QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 56
HOW DO I ANSWER THIS PERSON? SHE BELIEVES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT GOD, BUT NOT JESUS. READ THE ARTICLE AND PLEASE GIVE ME A ANSWER FOR HER.
I thank you for sharing the comments from the lady who believes in the Old Testament God, but not in Jesus. You must not be intimidated by her remarks, or those who use her line of reasoning. It takes more to disprove the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah than the prating of His critics.
STATEMENT: Are we perfect? No. Does He who created us know that? Yes. Does He have a way/a plan for us to be forgiven for our transgressions and return to Him? Yes, it is in the Torah.
ANSWER: The plan God provided IS in the Torah, or "The Law," but not where the writer suspects. Moses announced the manner in which forgiveness and newness would be accomplished. He promised, "The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live" (Deut 30:6). The Israelites were challenged earlier to do this themselves, but proved unequal to the task (Deut 10:16). Years later, Jeremiah would challenge them again to do this, thereby confirming they were impotent to change their own nature (Jer 4:4; 13:23). With power the prophet affirmed, "and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart" (Jer 9:26). Yet, the Law promised God would accomplish that remarkable circumcision. This is the "one heart" He promised in Jer 32:39, and the "heart of flesh" promised through Ezekiel (Ezek 11:19-20; 36:26-27).
Precisely what did the Law say about forgiveness and a return to God? David knew God was not satisfied with the offerings for sin that He Himself had specified (Psa 40:6-8). That passage is mentioned in the book of Hebrews (10:5-12). It presented the Savior being given a "body" for the purpose of sacrifice. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah paints something of what was involved in that sacrifice, which was vicarious, or substitutionary, in nature (Isa 53:1-12). Daniel also said the Messiah would be "cut off" for the sins of others (Dan 9:24-26).
It was the sacrifices ordained under the Law that spoke of the coming sacrifice of Christ. That is affirmed in the book of Hebrews (Heb 8:3-5). It is not enough to simply charge Paul and other Gospel writers with being "heretics."
The question, however, is not whether Moses revealed the coming death of Christ, but whether that death was purposed by God. Moses was not the ultimate lawgiver, but the initial one. The law was never intended to be a thorough revelation, but an introductory one. The person opposing the sacrifice of Christ is responsible for proving that God had no such notion in His mind, and that this postulate can be confirmed by appealing to Moses. If this cannot be done, then the view must be confessed to be a mere supposition.
STATEMENT: Does it require a human being to die for us? No! Nor does or did Torah/Old Testament ever posit that idea that a messiah would die for our sins, in order that we would receive salvation? No.
ANSWER: This affirmation cannot be substantiated. It is just a puff of theological and opinionated smoke. Isaiah 53:8 says then Messiah would be stricken for the sin of God's people. His life would be "cut off" prematurely (from a human point of view). This would lead to Him being placed in the grave (53:9). God Himself would put the Messiah to grief in this death, being satisfied with the travail of His soul, which He "poured out unto death" (Isa 53:12). That death would be the basis for the justification of "many" (53:11).
STATEMENT: What exactly is the Torah and what is its purpose? Torah means teaching and actually, it was given to the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai as a gift to help us navigate our way through this life and to help us to do His will, so that we would be a holy nation and a light to the rest of the nations.
ANSWER: First, the word "Torah" does not mean teaching, but precept, or statute. The Hebrew word for teaching is "Yarah," which means to instruct, point out, or open up what was affirmed in the Torah.
From the Christian perspective, the law was actually given to define sin (Rom 7:20). From the Jewish perspective, it was a covenant. In fact, the Ten Commandments are called "the words of the covenant" (Ex 34:28; 29:1). It was not merely a moral code, teaching people how to conduct their lives upon earth. Rather, it was intended to reveal that unanimity with God was the preeminent requirement for men. That harmony could not be established unless perfect morality was realized. That is why the root of the law was stated in these words, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deut 6:4).
Perfect conformity to this Law was required. In fact, that is the only way that spiritual life could be enjoyed. Repeatedly it was confirmed, (Lev 18:5; Neh 9:29; Ezek 20:11,13,21; 33:19). Nothing in the Law suggested that a person breaking these commandments could be made thoroughly clean by the sacrifices offered under the Law. That covenant was broken by Israel, according to God's own word in the Prophets (Jer 31:32).
Further, the concept of the Torah which confines it to the first five books of Moses was not developed until the Old Testament was canonized. Isaiah used the word "torah" in reference to a God given law that would be given after him (Isa 51:4). That is why the words "law (torah) of Moses" is used to specify what was given at Sinai (Josh 8:31; 1 Kgs 2:3; 14;6; Ezra 3:2). In the Lord's instruction to Ezekiel about the house of the Lord, He referred to ‘the law (torah) of the Temple," which was not mentioned in the Decalogue (Ezek 43;12). Malachi refers to "the law (torah) of truth" which as to be in the mouth of the priests (Mal 2:6).
STATEMENT: Christianity doesn't understand this concept because Paul, the heretic taught a new religion, which abandoned the halachah not the one followed and practiced by Jesus.
ANSWER: I believe the writer means "halakhah," which is related to the Talmud. What form of logic would impose the traditional views of the "Talmud" upon the conscience of men, while allowing for the classification of Paul (himself an avid Jew) as a heretic. What would constrain a person to accept the appeal to the Talmud for confirmation of the truth (compiled from A.D. 250-500 by Rabbis), while rejecting the Apostolic writings which confirmed and expounded the Law and the Prophets (written from A.D. 50-90). To me, that reveals scholastic dishonesty, as well as enormous theological prejudice. Much of the oral tradition and Rabbinical interpretation of the Law was called by Jesus "tradition" which voided the commandment of God (Matt 15:3-6; Mark 7:13). What principle of reasoning would compel one to give the same weight to oral tradition that was given to the written revelation of God (Moses and the Prophets)?
Paul did not abandon the Law, together with its precepts, but taught its fulfillment. On one occasion Paul, in accordance with the admonition of James, confirmed by purifying himself with other men, that he walked orderly and according to the Law (Acts 21:20-27). He taught that Christ was the fulfillment of the Law, replacing its ceremonial ordinances, which were a prefigurement of the Messiah. At no point did he renounce the morality of the Law or the promises of the Prophets.
STATEMENT: We may be waiting for our messiah, but certain prophecies must be fulfilled in order to know that the messianic age has been ushered in. This did not happen during Jesus' lifetime or after his death and there is no support in the Torah/Old Testament for a 2nd coming.
ANSWER: This lady should be more specific about her hope. It appears as though she speaks hesitantly about "our messiah," and with an academic tone instead of one of faith and hope. What is there about the prophecies of a Messiah that forbids the entrance of that Messiah into the world as a babe, His death, ascension back to heaven, and present intercession? What of these prophecies? Is it possible they were fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth? What principle of reasoning, or what Word from God would forbid such a conclusion?
1. The Seed of woman to bruise the serpent's head (Gen 3:15).
2. The Seed of Abraham to bless all nations (Gen 22:18).
3. A "Rod" from the stem of Jesse with "the spirit of wisdom and understanding" (Isa 11:1-3).
4. The laying of a Foundation Stone in Zion, upon whom men would believe without dismay (Isa 28:16).
5. The coming of God's Servant, in whom He delighted, who would bring judgment to the Gentiles, and nurture the bruised and fallen (Isa 42:1-4).
6. The coming of One who would preach glad tidings to the meek, bind up the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison to those who are bound, and the acceptable year of the Lord (Isa 61:1-4).
7. The rising of a Sun of righteousness, under whose influence recovery would be realized (Mal 4:2).
8. The birth of One in Bethlehem who had eternal origins (Micah 5:2).
Did not Isaiah prophesy such a unique birth (Isa 7:14; 9:6)? Were not the death and intercession of Christ clearly proclaimed by Isaiah (Isa 53)? Was not the government of God to be put upon His shoulder, and was not its increase to be "without end"? (Isa 9:7). Is this lady suggesting the Messiah will induct an eternal kingdom in this present world only at some future date? Did not the Prophets clearly declare the demise of this world and the beginning of a new one (Psa 102:26; Isa 24:20; 34:4; 51:6; 65:17; 66:22)? What form of reasoning discounts the possibility of the Messiah being born, laying down His life, returning to heaven, interceding for believers, and returning to consummate the promises? We Christians believe this and have realized unspeakable benefits because of it. No amount of oratorical skill of commitment to Jewish tradition can move us from these persuasions.
STATEMENT: The Messianic prophecies also include the restoration of the sacrificial system. If Jesus died once and for all, for our sins, then why would we need it at all?
ANSWER: What is there about the Law that allows for the present cessation of sacrifices? If the Messiah has not come, then why are the sacrifices inculcated by the law not consistently offered by contemporary Jews? Did not Daniel say the Messiah would "bring an end to sacrifice and offering" (Dan 9:27)? What kind of reasoning forbids us to associate this with Jesus of Nazareth?
Zechariah did say a time was coming when representatives of all of the nations formerly against Jerusalem would go up from year to year to worship God at the feast of tabernacles (Zech 14:16-21). It is, however, an assumption to say that meant sacrifices would be reinstituted at that time by the commandment of God, for the text does not say that. Daniel 11:31 speaks of the pollution of the sanctuary and the taking away of the daily sacrifice, but makes no association of those removed sacrifices with "Messianic prophecies" or the Divinely sanctioned "restoration of the sacrificial system."
The opponent of Jesus' atoning death is precisely correct when she states "If Jesus died once and for all, for our sins, then why would we need it at all?" That is precisely the point of the Apostolic writings (Hebrews 9 and 10). This is a confirmation of David's prophesy in Psalm 40:6-8). The fact that a sacrificial system may be restored by no means indicates it is "needed." If done, it will be a Jewish attempt to recapture what they already know they have lost. But such a restoration would not fulfill Isaiah's prophesy of a vicarious atonement (Isa 53). Nor, indeed, is such a restoration ever said to be initiated by the Messiah. That association, though very popular and prominent, is a theological assumption, and cannot be bound upon our conscience.
STATEMENT: What are the fallacies of Judaism? There is a Christian preacher who preaches that Jews need God, Gentiles Need Jesus. I used Romans 10:12-13, BUT THEY SAY Paul has NO CREDIBILITY. Please help me with this also. What are the fallacies of Judaism?
ANSWER: A preacher who says the Jews do not need Jesus is NOT a Christian preacher, but someone suffering from delusion. The Gospel OF CHRIST is God's power in order to salvation "to the Jew first" (Rom 1:16). In fact, He is THEIR Messiah (John 1:11; Acts 3:26; Luke 24:47). The book of Romans informs us that what the Gentiles have received in Christ is intended to provoke the Jews to jealousy (10:19; 11:11). The book of Second Corinthians declares a veil presently is over the understanding of the Jews, so that they are not able to see Christ correctly. They will be saved when that veil if lifted, or when they perceive the Lord Jesus as God has declared Him (2 Cor 3:13-16).
Any fallacies in Judaism is purely those imposed by men. There are no fallacies in true Judaism, which is represented by Moses and the Prophets.
Concerning Paul having no credibility, it is his critics that lack credibility. It is their words that must be substantiated, not by human reasoning, but by God Himself. The word of the Lord must declare Paul to be a heretic, for we care nothing for the assessment men. Moses or one of the Prophets must repudiate the teaching of Paul. Their words must be proved to be in sharp opposition to the words of Paul. However, instead of repudiating them, they confirm the Apostle's teaching, for, by his own inspired acknowledgment, he declared "no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come" (Acts 26:22). His peers could not refute him, and neither can his contemporary critics.
A woman asked if once she was baptized and has been a good Christian for a number of years; if she her self could baptize? I answered I feel it is the duty of the Preacher, elder, due mostly to the fact we only find in our Holy word men doing this, any advice or further explanation would be greatly received.
Nothing in Scripture prohibits any Christian from baptizing another. Paul avoided baptizing those he converted, lest they become inordinately attached to him (1 Cor 1:13-15). We have no idea who baptized the three thousand on the day of Pentecost, or the five thousand a few days later (Acts 4:4). John the Baptist baptized Jesus (Mk 1:9). Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:38). Paul baptized Crispus and Gaius (1 Cor 1:14). Jesus' Himself did not baptize people, but His disciples did (John 4:1-2). Aside from this, we are not told who did the baptizing. The subject of who should baptize is never approached in Scripture--unless Matthew 28:18-20 is perceived as saying the one making the disciples should baptize.
One of the New Covenant distinctions is its employment of both men and women (Acts 2:17-18). While one may prefer to have leading men do the baptizing, nothing in the Word of God suggests that alone is acceptable.
Do you think that music in the church is wrong. I play guitar, and steel guitar, if it's not right within the church than it shouldn't be right any where else.
Instrumental music was ordained by God (2 Chron 29:25). The Old Testament Scriptures refer to "the musical instruments of God" (1 Chron 16:42), and the New Testament Scriptures refer to "the harps of God" (Rev 15:2) and "trumpet of God" (1 Thess 4:16). God has never associated His holy name with something that was sinful.
God is honored by instrumental music offered to Him, as indicated by the 150th Psalm. Nothing in that Psalm suggests it is something unique to the Old Covenant. Rather, it is associated with praise, which is common under both covenants.
You are absolutely correct in saying musical instruments are out of place every where if they cannot be offered to God. If whatever we do in word of deed is to be done to God (Col 3:17), then there can be no other conclusion.
Play your instrument for God, and do it mightily and skillfully. Do it with a good conscience and a thankful heart.
What is the purpose of being slain in the Spirit?
There is no reference to being "slain in the Spirit" in the Bible. This is a term men have invented to describe an experience that is nowhere mentioned in the Bible. Those who embrace this view make a feeble attempt to justify its use by pointing to Saul of Tarsus being struck down on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-4). But he was not unconscious, hearing the voice of Christ, and answering when he was spoken to (Acts 9:5-6).
I do not deny that something has happened to those claiming this experience. It is not my prerogative to sit in judgment upon them. However, neither can the experience be associated with some form of superior blessing when nothing like it is ever mentioned or taught in all of Scripture.
Is it still possible today to get demon possessed and not know it?
If a person is living by faith, trusting in the Lord, it is not possible for them to be demon possessed. There is reason to believe demons can harass the saints, but they are bound by the will of God, and, like Satan, can go no further than He allows them to go (1 Cor 10:13). They cannot occupy the same house that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, God, and Christ. First John 5:18 tells us whoever is born of God is kept by Him, and the wicked one does not touch him.
What is HELL like in Detail?
The Scriptures do not provide a description of hell like we might describe an earthly house or city. Some of the things said about hell include the following.
1. A lake of fire (Rev 20:15).
2. Everlasting torment (Rev 20:10).
3. A goading conscience, depicted by the phrase "where the worm dieth not" (Mark 9:44,46,48).
4. Everlasting exclusion from God (2 Thess 1:9).
5. Outer darkness (Matt 22:13).
6. The inhabitants weep and wail (Matt 25:30).
7. The damned will be tormented in the presence of the angels (Rev 14:10).
8. They will see the saved (Luke 16:23).
God and Jesus will not be there, nor will any good thing from them. Satan and his angels will be there (Matt 25:41). All of the wicked will be there (Rev 21:8). Reason enough to make every effort to avoid being cast there. That, of course, can only be done by having our names written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev 20:15).
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSALMS, HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS THAT ARE REFERRED TO IN COLOSSIANS 3:16 AND EPHESIANS 5:19
One of the first things to learn from this verse is that the blessings and advantages of salvation are so multifarious that a variety of musical expressions can be employed to express both praise and mutual edification. All of these are avenues through which the grace of God can be expressed: i.e., "singing with GRACE in your hearts to the Lord" (Col 3:16). The whole person can also enter into it, as distinguished from mere rote or routine: i.e., "making melody in your HEART to the Lord" (Eph 5:19). These varied, yet harmonious, expressions are also a means through which the Holy Spirit works in us: i.e., "but be filled with the SPIRIT; speaking to yourselves in . . . " (Eph 5:18,19). Additionally, the Word of Christ, richly dwelling within us, can be expressed to the benefit of one another by these three means. They are also a means of "TEACHING AND ADMONISHING one another," (Col 3:16), "speaking to one another" (Eph 5:19), and of addressing thoughts and feelings "to the Lord" (Col 3:16).
All of this confirms that "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" are not mere outward routines, or something performed according to a code or law. The benefits associated with these expressions were never realized under the Law, when the hearts of men had not been affected by the grace of God, and the Word did not dwell richly within them. In the texts being considered, "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs," are channels through which spiritual life erupts to the edification of brethren and the glory and good pleasure of God.
From an etymological view, the precise meanings of these three words are not easily seen. That is one reason why considerable contention has arisen about their definition–although no such contention is ever evidenced in Scripture. I will give you what I believe to be the sense of their use in Ephesians and Colossians.
PSALMS. These are expressions of an intensely personal nature, like those articulated in the Davidic psalms. In them personal praise, desires, confessions, and even concerns, are sung to the Lord. Using the book of Psalms as an example, they are nearly always a form of prayer. What is more, the psalms seemed to seek to express more than the individual was capable of expressing. That is, the ability of the person to articulate fell short of the compelling desire that was pushing the expression up to God. For this reason, the word has been associated with the playing of a musical instrument. In that activity, the expression was extended, allowing the heart to express itself even more fully. Thus David said, "I will open my dark saying upon the harp" (Psa 49:4), and "upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God" (Psa 43:4), and "I sing with the harp" (Psa 11:22). Thus the 98th Psalm says, "Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm" (v 5). It was not a mere ritual that was being urged, but the employment of all of the power and ability of the individual in the praise of God. A "psalm," then, is an expression that can be blended with skillfully played music without diminishing its message. In fact, it even makes the expression more clear. It is also important to note that no mention of psalms is found in God's Word until David, who was especially gifted in this area–a sort of spiritual pioneer (1 Chron 16:7-9). So far as we know, they had no part in either the moral or ceremonial law inculcated from Sinai.
HYMNS. These are songs of celebration to God for victories and perceived benefits. It is an expression of insight, and is provoked by a compelling desire to give glory to God. Hymns are apparently lofty expressions of praise to God, where He Himself is the focus. When Paul and Silas "sang praises unto God" in the Philippian jail, the word used for "praises" is "humnos" (hymns). The same word is used in Hebrews 2:12, where the Lord Jesus is depicted as extolling God in the midst of those He has redeemed. Hymns are insightful expressions of the Person and work of the Living God. They are not a delineation of human experience or longing, as a psalm can be, but the honoring and magnifying of the Living God.
SPIRITUAL SONGS. These are songs through which the Holy Spirit can minister to the saints: i.e., "speaking to one another," and "teaching and admonishing one another." They appear to be more general in nature, but have a particular ministry to the people of God–to edify, stir up, and even instruct. It is not that "songs" have men as their subject. Rather, they have to do with God and Christ, yet are expressed in such a manner as to provoke men to godly involvements. A song is an ode, sung by a community–in this case, a gathering of believers. It is "spiritual" in that it has been prompted by the fullness of the Spirit, and is used by Him for the benefit of the people of God.
As is characteristic of every aspect of the Kingdom of God, there is no conflict in any of these expressions. They work together for the advantage of the saints and the honor and glory of God. They are expressions of spiritual life, not mere conformity to law.
1 Corinthians 15:29 "Baptized for the dead" In this passage is Paul using a form of argument or does it refer to the practice by pagans (or Christians)?
The "baptism" of First Corinthians 15:29 is the baptism of suffering--or being overcome and engulfed by suffering: i.e., dying for Jesus. It is the same baptism to which Jesus alluded in Luke 12:50. "But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!" Jesus had been baptized by John some time before this. He was speaking of His imminent death. He again refers to his death as a "baptism" in Mark. When asked by James and John to grant that they sit on His right and left hand in glory, he replied: "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" (Mark 13:37-40; Matt 20:20-23). Again, in those passages, the subject was Christ's death; that is, when suffering eventuated in death. Peter said it this way: "For Christ also hath once SUFFERED for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being PUT TO DEATH in the flesh" (1 Pet 3:18).
The question of the Corinthian passage is, "Why would we submit to be overcome by suffering, dying for Jesus sake, if there were no resurrection of the dead?" The subject of First Corinthians 15 is the bodily resurrection, not our initial entrance into Christ. The baptism referred to in that passage relates to jeopardy, and such things as fighting with beasts after the manner of men. In fact, the words following verse 29 affirm, "And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" (Verses 30-32).
The point is that voluntary submission to such dangers for Jesus' sake makes no sense at all if the dead are not raised. I do not believe baptism in water is ever related to suffering, jeopardy, or other imminent dangers. The baptism of First Corinthians 15 is.
The word "baptize" is not confined to our baptism into Christ, something common to all believers. The Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ's body (1 Cor 12:13). John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize with both the Holy spirit and fire, going on to equate the fire with destruction (Matt 3:11-12). The text in First Corinthians (15:29), as well as Luke 12:50. Mark 10:38-39, and Matthew 20:22-23, refers to being immersed and overcome by suffering.
Notwithstanding the plainness of the passage, and the obvious association with suffering unto death and the resurrection of the dead, some actually practice proxy baptism in our day (some Mormons), baptizing living people in water in the behalf of those who have died. There are also some heathen ceremonies that utilize similar routines. However, no such practices are referenced by First Corinthians 15:29.
I am curious about what you think of the popular inductive Bible studies such as Kay Arthurs Precepts ministry.
There is much talk these days about inductive and deductive preaching, teaching, and study. It is all a psychological approach to acquaintance with God. It has too much of man and too little of God in it. I prefer spiritually PROductive preaching and teaching -- or study--one which results in us becoming "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4). Any form of study that exalts human logic above faith cannot be proper -- and that is what inductive study does,
We must approach the Scriptures to believe them, not understand them. It is faith that enables us to understand, as stated in Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand . . . " You can only imagine what conclusions Noah would have arrived at if he had studied the word God gave him from an inductive point of view. What conclusions would our father Abraham have reached if he had approached God's promise of multitudinous offspring inductively? Faith has a logic of its own. Inductive reasoning is of man, through man, and to man.
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