|What Does the Bible Say About.../Part 17|
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2004|
|Do you have to cut off the body part that causes you to sin? Why did Jesus cast the demons into pigs? Why did Jesus have to suffer on the cross instead of just dying? Dr. Figart answers these and other questions.|
Students from Manheim Christian Day School (PA) ask Questions About the Bible
Answered by Dr. Thomas Figart
In John 7:34 Jesus says, ‘Where I am you cannot come.’ Later, He says we can go where He will be going. What is up with that?
Question from RT: “In John 7:34 Jesus says, ‘Where I am you cannot come.’ Later, He says we can go where He will be going. What is up with that?”
Answer: In John 7:34 Jesus was speaking to unbelieving Jews, who could not go to the Father in heaven unless they believed in Christ. We know this from John 7:35, 36: “The Jews therefore said one to another, ‘Where does this man intend to go that we should not find him? What is this statement that he said, “You will seek me, and will not find me; and where I am you cannot come”’?”
Then in John 8:21 He said again to them, “I go away, and you shall seek me, and shall die in your sins; where I am going you cannot come.’”
In John 13:33 now Jesus is speaking to believers, and refers back to what He said to those unbelievers: “Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek me, and as I said to the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come. Now I say to you also (verse 33). Simon Peter said to Him, “Where are you going? Jesus answered, ‘Where I go you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow later” (verse 36). Finally, in John 14:3: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, ye may be also.”
Is it true if you sin you have to cut off the body part you sin with?
Question from VL: Is it true if you sin you have to cut off the body part you sin with?”
Answer: This is in reference to Matthew 5:29,30; and Mark 9:43-45. The situation has to do with which is better; to keep the bodily member which offends, or “causes you to stumble” as an unbeliever, and be in danger of hell fire, or is it better to cut off that member so you cannot commit the sin, but will allow you to believe in Christ and go to heaven? He gives several examples of sins which prevent you from repenting and turning to Christ. Adultery is one. You lust with your eye; this leads to adultery, and you are indifferent to the Gospel. Or, you cut out your eye, and you cannot look with lust, but you can give attention to the Gospel and go to heaven instead of hell.
In other words, Christ is presenting an “IF” situation, yet, one which could really happen. It would be better to go through life crippled than to be kept from the kingdom of God (Mark 9:47). This is all about unbelievers. For the believer, we have 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What if the believer does not repent? Then, God may take his life, and his soul goes to heaven, depending on how serious the sin is, and how often and how long it is being committed. God may not take your life away, but He has ways of making us miserable, as Christians, if we do not repent and confess our sins. No matter what the sin is, it will be forgiven and cleansed, without self-mutilation of bodily members. But always remember the account of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, Christians who lied to God, and were stricken and died. They did not lose their salvation, but will lose their reward for that particular sin, when they could have had longer, and more rewarding lives, had they been repentant and confessed their sin.
Why did Jesus cast the demons into pigs?
Question from DS: “Why did Jesus cast the demons into pigs?”
Answer: According to Luke 8:31,32 it was requested by the demons themselves. They were “entreating Him not to command them to depart into the abyss” (which is the abode of Satan). The demons “entreated Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.” In Matthew 8:29 they asked this because, as they said, “Have you come here to torment us before the time?” They knew that sometime they would be tormented forever, but not yet.
If the herdsmen or owners of the swine were Jews, then it may be that the Lord allowed the destruction of a large herd of swine as a rebuke of these Jews’ disobedience in owning and profiting from unclean animals, which was against Jewish Law.
What does it mean in Luke 11:22 when it says that the stronger man will take the weaker man’s stuff and he ‘divides up the spoils’?
Question from HF: “What does it mean in Luke 11:22 when it says that the stronger man will take the weaker man’s stuff and he ‘divides up the spoils’?”
Answer: Jesus is illustrating the warfare between Satan and Jesus Himself. In Luke 11:15 the Jews accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub (Satan) the prince of demons. But Jesus replied in verses 17,18, “Any kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. And if Satan is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub.”
Then, in verses 21,22 Jesus illustrates this truth: Satan, the strong man, armed, guards his house; Jesus, the stronger man, takes away Satan’s armor, achieves victory and divides the spoils. That is, Satan’s followers will either be taken in death and suffer eternally in Hell, or some may choose to follow Christ. So, in verse 23, Jesus asks, “Where do you stand? Are you with me or against me? You must make the choice!!”
In John 11:16, why did one disciple (Thomas) want to go die with Lazarus?
Question from RK: “In John 11:16, why did one disciple (Thomas) want to go die with Lazarus?”
Answer: Thomas said this because he was pessimistic and depressed. If they went back to Judea, they may really have been killed by opposition from the Jews, as verse 8 indicates: “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Thomas was speaking only “to his fellow disciples” (verse 16), but if Jesus heard it, He made no reply. Thomas had observed Jesus performing miracles, but at this point, he really did not believe Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from the dead; even Martha said that “after four days, he stinks” (verse 39), so Thomas may have had that in mind, too.
Jesus said in verse 15, “I am glad for your sakes, that was not there, so that you may believe.” It was not until later, in John 20:24-31, that the faith of Thomas was confirmed.
Why did Jesus have to suffer on the Cross instead of simply dying?
Answer: Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God “chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world.” This means that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit established the whole plan of salvation before there was any creation. They anticipated the question of sin entering the world and thus death by sin. Because of the righteousness of the Trinity, sin could not be allowed to go unpunished; payment must be made which would satisfy the righteousness of God. The Old Testament sacrifices of lambs and other animals merely covered sin, but when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he prophesied, “Behold, the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). If Jesus had not suffered for sin, there would be no other way to pay the price, because there is no other perfect, sinless individual who could satisfy the righteousness of God with regard to sin.