I’ve got a jar on my desk and members of the Tompkinsville church of Christ have filled it with some very interesting questions! Here’s some of the latest for your enjoyment.
Q. Does God Change His Mind?
A. No, but He is merciful and at times His anger relents towards the sinful. When a sinner turns to God, He doesn’t change His mind but rather follows through with His predestined promise to save.
“God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the LORD saw it and was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough!”
– I Chron. 21.15
And he (Jonah) prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
– Jonah 4.2
See also Hebrews 13.8 to read more about God’s unchanging nature.
Q. When a young man is baptized, should he still be taught by a lady?
A. Check out the article “Baptized Boys And Bible Class” on this blog. It goes into greater detail, but here’s an excerpt.
“First, it misses who is included in 1 Timothy 2:12. The Greek word translated “man” is the verse specially means “man, husband, sir.” All males are not under consideration. The Greek has words for child, including “infant” or “half-grown child” (Mat. 2:21), “child,” “son” or “daughter” (Mat. 10:21), and “young man” (Mat. 17:18). None of those words is used in 1 Timothy 2:12. The Holy Spirit chose the specific word meaning “adult man.” Boys eleven or twelve are not men!”
Q. Was John the Baptizer the first to baptize others?
A. He was the first one mentioned to be baptizing in the N.T. (Matt. 3.4-5) but he wasn’t the first to perform or facilitate a baptism. This goes all the way back to the book of Leviticus where ritual cleansing was common. You can still find ancient Mikveh’s in Jerusalem today were Jews would purify themselves according to their practices. The concept of submersion wasn’t a cultural novelty— but its significance changed with the arrival of Jesus.
Q. 1 John speaks of a plurality of “anti-Christ’s,” does that mean they’re multiple and also the end of the world is near?
A. An “anti-christ” is simply one who is against Christ. While there seems to be an individual known as “The Man of Lawlessness” who will make an appearance in the last days, his identity is speculated.
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” – 2 Thess. 2.3
This topic is still hotly debated within the church. Throughout the years many have pondered over who the individual(s) might be. Names like Hitler, Pol Pot, the catholic papacy, and even an abstract idea where the Man of Lawlessness is simply “evil personified.” A modern idea that seems to be gaining traction is that artificial intelligence could be the “man” referred to in 2 Thess. The author of this post isn’t entirely sold on any of these ideas.
Q. Did all the animals talk in the Garden of Eden?
A. It’s interesting to note that the text in Genesis doesn’t indicate that Eve was surprised or frightened by a speaking serpent. We know that the serpent was among the “wild animals” God had made and is described as “crafty” (Gen. 3.1). The word “crafty” doesn’t necessarily indicate that it was the only animal that had the ability to speak. While Martin Luther believed the serpent was possessed by Satan, Flavius Josephus seemed to believe that all animals could speak during this time.
“At that epoch all the creatures spoke a common tongue” (Jewish Antiquities, I .41).
We won’t know one way or the other on this side of eternity, it’s interesting to read about a conversation between a man and a donkey in Numbers 22.
Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said. – 22.28-30
Once again, if Balaam was taken back by his donkey’s sudden ability to speak, the text doesn’t record that reaction.
In 2018 a team at the Marineland Aquarium in Antibes, France, taught an orca whale named Wikie to speak. She was able to say the words “hello,” “good bye,” and “one, two, three.” Orcas and several species of birds have the vocal ability to speak the human tongue, so perhaps there’s some truth to Josephus’ claim.