Please respond to this verse!

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, May 7, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    I still haven't seen a response to this verse:

    "O Jerusalem! Jerusalem that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!

    God expresses his longing desire to save these people who are not saved. Why? Because they were unwilling. If Calvinism were true it would indicated that God was unwilling to save them, but this verse does just the opposite. It expresses God desire for these people to be saved and then explains why they were not saved. God's desire for them to be saved did not cause them to become willing. God was willing and even longing to save them despite their unwillingness, so to argue that they would become willing if God was willing to save them is absurd in light of this text.

    What say you?
     
  2. KenH

    KenH
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    From Charles Haddon Spurgeon's sermon, "I Would; But Ye Would Not.":

    The practical part of theology is that which it is most important for us
    to understand. Any man may get himself into a terrible labyrinth who thinks
    continually of the sovereignty of God alone, and he may equally get into
    deeps that are likely to drown him if he meditates only on the free will of
    man. The best thing is to take what God reveals to you, and to believe that.
    If God’s Word leads me to the right, I go there; if it leads me to the left, I
    go there; if it makes me stand still, I stand still. If you so act, you will be
    safe; but if you try to be wise above that which is written, and to
    understand that which even angels do not comprehend, you will certainly
    befog yourself. I desire ever to bring before you practical rather than
    mysterious subjects, and our present theme is one that concerns us all. The
    great destroyer of man is the will of man. I do not believe that man’s free
    will has ever saved a soul; but man’s free will has been the ruin of
    multitudes. “Ye would not,” is still the solemn accusation of Christ against
    guilty men. Did he not say, at another time, “Ye will not come unto me,
    that ye might have life?” The human will is desperately set against God,
    and is the great devourer and destroyer of thousands of good intentions
    and emotions, which never come to anything permanent because the will is
    acting in opposition to that which is right and true...

    What is wanted is, first, the real will to come to God. You have heard a
    great deal, I dare say, about the wonderful faculty of free will. I have
    already told you my opinion of free will; but it also happens that that is the
    very thing that is wanted, a will towards that which is good. There is where
    the sinner fails, what he needs is a real will. “Oh, yes!” men say, “we are
    willing, we are willing.” But you are not willing; if we can get the real
    truth, you are not willing; there is no true willingness in your hearts, for a
    true willingness is a practical willingness. The man who is willing to come
    to Christ says, “I must away with my sins, I must away with my selfrighteousness,
    and I must seek him who alone can save me.”
    Men talk about being willing to be saved, and dispute about free will; but
    when it comes to actual practice, they are not willing. They have no heart
    to repent, they will to keep on with their sin, they will to continue in their
    self-righteousness; but they do not will, with any practical resolve, to come
    to Christ. There is need of an immediate will. Every unconverted person
    here is willing to come to Christ before he dies; I never met with a person
    yet who was not; but are you willing to come to Christ now? That is the
    point. “To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” But you
    answer, “Our hearts are not hardened, we only ask for a little more time.”
    A little more time for what? A little more time in which to go on rebelling
    against God? A little more time in which to run the awful risk of eternal
    destruction?
    So, you see, it is a real will and an immediate will that is needed.
    With some, it is a settled will that is wanted. Oh, yes, they are ready! They
    feel directly the preacher begins to speak; they are impressed curing the
    singing of the first hymn. There is a revival service, and in the after-meeting
    they begin telling you what they have felt. Look at those people on
    Wednesday. They have got over Monday and Tuesday with some little
    “rumblings of heart”; but what about Wednesday? They are as cold as a
    cucumber; every feeling that they had on Sunday is gone from them, they
    have no memory of it whatever. Their goodness is as the morning cloud,
    and as the early dew it passes away. How some people do deceive us with
    their good resolves, in which there is nothing at all, for there is no settled
    will!
    With others, what is lacking is a submissive will. Yes, they are willing to be
    saved; but then they do not want to be saved by grace; they are not willing
    to give themselves up altogether to the Savior; they will not renounce their
    own righteousness, and submit themselves to the righteousness of Christ.
    Well, that practically means that there is not any willingness at all, for
    unless you accept God’s way of salvation, it is no use for you to talk about
    your will. Here is the great evil that is destroying you, and that will destroy
    you before long, and land you in hell: “Ye would not, ye would not.” Oh,
    that God’s grace might come upon you, subduing and renewing your will,
    and making you willing in the day of his power!...

    Matthew 23:37, 38. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest
    them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy
    children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
    and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
    What a picture of pity and disappointed love the king’s face must have
    presented when, with flowing tears, he spoke these words! It was the
    utterance of the righteous Judge, choked with emotion. Jerusalem was too
    far gone to be rescued from its self-sought doom, and its guilt was about to
    culminate in the death of the Son of God.


    I have the entire sermon and can email it to anyone who is interested in reading the entirety of it.

    [ May 08, 2003, 01:31 AM: Message edited by: KenH ]
     
  3. KenH

    KenH
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    From John Gill's commentary:

    Matthew 23:37

    Ver. 37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,.... The metropolis of Judea, the seat of the kings of Judah, yea, the city of the great king; the place of divine worship, once the holy and faithful city, the joy of the whole earth; wherefore it was strange that the following things should be said of it. The word is repeated to show our Lord's affection and concern for that city, as well as to upbraid it with its name, dignity, and privileges; and designs not the building of the city, but the inhabitants of it; and these not all, but the rulers and governors of it, civil and ecclesiastical; especially the great sanhedrim, which were held in it, to whom best belong the descriptive characters of killing the prophets, and stoning them that were sent by God unto them; since it belonged to them to take cognizance of such who called themselves prophets, and to examine, and judge them, and, if false, to condemn them {h}; hence that saying of Christ, Lu 13:33 which goes before the same words, as here, "it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem": and who are manifestly distinguished from their "children": it being usual to call such as were the heads of the people, either in a civil or ecclesiastic sense, "fathers", and their subjects and disciples, "children": besides, our Lord's discourse throughout the whole context is directed to the Scribes and Pharisees, the ecclesiastic guides of the people, and to whom the civil governors paid a special regard.

    Thou that killest the prophets; that is, with the sword, with which the prophets in Elijah's time were slain by the children of Israel,
    1Ki 19:10 and which was one of the capital punishments inflicted by the Jewish sanhedrim {i}; and also that which follows was another of them.

    And stonest them which were sent unto thee; as particularly Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, before mentioned. The Jews themselves are obliged to own, that this character belongs to them: say {k} they,

    "when the word of God shall come, who is his messenger, we will honour him. Says R. Saul, did not the prophets come,
    Mwngrhw, "and we killed them", and shed their blood, and how shall we receive his word? or how shall we believe?''

    And a celebrated writer of their's, on those words {l}, "but now murderers", has this note;

    "they have killed Uriah, they have killed Zechariah.''

    How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Christ here speaks as a man, and the minister of the circumcision, and expresses an human affection for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and an human wish, and will for their temporal good; which he very aptly signifies by the hen, which is a very affectionate creature to its young, and which it endeavours to screen from danger, by covering with its wings. So the "Shekinah" with the Jews is called, avydq arpu, "the holy bird" {m}; and that phrase, xnykvh ypnk txt twoxl, "to betake one's self, or to come to trust under the wings of the Shekinah", is often used {n} for to become a proselyte to the true religion, and worship of God, as Jethro, and Ruth the Moabitess did. An expression much like to this here is used by an apocryphal writer of 2 Esdras:

    "I gathered you together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings: but now, what shall I do unto you? I will cast you out from my face.'' (2 Esdras 1:30)

    It seems to be a simile much in use with that people. Our Lord is to be understood not of his divine will, as God, to gather the people of the Jews internally, by his Spirit and grace, to himself; for all those whom Christ would gather, in this sense, were gathered, notwithstanding all the opposition made by the rulers of the people; but of his human affection and will, as a man, and a minister, to gather them to him externally, by, and under the ministry of his word, to hear him preach; so as that they might be brought to a conviction of, and an assent unto him as the Messiah; which, though it might fall short of faith in him, would have been sufficient to have preserved them from temporal ruin, threatened to their city and temple, in the following verse. Instances of the human affection, and will of Christ, may be observed in Mr 10:21 which will of his, though not contrary to the divine will, but subordinate to it, yet not always the same with it, nor always fulfilled: whereas his divine will, or his will as God, is, always fulfilled: "who hath resisted his will?" this cannot be hindered, and made void; he does whatsoever he pleases: and further, that this will of Christ to gather the Jews to himself, is to be understood of his human, and not divine will, is manifest from hence, that this will was in him, and expressed by him at certain several times, by intervals; and therefore he says, "how often would I have gathered", &c. whereas the divine will is one continued, invariable, and unchangeable will, is always the same, and never begins or ceases to be, and to which such an expression is inapplicable; and therefore these words do not contradict the absolute and sovereign will of God, in the distinguishing acts of it, respecting the choice of some persons, and the leaving of others. And it is to be observed, that the persons whom Christ would have gathered, are not represented as being unwilling to be gathered; but their rulers were not willing that they should, and be made proselytes to him, and come under his wings. It is not said, "how often would I have gathered you, and you would not!" nor, "I would have gathered Jerusalem, and she would not"; nor, "I would have gathered thy children, and they would not"; but, "how often would I have gathered thy children, and ye would not!" Which observation alone is sufficient to destroy the argument founded on this passage in favour of free will. Had Christ expressed his desire to have gathered the heads of the people to him, the members of the Jewish sanhedrim, the civil and ecclesiastical rulers of the Jews: or had he signified how much he wished, and earnestly sought after, and attempted to gather Jerusalem, the children, the inhabitants of it in common, and neither of them would not; it would have carried some appearance of the doctrine of free will, and have seemed to have countenanced it, and have imputed the non-gathering of them to their own will: though had it been said, "they would not", instead of, "ye would not", it would only have furnished out a most sad instance of the perverseness of the will of man, which often opposes his temporal, as well as his spiritual good; and would rather show it to be a slave to that which is evil, than free to that which is good; and would be a proof of this, not in a single person only, but in a body of men. The opposition and resistance to the will of Christ were not made by the people, but by their governors. The common people seemed inclined to attend his ministry, as appears from the vast crowds, which, at different times and places, followed him; but the chief priests, and rulers, did all they could to hinder the collection of them to him, and their belief in him as the Messiah; by traducing his character, miracles, and doctrines, and by menacing the people with curses, and excommunications, making a law, that whoever confessed him should be turned out of the synagogue. So that the plain meaning of the text is the same with that of Mt 23:13 and consequently is no proof of men's resisting the operations of the Spirit and grace of God; but only shows what obstructions and discouragements were thrown in the way of attendance on the external ministry of the word. In order to set aside, and overthrow the doctrine of grace, in election, and particular redemption, and effectual calling, it should be proved that Christ, as God, would have gathered, not Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it only, but all mankind, even such as are not eventually saved, and that in a spiritual, saving way and manner, to himself; of which there is not the least intimation in this text: and in order to establish the resistibility of the grace of God, by the perverse will of man, so as to become of no effect; it should be shown that Christ would have savingly converted persons, and they would not be converted; and that he bestowed the same grace upon them, he does bestow on others, who are converted: whereas the sum of this passage lies in these few words, that Christ, as man, out of a compassionate regard for the people of the Jews, to whom, he was sent as the minister of the circumcision, would have gathered them together under his ministry, and have instructed them in the knowledge of himself, as the Messiah; which if they had only notionally received, would have secured them, as chickens under the hen, from impending judgments, which afterwards fell upon them; but their governors, and not they, would not; that is, would not suffer them to receive him, and embrace him as the Messiah. So that from the whole it appears, that this passage of Scripture, so much talked of by the Arminians, and so often cited by them, has nothing to do with the controversy about the doctrines of election and reprobation, particular redemption, efficacious grace in conversion, and the power of man's free will. This observation alone is sufficient to destroy the argument founded on this passage, in favour of free will.

    {h} Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 5. {i} lb. c. 7. sect. 1. {k} R. Isaac Arama in Gen. xlvii. apud Galatin. Arcan. Cath. ver. l. 3. c. 5. {l} Jarchi in Isa. i. 21. {m} Zohar in Numb. fol. 106. 3. & Imre binah in ib. {n} Tzeror Hammor, fol. 77. 4. &. 115. 2. Vid. Targum in Ruth ii. 12. Zohar in Exod. fol. 28. 3. & 29. 2.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I am not sure how many times we have to answer this Bill. This is a simple truth. You should know what the answer to this verse is, even though you disagree with it. :(

    God has two wills. For instance, he does not will murder, but he did will murder.
     
  5. The Archangel

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    Bill,

    I think this goes back to the "Two Wills" principle.

    God ordained that the Israelites reject Him. In other words, it was no suprise.

    Why ordain the rejection. Because it created the exact climate that we see in the NT. This climate, with the scribes, pharisees, high priest, etc. was necessary for Christ to killed by these people.

    Without the rejection of God, Israel wouldn't have been dispossessed from the land. Without the disposession, there would have been no return from exile which saw a resurgance in Yhwh worship. This hyper-worship saw a radical adherance to the law--thus the Pharisees. Without the radical adherance to the law, Jesus' claim to be God may not have struck the blasphemous chord that it did.

    We can see that God orchestrates the entire OT. to point to the cross. This orchestration shows that God is in complete control--He is the one who had to crucify Christ.

    Was it God's will to Crucify Christ? Yes. Was it God's will for Israel to reject Him before the exile? Yes.

    HOWEVER, it is also God's will for Israel NOT to reject Him.

    This is difficult. I don't pretend to understand it fully. However, the Biblical Data points to the fact that God has two wills. Because of this He can will that Israel not worship other gods. AND, He can also ordain that they do worship other Gods to serve His sovereign purposes.

    This is the case with the verse that you mentioned. If it were not the case, how could the Psalmist write:

    Psalm 115:3 (ESV)
    Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  6. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    'God ordained that the Israelites reject Him.' {someone said}

    Here we have the philosophy of determinism couched in theological words.

    'By the Church era much of Greek philosophy had built on Plato and Aristotle in such a way as to teach leverly tht there is one supreme transcendent God. This philosophical monotheism was an obvious point of contact for the Christian apologist. But there was a problem. The Greek God belongs to the realm of Being. Greek thought was predominantly negative about this world. It is temporal and changing. It was made by an inferior deity, from pre-existent matter. It was not the creation of the supreme God.

    If you study you will find that Augustine drew very heavily from Plato and Aristotle. In losing himself in philosophy he co-mingled it with Christian doctrine and came up with theological determinism to the point where he portrayed God selecting some for Hell and some for Heaven.

    In the new testament we are warned about getting mixed up in human philosophies from this world. Our endeavor is to study what God has to say.
     
  7. The Archangel

    The Archangel
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    Ray,

    I was not talking about philosophy. Much of the greek philosophy which has been said to have merged into Christianity is so diametrically opposed to what Christianity teaches that it is difficult to concieve of a melding of the two. Perhaps if we were gnostics you could make a similar charge. This is hardly the case.

    Rather than quote someone at length about God's ordinance of evil...I'll post a link.

    Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained that Evil Be?

    This is helpful and does not rely on anything other than the scriptures and the data contained therein.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  8. Eladar

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    Larry,

    God has one will.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    So he desires murder??
     
  10. Yelsew

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    We are made in the image of God, is it just possible then that man has more than one will? Is it possible that we can have a will for one thing and a will for the opposite?
     
  11. Eladar

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    Actions have reasons. Physical death is not the worst of things. God has a plan and sometimes that plan involves murder.
     
  12. Yelsew

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    Are you speaking from experience?
     
  13. Eladar

    Eladar
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    No, not personal experience. I am talking about the murder God instructed Israel to commit. Captured women in children were slaughtered under God's direct command. They were murdered, but it was done for a reason.
     
  14. Yelsew

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    Not only that, but the slaughter of innocents was allowed by God against his own people. Consider what Herod did in an attempt to destroy the Christ child.

    Stuff like this completely dumbfounds and silences the "God is Love" people.
     
  15. Eladar

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    There is a difference between allow and command. God actually commanded that babies be slaughtered.

    Yes, this does throw a curve ball into some people's view of God.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    So it is his will that we murder people? How do we punish someone for somethign that God wills? And if he wills it, then why does he forbid it?? God's will is that you not murder, but he did will that some people that murder.

    Certainly you must admit that God has two wills. To deny it is to deny the obvious, it seems to me.
     
  17. ScottEmerson

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    And where did God murder people? I can't find that in the Word. Whenever he kills someone, there was a clear reason for doing so.
     
  18. Eladar

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    Larry,

    Whenever God instructs us to murder, we murder. If we are wrong and it is not God instructing us to murder, then we will be held responsible for our actions by God Himself.

    You see Larry, actions are evil. The reason behind the action is what makes it evil. Actions reveal the heart. If the action is the result of a heart wrong with God, then it is evil.

    Case in point, hitting a child. Is it evil to spank a child? It might be. It might not be. The reason why the child is getting spanked determines if it is evil or not.

    Our battle is a spiritual battle, not a material battle.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    I didn't say he did. I said that he did will that some people murder (cf. Acts 2:23). Isa 53 tells us that the Father even takes pleasure in it.
     
  20. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    So God instructs us to disobey him?? Does that create a conflict for you? Why would God instruct us to do something against his will? That would be contradictory.

    Actions are evil apart from motives at times. Ask Uzzah. He had great motives but had a wrong action. It cost him his life.

    Which has nothing to do with the issues.

    The facts are these:
    1) God has declared murder against his will.
    2) God has willed that people murder.
    Result -- you have either a schizophrenic, inconsistent God or you have a God with two wills, one of which is subordinate to the other, to a higher purpose.

    Surely as a parent (assuming you are one), you have had to spank your child (or other wise punish him) and you have told him, "I wish I didn't have to do this." The truth is that you had a desire but you also had a commitment to a greater desire. God is no different in that respect.
     

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