Q & A Sunday II January 13, 2013
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We are a congregation of Christian believers. To be a “Christian” in the purest sense of the word means that Jesus Christ is the exclusive source of salvation and that our only direct source of reference regarding the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is the Holy Scriptures – The Holy Bible. Because we believe that the Holy Bible is inspired by God in its original text, inerrant beyond the comprehension of the human mind, and complete in knowledge for a foundational relationship with God, it is from this exclusive source we find it applicable for  spiritual teaching, for identifying problematic issues, for the issuance of corrective measures, for maturing us in a more Christ-like development, and equipping us to accomplish all God calls us to do in our Christian faith..  

All of the questions you have submitted will be answered utilizing Biblical references, doctrine and proven principals for their primary responses. If you place little or no credibility in the reliability of the Holy Bible, then you may experience difficulty in accepting the answers that are given. The bottom line is; either we believe what God has spoken to us in Scripture or we don’t. If that is the truth, then we must accept the accurate accounts (ranging from 49 AD until 367 AD) of how the Biblical cannon was carefully compiled for our benefit.


Psalm 119:4-12

You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes ! Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments.  I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. I shall keep Your statutes ; Do not forsake me utterly ! How can a young man keep his way pure ? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD ; Teach me Your statutes.


II Timothy 3:13-17

But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.


1). What was the Ark of the Covenant all about? Is it still out there?


The Ark of the Covenant was a gold covered chest commissioned by God to be built by the leaders of Israel just after the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 25: 10-22 "They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high.  "You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it. "You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. "You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. "You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. "The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark ; they shall not be removed from it. "You shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you. "You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. "You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. "Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end ; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. "The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another ; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. "You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. "There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel. It was one of six pieces of furniture to be built for the Tabernacle in which Moses, his brother Aaron and his four sons would lead the children of Israel in acts of sacrifice and worship to God. It was the non-confining physical representation of God on Earth.

It measured about four feet by three feet square and featured a golden plate on top overshadowed by the wings of two cherubim (angelic beings) facing each other. When it was transported there were two gold overlaid poles attached to its sides so that it could be carried on the shoulders of four priests without them touching it. Typically it rested in the inner most sacred room of the wilderness Tabernacle or of Solomon’s Temple (which was later built), called the Holy of Holies.     

It was an instrument of communication, military presence, and sacramental worship for the Old Testament Israelites. In the New Testament book of Hebrews we find the contents of the Ark. Hebrews 9:3 & 4 “Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant.

The Ark has about a 250-300 year Biblical history until it finally disappears from Scriptural reference shortly after the death of King Solomon when the Israelites are exiled into Babylonian captivity.

Acting as the voice of God, the prophet Jeremiah decommissioned it officially in Jeremiah 3:14-16 'Return, O faithless sons,' declares the LORD; 'For I am a master to you, and I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.' Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding." And it shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land," declares the LORD, "they shall say no more, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' And it shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again.”

The Ark of the Covenant no longer holds any spiritual value to us. If it were to be found it would not be a miraculous object. It might be worth something as a historical object and also in the value of the gold it contains, but that would be it.

Most theologians and historians are content to believe that the Ark of the Covenant was destroyed centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ who became the final and complete physical representation of God on Earth. There is a group of conspiracy theorists who through very much diligent research make a very strong argument for the Ark of the Covenant still being intact and physically located in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia. The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia and Ethiopian government officials refuse entrance into the church to anyone accept one priest who is commissioned for his entire life to minister in the presence of the Ark and guard it. The church is also under constant heavy military guard.      


2). Will we be married in heaven?


Actually, if we look at this question from a practical and theological angle, there is no need for us to be married in heaven. So the answer is “no”. Jesus addressed the topic himself and is quoted in the text of the three “synoptic Gospels” (Mark, Matthew and Luke)  Mark 12:24-25 Jesus said to them, "Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures, or the power of God?  "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

So what do the angels do I heaven? Angels as seen  in the Scripture have three primary responsibilities – to act as messengers, to defend heaven in some format of combined military and spiritual posture, and to conduct and participate in the very worship of God. Jesus does not say we will be angels, but rather we will be like them in regards to marital status.  

The Apostle Paul refers to the “Church” in a few passages of his writing as the “Bride of Christ”. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

In Revelation 19:7&8 and Revelation 22:17 we read, "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."  It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean ; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” andThe Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” The implication from these texts is that in heaven our relationship to Jesus Christ will be as His bride would be.

This however does not mean that in heaven we will not be connected relationally to one another by knowing each other and interacting together. We indeed will know each other! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Paul is saying that he will know what and who he knows (and probably a lot more!) when he gets to heaven and he will be known even as who he is in mortality.

Two chapters later (I Corinthians 15) Paul goes on to describe the next life a one which we have spiritual immortal bodies and no longer mortal bodies that die. Marriage is Biblically considered a relational environment for reproduction and for family life. Therefore if there is no need to reproduce a species then there would be no need for marriage.

Ultimately the sole focus of experiencing heaven will be on Jesus Christ and Him alone. Therefore as Christians believing in and loving Jesus Christ, our primary relational endeavors will be centered on Jesus Christ. However, Scriptures do indicate that we will be able to identify and connect in the love of Jesus Christ to those we have experienced here in our mortal lives.    


3). Why are there four different Gospels in the New Testament? Aren’t they all similar?

There are four gospels which appear in our New Testament. While theologically they all have the exact same foundation in revealing the good news of Jesus Christ as our Savior, they are all quite different in many regards. If we are to be developing students of God’s Word it is important to know these unique aspects and the reason we have four separate gospel accounts of the life of Jesus Christ.  

Three of the Gospels are linked together.  We refer to these as the “synoptic” Gospels. The word synoptic means “to be seen or viewed together”. These are Mark Matthew and Luke. They are in this order because that is the order in which they were written. The Gospel according to Mark was actually the first Gospel to be written. This fast paced hard working Gospel was probably written sometime around 45-50 AD. It is the shortest Gospel account and was obviously written to a non-Jewish audience. This is because Mark is constantly interpreting the Jewish/Palestinian languages and customs to his readers, because they are not able to understand what they are if he doesn’t.

Matthew comes along in the mid 50s AD and is obviously building his Gospel account on the storyline of Mark. But he also adds some of his own material. The emphasis of Matthew’s Gospel is proving the Messiahship of Jesus to a concentrated Jewish population. He does this by continually making statements like” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet….” Matthew also uses direct quotations of Jesus’s words that are not found in Mark’s Gospel but are identical to those found in Luke’s Gospel. This leads theologians and scholars to believe that both Luke and Matthew have access to the same list of these sayings of Christ. Post-Reformation German theologians called this discovered list of sayings “Quella”, which means “source”. We have transliterated it to the English language as the “Q Gospel”.

No original copies of the “Q Gospel” or its descended manuscript copies have ever been discovered, but the list of sayings that make up Q Gospel can be reconstructed very easily by reading the earliest manuscript copies of the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. 

Luke is the third synoptic writer, setting out his text in the late 50s or early 60s AD . He also uses Mark’s gospel as his storyline sequence. Luke’s Gospel; is written to a very contemporary Roman (Gentile) audience. Luke displays the humanity of Jesus as he depicts His actions, words and emotions in this Gospel. Yet Luke is always quick to make sure the reader knows that Jesus is the one and only Son of God – the Savior of the entire world, not just the Jewish religion. Luke is obviously a scholar and places a noticeable emphasis on the wisdom and intellect of Jesus in difficult situations. It is the longest Gospel account and it leads right up to its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles.     

 The Gospel according to John was the last Gospel of the New Testament to be written. It has a much different flow and emphasis than the three synoptic Gospels. John is not so concerned about what Jesus did as who Jesus is. John does talk about some of the things Jesus did, but his continual proclamation of Jesus as the “Light of the world” – the “Bread of life” and the “good Shepherd” (and many other similar metaphors) all point to the spirituality and theology of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, John never eliminates the same theological foundations that hold the other three in place.

    All four Gospels were included in the accepted canon of the New Testament in 367 AD because they all proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God and exclusive Savior of the world and because they all told the story of His death burial; and resurrection. These are the keys and purpose of our faith as Christians.