Ask Your Preacher
Do you believe in Annihilationism… because there are some people like the Jehovah's Witness, United Church of God, and Seventh-Day Adventists that believe a person's soul is annihilated (or extinguished) in hell, instead of being punished. To me Annihilationism isn't biblical! Some say it's a heresy! But, also, there are some verses in the Bible that annihilationists interpret as "Annihilation" (Ex: Isaiah 66:24). Also, annihilationists interpret the "second death" as annihilation. Like I said before, though, I don't believe in Annihilationism! It's also unbiblical!
Keep The Flame Alive
Dear Keep The Flame Alive,
There are several very clear texts that deal with what happens to lost souls when they die. Mk 9:47-49 says that hell is a place where “the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched” – the exact opposite of annihilation. Jesus also told the story of a rich man that died and went to torments (Lk 16:22-23). In torments, the rich man was in constant burning anguish without relief (Lk 16:24). Abraham told the rich man that he would remain in anguish and that there was a great gulf eternally fixed between those in Paradise and those in torment (Lk 16:25-26). Though some good brethren believe that hell is not an eternal location and that the wicked are destroyed at death, we don’t believe that this holds up to biblical scrutiny. Hell is a real place, and you really don’t want to go there.
Leviticus 3:17, along with other similar passages, forbids believers to eat any blood. The Jehovah's Witnesses don't accept blood transfusions and won't eat meat with blood in it for this reason. My question is: how can you eat blood if blood is liquid… isn't it? And also, someone said in order to eat something, you have to digest it. You don't digest blood transfusions, right? So what exactly does Leviticus 3:17 mean?
Dear Blood Donor,
It is possible to eat blood if it is prepared as a dish (i.e. blood sausage, blood pie, etc.); however, it would be wrong to do so (see "Blood In The Pudding" for New Testament teachings on that subject). This verse, however, doesn't address why Jehovah's Witnesses don't accept blood transfusions. The reason JW's don't get blood transfusions is because "the life is in the blood" (Deu 12:23). They improperly apply an Old Testament teaching that dealt with eating to a medical treatment in the world of the New Testament. Christians are not under the Old Testament law (Gal 3:23-25). The Old Testament still provides many faithful examples and principles, but its specific laws have been nailed to the cross (Col 2:14). The Old Testament law has faded away and been replaced by the perfect law of liberty in Christ (Jas 1:25). Read "Out With The Old?" for further details on the place of the Old Testament in the life of a christian.
I got into a pretty heated argument the other day with my girlfriend. She is a Jehovah’s Witness, and I am a christian. I was talking about the day Jesus died, and I mentioned the cross. She, in turn, began to tell me that all christians got the translation wrong and that it was actually a stake. I'm not looking to settle a score, but I would like to know some insight on this subject if you could help. Thanks and keep up the good work!
Feeling A Little Cross
Dear Feeling A Little Cross,
The Greek word is ‘stauros’, and it means ‘stake, post, or cross’. The word can mean any of those three things depending upon the context. Like many words in English, Greek words often require context to give the specific definition. In the case of Jesus’ crucifixion, the word ‘cross’ is appropriate because the context tells us they nailed Him to it (Jhn 20:25, Lk 24:40)… a historically verifiable technique used by Romans for crucifixion upon a cross.
In your opinion, is there a right denomination? I have attended several different types of churches: Baptist, Church of Christ, Non-Denominational. I’ve talked to Jehovah Witnesses and listened to Catholics on TV. They all teach something different, but I am not looking for a place that offers their own thoughts. I just want to know what God wants me to know. I have been so confused by all these different teachings; I am unsure of what to believe. Now, I like ya'll; so far you are the only ones that haven't completely confused me or contradicted the Bible. How can I find a church like how you teach? I want to go to church so bad, but after I attend for a little while, I notice some churches will start to say things completely different from what my Bible teaches. And I am left wondering what to believe anymore. Any help?
An Honest Soul
Dear An Honest Soul,
The denominational world is confusing… exactly the opposite of God’s church (1 Cor 14:33). The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes that it is a subgroup of a larger religious body. Lutherans worship and teach differently than Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc., but they all believe themselves to be christians – this is wrong. Jesus said that there is only one path to heaven (Matt 7:14). Denominationalism teaches that how you act and worship are matters of opinion, but Jesus said that how you act and worship are matters of truth (Jhn 4:24). The only way to avoid denominationalism is to find a congregation that simply teaches what the Bible says – no creeds, no opinions, no personal agendas. If we truly love Christ, we will follow His commandments (1 Jn 5:2).
Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15). A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).
Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a Biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16). We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2). We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21). We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible. As you said, you don’t want to go to a church that offers their own thoughts – you want God’s thoughts.
There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful. A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful. We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know. We’d be happy to do the same for you. If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is email@example.com). It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism. Thanks be to God that there is a better option!
When you die, do you go straight to heaven, or do you stay in the grave until Judgement Day? I have asked this question to other people before, and well, some responses I get from them seem not completely as the Bible says. I have asked several different denominations. Then are only 144,000 going to heaven? If so, what happens to the rest of us?
When a christian dies, they go immediately to Paradise and await the day of Judgment, the day when our eternal heaven is created. Jesus said that angels immediately carry faithful souls off to Paradise (Lk 16:22, Lk 23:43), and the wicked are immediately sent to torments (Lk 16:23). Both Paradise and torments are part of Hades (‘Hades’ means ‘the unseen place’). When you die, your spirit is separated from your body and goes to Hades (Jas 2:26). On the Day of Judgment, all the souls will be emptied out of Hades (1 Thess 4:14), and all the bodies will be removed from the graves (1 Thess 4:16). On that great Day of Judgment, every soul shall be judged (Heb 9:27). After that judgment happens, this earth will be destroyed, and a new, heavenly, spiritual world will be created for the saints to live in eternally (2 Pet 3:12-13). On that great day, every righteous person will be allowed to dwell in heaven eternally (not just 144,000 people – those who say that only 144,000 will get to go to heaven are grossly misinterpreting Rev 14:1. Jesus came to pay for the sins of the whole world – Jhn 3:16).