Ask Your Preacher
When a person hears the Word, accepts Christ, repents, confesses Christ, is baptized, I understand they are put in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Now, this is followed by a life of obeying God's commandments, enduring temptation, loving one another, and living for God. But are God's commandments just to believe in Christ and love one another? What are the commandments we have to obey?
I’d Like A Checklist
Dear I’d Like A Checklist,
After you are baptized, you become a christian (Acts 2:38). As you said, after that, you spend the rest of your life growing and following God’s commandments (1 Pet 2:2). All of the specific commandments are too numerous to list here because the whole Bible is full of God’s commands (Ps 119:160). All of God’s teachings can be summed up in “love God” and “love your neighbor”… that is what Jesus said on the matter (Matt 22:36-40). All the rest of the Bible is full of specific rules and principles that help us to properly love God and our fellow man. A life dedicated to God is built upon the Bible’s teachings (Rom 10:17), and His Word, in its entirety, should be the guide for our lives (Ps 119:105).
Who wrote the Gospel of Mark, and how do we know the author was inspired by God?
Dear Genuine Article,
The Gospel According to Mark is generally agreed to have been written by John Mark. This is based upon early church historians and comments made by early christian writers. It isn’t necessary that we know who penned the book of Mark, but that is the general consensus. John Mark would have been in a perfect position to write an account of Christ’s life having been a traveling companion of both Paul and Barnabas (Acts 12:25) and being a part of a family of early converts to Christianity (Acts 12:12).
We know that the Gospel of Mark is inspired for the same reason that we know the rest of the New Testament is inspired. Mark’s book repeats the same details as the other gospels, it shows all the same characteristics of inspiration as the rest of the Bible, and the early christians (who would have personally known the writer) accepted it as an inspired account of Christ’s life. Read “Who Wrote The Bible?” for a more in-depth explanation of evidence that God authored the Bible.
(This post is in response to “Destination: Known”)
You just stated that Jesus went to Paradise when He died, but aren't you forgetting 1 Peter 3:18-19 where it states that He went and preached unto the spirits in prison? Although there might be differing interpretations of this verse, the Bible indicates Jesus did something. He went and preached.
Missed A Verse
Dear Missed A Verse,
1 Pet 3:18-19 is a very difficult passage, and there are a number of different interpretations of what it means that Jesus “preached to the spirits in prison”. Some believe it refers to Jesus literally descending into the darkest depths of Hades to preach to those awaiting eternal punishment, but this directly contradicts other Scriptures where Jesus specifically says He was going to Paradise (Lk 23:43). Either Jesus was wrong, or that interpretation of 1 Pet 3:19 is wrong – we here at AYP will trust that Jesus knew where He was going after death.
The other options for that verse are numerous, but the two most likely are:
- That the spirits in prison were the people that Jesus preached to before or after His resurrection. Those enslaved to sin are most definitely imprisoned spirits (Jhn 8:34).
- The other likely option is that Jesus, through Noah (2 Pet 2:5), preached to the pre-Flood world and showed longsuffering to them, just as He does to us today. After all, 1 Pet 3:20 identifies the “spirits in prison” as those who were disobedient during the days of Noah. Most likely, 1 Pet 3:18-20 is making the case that Jesus has always been patient with the disobedient, but that unless we choose Christ, we will perish just like they did. In either case, it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus went to Paradise at His death, not to torments.
Where did Jesus go after He died?
Dear Location Services,
Jesus went to Paradise when He died – He said so. Jesus told the thief on the cross that they were both going to Paradise after they died (Lk 23:43). Some say that Jesus went to hell when He died. That argument refers to the verse where it states Jesus would spend three days and three nights in “the heart of the earth” (Matt 12:40). However, that verse is simply stating that Jesus’ body would be buried for three days. Jesus’ spirit was separated from His body at death (Jas 2:26). Jesus’ body went into the ground, and His spirit went into Paradise.
Where does Israel currently stand with the Lord? I ask this because many christians support Israel. Some of that support is for political reasons; Israel is an allied nation and a democracy, but most of the support comes from their belief that God still holds Israel as His chosen people. Some of this belief, I know, stems from Premillennialism and the belief that the Lord will raise up Israel in the end times. The popular Left Behind series pushed this concept. I do not subscribe to that view, so you don't need to respond to that belief. I can't help but to believe that God has had a role in the history of Israel. No other culture has withstood the destruction of their cultural center and identity (AD 70 siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple), been scattered, persecuted, almost wiped out, and managed to come back and re-establish their nation and culture.
So my question is: does God still hold Israel in His good graces? Or is He just protecting them out of His obligation to Abraham? Or is He protecting them at all?
Dear History Buff,
The nation of Israel lost God's protection when they rejected God's Son. Jesus says that christians are His royal priesthood and chosen race (1 Pet 2:9). Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deut 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). In that parable, Jesus also explained that the Jewish nation would be destroyed and abandoned by God (Lk. 20:15-16). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those who love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they would rather have their traditions than God’s Son (Mk 7:9).
Now, it is true that there is a nation called Israel today, but just because they occupy the same territory doesn’t mean that the Jewish nation that was destroyed in 70 AD has been re-established. The current nation of Israel has none of the things that made it special – it has no high priest, no priesthood, no Levites, no temple, and no record of genealogies to properly rebuild tribal lineages. It would be impossible for Israel to even follow the commands given by God in the Old Testament. Modern Israel is kind of like tearing down Buckingham Palace and then putting a double-wide trailer on the same property – just because you call it ‘Buckingham’, doesn’t mean it is. The name ‘Israel’ doesn’t make it the same nation.