Bible Studies/mercy

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Question
Hello Mr Gade:

         I was wondering if some of the evil in the world, which is "Humanly," induced is allowed due to the fact that God has mercy on the sinners who are hurting others: Hitler and his armies, Stalin and his army,etc.

         Thank you

Answer
Pete,

Again I must apologize for the delay.  I have been having some connection problems with my computer.

Your question is one that I've wondered about and sought an answer to for quite some time, that is:  how much control does God use in human history.  We know that He does protect His children by changing circumstance around us. And even though He allows some unpleasant things to happen in our lives, He makes all these things work for our advantage.

In dealing with those who have chosen to be His enemies there are some accounts in the Bible which clearly say that He allows them to live in their sinful way for an allotted time which is decided by Him alone.

An example of this is in His conversation with Abraham.  He tells him that his descendants will inherit the "promised land" but...  there will be a delay before this time wherein his descendants will be slaves in a foreign land for 400 years:

Gen 15:4-16
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir." 5 And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
7 And he said to him, "I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chalde'ans, to give you this land to possess." 8 But he said, "O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" 9 He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in two, and laid each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, "Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; 14 but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." RSV

Notice the reason for this unpleasant delay for God's "chosen people".  The Amorites who built and owned the promised land would not reach the point of being so evil that God would allow the nation of  Israel to dispossess them until 400 years later.  

God is so "Just" that He gives even the enemies of His children a "grace" period before He intervenes....even though it seems to be at the expense of those He has called to be His own children.  

And notice v.14. about the "great possessions".  
In Exodus 15: 33-36  we are told that Moses told the people to ask the Egyptians for food, clothing and riches the night before they left. The Egyptians complied and the Bible says "they plundered" the Egyptians.

God's ways are certainly not our ways.  The passage which says this is talking about the "mercy" of God.  We can't really understand the extent of it.  We remain rather confused because instead of just believing that man was originally created in Gods' image, we often think of God as being in OUR image., that is: just like us.

I hope this helps and I would welcome your views on the matter.

Dean  

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Dean Gade

Expertise

I can answer questions concerning the translating of specific words and translations of the New Testament. I can give the etemology of Greek words, primarily in the Koine Greek, but also in Classical Greek. I can also give explanations of much of the Bible having read it many times and written many Bible studies.

Experience

I studied Greek in earning my BA at a university and my DTh. and MDiv. at an accredited seminary. I was a diviity student at both the university and seminary, spending most of those eight years studying the Bible.

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