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March Questions and Answers

If the Jewish people do not believe the gospel and they are God's chosen people, how will they have the opportunity to spend eternity with God?

God declares His special love for His people Israel through the prophet Jeremiah: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). This question reflects the concern of the Lord Jesus who wept over the Jewish people’s rejection of Him (Luke 19:41). The answer is clarifying some of the issues you raise.

First, although God did choose the Jewish people to represent Him to the nations as “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6), being the chosen nation did not grant every individual Jewish person salvation. Only the believing remnant experienced eternal forgiveness. Nevertheless, today Jewish people still retain their status as the chosen nation, even in unbelief (Rom. 11:28), since “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29; see also Rom. 9:4–5). Even so, just like all people, Jewish people need to trust in Jesus to experience forgiveness of sins.

Second, all Jewish people have not rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Just as the apostle Paul was a Jewish person who believed (Rom. 11:1), “so too, at the present time, there is a remnant [of believing Jews] chosen by grace” (Rom. 11:5). Third, for Jewish people to experience salvation and eternal life, we followers of Jesus must lovingly present the good news to our Jewish friends. Paul wrote that one of God’s purposes in saving Gentiles was “to make Israel envious” (Rom. 11:11).

Finally, the Bible teaches that there will come a day, just before the return of Jesus, that virtually all Jewish people alive at that time will turn in faith to Jesus as their Messiah and Redeemer. Then they will look with faith on the pierced one (Zech. 12:10) and “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). Until then, we need to be like the apostle Paul who said his “heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). If we love the Jewish people we need to pray for their salvation, present the good news to our Jewish friends, and provide support for those ministries that bring 

I am a devout Christian. However, I struggle with those who use the literal interpretation of the Bible to conclude that the earth and all of creation is only about 10,000 years old. What are your thoughts on this?

It is true that the Bible appears to present a young earth, or at least younger than the assumption that the universe came into existence millions or billions of years ago. However, that doesn’t mean a creation date of 4004 BC is correct (a traditional view presented by biblical scholar Bishop Ussher). It also doesn’t mean (necessarily) that the earth is only 10,000 years old.

The truth is, none of us really knows the exact date of creation. Some scholars have pointed out that the genealogies in the early parts of Genesis did not necessarily include every name in a family. In fact, they might have recorded only every fourth or fifth generation. So, even if you calculate the date strictly using biblical record, the earth might be 25,000 years old or even 50,000.

There are also respectable and responsible Bible teachers who argue that the earth is much older. I disagree with them, but hopefully, without ever being disagreeable. I can believe in a young earth despite the evolutionary dating of the fossil record for at least two reasons. First, it seems that God created the world with apparent age. Consider the creation of Adam. God made him from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7). But, when Adam was just a few minutes old, he wasn’t an infant. Rather, God created him as a fully grown man. In the same way, when God made the world, He built age into everything that was made.

Second, much of the fossil record can be explained by what is called cataclysm. This term means that earthly catastrophes can leave remnants that appear to have happened much earlier than they actually did. For example, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 left underwater forests and canyons that, if we didn’t know better, would appear to be millions of years old. In the similar way, the Bible depicts a major catastrophic event, the flood (Gen. 6–8). The flood could explain much of the alleged evidence for a seemingly much older earth. The Bible says “all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Gen. 7:11). More important than knowing exactly when creation took place is that we can be certain of what the Bible teaches—there is a Creator who made the world and all humanity. He cares for us so much, that He gave His one and only Son, the God-Man, Jesus, who died for us and rose again. If we put our trust in Him, we can have an eternal personal relationship with our Creator.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is a professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the host of Moody Radio’s Open Line with Michael Rydelnik. He is the author of 50 Most Important Bible Questions inspired by both his radio show and his columns for Today in the Word. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael also appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill.

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