The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
Why did Abraham and David find high favor with God, since they committed sins such as lying, adultery, and murder? Does God show favoritism?
God is no respecter of persons. We have all sinned. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10). Anyone who commits any sin - just one point - is just as guilty, then, as David and Abraham were when they committed their sins. Many of our sins, which are very common and which do not appear very great in our own eyes, are nevertheless very great in God's sight. In I Samuel 15:23 we read: "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." Here we have God's statement that rebellion (disobedience of any sort) and stubbornness are both as great as witchcraft and idolatry, which are two of the greatest sins. We have ALL been guilty of disobedience and stubbornness, which means we have ALL been As GUILTY AS ANYONE COULD BE. Now we come to the crux of the question: just WHY did God have such high regard for Abraham and David. The key is in their attitude of sincere REPENTANCE and their SUBMISSION to God. We all sin. In that point we are all equal. It is in repentance that we differ. 'When Nathan pointed out David's sin to him, he did not try to justify himself. He repented bitterly, as is shown in Psalm 51. If we would repent just as earnestly and sincerely, we would be as greatly favored. We should repent as earnestly, since our sins are just as great. When we repent, God forgives a great sin as quickly as a small one. The blood of Christ covers, ALL sins. Abraham was highly favored by God because "Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws" (Gen. 26:5). When God told Abraham to leave the comfortable, educated, and polished civilization in which he had been brought up, and go into a strange country and live in a tent in the open country, Abraham went without question or argument (Gen. 12:1-5). Abraham did not try to find. excuses, or reason himself into a way out: he just went, and trusted in God's guidance. If we would obey as willingly today, and did not frequently lean to our own understanding, contrary to God's will, we would be more highly favored in God's sight. The thing that makes the sins of Abraham and David look so bad to some people is that God pointed out THEIR sins and showed them to the world as bad examples. These men then gained God's favor by repentance and submission. If our hidden sins were dragged out in the open, would WE be able to love God and repent as they did, realizing that God loves as and that everything He does is for our good? It is time we come to such a state of spiritual maturity. 'We can do so by following the examples of Abraham and David-by striving daily to overcome our sinful tendencies and become as humble, repentant, and submissive to God as they were. We will then be qualified to receive a place with them under Christ in His Kingdom.
Who are the 'other sheep' of John 10:16?
Christ said: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I will bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and ONE shepherd," (John 10:16). "This fold" refers to Judah (the Jews) who were living in Palestine. Christ came to His own (the Jews) and His own received Him not (John 1:11). Christ was born of the tribe of Judah, but the Jews rejected Him saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14). Who are the "other sheep" then? The "other sheep" are the other tribes of Israel. Israel (Jacob) had more than one son-he had TWELVE sons! The "other sheep" then are the descendants of the other eleven sons of Jacob. Christ referred to them (the other tribes of Israel) as the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 10:6). The Jews referred to the other tribes of Israel as "the dispersed" among the Gentiles (John 7:35). Israel and Judah became two separate nations (houses) during the reign of Rehoboam, Solomon's son. For proof of where the other tribes of Israel were at that time and where they are today, read Mr. Armstrong's booklet "The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy." The "other sheep" of the lost tribes of Israel were not in Palestine. Some have thought the Gentiles represent the other sheep. Yet, it must be remembered that only the descendants of Jacob (Israel) are referred to as SHEEP in all the Bible. The Gentiles can obtain salvation through Christ but they are never referred to as sheep (see Eph. 2:11-13). Christ concluded by saying: "And there shall be ONE fold, and ONE shepherd." When will the house of Israel AND the house of Judah be ONE FOLD and have ONE KING and ONE SHEPHERD? The prophet Ezekiel gives the answer (Ezek. 37:22-23). David, resurrected, will be that KING with Christ, the CHIEF SHEPHERD (verses 24-26). Ezekiel 34:23, Jeremiah 30:9 and Psalm 89:27 explain that David is to be RESURRECTED from the dead, and made king. The resurrection from the dead occurs at Christ's second coming to this earth (I Thess. 4:13-18 Heb. 11:13, 39-40; I Cor. 15:20-23, 50-51). Christ will then establish the new covenant with the house of Israel AND the house of Judah (Heb. 8:8; Jer. 31:31-33). Thus, the "other sheep" are the other tribes of Israel that left the land of Palestine but who will return again along with Judah and come under the rule of Christ through the resurrected David (see Jer. 50:4-6).