QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 94
From the quick look, I couldn't tell whether you camp with preterists, futurists, idealists, historicists, or somewhere between. Can your views be categorized in one of their camps, or have you simply camped among Biblicists? That's a serious question, not a jab.
There is one thing all of these views -- Premillenialists, Postmillenialists, Amillenialists, and Preterists -- together with their subdivisions -- have in common. The coming of the Lord is not the real point in any of them. The some, the tribulation is fundamental. For others, the rapture is primary. For others, the millennium is the main thing. Still others see the here and now as primary. But in the teaching of Scripture, the coming of the Lord itself is primary. That is what we are to look and prepare for. That is where I am. If, in the end, I am not forever with the Lord, it makes little difference which of these camps I may or may not have embraced. And, they are "camps" -- temporary settlements of theological nomads.
I was baptized a year ago; I’ve been a mason since 1981. My minister said that I need too detach myself from being a mason. I asked him were you a mason he said no. so I said, well if you no nothing about masonry you shouldn’t judge me. He said it’s a cult, I said it’s just a fraternity of a band of brothers. From his reading and understanding he said you worship the worshipful master, I said it’s just a title, we do not worship him. Could you advise me? Of what too do.
The Masonic order is a religion, offering salvation upon the basis of being a mason, and even having their own funerals. Their key person is Solomon, not Jesus.
The use of the kind of titles you mention is not an innocent thing. God considers the ascription of traits belonging to Him to someone else as idolatry. In fact, that is what idolatry is -- giving the glory due to God to someone or something else.
I suggest that you review your own Masonic resources, laying them beside the Lord Jesus Christ. You will find they often use texts of Scripture as though they were references to Masons -- such as "ye are the salt of the earth" (Matt 5:13). They will also never exalt of recognize Jesus as the sole means of coming to God -- and they say they are coming to God.
In the end, you must make up your own mind on this. You must be confident that you can or cannot be a mason for the glory of God and the honor of Jesus.
Please l will like to know your opinion on Feelings/Emotions especially as regards the Singles in Christendom.
Feelings and emotions are among the weakest and most vulnerable part of human nature. They are areas in which we can more easily be led astray and fall. They are also areas that can be sanctified by faith, so that a person has strong feelings for the Living God, and is emotionally touched by His tender love and care as they are revealed in Christ Jesus. As for the application of these things to "singles," that is a distinction that does not even exist in Christ Jesus. In Him there is "male nor female": (Gal 3;28). We must think of God's people as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The things for which you should have concern are the abiding realities of faith, hope, and love. All of these come from God, and are included in the fruit of the Spirit. If you are strong in these things -- faith, hope, and love -- you will be able to properly manage your feelings and emotions. If you are not strong in them, your feelings and emotions will manage you, which is not good.
Also, l know it is not but in your own opinion is it demonic for a brother or sister to have sexual hug?
What, pray tell, is a "sexual hug?" I do not like the sound of the expression at all. As to
whether such a thing is demonic or not, I suppose that would be a convenient way to explain such misconduct. I would refer to it as living after the flesh, and knowing people according to the flesh, rather than in Christ Jesus. This is not a mere opinion, for the people of God are told, "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view" (2 Cor 5:16).
Why is the birth of Jesus important to the Jews and the Christians? What was the year of his birth?
The birth of Jesus is important to the Jews because it is the fulfillment of certain promises that were given to them. For example:
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa 7:14).
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa 9:6-7).
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).
The Savior's birth is important to both Jews and Christians because it was a confirmation of God's love, and the beginning of the Savior's identity with humanity, whom He came to save. His birth was the means whereby He entered into a realm where He would experience the handicaps of living in this world. That would serve to make Him a merciful and faithful High Priest and Intercessor for them. This is taught in the second chapter of Hebrews, and Hebrews 4:15-16.
The birth of our Lord is estimated to have been around 2-4 B.C.
What Hebrew scripture show the sameness and differences between the Jews and the Christians?
The Hebrews Scriptures do not spend time making such distinctions. They rather declare what redeemed people would be like, leaving it to the people to make the comparisons. For example, those who would be delivered by the Messiah would have God's laws written on their hearts and minds. They would actually know God -- every one of them. They would all be God's people, and He would be their God. Their sins would be remembered no more (Jer 31:31-34). They would be joyful in the Lord (Isa 12:3), have an understanding of the things of God (Isa 32:3-4), and serve God with one consent (Zech 3:9).
And what idea do you have as to what a person can do to help Jews and the Christians read and understand the scripture (in question 2) so they can understand each other better?
The point is for all men -- both Jews and Gentiles -- to understand and know God -- not one another (Jer 24:7). Those who know and understand God (Jer 9:24), will be able understand each other properly. The point of Scripture is not to acquaint us with one another, but to acquaint us with God and His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.
A friend of mine believes that in order to understand the Bible, human reason and logic is a key factor. In fact, he told me to point out where in Scripture "that human thought and reasoning are not something to be taken into consideration." I simply stated that the fact that the Bible was written and inspired and explained by God and not by humans is a very important reason.
About the matter of human reasoning and logic. Your friend has made the mistake of equating "HUMAN reason and logic" with "reason and logic," and they are not at all the same. Faith has a reason and logic of its own, and it is very powerful, even though it contradicts the way "humans" reason and think. For starters, your friend needs to use "HUMAN reason and logic" to account for the flood, the birth of Isaac, the parting of the Red Sea, water coming out of a rock, manna falling and sustaining several million people, for forty years, and the walls of Jericho falling down flat while men were shouting. And that is only a start. In all of these things, faith has no trouble accepting those facts, reasoning upon them, and seeing good reason to trust God because of them.
There are at least two examples in Abraham's life that reveal how he reasoned and thought. In both of these instances, his way of thinking contracted the HUMAN way of thinking.
The first has to do with the birth of Isaac. When the promise of a son was confirmed to Abraham, he was ninety-nine years old, and his body, so far as reproduction was concerned, was “dead.” In addition to this, Sarah was ninety, and her womb had been “barren” and incapable of bearing children from the time she married Abraham. If the possibility of this couple having a son had been presented to the most eminent physicians in the world, they would have declared it an impossibility. In fact, if the same scenario was set before any specialist in child birth in our time, they would draw the same conclusion. There is no law of science that could support the possibility of such a birth – a woman incapable of bearing children having a son through an impotent man! No biological fact or rule could do it either. Yet, the Scriptures tell us HOW Abraham reasoned on the matter. It says of him, “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb” (Rom 4:18-19). That was reasoning and logic that is contrary to “HUMAN reason and logic.” Even though Abraham was “human,” he was brought to reason and think like God rather than men. That is what faith does.
The second occasion has to do with Abraham being commanded to offer Isaac as a burnt offering to God. At the time, Isaac was a young man, possibly even in his thirties. His birth was miraculous, and the promise of a Savior was to come through his lineage. Now God tells Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen 22:2). How will Abraham reason about this? It seems to contradict God’s promise of blessing the world through Abraham’s offspring. Again, we are told HOW Abraham thought on the matter. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense” (Heb 11:17-19). Technically, Abraham’s conclusion was wrong. God did not literally raise Isaac from the dead, although what He did do was figuratively the same – Isaac was spared by the miraculous provision of a substitute sacrifice. Yet, Abraham reasoned in a godly manner – not with “HUMAN reason and logic,” but with the reasoning of faith. Faith causes men to think differently – in a manner that no schools of higher learning teach.
Your friend has asked for an example in Scripture where "human thought and reasoning are not something to be taken into consideration." The classic example that is provided concerns the death of Jesus Christ. It was “human thought and reason” that moved men to crucify Him. The most astute thinkers in the Jewish community reasoned, "If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." (John 11:48). Some who heard Jesus speak, reasoned about it and said, “He has a demon” (John 10:20). Others “thought” that He “broke the Sabbath” and blasphemed by saying He was the Son of God. They therefore sought to kill Him (John 5:18). Paul addresses this whole matter with very pungent words. Rather than affirming the need for “human reason and logic,” He affirmed that God does not recognize such a thing even exists. “For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor 1:20). He challenges the world to produce a valid thinker, wise man, or debater. The point is that the heavenly way of reasoning and thinking contradicts the human way of doing so. That is why God said, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa 55:8-9).
The sharp contrast between “human reason and logic” is seen in Paul’s reasoning to the Corinthians, who thought much like your friend. “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of THIS AGE, nor of the rulers of THIS AGE, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of THIS AGE knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor 2:6-8).
In presenting your case, point out that you are not opposed to reasoning and logic. The Scriptures do require us to think and reason. However, faith must be the driving force behind them both.
Our Saturday morning Bible study group is studying Isaiah and we were reading chapter 23 last Saturday. Verse 11 says "The Lord has given a commandment against Canaan to destroy it's strongholds". We began discussing the word "strongholds" and I asked the question "what are strongholds ?" I explained that whenever I have seen the word strongholds in scripture, it was always referring to something bad that had too much power over a person's life that was holding them away from God. One man in the group said "strongholds could be something good couldn't they ?" An 80 year old pastor who has just joined our group and is familiar with your ministry suggested that I ask you what you thought about "strongholds". Any comments concerning your feelings about "strongholds" would be appreciated.
It is always good to hear from you, and to know of the excellent group of men with which you regularly gather. All of you remind me of something that was said of faithful men living during the time of Malachi, when a massive departure of the Lord was taking place. "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name" (Mal 3:16). I commend all of you for your diligence, assuring you that your gatherings are duly noted in heaven.
A "stronghold," or "strong hold" (KJV) is a fortress built for defense and protection. The only place "strongholds" are referred to in the New Covenant Scriptures is Second Corinthians 10:4: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds." These bastions, or citadels, and are then defined as "every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor 10:5). In this case they are erroneous and damaging thoughts, concepts, views, and delusions.
Technically speaking, a "stronghold" is something on which a person depends -- a form of security. The brother who suggested there could be good strong holds is absolutely correct. It is written, "The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him" (Nahum 1:7). Zechariah admonished the people, "Turn [i.e., return] you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope" (Zech 9:12).
The "sweet Psalmist of Israel" was referring to a "stronghold" when he wrote, "The Lord is . . . my Fortess" (2 Sam 22:2; Psa 18:2; 31:3; 71:3; 91:2; 144:2). Jeremiah said the same (Jer 16:19). The same is true of the word "Refuge," which is applied to both God (Psa 62:7) and Jesus Christ (Heb 6:18). The latter reference was prefigured by the cities of refuge, which foreshadowed the Lord Jesus (Num 35:11; 14; Josh 20:2; 1 Chron 6:67). They were cities in which safety was realized for one who was charged with murder, yet was possibly innocent.
In the case of the strongholds of the Canaanites, and the bastions of thought that are to be thrown down by those in Christ Jesus, "strongholds" are places of protection for things God actually hates -- things He is against. The ancient heathen would built such places around their idols, making them a sort of fortress. Israel was to thrown them down. Sometimes they are referred to as "the high places" (Num 33:52; Ezek 6:3). For believers in our day, casting down imaginations is involved in stopping the mouths of those who bring damaging doctrines that actually move people away from Christ (Tit 1:11).
I understand how important it is that we are baptized as soon as we understand what God has done for us through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but this denomination believes that a person absolutely cannot be saved without being baptized and they believe it is wrong to have instrumental music in the church. Your comments as always are very much appreciated.
First, God HAS spoken to the church about baptism. He has NOT delivered teaching to the body of Christ concerning instrumental music. Our thoughts about any subject must be molded by what God has SAID, not what He has NOT said, or what men THINK He meant. That is rather rudimentary, but it does need to be established in any serious discussion of things pertaining to life and godliness.
BAPTISM. The brother's statement concerning baptism, namely that one cannot be saved without being baptized, is driven by an awareness of teachings (concerning salvation) that eliminate baptism, or treat it as some sort of option, left up to the discretion of men. Such an approach does not mesh with Scripture.
In the last analysis, we must speak of baptism as Jesus and the Apostles spoke. Our teachings must not be surrounded with the language of men, but ought to be very precisely stated. Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). He did NOT say, "He who believes and is saved should be baptized," or "He who is baptized shall be saved." He said it the proper way, with the entire panorama of truth before Him. Referring to "water," Peter also said, "baptism doth also now save us" (1 Pet 3:21). Further, when addressing the saved, the Scriptures assume they have all been baptized, and reasons upon that fact (Rom 6:1-12; 1 Cor 1:13-17; Col 2:11-12; Gal 3:27-28).
Baptism is associated with our identity with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:3-5). It is tied to "the circumcision of Christ," which relates to the cutting away of the whole body of the sins of the flesh (Col 2:11-12).
Men may debate about what these things mean, but there ought to be no debate about what they say -- about the words themselves. We are to be free to use them without thinking they impinge upon our own beliefs. If, in fact, the bald Word of God appears to contradict what we believe, there can be no doubt that we believe the wrong thing. When everyone agrees to speak about things in "words which the Holy Spirit teaches" (1 Cor 12:13), it will reduce the amount of controversy. When they choose to use other language -- language that reflects human conclusion rather than Divine affirmation -- it will result on controversy. This is because we cannot be sure any man is saying what God really means if he is not using the words God really used.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. From the beginning of His dealings with men, the only issue God has ever had with instrumental music, is when it was employed for self gratification rather praise to Himself (Amos 5:23; 6:5). It cannot be countered that God said this because the instruments themselves were offensive to Him, for He said the same thing about the songs of decadent Israel (Amos 8:3). No person in any age was ever rebuked by God for using a musical instrument in heartfelt praise to God.
We do know that an "evil spirit" DEPARTED from Saul when David played skillfully upon the harp (1 Sam 16:23). We also know the "hand of the Lord" CAME upon the prophet Elisha as a minstrel played, moving him to prophesy (2 Kgs 3:15). We DO know that the glory of the Lord came down when the trumpeters and singers made "one sound" at the dedication of the Temple (2 Chron 5:13). Some will object that these are not relevant because they occurred prior to the inauguration of the New Covenant. However, that argument is flawed, because we are dealing with God and evil spirits -- neither of which are capable of changing. We know from Scripture that God is NOT offended when instruments are played before Him by holy people. In fact, He identified Himself with instruments: "musical instruments OF GOD" (1 Chron 16:42), and "harps OF GOD" (Rev 15:2).
It will be argued that this refers to a prior period, and thus has no relevance for our time. However, they do not refer to a prior God, and God is unchanging. It may be countered that God was once pleased with bloody sacrifices. However, the Scriptures never really say this. Those ancient sacrifices were said to be "a sweet savor" made by fire to God (Ex 29:18,25; Lev 1:9, etc). However, it is categorically stated that He did "NOT" have pleasure in them -- i.e., He NEVER did (Psa 51:16; Heb 10:6,8). The reason for his displeasure in those sacrifices is also provided: they could not take away sin. It was for this reason that a body was prepared for Jesus, in which He entered into the world for the purpose of dying (Heb 10:4-8).
No such argument is ever presented in Scripture concerning instrumental music -- that is, that it was never pleasing to God, could not please Him, and was only a figure of Jesus, or something else. If people want to say that is what the Scriptures mean, they must bear the responsibility for their own doctrine. But that is NOT what God said, and no person is obligated to accept the postulate that this is what God meant, even though He did not say it.
Is it wrong to ask my husband to quit his job, venture in a new business, for reasons of my fear that he might be emotionally attached with someone from his workplace? I am miserable because he strongly disagree resigning/quitting from his job. What are some things that I need to do to convince him to quit his job?
I cannot answer that question with any kind of finality. If the "fear that he might be emotionally attached with someone from his workplace" is unfounded, then it is an imagination that must be cast down (2 Cor 10:4-5), and a fear from which you must be delivered (Psa 34:4). If the that "fear" is justified, then there must be an acknowledgment of it by your husband. He must fulfill the word of the Lord, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Rom 13:14), "and do not give the devil an opportunity" (Eph 4:27).
I suggest that you and your husband pray together about this matter. It is important that you do not tell him what you think the problem is. Your prayers should be for God to give you both wisdom, and for him to search your hearts, as in Psalm 139:23. If he is unwilling to pray with you about this, then I suggest the following. You must see the sense of doing this, and not enter into it simply because I suggested it.
1. First, you need to have your own heart settled. An agitated spirit and troubled heart will only cause more difficulty for you. AT this point, that is more important that settling the issue you feel exists with your husband. God speaks about a settled heart in this way: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7). When you have realized the fulfillment of that promise, do the following.
2. Ask God to resolve the problem using your faith. The promise that deals with this is found in First John. "If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that" (1 John 5:16). A "sin leading to death" is one like Ananias and Sapphira. They died BECAUSE they sinned (Acts 5:1-10). Your husband is still alive, so you can assume he has not committed this sin. The promise is that God will give him life because you have prayed.
Are the Ten Commandments valid in our time? When is the Sabbath of the Lord? Is it Saturday or Sunday? Is it important to keep the Sabbath?
The ten commandments, or "the Law," are for the lawless and disobedient, and thus are certainly valid for our time (1 Tim 1:9). They are NOT the criterion for righteousness, for they demanded perfect, unwavering obedience, and nowhere required faith (Gal 3:12). They define sin (Rom 3:20), and, as a covenant (for they were "the words of the covenant" given to Israel -- Ex 34:28) were the standard for righteousness. In Christ Jesus, God writes His laws upon the hearts of the people, bringing them into accord with Himself -- a condition Israel never did enjoy (Heb 8:10; 10:16; Rom 10:21). Righteousness is now received from God through faith (Rom 3:22; 4:5; 10:6; Phil 3:9), not developed by men keeping the Law.
The words "ten commandments" were never attributed to John the Baptist, Jesus, or the Apostles. Not one single time are they said to have uttered them. The Ten Commandments were not their focus, for the Law was "weak through the flesh," demanding more of fallen humanity was possible (Rom 8:3). This by no means suggests they were unimportant or despised. It was rather because they were not capable of lifting men out of sin. Scripture affirms they were, in regard to salvation, unprofitable, making "nothing perfect" (Heb 7:19).
"The Sabbath of the Lord" was declared to Israel to be "the seventh day," as any student of Scripture knows (Ex 20:10; Lev 23:3; Deut 5:14). Not one single Prophet after Moses ever referred to "the seventh day" in the sense of Exodus 10:10 -- not a single one. The one and ONLY time the expression "seventh day" is used in Matthew through Revelation is in the fourth chapter of Hebrews. That is the exposition of the real sabbath, or "rest," to which we are brought in Christ Jesus, and into which Israel never did enter (Heb 3:3-9). That "rest" is entered through faith, as is declared in Hebrews 4:3.
Jesus nor the Apostles ever commanded a single person to "keep the Sabbath" -- and Jesus is the Head of the church, and the Apostles are the ones who laid its foundation (Eph 2:20). There is not so much as a syllable in the Apostolic writings that binds the Sabbath upon those who are in Christ Jesus. In Scripture no Christian is ever admonished to keep the seventh day, or rebuked for not doing so. In fact, those in Christ Jesus are admonished not to allow any one to bind the Sabbath upon them (Col 2:16). Those are just the facts in the case. How a person chooses to view them is their own business.
There is certainly nothing wrong with anyone keeping the Sabbath day as commanded under the Law, but it is not something Christ has required of those who believe on Him. They have been brought into a higher order of the Sabbath day which has enabled them to cease from their own works as God did from His (Heb 4:10) -- something Israel was never able to do under the First Covenant.
I do not know if you are simply unlearned in these things, or if you are making an effort to affirm the Sabbath day has been bound upon all men throughout all time. I speak of the Sabbath like Jesus did, and like the Apostles did. That is something you are also obliged to do. As to your own personal preferences, that is a matter between you and the Lord, and it must remain there, just as Romans 14:5-10 teaches.
GO TO PREVIOUS PAGE
Go to next page