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Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'?

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Re: [rdrcofe] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Jonathan Sacks says of this particular verse,

(Malachi 3:6 in case anyone is wondering) I won't comment on that commentary, as I think it is anathema. I just finished reading rabbinical arguments, a total of 7 hours online, neck is stiff, and I am shocked at what is being said.

In one of his books he supported the notion one does not need to be Jewish to know God or truth or to attain salvation, all that available to anyone of any religion. I am trying to find out what his opinion is about calling upon Baal, without having to buy the books, then be contaminated with heresies galore.

God says through the apostle Paul about any Jew alienated from the gospel of Christ: 2 Cor. 3:[13] And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: [14] But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. [15] But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. [16] Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

That day remains delayed. Until Israel converts to Christ they can't possibly know enough about what God said in scriptures the Jews have held since Moses. In addition, there's the problem of some modern Jews trying to reverse-engineer God whom they want to be subject to change, trying to establish Jewish relevance in these end times, thwarted by fundamentalist Christianity. They are including Christianity in their academic defenses, appealing to the Jerusalem-Athens metaphor and many others, in essence trying to show that Christianity also has become irrelevant, based on ancient Hebrew traditions that were modified by Greek philosophy which they think salutes Christianity. That's why "Christian progressives" are so apt to join the Jews to vindicate modern science and evolution, because God would have had to evolve along with the initial creation, or be forced to use evolution to get His goals. All that to try convincing the Church that we don't interpret Genesis 1-5 correctly because we didn't progress and remain relevant in the world through modern "enlightenment", reminiscent of the Gnostics by the way.

It takes self deception to fall into such traps. Once complete, the deceived don't realize they are deceived, falling into agreement with the Jews who remain deceived about God's word, and with ancient as well as modern philosophies that sustain such deceptions.
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Re: [dovegiven] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Dovegiven : Hi.

As for my reference to Malachi 3:6, that happens to be God's position on this topic.

So you might have convinced yourself !

Well actually God’s word on the subject in Mal. 3:6, (if indeed immutability is actually the ‘subject’ being dealt with by God in this verse), was this.

“For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed”.

A wise Theologian / Preacher once said to me “Never assume you know the meaning of a ‘therefore’ verse until you have found out what the ‘therefore’ is there for.

In this case it seems pretty clear that God is talking strictly about His Integrity, which prevents him from breaking his word concerning what he promised Jacob.

Gen 35:9 “And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.

While there are seed of Jacob after him, God will continue to keep his word.

In effect God is saying to the son’s of Jacob that the only reason they are not cut off and destroyed is because God had made a promise to Jacob to which God was remaining true, despite the fact that Jacob’s children by no means deserved such honorable behavior from God. (That is why God is referred to as being gracious. Grace being defined as unwarranted favor.)

This verse is by no means a, totally out of context, attempt by God to get across to the entire human race his absolute ‘immutability’. To read that intent into the statement is a violation of the obvious context of the verse in it's setting.

By all means choose some other verse to prove the immutability of God. Who knows it may indeed be true, but this one certainly does not prove it at all. Even read ‘literally’ in context it does not pretend to be a statement of 'the existential nature of God'. It is merely a claim by God to a faultlessly reliable character regarding the keeping of his word.

How many times should God have said it?

Well, as it happens, once only and in the specific context of pointing out that he always keeps his word to man.

Well, in principle it has been affirmed many times in scripture in other words.

Well, then let’s discuss those many other places then.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever if that applies to Jesus.

That may literally apply to the risen and glorified Christ but it certainly didn’t literally apply to a foetus which changed into an infant who changed into a man who changed into a corpse which changed back into a living man who changed into something else which we don’t quite know how to describe in words because we don’t yet know exactly what that will be.

1 Cor.15:52, “ . . . . the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Changed into whatever He is now. Which implies that it is different from what went before. Which implies 'change'. That is not the kind of thing Greek Gods were ever capable of doing if they were truly 'immutable' i.e. completely unable to 'change'.

1 John 3:2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. i.e. As He is now, which will be somewhat different than as He was on earth. see Rev. 1:13-20.

It is the character of Jesus which is changeless, not everything about him including his appearance, as would be the case if he were 'immutable'.

I'll stand with God, not any rabbi disagreeing with the Malachi statement, which is truth.

You are misguidedly certain on two counts here.

First, you can’t be certain that what you understand God to have meant by what he said is actually what God meant by saying it. So you with your opinion might not be ‘standing with God‘ in fact it might turn out that your opinion was ignorantly misrepresenting the whole meaning of what God said when he said it. We will have to wait until the Great White throne to get a definitive judgement on that matter though.

Secondly, although the statement is presumably a ‘truthful’ statement since it comes from God, you are overstepping your authority in declaring that your opinion is what God means by that statement as if your opinion necessarily represents ‘the truth’. Your opinion of what it actually means might not turn out to be 'the truth', as I have already pointed out in my first comment.

Their irritation over God who abandoned them the past 2,500 years needed to be changeable. God didn't accommodate them, so they turn now to philosophies their elders rejected by the 2nd century.

I think you will find that your view is diametrically opposed to Paul’s Apostolic view on the matter of whether The Jews have been ‘abandoned’ by God. His position was that they are only temporarily set aside 'for your sake'.

‘As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for the sake of the Gentiles’. Rom. 11:28. ‘But as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers’.

Which ties in perfectly with Mal. 3:6 "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed". So unless God has actually 'changed' from when he said that, the sons of Jacob, so long as any remain, are still not consumed, to this day, and for ever, are they!

A grafted in shoot is no more secure than the original branches which were pruned out from the root. Beware that you do not jeopardize your relationship with God by touching ‘the apple of his eye’. Zech. 2:8.

In one of his books he supported the notion one does not need to be Jewish to know God or truth or to attain salvation.

He might have a point, don't you think? You are clearly not Jewish but you seem to claim to know a lot about God, truth and exactly how to obtain salvation. It would seem that you, a Gentile, adequately prove his point.


Regards Chris.

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rdrcofe: May 9, 2012, 12:28 PM
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Re: [rdrcofe] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Smile

Watch out for those Jewish deceptions. I can read the Bible and have the Holy Spirit teaching me about those words. I have not used a single commentary so far other than quote back your use of commentary.

“For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed”.


The Hebrew says "that I Yahweh not alter and·you(p) sons-of Jacob
not you(p)-are-finished"

KJV says
For I am the Lord (it is God speaking)

I change not (how God was and is and will be)

therefore (and it follows)

you descendants of Jacob are not consumed

Any other fact relevant to sons of Jacob and promises from God would also apply since God won't change, though perhaps not all fulfillments at the same time. At that moment Malachi was chastening the returning exiles who questioned basically "Where was God in all that" like some folks did that survived the 911 attack in NYC.

It remains true regardless of the application of the moment that
God is Lord-Yahweh
He changes not regardless of what Israel had to say
and because He is like that they would not be wiped out, though they deserved no blessing whatsoever. But because God is always the same God, they survived according to plan.
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Re: [dovegiven] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Dovegiven :

There is no logical step from the assumption that God is necessarily 'immutable' i.e. incapable of 'change' to the proposition that God can therefore not 'wipe out' those who deserve it.

Therefore I will continue to believe that God is referring to the dependability of his character, his trustworthiness, not his existential being. There is nothing whatever in the context of this verse to indicate that it was God's intention to define his existential nature rather than his dependable character.

Proposition A. For I am the Lord, I change not;

leads logically to proposition B. therefore (and it follows), you descendants of Jacob are not consumed.

You are trying to suggest that the fact the sons of Jacob were not consumed was because God is 'immutable' i.e. cannot change.

There is no logic to that argument.

The only argument which fits the context is that which goes. God had given his word to Jacob. It was a promise that Jacobs seed would inherit etc. therefore God did not destroy them just because they no longer deserved to receive the inheritance. It is God's word that is referred to as unchanging in this verse, not necessarily God's whole existential nature. This verse does not allow that inference to be drawn unless it is wrenched entirely out of it's context.

Regards Chris.
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Re: [dovegiven] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Err I hate to tell you this but it is not Yahweh There is not such letter "W" in the Hebrew

The spelling would be YHVH no W.
Bless the Lord, the Blessed One
Power, Honor and Glory to His Name

Chaplain Dave
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Re: [rdrcofe] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Chris, It seems that you and I agree on this. So if you would I'd like to move on and ask what your thoughts are on predestination are.
Or has that subject been brought here. There are several arguments for and against this. would like some food for thought in this area.
Bless the Lord, the Blessed One
Power, Honor and Glory to His Name

Chaplain Dave
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Re: [chaplaindave] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Dave, we Americans like to spell names the way they sound or make better sense. If I tried communicating in Hebrew around here people would think I was spitting on them Shocked The same goes for the popular name "Jesus", though some of our Hispanic neighbors complicate that with saying something like "Heyzoos".

If using the W offends you I'll stop. Just say the word.

Actually these two posts of ours are technically off topic. As for a topic about predestination, you can start a new topic to launch that. If you mostly want to make statements or give opinions without debate, then choose an area outside of Apologetics, like in General Topics or way down in the Theology section. If you want a private discussion with Chris, then the PM feature is good. Otherwise, whatever is said in Apologetics is subject to debate. Maybe Sarah will see this and fix anything I am saying wrong. Enjoy the forums!
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dovegiven: May 9, 2012, 2:11 PM
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Re: [rdrcofe] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
There is no logical step from the assumption that God is necessarily 'immutable' i.e. incapable of 'change' to the proposition that God can therefore not 'wipe out' those who deserve it.

Simplifying this, you read me in an odd fashion. God was indicating to them He is the same God of Jacob as theirs today and for ever, nothing had changed. Even the words of the previous prophets warning Israel and Judah of pending defeat by Babylon had to stand true and unalterable, in fact fulfilled. All along from Jacob until Malachi's day God had plenty of reason to let the Jews be wiped out. Notice the word "let" I prefer to use there. I doubt there was a time when insufficient enemies existed to accomplish their total destruction in a day. All He would have to do is let it happen. But those promises kept God involved on their behalf. He can't lie. Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; Hummmm. Another unchangeable.
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dovegiven: May 10, 2012, 2:13 PM
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Re: [dovegiven] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Brother no offense but I am a little for a lack of a better word or it escapes me, strict when it comes to the
Personal Name of God being YHVH. I do not however go so far as to write G-d as some do sometimes I will use the word
Has hem or Adonai as is to be said.

Though we do not know the pronunciation of the sacred name you can rest assured that the letters YHVH derive from the Hebrew verb
"To Be" (hayah).

Just saying!
Bless the Lord, the Blessed One
Power, Honor and Glory to His Name

Chaplain Dave
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Re: [chaplaindave] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
I think I remember hearing in a Hebrew class many years ago the reason the pronunciation isn't "known" is the name derived from "Paleo Hebrew", having fewer letter symbols and no recorded vowels included in text. Without some vowels it is impossible to speak many words in most languages, especially this one name. At best one would have to have spoken that name from reading the ancient text and knowing how to sound it out combining the four sounds, then perhaps memorizing the pronunciation, which escaped memory.
"Our sacred literature does not use obscure language, but describes most things in words clearly indicating their meaning. Therefore it is necessary at all times to delve into the literal meaning of words to achieve complete understanding of what is actually meant."
--Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) from http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/

Chaplain Dave, you might find of great interest this description of ancient Hebrew "pictures" compared to modern Hebrew characters. The ancient alphabet characters each had a specific sound, not recording vowels or consonants like we do with English so as to modify a word. http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/...ah.htm#_Toc319855915
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Re: [rdrcofe] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
It is God's word that is referred to as unchanging in this verse, not necessarily God's whole existential nature.

The word was with God in the beginning, was given to men, and will be the basis of judgment of men in the end. John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Jesus spoke what the Father said to him. That requires the very nature of God to remain unchanged at least until that end. He can't possibly exist apart from His word, which is established from eternity past to what God says is "for ever".
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Re: [dovegiven] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Jim, I found the ancienthebrew.org site VERY interesting. Thanks for posting that.
Blessings ~ Sarah
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Re: [praizeop2] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Great! While reading there it will help to also keep in mind the various sets of rules for translators for each version of the Bible. All sets vary from those for the KJV listed at http://www.kjvonly.org/other/kj_instructs.htm to result in notable textual differences. Mr Benner, head of AHRC, explains how "impossible" it is for any one translator to completely translate ancient Hebrew scriptures, that is as true for Jewish Hebrew scholars as it is for the best of Christian scholars who are expert in Hebrew. Today we have a complete union of knowledge from a huge base of experts, the original meanings of ancient Hebrew as written in the oldest known Hebrew manuscripts are well known. Even so, like the 47primary KJV translators did, translators consult every known expert that will cooperate, getting a wide perspective of word meanings. Unfortunately some modern versions were recently published that had rules allowing translation influenced by personal moral and societal beliefs that are contrary to God's holiness.

In all the many translations, the massive investment of lives for many centuries has done mankind an invaluable services. Even so, with the "leg work" done many times over, it is fascinating and helpful to understand and have ever greater confidence in the word of God we read from a Bible by knowing this basic information about ancient Hebrew. It is of course important to know the history and changes of each version before taking it as accurate.

No person "must" have the knowledge such as given at the AHRC site to understand the Bible. Like the men that first wrote the scriptures down, the same Holy Spirit that guided them will guide His children through the scriptures, revealing the meaning of it all, according to how open our eyes are to truth. Keep in mind God has not yet removed the spiritual veil from Jews in general, as well as from unconverted Gentiles (non-Jews), as revealed by the apostle Paul. God does that when the Father calls and the called is appointed to respond to Christ. Jews will still generally try to dissuade people from following Christ, or make that no better than following any other religion, if they are active Jews and engaged in promoting Judaism, so let's take this knowledge with a bite of Holy Spirit wisdom.

My wish is for all caring to study these things to realize why God chose that Hebrew language to initiate His word to the world in a manner immune to significant change. It is a manifestation of His IMMUTABILITY. He knew there would be multiple meanings available for the words, but being God was and still is able to preserve His message through the ages by many means. The Greek and Arabic language used for the New Testament letters similarly prevented loss of meaning of the words because we have ample manuscripts from the past to document any changes in those languages.
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Re: [dovegiven] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Thank You as a student of Biblical Hebrew I like to check out all the information that I can get a hold of. There is more than a ton of it out there.

Here is a thought. The name of God was told to Moses by God so Moses new His name. Moses told Aaron who became the priest of he people.
This then was passed down to his sons and so on. So where was the correct pronunciation lost?
Was it lost during captivity in Babylon?

Just a thought!
Bless the Lord, the Blessed One
Power, Honor and Glory to His Name

Chaplain Dave
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Re: [chaplaindave] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
Maybe Moses, when he witnessed the sins of the people concerning that golden calf while he received that precious pronunciation, he took that name to his grave.

I would rather think that name couldn't be uttered by human lips, but perhaps by a hummingbird that visited us last summer, or perhaps a pure crystal of gold still in it's mother load vein hidden from men, untouched for the making of the throne of Jesus when He comes back to rule a thousand years in obedience to that majestic name of all names. Selah.
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Re: [dovegiven] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
His eternal name is so holy men should not attempt to utter it until sin is put under His feet. I am overwhelmed about this. It is worship time for me.
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Re: [chaplaindave] Is God immutable? Has God, (in scripture) ever 'changed'? In reply to
[quote chaplaindave: Quote"Here is a thought. The name of God was told to Moses by God so Moses new His name. Moses told Aaron who became the priest of he people.
This then was passed down to his sons and so on. So where was the correct pronunciation lost?
Was it lost during captivity in Babylon?"[/quote]Just wondering....or was it lost because, over the centuries....the 'traditions of man' crept in....and grew.....along with various superstitions....to where they paid 'lip-service' to 'honoring God's Name'.....and thus, in a show of piety....lost the actual pronunciation?

Similar to all the 'traditions' that grew in the fertile soil of the early centuries in what became the RC church....to the point where they utterly obscured what Jesus and His Apostles ACTUALLY said and taught....and replaced it with imaginary myths....about Mary....about so much else.

Blessings,Smile