Will the Spirit remain if Christ is rejected?
This question is based on the real-life situation of a friend. If a believer rejects Christ, but states that they still believe in God, do they have the Spirit? What role does the Spirit take in their life?
I think that’s a great question, and it’s something worthy for us to consider. The situation as described to me is that of a person who says, “Hey, I still believe in God, but I don’t believe in Jesus Christ. Do I still have the Holy Spirit? Am I still considered a child of God? Am I still in God’s favor? Is God’s Spirit still with me?”
The most direct answer to that question is, No. God’s Spirit does not remain with people who reject Jesus Christ. But that needs some real explaining. We live real Christian lives, filled with doubts, challenges, and seasons of difficulty. Now, if a person who is genuinely born again and has the Spirit of God reads or hears something troubling, and wonders, “Is Jesus really who He said He was?” it does not mean that the Spirit of God immediately departs from that person. That’s not the case at all. God knows.
Now, it is true that if somebody has in any settled sense rejected Jesus Christ – who He is according to the Bible: both God and Man, who came to pay the penalty for our sins – if somebody denies that, then they’re rejecting God. Jesus said repeatedly that He was the perfect representation of God the Father. If you want to know what God is like, look to Jesus Christ. He’s the perfect representation of God. There’s no difference between who God is and who Jesus Christ is. If someone rejects Jesus, they are rejecting God.
Again, please note that I’m specifically talking in terms of a settled rejection. I’m not talking about somebody fighting through doubts or working through difficulties. We’re talking about a settled rejection of Jesus Christ. If that is their decision, then the Spirit of God is not with them. There is a consistency in the nature between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. To say, “I’m fine with God; it’s just Jesus I have a problem with,” means you don’t really understand who God is, because He’s perfectly revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
It is a serious thing for a person to reject Jesus. And it means that their eternal destiny is in peril. I can’t judge precisely where people are at in their individual relationship with God, but I can give you the principles. Eternal life is found in Jesus Christ, and He is the perfect representation of God the Father. To reject God the Son is to also reject both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
In summary, the most direct answer is: No, the Spirit of Christ does not remain upon a person if they reject who Jesus is, and clearly demonstrate a settled rejection of Jesus Christ.
Does 1 Corinthians 10:4 refer to a literal rock?
Do you think when 1 Corinthians 10:4 reads “they drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them” a literal rock followed them?
I wish I could spend more time researching this question, but this is what comes to mind immediately. It was a rabbinic tradition that this rock, which provided water for Israel in the wilderness, actually followed the nation of Israel through the wilderness. It’s hard to know Paul’s objective in saying this. Perhaps he is putting his stamp of approval upon this rabbinic tradition and agreeing that it’s true. Or maybe Paul is acknowledging that this is a rabbinic tradition but expressing a greater truth: that it was Jesus Himself who was present with Israel in the wilderness, meeting their every need. I don’t think you can tell from the text right away whether Paul is putting his stamp of approval on that specific tradition. Remember, Paul is writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit because it’s in the Scriptures.
I would lean more towards saying that Paul is referring to this Scripture being fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and not an actual physical rock; it was Jesus Himself, present with Israel in the wilderness, providing their every need. But I’d be willing to listen to someone try to make the case for Paul putting his stamp of approval on that actual rabbinic tradition.
How soon in the future do you believe that the Rapture will take place?
How soon in the future do you believe that the rapture will take place? Do you believe that we live in the last days now?
Well, I would say that we should live and act as if we live in the last days. There are always extremes into which we can fall. You could say that the devil would be delighted if we fell into either of these two extremes. The one extreme is to try to exaggerate everything we see in the world around us, to try to hype up the idea that Jesus Christ is coming soon. There are some people who do that. But I think the other extreme is equally or maybe even more dangerous: when people, for all practical purposes, think that Jesus is never coming back. They sense no personal need to be ready.
I believe God has given us many reasons to believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon. That’s what we should believe. Is it possible that the return of Jesus Christ might not happen for another 50, 100, or 200 years still? I suppose that’s possible. I don’t want to say it’s impossible. But I don’t think having that attitude reflects the expectancy that God wants us to live in right here, and right now.
I’ll go out on a limb and say this: I believe that God has given every generation some reason to believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon, because God wants His people to live in that state of expectancy. Sure, it’s possible to exaggerate it too much, and to go off into weird extremes. But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean that’s what we should do. I think that we should live as if Jesus Christ is coming soon. I believe that’s how Jesus wants His people to live. I believe that’s how Jesus has wanted His people to live for the last 2000 years. People who have been expectant for the return of Jesus Christ, yet have not actually seen Him return, are not wrong. They’re just prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ.
Are any of your children involved in the ministry?
Each one of our three children have at some point in their life been involved in ministry, serving God in one way or another. And I’m very pleased about that. But listen, I’m pleased with my children no matter what. Our three adult children (ages 35, 33, and 30) are wonderfully delightful to me. None of them right now are involved in what you might call full-time ministry. The ministry is not their vocation. I wouldn’t want them to have the ministry for their vocation, unless it was really God leading them to do it. Just because their dad and mother have been in full-time ministry for many years, that’s not reason enough to think that they’re also called to be in full time ministry.
My children have all given some time in their life to God’s service and doing good for the kingdom of God, in their own ways, according to how God has called them. As of now, none of them have a full-time ministry, even though some of them are right now involved in lay ministry. They’re just serving God in the local church, in the way which God gives them to do it. My children are wonderful people that we really enjoy spending time with, and my wife and I are quite proud of all of them.
When Jesus took our sins upon Himself, did He experience our full fall as we experience His full salvation?
That would all depend on what we mean by a “full fall.” The full weight of humanity’s sin and sinfulness was placed upon Jesus Christ. He paid the price, and He paid it in the fullest extent, because it was not just Jesus the Man on the cross, it was also God on the cross. Therefore, He was able to experience and to enact the infinite. That’s part of the mystery of the cross. The sacrifice which Jesus made went beyond what even a sinless man could make. It was a sacrifice that God alone could make.
If another sinless man could come forth, and somehow avoid giving into sin, he would not be able to perform the sacrifice that Jesus was able to perform. There was an infinite aspect to Jesus’ sacrifice which belongs to God and God alone. Now, if all the guilt, shame, and judgment which our sin deserved was placed upon Jesus, then we would say that He received in Himself the full effects of humanity’s fall.
Think about that amazingly striking verse in 2 Corinthians 5:21, where Paul wrote, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” It’s fascinating to me that Jesus was not made a sinner, but He was made sin itself, in all its rebellion and defiance. That is what was judged in Jesus Christ. So, if that’s what we mean by the full effect of the fall, then yes, He did experience it on our behalf.
But you know, there are aspects of the curse we experience as part of the fall today, which perhaps Jesus did not directly or specifically experience on the cross. I don’t mean to be disrespectful towards our Lord, of course. But one of the effects of the fall was pain in childbirth; that goes back to Genesis 3. Jesus did not experience pain and childbirth, obviously, not even on the cross. But in a way in which God alone could, He took upon Himself the fullness of all that curse, at the cross. So, it’s really all bound up in the definition of the idea. I could see defining “our full fall” in a way that, yes, we can say Jesus experienced that on the cross. We might also define it in a way that you’d say, “Well, no, Jesus did not experience that on the cross.” The important thing is to realize that Jesus paid it all at the cross, meaning there is no more atonement for sin that I can or must offer. All atonement for sin comes back to who Jesus is and what He did on the cross.
Which of the Synoptic Gospels is the most comprehensive?
If you had to recommend one of the Synoptic Gospels to someone who run it to read the most comprehensive one, as far as the teaching of Jesus, in the example of who he is, which one would it be?
The Synoptic Gospels are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Synoptic means “to see together in the same way,” and that’s what we could say about Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They essentially look at the life of Jesus in the same way. John, on the other hand, gives us a different angle about the life of Jesus. It’s not a contradictory view, just a different one.
Out of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the first Gospel that I would recommend to people would be the Gospel of Luke. Not because the other Gospels are bad, by no means. But I think the Gospel of Luke is the most accessible, it’s the most to the point, and it’s filled with the most parables and the most stories of Jesus. So, I would just recommend the Gospel of Luke if I had to pick just one.
I have written and published a Bible Commentary, which goes verse by verse through the entire Bible. A big part of what we do at our ministry, Enduring Word, is translating the Bible Commentary into different languages. Whenever we set about a translation work in a new language, ideally the first book we begin with is the Gospel of Luke, and next would be Acts. That would be our preference.
If you’re wanting to read a Gospel, I would suggest starting with the Gospel of Luke.
Was the Rapture an accepted concept/truth before John Darby introduced it in the 19th century?
This question refers to a distinct aspect of the Second Coming of Christ. The teaching of the catching away of the Church, which is differentiated from Christ’s glorious coming, was first popularized by John Darby in the 19th century, or the 1800s. It was not popularized until then.
There are hints of it throughout church history before that, but not many. There wasn’t a great deal of attention given to prophetic issues and matters. I’m certainly not saying there was no attention, especially in the Middle Ages. There were even times when people really got off. But there wasn’t any extended focus on eschatology in the Church, I believe, for a long time, until about the 19th century by John Darby and other people. But he was certainly a significant person in that regard.
Is there an age of accountability?
Yes, I believe there is. Now, there’s not a universal age of accountability. Some of you may know that in Jewish traditions, it’s about 13 years old when a person has their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, which makes them a son or daughter of the Law and recognizes them as being accountable before God.
We don’t have a specific age given to us in the Scriptures regarding an age of accountability. But there are certainly many passages of Scripture which give the concept of an age of accountability. By an “age of accountability,” I mean that there is a time in a person’s life when God begins to regard a person as being under judgment for their sins.
We are liable before God in two ways: we are liable before God for the sin we have inherited from Adam. That’s the principle which makes us sinners. You don’t learn to be a sinner; you’re born a sinner. But there is also the judgment that we deserve, which we bring unto ourselves for the sins we individually commit. There is quite obviously a development of conscience in the human person, the awareness of right and wrong. Those things aren’t immediately present in a young baby. They increasingly become so.
I believe that God knows when each individual becomes accountable for their own soul before God. The Scriptures don’t really give us light on this, but it may be possible, for people who suffer from some birth defects, early life injuries, or developmental difficulties, that they never really come to an age or a capability where they are accountable before God for those things.
So, we don’t have a concrete age. I can’t tell you that the age of accountability is 10 years old, or 13 years old, or 15 years old, or 18 years old. The Bible doesn’t give us a specific age. But it gives us a principle of accountability, which is no doubt particularly tailored to each individual.
Who were the people who came from the Land of Nod?
If Adam and Eve were the first people on earth, how was it that there were people who came from the Land of Nod?
I don’t think that the idea of people coming from the Land of Nod is necessary from the Bible text. The people who came from the Land of Nod could have been descendants of Adam and Eve. Here’s the simple way to understand it. The Bible tells us the names of some of the specific children that Adam and Eve: Cain, Abel, and Seth. But we’re also told that they had many sons and daughters who aren’t mentioned. According to the biblical record, Adam and Eve lived hundreds of years. There could have been multiple generations spread out over the landscape, just within the lifetime of Adam and Eve themselves. Surely that’s what happened.
The problem is that it’s easy for us to think that the only descendants of Adam and Eve are the ones who are specifically mentioned by name in the Bible. But the book of Genesis does specifically mention that Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters. Those people or their descendants were the inhabitants who populated the Land of Nod and interacted with Adam’s descendants, Cain and Seth.
Do we have the Holy Spirit when we are conceived, or does the Spirit in us grow as we mature in our faith?
When we are born again, then we start growing those our spirit grow with us, or do we have the Holy Spirit at the time we are conceived?
I think this is how it works: we are born with a spirit; we are born as spiritual beings. At that point, we don’t really have life spiritually. You could say that we have existence spiritually, but not life spiritually; certainly, we don’t have eternal life until we are born again by God’s Spirit. So, we have a spiritual existence from birth, and even in the womb. If you remember, in Psalm 139, the Psalmist understood that God knew him and had some kind of relationship with him even while the Psalmist was in the womb. So, we have a spiritual existence. From our earliest age, and even from conception, as we don’t have any reason to believe it’s any other time, we have that spiritual existence. It’s not what you would call spiritual life, certainly not abundant life in Jesus Christ, until we’re born again.
When we are born again, we are given the Holy Spirit as a gift; He dwells within us. But the Holy Spirit does not become our Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God: He is God with us, God in us, so to speak.
We need to make some distinctions here and remind ourselves that God’s Spirit does dwell in the person who’s born again, but we also have a spiritual existence. There is a human spirit which we have since our conception, and there is also the presence of the Holy Spirit, given to us once we are born again.
Will I be judged by Jesus as a believer at judgment day?
I believe that I will be judged by Jesus at the judgment as a believer, as a form of reconciliation between all beliefs Where we will rejoice in forgiving and being forgiven. Thoughts? Am I off?
I think that’s an interesting thought. In Romans 14:10, Paul says that we as believers will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, which is a very interesting concept. It means that we have bear accountability before God, as believers, for the life that we live. This is not a judgment deciding between heaven or hell; it’s not the bema seat or the judgment seat of Christ. Instead, it is a judgment which indicates the kind of reward we will have, and quite possibly what kind of authority we will have in the Millennial Earth when we rule and reign with Jesus Christ.
Concerning the idea of us being reconciled to other believers at the judgment seat of Christ, I don’t believe the Bible specifically speaks against that idea. But to be honest, it’s not something that the Bible specifically says will happen to us or is part of our experience. The judgment seat of Christ is there for reward for the believer, dependent on their faithfulness in serving and honoring and living for God in this life that He gives us.
If Jesus fulfilled the Law, how can we know which laws to keep?
If Jesus fulfilled the law, how do you know which laws to keep as there are apparently 613 laws?
By rabbinical count, there are 613 laws. I haven’t gone through and done my own count, so I can’t independently confirm or deny that number, but let’s just take the number 613. But remember that even though there were 613 different laws given under the Old Covenant, Jesus said that we could summarize them all under two commands. First, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and strength. And second, to love your neighbor as yourself. If we do that, we have kept the 613 laws.
So, how do we know which laws to keep? We keep that law: we honor God first; we give Him our heart, our soul, our mind; we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind. Then, in like manner, we endeavor to love our neighbor as ourselves. There’s something interesting about taking those laws from 613 down to two. It becomes simpler, but it doesn’t make it any easier. No person on this earth has ever loved God perfectly in the way that they should. No person has ever loved their neighbor as themselves, completely, every day of their life. The only exception to that in all of humanity is, of course, the Man Jesus Christ.
Every one of us has sinned under the law. A true understanding of the Law of God should drive us towards our need for a Savior. Jesus Himself fulfilled the Law and explained the core of the Law to us. We should love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our strength. And we should love our neighbor as ourselves. As Jesus said, in this is the Law and the Prophets.
Why does Numbers 24:8 in the KJV say “unicorn” instead of “ox” (NKJV)?
I’m wondering if you could explain Numbers 24:8. Some Bibles say “ox” while other versions say “unicorn.” What is the Hebrew word that’s used? Why would ox or unicorn be used? Does the use of the word unicorn mean that there were actually living unicorns at some point in time?
Numbers 24:8 NKJV – “God brings him out of Egypt; he has strength like a wild ox; he shall consume the nations, his enemies; he shall break their bones and pierce them with his arrows.”
The translation of “unicorn” is only used by the King James Version. I don’t know of any other Bible versions that translate that word to “unicorn.” I do believe that a unicorn is also mentioned in the book of Job in the KJV. But really, it’s just an ancient Hebrew word. At the time of writing the King James Version, they didn’t really know how to translate these entities. I don’t know why they chose the word unicorn there. But in subsequent years, we’ve come to a much better understanding of what that word means, both by comparisons with other languages and other available literature. The conclusion is that no, it’s not talking about a unicorn; it’s probably talking about a wild ox, or some other animal which expresses its strength through its horns. You could consider that to be a unicorn. But it could also be many other animals, including a wild ox.
What do you think of Unitarian teaching?
Unitarian teaching doesn’t believe in the God who is revealed in the Bible. They believe in a God of human philosophy and human speculation. If you were to compare the god that’s spoken of in Unitarian teaching with the God Who is revealed to us in the Bible, it’s just not the same thing.
So, I really don’t believe in Unitarian teaching; it’s just not proper. They don’t believe in the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is the only God who exists and therefore he is the only God who can save.
How do I stay strong in my faith in God and not despair when I look at this world?
I pray that we stay strong in the race until the end. I sometimes despair if I look at this world, and fear that I will lose my hope in the Rapture. How do I stay strong in my faith in God?
There are many ways to stay strong in your faith in God, such as devotion to worship and prayer, or devotion to God’s people, or even fasting. None of these are magical; they’re just the basic building blocks of a strong life with God.
But I’ll give you just one recommendation. Take time to truly meditate on God’s Word. Fill your mind and your heart with the truth of God’s Word. You know, I love to do that through the Psalms. I love to take Psalms and see how they talk about God, how they talk about me, how they talk about the world around us and the difficulty that we have in the world today. I nourish my soul by what God, by the power of His Holy Spirit, has to teach us through the Psalms.
Personally, I keep hope strong and alive through focus and meditation, just mulling over the truth and the power of God’s Word. For me, the Psalms are not the only part of God’s Word that I meditate on, by any means, but they are special places where I find joy in meditation.
What is the Holy Spirit’s role in the Millennial Kingdom? Will He still indwell believers?
I don’t have any reason to believe that people in the Millennium Kingdom will be saved under any basis other than the New Covenant. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a feature and promise and characteristic of the New Covenant.
I believe that entry into the Millennium will not be based on salvation but on being a good moral person. There are a lot of good moral people who are not yet saved. I believe that people will be saved in the Millennium. I believe they will have the opportunity to trust in Christ. When a person comes to salvation, they receive the Holy Spirit as part of the New Covenant promises.
So, looking at it from a New Covenant perspective, we realize that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is part of the New Covenant promise that comes to us in Jesus Christ.
When the generation in the wilderness fell because of unbelief, did they go to heaven?
When the generation in the wilderness fell because of unbelief, did they go to heaven? Where did people like Korah’s group getting swallowed up in the earth, etc. ending up?
I have a couple of different answers. First, I would be pretty sure that anybody in Korah’s group did not make it to heaven. They were rebels against God and His heart, His will, and His administration for the people of Israel. On the other hand, of the generation who fell in the wilderness, some of them could have been individually saved. They were under a national judgment because of their unbelief.
We need to understand that when God judges a nation, there are people who may very well go to heaven, who are nevertheless severely affected and may even be killed by that judgment which comes upon their nation. For example, when God’s judgment came upon Jerusalem in the days of the Babylonians, not everybody who died in that judgment went to hell. There’s national judgment, and then there’s individual judgment. Sometimes people suffer or even lose their life under a national judgment. They are individually on right terms with God and so they will go to heaven.
So, we can’t put national judgment or judgment of a group or a community in the same category as we would put individual judgment, especially as it concerns the judgment of the ages, in the End Times.