Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Left Behind

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I grew up with a very "secular" type of Christianity; I was always taught that the end times will resemble how it's depicted in the "Left Behind" novels. Is that the way the Bible actually describes it?

Sincerely,


Left In Doubt

Dear Left In Doubt,

No, the Left Behind books are pure fiction.  The Left Behind series written by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins is a literal interpretation of the book of Revelation with a twist of dramatic effect and a dash of denominational tomfoolery.  The key words are ‘literal interpretation’.  Should the book of Revelation be taken as a literal book with real dragons, sea monsters, gold paved streets, and bowls that contain the destruction of mankind?  The answer is 'NO'.

The apostle John wrote the book of Revelation and said that it was a book of signs and symbols (Rev. 1:1).  The context states over and over that things are not what they seem.  Candlesticks representing churches (Rev 1:20), a lamb representing Jesus (Rev 5:5-6), white linen representing the righteous saints (Rev 19:8), and a dragon representing Satan (Rev 12:9) are just a few examples of how we would really miss the whole point of the book if we took it literally.

Furthermore, John makes it clear that the book of Revelation isn’t about what will happen at the end of time – it is what would happen to the christians very soon.  Twice in the introduction of the book John mentions that the things in this book would soon come to be (Rev 1:1 and Rev 1:3).  John wrote to the christians of the first century to prepare them for a persecution they were soon to face.  The Left Behind series makes for fun reading, but they do not at all represent God’s message to John.

Instead, we are told by the apostle Paul that the end of time will come like a ‘thief in the night’ (1 Thess 5:2), and Peter reiterates that fact (2 Pet 3:10).  The reality is that no one knows when Christ will return, so we must live every day as though He might (1 Thess 5:8-9).

Day 81 - Mark 9

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

Easter

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The word 'Easter' is not in the Bible, so why do so many churches celebrate it?  Is it okay to celebrate Christmas and Easter as Christ's birth and resurrection?

 

Sincerely,
Easter Egg Hunter

Dear Easter Egg Hunter,

Christmas, Easter, St. Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Lent, and Good Friday are all examples of religious holidays that are not mentioned in the Bible.  So where do they come from?  The following history of Easter comes directly from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, an accepted and respected source of religious history:

"The English word comes from the 'Eastre' or 'Estera', a Teutonic goddess to whom sacrifice was offered in April, so the name was transferred to the paschal feast.  The word does not properly occur in Scripture, although the Annotated Version has it in Acts 12:4 where it stands for Passover, as it is rightly rendered in Revised Version.  There is no trace of Easter celebration in the New Testament, though some would see an intimation of it in 1 Cor 5:7." (ISBE)

Easter's roots are not Biblical - but pagan.  It's very name is a reflection of that fact.  There is nothing wrong with celebrating Easter as a holiday, but it is important that we not confuse a secular holiday with a Biblical commandment.  Paul warned that we can't place importance upon any day beyond what Christ has already commanded His church (Col 2:16-17).  Unfortunately, society has emphasized non-Biblical days such as Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc. as being of great value and importance.  Easter Sunday and Christmas mass are traditionally the most significant events of the year to much of the Judeo-Christian world.  That ought not to be.  Christ commands that we remember His death and resurrection every Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 11:26).  That is where Christ placed His emphasis.  We should do the same.

Day 80 - Mark 8

Monday, April 20, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

Who Baptizes Who?

Monday, April 20, 2015
Do you think a person must be baptized by a Christian male only? Could a woman be baptized by a Christian woman if there are no men around? Does the person doing the baptizing have to be a Christian?

 

Sincerely,
Immersed in the Issue

Dear Immersed in the Issue,

The person who is doing the baptizing is not nearly as important as the one being baptized.  The only examples we have in the Scriptures are of male christians baptizing people, but that is probably more of an incidental then a matter of importance.  It reminds me of the argument that all churches should meet in upper rooms because the only examples we have in the New Testament are of churches meeting in upper rooms.  Males baptizing and upper room meetings would both fall under the heading of "missing the point" in my opinion.  It would be a rather odd situation where someone came to the conclusion that they must be baptized without being taught by someone who could also baptize them.  However these things do occur, so let's consider what the Scriptures say.

Baptism is all about the effect that is had on the person immersed.  They are saved (Mk 16:16, Acts 2:38), their life starts anew (Rom 6:4), and they are buried with Christ (Rom. 6:4).  The emphasis is so steeply placed upon the person being baptized that there is only one incident in the entire New Testament where it says, "he baptized him"(Acts 8:38); every other circumstance is "they were baptized", "he was baptized", etc.  The emphasis is placed time after time upon who was baptized and not who did the baptizing.  Paul rarely baptized people himself after teaching them (1 Cor 1:14-17), nor did Christ (John 4:2).  The importance was that the people were baptized for salvation and not who did it.  In general, people will be baptized by male Christians, but a woman doing the baptizing wouldn't be an issue either if the circumstances called for it.  I can't think of many circumstances where an unbeliever would baptize someone, but I wouldn't contest that person's baptism as illegitimate if that were the case.  The angels are rejoicing over the sheep that has been found in either situation (Lk 15:10).

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