Sunday, April 19, 2009


Is Artificial Insemination OK?

Q. Much, much praise for your invaluable website.

What are your thoughts on sperm donors? If a woman’s husband is infertile, could she be inseminated with a donor’s sperm? I’m thinking that it’s not necessarily sinful because the act of sex is not actually involved…also, what about an unmarried woman who decides she wants to have a child on her own and gets inseminated? It’s the sperm of someone she’s not married to, but sex isn’t involved.

A. The Lord delegated the process of procreation to married couples only . One purpose was for them to multiply and fill the Earth. Later another was added and that was to maintain the chain of inheritance for the land. In this second instance He made provision for a woman to produce a male heir even if her husband died prematurely. The dead husband’s brother married her to father a child with his former sister-in-law. Their child became the dead husband’s heir. (Deut. 25:5-6)

There are also cases of surrogate motherhood, such as Hagar for Sarah (Genesis 16:3-4), and Rachael’s hand maiden Bilhah for her. (Genesis 30:3) Both of these involved plural marriage.

The point is that God allowed this for the purpose of building a family within a marriage. I don’t see any difference between that and artificial insemination for a married couple. But I think a single person is a different story. God always intended for children to have both mother and father.


Tithing & Giving

Giving To Get?

Q. At our church, Malachi 3: v10 is often quoted when they talk about giving. If they would just say that you are to give 10% and let it go, I would be ok, but they quote Mal. 3: v10 and say test God and see if the floodgates will not be opened. I think I have tested God and in my opinion the floodgates have not been opened. I understand that you are supposed to give out of grattitude of what God has done for you and not because of what you will get from God. My question is, why do churches use Mal. 3 v10 as a tool for encouraging people to give?

A. I agree with you that if not used properly, Malachi 3:10 puts the emphasis on what we’ll get in return for our giving, which is wrong. I think Luke 6:38 is a much better example. Our generosity toward others affects the Lord’s generosity toward us. I really like Proverbs 11:24 too.

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

Any time we find ourselves giving with an expectation of return we spoil the process. Giving has to be done solely out of gratitude for what we’ve already received.

First Fruit Giving

Q. I just heard of first fruit giving, I don’t mind giving and even giving as a first fruit giving, just don’t know enough about the subject and would like to know more about it. Can it still be used for today in a biblical principle? Will God honor it like in the old testament times? Is it wrong?

A. First fruit giving is really tithing, since in Old Testament times the tithe was given off the top, not out of the remains. Yes I believe that God still honors this kind of giving, but only when done in a spirit of gratitude. Luke 6:38 provides the confirmation for this.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Many New Testament Christians oppose tithing as being legalistic, but I’ve found that by and large they’re the ones who’ve never done it. No one who has experienced the blessings associated with tithing would ever think of giving it up. The enduring principle of tithing is found in Proverbs 11:24.

“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.”

Another Question On Tithing

Q. I’m confused when it comes to a church and tithing. We are being preached to on tithing (giving our 10% to the church) as if its something that will qualify us for eternity. You get such teaching even from TV. I’m having confusion when my thanks giving to God would be limited to 10% to the church (according to the preaching we often get in our area) hence I’m inquiring this from you.

Please explain it to me. Do I have to give tithing (10%) strictly to my church as a thanks giving to God or its fine if I give generously and exceedingly to the destitute. I ask this because I hear preachings all over about tithing to your church but not enough clarity is given to the relationship between generous giving to the impoverished and tithing (10%) to your church. Secondly, please tell me if its fine for me to give generously to the houses of impoverished on monthly basis (or as often as I can) rather than limiting my giving to 10% tithing?

A. Local churches have historically laid claim to the tithes of their members, but there’s no Biblical requirement for this. In Old Testament times there was only one religious organization, so the tithes of the whole nation went there. Today there are many, so we’re encouraged to support the places where our needs are being met. If this is the local church, then that’s good. But in cases where it’s not, or when we want to give above and beyond our contribution to our church, we’re free to support the Lord’s work in other ways as the Spirit leads us.



Can God Forgive Me?

Q. I have a question about my salvation. I will try to keep it short. About four years ago our son died after a long illness. This was the hardest thing I have ever been through. I felt so abandoned by God that for months I lashed out and I even called him names and vowed to become an atheist.

Today I am finally starting to deal with my sons death and I also feel so ashamed that I lashed out at my Lord for turning on him the way I did, I feel he could never forgive me for such an act. Daily I am trying to get closer to God. So what I am asking is can I be forgiven for the way I treated him? I need to know because it is a tormenting feeling to be separated from God.

A. It’s important to remember that God knows the end from the beginning, so your reaction to your son’s death was not a surprise to Him. And since He knew all this before He agreed to save you, He had already forgiven you and neither this nor anything else you can do will cause him to change His mind. There are several Scripture passages that confirm this. Here’s a good one.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” You’ve remained saved through out this ordeal. To restore your relationship with God, confess your sin of anger and you’ll be immediately forgiven. It will be like it never happened.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

God's Wife and Bride!

The Adulterous Wife And The Virgin Bride

Q. Thanks for the opportunity to ask you this question. I was raised a Baptist, and after age 30 I changed to Assembly of God.

I know a Bible teacher there who holds a meeting once a week and I am very concerned about this doctrine he teaches. He says that God has a wife, and that wife is the old testament Jews. Next, he says that Christ has a separate Bride.

I have never heard this before and I am sure it is wrong. This particular “doctrine” would change the whole bible!! Can this teacher actually be a Christian? Should I attend his meetings anymore?

A. I don’t know how this teacher presented his view, but in the Old Testament, God called Israel His adulterous wife (as in Ezekiel 16:32), and in the New Testament, the church is called the virgin bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). These are terms that symbolize the difference between the Law and Grace. God often described Israel’s disobedience as spiritual infidelity, especially when it involved idolatry. To Him worshiping idols is like cheating on Him.

But when Jesus went to the cross He took all of our sins with Him washed us clean with His blood. Now He sees the Church as if we’ve never sinned at all, as if we’re as pure as He is. If the truth be told we’re no better than Israel, because we worship things other than God, too. Instead of statues, we worship money or material possessions or other things of this world. So it’s God’s view of us that’s different, and that happened because of what He did for us, not because of anything we’ve done for Him.


Boaz and Ruth

Boaz And Ruth

Q. My question is concerning something in the book of Ruth. It became apparent when I was studying that Elimelech left the promised land for Moab which was not in good standing with Israel. Then, his two sons marry Moabites which was even worse. I know this is an obvious example of how when we fail to put our faith in the Lord and his promises we can end up in trouble. However, after Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem, we see Boaz end up marrying Ruth. Why would Boaz marry a Moabite? Was it still considered wrong for Boaz to do this?

That brings me to another issue about their children being allowed to enter into the assembly. Doesn’t Deuteronomy say that their decendants (Moabites) never enter in? I know it says to the tenth, but then it says never. Is this a translation issue? Because David is in the line of Ruth and we know he entered in. Any insight you might be able to lend would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your efforts and God bless.

A. This is a complex legal issue. In Ruth 2:20 Naomi identifies Boaz as a kinsman redeemer. That means he was Elimelech’s brother. When Elimeleh died, his land was inherited by his oldest son Killion, who then died making his younger brother Mahlon the heir. When Mahlon, who was Ruth’s husband, also died he was childless. Now there was no one to inherit Naomi’s land, because a woman couldn’t inherit. To further complicate things, there was was a debt attached to the property as well.

In Leviticus 25:25 we read that when an Israelite lost his property because of debt, it was the responsibility of a close relative to pay off the debt and redeem the land so it wouldn’t pass out of the family. That relative was called the kinsman redeemer. In Naomi’s case this was Boaz.

And when a man died childless, his nearest relative was supposed to take the widow as his own wife and have a son with her so the son could inherit the dead husband’s land (Lev. 25:5-6). This was called the law of leverite marriage. Mahlon’s nearest relative was also Boaz. (Boaz had an older brother who should have done this but he backed out.)

So Boaz accepted a double duty to preserve the land. 1. Pay off the debt on Naomi’s behalf and redeem it, and 2. marry Ruth and produce a son to preserve the chain of inheritance for Ruth’s dead husband Mahlon. This is summarized in the declaration Boaz made in Ruth 4:9.

The story of Ruth also makes a fascinating model of our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus. Let Naomi represent Israel, Ruth the Church, and Boaz the Lord. Having come to redeem Israel, the Lord took a gentile bride, the Church, and in the process saved the inheritance of both.

As to the issue of Moabites entering the temple, since inheritance was through the male side (sons of Jews were considered Jews) and since Ruth converted to Judaism (Ruth 1:16-17) the issue was moot, and Ruth became one of three named women in the Lord’s genealogy. (Bathsheba is also there but is not named.)

Ruth’s Story

Like several other biblical events, it’s a true story that can also be viewed allegorically. Here’s how it happened.

Note: Understanding the end so strongly requires familiarity with the beginning that we’re posting the Ruth Story in its entirety this week. In the process we’ve also written some additional context into Part 1.

Part 1

Chapter 1

The story I’m about to tell you is true. All of its characters are real people who really did the things I’ll describe. I mention this at the outset because over the generations my story has so clearly predicted the relationships between Israel, the Church, and the Messiah that many who study it forget that it really happened. That fact that my story was once included among the books of the Prophets of Israel and even today is read in synagogues around the world on Pentecost has added to its mystique. Like several other biblical events, it’s a true story that can also be viewed allegorically. Here’s how it happened.

I was a Princess, the great grand daughter of King Eglon of Moab (Jordan to you) when Elimelech, Naomi and their 2 sons moved across the river from Israel into our country. Elimelech had been the Mayor of Bethlehem, a small town in southern Israel when a protracted famine there forced them to move. It was just a couple of days walk from Israel to Moab but our country wasn’t suffering food shortages the way they were. I heard that their God was disciplining them for their disobedience.

At first they thought their visit to Moab would be a short one, but when Elimelech died and then Kilion and Mahlon, their 2 sons, both married Moabite women (I was one of them, my friend Orpah was the other) it seemed they were here to stay.

10 years after they first came to live among us, both of Naomi’s sons also died leaving Naomi, Orpah, and me all widows. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but in my day widows had no standing in the community and were totally dependent upon the good will of their families and friends for survival. In Israel it was the duty of the priests to look after widows and orphans (Deut. 14:28-29), but there was no such provision in Moab. So Naomi decided to move back to Bethlehem, where the famine had ended, and hope for the best. She encouraged Orpah and me to find new husbands among the Moabite men to care for us since we were still young enough to do so.

After much discussion and shedding of tears, Orpah agreed to return to her family home and look for a new husband but having come to know the God of Israel I through Naomi just couldn’t bear to leave her. “Where you go I will go,” I told her, “And where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” So I went with Naomi to Bethlehem.

We arrived in Bethlehem, two rag-tag penniless widows, just as the barley harvest was beginning. Several people recognized her, saying, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she lamented, “Call me Mara. For the Almighty has made my life bitter. I went away full but have returned empty.” (Naomi means pleasant in Hebrew, while Mara means bitter.) On that sad note Naomi had returned home.

Chapter Two

Remember I told you Naomi’s husband had been prominent in Bethlehem. It seems he had brothers who had remained there through the famine, and one of them had survived the hard times and recovered very nicely. His name was Boaz. He and his brothers were the sons of Rahab, the woman from Jericho who Joshua had rescued when the Israelites conquered that city years earlier. Boaz was a man of standing among the elders of Bethlehem, with fields of barley ready for harvest.

One of the ways in which the indigent were provided for in Israel was to leave the corners of the fields untouched as the harvesters went through reaping the grain (Lev. 19:9). These triangular corner patches, plus any other areas the harvesters missed on their single pass through the fields (they were also forbidden from making a second pass) were left for widows and orphans like Naomi and me to harvest for ourselves. So the day after we arrived I went into the fields to get us some food.

As it happened (the Rabbis say that coincidence is not a kosher word) I wound up in the fields of Boaz, and being a young and attractive woman I soon came to his notice. When he learned that I had just arrived with Naomi, he called me over instructing me to watch his servant girls and learn from them. He told me to glean only from his fields where he had ordered the harvesters not to bother me. Then he offered me a drink of water from the supply he had brought for his workers.

Not yet knowing who he was, I asked how I had found such favor with him. He said he had heard of my kindness toward Naomi and was repaying my acts of kindness with some of his own. Then he blessed me, as was the custom of the day, and at mealtime gave me some lunch. Later I learned that he even told his reapers to miss some sheaves on purpose so I’d have more to harvest for Naomi and me. That night I brought home so much grain that Naomi couldn’t help wonder whose fields I ‘d been working in. When I told her it was Boaz she began praising both the Lord and him, telling me that he was not only a relative, but one of our kinsman redeemers as well.

This was another Jewish provision that was new to me. In Israel if a man has a debt he can’t pay and has to sell his property, his next of kin is responsible to redeem it for him, hence the term kinsman redeemer (Lev 25:25). This way the property given to each family when they first came into the Promised Land remains in the family. Since Boaz was one of Elimelech’s brothers, he was a kinsman redeemer for Naomi, responsible for helping her in her time of need.

But there was another even stranger law involving the kinsman redeemer that would benefit us, and when Naomi told me about that one I nearly passed out. Also designed to help preserve the chain of inheritance, it’s called the Leverite Marriage Law and goes like this. If a married man dies without bearing children, his brother is supposed to marry the widow and make her pregnant, in effect giving the dead brother an heir (Deut. 25:5-6). If there isn’t a brother then the responsibility falls to the deceased’s father or HIS brother. It wasn’t mandatory to do this but it was a family disgrace to refuse. In both cases then, the kinsman redeemer had to be qualified, (only a next of kin was acceptable) capable (he had to have the means), and willing (it was his choice) to perform his obligation.

Since my husband, his brother and his father had all died leaving no children behind to inherit the family land, it appeared that Boaz, as my husband’s close relative, also had responsibilities to me under the Leverite Marriage law. Even though I’m not Jewish, their laws also applied to gentiles living among them, especially those who had married Jewish men. The idea of marrying a prominent man like Boaz appealed to me, and he had obviously found me attractive as well.

Wow! One day I’m a destitute widow in mourning, a stranger in a strange country. The next I’m considering the possibilities of becoming the wife of a wealthy landowner. Things were definitely getting interesting.

Part 2

Chapter 3

Since my time of mourning for my dead husband was at an end, Naomi helped me get bathed, perfumed and dressed in my best clothing. She convinced me to visit Boaz at the threshing floor where he was staying during the harvest to help guard his grain against theft, but cautioned me to stay hidden until he had finished eating and drinking and had fallen asleep. Then I was to uncover his feet and lie down near him. In the middle of the night when his uncovered feet got cold he would wake up and see me. Naomi told me what to ask of him then, and said I should do whatever he said. This way no one else would see me there.

It happened just as she had planned, and when Boaz woke up he was startled to find a woman there watching him. “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant, Ruth,” I replied, “And since you are a kinsman redeemer, spread the corner of your garment over me.” I meant nothing improper by this. Spreading his garment over me was to symbolize that he was taking me under his protection according to the provisions of the Leverite Marriage law. .

By now he was shocked and not a little flattered. He said that my kindness was overwhelming, implying that someone of my young age and beauty could have my pick of suitors, and that in choosing him I had paid him great honor. But there was a slight problem. The law required the closest relative to act as kinsman redeemer. Another brother was actually a closed kinsman and therefore responsible to redeem us. This brother had to refuse and thereby disgrace himself before Boaz could become our kinsman redeemer.

Early in the morning, after assuring me that he would do all he could, Boaz sent me home with more grain. When Naomi saw the grain, she knew that Boaz was still looking out for us and would not rest until he had settled the matter once and for all.

Chapter 4

Meanwhile Boaz went to the center of town and waited until the closer kinsman passed by. Gathering 10 of the elders together in an impromptu court, Boaz explained to his brother the nature of the problem and asked him to redeem Naomi’s land by paying her debts. When the brother agreed, Boaz informed him that in doing so, he also had to marry me to maintain my dead husband’s estate. (Women normally couldn’t inherit land in Israel so my husband was Elimelech’s legal heir, not Naomi. Since he died childless, there was no heir for the family land even after it was redeemed. The Leverite Marriage provisions were also required, and that’s why the kinsman redeemer had to marry me.) When Boaz told him that, the brother declined, saying it would endanger his own estate.

Immediately Boaz informed the elders that he himself would redeem Naomi’s land and marry me. And so it was. That very day I became his wife and not long afterward I conceived and bore him a son, who would become my dead husband’s heir and preserve the property of Elimelech and Naomi according to the law. We named our son Obed, and when he grew up he became the father of Jesse who became the father of King David. When King David’s son Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, he named one of the two bronze pillars at its entrance after his great-great grandfather Boaz.

28 generations later because Joshua had saved Rahab and her son Boaz had married me making Bethlehem the birth place of King David and requiring Joseph and Mary to journey there to be counted in a Roman census, our fields were visited by a host of heavenly angels announcing the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds gathered there. And now when you review the Messiah’s genealogy, you’ll find my name there along with four other women, Rahab, my husband’s mother, Tamar mother of Perez, Bathsheba mother of King Solomon, and Mary mother of our Lord (Matt 1:1-16), the only women so honored.

Explain The Allegory, Please

First let’s summarize the story. As a consequence of national disobedience, Naomi was driven from her home to dwell among the Moabites. Because of that disobedience, I eventually came to know the God of Israel. Though Naomi had left her home full, she later returned empty alone and impoverished, her only companion me, a gentile who had been grafted into her family through marriage. After I was introduced to him by an unnamed servant, Boaz gave me gifts, blessed me, relieved my thirst and fed me, though I had done nothing to prosper him. Naomi also benefited from the blessings I received from Boaz, her kinsman redeemer. And in the process of paying Naomi’s debts and redeeming her land, Boaz took me, a gentile, as his bride and our descendants became kings.

Now put Israel in the place of Naomi, the Church in place of me, and our Messiah in place of Boaz and read the summary again. As a consequence of national disobedience, Israel was driven from her land to dwell among the Gentiles. Because of that disobedience, the gentiles came to know the God of Israel. Though Israel had left the land full, she later returned empty, alone and impoverished, her only spiritual companion the gentile church who had been grafted into her family through marriage. After the Church is introduced to the Messiah by the Holy Spirit Who remains unnamed, He gives her gifts, blesses her, relieves her thirst and feeds her, though she has done nothing to prosper Him. Israel also benefits from the blessings the Church receives from the Messiah, her kinsman redeemer. And in the process of paying Israel’s debts and redeeming her land, the Messiah takes the Church, a gentile, as His bride and their descendants become kings.

What About The Closer Kinsman?

Some say he represents Adam, unable to redeem the land he lost to Satan (Planet Earth) and restore the inheritance of his progeny. Adam was created in God’s image but after the fall all his descendants were made in Adam’s image, inheriting his sin nature, making Adam our closer kinsman. Others say he represents organized religion, similarly impotent. In either case you can see the problem. Adam would probably be willing to save us, but infected with sin himself, he can’t meet the standard. After all God’s law requires the shedding of innocent blood to redeem what sinful man has lost and restore our inheritance. And organized religion even with all its systems of “righteous” works simply cannot redeem anyone, being neither kinsman nor innocent. And therein lies the dilemma. There just wasn’t an innocent man to be found, for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. To resolve this dilemma without breaking His own laws, God Himself had to become man, born of a woman and therefore kin to mankind. Then He had to offer His own blood, since only He is sinless.

But there’s something here that should cause you to really stop and think. You can see God having the capability of becoming man to redeem mankind and of course being God, He’s sinless and has the means to redeem us. But remember, it was the kinsman redeemer’s choice. He could refuse. Our God had the DESIRE to save us. He was WILLING to exchange His life for ours. For God so LOVED us that He gave His only Son, that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Through faith in the Son, we become children of the Father and inherit eternal life.

No wonder my story has been called The Romance of Redemption.



How Did Rahab Escape?

Q. Just like many others, I feel inclined to start this e-mail by thanking you for your ministry and for your dedication to digging deeper and helping others come to a better understanding of the Lord and His Word. Also, thanks for the answers you’ve provided to the questions I’ve already asked you; they were quite helpful.

The thing that has me thoroughly confused today is Rahab’s house, described in Joshua 2:15, which says “Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall.”

You can probably see where this question is going. How did the Israelites spare the lives of Rahab and her family if they were inside of a house on top of a wall that collapsed right before the city was defeated?

A. Joshua 6:17 says that of the whole city only Rahab and her family would be spared, and in 6:22 we read that Joshua sent the same 2 spies she had saved into the city to rescue them just after the wall collapsed. While the Bible doesn’t say this I can imagine the dust settling around the only the part of the wall still standing; the part with Rahab’s house in it.

The Parents Of Boaz

Q. What is your take on Rahab the harlot of the book of Joshua being a different person than the Rahab of Matthew that married Salmon? According to R.K.Phillips, they are two distinctly different individuals. He backs his statement up using the Hebrew, and the Greek Septuagint, and the Greek of The New Testament. I have always heard they were one in the same. But there is a large gap of time that has never been accounted for. Please give me your take on this subject.

A. In Matt. 1:5 you’ll find Rahab listed as the mother of Boaz. There it says that Rahab’s husband was Salmon. He is listed as Boaz’ father in Ruth 4:21 confirming that it’s the same person. I see no reason to doubt that the Rahab from Joshua is the woman listed in the Lord’s Genealogy.

The Parents Of Boaz, Follow-Up

Q. Three sources I have looked at place the beginning of the conquest of Canaan as about 1400-1406 B.C. They also place the date of Ruth as being in the latter part of the judges. One says 1000 and two others say 1100B.C. That would give 300 to 400 years between the time Rahab was taken out of Jericho and the life of Ruth and Boaz. What am I missing?

A. The 1400BC date you’re using is by no means universally accepted. Many scholars place it closer to 1200BC. The fact is that the exact date of the of the conquest is not known. And using the 1000-1100 date for Ruth is wrong too, since records show that David was the King of Israel by 1005 BC, and he was the 4th generation down from Boaz, the 5th from Rahab. Allowing the Biblical average of 40 years per generation would place Rahab in the 1200BC time frame consistent with the later date for the conquest.

The Gospel in Joshua… The Story of Rahab

It’s not what you know but who you know that matters.

The similarities between the Books of Joshua and Revelation are striking. In fact some call Joshua a model for Revelation, especially where it describes the battle of Beth Horon in chapter 10. The Israelites were confronted by a coalition of 5 Amorite kings led by someone who called himself Adoni-zedek, or Lord of Righteousness (a model of the anti-christ?). There were signs in the sun and moon as in Rev. 6:12, 8:12, and 16:8-11, and large hailstones fell from the sky as in Rev. 8:7 and 16:21. The 5 Amorite kings hid in caves for fear of the Israelites just as in Rev 6:15 the kings of the earth will hide in caves for fear of the wrath of the Lamb. At the end of Joshua, the land is dispossessed of its usurpers, at the end of Revelation the earth is dispossessed of its usurpers and as I indicated last time, the name Joshua is derived from the same Hebrew root as Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus. But to me the most dramatic similarity is hidden in the story of Rahab. Hence the title of this article.

The Gospel in Joshua

As the Israelites gathered along the east bank of the flooded and swollen Jordan, they were closely watched by the people of Jericho, only a few hundred yards from the river’s western shore. They had heard how the Lord had parted the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape the Egyptian army, and how He had helped them to utterly defeat the 2 Amorite kings east of the Jordan. In Rahab’s own words, “When we heard of it our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and earth below.” (Josh 2:11). Then the people of Jericho stood aghast as the God of Israel stopped the flow of the raging river, allowing them to cross on dry ground.

When Joshua sent 2 spies into Jericho they found their way to Rahab’s home and sought refuge there, which she granted in return for their guarantee of safety for her and her family. They agreed and told her that if she marked her home with a scarlet cord, she and anyone in the house with her would be spared in the coming battle (Josh 2:12-21). On the day of battle the city was captured and everyone within its walls died, except for Rahab and her family. She had gathered her family in her home and marked it with the scarlet cord as they had agreed. Before burning the city to the ground, Joshua had the 2 spies go to Rahab’s home and bring her and all her family out to dwell among the Israelites. (Josh 6:22-25). By the way, can you picture this? Her house was built into the city wall, which of course came tumbling down at the shout of the Israelite army. Of all the massive stone work protecting the city of Jericho, only that portion containing the home of Rahab was left standing. What a witness to the power of God, who “knows how to rescue Godly men from trials, and to hold the unrighteous for the Day of Judgment while continuing their punishment” (2 Peter 2:9). (See also 1 Thes. 1:10)

By Grace We Are Saved, Through Faith

The name Rahab means proud, but among the people of Jericho, all of whom knew of the God of Israel, only Rahab humbled herself before the 2 spies and confessed Him as “God in Heaven above and Earth below.” And speaking of the spies, what about them? Except for reporting that all the people of Jericho were scared to death did the spies bring Joshua any intelligence that helped develop the battle plan? No, the Lord had already determined the battle plan and they contributed nothing to it (Josh 6:2-5). So what was their true purpose in His plan? Seems like they were really 2 witnesses sent to hear Rahab’s confession, save her from destruction, and give her a place among the Lord’s people.

From that time on, Rahab dwelt with the Israelites. She married a man from the tribe of Judah named Salmon and had a son whom they named Boaz. Boaz took a gentile bride from Moab named Ruth and they had a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse who had a son named David who became King of Israel (Ruth 4:13-22). And 26 generations later, two distant cousins who were both descendants of King David (and therefore of Rahab and Salmon) married and became the earthly parents of our Lord Jesus. And so when you read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, you’ll find Rahab listed there (Matt 1:5).

It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know That Matters

Everyone in Jericho had heard about the God of Israel and all but Rahab were destroyed on the day of battle. Rahab’s faith saved her. When she believed in her heart that only One Who is God in Heaven above and Earth below could have done the things she had heard about, He went to great lengths to reveal Himself to her, sending 2 witnesses to testify of His power and love. Immediately after confessing Him as God, she was marked with a sign that guaranteed her security (Ephe. 1:13-14), called out from all the others in Jericho (Rom. 8:29-30), hidden on the day of battle (Isa. 26:20-21 & Rev. 3:10), and brought alive into the family of the Redeemer (1 Thes. 4:16-17). Just like you and me.

And now you know the adult version.


After Noah's Flood

Post Flood Migration

Q. I have 2 questions that I have been wondering about for some time and would like to know if you have any thoughts on the subject.

During the flood, God destroyed all human and animal life. I am assuming that the sea creatures were not destroyed. If not, why were they spared the judgment? My second question is after the flood civilization would have again started somewhere in the middle east and the people and animals would have migrated from there to fill the earth. The people and animals that inhabited North and South America presumably got here by crossing the bearing straight when it was frozen and migrated south. How did all of the tropical animals of the south American jungles such as the snakes, frogs, lizards etc migrate through all of the cold regions to reach that area. If the regions weren’t cold yet, How did they cross the Bearing Straight?

I have heard arguments that the global flood was global only to the extent that it killed all of the humans and animals associated with them, but that it didn’t kill the animals the God had placed in other locations on the planet, Then after the flood, humans would have been the only ones who needed to migrate throughout the earth. Any thoughts on this?

A. Genesis 7:21-23 is the passage that explains all of this. A literal reading shows that other than Noah and his family, only fish were left alive, and even the survival of fish can only be surmised by the fact that they weren’t mentioned. It’s likely that they did survive and if so it’s because their gene pool had not been molested, and man’s and animal’s were.

The Bible also hints that the size and location of land masses could have been much different then. For example Genesis 10:25 tells us that the land was divided well after the flood, giving animals plenty of migration time. And though seasons are mentioned in Genesis 1:14, the first mention of summer and winter comes in Gen. 8:22 after the flood. Some believe that pre-flood weather was uniformly sub-tropical but began changing with the collapse of the water vapor canopy that surrounded the Earth at the time of the flood.

Other catastrophic events changed both the Earth’s orbit and inclination on its axis causing further climate changes. These changes are what makes many parts of the world uninhabitable today and they took place long after the flood, some as late as 700 BC when something happened that eventually caused all the calendars of Earth to be lengthened by 5 1/4 days.

In short, the situation on Earth back then was so much different than it is now that we can only speculate as to how things were.



Death In The Millennium?

Q. Would you please clarify this particular verse.

“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. Isaiah 65:20.

It sound like there will be death in the new millennium. Am I understanding that verse correctly? I am also trying to understand in the new millennium - Rev 22:2 – that the leaves will heal the nations – why do the nations need to be healed?

A. On Earth there will be sin and death throughout the Millennium because Earth will still be mostly populated by people in their natural bodies. That’s what Isaiah 65:20 is describing.

Rev. 21 is about the New Jerusalem, where the Church will dwell. There will be no more mourning or death or crying or pain there (Rev. 21:4) because we’ll all be in our resurrection bodies. Rev. 22:1-5 is about Earth again. We know this because it was taken from Ezekiel 47, a description of Israel in the Millennium. That’s why the trees will have leaves for healing.

Eternity Or Millennium?

Q. How did you come to conclude that the New Jerusalem appears at the beginning of the millenium? When I read Rev. 20-21, it seems like the order of things are as follows: 2nd coming of Christ, Satan is bound, millenium period, Satan is released/defeated, old heaven and earth pass away (Rev. 20:11), Great White throne judgment, eternity begins with a new heaven and earth, New Jerusalem descends, “it is done” (Rev. 21:6). Am I misunderstanding something?

A. It’s a common mistake, one I made myself for several years, and if the Bible ended with Rev. 21 there’d be little doubt.

But the first hint that told me I was wrong is in Rev. 22:2 where it mentions fruit trees bearing a different fruit each month. That means man is still measuring time, so eternity can not have begun. (Eternity by definition is the absence of time and is the name given to everything that happens after Satan’s final defeat and the Great White Throne judgment.)

Then I discovered a parallel passage in Ezekiel 47:12 that’s obviously Millennial in it’s focus so Rev 22 has to be describing the Millennium. Somewhere along the way John had skipped forward in the sequence and then back tracked.

Then I began noticing other things. The nations will walk be the light of the New Jerusalem, so it’s near the Earth but not on it, and the Kings of the Earth will bring their treasure into it but can’t enter themselves.(Rev. 21:24) Neither can any other sinner, which means there’ll still be natural beings committing sins on Earth. That’s only true during the Millennium. In Rev. 21:1, the phrase “new heaven and new earth” echoes Isaiah 65:17-25, a Millennial passage, and recalls the Lord’s mention of the renewal of all things in Matt. 19:28 when He sits on His glorious throne and the disciples will judge Israel, another Millennial event.

Then I realized that John had taken the things he’d been talking about in Rev. 20, Satan’s temporary confinement and the Resurrection of unbelievers, and carried them to their conclusion while he was on the subject. All of Rev. 20:7-15 is a parenthetical statement describing the resolution of these things.

He then backed up to where he had begun, the Millennium, describing the New Jerusalem, home of the redeemed during the Millennium in Rev. 21, and conditions on Earth, home of Israel and the nations during the same time in Rev.22.


Easter Resurrection Sunday!

Question: "What is Easter Sunday?"

Answer: There is a lot of confusion regarding what Easter Sunday is all about. For some, Easter Sunday is about the Easter Bunny, colorfully decorated Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunts. Most people understand that Easter Sunday has something to do with the resurrection of Jesus, but are confused as to how the resurrection is related to the Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.

Biblically speaking, there is absolutely no connection between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the common modern traditions related to Easter Sunday. As a background, please read our article on the origins of Easter. Essentially, what occurred is that in order to make Christianity more attractive to non-Christians, the ancient Roman Catholic Church mixed the celebration of Jesus' resurrection with celebrations that involved spring fertility rituals. These spring fertility rituals are the source of the egg and bunny traditions.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1,19). Jesus' resurrection is most worthy of being celebrated (see 1 Corinthians 15). While it is appropriate for Jesus' resurrection to be celebrated on a Sunday, the day on which Jesus' resurrection is celebrated should not be referred to as Easter. Easter has nothing to do with Jesus' resurrection on a Sunday.

As a result, many Christians feel strongly that the day on which we celebrate Jesus' resurrection should not be referred to as "Easter Sunday." Rather, something like "Resurrection Sunday" would be far more appropriate and biblical. For the Christian, it is unthinkable that we would allow the silliness of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny to be the focus of the day instead of Jesus' resurrection.

By all means, celebrate Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. Christ's resurrection is something that should be celebrated every day, not just once a year. At the same time, if we choose to celebrate Easter Sunday, we should not allow the fun and games to distract our attention from what the day should truly be all about—the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and that His resurrection demonstrates that we can indeed be promised an eternal home in Heaven by receiving Jesus as our Savior.

To learn more about how Jesus' death and resurrection provided for our salvation, please read the following article:
What does it mean to accept Jesus as your personal Savior?

Recommended Resource:
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas.

You may find the following Easter-related articles helpful:

Why should I believe in Christ’s resurrection?

Where was Jesus for the three days between His death and resurrection?

Did Jesus go to hell between His death and resurrection?

On what day was Jesus crucified? How is the date for Easter determined?

What are the origins of Easter?

Is the resurrection of Jesus Christ true?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good Friday

Question: "What is Good Friday?"

Answer: Good Friday is the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. It is celebrated traditionally as the day on which Jesus was crucified. If you are interested in a study of the issue, please see our article that discusses the various views on which day Jesus was crucified. Assuming that Jesus was crucified and died on a Friday, should Christians remember Jesus' death by celebrating Good Friday?

The Bible does not instruct Christians to remember Christ’s death by honoring a certain day. The Bible does give us freedom in these matters, however. Romans 14:5 tells us, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Rather than remembering Christ's death on a certain day, once a year, the Bible instructs us to remember Christ’s death by observing the Lord’s Supper. First Corinthians 11:24-26 declares, “ this in remembrance of me...for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”

Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (see Matthew chapters 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”

Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service, usually in the evening, in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ suffering for our sakes, and observance of the Lord's Supper. Whether or not Christians choose to “celebrate” Good Friday, the events of that day should be ever on our minds because the death of Christ on the cross is the paramount event of the Christian faith.

If you would like to learn more about why Jesus' death on the cross was so “good,” please read the following article: What does it mean to accept Jesus as your personal Savior?



Can A Believer Commit Suicide?

Q. In light of (a daytime actor’s) recent suicide I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who is also a born again believer. We had a disagreement over the outcome if a born again believer took his or her own life. He feels that they would go to heaven since they were born again, no matter what. I suggested that a born again believer wouldn’t take their own life because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and it’s power to convict the individual of their sin, thus bringing them back into a proper frame of mind and keeping them from going through with the act.

He however sited the case with Samson, who was given the power by God to bring down the temple on the Philistines thus also killing himself. Since Samson did this out of revenge for the loss of his eyes, it was not done as a selfless act but as a selfish one. Yet we both agree that Samson went to be with the Lord. My question to you is, do you believe it is possible for a born again believer to killthemselves, and if so, would they go to heaven? I fail to see any circumstance in which a congnizant person would. Thanks and God bless.

A. There are several clear passages in Scripture that describe the permanent nature of our salvation decision, and several others that explain that once we’re saved, it’s the Lord’s job to make sure we wind up in heaven with Him. Hebrews 10:12-14 is a good example.

But there are no passages implying that the Holy Spirit takes control over our lives. Jesus called Him “the Counselor” and that’s just what He is. Every time you sin you’re over riding the Holy Spirit’s counsel. And when you feel guilty afterward you’re experiencing His conviction for having done so. Confession is the antidote He gave us for that guilt.

He can’t prevent you from doing anything that you’re determined to do because He won’t deprive you of your power of choice. So yes, believers continue to sin and even commit suicide.

As for Samson, his was not simply a selfish act of revenge as a surface reading implies, but came out of his prayer that God would give him one final chance to do what he had been called to do, and that’s begin Israel’s deliverance from the Philistines (Judges 13:5). The fact that God answered his prayer for supernatural strength again indicates that Samson had repented, reinstated his Nazarite vow (symbolized by letting his hair grow again in v.22) and earned the Lord’s favor again during his time of captivity. Otherwise, the Lord would not have restored his strength.



Is The Rapture A Number Specific Event?

Q. First of all, I thank God for making your knowledge and understanding available to the body of Christ and thank you for giving your time and energy to this excellent ministry. Now to my question.

I have heard and read many times that the timing of the rapture is based on the completion of the church, whatever number God decides is complete. This explanation has always seemed arbitrary to me and God is anything but arbitrary. Also, I’m not aware of any scripture that says this or even hints at it. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

A. The Scripture that hints at the rapture being a number specific event rather than a date specific one is Romans 11:25.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.

There are two Greek words in this verse that lend critical support to a proper understanding. The first is translated “full number”. It’s a nautical term that describes the pre-determined number of sailors necessary to operate a ship. Until the ship had its full number of crew members, it could not sail. This is why ship captains sometimes got men drunk and kidnapped them late at night and then set sail immediately.

And the second, translated “come in” is also a nautical term that described the ship’s arrival at its intended destination.

By using these terms, Paul was saying that the hardening of Israel’s heart will not be fully removed until the Church reaches its pre-determined number and has been taken to heaven. There’s nothing arbitrary about God’s action here. He has already determined the number and will take the Church to its intended destination as soon as it’s reached.


God's benevolent nature of forgiveness!

Why Is Samson Among The Faithful?

Q. I’m a little confused why Samson is mentioned in Hebrews 11:32-34. As I reread the account in Judges, it seems to me that his life was anything but a walk in faith. I can’t recall a single incident in his life where he did what he knew was right according to his faith. He defiled himself from the moment when he touched a dead lion to the point of sleeping with the prostitute and revealing the secret of his strengh to Delilah. Even the motivation for his final moment when he killed his enemies in the temple was revenge. He was a poor judge and a failer as a Nazirite. Why is he mentioned among the faithful? What does Samson mean?

A. In spite of all Samson’s faults, God used him in several ways. Samson led Israel for 20 years, and at the end of his life began the liberation of Israel from the Philistines, just as God had promised his parents. Perhaps most of all, God used Samson’s life to demonstrate His forgiveness to those who ask in faith, no matter how far they’ve fallen. Samson’s name means sunshine.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The Garden Of Eden

Q. Thank you so very much for your answers and help in clarifying different passages in Scripture. God has given you such keen insight, thank you for sharing with us.

I have a question about the garden of Eden. Where did it go? Was it taken to Heaven, or protected for awhile and then destroyed? Was it really located in the area they now call the Fertile Crescent?

A. According to Genesis 2:10, the Garden of Eden was watered by a river that split into four others. Two of them are the Tigris and Euphrates. Today they both flow from Turkey through Syria and Iraq and into the Persian Gulf. It’s likely that the course of these rivers has changed over time, but the Fertile Crescent is still a logical place to locate the Garden if Eden. It’s exact location is unknown, but it’s probably buried beneath the sands of this now arid region. Jewish tradition places Israel in the Garden and Iraqis believe their country is the original location.


Tribal Identity of Israelites

Maintaining Tribal Identity

Q. My question is, during the time of Jesus Ministry, was there tribal identity? If yes, is that the reason Luke and Matthew were able to accurately write the genealogy of Jesus in the gospels? Did the Jews have some remnant of the other 10 tribes of Israel in their midst during the ministry of Jesus?

Also, how do the present day people of Israel tell to which tribe they belong to? Can the tribal identity be found out through some of the latest Bio-technologies using DNA samples of a Jewish person? And how does God separate the twelve tribes apart in Rev 7:4-8 before the Great Tribulation begins? Will He be the first to separate the tribes of present day Israel through His omniscience and allow them to enter the Millennium once again by their tribal identity?

A. All I can tell you from the Bible is that portions of all the 10 northern tribes moved into Judah after Solomon died. (2 Chron. 11:16). From this I assume that some of their descendants also returned from Babylon. Joseph and Mary knew they were of the tribe of Judah, John the Baptist and Matthew knew they were Levites, and Paul knew he was of the Tribe of Benjamin, so there must have been some tribal identity in New Testament times. Jewish people have told me that their last names help them maintain tribal identity today. Also, I believe a genetic marker has been discovered identifying the descendants of the Kohanim so the Jews can prepare priests for Temple service again. Obviously from Rev. 7 we know that God can determine the tribal identities. This is about all I know for sure. But I believe that God has always preserved a remnant from all the 12 tribes.

Do Jews Know Their Tribal Origins?

Q. Thank you for your ministry. I suppose the 144,000 will somehow know their tribal ancestry. Perhaps, you’ve already dealt with this subject and I haven’t located it yet. Thank you.

A. I don’t know if they do but they could. Some could easily do so by their names. Levitt, Cohen and other Jewish names provide obvious clues. In addition there are inexpensive computer programs that can help any one trace their ancestry.

But the real answer to your question is that God knows exactly where everyone of us came from, and when the time comes He can call the 144,000 to action whether they know their tribal origins or not.



Don’t Come Yet Lord!

Q. During recent discussions with members of the Church regarding the end-times events which are unfolding on the world scene, I have been surprised by the negative comments regarding the rapidly approaching return of Jesus. Several professing Christians have expressed their desire that there be enough time remaining which would allow them to “experience a full life.” Some of the most common comments are as follow:

“I want to see my kids grow up.”
“I have some things that I want to do first.”
“I want to serve God longer.”

Most of these people would agree that they are tired of the evil we face every day and that things are getting worse. I am baffled by their desire to remain in our current state of existence. Do their reasons for wanting to continue in this life conflict with the sentiment of 1 John 2:15-17?

A. Yes, people who say these things are in conflict with 1 John 2:15-17. They don’t understand the times we’re in. They have a secular world view and expect life to go on as it always has until we disappear some say. They can be compared to the Jews who didn’t understand what the Promised Land would be like and demanded that Moses take them back to Egypt.

Any body who really understands what’s coming upon the world and what’s waiting for us in Heaven would be praying that the Lord takes us as soon as possible. And they would especially want their kids out of here.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Realtionship Issues

Ask a Bible Teacher
By Jack Kelley

Relationship Problems

Q. I have a serious problem in my life and I am unsure what to do about it. I am currently living with a man (we are not married). He doesn’t see what is happening in the world the way I do and he seems to do everything he can to prove me wrong about the End of Days approaching. I love this man but I don’t really want to marry him with the way his belief system is.

I feel far away from the Lord sometimes when he is at home and I feel like Satan is working through him to discourage me. I am constantly reading your website and the bible to keep a strong hold on my love for Christ. I feel such conviction for not being married but I don’t want to have to divorce for the second time. It never bothered me to not be married until I began my walk with Jesus. I feel that the Holy Spirit is making me feel convicted and I just don’t know what to do. Everything going on in the world is so clear to me and I am baffled that he doesn’t see it. I can almost feel Jesus in the room. I don’t want to be left behind!!!

A. I’m convinced that the Lord judges us according to the motives of our hearts. I’ve met couples who in their hearts are as married as anyone I know but have never formalized their relationships in the eyes of the law. They see themselves as married and I believe the Lord does too. But your statement that you “really don’t want to marry him the way his belief system is” indicates to me that this is not the case with you.

If you remain as you are, you risk being out of fellowship with the Lord, and fair game for our enemy who will gleefully use your partner to steal your joy. Being a believer, you won’t be jeopardizing your salvation and won’t be left behind, but the contention in your relationship will only get worse as you grow in your faith and you will live a defeated life as a Christian.

The conviction you’ve felt since becoming a believer is the Holy Spirit admonishing you to change the nature of your relationship. If you love this man, and want a life with him that’s also pleasing to the Lord, you have to bring it into compliance with Biblical standards for unmarried couples, and give him an opportunity to see you as a faithful Christian woman. To me this means living separately and remaining chaste.

If he truly loves you, this could lead to a new relationship that brings him to the Lord and achieves fulfillment in marriage. But it could also cause Him to move on. Either way, the Lord has promised to work everything out for your good, as one who loves Him.(Romans 8:28)

Feedback On "Relationship Problems"

Q. I am very surprised at your reply to “Relationship Problems” in Ask a Bible Teacher. As I understand the letter, this woman is not only in an unequally yoked relationship but she is living a sinful lifestyle by living with this man outside of marriage.

Gal 5:19-21 says that those who practice fornication, which is sex outside of marriage, will not inherit the kingdom of God. How does this woman’s situation differ from that of a homosexual couple who “in their hearts are married”? They are both sin, and willfully continuing in that sin will keep them from the kingdom of God as I understand the scripture.

While I agree with your counsel for her to live separately and remain chaste, I think you mislead her (and your audience) when you said that the Lord sees unmarried couples as married as long as their motives are right.

Also I don’t believe Rom 8:28 applies to this situation because of the last phrase, “…according to His purpose.” I don’t believe this woman is currently living according to God’s purpose or perfect plan for her life.

I really enjoy your site and have recommended it to others. I trust that you will receive my feedback as just that, feedback and not criticism. I encourage you to prayerfully reconsider your answer to this woman.

A. My first admonition was for the woman to live apart from her partner and in a chaste relationship. I did not condone them living together, especially when he’s not a believer, because she admittedly doesn’t feel married in her heart. My advice was, “If you love this man, and want a life with him that’s also pleasing to the Lord, you have to bring it into compliance with Biblical standards for unmarried couples, and give him an opportunity to see you as a faithful Christian woman. To me this means living separately and remaining chaste.”

In biblical times men and women were married by agreement between themselves to be so. Many times the family was involved in the decision, but never the state. What minister or priest married Abraham or Isaac or any other biblical figure? And where are their marriages licenses? God considered them married according to the motives of their hearts. And indeed 1 Corinthians 4:5 explains that God judges our actions according to the motives of our hearts.

Here’s a hypothetical example. Do you think that a woman who remains legally married to her husband, but denies him any marital rights, is emotionally unfaithful, and does everything she can to drive him out of the relationship including verbal and physical abuse, is married to him in the eyes of the Lord? Or has she divorced him in her heart?

This is the problem with any sort of legalism. A person can keep the letter of the law to maintain outward appearances but deny it in spirit. Is the Lord fooled by this? Will she be credited with keeping the prohibition against divorce? Would a man if the situation was reversed?

The “legalizing” of marriages was done by governments to resolve issues of parentage and inheritance, and to protect the parties in case of divorce, something else the Lord has prohibited. It became necessary because of humankind’s unwillingness to be responsible for their actions, not because of God’s requirements.

All this is stated in the context of a man / woman relationship. Homosexual unions were and still are forbidden by God under any circumstance.

Also, if the woman takes my advice, follows the prompting of the Holy Spirit and complies with the biblical standards for unmarried couples to see if the relationship will flourish under those circumstances or not (including the man coming to the Lord) she will be living according to God’s purpose for her life.

Here’s what I said. “If he truly loves you, this could lead to a new relationship that brings him to the Lord and achieves fulfillment in marriage. But it could also cause Him to move on. Either way, the Lord has promised to work everything out for your good, as one who loves Him.”

Am I Married In The Lord’s Sight?

Q. I came back to our Lord Jesus over 12 years ago. I tried my hardest to walk in the same path as the Jesus, but we all falter. I got married when I was in the service and we both commited adultery. I forgave her and wanted to remain married because I never stopped loving her. I Loved her from the beginning and through all the hard times. I believed in marriage, but because of the problems we were having I found myself slipping away to temptation and seeking affection elsewhere. Now we are going through a divorce because she requested it. I never wanted divorce and always felt once we have made vows to eachother we should always try our hardest to keep them. I didn’t want the divorce , but I know we both were at fault for it. We are still going through the divorce proceding and legally we are still married.

Now 2 years later I have fallen in Love with another woman and I am unable to marry her legally until my divorce is final. I have convince myself that we are married in the eyes of the Lord because I have committed myself to her and she has commited herself to me.

Is Marriage a ceremony which has to be performed in order for God to accept it? I prayed to the Lord many times about my situation and I am unsure what to do. We both are actively seeking Gods wonderful word and I’m hoping she will become spiritually up lifted as I am. We both are Christians, which was more than my last marriage was. My ex wasn’t thirsting for God’s word as much as I was and I feel that also was a reason our marriage falling apart. I still Love my ex but it’s impossible to reconcile if only one is willing to do so. So I learned to except it and move on with my life. Am I living in sin? Or does the will the Lord accept it because it’s what matters in his eyes and not based on a ceremony?

A. The Lord judges us by the intent of our heart. The marriage ceremony is intended more to meet legal requirements here on Earth than to inform the Lord of how we feel about our spouse. Our commitment before Him is verbal, and He takes us at our word.

Having said that, you’re still legally married to a woman you say you still love. The fact that it’s taken 2 years and you’re still not divorced tells me that at some level you really don’t want this. I wonder how you can be fully committed to another woman. The Bible warns us against double mindedness, saying that we shouldn’t expect anything from the Lord in those circumstances.

The question you have to ask yourself is this. If your current wife became interested in reconciliation, would you agree? If the answer is yes, then you’re premature in taking up with another woman and should continue asking the Lord to help you reconcile with your wife. In effect you’re using your new love to help you forget your old one, just like you’ve used unfaithfulness to help you get over marital problems before. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

Adultery is acceptable grounds for divorce in the Lord’s eyes. You’ve both been unfaithful so you both can justify dissolving the marriage if that’s what you really want. But if you do, entering into a new relationship before you’ve shed all your feelings for the old one is a recipe for another disaster.

Can’t We Just Sleep Together?

Q. I am a 47 year-old divorced woman saved about a year ago. My boyfriend is 51, divorced and also a believer. We have not enjoyed the physical intimacy of a happy marriage relationship until we met two years ago. Ever since, we have been living a wonderful, loving and passionate relationship. However, we both love the Lord and want to be obedient to His Word.

We both feel torn between the desire of the flesh and being obedient; we don’t quite know how to go about it. We love each other deeply and want to stay together. We live in separate homes, but my boyfriend stays with me on the weekends. I insist that we can sleep together without sex and still please the Lord. My boyfriend disagrees and believes that the only solution is to get married, but we are not ready yet. What is your opinion?

A. The Bible says that sex outside of marriage is a sin. If you’re not ready for marriage then you’re not ready for a sexual relationship. Maybe your boyfriend is afraid of the temptation of sleeping together, or maybe he’s afraid that it will signal a bigger commitment than he’s ready for. Or maybe he just wants you to marry him first. In any case, I think you should respect his wishes, just as you would want him to respect yours if the situation was reversed.

Married, or Not?

Q. I absolutely love your site and have told everyone I know about it. My question is, I know that Jesus died for us so that we may be forgiven. I have been with my fiance for 6 years and lived together for 4 and we have 2 children together. We basically feel married. We want to get married but I don’t want to rush down to the court house, that’s not really what every little girl dreams of.

So anyway we’re going to get married, we have 2 kids, and we live together. I now have turned my life around and came back to Christ but do not feel like I need to leave Him cause we’re not married yet. Do you think I would not make it in the rapture or go to heaven for this reason? I have a relationship with God and try to do everything else right. I also ask for forgiveness all the time. But will I be forgiven even if I know I will commit the same sin again(in my case sex before marriage). I do feel guilty all the time, but I know that that’s the devil trying to make me feel unworthy of God’s grace. Whats your perspective?

A. If the motive of your heart is pure, you consider yourself married, and are faithful to your man then in God’s sight you are married. A marriage license is a document that gives your relationship legal status in the eyes of man, but is not a Biblical requirement. God’s looking for a faithful heart. That said, I’m curious as to what is holding you back? You seem to have accepted all the responsibilities of a marriage, why not get the remaining benefits? If you feel guilty all the time, maybe the Holy Spirit is convicting you to make it official, not for His sake, but for your own peace of mind.

As far as the rapture is concerned, participation is not determined by behavior but by the belief that Jesus came to Earth and died for all your sins so that you could live in eternity with Him.