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Old 07-05-2010, 01:04 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
5,302 posts, read 5,436,179 times
Reputation: 420

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I am a Preterist, and although my thoughts in this study reveal this, the themes are still orthodox, and in complete consistency with the Holy Writ. As we are aware, at least those here who study on a regular basis the Holy Scriptures, know that Eschatology is a system of interpreting the latter days, an is not to be confused and infused with salvific soteriology, and therefore has no logical connection to Universalism. The problem with Universalism rises out of some individuals’ erroneous assumptions concerning the corporate nature of sin and salvation as these in turn are applied to eschatology, but have nothing to do with eschatology itself. It is not Eschatology or Soteriology that should be abandoned, but universal soterioogical eschatology and the notion of imputed Adamic guilt.

The law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. It was merely the outward and visible form temporarily added to God’s moral and spiritual law to show man his sinfulness. Removal of the Old Testament took away only the outward form, but left the inward substance of the law wholly in tack. Murder, theft, fornication, and adultery were sinful and reckoned against man before the Mosaic law, and they are sinful today. All men are bound to obey the law’s commands, including the church. When saints sin by violating these commands, heaven sees and is wroth, and will punish that sin, just as it punished Adam’s sin, unless forgiveness is sought and obtained through prayer and repentance. Therefore, annulment of the Mosaic law cannot have brought about man’s regeneration as covenant eschatology supposes, for the simple fact that the moral precepts underlying the Mosaic law remain till this very day, bringing all men into bondage (for all men sin), which bondage is remitted only by the blood of Christ.

Sin was not defeated by annulment of the “old aeon of the law,” but by the cross of Christ. Christ’s cross triumphed over the law and is fully sufficient for man’s salvation; his substitutionary death paid the debt man could not pay. (Col. 2:14) Sin was not defeated because the old aeon of the law passed; just the opposite: the old aeon of the law passed because sin was defeated! Hence, it is was not necessary that the law be removed for sin to be defeated or man to receive spiritual resurrection as Universalists assert. Indeed, as we have seen, except for the ceremonial and other incidental parts, the law still exists in Israel and around the globe today amongst the practitioners of Judaism!

Except for the shadow being replaced by its substance, passage of the Mosaic law was soteriologically irrelevant...it was a school master to bring us to Christ, but was invested with no special power in terms of sin and death that the moral law which exists today does not possess. The only difference between this side of the cross and that is the offer of forgiveness provided in Christ, which the old law foreshadowed, but could not provide. The removal of the Mosaic law did not work a resurrection of any kind or description whatever; its removal did nothing toward acquitting man, or if it did, then Universalism is the only result, for the law was removed for all men, not just the church. The conclusion of the matter is that soteriological eschatology is inherently Universalistic and must be rejected. It is an impoverished system, invented by men and women who have followed its logical ramifications to Universalism, and are now settled in that camp.

Universalism deals with man’s salvation at a corporate, rather than individual, level.
Mankind is saved as a body, not as he individually exercises his moral faculty of faith, repents of sin, and is baptized.

There are five kinds of death that can be identified in the Bible.
1) Moral/spiritual
2) Legal/juridical
3) Physical
4) Hadean
5) Eternal/second death.

All of these exist today except Hadean death according to me, as a Preterist, and should also for futurist, in the future. Moral and spiritual death speak to man’s fallen nature, inherited by physical descent from Adam. Man is not condemned for his carnal nature unless and until he attains to an age moral accountability and obeys his sinful inclinations.
There is no such thing as imputed guilt.
Not even Calvin taught imputed guilt.
The idea of imputed Adamic guilt was added later.

Infants…suffer not for another's, but for their own defect.
Calvin, Institutes II

Each perishes for his own sin, not the sin of another.
Robert L. Danby, Systematic Theology

Legal and juridical death are terms used to describe the sentence of death passed upon all who sin. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. The moral faculty of faith tied to man’s conscience requires that he obey its dictates. Where he acts in violation of his conscience or the command of God, he is guilty of sin and comes under juridical death, just like Adam. Physical death requires no explanation. Eternal death is the penalty for sin announced in the garden. All who are guilty of sin and fail to obtain the salvation that is freely offered in Jesus will suffer the second, eternal death. Only Hadean death was destroyed at the eschaton of the end times.

And the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18) “I am he that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hades and of death.” (Rev. 1:18) “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting, O Hades, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:54, 55)
It was Hadean death that was destroyed at the eschaton, and none else.

Some will ask what about juridical death? Isn't that destroyed at the eschaton? No, it was not. As long as mankind endures, he will be carnal, sold under sin, and therefore subject to juridical death for the sins of his flesh. If he has not obeyed the gospel at the time of physical death, there is only one decree announced: eternal death. Thus, all forms of death but Hadean remain today. Hadean death alone as passed from existence and is no more, or will pass, in the New Heavens and New earth. The place that holds/held the saints captive from eternal life with God, would be forever more vanquished from all levels of existence.

Revelation 21:4 describes the holy city, new Jerusalem (the church) saying: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This passage is adapted from Isaiah, where it describes the return of the captivity to Judah, but ultimately looks beyond the captivity’s return unto the kingdom of the Messiah. (Isa. 35:9, 10; 65:19-25) When Revelation says there will be no more death, this should not be taken in an absolute sense. This is clear from the fact that it also says there will be no more sorrow, crying, or pain. Since these are still a very real and permanent part of human existence this side of eternity, it seems clear that the statement is intended to be understood in a relative sense. The trials and tribulations of the eschaton were over; death, sorrow, and crying associated with the saints' persecution is past. That this is the intended meaning is also seen from Rev. 7:16, 17 where similar language is used to describe those that came through the great tribulation. It is often assumed that the image is of the saints in heaven, but the consistent view is that it speaks to the church triumphant upon earth:

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

It is true, of course, that inside the city believers have access to the tree of life and, therefore, there is no more juridical death for those that remain in covenant relation with God. However, those outside, are destined to certain death. The images of the New heavens, New Earth, and New Jerusalem in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 are believed by many to represent man’s heavenly home or the eternal state upon a new material creation. The New Jerusalem symbolically describes the covenantal habitation of the saints under the gospel of Jesus Christ. Under the New Covenant, those who obey the gospel by repentance and baptism are acquitted from sin and made sons of God through Christ. As sons, we have citizenship and inheritance in Heaven. (Eph. 2:19; Col. 3:20) We have been translated in contemplation of law from the dominion of sin to the kingdom of God’s dear Son. (Col. 1:13) We enjoy the legal benefits of adoption and sonship now and are presented legally justified before the throne by and through the agency of Christ. (Eph. 2:5, 6; cross ref. Heb. 9:24) However, we are not actually in Heaven, nor has Heaven come down to earth. Our spiritual life is eternal with Christ and the whole arrangement is legal and contractual, binding and certain as we walk by His light, and at physical death, we are blessed to be the recipients of everything Christ paid for, and we had faith in. Eternal life.

But is is those that are without:

...the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

No Universal Salvation from Death for all mankind.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:18 AM
 
Location: Florida
5,261 posts, read 6,423,150 times
Reputation: 841
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciotamicks View Post
I am a Preterist, and although my thoughts in this study reveal this, the themes are still orthodox, and in complete consistency with the Holy Writ. As we are aware, at least those here who study on a regular basis the Holy Scriptures, know that Eschatology is a system of interpreting the latter days, an is not to be confused and infused with salvific soteriology, and therefore has no logical connection to Universalism. The problem with Universalism rises out of some individuals’ erroneous assumptions concerning the corporate nature of sin and salvation as these in turn are applied to eschatology, but have nothing to do with eschatology itself. It is not Eschatology or Soteriology that should be abandoned, but universal soterioogical eschatology and the notion of imputed Adamic guilt.

The law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. It was merely the outward and visible form temporarily added to God’s moral and spiritual law to show man his sinfulness. Removal of the Old Testament took away only the outward form, but left the inward substance of the law wholly in tack. Murder, theft, fornication, and adultery were sinful and reckoned against man before the Mosaic law, and they are sinful today. All men are bound to obey the law’s commands, including the church. When saints sin by violating these commands, heaven sees and is wroth, and will punish that sin, just as it punished Adam’s sin, unless forgiveness is sought and obtained through prayer and repentance. Therefore, annulment of the Mosaic law cannot have brought about man’s regeneration as covenant eschatology supposes, for the simple fact that the moral precepts underlying the Mosaic law remain till this very day, bringing all men into bondage (for all men sin), which bondage is remitted only by the blood of Christ.

Sin was not defeated by annulment of the “old aeon of the law,” but by the cross of Christ. Christ’s cross triumphed over the law and is fully sufficient for man’s salvation; his substitutionary death paid the debt man could not pay. (Col. 2:14) Sin was not defeated because the old aeon of the law passed; just the opposite: the old aeon of the law passed because sin was defeated! Hence, it is was not necessary that the law be removed for sin to be defeated or man to receive spiritual resurrection as Universalists assert. Indeed, as we have seen, except for the ceremonial and other incidental parts, the law still exists in Israel and around the globe today amongst the practitioners of Judaism!

Except for the shadow being replaced by its substance, passage of the Mosaic law was soteriologically irrelevant...it was a school master to bring us to Christ, but was invested with no special power in terms of sin and death that the moral law which exists today does not possess. The only difference between this side of the cross and that is the offer of forgiveness provided in Christ, which the old law foreshadowed, but could not provide. The removal of the Mosaic law did not work a resurrection of any kind or description whatever; its removal did nothing toward acquitting man, or if it did, then Universalism is the only result, for the law was removed for all men, not just the church. The conclusion of the matter is that soteriological eschatology is inherently Universalistic and must be rejected. It is an impoverished system, invented by men and women who have followed its logical ramifications to Universalism, and are now settled in that camp.

Universalism deals with man’s salvation at a corporate, rather than individual, level.
Mankind is saved as a body, not as he individually exercises his moral faculty of faith, repents of sin, and is baptized.

There are five kinds of death that can be identified in the Bible.
1) Moral/spiritual
2) Legal/juridical
3) Physical
4) Hadean
5) Eternal/second death.

All of these exist today except Hadean death according to me, as a Preterist, and should also for futurist, in the future. Moral and spiritual death speak to man’s fallen nature, inherited by physical descent from Adam. Man is not condemned for his carnal nature unless and until he attains to an age moral accountability and obeys his sinful inclinations.
There is no such thing as imputed guilt.
Not even Calvin taught imputed guilt.
The idea of imputed Adamic guilt was added later.

Infants…suffer not for another's, but for their own defect.
Calvin, Institutes II

Each perishes for his own sin, not the sin of another.
Robert L. Danby, Systematic Theology

Legal and juridical death are terms used to describe the sentence of death passed upon all who sin. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. The moral faculty of faith tied to man’s conscience requires that he obey its dictates. Where he acts in violation of his conscience or the command of God, he is guilty of sin and comes under juridical death, just like Adam. Physical death requires no explanation. Eternal death is the penalty for sin announced in the garden. All who are guilty of sin and fail to obtain the salvation that is freely offered in Jesus will suffer the second, eternal death. Only Hadean death was destroyed at the eschaton of the end times.

And the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18) “I am he that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hades and of death.” (Rev. 1:18) “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting, O Hades, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:54, 55)
It was Hadean death that was destroyed at the eschaton, and none else.

Some will ask what about juridical death? Isn't that destroyed at the eschaton? No, it was not. As long as mankind endures, he will be carnal, sold under sin, and therefore subject to juridical death for the sins of his flesh. If he has not obeyed the gospel at the time of physical death, there is only one decree announced: eternal death. Thus, all forms of death but Hadean remain today. Hadean death alone as passed from existence and is no more, or will pass, in the New Heavens and New earth. The place that holds/held the saints captive from eternal life with God, would be forever more vanquished from all levels of existence.

Revelation 21:4 describes the holy city, new Jerusalem (the church) saying: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This passage is adapted from Isaiah, where it describes the return of the captivity to Judah, but ultimately looks beyond the captivity’s return unto the kingdom of the Messiah. (Isa. 35:9, 10; 65:19-25) When Revelation says there will be no more death, this should not be taken in an absolute sense. This is clear from the fact that it also says there will be no more sorrow, crying, or pain. Since these are still a very real and permanent part of human existence this side of eternity, it seems clear that the statement is intended to be understood in a relative sense. The trials and tribulations of the eschaton were over; death, sorrow, and crying associated with the saints' persecution is past. That this is the intended meaning is also seen from Rev. 7:16, 17 where similar language is used to describe those that came through the great tribulation. It is often assumed that the image is of the saints in heaven, but the consistent view is that it speaks to the church triumphant upon earth:

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

It is true, of course, that inside the city believers have access to the tree of life and, therefore, there is no more juridical death for those that remain in covenant relation with God. However, those outside, are destined to certain death. The images of the New heavens, New Earth, and New Jerusalem in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 are believed by many to represent man’s heavenly home or the eternal state upon a new material creation. The New Jerusalem symbolically describes the covenantal habitation of the saints under the gospel of Jesus Christ. Under the New Covenant, those who obey the gospel by repentance and baptism are acquitted from sin and made sons of God through Christ. As sons, we have citizenship and inheritance in Heaven. (Eph. 2:19; Col. 3:20) We have been translated in contemplation of law from the dominion of sin to the kingdom of God’s dear Son. (Col. 1:13) We enjoy the legal benefits of adoption and sonship now and are presented legally justified before the throne by and through the agency of Christ. (Eph. 2:5, 6; cross ref. Heb. 9:24) However, we are not actually in Heaven, nor has Heaven come down to earth. Our spiritual life is eternal with Christ and the whole arrangement is legal and contractual, binding and certain as we walk by His light, and at physical death, we are blessed to be the recipients of everything Christ paid for, and we had faith in. Eternal life.

But is is those that are without:

...the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

No Universal Salvation from Death for all mankind.
Amen!
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:45 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
3,381 posts, read 3,492,262 times
Reputation: 438
The paragraphs below are just a few TINY pieces from a VERY long series: Hell Part E - L. Ray Smith


GOD'S ELECT MUST DIE THE SECOND DEATH IN FIRE

OPTION ONE is for the wicked world: "For if you live after the flesh, you shall DIE..." Not only will they die, because "it is appointed to men once to die" (Heb. 9:27).But after they die, they will then come up in the resurrection to judgment, which is the "lake of fire/second death" (Rev. 20:13-14).

OPTION TWO is for God's Elect: "...but if you through the Spirit do mortify [kill, put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:13). Therefore, in the resurrection, "...you shall not be hurt of the second death" (Rev. 2:11). "...and he that has part in the first resurrection on such the second death has no power" (Rev. 20:6).

We would do well to review lessons we learned in the "Lake of Fire" Installment 3, Judgment by Fire Must Begin at the House of God, and Installment 6, The Two Judgments by FIRE, and Installment 16, D-3, The Sermon on the Mount is for YOU. Recapping quickly:
*Jesus taught that "Gehenna fire" is first applicable to US, His Disciples & Elect:
"But I say unto you [Christ's disciples, the Elect, YOU, right now] ...shall be in danger of Gehenna fire" (Matt. 5:22).
"And if thy right eye offend you [the eye of a disciple, any true follower of Jesus Christ] ...thy whole body [body of His disciples, that's us] should be cast into Gehenna" (Verse 29-30).
*He said this fire was "...already kindled" during His ministry (Luke 12:49).
Jesus comes to us as a Comforter, but also as a Refiner. All the symbolic, spiritual fires of Scripture are the same fire. The fire of Gehenna, eonian fire, unquenchable fire, furnace of fire, salted with fire, fire already kindled, God's consuming fire, chaff burning fire, tares burning fire, fiery trials, ministry of flaming fire, and lake of fire are all the same spiritual consuming fire of God. And they all accomplish the same thing--THEY PURIFY!
"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when He appears? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness" (Mal. 3:2-3).
Notice that Jesus is returning to purify the sons of Levi--not Levi, but Levi's sons. Just who are these sons of Levi that Jesus will purge when He comes?
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:22 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
5,302 posts, read 5,436,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herefornow View Post
Notice that Jesus is returning to purify the sons of Levi--not Levi, but Levi's sons. Just who are these sons of Levi that Jesus will purge when He comes?
Your point is?

Malachi 3 (NKJV) "Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the LORD of hosts. 2 "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire And like launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness

Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.

Sons of Levi...Pharisees.

The expressions of "a refiner’s fire" and "fullers’ soap" are to be interpreted as distinctly judgmental in nature, likewise, the phrases, "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver." John the Baptist alluded to this reference as the Pharisees approached his baptism of repentance....

Matthew 3:7-8 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

The Pharisees were approaching John’s baptism with hypocrisy and guile, not with true repentance. John was, therefore, admonishing them to prove their repentant hearts by bringing forth fruit in their lives that demonstrated a true humility and sorrow before the living God who was going to bring judgment on their generation through the Roman armies. The Pharisees conducted themselves exactly as was prophesied in Malachi 3:5. This is evident by the frequent references by the Lord Jesus Himself and the N.T. writers: Notice the comparison between Malachi and the N.T. fulfillments and admonishments:

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 4:1 For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch.

Purged Levitical Priestly order of Israel from the wicked only to leave pure gold and silver left.
Remnant as the priests and kings, under the order of Christ....the High Priest.
Paul was one of them. He was from the purified camp. He was as pure as gold and silver. A Chaste Virgin.

In Deut. 28-30 we have the law of blessings and cursing. IF you obey, life will be good. If you break my covenant, I will judge you. Israel broke the covenant as we have seen; and because they broke the covenant, God was going to judge them....

Leviticus 26:25 (NKJV) And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant; when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.

There were punitive elements of the Old Covenant which were said to take place at the coming of the Lord in Malachi 3....John the Baptist was the voice opening the way for Christ to do just that....at the cross.....and at His Parousia....the sons of Levi have nothing to do with all men.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:23 AM
 
1,883 posts, read 2,558,969 times
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As I said in another post,one's view of God determines one's view of what the scriptures say about hell,and whether you explain away the verses that say people go to an eternal hell,or whether you explain away the verses that say Christ saves all.People that see God as all loving are forced to find some explanation for the ET verses.Then there are others for whom the idea of a God who would send people to hell forever holds no problems,and these folks seem to have no issues with the idea of an eternal hell for most of mankind.

People can judge for themselves which side is more Christlike and compassionate.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:18 AM
 
Location: New England
32,238 posts, read 21,119,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifertexan View Post

People can judge for themselves which side is more Christlike and compassionate.
Amen and it's not that difficult to recognize when you have even tasted just a little of the incessant love he has for us.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:42 AM
 
1,897 posts, read 1,771,789 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifertexan View Post
As I said in another post,one's view of God determines one's view of what the scriptures say about hell,and whether you explain away the verses that say people go to an eternal hell,or whether you explain away the verses that say Christ saves all.People that see God as all loving are forced to find some explanation for the ET verses.Then there are others for whom the idea of a God who would send people to hell forever holds no problems,and these folks seem to have no issues with the idea of an eternal hell for most of mankind.

People can judge for themselves which side is more Christlike and compassionate.
So true! After we believe IN God, we should determine what we believe ABOUT Him, because that will effect our interpretation of scripture and the relationship we build with Him. What your answer is to the question, "Who do you say I am?" is very important. I'll let God the Father reveal that to me instead of man, just like Peter did. How many times on this forum have we been told that only man's interpretation of scripture can tell us who He is and that we are somehow secular, mystical, new-age nuts if we think God will reveal something to us? That's not what Jesus said!
Matthew 16:
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ,[b] the Son of the living God." 17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Italy
6,387 posts, read 5,290,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifertexan View Post
As I said in another post,one's view of God determines one's view of what the scriptures say about hell,and whether you explain away the verses that say people go to an eternal hell,or whether you explain away the verses that say Christ saves all.People that see God as all loving are forced to find some explanation for the ET verses.Then there are others for whom the idea of a God who would send people to hell forever holds no problems,and these folks seem to have no issues with the idea of an eternal hell for most of mankind.

People can judge for themselves which side is more Christlike and compassionate.
Nice!

Blessings,
brian
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:17 AM
 
5,925 posts, read 5,840,451 times
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Quote:
No Universal Salvation Form Death for All Mankind

No, you are gonna die just like the rest of us. So what?
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Florida
5,965 posts, read 5,763,184 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bright Hope for Tomorrow View Post
So true! After we believe IN God, we should determine what we believe ABOUT Him, because that will effect our interpretation of scripture and the relationship we build with Him. What your answer is to the question, "Who do you say I am?" is very important. I'll let God the Father reveal that to me instead of man, just like Peter did. How many times on this forum have we been told that only man's interpretation of scripture can tell us who He is and that we are somehow secular, mystical, new-age nuts if we think God will reveal something to us? That's not what Jesus said!
Matthew 16:
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ,[b] the Son of the living God." 17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
Lesson: God reveals himself to whom He will, whenever He will. The wind blows wherever it will - you can't see where it comes from or where it is going - the same thing with the Spirit of God. All illustrations of God's complete sovereignty over every detail of the salvation of mankind.

Peace
Heartsong
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