Ask Your Preacher
I have been hearing that Jesus’ real name is Yeshua. Is this right, and if it is, then what is His last name?
Dear Identity Please,
‘Yeshua’ is Jesus’ name in Hebrew. Jesus is the Anglicized version of the Hebrew name that is used in English Bibles. The name ‘Jesus’ or ‘Yeshua’ mean ‘God is salvation’. Jesus didn’t have a traditional English last name. In His day, a man’s last name was their father’s first name, so Jesus would have been called ‘Jesus, son of Joseph’ (Matt 1:16).
My grandmother died this year; she was ninety-four years old. She had two daughters. In her will, she left the major portion of her estate to her younger daughter. When my grandfather was alive, they had a living trust; their estate was divided equally between the two daughters. My grandmother always favored her younger daughter and her family, and it was very noticeable to an outsider. When the reading of the will was done, it hurt my mother, making her feel even more unloved. My mother never did anything to deserve this. My mother is a God-fearing Christian and has always done the right thing. My aunt won't have a thing to do with my mother, which was another blow to my mother. What does God think of a woman who would cause so much pain?
Your question is a loaded one. Realistically, we all cause others pain, and every story has two sides to it. We won’t even begin to talk about the eternal fate of someone we’ve never even known. After hearing your perspective, we can’t imagine why anyone would behave like that, but that is always the way you feel when you only hear one side of a story (Pr 18:17).
Jesus was once asked by two men to settle a family dispute about money, and His answer was, “Who made Me a judge or divider over you?” (Lk 12:13-14). We would have to take the same tact – it isn’t our place to try and unravel family financial squabbles.
We are very sorry for your pain, and we are so sorry that your mother is hurting. The best advice we can give is to not focus on what others think of us and remember that if we serve the Lord, He will cause all to work together for good (Rom 8:28).
Should the 151st psalm have been included in our Bible?
Dear Plus One,
Psalm “151” is a title given to a psalm that is accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church as part of the Bible, but that is about it. Even the Jews consider it to be apocryphal. An apocryphal book (‘apocrypha’ means ‘hidden’) is a book that was rejected from the Bible because it was considered inauthentic. These books are not written by God and never were accepted by God’s people as divinely inspired. Some apocryphal books (such as the aforementioned Psalm) were included in the Septuagint, which confuses people at times, but even though some apocryphal books were included in the Septuagint, they were never considered God-breathed Scripture. Printed Bibles include maps, commentaries, and footnotes… and yet, we don’t consider those things to be Scripture; in the same way, the Septuagint included apocryphal books that were never viewed as the Word of God.
It is well documented that Jews didn’t consider the apocryphal books to be authored by God. Josephus, a venerated Jewish historian, specifically stated that the apocryphal books weren’t from God in his writing Against Apion. The Manual of Discipline in the Dead Sea Scrolls stated that the Apocrypha wasn’t inspired. To further prove the point, the Apocrypha itself says that it isn’t Scripture! The apocryphal book, 2 Maccabees, specifically says that it isn’t inspired by God in 15:38-39, and the author apologizes for any inaccurate information he might have provided. Though the apocryphal books are unique historical accounts, they are never quoted in the New Testament, and they were never accepted by the church or the Jewish community as divinely inspired text. That is exactly why it isn’t necessary that they be included in modern translations of the Bible – they aren’t Bible, just secular history.
I just started going to church about three months ago, and I feel so blessed to be a part of what God is and His message. I have a friend who inspired me to go to the church in the first place, and I told him recently that I want to get baptized. My church does group baptisms and won’t be having one probably for months. My friend really wants me to get baptized ASAP even though I’m okay with waiting. He thinks it’s bad for me to wait. Is it a bad thing to wait?
A church that only does group baptisms every three or four months doesn’t understand what baptism is all about. In the Bible, when people were ready to be baptized, they were baptized immediately (Acts 16:33). The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act. When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us. Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet. Baptism isn’t merely an “outward showing of an inward faith” or “for membership”. Baptism is what saves us (1 Pet 3:21). Baptism is the point when someone goes from being lost to being saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a Christian. There is not a single example of someone becoming a Christian without baptism.
It is definitely a bad thing to wait, and as attached as you may be to your church, you should seriously consider that they aren’t teaching the total truth of God’s Word. We would be happy to point you toward congregations in your area that teach everything the Bible says and don’t leave important details out. Your friend is right. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can be of help.
The New Testament gives qualifications for men to serve the local congregation as elders and as deacons. If there are men qualified to serve as deacons but there is not a plurality of men qualified to serve as elders, should the congregation ask men to serve as deacons when there are no elders?
Dear Deacon Dilemma,
No elders means no deacons. A deacon without an eldership is a servant without someone to serve. Deacons are servants of the church. The word ‘deacon’ comes from the Greek word ‘diakonos’ which literally means ‘servant’. The deacons who meet the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:8-13 are a specific type of servant in the church – they serve the eldership (Php 1:1). Deacons are given authority by the elders to oversee various responsibilities within the church. These responsibilities might be building maintenance, the treasury, benevolence, etc. – whatever tasks the elders need help doing are the tasks deacons are to fulfill.