Frequently Asked Questions
When we discussed the attributes of God, we said that one way of discussing Him is to say that He is immortal. He is eternal. In other words, He does not have a beginning or an end. We also said that He is invisible, and then we said that He is described in terms of omnis (“all”). He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. So the question is really, how can God, who is unlimited, infinite, and immortal, take upon Himself human nature which is finite, mortal, and limited?
One possible clue is to consider that when God created man in His image, there may have been more similarity to the second Person of the Trinity than we have realized. Perhaps the gap between God and sinless man was not as great as we have always imagined. The Bible does tell us in I John 3:2, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Jesus Christ, according to the Bible, is the very essence of God. Jesus is the express image of God, and the Bible says that “in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). But we are also told that He emptied Himself in order to become a man (see Philippians 2:5-8). He did not empty Himself of His love, His goodness, His kindness, or His gentleness; for His divine nature was undiminished in the incarnation. But to become a human infant He did empty Himself of the eternal majesty that He shared in the presence of His heavenly Father. He went through the teen-age years, grew up to be a man, died, and then came back to life again.
Jesus was a flesh-and-blood man, with all that entails, except for sin. When Jesus died on the cross, it was not an illusion. He really died. He suffered as men suffer. He became tired and hungry. He was not some superman, free from pain and discomfort. The Bible says that He was tempted in like manner as we are, yet was without sin (see Hebrews 4:15). He went through all the problems that man can go through; yet He always possessed His divine nature and His awareness of the presence of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
There are some people who say, “Well, He became God when the Holy Spirit came upon Him.” But that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that He was truly God from the moment of His conception by the Holy Spirit. But at the same time He was fully human (see Philippians 2:5-8, Hebrews 2:14-18, 4:14-16).
Jesus claimed to be God, and he allowed Himself to be worshiped as God. After His resurrection, one of His disciples fell on his knees and said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28)! To a good Jew, this would have been blasphemy, but Jesus received it approvingly. Jesus also said, “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). He identified Himself as the Son of God (see John 3:16-18). In His lifetime, He said things about Himself that, if they were not true, would have been the words of a madman.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness” (John 8:12). He said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). He told people, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). He made a series of claims about His own divine nature. When people challenged Him on it, He said, in effect, if I denied my deity I would become a liar, as you are (See John 8:55).
Mohammed believed that he was a prophet. Buddha felt that he was a seeker after truth. Confucius never claimed to be anything but a wise teacher. Only Jesus has made claim to be the eternal Son of God. He is God and He proved His deity.
Jesus Christ was dead and buried, but rose again from the dead (see Matthew 28:7, Acts 13:30-31). He was seen by about five hundred people after His resurrection (see I Corinthians 15:4-8). He had the ability to walk through doors, (See John 20:19, 26) to travel vast distances in an instant, (See John 6:21) and to ascend into heaven (see Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9-11). He had taken on a completely spiritual resurrection body. He reached heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower His disciples. This, as the apostle Peter affirmed, proved that he actually arrived in heaven (see Acts 2:33).
Yes! Emphatically, there is life after death for all people. How you will spend your life after death depends upon your relationship with God now. Jesus Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
The whole message of Jesus Christ was that He broke the power of sin and death, because death was the consequence of sin. Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19). That is hope of the world–the resurrection. The apostle Paul said: “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ … That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection … If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11).
Not only is there life after death, but God is going to give us new bodies, better than the ones we have now. We are not going to be disembodied spirits. Those who believe in Jesus are going to have bodies just like the resurrection body of Jesus (see I Corinthians 15:35-49).
The Bible says that there will be a resurrection of the good and the resurrection of the evil. Some will arise to honor and some to shame (see Daniel 12:2-3, Matthew 25:46, Revelation 20:11-15).
Those who have lived for God are going to have a body such as Jesus has–a glorious, wonderful body–and they will be with Him forever in glory. Those who have not lived for Him will be in a place of torment and punishment. Yes, there is life after death, but the quality of that life depends upon how we spend our days in this “life before life.”
Often, the question arises whether a loving God could really send anyone to hell. Remember that God is always calling people to Himself. He sends signs such as the sun, the moon, the seasons, and harvest to show us that His love is there. He also sends out preachers, teachers, and evangelists to warn those who are living contrary to God’s will and to encourage such people to come to Him. Remember, too, that for heaven to be heaven, those in heaven should not be forced to live with the fear of a second satanic rebellion and another cycle of pain, suffering, and death. The only way to eliminate that fear is to see that those who absolutely refuse God and who want no part of His kingdom are given their wishes. Such people do not want to be apart of God’s kingdom, and so God says, “your will is to be apart from Me and I am going to let you have it the way you want it.”
Apart from God there is everlasting darkness. It is a horrible thing to contemplate, but it is not God’s choice to send anyone out into that darkness. Instead, He reluctantly allows people to have what they have shown Him they want. The Bible talks about everlasting fire and eternal darkness when it describes hell (see Matthew 8:12, 25:41). Whether these are literal descriptions, or figures of speech describing the remorse and emotional pain the lost will suffer when they realize that they are separated from God forever, we don’t know. We do know that hell is real and forever!
Over the last few years we have had many cases of people returning to life after being “clinically dead” for short periods. Many of them have seen heaven and some have been allowed to see hell. They have seen a living being whom they presume to be God. They have communicated with Jesus. Some have asked to come back to this life, and He has let them; others have asked to stay, and He has told them that they still have a work to do here in this life. For all of them, the experience has been a life-changing one, and this is a uniform testimony to the existence of life after death. Such experiences, of course, are not proof that there is life after death, but they stand as support to the Bible’s statement that life continues beyond the grave.
The Bible is also clear in its teaching that we should not attempt to communicate with the dead. Leviticus 19:31 says: “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” Isaiah 8:19 adds this: “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?”
When his baby son died, King David said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (II Samuel 12:23). When we die we either go to heaven or hell. We will join those loved ones who have gone to heaven or hell. We will join those loved ones who have gone to the same place as we have. Until then, the living are forbidden to attempt contact with the dead. So-called ghosts, or spirits that speak through mediums, are really demons masquerading as the spirits of dead human beings.
If you let them, they will deceive you. They will try to lead you away from God, and–if they can gain a foothold in your life–they will do their very best to take control of you.
The Bible says in Isaiah that God would give us a sign: “The virgin shall conceive and bear a Son” (Isaiah 7:14). The word in Hebrew that we translate as “virgin” is almah, and it can mean “virgin or young woman.” The word has been translated “virgin,” however, because there is nothing unusual about a young woman giving birth, so that would be no sign at all.
But in the New Testament, the word that is used for the Greek translation of almah is parthenos, and that clearly means virgin. It has no other meaning except virgin. The Bible tells us that there was a young virgin named Mary. The angel of the Lord came to Mary and said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and … Overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). He went on to tell her that a child would be formed in her, and she would give birth to the Messiah.
This is the way God entered into humanity to bring a second Adam. God the Son enfleshed Himself–the Holy Spirit bringing about conception, parthenogenesis, the virgin beginning–without the intervention of the normal reproductive cycle of man.
That is why Jesus is called the Son of God. He was not the son of Joseph, and He was not the son of a Roman soldier. He was not the son of any human father. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. God brought about virtually a second creation, a second man, without the original sin of the male line from Adam. Linking Jesus into the family tree of Mary, however, made him a descendant of David and Abraham, which fulfilled the various promises that God had made to them. Further, it was from His mother, Mary, that the Lord received His human nature. So Jesus Christ was unique, conceived by the Holy Spirit, but of “the house and lineage of David” (Luke 2:4).
It has been said that if Jesus is not God, then we should worship the man who thought Him up, because never did any man speak that way before or since.
The teachings that I have discovered, especially about the kingdom, have truth that is self-validating. They resonate with the experience of people throughout all the ages. When these principles are put into practice, they lead invariably to peace, harmony, victory, and love. This does not mean that the teachings of Jesus will not bring conflict. Because when someone accepts the teachings of God, there will be conflict with those who wish to continue in evil.
Jesus’ words pulsate with wisdom. For example, His concept about civil government: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). The concept of God as a Spirit: “Those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). The Sermon on the Mount: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” (Matthew 5:44). The greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind … Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus’ understanding of the sweep of history was absolutely superb. There has never been anyone in history who has even come close to Him. Above all else, Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to people, sent His Spirit to people, and has transformed the lives of millions. Wherever you find the Gospel, you find progress, freedom, liberty, and family loyalty–all the things that human beings acknowledge as the desires of their hearts. It is not coincidental that the nations that have been characterized as “Christian” have surpassed the rest of the world for centuries in almost every measure of achievement.
It is true that there have been many crimes perpetrated upon humanity in the name of Christianity, but those who did such things did not really know Christ or His teachings. Christ did not lead people to persecute and torture Jews and “heretics.” Many so-called “heretics” were actually ones who knew the Lord, and they were being persecuted by zealots who did not know Him.
What happens in religion is that one generation finds Jesus and lives for Him. The next generation learns His teaching by rote. The third generation does not really know it at all, but decides to use religion as a justification for holding on to temporal power. Such people launched the crusades and conducted the Inquisition. They were using religion, but they did not know Jesus. Wherever you find political power and worldly ambition using Christianity, you will often find the absence of New Testament truth. Then there may be sinful excesses done in the name of religion. Neither Jesus nor His teachings should be blamed for sinful excesses committed under cover of His name.
A controversy has arisen recently on this point because of a few well-known teachers who erroneously assert that Jesus Christ on the cross died not only physically but spiritually as well. They say that this shows how great His love for us is and how much power He released because He gave up so much for us. Well, that is an interesting thought, but it is an impossibility, a contradiction in terms. By definition, a spirit cannot die. A spirit is an immortal being.
Of course God cannot die either. If God died, the universe would fall apart. And Jesus is God. If the Spirit of Jesus died, then God Himself would have died, and the whole universe would have collapsed.
These teachers say that they mean by “death” a separation from God. According to them, in order for a person’s spirit to be redeemed, Jesus’ Spirit had to die. However, for Jesus to be separated from God, He would have had to be a sinner. But a sinner could not have been the “lamb without blemish and without spot” offered for the sins of the world (I Peter 1:19). If Jesus–the Son of God and second Person of the Trinity–were truly separated in spirit from the Father, then God Himself would be torn asunder and would cease to be–another impossibility.
The book of Hebrews states: “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come–in the volume of the book it is written of Me–to do Your will, O God.’ Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:5-10).
The Bible clearly states, “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It is His physical death in obedience to the will of the Father that sanctifies us. Jesus’ humanity, which knew no sin, tasted the horror of the sin of all humanity. He was offered as a sacrificial lamb before God to pay the price for all of our sins.
After his physical death and before His resurrection, Jesus’ Spirit descended into hell and preached to all those who were there, leading “captivity captive” (see I Peter 3:18-20). His Spirit was neither dead nor separated from God. Instead, He was continuing to please and serve the Father, as He is at this moment.
Who is Jesus, and why is it important for us to know? We live in an age of religious pluralism and moral relativism. The popular spiritual philosophy, especially after the events of September 11th, is that all religious belief systems, as long as heart-felt, are equal. Pick one and follow it sincerely, and you’ll get to Heaven. That’s what the world believes, but Jesus teaches otherwise. Therefore, we need to examine who Jesus is by looking at some of the questions people frequently ask about Him. The answers are found in the Bible, the historical evidence people have trusted for over 2000 years.
Who is Jesus? He Was 100% Man
According to John 1:14, Jesus became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Why is His humanity so important? In Hebrews 4:15, Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are. As such, Jesus can sympathize with our weakness as humans. What can we learn from the way Jesus handled temptation? According to 1 John 3:5, Jesus came to earth in human form so that He could die a physical death and take away our sins. How would we all be affected, if we had no potential for escape from our sins?
Jesus is the key to membership in God’s family. When He stooped to our level by becoming a man, He made it possible for us to relate to Him and for God to relate to us through Him.
Who is Jesus? He Was 100% God Who is Jesus, and how was it possible that Christ’s human body held the whole deity and glory of God?
According to John 1:1-3, Jesus existed from the beginning. From the beginning, Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. Here, the Bible establishes the inseparable nature of Jesus and the God of the Universe. The following verses provide further evidence that Jesus is 100% God:
Highlights of Christ’s Time on Earth & the verses:
· Miracles: Luke 7:22
· Eyewitnesses to His perfect life: Matthew 16:13-17
· Fulfillment of Prophecy: Matthew 13:14, Luke 24:44
· Jesus’ own identification/claim: John 10:30-38, Matthew 16:13-
17, Mark 14:61-64
· Claims of Christ’s followers: Hebrews 1:8, Colossians 1:16, John
12:40 (quoting Isaiah 6:1-10)
· Resurrection: Luke 24:39, Mark 8:31, Acts 17:32
Jesus is the key to membership in God’s family. When He established His deity by rising from the grave, He made it possible for us to have forgiveness from sin and a renewed relationship with God.
Who is Jesus? He is the Way to Heaven .
Who is Jesus, and why is He the only path to salvation?
In John 14:6, Jesus declares: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Why is it important to know that NO other religious leaders throughout history have ever made these claims? According to Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” How does this contrast with other world religions which are based on “works” versus faith in Jesus and the resurrection? If we can’t build a relationship with God by doing good deeds or repeating rituals, what must we do? Acts 4:12 is clear, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Who Wrote the Bible – A Letter from God
“Who wrote the Bible” is a question that is undoubtedly asked by many who are familiar with the impact this book has made on people around the world. The Bible gives guidance in our journey through life to eternity, as well as leads us to a relationship with the God of the universe. It is a historical book that is backed by archeology, and a prophetic book that has lived up to all of its claims thus far. In light of all these facts, asking, “who wrote the bible,” is a vital question that deserves serious investigation and a serious response. The Bible is God’s letter to humanity collected into 66 books written by 40 divinely inspired writers. These writers come from all walks of life (i.e., kings to fishermen) and spans over a period of 1,500 years or more. These claims may seem dramatic (or unrealistic to some), but a careful and honest study of the biblical scriptures will show them to be true.
Who Wrote the Bible – Evidence of Divine Inspiration
“Who wrote the Bible” is a question that can be definitively answered by examining the biblical texts in light of the external evidences that supports its claims. 2 Timothy 3:16 states that “All scripture is inspired by God….” In 2 Peter 1:20-21, Peter reminds the reader to “know this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, … but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” The Bible itself tells us that it is God who is the author of His book. God does not leave us with just claims of His divine handiwork in the Bible, but also supports it with compelling evidence. The design of the Bible itself is a miracle. Written over more than 1,500 years by vastly different writers, yet every book in the Bible is consistent in its message. These 66 books talk about history, prophecy, poetry, and theology. Despite their complexity, differences in writing styles and vast time periods, the books of the Bible agree miraculously well in theme, facts and cross-referencing. No human beings could have planned such an intricate combination of books over a 1,500-year time span. Bible manuscripts (remember, there were no printing presses until 1455) have survived despite weather, persecution and time. Most ancient writings written on weak materials like papyrus have vanished all together. Yet many copies of the Old Testament scriptures survived. For instance, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain all books of the Old Testament, except Esther, and have been dated to before the time of Christ. Consider Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars. Only ten copies written about 1,000 years after the event are in existence. In comparison, there are over 24,000+ New Testament manuscripts, the earliest one dating to within 24 years after Christ. The Bible also validates its divine authorship through fulfilled prophecies. An astonishing 668 prophecies have been fulfilled and none have ever been proven false (three are unconfirmed). An honest study of biblical prophecy will compellingly show the divine authorship of the Bible. Further, archeology confirms (or in some cases supports) accounts in the biblical record. No other holy book comes close to the Bible in the amount of evidence supporting its divine authorship.
Who Wrote the Bible – A Question of Eternal Significance ”Who Wrote the Bible” is indeed a question that everyone must ask. If indeed it is the Word of the living God, then no other book gives us more insight into our lives, more hope for our future, and a true path to a relationship with God. Search the Bible with openness and honesty and see for yourself what the Creator of the universe wants to tell you!
History of the Bible
The history of the Bible starts with a phenomenal account of history! It’s not one book like I always thought — It’s an ancient collection of writings, comprised of 66 separate books, written over approximately 1,600 years, by at least 40 distinct authors. The Old Testament contains 39 books written from approximately 1500 to 400 BC, and the New Testament contains 27 books written from approximately 40 to 90 AD. The Jewish Bible (Tanakh) is the same as the Christian Old Testament, except for its book arrangement. The original Old Testament was written mainly in Hebrew, with some Aramaic, while the original New Testament was written in common Greek.
The history of the “Bible” begins with the Jewish Scriptures. The historical record of the Jews was written down on leather scrolls and tablets over centuries, and the authors included kings, shepherds, prophets and other leaders. The first five books are called the Law, which were written and/or edited primarily by Moses in the early 1400’s BC. Thereafter, other scriptural texts were written and collected by the Jewish people during the next 1,000 years. About 450 BC, the Law and the other Jewish Scriptures were arranged by councils of rabbis (Jewish teachers), who then recognized the complete set as the inspired and sacred authority of God (Elohim). At some time during this period, the books of the Hebrew Bible were arranged by topic, including The Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nebiim), and the Writings (Ketubim). The first letters of these Hebrew words – T, N and K — form the name of the Hebrew Bible – the Tanakh. 1
Beginning as early as 250 BC, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek by Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt. This translation became known as the “Septuagint”, meaning 70, and referring to the tradition that 70 (probably 72) men comprised the translation team. It was during this process that the order of the books was changed to the order we have in today’s Bible: Historical (Genesis – Esther), poetic (Job – Song of Songs), and prophetic (Isaiah – Malachi). 2
Although the Jewish Scriptures were copied by hand, they were extremely accurate copy to copy. The Jews had a phenomenal system of scribes, who developed intricate and ritualistic methods for counting letters, words and paragraphs to insure that no copying errors were made. These scribes dedicated their entire lives to preserving the accuracy of the holy books. A single copy error would require the immediate destruction of the entire scroll. In fact, Jewish scribal tradition was maintained until the invention of the printing press in the mid-1400’s AD. As far as manuscript accuracy, the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has confirmed the remarkable reliability of this scribal system over thousands of years 3 (I’ll get back to the Dead Sea Scrolls later).
After approximately 400 years of scriptural silence, Jesus arrived on the scene in about 4 BC. Throughout his teaching, Jesus often quotes the Old Testament, declaring that he did not come to destroy the Jewish Scriptures, but to fulfill them. In the Book of Luke, Jesus proclaims to his disciples, “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 4
Starting in about 40 AD, and continuing to about 90 AD, the eye-witnesses to the life of Jesus, including Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude, wrote the Gospels, letters and books that became the Bible’s New Testament. These authors quote from 31 books of the Old Testament, and widely circulate their material so that by about 150 AD, early Christians were referring to the entire set of writings as the “New Covenant.” During the 200s AD, the original writings were translated from Greek into Latin, Coptic (Egypt) and Syriac (Syria), and widely disseminated as “inspired scripture” throughout the Roman Empire (and beyond). 5
In 397 AD, in an effort to protect the scriptures from various heresies and offshoot religious movements, the current 27 books of the New Testament were formally and finally confirmed and “canonized” in the Synod of Carthage. 6
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1 Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 25th ed., Zondervan Publishing House, 2000, 1071.
3 Various, Zondervan Handbook to the Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1999, 64-65.
4 Luke 24:44, The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.
5 F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? 5th rev. ed., Intervarsity Press, 1960, 21-28.
6 Ibid., 27.