Question and Answer-December 2015

What the Bible Says

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QThe genealogies of Jesus presented in Matthew and Luke appear to be contradictory regarding the ancestry of Joseph. Could you please comment?

AThe genealogy of Jesus is recorded in Matthew Chapter 1 and Luke
Chapter 3. In Matthew’s Gospel, we obviously have the genealogy through Joseph: “And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ,” Matthew 1:16.

In Luke, we have the genealogy of Mary, rather than Joseph. Luke 3:23 seems to be confusing, because it says that Joseph was the son of Heli, whereas Matthew’s Gospel says he was the son of Jacob. We can well ask, then, in what sense does Joseph become the son of Heli? He could not be, by natural generation, the son of both Jacob and Heli. But in Luke it does not say that Heli begat Joseph. It merely calls him “the son of Heli.”

So, the natural explanation is that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, who was, like himself, a descendant of David. That he should in that case be called “son of Heli”

(“son” is not in the Greek, but is rightly supplied by the translators), would be in accord with the Jewish usage (compare I Samuel 24:16).

The conclusion is therefore inevitable, that in Luke we have Mary’s genealogy, and Joseph was “son of Heli” because he was espoused to Heli’s daughter. The genealogy in Luke is Mary’s, whose father, Heli, was descended from David.

QDo you think the writers of the four Gospels copied from each other or did they all see certain things happen and write their own views of those situations?

A Personally, I believe each one of them was personally inspired to write his own account, as per his revelation by the Holy Spirit. Actually, the four Gospels give us four different views of the life of Christ, but when they are all put together they form a complete composite picture and record of the life of Christ our Lord.

Send four people to report a fire, and when they return with their written reports, invariably they will be somewhat different or have variations of the fire, but they’ll actually tell the same or complete story. That’s the account of the Gospels, each in his own way, due to his revelation, his version, inspired by the Holy Spirit and when we place them side by side we have a beautiful account of the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ.

QWhat advice does the Bible give to those who are characterized by a sense of hopelessness?

AHopelessness is terrible because it is hope that draws us on. We are saved by hope, the Bible says, and unless life is lived with a purpose that draws us with exciting anticipation into the future, it gets to be a pretty discouraging. The Apostle Paul says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope, “ I Thessalonians 4:13.

How do we get past hopelessness, which produces awful results in life? The primary answer is not this world and its possibilities. It is the marvelous fact that Jesus Christ is coming again.

Question and Answer-November 2015

What the Bible Says

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QWhat is your position on the virgin birth? By that I mean, is the doctrine that Jesus was born of a virgin mother really important to the Christian?

AYes, the virgin birth is very important! If it could be proven that Jesus was the natural son of Joseph, then He would not have any right to the throne of David. The reason being, Joseph came from the seed of Coniah, and the Scriptures declare in Jeremiah 22:24-30 that no descendant of Coniah would ever sit upon David’s throne.

In Matthew chapter 1, Joseph is revealed as having descended from Jechonias, another form of Coniah’s name, while in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 3 we see that through His mother Mary, Jesus descended from David, and not through Solomon and Coniah, but through another son of David named Nathan. Actually, the Bible has gone to great length to substantiate the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin woman, conceived of the Holy Spirit. That makes Him the Son of God. Jesus was different than any other child born into this world! See Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:20

QHow many miles did Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem? I’ve never been over there, so I don’t have a good idea of distances in that part of the world.

AMary and Joseph traveled between 60 and 80 miles on their journey from Nazareth in the north down to Bethlehem, about four miles southwest of Jerusalem.

QIn a discussion in our class at church, the wise men’s visit to Jesus was brought up. Some felt the wise men came immediately, and then some of the others of us felt Christ was 18 months to two years old when the wise men finally got there. What does the Bible say?

AIn the Gospel of Luke chapter 2 verses 7 and 12 you’ll note the Baby Jesus is in swaddling clothes and He’s lying in a manger. He was an infant when that took place. He had just been born of His virgin mother when the shepherds came to visit them. Yet, in Matthew 2 verse 11 we have the wise men being sent by Herod to “search diligently for the YOUNG child.” Matthew 2:8. Then in verse 11 “when they were come into the house, they saw the YOUNG child (not an infant) with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; …” Matthew 2:11. On this second occasion, which is Matthew’s account, the Child is in the house, not the stable at Bethlehem. Based on the fact that Herod inquired of the TIME the star appeared and the fact that he later slew all the baby boys 2 years and younger, Jesus was probably at least a year old at that time.

Question and Answer-October 2015

What the Bible Says

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QWill it be necessary for Christians to suffer to become worthy to be taken in the Rapture?

AIt is certainly possible that Christians may suffer for their faith prior to the Rapture, but this does not mean that Christians have to be proven before they can go in the Rapture.

The Rapture is the gathering together of God’s people unto Himself to take them to the judgement of their works, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where every wrinkle and spot is to be ironed and cleaned out of the wedding garment before the redeemed go into the Marriage Supper.

We are cleansed by the shed blood of Christ not by any suffering that we do or any difficult times through which we may pass. So, dismiss the man-made theory that the Church has to suffer before it can be raptured is based on the statement, “Walk worthy of the calling you received” (Ephesians 4:1).

It’s true, Christians do suffer, and I’m not saying Christians will not suffer, but nowhere in the Scripture does it say that the Church has to suffer a lot of persecution before it can be raptured. We are raptured when Jesus Christ come back from heaven to receive His Church unto Himself, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.The Bible says that only God the Father knows that hour, Matthew24:36.It has been predetermined in the mind of God when the Rapture will take place! Certainly believers are to live sincerely and genuinely in this world where we may suffer the wrath of men and Satan, but not the wrath of God.

QIn the Bible I’ve read that God said He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not believe in God. This does not seem to be consistent with the New Testament picture of God which says that God desires all men to be saved. What is the explanation?

AThis statement of the Bible has created a great deal of confusion for many readers of the Scriptures. It is true that if God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and as a result of this Pharaoh rebelled against God, this would make God responsible for Pharaoh’s sin. Also, it would be unfair of God to hold Pharaoh responsible for this rebellion, and to punish him for it.

The Bible Says in Exodus 4:21, “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”

A hasty reading of this passage seems to indicate there is some ground to make God responsible for Pharaoh’s actions. However, a careful study of this passage and Exodus 5:1-2, indicates that Pharaoh was not a man whose inclinations were to obey God. His refusal to comply and his rejection of the authority of God are indicated in these verses. Note, this was before God hardened his heart.

What we have in summary, is God proposing to take the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, calling Moses to be the spokesman. Moses went and spoke to Pharaoh, who in his proud rebellion against God, rejected the whole proposition.

The question might arise, How did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? The answer is very simple. Ample evidence of God’s existence and power were proved by a series of divine demonstrations, the rejection of which resulted in judgement. The consistent refusal of Pharaoh to recognize the power and the authority of God resulted in a progressive hardening of the heart. God’s part in the hardening simply consisted of presenting Pharaoh with situations which demanded a choice on his part – the exercise of his own personal will. Pharaoh’s response guided by the exercise of his own will resulted in the hardening of the heart.

This picture is God’s method. If men choose error, He gives them up to error.

The Bible Says, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

“That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.“ 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.

Likewise, if men deliberately choose to sin, God allows them to go as far as they want. Three times it is recorded in Romans 1:24-28 that God gave up on some of mankind because they rejected Him. The ultimate end, according to verse 32, is that God judges these as being worthy of death.

The fault then is not with God, and the fault is certainly not with His judgements. The fault is with Pharaoh and with the attitude which he took toward the truth which God presented to him at that time. Pharaoh’s rejection was like that of a person pounding his hand against a wall until his hand becomes callused, or hardened. Which hardened his hand, the wall or the constant pounding? Thus, it can be said that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1; 10:20; 11:10; 14:4; 14:8) and that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 7:13; 7:22; 8:14; 8:19; 8:32; 9:7; 9:34; 9:35; 14:5).

QWhat happen first…Rapture or Israel bombing Iran powered plants?

AThe Bible does not specifically say Israel will bomb Iran. It does indicate that God will deal with Iran (Persia) in Ezekiel 38-39. However, that chapter makes no reference to the Rapture. It could happen before. or after. Either is possible. The Bible tells us to “Keep watching … be ready,” (Matthew 24:42,44).

Question and Answer – September 2015

What the Bible Says

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QI know that your ministry stresses prophecy, but isn’t it a little bit farfetched to believe that the fulfillment of all prophecy is attributed to God? In other words, what I am saying, is isn’t it possible for many of the prophetic statements of the Bible to be fulfilled by chance? If so, wouldn’t it be true that God had nothing to do with making the prophecy or seeing that is was fulfilled! I am convinced that much of the prophetic ‘fulfillment’ is the product of imaginative interpretation or just pure chance.

AAny student of the Bible recognizes that possibility of a general prophecy being fulfilled by chance. However, there are so many specific statements of the Scripture which have been fulfilled to the minutest detail, that change has been entirely eliminated.

Every detail of the prophecy doubles the chances of the prediction coming to pass. As an illustration, a prophecy which has but one detail has only one chance in fulfillment. It will either be fulfilled or not fulfilled. A prediction with two details has one chance in four of being fulfilled. Utilizing the law of mathematical progression, this illustrates that is would be impossible except that God would have brought it to pass.

As mentioned above, a prophecy with but one detail has one chance in two of being fulfilled. However, when that prophecy ten details, the change of them all being fulfilled in one in 1,024. Were the prophecy to have 30 details, the chances of fulfillment are one in 1,073,741,824. And if the prophecy of combination of prophecies totaled 50, the chances of fulfillment are one in 1,125,889,906,842,624! Since the Bible has literally hundreds of prophecies which have been, are now being or will be fulfilled, it is easy to see that there has to be another reason for fulfillment other than pure chance.

It is the position of this ministry that God authored the Book.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” — II Timothy 3:16

Further, we believe that …

“…no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of god spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” — II Peter 1:20, 21

QDo you think it is possible that Adam and Eve would have lived forever if they had not sinned?

AThe Bible says that the reason mortals die is because of sin.

“Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” — Romans 5:12

The logical conclusion is that since sin is responsible for death, and since there would have been no death except for that sin, Adam and Eve would have lived forever if they had not sinned and had not continued to sin.