In this post I respond to some of the typical objections raised against specific Marian doctrines such as Mary’s perpetual virginity, immaculate conception of sinlessness, and mediation. Unless noted otherwise, scriptural citations will be from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
BROTHERS/SISTERS AS A SYNONYM FOR RELATIVES
Here are cases where the words for brothers and sisters are paralleled with or synonymous to cousins/relatives:
“Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man learn these things, and what is this wisdom that has been given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are His sisters not here with us?’ And they took offense at Him.Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not dishonored except in his hometown and among his own relatives, and in his own household.’” Mark 6:1-4
“For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:3-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
“Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot.Haran died during the lifetime of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans.Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.Sarai was unable to conceive; she did not have a child. Now Terah took his son Abram, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they departed together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran and settled there.The days of Terah were 205 years; and Terah died in Haran.” Genesis 11:27-32
“So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.’” Genesis 13:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
“Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.” Genesis 14:10-14 NKJV
Note that Abraham and Lot are called brothers even though the latter was Abraham’s nephew, his brother’s own son.
FIRSTBORN AS A STATUS, NOT A NUMBER
Some assume that Mary must have other children due to the fact that Jesus is said to be her firstborn son:
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
Contrary to this assertion, both the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament employ this term in cases where the emphasis is on the unique position of the child, to his preeminent status, either due to his being the heir and/or sign of his father’s virility. It does not necessarily refer to his being the oldest sibling in a family:
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the firstborn of every womb among the sons of Israel, among people and animals alike; it belongs to Me.’… Now when the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you, you shall devote to the Lord every firstborn of a womb, and every firstborn offspring of an animal that you own; the males belong to the Lord. But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn among your sons you shall redeem. And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.And it came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord put to death every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human firstborns to animal firstborns. Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord the males, every firstborn of a womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16
“Now the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel; so he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright. Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph), the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were Hanoch and Pallu, and Hezron and Carmi.” 1 Chronicles 5:1-3
“Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found My servant David; With My holy oil I have anointed him,’ … He will call to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 I will also make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.” Psalm 89:19-20, 26-27
David was neither the first human king, not even of Israel since Saul preceded him, nor was he the eldest son of his father Jesse. He was actually the youngest of eight sons. Clearly then, David was God’s firstborn in terms of his status/preeminence, not in relation to his order among other siblings.
Furthermore, since believers are Jesus’ spiritual brothers/sisters this makes Mary their spiritual mother:
“Now beside the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So when Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.’” John 19:25-27
“Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”’” John 20:17
“saying, ‘I will proclaim Your name to My brothers, In the midst of the assembly I will sing Your praise.’ And again, ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.’” Hebrews 2:12-13
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was pregnant and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven crowns. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and hurled them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her Child. And she gave birth to a Son, a male, who is going to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne… So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 12:1-5, 17
So there is a sense in which Mary did have other children after Jesus was born, albeit spiritual offspring and not seed which she begat in a physical procreative manner.
GREEK HEOS, HEOS HOU, HEOS HOUTOU
It is claimed that Matthew 1:25 proves that Joseph had marital relations with Mary after she gave birth. This is based on a particular Greek participle:
“And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until (heos hou) she gave birth to a Son; and he named Him Jesus.” Matthew 1:24-25
The problem with this argument is that there is nothing in the word which implies a necessary change in the situation or circumstance once the stipulated period comes to pass or has been terminated. The main point of the preposition is not on whether the situation changes, but on emphasizing that the action or condition remains the same up until the stipulated period of time. Here is a list of cases where the preposition heos and its various forms are used in contexts where the condition or situation did not change once the stipulated period came to pass:
“In his days shall righteousness spring up; and abundance of peace till (heos hou) the moon be removed.” Psalm 71:7 LXX
Does this text imply that righteousness will cease after the moon is removed in the new heavens and earth? (Cf. Revelation 21:23-25)
“The reasoning of our father Eleazar, like a first-rate pilot, steering the vessel of piety in the sea of passions, and flouted by the threats of the tyrant, and overwhelmed with the breakers of torture, in no way shifted the rudder of piety till (heos hou) it sailed into the harbour of victory over death.” 4 Maccabees 7:1-3
Would anyone assume that Eleazar only remained pious up until he died, but that after death he then became impious?
“Now when several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea, paying their respects to Festus. And while they were spending many days there, Festus presented Paul’s case to the king, saying, ‘There is a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix; and when I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. I replied to them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any person before the accused meets his accusers face to face, and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges. So after they had assembled here, I did not delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered that the man be brought. When the accusers stood up, they did not begin bringing any charges against him of crimes that I suspected, but they simply had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive. And being at a loss how to investigate such matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these matters. But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered that he be kept in custody until (heos hou) I send him to Caesar.’” Acts 25:13-21
Should we assume that Festus released Paul from custody and let him go after sending him off to Caesar?
Here are other examples where the specific term heos appears without any change in the condition or circumstances:
“And David returned to bless his house. And Melchol the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and saluted him, and said, How was the king of Israel glorified to-day, who was to-day uncovered in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the dancers wantonly uncovers himself! And David said to Melchol, I will dance before the Lord. Blessed [be] the Lord who chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to make me head over his people, even over Israel: therefore I will play, and dance before the Lord. And I will again uncover myself thus, and I will be vile in thine eyes, and with the maid-servants by whom thou saidst that I was not had in honour. And Melchol the daughter of Saul had no child till (heos) the day of her death.” 2 Samuel 6:20-23 LXX
Does this mean that Michal had children after she died?
“teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to (heos) the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Who would think that after the end of the age Jesus will cease to be with his followers, thereby abandoning them altogether?
“then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to our God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until (heos) He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is clear that this excludes the Father who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
Does anyone think that the inspired Apostle is really suggesting that Jesus will stop reigning as King after Christ’s last enemy is destroyed, when the Holy Bible affirms that the Son reigns forever and ever? (Cf. Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 1:32-33; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 11:15; 22:1-3)
“Until (heos) I come, give your attention to the public reading, to exhortation, and teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:13
This means that Timothy and the Christians were to stop devoting themselves to the public reading of the Scriptures once Paul arrived!
THE DIFFERENT WAYS GOD SAVES
God either can save someone from their sins or from ever sinning. It is similar to how God saves a person from death. I.e., God can save an individual from dying,
“In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Set your house in order, for you are going to die and not live.”’ Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, ‘Please, Lord, just remember how I have walked before You wholeheartedly and in truth, and have done what is good in Your sight!’ And Hezekiah wept profusely.And even before Isaiah had left the middle courtyard, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, “This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I am going to heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.And I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will save you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will protect this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”’Then Isaiah said, ‘Take a cake of figs.’ And they took it and placed it on the inflamed spot, and he recovered. Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I will go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?’Isaiah said, ‘This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will perform the word that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?’So Hezekiah said, ‘It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but have the shadow turn backward ten steps.’Then Isaiah the prophet called out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” 2 Kings 20:1-11
“This is a writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery: I said, ‘In the middle of my life I am to enter the gates of Sheol; I have been deprived of the rest of my years.’ I said, ‘I will not see the Lord, The Lord in the land of the living; I will no longer look on mankind among the inhabitants of the world. Like a shepherd’s tent my dwelling is pulled up and removed from me; As a weaver I rolled up my life. He cuts me off from the loom; From day until night You make an end of me. I composed my soul until morning. Like a lion—so He breaks all my bones, From day until night You make an end of me. Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter; I moan like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; Lord, I am oppressed, be my security. What shall I say? For He has spoken to me, and He Himself has done it; I will walk quietly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul. Lord, by these things people live, And in all these is the life of my spirit; Restore me to health and let me live! Behold, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; But You have kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have hurled all my sins behind Your back. For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness. It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today; A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness. The Lord is certain to save me; So we will play my songs on stringed instruments All the days of our life at the house of the Lord.’ Now Isaiah had said, ‘Have them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover.’ Then Hezekiah had said, ‘What is the sign that I will go up to the house of the Lord?’” Isaiah 38:9-22
“I love the Lord, because He hears My voice and my pleas. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘Please, Lord, save my life!’ Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. The Lord watches over the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, For the Lord has dealt generously with you. For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord In the land of the living.” Psalm 116:1-9
Or God can save a person from death by resurrecting him/her:
“Soon afterward Jesus went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not go on weeping.’ And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’ And the dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, ‘A great prophet has appeared among us!” and, ‘God has visited His people!’ And this report about Him spread throughout Judea and in all the surrounding region. The disciples of John also reported to him about all these things. And after summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or are we to look for another?’ When the men came to Him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, “Are You the Coming One, or are we to look for another?”’ At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. And He answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: people who were blind receive sight, people who limped walk, people with leprosy are cleansed and people who were deaf hear, dead people are raised up, and people who are poor have the gospel preached to them.’” Luke 7:11-22
“And as Jesus was returning, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. And a man named Jairus came, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began urging Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him… While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.’ But when Jesus heard this, He responded to him, ‘Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.’ When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him except Peter, John, and James, and the girl’s father and mother. Now they were all weeping and mourning for her; but He said, ‘Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.’ And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He, however, took her by the hand and spoke forcefully, saying, ‘Child, arise!’ And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He ordered that something be given her to eat.” Luke 8:40-42, 49-54
“Now a certain man was sick: Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’ But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘This sickness is not meant for death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’… This He said, and after this He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going so that I may awaken him from sleep.’ The disciples then said to Him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will come out of it.’ Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about actual sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus died, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let’s go to him.’… So then Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed in the house. Martha then said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise from the dead.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, and He who comes into the world.’… So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Remove the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’ So they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. But I knew that You always hear Me; nevertheless, because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.’ And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ Out came the man who had died, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’ John 11:1-4, 11-15, 38-44
“In the days of His humanity, He offered up both prayers and pleas with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His devout behavior.” Hebrews 5:7
“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of His suffering death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the originator of their salvation through sufferings.For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for this reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters… Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For clearly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:9-11, 14-16
“Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, that is, Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
Moreover, would anyone deny that God saves his elect angels such as Gabriel and Michael from sinning against him? Otherwise, how could any angel be pure enough to stand before God’s presence?
“Can mankind be righteous before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? He puts no trust even in His servants; And He accuses His angels of error. How much more those who live in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before the moth!” Job 4:17-19
“What is man, that he would be pure, Or he who is born of a woman, that he would be righteous? Behold, He has no trust in His holy ones, And the heavens are not pure in His sight; How much less one who is detestable and corrupt: A person who drinks malice like water!” Job 15:14-16
“How then can mankind be righteous with God? Or how can anyone who is born of woman be pure? If even the moon has no brightness And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, that maggot, And a son of man, that worm!” Job 25:4-6
“The angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.’” Luke 1:19
“I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.” 1 Timothy 5:21
HOW THE BIBLE USES THE TERM “ALL”
This brings me to my next point. Some take Romans 3:23 as proof that every individual sins against God, with the exception of Christ:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
To show the futility of such reasoning, I will cite cases where the expressions “all,” “everyone,” “none,” “world,” etc., are used in contexts that clearly do not include everything or every single person in existence.
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and ALL Jerusalem with him.” Matthew 2:1-3
“And behold, the WHOLE city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.” Matthew 8:34
“John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.And ALL the country of Judea was going out to him, and ALL the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.” Mark 1:4-5
“And they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing and ALL the people are coming to Him.’” John 3:26
“Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council meeting, and they were saying, ‘What are we doing in regard to the fact that this man is performing many signs?If we let Him go on like this, ALL the people will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take over both our place and our nation.’But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all,nor are you taking into account that it is in your best interest that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish instead.’Now he did not say this on his own, but as he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation;and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.” John 11:47-53
“So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘You see that you are not accomplishing anything; look, the world has gone after Him!’” John 12:19
“Now there were Jews residing in Jerusalem, devout men from EVERY nation under heaven… But Peter, taking his stand with the other eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this, and pay attention to my words.For these people are not drunk, as you assume, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: “‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters will prophesy, And your young men will see visions, And your old men will have dreams; And even on My male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days, And they will prophesy. And I will display wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”’” Acts 2:5, 14-21
“When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him,crying out, ‘Men of Israel, help! This is the man who instructs everyone everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides, he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place!’” Acts 21:27-28
“For we have found this man a public menace and one who stirs up dissensions among ALL the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” Acts 24:5
“At my first defense NO ONE supported me, but ALL deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:16-18
After stating that everyone has deserted him, the blessed Apostle then lists some of the individuals who remained by his side:
“Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take along Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. But I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the overcoat which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself too, for he vigorously opposed our teaching… Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus sick at Miletus. Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters.” 2 Timothy 4:9-15, 19-21
“And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’ And regarding the angels He says, ‘HE MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE.’… Are they not ALL ministering spirits, sent out to provide service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:6-7, 14
Paul may have been citing the Greek versions of Deuteronomy 32 or Psalm 97 when mentioning God’s commanding all the angels to worship his highly exalted and supremely preeminent Son:
“When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God… Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people.” Deuteronomy 32:8, 43 LXX
“Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all ye his angels… For thou art Lord most high over all the earth; thou art greatly exalted above all gods.” Psalm 96:7, 9 LXX
The reason these texts are interesting is that the angels which are mentioned refer to the gods whom the nations worship and have been enslaved to. I.e., these angels include fallen spirit creatures such as Satan and demons. And yet Paul writes that ALL, not some, of the angels are ministering servants of God.
“For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not ALL those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?” Hebrews 3:16-18
We know that not every Israelite provoked the Lord since Joshua and Caleb so pleased God that they were permitted to enter the promised land.
“And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment,” Hebrews 9:27
Despite claiming that humans are destined to die once, the inspired author himself goes on to list exceptions to this general rule:
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for before he was taken up, he was attested to have been pleasing to God.” Hebrews 11:5
“Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;” Hebrews 11:35 – Cf. Matthew 10:7-8; Luke 7:11-16, 21-22; 8:40-44, 49-55; John 11:38-44
Enoch didn’t die and those who were resurrected died twice, not once.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns; and He has a name written on Him which NO ONE knows except Himself.He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’ Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in midheaven, ‘Come, assemble for the great feast of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of ALL people, both free and slaves, and small and great.’” Revelation 19:11-18
Since Jesus is the only one who knows his name, should we therefore assume that neither the Father nor the Spirit know it?
Moreover, not everyone comes out to fight against Christ when he physically descends to judge the living and the dead. Therefore, the command to eat the flesh of all people cannot be literal.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to ALL MANKIND, because ALL sinned—for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not counted against anyone when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the violation committed by Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the gracious gift is not like the offense. For if by the offense of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one offense, resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the gracious gift arose from many offenses, resulting in justification. For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then, as through one offense the result was condemnation TO ALL MANKIND, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life TO ALL MANKIND. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the offense would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:12-19
“But the fact is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man death came, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam ALL DIE, so also in Christ ALL WILL BE MADE ALIVE. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died FOR ALL, therefore ALL DIED; and He died FOR ALL, so that those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one by the flesh; even though we have known Christ by the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
In the foregoing examples, Paul clearly states that Adam caused all people to die and sin, whereas Jesus causes all people to live since he died in the place of everyone so that their sins are not counted against them. And yet as we saw in our thirteenth example, Enoch did not die:
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for before he was taken up, he was attested to have been pleasing to God.” Hebrews 11:5
Nor will everyone live with Christ forever since many shall experience everlasting destruction and shame:
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. And those who have insight will shine like the glow of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:2-3
““For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God… The one who believes in the Son has eternal life; but the one who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:16-18, 36
“This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you indeed are suffering. For after all it is only right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us, when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These people will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified among His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—because our testimony to you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them; and they were judged, each one of them according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
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