What the Bible Teaches



Chapter 35

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035.000.000       Torrey: no


   This chapter explains some concepts of general theology. The Topics do not necessarily apply to the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit of the Bible.

   None of the terms defined in this chapter refers to a specific religion or denomination except 'triune deity' and Replacement Theology.

   If you are reading this book from the beginning, you can skip this chapter initially. You will need to read about Pantheism for Chapter 40 and Deism for Chapter 50.

   Philosophers and those who study comparative religion have studied the concept of a divine being in the abstract. Various religions have different concepts of divine being(s). Christianity is monotheistic, not polytheistic, non-pantheistic and non-deistic. Those abstract concepts will now be explained, in preparation for a discussion of the omnipresence and personality of God.

   In this chapter 'God' refers to the God of Judaism and Christianity, whereas 'god' refers to either (a) the concept of a divine being in the abstract, e.g. "a god is superior to man", or (b) the being(s) worshipped by any non- Judeo-Christian religions.

035.012.000       Torrey: no
Topic 12:   Heresy

   Heresy means false doctrine, or false teachings.

035.012.012       Torrey: no
POINT 12:   Heresy can result from an intention to mislead.

   A teaching can be false because the teacher knows it to be false and wants to mislead his listeners.

035.012.022       Torrey: no
POINT 22:   Heresy can result from good-faith mistake.

   Many modern Christians don't like to discuss religion with non-Christians because "I know the person is sincere about his religion." A false teaching done or believed in good faith is still a false teaching.

035.012.032       Torrey: no
POINT 32:   Heresy can result from misunderstanding or misinterpreting valid doctrine.


   The Bible teaches that those who are not saved will be destroyed. Many Christians wrongly interpret this as "cease to exist."

   As discussed in the chapter "The Future Destiny of Unbelievers" (Torrey: p307, T:VIII, P:"Destruction":1), this term means that something is ruined to the point where it cannot serve the purpose for which it was designed.

035.012.042       Torrey: no
POINT 42:   Some doctrines heretical to Christianity.

   Some concepts discussed in this chapter are considered heresy by Judeo-Christianity, e.g.:

   (a) Deism.    Christian doctrine: God gets involved in the affairs of man. He led the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 12:51), parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), and tumbled the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:20).

   (b) Polytheism    Christian doctrine: the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the only God.

   (c) Pantheism    Christian doctrine: God has always existed. He created Heaven and Earth. He is distinct from that which He created.

   (d) Replacement Theology    Christian doctrine: In Genesis 17:7 God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham.

   (e) Universalism    Christian doctrine: God doesn't lie. He said He hates sin and those who do not accept Jesus will be condemned to continual torment. He meant exactly what He said.

   (f) Reincarnation    Christian doctrine:   Hebrews 9:27- 28 [27] Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, [28] so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

035.022.000       Torrey: no
Topic 22:   Blasphemy

   Blasphemy means to speak of god in an impious manner.


   Jesus and St. Stephen were condemned because each said that Jesus was God. The Pharisees considered it blasphemy to claim someone is the equal of God.

      John 5:18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

      John 10:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

      John 19:7 The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."

035.032.000       Torrey: no
Topic 32:   Prophesy: future history divinely revealed.

   Prophecy is future history revealed by God in advance. In other words, the events prophesied have already happened -- they just haven't happened yet. Prophecy is different from fortune-telling, 'predicting the future', clairvoyance, or 'psychic predictions' because only prophecy is divinely-inspired. Any predictions that are not divinely-inspired are not prophecy.

   Prophecy is a direct revelation from God, communicated through a man. It is a gift from God, not a power or ability the man possesses. A true prophet cannot prophesy whenever he wishes or on any subject he wishes, e.g., which horse will win a particular race or what the price of a particular stock will be in six months. A true prophet can only prophesy the things that God reveals to him.

035.042.000       Torrey: no
Topic 42:   The source of basic law.

035.042.012       Torrey: no
POINT 12:   Basic laws: laws involving moral issues.

   There is a difference between 'basic' law and 'mundane' law. Basic law has to do with issues of morality, e.g., is abortion wrong. Mundane law has to do with everyday affairs, e.g., highway speed limits.

035.042.014       Torrey: no
POINT 14:   Legal system: rules governing behavior, handed down by a governing authority.

   A "legal system" is a set of rules intended to encourage certain types of behavior and discourage other types of behavior. It is decreed by a governing authority such as a legislature or a military governor. On the other hand, rules set by an entity that lacks governing authority are not a "legal system"; an example is a set of corporate by-laws.

035.042.016       Torrey: no
POINT 16:   God's legal systems.

   Because God is a governing authority, each of the following qualifies as a legal system or part of one:

   (a)   The Decalog (the Ten Commandments)    (b)   The entire set of Old Testament commandments (613)    (c)   The changes by Jesus during His life on Earth

035.042.018       Torrey: no
POINT 18:   Jurisprudence: the philosophy of law.

   All legal systems have certain common traits. Hence, certain analytical concepts can be applied to every legal system, even God's legal systems. The study of the philosophy of law is called jurisprudence.

035.052.000       Torrey: p27
Topic 52:   Deism: god doesn't get involved.

   Deism describes the relationship between a god and his creation. A deistic god creates a universe and puts into it all the necessary powers of self-action and development. He sets it going, and then he sits back and watches passively.

035.062.000       Torrey: no
Topic 62:   Monotheism: one god

   Monotheism deals with the nature of god. A monotheistic religion believes that there is one god. The opposite is polytheism, which believes that there are two or more gods.

035.072.000       Torrey: no
Topic 72:   Polytheism: multiple gods

   Polytheism is the opposite of monotheism. A polytheistic religion believes that there is more than one god.


   A prime example of modern polytheism is Mormonism. This religion claims to be a Christian denomination and uses the name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." It claims to believe in the Bible, Jehovah, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. However, regarding the nature of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Mormon religion preached "these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods." Mormonism is really a polytheistic religion, and hence, not Christian.

035.082.000       Torrey: no
Topic 82:   Triune deity: One God consisting of three persons.

035.082.012       Torrey: no
POINT 12:   'Triune' explained

   The concept of a 'triune' deity deals with the nature of God. Christianity believes there is a single God consisting of three distinct persons. This 'three-in-one' concept is termed 'triune': 'tri' meaning 'three' and 'une' meaning 'one'.

035.082.022       Torrey: no
POINT 22:   Unique to Christianity.

   Christianity is unique in that it believes there is only one God, but that God consists of three distinct persons.


   The Koran, the scripture of the Moslem (also spelled "Muslim") religion, says that Jesus was not God and is not divine. Hence, Islam does not believe in the triune deity. In the Koran, a chapter is called "sura."

      Sura 4:157 (Koran) "But they killed him [Jesus] not nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them. They killed him not. Nay, God raised him up unto himself."

   In other words, the Koran teaches that Christ was not crucified or killed by some other means. God raised him directly up into Heaven, as He did with Elijah and Enoch.

      Sura 5:75 (Koran) "They do blaspheme who say God is Christ, the Son of Mary."

      Sura 5:78 (Koran) "Christ, the Son of Mary, was no more than an apostle."

   Some Christians erroneously believe that Allah, the god worshipped by Moslems, is simply Jehovah under another name. Consider, e.g. the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, expressly approved in writing by Pope John Paul II. Point 841 reads:

   "The Church's relationship with the Muslims. 'The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.'" (italics in the original)

035.082.032       Torrey: no
POINT 32:   Triunity is not polytheistic.

   Three persons in one God is not the same as three separate gods, just as three persons in one family is not three separate families.

      Mark 12:28 ... "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one."

035.092.000       Torrey: p25
Topic 92:   Pantheism : god is the universe and the universe is god.

   The Judeo-Christian God is omnipresent. This conception of God's location must be balanced by the conception of God as a person, a distinct entity. Otherwise we run into the heresy known as pantheism, i.e., the belief that god is not only everywhere and in everything, but that god is everything and everything is god. A pantheist believes that god has no existence separate from that which he created.

   Pantheism is a perception of a god's nature. Religions that worship 'Nature', 'Mother Earth', 'the Universe', etc., are pantheistic.

035.102.000       Torrey: no
Topic 102:   Replacement Theology: Jesus broke Jehovah's covenant

035.102.012       Torrey: no
POINT 12:   Replacement Theology claims that Jesus cancelled (set aside) God's covenant with Israel.

   This assertion in based on Hebrews 10:9 Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. Hebrews 10:9 New American Bible reads ... In other words, he takes away the first covenant to establish the second.

      Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.

   This excerpt is often interpreted as meaning that the covenant with the Jews was torn up by the crucifixion of Jesus.

035.102.022       Torrey: no
POINT 22:   God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham.

      Genesis 17:7-8 [7] I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. [8] The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.

035.102.032       Torrey: no
POINT 32:   The tearing of the curtain destroyed the separation imposed in the Old Testament.

   In the Old Testament, the Temple was divided into three sections. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, where God would visibly manifest Himself. The Holy of Holies was separated from the Inner Court by the curtain. Only Temple priests could enter the Inner Court, and only Jews could enter the Outer Court.

   When the curtain was torn in Matthew 27:51, God tore away that which separated Him from His people. Christ's death opened the way to salvation for all men, both Jew and Gentile; it tore down the curtain between Jew and Gentile forever.

035.112.000       Torrey: p39, T:III
Topic 112:   Universalism: Everyone will be saved

   Universalism can be summed up simply: "God is telling the truth about the existence of Heaven, but He is lying about Hell. Everyone will be saved, regardless of what they have done, and whether they repent or not."

   A similar view is "Okay, perhaps God will condemn the absolute worst sinners, such as Adolph Hitler, but He'll let most unrepentant sinners into Heaven."

   There is a fundamental flaw in this logic: if God will lie about Hell, why should we believe Him about Heaven? Why not assume He is lying about Heaven, but telling the truth about Hell?

      Leviticus 20:14 New American Bible If a man marries a woman and her mother also, the man and the two women as well shall be burned to death for their shameful conduct, so that such shamefulness may not be found among you.

   Leviticus, Chapter 20 contains a long list of crimes punishable by death. Leviticus 20:14 is the only section that specifies death by fire, a particularly horribly painful way to die. Anyone who can read that chapter and still believe God isn't telling the truth about Hell is simply fooling himself.

      2 Peter 2:4-9 [4] For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; [5] if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; [6] if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; [7] and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men [8] (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) -- [9] if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

035.122.000       Torrey: no
Topic 122:   Reincarnation: Souls repeatedly obtain new bodies.

   Many non-Christian religions espouse reincarnation, the belief that after a creature dies its soul goes into another creature, usually at the birth of that creature. When the second creature dies, the soul moves on to a third creature, and so on. Some religions teach that the type of new creature and the events the new creature will face are determined by the karma the previous creature accumulated, i.e., there is a supernatural 'record book' of good and bad deed that follows the soul from one life to the next. Some religions teach that souls can ultimately make up for all sins they have ever committed and that when they do they reach Nirvana, i.e., they cease to exist.

   A common 'proof' of reincarnation is past-life regression, usually done with hypnotic regression, an application of hypnosis in which a person is mentally regressed to an earlier period in his life. Under hypnosis, he recalls events in detail and can relive the events as they occurred, including the emotions, pain, etc.

   The early 1950's bestseller The Search for Bridey Murphy describes how an amateur dabbling in hypnosis decided to try regressing someone back to the womb. When he was successful, he tried to regress the person even further, to see what would happen. The person described an earlier life, in great detail, detail the person could not possibly have known. Since the early 1980's, this technique has become quite popular.

   The Bible provides an alternative explanation for the phenomenon of alleged past lives: contact with 'familiar spirits', a polite word for demons. Such activity goes under many names, some old, some new: spiritism, sorcery, shamanism, spirit guides, witchcraft, channelling, mediums, 'remote viewing', 'scientific' remote viewing, fortune-telling, wizardry. Such contact with the spirit world is so hateful to God that in Leviticus he declares:

      Leviticus 20:27 A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.

      Leviticus 19:31 Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.

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