Biblical Answers to the World Mission Society Church of God

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.--1 John 4:1

Are you or a loved one struggling with this group? Do you need Biblical answers about the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCoG or CoGWMS), their founder Ahnsahnghong (Ahn Sahng/Sang-Hong) or their current leader "Mother Jerusalem" (a.k.a. "Heavenly Mother God," Zang/Zahng Gil-Jah, or Chung Gil Cha)? Thank you for coming here. I hope my blog helps you. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Heavenly Mother - Conversation with Paul

In my post about Galatians 4:26, "Paul Francis" wanted to discuss the meaning of "Jerusalem."  (It's an important question for the World Mission Society Church of God, or WMSCOG.)  For ease of discussion, and so others can follow along, we'll continue that conversation here in the comment section (similar to my previous conversation with Cyrus).

Because this is specifically a conversation with Paul, to avoid confusion and complication, I respectfully request that anyone else refrain from adding questions and comments here.  You are welcome to email me, though, and I will save your responses for a later post (similar to the responses to Cyrus).

Ok, Paul.  First of all, some guidelines for us both:
  • Each comment should be made in two parts, a response to the previous point and the raising of a question.
  • Response -- We should respond to the question that was last put forth, keeping in mind the purpose of explaining and encouraging understanding and not simply fighting.  Also, please avoid using phrases such as "You don't understand because you are not one of God's chosen" (more examples here).  We can also respond to the previous response, as long as it doesn't include an additional question that needs an answer.
  • Question -- We should ask a question, either to further pursue the issue, or raise a different point.  For the ease of following the conversation, please limit the question to one point.  Do not ask a question related to your response and ask a new question as well.  Though it is understandable to ask a couple questions if they are all very closely related.
  • If we think the other's response is incomplete, inadequate, or needs to be clarified, first we should answer their question (give our response), then our question should concern the previous response.  In other words, don't avoid their question in order to focus on their response.  In this way, we should never be talking about more than two topics at once.
  • Timeliness is nice, but life is busy.  A delay in answering should not be taken negatively or cause concern, unless there has been silence for more than two weeks.
I hope that is all clear.  Thank you for your cooperation, and now let's get started.  First I'll recap the last part of conversation on the Galatians 4:26 page:

Paul:  
Yes it is highly figurative. The apostle when it came to explain the new covenant did not mention Sarah or new law but just mentioned about the heavenly Jerusalem. To get a better understanding about the heavenly Jerusalem we must find related verses in the bible and read them together to understand and not in parts.

Genny:
He didn't say much about it probably because this passage was focused on showing how we are free from slavery to the law, and not focused on the "heavenly Jerusalem."

If you were wanting a "better understanding about the heavenly Jerusalem" as you say, I would not start with this verse at all. I would look first (and mainly) at Heb. 12:22-24 and Rev. 21.


Paul:
Understanding the heavenly Jerusalem properly does include the verse Gal 4:26. And the apostle did focus a lot and thereby described Jerusalem as our Mother.

And now I'll take the first turn here in the response/question format:

Genny:
If you read the whole passage (Galatians 4:21-31), there are 10 verses.  Only two of them mention Jerusalem.  Six of them directly mention Sarah and/or Hagar (two more if you count verses 26-27).  Five of them directly mention the sons Isaac and/or Ishmael (who was not named, but we know who he was).  Therefore, I would say his metaphors were focused on the women and the sons, not on Jerusalem.  That's why, if you were wondering about a "heavenly Jerusalem" I would not start with those verses.

My question for you... You had asked me before what I thought of when I heard the word "Jerusalem."  You agreed with my response that it was a city.  When you think of Jerusalem the city, what specifically do you think of?  Do you include all the people (inhabitants) in that thought picture, just see the buildings (like empty shells), or maybe just the physical location (as a dot on the map), or...?

Now it's your turn.  Please remember the two parts, response and question.

152 comments:

  1. When I think of the city, I indeed think of the whole city and not in parts like you have asked. It has no connection with this discussion because the apostle says that the earthly city Jerusalem is held in slavery as the people of that city at that point of time had worshipped God according to the regulations of the old covenant. The Jerusalem temple where the rituals were performed.

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  2. So you include the people with the city. Yes, I think it does have a connection. Maybe it will become more apparent later. When you said, "The Jerusalem temple where the rituals were performed," how did you mean to connect that with what you said?

    Also, you forgot to ask a question to continue the conversation.

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  3. They worshipped God in the temple, isnt it? And as far as asking question is concerned. I dont hav a question but i do hav a point to make. That when we are trying to understand the heavenly Jerusalem it would be better to read all related verses to get a clear interpretation. Rev 21:9-10, Heb 12:22-24, Gal 4:26. Reading these related verses we come to understand that the heavenly Jerusalem is our Mother and also the city of the living God. A place in heaven and not on earth. It is just like you had said earlier, that the Israelites in the old testament were called God's children and God's wife. Similarly Jerusalem refrers both to our Mother according to Galatians and also a place in heaven according to Hebrews and Revelation.

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  4. I wasn't sure what you meant because it was an incomplete sentence. That's why I asked how you meant to connect it.

    The question you ask doesn't have to be one you don't know the answer to. Maybe it's to check if we agree on the answer. It's to help the conversation move forward. So think about it and see if you can come up with a question of some sort to do that. Otherwise, we will become just two people saying what we think but not actually communicating with each other.

    I'm going to pretend you asked me to look up those verses to find what they say about a heavenly Jerusalem (and I'll go ahead and add Rev. 21:2).

    In these verses, the heavenly Jerusalem (or new Jerusalem, or Jerusalem above) is related to...
    Rev. 21:2 -- a city, a bride
    Rev. 21:9-10 -- a city, a bride
    Heb. 12:22-24 -- God's city filled with angels and Christians
    Gal. 4:26 -- a mother, free

    Question: If the heavenly Jerusalem is a city, who would you say are the people that are part of that city?

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  5. The Bible gives a detailed account of the people who are part of the city:
    1) Rev 19:7-9 shows the Lamb's wedding taking place and the heavenly Jerusalem making herself ready. Verse 9 descirbes those people who are invited to the wedding and they refer to those people who will receive salvation. This can be further understood by reading the parable of the heavenly banquet where those invited refered to the people who will receive salvation. But in Matthew there is no record of the Bride because the heavenly city Jerusalem that indicates our Mother appears in the last days.

    2) While reading Heb 12:24 also we can see that the people who are present in the heavenly Jerusalem are those spirits who have been made perfect. In other words those who received salvation.

    3) Gal 4:26-31 also shows how Isaac who had a free mother inherited abraham's estate and not Ishmael. Similarly those who have Jerusalem as Mother will be like Isaac and become God's heir (Rom 8:16). So again those in heavenly Jerusalem refers to the people who will receive salvation.

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  6. Yes, those who are part of the new Jerusalem are Christians, believers. (Though you have brought in several other points that relate to WMSCOG doctrine, which we haven't discussed yet. Let's take things a piece at a time.)

    Again, you haven't asked a question or given me any prompt to continue the conversation.

    My question for you is: Do you really want to have this discussion? If not, please let me know. If so, please do your part to keep it going.

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  7. In my comments I have been constantly interpreting Jerusalem as our Mother. If you are accepting my view and have nothing to contradict, the discussion will itself come to an end.

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  8. If you continue that interpretation to to conclude it is an actual woman (instead of a metaphor as in your home country is your 'mother'), then yes, I would be contradicting that.

    I'll leave the decision with you. Would you like to take the conversation further?

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  9. Yes. I am concluding Jerusalem is our Mother, a person. The word Mother in Galatians does not mean it is our Motherland. There is a difference you see between Mother and Motherland.

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  10. So we will continue. That's good.

    Of course there is a difference between a real mother and a motherland. That's what makes these kind of things metaphors.

    Gal. 4:25-26 says, "25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother."

    Do you believe the Jerusalem in verse 25 is a person in the same way as you believe the Jerusalem in verse 26 is a person? Whether yes or no, please explain.

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  11. In verse 25 obviously it is not a person because he mentions the word city but does he mention city in verse 26? No. He says the Jerusalem above is our Mother. We should accept what the apostle has written. I know you will make the point that if its a comparison how can verse 25 refer to city and 26 to a person. But we should keep in mind that heavenly Jerusalem in the bible refers to a city as well, a place in heaven where God dwells.

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  12. You have made the error of taking this verse out of context. It's as if you have plucked it out of it's place and treated it differently from the scripture around it.

    I'm sure you realize that verse numbers are not part of the original text of the Bible. They were added much later. The numbers are useful for reference, but for understanding we need to read through it ignoring the verse numbers.

    When we do that, we should see that Hagar/Jerusalem and Sarah/heavenly Jerusalem represent either *both metaphorical mothers or *both actual people.

    If you insist that one is a city while the other is a person, then you must be influenced to do that by something else because the passage by itself does not accommodate that reading.

    What else influences you to interpret Sarah/heavenly Jerusalem as an actual person but not Hagar/Jerusalem?

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  13. The heavenly Jerusalem is God the Mother or not can be found out by reading related verses in the Bible. When we take a look at Rev 21:1-3, we can see that the Heavenly City, Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven and later verse 3 says that "Now the dwelling of God is with men". If Jerusalem is not God, how come the bible say that God lives with men?

    In Rev 21:17 the Spirit and the Bride are the Source of the living water. In every age it is always God who is the source of the living water. In the age of Father, it was Jehovah (Jer 2:13). In the age of Son, it was Jesus (Jn 7:37-39). In the age of the Holy Spirit, it is the Spirit and the Bride. If the Bride, that is heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:9-10) is not God, how can she be the source of living water?

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  14. Rev. 21:1-3
    Here the heavenly city represents God's dwelling place, not God Himself. You live in your house, but you are not your house.

    In Rev. 21:3 when it says that "God will dwell them [the people]," it does not have to mean that the New Jerusalem is God coming to live with the people. It can easily mean that God is coming to live with the people who are in (or will be) the New Jerusalem.

    Please read Eph. 2:22, "And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
    In fact, go back and read the whole paragraph starting with verse 19. Here the people are being 'built together' into God's dwelling place.

    What do you think about Eph. 2:22?

    Let's do one at a time and focus here before moving on to Rev. 22:17. (I think you meant chapter 22.)

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  15. Eph 2:19-22 is a completely different topic which explains how we are becoming God's dwelling place. This can also be understood by reading 1 Co 6:19 where our bodies are said to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. But Rev 21 does not say of God dwelling in men. It says God dwelling with men. You have said correctly that it does mean God coming to live with the people but verse 2 says the New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven. This is very clear that the city indicates God the Mother who is coming down and will live with men.

    From our earthly system we can understand this better. Just like there are cities named after people, similarly God's dwelling place is also named after our Mother. There is a city named Victoria after the Queen Victoria. Just because Victoria is the name of a city that does not mean there is no person called Victoria. Infact the very name of the city testifies that there is a person named Victoria. Similarly, our Mother who is coming to live with men has been symbolically described as the city.

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  16. First of all, city names do have meaning, but they are not all named after people. Just because Hong Kong or Tokyo are names of cities, that does not mean there must be a person named Hong Kong or a person named Tokyo.

    You are leaping to the conclusion that "This is very clear that the city indicates God the Mother who is coming down and will live with men." If that is what you are trying to show, please stop skipping steps to get there.

    You mentioned Rev. 21 as talking about God's dwelling place, and I showed you that Eph. 2 also talks about God's dwelling place. It is not a 'completely different topic.' Besides, does God live in only one place? No. And it is not impossible for God to dwell both "in you" and "with you." But if you like, let's go back to Rev. 21 for now.

    Read carefully Rev. 21:1-4. This New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven "after the first heaven and the first earth had passed away" and there is a "new heaven and a new earth." This is after the Great White Throne judgment of Rev. 20. That does not fit with a "God the Mother" who is supposedly living on earth now.

    You still have not shown that this heavenly Jerusalem is a person. To recap, so far you have ...
    --a questionable reading of Gal. 4:26 (I would say faulty, but to leave room for you to show more evidence, I'll leave the word at questionable).
    --a reading of Rev. 21:3 that says since God is to dwell with men, and the New Jerusalem just came down from heaven, therefore the New Jerusalem must be God. That neglects the idea that God can be dwelling with them in the New Jerusalem.
    --the idea that since the New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven it must be God (but you don't seem to consider that God can send many things down out of heaven but that doesn't necessarily make any of those things God).
    --the idea that since some cities are named after people, then New Jerusalem must be named after a "mother god" (which doesn't logically follow).

    You do not have a very solid case yet.
    When I think about Jesus, I find that the cornerstone of my faith is the Resurrection. I can build a pretty good case upon that.

    When you think about "mother god," can you narrow down the 'cornerstone' for that faith? Something that all these other pieces you have can build upon? Something that is more concrete and and clear than what you have already given? In other words, when you are thinking about your 'mother god,' what is the scripture or evidence that you can trace your faith back to?

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  17. I never said all cities must be named after people. I just gave one example to clear the concept that there are cities named after people and that is in this case too. Why in this case? The reason is it is a city according to Heb 12 and our Mother according to Gal 4. You may take Gal 4 as a metaphor, I dont see it at all as a metaphor. The reason being there are various scriptures that testify about Mother. Let us go one by one and not get confused.

    In the book of Rev every event about the end time is not recorded in order. For example we can see that in Rev 16:19 God unleashed his wrath on Babylon. But again in Rev 17 & 18 the city Babylon is shown very much in existence. Similarly Rev 21:1 is talking about a new heaven and a new earth. And verse 2 is showing the city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. It is not necessary that it has to be in order. Why not? The next paragraph may give a better explanation.

    In order to better understand the new heaven and new earth we must take a look at 2 Peter 3:3-13. There it is mentioned about the destruction of the heavens and the earth. Then as God has promised there will be a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. If indeed Rev 21 is written according to the order in which the events take place, where does the city Jerusalem come down to since the earth has been destroyed? And how come God dwells with and in MEN, as the earth has already passed away and we are in heaven as angels?

    I do not reject Jesus and I do not reject tne Ressurection. Those are the great days of God where He has fulfilled the prophecies of the bible and defeated Satan and has given us the hope and faith that brings us salvation. Just because I accept Mother that does not mean I reject Father. Salvation is given by God and it is through the Scriptures that we come to know God. I have known Jesus from the bible and I have also known Mother from the bible. As far as scriptural evidence goes, as i said earlier in the comment let us go one by one :)

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  18. You are right that not everything in Revelation is in chronological order. However, I don't think Rev. 16-18 is a good parallel to Rev. 21. Rev. 17:1-3 shows a definite change of scene, but we don't see anything like that in Rev. 21:1-8.

    It becomes more clear that the beginning of Rev. 21 is in order when you continue reading. Rev. 21:1 does talk about a new heaven and a new earth, and verse 2 does show the city coming down out of heaven. Verse 3 says that God's dwelling will be with the people (which you agree goes along with verse 2, right?).

    But verse 4 continues that thought saying that there will be "no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." If verses 2 and 3 are happening now (with the wmscog's idea of the 'Mother God'), then the 'old order of things' should have passed away, and there should be 'no more death or mourning or crying or pain.'

    You asked, "If indeed Rev 21 is written according to the order in which the events take place, where does the city Jerusalem come down to since the earth has been destroyed?"
    Rev. 21:1 already told us there would be a new earth. It comes down to the new earth.

    You also asked, "And how come God dwells with and in MEN, as the earth has already passed away and we are in heaven as angels?"
    The Bible says we will be LIKE the angels, not that we will BE angels (and yes, the original language does have the word 'like' in there, Matt. 22:30), but we are not here to discuss the 'we were once angels' doctrine. So I will answer according to the thought that we will already be in heaven.

    This part of Revelation shows a meeting of heaven and earth (the new heaven and the new earth) in a way that we have not experienced, kind of like what we might call a heaven on earth.

    As for the people, Rev. 20:9 says that there will still be some of God's people on the (old) earth at the very end of things. And in Rev. 20:11-15, all those who are dead come before the great white throne for judgment, and those whose names are in the book of life survive the 'second death.' Those groups are the people who will be dwelling with God in this place where the new heaven and new earth meet, the New Jerusalem.

    I understand you do not reject Jesus or the Resurrection. I was just using my own basis for faith as an example to ask what was your basis for faith in your 'mother god.' The Resurrection is the cornerstone of my faith in Jesus as Christ (perhaps yours too). What is your cornerstone of faith in 'mother god'?

    I would like to go through the verses you have one by one, but do you have a cornerstone, some central, solid base point you go back to when you feel your faith in 'mother god' threatened?

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  19. Firstly, what is the new heaven and the new earth? Rev 21:1 says first heaven and first earth "passed away". And 21:4 says the old order of things "passed away". This is a symbolic reference that we will end our physical life and enter the spiritual world or heaven where there is no death. If you insist that the group of people in Rev 20:9 who have survived the second death are the ones in Rev 21:3 then how come it is a heaven on earth as the earth we live in is destroyed in Rev 20:11. Once the Resurrection has taken place and Judgement is done, there will be no longer any earth. The first heaven and first earth represents our physical life and new heaven and new earth represents our heavenly life.

    Regarding Mt 22:30 it is true it has been written "like angels". And to get a more clear understanding we should see 1 Co 15:50-53. There it talks about the transformation from perishable to imperishable. And the transformation is necessary because with the body of flesh we cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. In Rev 20 the transformation has already taken place. We are not men any longer and there is no earth. Rev 21:2-3 talkes about God dwelling with men and 4 speaks of the kingdom of heaven where there is no death. It is not necessary that 2,3 & 4 has to be fulfilled at the same time. First 2 & 3, and later 4 gets fulfilled which is similar to 1 as I have explained in the first stanza.

    I never feel my faith in mother god to be threatened. To me her existence is as true as mine. And my solid base are the scriptures, the prophecies which has been fulfilled that I just cant ignore even if i want to.

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  20. Well, some people think sites like this are a threat. I thank you for being here to discuss things respectfully. If your solid base is made of the scriptures and prophecies, then we are discussing the right thing.

    I believe that 'the first heaven and first earth' that pass away are the actual heaven and earth, but you believe it's a metaphor for 'our physical life.' And I believe that 'the new heaven and new earth' are actually a new heaven and new earth, but you believe it is a metaphor for 'our heavenly life.' Is that right?

    1 Cor 15 does talk about the type of body we will have after our resurrection. Everyone who will be dwelling with God in Rev. 21:3 will have this type of body (immortal, imperishable, perfect). You say that we 'are not men any longer' after our transformation. Do you mean that we will not have a physical body any longer?

    I would beg to differ with that. 1 Cor 15:49 says that we will 'bear the image of the heavenly man,' meaning that as Jesus was after His resurrection, so we shall be after our resurrection. He had a glorified, heavenly body, but it was still a physical body. He showed it to the people, the disciples felt it, Thomas touched His wounds. Jesus still looked like a human even though His body was made imperishable and perfect.

    I do not want to confuse things by changing topics to the wmscog's angel doctrine (that should be discussed separately). But to bring us back to where we were... We were discussing Rev. 21:1-4 and whether the 'new Jerusalem' here is a city (place) or a person ('mother god').

    For it to be a place, all you must do is read it as written, in order, as I have shown. For it to be a person, you have shown that you must remove verses 2 and 3 and interpret them separately, out of sequence.

    So far we have discussed Gal. 4:26 and Rev. 21:2. Do you have another verse you'd like to examine with me?

    I know we may not come to an agreement, but this exercise is good anyhow because it gives the readers here a picture of the differences between how the wmscog reads the Bible and how a mainstream Christian reads the Bible.

    And that has caused me to think of something else... The way you are interpreting all these verses is far different from the way they have been interpreted for centuries upon centuries. And to make your case work, it takes the reinterpretation of many, many verses to make them all point a different direction than what has been taught since the disciples' time.

    My main question for you this time is -- Who proposed this drastic reinterpretation of all these scriptures? It was not any of the traditional or historical Bible scholars, so whose idea was it?

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  21. Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus in a physical body there has to be a change of topic to discuss that as you mentioned. If you want to, we can go ahead.

    As far as any other verses regarding our topic is concerned, there is Rev 22:17. If you would like to discuss, I have no problem continuing.

    Personally I have never found such sites as harmful. Infact I find it quite useful. It is a good thing to discuss things in a healthy way. It is also good to know the difference in opinion that exists among people from different denominations.

    You are right in mentioning the drastic change that has taken place in interpreting the bible as far as the wmscog is concerned. And you and your readers too very well know who caused this change. For centuries the bible has never been interpreted like this. But if you can look closely it is not something that has happened for the first time. Even at the time of Jesus the same thing had happened. The teachings of Jesus were not similar to the normal traditions or practices of the people of that time. He established a "new" covenant. It was a new teaching. But however, the prophets had foretold about the Messiah and gave His signs too who would come and deliver them. Still they rejected Jesus. You may argue that, that is how it was supposed to be, that they were kept from recognizing Christ so that the scriptures may be fulfilled and we be freed by His death. I agree. But surely the way Jesus taught using the Scriptures did not comply with the way they have been interpreting the same Scripture for centuries. The thing that is happening now has happened before too.

    John 6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"

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  22. I notice you said, "And you and your readers too very well know who caused this change," but you did not mention the name of "who." (Maybe I think it's someone different than who you think it is.)

    "For centuries the Bible has never been interpreted like this." That is correct. Please think about this... Does the one "who caused this change" have a vested interest in you believing it?

    You might say that Jesus had a vested interest getting the people to believe Him too, but it's not quite the same. Jesus did not physically benefit from what He preached, did not become wealthy, and in fact was killed for it in just a few years. Ahnsahnghong, Zahng Gil Jah, Kim Joo Cheol, however, have benefited.

    Another difference with Jesus is that He *never* preached about a second God. The wmscog on the other hand, preaches that there are *two* gods. This is such a fundamental change to the Bible that you cannot compare them.

    Besides, it is meaningless to use the argument, "Jesus was rejected too. His teachings were hard to accept too." I could try to convince you that my neighbor is the second coming of Christ, and when you didn't accept it, tell you, "People didn't accept Jesus either. It's just like 2000 years ago. They missed out on the truth and you are going to miss out also." See, it is a meaningless argument. We need to stick with better logic.

    We can discuss Rev. 22:17. Would you like to start?

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  23. The best logic to stick to will be the bible. There are uncountable people in the whole world who claim to be the second coming of Jesus. But surely we must distinguish the truth from the false.

    Rev 22:17 says that Spirit and the Bride are the Source of the living water. In every age it is God who is the source of the living water. In the age of the Father, Jehovah (Jer 2:13). In the age of Son, Jesus (Jn 7:37-39). In the age of Holy Spirit, the Spirit and the Bride (Rev 22:17). If the Bride, Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:9-10), is not God, how come she is the source of living water?

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  24. Just a side note--"living water" also meant "flowing water," like a river instead of a pond.

    Jer. 2:13, "... They have forsaken me, the spring of living water..."

    This verse does say that God is the spring of living water. (Also in Jer. 17:13)
    The Old Testament also talks about God giving water in the future (Is 12:3; 44:3; 58:11; and Ez. 36:25-27).

    John 7:37-30, "...'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive..."

    These verses (along with John 4:10-14) say that Jesus gives living water. But notice that once given, "the living water will flow from within them." Interesting that the people can then become a source of living water--not the original source, but a source still.

    Rev. 22:17, "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life."

    This verse is an invitation to take a free gift, but it does not specify who is actually giving the water or what the source is.

    An analogy might be when you attend an event and there is a table with a sign "free bottles of water". You see a person saying, "Come get one!" The person could be the owner of the bottles, or they could be a friend of the owner, or they could be a visitor who already got their bottle, or even a stranger who saw the sign. There's no way to tell from that information alone.

    What specifically about Rev. 22:17 makes you say that the bride is the source of the water?

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  25. Rev 22 clearly shows the heavenly Jerusalem from where the water of life flows. This same event is also recorded in the old testament. Zech 14:8 and Ezek 47 records the same event where living water flows from the heavenly Jerusalem.

    It is true Rev 22:17 is an invitation. So is John 7:37. There Jesus invites people to come and drink the living water freely and says whoever drinks living water can then also become its source. Similarly Rev 22:17 shows us the Spirit and Bride inviting us and later those who have already heard from the Spirit and the Bride are also inviting to come and freely receive the living water.

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  26. If you'll notice, Rev. 22:1-2 says, "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city...."

    The water flows from the throne, through the city. So if you think of the water as flowing from Jerusalem, Rev. 22:1-2 says that it's original source is "the throne of God and of the Lamb."

    This can be thought of as similar to John 7:37-38 when Jesus invites people to drink and then living water will flow from within them. Jesus is the original source of the water, which then will flow through and out of the person. The throne is the original source of the water, which then will flow through and out of the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem still does *not* have to be God.

    You acknowledge that "whoever drinks living water can then also become its source." In this way the source is not necessarily God Himself.

    Yes, Jesus invites people to come and drink. Yes, the "Spirit and the bride" invite people. But as you say, "the one who hears" also invites people. The act of inviting does not make the speaker God.

    The Bride still does *not* have to be God.

    Is there another verse you'd like to talk about, or would you like to pursue Rev. 22:17 further?

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  27. Rev 22:1 says that the water flows from the throne of God. And concerning the throne of God Jeremiah writes in 2:17 that at that time Jerusalem will be called the throne of the Lord.

    When we read from verses 14 till 19 of Jeremiah chapter 2 we can understand the time that he mentions in verse 17. Jeremiah prophesied about the destruction of Judah by Babylon and that the Israelites would be carried as exiles. And in verses 14-19 he writes about the time when the people return to Jerusalem from their exile.

    This is just not a historical event recorded in the bible but is a prophecy. There exists the spiritual Israelites (Rom 2:28-29) (Gal 3:29). There also exists the spiritual babylon (Rev 17:5). There also exists the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:26). So whatever happened to the physical Israelites is like a prophecy, a shadow to reveal the things that will be happening with the spiritual Israelites in the new testament times. Just like after the Israelites return from the babylonian captivity and Jerusalem is called the throne of God. Similarly, in the new testament times when the spiritual Israelites return from the captivity of spiritual babylon, at that point of time, Jerusalem will be the throne of God. And from there the water of life flows.

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  28. So far we've discussed Gal. 4:26; Rev. 21:3; and Rev. 22:17.

    I've been showing how a normal, straight-through reading of these verses in context shows that the New Jerusalem can indeed be a place (including its people, the believers), and that it does not have to be "mother god."

    In contrast, it seems that you have had to take things out of order and jump through hoops to try to show that the New Jerusalem *must be "mother god" and *cannot be the church (believers).

    At best, so far you have made great efforts to show that it *can be interpreted as "mother god" (*if you re-interpret tons of other verses (including those speaking of only one God, which we are not getting into here), ignoring centuries-old scholarship and relying on the interpretations of the wmscog, which has a vested interest in your believing them)...

    But you have yet to show that the New Jerusalem *must be "mother god" and *cannot be the church. We have not yet hit on a verse that would show this.

    Have you got one? Would you like to discuss another verse?

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  29. So far I have explained that the New Jerusalem refers to a place and also God the Mother. But it certainly does not refer to the saints (believers).

    My interpretations does not agree with any doctrine in the world except that of the wmscog. But before I go on further explaining why Jerusalem refers to our Mother I would like to ask you a question and simplify our discussion.
    I have given my interpretations about why it should be God the Mother. Why do you think it is refering to the saints? What is the basis for interpreting New Jerusalem as the believers?

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  30. That's a good question.

    The New Jerusalem is called the Bride in Rev. 21. The people of God (as a group) are called God's bride, or betrothed, or wife consistently in both the Old and New Testaments. (Let me know if you need those verses.) The metaphor also fits in context with the heavenly Jerusalem.

    You and I both agree that the New Jerusalem is a place, but the place also includes the people who belong there. For example, the students at a school can also be called "the school." Likewise the city of London includes Londoners. They go together. The New Jerusalem is not just a city (place) but also the "New Jerusalem-ers" (the saints, the people who belong there). Therefore it does not only represent a place where believers will be with God, but also the Church as a whole.

    I have two questions for you this time (since one is only a yes or no question for informational purposes).

    You said, "My interpretations do not agree with any doctrine in the world except that of the wmscog." Are you involved with the wmscog?

    Also, the idea that the heavenly Jerusalem is "God the Mother" involves the idea of two gods instead of one. That is probably the main reason to reject it. It involves re-interpreting not just the verses associated with New Jerusalem or the Bride, but also the very foundation of the Bible itself. Since the Bible is so adamant about only worshiping one God, how do you overcome that objection?

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  31. Yes the believers are called God's bride. But there is a reason behind it. And to know the exact reason we have to go back to the book of Genesis.

    Before explaining anything about the relation between God and his people through the book of Genesis, I would like to say something that will be important in understanding what I would say later. Genesis ch 1 records the creations of the heavens and the earth. But in reality this is not a historical record. This can be understood very easily. God created light on the first day which can only mean physically the creation of the Sun. But if we look closely the Sun was created on the fourth day. Then how come there was light on the first day? The first 3 days clearly records there was evening and morning. How can the first 3 days have evening and morning if the Sun and the Moon are created on the fourth day? The third day records the creation of plants and trees. How can plants and trees come into existence if there is no Sun? It is a scientific fact that the earth has taken millions of years to evolve and become suitable for life. It cannot be created in 6 days and never in the way the bible records in Genesis 1. I do not mean by this that God is not the creator of the heavens and the earth. But Genesis ch 1 is not a record of the physical creation. It is a prophecy and has to be interpreted spiritually. And just not Genesis 1 but even ch 2 & 3 are mostly prophecies and a recomposed story of the events that took place in heaven- the angels' getting corrupt and rebelling against God. Without deviating into another topic lets focus on the relation between God and his people.

    Genesis 2 & 3 is just not a historical record of Adam and Eve. In the bible Adam represents Christ (Rom 5:14) (1 Co 15:45). Eve represents the saints (2 Co 11:3). As Eve was the wife of Adam, so the saints are refered to as the bride or wife of God. But concerning Eve there is another significant prophecy in Gen 3:20. It says that she would become the mother of all the living. This is directly related to Gal 4:26. Just like Eve is the physical mother of all who are alive on earth today. Similarly Jerusalem is the Mother of all who are alive spiritually or we can say of all those who will recieve eternal life. If Eve referred only to the saints how do you interpret Gen 3:20? If Jerusalem refers to us how do you explain the word 'mother' in Gal 4:26?.

    Concerning the foundational teaching of bible that there is one God- Can you answer what made apostle paul write in Romans 5:12 that sin entered the world through one man? Two people sinned, isnt it? It was Eve who sinned first. If you are to blame one person, going by logic, Eve should have been blamed. It should have been written "sin entered the world through one woman". The reason Paul wrote in such a way is because Gen 2:24 states that the two were one flesh. That is why though there are two Gods, if the bible records in numerous places that there is but one God it is biblically correct according to Gen 2:24.

    Just because the bible has been interpreted in a certain way over centuries does not make such interpretations true. In earlier times people had a fixed idea for centuries that the earth is flat, the earth is at the center of the universe. That did not make the earth flat or what they thought. It is ridiculous to hold on to what people have thought for centuries and judge the words of God on the basis of such interpretations. And regarding your first question, yes I am a member of the wmscog.

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  32. Before I get to the main topic...

    You said, "It cannot be created in 6 days and never in the way the bible records in Genesis 1."
    I'm surprised you said this. I have heard Christians debate whether or not they were 6 literal days or longer "day ages," but never about whether God *could have done it in 6 literal days. Your phrasing makes it seem like you don't believe God is capable of this.

    You said, "It is a prophecy and has to be interpreted spiritually."
    You also had a "spiritual" interpretation of the Israelites, Babylon, and Jerusalem. We shouldn’t give things alternate "spiritual meanings" to make them fit our theory when it leads away from basic Biblical principles. Give things "spiritual meanings" and you can make the Bible say anything. Here's an example: www.spiritualwisdom.org.uk/bible-interpretation.htm
    (And I do NOT endorse that site)

    You said, "Eve represents the saints (2 Co 11:3)."
    Paul used Eve as an example for the Corinthians, but that one verse shouldn’t be the basis of a doctrine that Eve represents the saints. Except for the creation story, Eve is only mentioned two times in the whole Bible.

    Your question was: Why does Rom 5:12 say that sin entered the world through one man, when Adam and Eve both sinned, and Eve sinned first?

    Ways to look at Rom 5:12 that do not involve two gods or an error on Paul's part:

    -The Greek word for "man" in this verse means "the human race, people or a person in general, including women and men." The word meaning "a male individual of the human race" is a different word. So the word technically can refer to either Adam or Eve. (Read the interlinear: biblehub.com/interlinear/romans/5.htm)

    -1 Tim 2:14 and 2 Cor 11:3 tell us that Eve was deceived. Adam, however, sinned deliberately and knowingly. In Gen 2 & 3 we see that Adam heard directly from God not to eat from that tree (before we see Eve), that he was there when Eve was being deceived by the serpent and did nothing to stop her, and he ate the fruit when she offered it.

    -Adam (created first) was in authority over Eve (created from him to be his helper). 1 Cor 11:3 says that the man is head over the woman. With Adam in authority over Eve, at least part of the responsibility for her sin is given to him. I'm sure you've seen this happen in real life cases these days. A high-profile one recently was when the South Korean Prime Minister took responsibility for the ferry tragedy and resigned his position, even though he wasn't directly involved.

    -Adam, being created first, is used as the representative of all mankind, and this also allows Paul to use parallelism for literary effect in comparing Christ.

    A few Bible commentaries that address this issue:
    www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/view.cgi?bk=ro&ch=5&vs=12#12
    www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/view.cgi?bk=ro&ch=5&vs=12#12
    www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/view.cgi?bk=ro&ch=5&vs=12#12

    You also asked, "If Eve referred only to the saints how do you interpret Gen 3:20?"
    I don't think I ever said that Ever referred only to the saints, but when Gen 3:20 says that Eve would be the "mother of all living," that's exactly what it means. Since Eve was the first woman, all humans would be descended from her.

    You also asked, "If Jerusalem refers to us how do you explain the word 'mother' in Gal 4:26?"
    We've already talked about Gal 4:26, but as a reminder (or in case I didn't express this before)... Think about the Israelites. Israel as a nation was called their 'mother.' Likewise, the church (as a whole, under the New Covenant) can be considered our 'mother.'

    You asked 3 distinct questions this time. Let's limit ourselves to one at a time or the conversation will become hard to follow.

    My question for you: What is your faith background? Were you a Christian before joining the wmscog, not committed to any faith, or...?

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  33. I never said God is not capable of creating the heavens and the earth in that way. God is capable of doing anything. The message I wanted to convey was that Gen 1 is not a record of the physical creation. The Sun, Moon, sky, plants, trees, etc. do not refer to the physical Sun, Moon, etc. Now again by saying this I do not mean that God did not create the actual Sun and the Moon. It is just that this very first ch of Genesis does not talk about the physical creation.

    You are saying that I am giving alternate spiritual meaning to make certain things fit my theory. The site you mentioned was indeed funny. Not because it was wrong but because it contradicts itself. The article wrote that the words of God has a literal and inner meaning but later the writer contradicts his/her own theory by doing away with the physical and just holding on to the inner meaning. Note where the writer talks about the destruction that took place at the time of Noah and says it cannot happen but just gives it a spiritual meaning. I am not judging wether his article is right or wrong. I dont need to. Because the writer contradicts his/her own theory. Surely there would be no confusion if it would be the truth. For all that, I did give references when I interpreted something spiritually. I did not say it to fit my theory. If you think otherwise kindly give reasons. Even for Gen 1, I gave many reasons in my last post for it not to be a physical record. And concerning Adam and Eve, if I take your view and interpret only in the literal sense, then kindly answer the following question. Adam was the first man and Eve the first women. If this is true then how come in Gen 4, their only living son Cain (after the murder of Abel) have a wife? Where did his wife come from?

    Regarding one God. You gave a link to show the original text written in Greek, but sadly it just states the original word and not its meaning. Kindly give proof that the word used there does not have a singular meaning. I am not commenting about the confusion as to who is more responsible for the sin or who should we blame. My purpose was to show that though two persons were involved, it is just stated "one". Just like the physical Adam and Eve are called one. Similarly the spiritual are also referred to as one. When considering Eve as the saints, the bible records in various places we are one with Jesus. And when considering Eve as our Mother, the bible records God as one in uncountable places.

    Lastly, you said Israel together as a nation was called their 'mother'. Kindly give reference.

    I was a Catholic before I joined the wmscog. I know there are numerous points and questions asked. But all of them are related to each other. I will be answering all your questions and I hope you too will.

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  34. For the meaning of the Greek word in the interlinear Bible, click on the number above the word. In this instance, it is word #444.

    Verses where Israel was called a "mother":
    Is. 50:1
    Ez. 19:1-2,10
    Ez. 23:2-4
    Hosea 2:2-5
    (Let me know if you need explanation for any of those.)

    You said, "Adam was the first man and Eve the first women. If this is true then how come in Gen 4, their only living son Cain (after the murder of Abel) have a wife? Where did his wife come from?"

    Read carefully. The Bible does not say that Cain and Abel were the only children of Adam and Eve at the time. Gen. 5:4 says that Adam had sons and daughters. It does not say how old Cain and Abel were when the incident happened and when Cain was looking for his wife. Eve could have had a baby every 1-2 years, and they would have grown up to marry and have children (brother-sister marriage was not forbidden yet). Cain would have married a sister or niece.

    I'm glad you clarified what you meant about creation. But it *is possible for Genesis 1 to be a record of the physical creation of the world.

    I'm also glad you were amused by the "spiritual meaning" site. You noticed how that author contradicted himself, though I bet if you asked him, he would have an explanation for everything and wouldn't acknowledge the contradictions. Interestingly, the wmscog contradicts itself too. I don't want to get too off topic, but if you can find some here: http://encountering-ahnsahnghong.blogspot.com/p/summary-of-internal-evidence.html

    Thank you for sharing about your faith background. What type of Catholic were you? I mean, were you very devout and studying a lot? Or just attended weekly mass? Or maybe marginal, only attending once in a while?

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  35. The word #444 can mean either a man or mankind in general. To know what it means exactly we need to look at the word before. That is #1520. The meaning of that word is "one", which clearly tells that #444 means a man and not mankind.

    All the verses you mentioned where Israel together as a nation is called mother should be understood in the proper context. How can you individually refer to people as bride and together as mother? When God refered to the Israelites as bride, he never referred to them individually. All of them together are the bride of God. Similar meaning is found in the NT as well. 1 Co 11:1-2 and Eph 5:23 explain the whole church as God's bride. You cannot refer the members individually as bride and together as mother. As for the verses you mentioned it refers to the land of Israel. The place which was there motherland. This has no connection to do with Gal 4:26. The believers who are in the truth can be from any country. They cannot have the physical city of Jerusalem as their mother. And we both know this is referring to the heavenly Jerusalem. How can a place in heaven be our motherland?

    Regarding Gen 1 to be record of physical creation. Look closely throughout Gen 4 & 5. Adam and Eve first gave birth to Cain, then Abel. Then after Abel was killed, Seth was born. And after Seth, they had other sons and daughters. Now lets come to Gen 4:13-16. Their the Lord declares punishment on Cain. And Cain in reply pleads that "I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me". And God replied "....the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him....". Who would find him? There is no one there on the earth, isnt it? And Cain was punished to go out of the Lord's presence and live in another land. How come he was worried about finding people out there? There was no one there except his mother and father. And note Seth was born after Abel was killed. And later other sons and daugthers. So indeed there were other people one earth. Adam and Eve were not the first man and woman physically

    I was regular at church always. In childhood out of obligation and later as a devout Catholic.

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  36. How long have you been a member?

    I think you misunderstand word #444. It does not have to be a male "man" but can be a general person either male or female, a member of the human race. If it was male only, then being a female the following verses would not be speaking about me and I could ignore them: Matt. 12:35 or 12:43-45, Matt. 15:11,18-20; Rom. 2:3 or 14:20 (just a few examples).

    In Rom. 5:12, the word used allows either a male or female person. But even if Paul specifically meant Adam in that verse (since he does talk about Adam later), there are reasons he would do so without causing a problem or a second god (I already spelled out those reasons).

    About Israel being referred to as a mother... I don't believe I ever referred to individual people as the bride. If I did, please show me where so I can clarify it. The people are together (as a country or as a church) referred to as a bride and as a mother. And I don't understand your point about "motherland" here. Please explain again if you wish to pursue that.

    About Cain... In Gen. 5:4, because of the wording, the part "he fathered sons and daughters" is not necessarily attached to "after Seth was born." (Here's the original, if you're interested: http://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/5.htm) You are free to believe there were other people on earth already if you wish, but it's not necessary. And frankly I'm surprised that as much as the wmscog says that they believe what is written in the Bible, they teach that the creation story is not literal.

    Are there any other verses about "mother god" we have not talked about yet?

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  37. In you earlier comment you had stated that "part of the responsibilty for her sin is given to him". This clearly means both are responsible to whatever extent it may be. God is just. And God punished both Adam and Eve for their wrongdoing. If Adam alone was responsible, then there was no reason to punish Eve. The reason I have used Rom 5:12 is to show that though two are responsible, it states one because the two were one.

    Now, as far as I remember, I never said the creation story in inaccurate. The creation story is perfect. Its the way it has been interpreted that has inaccuracies. In my very first comment related to Gen 1, I had asked various questions showing it cannot be the physical record of creation to which no answer came from your part. The Bible is perfect. It is just the interpretations that do not match with it that causes problems.

    Inaccuricies like insisting Jerusalem cannot be God the Mother. The bible clearly states that Jerusalem is our Mother and the bride of God. It is also the city of the living God. You agree as far as city is concerned but the bride and mother part you say it is us. Dint apostle Paul clearly distinguish between the Jerusalem and the believers. Reading Gal 4:27-31 you can easily see that Jerusalem is shown to be the mother of those who are the children of promise. It is we who are the children of promise like Isaac. And just like Isaac had Sarah as his mother, we have Jerusalem as our Mother. How can it be more clear than this?

    I have been a member of wmscog for 4 years.

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  38. Even if you try to use the reasoning that a married couple is considered one unit, many other verses declare only one God in a language that cannot be interpreted in such a way. Consider:
    Isaiah 43:10-11
    Isaiah 45:22
    James 2:19
    1 Timothy 1:17

    I realized "accurate" was the wrong word, which is why I changed it to "literal." Previously you said, "I never said God is not capable of creating the heavens and the earth in that way. God is capable of doing anything." If you believe that God is *capable of creating the world as recorded in Gen. 1, and I expressed that I believe God *did create the world in this way, then what answer more do you need to your "questions showing it cannot be the physical record of creation"?

    But if you need it cleared up, your questions were...
    "But if we look closely the Sun was created on the fourth day. Then how come there was light on the first day?"--God does not need the sun to have light. (If you are unsure if God can create light without the sun see Rev. 22:5)

    "The first 3 days clearly records there was evening and morning. How can the first 3 days have evening and morning if the Sun and the Moon are created on the fourth day?"-- God was creating a pattern of the day, light and darkness, morning and evening. He does not need the sun or moon to do this. He is all powerful.

    "The third day records the creation of plants and trees. How can plants and trees come into existence if there is no Sun?"-- God created the plants and the trees Himself, and He had already made light for the world.

    Regarding Jerusalem, mother and bride... I will say it again. There is a distinction between Jerusalem (or the bride or the mother metaphor) and the believers (or Israelites) because one is looking at the group as a whole and the other is looking at the individuals. How can it be more clear than this? :) (In other words, what you say is clear to you and what I say is clear to me. Hopefully we can find the words to be clear to each other.)

    I had something else to ask, but since you mentioned Isaac, I remembered something I read in Ahnsahnghong's book. I don't think it will become another conversation, it's just something I'm curious about what you think. Ahnsahnghong said that Isaac was God (in The Mystery of God and the Spring of the Water of Life, chapter 12). Do you agree?

    I'm also curious about what impressed you about the wmscog and made you want to join, if you don't mind continuing our side, personal conversation. Can you pick out something in particular? And is there anything you'd like to know about me?

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  39. There are numerous verses other than this too where God is referred as one. The couple of Adam and Eve were called one. And they were called so to show the relation between God and his people and between God the Father and God the Mother. Since they were called one, it does not matter what the language is but it is perfectly fine to call two Gods as one.

    Regarding Genesis 1, your responses seem to show that the unscientific aspects of the creation is preserved by the power of God. I know God is capable of making sonething out of nothing. God is all powerful. But still regarding the creation story, I would differ from the view that it is a record of physical creation. If you desire to know more about it, we can continue and I would provide a detailed explanation of what it actually means.

    No, I do not agree Isaac was God. Because Ahnsahnghong did not say that Isaac was God. He said prophetically Isaac stands for Jesus Christ.

    "Gen. 18:1-10 [... Then the LORD said, 'I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.'] By these words, the LORD meant that He Himself would be born as Isaac.

    Prophetically, Isaac stands for Jesus Christ."
    - Explanations of the Trinity, Ahnsahnghong, Ch 5.

    If you look closely in the book of Genesis where the promises were made by God to the seed of Abraham, it mentioned one person and not many. And later the apostle Paul explained in Gal 3:16 that the "seed" is Christ. This clearly shows that Isaac stands for Christ. That is why Jesus said in John 8:56 that Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing "my day". In reality Abraham rejoiced because he believed in the words of God that He would return to him and be born as Isaac. Jesus Christ is the seed of Abraham and prophetically is the fulfillment of Isaac. There was a significant prophecy in Gen 17:19 related to Isaac that God would establish His everlasting covenant with him. In reality it was Jesus Christ who established the everlasting covenant 2,000 years ago and not Isaac, the son of Abraham. So Isaac was a figure of God and not God himself.

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  40. Thank you for addressing the Isaac question. I do believe that the incident with Abraham sacrificing Isaac was a foreshadowing of Jesus. In talking with others, it had come up that Ahnsahnghong did believe that Isaac was God. If you believe that he meant it only as prophecy and not in actuality, then perhaps you could double check with your pastor on the church's teaching.

    You said, "Regarding Genesis 1, your responses seem to show that the unscientific aspects of the creation is preserved by the power of God."
    Yes, there are many "unscientific" things that God has done, such as causing a virgin or an old woman to give birth, healing the blind, raising the dead, etc.

    You said, "There are numerous verses other than this too where God is referred as one. The couple of Adam and Eve were called one. And they were called so to show the relation between God and his people and between God the Father and God the Mother. Since they were called one, it does not matter what the language is but it is perfectly fine to call two Gods as one."

    The language does matter....
    Is. 43:10 "...Before me no god was formed, nor will there be after me."
    The word for God here is singular "el" not "elohim." If there were two gods, how could God say this truthfully?

    Is. 45:22 "...for I am God and there is no other."
    The word for God here is also singular. If there was another god, He could not have said this truthfully.

    James 2:19 "You believe there that is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder."
    Was James speaking truthfully here? Of course he was. It is good to believe there is ONE God, and even the demons know it.

    1 Tim. 1:17 "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
    Paul says there is only one God also. The "King" is the "only God" -- all singular. Did Paul mean what he said?

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  41. You have quoted various verses before and now again showing God as one. You say that the word for God used in these verses in singular and not plural. What about those verses where God is referred as plural "elohim"? Do we discard those verses? In the OT, over 2,500 times the word elohim is mentioned. We discard all those verses and read only those that speaks of one God? Is it? From the very beginning of the bible itself, there is testimony of two Gods. Gen 1:26-27 clearly shows the existence of two Gods. Tell me if you need explanation

    Regarding Gen 1, I had mentioned the "unscientific aspects of creation". There is no need to show events like virgin birth, healing the blind, raising the dead,etc. These incidents have been proved to take place at that time. These are facts, recorded historically. But is there proof that the creation story actually refers to the physical creation and that the universe has been created in such a way? You are free to believe what you want but if you are not interested to know what it means, then we should drop the matter.

    I have been very familiar with the teachings of Ahnsahnghong and He never believed Isaac to be God. Perhaps you should double check with the people you have talked and confirm what was His beliefs. Perhaps you should also be careful about who you are speaking to, in order to get the information. In his book as I quoted in my previous comment, He clearly mentions that prophetically, Isaac stands for Jesus Christ. If this is the basis for thinking Isaac as God, then why only Isaac? There were many other figures in the OT who prophetically were related to Jesus. We should call them all God. So going by your view or the view of those people who told you- Adam, Melchizedek, Moses, David, Isaac, etc. all would be God.

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  42. The way Ahnsahnghong wrote, it certainly sounded like he believed Isaac was God, but if you say it was only prophetic, then I will gladly let it go and move on...

    As for the word "elohim," when translating from another language, it's important to use the rules of that language, not your own language.

    For example, in Spanish the more negative words you use, the stronger the idea of negative in your sentence. But in English, two negative words make a positive idea. So the sentence "I don't know nothing" in Spanish means "I really don't know anything" but in English it means "I do know something." This would cause a translation problem if you didn't follow the right rules.

    If you are looking at Hebrew, you need to use the rules of Hebrew. In Hebrew, the plural suffix does not always mean a plural number. Sometimes it is used to signify that a singular thing is "great, absolute, or majestic." That is the case with "elohim" when it refers to the one, true God (and "elohim" is not the only Hebrew word that does this).

    It's a lot to get into with just a short comment here, but when you have the time, please read:
    http://www.obcitydesigns.com/wayofthenazarene/uploads/pdf/God%20-%20Elohim%20Plural%20Or%20Singular.pdf

    It's long, but thorough, and written by a Hebrew scholar.

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  43. Ok. So after reading this article shared by you (not fully though, just a go through) and several other articles available in the net to clear my concept about this, I have understood the meaning of it in a way which I will share in the next paragraph. Kindly tell me if you disagree or think that I am wrong.

    In Hebrew, plural suffix can mean the subject to be plural or singular. Both can be possible. If it means plural, the sentence must contain plural verb or adjective. If it means singular, then it will have singular verb or adjective and will signify one thing to be "great, absolute or majestic" like you said.

    In the OT if we look at all the verses where elohim is mentioned, in all the sentences elohim is not accompanied by singular verb or adjective, many among them have plural verb or adjective. Where it is just a singular verb or adjective, I have no problem in accepting your view that God is called with honorific titles. But what do you think about those verses where plural verb or adjective is used with the word elohim?

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  44. And regarding Isaac, you wrote "The way Ahnsahnghong wrote, it certainly sounded like he believed Isaac was God". I do not know how carefully you have read his books. I would quote an extract from the book "The Mystery of God and the Spring of the Water of Life".

    "All this history was a prophecy of the things to come: Ishmael represented the natural Israelites through Moses, and Isaac the spiritual Israelites through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:16; 4:25). Therefore, Jesus testified that He was Isaac the child of promise. As it is written:

    Jn 8:56 ['Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.'] (cf. Ge 18:10)

    Through these words, Jesus showed that He was the child of promise. As Isaac represented Jesus who was to come later, both of them were called the children of promise: ...."

    - The Mystery of God and the Spring of the Water of Life, Ahnsahnghong, Ch 4.

    It is clearly stated, "Isaac represented Jesus". How much more clear can it be? I would ask something from you if you can do it. Kindly remove your post from this blog where you have mentioned that Ahnsahnghong believed Isaac to be God. And since there are many who have read that post and have been misled, it would be appropriate to make a new post clarifying that Ahnsahnghong did not meant Isaac to be God. I hope you will do the above unless you have a personal problem with Ahnsahnghong or you are deliberately trying to twist his teachings.

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  45. Regarding 'elohim,' yes that's pretty much it.

    For the other cases you mention when other plural verbs or adjectives or pronouns accompany 'elohim' when referring to God, there are not "many" but only a relative few. Out of 2000+ uses of 'elohim' to refer to God, only 3 passages have plural pronouns, and only 9 have plural verbs or adjectives. These are explained in the article I mentioned, starting on page 3.

    Regarding the Isaac issue, I have read his books (the ones that I've been able to get a hold of) carefully and more than once, but it has been a while. I strive to be a person of integrity and had already started reading them again (before your message), with the purpose of editing my article in a fair manner (taking into consideration your information and my rereading of the books).

    I'm still interested to hear--What drew you to the wmscog? Was there something in particular that prompted you to leave your Catholic roots to join?

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  46. Ok. So in your articles you have two possibilities as I have understood as to why elohim has been mentioned with plural verbs or adjectives. These are:

    1) Trinity
    2) The Royal We which means God's heavenly council. In simple words it means angels.

    Is that right?

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  47. I'm not sure if you are talking about my own articles or other articles I link to (like the one I referred you to above), but...

    1)Trinity -- As a Christian, these instances of 'elohim' might hint at the Trinity (note the wmscog has a different definition of the Trinity) to me. However, with the Trinity, there is still only 1 God, and in the Hebrew language it is still definitely singular. The Israelites who originally used the word thought of God as singular, even in these instances. Therefore the Trinity really has little to do with it.

    2) I would call the 'royal we' and a heavenly council two different things. The article I referred you to explained it nicely, starting on page 3.

    It seems like you are avoiding my other question. I just thought it would be nice to get to know each other a bit. But if you don't wish to ask/answer any friendly questions, please say so and I'll stop bothering you with them.

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  48. I am sorry for avoiding your question. After reading your articles and the article you mentioned in your comment, it just slipped from my mind. But yes, I would not like to talk about personal matters now. We can save these talks for a later time when we are done with our discussion.

    The articles in this blog and the link you provided are not very different from each other. Now regarding Gen 1:26-27, it is clearly stated that man were created in the "image of elohim". In the image of God, male and female were created. Both in 26 and 27 the verses say that we are created in God's image, God's likeness. The fact that male and female were created in the image of 'elohim', clearly shows elohim here refers to plural God's.

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  49. Male and female being created in the image of God means that both have the image of God, not that there are two gods creating two images. All humans have the image of God, not just the male who was created from the dust first, but also the female who was created from the male a little bit later. (It probably needed to be said just in case males thought they were the only ones made in God's image and that the females were less important.)

    Are animals made in the "image of God"?

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  50. That is exactly what I am telling. Except saying that here both Adam and Eve were created in the image of elohim. If elohim here refered to one God, then how come two persons were created in the image of one God? Note they were created in the image, in the likeness of elohim. Surely as there were two persons created in the image of elohim, this clearly testifies to the fact that there are two Gods.

    Regarding animals, if there is a verse stating that they are created in the image and likeness of God, then yes. But as far as I know, and I maybe wrong, there is no verse stating such a thing. Throughout Gen 1, nowhere when God created animals, he said that they were created in God's image.

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  51. I think you misunderstood me. Let me try again...

    Both persons, male and female, share something that shows they were created in the image of one God. Examples of things they both share: they both have hair, they both have beating hearts, they both breathe air...

    I think you would agree with me that neither having hair, nor having a beating heart, nor breathing air is the "image of God" that is meant. Why would you say that none of those examples is the "image of God" talked about in Gen 1:26-27? (I know *my reasoning, but I'm wondering if yours is the same.)

    I agree with you that animals are not created in the image of God. Genesis specifically sets apart humans as being created in God's image and there is nothing elsewhere in the Bible that would make us think it could be other animals too.

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  52. The examples you gave, none of those is the image of God meant in Gen 1:26-27. The reason being this is too much of an assumption. If we start assuming things like this then we can create an alternate bible that fits our view.

    Gen 1:26 clearly says "our image", "our likeness". These words are enough to understand that the image in which Adam and Eve were made was not one but two. Verse 27 also says male and female were created in the image of elohim. Nowhere in those verses or anywhere else in the bible, there is any record that the common features between a male and female is the image of God in which they were created.

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  53. The reason I would say those examples don't fit is because they are not very unique. Lots of animals have hair, or a beating heart, or breathe air. Being made in God's image sets us apart from the animals. Whatever it is, it isn't a trait we share with animals.

    You agreed that animals are not made in God's image. Yet most animals have males and females in their species. If "male and female" were the image of God meant in Gen. 1:26-27, then you must say that animals are also made in the image of God, but the Bible does not support that.

    Gen. 1:27 states "So God made (singular) mankind in His image (singular). In the image (singular) of God, He created (singular) them. Male and female He created (singular) them."
    There are a lot of singular words there.

    Have you ever thought about what the "image of God" could mean besides "male and female"?

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  54. Do the male and female in Gen 1:27 refer to animals? I have written several times that it is Adam and Eve. There is no need to bring the animal kingdom in the discussion and create confusion.

    There are many singular words. Perfectly fine. Even the speaker in 1:26 is One. But I think I gave enough explanations before regarding Adam and Eve to be One. So is the case with God the Father and God the Mother.

    There is a reason why God made Adam and Eve in their image, their likeness. By looking at Adam and Eve we can understand the truth about God. Just as they were One, even God the Father and God the Mother are One. You would absolutely agree with me when I would say that God is Spirit, not flesh. God's spiritual form cannot be seen by us humans who are in the flesh. But the Almighty God in His power can also appear in the flesh. Adam and Eve were humans. To be very specific, Gen 1 is a prophecy that covers the time period from when God has been working among humans to give salvation to mankind and Adam and Eve are the figure of Father and Mother who appears in the flesh in the last days and gives us salvation.

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  55. Yes, of course Gen. 1:27 is speaking of humans, and not animals, in regards to God's image. But there is good reason to discuss animals at the same time.

    Let me back up a bit because I think I might have missed something...

    In Gen. 1:26-27, when the Bible speaks of humans being made "in the image of God," what would you say it is about people that reflects God's image?

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  56. The answer to your question is given in the last paragraph of my previous comment. Kindly read it and let me know if you need further explanation.

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  57. The reason I was asking you to clarify that was to make sure I understood you correctly and wasn't making assumptions.

    I think your answer is that humans being made "in the image of God" means that there is a male God and a female God ("Father and Mother") just like there are male humans and female humans.

    I that correct?

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  58. So then, do you also believe other animals are made in the image of God (like elephants, cats, and ducks)? They have males and females also.

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  59. No because the male and female in Gen 1:27 refers to Adam and Eve.....humans not animals.

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  60. No, if the "image of God" referred to in Gen. 1:27 means "male and female" then animal species with males and females also have the image of God. Do you see why this interpretation of the image of God is a problem?

    The image of God is what sets us apart from the animals. It's what makes us special and different from the rest of God's creation. It has to do with our minds and spirits. Here's a nice summary:
    http://www.gotquestions.org/image-of-God.html

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  61. Firstly, the image of God in Gen 1:26-27 has nothing to do with the animals. It refers to Adam and Eve.

    Secondly, you say the image of God has to do with our minds and spirits. You have given a link and I have gone through it. The article can be summed up in the following manner:
    Adam and Eve being created in the image of God means that they were created in the likeness of God's righteousness and holiness. They had the ability to reason and had the freedom to make choices and chose death over life.

    The above theory is not correct. When God put the tree of knowlegde of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, did He know that Adam and Eve would eat of it, or not? We cannot say that God who knows the end from the beginning was unaware of it (Isa 46:10). If God had known, He must have intended Adam and Eve to sin; because even the serpent that tempted them to sin was made by God.

    Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.

    Therefore, it is certain that God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil to make Adam and Eve sin by eating from it. It was God's providence that Adam and Eve were to be decieved by the serpent and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were predestined to die.

    Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world....

    Even before Adam and Eve were created or had sinned, God had chose us who will be redeemed from sin and will be blameless before God. God already knew that Adam and Eve would sin, that is why He established the administration of redemption and had chosen the redeemed before the world began.

    Eternal life was not guaranteed to Adam and Eve. God only said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number" (Gen 1:28). Eternal life was given under a condition. The condition was this: If you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will die; if you don't eat of it, you will live. For Adam and Eve, it was a law "not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." The Bible says when there is no law, there is no sin.

    Rom 5:13 .....But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.

    It is also written:
    1 Tim 1:9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious;...

    So it is certain that God gave a law to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And the law is not made for the righteous. This shows that Adam and Eve were not righteous and holy like God. They did not have an option to choose between life and death, but God had already predestined them to eat the forbidden fruit and die.

    The image of God in which Adam and Eve were made has nothing to do with God's righteousness and holiness or the freedom to make choices.

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  62. The way that Gen. 1:26-27 has to do with animals is that it makes a distinction--humans were given the image of God, making them separate from animals which were not.

    About the article, you didn't mention anything about our conscience or our intellect or our love. You also don't seem to understand the authors point about Adam's free choice and righteousness.

    Regarding what you said about God *making Adam and Eve sin...

    Yes, God knew that by giving Adam and Eve the freedom to choose, they would choose sin. Yes, by knowing this, He already had Jesus' crucifixion and the salvation plan in place before the world was created.

    It's one thing to say that God allows sin because He sees a bigger picture and a greater purpose. (For example, it's better to create people with the free choice to sin because then they can make the choice for genuine love. It's better than making people with no choice, like robots, who must love because they can't choose not to--not true love.) That's a loving God.

    It's another thing to say that God intentionally causes people to sin. That He created Adam and Eve, made them sin, and then punished them for sinning. It sounds like you are saying that God created people like robots, but in the opposite direction--not that they must love God, but that they must sin. What kind of God would do that? "Loving" is not the word that comes to mind.

    But I think you are trying to avoid the question about animals and God's image. I've seen the wmscog teaching that explains how all creatures have their mothers and fathers (not exactly true by the way) and therefore we have our 'spiritual mother and father' too.

    Does the wmscog teach that animals are made in God's image?

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  63. The topic we were discussing is Adam and Eve being made in the image of God. If the image of God means Adam and Eve having conscience, intellect and love then all these should have been perfect like God. If this is what the image of God refers to then Adam and Eve in the likeness of God should have reasoned when they were tempted and should have done what was right morally. If the image of God means the love of God, then as God's love is perfect even Adam and Eve should have had a perfect love and would have never disobeyed God's command. After Adam and Eve were created they both lived naked in the Garden of Eden and felt no shame (Gen 2:25). Would you call this intellect?

    The bible teaches us that law is not made for the perfect (1 Tim 1:9). The fact God gave Adam and Eve a law in the Garden of Eden shows us they were imperfect. And the bible also says that the law was given so that tresspass might increase (Rom 5:20). It is certain that God gave the law so that sins may increase. If Adam and Eve had a free choice to choose between life and death then why God gets rid of death completely in Rev 21:4? Here, why does God not give absolute freedom of choice, but get rid of death? If we are given absolute freedom of choice, shouldn't there also be the freedom to choose death or eternal life?

    You are right in saying that God wants us to understand His love and to love Him. God can easily create perfect beings through His power. However if God creates the perfect being in such a way then they can neither feel God's love nor love Him. There is a reason why God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and made Adam and Eve sin. It was because God wanted to deliver them from sin and to lead them to eternal glory. About such people the bible records that they will never die (Rev 21:4). Since they have been made perfect by the precious blood of Jesus, which gives us forgivess of sins and eternal life.

    Regarding wmscog's teaching about animals being made in the image of God-- No, we do not preach such a thing. But regarding what you said about wmscog teach that all creatures have their father and mother, so we have our spiritual father and mother too. Yes, that is a teaching about eternal life and its source and not about the image of God.

    Rev 4:11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

    When God created all things, He created them by His will. Among all the things God has created, let us think about life. All living things receive life from their mothers. There is not a single creature on this earth that recieves life only from its father and not its mother. Every living organism on this earth receives life from its mother. Even our physical life is given by our physical mother, and not by father alone. Since God created all things by His will, then what is the will of God in creating mothers? It is to show us that we can recieve eternal life through our spiritual mother just like we receive our physical life through our physical mother.

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  64. It depends on what you mean by "perfect." God was not creating humans as little gods, perfect in all their ways like Him and unable to sin. He gave them an intellect, a moral compass, and the ability to love. As part of creation, they were declared "very good." But God did not create them incapable of choosing sin.

    The law mentioned in 1 Tim 1:9 and Rom 5:20 is referring to the Law of Moses.

    You said, "Here, why does God not give absolute freedom of choice, but get rid of death? If we are given absolute freedom of choice, shouldn't there also be the freedom to choose death or eternal life?"

    God already offered the choice of life or death. When God gets rid of death completely, it's at the end of time. People have already made their choice. Those who chose life no longer will have to worry about death.

    I still don't agree that God "made" Adam and Eve sin. God does not "make" people sin--James 1:13. here's a short explanation if you need it:
    http://carm.org/questions/about-god/if-god-controls-all-things-does-he-make-me-sin

    You said, "There is not a single creature on this earth that receives life only from its father and not its mother. Every living organism on this earth receives life from its mother."

    That is not accurate. There are a number of creatures and organisms (plants and animals) that have only one parent. This became apparent to me when I put a single snail in my fish tank and some time later found dozens of baby snails. Do a little research and you will see other creatures do this too. If you're not sure what to research, start with "parthenogenesis."

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  65. Let me clarify, because I think you are misunderstanding me.

    Ex 24:12 The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction."

    In the tablets of stone there was written the Ten Commandments. But here the word 'law' and 'command' both are used. This shows that law and commands are not different, but the same. In the Garden of Eden, God gave a command to Adam and Eve. It can also be called as a law.

    Rom 5:13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.

    Will you also insist that 'the law' mentioned over here refers to law of Moses? Then nobody born before the law of Moses was established should be consisdered as a sinner. Yet we see God bringing the flood at the time of Noah and destroying mankind because of their wickedness.
    The verse says "before the law was given" sin was already in the world. The reason God established His laws since the Garden of Eden was to hold men accountable for sin (Rom 5:20). Sin already existed, the law was given to reveal sin. If men would not become sinners, then why would they require the forgiveness of sin which is given through Christ's crucifixion planned before the world began? This is what the apostle paul explained brilliantly in Romans 7:5-11. In verse 8 he says "apart from law, sin is dead." Which means that because of the law, sin is alive. Do you still do not understand that the law was given so that sins may increase and not that by giving the law God gave the people a choice?

    It is just like a father telling his daughter to clean the room before he returns in the night. (The bible says sin already existed even before the law was given). So in this example let us consider in all cases the child disobeys and does not clean the room. (The act of sin). But my point is when will the child be guilty of sin? Had the father not told her to clean the room, even without cleaning she would not be guilty when the father returns. Only when the father commands the child, can she feel guilty of disobedience. So, you see why the law was given. Sin always existed. The law was given to make us understand we are sinners.

    It is interesting to note that through this discussion one thing becomes clear. The image of God has nothing to do with our minds and spirits, isn't it? If yes, then I wonder what image of God means. If no, I would like to know what else can it mean.

    Regarding creatures having one parent. I did search, and this is what I understood. Tell me if my observations are faulty. So there can be creatures having two parents, father and mother. But there also can be just one parent, which I read as an all female reproduction. Which means only mother. Now interestingly in both the cases it is the mother that gives life. And that is what we preach, mother, the source of life. We highlight the role of a mother in giving life. That a father alone cannot give life. This is our foundational belief. Now contrary to this, mainstream christians believe God as their father and their life-giver. Can you site bioligical examples where only a male gives life?

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  66. You are right about one thing... We have a serious miscommunication going on here. Let's back up and try again...

    This part is clear... We both agree that humans have the image of God. And we both agree that animals do *not* have the image of God.

    Therefore the image of God is something humans have that animals do not.

    When you consider humans and animals, what makes them different? What are characteristics that humans have that animals do not? (This is my question for you.)

    Regarding organisms with only one parent...
    Examples of one-parent reproduction not involving an egg:
    many hydra (and other cnidarians), some starfish (and other echinoderms), some sponges, some planarians (and other turbellarians), some annelids (worms). I'm not sure if you meant to include plants as "organisms," but there are plants that can reproduce asexually too.

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  67. It is very important that when we read bible verses, we should pay attention carefully.

    Yes, we are different from animals in many ways. But we should look closely to what is written in the bible. It was Adam and Eve who were created in the likeness of the image of God. This means that there is simlarity in the image of God and in Adam and Eve. What is the similarity? If we can find this answer we can understand wether it was just to show that we are different from animals or it has a greater meaning.

    Let us look at related verses where Adam is explained to be similar to God and try to understand what is the similarity.

    Rom 5:14 ......as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

    Here, when we continue to read from verses 15 we clearly can understand that Adam was a pattern of Jesus. But it is interesting to note that when you read the verses there is hardly anything you will find similar in Adam and Jesus. They both are actually exactly opposite of each other. Adam brought death, Jesus brought life. Through Adam sin entered the world, but through Jesus we receive the forgiveness of sins. Then why is it said Adam was a pattern of the one to come?

    1 Co 15: 45-47 So it is written: 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam, a life giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.

    Here also we again see Adam being told to be similar like God (last Adam). The reason last Adam is God is because it gives life. But notice again that there is no similarity between Adam and God. It is said the former is natural, the latter is spiritual. It is said first the natural came then the spiritual came. Then what is similar? Verse 47 gives the answer. It says the first "man" and the second "man". The similarity between Adam and Jesus is that they were both man. Gen 1:26 is a prophecy where God made Adam in his own image to reveal to us that God will come as Adam (in the flesh) to save mankind. This is the meaning of the image of God. Adam was a pattern of God. As Adam was a man, God came like Adam as a man.

    Regarding one parent reproduction. It happens in those creatures who are individually containing both male and female reproductive parts or can change there sex at choice. I did not get an example from you where only a male produces. The examples that you gave of asexual reproduction shows the process of budding (hydra), regeneration (starfish) where a new starfish is formed from a broken body part of a starfish, and regarding plants it is called vegetative propogation in which from one part of a plant or vegetable another can be produced. Since I am highlighting Mother being the source of life, a simple solid proof of a male reproducing by itself would be sufficient to prove me wrong. Instead of giving examples of one parent reproduction kindly give proofs of all male reproduction to expose faults in our beliefs. Till now, your claims do not show anything like that.

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  68. I'm sorry it's been a long delay in my response. Things have been quite busy at my house.

    About one parent reproduction... I've already given you examples of organisms which can reproduce individually without regard to father or mother. That is sufficient to show that not all creatures need a female as a source of life.

    If you are still not satisfied with that, then you are changing what you are asking for. It seems you are now asking for examples of organisms that normally use sexual reproduction that have offspring with only the male. In that case, the female by definition is the one with the egg. But there is an example of an organism where the offspring have only the male genes: Cupressus dupreziana. The process is called "male apomixis."

    However, as I've already stated, there are enough other examples of asexual reproduction to show that not all organisms need a female mother.

    It seems to me the point of all that was for you to show that because we have female mothers, that shows there must be a female god as well as a male god. Even if you wish to pursue that idea, you must overcome the verses that say there is only one God (listed previously, and husband and wife being 'one' does not work in those cases).

    About the image of God... First you said it was being male and female, and now you are adding that it is being in the flesh. Animals that have males and females are also in the flesh. Therefore, animals are also made in the image of God (they have a "similarity" to God, as you said), according to that reasoning.

    We already agreed that animals do not have the image of God. Keep thinking. What else could the 'image of God' be, if not 'male and female' or 'in the flesh'?

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  69. Male apomixis refers to the fusion of male and female gametes where later on the female nucleus gets replaced by the male nucleus. It is not an all male reproduction. The offspring inherits the characteristic of the male but the female does not go out of the picture. It is a fusion of both male and female gametes. I am simply asking for an example where the female has nothing to do with the reproductive process. If there is such an organism that exists, I would like to know. Because then that would be the first genuine mistake that I would find in our methods to testify about God the Mother.

    And you said initially I had said about image of God as male and female and now I am adding that it is in the flesh. Can you tell me how different is "male and female" and "in the flesh"? I am a male, you are a female. Are we not flesh? Male and female are humans. And all humans have flesh. So I am not adding anything but saying the same thing. And I do not understand why is it so difficult for you to understand that male and female in Gen 1:26-27 refers to Adam and Eve. Humans in the flesh. Not animals in the flesh. According to my logic and the verses animals are not made in the image of God. Just because there is male and female animals and they are in the flesh that does not mean you keep pulling them in our discussion. Stick to the verses kindly. The verses speak of Adam and Eve, humans not animals.

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  70. I have already given examples of asexual reproduction. I don't know why you discount those. Maybe you should look into them further.

    I did not mean to say that "male and female" is different than "in the flesh" (though it is slightly different). I meant that either one is too generic to be the image of God because they apply to animals also.

    I certainly do understand that Gen. 1:26-27 refers to Adam and Eve, but you do not seem to understand that it also has implications about animals. You wish to ignore animals when talking about this passage, but it is very relevant.

    God created mankind in His own image. This makes a distinction between mankind and other animals. Remember He had just made the wild animals in verse 25, and verse 28 says that mankind is going to rule over the animals. Being made "in God's image" sets mankind apart from the rest of God's creation. Whatever it is that you wish to claim means "in God's image" must be something that can't be said of anything else. You cannot separate verses 26-27 from their surrounding verses because you wish to ignore the animals.

    I have a philosophical question for you that relates to having a male and a female god. I'm curious about it and figure you might be able to answer...

    In the Bible, wives are told to be in submission to their husbands. We can see this in verses such as 1 Cor. 14:34-35, Eph. 5:22-24, and 1 Cor. 11:3. Is 'God the Mother' in submission to 'God the Father'?

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  71. You said male and female is too generic to be the image of God. You also said that the image of God must be something that cannot be said of anything else. You are right as far as the second line is concerned. You cannot compare humans with ignorant animals. There is a vast difference between them. You seem to take the "male and female" of verse 27 and apply it to humans and animals. But there is no need to do it. It talks of Adam and Eve. I very well know there are male and female animals too. But in God's image there was created a male and a female (human not animal).

    You say it is too generic to be God's image. But I have already explained that Gen 1 is a prophecy which speaks of God appearing in the flesh as male and female (human not animal, just as Adam and Eve were human not animal). When God came in the flesh 2,000 years ago why God appeared as a male and not female? There can be various answers according to one's oppinion, the correct answer however is that it was according to the prophecies (Isa 7:14; 9:6). As God came in the flesh having a gender (male) and invited mankind to receive living water (Jn 7:37-38). Similarly, in the last days too, God comes in the flesh having gender (male and female) and invites mankind to receive living water (Rev 22:17).

    Regarding God the Mother being in submission to God the Father. You quoted verses from 1 Cor and Eph but if you might notice carefully those verses speak about physical husbands and wives. You may already know or even if you do not, that Ahnsahnghong and Mother were not physically married to each other. So those verses of submission do not apply here. Moreover if you take Eph and interpret it spiritually as it is mentioned over there, it speaks of the relation between Christ and the Church, meaning God and the saints, not God the Father and God the Mother.

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  72. It seems you still do not understand my point about animals and the image of God, but as we've gone back and forth on it for quite a while, it's probably time to move on.

    You mentioned the 'living water.' We also talked about this water previously (starting May 6 above). Would you like to reopen that topic?

    Regarding submission, you say, "those verses speak about physical husbands and wives." It's interesting that you have talked so much about physical things having a spiritual meaning as well, yet now you say that it is only about physical husbands and wives and doesn't apply to the spiritual husband and wife gods.

    It's also interesting that when you do mention a spiritual interpretation, you say, "it speaks of the relation between Christ and the Church, meaning God and the saints, not God the Father and God the Mother." So here you are saying that the wife (or the bride) is in fact the saints and not 'god the mother'?

    Are there any other reasons for you to interpret the Bride (wife, or mother) is 'god the mother' that we have not discussed yet? (There was one I was kind of expecting, but I don't think you mentioned it.)

    If we have covered everything, it would be nice if you could give a brief summary of each point, verse, or reason to help our readers out. (And I will do the same when you are ready.)

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  73. Yes, I understand your point about animals and the image of God. You say the image of God is something we have and animals dont. True. I go a step further and describe what is the image of God that we have. You say it cannot be male and female gods since there are male and female animals too. But in the image of God there was created Adam and Eve, male and female humans. I think even you understand my point. So it is better we move on.

    We already had a discussion regarding the living water. And there too we were no closer to come to an agreement. Your point at that time had been that the one who invites does not have to be God as later even the people can become a source and invite as we can see in Rev 22. So you said that the act of inviting does not make the speaker God. In such a viewpoint, I think even Jesus who invites cannot be called God. And both of us know that is not true. I think we must better understand the concept of giving the living water. The people who later give are not the original source. They have received the living water from God and then they deliver it to other people. They are mere deliverers and not the original source. If Jesus would not have given the living water to His disciples what would they give later to the people? Similarly in Rev 22, the Spirit and the Bride are the source and the one who hears them are then the deliverers who give the living water to the people of the world.

    You said I have spoken about physical things having a spiritual meaning as well. It seems like you are saying I have made up the spiritual meanings. But rather I always gave references when I spoke such a thing. There is a physical Jerusalem and there is a spiritual or heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:26) (Rev 19:7, 21:9-10, 22:17). There is a physical Jew and a spiritual Jew (Rom 2:28-29, 4:11) (Gal 3:29). There is a physical babylon and a spiritual babylon (Rev 17:5). There is a physical sanctuary and a spiritual or heavenly sanctuary (Heb 8:5) (Rev 11:19). If you find it difficult to understand the verses, you can ask. But a mere reading of the above given verses will tell you that it is not I who make spiritual meaning of physical things but it is there very nicely mentioned in the bible.

    When I spoke about the spiritual meaning of wives submitting to husbands as mentioned in Eph 5, I said about God and the saints. That does not mean everywhere in the bible the bride becomes the saints. In Eph 5 clearly the bible mentions both physical and spiritual meaning of husband and wife. That does not mean we conclude the bride in Rev 19 as the saints too. The bride is Rev 19 is our mother according to Gal 4.

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  74. Hi Paul. Sorry I've been away so long with other obligations, but it couldn't be helped. Glad to be back. Hope you've been well....

    "I go a step further and describe what is the image of God that we have. ... in the image of God there was created Adam and Eve, male and female humans."
    Even though you say you understand my point about animals and the image of God, this shows me that you really do not. But yes, let's move on.

    "So you said that the act of inviting does not make the speaker God. In such a viewpoint, I think even Jesus who invites cannot be called God."
    The act of inviting to take the Living Water does not make the speaker God. But I did not say that it makes the speaker *not God.

    "Similarly in Rev 22, the Spirit and the Bride are the source"
    What is it specifically that makes "the Spirit and the Bride" the source of the water? Remember, it's not that they invite people to take the water. You must have another reason.

    "It seems like you are saying I have made up the spiritual meanings."
    I did not mean to say that you are making up spiritual meanings, but that you are inconsistent with your application of spiritual meanings in this way... (I will use your pattern) There are physical husbands and wives / mothers and fathers and there is a spiritual husband and wife / "heavenly father and heavenly mother" ("father god and mother god"). Physical wives are in submission to their physical husbands. However the spiritual wife ('mother god') is NOT in submission to her spiritual husband ('father god'). See how it doesn't match up?

    I don't think we've talked about Rev. 19. Would you like to do that next? You match it with Gal. 4, but Rev. 19:7-9 talks about a wedding and a bride and Gal. 4:21-31 talks about mothers and children. Did you mean to put those together?

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  75. 1) Firstly, the biblical records clearly testify that the Spirit is God himself.

    1 Cor 2:10-11 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men know the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

    According to the above verse, only God's Spirit meaning the Holy Spirit knows everything about God. But the Apostle John wrote:

    Jn 4:24 God is sprit....

    God himself is Spirit. That is why the Holy Spirit refers to God himself. There are various other testimonies in the bible.
    The Apostle Peter wrote that prophecies were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 Pe 1:21) but Paul wrote that all Scripture is an inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16).

    For ages people have different concepts of the trinity but the bible has a definite answer and shows that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the same God and are not three distinct persons seperate from each other. You may have your own opinions regarding this. But we can have a discussion about this point if you want.

    Regarding the Bride to be God, that is what we are discussing and our interpretations of verses do not match.

    2) Before going any further into physical and spiritual comparisons, I want to ask: How is it you think that God the Mother is NOT in submission to God the Father? On what grounds you draw such a conclusion?

    Let us clear the above two matters first. And then we can later discuss about Rev 19.

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  76. 1) I completely agree that the Holy Spirit is God, though you and I have different concepts of the Trinity. We are discussing whether the bride is God or not.

    2) I drew that conclusion because of your answer.

    When I asked you if 'mother god' was in submission to 'father god' you said,
    "So those verses of submission do not apply here. Moreover if you take Eph and interpret it spiritually as it is mentioned over there, it speaks of the relation between Christ and the Church, meaning God and the saints, not God the Father and God the Mother."

    I took that to mean no. If you did not mean your answer to be no, then you'll need to try that answer again, please.

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  77. If you want to judge the relation between the spiritual husband and wife / God the Father and God the Mother through the verses in the bible about physical husbands and wives that speaks about wives submitting to husbands, then you should also have a look at the book of Romans ch 7 verse 2.
    "For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage."

    So if you are trying to understand their relation through the earthly marriage system given in bible that wives should submit to their husbands. Then according to the above verse she is no longer required to submit to Ahnsahnghong, as she has been released from the law of marriage by the death of Ahnsahnghong.

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  78. "Then according to the above verse she is no longer required to submit to Ahnsahnghong, as she has been released from the law of marriage by the death of Ahnsahnghong."
    You told me this was a non-issue since they were never physically married on earth. I'm not curious about this question in regards to the physical people Ahnsahnghong and Zahng Gil Jah, but in regards to your spiritual gods--'god the mother' and 'god the father.'

    Are 'mother god' and 'father god' spiritually married or not? (again, I don't mean the physical people, but the spiritual entities in heaven.)

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  79. Since you were judging their relation through verses about physical husbands and wives, which do not apply because they were not married to each other. But still you quote verses about wives submitting to husbands. So you should also look at Rom 7:2. If you discard this verse, then you should discard Eph and Cor too.

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  80. You did not answer my question. I'll rephrase it.
    From your understanding of what the wmscog teaches...
    In heaven, are the 'heavenly mother' and the 'heavenly father' married?
    Since you insisted the two gods count as one god because a husband and wife count as one (Gen 2:24), I think your answer would be yes. Is that right?

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  81. Do you not know that God has no beginning and no end? God the Father and God the Mother have always existed. The teachings of God in the bible is related to our salvation. The wedding banquet that the bible mentions in Mt 22 and Rev 19 are also a teaching related to our salvation.

    In Mt 22, Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven with a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. A mere reading from verses 1-14 will be sufficient to understand that the guests who are invited refers to the people who will enter the kingdom of heaven (the saints). But throughout Mt there is no mention of the bride. As that was not the proper time for the bride to appear. The bride is is said to appear in the last days in Rev 19. Here, the most important thing that we should understand is the purpose of this wedding banquet. Those people who are invited in the wedding banquet are surely those who will be saved and receive eternal life, isnt it? So the wedding banquet is held with the purpose of giving us eternal life. As it is written:
    Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

    Here, the Spirit and the Bride invite people to receive water of life (eternal life). This shows that the wedding banquet is held to give us eternal life and make known to us the identity of the Bride. The Bible has various prophecies so that we can recognize Jesus Christ and Christ Ahnsahnghong. But regarding the Bride, the bible teaches that it is to be revealed by our Father.

    1) Rev 7:17 For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.

    Here, it is the Lamb (God the Father) that leads us to the springs of living water (God the Mother).

    2) Gen 2:23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman', for she was taken out of a man."

    Gen 3:20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

    Just like Adam testified about Eve, who is the mother of all who are alive today. This event shows that God the Father (Adam) would testify about God the Mother (Eve), who is the Mother of all those who will receive eternal life.

    3) Is 62:6-7 I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.

    The above verse clearly says that it is the Lord God who establishes Jerusalem. So it is God the Father who makes known to us the identity of Our Mother, the Bride through the wedding banquet. Not that they get married spiritually. God has existed from eternity to eternity. The wedding banquet is held for the purpose of giving us the blessing of eternal life by revealing to us our Mother.

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  82. I thought I had asked a simple question. Did I still phrase it in a way that made it difficult to give a simple answer? Let me try once more...

    In the heavenly realm, do 'god the father' and 'god the mother' have a husband / wife relationship? If it is not a husband / wife relationship, then what kind of relationship is it? Brother / sister, creator / creation, master / servant, boyfriend / girlfriend, friend / friend, business partners, or ... ?

    Based on answers you've given for other things, I expect you to say it is a husband / wife relationship, but since you have not answered directly, I can't be sure.

    Your answer this time covered many points and you have drawn conclusions that don't necessarily follow. (For example, Rev. 7:17 does not say that the living water is 'god the mother.') When you bring up so many points, it gets complicated trying to address them all. Let's try to stay orderly and focused.

    First, please answer about the relationship between 'god the mother' and 'god the father.'

    Then we can move on to Rev 19 (or any of the points you just mentioned).

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  83. The fact we call them Father and Mother does not make it clear to you what kind of relationship they have among themselves?? The Apostle John was shown the wife of the Lamb, not sister or anything else. Then is it so difficult to understand the relation among them?

    Definitely, it is a husband wife relationship.

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  84. Thank you for saying so.

    Even if I think I know what your answer is, if you don't say it directly, there's a chance you might come back later and say I misunderstood. That's why I have to ask things like this and not make assumptions.

    So, if they have a husband / wife relationship, do they follow the same husband / wife regulations (if that's the right word) in which the wife is in submission to the husband? Because you talk about everything having a physical and a spiritual interpretation, that's why I'm curious about this question. If the answer is no, is there a reason why this one does not have a spiritual interpretation?

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  85. The answer is yes. Why will it be no? The reason you understood it as no is beacause I tried to explain to you that you should not qoute verses about physical husbands and wives. If verses for submission apply here, then even Rom 7:2 should apply and according to that she is not required to submit. But as we both know, they were not physically married. From where does the question of submission arise? Adam and Eve were called One. That shows the relation between Father and Mother. They are One.

    Moreover in Eph where the point of submission is written it clearly says in 24 "Now as the church submits to Christ....". The submission of wives to their husbands is compared with the submission of the saints to Christ.

    It is the most simplest of matters which does not require any discussion at all that if they are Gods, then certainly they act together as One, which cannot happen unless both are in complete agreement with each other.

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  86. And yes, I do not speak of every physical thing having a spiritual interpretation. I only say those that are given in the bible. Similarly, when you raised the question of submission, I did not talk about Father and Mother because its no way related to them. Look and read, its the church submitting to Christ. So we just need to concentrate on what is written rather than philosophically relating one thing with another.

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  87. You say yes, but your explanation does not have a yes feeling to it.
    Anyway, thank you for talking about it. I have learned a lot about how you think. We can move on.

    Let's talk about Rev. 19. Would you like to start?

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  88. Yes. I did talk about Mt 22 and Rev 19 earlier. You can give your views about it.

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  89. You said,
    "In Mt 22, Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven with a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. A mere reading from verses 1-14 will be sufficient to understand that the guests who are invited refers to the people who will enter the kingdom of heaven (the saints). But throughout Mt there is no mention of the bride. As that was not the proper time for the bride to appear. The bride is is said to appear in the last days in Rev 19. Here, the most important thing that we should understand is the purpose of this wedding banquet. Those people who are invited in the wedding banquet are surely those who will be saved and receive eternal life, isnt it? So the wedding banquet is held with the purpose of giving us eternal life."

    Ok, we'll start with this.

    1. The Bible does not say in Matthew that it "was not the proper time for the bride to appear." You have made that assumption as to why the bride is not mentioned, but since no reason is written, there could be any number of reasons. Or even no reason, in that the lesson from Matthew has nothing to do with the bride at all.

    2. Rev. 19 does not say that the bride won't appear until the last days. It says that the bride has made herself ready.
    2 Cor. 11:2 says, "...I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him."
    Therefore you could say that even in Paul's time, the bride (church) was getting ready.

    3. The guests at the wedding are those who will be saved, yes. But it does not say that the purpose of the wedding banquet is *to give* us eternal life--you assume that. You could just as likely assume that the wedding banquet is the celebration that we *were already given* eternal life.

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  90. If I am not wrong, are you trying to say the guests who are invited (saints) are the bride? In that case, you are assuming too. Because nowhere Mt 22 or Rev 19 says the guests are the bride.

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  91. Like before when we talked about individual Israelites being children and the nation of Israel as a whole is a mother, it is similar here.

    The saints (Christians) individually are invited guests. The Church as a whole is the bride.

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  92. Ok. So basically individually the believers are guests of the wedding. Together the believers are bride as well as our mother. Have I got you right?

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  93. Yes, I suppose you could say it that way. Though when you say "together the believers" it gives me the impression still of individuals. I prefer a phrase more like "the Church as a whole" because it gives me more of the impression of a corporate group.

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  94. I do not understand the basis of such an assumption. You have said earlier and have repeated now that Israel together referred as God's bride and their mother as well. You have given various verses but none of them promote such an idea.

    Eze 19, which was one of the quotations you gave, their there is a clear distinction between Israel and its Mother. Israel which went into captivity in Egypt and later in Babylon is clearly described as a lion that was raised up and was caught as captive. From where does the idea rise that Israel together is their mother? How can God's children together become their own mother?

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  95. I think you should read those verses again, or let me know which ones in particular don't make sense to you, like you've done here with Ez.19 and I'll gladly explain.

    Here's Ez. 19:1-4
    "“Take up a lament concerning the princes of Israel 2 and say:
    “‘What a lioness was your mother
    among the lions!
    She lay down among them
    and reared her cubs.
    3 She brought up one of her cubs,
    and he became a strong lion.
    He learned to tear the prey
    and he became a man-eater.
    4 The nations heard about him,
    and he was trapped in their pit.
    They led him with hooks
    to the land of Egypt."

    It continues on to talk about another of the lioness's cubs.

    Here, the 'lioness' (mother) is the Kingdom (or nation or tribe) of Judah.
    The cubs are the 'princes' (or leaders or kings). In particular, the first cub is Jehoahaz, and the second is Jehoiakim (or Jehoiachin). (You can check this in various Bible commentaries.)

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  96. You say the mother is the Kingdom (or nation or tribe) of Judah. The cubs are the kings or leaders or princes. Can you tell me how you draw a comparison of this with the New Jerusalem that is in heaven? Regarding Israel being Mother and its individual being children, I understand your logic about the nation being the mother. But how will you connect this with the Heavenly Jerusalem? Since the Heavenly Jerusalem is in heaven and is just prophesied to come on earth. According to the logic of Israel a nation being called Mother, the Heavenly Jerusalem that is in heaven cannot be our Mother.

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  97. The point is that the people of God have a history of being compared to a mother, or to a bride of God.

    The Bible writers use a lot of figurative language. It's not always meant to be taken literally. It's meant to help us understand ideas and relationships.

    But if you want to consider the logic of whether both Israel and Heavenly Jerusalem can be called a 'mother,' then consider this...

    In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was singled out as the people of God. In the New Testament, the people of God are called the church.

    If both Israel and Heavenly Jerusalem are being compared to our 'mother,' then they have something in common. Both represent the people of God.

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  98. Yes, bible does not always have to be understood literally. It does use figure of speech and to a great extent. So much, that sometimes a single element or object can have not just one meaning but two or more different meanings.

    Here is a list of few examples:
    1) Fire -- In the bible, fire can mean natural fire as we know (2 Pe 3:10) but it can also mean the Word of God (Jer 23:29) and can also mean God's servants (Ps 104:4).

    2) Wind -- Wind too can either mean natural wind (Jn 6:18) but it can mean war (Rev 7:1-3) and it can also mean God's messengers (Ps 104:4).

    3) Water -- It can mean natural water (Jn 2:7) but it can also mean the people of the world (Rev 17:15) and can also mean the Word of God (Am 8:11).

    4) Lamb -- It can mean a normal lamb (Nu 28:9) but can also mean Jesus (Jn 1:29) and can also mean God's people (Jn 21:15)

    There are many other examples similar to this where one thing has multiple meanings. We must look properly in the context to find the answer. If I take one meaning and apply it everywhere I find that word will it be correct? It will lead to false interpretations.

    Yes in Ephesians the Church is the bride. But that does not mean wherever there is bride mentioned it has to be the Church and cannot be anything else. If the New Jerusalem is the Church, why is it in heaven? Surely believers are here on earth. If like Israel, the New Jerusalem is called our Mother, then I have no problem in understanding Gal 4:26. That it refers to all the believers who are together called as New Jerusalem. But the problem is New Jerusalem is in Heaven and is coming down from heaven at a certain point of time.

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  99. Yes, I agree that just because something is used figuratively, as an image or symbol, in one place, that doesn't mean it must have the same meaning every time it is used. It depends on the context. (I disagree with your meaning of Ps. 104:4, but it is not important at the moment.)

    You have a problem with the New Jerusalem being the church because of the timing of Rev. 21?

    Didn't we discuss this before? I think it's back at April 27, but to recap...

    In Rev. 21 it is after the end of the world and the judgment (the first heaven and the first earth had passed away), so all the Christians are already in heaven.

    If it is the timing of Gal. 4 that is difficult for you, consider that Jesus (the head of the church) is in heaven, some Christians have already died and are with Jesus in heaven, and that's the goal of all Christians. Does that help your understanding?

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  100. Ps 104:4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants

    It is very clear and I do not know how else to read this verse. Maybe the version of the bible can be a issue. This is the NIV version and I do not know which version you use. However, as you said, its not important at the moment, so lets move on to the main topic.

    Just because the head of the Church is in heaven and those who have died in Christ are in heaven that does not mean untill we die and go heaven we do not become part of the Church. Our goal is to go heaven but when Apostle Paul spoke about the Church, he spoke of the believers who were on earth.

    1 Cor 12:12-27 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ........ Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

    I am sure you do not mean to say that unless we die we do not become part of the Church. The Church remains on earth. And regarding the timing of Rev 21, we both had different views regarding it. According to you it was after the end of the world, but I explained it was not in order and has to be before the end of the world.

    I know a literal reading of chapters 20 and 21 of Revelation gives an impression that the saints mentioned there are already in heaven, but it is not so.

    This is similar to what Jesus said while he was on earth.

    Luke 11:20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

    Has the kingdom of God really come? We all know it will come at the end of time. But the reason Jesus said this was because the believers who will be saved are already considered to be seated with Christ in the heavenly realms even while being on this earth.

    Eph 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

    That is why the believers who worship are already said to be in the heavenly Jerusalem.

    Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.....

    The worshippers who gather and worship and praise God are already said to be in heaven. However, in reality, they are not in heaven but on earth. We must make a careful study of heavenly Jerusalem through related verses in the bible.

    Is 62:6-7 I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.

    Surely God will not make the earthly city, Jerusalem, the praise of the earth. The reason being she is in slavery with her children (Gal 4:25) (Heb 8:13) (Gal 3:11). But the Jerusalem mentioned here is the Heavenly Jerusalem. And the Lord will make her the praise of the "earth". Surely this prophecy is to be fulfilled before the earth perishes.

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  101. I'm sorry again. I've had some work and family projects taking up my time. I'm curious--do you work? Go to school? Have children? (As for me, I graduated university some time ago, I do work, and I do have children still at home with me.)

    You said, "when Apostle Paul spoke about the Church, he spoke of the believers who were on earth" and "I am sure you do not mean to say that unless we die we do not become part of the Church. The Church remains on earth."

    Paul did not ignore those who had passed on. Read 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4. He still considered them as much a part of the church as those who were living.

    You said, "I know a literal reading of chapters 20 and 21 of Revelation gives an impression that the saints mentioned there are already in heaven, but it is not so." I understand you to believe that those saints (believers) are not in heaven yet.

    But then you go on to show ways that believers are already considered to be in heaven when you say,
    "That is why the believers who worship are already said to be in the heavenly Jerusalem."
    and
    "The worshippers who gather and worship and praise God are already said to be in heaven."

    And then you go back and deny yourself, saying, "However, in reality, they are not in heaven but on earth."

    Maybe you can see now how easy it is to consider even living believers to be part of heaven, though physically they are on earth.

    I understand you think the "Jerusalem" in Is. 62:6-7 must be the "Heavenly Jerusalem."

    If that's the case, then it still fits that the Heavenly Jerusalem is the Church under the New Covenant. God can make the church the "praise of the earth" both now and after the old earth has gone and the new earth has come.

    Here are relevant quotes from Matthew Henry's commentary for Is. 62:6-9,
    "When gospel truths are cleared and vindicated, when gospel ordinances are duly administered in their purity and power, when the church becomes eminent for holiness and love, then Jerusalem is a praise in the earth, then it is in reputation."
    and
    "when the people praise God, when all the people praise him, then shall the earth yield her increase (Ps. 67:5, 6), and outward prosperity, crowning its piety, shall help to make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."

    And here's Ellicott's commentary,
    "Jerusalem, the city of God, of necessity represents the people of God, first of all as an organised whole, and then in the separate individuals that constitute the whole. The chapter accordingly sets before us, as one of the objects towards which God is working, an established Church, the object of universal praise."

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  102. When we study about the heavenly Jerusalem, there is another thing we should make a careful note of.

    Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem,....

    What place is Zion? Surely Zion cannot mean here the place where the physical Jews live. Because here Zion is connected with the Heavenly Jerusalem. Then, what place is Zion?

    Mic 4:1-2 In the last days........ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

    Zion is the place from where the law comes out. There are two laws mentioned in the bible: old law and new law, also known as old covenant and new covenant. The old law came from Mt. Sinai, then the law to go out from Zion is the new law or the new covenant. This new covenant is a grace of God that allows us to inherit eternal life and be reconciled to God.

    Concerning this Zion, Isaiah wrote:
    Is 33:20 Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem,......

    Zion is said to be the city of our festivals. The place where the new covenant is kept. And there our eyes will see Jerusalem. Now the purpose of the new covenant is to redeem us from this sinful life. Once we have been redeemed and we are in heaven, there will be no need to keep the new law that gives us salvation, since we have already attained salvation. This new law is for those who are on earth, not for those in heaven. Therefore, Zion is a place on earth where the new law is kept.

    And I am a college student in my final year.

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  103. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation. Will you be going on to grad school or entering your profession right away? (I did about 2 years of post-grad work for my profession, but I'm glad I did. I enjoy my job, and I wouldn't be able to do it without the post-grad work.)

    I just have one question for you related to what you said...

    You said, "the purpose of the new covenant is to redeem us from this sinful life. Once we have been redeemed and we are in heaven, there will be no need to keep the new law that gives us salvation"

    What do you consider to be the "new law" that you "need to keep" to get salvation?

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  104. The new law or the new covenant is the gospel which Jesus had taught and practiced for three years after being baptized. The most important thing is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Any of Jesus' examples cannot be neglected.

    Therefore, the Apostle Paul said:
    1 Cor. 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ

    Jesus has set us an example (Jn. 13:15). And after the Crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples to teach all people to obey everything that He had taught and commanded them for three years (Mt. 28:19-20).

    Jesus said that the gospel which He began to proclaim from that time would be preached even until the end of the world, not until the Crucifixion or until the time of the Apostles.

    Mt. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

    The gospel or the new covenant is what Jesus taught while He was living on this earth. Jesus has never taught any other gospel or doctrine after His crucifixion. He emphasized only what He had taught before the Crucifixion, saying: ".... and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Mt. 28:20)

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  105. And I have not decided yet to enter my profession right away or do a post-grad work. I am just concentrating on getting good grades, thats it.

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  106. I think you and I have a different idea of what Jesus taught. That's why we should talk about this.

    When you say "obey everything that He taught and commanded," what specifically do you mean by that? You said earlier that you must do these things to be saved. What exactly are the commandments that you say must be followed to be saved? Do you have a list so you know you are not neglecting anything?

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  107. We must make a careful observation of verses in the bible to understand how we can attain salvation.
    The Bible records:
    Eph. 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

    According to the above verse, redemption and forgiveness of sins is obtained through Christ's blood.

    1 Pe. 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without defect or blemish.

    Similarly, it says above that we are redeemed through Christ's blood.
    Regarding this, Jesus said:
    Lk. 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

    Surely the new law gives us salvation through Christ's blood. Except the blood of Christ, there is no other way to receive salvation.

    Jesus said:
    Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    The Bible says that whoever has faith in Jesus will never perish, but the meaning of "faith" in bible should be understood correctly.

    James chapter 2 verses 14 to 26 explains about the correct meaning of faith. Verse 17 - "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead".
    Faith without action is dead. In hebrews chapter 11, there are numerous examples given of people who had great faith. But a careful reading of the chapter will show that all their faith was revealed through their actions. True faith is that which is accompanied by actions.

    We can receive salvation only through faith in Christ. But we should understand the meaning of faith in the bible. Faith and actions go together. We cannot attain salvation through our efforts. It is a grace given from God. And this grace is not given to everyone, but only those who abide in the new covenant.

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  108. I would also talk about Christ's blood as what gives us salvation. Yet I know we are talking about two different things using the same words.

    Would you please be specific for our readers -- What exactly do you mean by, "Except the blood of Christ, there is no other way to receive salvation"?

    When I say that phrase, I mean that the blood Jesus shed on the cross paid the price for our sins. And that by accepting (or trusting) that payment on my behalf, I no longer have to pay that price myself.

    I would also say, as you did, "Faith and actions go together. We cannot attain salvation through our efforts. It is a grace given from God." Yet, again, I know we are talking about different things with the same words.

    It is a matter of faith. Yes, that faith is made evident by my actions. But it is not my actions that save me. The actions follow my salvation by faith. They do not precede it. Do you see the difference?

    You said, "And this grace is not given to everyone, but only those who abide in the new covenant."

    I'm still waiting for you to say what you mean by "new covenant." I think I know what you mean, because I know what the wmscog teaches. But for clarity for everyone, please explain.

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  109. I completely agree with you that the price for our sins have been paid. Our actions can never save us. It is a matter of faith. True.

    But I think you have a misconception as to what the wmscog teaches. Were you taught that keeping the Sabbath day on saturday brings salvation? That by keeping the Passover you can recieve eternal life? Merely attending worship services does not gaurantee salvation. You are right - It is a matter of faith. When you keep the Sabbath with faith, then you get the appointed blessings. When you keep the Passover with faith, then you receive the appointed blessing. Faith is most important. By just attending worship services, and being physically present does not bring salvation. Such actions are useless. But when such actions are done with faith, God's blessing comes upon us. See how faith is completed by actions. No way actions precede faith.

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  110. The wmscog teaches that salvation is based on obedience, that you must obey every word of God (no matter how small) to be saved, that if you fail to fully obey then you cannot be saved.

    Do you still think I have a misconception?

    Here's the order, as I understand it, according to the wmscog:
    Faith --> Actions --> Salvation

    In contrast, according to mainstream Christianity:
    Faith --> Salvation --> Actions

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  111. Firstly when we are discussing a topic, there has to one criteria of judging an idea to be true or false. And in our case, the criteria can only be the Bible. Just because wmscog differs from mainstream Christianity, we cannot rule it to be wrong. You also must consider that mainstream Christianity can be wrong too.

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  112. Does this mean you will say that I do not have a misconception that the wmscog teaches salvation is based on obedience, but my misconception lies in what the Bible teaches?

    The Bible is a higher authority than my pastor or church leaders. If there is a discrepancy between them, the Bible wins. Do you agree with that regarding your own church leaders? Would you also consider that wmscog teaching could be wrong too?

    Just to summarize why we are on this topic of salvation...

    You said that the New Jerusalem is the place where the new covenant is kept.

    I asked you to be specific about what you meant by the "new covenant".

    You said it was the gospel that Jesus taught for 3 years while He was here on earth.

    I asked you to be specific about what Jesus taught, what is "everything He taught and commanded" that we must do to be saved?

    You said that we are "redeemed by Christ's blood" and that salvation is grace from God, and that our faith and actions go together, that only those "who abide in the new covenant" are saved.

    I asked you to be specific about what you meant by "redeemed by Christ's blood" because I know we have a different idea of what that means, and again to be specific about what you mean by the "new covenant."

    You said I have a misconception about the wmscog's teaching about how salvation is received.

    And there we are... If you would like to show me verses related to salvation by obedience, I will respond with verses related to salvation by faith, that would be ok. Then all our readers will know both sides.

    And then maybe you will please get on with explaining what you mean by the "new covenant" and what is "everything He taught and commanded" that must be obeyed?

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  113. Yes, the bible is a higher authority. Therefore lets look at some verses in the bible and try to find out more about the model which u gave according to mainstream Christianity:
    Faith -- Salvation -- Actions
    Is the above true or false?

    If I have to draw the conclusion first and directly state what the bible teaches, the order would be like this:
    Faith --- Salvation

    I did not mention actions, the reason being as I have explained earlier too that faith and actions cannot be seperated. In the bible we should understand the correct meaning of faith.

    Jam 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    If there is no action, that faith is dead. So can you say faith without action can result in salvation? Can a dead faith bring salvation?

    Jam 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

    Notice here that faith gets revealed through deeds (actions). So, you cannot segregate the two from each other.

    Jam 2:20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

    In the bible, faith and actions go together.

    Jam 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    Faith without actions does not result in salvation and then result in actions. Faith accompanied by actions result in salvation. Do you understand the difference?

    So a revised order which may help to understand would be like this:
    Faith + Actions --- Salvation
    Though the order that I gave at the very beginning is perfectly right, considering you understand the correct meaning of "faith". Faith includes actions. Without actions, faith is dead.

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  114. When you explain and say
    Faith + Actions --- Salvation
    It sounds like you are saying God is waiting for your actions to prove your faith before He grants you salvation.

    That is not so, according to the Bible. The moment you have faith, before your actions show it, you receive salvation. God knows what kind of faith you have (a faith that will produce a changed life, not a dead faith), and He claims you for His own right away (which is good in case you happen to die immediately after). The actions that accompany your faith follow that.

    This is evidenced by Eph. 1:13
    "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit"

    And it is apparent that the epistle writers consider the believers as already saved, such as in Eph. 2:8-9
    "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

    And 2 Tim. 1:9
    "He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time"

    And Titus 3:5
    "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"

    If you insist that your faith must show in actions before God will grant salvation, the questions become...
    When do you know you have salvation?
    Will ever know (before you die) if you have done enough actions to prove your faith and get salvation?

    And the question I asked earlier that you have not answered yet...
    What is "everything He taught and commanded" that we must do to be saved?

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  115. You have misunderstood me. Salvation is not a game where you have to reach a certain score or score a number of goals to be sure that you have won the game. The reason why I did not answer your previous question is because I wanted to clarify this confusion between faith and works first and then move on.

    Even in my posts I have said that our works do not bring salvation. It is a gift, a grace of God. We recieve salvation through faith, by believing in God. But this faith has to be a genuine faith. This faith becomes evident by actions. Let me give an example.

    You have given numerous verses showing how salvation is a gift, it does not come through our works. True. We cannot get salvation by our works. But to understand faith and actions, we will look at the following verse.

    Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    Here, in addition to believeing, Jesus said "and is baptised" --will be saved. See how faith becomes evident through actions? You have believed in Jesus, fine. But here, Jesus asks us to be baptized as well. If you have a genuine faith, then you will receive baptism and through your actions (taking baptism) your faith will become evident. But on the other hand if someone is very moved by hearing the message and believes in the message, still refusing to take baptism. Can we call such a person to have faith? His belief is only in his lips. It is not a genuine faith. So his actions show his faith. It is by faith that you take baptism. Your faith in Christ moves you to take baptism and through actions you confirm your faith. But when you refuse to take baptism, it shows that your faith was useless. It was a dead faith.

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  116. I think you misunderstand me. I'm not talking about whether or not a dead faith can save you, but when a person moves from unsaved to saved.

    It is true that our works to not bring salvation. But when you say faith + actions --> salvation, when you say faith is completed by actions, you bring works into the equation and things get sticky. (Likewise when the wmscog says that salvation is based on obedience and that all commands and teachings must be obeyed to be saved.)

    Think about this, using your own example of baptism:

    Think of a person who comes to faith and 10 minutes later is baptized. When did he receive his salvation? When he came to faith, or 10 minutes later when he was baptized?
    If he happened to die instantly (say from a stray bullet) after he came to faith, but before he was baptized or could do anything else, would he have gone to heaven?

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  117. The example that you gave of a person being hit by a bullet --what would happen to him? Would he go heaven or not? To answer the question, lets look at a similar situation at the time of Jesus.

    I suppose you already have a good knowledge about the two criminals who were crucified on either side of Jesus (Luke 23:39-43). One of them was promised by Jesus that he would be with Jesus in paradise. Now here is a problem. Jesus said whoever believes and is baptised will be saved. But the criminal did not take baptism. Then how come Jesus allowed him to go heaven? Is Jesus contradicting his own teachings? Surely not! We must understand the situation of the criminal. Was he in a position to listen to the message and come down from the cross and take baptism? His situation was very different. He was about to die. God who judges our hearts, saw the heart of the criminal and granted him salvation. The person in your example also has a similar situation. His salvation will depend on his heart and faith just like the criminal, which you and I cannot judge. Is our situation the same as that of the criminal or the person in your example? Are we going to die? We cannot compare this example with everyone in the world. It was a special situation where the person was about to die. And in such a situation, God granted him salvation. But our situation is not like that.

    If you think that by bringing works in the equation, things get sticky then please explain to me the correct meaning of the following verses if you think I am wrong. If obedience is not related to our salvation, then what is the meaning of the following verses?

    Luke 11:28 He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and OBEY it."

    Mt 28:20 and teaching them to OBEY everything I have commanded you....

    Jn 14:15 If you love me, you will OBEY what I command.

    Jn 14:21 Whoever has my commands and OBEYS them, he is the one who loves me....

    Jn 15:14 You are my friends if you DO what I command.

    1 Jn 5:3 This is love for God: to OBEY his commands....

    Rom 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who OBEY the law who will be declared righteous.

    And the bible says those who are disobedient will be punished:

    1 Pe 4:17 For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who DO NOT OBEY the gospel of God?

    Eph 5:6 Let no-one decieve you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are DISOBEDIENT.

    2 Th 1:8 He will punish those who do not know God and DO NOT OBEY the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

    The bible is very clear to show how important obedience is. Our situation is not like the person in your example and neither like the criminal. At last, it will be our faith that brings us salvation. The only question is the faith was genuine with action or only on our lips.

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  118. You say the thief on the cross and the person being hit by a bullet are "a special situation where the person was about to die. And in such a situation, God granted him salvation. But our situation is not like that" and that we "cannot compare this example with everyone in the world."

    They are not "special situations" and yes we can compare them as examples of God's grace to *anyone*, even us. Our situation IS the same as the example in this way...

    You do not know when you are going to die. You are not guaranteed to live for the next hour. You cannot see if there is catastrophe in the future for you, if you will be like the man and the bullet. The moment you come to faith God sees your heart and your faith and grants you salvation. That doesn't change simply because you happen to keep living (like you and me) instead of quickly dying (like the man in the example).

    Otherwise, you would have to believe that God grants only a tentative salvation and waits to see if you prove yourself before making it official, or perhaps that God gives salvation on rubber band, always ready to take it back if you can't hold on to it properly. Perhaps you believe God is more like that?

    About obedience -- I never said obedience is unimportant, or that salvation can come from faith that is not genuine. I'm saying that salvation is not *based* on obedience.

    If you say that salvation is *based* on obedience (as the wmscog teaches) then please answer this:

    Do you have to be 100% obedient 100% of the time? If not, then how much obedience is necessary? How do you know if you are obedient enough?

    And what exactly do you have to be obedient about? It's the same question again, what is "everything He taught and commanded" that we must do?

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  119. You have been keeping on asking about what to obey. But I have not answered, the reason being there is no point in telling what to obey unless we understand and agree that obedience is necessary. First thing is to know obedience is required. Then comes the question of what to obey.

    Meanwhile, there is something in your comment I would like to highlight. You said:
    "Otherwise, you would have to believe that God grants only a tentative salvation and waits to see if you prove yourself before making it official, or perhaps that God gives salvation on rubber band, always ready to take it back if you can't hold on to it properly. Perhaps you believe God is more like that?"
    And regarding the moment when we receive salvation, You said:
    "The moment you come to faith God sees your heart and your faith and grants you salvation".

    Is the above theory biblical? If we receive salvation, the moment we come to faith, then there is a problem. There are numerous examples of people who came in the faith and later abandoned the faith. In such cases what will you say? There can be three posibilities or maybe you can give a completely different possibility then what I am giving below:
    1) God gave them salvation when they came in the faith and when they abandoned the faith, God took the salvation back. (This is not the way God works according to your first quote)
    2) God gave them salvation when they came in the faith and once salvation is given its given, God did not take it back. (This cannot be possible, reason being Scripture is very clear that those who abandon the faith can never receive salvation) [Heb 10:26-29; 1 Pe 2:20-22; 1 Tim 4:1-2]
    3) God never gave them salvation. (This looks the closest possibility among the three)

    If you agree with me and have no more possibility to give, then there rises a question. If God never gave them salvation, this means even when they came in the faith, they did not receive salvation. Isn't it? This clearly indicates coming to faith and receiving salvation are completely different.

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  120. You have a good question. It's one that I hear Christians discuss regularly. The Bible talks about us being secure in our salvation, and yet there are verses that make us question if we can lose our salvation. How do we reconcile the two ideas?

    I'll address the three possibilities you gave, which will pretty much cover it:

    1) "God gave them salvation when they came in the faith and when they abandoned the faith, God took the salvation back."

    God does not "take the salvation back" simply because we sin after coming to faith. The Bible is clear that Christians can struggle with their sinful nature, and that nothing can separate them from God (Romans 7 and 8). However, if a person repeatedly and willfully denies God, God will let them have what they want and will allow them to walk away from salvation. This is a bit different from saying that God "took the salvation back," as it's more like the person "willingly gave up their salvation."

    2) "God gave them salvation when they came in the faith and once salvation is given its given, God did not take it back."

    I think here you are saying that the person who repeatedly and willfully denies God is saved anyway because at one time they professed a sincere (at the time) faith. Some do reconcile it this way, saying that the one sincere profession of faith wipes out the penalty of our sins both past and future, even the sin of denying God. I don't agree though, because that type of sin (denying God so fully) calls into question the sincerity of the initial profession of faith.

    3) "God never gave them salvation."

    In this case, the "Christian" who denies God never believed sincerely in the first place. They might have had a fuzzy feeling, maybe went through the motions (so to speak) of being a Christian, but didn't really have a true faith. You might call this the difference between tasting Christ's Water of Life and swallowing it. You cannot say, "even when they came in the faith, they did not receive salvation" because they never actually came into the faith.

    I'd say #1 and #3 are the most common ways for reconciling these two ideas.

    You said, "You have been keeping on asking about what to obey. But I have not answered, the reason being there is no point in telling what to obey unless we understand and agree that obedience is necessary. First thing is to know obedience is required. Then comes the question of what to obey."

    We do not need to agree about obedience being the basis of salvation for you to continue with the question of what to obey.

    If you wish to prove the point that salvation is based on obedience, then you must provide support by showing how it would work. How much obedience is required (100% obedience 100% of the time?), and what exactly must be obeyed? If you cannot answer those questions, then you cannot support your initial point.

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  121. We struggle with our sinful nature but that does not mean if we remain in our sinful nature we can go to heaven.

    Gal 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    The above sinful nature are written in many other places in the New Testament and every time the writer has stressed the point that those living a life like this "will not inherit the kingdom of God".
    We have recieved the forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood. That does not give us the license to sin. Infact, opposite to that, the bible stresses that we should be renewed each day in the likeness of Christ. It takes time for our sinful nature to be renewed but the Bible is very clear in saying that those who continue in their sins can never enter the kingdom of God.

    Heb 10:26-27 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

    Just because we are under grace that does not mean we can sin. As long as we are in sin we can never even hope for heaven. We must renew our nature.

    2 Pe 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is short-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

    I once heard a theory like this, that "since Christ paid for our sins, we do not need to do anything. Our becoming perfect is not necessary for salvation". Well if you read the above verses, the one who possesses the above qualities will be perfect. The bible teaches us to leave our sinful nature and implant in us godliness. That is perfection. Our godliness does not bring salvation. But if we are not renewed and made perfect we cannot enter heaven. Since we are redeemed through Christ's blood, our sinful nature has to end.

    Gal 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

    It is not beacause we are perfect that we receive salvation. But since we have recieved the blessing of salvation, we must be perfect.

    Now regarding what to obey. I will give a very direct statement and we can discuss the details one by one. But first I would like to hear what is your opinion regarding the above, since many Christian people including Church leaders do not accept this kind of thinking that is so clear in the Bible and what you personally think about it.

    The Bible is a book which has been written by many authors but when it comes to the Law, we can pick out certain books which are part of the Law of God, together these are called the Book of the Law. These books are:
    Exodus
    Leviticus
    Numbers
    Deuteronomy
    But not everything written in these books are the Law. The main core of the Law contained within these books is The Ten Commandments. That is what we are to obey.

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  122. Hi Paul. I'm sorry I've been gone for so long, but I have not forgotten about you. I'll spare you stories of the drama in my life right now and get on with our conversation...

    I will repeat -- I have never said that obedience is not important, or that salvation can come from a faith that is not genuine.

    Yes, we should strive to live a life that pleases God, but my salvation does not hinge on how successful I am in my obedience.

    You said, "Our godliness does not bring salvation. But if we are not renewed and made perfect we cannot enter heaven."

    That sounds contradictory. Let me present an analogy to see if I understand you: I don't need money to go to the cinema, but if I don't get some money, I can't get in to see the movie.

    Regarding what to obey: The wmscog teaches that not even the smallest command can be neglected. There are many more commands than the Ten Commandments. For example, the Ten Commandments do not include tithing, women's veils, or the Feasts of God.

    Before you go too far into what must be obeyed, please answer how much obedience is required? I know you said it takes time for our sinful nature to be renewed, but must a believer eventually achieve 100% obedience, 100% of the time? How long do they have before they must achieve such perfection? What if they die before they become perfect?

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  123. I have always quoted scriptures for any idea or theory. In a similar way I will say about a point which I did not address earlier. What I am going to say will indirectly give the answer as to how much obedience is necessary.

    You said that the robber was not a special situation. That the example of the robber can be applied to anyone and everyone. If it is so, then why did the apostles baptized those who believed the message? They could have just proclaimed to have faith in Christ and told them to wait till they die. Does anyone live a life like that? Though we know we will die one day, we go to work and strive each and every day to fulfill our physical needs. So it is with the life of faith. We cannot give an excuse that one day we will die so there is no need to do anything.

    The robber who went heaven is a special situation. And he is not the only one. There are other special situations too mentioned in the bible where certain people were given special favours from God.

    1 Cor 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

    Here, the bible speaks of the order of the resurrection of the dead. The first one to resurrect from the dead as mentioned above is Christ. This can be further understood in detail in the Gospel of Matthew.

    Mt 27:52-53 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

    The Old Testament saints were resurrected after Jesus' resurrection. Not one of them entered heaven (holy city) before Jesus had resurrected. Untill Jesus died not even a single soul can be freed from sin (Heb 9:15). And by His death and resurrection he opened for us the way to heaven (Heb 10:19-20). Nevertheless, there are special situations where even some prophets in the Old Testament were taken up to heaven.

    Gen 5:24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

    2 Kings 2:11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and seperated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

    Will you say the above two examples can be held for all the Old Testament saints? What if Elisha who at that time saw Elijah's ascension would start thinking that all God's servants would go heaven in such a manner? It would be untrue. The above two are special cases. All saints did not go heaven in a whirlwind. Similarly, the robber is a special situation. You cannot go heaven just by thinking Jesus is Saviour.

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  124. An absolute example of obedience is also mentioned in the bible. This would be sufficient for us to understand how much obedience is required.

    Jn 13:6-8 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied, "You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand." "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

    Think about the Apostle Peter's faith towards Christ. Among all the apostles, the gospels record that he was the only one who confessed in front of Jesus that He was the Christ. Jesus even commended his faith saying he is blessed to know this revelation given to him through the Father (Mt 16:13-17). Jesus even said to Peter that he will be the rock on which Jesus will build His Church. And at the end before Jesus' ascension, Jesus gave Peter the great mission of taking care of His followers (Jn 21:15-17). Peter was the only apostle who defended Jesus when the armed men who were sent by the chief priests and Pharisees came to arrest Jesus. Surely, Peter loved Jesus more than others and so did Jesus. Though he denied Jesus three times, his tears of repentance must have made his love for Jesus much more stronger. This is known by us because of the manner in which he died, being crucified upside down. Such a great faith is worthy of praise and honour. No one has a doubt that today where the apostle Peter is-- He is in heaven.

    On the day of the Passover, during the feet washing ceremony when Jesus approached Peter, he refused to let his feet be washed by Jesus. He respected Jesus and out of respect he refused to let his feet be washed by his Lord. But instead of praising Peter, what did Jesus do? Jesus said, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." If we have no part with Jesus, can we go heaven? Jesus clearly said about the fate of those who do not remain in Him (Jn 15:1-6). Though Peter had such great faith, if he would not let Jesus wash his feet, he would have no part with Him. From an outward viewpoint, washing of the feet seems insignificant but those who participate in it know its significance.

    No smallest command of God is insignificant. It contains His love for us. Even the slightest and most petty commands are given to us for our benefit. Those who obey know its value. Think about the apostle Peter. One small act of disobedience would have undone all he had done. His great faith in Jesus would be of no value had he not allowed Jesus to wash his feet. His faith in Jesus was revealed through his actions. Though it must have hurted him, he let Jesus wash his feet. This is the amount of obedience we should have. No command is big or small. Their is either obedience or disobedience.

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  125. Hi Paul. I'm sorry I passed the two week mark. Things have been pretty intense here at work and at home, but I haven't forgotten about you and our conversation. Thank you for being patient with me.

    You said, "You cannot go heaven just by thinking Jesus is Saviour."

    It's because of comments like this, and the wmscog's teaching that salvation is based on obedience, that we are having this conversation.

    You said, "No command is big or small. There is either obedience or disobedience."

    I understand that you mean 100% obedience is required 100% of the time because anything less is disobedience. Is that what you are saying?

    With your example of Peter, even though Peter denied Jesus on the night of His arrest, would you say that he was still saved? Why? What if he happened to be killed that night before repenting?

    You said, "One small act of disobedience would have undone all he had done.... No command is big or small."

    Do you keep all of God's commands? How do you know that you keep them all?

    I will give more of my input later, but right now I'd like to keep exploring your views to see where they lead.

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  126. Regarding Peter's denial, that had already been told by Jesus. And Jesus did not say that you would die for denying me. But for the feet washing incident, Jesus very clearly stated that "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." So there arises no question as to why Peter did not die after denying. But had he refused to let Jesus wash his feet, what would be the outcome? He would have no part with Jesus. This is what I meant when I said that "one act of disobedience would have undone all he had done". According to what Jesus said, Peter would not have part with Him had he refused and consequently lost the blessing of eternal life. But Jesus never said that if you deny me, you have no part with me. The two incidents are very different from each other.

    Regarding obedience, I already said that the core of the law is the Ten Commandments. When you judge your actions according to the commands, you can understand wether you are keeping God's commands or not. It is that simple. But the problem arises that people do not know the meaning of the Ten Commandments and some have different versions of it with different meaning altogether that varies from the Biblical meaning.

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  127. You said, "So there arises no question as to why Peter did not die after denying."

    That wasn't the question. The question was--Was Peter still saved (did he go to heaven), even though he denied Jesus? What if he happened to have died after he denied Jesus, but before repenting, would he still have been saved?

    You said, "According to what Jesus said, Peter would not have part with Him had he refused [the foot washing] and consequently lost the blessing of eternal life. But Jesus never said that if you deny me, you have no part with me."

    Are you saying that it is sin for Peter to refuse Jesus to wash his feet, but it is *not* sin for Peter to deny Jesus?
    Matthew 10:33 "But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven."

    You said, "Regarding obedience, I already said that the core of the law is the Ten Commandments."

    The wmscog claims many more 'commands' that are not included in the Ten Commandments. But even if you said that those extra 'commands' (like keeping the feasts, women's veils, foot washing, etc.) are expressions of the Ten Commandments, I still have the same question:

    Do *you* keep all of God's commands? How do you know that you keep them *all*?

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  128. Evrerything that happened in the life of Jesus from His birth to death and ascension was the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament.

    If disowning Jesus results in Jesus disowning them in heaven then not one of the apostles can go heaven. The reason being when Jesus was arrested they all deserted him and ran away. While preaching the gospel Jesus was with the Twelve for a period of around 3 years. Together they had travelled, preached, ate and done many other things. But at the most painful time that Jesus had to go through each and everyone of his disciple fled. But this too was a fulfillment of a prophecy.
    Zec. 3:7 "... Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered,... "
    While Jesus predicted Peter's denial, Peter boasted that even if he had to die with Jesus he will die but never disown Him and he was not the only one, but all the disciples said the same (Mt. 26:35). But when the moment came, all ran away.

    So, according to Mt. 10:33 all should go to hell as they all disowned Jesus. Is it really so? Jesus also called Peter Satan! (Mt. 16:23). And also said that Peter was a stumbling block to Him and in his mind he had things of men and not of God. What if at that moment Peter had died? If you see like this, he could have died at various instances. But before this incident had taken place, Jesus had promised Peter that he will be the rock on which Jesus will build the Church. And Jesus also gave Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

    Regarding the feet washing incident, the words Jesus said that "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me", shows the importance of the event. When I said that what would be the outcome had he refused, it was to show the importance of the event.

    Throughout Jesus' ministry, Peter was often rebuked by Jesus. It was not because he was worse than all the others but it was because Jesus wanted to discipline Peter for the blessing he was going to receive in future being the head of the Church.

    When you look in the life of the apostles closely, their faith in Jesus was not complete. It had doubts and was incomplete. And Jesus was surely aware of this fact. The death of Jesus did not complete their incomplete faith. Infact even after Jesus had resurrected, some of the apostles still had doubts in their minds.
    Mt. 28:16-17 "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped; but some doubted."
    This unbelief was healed only after the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus had asked them to stay in Jerusalem till they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And that marked the change in the apostles' life where they were even ready to die for the gospel and most of them were killed. The burning faith of the apostles was not a result of death or resurrection of Jesus. I am not saying they are insignificant but the driving force which resulted in spreading of the gospel throughout the world was a result of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    Regarding the commands, as I said earlier: You have the Bible as a measuring rod. It is very simple to know whether you are keeping the commands or not.

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  129. You said, "If disowning Jesus results in Jesus disowning them in heaven then not one of the apostles can go heaven. The reason being when Jesus was arrested they all deserted him and ran away.... So, according to Mt. 10:33 all should go to hell as they all disowned Jesus."

    Yes. That is what grace and forgiveness is about. Even though we all should go to hell because none of us is righteous and the penalty of sin is death, eternal separation from God, it's God's grace that has redeemed us from this penalty. (Romans 3:23-24 and 6:23)

    You say that Jesus didn't mean what He said in Matt. 10:33. That's not it.
    The point is that even though we sin, we have forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus (Eph 1:7).

    You said, "Regarding the commands, as I said earlier: You have the Bible as a measuring rod. It is very simple to know whether you are keeping the commands or not."

    I wonder why you are reluctant to answer whether or not *you* keep all the commandments and how you know if you are keeping them *all. I'll try asking a little differently...

    Is it possible for a person to keep all of the commandments all of the time, and how would a person know if they are keeping them all and not inadvertently missing one (in other words, is there a comprehensive list)?

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  130. I never said Jesus did not mean what He said in Mt. 10:33. But regarding Peter's denial of Jesus, it was not a sin and grace condition. This is what Jesus said:
    Lk. 22:31-32 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
    It was not a sin and then giving of grace. It was a situation through which Peter's faith in Jesus was made stronger. So sin and grace topic is not applicable here.

    Regarding commands, as I said earlier that it takes time to know the commands of God. The importance of it, why it has to be kept, in what way is it related to our salvation.
    The Bible compares the truth with light. Infact it says that the light of truth is even brigther than the sun at its brightest. Try looking up at the sun at noon. Can you directly look at it without harming your eyes? Definitely no. But when a great light appears in a dark room, one simply cannot stare at it in full view. You need to close your eyes and then open it slowly.
    So it is with our faith. You cannot learn everything about the truth in one day. It takes time.

    Just like even though the apostles were with Jesus for a period of around 3 years but still there faith was not perfect. They had doubts. As faith requires time to be complete, similarly obedience also takes time. In reality, for me the two are not seperate, but I say so for your understanding. I seperate faith from obedience and explain. However, the truth is that practice makes you perfect. The more you know the truth, the more you learn and put it into practice, the more your faith grows and reaches perfection.

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  131. You seem to be of two minds about this subject.

    You say that that we must obey every command of God. Yet you don't believe it was a sin for Peter to deny Jesus (despite Matt 10:33).

    You say that perfect obedience is required (100% obedience, 100% of the time) because anything less is disobedience. Yet, you acknowledge that such perfection takes a long time.

    I'll rephrase the questions:
    How long will it take before a person can be expected to have perfect obedience, or complete faith (as you put it)?
    Have you reached that point? If not, do you think you will reach that point before you die?
    If a believer happens to die before reaching that point, would they be saved? Why or why not?

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  132. You seem to be very worried by death. But I think this is not the principle on which faith and action works.

    The Apostle Paul was in more life threatening situations then you and I are. Yet in his epistles he writes:

    Ph. 2:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

    Notice here the Apostle says that he has not yet achieved what he was supposed to. What if he had died before achieving it? He would not recieve the crown of righteousness, as it is written:

    2 Tim. 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown od righteousness,...

    If Paul had not completed the race but would have died what would happen?

    In Paul's letter to the Corianthians, he writes:
    2 Co. 10:9 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

    What if the obedience of the believers never became complete? I think Judgement would not occur on the unbelievers. So if you are of the viewpoint that no one can become perfect and that all will die at some point before reaching perfection, then Judgement Day will never come.

    You seem to me to be a person who thinks death is the end of it all. But unfortuantely, bible has a different view to it.

    1 Pe 3:18-20 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

    Here it says that after Jesus died, he went to a place called "prison". And in that place whom did He meet? All those souls who disobeyed and died during the time of Noah. And what did Jesus do to those souls? It is written,"he went and preached to the spirits in prison".

    Many souls who at that time listened to Jesus could go to heaven

    Mt. 27:50-53 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shooks and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

    Here, "tombs" does not mean the grave in which they were burried, but is a symbolic representation of the "spiritual prison".

    All those who listened to Jesus and accepted the Gospel of Christ went to the kingdom of heaven. Death is not more powerful than the life that God gives us.

    God's message of salvation goes even to the place where people have died and their souls are confined. God is not unjust and has never provided an unfair means of salvation. Every soul is important to God. And that is why all those souls who have not heard the gospel are given a chance in the spiritual world as well.

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  133. .

    But regarding the present time, the bible says:
    Acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

    Now God's command is to repent. In accordance to it, the Gospel is being preached in most parts of the world. And after one has listened, there does not arise a second chance in the "spiritual prison".

    2 Th. 1:8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

    All who do not obey the Gospel will be punished. We should rather talk about the Gospel, which is where our difference lies rather than wasting our time talking about death. Salvation is more powerful than death and those who die are in God's hands. If they have listened to the gospel and obeyed while they lived, they will be with God. If they have listened and rejected, they will be punished. And if they have not listened, the will have a chance to listen.

    Salvation is not on what I do. It depends on the words of God. All one needs to do is believe in Jesus and obey His Gospel.

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  134. On the contrary, I am not worried about death. However, asking the question about whether or not a person would be saved if they were to die at a particular point--that gives me insight to how you are thinking.

    You said, "What if the obedience of the believers never became complete? I think Judgement would not occur on the unbelievers. So if you are of the viewpoint that no one can become perfect and that all will die at some point before reaching perfection, then Judgement Day will never come."

    Hebrews 9:27 tells us that all people will die and then face judgment, yet you say that it is possible to die and not face judgment.

    There are different interpretations than yours of 1 Pet. 3:18-20 and Matt. 27:50-53, which you can find by reading Bible commentaries available at biblegateway.com and studylight.org.

    But I would like to focus on when you said, "All who do not obey the Gospel will be punished. ... If they have listened to the gospel and obeyed while they lived, they will be with God. ... Salvation is not on what I do. It depends on the words of God. All one needs to do is believe in Jesus and obey His Gospel."

    At the same time you say both that salvation is *not what I do* and that all one needs to do is believe and *obey*. Do you see how that is a contradiction?

    Let's look more at obedience.

    You said, "So if you are of the viewpoint that no one can become perfect and that all will die at some point before reaching perfection..."

    To me, the phrase "perfect obedience" means being 100% obedient, 100% of the time, without fail.
    What does "perfect obedience" mean to you?
    We should make sure we are talking about the same thing.

    Do you believe "perfect obedience" is attainable in this lifetime? How would you know if you achieved it?

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  135. You said also about different interpretations of 1 Pe 3:18-20 and Mt 27:50-53. I read those interpretations and I think you have also, so I would like to tell a few things regarding it.

    There is no specific answer given about the Mt 27:50-53 verses. The author fails to explain about the bodies who came out of their graves. He says, there is no certainty as to who they were, where they went, whether they returned back to their graves or not is also not certain. The reason there can be no certainty is because there is misinterpretation of 1 Pe 3:18-20. Both these verses are connected. Failure to interpret one correctly will lead to misunderstand the other and in this case the other (Mt 27) has not been understood only.

    1 Pe 3:18 speaks about the death of Jesus and verse 21 speaks of the resurrection. In between is written about the intermediate events between death and resurrection. Others interpreted this as a comparison to the time of Noah. But there is no evidence of it. The Scripture is very clear, "he went and preached to the spirits in prison". We just need to believe what is written in the bible rather than interpreting it in our own way. Since a vague interpretation of this verse is given, it leads to uncertainty of Mt 27. The author while explaining Mt says, we should not go beyond what is written and should not claim to be wiser than we should, but somehow he forgets to not to go beyond what is written in 1 Pe 3. There he comfortably goes beyond what is written and explains how he feels. We should be careful while reading the bible and specially when interpreting it. There cannot be anything more clear than the words, "he went and preached to the spirits in prison".

    Regarding Mt 27, the tomb here is not the grave, the bodies of many holy people is not the physical body that came out of the tomb and the holy city is not the physical city of Jerusalem.

    If it would be physical bodies that came out of the tomb and appeared to the people of Jerusalem, then there would be a clear cut evidence given in other places of Scripture as well. But nowhere in the other gospels or the letters anything is mentioned.
    1) Mark 16 only records Jesus alone to have resurrected and appeared to the group of believers.
    2) Luke 24 also records of the Resurrection and gives account of only Jesus who appeared.
    3) John 20 & 21 also records of various instances when Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene and then to His Disciples but all the time there are no additional people with him.
    4) Acts 1 gives a detailed account of ascension. If there were bodies of others who appeared to people of the city of Jerusalem surely at the time of ascension some record must have been made. But here too, it is Jesus alone who ascended to heaven.

    The verses in Mt 27 does not refer to the physical coming out of graves. The fact that many holy people were raised to life is the resurrection of the old testament saints. Body is not physical body. Holy City is not the City of Jerusalem.

    At the moment Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two thereby dividing the barrier between Jews and Gentiles. Jerusalem was no longer the holy city. The holy city mentioned here refers to the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22-24). The saints of the O.T. resurrected and entered heaven. It cannot be their physical bodies that came out of tombs because flesh and blood cannot enter heaven (1 Co 15:50).

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  136. I don't know which author you are talking about, but in any case, the reason I didn't talk about the other interpretations was because they are not really relevant to the question at hand. Are you trying to distract me?

    I have asked the same question in different forms and you seem to be avoiding a direct discussion about whether or not perfect obedience is attainable. It makes me wonder why.

    I'll repeat here from my last comment
    :
    You said, "So if you are of the viewpoint that no one can become perfect and that all will die at some point before reaching perfection..."

    To me, the phrase "perfect obedience" means being 100% obedient, 100% of the time, without fail.
    What does "perfect obedience" mean to you?
    We should make sure we are talking about the same thing.

    Do you believe "perfect obedience" is attainable in this lifetime? How would you know if you achieved it?

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  137. I am really sorry but I am not trying to distract you. I sent a reply before this answering your question, but I dont think it went. I sent a reply before that is why this comment starts "You said also...". Anyways, I will answer it now again.

    It does seem contradictory when I say once that salvation is not what I do and then again that it needs perfect obedience. But actually the both are related to each other. How? That might be the question. My works can never lead me to salvation. No matter what I do. But it can only be achieved through God's grace. The "WORD OF GOD" is the most important thing in the Bible which gives me the blessing of salvation. Since God said, "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy", so we believe in these words spoken by God and keep the Sabbath day. Since God said, "Take and eat, this is my body", we believe in these words of God, and celebrate the Passover. I hope you undertsand now it is not what I do but obeying what God says. Eternal life is given by the power of God's words.

    Consider the example of Adam and Eve. The reason they came to die is not because there was poison in the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If that would be the case, they would have died instantly and not lived such a long life. But it was the "WORDS OF GOD". God said, "when you eat of it, you will surely die". These words which were spoken by GOD, were the reason why Adam and Eve came to die.

    Consider the example of the robber. You say that his example can be compared with all Christians but the most basic thing is missing here. All Christians claim Jesus to be their Saviour. Did the robber know or believed that Jesus was the Saviour? Did the robber knew that Jesus is dying for the sins of mankind? Did he knew that Jesus would resurrect after three days? Even the disciples who lived with Jesus for three years were not aware of all this, how much less the robber. He did not knew the real identity of Jesus. He did not have faith in him like the believers of today. It cannot be compared with modern day believers. Yet he went heaven. How? Because it was the words of the Creator, who said, "today you will be with me in paradise". These words had the power to take the robber heaven. These words were spoken by God. There were the disciples also present there with Jesus at that time. But Jesus spoke these words only for the robber. Similarly, the same God which said, "Today you will be with me in paradise" to the robber, has also said, "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy", and also said, "Take and eat, this is my body". The words of God give us life, not what we do. Believing in the words of God, we should do as God has told us to do.

    Regarding perfect obedience, we have the Bible with us. Through the Bible we can check ourselves whether we are 0% obedient or 100% or 50%. And yes, perfect obedience is perfectly attainable. God's commands and laws are all given to us through His words in the Bible. Believing them and keeping them is what perfect obedience means.

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  138. You said, "Through the Bible we can check ourselves whether we are 0% obedient or 100% or 50%. And yes, perfect obedience is perfectly attainable. God's commands and laws are all given to us through His words in the Bible. Believing them and keeping them is what perfect obedience means."

    By that I understand you to say that you believe 100% obedience 100% of the time is required and is attainable in this lifetime by regular people such as you and me.

    When I've asked you before what exactly "God's commands and laws" are you have answered not with a concrete list (so that a person may know that they are not forgetting anything) but by an unspecific "the Bible."

    Therefore let me point out some of Jesus' commands from the Sermon on the Mount.

    Matt. 5:22 "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. ... And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."
    (Anger at someone is as bad as murder. Are you never, ever angry at anyone, not even for a moment?)

    Matt. 5:28 "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
    (Looking at someone with lust or desire is as bad as adultery. Do you never, ever look at another with desire, not even for a moment?)

    Matt. 5:39-42 "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
    (Are you this kind, even to an evil person, all the time? Do you always give to the beggar on the street, every time?)

    Matt. 5:44 "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
    (Do you always treat your enemies and persecutors with love, care, and prayer? Without first being angry?)

    Matt. 6:15 "But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
    (Do you always forgive others their sins, even the worst, most heinous sins? How long does it take for you to forgive? Can you forgive instantly every time?)

    Matt. 6:25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.... Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...."
    (Are you never, ever worried, about anything, not even for a moment?)

    Those questions do not need to be answered individually. They are for you to think about.

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  139. When I think about them in regards to my own life, I realize that I may be able to be completely obedient some of the time, but as hard as I might try, I cannot maintain 100% obedience 100% of the time. And because it is human nature that even Paul admitted to (Rom. 7:14-25), it is impossible for anyone to do that.

    For example...
    My first response (and probably yours too) to hearing that my husband has lost his job would be worry. Afterwards, I would remember God's promises of provision and I would pray and trust Him, but my first response is still worry and it takes time to overcome that.

    My first response (and probably yours too) to nearly being hit by another car is anger toward the other driver. Afterwards, I can respond rationally, calmly, and with compassion, but my first response is anger and it takes time to overcome that.

    My first response (and probably yours too) to seeing a very attractive member of the opposite sex is "wow!" Afterwards, I can remember my own husband and how devoted I am to him and how I truly love him and not the person I just looked at, but my first response is desire and it takes time to overcome that.

    My first response (and probably yours too) to being the victim of a crime is anger and unforgiveness. Afterwards, I can come to a place of forgiveness, but it takes time.

    Those are just a few examples.
    Do you still think "perfect obedience is perfectly attainable"? If so, then you need to specify which of God's commands you are thinking of, because it cannot be all of them.

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  140. You also said about lust and the worries that we get in our day to day life. Firstly, regarding worry Jesus said not to have useless worries. What is useless worry? As you very well said and it is also written in detail in Mt 6:25-34, it means our worries regarding this life on earth. You were right in saying that there cannot be an individual who will not worry in adversity. It is common to worry when you are in a difficult situation. But Jesus said first to seek His kingdom and righteousness and all other things will be given to us. The bible just does not gaurantees us eternal life but also promises us with a better life here on earth. This better life does not mean we will get our all needs fulfilled and will never go hungry and will always be well fed, warm, etc. But it means that even in adversity we will not be disheartened because of our hope of salvation. A perfect example of this would be the Apostle Paul. 2 Cor 6:4-10 very clearly describes the hardships of not only Paul but all the believers living a righteous life. He definately lived his life for the kingdom of God and lived a righteous life but often went through great hardships. He is a living example for us in faith. Even though in need, we should always remember the blessing of salvation. But the most important thing is even if we do worry, does that mean we become disobedient? Because I am talking about perfect obedience and you are saying its impossible not to worry. Ofcourse it is possible not to worry. That requires time as I had said. It requires time to understand the rich grace of Christ and when one do understands, the hope of salvation outwieghs the worries of this life and it seems trivial and insignificant. If one loses his job there will be grief, if one does not eat for days, he will feel hunger, if one has not drank water for a long period, he will be thirsty. When our faith grows, ceratinly a time will come when no longer we will be in grief for our physical needs but instead we will give thanks to God no matter in what situation he has kept us just like the Apostle Paul.

    Regarding lust, surely anyone committing adultery has no place in heaven. But does that mean even if once I lust in my heart, I will lose my salvation? John 8:1-11 records an incident where a women was caught in adultery and what did Jesus do? Did he condemn the women? Infact, many of Jesus' followers were prostitutes (Mt11:19). Jesus even condemned the teachers of the law saying that the prostitutes are entering heaven ahead of them. How come prostitutes who have disobeyed God's command enter heaven? I am not promoting adultery and as you say I am talking about perfect obedience. In John 8, Jesus did not condemned the women caught in adultery but told her to leave her life of sin. 1 John 5:16-17 tells us there are two kinds of sin:
    1) One kind that leads to death
    2) Another kind that does not lead to death
    First, what is the sin that leads to death? According to the words of Jesus, it is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mk 3:29). In other words it can be said that when we sin against the blood of Jesus, we cannot be forgiven (Heb 10:29). What does that mean? We have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus. This is the new covenant. But if we rebel against the truth that redeemed us, no way of forgiveness remains. Jesus established the truth of the new covenant through His sacrifice. If we go against this truth, nothing can save us.

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  141. Apart from this all other wrongdoing can be forgiven if the sinner repents from the heart. Jesus forgave those who committed adultery showing us that it can be forgiven and commanded the woman in John 8 to leave her life of sin. This is what is written in 1 John 5:16-17. To pray for the brother who sins that does not lead to death.
    If a person is very short tempered and sins in anger, he should pray. If a person has a lustful heart, he should pray. If a person has plenty and does not give to the needy, he should be more hospitable to others. If a person worries too much, he should pray and God will grant each one according to their needs. We should have a will to renew our minds and hearts and pray to God and God will help us in becoming a new individual that will be free of all evil.

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  142. If you conisder that perfect obedience means no anger according to the words of Jesus, then can you explain why throughout the Bible, God is the person who gets angry most when there are evildoers doing wrong things? God's anger is so great that it cannot be compared with anything and His wrath will fall upon all the evildoers in the end time when the Last Disaster through fire falls upon mankind. We are God's children right? Is God setting bad examples for us? We should understand what is the meaning of anger and does the Bible really say we should never get angry? According to Eph 4:26, we should not sin in our anger and should not let our anger remain for a long period of time. It is not biblical to say that we should not get angry at all but we should not hold on to our anger and should not sin in our anger.

    If we should love our enemies, then I would like to ask who is our greatest enemy? No one would disagree with me, that it is most certainly the devil, who hinders us from attaining salvation. Do you think Jesus meant that we should love Satan? If we are supposed to be kind and loving and caring to our enemies all the time why do you think the apostle Peter abused those people who left the faith calling them dogs and pigs? Is this an act of kindness? Why do you think Paul in 1 Co 5:5 fails to forgive a person for committing a grievous sin? And a further reading from verses 9-12 raises another question in my mind, as to why Paul asks the Church to expel the wicked from among them if we are supposed to forgive one another even our enemies all the time?

    Giving alms to the poor is a teaching that is repeatedly not only told but even done by Jesus and the apostles and is also recorded in the Gospels and Acts. But the Bible also says in 2 Thess 3:10 that if one does not work, that person shall not eat. It is subjective to one individual as to how much he gives and to whom he gives and when he gives. If you think that every time we are supposed to give alms, every single time then why dint Jesus commanded to sell that perfume poured upon him by Mary and the money given to the poor? It was very expensive too. Dont you think Jesus was unfair with the poor at this occasion?
    (This was my first comment out of 3)

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  143. I have just a few comments in response before moving forward:
    --There is a time for righteous anger, but most of our anger would not fall in that category.
    --Jesus would have been talking to this human audience about loving human enemies, not about loving Satan.
    --Paul does not talk about forgiveness or unforgiveness in 1 Cor. 5 at all. He does talk about passing judgment for a wrongdoing as you would in a court of law. Forgiveness does not mean to call sin as if it were not sin.
    --2 Thess. 3:10 says if one is "unwilling" to work, not if one "does not" work. There is a difference there. In Matt. 26:6-7, Jesus told the reason he allowed the perfume to be poured on him, and there was no one present asking for a handout anyway.

    You talk about praying for help with living in the way God wants us to live--yes we should!
    And you talk about how God gives forgiveness for our sins--yes He does!

    However, as for coming to a point when you will never, ever sin, and you keep that up consistently without fail all the time (not just a season) no matter what situation pops up in your life? No, that will not happen because we are humans and it is in our nature to sin. It will always be a struggle. It gets easier as we learn to live according to the Spirit instead of according to the flesh, but even Paul acknowledged that it was an ongoing process that he was striving toward not something he already accomplished (Phil. 3).

    I have two issues with what you have described. Please focus your response here:
    1. If you truly believe you can come to a point of being perfectly obedient and never sinning, then you are deceived.
    1John 1:8 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

    2. Let's say for the sake of argument that it is possible with time to reach that point. If your salvation is based on obedience, then if you should happen to die before reaching the point of perfect obedience, you will not be saved.
    If you say that yes you would be saved because God understands that you have not had enough time to reach perfect obedience, then your salvation is not based on obedience (like the wmscog teaches). Instead, your salvation is based on "effort."
    If that's what you mean to say, then we should turn our attention to talking about salvation based on effort (not obedience). (Do you see the difference between those phrases?)

    I have more to say, but it's better to keep our topics focused, and I'm out of time anyway.

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  144. Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

    Now in 1 Co 5 you said about passing judgement but that too was something Jesus said not to do in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 7:1-5), and surely Paul was not perfect as he himself confessed that he is not perfect, so he had no business judging others, is that right?

    Now in response to what you said that if I believe that perfect obedience is possible and there can come a time when I will not sin at all, then I am decieved. You quoted, 1 John 1:8. You also talked about Philippians 3 where Paul wrote it was on ongoing process and he had not achieved it. But does that mean it can never be achieved?

    I dont want to be lengthy, so just in a nutshell I will reply by quoting Gal 5:19-21. All the aspects we are talking about like hatred, anger, sexual immorality, impurity, being selfish, etc. is mentioned here as our sinful nature. And Paul very clearly says in v.21 that anyone living like this will not enter heaven. If you believe we can never leave our sinful nature, and the process can never end than who will enter heaven? Yes, 1 John 1:8 says we are decieved when we say that we do not have sin, and therefore in v.9 it goes on to say that we should confess our sins and should purify ourselves from ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. And a reading from verse 5-10 will help us to understand better that we cannot walk in the light and also in the darkness.

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  145. Happy New Year, Paul! I have been spending time with my family for Christmas and New Year. Thank you for the Christmas greetings, though I'm surprised by them. If the wmscog allowed it's members to say "Merry Christmas" to their families, I wish more of them knew that. It might help ease the tension a little.

    About judging, Matt. 7:1-5 shows that Jesus is speaking of judging hypocritically, self-righteously. We are supposed to recognize sin: John 7:24, Matt. 18:15-17, James 5:20, 2 Tim. 4:2, for example.

    About Gal. 5:19-21, there is a difference between living consistently in "sexual immorality; impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like" and seeking to live by the Spirit but sometimes failing. You can walk in the light but still stumble.

    Yes, we should get to a state where we are no longer dominated by our sin-nature, but we will always struggle with temptation and sin. If that's the case, you ask, "Who will enter heaven?"

    Have you noticed how often you mentioned Jesus forgiving sin? That is exactly how we will enter heaven.

    We cannot be saved by perfect obedience. Even if you were able to maintain perfect obedience for, say, a week before you died (and that includes no prideful thoughts!), you'd still be tainted by previous sin, and the price of that sin is death, separation from God, hell. The gift of God is that Jesus paid that price for you on the cross. (Rom. 6:23)

    It is not Jesus' death plus my perfect obedience that allows me passage to heaven--that would be works (Eph.2:8-9). It is simply Jesus' death. When you add perfect obedience to that, it cheapens it. It means that Jesus' death was not enough.

    Yes, we must recognize our lowly state and that we need forgiveness. Yes, we must have a real faith, not a dead faith. Yes, real faith will be evidenced in our lives. But no, salvation is not based on perfect obedience.

    Your talk about asking forgiveness for when we stumble and fall leads me to believe that you don't really mean to say that salvation is based on perfect obedience, but that you mean salvation is based on effort to obey, which is what I mentioned before. I'll repeat it here for you to consider again:

    "2. Let's say for the sake of argument that it is possible with time to reach that point (of perfect obedience). If your salvation is based on obedience, then if you should happen to die before reaching the point of perfect obedience, you will not be saved. (I'll add also, what if you haven't had perfect obedience for long enough? How long is long enough?)
    If you say that yes you would be saved because God understands that you have not had enough time to reach perfect obedience, then your salvation is not based on obedience (like the wmscog teaches). Instead, your salvation is based on "effort.""

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  146. The wmscog never stopped its members from wishing other people at their festivals. Though are beliefs and practices are very different from others, that does not mean we stop mixing and make them enemies who do not listen to us. I personally have friends from different culture and backgrounds and we always get together at festivals no matter whose it is. Christmas is a nice time for family to be together. Though your belief regarding Christmas and mine is not same. For me it is nothing more than my family getting a day off from work and spending time together.

    We have talked lots about obedience and faith. Let me try something different to help us clear the concept more. I will just ask one question and your answer and views and further questions on the topic will help clear the issue.

    Jesus was crucified and His death paid the price for the sins of mankind. Both of us will agree on this. My question is if Jesus already has paid the price for our sin and that alone brings us salvation then does it mean every single individual from this planet will go heaven?? Surely Jesus did not die for only His disciples but the whole of mankind. Even for you and me who were not even born 2,000 years ago. And since our works cannot bring salvation, does it mean every single soul no matter what they do will enter heaven as the payment for their wrongdoing was paid in full by Jesus??

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  147. Before continuing, I'd like to recap why we are on this topic when the main point of the conversations was "Heavenly Mother." I went back to Aug. 23 for a summary...
    ----Aug. 23----
    You said that the New Jerusalem is the place where the new covenant is kept.
    I asked you to be specific about what you meant by the "new covenant".
    You said it was the gospel that Jesus taught for 3 years while He was here on earth.
    I asked you to be specific about what Jesus taught, what is "everything He taught and commanded" that we must do to be saved?
    You said that we are "redeemed by Christ's blood" and that salvation is grace from God, and that our faith and actions go together, that only those "who abide in the new covenant" are saved.
    I asked you to be specific about what you meant by "redeemed by Christ's blood" because I know we have a different idea of what that means, and again to be specific about what you mean by the "new covenant."
    You said I have a misconception about the wmscog's teaching about how salvation is received.
    And there we are... If you would like to show me verses related to salvation by obedience, I will respond with verses related to salvation by faith, that would be ok. Then all our readers will know both sides.
    And then maybe you will please get on with explaining what you mean by the "new covenant" and what is "everything He taught and commanded" that must be obeyed?"
    ----end quote----

    You asked, "does it mean every single soul no matter what they do will enter heaven as the payment for their wrongdoing was paid in full by Jesus?"

    No, if that were so, there would be no need for verses such as Rev. 20:15, John 3:18, and 2 Thess. 2:12.

    You have not said anything about salvation based on "effort to obey." What do you think of that idea? And going back to the purpose of this topic of conversation, how would you relate this to the "new covenant" ?

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  148. Hi Paul. It's been more than two weeks, so I just wanted to check in with you. I hope you are well and that you'll be back soon to continue our conversation.

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  149. Hello again, Paul. It has been yet another two weeks, and I haven't heard from you. I hope there is nothing wrong, and that you are just very busy or out of town. I find it odd that you would leave our conversation without an explanation, and I find myself speculating on different reasons.

    When you are ready to continue the conversation, please feel free to come back. I'm also available by email if you'd like a less public conversation. May the Lord bless you. I hope to hear from you again.

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  150. Hi Genny! How are you? I hope you are well. Its been a very long time since my last message. I cannot explain the amount of pressure, work and drama I faced at work, church and home, respectively. I did see your messages but had no time to reply and when I got some time, it was just enough to breathe a little and back to work again. Now things are starting to become normal. I always had our conversation at the back of my mind and will like to start once again hoping that you too will be eager to participate.

    I agree with you that I havent been specific with my meaning of the term "new covenant". Well, I will try from now onwards to be very specific of what I mean.

    The New Covenant means all the teachings of Jesus mentioned in the gospels and acts of the apostles and letters written by various apostles and followers of Jesus. The Bible says in Eph 2:20 that we are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the chief cornerstone. To be very specific, these are the regulations of the new covenant:
    Sabbath (Luke 4:16, Acts 17:2-3..)
    Passover (Mt 26:17-19,26-28. Lk 22:7-8,19-20)
    Day of Unleavened Bread (day to commemorate the suffering of Christ by fasting - Mk 2:18-20)
    Day of Firstfruits (day to commemorate the resurrection of Christ - Mk 16:9, 1 Co 15:20)
    Pentecost ( Acts 2:1-4)
    Feast of Tabernacles ( Jn 7:2,14,37-38)
    Regulation of Veil ( 1 Co 11:1-16)
    Tithe (Mal 3:7-10, Mt 22:21)

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  151. Hi Paul! It has been a long time for me too, and I can thoroughly relate to your season of stress. I am coming out of one too. I thought things were getting back to normal a few months ago, but life has a way of surprising us, and one thing after another keeps coming up to throw a wrench in and take my time and attention.

    I am very eager to get back to our conversation. But please forgive me when I get delayed in answering back. I'm not meaning to ignore. It's probably just another of those wrenches.

    Thank you for clarifying what you mean by "New Covenant."

    Many of the verses you gave as examples for those 'regulations' show someone following a custom or doing something (what you might call an example to follow). Very few of them are stated as commands from Jesus.

    On the other hand, there are many actual commands of Jesus that seem very important that are not on your list of specific regulations, and I wonder about that. For example,

    Matt. 5:27-29, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away..."

    Matt. 5:32, "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

    Matt. 5:42, "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

    Mark 10:19, "You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’"

    Mark 10:21, "...Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

    1 Tim. 2:11-12, "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

    1 Cor. 14:34-35, "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church."

    2 Cor. 6:14, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers...."

    Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26 -- Greet one another with a holy kiss.

    There are many more command statements in the New Testament, and I'm not wanting to discuss them specifically or individually, but just to show how wide a range of commands there are.

    Here's my question for you...
    You have a list of 8 specific regulations. Why are those singled out of the many teachings of Jesus? Are there different consequences for not following those 8 regulations, as opposed to not following any of the other commands (such as those I listed)?

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