Adventist Online

  I've had a spiritual battle ongoing for a long time now.  The biggest hang up that I have is understanding the difference between presumption and faith.  I know the definitions of the words, but I want to know the deeper meanings as they apply to life.  I'd like as many opinions as possible and would LOVE Biblical references to back up the opinions!  Thanks!

Views: 1342

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


Faith and presumption are the two sides of the same coin. Israel gives us many examples of the differences. Let's take the rebellon of Korah, Dathan and Abiriam. Korah beleived that since he was a member of the tribe of Levi, that he should be a priest. However, a priest had to not only be of the tribe of Levi, but also of the family of Aaron. This was God's directions, not something that Aaron had deceided. Not only that, but even being of the tribe of Levi, that did not give everyone the right to function in every priestly function.

Korah presumed that because of his family connections, that he could serve as a priest. He paid for that presumtion with his life.

However, faith is a much different factor. Let's look at the letter of James.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, [3] for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. [4] And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4 (ESV)

God allows trials to test our faith, i.e. trust in God. Trusting God is not presumption, it is taking God at His word. James then says that when our faith/trust in God is tested, produces "steadfastness," or the habit of trusting God. When steadfastness is perfected, when we get into the habit of trusting God to the point that we will never do otherwise, then Heaven considers us as being perfect, compete, lacking in nothing. That is faith.

In contrast, presumption is setting our opinions of what God will do above what God has said He will do. Something that we are seeing far too much of in the church today.

Maranatha :)

After I shut my computer down and went to bed, I realized that I had presumed that you understood the term "shadow" in the way I was useing it. See, how presumptions can get one in trouble? G

Too often when the word "shadow" appears, we jump to the conclusion that it is reference to types and anti-types. However, that is not always the case. As already noted, virtually none of the items on the list Paul gives can be "shadows" as normaly consider to be such.

However, the word: "Shadow," has other application, which context dictates how it is used. The word: "shadow," can also mean, just a faint suggestion of something. I.e. the food we eat here is only a shadow, or a faint suggestion of what God has for us. Likewise for the drinks. The festivals and new moon celebrations that God has planned are far superior to what we can experience here, likewise with the Sabbath.

Here is a good example.

When someone has lost a lot of weight, we might say that they are just a shadow of their former self. (I will be glad when people can say that about me. LOL) That is no references to types and antitypes. The context makes that clear.

Compare attending a Sabbath General Conference session with worshipping God around the great white throne in heaven. Would the word "shadow" be a fitting description of the sabbath at GC?

This is the way I was using the term: "Shadow." It is just a faint suggestion of what God has in store for us. So, we must not allow people to rob us of that reality, by listening to their judgments of how we are serving God here. That is unless their observations are correct and we do need to make some changes.

OK, now maybe I can go to sleep and not remember something else I left out. TIC G LOL

The best to you.

Maranatha :)

Yes, you are correct. Abraham and Sarah did presume that they could help God out of what seemed to be an impossible position. That is always dangerous. A good addition to the discussion.

Maranatha :)
For faith you need to look at Paul's discussion of the matter beginning in Romans 9:30 and continuing on to 11:10. How faith works and is obtained is given in very simple form in 10:17 -- Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

It must always be remembered that Paul was trained as an attorney and theologian philosopher in the Temple under the instruction of Gamaliel. I read one history that stated Paul was Gamaliel's brightest prospect. I don't know how adequately that history was researched. Paul was well versed in Hebrew law, theology and philosophy. Yet we see in Acts 17 and throughout his writings that he was just as adept in Greek and Roman law and philosophy as well and could argue them quite comfortably. But Scripture was written from the Hebrew point of view, and it was how Paul taught in his New Testament epistles.

The Hebrew word for hearing is "shema". This word also means "to obey"; to hear is to obey, and if you have not obeyed you have not heard. So faith, as we see it presented here is a very circular thing. Faith gives us the ability to obey God's commands when we do not understand what they mean or how they work. By doing we gain understanding of those commands, why they were given and how they work. As a result our faith grows by small degrees due to our experience and we are better able to obey the next command God gives us, which will likely be even more difficult to understand. In this way God grows our faith and our understanding of his character which is defined by his law.

You always hear Christians define faith as being a belief without physical evidence. This is a good starting place, but it is not the biblical definition of faith. Further complicating the matter is differences between the Greek and English languages. In English we make a distinction between to believe and to have faith (both verbs); the Greek makes no such distinction and we translate the one Greek word both ways in our English Bibles depending on how the translators choose to read the passage.

The Bible defines faith as having levels based on the three primary feast days of Israel, Passover (Justification by Faith), Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks (Sanctification) and Tabernacles (Glorification where we receive the glorified body and full character of God (our inheritance) and are adopted as fully mature Sons of God.) Paul alludes to these levels of faith in Romans 1:17 when he says the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Only a small portion of God's character and righteousness is revealed at the Passover level of faith which is characterized as well by Old Covenant and the imposing of obedience to that revelation from an outside source.

The next level of faith, the Pentecostal level of faith is defined by the New Covenant in which God writes his law on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and quoted in Hebrews 8). Because the Holy Spirit enters us as fire (God's word, law and character as proven by numerous Old Testament texts) those laws (God's character) become a part of our own character and obedience comes from inside us as a natural act rather than being imposed on us from outside or by the power of our own flesh.

The final level of faith is seen on earth during Jesus' ministry but will be experienced by us only after the second coming. Jesus was adopted as a fully mature Son of God at his baptism where the Father spoke aloud saying, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.) We will receive our adoption with the fulfilling of the Feast of Tabernacles after the second coming.

One of the most important factors in building faith, and the greatest single protection against presumption is obedience to the Law of Double Witness. There are many discussions of this law throughout the Bible, beginning with the creation story and continuing through Revelation. The law is stated in a judicial context many times in the Torah, but the first explicit statement of this law and its meaning is actually given by Joseph in reference to Pharaoh's dreams.

Deuteronomy 19 says: 15 One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

In Genesis 41 we read: 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. ... 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

God gave Pharaoh double witness so Joseph knew the matter was firmly established and certain. It was not a warning of what might happen if there was not repentance; it was a definite statement of what would happen. Joseph also brings in the factor of timing in his explanation. Because the second witness had been received immediately the events would also begin immediately. The second witness will frequently establish timing of the events to follow; the first witness is simply a "heads up" warning from God or a test of both our patience and willingness to obey.

We find more about this in the story of Gideon. Because SDAs do not study and understand God's law adequately they teach that Gideon showed a lack of faith by requesting two additional witnesses to the word God had given him as he winnowed the barley in the wine press. By acting immediately he would have shown his willingness to obey but that is often not enough. Further explanation of how to obey is often required. So Gideon continued questioning God. He first got the two signs he requested, then he continued questioning and was given the method by which he was to receive the victory. Anything less would have been acting in presumption. The story indicates that if he had acted according to his own beliefs he would have attacked with the full compliment of 32,000 men. Had he done so, he would have acted with presumption and God would not have been with him. Remember how that worked when Israel went up against the Canaanites after God had told them they could not enter because of their previous refusal to enter at his command? Gideon was successful only because he set his own assumptions aside and consulted with God at every step. This included saying to God, "alright, I am ready to do what you ask of me, now tell me how it is to be done."

The proper biblical definition for presumption seems to be a bit less easy to determine than many are. It seems to be used most often in relation to a spirit of rebellion, but it also clearly applies as Rob said to the third commandment, taking the LORD'S name in vain, which is not about profanity, but is about claiming authority one does not possess. Again, this goes to the matter of sonship and adoption and knowing what those terms meant in the ancient Middle East. I will attach a paper written by one of my friends which explains this concept in some detail.

Clearly the meaning of the word has changed some in the years since the KJV was translated because instances where it used variants of the word presume have been translated in other ways in more recent translations. In Exodus 21:14 the Hebrew word translated in the KJV presumptuously means to boil over, and is referring in this context to a very passionate anger.

In Numbers 14:44 and Deuteronomy 1:43 the word translated here as presumed and presumptuously respectively means to be swollen. So here it is speaking about acting in pride. They had refused to enter the Promised Land due to their fear and lack of faith, so God had just informed them they would spend the next 38 years in the wilderness. In their pride they decided to ignore God's most recent command and obey the previous command. God was not with them when they went up.

In Numbers 15:30 it is a two word phrase which is translated as presumptuously. The first of these words means to lift oneself up, speaking of acting in pride or with authority, and the second word means the human hand, so this text is speaking of acting on the authority of the flesh. Since it is speaking of the man who sins with knowledge of his sin it is speaking of those who make a law to themselves which is different than God's law.

In Deuteronomy 17:12, 13 we see presumptuously used twice, but each is a different Hebrew word which we have already seen. The first speaks of pride, the second of great and passionate anger. The context here is about courts of law and the rulings of judges. It is interesting to note in this passage that the primary duty of the judge is not to pass out punishments, but to teach proper behavior. It would be wise of our church officials and secular legal system to learn this proper duty of judges. Failure to do so will cause considerable unnecessary pain for many, both now and in the future.

In Deuteronomy 18 we find the law of the prophets. In verses 20 and 22 the word presumptuously is used again, but once again is two different Hebrew words, one of which we have already seen. In verse 20 it speaks once again of that boiling anger and in verse 22 we find a new word which means arrogance -- a form of pride. So once again we see both anger and pride equated with presumption. In the life of Moses we see this law violated twice. The first time he acted presumptuously and prematurely in his efforts to save his people. In anger and arrogance he killed an Egyptian taskmaster, and it cost him the throne and forced him into exile. Later, when God commanded him to speak to the rock to bring the people water, Moses once again allowed his anger to take control, and as he and Aaron stood before the people he arrogantly said, "Must we bring forth water from this rock for you?", then he disobeyed God and struck the rock. On this occasion God remained with him and gave the people water, but as a result of being a false prophet a second time, Moses lost his right to enter the Promised Land before death.

In Esther 7:5 we find a new word translated as presume. This word means to fill or to make full. So it was not so much that Haman was being accused of being presumptuous as that his heart was completely filled with this plan of destruction of the queen and all her people.

In Psalm 19:13 we once again find the word used in Deuteronomy 18:22, which means arrogance. David is saying save me from sinning by my pride and arrogance; in other words, keep me from assuming I have the authority to do things I have no authority to do. This is not simple admission for a king, who most people would assume has the right to do whatever he desires in his realm.

The word presumtuously is used only once in the New Testament. This reference is found in 2 Peter 2:10. The Greek word here is properly translated as daring. In the NIV it is translated as "bold and arrogant". The passage goes on to call these "daring" men who consistently slander people in God's court as being blasphemous. So once again it would seem that this refers primarily to the matter of authority and misuse of authority.

Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

It also speaks of these people being ignorant in spiritual matters, something that describes all too many of us. No judgment is to be made until the judge has made a thorough investigation. The decision to bring a matter before God's presence (his supreme court) in prayer is a judgment. A person is supposed to have made a thorough investigation of all evidence and law that applies before going into court to present their case. Because these people have not done so they end up bearing false witness against those they accuse, and this also is an act of presumption. It is also an act that we witness being doing consistently by most of the church.

I hope this has been of some assistance to you in understanding these two concepts
I forgot to attach the promised article. It is attached here.

Also the laws of judgment I made reference to in the final paragraph above are found in Deuteronomy 16, 17 and 19.
Actually it does apply even to these in some way. Every decision you make is a judgment, so in that way it needs to apply to the decisions to take things to God, but it applies in another way as well, a way that directly applies to the questions of presumption, adoption and the third commandment about using God's name in vain.

If you are using God's name you are using his authority. A son in training has a limited authorization to use that name. An adopted son has been given full authorization to use the name. The father has given him a signet to seal the father's name on any contract or other legal document and he has the full authority to draw against the household (business) funds for any reason whether he consults with the father or not. This is a huge responsibility.

Jesus explained a bit about how this works in a number of his discussions, especially with the disciples on the night before his crucifixion. But the most direct statements on the matter are found in John 5. This passage gives further amplification to a later passage that the church, especially Pentecostals, regularly perverts in some of their teachings on prayer that amount to little more than sorcery.

19Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

24"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

The most important statement in this is that the Son does only what he has seen the Father do and says only what he has heard the Father say. Then in the redemption process we actually are adopted by Jesus, first by his purchase of our bond (penalty for our sins) by which we become his bondservants and begin learning his business, and then later through the ear-piercing ceremony (Exodus 21:5, 6) by which we become sons in training, and finally through the adoption ceremony after the Second Coming, by which we are declared fully mature sons and joint heirs with him (Romans 8:17).

In private, at the last supper Jesus spoke of this again with his disciples about their own future adoptions as sons. In John 14 we read:

9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Because Jesus had been so thoroughly trained in his father's business and his father's character, Jesus could say from the time of his adoption that he and the father are one. But it also meant that Jesus asked of the Father only those things that were of the Father's will and plan. And once the Father gave him full authority he still only did those things that were in the father's will and plan. Many look at these last two verses and interpret them as meaning, "If I pray hard enough and have enough faith God will give me anything I want regardless of whether it fits in his will or plan."

In those two verses Jesus is talking about two time periods... first the time after Pentecost. Because Jesus was working in a time before the Holy Spirit had been released into the world at a Pentecostal level he was quite limited by the faith of the people in what he was able to do. So after they received the Holy Spirit and began spreading it around the world, the level of faith of those being helped would be greater, and the works these and other disciples would be able to do would also be greater.

But Jesus was also talking about how things would be for us after our adoption as Sons of God. Just as he could do anything according to God's will by God's power, even without consulting God, we will share in that same power after our own adoption as Sons of God. This is a fearsome responsibility. God will not give this ability to someone who has yet to be perfected and will use the authority for selfish ends.

Right now we are in a time of training, and when we go before God's throne with any request it is going to be treated as a training session. If we make a request that is not within God's will and plan it will be denied and we will face some sort of penalty. This penalty generally will not be real bad, but it can be if the request made is far enough from God's will. God's disciplines are always designed to fit the crime and to be instructive. If we are open to instruction the lesson will be much less harsh than if we are constantly rebellious. And since God's primary purpose is to instruct us, not to punish us, we never need to worry about overly harsh judgments. But at the same time we should always be seeking ahead of time to be sure our prayers are as close to God's will as we know how to make them, and that our motives for our requests are also as pure as we know how to make them.

I hope this helped clarify things.

You may have assumed this, but I'll assume that you didn't and comment on it. OK? G Yes, it seems like there is something missing. How does this formula sound?

A) Seek to know Jesus and His love.
B) Seek to know His will for you.
C) Seek to get all of the information you can on the subject that is of interst at that point form inspired writtings.
D) Check your attitude to see if it is an attitude that is willing to accept change, that is willing to submit to the evidence, if you do not agree with what you find..
E) Only deal with facts supported by God's word.
F) Choose to allow God to work out that program in your life.

It is my opinion, that this would be a more productive formula. There may be some things that can still be added, like prayer, counseling with Godly counselors, etc. But, I suspect the above is fundamentally a good point to start.

Maranatha :)
I'm not sure you can put a rigid formula on this stuff since frequently as soon as you get things ritualized God comes along and shakes things up. But if I had to make such I list Vincent's would be adequate but Ray's is much better.

Not with the idea of disagreing with any of those who have written on the subject. But, the idea of "formula's" is like water. It is essential, but when a formula becomes the end goal, they are no longer useful. That is a misuse of that which is otherwise valuable. Let me explain what I mean.

When I use to bake bread, there are some rules that must be followed to get good "bread." A right balance of water, flour, salt, sugar, yeast, etc., all combined in a specified manner and cooked in the time tested manner will produce a taste treat. It has been so long ago, that I am not sure I could still bake a good loaf of bread, however, I use to do quite well at it. [OUCH, this patting myself on my back has just about broken my arm. LOL]

However, I can't resist a story. One time my wife and I were on the committee of young adults (that sure dates this story. G) planning a snow outing up in the moutains at the Junior Camp lodge. Snow can pile up quite high up there. While the lodge is an "A" frame, about 4 stories high, when the snow has piled up, all one can see is about the top 10 or 15' and even then, that is also covered with snow.

Since I had to speak on Sabbath at our home church we couldn't go up until Saturday night. So we stayed in our camper in the parking lot overnight, then the next morning they came out with the snow cat and picked us up.

In the planning session, we were going over the menu. Pancakes were suggested for Sunday AM breakfast, and a popular brand of mix was suggested. I have never cared for that brand, so I volunteered to custom make a pancake mix, which I did. Someone else took it up, so we did not have to worry about it.

As we approached the back of the lodge, where the kitchen was at, there was a huge pile of snow out back, matching the height of the lodge. To my amazement, it was covered with birds feeding on something. As I got closer, I could see that they were pancakes. I figured that I had made such a bad mixture that no one could eat them and they threw them out. I debted as to whether I should just turn around and head back home. As soon as we got into the lodge, I headed to the kitched and asked about the bird food.

They laughed at my concern and told me that they had gotten the stove too hot and burned the entier first batch of pancakes. So, they had to throw them out. Several people liked them so well that they asked for the receipe/formula.

When a good forumla is accuratly followed, it brings happiness. When it is not, the end result is spoiled.

There are formulas in the Christian life. When these God ordained formula's are followed, it leads to a successful Christian life. When we try to "wing it," disaster is the result. Much worse then a faulty pancake mix.

So, it is not the forumla that is bad, it is the misuse of and a reliance on the formula that is wrong. See, I can memorize the formula/receipe, but unless I put it in action, it is of no value. Plans are good, but one must work the plan or they are a hinderance not a help. Here is an example.

"for as many as without law did sin, without law also shall perish, and as many as did sin in law, through law shall be judged,
13  for not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law shall be declared righteous:" --Romans 2:12, 13 YLT

I choose this translation, as it best illustrated the point made in the Greek. Note that some occurances of the word: "law" are anathrous, i.e. without the article "the." This is important. Allow me to illustrate.

If I say that an attorney practises "law." You really do not have much information. The kind of law he practices could be quite a spectrum. However, if I say that a policeman enforces the law. I would be speaking of a specific law, e.g. speeding, parking, lane changing, etc.

While the context has the the final determination, when the word "law" is anarthorus, it would be like saying "legal," or "legalism." If the article is present, then the context will often tell us which law is being spoke of.

This is akin to the "formulas" in the above discussion. The concept of "formula's" may or may not be good. However, following a specific God ordained formula is vital.

Maranatha :)

Yes, prayer is vital. Here again, I lumped prayer and Bible study and asking questions with the object of gaining information, all together in "seeking." You are right, though, not everyone would understand that and I should have been more eplicit.

It is a real balancing act between being explicit and keeping the posts under 100 pages. LOL

Thanks for bringing out that aspect of seeking. It is indeed vital.

Happy Sabbath!
Maranatha :)

You are not insinuting something here, now are you? LOL

Hi Vincent. Presumption is saying, 'I will be sinning until Jesus comes', which is what many Adventists are saying. They will be sinning until Jesus comes, but they won't be going to heaven. If we love Jesus, we will obey Him and this means keeping the commandments. Presumption is receiving all the benefits, but not fulfilling the conditions. Share Jesus with as many people as you can. Study the Bible. And pray for your own walk as for the salvation of others. God bless you in your walk. Margaretha


Site Sponsors


Adventist Single?
Meet other Single
Adventists here:
Join Free

USA members:

Support AO by
using this link:


© 2019   Created by Clark P.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service