Monday, January 24, 2022

What Loving God Really Means

What are the two greatest commandments?  Yeshua was asked this once, and here's what he said in response:

37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." [Matthew 22:37-40; NKJV]

This is probably the exact passage that you were quoted concerning this very topic.  In fact, it's likely the case that this passage was quoted as an excuse to ignore Torah ("Torah" is Hebrew for "instruction" and is typically translated as "law"), that is, God's Law.  The argument is that since all of the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments, then just obeying these two means we do not have to keep the rest.  There's just one slight problem with this interpretation.  Okay, several problems, but we'll get into those later.  What does it mean to love God?  Also, what does it mean to love your neighbor?  Should it be left to man to figure these things out for himself?

For starters, loving God is defined in several places.  One of these places is the second commandment, which is the one against idolatry.  Here's what the third commandment says:

4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. [Exodus 20:4-6; NKJV]

Notice that in verse 6, it mentions those who love God and keep his commandments.  This is found elsewhere in Torah.  For example, in Deuteronomy 7:9.  There is no such thing as loving God without keeping his commandments, which is his Law.  If you are not doing the latter, then you are by definition, also not doing the former.  You may have noticed that there are many posts where I mention Deuteronomy 13.  In fact, this one chapter not only defines loving God as keeping his commandments, it also defines idolatry as rebellion against his commandments.  And it is also where the Deuteronomy 13 Test comes from.  We see a hint of this in the second commandment.  Notice in verse 5, the second commandment says that those who practice idolatry hate God.

So if loving God is keeping his commandments, then Torah tells us how to love God.  Interestingly enough, most of the commandments concerning how to love God are labeled by the Church as being the "ceremonial law", which they claim we do not have to keep because of what Yeshua did.  And as mentioned in my last post, the Church doesn't mind sidelining their "most important doctrines" if it means they get to keep their golden calves (among other things).

But there is another part to what Yeshua said.  He said that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.  If the Law of God tells us how to love God, and in fact keeping his Law is loving God, then it is also the case that God's Law tells us how to love our neighbor.  So Yeshua is correct when he said that all of the Law and the Prophets hang on those two commands.  But not because you don't have to worry about keeping the Law if you "love God" and "love your neighbor".  On the contrary, keeping God's Law is part of loving your neighbor.

That brings up another interesting issue.  Remember how I mentioned that the Church classifies some of the commandments as the "ceremonial law"?  Well, for those familiar with Church doctrine, you will know that there are typically three categories of Law in Torah.  These categories are (according to the Church):  The moral law (which the Church says we have to obey), the ceremonial law (which the Church says were done away with by Yeshua's work on the cross), and the civil law (which deals with punishments for breaking the moral law).  But is this division biblical?  Not quite.

Let's use what Yeshua said concerning the greatest commandments as a template on how to divide God's Law.  Since he said the Law hangs on "love God" and "love your neighbor", then the Law should be divided into commandments that tell us how to love God, and commandments that tell us how to love our neighbor.  Then, those commandments may be sub-divided if you wish, so long as Deuteronomy 12:32 is not violated.  Of course, someone will bring up the "what about" scenarios, which I will not cover in this post.  But I will say this much:  God does not hold us guilty of breaking a command that cannot possibly be kept.  And if you think otherwise, then you've fallen for the same trap that Adam and Eve fell for in the garden!

Here's another interesting point.  Since loving God is keeping his commandments, then really, all of the commandments are instructions on how to love God, regardless of whether we classify them into the "how to love God" or "how to love your neighbor" categories.  So even the commandments that concern how to love your neighbor are also concerning how to love God.  In other words, those that love God also love their neighbor.  But this doesn't work the other way around.  If you obey only the commands concerning how to love your neighbor, you indeed love your neighbor, but you actually hate God because you are ignoring the commands that are specific to loving God.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. [1 John 5:2-3; NKJV]

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Disciples Never Practiced Trinitarian Baptism

Next time you read through the book of Acts, pay close attention to who's name people were baptized in.  You will notice that, in the places where it is specific, it is always in the name of Jesus.  Never does it say that anyone was baptized "in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit".  And in Romans 6:3, Paul states that we were baptized into Christ Jesus.  So, let's examine the Scripture and see what's going on.

In Acts 2:38, the Apostle Peter commanded the crowed to be baptized in the name of Jesus.  And he was with the Eleven, who were all with Jesus when Jesus commanded the disciples on making disciples of all nations in Matthew 28:19.  Nobody corrected Peter.  The disciples that were with him who also heard Jesus' command corrected him.  And neither did Jesus, either by vision or by angel.  Jesus said that those who keep his commands are those that love him (John 14:21).  Oh, and did I mention that in spite of this, those who were baptized still received the Holy Spirit?  Further more, in some cases, it was because Peter laid his hands on the new disciples that they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17)!  What's going on?

Let's consider the evidence so far:  Peter gave a command that is apparently contrary to the one Jesus gave, in front of ten others who should have been able to correct him.  And not only did God himself not correct the error, he even performed miracles and gave the Holy Spirit through Peter, who is apparently in rebellion to Jesus' command.  Does God honor those who are rebelling against him?  Or does he honor those who obey him?  He honors those who obey him!

Let's take a look at some more evidence.  Let's take 1 Corinthians 1:14-17, where Paul says that he wasn't sent to baptize, but to preach.  Didn't Jesus tell command his disciples to baptize when they preach?  If this command is supposed to apply to all disciples who go out and preach (as the Church implies or even states as much), then that means Paul is also in rebellion, right?  Or perhaps there's something going on that we're not aware of.  Because Jesus would not give a command that's supposed to apply to everyone, only to contradict that by not requiring some to follow said command.

Let's take a look at the context of Matthew 28:19.

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. [Matthew 28:18-20; NKJV]

Jesus said that all authority has been given to him, specifically.  When you do something in somebody's name, you are claiming you have authority from that somebody to do what you are doing.  Since all authority has been given to the Son, it means that only the Son has authority to do anything at all (except for the Father, who gave such authority).  In other words, it is the Son who has the authority to baptize, not the Holy Spirit.  And it is the Son who can give authority to his disciples to baptize nations on his behalf.  So baptizing the nations in the name of the Holy Spirit doesn't make any sense.  And since the Father delegated all of his authority to the Son, doing things in the name of the Father also doesn't make any sense, even though the Father still has all of the authority he gave to the Son.

Taking all of the evidence so far, it looks like somebody added to Matthew 28:19.  If the command includes baptism, then taking all of the evidence we have, the passage should say, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in my name".  And if the command does not include baptism (which the evidence suggests that it doesn't), then the verse should say, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations in my name".  If this is what the command was originally, then it fits perfectly with what we know the disciples did when they preached the Gospel.  There was no correction to the error because the command that they were carrying-out was the command that was given!  That also explains why God still performed miracles and gave the Holy Spirit through Peter, because Peter was doing exactly what Jesus commanded!

We don't have any of the original Greek manuscripts (or even the Hebrew from which it was translated), so the only evidence that we have that our version of Matthew 28:19 was modified is what is recorded in the rest of the books, and in Matthew 28:18.  If the command given does include baptism, then it means that Trinitarian baptism is actually heresy.  If the command given does not include baptism (which is probably the case), then Trinitarian baptism isn't necessarily heresy, but it also doesn't make any sense considering what Jesus said right before giving the command.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Ministries Do Not Believe Their Own Doctrines

Most mainstream "Christian" ministries list certain doctrines that you must believe in order for them to acknowledge you as a "real Christian".  And this list is basically identical between ministries.  These doctrines are said to be very important for the faith.  However, there are other doctrines that these same ministries hold to that, if true, completely undermine the credibility of the "important" doctrines that you "must believe" in order to be a "real Christian".

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, [2 Timothy 3:16; NKJV]

Some ministries point out that the above verse literally says "all Scripture is God-breathed", then assert that this means that every word that is in the Bible comes directly from the mouth of God, and that the Bible is therefore inerrant.  By the way, if you really want to be literal, then the verse should say "all writings are God-breathed".  For the word translated as "Scripture" is the Greek word "graphe", which literally means "writing" or "document".  Have fun explaining that one away.  But they are right about it saying that it's "God-breathed".

These ministries that hold to the inerrancy doctrine because of their interpretation of 2 Timothy 3:16 typically invoke the slippery slope for anyone who does not accept their doctrine.  They may also say that if you don't believe it, then you're not a "real Christian".  In fact, some don't even allow you to challenge the interpretation given.  So, how do these ministries show that they don't believe the doctrine that the entire Bible is the direct word of God?  There are a few ways in which they do this.  One of those ways is by ignoring the front of the book completely (with the exception being Genesis for some of these ministries).  Here's another way.

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. [1 Timothy 4:1-3; NKJV]

What would happen, say, if someone pointed out that God himself commanded us not to eat the flesh of pigs (Leviticus 11:7-8)?  Well, these ministries will all quote 1 Timothy 4:1-3 and assert that such people are teaching doctrines of demons.  That's right, those who claim that the Bible is inerrant call a command of God "doctrines of demons" without any hesitation!  Of course, if they call a command of God "doctrines of demons", then that also means that they are calling God himself a demon.  This same God that they are calling a demon gave us Jesus, which also means they have completely undermined the Gospel!  By the way, anyone who calls even one command of God "doctrines of demons" calls all of God's commands "doctrines of demons", for the same God gave all of the commandments found in Torah.  Also, if their interpretation of 1 Timothy 4:1-3 is correct, then the Bible is not inerrant and they really should not be listening to Paul.  By the way, it's God's Law that determines what is or is not food.  And the definition of "food" that Paul is using in that passage is that which is found in God's Law.  And God says that pigs are not food.

For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. [Hebrews 7:12; NKJV]

Here's a passage that many of these ministries will use to justify not keeping God's Law.  The Greek words translated as "change" in this passage is "metatithemi" and "metathesis" respectively.  These words literally mean "to transfer".  Also, Psalm 119:160 says that all of God's judgements are eternal.  The Law of God is a list of God's judgements concerning what is right and wrong.  Some of these ministries, when confronted with the question of "who created God", will rightly point-out that God is eternal and does not change.  If that which is eternal does not change, then that means God's Law also does not change, for it is said to be eternal.  So if their interpretation of Hebrews 7:12 is correct, that means that Psalm 119 is wrong, which means that the Bible is not inerrant.

Here's another point:  If the Law needs to be changed, then that proves the Law to be in error.  But if the Law is in error, then the Bible is not inerrant.  And if their interpretation of Hebrews 7:12 is correct, yet the Law is not changed, then it means that Hebrews 7:12 is in error, and the Bible is not inerrant.  There are more ways that they undermine this doctrine, but it's time to move on to the next doctrine that they undermine.

That doctrine, or rather, doctrines, would be the Trinity and the Deity of Jesus.  While some ministries make it their job to prove the inerrancy doctrine to those who don't believe it, no ministry in mainstream Christianity allows you to challenge the Trinity.  And most don't allow you to challenge the Deity of Jesus, though all of them show that the latter is able to easily withstand scrutiny.  Now, whether the Trinity is right or wrong is beyond the scope of this post.  This post will simply cover how these ministries undermine the credibility of the Trinity (and the Deity of Jesus).

In one of the excuses that these ministries use to rebel against God's Law, they will assert that the Law is impossible to keep, or that it's somehow burdensome, and that Jesus freed us from God's Law.  Are you noticing a pattern in how these "most important doctrines" are being undermined?  One aspect of the Trinity is that Jesus is the same God that gave us the Law of God.  But when it comes to God's Law, the God of the "Old Testament" is portrayed as an oppressive being while Jesus is portrayed as having freed us from said "oppressive" being.  That means that Jesus is a different god than the one that gave us his law.

By the way, remember how I pointed-out that these ministries will call certain commands of God "doctrines of demons" without hesitation?  Well, if Jesus is God, but what we call the Law of God is really "doctrines of demons", then that also means that Jesus is not the same God who gave us his law.  Yet if you insist that he is and hold that some of his commands are "doctrines of demons", then you're believing in the wrong god, and the wrong trinity!  Oh, by the way:

20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. [1 Corinthians 9:20-21; NIV]

This passage is often quoted like this:

In 1 Corinthians 9:20, it says that we are not under [or "we are free from"] God's Law.  In verse 21, it says that we are under Christ's Law. 

See what happened?  They misquoted 1 Corinthians 9:20-21 to make God's Law be in direct opposition to Christ's Law.  "We are not under God's Law, we are under Christ's Law."  But if this is true, then that means that Jesus is not the same God that gave us his law.  Also note that in all of these examples, the doctrine of the Deity of Jesus is also thrown away for the sake of rebelling against God's Law.  Oh, and remember back to the post exposing the serpent's deception in Genesis 3?  The very first deception was making God's Law look oppressive!  In fact, the occult teaches that a serpent freed us from an oppressive god through knowledge.  If you replace "serpent" with "Jesus", and replace "knowledge" with "the cross", you have Church doctrine!

All this goes to show you which doctrines are actually important to these ministries.  They'll be quick to say "if you don't believe the Trinity, you're not a real Christian", yet they will just throw that doctrine to the side if it means they don't have to obey God's commandments.  Some will also say "the Bible is the inerrant Word of God", and "rejecting Biblical inerrancy is dangerous to your faith", but have no problem portraying the front of the book as being in error for the sake of their idolatry (rebellion against God's commands), so long as nobody catches onto the fact that they're doing just that.  Remember, you can either do things God's way, or make for yourself golden calves.  If you refuse the former, you are doing the latter by definition.

And if you think that things couldn't get any worse.  Well, it's about to get even worse.  Revelation 13:11-18 describes a one world religion and a mark that everyone must take if they want to live.  This mark is known as "the mark of the beast".  Now, nobody seems to know what exactly this mark is.  But there are a lot of claims about what this mark is, and even claims about it's precursors.  Which of these claims is correct is beyond the scope of this post.  But some ministries will dismiss the mark of the beast as mere "conspiracy theory".  This tells you all you need to know about such ministries.  Such ministries are part of the system that will bring about the mark of the beast.  And they want to make sure that you cannot identify it as such, so that when it comes, you willingly take it, unaware of what it really is.  In this case, they have sacrificed the inerrancy doctrine by calling Revelation false prophecies, because they are part of a (probably global) propaganda campaign designed to trick you into getting the mark of the beast!

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Truth About the Image of God

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?  You've probably been told that it means we have some of God's qualities and attributes.  But if you recall what Genesis 1:26 says, you will notice that we are made in the image and likeness of God.  What you've been told is God's image is actually the definition for God's likeness.  You've also probably been told that because of the fall, the image of God was lost (or marred).  And that because of Jesus, the image of God has been restored.  The verse used to support the teaching that we lost the image of God at the fall is Genesis 5:1-3, where it once again says that man was made in the likeness of God.  But that passage also says that Adam had a son in his own image and likeness.  Of course, there are no other passages that support this doctrine, nor are there any passages that support the doctrine that the image of God was restored through the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).  Also, Genesis 1 states ten times that living things were made to reproduce after their kind!  Genesis 5 makes it pretty clear that man is reproducing after his kind, just like all the other creatures.  Yet you are told that the description of Adam having a son in his own image and likeness "proves" that the image of God was lost.

So if the image of God is conflated with the likeness of God, what does it really mean to be made in the image of God?  The Hebrew word for "image" is "selem", which is invariably used to describe a physical object made to look like something else.  The reason given for the exception when it comes to the image of God is that "God is a spirit" [John 4:24] and "spirits don't have flesh" [Luke 24:39].  Without going too far off topic, the Greek word translated as "spirit" is "pneuma", which literally means "wind".  In Hebrew culture (which is the culture that wrote the Gospels), things are often described by their function.  The function of wind is that it is not seen, but the effects of wind are seen.  And a closer study of Scripture will reveal that there are different types of "spirits" (winds).  Some types of "spirits" have physical form, others do not.  Ironically, some of the same teachers that use this to say that the image of God cannot be literal will acknowledge elsewhere how broad the use of the word "spirit" is in the Bible.  If you really want to be literal, then John 4:24 should be translated to "God is a wind".  Have fun trying to explain that away!

Is there any other evidence in Scripture that the image of God should not be taken literally?  No.  With the exception of a couple of out-of-context verses, there is no verse in Scripture that, in context, states or implies that the image of God is anything but literal.  Remember, the Bible says that we are made in both the image and likeness of God.  The likeness of God means that we share some of God's qualities and attributes.  The image of God means that we look like God.  The two should not be conflated.

The Bible reiterates man being made in God's image in Genesis 9:6, where it is given as the reason murderers are to be put to death.  When Paul was addressing the issue of head coverings, he used the fact that man is the image of God as the reason for saying that men should not wear them (1 Corinthians 11:7).  There is no indication anywhere that this is anything but literal.  A few other things to point out:  in John 14:9, Jesus said "if you have seen me, you have seen the father".  And in Colossians 1:15, Paul described Jesus as "the image of the invisible God".  He also describes Jesus as the image of God in 2 Corinthians 4:4.  God being described as a wind in John 4:24 has nothing to do with whether God has a physical form.  And if God did not have a physical form, Jesus would not be able to say "if you have seen me, you have seen the father".  And Paul would also not be able to describe Jesus as being the image of that which is invisible.

Let's reiterate what Genesis says about human beings:

26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Genesis 1:26-27; NKJV]

This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. [Genesis 5:1; NKJV]

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. [Genesis 2:25; NKJV]

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. [Genesis 1:31; NKJV]

Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. [Genesis 9:6; NKJV]

So the Bible says that human beings are made to look like God, and that this is very good.  The Bible also says that human beings are made to share God's qualities and attributes, and that this too is very good.  But the Church conflates the former with the latter, then outright denies the former; replacing it with heretical doctrines about "lust" and "modesty" based on what is clearly an unbiblical, heretical view of human beings.  A view that, as some have pointed out, is directly responsible for the pornography industry!  And a view that has to invent "commands of God" where there are none, under the pretense of avoiding sexual sin.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Truth About Genesis 3

Genesis 3 is the record of the fall of mankind.  But how much of it do we really understand?  Well, thanks to the Church, you probably believe that the serpent was being controlled by Satan, yet was still punished for doing something that it had no control over.  Read the first verse very carefully.  Genesis makes it very clear that it is a creature with real flesh and blood that is doing the things described, not Satan.  That doesn't mean that Satan couldn't have prompted the creature to doing it, but it does mean that the creature chose of its own free will to deceive mankind into eating the forbidden fruit.  This probably isn't the only thing about the chapter that is either not understood or is misunderstood.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” [Genesis 3:1; NKJV]

The word translated as "cunning" is the Hebrew word "arum", which can also be translated as "crafty", "subtile", "prudent", etc.  It can also be mistranslated as "naked" for the simple reason that it uses the exact same spelling as the Hebrew word "arom" (Hebrew has no vowels), which literally means "without clothing".  The description of "cunning" makes it very clear why it was a serpent that did this and not some other creature.  Also, Satan isn't very creative, so he relies on the creativity of others to accomplish his goals.  Then uses the same tricks on every new generation.

By the way, there's absolutely no indication that there are any miracles going on here.  In fact, everything is portrayed as being completely normal here.  It may be the case (and some traditions state this to be the case) that animals could originally talk before the fall, but that after the fall, God made it so that they could no longer talk.

Now, let's take a look at the deception.  Some in the KJV only cult will say that the "Did God really say" is the entirety of the deception.  But this in and of itself is a deception (to keep you from questioning their doctrine).  The real deception comes by how the serpent quotes God's commandment, saying "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden".  The original command started as "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat" [Genesis 2:16; NKJV].  Note that the original command gives Adam the freedom to eat of every tree in the garden, except the one forbidden in the next verse.  The serpent's twisting of the command has made the command look restrictive.  Or shall we say, oppressive, since the way the serpent worded it makes it seem as if God has not given them anything to eat.  Making God's commandments look oppressive/burdensome is literally the first deception ever recorded in the Bible!  So if anyone tells you that God's Law is too hard, now you know from whom they got their teaching from.

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " [Genesis 3:2-3; NKJV]

There is another point to the serpent's twisting of God's commandment:  Notice that the woman started by correctly stating what the command was.  But when she got to the exception, she too added to God's command.  Why did she do this?  Most of the explanations I've seen assert that Adam added this when he relayed the command to Eve, placing a hedge around God's command, which was then used by the serpent to trick her into eating the fruit.  And while this is possible, I find it unlikely.  Ever heard of psychological manipulation?  What probably, actually happened, is that by making the command look oppressive, the serpent tricked Eve into thinking that the command was oppressive in some way.  She therefore thought that there had to be more to the command than simply not eating it, and a command against touching it made the most sense.

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The serpent saying "you will not die" is the only lie that the serpent speaks in this entire exchange.  The most dangerous deceptions are those that are not outright lies!  Or those that use the truth to cover the lie.  The serpent called God a liar when it said "you will not die."  Because God said, "you will die."  And by the way, Adam and Eve both died as a direct result of eating the fruit, proving the serpent to be the liar.

In verse 5, the serpent said that if they eat of the fruit, they will be like God and know good and evil.  This is true, but it's what the serpent is not telling them that is the important detail.  The serpent left out the part that knowing good means doing good, and knowing evil means doing evil.  Of course, if the serpent told them this, they surely would not have eaten the fruit.  This detail would not have been important before, because previously, Adam and Eve both trusted that God had a good reason for not allowing them to eat the fruit:  That being that they were only meant to know good.  But now that the serpent has portrayed knowing both good and evil as being good, their trust in God has been compromised.  The serpent, in all likelihood, knew that this would happen.

By the way, the above fact is hidden from us by the Church.  Instead of pointing-out that knowing good means doing good, and knowing evil means doing evil, the Church instead teaches that the fruit gave Adam and Eve knowledge when they ate of it.  But fruit is incapable of giving such knowledge.  And the fruit of this tree is no different.  In other words, the tree is named what it is not because of a non-existent ability to do what other fruits cannot do, but because eating from it would be evil.  What makes eating from this tree evil?  The command not to eat of it.  The command not to eat of the tree was to give Adam and his wife a choice:  To (a) show that they love and trust him, or (b) to do things their own way.

We're only 5 verses into Genesis 3 and we already can see why Deuteronomy 12:32 says what it does, and why the Deuteronomy 13 Test exists.  Simply adding to God's commands can cause others to do the same thing (even by accident).  And doing things your own way rather than obeying God's commands shows that you really don't trust God.

Also, whenever someone says "you will be like God", it's always a trap!  To say "you will be like God" implies that we are nothing like God, which is itself a deception.  We are already like God in certain ways.  We are made in God's image, and in his likeness (Genesis 1:26).  Also, the teaching that any of these qualities were tarnished or lost during the fall is also a lie!  Bonus points if they also claim that they were restored by the blood of Jesus, because that's also a lie.  The blood of Jesus provides atonement for the sins of those who believe in him.  Nothing more, nothing less.

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. [Genesis 3:6-7; NKJV]

Notice here in verse 6 that Eve never saw the tree as being good for food, or desirable for making one wise until the serpent lied to her and deceived her.  Her perception that the tree is good for these things is the direct result of the serpent's deceptions.  Before, they trusted that God had a good reason for forbidding them from eating from that tree (that it was not good for food).  And up until now, everything has been going well for them as a result of their obedience.  But now things are going south very quickly.

So now they now know both good and evil, but not in the way that the serpent implied they would.  No, they now know good and evil because they have done both good and evil.  But they still don't know this.  Instead, they're now distracted by the fact that they have no covering on their bodies, and the fact that they are vulnerable to something.

By the way, the word translated as naked in verse 7 is the Hebrew word "erom", which wile translated as "naked", has an emphasis on being vulnerable.  This word is used in 3 places:  (1) Prophesies about the punishment for rebelling against God's Law, (2) commands to provide for those who are in need, and (3) Genesis 3.  The word "erom" is naked in the metaphorical sense, and does not necessarily reflect a person's physical clothing (or lack thereof).  Also, the word translated as "coverings" is the Hebrew word "hagor", which literally means "belt".  And yes, Eve was topless during these events.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?"

10 So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."

11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" [Genesis 3:8-11; NKJV]

Here's a question:  Adam already covered himself with a belt of fig leaves, so why is he still afraid of being naked in the presence of God?  He is no longer naked.  The answer comes from the fact that the word used is "erom", which, as mentioned earlier, emphasizes vulnerability.  The issue is not that he's naked (which he's not, unless his belt fell off).  The issue is that he broke God's command and is now vulnerable to God's judgement.  That is why he is really hiding from God.  And of course, God sees right through his excuse, and rebukes him by asking, "who told you that you were naked?"  Key word in that question is "who", not "what".  Notice that God immediately followed-up with another question, which concerned the real issue, rather than waiting for Adam to give a response to the first question.

Most believe that the fruit gave Adam and Eve knowledge about what is right and wrong, and that it's this knowledge that told them they were naked.  But fruit is not described as a "who", but as a "what".  The only thing that qualifies as a who that would be (1) willing and (2) able to tell those two that they were naked is the serpent!  That's right!  They made belts of fig leaves because the serpent told them that they needed to cover their reproductive centers.

12 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." [Genesis 3:12-13; NKJV]

Notice that Adam answered the second question rather than the first.  Realizing that he couldn't hide what he had done, he confessed, but deflected blame to the woman, and also to God himself.  Notice that when Adam said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me", he's actually blaming God for giving the woman to him.  Never-mind that he was given the command to guard the garden (which means it is his job to intervene and prevent that fruit from being eaten).  So Adam didn't break just one command, but two.

When God confronted the woman, she also confessed to eating the fruit.  She however, didn't blame God, but the serpent, who deceived her.

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:

"Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." [Genesis 3:14-15; NKJV]

God's judgement came first on the serpent, who deceived them.  Notice the prophesy about the redemption of mankind in the sentence that God gives to the serpent.

16 To the woman He said:

"I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." [Genesis 3:16; NKJV]

Next, God pronounced judgement on Eve, but doesn't specify the reason like he did with the serpent, or with Adam, as we shall soon see.

17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it':

"Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return." [Genesis 3:17-19; NKJV]

Notice that the ground was cursed for Adam's own good.  Also notice that God reiterated the fact that Adam would die if he ate of the tree by describing exactly what was to happen to him when he died.  "For dust you are, and to dust you shall return!"  Notice that death is a reversal of the process of creation.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. [Genesis 3:20; NKJV]

Technically, Eve didn't have a name until after God pronounced all of his judgements.  And it was Adam that gave Eve her name.

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. [Genesis 3:21; NKJV]

This is perhaps one of the best examples of the Church breaking Deuteronomy 12:32.  Here, God kills an animal and makes tunics of animal skin for Adam and his wife in place of the belts that they were wearing before.  The Church uses this as proof of some sort of command to always be clothed.  This is nothing more than reading into the text.  The Bible simply says that God clothed them.  It doesn't say why.  Any explanation as to why is merely reading into the text.  If this was to point out a moral obligation to be clothed, God would have given an explicit command later on when he gave us his Law.  He did no such thing.  The Church is falling for the exact same deception that Adam and his wife fell for after they ate the fruit of the tree!  By the way, a tunic is a skirt-like garment that goes from the waste to the legs.  So Eve was, once again, topless.

22 Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. [Genesis 3:22-24; NKJV]

Notice here that God himself confirmed that Adam and Eve are indeed like God in the sense that they know good and evil.  But they don't know good and evil in the same way that God does.  As mentioned earlier, knowing good means doing good, and knowing evil means doing evil, at least for mankind.  But for God, knowing good means knowing what good will bring.  And knowing evil means knowing what evil will bring.  In other words, God knows good and evil through foresight.  Humans are very bad at foresight unless we've already experienced what our actions will bring, or have been told what will happen by those who have experienced those things.

Finally, notice that God removed Adam and Eve from the garden and denied them access to the tree of life, which was capable of allowing them to live forever.  This completes God's promise to Adam, that he would till the soil for food until the day he died, and the promise that they would indeed die.

To summarize:  The deceptions of the serpent included a single lie (that they would not die if they ate the fruit) surrounded by truth (that they would be "like God" and know good and evil), deceptions by omission (what it means for man to know good and evil), implied denial of certain facts (eg: the fact that we're already like God by having been made in his image and his likeness), defaming God's character (by casting doubt over his goodness and intentions, and by making him out to be a liar), and creating a moral obligation where there is none (God "requiring" clothing).

Change of Heart, Change of Style

A while ago, on social media, a posted a rather harsh reply to something that a pastor posted, and got rebuked for not making my reply in a ...