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The Longest Three Days

Monday, January 08, 2018
Why did God choose the third day to raise Jesus up?  Is there a reason for the third day?


Dear Counting,

There are several reasons that the Scriptures give us for why Jesus was raised on the third day, and there may be more reasons that God didn’t tell us.  The secret things belong to God (Deu 29:29)… some questions won’t get answered until we see Him in heaven.  Here is what we know:

  1. Jesus was raised on the third day because that is when He prophesied He would be raised (Lk 24:7).  Jesus fulfilled every prophecy He made, right down to the details of how long He would stay in the grave.
  2. Jesus’ burial is compared to Jonah’s time in the belly of the great fish (Matt 12:40).  The Old Testament was full of parallels to Christ because the Old Testament was a tutor to lead people to Christ (Gal 3:24-25).  Jonah’s three days and nights in the big fish were another example of an allusion to Christ.
  3. Jesus’ three days in the tomb left no doubt that He was truly dead.  Jesus was in the tomb so that all could witness that He did indeed fully die and was buried (Acts 10:37-40).

As we said, there are probably more reasons that the Father had in mind when He chose to leave Jesus’ body in the grave for three days, but those are the reasons He has deemed appropriate for us to know from the Scriptures.

This Little Light Of Ours

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
What are the different lights that the book of Genesis talks about?  It says God made light; then it says He made the sun, stars, and moon later in chapter one!  Please explain in detail.

Star Gazer

Dear Star Gazer,

God created light for the earth on the first day of Creation and separated the light from the darkness (Gen 1:3-5).  It wasn’t until day four that God created the sun (as well as the stars and moon) as a permanent source of light in the heavens (Gen 1:14-19).  This is often seen as a contradiction because everyone knows that the sun is the source of daylight here on Earth.  However, it isn’t a contradiction; it is merely a surprising detail of the Creation story.  God created the day and night cycles first, and later created a permanent source of light for those cycles.  This is no different than a house being built using contractor-grade work lights, and as the house nears completion, the permanent electrical system is put into place, and permanent lighting is installed.  We have never known a time when the earth’s light source wasn’t the sun, just like a homeowner never knows a time when the house was without permanent light fixtures.  There is no contradiction, just a very impressive creation process orchestrated by an immensely powerful God.

A Silent Summer Night

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
My question is: as christians do we celebrate Christmas? And what is the significance of December 25th to Jesus Christ?  Thank you!

Holly And Jolly

Dear Holly And Jolly,

Many people believe Christmas to be a spiritual holiday, but the Bible never commands us to celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th (the truth is, no one knows when Jesus was born, but it was most likely in the spring or summer because the shepherds were out – Lk 2:15).  Christians are commanded to remember Jesus’ death every first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 11:24-25)… we are never commanded to remember His birth on an annual basis.  Christmas is not a biblical holiday.  There is nothing wrong with celebrating it as a family holiday, but it is wrong to teach that there is a biblical foundation to it.

Christmas can be traced back to the Roman pagan holiday of Winter Solstice (also known as ‘Saturnalia’ because it was in worship of the god, Saturn).  As Catholicism tried to integrate itself into a pagan Roman world, Christmas was instituted by Pope Julius I on December 25th as a way to assimilate the pagans into a Catholic worldview.  In short, Christmas has never been a truly biblical holiday; it is a manmade tradition with no bearings upon your salvation.

Up In The Air Part 2

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

(This is a follow-up to “Up In The Air”)

I've actually never heard this idea that THE great tribulation has already happened.  I've considered this idea with an open mind and have only gained a deep concern for those who support this theory… mostly because the temple was, of course, destroyed in 70 AD, and we know John recorded his vision around 90 AD.  What good would it have been for John to prophesy on things which already took place (Rev 10:11)?  Also, if you were to believe this idea, the answer to the question asked in Matt 24:3 would have been 70 AD, but since we humans are still in existence, either Jesus was lying (which He was not) or the tribulation was not fulfilled in 70 AD.  Furthermore, if you carefully study the context surrounding the statement in Matt 24:34, you see Jesus was still speaking on this age of false prophets and messiahs to come.  He said (in context), "This generation of false prophets and messiahs will not pass until the work of the tribulation is complete." He was not referring to the generation that was currently alive when He said these things.  Also, we all know when God says things are to happen soon (Rev 1:1), God's judgment of time is supremely different than ours.  I do not claim to be in full understanding of Revelation, but I would greatly suggest to those who support the idea you hold to prayerfully and logically reconsider their interpretation of the  book of Revelation.  Please reply; I am still open-minded to what you have to say.  Thank for all you do.

Looking Ahead

Dear Looking Ahead,

Thanks for your reply.  I think we got our wires crossed somewhere.  The book of Revelation doesn't discuss the fall of Jerusalem ­– it discusses the persecution of christians under the Roman Empire.  We agree that it is most likely that John wrote Revelation after 70 AD.  However, Matt. 24 does refer to 70 AD, and Jesus even clarifies that is what He is talking about in Matt. 24:2 when He mentions the stones of the temple would be torn down (something that happened in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD).  You referenced Matt 24:3; it is important to note that the words "end of the world" found in some translations are not technically correct.  The word 'world' is literally 'age'.  It isn't the word 'kosmos' which is what is normally used for 'world' throughout the Bible.  Jesus was telling them that the end of the Jewish age was about to occur and that there would be certain signs they should watch for.  As for your reference to Matt 24:34, the words 'false prophets and messiahs' aren't in that verse.  All it says is "this generation shall not pass away until all these things are accomplished" – we don't know what translation you are using, but those words that prove your point simply aren't in the text of the major translations of the Bible.  Matthew 24 is dealing with 70 AD (and Jesus said those things before 70 AD); Revelation is a separate topic.

One other thing, you mentioned that you don't have a full understanding of Revelation.  Here is our challenge to you.  Listen to the series of classes we linked to you on that book (for our readers, that link is here).  After listening to the classes, feel free to write in with any objections you have to the logic used in the teaching.  We would happily welcome your criticism.  If we are wrong, we want to change.

Up In The Air

Friday, October 20, 2017
At what point in The Great Tribulation are we, the church, raptured?  I struggle to understand who this "multitude" mentioned in Revelation chapter 7 is and at what time they arrived.  Is there any information from the Bible that gives us any idea of when we will be raptured?  Do we suffer through the tribulation with the unsaved?  Do we all die as martyrs?  Do we get "caught up" before the Tribulation begins?

Looking Ahead

Dear Looking Ahead,

The word ‘rapture’ means ‘caught up’ in Latin.  The term ‘rapture’ is used to describe an event that many think will take place right before the days of tribulation in Revelation.  The problem with this theory is that it is wrong.  There will be a time when all christians will be caught up into the air to be with Christ – the end of time (1 Thess 4:14-18).  The book of Revelation doesn’t describe events in the future; it describes events in the past.  The book of Revelation deals with problems that the church was to “shortly” see come to pass (Rev 1:1).

Furthermore, the tribulation taught by many denominations is based off of a misinterpretation of Matthew chapter twenty-four.  Matt 24 is dealing with the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Jewish temple that would happen in 70 AD.  If we carefully pay attention to the context, Jesus is talking about the Jewish temple’s destruction, not a worldwide trial thousands of years in the future (Matt 24:1-2).  Jesus specifically said that the tribulation would occur within that generation’s lifetime (Matt 24:34).

There will be a day when all the faithful are caught up to meet Christ in the heavens.  The day He returns (Acts 1:11), all mankind will be judged at the same time (Jhn 5:28-29).  In that great day (Jude 1:6), the whole world will be burned up with fire (2 Pet 3:10-12).  There will be no post-tribulation, pre-tribulation, semi-tribulation, etc.; there will only be the great Day of Judgment (2 Pet 3:7, 1 Jn 4:17). If you would like a more in-depth look at the book of Revelation, we have a series of classes on the book that can be found here.

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