Monday, April 29, 2013

What is Jude 9 talking about? When did Michael argue with the Devil about the body of Moses?

What is the purpose of this verse?
In this section in the book of Jude, Jude informs the reader about ungodly individuals who “revile angelic majesties”. The whole book of Jude is about standing up to these ungodly influences by “contending earnestly for the faith” (3).

Jude wants these Christians to understand that there is no excuse for ungodliness, and that you should never “revile” another being. This point is illustrated in (Jude 9)
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 9).
At times we try to justify our sinful actions by the particular situation that we are in. Jude presents an extreme example of an opportunity where we may be tempted to justify acting ungodly. The example he gives is Michael arguing with the Devil. Most would say you don’t need to guard your tongue if arguing with the Devil. We would assume that since the Devil is evil, he does not deserve our composure. Yet, even when arguing with the Devil, Michael stays composed. Instead of reviling him, speaking unkind words toward him, or being cruel to him, he just says “The Lord rebuke you”. The lesson for us is that when we are really angry or upset, or even if we are arguing with the Devil himself, there is no excuse for behaving in an ungodly way.

When and Why did Michael argue with the Devil about the body of Moses?

The Bible does not give an answer to this question. No where in the rest of the Scriptures is this disagreement mentioned. Did it happen? It must have if Jude recorded it, however, the details of this encounter are unknown to the reader. Curious minds would love an answer, however, the Bible does not give one. There are many theories (as a internet search will prove), but the Bible Answer Show tries to only give Bible Answers, and to this question, there is no Bible answer.

Cliff Sabroe - NASB95 Bible

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Does the Bible teach that Sex before marriage is a sin?

Yes, sex is gift given by God to be enjoyed within a heterosexual marriage. Sexual activity outside of the marriage relationship is often called fornication, sexual immorality and adultery. These actions plus others are referred to as sins in the Bible. Please read the following passages.
  • But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2).
  • Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
  • But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. (Ephesians 5:3)
  • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4)

Conclusion: Sexual activity before marriage or sexual activity with someone besides your spouse while married is sinful. Like any sin, it can be forgiven if the Christian repents and asks for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Our current society demonstrates a complete lack of self-control when it comes to sexual desires, Christians, however, must learn to control their desires and not allow the desires to control them.

Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB95 and ESV Bible

Does a Christian have to obey all laws at all times?

Yes, Christians are supposed to subject themselves to those in positions of authority at all times. The only exception to this rule is when those in authority are requiring a Christian to do something that violates God’s will. God’s will trumps all. 

Christian citizens are to submit to the laws of the land (Romans 13). This means that even though as a citizen we might disagree with a particular law (like a posted speed limit) we still must obey. (In most societies, a citizen has legal ways to express displeasure with a law). The only time we have the Biblical right to disobey the government is when the government is commanding that we break God’s law. To this very point the Bible speaks. (Note: Acts 5:27-32)
When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
The same principle applies to parental law. A child is to obey a parent as long as a parent’s command does not violate God’s will. (Note: Ephesians 6:1) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right”. This same thought also applies to the relationship of a slave to a master or employer to an employee. If one is in authority over us, we obey up to the point when we are asked to do something against God’s will. (Ephesians 6:5 - Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh).

Conclusion: Christians need to be law-abiding obedient people. Christians should work on being submissive to those in authority, with the understanding that we should never submit to an ungodly request or law.

By Cliff Sabroe (Quotes from NASB95 Bible)

Does a Christian have to pay taxes if the government is evil and corrupt?

The Bible deals with this question in many different places. 

First, understand that during the time of Christ and in the early years of the church, that the Roman government was very evil and immoral. The ungodly sexual appetites of those in positions of power is well documented as as is the severe persecution that many early Christians faced by the hands of the government. With this in mind, if the Bible supports paying taxes to such an evil governmental system, the principle would also apply today.

Second, Jesus taught the necessity of paying taxes. Note the following passages.
When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. “However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.” (Matthew 17:24-27).
Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. “Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away. (Matthew 22:15-22)
Third, the Apostle Paul taught the necessity of obeying our government. In his letter to the church in Rome he writes:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. (Romans 13:1-2)
In the context of submitting to governmental rule he also mentions “Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due...” (Romans 13:7).

Conclusion: We may often be displeased or even mortified by the actions of those in power. Many times our government will promote actions that are contrary to God’s will. Scripture, however, teaches the necessity of paying taxes to our government (not matter how corrupt) if it is required by law.

By Cliff Sabroe - Scripture quotes from New American Standard Bible 1995

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Who or what are angels? When we die do we become angels? What does the Bible say about angels?

Many Christians have questions about Angels. It is one of those topics that the Bible just does not give enough information to satisfy all of our curious questions. We should, however, rest assured that the Bible does give us enough information about these amazing beings.

What is an angel?
The word "angel" simply means "messenger". The word does not necessarily have to be in reference to a being from the spiritual realm. Most of the time the word is in reference to special spiritual beings, however, one must consider the context of a particular passage to determine whether or not the word means anything more than "messenger".

Where do angels come from? Are angels dead Christians?
Nowhere in the Bible is it taught that an individual becomes an angel when they die. Angels are different from humans. Concerning this, Dr. Dan Owen writes:
Angels are heavenly beings created by God (Colossians 1:16). They are supposed to be the servants of God and many of them are faithful servants, (Hebrews 1:17, 14; cf., Psalm 104:4). God, however, created them with a free will and some of the angels chose to rebel against God (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). These angels, along with Satan, are destined to spend eternity in hell, which was prepared for this very purpose (Matthew 25:41) (Owen).
When did Satan and his angels rebell and fall? 
The Bible mentions fallen angels including Satan. Angels who rebelled against God and did not keep their proper place will be punished (Jude 6). Owen attempts to answer the question "When did the fall take place?" in this following quote.
 When the fall of Satan and the rebellious angels occurred is a difficult question. If 2 Peter 2:4 is understood to be in chronological sequence with the events described in the following verses, we know that this fall took place before the time of the flood. The ancient Jews believe that Genesis 6:1-4 was describing this fall and provided the explanation for all of the extreme wickedness in the pre-flood world (Genesis 6:5-7). A difficulty with this understanding is the fact that Satan seems already to be opposed to the purposes of God in Genesis 3. Jesus said he was a murderer and a liar from the beginning (John 8:44; Genesis 3:4). All that we can say with certainty is that sometime in the ancient past, Satan became an enemy of God. He is called the archon or ruler of the spiritual hosts of wickedness (Ephesians 2:2). His position seems to be similar to that of Michael, who is an archangel of God (Revelation 12:7-9). This seems to imply that Satan is an archangel, a great general or commander of angels (Owen).
What do angels do?
The duties of angels vary. Ultimately they are used to accomplish the Lord's will. They are often used as spiritual messengers to deliver a message from God. "The power of angels in Scripture is very great. They can traverse great distances with no trouble at all. They can kill vast numbers of people or deliver vast numbers from danger. They can appear in human form and perform human functions like eating, etc. Their numbers are vast and their functions important in the eternal plan of God. They do not, however, seem to occupy the center of God’s attention as does man" (Owen). 

One might be tempted to be envious of the power and abilities of angels. Although angels do have abilities beyond the scope of human possibility, it seems they are often curious to learn from us. It appears, that the message of salvation we have received, is something angels desire to know. 
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:12).
Do any of the angels have names?
Some angels are identified by a name and some are even identified as having almost a military rank. Why some are named and some are not, as well as why do some have a military rank, is a mystery?   
Scripture reveals enough about angels to inform us that angels have varying degrees of rank. The archangels are the most powerful and command other angels below them. They are often spoken of in terms of the "host" or "army" of heaven and are even spoken of as "legions’ in military terminology (2 Kings 6:16-17; Matthew 26:53; Mark 5:9; Revelation 12:7-9). Angels whose names we know from Scripture are Gabriel, Michael, Abaddon, and Satan (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; 10:13; 10:21; 12:1; Luke 1:19, 26; Jude 9:11; 12:7) (Owen).
Mankind will always have questions about angels, because man has always been curious about the unknown. What is it like to not operate within the same physical laws that humans operate in? What is in the spiritual realm? What is it like to be in the presence of God? These questions may never be fully answered in this life, but we must trust that God has revealed what we need.

Cliff Sabroe - Quotes from NASB95. Multiple citations from ("All About Angels" By Dan Owen -

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Are the Methods of Worship in the Old Testament Acceptable for the Christian to Use Today?

A student of the Bible quickly realizes that the Worship offered to God in the Old Testament was very different than the worship offered to God in the New. It is true that the worship offered to God in the Old Testament was pleasing to Him at that time, however, the questions arrises, “are the Old Testament methods of worship still pleasing to God today?”. 

There are those who appeal to Old Testament worship practices as authorization for their inclusion in worship today. Some of these practices include the burning of incense, instrumental music and maybe even animal sacrifice. This post sets out to show that worship practices of the Old Testament (although pleasing to God at that time) have served their purpose and are no longer the type of worship God desires.

Just because God approved of an action of worship under the Law of Moses, does not mean He approves of it in the Christian church today.

Concerning this point Dr. David Miller writes:
The Jews were under a completely different and distinct religious system than the one under which Christians serve (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13). Christ and the Christian system were certainly foreshadowed in the Old Testament, being woven into the fabric of Scripture from the beginning. Types and shadows abound in the Old Testament (Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1). The various aspects of the Old Covenant were clearly designed and preordained to prefigure and foreshadow the New - they were “copies of the true” (Hebrews 9:24). Israelite life and worship conducted in 1500 B.C was preplanned and divinely orchestrated to anticipate Christian living after A.D 30. But one must examine each act of worship in order to determine weather an act or practice under the Mosaic system has any bearing on Christian worship. How may one ascertain which aspects of Jewish worship are perpetuated in Christian worship? Obviously, one must go to the New Testament to see what Jesus and His emissaries said, and how first-century Christians then carried out those directives. Doing so forces one to the conclusion that Christians did not incorporate instrumental music into their musical worship in the first-century-though the first Christians were Jews (Miller 8).
How should a Christian view the Old Testament today?

The Old Testament Law was given to the Nation of Israel (the Jews) in order to sperate them from the rest of the nations of the world and to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. All of the laws, the requirements, the feasts, the sacrifices, the priesthood, how to worship, the Sabbath and more, were designed to lead one to the Messiah (Jesus). Now that Jesus has come, that system has been done away. 

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote the Galatians: 
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:23-26).
The Old Testament Law was like a math tutor hired to get a student ready for a test. Once the student masters the material and takes the test, the tutor is no longer needed. The student may look back at what he learned, but ultimately, the tutor's purpose has been fulfilled.

There are many complicated requirements in the Law (See the book of Leviticus). Because of man’s imperfections, he could not keep this Law completely. Thus, man was a transgressor. When Jesus died on the cross, He ended the requirements of the Law and the sin that disobedience toward it’s ordinances brought. 
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ (Colossians 3:13-17).
The Old Testament Law was a perfect law and it fulfilled its purpose. It was not abolished (as if it were not good), but instead it was fulfilled by Jesus.
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
In the current Christian age, we are not subject to the requirements of the Old Law (including the specific worship requirements). The Old Law was only for a specific people (The Jews) for a specific purpose (To prepare the way for Jesus). Now, all people (Jew are Gentile) are accountable to the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (Hebrews 1:1-2)
"He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. (John 12:28)
Although the Christian today will not be judged by the Old Testament, it still should be studied. The Old Testament is full of wisdom on how to live life, it teaches us about the nature of God and of man. The Old Testament shows the blessings the come from following God and the trouble that comes when giving into sin. The Old Testament shows us how the world was made and how powerful God is. It teaches us the importance of worship, and how we should offer God the worship He desires The Old Testament even gives evidence for the inspiration of Scripture through the fulfillment of prophecy. The Old Testament should be studied and taught.
(Romans 15:4)For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

If one is going to appeal to the Old Testament for authority to engage in a specific worship practice, they need to also be prepared to engage in all the rituals connected with the Temple, Feast Days and the Sabbath etc...

Just because God is pleased with one action at a particular time does not mean that the same action would be pleasing to Him for all times. We must allow God to dictate what He wants and when He wants it. There were times when God was pleased with burnt offerings (Psalm 51:19), but He is not anymore. There was a time when God was pleased with Israel when they took a city by force and destroyed the inhabitants, we would be in error to believe that this is pleasing to Him now.

The Old Testament shows us that God wants to be worshipped by individuals with correct attitudes and actions. The attitudes in worship remain the same, but the actions are not timeless. We need to allow the New Testament to teach us how to worship God correctly today.

Worship is a very serious subject. One principle found in the Old Testament that needs to be remembered today, is that God gets angry when false worship is offered to Him. 
(Leviticus 10:1-2) Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them.  And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.
Nadab and Abihu did not offer God the worship He desired, thus they were subsequently destroyed. God is the audience of worship. God is the only one worthy of worship and God determines what He finds pleasing. We must offer God the worship that He desires, for that is the worship He deserves.

By Cliff Sabroe
Quotes from NASB95 Bible. (Miller, Dave Richland Hills and Instrumental Music - A Plea to Reconsider , Sain Publications. Pulaski, 2007)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What is “Speaking in Tongues”? Is it speaking in gibberish? Do I need to speak in tongues? What does the Bible say?

There are certain denominations that practice what they call “speaking in tongues”. Usually it is a person speaking sporadic sounds that would probably be described as “gibberish”. This is not what the Bible refers to as “speaking in tongues”. What many people call “speaking in tongues” is nothing more than an emotional response. It is possible for a person to stir their emotions so much that they fall down, twitch and even make incoherent sounds. 

There are videos of teenage girls falling on the ground, convulsing and screaming when the Beatles came into town. The behavior of the Beatles fans is similar to the intense emotional response, of many in Charismatic Churches. (Do a quick Youtube search of “Bealtlemania” or “Beatles Fans” and compare it to footage of Pentecostal worship assemblies). 

One would imagine, that if you got your emotions stirred up, and you also knew that you were expected to “allow the Holy Spirit”  to cause you to speak in tongues, convulse etc.., that it would be easy to subconsciously make it happen. What many in the modern religious world call “tongue speaking”, however,  is not the same as tongue speaking in the Bible.

Speaking in Tongues in the Bible

“Tongue speaking” in the Bible is nothing more than the miraculous ability to communicate in a language that you previously did not know. The word “tongue” is used to signify “language”. 

Before ascending into heaven, Jesus told His Disciples: “and these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17).

In Acts chapter 2 the ability to speak in tongues was given to the Disciples. Notice how this phenomenon is described. 
...and divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:3-11)
There is no doubt when looking at the passages above, that “speaking in tongues” is the same as speaking a different language. In 1st Corinthians 14, Paul exhorts the church in Corinth to worship in an orderly manner. It appears that some may have been speaking in other languages without a translator. If no one was able to translate, it was disorderly. In (1 Corinthians 14:27 he writes “If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret”.

It is clear from Scripture that “speaking in tongues” is nothing more than the supernatural ability to speak a language that you previously did not know. This would be a needed gift in the First Century as the Disciples were traveling into other regions and preaching the Gospel to peoples who may not have spoke the same language as them.

Do I need to speak in tongues? Do people speak in tongues today? What should I conclude?

When looking at the passages that mention speaking in tongues, one should conclude the following. 
  • First, “tongue” just means “language. 
  • Second, in the early years of the church some were given the ability by the Holy Spirit to speak a language they did not already know (this is “speaking in tongues”). 
  • Third, tongue speaking was for the purpose of “confirming the word”. Note: Mark 16:17-20: 
    • “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs."
  • Fourth, once we had the completed revelation of God (ie. The New Testament), the supernatural gifts designed to reveal and confirm the Word were no longer needed. Note: 1 Corinthians 13:8-10:
    • Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away".
      • I believe “the perfect” in this context is to be understood as the Word of God. 
Tongue speaking was a miraculous ability given by the Holy Spirit to some early Christians, so they could speak the Word in a language they did not previously know and prove to others that they were from God. This supernatural ability served its purpose until the written revelation of God was complete.

CS - Quotes from ESV Bible