QUESTION: "In your booklet 'After Death... then What?' it states that the stories about 'boiling pots' [in hell] or the 'pearly gates' are sheer myth. But the Bible is clear. In Revelation 21:21, it is written: 'The twelve gates were made of pearls, each gate from a single pearl.' Please explain this for me."
ANSWER: Our statement in the booklet referred to the myth of a "heaven" with pearly gates where good people go when they die, The verse in the book of Revelation is referring to the gates of the city of New Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven to this earth (Rev. 21:2). Further information on this subject is included in the free booklet What Is The Reward Of The Saved?
Q: "Ancient Israel was commanded to do many things which we dare not do today, such as selling their dead animals. We would be fined and jailed!"
Mrs. R. M.,
A: The law regarding selling a dead animal to Gentiles (Deut. 14:21) did not have to do with selling them something putrified or decaying or harmful to their health. It would seem that the question was mainly one of the animal having died with the blood still in it. Israelites were forbidden to eat blood because it symbolized life (see Lev. 17:4, 10-14). Even this, as Leviticus 17:15-16 shows, was not a spiritual sin, but one which brought only a ceremonial defilement.
The Gentiles, however, did not have this as a law and so could eat the fresh, wholesome flesh of such an animal. It was therefore lawful for an Israelite to sell or give such meat to Gentiles.
Q: "I have read your articles concerning the paganism, or non-Christian origin, of Christmas and Easter. This led me into some private research of my own on these subjects. My research verifies the pre-Christian observances of Christmas and Easter. But I also encountered many other instances in which Christianity has adopted many rites and ceremonies of the ancient mystery religions."
A: Yes, it is true that many symbols and even usages of " Christianity" were common in paganism. Much of this can be accounted for on the basis of an original knowledge of God's plan by the descendants of Adam and Noah, to whom God undoubtedly revealed much of this knowledge. The Bible, of course, does not mention everythil1g that was taught to the people of old. The prophets added more to this body of revealed truth from time to time. But it was man who misunderstood, corrupted, perverted and changed this truth into paganism (see Rom. 1:18-23).
Further, we should never overlook the role of Satan in deliberately counterfeiting in advance (with a perverted twist) important aspects of God's truth in order to deceive and destroy mankind.
There can be no doubt that many of the practices and beliefs of modern "Christianity," so-called, are derived from paganism rather than from the Bible. (For more on this subject, read our free booklets: The Plain Truth About CHRISTMAS; The Plain Truth About Easter; and Pagan Holidays - or God's Holy Days - Which?)
Q: "According to the Scriptures, Jesus was subject to temptation (Heb. 4:15). James 1:13 and Habakkuk 1:13 say that God cannot be tempted with evil. Therefore, Jesus Christ cannot be God."
Teaneck, New Jersey
A: There is a fallacy in this logic. It does not take into account the fact that God can become man, and likewise man can become God (for more on this startling subject, write for the free booklet Why Were You Born?). Christ was God, but He emptied Himself of His divinity (Phil. 2:6-8) to become the "Son of man." While He was a human being He was "in every respect tempted as we are," but when He was resurrected to immortality, He again became wholly divine. Hebrews 1:3-4 states that the Son "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs."
Christ as a man could be tempted; as God He cannot be. There is no contradiction or inconsistency here.
Q: "I know Jesus created us. So how can He be the Son of man? Wouldn't it be more correct to say Jesus is the Father of man?"
Granada Hills, California
A: Christ is not referred to as God the Father's Son (except prophetically — see Psalms 2:7 and II Samuel 7:14) until His human birth (Heb. 5:5-8; Luke 1:32). And God the Father is not referred to as the Father before this time either. In fact, His existence was not clearly revealed until Christ's coming (Luke 10:22; Matt. 11:27).
Actually, Christ is referred to as the "Everlasting Father" in Isaiah 9:6. But since His human advent, He has also been given the title "Son of man," because He was born of a human being, Mary. Divesting Himself of His divinity in order to become our sacrifice for sin was an integral part of His plan, and was necessary in order for Him to become a fully understanding and compassionate High Priest (Heb. 4:15). So this title designates a very important attribute of Christ. In the Old Testament, Christ had many different titles. Now the title and attribute of "Son of man" is added to them.