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Most Popular Bible Questions Articles:  
1. How to Go to Heaven
2Basic Bible Doctrine in 94 Lessons
3. Unborn Black Lives Matter
4. Is Killing Ever Right?
5. The Role of Government
6. Should the Book of James Be in the Bible?
7. What Does the Bible Say About Love, Marriage, and Sex?
8. Did Noah's Curse Turn Ham's Skin Black?
9. Should We Eat Pork?
10What Do Evangelicals Believe?
11Frequently Asked Bible Questions
12What About Apparent Discrepancies in the Bible?
13American and Corinth:  Churches Molded by Their Cultures
14. Believe - A Synopsis of the Entire Bible
15Is the Bible Complete?
16. What Are Spiritual Gifts?
17. The Christian Life
18. A Summary of the book of Jeremiah
19. Pagan Influence Upon Roman Catholicism
20. What is Prayer (and Does God Answer)?
21. The Problem With Taxes
22. Do Christians Sin (1 John 1:8 vs. 1 John 3:9)?
23. How Do We Reconcile Science to the Bible?
24. Top Ten Bible Verses
25. I'm Not Proud to Be An American
26. True Christianity - The Doctrines of the Epistles
27. Who Were Our Best U. S. Presidents?
28Why I Don't Go To Church
29How I Want to Die (My End of Life Strategy)
30. The Book of Philippians

Index to All Bible Questions
Most Popular Bible Questions eBooks:
1. A Synopsis of the Entire Bible
2. The Doctrines of the Epistles
3. America and Corinth
4. The Book of Philippians
5. The White Sheep

Answers to Bible Questions on:
Bible Questions on Life, Death, and Eternity
Bible Questions on Core Christian Doctrines
Bible Questions on Living the Christian Life
Bible Questions on Church History
Bible Questions on Creation / Prophecy

Other recommended websites:  
Amazing Bible.org
Faith Writers.com

Frequently Asked Bible Questions

Death

Much has been written as to what occurs upon the death of a 
Christian.  The information varies from one going to a Paradise 
such as Abraham’s bosom to one entering the sleep of time until
the judgement day or even the beginning of tribulation.  Can you 
help me find scripture which speaks to this issue.  Within six 
months my wife and I experienced the loss of both our mothers. 
We are middle aged and these deaths are a part of life.  We do 
however often find what appears to be disparity in the next 
phase. 

Thank you for your question.  I know that this is a very 
personal issue for you.  I too am middle-aged, and I have lost 
both parents and a sister.  As a result, I have probably had 
many of the same questions that you have.  In searching the 
Scriptures for exactly what happens when a believer dies, I see 
distinct differences in the Old and New Testaments as a result 
of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

I believe that when the Old Testament saints encountered death, 
their souls were not taken directly to heaven, as is now the 
case with New Testament believers.  Instead, the Old Testament 
believers were taken to a place called paradise (Luke 233:43,
1 Corinthians 12:3-4, Revelation 2:3-7), or  Abraham’s bosom
 (Luke 16:3-23).  Then, upon the event of Christ’s crucifixion and 
resurrection, these Old Testament saints were resurrected 
(Matthew 27:3-52).  Today, now that Christ’ resurrection has 
already occurred, when Christians die, we are taken directly to 
heaven.  The strongest argument I find for this is 2 Corinthians 
5:3-8, which says,  “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be 
away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  This seems to 
say that for we believers of this age, being in this current 
body is mutually exclusive from being in the presence of God in 
heaven.  So, at the point of death, we're no longer in the body, 
but with the Lord.  

Incidentally, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 
16:3-23 refers to a place called Hades, which is where the rich 
man was.  This seems to be the opposite of the place of 
paradise where Lazarus was.  This would imply that, in Old 
Testament times, those who died were taken to one of these 
temporary chambers, awaiting their transaction either from 
paradise to heaven or from Hades to Hell.  This probably also 
explains the origination of the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, 
which would equate to Hades in this case.  

You may also be interested in my article at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/matthew2752.htm.  It
is also related to your question in that it examines the mystery in 
Matthew 27:52-53 where saints arose from their graves and 
appeared to many in the holy city. 

As a side note, I remember having another question when I lost 
loved ones.  I wondered whether or not they could look down upon 
me from heaven.  I found my own personal resolution for this in 
Revelation 21:3-4, which says,  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.  Although this is 
specifically referring to the new Jerusalem on the new earth, I 
believe that this lack of mourning and crying is now what heaven 
is like as well, since the new earth has not yet come.  As a 
result, I believe that our loved ones in heaven do not look down 
upon us in this life because they could not look from their 
vantage point upon their loved ones in a sinful world without 
shedding tears.  

As I wrote this, I prayed that you will find the answers to your 
questions, and that your grief will bring you peace and comfort.

Thanks, 

Owen

Thank you for your thorough and insightful analysis of the scriptures surrounding the
afterlife.   While my question was certainly prof-erred from a personal perspective, I asked
the question as it relates also to my work.  My wife and I are clinical social workers.   I
work primarily with first responders from the NYPD and the FDNY.   My wife does much 
work in
the area of grief and trauma.   Many of my first responders to the World Trade 
Center are now
contracting illnesses which often times  result in fatal outcomes.   Faced 
with their own mortality they search
their faith for their beliefs in what will happen next.  
Fear and grief overwhelm them and
they look for desperate reassurance that there will be 
a paradise awaiting those who believe.


I will certainly place your information in my grief library.   I often reflect upon how a
few minutes of time devoted to questions such as the one I posed to you can actually have
such long lasting impact and provide such comfort for those in despair. 

Death and the Soul 

I would like to know where in the Bible that talks about the state of soul
after the soul leaves the body?  Like the Catholics believing in purgatory,
what do Christians believe in?  

Thank you for your question about the state of the soul after death.  I
believe that our definitive passage on this is the story of the rich man and
Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.  When the rich man died, he went to a place called
"Hades" (verse 23), which was a place of torments.  When Lazarus died, he
went to a place called "Abraham's bosom," which Bible scholars have
associated with the word "paradise."

When people died in Old Testament times (including the times referenced in
the Gospels), their bodies went into a grave, but apparently there was a
temporary holding place for their souls. The Bible uses a term called hell,
such as in Matthew 5:22, but the terminology is slightly different than what
we normally use. Hell is the lake of fire where all unbelievers will spend
eternity (Revelation 20:14-15). Apparently, however, the temporary holding
place (sometimes called Sheol, or Purgatory) had a compartment for separate
compartments for believers and unbelievers. (This is where the Catholics
(mistakenly) built their doctrine of purgatory.) Unbelievers spent this
period in the part called torments (Luke 16:23), while believers spent this
time in a place called paradise (Luke 23:43).

However, with the resurrection of Jesus (the first resurrection), these Old
Testament believers were transferred from paradise to Heaven. This is
apparently what was going on in Matthew 7:53, which is a very difficult
passage.

Now, for us, it's completely different. Since the resurrection of Christ has
already occurred, and He has ascended to Heaven, when believers die today,
our bodies go to a grave, and our spirits go straight to Heaven (2
Corinthians 5:1-8) to be with Christ.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

Thank you very much! 


Our loved ones in heaven

I have been asked recently and have also wondered myself if we will know
our loved ones in heaven.  Also are there any scriptures to support the
answer.  It is hard to imagine that the loving relationships we have had
with families here on earth will be gone when we get to heaven.  I know
that we will be so blessed to see the Lord and all that heaven has to
offer, but do not want to think this earth will be the end of our knowledge
of our loved ones.  Thank you for your answer to this important question.

Thank you for your question.  The Bible is not definitive about what our
relationships with others will be like in heaven.  The best passage that we
have on this is probably Matthew 22:23-33 where Christ is answering a
question from the Pharisees concerning the afterlife for a woman who had
multiple husbands on earth.  In verse 30, Jesus says, "For in the
resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like
angels in heaven."  This implies that people in heaven will know each other,
but they won't have the same relationships, such as marriage.

I believe that our existence in heaven will be overpowered by God's glory
(Revelation 4:9-11).  We will be so awe-struck by being in the very presence
of God, that we will somehow not even be too concerned with others.

Thanks,

Owen


Greeting in Heaven


Who will be there to greet us when we get to heaven? 

Thank you for your question.  The Bible doesn't mention anyone welcoming 
us into heaven other than Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11).  However, perhaps 
your question relates to several others that I have received lately 
about what heaven will be like.  Readers often ask whether or not we 
will know each other in heaven, and specifically whether or not we will 
still be married to our earthly spouses.

The Bible is not definitive about what our relationships with others 
will be like in heaven.  The best passage that we have on this is 
probably Matthew 22:23-33 where Christ is answering a question from the 
Pharisees concerning the afterlife for a woman who had multiple husbands 
on earth.  In verse 30, Jesus says, "For in the resurrection they 
neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." 
 This implies that people in heaven will know each other, but they won't 
have the same relationships, such as marriage.

I believe that our existence in heaven will be overpowered by God's 
glory Revelation 4:9-11).  We will be so awe-struck by being in the very 
presence of God, that we will somehow not even be too concerned with 
others.

Thanks,

Owen



Marriage in Heaven


In heaven will my wife and I still be married? 

Thank you for your question.  The Bible is not definitive about what our
relationships with others will be like in heaven.  The best passage that we
have on this is probably Matthew 22:23-33 where Christ is answering a
question from the Pharisees concerning the afterlife for a woman who had
multiple husbands on earth.  In verse 30, Jesus says, "For in the
resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like
angels in heaven."  This implies that people in heaven will know each other,
but they won't have the same relationships, such as marriage.

I believe that our existence in heaven will be overpowered by God's glory
(Revelation 4:9-11).  We will be so awe-struck by being in the very presence
of God, that we will somehow not even be too concerned with others.

Thanks,

Owen



Children in Heaven


Will there be children in heaven? 

Thank you for your question.  I believe that there is one specific and 
very definitive passage that indicates that there are children in 
heaven.  In 2 Samuel 12:22-23, King David had been mourning the death of 
his newborn son.  He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted 
and wept.  I thought, 'Who knows?  The LORD may be gracious to me and 
let the child live.'  But now that he is dead, why should I go on 
fasting? Can I bring him back again?  I will go to him, but he will not 
return to me."

When David says, "... I will go to him ...," he is referring to the 
event of his own death (as a believer) at some point in the future.  
When he dies, he will immediately be in God's presence in Heaven, so 
this must be where his son already is. 

We can also infer from this that when a believer dies, he will be able 
to see all other believers (who have died) in heaven, including those 
who died as infants, and those who died in old age.  However, it's 
difficult for us to imagine the concept of age in heaven, since it's an 
eternal state that is not bound by space or time.

I hope this makes sense.  If not, please let me know.

Thanks,

Owen



Heaven


Are there any babies or old people in Heaven, and if not where are the 
scriptures to back it up?  
I asked this in my Church, but no scriptures were given to back up 
what they told me.

Thank you for your question.  Yes, this theological issue has been 
debated for centuries.  Some point to scriptures like Romans 5:12 which 
tells us that every person is born with imputed sin in his flesh; and, 
John 3:16, Galatians 2:16, and Ephesians 2:8-9 which tell us that we 
must each accept Jesus Christ through faith in order to receive eternal 
life.  Although these scriptures teach us necessary truths, the 
Scriptures also seem to teach us about a special grace that God extends 
to infants and others that have not yet reached an age or stage of 
accountability.  Fortunately, I believe that there is one specific and 
very definitive passage about this. 

In 2 Samuel 12:22-23, King David had been mourning the death of his 
newborn son.  He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and 
wept.  I thought, 'Who knows?  The LORD may be gracious to me and let 
the child live.'  But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting?  
Can I bring him back again?  I will go to him, but he will not return to 
me."

When David says, "... I will go to him ...," he is referring to the 
event of his own death (as a believer) at some point in the future.  
When he dies, he will immediately be in God's presence in Heaven, so 
this must be where his son already is. 

We can also infer from this that when a believer dies, he will be able 
to see all other believers (who have died) in heaven, including those 
who died as infants, and those who died in old age.  However, it's 
difficult for us to imagine the concept of age in heaven, since it's an 
eternal state that is not bound to space or time. 

I hope this makes sense.  If not, please let me know.  . 

Love in Christ,

Owen

The Soul of a Child
Is there any scripture in the bible that can be used to comfort a parent who has lost their
child shortly after birth?  Not just relating to comfort, but the Childs soul?

Thank you for your question.  Yes, I believe that there is one specific and very definitive
passage that could help to assure a grieving parent about the loss of a child.  In 2 Samuel
12:22-23, King David had been mourning the dearth of his newborn son.  He said, "While the
child was still alive, I fasted and wept.  I thought, 'Who knows?  The LORD may be gracious
to me and let the child live.'  But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I
bring him back again?  I will go to him, but he will not return to me."
When David says, "... I will go to him ...," he is referring to the event of his own death
(as a believer) at some point in the future.  When he dies, he will immediately be in God's
presence in Heaven, so this must be where his son already is. 

We can also infer from this that when a believer dies, he will be able to see all other
believers (who have died) in heaven, including those who died as infants, and those who died
in old age.  However, it's difficult for us to imagine the concept of age in heaven, since
it's an eternal state that is not bound by space or time.

I hope this makes sense.  If not, please let me know.
 
Love in Christ,
 
Owen



Question - Animals / Heaven

Do animals go to heaven?

Thank you for your question.  No, animals do not go to heaven.  Humans 
are intelligent creatures with a soul and a spirit, while animals are 
not. 

Thanks,

Owen


Heaven

Will we know one another in heaven? 

Thank you for your question.  The Bible is not definitive about what our
relationships with others will be like in heaven.  The best passage that we
have on this is probably Matthew 22:23-33 where Christ is answering a
question from the Pharisees concerning the afterlife for a woman who had
multiple husbands on earth.  In verse 30, Jesus says, "For in the
resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like
angels in heaven."  This implies that people in heaven will know each other,
but they won't have the same relationships, such as marriage.

I believe that our existence in heaven will be overpowered by God's glory
(Revelation 4:9-11).  We will be so awe-struck by being in the very presence
of God, that we will somehow not even be too concerned with others.

Love in Christ,

Owen


Judgment

I know the Bible says we will all be judged. And I know the Bible says 
Jesus   has wiped away all our sins. (For Christians).

My question then is if Jesus has wiped away all our sins, what will 
Christians stand in judgment for on judgment day?

Thank you for your question.  I've included an excerpt from my 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/truechristianity.htm link below, 
and I think this should answer your question. 

Thanks,

Owen

Judgment ...

     A discussion of the doctrine of the judgment of God requires an 
understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins 
of all men (John 3:16, Hebrews 12:2).  All of our sins are forgiven via 
this single sacrifice (Hebrews 7:27), and we'll never be judged for the 
individual sins that we commit.  In eternity, our sins are forgiven and 
forgotten by God.  Jesus supplied our eternal sacrifice, and through 
confession (1 John 1:9), we can have God's temporal forgiveness in this 
life.  If so, then what judgment does 1 Peter 1:17 address?  "Since you 
call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives 
as strangers here in reverent fear."  Furthermore, Romans 2:6 says that 
God will judge every man according to his deeds.  Indeed, all men will 
be judged, but there are two specific categories of judgment based upon 
the determining factor of believing in Jesus Christ as personal savior.
     Remember that upon accepting Christ as savior, God imputes the 
righteousness of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to each 
believer.  Without this divine power, man can do no good (Romans 3:10, 
12, Psalms 53:3).  He may do some humanly good deeds, which have as 
their source the flesh, but unless the Holy Spirit indwells a person and 
God sees that person through the righteousness of His son, he can't 
perform any divinely good works.  In the first category of judgment 
then, believers will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 
Corinthians 5:10), and in the second category, unbelievers will be 
judged at the Great White Throne of God (Revelation 20:11-15).

The Judgment Seat of Christ

     The judgment of all believers will occur at the Judgment Seat of 
Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 14:10), but the Bible doesn't clearly 
specify when this judgment will occur.  I tend to side with those who 
believe that our day of judgment will occur after the rapture and during 
the tribulation period, but it's probably a moot point since time can't 
be set in an eternal state.  Nevertheless, we're assured of both the 
rapture and this judgment which introduce what the Bible calls ". . . 
the day of the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8), and we're charged 
to be prepared for it and remain blameless in this life until that day.
     In 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, we see that in that day, ". . . his work 
will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light."  
Christ will test the quality of our works with fire, which will burn up 
the wood, hay, and straw, but leave the pure gold, silver, and precious 
stones.  God will repay us for our deeds in the body, according to what 
we've done, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Christ will 
reveal whether our good works were only humanly good works produced by 
the flesh like the wood, hay, and straw similar to that of "good" 
unbelievers, or whether our good works came from the divine power of the 
Holy Spirit in the form of gold, silver, and precious stones.
     For the divine good works that survive the test of fire, Jesus will 
credit our account (Philippians 4:17).  For our human good works, we'll 
suffer loss of rewards, but we'll keep our eternal life (1 Corinthians 
3:15).  We're promised that God will repay us for our service to Him 
(Ephesians 6:8), and we'll receive ". . . an inheritance from the Lord 
as a reward" (Colossians 3:24).

Rewards

     We're not told the details of these rewards, but any reward from 
God must be wonderful and worthy of our service.  Our rewards may be 
personal commendations from Jesus, "Well done, good and faithful 
servant" (Matthew 25:21, 23).  They may be in the form of crowns (1 
Corinthians 9:25, Revelation 3:11).  In 1 Peter 5:4, a special "crown of 
glory" is specified for leaders who serve well.  In 2 Timothy 4:8, we 
see a crown of righteousness for those who live Godly lives and long for 
Christ's return.  James 1:12 references a crown of life for those who 
persevered by God's grace, while under trial for their faith. 
Philippians 4:1 speaks of a crown of joy for those who stand firm in 
their service to God.
     Our rewards may be positions of authority or leadership as we reign 
with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 20:6, 22:5).  By 1 Corinthians 
6:3, we'll even be given authority to judge the angels.  No matter what 
our rewards are, Christians in this life must have faith that God will 
make all our service to Him worthwhile.  We should understand that the 
name of the game after salvation while we remain on the earth is service 
to God and rewards from Jesus Christ
 
Works

     This system of judgment and rewards for Christians in return for 
divinely good works doesn't at first sound like a grace system, does it? 
 However, God established this system of works within His 
all-encompassing system of Grace, similar to the way he had a system of 
works to govern the daily lives of the Jews in the Old Testament, 
although the two are completely mutually exclusive.  When not properly 
oriented toward God's grace and sovereignty, a Christian can feel guilty 
for trying to earn eternal rewards.  Of course our works should be 
motivated from our love for Christ, but Matthew 6:19-20 says not to seek 
earthly treasures (coveting), but to seek heavenly treasures (rewards) 
with fervor.

The Great White Throne

     The judgment of unbelievers will occur after the Millennium as all 
unbelievers stand before the Great White Throne of God (Revelation 
20:11).  God will judge all their deeds (Romans 2:6) and find that 
they're all lacking the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22), and 
God will cast them all into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:15). 
 The Bible doesn't specify how the judgment of their individual human 
good works will affect their eternal doom in the lake of fire.  Perhaps 
there will be degrees of punishment in hell, although we can't perceive 
a punishment worse than hell itself. Romans 1:18-27 tells us that they 
deserve their punishment, and they have no excuse for their unbelief, 
since God has revealed Himself to all men.

Conclusions

     We'll all face God's judgment, whether we're believers or 
unbelievers. Believers will be rewarded for their divinely good works, 
and they'll spend eternity in paradise, either as wealthy recipients of 
many rewards, or as paupers in comparison to what they could have had.  
At the Great White Throne of God, unbelievers will be found to lack the 
righteousness of Jesus Christ, and they'll be sentenced to the lake of 
fire forever.  Our concern in this life is that of pleasing God as 
Christians through our faith, our obedience, and our earning of heavenly 
rewards.



Killing during war

Hi Owen,

My step-father is now in his early 80s. He has served in both WWII 
and the Korean War.
During the Korean War, he was in a rice patty where a young Korean 
boy suddenly popped up in front of him.
In a split-second, he had to decide... kill a young boy or be 
killed.
He shot.

To this day, he can not forgive himself for this in particular 
above all of the other horrors or war that he has seen and experienced.
And, he does not feel that he is worthy of forgiveness by God and 
Christ for this act.

Are there any Scriptures that you can point to help him gain any 
sense of peace and comfort?

Thank you.

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for the delay in my 
reply. 

    Many people have misunderstood the Bible on the subject of killing, 
often because of an incorrect translation in the old King James version 
of the Bible.  The sixth commandment, in Exodus 20:13, does not actually 
say, "Thou shalt not kill" as translated in the old King James.  A more 
accurate translation is provided in many of the modern versions, such as 
the NIV, which says, "You shall not murder."  The Bible forbids the act 
of murder, which means the unjustified taking of a person's life 
(including suicide, abortion, and euthanasia), but it doesn't forbid all 
killing.  In fact, it is sometimes very adamant that killing is the 
right thing to do, but it must be justified in God's eyes.

    The Bible tells us quite clearly that killing is not only justified 
in warfare, but it's also necessary.  It offers many examples where God 
commands His people to kill their enemy aggressors in warfare.  In 
Genesis 10 through 12 (specifically 10:5 and 11:9), God created the 
institution of nations, and determined that people would be divided 
according to national entities.  God condemned aggression from one 
nation against another, and he sanctioned warfare as a means of 
protection from aggressors.  The Old Testament is filled with commands 
from God to Moses, Joshua, David, and many others, to kill their enemy 
aggressors.  Deuteronomy 20:1 says, "When you go to war against your 
enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do 
not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out 
of Egypt, will be with you." 

    Sometimes God even commanded the unmerciful annihilation of evil 
nations. Deuteronomy 2:33-34 says, "The LORD our God delivered him over 
to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. 
At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them--men, 
women and children. We left no survivors."

    In your step-father's experience in Korea, the nations of North 
Korea and China were the aggressors.  They invaded South Korea which was 
our ally, so we helped them in their defense against those aggressors.  
Your step-father explicitly obeyed the Scripture above that says, "... 
do not be afraid of them, ..."  He had been trained to obey orders, and 
that he did.  He bravely fulfilled his duty in killing the aggressors, 
even when he had some moral questions about it. 

    Remember also that our armed forces work as a team in defeating our 
enemies.  Consider a particular service man whose sole responsibility 
was to load the proper coordinates for a 90MM anti-aircraft cannon, 
perhaps under a cloudy nighttime sky.  After the coordinates were 
loaded, another man positioned and aimed the gun.  Another man loaded a 
mortar shell, and yet another man fired the weapon.  If the artillery 
(hopefully) hit its target aircraft, it likely killed all of the enemy 
onboard.  In many cases, none of these men even saw the far away 
explosion, but each was (proudly) a part of the killing of the enemy.  
The unfortunate thing in your step-father's incident is that it took 
place in such close physical proximity to the aggressor.  Even if this 
is a recurring nightmare for him, he should be proud of the part he 
played in defense of freedom.  In fact, the enemy soldier that he killed 
may have been destined to kill him, or another American soldier, if he 
had not done the right thing as he did. 

    Your story reminded me of the movie, Saving Private Ryan.  I love 
the scene with the American sniper, whose job it was to hide, take 
careful aim with his rifle, and kill German soldiers.  Each time, just 
before pulling the trigger, he would quote a Scripture from the Bible.  
In other words, He was demonstrating his obedience to God and to his 
commanding officers by killing the enemy.  Such a man, so learned in the 
Scriptures, probably also said a prayer for his enemies (Matthew 5:44), 
while he also thanked God for the opportunity for obedience to Him. 

    Now, regarding forgiveness, Acts 13:38 says,  93Therefore, my 
friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins 
is proclaimed to you."  Forgiveness of sin is a matter of believing in 
Christ.  If your step-father is a believer (John 3:16), then, like the 
rest of us believers, he can simply claim his eternal forgiveness 
(Romans 4:7), and use the technique of confession (1 John 1:9) to 
receive temporal forgiveness.  However, regarding his specific actions 
during war, I believe that there is no need for forgiveness in this 
situation.  His was not an act of sin, but of obedience. 

    For more information on this, please see my article at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/killing.htm . 

    Please be sure to thank your step-father for the freedom that he 
provided to me for his faithful service in fulfilling the (sometimes 
awful) call of duty from God and from our country, in not just one, but 
two wars.  I was never in the military, and, much less, never in his 
shoes.  Because of this, I truly believe that I'll never be half the man 
he is.  My simple and easy duty is to simply admire and thank him, and 
it's my privilege to do so. 

    BTW, would you allow me to post your question on my website? 

    Thanks,

    Owen

Thanks for your thoughtful response Owen.
  Yes you may post to the website.

  I think the primary struggle is looking the young boy in the face and 
needing to decide will it be him or me?
  Shoot a young boy or be killed.
  Should he have let the young boy live?

  Blessings,

Thank you for your reply.  I certainly have an appreciation for the fact 
your step-father is haunted by that moment when he had to look the young 
boy in the face and decide what to do.  I may not have addressed this 
issue directly enough.  I have never had such a difficult decision, but 
I'll try to better explain my view from a biblical and moral 
perspective. 

During those wars, and in all of our wars since then, our enemies have 
often been terrorists who have been willing to sacrifice the lives of 
their own women and children by using them as decoys, traps, human 
shields, and suicide bombers.  They quickly learned that American 
soldiers have compassion for innocent women and children.  
Unfortunately, our soldiers also quickly learned that they had to be 
cautious and untrusting in all engagements with enemy civilians.  Too 
often an American soldier came to the aid of such a child only to 
discover that it was a trap to set off an explosion and kill as many 
Americans as possible. 

Your step-father suddenly faced a situation where he had to make a 
split-second decision, and his instincts and military training kicked 
in.  Yes, if he had more time, he might have made a different decision.  
However, he didn't have more time.  Our enemies intentionally try to 
cause our soldiers to hesitate by exploiting their compassion and 
sensitivity as weaknesses.  There have been many similar situations 
where American soldiers tried to help an innocent child, then the 
slightest move by the child set off an explosion, or a trigger from a 
nearby enemy sniper.  For all your step-father knew, he was saving 
American lives by sacrificing the life of a child. 

I know it had to be terrible for your step-father to look the young boy 
in the face and decide whether to shoot him or be killed.  I still 
adamantly believe that your step-father did the right thing.  I believe 
that this is obvious by the mere fact that this was the decision at 
hand--to shoot or be killed.  In such (horrendous) moments of battle, 
our soldiers are taught to do the right thing.  They must shoot.  They 
would not further our cause to allow themselves to be killed in such a 
situation.  They are still needed for future battles, and to return home 
safely. 

Note that this does not excuse the war-time murder of civilians such as 
what some American soldiers did during the My Lai Massacre during the 
Vietnam War.  Killing the enemy in warfare is justified, but intentional 
murder is an unjustified sin.  Unfortunately, sometimes this is a fine 
line, requiring an instant decision by our soldiers.  War is an ugly, 
but necessary, thing, and part of the ugliness is having to make quick 
life-threatening decisions. 

So, should your step-father have let the young boy live?  I don't 
believe so.  He demonstrated strength during wartime, making some quick 
decisions and acting on those decisions.  If his training, battle 
conditions, and momentary decision-making were similar to what I 
described, then he can take solace in the Scriptures that I have 
offered.  If, for some reason, a sin was committed, then he simply needs 
to take solace in confession to God (1 John 1:9), as the rest of us do, 
in order to receive temporal forgiveness. 

I hope this helps.  Please feel free to reply again if I can be of any 
further assistance.  Meanwhile, I am praying for your step-father's 
peace and comfort in God (Philippians 4:7). 

Thanks,

Owen


Our Purpose

I researched the 'first cause' by Thomas Aquinas, and found it to be 
wanting of a very important nature, purpose. 
We are all taught that God created us for only one 
purpose............to worship him....to do his bidding and his 
will......and if we don't we get punished for
all eternity.  God is a dictator.........not a loving creator.  
Because even though we have free will, God doesn't say that's O.K. He 
says that if we don't
do conduct our behavior according to his will, we will be punished.
The bible also says that God loves us more than our parents do. That 
is not true.  If we go against our parents’ wishes.
they do not punish us for all eternity. Good parents tell their 
children that they should do as their hearts tell them to. That is real 
love.
Everything that God created, he created for a purpose.  Yet what 
purpose did God have before he created the angels?

Thank you for your question.  My perspective is somewhat different than 
yours, but I hope that I can shed some light on these issues, and maybe 
learn from each other. 

I believe that our purpose is to glorify God.  We are a part of His 
Creation, so everything we do must please Him and bring Him glory--our 
obedience, our trust, our conduct, etc.  (Romans 15:6, 2 Corinthians 
5:9).  Please see my article on Pleasing God at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/pleasinggod.htm. 

We all have the sinful nature of the flesh.  We each have sinned, both 
by committing personal sins and by the imputation of sin from Adam 
(Romans 5:14-10):  http://www.christiandataresources.com/imputation.htm. 
Yet, since God cannot coexist with sin, there's nothing that we can do 
to deserve eternal life in God's presence, so we have a dilemma.  Only 
God can do anything about this, and He would have been perfectly 
justified to let us all die in our sins and to separate Himself from us 
for all of eternity.  However, in His love, He instituted a system of 
grace to solve this problem for us.  All we have to do is to believe and 
trust Him for eternal salvation (John 3:16). 

If God is a dictator, then He is a benevolent one.  I must simply 
disagree with you because I believe that God is a loving creator (1 John 
4:8, 16).  Yes, we have free will, but it is a limited free will 
(http://www.christiandataresources.com/predestination.htm).  God loves 
us so much that that it is only by His plan of grace that there is a 
solution to our problem.  Ephesians 2:4-6 says, "But God, being rich in 
mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we 
were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by 
grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us 
with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." 

God does indeed love us more than our parents love us.  He loved us so 
much that He sacrificed His own son Jesus Christ for us (John 3:16, 
Romans 5:5), so that all we have to do is to believe Him for our eternal 
salvation.  (Who among us would be willing to sacrifice our own child 
for others?)  God imputes all of our sin onto Jesus Christ who died for 
our sins and was resurrected for our eternal life.  Christ took the 
punishment for our sin, if we only believe in Him, so God can now look 
at each of us believers as being sinless. 

Again I disagree where you said, "Good parents tell their children that 
they should do as their hearts tell them to."  Good parents tell their 
children that they should glorify and obey God; and, that until they're 
old enough to thoroughly understand this, they should obey their 
parents. 

Unfortunately, the Bible does not tell us about God's purpose before He 
created the angels.  Remember that God is an eternal being, so He is not 
limited by words such as "before" and "after."  Eternity transcends time 
and space, so these are not boundaries for God, although we (in our 
physical being) cannot fully understand these concepts.  We can simply 
be assured that since God created everything, then the purpose of 
everything (including us and the angels) has always been to glorify Him, 
and this will always be so. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen

Casting your pearls before swine 

What is meant by the phrase, “neither cast ye your pearls before swine?” 

Thank you for your question about Matthew 7:6.  The dogs and swine in 
this verse symbolize those people who have rejected the gospel message.  
So, Christ is saying that it is futile to continue to present the truth 
to those who have already refused what they have heard.  A person cannot 
appreciate new truth until he has responded to the truth which he has 
already received. 

Thanks,

Owen



Gluttony

Where in the book of Matthew does it tell who was called a glutton 
and a wine guzzler? 

Where in the book of I Timothy does it tell who Paul recommend a 
little wine for his infirmities?

Thank you for your questions. 

1) Matthew 11:18-19 says, "For John came neither eating nor drinking, 
and they say, 'He has a demon.'  The Son of Man came eating and 
drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of 
tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved right by her deeds." 

2) 1 Timothy 5:23 says, "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine 
because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses." 

There are two other related scriptures as well: 

Proverbs 31:6-7 is directed toward the distraught: "Give beer to those 
who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and 
forget their poverty and remember their misery no more." 

In 1 Corinthians 11:22, Paul tells the believers at Corinth that if they 
choose to drink, they should do it at home rather than at a church 
service, implying that this would be acceptable. 

Thanks,

Owen

Daniel

Was Daniel made a eunuch when he was taken as a teenage boy and is 
that found in scripture?

Thank you for your question.  We do not know for sure whether or not 
Daniel was made a eunuch, and there is much debate about this topic 
among theologians.  The only indication that we have for this is in 
Daniel 1:3, where Daniel and the other captives were put under the 
authority of Ashpenaz, "master of the eunuchs."  My opinion is that 
Daniel was not necessarily made a eunuch just because he was placed 
under the authority of the "master of the eunuchs," and the Scriptures 
certainly do not tell us that he was.  However, I do not believe that 
the answer to this question has much consequence for us, and it doesn't 
have much bearing on how we read the book of Daniel. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen

Money Management

Can you tell me where I can fine in the Bible not to squander your  money
or budget your household?  
 
Thank you for your question.  The best passage I can think of for  money
management is 1 Timothy 3:4:5, which says, "... not a lover of  money.  He
must manage his own family well and see that his children obey  him, and he
must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. "  Although  this is reference
to pastors and deacons, the same principles apply to all  Christians. 
 
For additional passages, please see my article on money at
_http://www.christiandataresources.com/money.htm_
(http://www.christiandataresources.com/money.htm)   . 
 
Thanks,
 
Owen
 
Hi Owen,
Thanks for your response it was very helpful keep up the good  work.
 
Thanks



153 Fish

In John 21:11 there is an exact count of 153 large fish.  In the 
context, what is the significance of this number and why did John 
mention it?  What does Luke 15 have to do with it?

Thank you for your question.  The Bible is not definitive about the 
significance of the exact number of 153 fish mentioned in John 21:11.  I 
personally believe that John mentioned it simply because it was factual 
(and a very large number), and I see no correlation with Luke 15.  
However, others do place particular significance upon this number, and I 
will summarize some of their observations below. 

Those who have associated special meaning to the number 153 usually 
based their analysis upon the significance of the number 3, noting the 
three members of the Trinity, the three days from Christ's death on the 
cross until His resurrection, etc.  Then they discovered that when the 
digits of 153 are added together (1 + 5 + 3), the sum is 9, or 3 x 3. 

153 is also what was called a "triangular" number in ancient times.  
They formed shapes or patterns by arranging dots to represent numbers.  
In order to be a triangular number, the pattern of dots had to form a 
triangle with the same number of dots on each side of the triangle.  The 
number 3 would be the first triangular number:  2 dots below 1 dot.  Add 
another row of 3 dots below the 2 dots and you have the next triangular 
number 6.  The number 153 is the sixteenth triangular number.  It would 
have 17 dots on each side of the triangle.  In other words, 1 + 2 + 3 + 
4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17  3D 153.  
So, the number 153 can be expressed as a triangle which, obviously, has 
3 sides and is therefore closely associated with the number 3. 

Also, if you sum the cube of the digits in 153, you get 153:  (1 X 1 X 
1) + (5 X 5 X 5) + (3 X 3 X 3)  3D 1 + 125 + 27  3D 153.  There are 
supposedly only about four known numbers in which the sum of the cube of 
the digits of that number will yield the original number.  Also, of 
these, the number 153 is the only one divisible by 3.

Again, although I am fascinated with the mathematics, I'm not convinced 
that the exact number of 153 fish is of particular significance. 

Thanks,

Owen



Jesus' Ascension

Where in the Bible is there information on why Jesus waiting 40 days 
from death to ascension?

Thank you for your question.  Unfortunately, there is no direct 
information in the Bible that tells us why Jesus waited 40 days before 
His ascension.  There have always been various opinions among 
theologians about this.  Among these various opinions, 40 is sometimes 
seen as: 

   - The number of waiting
   - The number of preparation
   - The number of testing
   - The number for transition, or transformation. 
   - The number of a generation (40 years)

Since the Bible doesn't specify the reason that Jesus waited 40 days 
before His ascension, I see no reason to try to explain it. 

I'm sorry that I can't be of more help on this. 

Thanks,

Owen

Mormonism

  My boss, who is LDS, and I have frequent discussions about Biblical 
matters.  I was saved by God's grace out of Mormonism so we've had some 
very interesting conversations (to say the least). 

  Today, my boss asked me this question:  "Luke is quite emphatic that 
Stephen saw God with Jesus.  If God is without substance, what did 
Stephen see?"

  Then, he followed with this statement:  "Further, if Stephen didn't 
see God with Jesus, then Luke's account is incorrect.  Luke is 
advocating false doctrine, and the Bible is far from inerrant.  I would 
presume that Luke was sincere in his belief that Stephen saw God."

  I know in Whom I believe and I trust the Bible completely.  However, 
my boss is a retired attorney and he asks questions and make statements 
like the above for which I'm unable to give a succinct reply.  I'm just 
not able to put what I believe into words of explanation. 

  Can you, PLEASE, help me with a reply that will make sense to my 
employer?

Thank you for your question.  I believe that one of the best 
translations to study for this passage is the New American Standard,  
which describes what Stephen saw as: 

    "... the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." 
(Acts 7:55b)

An even more accurate translation is:  "... the glory of God, even Jesus 
standing at the right hand of God." 

Yes, Stephen was given the unique privilege of seeing God.  However, 
technically, this passage does not say that he "saw God;" i.e., it 
doesn't say that he saw God, the Father (the first person of the 
Godhead).  It says that he saw "the glory of God," and he saw this glory 
of God through Jesus Christ.  In other words, by seeing Jesus Christ, he 
saw the glory of God, because Jesus is God; i.e., He is the second 
person of the Godhead (although your Mormon friends may have trouble 
with this interpretation). 

Your boss's assumption, "... if God is without substance..." may need 
closer examination as well.  John 4:24 does indeed say that, " God is 
spirit."  If this does mean that God is without substance, then the 
above explanation still holds, since Stephen saw "the glory of God."  
Still, we must be careful with this assumption.  For example, Jesus is 
God, and Jesus has a body, so technically, God (i.e., Jesus, the second 
person of the Godhead) does indeed have a body (even if God the Father, 
the first person of the Godhead) does not have a body.  Even by this, 
the above explanation still stands. 

Furthermore, we must be careful with any assumptions of what it is like 
to see things in eternity.  In our mortal bodies, we simply cannot 
understand the eternal things of God which are beyond time and space.  
Perhaps it was difficult for Luke to describe exactly what Stephen saw.  
Luke, in his physical body, may not have understood the things that 
Stephen saw in his unique opportunity, just before death (i.e., entering 
into the very presence of God). 

Still, with any of these reasonable explanations, it is still a fact 
that Luke is not advocating false doctrine, and that the Bible (in its 
original manuscripts) is indeed inerrant.  God, for whatever reason, has 
given you the challenge of defending your faith to a Mormon who is 
intelligent and articulate, and an experienced debater--one who is 
probably capable of twisting his opponents words and thoughts for the 
purpose of confusion.  I can only encourage you in this awesome task. 

Thanks,

Owen



Jesus' Age

How old was Jesus when the wise men found Him?

Thank you for your question.  The Bible doesn't explicitly tell us how 
old Jesus was when the wise men found him.  However, we can estimate his 
age by studying the text in Matthew 2. 

The wise men arrived in Jerusalem (and saw Herod) after Jesus was born 
(Matthew 2:1).  When the wise men finally found Jesus, he was in a 
house--no longer in the manger at the inn where he was born (Matthew 
2:11).  It was about this time that Herod ordered that all male 
children, two years old and under, in Bethlehem were to be killed 
(Matthew 2:16).  So we can estimate that the wise men had arrived to see 
Jesus somewhere between one and two years after His birth.  One year may 
be a better estimate because of the wise men's travel time. 

Thanks,

Owen



Beatitudes

How many times in the bible are beatitudes mentioned. I know of Matthew,
Luke and Revelation?

Thank you for your question.  There are no other places where the specific
beatitudes of Jesus are referenced in the Bible.  However, technically
speaking, I have found 41 Scriptures that convey a beatitude; i.e., in the
sense of a pronouncement of a happy, fortunate, or blissful blessing, and
I've included them below.

Thanks,

Owen

Deuteronomy 33:29
Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is
your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower
before you, and you will tread on their heights."

Psalm 2:12
Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your
destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who
take refuge in him.

Psalm 41:1
Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in
times of trouble.

Psalm 65:4
Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are
filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

Psalm 84:4
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

Psalm 84:5
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on
pilgrimage.

Psalm 89:15
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of
your presence, LORD.

Psalm 106:3
Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.

Psalm 112:1
Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight
in his commands.

Psalm 119:1
Aleph Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the
law of the LORD.

Psalm 119:2
Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart-

Psalm 128:1
A song of ascents. Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience
to him.

Psalm 146:5
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD
their God.

Proverbs 3:13
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,

Proverbs 8:32
"Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.

Proverbs 8:34
Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at
my doorway.

Proverbs 20:7
The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.

Isaiah 30:18
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show
you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait
for him!

Matthew 5:3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be
filled.

Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Matthew 5:8
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Matthew 5:10
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all
kinds of evil against you because of me.

Matthew 13:16
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

Matthew 16:17
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not
revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Luke 1:42
In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is
the child you will bear!

Luke 6:20
Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours
is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:21
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you
who weep now, for you will laugh.

Luke 6:22
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

Luke 10:23
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes
that see what you see.

Luke 23:29
For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the childless women,
the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'

John 20:29
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed
are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Romans 4:7
"Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are
covered.

Revelation 1:3
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed
are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the
time is near.

Revelation 14:13
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who
die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from
their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

Revelation 19:9
Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to
the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, "These are the true words of
God."

Revelation 22:14
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the
tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

Bible Chapters

HOW MANY CHAPTERS IN ENTIRE BIBLE?

Thank you for your question.  There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible:  
929 in the Old Testament, and 260 in the New Testament. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Cross

  Is there somewhere in the bible that  talks about the two aspects of 
crosses....meaning the crucifixion side and the symbolic religious side?

  I mean on one hand crosses have been used for killing people in past 
history. On the other hand they were (and are) used as a positive symbol 
for  loving God. 

  There seems to be some disconnect there in my mind about that.

  Does the bible address that issue anywhere?

  Or what do you think about that?

You have asked some interesting questions on the subject of the 
cross--the physical aspect vs. the spiritual aspect of the Crucifixion.  
  Unfortunately (as with so many things that we wish the Bible talked 
about more), I don't know of any specific Scripture passages that talk 
about this.  However, I believe that we can still construct a Biblical 
answer to your question by tying some verses together. 

However, first of all, I think it's important to note that the people 
living throughout the Roman Empire during the time of Christ were well 
aware of the violent nature of crucifixion.  Rome was a powerful world 
empire, and it used its power to strike fear in the hearts of its 
adversaries.  Rome's enemies lived in fear of its military power, and 
its domestic enemies (lawbreakers) lived in fear of crucifixion.  
Crucifixion was quite common, and Rome proudly displayed the crosses and 
the broken bodies on them.  The idea was that a would-be criminal  would 
think twice before breaking the law if he thought he would end up like 
that--usually suffering a very slow death over a period of many days, 
where the cause of death was often dehydration, exhaustion, and / or 
asphyxiation.  The victims were in agony, but not only because of the 
nails in their hands and feet.  The nature of crucifixion also made it 
difficult for them to breathe.  They would hang loosely from their arms 
for a while, trying to rest their muscles, but causing respiratory 
distress from the pressure on their rib cage.  Then they would muster 
enough strength to push up with their legs, and take a few relatively 
clear breaths, until the strength in their legs would give out again.  
As a result, if the soldiers (and the authorities) took pity upon 
someone who was crucified, they could break his legs, as this would 
actually hasten their death. 

Incidentally, Christ's death was relatively quick, and unusual for 
crucifixion.  The soldiers were ordered to break His legs in order to 
hasten His death (in response to the plea of the Jews that He should not 
have to hang on the cross throughout the Sabbath Day--John 19:31).  
However, when they came to break His legs, He was already dead.  So, 
part of the miracle of the Cross is that Christ actually bled to death, 
due to the wounds in His hands and feet (from the nails), His skull 
(from the crown of thorns), and His side (from the spear).  This is why, 
in Christendom, the blood of Christ is sacred--the very means by which 
the only sinless man was sacrificed for those who choose to believe in 
the gospel message.  Leviticus 17:11 says, "For the life of a creature 
is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for 
yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's 
life." 

Now back to the Biblical answer to your question, I believe that the 
following Scriptures apply: 

- Acts 2:23 notes that Christ was "... nailed to a cross by the hands of 
godless men and put Him to death."  This confirms what history tells us 
about how gruesome death by crucifixion was. 

- Galatians 3:13 says that, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the 
Law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, " CURSED IS 
EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE."  This teaches that the perfect Christ 
became a curse when our sins were placed upon Him. 

- Colossians 1:20 says that Christ "... made peace through the blood of 
His cross."  Our reconciliation (for our sins) with God was made 
possible only through Christ's blood on the cross. 

- Hebrews 12:2 notes that Christ "... endured the cross, despising the 
shame."  Everyone understood that crucifixion was quite something to 
endure.  More importantly, Christ overcame the shame of the cross 
through His resurrection." 

- 1 Peter 2:24 says that Christ "... bore our sins in His body on the 
cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness."  This is 
one of many scriptures explaining that, upon believing this gospel 
message, we believers know that Christ died for our sins, and we will 
live with Him in eternity (John 3:16-18). 

So, I can understand why you might feel a disconnect between the killing 
aspect of crucifixion and how we use it in our faith as a symbol for 
God's love.  However, I believe that this disconnect can really be 
interpreted as a connection--between Christ's great sacrifice and how it 
provided salvation for us when we had otherwise had nothing worthy to 
offer God. 

One other thing comes to mind:  I was taught (as a Protestant) to 
believe that the display of a cross in our day was acceptable as long as 
it was only a cross; i.e., not a cross with Christ's body on it, as seen 
throughout Roman Catholic churches.  We were told that, since Christ had 
defeated the cross through His resurrection, then we should think of the 
cross as "the empty cross which could no longer hold Him," instead of 
the cross that held His dead or dying body.  Well, I'm no longer as 
adamant about this as I used to be.  Although it's my preference to 
display an empty cross (like on Karen's "wall of crosses" in our 
kitchen), I can also understand why one would also want to remember the 
cross as it still held Christ's body, re-enforcing the idea of His great 
sacrifice. 

Sorry, I got a bit long winded there.  I truly get excited when I think 
about Christ's death on the cross for sinners such as myself. 

Thanks,

Owen



Drinking

Where in the bible does it say not to drink alcohol in the bible?  

Thank you for your question.  It's an interesting question.  I've 
addressed it in my article entitled "Is Drinking a Sin" at
http://www.christiandataresources.com/drinking.htm and here are the 
highlights: 

There are three passages in the Bible that suggest abstinence from all 
alcoholic beverages. The first is in Proverbs 31:4-5 where "kings" are 
forbidden to drink because their judgment would be impaired. In those 
days of monarchies, kings were the ultimate court judges, like one-man 
supreme courts. The Bible said that they shouldn't drink because of the 
important decisions they were expected to make. In the same way, who 
among us today is not responsible for decision-making to some degree, 
and unsure when he might have to make a decision?

The second reference suggesting abstinence is 1 Peter 4:7 which tells us 
that, since the end is near, we should stay sober and clear-minded so 
that we can pray. How many drinks does it take to distort one's 
thinking? Isn't the mind-altering effect of alcohol one of the major 
motivations for most drinking?

The third reference is Romans 14:21 where we are charged not to drink if 
it offends someone else or bruises their spiritual confidence. Even if a 
Christian has personally searched the Scriptures and decided that he is 
not violating God's Word by drinking, he may still choose to abstain to 
keep a fellow Christian from stumbling; who may not have the same level 
of understanding. This is where one must be accountable for what he 
believes and how he interprets scripture. This is one reason why daily 
Bible study is so important.

Furthermore, the Bible explicitly forbids drunkenness in Ephesians 5:18 
and 1 Corinthians 6:10. 

However, on the other hand, Jesus partook of wine (Luke 22:20), and He 
even miraculously turned water into wine (John 2:1-11).  We also know 
that Jesus never sinned, so how could it be wrong to drink?  One could 
argue that none of the above passages explicitly says that Christians 
must not drink. In fact, some passages even appear to be imperatives to 
indulge. Consider the following examples:

Proverbs 31:6-7 is directed toward the distraught: "Give beer to those 
who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and 
forget their poverty and remember their misery no more."

1 Timothy 5:23 is a comment by Paul to Timothy: "Stop drinking only 
water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent 
illnesses."

In 1 Corinthians 11:22, Paul tells the believers at Corinth that if they 
choose to drink, they should do it at home rather than at a church 
service, implying that this would be acceptable.

Conclusions

Of the six passages referenced above, the former three lean toward 
abstinence, especially for leaders, and the latter three lean toward 
indulgence, especially for the distraught. Either way, drunkenness is 
forbidden. If you're a Christian drinker, you probably emphasize 
Proverbs 31:6-7 and 1 Timothy 5:23. If you're a Christian abstainer, you 
probably prefer Proverbs 31:4-5 and 1 Peter 4:7.

The deciding factors, however, are the mind-altering effects and the 
long-term health risks of alcohol (Romans 12:1). If one drinks in 
moderation without altering his thinking capability to the extent that 
it affects his decision making, and his drinking doesn't present a 
long-term health risk in his particular case, then he has not violated 
the Scriptures. If he experiences mind-altering effects when he drinks, 
so that his decision making rationale is impaired, he has violated 
Scripture.

Regardless, we are each accountable for ourselves. In general, a 
person's drinking is between him and God. Of course, there can be 
extenuating circumstances when intervention is required and / or if that 
person is doing harm to others. However, in most cases, it is nobody 
else's business unless that person seek help (1 Timothy 4:11). To be 
sure, there are many who place too much emphasis on this issue simply 
because they're not minding their own business. Too often, the pious 
abstainer may be displeasing to God by his Pharisaical pride than the 
indulger is by his drinking.

Thanks,

Owen



God Hardening the Egyptians' Hearts

  I have questions on Exodus 14 :17.

  Exodus 14 : 15-18 (New American Standard Bible)
  15 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? 
Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. 16 As for you, lift up your staff 
and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of 
Israel shall [i]go through the midst of the sea on dry land. 17 As for 
Me, behold, I will [j]harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they 
will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his 
army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 Then the Egyptians will 
know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his 
chariots and his horsemen."  

  My questions are on Exodus 14 :17.
  Why God wanted to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will 
go in after the Israelites and ended up being drown ?  Why there was no 
mercy at all for the Egyptians ?  Why it was necessary to take this type 
of measure in order to show the Egyptians that who the Lord is?  

Thank you for your question. 

I believe that it was necessary for God to take the drastic step of 
drowning the Egyptian army in order to show the Egyptians that He was 
the Lord.  God had already demonstrated His might power in the ten 
plagues, and Pharaoh and the Egyptian people still didn't believe.  
Perhaps after the spectacular display of drowning the army, some people 
were then compelled to believe. 

Regarding your question about mercy, I would simply cite Exodus 33:19 
which says, "And the LORD said, I will cause all my goodness to pass in 
front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I 
will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on 
whom I will have compassion.'" 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Gender of Angels

I have a question for you about angels. I did some searches on your site
 and others, but it seems there are differing opinions about the topic.

 1. There are no "new" angels, correct? The ones that exist now were all
 here before man, correct?

 2. Even though the bible doesn't name any female angels directly, is there
 anything that says there are absolutely no such thing as female angels?
 Can we or should we even think of angels in terms of male and female in the
 same ways we think of male and female humans?

 The Internet  is  full of conflicting opinions on this. It
 seems that certain bible passages can lead some to believe one way and
 others lead in another direction. (like  a lot  of them I guess)

 Unfortunately, the Bible shares very little information about the gender
 of angels (or much information at all about angels), so, in my view, we
 can't be too definitive on this subject.  Some people with other views use
 extra-biblical sources, but I usually stick with only what the Bible says
 about these controversial issues.

 One of the most definitive passages that we have is Genesis 6:1-4,
 although it doesn't specifically use the term "angel."  It describes the
 type of wickedness in the world that caused God to send the great flood in
 Noah's day:

 "1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land,
 and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the
 daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves,
 whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said,  93My Spirit shall not strive with
 man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one
 hundred and twenty years.  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days,
 and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men,
 and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old,
 men of renown."

 This is a controversial passage because of the varying opinions about "the
 sons of God."  Some believe that this is a reference to the two lines of
 Adam and Eve's family; i.e., the sons of Seth, as opposed to the sons of
 Cain.  However, others believe that this is a reference to angels.  I
 usually decide such issues using a very straightforward reading of the
 text.  Since the "sons of God" are contrasted with the "daughters of men,"
 I believe that the "sons of God" were angels.  Furthermore, it follows that
 their offspring were somewhat abnormal; i.e., the Nephilim, described in
 Numbers 13:33 as giants who inhabited Canaan.  So, I believe that this
 passage indicates that angels, like humans, can be either men or women.
 Even further, the angels and humans were able to produce offspring
 together, although God may have since put a stop to this.

 Now, oddly enough, we have no passages showing that angels can cohabit
 with other angels to reproduce offspring.  Instead, all we have is the
 above (sort of weird) variation where angels and humans were able to
 produce some sort of mixed offspring.  BTW, Hebrews 13:2 supports the idea
 that angels can sometimes take the form of humans, when it says that some
 people have shown hospitality to angels without even knowing it, by showing
 hospitality to strangers.

 We also have Matthew 22:30, which says, "At the resurrection people will
 neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in
 heaven."  This passage is usually used to show that, in eternity in heaven,
 we will not be married to our spouses as we are now.  However, it also says
 that this arrangement will make us "like the angels" in that respect; i.e.,
 no marriages.  So, as of Matthew's writing of his gospel, it appears that,
 although the angels do not marry, they do have gender, or else the whole
 subject of marriage among angels would have been a moot point.

 So, specifically, I would answer your questions like this:

 1. You are correct; there are no new angels.  Angels, like humans, are
 created beings.  It appears that the angels were created first, because of
 the information we have about Satan (an angel) being cast out of heaven,
 along with one-third of the angels (demons), to wander on the earth, before
 the creation of man (Isaiah 14:12).

 2. No, there's nothing that says that there are no such things as female
 angels.  According to the passages above, we can indeed think of angels in
 terms of being either male and female, similar to humans.  However, I'm not
 aware of any impact (neither positive nor negative) that this would have
 upon any other aspects of the theology of my belief system.

 If you're interested, I would recommend *Systematic Theology* by Lewis
 Sperry Chafer, where he has some 120 pages on Angelology.

 I hope this helps.

 Thanks,

 Owen



David's Census

In 2 Samuel 24:1 the bible says that God made David want to 
count the people but in 1Choronicles 21:1 it says it was Satan so why 
the huge confusion and why were the people killed and nothing happened 
to David even though it was his sin?  

You cited 2 Samuel 24:1 where God made David want to take a census of 
the people, and you noted that 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that it was Satan 
who induced David to count the people.  You asked about this confusion, 
and why the people were killed while David escaped punishment for his 
sin. 

This is a difficult question because it appears to be one of those rare 
places where the copies and translations may not been accurately 
preserved throughout the centuries.  However, I believe that we can 
figure out what the original manuscripts said.  As you noted, 1 
Chronicles 21:1 reveals that it was actually Satan (not God) who rose up 
against Israel and incited David to take the census.  God apparently 
allowed Satan to tempt David into this sin for the purpose of punishing 
the people.  So, David committed a personal sin when he conducted the 
census.  This was wrong because it was done in pride and self-glory, so 
that David could be proud about being the leader of so many people.  
However, God's overall purpose here was to punish the people, which He 
did by taking many lives.  However, David was only the tool that He used 
for this overall purpose.



God's Wrath Upon the Evil on the Earth

Genesis 6-7 God sees the evil on the earth (However it seems the 
central cause of this is that the "Sons of God" had kids with the 
"Daughters of man" (which sounds an awful like angels sleeping with 
humans.) God decides that the earth is evil, has Noah build an ark, and 
then God kills everyone on earth with a painful death of drowning (that 
would include children.) Also aside from the fact that this story is 
completely ridiculous; so much so that it's laughable; it is a 
completely evil act on the part of God AND it never mentions in Genesis 
6 or 7 that the people of the earth had a choice to enter the ark 
(something I bet you didn't know). 

Also, Genesis 12: God sends a plague on the house of pharaoh because the 
pharaoh believed Abraham's lie. 

Yes, in Noah's day there was much evil on the earth, including the 
physical union of the "Sons of God" and the "Daughters of man."  God's 
wrath against this evil was revealed by the worldwide flood, saving only 
Noah and his family.  In fact, we know from Romans 5 that sin entered 
the world through Adam, and everyone since then has been guilty of 
sin--both imputed sin and personal sins.  So, even Noah and his family 
were guilty (Romans 3:23, 6:23), and it was only God's gift of his grace 
(John 3:16) to Noah and his family that kept mankind from being 
completed wiped out.  The fact that the people (including children) 
suffered a painful death is reflective of the fact everyone is guilty 
and deserving of hell.  In fact, if I shared your skepticism, I would be 
more disturbed by the prospect of living forever in hell separated from 
God than I would be by that of a painful (but relatively quick) death. 

I simply don't share your view that the story of Noah and the ark is 
ridiculous and laughable.  Rather than an evil act by God, I see it as 
an act of grace that He saved anybody, and this is also how I view 
salvation through the saving blood of Christ on the cross. 

You made a valid point that we're not told whether or not the people of 
the earth had a choice to enter the ark.  Regardless, however, God chose 
to establish His covenant with Noah, and God's will and decisions are 
sovereign. 

You also cited Genesis 12 where God punished the house of Pharaoh 
because of Abraham's sin.  To me, this just shows how the devastating 
effects of sin can spread to others, again remembering that nobody is 
innocent (free from sin). 



Polygamy

  Verses that give specific instructions on how to conduct a marriage 
with multiple wives:
  Exodus 21:10
  Deuteronomy 21:15

  Verses that seem to imply polygamy is okay:
  Genesis 4:19
  Genesis 16:1-4
  Genesis 25:6
  Genesis 26:34
  Genesis 28:9
  Genesis 31:17
  Genesis 32:22
  Judges 8:30
  1 Samuel 1:1-2
  2 Sam. 12:7-8
  1 Kg. 11:2-3
  1 Chr. 4:5
  2 Chr. 11:21
  2Chr 13:21
  2 Chr 24:3

You cited many verses that seem to imply that polygamy is condoned by 
God, and some that even give specific instructions on how to conduct a 
polygamous marriage.  Believe it or not, I find it difficult to refute 
your point on this matter.  While most theologians would use Ephesians 5 
as a proof passage for monogamous marriages, I find that the use of the 
word "wives" allows for some ambiguity even in that passage. 



Slavery

  Here are a few things the bible has to say about slavery:

  It's OK with God if you slowly beat your slaves to death. After all, 
they are your money.

  And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die 
under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he 
continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. 
Ex.21:20-21

  It's okay to beat your slaves; even if they die you won't be punished, 
just as long as they survive a day or two after the beating (see 
Ex.21:20-21). But avoid excessive damage to their eyes or teeth. 
Otherwise you may have to set them free. Oh well, it's a heck of a lot 
better than what would happen to you if you did it to a non-slave. (See 
verses 21:24-25)

  And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, 
that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. And if he 
smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall 
let him go free for his tooth's sake. Ex.21:26-27 

This is another difficult subject, but my view on slavery is that it is 
wrong today, and it was wrong in Paul's day, and he knew it, of course.  
We should only be enslaved to the righteousness of Christ (Romans 6:19). 
 In 1 Corinthians 7:21, Paul says, "Were you a slave when you were 
called? Don't let it trouble you--although if you can gain your freedom, 
do so."  Paul is saying that he knows slavery is an unjust evil. 

However, as in dealing with Onesimus in Philemon, Paul recognizes a more 
explicit biblical principle. Slavery was in common acceptance by the 
Roman government under which Paul lived. In Romans 13:1-7, we are 
explicitly commanded to obey our government. Unjustly freeing a slave 
was against Roman law, so Paul sided with the governing authorities. 

Perhaps the closest analogy today is abortion.  Since our government 
condones abortion, are we entitled to stop paying our taxes?  Romans 
13:1-7 says no, since God has put that government in place for a reason, 
and we are explicitly commanded to obey it and pay our taxes.  Of course 
there are some limits at which peaceful civil disobedience is in order.  
For details on this, please see the article "What is the Role of 
Government" on the main web page. 

The question then arises about passages such as Colossians 3:18-4:1 and 
Ephesians 6:5-9 regarding slaves submitting to their masters, as to 
whether or not these scriptures are still relevant today.  They are 
indeed still relevant, but in a different context.  First of all, this 
sounds to me like an employer/employee relationship.  Secondly, if we 
should someday find ourselves enslaved (through a rebellion against the 
government, martial law, etc.), then these would be directly relevant to 
us. 



The Death of David's Infant Son

There's a story in the Bible where God kills David's son to punish
him in a slow 7-day death despite David's pleading with the Lord. 

God, in His sovereign judgment, chose to punish David for his sin, 
similar to the way he punished people in Noah's or Abraham's time as 
noted above.  Also, I believe that it's significant that He chose not to 
kill David, but spared him, again, in His grace. 



Titus 2

According to Titus 2, women who are not obedient to their husbands 
have blasphemed the word of the Lord. 

Yes, the Bible does instruct wives to be subject to their husbands.  
Note also, however, that it also commands both husbands and wives to 
submit to each other (Ephesians 5:21). 



Leviticus 24

In Leviticus 24 a kid is stoned to death for having blasphemed the
name of the Lord. 

Verse 11 says that the son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the Name 
with a curse.  God's judgment of stoning is a warning and a symbol of 
the eternal death to be suffered by unbelievers. 


Exodus 10

In Exodus 10, God hardens pharaohs heart so that Pharaoh will not let 
the Israelites go, that way God can "show these signs before him" In 
other words, God doesn't let Pharaoh let the Israelites go so that he 
can show off how powerful he is by plaguing all the Egyptians including 
killing all the first born which would include many babies. 

You say that God wanted to "show off" his powers through the plagues.  I 
again say that all men are guilty while God is sovereign and just (Job 
37-41). 



Exodus 4:24

In Exodus 4:24, God comes and is about to kill Moses' son, but Moses' 
wife saves him by quickly chopping off his foreskin with a stone, 
causing God to decide not to kill him.  So if you have foreskin, God wants you to die!

I think that you may be missing the context of this story.  Apparently, 
God had previously commanded Moses to circumcise his son.  Moses sinned 
by not obeying God in this matter.  Then, later, as God was about to 
kill the son because of Moses' sin, Moses' wife stepped in and 
circumcised the son, and this satisfied God's wrath. 



1 Samuel 15:3

In 1 Samuel 15:3 God commands the Israelites to kill children and 
little babies:

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and 
spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and 
sheep, camel and ass. 

Yes, God's judgment against the sinful Amalekites was quite harsh.  His 
purpose in completely wiping them out was so that none would be left to 
even recollect their sinful forefathers. 


"Follow Me"

How many times does Jesus say "Follow Him" in the new testament?

Thank you for your question.  If I understood your question correctly, 
you asked how many times Jesus told others to follow himself.  I would 
say six times, in the following passages: 

Matthew 4:19
Matthew 8:22
Matthew 9:9
Matthew 10:38
Matthew 16:24
Matthew 19:21

Some of these same accounts are repeated in the other gospels. 



Seed / Money 

Hi, I've heard in church as [seed] being compared to money but is 
there anywhere in the Bible where Jesus referred to seed meaning sowing 
money? If not why is it taught that way? (Mark 4:14, Luke 8:11)

Thank you for your question.  No, I don't know of any place in the Bible 
where Jesus used "seed" to symbolize money.  When he was talking about 
money, he specifically used monetary amounts (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 
19:11-27).  I cannot say why some churches would teach it otherwise, 
unless they're just campaigning for more giving to the church. 



The Need to Pray

I heard a Pastor say if you are filled with the Holy Spirit you do not need
to pray and ask God to lead and guide you because that is the Holy Spirits
job. My question is - Is this statement correct? What does God's Word say?
I know David prayed and asked God to lead and guide him but the argument could be well that
is old testament but then I read in the new testament the Lord himself said we ought to pray
"Lead us not into temptation" Thank you for your help. 

Thank you for your question. The Bible (including the New Testament) definitely tells us that
we need to pray. For example, Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The pastor that you mentioned probably created this doctrine through a misinterpretation of
Romans 8:26-27, which says, " In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God."  This indicates that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us when necessary, but we're still
commanded to pray.



A Secret Rapture

  I have been hearing quite a bit the last few years that the concept of 
a "secret rapture" was invented in the 1830's by a man named John Nelson 
Darby, and that this was unheard of for two thousand years.  These 
rapture-deniers are saying that the Rapture was never taught in the all 
the prior history of Christianity and one cannot find any source of the 
Church fathers believing in such a thing.
  Can you please give me your opinion on this subject?  I believe the 
Rapture to be plainly taught by Paul, but I concede that I do not know 
if the Rapture was believed by Christians before the 1800's.
  Thank you very much for your time and God bless your solid ministry.

Thank you for your question.  The doctrine of the rapture is a much 
debated topic among theologians.  Briefly, here are the basic views: 

1) I agree with the premillennialists and dispensationalists that the 
rapture of the church is a real event, and that it is imminent.  I 
believe that the apostles taught it this way.  The rapture is the next 
biblical event that will occur on earth, signifying the end of the 
church age.  After the rapture, there will be seven years of tribulation 
on the earth, and this period is the final seven years of the age of the 
Jews.  Then, this period will be followed by 1,000 years of the 
kingdom--God's kingdom on earth, with Christ as the ruler of the world.  
Then a new earth will be established for eternity. 

2) The amillennialists believe that the rapture is just simultaneous 
with the end of the world.  They believe that the kingdom is not an 
earthly one.  Without an earthly kingdom, there can be no tribulation 
period preceding it.  Without a tribulation period, there can be no 
rapture preceding it.  They believe that the church always taught this 
until the 19th century. 

For more information, you might like to read my article about the four 
opposing views of the end times at: 

    http://www.christiandataresources.com/opposingendtimes.htm

Or, click on the "Search this site" on my home page, and search for 
"rapture."



The Synoptic Gospels

Could you please help us to answer one of the question below: We often
take help from your website in the area of Bible study.

Could you please defend the consistency of the synoptic gospels, including
a defense against those who would point to various seemingly
inconsistencies. Please give some examples of these in your explanation.

Thank you for your question.  I have found the synoptic gospels to be 99.9%
consistent in our modern day translations, and I believe that they were 100%
consistent in the original manuscripts.  For me, this is amazing
consistency, which, rather than dissuading me with a few possible,
discrepancies, only strengthens my faith in the canon of Scriptures.  The
beauty of having the synoptic gospels is that this more completely paints
the picture of Jesus for us,
through the various viewpoints and writing styles of different men, while
the question of writing style one of the most subjective criterion for
canonicity.  For example, Mark's writing style manifests itself in somewhat
short and choppy sentences, and lacking some elaboration as found in Matthew
and Luke.  I personally prefer this concise writing style, while others
prefer the more expressive styles.

I offer the following two examples of what seem to some as discrepancies
across the synoptic gospels:

1) Matthew 10:9-10, and Mark 6:8, and Luke 9:3:

It sounds like Matthew and Luke are saying that Christ told the disciples
not to take a staff and sandals, but Mark says they can.

Probable solution: Reading closely, Matthew 10:9-10 says, "... take no bag
for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals, or a staff; ..." Luke 9:3 says,
"Take nothing for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no
extra tunic." While Mark 6:8 says, "Take nothing for the journey except a
staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an
extra tunic." Again, the only apparent discrepancies here concern the staff
and the sandals. The Matthew passage could be interpreted to mean that no
extra tunic, extra sandals or extra staff are to be taken. This would imply
that it is permissible to take a staff and to wear sandals, as the Mark
passages says, but it would not be permissible to take an extra staff or an
extra pair of sandals. Since the passage in Luke does not reference sandals
at all, the only remaining discrepancy is that Luke sounds pretty adamant
about not taking a staff. I would just have to chalk this one up as a
transcription error made by some scribe by misapplying the appropriate
grammatical rules of the Greek language concerning items in a list. I feel
certain that the original manuscripts agreed.

2) Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, and Luke 18:35-43:

The passage in Matthew says that two blind men were healed, while Mark and
Luke say that one blind man was healed (and Mark calls him Bartimaeus.)

Possible solution: These could be referring to two different events.

Probable solution: I lean on my analytical / mathematical argument. I
believe that two blind men were healed, but Mark and Luke are only
documenting one. Mark and Luke do not say that ONLY one blind man was
healed, so (mathematically speaking) if two were healed, then it is also
true that one was healed, so there is no contradiction. It is just that
Matthew tells us more about the event. So this doesn't appear to be a valid
discrepancy.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen



The Watchers

Who/what are the "watchers" that reside on the tops of hills?

Here's an explanation from Barnes Notes on the Bible: 

"This language is taken from the custom of placing watchmen on the walls 
of a city, or on elevated towers, who could see if an enemy approached, 
and who of course would be the first to discern a messenger at a 
distance who was coming to announce good news. The idea is, that there 
would be as great joy at the announcement of the return of the exiles, 
as if they who were stationed on the wall should see the long-expected 
herald on the distant hills, coming to announce that they were about to 
return, and that the city and temple were about to be rebuilt. It was 
originally applicable to the return from Babylon. But it contains also 
the general truth that they who are appointed to watch over Zion and its 
interests, will rejoice at all the tokens of God's favor to his people, 
and especially when he comes to bless them after long times of darkness, 
depression, and calamity. It is by no means, therefore, departing from 
the spirit of this passage, to apply it to the joy of the ministers of 
religion in the visits of divine mercy to a church and people. 'Shall 
lift up the voice.' That is, with rejoicing." 

Thanks,

Owen



Television Evangelists

Please tell me if it is scriptural that the Christian TV stations 
advertise anointing oil made up to biblical standards, as we are told 
in the scriptures not to copy this formula?  and then they offer this 
for a free offering of an amount of money! 

Thank you for your question.  No, I don't believe it is scriptural for 
Christian TV stations to sell anointing oil.  Unfortunately, there are 
many in that industry who have forsaken the true gospel message and 
prioritized money over their true calling to ministry (Luke 16:13). 

Thanks,

Owen



Banquets

How many banquets are there in the book of Esther? 

Thank you for your question.  I see the following six banquets in the book
of Esther:
1) 1:3 - Xerxes - For his nobles and officials
2) 1:5 - Xerxes - For all the people in Susa
3) 1:9 - Vashti - For the women in the palace
4) 2:18 - Xerxes - Esther's banquet, for all the nobles and officials
5) 5:4-5 - Esther - For Haman
6) 5:8 - 7:8 - Esther - For Xerxes and Haman 

Thanks,

Owen



The Book of life

Dear Owen, We are having a discussion in our Sunday School class, of 
course with many different opinions.  Can our names be taken off the book 
of life, if so what would be the reasons? Myself, I believe if we are 
truly saved it cannot. What I mean by that is that I feel that some ask 
forgiveness through emotions and are not truly saved. One must know that 
they are truly saved and walk in a new light and not have to feel saved 
all the time by an up feeling. What are some scriptures I can read on 
this subject. Thank you so much. 

Thank you for your question.  You are correct that a believer's name 
cannot be removed from the book of life.  Revelation 3:5 says, "The one 
who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never 
blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will 
acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels." 

The judgment from the book of life applies only to unbelievers.  
Revelation:20:15 says, "Anyone whose name was not found written in the 
book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." 

Revelation 21 speaks of the "Holy City, the new Jerusalem" (verse 2), 
and the believers who will inhabit it.  Verse 27 says, "Nothing impure 
will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or 
deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of 
life." 

Psalms 69:28 does suggest that it's possible for a name to be blotted 
out of the book of life:  "May they be blotted out of the book of life 
and not be listed with the righteous."  In this context, it could be 
that the book of life originally contained the names of everyone, and 
the names of the unbelievers were blotted out. 

Throughout the Scriptures, believers are called "children of God" 
(Philippians 2:14).  This fitting analogy suggests the type of 
relationship that Christians have with God the Father.  We are His 
children--his sons and daughters.  Furthermore, just as we are naturally 
born as a product of our human parents, we are spiritually born as a 
product of God the Father and His grace.  In both cases, the birth 
establishes a relationship which can never be altered. One cannot undo a 
physical birth, so neither can he undo a spiritual birth.  I can't 
decide that I no longer want my parents to be my parents; and, as a 
father myself, I cannot decide that I no longer want my children to be y 
children.  The eternal security of the believer is thus demonstrated by 
this analogy of children.

I hope this helps. 

Mephibosheth

What boy stayed in God's House for 6 years to avoid being murdered?

Thank you for your question.  I believe you're referring to Mephibosheth, in
2 Samuel 9.  King David protected him when most of his family was killed.

Thanks,

Owen



Castle

In Acts 21:34 they speak of a castle... can we know where this castle 
is? 

Thank you for your question.  The word "castle" in the King James 
version is actually better translated by the word "barracks" in the New 
American Standard version.  This was a military fortress, instead of a 
castle.  We don't know exactly where it was located, and the remains of 
it are gone (unless archaeology makes some new discoveries). 

Thanks,

Owen



CHRIST''S SECOND COMING

Is the time of the rapture considered Christ's second coming, or is His
reign during the millennium the second coming. 

Thank you for your question.  Christ's second advent will occur at the 
beginning of his 1000-year reign on the earth.  Here's the chronology: 

   - The rapture of the church
   - The seven-year tribulation period
   - The Second Coming of Christ
   - Christ's 1000-year reign on the earth
   - Final judgment
   - The new heaven and the new earth

For more details, please see my article on Bible prophecy at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/prophecy.htm . 

Thanks,

Owen



Christian Responsibility in our Country

I have read what you had to say about the Role of Government, How do
we please God, The Problems with voting and What does the Bible say about
Humility. I am working on a topic for discussion that addresses what
our role as Christians are according to God. Now I know there are many but
it seems that they boil down to live right and share the gospel. Now my
question revolves around where we are as a country and how we are
moving more and more away from Christian values in this country. The country
as a whole seems to be moving in the direction of thinking of Christians as
bigots and a negative to be a Christian. Now I know that we have the
"Great Commission" to go out and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it the
complete plan of the Lord to gain ground by just individual conversion
and one by one quietly winning the majority or winning the battle against
evil or sin. This country is or was a country based on Christian values and
we used to have the majority to keep the decency to a degree but little
by little we are losing the battle and control of the country. Do we have
any other responsibility other than living right and sharing the Gospel?
Thanks for your writings and for your consideration of this question
that has really been on my heart and mind in a big way lately. I feel like
we should do more than most of my Christian brothers and sisters do but I
wonder if I am wrong and all I should be concerned about is living
right, voting and quietly sharing the gospel. So again I ask, Do we have any
responsibility other than living right and sharing the Gospel?

Thank you for your question.

I agree that we are supposed to live right and share the gospel.  I
further believe that our sole purpose is to glorify God, and I agree that this
includes living right and sharing the gospel.  Now, "living right"
includes a lot of things, as outlined in the epistles.  We glorify God by
pleasing Him through right living, and this includes sharing God's grace, being
faithful in Bible study and prayer, giving to the needy, etc.
Please see my e-Book entitled True Christianity at
http://www.christiandataresources.com/truechristianity.htm ).  This
covers the doctrines of the epistles, and it offers my views on what I believe
"right living" to be.

Thanks,

Owen

I appreciate your response but I know what right living involves I just
summed it up with living right to shorten my email and to get to the
main question which I did not see a clear answer to. Can you answer the
question more directly?

You asked, "Do we have any responsibility other than living right and
sharing the Gospel?"  If "living right" includes glorifying God, then I
believe that this is correct.  If we believe and share the gospel, and
live the Christian life, this will bring the maximum amount of glory to
God, so this is the extent of our responsibilities in this life.

So the way you understand the scripture we are to quietly go about our God
Glorifying lives and share the gospel and not fight to keep biblical
principles as a guide for our country? I know that we can't win the day
without God but do we do nothing while the country goes down the toilet
other than these things we have spoken of or do we do these things plus
other things?

No, you have misunderstood what I said.  Yes, we are to quietly go about our
God-glorifying lives sharing the gospel.  However, I do not agree with the
rest of your statement, "and not fight to keep biblical principles as a
guide for our country."  I said that we could bring the maximum amount of
glory to God if we believe and share the gospel, and live the Christian
life.  I also indicated that the (God-glorifying) Christian life ("living
right") includes a lot of things, and I referred you to my free e-Book
entitled True Christianity at
http://www.christiandataresources.com/truechristianity.htm because it covers
the doctrines of the epistles.  It offers my views on what I believe "right
living" to be; i.e., understanding and sharing grace and faith, pleasing
God, being faithful in Bible study and prayer, giving to the needy, etc.
Have you read this e-Book to help you answer your questions?

You also asked, "...do we do nothing while the country goes down the toilet
other than these things we have spoken of or do we do these things plus
other things?"  If you are asking what our responsibilities are in the
political arena, I believe that I have already covered these as well, in my
articles on government and voting, which you indicated that you had already
read.  We should vote, we should support God-fearing Christian candidates,
and we should support the Christian principles upon which the Constitution
and the Declaration of Independence were founded.  For example, concerning
social issues, we should not tolerate abortion, and we should insist on our
right to arm ourselves.

If you're asking about civil disobedience, I believe that those believers
who feel led to do so should participate in orderly and non-violent civil
disobedience, bearing in mind God's instructions about this in Romans
13:1-7:  "1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there
is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that
exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against
the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do
so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those
who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear
of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4
For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do
wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are
God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5
Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of
possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.  6 This is also why
you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full
time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes,
pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor,
then honor."

Thanks,

Owen



Christian / Hindu Marriage

I am a Hindu, whereas my girlfriend is a Christian. We have been in 
love for 2yrs. Love i mean to say without any bad intentions and desire( 
no lust ). I just love her as a whole and like to share everything with 
her, care for her and make her happy. 

The question is, is there anything mentioned in the bible like No 
Love Before marriage?  Moreover like you can't marry a Hindu? 

There are things like family situations and all to be faced. But I
want to know what the bible says. 

Thank you for your question.  If I understand your question directly, 
you are asking what the Bible says about a Hindu marrying a Christian.  
The only passage that I know of that may be applicable is 1 Corinthians 
7:10-16, although it is speaking to those who are already married.  This 
passage reads as follows: 

"10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife 
must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain 
unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not 
divorce his wife. 

"12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife 
who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not 
divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and 
he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the 
unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the 
unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. 
Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 

"15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the 
sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in 
peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, 
how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?" 

The words in verses 12-16 seem to indicate that there is some obvious 
tension when a believer (Christian) marries an unbeliever (such as a 
Hindu).  Otherwise, this passage would not have had to qualify the 
command against divorce in verses 10-11.  In other words, verse 15 seems 
to be saying that divorce is wrong, but if one spouse is an unbeliever, 
then it may be permissible.  This would seem to serve as a warning about 
believers marrying unbelievers. 

Old-school biblical scholars might also cite Leviticus 19:19 which says, 
"'Keep my decrees. "'Do not mate different kinds of animals. "'Do not 
plant your field with two kinds of seed. "'Do not wear clothing woven of 
two kinds of material."  However, I'm not sure that we can apply this to 
the marriage of a believer and an unbeliever. 

I wasn't sure if you had an additional question about "no love before 
marriage."  If so, perhaps verses 36-38 of this same chapter are 
applicable. 

I would also suggest that you read a few articles on my website so that 
you fully understand what Christians believe: 

    http://www.christiandataresources.com/evangelicals.htm
    http://christiandataresources.com/loveandmarriage.htm
    http://www.christiandataresources.com/heaven.htm

Please let me know if I did not understand your questions correctly. 

Thanks,

Owen 



Cremation

What does the bible say about  cremation? 

Thank you for your question.  The Bible is silent concerning cremation.  
However, from a Biblical standpoint, I am comfortable with it.  I don't 
see any Biblical principal that it violates, and it seems to be very 
practical. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Dake Bible

Hello, I recently took a look at a Dake version of the bible. This is 
the Version that has the scripture in the center of the bible, with the 
notes along both sides. I began looking at Genesis and was shocked at 
what I was seeing contained within the notes. All other bibles I have 
looked at tell us about the Flood involving Noah and the arc. I found in 
the Dake Bible a not speaking of Lucifer's flood which is apparently a 
time when God flooded the earth prior to the flood of Noah, in which all 
evil was purged from the earth. Has anyone else viewed this bible and 
would you consider it to be a good study resource? And secondly is this 
true?

I think you'll want to be careful with the Dake bible.  The notes in it 
are just personal commentary, rather than Biblically-based.  He has some 
unorthodox views on many things, including the gap theory, adoptionism, 
and the Trinity.   No, I don't agree with his notes about the flood. 

Incidentally, I believe that the New American Standard Bible is the most 
accurate version, while the New International Version is a close second, 
and perhaps easier to understand.  I would stay away from the Dake 
bible. 

Thanks,

Owen



David and Saul

Did Saul know that David had been appointed by God to be his successor?

Thank you for your question.  Yes, Saul knew that David had been anointed as
King.  1 Samuel 28:17 told Saul, "The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your
hands and given it to one of your neighbors-to David."

Thanks,

Owen



Dealing With our Corrupt Government

To what extend am I &/or others supposed to warn others of the 
collapsing economy & the fascist dictatorship which is right around the 
corner waiting for the right time to come out to "Help" Americans with a 
new currency...which will be due to the crooks behind our government causing 
the problem to which they will offer solutions to in the form of 
electronic money!  I thought we are supposed to fight evil dictatorships 
& get prepared by storing up food, etc.!

Thank you for your question.  I think that it's our Christian duty to 
warn others about impending economic and political collapse (especially 
in times like these of excessive debt and spending), similar to the way 
we're supposed to witness to others for Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).  This 
is certainly what the apostle John did in the book of Revelation.  I 
think that a website or blog on this would be a good idea. 

Thanks,

Owen


The Quotes of Jesus

Did Jesus quotes from every book in the old test but Esther?

Thanks for your question.  I haven't had time to fully research this, but
here's what I've found so far:  Jesus quoted from 24 different Old Testament
books.  The New Testament as a whole quotes from 34 books of the Old Testament
Books. These 5 books are never quoted in the New Testament: Ezra, Nehemiah,
Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.

Thanks,

Owen

Paul's Bible Study

Did Paul study before he began to preach?

Thank you for your question.

I believe that Galatians 1:17-18 implies that Paul meditated upon God's Word
for three years after becoming a Christian, before he tried to tell anyone
about what he had learned.  This passage says, "I did not go up to Jerusalem
to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I
returned to Damascus.  Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get
acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days.  I saw none of the
other apostles-only James, the Lord's brother."

So, I would argue that, immediately after becoming a believer, Paul spent
three years in the desert of Arabia and Damascus learning God's Word.
Perhaps God even taught him directly, similar to His being in the Garden of
Eden with Adam and Eve before the fall into sin.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen



Divorce and Remarriage

Hello, I am in a bit of a dilemma. My ex-husband and I separated 2 
years ago under the most horrific conditions imaginable. Both of us were 
very young when we married and had been together for 25 years. A little 
background on the marriage itself is it was a rocky rollercoaster. My 
ex-husband had many sexual encounters outside the marriage, drugs, 
abusive, yet, there were sporadic periods of time our marriage was good. 
However, we were not spiritually equal at all times. There were 
divisions in the home regarding worship, morals, child raising, etc... 
In order to shorten the question, we were ultimately separated due to 
his infidelity and abuse once again. He tossed me, our children (grown) 
and the dog out of our home. The woman of which he was cheating with 
moved into my home within 2 weeks and has since married this woman of 
which he had the affair. Due to a family crisis, we have reunited in 
communication and are strongly attracted to each other and our emotions 
run deep. We both feel in our hearts that we still love each other very 
much and it is as if we are still husband and wife. Yet, for myself, I 
struggle with the fact that he is a married man now, although it is to 
the woman that broke up our home, is it wrong to have a relationship 
with the man that I feel is still my husband? What does the Bible say 
about this and how would the Lord view this union? I am terribly 
confused and vulnerable, but want to do the right thing. I appreciate 
your sincere response.

  Thank you,

Thank you for your question.  I don't believe there are any Scriptures 
which directly address your particular situation.  I know that this a 
very personal issue, and I'll simply try to respond from a biblical 
perspective. 

God's commandment against adultery in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:14) 
is still valid in the New Covenant and confirmed in the New Testament 
(James 2:11, 2 Peter 2:14).  Your husband's adultery and re-marriage 
terminated your marriage to him, even though his was a sinful act.  As a 
result, his new marriage to his new wife is now subjected to those same 
commandments of God concerning marriage. 

You asked, "... is it wrong to have a relationship with the man that I 
feel is still my husband?"  Since you said, "it is as if we are still 
husband and wife," I assume that your use of the term "relationship" 
here refers to one of dating and perhaps marriage, rather than just a 
friendship.  If he were to divorce his new wife and marry you again, he 
would be committing adultery again (Luke 16:18), and the Bible obviously 
does not condone this.  Otherwise, we could justify almost any 
sin--ignoring God's commands, thinking perhaps that we could always 
"reverse" a sin in the future; i.e.., two "wrongs" don't make a "right." 
 
Furthermore, if he is willing to commit adultery a second time, one 
would have to suspect that he would be likely to commit adultery again 
in the future, with you once again being the victim of his sin.  From a 
practical perspective, once that trust is lost, it's nearly impossible 
to regain it.  Even if you are a very forgiving person, sometimes a sin 
is somehow easier to repeat each time it's committed, especially if it 
appears to have no consequences. 

I know this may not be the answer that you wanted to hear.  Perhaps a 
Christian counselor would be better able to advise you. 

Thanks,

Owen



Divorce / Church

One person fornicates & another divorces, Both repented & became 
Christians through the blood of Christ Jesus. Could either become 
qualified to serve in the church since both have assumed the sexual 
duties as if both were married. Same act, different title. Your opinion.

  Let me clarify my previous message, please.
  This is about two men that never knew each other. One man has 
fornicated while in the service & college, while the other man is forced 
into divorce by his adulterous wife, even though he tried to save the 
marriage. Each man repented & each became Christians through the blood 
of Christ Jesus. Should the past fornicator or the divorced man become 
disqualified to serve in the church? Both have performed the same sexual 
acts (where two are joined as one). Aren't they the same act with 
different titles? Another question. If a virgin man marries for life, I 
understand that he can serve in the church. However, if a fornicator, 
turned Christian & marries for life, can he serve in the church? If he 
can, shouldn't the divorced man, under the above circumstances, be able 
to, also? Your opinion.

Thank you for your question.  The simple answer is that both of the men 
you described are qualified to serve in the church, since the only 
qualification is to be a believer.  In fact, according to 1 Corinthians 
12, not only are both of these men (and all other believers) qualified, 
but it is absolutely essentially that they do serve in the church.  They 
each have spiritual gifts, and they are each part of a body.  Without 
serving with their spiritual gifts, the church will be left lacking in 
some aspect. 

Now, I realize that many people have more in depth questions about 
specific leadership positions and offices in the church.  For example, 1 
Timothy 3:1-14 gives us additional qualifications for church leaders, 
such as pastors and deacons.  Such leaders are required to be men who 
manage their family well.  In particular, I adhere to the NASB 
translation of verse 12 which says they must be "... husbands of only 
one wife."  The question then arises whether or not this means "only one 
wife at time; e.g., whether or not divorced men are disqualified.  
Different churches interpret this in different ways, but I believe that 
the biblical definition of divorce must be considered here, according to 
Luke 16:18 and 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.  If a man has had a biblical 
divorce (due to adultery or abandonment), then he is no longer married 
to her.  So, if he remarries, he is qualified for these positions of 
church leadership because he is indeed the husband of only one wife.  
(Please see my related article at
http://christiandataresources.com/bibleblog/is-adultery-always-either-the-cause-or-the-effect
-of-divorce/ ). 

BTW, it doesn't matter if someone thinks that these additional 
qualifications are unfair.  Just as with spiritual gifts, we are each 
qualified for some things but not for others.  If a person doesn't have 
the gift of pastor-teacher, he shouldn't be a pastor.  Likewise, if he 
doesn't manage his family well, he shouldn't be a pastor.  In both 
cases, we have a clear directive from God's Word. 

You also asked, "Both have performed the same sexual acts (where two are 
joined as one).  Aren't they the same act with different titles?"  The 
nature of the sexual act doesn't have anything to do with this.  Within 
marriage, a particular sexual act is a good thing.  However, in an 
adulterous situation, that same sexual act is a bad thing. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen




Demons / Names

Do demons have names? 

Thank you for your question.  Yes, we do have Biblical verification that
demons have names.  In Mark 5:9, a demon tells Jesus, "My name is Legion..."
I don't know of any other proof passages for this, but it does make sense to
me that demons (and angels) would need names as a method of identification,
just like us.

Thanks,

Owen




The Writing on Jesus' Thigh

Do you think the scripture in Rev 19:15 that talks about the writing 
on Jesus Thigh that says King of Kings and Lord of Lords will be an 
actual tattoo or will it be imprinted or what? We were wondering about 
it. Thanks. 

Thank you for your question.  Revelation 19:11-16 speaks about the 
visible coming of Christ, as He appears as the heavenly Warrior to 
defeat and judge the beast and the false prophet.  Specifically, verse 
16 says, "On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  KING 
OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." 

In order to answer your question, I think that we have to cite the 
following scriptures about tattoos and the sanctity of the human body: 

"Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. 
I am the LORD."  Leviticus 19:28 

"Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of 
wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been 
brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as 
instruments of righteousness."  Romans 6:13 

"I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. 
Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity 
and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to 
righteousness leading to holiness."  Romans 6:19 

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is 
in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;"  1 
Corinthians 6:19 

Since Revelation 19:16 is a description of the sinless Christ, these 
names on his robe and his thigh are not tattoos.  We can assume that the 
name will be imprinted on His robe.  Perhaps the name on His "thigh" is 
also imprinted on a robe or other garment. 

Thanks,

Owen




Dreams

What does the Bible say about people coming to you, in dreams. I know God
sent this person? 

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for the delay in my reply.
It's difficult to answer your question about dreams in a definitive way, but
I'll try.

Although there are many occurrences of people having prophetic visions and
dreams in the Bible, I don't necessarily think that we should expect similar
occurrences today.  In biblical times, they had no completed canon of
Scriptures from God, so God often used visions and dreams as a means of
communication.  However, today we do have the complete written Word of God,
so God now communicates to us through the Bible.

I too have had unusual dreams that have caused me to wonder if God was
trying to tell me something, by my experience tells me that this has never
happened in my case.  I've also dreamed about people who I haven't thought
about in years, but again, I've always come to the conclusion that this is
just a phenomenon of our natural dreams, and there was nothing supernatural
at work in them.  Still, I would have trouble arguing with someone who
claimed such a supernatural experience.

I'm sorry that I can't be more definitive.

Thanks,

Owen




Eli

Who was the person that fell backward from a wall, breaking his neck 
and died?

I believe that you're thinking of Eli: 
When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the 
side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old 
man, and he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years.  1 Samuel 4:18



Fertile Crescent

Where in the bible can I find reference to the fertile crescent? 

Thank you for your question.  The term "fertile crescent" is not found in
the Bible.  This is a term coined by scientists, and it refers to an area in
the Middle East where the land is moist and fertile, in contrast to the arid
desert conditions in much of the rest of the Middle East.  Parts of
countries like Israel and Iraq are part of the fertile crescent.

However, the Bible does make note of this fertile land, especially in
reference to Moses leading his people into Israel.  For example, Nehemiah
9:35 says, "Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great
goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them..."  Numbers
13:27 refers to Israel as the land flowing with milk and honey.

Thanks,

Owen



Ghost, Spirit, Soul

It is written in the gospels that John the Baptist saw the Spirit 
descend from Heaven like a dove and abode upon Jesus. What is the 
Spirit? Is Spirit another name for the Holy Ghost the fragmented Godhead 
Christians believe God is?   if it is there is a serious problem with 
the scriptures.

Thank you for your question.  The word "spirit" is used in two different 
ways in the Bible.  In many places, it is synonymous with "the Holy 
Spirit," the third member of the Trinity of the Godhead, as you 
indicated.  In many other places, it is referring to the internal living 
human spirit inside each believer.  Because of the fall in the Garden of 
Eden, each of us is born without a living human spirit (Jude 19, 1 
Corinthians. 2:14), but God bestows it upon us when we become believers 
(Ephesians 2:1). 

We can think of it this way:  We are made up of body, soul, and spirit.  
It is intuitive to each of us what our body is.  Our soul is made up of 
our mind, our will, and our emotions.  Our spirit is distinct from the 
soul (Hebrews 4:12), and it is for communication with God (Genesis 2:7). 
 Our spirit stores Bible doctrine; i.e., teachings from the Bible are 
stored in the soul, and, for believers, the Holy Spirit then moves this 
doctrine to the spirit (Job 32:8, Romans 8:16), where it can be utilized 
and optimized (John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 9-16, 1 John 2:27). 

Thanks,

Owen



God's Omniscience

It is written that God is all knowing. Can this possibly be true?
Does God know his own future?

Thank you for your last question.  Yes, I believe that it is true that 
God is all-knowing.  The Bible relates God's omniscience to His 
omnipresence (Psalm 139).  It has been said that omniscience is the 
omnipresence of cognition (Jeremiah 23:23).  God's omniscience is 
related to His eternity; i.e., in His eternity, His knowledge is not 
subject to the limitations of time and space (Isaiah 43:8-12). 

So, re. the question, "Does God know his own future?":  There is no 
"future" in eternity, at least not as we understand this word because 
there is no time in eternity.  This is one of the great mysteries of the 
Bible; i.e., how "events" in eternity sort of all happen at the same 
"time."  As you can see, our limited understanding of eternity even 
prevents us from being able to adequately articulate it with words like 
"events" and "time."  So, there is no real way for us to express your 
question since we are indeed limited to a world of space and time.  
Suffice it to say that God is, in fact, all-knowing based upon the 
scripture passages noted above. 

However, I believe that there is a more technical answer to your 
question, although it may answer a more subtle question than what you 
asked.  God's omniscience also, of course, extends to all of His own 
creation, including people, time, and space (Psalms 33:15; 97:9; 139:13; 
Isaiah 29:15).  His all-comprehensive purpose forms the basis of His 
knowledge, not only of eternity, but also of all events; i.e., time, 
future, etc. (Isaiah 41:22-27; Amos 3:7).  So, yes, even in our limited 
world of time and space, God certainly does know His own future.  
Although, His understanding of these things in our world does not begin 
to represent His all-knowing omniscience of the things of eternity. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen

Owen,

Thank you for your reply.  
What becomes of further interest in the concept of an all-knowing God is
that God must therefore know the consequences that follow on from any
action he might  initiate. **He would therefore realise that his flooding
of a sinful world (Noah's Flood) would actually achieve nothing at all. The
world is still most violent and sinful! *

Regards

Thank you for your last question.  Yes, I believe that it is true that God
is all-knowing.  The Bible relates God's omniscience to His omnipresence
(Psalm 139).  It has been said that omniscience is the omnipresence of
cognition (Jeremiah 23:23).  God's omniscience is related to His eternity;
i.e., in His eternity, His knowledge is not subject to the limitations of
time and space (Isaiah 43:8-12).

So, re. the question, "Does God know his own future?":  There is no
"future" in eternity, at least not as we understand this word because there
is no time in eternity.  This is one of the great mysteries of the Bible;
i.e., how "events" in eternity sort of all happen at the same "time."  As
you can see, our limited understanding of eternity even prevents us from
being able to adequately articulate it with words like "events" and
"time."  So, there is no real way for us to express your question since we
are indeed limited to a world of space and time.  Suffice it to say that
God is, in fact, all-knowing based upon the scripture passages noted
above.

However, I believe that there is a more technical answer to your question,
although it may answer a more subtle question than what you asked.  God's
omniscience also, of course, extends to all of His own creation, including
people, time, and space (Psalms 33:15; 97:9; 139:13; Isaiah 29:15).  His
all-comprehensive purpose forms the basis of His knowledge, not only of
eternity, but also of all events; i.e., time, future, etc. (Isaiah
41:22-27; Amos 3:7).  So, yes, even in our limited world of time and space,
God certainly does know His own future.  Although, His understanding of
these things in our world does not begin to represent His all-knowing
omniscience of the things of eternity.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen



The Ten Commandments

Were God's Ten Commandments know before Mt. 
Sinai.  Did the great forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, keep ALL of 
God's Ten Commandment Law?   Was God's Sabbath 
instituted at Creation?

Thank you for your question.  Although God's Ten Commandments were not 
recorded on the stone tablets until the time of Moses, the preceding 
forefathers of the faith were aware of God's laws of morality; i.e., 
they didn't have the Ten Commandments in written form, but they did know 
God's moral code which included the Ten Commandments.  They knew the 
intent of the law if not the letter of the law.  This is because of 
God's fellowship with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Before the 
fall, God had fellowship with Adam and Eve, and He taught them His moral 
code.  After the fall, this moral code was passed down through the 
generations through verbal instruction, so that people like Noah, 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew it, even though it may not have been 
written down. 

No, the forefathers of the faith did not keep all of these moral codes 
(Romans 3:23). 

Yes, the Sabbath was instituted during Creation when God rested from His 
creation on the Sabbath Day. 

Thanks,

Owen



Tongues

I am looking for someone to show me just ONE place in the bible where 
speaking in tongues is/was anything other than speaking a human 
language?

Thank you for your question.  I believe that all occurrences of speaking 
in tongues in the Bible were, in fact, human languages.  It is obvious 
from Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 that the tongues of the New Testament 
were actual foreign languages which were understood by others--not just 
gibberish.

Thanks,

Owen



Hananiah

Is the Hananiah in the book of Jeremiah the same Hananiah in the book 
of Daniel (also known as Shadrach)?

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for my delayed response. 

No, the Hananiah in the book of Jeremiah is not the same man as the 
Hananiah in the book of Daniel.  The Hananiah in the book of Jeremiah 
was a false prophet, and the book of Jeremiah was written (about events 
when occurred) between 566 B.C. and 524 B.C.  The Hananiah in the book 
of Daniel was a godly man, and the book of Daniel was written (about 
events which occurred) between 524 B.C. and 454 B.C.  Also, the Hananiah 
in the book of Daniel was a young man, so he couldn't have been the same 
man as in the book of Jeremiah. 

Thanks,

Owen



Hebrews

Hebrews states that when man turns from God it is very difficult to 
return to God.  God does not strive with man always also comes to mind.  It is my 
feeling that any time you go to God he will accept you.  Some say that God does not 
give second chances.  How do you interpret this?  

Thank you for your question.  I believe that the answers to your 
questions are centered around some key terms that you used: 

- Indeed, it is difficult to return to God, but not impossible.  Our sin 
hardens our hearts, but whenever we choose, we can return to God.  He 
always accepts us, and it always pleases Him to do so, even in our 
sinful flesh. 

- Although God does not strive with man always, man can stop striving 
with God.  If our hearts remain hardened from sin, and we never stop 
striving with God, then He will not continue always to strive with us.  
However, if we make the slightest effort to turn from sin, then He is 
always there to forgive us and encourage us. 

- I agree with you, in that any time we go to God, He will accept us.  
God does indeed give us second chances.  The best example of this is 
that we were all separated from God by the acts of Adam and Eve in the 
Garden of Eden.  Yet, God implemented a plan of grace, and we could 
think of this as a "second chance."  In fact, He gives us third chances, 
fourth chances, etc.  I often see this in my own life, and I'm so 
grateful for this.  I often continue to fail Him, yet Christ covered all 
of my failures (eternally) on the cross; and, when I confess (1 John 
1:9), God forgives me in this temporal world. 

Thanks,

Owen



Giving in Abundance

Hello sir, compliments of the season and the Grace of our Lord, Jesus 
Christ. Please would you help me find places in the scriptures where the 
people were asked to bring an offering and the gave more than enough to 
the extent that they were asked to stop. 

Thank you for your question.  I am unable to find any occurrence in the 
Bible where the people brought such abundant offerings that they were 
asked to stop.  The best example that I can find of the liberality of an 
offering is in 1 Chronicles 29:6-9: 

 6 Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, 
the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the 
officials in charge of the king's work gave willingly. 7 They gave 
toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten 
thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen 
thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents] of iron. 8 
Anyone who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple 
of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 The people 
rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given 
freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced 
greatly.

Thanks,

Owen



Praise / Worship / Fire

Sir, Greetings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Please is there 
any scripture in the bible that compares or refers to praise or worship 
as fire?  Thank you. 

The only Scripture I can find on this is related to pagan worship. 
Deuteronomy 12:31 says, "You must not worship the LORD your God in their 
way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable 
things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the 
fire as sacrifices to their gods."

Thanks,

Owen



Marriage Proposal Without Prayer

I am 22 years old boy from India, I was born to a 
godly parents, I do have faith in Christ, now am about to finish my MBA, 
this is my question and I need the proper answer, when I was 19 I have 
fallen in love with one girl, she is also a believer of Christ but 
before I proposed to that girl I did not pray to god. I know herself and 
her family since my childhood days. I know everything about their family 
because they are also church workers. nowadays am feeling that perhaps 
what I did was wrong, that time I don't have much understanding about 
god's principles on marriage, after reading your article only I came to 
understand what should I have to do, now tell me brother what shall I do 
to do God's will in my life. should I have to leave that girl or what 
shall I do, I cannot leave that girl because I know that we are in love 
without any bad intention. and I know that she will fulfill more or less 
every conditions you have rendered in that article. for I know that she 
is a prayerful girl. If I leave her, both of us will not be happy 
because we have discussed and planned about our marriage life in these 
last three years of time. but if I have to leave that girl for God's 
sake. then let me obey for his command. please help me make decision in 
this circumstance..... Hoping for a quick reply.

Thank you for your question. 

Although you are the one that must make this decision, I believe that 
God has led you to this girl.  If I understand correctly, the only thing 
that could possibly be questioned about this is that you did not pray 
before proposing marriage.  However, we all make mistakes, and God is 
faithful and just to forgive (1 John 1:9).  I am confident that God has 
now made this right, and you now have a better understanding of God's 
principles.  We all continue learning more about God's truths throughout 
our lifetimes.  You and this girl love each other, and she is a Godly 
and prayerful woman from a Godly family.  I pray that you will have a 
wonderful life together.  Just always remember to treat each other with 
agape love throughout your marriage. 

Thanks,

Owen



Sexual Demons

Are there such things as sexual demons? 

The best resource I've found on this is at: 

http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/moral_frailty_demons.php



Hope / Prayer

What is the difference between hope and prayer? 

Thank you for your question. 

For believers, prayer is our act of worship when we bring our adoration, 
confession, thanksgiving, and requests to God.  Hope is our assurance of 
eternal life, and that God will take care of us in this life.   Acts 
8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of 
those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  
Therefore, even when our prayers don't seem to be answered as we would 
like, we can be sure that God has answered (in the big scheme of things, 
and according to His purpose and glory), and that we will spend eternity 
with Him. 

Love in Christ,

Owen



Forgiveness / Abortion

I am a sinner, will god ever forgive me?
I don't know where to begin and ask god for forgiveness and I'm not sure
whether to ask for forgiveness or not, I am a lost soul, the holy spirit has
left me, I pray but it seems like my prayer doesn't go anywhere and that god
doesn't hear me nor my prayer. I had an abortion.

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for the delay in my reply.

Yes, God will forgive you.  You need only to confess your sin to him as
indicated in 1 John 1:9.

We become Christians by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior, knowing that
His death on the cross saved us from all sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John
3:16).  God then forgives us in our ETERNAL state.  Then, in our daily walk
as Christians, when we continue to sin, we confess those sins to God, and he
forgives us in our TEMPORAL state.

I too have felt like you do from time to time.  I continue to sin, and I
know that I have failed God.  I also sometimes feel like God is not hearing
my prayers.  However, His word teaches that we simply need to confess our
sins.  He forgives us and we can start anew.  He forgives and FORGETS those
sins that we have confessed, and we don't ever need to confess that
occurrence of that sin again.  No matter what we have done, we simply
confess it to God.  We then know that He has forgiven us, and since He will
never look back upon that sin again, neither should we.  I sometimes even
pray that God will help me to forget things, and I believe that He does.

Once we become Christians, the Holy Spirit never leaves us, although we can
still feel a loneliness due to our sin.  The Bible teaches the doctrine of
eternal security.  In Philippians 2:14, the reference to becoming "children
of God" suggests the type of relationship that Christians have with God.
They are His children--his sons and daughters. Furthermore, just as we are
naturally born as a product of our human fathers, we are spiritually born as
a product of God the Father and His grace. In both cases, the birth
establishes a relationship which can never be altered. One cannot undo a
physical birth, so neither can he undo a spiritual birth. The eternal
security of the believer is thus demonstrated by this analogy of children.
Furthermore, Hebrews 13:5 says, "... Never will I leave you; never will I
forsake you."

Thanks,

Owen



2 Samuel 24

I'm confused about 2 Samuel 24. 
I'm reading 2 Samuel 24 and I hope you can help me with this, as 
I'm a bit confused.  In 24:1, the Lord tells David to Go, number Israel and 
Judah.  But after having done what he was told to do, David feels he has 
sinned (24:10).    What confuses me is that David did what the Lord told him to do and 
then feels he has sinned for doing what?    I hope you'll help me on this. Thank you.

Thanks for your question.  This is a difficult one because it appears to 
be one of those rare places where the copies and translations have not 
been accurately preserved throughout the centuries.  However, I believe 
that we can figure out what the original manuscripts said by examining a 
parallel passage. 

In 1 Chronicles 21:1, we see that it was actually Satan (not God) who 
rose up against Israel and incited David to take the census.  God 
probably allowed Satan to tempt David into this sin for the purpose of 
punishing the people.  So, David committed a personal sin when he 
conducted the census.  It was wrong because it was done in pride and 
self-glory, so that David could be proud about being the leader of so 
many people. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Paul's Thorn in the Flesh - 2 Corinthians 12

What was Paul's thorn in the flesh, and did Satan have  play a role in
this?

Thank you for your question.  We cannot be too definitive about what Paul's
thorn in the flesh was.  Some of the various views of bible scholars include
the following:

- Temptations from Satan
- Paul's opposition from his adversaries
- Some intense bodily pain
- Some recurring physical affliction, such as eye trouble (ophthalmia--Acts
13:9, 23:1, Galatians 4:14-15, 6:11), epilepsy, or malaria

What we do know is that it was a tool of Satan, it was painful, and it was
accompanied by shame and/or embarrassment.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen



Infant baptism

I have encountered a church who teaches infant baptism.  They claim 
that God gives the "gift of faith"   (Ephesians 2:8) to a baby at baptism.  Thus, the 
baby is saved.    What can I say to them?

Thank you for your question.  I have a couple of articles on my website 
that might help: 

   - Infant Baptism:  
http://www.christiandataresources.com/infantbaptism.htm

   - Baptism - Chafer:  
http://www.christiandataresources.com/baptismchafer.htm

   - Water Baptism:  
http://www.christiandataresources.com/waterbaptism.htm

Thanks,

Owen



Cross-Gender Clothing

Is it a sin for a man to wear female under garments? 

Thank you for your question.  Based upon Deuteronomy 22:5 I'd have to 
say yes:  "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's 
clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this." 

Thanks,

Owen



Lust

Is lust a good feeling or a right thing for a Christian

Thank you for your question.

In the proper context, lust is both a good feeling and a right thing for a
Christian.  In the context of marriage, and in the time leading toward
marriage, it is both.  You can view my article on Love, Marriage, and Sex at
http://www.christiandataresources.com/loveandmarriage.htm .

Thanks,

Owen



Jacob's Name Change

When did Jacob's name change?   Was it before or after he went to meet his brother? 

Thank you for your question. 

Jacob's name was changed to Israel while he was on his journey to meet 
his brother Esau, and just after he "wrestled" with God.  Genesis 32:28 
says, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have 
struggled with God and with humans and have overcome." 

Thanks,

Owen


Jacob

Who was the women that Jacob loved? 

Thank you for your question. 

Genesis 29:18 tells us, "Jacob was in love with Rachel..."  He first 
married Rachel's sister, Leah, but he later married his true love, 
Rachel. 

Thanks,

Owen



Jehovah's Witnesses

Dear Sir,
  I was looking at your web site regarding different religions and I 
happened upon the link for Jehovah's Witnesses. I have to say that some 
of your information is on point but some is incorrect. I was raised as a 
Jehovah's Witness until age 19, and I know that they do not believe that 
the world will end in 7,000 years. They staunchly believe that no one 
knows but Jehovah the day for the end of the world. I believe it is in 
the 24th chapter of Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples that during 
the last days the times will be like Noah - men marrying and women given 
in marriage and suddenly the day of destruction be instantly upon them.
  I have to say that I am not a Jehovah’s Witnesses because I do not 
believe in many of their philosophies but I do strongly believe that 
Jesus is God's son and that Jehovah is God. I think it is in Proverbs 
chapter 8 that it says that Jesus was God's master worker and first 
creation. Also, Colossians 1:15-16 describe Jesus as the first born of 
all creation. In addition, throughout the Gospel, specifically in 
Matthew, Jesus always gives credit to the father and tells his disciples 
and others to do the same. Psalms 83:18, and Exodus 6:3 says that God's 
name is Jehovah. Also, Jesus stated in Matthew that the greatest 
commandment is to love Jehovah your God with your whole heart, mind, 
soul, and strength; the second greatest is to love your neighbor as 
yourself. I know that sometimes the Bible can seem to be open to 
multiple interpretations, but the overwhelming evidence seems to me that 
Jehovah is God and that Jesus is his first creation. I’m not trying to 
upset you or insult you, but when I saw the 7,000 year thing, I had to 
speak up. I guess we will all find out in the end who had the correct 
interpretation. I hope I did not mess up your day.

Thank you for your comments.  No, you didn't upset me or insult me, or 
mess up my day.  I always welcome comments and questions from readers.  
I always learn from what others have to say, and I appreciate your 
feedback.  I posted your comments (anonymously) at the end of my article 
on Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Thanks,

Owen



Jeremiah / Methuselah

Do you know how the prophet, Jeremiah, died!  I thought he was 
put in  log and the log was sawed in two - is this correct or do you 
know of another prophet who died like this? 

Also can you tell me where I can get info about Methuselah, the 
man who lived to a greater age and any other man recorded i history? 

Thank you for your questions.  Unfortunately, there's not much 
definitive information about Jeremiah's death, or about Methusaleh. 

Jeremiah's death is not mentioned in the Bible, and other sources offer 
only conflicting information.  The story about the log is likely to be a 
myth, and I don't know of any other prophet who died like this either. 

Methusaleh is mentioned only briefly in the Bible.  Other books that 
mention him briefly are the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. 

Thanks,

Owen



Jesus and hell (Hades)

When Jesus died on the cross and descended into hell (Hades), was He 
still suffering while there or did the suffering end when "it is 
finished"? 1 Peter 3:18-20 says He went and made proclamation to the 
spirits in prison, was He still in a state of suffering?

Thank you for your question.  I found it quite challenging.  It prompted 
me to do further study of 1 Peter 3:18-20, as well as related passages 
Ephesians 4:8-10, Acts 2:25-35, and Matthew 12:40, and various 
commentaries.  As a result, I am not sure that we can be completely 
definitive in answering your question about when Christ's suffering 
ended.  However, I do think that the best clue we have is actually in 1 
Peter 3:19, which says, "After being made alive, he went and made 
proclamation to the imprisoned spirits."  Christ's death occurred while 
He was still on the cross, and He was still dead when he was slain in the 
tomb.  So, the period of time that we're talking about is between that 
point and the point of His resurrection.  Verse 19 above says that He 
proclaimed to the imprisoned spirits (in Hades), "after being made 
alive..."  So, He was "made alive" before He descended into Hades.  
Therefore, I believe that it's reasonable for us to assume that His 
suffering ended at the point of His death on the cross, and that He no 
longer suffered after His resurrection.  In other words, I believe the 
chronology would look like this: 

- Suffering on the cross
- Death - suffering ended
- Lain in the tomb
- Resurrection (a glorified body)
- Descent into Hades
- Ascent into Heaven

Thanks,

Owen



Jesus's Siblings

Did Christ have any actual brothers or sisters? James is sometimes
referred to as His half-brother. What and where are the facts?

Thank you for your question.  There is no agreement among Bible scholars on
this.  Some claim that the Bible teaches that Mary (Christ's mother) gave
birth to no other children, based upon the fact that the Bible doesn't tell
us about her giving birth to others.  However, I believe that this is a weak
argument.

Others cite those like James, claiming that he was a half-brother to Christ,
since he was the son of Mary (Christ's mother) and Joseph.  This is what I
tend to believe, although it's difficult to prove, because names like
"Mary," "Joseph," and "James" are such common names.

Thanks,

Owen



Jewish "food guidelines"

Hello,
  I am a Christian "messianic"/ "Hebrew roots" type of guy.  I am 
curious about how you can use Peter's vision to say that all food is 
clean and ok to eat even when  YHVH told us that certain things are not 
food -- such as pork.  Can you biblically explain this to me?
  Thank you, shalom!

Thank you for your question, and I'm sorry for the delay in my reply. 

Yes, I believe that Peter's vision in Acts 10 was even more startling to 
him than it is to you and me.  When God said, "Get up Peter, kill and 
eat" even the unclean animals, Peter's Jewish heritage immediately made 
him kick back against this idea.  His trained conscience would have 
never let him eat what was prohibited by the Levitical law.  However, 
the whole point of this vision was to illustrate the new covenant.  
Christ had fulfilled the law, even the strict Jewish ceremonial laws, 
and Peter needed a very graphic illustration in order to re-train his 
mind (Romans 12:1-2) through a transition from law to grace (Romans 
6:14). 

While still under the law, Christ had commissioned the disciples not to 
go to Gentiles, but to go to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6).  
However, now, under grace, he was being told to go to the Gentiles, as 
Christ commanded in the Great commission (Matthew 28:19-20).  On the 
cross, Christ had broken down the wall (Ephesians 2:14-18) between Jews 
and Gentiles. 

Now, this passage uses symbolism to illustrate the transition from law 
to grace.  However, it does not invalidate the truths buried in the 
Mosaic law.  Remember that Christ fulfilled the law, but he did not 
invalidate it.  The physical truths of the law are just as alive as they 
ever were.  I believe that we would do ourselves a favor by continuing 
to adhere, in a physical way, to the dietary laws of the Old Testament.  
For more information on this, please see my article at: 

    http://www.christiandataresources.com/pork.htm

Thanks,

Owen

Judges 5:23

I find the following a puzzle "Curse Meroz, says the Angel of the 
Lord, curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they came not to the help of 
the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty"  Judges.5:23. 

Thank you for your question. 
In Judges 5:23, a blessing and a curse are contrasted.  We must just 
assume that Meroz received the curse because of failing some previous 
obligation--probably a failure to assist the Nation of Israel in a 
battle or war against a strong enemy nation. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen




Kingdom

When it talks of a Worldly or a Heavenly kingdom - what is kingdom?

Thank you for your question.  It's a tough one, because there are many 
different views of what the "kingdom" means in the scriptures.  I adhere 
to a dispensational view, which is best described by Lewis Sperry 
Chafer, as follows: 

1) The Kingdom of God - All intelligence creatures in heaven or on earth 
who are willingly subject to God. 

2) The Kingdom of Heaven - Any sort of empire that God may have on earth 
at a given time: 

- Theocratic - Such as the nation of Israel had in Old Testament times
- Covenanted - This then became the nation hope of Israel. 
- Predicted - Bible prophecy anticipates a glorious kingdom for Israel 
on the earth. 
- Announced - The ministries of John the Baptist, Christ, and the 
Apostles announced the kingdom for the nation of Israel, but it was 
rejected. 
- Postponed - As a result, the earthly kingdom was postponed until 
Christ returns (second advent). 
- Mystery - The present state of Christendom are a mystery form of the 
kingdom (Matthew 13:11). 
- Realized - The kingdom of heaven will finally come to realization 
during the end times, at the time of the millennium--the 1000 year reign 
of Christ on the earth. 

Thanks,

Owen



Kissing After Marriage

Is it Wrong For You To Kiss Someone After Marriage Like your Pastor 
Kissing Your Wife On The Lip's In Front Of You Please Let Me Know I am 
Bothered By This I don't feel that it is right.  

Thank you for your question. 

Yes, I believe that it is wrong for a pastor to kiss your wife on the 
lips.  It is likely that if the pastor were confronted on this, he would 
claim that his action was completely platonic.  However, he should be 
aware that some people see this a sexual advance, and he should protect 
his reputation by making sure that no such situations arise, especially 
in his place of leadership. 

Thanks,

Owen



Mark and Luke

I never really thought about this before, but who were Mark and Luke 
since they weren't one of the disciples?

Thank you for your question. 

Mark's full name was John Mark (Acts 12:12).  His Christian life was 
influenced by his mother, Mary, as well as by his cousin, Barnabas, who 
took him with Paul on Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 13:5).  
Halfway through this journey, Mark return home (Acts 13:13).  His 
departure caused Paul to not want to take him on his second missionary 
trip, and this cause Paul and Barnabas to part company (Acts 15:39).  
Instead, Barnabas set sail with Mark for the island of Cyprus.  In later 
years however, Paul also commended Mark's efforts in the ministry (2 
Timothy 4:11). 

Luke was a doctor, and one of Paul's closest companions and fellow 
laborers (Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24, and 2 Timothy 4:11).  Luke is 
also widely believed to be the author of the book of Acts as well. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Marriage

My question is to the ordination of marriage:
Does God ordain every marriage?

Thank you for your question.  God ordains a marriage that is within the 
confines of His institution of marriage as He defined in His Word.  
Genesis 2:24 says that "... a man leaves his father and mother and is 
united to his wife, and they become one flesh."  Ephesians 5:21-33 goes 
on to say that the husband and wife submit themselves to one another; 
they're faithful to one another; and the husband loves his wife just as 
Christ loved the church.  For more information on love and marriage, 
please see my article at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/loveandmarriage.htm. 

Thanks,

Owen


Marriage

I am a 39 year old woman that have been married close to 20 years. I am no
longer attracted sexually to my husband and haven't been in 10 years. I
have been very much faithful thru this time. However I will be 40 in a
couple months and I don't want to do another 20, because of the issue he
has sexually. What do I do? 

Thank you for your question.  I know that this is a very personal and
trying issue for you, and I'll simply try to answer it from a biblical
perspective.  Here are some Scriptures that seem to offer very
straightforward answers to your question:

- 1 Corinthians 7:39 says, "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he
lives."

- 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 says, "To the married I give this command (not I,
but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does,
she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a
husband must not divorce his wife."

- In Luke 16:18, Christ said "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries
another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman
commits adultery."  Since Exodus 20:14 tells us that adultery is a sin,
then it follows that the marriage of a divorced woman causes adultery, so
this is wrong.

Also, it is true that the only valid biblical reasons for divorce are
adultery and abandonment, and here are the scriptures supporting this:

- Matthew 5:32 "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except
for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who
marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

- 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 says, "... if a woman has a husband who is not a
believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him...
But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is
not bound in such circumstances."
I know that this probably isn't the answer you want to hear, but the
Scriptures indicate that it would be wrong to leave your husband, despite
his shortcomings which include neither adultery nor abandonment.

Thanks,

Owen



Matthew 4 - Temptation of Christ

'And the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the 
devil' Matthew 4.  Owen, this seems a very strange thing to do? 

Thank you for your question.  Yes, this does seem somewhat strange. 

These temptations were a necessary part of Christ's earthly ministry.  
They constituted an attack by Satan against Jesus' human 
nature--temptations that would have overcome any normal man.  However, 
Jesus was no ordinary man.  As the virgin-born God-man, His divine 
nature could not sin (1 Samuel 15:29), and this held his human nature in 
check.  This does not mean that the impeccability of Christ denies the 
reality of Satan's temptations.  Satan's rebellion against God has 
already been defeated in Christ's atonement, but his rebellion is still 
real, even though the outcome of God's victory is certain.  The same is 
true for the temptation of Christ.  The temptations were real, although 
the outcome was certain.  In a demonstration of spirit and power, Jesus 
overcame the tempter, showing that He is the One who enables us to 
overcome temptation as well. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen


Five-Fold Ministry

Dear Owen the so called 'fivefold ministry' Eph 4:7,15 sum Bibles refers
vers11, a man as the gift(N.T) others refers a gift to a man(NKJV) and men
teaches only certain people have received the gifts but in veers 7 it is
given "to each one of us “and in vers11 we are divided into "sums “if my
understanding is correct where did laity and clergy came from?

Ephesians 4:7 teaches that each of us was given grace (and spiritual gifts),
but 1 Corinthians 12 teaches that there are a "variety of gifts" (verse 4),
and we each have different gifts.  Within this variety of gifts, there are
the gifts that you mentioned in Ephesians 4:11.  We sometimes refer to those
with these gifts as members of the "clergy," and those with other gifts as
members of the "laity."  However, no matter which spiritual gifts we have
(and no matter how men might categorize us), we are expected to use our
spiritual gifts for the glory of God.

Also, 1 Corinthians 12:29 says, "...All are not apostles, are they? All are
not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? ..."  This is
confirmation that we don't each have all of these gifts.  In addition, there
are special requirements for those who have some of these "clergy" gifts,
such as the requirements for a pastor in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.

I hope that I have answered your question.  If not, please reply.

Thanks,

Owen



Spiritual Gifts

Dear Owen, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ. I received your answer on the term laity and clergy, and i belief
that we all should have a full measure of understanding on how the gifts work
(1Cor 2:12). Especially in these days  where some people  believe and teach
that some gifts are no longer, or have ceased functioning in Church. If we
look without ignorance at what is going on in Church today, i ask myself two
questions, (1) did the Holy Ghost really  ceased distributing some
gifts?(1Cor 12:11).  (2) or is it a demonic doctrine (1 Tim 4:1).i personally
believe every gift is still very much available.  The Word of God is clear, We
shall add nor remove anything to or from his Word(Rev 22:18.and strangely
the only place where these certain gifts have ceased, is among those who are
called the "laity" which i refer as the fellowship which include leadership
which include(Eph 5:21). However the gifts of the "clergy" seems to be
much available no wander everybody wants a position a place where only the
minority get to exercise their gifts.  In these last days the armies of this
world is  100 times better equipped than they were 2000jr ago. The Church is
much more better equipped than the former(Hag. 2:9).i strongly belief the
term and exercise of  laity and clergy should be abolished from Church for it
is the reason why millions of people are sitting in the order of tombstones
in the Catholic church and the same can be seen not only in the Protestant,
but almost in every contemporary church.  I belief the term  laity and clergy
is the order of the Catholic church meeting that contradict the Biblical
order of Church meetings(1Cor. 14:26).  Well Owen, this is how i see and if you
think i need correction you are welcome.  Someone ask me what day is the Sabbath
and should we observe it?  Hope to hear from you soon, salome. 

Yes, you make a strong point that all spiritual gifts
are still functional in the church.  I do now allow for this possibility,
although I can see how it can be argued both ways.  The main point I was
trying to make in my article on spiritual gifts was that there are many
sensational television evangelists that do not truly possess the gift of
healing and miracles.  However, I do believe that some people may truly have
these gifts today.

Re. the terms "clergy" and "laity":  Again, I tend to agree with you, that
this may be a distinction that we need not make, especially in the way that
the Catholic church does.  We are all expected to use the gifts that God
gave us.

Re. the Sabbath Day:  Please see my article at
http://www.christiandataresources.com/sabbath.htm

Thanks,

Owen



Names For Jesus

Jesus is  English for Iesus(gr.). Joshua is English for 
Yeshua (Hebrew).  Everywhere I've looked on-line everyone says that Jesus and 
Yeshua are the same name. How can this be???

Thank you for your question.  This is a bit confusing, and it gets 
somewhat technical.  "Yeshua" is the contracted form of the Hebrew name 
"Yehoshua."  Both are used in the Old Testament, and the English 
spelling for both is "Joshua."  The specific use for this name in the 
Old Testament was for the man who succeeded Moses--not specifically for 
the Messiah, because the Old Testament does not refer to the Messiah by 
this name.  Now, in about 200 B.C., the Old Testament was translated 
from Hebrew to Greek in a work known as the Septuagint, for the benefit 
of those Jews who spoke Greek.  So, we can learn a lot from the way the 
Hebrew words were translated into Greek at that time. 

In the Septuagint, in Numbers 13;16, the Hebrew name "Yehoshua" was 
transliterated into the Greek name "Iesou;" i.e., another form of 
"Iesous," with a different case ending because of the way it's used in 
the Greek grammar.  (Note that "transliteration" just means changing 
each letter in the Hebrew name Yeshua into Greek, letter by letter, 
since names often cannot be specifically "translated.")  In Nehemiah 
8:17, the Hebrew name "Yeshua" was also transliterated into the Greek 
name "Iesou." 

Since "Iesous" is the exact English transliteration of the Greek name 
"Iesou," we can conclude that the Greek name "Iesous" equates to the 
Hebrew name "Yeshua," and its English spelling is "Jesus."  Furthermore, 
the name "Joshua" is the English form of the Hebrew word "Yeshua," and 
the name "Jesus" is the English form of the Greek word "Iesous." So, the 
names "Joshua" and "Jesus" are essentially the same.  It could be said 
that each one is an English pronunciations for the name of the Lord; one 
from the Hebrew and one from the Greek. 

Thanks,

Owen



God's Name

What is God's name? 

Exodus 6:3 tells us that God's name is "the LORD" (NIV), or "Jehovah" 
(KJV), and in the Hebrew this is "El-Shaddai." 

Thanks,

Owen



Noah's Son Ham

Is there reference in the bible of Noah's curse on Ham and turning him
black? 

Thank you for your question.  The Bible does not specifically refer to Ham
being turned black as a result of Noah's curse.  Although the Bible is not
definitive on this question, some Bible scholars have come to this
conclusion, and I'll address their lines of reasoning below.  The
relevant passage is Genesis 9:18-27 which reads as follows:

"18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth.
(Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and
from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth. 20 Noah
a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of
its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the
father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside.
23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders;
then they walked in backward and covered their father's naked body. Their
faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father
naked. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest
son had done to him, 25 he said, 'Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of
slaves will he be to his brothers.' 26 He also said, 'Praise be to the
LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. 27 May God extend
Japheth's territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan
be the slave of Japheth.'"

The key phrases for this discussion are "may Canaan be the slave of Shem"
(verse 26), and "may Canaan be the slave of Japheth" in verse 27.

Historians have reasoned that as the descendants of Noah's three sons
relocated and separated (verse 19), they re-populated the world as
follows:

   - Shem - The Middle East nations
   - Ham - The continent of Africa
   - Japheth - The European and other western nations

So, it seems to make sense that the descendants of Ham may have
re-populated the African nations, and, of course, these nations are
predominantly black.

Those who believe that Noah's curse turned Ham's skin black will quickly
point out that Ham was Canaan's father (verses 18 & 22), so they stretch
this curse to include Ham as well as Canaan.  However, Ham had other sons
as well, including Cush, Egypt and Put (Genesis 10:6).  Nevertheless, it
does make some sense that dark-skinned people could have come from Canaan. 
On the other hand, it might make more sense if dark-skinned people came
from the other sons:  Cush (modern day Sudan and other African nations),
Egypt (obviously, modern day Egypt), and Put (modern day Libya).

However, one caveat to this logic is that the land of Canaan is in the
Middle East--not Africa.  So, since Noah's curse was specifically placed
upon Canaan, and perhaps not on Cush, Egypt, and Put, then all of this
seems somewhat reversed.  In addition, there has been much scientific
study as to what changes the pigmentation (color) of skin over the course
of many generations.  Many scientists believe that, in general, skin color
is darker for those living closer to the equator, and lighter for those
living farther from the equator.  So, this could also explain the black
skin of the African people.

There is one more thing to consider here.  Noah's curse specifically
mentioned Canaan as being the slave of Shem and the slave of Japheth.  Over
the centuries, it does indeed appear that the descendants of Ham (again,
dark-skinned people of Africa, although not necessarily of Canaan) were in
many cases the slaves of the descendants of Japheth (the western nations). 

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen



Noah / The Flood

After the flood was the earth populated by relatives? 

Thank you for your question.

Yes, after the flood the world was re-populated from the eight people who
survived the flood:  Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives.
This is similar to the way the world was initially populated after creation,
with Adam and Eve and their children.

Thanks,

Owen



The Poor 

Oppression of the poor and someone trying to change themselves
 and no help.

Here is Stumbling blocks to the poor. and some fulfilling of 
scriptures but judging the poor wrongfully

  In the past I have applied to many jobs. denied, so be it. 

  Proverbs 22:16

  He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives 
gifts to the rich, both come to poverty.

  Here is this being filled in US in my personal experience.  Tried to 
go for different trade in school and denied by physiologist and highly 
educated scholars.  That get paid to deny someone a means of trade to get 
out of the government programs.  With their IQ test.  Get big bucks for 
this. 

  Proverbs 21:13

  If the man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor. He will cry out and 
not be answered.

  Another filled in my personal life.

  Go to all different jobs and turned away.  No hire because of 
stumbling blocks and obstacles.

  Need high school diploma along with PhD or bachelor or certificates. 
among many demand of technology and big education.  Judged because of 
speech impairment and no teeth for beauty.  If I went around the 
neighborhood and truly do what is In the old testament I would be chased 
away.  I mean go and offer to the rich neighbor to do their mowing or 
plowing snow for money to help me the poor.  They turn you away.

  Roman 14:13

  Let us not their forth judge one another anymore: but judge this that 
no man put a stumbling block to fall in the brethren way.

  To set obstacles that cause us to trip in trying to find our job to 
make money to live without the government.

  I am very not happy of this conditions and I find no cooperation in 
the US.  I also find we get punished for trying to get off the system 
and penalized.  People that have jobs are braggers and like to call us 
freeloaders and employers that choose who they hire and will not hire 
some poor people.  Where does this oppression belong too? 

  I find you are making comments to the poor. So let me cry unto you for 
a job that could pay my way and sky rocket rent and heat and food.? 

  Lev. 25:39-40

  39 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold 
unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:
  40 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, 
and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee:

  In the modern day it is applying for jobs at stores or corporation, or 
restaurants or whatever it is.

  They don't have on job training as much as they use too.  They have 
set all kinds of demands to get a job to qualify and no one wants to 
give another person a chance without a big education among experiences.

  So I say just like the prophet said they are turning to poor from 
their right.  Then blaming us for the nation’s problems.  Some of us are 
crying of bondage and oppression.  God does open the ears of the one 
being oppressed.

  My idea on the rents are way to high even for the working middle 
class.  My idea is to that housing should rent to buy the house and they 
would not have to keep paying every month.  I find that not right that 
the government has to pay our rent.  If they did not I would be living 
on the streets.  I do have Jesus Christ living in me.  I find cities are 
exploiting the poor by their new inspections every year to make them 
selves jobs.  Help with ideas of getting out of this mess of 
oppression and them exploiting rental clients to expand government power 
and hold us more in bondage.

  Thank you for your insights.  Please give me feedback on how I could 
get a living going to flee out of this trap of poverty I did not ask 
for.

  If people are going to call us free loader they need to help us out of 
this bondage instead of finding fault.

  Take action to help and serve.  There is some that are not happy in 
this life style.  US is not what is was based on and thing are upside 
down.

Thank you for your e-mail.  My heart breaks because of your struggles. 

First of all, please be assured that I am praying for you.  I may not be 
able to do much, but I can pray.  I am not an employer who is able to 
offer you a job, but I can pray. 

Where are you located?  Perhaps I can keep an ear out to help you find a 
job. 

God loves us, and he will provide for all of us, including the poor 
(Psalm 68:10, Luke 6:20).  Be diligent in prayer.  He hears and answers 
our prayers (John 9:31, 1 John 5:14-15). 

"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of 
God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with 
Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified 
with Him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are 
not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing 
of the sons of God.  Romans 8:16-19

Love in Christ,

Owen

Dear Owen,

Thank you for your email back.  Thank you also to help pray for me.  I hope
 you see the oppression that is happening to the poor.  There are many making harsh comments

about us and some are drinking and drugging.  But not all.
  It really hurts me to see others held back too.  Please let me know if you see the same

problem.  But this is only my case and it happens to other people.    I live in

Massachusetts, Hyannis, which is Cape Cod.  The rent is almost $800.00 a month.  So for me to

rid of housing I need to make at least 1600 a month.  I have been praying on this.  We need

God's kingdom here.  Then we will all have
our own tree and own land to have our own house.  Plus peace and walk God's
 way which his laws on base of LOVE. Please cry out for the poor of the oppression and

exploiting the poor.
Love to talk with you on the phone if that is possible.
Thank you for your openness on the subject and
  understanding.  I hope I was not to bold.    But i get sick of people  saying  we are bum,

lazy, dumb, fools, freeloaders, and drug attics or drunks  when I  one  don't and I know some

others that don't drink and drug.  If they want to make these comments they need to help the

oppressed and fight to help the poor get out of the trap of poverty.  This includes big

businesses.  God makes rich. and makes poor.  I hope this shed light  on the  problems that

we face.  There is more than one side of a story. 




Other Religions

Are we to respect other religions?

Thank you for your question.  When the Bible commands us to love others, 
this includes loving those who believe differently than we do.  I tend 
to view these people as potential believers that simply haven't yet been 
convicted of the truth by the Holy Spirit.  So, our love and respect for 
them is a witness of the truth of Christianity.  Also, this is why it's 
so great to live in a free country where we have freedom of religion. 

Thanks,

Owen



Paradise vs. Heaven

According to the bible what is the difference between paradise and 
heaven?   The reason that I ask this is because Jesus told the thief on 
the cross that today they would be together in paradise.  Why did he not 
say heaven?  A Mormon friend of mine tells me it is a place in heaven 
that is nice but it is not with God.  Thus, there are different levels 
in heaven, and only the very righteous get to be close to God?  I always 
assumed that Jesus was talking about heaven but it does say paradise, so 
is that another place beside heaven?  Did Jesus not go right to heaven 
but to this paradise until he was resurrected?  I'm having more and more 
questions? 

Thank you for your question.  Yes, the use of the word "paradise" in the 
Bible can be confusing.  I believe that our definitive passage on this 
is the story of th rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. 

When the rich man died, he went to a place called "Hades" (verse 23), 
which was a place of torments.  When Lazarus died, he went to a place 
called "Abraham's bosom," which Bible scholars have associated with 
paradise. 

Apparently, when people died in Old Testament times (including the times 
referenced in the Gospels), their bodies went into a grave, but 
apparently, there was a temporary holding place for their souls. The 
Bible uses a term called hell, such as in Matthew 5:22, but the 
terminology is slightly different than what we normally use. Hell is the 
lake of fire where all unbelievers will spend eternity (Revelation 
20:14-15). Apparently, however, the temporary holding place (sometimes 
called Sheol, or Purgatory) had a compartment for separate compartments 
for believers and unbelievers. (This is where the Catholics (mistakenly) 
built their doctrine of purgatory.) Unbelievers spent this period in the 
part called torments (Luke 16:23), while believers spent this time in a 
place called paradise (Luke 23:43).

However, with the resurrection of Jesus (the first resurrection), these 
Old Testament believers were transferred from paradise to Heaven. This 
is apparently what was going on in Matthew 7:53, which is a very 
difficult passage.

Now, for us, it's completely different. Since the resurrection of Christ 
has already occurred, and He has ascended to Heaven, when believers die 
today, our bodies go to a grave, and our spirits go straight to Heaven 
(2 Corinthians 5:1-8) to be with Christ.

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Mark of the Beast

Does the new chip implant meet the description in The Holy Bible as 
the mark of the beast?

Thank you for your question.  Yes, I believe it's possible that chip 
implants could be used as the mark of the beast.  However, I don't think 
that we can be too adamant about these things until the end times are 
upon us, and even then it might not be really obvious.  A lot of people 
have given similar credence to things such as bar codes, credit cards, 
and RFID codes (readers, wallets, etc.). 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen

I keep hearing this chip will be required by march 2013, I am so 
concerned because I am a mother of 5 small children. I know without this 
chip my husband and I cannot take care of our children. I guess what I 
am really trying to ask is will we know or are we doomed to either 
eternal damnation, or watching our own children die of starvation?  
Maybe a better way of wording this is should a Christian allow this 
chip?

After reading further about this, my current feeling is that I would not 
allow the chip implant--neither in myself nor in my children.  It just 
seems too much like the mark of the beast.  If it does get to the point 
where we cannot carry on commerce without this implant, then I believe 
it would be best to simply die the death of a Christian martyr. 

Thanks,

Owen



Priests

Who was ordained along with the priest in exodus ch 28- 29? 

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for my delay in responding.
I'm sorry, but I may not fully understand your question.  In my view, Exodus
28-29 simply gives us God's commands for the priests (i.e., Aaron and his
sons) and their garments.  If this doesn't answer your question, could you
please clarify what you're asking?

Thanks,

Owen



The Earth 

Does the Bible Imply That the Earth is Flat? 

Ezekiel 7:2 and Revelation 7:1 reference "the four corners of the earth."  Similarly, Isaiah
11:12 references "the four quarters of the earth."  The Oxford English Dictionary defines
"corner" to mean "An extremity or end of the earth; a region, quarter; a direction or quarter
from which the wind blows."  The word "corner" comes from a Latin root "cornu," meaning
"horn," as seen in words such as "cornet," "corn," and "cornucopia."  So, the four corners of
the earth can be interpreted as referring to the four cardinal directions--north, south, east
and west.  In addition, the "four corners of the earth" can also be interpreted as four
"horns" of the earth.  One obvious example of such a "horn" is Cape Horn, the southernmost
tip of South America.  So the usage of the phrase "four corners of the earth" does not
necessarily signify a flat, rectangular earth. 

Also, in general, one must be aware of the poetic language and symbolism often used in the
Bible, especially in the poetic books like Psalm, and the prophetic books like Revelation. 
Incidentally, to me, one of the stronger verses arguing for a flat earth is Job 38:13, which
says, "that it might take the earth by the edges."  My only explanation here is the use of
poetic language.  i.e., A circular view of the earth from heaven cannot be argued here, since
a circle has no edges. 

On the other hand, there are many verses in the Bible that do indeed agree with what we know
about science, so far.  In fact, these even make the words of the Bible more powerful, when
we realize that the Biblical writers stated scientific truths thousands of years before
astronomy, geology, or archeology confirmed them.  Please consider the following: 

- The Bible does, in fact, teach the concept of a round or spherical earth.  Isaiah 40:22
says, "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.
 He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in." 
The fact that this verse speaks of the "circle of the earth" can mean one of three things: 1)
The earth is not a flat square but a flat circle. If that is true then what of the four
corners of the earth? A flat circle has no corners. 2) The earth is shaped in a way that is
spherical but has a square cross-section somewhere, at the equator, for example. 3) The earth
is spherical in shape.  This last option is further strengthened by observing the reference
to the inhabitants as grasshoppers, implying a perspective from on high, particularly, the
outermost heaven.  This verse serves only to strengthen my faith, as it reveals God's
omniscience, in His knowledge that the earth was round, a fact that was not discovered by man
for thousands of years.

- Proverbs 8:27 says, "When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon
the face of the depth..."  The word "compass" can mean a circular enclosure or a spherical
envelope. Since the verse speaks of an extended area, the spherical enclosure for "compass"
is a better interpretation than a circular enclosure. 

- Luke 17:31-36 says, "In that day_, he which shall be upon the house top, and his stuff in
the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him
likewise not turn back .... I tell you, in that night_ there shall be two men in one bed; the
one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.... Two men shall be in the field; the one
shall be taken, and the other left."  In regard to the shape of the earth, these verses speak
of day (verse 31) and night (verse 34) as occurring simultaneously.  The activities are
listed in the context of that global event, the rapture, which Paul describes as occurring in
the "twinkling of an eye" (I Corinthians 15:52). The simplest explanation for this
simultaneous daylight and night is that the earth is spherical in shape.

- Acts 1:8 says, "Jesus gives His commission to His disciples to be witnesses "unto the
uttermost part_ of the earth."  Note here that the word "part" is singular.  A flat earth
with four corners would be indicated by the plural "uttermost parts."  However, a spherical
earth would have only one uttermost part, its opposite side.  So, the Bible does not
necessarily teach that the earth is flat.  

The Ends of the Earth

What are The Ends of the Earth?

Psalm 135:7, Job 37:3, and Daniel 4:11 reference "the ends of the earth." 
The above dictionary definition also explains the "ends of the earth."  Another way of saying
the "ends of the earth" is to refer to the "extremities of the earth."  In this case, as is
also the case for the four corners of the earth, the word "earth" refers to the land mass,
country, or continents, as opposed to the globe (Exodus 10:12-15).  Since the word "earth"
can be used as synonymous with "land," the "ends of the earth" thus refer to the points of
land most distant from some central point.  For the Bible, this central point is the land of
Israel.  On a globe, a great circle passing through Jerusalem and the north and south poles
very nearly cuts the Pacific Ocean in half and leaves four continental "corners" or "ends,"
namely the Chukchi Peninsula of the Soviet Union (opposite the Bering Straits of Alaska),
Alaska, the southeastern tip of Australia, and Cape Horn of South America.  These four
geographical locations can account for the four corners of the earth.  Alternatively, since
there was probably a land-link between Siberia and Alaska at the time the Bible was written,
the four corners of the earth could be Norway, Newfoundland, Cape Horn and the Cape of Good
Hope. 

The Earth

Can the Whole Earth Be Viewed From a Mountain Top? 

Mt 4:8 says, "Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the
kingdoms of the world and their splendor." 
This passage implies neither a flat earth nor a mountain large enough to oversee the earth. 
Even on a flat earth, a high mountain would be a very poor place to observe the kingdoms of
the world "in their glory."  Furthermore, if Matthew was implying that a mountain existed
from which all the world was visible, then obviously, the mountain would be visible from all
parts of the world. It is invalid to suggest that Matthew believed that such a mountain
existed.  Incidentally, the mountain in question was probably Mt. Quarantania, and it
commands an incredible view of the Jordan Valley, which may be used in this passage to
symbolize "all the kingdoms of the world." 

The Earth's Foundation

What are The Foundations of the Earth? 

Psalm 18:15 and Psalm 104:4 reference "the foundations of the earth." 
Many verses state that God laid the foundations of the earth, but each verse adds a little to
that simple fact.  Psalm 102:25 tells us that God laid the foundations "of old," and Hebrews
1:10 echoes the thought that God laid the foundations of the earth "in the beginning."  Job
38:4 simply states that God laid the foundations of the earth, but Job 38:6 indicates that
the foundations are themselves fastened upon something else.  Hebrews 1:3 names this
"something else" as the Lord Jesus Christ who "upholds all things by the word of his power." 
Proverbs 8:29 tells us that the earth's foundations were appointed.  Proverbs 3:19 indicates
that the earth was founded by wisdom while Jeremiah 31:37 indicates that the foundations are
not searchable.  Micah 6:2 tells us that they are strong; so strong that the earth should
never be removed (Psalm 104:5). 

So, the foundations themselves are fastened upon Christ, the sustainer of the universe. 
Also, these foundations are located somewhere under the earth, and they are not searchable
(Jeremiah 31:37).  Science would certainly agree that these foundations are not searchable. 
Whenever there is an earthquake, shock waves are propagated throughout the interior of the
earth.  But there is one area which the waves fail to penetrate.  That area is the earth's
core, the very central part or "foundation" of the earth.  Until recently seismologists
assumed that the center of the earth was composed of molten iron.  Scientists now believe
that the core may be rocky.  No one knows for certain.  Man's concept of the outer layers of
the earth's crust has significantly changed in recent years.  How much more so will his ideas
of the earth's interior change in the future?  

The Earth

Does the Bible Imply That the Earth is Circular? 

Isaiah 40:22 says that God "sits enthroned above the circle of the earth..."  If you or I
were sitting above the earth and looking down upon it, it certainly would appear to be
circular, just as astronauts have viewed it from space.  i.e., From afar, a three-dimensional
sphere has a two-dimensional circular appearance until one gets close enough to have some
depth perception.  So, "circular" does not deny "spherical." 
Genesis 1:18 says that God made the sun and the moon "to govern the day and the night, and to
separate light from darkness."  I see no contradiction of this passage with what science now
knows. 

Job 1:7 says that Satan was "roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 
Again, I see nothing here that contradicts science.  Certainly, I can walk "back and forth"
in my office, but this suggests no implication as to the shape of the earth.  

The Sky

Is the Sky a Solid Vault? 

Job 37:18 speaks of God "spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze." 
Incidentally, Genesis 1:17 also refers to "the vault of the sky." 
A vault can be defined as an arched structure forming a ceiling or roof over a wholly or
partially enclosed construction.  I believe that this is an apt description of the sky
forming an arch above the earth. 

Concerning being "hard as a mirror," this passage reminds me of my first job as a software
engineer, and my training in celestial mechanics.  I helped program the onboard computers for
the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981.  My programs included flight control during all
three phases of the mission:  ascent (liftoff), orbit, and descent (re-entry).  The re-entry
into the atmosphere comes to mind here.  When re-entering the atmosphere from space, the
attitude and acceleration of the Shuttle must be precise; otherwise, the Shuttle could
literally "bounce" off the atmosphere (or it could burn up).  In this respect, this barrier
between our atmosphere and space could indeed be described as being "hard as a mirror." 
Perhaps the Bible was speaking of truths not discovered by science for another 4,000 years or
so. 

Also, by definition, the sky is indeed a vault.  Genesis 1:8 says, "God called the vault
'sky.'" 

The Sky

Can the Sky Be Achieved? 

Genesis 11:4-6 says, "Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that
reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be
scattered over the face of the whole earth.'  But the LORD came down to see the city and the
tower the people were building.  The LORD said, 'If as one people speaking the same language
they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.'" 

I'm not sure what your question is with this verse, but I'll attempt an answer.  What the
people said here is of no consequence.  Their vain and failed attempt to build a tower that
reached to the heavens doesn't matter.  The only universal truth we can discern from this
passage is what God said.  God did not really address whether or not the sky can be achieved.

Technically, what God said was that as long as all people spoke the same language, then
nothing they do will be impossible for them.  As a result, in verses 7 through 9, he confused
their language and scattered them according to their various languages.  So, today, the
"nothing will be impossible" clause does not apply to us, because we are no longer united by
a common language.  (Alejandro, this seems to be an apt illustration here, just as you and I
do not speak the same language.)  However, the Bible is clear that only God is omnipotent,
and man, in his sinful nature, is quite helpless in many respects.  So, it has never been
"possible" for man to do anything and everything, even before his language was confused. 

However, yes, in terms of airplanes and space travel, the sky can be "achieved," with
limitations. 

Waters Above the Sky

Are There Waters Above the Sky? 

Genesis 7:11 says that in the time of the flood, "... the floodgates of the heavens were
opened." 

2 Corinthians 12:2 speaks of the "third heaven."  This implies that there are three heavens,
and these appear to be:  1) The first heaven; the atmosphere of the earth, including the air
immediately above out heads; 2) Beyond that, the second heaven, outer space; 3) Beyond that,
the first heaven, where God abides.  Genesis 7:11 can is easily explained in that the
"heavens" there refer to the "first heaven," the atmosphere including clouds and weather
patterns from which we receive our rains. 

Psalm 148:4 refers to the "waters" above the skies.  Psalm 104:2-3 says that God "stretches
out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters." 
I cannot explain this, other than to say that perhaps there are indeed waters above the sky,
perhaps even in the third heaven.  Certainly science has not disproved this. 

The Abyss

Are There Waters Beyond the Abyss? 

Exodus 20:4 says, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven
above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."  This could easily be explained by
seas and oceans; i.e., waters below the "surface" of the earth.  Again, science cannot prove
that waters do not exist even further within the earth's interior. 
Psalm 136:6 says that God "spread out the earth upon the waters..."  Psalm 24:2 says that God
founded the earth "on the seas and established it on the waters." 

It would appear that this is explained by Genesis 1:2, "Now the earth was formless and empty,
darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the
waters."  Apparently, during His act of creation, God first created the waters.  Then later,
he created the "land" ("earth") and the sky.  Verses 6-7 say, "And God said, 'Let there be a
vault between the waters to separate water from water.'  So God made the vault and separated
the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so." 

Gravty

Does the Bible Defy the Natural Law of Gravity (Miracles)? 

According to the Bible, the orbits of the earth and moon can be stopped (Joshua 10: 12-13). 
This seems to completely ignore the Copernican Revolution (1543), Kepler's Laws (1609), the
observations that the Earth moves by Galileo (1632), and the Law of Universal Gravitation
Newton (1687). 

You have asked about a very interesting event in Joshua 10:12-13 when the sun and the moon
stopped their orbits.  This was a miracle.  Please allow me to explain. 
God is more powerful than the laws of nature.  In fact, He created all of the laws of the
universe.  As the creator, His creation belongs to Him, and he can do with it as He pleases. 

On a limited number of occasions, He has chosen to intervene in our world by performing
Miracles; i.e., overruling the laws of nature.  Please consider the following miracles in
addition to the one you have already cited: 
 
- 2 Chronicles 20:11 records a miracle where God reversed the orbit of the earth around the
sun when he made the sundial back up ten steps. 
 
- In 2 Kings 6:6, Elisha made an iron axhead float on water. 
 
- Jesus performed many miracles, such as restoring sight to the blind and restoring speech to
the mute (Matthew 12:22), and calming a raging sea (Matthew 8:26), which had to disrupt the
current weather patterns at the time. 
 
We must understand that God performs miracles for a specific purpose that He has in mind--not
simply for the amusement of us who cannot similarly deny the laws of nature.  When God
stopped the orbits of the sun and the moon, this was done in order to prove that God was
fighting for Israel (Joshua 10:14).  When He made the sundial back up ten steps, this was
done in order to prove that Isaiah was a true prophet, speaking with the authority of God. 

Similarly, when the axhead floated, this proved that Elisha was a true prophet from God. 
Obviously, the miracles that Jesus performed proved that He is the Messiah, the very Son of
God. 
 
Now, it would be a very weak argument for a skeptic to point to these miracles in trying to
prove that the Bible contains errors.  On the other hand, for believers, these miracles serve
to increase our faith--not to plant doubts in our minds. 
 
In fact, miracles could be another answer for some of the other questions that you have
asked: i.e., the process of photosynthesis before the sun was created; the violation of the
laws of thermodynamics, etc. 

Photosynthesis

Does the Bible Contradict Photosynthesis, Newton, and Snell? 

According to Genesis, Yahweh created the 1st light (Gen 1, 3), plants the day 3 (Gen 1.11 to
13), the sun, moon and stars on day 4 (Gen 1 14-19), and the rainbow as a sign of covenant
with Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9, 9-17).  Does this not contradict the law of Snell
(1621), the decomposition of light (Newton, 1671) and Photosynthesis?. 
You asked about a possible contradiction where God created plants on the third day, but he
didn't create the sun (required for photosynthesis) until the fourth day.  We are not given
the answer to this in the Bible, but I see a variety of possibilities:  
 
- The Bible says that God created light on the first day, although He didn't create the sun
until the fourth day.  However, it doesn't explain what this light was on the first day. 
Perhaps it was simply the light of Jesus Christ illuminating the universe, or perhaps it was
yet another source of light.  Whatever it was, maybe it served (perhaps temporarily) in place
of the sun in the photosynthesis process. 
 
- Maybe we can view the Bible’s first reference to light as being a general reference, while
the following verses give a more detailed explanation of the source of the light (the sun). 
In other words, perhaps the sun was actually created on the first day, but it is not named as
the sun until the fourth day. 
 
- The requirement of sunlight in the photosynthesis process is based upon how science
currently understands this process.  Perhaps the problem is our lack of understanding, and
someday science will discover the (possibly simple) answer to this question.  For example,
perhaps there are, in fact, other alternative sources of energy (in place of sunlight) for
the photosynthesis process, but our knowledge of science is still too limited to understand
this. 
 
- There is much debate on the use of the word "day" in Genesis 1.  Some Bible scholars
believe that it was a 24-hour day as we know it today, but others believe it was a longer
amount of time.  Perhaps this was simply a 24-hour day, so the plants were created only 24
hours before the sun was created, and the plants (and the entire ecosystem) were able to
survive temporarily for those 24 hours without the photosynthesis process as we know it today
(especially in a perfect ecosystem).  In this scenario, maybe for a short time period: 
photoautotrophs survived without creating their own food; they were not using carbon dioxide,
converting it into organic compounds such as sugars; they were not releasing oxygen for
aerobic life; and, there was some other source of energy for nearly all life on earth. 
 
- Expanding upon the above theory, perhaps the plants were initially created as seedlings,
even buried underground, and able to do without the photosynthesis process for those 24 hours
before they emerged from the ground. 
You also asked about possible contradictions between the Biblical account and the law of
Snell and the decomposition of light (Newton).  In particular, you asked about the rainbow as
a sign of the covenant with Noah after the flood.  However, the flood occurred some 1,600
years after creation.  Because of this, I do not see a possible contradiction similar to that
with the process of photosynthesis (where the order of creation within the first six days was
a factor).  Also, we cannot definitively say when and how the properties of light were
create; i.e., decomposition, reflection, refraction, etc. 

The Laws of Thermodynamics

Does the Bible Violate the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics? 

Is the sudden creation of the Stars, Plants, Animals, the Man from the dust of the earth
(Genesis 2:7, Ecclesiastes 12:7) and the woman from the rib of it (Genesis 2:21), violate the
1st and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?. 

I don't think that we can answer your question with certainty; i.e., whether or not the
biblical account of creation violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics.  In
simplistic terms, these laws of thermodynamics state that the total amount of energy and
matter in the universe is constant, so matter cannot be created or destroyed, which would
seemingly conflict with the biblical account of creation (the creation of matter).  However,
I can offer some suggestions that might reconcile this aspect of biblical truth with science.

- It could be that the current laws of the universe were not always in effect.  Before
creation, perhaps other laws were in effect.  Then the universe was created, along with a
constant amount of energy and matter, as well as even the laws of thermodynamics.  In this
respect, yes, creation would have indeed violated the laws of thermodynamics because these
laws did not exist at the time. 

- It could be that the (man-made) laws of thermodynamics are simply incorrect.  In this
respect, yes, creation would have indeed violated the laws of thermodynamics because these
laws are invalid. 

- The second law of thermodynamics implies that both energy and matter in the universe are
becoming less useful as time goes on, and that perfect order in the Universe occurred the
instant after the Big Bang when energy and matter and all of the forces of the Universe were
unified.  Perhaps God used the Big Bang in His creation, and (in agreement with the Biblical
account) the world was in a perfect state when Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of
Eden.  Furthermore, it was sin that put in place the degradation that we now see.  In this
respect, creation does not violate the laws of thermodynamics. 
Does 1 Kings 7:23 Make an Error in the Calculation of Pi? 
1 Kings 7:23 says, "He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits
from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it." 

The key to finding the answer to this question is the phrase, "and five cubits high."  The
object being described is a cylinder--not a circle.  Think of it as a three-dimensional
object, like a drinking glass--not just a two-dimensional object like a circle drawn on a
piece of paper.  The diameter of the mouth of this "drinking glass" is ten cubits, but the
drinking glass is five cubits tall.  So, to measure around the outside of it, we would add
ten (across the top), five cubits (down one side), ten cubits (across the bottom), and five
cubits (up the other side), for a total of thirty cubits. 

Rabbits

Does the Bible indicate that the rabbit chews the cud? 

Leviticus 11:6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is
unclean for you.

I cannot be very definitive in answering this question.  Perhaps the "hare" in this verse was
an animal that is now extinct but was alive at the time of Moses.  Also, it appears that
Aristotle commented on a similar animal that did chew the cud, namely a "coagulum" or
"runnet" in its stomach, "...all that have many bellies have what is called a coagulum or
runnet, and of them that have but one belly, the hare.  So, perhaps although this is now
extinct, it was also still alive at the time of Aristotle.

Bats

Does the Bible Refer to the Bat as a Bird? 

Leviticus 11:13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they
are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture ... 19 the stork, any kind of heron,
the hoopoe and the bat.

I can be quite definitive on this question, as well as the one below, because they both have
to do with the translation from Hebrew to English.  The Hebrew word for "birds" in the text
is "oph".  Better translations would be "flying creatures" or "winged creatures." 

Insects

Does the Bible Say That Insects Have Four Legs? 

Leviticus 11:20 “‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by
you. 21 There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat:
those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. 22 Of these you may eat any kind of
locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. 23 But all other flying insects that have four legs
you are to regard as unclean. 

The Hebrew word in the text is "sherets."  Better translations would be "swarmers," or
"swarming things," "creeping things," or "teeming things."  This cannot necessarily be
expected to match up exactly with what modern science calls "insects."  In fact, perhaps the
miscommunication comes from errors in the way that modern science has classified the animals,
not in the Scriptures. 

Also, consider Gill on this subject:  "most creeping things that fly have six feet, as the
locusts themselves, reckoning their leaping legs into the number; though it may be observed,
that those creatures that have six feet have but four equal ones, on which they walk or
creep; and the two foremost, which are longer, are as hands to them to wipe their eyes with,
and protect them from anything that may fall into them and hurt them; they not being able to
see clearly because of the hardness of their eyes, as Aristotle observes, and particularly it
may be remarked of the fly, as it is by Lucian, that though it has six feet it only goes on
four, using the other two foremost as hands; and therefore you may see it walking on four
feet, with something eatable in its hands, lifting them up on high, just after the manner of
men." 

The Creation of Man

What scientific model explains the transformation from the dust of the earth into cells,
tissues, organs, apparatuses and systems of a whole man? 

Genesis 2:7 says, "Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." 
I know of no scientific model that explains the transformation of dust into a human being.  I
also know of no scientific model that explains many of the other wonders of creation.  It has
taken thousands of years for archaeology, geology, and astronomy to even observe these
wonders, and sometimes man has constructed a theory for their origin, and sometimes it
hasn't.  While God is omniscient, science is still in its infancy, but man is learning more
and more each day.  Perhaps one day science will discover the answer behind the
transformation of dust into a human, but perhaps such things will remain hidden until
eternity. 

Why Does God Allow Congenital Diseases?

If we believe that the (Ps 139:13-16) is true, then why do we have inherited diseases?  The
issue is omnipotence and omniscience of Jehovah.  If he knows that a person and / or animal
will be born with a congenital disease, why not stop him if he can do so? 
Psalm 139:13-16 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s
womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I
know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all
the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." 

Sickness and disease are a result of sin.  Instead of obeying God, and living forever without
toil, struggle, sickness, and death, Adam chose to disobey God.  When he sinned in the Garden
of Eden, he brought death upon himself, and all mankind (Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3).  He would
now be subject to toil and struggle, aging, sickness, and death (Genesis 3:17-19). 
 
God is indeed omnipotent, and he is just.  If He had decided to let man die in his sin, with
no hope of redemption, justice would have been served, as there would have been no payment
for man's sins.  However, He put into place a plan of grace by which man can be redeemed
through the blood of Christ on the cross (John 3:16).  Believers will indeed live forever
with God in eternity.  However, meanwhile, we still have to finish this life in a sinful
world, subject to sickness and disease. 

Speaking Donkey

How Could a Donkey Speak? 

The speaking donkey was a miracle, and there are three such instances in the Bible where an
animal spoke.  In Genesis 3:1, a serpent spoke; in Numbers 22:28-30, a donkey spoke; and, in
Revelation 8:13, an eagle spoke.  As in the case of all miracle, each one was for a specific
purpose. 

The Serpent

Did the Serpent Previously Stand Upright? 
 
In Genesis 3:14, the fall into sin reached well beyond the man and woman.  Man was appointed
to rule over God's creation, and the animals suffered along with man through the Edenic Curse
(Jeremiah 12:4, Romans 8:20).  Before the curse, the serpent had apparently been capable of
standing upright.  However, the serpent was cursed above all other animals.  As a result of
man's sin, the serpent would be cursed to crawl upon his belly forever. 
 
However, it is also possible that the language of this verse is symbolic, and it merely
indicates the humiliation of the serpent, once exalted as the most subtle animal, to a
position in which it was reduced to slithering through the grass. 
 
I think you would be interested in my article on possible discrepancies in the Bible at: 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/discrepancies.htm . 

Garden of Eden

How Did the Ecosystem Survive in the Garden of Eden?

Question:  The Bible describes both man and animals being created as vegetarians (Gen.
1:29-30), and there was no death or suffering in the original creation.  How an ecosystem can
survive with only herbivores?  Wouldn't plants have had to die?  How did animals that were
"created herbivores" became carnivores with the entry of sin into the world? 

This is a difficult question, and I do not think that the Bible provides definitive answers,
but I'll offer my viewpoint. 

We do not know how an ecosystem could survive with only herbivores.  However, I believe that
"no death" did not apply to all living things.  It did not apply to plants, as they provided
the nourishment for the herbivores.  So, if herbivores at plants, the plants certainly died. 
"No death" applied only to creatures with a soul, and perhaps only to man.  I do believe that
all animals were herbivores at the time; i.e., there were no carnivores.  I also believe that
many animals became carnivores after the fall, such as the lion.  An alternative view on this
is that man may not have needed to eat at all.  Genesis 2:16 indicates that man was allowed
to eat, but perhaps he did not have to eat.  I cite this as being the case with Jesus in His
glorified body in Luke 24:42. 

Animals

How Does Sin Apply to Animals? 

Question:  Are carnivores (such as lions) more sinful than herbivores (such as sheep),
according to Scriptures such as Genesis 3:17-21, Romans 5:12, and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22)? 

We cannot apply the Scriptures you cited to animals.  These Scriptures apply only to man. 
The concept of sin does not apply to the other animals; i.e., a lion is not committing sin by
killing and eating its prey.  

Striped Sheep

How Can We Reconcile the Striped Sheep in Genesis 30:37-39 with Mendelian Genetics and
Molecular Genetics? 

To me, this is one of the most mysterious stories in the Bible.  I have studied this passage
frequently, but I have never been able to explain it.  I can only make a few comments: 

- The technique of using the fresh-cut branches may have just been an ancient custom, hoping
that the power of imagination would somehow influence breeding and genetic characteristics. 
It may have had nothing to do with the outcome.  Laws of genetics would have been operable in
Jacob's improvement processes whether he was aware of them or not.  Perhaps the branches
should be discounted as a contributing factor.  Certainly the markings on the goats and sheep
were genetically influenced via dominant and recessive traits, etc. 

- There are indications in the narrative that Jacob knew the science of selective breeding. 
Perhaps the peeled branches were just a clever trick to hide Jacob's breeding secrets from
others. 

- This might have been a miracle, especially in light of Genesis 31:12. 

Faith Amidst Questions

How Can We Have Faith in God and the Bible When We Have So Many Questions About Reconciling
Science to the Bible? 

In the first 37 chapters of Job, Job asked many questions.  In chapters 38 through 41, God
answers Job's questions with questions.  For example: 
Job 38:2 Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?  3 Brace yourself
like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.  4 Where were you when I laid the
earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you
know!  Who stretched a measuring line across it?  6 On what were its footings set, or who
laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for
joy?  8 Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the
clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it and set
its doors and bars in place, 11 when I said, "‘This far you may come and no farther; here is
where your proud waves halt?"  12 Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the
dawn its place? 

He goes on like this for five chapters, then we finally see Job's reply in chapter 42:  1
Then Job replied to the LORD:  2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can
be thwarted.  3 You asked, "Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?"’ Surely I
spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.  4 You said,
"Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me."  5 My ears had
heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.  6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust
and ashes.”

In other words, God's thoughts are far above man's thoughts.  Consequently, there are many
things that man cannot understand, although we continue to learn more through scientific
study.  So, God was telling Job that even if He answered Job's questions, Job wouldn't be
able to comprehend.  God was saying, "OK, I'll be glad to answer your questions, but first,
in order to qualify yourself as one who will be able to understand the answers, let me ask
you some questions.  Then, after you answer My questions, I will answer yours."  Then Job had
to admit, "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to
know...   Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." 

This makes perfect sense to me because I realize that there are so many things that I do not
understand.  These things strengthen my faith, rather than weakening it, because they remind
me of how big God is, and how small I am.  My lack of knowledge actual brings me comfort
rather than anxiety, knowing that God is taking care of the things that I cannot even
comprehend. 



Purgatory

Is there a purgatory? 

Thank you for your question.  Although the doctrine of purgatory is 
valid, I don't hold to it in the Roman Catholic sense, as a process of 
purification where believers acquire the holiness necessary to enter 
heaven.  This doctrine is somewhat complex, but I'll try to summarize it 
here. 

When Old Testament people died, their bodies went into a grave, but 
apparently, there was a temporary holding place for their souls.  The 
Bible uses a term called hell, such as in Matthew 5:22, but the 
terminology is slightly different than what we normally use.  Hell is 
the lake of fire where all unbelievers will spend eternity (Revelation 
20:14-15).  Apparently, however, the temporary holding place (sometimes 
called Sheol, or Purgatory) had separate compartments for believers and 
unbelievers.  (This is where the Catholics (mistakenly) built their 
doctrine of purgatory.)  Those who died were taken to one of these 
temporary chambers, awaiting their transaction:  either from paradise to 
heaven; or from Hades to Hell.  We learn more about this in the story of 
the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16.  Unbelievers spent this period in 
the part called torments, or "Hades" (Luke 16:23), which is where the 
rich man was.  However, the believers spent this time in a place called 
paradise (Luke 23:43), or "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22), which is where 
Lazarus was. 

However, with the resurrection of Jesus (the first resurrection), these 
Old Testament believers were transferred from paradise to Heaven.  This 
is apparently what was going on in Matthew 7:53, which is a very 
difficult passage.  Now, for us, it's completely different.  Since the 
resurrection of Christ has already occurred, and He has ascended to 
Heaven, when believers die today, our bodies go to a grave, and our 
spirits go straight to Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1-8) to be with Christ.

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Question about Worship

I would like to know if we are the bride of 
Christ in a spiritual since and
Christ is our spiritual husband is worship how we are spiritually 
united to our spouse and become one with Him ?
Is worship like spiritually making love to God in a
nonsexual way ? 

Thank you for your question. 

Yes, the "bride" in Revelation 19:7-9 is the Church, and the "wedding of 
the lamb" refers to Jesus Christ (the bridegroom) and the Church (the 
bride).  Ephesians 5:22-24 says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to 
the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head 
of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church 
submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in 
everything."  Christ is the head of the Church and the Savior of 
believers.  He will be united with His Church forever in eternity, and 
we are to submit to Him, both in this life and in eternity. 

Christ died for His Church, and words cannot express the full love that 
He has for us believers.  The love of this relationship is so deep that 
the best way for us to understand it was in using the analogy of 
marriage.  Marriage is the biblical relationship where two people can 
express their true love for each other in the most intimate of ways.  
This love is expressed over the course of their lifetime in many ways, 
including physically (sexually), mentally, and spiritually.  A man and 
his wife grow forever closer by sharing their thoughts, their spiritual 
experiences, and their bodies (1 Corinthians 7:5).  Likewise, Christ 
lives in us, guiding our souls, spirits, and bodies (Romans 1-2).  
Although we are incapable of grasping this concept to its fullest extent 
while we are still in this life, the analogy of marriage was the best 
way to relate it to us. 

Thanks,

Owen



Luke 7:1-10 - Praying For Healing

I have question on Luke 7 : 1-10

  1Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, 
he entered into Capernaum.
  2And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, 
and ready to die.
  3And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, 
beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
  4And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, 
That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
  5For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
  6Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the 
house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble 
not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my 
roof:
  7Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say 
in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
  8For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, 
and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he 
cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
  9When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned him 
about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I 
have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
  10And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant 
whole that had been sick.

  The centurion with great faith in Jesus and believed in that "say a 
word" by Jesus will cure the servant who was sick and ready to die.  
 The servant was then cured by Jesus.

  My question is :  When I become ill, say I have "sinusitis" which 
brings me headache, hard to breath, and possibly will cause loss of 
vision in a long run.  The doctor's recommendation is to have a surgery 
to fix it. 
  1. Should I pray for Jesus to cure my illness and not to have a 
surgery ? 
  2. Or, I should follow my doctor's recommendation to have a surgery 
and pray for the mercy of Jesus to put me in the good care of my doctor 
?

  Your prompt answers are appreciated.

Thank you for your question.  This is a difficult subject, but I will 
try to be as definitive as possible. 

First of all, when we are stricken with illness, I believe that the 
first thing we should do is to pray for healing, including claiming 
God's promises such as in 1 John 5:14-15. 

At this point, and throughout this process,  we can certainly also see a 
doctor about our condition if we feel like God might use the doctor as 
an instrument in accomplishing His healing.  Although I do not believe 
that doctors can do much in the way of true healing, they can often ease 
our suffering--in short term situations such as with colds and the flu; 
and sometimes in more serious long-term circumstances.  However, we know 
that doctors are sometimes wrong, and they can sometimes be more of a 
hindrance than a help, despite any good intentions that they may have.  
So, since we know our own bodies better than the doctors do, we need to 
accept the responsibility for making the best decisions about our health 
(using the common sense and wisdom that God gives us). 

If God chooses not to heal us, we should ask others (such as our church 
leaders) to join us in prayer for our healing, according to James 
5:13-15 and Matthew 18-18-20. 

If God still chooses not to heal us, we need to review 1 John 5:14 
again, and pray specifically about the part that says, "if we ask 
anything according to his will, he hears us..."  We need to think 
through our situation and ask ourselves whether or not we believe that 
it is God's will for us to be healed.  This is because there may be 
something else that God has in mind for us, such as a blessing even 
greater than being healed; and, perhaps this greater thing can only come 
about by way of our illness.  If we really believe that the illness is 
God's will for us (according to Romans 8:28), then we can be satisfied 
and cease praying for healing.  However, if we are not satisfied that 
this illness is God's will for us, then we need to examine ourselves to 
see if there might be some sin in our lives that is inhibiting our 
healing (James 5:15), or if we perhaps have sin in our lives that we 
have not confessed (1 John 1:9). 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Money Changers in the Temple

Here is a question that I can't find an  answer to. Been every were in
bible, scholars, etc. no answer. If I have  doubt I put it in faith and leave it
alone. ....I believe it. Just don't  understand it
You go for it:

Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV)
43 Ye  have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor,
and hate  thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless  them that curse you, do
good to them that hate you, and pray for them which  despitefully use you, and
persecute you;
45 That ye may be  the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the  good, and sendeth rain on the
just and on the unjust.
46 For  if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
the  publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only,  what do ye more than  others? do
not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore  perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is 
perfect.

Notes  For Verse 43a [Thou shalt love thy neighbor] Lev. 19:17-18
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Lev.19:17-18) ; Mt. 22:39
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt.22:39); Lk. 10:27
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Lk.10:27).
b [hate  thine enemy] Ex. 17:14-16
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Ex. 17:14-16) ; Dt. 7:1-2
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Dt. 7:1-2) ; 23:3-6

(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Dt. 23:3-6) .
Notes  For Verse 44a [But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless  them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which 
despitefully use you, and persecute you] Four commands in Mt. 5:44
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 5:44);
1. Love your enemies. 
2. Bless them that  curse you.
3. Do good to those  that hate you.
4. Pray for your  persecutors.
These are four of  over 1,050 commands in the New Testament to be obeyed by
Christians. The  universal impression in Christendom that there are 10
commandments to obey  is far from the truth. See _New Testament Commands_
(http://www.crossbooks.com/book.asp?pub=0&book=45&sec=00223796#New%20Testament%20Commands) .
Notes  For Verse 46a [For if ye love them which love you, what reward  have
ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren 
only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans the same?] 
Questions 5-8. Next, _Mt.  6:25_ (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 6:25)
.
b  [publicans] Tax-gatherers. Used 17 times. They were despised by the 
Jews, so any reference to being less than this class was the lowest thing  that
could be said of anyone religious. They were classed with sinners  (_Mt. 
9:10-11_ (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 9:10-11); 11:19
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 11:19); 21:31-32
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 21:31-32)). Many repented and were baptized
(_Lk.  3:12_ (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Lk. 3:12); 7:29
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Lk. 7:29) ). One of them -- Matthew --
became an apostle  (Lk. 5:27-29
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Lk. 5:27-29); 19:1-10

(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Lk. 19:1-10)).
Notes  For Verse 48a [perfect] Greek: teleios  (GSN-_<G5046>_
(http://www.crossbooks.com/book.asp?strongs=G5046) ), complete in conformity to God's 
laws.
What a Christian Must  Be:
1. Broken in spirit,  burdened for others, meek, humble, hungry for
righteousness, merciful, pure  in heart, wise, patient, loving, joyful, and
gracious (Mt. 5:3-12 (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 5:3-12))
2. Salt to preserve  and a light to shine (Mt. 5:13-16
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?refMt. 5:13-16))
3. A teacher and  keeper of the truth (Mt. 5:17-19
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?refMt. 5:17-19))
4. Free from  hypocrisy, selfishness, and grudges (Mt. 5:20-24
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 5:20-24) )
5. A peacemaker  (Mt. 5:9
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 5:9), 25-26

(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 5:25-26))
6. Free from lusts  (Mt. 5:27-30
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 5:27-30))
7. A family man  (Mt. 5:31-32
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 5:31-32))
8. Truthful (_Mt.  5:31-37_
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt+5:31-37))
9. Nonresistant to  mistreatment (_Mt.  5:38-41
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt+5:38-41))
10. Charitable,  neighborly, and God-like in society (_Mt. 5:38-47
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt+5:38-47))
All This Is Possible  Through:
1. The new birth  (_2Cor. 5:17
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref,o+5:17) ; 1 Jn. 2:29

(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref 1 Jn. 2:29) ;
_3:5-10_ (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref 1 Jn. 3:5-10); 5:1-4
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref 1Jn+5:1-4), 18 (http:
//www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref 1Jn+5:18))
2. Walking and living  in the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-13
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Ro+8:1-13); Gal. 5:16-26
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Gal+5:16-26) )
3. Proper use of  Christian weapons (2Cor. 10:5-7
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref, o+10:5-7); Eph. 6:10-18
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Eph+6:10-18); Col. 2:6-10
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Col+2:6-10); 3:3-10
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Col+3:3-10); 2Tim. 2:21

(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref 2Ti+2:21) )
Excellent and good  advice and what we should try to follow coming from our
Lord and  Savior.

Here is the problem. If this is the advice we are to take and  do in our
life here on earth. Why Does Jesus total go against in what He 
preached????????

Matthew 21:12 (KJV)
12  And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them  that sold
and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the  moneychangers,
and the seats of them that sold doves,
Mark 11:15  (KJV)
15 And they come to  Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began
to cast out them that  sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the
tables of the  moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
John 2:14-17 (KJV)
14  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and  doves, and
the changers of money sitting:
15  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them  all out
of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the  changers'
money, and overthrew the tables;
16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence;  make not
my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was  written, The zeal of thine
house hath eaten me up.

a  [temple] The temple courts, not the sanctuary.
b [cast out  them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the
tables of the  moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves] The second
 cleansing of the temple during the last week of His life, making three
times  He did this (Jn. 2:13
(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Jn. 2:13); Mt. 21:12-16

(http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mt. 21:12-16)
). How He could do this by Himself against so many men  can only be explained
by God's power. It did bring the leaders to action to  plot His death (_Mk.
 11:18_ (http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref Mk. 11:18) ).

These scripture I have been totally  confused on. they are a full 360 then
what Jesus spoke of.
"My thoughts"
Jesus was the natural body and  God. 2 in one body. Was he showing the
natural in stink of man, or was it 
God's wrath on man. But then there is the verse  Jesus was without sin.
1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile  found in his mouth.

1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to  take away our sins; and
in him is no
sin.

Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved  righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore
God, even
thy God, hath anointed thee with  the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an High Priest  which cannot be touched with
the
feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points  tempted like as we are,
yet without sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath  made him to be sin for us, who knew not
sin; that
we might be made the  righteousness of God in him.
So was it a sin in what  He did??? Or if we were to do this. Is it not
against Jesus teaching.  "sin"

What we are taught not  to do from Mat. Mk, and Jn:
[1] made a whip  "weapon"
[2] drove out "No passion"
[3] poured out the money "no pity"
[4] turn  over the tables " Had anger"

Your turn for a solution to this. I do not have  one..........

Take care and  God bless. 

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for the delay in my reply.  

Yes, the passages where Jesus cast the moneymakers out of the temple can 
be a bit disconcerting.  We do know that Jesus lived a sinless life, and 
that includes His behavior during this incident.  Consider Ecclesiastes 
3:8 which says that there is "...a time to love, and a time to hate..."  
At first glance, we might think that there should never be a time to 
hate.  However, we should hate sin, and Jesus' anger was His reaction to 
sin. 

By Jesus' actions in the temple, He was indicating His disdain with 
organized religion because it lacked purity and the power of God.  His 
violent reaction (pouring out the money and turning over the tables) was 
meant to bring about true spiritual conviction.  He could not tolerate 
such a gross perversion of the temple.  He was reacting against the sin 
of greed on the part of the moneychangers. 

BTW, the Ecclesiastes passage even specifies that there is "...a time to 
kill...", "...a time to tear down...", and "a time for war..."  This 
even indicates that violence is sometimes justified, such as during war, 
etc.  During war, we are justified in using weapons against our enemies 
and driving out aggressors who have unjustifiably invaded another 
country.  Even though we love them, with a mental attitude of agape 
love, we cannot tolerate their sin. 

Thanks,

Owen




Predestination (Faith vs. Works)

I read your piece on pre-destination. I found it very 
interesting. The one part of it I cannot reconcile is the idea that God 
doesn't grant the unsaved the WILL to turn to Him. Yes, I know the Lord 
"hardened" men in the OT; but to me, they idea that he would 
deliberately "cripple" the intellect of some men, and thus deny them the 
freedom to choose to love him and follow his Laws seems inconceivable.  
We are told in the NT that ALL are granted "a measure of faith," and 
that "all" are capable of being saved, not just an elite group of 
pre-determined people.

          I also see a conflict in the idea that God "looking down the 
corridor" would mean he is in time, when in a different place you say 
the elect was created "in the past." The "past" would also imply a time 
bound decision and put God in time, wouldn't it? Hence, if the 
time-bound rule stands, that is, that any explanation that puts God in 
time can be impeached, then it seems the entire idea of "pre" 
determinism can be impeached, no?

Thank you for your questions.  You have touched upon some 
difficult issues, but I'll do my best to try to shed some light on them. 
 
          Yes, I believe that evangelization includes acts of human 
effort.  However, neither this nor any other human effort is required 
for one to be saved.  If there is any merit in a believer performing 
evangelism, then he will be rewarded for it at the Judgment Seat of 
Christ, but it has nothing to do with his salvation. 

          Yes, I do believe in the doctrine of election (or 
predestination).  Specifically, you asked, "What is the point of 
evangelicals going out and communicating/preaching to the unsaved that 
they can be saved, if only God alone can choose to save them and they 
have no choice in the matter whatsoever?"  First of all, the point in 
performing the evangelism is that we are commanded to do so (Matthew 
28:18-20).  Also, we do not know which people are among the elect, or 
even which people are truly saved, since we don't truly know the heart 
of any other person.  So, we must spread the gospel to everyone. 

          You also asked, "Why would I go tell an unsaved man that he 
can repent and believe and be saved,  when in reality he can only repent 
and believe and be saved if he has been pre-determined to be saved?"  
This, of course, is the more difficult question.  I believe that it is 
technically true to tell an unbeliever that he can be saved if he 
believes the gospel.  However, it's also a fact that the non-elect 
person simply will not believe.  It's still true that he would be saved 
if he believed, but the Holy Spirit will simply never move his will to 
make him believe.  If, on the other hand, the person that we explain the 
gospel to is among the elect, the Holy Spirit will (at some point) move 
upon his will to believe the gospel.  In some cases, it will be our 
explanation of the gospel that finally compels that person to believe, 
and in other cases, it will not be. 

          For a full explanation of my position on election, please see 
my article at http://www.christiandataresources.com/predestination.htm.

Owen, thank you. I have responded below (if you are inclined to 
continue the discussion, if not, I understand, no worries)
Ok, ONE more thing for now :)  Sorry to pester you..

      In The Great Divorce CS Lewis observed: "All may be saved if they 
so choose"

      Is this statement consistent with pre-determinism? 

      Mark

      On Sun, Sep 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM, Mark Johnston 
<markfjohnston@gmail.com> wrote:

        Another question. What of Acts 16:30? How does it fit with the 
idea of Pre-Determinism? 
        " He then brought them out and asked,  93 Sirs, what must I do to 
be saved?" 

        31 They replied,  93Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be 
saved, you and your household."  32 Then they spoke the word of the 
Lord to him and to all the others in his house

        The apostles said one only need believe to be saved. But it 
seems you are saying they must not only believe, but ALSO be 
pre-selected, isn't that right? Hence, it would appear that in Acts 
16:30 the apostles have only stated half of the proposition. In other 
words, if what you say is true about pre-determinism, then why didn't 
they say something along the lines of:

        "Try to believe in the Lord Jesus, and IF you have been 
pre-selected, that is IF the Lord has not hardened you and crippled your 
ability to choose Him, you and the others in your house who have been 
pre-selected will be saved!"

Thank you again for your questions and comments.  You have done a good 
job of arguing the position of Arminianism (favoring man's free will 
over election) against my position of Calvinism (favoring election over 
man's limited free will), and you have made me think.  Let me first 
offer some general observations before I speak to the various specific 
points that you made. 

Throughout your arguments, you repeatedly mentioned God's (supposed) 
decision of election in chronological reference to various events of 
mankind: 

  "... before man ever arrived in the garden"
  "... before each exits the womb"
  "... before man even arrived on earth"
  "... before the existence of man and sin"
  "... before man sinned for the first time"
  "... when God made the election decisions"

However, God exists in eternity, beyond the realm of time and space.  To 
us who are limited by space and time, eternity is a great mystery.  In 
eternity, somehow, events don't occur in chronological order.  We can't 
even aptly describe this in words.  The best we can do is to say that in 
eternity events all occur at the same "time," but even then we've 
interjected our limitation of time into our description.  To say that 
one event occurred before another in eternity probably doesn't even make 
sense.  I too have been guilty of this by referring to "eternity past" 
just because this is my best notion of this great mystery, but I know 
that this is inadequate.  So, words like "time," "before," "after," and 
"when" have no place in a discussion of God in eternity.  Likewise, the 
argument that the doctrine of election was established "before" man 
sinned is a weak argument; and, probably much more so if we were indeed 
capable of understanding eternity. 

Aside from this, you stated that God stamped (or pre-wired) some men as 
disapproved, and that He thus discarded them before they were born.  
This isn't technically true because He did give them life and grace, and 
thus He didn't discard them before they were born.  Of course, I do 
understand your point here, and I will address it further below. 

Re. the matter of sin:  When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, we were 
in Adam's loins, so we too were guilty of his sin.  All of us have both 
imputed sin from Adam, as well as personal sins.  Even if a person never 
committed a personal sin, he would still be guilty of the imputed sin of 
Adam (his federal headship).  (For a complete article on imputation, 
please see http://www.christiandataresources.com/imputation.htm.)  So, 
what all of us really deserve is an eternity separated from God.  
However, God, in His love, instituted the grace plan of salvation where 
be sacrificed His Son Jesus, who was the only One who lived a perfect 
live without sin.  As a result, God was free to elect whoever He desired 
for salvation.  God is first a God of justice, but through the sacrifice 
of Christ, God (who is also a God of Love) was able to satisfy His 
justice in exercising His love for His elect. 

As a result there is no conflict in noting that one's sin condemns him 
while God's grace alone has the power to save him.  Election does not 
nullify the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.  However, if 
left to ourselves, we sinners would never be able find God on our own, 
if it weren't for His seeking us through election. 

Also, I am definitely not suggesting that the Old Testament saints (such 
as Abraham, Moses, Job, and Joseph) were not saved.  They were indeed 
saved, looking forward to Christ's sacrifice, just as we today look back 
in history to His sacrifice.  

Although you have made some good points in your arguments, I believe 
that the final word and truth about predestination is very clearly 
articulated for us in Romans 8:28-30:  "28 And we know that in all 
things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been 
called according to his purpose.  29 For those God foreknew he also 
predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be 
the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  30 And those he 
predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those 
he justified, he also glorified." 

Thanks,

Owen

    I would have to say that I reject the notion that God deliberately 
cripples the intellect of some men, and thus denies them the freedom to 
choose to love him and follow his Laws.  This is not a valid description 
of the doctrine of election.  I would argue that sin (not God) crippled 
all men's intellect in the Garden of Eden. 

  Before I respond, first let explain what I meant when I said the 
doctrine of election seems to suggest God cripples one's intellect.  I 
meant if the doctrine of election is true, and God really chose to save 
some and not save others---before man even arrived in the garden and 
sinned for the first time---then some men are pre-wired to seek and come 
to know Jesus, and others are not. And by pre-wired I mean at birth some 
have been granted the "ability" to discern, supplicate, repent, etc.  and others have not.

  So if election is true, and thus all men are already stamped approved 
or disapproved before each exits the womb (and before man even arrived 
on earth), and thus the approved man has the pre-wired "ability" to seek 
and come to know God and the disapproved man does not,  then clearly the 
disapproved man has been "crippled" -- but NOT by sin as you suggest, 
but by God.

  Furthermore, IF the doctrine of election is true, and God approved and 
disapproved all men prior to the existence of man and sin, and at the 
same time God does not observe a man's sins to determine his ultimate 
destination (i.e. God doesn't look down the corridors of time to see how 
a man will choose), then your assertion that sin has condemned man is, 
quite frankly,  impossible.

  To be clear: I think we agree that if election is true, it happened 
BEFORE man arrived in the garden and thus BEFORE man sinned for the 
first time. Hence, SIN cannot be the explanation and cause of the 
disapproved man's condemnation when 1) Sin did not exist when God made 
the election decisions; 2) God does not look down the corridors of time 
to see who chose what.

  This is why I struggle mightily with election. It would mean that some 
men, irrespective of the good works they choose to do and irrespective 
of their sins, are pre-wired to succeed or fail. Some are pre-wired to 
attain eternal bliss, and some are pre-wired for eternal torment. There 
are the approved and the disapproved and neither can change their 
pre-determined judgments. This immutable, predetermined final judgment 
seems to  completely negate the exhortations of the apostles, and all 
their lessons about self-control, patience, alertness (lest he come like 
a thief in the night), etc. . After all, why bother if the decisions have 
already been made and the seal of the Spirit on the approved can never 
be broken no matter how great the sin (even though we are warned 
repeatedly not to "grieve" the Spirit, lest God remove our lampstand - 
Rev 2:5)? And why would the disapproved man care either? Nothing he can 
do can change his predicament.

  Many defenders of election respond:  Because we don't know if we are 
saved or not. But think about that response for a moment. What kind of 
loving God would play such a dirty trick on His children? Why would he 
EVER implore ALL men to seek him, when he already KNEW beforehand some 
COULD not? Notice I didn't say WOULD not. Because again, if election is 
true, and God made all His decisions before man arrived in the garden, 
and God does not look down the corridors of time to see how men will 
choose, he has granted only SOME the ability to seek him. Some can, and 
some can't, period. Thus the idea that BELIEF is a decision man can make 
is a false teaching in the Bible, because again, if some men are 
pre-wired not to seek God, they certainly would not have the ability to 
believe in Him. "whosoever believes “becomes false doctrine. Instead it 
should read "whosoever he has pre-wired and pre-selected to believe.."

  And what of sin? Your contention is that SIN---NOT God---has condemned 
the disapproved man, but how can that be so when 1) God chose the elect 
BEFORE mankind sinned in the garden; 2) God discarded the "disapproved" 
man before the man was even born and committed his first sin?

  If the great election happened PRIOR to sin, and God does not look 
down the corridors of time, then God based His decision on something 
other than sin, and thus sin is irrelevant in a discussion about 
pre-determined salvation and cannot be used as an explanation of why 
some men are saved and some men are not
  
    Once man chose to bring sin into the world, a barrier immediately 
arose between God and man.  Man no longer had a relationship with God 
because God can coexist neither with sin nor with sinful man.  At that 
point, man was spiritually dead, deserving of hell, and incapable of 
reconciliation with God since any sacrifice that man then brought to God 
was stained by sin.  It was only because God instituted His plan of 
grace that man had any hope of being redeemed. 

  It seems you are suggesting every single man was doomed until Jesus 
came. I don't agree based on the relationships Abraham, Moses, Job, 
Joseph, and many others enjoyed with the Lord. Recall what God said to 
Satan about Job. Job was declared righteous as was Abraham. Certainly 
these great men of God co-existed with him. Clearly, though not 
perfected,  some  of these men were heavenly favored by God for their 
obedience.  
  
    God loves us, and he wants a relationship with us.  However, due to 
the sin of man, He had to sacrifice His own perfect Son for us, as we 
have nothing clean to offer Him.  So, it was sin (not God) that crippled 
man's intellect. 

  Again, I'm not sure how sin is relevant in a discussion about 
pre-election.  Election maintains God chose, before man existed, who 
goes to heaven and who doesn't. And since, by your own admission, His 
election choices are not based on him "looking down the corridor" at the 
choices we will make (i.e. choices to obey him or sin), then OUR sins 
would not be factored in any more than our WORKS are, because the 
Doctrine of Election holds that God’s grace alone (NOTHING we have done 
or not done) saves. So again, sin is something we DO, and since 
salvation is not based on ANYTHING we do, it seems irrelevant here.

    On the contrary, it was the amazing power of God's love that brought 
His plan of salvation.  If God chooses some for salvation, those chosen 
are extraordinarily blessed by grace.  If He didn't choose others, those 
who are not chosen deserve what their sin has brought upon them. 

  I see a conflict in this theory. On one hand it states God's grace 
alone saves,  but then on the other hand it states people's sin 
condemns.

    Re. "a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3):  I would argue that Paul was 
speaking only to believers here (the recipients of his letter to the 
church at Rome).  He was pointing out that each believer has a spiritual 
gift, and each must use his gift in the context of the church (as 
explained in the subsequent verses). 

    Yes, one might be able say that all are capable of being saved; 
however, all will not be saved.  All that anyone has to do is to present 
himself to God without blemish--with no imputed or personal sin.  Since 
we all have such sin, this is impossible.  Only by God's grace (one 
might say, by His "election) can any of us be saved. 

    Yes, we who are among the elect are members of an elite group.  
However, this privilege is not accomplished through any effort on our 
part.  All that we can do is to thank God for His grace (giving us what 
we don't deserve) and mercy (not giving us what we do deserve). 

    Yes, you are right that my illustrations of God "looking down the 
corridors of time," and His creation of the elect "in the past" do seem 
to bound God by time and space.  Although these might be poor 
illustrations, I still believe that they are among the best that we (who 
are indeed bound by space and time in this life) are capable of 
understanding.  So, I do not believe that one can reject the doctrine of 
election because we cannot find an apt illustration for it.  In fact, in 
a way, this seems to strengthen the argument for election.  Since it is 
indeed inappropriate to bound God to "looking down the corridors of 
time," then it is likewise somewhat silly to think that an omniscient 
and omnipresent God was capable of creating man without complete 
foreknowledge and predestination; i.e., How could God (in eternity) 
create man outside of the doctrine of election? 

    Re. Acts 16:30-31:  I see no conflict with predestination here.  My 
position is, in fact, that one does need only to believe, by grace 
through faith.  It would be a misrepresentation to claim that I am 
saying that they must also be pre-selected.  I would say it this way:  
God, in eternity, predestined some to be saved, and those whom He 
predestined would, in time, believe the gospel message. 

    Re. the claim of C.S. Lewis that "All may be saved if they so 
choose:"  Whether or not this statement is consistent with 
predestination depends upon how he meant it.  If he meant that "all may 
be saved if they so choose, but some will not choose because the Holy 
Spirit hasn't moved them to so choose," then it is consistent with 
predestination.  However, if he meant that sinful man, in his limited 
freewill and through his own efforts and will can choose to be saved 
outside of the sovereign will, veracity, and integrity of God, then this 
is inconsistent with predestination. 

    The doctrine of election can be a difficult one.  However, I believe 
that it is easier to understand and accept once one approaches it with 
the same humility with which he accepts the gospel message; i.e., once 
we realize that our salvation is completely God's doing, and by no merit 
of ourselves. 



The Ephesians

Were the Ephesians a portion of the divorced northern kingdom of 
Israel? 

Thank you for your question.  I do not believe that we can be too 
definitive about tracing the Ephesians back to the Northern Kingdom.  
However, I believe that a different translation can help here. 

In the NASB, Ephesians 2:12 says, "... remember that you were at that 
time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and 
strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in 
the world."  The word "excluded" (or "alienate") is actually a better 
translation for "apallotrioo."  So, there's not really an implication 
here that the Ephesians had a previous relationship with God.  The point 
being made is that they were completely separated from God, perhaps 
pointing even to the original fall of man into sin. 

Thanks,

Owen



Jesus / Deity

Can you answer in clarity?  "God gave his only begotten 
son" It almost sounds like he created JESUS... now I do not 
believe this. But I need it to be clear...

Thank you for your question.  I apologize for the delay in my 
reply--I've just been very busy. 

The Hebrew word used in this verse does imply Deity, so we know that 
this agrees with the rest of the Scriptures that Jesus is God.  I 
believe that we can interpret this as referring to the incarnate Christ; 
the Son who was born in the flesh; i.e., Philippians 2:7-8 tells us that 
He emptied Himself of His Deity. 

I hope this helps.



Meat

In the new testament, where does Jesus say that all meat is good if it 
be received with thanksgiving? 

Thank you for your question.  I don't believe that the New Testament 
contains a quote from Jesus about all meat being good if it is received 
with thanksgiving.  However, here are some related passages: 

In Peter's vision in Acts 10:9-16, God illustrated that He had abolished 
the Jewish ceremonial laws about clean and unclean meat. 

In Romans 14:6, Paul says, "Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for 
they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and 
gives thanks to God." 

In 1 Corinthians 10:25, Paul says, "Eat anything sold in the meat market 
without raising questions of conscience, for,  93The earth is the 
Lord's, and everything in it." 

Thanks,

Owen



The Resurrection

Is the resurrection going to be in heaven or on earth where are we 
living? 

Thank you for your question. 

We will experience the resurrection on earth (Revelation 21:1-22:5), but 
not exactly where we are living now.  Revelation 21:1 says, "Then I saw 
'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth 
had passed away, and there was no longer any sea."  So, we will spend 
eternity on earth, but it will be a new earth, unblemished by sin.  
Revelation 22:3 says there will be "no more curse" (of sin and its 
consequences).  Revelation 22:5 even says that there will be no more 
night on this new earth, "... for the Lord God will give them light. And 
they will reign for ever and ever." 

Thanks,

Owen




China

Is there any scripture alluding to the rule of the yellow race in the end
times? 

Thank you for your question.  The only possible reference to China that I
know of would be Revelation 9:16.  This is when the sixth angel blew his
trumpet, and an army of 200 million troops was released toward Armageddon,
apparently from the East.  It is widely believed that this must refer to
China, since it is would be the only country with a population large enough
for a 200 million-man army, and it's certainly in "the East."

Thanks,

Owen



Saints

Matthew 27: 52-53 says the saints arose from their graves and appeared 
to many in the holy city. Is there any more info on this in the bible? 

Thank you for your question.  This is a tough one, and I've often had 
questions about it.  There is a wide range of views on it, and it's such 
a difficult passage that many theologians don't even address it.  First, 
let me quote from various commentaries: 

Barnes - "It is probable that they were persons who had recently died, 
and they appear to have been known in Jerusalem; at least, had the 
ancient saints risen, they would not have been known, and would not so 
soon have been credited as those who had recently died." 

Gill - "... these were saints, and such as slept in Jesus; and of whom 
he is the first fruits that now rose; and not all, but many of them, as 
pledges of the future resurrection, and for the confirmation of 
Christ's, and the accomplishment of a prophecy in Isaiah 26:19. And they 
rose in the same bodies in which they before lived, otherwise they could 
not be called their bodies, or known by those to whom they appeared: but 
who they were is not to be known; some have thought them to be the 
ancient patriarchs, as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, &c. In the 
Septuagint on Job 42:17, Job is said to be one of them, and a tradition 
is there recorded, which runs thus:

   'it is written, that he rose with whom the Lord rose.' 

But it should seem rather, that they were some later saints, such as 
Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, John the Baptist himself, 
good old Simeon, Joseph the husband of Mary, and others, well known to 
persons now alive. Some think they were such, as had been martyrs in the 
cause of religion; and so the Persic version renders the words, 'and the 
bodies of many saints who suffered martyrdom, rose out of the graves.'"  

Wesley - "... (perhaps Simeon, Zacharias, John the Baptist, and others 
who had believed in Christ, and were known to many in Jerusalem,) And 
coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, went into the holy city 
(Jerusalem) and appeared to many - Who had probably known them before: 
God hereby signifying, that Christ had conquered death, and would raise 
all his saints in due season." 

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown - "... These sleeping saints (see on [1377] 1Th 
4:14) were Old Testament believers, who-according to the usual 
punctuation in our version-were quickened into resurrection life at the 
moment of their Lord's death, but lay in their graves till His 
resurrection, when they came forth." 

Falwell - "This incident is stated only by Matthew and indicates that 
the Old Testament believers were resurrected after His resurrection and 
appeared unto many.  It is properly supposed that they were resurrected 
from 'paradise,' or 'Abraham's bosom' and taken to heaven by the 
Resurrected Christ (cf. Eph 4:8-9)." 

Now, although this is not definitive, I believe that when the Old 
Testament saints encountered death, their souls were not taken directly 
to heaven, as is now the case with New Testament believers.  Instead, 
the Old Testament believers were taken to a place called 'paradise' 
(Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, Revelation 2:7), or 'Abraham's bosom' 
(Luke 16:22-23).  Then, upon the event of Christ's crucifixion and 
resurrection, these Old Testament saints were resurrected.  Today, now 
that Christ's resurrection has already occurred, when Christians die, we 
are taken directly to heaven. 

Incidentally, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:23 
refers to a place called "Hades," which is where the rich man was.  This 
seems to be to "opposite" of the place of "paradise" where Lazarus was.  
This would imply that, in Old Testament times, those who died were taken 
to one of these temporary chambers, awaiting their transaction:  either 
from paradise to heaven; or from Hades to Hell.  This probably also 
explains the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, which would equate to Hades 
in this case. 

I hope that this helps to answer your questions on a difficult passage.  
If not, please reply. 

Thanks,

Owen



Salvation for All

What happens to the souls that died before Jesus Christ was born died 
the redemption of our sins, will they have the opportunity for salvation 
or have they already received it or will they have a second chance for 
redemption as implied in Revelations?

  While in bible study, this question was asked and there were three 
possible difference references, one from Romans chapters 1 &2, regarding 
the conscience.  There was the other 2, offering that the opportunity 
was originally done by Christ himself (during the 3 day period of time 
when Jesus was in the tomb & traveled to redeem the dead) and finally 
from Revelations.
  Can you provide any comments and references?
  Have a blessed day!

Thank you for your question.  It's a difficult one, and I hope that I 
have an answer that satisfies you. 

All believers are saved by grace through faith, through the death, 
burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Old Testament saints were saved by 
looking forward in time, via prophecy, to the cross.  New Testament 
saints are saved by looking back in time at what has already occurred on 
the cross. 

Apparently, when the Old Testament saints encountered death, their souls 
were not taken directly to heaven, as is now the case with New Testament 
believers.  Instead, the Old Testament believers were taken to a place 
called 'paradise' (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, Revelation 2:7), or 
'Abraham's bosom' (Luke 16:22-23).  Then, upon the event of Christ's 
crucifixion and resurrection, these Old Testament saints were 
resurrected.  Today, now that Christ's resurrection has already 
occurred, when Christians die, we are taken directly to heaven.

This also seems to explain the difficult passage in Matthew 27:52 where 
"the saints rose from their graves and appeared to many..."  Apparently 
they were resurrected from 'paradise,' or 'Abraham's bosom' and taken to 
heaven by the Resurrected Christ (Eph 4:8-9). 

Incidentally, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:23 
refers to a place called "hades," which is where the rich man was.  This 
seems to be the "opposite" of the place of "paradise" where Lazarus was. 
 This would imply that, in Old Testament times, those who died were 
taken to one of these temporary chambers, awaiting their transition:  
either from paradise to heaven; or from hades to hell.  This probably 
also explains the origin of the (somewhat distorted) Catholic doctrine 
of purgatory, which would equate to Hades in this case.

Thanks,

Owen



Sin

What must we do as Christians if we still sin from to time to time? 

Thank you for your question.  Unfortunately, Christians do continue to 
sin after salvation even though we have power over sin.  Please see my 
related article at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/christianssin.htm.  However, God 
has made provision for this in His plan of salvation. 

  Just as John 3:16 is the most important verse in the Bible for 
unbelievers, 1 John 1:9 is the most important verse for believers.  1 
John 1:8-10 says, "8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves 
and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and 
just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all 
unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to 
be a liar and his word is not in us." 

  Although a believer's eternal fellowship with God is never in 
question, his temporal fellowship can be quite volatile while still in 
this fleshly life.  We can think of this as two concentric circles where 
the outer circle is our eternal fellowship, and the inner circle is 
temporal fellowship.  Upon salvation, we're moved from outside 
both circles to within the inner circle, where we can bring the ultimate 
glory to God through our spiritual gifts.  At this point, we will never 
move outside of the outer circle again.  However, in our daily walk, we 
can still sin, and sin can knock us out of the inner circle.

  So, if we have eternal salvation, yet sin is keeping us from the 
ultimate experience of daily fellowship with God, we have a problem.  
How can we get back inside the inner circle?  1 John 1:9 gives us the 
answer.  We must simply confess those sins which have formed a temporary 
barrier.  We simply admit to our sins by naming them to God.  This 
clears the way, and we're immediately back in temporal 
fellowship with Him.  In addition, there are further benefits for us:

  Regular confession can actually help us to sin less.  It's 
like weighing every day'--we subconsciously turn down those 
desserts because we know that we will be weighing again tomorrow (by 
habit).  Confession also helps us to avoid depression, without those 
lingering unconfessed sins hanging around to cause guilt (another sin).  
Finally, confession renews our liberty.  We restore the freedom of our 
salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord. 

  I hope this helps. 

  Thanks,

  Owen

Read over your email and have a few questions.  Can a born again 
Christian lose salvation and can a person always be in the inner circle 
if always confessing sin and praising the Lord?  Explain the circles 
again in simply terms.

No, a believer cannot lose his salvation.  There are many passages on 
this, such as John 10:27-30 which says, "27 My sheep listen to my voice; 
I know them, and they follow me.  28 I give them eternal life, and they 
shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  29 My 
Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch 
them out of my Father's hand.  30 I and the Father are 
one." 

Yes, a believer can essentially always be in the inner circle of 
fellowship with God if he learns to practice the technique of confessing 
all known sins. 

Re. the concentric circles:  This is just an analogy to help us better 
understand the importance of confession of sin.  The inner circle is 
called temporal fellowship (fellowship in time).  This circle is 
completely contained within a larger circle which is eternal fellowship. 
 When a person is saved, he is instantly moved (from outside both 
circles) to inside the inner circle, so he is in both temporal and 
eternal fellowship with God; and, he will never again be moved outside 
of the outer circles.  When he sins, he is moved outside the inner 
circle of temporal fellowship, but is still inside the outer circle of 
eternal fellowship.  When he confesses all known sins, he is moved back 
inside the inner circle. 

Thanks,

Owen



Sin

How does God define Sin?

Thank you for your question.  God defines sin as missing the mark, like 
missing the target while shooting with a bow and arrow.  If a thought or 
an action doesn't hit the mark of the perfect righteousness of Jesus 
Christ, then it is a sin.  It doesn't matter if it comes close, and only 
misses the mark by a little bit--it's still sin. 

Thanks,

Owen



Systematic theology

I happened to get on your site when I googled  "slave market 
of sin"  Anyway I like your book shelf, and it looks like you 
have the 8 volumes of Systematic Theology by Dr. Chafer.  Am I right?  I 
once heard it said,  "Don't be surprised if it takes you 
three weeks to get through the preface of Lewes Sperry Chafer's 
Systematic Theology.  I have to agree.  I haven't read any of 
your articles yet but I'm about to do so.

Yes, you're right.  I keep going back to Chafer for theological truth. 
 One of my mentors was Dr. John Danish, who sat under the teaching of 
Dr. Chafer at Dallas Theological Seminary.  I hope you enjoy my 
articles, and I look forward to any further feedback that you have.

I never heard of Dr. John Danish. Did he write any books?  Have you 
written any books?   Have you ever heard of RB Thieme?  He also studied 
under Dr. Chafer.  Can you send me your site, because I lost it?

No, Dr. Danish didn't write any books.  He just served faithfully as 
pastor of Berean Memorial Church for over 50 years.  He died in 2003.  
However, he has an extensive collection of his exegetical sermons / 
bible studies on tape / CD, at http://www.bereanmemorialchurch.org/ . 

Yes, I've written several books, and they're all free on my website.  
True Christianity is a study of the doctrines of the epistles, and I 
believe that it's my best work.  The Book of Philippians is a bible 
study on Philippians.  Believe is a synopsis of the whole Bible.  The 
Day of the Lord is a novel about the end times.  The White Sheep is a 
biography of my father's life.  My site is at:  
http://www.christiandataresources.com/ . 

No, I haven't heard of R.B. Thieme.  I just looked him up on the 
internet and he seems to be somewhat of a controversial figure, re. the 
blood of Christ, etc. 

Thanks for your interest. 

Thanks,

Owen



Tabernacle of Moses

Good afternoon:

How are the articles of the Tabernacle related to God's plan for man 
or the lives of believers?

Thank you for your assistance.

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for my delay in responding. 

Many Bible scholars place a lot of significance upon the symbolism of 
the tabernacle and the furniture in it.  Basically, the tabernacle 
symbolizes the Messiah, but I think that we have to be careful about how 
much symbolism we apply to the articles in the temple.  This is because 
the New Testament does not offer a lot of information to confirm some of 
the symbols that some see.  (For example, some have claimed that the 
four pillars of the tabernacle symbolize the four gospels of the New 
Testament, but I think this is a stretch.)  Hebrews 8:5 tells us that 
the Tabernacle was modeled on a heavenly pattern (Hebrews 8:5), and he 
used it to give meaning to the priesthood and the atoning work of Christ 
(Hebrews 9:9), but without excessive symbolism. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the particular furniture and 
materials used in construction of the tabernacle may have been chose, at 
least in part, by culture, necessity, and availability, and they had 
purpose and significance to the Jewish people even aside from their 
symbolic meanings.  Still, I believe that the following symbolism is 
quite obvious: 

The ark is the throne of God--the visible sign of His presence (1 Samuel 
4:7).  Jesus Christ, who "tabernacled" (John 1:14) among men to make God 
present and known. 

The table of shewbread ("bread of the face of the Lord") suggests the 
constant (fresh) dedication of the 12 tribes to divine service, 
indicating that they were always before the face of the Lord.  I believe 
that this can also be applied to us as Christian believers today. 

The lampstand was the only source of light for the holy place, 
indicating that God is the ultimate Source of Light.  There was no 
provision in the holy place for natural light, just as there is no need 
for light in heaven other than the light of God (Revelation 21:23).  
This gives meaning to the claim of Jesus to be the Light of the World 
and to His challenge to believers to allow their light to shine (Matthew 
5:16).  This is further understood Revelation 1:12-20 where the seven 
churches of Asia are represented by seven lampstands, with Christ 
standing in their midst. 

The altar of incense symbolizes the ascending prayers of men to God. 

The bronze altar, with its many sacrifices, symbolizes atonement and 
reconciliation, and it points to the ultimate, all-sufficient sacrifice 
of Jesus Christ. 

The laver, used for washing, signifies the necessity of purity, 
cleansing, and confession (1 John 1:9) in our approach to God. 

The desire of man to draw near to God and God's willingness to be 
approached are clearly visible in the furniture of the Tabernacle.

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Humanity of God

Hello, Owen,

It is quite odd, even interesting, when reading the bible to find that 
God is really quite human, after all. Especially when we see the mistakes 
he made. But, I suppose we must appreciate that he did on occasion 
apologize when he did wrong. 

I'm not sure that I understood your comments.  As the second Member of 
the Trinity, Jesus Christ is (somehow) both 100% God and 100% man.  
However, I do not believe that God has ever made any "mistakes."  Also, 
what "apologies" are you referring to. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Temptations of Christ

'And the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the 
devil' Matthew 4.
Owen, this seems a very strange thing to do?

Thank you for your question.  Yes, this does seem somewhat strange.  

These temptations were a necessary part of Christ's earthly 
ministry.  They constituted an attack by Satan against Jesus' human 
nature--temptations that would have overcome any normal man.  However, 
Jesus was no ordinary man.  As the virgin-born God-man, His divine 
nature could not sin (1 Samuel 15:29), and this held his human nature in 
check.  This does not mean that the impeccability of Christ denies the 
reality of Satan's temptations.  Satan's rebellion against God has 
already been defeated in Christ's atonement, but his rebellion is still 
real, even though the outcome of God's victory is certain.  The same is 
true for the temptation of Christ.  The temptations were real, although 
the outcome was certain.  In a demonstration of spirit and power, Jesus 
overcame the tempter, showing that He is the One who enables us to 
overcome temptation as well. 

    I hope this helps. 

    Thanks,

    Owen



Judges 5:23

I find the following a puzzle "Curse Meroz, says the Angel of 
the Lord, curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they came not to the 
help of the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty"  Judges.5. 23.

Thank you for your question. 

In Judges 5:23, a blessing and a curse are contrasted.  We must 
just assume that Meroz received the curse because of failing some 
previous obligation--probably a failure to assist the Nation of Israel 
in a battle or war against a strong enemy nation. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Why God Allows Sin (Against the innocent) 

Why does God allow innocent children be sexually abused?

Thank you for your question.  This is a difficult subject--why God allows
such bad things to happen.  I believe that the simplistic answer is because
of sin.  Adam and Eve chose to sin, and all of the rest of us choose to sin
also, by our own freewill.  Sin introduces much evil into the world, and God
still allows each of us the privilege of exercising our own freewill.

However, I think that it's helpful to consider that the Bible tells us to be
joyful even when bad things happen.  James 1:2 says, "Consider it pure joy,
my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."  In 2 Corinthians 7:4,
Paul said, "In all our troubles my joy knows no bounds."  The Bible tells us
that bad things happen for three specific purposes:  in order to accomplish
God's master plan; to give us perseverance; and, to provide us with heavenly
rewards.

God's Master Plan

When Paul was persecuted and imprisoned for the cause of Christ, he wrote
the prison epistles.  In Philippians 1:12, he said, "Now I want you to know,
brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the
gospel."  Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.  Being so close
to the physical circumstances around us prevents us from seeing the big
picture.  God's master plan may include some steps where we have to endure
some negative circumstances before the next positive step of God's plan can
be accomplished, either for us or for others.  Perhaps the reason that we
can't see the forest is simply because we're not omnipotent like God.  We
simply have to trust Him, which is indeed the heart of the gospel message
(John 3:16).

Perseverance

In James 1:3-4, we are told that, "The testing of your faith develops
perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature
and complete, not lacking anything.  Verse 12 says, "Blessed is the man who
perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive
the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

John 16:20-24 says, "You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You
will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a
child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she
forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you
will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no
longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you
whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my
name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."

Heavenly Rewards

In Luke 16:19-31, Christ tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus.  It's
a disturbing story of the rich man spending eternity in hell while the poor
man Lazarus spends eternity in Heaven.  In verse 25, Abraham told the rich
man, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things,
while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are
in agony."

This is also the message presented to us in the Beatitudes in Matthew
5:3-12, culminating in Christ's summary, "Blessed are you when people insult
you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of
me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the
same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

I hope this help.

Thanks,

Owen



Time or distance

Hello,
        I was going to reply to a video that a friend used on U-Tube. 
Because I try to use actual scriptures, I ran into a phrase that I 
cannot find in the in any translations of the Bibles that I have here. 
Where do people come up with the phrase, There is no time or distance in 
the Holy Spirit? Thanks!!
        May God richly bless you. 

Thank you for your question.  I cannot be too definitive about the 
answer, but I hope I can help.  These words, "There is no time or 
distance in the Holy Spirit," do not come directly from the Bible.  
However, this idea is a logical deduction from a couple of scriptures. 

Romans 8:9 says, "You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but 
are in the realm of the Spirit..."  So, the realm of the flesh is quite 
different from the realm of the Spirit. 

Then, there are several verses like Titus 1:2, "...in the hope of 
eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning 
of time..."  The realm of God exists beyond time.  So, the logical 
conclusion is that the realm of the Holy Spirit is outside of time, and 
probably space (distance) as well. 

Again, I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Tithe

Who do you give your tithe to?

Thank you for your question.  I give to churches, missions, other
organizations (Gideons, hospitals, etc.), and individuals.  If you haven't
already done so, my view on tithing is at:

    http://www.christiandataresources.com/tithing.htm

Thanks,

Owen



Tithing

I have a question about tithing.  In all honesty I can do really well 
with tithing and then dip back and not be so good.  I have personally 
experienced the "rewards" and have recently been curious about one 
aspect.

My mindset has been to tithe on the net and then on tax returns, etc.  
But should I bet tithing on the gross?

Thank you and may the Lord bless your ministry. 

Thank you for your question.  The way that tithing is traditionally 
taught, you should be tithing on the gross amount.   However, my view on 
tithing is somewhat different, and you may be interested in my related 
article at http://www.christiandataresources.com/tithing.htm . 

Thanks,

Owen



Tribulation

Are we headed to the Tribulation? 

Yes, I believe that we are headed for the tribulation.  However, I hold to
the premillennial view which suggests that the rapture will occur at the
beginning of the seven-year tribulation period, so true believers of the
Church age will escape the tribulation.  For more details you can reference
my article on Bible prophecy at
http://www.christiandataresources.com/prophecy.htm .

Owen



Was Timothy or Paul an elder?

Paul was an apostle, and Timothy was a pastor, or elder (1 Timothy 4:14)? 

Thanks,

Owen



Mormonism

I came across your website discussing Mormon beliefs 
(http://www.christiandataresources.com/mormonbeliefs1.htm).  Under the 
salvation heading you wrote that "Mormons believe that a series of four 
steps must be followed in order to get to Heaven. The first step is 
faith in one's own works; second is repentance by which they mean 
cleaning up one's life; third is water baptism, which is often perform 
by proxy or in the place of someone else; and the fourth is the laying 
on of hands from an Aaronic priest in order to receive the Holy Ghost."

  Just thought I'd let you know the four steps to salvation are stated 
in the 4th article of faith. "We believe that the first principles and 
ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; 
second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of 
sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

I have made this correction. 

Thank you,

Owen



Hunting Animals

What is scriptural support for and against hunting animals?

Thanks for your question.

The Bible has very little to say about hunting, and it offers no direct support for or
against it.  It only mentions it in passing, such as in Genesis 27:1-4, but it always does so
in a positive light.  Also, the directive in Genesis 1:28 tells us that mankind is to subdue
the earth, including ruling over every living creature (both domestic and wild).  So, I would
argue that the Bible condones hunting animals, probably more so for eating the game than for
sport.

Thanks,

Owen

Church Leadership 

What is the rank from lowest to highest title, position, degree in the Christian church of
today. And can someone without a doctorate degree confer a doctorate on someone else?  

Thank you for your questions.  However, I'm not sure that I understand 
what you're asking, but I'll try to answer. 

Within a local church, the highest authority is usually a pastor (or a 
priest), or a board of elders.  Some churches ordain deacons who may 
have some lower level of authority.  Some churches are completely 
autonomous, and the pastor or elders report to nobody, other than Jesus 
Christ. 

However, most churches are part of a larger organization.  For example, 
in the Roman Catholic church, the priests report to bishops, then 
cardinals, then the pope.  Protestant churches often have overseeing 
organizations, or conventions.  Among these, the Methodist denomination 
has a more rigid hierarchy, with bishops etc., while the Southern 
Baptist Convention has a less rigid hierarchy. 

However, none of these organizations then recognize the authority of the 
others.  For example, the Protestant churches do not recognize the 
authority of the catholic pope.  There is no universal church 
organization that has authority over all of them--only Jesus Christ 
himself. 

No, I don't believe that someone without a doctorate degree can 
officially confer a doctorate on someone else. 

I hope this helps, but please let me know if I haven't adequately 
addressed your questions. 

Thanks,

Owen

Ahab 

What was Ahab's age when he became king? 

Thank you for your question. 

We don't know how old Ahab was when he became king.  Even extra-biblical 
records do not record a date for his birth. 

I'm sorry that I cannot be of more help. 

Thanks,

Owen

Animal Sacrifices 

When did the Jewish people stop sacrificing animals for their sins?  

Thank you for your question.

Basically, the Jewish people stopped sacrificing animals when the second
temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.  Of course, believing Christians (gradually)
stopped this practice after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus
Christ in 33 A.D., once they understood that Jesus' sacrifice was all that
was needed to permanently cover all of their sins.

Thanks,

Owen



Rebuilding the Temple

Owen, thanks for the reply.  I am leading a bible study and
the question had come up and I did not have a good answer.
On this same subject, if the Jewish people stopped with
sacrifice, what is their manner of being forgiven of sins?  And
I have also been taught that when you see the Jewish folks
rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, you better get your
things together.
Thanks again and God bless.

Thanks for your follow-up question.

It's my understanding that prayer and repentance have taken the place of
temple sacrifices for orthodox Jews today.  They can defend this based upon
Hosea 14:3, "Take with you words, and turn to the Lord. Say to Him, forgive
all iniquity and receive us graciously, so we will offer the words of our
lips instead of calves."  Still, they long for the rebuilding of the temple
so that the sacrificial system can be restored.

Yes, as a premillennialist, I believe that the temple will be rebuilt again,
and that this will be a clear sign of the end times.  First, the church will
be raptured, completing the age of grace, and this event is imminent.  Then
will come the seven-year tribulation period, which will be the final seven
years of the 490-year period of the age of the Jews (Daniel 9:20-27).  It is
during this seven-year tribulation period that the temple will be rebuilt
and the sacrificial system restored.  Following that will be the 1000-year
earthly reign of Christ, and then the New Heaven and the New Earth
(Revelation 21:1-8).

Thanks,

Owen

Satan

Where in the bible does it say that the devil knows the bible?  

Thank you for your question.  The Bible
doesn't explicitly say that Satan knows the Bible.  Isaiah 14:12-23 describes Satan being in
Heaven originally, becoming jealous of God, plotting against God, and being cast out of
Heaven by  God, to roam the earth until his eventual doom in Hell.  According to these 
Scriptures, we can probably assume that Satan does indeed understand Bible truths.  He is
referred to in verse 12 as "morning star, son of the dawn," so I believe we can assume that
he was an exceptional angel, in intellect and wisdom, but he unfortunately rebelled against
God and fell from heaven. 



Christian Data Resources

Could you please tell me who runs this site? I want to use one of 
your articles in talking with a friend but wanted to know who you are 
first.
Thanks

Thank you for your e-mail.  My name is Owen Weber.  I'm the founder of 
the Christian Data Resources site, and the author of essentially all of 
the articles and books on the site.  As you can tell, I'm an 
evangelical, with a conservative interpretation of the Bible.  I'm not a 
pastor; nor am I in full-time ministry.  You can read more about me on 
the about tab at www.christiandataresources.com.  Please feel free to 
use any of the material on my site in talking with your friend. 

Thanks,

Owen

Deborah

Who was Deborah?

Thank you for your question.  In Judges 4-5, Deborah became the first female
judge of Israel when she went with Barak to defeat General Sisera.  Deborah
led Israel for forty years in about 1300 B.C.

Thanks,

Owen



Prisoners

Who were the prisoners Jesus preached to? 

Thank you for your question.

The only place I can find that you might be referencing is Luke 4:18, where
Jesus said, "   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners..."
This is a reference to lost people who are enslaved to sin, and how Christ's
death on the cross brings liberty.

Please let me know if this isn't the Scripture you had in mind.

Thanks,

Owen



The Rapture

Who will go in the catching away (rapture)? Every born again 
Christain? Or do we have to be at a certain spiritual level to go? The 
bible says Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle. 
There probably are not many Christians without spot or wrinkle. And 
there are many dead Christians who were only saved a short time and then 
died. They never had a chance to grow to much of a level.

Thank you for your question.  Every born again Christian will be 
included in the rapture, regardless of his/her level of spiritual 
maturity.  When a person becomes a believer, the righteousness of Christ 
is imputed to that new believer (among many other amazing things that 
occur at salvation).  So, when God looks at that believer, He sees 
perfection--not the previous or future sins that have all been forgiven 
and paid for on the cross.  For more information about imputation, 
please see my articles at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/imputation.htm and 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/romans519.htm. 

Thanks,

Owen



40 days and 40 Nights

What is the significance of 40 days and 40 nights in the Bible? 

Thank you for your question.  I'm not really confident in my 
answer--perhaps only God knows--but here's what I know:  Bible scholars 
believe that the number 40 in the Bible is symbolic of a period of 
probation, trial, testing, or chastisement (of sons).  Some have noted 
that it is the product of 5 and 8, pointing to the action of grace (5), 
leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). Here's what a couple 
of commentaries have to say about this: 

Matthew Henry:  "God made the world in six days, but he was forty days 
in destroying it; for he is slow to anger: but, though the destruction 
came slowly and gradually, yet it came effectually." 

Adam Clarke:  "This period became afterwards sacred, and was considered 
a proper space for humiliation. Moses fasted forty days, Deut. 9:9, 
Deut. 9:11; so did Elijah, 1 Kings 19:8; so did our Lord, Matt. 4:2.  
Forty days' respite were given to the Ninevites that they might repent, 
Jonah 3:4; and thrice forty (one hundred and twenty) years were given to 
the old world for the same gracious purpose, Gen. 6:3. The forty days of 
Lent, in commemoration of our Lord's fasting, have a reference to the 
same thing; as each of these seems to be deduced from this primitive 
judgment." 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Why Go to church? 

Owen, with your vast bible knowledge & insight you seem too valuable of a
source to sit church out. This is a fallen world & w/your opinion of the
current system maybe you are just the man to start up a church that would be
an example to go by.? I do not feel the same way about my church as you
explained in you experience, but I do see things at times that I believe I
might do differently. Having said that, I believe we can find fault anywhere
we look, except in the direction of the cross. Man has failed miserably from
the beginning & will continue to do so until joined w/Christ. I shudder at
the thought of how dis-organized & confused our country would be if we all
decided to take the same stance & go only periodically here & there & not be
engaged in the activities, therefore not knowing the direction of our
church. I have been in many churches & yes sadly you do have to make a grand
effort to find one that is truly seeking Gods Face & His Will. Finding that
particular place of worship is a very rewarding experience & is often not a
short journey for most. Not to mention that anyone, part of any church that
suspects wrongdoing in any manner has the obligation & duty to bring these
to matters to light!, or be guilty by association. How else is this "church"
going to be anything less than a place of ill-repute until it is turned
around? 

I did not mean to go so long & must tend to other duties. I pray Gods
presence surround you & minister to your spirit & refresh your outlook.

May God bless you & keep you close.

Sincerely

Thank you for your encouraging words.  You made many good points, and I am
prayerfully considering your advice.

Thanks,

Owen



Will Jews Go to Heaven?

  Okay Owen, here's my question...Will members of the Jewish faith spend 
eternity with God in Heaven, or in the lake of fire?
  
  I am a Christian.  I'm not concerned about my own salvation so please 
don't add me to your mass-mailing list.  I'll only end up flagging it 
and reporting it as spam.
  
  My current understanding is that accepting Christ as the Savior is the 
only way to be with God.
  
  My church spent a six-week study of John 3:16.  While at first it 
seems so inclusive "whosoever believes in Him", I see it as being 
restrictive as in "only those who believe in Him".
  
  My concern lies with all the Jewish people who have lived and died (or 
will live) since the Resurrection of Jesus.  (My understanding is that 
Jews who lived and died prior to the Resurrection are "covered" by the 
Covenant of the Old Testament.)
  
  Aside from Messianic Jews, will any other Jews receive God's Grace?  
The Bible identifies the Jews as "God's chosen people", so I'm having 
trouble with the idea that, for instance, all the Jews who died in the 
Holocaust of WWII will spend eternity in the lake of fire.  Would God 
really punish all those souls for eternity?
  
  I'm not a Bible scholar, so if you can reference any Scripture 
supporting salvation for Jews who do not convert to Christianity I would 
be very grateful.
  
  Thanks for your time,

Thank you for your question.  FYI, I don't have a mass mailing list. 

When we believe in Christ, He imputes his righteousness to us.  Without 
the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22), we would be unworthy of 
God's glory. We must recognize that what we all really deserve is 
eternity in Hell.  Our only hope is God's plan of saving grace.  Without 
His grace, and without the righteousness of Christ, we cannot enter 
Heaven on our own. Yes, it may seem unfair, but it isn't, and it doesn't 
change the truth. Unfairness is only in the eyes of the condemned.  For 
more on imputation, you can read my article at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/imputation.htm . 

Romans 1:18-27 tells us that all of those who don't believe in Christ 
deserve their punishment, and that they have no excuse for their 
unbelief, since God has revealed Himself to all men.  For more on 
judgment, you can read my article at 
http://www.christiandataresources.com/judgment.htm . 

In John 14:6, Jesus Christ said, "I am the way and the truth and the 
life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  This is true of 
all unbelievers, including any unbelieving Jews.  We live in the age of 
grace, and everyone (including Jews) must believe in Christ in order to 
be saved.  It may well be that the world will return to the age of the 
Jews during the tribulation period in the end times, and that would both 
a continuation and a conclusion of Old Testament times.  However, even 
then, as in each age, salvation comes through the saving blood of Christ 
on the cross. 

Thanks,

Owen



Youngest kings

Thank you very much. I hope you don't mind my asking, how old was Joseph
when he was in prison ,David when he was first consecrated king and
Solomon when he became king. Thank you sir.

The Bible doesn't specify how old Joseph was when he was imprisoned, but
most Bible scholars believe that he was about 17 years old.

David was 30 years old when he became king (2 Samuel 5:4).

The Bible doesn't specify how old Solomon was when he became king.

Thanks,

Owen

Please would you tell me the ten youngest kings in the bible with their
respective age's and where I can find them in the bible?  

Thank you for your question.  Here are the youngest 16 kings in the Bible
 (although the ages of some kings are not specified):

Joash, 7 years old, 2 Chronicles 24:1
Josiah, 8 years old, 2 Kings 22:1
Manasseh, 12 years old, 2 Kings 21:1
Azariah, 16 years old, 2 Kings 14:21
Uzziah, 16 years old, 2 Chronicles 26:3
Jehoiachin, 18 years old, 2 Kings 24:8
Zedekiah, 18 years old, 2 Kings 24:18
Ahaz, 20 years old, 2 Kings 16:2
Ahaziah, 22 years old, 2 Kings 8:25-26
Jotham, 22 years old, 2 Kings 16:1-2
Amon, 22 years old, 2 Kings 21:19
Jehoahaz, 23 years old, 2 Kings 22:31
Amaziah, 25 years old, 2 Kings 14:1-2
Hezekiah, 25 years old, 2 Kings 18:1-2
Jehoiakim, 25 years old, 2 Kings 23:36
Jotham, 25 years old, 2 Kings 15:32

Thanks,

Owen



More Than We Can Bear

God doesn't put more on you then you can handle. Is this an actually 
verse in the Bible? If so where can I find it at?  

Thank you for your question.  I believe the verse that you're looking 
for is 1 Corinthians 10:13: 

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And 
God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can 
bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that 
you can endure it." 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Adultery

What will happen to an adulteress? 

Thank you for your question. 

Adultery is a sin, among many other sins.  Sin means "missing the mark," 
which means that we have fallen short of the perfection that God 
expects.  All of us have sinned in some way, so we all have missed the 
mark of perfection, and we need reconciliation with God.  It is only 
through believing the gospel message (John 3:16) that we can return to 
eternal fellowship with God. 

So, what happens to an adulteress?  Well, the same thing that happens to 
any sinner (each of us), regardless of which sin we have committed.  If 
we believe the gospel, we receive salvation and will spend eternity with 
God.  If we don't believe the gospel, we will be eternally separated 
from God. 

Thanks,

Owen



Salvation / Paul's Opinion

Hi,
  i hope you will answer my question, specifically i need your comment 
on the following teaching of Jesus, Mark 10: 17-19 "As Jesus started on 
his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.  "Good 
teacher," he asked,  "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 
"Why do you call me good?"4 Jesus answered.  "No one is 
good--except God alone. You know the commandments:  "Do not murder, do 
not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not 
defraud, honor your father and mother.", please leave the letters of 
Paul & the mystical language for a moment, here Jesus as i see is not 
talking about right and wrong but talking about how to achieve eternal 
life(salvation or justification) he was saying that the law of Moses can 
justify the believer this what eternal life means, you know that Paul 
represents only one form of early Christianity which became the 
orthodoxy by the sanction of the roman empire power, other important 
form the Jewish Christianity also claim to be the true continuation of 
the tradition of Jesus and the disciples were stressing the Mosiac law 
as the true way of salvation, such passage in mark 10:17-19 strongly 
support their claim unless there is another interpretation for it, what 
we know that the early Christians did not regard the letters of Paul or 
any other Christian writings as a scripture at all, they only believed 
that the commandments of Jesus was equal to the old testament, so any 
other Christian has the right to overlook the letters of Paul& dispute 
first on the basis only of the commandments of Jesus, we know from the 
new testament stories, we read it with caution, that Paul had to go back 
to Jerusalem to seek authority from the disciples and there they 
disputed truly and even Paul charged peter with hypocrisy!, if Paul was 
speaking on behalf of God he will not go back to consult other disciples 
and they will not fall in such dispute this means his opinion was 
fallible unless they come to agreement, & only in the second half of the 
second century the Christians who revered Paul so much started to give 
his writings equal authority to the old testament and to the sayings of 
Jesus, this is definitely not the opinion of all Christians at that 
time& this was a later development so as a genuine interpreter of 
scripture we have to go back to Jesus first only then we can evaluate 
other people teachings, this is my point and question to you if the old 
testaments laws can't be followed today this is another issue all 
together
  please do not undermined or overlook my question, i am a lay man but 
i am a serious reader, waiting your kind answer(mark 10:17-19), thanks.  

Thank you for your questions.  You have brought up some valid concerns, 
and I have attempted to address them below. 

1) Salvation Through the Law

Everyone who has ever received God's grace gift of salvation has 
received it through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  
In Old Testament times, the people placed their faith in the 
pre-incarnate Christ by looking forward in time, based upon the Word 
from the prophets.  In modern times, we have the extra benefit of 
actually having a historical record of Christ's sacrifice. 

Yet, in one way, we are indeed justified through the law, although 
indirectly.  Each of us are challenged by the law, but we all fall 
short.  We all have personal sins in our lives (Romans 3:23, 6:23), and 
we also have imputed sin from Adam (Romans 5).  As a result, none of us 
have lived a perfect life to satisfy the law.  We are powerless to 
justify ourselves by our works (Galatians 2:16). 

The answer to this dilemma is that God saves us by grace through faith 
(Ephesians 2:8), through the perfect sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ.  He 
is the only one who was able to live a life free from sin, thereby 
fulfilling the law.  We are saved when we simply have faith to accept 
this free gift of salvation from God.  We are virtually fulfilling the 
law when we place our faith in the One who has actually fulfilled it. 

Now, I agree that the passage in Mark 10:17-19 is somewhat confusing.  
However, please remember that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John) record the words of Jesus before_ he gave Himself up on the cross. 
 In this respect, the Gospels are set in the same timeframe as the Old 
Testament (before the cross), even though they are included in what we 
call "The New Testament."  Jesus was speaking to those who did not yet 
realize that His coming death on the cross would be the sacrifice that 
they needed for their sins--to fulfill the law. 

In this respect (the most logical from that perspective), Christ was 
most certainly speaking the truth when He told the man in Mark 10 that 
he must obey the commandments in order to inherit eternal life.  When 
this man claimed to have fulfilled the law, Christ challenged him in 
verse 21 to "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you 
will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."  Only then, in 
verse 22, did the man realize that he had not truly obeyed every aspect 
of the law:  "At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because 
he had great wealth." 

2) Paul's Opinion

I too have been troubled by passages that seem to imply that Paul's 
opinion was fallible, even as he was under the direction of the Holy 
Spirit when writing his letters.  With regard to his seeking authority 
from the disciples, I believe that this was simply an attempt for 
unification. 

However, in addition to this instance, I find the following scriptures 
somewhat troubling: 

- 1 Corinthians 7:6 says, "But this I say by way of concession, not of 
command." 

- 1 Corinthians 7:25 says, "Now concerning virgins I have no command of 
the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is 
trustworthy." 

- 1 Corinthians 8:8 says, "I am not speaking this as a command, but as 
proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love 
also." 

Although I cannot fully explain this paradox, I do believe that there 
are far fewer such instances in Paul's letters than in most 
extra-biblical writings. 

I hope that I have helped in your understanding. 

Love in Christ,

Owen



Wanting to Get Married

Who in the Bible was slain/killed for wanting to get married?  

Sorry, I can't think of anyone in the Bible who was killed for wanting 
to get married.  However, I'll keep trying to think of what you may be 
referring to. 

Thanks,

Owen



The Longing of the Soul

What does the soul long for? 

Thank you for your question.  Basically, the soul longs for God (Psalms 
143:6); i.e., the very presence of God (Psalm 84:2), as well as His 
salvation (Psalms 119:81).  While our enemies persecute us (Psalm 
143:3), our souls long for the peace that only God can provide (Psalm 
120:6). 

Interestingly enough, in this life (short of being in God's presence in 
heaven), His presence and peace comes to us through our obedience.  
Psalm 119:20 says, "My soul is crushed with longing after Your 
ordinances (laws / commandments) at all times."  Isaiah 26:9 says, "At 
night my soul longs for You.  Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You 
diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments, the 
inhabitants of the world learn righteousness." 

In other words, it is through God's laws and judgments that we learn 
righteousness and obedience, satisfying the longing of our soul.  
Proverbs 13:19 says, "A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but 
fools detest turning from evil." 

Love in Christ,

Owen



Plagues

What do the frogs represent in the ten plagues? 

Thank you for your question.

The frogs were probably the small Nile frog (Dofda, rana Mosaica, or
Nilotica).  This plague was directed against the Egyptian god Hapi and the
frog goddess Heqt.  Frogs symbolize the croaking of politicians of Political
Babylon, and the Plague of the Frogs represents the judgment of Political
Babylon.

Thanks,

Owen



Unhappy Life

Hi;  Does the bible say that you ask God into your life, then you tell God to
get out of your life, you will have an unhappy life? 

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for my delay in responding. 
 
The first thing to note is the security of the believer.  If one becomes 
a believer, he is always a believer (John 10:28-29), and he will always 
have eternal fellowship with God.  However, as believers, we all still 
sin and drift away from God.  John 1:9 tells us that confession of our 
sins to God restores our temporal fellowship with God.  Furthermore, 
Galatians 5:3-6 talks about those who fall from grace; i.e., drifting 
back into legalism, or salvation by works.  Again, confession and 
repentance is the answer. 

However, to more directly answer your question, no person can experience 
real joy if he is separated from God.  Even unbelievers know in their 
hearts that they need God.  Some may deny this their whole life, and 
they may appear to be happy, but they're not. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Peter and Paul / Healings

Does the Bible inicate that Peter's and Paul's ability to heal was only temporary?  

Thank you for your question.  We cannot be too definitive as to why Peter and Paul were not
always able to heal in the later days of their ministries (re. Trophimus, Epaphroditus,
etc.).  Briefly, there are at least two schools of thought on this. 
 
1) James exhorts us to call upon God through prayer for healing.  We should pray expectantly
and with faith, but not presumptuously or arrogantly.  God can use us to perform miraculous
healings, but this will only happen according to His will and timing, not ours.  It appears
that only Jesus was able to heal every time. 
 
2) Many believe that the gift of healing no longer exists today (although the power of
healing through prayer does still exist today).  This camp argues that the gift of healing
was a sign gift, and it's purpose was to authenticate the ministries of the apostles; i.e.,
to show the authority of the apostles through the power of the Holy Spirit.  After it was
demonstrated that the ministries of the apostles was indeed from God, then there was no more
need for this gift.  As a result, it was phased out during the last part of the first
century, including the latter days of Peter's and Paul's ministries. 
 
Thanks,
 
Owen

Wow you are the only one I’ve asked who even see's they were sometimes unable to heal.  
Everyone else say's that they always
could.  



Killing / Justified

I would like more info on the question, “Is killing ever justified by God in the bible?"

Thank you for your question.  The two articles that you might be interested
in are as follows:

    http://www.christiandataresources.com/killing.htm

    http://www.christiandataresources.com/killinginwarfare.htm

If you have already read these and still have specific questions, please let
me know what they are.

Thanks,

Owen


Premarital Sex

If you love a person so much and you're sure you will marry him, is it okay to
sleep with him or to kiss him? 

Thank you for your question.  No, couples should not sleep together until
they are married.  A lot of people don't really understand what love is.  To
better understand these issues, please see my article on Love, Marriage, and
Sex at http://www.christiandataresources.com/loveandmarriage.htm .

Thanks,

Owen



Mary and Joseph

Why did Mary go with Joseph to the census?  Knowing she was 
pregnant why wouldn’t she stay in her hometown? 

Thank you for your question.  Here's my understanding of this issue: 

Remember that Mary was also from the line of David.  So perhaps she was 
legally bound to make the trip just as Joseph was.  On the other hand, 
there may have been no legal necessity for Mary to have gone to 
Bethlehem with Joseph.  It could be that Joseph's presence there could 
have met the qualifications of the census without having Mary with him, 
and he could have still registered both himself and Mary for the census, 
since he was the head of the household. 

However, from a practical perspective, I would argue that Mary and 
Joseph both wanted to be together when their baby was born, just as 
husbands and wives today want to be together when their children are 
born. 

Also, it could be that God moved upon Caesar Augustus to issue this 
decree, and he moved upon Joseph to take Mary along, all of this so that 
the prophecy of Micah 5:2 would be fulfilled; i.e., that Jesus would be 
born in the city of David. 

Thanks,

Owen


Money

Can you tell me where I can find in the Bible not to squander your money
or budget your household? 

Thank you for your question.  The best passage I can think of for  money
management is 1 Timothy 3:4:5, which says, "... not a lover of  money.  He
must manage his own family well and see that his children obey  him, and he
must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. "  Although  this is reference
to pastors and deacons, the same principles apply to all  Christians. 
 
For additional passages, please see my article on money at
_http://www.christiandataresources.com/money.htm_
(http://www.christiandataresources.com/money.htm)   . 
 
Thanks,
 
Owen

Hi Owen,
Thanks for your response it was very helpful keep up the good  work.  
 
 

Kingdom

What is the Kingdom?  Is heaven the same as the Kingdom of God?  

Thank you for your question about the kingdom.  It's a difficult one because
the term "kingdom" can mean different things, depending upon the context.
However, even though our understanding may be limited, I don't lose any
sleep over what I still don't understand about the kingdom.  Nevertheless,
I'll provide a brief summary here (from my dispensational view), and I'll
have to be a bit technical.

I believe that the kingdom of heaven is different than the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of heaven is always earthly while the kingdom of God includes
the whole universe and eternity.  This becomes even more confusing because
these terms are sometimes seemingly used interchangeably in the gospels;
i.e., in certain parables in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  The kingdom of heaven
is entered by a righteousness exceeding the righteousness of the scribes and
Pharisees (Matthew 5:20), while the kingdom of God is entered by a new birth
(John 3:1-16).  The kingdom of heaven answers the hope of believers of all
ages, while the kingdom of God answers the eternal and all-inclusive purpose
of God.

There is an eschatology of Judaism and an eschatology of Christianity, and
each reaches on into eternity, although each is different in details.
Ultimately, Israel will experience a transformed earth in the New Jerusalem
under the reign of David's Son, Jesus Christ.  This is a specific 1000-year
earthly kingdom during the end times (Revelation 20:1-7), and it is often
what is meant when only the word "kingdom" is used (as opposed to "the
kingdom of heaven" or the "kingdom of God").  Yet, somehow, all believers of
all ages will experience the kingdom of heaven (on the new earth) in
eternity.

So, the kingdom of heaven is more about the righteousness of believers on
earth.  The kingdom of God is more about God's ultimate righteousness
throughout the universe and eternity.  Yet, believers able to partake of the
kingdom of God as well, through faith in Christ (John 3:16).

With all of this said, we believers (Christians) today live in the age of
grace.  For our day-to-day purpose of bringing glory to God, I don't believe
that we need to be too worried about the distinct differences in the
doctrines of the kingdom.  For most of us, there's probably nothing wrong in
thinking of heaven as the kingdom of God.  I know that this is probably more
information than you were wanting, but you hit upon a subject about which we
have to be careful when explaining it.

Thanks,

Owen

Hi Owen,

Thank you very much for your quick response!  

Regards,


Visions

hi about 2-3 years ago i was sleeping with my x-boyfriend and like i 
could see 4 black robed things (people) at the doorway i don't know how 
i did like a dream but they shot a red light at me and i put my hand up 
out of a dead sleep and shot gold or white towards them ever since then 
these voices tell me weird things like Satan babies they bother me in my 
sleep and about a year ago they were doing red things and weird smells 
now they tell me to drink water and take vitamins and read the bible i 
have been reading the bible on and off for 2-3 years i don't understand 
i need help they also speak in different tongues they were black and now 
there white and one says he goes up i don't understand i read to kings 2 
out loud and read to john to myself and they through a fit if i don't 
read they say open mouth it's went from real bad to really good from 
what it was please help thank you. 

I believe that you need to pray and ask God to remove these visions from 
your life (Matthew 8).  I am also praying for you.  If you are having 
trouble reading through the Bible, I would suggest starting at the book 
of Romans.  You may also want to read these e-Books on my website: 

    - Believe, A Synopsis of the Entire Bible:  
http://www.christiandataresources.com/believe.htm

    - True Christianity, The Doctrines of the Epistles:  
http://www.christiandataresources.com/believe.htm

Thanks,

Owen



Luke 17:21

Owen,

Thank you for your time and excellent details !  I have another question ;
Jesus mentioned the Kingdom of God was within us per Luke 17:21.  Could that
mean the Kingdom of God is in a different realm? 

Thank you again,

Thank you for your question about Luke 17:21.  I suppose that you could be 
right about this meaning that the kingdom of God is in a different realm.
However, I have a different view.  The word "within" is a possible translation of the Greek

word "entos," but I believe that a better translation here would be "among" or "in your

midst" (NIV, NASB).  So, I think that Jesus was saying that the kingdom was present among the

Pharisees (that he was speaking to) in the person of Christ Jesus, the King of the kingdom.

Thanks,

Owen



Jesus' Death and Resurrection

Where exactly did Jesus go between his death and resurrection, what 
did he preach(second chance?), and to whom?  

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for my delay in responding. 
 The Bible doesn't tell us a lot about where Jesus went between His 
death and resurrection.  Ephesians 4:8-10 tells us that He descended 
into the lower parts of the earth, and we believe this to mean hades, or 
hell.  We don't know what he preached, but He may have preached to 
Satan, the demons, or unbelievers, but I don't think that he was 
offering them a "second chance."  I believe that the only real truth 
that we can discern from this is that Christ was demonstrating to us how 
he conquered death and rose from the dead. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



River of Life

hello, I know that there was only 1 tree of life in the garden, I know 
that a river has 2 sides so with this being said why do I read in REV 22 
that the river flows from the throne of GOD and that the tree 
of life stands on both sides of the river. so we have a river with 2 
sides as they all do and now we have 2 trees or one so big it spans to 
both river banks,? thanks.  

Thank you for your question, and I apologize for my delay in responding. 
 

You have asked an interesting question, and I had not thought of it 
before. 

First, please allow me to offer my interpretation of this passage in 
Revelation 22, in general.  The pure river of the water of life flowed 
from the throne of God and the lamb, down the middle of the great street 
of the city.  This refers to the fullness of refreshment, life, and joy 
(Psalm 36:8).  In Genesis, the tree of life was mentioned first, but 
here, the river of life is mentioned first.  There are heavenly and 
earthly streams of blessing:  earthly in Ezekiel 47:1 and Zechariah 
14:8; and, heavenly in this passages.  All come from the seat of His 
blessed government.  The tree of life has satisfying fruit in abundance. 
 The saints will partake of the fruit, and even the leaves will promote 
the sustained health of the nation. 

Now, specifically to your question, verse 2 says, "On each side of the 
river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit..."  The 
only way that I can envision this is with a tree that has a single root 
system underground, but it results in multiple tree trunks extending 
upward from ground level (like maybe a yaupon holly, a crape myrtle, or 
a shrub).  Perhaps this single tree has six tree trunks on one side of 
the river and six on the other side of the river; maybe it has 12 tree 
trunks on each side of the river, yielding all twelve crops of fruit on 
each side; or, it could have only one trunk on each side of the river, 
each with different branches yielding the twelve crops of fruit.  (Some 
may even make an analogy here of the multiple Persons of the Godhead 
that comprise the Trinity.) 

Another thing to keep in mind is that eternity is not bound by time or 
space.  Perhaps there are some dimensions of that heavenly city that we 
cannot understand in this life where we are indeed limited by time and 
space. 

I hope this helps. 

Thanks,

Owen



Worship of Saints

Why shouldn't we worship saints? 

Thank you for your question.  The reason that we shouldn't worship 
saints is because they are only humans.  They are not a deity that 
deserves our worship.  There is only one true God whose essence is in 
the three Persons of the Trinity--God the Father, God the Son, and God 
the Holy Spirit.  This one true God is the only deity, and the only One 
who deserves our worship.  Jesus Christ, who was somehow 100% humanity 
and 100% deity, is the only celebrity in the Christian life.  He was 
perfect, while all the rest of us, including saints, are imperfect.  The 
truth is that, through Christ, all believers are saints (Romans 1:7); 
i.e., all believers were sinners and by grace through faith they became 
saints, but none are to be elevated above others. 

Thanks,

Owen



Masturbation

Is it okay to practice masturbation in order to satisfy your sexual desires? 

Thank you for your question, and for your courage to ask it. 
The issue of masturbation is difficult because
the Bible does not discuss it at all.  As a result, it is not specifically
declared to be sinful.  However, sex is obviously intended for a healthy
marriage relationship between a husband and wife, so one could argue that it
is a denial of the purity of the sexual design of God for couples.  All we
can do is to study scriptures that may be related.

It would seem that if masturbation involves sexual fantasies and/or
pornography, then it is certainly not pure and perhaps even sinful.  In
Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall
not commit adultery'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman
to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart,"  If
thinking lustful thoughts is sinful, then it seems that masturbation is
indeed a sin; and, one that needs to be confessed.

Although masturbation may not be sinful under certain circumstances, it
probably interferes with being sexually pure and holy.  Avoiding it could
help one to master the body and not give into its desires.  This could be a
lesson in controlling the body, producing great spiritual benefits.

Thanks,

Owen



The Dead Returning to Earth

I was recently told by someone that they believe God can send the 
spirit of a dead loved one back to earth to do His Will. This was 
strange to me, as I hold the person who said this in high regard as to 
their knowledge of God's Word. They continued to say that we can call 
them to come and be a part of a special event, example:

  Only child getting married and Mother ask for their daughter's daddy, 
who is in Heaven to come by saying he is welcome. She said she can not 
communicate with him, but believes he can come to the event. She 
referenced have you ever thought about someone you missed that was in 
heaven and you were thinking about them and all of a sudden you felt 
such love and peace as if they were there..

  Now I have never read this in God's Word, I do not think I have 
anyway. All my reading was not good things about spirits.

  This is being talked about in a Bible Study group within my church and 
it scares me a little. Is this person and their study group being 
mislead, or is it a revelation from God to those who are closer 
spiritually than I may be and he is giving them knowledge that I have 
yet to receive?

  I sure would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks so much for your time.  

Thank you for your question, and I apologize about the delay in my 
reply. 

No, the Bible doesn't teach that God sometimes sends the spirits of 
people who have died back to earth.  Some people believe that this is 
taught in 1 Samuel 28, where King Saul consulted the medium of Endor to 
talk to Samuel's spirit.  However, this was a special case to prophesy 
Saul's death the next day, and I believe that this is the only time this 
ever happened. 

When believers die, their spirit goes immediately to be with God in 
Heaven, and their body will someday be reunited with their spirit.  
Again, there's no indication in the Bible that these people can 
periodically return to earth.  They're in a state of eternity, and there 
would be no reason for them to return to a place in time and space on 
the earth. 

Thanks,

Owen



Luke 12:39 / Robbery

What is the New Testament scripture that refers to a thief or robber , 
would not have broken into the house if the husband or father had been 
home?  Thanks

Thanks for your question.  That's in Luke 12:39:  "But understand this: 
If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, 
he would not have let his house be broken into." 

Thanks,

Owen



Government

Where in the bible does it talk about the three divisions of government? 

Thank you for your question.  I assume that you are asking where the 
Bible talks about the three branches of our democratic government; i.e., 
legislative, executive, and judicial.  The Bible does not speak to this. 
This is not surprising, because the only form of government explained 
by the Bible is the theocracy in the Old Testament.  Basically, under 
that system, God Himself wrote the laws (Exodus 20)--the legislative 
branch; he sometimes made sure that the laws were enforced by 
intervening Himself, and he sometimes called upon the leaders to enforce 
the laws (Numbers 25:5)--the executive branch; and, although God is the 
ultimate judge, He did command Moses to set up a judicial system 
(Deuteronomy 1:16, 16:8) for the Jewish people

If this isn't what you were asking, please let me know. 

Thanks,

Owen



Going to Church

Owen Weber , I've enjoyed reading your experiences and thoughts . I also have had similar
feelings about 'church' and in fact , after having to leave off going to a particular church
I left off regular attendance at another and only just recently have become more regular in
attendance .

I too have had that verse from Hebrews brought one way or another to my attention. My
feelings about the 'attendance' part of the verse is that it may be partially relevant now ,
but actually it may have more to do with those of Jews who believed but had reservations
about it becoming known and were tending to revert back to their previous religious practices
 and conforming to the ways of their society .  ?  Cautious perhaps like Nicodemus initially
?.

Greetings

Dear Pastor in Christ,

Greetings!

I have been studying your website and I'm very much inspired by that. I'm
here to request you to expand your outreach program in two new languages
Urdu and Punjabi.

Urdu is the language which is spoken in many countries like Pakistan, India,
Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia and in many other
countries. It's very delightful for the one who listen and study the word of
God in his own language.

I'll offer my services as Translator, Recorder, Dubbing and Printing.

Peace and Blessings be with you.

In Christ,



The Rapture

My question to you is, How long do you REALLY think we, the New Testament "church
which is His body" (Ephesians 1:22-23)
has left before the Rapture?
 
I'm not asking if you are Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib, and I'm not asking you for a
"day and a hour," and I'm not asking if you believe in immanency,
but for your best guess
estimate as to how much longer we have to wait for our Lord's coming for us in the air?


Thank you very much for your time and attention to this matter.

Thank you for your question.  Yes, I do believe that the rapture is imminent.  I will also
give you a direct answer to your question as to when I believe the rapture will occur. 
However, I would first like to give you some background on my thoughts.
 
Over the years I have done a lot of thinking about when the rapture will occur.  However,
I have had mixed feelings about discussing it, for several reasons:
 
- The Bible does tell us that nobody knows the day or the hour when Christ will return
   (His Second Coming).
 
- Many foolish people have spent way too much time on this when their time would
have been better spent in other pursuits.  This includes the many people who have
predicted the end of the world, only to have been proven wrong when the time of
their prophecy came and went without incident (so they usually just established
another date in the future).
 
- Regardless of when we believe the rapture will occur, I believe that this should have
no impact upon how we live our daily lives.  We should live our lives today for Christ,
no matter if the rapture occurs today or in a thousand years.  This is especially true
considering the fact that we could be wrong in our expectations, just like so many
others already have been.
 
However, when I read your question, I felt moved to give you a direct answer.  Believe
it or not, what I am sharing with you below is the first time that I have shared these
thoughts with anyone.
 
I have a B.S. degree in Mathematics, and I have always been intrigued by numbers,
dates, etc.  When combined with my desire to know God's Word, this has resulted in
my spending quite a bit of time in thinking about when the rapture (the next prophecy
of Scripture) would occur.  However, like many before me, I have had to be careful
about staying intellectually honest about this subject, without letting my emotions
interfere.  After all, it's only natural that a believer would hope that the rapture would
occur soon, and sometimes our hope (wishes) can sway our sound judgment.  At one
time, I felt quite certain that the rapture would occur in the year 1988, primarily because
that would have been 40 years (one generation; i.e., Matthew 24:34) after Israel was
re-established as a nation in 1948.  When 1988 passed and the rapture did not occur,
I went back to the drawing board.
 
So, during the past 25 years, I have developed a new "prediction" about the rapture,
based on several different trains of thought, and I'll know share those with you here:
 
1) In 1987, I published a book entitled, "Believe:  A Synopsis of the Entire Bible."  This
book is available free on my website at http://www.christiandataresources.com/believe.htm. 
While doing the research for that book, I decided to construct a timeline of Biblical events
by using the Bible as my only source.  I went through the painstaking process of recording
every event in the Bible that had a timeframe associated with it.  This included every place
where the Bible noted a certain number of years between events, etc.  Then I had to sort
of backtrack in order to determine the historical perspective for all of these events,
including the date (in B.C. years) as well as the number of years after Creation.  As a
result, I included some timeline charts in the appendices at the end of my book, and you
can view these at the web page noted above.
 
2) When I had completed my timeline, my results showed that God created the earth in
the year 4,241 B.C.  My extra-biblical research indicated that this did not agree exactly
with anyone else's timeline.  The most widely accepted date for Creation was/is 4,004 B.C. 
I decided that I could still accept my date with a fairly high level of confidence, based upon
the fact that others included extra-biblical sources for their timelines, while my timeline
used only the Bible.
 
Then one day I happened to be at the library (back in the days before the Internet),
and I decided to do some more research to see if I could find any reference to the date
4,241 B.C.  What I discovered was that this is the first date recorded in the ancient Egyptian
calendar.  Although all sources do not agree on that fact either, I decided that it was good
enough for me.  I elected to interpret this as direct confirmation from God that my
calculations were correct, so I suddenly had an extremely high level of confidence in my
timelines.
 
3) There is an extra-biblical book called The Book of Barnabas which was not included in
our New Testament Canon.  I think that there is the possibility that it does indeed belong
in our New Testament.  However, regardless of whether or not it was truly inspired by the
Holy Spirit, I believe that we can learn much from many of these ancient extra-biblical books.
 
The Book of Barnabas 13:3-5 says this:  "And even in the beginning of creation He makes
mention of the Sabbath.  And God made in six days the works of His hands; and He finished
them on the seventh day, and He rested on the seventh day, and sanctified it.  Consider, my
children, what that signifies, He finished them in six days.  The meaning of it is this: that in
six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end.  For with him one day is a
thousand years; as Himself testifieth, saying, Behold this day shall be as a thousand years
(Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8).  Therefore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years,
shall all things be accomplished."
 
It just makes sense to me that God would follow this pattern.
 
4) I am a dispensationalist, so I believe that God grants stewardship to certain groups of
people throughout certain eras of time.  This included the Age of the Gentiles, the Age of
the Jews, and the (current) Age of the Church.
 
5) Now, I also believe in the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18) at the end of the Church
Age. Based upon the above, I believe that the same amount of time will be granted to the
Age of the Gentiles, the Age of the Jews, and the Age of the Church.  The charts mentioned
above can be summarized as follows:
 
The Age of the Gentiles
  From Creation through the call of Abram
  4241 B.C through 2218 B.C.
  2023 years
 
The Age of the Jews
  From the call of Abram through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
  2218 B.C. through 29 A.D.
  2247 years
 
The Age of the Church
  From the death burial, and resurrection of Christ through the rapture
  29 A.D. through the rapture (see below)
 
Now, you can see that these first two time periods are not equal in length, but there's a
caveat:  There are many places during the Age of the Jews when the Bible says that
"God forsook Israel."  Most of these occurrences are during the times of the Judges, and
they're all denoted in my charts.  I believe that God is not counting the time when He
forsook Israel; i.e., He didn't count those years when He decided how long to extend time. 
So, here's how the numbers work out when this is considered:
 
The Age of the Gentiles
  2023 years
 
The Age of the Jews
  2247 years; less the 224 years when God forsook Israel; This results in 2023 years.
 
The Age of the Church
  If this is also 2023 years, then this is from 29 A.D. through 2052 A.D.
  So, this is when I believe the rapture will occur:  2052 A.D.
 
6) I received some unexpected confirmation on this as well.  It turns out that Sir Isaac
Newton was also a mathematician, as well as a theologian.  Some of his notes have
indicated that he expected the world to end in the year 2060 A.D.  Now, I don't know
how he came to this number, but it seems to coincide with my calculations.  If the
rapture occurs in 2052 A.D., as I expect, and this is followed by the seven-year
tribulation period, then Christ's second coming (the end of time, as we know it--as well
as the beginning of the Millennium) would occur in 2059 A.D.  This is a difference of
only one year from Newton's date, and this could easily be due to a rounding error or
a different reconciliation for the year zero.
 
Now, I know that 2023 years for each dispensation results in 6069 years instead of
exactly 6000 years, like Barnabas indicated.  I can't explain this for sure, but the difference
could be due to something like the way that years were represented in the ancient
calendars.  For example, I've often read that the Jewish calendar used 360-day years
instead of 365-day years.  If the 6069-year time periods were 360-day years, then this
would be 5986 years in 365-day years, and this is even closer to 6000 years.  Again,
I can't really explain this difference, but this is the closest I can come with my current
understanding.
 
(There is, however, an interesting coincidence here.  If we considered that the 2023
years was given in terms of a 360-day calendar, then we can calculate that this would
be 1993 years in terms of a 365.25-day calendar.  If this period of time actually
corresponds to 1993 years, and we added that to the year 29 A.D., we get the year
2023 B.C..  So, again, the number 2023 shows up--this time as a date instead of a
number of years.  So, I guess the year 2023 A.D. could be an alternate date for the
rapture.)
 
So, of course, I could be wrong, but I believe that the rapture will occur in about
40 more years.  What about you?  When do you think the rapture will occur.  Do
you think that my argument above is worth considering?
 
I'll tell you what:  If we're still here in the year 2053, send me another e-mail, and
we can discuss how I need to modify my prediction!  However, I'll probably be long
gone by then!
 
Thanks,
 
Owen



Legislating Morality

Sir,

My son and I recently got into a conversation on legislating morality.  He had some really good arguments stating even though he thought certain things were immoral, he didn't think we should try to make laws preventing them.  For example, prostitution, drug abuse and abortion.  I argued these were immoral and we should not support the legalization of anything immoral.  His opinion is that they just continue to exist, and we end up spending tax payer monies to try and prevent them and housing criminals.  He also argued, these things become even more abusive because there is no regulation upon them since they are illegal.  My spirit senses that God's laws are not in support of allowing immoral living but I am not able to verbalize this to him.  Help!  Sincerely,
 
Thank you for your question.  I have mixed feelings about legislating morality, and it's a difficult issue, but I'll try to lay out both sides of the argument for you. 
 
Our government already does legislate morality in many ways.  In fact, many laws are based upon upholding moral laws.  Our laws regarding murder, theft, stealing, killing, defrauding, and misrepresenting all reflect the moral values of The Ten Commandments.  We attempt to legislate morality in ways that are generally advantageous to our freedom, safety, and well-being.  However, problems arise in the interpretation of these laws.  Furthermore, our laws also guarantee both the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state.  So, we are left with even more open interpretation on how all of these issues mesh together.  Some people (voicing their freedom of speech) believe that freedom of religion means that religion shouldn't be allowed to influence government policy while others believe that it means that the state will not dictate a religion (such as a state church).  I believe that our founding fathers instituted the best possible form of government (democracy), although it is still an imperfect human government. 
 
Although the Bible clearly condemns adultery and homosexuality as sin, we have no laws against these things.  This is because of the fine line between morality and freedom.  For one person, a particular law may be upholding his morality, but to another person it infringes upon his personal choices.  This is further complicated since one person's moral values and definition of liberty is often not the same as the next person's.  Personally, I have no doubt that homosexuality is a sin.  However, I'm not sure that we should have a law that bans homosexuality, because this could be an infringement on one's personal liberty.  Similarly, I believe that Christianity is the only true faith, but we shouldn't make other faiths illegal.  This not only violates the First Amendment, but I would certainly never want the government to make Christianity illegal. 
 
On the other hand, I also have no doubt that abortion is a sin, and it violates the commandment against murder.  In my view, if we have a law against murder (which we do), then that law already applies to abortion as well. 
 
I guess what I'm saying is that we need to preserve law and order while simultaneously preserving our personal liberty.  It seems that I'm drawing the line where one person's actions infringe directly upon another person's liberty.  An act of murder (abortion or otherwise), theft, etc. by one person harms another person, so we need laws for these things.  However, if two gay people want to live together, and even get "married," then maybe we don't need a law against this, as long as their situation doesn't directly hurt anyone else. 
 
So, I believe that we can legislate some, but not all, morality.  Personally, I tend to lean toward the Libertarian view, that government's role is to ensure liberty, but that the Church should guide us on moral choices.  In general, I think that we have too many laws already.  For example, if it's not a crime to drink alcohol, and prohibition didn't seem to work anyway, I'm not sure that we need a law against using marijuana.  Maybe it would be better to legalize it, regulate it like we do alcohol, and collect taxes on it in the same way as well. 
 
Thanks,
 
Owen

Owen Weber 2012