Board index Specific Bible verses, texts, and passages Jonah

Re: If God could forgive Ninevites's sins without a sacrific

Postby Alt Kon » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:43 am

> The problem with your exegesis is that nahem in Jon. 3.10 refers to God, not to the Ninevites. The text says that the Ninevites "turned" (shoob) from their evil ways. From what we know of Assyrian religious practice, their action was one of appeasement, not repentance. There is no mention in the text of a religious renewal, but only of responding to a perceived omen to avoid the destructive consequence prophesied.

Ah, you're right. That's an even stronger concept of repentance.

> At least one significant (and game-changing) difference between Nineveh and Christianity is that the Ninevites were seeking appeasement for their own sins, whereas in Christianity God himself atones for our sins since it's impossible for us to atone for them ourselves. The action of the Ninevites was to reverse an omen of negative consequence to escape the destruction. In Christianity, atonement is primarily a substitution. Our sin has broken the relationship with God, and the substitution serves to restore that relationship. Christ's death is a sacrificial ransom for our sins to allow us to be restored in relationship to God.

God himself? I thought it was the son of God? That is also begotten and somehow eternal. Also, you're not polytheists. Or so you claim at least.

> You're right that it appeases (propitiation) the wrath of God, but atonement is so much more. It is sacrifice, covering, penal substitution, propitiation, ransom, and reconciliation. To speak of it as solely appeasement is incomplete.

Precisely. Appeasement. But why aren't you accountable before you other two Gods? Why don't you need to appease their wrath? And you shouldn't be too confident. I don't see any trinitarians in the kingdom, do you?

And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father– to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:6

The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Revelation 3:12
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Re: If God could forgive Ninevites's sins without a sacrific

Postby jimwalton » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:44 am

> Ah, you're right. That's an even stronger concept of repentance.

Shoob is a weaker concept of repentance. Shoob is indicative of a return or turn around, as someone might change directions in the road. Nahem is more an emphasis on regret and sorrow.

> God himself? I thought it was the son of God?

Same being, though separate persons. 1 Timothy 4.10; 1 Jn. 4.14.

> Precisely. Appeasement.

Hmm. You conveniently ignored "But atonement is so much more [than appeasement]: sacrifice, covering, penal substitution, propitiation, random, and reconciliation. So, not *precisely* appeasement. Appeasement is one section of a very large pie.

> But why aren't you accountable before you other two Gods?

Each person of the Godhead has their unique functions and roles.

> Revelation 1.6

No debate here. God is the Father and God of Jesus. Jesus makes the same statement in Jn. 20.17. You also read Rom. 15.6. Of course it's blatantly obvious that Jesus never puts himself on the same plane as any other human. It's always "My Father" or "your Father," but never "Our Father." So also it's "My God" and "your God," but never "our God." Jesus has a unique relationship with God, not a human one. He is the eternal Son of the Father, one in essence but different in person (Jn. 1.1; 10.30). These themes go through the entire Gospel.

> Rev. 3.12

Same thing. The Godhead share the same principle of divine essence but differ in their divine actions. There is one God who exists in three persons.
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Re: If God could forgive Ninevites's sins without a sacrific

Postby Proxy » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:42 pm

It’s the same Greek word used for “repent” all throughout the NT, including Acts 2:38 (“Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Ghost”). Sure it means to “express remorse and turning in a different direction” but that’s precisely what true repentance is. That’s what the Ninevites did, and that’s what every Christian does when they receive salvation.

> He wants a greater response out of the people than Jonah got out of the Ninevites.

No. The whole point of the reference is to get the SAME response out of the people as Jonah got out of the Ninevites. When he says he’s greater than Jonah, he’s making a point that he deserves their repentance that much more.
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Re: If God could forgive Ninevites's sins without a sacrific

Postby jimwalton » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:08 pm

> It’s the same Greek word used for “repent” all throughout the NT

Of course it is. It's the Greek word for "repent." But the Hebrew word for repent is *nahem,* and that's not the word used of the Ninevites. The Hebrew word used for the Ninevites, שָׁבוּ (*shoob*), means "turn around." This is also one of the meanings of metanoia. Terms have to be interpreted according to their context. If I say I love pizza and also that I love my spouse, I don't mean the same thing by those terms, even though you could claim, "Every time you talk about your spouse you use that same word 'love'. You're right, I do, but I still don't mean the same thing as when I use it to describe pizza. We have to be thinking people as we read the Scriptures.

> That’s what the Ninevites did, and that’s what every Christian does when they receive salvation.

As I've said many times, there's no evidence that's what the Ninevites did. The evidence to the contrary is stronger.

> No. The whole point of the reference is to get the SAME response out of the people as Jonah got out of the Ninevites. When he says he’s greater than Jonah, he’s making a point that he deserves their repentance that much more.

Jesus is observing that the religious leaders of his day are being even more blind and obstinate than the Assyrians of Nineveh. They were seeing greater evidences than the Ninevites did, and yet they were entrenched in their false thinking and misguided understandings. And yet they were Jews! Jesus's point is that even sheer pagans had enough eyesight to know when they were on the wrong course. If they could recognize it, these Jewish leaders had no excuse. They wanted some kind of boffo miracle to blow them away. Jesus says that hearing the truth should be "boffo" enough.

Jonah preached against them a message of impending doom, which is what Jesus is doing here. The sign of Jonah was that their sin had brought God's judgment.

> The whole point of the reference is to get the SAME response out of the people as Jonah got out of the Ninevites. When he says he’s greater than Jonah, he’s making a point that he deserves their repentance that much more.

What Jesus wants is for the leaders to turn away from their spiritual blindness, see that He is the Messiah sent from God, and come to him in faith. To do that they have to respond to his message, repent from their sins, believe in him and follow him. These are all very different from the situation of the Assyrian Ninevites. But even they knew to do what they did to appease God. These Jewish leaders know so much more, and even more will be shown to them (Jesus's resurrection). You're right that he deserves their repentance that much more.
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Re: If God could forgive Ninevites's sins without a sacrific

Postby Proxy » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:21 pm

> As I've said many times, there's no evidence that's what the Ninevites did. The evidence to the contrary is stronger.

I’m a bit confused here. You’re right that the word “repent” isn’t used in the OT text. But Jesus directly said they repented. And you acknowledged that it’s the same word used for repent all across the NT. Do you simply disagree with Jesus?
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Re: If God could forgive Ninevites's sins without a sacrific

Postby jimwalton » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:43 am

Let me try to clear up your confusion, although I have already spoken to this issue. I'll take another stab at it.

The word Jesus used is μετενόησαν. Here's the key piece for you: This word has more than one meaning. The primary meaning of the term is "make a turn in the opposite direction." It can be used in very common ways, like when you forget your stuff and go back into the house to get it. It can also be used of mental changes, like when you change your mind about something. It can also be used of an emotional change, when you feel remorse about something and decide to make a change. It can also be used of spiritual changes, when you repent and turn away from sin.

So what is Jesus saying about the Ninevites? He could easily be saying they made a turn in their attitude, just like the Old Testament Hebrew word says. The translators choose to translate it "repented." We imbue that term with religious meaning and say it's a spiritual conversion. But the term is far more basic than that, and really just speaks of a 180º turn.

So do I disagree with Jesus? Of course not. But maybe he meant it the way the Hebrew meant it, and not the way you are taking it. The Hebrew word shoob speaks of a turning. So does μετενόησαν. We don't need to read religious conversion into the term to accept it from Jesus's lips.


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