Questions and Answers
Q : Do children take the punishment for their fathers' sin?
God says in the Holy Scripture in Jeremiah 31:29,30, "… people will no longer say, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes. And the children's teeth are set on edge.' Instead everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes, his own teeth will be set on edge."
It also says in Ezekiel 18:2-20, "What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: "The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'?...The soul who sins is the one who will die. Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right. He does not…look to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor's wife or lie with a woman during her period. He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between man and man. He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign Lord…But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things…He will not die for his father's sin…Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him."
So we don't carry the guilt of our fathers, but we may inherit their wrong convictions, lifestyle, and thoughts which don't please God. That's why He says about those who turn back from their old ways, that they will be saved from perishing, and will gain instead an exalted eternal life.
Q : How do we find Redemption and Salvation from our Guilt?
We believe that our life does not end by death, nor does it start by birth. In many ways we were present in our forefathers. So it is no wonder that we come with the same behaviours, unless we consciously decide to turn back from all our past. Otherwise we would be committing ourselves more into the old lifestyle. Only God has the right to decide how we should apologise to Him for our wrongdoing, so that he can forgive us. When I do wrong against someone I should apologise with regret, and sincerely seek to reconcile my relationship with him. The consequences of sin are more serious if we sin against someone with authority over us, and the higher the authority, the more serious the consequences. So people deserve to perish because they have wronged the Almighty God. And God said that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". And because all the animals belong to God, the creator, so the act of sacrificing them was only a symbol which doesn't have any power of its own to pay the great price of our wrongdoing against God. So we needed a different sacrifice which has unlimited value and purity, so that God can forgive the wrongdoing of all mankind. God has made it clear that these sacrifices were not benefiting Him and couldn't satisfy Him. We learn from the Holy Scripture that these sacrifices were only to remind us of the forthcoming of the heavenly redeemer, carrying the unlimited great ransom.. He came as a judge who is merciful and just, to pay the bail on behalf of His poor accused people who have been held as prisoners at the hand of Satan. Would the accused get out of his dark dungeon if he chose to refuse the generosity of the judge who paid the bail and the ransom with every possible documented proof of credibility? The judge is God himself and the Bible is the official registered document that He has kept and protected with all the evidence of its validity. So the judge who is just and merciful, holy, pure and omnipresent, has come in the glorified person of Christ. Would you reject God and His redemption?
Q :How Could God or Christ Die and How was He Managing the Universe?
We all believe that the human soul is eternal and doesn't die. So if Christ was a man then His spirit must be living eternally, even if His flesh died, witnessing the sinfulness of mankind. But you still find those who deny that undying spirit of Christ in an attempt to leave no chance for him to be the spirit of God and His eternal Word. They shut their eyes to the kindness of God and His love towards his creation which exceeds the love of a mother towards her child that leads her to sacrifice for his sake. Sacrifice comes from the mature to the immature and from the greater one to the lesser one. So if the sacrifice is not by giving a lot to gain little and if it is not an act of the strong towards the weak, then it is not a true sacrifice. As for patriotic self-sacrifice for the sake of one's country and people, this is a sacrifice of the lesser for the sake of the greater, and the same goes for making sacrifices now for the sake of enjoying the Paradise soon. The Holy Scripture warns us against selfish motivation for making sacrifices, to obtain or defend self-respect. Instead we find that the Almighty God is calling us to follow His example of the heavenly sacrifice of love and self-denial.
Q : What is Eternal Life in Christianity?
People dream of an eternal life where they can satisfy their human desires, not knowing that this world will perish, along with all its desires. But God will give the believers a new nature after their flesh has perished in the dust, like that of their forefathers. The Holy Scripture teaches us that God has prepared in heaven eternal life for his believers, where their spirits will be clothed in light. There they will be consistently enjoying the love and the presence of the awesome creator who will teach them a lot as He did with Adam in the past. God will teach us about His angels and about His great acts, especially those which He did for our benefit, of which we were unaware while we were in the world. There we will have endless knowledge of the heavenly realm which is pure and beautiful. We will not be in need of rest as there will be no tiredness at all. And we will not want any food because there will be no hunger there. There will be no desire for sex or even to have children, because our joy will be unlimited, being with the loving believers in the presence of the creator of the universe, who has all honour and dominion.
Q : One Gospel or Many?
We will know that it is one gospel by learning the following facts.
The word "Gospel" (Latin) and "Injil" (Greek) both mean "good news". This gospel was written by the apostles of Christ. Their writings complement each other with some overlap which could be misunderstood by some as insignificant repetition. The Holy Scripture contains writings of the message of Christ (the New Testament), adding to prophecies and significant events which happened before Christ (the Old Testament). These Old Testament writings include the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David and more of God's message to the other prophets. The word "gospel" can be used to refer to the whole of Scripture with all its chapters and verses, or to refer to only a part of the Scripture. So all of the Holy Scripture has been inspired by God to tell us about his love to humankind and his sacrifice and forgiveness. It includes the good news or the Injil (from Greek language). Many have put interpretations in various translations into many languages, but it is still one book. And there are many of the original manuscripts in Greek which many are using in their study of the Holy Scripture. So Christianity is not a monopoly for one people's language, whether Greek or Hebrew. Languages evolve and develop with those who are not afraid of, but rather welcome progress in their civilisation. Measurements evolved from cubits to metres, from baths to litres and from shekels to grams, etc. So the Holy Scripture is a message from God which He wants people to understand rather than reciting it or learning it by heart for the sake of gaining the heavenly blessing.
Q : One God or Many?
If there were people who talk of three Gods then we are not of them because the Gospel urges us to worship the one and only God - no worship of the cross or the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ. Far from God to reproduce. And He has prepared a great punishment for those who accuse the believers falsely of polytheism. Surely He is the great and just judge who holds all truth.
Christians pray and baptise in the name of the one God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yes, one name and not as many as 100. One name is an expression of God's oneness and His perfect and full completion of God. That is why His name contains the expression of undebatable meanings: His fatherhood expresses His love, authority and firmness, being the source of all creation; the Holy Spirit is an expression of His invisibility, purity, holiness, beyond our limited understanding; and the sonhood is an expression of His gentleness and mercy when he visited us in the perfect example of Jesus Christ, coming from the womb of the Virgin Mary to accomplish His eternal plan. This plan was previously declared through His prophets, stating the importance of the sacrifice that would give Adam and his descendants forgiveness when they repent and turn back to God.
Q : What about the Similarities between Christianity and the Pagan Religions?
Do the similarities between some of the pagan beliefs and Christianity prove the latter to be false? Those who wrongly say that close their eyes to the many similarities between their religion and that of the pagans. What we need to focus on saying here is that Satan leads people astray using a false but attractive belief which carries a distorted image of the truth that God wants us to adopt. So you find that the world religions take on to a greater or lesser extent some of the teaching of the Holy Scripture. In doing that, they are not able to defile the genuine awesomeness and purity of Christianity.
Q : Why don't Christians believe in the prophets after Christ?
To answer this question we need to know that Christians' strong motivation and reference in their faith is what they read for themselves in the already existing Holy Scripture, where they find many prophecies that apply to the glorious person of Christ. They have not believed in Him because of His astonishing miracles or heroism in battle, but their belief in Him is built on the Scripture of God, who is trustworthy. He has protected His message with all the documented evidence, leaving no excuse for the unbeliever's rejection. So you find that the true followers of Christ wouldn't follow any other teaching that contradicts God's message which they have in their hands for always. Jesus gave a special warning against many false prophets who would come after Him. Some of them would win people with their cunningness and others with power.
Q : Was Christ sent only for the "sheep of Israel"?
Some claim that, relying on Christ's talk with the Canaanite (non-Jewish) woman who is mentioned in Matthew 15:22-28, which says, "A Canaanite woman from the vicinity came to Him, crying out, "Have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession." Christ answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. It's not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she said, "But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Christ answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour."
Christ (His peace be upon us) used an expression of the surrounding Jews to refer to the non-Jews, and he described the Jews as "lost sheep" so that they would realise their mistake in describing non-Jews like that woman as dogs, even though these non-Jewish people might have a greater faith that deserves praise even from Christ. That is in contrast with the unbelief of the Jews - "the lost sheep". And Jesus exposed their mistake in a practical way when He answered the woman's plea to heal her daughter, showing her His love and acceptance.
Jesus said the word "only" to show the divine plan to use the believers from Jewish origin to spread the Gospel of His love to the whole world. That is why Jesus said in John 10:16, "I have other sheep that are not from this sheep pen. I must bring them also." So Israel is counted as one of the nations or the "sheep pens" of this world, and God gives His forgiveness and acceptance to all those who accept His salvation and control over their lives.
Did the Jews Kill Christ on the Cross?
No, the Jews didn't have the authority to judge or execute people because they were under the domination of the Romans. Also the Jewish way of execution according to their law was by stoning, not by the Roman method of crucifixion. It is said in the Holy Scripture, "The Jews led Christ from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. So Pilate came out to them and said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." "But we have no right to execute anyone", the Jews objected. This happened so that the words Christ had spoken indicating to the kind of death He was going to die would be fulfilled. "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Christ answered, "You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." Pilate said, "Don't you realise I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Christ answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified." (John 18:28-32, 37; 19:10,11,16)
Moses' Prophecy about the Coming Prophet
The Lord said to Moses, "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him." (Deuteronomy 18:18)
Differences between Moses and Christ:
1- Moses was born to a father and mother. 2- Moses was married.
3- Moses had children. 4- Moses died and was buried at an old age.
5- Moses fought many nations. 6- Moses lived in the desert.
These criteria apply to many people throughout history, but the special similarities between Moses and Christ are:
1- When Moses was born Pharaoh's command was to kill all the Jewish baby boys. When Jesus was born Herod's command was to kill all the Jewish baby boys.
2- In Moses' childhood he was looked after by someone from whom he would have expected harm. That was Pharaoh's daughter. In Christ's childhood he was looked after by someone from whom he would have expected harm. That was Joseph the carpenter.
3- Moses lived in Egypt in his childhood. So did Christ.
4- God gave Moses to perform miracles and wonders. Christ also performed miracles .
5- Moses liberated the people of Israel from their slavery. So does Christ, who liberates people from hell and the evil one.
6- Moses wrote the promise of God's forgiveness through the sacrifices. Christ was the real promised sacrifice.
7- Moses was a Jew from among his brothers. So was Christ.
Christ's Prophecy about his Successor
First- The Holy Scripture says:
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…he will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14: 16,17,26)
"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me." (John 15:26)
"If I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt…will guide you to all truth…He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you." (John 16:7,8,13,14)
"Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8)
"When the day of Pentecost came, they (the disciples) were all together in one place. Suddenly the sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…Now there were (people) from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language." (Acts 2:1-7)
Second- The Characteristics of Christ's Successor:
1- He is sent by Christ.
2- He stays with us forever.
3- The world cannot see him, but he is only known by Christ's followers.
4- He reminds of and teaches Christ's words, and doesn't abrogate.
5- He testifies not to himself, but to Christ who sent him.
6- He glorifies not himself, but Christ.
7- He comes to Jerusalem from above.
8- He is a spiritual power that captivates people's hearts with love.
9- He is holy like Jesus, who never sinned and never asked God for forgiveness, saying: "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin"? (John 8: 46)
From that we learn that Christ's successor is the divine Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of the believers.