8. Other Frequently Discussed Topics
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Lust, Fornication and Adultery – The Fruit and Its Sin
(The Fruit and Its Sin)
For this illustration, we will compare lust as being a tasty desirable fruit. Yet not all fruit is good for you, as was demonstrated in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:6, 16-17). More often than not, lust is better known for its negative influence, those influences that result in acts of sin, such as fornication and adultery. So, let’s examine some of the components often associated with lust.
Lust is an “intense” desire that makes plans to obtain the object of the lust. The scriptures speak of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).
Sex is a specific type of activity, created by God, generally for reproduction and to be enjoyed within the context of marriage (Genesis 2:24, 4:1).
(Genesis 4:1, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain . . . “) The knowledge involved in the Hebrew of the Old Testament is far beyond just having the mental awareness of another person. This is the physical union of becoming of one flesh.
Fornication is the physical sexual union (the becoming of one flesh Genesis 2:24) between any two people that are not married to each other. For there to be one flesh (Matthew 19: 5), there has to be physical penetration. One person can lust, but it takes two to fornicate.
Adultery is very similar to fornication. The distinction between fornication and adultery is that single people can fornicate, but it takes at least one of them being married for it to be adultery.
Understanding Matthew 5:27-28
Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust (G1937) after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
English Words used in KJV:
lust after 1
Many teach that sexual lust is equivalent to the actual act of sexual sin; that is, if a man sexually desires a woman, he has already committed adultery with her in God’s eyes.
Understandably, this passage is often taken out of context giving some the premise that any bad thought that enters the mind equates to sin. That interpretation however is not correct. A person who is thinking about doing something wrong (sinful) and later deciding not to go through with it, although the thought existed, the actual sin did not occur. For example, if I “thought about” going on a 24 hour killing spree (out of anger) but didn’t follow through with it, regardless of my intent (to commit a crime, murder, steal, sin) the crime (the actual sin) never took place.
This is not to say that it is okay to dwell on sinful thoughts, but merely having a sinful thought (often called temptation) without it being acted upon is not the same as committing the “the sinful act.” This dilemma is more inline with the scripture that addresses how to deal with anger (Eph 4:26).
*Note: In addition, many of us forget that Jesus himself (a man) also had to overcome temptations, including those that were sinful in nature (prohibited desires -which would include thoughts of adultery), and His thoughts were not said to be acts of sin. (Heb 4:15)
Thus we need to fully understand the wording used here in (Mat 5:27-28).
The Greek word (G1937) translated here as “lust” in this passage (ἐπιθυμέω; epithumeô) happens to be the same word used to translate the Hebrew word for “covet” (חמד) in the Tenth Command in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), which says:
οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις τὴν γυναῖκα τοῦ πλησίον σου. οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ πλησίον σου οὔτε τὸν ἀγρὸν αὐτοῦ οὔτε τὸν παῖδα αὐτοῦ οὔτε τὴν παιδίσκην αὐτοῦ οὔτε τοῦ βοὸς αὐτοῦ οὔτε τοῦ ὑποζυγίου αὐτοῦ οὔτε παντὸς κτήνους αὐτοῦ οὔτε ὅσα τῷ πλησίον σού ἐστιν. (Ex 20:17 LXX)
“thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife…”
The command we are given here in Mat 5:28 is not forbidding the thought of a woman’s beauty (even if that thought was of a sexual nature), it forbids the action of coveting that thought.
Coveting denotes a desire which is directed at obtaining that which is forbidden, not the mere existence of the desire itself.
“Lust” makes room to go and commit the sin (James 1:15), if it is not properly governed and put under the authority of the Spirit. But not every lust (G1937) [things long for or desired] is sinful. This is important to take note because the Greek word (G1937) didn’t change, the translator decided what English word would be used.
(Luke 22:15) And he said unto them, With desire (G1939) I have desired (G1937) to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
(Mat 13:17) For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired (G1937) to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them
(Luke 15:16 NIV) And he [the prodigal] longed [fain](G1937) to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
(Luke 16:21) And desiring (G1937) to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
It is therefore important that we understand the distinction between the “type” of desire (G1937) [or lust] in contrast to coveting (an act of planning) to partake in something which would be forbidden (like having sex with another man’s wife).
There is a clear difference between having a natural sexual attraction and “coveting” something that is prohibited by the Law: the Law forbids directing one’s desire towards that which is not lawful. Jesus is not condemning the desire itself but the action taken on the desire.
The presence of a beautiful woman may trigger a thought or an even an attraction, which is natural, but it’s the action associated with the thought. Yes, adultery (the act) is a sin, but the sin entered the heart (mind) the moment one plans to seek it out.
There’s an old saying “You may not be able to stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can prevent it from building its nest.”
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Why Did John The Baptist Doubt Jesus?
Are You The One To Come?
In Matthew 11:2-4 ESV, John said: “are you the One to come or should we expect someone else?” Why did John feel the need to ask if Christ was the One to come?
To address this question it is important to get the order of events correct. When John asked Jesus this question it was after John had first witnessed the miraculous sign concerning the Spirit descending upon Jesus, who was to baptize with the Holy Ghost (John 1:33-34), exactly as God had told him prior (“He that sent me,” John 1:6, 33).
So, here we have John who was the forerunner of Jesus, the one who declared Jesus to be “the Lamb of God,” and “the Son of God,” now openly expressing some doubt.
Note: Just to be fair, John had been languishing in prison well over two years after the miraculous sign he had witnessed (Spirit descending as a dove) and was expecting that by this time the Messiah would forcibly take control of His kingdom. In such circumstances, “a man’s misery often weighs heavily upon him” (Eccl 8:6 NIV), so that it would have been easy for John to doubt the reality he had seen several years before and assume that he had been mistaken about Jesus (after all, he was still languishing in jail for what must have seemed an eternity).
When John asks whether Christ is “the One” or if they should look for someone else, he is clearly falling into the classic trap of his generation to look for a King rather than a Savior. If He were the Messiah, then why was He still humbly walking the land and not assuming regal power? But if He were not, then how could He be doing these miracles? But our Lord came to establish a kingdom greater than any earthly kingdom and to accomplish a salvation greater than any earthly deliverance. After all, John did say that this Lamb “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
The phrase in Matt 11:2″ when John heard in prison what Christ was doing” (and also Luke 7:18 compared with Luke 7:11-17) probably provoked John’s questioning. To put it in the terms used by the Pharisees, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you really are the Christ, tell us plainly.” To which Jesus replies “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in My Father’s Name speak for Me.” (John 10:24-26 ESV).
This is a lesson about patience and trust. God always hears our prayers, but He does not always answer on our timetable. We should trust God even if the answers to our prayers may at times seem to be the opposite of what we are asking or what we need.
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Tabernacle and Ark
Jesus is never portrayed as God, the God who made a covenant with Israel.
Jesus is recorded as our high priest (Hebrews 8:6 NLT) after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:16-17 NLT, Hebrews 7:25 NLT).
The Tabernacle was the place where, at one time, God dwelt among his people (called the children of Israel).
The tabernacle was a portable place of worship God commanded the Israelites to build after he rescued them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 25:8-9). It was used from a year after they crossed the Red Sea until King Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem, a period of 400 years.
After its creation by Moses, the Ark (pictured below) was carried by the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the desert. Whenever the Israelites camped, the Ark was placed in a separate room in a sacred tent, called the Tabernacle. The tabernacle was situated in the very center of camp, with the 12 tribes encamped around it. The Most Holy section was screened off from the view of the priests and the people (Exodus 40:3, 21). Only the high priest could enter this compartment, one day each year on Atonement Day, and see the Ark (Leviticus 16:2; Hebrews 9:7). During its use, the tabernacle was moved many times. Everything could be packed into oxcarts when the people left, but the ark of the covenant was hand-carried by Levites.
The tabernacle’s journey began at Sinai, then it stood for 35 years at Kadesh. After Joshua and the Hebrews crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the tabernacle stood at Gilgal for seven years. Its next home was Shiloh, where it remained until the time of the Judges. It was later set up in Nob and Gibeon. King David erected the tabernacle at Jerusalem and had the ark brought from Perez-uzzah and set in it.
The tabernacle and all its components had symbolic meanings. Overall, the tabernacle was a foreshadowing of the perfect tabernacle, Jesus Christ. The Bible constantly points to the coming Messiah, who fulfilled God’s loving plan for the salvation of the world:
We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. (Hebrews 8:1-6, NLT)
The Ark Of The Covenant
(Ark Of The Testimony)
The Ark was associated with God’s presence. For example, the cloud that appeared over the Ark in the Most Holy and at Israelite encampments (Fig. 2) was a sign of God’s presence and blessing. (Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 10:33-35)
According to the Book of Exodus, during the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert, after their exodus from Egypt, God made a covenant (a conditional covenant) with the children of Israel through His servant Moses. He promised good to them and their children for generations if they obeyed Him and His laws; but He always warned of despair, punishment, and dispersion if they were to disobey. As a sign of His covenant, while the Jews were still camped at Sinai, He had the Israelites make a box according to His own design (Exodus 25:10-22; 31:18; 37:1-9; 40:20) (Law of Moses[the civil law written by Moses—the law of Moses, not the Ten Commandments written by God on stone tablets] Deuteronomy 31:24-26, 2 Kings 22:8).
The Mercy Seat
General History following Its Construction
In the days of King David
At some point, King David had the Ark brought to Zion (is a placename used for Jerusalem) by the Levites. In Zion, David put the Ark in the tabernacle he had prepared for it, offered sacrifices, distributed food, and blessed the people and his own household (2 Sam. 6:17-20; 1 Chron. 16:1-3; 2 Chron. 1:4).
The Levites were appointed to minister before the Ark (1 Chron. 16:4). David’s plan of building a temple for the Ark was stopped at the advice of God (2 Sam. 7:1-17; 1 Chron. 17:1-15; 28:2, 3). The Ark was with the army during the siege of Rabbah (2 Sam. 11:11); and when David fled from Jerusalem at the time of Absalom’s conspiracy, the Ark was carried along with him until he ordered Zadok the priest to return it to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:24-29).
In Solomon’s Temple
When Abiathar was dismissed from the priesthood by King Solomon for having taken part in Adonijah’s conspiracy against David, his life was spared because he had formerly borne the Ark (1 Kings 2:26). Solomon worshipped before the Ark after his dream in which God promised him wisdom (1 Kings 3:15).
During the construction of Solomon’s Temple, a special inner room, named Kodesh Hakodashim (Eng. Holy of Holies), was prepared to receive and house the Ark (1 Kings 6:19); and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark—containing the original tablets of the Ten Commandments—was placed therein (1 Kings 8:6-9). When the priests emerged from the holy place after placing the Ark there, the Temple was filled with a cloud, “for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chron. 5:13, 14).
When Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, he caused her to dwell in a house outside Zion, as Zion was consecrated because of its containing the Ark (2 Chron. 8:11). King Josiah also had the Ark returned to the Temple (2 Chron. 35:3), from which it appears to have been removed by one of his predecessors (cf. 2 Chron. 33-34 and 2 Kings 21-23).
The Babylonian Conquest and aftermath
In 587 BC, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple. There is no record of what became of the Ark in the Books of Kings and Chronicles.
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Discipline Of Children Produces Children Of Discipline
(The Purpose & The Gain)
24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (early).
(If you don’t correct your children, you don’t love them. If you love them, you will be quick to discipline them.) ERV
Proverbs 3:12 (KJV)
12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
(The Lord corrects the one he loves, just as a father corrects a child he cares about.) ERV
Proverbs 22:15 (KJV)
15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
(Children do foolish things, but if you punish them, they will learn not to do them.) ERV
Proverbs 23:13-14 (KJV)
13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
(Always correct children when they need it. If you spank them, it will not kill them. 14 In fact, you might save their lives.) ERV
Proverbs 29:15 (KJV)
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
(Punishment and discipline can make children wise, but children who are never corrected will bring shame to their mother.) ERV
Proverbs 29:17 (KJV)
17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
(Correct your children whenever they are wrong. Then you will always be proud of them. They will never make you ashamed.) ERV
Does God forget our sins?
God Knows Who Sinned
And Has Full Memory Of It
I’ve heard pastors, on occasion, make claims that God actually forgets the sins of those who have been saved, and casts them into the “Sea of forgetfulness” (a non-biblical phrase). They almost always cite from one or more of the following passages in support (Heb 8:12)(Heb 10:17)(Isa 43:25)(Jer 31:34)(Ps 103:12)(Mic 7:19)(Isa 38:17)(Isa 44:22).
These types of passages are called metaphors (See: Biblical Metaphors & Figures Of Speech).
(The Representation use of a word in a figurative meaning on the basis of the similarity of two objects or phenomena in some way.)
For example, some passages speak of using blood for washing. They are spoken in the figurative sense.
Gen 49:11 “……. he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:”
Rev 1:5 “…… and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
Rev 7:14 “……washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Washing is usually used to represent some type of “cleansing” and blood usually represents the “source” (from who or what/ man, animal, etc.) that is somehow associated with the washing.
God Has Complete And Perfect Knowledge Of All Things
For God to be sovereign over His creation of all things, whether visible or invisible, He has to be all-knowing.
The Bible declares that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21), that “His understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:5), and God is greater than our heart, and knows all things (1 Jn 3:20). If God does not remember something, then that would mean God doesn’t know everything.
Since God knows what type of sin we committed, and when we committed a sin, he, therefore, has perfect memory of it, however, God does not hold “those sins” against the believer “after” God forgives him of those sins.
A sin is always sin. It, however, can be “pardoned” (forgiven) but only according to God’s plan, not some man-made plan of salvation.
The confession of sin before God is integral to the obedient Christian life (1 John 1:9).
Some present the argument that there are sins we may have committed unaware? The Bible addresses that concern like this:
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Jas 4:17
God knows the heart of each individual (Ps 147:5). Doing something wrong and being aware that it is a sin may not invoke the same judgment of God. For example; a child may take an item that does not belong to him but there is a level of understanding that must be taken into account. God is a just God and justice is extended to everyone. Therefore we must have an understanding of God’s justice ( Pro 3:5, 1Cor 14:20, Php 3:15, Eph 5:17).
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48)
Note: Every circumstance is unique and this in no way is intended to portray all individuals as making the rapture (the first resurrection of the saints) but that there is a final judgment day (Acts 17:31, 2 Cor 5:10, 1 Peter 1:17). It is those new “unrepented” sins that have not been acknowledged (or forgiven) that are not forgotten by God and are recorded in the Book of Life.
The phrase “And I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer 31:34) is probably best understood as God will not hold those “specific” sins, which God had forgiven, against them.
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Biblical Timeline of the Resurrection Rapture
It Is Not for You to Know The Exact Time
Just before Jesus was caught up to heaven, His disciples asked, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.” (Acts 1:7) If Christ, our Savior (the one who is coming back for us), does not know when he is to return, we are certainly not “more capable” than Christ of having this knowledge. This is important to always keep at the forefront of our discussion on this subject. Our Primary focus is to be “caught up” with Christ and not be part of those who do not make the rapture concerning the other debated issues.
We cannot truthfully say with 100% certainty the exact order of events to come. It should come as no surprise that not all Christians agree when the Millenium will occur or what it will be like. The following provides some of the arguments.
They are primarily divided into three main groups on this issue: Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism.
Premillennialists believe that Christ’s second coming will occur before the millennium.
Postmillennialists believe that Christ’s second coming will come after the millennium.
Amillennialists believe that the millennium is figurative and that we are already living in it.
We have attached a detailed Biblical timeline (PDF) with good illustrations and scriptures associated with this event.
We Do Not profess the Illustration below to be flawless or the most accurate “timeline depiction” but that it closely reflects the various stages and passages that should be taken into consideration.
Most Christians believe that at some point in the future Christ will return again (the “second coming”), and that there will be a judgment of some sort, and this earth will end and all believers will be able to enter into / dwell with (or be with) our Father (God) up in heaven (God’s Heavenly Kingdom/dimension). Not that we will be limited to that dimension but that we will be able to dwell therein as we will at that time have an inheritance through Christ which makes us ONE as he was with God (John 17:21-22; John 20:17).
Since we are brothers and sisters with Christ, NOT children of Christ (Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35) we are therefore ONE in Christ, being adopted sons and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:28-29; Galatians 4:4-7)
The word rapture refers to the Christian belief that the righteous will be taken alive by God from Earth to Heaven. This is differentiated from the common belief that when the righteous die their soul goes directly to Heaven. The hope of the rapture for Christians is to escape from the frightening End Time events described in the Book of Revelation which precede the return of Jesus Christ the Messiah to set up his reign.
Rapture is from the Latin rapio meaning to be seized by force, caught, taken. It is sometimes pointed out by critics that the word rapture does not appear anywhere in the Bible. This is partially true. Rapture is a Latin word, therefore, it does not appear in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. However, it does appear in the Latin Vulgate translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the central rapture proof text in the Bible. The Greek manuscripts have the word harpagesometha a form of the word harpazo which like rapture means to be taken or seized.
The Rapture is described primarily in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes the Rapture as God resurrecting all the righteous who have died (1 Cor 6:14), giving them glorified bodies, and then they (those resurrected saints) will depart the earth with those righteous who were still alive, who have also been given glorified bodies.
“For the Lord (Jesus) himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord (Jesus) in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) See also: (John 14:2-3, Rev 3:21).
(As you can see the Bible explicitly describes Jesus coming down “descending” from Heaven and we the saints will be “caught up” to the sky experience when Jesus returns and comes for us, his Bride/we the Church)
Is There A Difference Between The Rapture And Second Coming?
There is often some confusion addressing the return of Christ. The question should be when Christ returns to do what?
One is a gathering up of the saints, his “symbolic” bride (we the church/the saints), who will be caught up to meet him in the air/cloud. This is different from what many call the “Second Coming” of Christ, which is when Christ returns with the saints to earth where he will reign for 1000 years.
Therefore, further clarification is advised because neither of these terminologies is found in scripture yet we often use them interchangeably creating potential confusion if we do not make clear how we define these two events.
There are several important differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ:
The Rapture is believed imminent (Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
The Second Coming of Christ will not happen until after certain specified end times events take place (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15-30).
During the Rapture, believers in Christ will be removed from the earth (1 Thessalonians 5:9) and will join the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
During the Second Coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth (Revelation 19:14).
The Rapture occurs before the Tribulation. (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10).
The Second Coming will take place after the Great Tribulation period (Dan 2:44, Matt 24: 27-31, Rev 1:7, Acts 1:11) with the saints (1 Thess 3:13, Rev 19:8,14) ending the rule of the Antichrist (2Thess 2:8, Dan 8:25b, 2:34-35, 44),
The Rapture will happen in an instant (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
The Second Coming will be visible to all (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:29-30).
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