Q: Romans 9:13 states: "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." Malachi 1:3 states: "But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness." The New KJV commentary points out: "The expression Esau have I hated cannot simply mean to love less but must mean, in the context of Malachi 1:1-5, that God has actually directed his wrath toward Esau and his descendants. The judgments upon Edom are positive judgments and not merely the absence of blessing. God displays His wrath upon the sins of Edom not in unholy rancor but in righteous judgment. He does the same with individuals." However, Galatians 2:6 states: "But from those who seemed to be something — whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man — for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me." Luke 20:21 confirms: "Then they asked Him, saying, 'Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth…'" The question is that, by loving Jacob and hating Esau, wasn't God showing favoritism when the references to Galatians 2 and Luke 20 show that God has no favorites? Can you please explain.

A: We are glad to. To understand all these passages in their proper context, we must realize that God has decided to call a few people during this day and age, to offer them salvation, while the overwhelming majority of mankind will be called at a later time — during the Millennium, and during the Second Resurrection and the Great White Throne Judgment period (Revelation 20:6, 11-12). Everyone will get his or her chance to respond to God, but everyone in his or her own order (compare 1 Corinthians 15:23). God has not preordained anyone to eternal death — those who are not called yet are not judged yet — they will be judged later, when their time of calling has come.

The quote from the New KJV commentary conveys a blatantly false concept. The authors simply do not seem to understand God’s character, nor God’s purpose for mankind. God most certainly does not hate anyone, “before having done any good or evil” (Romans 9:11). Rightly understood, God does not hate anyone at all, but He does hate the evil that a person commits.

Continue reading "Q: Romans 9:13 states: "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." Malachi 1:3 states: "But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness." The New KJV commentary points out: "The expression Esau have I hated cannot simply mean to love less but must mean, in the context of Malachi 1:1-5, that God has actually directed his wrath toward Esau and his descendants. The judgments upon Edom are positive judgments and not merely the absence of blessing. God displays His wrath upon the sins of Edom not in unholy rancor but in righteous judgment. He does the same with individuals." However, Galatians 2:6 states: "But from those who seemed to be something — whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man — for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me." Luke 20:21 confirms: "Then they asked Him, saying, 'Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth…'" The question is that, by loving Jacob and hating Esau, wasn't God showing favoritism when the references to Galatians 2 and Luke 20 show that God has no favorites? Can you please explain."

Q: In your Update (Update #99, in the Q&A section), you explain that Christ was in the grave for three days and three nights . Doesn't Christ also say that He was dead for three days? Since He died before He was placed into the grave, was He raised back to life and stayed alive in the grave for a while, before He walked out of the tomb?

A: In Matthew 12:40 Christ makes the statement, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Authorized Version throughout). In John 2:19 He said, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” In John 2:21 it is noted: “But He spake of the Temple of His body.”
We will address in this section the following questions in relation to these verses:

1) Was Christ dead for exactly 72 hours?
2) Was Christ in the tomb for exactly 72 hours?
3) How can we reconcile these two Scriptures since they appear to be contradictory?
4) Was Christ not dead the whole time He was in the tomb?

In John 2:19, where Christ says, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” He is not speaking specifically of a time of exactly 72 hours counting from the time of His crucifixion. As we will review in this Q&A – by definition – the crucifixion occurred over several hours. It began about 9 am that Wednesday morning. Christ died about 3 pm that afternoon. He was placed into the tomb about 6 pm that evening. As Mr. Armstrong described this event in his booklet, “The Resurrection Was Not On Sunday” – Christ was “To be raised up in three days after being DESTROYED, or crucified AND buried…”

Continue reading "Q: In your Update (Update #99, in the Q&A section), you explain that Christ was in the grave for three days and three nights . Doesn't Christ also say that He was dead for three days? Since He died before He was placed into the grave, was He raised back to life and stayed alive in the grave for a while, before He walked out of the tomb?"

Q: Should a Christian Observe Mother's Day?

A: The Bible is very explicit that we are to honor our parents at all times. For example, Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1-3 make this Christian duty very clear. In one of our recent Updates (Update #95), we explained that Jesus Christ honored His mother on a continuous basis.

To “honor” or “remember” our mother just on one particular day in the year, while forgetting to do so in day-to-day living, would, of course, be wrong. The world tries to make up for the forgetfulness to always honor one’s parents by dedicating a day to mothers. As Christians, we are to honor our parents at all times! This fact alone, would not preclude a Christian from participating in Mother’s Day celebrations.

However, the Bible makes it very clear that we are not to learn the religious ways or customs of the Gentiles, by embracing those customs in our own Christian lives. (Deuteronomy 12:29-32; Matthew 15:709, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17). The Church has long taught that we are not to keep holidays such as Christmas, Easter, New Year’s or Valentine’s Day because of their pagan origin and the embracing of those days by the Catholic Church in their religious worship.

Continue reading "Q: Should a Christian Observe Mother's Day?"

Q: I have heard that Christ's miraculous birth was also a sign that He was the Messiah. If so, wouldn't this contradict Christ's statement in Matthew 12:39-40?

A: Matthew 12:38-40 reads as follows:

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.””

Note that Christ talked to the scribes and Pharisees, describing them as an “evil and adulterous generation.” He said that the only sign that would be given to IT was the sign of the prophet Jonah. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so Christ would be three days and three nights — 72 hours — in the grave. Christ’s statement goes further, however. He made clear that He would not stay in the grave for less than three days and three nights, and, that He would not stay longer in the grave than 72 hours. As the sea monster vomited Jonah alive onto dry land, so Christ would be brought back to life and leave the grave after three days and three nights.

Continue reading "Q: I have heard that Christ's miraculous birth was also a sign that He was the Messiah. If so, wouldn't this contradict Christ's statement in Matthew 12:39-40?"

Q: Do you teach that God heals our sicknesses? Does a sick person need to be a member of your church to ask you for healing? Do you teach that God heals sick persons, even though they are not members of your church?

A: The Bible is very clear that God heals sick people who try to obey God and who have faith that He will heal them. He tells us in Exodus 15:26, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”

We are also told how healing from sickness has been made possible. We are healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ who gave His life for us, and who was tortured and beaten so that we can obtain forgiveness of our sins and healing from our sicknesses and diseases (Psalm 103:1-3; Matthew 8:16-17; 1 Peter 2:21-25; Isaiah 53:5).
Generally, God instructs us, when we are sick, to call for the elders of the Church of God — the body of Christ, a spiritual organism — to pray for us and to anoint us with oil (a symbol of the Holy Spirit) and to lay hands on us, so that we can be healed (James 5:14-15; Mark 16:18).

Continue reading "Q: Do you teach that God heals our sicknesses? Does a sick person need to be a member of your church to ask you for healing? Do you teach that God heals sick persons, even though they are not members of your church?"

Q: I have heard that you teach that there are three heavens mentioned in the Bible. Would you please elaborate on this? If true, why do the Jews and some Christian groups teach that there are seven heavens?

A: The Bible does indeed reveal the existence of “three” heavens. While the first two heavens are “physical” in nature, the third heaven is composed of spirit — it is referred to in Scripture as God’s dwelling place.

That there is more than one physical heaven can be seen in Genesis 1:1, where we read, “In the beginning God created the HEAVENS and the earth” (New KJB; RSV).” Also, in Genesis 2:1, “Thus the HEAVENS and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them” (New KJB; RSV). These verses imply that “the whole material universe was created simultaneously with the earth” (Herbert W. Armstrong, “Mystery of the Ages,” p. 45).

The first two heavens — the physical heavens — can be divided into the earth’s atmosphere and the space beyond our atmosphere — commonly called the universe.

Continue reading "Q: I have heard that you teach that there are three heavens mentioned in the Bible. Would you please elaborate on this? If true, why do the Jews and some Christian groups teach that there are seven heavens?"

Q: Why does the Church of the Eternal God exist? Why don't you merge with other Church of God groups?

A: We at CEG, along with our affiliated groups in Canada (CGCF) and in the UK (Global), are continually asked the question by Church of God people why we have not merged with one of the larger Church of God groups at a time when some seem to encourage unity among all the people of God.

Since this is an often asked question, we have attempted to give answers in various sermons and articles presented by our ministry. Still the question continues to be directed toward us as a group.

We know that when God established the Church in the wilderness, He revealed at that time certain requirements of His people which remain unchanged to this day. (We exclude from this discussion the sacrificial laws that were added, due to the transgressions of the people, which were for a time, but are no longer required after the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, compare Galatians 3:17-19).

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Q: Did Jesus dishonor His mother, as recorded in John 2:4, when He said to Mary, "'Woman, what have I to do with thee?'"

A: If Jesus Christ committed just one sin, we would not have a Savior. If He had violated the Fifth Commandment (“Honor your father and your mother…,” Deuteronomy 5:16; Exodus 20:12), He would have sinned, as “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Many Scriptures make clear that the law spoken of in the New Testament includes the Ten Commandments (compare James 2:8-12).

We read that Christ never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He practiced what He preached. When a young man came to Him to find out what he had to do to have eternal life, Christ told him to keep the commandments (Matthew 19:16-17). He then specifically listed the Fifth Commandment, in verse 19. Christ also emphasized in Mark 7:7-13 the continued obligation for children to honor their parents (Compare, too, Ephesians 6:1-3).

Continue reading "Q: Did Jesus dishonor His mother, as recorded in John 2:4, when He said to Mary, "'Woman, what have I to do with thee?'""

Q: The international press recently reported that Catholics, Orthodox, and many Protestants believe that Mary was a virgin throughout her life. It is claimed that those called "Jesus' brothers" in the Bible were in fact His cousins (Zenit, May 15, 2003). Is this also your understanding?

A: It is not. The Biblical record clearly reveals that Mary, although a virgin when “she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:27-35), had additional children after the birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:24-25 tells us that Joseph “did not know” Mary [a Biblical expression for sexual intimacy, including intercourse, compare Luke 1:34] “TILL she had brought forth her FIRSTBORN Son.” The word “till” or “until” signifies that Joseph DID know Mary sexually after Christ’s birth. The same Greek word for “till” or “until” is used in Matthew 2:15 and Matthew 5:26, showing a change in circumstances after a certain event.

Further, Mary gave birth to her “firstborn” son (compare, too, Luke 2:6-7). The Greek word for “firstborn” is “prototokon.” It means “FIRST-born,” indicating that others would be born subsequently. It does distinctively NOT mean, “only-born.” The Greek word for “only-born” is “monogenes.” It is used in Luke 7:12, referring to a dead man who was “the only son of his mother.” Christ, however, was NOT the only Son of His mother.

Continue reading "Q: The international press recently reported that Catholics, Orthodox, and many Protestants believe that Mary was a virgin throughout her life. It is claimed that those called "Jesus' brothers" in the Bible were in fact His cousins (Zenit, May 15, 2003). Is this also your understanding?"

Q: Would you please explain 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (instructing men to wear short hair, and women to wear long hair), especially in light of the fact that some of God's male servants did not cut their hair. Didn't Jesus Christ wear long hair, too?

A: In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul sets forth the timeless principles of proper hairstyle and hair length for men and women. After explaining in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that the Head of Christ is God the Father, the Head of a man is Christ, and the head of the woman (wife) is the man (husband), Paul continues: “(verse 4) Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. (verse 5) But every woman who prays or prophecies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. (verse 6) For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. (verse 7) For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God… (verse 10) For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels… (verse 13) Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? (verse 14) Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? (verse 15) But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.”

Continue reading "Q: Would you please explain 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (instructing men to wear short hair, and women to wear long hair), especially in light of the fact that some of God's male servants did not cut their hair. Didn't Jesus Christ wear long hair, too?"
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