Is Only One Denomination Right?
Is Only One Denomination Right?
This Tuesday I did a brief test stream, to sort out a few things related to a different way we are scheduling our Thursday Q&A time. We only had a few viewers, and it wasn’t a time to ask questions, but one enterprising live viewer asked a question and in tribute to him, I thought I would use that as our lead question today.
By the way: Thanks for praying for our Africa trip! Our time in Kenya and Uganda was genuinely blessed and I think fruitful for God’s kingdom.
Our plan is to be in Germany next week, so God willing we will do the Q&A next Thursday from my conference location in Siegen, Germany – a small city in the southeast corner of the province of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Here’s our lead question for today, from Alfredo:
Is it Biblically sound to say that just as God favored Abel’s offering over Cain’s that there is only ONE way to worship God and thus only one denomination or sect of Christianity is CORRECT?
In addressing the question, “Is Only One Denomination Right?” today I am only going to speak about it regarding worship. There is a LOT more that can be said about Christian denominations when it comes to doctrine, ministry, stands on modern cultural issues, and so forth. Because the question was only about worship, we’ll confine the reply to that.
Genesis 4:3-12 describes the actions of Cain and Abel, and Cain’s sin of murder.
Does this mean there is only ONE way to worship God? Yes.
Hebrews 11:4 tells us what was better about Abel’s offering:
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
So, there is only ONE way to truly worship God: by faith.
To add to that a little, look at the words of Jesus in John 4:24:
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
We can say, there is only ONE way to truly worship God: By faith, and in spirit and truth.
Any Christian or any Christian denomination that truly worships God in faith, and in spirit and truth, is a true Christian denomination. This is the basis for true worship: it is not found in places and trappings, but in spirit and truth.
- To worship in spirit means you are concerned with spiritual realities, not so much with places or outward sacrifices, cleansings, and trappings.
- To worship in truth means you worship according to the whole counsel of God’s word, especially considering the New Testament revelation. It also means that you come to God in truth, not in pretense or a mere display of spirituality.
For me, the liturgies, ceremonies, vestments, bells, rituals, images, and the rest present in many churches makes it more difficult to worship God in spirit and truth. But I recognize that isn’t the case for all my brothers and sisters in God’s family. So, I would say to or say about my brothers and sisters in the Orthodox communions, and my brothers and sisters in more liturgical churches: I trust your forms or worship are helpful for your worship of God in spirit and truth. Your forms aren’t helpful for me, but I’m not going to judge if they are helpful for you or not. But if they aren’t helpful – you should seek to worship God with forms and places that are helpful for the essential things that should mark Christian worship: spirit, truth, and faith.
One more thing: It’s commonly said that there are 30,000 or 40,000 Christian denominations. I have no idea where people get that figure, and to me it seems absurdly high. I wouldn’t accept that figure without knowing how they calculate it, and perhaps actually seeing a list of what they claim are the 30 or 40 thousand denominations.
Which is the correct rendering of Psalm 22:16?
Which is the correct rendering of Psalm 22:16? “They pierced my hands and my feet” or “Like a lion my hands and my feet”?
From my preliminary research of that psalm some time ago, I think that They pierced my hands and feet is a better rendering. Of course, as with many things in ancient manuscripts, there can be some debate about the correct meaning of old words in the Hebrew language. There is some evidence for the alternative rendering, like a lion my hands and feet. But I think that the better evidence is on the side of pierced; that seems to connect better with other passages of Scripture upon which the idea would be built.
Did Origen corrupt the Septuagint? Are there other ancient church fathers besides Jerome who independently decry the Septuagint?
Not to my knowledge. I don’t regard myself as an expert on the early church fathers; I have a very cursory familiarity with them. But I don’t know of early church fathers who decried the Septuagint.
I have a generally favorable attitude towards the Septuagint, since it was the Bible used by the New Testament church. When Jesus and the Apostles are quoting the Old Testament, they’re usually quoting from the Septuagint.
The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which we commonly call the Old Testament. It’s a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. That happened about 250 years before the time of Jesus Christ. A team of 70 or so Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. It was a significant translation and a great translation. It’s known as the Septuagint because it refers to the seventy scholars that translated this work. You can get translations of the Septuagint into English and other languages as well.
Is it right to think that we are nothing to God?
Is it right to think that we are nothing to God? He gave His Son for us. So that is confusing to me.
No, I don’t think that’s the right way to think. We are something to God. God loves us. God sent His Son to redeem fallen humanity, even though mankind is in sin and rebellion. The only reason that matters to God is because we aresomething before Him. If mankind were truly nothing before the Lord, then why would the Lord care? Why would it matter to God at all if we sinned?
For those of you who own pets, I trust that in general your dog is a good dog, but there are times when your dog is a bad dog, and he does bad or destructive things. I don’t think God is concerned with the sins of dogs in the same way that He is concerned with the sins of human beings. Why? Well, because we’re something to God. We matter to Him in a way that surpasses the way in which regards any dogs or other animals in this world.
So, it’s not right to think that we’re nothing to God. We are something to Him. I think that God’s concern and offense over our sinful state is rooted in the fact that we are something to Him, that we are made in His image.
I do want to caution you, there’s a wrong way to think about this. The wrong way to think about this follows these lines. “I’m so awesome that even God is concerned with me and is thinking about me.” That’s the wrong way to think about it. For whatever reason that God thinks about us, is concerned with us, and we matter to Him, it’s not intrinsically because we’re so awesome. It’s because He’s so awesome. The truth is, God is so awesome that He thinks about even us.
Since God is omniscient, why does it seem that God was expecting another attitude from Israel and He was surprised when they sinned (Jeremiah 3:7-8)?
Jeremiah 3:7-8 – “And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.”
This is a good question. It’s fairly simply explained. God speaks to us in human terms; the technical word for that is anthropomorphism. God speak to us in ways that we can understand, and which relate to us. We do it all the time with other things. Since I mentioned dogs before, let’s keep talking about dogs. When you see that your dog is sad, you’ll say the dog is sad, even though you don’t understand the exact emotion going on inside him. But the human parallel to whatever your dog is going through is sadness. Or the human parallel to whatever your dog is expressing is happiness. We don’t know exactly how sadness and happiness work within the mind of a dog, but we can make a human analogy to it. And the human analogy has some accuracy. You’re not crazy to say your dog is sad or happy. That’s a very natural and accurate way to think, even though technically there can be some difference between dog sadness and human sadness or dog happiness and human happiness.
In the same way, God speaks to us about Himself in terms that we can understand. We’re not God. The distance between humanity and the canine world is much smaller than distance between us and God. Yet God loves to reveal Himself. So, He speaks to us sometimes in the only ways we can understand Him, by putting Himself in human terms.
In this passage, God wants to relate how the betrayals of Judah and Israel were received by Him. The only way He can do it is by expressing a sense of surprise. Was God actually surprised? No, that’s not it. But it’s the best way for God to explain it to us, by expressing Himself in human terms, even though the exact thing doesn’t really apply to Him. That’s the way that God can and does express Himself to us. You’ll find these examples in other situations too, such as when the Bible says that God repents, or it implies that God changed His mind. Again, we know that God, the Eternal, the Divine, does not do these things. But it’s the best way that God can explain to us what He was thinking, experiencing, and acting upon.
Where do the souls of both the saved and the lost go to await eternity, who die in the 1007 years between the Rapture and Judgment Day?
I’ll give a quick answer. There’s not one single passage of Scripture that spells out these events from beginning to end. By piecing together several different passages, I’ll tell you how I understand it, and I’m not alone in this opinion. There are differing opinions on this in the Christian world. But here’s how I would explain it.
Before the finished work of Jesus Christ, all the dead went to a place called Hades or Sheol, the place of the dead. In the place of the dead, there was an area of blessedness and comfort. That place was referred to as the bosom of Abraham. There was also a place of torment and agony. That place has no specific name; it’s just the place of torment and agony. The believing dead went to the place of comfort and blessing, while the unbelieving dead, those outside of God and rejecting Christ, even in advance of His coming, went to the place of torment.
When Jesus finished His work on the cross, He went to the place of blessedness and comfort, and led those people with Him to heaven. They could go to heaven because the price was finally paid by what Jesus Christ did on the cross. Up until then, the price was not yet paid. There was an intention of it being paid, but it was not finally paid until Jesus accomplished what He did on the cross. And then Jesus led those people to heaven.
However, the place of torment in Hades remains, and that is the place where the unbelieving and Christ-rejecting dead go right now. Technically, they don’t go to hell yet. They go to Hades or Sheol, and it’s a place of torment. But now those who die in the Lord go directly to heaven. As the Apostle Paul said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
The Lord is in heaven, the believing dead are with Him in Heaven, and the place of the blessing in Sheol or Hades, known as the bosom of Abraham, is closed for business. Now those who die in the Lord go immediately to be with the Lord in heaven. At the final judgment, those who are in Hades will appear before God at the Great White Throne of Judgment, and then they will be sent to Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, what we usually think of as hell. That’s a very quick summation of what I understand the Bible to say concerning where the souls of the saved and the souls of the lost go when they die. Again, that’s what happens right now.
You specifically asked what happens to them between the Rapture and the Judgment Day, during the time of the Millennium. I would think that those who die in the Lord in that period will go straight to heaven, and those who die apart from Christ in that period will go to Hades, because the final judgment does not happen until after the Millennium, after those 1007 years that you mentioned. The unbelievers would either go to Hades to await the final judgment, which happens afterwards, and the believers would go directly to heaven.
Does repent mean to change one’s mind, or does it mean to turn from sin?
Does repent mean to change one’s mind, or does it mean to turn from sin? Many I know say in order to get saved, do you have to repent and believe. They describe repentance as turning from sin. Do you have to turn from sin and believe to be saved? Or just believe? Please provide an answer and explain a way that’s explicit and comprehensive, so I can understand this and send this video to my friends. Thank you.
Yes, it means both. It’s a changing of the mind that will show itself in action. It’s not merely a change in thinking, although it includes that. It’s a change in thinking that is so true and thorough that it will result in action, a changing of the life to turn from sin.
Here’s an illustration. Let’s say I’m driving a car, and I’m faced with a fork in the road. I can go to the right, or I can go to the left. And let’s say I also know or at least believe that the road going to the left is out, there is terrible danger, and I’ll die for sure. On the other hand, going to the right means safety. I believe I should go to the right.
But if I actually go on the way to the left, while believing I should have gone on the way to the right, then my actions aren’t consistent with what I believe. I don’t really believe it. Real belief, real change in mind, will result not just in thinking but in actions.
Sometimes, repentance is primarily a matter of changing our thinking. Let me give you an example from the first century. On the day of Pentecost, when 3000 people came to faith in Jesus Christ, Peter specifically called them to repent in his sermon. You might wonder, what did these godly Jews have to repent of? We assume they were righteous since they were there at the feast. If they were godly Jews, there was very little in their conduct that they had to repent of; maybe just something like their conduct while offering sacrifices for atonement. Technically they were no longer to do offer sacrifices because Jesus had fulfilled all the atonement. But if they were godly Jews, they were already not lying and not stealing. They were living in a way honoring to God. They loved their neighbor and cared for one another. They were concerned with justice and righteousness. I could go on and on.
So, assuming these people were godly Jews, repentance for them meant a change of thinking. They had to change their mind about who Jesus Christ was. And they did. Whereas before they saw Him as an accursed person who deserved to die, now they looked at Jesus and saw the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the one to whom they should submit their lives and follow all the days of their life.
In their moral conduct, there wasn’t much of a change required for most of the Jews who put their faith in Jesus, who repented on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. For them, repentance was mainly a matter of changing their thinking.
But now, I want you to think of a pagan. The Gospel didn’t go out to the pagans and Gentiles for several years, but once it did, think about their lifestyle. Pagans were worshipping their idols with all sorts of sexual immorality, they thought like normal Greeks regarding drunkenness, sexual morality, and all the rest of it. When these people believed in Jesus, of course they had to change their minds, but they also have to bring their lives into conformity to God’s standard of morality. And those changes might not happen all at once. Those changes won’t be finished until they’re in their glorified bodies.
There needs to be a determination when a person believes in Christ, saying, “I’m going to turn from sin and self and I’m going to turn towards Jesus.” Repentance and faith are like two sides of the same coin. The one side faith is saying, “I’m going to turn towards Jesus Christ and put my trust in Him.” But I can’t turn towards Jesus without turning my back on sin and self. And that’s what repentance is. Repentance is moving away from sin and self. Faith is moving towards Jesus. I can’t do one without doing the other.
That’s the explanation of repentance and faith that makes the most sense to me. Repentance is actually an important component of faith, to say, “I believe in Jesus, I trust in Him, I rely on Him, I cling to Him.” That’s what biblical faith really is; it’s not just intellectual agreement. But to say that I believe in Jesus indeed must have a corresponding effect on how I act with my life.
Do the Rapture and the repentance of Israel happen at the same time? Does Christ’s second coming restore Israel?
Is Zechariah 12:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Revelation 1:7 the same event (the rapture and when Israel repents)? And does Mark 13:26-27 refer to Christ’s second coming with the saints (millennial reign) to restore Israel?
Zechariah 12:20 – “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Revelation 1:7 – Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Mark 13:26-27 – “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.”
I don’t believe Zechariah 12:10 is the same event as the Rapture, but it is connected to Israel’s obvious repentance, which is really part of the New Covenant. I find it a fascinating subject, that the New Covenant isn’t only about Jesus’ atonement, making a new relationship with God, and the outpouring of the Spirit. Those are obvious aspects of the New Covenant. But another aspect of it that doesn’t get spoken about a lot is the gathering and restoration of Israel and their coming to faith. So, I would regard that as part of the New Covenant, but not technically part of the Rapture. It’s connected to the Rapture, in that when God takes away His church, He will turn the focus of His redemptive plan upon Israel again, instead of the nations as a whole. Now, that doesn’t mean that God has no interest in the nations when He turns His focus upon Israel, not at all. Nor does it mean that God has no interest in Israel while His focus now is on the broader nations. Of course not. The two things don’t contradict each other. But it’s a matter of focus in God’s redemptive plan of the ages.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 speaks about the catching away of the church.
Revelation 1:7 is a reference to the glorious return of Jesus, which some people refer to as the Second Coming.
The coming of Jesus described in Revelation 19 and Mark 13, seeing the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, is referring to something that the whole earth, every eye on Earth, will see happening. I would call this event the glorious return of Jesus.
In the bigger picture, I see the Second Coming is having two distinct aspects: the first is the catching away of the church with Jesus, and the second is the glorious return of Jesus with His church and the angelic host to conquer a God-rejecting world.
What does “in spirit and truth” mean?
To worship in spirit means that you’re concerned about spiritual realities, and not so much about places or outward sacrifices. If a person has the attitude that they can only worship God in a particular building, or at a particular place, or by a tree outside, then they’re not really worshipping God in spirit. Their worship of God requires something material, not something spiritual. Spiritual worship means that I’m concerned with spiritual realities more than material realities. That’s what it fundamentally means to worship God in spirit.
To worship God in truth means that you worship Him in consistency with the truth, in agreement with what God reveals to us in the Bible. If somebody is worshipping a god of their own imagination, they’re not worshiping God in truth. If somebody is worshiping God in a way that’s directly contradictory to His Word, they’re not worshiping Him in truth.Imagine a group of people who claim to be Christians, who gather together and say, “Let’s have a seance and worship the Lord.” No. Your seance is not worship, because it’s not according to truth. It’s directly contradictory to what God says we should do.
That’s the quick way I would summarize what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Even though the Word has many examples of Jesus being God the Son, why is it that Jesus never explicitly said “I am God”?
Since this is something that the Scriptures don’t specifically say, there’s no given explanation. The best we can do is speculate a little bit, and I’m happy to do that. But I want to draw the line between what we might speculate or guess at and what the Bible specifically tells us.
First of all, Jesus did very clearly say that He was God. Now, I don’t know if Jesus publicly said, “I am God the Son.” But when He said, “I and My Father are One,” He was claiming to be God the Son. The people who heard Him clearly understood that claim, because they picked up stones to stone Him, and they specifically said it was because He claimed to be God.
So, in ways that were completely clear and relevant to His audience, Jesus did publicly proclaim His deity. As for why He didn’t use that specific formulation of words, or use it often, I can’t say. Maybe the way those exact words would have sounded in the ears of His immediate listeners would have caused confusion. Jesus obviously didn’t want to confuse His listeners; He wanted to teach them.
To those of us on this side of 2000 years of Christian influence and teaching, it would have seemed perfectly clear, but it might have caused confusion among His first listeners. I would say that’s the best approach I could give to you for that.
What is a transactional relationship with God?
Please explain the meaning of a transactional relationship with God. I heard about it as you expounded on Psalm 37:4 and biblical promises of sound transactional forgiveness, the Lord’s Prayer.
I’m glad you asked this question, because it’s worth explaining. When God makes a specific promise, there is some transactional aspect to it. For example, God says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). There’s a sense in which we can come to God and say, “Lord, You said right here in Your Word that if I confess my sin to You, then You are faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me of all unrighteous. So, Lord, I’m going to come and confess my sin to You. And I believe that You’re going to do for me what You promised to do when I confess my sin.” You’re absolutely right; there is a sense in which that’s transactional. But it’s transactional based on God’s specific invitation to us in His promise.
On the other hand, a transactional relationship with God concerns areas that are not specifically promised to us as believers. God never promised that if we obey Him in a certain way, and do what He wants us to do, then He’s going to give us whatever we want. God doesn’t promise that. God does promise that as our desires align with His, then as Jesus said, “You can ask what you will, and it shall be done for you.” But that’s because our desires have aligned with His. God is under no obligation to fulfill our desires which are unaligned with His.
Some people have the attitude of, “Well, God, I’ve been serving and honoring You. Therefore, give me what I want. I want a certain job, I want a certain relationship, I want a certain school placement.” And then they get very distressed and disturbed when it doesn’t come through. That is what I would refer to as a transactional relationship with God. Think of a vending machine, where you enter some coins, punch a button, and it gives you what you requested. Some people think of God in that way, assuming that they can do what God says, pull the lever, and expect that He’ll give them whatever they want.
There is some analogy to that in the legitimate promises of God, but the transactional problem in relationship with God really concerns the things that God has not directly promised to us.
Must we tell people to turn from sin and believe to be saved, or to just believe?
Do we need to tell people to turn from sin and believe? Or do we expect them to first only believe and then to turn from sin after they are saved? Because if you’re not saved yet, turning from sin would be done in your own strength.
Yes, I think we should tell people that they do need to turn from sin and self and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. “Repent” is an important message for Christians to preach. In a great sermon from the late Dr. J. Edwin Orr, he pointed out that “repent” was the first word of John the Baptist when he preached; it was the first word of Jesus when He started preaching; it was the first word of the disciples when they preached; it was the first word of Peter when he preached; it was the first word of Paul when he preached. You could say that “repent” is the first word of the gospel.
We don’t want to call people to a belief which has no connection to their life. True belief will result in repentance. People need to be willing to turn from sin and self. Now, we don’t expect them to clean themselves up before they come to God. That’s not the idea at all. But the question is, are you coming to God, willing to turn your back on and leave behind sin and self? If a person isn’t willing to do that, then they’re not ready to come to Jesus.
Let’s say a person is a thief on every level. They steal by hacking bank accounts, they steal with corrupt insider trading, they steal by taking the handbags of little old ladies; they are a thief on every level. You’d be doing a disservice to that person by telling them that they can be a believer and be born again yet not give up their stealing. No, for that person, turning to Jesus and putting their faith in Him would mean turning away from stealing.
Now, obviously, they can’t do that without God’s strength in them. But a person shouldn’t come to faith under the wrong impression that they can be a Christian thief, or a Christian fornicator, or a Christian practicing homosexual, or whatever it may be. These things are contradictions to faith.
We need to let people know honestly that the Christian life means turning one’s back on sin and turning one’s back on self. It is not merely an intellectual agreement with Christian ideas. It’s a surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That should be explained.
Do Christians cremate?
Well, they certainly can. By tradition, some Christian denominations do not cremate. They think it disrespects God’s promise to resurrect the body. Because they want to respect God’s promise to resurrect the body, they don’t want to disrespect it. So that’s why they refuse to cremate. But there’s nothing in the Scripture which prohibits cremation.
Cremation does to the body in 30 minutes what ten years in the ground does to the body. So, it really doesn’t make any difference. The body will decay and turn to ashes and dust in one way or another. I don’t think there’s any Scriptural prohibition to cremation; there are just some Christian traditions who prohibit cremation.
What are the basic or fundamental portions of Scripture to understand the anointing?
1 John 2:20 – But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
John says to all believers, “You have an anointing.” Every true believer, every person who is sealed by the Spirit of God, has an anointing from God. They are sealed and anointed with the Holy Spirit. That’s what anointing is.
Anointing refers to the application of oil onto something. If something has had oil applied to it, it has been anointed. Symbolically, the Holy Spirit is pictured as oil many times. Therefore, the sealing of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Holy Spirit within a person can be described as anointing.
In 1 John 2:20, John says to all believers, “You have an anointing.” Now, there are many people who, when they talk about anointing, actually mean a spiritual gifting. That’s diverse among the body of Christ. The Bible says that God distributes gift within His church family, His body, as He pleases. Some have a gift of helps, some have a gift of exhortation, some have a gift of compassion, some have a gift of mercy, some have a gift of teaching, some have a gift of evangelism.
God gives many different gifts to His people. Sometimes people say anointing when they really mean that a person is gifted. The concepts are related, but they’re not the same. There’s a sense of anointing that is common to every believer, but not every believer is gifted in the same way or in the same measure.
Do we know if Jesus’ Transfiguration happened on Mount Hermon? Or Mount Tabor?
No, we don’t know. I lean towards saying it was Mount Hermon. But the evidence isn’t entirely clear.
Can you explain the difference between a simple saving faith versus the gift of faith?
Every person who is born again has saving faith. However, God gives a particular gift of faith. This would be a remarkable ability to trust God in a specific circumstance. It’s not the common faith which everyone who believes has; this is a unique gifting of the Holy Spirit, the ability to trust God in remarkable or maybe even an unusual way, in a specific circumstance.
Abel was the first to die. Where did he go? And was he there alone?
Yes, I would say he was there alone. I would say that Abel went to this place of blessing for the dead in Sheol, which is referred to as the bosom of Abraham, even though Abraham wasn’t even born yet. Apparently, he waited there a while. I hope God was close to him in fellowship there in Sheol, because he would have waited a while for the next person to come.
Will God still treat or discipline a sinner in the way He treated Job, even though Jesus died for our sins?
Ephesians 1:10 and Ephesians 3:10 tell us that God uses believers to teach angelic beings. So yes, God still uses believers to teach angelic beings. But what happened to Job wasn’t really discipline. It wasn’t punishment. There was no sin on Job’s part that prompted it. God was using Job to teach lessons to angelic beings. And He still does that among His people today.
So in principle, yes; but in practice, I don’t know of anybody who has suffered to the same extent of catastrophe in which Job did, although theoretically there could be.
In Revelation 4:4, who are the 24 elders in heaven?
The twenty-four elders represent the people of God in their entirety. Twelve are from the tribes of Israel, and from the apostles of the Lamb. Together, they represent the people of God in their entirety, all of God’s redeemed.
Where did Purgatory come from?
It arose from tradition and imagination. It didn’t come from the Bible. Purgatory came from an idea in the Roman Catholic system. According to their teaching, some people would definitely be saved and be going to heaven, yet they had lived lives which were completely wrong and bad and contrary to Scripture. So, what would God do to such people? In their idea, He would purify them in Purgatory.
Keep in mind this idea is a result of Roman Catholic theology and tradition, but there’s nothing biblical about it at all.
Regarding 2 Thessalonians 2:11, could we be witnessing the sending out of strong delusion into the world, where intelligent people believe lies that are being put out by the mainstream media?
2 Thessalonians 2:11 – And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.
Yes, we may very well be living in fulfillment of those days. It’s something to take notice of and to regard seriously. Oftentimes, the fulfillment of prophecy is only certainly known after its fulfillment. But there’s much to make us think that we are in those days today.
After the Millennium, will the population of humanity be set at a fixed number in all of eternity?
I would say yes because there won’t be more humans being produced. There will be an end, so to speak, of humanity in that regard.
If a believer dies from suicide, will they still go to heaven? Do they have eternal security?
I listened to one of the top-class evangelical teachers who said that if a believer died from suicide, he or she still can go to heaven because they’re protected by eternal security. Please give your stance here.
Suicide is a sin. Suicide is murder, and self-murder is a sin. We should be clear on that. However, it is not the unforgivable sin. It’s not the sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, in and of itself. I believe that it’s very possible for a person who commit suicide, under certain circumstances, to still go to heaven. Suicide in itself is not the unforgivable sin.
Imagine another person who dies while in a sin, although they’re a believer, and they’ve lived a godly life. I’ll give a minor example. Let’s say they run a red light; that’s a sin. And they die in of a car crash because of it. Would we say, “Well, they died in the commission of a sin; therefore, they’re going to hell”? I don’t think so. We would understand that, even though a believer may have sin in their life, they can still be a true believer and truly born again.
So, suicide is a serious sin. It’s self-murder. But in and of itself, it is not the unforgivable sin. I would put it in the same category as certain other sins that a person may be committing as they die. We’d either need to say that anybody who commits a sin as they die is going to hell, or no one is, but that’s where I would make that distinction.