Questions & Answers
Good News Magazine
August 1982
Volume: VOL. XXIX, NO. 7
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Questions & Answers
Good News Staff  

What is the name of the true Church? Does it have a definite title?

   The Bible reveals the name of God's Church in 12 different places; 12 is God's number for organizational beginnings.
   In five scriptural passages where the true name of the Church appears, the entire Body of Christ the Church as a whole, including all individual members is indicated:
   1) "Feed the church of God" (Acts 20:28).
   2) "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God" (I Cor. 10:32).
   3) "Or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?" (I Cor. 11:22).
   4) "Because I persecuted the church of God" (I Cor. 15:9).
   5) "Beyond measure I persecuted the church of God" (Gal. 1:13).
   Where one specific congregation is mentioned, the true Church is also called "the Church of God." Usually the term is used in connection with the place or location of the specific congregation:
   6) "The church of God which is at Corinth" (I Cor. 1:2).
   7) "The church of God which is at Corinth" (II Cor. 1:1).
   8) "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" (I Tim. 3:5).
   9) "Behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God" (I Tim. 3:15).
   In speaking of the congregations collectively not as one general Body, but as the total of all congregations the Bible name is again "the Church of God." Here are the final three verses:
   10) "We have no such custom, neither the churches of God" (I Cor. 11:16).
   11) "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus" (I Thess. 2:14).
   12) "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God" (II Thess. 1:4).
   Since Christ is the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23), Paul also called the various congregations "the churches of Christ" (Rom. 16:16). But the actual name is "The Church of God."
   In some New Testament instances, a descriptive adjective is added to the name, as in the case of the Church of God at Corinth or the churches of God in Judaea, to show the location of the Church.
   Today, the name of God's true Church is "The Worldwide Church of God." This denotes the worldwide scope of God's modern-day Church.

Would you please explain Matthew 11:12? What, exactly, did Jesus Christ mean when He said "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

   Two possible explanations exist.
   One apparent explanation is that violent men, especially the scribes and Pharisees, were persecuting those who were seeking to enter God's Kingdom. At that time, the persecution was most violent against Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, the personal representatives of God's Kingdom at that time.
   Jesus and John were emissaries from the Father, sent to bear witness of the soon-coming Kingdom of God. Both were ridiculed, threatened, persecuted and finally murdered.
   They suffered violence at the hands of untoward, unconverted men who did everything possible to keep anyone from entering the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 23:13).
   Another possible explanation is that only those who strive violently will enter God's Kingdom.
   In other words, only those who are energetically driving themselves to qualify for God's gift of eternal life.
   The Goodspeed translation renders this verse, "Men have been taking the Kingdom of Heaven by storm and impetuously crowding into it." Now compare Matthew 11:12 with Luke 16:16, which states, "Since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."
   Both of the above explanations are in agreement with the text in Matthew 11:12 and with the rest of the Bible.

What is the meaning of Leviticus 19:27 and 21:5? Do these passages imply that it is wrong to shave or cut one's hair?

   Notice a modern rendering of these verses in an American translation by Goodspeed.
   Leviticus 19:27, in the Goodspeed version, says: "You must not shave around your temples, nor do away with the corners of your beard."
   And this is how the Goodspeed translates Leviticus 21:5: "They must not shave part of their heads bald, nor shave off the corners of their beards, nor make incisions in their bodies."
   It was the ceremonial custom of the heathen peoples to shape and trim their beards and hair in special shapes to honor a particular pagan deity the sun god.
   For example, the ancient Egyptians cropped their dark locks short or shaved with great care, so that what remained on the crown of the head appeared in the form of a circle surrounding the head (the "halo" symbol was derived from this), while the beard was dressed in a square form. Or a round bald spot might be shaved on the head.
   Shaving your head and cutting your hair for normal good grooming are something entirely different from these pagan ceremonial customs and not at all condemned in the Scriptures.

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Good News MagazineAugust 1982VOL. XXIX, NO. 7