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Sans Satan

Saturday, March 29, 2014
Are Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:12-13 really referring to Satan?

Sincerely,
Reference Research

Dear Reference Research,

Neither verse is talking about Satan.  The King James Version uses the word ‘Lucifer’ in Isa:14:12, and that has created some confusion because people often associate that name with Satan.  Most other translations use the words ‘Morning Star’.  The verse isn’t talking about Satan; it is talking about the Babylonian king (Isa 14:4).  In Ezek 28:12-13, God is talking about the fall of Tyre and His judgment against the city of Tyre’s king.  The key to understanding any verse is to keep it in its context.  Both of those verses are couched within chapters that discuss the destruction of physical kings and their kingdoms.

Possessed

Thursday, March 27, 2014
What does the Bible say about present-day demon possession?

Sincerely,
Afraid Of The Dark

Dear Afraid Of The Dark,

Evil spirits are real, but they were cast out and their powers greatly reduced by Christ and the apostles.  Demon possession ended not long after the days of Christ.  Jesus made it clear that one of His jobs was to bind the devil and take His strength away by casting out his demons (Matt 12:28-29).  When Jesus’ disciples had come back from their evangelism trips and related to Him that they had cast out many demons, Jesus told them that they were defeating Satan by getting rid of Satan’s demonic minions (Lk 10:17-18).  When Jesus and His disciples cast out demons, they did it permanently (Lk 8:30-33) and bound Satan by their acts.  We no longer have to deal with such overt attacks by the devil because he has been bound by Christ’s sacrifice (Rev. 20:2).  Demon possession no longer exists; the devil must use subtler methods to deceive us now.

 

Shaman Ceremony

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
We are born-again christians who have been invited to a wedding ceremony led by a shaman.  The groom believes in Buddhism.  The bride is going along for the ride since she does not practice her christian faith.  I know that, at times, we should hate the sin but love the sinner.  Should we go?  Is it against our faith to do so?

Sincerely,
Wedding Guests

Dear Wedding Guests,

It is not inherently wrong to go to a wedding that involves false religion.  If it were a Catholic wedding, you probably would go, and they are just as wrong as the shaman.  Having said that, this wedding probably feels worse because the ceremony doesn’t even pretend to call on the name of Christ.  This is an issue of wisdom, and you will have to prayerfully make the decision for yourselves after considering the following Bible principles:

  1. You should never do anything against your conscience.  Your conscience is that part of you that makes you feel bad if you do what you think is wrong, and it makes you feel good if you do what you think is right.  Your conscience isn’t always correct, but we are told to always strive for a pure conscience (2 Tim 1:3, 1 Tim 1:5).  Even if you know that you can go to this wedding, if you can’t feel good about it – you shouldn’t go.
  2. It is also important to consider your influence.  Do you believe you will make more of an impact with the couple by going to the wedding or by refusing to go?  Matt 5:16 says that we should let our light shine, so others may see our good works and glorify God.  You mentioned that the bride is an apathetic believer… would making a stand show her that she needs to deal with her faith (or lack thereof)?  It may be that not going will burn bridges, or it might be that it will start a dialogue… only you can decide which is the right course.
  3. Do you believe that going to this wedding would show that you approve of their religious views?  God tells us to never become partners with idolatry (2 Cor 6:14-16).  There is a distinction between attending a wedding and participating in its religious sentiments; it is a fine line but one that you must consider.  Are you supposed to be in the wedding?  Will they be asking you to partake in some sort of Buddhist rituals?  These are questions worth asking.  In fact, asking the bride and groom about the details of the wedding may be the way to have the dialogue you are hoping for.

All in all, these principles can help you to make a decision that is faithful to the Lord, your conscience, and your influence in the world.

 

A Holy History

Monday, March 24, 2014
My idea about the Holy Spirit is He started to be part of christians after Jesus’ ascension because Jesus promised His disciples to be indwelt in order for them to do marvelous works in the kingdom.  My question is: what made the Old Testament believers do God's Will if the Holy Spirit was not yet given to them until the New Testament?  What power enabled the early believers in the Old Testament?

Sincerely,
Empowered

Dear Empowered,

The Holy Spirit doesn’t control the actions of every christian; He teaches us through the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit came and gave the apostles the ability to precisely teach, preach, and write down what God intended for mankind to know (see “What The Holy Spirit Does” for further details).

The Holy Spirit has always interacted with mankind, but in the Christian era, He has specifically worked through Jesus, Jesus’ apostles, and prophets (Heb 1:1-2).  The Old Testament prophets also spoke as the Spirit gave them power (2 Pet 1:21).  God specifically said that the Old Testament prophets spoke through the Holy Spirit’s wisdom (Ex 31:1-3, 1 Sam 11:6, 2 Chr 15:1… just to name a few examples).

The Holy Spirit doesn’t force or control the actions of people.  He has given us the words of life that we might choose to do what is right when we read and understand God’s Will (Eph 3:3-4).

 

Mean Girls?!

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Why are young girls so mean?  I never see any in church; they all go out and sin.  They all like bad things.  I remember reading in Matt 7:13 about the two gates; very few will enter into heaven, and many will enter in the gates of the bad places.  Therefore, what I understand, if I’m not wrong, is that more people will go down than up.

Sincerely,
Angry Boy

Dear Angry Boy,

Ummm, we know many faithful young women who love the Lord and are very godly… our congregation is chock full of women, young and old, that honor the Lord and are shining lights of faith.  You have obviously had some bad experiences with women, and we are very sorry for your suffering, but we would caution you against lambasting all girls in your frustration with a few.  A good way to create a hostile relationship between you and women is to start out by telling them that you think they are all mean!  God urges us to always be careful to bridle our tongues (Jas 1:26).  Be slow to speak, slow to wrath, and swift to hear (Jas 1:19).

It is true that many people will not make it to heaven – wide is the gate to destruction (Matt 7:13).  However, from the context of your question, it sounds like you are trying to say that all young girls will go to hell – that is obviously wrong.  Women are equal heirs of salvation (1 Pet 3:7), and the Bible gives many examples of amazing women who have changed the course of history through their faithfulness.

 

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