Biblical Q&A: "Saints Alive!..." [WordDevo]11-24 thru 11-30 ANSWERS

"Seven Questions and Seven Answers; One for each day of the Week usually posted by Saturday"

 

ONE

 

Saints Alive. Follow Up

Q.  I read Rev 7 after reading Saints Alive!  It speaks of a great innumerable multitude that serves in the temple.  This couldn’t be an earthly temple could it? No earthly temple could accommodate an innumerable multitude. Is this the New Jerusalem? I think I recall it being something like 1400 miles wide,deep and high. Is this correct?

A.  The New Jerusalem is 12,000 stadia (approximately 1400 miles) high, wide, and long (Rev. 21: 16).  But in Rev. 21:22John said there is no Temple in the New Jerusalem, and in Rev. 21:27 he said only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter there.  This would exclude the martyrs of Rev. 7 on both counts. That leaves either the Temple in Heaven (Rev. 11:19) or the one on Earth for them to serve in, and I suspect the one in Heaven is more likely.


TWO

Demon Possession

Q.  In reading your answer to Understanding Luke 11:24-26 you point out that the demons begged Jesus to allow them to enter the pigs after they were driven out of the man.  Does this mean that demons need God’s permission to enter or re-enter a human?  I know, as a Born Again Believer that has accepted Jesus and invited Him to reside within me, I cannot be demon possessed.  But what about others?  Are demons free to inhabit people or do they need to seek God’s permission first?

A.  Because the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19) demons don’t need God’s permission to inhabit non-believers.  The reason the demons asked to be allowed to inhabit a herd of pigs in Mark 5:1-17 was to avoid going to a place of torture which is where I believe Jesus would have sent them otherwise (Mark 5:7). When the pigs ran down the hill and drowned themselves in the Sea of Galilee the demons must have wound up in the place of torture after all.  Otherwise Jesus would have been setting them free to afflict others as if they’d never gone into the pigs.

 

THREE

The Gospel Of The Kingdom. Follow Up

Q.  As I began this week’s feature article, I couldn’t help but wonder this: If Israel had accepted Jesus as their Messiah, would Jesus have remained there as their King forever?  Also, would He have conquered Israel’s enemies at the time in order to keep peace in the known world?

A.  Make no mistake about it.  Jesus had to die to meet the objectives outlined in Daniel 9:24. No one else in Heaven or on Earth could accomplish this.  We can only imagine how different things would have been if they had accepted Him as their Messiah and let Him die for their sins so He could bring them into everlasting righteousness with His resurrection.

Far from just defeating Israel’s then current enemies, it would have ushered in the promised Kingdom that we know as the Millennium.  It would also have completed the fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6-7He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  Through Israel, Jesus would have brought God’s salvation to the ends of the Earth (Isaiah 49:1-6) and there would have been no need for the Church.

FOUR

Hosea 6 And The 2nd Coming

Q.  Re: The Gospel of The Kingdom.   Do you think Hosea might have been speaking about two days being 2000 years for the Lord to revive Israel, and the third day might represent the 1000 year millennium in this passage? “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6:1-2).

A. A number of scholars have come to that conclusion, and I also think there’s some merit to it.  Unfortunately the Hebrew calendar is thought to have lost a number of years, perhaps as many as 240, so this is only the year 5773.  Some say much of this “compression”of the calendar was done in the first century AD to make it look like Simon bar Kochba had fulfilled the Messianic prophecies rather than Jesus. Others say it’s because for the Jews time stood still while they were under judgment.

Regardless of the reason, if you assume the traditional date of 4004 BC for the creation and subtract that from the current Hebrew year 0f 5773, you get 1769 years since the First Coming.  Adding back the missing 240 years will bring you to 2009, which means we’re already past the 2000 year point and Daniel’s 70th Week hasn’t even begun yet.

I don’t think we know exactly how many years are missing from the Hebrew calendar so I would only use this interpretation ofHosea 6:1-2 as a rough approximation of when the 2nd Coming could occur.  But when you include this with other hints the Bible offers it adds weight to the belief that it’s not far off.

FIVE

Is Jesus The True Israel?

Q. I’ve been reading the various positions of the Reformed Amillennialists.  Most of them are easily de-bunked but that isn’t the case for Hosea 11:1 / Matthew 2:15.  It seems very one-sided.  In Hosea 11:1 God spoke of Israel as his son and called him out of Egypt.  Matthew 2:15 says Jesus fulfilled this when He came back from Egypt as a baby after being forced to flee there to avoid Herod’s infanticide.  Amillennialists use this to support their view that end times prophecy is figurative and not to be taken literally.  They say a comparison of these two verses proves that Jesus is the true Israel, implying there’s no place for the nation of Israel in the end times.

A.  Through out the Old Testament God used several different analogies to symbolize Israel depending on the feelings He wanted to express. For instance, in Exodus 4:22-23 He called Israel His first born son (even though he wasn’t) to draw a comparison of importance to Pharaoh and his first born son.  If Pharaoh refused to let God’s symbolic first born son go, God would kill Pharaoh’s actual first born son.

Hosea 11:1 is a statement meant to express the idea that God loved Israel like a father loves a son.  But earlier, in Hosea 1:2, God had referred to Israel as an adulterous wife to explain how He felt about Israel’s worship of pagan gods.  And in Ezekiel 16He spoke of Israel as an abandoned baby girl He found along the road.  He said although He treated her like a daughter and gave her every advantage,  she grew up to be an insatiable prostitute, another reference to Israel’s pagan worship practices.

Would we assume from these passages that an adulterous wife or a prostitute is the true Israel? He also compared Israel to an olive tree and to a vineyard.  Are either one of these the true Israel? Of course not.

Matthew 2:15 simply says that just as God called Israel out of Egypt, so did He also call His Son (who was also a son of Israel) out of Egypt.  Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience to show them that Jesus was the Messiah, the King of Israel.  In doing so, he used many more comparisons to Old Testament prophecy than any other Gospel writer.

Once people depart from a literal interpretation of the Bible it seems like there’s no end to the interpretations they can come up with.  To accept this one you have to ignore hundreds of prophecies relating to the second coming.  Many of them specifically call for Israel to be a nation on Earth under the Kingship of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is not the true Israel anymore than God is the true Israel.  Israel is the true Israel.

SIX

The Duration Of The Plagues of Egypt

Q.  I believe Moses was about 40 when he made the decision to be among his brethren, the Hebrews, instead of being called the son of Pharaoh.  He then fled to the land of Midian before God called him to lead the people.  We know the people wondered in the wilderness for 40 years,  Moses dying at the age of 120.  How long was Moses in Egypt after he returned to lead the people?  How long did it take God to perform the curses against Pharaoh and Egypt?

A.  Here’s what the Bible tells us.  As you’ve said, Moses was 40 years old when he was forced to leave Egypt and flee into Midian (Acts 7:23-29) where he remained for 40 more years until the Lord called him to go back to deliver the Israelites from Egypt (Acts 7:30-34). Exodus 7:6 tells us Moses was 80 years old when he first spoke to Pharaoh about releasing the Israelites.

From Deut. 34:7 we learn that Moses was 120 years old when he died, just before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the promised Land.

Therefore his life can be divided into 3 segments.  40 Years as the son of Pharaoh, 40 years in Midian, and 40 years in the wilderness with the Israelites.

The specific length of time required for the Lord to complete the plagues of Egypt is not revealed, but scholars have estimated that they happened quickly. The Jewish Mishnah says they took one year, but other opinions range from 40 days for the actual plagues to a few months when you add the time between them. Perhaps the Mishnah meant to say they happened within a single year.

SEVEN

Our Spirit And God’s. Follow Up

Q.  Re: Our spirit and God’s.  You said we’re born with our spirit attuned to the Spirit of God.  I understand that Jesus commanded us to be born again (in the spirit).  Why we need to be re-born when God had already formed our spirit during conception? Is our original attuned spirit inferior to the required ‘born-again’ spirit?

A.  It’s like this.  When we’re born our human spirit is attuned to the Spirit of God.  That means God’s will and our will are the same.  As we mature, our sin nature, something we were born with, begins progressively asserting itself, causing us to go against God’s will.  Before long our sin nature becomes stronger than our spirit.

Until we reach the age of accountability our behavior is not counted against us.  But at the age of accountability we become responsible for our actions and since our sin nature is in control we’re soon destined for death, because death is the punishment for sin.  By confessing our sins and asking Jesus to forgive us, the death penalty is canceled and we become born again to eternal life.  Then God sends His Holy Spirit to help our spirit regain control of our behavior.

But the sin nature doesn’t just go away.  For as long as we live we have to consciously decide who’s going to guide our behavior, the Holy Spirit or our sin nature.  Sometimes we choose one and sometimes we choose the other.  God knew this would be a problem for us, so when we become born again He forgives all the sins of our life, even those we haven’t committed yet (Colossians 2:13-14). This way He can guarantee that the gift of eternal life will always be ours (2 Cor. 1:21-22). Therefore, when we sin after being born again He doesn’t count it against us, but against the sin nature that dwells within us (Romans 7:18-20).



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