Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 9 September 2014
Page 15

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to editor@gospelgazette.com

Is the Church Building Sacred?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis RushmoreSomeone inquired, “Is the church building sacred?” Church buildings or meetinghouses are not mentioned in the New Testament, and commonly it is agreed that historically there were no churched-owned buildings for the first 200 years after the establishment of the church of the New Testament. Hence, church buildings are not sacred or holy.

The New Testament church, instead, was and is a spiritual entity, also sometimes referred to as the kingdom (John 18:36; Colossians 1:2, 13, 18). The word in the Greek means an assembly or those who have been called out. Though the term in a different context refers to any group of individuals called out for a specific purpose, religiously, the word church refers to those who have been called out of the world by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who repent of their past sins and are baptized (immersed, Colossians 2:12) for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38) are added to the church by Jesus Christ Himself (Acts 2:47).

Biblically speaking, the word “church” is used in three senses in the New Testament, none of which occasions refers to a building. First, the word “church” refers to the spiritual body of Christ that our Lord promised to build (Matthew 16:18) and over which He is the Head (Colossians 1:18). This is the church in its universal sense, spanning all places and from generation to generation. Secondly, the word “church” refers to a particular congregation of Christians in some place (1 Corinthians 1:2). Therefore, customarily “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) distinguish themselves relative to local geography, such as the “Main Street Church of Christ.” In the third place, the word “church” is used in the Bible to refer to the worship assembly of a particular congregation (1 Corinthians 14:19, 23, 34).

The body of Christ or the Lord’s church may assemble any place conducive to worshipping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The early church met in homes (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2) or in public places (Acts 5:12; 20:20). Today, it is common practice for the church to rent or purchase facilities to ensure that they can fulfill the requirement of providing for the worship assembly (Hebrews 10:25). Nevertheless, the New Testament does not teach that the places in which the Lord’s church assembles is sacred or holy; that concept is exclusively a divinely unauthorized, human concoction.

What Is Our Relationship
to the Law of Moses?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Someone asks, “What is our relationship to the Law of Moses?” Most denominations today persist largely on not knowing the correct, biblical answer to this question. Therefore, this questions is both timely and extremely important.

Typically denominational doctrine consists of pulling portions of the Old Testament from the respective contexts of the Bible books that comprise that testament and likewise extracting pieces of the New Testament from their contexts, too. Then, personal opinions and human desires intertwine with the extractions from both testaments to produce distinctive, manmade (rather than divine) doctrines. Hence, each denomination, going through the same procedure with its own concoction of snippets from biblical text in both testaments with the admixture of human ideology, comes up with a different denominational doctrine from other denominations. More importantly, that procedure also results in manmade religions that differ from the church that Jesus Christ died to establish and about which we can read in the New Testament.

The Old Testament or the Law of Moses is not the law of God to which Christians must turn today to ascertain divine instruction. The Old Testament or the Law of Moses has been replaced with the New Testament (2 Corinthians 3:6-11; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14). Specifically, Romans 7:6-7 inform us that the Law of Moses is no longer effective for people living today. “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet’” (Romans 7:6-7 NKJV).

Resorting to the Old Testament or the Law of Moses after the inauguration of Christianity amounts to throwing away the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross to make human redemption possible. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2:21). “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Yet, the Old Testament is a source of information rather than the divine instruction to which people living today must appeal (Romans 15:4). Further, the Old Testament is the foundation on which the New Testament rests. The New Testament is the natural progression of the Old Testament. Without the Old Testament, a large portion of the New Testament would be unintelligible.

Everyone now living or who shall ever live must turn exclusively to the New Testament for divine instruction. In the New Testament alone one can find how God wants to be worshipped today, how to enact Christian living, what God expects of His followers respecting Christian service, Christian doctrine and how to take care of the human sin problem in a God-approved way. In the New Testament, one finds blessings reserved for Christians in this life and eternally, plus prohibitions, too.

The Old Testament must not be discarded, but it is not the law of God now binding upon people living today. We need to study the Old Testament to learn about God, but in the New Testament one will find instructions about how to effect Christianity in his or her life. We must turn to the New Testament rather than to the Old Testament, and certainly not to the doctrines of men, in our effort to prepare to meet God in Judgment (Amos 4:12) and to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Did Methuselah Die
after the Universal Flood?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

A reader of Gospel Gazette Online wrote and asked, “Did Methuselah Die after the Universal Flood?” Methuselah was the grandfather of Noah, and he lived 969 years (Genesis 5:25-29). Genesis 5 provides the ages of the first 10 patriarchs, between and including the Adam and Noah, when their firstborn sons were born. Adding together the ages of those patriarchs when their firstborn sons were born provides, plus adding the 600 years that Noah lived before the flood occurred, shows that the age of the earth at the time of the flood was 1,656 years since creation.

Now, adding together the ages of the first seven patriarchs when their firstborn sons were born, through the father of Methuselah โ€“ Enoch, one learns that Methuselah was born in the year 687 since creation. Next, add the number of years that Methuselah lived โ€“ 969 years, and the result is 1,656 years since creation.

Hence, it becomes clear that Methuselah died the same year as the universal flood of Noah’s day. Some suppose that Methuselah died months before the great deluge occurred, whereas others wonder if, instead, Methuselah died in the flood. There is not enough biblical genealogy and chronology to determine whether Methuselah died in the year of the flood before it occurred, or whether he died in the flood with the rest of humanity โ€“ except the eight souls on Noah’s Ark (1 Peter 3:20). It is clear, though, that Methuselah did not survive the flood, and he died the year of the flood.

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