Sunday, April 24, 2011

Statues of Jesus

Question Received: Is having a statue of Jesus wrong?

My Answer:

During the time of the Reformation in the 1500's Protestants, in their reaction to the excesses they saw in the Catholic church, removed most if not all art from church in places of worship. The Reformers saw abuse in how pictures and statues were used withe prayers, veneration and worship practices. Statues and icons are used to day in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and some Protestant churches. A scripture sited in support of removing art in worship is the second commandment-

Exodus 20:4-6 [ESV] 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Statues of Jesus, or any likeness of God or any creature are of course not to be worshiped. Moses warned the people about making objects of worship or even an object representing the Lord who they had not seen.
Deuteronomy 4:15-18 [ESV] "Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth."

Many Protestant churches have a picture of Jesus in them. Yes, there are some people who see this as wrong. Almost every church that has printed Sunday School material has a picture of Jesus in it. We of course should not worship or be superstitious towards or pray to a piece of art.
Is having a statue of Jesus wrong. No. Is worshiping the work of art wrong? Yes.
Is thinking there is power or superstition associated with the art wrong? Yes.
If you think their is something more to art than art you would be wrong and in sin.
We worship the Creator and not a creation.
One caution. A picture or statue can slant thinking in making assumptions that are nor true. Leonardo Di Vinci made a portrait of John that has led many people to view him as feminine, and led further art of John to do like wise. Art celebrating the Lord is not wrong. We do not worship it. However, I would be very discerning of any art work that declares to depict something unknown like the physical appearance of our Lord.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bodies now in Heaven and Hell?

Question Received:
Do we have a spirit or spiritual or resurrection bodies in Heaven. How can a spirit be thirsty like the rich man in Luke 16? Does a person in hell have a spiritual body? When do we get these resurrection bodies?

My Answer:
To answer the question we have to look at Scripture. In this passage below the poor man was immediately carried to Abraham's side,or bosom. This is the place of God, or what we refer to as Heaven. The rich man died and went to Hades. The question often asked is this passage a parable or a true story? This passage is in a chapter that has parables but this account is not stated a s a parable. The rich man was in anguish and did thirst. To my knowledge their is no description of what type of spiritual body one has after ascending into Heaven or Hades. So we have a man in agony in Hades. We have a a man at Abraham's side being comforted. Feelings are felt with sensations both good and bad as the passage tells us. The full description of the spiritual believer both saved and unsaved is a mystery and can only be speculated on. It is a mystery and we do not need to build a doctrine with so few biblical facts known. But here we do see a spirit being thirsting. We get an account of people going to Heaven with no description of any change. We know that Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for us [John 14:2,3] -so their will be a new Heaven and Earth [Revelation 21:1]. Our Resurrection bodies will come after the return of Christ for believers first [Rev. 20:5-6] and then for the lost [Rev. 20:13-15].

To summarize your questions from scripture-
1) When a Christian dies do believers get a temporary spiritual body or are they only spirit?
We do have a spiritual body as described briefly in this passage.
2) Does a person in Hell have a body? Can it be thirsty or in agony?
A spiritual body until Revelation 20:13-15 occurs. Yes they are thirsty and in agony..
3) Will we all, saved and unsaved, one day get new resurrection bodies?
Our resurrection bodies will be given in the return of Christ in Revelation in the future as described in Revelation 20.
Luke 16:19-31 (English Standard Version)

The Rich Man and Lazarus
19"There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,23and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.' 25But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' 27And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' 29But Abraham said, 'They have) Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets,) neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Troubling Verse-My,God, My God Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Question Received: Well, My question is why Specifically this language mentioned in Mathew 27:46 and translated rather than rest of the saying this language is not mentioned in theBible?

MY Answer: Jesus Christ's agony on the cross is understood in your stated Scripture. Matthew 27:46 [ESV] "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" This language that is stated in this Bible verse is Aramaic. Jesus in His agony is crying out in the every day tongue of His people. Scholars say the first two words are Aramaic or Hebrew with the rest being Aramaic. This can be a troubling verse as it seems Jesus is totally defeated.

Jesus, the Word of God as stated in John 1, seems totally beat down physically, mentally and spiritually. The Word was actually quoting the Word he authored from Psalm 22:1 which says "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?" Psalm 22 goes further into the depths of agony that Jesus Christ suffered on the cross. The Psalm ends in a rousing and complete account of God's complete and total victory accomplished by His son Jesus Christ on the cross as He atoned for the sins of God's people.

Jesus Christ, The Word, took comfort from the prophetic Word He authored in the time of David, hundreds of years before Jesus Christ was incarnated in Bethlehem. Jesus Christ showed His deity and oneness with God. Jesus Christ the man looked to the Word He authored to grab at inspiration and strength at His most crucial time of life. This should inspire us to do the same. Jesus as the God man is declaring victory where defeat seemed sure. Some people at the cross thought He was calling on the prophet Eli. Jesus was in full unrestrained agony looking to the Word. He assured and declared that this horrible path He traveled led to ultimate victory of God for our gain over sin, death, hell and the grave.