Questions and Answers about Current Issues

 

Contents:

Abortion

God and Prosperity

The Death Penalty

Job and the World Trade Center (WTC) Bombing 9/11/01

 

Abortion

Question: What do you think happens to the souls of aborted babies?

Answer: This is a big subject, but let me try to make it brief.

A soul is a living being and it is indivisible from the body.

Gen 2:7 "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

When God formed man He joined body and spirit (wind, breath) and the combination of these two created a living soul—"a living being" (NIV). So there is no such thing as a soul apart from the body. When a person dies, the breath departs from the body and the soul dies.

Psa 146:3, 4 "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."

Eccl 9:5, 6 "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun."

People who are dead don't know anything. They can't see, hear, talk, communicate with the living. They can't even think because their brain returns to dust as well as the rest of the body.

Ezek 18:4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (See also verse 20)

When people die, their soul dies as well. How do I know, because Gen. 2:7 says that it takes both body and breath to make a soul.

So what happens to the souls of aborted babies? They die. But you're thinking, "what sin have they committed that they are worthy of death?" We don't need to sin to die. Adam and Eve decided that. Our deaths are a result of their sin.

But, Jesus called death a sleep.

John 11:11-14 "These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."

Why would Jesus call death a sleep? If you're asleep, you'll wake up. And that's exactly what Jesus was getting at.

John 11:23-25 "Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

But all the followers of Jesus die don't they? Yes. But remember, Jesus called death a sleep. And from this sleep also the dead in Christ will arise.

1 Cor 15:51-54 "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

Paul says that those who sleep, the dead, will rise at the coming of Christ (1 Thess. 4:16, 17) to immortal life. So until then, the dead sleep in the grave.

Rev 20:14-21:1 "And death and hell [the grave] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."

The death of those who have sinned is that which takes place at end time—the second death. (Remember that the dead know nothing. So the second death destroys the wicked for all time to come.)

John 5:28-29 "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

Everyone who has died will rise from the dead-and I believe (and this is my own opinion) that this will include all the babies who died as a result of abortion. Will they rise in the resurrection of life, or in the resurrection of damnation? I don't know. That's something I have to leave with God.

God and Prosperity

Question: When we come to God, can we expect to have a good and prosperous life from then on?

Answer: God has never promised that by accepting Him as God and Savior that we shall be prosperous financially or physically. He only promises that we will be prosperous spiritually, that we shall have a living relationship with Him—we are His servants, He is our master and our God.

However, God does promise to supply all our needs. Phil 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." He may not supply everything we want. We need to surrender to Him all that we are, all that we have, all that we want to do. When we are willing to do what He wants us to do, then He will supply our needs. Notice that I did not say that when we do everything He wants us to do. I said When we are willing to do what He wants us to do. The emphasis is upon the willingness, not on the doing. Of course God will use our willingness to have us do things for Him.


The Death Penalty

Question: Is there any Biblical scripture that supports the death penalty?
Answer: Yes, there are many Scriptures—and a great deal to be learned from the history of Israel.

In the Old Testament—the Bible that Jesus used—the death penalty was used for many more crimes than it is used today (For a list of a few of these see Exodus 21:12-17). Some have suggested that this was done because the government of Israel was a Theocracy—God was the King and He could tell if the man/woman were innocent or not.

But in practice, most criminal prosecution was carried out by local authorities. Only those that were too difficult to solve were taken to the temple so the priests could use the Urim and the Thummim stones (on the breastplate worn by the High Priest) for the purpose of finding out God's will.

Most people who committed a crime of any kind were taken to a local judge, usually a respected elder in the village or city. This judge acted as both judge and defense attorney. There was no prosecuting attorney. The one who accused the person was required to produce at least 2 witnesses to the crime. The judge questioned them to see if their stories agreed, for the judge was charged to protect the accused. However, if the accused was found to be guilty, the judge pronounced the punishment according to the laws of God as given through Moses. If the crime was punishable by death, then the person was executed.

The purpose of the death penalty as instituted by God was to cleanse the land that was defiled by the crime of the person who was to be put to death. (It also removed dangerous people from society.)

I'm sure that many innocent people were executed as the result of a miscarriage of justice. One example is found in 1 Kings 21:1-13. But the perpetrators (unless they repent) will surely receive their reward at the Great White Throne Judgment that takes place following the second resurrection. (See Rev. 20:11, 12)

Our system of justice is different from that which was in place in ancient Israel—yes, and in Jesus' time. (By the way, Jesus never spoke against the death penalty.) But our system—founded upon the English model—is the method that our nation has instituted. Judges and juries are charged by the government to carry out justice according to the law. The law of the government in some states provides for the death penalty for those who have been found guilty of certain crimes. These laws must be executed according to our system of justice.

The apostle Paul points out that we are to give allegiance to the government under which we live.

Rom 13:1-7 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience."

I believe that a born-again person can support the death penalty. All those who worshiped God in Bible times supported it because God gave the ordinance for the purpose of ridding society from evil. And Christians today should realize that they are serving God by carrying out the laws of the government that God has ordained to rule in our land—even if that law requires the death penalty for those who have committed heinous crimes.

Job and the World Trade Center (WTC) bombing 9/11/01

Question: How does the suffering that occurs in Job, or any themes that emerge from Job, relate to the tragedy and suffering that the WTC disaster (9/11/01) brought. Are there any passages within JOB that relate better than others.

Answer: The trauma through which we are passing since Sept 11 has, to a certain extent, appeared to be parallel to the experience of Job. I suppose that much of the trouble we go through in life could find meaning in the story of Job. Let's look at some of the features:

In the first chapter we find a conversation between God and Satan. The subject is Job's loyalty to God.

Job 1:6-12 (KJV) "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9. Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10. Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD."

In the days after this conversation, Satan took away all that Job hadall his "money" (animals were the main currency of the day); all his servants; all his children. The only things he had left, it seems was his house, his wife, and his life. What was Job's reaction to all this?

Job 1:20-22 (KJV) "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, [these actions were signs of mourning] 21. And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."

I sometimes wonder if I would be able to praise God under those circumstances. But even though Job mourned and expressed his grief in the customary way, and though he felt that God was somehow responsible, he didn't "charge God foolishly."

In chapter 2:1-7 Satan up's the ante, as it were, and God gave him the permission to touch Jobbut not to kill him. In this way we come to Job sitting on an ash heap, covered with boils, and scraping them with broken pieces of pottery. The rest of the book comprises his discussion with 4 friends (the 4th doesn't speak until nearly the end of the book).

There are many parallels to Job's suffering and ours. Satan, of course, is the originator of suffering and he causes all the trouble he can. We cannot, however, say that Satan goes to God for permission in every case. And we cannot say that our troubles have been brought upon us specifically to test our loyalty to God. However, we can show our loyalty during suffering just as Job did. And our dedication to God can be a way of lightening the pain of our troubles.

Now about the World Trade Center disaster. About 6000 people died and several thousand more were injured. Thousands of friends and family still mourn the loss of those who died. What a terrible thing, this tragedy. How it has touched us all―even though we may not personally have had anything to do with it.

I don't think that there is any doubt that the calamity was caused by Satan and his agents. We have but to look at the motives behind those who perpetrated such a devilish scheme to realize the dark origin of this catastrophe.

Is there anything in Job that can help us face this situation? Yes, Job carries some promising themes that can be of solace to us.

Job 14:14, 15 (NIV) "If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. 15. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made.

Death held no horror to Job. He knew that in death he would sleep (unconscious of what happens around him) until the resurrection. The belief that death is a sleep is unanimously taught throughout the Bible.

Psa 146:3, 4 (KJV) "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."

Eccl 9:5, 6 (KJV) "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. 6. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.

John 11:11-14 (KJV) "After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." 12. His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13. Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,"

So those who died in the WTC are asleep. They, mercifully, don't see all the grief and sorrow that came with their deaths.

But that's not the end of them. Job believed in the resurrection of those who trust in God.

Job 19:25-27 (NIV) "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 26. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27. I myself will see him with my own eyes―I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"

Though Job would die and decay in the grave, he knew that he would rise to see God "with my own eyes." Other Bible writers agree with this:

1 Th 4:16, 17 (NIV) "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Job presents many themes that give us courage during this time of woe: 1. Satan is the source of the trouble, tragedy, and death in our world today. 2. No matter how bad things become, we can still believe in God. 3. Death need hold no terror for us. When we die, we sleep, unconscious of what goes on in the world―no pain, no trouble, no grief. But those who have been faithful to God will rise again in the resurrection of the just.

I plan to have a part in the resurrection of those who are faithful to Jesus, don't you?