Christian Ministry

biblical answers to tough questions
Bible questions and answers
question mark

purple line

Carroll Forrester asks, "After the resurrection of Christ, all the
     disciples including Paul, worshipped on Saturday (the Sabbath).
     Why then do most Christians worship on Sunday?"

    Excellent question! The commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 states that the seventh day of the week (Saturday) is the day which the Lord selected as the day of rest and worship. However, in the New Testament the Christian church began to worship and rest on the first day of the week (Sunday). Are Christians violating the Sabbath commandment by worshipping on the first day of the week rather than the seventh day? I do not think so.

    First, the basis for the command to observe the Sabbath, as stated in Exodus 20:11, is that God rested on the seventh day after six days of work, and that God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. The Sabbath day was instituted as a day of rest and worship. The people of God were to follow God's example in His pattern of work and rest. However, as Jesus said in correcting the distorted view of the Pharisees, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). The point Jesus made is that the Sabbath was not instituted to enslave people, but to benefit them. The spirit of Sabbath observance is continued in the New Testament observance of rest and worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2).

    Second, it must be remembered that, according to Colossians 2:17, the Sabbath was "a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ." The Sabbath observance was associated with redemption in Deuteronomy 5:15 where Moses stated, "Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day." The Sabbath was a shadow of the redemption that would be provided in Christ. It symbolized the rest from our works and an entrance into the rest of God provided by His finished work.

    Finally, although the moral principles expressed in the commandments are reaffirmed in the New Testament, the command to set Saturday apart as a day of rest and worship is the only commandment not repeated. There are very good reasons for this. New Testament believers are not under the Old Testament Law (Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:24-25; II Corinthians 3:7,11,13; Hebrews 7:12). By His resurrection on the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1), His continued appearances on succeeding Sundays (John 20:26), and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Sunday (Acts 2:1), the early church was given the pattern of Sunday worship. This they did regularly (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). Sunday worship was further hallowed by our Lord who appeared to John in that last great vision on "the Lord's day" (Rev. 1:10). It is for these reasons that Christians worship on Sunday, rather than on the Jewish Sabbath.

    Paul put it best: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:" (Colossians 2:16)

    "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his" (Hebrews 4:1-10). In other words, those that walk in the Spirit have entered into the rest for the Kingdom of God is within them via the Holy Spirit. As believers we no longer need to strive, but rather be led by the Holy Spirit. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:7).

purple line

Carroll Forrester asks, "Who were the parents of Mary (the mother of
     Jesus) and why does the Bible not give an account of their lives?"

    The Bible says in Luke 3:23: "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli." Heli was the father of Mary and Joseph's father-in-law, for we know that Jacob was Joseph's father according to Matthew 1:16.

    We see that the Bible names Mary's father but not her mother; why is this so? Well, generations are continued and passed on by the father's seed. In fact, a child's blood type is always determined by the father and not by the mother. Old Testament writers rarely mention the names of mothers, but rather those of fathers. The New Testament writers followed in their footsteps by choosing not to include the names of mothers in genealogies, for it would be superfluous. Thus the Bible does not mention the name of Mary's mother; the rest of the matter is simply speculation.

purple line

Carroll Forrester asks, "How long is a 'generation' when spoken in
     the Bible?"

    A generation is a period of time and its significant events comprising the lifespan of a person, but this term is also used to talk of a more indefinite timespan.

    Two Hebrew words are at times translated, "generation." The more significant of these is toledoth, derived from the Hebrew verb, "to bear children." This term refers to a human generation lasting from the death of the father through the death of the son.Toledoth gives structure to the Book of Genesis. In this first book of the Bible, Adam, Noah, Noah's sons, Shem, Terah, Ishmael, the sons of Ishmael, Isaac, Esau, and Jacob each provide a generation and a structural unit in the Genesis narrative.

    The Hebrew term dor is related to the word for "circle" and refers to the life circle of an individual, either from birth to death or from birth to the birth of the first child. A generation was a general term for those persons living at a particular time.

    A generation did not necessarily have a specific number of years. Genesis 15:13-16 apparently equates 400 years with 4 generations, thus 100 years per generation. Numbers 32:11-13 may reckon a generation as 60 years, it including people twenty and above and giving them forty more years to die. Or one may interpret this to mean a generation is the forty years of adulthood between ages 20 and 60. God promised Jehu his sons would rule to the fourth generation, apparently meaning four sons (II Kings 10:30; 15:12). Jehu began ruling about 841 B.C., his first son Jehoahaz about 814 B.C. and the fourth generation Zechariah died about 752 B.C. The five generations ruled less than 90 years, while the four sons' generations ruled about 60 years. This is reducing a generation to a quite small number. After his tragedies Job lived 140 years and saw four generations (Job 42:16). This would make a generation about 35 years. Basically, generation is not a specific number of years but a more or less specific period of time. (Compare Job 8:8; Isaiah 51:9.)

purple line

Carroll Forrester asks, "Jesus told Nicodemus, "that which is born of
     the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit, is spirit." He
     (Jesus) added, "Marvel not that I say, unto you ye must be born
     again." At the resurrection, I will be born again not of flesh and
    blood, but of the spirit. Therefore, at that time, I will be born again as
    Jesus told Nicodemus. Can you agree with this?"

    Actually I cannot. Jesus clearly tells Nicodemus in verse 5 that "Except a man (or woman) be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." People must accept Jesus into their heart to be saved and thus enter the kingdom of heaven (Romans 10:9). The Bible says that we when accept Jesus into our hearts, the old man lives no more, but we become new creatures in Christ. "Therefore if any be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."(II Corinthians 5:17). Paul writes in Ephesians 4:22-24:" That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

    Paul is simply saying that when we accept Jesus into our hearts, we are no longer spiritually dead (Psalm 51:5), but spiritually alive for God's spirit now resides in us. To say that we will be born again at the resurrection (rapture) simply is not plausible, for Paul himself says that we are to put off the old man and put on the new man in Christ while here on earth. Jesus warns us not be like the foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-12) who don't have oil for their lamps. These virgins did not have proper understanding regarding preparation for the rapture (when Jesus comes for His bride - the Church). These virgins were not ready for the rapture (resurrection) because they did not realize that they became spiritually lazy and worldly, allowing the oil of the Holy Spirit to run out. They backslid out of Christ. "Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezekiel 3:20). "And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him" (Hosea 11:7). "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God" (Jeremiah 3:22).

purple line

One of our visitors asks, "So can you be born-again without being
     baptized in water?"

    No I don't believe you have to be water baptized to be saved from going to hell. However, I do not believe the terms "born again" and "saved" are similar but different. When a person is born, he or she is immersed in the water of the mother's womb. When a person is born again, he or she is spiritually buried in water through baptism; a spiritual rebirth so to speak. Water baptism is an outward demonstration of what took place inwardly.

    In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be "born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Then Nicodemus replies to Jesus in verse 4, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus responds in verse 5 by saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

    Being "born again" means one is baptized into Christ through faith and repentance and receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is different than the baptism in the Holy Spirit and water baptism.

    It is important to note that the thief next to Jesus on the cross was not baptized in water but was "saved" from hell and granted eternity in paradise (heaven) because he was "born again" by faith and repentance in Christ, and God knows is people's hearts are truly repentant.

    I believe that all Christians in obedience should be baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit to reach their full potential for Jesus Christ. However, Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (just like the thief on the cross did), and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Salvation is a process. We are first saved when we receive Christ, are being saved as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and then complete our salvation by enduring until the end: "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (II Timothy 2:10).

purple line

Jolie asks, "Can you give me some background as to who wrote the
     Book of Numbers and the story behind Balaam and his donkey?

    To answer your first question, Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These five books comprise the Pentateuch and are called the Books of Moses.

    To answer your second question, Balaam was a non-Israelite prophet whom Balak, king of Moab, urged to curse the invading Israelites for a fee. Balaam was one of many prophets of eastern religions who worshiped all the gods of the land. Many of these false teachers had great power and influence. When they pronounced a blessing or a curse, it was considered as true prophecy.

    When Moses led his people across the wilderness, God commanded him not to attack Edom or Moab (Deut. 2:4-9). He did not. When Edom attacked, "Israel turned away from him" (Num. 20:21). As the great nation journeyed north on the east side of Jordan, King Balak of Moab faced the invasion of Israel. Balak sought a strategy other than battle to stop Moses. He decided to use a prophet to curse Israel. Balaam was chosen. Balak sent his messengers with fees to secure Balaam's services. Balaam asked God's permission to curse Israel. Permission was refused, but Balaam journeyed to confer further with Balak. On this journey, Balaam's donkey talked with him as he traveled a narrow trail (Num. 22:21-30; 2 Pet. 2:16). Here Balaam clearly understood that an angel's drawn sword enforced his obedience to speak only God's message to Balak. Later in four vivid messages Balaam insisted that God would bless Israel (Num. 23-24).

    God used Balaam to preach truth. He even spoke of a future star and scepter (Num. 24:17) a prophecy ultimately fulfilled in the coming of Jesus as the Messiah. Balak's actions brought God's anger upon Moab (Deut. 23:3-6). In a battle against the Midianites, Balaam died (Num. 31:8; Josh. 13:22). Balaam could not curse Israel, but he taught the Moabites to bring the men of Israel into Baal worship with its immorality. For this God would punish Israel. What Balaam could not accomplish with a curse he did so through seductive means. Balaam was a money hungry false prophet who had a close encounter with the God of Israel, but not close enough. God is sovereign and did not allow Balaam to curse His people. As God wills, He changes curses into blessings.

purple line

Jason McDougal asks, "Do you not believe that God the Father and
     the Son are one?"

    Yes we do, but we must first define the word one. The Hebrew word for one is echad which means "joining for one." Take Ezekiel 37:16-19 for example: "Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one (echad) stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one (echad) to another into one (echad) stick; and they shall become one (echad) in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one (echad) stick, and they shall be one (echad) in mine hand." Another example can be found in Genesis 2:24: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh."

    The Bible says in I John 5:7: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (Jesus according to John 1:1), and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one [echad]." Jesus is the second person of the Godhead yet not equal with the Father, for Jesus said in John 14:28: "I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I." Thus, God (Elohim) is is not trinity but rather One (Deuteronomy 6:4) united in the Godhead of Father, the Son (Jesus Christ/Messiah Yeshua), and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22; John 1:1; II Corinthians 13:14). "But when the Comforter (Holy Spirit) is come, whom I (Jesus) will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (Jesus):" (John 15:26).

purple line

Jason McDougal asks, "Do you not believe that sin IS unbelief?"

    Yes we do believe that sin is unbelief. In fact unbelief is the root cause of all sin according to the following scripture:
    "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off" (Romans 11:20).
    "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12).
    "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:19)
    "Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:" (Hebrews 4:6).

purple line

Frequently Asked Questions Index
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

purple line
Please e-mail us your questions

purple line

cross Back to the "Christ-Centered Mall"

purple line
All content on this site, including text and graphics, is the property of Christ-Centered Mall.
All U.S. and international copyright© laws apply and are reserved by Christ-Centered Mall.
Web pages copyright© 1998-2006 by Christ-Centered Mall, Inc. All Rights Reserved.