Genesis 1: Literal Days or Long Ages? by Greg Gwin

July 29, 2021

The ‘Day/Age’ Theory argues that each of the days in Genesis 1 were actually long ages of time. This, of course, is an attempt to harmonize Biblical teaching of a young earth with the false claims of some scientists who claim our earth and universe are billions of years old. Here are some simple affirmative arguments to prove that the days of creation in Genesis 1 were literal 24 hour days rather than long ages of time:

1) God defined His own terms in Genesis 1:5. “And God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” A period of light followed by a period of darkness constituted a day. Unless someone wants to argue that it stayed light for long periods and then stayed dark for long periods (which, of course, poses huge difficulties), we will have to stand upon this clear statement and conclude that the days really were literal 24 hour days. Furthermore, Genesis 1:14-18 mentions the sun and moon and stars, and says they were made to be “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” If we are to believe that the days were actually long ages of time, then what were the seasons and years?

2) Romans 1:20 says, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (NIV). This verse claims that someone has been here to see and understand God’s power ever since the creation of the world. This poses no problem to those of us who believe that man was created within the same actual week that everything else was created. But, those who want to believe that each day represents a long “age” have a problem. If man was created eons after the other elements of creation were formed, then this makes no sense. This line of reasoning is confirmed by Jesus’ own statement in Mark 10:6. “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” The day/age theory places man at the end of millions or billions of years of geologic time. It light of these verses, it cannot be true.

3) If the days were actually long “ages”, then we have the wrong chronological order of events. For instance, plants were created on day three, but insects were not created until day five or six. But many plants depend on insects for cross-pollination, etc. How did plants survive for long “ages” without their needed counterparts in the insect world? Other similar problems of chronological order exist that strongly argue against the day/age theory.

We know that this day/age theory is commonly held by many who teach the false doctrine of theistic evolution. It is not true, and is actually an unnecessary attempt to compromise the truths taught in the Bible with the unproven claims of some scientists. They teach that we live in an ancient universe, while in actuality we live in a relatively young universe that was created in six literal days by our omnipotent God.

hear Bible Crossfire Sunday nights at 8:04 central on SiriusXM radio Family Talk 131 or at BibleCrossfire.com

I Peter 3:21 Says Baptism Saves

July 22, 2021

When God said in I Peter 3:21 “baptism doth also now save us,” He meant what He said. We have to be baptized to be saved. I Peter 3:21 does not mean we merit our salvation by being baptized. First, that would contradict the “salvation is not by works” passages (like II Tim 1:9). And second, the blood of Christ is what actually earns our salvation. But I Peter 3:21 does mean we have to be baptized in order to be saved. The salvation provided for by the death of Christ is conditional, and God has a right to place any conditions on that salvation that He wants to, doesn’t He?

Some say baptism only saves figuratively because that word is found in the verse. But I Peter 3:21 does not say baptism is a figure. The figure is Noah and his family’s salvation thru water. Baptism is the real or antitype (defined by The Random House College Dictionary as “something that is foreshadowed by a type or symbol, as a NT event prefigured in the OT”). The following shows as much:

· NKJV translation – There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism

· New Testament in Modern Speech – And, corresponding to that figure, baptism now saves you

· Thayer defines the word as, “a thing resembling another, its counterpart; something in the Messianic times which answers to the type prefiguring it in the Old Testament, as baptism corresponds to the deluge.”

· Vincent’s Word Studies says it is to be read as “which, the antitype or as an antitype; i.e., which water, being the antitype of that water of the flood, doth now save you, even baptism.”

· Arndt and Gingrich’s Lexicon – Thus in I Peter 3:21 … means baptism, which is a fulfillment (of the type), now saves you, i.e., the saving of Noah from the flood is a …, or ‘foreshadowing’ …, and baptism corresponds to it.

· NIV – “and this water symbolized baptism that now saves you also” (baptism is not the symbol, but is what is being symbolized, the real).

If baptism is the type/figure, then the eight souls being saved thru water would have to be the antitype/real, which is absurd. The NASB translates the phrase, “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you.” That should be easy enough to understand.

The former is a figure of the latter in that both involve water and both involve a salvation. The first involves a physical salvation (from drowning) while the second involves a spiritual salvation (from sin). Notice the latter part of verse 21 lets us know water baptism does not provide physical cleansing (“not the putting away of the filth of the flesh”) but spiritual cleansing (“an appeal to God for a good conscience” – NASB).

Many have in effect changed the word “now” to “not” so the phrase would mean “baptism doth also not save us.” But isn’t that just like Satan adding “not” to God’s words telling Eve in Genesis 3:4 that if she ate of the forbidden fruit “Ye shall not surely die”? Throw off any preconceived ideas on every Bible subject and accept what the scriptural texts plainly say!

Proper Uses Of The Old Testament

July 15, 2021

Both Heb 7:12 and Gal 5:3 prove conclusively we are under the New Testament law (of Christ) exclusively. If one tries to bind any part of the OT law, he loses his salvation (Gal 5:4). But obviously there are still some proper uses for the OT law (Rom 15:4). Illustrations …

We don’t learn how to worship God today from Lev 10:1-2 (the NT never tells us to burn incense in worship), but we can learn from that story that if we don’t worship God the way He has specified today, God will be displeased.

The NT never tells us to touch or not to touch the ark of the covenant (most likely it has long since been destroyed … unless Indiana Jones finds it), but we can learn from I Chron 13:7-10 that if God tells us not to do something, we shouldn’t do it even if we think we are helping God’s cause by doing it.

John 3:14-15 compares our looking to Jesus on the cross for spiritual healing to the Israelites looking to the lifted up bronze serpent in the wilderness for physical healing, but how are we going to completely understand the analogy unless we are familiar with this Num 21:4-9 story?

Other examples: I Tim 2:9-10 tells us to dress modestly; the OT (like in Gen 3:7,10,21) helps define for us what modest is. I Tim 2:8 shows we should lift up holy hands in prayer; the OT tells us what that means. Revelation 20 talks about a 1000 year reign of Christ; the OT helps us to see 1000 is not usually used literally in the Bible, but mostly used to denote a large number. Jesus talks about the sign of Jonas in Matt 12:39-40; the OT book of Jonah helps us understand what Jesus is talking about there.

Should We Ever Follow Examples Found In Historical Narratives?

July 8, 2021

All believers I know of think we ought to follow Paul’s example found in Gal 2:20. All Christians should let Christ live in (through) them, not just Paul. And all believers also think we should emulate the good example of the Bereans in the “historical narrative” found in Acts 17:11. By calling the Bereans “noble” for checking what Paul preached against the scriptures, it is God’s way of telling us to do the same, to emulate their example; everyone can see this. So every believer thinks we should follow some New Testament examples; the only question is which ones?

Wouldn’t the same be true for the example found in the Acts 20:7 historical narrative? Isn’t God trying to show us how we should worship God today by telling us how true disciples worshipped God back then? And don’t the following passages actually command us to follow examples such as Acts 17:11 and 20:7?:

Phil 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

I Cor 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. (NKJV)

Phil 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. (NKJV)

II Thess 3:7,9 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us … Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us

I Cor 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (NKJV)

Heb 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (NKJV)

I Thess 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord

Are we free to disregard these commands from God?

Doesn’t loving and respecting God mean we should try to follow His word carefully (John 14:15)? So ask yourself this question: If we are following Acts 20:7 carefully, how often would the congregation want to come together for the Lord’s Supper / communion?

Back to Acts 17:11, have you ever noticed this approved example is not in a church assembly setting? Yet many Christians who insist we should follow this example are not consistent; they only think we need to follow the example in the church. But what about at weddings and funerals where the Bible is being taught? Shouldn’t we follow Acts 17:11 then also? If not, why not? Isn’t it our obligation to make sure what we are being taught from the Bible (anytime) actually matches up with the Bible (Matt 15:14)?

Mistakes We Can Make If We Forget The New Testament Was Written Several Decades After The Events Described Occurred

July 1, 2021

Sometimes we can misunderstand God’s word if we forget the New Testament was written several decades after the events described occurred. This concept is easily illustrated by Matt 10:1,4 “when he had called his twelve disciples … and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” It is obvious from other passages that Judas hadn’t already betrayed Jesus before his was called to be an apostle, but instead Judas had already committed his betrayal as of the time of the writing of the book of Matthew.

Some are confused by I Pet 4:6a reads “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead.” On the surface one might conclude from that verse the gospel is preached to people after they are dead giving them a second chance to accept it. But we know that is not true. II Cor 5:10 says a person is going to be judged by the “things done in his body,” meaning while he was alive. Rev 14:13 confirms this by saying “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,” meaning our eternal fate is sealed at our physical death. So what is I Pet 4:6 saying? The gospel was preached to those who are dead, but they weren’t dead when the gospel was preached to them; instead they are dead as of the time of the writing of the book of I Peter.

The same thing is true about I Pet 3:19 which reads “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” It is certainly true Christ preached to those in prison (hades?), but not while they were in hades. No, they were in prison as of the time of the writing. Verse 20 probably explains verse 19. Most likely the context is talking about Christ preaching through Noah to alive people while Noah was building the ark.

John 3:13 is sometimes used by detractors of the Bible because they assume the verse is saying Jesus was “in heaven” when the context clearly shows Jesus was on earth at the time. But the solution to this “apparent contradiction” is to remember the book of John was written several decades after Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in the first twelve verses. Verse 13 is not saying Jesus was in heaven when Jesus had that conversation (which would be inaccurate); instead it is saying Jesus was in heaven as of the time of the writing of the book of John, which was certainly true.

Many make a similar mistake regarding Gen 2:2-3 which says God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” That passage makes it clear God rested on the seventh day of creation, but the Seventh-Day Adventists assume God blessed and sanctified the Sabbath day at the time of this resting. But all we really know is that God blessed and sanctified the Sabbath Day by the time Moses wrote the book of Genesis hundreds of years later. And the past tense used in the last part of verse 3 seems to actually indicate that later timing, but that is generally ignored by present day Sabbath keepers.

One other related mistake that is sometimes made: Many preachers may put too much emphasis on what the New Testament books/letters would mean to those initially addressed. We certainly should take that into consideration (it meant something to them), but a mistake is made if we don’t also remember the books/letters were written with all Christians (for over 19 centuries now) in mind (it also means something to us). For example we all agree some of the teaching Jesus did while on earth was regarding Old Testament law, but some will say he only taught regarding Old Testament law, because that was the law in effect when He preached. But that ignores the fact the four gospels (recording His teaching) were written several decades after the described events occurred (when the New Testament was in effect). Knowing that, it only makes sense that much of what is recorded for us that Jesus taught would be regarding New Testament law, because that was the law in effect when the books/letter were written and distributed. Another example: we can tell from I Cor 5:9 that Paul evidently wrote to the Corinthians before his book of First Corinthians. But that previous letter is not part of the Bible, is it? So God deemed that letter only valuable for the Corinthians of that time, but what we call First and Second Corinthians He deemed valuable to Christians for all time, because he included them in the New Testament canon. So it is very important to remember that fact when studying First and Second Corinthians; they weren’t just written for the Corinthian church at that time, but written for every Christian every where for all time (I Cor 1:2). The same applies to all the other New Testament books.

The Freedom Spoken Of In Galatians

June 23, 2021

The freedom spoken of in the book of Galatians is not a freedom from obeying any law but a freedom from obeying the law of Moses. Notice the law being talked about came 430 years after the promise to Abraham (3:17). That would be the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Allegory in 4:21-31 shows we are to “cast out” the “mount Sinai …. Covenant” (represented by Hagar), but now we are under the new covenant (the one represented by Sarah). So there is a new covenant/agreement, meaning God will bless us with salvation if we obey His new law.

You can tell this from Gal 5:19-21 which states those guilty of the “works of the flesh … shall not not inherit the kingdom of God.” So God expects our obedience to His NT laws just as much as he expected obedience to His OT laws back then. Gal 5:6 underscores this point when it says “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” So OT requirements like circumcision no longer avail, but a faith which WORKS by love does avail. Working, i.e. obeying NT instructions, still avails – if based upon faith and motivated by love.

We see this same idea in I Cor 7:19 “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” It is not that being careful in keeping God’s commandments is no longer important; instead it is that keeping God’s OT commandments is no longer important; that is the point of the book of Galatians. It is true God’s NT law provides less detailed requirements than His OT law, but we must be diligent to submit to the details that do exist in our law for today (Heb 11:6c). As a matter of fact, in many ways the NT requires a stricter adherence than the OT law (Matt 5:20-48).

Heb 5:9 is a NT passage and it reads “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Obey what? NT instructions, not OT instructions. The book of Hebrews tells us the NT is a much better law. But that doesn’t mean we needn’t be as careful to obey it as Israel was supposed to be careful to obey their law. Not in the least. Rev 22:14 reads “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

The book of Galatians is dealing with the same problem the debate in Acts 15 dealt with. Jewish converts were saying to Gentile converts “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (verse 1). Verse 5 puts it this way – “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” So the false teaching was not that God must be obeyed; the false teaching was that the law of Moses must be obeyed. Obedience was still considered very important (verse 29), just obedience to the “law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).

Are Faith And Repentance Two Sides Of The Same Coin?

June 17, 2021

In the debate about whether water baptism is necessary to salvation, many quote passages like John 3:16 that mention faith as being necessary without mentioning baptism. They say that proves one is saved at the point of faith before and without water baptism. But if that argument were true, wouldn’t that mean repenting of sins is not necessary to salvation, as repentance is not mentioned in John 3:16 either? And what about a number of passages like Acts 11:18 that teach repentance as being necessary to salvation without mentioning faith? Wouldn’t they by the same logic prove faith is not necessary to salvation?

One Baptist answer to this dilemma is they say “faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin.” If that is true, why then are the two listed separately many times, such as in Heb 6:1 “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God”? And if faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin, please consider Acts 3:19a (“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”). That view would mean one’s sins are blotted out at the point of repentance/faith without even being converted, but the verse very clearly makes conversion after repentance necessary to one’s sins being blotted out; am I right?

Must Baptism Be Done “For The Remission Of Sins” To Be Scriptural?

June 10, 2021

We see from many passages that baptism is essential to salvation, for example Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Gal 3:26-27, and I Pet 3:20-21. Look those up and see for yourself.

And when you look up Acts 2:38, you will see it states “for the remission of sins” as the reason to be baptized. Sometimes the Bible (God) tells us to do things without telling us why. In those cases we must be willing to trust God and obey Him even if we don’t understand why or even agree with the why. But if God tells us why (the reason) we should do something, then we should do it for that reason. Let me illustrate: If one can see from Matt 19:9 that a divorce is unscriptural (unapproved of by God) if it is not done for the specified reason (“for fornication”), then by the same logic one ought to be able to see from Acts 2:38 that a baptism is unscriptural (unapproved of by God) if it is not done for the specified reason (“for the remission of sins”). See the parallel? If one can see the former, why not the latter?

Just a cursory reading of I Cor 13:3 and Matt 6:1,5,16 would tell us that if we are doing what God said, but for the wrong reason or motive, then we are not really obeying God. Doing something that just happens to coincide with God’s command, but for our own reasons, is not really submitting to God’s will, is it? That would be going about to establish our own righteousness, instead of submitting to the righteousness of God (Rom 10:3), right?

Now let’s move back to the topic of water baptism and the reason the Bible gives for why we should do it. The wording of Acts 2:38 (“Repent and be baptized … for the remission of sins”) not only proves baptism is essential to the forgiveness of sins, but it also specifies the reason a person should be baptized. Baptizing as “an outward sign of an inward grace” (meaning, to show you are already saved) is no more scriptural baptism than young children playing baptism while they are out swimming.

I was immersed/baptized when I was 10 years old, but when I learned baptism must be “for the remission of sins,” I was baptized again at the age of 20 – this time for the right reason. So even though I thought I was saved between 10 and 20, I really wasn’t. I had never really obeyed Acts 2:38 for the reason given. Have you ever been baptized for the remission of sins?

Baptism is to be done “for the remission of sins,” at least according to God it is. If you’ve been baptized, but not “for the remission of sins,” then you’ve never really received the remission of sins. You need to be rebaptized, just like the disciples in Acts 19:1-5 were rebaptized, just for a different reason. You have to be baptized for the right reason to achieve God’s intended results. Peter would exhort you to “be baptized … for the remission of sins.”

Water Baptism Is Essential To Salvation

June 3, 2021

On Bible Crossfire on April 17, 2016 we were discussing the fact that Doctrine is important and a listener called in to question the Bible truth that we have to be baptized to be saved.

The Bible does teach a person must be baptized in water to be saved. To see this is so, let’s simply look at what the passages that tell us the purpose of baptism actually say. Doesn’t that seem fair?

Mark 16:16

Mark 16:16 reads, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” This verse teaches baptism is necessary to salvation just like the sentence, “He that eateth and digesteth his food shall live, but he that does not eat shall die” teaches one must digest his food in order to live physically. The little word “and” shows it takes both belief and baptism to receive salvation from sin. Some say the second part of Mark 16:16 doesn’t mention baptism, and therefore baptism must not be necessary. But there was no need to mention baptism in the second part; if a person doesn’t believe, he is not qualified to be baptized anyway.

John 3:5

John 3:5 says “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Water baptism is the only thing of spiritual significance in the New Testament that involves water. Rom 6:4,6 shows we begin our “walk in newness of life” and “our old man is crucified” (phrases analogous to the new birth) at the point of our baptism in water. So John 3:5 must be talking about water baptism, and therefore teaches unless one is baptized in water “he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

Acts 2:38

Acts 2:38 reads, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” So both the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon repentance and baptism. The primary meaning of the Greek word translated “for” in this verse (“eis”) is “into.” A quick glance at a Greek concordance will demonstrate that this word is translated the vast majority of time into words such as “into,” “unto,” and “to,” indicating direction towards something. So this passage teaches baptism is in the direction toward the remission (forgiveness) of sins. That then proves baptism is necessary to the forgiveness of one’s sins.

Acts 22:16

In Acts 22:16, we read, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” So Acts 22:16 shows the washing away of sins (by the blood of Christ, Rev 1:5) is dependent upon baptism. Another thing it shows is that Paul’s sins were not forgiven at the point of his initial faith on the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9:5-6, but instead they were forgiven at the time of his baptism. Salvation by “faith only” is therefore disproven.

I Peter 3:21

I Peter 3:21 reads, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This verse argues that the physical salvation of eight souls through water prefigures our spiritual salvation by water baptism. It does not teach baptism is the earning basis for our salvation (the death of Christ is the basis), but it does teach our salvation is conditioned upon baptism. The verse plainly says “baptism doth also now save us.” What do we have to gain by arguing against it?

Galatians 3:26-27

Gal 3:26-27 reads “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The word “For” that begins verse 27 means “to introduce the reason.” Therefore Gal 3:27 shows the reason the Galatians were “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” is that “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” So you can’t become a child of God by faith without being baptized.

Colossians 2:11-13

In Col 2:11-13 we can read the phrases, “in putting off … the sins … Buried with him in baptism … having forgiven you all trespasses.” So both verses 11 and 13 are talking about the forgiveness of sins, and right in the middle of that, verse 12 then is obviously telling us when that forgiveness of sins takes place (at baptism), or else Paul changed the subject from verse 11 to verse 12, and then back again in verse 13. So Col 2:11-13 taken in context is another passage proving the forgiveness of sins occurs when one is baptized.

I Corinthians 1:12-13

Another passage that proves baptism is necessary for salvation is I Cor 1:12-13. Paul teaches here that for a person to be “of Paul,” Paul would have had to have been crucified for him, and that person would have had to have been baptized in the name of Paul. This implies that for a person to be “of Christ” (that is, to be a Christian), Christ would have had to have been crucified for him, and that person would have had to have been baptized in the name of Christ. There is simply no way around this. I Cor 1:12-13 proves that to be of Christ, to be a Christian, one must be baptized in the name of Christ.

Conclusion

We understand that Jesus died for all, but not all are going to be saved. Most recognize those that are going to be saved are those that qualify themselves by meeting the conditions of salvation laid down by Christ. We have just proven submitting to water baptism is one of those essential conditions to be met, just like faith and repentance are.

It May Have Been Good In The Strict Old World, But Not In 2021

May 27, 2021

A guy I study with wrote to me via email on 5-13-21 about Matt 19:9 “It may have been good in the strict old world, but not in 2021.” I suspect a lot of the false “Bible teaching” out there on Divorce And Remarriage is because of the attitude expressed by that quote. Matt 19:9 is not really that hard to understand, but many (even in churches) don’t follow it because what it enjoins “may have been good in the strict old world, but not in 2021.” I suspect the same attitude affects many other issues …

I know it does the gay marriage issue. A religious tract (I picked up at a gay church) justified Homosexuality by saying “These are just a few of the biblical views that are totally different from the way we see things today.” I think deep down the gay church knows what the Bible says about homosexuality, but many of them think that teaching “may have been good in the strict old world, but not in 2021.”

And I am pretty sure this approach is behind a lot of congregations that now allow women to preach in the church service (I Cor 14:34-35) when no way they would have 100 years back. Has this attitude also affected Christians on the modest dress issue (I Tim 2:9-10, Gen 3:7,21, Matt 5:28)? What about Tit 2:5 and mothers working outside the home? Perhaps also the Bible’s covering / long hair teachings (I Cor 11:2-16)? I wonder just how many other issues this ideology has influenced?

The Bible was not meant to regulate or dictate cultural matters:

· Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles “into all truth” (John 16:13), not etiquette.

· I Cor 14:37 says “the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord,” not suggestions because of culture.

· The New Testament wasn’t intended for just the 1st century; instead, it was written to apply throughout the rest of earth history (I Peter 1:25 – “the word of the Lord endureth for ever”).

hear Bible Crossfire Sunday nights at 8:04 central on SiriusXM radio Family Talk 131 or at BibleCrossfire.com