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Questions & Answers
Good News Magazine
June-July 1979
Volume: Vol XXVI, No. 6
Issue: ISSN 0432-0816
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Questions & Answers
Good News Staff

   Revelation 19:20-21 states those who receive the mark of the beast or worship his image are slain by Christ at His second coming. How can people without the Holy Spirit escape the destruction? It says elsewhere you can serve only one master, either God or Satan.
James A.D.
Weldon, Tex.

   Notice that the contest of Revelation 19:19-21 is the specific battle by which Christ defeats the beast and the false prophet.
   "And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him [Christ] who sits upon the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image.
   "These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. And the rest were slain by the sword of him who sits upon the horse, the sword that issues from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh" (Revised Standard Version).
   So "the rest" spoken of in verse 21 are not the whole of humanity except the saved. Rather, they are only those in the beast's army gathered to fight Christ. Others of humanity are not slain but survive into the millenium and will then have a chance to become undeceived.

   You tell me that Christ died for my sins. How could He die for my sins, as not having yet been born, I had not sinned at that time?
Vancouver, B.C.

   We are told in the Bible that Christ was"... slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). That is, it was designed in the plan of God before any man ever sinned that He would die for man's sins.
   God knew that mankind would sin. Why? Because He created human beings incomplete — weak, you might say — in character. And He allowed them to be subjected to Satan's influence.
   But no matter whether in the entire span of human existence one human sinned or all, God so loved His mortal creations that He gave theĽ life of His only-begotten Son as payment for their sins (John 3:16-17). The life of the preexistent Creator God (Colossians 1:16), the Logos, when He Himself became a man, was necessarily worth more than the sum total of all the beings He had created (Colossians 1:19-20).
   Did God know "from the foundation of the world" that you personally would sin, and that Christ would die for you? No. Did He know that you as an individual would even exist? No. (Not unless your existence, as exactly the person you are, with your exact genetic inheritance, appearance, abilities and character, was required in His plan for a special purpose, in which case He would have intervened to bring it about. But there have been few such cases: Jesus Christ Himself, perhaps John the Baptizer, Noah and a small handful of others.)
   God is omniscient — all-knowing — but there are some things He does not know. How can that be? God doesn't know a lot of things — because they haven't happened yet.
   He can know exactly what will happen beforehand. But only one way — by forcing it to happen that way. He has the power. That is how He will insure that His plan and basic prophecies are fulfilled (Isaiah 46:11). Otherwise, He can only look at trends and probabilities with His overall knowledge of past performances and capabilities, to forecast general likelihoods in the future.
   Did Christ know He was dying for you — that is, the exact person you are, bearing your exact name? No. But did He die for you personally, as one of the sinners of the whole human race? Absolutely yes.

   When a person makes a mistake and sins, what must one do to get right with God?
Pasadena, Calif.

   All of us from time to time stumble spiritually and transgress God's perfect and immutable laws. That's sin, and it sets off a chain of wide-ranging repercussions. We not only do spiritual damage to ourselves but, depending on circumstances, hurt our fellowman — our co-worker on the job, the wife, our children.
   However, the primary offense is against God. To be forgiven then, one must first confess and repent before the Creator God who alone is able to forgive. King David, after being brought to awareness of his horrendous sins of adultery and murder, acknowledged his faults before God saying, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight... " (Psalm 51:4). God heard, and forgave.
   In the book of Psalms David never ceased to extol the magnitude of God's mercy (see Psalm 136). Once God forgives, it is as though that sin is totally forgotten. God will never again dig it up and throw it back in our faces. "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isaiah 43:25). If only we would forgive and forget like God does.
   But does God's forgiveness absolve us any responsibility towards those whom we may have hurt or offended? Of course not! Jesus Christ taught, "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matthew 5:23-24).
   God's laws are practical, and God expects that restitution be made whenever possible. The stolen item must be returned or replaced, the hurt feelings ought to be soothed and nurtured, the injury must be tended to and cared for. The Bible shows quite clearly that we must personally do all we can to compensate for the injury, harm or loss we may have caused. The ministry can counsel, explain the law of God more clearly, recommend solutions and clarify our responsibilities toward God and man, but forgiveness comes from God alone.

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Good News MagazineJune-July 1979Vol XXVI, No. 6ISSN 0432-0816
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