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 Vol. 4, No. 11 

November, 2002

Since You Asked

~ Page 20 ~

typewriter Will One Go to Hell
for Using Tobacco?

By Louis Rushmore

Will one go to hell for using tobacco? I know tobacco use can lead to death. I know we are the temple of the Holy Spirit & we are to take care of it. I have known some good Christians who used tobacco. I remember my original home congregation taking 5 or 10 minutes between Bible Study & Worship for some to have their tobacco. Are those men going to hell for that? ~ Lemoyne D. Dotson

The passage of Scripture to which reference above is made is:

"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:15-20).

In this context, the apostle Paul refers to the sin of fornication (1 Corinthians 6:9) and gives the additional reason not to commit fornication that it harms the body, in which the Holy Spirit dwells. Whereas the Bible categorically defines fornication as a sin, in both testaments and in numerous passages, what this context says about harming one's body, if lifted from the passage and disassociated with a specific sin such as fornication, amounts to a principle. In other words, the Bible teaches in so many words that fornication is a sin, but this passage does not say in so many words that harming one's body is a sin (Romans 6:23). If the principle respecting harming one's body teaches that it is a sin (i.e., comparable to fornication), it is a teaching from that principle that must be deduced and applied. Saying that fornication is sinful because the Bible so teaches in so many words is a stronger statement, obviously based on Scripture, than saying that some activity which may harm the body is definitely sinful, based on a principle, owing to deduction and contemporary application.

Personally, I do not use tobacco and do not like to be in the presence of anyone using it. Further, I believe that it is a poor monetary investment as well as posing potential health hazards. Also, in view of the principle about knowingly harming one's body (at least inspired advice), I discourage the use of tobacco. However, my preferences are not germane to determining if the use of tobacco is sinful.

While there is sufficient medical evidence to be sure that the use of tobacco poses certain health hazards, there are also many people who live long lives with no apparent ill affect from its use. How, then, ought one to apply the principle above to persons who use tobacco and observe no harm? Further, tobacco is not the only way in which one may harm his body, and are we prepared to apply the principle to a wide array of circumstances (e.g., eating, not getting enough rest, etc.) in such a way that relies less on subjectivity and more on biblical authority? If the use of tobacco is sinful, based on the principle under consideration, does that mean the countless souls who used tobacco (and even suffered health problems from it) before it was commonly known that tobacco has health risks sinned and will spend eternity in hell?

Though deduction from valid implications is a proper use of biblical hermeneutics (e.g., Hebrews 7:12-17; 8:4), we must be careful that we do not categorize new sins that are conspicuously absent from the several lists of sins throughout the New Testament (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5-6; Revelation 20:8). Second, we must be careful not to make ourselves judges, in the place of God, who pass sentence on our fellowmen respecting where they certainly will spend eternity (James 4:11-12). We are to practice righteous judgment (Matthew 7:1-5) and discern (judge) between righteousness and unrighteousness (Matthew 7:15-20; 1 John 4:1), but the awful prerogative of deciding where anyone will spend eternity has not been abdicated by God and given to mankind.Image

Exodus 32:32

By Louis Rushmore

Image I heard a preacher say (TV) yesterday that the dash in Exodus 32:32, was put there because some ancient Rabbi deleted some of Moses words? Have you ever heard anything about this? Thanks, Weaver Mills

After consulting numerous written sources, I only encountered two instances where the "dash" was addressed. All other sources that I consulted, instead, simply treated the message contained in the verse and compared Moses' statement with similar expressions throughout the Bible.

Both references below to the "dash" in Exodus 32:32 discount the theory you heard on TV. However, the first citation below acknowledges that some critics come to a similar conclusion, which you heard on the program to which you referred.

We are amazed at the scholars who make an elipsis [sic] (an incomplete sentence) out of this. All it needs is proper punctuation, just as we have taken the liberty of rendering it here. Punctuation is altogether a human thing, anyway, and we have as much right to punctuate it accurately, as others do to make an ellipsis out of it by leaving out a comma! ["Exodus 32:30ff," James Burton Coffman Bible Study Library. (Abilene: ACU Press) 1989.]

For a similar form of expression, in which the conclusion is left to be supplied by the mind of the reader, see Dan 3:15; Luke 13:9; 19:42; John 6:62; Rom 9:22. ["Ex 32:7-35," Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft, Inc.) 1997.]

Personally, having complete confidence in God's willingness and ability to communicate with mankind in written language and preserve it, I would be slow to side with the critic you heard and more readily embrace the quotations above. Not everyone views the Bible as the final, complete, inerrant, religious authority given by God to humanity forever, though I am not the least ashamed to do just that.Image

Image Image Worshipping on the Sabbath

By Louis Rushmore

Just wanted to comment on an article I just read about the Sabbath. It would appear that you have given my fleshly nature every reason to completely disregard the Ten commandments. I'm sorry, but my Bible does not indicate that the Commandments were only for the Jews. ... Christ himself worshipped on the Seventh day. As I looked at Acts 20:7 I never saw any evidence that they were having a church service. In fact, it would seem that if you look at the text it was an evening meeting because Paul was leaving the next day. And I Cor. 16:1, 2 say nothing about Sunday worship! That must be a misprint on your website, because that is a huge stretch to say that just because they were to save some money they were having church service. ... I thought the Lord Himself said nothing was to every be taken out of the Bible or added to it. It would seem that some are doing both when it comes to preaching Sunday worship. ... Sincerely, Aaron Brown

Irrespective of what translation of the Bible one uses, Scripture states that the Israelites alone were the specific recipients of the Ten Commandments, and the entire Mosaic Law (Judaism).

"12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. 13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. 15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day" (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

Only the Israelites who had been delivered from Egyptian slavery (and their descendants, i.e., practitioners of Judaism) were commanded to keep the Sabbath. The reason they were to keep the Sabbath was to remember their history of being slaves in Egypt. No one besides the Jews were ever commanded to keep the Sabbath as a memorial of freedom from Egyptian slavery. The Sabbath and all of Judaism applied to one nation, Israel, and never applied to the non-Jews who were contemporary with them.

God gave religious law to mankind when he created Adam and Eve, and that system of law that we call Patriarchy (meaning "father rule" where God spoke through the fathers of the families, e.g., Noah, Abraham) continued for all subsequent humans until the Law of Moses was given to the Israelites. Even then, Patriarchy continued for non-Israelites, except those who proselyted to Judaism, until Patriarchy was replaced with Christianity. Christianity has replaced both Judaism and Patriarchy, though some of God's laws under both have been implemented by God in Christianity (e.g., do not murder).

The New Testament clearly and unmistakably teaches that Judaism (the Law of Moses) has been replaced with Christianity:

The very next verse in the same context, Romans 7:7, clarifies what is included in the law from which Christians have been delivered by including one of the Ten Commandments as an example of what Christianity replaced. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."

The New Testament also clearly and unmistakably teaches that both Patriarchy and Judaism have been replaced with Christianity or the Gospel.

Regarding Jesus worshipping on the Sabbath Day, of course, he did. Jesus was born, lived and died while Judaism was in effect. Jesus did teach that there would be a new way to worship that would displace Judaism and all other manners of worshipping God (i.e., Samaritan worship, Patriarchy).

Regarding Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, I'm aware of only one loose translation that fails to indicate the assembly in Acts 20:7 involved worshipful activities. Every reliable translation of the Bible portrays first day of the week worship in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.

Between the two passages, these acts of worship appear in the Bible text: Lord's Supper, preaching and making a contribution. Acts 2:42 and 46 use 'breaking bread' in two different senses, one sense in which it is associated with other religious activities (i.e., doctrine, prayers) and another sense where it is associated with non-religious activities (e.g., eating their food). Hence, Acts 2:42, as well as Acts 20:7 refer to the Lord's Supper, whereas Acts 2:46 refers to a common meal.

Regarding taking from or adding to the Bible, mortals are forbidden to change the revealed will of God. Biblical prohibitions appear in both testaments: Old Testament, Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; New Testament, Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19. However, God has given, over time, three distinctive and different law systems to mankind: Patriarchy, Judaism, Christianity. They have similarities and dissimilarities. No two of them can be operative for the same people at the same time without these laws contradicting each other. The giving of Christianity most certainly did require a change in the law system under which mankind living today must submit.

Anyone trying to abide by any part of Judaism today, including the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath Day, is seriously misguided and imperiling his own soul. One cannot keep a part of the Law (e.g., Ten Commandments, the Sabbath) without becoming responsible for keeping all of it.

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