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What’s with All of the Signs and Wonders in the Old Testament?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
November 6, 2020 1:00 am

What’s with All of the Signs and Wonders in the Old Testament?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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November 6, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 570 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

1. In the news cycle and on social media, misinformation is often a topic of discussion. What do you think are some of the most misunderstood or misinformed ideas about Christianity?

2. It is my understanding that Enoch and Elijah were taken directly to heaven without experiencing physical death. If so, do they now have glorified and resurrected bodies, and did Elijah appear to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration in a glorified body?

3. What is the point of praying for things if God already knows what the outcome for everything is going to be? 

4. Why did God choose to reveal himself in big and fantastic ways in the Old Testament (e.g., the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, etc.), but today he does not reveal himself in those ways?

 

Resources

The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way by Michael Horton

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller

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There are many fantastic signs and wonders in the Old Testament, so why doesn't God do those today.

Best is one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Israel Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us with your question. At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 also post a question on her Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts or you can email us at questions at core, Christianity.com.

First up, today we have a good news story to share with you after a young baseball player lost not only her home, but also her prized baseball card collection in one of the California wildfires.

A local man stepped in with a very special gift. In addition to being a diehard San Francisco Giants fan, nine-year-old Reese Osterberg is also one of the best baseball players in her league. Although Reese and her family were able to safely evacuate as the Creek fire encroached on their home last month. They forgot to bring Reese's most prized possession with them. Her baseball card collection while her family made it to safety, but their house was destroyed by the fire, taking her 100 card collection, which she spent three years building with it. So instep the fire department to arrange a special step up to the plate baseball card donation drive for Reese. Not long after the news of that dry was announced it reached baseball card collector Kevin Ashford who has amassed 25,000 cards in the 25 years he's been collecting them with the help of the fire department. Mr. Ashford donated his entire collection to Reese wow that's really cool. Amazing what a great guy.

I mean I do you just delete her stories like that. I don't know where you know this gentleman is as far as his faith, but that is the third thing that you just want to hear Christians do just such overwhelming generosity just beautiful. Yeah let's get to our first question of the day. This one comes from Kim who emailed us and she said hi, Pastor Israel and Bill in the news cycle and on social media misinformation is often a topic of discussion. I was just wondering what you all think are some of the most misunderstood or misinformed ideas about Christianity. I feel like I'm constantly learning how to answer certain misinformed views about Jesus and the Bible.

And I'm just wondering how do you deal with this yeah well I think the one you're totally right. Meters and also to talk, especially if you like.

In the last year. You know the talk of fake news and misinformation out there and boy you can be really depressing that it can make you feel like I don't really know what's going on anymore and so this is a huge problem and it's also a problem for Christians in the church.

There is a kind of fake news, if you will that tries to displace the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ that it's not just a problem that we have in our day. That's your problem, that that is been experienced by the church from the very beginning, even in the days of the apostles. I meet I think of what the apostle Paul said when he was writing to the Galatians at the very beginning of the book of Galatians, he says to this church. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. Not that there is another one. But there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Talk about misinformation. Talk about fake news right but he goes on to say in verse eight, but even if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed and so fake news, false gospels have been a problem for the church of Jesus Christ since its very inception. Since the very beginning and I would say actually you noted to your question. What are some of the big misinformation is out there today. I think at the heart of it, we would want to say this is misinformation related to the gospel that you do here all over the place today to look the gospel is something that is so simple that even a little child can understand and I praise God for that for little kids to be able to talk to them about Jesus in the Gospels is wonderful because I know that the gospel is for them.

You can have a one sentence definition of the gospel that gets to the heart of the forgiveness of sins of God's goodness to us in his son Jesus.

But the gospel is also so magnificent that we can spend all of eternity. Never getting tired of it.

There can be tomes of theology that are written about the gospel exploring its depth its beauty. I will just never get tired of the simplicity and the greatness of the gospel and yet there's a lot of misinformation and confusion about it today and I think one of the biggest confusions is people today don't know how to distinguish between the law and the gospel. I've had so many conversations with people outside of the church and and I've asked them what you think.

The good news of the Christian faith is what is the gospel, and a lot of people assume they know what the gospel is, and their response is something like this well minutes be a good person. Love God, love your neighbor and of the golden rule that kind of thing the give to charity. They point to the law. The law is a good thing the law is is something that God gave to us to his people. It reflects his holiness's goodness is righteousness, the gospel, though, is not something that we do. The gospel is God's work. It's what he did for us in Christ to redeem us to redeem humanity. The law is our work is what God calls us to do and yet so many times when you ask people today Kim what is the gospel. They point to their own work and so I think this is something that we really have to clear up for others and really for ourselves as well because if you think that the gospel, the good news of Christianity is what you do will then guess what, it's not can be very good news because the fact of the matter is one all of us to send and fallen short of God's glory into even as Christians born again filled with the Holy Spirit were still in this constant battle where although we want to love the Lord and serve the Lord, and do indeed love and serve the Lord we don't do it as well as we would want to, or wish to my life.

Your life is not the good news of the Christian faith. The goodness of the Christian faith is what God has done. That's why it's good news because it's Jesus is perfect. Work on your behalf, and we need to point people to Jesus and to what the gospel really is. That is really briefly through the second misinformation I think it's this Christianity is all about blind faith, but with wheat we accepted on a whim because it just makes us feel good. You know that kind of thing in the New Testament calls to faith were often rooted in evidence and reasons that the prophetic testimony, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, eyewitness accounts of of the fact that he rose again from the dead. We don't embrace the Christian faith because it just makes us feel good. That's not why you should believe something or not the least of your feelings are going to change all the time every day embrace Christianity because it's true and it's rooted in what God has done in history. In reality, that's what gives us hope and I think that's another thing that we really have to clear up for people to do is look doesn't matter whether you feel like it's true or are you feel like it's not true. Jesus really rose again from the dead. That's why we believe it. Thanks for your question Kim, a man and I was thinking about what Christian worldview author Greg Koegel says about postmodernism today and how faith is not simply a matter of what flavor ice cream you like to know whether you choose chocolate or vanilla one is true and what is not, and you can't say that all roads lead to heaven or these are nice stories. These are historical facts and that's where we put our faith and now I'm so glad you addressed both of those major misunderstandings. Yeah, I like that I like that with putting race that's just like picking your favorite ice cream at Baskin-Robbins or something like that's a lot of people view religion and faith. We don't treat it as something that's either true or false week be treated as a matter of preference, a matter of feeling that way when you say Christianity is true. People get offended because for them that be like saying pizza is true in me that's the best food or or Mexican food is the best which it is fine but but in their mind and thinking how could you say that you know how could you tell me that your preference and ice cream are kind of food is is superior to my preferences and just a matter of personal preference will know that's not how faith in Christianity puts itself out there.

Even in the Christian faith says believe this because it is true because Jesus really rose from the dead and if he didn't think. Don't believe it. Don't waste your time. We really need to spend more time investigating the claims of the Christian faith really investigating them, and if you listen right now and you've never done that, you know you're kind of on the fence. I'm not sure what I believe. Let me invite you to do just that. To read the Scriptures to study them to listen to what Jesus himself has to say about who he is and what he's done. Listen, what the apostles had to say read the history surrounding that the New Testament, the book of acts. This is true. And because it's true it's life-changing you're listening to core Christianity with industrial Sanchez. If you have a question for us. You can call us at 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 drilling build Luke from a quick question about the working of Enoch and Elijah always been taught that Enoch in Genesis 5 did not die rather taken directly to heaven in bodily form. Similarly, the prophet Elijah exited the world a lot of the same way.

Not experiencing physical data being taken directly to heaven. Can we conclude from these stories that these men are in resurrection body more to that of Jesus, and if so is that how Elijah appeared. He was on the Mount of Transfiguration with them within an embodied presence. Thanks hey thanks for this question and let me just yeah little bit of background here. You're right. I mean you read Genesis just read Hebrews 11 verse five says this by faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God taken them now before he was taken, he was commended as having please God's it seems right there like you did see that he was taken into the presence of the Lord second Kings chapter 2 verse 11 it came to pass, as they still went on and talked, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven right there yet. Like that heavenly taxi take Elijah into heaven glorified bodies are associated with the final resurrection which has not happened at that's absolutely clear. In fact, there was this a misinformation going around in the early church that the day of the Lord or the resurrection had already taken place.

This is reflected in in Paul's letter to the Corinthians is also reflected in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians 1st radius. Chapter 15 versus 50 and following says this I tell you, brothers, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit imperishable, behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed for this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality is talking about the coming of the Lord, and the final resurrection.

Similarly, in first Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 16 and 17 for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord now bring up that second passage because it seems to indicate that the second coming. Those who are alive are to be caught up and glorified. There's a transformation that takes place, and so could it be that something like that is what happened with Enoch and Elijah. I think we can be 100% certain they know what the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration saw was Elijah and Moses described in Matthew chapter 17 and since Moses died, and he hasn't been raised bodily yet I wonder if what the disciples wasn't Elijah and Moses with glorified bodies. But in some other kind of form. I'm not sure the main takeaways that won the final resurrection has not happened yet and that's clear in the New Testament to the final resurrection is our ultimate hope now that I think going back to our our first question is another one of these misconceptions that a lot of people have about the Christian faith.

Even the Christians having a lot of people assume that the goal of Christianity and Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I could just go to heaven and be with God. My body scan it go down into the ground and I'm glad for that because it's breaking down and it's it's not the body that I want. I'm going to go and heavens are to float around disembodied in the presence of the Lord for all eternity in him to be in heaven when I die because of the work of Jesus. Well that is true you know if you faith in Christ, we are going to go to heaven when we die. Our bodies are going to go into the ground, but ultimately the ultimate hope that we have is in the resurrection of the body. We are going to have glorified bodies transformed bodies that God is restoring the whole creation through the work of his son Jesus Christ, and it really is a wonderful hope that we have as believers and so one of those more mysterious texts of Scripture with Elijah and Enoch there, but hopefully that gives you some direction brother God bless you.

You're listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and we have a very cool offer for you today is actually the book that helped launched this program yes the book is core Christianity, written by my friend Dr. Michael Horton and we been talking about some of the misconceptions that we see all around us in the church today related to the gospel, distinguishing between law and gospel related to the fact that Christianity is based primarily on feelings but on what actually happened in history we put our faith in these in these real events that took place, the life, death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ even even misconceptions about the resurrection. One of the things it's wonderful about this book core Christianity is dive into all of that in the in this book, and it could help clear up some of these misconceptions that we see all around us today and so to get a hold of this special offer for today go to core Christianity/offers or give us a call at 833 the core and on behalf of the whole team here core Christianity. Thank you so much for listening. The requester copy today you will love this book. Great book to read with your family, or maybe as a small group in your church and again if you like to request give us a call at 833-843-2670 3.833. The core will schedule another question that came in a realist one from Kimberly she says what's the point of praying for things. If God already knows what the outcome is for everything Emily prayer is the shovel with which you and I on earth the sovereign will of God. Here's what I mean by that God knows all things, as you say he accomplishes his purposes throughout the world, but he chooses to bring about his will through our prayers through your prayers as he got uses means. Jesus rebuked the false teachers. He said to them, do not presume to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father. I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham to cut doesn't need you or I to accomplish his purposes, he could if he wanted just zap his will into existence, but instead he does use us and he calls us into fellowship with himself to say this, is there anything more beautiful than that. That God would use sinful people working in and through them to know him and to accomplish his purposes. Think of a little boy helping his dad work on the car. Dad doesn't need the boys help busy, but he delights in spending time with his son and he gives his son the joy of being able to participate in something special and I wonder if it isn't something like that.

Kim, we are the children of God, and God brings us into fellowship with him and gives you the privilege of praying serving loving it really is a gift that God gives to us so you're right, God knows all things. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't pray because God has ordained to accomplish his purposes. Through our prayers through our evangelizing through our sharing the faith with others through our walking with Jesus. And so press into prayer and continue to grow in your own relationship with the Lord getting to know your heavenly father through Jesus and see how the Lord does indeed accomplish his purposes through the prayers that he places in your heart.

God bless you.

Thanks Kimberly for the question.

This is core Christianity by the way, we are listener supported. We count on people just like you to keep this program on the air, if you'd like to learn more about how you could make a gift. Just go to our website which is core Christianity.com here's a question that came in through our Facebook account from Noel well says why did God choose to reveal himself in big and fantastic ways. In the Old Testament, like the burning bush the parting of the Red Sea, but today he doesn't reveal himself in those ways. This is difficult for me to grapple with because it seems the Bible is asking us to believe in mythic type events that can't be proven or verified note know if I were to write a story of my life.

Not that anyone would be interested in it. But if I was going to do such a thing. I'd focus on the key events the big moments that were definitive for me and in my own formation in my life. This is how autobiography simply work right like it and if you had just that you might think wow Israel's life is jampacked with these momentous events, but of course you wouldn't be entirely accurate and I be focusing on them for the purpose of the story in the Bible, we have the story of redemption and expense thousands of years, but were given a glimpse into the big events of redemptive history how God created the world call the people rescued that people raised up kings and prophets along the way and all throughout. There were some pretty miraculous, amazing moments that we get to read about in the Bible real events, not just you know mythic events as you say, but real events that took place historical events, but that wasn't the daily norm and a and I say this because sometimes people read the Bible and they think that burning bushes and parted seas were appearing every week, but they weren't in effect when Jesus showed up on the scene in the Gospels, he started doing all these miracles, casting out demons with what the people say about that insight is another miracle worker week we saw a guy like this last month and the month before.

We've never seen anything like this that all we not seen such a thing so well God does accomplish miracles even today. We shouldn't expect that that's the normal routine be the sort of ordinary, everyday Christian life.

It wasn't even in the Old Testament, the miraculous was often clustered around being redemptive historical events like God delivering his people out of Egypt or establishing the temple leading his people through the wilderness, even prior to that, right before the tabernacle and the temple. So you have all of these big miraculous things that are taking place as the story of redemption is unfolding after redemption is fully accomplished and where was redemption fully accomplished at the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ means this is the key moment in redemptive history. This is the pinnacle of God's revelation of what God was accomplishing for us for our salvation, but after that what God gave us was his holy Scriptures you when I receive the benefits of what Jesus has done the gift of the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins salvation, but we shouldn't expect to see all of these great big miracles in the same way that they were seeing them in the Old Testament because redemption has been accomplished.

Revelation has been finalized. We have the revelation given to us in Scripture and walleyes. As I said, God still does work in mighty ways.

Even today, I mean every time someone is converted and comes to faith. The miracle of the Holy Spirit that we want to minimize its amazing is the greatest miracle of all.

And yet we know that the Christian life is quite ordinary that it looks like rowing in our prayer life growing in in a community of faith that the Christian life looks like there are periods of of the sort of mountaintop exciting experience and there are areas of a valley where it's difficult and that's okay. Don't read the Scripture and assume that all of the miraculous things you read there were were the furtive everyday happenings of God's people, and that now guy just doesn't do miraculous things anymore know that wasn't the everyday happening in the Old Testament, and even in the New Testament and God is still doing mighty things today. In particular, saving men and women through the preaching of the gospel. Know Israel I'm struck with how many people in our society. Both Christians and non-Christians are looking for some kind of emotional experience that validates what they believe and I think there can be a real danger of that in the church when we focus on feelings and not on the fact of God's word, it can really trip us up.

Yeah, your feelings and your experiences are only going to last so long. And if your relationship with Jesus Christ is primarily dependent upon how you feel and your circumstances well when difficult times come, you don't feel the presence of the Lord.

You'll either think that God no longer exists or that God has abandoned you, dear friends, God has given you something so much more stable something so much more sure than your feelings, even in your own experience.

He's given you his word. The object of promise of God as you and walking with the Lord if it's assertive roller coaster up and down and sometimes you feel like God is close sometimes you feel like he's far and it really is primarily dependent upon how you feel me just give you some good news. You don't have to live like that, you can rest in what God has revealed in Scripture in his word and they're going to be times in your life or God feels distant were the circumstances of your life are what you would want them to be. But the Lord has not abandoned you just look at the life of the apostles think they with all sorts of difficulties in the pocket saints and crimp in chapter 1 that he was burned beyond his strength and sometimes you might feel like that to Mrs. I was burned beyond my strength that I might trust in God, the dead and because Jesus truly has risen from the dead. No matter what you go through or how you feel you have hope in him. Thanks for listening to court Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us at court, Christianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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