Mailbag Page 2

Will Christians be judged for sins?   In the Old Testament it seems that God does not object to people lying. Is this so?
Why did life spans get shorter after Noah's flood?   Is gambling forbidden by the Bible?
A question on divorce and remarriage   Bible verses that seem to indicate God's tolerance for idolatry & witchcraft
A Catholic asks about anger   Will Christians go through the Tribulation?

Will Christians be judged for sins?   Sally writes: Hello and God Bless. I have a friend who is worried about appearing before God and facing all the past and present sin in her life. She is a Christian but knows the Scripture says we all will stand before God and give an account of ourselves. She thinks her sin will be played out before her like a movie on a screen. I need some convincing Scriptures to reassure her.
  At the time of the Lord's crucifixion, ALL of your Christian friend's sins were placed on Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5.17). All of your Christian friend's sins (past, present, and future) have ALREADY been judged by God, and Jesus paid-in-FULL the death penalty for those sins (Rom 6.3-4). "There is therefore now NO condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8.1; see also Psalm 103.12). It would be unjust for God to judge your friend for her sins because Jesus ALREADY paid the full penalty for those very sins. And God is NOT unjust!

Christians will indeed come before God's judgment seat (2 Cor 5.10). However, the Greek word for "judgment seat" in 2 Cor 5.10 is "
bema" -- it is NOT the Great White Throne of judgment where unsaved people will be judged (Rev 20.11-15).

In Bible times, the "bema" was the name for the Judge's stand during marathon races.
It was solely a place for bestowing REWARDS, and not punishment.

Likewise, God's judgment of Christians will be solely to determine who should receive rewards (1 Cor 3.11-15). There will be NO punishment of anyone at God's bema seat -- only rewards for those Christians who earned them. As noted earlier, the punishment for sins has already been inflicted -- upon God's own Son.

1 Cor 3.11-15 describes a Christian's good works as "gold, silver, precious stones." Christians will be rewarded for these good works.

1 Cor 3.11-15 describes a Christian's failures as "wood, hay, straw." These bad works will be burned up in the fire of God's judgment. However, note what 1 Cor 3.15 tells us --
" If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss (of rewards); but he himself will be SAVED, yet so as through fire."

If your friend has not already read
our page on security of the believer, I suggest you encourage her to do so.
Why did life spans get shorter after Noah's flood?   Robert writes: Before the flood of Noah's days, people lived a very long time,but after the flood they didn't live as long. Could you give me some scripture to satisfy my curiosity?

Many people ask, "Why did the people in Genesis live so long?" Perhaps the better question would be, "Why do people die at all?"

God did not create people to die. Had sin not entered the world, people would have lived forever. (Gen 2.17, 3.19; Rom 5.12)

Two reasons why life spans gradually decreased are...

1) Before the flood, the earth was surrounded by a shell of ice. You can read about its origin at <>.

  • This shell of ice protected the earth's inhabitants from the harmful radiation that emanates from the sun and other bodies in outer space.
  • At the time of the flood, "the windows of heaven were opened" whereby God collapsed the ice shell onto the earth as a rainfall lasting 40 days and nights. (Gen 7.10-12)
  • Following this flood, the earth was no longer protected by the shell of ice, so radiation began to cause genetic damage in the human race. This genetic damage progressed as it passed on from generation to generation, thus causing life spans to decrease.

2) Before the flood, all people and animals were herbivores (they ate only vegetables, NO meat) -- Gen 1.29-30.

  • After the flood, people and animals became flesh eaters -- Gen 9.3-6. (In the future Millennium, God will reinstate the herbivorous nature of His creatures - Isaiah 11.6-9)
  • Among the animals that became flesh eaters were those we call bacteria and viruses. These microscopic & sub-microscopic animals also began feeding on flesh. Thus began "illness" & this, too, shortened human life spans.

When ordaining the flood of Noah, God announced that the life expectancy of humans would almost immediately be reduced to 120 years (Gen 6.3). In Psalm 90.10, the life expectancy was further reduced to "threescore and ten years" -- 70 years of age.

To read a visitor's differing viewpoint on these matters...

It seems that God does not object to people lying in the Old Testament. Is this so?   Anonymous - Part 1

I teach a Junior/Senior high Sunday school class and we have been studying the Ten Commandments. Every thing was going along fine until I read our denomination's lesson plan for this week. It pertains to the commandment of not bearing false witness against your neighbor (Exodus 20:16). I had always thought this means that you are not to tell lies about anyone. However in the lesson plan it says that this commandment is not concerned with lying, but is only applicable to giving true testimony in a court of law.
  Reply to Part 1

The Hebrew of Exod 20.16 is "lo'-ta`aneh bree`akaa `eed shaaqer" wherein "eed" is Strong's Concordance number 5707, translated "witness," and "shaaqer" is Strong's number 8267, translated "false."

False means not true. Therefore, "eed shaaqer" DOES mean lying.

Gesenius' Lexicon of the Old Testament does not limit "eed" (witness) to courtroom-type testimony. Neither does The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (TWOT) reference number #1576b. One can INFER from Exod 20.16 that it is mainly concerned with legal-type testimony. I tend to agree with this inference.
Nevertheless, it IS an inference.

In teaching on Old Testament law (the so-called "law of Moses") one must remember the situation which applied at the time. The people of Israel had just fled from Egypt, where they had not been a nation but were, instead, slaves. Now that they were free, they were to become a new nation. Any nation needs laws and government, and that was one primary purpose for God's establishment of the law of Moses. Accordingly, Exod 20.16 MAY mainly apply to forbidding legal-type testimony rather than to lying in one's general affairs and relationships.
  Anonymous Part 2

The lesson plan goes on to say that, for the most part lying is wrong, but by not forbidding it in the commandments
God has done a dangerous thing. Namely, God has trusted us to make our own moral judgments in this and other matters. The lesson plan says it is surprising how little the ten commandments actually forbid.
  Reply Part 2

It would seem that the writer of this lesson plan has seen fit to pass judgment on God and His Bible. I am amazed!

God did not merely give us Exod 20.16. He gave us an entire Bible.
Any and all verses of the Bible must be interpreted in the context of the WHOLE counsel of God.

Apparently, the lesson plan's writer thinks that, if any particular PART of the Bible does not specifically classify lying as a sin, then lying must be okay with God. This violates a basic principle for good Bible exegesis -- teach any doctrine IN CONTEXT of all that the Bible has to say on that doctrine.

Ah well... let's remain charitable.

There are many Bible passages which strongly condemn lying. Here a just a few: Ps 120.2; Prov 6.16-17, 12.22, 30.8; Ezek 13.8; Zeph 3.13; Eph 4.25. Rev 12.8 clearly states that (unsaved) liars will have their part in the lake of fire.

In short, lying is NOT okay with God.
  Anonymous Part 3

The lesson plan goes on to say that there are even times in the Scriptures, as in the story of Rahab and the Hebrew spies (Joshua chapter 2), where lying is approved for the sake of preserving life.
  Reply Part 3

I carefully re-read Joshua 2 in search of any statement that God approved of Rahab's lying. There is NO such statement.

The writer of your lesson plan has made an unsupportable inference.

God DID approve of Rahab, and Heb 11.31 says that it was because "she had received the spies with peace." It does NOT say God endorsed lying.

Joshua 2 recounts a historical event, in the same way that the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) recount the historical event of the crucifixion of Lord Jesus. Since not one of these books specifically says, "Crucifixion is bad," I suppose your writer would use this fact to say that God approved of the hideous treatment of His only begotten Son.
  Anonymous Part 4

I had never looked at it this way. I find this point of view very interesting. It is good to be exposed to new thoughts and ideas. It is also good to have
to defend your faith.
    Reply Part 4 (end)

Learning to defend one's faith is good. Having to defend it against a church curriculum is disturbing.

In any event, there is an important lesson in this little episode. Namely, when you are teaching a doctrine based on any PART of the Bible, always use a concordance to check ALL the main Bible references which pertain to that doctrine. This is particularly needful when you are teaching in the Old Testament (OT), since the Bible is a "progressive revelation" -- that is, the NT is in the OT concealed; the OT is in the NT REVEALED!
Is gambling forbidden by the Bible? (Ken writes:) I am looking for what the Bible says about gambling - lottery.

The Bible has nothing to say concerning gambling, as such. Some Bible teachers say that God's law, "do not covet" (Exod 20.17), applies. In other words, gambling is "coveting" & should not be done.

I think the Bible verses that can guide us on many topics not in the Bible (smoking, gambling, etc.) are as follows:

  • All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Cor 6.12, NKJV)
  • But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. (1 Cor 8.9, NKJV)
  • Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God (1 Cor 10.31-32, NKJV)

In other words, gambling may not be specifically forbidden to a Christian, but we should not allow ourselves to become compulsive gamblers. Moreover, we should do NOTHING that will bring shame to God's name or might stumble a weaker Christian.

Bible verses that seem to indicate God's tolerance for idolatry & witchcraft Nessa writes: (1) Why did Rachel's family have household gods and God did not pass judgment, seeing that He has such intense hatred of other gods or idols and there are many commands against idolatry. (2) Why was the use of ephods, and urims and thummim so much like witchcraft?

A) Genesis 31.19 shows that Laban, Rachel's father, did practice idolatry. Rachel no doubt also believed in these idolatrous gods, since she stole them from her father. As to why God did not pass judgment on Laban's household because of their idolatry...

1) Jacob worshipped God whereas Laban worshipped false gods.
2) During all the years that Jacob served Laban, God made Jacob wealthy. On the other hand, God did NOT bless Laban.
3) When a person who believes in God lives in a home or nation of unbelievers, God will delay His judgment of the unbelievers. He does this BECAUSE of the presence of believers in their midst, as shown by the following Bible verses...

  • If any brother [Christian] has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman [Christian] who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified [set aside or protected] by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. (1 Cor 7.12-14)
  • Therefore He (God) said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, To turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them. (Ps 106.23)

4) God is not willing that even the worst of sinners should perish. Accordingly, God is "longsuffering" toward sinners. That is, He delays His judgment of unbelievers in order to give them time to repent, as shown in the following Bible passage...

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet 3.8-9)

B) The ephod was a vest worn by priests, designed as specified in Exod 28.15-30. The Urim & Thummim (lights and perfections) were two of the stones set into the priest's breastplate, per Exod 28.30.

1) For a brief time in Israel's earliest history, the priests consulted the Urim & Thummim to determine God's will. The Bible never explains how this was done.
2) After God began raising up prophets (such as Samuel, Nathan, Isaiah, etc.) there was no longer any need to consult the Urim & Thummim -- the prophets made God's will known to the people by the spoken and written word.
3) There is nothing "witchcraft" behind the fact that God chooses to use many ways of letting us know His will. The Bible is a book, & witches also use books. God often communicated with His prophets by means of dreams, visions, and dark sayings. Many false religions also follow after dreams, visions, and dark sayings. God communicates with us by means of His Holy Spirit. False religions also receive communications from spirits, but their spirits are UN-holy. It is Satan's method to COUNTERFEIT God's methods.
4) In other words, it is not the MEANS of communication that makes something unholy or evil. It is the SPIRIT behind those communications. If the Spirit being communicated with is God, then it is holy. If the spirit being communicated with is NOT God, then it is evil.
5) The following verses name some of God's previous ways of talking to His people, versus the methods He now uses...

  • Then God said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision, and I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings. (Num 12.6-8)
  • God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; (Heb 1.1-2)
Will Christians go through the Tribulation?   Shirley writes: If I understand your most recent newsletter, the Second Coming (of Messiah Jesus) begins Armageddon. Since His Second Coming occurs after the Rapture, we will not be around to endure the battles and plaques etc. of Armageddon. Is that correct?
    The battle of Armageddon takes place toward the end of the Tribulation. This battle is started by Satan as a campaign to destroy Israel (Rev 16.14-16). The Lord's second coming (Rev 19.11-21) is in response to Israel's confession that Jesus is the Messiah, & their prayer that He would come to their aid (Zech 12.10-14). Israel's confession in Zech 12 satisfies the Lord's requirement that He would not return until Israel called upon Him to do so (Mt 23.37-39).

The Tribulation, as described in the book of Revelation, is the period when the wrath of God will be poured out on the world (Rev 6.17, 15.1). Christians are delivered from God's wrath (1 Thes 1.10 and 5.9). Therefore, the Rapture will occur PRIOR to the out-pouring of God's wrath.
[For more on this topic, go to Biblebell's 5-page study of the Rapture.]
A Catholic asks about anger   Anonymous writes: I am a student in a Catholic High School and I am doing a research study on the Christian approach to anger and how it can be dealt with. If you have any information from theologians such as Clayton Barlow and John Powell, I will appreciate them.
  (Our site is NOT Roman Catholic, but we are always happy to respond to their questions.)

The theologians you mentioned are not in our extensive reference library.

Our theological works include Ryrie, Chafer, Walvoord, Zuck, Thiessen, Torrey, many others. None of them wrote on anger, which is most often a topic for Christian psychologists rather than theologians. SORRY!

You might check our page <>. It isn't an exhaustive work but it might help.

Also, if you haven't already done so, check "Catechism of the Catholic Church" reference numbers 1765, 2259, 2302, 2262, 1866.

May God richly bless you in your studies.
A question on divorce and remarriage   Anonymous writes: I am a Bible believing Christian woman and my husband (not a believer) has abandoned our marriage. I cannot let him back into the home due to his destructive and abusive nature. He says that he wants an annulment to our marriage (5 months).

According to I Corinthians 7:15, I have to let him go. This scripture tells me that I am not under bond to my unbelieving spouse. My husband refuses to live with me, support me, or fulfill his duties as a lawfully wedded husband.

I have been broken over this situation but my husband does not want to serve the Lord and hear the truth and he has bent himself to destroy me emotionally and spiritually in ways that I never could have imagined.

My husband deceived me into thinking that he was a Christian, but soon afterward began cursing at me, dividing me against my church family and bringing pornography into the home; and he himself stopped going to church or wanting anything to do with Jesus Christ. He finally threatened me and I could not let him back into my flat.

I wanted to reconcile with him and he agreed to counseling. But again, he
was acting in a deceptive manner and really didn't want the Lord's will for
our lives, only his way. He started again with the threats to destroy that
which God Almighty established in my life physically and spiritually..

Am I forbidden to ever marry again? I have repented of my rebellion in
marrying an unbeliever, he was not like this when I met him; but nevertheless, I recognize my rebellion and trust in the Lord's enduring mercy for He is faithful and just to forgive.

I have been praying for a husband for some time. I feel hopeless that I will
ever be the wife of a husband that truly loves and serves the Lord Jesus
Christ. Am I to be single until this husband dies? He has abandoned me in
every sense of the word. Please advise...
  If you have a Pastor, you should obtain his counsel on the problems between you and your husband.

If you do not have a Pastor, you NEED one.

A) The Bible says -
But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. (1 Cor 7.15, NKJV)

1) In 1 Cor 7.15, the unbelieving husband LEAVES. He is not forced out by the wife. Is this true in your case, dear sister? If so, the Bible says, "Let him leave." You are NOT obliged to plead, beg, or bargain, or to force your husband to stay with you.

2) If your unbelieving husband voluntarily left you, 1 Cor 7.15 says YOU ARE NOT UNDER BONDAGE. This verse clearly has the MARRIAGE BOND in mind. This is proven by 1 Cor 7.39 which goes on to say that this same MARRIAGE BOND is broken by death, thus freeing the widow to remarry.

3) Being free of the MARRIAGE BOND obviously means being free of the responsibility of that marriage. In other words, the desertion of you by your unsaved husband BREAKS the marriage bond, and thus leaves you free to divorce and remarry. You are NOT under bondage. You are as free as you were before you ever married.

B) I recommend you buy and read "Strike the Original Match" by Charles R. Swindoll, Multnomah Press. There is a chapter specifically on divorce, but I hope you will read the entire book. You should find it quite helpful.


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