Archive for July, 2021

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.

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.  The NT instructs Christians to fast (Matt 6:16-18, etc.); the OT gives us more information about when, why, and how long to fast.

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.