QUESTION: Are the days mentioned in Genesis 1 twenty-four hours in length?
ANSWER: Each day was 24 hours in length. The account of the recreation (Psalm 104:30) shows that plants were created on the third day of the week. The sun, moon, and stars did not appear until the next day. If these days were a thousand years or more in length as some claim, the plants could not have survived without sunlight.
It should also be noted that although the plants were made on the third day, insects were not created until the sixth day. Plants could not have existed for great periods of time, without the insects. Nor could the insects, such as butterflies and moths, and bees and wasps, survived for long without nectar-bearing plants. Even a basic understanding of nature proves that the days of creation were twenty-four hours in length.
The Bible simply states: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day..." (Exodus 20:11). Each day is exactly what the Scripture says, an "evening and a morning" - that is, a nighttime and a daytime (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).
QUESTION: How could there be light on the first day of creation when the sun, moon, and stars were not created until the fourth day?
ANSWER: Massive devastation occurred when God cast Satan and his demons to the earth when they rebelled (Revelation 12:4). The earth was covered by thick clouds of dust and ash. No light penetrated the earth's atmosphere. In recreating the surface of the earth, the first thing God did was remove the thick dark clouds to allow sunlight to reach the surface of the earth once again. In Genesis 1:2 we read: "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light." Then on the fourth day, God completely cleared the atmosphere so that the sun, moon, and stars could be clearly seen.
Genesis 1:16-18 states: "Then God made [Hebrew - asah] two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good." The word "made" in verse 16 can be translated: "made," "had made," or "will have made." Any of these renderings could be correct. The correct translation must be determined in context. By looking at the context is apparent that God "had made" the sun, moon, and stars long before the fourth day of creation, and that they were made visible again on the fourth day of the recreation week.
ANSWER: Matthew says Judas died by hanging himself. "Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself" (Matthew 27:5). However, Luke said Judas burst open. "Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out" (Acts 1:1). Is this a contradiction? No.
Isaiah the prophet mentioned an important principle regarding the Bible: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little" (Isaiah 28:10). Jesus said, "The scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and we can rely on its trustworthiness. However, it must be rightly divided (II Timothy 2:15).
By putting the two accounts together we get a clearer picture of what happened. Both events are true. But both events did not happen at the same time. Matthew wrote that Judas "hanged himself." Luke explained what happened later: falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out."
We do not have sufficient details to know whether Judas was dead before the fall. Either the hanging was improperly carried out, since it resulted in Judas falling from the noose and bursting asunder on the ground below. Or Judas was dead for some time, and his body decomposed and fell, or slipped from the noose.
ANSWER: The breastplate held the Urim and the Thummim. These transliterated Hebrew words, mean "lights" and "perfections." Together their names may mean "perfect knowledge."
Exodus 28:30 states: "And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually." Here we see that the Urim and Thummim were placed in a breastplate which was worn by Aaron, the high priest, and that his breastplate was to reveal God's judgment.
Leviticus 8:8 states: "Then he [Moses] put the breastplate on him [Aaron], and he [Moses] put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastplate." Here again we see that the Urim and the Thummin were put in the breastplate.
And in Numbers 27:21 we read: "He [Joshua] shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim; at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the children of Israel with him, all the congregation." In this account the Urim is used to give judgment; to show what God wanted the Israelites to do.
The Urim and the Thummim were placed in the breastplate of judgment, which was worn by the high priest, and were the means by which God's judgment or decision might be obtained in matters of national importance.
Besides these few facts little more is known. For some historical information on this subject see (Josephus, Book Three, Section Eight, Antiquities of the Jews).
ANSWER: There can be no doubt that Moses is the author of the Book of Genesis as well as the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the Pentateuch). The Jews, which are responsible for preserving the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures (Romans 3:1-2) ascribe the book of Genesis to Moses.
We also have Jesus' own testimony that Moses wrote Scripture: "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27). A few verses later Jesus gave the division of the Old Testament and said: "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me" (Luke 27:44). Jesus began with Moses because it was Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible. Further proof is found in John 5:45-47 where Christ said: "Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you - Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
This does not preclude the fact that Joshua and other prophets added further comments to the law that Moses wrote. Two examples of this are: Genesis 14:14 where the name Dan is used instead of Laish (see Judges 18:29); and Deuteronomy 34:5-12 where we read the account of Moses death.
QUESTION: What does the term "God is a jealous God" mean?
ANSWER: There are several verses in the Bible that refer to God as being a "jealous God." These verses are often misunderstood. This is because we are accustomed to jealousy being defined as "being envious" or as being "bitterly resentful, or suspicious of a rival or of a rival's influence." This is not the intended meaning of the word jealous when used in reference to God. A better translation is "zealous."
Another definition of jealous is "protective or vigilant in guarding one's rights or possession." This is the proper sense in which we should understand this word as applied to God. God demands faithfulness and exclusive worship. He will not tolerate that the reverence due to Him, should be given to another being or inanimate object (Exodus 20:5). He has a burning zeal for His own glory, and He guards it with care (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29).
QUESTION: Did God create the Devil and his Demons?
ANSWER: The very earliest prehistoric record we have is found in John 1:1-3: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." The very first beings to exist were God, and the Word (Logos) who was also God. This could have been millions, or billions of years ago. These two spirit beings constituted the God Family and were alone in empty space. There was no physical universe yet. They conceived, designed, and planned.
Part of their creation involved the creation of angels. Angels are immortal spirit beings, composed of spirit. The Old Testament Scriptures show that God created angels before creating the earth (Job 38:4-7). Angels were created with the ability to think, reason, and make choices. They were created free moral agents. After creating them God instructed them in His laws and way of life. However, their creation could not be a finished creation until character was developed in them. It appears that God placed a third of the angels on the earth and gave them the opportunity to share in God's creative activities by finishing the earth. Instead of improving and beautifying the earth they rebelled against God resulting in the ruin and desolation of it (Genesis 1:2). This third of the angels (Revelation 12:4) sinned (II Peter 2:4).
Their leader, the archangel Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-14) was created perfect, till iniquity was found in him (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Everything that God creates He creates perfectly. God did not create a devil, but an exceptionally beautiful and talented archangel. He became Satan the devil because he rebelled. "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor..." (Ezekiel 28:17).
Lucifer became greedy, jealous, and envious of God. He wanted to rule more than just the earth. He rebelled and attempted to knock God off His throne. "How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart; 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High'" (Isaiah 14:12-14).
He led the angels that had been entrusted to his care to sin and make war against their Maker attempting to overthrow God on the heavenly throne of the universe. "And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation (the earth), He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). Their minds have become permanently perverted. God did not create demons, but rather beautiful angels who became demons because of sin. Lucifer and his angels were unsuccessful in their coup and were cast back to the earth (Revelation 12:4).
QUESTION: Were the Saints who rose from the dead shortly after Christ's resurrection made immortal?
ANSWER: The answer is no they were not. The incident in question reads: "Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His [Christ's] resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many" (Matthew 27:50-53).
These saints were revived to a normal, physical life. The Scriptures show that there were other resurrections to temporary human life (I Kings 17:17-24; Luke 7:11-17; John 11:1-44; Acts 20:7-12). But like all those humans before and after them they all died once again. Jesus Christ is the only one ever resurrected to immortal life. He is the "firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). The Bible reveals that no one will follow Him into immortality until the resurrection at His Second Coming (I Corinthians 15:50-54; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20:4-6).
ANSWER: Greeting one another with a "holy kiss" is mentioned several times in the New Testament (Romans 16:16; I Corinthians 16:20; II Corinthians 13:12; I Thessalonians 5:26; I Peter 5:14).
In the days of the apostle Paul it was a common custom in many nations for people to kiss each other when greeting or departing. A "holy kiss" was meant to display their love, sincere affection, and friendship for each other, and was a sign of peace. A kiss on the cheek or even on the lips is still a form of greeting in some countries today. However, the instruction to "greet one another with a holy kiss" was neither a law, nor a command from God. Rather it was simply a customary sign of greeting, much like the modern handshake or hug.
The important thing is that our greetings spring from genuine love, and friendship, and that they be characterized by sincerity and true Christian fellowship.
QUESTION: Where was Jesus between the ages of 12 and 30?
ANSWER: Following the account of Jesus teaching in the Temple at age 12 (Luke 2:41-47) the Scripture states: "Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them..." (Luke 2:51). We also read that Joseph "being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, 'He shall be called a Nazarene [One who came from Nazareth]'" (Matthew 2:19-23).
Jesus evidently spent most of those years in Nazareth, or he would not have been known as a Nazarene. We find Jesus, after He was 30 years of age preaching in a synagogue in Nazareth. We read: "So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read" (Luke 4:16).
In Matthew 13:54-56 we read: "And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, 'Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses [Joseph], Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?"
These people knew Jesus! They knew His whole family. This was Jesus' own country (Luke 4:24). How obvious that Jesus spent most of those 18 years between ages 12 and 30 in Nazareth. This is where he worked, trained, and studied. Whether or not Jesus traveled to any foreign countries is not revealed. Speculations about Jesus traveling the world or studying with the Essenes are unsubstantiated by any biblical evidence.
QUESTION: Did Angels marry women prior to Noah's Flood?
ANSWER: No they did not. The Scriptures reveal that angels are created spirits (Hebrews 1:14). They are not mortal flesh and blood human beings, and do not reproduce sexually or by any other means. Jesus told the Sadducees: "...The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are the sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" (Luke 20:34-36). Also see Matthew 22:30 and Mark 12:25.
Who then are the "sons of God" described in Genesis 6:4? "There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown." The "sons of God" were male human beings. Notice that Adam was a "son of God" by creation in Luke 3:38. By extension, all of Adams male descendants are by God's act of creation "sons of God."
The entire context of Genesis 6 concerns human beings not angels. Notice the following verses in particular: Genesis 6:3 "And the LORD said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh..." and, Genesis 6:5-7 "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So, the LORD said, 'I will destroy man who I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'" God had determined to destroy sinful man except for Noah and those who were with him on the ark (Genesis 7:21-23). Angels cannot be destroyed by drowning. The angels time of judgment is yet to come (Jude 6).
ANSWER: Yes, Jesus was a Jew. The word "Jew" is a shortened form of the word "Judean" referring to the descendants of the patriarch Judah. Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Genesis 35:22-26). Jacob's name was changed, by God, to Israel (Genesis 32:28). Therefore Judah and his descendants formed one of the twelve tribes of Israel. In the New Testament genealogies (Matthew 1 and Luke 3), both Mary and Joseph are listed as descendants of Judah, through the line of David. Not only was Jesus a descendant of Judah, but He was a descendant of the Davidic (or kingly) line of Judah.
The Scriptures contain many references to Jesus being the son (descendant) of David. It was prophesied that Shiloh would come from the tribe of Judah: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [the Messiah; or Prince of Peace] comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people" (Genesis 49:10). Jesus referred to Himself as a Jew to the woman at the well: "You [Samaritans] worship what you do not know; we [Jews] know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). He used the pronoun "we" as He clearly considered Himself to be a Jew. However, the Jews of His day rejected Him (John 1:11). The Apostle Paul wrote "For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah..." (Hebrews 7:14).
In Revelation 5:5 Jesus Christ is referred to as "...the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David..." God the Father sent "...His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). Christ took on the flesh and blood of His physical parent Mary: "Inasmuch than as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14). Jesus was born as a human being (John 1:14) by a divine begettal (Matthew 1:18-23) into the nation, area, and family of Judah.
QUESTION: In II Peter 3:10 was Peter talking about the destruction of the earth?
ANSWER: II Peter 3:10 states "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up."
This is said in the context of verse 7: "But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition (destruction) of ungodly men" (II Peter 3:7). This is what the Bible refers to as "Gehenna fire" in which the unrepentant (Matthew 3:12) are cast, resulting in the second death (Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8).
The unquenchable fire to which this refers is one that cannot be extinguished. God will not allow this fire to be put out until it has consumed all combustible material. This fire will burn itself out when there is no longer anything else to consume. Only spirit beings will not be affected by this physical fire.
The apostle Peter compared this fire with Noah's flood and used it as an example of the future cleansing of the earth by fire: "For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and In the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water (II Peter 3:5-6). Just as the earth continued to exist after the flood, so it will continue to exist after the coming global "lake of fire."
When we compare II Peter 3:13 and the first few verses of Revelation 21 we gain additional valuable information. "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (II Peter 3:13). In the twenty first chapter of Revelation, we see that immediately after the lake of fire the new heavens and new earth are mentioned. Revelation 21:1-3: V1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. V2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. V3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God." Ecclesiastes 1:4 shows that the earth will never fail to exist: "One generation passes away and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever."
The simple truth is that the surface of the earth and everything physical on it, including all unrepentant humans (those who are not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed), will be purified by fire. Then God will then renew the face of the earth and make it a glorious residence for Himself and the rest of the God Family (Revelation 21 & 22).
ANSWER: The events to happen after the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth are described in Revelation 20:5 through to the end of the book of Revelation.
Revelation 20:5 shows that the second resurrection will occur after the millennium: "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished..." These are not the dead in Christ but simply the dead - those who have not yet had their opportunity for salvation. This will be a resurrection to mortal life (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
During the millennium Satan will be restrained and prevented from deceiving the nations (Revelation 20:1-3). After the thousand years are over Satan will be loosed out of his prison (Revelation 20:7-9) and go out to deceive the humans who are not yet born into God's Kingdom. Satan and the demons will then be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). In the lake of fire, they will be powerless to deceive their rest of the dead who will then be resurrected to physical life in the second resurrection (Ezekiel 37:1-14). We read about the second resurrection, also called the Great White Throne Judgement period, in Revelation 20:11-12. This will be a resurrection to mortal life and will include all those who died in ignorance in past ages.
After God's plan of salvation is complete the earth will be cleansed with fire (II Peter 3:10-12). The lake of fire will destroy everything that is physical and will burn itself out after consuming everything combustible on the entire surface of the earth.
Following this "Gehenna fire," God will create a new heaven and a new earth: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God" (Revelation 21:1-3). At that time the earth will become the headquarters of the universe for God's Kingdom (Revelation 21, 22).
Hebrews 2:6-8 states that God will ultimately put all things (the entire universe) under the control of Himself and those who will be born into His Family and given immortality (I Corinthians 15:50-54).
Whatever our glorious future will be it will be astonishing beyond imagination (Romans 8:18; II Corinthians 4:17). Those in God's Kingdom will inhabit eternity: "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:7).
ANSWER: As mortal human beings we accustomed to living in temporary physical world. We are limited by our physical senses to detecting only that which is physical. Everything physical has beginnings and endings. We understand what it means to be born and what it means to die. We observe the creation around us and see plants, insects, and animals come to life and we see them die. We even speak of the birth and death of civilizations, volcanoes, and planets and stars. We measure time with clocks and calendars. We measure the progression of time in seconds, hours, days, and years, decades, centuries, and millennia.
Humans are accustomed to seeing things get old. Our homes, automobiles, and our clothing, even our physical bodies wear out over time. As wise king Solomon once said: "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
God is not limited by the things we are as humans. He is eternal. God has always been and always will be. He inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). Our physical minds cannot truly comprehend with is means to be eternal, because we have nothing in the known physical universe in which to relate eternity to. In fact, we cannot even fully comprehend the physical universe at God created. That is precisely the problem we have as humans; we are trying to relate what cannot be related to in physical terms. We are trying to apply the limitations of the physical existence we know to the unlimited spiritual plane of existence on which God lives. It cannot be done.
One of God's names in Hebrew is Yahweh which means the "Ever-living One." He is the Creator of all that exists: "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16-17). The Creator is not bound by the laws of space and time as we are. To our Maker "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (II Peter 3:8). He is the author of space and time. There is no beginning or end for God because has always existed (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 7:3). "In the beginning God..." (Genesis 1:1).
Whatever point in the past we wish to consider as "the beginning" God already existed. Where did God come from? He didn't come from anywhere. He was always there!