Bible Questions & Answers 2001

questions

Part 48

On offending people

And with regard to the matter of offending people, I…that’s only a problem to me if I am the offense. It’s not a problem to me if the Word is an offense because it is. That is the way it is. If people are offended by the Truth, then I have fulfilled my responsibility. If they’re offended by me, then I need to repent. I want to speak the Truth in love. I don’t want to be the offense. But I understand that people who believe error, people who believe the lie, people who don’t understand the Truth or aren’t committed to it are offended by it. I mean, certainly, in the culture in which we live today. I mean, the basic idea is you have to tolerate anything and everything that anybody and everybody believes.

On interpretation

John: Well, the fact that there are so many interpretations of Genesis 6 means that a lot of people have gotten it wrong, right? Because there is only one proper interpretation.

Can people with compromised faculties be saved

We must understand what we said this morning, that nobody can be converted to Christ today, nobody can be saved, apart from faith in Jesus Christ. Anybody who gets a disease like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia or what they used to call hardening of the arteries or senility, reaches a point in old age where they no longer can process information, has still had a life before that and still had the opportunity to live up to the life they had and to believe if that was their hearts desire. So those people are culpable.

You have your lifetime. You have your rational lifetime. I mean, many people, at the point of their…reach some point in life, many people reach some point in life where they’re not fully rational, but they have still had their life, and that’s all that God gives a person.

That’s why it’s so critical to come to Christ in your youth. As Ecclesiastes says, “Remember thy Creator in the days of Thy youth.” You know, the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, before you start falling apart. And he describes it there, describes all of that. The legs don’t work anymore. The eyes don’t work. The ears don’t work. The brain doesn’t work. The hands begin to tremble. And you better remember your Creator before you get to that point.

In regard to somebody who’s born with Down Syndrome or somebody who’s born with some kind of genetic deformity or somebody is born with some kind of a brain injury or misformation of the brain to whatever degree, and they cannot understand, then I believe that God deals with that individual in a very special way because no one can be saved apart from faith in Christ. But no one can be damned apart from unbelief. And those people can neither believe nor disbelieve.

How infants are saved

And, you know, back in Genesis 4, God says, “Have not I made the blind and the lame and the _______? Have not I made these people?” And I believe that God deals with those people in His own way. Since they cannot believe and they cannot disbelieve, they have to be treated in some way by God that is unique.

And I think the best way to understand that is to understand how the Lord deals with infants who die. And you go back into the story of David, in the Kings, where his little boy died, infant son. And he said, “He cannot come to me, but I shall go to him.” That’s a very compelling statement.

And then you have the Mark 10 passage where Jesus says, “Permit the little children to come to me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” And He picks the little children up, and it says He blessed them. There is no occasion in the Bible where God does that, where Christ does that to a nonbeliever, to one that’s not His own. He embraces little children, and He blesses them, which indicates that there is a very special care for those who are not yet able to know…

And there’s one other element. And this could be developed over a long kind of look through the Old Testament. I won’t do that. There was a certain kind of worship in Canaan, the worship of the God Molech or Moloch. That worship involved incinerating a child. In other words, to appease the God Moloch, they would take one of their babies and build a fire on an altar and incinerate the baby to appease the God. And the Old Testament calls that…and this is very interesting…“the slaughter of the innocence.”

So there is God, saying about those infants, that they are innocent. They are not the children of…they are not the circumcised children of Jews. They weren’t the infant baptized people of Presbyterians, as an analogy. They were the kids of pagans. They didn’t have a family covenant protection, is what I’m saying, and he said it was the slaughter of the innocents. If God designated them as innocent even though they were children of pagans who couldn’t believe or not believe, that’s pretty significant.

Did God’s rest cause Adam and Eve to fall?

…it doesn’t say that God stopped doing everything. It says, “On the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” That simply means He rested because the creation was over. He rested from the specific work of creating the universe.

He continues, as Hebrews 1 tells us, to uphold all things by the Word of his power.

Nothing can continue to exist apart from God

…but it is still God the Creator who sustained the universe by the power that He alone has that causes all physical processes before the fall to continue to operate.

On apparent discrepancy between Jeremiah 31 and Luke 24:20

Josh: Between that what Jesus spoke of, the New Covenant He spoke of in Luke and the New Covenant that’s spoken of in Jeremiah 31? Because it says specifically that it’s just made with the house of Israel and Judah. So it would be wrong to say that that is for us as well?

John: It is not wrong, and it is the same covenant. Understand this…God didn’t promise any nation other than Israel a Messiah. God promised Israel the Messiah. God promised Israel the Kingdom. God promised Israel the new covenant, not that it might end with them but that it might come through them.

But from the very beginning, the promise of a new covenant was to extend to the nations.

Jeremiah acknowledges this. Isaiah acknowledges this, that the impact of the new covenant is going to be worldwide.

So the promises…Romans 9 says, “The Jews were given the promises and the covenants.” It was to them the promises were made. It wasn’t to them the promises were exclusively given. But they were told that there would be a Kingdom, and there would be a King, and there would be a sacrifice that would provide complete cleansing for sin. The promise was made to them because they were chosen people of God…

I suppose it’s parallel to the promise that the angel Gabriel came and gave to Joseph. “The Savior’s going to be born to you. You’re wife’s going to have the Messiah, the Son of God.” The same promise came to Mary. It isn’t that the promise made to them is therefore limited to them. It is that they become the instrument through which the promise comes to the world. It is true that, though the new covenant is described in Jeremiah 31, and the new covenant is ratified in the death of Jesus Christ, the terms of the new covenant were being applied since the day of Adam because even Adam’s sins were forgiven on the basis of what Christ would do, as everybody else before the cross. And now everybody since the cross is forgiven on the basis of what Christ did.

Does a person have to know that Jesus is God in order to be saved

Are the terms synonymous? Or does belief presuppose knowledge?

John: No, I think that man didn’t have to know that because of where he was in redemptive history, prior to the death of Christ and the resurrection. He was still under the Old Testament economy. He may have thought that Jesus was God. He may have wondered if He was God. He certainly believed He was sent from God.

But since the cross and since the resurrection, you cannot be saved unless you confess Jesus as Lord. And Lord means God, sovereign God. So no one is going to be saved today who doesn’t acknowledge Jesus as Lord. And, not only that, believe that God raised him from the dead, which means you have to believe in his death as a sacrifice for sin that satisfied God, and so God raised Him to affirm that satisfaction. The terms then, after the death and resurrection, are laid out in Romans 10:9, 10.

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Part 49

Is there any Bible reference to the age of the universe?

…If you follow the chronology of Genesis: so-and-so begat so-and-so begat so-and-so begat so-and-so and you add the years…and there’s no reason not to do that because that’s the divine record…you have the Creation, and about…I think it’s 1,656 years later, you have the flood

And then, if you follow the continual chronology from the flood on, you have about another 4,500 years would be the least. And it, perhaps, could expand 1,000 or so.

We would say that if you just take the chronology of the Bible and the genealogical records of the Bible, you have the Creation approximately 6 to 7,000 years ago

I’m almost finished with a book called “The Battle for the Beginning…

And as I’ve been saying all along, if you don’t believe Genesis 1, when do you start believing? Do you kick in in Genesis 4 or Exodus 8? Or you don’t come in ’til Nehemiah or whatever? And if you can get in and out wherever you want, what are you going to do when you read something you don’t like in Isaiah or Revelation at the very end? You can’t play fast and lose with the Scripture

In Exodus chapter…is it chapter 20, verse 11…it refers to the fact that as the Lord created the world in six days and then He rested, so the Sabbath day is instituted. You work six days, and you rest. So there’s an affirmation that it was six literal days. If it wasn’t literal, then how can it be an analogy for us to work six days and rest the seventh. It wouldn’t make any sense for God to say you have to work 6 quadrillion millennia and then rest.

Thou shalt not kill (what it means)

The word here is murder. It’s a distinct word. It’s murder. And murder is an unjust, cruel act.

The Bible does permit killing. Back in Genesis chapter 9, it tells us that if somebody takes a life, they should forfeit their life. God has given to human society the right of capital punishment. So there is such a thing as a just execution. In 9:6 of Genesis, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed. Genesis 9:6. That is where God instituted capital punishment.

Israel commanded to destroy the Canaanites

And, of course, in the Old Testament, this is illustrated. Because when God brought Israel into Canaan after they had wondered for 40 years in the wilderness and wound up at Kanish Barnea. And when God said, “You go in,” what did He tell them to do? To destroy whom? The Canaanites, why? Because the Canaanites were a vicious, wicked, murderous people. I’ve read that among the Canaanites, there were those people who, when they built a building, buried a live baby in a jar in the wall as some kind of appeasement to their deities. They were a vicious people. We know that they offered their babies to the god Molachby incinerating them alive on a funeral pyre, on a sacrificial alter. So where there is wickedness and evil that is taking the life or threatening to take the life, the Bible is pretty clear about the right to defend.

Where you have an evil, aggressive, murderous nation, you have a right to self-defense.

Romans 13 and the police/state

…And that is what Romans 13 says. When you talk about the police in Romans 13, it says that they are servants of God who bear not the sword in vain. They don’t carry a weapon for nothing, and the sword is not meant to pat your bottom. A sword is meant to cut you with. And they’re given the right in society to exercise, if need be, capital power, capital authority. That is the authority that takes a life in the protection of the innocent. And it says in Romans 13, the first few verses, that they are given to society by God for the protection of the innocent and the punishing of the guilty.

How does the Bible distinguish between the spirit and the soul?

The word napheshin Hebrew, which is the most common word for the inner person, is translated in the English Bible probably 21 or 22 ways: soul, spirit, self, heart, mind, person, up to 21, 22 different words. But it always means the inner man, the inner man.

Putting Jesus to open shame – what it means

That is exactly what the scribes and Pharisees did…exactly what the Jews did.

They came to this conclusion, according to Matthew 12, that what Jesus did and what he said, he did by the power of whom? The devil. They concluded exactly the opposite truth because they were so hard-hearted. And so the writer of Hebrews is saying, “Look…if you come all this way, and you have seen the power of God, hear the word God, seen the miracles, tasted all of this, and you turn and go away, you will never be renewed to repentance.” In fact, what you have done is to crucify again the Son of God and put him to an open shame.

What does that mean? You have taken your stand with those who wanted Jesus dead and wanted to put him to shame on a cross. You only have those two choices, right? You either embrace him as Savior, or you stand with the crucifiers and cry, “Crucify him. Crucify him. We’ll not have this man to reign over us.” So that’s essentially what he’s saying. He’s telling these Jewish people who are on the edges of the Church, please don’t go the other direction. In Chapter 2 he says, “How shall we escape the wrath of God, if we neglect so great a salvation? Don’t neglect. You’re this close…come.” In Chapter 4, “Don’t, at this point, harden your hearts and not enter into this salvation rest.” Chapter 10, “Now that you know the Gospel, don’t reject the Gospel or a more sever punishment will await you in eternity, because you’ve known the truth and rejected the truth.

Revelation is not about the destruction of Jerusalem

Yes, there is ample evidence for the year ’96 for around ’95, ’96 for John writing the Revelation, and there…only one reason exists to push it into the ’60s, and that is the preterits view that wants to say that the Book of Revelation isn’t about the future. It’s not about a millennium. It’s not about a tribulation. It’s not about something escatalogical, but it is about the destruction of Jerusalem. And if you’re gonna take the view that it’s not prophetic, but that it’s talking about the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in ’70 A.D., then you’ve got to put it into ’60-somewhere, so that it can be talking about what’s gonna happen. And I don’t see any real critical reason to accept an early date of the Book of Revelation. I think…there are many, many reasons. One would be, all of those churches, had reached not only their maturity, in Revelation 2 and 3, the seven churches, they not only had reached their maturity, but five of them had gone past their maturity into apathy, into heresy, into inequity, and that took time for that to happen. And those churches were only being founded in the ’60s, and so I just think there is ample…that’s just one of many, many reasons. Okay?

Rob: Is this internal evidence that you get the ’96…

John: Sure. Sure.

Rob: Okay.

John: There is no internal evidence for the ’60s. There isn’t any. To turn those prophecies into the prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem is a fantasy because it doesn’t say there that it has to do with the destruction of Jerusalem. So if you say that’s what it means, then it’s arbitrary.

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