Ask Your Preacher
My question is about Matthew 5:48. I know that it’s unlikely for us to do overnight, but would it be fair to say that if we truly wanted it, we could achieve perfection?
Dear Setting Goals,
It is possible to be perfect like Matt 5:48 says because Matt 5:48 isn’t talking about being sinless; it is talking about being equal in our love for all mankind, just like God designed us to be. The word ‘perfect’ simply means ‘complete’; it doesn’t always mean ‘without sin’. In the case of Matt 5:48, we are talking about being complete in our relationships with others. God loves both the good and the bad (Matt 5:45). We must do more than just love our friends (Matt 5:46-47); God wants us to love our enemies, too (Matt 5:44). The person that can show love toward both his friends and enemies (and some people can) is ‘perfect’… they still sin, but they are able to show complete love toward their fellow man.
People always talk about zombies; can that really happen? A zombie apocalypse?
To The Bunker!
Dear To The Bunker,
Much to the chagrin of the video game-practicing, bunker-stockpiling, apocalyptic-prepared crowd… there is no such thing as zombies. Heb 9:27 says that we all die once and then go to face the Judgment. When you are dead, you are dead – no coming back for a midnight brain snack.
And for those of our readers that are thinking about how a zombie isn’t the person; it is just re-animated flesh that has no soul, therefore, technically, a zombie apocalypse could happen… *sigh* and *facepalm*.
I was wondering; when the rapture takes place, why would Jesus put His saints that have already gone on to be with Him after death back in the grave, only to come back out to be with Him? Is it because we don't have a glorified body yet? Thank you. God bless.
Dear Rapt Attention,
There is quite a bit of misunderstanding regarding what happens at the end of the world because there is so much sensationalism surrounding words like ‘Rapture’ and ‘Apocalypse’. The short version is that there is no such thing as the Rapture or some millennial kingdom after it. That is all made up. For the longer version, we recommend you read our post, “Life Without Rapture”.
However, when Jesus returns, there will be bodies coming out of the graves… but the souls will be coming from the spiritual realm to meet those bodies. When a Christian dies, they go immediately to Paradise and await the Day of Judgment, the day when our eternal heaven is created. Jesus said that angels immediately carry faithful souls off to Paradise (Lk 16:22, Lk 23:43), and the wicked are immediately sent to torments (Lk 16:23). Both Paradise and torments are part of Hades (‘Hades’ means ‘the unseen place’). When you die, your spirit is separated from your body and goes to Hades (Jas 2:26). On the Day of Judgment, all the souls will be emptied out of Hades (1 Thess 4:14), and all the bodies will be removed from the graves (1 Thess 4:16). On that great Day of Judgment, every soul shall be judged (Heb 9:27). If you are interested, we recently preached a series of sermons on the topic of what happens when you die; you can find those sermons here.
Why in Deuteronomy chapter 13 does it call the people of God to kill non-believers? It seems pretty specific, and I just wonder why it asks us to even kill our family if they should try and lead us astray.
Bound To Family
Dear Bound To Family,
Deuteronomy 13 is an Old Testament command. The laws and commandments of the Old Testament are no longer binding. When Jesus died on the cross, He blotted out the ordinances of the Old Testament that condemned us (Col 2:14). The New Testament has surpassed and replaced the Old Contract written on tablets of stone (2 Cor 3:3-8). The Old Testament was designed to lead mankind to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the Old Covenant (Gal 3:24-25). The Old Testament was God’s law for the Jewish nation (which included laws for how the Jewish government was supposed to punish criminals), and the New Testament is God’s law for Christians. There is so much confusion over the Old Testament and New Testament that we have a short video tutorial on the subject on our YouTube channel. The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/8kPP0G9WSyo.
I am hoping you can help me in how to answer a friend. She is Mormon, and so I asked her to explain to me how she is able to use an "extra book" – the book of Mormon, and this is what she had to say. I was wondering if you could help me understand how to further explain this in a clear way.
Here is the e-mail that she sent to me: "It is super important that we ask questions; God tells us in James 1:5-6 to ask, and He will answer. So the reason I know the book of Mormon is true isn't because my parents taught me or because I've read it, but it's because I read it and then prayed about it. I was definitely given an answer and know that it’s true. From Ezekiel 37:16-17, we know the stick of Judah is referring to the Bible, and the stick of Ephraim is referring to the book of Mormon, and in verse seventeen when it says put them together, they become one. That's why we believe there are two books that both testify and strengthen a testimony of Jesus Christ when used together. Also, John 10:16 – Christ is speaking, the Bible is written of and for the people in Jerusalem. Christ is explaining that there are others, and He will preach to them as well. We believe He is speaking of the people in the book of Mormon. Both sets of people wrote what they were taught from Christ, just in different places. And answering your question about Revelation, we believe that John isn't referring to the Bible as a whole, but rather the book of Revelation when he says ‘do not add to this book’. Deut. 4 also states something similar."
That's all she wrote, folks! Thanks again for your help!
Not A Mormon
Dear Not A Mormon,
There are a lot of components that your Mormon friend brings up, and that is oftentimes the struggle with studying with a Mormon. They are taught to bring up about ten different things without really dealing with any of them in-depth. We are going to do the opposite. If we can prove Mormonism wrong in one area, it falls like a card castle. Forget about Ezek. 37 and Jhn 10:16… those have nothing to do with the book of Mormon, but it will take you forever to help them put those back in context. We are only going to deal with two issues:
- Your friend said she read the book of Mormon and prayed about it, and that gave her the answer that the book of Mormon was from God. Here is the problem with that. Right now, there is a Hindu who believes Hinduism is correct praying to his gods. And there is a Catholic listening to a speech from the Pope, believing that the Pope is correct. And there is an atheist reading Richard Dawkins who feels that he is correct. All of their feelings can’t be correct! God tells us in Isa 1:18 to “reason together”, and Jhn 8:32 tells us, “Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”. On top of that, Matt 7:21-23 makes it clear that many people will die feeling they had served God but will be cast out because their feelings were wrong! It isn’t enough to feel that the book of Mormon is from God; she has to prove it.
- Mormons agree that God wrote the Bible, so let’s start there. If the book of Mormon is from God, it won’t contradict the Bible. If it does contradict the Bible, then it is wrong – Gal 1:8 makes that very clear. Here is the problem. The book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price (the Mormons actually have three books they use beside the Bible) all contradict the Bible repeatedly. In fact, they even contradict themselves.
In short, remind your friend that she has to prove her religious views – feelings aren’t enough… just like you have to prove your views. She would never accept you saying, “I prayed about it, and I received an answer that Mormonism is wrong.” The same goes for her saying the opposite.