Faith Related Q and A|
|» ||Why does God say that the earth was made for the devil and his angels and we have to live here with them? A second question, why does God say if we belong to him we can hear his voice? I worry every day because I cannot hear his voice.|
I do not know which Scripture verse you might have in mind with your question, but the Bible does not speak of God making the earth for the devil and his angels. What the Bible does state is that God has prepared hell for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
Jesus did say, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:16; 27). In the opening verses of John 10, Jesus used figurative language to describe how his followers listened and believed what he said: they listened and followed like sheep who knew the voice of their shepherd.
When Jesus spoke of his followers listening to his voice, he did not mean that our ears will receive actual sounds from him. By “listening to his voice,” Jesus has in mind the idea of believing what he says and doing what he says.
The time will come when Jesus’ followers will hear the actual voice of Jesus. On the Last Day he will say to them, “‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). What a joy it will be to hear that!
|» ||A goodly amount of what is written in the Old and New testaments is wrong, or never happened, especially the Catholic versions. An example would be the dates of the Garden of Eden and the creation of modern man. 4,000 - 6,000 years ago is obviously incorrect, because we know that modern man has been around for at least 15,000 years, but likely a lot more. So if so much of the Bible, written by man, is false, how can one believe that it is "The Word of God"?|
The Bible does not state how long ago the creation of Adam and Eve took place. People have used the chronologies in the Bible to try to approximate world history, but the chronologies are incomplete, and that presents challenges to any attempts to assign dates to events.
Because the Bible does not state “the dates of the Garden of Eden and the creation of modern man,” the charge that the Bible contains false and inaccurate information is unsubstantiated. Reasonable attempts to fill in the gaps of the biblical chronologies do place the creation of Adam and Eve below the time span you listed. Again, the Bible itself does not present a timeline of historical events with dates.
God certainly used people to write the Bible. Verbal inspiration means that the Bible writers wrote exactly what God wanted written down (1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). God himself is always truthful (Numbers 23:19), and what the Bible writers wrote is truth (John 17:17).
That last passage, John 17:17, explains that your complaint is really with Jesus. He stated that God’s word—not some of it, or most of it, but all of it—is truth. When the Holy Spirit convinces us of that, then we say what the psalm writer penned: “All your words are true” (Psalm 119:160). I pray that through the study of God’s word you come to that same confession.
|» ||Why is it that so many Christians and government leaders place so much importance not only on the land of Israel (especially during the end times) but on the Jews as being God's people (as in the Old Testament)? Some even believe that we will be blessed if we help/align with the Jews. Seems to me that the land is of little importance during Armageddon, since it will be a spiritual battle. God's people to me are ones who believe in Jesus as their personal Savior, ask for forgiveness and repent of known sins. By faith, by God's grace, we are saved, and not by any works or an attempt to keep the law. This would not include Jews (Judaism). Only 2% currently are Christians in Israel. Am I correct on this?|
What can often account for people placing great importance on the nation of Israel today is a wrong understanding of biblical prophecy. Dispensational premillennialism imagines a special role for the modern nation of Israel in the end times. The Bible does not address the modern nation of Israel.
When the Bible states that “…all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26), it is clear from the context (Romans 9:6-8) that we are not to expect a mass conversion of the Jews prior to the Last Day. No, the “Israel” of Romans 11:26 speaks of people who have the faith of God’s Old Testament people: faith that was centered in the promised Messiah. That Messiah is Jesus, the Christ.
Dispensational premillennialism requires a greater explanation than I can provide in this response to you. You will find a lengthy treatment of that subject in End Times: Jesus is Coming Soon. Your church library may have a copy of that book. It is also available from Northwestern Publishing House.
As you noted, people enjoy salvation “by grace, through faith.” God the Holy Spirit works saving faith in people through the means of grace. We do not decide to believe or choose to follow Jesus. Christian faith is God’s gift to people (Ephesians 2:9).
|» ||A friend told me she remembers reading about how God sends hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. because he wants us to go to church. I know sin is what causes troubles while we live on earth, but I don’t remember reading what she is telling me. If it is factual, can you guide me to the chapter in the Bible that tells us that?|
More than wanting people to go to church, God’s desire is that people repent of their sins and trust in him as their Savior through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:7 tell us to expect “natural disasters” until God brings this world to an end on the Last Day. When we consider what Jesus said in Luke 13:1-9, the tragedies of this world serve a purpose of getting people’s attention and awakening the need for repentance.
|» ||What does it mean exactly that Eve is the mother of all the living? Does it mean that she’s the mother of all the believers in Christ who will live forever because they did not die in their sins but died in Christ, meaning they are all part of the living souls in Christ and Eve is the mother of them? Considering that Eve was the first to sin, I assume she turned from her sins and turned in faith at some point and was saved and ended up going to live forever in heaven.|
As the first person to give birth to another human being and have countless offspring, “the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20) is certainly a description that fits Eve. But does that description go beyond physical ancestry and describe Eve’s connection with people regarding their spiritual lives? Many theologians and Bible commentators advance that thought.
Here is one example: “In faith the man fixed his attention on the one comforting detail in the entire announcement of the LORD. More was expressed by the man than the mere idea that God was indeed speaking the truth when he had indicated in the protevangelium [the first Gospel promise] that Eve would have offspring, and that for this reason she would become the mother of all the living. That in itself was a truth which was quite evident and one which would be readily believed. It would hardly be significant enough to be brought to our attention in such a solemn manner. Rather we see the conviction expressed here by Adam that since all living human beings would come forth from Eve, therefore also life in the fullest sense. Scripture often simply equates life with salvation.
“The significant way in which Adam’s naming is reported leads us to believe that he referred to the things implied in the promised victory over Satan, life in the midst of death. It is worth noting that this statement of Adam follows closely upon the announcement of physical death.”
Eve’s words in Genesis 4:1 and 4:25 are statements of faith in the God who promised a Savior. Such faith brings a person’s soul into the presence of God in heaven when earthly life comes to an end.
|» ||Did Jesus baptize any people while he was here on earth and did his twelve disciples baptize anyone?
Thank you for your reply.|
We learn from John 3:22 and John 4:2 that Jesus’ disciples did baptize people. There is no biblical record of Jesus baptizing anyone.
|» ||Mulling over the idea of Adam and Eve and how everyone else after their children came to be, were their grandchildren products of incest?|
With the creation of only Adam and Eve, marriage between close relatives was a necessity in the beginning of time.
As world population increased, that necessity disappeared, and in time God prohibited sexual relations among family members (Leviticus 19).
Since spouses in those early marriages were unavoidably closely related, we would not call children from those early marriages “products of incest.”
|» ||A Sunday sermon on Acts 10:34-38: "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power." Question: before that time, was Jesus humanly aware of who He was and what His earthly mission was?
Also, John the Baptist baptizing, was this the beginning of the ritual of baptism?|
Jesus’ state of humiliation means that he did not make full or constant use of his power and majesty as God. Matthew 24:36 provides an example of that in the area of Jesus’ knowledge. The Bible does not tell us what other information—and when in his life—Jesus may have chosen not to know something.
Joseph and Mary certainly knew of Jesus’ identity before he was born (Matthew 1:20-25; Luke 1:26-35). It would have been natural for them to share that information with Jesus. From the account of his childhood visit to Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-52), we see Jesus recognizing his special relationship with his heavenly Father.
Baptism did begin with the ministry of John the Baptist.
|» ||Is there a reading guide to give someone who has never read the Bible before? What is a logical order to get them started?|
A good resource for someone like that is “What About Jesus?” The website is maintained by WELS Commission on Evangelism.
This resource, “How can I begin to read the Bible?” presents a simple plan for beginning Bible readers.
The website offers many more practical helps for people who are interested in learning more about the Bible. Take a look and refer a friend!
|» ||Matthew 24:12-13 states that, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of MOST (emphasis mine) will grow cold, (v.13), but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." This scares me a bit because I believe that, like many, I've occasionally allowed myself to slip into an unloving spirit. I read Scripture (almost daily) and do journal devotions. I know my salvation was determined by Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose again. I am a baptized believer who attends weekly worship with my family. I am not particularly social, so this can "problematic." What more may I do to help myself in this area?|
The words of Jesus that you quoted do speak of dire conditions as we move closer to the Last Day. Love for God and love for others “will grow cold.”
Could your love for God and others increase? Certainly. The same thing could be said about my love for God and others. The same thing could be said about all Christians. That is why it is not surprising to read words like these from the apostle Paul: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). There was room for growth in the hearts of the Christians in Thessalonica two thousand years ago. There is room for growth in the hearts of Christians today.
That room for growth does not mean that salvation is in jeopardy. Keep in mind that it is faith in Jesus Christ that saves (Mark 16:16). It is not the strong faith of the Christian that saves. Christian faith saves because it is attached to Jesus Christ, and he is strong.
What I read about you is that you are taking your faith seriously. Your trust is in Jesus Christ. You are regularly hearing and reading God’s word. You remember your Baptism. You have times of slipping “into an unloving spirit.” Those are times when the sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21) gets the upper hand in our lives. Especially in those times, we confess to God our unloving attitudes and we receive in faith the forgiveness of our sins. Strengthened by God’s forgiveness of our sins, we strive to put down the sinful nature and follow our new self. We seek to display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in daily living. And the very first item is “love.”
In light of your “social” concerns, perhaps you could consider volunteer service in your congregation and community. Take inventory of your interests and gifts, and see how you might grow in reflecting the love of Jesus in your life.
A man once came to Jesus and said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). That man spoke for many other Christians. We do believe in Jesus as our Savior, but we recognize there is room for growth in our faith and our Christian love. Thankfully, the Lord has the means to increase both: it is his gospel in word and sacrament. Keep using them faithfully. God’s blessings!