Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Eternal Identity

Wednesday, April 02, 2014
I am a mother of two, and we don't attend church.  I tell them as much as I know about God and Jesus and the Bible.  I am scared, though, every time I start to think about the end of days… not because I am not saved but because I heard that when the rapture comes, in heaven you will not know anyone.  I want to know my kids.  I want to watch them grow up and have babies of their own.  I think I may be misunderstanding something.  Please help me understand what is going to happen and if we are all going to be together and know each other.  Please, I get so sad about all of it.

Sincerely,
Maternal Instinct

Dear Maternal Instinct,

The Rapture isn’t a biblical teaching, and it won’t actually happen (read our article “Up In The Air” for a detailed explanation of what the Bible teaches about the Rapture).  However, you are still left with your concern about what heaven will be like (heaven is still very real! – 1 Pet 1:3-4).  In heaven, we have every reason to believe we will know each other.  In fact, if the transfiguration is any indication, we will know everyone in heaven, not just those we have known in this life.  When Jesus was transfigured on the Mount of Olives, both Moses and Elijah appeared and talked to Christ (Lk 9:30).  The remarkable thing is that Peter recognized both of those men even though they had been dead for many centuries (Lk 9:32-33).

Now, if we may, we’d like to address your statement that you don’t go to church.  It is a sin to not attend church; the Bible says so (Heb 10:24-25).  God uses the church to strengthen each of us individually, and He expects all of us to provide our effort to help strengthen others in His church (Eph 4:16).  The church is the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).  Every faithful christian of the Bible was commanded to be a member of a congregation because God knew that we shouldn’t stand alone.  It is a wonderful thing that you are teaching your children about Jesus and training them up to love Him (Pr 22:6).  We would be happy to help you move forward in your service to Christ by putting you in contact with a faithful congregation in your area.  E-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org, and let us help you fill in that piece in the puzzle of your spiritual life.

Story Time

Tuesday, April 01, 2014
I am a member of Christ's church (as was established in 33 AD).  I agree with all of the answers that you have given in this app, and I think it is a wonderful way of spreading God’s Word.  My question is one that was brought to me by a friend that I was studying with recently.  He is a sincere person and not a person that would make up stories that are false.  The story he told me put me in a bind because I have no clue how to explain that his imagination is getting the best of him without hurting his feelings.  He informed me that he had a dream that some voice said, "God has Satan by the snout."  He then woke up and felt as though someone was grabbing his face and pressing his head sideways, and he could not move his body.  He says that he whispered Christ's name, and the feeling went away, and he could once again move.  He is thoroughly convinced that he was physically attacked by a demon.  Please help me; I know what I believe on the subject but have no clue how to start explaining.  Most of all, I want to explain with God’s Word and as little of my own words as possible.

Sincerely,
In A Bind

Dear In A Bind,

It is always tricky to give an answer to someone who tells you, “I’m just sure I saw this or that!”… when you know it isn’t possible, but you don’t want to offend them.  We’ve been in the same predicament ourselves on many occasions, and ultimately, we try and do what you are doing – just point people toward the pertinent verses.  So here are some verses that you might bring up with your friend:

  1. Jesus stopped the demons from having the ability to attack people or possess them.  In Matt 12:24-29, Jesus says that He came and “bound the strong man” (in reference to Satan) by casting out the demons.  When Jesus cast the demons out of people – He cast them out of people for good.  A good example of this is when Jesus cast the legion of demons out, and they begged to be cast into the pigs… this tells you Jesus not only cast demons out, He bound their future abilities at the same time (Mk 5:11-13).
  2. When demons were cast out, it was considered a great victory over Satan.  Jesus gave seventy of His disciples authority to cast out demons, and when they returned to Him after visiting many cities, they rejoiced that they had cast many demons out (Lk 10:17).  Jesus answered their joy by telling them that Satan was falling because of their work (Lk 10:18).  In short, demon possession was becoming a thing of the past.
  3. Regardless of how your friend feels about this particular incident, the key concept that you are trying to convey to him is that our faith needs to be based off of Scripture… not personal experience.  A key verse on this topic is Rom 10:17 – “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”.  Our salvation is dependent upon what the Bible says, not our own personal feelings and experiences which differ for each of us.

Hopefully, this is of some help to you.  You will have to decide when, where, and how to bring the topic up, but those verses are where we would start.

 

Satan's Start

Monday, March 31, 2014
How was Satan created?  Did God create him?  If so, why?

Sincerely,
Origin Of Species

Dear Origin Of Species,

The Bible never specifically tells us when or how Satan was created, so anything we tell you is merely a best guess.  Here is how the logic goes:

  1. God created everything, both visible and invisible, earthly and heavenly (Col 1:16).
  2. If God created everything, He must have created Satan.
  3. Everything God made was originally good, and God wouldn't create something bad (Gen 1:31).
  4. Satan must have originally been created good.
  5. We know that, at some point, there were some angels that sinned and rebelled against God (2 Pet 2:4).
  6. Maybe Satan was one of those angels (this is where the information gets sketchy).

In short, we don't know much... but that is many Bible scholars’ best guess.

A New Era

Sunday, March 30, 2014
Please explain Mathew 9:16.

Sincerely,
Seamstress

Dear Seamstress,

Jesus used the analogy of new wine being put into old wineskins and unshrunk cloth on a pre-shrunk garment to illustrate the fact that He was ushering in a new era – the Christian era.  New wine is unfermented grape juice, which would cause the old, worn out wineskin to burst when the new wine began to ferment.  The Jews wanted to keep their old ways of life, and Jesus told them that if they accepted His teachings, their old lives wouldn’t work anymore.  The whole conversation began when John’s disciples asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t fast, even though they and the Pharisees did (Matt 9:14).  Jesus explained that He, the great Savior and bridegroom of Israel, had come… the old days were over, and a new era had begun (Matt 9:15).

 

Old Age Bible

Sunday, March 30, 2014
I have seen a lot of "new" Bible versions lately, and it has me very worried. A person I know has been encouraging me to read the New Age Bible Version (NABV).  I have always read the King James Version and used other versions for comparison only.  Should I be mistrustful of this New Age Bible Version?

Sincerely,
Tried And True

Dear Tried And True,

There are two things to consider when choosing a Bible translation:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Readability

As you may have noticed, the easier a translation is to read, the less accurate it becomes – and the more accurate a translation is, the more difficulty you will have in reading it.  The key is to find the right balance between readability and accuracy.  There are three types of translations: word-for-word translations, thought-for-thought translations, and paraphrase translations.

Paraphrase translations don’t even attempt to be accurate; all they want to do is make the Bible easy to read.  We never recommend a paraphrase translation.

Thought-for-thought translations try and take the original language and translate it using what the translators think is the same idea or concept that the Greek and Hebrew languages were trying to convey.  The NRSV, NIRV, and TNIV are all though-for-thought translations.  The NIV (currently the most popular version) is a mix between a word-for-word and a thought-for-thought – we have a lengthy article on the NIV translation that will give you more insight into that particular translation (click here to go to that post).  Thought-for-thought translations are better than paraphrasing, but they still remove the exact words of Jesus and His apostles and replace them with someone’s best guess at what they might have said if they had spoken in English.

Last, but not least, we have word-for-word translations.  Word-for-word translations are exactly what they sound like – they do their best to directly translate every word from the Greek and Hebrew into English.  There are currently four major word-for-word translations available: King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV), American Standard Version (ASV), and New American Standard Version (NASB).  God tells us that every word was directly conveyed from God to the original Bible writers (1 Cor 2:13).  Since God made a point of divinely inspiring every word of the Bible, we here at AYP only feel comfortable using a translation that keeps those words intact.  Personally, we find the NASB and NKJV to be very readable and highly accurate.  Having read the New Testament in both the Greek and English (a couple of our AYP writers can read Koine Greek), we have found those two versions to be very sound.

To sum up, if you really want to make sure you are reading what God authored, make sure to ask for a word-for-word translation.

 

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