Why did Moses see God but John said no one could?

Moses mosaic on display at the Cathedral Basil...

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Question: In the book of Exodus (33:11, NIV) it says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” Then in the same chapter in verse 20 it says, “But, ‘He said,’ you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.” And in verse 23 it says, “Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.” In John 1:18 it says, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” Can you explain how in one verse God speaks to Moses face to face and in two other verses in the same chapter it says that no one can ever see God’s face and in Exodus it says that Moses would see God’s back and in John it says that no one has ever seen God?

Answer: I believe that by “face to face” in Exodus 33:11 the author meant that God did not speak to Moses through more symbolic or indirect means such as dreams or visions but in direct conversation (Numbers 12:8). I believe that when God tells Moses that he cannot see His face but only His back, He means that to really see Him as He is will not be allowed, or perhaps is not possible, in Moses’ present condition (without his being in a spiritual, resurrected body), but that He will let Moses see a representation of Him that Moses can handle. John states the ultimate truth, that no one has seen God at any time, only representations of Him that He adapted to the human eye.

Randall Johnson


102 thoughts on “Why did Moses see God but John said no one could?

    • Without a doubt! Being God Himself, the second member of the Trinity, He “sees” God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in all their glory and without any filter. As John says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” (John 1:18)

      • Which confuses me. I mean looking at the basic concept of father and son. Since Jesus was the son of God, doesn’t that mean (albeit a big deal) he is but the “son” of god? Additionally, if John said that “no one has ever seen God”, and people saw Jesus, doesn’t that mean the two are separate? Why even be called Jesus if he his God, wouldn’t he just be called God? Or Jesus even making references to his “Father” in biblical passages, why would it be directed in such a way if not to imply he is separate?

      • The concept of Father and Son actually works very nicely to help us understand what the Scriptures elsewhere make clear, that Jesus is God. Think about it this way. When a father has a son or a daughter that child bears his and his wife’s DNA. We don’t call having children “creation” but rather “procreation” because we are not making something separate from ourselves but like ourselves in every respect, a clone if you will, of our combined DNA. With God the Father, when He “generated” the Son (the theological term we have chosen to explain this otherwise unfathomable truth) the Son was in every way equal to the Father. And when together they generated the Spirit He too was in every way equal to them. Now we understand, of course, that there never was a time when the Father was not generating the Son or the Father and Son were not generating the Spirit. So we have three separate personalities who can interact with each other, act out their specific roles in our salvation and in maintaining the world.

        Typically, Jesus refers to His Father as God, as do the Scripture writers. This may seem to detract from acknowledging Jesus as God, but remember that in that day to simply put it out there would most likely have been more than people could handle. They needed to see who Jesus was, come to know Him as savior, and then be more able to accept His deity. Seeing Jesus is different then than seeing “God” (the Father), because the Father does not have a body, but Jesus does.

        Jesus is the most unique person in the universe. Alone among the Triune God He is both deity and human, God and man. He alone has two natures, human and divine. This made him capable of dying in our place and His sacrifice having infinite value to cover all those who come to Him in faith. When He took on human nature and went through the birth process like we do, it was fitting to give him a human name, Jesus. Jesus is the equivalent of Joshua and means Yahweh saves.

  1. basically Moses did not see god he spoke with him god came in the form of a burning bush. thats the way i see it. but i got a question about the subject of John why did Jesus have to get baptized he was pure and did not sin to be baptized is to wash away your sins and Jesus did not,and why did he chose John the baptist out of all the other baptist

    • Of course Jesus did not need cleansing from sin or the repentance John was preaching about. Jesus said to John, when John himself balked at baptizing Jesus and said instead that Jesus should baptize him, that this must be done to fulfill all righteousness. These words are a little obscure to us and have produced a number of different interpretations. But overall we must acknowledge that it was important first of all for Jesus to endorse the ministry of John. One way to do that was to submit to his baptism. Secondly, of course, it became the opportunity for God to publically proclaim His Son’s ministry inauguration. This gives sufficient reason for Jesus to be baptized by John.

      I’m not sure what your question is about John the baptist being chosen out of all the other baptizers(?). Do you mean why did Jesus choose to go to John as opposed to others like John who were proclaiming the coming of the king and his kingdom, or do you mean why did God choose John to be the forerunner of Jesus the Messiah? As to the first, I don’t know that there were any others baptizing in anticipation of the coming kingdom, so as far as I know, John was it. As to the second, the reasons for God’s choices are often hidden from us. He found John to be faithful and willing to be used by Him and so He used him.

      • If Jesus didn’t go through baptism, then we would not have to. Nothing was found in him when he went to His Father. So shall it be the same with us. Very simple. When Jesus left, no sign was given to show that he was gone, so no sign will be given to show he return. Don’t read too hard into things. It’s only raises more and more WHY questions. Understanding with comes with time and it could take a lifetime for understanding a lot of things written. Keep reading never stop.

    • Not sure what you are intending by your comment.

      Exodus 24:9-11 says, “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.”

      The apostle John clearly says in John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

      So here we have two Scriptures that must both be believed and yet cannot contradict themselves. It is much easier to understand the first one as describing a “vision” or “form” of God that he allows Moses and the elders to witness without actually seeing Him in His full glory. This seems justified especially by Yahweh’s comment to Moses later in Exodus when Moses asks to see His glory, “And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

      So even though God allows Moses to see something, it is not His full glory and so John is absolutely correct when he says no one has ever seen God.

    • Is there a ancient hebrew understanding of why no man has seen God’s face and lived. Thinking about it, perhaps it is that you are “born again” Numbers 14:14 God talkes to Moses face to face. There cannot be a controdiction, but there can be a greater understanding. What IS IT?

      • Moses talks about God having a mouth (Dt 8:3), hands and arms (Dt. 4:34; 5:15; 7:19; 11:2; 26:8), fingers (9:10) and how He walks through the camp of Israel (Dt. 23:14) and rides on the clouds of the heavens (Dt. 33:26). These are figures of speech that we are not meant to take literally. When he says God speaks face to face with him (Numbers 14:14) but then asks God at one point to show him His face and God refuses (Ex 33), we must take his expression as a figure of speech for how personally God spoke to him.

  2. I’ve read through your comments and things, but I’m struggling to find an answer for a simlar question…simply (or not simply as I’m finding out!) why can we,including Moses, not see God. I know it’s written in the Bible, and I truly believe what is written, but I have been doing my daily readings, and I just questioned why. Why are we forbidden? Why could Moses not see God? Why is it not permitted? Is it because we see God through Jesus and ourselves?

    It’s like a ‘Wet Paint’ sign on a wall, yet you still want to touch the wall to check it’s wet!

    Sorry if this sounds like an inconsequential question, but wondered if you could help direct me more. Thanks 🙂

    • Jesus told us that God is spirit (John 4:24) and that spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Paul says God is “invisible” (1 Timothy 1:13). It is not so much forbidden that we see God as it is difficult. We have physical eyes that perceive physical objects that light reflects on. There is nothing to reflect light from a spirit. If, however, we were given an ability to perceive God it might be so overwhelming we would die from the encounter. I say this because of Daniel’s experience (ch. 10:1-12) where he was enabled to perceive a lesser spirit, an angel, in some unveiled sense, and it made him sick and faint. When we receive our resurrected bodies I believe we will be more equipped to perceive spirit and God in particular without the incapacitating effects our present bodies experience.

      • I wonder, as we are at the 100th anniversary of Darwin’s theory of common ancestry, if this doesn’t actually speak more to God’s original plan for creation. If we believe that the Edenic experience was God’s plan to create a beautiful being that would live with God as eternal beings/companions; then perhaps it’s not implausible to believe that Adam/Eve were tempted to hasten the process of maturity/development/evolution. They not only saw God and lived, (as they were visited in the Garden each day – much the same as a parent spending a portion of each day in conversation with a child) but were also afraid to be truthful, like a naughty child might be. Prior to their disobedience they knew nothing of God’s displeasure, much less death. Until the actual consequences of that disobedience God’s children knew nothing of what they were to experience, death.
        So the first created beings saw God face to face, as God intended. God came into the Garden, walked with them, had conversations, and gave them responsibilities (not for nothing was the naming of all created beings and things a big responsibility). Perhaps we are taking Moses’ understanding of God more literally than intended; much as a younger, less mature sibling might as the older to explain God. Maybe we aren’t ready because we are are still too immature, and have not developed to the place where we can see God, even as Adam and Eve did. To say that no one can survive seeing God might well be because we are, quite simply, not ready. God must appear to us as we are able to understand that image.
        It’s no longer possible for me to take scripture so literally that I would choose to disbelieve science; but I do believe we have souls, and that we are evolving to someday, once again commune with God face to face, or more literally in the form that will allow us to experience God has was intended in the Garden’s blue prints. If my spirit isn’t ready while I exist in this body, then I believe I will see God when I no longer need it. The very reflection of God gave Moses a countenance so vivid that he hid himself under a veil so that others would not be harmed by its intensity. If the reflection of God’s reflection was that powerful then I’m not ready, yet. For such a thing would surely overwhelm my fragile body. If God must appear in a form that I can comprehend, to protect my fragility, then I’m good with it. But I can’t stop wondering about the many ways of God’s appearing, and I can’t stop reading the words of those divinely inspired, and I won’t stop seeking ways to be like the only representation of God that I do understand, Jesus.

      • I love this perspective: I won’t stop seeking ways to be like the only representation of God that I do understand, Jesus.

        I actually don’t think we must give up literal understanding of Scripture where it’s authors intended a literal meaning nor must we choose not to believe science. Our understanding of Scripture and of scientific data are both limited and subject to improvement. If we examine the text of Genesis 3 carefully I believe there is reason to question that Adam and Eve saw the unveiled God. It says that He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, which suggests that He was appearing in a human shape that walked, unless we would attribute legs to God. But as Jesus said, God is spirit, not flesh and bone.

        One current scientific theory in physics is that there are multiple dimensions beyond our 3 dimensions and our dimension of time. If that is the case it would be also the case that God created those dimensions and exists outside of them but is certainly capable of entering into them. For us, however, in our current state, to be exposed to dimensions beyond what we exist in would be confusing, to say the least, or possibly so overwhelming that we might exerience shock. So for the supra-dimensional God to be seen by the three dimensional human would not be possible without God making Himself known to us in a way that fits with our three dimensional experience.

        It would have something to do, then, as you say, with being more mature if we understand this “maturity” not as something we are in control of but as something God is bringing us to. And that is exactly what the Bible says is happening (1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.)

        Scripture makes it clear that this “maturity” or “perfection” (the Greek word Paul uses means both) will take place when Jesus returns and endows believers with resurrected bodies and perfected spirits/souls. Jesus resurrected body seemed to be capable of multi-dimensional experience. For example, when he appeared to the apostles in the upper room after his resurrection it says the windows and doors were shut but he was in the room. When he walked with the disciples going to Emmaus he suddenly disappeared from their sight. When he left the earth he rose up through the clouds.

        Of course, this particular theory of physicists may prove to need amending or complete alteration as our knowledge increases. But it can make sense of the data of Scripture if it is true. Let’s not tie ourselves to current scientific explanations without openness to new discovery that may overturn such understandings. At the same time, let’s continue pursuing understanding of Scripture and not be fearful to see it in light of current knowledge that may shed light on how it is to be understood. No true knowledge can contradict itself.

      • hi pastor,
        i been following your reply for quiet sometime,i dont think so its very difficult to know god.instead of praying unto god we have to seek god,and he will reveal himself/herself to us.all the saints in the past throughout the world used this method to communicate with god,this is what we call first hand experience.even after the demise of jesus,christian mystics used the same technics to communicate with him.so why we always confused ourselves with thousands of translations and interpretations from the bible.one scholar give one explanation and will defend his is correct,this been going on in christian world for many centuries.i think we should stop arguing on bible.we should concentrate more on achieving god by doing research on methods to have direct communion with god such as meditation,prayers,mind control technic,scientific technologies and many more.when we are able to talk to god than all the doubts can be cleared off.he is the bible of the bible.what you think?

      • Have you ever heard someone say, “I believe God wants me to do…,” or, “The Spirit revealed to me that the correct interpretation of this passage is,” or, “I know God is okay with me doing…”? Who is to determine who has the Spirit or mind of God and who doesn’t? You? Me? Some expert? There is no end to the potential for disagreement and doubt. If people can’t agree on interpretations of the Bible why would we believe they would agree on who heard God correctly. This does not solve the problem.

        On the other hand, wrestling about the interpretation of the Bible has the potential of making a decision because we can validate whether the interpretation makes the most sense of the author’s written expression. This is how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees and how Paul dealt with fellow Jews. You need an objective method of determining truth and the only one out there is the written expression. This is why God gave us His truth in written form.

        If you think about what all Christians do agree on, there is a core amount of truth that we all hold in common. This is because the most basic knowledge we need to have has been clearly communicated through the Bible.

  3. Great answers to difficult questions. I really need sights like this and with the help (of the Holy Spirit) to understand a lot of the Bible.

  4. thanks for your reply pastor,may i know where in the bible jesus said he is a god or special son of god.many times he said “come lets pray our farther”.this is a clear indication that god is not only his farther he is also our farther too.jesus performed miracles and assured us that we too can do miracles if we have faith in god,this is another clear indication that all of us are equal before god.you may say jesus said “he is the life ,the truth and the way to god and also he said “he and his farther is one”.but if you check some of olden scriptures of the world,many prophets of other faiths said the same thing.. “that they are the life,the way and the truth” long before the arrival of jesus and also research shows that “tibetan monks” who is doing ardent meditation finally achieve enlightenment.experience of enlightenment is very blissful and they report they become one with the creator(universe or god),similar to what jesus said ” i and my farther one”.could this be the experience that jesus had when he became fully realised soul?could this be the reason why jesus never admit directly he is a god?what you think pastor….

    • When we read the Bible we must be careful not to read into its language the ideas of religions that are foreign to the worldview of Scripture. The Israelites knew God as a personal being who created all things and yet was distinct from all things made. He did not offer “enlightenment” (or the realizing that all things are not and so becoming in sync with the universe as it truly is) as a way of salvation or even a way of thinking. He made real persons, is Himself, of course, a real person, and made faith in Him the test of whether one had a right relationship with Him.

      With that in mind, when Jesus says,for example, in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” he does not mean Jesus has become “enlightened” in the Buddhist sense. He means that he and the Father share the same essence, are the same “thing.” Both are the divine creator God. This is why the Jews at this moment tried to stone Jesus for blasphemy. They understood what Jesus was saying, that He was God, Elohim, Yahweh the God of the Jews. Consequently, when Jesus showed himself to the disciples after his resurrection and Thomas, one of his apostles, bowed before him and said, “My Lord, and my God,” Jesus did not rebuke him but received his worship.

      Christians also believe that Jesus’ apostles and prophets are authoritative sources of truth about Jesus. So when John the apostle says in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” that settles it for us.

      • hi pastor how you doing today,thanks for your reply .but pastor you did not understand what enlightenment is in the buddhist sense means.eastern scriptures say those who practice love,forgiveness and pious life(meditation and prayers) can achieve enlightenment.enlightenment here does not mean they become god but become one with god(meaning that their individual soul unite with supersoul(god)).for example a drop of rain water when get mixed up in ocean it becomes ocean,now how do we find a drop of that particular rain water in a vast ocean.the point is here,ocean is always ocean,a drop of rain water cannot become ocean but when it merged with ocean will lost its identity and call itself ocean.similar when individual soul has been purified with the gods consciousness,it will go back to his/her father and become one with father and call him/herself father,now here you see,father(god) is always a father(god) only we individual soul temporarily came away from our creator,the whole game of life is go back to him.this is buddhist understanding of enlightenment which is very similar to what jesus said”MY FATHER AND I ARE ONE”and he never said he is a father.further more lots of historians and researchers are saying that jesus did travel to himalayan region in india during his lifetime somewhere from the age of 12 – 27,this is a period in jesus life which were not recorded properly in the bible.and they claim there are strong evidents in nowadays tibet(china/india border)about this,whereby there are some scriptures written in local pali/sanskrit language saying something like this”A YOUNG INTELLIGENT PALESTINE MAN BY THE NAME OF YESHUA HAS COME AND LEARNED MEDITATION AND BECOME MASTER OF IT”.not only that, some of jesus practice like having a rosary,his robe and practice of washing a feet are all eastern practice.but most of these materials have been destroyed when china terrorised tibet.just wondering!! could this be true and our western scholars try to hide this for centuries out of ego, just dont want to accept something from east.what you say pastor?actually what happened to jesus during his missing years?how come all of sudden when he started his ministry he became extraordinary man(performed miracles).why he never performed anything like this before the missing years?and further more the idea of one god(brahman) is already there in eastern vedic scripture which came about 10,000 years before moses and jesus born,eventhough nowadays eastern people are praying many gods this was not the case many thousands of years ago.so could jesus derive the idea of salvation and god from eastern culture?sorry if i m asking lots of question,thanks.

      • I don’t mean to be contentious, but I don’t believe that is what all Buddhists means by enlightenment and none of that supposed history of Jesus visiting India is true. Historic Buddhism does not believe in God because it does not believe in personhood, as such. Please look at a very helpful book on Buddhism, Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal by Keith Yandell and Harold Netland. Jesus, of course, if you pay attention to the New Testament, never taught anything close to a Buddhist view of life.

  5. yeah buddha said universe came out of nothingness and will go into nothingness.but he is also very careful in saying that.what he meant by NOTHINGNESS is not EMPTINESS.just NO-THING but in that nothingness EVERYTHING IS.a place without the subtlest form of physical(energy),nothing exist there because EVERYTHING IS,a place of infinity,a place of uncreated,a place full of wisdom and complete knowledge,a place of oneness and love,a place full of bliss.buddha was very careful and not using the word GOD eventhough he agrees all the attributes of god which was mentioned in vedanta(ancient indian scriptures) in the place what he calls nothingness.this was why buddha could not get along with mainstream religion at that time,for him the way indian people worshipping with the rituals and so on is just a waste of time.pls read the original scripture of buddha and this was what a buddhist monk explained to me as well.i m a student of comparative studies,my research is to find similarities in all the religion so better PEACE can be established and we can be united and live with great tolerance.so dont take me wrong when i put many questions to you.okay get back to bible,why need to convert into christianity in order to be a follower of christ,cant anybody just be a worshipper of jesus without going to church,wouldnt jesus answer the prayers if we do that?i m asking this question because nowadays i see lots of christian missionaries has taken this as a job and going around converting other people.where in the bible all this has been said?sorry if this question offending you.under the pretext of spreading the word of god,some missionairies are taking the opportunity in converting people into christianity.did god mention this in the bible?arent we doing sin by converting someone from one religion to another?arent we creating problem in their families which were happily live their life,now you see if one member in a family is a christian, he/she cannot participate in many of his/her previous religious rituals.this would create unnecessary tensions among family members and especially parents become extremely sad.children cannot even take part in their parents funeral.this happens in many part of the world today.it happens in chinese family,vietnamese family,asian family,african family…children who recently converted into christianity they hesitate to take part in their parents funeral which put all other family members into sadness. but again bible says heaven is under mothers feet and jesus is loving being or something like that,so my question is why conversion since we can always follow the teaching of christ without being a christian,no conflict in the family.pastor what is your comment….

    • Jesus himself said that “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He told his apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all He commanded them (Matthew 28: 19,20). When Peter preached his first sermon in Jerusalem he told the thousands there to save themselves from the generation they were attaching themselves to because this is the one that slew Jesus. 3,000 converted that day and were baptized. Did this cause rifts in their families? More than likely it did. Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)

      There is no way to reconcile all the religions of the world. They are contradictory of each other and to reconcile them is to steal from them their unique theological perspective. All the religions of the world teach that the way to God is through doing what He commands and that we have the ability to keep His commands. Christianity alone, among the world’s religions, teaches that we are incapable of keeping God’s commands and that we need an atoning sacrifice sufficient to pay the just penalty for our disobedience and that God is willing to pay that price by becoming a man and dying for us so He can offer salvation to us as a free gift. Christianity cannot be reconciled with any other religion without losing that key distinction.

      • “no one comes to the Father except through me”(John 14:6).what does it mean,is it through his physical body and name or through his spirit?how can god ask us to go against our own family members and love him more,when jesus said clearly there is a divine spark within each and every soul?meaning to say,god is in every living entity’s soul,so going against any loving person is equal going against god,isn’t it.VERY CONTRADICTING!!!

  6. hi pastor,
    MOTHER TERESA was one of the greatest saints ever lived during our life time,her whole life was full of love and service to mankind.she took care many 100s of poor children in the street of kolkata(one of the poorest cities in the world).now there are 1000s of children under the care of her monastery and almost all of them are not christians,they are poor and abandoned hindu and muslim children.vatican city was not satisfied with her then because she never tried to convert any of the children into christianity,when this was asked to her by some reporters….she just smiled and said “I SEE GOD IN CHILDREN’S SMILE,WHY I NEED TO CONVERT THEM”.Is not this an answer from someone who knows god better than us,that being a christian is not important to be a good soul.being a good soul is the eligibility to know god.when it is said we are made upon god’s image does it mean that our physical body copy god’s body in form and figure.if that is so than this is not a permanent body.so here very clear that the meaning of that statement is that the real god’s image is his “SOUL”,not his physical body.the real ourself also a soul so our soul(which is the real ourself) is made upon god’ soul.so this must be the logic explanation.so if this is the case,why so important emphasis is given on image and name.FATHER IN THE HEAVEN is formless and nameless and he is so loving,he is embodiment of love.how could he reject you just because you are not a baptized christian?how could he reject you just because you do not go to church?how could he reject you just because you do not pray to jesus(the physical form and name) but you have christ consciousness within yourself?

    • Mother Teresa cannot controvert the Scriptures and be correct. Perhaps the Vatican had the better perspective here, had God’s perspective here.

      The Bible does not teach that the image of God is a bodily image, but rather our ability to relate to God through our minds, wills, and emotions, and serve as co-rulers of His earth. Being made in God’s image is an incredible gift that we have taken and misused repeatedly by refusing to listen to His Word about our condition and about His solution to our desperate need. We would delude ourselves that we are sufficient in ourselves with this gift God has given us and can accomplish all we need to do in order to please Him. But then we end up worshiping something other than Him every time.

  7. thanks pastor for your reply,you are right we have to be intelligent in interpreting religious text.personally i do believe in jesus christ’s divinity, there is no doubt he was one of the greatest souls ever existed on the surface of earth,and he still exist.but what i could not agree with some scholars and religious leaders are when they say their way is the only way to achieve kingdom of god.this will create tensions and disharmony among the people which will result in an unnecessary hostilities.they will fight and go for war,many lives going to perish,this been happening for the past 5000 years and still happening.now i do not understand, living in peace and harmony by respecting each others religion is a right way or go on debate and despise other peoples belief under the pretext spreading the word of god is what god wants us to do.

    • The only way we know Jesus is God is that we are given an account of his life and his interpretation of his life given to his apostles and recorded in the New Testament. That is our ultimate source of authority for anything we believe about Jesus. And along with his declaration that no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6), there is also his declaration that all people will know that we are his disciples if we love one another (John 13:35). We cannot declare that Jesus is the only way to God and go to war with those who disagree or we will be disobeying the One who rescued us. We cannot force others to accept our teaching. They must accept it because they are convinced it is true. Can we despise other people’s beliefs? I suppose we can, in the sense, that is, that their beliefs are leading them away from the true God and we love them too much to let them go without warning them that they are in danger. Will this create tension and disharmony? Yes, it does create that. But it does not have to be that we become angry and violent with one another. Even if I disagree with you heartily I am still called to love you and to seek to persuade you of the truth. Can I still treat you respectfully? Absolutely, and it is my sworn duty to do just that in Jesus’ name.

  8. if love is basis of christian’s teaching,can christians participate in any religious rites of other religions which is being done on basis of love.for example.. some chinese they do worship their ancestors during their new year eve,when i say they worship ancestors does not mean they assume them as god but pay respect to them.this is to show love that they still remember their beloved people eventhough they are no longer in a physical form.can someone in their family who is now converted into christianity can participate in the prayers?if these newly convert christians participate in the ceremony ,out of love will LOVING GOD damn them into HELL?i do not think so but church authorities always interfere and forbid them to not participate.they always bring out parables and quotations from gospels written by JOHN OR PETER OR LUKE,PAUL or somebody else as an evidence to forbid them.now my question is how a loving god who is embodiment of love himself would have said this.after all this is only a small gathering to show love to their ancestors.When LOVE is GOD,when LOVE is non other than GOD himself why must always follow the teaching of these apostles which sometimes against rational thinking.instead we must use our common sense and intellect to decide which is right and wrong.is not it so pastor?i m sure loving god would not mind if we go to hindu or buddist temples or muslim mosques when we are lovingly invited by our brothers from other faith to their religious functions.by attending or participating in their religious gathering we are not going to become lesser christians,are not we?

    • Christians can attend events that do not involve them in worshiping other gods, though there might be some caution if it leads others whose consciences do not excuse them for doing this to do it against their conscience. I have been to a mosque for observation and learning. I have been in a Hindu temple but was forbidden to participate in the worship (though, of course, I would not have). The apostles teach the exact same thing as Jesus. After all, they are His representatives and faithfully discharge that duty. So it is silly to pit them against Jesus. They address issues that Jesus did not address, but do so as His authoritative representatives, as He told them to. If “common sense” contradicts Scripture, my conscience is bound to the Scriptures first and above all. But I have never found the Scriptures to contradict common sense rightly pursued.

  9. this is the very reason why world is not at peace and it won’t forever.when there is no tolerance,no understanding and authorities of the religions(any religion) don’t have spiritual or religious experience(firsthand experience of god),they mess up everything based on their little understanding of scriptures and its interpretations.they always think those who interpreted it were descended masters from heaven and go on with their stubborn principles which will lead them to become fanatics.they always feel(pseudo feeling),they are special and chosen by god.like you said “SCRIPTURES FIRST,ABOVE ALL”,this is the source of the many wars in the world(war in Palestine,war in Afghanistan,Iraq,chaotic situations in many parts of Africa,bombing there and here,murder,cheating and so on).why?because understanding of the same subjects by different religions only differ in the interpretations,this is why i say authorities of all the religions must use “COMMON SENSE” sometimes in dealing with some matters,if you cannot agree with me…. than all i can say i just love you as i love everybody else.okay back to our discussion, you haven’t answered my questions posted on August 1, 2013 at 9:59pm,please read through.

    • You are wrong, vj. The cause of wars is not adherence to the Bible, because, as I said, it teaches against forcing anyone to convert to Jesus. The cause of wars is people with sinful hearts to whom common sense seems to dictate that the best way to accomplish their ends is to subject others. Your “common sense” tells you one thing, but another’s “common sense” tells him to do another. There is no authority in “common sense.” It is a completely inadequate standard for determining conduct. “Common sense” does not say to love those who persecute you and pray for them. Jesus says that:

      “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45, ESV)

      About the apostles (our “masters” who learned from Jesus – this was his plan, not theirs), Paul says,

      For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

      I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? (1 Corinthians 4:9-21, ESV)

  10. don’t get me wrong pastor,i never said Bible is the cause of wars,but some authorities of religions(any religion),directly or indirectly will become the reason to go to war.these people don’t understand what actually is the WORD OF GOD,they go on and blabber everything comes in their mind.be LOVING,be FORGIVING and be SHARING these are the only words of god,this is what Jesus tried to teach us 2000 years ago not his biography..who he is,what he eats,how he walks and so on.but those in the religion always emphasize more flowery practice instead of teaching the followers to achieve Jesus(god’s consciousness).its like all your life reading the history of DISNEYLAND but you never try to reach there,what’s a point? that’s what happening in all the religion, lots of flowery talks and practices but until the end nobody has firsthand experience of god(jesus).what’s a use?a promise that we will be taken care of hereafter,is a very easy promise that everybody can make because so far in the history of mankind nobody has come back from beyond the grave(except for some prophets)to say there is a heaven and they are happily living there now.all the religions make promises like this,which one to follow?this is where authorities of these religions will go on debate directly or indirectly to say theirs are best and refer every single statement to the interpretations of the apostles,mystics and saints but not COMMON SENSE based on love,thats what i meant when i said common sense.i know my common sense differ yours and yours differ from somebody else on many things.But in this context which is about religious view when it is based on LOVE everybody’s common sense would be same.believe me pastor.there is no muslim love,christian love ,hindu love or a little bit of love,lots of love in the “DOCTRINE OF LOVE”.there is only ONE LOVE,if all the religious authorities or leaders realise this, they wouldn’t go for differences in the religion instead they will find “SIMILARITIES” and preach that around.this was what done by some noble souls like MOTHER TERESA(christian saint),RAMAKRISHNA(indian saint),some DALAI LAMAS(buddhist monks) and many more,these people never gave much thought to their scriptures and go on say my scripture better than yours, like that.all they did is service to the mankind based on love and share their mystical experiences with everybody,so now here these people just used simple COMMON SENSE that is LOVE,how can love differ from one another,there is only one feeling of love.these saints always knew there are lots of differences in the various scriptures but when the GOAL OF GOD is to teach mankind to live with love and they found out that only can be achieved through universal minded of love which comes from the bottom of the heart not narrow minded love where you force your love to come out just because it is written in the scriptures.this is what happening nowadays, all the so called religious leaders they try to be loving even though that’s hard for them to do,end results they cannot project a genuine true love as JESUS,BUDDHA,MOTHER TERESA did.this is the reason why they go on argue over the scriptures.they try champion their interpretors by saying they are 100% right,even though they know human being cannot run from doing mistakes and these apostles are only humanbeings and observed something as an eyewitness.Apostles,mystics or saints might have said that and this but will their statement lead a common man to be loving(loving man is a godly man).can you teach a muslim man about incarnation of god in human form without hurting his believe because in his quran it says that is not possible or can you say to hindu man,idol worship is totally wrong because the apostles say so in the bible without hurting their feelings.this is why i always emphasize on love and god not scriptures.scriptures doesn’t give birth to god,scriptures contain some of god’s word,instead of each time referring to scriptures why religious leaders never take iniative to communicate with god and ask the god directly,the reason is very simple,its a hard practice not everybody can succeed.so best option is to settle to scriptures,this is where you don’t get firsthand transcendental experience,when you cannot talk to god as you are talking to me than you are same like me.i also can read the scriptures and know the god as you did,why i need to ask you.the reason why we always ask religious leaders about god because we assume they have experience with god,we want them to share with us not the statements and it’s translation from the scriptures(bible,bagavad geetha,quran and so on) but their direct mystical experience with god(jesus or any other names you may call).

    • Friend, you are too long-winded! But I get the general idea you are communicating. It is logically and experientially invalid. But I get it.

      I will only say this. If you had a large spot on your back that you could not see but that I could see and could tell you that it had changed in size and shape over the time I had known you, it might hurt your feelings to tell you that it was likely cancerous. But if I didn’t tell you I would not be very loving.

  11. okay we don’t call it divine spark,put it this way.. kingdom of god(Luke 17:20-21)Jesus says”The Kingdom of God is within you”, also look at this “Human possesses an immaterial soul-spirit,it is this part connects with god(Hebrews 4:12) and one more see this “Love the Lord your God with all your heart,soul,mind and strength….and love your neighbour as yourself”(Matthew 22:37-39).Aren’t all this a clear message from god that we should love each other not going against among ourself.so how could god asks you to go against your beloved people just to show your love to god.it is clearly said god’s kingdom is within ourself,and soul is a bridge to connect god,so how could we hurt other people’s feelings(soul/spirit) in the process achieving god.doesn’t make sense….

    • If we are to have a clear understanding of what a human being is we must have a declaration of who we are by the One who made us. The only source for such knowledge that I know of and accept as coming from God Himself is the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, the Bible. It contains, of course, many of the teachings of Jesus, our Messiah and Lord, the only begotten Son of God, the One whom the apostle John says is God (John 1:1). John tells us that no one has seen the Father but that the Only Begotten, Jesus, has and has made Him known. It is Jesus who said, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20,21). He is also the one who said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34,35). If the same person said both things then they are reconcilable in his mind, not contradictory. Jesus also said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). Jesus does not suppose that because we are made in God’s image and can relate to Him with our hearts, our souls, and our minds, that we therefore will always do so. And yet, it is possible for us to commit ourselves wholly to the Lord and not act in any way violently, angrily or even disrespectfully to someone in our family who does not believe as we do, and yet experience conflict, as Jesus predicted. Just as He was turned against though he loved all, so we can be turned against though we love all. Yes, we should all love one another. But there is every indication that many will not love us if we take a stand for faith in Jesus Christ. That is not intended to hurt people’s feelings, but when people are faced with the truth that in Jesus alone is salvation, they will often rebel against it and against us.

      • Your reply didn’t answer my previous question but raised more questions.I don’t want to go further into it.Now lets look at Book of Genesis(1:16) God made two great lights-the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-and the stars.Scientifically speaking the truth is, there is no two lights,only one light which is sun whereas moon doesn’t have light by itself.What we see as a light on the surface of moon is a reflection from sunlight.When the truth is this how could god would have said there are two lights?Was this really word of god or word of man?

      • The author of Genesis is not trying to make a scientific statement about the lights. The moon does provide light by night even if it is reflected. Genesis is not trying to say technically that the moon is its own source of light. Much confusion could be avoided if we would only recognize that the author is speaking from the perspective of an observer on the earth and is speaking in a way that was intelligible to the readers of his day. What he is saying is true even if not scientifically technical. Do you ever speak of the sun rising?

  12. Your answer is valid,can be accepted,okay we go to another confusing passage in the bible,Bible Passages(Ps 93:1,Ps 19:1-6),it is said sun revolves around the earth.You believe in this statement?Now we know for sure after man stepped onto the moon,that earth and other planets are the one going around the sun.From where the author got the idea sun revolves around earth,from earlier civilisations?Who were the offsprings of Adam and Eve,were they all male?

    • The answer is the same as before. The author does not say the sun revolves around the earth. He is again speaking the way we still do, in terms of the appearance from a perspective on earth’s surface. It appears that the sun “races” across our sky. How could the authors of Scripture have spoken in ways their readers could understand if they spoke from the perspective of scientific expression 3,000 years later? They are not intending to speak to our scientific satisfaction.

      I do not understand why you would ask if Adam and Eve’s offspring were only male.

  13. Exactly the same way the authors spoke,when they said “KINGDOM OF GOD WITHIN OURSELF”,how could peasants of those days understood the meaning of this statement.So they said god’s soul is different than man,but in reality we are sharing the same soul with god.There is only ONE SOUL which belongs to god and we are from there.This is the very reason why Jesus said we are children of god and we are made upon god’s image.You are not going to agree with me because you want god to be a separate entity than yours, So you can throw all your sins to his feet and you take rest.But in reality we human beings have to work out our own sins,god only can guide us,is not that you worship this particular god or that particular god which can redeem your sins,this is lazy man’s talk.To crush our sins we have to work for it.God can only help to certain degrees in destroying our sins the rest we have to do it ourself.Authors of scriptures of ancient time cannot talk high standard spiritual science to less evolved people,so easiest way is to tell them worship this god and your sins would be washed away as long they practice good virtues and righteousness in their life.Who said authors of Bible never said sun going around earth?Please go through all the chapters and verses related to this.It is clearly said earth is flat and stagnant not moving,when authors of Bible said something, it was not figure of speech it was fact for them.When it is clearly stated in the Bible god created two lights,you said its only stated light not the source of lights,i just agreed with you because i didn’t want to go into argument but that’s not the truth,even( ISAIAH 13:10- also says that the moon is source of light”moon shall not cause her light to shine”).When author said something like this,its a fact for them,they truly believe that moon has a light by its own.You are not giving answers from the scriptures but giving your own answers.So something here you have to clearly admit that authors perspectives were wrong many times in the bible,they simply said something without knowing the actual truth based on their RAW observations.If everything was said to suit their society at that point of time(who were uneducated),how most of their statements relevant in today’s world.

    • Even if they did believe the earth was flat (but see Isaiah 40:22) or that the moon produced its light, they were not seeking to tell us something about the physics of the moon. What they were trying to teach us was the condition of mankind and his need of a savior and about such issues they were not less evolved, lazy or untrue in their perspectives, nor were their listeners and readers. Only someone who has truly tried to crush his or her sins knows how impossible this really is and how desperately we need a rescue from ourselves and our immense debt to God. And God is able, more than able, to help us in this regard. The Son took on our nature, absent sin, of course, and died in our place. That is the only solution possible given our helplessness.

      This is why the apostle Paul says,

      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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

      • (Isaiah 40:22) doesn’t say earth is round like a ball or sphere, it says CIRCLE.Circle means round and flat like a pancake.Look at this verse (Daniel 4:11 “The tree grew and was strong and the height thereof reached unto heaven,and the sight thereof to the ENDS OF ALL THE EARTH”)How could one tree be seen by all the earth if they knew the earth was round like a ball.(Matthew 4:8 “Again,the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain,and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world,and the glory of them” ) author having the same idea here,how from the summit of the mountain one can see the whole world when the world is round like a ball,even if world is flat how could one see the whole world and all the kingdoms with naked eyes(diameter of earth is more than 10,000 km).(Isaiah 40:22 “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth and its people are like grasshoppers.He stretches out the heavens like a canopy and spreads them out like a tent to live in”).How could the “HEAVENS” be spread out over the earth like a tent (which suppose to have opening by the side) if they believe it’s a sphere?Because they believe the sky literally came down and touched the edges of earth.If you stand in the middle of the desert and look at the horizon,one can see a shape of circle and sky touches the edge of the earth.If one look at the earth from a top of the mountain,inhabitants at the ground, looks like a grasshopper.There are lots of fallacies or i say inconsistencies in the bible,some i truly believe its a word of god but there are some were the apostles wrong observations with limited knowledge,which shouldn’t have incorporated into bible in first place.If Bible only contains the word of god, there should not be inconsistencies in the gospels.

      • This is a plain failure to understand that this is a visionary description and take it as literal. And circle doesn’t necessarily have to mean two-dimensional flat. Stretching the heavens “like” a canopy signals the figure of speech known as simile. Come on, people, first learn how to read literature before you subject it to standards it was not meant to uphold. And finally, why do you think you have the wisdom to know what was a wrong observation and what wasn’t? You have set up your ideas as the ultimate determination of what is true. What if your observations are wrong? Why should we accept your observations above those of men and women whose views have stood the test of time and have proved life-changing in millions and millions of lives?

      • i think George is right,there are some inaccuracy details in Bible which cannot be accepted as the truth comes from god.these kind of statements in the bible, i think must have come from previous civilisations like GREEK or EGYPT civilisations which was already popular during that time.authors just picked it up and put it in the bible and claimed those were revealed to them by god.this is simply to show their greatness to people of those days.

      • Why do we think that we can identify the ideas that were borrowed from the cultures of the day and decide that they are sub-par for God but that all the ideas we have about life and God are accurate? Why do we think people back then were more stupid than we are? Perhaps our brain power is inferior. Ah, the hubris of our generation! But the whole point I am trying to make here is that the kind of statements that George is objecting to are not statements in which the authors are claiming that their descriptions are revealed by God. They are speaking in the terms of their culture of natural phenomena in a way that everyone else did. Just as we still say the sun rises and sets, which is completely inaccurate scientifically, so they talked about the moon giving light (which we still say also). What they were claiming divine revelation for were their statements about man’s sinfulness and God’s answers.

      • The issue always comes down to what the ‘Bible’ says. Doesn’t it get a bit tiresome to have nothing more than the contributions of opinion by so few men. Paul is only Paul. His opinions are his own. They are not the message of Jesus. They are not the words of God, they are merely the words of Paul. The fact that others, including you, Pastor, have determined for yourselves that they are more than the writings of a few early Christians, supernatural writings, in fact, does not alter the fact that they were written by men and reflect their opinions… A supernatural assignation does not make it so, it does serve a purpose but it does not make it so.

      • You are stating the obvious, Donald. Of course simply saying the Bible is from God doesn’t make it true. When the apostles witnessed the miracles that Jesus performed and especially when they witnessed his resurrection, they bore testimony to that (Paul, for example, mentions that there were nearly 500 witnesses still alive when he wrote, 1 Corinthians 15:6) and themselves worked miracles in Jesus’ name (Hebrews 2:3,4). There is a strong historical case for the resurrection of Jesus, but we also have testimony we believe and that has been handed down generation to generation and through the New Testament Scriptures, as well as experiencing the benefits of Christ’s life upon ours and the power of the Bible’s words in our lives. Additionally, there have been numerous witnesses to the general reliability of the Bible in its historical testimony, and there is a strong philosophical argument for the message of the Bible.

        So no, it doesn’t get tiresome to evaluate and cite the contributions of these relatively few people. I have found their words trustworthy in every respect and profoundly life-transforming and intellectually satisfying. No other approach to life has given me peace and purpose like theirs. Nothing makes more sense of the way the world is and can be than the picture they paint.

  14. I think you are right Donald too much follow the words of men(apostles),will deviate our path from real god.Firsthand experience with god is more important than the scriptures.They could be the eye witness of Jesus’s life but still there were not Jesus Christ,so accept every of their words as factual is like we are not using our god given brain to analyse which is right and wrong.We are fools if we accept everything said in the scriptures without questioning it.Knowledge is power,so questioning something(scriptures),with valid points is a correct way to come to conclusions on anything.So i don’t understand why some church authorities don’t like questions.Even something happened yesterday witnessed by millions of people can go wrong,what about this which took place 2000 years ago whereby there was no proper recording systems and tools.

    • It means only through the sacrifice of himself in death to take the place of those who believe in him. We deserved the death penalty, but he took it in our place. He satisfied the justice of God so that he might graciously give us the free gift of eternal life, kingdom life. So I suppose it was both through his physical body and his spirit offered in substitutionary atonement that we achieve the kingdom of God.

      • if through his spirit we can achieve the kingdom of god,why need us to become a christian,why need to go to church?spirit has no form,its formless,its everywhere so i can be anyone as long as i have god’s consciousness(christ conciousness),i can always achieve the kingdom of god,isn’t that so…..

      • No, that is not what we are talking about. Just because I have a spirit that bears the likeness of God, this doesn’t make me suited to heaven. The Bible is clear that in our spirits we have rebelled against God and are viewed as His enemies and are bound instead for separation from God upon the death of our physical bodies. But while we are in our physical bodies we have a chance to be reconciled to God through trusting in the rescue He provided in Jesus Christ.

      • He was doing, we may suppose, what any other Jewish boy was doing. He was learning a trade with his father, learning the Scriptures in the synagogue. We see one glimpse of him in Luke 2 at the age of 12 visiting Jerusalem with his parents on pilgrimage for a religious festival. He astounded the teachers of the law with his knowledge of Scripture and his parents when they accidentally left him in Jerusalem and upon finding him were told by him that he had to be about his Father’s business.

        Of course, we don’t have any record of his life from age 12 to age 30 (assuming he was 30 when baptized by John), so we can’t say for sure. But since he lived with Jewish parents in a Jewish community and we see what he was thinking at age 12, we make a good guess that he was following the course that all Jewish boys followed.

    • It is a thoroughly Jewish concept inherent in the sacrificial system of Israel. When the offerer brought his sacrifice he laid his hands on the animal to be slain and transferred his guilt to the animal. Ezekiel asserts that “the one who sins is the one who will die,” (18:4) making sure people knew that only those responsible faced the death penalty. Noah was told that whoever shed a human’s life was to be given the death penalty (Genesis 9:6). Paul taught, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

  15. You will agree that many ancient pagan groups believed that Gods needed to be satiated by blood in order to stay in good standing. Ezekiel wrote of the ancient Hebrew version of that ‘deal’. I’m certain you don’t believe that satisfying a Volcano God with a virgin sacrifice had anything to do with the eruption cycles of a volcano. How is it that God gets the short end of the stick in this carry-over of the Tribal God mindset? Only men, writing of legend, determine the mind, needs and heart of God. Very convenient. As for Paul, he seemed to have a rather unhealthy but human fear of death. The Bible, both OT and Canon, are the writings of human beings with all of the same fears shared by many. Again, none of this has ANYTHING to do with the message. We are all a part of God’s wonderful creation. God doesn’t fail. God isn’t a hysterical being acting in trivial and petty ways like us yet we constantly try to reduce God to our same capricious mindset. In the end, is it really about cutting deals with God?

    • We didn’t cut any deal with God. He Himself set up the parameters for how we have a relationship with Him. If, in fact, we did, as a race, rebel against Him and we thus deserved to be forsaken by Him, but He chose instead to make the payment Himself to satisfy justice in the matter, then it is God who is making an overture to the human race. Our only overture has been to try to be better people as we define that and worship the way we define worship. This is what has led to so many bizarre forms of religion.

      But without a doubt the “many ancient pagan groups” could not eradicate all elements of truth, and so, though they distorted the concept of satiating God, they nonetheless retained some remnant of it. The fact that we get it wrong so often doesn’t alter the reality.

  16. thats what i m saying i can always pray unto Jesus christ without being a christian.wouldn’t my prayers be accepted by god?

    • Let’s suppose you had a boss who had given you specific instructions about how to complete a job and you decided that you wanted to complete it another way. Your way cost the company a great deal of money. And let’s suppose that the boss came to you and said, “Jennifer, if you want to keep your job you’ll have to pay back what you lost the company. But I have hired a new manager and if you accept Lisa as your boss, I’ll pay the debt myself.” Lisa arrives and you continue doing things the way you always have. You don’t go to Lisa for direction at all. And when you want or need something, you go to your boss and ask him for it. Do you think he is going to give it to you? He hears you, but does he accept your request? He might, but you still haven’t really gotten reconciled with him the way he asked you to. You’re going to lose your job.

  17. Is name essential to worship god?Can’t we just call Jesus by other names like ALLAH,YAHWEH,BRAHMAN since he is non other than Father in the Heaven?Doesn’t god know we are referring to him?

    • I suppose that if I called you bj you would still know I am talking to you. Of course God knows if you are referring to Him. But if I expect to be one who knows you accurately and intimately, calling you bj would not cut it. And because all humanity has been alientated from God and foolishly thinks we can reason our way to the correct approach to Him and yet ignore what He says is the right way, we assume familiarity with Him at our own risk.

      • If that’s the case, calling him JESUS is incorrect,his actual name was YESHUA.It’s a day and night different between these two names.There is no “J” in Hebrew/Aramaic.Who we are referring to when we are calling JESUS,isn’t YESHUA?

  18. What happened to all the good people born before the time of JESUS Christ who had no chance to follow the teaching of Christ,were they sent to heaven or hell?What will happen to all those good people who got no chance at all to embrace Christianity during their life time,will they be sent to hell?

    • Your question assumes (1) that people deserve to go to heaven, (2) that there are people who are “good” enough to merit heaven apart from embracing the God of the universe and doing what He said to do, that is, receive His Son, and (3) that God did not have a way of rescuing people before He sent Jesus. In fact, God’s plan to send Jesus was anticipated by Him in all the rituals He gave Israel. The sacrifices, etc, directed people’s attention to the need for a sacrifice to cover their rebellion against God. And Paul clearly tells us in Romans 3 that in anticipation of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of Himself, the Father forgave those who came to Him trusting in His promise of life and receiving what He offered by faith.

      So many people before Jesus are safely in the arms of the Savior today. But those who sought to establish their relationship with God on their terms are still unrepentant and refuse to have relationship with God on His terms. That is hell. It is a place, but it is also a state of mind. It is the refusal to submit to God’s love and allow Him to excise from me my bent will. Anyone who wanted or wants a relationship with God and will submit to His terms will be guaranteed a place in His presence forever.

  19. Are there any indications in the Bible upon the arrival of Prophet Muhammad?Why do Christians eat pork,when it is forbidden in the Bible (Deuteronomy 14:8)?

    • There are not any indications in the Bible of the prophet Muhammad. Supposed indications in Deuteronomy 18:14-22 are clearly taken out of context. as is the supposed indication in John 14:15-17,25-26; 15:26; 16:7-11, which clearly refers to the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit. Muhammad’s failure to acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son is the height of failure on the part of a true prophet of God and so marks him as a false prophet. Interestingly, in sura 3 he indicated that Isa was to be obeyed in all he taught, and yet that would be very difficult to do for any Muslim unless they read the injil, the Gospels, to find out what Isa (Jesus) actually commands.

      The eating of pork was forbidden only for the nation of Israel. Jesus called all foods clean in the new era of the church (Mark 17:19; Acts 10:9-15).

      • There are some Christian people that i know use the word Allah to refer to god(some Christians from Indonesia,Egypt,Lebanon,Syria and especially people from muslim countries),even in their BIble the word Allah is stated to represent god.So,i don’t understand is that okay to use Allah to represent “Father in the Heaven”?

      • There has been a lot of discussion about this. Some former Muslims think of the term Allah, though it is the general term for God, as pertaining particularly to God as Muslims understand Him. Consequently, it is difficult for them to use that term now as Christians. Others are content to use the term but make sure that the correct perspective of God is used to define what Allah means. I suppose, then, that it is a matter of strategy in terms of how you best communicate to someone, as well as a matter of conscience, whether you feel you can use the term without giving credence to Islam.

  20. So the names are not important,intentions count.Allah or Jesus so long we direct it to almighty god,our prayers will be answered.Is that what you are saying?

    • Not at all what I am saying. Do you believe that if an egg is brown it can also be white? Or do you acknowledge that it must be either/or? If you accept Islam, you cannot accept Christianity. They contradict each other. If you accept Christianity, you cannot accept Hinduism. They contradict. Those who say they don’t haven’t studied their differences. If God has revealed Himself in the Bible, then all other purported revelations are false.

  21. This is with reference to some comments above on names.

    Isn’t God too great to be bothered by such considerations as what name is used?

    I often think it is more important to Christians (and by extension, the followers of the respective rigidly defined religions) that God is called by this name or that, than it might be for God.

    Let me flip the question around: what if a person truly lived out the Sermon on the Mount his whole life without ever speaking or thinking of God, Jesus or any spiritual matter. Would we really presume to say that this person is any less spiritual than the most spiritual Christian?

    You mention God’s terms. Perhaps they are more like options, or possibilities given. Can we rule out these more flexible, liberal interpretations of scripture? Why must the divine speak for all eternity across all civilizations, when it can give multiple messages as per the need and inclinations of different civilizations across time? What’s right for some may not be right for others, thus satisfactorily providing everybody a framework (which keeps anarchy away) while allowing for differences in temperament (thus keeping enough flexibility). Surely if I as a small human being can think of these broader alternatives, God in all His mercy and wisdom can do that too.

    Judge not, say the scriptures. Yet we insist on defining, judging, by creating rules and categories where there are actually only guidelines. The church does not impose; she proposes, said Pope John Paul 2. Jesus strikes me as an infinitely tolerant and kind person, too broad minded to squabble over ritual, names, forms, words and so on.

    I think things are more free-flowing than organized religion allows. Sure, I see why people like organization and consistency and dogma. I have no problem with that as long as they realize that this is the right approach for them, not some universal standard written in stone. Most of our brains are biologically built to value consistency, logic and so on. It is a very human expectation to expect God and his conduct to fit into our mental models and paradigms.

    Ultimately, to pretend we know what God wants, or believes, or thinks, or feels, or will do – is an extraordinary presumption. We accept He is good, holy, almighty and so on to create a character profile of sorts, because we cannot wrap our minds around an infinite, incomprehensible, undefined and unbounded deity. Yet that is the truth: God cannot be bound down by words of any kind. If we are talking about Him who created the universe, the idea that humans can sit around and talk about Him is to treat him like a human personality. No harm in that if it helps us love Him, yet God is infinitely great.

    • “It is a very human expectation to expect God and his conduct to fit into our mental models and paradigms.”

      Then what makes your model and paradigm of God the correct one? How are you exempted from subjectivity in this matter? I can agree with some of what you are saying, but the basis of our agreement must be in something objective, not subjective, if we are to arrive at truth.

      If the human heart is bound up in rebellion against the One who created us, as the Scriptures consistently teach, then it is reasonable to accept that the only solution throughout all of time and cultures is the same one the Scriptures proposed, a sacrifice on the part of Jesus, the Messiah, in our place for our forgiveness, in submission to the Father’s will, who then resurrected him as a sign of His acceptance of the sacrifice. There is nothing culturally bound about that, or that requires other options or possibilities, and in fact, more liberal or flexible interpretations would get things terribly wrong.

      Undoubtedly there are some “dogmas” that aren’t as crucial to our understanding of a relationship to God as this (do we baptize by immersion or sprinkling, can women serve as pastors, etc.). But there are also some dogmas that frankly are uncompromisingly held in lieu of missing the boat entirely on what God has quite capably communicated in one source, the Bible, to teach all of us from every generation what we need to know to have a right relationship with Him.

      As far as names are concerned, there are titles and there are names. The title God is not a name but a descriptor of the infinite, eternal and unchangeable Creator of all that exists, in Hebrew elohim, in Greek theos, in Arabic allah, and so forth. His personal name according to the Old Testament is Yahweh (sometimes mistakenly rendered Jehovah). And just like John in English might be rendered Jean in French or Juan in Spanish, there is room for some differences even in use of personal names based in culture and language differences. Yes, it is more important that we are referring to the same person when we use either a title or a personal name, even if we use a different term or a variation of a name, than that we all use exactly the same spelling, inflection and pronunciation. But our only way of knowing if we are referring to the same person is if we have an authoritative source for who that person is. Only the Bible provides that authoritative source.

      • Thanks for the reply. I really admire and appreciate how thoroughly you reply to each post.

        I see your point about subjectivity. My assertion is not that I’m free from it; my assertion that is that nobody is free from subjectivity when it comes to God. There is no objectivity to be had. We’re on our own and we gradually discover Him. I’m not saying that I have the right model; I’m saying nobody does. Let God speak to us in our hearts, one by one, and let each person know God for himself or herself. That’s my stance. If I am wrong, I am ready to listen and learn.

        Subjectivity doesn’t mean I’m floundering in an abyss of relativism and have no clue. I am strongly drawn to various principles of religion and I guide my life by them. Countless others too, have personally experienced love, bliss and peace. Subjectivity does not mean one cannot have stable, personal experiences. It just means we have to find our personal relationship with God. That’s not something you can objectively measure, define or lay out in rules. At best, we can offer guidelines to each other and say, look, many others have found this useful and I can vouch for its positive impact. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there is only one way for everybody. I wouldn’t say, if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ you risk hell. I would, however say, if you don’t find peace, if you don’t fill any holes in your internal life, you are already living hell. That’s the sort of flexibility and openness I’m talking about. I could be wrong, and I embrace that uncertainty.

        We arrive at truth when our lives are full and whole, rooted in peace. You feel it. You know when you’re not loving and peaceful. You and I may disagree on many of the contents of our minds, but our hearts may be united in peace.

        You say the Bible is an objective means to arrive at objective truth. I disagree. The Bible is a book, and you choose to live by it because it draws you and resonates with you. You see spiritual truth in it. But all this is still subjective. You’re making a subjective choice to accept this Book as your guide. Just because many others make this choice with you, and you feel sure of it, doesn’t make it any less subjective. It’s not about the Bible as much as the process I’m talking about here. There’s no objectivity in faith, ever. It’s a blind leap into uncertainty and the Divine grabs us by the heart. It is then that you start to feel sure, when your heart is moved and your mind uplifted. It is that direct experience of spirituality that makes for faith, and it is personal.

        I remember some very enthusiastic converters (I know that’s not the right term for them, but I forget what exactly the right name is) once approached me. And they said – 3 of them surrounding me – they asked about Jesus Christ, and I answered generally, because I don’t really want to discuss my personal relationship with God casually. But it wasn’t enough for them. Did I literally believe that He died to save me, and that He was the Son of God? I said I didn’t think on such literal terms. I neither believed nor disbelieved in the matter, because I didn’t see it as essential to prayer or even to feel love for Jesus. “Jesus Christ says that in so and so verse. Either he was lying, or he was a lunatic. Which do you choose?” I said, “Neither. He could have meant a lot of things by that statement. He could have meant there is no way to God except through love, forgiveness, gentleness and self-forgetfulness. He could have meant there is no way to God except through the way of life he espoused. And so on. It’s not black or white; there are many shades of grey. What do you think?”. They didn’t like it at all, but finally left. It’s a great incident that stands out in my mind as people who are trying to cut things up in logical categories and cling to certainty. But religion is not an intellectual pursuit that our inadequate words can capture; religion is a matter of the transformation of heart and spirit.

      • I hear what you are saying and greatly appreciate the respectful and gentle way you say it. Thank you.

        My contention is this: I feel I can understand you and you feel you can understand me. Communication between two human beings is possible and there is little room for subjectivity in the matter. You mean one thing and I am at least fairly close to understanding what that one thing is. It is no different than an author of Scripture seeking to communicate to an audience and it is possible for a subsequent audience many generations later, through thorough study of the communication and even historical study to ascertain any cultural concepts that help determine meaning, to understand it also. God can also communicate with us and we can communicate with God and be understood. He even has the ability and wisdom to make sure that what is communicated through a written document will say exactly what He wants said and safeguard that it is true.

        And though it may seem that there is a wide latitude of beliefs among Christians who believe that the Bible is that communication from God to us, there is actually quite a wide amount of agreement on the most crucial matters. In other words, we agree that we understand the meaning of Jesus’ words, for example, in John 14:6 (which sounds like the passage your converters were referring to), and we feel we could validate that meaning using the process of validation we all use in communicating with each other.

        But if we say there is no objectivity to be had and we’re on our own to discover God then we cannot really know anything. Your objective test is actually that whatever I believe either does or does not give me peace and love, and the presence of peace and love means I have the truth. But if there is no objectivity to be had then how do we determine that this is a true test? Interestingly, the Bible’s test for the genunineness of a person’s commitment to Christ is that they love other people and that they have a correct understanding (doctrine) of who Jesus is. They believed that it was possible to hear from God and correctly and objectively know His purpose and instruction.

        There are a number of objective factors that lead us to believe that the Bible is God’s communication to us, and using the principle that a cannot equal non-a, a principle that we cannot live life without, any purported communique from God that contradicts the Bible is either wrong or the Bible is wrong. They can’t both be right.

  22. Did jesus give any hints how God looks alike?What’s the difference between demon and departed souls.Possession is caused by demon or discarnate soul?

    • Jesus did not give any hints about how God looks, but in fact said that the Father is a Spirit (John 4:24) who has no physical form.

      The difference between a demon and a departed spirit is the demon was originally an individually created being called an angel who rebelled against God’s authority and now looks for ways to disrupt His plans for restoring His kingdom to earth. A departed spirit is the spirit of a human being who either does or doesn’t believe in Christ and therefore either does or doesn’t go to heaven or hell. Departed spirits of people do not hang around the earth, but demons do. They are the ones who seek to possess living humans.

  23. What’s these earthbound spirits,which still lingering the old houses and castles?Many documented cases can be found in England.Are they real spirits or demons?What about those committed suicide or who had untimely death,do they became earthbound spirits?

    • The Bible clearly teaches that the spirits or souls of people who die do not hang around on earth but go either to heaven or hell. This makes it most likely that the documented cases of “hauntings” are demons who seek to terrify and distract people from a proper focus on God and the need for restoring a relationship with Him. Committing suicide has nothing to do with whether one’s spirit goes to heaven or hell and certainly does nothing to keep one’s spirit earthbound.

  24. Some Psychics or Channelers claimed that they are gifted and chosen by God,they have the ability to talk to the dead,is there any descriptions about these in the Bible?Sometimes the informations they bring back from spirit world, are very accurate,no way devils or satans could have known earlier, because details are sometimes extremely private.

    • I believe there are individuals who have an ability to communicate with the dead or at least with spirits (demons), but the Bible condemns the use of their gift this way. There is a description in 1 Samuel 28 of king Saul’s attempt to communicate with the spirit of the departed prophet Samuel. He hires a witch in Endor, a medium, who calls Samuel from Sheol and Samuel does in fact speak to Saul and accurately predict his death. Saul, in obedience to God’s command had banned mediums from Israel but he here hypocritically uses one. It is interesting to note that Samuel must be “brought up” (v.11) who appears in some form that she, at least, can see. Saul can’t see her so asks for a description. Presumably, Saul cannot hear him either, but the medium can. This confirms her ability.

      God does not want us to consult the dead, however, because there is too much opportunity for deception by demons in this matter and because the dead don’t necessarily represent the truth. He wants us to rely instead on Scripture given through prophets. This has always been His way of communicating. He uses trustworthy people to relay His truth and they should and can be tested by already revealed and attested truth. He often attends their speaking with miracles in order to attest their speaking from Him. But even if they do miracles and yet lead people from the truth, they are false prophets (see Deuteronomy 13:1-11 and 18:14-22).

  25. It’s possible to communicate but not encouraged by the scriptures because prone to, too much deceptions.Is that what you are saying?Okay,lets take the case which is a true communications(maybe out of 1000 cases),how it’s possible since all the discarnate souls would be either in heaven or hell?Okay maybe the one in heaven has a chance to communicate because they have freedom but what about the one in hell which is undergoing a torture?

    • Excellent question! In the only case we know of where such a communication came from someone already dead, Samuel, he was not in the part of Sheol where one is punished but where one is rewarded. I would not expect someone from hell to be able to communicate much, but I’m not sure how all that works. The key point is, do we trust God when He says it isn’t good for us to communicate with the dead?

  26. Yes pastor you are right, this is really really excellent question,i wonder how this guy(George) breaking his head and getting all these questions.Pastor, i think you should pass around this post to other churches as well.This something must be shared by all the Christians.

  27. Hey vj,my friend ,i don’t need any compliment from you,it’s just a question,i don’t have to be scientist to ask such a question…anyway pastor is Heaven same with Kingdom of God?Some people say Heaven is not Kingdom of God but it’s a place to enjoy our good deed that we performed while on earth.Is that true?If that were true,what’s Kingdom of God?

    • The kingdom of heaven is God’s rule over all His creation and especially His coming rule over the earth in a more personal and complete way. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come and when he comes he will inaugurate it’s new presence on earth. But there is also a sense in which it is already here in His people as we demonstrate our submission to Him and our worship of Him. Heaven is the place from which He rules and the place to which the spirits of believers go when they die.

  28. I may be a little late replying to this question, but I feel a force in me pushing me to make a statement.
    1. Regarding your question as to Moses speak to God face to face (Exodus 33:11).
    Yes Moses did speak to God face to face exactly as the scriptures said but did not at any time see God’s face. People would say this does not make sense, but it actually makes sense and can be proven logically. Let me give you an example. Put 2 men lets called them “Bob” and “John” standing in front of each other and make them have a conversation. Then when they are done you ask each of them what they did. They can tell you that they just finished having a face to face conversation with each other. Okay! Now put them standing in front of each other again and this time lets say that Bob is blind and cannot see John. But yet they still conversate. If you ask each of them what they did they can indeed tell you that they just finished having a face to face conversation. Why? Because face to face conversation primarily doesn’t mean seeing the person in front of you with your eyes alone but it also means feeling the presence of the person in front of you. If you feel the presence of the person in front of you to the point where you can touch him but cannot see him, then of course you can say that you had a face to face conversation with him. And this is exactly what Moses experienced. He seen and felt all of God’s glory and spoke to him face to face, but not once was he allowed to see God’s face.

    2. Regarding your question as to “No one has seen God at any time but the begotten son who is in the bosom of the Father He has declared Him”(John 1:18)

    This verse is perfectly true and does not contradict with the scripture saying Moses seen God. What John 1:18 could be implying is that No one has ever seen the Father as in everything of the Father including his Face apart from Jesus. So it goes perfectly with the Exodus 33:17-23

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