Was Hitler chosen by God?

According to Romans 13:1, yes, Hitler was chosen by God. And so is every arrogant, ruthless, uncaring, immoral and awful leader like him, because the “authorities that exist have been established by God.” And the reason God puts them in power is “to do you good” (verse 4).

It explains why Peter told Christians to “Honour the king” in 1 Peter 2:17, because anyone in power is an instrument of God for our benefit. And that would have included Nero, the Roman Emperor at the time of Peter’s writing, who not only had his mother and first wife killed, he also blamed Christians for the fire that gutted Rome’s city centre.

How, then, can putting such a despicable man in power do any good?

We have an answer from a despicable man just like Nero (and Hitler). His name was Nebuchadnezzar, a tyrant of a man who killed 100,000 Jews and deported the rest to slavery in Babylon. But God had good reason for putting such a man in power, to punish the Jews for their consistent unfaithfulness, idolatry and disobedience (Jeremiah 25:9).

But God had an even greater reason for choosing Nebuchadnezzar. He chose him as a lesson to all budding or residing leaders, that they’re only in their position of power by God’s permission and for God’s use and purpose, and he can rip them out of power any time he likes, or reduce them, as he did Nebuchadnezzar, to a crawling animal eating grass. And God made sure Nebuchadnezzar got that point for the sake of all leaders of all nations after him. And here is that point from Nebuchadnezzar’s own mouth in Daniel 4:27, that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he will, and sets over it the lowliest of men.”

Nebuchadnezzar recognized three things, that God is the ruling government on this planet, God is the one who puts people into power and removes them, and God has perfectly good reasons for the people he puts in power, even the most despicable or “lowliest” ones.

Nebuchadnezzar, therefore, was used by God to establish the rules of the game for leaders who are in power or seek power. For all Nebuchadnezzar’s tyranny God used him to expose the ultimate good for all aspiring and sitting leaders, and that is to recognize the supremacy of God. Most leaders probably won’t take Nebuchadnezzar’s experience or advice seriously, which God knows, but he chooses them anyway to show what happens when leaders don’t recognize God’s supremacy.

As Christians, meanwhile, we can relax and trust that God knows exactly what he’s doing, no matter how bad things get.

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Is there anything we can agree with God on?

God says he created the world, but we say, “No, he didn’t, the world just happened.” God says he made humans, but we say, “No he didn’t, humans evolved.” God says he made humans in his own image. “No he didn’t,” we yell, “humans are just advanced apes.” God says he has a wonderful plan for us, but we say, “Rubbish, life is all about survival of the fittest.” And God says he loves us, but that’s rubbish too we say, because “Even if he does exist why does he let us suffer?”

We really are a disagreeable lot, aren’t we? Anything God says, we challenge it. We moan about teenagers thinking they know everything, but God’s got billions of teenagers on his hands and more being born every day. And he allows it. He allows us to thumb our noses at him, snort in derision, become toffee-nosed professors who go on and on about the stupidity of believing in God, and he lets us carry on as if our own brains are the ultimate source of all knowledge and wisdom.

Is there anything, therefore, that we might possibly agree with God on? Well, God did say in Romans 8:24 (King James Version) that we are “saved by hope.” And who could disagree with that? Rich or poor, healthy or sick, we all live in hope. Hope is what keeps us functioning in a crazy world. Hope is what gets us up in the morning, hopeful that something good will happen that makes life worth living. Hope is what drives the young to make a future, despite the lack of fulfilling jobs and the expense of living. Hope is what keeps people wanting to live, despite their desperate circumstances in poverty, terminal illness and refugee camps. Without hope what have we got?

Well, we have a world that shows us what we’ve got. We’ve got people riddled with depression and anxiety, and a host of other mental problems. We’ve got young folk in the prime of life committing suicide. We have talented people in politics, business and entertainment addicted to petty lives of exploiting and lying, because in their minds there’s nothing else to live for other than what you can get out of people for your own ends today. But all these things are understandable in a world where hope of a better life for everyone seems ever more like a pipe dream.

But it isn’t a pipe dream, God says, he’s always had a great life in mind for humans. But have we ever stopped being disagreeable enough to find out what he meant and how to go about it?

Will these tragedies never end?

No, awful tragedies on our planet will not end until God has pronounced judgment on every god that holds us in its grip and we are free at last. It’s nothing new, he’s done it before, when he freed Israel from Egypt. Ten tragic plagues later, the grip Egypt held over Israel was broken, but the purpose of the plagues wasn’t to punish the Egyptians, it was “to bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt,” Exodus 12:12. It was their gods he was aiming at, not the people.

There may be some element of punishment on us in the tragedies that occur, to wake us up to our helplessness in ruling this planet without his guidance, but God’s main purpose in the awful things happening is to “destroy all dominion, authority and power” on this planet and “put all his enemies under his feet,” 1 Corinthians 15:24-25.

Are we the enemies he’s talking about? No. We’ve acted like his enemies and been stupidly arrogant in our resistance to him, but it’s never been his plan to destroy us. He sent Jesus to rescue us, not punish us. And is it our “dominion, authority and power” he’s destroying? No, because he’s the one who puts people in power and gives them authority (Romans 13:1-2). Our leaders may do a horrible job of ruling, but they’re not God’s enemies.

God’s enemies are those crafty hidden powers that conceal the truth about him. He made that clear in the book of Genesis, when he actually created a crafty creature to reveal what these hidden powers are up to. He warned Israel too, before they entered Canaan, about the gods they would encounter that would endlessly try to draw the Israelites away from him. It’s these hidden powers that deceive us that are God’s enemies.

So how do all these tragedies going on in our world right now release us from their grip? Well, every tragedy that happens is revealing a god we’ve been taken in by. When a tragic shooting occurs it shatters the god that makes us think we’re all knowing. Everyone asks, “Why?” Why would someone do such a horrible thing? And no one can figure it out. It’s beyond us. And when floods, fires and hurricanes take a terrible toll on human lives they shatter the gods that make us think we’re in control. We’ve been made to think we’re indestructible, so who needs God, but in fact we are very fragile.

Tragedies, therefore, are shattering the gods that make us think we are secure in our own strength and ability. And God will keep shattering these gods until we are free of them all at last.

Is homosexual love really love?

Homosexuals ask a good question, which is: “How can there be anything wrong or harmful or even religiously offensive in our relationship as same-sex couples, when we love each other?” What on earth is wrong with love? Surely, love is what Christians believe in too.

But it’s love according to what, or whose, definition? And that’s a good question too, because there are a lot of definitions of love floating around. You hear of men, for instance, who say they love their wives while openly flirting with other women and even having affairs with them. I imagine these men think they really are in love, with both the women they’re flirting with and their wives as well, but on whose definition of love are they operating by? And would it matter to these men if their wives hate what they’re doing and don’t think it’s love at all? Oh, but it is love, these men say, and they are utterly convinced of it too. But is it really love?

And what about the girls who end up pregnant because of boys who said to them, “If you love me you’ll have sex with me.” In the boy’s mind, and maybe even the girl’s mind too, it seems like a fair definition of love, but where did they get that idea from in the first place? And did either of them consider the risk of pregnancy or give a thought for the children who might be born? Oh, but we love each other, they say, and that’s all that matters. But is it really love?

But if we reply to these kids, “No it isn’t love at all,” and they shout back, “Who says?”- then what do we say? And that’s a good question too, isn’t it, because on what authority are we basing our own definition of love in return? We say it isn’t love what these kids are doing, or what husbands with roving eyes are doing, but what do we say next if they disagree? To whom or to what do we now turn to prove or demonstrate which definition of love is correct?

And that’s our problem, isn’t it? We’re all stuck in a culture that demands the right to make up its own definitions. But on what are those definitions based? On changing fads? On minority group demands? On what some people say is love and we’d all better agree – or else?

And some people even dare to say that God would approve of their love, when it’s clear from the Bible that their definition of love is not his at all. What does he really say is love, then?

Must we attend church?

There is no evidence anywhere in Scripture that church attendance in a church building is required for the proper worship of God. One has to wonder, then, why so much money has been spent on building churches to meet in, especially when Acts 7:48 and 17:24 both say, “the most High does not dwell in temples made with (human) hands.”

On the other hand, doesn’t Hebrews 10:25 say we should “not give up meeting together”? And how can you do that without a building, especially in the middle of winter?

But when the church began in Acts 2 there were no official buildings for that first crop of Christians to meet in. And the Holy Spirit didn’t tell them to build or rent a building either. What the Holy Spirit did inspire was the desire to meet together, in the true spirit of Hebrews 10:25, so meeting together was important all right, but how did they do it without a building?

Well, according to Acts 2:46 they met in “the temple courts,” none of which were enclosed buildings. Solomon’s Porch, their most likely place of meeting, had a roof, but no walls. So they didn’t feel the need to isolate or lock themselves away in a “consecrated” spot or building. The only buildings they met in were people’s “homes” (verse 46). And there was no official church service in these homes either. The people just “ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”

So where did this idea of Christians having to meet in enclosed buildings come from? Well, it has to be a throwback to the Old Testament. David, for instance, wanted a proper building for God to dwell in, which God sanctioned but he never required or commanded it, nor did he command any other building or temple to be built. It was also a God-given custom for the Israelites to meet on specific days at places of his choosing (Deuteronomy 12:11), but Jesus changed all that in John 4:20-24 when he told the Samaritan woman at the well that God was no longer into “holy places” anymore, because “true worshippers” would now be “worshipping the Father in Spirit and in Truth.”

Do Christians no longer need to meet together at all, then? Well, according to Matthew 18:20 we’ll be missing out on something wonderful if we don’t meet together, because “where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.” And just “gathering together” does that too; no mention of a required sermon by a trained minister. Paul was into “reasoning together” (Acts 18:4, 19), involving lots of dialogue and discussion, everyone involved – just like the good old days when the church began in Acts 2.

Does “help meet” mean the little wifey back home?

I wonder how many girls have grown up in Christian homes and Christian churches who’ve never been taught what “help meet” actually means in Genesis 2:20.

I’ve only just realized what it means myself and it gave me quite a shock, because the traditional Christian view of “help meet” is nothing like what the Hebrew words mean. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised in a traditionally male-dominated church that the truth hasn’t got out, but what if men have been missing out too because their wives never understood what God created them to be?

Obviously the wife’s role is crucial because God stated outright that the man on his own couldn’t do the job he’d been given to do. He needed “a suitable helper,” which in the Hebrew is an ezer kenegdo.

In short ezer means a wife is a lifesaver to her husband, and kenegdo means she is his equal. And the best example for me of such an ezer kenegdo wife in scripture is Zipporah, the Midianite wife of Moses.

And if anyone should have been the typical meek, submissive “little wifey back home” of Christian tradition, it was Zipporah. She was the wife of an Egyptian prince who’d been brought up in the high society of Pharaoh’s palace and was now the leader of Israel, the one nation on the planet that God had personally chosen to work his plan through. And Zipporah wasn’t even an Israelite either, so she could be well excused for staying in the shadows and not saying a peep.

But when God threatened to take her husband’s life, out came the ezer in her. She was no drooping wallflower of typical Christian tradition when she saw her husband in conversation with God and she knew he was in deep trouble. She knew why too. Moses had been shirking his duties toward their son, by putting off having him circumcised, a total no-no for the leader of Israel when the sign of God’s personal dealings with Israel was circumcision.

So there and then she sliced off her son’s foreskin and chucked it in Moses’ direction yelling. “You bloody husband you, look what you made me do to save your life, buddy.” She stood up to him, every bit his equal, which must be a real shocker to Christian tradition that God didn’t correct her. Instead he let go of Moses and spared his life.

Why? Because Zipporah was being the ezer kenegdo he’d created wives to be. She stepped in when her husband was down and saved his life. And how many other husbands would readily and thankfully admit that’s what their wives have done for them too?

Is that all Eve was, just a rib?

Christian tradition still likes the idea a lot that the first woman was made from the first man’s rib. Unfortunately, that tradition is much closer to an ancient Sumerian myth than it is to the correct Hebrew meaning of ‘rib’ in Genesis 2:21.

In the Sumerian myth the goddess Ninhursag creates a beautiful garden paradise and charges her half brother, the god Enki, to tend the garden and control the wild animals. When Enki then eats several forbidden plants in the garden, Ninhursag blows a gasket and curses eight of Enki’s body parts, including a rib. Enki is near to death but a strong appeal is made to Ninhursag to spare his life so she creates several new gods and goddesses, one of whom is Ninti who heals Enki’s rib. The name Ninti is a clever Sumerian pun, meaning both “Lady who makes live,” and “Lady of the rib,” because in healing Enki’s rib she also helped save his life.

There are several parallels between this story and present Christian tradition, because in Christian tradition Eve takes on both those titles too. In Genesis 3:20 she’s called the “Mother of all living,” and she’s also become the “Lady of the rib” too, based on the English translation of the Hebrew word tsela in Genesis 2:21 as “rib,” which is unfortunate because tsela is not translated as a human “rib” anywhere else in the Old Testament.

In Genesis and Exodus tsela always refers to a “side,” not a rib, suggesting that God divided the man into two equal sides (the splitting of the Adam), with one side being crafted into a woman, and the space she left behind God then filled with new flesh to make the man whole again. It certainly gets the concept across a whole lot better that woman is man’s equal from top to toe, rather than just a rib.

And Philo Judeaus, the great Jewish philosopher alive at the time of Jesus, would agree with that, because in his description of Genesis 2:21 he wrote: “The letter of this statement is plain enough; for it is expressed according to the symbol of the part, a half of the whole, each party, the man and the woman, being as sections of nature co-equal for the production of that genus which is called man.”

Whether God literally anesthetized the man and surgically sliced him in two to create a woman, or it was simply a vivid vision Adam had, the point is made clear in Adam’s cry of ” she’s bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” that anatomically and structurally she was the same as him. She was his “co-equal,” not just a rib.