June 2018 Bible Questions and Answers

Topics:  how dinosaurs died, fasting, adultery in one’s heart and eyes, acts of worship, giving, singing, the mission of the church, why there are so many churches

How did the dinosaurs die?

“Dinosaurs” (deinos sauros, “fearfully great lizard”) were not known by that name until 1841. Over the two decades prior to 1841 hundreds of their fossilized remains had been discovered.

Beings fitting their description as seen by their fossilized skeletons are mentioned in the Bible as being alive alongside of man; they are called “behemoth” and “leviathan” (Job 40:15-19; 41:1-34). This contradicts the commonly taught notion that dinosaurs existed and became extinct millions of years before man came on the scene.

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Other evidence exists that points to the fact that dinosaurs and man co-existed. In January of 2005, Nature Magazine by way of the Associated Press reported villagers finding “the preserved remains of a tiny dinosaur in the belly of a mammal, a startling discovery for scientists who have long believed early mammals couldn’t possibly attack and eat a dinosaur” due to evolution teaching that mammals arrived millions of years AFTER the dinosaurs.

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In 1945, more than 30,000 clay dinosaur figurines were discovered buried in the foothills of the El Toro Mountain on the outskirts of Acambaro, Mexico, carbon-dated to have been created from 1640 to 2000 B.C.

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This 800-year-old Buddhist temple in Cambodia has the figure of a stegosaurus carved into its walls.

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In the early 1900’s, archaeologist Dr. Samuel Hubbard found drawings of a dinosaur on the walls of some old Indian ruins in the Grand Canyon.

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Thus, it is clear dinosaurs and man co-existed. So what happened to them? The global flood would have wiped out most of them, as it did with all other animal life (Gen. 7:20-22). This explains the large number of fossilized remains which are found, including those found alongside of fossilized mammalian remains. Yet Noah would have brought some dinosaurs onboard the ark (Gen. 7:13-16), thus ensuring their survival of the global flood.

Afterwards, God allowed man to eat meat and put the fear of man into every living creature so they could be hunted for food (Gen. 9:1-3). Over time, mankind killed them off either for food or sport, just as we have done to many other species of animals. Also, the changes in the weather and global environment which came about as a result of the flood likely greatly affected these cold-blooded creatures, probably causing many of them to die off.

Is fasting a command? If so, how often should we observe it?

Jesus talked of fasting to His disciples in such a way that He assumed they would fast by saying “When you fast…”, not “If you fast…” (Matt. 6:16-17). The early church fasted as part of their service to God when they sent out missionaries and appointed elders (Acts 13:1-3; 14:21-23).

There is no specific New Testament command requiring one to fast on a certain day due to a certain occasion. On the contrary, Jesus spoke against fasting regularly and ritualistically as the Pharisees did (Matt. 9:14-17). However, it must be noted that there are great spiritual benefits to fasting (Ps. 35:13; 69:10; Ezra 8:21-23) when it is done not to be seen of men (Matt. 6:16-18) and out of true repentance (Is. 58:3-9).

Thus, Christians should fast. Yet it should be a private matter between them and God and done during times when one feels special assistance from God is required, as seen by the example of the early church.

If adultery is the physical act of infidelity, how then can a man commit adultery in his heart or eyes? (Matt. 5:28; 2 Pet. 2:14)

Concerning 2 Peter 2:14’s mention of those with “eyes full of adultery,” the context shows that he is talking about false teachers who lead Christians astray and who themselves have fallen from grace (2 Pet. 2:1-22). Thus, the adultery in which they are involved refers to spiritual adultery God considers His children to commit against Him by being involved in unrepentant sin (James 4:4; Hos. 1:2; 2:2-13; 2 Cor. 11:2-3). It is not referring primarily to physical adultery between two married people.

Concerning Jesus’ statement, “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28), we must consider the context in order to determine what He has in mind with this statement. In this part of His sermon on the mount (Matt. 5:20-48), He is comparing what the scribes and Pharisees commonly and erroneously taught the Jews about the Law of Moses with what God wanted them to do.

The scribes and Pharisees generally either took Old Testament passages out of context (cf. Matt. 5:38), added false doctrine to them (cf. Matt. 5:43), or focused only on the specific action being condemned while ignoring the condition of the heart that would bring forth such an action (cf. Matt. 5:21-26). This latter case is what Jesus was focusing on concerning adultery (Matt. 5:27-30). The Jews were taught by the scribes and Pharisees simply to not commit the physical act of adultery (Matt. 5:27).

Jesus wanted to go further by condemning the mental act of lusting after someone not your spouse within your heart, which is what in most cases is the first step that leads towards that final result of the physical act of adultery. He called this mental act of lust the equivalent of basically committing mental adultery and condemned it because He knows that such mental actions are what almost always eventually leads to the actual physical act of adultery.

Earlier, Jesus had correlated being angry with and insulting one’s brother with the actual legal guilt of murdering them (Matt. 5:21-26). He wasn’t saying that being angry with or insulting someone is the exact same thing as murdering them. Rather, He was going further than the scribes and Pharisees by condemning not only murder, but also the things that lead up to murder so often: anger and insults. In like manner, He is not saying that lusting after someone in your heart is exactly the same as physical adultery. He is saying that lusting in one’s heart is what leads to physical adultery and thus one should not lust just as one should not commit the adultery that results from lust.

We teach that there are five parts to worship. What if a person has no money to give, or chooses not to sing?

It is correct to teach that the New Testament pattern of worship consists of five separate acts or parts. The general idea behind biblical worship (proskuneo) is that it consists of acts which praise God out of reverence and gratitude which are distinct from other acts of service (latreuo) done in a worshipful lifestyle (cf. Gen. 22:5; John 9:38). Such worship must be done “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24), meaning acts authorized by the truth of God’s Word done with heart-felt reverence (Matt. 15:8-9; John 17:17).

Under the New Testament which we are obligated to obey, we read of the church coming together collectively to worship God (cf. Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 14:26ff; Eph. 5:19; Heb. 2:11-12; 10:24-25) as well as Christians worshiping God individually (cf. 1 Thess. 5:17-18; James 5:13).

They worshiped collectively by partaking of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17-34; 10:16-17; Acts 2:42; 20:7) and contributing of their means (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8-9; Rom. 15:26) each Sunday (1 Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; cf. Matt. 26:29; Lk. 22:18; Acts 2:42; Lev. 23:15-16), as well as by singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:26), praying (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 2:8), and hearing a message from God’s Word (1 Cor. 14:26ff; Acts 2:42).

Each were commanded to give “as he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2). The Macedonians’ giving was cited as an example in part because even though they were deeply impoverished, they gave “beyond their ability” (2 Cor. 8:1-3). That being said, God also said within that same context about a Christian’s giving: “For if the readiness if present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have” (2 Cor. 8:12). Thus, if one has a heart-felt readiness to give and yet is unable to do so because he has nothing to give, God will not hold it against him.

As far as whether choosing not to sing is acceptable, let us remember that worship in spirit and truth is not an optional matter in that Jesus said we “must” do this (John 4:23-24). We are commanded to sing praises to God (James 5:13; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), and eternal salvation is given only to those who obey Christ (Heb. 5:9). So if we want to go to heaven and avoid hell, we should choose to sing praises to God!

It’s one thing if physical sickness has temporarily robbed one of their voice and thus they would want to sing but are unable to do so until they get better; it’s quite another when spiritual sickness and apathy has robbed one of the desire to sing. I have seen a handicapped sister in Christ whose ability to speak coherent words was taken from her by a stroke still sing her heart out with what little syllables she could form in the worship service, and I’ve been told of mute brethren who “sing” with their hands through sign language. May we learn from their example!

Should our mission as Christians be the spiritually oppressed or the physically oppressed?

Physical oppression and cruelty towards man has always existed and will always exist regardless of what Christians do for one reason: such is the result of sin (Eccl. 3:18), and the overwhelming majority of the population has chosen and will always choose sin (Matt. 7:13-14). This world which is full of people oppressing each other will pass away (Matt. 24:35; 2 Pet. 3:10-13), after which is eternity, a time far beyond our brief stay here on earth (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

Physical wars are fought because of the tyranny and oppression of men, but the Christian’s fight has always been a spiritual warfare against the spiritual bondage of sin, not a physical one (2 Cor. 10:3-5). God has always wanted us to focus on the heavenly and eternal rather than the temporary and earthly (Col. 3:1-2). Thus, the focus of the collective body of Christians in the church as well as the individual Christian should be on the spiritual and eternal over the physical. We fight to free people’s souls from the spiritual captivity of Satan through our evangelistic teaching of the gospel (2 Tim. 2:24-26; Rom. 6:17-18). That is our primary mission.

This is not to say that Christians should not physically help those who are in physical need, whether it be due to being physically oppressed or for any other reason (Gal. 2:10; 6:10; Matt. 25:31-46; James 1:27; etc.) Yet our involvement in such matters must always be in our minds a means to the end of helping that person spiritually. An empty belly, dehydrated throat, and shivering body does not allow the heart and mind to be receptive to the gospel of Christ. By helping fill that belly, quench that parched throat, and clothe that shivering body, we show that person the love of Christ, thereby motivate them to love Him too, and thus be free from Satan’s oppressive grip.

Why are there so many churches?

In a nutshell, because of the mindset of so many described in this passage:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.  (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Before the church began, Jesus prophesied of those who would lead others astray (Matt. 7:13-27; 24:11, 24; Mk. 13:22). Almost from its inception, attempts were made within the church to depart from the faith. Judaizing brethren attempted to add to God’s Word by requiring Gentile converts to obey tenets of the Law of Moses, prompting the Holy Spirit to teach to the contrary throughout the New Testament (Acts 15:1ff; Rom. 3-11; 1 Cor. 7:18-19; 2 Cor. 3:3-11; Gal. 1:6-5:15; Eph. 2:1-22; Col. 2:8-23; 1 Tim. 1:3-11; Tit. 1:10-11; 3:9-11; Hebrews).

Other false doctrines and those who would promote them were warned about and condemned, some specifically and others generally (Acts 20:29-31; Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Col. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-7; 6:3-6, 20-21; 2 Tim. 2:14-26; 3:1-13; 4:1-5; Tit. 1:9-2:1; James 5:19-20; 2 Pet. 2:1-22; 3:3-5, 15-16; 1 John 1:8, 10; 2:4, 18-27; 4:1-6; 2 John 7-11; Jude 3-16; Rev. 2:2, 9, 14-16, 20-24; 3:9; 13:1-18; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8, 27; 22:15, 18-19).

The reader can see from the sheer amount of scripture relating to apostasy in the New Testament how seriously God takes this and how hard Satan continually works to lead us astray.  I encourage you to take time this week to read and meditate upon each of the verses cited in the previous two paragraphs to get a better idea of the seriousness of apostasy.

In the two thousand years since Christ, literally thousands of false religions which profess to follow Him have started because of false teachers and those with itching ears who love them because they tell them what they want to hear.

Yet in the end the truth remains. Christ is the head of His body, the church, of which there is only one (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). There is only one faith (Eph. 4:5), that faith is based on nothing but God’s Word which is truth (Rom. 10:17; Jude 3; John 17:17), and that one church is the support of that truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Let’s preach and follow nothing but truth! (2 Tim. 4:1-2)!!