February 2019 Bible Questions & Answers

Questions

  1. Why do people pray to Jesus? Aren’t we supposed to pray to God?
  2. Is it a sin to eat genetically modified food (Deut. 22:9)?
  3. If angels are being guarded for Judgment Day as described in Jude 6, does that mean once we get to heaven we can still be cast into hell?
  4. What is our main mission?

Why do people pray to Jesus? Aren’t we supposed to pray to God?

When asked to teach his disciples to pray, Jesus said, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name…” (Lk. 11:1-2ff; cf. Matt. 6:9-13).  He specified that our prayers should be addressed to God the Father, not to Him. He is the mediator through whom we pray to the Father (Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25; cf. 1 Tim. 2:5-6).

Some claim a biblical precedent for praying to Jesus is found in the example of Stephen (Acts 7:56, 59-60) and Paul (Acts 9:4-6; 2 Cor. 12:8-9).  What should be pointed out is that these were miraculous visions/events and thus should not be used for precedent in our regular, non-miraculous prayer lives which take place after the age of miracles has ceased. Stephen and Paul saw and heard Jesus directly and miraculously. None of us can say that today. Thus, we should follow Jesus’ directive given to his followers as a whole and address the Father in our prayers.

Is it a sin to eat genetically modified food (Deut. 22:9)?

Deuteronomy 22:9-11 repeats what Moses had earlier legislated in Leviticus 19:19, both passages of which not only prohibited sowing your field with two kinds of seed but also letting cattle breed with a different kind and wearing clothing made from two kinds of material.

Since these commands were given under the Old Covenant and we are under the New Covenant which allows the eating of anything save that which is offered to idols, that which is strangled, and blood (1 Tim. 4:4-5; Acts 15:19-20), we should not conclude that it is sinful to eat genetically modified food.

This is made more clear when we consider the historical context behind Moses’ commands in Leviticus and Deuteronomy and thus see why these commands were given to ancient Israel. Much of Moses’ law was designed to keep Israel set apart from her pagan neighbors and their idolatrous practices (cf. Deut. 7:1-6).

Thus, some believe the prohibitions in Leviticus and Deuteronomy against mixing seeds were designed to prevent God’s chosen people from following the ways of the heathen of their day, some of whom had superstitions about blessings from the gods resulting from mixing seeds together and thus sowed different seeds together as part of their worship rituals.

It’s also possible that the prohibitions against mixing seeds, plowing with different animals, and wearing clothing made of mixed material were designed to teach Israel a symbolic spiritual lesson about not mixing themselves with their unclean, sinful, pagan neighbors in order to avoid spiritual defilement.

Regardless, with regards to the question one thing is clear. These prohibitions are part of the Law of Moses which was taken out of the way at the cross and replaced with the New Covenant which contains the Law of Christ.  Within the New Testament, these prohibitions are not repeated in any way and in fact are completely negated by the statement that all foods are good and nothing should be rejected (1 Tim. 4:4-5). Thus, it is not inherently sinful to eat genetically modified food.

If angels are being guarded for Judgment Day as described in Jude 6, does that mean once we get to heaven we can still be cast into hell?

Jesus promised that the righteous would be rewarded with eternal life” (Matt. 25:46; Rom. 2:7; 5:21; 6:23). “Eternal” (aionois) literally means “without end, never to cease, everlasting.” Thus, those rewarded with heaven will never leave it to be cast into hell or sent anywhere else.

The angels “kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6) are also said in 2 Peter 2:4 to be in “prison” or tartarus (not “hell” as some translations put it). The ancients in that culture considered tartarus to be in Hades, the place where both the dead (Luke 16) and apparently these angels wait for the Judgment.  At Judgment Hades will give up those within it to be judged before being cast into hell, and those within it (the dead and these angels) will be judged and then enter into eternal life or condemnation (Rev. 20:11-15; cf. Matt. 25:46). Thus, Jude 6 talks of what takes place before judgment, not the eternity after it.

What is our main mission?

Jesus came “to seek and save those who are lost” (Lk. 19:10). We are to imitate him (1 Cor. 11:1), which means our main mission must be to evangelistically seek out and save the lost through the gospel as he told us to do (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).

The biblical directives and examples in the New Testament of the church being involved in benevolent activities and edifying her own members are there as a means towards achieving that main goal of evangelizing the lost. That is and must always be the top priority of the church.

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