Paul ever mention hell? Why does Paul insist the death state is to be swallowed up? Further, why does he speak of this in the present tense? Some of our readers are by now, if they have travelled this far, offended. I can hear them cry out: “But God is JUST. He therefore MUST sentence those who do not accept Yeshua to everlasting torment.” Listen! A righteous God would not be JUST to us if He did not LOVE us. For God is love. God’s very character is unconditional love. Therefore, God’s punishments “without unconditional love” are unjust.
I can just hear my old Gentile pastor saying, “Les, you are majoring on the minors again.” Oh no, far from it. These questions are among the most crucial anyone could ever ask! I can also hear him saying, “Oh matey, you are in the grip of rationalism.” Rationalism? To rationalise is to “ration” out “lies.”
If human reason be “carnal,” “delusive,” “devilish” and “destructive” then why did God say through the prophet Isaiah, “Come now and let us REASON together” (Isa 1.18)? If reason is “carnal,” “delusive,” “devilish,” and “destructive,” then why should our virulent “brother preachers” REASON against REASON?
Brethren, if God loves only those who love Him, what better is He than the sinner (Lk 6.32,33)? If He loves people enough to send them into a blazing eternal hell of excruciating torment — or into the everlasting darkness of a Christless Night (today’s preachers cannot make up their minds which one is hell or if both are!!!) — then what is the PURPOSE of sending them there? Hell, by all accounts is purposeless. This is admitted freely enough by all Bible scholars (I said scholars). God is Purpose. This is likewise admitted freely by all Bible scholars (I said scholars). So why would a God of Purpose send people into eternal torment? What is the purpose? The damned can’t repent, even if they wanted to do so. Time to rethink the cliché, “Christ is the Answer,” unless we are willing to accept the questions.
Mashiach truly IS the Answer. The truth of the matter is that God is not frantically trying to save the world now. If He is then the Dark Lord has the upper hand. Today is “A” day of salvation, not “THE” day of salvation (Isa 49.8 Heb; 2 Cor 6.2 Gk). Christians are God’s “firstfruits” of His universal harvest (Rom 8.23; 11.16; 1 Cor 15,20; Jam 1.18). Because the Gentile church threw out the meaning of the Jewish festivals it lost all knowledge of the rich meaning of the phrase “firstfruits.” Assuredly, we were chosen IN MESSIAH back in eternity and predestined to Sonship to God (Eph 1.4-6). This present age (since Messiah’s first coming) is the time period in which God is CALLING OUT His Messianic Community. An apostle of the Messiah wrote, “Men and brethren, hearken unto me! Sh’mon [Simon] has declared how God at the first [or, for the first time, in the house of Cornelius] did visit the Gentiles TO TAKE OUT OF THEM a people for His name” (Ac 15.13,14).
The entire speech of Ya’akov [James] is most enlightening. He continues: “AFTER THIS [after forming the Messianic Community] WILL I RETURN [the second advent of Messiah] and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down: and I will build again the ruins thereof and will set it up: and the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the nations, upon whom My name is called, says the Lord, who accomplishes all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Ac 15.16-18).
Israel at the dawning of the Messianic Age will begin to turn to their Messiah, Yeshua. BRI has been predicting the worldwide rise of Messianic churches, fellowships and synagogues since its inception in 1981. Certainly at Messiah’s Advent “all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11.26) and all the nations shall seek after the Lord (Ac 15.17).
- Yes, God has a program for His authentic spiritual Community.
What is that program? It is this: “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His GRACE in His kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua” (Eph 2.7).
How Christians can read such astonishing words as these without apprehending the marvellous plan which God has for the destiny of Israel (and the whole world) in His salvific purposes is beyond my comprehension. “In the ages to come God might show forth the exceeding riches of His GRACE.” Show who? Those who already know it?
Paul answers forthrightly, if we may believe what he wrote.
“Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of the Messiah; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the ages has been hid in God, who created all things by Yeshua haMashiach. To the intent that now unto the PRINCIPALITIES and AUTHORITIES in the heavenlies [or, heavens] might be made known THROUGH the Messianic Community the manifold wisdom of God, according to the purpose of the ages, which he purposed in the Anointed, Yeshua our Lord” (Eph 3.8-11).
The GRACE of God is to be made known to all men on earth — and to all the creatures that populate the heavens. This is the excellent calling of the Messianic Ekklesia (“called out assembly” of the Messianic Community)!
There have been somewhere between 70 and 140 billion people who have lived on this planet since the dawning of Adam’s Creation. The vast, overwhelming majority have never heard of that “one name under heaven given among men whereby we may be saved” (Ac 4.12). That’s a lot of burning spirit, soul and body to be tormented for eternity. But such is not God’s purpose, at least not according to my Bible.
True, the lost do not deserve the GRACE of God. And neither do I, and neither do you. That’s why GRACE is GRACE (unmerited favour). That’s why it takes GRACE to SAVE us — all of us. “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that [faith] not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2.8,9).
Again, stop and think. Why does Paul continue on from his preceding clause (“That in the ages to come he might show forth the exceeding riches of his GRACE in his kindness toward us through Messiah Yeshua”) with the word “FOR” as in “FOR by grace are you saved,” etc.?
Simply put, Paul is stating that in the ages to come God will demonstrate His GRACE to the ENTIRE UNIVERSE using THE MESSIANIC COMMUNITY — as the Body of Mashiach — as His prime representative example or model of what GRACE accomp-lishes, for He has already shown His GRACE to us in this present age.
“Messiah is the Answer” and we have examined faithfully some of the questions. There are numerous more to ponder. But never get discouraged over the questions. All of us have dearly loved ones who are not saved. Some have already passed over into the timeless void of the dreamy netherworld of Sheol. Perhaps “God, the God of the spirits of all humankind” (Num 16. 22; 27.16) will grant us the immense privilege of “showing the exceeding riches of His Grace” to our loved ones personally, “in the ages to come”?
Take heart, it may be so.
One thing for certain, the day is coming when God will be “All in All” (1 Cor 15.28) not “all in some.”
Upon that revelation of Scripture we can totally rely. God haste that Day.