Answer: In brief, the purpose of life is to build the divine community. The meaning of life is to live and share with others the ideal life, by living today as if it is already a reality. Live this hour as a member of the Family of God. Depend upon love, for God is love. Run the risks. Accept the consequences. Have confidence and faith in God. Live by His commandments, for the One who created us knows what is best for us. And when we can overcome the trials and tribulations of daily living, others will see that in us. Others will then be moved to ask us questions about a new and better way of life, which will bring them to the knowlegde of the Lord.
- What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of our existence?
Why did God create man?Answer: For God's glory (Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 13:16) and to give praise to God (Psalms 102:18; 148:5, Jeremiah 13:11).
Are children born into sin?Answer: No (Eze.18:20, Mat.18:1-5,10; 19:13-15). Sin isn't acquired by inheritance, but by transgression of law (1 John 3:4).
Will children who die, and unborn babies, not be permitted in Heaven because they were not "converted"?
Answer: Of course not! Jesus compared "conversion" to little children! Unless people "become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3; 19:13-14). Matthew 11:25, "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes (children)." In Jeremiah 19:4-5, the slaughter of children in sacrifice to Baal was called "the blood of innocents."
For whose sake does God forgive sins?Answer: God forgives sins for His sake (Isaiah 43:25) so that we may return to Him (Isaiah 44:22).
Who will not inherit the Kingdom of God?Answer: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 21:8; 22:15, Proverbs 6:16-19.
How will we be judged by God?Answer: We will be judged by our works, our acts, and our deeds.
Proverbs 24:12, "If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"
Ecclesiastes 12:14, "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
Matthew 16:27, "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Timothy 4:14, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:"
Revelation 2:23, "…and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Revelation 20:12-13, "...and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…and they were judged every man according to their works."
Revelation 22:12, "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according to his work shall be."
Does God overlook those who ignorantly break His Law?Answer: Yes (Genesis 20:3-6, Luke 12:47-48, Acts 17:30, Romans 2:12-15, Hebrews 5:2, James 4:17). Sin will only be counted against those who have heard truth and rejected it (John 9:41; 15:22).
Is there a guardian angel assigned to us?Answer: There is good reason to believe that each true believer has Angels - perhaps one special one - helping them in their lives: "The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them" (Psalm 34:7). "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me...Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 18:6,10).
The early believers in Christ clearly believed that Peter had a guardian Angel (Acts 12:14,15). The people of Israel went through the Red Sea, and were led by an Angel through the wilderness towards the promised land (Exodus 14:19).
What are some verses to support excommunication or disfellowship with others?Answer:
Matthew 18:15-17, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
Romans 16:17-18, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
1 Corinthians 5:9-13, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person."
1 Timothy 6:3-5, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
2 Timothy 3:2-5, "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
2 Thessalonians 3:6, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."
Ephesians 5:11, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
Where does the need for reconciliation arise from?Answer: The need of reconciliation arises from the fact that man is not only a sinner, but also an enemy of God (Romans 5:8,10). Moreover, it is because he is a sinner that he is also an enemy. As a sinner he needs to be justified; and as an enemy he needs to be reconciled. The death of Christ as an atoning sacrifice accomplishes both in the case of all who believe in Him. In Romans 5:8-10, these two distinct, but closely related, things are clearly set forth. For we there read, first, that "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us," and second, that "when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son."
Reconciliation has to do directly with the kingdom of God, in that it signifies the bringing back of those who were rebels and enemies into willing and loyal submission to God. In this connection attention should be given to the great passage in Colossians 1:12-22, which shows that, as the result of the death of Christ, those who have "redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (verse 14), are also "translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son" (verse 13), Christ "having made peace for them through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself "; and the apostle adds, "And you, who were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh, through death" (verses 20-22).
Why doesn't God give unbelievers a "sign" that He exists?Answer: Because only an evil and adulterous man seeks for a sign (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; 26:48), and if they won't listen to what biblical prophets have said, they will never be persuaded, even if somebody is raised from the dead (Luke 16:31).
What is it like to be a follower of Christ?Answer: Brother Sammy Allen told about this fellow out west, who was an American Indian. This fellow had recently accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Brother Sammy asked him how things were going since giving his life to Christ. He said, "It's like two dogs, a black dog and a white dog, fighting inside of me." Brother Sammy asked, "Well, which one's winning?" He replied, "The one that I feed the most." I think that is a strong message in about the simplest form it could possibly be put in.
Is it OK for a Christian to borrow money?Answer: "...Thou shalt not borrow" (Deuteronomy 15:6; 28:12). "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another" (Romans 13:8), which means don't borrow at all, otherwise you will owe him something besides love. And the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), and evil is not love. The borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7), we are not to be the servants of men (1 Corinthians 7:23). Read Nehemiah 5:3-5 to find out what happens to those who mortgage their lands and houses. Therefore, we are not to borrow (Proverbs 22:26). However, we are to give to those who ask to borrow from us (Matthew 5:42).
Is it OK for a Christian to go to court and sue somebody else?Answer: No. When one is wronged by another, he believes that a debt is owed to him. He expects a payment of some sort, whether monetary or not. Our court system exists to avenge wronged or injured parties. Lawsuits result from people trying to satisfy their debts. But Christians are to "forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). Christians are commanded to not avenge ourselves (Romans 12:19) because vengeance belongs to the Lord (Psalms 94:1). Matthew 5:38-48 is Jesus' teaching on what Christians are to do when wronged by another. We are even instructed to avoid going to courts of law before any unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)!
By going to court, we refuse to forgive until the debt is paid in full, and only we can determine the acceptable compensation. We desire, seek, plan, and carry out our revenge. When we seek to correct the wrong done to us, we set ourselves up as judge. "Who art thou that judgest another?" (James 4:12). "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door." (James 5:9).
Scripture also says, "...him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also." (Luke 6:29). It does not say to sue the man who takes your cloke.
Each one of us has broken the laws of God and should be condemned to death by the hand of the highest court in the Universe. But if you contrast what was done to you with what you've been forgiven of, there's no comparison. It would not even put a dent in the debt you owe! If you feel cheated, you have lost your concept of the mercy extended to you. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25-26).
If Jesus could forgive those who were in the process of crucifying him (Luke 23:34), and Stephen could forgive those who were in the process of stoning him to death (Acts 7:59-60), then we should certainly be able to forgive those who are in the process of doing wrong to us, especially if our lives aren't even being threatened. When we show kindness to even our enemies, this is the best thing we can do to help show them the truth:Proverbs 25:21-22, "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee."
What did Jesus mean when he said "It is finished" on the cross (John 19:30)?Answer: When Jesus was teaching how to pray, he said "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). The word translated "debt" here is the Greek word opheilema. It refers to one man owing money to another. In Matthew 6, it is used metaphorically of a debt we owe in relationship to God. The most vivid biblical illustration of this concept is found in Colossians 2:14, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."
The word translated "handwriting" is cheirographon. It was primarily a business term used in the first century for a note of certificate of debt. It is synonymous with the word epigraphon that was used when referring to the list of chages drawn up against a convicted criminal in the Roman court system.
In the Roman business world, when the debt had been paid, a word was written across the note of debt. The word was the Greek word tetelesthai meaning "paid in full." The certificate with "paid in full" written on it was a man's receipt guaranteeing no further payments. In the Roman judicial world, when punishment for the crime had been executed, the same word, tetelesthai, was written across the list of charges, releasing the convicted criminal from any further punishment. In capital offences, the Romans would nail the written charge to the top of the cross. This way all who passed by the hideous scene of a crucifixion would know what led to this man's execution. When Jesus Christ was crucified as a common criminal, Pilate had a written charge, epigraphon, drawn up and affixed to His cross.
Matthew 27:37, "And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
This was the charge people read as they passed by the cross of Christ that day. But, from God's perspective something much more significant was taking place. What Paul tells us in Colossians 2:13-14 is that, from God's perspective, it was our written charge, our cheirographon, that was nailed to the cross of Christ. This "handwriting of ordinances" is a history of all the sin, trespass, and transgression of our lives; past, present, and future.
When Jesus Christ was crucified, this document was nailed to the cross with Him. Our sin is the reason Jesus suffered such a brutal execution. He was paying the price to cancel our certificate of debt.
Just before Jesus died, we are told that he cried out from the cross. Most translations read that His cry was, "It is finished" (John 19:30). But if you look at the Greek text, you will find that this cry was actually one Greek word. Jesus cried out, "Tetelesthai." (This same Greek word is translated "pay" in Matthew 17:24 and Romans 13:6). "Paid in full" was the triumphant declaration Jesus made from the cross. In that instant, God took our certificate of debt and cancelled it. In a sense, He wrote across our record of sin, "Tetelesthai."
Who is the antichrist?Answer: The term "antichrist" appears only four times in the entire Bible (1 John 2:18,22; 4:3, 2 John 1:7) It describes many antichrists that have already come into the world (during the first century). The Bible never speaks of one antichrist coming in the future. I know this confuses many people, because they think that "antichrist" means "against Christ."
The Greek word translated "antichrist" is "antichristou", and the word "anti" in the Greek means "instead of" or "in place of." It does not always mean someone is necessarily against Christ. If someone with the spirit of antichrist was openly against Christ, John would not have had to tell Christians how to recognize such a person (1 John 4:1-4). You don’t have to "try the spirit" of someone who is openly against Christ in order to know if they are of God. Instead, those who have the spirit of antichrist profess to serve Christ, yet their spirit does not manifest (confess) that Jesus is come in their flesh (i.e. dwell within their body which is "the temple of the Holy Ghost").
Jesus said "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity " (Matthew 7:21-23). In other words, they are trusting in their own works for their salvation, rather than having true salvation producing the good works (Ephesians 2:8-10, James 2).
What are ten reasons for studying the Bible?Answer:
- The Bible yields food for the soul. It has the milk necessary for the spiritual growth of the babe, and strong meat to sustain the older, mature Christian (1 Pet.2:1 2; Heb.5:12 14).
- A knowledge of the truth and obedience is necessary to be made free from sin (John 8:31 32; 1 Pet.1 :22).
- The Bible reveals God's view of man, and enables the student to see himself as God sees him, for the Bible is God's mirror of the soul (James 1 :21 25).
- A working knowledge of the Bible arms one against the difficulties and hardships of life. It has a message to cover every condition and problem. It can be used in every emergency from the cradle to the grave (Rom.15 :4).
- The knowledgeable Christian is able to comfort and edify the discouraged and brokenhearted (Col.4:6; 1 Thess.4: 14).
- The Scriptures contain all good works that are pleasing to God, and give all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Tim.3:16,17; 2 Pet.1:3).
- One must study the Bible to have the approval of God, to be a ready workman, and to handle aright the Word of truth (2 Tim.2:15; 1 Pet.3:15).
- A knowledge of the Bible is the only safeguard against fatal error (Acts 17:11; I John 4:1).
- The Scriptures are able to build us up and to give us a home in heaven (Acts 20:32; 2 Tim.3:15).
- The Bible will be our standard of judgment (John 12:48; Rev.20:12).
Was Peter the chief apostle, as the Roman Catholic Church teaches? (Matthew 16:18-19).Answer: No. In Matthew 16:19, it says, "...whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." "Thou" is singular, addressed to Peter. However, this same command was given to all the apostles in Matthew 18:18, where the term "ye" is used, being plural. An apostle is one who has been sent by Jesus (John 20:21-22). Part of the binding and losing is in John 20:23. In Acts 2:37, Peter was not recognized as the leader of the apostles, he was the spokesman for the 12 apostles, but so was John, and so were all the other apostles. Look at Acts 2:42-43, "And they continued steadfastly in Peter’s doctrine, because he was the first pope." No, they continued in the apostle’s doctrine, and all the apostles did signs and wonders, not just Peter. John and the others had the spirit too (Acts 4:13-14,19,33; 5:12-15,32). The apostles spoke also (Acts 6:2).
Stephen, who wasn’t even an apostle, stood up and resisted the authorities, and was killed for that (Acts 7:51-60). Peter gave in to the authorities. Never is Peter called a "great one" (Acts 8:9-10). If Peter were the chief apostle, liken unto a Pope, or one that had authority over the other apostles, then we should have more of the history of Peter. But, most writings concern Paul. Most of Acts deal with Paul (chapters 13-28), 14 epistles are written by Paul, but only 2 written by Peter. Nowhere does Peter claim any supremacy over any other apostle. Peter was given in to Judaism, and was rebuked by Paul for his false doctrine (Galatians 2:11-14). Jesus called Peter "Satan" (Matthew 16:23), he cursed and swore (Matthew 26:74) & denied Jesus 3 times (Mark 14:67-72).
Christians are not to compare themselves to see who is greater than one another (2 Corinthians 10:12). A hierarchy perverts the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9). Not even Jesus has the power to appoint men in a position of power over the church (Matthew 20:20-23). The apostles were angry at the 2 men who wanted authority in the church (verse 24). Then Jesus explained how Christians shall NOT have any man be in authority over any other Christian (verse 25-27, Mark 10:42-44, Luke 22:25-26). Who is our master? Jesus Christ. We are to do what He says, not what men says.
Let’s see what Peter himself taught. 1 Peter 5:2-3, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre (gain), but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." Here is Peter himself saying no one man should be Lord over another. God does not want an over-bearing, over-ruling hierarchy over the brethren, and he is executing his judgment against it! All those who follow a dictatorial hierarchyship are going to be destined for more trouble (Revelation 2:14-16).
God says men should have short hair and women long hair (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). How long is long?Answer: Obviously there is no absolute hair length given in the Bible.
First, the terms long and short themselves, as fitting in the context to which they are applied, will determine what is long and what is short. If the hair is unquestionably long, then it is long. If it is unquestionably short, then it is short. If it is questionable in the particular context in which the is asked, then it is not long, or it is not short. If you are a woman, and your hair length is questionable, then it is too short. If you are a man, and your hair length is questionable, then it is too long. It is puzzling to me why so many are so vehemently unwilling to apply this to their own hair style. Why resist what the Bible plainly says? Why not wear your hair so that it is unquestionably in line with Scripture? The Bible plainly says the woman’s long hair is her glory and covering. Wear it long, then. Likewise, the Bible says the man’s short hair is proper and that long hair on him is a shame. Wear it short, then.
Second, the woman’s hair is to be a head covering to symbolize her submission to authority and to the man’s headship. Thus the hair must fall down over her head as a natural covering. This means more than merely covering the scalp of the head. The man's hair is to do that, but his hair, when merely covering the scalp, is called short. The covering means the hair is to be long enough to fall down over her head to naturally cover her entire head. The hair hanging down over the head, at least onto the shoulders, best fits this description. It is the natural veil hanging down over the head. Contrariwise, the man's hair is not to cover his head in this manner; it is not to cover his "head" in the sense of being a covering hanging down over and around his head.
Third, the woman’s hair must be "long" in contrast to the man’s "short" hair. The length can vary, but the contrast between the man and the woman must be plain for all to see, because the hair is said to be a symbol which speaks both to men and to angels (1 Corinthians 11:10). Today's unisex hair cuts for women obliterate this distinction, and that is plainly unscriptural. For a woman to wear her hair at a length which would be confused as that of a man's is wrong. Likewise, for a man to wear his hair so that it is confused with that of a woman, is wrong.
It is the sad truth, friends, and a chief reason is that so many preachers refuse to have anything at all to do with this matter, in spite of the fact that it is something which involves even angels. I hear someone protest, "It isn’t important, Brother," but if it is not important at all, why in the world is it in the Bible?
The Nazarites let their hair grow (Numbers 6:5), but it was as a token of humiliation; and it is possible that Paul had this in view. There were consequently two reasons why the apostle should condemn this practice for men: 1) because it was a sign of humiliation; and 2) because it was womanish.
Is the law of mixed fibers (or fabrics) still binding on Christians?
Answer: The law of mixed fibres (Deuteronomy 22:11, Leviticus 19:19), did not prohibit the Israelites from wearing many different kinds of clothes together; only two different kinds are specified; wool and linen. Furthermore, this prohibition did not prevent an Israelite from wearing one piece of wool and one piece of linen on his body at the same time. This law prevented wearing a garment that was a mixture of both wool and linen.
The observations and researches of modern science have proved that "wool, when combined with linen, increases its power of passing off the electricity from the body. In hot climates, it brings on malignant fevers and exhausts the strength; and when passing off from the body, it meets with the heated air, inflames and excoriates like a blister" [WHITLAW]. (See Ezekiel 44:17-18).
This law is for His children's benefit.
Is the law about sowing two different kinds of seeds on the same piece of lawn still binding on Christians?
Answer: For those who have studied the diseases of land and vegetables tell us, that the practice of mingling seeds is injurious both to flowers and to grains. "If the various genera of the natural order Gramineæ, which includes the grains and the grasses, should be sown in the same field, and flower at the same time, so that the pollen of the two flowers mix, a spurious seed will be the consequence, called by the farmers chess. It is always inferior and unlike either of the two grains that produced it, in size, flavor, and nutritious principles. Independently of contributing to disease the soil, they never fail to produce the same in animals and men that feed on them" [WHITLAW].
Again, this law is only for our safety and health.
What is the purpose behind Deuteronomy 22:10 and Leviticus 19:19, "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together"? Is this law still binding upon Christians?Answer: A "yoke" is something fixed together on the neck of oxen for the purpose of binding them so that they might draw the plow. The reason God forbids and ox and an ass to be yoked together is because they would plow in different directions, and the farmer would not get much work done! This is also the reason why God commanded us to be separate from unbelievers, and why Jesus commanded to be yoked to Him (Matthew 11:29-30). If we do His will, He will guide our steps. If we do our own will, we will pull in different directions.
Again, this law is only for our benefit.
Is the law of phylacteries still binding on Christians?
Answer: The purpose of this law was to act as a physical reminder to be holy. Are the phylacteries that ultra-orthodox Jews wear on their foreheads (Deut.6:8-9), which often look like small wooden blocks with Hebrew writing on them, required for Christians? Or to wear tassels on clothing, which had the same function (Num.15:39-40)?
Christians do not need such physical reminders of the law, and need not obey the Old Testament laws that require them, because the law is now written on our hearts (Heb.8:10). As Paul explains, what matters now is that the spirit places the law in our hearts (II Cor.3:2-3). By contrast, ancient Israel mostly tried to obey the Ten Commandments and the law in general by their own physical strength (Exo.19:8; 24:3, 7, Gal.3:10,12). Most of them never had the Holy Spirit, so God didn't help them to obey. However, for Christians, the situation is very different, for God helps us to obey the law through the Holy Spirit in us. The old administration of the law has been abolished which placed a literal physical copy of the Ten Commandments in the Ark of the Covenant to serve (among other things) as a collective physical reminder to all of Israel to keep the law in exchange for promised physical blessings (II Cor.3:7, 11). With the new covenant's arrival, God no longer requires worship focused upon the Ark of the Covenant and the sacrifices around it because of Jesus' death and the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11, 13-14). The physical objects in the temple and tabernacle which "serve[d as] a copy and shadow of the heavenly things" (Heb.8:5), which included the Ark of the Covenant above all, are not requirements for Christian worship.
If something is unlawful for believers, is it not also unlawful for unbelievers?
Answer: No, not necessarily. For example, it is against God's Law for a believer to eat an animal that dies by itself (Leviticus 17:15; 22:8), but at the same time, believers are commanded to give it or sell it to an unbeliever (Deuteronomy 14:21). Another example is usury. Believers are forbidden to charge usury to another believer (Exodus 22:25, Leviticus 25:36-37, Deuteronomy 23:19), but at the same time, God commands believers to charge usury to unbelievers!
Deuteronomy 23:20, "Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury:"
Deuteronomy 15:2-3, "And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD'S release. Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;"
At this point, you may say, But usury is not an abomination to God; and neither is eating an animal that dies by itself. Only abominations are a sin for both believers and unbelievers. Well, actually, they are both considered an abomination to God:
Ezekiel 18:13, "Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him."
Leviticus 17:15-16, "And every soul that eateth that which died of itself shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean. But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity."
Leviticus 22:8-9, "That which dieth of itself he shall not eat to defile himself therewith lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it.
Ezekiel 4:14, " my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth."
As we can see, both usury and eating an animal that dies of itself is considered an abomination to God, but he permitted, and even commanded, that believers may do these acts to the heathen. By this it appears that usury is not in itself oppressive; for God commanded them to not oppress a stranger (Exodus 22:21; 23:9, Jeremiah 7:6-7, Zechariah7:10), and yet they were allowed to exact usury from him. Proper compensation for the use of money or any other property is not in itself wrong; but we should kindly assist the poor, and as we have opportunity and ability do good to all, especially to the friends of God and those who will use our kindness in honoring him.
A final example is that of being a bondmen (meaning a lifelong slave). Believers were forbidden from buying, selling or having bondservants that were also believers (Leviticus 25:42). However, believers were commanded to buy, sell, and have bondservants who were unbelievers (Leviticus 25:44).
Therefore, just because something is a sin if a believer does an act to a fellow believer (i.e., eat an animal that dies of itself, charge usury, have a bondmen), it does not mean it is a sin for a believer to do these same acts with an unbeliever.
How tall was Goliath? And how much did his armour weigh?
Answer: The Bible says Goliath's "height was six cubits and a span" (1 Samuel 17:4), which means Goliath was 9 feet, 9 inches tall. His armour was "five thousand shekels of brass" (1 Samuel 17:5), which is 175-200 pounds. "His spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron" (1 Samuel 17:7), which means the head of spear weighed 25 pounds. Notice also in this verse that a man carried Goliaths' shield for him during battle, "and one bearing a shield went before him."
Just how many Mary's are there in the New Testament?
Answer: There are six Mary's. The name "Mary", when used of the Lord's mother, is always in Greek Mariam = the Hebrew Miriam, as is Exodus 15:20. The other five are usually "Maria."
1) Mary the mother of our Lord (Matthew 1:16, &c). The context never leaves room for any doubt as to her identity.
2) Mary the mother of James the less and Joses (Matthew 27:56. Mark 15:40; 16:1. Luke 24:10). She is called "the other Mary" (Matthew 27:61; 28:1), and the wife of Cleopas (John 19:25).
3) Mary the sister of Martha, who anointed the Lord's feet (John 12:3). She is mentioned by name only in Luke 10:39, 42 and John 11:1, 2, 19, 20, 28, 31, 32, 45; and 12:3.
4) Mary Magdalene, of Magdala (Matthew 15:39). She is always to be identified by this designation (Matthew 27:56. Mark 16:1, 9. Luke 8:2. John 20:18, &c); there is no authority whatever for identifying her with the unnamed woman of Luke 7:37-50.
5) Mary the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12).
6) Mary, one of Paul's helpers. (Romans 16:6).
What is the best way to interpret scripture?
Answer: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20). The best way is to let scripture interpret scripture: Isaiah 28:10, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little."
James 2:10, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Does this mean that all sins are equal?
Answer: This passage is taken from Deuteronomy 27:26. This does not mean that all sins are equal; it means he who breaks one small part of the law, offends the majority of the given law.
Obviously, in the Old Testament, there were greater sins than others, and the same is so in the New Testament. Even Jesus spoke of a “greater sin” (John 19:11), so there are still sins greater than others. This does not affirm that he is as guilty as if he had violated every law of God; or that all sinners are of equal grade because all have violated some one or more of the laws of God; but the meaning is, that he is guilty of violating the law of God as such.
A man who has stolen a horse is held to be a violator of the law, no matter in how many other respects he has kept it, and the law condemns him for it. He cannot plead his obedience to the law in other things as a reason why he should not be punished for this sin; but however upright he may have been in general, even though it may have been through a long life, the law holds him to be a transgressor, and condemns him. The law judges a man for what he has done in this specific case, and he cannot plead in justification of it that he has been obedient in other things. It follows, therefore, that if a man has been guilty of violating the law of God in any one instance, or is not perfectly holy, he cannot be justified and saved by it, though he should have obeyed it in every other respect, any more than a man who has been guilty of murder can be saved from the gallows because he has, in other respects, been a good citizen, a kind father, an honest neighbour, or has been compassionate to the poor and the needy. He cannot plead his act of truth in one case as an offset to the sin of falsehood in another; he cannot defend himself from the charge of dishonesty in one instance by the plea that he has been honest in another; he cannot urge the fact that he has done a good thing as a reason why he should not be punished for a bad one. He must answer for the specific charge against him, and none of these other things can be an offset against this one act of wrong.
Here's another question about James 2:10. Does this verse mean that if we keep any laws from the Old Testament, that we must keep all of them?
Answer: No. This verse is in reference to the so called New Testament laws, not the Old Testament laws. Let's examine this verse in context.
First of all, James is writing to fellow believers in Jesus Christ, not to Jews who rejected Christ. In verse 1, James admonishes believers in Christ to have no "respect of persons." This is a New Testament law, for believes in Christ. This was an Old Testament law that was carried over into the New Testament (Leviticus 19:15, Deuteronomy 1:17; 16:19, Proverbs 24:23; 28:21). Many people claim that "only the laws that are repeated in the New Testament are binding upon us ." Well, this is a law that is repeated in the New Testament, and is repeated to the servants of Christ.
Verses 2-7 goes into more detail as to why believers in Christ are commanded to not have respect of persons.
Verse 8 is addressed to the bondservants of Christ:
James 2:8, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
James tells believers in Christ that they would do well, if they kept the Royal Law according to scripture. Now, the question is, what "law" is he talking about? If James is talking about the Old Testament Laws, then James would be telling believers in Christ that they would be doing well if they obeyed the Old Testament laws! Yet, today, many believe that if a believer keeps the Old Testament laws, that they are legalistic, under the curse of the law, fallen from grace, etc. Therefore, James could not be referring to all of the Old Testament Laws, but to the New Testament Laws. One of which is to not respect persons (which he covered in the first seven verses). Therefore, in context, the Law being addressed is the Laws of the New Testament. Let's continue:
Verse 9 repeats what was said in verses 1-7, but emphasizes that it would be a sin if a fellow believer in Christ has respect of persons:
James 2:9, "But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors."
Who is the "ye" addressed to in verse 9? Verse 1 says "My brethren" who have faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 9 says if a believer in Christ respects persons, they commit sin and transgress the law! Now, what law is James talking about? Well, verses 1-8 were all about the Law of the New Covenant. This is the Context. The first 7 verses were about the New Testament Law regarding respect of persons. Therefore, in context, verse 9 is warning believers in Christ that if they respect persons, they will transgress the Law of the New Testament!
For those who believe that verse 9 is in reference to the Old Testament Law, I must ask this question. What sense would it make for James to command, in verses 1-7, to not respect persons. And then, in verse 9, tell these same people that if they disobey what he just told them, and they do have respect to persons, then they will commit sin and transgress the Old Testament law? Was James teaching the servants of Christ, in verses 1-7, to obey the Old Testament law? This does not make any sense. Now, we come to verse 10, which is a continuation of verse 9.
James 2:10, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
Now, in the context of this chapter, what "law" is verse 10 in reference to? The only law under discussion is the New Testament law! Remember, verse 10 is a continuation of the previous verses, especially verse 9. Verse 9 is in reference to the New Testament laws, and verse 10 explains why they would be transgressors of the New Testament laws. The reason is because if you offend in one point, you are guilty of them all.
It would not make any sense for James to say, in verse 9, that they will transgress the New Testament Law if they respect persons, and then continue in verse 10 by saying the reason is because if you break just one Old Testament law, you are guilty of breaking them all. This would be the same thing as saying that believers in Christ must obey all the Old Testament laws!
It would also not make sense even if verse 9 refers to the Old Testament law as well, because James would basically be telling them to obey God and not respect persons in verses 1-7. Then, in verses 9-10, tells them that if they disobey God and do respect persons, then they have broken the Old Testament law, because they did not keep the entire Old Testament Law. Again, this would mean that James was teaching the servants of Christ, in verses 1-7, to obey the Old Testament law! This does not make any sense.
Verse 11 repeats the New Testament Laws that Jesus Christ spoke (Matthew 19:18-19, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20). Some might claim that this verse refers to the Old Testament laws, but these same people also admit that "whatever laws are repeated in the New Testament are still in effect for us." So, a question arises at this point. Is the Command to not kill and to not commit adultery repeated in the New Testament? Yes they are. So on what basis do they claim that verse 10 must be in reference to the Old Testament? Do they believe that this entire chapter is in reference to the New Testament, except for this one lone verse? The entire context of this chapter prohibits such an interpretation.
Now, if there is any doubt that the above verses refer to the New Testament laws, the following verse should lay that question to rest:
James 2:12, "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."
Here, James is telling believers in Christ to do what he just mentioned in all the previous verses (i.e., to have no respect of persons, do not kill, and do not commit adultery). Now, if James was telling them to obey and do the Old Testament laws, verse 12 would not make any sense. For James would be telling them to obey and do the Old Testament laws. Therefore, James must have been referring to the New Testament laws.
The rest of this chapter continues with what the brethren in Christ are to do also, and this whole chapter is in reference to keeping the commands of the New Testament. The only way to make verses 10-11 apply only to the Old Testament would be to take those verses out of the context of this entire chapter. This is called a "cut and paste theology."
What is interesting is that some people claim that "only the Old Testament laws that are repeated in the New Testament are binding upon us." Well, James 2:10 is repeating an Old Testament Law from Deuteronomy 27:26. Why is it that when this Old Testament law is repeated in the New Testament, these same people suddenly change there stance and say, "Oh, no, this law is not binding upon us!"? Why is this? Can it be because what they really meant to say is, "only the laws that are repeated in the New Testament are binding upon us, as long as it does not conflict wih what I want to do."
Well, there is a word for this. It's called "hypocracy."
What is the meaning of the parable of the marriage feast in Matthew 22:1-14?Answer: The bidden guests (v.4) are the people of Israel, whereas those in the highways (v.9) are the Gentiles. Both bad and good (v.10) refer to moral and immoral sinners who alike need God's gracious invitation. The man without the wedding garment (v.11) came to the feast but had disregarded the propriety of the king's provision, since such garments were normally supplied by the host. This reference seems to be the "robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10) which we must receive from the Lord in order to attend the marriage feast. Casting the unclean guest into outer darkness (v.13) symbolizes the judgment of the lost.
What did Jesus mean when he commanded us to not swear at all in Matthew 5:33-37?Answer: The basis of Old Testament swearing, or oath-taking, is found in Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 19:12, and Deuteronomy 23:21. To “forswear” (verse 33) means to swear falsely or perjure oneself. All such oath-taking, Jesus announced, was unnecessary if one were in the habit of telling the truth. Thus, his command was “swear not at all” (verse 34). This does not have reference to cursing, as such, but to oath-taking. The disciple is to speak the truth in such a way that his “yes” means yes and his “no” means no. “Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay” (verse 37). When you say “yes,” make sure that is what you mean. When you say “no,” make sure that also is what you mean. Mean what you say; say what you mean. Anything that is more than a simple affirmation of the truth “cometh from evil” (verse 37).
What did Jesus mean when he said “whoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matthew 5:41)?Answer: In ancient times, government agents were in a position to compel forced service upon a subjected people. A Roman soldier, for example, could compel a Jewish native to carry his armor or materials for one mile. Jesus now states that if someone compels you to walk a mile, go with him two miles. The believer is to be willing to “go the extra mile.” Doing double our duty not only shows our love toward our enemy, our servanthood to help others, and loyalty to human authority, but likewise proves the spiritual intention of our heart.
Who are those mentioned in Mark 14:53?Answer: The high priest at the time was Caiaphas, who served 19 years (A.D. 18-37) in that position. The chief priests were those who had previously been high priests. Elders were representative laymen from local families of influence. Scribes were lawyers, experts in questions pertaining to Old Testament Law and Jewish tradition.
What does scripture say about gambling?Answer: Although "gambling" is not directly mentioned in the scripture, there are clear principles which gambling causes us to violate if we should participate in it. First, what do we mean by gambling? Simply put, it's the activity of staking something of value on a game of chance hoping to acquire gain. We put money or something else at risk hoping to acquire the money or goods of others who also put theirs at risk.
Why is it wrong? We can list just three principles that help us understand the sinfulness of gambling. First, it violates the "golden rule” (Matthew 7:12). Here, Jesus tells us that we should treat our neighbor as we would want them to treat us. But, in gambling, our goal is to take all we can from our neighbor. Second, gambling is stealing by consent. That is, all agree that, if the game of chance ends in a certain way, they will take from one another. We would not enjoy someone directly stealing thousands of dollars from us, but we consent to allowing others to take thousands of dollars from us in a game of chance (Ephesians 4:28). Third, gambling encourages covetousness and not hard work. The scripture plainly teaches us to work hard, providing for ourselves and for others. And, if we do not, we should not enjoy the privileges of eating and being cared for (2 Thessalonians 3).
In the Book of Acts it says that the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot was selected by "casting lots" (Acts 1:26). This seems to be a rather crude, almost pagan, way of choosing an apostle of the Lord, doesn't it?Answer: The use of rocks or sticks to designate the choice of someone was common in the Old Testament era (1 Chronicles 26:13-16, Nehemiah 11:1, Jonah 1:7). Lots were usually made out of small stones or pieces of wood. Sometimes arrows were used (Ezekiel 21:21). These marked objects were drawn from a receptacle into which they had been cast. What is clear, though, is no matter how "primitive" a method was, the Lord actually used it on several occasions (Joshua 17:14-26, 1 Samuel 14:38-44, Proverbs 16:33).
Prior to Pentecost, the casting of lots was a divinely approved method of discerning God's Will (Joshua 18:8). Proverbs 16:33, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD." Nowhere else in Acts is there any record of using lots again. The Holy Spirit now provides that direction (Acts 16:6-7, Romans 8:14,26-27, Galatians 5:18).
The selection of the apostle Matthias was the last time lots were used as a method of revelation. Quite soon afterwards the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers on the Day of Pentecost and an altogether higher order of spiritual communion and revelation was ushered into the Christian community. Thereafter we find elders and other officers of the Christian congregations selected by revelation given directly to the mind and the heart, as was the more common method used by the prophets in the Old Testament. This time, however, everyone born again of the Holy Spirit was entitled to such revelation as and when required by God.
There is no place for the casting of lots in the Christian dispensation which borders precariously closely on divination. God operates through many outer forms of communication when faith and holiness are present.
Why did Jesus say "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" while on the cross? (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). Did God forsake Jesus?Answer: Most everything Jesus taught was out of scripture. He began most of his teachings with, "it is written", "ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time", etc. then quoted from the Old Testament. Jesus himself said, "all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me" (Luke 24:44 44).
Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophesies concerning him, one of which is in Psalm 22:1-22, which is a cry for anguish. While Jesus was on the cross, he quoted the beginning of Psalm 22 when he stated, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The common Jewish way of designating an entire psalm was to refer to the opening lines, since the psalms were not numbered at that time. Jesus did not believe God had forsaken him: this would be lack of faith, which is sin (Romans 14:23), and Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He referred to the psalm in its entirety as a messianic psalm. By reading the rest of this Psalm, you will discover it prophesied everything that took place on the day Jesus was crucified. A few examples: Compare Psalm 22:6 with Matthew 27:29-31,39. Psalm 22:7-8 with Matthew 27:42-43. Psalm 22:9-10 with Matthew 1:20 and Luke 1:35. Psalm 22:14 with John 19:34. Psalm 22:16 with Mark 15:25 and John 20:25. Psalm 22:18 with Matthew 27:35.
That he knew God had not actually forsaken him is clear from the same psalm, which says, "For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard" (Psalm 22:24). In fact, Jesus was declaring to his accusers that they were in the midst of fulfilling this psalm, which was commonly understood in His day to refer to the coming Messiah, the Suffering Servant. The psalmist himself understood that the "forsaking" of God was not abandonment, but a lifting of His Sovereign protection according to His divine plan so that the threats of his enemies could be carried out in fulfillment of prophecy.
What is God's "covenant of salt" (2 Chronicles 13:5)?Answer: All the sacrifices and oblations required by God's covenant with Israel were to be sprinkled with salt. Hence it is called the salt of God's covenant (Leviticus 2:13, Ezekiel 43:24). Thus, salt became a symbol of the perpetuity of God's covenant with men, and "a covenant of salt" is a covenant that can never be changed or destroyed. What did Jesus mean when he stated, “Ye are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) and "Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14)?Answer: Salt adds flavoring, acts as a preservative, melts coldness, and heals wounds. Thus it is a very appropriate description of the believer in his relationship to the world in which he lives. The analogy of salt used by Jesus is interesting. Some food tastes bland and uninteresting without salt. Add salt and it becomes instantly transformed. We are to transform our relationships, our marriages, our speech, our deeds, our everything. We are to breathe light and soul into that which is dead because of sin. In short, we are to ignite other souls with the Light of Christ as Christ has ignited us. We are to be a leaven transforming all around us. We are to inject creativity in all we do -- in our homes, in our jobs, in our gardens, in everything.
And remember, it only takes a sprinkling of salt to transform a dull and tasteless piece of meat. What we salt is, in terms of size or proportion, far larger than the amount of salt we use. Only a little transforms everything. Only a little light empties the world of darkness. With a little you can light up a big social area. Only a pinch of soul-salt will savour the lives of hundreds, or even thousands. Does that encourage you? It should. You may think you're insignificant and in a way you are -- but with a little bit of Christ you become a veritable lighthouse illuminating the way for many.
Place a carrot in boiling water and it becomes soft; an egg becomes hard, but coffee beans change the water. If we are bitter, that is what we will flavor our environment with.
Prayer: "Lord, cause us to be a presence in this world that takes out the bitterness of this world. Make us tasty. Don't let the hardness of the world make us hard. Lead us into the mystery of how we can truly flavor/change the world for the better. Show us how to become salty according to your pattern and not ours."
Did Samson's great strength come from his hair?Answer: No, the Lord made him strong, and his uncut hair was a sign that he was dedicated to God (Judges 13:5).
According to Numbers 6:2-6, the vow of a Nazarite involved these three things, (1) abstinence from wine and strong drink, (2) refraining from cutting the hair off the head during the whole period of the continuance of the vow, and (3) the avoidance of contact with the dead.
Can you explain 1 Corinthians 10:18, "Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?"Answer: When a sacrifice was brought to the altar, it was not entirely consumed. Rather, a portion was divided between the priest and the offerer (Leviticus 7:15; 8:31, Deuteronomy 12:18). Thus, it became as act of mutual sharing and worshipping God.
Can you tell me about the "cities of refuge"?Answer: When a man was killed, it was the duty of his nearest male relative of the deceased, "the avenger of blood" (Numbers 35:12,19,21,24,25,27), to kill the man responsible. He was the one who should "buy" his relative out of trouble (Numbers 5:8, Leviticus 25:25-26, Ruth 3:12; 4:1,6,8, Job 19:25, Isaiah 59:20).
After a preliminary inquiry in the city of refuge, the man who had committed the homicide would be granted a trial before the congregation of the city in or closest to where the slaying took place (Numbers 35:24-25, Deuteronomy 19:12). If he was found innocent, the manslaughterer could then dwell in a city of refuge until the death of the high priest (Exodus 21:13, Numbers 35:28, Joshua 20:6). The manslayer was protected only within the limits of the city of refuge (Numbers 35:26-28). After the death of the high priest, the innocent slayer was free to go back to his own city (Numbers 35:24-25, Joshua 20:6). If convicted of his crime, the slayer was to be punished by death (Exodus 20:13; 21:12, Leviticus 24:17, Numbers 35:31). The law allowed the execution of the manslayer only if the deed was deliberate. The law of asylum for unintentional homicide applied equally to the stranger and to the Israelite (Joshua 20:9).
This law's primary concern was the provision of cities of refuge for manslaughterers (Numbers 35:15). The law also considered who was qualified for admission (Numbers 35:16-25), and then what might happen if he left the city before the death of the high priest (Numbers 35:26-28). It prescribed the evidence necessary for a conviction of murder (Numbers 35:30), and it prohibited ransom (Numbers 35:31-32).
The Levites were the permanent inhabitants of the cities of refuge and took responsibility for admitting the manslaughterers. Six such cities , all of them Levitical towns, are so designated (Numbers 35:10-15). There were three on each side of the Jordan, conveniently distributed throughout the areas for easy access (Deuteronomy 4:41-43; 19:1-6).
The death of the high priest atoned for the manslaughterer and allowed the guilty man to return home. The function of the high priest anticipated the ministry of our Lord, not only in His life offering sacrifice and prayer on behalf of the people, but also in His death (Hebrews 4-9).
What are some examples of prejudice in scripture?Answer: In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus gave a parable of the Good Samaritan, where a priest and a Levite refused to give aid to a man in need, but a Samaritan did. Unlike the priest, the Levite at least approached the victim and gazed at him, but neither extended aid. Jews and Samaritans were bitter rivals (John 4:9). The Samaritans were despised for having at least partially Gentile ancestry (due to Assyria's conquest of Samaria in 721 B.C.) and for having a different worship center (Mount Gerizim; John 4:20). Thus Jesus' parable was highly provocative. Samaritan was to Jesus' hearers automatically a term of reproach. To portray a Samaritan as fulfilling the commandment (Luke 10:27), but Jews as circumventing it, would be a supreme insult to the listening lawyer (Luke 10:25) and to the rest of the audience. The lawyer cannot even bring himself to say "the Samaritan" (Luke 10:37). Jesus shows that racial considerations are utterly transcended by God's command to love Him, and thus to love others as He does, without prejudice or partiality.
Another example is in Luke 15:11-32, in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In verses 25-28, the older son valued his own higher privilege, and despised his brother who had squandered his portion. He thus felt superior and self-righteous, and was now understandably annoyed that his brother was being lavished with mercy and kindness. Jesus is clearly painting a portrait of the attitude behind the murmuring of verse 2. In verses 29-30, the son is articulate at airing his grievance: his brother enjoys a fatted calf, while he has never had even a kid, which was much cheaper fare. He speaks not of "my brother" but of "this thy son." Similar to the lawyer of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, he could not bring himself to call him according to the relationship between the two.
Is it a sin for a woman to have a baby? Why does she have to do a sin offering after she has a baby (Leviticus 12)?Answer: No, it is not a sin for a woman to have a baby. A few words will make this subject sufficiently plain. 1. God designs that the human female should bring forth children. 2. That children should derive, under his providence, their being, all their solids and all their fluids, in a word, the whole mass of their bodies, from the substance of the mother. 3. For this purpose he has given to the body of the female an extra quantity of blood and nutritious juices. 4. Before pregnancy this superabundance is evacuated at periodical times. 5. In pregnancy, that which was formerly evacuated is retained for the formation and growth of the fetus, or the general strengthening of the system during the time of pregnancy. 6. After the birth of the child, for seven or fourteen days, more or less according to certain circumstances, that superabundance, no longer necessary for the growth of the child as before, continues to be evacuated: this was called the time of the female's purification among the Jews. 7. When the lacerated vessels are rejoined, this superfluity of blood is returned into the general circulation, and, by a wise law of the Creator, becomes principally useful to the breasts, and helps in the production of milk for the nourishment of the new-born infant. 8. And thus it continues till the weaning of the child, or renewed pregnancy takes place. Here is a series of mercies and wise providential regulations which cannot be known without being admired, and which should be known that the great Creator and Preserver may have that praise from his creatures which his wonderful working demands.
The term purifying here does not imply that there is any thing impure in the blood at this or the other times referred to above; on the contrary, the blood is pure, perfectly so, as to its quality, but is excessive in quantity for the reasons above assigned.
Can you explain Matthew 11:25, "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."Answer: By hiding these things from the wise and prudent, we are not to understand God's putting darkness into them, but his leaving them to their own darkness, or denying them that light which they had no desire to see; plainly intimating, that God judicially hides the mysteries of heavenly wisdom from world y wise men.
The scribes and Pharisees, vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds, and having their foolish hearts darkened, refusing to submit to the righteousness of God (God's method of saving man by Christ) and going about to establish their own righteousness, (their own method of saving themselves,) they rejected God's counsel, and God sent the peace and salvation of the Gospel to others, called here babes, (his disciples,) simple-hearted persons, who submitted to be instructed and saved in God's own way. Let it be observed, that our Lord does not thank the Father that he had hidden these things from the wise and prudent, but that, seeing they were hidden from them, he had revealed them to the others.
Is it okay for believers in Christ to go live out in the mountains, or in a secluded place, away from the things of the world?Answer: Those who believe they can separate themselves from the world are kind of kidding themselves, because we're to witness the hope that is in us. Those that believe they can find some secluded place and say "Well, I'm going to avoid the evils of men by living up in the mountains where nobody will bother me anymore" is all in error, because we are told otherwise in:
Mark 4:21, "And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?"
Luke 8:16, "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light."
Luke 11:33-36, "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light."
Do we really need other men to teach us the things of God?Answer: Well, the Holy Spirit Himself is the guide and teacher of His own Word. But our Father in Heaven does send messengers and uses the agency of man to teach God's Word to others.
Acts 8:30-31, "…Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?”
Romans 10:14, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Can you explain Exodus 21:22-23?Answer:
Exodus 21:22-23 (Septuagint), “And if two men strive and smite a woman with child, and her child be born imperfectly formed, he shall be forced to pay a penalty: as the woman's husband may lay upon him, he shall pay with a valuation. But if it be perfectly formed, he shall give life for life,”As a posterity among the Jews was among the peculiar promises of their covenant, and as every man had some reason to think that the Messiah should spring from his family, therefore any injury done to a woman with child, by which the fruit of her womb might be destroyed, was considered a very heavy offence; and as the crime was committed principally against the husband, the degree of punishment was left to his discretion. But if mischief followed, that is, if the child had been fully formed, and was killed by this means, or the woman lost her life in consequence, then the punishment was as in other cases of murder-the person was put to death (Exodus 21:23). Adam Clarke's Commentary.
Exodus 21:22-23 (KJV), "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,"
Why did Jesus omit the Tenth Commandment (“Thou shalt not covet”) in Matthew 19:18-19, Mark 10:19, and Luke 18:20?Answer: In order to convict his questioner, who said, "all these things have I kept." Upon which the Lord's command, "...go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor...", convicted him of his breach of the 10th commandment, as shown by the man's sorrow in the next verse.
Did Jesus and the apostles sacrifice a lamb when they ate the Lord's Supper?Answer: Yes.
Mark 14:12, "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?"
A few verses later is when the Lord's supper took place.
In the New Testament, Jesus speaks about following Him, and giving all you have to the poor (Matthew 19:16-25, Mark 10:17-25). If we are to be like Jesus, is it wrong to own things such as a home and cars. Jesus never owned anything.Answer:It depends on the reason why one has a house, car, etc. If one uses such things to glorify God, and for one's sustenance, then is it godly. If one has 10 cars, and multiple mansions, so one can glorify oneself, then that would be coveting.
Yes, Jesus told that rich man to sell all he had to follow him, but it was to demonstrate a point. Notice what Jesus told this man he had to do. Jesus repeated the 10 commandments to him...right? Nope. He left out the 10th commandment. The man said, "All these I have kept!" And Jesus did not quote the 10th commandment. Why? In order to convict the man of coveting. That rich man could not sell his belongings because he coveted them too much. He loved his things more than God.
Now, remember Lazarus and Martha? They were very rich!!! They were Jesus' best friends. Jesus never told them to sell anything they had. Why not? Because Lazarus and Martha were using their things for God's purposes. They were not covetous. That's the difference. Their home was open to all, and their money was used to support God's ministers, etc.
We must remember that God owns everything, and we are simply stewards, entrusted to take care of His creation, and the things He has given us. We are not to profit or make merchandise of his creation.
If we sin, and God created us, then doesn't that mean God has programmed us to sin?Answer: God does not program us to sin, he permits us to sin. Otherwise, he would program us to always be good and we would be robots.
When you're in love, the one you love is there by choice. And what makes it meaningful is that the one you love could choose to leave you. If you forced him or her to love you, that would be rape. God is not a rapist, He gives us the choice to love Him or walk away from Him.
How were the people saved before Christ?Answer: All who have been saved, in all ages, have been saved by looking to the Lord (Isaiah 45:22), because His Grace and our faith saves us. This "grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Timothy 1:9). Noah "found grace" (Genesis 6:8); Lot found grace (Genesis 19:18-19); Moses found grace (Exodus 33:17); the Israelites in the wilderness found grace (Jeremiah 31:2); and according to Hebrews 11, Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, and many other Old Testament worthies were saved "by faith." They were saved by looking forward to the cross; we are saved by looking back to the cross.
What did John the Baptist mean when he said Christ would baptize with fire (Matthew 3:11)?Answer: This was the province of the Spirit of God, and of it alone; therefore he is represented here under the similitude of fire, because he was to illuminate and invigorate the soul, penetrate every part, and assimilate the whole to the image of the God of glory.
Can you explain the meaning of Paul's passage in 1 Corinthians 10:4, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."?Answer: "And did all drink the same spiritual drink." The idea here is essentially the same as in the previous verse, that they had been highly favoured of God, and enjoyed tokens of the Divine care and guardianship. That was manifested in the miraculous supply of water in the desert, thus showing that they were under the Divine protection, and were objects of the Divine favour. There can be no doubt that by "spiritual drink" here the apostle refers to the water that was made to gush from the rock that was smitten by Moses (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11). Why this is called "spiritual" has been a subject on which there has been much difference of opinion. It cannot be because there was anything peculiar in the nature of the water, for it was evidently real water, fitted to allay their thirst. There is no evidence, as many have supposed, that there was a reference in this to the drink used in the Lord's Supper. But it must mean that it was bestowed in a miraculous and supernatural manner; and the word "spiritual" must be used in the sense of supernatural, or that which is immediately given by God. Spiritual blessings thus stand opposed to natural and temporal blessings, and the former denote those which are immediately given by God as an evidence of the Divine favour. That the Jews used the word "spiritual" in this manner is evident from the writings of the Rabbins. Thus they called the manna "spiritual food," (Yade Mose in Shemor Rabba, fol. 109, 3 ;) and their sacrifices they called "spiritual bread," (Tzeror Hammor, fol. 93,2.)--Gill. The drink therefore, here referred to, was that bestowed in a supernatural manner, and as a proof of the Divine favour.
"For they drank of that spiritual Rock." Of the waters which flowed from that rock. The Rock here is called "spiritual," not from anything peculiar in the nature of the rock, but because it was the source to them of supernatural mercies, and became thus the emblem and demonstration of the Divine favour, and of spiritual mercies, conferred upon them by God.
"That followed them." Margin, Went with, (akolouyoushv.) This evidently cannot mean that the rock itself literally followed them, any more than that they literally drank the rock; for one is as expressly affirmed, if it be taken literally, as the other. But as when it is said they "drank of the rock," it must mean that they drank of the water that flowed from the rock; so when it is said that the "rock followed" or accompanied them, it must mean that the water that flowed from the rock accompanied them. This figure of speech is common everywhere. Thus the Saviour said, (1 Corinthians 11:25,) "This cup is the new testament," that is, the wine in this cup represents my blood, etc.; and Paul says, (1 Corinthians 11:25,27,) "Whosoever shall drink this cup of the Lord unworthily," that is, the wine in the cup, etc., and, "as often as ye drink this cup," etc., that is, the wine contained in the cup. It would be absurd to suppose that the rock that was smitten by Moses literally followed them in the wilderness; and there is not the slightest evidence in the Old Testament that it did. Water was twice brought out of a rock to supply the wants of the children of Israel. Once at Mount Horeb, as recorded in Exodus 17:6, in the wilderness of Sin, in the first year of their departure from Egypt. The second time water was brought from a rock about the time of the death of Miriam, at Kadesh, and probably in the fortieth year of their departure from Egypt (Numbers 20:1). It was to the former of these occasions that the apostle evidently refers. In regard to this we may observe,(1.) that there must have been furnished a large quantity of water to have supplied the wants of more than two millions of people.
(2.) It is expressly stated, (Deuteronomy 9:21,) that "the brook (HEBREW) stream, torrent, or river (Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4,47; 1 Kings 8:65; 2 Kings 24:7) descended out of the mount," and was evidently a stream of considerable size.
(3.) Mount Horeb was higher than the adjacent country; and the water that thus gushed from the rock, instead of collecting into a pool and becoming stagnant, would flow off in the direction of the sea.
(4.) The sea to which it would naturally flow would be the Red Sea, in the direction of the Eastern or Elanitic branch of that sea.
(5.) The Israelites would doubtless, in their journeyings, be influenced by the natural direction of the water, or would not wander far from it, as it was daily needful for the supply of their wants.
(6.) At the end of thirty-seven years we find the Israelites at Ezion-geber, a seaport on the eastern branch of the Red Sea, where the waters probably flowed into the sea (Numbers 33:36). In the fortieth year of their departure from Egypt, they left this place to go into Canaan by the country of Edom, and were immediately in distress again by the want of water. It is thus probable that the water from the rock continued to flow, and that it constituted a stream, or river; that it was near their camp all the time till they came to Ezion-geber; and that thus, together with the daily supply of manna, it was a proof of the protection of God, and an emblem of their dependence. If it be said that there is now no such stream to be found there, it is to be observed that it is represented as miraculous, and that it would be just as reasonable to look for the daily descent of manna there in quantities sufficient to supply more than two millions of men, as to expect to find the gushing and running river of water. The only question is, whether God can work a miracle, and whether there is evidence that he has done it. This is not the place to examine that question. But the evidence is as strong that he wrought this miracle as that he gave the manna, and neither of them is inconsistent with the power, the wisdom, or the benevolence of God.
"And that Rock was Christ." This cannot be intended to be understood literally, for it was not literally true. The rock from which the water flowed was evidently an ordinary rock, a part of Mount Horeb; and all that this can mean is, that that rock, with the stream of water thus gushing from it, was a representation of the Messiah. The word was is thus often used to denote similarity or representation, and is not to be taken literally. Thus, in the institution of the Lord's Supper, the Saviour says of the bread, "This is my body," that is, it represents my body. Thus also of the cup, "This cup is the new testament in my blood," that is, it represents my blood (1 Corinthians 11:24,25.) Thus the gushing fountain of water might be regarded as a representation of the Messiah, and of the blessings which result from him. The apostle does not say that the Israelites knew that this was designed to be a representation of the Messiah, and of the blessings which flow from him, though there is nothing improbable in the supposition that they so understood and regarded it, since all their institutions were probably regarded as typical. But he evidently does mean to say that the rock was a vivid and affecting representation of the Messiah; that the Jews did partake of the mercies that flow from him; and that even in the desert they were under his care, and had in fact among them a vivid representation of him, in some sense corresponding with the emblematic representation of the same favours which the Corinthian and other Christians had in the Lord's Supper. This representation of the Messiah, perhaps, was understood by Paul to consist in the following things:
(1.) Christians, like the children of Israel, are passing through the world as pilgrims, and to them that world is a wilderness--a desert.
(2.) They need continued supplies, as the Israelites did, in their journey. The world, like that wilderness, does not meet their necessities, or supply their wants.
(3.) That rock was a striking representation of the fulness of the Messiah, of the abundant grace which he imparts to his people.
(4.) It was an illustration of their continued and constant dependence on him for the daily supply of their wants. It should be observed, that many expositors understand this literally. Bloomfield translates it, "And they were supplied with drink from the spiritual Rock which followed them, even Christ." So Rosenmuller, Calvin, Glass, etc. In defence of this interpretation, it is said, that the Messiah is often called "a rock" in the Scriptures; that the Jews believed that the "angel of JEHOVAH" who attended them, (Exodus 3:2, and other places,) was the Messiah; and that the design of the apostle was to show that this attending Rock, the Messiah, was the source of all their blessings, and particularly of the water that gushed from the rock. But the interpretation suggested above seems to me to be most natural. The design of the apostle is apparent. It is to show to the Corinthians, who relied so much on their privileges, and felt themselves so secure, that the Jews had the very same privileges-- had the highest tokens of the Divine favour and protection, were under the guidance and grace of God, and were partakers constantly of that which adumurated or typified the Messiah, in a manner as real, and in a form as much fitted to keep up the remembrance of their dependence, as even the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper.
Who wrote the book of Psalms?Answer: The superscriptions (part of the Hebrew text before the first verse in English) name six authors for the book of Psalms:
Moses (Psalm 90)
David (73 Psalms)
Asaph (Psalms 50, 73-83)
Solomon (Psalms 72, 127)
Heman (Psalm 88)
Ethan (Psalm 89)
In addition to these authors, 12 psalms are assigned to "The Sons of Korah," though they were most likely performers rather than authors (see superscription in Psalm 88).
Sixty-one psalms are anonymous.
Why did Jesus hide the truth to others (Luke 10:21)?Answer: Jesus did not hide the truth from anyone. Let us read this passage in context:
Luke 10:21, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight."
It was not Jesus who did this, but the Father. Let it be observed, that our Lord does not thank the Father that he had hidden these things from the wise and prudent, but that, seeing they were hidden from them, he had revealed them to the others.
The reason for this is because the scribes and Pharisees were vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds, and having their foolish hearts darkened, refused to submit to the righteousness of God (God's method of saving man by Christ) and went about to establish their own righteousness, (their own method of saving themselves). They rejected God's counsel, and God sent the peace and salvation of the Gospel to others, called here babes, (his disciples,) simple-hearted persons, who submitted to be instructed and saved in God's own way.
Why is the word "prophesy" (with an "s") sometimes spelled "prophecy" (with a "c")?Answer: The accepted way of writing the noun is "prophecy" with a "c,"; whereas "prophesy" with an "s" is the verb form.
Did Jesus and the apostles ever sing hymns together? If so, what was this hymn?Answer: Yes, scripture does record Jesus and the apostles singing a hymn together (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26). As to the hymn itself, we know, from the universal consent of Jewish antiquity, that it was composed of Psalms 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, and 118, termed by the Jews halel, from halelu-yah, the first word in Psalm 113. These six Psalms were always sung at every paschal solemnity. They sung this great hillel on account of the five great benefits referred to in it; viz.
1. The Exodus from Egypt, Ps 114:1.
When Israel went out of Egypt, &c.
2. The miraculous division of the Red Sea, Ps 114:3.
The sea saw it and fled.
3. The promulgation of the law, Ps 114:4.
The mountains skipped like lambs.
4. The resurrection of the dead, Ps 116:9.
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
5. The passion of the Messiah, Ps 115:1.
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, &c.
Why did Jesus say, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:6)?Answer: The one proper use of the vine is to bear fruit; failing this, it is good for one other thing--fuel. Jesus took many of his principles directly from the Old Testament scripture:
Ezekiel 15:1-5, "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work? Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?"
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