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Bible Insights

Job’s Conclusion

A common lament of Job throughout the story bearing his name is his begging God to answer his pleas. However, it seems that Job (and his friends) are too busy talking to give God a chance. When God does respond, Job’s friends are rebuffed, and Job’s righteousness is affirmed.

Now we can read Job’s conclusion to the entire matter.

Job’s brief reply to God’s discourse is humble and contrite. After acknowledging God’s complete knowledge (omniscience) and total power (omnipotence), Job unabashedly admits:

“I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” This is Job’s conclusion to his ordeal. May we follow his example.

With all of our knowledge and assumed understanding of God and his ways, I think that Job’s words are more often an appropriate and accurate posture then for us to assuredly spout our religious opinions (theology) as if they were fact.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Job 40-42, and today’s post is on Job 42:3.]

Discover more about Job in Peter’s book I Hope in Him: 40 Insights about Moving from Despair to Deliverance through the Life of Job. In it, we compare the text of Job to a modern screenplay.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

The Mystery of God

If We Can Fully Understand God, Then He’s Not a Very Great God

Some people are confused when they hear about Jesus or read the Bible. Because they don’t fully understand everything, they dismiss him, waiting until everything makes sense. It never will. At least not during our existence here on earth. This is the mystery of God.

Though I want to comprehend everything the Bible says, I know I never will. But that doesn’t mean I should stop trying. In the same way I want to fully know everything about God. Yet in my lifetime, I never will, but I will persist in pursuing him and drawing closer to him each day for the rest of my life.

In many respects, God is a mystery to us. And, for me, the mystery of God thrills me. It’s an allure that attracts me, that draws me to him.

He is the creator, and we are his created. Who are we to presume that we can ever fully comprehend an all-powerful, all-knowing, and always present deity who lives outside of the space-time reality he created for us? See Isaiah 29:16.

Here are some things Scripture says about the mystery of God:

Accept Our Position

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? (Job 11:7, NIV), but then consider 1 Corinthians 4:1.

Love Others More Than Knowledge

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing,” (1 Corinthians 13:2, NIV).

Know the Mystery

“He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:9-10, NIV). Also see Ephesians 3:2-5 and Colossians 2:2.

Declare the Long-Hidden Mystery

“We declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began” (1 Corinthians 2:7, NIV). Also see Colossians 1:25-27, Ephesians 3:8-9, and Romans 16:24-27.

Let Everyone Hear the Mystery

“This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6, NIV). Also see Romans 11:25-26.

Pray for Missionaries of This Mystery

“Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3, NIV). Also see Ephesians 6:19-20.

Utter the Mysteries

“For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2, NIV).

Embrace the Mystery of Jesus and His Church

“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32, NIV).

Anticipate Being Changed

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, NIV).

Look Forward to the Mystery of God Being Accomplished

“But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished” (Revelation 10:7, NIV).

We don’t need to fully comprehend the mysteries of God. Instead, we should allow them to draw us closer to him. Click To Tweet

Mystery of God

These verses are the starting point into pursuing the mystery of God. We’ll do well to contemplate what they mean and how to best move forward.

We don’t need to fully comprehend these awesome mysteries. Instead, we should allow them to draw us closer to God.

Here’s one more verse: “Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

An Example of Predestined Free Will

God Already Knows the Outcome of the Choices We Will Make

People debate the issue of free will versus predestination. That is, do we make our own decisions or has God predetermined the outcome? The answer is yes. Both have an element of truth to them. And they can comfortably coexist without being in conflict.

Consider Reading a Book

Though this analogy breaks down if we carry it too far, consider reading a book.

We read through the book chronologically, page by page. The people in the story move forward in their journey through time, minute by minute, day by day. At each step they face decisions.

Do they fight or do they flee? Do they answer with wisdom or foolishly? Do they react to external forces in a way that makes their situation better or worse?

As we read along, we see the decisions they make. We may agree or disagree with their choices. We may implore them to do the opposite of what they’re about to do: to not walk through that door, to answer their phone, or to apologize while they have the chance.

Yet at each juncture, they decide the next step on their journey. Their destiny resides with them. Their reaction to what confronts them sends them down one path or another.

In this way, we live their lives with them, decision by decision. They have free will to choose their fate. Sometimes they react well and other times they flounder.

Yet in the big picture, the book has already been written. The author knows each decision that each character will make at each juncture. The author knows the ending, and it will not change. In this sense the story proceeds as though each step, as well as the ending, was predestined.

Free Will Versus Predestination

The tension we feel between free will and predestination is one of perspective. God, who lives outside the space-time he created, gives us free will to make our own decisions. In this way, we control our destiny.

Yet viewing our lives in totality, from beginning to end, our omniscient God knows the decisions we have made and will make. In this way, just as a book already written, he knows the end that our decisions will bring us to.

Pray that we will make the right decisions to produce the best possible, God-honoring outcomes with our lives. Click To Tweet

Though this might cause us to claim that God has predestined our outcome, in truth, he simply knows the end of our story.

We can receive this understanding with resigned futility and do nothing to determine our future. Or we can embrace this as an opportunity to pray that we will make the right decisions to produce the best possible, God-honoring outcomes with our lives.

Each choice is ours, and God knows each decision we will make.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Hear Guest Peter DeHaan on the We Are Saved Podcast

Check Out This New Christian Podcast

I listen to a lot of podcasts. And I started a podcast over a decade ago. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. After a dozen or so episodes I ran out of time. Yet my interest in the medium never waned.

For me, the ideal solution is to make guest appearances on other people’s podcasts!

Check out the We Are Saved podcast. Click To Tweet

I’m honored to be a guest on the inaugural episode (episode 1) of the We Are Saved podcast, with my new friend Lyle Perez. Listen to it on iTunes or Podomatic. The whole episode is great, but if you’re short on time, my part starts about 34 minutes in.

In it I tackle two questions:

1. If God is all-knowing, does he know who will be saved and who won’t?

2. Was Moses wrong in his teaching, since Jesus came and made a lot of changes to “the Law?”

These are great questions.

Yep, I was nervous, but I had a blast!

I pray that this podcast will help many people in their walk with Jesus or their journey to him.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

The Bible Uncovers the Spiritual Realm for Us

We Get a Glimpse into the Spiritual Realm Through Scripture

We live in a physical realm. In our physical world, we experience it with our senses. We see things, touch things, and hear, taste, and smell things. Through our senses, we experience our physical reality.

However, there’s also a spiritual aspect of our existence, which embraces the spiritual realm. Though we can’t tangibly experience this spiritual reality with our senses, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Through the Bible we get a peek into the spiritual realm and can get an awareness of what that implies.

Here are some aspects of the spiritual realm that the Bible reveals to us:

Three Characteristics of God

Through the Bible we can discover three critical characteristics of God.

First, he is omnipotent, which means he’s all powerful, Almighty. Next, we see that God is omnipresent. This means God is present in all places at the same time. He is everywhere, all the time. Third, we see God as omniscient, which means all-knowing. God knows all things. everything.

These words all start with omni. Omni means all. God is all powerful, all present, and all knowing. I like to say that he’s omni God, that is, he is all, all we need. He is everything.

Three in One God

From the Bible we get the concept of God as a Trinity. In the Trinity we have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet they are one.

He is three entities, yet one entity. He’s three and one at the same time. Confusing, right? The Bible reveals this to us, and we addressed this characteristic of God in prior reasons of why I love the Bible: reason #2, #3 and #4.

Holy Spirit Power

Let’s focus for a moment on the Holy Spirit. As we’ve already covered, the Bible reveals the Holy Spirit to us. More than that, the Bible also reveals the Holy Spirit’s power.

Though we see the Holy Spirit at work throughout the Bible, he takes center stage in the book of Acts, with close to one hundred mentions. The Holy Spirit also takes part in creation, as covered in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible.

And the Holy Spirit is there as the Bible concludes, taking a central role in the last chapter of the last book. The Holy Spirit is powerful and the Holy Spirit lives in us. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit and then obey what he says.

Miracles and More

Throughout the Bible we read about miracles, of supernatural events that transcend physical realities. Some people make ineffective attempts to explain away miracles through logic, science, or reason. All attempts fall short.

Through faith, we accept the miracles we read about in the Bible as the manifestation of the reality of the spiritual realm.

Angels

The Bible reveals angels and other supernatural beings to us. These aren’t harp-playing cherubs, floating on clouds, with child-like innocence plastered on their face. These are powerful spiritual beings, created by God, who do his bidding and even battle on our behalf.

The Bible reveals that we’ll experience a new life, a spiritual life that continues after physical death. Click To Tweet

Evil

The Bible also reveals another element of the spiritual realm to us. It is Satan, the devil, he exists in the spiritual realm, yet we see evidence of his work in the physical realm. Many people imagine Satan as God’s counterpart, doing battle against each other is equal, opposing forces.

Yet the Bible reveals that Satan is an angel created by God. He later rebels against his maker. God, as creator, is more powerful than his creation. That means God is more powerful then Satan.

Though the devil enjoys a time of authority to cause havoc in our world today, in the end God will win. And he will conquer his enemy, Satan.

Life After Death

Last, the most important element of the spiritual realm that the Bible reveals to us is that we will experience a new life. This is a spiritual life that continues after physical death. Though no one is sure what our life-after-death existence will be like, the Bible reveals to us that it is real.

As followers of Jesus, we can expect to spend eternity with God in the spiritual realm. And then it will all become clear (1 Corinthians 13:12).

We are more than corporeal, so much more. We are more than just a body. Let’s not even consider our physical being first. Instead let’s begin with our spiritual being and build upon it: we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

The Bible reveals the spiritual realm to us. Though it’s hard to comprehend from our present, physical reality, the Bible gives us glimpses into it and what it means.

We must grasp this and accept it, for it is our future. And when we get there, I suspect it will be more real than the reality we currently experience in the physical realm.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

God is Omni

There are three words that are commonly used to describe God; they all begin with “omni.”

  • Omnipresent: Present everywhere simultaneously
  • Omniscient: Total knowledge; knowing everything
  • Omnipotent: Unlimited power or authority

The three “omni” words reveal truth about God’s character and nature. The prefix “omni” means all, so these words tell us that God is all present, all knowing, and all powerful.

  • If God is present everywhere, then that means he is also right now with you and with me.
  • If God knows everything, then that means that he also knows you and me—personally, completely, and totally.
  • If God is all powerful, then that means he has the power, authority, and ability to answer our prayers.

God’s “omni” nature surely provides something us something to ponder.

[For more thoughts, see my posts in The Bible Blog: Omni God, The Implications of Omnipresence, The Implications of Omniscience, and The Implications of Omnipotence.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Implications of Omniscience

The entry “Omni God” mentioned that God is “omniscient.” This means that he has total knowledge, knowing everything.

This is a huge and all-encompassing thought that God knows everything about everything everywhere. It is grand and a bit overwhelming.

Embedded in this idea that God knows all things, is the reality that he also knows me—and he knows you. He knows all there is to know about us, including the things we keep to ourselves and even the things about us that we are unaware of.

God knows all things. Click To Tweet

He knows us individually, in every detail, totally and completely.

It is true that God’s omniscience is huge and all-encompassing, but it also means that he knows us fully and intimately.

God may know all, but he also knows me—and you!

[Also see “The Implications of Omnipresence” and “The Implications of Omnipotence” and for other similar considerations.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Omni God

Omni God

There are three words that are commonly used to describe God; they all begin with “omni.”

Omnipresent

Present everywhere simultaneously

Omnipotent

Unlimited power or authority

Omniscient

Total knowledge; knowing everything

The prefix “omni” means all, so the three “omni” words that reveal God’s character and nature, succinctly tell us that

God is all present, all powerful, and all knowing.

God’s “omni” nature surely provides something us something to ponder.

In some translations of the Bible, the word omnipotent is found in Revelation 19:6, but most versions use the word “almighty” instead.  Almighty, in referring to God’s character, occurs hundreds of times in the Bible. 

The other two “omni” words are not directly found in the Bible, but are implied.  Omnipresent is described in Jeremiah 23:23-24 and Proverbs 15:3, among others, while  Omniscient is described in Matthew 6:32, Romans 8:27, 1 John 3:20 and others.

Also see “The Implications of Omnipresence,” “The Implications of Omniscience,” and “The Implications of Omnipotence” for more thoughts on this.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.