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 Vol. 7, No. 1 

January 2005

Since You Asked

~ Page 14 ~

Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Image Was Solomon Saved?

By Louis Rushmore

Are there any scriptures that state by necessary inference or in any way imply that Solomon was lost?  My understanding is yes, he did disobey God in a most blatant manner, but the book of Ecclesiastes was his repentance.  I had a sister tell me last nite after our ladies' class she agrees, the book may have been, but repentance means nothing if you don't DO something.  She went on to say that all the idols erected during Solomon's reign were not torn down until King Josiah, and if Solomon had repented in the biblical sense, he would have had them torn down. ~ Marilyn

The sins of Solomon are acknowledged in Scripture. Various sources conclude from the biblical text that Solomon was ultimately lost. "He died disillusioned and spiritually insensible" (Unger's). "Near the end of his life, the king lost the ideals of his youth, becoming restless and unsatisfied. ...Eventually he approved of, and even participated in, these idolatrous acts" (Nelson's).

Other commentators presume that Solomon repented at the last. "Solomon probably repented in the end; for Chronicles make no mention of his fall" (Fausset's). Matthew Henry assumes that Solomon' soul was recovered for God:

The account we have of Solomon's apostasy from God, in the latter end of his reign 1 Kings 11:1, is the tragical part of his story; we may suppose that he spoke his Proverbs in the prime of his time, while he kept his integrity, but delivered his Ecclesiastes when he had grown old (for of the burdens and decays of age he speaks feelingly ch. 12), and was, by the grace of God, recovered from his backslidings.

Yet, when all is said and done, we must concur with the following remarks:

We may not enter into the things within the veil, or answer either way the doubting question, Is there any hope? Others have not shrunk from debating that question, deciding, according to their formulae, that he did or did not fulfil the conditions of salvation so as to satisfy them, were they to be placed upon the judgment seat. ...The teaching of the New Test. adds nothing to the materials for a life of Solomon. (McClintock and Strong)

The salvation of some Old Testament Bible characters who appear in New Testament passages can be confidently affirmed (Hebrews 11). Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus Christ at the Transfiguration, whereby even Moses who was forbidden entrance to Canaan because of sin seems to have enjoyed ultimate salvation (Matthew 17:3). However, it is not the prerogative of mere mortals to pronounce eternal judgment (damnation or salvation) upon any soul (James 4:11-12). As fruit inspectors, though, we can offer righteous judgment that souls with whom we are contemporary need to bring themselves into compliance with God's Word or face the prospect of eternal loss (Matthew 7:1-5, 16-20). Still, we cannot guarantee (though the truth may seem obvious to us and we may be correct) that any soul is saved or lost--that's not our job as Christians.Image

Works Cited

Fausset's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1998.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. New modern ed. CD-ROM. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1991.

McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.

The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody, 1988.

Image The Eucharist

By Louis Rushmore stumbling block I have always had trouble overcoming is the Eucharist.  Wasn't Our Lord clear about His actual Body and Blood being consumed?  Those who could not bear to hear such talk walked no more with Him.  He did not correct any "misunderstanding."

The passage of Scripture to which you refer is:

I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:48-66).

First, it is far from certain that the context has any reference to the Lord's Supper, as Jesus neither instituted nor announced ahead that he would institute the Lord's Supper when he spoke in the context of John 6:48-66. Another year passed before Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper (Clarke's).

Even if one can correctly make some correlation between this context and the Lord's Supper that was instituted much later, the doctrine that the bread turns into the literal body of Jesus Christ and that the fruit of the vine turns into the literal blood of Jesus Christ did not originate with Jesus, was not practiced the evening of the Supper's institution, was not practiced by the first-century church, but was adopted much later, well beyond the first century and extrabiblically, at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 and a part of the Council of Trent in 1545.

He did not mean that this should be understood literally, for it was never done, and it is absurd to suppose that it was intended to be so understood. Nothing can possibly be more absurd than to suppose that when he instituted the Supper, and gave the bread and wine to his disciples, they literally ate his flesh and drank his blood. Who can believe this? There he stood, a living man-his body yet alive, his blood flowing in his veins; and how can it be believed that this body was eaten and this blood drunk? Yet this absurdity must be held by those who hold that the bread and wine at the communion are "changed into the body, blood, and divinity of our Lord." So it is taught in the decrees of the Council of Trent; and to such absurdities are men driven when they depart from the simple meaning of the Scriptures and from common sense. It may be added that if the bread and wine used in the Lord's Supper were not changed into his literal body and blood when it was first instituted, they have never been since.

Besides, there is no evidence that he had any reference in this passage to the Lord's Supper. That was not yet instituted, and in that there was no literal eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood. The plain meaning of the passage is, that by his bloody death-his body and his blood offered in sacrifice for sin-he would procure pardon and life for man; that they who partook of that, or had an interest in that, should obtain eternal life. He uses the figure of eating and drinking because that was the subject of discourse; because the Jews prided themselves much on the fact that their fathers had eaten manna; and because, as he had said that he was the bread of life, it was natural and easy, especially in the language which he used, to carry out the figure, and say that bread must be eaten in order to be of any avail in supporting and saving men. (Barnes')

Second, though every biblical text first should be considered literally, a biblical text then should be considered figuratively if either a literal application is impossible (or highly improbable) or the context in which it appears signals that it is to be understood figuratively. For instance, "[h]e calls himself the true vine, John 15:1, in exactly the same sense in which he calls himself the true bread, John 6:32, and the true meat and drink in this verse [John 6:55]" (Clarke's). The apostle Peter uses the same figure as did Jesus, but he attributes 'tasting the Lord' to consuming the 'Word of God'; "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." That Jesus had in mind a spiritual application regarding this discourse is evident despite some who posed the question: "...How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52). "Our Lord removes this difficulty, and answers the question, in John 6:63" (Clarke's): "...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

Third, the proposition that the bread and the fruit of the vine of the Lord's Supper becomes the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ necessitates the perpetual sacrifice of Jesus Christ literally every time the Lord's Supper is observed. However, Scripture clearly notes that Jesus Christ literally suffered only once. "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28). "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Heb 10:10-12).

In conclusion, the Jews who were conversing with Jesus introduced the reference to the manna the Old Testament people received in the wilderness wandering, resisting the teaching of Jesus that the heavenly Father had sent him (John 6:28-31). Jesus used the reference introduced by his audience to illustrate that essentially he is the new manna sent from the heavenly Father. There would have been no benefit anciently had the wandering Israelite nation not eaten the manna from God, and there can be no benefit to people since Jesus came into the world if (using the illustration of "bread" under consideration) if contemporary people do not (figuratively) eat this latter bread from heaven.

Jesus referred to his ultimate sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world and the benefit that mankind can derive from that sacrificial, vicarious death. There is a remembrance of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for humanity in the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24-25), but the context of John 6 and texts referring to the Lord's Supper may only be connected in that all of those texts refer to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for humanity.

Further, the context of John 6 occurred about a year before Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper and no direct reference exists in the biblical text between the two events. In addition, not only is it reasonable to interpret references to eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus figuratively, Jesus himself identified his discourse as spiritual teaching, not literal application. Finally, Scripture affirms that Jesus Christ was sacrificed only once, which would not be true as Jesus Christ would continue to be sacrificed presently and as long as time remains through the Lord's Supper if partaking of the Lord's Supper involved literally eating the body and drinking the blood of Jesus Christ.Image

Works Cited

Adam Clarke's Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.

Barnes' Notes. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

How Could God Let It Happen?

By Louis Rushmore

Image Image I need some help please. How do I comfort someone who's two year old daughter has been raped by her father, she wants to know how can God let this happen? Please answer this so I can help her. Thanks, Howard Huckabee

There may be no words that will adequately comfort the mother and child who endured such a tragedy. Yet, in humanity's quest to blame someone and often God for whatever calamities befall us on earth, we fail to consider some important facts. First, God is not evil and can have no association with evil (James 1:13); our God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Second, God created humanity sinlessly pure, but sin entered the world through Adam and Eve (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12) and every accountable soul sins (Romans 3:23). However, babies and other unaccountable souls are free from sin (Ezekiel 28:15; 18:20). Third, because of the abuse of freewill that God has given to humanity, people often make the wrong choices whereby the innocent are injured or even killed. However, the same freewill enables mankind to choose to be the children of God and obey the Gospel (Mark 16:16). Finally, when whatever tragedy befalls humanity, even when the innocent are hurt or killed, God is right where he was when ungodly humanity took the Son of God and nailed him to a cross.Image

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