Ask Your Preacher
After Christ's sacrifice, the Old Testament law things were done away with (like circumcision and animal sacrifices), so then, why does James say to abstain from blood in Acts 15:20 and also in a letter saying the same thing in Acts 15:29 if this, too, was part of the Old Testament law? And is this after Jesus' death?
Dear Legal Trouble,
Not every Old Testament law was done away with in the New Testament. For example, murder is wrong in both the New and Old Testament (Rom 1:29, Ex 20:13). Christians are not bound to follow the Old Testament law because we are no longer under that law (Gal 3:24-25), but if an Old Testament law is repeated in the New Testament, that means the rule is applicable to christians.
The Old Testament laws concerning what could and could not be eaten can be found in Lev. 11, but there is only one type of food that christians still cannot eat – blood (Acts 15:29). When an animal is killed, some cultures will strangle the animal so as to keep the blood in the meat (as opposed to draining the blood out). Things like blood sausage, blood soup, blood stew, etc. are popular dishes in some countries, but eating them is wrong. All other food is clean for New Testament christians… Jesus said so Himself in Mk 7:19.
How do the gospel writers reapply the Law of Moses for the New Testaments communities of faith? Also, what aspects of the Law, if any, are still in operation, and what aspects are no longer binding over God’s people? Thanks.
Dear Law Learner,
Jesus was born a Jew (Matt 1:17), lived under the Jewish law (Lk 2:41-42), and even taught His fellow Jews to obey the Old Testament law (Matt 23:1-3). Judaism was the right religion, until Jesus died on the cross and replaced Judaism with Christianity. The Old Testament, the law the Jews followed, was a tutor to lead people to Christ, but after Jesus came, mankind was supposed to follow Him instead (Gal 3:24-25). The Jewish law said that someday there would come a Messiah who would save them from their sins – Jesus was that Messiah (Jhn 1:45). The Jewish law taught mankind that they needed a Savior, and that they should prepare for His coming. Jesus came providing the grace and truth that wasn’t possible under Jewish law (Jhn 1:17). Jesus’ death made a permanent sacrifice for sins that none of the Old Testament animal sacrifices ever could (Heb 10:1-4).
The Old Testament was a tutor to lead us to Christ (Gal 3:24), but now that Christ is here, He has fulfilled the law, and we are no longer bound by its laws (Gal 3:25). The Old Testament still provides many wonderful examples and lessons of morality (1 Cor 10:11), but its specific laws no longer apply.
I was told that there are two salvations: one in heaven and one on earth. Some chosen christians will go to heaven, and the others will stay on a paradise Earth after the millennium and when all evil has ended. Is this true?
Dear Making Reservations,
No, that isn’t true. What you are talking about is a popular teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it isn’t a biblical teaching. There was an earthly paradise; it was called the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8). Mankind was cast out of that paradise because of sin (Gen 3:22-24). We are told that the next paradise faithful people see will be a heavenly paradise. Jesus referred to Paradise as a place that God’s people will see once they die (Lk 23:43). Paul refers to Paradise as existing in heaven, not on Earth (2 Cor 12:2-4). Eventually, this world will be totally destroyed by intense heat (2 Pet 3:10-13), and this earthly age will pass away and be replaced by a spiritual one for all eternity (1 Cor 15:49-54). Jhn 14:2-4 says that we will dwell where God dwells (heaven) and that even now, Jesus is preparing a place for us. Matt 24:35 says that heaven and earth will pass away – unlike God’s Word. When the Judgment Day comes, the faithful will go to heaven. There will be no earthly paradise.
All my life, I was taught there would be a rapture of all the christians, leaving the unsaved to go through a terrible tribulation. I believed this up until recently. I have studied/searched myself in God's Word and have come to find that if I would have never been taught that (rapture), then I would find that the Bible doesn't actually speak of a rapture – but more of a glorious return of Jesus in which all eyes will see. Where I live, this rapture doctrine is taught in almost every church, including my new church (which is a church of Christ). It's also interesting to me that other churches of Christ do not teach this doctrine. I'm getting choked on this hard food (rapture doctrine) and becoming very irritated; please help...
Dear Eyes Open,
You are right; we look forward to a glorious return of Jesus in which all mankind will face the judgment of God at once. The rapture teaching is nowhere found in Scripture; it is a fabrication created by misinterpretation and taking things out of context. It is sad to hear that even the Lord's church has been infiltrated by this doctrine, but then again, the church has always been affected by the culture surrounding it. The rapture teaching is based off of a doctrine called 'Premillenialism', and you might find our posts entitled "Premillenialism" and "Up In The Air" useful. You have every right to speak out against this teaching and to point out the logics flaws that teach there will be a rapture event.
I was saved as a youth, grew apart, and recently started to re-develop my relationship with Christ. I recently saw an article about Judgment Day, and it quoted various verses and did the math to come to the conclusion that the Judgment Day is May 21, 2011. From my point of view, the math and verses quoted make sense. This leads me to my question.
What is your opinion of this article, and how valid do you think it is?
I've added the link to the article below.
Dear Planning Ahead,
Many verses that people use to discuss the end of time are used out of context. Be careful in taking too much stock in what you read on the internet (which is ironic, since this is a website!) or hear through other people. What matters is what the verses say, not what people think or assume (for example, the article you referenced assumes that the flood happen in the year 4990 BC… an assumption that they never prove, but their entire calculation is based off of). Most of the articles you find, including this one, that try and pin a date to the end of the world are just a slick ruse that twist Scripture. 2 Thess 2:1-2 specifically warns us about getting too caught up in worrying about when the end will come.
The clearest passages we have on the topic are 1 Thess 5:1-10, 2 Pet 3:3-12, and 1 Cor 15:50-58. All three of these passages clearly outline what needs to be known about the end of the world. It is always a good idea to look at the clearest passages first before looking elsewhere.
First, it will come like a thief, and no one will be ready for it (1 Thess 5:2, 2 Pet 3:10). If the day will only come when no one is expecting it, it only makes sense to not worry about trying to pinpoint that day since God says it is impossible! The apostles didn’t know when the Lord would come back; if they couldn’t know, we certainly can’t!
Second, we should live every day like it will be our last (1 Cor 15:58, 2 Pet 3:11-12, 1 Thess 5:8-9). If you are always living a holy and faithful life, it won’t matter when Christ returns. Live faithfully, and whether you live or die, you will be ready to meet your Lord (1 Thess 5:10).