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Dreams For Tomorrow

Thursday, November 04, 2010
God says in Acts 2:17-19, “in the last days He will pour out the spirit upon all flesh and that sons and daughters will prophesy and young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams.”  My question is: why do you say that dreams and visions are not of today when the Bible clearly says so… God Himself says they will.

Sincerely,
Visions For The Future

Dear Visions For The Future,

Acts 2:17-19 is an excerpt from Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, the very first sermon preached after Christ ascended into heaven. Peter is quoting the book of Joel (Joel 2:28-32) and stating that what Joel wrote about was happening now. The verses have nothing to do with our behavior today or the end of time. It has nothing to do with modern visions and dream.  Peter specifically says that he is talking about what was happening right then (Acts 2:15-16) Those verses refer to that particular day and the time period surrounding Christ’s life and death. Let me explain the context.

For 400 years, the Jews had received no word from God – no prophets, no visions, no dreams, nothing. Then, after all that silence came:

  • Zacharias and the angel (Lk 1:13)
  • Elizabeth’s prophecy (Lk 1:41)
  • Simeon’s prophecy (Lk 2:26)
  • Anna’s prophecy (Lk 2:36)
  • The vision of the shepherds (Lk 2:8-9)
  • John the Baptist’s preaching (Matt 3:1)
  • Jesus’ miracles (Jhn 2:11)
  • The miracles of Jesus’ seventy disciples (Lk 10:17)

There was a veritable explosion of supernatural events. Peter is explaining how this influx of miracles, visions, and prophecy were a fulfillment of what Joel had said would happen in the last days of Israel. ‘In the last days’ doesn’t mean the end of the world in this circumstance; it means the end (or last days) of the Old Covenant. Peter is using these verses from the book of Joel to illustrate that Jesus really is the Messiah that the Jews had been waiting for. Jesus fulfilled Joel’s prophecy, and today we reap the benefits of it.

Given The Sword

Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Is the death penalty wrong? The Ten Commandments say "thou shalt not kill”.

Sincerely,
Life Preserver

Dear Life Preserver,

Let’s address the death penalty case first, and then we will look at the “thou shalt not kill” argument.  God has given the government the authority to issue capital punishment upon criminals.  God told Israel to stone wicked people in certain circumstances (Lev 20:27).  Paul says that God gives governments “the sword”; they are a minister of God and an avenger of wrath to those that do evil (Rom 13:4).

The Hebrew word used for ‘kill’ in the Ten Commandments literally means ‘murder’.  There is a difference between killing someone in self-defense and the intentional murder of another human being.  The Bible has plenty of examples of faithful people going to war (David killed Goliath in battle – 1 Sam 17:49-50).  The Bible is also full of examples of capital punishment for certain crimes (Num 15:35).  Num 35:15-16 makes a distinction between accidentally killing someone and murder.  A police officer may have to kill someone while serving the community, but that isn’t murder.  A government may have to execute a criminal to protect society and perform justice, but that isn’t murder.  “Thou shalt not kill” is a command for individuals (not governments) that prohibits the reckless and purposeful destruction of human life.

Out Of Africa

Monday, November 01, 2010
I sometimes pray with a group of people on a prayer line.  The leader calls in from Africa.  The man calls himself a prophet.  No one has ever seen him.

The prophet is the leader of this prayer line.  He seems to be a wonderful man of God with spiritual gifts… always praying in the name of Jesus.  I’m very concerned and do not want to be deceived into any magic or anything that is against God.

He often asks the people who are having issues to bring oil, water, white handkerchiefs, stones, garments, shoes, rings, pictures, honey, sugar, salt, shirts, and many other objects.  He would pray over them and tell us what to do with them (for example: wear it to bed, put it under your pillow, flush things down the toilet, place it in the Bible, and various directions).

Could it be that, in the background, he is working magic?  Is this of God?  Should christians be involved in this?  Thanks for your honest answer.

Sincerely,
On The Party Line

Dear On The Party Line,

This man is definitely not of God.  God tells us to test all teachers and compare them to the Scriptures (1 Jhn 4:1) because even false teachers disguise themselves as ministers of the light (2 Cor 11:14-15).  This man is a great example of this.

God never teaches that we should do the things that this “prophet” is telling you to do.  In fact, the Bible teaches that all behavior like this is occult and should be fled from.  When the christians of the first-century converted, they burned their books of magic and fled from such occult practices (Acts 19:19).  Paul tells us that all spiritual gifts have ceased (1 Cor 13:8-10).  This man isn’t teaching or living by Bible principles; he has warped God’s Word for his own purposes, and that will get him in a lot of eternal trouble (Gal 1:6-8).  This man has gone beyond the Scriptures (1 Cor 4:6).  Don’t unwittingly become his accomplice by entertaining his false notions (2 Jhn 1:11).  You are right to be concerned.

Too Young To Be Old

Sunday, October 31, 2010
Is there an answer in the Bible as to WHY God made the life span of man from 900 years (before the flood) to 120 years (after the flood) and then in Ps. 90, Moses says it has dropped to 70 years?  Is there any Bible explanation for this?  I am supposed to teach Sunday school this Sunday, and I can't find a Bible answer.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Teach This Teacher

Dear Teach This Teacher,

There is no specific answer as to why God allowed the age of man to deteriorate down to seventy to eighty years (Ps 90:10) from the hundreds of years that people lived during the pre-Flood era, but many creation scientists attribute the drop to genetic degradation.  As mankind’s genetic pool has deteriorated from the perfect specimens of Adam and Eve, the length of our lives has suffered.  At least, that is one theory.

Now let’s address the ‘120 year’ reference that you made.  That reference comes from Gen. 6:3.  Gen 6:3 isn’t a statement concerning the maximum age for all people; it was the length of time God waited until flooding the earth.  Genesis 6 is the beginning of the account of Noah’s Flood.  God said that He would only put up with the wickedness of mankind for another 120 years because all their thoughts and ways were evil (Gen 6:5-7).  During that 120-year period, God tasked Noah with building an ark for the safety of his family and the collection of all the animal kinds (Gen 6:13-21).  That verse is a flood verse, not a proclamation of the age limit for humans.

Watching The Clock

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Will the world end in 2012; everyone is talking about it, and it scares me.  I think it will end in 2012, but I don't know what date (like everyone is saying on December 21).  The Bible states He will come like a thief in the night; the sad part is that 90 percent of the world is not ready for it.  People are out drinking, partying, having sex with other people, and other sinful things. The Bible gave us signs of the end, and we had almost all of the signs.  What do you think?  I am just waiting for the rapture.

Sincerely,
Two Years To Go

Dear Two Years To Go,

Feel free to do your shopping for the holidays in 2012; the world isn’t likely to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012.  For those of our readers unfamiliar with the 2012 doomsday schtick… we will take a moment to explain this New Age teaching.  The idea that the world is going to be destroyed or transformed on December 21st (some say 23rd), 2012 is based off of the Mayan Long Count calendar.  The Mayan Long Count calendar is a non-repeating calendar that was used in Mesoamerica during the height of the Mayan civilization, and because it is a non-repeating calendar (unlike the Roman calendar which repeats every 365 days), it eventually runs out of days.  The last day on the Mayan Long Count calendar is December 21st, 2012.  Therefore, some folks are expecting a cataclysmic change to the world order on that day.

Now that we’ve explained what it is, let’s explain what it isn’t.  It isn’t right.  We here at AYP are pretty sure that if God was going to hide the date of the end of the world in a conspiracy-theory fashion, He probably wouldn’t hide it in the calendar of a blood-drinking, child-sacrificing, snake-worshipping heathen culture.  But, hey, maybe that’s just us…

You are right; God promises that He will return like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2).  As you mentioned, the world is full of many unprepared people living sinful lives.  We would all be a lot better off if we stopped trying to guess the day everything will end and started trying to be prepared for when it does.  We also noticed that you used the term “rapture” – we recommend you read the article “Caught Up”; it should help clear up some of the misconceptions about that term.

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