Group Number 105

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A quick question if you have time. You may email it as I have to sign off. I went to a men's bible study last night and it stumped the group....Even the leader. In Hebrews 3:6, what is meant by "but Christ a Son over His own house." ? I understand that Christ is over God's house (the church) but what does it mean by "a" Son?

The book of Hebrews refers to the Savior as "Son" no less than twelve times (1:2,5,8; 2:6; 3:6; 4:14; 5:5,8; 6:6; 7:3,28; 10:29). This accents His humanity, for Christ's Sonship has strictly to do with Him becoming a Man and being glorified as a Man. Hebrfews deals extensively with this, comparing Jesus to angels (Heb 1:4-7,13), Moses (Heb 3:3-6), and Aaron the high prfiest (Heb 5:4-57:11-14).He is also the only means by which the household of the Lord can be expanded, or realize new members. That is why He is called "everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6), and the One to whom "children" have been given (Heb 2:13).

The words "a Son" are compared with the description of Moses as " a servant" (Heb 3:5). Jesus is also referred to as "a Son" in Hebrews 1:5 and 5:8). Isaiah also refers to the coming Savior as "a Son" (Isa 7:14; 9:6). Mary was told she would bring forth "a Son" (Matt 1:23; Lk 1:31). There is no cause for a anyone to be confused by this language.

This is the same kind of reasoning as is used in the fifth chapter of Romans. There Adam is referred to as "one" and "one man," and Jesus is also referred to as "one" and "one man" (Rom 5:15-19). This kind of reasoing is also used in Hebrews where Jesus is called "a high priest" (Heb 4:15; 5:5,10; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1; 9:11;10:21). The use of "a" is one of comparison -- "a" Son with "a" servant; "a" man who obeyed with "a" man who disobeyed; "a" high priest who ever lives with "a" high priest that died.

In the text to which you referred, Moses was "a servant" over God's house. Jesus, however, is by comparison "a Son" who is over His own house -- a house that God built (Heb 2:5) and gave to Jesus ("His own house"). The point the Spirit is making is that if men were punished for not following a servant who was managing God's house, what will be done to those who refuse a Son who is over HIs own house (Heb 3:8-15).

A friend wrote me a very important question: "Do you believe Muslims are
worshipping the same God we believe in?"

First, the claim that Muslims worship the same God as Christians is based upon the phrase, "The God of Abraham" (Gen 26:24; 31:42,53; Psa 47:9). Genesis 26:34 is a statement God Himself made to Isaac, referring to Abraham as Isaac’s "father."

Genesis 31:42 is a statement of Jacob to Laban, in which he referred to "the God of Abraham my father, and the fear of Isaac." The Muslims do not honor that lineage, not acknowledging Isaac as Abraham’s primary offspring [God called Isaac Abraham’s “only son’ (Gen 22:2), even though he fathered Ishmael and six other sons as well (Gen 25:1-2)].

Genesis 31:53 is a statement made by Laban to Jacob, in which he referred to "the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor," Abraham's brother. It would be possible for the Muslims to wrest this text, although I do not know their position on Nahor.

Psalm 47:9 refers to the nation of Israel, called "the people of the God of Abraham." Muslims could not claim the God of this text. They reject Isaac, saying that the blessing came through Ishmael. They do not even recognize Sarah. Secondly, they do not recognize the children of Israel (Jacob) as a legitimate nation, being their perpetual enemies.

Second, God is also referred to as "The God of Abraham" and "Isaac." This was spoken to Jacob when he had a dream in which he saw a ladder extending from earth to heaven. At that time the Lord said to him, "I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed"(Gen 28:13). This is not the God honored by the Muslims, for they do not receive Isaac, and would refuse to honor the God who was associated with him.

Third, all of other references to "the God of Abraham" include both Isaac and Jacob: "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Ex 3:6,15,16; 4:5; 1 Kgs 18:36; 1 Chron 29:18; 2 Chron 30:6; Matt 22:32; Mk 12:26; Lk 20:37; Acts 3:13; 7:32). Muslims do not believe in the God who is associated with Isaac and Jacob. Their God is the God of Abraham and Ishmael.

Fourth, God is also referred to as "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 11:31; Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3). Muslims do not acknowledge the God who is "the Father" of our Lord Jesus Christ. They do not perceive Jesus as the only begotten Son of God.

Now, since Jesus has come, He has spoken with great clarity about believing on God. "He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on HIM THAT SENT ME. And he that seeth Me seeth HIM THAT SENT ME" (John 12:44-45). He also affirmed that those who did not know Him, did not know God. "Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, whom ye KNOW NOT" (John 7:28). Again He affirmed, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me receiveth HIM THAT SENT ME" (John 13:20). Therefore, believing on God, perceiving Him, knowing Him, and receiving Him, is contingent upon the individual's acceptance of Christ Himself. Where that acceptance is not found God is not known, and those who do not know him cannot possibly believe on him.

Peter said with remarkable clarity that it is by, or through, Jesus that we believe in God. "Who BY HIM DO BELIEVE IN GOD, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God" (1 Pet 1:21). If this is true, then it is not possible to “believe in God” without doing so through Jesus Christ, all the arguments and postulates of men notwithstanding.

John admonished his readers, "Keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21). He was not speaking of visible and tangible images, but of false CONCEPTS of the Living God. We know this is the case because of the preceding verse. "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know HIM THAT IS TRUE, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. THIS IS THE TRUE GOD, and eternal life" (1 John 5:20). A God who is not known because of the ministry of Jesus is not God at all -- such is a false God, another God, a spurious God. He is really nothing more than an imagination of fallen men. When the Thessalonians "turned from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thess 1:9), it was the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Israelites, and the Father of the Lord Jesus. It was the God to whom Jesus brings us 1 Pet 3:18), and the God with whom He acquaints us.

One other thing. The truth of the matter is that not one knows who God is except Jesus Christ. Prior to Jesus, the only people who in any sense knew God were those to whom He revealed Himself. Now that Jesus has come, God has delivered the exclusive knowledge of Himself to the Son, and He alone can make the true God knowable to men. Jesus precisely stated this in the eleventh chapter of Matthew. "All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him" (Matt 11:27). The NIV reads, "neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him."

And exactly who does the Son choose to acquaint with the Father? Is this an arbitrary decision on His part? It is precisely at this point that we have a very familiar verse -- yet one that is, after all, not very familiar at all. "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of [from] me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Mat 11:28-29). That is the person who Jesus chooses to reveal the Father to -- the weary and heavy laden that make their way to Him, perceiving Him as the Christ of God. And what is it that they will “learn?” They will learn what is absolutely hidden to them without the ministry of Jesus – “the Father.”

So do the Muslims worship or believe in the same God as Christians? There is not the slightest chance that they do. They have even aligned themselves against the only fleshly people God ever claimed (Israel), and they are no friends of Christians either, who are referred to as "THE sons of God" (John 1:12; Rom 8:14,19; Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2).

In this case, the same situation prevails that did among some that were in Corinth. They had been exposed to "ANOTHER Jesus," "ANOTHER Spirit," and "ANOTHER gospel" -- all of which were wholly spurious (2 Cor 11:4). They were nothing more than imagination that were to be cast down with powerful spiritual weaponry (2 Cor 10:4-5). With Muslims, they have been exposed to "ANOTHER God." Not only is their "god" not the true God, he is in competition with the real God, and will ultimately be destroyed by Him.

I have been contemplating for about a year why it is that the disciples, in their daily conversations with our Lord Jesus Christ, never once (to my knowledge) called Him "Jesus." It is always "Lord," "Master," "Teacher," "Rabbi," "Messiah," "The Christ," or "the Son of God." Philip once called him Jesus of Nazareth but that was in his conversation about Jesus, not with Jesus. And, of course, they preached Jesus as the Christ. Is the significance here that the disciples, who surely knew His name, saw Him as someone far more than just a man named Jesus? And are we being too casual or personal or flip in always referring to the Son of God as Jesus? I would greatly appreciate your insights on this matter, Given.

As you probably know already, the name "Jesus" occurs 983 times in Scripture. 625 times in the Gospels, 68 times in Acts, 276 times in the Epistles, and 14 times in the Revelation. The demons called the Savior "Jesus" (Matt 8:29, Mark 5:7). Bartimaeus also called Him "Jesus" (Mark 10:47).

There are various levels of perception of the Savior. Some accent His manhood (Jesus, Master, Teacher,. Rabbi), some His salvational role (Christ, Savior, Messiah, etc, and some His identity with God Himself (Son, Christ, Lamb, etc.). You are correct in observing that the disciples did not speak with Him as "Jesus." We know that they had identified Him as the “One of whom Moses in the law, and in the prophets, did write” (John 1:45). Others who witnessed His mighty works and heard His words concluded the same (John 6:14; 11:27). While the disciples preeminently REFERRED to Him as "Jesus," often with some other appellation ("Christ," "Lord," etc), when they addressed Him personally they did not do so in that manner. In His presence they entertained a more lofty perspective of Him.

It appears that from the time He was born until His baptism, "Jesus" was the name by which He was exclusively known: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus" (Matt 1:21). His distinction was declared by the words “of Nazareth” (Matt 26:71; Mk 1:24; 10:47; 14:67; 16:6; Lk 4:34; 18:37; 24:19; John 1:45; 18:5,7; 19:19; Acts 2:22; 6:14; 10:38; 22:8; 26:9).

It is not flippant to refer to Him as "Jesus" if we do so with perception. 34 times, Acts through Revelation refer to Him as "Jesus" with no additional modifiers: Acts 1:1,11,14,16; 2:32; 4:2,13,18; 5:30,40; 7:55; 8:35; 17:7,18; 19:15; 25:19; 28:23; Rom 3:26; 2 Cor 4:11; 11:4; Eph 5:21; Phil 2:10; 1 Thess 4:14; Heb 2:9; 6:20; 7:22; 10:19; 13:12; Rev 14:12; 17:6; 19:10; 22:16).

When Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus He said, "I am Jesus . . . " (Acts 9:5; 22:16). Paul reported to the Jews that Jesus said, "I am Jesus of Nazareth" (Acts 22:8). Some our Lord's last words to John the Beloved were, "I Jesus have sent Mine angel . . . " (Rev 22:16).

All of this confirms that this is not a demeaning way of referencing our blessed Lord. I cannot, however, conceive of myself or any other individual personally addressing the Lord as "Jesus," with no modifiers like "Lord," "Christ," "Holy One," etc. However, if one chooses to teach that this would not be proper, I think he would have a most difficult time making the point. And, if he did make it in a convincing way, what would he have accomplished? If we are confronted with people who address Jesus in this manner, do they not do so because of faulty vision? If such a conclusion is true, then the situation cannot be settled by a rule. It is the vision that must be enhanced by means of a proper proclamation of the Lord Jesus.

In my opinion, more of a marked emphasis must be placed upon the Person and accomplishments of the Lord Jesus. Too often He is seen as the Means to this or that -- from unity to health and prosperity. It is this abbreviated, and often thoroughly incorrect representation of Christ that has led to unbecoming views of Him.

Paul said it well. "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth KNOW WE HIM NO MORE" (2 Cor 5:16). Within the framework of spiritual understanding Paul often referred to the Lord as "Jesus." That reference, however, was within in the strict setting of redemption.

Can you address what a Christian's attitude toward the summer solstice should be. Here on the west coast, there are many solstice celebrations and some Christians attend them. Some of these are so pagan in nature with gay pride marches and naked men's bicycle parades.

In Sweden, where winter days are long, the summer solstice is a national celebration with none of the pagan trappings and everyone celebrates the coming of summer.

I am attending a church where there are many Swedes and this issue has come up when some women decided to call their summer barbeque a "Solstice Celebration." I and several others objected, so it was changed to a "Summer Barbeque on the Solstice." I think that still begs the question of why Christians are paying any attention at all to this solar event. >>

My understanding of scripture is that there are curses of God upon people who do so. I read where the Israelites were to be so cursed that even their very bones would be uprooted and scattered to parch in the sun if they celebrated the movements of the sun, moon, and stars.

I want to write a paper to give our leadership team before next summer that will inform the church of a Christian's right view on this matter. Your thoughts please. >>

It is never right for the child of God to celebrate occurrences of nature. Nature has been consigned to the "bondage of corruption," and is looking forward to the time when the children of God will be made known (Rom 8:20-22). It is "groaning" in travail, looking forward to its appointed release at the coming of the Lord. What could possibly be right about having a celebration concerning any aspect of creation, which is dying. The celebration should be in honor of the God of creation, and not of creation itself.

When God judged the Gentile world, it was partly owing to their undue elevation of the creation. They failed to associate creation with the "power and Divinity" of the One who made it, and God took due note of their attitude. They are said to have "worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator" (Rom 1:25, NIV) -- and the sun is a "created thing."

Another thing that makes this practice most reprehensible is that God's greatest work has been revealed to be salvation, not the natural creation. It is a "great salvation" that cannot be neglected with impunity (Heb 2:3). How can people turn their attention to the creation without diminishing the magnitude of the "new creation?" Jesus is the One through whom God made all things (Eph 3:9) -- and they were made for Him NOT man. As it is written, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, AND FOR HIM" (Col 1:16). If there is nothing wrong with celebrating some aspect of nature, could it not be argued that nothing is also wrong with celebrating the creation of "thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers"? If it is acknowledged that it is not right to celebrate the creation of these lofty personalities, how then can celebrating the impersonal creation be justified?

Candidly, I am surprised that a church would be involved in such things. It betrays a fundamental ignorance of what it means to be reconciled to God. It also confirms that Jesus has really not been seen as He is -- "the Head over all things" (Eph 1:22). I understand that people will argue about this, but their arguments are just puffs of smoke. God is seen, as we are plainly told, "in the face of Christ Jesus" (2 Cor 4:6). To celebrate the position of heavenly bodies is nothing more than to celebrate a dying order -- and you have to turn away from the face of Jesus to do so..

It might be possible to understand such folly prior to Jesus, when there was a relatively sparse amount of understanding concerning God's "eternal purpose" (Eph 3:11). But that is not the case now. If God is going to "gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him" (Eph 1:10), what could possibly constrain a person to in any sense focus upon the sun of creation, or celebrate anything it controls? One has to put Christ into the background to do this, and that cannot possibly be right -- not since God has put Him into the foreground, focusing all attention upon Him.

Additionally, the fact that this so called celebration is honored by many who themselves are most reprehensible to God ought to at least cast suspicion on the whole practice.

Will I go to hell for smoking weed?

That is the wrong question. You should ask yourself questions like, "Is God glorified by me smoking weed?" "Am I smoking weed for myself or for the Lord?" "Do I want to be found smoking weed when Jesus comes?" "When I stand before the Lord on the day of judgment, how will I be able to explain why I smoked weed? -- for "every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom 14:12).

If a man does something to shine light in the path of a non believer should he be put down?
if a man does something to shine light in the path of a non believer and is put down by another Christin, who is wrong?

The question is not who is wrong, but who is right. It is right to shed light -- to let our light shine before men.

My question concerns the appointing of Matthias as an apostle. Acts 1:16, and 20 are Scripture that certinaly needed to be fulfiled. However verses 21-22 are not. These verses are regulations that Peter may have just made up. Jesus told them to wait until the Holy Spirit came instead impulsive Peter choses men and i am sure they were good men that is not my concern, and then throws lots to choose them. It is also curious that Matthias is never mentioned again in the New Testament. In Revelation there are 12 Apostles sitting on throwns do you think the 12th is Paul or Matthias?

I realize this is a position taken by many, but it is 100% wrong. The book of Acts was written over thirty years after the events of the first chapter took place. It is inconceivable that Luke, who had a "perfect understanding of all things from the very first" (Lk 1:3) would have failed to tell us Peter was wrong in stating the qualifications of an apostle, and out of order in his exhortation. He certainly was not merely writing a history of rights and wrongs without delineating the difference between the two.

If Mathias was nothing more than a human choice, this would also mean these brethren were wrong in praying for Divine guidance (Acts 2:24-25), and that God did not answer their prayer as they requested. That would also indicate that Solomon was wrong when he said, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD" (Prov 16:33).

This view also demeans Peter and those with Him who had been continuing in one accord in prayer and supplication -- hardly the kind of soil from which rash and hasty decisions are grown. Peter's handling of Scripture was anything but an academic exercise, and revealed insight that could only have come from God. Jesus had previously breathed on Peter and the other disciples, saying "Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). I suppose one might conjecture that nothing happened at that time, but I find it difficult to conceive how such a supposition could be supported. It is more likely that this initial benefit would direct the brethren while they waited for "the promise of the Father."

Not only is Matthias not mentioned after this text, the following apostles are also never again mentioned anywhere in the Bible: Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the Son of Alphaeus, Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James (Acts 1:13-14). That certainly does not suggest they were not really apostles.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter "stood up with the eleven" (Acts 2:14). Matthias was there, but Paul was not. When the multitude responded to Peter's preaching, they said to "Peter and to the rest of the apostles" -- the "eleven" who were standing with him (Acts 2:37). These are "the apostles" in whose doctrine the disciples continued (Acts 2:42). They are "the apostles" who wrought "many signs and wonders" that day (Acts 2:43). If this is not the case, then Peter would have been standing with "ten," not "eleven." Another alternative is that Luke did not realize Paul was the twelfth apostle, even though he had traveled extensively with him. If that is the case, it also casts a shadow of doubt over the rest of the book of Acts.

In Acts 6:1, "the twelve" called the multitude of disciples together. Matthias was there, but Paul had not yet been converted. Paul says that following Christ's resurrection, He was "seen of the twelve" (1 Cor 15:5). Judas was gone. Matthias had not yet been chosen, but was obviously one who saw the risen Christ -- a qualification for being an apostle.Paul is not included in that number, for he cites himself as seeing Jesus "last of all," and not with the other apostles (1 Cor 15:8-9).

The bishopric vacated by Judas was one that focused on the Jews -- the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 19:29 and Luke 22:30, where He told the disciples of their role in the world to come. Paul's apostolic focus was on the Gentiles. This distinction was duly noted by Paul, Peter, John, and James the Lord's brother (Galatians 2:7-9).

I will say no more on the subject, but whoever originated this view about Paul being the twelfth apostle did little thinking about what he affirmed.

This is one that is just a concern small concern of mine i keep hearing preachers say "when Paul fell off his horse" Where is the horse. After it says they led him by the hand if he was riding a horse would they have not taken the reings of the horse? 

You are right, there is nothing to suggest that Paul was riding on a horse when he fell to the ground (Acts 9:4). Paul was journeying from Jerusalem to Damascus. As the crow flies, that is over 250 miles. I suppose Paul could have walked it, but it is not likely. At any rate, there is no need to pursue a firm answer on this matter. I see nothing that can be gained by it, and it could force us to draw some conclusions that would serve an honorable purpose.

Today you wrote: "I have provided this somewhat extended explanation because a prevalent view among the people with whom I have been identified. They do not see sorcery as real, but consider it as delusion and mere phantasy. If that is the case, this is the only instance in the Bible where a sin that is unreal is condemned." Kindly permit me to disagree!
To my understanding, the sin of sorcery is the desire and the attempt to obtain knowledge from other perceived powers than from God, in rebellion against His revealed word and moral directives. Idols are not real gods either, yet idolatry is utterly condemned. Both idols and sorcerers are deceptions, yet people continue to be deceived by them.

The fact that demons knew who Jesus was, and who Paul was, is nothing to be marveled at. Such knowledge was well known to many believers of that time and there is no reason to assume that spiritual entities are not aware of all that takes place among men. It was not a knowledge of future events that only God knows.

I am persuaded that only God is a creator and has total control over all His creation. Satan and his demons are all creatures and have no power over the physical world. Their power lies in their deception: false miracles and pretended wonders.

I certainly will permit you to disagree, and I know you will permit me to do the same. Here are some considerations.

There is no question about God having total control over all His creation -- including the devil himself. He also has been known to dispatch some of that power to others.

1. The fire that fell on Job's sheep, burning them up, was not a delusion, and was instigated by Satan (Job 1:16). That was power in the physical world. God had told Satan, "Behold all that he has is in thy power" (Job 1:12). It was not that way by default, but by Divine dispensation. The invasions of the Sabeans and the Chaldeans were not traced back to some military strategy, but to the initiative of the devil.

2. The wind that smote the four corners of the house in which Job's children were feasting was in the physical realm, was very real, and is associated with Satan (Job 1:19).

3. The boils with which Satan smote Job from head to foot were not delusions (Job 2:7).

4. God warned Israel of a false prophet who make a sign or wonder come to pass (Deut 13:1-2).

5. Jesus said there would be false Christ's who would show "great signs and wonders," not "false" signs and wonders (Matt 24:24).

6. Moses said the rods of the Egyptians magicians "became serpents" (Ex 7:12), they turned water into blood (Ex 7:22, and brought frogs upon the land (Ex 8:7). However, when they attempted to cause to lice to come from the dust, "they could not" (Ex 8:17), nor could they perform any of the other plagues. God made a distinction in their first three efforts and their last one. To me, that does not suggest the first three were mere delusions or slight of hand.

7. The Gadarene demoniac, under the influence of an "unclean spirit" tore chains apart and broke iron shackles (Mk 5:4). I consider that to have been super-human feats.

8. The woman with a spirit of divination said of Paul and company, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation" (Acts 16:17). Where did she get that information?

9. The Revelation speaks of an evil personality who worked in concert with the devil. He is said to do "great wonders,' make fire come down out of heaven, and do "miracles." There are no modifying words concerning these "wonders" and "miracles." The result of them were deception, but there is no suggestion the wonders and miracles themselves were only delusions (Rev 13:11-14; 19:20). Revelation also speaks of "the spirits of demons, performing signs" (Rev 16:13). While I understand there are many figures and types in Revelation, the figures themselves must, in my understanding, be supported by some substance. Otherwise, they are meaningless.

10. Paul spoke of his intention to come to Thessalonica several times, saying that he was not able to do so because Satan "hindered" or "stopped" (NIV) him (1 Thess 2:8). How would this have been possible if Satan has no power in or over the physical world?

11. When Satan showed Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time" (Lk 4:5), nothing in Scripture suggests that the sight was a delusion. I consider that display to have been a supernatural occurrence.

12. Satan is the "prince of the power of the air," and personally works in "the children of disobedience." That "power" is not mythical or a delusion, as the evidence of his working confirms (Eph 2:1-2). There are also "principalities and powers" that operate under his administration (Eph 6:12). Satan and all of his workers labor to deceive men, but the power that they employ is not always a delusion or unreal.

13. Paul describes a despot who operated according to "the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders" (2 Thess 2:9). The word "working," according to the lexicographers, "is used only of supernatural power, whether of Satan or of the devil" (Thayer). It is the same word that precedes the word "delusion" in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, where it is translated "strong." That is, the delusion itself was supernatural. The despot is also said to employ "all power" (dunamis), that is, a power that someone has to do something -- and "there is no power" that does not come from God, or is not delegated by Him who all-powerful. The despot also employs "signs." Lexically, these are signs "transcending the common course of nature" (Thayer). The third thing employed by this worker of Satan is "lying wonders," or pseudo-miracles. That is, indeed, something that Satan employs. However, all of his works are not pseudo wonders.

Well, that is certainly enough for now. I just wanted you to know that I was not speaking off of the top of my head in my comments concerning sorcerers.

 - - - - Discussion continued below

I am persuaded that only God is a creator and has total control over all His creation. Satan and his demons are all creatures and have no power over the physical world. Their power lies in their deception: false miracles and pretended wonders.

First, I never implied that Satan had power on his own. I affirmed he received his power, like everyone who has power. The living God is the only Source of power. He does, however, delegate power to whom He chooses, and for the purposes He chooses. That is what He did in the case of Satan's assault on Job. Assessing what Satan had done by permission, the Lord said, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause" (Job 2:3). Did nature just go berserk at that time, with unusual lightning strikes. Job was being tested, to be sure, but not by random occurrences of nature. That is why God revealed Satan was behind those occurrences, and that they would never have occurred without Satan being empowered by God to do them. God said put Job's possessions in Satan's power. That is what He said (Job 1:12).

The expression "lying wonders," or any expression like it, is found a single time in Scriptures (2 Thess 2:9). There it is one of three categories -- "all power and signs and lying wonders." A lying wonder is not what it is represented to be. That does not mean it is not a wonder, but that it does not confirm what it is targeted to prove. In Second Thessalonians, it refers to "the son of perdition," who presents himself as God. The wonders he wrought, however, did not substantiate his claim. That is the point of the text.

I know of no place in all of Scriptures where things wrought by magicians, sorcerers, and the likes did not actually occur. Moses did not even suggest this. He gave no indication that the Egyptian magicians hid articles or snakes in their sleeves, or something similar. When commenting on that experience, Paul said that Jannes and Jambres "withstood Moses" (2 Tim 3:8). Where is mere slight-of-hand represented as resistance -- the kind that calls for reciprocal action?

When Isaiah spoke of those with "familiar spirits," are we to imagine they did not really have them (Isa 8:19). And, if this is the case, why didn't the prophets declare this.

When the Psalmist spoke of false gods who could not speak, see, hear, smell, handle, or walk, he said he was speaking of "idols of silver and gold, the work of men's hands" (Psa 115:4-7).

Jesus never hinted that the false prophets and christs would work wonders that did not really take place, or that they were nothing more that slight-of-hand. He referred to such things as "great signs and wonders" (Matt 24:24), and "signs and wonders" (Mk 13:22). John referred to them as "great wonders" (Rev 13:13), and "miracles which he (an adversary) had power to do" (Rev 13:14). There is not so much as a syllable explaining that such things really did not take place at all.

I know that the incident of the witch of Endor is conveniently explained away by saying Samuel really did not appear. And, indeed, if all we knew is what that wicked witch said, it might seem plausible to accept this view -- even though nothing in the text remotely suggests such a thing. It is what Samuel said that explodes this myth. The Scriptures, given by the inspiration of God, say the witch knew it was Samuel (1 Sam 28:12). Saul recognized that it was Samuel (1 Sam 28:14). The one writing the text does not suggest the woman was lying or that Saul was deceived. However, it is what Samuel said that clinches the case. The words attributed to Samuel cover verses 15-19, and they are unquestionably from the Lord Himself. The Spirit-inspired text states that "Samuel said to Saul." His words include the following.

1. The Lord had departed from Saul (28:16a).
2. The Lord had become Saul's enemy (28:16b).
3. The Lord had done according to Samuel's own word, rending the kingdom from him (28:17a).
4. The Lord had given the kingdom to Saul's neighbor, "even to David" (28:17b).
5. The Lord did this because Saul did not execute wrath upon the Amalekites (28:18).
6. The Lord would deliver Israel, with Saul and his sons, into the hands of the Philistines (28:19a).
7. The Lord would also deliver the host of Israel into the hands of the Philistines (28:19b).

The inspired writer then says Saul "was sore afraid because of the words of Samuel" (29:20). The 31st chapter of First Samuel confirm what Samuel did happen. It was not until David was later anointed king that Israel finally defeated the Philistines (2 Sam 8). If all of that was foretold by a demon, or was fabricated by the witch, I find that harder to believe than the event as the Holy Spirit wrote it up. I could never accept a view that holds the Spirit did not inspire this to be written in the precise manner in which it appears.

I am an elder at Seerley Creek Christian Church, and I need to know how to counsel a man in our church who is wearing women's clothes. He says he does this to grieve for his wife who just passed away. My question is What scriptures do I use to counsel him. I need to protect the other members from this strange behavior. My fellow elder brothers are in shock as well as I am, and we are looking for answers, Can you help?

I am sorry that you have had to contend with such a deplorable circumstance. Your reaction to this situation is altogether proper, and I commend you for it.

The Scriptures speak specifically to this issue, so there is no need for any doubt concerning it. While the subject is addressed under the Law, it is associated with the repulsiveness of such conduct in the eyes of the Lord. "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God" (Deut 22:5). The NIV version reads, "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this" (Deut 22:5).

Some one may contend that this statement was made under the Law, and therefore has no relevance in our time. However this is altogether erroneous. The text states that those who do such things are themselves an abomination, or detestable, to God -- and God does not change.

Paul also founds an argument concerning the proper conduct of men and woman upon man being in the image of God. While the subject he addresses is not immediately related to the issue you are facing, in principle is there that is relevant to it., "For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man" (1 Cor 11:6-8). The argument here is that the man is not to outwardly appear as a subordinate to the woman. In the case before you, in order to justify a man wearing women's clothes, it would have to be substantiated that the Lord wore women's clothes. In such a case, the man would, by wearing women's clothes, be reflecting the glory of the One to whom he answers.

I personally do not believe the man when he says he does this to grieve the passing of his wife. He is dishonoring his wife in his conduct, as well as the Lord who made him a man.

Should he choose to continue this way of dressing, he must be expelled from your assembly. He is conducting himself as, what men call, a transvestite -- a man wearing women's clothes. This is the very sin that is mentioned in First Corinthians 6:9 -- "effeminate," in the King James Version. That word is associated with clothing, or appearance, and has an application to men dressing like and conducting themselves like, women. The word literally means "unmanly," and extends itself into homosexuality or sodomy. Paul is careful to say that such people "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9), and that being in Christ cleanses men from such proclivities (1 Cor 6:11).

You and your fellow elders must be firm in dealing with this. The man's actions are being observed by children, young believers, and others. All who see him must know what God thinks about the matter, and how such conduct will not be tolerated among the people of God. At this point, the recovery of the man is not the issue, but the protection of the flock. You may recall there was a fornicator in Corinth -- a sin that is in the same classification as men wearing women's clothes. The congregation was forthrightly to expel this man from their presence. They did so, and the man was brought to repentance (1 Cor 5:1-6; 2 Cor 2:6-8).

May the Lord be with you as you deal with this difficult, but not impossible, situation.

I am about to begin a budgeting course for the  . . .  and it will certainly be Christian oriented but I would like your view about tithing in the age of grace, the church age. In my mind, tithing was an Old Testament concept and stewardship, the idea that everything belongs to God and we have been given a responsibility to manage part of it, is New Testament. In my mind, money I spend to buy gasoline to take a homeless person to a shelter or an addict to a meeting in God's eyes is the same as money I would place in the offering at church. Do you agree ?

The tithe was in place long before the Law. Abraham "gave tithes" to Melchizedec (Gen 14:20). The book of Hebrews states that his action even involved the Levitical priests paying tithes (Heb 7:9-10). Jesus told the Pharisees that they tithed, and ought to do so, without leaving other weightier matters "undone" (Matt 23:23). When blessed by God, Jacob vowed, "I will surely give the tenth unto Thee" (Gen 28:22). Tithing, then, antedated the Law. Holy men did this, having a sort of intuitive knowledge that this was to be done.

Under the Law, tithing was the means by which the priesthood was supported (Num 18:24; Neh 10:37). The Levites also gave a tithe of the tithes that they received (Num 18:26; Neh 10:38). This is particularly important because Paul affirms that those who preach of the Gospel are supported in the same manner as the priests of Israel. "Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (1 Cor 9:14).

In addition to this, it is categorically stated that the living Christ is presently receiving tithes. "And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth" (Heb 7:8). I know that some affirm this is speaking of Melchizedec. However, it is not "witnessed" that Melchizedec lives. His genealogy is not provided, but that does not equate with a witness that he is alive. Hebrews does witness that Jesus lives (Heb 7:25).

As to monies being spent on one's personal; ministry, I would call that an offering -- over and above what is being given to the support of the Lord's work. It is not proper for one to consider what is being expended on his own ministry as being his primary offering to the Lord. The priests of old had to give a tithe of what they received directly to the Lord -- without regard to their own persons.

As to the matter of everything belong to the Lord, and we are stewards of it, that has always been the case -- throughout all generations. It is ever true, "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psa 24:1). When David gathered the offering for the building of the Temple, he expressed his mind on the matter to the Lord. "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given thee" (1 Chron 29:14). Thus, as you can see, the thought of everything belonging to the Lord, and we being a steward of it, is by no means confined to the New Testament. That has always been the case.

This is a matter you must settle in your own mind. For myself, I cannot confine my giving to the work that I myself do. I must support the work of the Lord that others are doing. It is God's ordinance that those who "preach of the Gospel should live of the Gospel," or "get their living from the Gospel" (NASB) -- 1 Cor 9:14. If I support myself and my own work, I am not living from what my work has produced. I must confess that, for myself, I do not believe this is right. But now, you must reassess the matter on your own, and I know that your heart will lead you to a proper answer.

Where did demons originate? If they are spirits of the wicked dead ,why have`nt they faced judgement. Hebrews 9;27 we are to die once then face judgment?

The Scriptures do not tell us of the origin of demons, and we are not at liberty to speculate on the matter. Demons know that there is a "time" when they will be "tormented." In fact, when some of them confronted the Lord Jesus, they thought He may have come to torment them at that time (Mark 8:29).

But concerning their origin, God has not revealed a single word. I know that men have speculated about this, saying demons are the spirits of the departed wicked. However, they have not received their information from God, and we ought to discard their speculations as worthless. If this is something we need to know, we must wait until we are ever with the Lord to know it -- and I see no purpose it would serve at that time.

As to the judgment, that is a day, indeed, that all will face. However, that day is not faced when we die, but on a single day, referred to as "the day of judgment." Every personality will be there, and everyone will receive their just dues (Matt 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36; Mk 6:11; 2 Pet 2:9; 3:7; 1 John 4:17). Paul said this would take place on an "appointed" day in which the entire world would be judged (Acts 17:31).

In the book of job God and Satan talked to each other is there anywhere else in the bible that hold a conversation together? If so can you tell me where the location is at in the Bible.

Genesis 3:14-15; Job 1:7,8,12; 2:2,3,6; Zechariah 3:2; Matthew 4:3-10; 16:22-23; Lk 22:32-33.
Jesus talked to demons (Matt 8:29; Mark 5:7-13; Lk 4:33-35.

I am sorry to take from your time but I need to know how many great grandmothers was Ruth to Jesus, I am writing a poem about a virtuous woman.
If you know and have the time to write and let me know I would appreciate it, I don't want to write the wrong thing down, I thought she was the 14th great grandmother.

First, the genealogy of Jesus is traced through the men. Matthew traces it forward from Abraham (Matt 1:2-16), and Luke traces it back all the way to Adam (Luke 3:23-38).

Boaz-RUTH beget Obed, David's Grandfather - (Ruth 4:13-17), Obed-? beget Jesse, David's father (Ruth 4:22), David-BETHSHEBA-(2 Sam 12:24), Solomon-NAAMAH (1 Kgs 14:21), Rehoboam-? (1 Chron 3:10), Abijam-MAACHAH (2 Chron 15:16), Asa-AZUBA (1 Kgs 22:42), Jehoshaphat-? (1 Kgs 22:50), Jehoram-ATHALIAH (2 Chron 22:2), Azariah-JERUSHAH (2 Chron 24:1), Jotham-? (2 Kgs 15:7), Ahaz-ABIJAH (2 Chron 29:1), Hezekiah-HEPHZIBAH (2 Kgs 21:1), Mannasseh-MESHULLEMETH (2 Kgs 21:15), Amon-JEDIDAH (2 Kgs 22:1), Josiah-HAMUTAI (2 Kgs 23:31), Jechonias-? (2 Kgs 24:14-15) Salathiel-? (Ezra 3:2), Zerubbabel-? (Ezra 3:2), Abihud-? (Matt 1:13), Eliakim-? (Matt 1:13), Azor-? (Matt 1:13), Sadoc-? (Matt 1:14), Achim-? (Matt 1:14), Eliud-? (Matt 1:14), Eleazar-? (Matt 1:15), Matthan-? (Matt 1:15), Jacob-? (Matt 1:15).

There you have twenty-eight generations of grandmothers. Twelve of them are named, and sixteen and unnamed. However, as I have said, the genealogy is traced through the men. Counting backward from Mary, and including Mary, Ruth would be number 29. Ruth was a virtuous woman, but not all of the grandmothers were.

I have just read an article you wroteand wonder how you understand Phil. 1:6 in relation to Peter's words? -- "For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." (2 Pet 2:21)

We are kept by the power of God "through faith" (1 Pet 1:5). That is the context in which the work is completed. The work is finished through the work of the Holy Spirit who changes us from one increasing stage of glory to another WHILE we are beholding the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:18; 4:6). Faith is the appointed means by which the grace of God is experienced (Eph 2:8).

Paul had confidence that the work in the Philippians would be "performed" until the day of Christ because he had beheld their consistency (Phil 1:3-5). This is what made it appropriate for Paul to make the statement of reference (Phil 1:7).

The words of Paul to the Philippians, and the words of Peter in his second Epistle cannot be woven together, and were never intended to be. They address two differing conditions. Peter addresses the matter of false prophets who "forsook the right way" (2:15). Speaking of the same men, Jude said they were "twice dead" (Jude 1:12). Paul was speaking to people who had fellowshipped with him "in the Gospel" from there very first day until the time he was writing to them. One group was going forward, and the other was going backward.

In a broader sense, the two texts fit together to confirm that if God does not build the house, all labor is pointless. Further, as is significantly confirmed in Israel, God has nowhere pledged to finish His work where there is retrogression. He has been known to actually abhor His own inheritance (Psa 106:40), which is the result of unbelief Heb 3:19-4:2).

Discussion continued below . . .

Thank you for this good answer. My question has to do with the Lord actually beginning a good work in us, or whether that has not actually happened at all. What Jesus said about the angels separating the wheat from the tares indicates the two never were the same, even though for a while, it appeared that they were. I am not trying to uphold Calvin's ideas,
(something highly unpopular in ch.'sofC) but trying to understand what the scriptures actually say.

It is very true that Jesus did not suggest tares could become wheat and wheat could become tares. That is a high view, and it is a very true one. However, this is not the only view or level of Divine workings. Adam and Eve were really in the Garden of Eden -- yet they were expelled. Israel was really delivered from Egypt, but many of them did not get into Canaan. Israel did finally get into Cannan, yet were taken out of it because of their hardheartedness. Judas did possess a very real Bishopric, and yet fell by transgression. There are those, Jesus said, who only "believe for a while" (Lk 8:13).

From the most lofty view, most of which is hidden to us, the children of the wicked one and the children of the kingdom are fully known, and do not pass from one group to another. That is the ultimate view, and in the end there will be those made known whom the Lord, from this point of view, "never knew." However, as I have already said, that is not the only view we are given. There is also a view of both good and bad being taken in the net of the Kingdom of God, with the "bad" being gathered out at the conclusion of all things (Matt 13:47-48).

In many of these people, God started a very real work -- like Israel coming out of Egypt, passing through the Red Sea on dry ground, drinking water from the rock, and eating miraculous manna. However, as the Spirit says, "with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness" (1 Cor 10:5). That does not mean they were not really delivered from Egypt, and that they did not really pass through the Red Sea, or that God did not really do a work among them.

The resolution to the difficulty of these things is that Divine benefits are presently realized by faith. Where there is faith, that realization is very true, and not to be controverted. However, when faith wanes, so do the benefits. Faith is a tenuous matter. It has to be "kept." For those who do not do it, they will have taken from them what they really did receive -- just as surely as the unfaithful stewards who received a "talent" and a "pound" really had something from the Master in their possession, yet finally had it taken from them.

It is for this reason that professing "Christians" are admonished, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor 13:5). This is one of the many things that are grossly neglected among those of the Restoration Movement. Resting on history instead of upon Christ Himself, they assume that they have faith. However, that is an unwarranted assumption, and must be vigorously thrust from us. Our faith is the whole matter in question -- and it is something that must be kept, fed, nourished, and built up. What is received by faith can only be kept by faith.

I have read through your booklet, but have not had time to formulate my answer. The last section on Revelation contains some questionable teaching. The following statements reflect an body of doctrine that has been developed by men, and is nowhere clearly affirmed in Scripture.

"At this time Jesus does not come to earth."

"After the rapture there will be what is referred to as a 7 year period of great tribulation."

"During this period, believers who have been raptured will be judged according to their works at the 'Judgement Seat of Christ' in heaven."

"After the end of the 7 year period of tribulation on earth, Jesus will take all believers back to earth which is referred to as His 'second coming' to reign with him for a thousand years

"During this period Satan will be bound. There will be no death, sorrow, sickness, or pain."

"At the end of the millennium, there will be what is called the Great White Throne Judgment at which time nonbelievers will be condemned to hell."

"After the Great White Throne Judgment, Jesus who is considered to be the 'bridegroom' will take all believers, considered to be the 'Bride of Christ' to heaven to spend eternity with Him."

None of these statements are made in Scripture. They all reflect a perception of the end times that certain historic teachers have developed. Jesus nor the any Apostle ever clearly said these things. Men have taken what has been said, largely in the book of the Revelation (which is a vision, not a body of doctrine) and formulated an entire network of teaching, piecing together expressions from Ezekiel, Daniel, the Gospels, some epistles, and the Revelation.

This body of teaching requires that Jesus leave heaven two more times. It also requires that the saints go to heaven, return to earth, then return to heaven again. These things are never clearly stated by any inspired person. They represent what men think is meant by what Jesus and the apostles said. Better to simply say what Jesus and the Apostles said. God will bless that.

Terms like "7 year tribulation," "rapture,," and "the Great white throne judgment" are not found in Scripture. Yet they are pivotal to this body of teaching. They do not mesh with such statements as "FIRST gather together the tares" (Matt 13:30) and "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats" (Matt 25:32) -- and a host of others.

I recommend that you have a section about the Lord's return, simply stating what Jesus and the apostles have clearly declared about it -- watching, being ready, receiving rewards, every man being judged, ever being with the Lord, heaven and earth passing away (2 Pet 2:10-13), etc.

Just a note about accommodating your book to elementary understanding. The more this is done, the more power is taken from the writing. As much as possible, avoid a purely academic approach. It tends to lull people to sleep in their souls. Use key words that God uses, then provide a brief explanation of them. As you must know, the Word itself is the sword of the Spirit, not conveniently chosen words for the unlearned or words contrived by theologians.

Keep up the good work. You have been given a burden for the lost. God will bless you as you earnestly do like Solomon -- "seek to find acceptable words" (Eccl 12:10).

I'm traveling right now and thus do not have a greek NT or greek tools with me. I noticed a translation of "I must be in my Father's house" in the NIV. The hotel Gideon Bible (assuming KJV) reads "I must be about my Father's Business." Which is the better translation? Any other thoughts on that passage?

As usual, the purported scholars missed the spirit of the text, and fastened on their concept of grammar instead. As I understand, the Syraic and Persian manuscripts do read "Father's house." The Greek itself technically allows for both expressions, although the sense of the language is that of "things belonging to My Father." The point is to get at what the Spirit means to convey to us. Was it that Jesus was obligated to be in the Temple? Or was it that He was obligated to traffic in the Truth? For me, it is clearly the latter.

In viewing the text, the point is not WHERE Jesus was, but WHAT He was doing. As you may recall, the account of the occasion reads thus: "Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers' (Luke 2:47, NKJV). In that context, for Jesus to say He had to be in the Temple totally misses the point. That is why the Spirit moved Luke to emphasize what He was DOING in the Temple. It is also why the teachers were astonished at what Jesus said, not where He was.

That is how the Spirit had the record written up. Now, was the point the house, or what was going on in the house. Versions reading "business" include KJV, New King James, Darby, Geneva, Bishop's New Testament (1595), Webster's (1822), Tyndale (1534), and Weymouth. Young's Literal Translation (1862) captures the sense very well: "did ye not know that in the things of my Father it behoveth me to be?" The Amplified Bible reads, "Did you not see and know that it is necessary [as a duty] for Me ?r?to be in My Father’s house and [occupied] about My Father's business?"

Here was God's standard for a boy of twelve. It was not merely to be in the Temple -- something that Jesus was only able to do occasionally -- in fact, once a year (Lk 2:41). To suggest that Jesus would say He had to be in His Father's house when He only had opportunity to do so once a year seems a bit absurd. It would postulate that His life was built around the Temple rather than the Father Himself. To me, that is very flawed reasoning.

We are studying 1 Corinthians in our Men's Bible Study at church and last night were in the fifth chapter. We were discussing the proper response to a man in our midst who claims to be a Christian and yet it is known he is living in sin, living with a woman who he is not married to as if they were married. The words were applied from verse "Expel the wicked man from among you", verse 13. I understand not having fellowship with the man as if there were no problem, but one man said, "lock the door". If we don't allow the man to come into the church, what kind of opportunities for him to hear the truth and be convicted might we be keeping him from?

The purpose of the excommunication is to remove the man from any and all activities of the church. This is in order that God alone may work with the man. Such a sinner has passed beyond the help of the church. They were not even told to pray for the man. He was to be "taken away from among " them (5:2). He was to be delivered "to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" (5:5). He was to be purged out of their assembly (5:7). They were not, in any sense, to keep company with such a person (5:9). They were not to eat or drink with such a person (5:11).

So far as the Corinthians were concerned, the recovery of the man was not the point, but his defiling effects upon the assembly (5:6-7). He was not to be thrust from their presence, for it was evident he was only becoming more hardened in their presence.

Here the issue was not giving the man an opportunity to hear the truth and be convicted. He had been living in sin while he was hearing the truth and in their presence. Now he must be removed from such an environment forthrightly and altogether. God, then, would work on his heart, if, indeed, it was not already hardened beyond remedy. The people did expel this man (2 Cor 2:6). Further, the man did repent and come back to the Lord (2 Cor 2:7-8). Had the Corinthians chosen to allow this man to continue among them, he would not have repented. That was the whole reason for Paul's instruction on the matter.

I have a question for you regarding communion. I have search for a Church that speaks the truth for a long time. The Lord has blessed my life with a small group of brothers who are passionate about praise an worship. The Pastor speaks the truth and I am concerned about Communion. Some Sundays, they dip the bread into the cup. This is something that I'm not comfortable with as I do not understand enough. Jesus is the perfect example and this is not the way that Christ taught us to remember him in my own mind. I do not want to miss communion either. What are your thoughts on this matter? Thank you in advance!

There are a number of people who dip the bread into the cup when they observe the Lord's Supper. This is a tradition of men, and has absolutely no confirmation in Scripture. It is commonly referred to as "Intinction," and is practiced by some of the Easter Orthodox churches. It is officially defined as "The administration of the Eucharist by dipping the host (bread) into the wine and thus offering both simultaneously to the communicant ."

The practice is in sharp variance with the manner in which Jesus ordained this practice. Here is how the Scriptures speak of Christ's instructions.

MATTHEW (Matt 26:26-29). While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave to His disciples, telling them to eat it. He said it was His body. Then He took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to the disciples, and told them to drink of it. He said this was His blood shed for many for the remission of sins.

MARK (Mark 14:22-24). Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave to His disciples telling them "Take, eat: this is My body." He then took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, ":and they all drank of it."

LUKE (Luke 22:19-20). Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me" This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."

John does not give an account of the institution of the Lord's Supper.

Paul wrote that Jesus especially revealed this ordinance to him. He related what Jesus told him in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. First, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said, "Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." "In the same manner," Paul said Jesus took the cup, drank of it himself, and then said, "This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." Paul then instructed the Corinthians, "For as often as ye eat this bread, AND drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come" (1 Cor 11:26).

There you have everything God has said about the matter. There is no possible way of getting dipping the bread into the cup in those texts. Jesus took the bread and the cup separately. Luke says He even took the cup at the end of the supper. He blessed them separately. He gave them to the disciples separately. They were to eat the bread and drink of the cup.

The proactive of dipping the bread into the cup has been sanctioned by some churches, but it has not been sanctioned by God. It is a kin d of nonsensical shortcut where you can ingest the bread and the juice in one act. Jesus, however, did it in two acts. Paul said eat AND drink.

After 32 years, my husband still has no interest in me. I am thinking the only solution is to be divorced. In certain situations, such as abuse, neglect in a marriage, is it against God to remarry if there hasn't been adultery committed?

Your situation is one for which there is no express answer in Scripture. There are two revealed reasons for the termination of a marriage. One, as you already know, is adultery or fornication -- unfaithfulness to the spouse (Matt 5:32; 19:9). the other is the refusal of one to dwell peaceably with a believer (1 Cor 7:13-16). In this latter case, an effort must have been made to dwell peaceably -- that is, in a state where one's faith is not inhibited, and yet the unbeliever is not content to allow the believer to serve the Lord without restriction.

In your case you must know in your heart that you are driven by the proper motives. Your heart must be pure.That is something only you and the Lord know, and no one else can make that decision for you. God has gone on record that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Yet, it is allow under certain circumstances, as He has revealed.

You speak about remarrying. I must tell you that it is not right to ponder this while you are married. It will prove to be an opportunity for Satan to tempt you, and you must not make a place for him to do that (Eph 4:27).

You have a difficult situation before you, and my heart goes out to you. However, it is not an impossible one. The first objective must be to be reconciled to one another -- and that is a two-way street. In that matter, if the husband is pleased to dwell peaceably and considerately with you, and has not been unfaithful to you, God says remarriage is out of the question.Here is what he says, "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (1 Cor 7:10-11).

Do not be discouraged. God can grant you grace to recover from whatever damage has been caused by this situation, and from your illness as well. The prophet Joel spoke about this principle in terms of destroyed crops, but it applies to a life as well. "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you" (Joel 2:25).




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