We are going to spend the month of January touching on a few questions that were ask during the year of 1999. Then in February, we will be back to our regular series.

There are Bad Questions

There are two types of Biblical questions that produce very little spiritual benefit:

The first type of foolish question, is harmful because the Believer with the unanswered question will not have the Biblical equipment to meet the challenge of living godly. Therefore, the unanswered question will contribute to spiritual defeat, and their lack of growth. The second type of foolish question brings even greater devastation to both the questioner and the Body at large. The best the Bible has to say about this second type of foolish questions is that they are "unprofitable and useless" Titus 3:9.

However, this type of question very seldom stops with just being "unprofitable and useless". This second type of foolish questions is the source of: "envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings, etc." 1 Timothy 6:3-5.

Whether these foolish questions are simply being "unprofitable and useless", or are used as the source of "envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings, etc.", we are commanded, by the Word of God, not to be involved or engaged with those questions or those bringing such questions Titus 3:10-11, 1 Timothy 6:5, etc.

Titus 3:8-11 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. 9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
disputes or questions (Greek)
to search in an improper manner, i.e. a disputing; to ask in order to plot against; to bring doubt concerning the fact.
1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

Questions that are seeking information, insights and directives so the questioner can further understand the Word of God and continue to search the Word are profitable. These are spiritually healthy and welcome.

When a question is asked, I don't have the ability to always know if it is one seeking information and clarification, or a question designed to dispute, bring doubt or plot against. However, given a little time the questioner will reveal the true purpose of their question. I'm quite sure that most of us fall into the trap of asking foolish questions at one time or another. However, when foolish questioning becomes a pattern or the normal procedure, then you can be pretty sure of the motive of that person.

Foolish questions are most generally not asked of one who can give an appropriate answer. Nor are foolish questions asked with a real desire to receive information that will dispel the doubt that prompted the questions. Instead, foolish questions are often asked of those who aren't qualified to give an appropriate response. A foolish question is usually asked in order to create doubt or confusion in the mind of the one to whom the question is directed.

This type of question is given in the hope that from the seed of doubt caused by the foolish question, the questioner and the one to whom the question was directed will work or scheme together against the subject or the person referred to by the question. In that way, the one asking the foolish question can also demonstrate their greater knowledge, and gain improper control or domination over the one of whom the question was ask.

Another reason foolish questions are asked is that the questioner has an improper motive for gaining the information derived from the answers. Many people would like to know what the Bible says about the future, not so they can live a holy live, but so they can impress others with their great knowledge. There are some people who are simply fascinated with gaining new information for the sake of information.

Acts 17:21-23 For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to the unknown God. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:

Today in Christian circles, there are far too many that are interested in Bible study only if that study session brings out something new, different or strange. But some of those same people will not study the Word of God, even those portions they know well, for the purpose of obedience and to draw from the Word divine strength for daily living.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

The deep or the secret things of God are not given, by God, so we can have increased knowledge, or to inflate our ego by demonstrating our vast understanding. No, the great truths of God are not revealed in His Word so we can become professional students, and boast of knowing all things. Those things are revealed by God, so that we might do what those deep things instruct us to do. Deuteronomy 29:29.

It's interesting but tragic, you can predict, quite accurately, that a person will be leaving the church. I'm not referring to leaving because of being transferred, but leaving because they have become disgruntled, and want to move on to something better. Whatever that better thing is. Most admit that they never find that better thing.

That prediction can be made based on their obedience to the revealed Word of God. Over the years, I've seen this story played out time and time again. A person comes to church or a Bible class, and they hear the Word of God presented in an orderly, clear and complete manner. Their response to that type of teaching is something like, "Wow, I've never heard the Bible taught like that! I didn't know the Bible had a master plan, and that all the information can be correlated and understood in light of that plan!"

Often they respond to that knowledge of the Word of God, and their lives change direction and there is literally a transformation of life, for a time. For a time, they do what the revealed Word of God instructs.

At first, that doing is somewhat easy, because the things they are ask to do away with are often things they didn't really want anyway, and the things they are asked to do, are things that they really wanted to do, but didn't know how. But then, the revealed Word of God begins to work on the pet things in their life. At that point, if the person does not continue to respond to the Word of God in their life, it will only be a matter of time until that person will want to be somewhere other than where the Word of God is clearly taught on a continual basis

If a person is a fabricator (commonly known as a liar), or if they are a swindler (commonly known as a thief), or a despot (commonly known as one who has no self-control of temper, actions or words), they will want to find a place where those things are not spotlighted by the Word of God Sunday after Sunday, unless that person places those things under the blood for forgiveness, and learns to walk in the light as Christ is in the light.

There are many bona-fide reasons for leaving a Bible teaching church. However, more people leave a Bible teaching church for the wrong reasons than leave for bona-fide reasons. Two of the major negative reasons for leaving are:

The last being the greatest reason.

Questions are a normal part of learning anything, and certainly that is true of Biblical learning. How we respond to the questions spawned through Bible study will make a great difference in our spiritual growth.

Last lesson, we saw two ways I can respond to Biblical questions:

My normal teaching style is the second response. The answers to the questions, we'll be examining this month, will have to be a modified form of that second response. If we were to take the time to go step by step through the process of finding the answers, each question would need to be a lengthy series.

The answers to all of these questions have been addressed through past teaching. We'll examine four questions this month. However, embedded in these four answers will be partial answers to several other questions, also.

We'll be looking at:

The last one is not on the list, however it seems to be the most popular.

Will the world end at with the close of the millennium? Answer: No

Over the past couple of years and especially this past year, we have seen a religious fleecing of Believers like has never happened in recorded history. This fleecing was practiced by the crackpots, and many mainline fundamentalists. The fleecing has happened because those who should have been teaching the Bible verse by verse, left their calling (if they ever had one) and began choosing their subjects for preaching and teaching with human ratings in mind.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

These teachers of fables have dumped this religious garbage on a very willing and receptive audience. If these so called Biblical teachers had kept in mind Paul's admonition of v.1, they would have thought twice before engaging in such trashing of the precious Word of God. Paul, in giving directives as to how and what young Timothy should preach, gives him a warning and a motivation to do it right.

Paul tells Timothy that we will all stand "...before God and the Lord Jesus Christ Who will judge the living and the dead...". There are many areas of judgment, but in context this judgment is concerning the manner and content of the preaching or teaching. Therefore, Paul's says, "Preach the Word" and do so in a particular manner. However, there are no instructions as to the style of delivery.

Then Paul goes on to explain why it will be such a problem to stick with simply preaching the Word. Paul says that if you want a successful ministry, from a human perspective, you'll have to find out what people want, and only teach those subjects in a pleasing manner.

In contrast to "people pleasing", Paul says, "Never mind taking a poll to find popular subjects to teach, instead, preach the Word, all the word! Preach the Word in the manner prescribed here. And, so you won't be surprised, remember, people will not endure sound doctrine."

endure (Greek)
to put up with

By the Greek structure here, it indicates that they will hear for a while, but at some future time they will not only stop hearing, they will refuse to tolerate or put up with sound doctrine. Paul had this problem with the Believers at Galatia. In the letter to the Galatians he mentions this problem in several different ways.

Galatians 5:7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

The temptation, to teach something other than the Word, comes in several ways, according to this context:

That is a powerful temptation! Seeing those who at one time eagerly followed your teaching, but now are turning from your teaching and the truth, to other teachers and fables. The temptation is to change the material, the style and the manner of teaching to be like the teachers who the people are running after.

After all, it is better to have a larger satisfied group, than to teach the Word by convincing, rebuking and exhorting and see some turn back to the fables. Hands down, it is much easier to keep people in the fold when they are never challenged to change their manner of living, because their living is displeasing to God, according to the Word of God.

On the other hand, if we don't confront people with the claims of Christ on their lives, we won't be pleasing God, or following the commands or commission of Christ. Now, I wonder what we should strive for? What we should do is probably not much of a question. Will we do what we should do is the big question.

Many godly pastors have been caught in the rush to proclaim the events of doom, so that pressure can be applied on those listening to accept salvation before it's too late, and for Believers to shape-up before these awful times come upon them. I do not question their sincerity, or their fervor in these matters. I do question their obedience to their commission to preach the Word, plus nothing!

I'll admit, the pressure is always on to add a little humanism, a little philosophy, a little prophecy (beyond the Scripture), etc. After all, so I'm told, people need to know these things. What about the need to know and live the Word of God?

The year 2000 has rolled over without even some of the normal problems of changing to a new year or a new computer program. So, now there will be a scramble by the doom's day proclaimers to explain why their predictions did not come to pass. Some will say that the mistake was that they calculated the wrong end of the millennium. Even a few weeks ago, some were already back-tracking and saying that they may have confused the end of the century with the end of the millennium in their calculations. Therefore, they say, these predictions are true, but they will come a year later than first thought. In that way, those who buy that fabrication will continue to pay and follow for at least another year. The most important phrase to these fabricators is that the followers continue to pay. If these people were really interested in their listeners following the proper manner of life, they would point them to the pure Word of God.

I don't know how many times, during my life span, similar predictions have been made of the end times. Sad to say, each time these same ol' predictions are brought out of the bag, dusted off and updated many well meaning people jumped on the band wagon only to find that there was no band, and the wagon is without wheels.

The problem stems from the same reason most false doctrines are spawned. Someone starts with a well known and accepted fact from Scripture. Then, either as an ill-informed person or one who deliberately wants to deceive, they add some plausible sounding fables to that "truth".

Now, with the addition of fables, that truth is not longer true. Plus, if it is proper to add to truth, then there is no end to what can be added, and add they do.

As a matter of fact, the added facts become more important than the Biblical truth that was used as the base for their religious concoction. If the one presenting this religious concoction is good at the trade of deception, that one will be held in higher esteem than God, and what that one says will carry far more impact than the Word of God, and many, even preachers, will follow along to their spiritual execution. All because they did not take the time to rightly divide the Scripture, and make sure that all agreed with itself.

Much of what is used as the foundation of these predictions is from the Bible and will take place. However, once you add some way out calculations, a few facts from the pyramids, some secret information from government files and goodness knows what else, you no longer have Biblical facts. You have only distortions and fables, as the past few days have attested to.

Someone told me some months ago, that they did not agree with the hype and all that was involved in it, but it did give a good opportunity to talk to people about their need to prepare for the end. Therefore, they went along with it, because the end justified the means.

What can you say to such a statement that would be uplifting, except to shrug your shoulders and walk away, before you say something you'll regret. If you were using this Biblically false prediction of the end of time as your base to reach a person for Christ, now what kind of new lie can you come up with to continue reaching that person? More than likely, that person you were trying to reach for Christ will now view all religious information as just another hoax, and you can't really blame them. No. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Not by some false scare tactic.

God in His Word gives us a great deal of information regarding the Day of Lord, and the end of the world, as we know it. However, that information is not given or arranged in the same manner as we would find in an encyclopedia. Instead, the truths of the Word of God are given as part of the revelation to mankind, by God, of His person and His plan.

No one aspect of the revelation of God's person and plan stands alone, but all are intertwined with and dependent on all other information given by God. Therefore, we must have a good handle on all the information of the God's revelation, before we can see with accuracy any one aspect of His person or plan.

To have any understanding of how and the when the world will end, we must understand why there is a need to end the world, at all. We must understand the circumstances of creation, the fall of man, the flood and even the fall of Satan. We have to understand to whom God gave this earth and what promises were given in connection with that gift, and that's just for starters!

The Biblical information given concerning the end of this age, and the world was not given to us with the purpose of our knowing when those events would take place. Sinful mankind seems to think they can out-smart God, and by their great detective work become as knowledgeable as God in this area.

Another created being had such a thought and tried such scheme a long, long, long time ago. It didn't work for Satan then, and I don't know why some under-worked so call theologians think they can do better, now.

Before we look at Biblical directives, let's see the fallacy of such predictions from pure human logic. Even if we knew, without question, that the world was going to end at the close of the millennium, based on that information, we would know that the world would not end at the close of 1999. Whether the millennium changes at the close of 1999 or at the close of 2000 makes little difference in knowing that the world will not end at the close of 1999.

Stop. Remember. We are basing this logic on the false assumption that the world will end at the close of this millennium, only for the purpose of illustration! I am in no way teaching that as fact. We know that the calendar is off by at least 2 to 4 years, and maybe as much as 7 years as to the birth of Christ. It may also be off by several more weeks, depending on what the Caesars did when they made changes to the calendar so they could have the longest month named in honor of them.

SO, even if we did know (and we don't) that the world was to end at the close of the millennium, no one would know just what year that would take place, because of the fouled up calendar. That fact is not important, except it should have been a red flag to any thinking person.

Far too often we don't want to think, we just want to believe in some cause that is exciting, or something, anything but the pure Word of God. I can't figure out what's so wrong with having just the pure Word of God. It seems to be pretty exciting to me.

Keep in mind we are talking about the end of the World or/and the coming of Christ, not some fouled up computer program. Many dooms-dayers said the end of the world would be triggered by the Y2K bug.

The fact of the fouled up calendar has relativity no significance, compared to what the Bible says about the subject. As a matter of fact, the Lord Jesus Christ had quite a bit to say about the time of His coming and the end of the world.

Matthew 24:23-26 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. 24 "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 "See, I have told you beforehand. 26 "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.

Matthew chapter 24 is the record of Christ giving the schedule of events leading up to His return and the end of the world. Therefore, what is said concerning these things in this chapter should carry at least as much weight as the predictions of the modern prophets of doom. Please, I say that with as much sarcasm as I can muster up, but so often we prefer the finite statements of humans, rather than the infinite promises of God.

If you haven't been through the Walk-Through, you need to get the series. If you have been through the Walk-Through, you need to crank up your memory. We don't have time to study this portion or this subject in any detail. There is only time to point out a few things that will help you think through the situation to the answer. Christ makes a statement in v.25 that sets the stage for what follows.

Matthew 24:25 See, I have told you beforehand.

Christ told us beforehand so when it happened, or even if we were thinking about when it will happen. We'll know the God given truth. It seems to me that it is God's truth that we should be looking for in these matters. In light of that, I'd say that this is a very important passage on the subject. Wouldn't you?

Matthew 24:35-37 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. 36 But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

For any date setters, this passage should speak volumes. To any who may have been drawn into the foolishness of these many fabrications, this should be a key verse to you, also. But this is not the only thing Christ had to say on the subject even in this portion of Scripture, plus the Word of God has much more to say on the subject elsewhere.

Matthew 24:43-44 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.

Besides telling us that He will come when we do not expect Him, He tells us what facts should be paramount in our thinking concerning Christ's coming. It is not the time of His coming, but that we should be ready and watching for Him. More on this later in the lesson.

Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Notice again, we are to be ready and watching for His coming, not digging into the pyramids, numerology or whatever trying to establish a date when He will come back.

Mark 13:31-33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. 32 But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.

A little more information is added in this passage. No human knows when He will come again. No angel knows when He will come again. Nor did the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, know at that time when He would come back to the earth.

Some of those smart theologians try to tell us that you can know when Christ will come back by looking at Old Testament prophecies. That's strange, Christ had all the Old Testament prophecies available to Him, while He was on the earth.

From the claims of these extra smart theologians, I would have to conclude that they think they have greater insight and knowledge of the Old Testament than Christ. Come on, now. Let's be real. The Old Testament has not changed since Christ was here on earth, and Christ couldn't tell from the Old Testament when He would be coming back. This same fact, of not knowing when, is repeated in the book of Revelation in similar fashion.

Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

The only way anyone can know when the Lord is coming back is to be ready and watching. The message of the Word of God is the same from Matthew to Revelation. As a matter of fact, it is the same all through Scripture.

If the information given in the Bible is not so we can know when Christ is coming back. What is it for? That's a good question!

2 Peter 3:10-14 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

Since all that is earthly will be dissolved and pass away with a fervent heat... Therefore we should:

Those are pretty good reasons for giving us information about His coming, aren't they? Granted they may not be as emotionally exciting as knowing the date of His return. But those things are more practical and spiritually beneficial.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Because He is coming:

Once again. Those are pretty good reasons for letting us in on some of the details of His coming.

1 John 3:1-4 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

My Christian friend, Christ is coming back! All of this earthly mess will be destroyed, but God's purpose in telling us these things was not so we could know the future, set dates and make fools of ourselves. We were given this information so we could grow in grace by faith, so our hope would be strengthened, so our resolve would become strong, and we would live a life that would demonstrate that we are the Sons of God in Christ.

Have the facts of Christ's coming triggered within your life the desire and resolve to live in holiness, as we approach the time when we will see Christ? Or have you become so involved in the signs of His coming that you have entirely missed the Son to Whom those signs point? If that is the case, may you use this time at the beginning of a new year and a new century to have a new beginning in your spiritual walk.

© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2000