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Questions & Answers:
How would you answer questions about “false” prophecies in the Old Testament?
A local pastor named Josh wrote in and shared a man in his community he’s been meeting with, who is an atheist. They’ve been getting coffee and having lots of “lively discussions.” This man pointed the pastor to a series of articles he wrote, called “the false prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.” In these writings, he points to some of the more obscure prophecies and posits that history nowhere mentions the fulfillment thereof. He, therefore, comes to the conclusion that all Old Testament prophets are proven false, Jesus is a fraud, and Christianity has been exposed as a sham.
I gravitated toward this question to answer because:
1. When we’re talking about prophecies, false prophecies, understanding prophecies; that’s a bit of a bottomless hole to go down. We can’t go through every prophetic utterance and come up with a definitive fulfillment. Some of this is yet to be determined. The ancients didn’t completely understand how some of the prophecies would be fulfilled in Christ, nor do we understand completely how some of the yet-to-be prophecies will be fulfilled.
2. I had a friend who was very into defending evolution and we had regular conversations and debates about Creation/Evolution. What I learned through those conversations is not to underestimate the power of the Word. If we have the opportunity to talk about God’s Word, we can trust God’s Spirit to work in our friend’s heart.
You and I don’t have to have all the answers, but we know the One who is God, and who is the real answer to the real issue.
3. I wish more Christians understood what you’re doing. You and I have a sphere of influence around us. If we’ll be a friend and look for opportunities to turn the conversation to spiritual things, and ask God to use us.
Maybe there’s a point where you tell him, “I love these conversations and love spending time with you. I can’t answer all your questions, but what I can tell you is: Christ loves you, He cares about you, He’s real, He helps us in ways I can’t fully explain to you, but I know He wants a relationship with you, and this is what that looks like—”
1 Corinthians 2:12-14
2. (12:25 )
Women & The Bible
How do I get started reading the Bible?
Go to something like bible.org or FaithLife (LOGOS) and search something like, “passages on [subject that interests you].” You might get some bad or overwhelming results, but it’s a place to start. If something interests you and you want to know what the Bible says about it, that’s a starting place.
Another resource: Living by the Book by Dr. Howard Hendricks
From Hanna: You need a plan, a place, and people. Have a plan for what you’re going to read, designate a place where you study, and have at least one person who you’re checking in with to talk about what you’re reading.
The Doctrine of Election
We were chosen before the foundation of the world, we’re predestined and adopted as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, we’re sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…
John 3:16: “whosoever believes in Him,” is a verse and there are others that seem to say Jesus Christ died for all who would believe.
I like to say the offer of salvation is universal, but only the elect are going to respond. Now, we don’t know who the elect are. We are to share the gospel, to be kind and loving to those in our sphere of influence and ask God to use us for His purposes in those relationships.
Remember: Romans 9:20
What is dispensationalism, and is there accuracy to this approach?
Theology is the study of God. How are you going to study God?
Every theology uses a system to approach, organize, and explain Scripture. When you use the word “dispensationalism,” I’m going to argue it’s another way of looking at theology (along with Calvinist, Reformed, etc.).
Hermeneutic: the way we read/approach the Bible – Here’s one:
- Normal – what’s the normal meaning of these words in the Bible, according to their context
- Grammatical – There’s Hebrew grammar, Greek grammar, English grammar – which grammar system do we use?
- Literal – the understanding and meaning of the Bible in the ordinary sense, unless it is figurative (e.g. the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the world…)
- Historical – what did it mean in that historical context?
- Theological – a consistent consideration of the whole Bible
I’m a dispensationalist because, when I come to the Bible: normal, grammatical, literal, historical, theological reading leads me to dispensationalism.
Here are 3 Dispensations: Law, Grace, Kingdom
The way we approach the Bible keeps us understanding how the story unfolds. Secondly, replacement theology is a key issue – I don’t think you can take the unilateral, covenant promises God made to Israel and say those are changed because we’ve turned the page on a chapter of theology.
Was God at work throughout history among ancient people groups other than the Israelites? If He was—do their ancient writings line up with ours?
First, Scripture is comprehensive, but not exhaustive. We know from the Minor Prophets, and the Ancient Near-East was a smaller world than we might understand. The nations were closely intertwined during the days of the Minor Prophets. The cultures those prophets dealt with bled into one another.
We have examples of where non-Israelites knew about the Jewish God in the Ancient Near-East.
Beyond the Bible, one of the oldest religious texts is called the Gilgamesh Epic. The Gilgamesh story is about ancient Babylon, and pre-dates the Bible’s record.
The story of Gilgamesh is about his quest for morality, and many parts parallel the book of Genesis. The difference being: those stories weren’t the Word of God, they aren’t a Biblical narrative.
We underestimate how quickly the Word of God traveled in antiquity.
Do you have a Biblical or theological question? Ask Dr. E!
Call us at 615-281-9694 and leave a voicemail with your question. Michael will answer it on an upcoming Ask Dr. E episode!