The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
In the Bible I read that many arose from their graves at the time of Christ's resurrection (Matthew 27:52, 53). Who were these people? Are they alive today?
A common conception, taken for granted by thousands, is that some of the prophets arose at Christ's resurrection are still alive, wandering somewhere on earth today. This is not what the Bible says! Notice the Scripture: "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." Were these "saints" the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs? NO! Notice this. In Acts 2:29, some fifty days after the resurrection of Christ. Peter says that David — the beloved of the Lord, one of the patriarchs of the Old Testament — was still dead and buried in his grave. "The patriarch David," declared Peter, "is both dead and buried." If these were the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs, David would surely have been among those resurrected, for he was a direct type of Christ. But, Peter says he was still in his grave. And, more important, in verse 34 Peter relates: "David IS NOT ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS." David had not gone to heaven with Christ. He was still in his grave. This is the Bible teaching. The context shows very clearly that these saints were some who had died recently, just before Christ's crucifixion and burial. After their unexpected resurrection they went back into Jerusalem and showed themselves to many who knew them before, This was a proof that Christ had power over the grave. These people were not the Old Testament saints, for had they gone through the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming themselves as Abraham, Moses, or David just recently resurrected from the dead, who would have believed, them? None of the people who lived during Christ's time knew how the Old Testament saints appeared, and where was the proof to show the people they were the prophets of old instead of imposters? Would their word be enough? The people of Jerusalem KNEW who those "saints" were. They KNEW they had been resurrected from the grave, for they KNEW THEY had just recently died. This indeed was a witness of the resurrection of the dead and that Christ had power over the grave. Nothing else would prove it as clearly! Many people have assumed that this event was a resurrection to immortal life. It was nothing of the kind! The first resurrection to immortal life is yet future. It will be manifest at the Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 20:5). Christ was the first to be resurrected to immortal life and all others in Christ will have to wait until His Coming "For in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING" (I Cor. 15:22-23). No one, outside of our Savior, has yet attained to immortal life (I Tim. 6:16). All others are yet in the grave awaiting the first resurrection! The resurrection of those "saints" was a restoration of temporary, mortal life. Notice the evidence in both the Old or New Testaments. The son of the widow at Zarephath was raised from the dead by Elijah. This is mentioned in I Kings 17:17-23. Jesus brought back to life the widow of Nain's son (Luke 7:11-18). We also read of Lazarus being resurrected out of the tomb in which he had lain four days (John 11:1-46). Peter through the aid of the Holy Spirit raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). And the apostle Paul caused the young man who fell from the window to have life again (Acts 20:9-12). None of these resurrections were to immortality. These people were undoubtedly healed of the afflictions that caused their deaths prematurely. They were restored to mortal life — human flesh and blood — continued to live out their physical lives and then died as we all do. They are all awaiting the FIRST RESURRECTION of the dead to immortality (Rev. 20:5). Had the saints of Matthew 27 been raised to immortality, then the FIRST resurrection to eternal life at Christ's Second Coming would not be the first but actually the second. However, the FIRST resurrection is yet in advance of us!
Is suicide a crime?
A 56-page pamphlet, "Ought Suicide to be a Crime?" the work of a five-man committee appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, "primate of all England," was published and distributed a few weeks ago. The committee members investigated the subject of self-destruction from almost every conceivable angle — historical, legal, medical, moral — and came to the astounding conclusion that the Bible does not condemn suicide! Think of it! "Suicide was not always frowned upon," states this noted Anglican Church body; "... the ancients in the Hellenic times [the pagan Greeks] tended to look upon the power to take one's own life as an inalienable privilege! " However, Chairman Christie later admitted on BBC, "If any member of the committee were asked if HE considered suicide wrong, he would say it was!... that no man or woman had the right to terminate life entrusted to him by God" (TIME, November 2, 1959, p. 74). What he is actually saying is that HE THINKS God does not forbid the taking of one's own life, but man, in his superior wisdom, reasons that suicide is not proper. That it is a coward's way of solving his problems. That it is like running away in battle! In other words, the Bible is not the final authority for the decision they have reached. Human reason is their authority. Nevertheless the Bible DOES condemn suicide! God commands: "THOU SHALT NOT KILL" (the sixth commandment). Webster defines the word kill as "to deprive of life." To commit suicide, then, is breaking one of the Ten Commandments — and is definitely condemned by God. Paul admonishes us saying, "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man DESTROY (KJV margin) the temple of God, him shall God DESTROY; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are" (I Cor. 3:16, 17). "What, know you not that your BODY is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?" (I Cor. 6:19). No murderer — or suicide — has eternal life abiding in him (I John 3:15). He has no hope unless and until in the general resurrection after the millennium he repents of his sin (Matthew 11:20-24).
What kind of Bible do you recommend that we purchase?
Bible study is an important part of a Christian life. To get the most out of studying God's Word, you need to have a good Bible. We recommend, as first choice, that you use the King James Version containing the Old and New Testaments, as your basic study Bible. The Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press publish the finest editions of the King James Version. They are very durable and sturdily bound with good chain references and concordance and maps. Their print serves every age group. Some people who have weaker vision prefer a Bible having heavy black print, large letters, and a center reference column. A good selection of maps in the back helps greatly. Such Bibles measure about 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches and serve best for home use. A thumb index and pages with relatively wide margins for making notations are available. A Bible answering the above general description is made by the National Bible Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is their Number 452. These Bibles may be obtained from, or ordered through, the bookstores. Concordances which are found in the backs of Bibles are generally not complete enough and are often not very helpful in finding scriptures. This should have little weight in your selection of Bibles. If you want a concordance, the small Cruden's Concordance is very popular and may be purchased for about four dollars. Bibles other than the King James Version are sometimes helpful. Their modern wording makes certain sections clearer than the King James Version. The new Revised Standard Version and the Moffatt translation are written in modern English and can be useful in comparing with the King James Version. Since very few basic textual errors appear in the King James Version — though it is not always a perfect, or clear translation — it should be used most often for Bible study.
Is it wrong for a Christian to raise tobacco? If so, what can a small farmer in the tobacco country use as a substitute and still make a decent living?
The tobacco industry is a million dollar business. Hundreds of farmers supply tobacco for the tobacco consumers. But, is it right in God's sight to be a tobacco grower? This is a question faced by farmers who want to obey God and serve the health of mankind. Scientific tests prove that the various tobacco habits — smoking, chewing, snuff — dipping — are harmful to those who indulge their lusts in them. Many are cancer victims. Tobacco users are addicted to the habit solely in the interest of satisfying the lusts of the flesh. Even when used as an insecticide on food crops, tobacco is a threat to man's health, because some of it is taken into the body on foodstuffs. A Christian should grow that which is healthful, and in some way serves the community. Nothing is worth doing if it is done only in the interest of making money. A close examination of all possibilities will reveal that there is always at least one good substitute for tobacco in most any area. It should not be difficult to change to a useful type of farming. It is just a matter of becoming willing to depart from old ways and learn new techniques and routines. A new procedure will look difficult at first, but a little mental effort will help one to adjust himself to anything that is worthwhile. God has promised to supply all the needs of anyone who will put the Kingdom of God first in his affections (Matt. 6:24-34). A Christian farmer who plans his production wisely can claim these promises and look to God for the necessary profit. He must ask God, in faith (Jas. 1:6-8), for the needed guidance and help. In the tobacco-growing regions there are several reliable products that can be grown for the market. Good quality vegetables are easy to grow and are in great demand in most areas. The best grocery stores pay prices that give the farmer a good return for his labor and a high rate of income per acre. Chickens and other types of poultry are also profitable in some regions, especially for the man who can grow some of his own feed. However, don't try poultry farming unless you can understand, and conform to, the necessary principles of poultry management. Sweet potatoes are also a good market crop in the tobacco producing area. Many tobacco farmers have already tried these sources of income and have found that, with good management, they are profitable.