May 1, 2020 Bible Questions & Answers

Come join us as we learn more about God’s Word! The submitted questions for this month and their biblical answers are below, and you can watch the video above.

1. At what time in his life did Jesus know he was Jesus? Was he a perfect baby? How did Mary mother a perfect son?
2. If a person who has never been married is party to committing adultery with someone who is married, does that make both parties adulterers and disqualify the unmarried person from ever marrying?
3. Although Jesus was perfect, did he violate any laws of the land in a way similar to Daniel? If so, does this allow for a peaceful resistance for Christians?
4. Since the government has asked churches to not assemble in church buildings over the past month, is Acts 5:29 a passage churches should apply?
5. Who is the Antichrist?
6. If someone wrongs me and doesn’t repent, am I obligated to forgive them?

At what time in his life did Jesus know he was Jesus? Was he a perfect baby? How did Mary mother a perfect son?

The writer of Hebrews wrote that Jesus “learned obedience” (Heb. 5:8).  “Learned” (manthano) literally means “to learn, to increase one’s knowledge, to be increased in knowledge.”  Luke also wrote that as a child Jesus “increased in wisdom” (Lk. 2:52; cf. 2:40).  Isaiah also prophesied of the Messiah that there would be a time before “he knows enough to refuse evil and choose good” (Is. 7:14-15).

This tells us that Jesus was like any other infant or small child, lacking the cognitive ability to know right from wrong.  He had to be taught these things by his parents.

Concerning when Jesus knew that he “was Jesus,” i.e., Deity, several possibilities are given from Scripture.  At age 12 he apparently knew God was his Father (Lk. 2:49).  Perhaps he had this knowledge inherently due to being Deity (John 1:1, 14), or perhaps he was taught this knowledge (Lk. 2:40, 52).  At age 30 he already understood it was right for him to be baptized by John, acknowledging that John spoke of him being superior (Matt. 3:13-15).  So perhaps he knew of his Deity throughout his life.

If a person who has never been married is party to committing adultery with someone who is married, does that make both parties adulterers and disqualify the unmarried person from ever marrying?

Adultery (moichao) is defined as having unlawful intercourse with a married person.  Fornication (porneia) is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse in general, which would include adultery, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, etc.

What makes the sexual intercourse defined as adultery is the fact that one of the participants is married to someone else.  If that were not the case, then both of them would be committing the sin of fornication which is sex outside of marriage.  As it is, both are adulterers in one sense in that both are committing the sin of adultery due to one of them being married.  Yet at the same time, it could be said that the person committing the adultery is the one who is married.  The other one is committing fornication by having sex outside of marriage.

Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 19:9 addresses two people who are married.  If either one of them divorces because their spouse committed fornication (by definition, adultery), then they are allowed to remarry without their remarriage being defined as adultery by God.  Their spouse whom they had divorced because the spouse had committed the sin of adultery against them would not be allowed to remarry.

What Matthew 19:9 does not cover is the one who has never been married in the first place.  In your scenario, it would be the unmarried person who is having the affair with the married person.  One of the reasons for getting married is to avoid fornication (1 Cor. 7:2, 9).  If this person repented of the affair he or she was having with the married person and later on found someone else and wanted to commit to them via marriage, they would be scripturally allowed to do so.

Although Jesus was perfect, did he violate any laws of the land in a way similar to Daniel? If so, does this allow for a peaceful resistance for Christians?

Since the government has asked churches to not assemble in church buildings over the past month, is Acts 5:29 a passage churches should apply?

I’m combining these two questions since they are very similar.  In answering them, let’s first examine Daniel’s situation.  The law of the land which Daniel violated was an edict which required idolatry (Dan. 6:1-10).  As far as the biblical record goes, neither the Jewish nor the Roman government of Jesus’ day made a law requiring him to commit idolatry.  So he did not violate the laws of the land in a way similar to Daniel.  He did go against the traditions of the scribes and Pharisees that were in a sense theocratic law (cf. Matt. 12:1-2), and they charged him with sedition against Caesar which Pilate found him not guilty of committing but sentenced him to death anyway out of political pressure.

Christians are divinely obligated to obey the laws of the land (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:11-17; Tit. 3:1-8), even evil, hostile, pagan governments such as the ones under which Paul and Peter lived when they were inspired to write these edicts.  A careful examination of each of these passages reveals that God not only requires submissive obedience to governing authorities, but also requires Christians to give governing authorities respect and honor in order to stand out from the rest of this sin-filled world and influence the lost around them to obey the gospel.  This is a divine command which many American Christians have forgotten, having been used to not only giving their opinions about government but in many cases also feeling the supposed need to consistently insult and disparage governing authorities due to constitutional freedom of speech and expression.  The only exception is if governing authorities specifically demand that a Christian do something outside of the laws of God (Acts 5:27-29).  Notice also how Daniel reacted to the order which required him to sin against God (Dan. 6:10, 21).  Daniel reacted with PEACEFUL resistance.  He didn’t shout his outrage on social media.  He didn’t overreact.  He didn’t even insult the king, choosing instead to address him with the reverent form of address common for that time period (“O king, live forever!”); he did this even though the king had thrown him into a den of lions.  Daniel simply did what God wanted him to do in a quiet, peaceful fashion.  This is a lesson Christians must learn (1 Pet. 2:11-17; Tit. 3:1-8; Rom. 13:1-7).

Concerning our federal, state, and local governments, as far as I am aware they have yet to actually permanently require by law anything of a Christian that would directly go against what God has told the Christian to do.  Concerning the current response to COVID-19, governments are not asking Christians not to assemble because they are demanding that we no longer worship God or practice the Christian faith.  Rather, they are asking Christians not to assemble for a temporary time out of care for their neighbors and communities, in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic.  This is in keeping with many biblical principles (cf. Gal. 6:10; Matt. 25:31-46; etc.).  It also in no way violates the edict of Hebrews 10:25, which is actually condemning the total abandonment of assembling together as manifested by customary, habitual missing of worship services.  Thus, Christians should obey the laws of the land.

Who is the Antichrist?

The antichrist is not what is commonly taught today — a supernatural being who will come at the end of the world and bring some sort of massacre against Christians.  The Bible teaches something quite different.

The Christians of John’s day had heard antichrist was coming in the last hour; at the time John wrote, he said “many antichrists” (note the plurality) have come, thus proving the Christian age is the final age (1 John 2:18; 4:3; cf. 1 Cor. 10:11).  John defines the antichrist as one who lies and denies that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22).  He cites the spirit of the antichrist as every spirit that is not from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus (1 John 4:3).  He calls the antichrist any deceiver who has gone out in the world and does not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh (2 John 7).

Antichrist (antichristos, literally in the Greek an adversary of the Anointed One) is any person who opposes Jesus and is against Jesus — anti Jesus, anti Christ — in any way.

If someone wrongs me and doesn’t repent, am I obligated to forgive them?

Jesus commands us to forgive ON THE CONDITION OF repentance (Lk. 17:3-4).  Even if the wrongs are continually done and yet are still continually accompanied by repentance, forgiveness is required.  This would also mean that forgiveness would not be required if the wrongdoer does not repent.  After all, God himself has never forgiven anyone who has not first repented.

That said, it must also be pointed out that God shows love and kindness even to those who are unrepentantly evil (Matt. 5:44-45).  We are called to be like him in every way (Matt. 5:46-48).

So we should not think, “Ah, he has wronged me and he has not repented!  That means I don’t have to forgive him!  And THAT means I am allowed to hate him and treat him terribly!”  No, even without forgiving them we are still required to love our enemies, bless them, and be kind to them (Matt. 5:44).  After all, that’s what God did to you when you were still his enemy.  Aren’t you glad he offered you his hand even while you were still in your sins?  (Rom. 5:6-8)?