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The Divine Omniscience
The Knowledge of the Holy, Chapter 10 ^ | A. W. Tozer

Posted on 02/03/2004 5:46:23 PM PST by drstevej

"The Knowledge of the Holy" by A. W. Tozer, Chapter 10
 

 

 

 


The Divine Omniscience

Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising and art acquainted with all my ways. I can inform Thee of nothing and it is vain to try to hide anything from Thee. In the light of Thy perfect knowledge I would be as artless as a little child. Help me to put away all care, for Thou knowest the way that I take and when Thou hast tried me I shall come forth as gold. Amen.

To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn.


The Scriptures teach that God has never learned from anyone. ”Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” ”For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor?" These rhetorical questions put by the prophet and the apostle Paul declare that God has never learned.

From there it is only a step to the conclusion that God cannot learn.
Could God at any time or in any manner receive into His mind knowledge that He did not possess and had not possessed from eternity, He would be imperfect and less than himself. To think of a God who must sit at the feet of a teacher, even though that teacher be an archangel or a seraph, is to think of someone other than the Most High God, maker of heaven and earth.


This negative approach to the divine omniscience is, I believe, quite justified in the circumstances. Since our intellectual knowledge of God is so small and obscure, we can sometimes gain considerable advantage in our struggle to understand what God is like by the simple expedient of thinking what He is not like. So far in this examination of the attributes of God we have been driven to the free use of negatives. We have seen that God had no origin, that He had no beginning, that He requires no helpers, that He suffers no change, and that in His essential being there are no limitations.

This method of trying to make men see what God is like by showing them what He is not like is used also by the inspired writers in the Holy Scriptures. ”Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard,” cries Isaiah, ”that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” And that abrupt statement by God Himself, ”I am the Lord, I change not,” tells us more about the divine omniscience than could be told in a ten-thousand word treatise, were all negatives arbitrarily ruled out.


God’s eternal truthfulness is stated negatively by the apostle Paul, ”God... cannot lie”; and when the angel asserted that ”with God nothing shall be impossible,” the two negatives add up to a ringing positive.

That God is omniscient is not only taught in the Scriptures, it must be inferred also from all else that is taught concerning Him. God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known. And this He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or could have existed anywhere in the universe at any time in the past or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn.

God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.


Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything. He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions.

God is self-existent and self-contained and knows what no creature can ever know - Himself, perfectly. ”The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” Only the Infinite can know the infinite.


In the divine omniscience we see set forth against each other the terror and fascination of the Godhead. That God knows each person through and through can be a cause of shaking fear to the man that has something to hide - some unforsaken sin, some secret crime committed against man or God. The unblessed soul may well tremble that God knows the flimsiness of every pretext and never accepts the poor excuses given for sinful conduct, since He knows perfectly the real reason for it. ”Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” How frightful a thing to see the sons of Adam seeking to hide among the trees of another garden. But where shall they hide? ”Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?... If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day.”

And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us. ”For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”

Our Father in heaven knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. He knew our inborn treachery, and for His own sake engaged to save us (Isa. 48:8-11). His only begotten Son, when He walked among us, felt our pains in their naked intensity of anguish. His knowledge of our afflictions and adversities is more than theoretic; it is personal, warm, and compassionate. Whatever may befall us, God knows and cares as no one else can.

He doth give His joy to all;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh
And thy Maker is not by;
Think not thou canst weep a tear
And thy Maker is not near.

O! He gives to us His joy
That our griefs He may destroy;
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.
William Blake
 



TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS:
"To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn."
1 posted on 02/03/2004 5:46:26 PM PST by drstevej
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To: Religion Mod; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; jude24; ...
GRPL... AW Tozer... Ping

Tozer's book, Knowledge of the Holy, is a classic. This chapter I find very encouraging.
2 posted on 02/03/2004 5:50:13 PM PST by drstevej
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To: drstevej
I am presently reading Bruce Ware's contribution to "Beyond the Bounds" where he makes a forceful argument that "Open Theism" denies every facet of the Gospel of Christ.

The Gospel is only "good news" when God has chosen to save before the foundation of the world, orchestrates all the events of this world, and brings about the final salvation of His church. He can do these things, and we can trust in Him, because He has perfect omniscience.

3 posted on 02/03/2004 6:14:46 PM PST by Jerry_M (I can only say that I am a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation. -- Gen. Robt E. Lee)
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To: drstevej
Thank you for the ping.

Note to read later.
4 posted on 02/03/2004 6:18:14 PM PST by snerkel (1 Peter 4:14 "...on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.")
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To: drstevej
But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn."

never learned...being the creator of all things I suppose this is an accurate statement. He knows everything.

Cannot learn...I would be hesitant to limit God in any form.

God is not only omniscient but omnipresent and omnipotent.

Taking these three together I fail to see what all the debate is about.

5 posted on 02/03/2004 6:23:57 PM PST by PFKEY
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To: RnMomof7; xzins; Revelation 911; P-Marlowe; connectthedots; The Grammarian; Vernon
RN - we couldn't pin down Chambers, but here's an article by a good Wesleyan. A.W. Tozer was a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor for thirty-one years.

You'll recall I used to attend an Alliance Church. ;-)

6 posted on 02/03/2004 6:31:54 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (www.wardsmythe.com)
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To: Corin Stormhands; CCWoody; xzins
So, will Tozer be a Calvinist in Glory?
7 posted on 02/03/2004 7:11:45 PM PST by connectthedots (Recognize that not all Calvinists will be Christians in glory.)
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To: ksen
Belated GRPL ping
8 posted on 02/03/2004 7:15:25 PM PST by drstevej
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To: Corin Stormhands
I like Tozer
9 posted on 02/03/2004 7:28:20 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: drstevej
"To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn."

Does this mean there is nothing that I can teach God? What fun is that ?

10 posted on 02/03/2004 7:29:36 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7; ksen
That's right.

He needs no "Deity for Dummies" reference to figure things out.
11 posted on 02/03/2004 7:31:48 PM PST by drstevej
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To: RnMomof7
I like Tozer

Come home Mom. ;-)

12 posted on 02/03/2004 7:44:21 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (www.wardsmythe.com)
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To: RnMomof7
Frozen Tozer? ;)
13 posted on 02/03/2004 8:11:46 PM PST by Frumanchu (If I told you I have an IQ of 180, would you do the hustle?)
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To: Corin Stormhands; drstevej
It gets better. The man was converted in the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a lay preacher for a little while in said Church before he ran into some red tape.

By the way, thanks for posting this, drj. I used to own a copy of this book (along with The Pursuit of God and The Pursuit of Man), but I loaned it with a few other books to a friend at my former house church when she went with a C&MA church (and a Calvinistic PCA church) on a mission trip to Romania. By the time she came back, I had left the house church. So no more books... ;( I really like Tozer's books, too.

14 posted on 02/03/2004 9:50:12 PM PST by The Grammarian
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To: drstevej
I certainly believe unquestionably that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. However, as I was reading this I was wondering if

1) God knows all (omniscient) so He is not surprised by events and adapts (omnipotent) or if
2) God controls all events (omnipotent) so that He knows all things (omniscient).

This is more a mental exercise. I would say the latter but I'm not sure.
15 posted on 02/04/2004 7:03:26 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
"1) God knows all (omniscient) so He is not surprised by events and adapts (omnipotent) or if"

That should read

1) God knows all (omniscient) so He controls all events accordingly (omnipotent).

God does not adapt to anything.

16 posted on 02/04/2004 7:09:03 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
Yikes! Let me try this again (3rd times a charm). Does:

1) God knows all (omniscient) so He controls all events accordingly (omnipotent) or does
2) God controls all events (omnipotent) so He knows all things (omniscient).

I thought I would go with 2 but now I think its 1. Any thoughts?


17 posted on 02/04/2004 7:17:48 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: drstevej; All

There are some problems with the internal logic of this article:

To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn.

Here, in the basic thesis, we have the verb "to learn." There are (at least) two ways in which this verb can be used:

1. to find out something which you did not know before.

2. to "be taught," or "to be instructed" by another person.

The author confounds these two meanings, leading to unsupportable leaps of logic.

But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn.

If we intend the verb "learn" to carry the meaning of #2, this is not an unreasonable proposition. We shall see that the author confounds this meaning with sense #1.

 

The Scriptures teach that God has never learned from anyone.

This claim (at least on its face) is actually demonstrated by the verses the author cites immediately after.

.........................

These rhetorical questions put by the prophet and the apostle Paul declare that God has never learned.

This statement can be accurate, ONLY if "never learned" carries (for this sentence) the meaning #2. To be an accurate description of the verses cited, the sentence would have to read:

"These rhetorical questions put by the prophet and the Apostle Paul declare that God has never been instructed or taught by any created being."

 

From there it is only a step to the conclusion that God cannot learn.

As above, to be an accurate description of the verses cited, AND to follow logically, this sentence must likewise be written:

"From there, it is only a step to the conclusion that God cannot be instructed or taught by any created being."

 

Could God at any time or in any manner receive into His mind knowledge that He did not possess and had not possessed from eternity, He would be imperfect and less than himself.

This proposition is one which can described as "might be true," or "might not be true." However, since it is an edifice which was built on a faulty foundation (as shown, above) one must remember that the author has given NO evidence from scripture for this conclusion.

 

To think of a God who must sit at the feet of a teacher, even though that teacher be an archangel or a seraph, is to think of someone other than the Most High God, maker of heaven and earth.

On its face, this statement looks like a perfectly unexceptionable statement of the character of God. It is problematic, though. Clearly, in this sentence the author is using sense #2 (of the verb "learn"): "... sit at the feet of a teacher..."

The problem arises from the fact that he has (in the above cited sentences) intended that "learn" be understood in sense #1. He also continues the use of sense #1, below. This, even though the verses he has cited have the clear meaning of sense #2.

Thus, the best face which can be put upon this sentence is that it demonstrates faulty logic.

 

That God is omniscient is not only taught in the Scriptures, it must be inferred also from all else that is taught concerning Him. God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known.

So far, so good...

And this He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or

OK...

could have existed

Now, this is an interesting concept.

anywhere in the universe at any time in the past

Agreed...

or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn.

Here, we arrive at the issue. This is another concept which "might be true," or "might NOT be true." Clearly, the article has not even demonstrated its likelihood, much less proved its truth. That must be done by finding scripture which actually so states.

 

Here are three verses which appear or seem to show that the future is fixed, and that God always knows what will happen, in the (our temporal) future, and that God does not change His mind:


Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he
should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and
shall he not make it good?


Ezekiel 24:14
I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not
go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways,
and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.


Psalm 110:4
The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever
after the order of Melchizedek.

If these verses were the ONLY verses which addressed the subject, then maybe the subject could be settled. But, they are not. Consider, if you will, the following passages:

(All from KJV)



Genesis 6:6
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it
grieved him at his heart.
7
And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face
of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of
the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

These verses seem or appear to indicate that the earth didn't turn out the way God had wanted it to.




Exodus 32:14
And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Deuteronomy 32:36
For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants,
when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.


Judges 2:18
And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the
judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of
the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of
them that oppressed them and vexed them.

These verses seem or appear to indicate that God changed his mind, about punishing his people.



1 Samuel 15:11
It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back
from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it
grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

1 Samuel 15:35
And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death:
nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he
had made Saul king over Israel.

These verses seem or appear to indicate that the crowning of Saul didn't turn out the way God had wanted it to.


2 Samuel 24:16
And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it,
the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed
the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD
was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.

1 Chronicles 21:15
And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was
destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to
the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel
of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

These verses seem or appear to indicate that God changed his mind, about punishing his people.



Psalm 90:13
Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy
servants.

Psalm 135:14
For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning
his servants.

These verses seem or appear to indicate that God may be asked to change His mind.



Jeremiah 15:6
Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward:
therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am
weary with repenting.

This verse seems or appears to be saying that God can become tired of changing his mind!



Jeremiah 26:13
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the
LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath
pronounced against you.

Jeremiah 26:19
Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he
not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him
of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure
great evil against our souls.

Joel 2:13
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD
your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great
kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
14
Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind
him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

The future actions of humans may influence the mind of God.



Amos 7:3
The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.

Amos 7:6
The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.

These verses seem or appear to indicate that God uttered a couple of "Thus saith the LORD," and then changed His mind, and uttered a different "Thus saith the Lord."



Jonah 3:9
Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce
anger, that we perish not?

Jonah 3:10
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God
repented of the evil
, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he
did it not.

Jonah 4:2
And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not
this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto
Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

The future actions of humans may influence the mind of God.


These verses are provided for information, only, as a way to demonstrate that differing points of view can both be Biblically reasonable. They are not to be considered "proof texts," and will not be defended as such.

DG

18 posted on 02/04/2004 9:30:36 AM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: DoorGunner
Interesting post. I’m not a theologian but I do like logic problems so let me see if I can figure this out.

This certainly does appear to be a conflict in the scriptures. We first have to agree that the scripture are not in error but inspired by God. Once we agree to that then we must agree that both must be true.

For narrowing down this from the many verses you cited that goes back and forth let’s take two scriptures chosen at random. (Which verses is used does not affect the logic.)

1) Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

2) 1 Samuel 15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. ”

Now, we have already agreed that scriptures are without error so we know that both of these verses are correct. We also know that God cannot be both-one who does not repent and one who does. That would make no sense. Since they cannot conflict, one verse must be interpreted based on the other verse. I think we would also agree these verses tell us something of the nature of God.

Scenario 1 – God Does Not Repent (Does Not Change His Mind)

If we say the first statement is true, that God does not repent (or change His mind), then how do we interpret the second verse? We know God made Saul king and then said He “repenteth” of making Saul king. Under this scenario we know God did not “change his mind” nor are the scriptures in error.

Therefore, in order to interpret verse 2 (Saul) we must say God already “knew” Saul would turn out to not follow His commands. If that is the case the statement under this scenario the words, “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king” must be interpreted in some other fashion in order to be true to the inerrant Word of God. Under this scenario without arguing the verse itself, one must conclude this statement must refer to some other characteristic of God. We would have to search the scriptures (within the context of the scriptures to understand what this characteristic of God is but we know (under this scenario) it is not God changing His mind. Plus, because this is a characteristic of God then it may change from passage to passage so it may take on other meanings.

Scenario 2 – God Does Repent (Change His Mind)

Let’s assume God does change His mind and the verse with Saul is correct. Then the first verse “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent…” needs to be interpreted. In this case it says that God doesn’t repent (change His mind). He says what He does NOT do.

Under this scenario it is no longer a characteristic of God but an action. (God does NOT do [something]). In this case He doesn’t lie, He doesn’t repent, etc. would be all actions. We know with Saul, God repented of his actions. So what does God NOT do? There becomes no way to interpret this (or other) verses except for what it says, “repent”.

If this is true that God does not repent then this scenario cannot be true because it says with Saul that God did repent. His actions clearly demonstrated a conflict in the scriptures. Thus the scriptures would be false and we know that cannot be the case. You cannot solve the riddle of this scenario.

My understanding through all of this is that Scenario 1 (God cannot change His mind) looks at it as a characteristic. Scenario 2 (God can change His mind) looks at it as an action which I don’t think is correct. The problem with Scenario 2 as I see it is it states what God is NOT and relies upon actions rather than characteristics.

Please DON’T FLAME me. I welcome all logical discord for this interesting problem. It would be helpful to provide solutions than issues. Thanks.

19 posted on 02/04/2004 1:03:15 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: drstevej
I just came upon your post this morning, and it brought me great comfort. I am recuperating from surgery last week that removed a very rare type of cancerous tumor, and my doctor, who is a specialist, was stumped as to how to proceed. He's done his research this past week, and has a battle plan formed, depending on what yesterday's CT scan reveals, I will learn of it this afternoon when I go in to have the staples removed. Thank you.
20 posted on 02/05/2004 7:59:29 AM PST by giznort
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To: giznort
I'm a 13+ year cancer survivor. I will pray for you.
21 posted on 02/05/2004 8:01:57 AM PST by Corin Stormhands (www.wardsmythe.com)
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To: giznort; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; jude24; ...
***I just came upon your post this morning, and it brought me great comfort. I am recuperating from surgery last week that removed a very rare type of cancerous tumor, and my doctor, who is a specialist, was stumped as to how to proceed. He's done his research this past week, and has a battle plan formed, depending on what yesterday's CT scan reveals, I will learn of it this afternoon when I go in to have the staples removed. Thank you.***

I will ping a team of prayer warriors for you!

Jesus is the Great Omniscient Physician. May He give you grace. Keep us posted, please.
22 posted on 02/05/2004 8:04:37 AM PST by drstevej
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To: HarleyD
Please DON'T FLAME me.

No flames here.

 

I welcome all logical discord for this interesting problem. It would be helpful to provide solutions than issues. Thanks.

I think that a few points may help, in understanding this.

1. I utterly failed to provide any CONTEXT, for the passages I cited. Although my excuse is that the post was already too long, knowing the context of each verse is necessary for understanding any verse.

2. The context of these verses will (I believe) show that each is about a singular event. That is, each is describing one situation, and what God did regarding that event. Thus:

3. It may be, that none of these are describing a general characteristic of God. Maybe we must look at all of these verses, and many more, before we can make definitive statements abut whether God can or does change His mind.

Hope this helps.

DG

23 posted on 02/05/2004 9:00:27 AM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: giznort
Praying for you giznort. Please let us know how you are doing.
24 posted on 02/05/2004 9:58:23 AM PST by snerkel (1 Peter 4:14 "...on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.")
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To: DoorGunner
I respectfully disagree that “none of these are describing a general characteristic of God”. One can only read “God is not man that He should repent” as part of the make up of God. This is a definitive statement by God of what He is not-man-and what He does not do-repent. The context is irrelevant since it will not alter what God said about Himself.

Certainly the other “I repented” verses are problematic but in every single case they denote action on the part of God, not God’s character. Many of these verse uses the same Hebrew word “repent” as mentioned above. Therefore you must interpret all action “I repented” verses in context of who God is and scripture.
25 posted on 02/05/2004 10:12:17 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: giznort
During times of pain and worry, it helps to remember that God knows the end from the beginning, and that all our problems are given to us by the same God who gives us His blessings.

"The Problem of Pain" by C.S. Lewis might be a valuable little book for you during this uncertainty.

God is with you always.

26 posted on 02/05/2004 10:44:25 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (There are very few shades of gray.)
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To: giznort
Added you to the prayer list.

God's house is a house of prayer.

27 posted on 02/05/2004 10:50:34 AM PST by Ephesians210
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To: giznort
You're on my prayer list.
28 posted on 02/05/2004 12:15:46 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: drstevej
As I said .....I have always liked Tozer

He never tried to teach God anything :>)
29 posted on 02/05/2004 2:21:53 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: Corin Stormhands
I'm a 13+ year cancer survivor. I will pray for you.

I never knew that..God saved you so you could meet us huh?
**grin**

30 posted on 02/05/2004 2:24:20 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: giznort
may our LORD and SAVIOR watch over you and cast his devine hedge of protection over you
please keep us informed
GODSPEED
GODBLESS
WALK IN THE LIGHT
31 posted on 02/05/2004 2:48:37 PM PST by alpha-8-25-02 (`)
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To: DoorGunner
If God is not immutable then your salvation is at risk, as is every promise He has ever made to men .

Everything is open to the fickle change of a mutable god.
He could decide to be just to us and throw us all in hell where we belong ,.We can have no confidence in His word.

When God gives an ultimation that something will happen because of a behavior or a rebellious act , He gives it knowing the outcome of that ultimation. It is given not to change Him..but to change the one it was proclaimed to .

"God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that We should repent : hath He said, and shall He not do it ? or, hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numb. 23:19). "The Strength of Israel will not lie, nor repent; for He is not a man, that He should repent (1 Sam. 15:29). " He is in one mind, and who can turn Him ? '' (Job 23:13). "I, the Lord, have spoken it, it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent " (Ezek. 24:14). "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance " (Rom. 11:29). "He abideth faithful, and cannot deny Himself " (2 Tim. 2:13).

By the purpose or decree of God, we mean His determinate counsel, whereby He did from all eternity preordain whatever He should do, or would permit to be done, in time. In particular, it signifies His everlasting appointment of some men to life, and of others to death, which appointment flows entirely from His own free and sovereign will. ''The children not yet being born, neither having done any good or evil (that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth), it was said, the elder shall serve the younger: as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated " (Rom. ix. 11).

In the case of Nineveh , the message was sent as a rebuke to rebellious Israel and the first time that a gentile nation had a prophet come to a gentile nation.
A prophecy that the gentile nations would hear the gospel .

It showed how relentless God is in conforming men to His will and purpose.See how He pursued Jonah .

It was a prophecy of the resurrection as taught by Jesus .

Did a change occur YES the change was in Nineveh not God.
For He had ordained the entire event as a testimony and prophecy


On Hezekiah


Look at the prayer of the King

2Ki 20:3**
I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done [that which is] good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

He did not beg to be spared at all.He begged to be remembered by God .

Perhaps we could liken this prayer to the prayer of the thief.."remember me when you come into your kingdom". He was frightened to die as are most men, He had no heir (thus the admonition to put his house in order.)


If you look through the OT you see that prophets were to warn, and to get people to change their ways. This illness brought the king to prayer, as God knew it would .

Think of the result of His prayer . He asked for a sign , God gave him a miraculous sign that was seen by the Babylonians .

The sun cast would go backwards instead of forwards . The son of the King of Babylon had heard of Hezekiah's illness and healing, and the "scientists" of Babylon observed the sun changing directions , so Babylon sent messengers with a gift and instructions to find out what happened to Hezekiah's God.
Hezekiah was feeling so good about his recovery and the interest of the Babylonians that he decided to show them all the wealth of his country.

Was that sign preordained?

During these extra 15 years the seeds for the ultimate destruction of Judah are planted and Hezekiah's evil successor is born. This led to a plundering of Judah and their captivity .

Now look at the lineage of Jesus.

Remember that Hezekiah had NO Heirs , NO son . If he had died at the time of the prophecy he would have ended the line of David from which the savior came.

See the prophecy

Luk 1:32**
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

**
*
Luk 1:33**
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Without those 15 years (and the son born during that time ) there would have been no Kingdom without end

Mat 1:10**
Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah.

Mat 1:11**
Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon


So was this an ordained work of Mercy and grace?

I think it clearly was as it was a part of the fulfillment of the prophecies an not coincidental or the act of a fickle God that has no set plan .

Consider the natural consequences of the god of open theology .

There can never be an ultimate truth . All things and event are open to revision . God is as changeable as man , so like man He could never be trusted to be faithful to anything in scripture . Even your salvation could be taken , should God change His mind about saving any men ..of withdrawing His mercy from us.

One of the natures of God is His immutability.That is why we can always trust His word .Open theology robs that from Him and instead it make Him some what immutable .

How often in scripture is God called the ROCK of our salvation ? He is not a pebble .

It is God that places prayer in our mouth. He knows the words before we say them . We do not pray to change God. We pray to change ourself . God will only grant that which is within His will when we pray .

Consider that the God presented by Boyd is a uninvolved God that can not be trusted.

That is not the God presented in the Bible
__________________
32 posted on 02/05/2004 2:59:53 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
Consider the natural consequences of the god of open theology .

Consider that the God presented by Boyd is a uninvolved God that can not be trusted.

Why do you burden me with "open theology," and "Boyd?" What have I to do with them?

DG

33 posted on 02/05/2004 5:30:46 PM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: HarleyD
One can only read "God is not man that He should repent" as part of the make up of God. This is a definitive statement by God of what He is not-man-and what He does not do-repent. The context is irrelevant since it will not alter what God said about Himself.

Have you ever considered whether you "can only read" this passage as describing "part of the make up of God," because your theology requires it?

Is there any possibility that you are reading more into the passage than is actually there? Wouldn't it be better, to take the verse at face value? That way, we could also take the twenty-one other verses at face value, too. Then, it would all fit.

Certainly the other "I repented" verses are problematic but in every single case they denote action on the part of God, not God's character.

If a characteristic of God is "what He does not do-repent," how is it possible for Him to DO something [ " action on the part of God "] ("repent") which " He does not do-?"

 

Many of these verse uses the same Hebrew word "repent" as mentioned above.

Exactly!

Therefore you must interpret all action "I repented" verses in context of who God is and scripture.

This is good. If I were to say (on the other hand) that my UNDERSTANDING of a particular verse nullifies twenty-one other verses, that would NOT be good.

 

Just food for thought.

DG

34 posted on 02/05/2004 6:30:03 PM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: DoorGunner
"Have you ever considered whether you "can only read" this passage as describing "part of the make up of God," because your theology requires it?...Wouldn't it be better, to take the verse at face value?"

Sorry, but this isn't my "theology" trying to understand these verses. I've been looking at this strictly as a logical issue and have taken all the verses at face value. Aside from the Bible the only weapon in my arsenel that I've used was prayer.

It is clear what makes this verse ("God is not man that He should repent") unique from the others grammatically and logically is the comparitive clause. While they may use the same Hebrew word my conclusion can only be these verses are talking apples and oranges. Some talk of the character of God and some talk of the actions of God.

I've NEVER said that one verse nullifies the other. In fact I believe the basic assumption was that all verses are in fact accurate. As we can see from these verses you must reconcile the actions of God with the character of God when interpreting the verses. This is a terrific illustration of where it is impossible to understand God's character by His actions. Thus you must understand God's character BEFORE you can understand His actions. This is an example where care must be taken to accurately handle the word of truth.

I try not to read into the scriptures but the flip side of that is the danger of purposely ignoring a piece of scripture which doesn't suit your theological understanding. Generally this rears it's head when we cannot reconcile one verse with another so we lump them all together and make a statement suited to our theology. Perhaps if I'm in error in my logic you could offer an interpretation of this verse for me?

35 posted on 02/05/2004 10:40:31 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
I've been looking at this strictly as a logical issue and have taken all the verses at face value.

Ok, let's look at strictly as a logical issue:

Posit a verse, we will call verse A. imagine that I believe that verse A can only be understood to say that God is proclaiming that His immutable character cannot do a certain act--"act XYZ."

Then we see many other verses, which explicitly, categorically, state that (in such and such circumstance) God DID DO "act XYZ." In fact, some of the verses seem to indicate that "act XYZ" may very well be part of the character of God.

Now, I (in the above example) believe that verse A can only be understood to mean that God CANNOT do "act XYZ." Someone comes by, and tells me, "Wait a minute, DG, it is illogical to believe that God CANNOT do "act XYZ," when all of those verses clearly and unequivocally state that God DID DO "act XYZ."

I would then have to make a choice:

1. I could continue to BELIEVE that verse A said what I believe it to mean,

OR

2. I could believe that all of the verses which clearly state that God DID DO "act XYZ," actually mean that the ability to DO "act XYZ" is a part of the Character of God.

_____________________

Since I am aware that I have believed several things (in the past) which later turned out to not be true, I think that I would (in the hypothetical above) decide to re-evaluate my understanding of verse A.

You have the same choice to make. You can maintain your faith in what you believe the verse means, or you can try to look at what the verse actually says. I think that you will see that your present belief about the meaning of this verse is "adding something to" what the verse actually says.

I know, however, that this kind of re-evaluation is very hard for us to do. Therefore, I will not try to force you to change your mind, that is up to you.

DG

36 posted on 02/06/2004 6:41:30 AM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: DoorGunner
I can now interpret God's statement that He "repented" (was sorry, disappointed, etc.) of His action with Saul. God didn't changed His mind. Telling Samuel He was sorry, disappointed, etc. conveyed to Samuel God's fury with Saul and would have given Samuel greater fortitude to do his next act-anoint David. This was something which he was afraid to do.

I just wanted to know how you would interpret:

"God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" Numbers 23:19

37 posted on 02/06/2004 6:58:58 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
 

I can now interpret God's statement that He "repented" (was sorry, disappointed, etc.) of His action with Saul. God didn't changed His mind. Telling Samuel He was sorry, disappointed, etc. conveyed to Samuel God's fury with Saul

Your point is well taken. Unfortunately, it also leads to another difficulty:

If God not only has knowledge of everything which will occur in the past or the future, (as some believe) and if NOTHING happens, except by the determined intention and will of God; (as some believe) then God both CAUSED the actions of Saul, and FORKNEW those actions. That is, God caused Saul to act in the way he acted, and thus God knew exactly what would (and did) happen.

Assuming the above, how is it that God " was sorry, disappointed.." about His (God's own) act? How is it, that God could react with " fury" against Saul, if God had forced Saul to do those acts, as if Saul were some kind of meat puppet?

If I were to make a robot, out of metal, and were to program it to do break bottles over my skull, at whom should I direct my anger, if I soon grew weary of having bottles broken over my head? Should I blame my creation (the robot) or should I accept the blame for my own actions?

 

I just wanted to know how you would interpret:

Numbers 23:19

"God is not a man, that He should lie,

Nor a son of man, that He should repent;

Has He said, and will He not do it?

Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"

 

I would prefer to let it be, as it stands. But, as I am sure that this answer will not satisfy, I will work on it, and get back to you.

DG

38 posted on 02/06/2004 8:59:17 AM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: HarleyD
 You recently asked for my opinion about Numbers 23:19. Two caveats:

1. My preference is to leave the verse "as is," but, of course, in context. Anything that I "add" to it is likely to be at least partly inaccurate, if not completely wrong.

2. I have not (yet) been successful in finding a literal interlinear version (online) of the Hebrew Bible. Although I have begun a word-by-word translation (using online lexicons) I am having difficulties in getting over half of the Hebrew words translated.

These notwithstanding, let's look at the context:

[This passage is discussing the history if the Israelites, during the exodus from Egypt]

 [NASB]
http://bible.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bible?passage=Numbers+22&NASB_version=yes&language=english&x=15&y=10
Numbers 22:
2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the
Amorites.
3 So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they
were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel.....
5 So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, at....

[Apparently, Balaam was some sort of prophet, apparently of God.]

7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the
fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and
repeated Balak's words to him.
8 He said to them, "Spend the night here, and I will bring word back
to you as the LORD may speak to me." And the leaders of Moab
stayed with Balaam.
9 Then God came to Balaam and said, "Who are these men with
you?"
10 Balaam said to God, "Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has
sent word to me,
11 'Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt and they cover
the surface of the land; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I may
be able to fight against them and drive them out.'"

[Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites.]


12 God said to Balaam, "Do not go with them; you shall not
curse the people, for they are blessed."

13 So Balaam arose in the morning and said to Balak's leaders, "Go
back to your land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you."

[God said, "Don't go!" He also said, "you shall not curse the people..."]

[So, Balak sent them back, with a promise of more money]
 
18 Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, "Though Balak were
to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything,
either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God.

19 "Now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what
else the LORD will speak to me."
20 God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If the men have
come to call you, rise up and go with them; but only the word
which I speak to you shall you do."
21 So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey and
went with the leaders of Moab.

[Balaam told them that he "could not do anything...contrary to the command of the Lord."]

[BUT...This time, God told Balaam to GO with them. It APPEARS as if God has changed his mind.]
 
22 But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of
the LORD took his stand in the way as an adversary against him.

[Although God had explicitly TOLD Balaam to GO, now, He is "very angry because he was going." And sent an angel to stop him. It APPEARS as if God has changed his mind.]
 
34 Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned, for I
did not know that you were standing in the way against me. Now
then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back."
35 But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but
you shall speak only the word which I tell you."
So Balaam went
along with the leaders of Balak.

[Now, the angel (of God) orders Balaam to "GO with the men." Again, it APPEARS as if God has changed his mind.]
 
 Numbers 23
 1 Then Balaam said to Balak, "Build seven altars for me here, and
prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here."
2 Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered
up a bull and a ram on each altar.
3 Then Balaam said to Balak, "Stand beside your burnt offering, and I
will go; perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever He
shows me I will tell you."
So he went to a bare hill.
4 Now God met Balaam, and he said to Him, "I have set up the seven
altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on each altar."
5 Then the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth and said, "Return
to Balak, and you shall speak thus."
7 He took up his discourse and said,
"From Aram Balak has brought me,
Moab's king from the mountains of the East,
' Come curse Jacob for me,
And come, denounce Israel!'
8 "How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
And how can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?

[So, Balaam went, (as ordered by God) but God told him NOT to curse Israel.]

[Balak took Balaam to another place, with the same result:]
 
17 He came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt
offering, and the leaders of Moab with him. And Balak said to him,
"What has the LORD spoken?"
18 Then he took up his discourse and said,
"Arise, O Balak, and hear;
Give ear to me, O son of Zippor!
19 "God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
20 "Behold, I have received a command to bless;
When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.

[After this, Balak took Balaam to another place, with the same (predictable) results.]

________________________


 Now, let us consider the subject verse, within this context:

Balak wanted Balaam to do TWO things:

1, He wanted Balaam to go to him, at Moab.

2. He wanted Balaam to CURSE Israel.

It appears or seems that God changed his mind several times, regarding whether He wanted Balaam to GO to Moab.

God did not change His mind, regarding His command to Balaam, to NOT CURSE Israel. I think that God was saying (through Balaam) that he was not going to change his mind: He was going to continue to order Balaam to BLESS Israel, and NOT allow him to CURSE Israel.

19 "God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?

Now, why did God (apparently) treat the "going" differently than He treated the "cursing?"

Although I have not studied this adequately (yet) my first impression is this:

God had explicitly BLESSED Abraham (and his descendants [who were, at the time of Balaam, Israel]).

Genesis 12

1 Now the LORD said to Abram,
"Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father's house,
To the land which I will show you;
2
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."



Genesis 22
16 and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD,
because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son,
your only son,
17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your
seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on
the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their
enemies.
18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,
because you have obeyed My voice."

He had SWORN, by Himself. I think that this blessing, and swearing, is a basic issue, regarding whether God allows Himself to "change His mind."

 

DG

p.s. These are merely the opinions which I currently hold. I do not consider them to be binding on anyone else.

 

39 posted on 02/09/2004 12:18:17 PM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: DoorGunner
Oops...

Formatting error: All of the first several paragraphs should have been bold.

 

Also, here is the verse, in question, in Hebrew. I want to see if this forn comes through:

 

äùòé àìå øîà àåää íçðúéå íãà-ïáå áæëéå ìà ùéà àì

.äðîé÷é àìå øáãå

The font is Microsoft Word Web Hebrew AD

DG

40 posted on 02/09/2004 12:28:29 PM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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To: DoorGunner
Wow, DG, I'm impressed-no sacasm intended. I think you've laid out a plusible (if not lengthy) argument on the verse. I'm not quite sure I'd agree on the conclusion and I tend to take the verse for what it says. But its clear you've done some fair amount of thinking about this which is rare.

Some of the people here recommended the e-sword program to me. (www.e-sword.com) I found this to be a great tool for looking up the Hebrew and Greek text. Unfortunately, there is no button to push to solve theological differences. :O)
41 posted on 02/09/2004 12:45:36 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
Thank you.

E-sword looks very good, and the price is right. A 17 meg download (for just the basic program) has to be planned, though--two or three hours, on a slow dialup.

DG

42 posted on 02/09/2004 6:29:18 PM PST by DoorGunner ( Fool, Liar, Sinner, etc.(Non Hæretico Comburendo))
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