Bible FAQs

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 offerred from a personal perspective, I asked the question as it relates also to my work. My wife and I are clinical social workers work primarily with first responders from the NYPD and the FDNY. My wife does much 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 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 = 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 = 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; and, 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 giftof 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 2000 yr 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