Monday, October 31, 2016

Are zombies real? What does the Bible say about zombies?

“12 This will be the plague the Lord strikes all the peoples with, who have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” – Zachariah 14:12

The popularity of zombie-themed movies, games, and television shows has captured the mind of our culture. Reports of “zombies” in remote Haitian villages flood the internet. What is a zombie? The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions says, a zombie can refer to a snake deity or someone in voodoo circles who as a result of being put under a spell or having taken harmful potions or drugs is thus easily manipulated to perform certain tasks meaninglessly. So a zombie can be:

1. Someone who is demon possessed – an individual doesn’t have control of their own facilities or body.

2. Someone who is under drug or other hallucinogenic influenced- their physical body is being governed by the demonic.

3. A demonic mockery of the resurrection - Someone who is physically dead, but a demon has temporarily reanimated the corpse for the purpose of deception and confusion. This may have been the reason that the devil wanted the body of Moses. (Jude 1:9)

Biblical examples exist of people coming back from the dead. Please note that there is a difference from God reviving someone vs. the resurrection. When the Lord revives someone they will die again to await the resurrection. But in the resurrection, believers will be like Christ being raised from the dead never to die again. Here are some examples of the dead coming back:

· Zach 14:12-13- a prophetic judgment of God that sounds like something from the set of the Walking Dead.

· Ezekiel 37 – The valley of dry bones an army is revived to give Glory to God.

· Matthew 27:52 – a graveyard of tombs emptied out when Jesus died on the Cross.

· Luke 7:11-17 – Jesus revives the widow’s son.

· John 11 –Jesus revives Lazarus; but he later dies.

· Revelation 11:7 – the prophets of God are killed, lay in the streets dead, but God revives them to proclaim his Glory.

In almost all of the cases above, the reviving or resurrection is given in order for God to receive Glory. In Daniel 12:2, the bible says that all who “sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Do you open yourself up to be used by the Holy Spirit or other spirits, aka demons? The reason strong alcoholic drinks were called spirits is because they limit a person’s self-control. Believers should avoid any substance that causes us to loss control of ourselves for recreational use.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

As believers, our surrounding culture will present us with holidays, gatherings, and events that don’t have a biblical origin. Halloween falls into this camp, and is perhaps one of the trickiest for believers. Like anything our culture may throw at us, we can either receive, reject, or redeem. Here is how the arguments go for Halloween:

1. Receive Halloween- Colossians 2:16 says, “Therefore, don't let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.” Therefore, no one should pass judgment on you for any celebration which a believer participates. Jesus went to parties to win people to himself. Would we criticize Jesus for doing this? Besides, what is the harm in putting on a costume and giving out a big candy bar to your lost neighbors? Why can’t we use this as an opportunity to love our neighbors?

2. Reject Halloween- Are you kidding me? 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?” Halloween is an unholy day that has pagan roots. The day was believed by the ancients to be a day when the veil between the spirit world and our world was thin. One had to carve gourds and put candles in them to ward off evil spirits. The idea that unless you gave a visitor a gift they would place a curse on your home that day, the origin of “trick or treat.” In Acts 19, when they became believers they burned their witchcraft books. They renounced their old way and so should we.

3. Redeem Halloween- Wait a minute, just because something has an ungodly beginning doesn’t mean it has to be outright rejected by a believer. Do you like VW beetles? Did you know that they were the brainchild of Adolf Hitler? So should we reject all VWs since they were created by someone who was bent on evil and world domination? What about the dates we celebrate Christmas and Easter? Even celebrating one’s birthday has pagan roots. The only two examples in the bible of anyone celebrating their birthday was pharaoh and King Herold. It was believed that the spirit world owed you one on your birthday. In order to claim said wish, one would need to light a candle, make a wish, and blow the candle out. Years ago, the church came up with All Saints Day on November 1st as a way to redeem the holiday. In this day, believers would dress up as saints and church heroes of the past.

Who is right? I know you want me to tell you, but you need to investigate and choose. I have always leaned towards redeeming the holiday for God’s glory. It is a little tougher than some other holidays, but it is the only day that unbelievers will knock on our door.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Should Christians Obey the Government?

“Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”[1]

The election this year has been interesting, because of how it has affected evangelical Christianity. Different tribes in Christianity have responded to this election in different ways. I would like to take time in this article to remind believers that there are biblical principles for how we are to interact with the government. Here are some biblical principles for how to interact:

1. Be a good citizen living in subject to the governmental authority, even a pagan one (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). We must responsibly engage the political process. Do not be deceived by talk radio rhetoric, look at the issues and vote according to who will bring our Christian convictions into the public arena (Prov. 14:34).

2. Live internationally like Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and Jesus on earth. Remember as a believer our ultimate allegiance is to Christ and His Kingdom.

3. Obey the state but worship only God. Thank God for all the good He does through the government, praying always for all who are in authority. (1 Tim. 2:1-5)

4. Acknowledge that governmental authority is established by and comes from God! (Mark 12:17; Rom 13:1,4,6)

5. Acknowledge that all government serves in some measure the purposes of promoting good and punishing evil (Rom. 13:3-4). Bad government is almost always better than no government.

6. Pay all taxes levied upon us by our government, recognizing its right to do so. (Mark 12:17; Rom 13:6-7)

7. Engage in “civil disobedience” only when our government prohibits me from doing what the Bible commands, or when it commands me to do what the Bible prohibits.

I know that in this election we have the freedom not to participate, and some of my mentors have made it clear they will be staying home on November 8. My hero Spurgeon has been unfairly used as a defense for staying home when he said, “Of Two Evils, Choose Neither.” We are not voting on a pastor, deacon or Sunday School teacher. We are voting on the Commander and Chief of our nation. I agree it would be ideal to have someone who could meet those qualifications, but we haven’t had that from any party in a long, long, long time.

So I cannot stay home, my conscience will not allow me to do so. I believe that I have a biblical and patriotic obligation to vote. Our freedom to participate in this process came at a high price. Both parties have placed candidates that would not be mine nor many American’s first pick, but God is in control. Believer, we must trust Him with the outcome either way.

[1] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Mk 12:17.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

If Seeing is Believing, How Can You Believe in an Invisible God?

be ready in season and out of season…” -2 Timothy 4:2

With the growing number of nones, no religious affiliation, the existence of God is being questioned heavily today. A believer must be able to demonstrate that believing in God is reasonable, consistent with reason, and is actually more rational than the alternative of believing in his nonexistence. Here are five reasons why it is reasonable to believe in God:

·      Anthropic Arguments: Things about ourselves—conscience, capacity for good and evil, yearning for eternity, religious experiences—are best explained by the existence of God. How does one explain the universal morals and laws found in every culture?
·      Immaterialism Argument: The existence of love, beauty demonstrate that we do not live in a materialistic universe. What value is love and beauty in an evolutionary materialistic universe?
·      Creation and Design Argument: Creation by an Intelligent Designer is more intellectually plausible than creation by random chance. Where did all matter and life come from and why is it here? (Romans 1:20)
·      Probability Argument: Every day we exercise faith, and I think it’s reasonable to have faith in the supernatural. What does it mean to have faith? It means to exercise the tools of faith: reason or science, intuition, and our experiences.
·      Transcendental Argument- Knowledge, logic, and science, etc., are only possible because God’s existence is a precondition for all thinking and knowledge.