The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"I believe that Mr. Meredith was dead wrong in recommending physical sports to build up health in a recent article in the PLAIN TRUTH magazine. Surely no one can deny that car-, horse-, and dog-racing, baseball, basketball, etc., are sin in a big way! look at the thousands of people who make a god out of sports — especially the young people. I believe you are very wrong, and would like to know how you think you can please God by recommending something as sinful as sports?"
To this indignant reader we say that nowhere did we or shall we ever recommend car-racing, dog-racing, etc., as the kind of sports to build up health! In the first place, The article in question (The Plain Truth About Queer Men, Jan. 1962) did "at promiscuously recommend ALL sports. The sports recommended were those that result in exercise for the individual participating in — them. These sports were recommended for the specific purpose of EXERCISE to keep the body in good health. God says that our physical bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19). Because of this, it behooves each one of us to keep our bodies in top physical condition. Before the days of mechanization as we know if today, it was often unnecessary to exercise in addition to working — the work WAS exercise. But now, especially for those who live in cities and do a sedentary type work, exercise through sports is almost a necessity for many to keep their bodies in health. Mr. Meredith was NOT recommending car-, horse-, and dog-racing or baseball and basketball where you, are a spectator and sit and watch someone else play! The exercise and sports he was recommending were the ones where YOU are the participant and where YOU are the one who is doing the playing — not paying to watch someone else do it, although this need not necessarily always be wrong. Sports for the purpose of relaxation, and exercise are good. God says through Paul, "Bodily exercise profiteth for a little time" — this is the correct reading — (I Tim. 4:8). It is true that it profits for but a little time when compared to eternity, but it DOES PROFIT. But in sports, as in every other thing that God created to be properly used, there is also a WRONG use, as well as a right use. Man often makes the mistake of applying a wrong use to things that would be all right of themselves if properly used. Many people do misuse sports and place too great an emphasis on them, thereby making them a god which comes before the true God. This article and use of sports breaks the commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3); and it is SIN. But does the wrong, sinful use of sports make the right use of sports sin? Of course not! Anything can be put to a wrong use! Most sickness and disease is caused by poor diet and the wrong use of food. Our hospitals are bulging with people who have not had the self-discipline or knowledge to eat properly. Wrong eating causes far greater misery and suffering than sports will ever cause. But does this make EATING wrong? Let's not be ridiculous! Let's clean up our minds. Let's keep healthy — spiritually, mentally and physically!
"While reading your article titled, 'When Was Christ Born?' I saw that you stated He was born in the early autumn. My Bible says in Luke 1:26 that the angel appeared to Mary in the 'sixth month.' Now if Mary conceived in the sixth month of the year, then by adding nine months to that, Christ couldn't have been born in the autumn! Would you please explain this?"
The account of the angel appearing to Mary is found in no other place than Luke 1, beginning with verse 24. First, notice the one thing the questioner probably unintentionally assumed: By picking the verse out of its context he assumed that it is speaking of the sixth month of the year.' But is it? What sixth month is this talking about? The sixth month of the year, or the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy? To find out the answer, we want to read verse 26 in the context of the chapter! This first chapter is dealing with the begettal and birth of John the Baptist. In verses 11-13 an angel appeared co Zacharias, a priest in the temple at the time, and told him that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son. Continuing the story we find mat Zacharias was unable to speak until all the things the angel had said were to be fulfilled (vs. 20). He continued with his duties in the temple, and as soon as his days of ministration were completed (in June) he returned to his own home (vs. 23). Exactly as the angel had told Zacharias, his wife conceived. She then hid herself for five month, (vs. 24). Notice, the entire story thus far has been about Zacharias and his wife, and her pregnancy. Now verse 26. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary in the "sixth month: The "sixth month" of what? To answer this go back to verse 24 which says, "she hid herself five months," and then continuing right on, "in the sixth month Gabriel was sent from God." This is still the same story thread, and the only months spoken of are those of Elizabeth's pregnancy! It is the sixth month of Elizabeth', pregnancy when Gabriel appeared to Mary! There is no other time spoken of here but that of the months of her pregnancy. Notice what the angel told Mary in verse 36, "And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and THIS IS THE SIXTH MONTH WITH HER, who was called Barren." Right there is positive proof that God is speaking of the sixth month "with her" — of Elizabeth's pregnancy! Continuing the story flow, we see that Mary went and abode with Elizabeth, after the angel spoke to her, "about three months" (vs. 56). This is about December to March. "Now Elizabeth's time (6 months +3 months) came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son" (vs. 56). Thus John was born in the beginning of spring and Jesus was born six months later. When those verses are read in their proper context, it becomes clear that this is not the sixth month of the year at all. Now reread the article "When Was Christ Born?" and you will see that since Mary conceived about December, Jesus was born at the beginning of autumn, about September!
Should a Minister be called "Reverend?"
Some readers continue to write Mr. Armstrong and staff members, addressing them as "Reverend." THIS SHOULD NOT BE! You need to know how and when it became the custom to give ministers this title. The word "reverend" is applied only to God in the Bible — it is not once applied to man. In Psalm 111:9 we read: "... [He) God has commanded his covenant forever; holy and REVEREND is HIS NAME." Another translation renders it: "Holy and awful" — that is, "full of awe," "worthy of worship" — "is his name." God alone has a name which may properly be addressed as "Reverend." No man will have such a name until born again in the resurrection. No minister has a name which is worthy of reverence or worship. You cannot find one place in all the New Testament where Paul, Peter, James, John — or any other minister — were ever addressed as "Reverend." If we follow the Bible example — which we are commanded to do — then we ought not ever use the title "Reverend" for any minister. (See also Mat. 23:9.) Since many ministers of this world's religions would take offense were you not to give them some title, you may properly address them as "Pastor," Or "Elder," or "Evangelist," or "Bishop," depending on what office they hold. These are proper titles of office given in the New Testament. They may be applied — out of respect — to ministers, whether or not those ministers are serving the true God. The use of titles such as "Reverend" began when the great apostasy set in the Church at the close of the first century. Ministers put themselves "in the place of Christ." Hence they took upon themselves the attributes and titles of divinity. God's ministers have never done so.