Please comment on I Thess. 4:14. How can those who sleep in Jesus, be brought with Him, if they are not raised until His second coming?

The context of this verse makes it plain that the writer refers to sleeping bodies and not to disembodied spirits. These Christ will bring with Him when He comes. This thought of “bring with Him” is used elsewhere of resurrection. See Heb. 13:20 and Romans 10:7. He, when He comes, will bring the sleeping saints up from the dead. But in I Thess 3:13 we read of “the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints,” which event is pictured in more detail in Revelation 19. It seems to me that in light of the rather close context (I Thess. 3:13) that 4:14 refers to the coming of the Lord with His saints, vouchsafed by a statement of His coming for His saints set forth in verses 15:18, immediately following, for how could He come with them if He did not first come for them?

Does the “hour” in John 5:28, 29 mean “at the same time’? That hour of John 5:28, 29 is the same word as in verse 25 above, which reads, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” The hour here began in the first century and has continued already for almost 2000 years, for the Lord is speaking of those dead in sins and of salvation. Neither would the hour of verses 28-29 be limited to sixty minutes. Someone has truly said that the context of any passage of scripture is the whole Bible: “the sum of thy word is truth.” Other scriptures speak of the resurrection both of the just and unjust (Acts 24:15), the first resurrection and the resurrection of the wicked dead 1000 years later. If the hour of verse 25 has lasted for 2000 years, may not the hour of verse 28 last for 1000 years, if other verses so demand? Thus, in John 5:28 “hour” does not mean “at the same time” but during the same hour.

If the laws of God (nature) are unchanging, why pray?

God can bring His will to pass within the scope of natural law. Also, God is greater than nature and Lord of nature, and operates the universe as seemeth to Him good. Jesus raised the dead, healed the sick, stilled the storm. Who says that God does not have His hand on the throttle? Christianity is a religion of power, headed up by a God that can do things.


Are accidents or tragedies God’s will? If so, why punish the offender?


Every man is a free moral or immoral agent, yet God overrules as He chooses. In Romans 8:28 we learn that “to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to His purpose.” Speaking of Himself, Jesus says, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walketh in the day, he stumbleth not. . .” (John 11). Let us walk in the day with our hand in His, and then we’ll know that all that happens to us in some way is His will.

If a Christian’s sins are forgiven and remembered no more forever, for what will he give an account in the day of judgment?

 Most Certainly we will not give account for forgiven sins. The Christian’s judgment is at the cross—He who died as our substitute also received our judgment for sins. The believer “cometh not into judgment (condemnation”) (John 5:24; 1 Thess. 5:9). This is the sin picture.

How important are the letters to the churches? Could we be saved without them?

The letters were addressed to saved people and thus they were saved without them. We are saved by the Gospel and not by instructions to Christians. But much saving gospel is found in the epistles and many sinners would not be converted without them. Also, without these ‘‘tables of the Lord” many Christians would die for the lack of spiritual nourishment. How could we do without the epistles?

If Nicodemus had desired to accept the ‘‘new birth” of John 3:5, would John’s baptism have done the same for him that Christian baptism now accomplishes for us?


 John’s baptism was valid and sufficient until the great commission went into effect. The apostles were baptized by John’s baptism (who doubts that) and there is no indication that they were baptized on Pentecost or after. Yet they received the Holy Spirit and the blessings of the indwelling Christ. If Nicodemus had accepted the new birth of John 3:5 and had been one of the disciples of the Lord, he would not have been obliged to have done more than the twelve to have entered into the blessings of the new covenant. However, at the time, John’s baptism would not have done the same for Nicodemus as Christian baptism does for us, for he then would not have received the Holy Spirit, nor been baptized into the Name of the Lord (Acts 19). But he would have “justified God” (Lu. 7:29), and would have been baptized with “the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). Those mentioned in Acts 19 were baptized by Apollos after the Great Commission was in effect, and after John’s baptism invalidated; thus, it was necessary for them to be baptized by Christian baptism.

Please explain “As in Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22) and “We shall not all sleep” (1 Cor. 15:51).

 In Hebrews 9 we read that it is “appointed unto man once to die” yet Enoch and Elijah were exceptions. Even so the saints who are living when the Lord comes will be exceptions, for they shall not all sleep, but be changed.

Why did Jesus say, “Touch me not” (John 20:17) and “Handle me and see” (Luke 24:39)? Read Matt. 28:9.

 It seems that the meaning is as in the margin, “take not hold on me” or do not detain me. J. F. and B. Commentary says of this verse, “on which much difference of opinion has obtained, and not much that is satisfactory said.” Please read the above explanation in the light of this comment.

What is baptism for the dead?

This reference to baptism for the dead is part of Paul’s argument to prove the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15). The baptism of which he spoke was linked with the dead and for consistency demanded the resurrection of the dead. Paul’s point is made whether he was referring to a heretical sect who practiced un- scriptural proxy baptism, or to Christian baptism, each of which demanded the resurrection of the dead for its consistency. In either case Paul’s argument holds firm. The whole tenor of the Bible is against proxy baptism (of course), there being not one iota of scripture to support such a practice, not even in 1 Cor. 15.


Is an elder required to have more than one child?


A qualification of an elder in Titus 1:6 reads “having children that believe.” If, at church, all who had children were asked to stand, the man who had one child would stand—he comes under the head of those who have children. The point of this qualification is for the man to gain experience in child rearing, an experience necessary in ruling the household of God.

How was Christ, the son of David? In Matt. 1 and Luke 3 it seems that Joseph (Mary’s husband) was a descendant of David.

 It is true that Joseph was a descendant of David. In Matt. 1:20 the angel said, “Joseph, thou son of David” You will note that Matthew makes “Jacob” the father of Joseph and that Luke makes “Heli” his father. The explanation is that, while Matthew 1 is Joseph’s true genealogy, Luke 3 is Mary’s genealogy, in which Joseph’s name is placed instead of Mary’s, in conformity with Jewish custom (to use the name of the husband rather than the wife).

-J. R. Clark, Word and Work, January 1953