Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Whosoever Will

Whosoever Will

Recently (i.e. about the beginning of May, 2007), an Anonymous commenter on this blog asked about the Bible's "Whosoever Will" verses.

These are the verses that, in the KJV, use the phrase: "whosoever will." They generally fall into two main categories (categories 1 and 3) while a few fall in a hybrid category (2):

1. Whosoever will do X, will receive Y

Deuteronomy 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Ezra 7:26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Luke 9:5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

2. Whosoever wishes/wants/decides to do X, will receive Y

Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

3. Whoever wishes/wants/decides to do X, should do Y

Matthew 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

Matthew 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 10:43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

Luke 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Discussion

There are really two main topics, one directed to the category 1 items (to which we could also add "whosoever shall" verses), and one directed to the category 3 items. The person who originally raised the question is interested in the category 1 items.

1. Whosoever will do X, will receive Y

Some of these verses are simply maxim-like in character. They state a general principle, like "what goes up, must comes down" or "if you curse the king, a little birdie will tell him." Likewise, they can be viewed positively as promises.

Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Essentially this is a promise, that if we sacrifice our lives for Christ, we will receive life from him. The bottom line is that what we can conclude from such promises is that God will keep his word. If anyone loses his life for Christ, he will receive life again.

2. Whosoever wishes/wants/decides to do X, should do Y

Other readers are interested in the verses that speak to how to go about obtaining a desired end. One popular verse from this category is:

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

This verse is usually dramatically quoted with an enormous emphasis on the word "who-so-ever!" as a way of arguing that the elect is an open ended set of people. The verse, of course, does not say that. It just says that if someone wishes to come and drink, he should come and drink. It does not say that men develop a thirst for the water of life on their own, or that our lack of knowledge about who it is that will come should somehow be attributed to God.

In short, to answer the original question that sparked this post, I don't think the "whosoever will" verses are all that significant to most of the apologetic matters, once we take a closer look at them.

May God, who will show mercy on whomsoever he will show mercy, give us wisdom to accept both his Providence and our own ignorance,

-Turretinfan

5 comments:

natamllc said...

TF:

[This verse is usually dramatically quoted with an enormous emphasis on the word "who-so-ever!" as a way of arguing that the elect is an open ended set of people. The verse, of course, does not say that.]

Michael:

yes of course, but of course, to keep loyal to your end, you have to, of course, stay on that course because, to get off it at any time will bring you to a "way of thinking" that makes God mean, in a sense, in that, the thought goes like this:

"God has to be evil that He would create someone to destroy in hell". "I cannot serve a God who is evil".

TF, this one is really getting close to it, isn't it?

I mean, a case is being made here that God is in control and Jesus' representation of "His" Elect being in "His" Hand then it is hard for them to get out of His grip once there. I guess we agree, it's impossible to get out of there?

Joh 10:22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,
Joh 10:23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.
Joh 10:24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
Joh 10:25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me,
Joh 10:26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Joh 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
Joh 10:30 I and the Father are one."


Do you have a firm grasp on where this debate started? Was it in the 2nd Century? If it did, it sure has been around a long, long time.

Turretinfan said...

It started before Christ ... the different sects of the Jews had different views of God.

natamllc said...

TF:

[...give us wisdom to accept both his Providence and our own ignorance,...]

Which sect did God "give" the wisdom to to accept both His Providence and our own ignorance?

Turretinfan said...

God gives wisdom to those who beg it from Him! I'd rather not try to define that in sectarian terms.

natamllc said...

I'm glad! :)

I too trust Him and He leads me beside still waters!

thanks again!