Question #1: My spouse and I have always believed that we are to put any and all problems in the supreme court of heaven and let God work things out. Now we are facing for the first time in our lives a situation that is totally unjust. My spouse has been wrongly accused of something pertaining to work. We have been dealing with this for some months and have been trying to learn what God is trying to teach us in the matter for we believe that nothing comes into our lives that God does not allow. This is plainly for testing and growth and we understand that. My question is this. Is it okay for Christians to hire a lawyer to help them with defense? We don't want to step in God's way, and really want to do the right thing here and follow proper procedure. If we go to a lawyer is that like saying “God, we don't think you can work this out, so we are going to give you a little help”? Thank you for having this website and allowing people to ask questions.
Response #1: I would get a lawyer. Making use of the secular means God provides is
appropriate whatever the secular battlefield we may find ourselves
Although it is certainly true that I don't know all the facts of your situation, it seems to me from what you have said that you are, in fact, trusting God for help. The very fact that you are even hesitating about whether or not to employ earthly means in your defense suggests to me that the Lord is your Rock in your hearts as well as in reality.
This sort of question is an application of truth to the complex circumstances of life, and we all have to face difficult choices of this sort at times in our lives. If we are putting God first, we do our best to search the motives of our hearts, to see what scripture has to say, and to seek out His guidance in prayer and in the Spirit (Jas.1:5). This seems to me to be precisely the path you are taking.
We all use material means for everything we do in life. Medicine is a perfect example. There are clearly hyper-abnormal and heroic means of medical intervention that would cause most serious believers to blanch and hesitate. But on the other hand, would we withhold something as commonplace today as antibiotics from our children when it would save their lives? We have to understand that the Lord is aware at all times of all of our life circumstances, and that He has provided means for us to address the challenges we face. As long as we are acting out of faith (Rom.14:23), and with a clear conscience, we need not feel guilt about using divinely provided means. If what we are doing is not illegal, or immoral, or otherwise offensive to our consciences, then any such material means would normally fall into the realm of what God has provided for us.
After all, the Lord could have rescued Noah and his family by even more miraculous means, but He provided the means for Noah to construct an ark. He could have caused Goliath to fall down dead at David's feet immediately, but He provided David with a sling and stones. And He could have transported Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to Egypt in an instant, but He provided them with gold myrrh and frankincense through the Magi which no doubt funded their journey – all examples of material means being used for carrying out the will of God.
Paul does throw into the Corinthians' collective face that they were "going to law" with their brothers (1Cor.6:1-11), and it is indeed a principle that we ought to forgive our fellow Christians rather than be vindictive towards them, especially in front of unbelievers in a legal setting. But there is surely a difference between an offense between two brothers in Christ which may be tolerated, and defending one's life or livelihood against unjust persecution. Remember that Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and put on trial for his life by his enemies. Paul made full use of his rights and full use of his speaking ability in defending himself in all the early stages of this long legal process. When his enemies had convinced Porcius Festus, the new governor, to bring him to Jerusalem so that they might assassinate him on the way, Paul appealed to Caesar - an extraordinary use of his legal rights as a Roman citizen (Acts 25:10-11). And while it is true that in his previous trials in Acts Paul speaks in his own defense, we should not for this reason assume that he was reluctant to accept legal help. On the one hand, such help was not all that easy to come by in the province of Judea, and, on the other, it is clear to those who have studied classical rhetoric that the apologetic speeches of Paul evidence a very polished grasp of Roman rhetoric and legal procedure (cf. Agrippa's comment about Paul's "extensive education": Acts 26:24; there are other places too which show that he was well versed in classical literature generally: cf. Acts 17:28; 1Cor.15:33; Tit.1:12). Later, while in Rome, Paul had a number of people speak up in his defense: "These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of heaven who are of the circumcision who spoke on my behalf " (Col.4:11; although this passage is nigh universally misunderstood and mistranslated: see in Satan's Rebellion Part 5, note #30, "paregoria"). During a later trial, Paul complains that "at my first defense no one came to my support but everyone deserted me" (2Tim.2:16) - clearly this is not what Paul would have preferred, so we can safely conclude that he would have been most grateful for a sympathetic brother well-versed in the law to speak in his defense on that occasion as well.
The Lord is our Rock and our defense. We lean and rely on Him completely, even as we make use of the resources and material means He provides. There will be times when we cannot in good conscience accept certain help for any variety of reasons (illegality, immorality, spiritual compromise, etc.), but making use of means at hand is not ipso facto a demonstration of a lack of faith. Without God's help, even the best lawyer or law firm cannot prevail, for who can oppose God? And, on the other hand, even without such help God is able to prevail over any obstacle, no matter how impossible it may seem to human vision. God certainly has the power to deliver you without a lawyer – or without making any defense whatsoever. We understand all of this, and this we believe. But in a case of unjust persecution in the society in which we live, hiring a lawyer would seem to me to fit easily into the category of normal and spiritually ethical means, rather than exceptional or somehow un-Christian behavior. We do the best we can with what God has given us. In a case like this, sometimes it is the better and the more difficult part of faith to act with the wisdom, the prudence, and the means that God has provided, rather than awaiting a more miraculous deliverance when God has in truth already provided the means of our deliverance through more mundane means.
So if this is as you describe it a battle which must be fought and which it is just to fight, then it would seem to me that all acceptable and divinely provided means for fighting it ought to be considered and employed. In such a case, if it were me, I would hire a lawyer, in full faith that the victory belongs to the Lord, in the same way that were I going into battle I would choose the sharpest sword I could find, even while knowing full well that only through His might would there be deliverance.
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure.
Proverbs 11:14 NIV
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22 NIV
Make plans by seeking advice. If you wage war, obtain guidance.
Proverbs 20:18 NIV
For waging war you need guidance, and for victory, many advisors.
Proverbs 24:6 NIV
The law tends to be highly technical and filled with complicated procedures. Those ignorant of law and procedure, even if they are intelligent and in the right, are in an extremely vulnerable position. I will pray that you find a person of integrity, experience, and competence.
You may want to have a look at these other links as well:
Culture and Christianity I
Culture and Christianity II
Freedom and Responsibility
In Him who holds the universe in place by the power of His Word, our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What could have, or would have been profane in the primordial Eden.
On the question of the profane in the primordial Eden, I suppose you
mean the Eden of Adam and Eve. There are a number of "Edens", actually –
seven, in fact, but the same principle applies to all (see the link:
Seven Edens [from Part 1 of the Satanic Rebellion series]). The word
"Eden" is indistinguishable from the Hebrew noun "delight", and all that
is truly wonderful in Eden is summed up by one fact that all the
manifestations of Eden have in common: the presence of God. God is holy
in nature, and holiness cannot allow sin in its presence (see part 1 of
the basics series: Theology; and part 3B, Hamartiology). Therefore
whether we are talking about the first Eden, profaned by Satan who was
then cast out for his sin (Ezek.28:13-17), or the Eden of Adam and Eve
who suffered a similar result, or the Eden of the New Jerusalem with its
new "tree of life" (Rev.22:1-3; 22:14) where everything profane and
impure must remain "outside" (Rev.21:27; 22:15), or any of the other
residences of the Lord or “Edens”, it is the presence of God and the
ability of His creatures to fellowship with Him there that makes them
all places of pleasure and delight, for nothing could ever be more
pleasurable and delightful than our Lord! Since contact of anything
profane with the holiness of God is impossible (for immediate death and
destruction would result: cf. Ex.33:20; 1Tim.6:16), it seems clear that
anything unholy is always separated from Eden, from the presence of God.
In Satan's case and in Adam and Eve's case, the introduction of the
profane through sin ended their respective "Eden-times".
Thanks be to our Savior who has won eternal life for us through His sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, so that we now look forward to new bodies, on a new earth, in the New Jerusalem, the eternal Eden, where there will never again be sin or anything profane!
I'm new to reading the material on this site, but have been
completely impressed with what I have read so far. I did find one thing
that caused a moment of stumble though.
Naming the time frame from Abraham to Pentecost as the "Jewish Age" is historically incorrect. "The Hebrew Age" or "The Israelite Age" would be far more in keeping with the scholarship that the materials contained here warrant. The Jews were only the tribe of Judah, the tribe of Benjamin, the lion's share of the tribe of Levi, and a few refugees from the other tribes who managed to escape the Assyrian invasion. The word "Jew" is not the correct designation for all the Hebrew people. "All Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews." I am not in disagreement with your premise or the breaking of the ages as you have. I completely agree, but I only question the name you are using to define that one particular age.
It would be like saying that the North American continent was British at a time in history when it's only inhabitants were Indians and the British didn't even know it existed as a land mass.
You may have already addressed this issue, but I haven't read everything yet. I'm only now getting started on Part 5 of Satan's Rebellion and looking forward to the Tribulation material as well as everything else. If you have addressed it or explained a valid reason for calling that period Jewish, I apologize for bringing it up.
Well you make a good point, of course. Indeed, the word "Jew" as used in the New Testament can even have a more
specialized use than this, meaning "the religious and political
establishment of the Roman province of Judea" (cf. Jn.7:10-13; 9:22
1) the New Testament regularly uses the word generically for all Hebrews/Israelites (cf.
Gal.2:15 of Paul to Peter; see also Rom.2:9-10; 3:9; Col.3:11; 1Thes.2:14; etc. and generally the
word can't be construed to mean only those of the tribe of Judah), and
2) in my experience and observation, the Jewish people for many centuries and still
today use this word in a generic sense for all Israelites/Hebrews.
So for the sake of effective communication, I too have chosen to use the most common generic appellation, despite the historical problems with the word (with the fact that scripture uses it in this sense being the most influential point). You mention Indians and America. It is of course historically inaccurate (and some find it pejorative and offensive) to use "Indian" for Native Americans; and for me to call myself "an American" is hardly distinctive in an overly technical sense, since there are many different nations in the Americas, north and south. But in each of these cases, we have analogous situations to the problems with using the word "Jewish" in this sense: usage is king, to paraphrase Horace, even if it can be inaccurate and annoying to those who appreciate the subtleties of the finer points of such things.
So I take your point sir, and I do hope that this issue will not prove too much of a stumbling block for you. I would consider changing it, but I fear that would confuse more people than it would help. You might want to have a look at the following links as well on the issue of “what happened to the lost ten tribes”:
Who are the ten lost tribes of Israel?
Who is true Israel?
Are the Celts
the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
Thank you so much for you kind and encouraging words.
In our Lord Jesus Christ,
If there is only One God, what is His Name? Trinity? That word is not even in the Bible! Help!
There is indeed only one God, The LORD (Hebrew: yhvh), who
exists in three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (cf.
Matt.28:19). The word "Trinity" is indeed not in the Bible, but it is a
helpful way to describe this truth. The Bible is not a theological text
book, nor a users manual. It is the Word of truth. All truth worthy of
knowing resides in its pages, but, like mining for gold, it is not
necessarily a simple or quick task to extract that truth. Nevertheless,
for all who knock, it will be opened. Here are some links which will
give you much greater detail in direct answer to your question:
The Persons of God: The Trinity (in Bible Basics Part 1: Theology)
Questioning the Trinity
Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?
The Trinity in Scripture.
The Trinity in Isaiah 63:10-15.
The One True God and the Trinity in the Old Testament.
The name "Jesus".
The meaning of the divine name יהוה.
Can you give
me some information on divine names in the Bible?
I hope you find these studies helpful. Please feel free to write me back if you want any additional clarification or have any other specific questions. I would be happy to help.
Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ, divine Son of the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the King James version of Isaiah 45:11, what does it mean when the Lord says “command ye me”?
The NASB also has this as an imperative, but the RSV and the NIV have
both of these sentences in verse 11 as questions. Since in the Hebrew
original there is no original punctuation per se (even the verse
divisions are very late), one has to determine if a sentence is
interrogative from the context. There are occasionally question words
that introduce sentences that make it clear we have an interrogatory,
but not all questions start with question words, either in English or in
Hebrew. In English, of course, we switch the verb to first position in
such cases (i.e., You are French. Are you French?), but they don't do
this in biblical Hebrew. Incidentally, the same issue comes up in Greek
(i.e., no word order indication of a question, so one must look at the
context to make the call when no question word occurs). Thus you might
notice that there are quite a number of instances in the NT as well
where some versions have questions where others do not. One of the
editors of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the premier edition of
the Hebrew text, does want to re-punctuate the first syllable of the
first putative question from a long to a short "a", a move which would
indeed yield the question word ha (shifting from “the things to come" to
"?-things to come ?"). But that is unnecessary. In the context, the Lord
has just taken the apostates to task for quarreling with Him like pots
with a potter, so that rebuking them here with two very pointed
rhetorical questions seems to fit very well, especially the second
question which you ask about: "Do you [dare] to give ME orders about
what My hands have made?!"
In our Lord.
What translation of the Bible are you using for your quotes?
My policy is to use in any given passage whatever best reflects the original Greek and Hebrew while producing a quality English rendering. Often that means that I'm drawn to provide my own translations. When a passage is not marked (i.e., NIV, KJV, NASB, etc.), that means that the translation is my own. There is a hyperlink-active list of these translations at the following link: Original Bible Translations at Ichthys.
And there is more about the way I cite and expand passages (all the sigla I use, etc.) at the following link: How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys.
Finally, you will find a critique of some of the major versions from the
point of view of accuracy et al. at the following link:
Read your Bible.