How could Jesus appear before He was born?

Q: How could Jesus appear before He was born?

In my last post, I explained that Jesus appeared to Abraham before He came into this world at His first coming. This may seem like a bit of a problem, to have Jesus appearing to Abraham prior to His appearing to others as a man. But it is really no problem at all, when you realize that He is, in fact, God in the flesh.

If Jesus is God in the flesh — and He is — then He can do anything at all.

Take, for example, the angels, whom the Bible says are ministering servants of God. The Bible says that they have appeared to some people in the form of humans — and those people may not even have recognized them as having been angels.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

If this is the case (and it is), then surely God the Son — Jesus Christ — can do as He pleases and reveal Himself as a man, too, even prior to His “first coming” to the earth, being born of a virgin in a manger.

So if the angels can do it, who are far less powerful than God is, it’s really no problem for God Himself to “show up” on the earth in the form of a man prior to Jesus’s first coming. Do we not read in Genesis 3 that God Himself walked in the garden of Eden in the cool of the day? Who was that? Surely, it was Jesus!

“They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)

This same Jesus will return one day (soon), and put His feet on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, which will then split in two! This will happen at the Battle of Armageddon. Are you ready for that day?

“Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:3-4)

Get ready, for He is coming! It will be a terrible and awesome day — terrible for those who have rejected Him, and awesome for those who have longed for His coming. Serve Him now, so that you may receive a crown at His soon appearing.

“in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

Posted in Battle of Armageddon, Pre-Incarnate Christ, Return of Christ, The God-Man | Comments Off

How could God become a man?

Q: How could God become a man?

The Bible explains that God has revealed Himself in three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. This is one and the same God, who has revealed Himself in three persons. Do I really understand this completely? No, I don’t. However, it definitely is the teaching of the Bible, and it really goes right back to the opening chapters of the book of Genesis.

For example, in Genesis 1:26, we read,

‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”‘ (Genesis 1:26)

Now who was God speaking to when He said, “Let Us …”?

This usage of “Us” is repeated two other times in the book of Genesis, namely,

‘Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”–’ (Genesis 1:22)

and

‘The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”‘ (Genesis 11:6-7)

Clearly, God is represented as more than one in these three passages. And yet, in that part of the Bible that the Jewish people call the “Schema,” we read,

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deutoronomy 6:4)

So the Lord is one, and yet, He is more than one. How can this be? If we follow the Old Testament carefully, we will get glimpses of the “Man-God,” who, in the New Testament is revealed as being Jesus.

In Genesis 18, for example, a man talks to Abraham, whom Abraham refers to as being “the Judge of all the earth!”

“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Genesis 18:25)

Did Abraham really talk with Jesus? Surely, he did, for many years later, Jesus Himself said to some of the Jews,

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)

The Jews were surprised when they heard Jesus say this, and responded, saying,

“You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” (John 8:57b)

Jesus then responded by saying that He was, and is, the I AM (which is the same name that God gave to Moses when He spoke with him at the burning bush):

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58)

Then, the Jews picked up stones with the intent to stone Jesus,

“Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” (John 8:59)

What is the Jews’ reward for rejecting Jesus? Jesus said,

“Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Luke 13:35)

In other words, Jesus is coming again! Will you be ready to meet Him?

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)

Posted in Return of Christ, Scripture, The God-Man | Comments Off

When should I stop praying?

Q: When should I stop praying for a certain request?

The Lord commanded us to pray always and not give up.

“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)

Does this passage mean that we should keep praying for the same requests, day after day, if we do not see an answer?

I believe it means that as long as we feel burdened by God to pray for a certain need (whatever that need may be), we should keep praying for it. A time will come — if the Lord says “no” — when we will know that it is time to stop praying for the request, because the Lord has said “no”.

The apostle Paul prayed three times that a certain burden be lifted from him.

‘Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”‘ (2 Corinthians 12:8-9a)

In this case, the Lord’s answer was “no.” The Lord communicated this to Paul, perhaps through a dream, a prophet, or an audible message.

When I say “prophet” here, I am not necessarily referring to someone who stands up in the middle of some crowd, and points to you, and says, “Thus says the Lord!” Rather, instead, perhaps Paul was sitting down with a friend one day, and praying with him about this burden, and perhaps the friend received a message from the Lord for Paul through a distinct (clear) inner impression, or thought, in which he then said to Paul, “Brother Paul, I believe the Lord is telling me, He is not going to remove this burden from you. I believe He wants you to know, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’”

I am presenting to you one of many ways in which the Lord could have communicated His will to Paul, and, because you love God, God will also be pleased to communicate His will to you. As you draw close to God, He will draw close to you, and make these things perfectly clear to you.

Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

Posted in Prayer, Revelation, Scripture | Comments Off

Can I pray for the dead to be raised?

Q: Can I pray for the dead to be raised?

In Matthew 10, Jesus told His disciples to raise the dead, saying,

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

If you feel led by the Holy Spirit to pray that a dead person be resurrected, then go ahead. Do pray for that. If the burden is genuinely from God, press in, and you will see your miracle. If the burden is not from God, you will not receive your miracle, but you are not condemned in the process, because you exercised faith in believing that the burden was from God.

I met a man who prayed for a dead person to be raised, but the dead person was not raised. I had more respect for that man afterward, and not less. The man exercised faith, and I believe the Lord was pleased with him.

I have heard of people praying for people to be raised for many hours. I have heard of (but have not personally witnessed) dead people being raised.

Posted in Holy Spirit, Prayer, Resurrection, Scripture | Comments Off

Can I pray for the sick to be healed?

Q: Can I pray for the sick to be healed?

In Matthew 10, Jesus told His disciples to heal the sick, saying,

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

If you feel led by the Holy Spirit to pray that a sick person be healed, then go ahead. Do pray for that. If the burden is genuinely from God, you should see something tangible happen, even if only very small. For example, through your prayer, the Lord might impart wisdom to the other person on how to get well. Or, the Lord might do an outright healing.

When you pray for a sick person, the Lord might give you wisdom on what to pray for. If the sickness is caused by rebellion, for example, the Lord might lead you to pray that the person has a gentle and humble spirit. As you pray, you will likely receive wisdom and insight from the Lord, and some of it might surprise you. Just pray into whatever the Lord shows you and He will work with that to do whatever He wants in the other person’s life. It is a biblical concept that God will also bless you as you learn to pray for others, so that you yourself could experience blessing or healing in some area, as a result of your “giving” prayer.

Posted in Healing, Prayer, Scripture | Comments Off

What about micro-evolution?

Q: I have heard there is a difference between macro and micro evolution. Explain this.

“Macro” evolution is the evolution that is being referred to when you hear about apes becoming humans. This has never happened, nor ever will happen, but is born of the imagination of man. There is no evidence to support it and every evidence against it (see previous post). Flat out, macro evolution does not exist. A bird never will, nor ever has, become a land animal. In the previous post, it was stated, “Humans are not evolving in the present, and nor have they ever evolved.” This is referring to macro evolution — which should not be confused with micro evolution.

Micro evolution is change within a kind. There is a huge difference between changes from one kind to another (which has never been observed and never will be observed) and changes within a kind. To change from one “kind” to another, one would need to add new information. But new, logically structured, life-giving information cannot be added by simply waiting millions of years (or billions, if you prefer). That goes against the second law of thermodynamics, which says that, given time, our universe tends towards a state of disorder — not order. Thus, rocks in space collide, stars burn out, and genetic information is lost, but no new genetic information is ever being added.

Micro evolution, or changes within a kind, does not lead to increased genetic information. Rather, it changes the way that already existing genetic information is organized. Thus, dominant and recessive genes are mixed differently, and, in some cases, genetic information is lost due to mutations. Slowly, changes occur — without adding new genetic information — which may affect color, height, thickness, and other factors, which causes the plant, animal or human to take on a new look, which is why we have so many different looking humans today, for example, all descended from our first two parents, Adam and Eve. In other words, at the time of creation, God put in Adam and Eve all of the necessary information to produce, through time, the people that exist today. No new information has been added, it has only been distributed differently. In some cases, information has been lost (for example, a lack of pigmentation leads to albino skin).

To sum up, micro-evolution (change within a kind) is possible, since it does not add any new information. This has been going on for thousands of years. Macro-evolution (commonly referred to as simply “evolution”), or change from one kind to another, has never been observed, and neither is it possible.

Posted in Creation & Evolution, Scripture | Comments Off

Are humans still evolving?

Q: Are humans still evolving? I have heard that in 100 years, humans will possibly grow wings and be able to fly.

The message you have heard is false. Humans are not evolving in the present, and nor have they ever evolved. The Bible says that humans were created on day 6 of creation — as humans. All the animals and different forms of life were created after their kind, so that cats cannot become dogs, and birds cannot become cats. These are all distinct kinds. There has never been any observed “crossing over” from one kind to another, it is all conjecture based on idle speculation, without scientific observation.

If you dig down deep into the earth, you will find exactly what you would expect to find, based on the account of creation presented for us in the Bible. What you find are millions of dead things (birds, reptiles, humans, etc.). There are no “cross over” kinds found – because none has ever crossed over (for example, from a fish to a land animal). Surely, you would expect at least one of these to be found, but among a billion, there is not one to be found. This entirely validates what the Scriptures say, that all things were created after their kind.

The answer to your question, then, is that humans are not evolving, nor have they ever. There is no evidence to support it, and all the evidence — buried — in the world supports just the opposite, that God’s account of creation, as found in the Holy Bible, is entirely true, and can be trusted.

For more information, presented from a scientific standpoint, you are encouraged to visit Answers in Genesis (www.answersingenesis.org) or Creation Ministries International (www.creation.com) — these have excellent magazines (“Answers” magazine and “Creation” magazine, respectively) that you will want to be sure to read (on-line) as well as order, if at all possible (they are magnificent and a true pleasure to read and can be given away as gifts as well). Have fun! You’ll be amazed at what you learn, and keep learning, about God’s wonderful creation.

Posted in Creation & Evolution, Scripture | Comments Off

Who are the wolves in sheep’s clothing?

Q: Who are the wolves in sheep’s clothing?

Jesus said in Matthew 7,

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

Later on, He said to His followers,

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues.” (Matthew 10:15-17)

It kind of looks like these “false prophets” (wolves in sheep’s clothing) from Matthew 7 are the same as the “men” in Matthew 10 who will hand some of the followers of Christ “over to the courts” and “scourge you in their synagogues.”

The “false prophets” are evidently religious leaders who think they are doing God a favor by persecuting true believers. As such, we have a good clue as to who exactly these “false prophets” (or “wolves in sheep’s clothing”) are.

1. They “appear” as religious leaders but are not, in fact, genuine followers of Christ.

2. They are offended by the message of the cross of Christ. As a reminder, the message is that salvation is found in none other except Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) and that salvation is a free gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus Christ was the Son of God who was crucified, buried, and rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). So the false prophet must be opposed to this message in order to qualify as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. They may proclaim a form of this message, but do not adhere to it fully. Or, they may entirely deny all aspects of this message. It can go either way. But either way, they deny at least one aspect of this message.

3. They are willing to persecute those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who believe must therefore pose a serious threat to those who are doing the persecuting. The ones doing the persecuting “get in the way” or “affect the lifestyle, power, and/or authority” of the ones doing the persecuting. This is the way it usually is with persecution. The one being persecuted is perceived as a “threat” to the other, to the point where the one doing the persecuting is willing to abandon all sense, reason, and dignity, in order to get his way. This is obviously not the way of Christ.

How should a Christian respond to persecution?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

Wow! What a tall order! But that’s what we have been commanded to do. And if we do it, we shall be called “blessed.”

Be blessed! (It’s not always easy being blessed.)

Posted in False Prophets, Persecution, Scripture | Comments Off

What message is anointed?

Q: I heard a preacher say that you can tell whether a message is “anointed” or not by whether or not the preacher has to read his message. The preacher said that if the person has to read their message, it is not anointed. Is this true?

The statement made by this preacher cannot possibly be true. The man has formed his own doctrine that is not in accordance with the Scriptures.

In Joshua 8:34, Joshua read the word of God to the people, and the words he read were “anointed” (blessed) by God.

“Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.” (Joshua 8:34-35)

Joshua (the leader, a.k.a. the “preacher” in this case) indeed read the words, and the words were indeed blessed (for they are the word of God). How could the reading of these words not be anointed?

In another instance, Jeremiah instructed Baruch to read to the people the words that he (Jeremiah) had written at God’s instruction, saying,

“So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of the LORD to the people in the LORD’S house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities.” (Jeremiah 36:6)

These words were anointed (blessed). They did what they were supposed to do, which was to bring conviction of sin. In turn, some of the people who heard these words then took the scroll and read it to the king. The king did not repent, but instead burned the scroll, but the reading of the scroll had an effect (it brought conviction on the king). He spurned the conviction and did not allow it to bring him to repentance. The reading of those words instead brought judgment to the king and the entire nation! So was the message anointed? Yes! It was highly “anointed” unto destruction! Ouch! :-(

Jonathan Edwards who was a highly-respected preacher of righteousness gave a message which he entitled, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” It is reported that he read the entire message which he had written by candlelight — and so dim was the light that he had to hold the message close to his face in order to read it. It was reported that the effect of that message was that those who heard it clutched on to their seats (pews, in this case) for fear of slipping into hell! Was that message “anointed?” That message was anointed!

Conviction and repentance is brought about by various means. First, one needs a righteous message. A righteous message is always in accordance with the Holy Bible (this compromises the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament). Second, there should be prayer. Can God work without prayer? I suppose He can. However, we are commanded to pray and it would be foolish to try and sidestep this important aspect of preaching and teaching (thus, prayer should always precede the preaching of the word of God, or the reading and studying of the word of God). Finally, for real change to occur, there should be open hearts. One of the reasons that prayer should precede the preaching of the word of God or the reading and studying of the Scriptures is that God can and will use that to help prepare individuals to receive the message.

Whether or not the message is read is inconsequential. It is, shall we say, a “red herring” which Satan loves to throw your way in order to impress you about a certain man. Yes, there are many men and women who can stand up and give a message without reading it. Should that make me impressed with them? Oh, no. I am not at all impressed with a man or woman who can give a message without reading it. What I am impressed with is a man or woman who submits to God and serves Him with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.

But to give a message without reading it, even the unrighteous can do that. It is not impressive. Let a man produce a biblical message, wrought through prayer and even suffering, and let him present that to his hearers in written, or audio, or spoken form (read or not), and then let God do His work. And the work shall be done.

“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Luke 10:27b)

Posted in Preaching & Teaching, Scripture | Comments Off

What if I fail to read the Scriptures?

Q: What if I fail to read the Scriptures for a time? Will God be displeased with me?

This is a good question. God is a God of love and in no way wants to punish you. If you are seeking to genuinely please Him, He is not looking down on you with a sense of condemnation or judgment, because the Bible says that for those who have trusted in Christ, there is no condemnation.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

So put away your fears, if you are a Christian –  except a holy and righteous fear and reverence for God, which is always needed otherwise we will become proud and arrogant, and forget God and our need to serve Him! If you are in this state of having a holy fear and reverence for God, and also wanting to please Him, you are in a good place, indeed. In that case, you are in a good position to receive and experience His great love for you, which is so vast and so wonderful, that you could hardly imagine how amazing it is. It is just so awesome, and if you have never experienced His tangible (you can feel it) love before, ask Him to reveal that to you, because it will change you.

Under the condition that you are doing your very best to serve God, therefore, will God be displeased with you if you don’t read the Scriptures for a time? I think the answer to that is as follows (I’m trying to be very careful here, because I don’t think it’s a particularly easy answer!).

1. First, in this circumstance (you being a child of God and having committed your life to Him), God is not displeased with you in the sense that He looks down on you with any sense of condemnation. He is your Father, and your Father loves you! Get a hold of that love, because it is a real love.

2. Second, God knows that paying attention to His word is a good and essential thing, if you are going to do well. You may be able to “leave it” for a day or even longer because you are devoting yourself to prayer, instead, and have already memorized or become intimately familiar with many portions of the word of God through personal studies. I believe you will be “okay” to pray without reading the word of God for a time, but the problem is (and this is a real problem) that one of God’s chief means to speak to His people is via reading and studying the word of God daily (it has, at least, been my own personal experience and I believe it is quite justified by reading the word of God).

Daniel prayed on his knees three times a day. There is no indication that he actually read the Scriptures three times a day. So, arguing from this basis, you do not need to read the word of God daily. I believe that “hiding” the word of God “in your heart” (through memorization of the Scriptures, which I would encourage you to do) enables you to meditate on the word of God daily, even if you do not necessarily read it. Hence, the injunction in Psalm 1 to meditate on God’s word.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

Should Christians who have the printed word of God today read it daily? If possible, I believe they should, and will be blessed in the process as God uses that word to speak to them.

All of this presupposes that you are intent on obeying the voice of the Lord, as He speaks to you in your daily meditations. To read and meditate on the word of God but not respond to His promptings would be foolish and terribly unwise. A person who read the Scriptures in this way could even end up in Hell, because they were not sincere about their faith.

“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8)

Jesus said, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

Posted in God's love, Scripture | Comments Off