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Where are the 3 days between Jesus’s death and resurrection?


The New Testament is clear that Jesus rose on the third day. Some people are troubled by the fact that if Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon and raised on Sunday morning, then he could not have been in the ground for 72 hours. However, this is not a problem since the Jews had a custom of referring to any part of the day as the full day. We do the same thing in informal conversation: “I saw her last night” doesn’t necessarily you were with her all night long. It means at some point in the evening, you saw her. “I’ll see you tomorrow” doesn’t mean that you’ll spend all day with me. It means that some time tomorrow, you’ll see me and we’ll talk. That’s a common conversational idiom that people routinely use. The Jews did the same thing. For them, any part of the day could count as the whole day. Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon. That’s Day 1. He was in the tomb on Saturday. That’s Day 2. He was raised on Sunday morning. That’s Day 3. This means that Jesus was dead and buried for around 36 hours. But since those hours covered parts of three days, they count as the same as the whole. So there is no biblical problem with Jesus being crucified on Friday and raised on Sunday.




Can you give me a reason we Christians need to practice and celebrate Christmas?


My answer is simple. The Bible doesn’t tell us to celebrate Christmas nor does it forbid us to celebrate Christmas. It is in short a matter of personal freedom. Christians should feel free to put up a Christmas tree and give gifts if they like and churches should feel free to sing carols, have Christmas parties, and sponsor various Christmas outreach events. But there is no command to do so. Christmas is truly a Romans 14 issue. Some celebrate it, some don’t. Let those who celebrate not look down on those who don’t. Likewise, let those who prefer not to celebrate Christmas look down on those who do. By the way, to say this is not to endorse every single Christmas tradition. I’m simply saying that it is good to remember that Christ was born so that we might be saved. How we do it and when we do it is not commanded and is, therefore, a matter of Christian freedom.




What happens when we die?


The Bible is very clear on the answer to this question. Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul said in Philippians 1:23, “I desire to depart and be with Christ.” Believers go to be “with the Lord” when they die. I have often told dying saints not to worry about it. “Before your loved ones can get to the phone to give me a call that you have died, you will already be in heaven.” We are either on earth in this life or we are in heaven with the Lord. Nothing in between.




Speaking in Tongues


If by “relevant” you mean, “Could this happen today?” my answer is yes, it could happen today. I don’t think an ironclad case can be made that tongues ceased in the first century. However, I see nothing in the New Testament about the gift of tongues as a mark of spiritual maturity or closeness to Christ. Even in the first century, this gift was not for all Christians. It also appears to have been actual foreign languages not known to the speakers but to the hearers (Acts 1:1-13). Paul also mentions it as a sign to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:20-22). On a few occasions, I have heard people utter unintelligible phrases that they called the “gift of tongues.” However none of what I have heard squares with what I read in the New Testament (just my personal judgment). I have no quarrel if someone says, “I have the gift of tongues.” But I do not agree with people who say, “I have the gift of tongues and you must agree that I have the gift of tongues.” I’m perfectly happy not to worry about what people do in their own private prayer times. But I do not think it is helpful for people who say they speak in tongues to evangelize for their views inside the local church. I have seen instances where that has been decidedly non-helpful. Speaking in tongues should not be made the mark of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer or evidence that someone has a closer walk with God. Over the years, I have observed many wonderful, strong, godly, Spirit-filled believers who did not speak in tongues. That would encompass most of the people I have personally known. I have also known a few to whom those adjectives apply who said they speak in tongues in private. I have no issue with that as long as someone else does not make their personal experience the standard by which they judge others, e.g. “I speak in tongues and you need to also.” Count me out on that one.