Bible Questions and Answers

Jesus Saved Before Church Built?

“Dear brother Clem: Since you claim that one must be in the church to be saved, and that the church was established in Acts 2, then Jesus Christ could not have been saved, for he died before the church was established. How do you get around this fact? – V.W., KY”

“This fact” – as it is called, is not a fact at all. First of all, Jesus never sinned, and therefore was never lost, so He did not need to be saved. Second, He promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18), and He purchased that church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). So the church could not have been “purchased” before the death of Jesus. Jesus is the head of that church, which is His body (Ephesians 5:23), and He is the Savior of that body. Not only that, but He is the Savior of all who are saved (2 Timothy 1:10). When one is saved, the Lord adds Him to His church (Acts 2:47). Christ is the head of that church, so He never needed to be added to it.

The time of the establishment of the church has nothing to do with the salvation of Jesus. He could not have been saved before or after Pentecost, in or out of the church. ThatChurchPurchasedWithBlood which is not lost cannot be saved. Jesus had no sin, else He could not have redeemed us: “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And again, “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:21-22). Had Jesus been guilty of sins, He could not have cleansed us from our sins. Had He stood in need of salvation, he could not have become our Savior. Jesus was not saved before, nor after Pentecost, for He had no sin and thus had no need for salvation. – Clem Thurman

Excerpted from Volume 63, Number 22 of Gospel Minutes. Gospel Minutes is a publication originating from Forth Worth, Texas; Clem Thurman, Co-Editor, David Thurman, Co-Editor.

Jesus and Christ Pagan?

“We have a book here that claims the name Jesus should be Joshua and that both Jesus and Christ both come from pagan rituals. Could you comment? – A.S., MS”

Jesus is a Greek word. It does indeed correspond with the Hebrew word, Joshua. And, the name was not uncommon until one unique individual was given that name. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The Son of God was given that name because of what it indicates, that He will be a Savior to the world. Although other people were named Joshua and Jesus, the Jesus of the New Testament is unique.

The same principle applies to the term Christ. This is also a Greek word that translates the Hebrew word, Messiah. The Messiah was the chosen one, picked by God to redeem and lead His people. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek. So, many of the concepts from the Old Testament took on Greek names and meanings. But, again, this title is given, not by pagan religions (some of whom may have used the terms) but by God. “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). – David Thurman

Excerpted from Volume 63, Number 3 of Gospel Minutes. Gospel Minutes is a publication originating from Forth Worth, Texas; Clem Thurman, Editor, David Thurman, Associate Editor.

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Bible Questions and Answers – Israel’s “Right” to Palestine

“Dear brother Clem: I am confused about all of the problems of Israel and the Palestinians. I have friends who tell  me that the Bible gives Israel the right to all of Palestine. Is this true?

– B.G., OH”

God made several promises to Abraham, of which the main three deal with the nation of Israel, the promised land (Canaan) and the Christ (who was to be “the seed” of Abraham). Let’s look at the promise regarding the land. “I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. And I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8). Moses later spoke of this promise to the nation of Israel, as Abraham’s descendants: “All this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it forever” (Exodus 32:13). But still later, Moses showed that the “forever” part of this promise was conditional.

God showed Israel that, if they did not do as He directed, the land would be taken away from them: “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil … But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days in the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to posses it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19). Notice that God’s promise that the land would belong to Israel was valid only as long as they served God. If they turned their backs on Him, He would allow other people to drive them from that land. And when they did turn from God, they were driven out.

After the death of Moses, God selected Joshua to be the leader of Israel. It was under his leadership that the Israelites were brought into the land of Canaan (what it now called “Palestine”). Near the close of his life, Joshua declared: “So Jehovah gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And Jehovah gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers; and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not aught of any good thing which Jehovah had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:43-45) Notice that last part again: “There failed not aught … All came to pass.

Later, Joshua told Israel, “Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which Jehovah your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, not one thing hath failed thereof” (Joshua 23:14). Lest some should say, either then or now, that God owed the land to Israel, Joshua forcefully points out that God had kept every one of His promises. He didn’t say simply that God would keep the promises. He said He HAD kept them. All of God’s promises regarding the land of Canaan (Palestine) were fulfilled in Joshua’s lifetime. There remains no more such promises to be fulfilled today. (more…)