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Word Study: Extortion

Discussion in 'Christian Theology Forum' started by ahigherway, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. ahigherway

    ahigherway New Member

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    Hi everyone!
    A word came to me last night before falling asleep: "all will come."
    Now some do not believe that God is able to love His enemies, or save them, either.
    So I would like to look at a word which has much relevance with regard to eternal torment. This word is "extortion."

    extortion (n.) "to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power."
    (Now before someone says, well that's just "Webster's" definition, and he isn't born again-- I'd like to say this: God gave us a brain for a purpose, and if we don't want to use it, then we probably should turn our computers off.)

    Does the Bible mention extortion? YES! I like the KJV, so I'll use it here, but if someone has a version which mentions it in a different place, add it here!

    In the OT:
    - "Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour." Psalm 109: 11
    - "Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land." Isaiah 16:4
    - "In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD." Ezek. 22:12

    In the NT:
    - "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess." Matt. 23:25
    - "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." Luke 18:11
    - "Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world." 1 Cor. 5:10
    - "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." 1 Cor. 5:11
    - "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6:10.

    The first thing I noticed here, was that the Pharisees believe that they are not extortioners; Jesus says that they are!

    Question: Would God use extortion in order to get people to follow Him? (It's implied that God "could" if He wanted to, since He's GOD.)
    Does God threaten people with punishment so that they might "obey Him?" Is this consistent with the notion that God IS Love? Can love and extortion go hand-in-hand?

    I think that most Christians would say that God is not an extortioner. Indeed, it seems that extortion is understood throughout scripture to be not a good thing. And not a fruit of the Spirit, either!

    Blessings of God's Love to all here,
    brian Just a small postscript:
    as "extortion" means to intimidate, looking at the definition of "intimidate" and other synonyms may help us to understand the implications of the doctrine of eternal torment.

    intimidate: to make timid or fearful; frighten.

    browbeat: to intimidate or disconcert by a stern manner or arrogant speech.

    bully (v) : to treat abusively; to affect by means of force or coercion.

    bulldoze: to coerce or restrain by threats.

    cow (v.) : to destroy the resolve or courage of. To "cow" implies reduction to a state where the spirit is broken or all courage is lost. (It's interesting what God tells us in Isaiah 57: "For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made." It seems here, that if God stays angry, His Spirit suffers. This is in agreement with the fact that Love "is not resentful." God cannot stay angry forever. Whether there is a "punishment" or not, He does not let anger overcome Him.)

    Food for thought...
  2. pastorlesofm

    pastorlesofm Community Guide

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    We know that God hates sin, but loves the sinner, enough to turn His eyes from His Son on the Cross, and alow Jesus to die for all of us. God could not look at my sins and yours which was nailed pn to Jesus on the Cross. It wasn't the nails that held Jesus on the Cross, it was the weight of all our sins. Past, present and future. Thank You, Jesus. I don't see any extortion here. We know the Cross is on the way to salvation for all of us. Never again will God turn away from His Son. It Is Finished. Love you in Jesus Name.
  3. fivesense

    fivesense New Member

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    You do well to bring focus to an aspect of God that cannot be overlooked. If God is a God of justice, He must punish iniquity. And yet we are told in the Writings that His Son died for the sin of the whole world. It is difficult to apply this truth, that God is no longer keeping a record of any man's sins of the flesh, when people are so "in your face" about their sinfulness. We easily forget that we, too, were in His face with our sinful behavior, until He chose us out from among this world system, and set us apart by His power and grace.

    We are called upon by God to proclaim this truth, That by the cross of Christ, all men are conciliated to God. He is no longer keeping an account of men's evildoings, but is pleading with them through Christ to be reconciled unto Him. It is the failure to believe on the Son of God and His testimony, that brings a man into judgment now, not His personal sins. The Sacrifice on Golgatha was perfect and complete, abolishing the need for judgment against sin. He was made sin for us, the One who knew no sin. It is finished.

    He that is now able to give life in the place where death was warranted, will do so through faith in Him. It is not to be gotten by efforts on anyones part, it is in His hand alone to give life to those whom He will. Those who believe, no matter what they have done or will do in the future to engender sin's judgment, will not experience God's wrath, but His mercy.

    Those who do not believe in this life will be resurrected to die once more in the Lake of Fire, the second death, for a season that is not defined in terms of word or time, but conditioned upon God's justice and fair judgment.

    And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not [himself], neither did according to his will, shall be beaten
    with many [stripes].
    But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes].
    For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they
    will ask the more. Lk 12:47-48

    This is how God sees it, and let no man declare otherwise. We may deem others unfit for life with God, according to our own unjust and carnal thinking, but it is God alone Who has set the bar, and He is the Savior of all men, specially of them that believe.

  4. pastorlesofm

    pastorlesofm Community Guide

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    Great reply fivesense