So, you saw the article’s title. And you’ve continued reading this far. Well, I must have gotten your attention!
The debate has raged for thousands of years. The confusion over the issue is verifiable and palpable. Many positions have been taken.
What is God’s role in life today?
What, if anything, is God doing currently for us individually and corporately? And is His approach to humanity different in any practical way than it was in the Scriptures?
As we begin going down this road, please remember the BIG picture. We, as always, remain open to discussions and adjustments as we move forward with this amazing Gospel Revolution that we have chosen to be a part of.
Of the positions that have been espoused about God’s role today, all are replete with the “ands, ifs, and buts” that seem to always accompany people’s advocacy for their own religious persuasion.
However, we come at this from the perspective of the Gospel—which is always free of all the “ands, ifs, and buts” of religion. In the Gospel, there are no “ands, ifs, or buts”.
Please let’s rehearse that the message of the Gospel is NOT our view and opinion of God. Rather, the Gospel is God’s view and opinion of US. So, as we commence the discussion of what God is up to, and what changes may have occurred in God’s thinking between the former paradigm (the Old Testament) and the current one (The New Testament), we will keep “like frontlets between our eyes” the overriding mindset that is the Gospel.
If we are to gain a view of God that has any merit at all it must be based on the Scriptures and the Scriptures only. Our personal life experiences and or our own perception of what has happened to us as individuals must take a distant back seat to what the Scriptures, what I call “the Body Document”—the Law, the Psalms and Prophets—have to say. Still, it is also important to examine what effect our beliefs have on the human mind and soul.
There are answers and more than a few clues about God as revealed in the Scriptures that we do need to address especially in light of our lives since “The Day of the Lord”, the Cross, which we know fulfilled all Scriptures.
So, where is God? What is He doing now? What has He done? What does He know about my future? Does God have a plan for my life?
In subsequent articles we will review at least the most prominent declarations on these matters offered by today’s religious speakers, writers, and the denominations they embrace.
First, the overarching linchpin that must be pulled out and which dominates this debate is: “For I am the Lord, I CHANGE NOT.”
We teach a lot about reading and thinking about the Scriptures and the rest of the Bible always in their context. Some verses taken out of context simply lose their power. Some taken out of context take on a power unto themselves. This may be one of the best examples of a verse taken out of context taking on a power of its own.
“For I am the Lord, I CHANGE NOT.” The word “change”, in its original Hebrew rendering, means “duplicate”. Thus, it should read: “For I am the Lord. I DUPLICATE NOT!” Or I never do the same thing the same way twice! Could it be that the linchpin for ALL current doctrines about God does not even say OR mean what we have thought about God for all these centuries? It has sent the theological world scurrying to two opposite and unscriptural corners about God’s personality and its manifestations throughout human and Biblical history.
#1. Most of the Evangelical world embraces that God was and IS still angry–ready to judge sin at any moment in an individual’s life and that of the world as a whole.
#2. God was NEVER angry. This is an Eastern philosophy espoused by some in the Christian community because of their inability to resolve how a loving God could ever be so vengeful, full of wrath and have ordered His people Israel to administer His judgment on each other and the other people groups they encountered .
I am never satisfied solely with knowing the accurate translation of one word from the Scriptures or the Bible. We must know what the respective words actually mean AND read them in the context in which they were articulated. The issue always falls or stands on the context of the sentence AND the word’s definition.
So, in the context of this matter it should read,” I am the Lord, I duplicate not; therefore….ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Remember, if there is a “therefore” one needs to understand what the therefore is “there for”.
Therefore you sons of Jacob are NOT consumed–NOT consumed! Not only does the word definition not support a God who does not change, but rather the opposite! The context does not support the teaching that God never changes, but in context He is saying, “You the sons of Jacob better be glad I don’t always do things the same way I have in the past. For, if I did YOU would be toast!”
The main reason for clinging so tightly to this verse out of context and word wrongfully translated may very well be a fear that God Himself may be much more like us than we are comfortable with to accept. Maybe the only way to fully apprehend how much like God we actually are is to embrace just how much like us He is and has been.
After all, did He not originally create us in His likeness, in His image?
Here are the issues we will be grappling with in this series:
Is God angry?
Was God angry?
Was God ever angry?
If He was, why was He angry?
If He was and now no longer is angry, why is He not angry any more?
Did God ever make a mistake?