Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is the Story of Jonah a Myth?

Answer:
Some look at the story of Jonah (particularly the part about him being swallowed by a big fish) and think it is too fanciful to be true. It is often hard for us to wrap our minds around some of the amazing feats recorded in Scripture. We must remember that God is “all powerful” and is able to do things that we would regard as miraculous and supernatural.

The greatest evidence for Jonah being a true story is the fact that Jesus references the book on multiple occasions. When Jesus mentions the story of Jonah, He mentions it as being factual, not allegorical or fictional. Notice the following quote of Jesus:
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here”. (Matthew 12:38-41).
Jesus regarded the account of Jonah as true. Jesus even used it to prove the necessity of repentance as well as to show the duration of His burial. If He believes it to be true, we should too.

Conclusion:
Jesus presented the book of Jonah as factual. If Jonah was a myth, then Jesus was a liar. Jesus was perfect and sinless. Through His perfect teaching He gave His endorsement of the factual nature of the book of Jonah.

By Cliff Sabroe (Quotes from ESV Bible)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is interracial marriage wrong? Does the Bible teach that it is wrong to marry outside of your race?

Answer: 
Interracial marriage is NOT wrong. Some suppose that the Bible condemns all interracial marriages because of a command given to the Israelites in (Deuteronomy 7:3-4) which states:
You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.
The aforementioned command was given only to the Israelites and not to all people for all time. Also, there was a specific reason that this command was given (ie. idolatry). God wanted to keep his people (the Israelites) separate from the sinful nations around them. The Gentile nations were idol worshippers. If the Israelites were to marry people from those societies, they may be converted to idol worship. God forbade them from intermarrying to keep them from being corrupted by sinful practices. 

The only way this verse may be applied today, would be as an illustration to encourage a Christian to marry a fellow Christian. It is possible for a non-believer to pull a believer away from Christ and into a sinful lifestyle, thus it is wise to marry one who shares your same beliefs. The New Testament never states that it is wrong to marry outside of your faith, but it would make sense to marry someone who is going to help you achieve your spiritual goals. 

Conclusion:
God does not judge a person by their race, but instead by their faith. There are NO New Testament passages that forbid a person from marrying outside of their own race. 

By Cliff Sabroe (quotes from ESV Bible)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Will my pet go to heaven?

Animals can be great companions, helpers and friends. Many people refer to their family dog as being “part of the family”. It is sad when a person looses a pet they have had for a long time. When a person looses a pet like a cat or a dog, often they ask “will I see my pet in the afterlife?”

Animals have “the breath of life”.
God gave both animals and mankind the “breath of life”.
  • “And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so” (Genesis 1:30)
  • “...then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7).

God cares about animals.
Numerous passages show that God cares about animals. 
  • “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
  • Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12:6).
God cares for animals, and although animals are given for food and service to mankind, God does not want us to be cruel to them.

Mankind is different from animals.
God made many magnificent creatures, but the the most magnificent is man. When God made man He said:
  • Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26).

What differentiates man from animals is the fact that man was made in the “image of God”. Man has a will, complex emotion, drive and spirituality. Part of man will exist through eternity either with God or away from God. There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that animals have this eternal spirit.

Jesus came to earth and suffered and died so that mankind could be forgiven. There are no passages of Scripture that discuss animals having a need for atonement and forgiveness. There are no passages of Scripture that mention animals being "saved" or "lost". It appears that when the die, they just "die".


Conclusion: It is not outside of the realm of possibility that in the afterlife God will have animals for our recreation and companionship. However, to think that your family pet “goes to heaven” when they die is most likely not true. It is ok to grieve over the loss of a pet and it is good to thank God for the blessing of the many different animals He has provided mankind.

By Cliff Sabroe Quotes from ESV and NASB95. Image from wikipedia.

Is the church important?

Answer: Yes it is. 

The Bible speaks of one church, the church of Christ.
  • “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:4).
  • “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18). 
The phrase “church of Christ” is not a proper name, but a description. The church that belongs to Christ. Romans 1:16 states “...the churches of Christ salute you”.

Christ has promised to save His church at the Last Day.
  • “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). 
  • No salvation is promised to those out of Christ but instead they “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). 
Jesus died for the church.
  • “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). 
Conclusion: Since the church was important to Jesus, it should be important to us too.

By Cliff Sabroe

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Where did Cain get his wife?

The Bible does not specifically say where Cain got his wife. The only possibilities are that she was one of his sisters or a niece. She had to have been a relative of his. Mankind lived very long back then, thus they were able to have multiple children and the earth was populated fairly quickly. 

We do not know how old Cain was when he got married or how many children Adam and Eve had. The Bible records: 
“Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:4). 
Since Adam and Eve were the first humans, their children would have to intermarry. No doubt God accounted for this, and the genetic problems that come today from marrying a close relative would have been absent back then. In fact, God did not forbid intermarriage in the Bible until the book of Leviticus. The world was different in the years following the creation. Remember, Adam was related to his wife Eve as well, being that she was formed from his rib.

There are those who ask this question in an attempt to discredit the Bible. Some assume that Cain, Abel and Seth are the only children Adam and Eve had. Just because their other children are not listed by name, does not mean that they did not have any others. 

The earth was already populated enough by Adam and Eve’s children and grandchildren, that after Cain killed Abel, he was afraid for his life wherever he went.
"Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." (Genesis 4:14).
Remember, mankind lived 800+ years during this time. One would imagine that the length of time they were fertile would have been longer as well. Long lives, good health and a long period of fertility would have resulted in a fast growing population. It would be easy for Cain to have had sisters or nieces that he had never even met before.

It may seem strange or taboo to think of marrying a sibling or close relative, but our world now is much different from when it was in its infancy following the creation.

By Cliff Sabroe (Quotes from NASB95 Bible)