QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM

Group Number 76

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The Following is a dialog brother Blakely had with a young man from Pakistan


Pakistanian Man: Hello sir. How are you ??

Given O. Blakely: I am fine. Who am I speaking with?

Pakistanian Man:  Well my name is _____________________. I am a 27 year old gay. I like mature gay men of your age.

Given O. Blakely: Well, I am not gay, and have no interest in being so.

Pakistanian Man: Sorry sir. You have misunderstood me. I have not said that you are gay. I said that I am gay, not you. I just mean that I like mature men like you.

Given O. Blakely:  Well, I have no interest in gay men as such. I am interested in helping all men. I am a Christian, and desire to help people see what Christ has to offer.

Pakistanian Man: That is great to hear. Indeed, humans are born to help one another for ever and to make love with one another.

Given O. Blakely: God did not make men to make love with one another. The fact that no offspring can result from that should provoke sober thought.

Pakistanian Man:  OK. Well if some one wants to convert to Christianity from other religions ..then what sort of help you will offer??

Given O. Blakely:  Is that your desire?

Pakistanian Man:  Yeah. That is for sure,  I promise you in this regard if you were sincere what you have said earlier.

Given O. Blakely: And why is this so? Also, what do you desire to convert from?

Pakistanian Man:  Well, I have suffered a lot from my own religion. I want liberalism, which I can not follow in my own country and religion.

Given O. Blakely:  What is your religion and country, and what do you mean by liberalism?

Pakistanian Man:  I am Muslim. I am from Pakistan. I want gayism in my own country... because there are many young gay men like me who are suffering at the hands of fundamentalists. Actually gayism is a felonious crime in our country. I want basic human rights for the gay people.

Given O. Blakely:  Christ Jesus offers no such freedom, nor does true Christianity. What Christianity offers is freedom from gayism.

Pakistanian Man:  OK. Sorry I have no such information about that, but still believe that Christianity would be far more flexible as compared to Islam in this regard.

Given O. Blakely: Are you interested in that kind of freedom freedom from being gay, or do you have a compelling desire to remain gay? Christ liberates the individual from things that offend God. He also gives strength to the individual to be superior to his circumstances. Additionally, He prepares Him to at last stand before God with joy and confidence.

Pakistanian Man: Yeah .. I do agree with you, because all the religions stands on those principles ..which you have aforementioned.

Given O. Blakely:  Not to the extent brought to men by Jesus Christ. Other religions often allow things neither God nor Christ allow. How does this relate to your desire for freedom for gays? Would you not rather prefer freedom from being gay? Have you had any thoughts about this?

Pakistanian Man: No.. I do not want freedom from being gay, because I am born gay.

Given O. Blakely:  I must tell you, you were not born gay. It is a learned behavior. You are a creation of God, and He has condemned intimacy and love between men, It is not God's manner to condemn something He created.

Pakistanian Man: OK.. can you tell me one thing. Do you like women ?? Do you like women for sexual purpose ??

Given O. Blakely:  I am a married man with one wife and ten children. I love my wife, not women in general. God created one man and one woman for him. That is His intention. He did not make two men, two women, or one man and three women. One man, one woman.

Pakistanian Man: Yeah, I agree with you in what you say.

Given O. Blakely: How can you agree with what I say, yet prefer to be gay? I do not understand such reasoning.

Pakistanian Man: No sir.. I am sorry sir. I am not reasoning with you. You are my elder. I do respect you. But can you tell me / answer me why are you bent towards women sex ????? why not men sex? But I just want to know that why you like women sex, not men sex? I am sorry if my question perturbs you.

Given O. Blakely:  The fact that men cannot procreate with men confirms what God has said about it being wrong. In Christianity, the human nature is changed to be compatible with God Himself. That is why I cannot like or condone what God does not allow. Intimacy, or "sex," is an aspect of marriage. It is not an end of itself. Outside of the confines of marriage, such intimacy is wrong. God did not create people to be dominated by sexual appetites.

Pakistanian Man: OK. If some one asked you to change your sexual desire from women to men.. would you do that ??

Given O. Blakely: I would not __ I could not. It is not in my heart to do so. I know I would forfeit my relation with God by doing so __ and that relationship is the primary one __ man with God. All others are subordinate to that.

Pakistanian Man: OK. If you cannot change your sexual desire then how would you convince me to change my gayism?? Can you tell me about that.

Given O. Blakely:  Yes I can. Because, just like myself, you are a creation of God. Your primary concern must be, and can be, to please God, not your own bodily appetites. Since you will some day stand before God just as myself, I urge you to begin now to be dominated by a desire to please Him, and to prepare to meet Him and be judged by Him. At this point, there is a big difference between us. I cannot change because of my acquaintance with God, and because of my love for Him. You are having difficulty with change because of your own preference.

Pakistanian Man: No. I am not agreeing with you. I do try to please My GOD almighty. But I have my own desires which I want to follow.

Given O. Blakely:  And does your god promote gayism __ anywhere? Are you saying your desires are primary, and God's secondary?

Pakistanian Man: No. But sex is part of life. One cannot live with out that.

Given O. Blakely: Does your god allow for your will to be more prominent than His.

Pakistanian Man: Nooo never ever can you please GOD with out having any sex in your life ??

Given O. Blakely: Most certainly! There are multitudes of people who have lived without that. It is not normal, but it is possible. Jesus said some men had chosen a celibate life in order to serve God more fully. He did not say that was necessary, but it was something those men did. Jesus Christ Himself, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul are examples of such men.

Pakistanian Man: No, I am not talking about those great personalities. I am just asking you ? Can you please GOD with out sex in life ??? As you know that it is part of life.

Given O. Blakely: I understand that. That is why I am married. Christianity says to avoid sexual sins, the man should have his own wife.

Pakistanian Man:  But how can a man with same-sex desire live with a women... when he has no aptitude for women. Can he live like that? What should he do ??

Given O. Blakely: If a man has no aptitude for women, yet wants to enjoy intimacy, he must ask God to give him such an aptitude, because God made the woman for the man. Can your god give you such an aptitude?

Pakistanian Man: No. I am not in a position to blame My GOD. But I am helpless in this regard. I want sex with just man, not women. So tell me what should I do ??

Given O. Blakely: Blame God? It is a matter of accepting His will and asking Him to help you do it. You are not helpless if you have a powerful God __ you are only helpless if your God is as weak as you. The time must come when you no longer want sex with men. You must not reconcile yourself to that being your only alternative. It is not.

Pakistanian Man:  OK sir. I do believe in what you say.. still I would try to change myself. Believe me I do enjoy your chatting, and the way you talk.

Given O. Blakely:  It has been good chatting with you also. I am praying you will receive a new heart and mind about this matter. That is something real Christianity offers. Do you have access to websites?

Pakistanian Man: What websites ??? which one?

Given O. Blakely: My website is http://www.wotruth.com

Pakistanian Man: OK. That is really interesting. Yeah. Thanks.

Given O. Blakely: It will introduce you to my own writing and ministry. There are over 7,000 pages of my material on my website. I must go now. I am writing a article. Do not hesitate to chat again if you have opportunity. You can also sent me an email message at GivenB@aol.com

Pakistanian Man:  OK sir. Thanks for a nice chat. Sorry if my questions disturbed you. I am sorry for that. I do respect you as my elder. So I will try to follow you.

Given O. Blakely: No disturbance. I have your welfare in mind __ your eternal welfare.

Pakistanian Man: Thanks for caring about me. I will respect you for ever for guiding me. Bye bye for now. I hope to chat with you later on.


Have all or partial spiritual gifts ceased in the Church today?

The supposition that any or all spiritual gifts have ceased is based upon First Corinthians 13:8-10. However, in my judgment, it requires a great deal of imagination, as well as the traditions of men, to read that position into this text. The Spirit is not speaking about times, but in comparative terms. The comparison is made with love, which never fails, and always yields benefits. Love will project out into eternity, never failing, while in the world to come, there will be no requirement for prophecies, tongues, or the obtaining of knowledge from secondhand sources. In this world, everything we have from God is partial -- even salvation itself, which is referred to as "the firstfruits of the Spirit" (Rom 8:23). A significant part of our persons is not yet saved, namely our bodies. But they will be, praise the Lord, in the resurrection -- which is the very point of Romans 8:23. It should be apparent that the "perfect" has not yet come, for we still have God's treasure in an earthen vessel.

Spiritual gifts are given by Divine discretion, and they have never been the same in every congregation. The "gifts" mentioned in Romans 12:6-8 are not identical with those of First Corinthians. Nor, indeed, are the ones mentioned in Ephesians 4:8-11 the same as those in Romans. Peter speaks of gifts in yet another way (1 Pet 4:10-11). The stereotyped approach to gifts that is taken both by those who insist on them all, and those who reject them all, is completely unwarranted, with no Scriptural support at all. Men who make such judgments are out of order intruding upon Divine prerogatives, and making judgments on what He alone gives.


How can conservative Churches today pick and choose which spiritual gifts are still acceptable today and which gifts have ceased? (If gifts have not ceased -question number 1)


I do not know that churches who "pick and choose" are "conservative." I would prefer to call them carnal. We are specifically told that every member is placed in the body where God is pleased to place them (1 Cor 12:18). There is not the slightest indication that any of these members are ungifted, or without spiritual abilities that profit the rest of the body. We are also told there are different kinds of gifts, yet they are given by one Spirit (1 Cor 12:4). There are also different kinds of service, but the same Lord administers them all (1 Cor 12:5). There are even different kinds of workings, but the same God works them all (1 Cor 12:6). We are also told that "each one" receives a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good of the body (1 Cor 12:7). It is the Spirit who works all of these things, at His own discretion (1 Cor 12:11).

For men to take such texts as First Corinthians 12-15 and define valid and invalid gifts, and which ones are in place now and which ones are not, is an exercise of human pride. How foolish it must be in the eyes the holy angels to see men bantering about like fools concerning things completely out of their power. The person who imagines the church of any age can operate independently of spiritual abilities, the gracious dispensements of the Holy Spirit, and the immediate involvement of Christ and God, has betrayed abysmal and intolerable ignorance.

Our business is to receive what God gives, putting it to use for His glory. We are also to "covet the best gifts" (1 Cor 12:31), which are defined by God, not men. And yet, over and above that, we are shown the "better way" of love, which will consistently employ God's gifts for the common good.

Men have no right to "pick and choose," and are sinning when they do so. Those are Divine prerogatives, not human ones.


I WOULD LIKE INFORMATION ON CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES. HOW WE SHOULD REACT TO DISAPPOINTMENTS RELATING TO HAPPENINGS IN THE CHURCH; SUCH AS NOT GETTING OUR WAY...A PROPOSAL NOT BEING ACCEPTED.

First, our own attitudes must not be molded by the response of others to our will and proposals. The frame of our spirits, including responses, attitudes, etc., must be shaped by the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. When our preferences are not received by others, we should respond in love toward them, seeking, if at all possible, to avoid causing offense. If what we have suggested reflects the mind of the Lord, and is in keeping with His revealed will and priorities, then we must pray that God enter into the matter. He can turn the hearts of men, convict them of sin, and open their eyes.

If we are earnest in our quest to please God, and yet are consistently faced with discouraging and carnal responses from those with whom we fellowship, it is time to seek fellowship elsewhere. Those with a dominating love for the Lord and desire to do His will are not capable of dwelling peaceably with those who lack those things.

In working these things out, care must be taken not to become bitter in ones own spirit. Nothing must be allowed to upstage our primary interest in pleasing the Lord. Neither, indeed, can we permit ourselves to degenerate into carnality, responding in hatred and disrespect toward others. When we are dealing with genuine believers -- those whom God has received -- regardless of their level of attainment in the Kingdom, we are to be "kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Eph 4:32), "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:2-3). Let nothing rob you of those attitudes.


In John 17:12, Part of the verse refers to (son of perdition) In NIV it says, the one doomed to destruction. Can you explain more about the son of perdition. Thank you.

In this text, the "son of perdition" refers to Judas, who betrayed our blessed Lord. It means he was a child of hell -- an offspring of the wicked one. Elsewhere Jesus said of him, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him)" (John 6:70-71, NIV). Peter, inspired by the Lord, said Judas betrayed the Lord, and "by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place" (Acts 1:25). It is also said of him that he was a thief, pilfering from the treasury he carried for Jesus and His disciples (John 12:6).

Judas was chosen to be an Apostle, and did partake in that ministry. From the higher view, however, it was in order that he might fulfill the scripture that Jesus would be betrayed by one of His own (Psa 41:9; John 13:18). Having done that, his position was vacated, to be filled by another. I have often thought how grateful the eleven must have been that they did not betray the Savior into the hands of wicked men. Peter denied Jesus three times, but never betrayed Him. That diabolical deed was left to be accomplished by one of the devil's own.

The term "son of perdition" is also used in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, where it refers to religious despot who, coming in the name of the Lord, will seek his own will. That individual is not specifically defined, but is of the same order as Judas. He is an offspring of hell, and will promote hellish ways in the name of the Lord.


There seems to be a rash of people going around in the church calling themselves doctors. Is doctor a title that should be used at all in the church? Isn't this puffing oneself up or by conferring a Doctorate on someone leading to their being puffed up? Should not we only lift up Jesus? Is there any Biblical justification for using this title?

The flaunting of titles is something practiced and promoted by the Pharisees, who loved being called "Rabbi, Rabbi" (Matt 23:7). Gamaliel is referred to as a "doctor of the law" (Acts 5:34). That, however, was not a title, but denoted that he was a "teacher of the law," as indicated in other versions of scripture (NKJV, NASB, NIV). That is, he was an expert in the text of the Law, and its real meaning.

There is no justification for religious titles. In fact, they are evidence of gross carnality. Terms that are often taken for titles (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, elder, deacon, etc.) were functions, not titles. They reflected a ministry, not a fleshly attainment.

Jesus said to avoid religious titles. "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren" (Matt 23:8). He was speaking of the religious realm. It is true that certain titles have validity in the world order; i.e., physician, engineer, chemist, etc. But they cannot transport into the spiritual realm, for they have no place there. The thing that qualifies a person to minister in the behalf of the Lord is not academic attainments, but spiritual knowledge and endowments from the Lord.

The current craze for academic titles in the church confirms such people have been wed to the world. Such titles are out of order. God does not honor them, and neither should we.


Please permit me a question...what is your interpretation of Paul's advise to the Corinthians and Ephesians Eph. to not permit a woman to teach or speak in the churches? In our area it presents many problems between the NBC and the class churches.

First, the advice in question is found in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-14. In both case, the women were learning. In both cases, they were associated with their husbands, not men in general. The Corinthian text dealt with asking questions, apparently ones that interrupted what was being said (14:29-33). The Timothy text speaks of upstaging the husband, and usurping authority.

It is interesting that the very first thing Peter said of the era of the New Covenant involved women speaking. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your DAUGHTERS shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My MAIDSERVANTS I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17-18). If this was not proper, that would have been an excellent time to prohibit women from speaking -- but Peter, speaking by the Holy Spirit, made no such prohibition.

When Jesus rose from the dead, the very first person He appeared to was Mary Magdelene (Mark 16:9). What is more, she was sent to the Apostles themselves to declare the Lord was risen (John 20:17). That is certainly not something those opposed to women speaking in the assembly would have done -- but that IS what Jesus did. In fact, when He appeared to the disciples later, He upbraided them because they did not believe the women (Mark 16:14).

We do have record of Jesus speaking to a woman teacher in the church in Thyatira. She was wicked, and had taught His servants to commit fornication and eat things sacrificed to idols (Rev 2:20). Jesus gave her a time to repent -- not of teaching, but "of her fornication" (2:21). That would have been an excellent time for Jesus to point out the woman should not have been teaching in the first place. But He did not. Instead of rebuking her for teaching, He rebuked her for what she taught.

To make a long story short, there is not a syllable in Scripture that says all Christian woman are subject to all Christian men -- and the issue in both the Corinthian and Timothy text involved submission. A woman is only subject to her own husband. That is what was taught under the law, to which Paul appealed in 1 Corinthians 14:34). Paul's reasoning in First Timothy does not concern all women and all men, but the husband and the wife, as with Adam and Eve. The texts in question are to be seen from this perspective. We know this is true, for Paul does allow for women to speak in the assembly if they do so as subordinate to their believing husband (1 Cor 11:5).

One final word on this. On the matter of women speaking with an appropriate covering (which he said was her hair, 11:15), he added, "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God" (1 Cor 11:16). I do not know that Paul, or any one else, ever spoke in this manner about critical matters -- things that involved Divine judgment, heaven or hell, Divine approval or condemnation.

Any speaking among God's people that edifies or builds them up in the faith cannot be wrong. Any speaking that does not do this cannot be right. It is really just that simple. Those who are slaves to procedure would not let Deborah be a judge -- but God did, choosing her over her husband (Judges 4:4). They would not allow kings and holy men to be taught by a woman prophetess named Huldah -- but God did (2 Kgs 22:14-20). They would not commission women to be the first proclaimers of the Gospel, and that to the Apostles -- but God did (Lk 24:24. They would not permit an aged woman to go throughout Jerusalem, announcing to all who were looking for redemption that the Savior had been born -- but God did (Lk 2:38). They would not permit a woman to join her husband in teaching an outstanding evangelist the way of the Lord more perfectly -- but God did (Acts 18:26). They certainly would not promote four virgin daughters of an eminent evangelist to be prophetesses -- but God did (Acts 21:9). They surely would not allow women to labor with Paul "in the Gospel" -- but God did (Phil 4:3).

The bottom line is that God simply does not think like these prohibitory experts, and neither should we.


Corban is a Jewish tradition. Please explain more in detail? Why would any
preacher use this for a lesson on giving?

In the tradition of the elders of the Jews, "Corban" meant "It is a gift." There was no thought in the word of indebtedness, thanksgiving, or gratitude. The proper question is not why any preacher would use this as a lesson in giving, but why the Lord Jesus Himself would employ it in His teaching -- and He did. It is written, "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye" (Mark 7:9-13).

Our Lord's intention was to show that human tradition was used to offset and actually nullify the command of God to honor one's father and mother. Yet, using the word and concept of "Corban," the Jews thought they had actually kept the commandment of God, even though they gave no more consideration to honoring their parents. They only treated them as subjects of general charity.

The application to our giving should be obvious. We are not to think we are simply giving God a gift, as though He needed something from us. Rather, we are to honor Him in our giving with appropriate amounts, thankful hearts, and a generous spirit.


I understand what you are saying. I think lots of 'our' preachers are leaning toward 'Faith alone'. Would it have been better to say: "But without faith" we can't appropriate---instead of 'faith alone'?. Enoch and Noah had faith that caused them to do what God told them to do.

The statement concerning the appropriation of God's righteousness reflects the fact only faith can obtain that righteousness. Paul stated this in a very precise manner in Romans 4:5. "But to him who DOES NOT WORK but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness" (Rom 4:5). As I have pointed out in this series, this does not mean the godly do not work, or that there is no activity on their part. But when it comes to appropriating the righteousness of God, faith is the only thing that can obtain it. There are things faith can do that nothing else can do. That is what I meant by "faith alone can appropriate the righteousness of God."

I know too well of those who lean toward a "faith only" view. When James used that term, he was saying there was really no such thing as "faith alone" -- or a faith that did not work. Such a faith is a figment of the imagination, and there is not truth to it. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a faith that does not work. Those who say they have faith, yet do not do the works of God, have not told the truth. That is why James spoke so harshly to such people, declaring they were adulterers and adulteresses, friends of the world, and enemies of God (4:4).

But that is not the issue in obtaining the righteousness of God. Even James affirmed, "And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God' (James 2:23). His point was that his works proved that was the case, not that his works made him righteous.


My mom, who has Alzheimer's Disease. Lately, I have even been wondering if it is safe for her to cross a street by herself. These reasons are why we have tried to "hedge her in" with ourselves and others so much. I am coming to the conclusion that I am going to have to place her in an Alzheimer's care facility. Finally, here comes the question: How does one know when it is right to do this? When would it not be right to do this?

If you are living by faith, here is where your faith brings great dividends to you. In a way, you are like the President. You can listen to the advice of those whose judgment you trust. But in the last analysis, you must make the decision. Candidly, as one who has passed through these waters, there are no flawless procedures or regimens that will settle your heart on this issue. You must resort to your privilege as a "daughter" of the "Lord Almighty" (2 Cor 6:18).

In Christ there is a gracious provision to make your request known unto God. This is done, we are told, "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving." Such requests are earnest, fervent, and with a grateful heart for the benefits you have already experienced. This is to be done "in everything" -- and how appropriate it is in your circumstance. Tell the Lord what you want to do -- i.e., the right thing, the best thing, what gives honor to Him, what will bring the most benefit to your mother, what will best prepare her for disembarking from this world, what you will be able to live with . . . etc. He places no limitations on the kind of request you make, so take Him at His word.

There is a promise connected with this exhortation that offers precisely what you are seeking. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:7). That settled peace will enable you to properly evaluate the advice you receive. It will help you see further than an Alzheimer's specialist. And it will help you to make a proper decision, and know you have done the right thing.

You have a promise from God that if you trust in Him, do not lean to your own understanding, and acknowledge Him in all of your ways, He WILL direct your paths, or make them strait and obvious to you (Prov 3:5-6) -- and God cannot lie.

I urge you to do your best to put your trust in the Lord on this matter. If, at times, that is difficult, then ask the Lord to help your unbelief -- that is, to help you be confident in Him, His care, and His direction. He will not turn you aside. We know from Scripture that He is kindly disposed to such requests (Mark 9:24).

Then, when you have cast your care upon the Lord, listen to all the advice you can profitably take in. View none of it as infallible, but only as possible solutions. With a peaceful heart, and a mind stayed on the Lord, He will help you make the right decision, and know that you have done so. That may appear simplistic to the intellect, but your heart will confirm its truth to you.


My 21 yr. old daughter, (not living w/us for the past yr. because the boundaries/rules of our home "repress" her), knows I seek my answers from God's Word, so she is trying to get me to change about facial piercing by telling me in Genesis, Rebekah had her nose pierced.

Sister Karen,
It is true that Rebekah had a "nose ring." She was also a Syrian (Gen 25:20), with little understanding of God. In fact, she lived before the Law was given. She was a sister to Laban, who had false gods in his house (Gen 31:30-32). However, God had not spoken to Laban, and he had no Law from God. Those times, we must remember, were very primitive spiritually -- hardly any revelation from God, few prophets, and no written law. Rebekah is hardly an example for those in Christ Jesus, unless it be her readiness to believe God.

In Christ Jesus, the view of the human body has been greatly exalted. We read such things as, "the body is . . . for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1 Cor 6:13). "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" (1 Cor 6:15). "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Cor 6:20). I find it difficult to believe the current trend in body piercing is an effort to glorify God in the body. In fact, were someone to make such a claim, I would be forced to conclude they were lying.

What you are dealing with in your daughter is rebellion and pride. You must be careful not to take the blame for this upon yourself. She is making her own choices, and is totally responsible for them. Her conduct is simply an effort to be accepted by a certain group of people -- and they are not God-fearing people. Godly women are told NOT to allow their adornment to merely be external (1 Pet 3:3). This does not give us a license to create all manner of laws for others. It does, however, place the obligation on the individual, whether young or old, to seek God's approval and commendation, not man's.

Instead of focusing on what your daughter does, I suggest you seek wisdom to help her think about WHY she is doing it, and whose approval she is seeking in doing so. Is it being done for self? Jesus says to deny self (Matt 16:24). If it being done to please her peers, the Spirit says pleasing men causes us to cease to please God (Gal 1:10). If it is surmised that body piercing does, in fact, please God, then precisely how does it do so. Shift the focus from you giving the answers to your daughter giving the answers. Those answers will help you know better how to help her.


Do you believe the word "church" is a good and proper translation of the original, didn't Christ die to build a family of believers and not an institution?

There is no single English word that perfectly parallels the Greek word "ekklesia." I am familiar with the position that "church" is an improper translation. However, the argument has no sound etymological basis. The Holy Spirit often took common words and attached unique meanings to them. "Ekklesia" is one of them. The word is expounded doctrinally, not etymologically. As long as teachers affirm what they mean by the word "church," it is a proper word.

Even in the English, one of the primary meanings of the word is, "a body or organization of religious believers as (a) the whole body of Christians, (b) denomination, (c) congregation." (Mirriam-Webster). I understand that some of those meanings are inappropriate -- but the same can be said of the words "assembly," "family," etc.

Thayer gives the root meaning as "properly, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly; so used." But it is NOT always used in this manner in the Scriptures. That is the common usage, and is not always the way God uses it.

The Scriptures define "the church" in these words, "which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph 1:22). Colossians 1:18 and 24 uses "church"  in the same way. In this case, a family is not the point at all, nor is an assembly or gathering. Instead, the likeness is to a "body" that is connected to, and controlled and moved by, the "head." Such a definition can in no way be derived from "the original." That is not how the word was commonly used, but it is how the Spirit used it.

Again, in First Timothy 3:15, "the church" is said to be "the pillar and ground of the truth." In no way can this meaning be derived from "the original." Here the point is not who the church is, but what it does -- and gathering, or an assembly, is not the point. Rather, it is the appointed custodian of the truth of God.

Other Scriptural references to the church include "the bride, the Lamb's wife" Rev 21:9), "flock of God" (1 Pet 5:2), "the temple of God" (1 Cor 3:16-17), "God's building" and "God's husbandry" (1 Cor 3:9), and a "spiritual house" and "a holy priesthood" (1 Pet 2:5). None of these meanings are inherent in the word "ekklesia." If they were not opened to us doctrinally, there is no way we could have derived they were at all involved in the term "church" as used by the Spirit. But they ARE involved, as the Scriptures make clear. If we were to confine ourselves to a Greek lexicon to derive the meaning of "ekklesia," we would remain abysmally ignorant of the meaning God has given to the word.

It is certainly true that "the church" is not a lifeless institution, organized by and for men. Nothing could be further from the truth. If, however, by "institution" we mean something that has been instituted and established (which is a meaning of the word), then there is some semblance of truth to it.

In my judgment, it is a waste of time to haggle about the meaning of the word "ekklesia." Rather, it is in order to expound to the people how God has employed that word. Such expositions will throw down the lifeless views that have been embraced by many. They will also establish to the heart how the Lord thinks about the body of the redeemed.

No one of Scriptural record began establishing the truth by denigrating the Scriptures held by the people -- no one. They rather expounded the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, calling upon the people to embrace that truth, and praying the Lord would give them understanding (Eph 1:15-20; Cool 1:9-11).


Is the new testament a legal code where we have to go through and dot every I and cross every t in a certain manner so we are following a strict pattern?

The New Testament is precisely defined in Hebrews 8:10-13. It is NOT a code, legal or otherwise. Further, there are no "patterns" contained in it. The Old Covenant was one patterns, because it foreshadowed the "better covenant" that would be realized in Christ Jesus. The New Covenant is one of blessing, where the preeminent worker is Jesus Christ, and the people are those who receive the benefits He gives.

Where the Lord has required things of us, we do well to take Him seriously. If He says "Be ye holy" (1 Pet 1:15-16), or "touch not the unclean thing" (2 Cor 6:17), or "set your affection on things above" (Col 3:1-2), or "love not the world" (1 John 2:15), every effort is to be made to do precisely what He says. If He says "love one another" (John 13:34), "walk circumspectly" (Eph 5:15), "redeem the time" (Col 4:15), and "run with patience the race set before you" (Heb 12:1-2, He means for that to be done.

I understand this is not exactly what you were referring to. I say this, however, to emphasize that those who think in terms of "patterns" are off center. They are neither speaking nor acting as the Lord has declared.

When it comes to precision, there is an area where it is applicable -- but it does not have to do with fleshly procedures. One poignant statement of spiritual procedure is found in Hebrews 10:22. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Those who come to the Lord do well to do exactly what He says. They had better not attempt to approach Him with a false and corrupted heart, or without faith, or with a contaminated conscience. However, as you can see, that is not at all how the Scribes and Pharisees would think. Neither, indeed, is it the way the modern legalist thinks. Such people, like the Scribes and Pharisees, are completely wrong, and that is how should view them.


I was in rooms on aol and heard a debate on Jesus words to the people who were in the first covenant age about washing their hands before they ate, and Jesus said "Are you still without understanding , nothing that enters the mouth defiles , but what comes from the heart"
If you have time and would please send me your thoughts on this verse whether Jesus meant really nothing as He said or is there a deeper meaning to His words?

Sister Anna,
My apologies for this late reply to your question. I unintentionally overlooked it.

Uncleanness under the Law was ceremonial in nature. This is so because the Law was not a spiritual covenant. None of its promises or curses were spiritual in nature, but all had to with life in this world. The various dietary restrictions under the Law were designed to acquaint people with great principles that would be realized in Christ Jesus, or under the New Covenant.

In the text to which you refer (Mark 7:14-16, 18-23), Jesus was combating the ceremonial exactness of the Scribes and Pharisees. First, these men had charged His disciples with sinning because they ate with "unwashen hands" (7:5). This was their own tradition, and was not a part of the Law. Under the Old Covenant, the person who had become ceremonially unclean by touching something unclean could not eat until he had "washed his flesh," or "bathed his body," with water." The legalists of Jesus' day had fabricated a rather elaborate law from that proscription, commanding that the people eat nothing unless they had first washed their hands. This was not an act of bodily cleanliness, but of religious ceremony.

Jesus told the people true defilement cannot result from eating something. In saying this, the Spirit says Jesus was "purging all meats," or "purifying all foods" (7:19). That is, Jesus lifted the restrictions concerning foods that were imposed by the Law. This He did because He was moving the people toward God's great salvation that would include the cleansing of the soul, the heart, and the inner man.

Some might imagine this means you can imbibe strong drink, or partake of drugs. But Jesus is speaking about normal foods and eating, not fleshly indulgences that lead to drunkenness and enslavement to other substances. Elsewhere the Lord forbids drunkenness (Gal 5:21), and declares whatever we do is to be unto the Lord, and not for mere self-gratification (Col 3:17). We are to glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor 6:20).

There are even some to say it is still wrong to eat pork, basing their tradition upon the restrictions of the Law. But they are wrong, for Jesus has cleansed all foods, including pork. This is also confirmed in a vision given to Peter, in which he was told to rise, kill, and eat meats that were declared "unclean" under the Law (Acts 10:13-16).


What are the wilderness Jews symbolic of as far as the present age?

The Holy Spirit deals rather extensively with this subject. The difficulty, from one point of view, is that it does not fit handily into packaged theologies. First, there are some general principles we need to bring to bear on this subject.

1. The people of prior ages, including the Jews who fell in the wilderness, cannot be judged as though they had all of the light afforded in the Gospel of Christ. They were not born again, did not have their stony hearts removed, and had not received malleable hearts of flesh. Their hearts were not circumcised, and they were fundamentally wayward or recalcitrant. Through the Prophets, God declared the Jews would receive new hearts, and would love the Lord with all of their hearts (Deut 30:1; Ezek 36:26; Jer 32:39). In fact, He promised a New Covenant would be made with them in which His Law would be written upon their hearts, and they would all know Him from the lest to he greatest (Jer 31:31-34). However, none of that occurred during the wilderness trek. This was a benefit to be realized only in Christ Jesus, and in "the fullness of the time" (Gal 4:4).

2. Therefore, those Israelites are not to be viewed as either in heaven or hell, damned or saved. It is certainly not that they are not in either category, but that their status in that regard has not been revealed to us. Just as the tabernacle service was a type of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, so the Jews in the wilderness were a type or shadow of the manner of the New Covenant. As a type, this representation is not intended to be thorough in all respects, but introductory. Their situation does not exactly parallel that of those in Christ in detail. It does, however perfectly accord in principle.

3. The manner of reasoning with types and shadows involves taking the principles revealed in the type and viewing the substance with those in mind. It is never viewing the type with the substance in mind. By that I mean the issues of life in Christ Jesus cannot be superimposed upon the Jews in the wilderness. Rather, those issues are foreshadowed by the things they experienced in the flesh. Our efforts must not be directed toward determining their eternal status, but of ensuring that ours is acceptable.

Second, there may, indeed, be those who are saved, yet never enter into the fullness of the life of the Spirit. However, the firmness of hope is never held out to such people. They are consistently warned of falling (Heb 6:4-7), being cut off (Rom 11:22), being purged from the Vine Christ (John 15:1-7), coming short of God's rest (Heb 4:1), and of coming into a state that is worse than never knowing the Lord at all (2 Pet 2:20-21). Men have concocted many theologies that provide comfort for the indolent, and hope for those who refuse to obtain what Christ has provided for them. However, the Holy Spirit never holds out such consolation. Nor, indeed, is Jesus ever represented as devoting Himself to the salvation of those who have no fundamental and compelling interest in it -- profession notwithstanding.

Third, when Moses pled for Israel, their pardon involved a stay of execution, not the elimination of it. They were not allowed to enter the promised land, even though that was the sole reason for their deliverance from Egypt. It is vain to bring the "second judgment'" and going to Hell into the subject, for those are matters that relate to faith in the Messiah. God has not made known the standing of those Jews in that regard, and it is not wise to speculate about it. The reason for their inclusion in the inspired record is to teach us about how God regards a failure believe HIM -- and that way is never good. They will be judged in strict accord with the amount of light they received -- and so will we.

Fourth, what we presently have of salvation is very real and effective. However, it is introductory, and not the whole of our salvation. The Scriptures therefore refer to "the firstfruits of the Spirit" (Rom 8:23). The Spirit Himself, who is given to those in Christ Jesus, is called an "earnest," or pledge (2 Cor 1:22; 5;5; Eph 1:13-14). That means the bulk of our inheritance is yet to come. No person should conduct themselves as though they had all of it now. They do not. The immediate evidence of that reality is our present bodies. They are certainly not saved -- but they will be in the resurrection. In fact, the "redemption of the body" is itself equated with "the adoption" (Rom 8:23). Until that takes place, our salvation is in process, just as Second Corinthians 3:18 affirms. We are being "changed from glory unto glory, even as by the Spirit of our God" (2 Cor 3:18).

In First Corinthians 10:1-12, Israel's wilderness experience is likened to our pilgrimage to glory. In the third and fourth chapters of Hebrews, the same comparison is made. The point of both is that salvation consists of two things -- not one. They are deliverance and entrance; leaving and obtaining, coming out and going in. Faith is required for both matters. It is not effective if only applied to one. "By faith," we are told, Israel "passed through the Red Sea" (Heb 11:29). However, many (in fact the majority) could not enter into His rest "because of unbelief'" (Heb 3:17-18). That is precisely how it is with those in Christ. They are in a race, they have not yet completed it. They have the beginnings of the promise, not the whole of it. It is possible to escape the pollutions of the world, then fall into a state that is "worse with them than the beginning" (2 Pet 20-21). Our situation is a lot like having the grapes of Eschol. That fruit is very real, but the whole vine is not here, but in the glory. The person who conducts himself as though he possessed the whole of eternal life now is dominated by unbelief -- and I know of no place where God promises good to those who do not believe.

Fifth, the term "losing salvation" is a philosophical one. It assumes all manner of postulates that are not found in Scripture, but are rooted in human assumption. Everything we presently have is held by faith. It is possible to "believe for a while" (Lk 8:13). It is possible to make shipwreck of the faith (1 Tim 1:19). Thus, the question is not whether we can lose salvation, but whether can cease to believe. Emphatically we are told an "evil heart of unbelief" can still enter in, causing those who were delivered to "depart from the living God" (Heb 3:12). What is more, that is the Spirit's application of the Jews in the wilderness. We do well to take His words just as they stand, for He meant precisely what He said.


Do the passages you mention indicate that all will see Him simultaneously? It seems to me these passages aren't bound to a single event in time.

Yes, they are a single point in time -- "the day" that has been appointed. It is "the day" the saints will be glorified and those who know not God and obey not the Gospel will be punished (2 Thess 1:7-10). Do you believe Jesus is going to come with His "mighty angels" multiple times (2 Thess 1:7)? Will He come in all of His glory with "all the holy angels" multiple times (Matt 25:31)? Will He come in the glory of His Father multiple times (Matt 16:27)? Will He come to judge the world multiple times (Acts 17:31; 1 Cor 4:5). Will He come "the second time" multiple times (Heb 9:28). Is "His coming" multiple times (1 Cor 15:23), Is "the brightness of is coming" multiple times (2 Thess 2:8)? Will God unveil Him, showing the fullness of His Person multiple times (1 Tim 6:15)? Will the heavens and the earth pass away multiple times at "His coming" (2 Pet 3:4-12)? Will "the Lord come" multiple times to "bring to light the hidden things of darkness" and "praise" the faithful (1 Cor 4:5)? Will we "appear" with Christ multiples times, one by one, in glory (Col 3:4)?

Following His enthronement in glory, the Word of God nowhere refers to Christ's "comings." It is always "coming," and that without a solitary exception. We read of "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 1:7; 1 Thess 3:13' 4:15; 5:23; 2:1), "the coming of the Lord" (James 5:7-8), "His coming" (1 Cor 15:23; 1 Thess 2:19; 2 Thess 2:8; 1 John 2:28), "the day of Christ" (Phil 1:10; 2:16; 2 Thess 2:2), "the day of the Lord" (1 Cor 5:5; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10), etc.

The book of Hebrews affirms three essential appearings of Christ, all of which are requisite for salvation. They are in a single context -- Hebrews 9:24-28. He is currently appearing in the presence of God for us (9:26). That is an uninterrupted appearing, as "He always lives to intercede for them" (Heb 7:25). Referring to His entrance into the world, it is affirmed that He "ONCE" appeared at the end of the ages to "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (9:26). He will yet "appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation" (9:28). Christ's first appearance was singular. He present appearance is a single continuous one. What would lead a person to believe His second appearance was multiple?

If His second coming is singular, and it is everywhere so represented, then any and all occurrences, or events, associated with that coming must also be singular.



 

 

 

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