Ask Your Preacher
We know it was because of God that Aaron turned his staff into a snake and frogs coming out of the water, but what about the sorcerers that did the same thing (Exodus 7:11-12, Exodus 8:7)? By what power did they do this?
The Pharaoh’s magicians used good old-fashioned parlor tricks to turn their staves into snakes. They used their “enchantments” to make the serpents appear – no differently than the impressive, but explainable acts of today’s illusionists (Ex 7:11). The difference was that Moses’ serpent ate their serpents (Ex 7:12)! The evidence was clear; Moses’ “trick” was different. Eventually, even the magicians admitted that the one true God was behind Moses’ miracles (Ex 8:19).
Why did certain rules change when Jesus was around? Before Jesus, the evidence of God being present was the destruction and conquering of other religions, lands, and cities (along with some pretty amazing miracles). Some of the miracles were acts of God to actually destroy these other religions. When Jesus came around, He preached that people should love their enemies and focused His message toward their communities. This doesn't make sense. If Jesus was preaching the essence of God, and we are supposed to love our enemies, then why did God eradicate pagan religions using the Israelites? And why would He choose to use some of the people from these religions in His divine plan and lineage of Christ?
Dear Mixed Messages,
God did a lot of things in the Old Testament, and destroying pagan nations was only part of that picture. It is important to understand why God destroyed those nations. God was protecting the Israelites because they were His people, and when they faithfully served Him, He destroyed their enemies to protect them. It is important to understand that the Old Testament was a tutor to lead people to Christ (Gal 3:24-25). The Old Testament taught people about the gravity of sin, the justice of God, the sinfulness of man, and our need to place our faith in God. All of the Old Testament stands as an example of how God treats sin and how seriously we must take it. As we read the Old Testament, we get a clear picture of how much trouble we would all be in without forgiveness... but we also see that God tried time and time again to save people. In fact, the entire book of Jonah is about God sending a prophet to try and get the pagan city of Nineveh to turn away from their sin before it was too late. He also accepted the harlot Rahab when she turned from idolatry and joined the Israelites (Heb 11:31).
Jesus did teach that we should love our enemies, but He also preached railing judgments against wicked men (read Matt 23 for Jesus' feelings about the Pharisees). Jesus showed kindness to a penitent adulteress (Jhn 8:3-11), but He also made a whip and cast out all the moneychangers from the temple (Jhn 2:15). Jesus certainly taught love, but He also taught justice – the exact same things you see in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament and in the New, we see a consistency in God's character. The only difference is that Jesus brought forgiveness in a way that never could happen before He died on the cross.
Hello, I have a question about sacrifice. I have read where the Israelites had to make sacrifices on certain days to atone for their sins. I am also aware that the sacrifice of Jesus has made this unnecessary. But I do not understand how taking the best portion of your livelihood and burning it would atone for your sins. I also do not understand how Jesus' sacrifice atoned for all the sins of the world.
How does destroying the most precious things equal forgiveness from God? How does Jesus’ perfect sacrifice save us? What do these acts actually DO?
Dear Sacrificially Stymied,
The Jewish sacrifices of bulls and goats never did atone for sins (Heb 10:4); all they did was teach that forgiveness from sin came with a cost. God teaches us that when we sin, the wages of that sin are death (Rom 6:23). The Jews learned that lesson by making sin offerings. When the sinner laid their hand upon the head of the innocent animal, they symbolically transferred their sin to that beast (Lev 4:27-29). However, animal blood never was enough to truly pay for sin. It took the God’s Son’s blood to pay the price for our sin; only Deity’s blood was enough to cover the tremendous cost of sin (Heb 10:10).
Jesus had to sacrifice Himself to pay for our sins because God is both a merciful and a just God. By personally paying the price for our sins, God showed Himself to be both just and the justifier of the faithful (Rom 3:25-26). Like a father paying the price for his son’s mistakes, Jesus paid the price for our mistakes.
I don’t get it. So much of the Bible makes no sense to me. For example, the Flood… the Bible said God flooded the world but saved Noah and Noah's family only. The Bible says the reason this was done was because God saw too much wickedness in the world. But I just can’t imagine every child or baby living then in the world being wicked, but the Bible says God killed them all. But in another verse, I remember hearing it said children and babies are not accountable until, like, a certain age… maybe puberty? So all those kids and babies that were drowned in the flood were innocent, yet killed anyway. It makes no sense at all to me.
Too Tragic For Thought
Dear Too Tragic For Thought,
The Flood was a blessing to Noah and his family because they were saved from the sinful influences of that ever-violent generation (1 Pet 3:20)… but it was also a blessing to those innocent children. You are right; all children are born sinless, and they aren’t accountable for sin until they are old enough to be responsible for their own behavior. All children go to heaven. Read “What About The Children?” for further details on the fate of the young.
It is important to realize that when God ends a life, it is not the same as when another human snuffs a life out. God knows that when a child dies, it isn’t the end of their life but the beginning of a new one. When God ends a life, He also has a new life to offer them. All the innocent children that died in the Flood had no chance to grow up faithfully and turn to God because the generation was so wicked that there was no hope for their future. God redeemed those children from such a horrific fate, and He started the world anew with righteous Noah and his family.
How do some christians debate that the earth as a planet is merely 5,000 years old?
Dear Looking Later,
There is quite a bit of scientific evidence that backs the Bible timeline for a young earth. According to the Bible, the Earth is around 6,000 years old. This was accepted by the scientific community until not long before Darwin came on the scene. Darwinian evolution required the world to be billions of years old to prove his theory that species evolve slowly over time. Since evolutionists dominate the public voice for the scientific community (even though many scientists do believe the Bible and do believe in a young earth), all you ever hear is that the world is billions of years old – we are never told about the evidence that supports a young Earth.
There are many evidences for a young earth. One piece of evidence is the Cambrian explosion – a layer of rock that show an immense variety of fossils. The Cambrian explosion in the fossil record shows that there was a point in history when millions of species exploded onto the scene – the exact opposite of evolution. However, the Cambrian explosion can easily be explained by the worldwide flood of Noah’s day (Gen 7:11-12). A worldwide flood explains why there was an explosion of dead things under tons of mud, silt, and rock.
Another example is the distance between the Earth and the moon. The moon is slowly receding from the Earth at a measurable rate. With some basic math, we can see that it is impossible for the Earth to be billions of years old – if it was, the moon would have been so close that it would have destroyed all life on the planet!
These are just two simple evidences, but there are thousands more that space doesn’t permit us to list. Groups of scientists like the people at answersingenesis.org specialize in showcasing the evidences for a young Earth and the accuracy of the Bible account of the Creation.