Q: What Does it Mean that Jesus Will “Baptize with Fire” in Matthew 3:11?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist says that he will baptize with the water but that Jesus will come and baptize with fire. What does he mean when he says Jesus will “baptize with fire”?

This baptism with fire is mentioned only in Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16. In both instances it is immediately surrounded by these statements from John the Baptist, here taken from Matthew 3:7-12:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

Q: How is Jesus God if He Doesn’t Know All that the Father Knows?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

A Jehovah’s Witness said this to me in a discussion: “If the Son doesn’t know what God knows, then the Son is not almighty God. Imposing ‘limitations’ on Jesus because of His humanity while insisting He was ‘fully God’ in ‘nature’ is a natural conflict. There is no scriptural support for this assumption that I can think of.” How would you respond to this?

Thanks for your question. Your friend is referring to Matthew 24:36 where Jesus says that only God the Father knows the day when heaven and earth will pass away and that He, the Son, doesn’t know.

Q: What Does it Mean in Acts 10:4 that Cornelius’ Prayers Served as a “Memorial” to God?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to perform many different types of offerings. There were burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. See Leviticus chapters 1-7 for the details of these different offerings that the Israelites were supposed to perform in their worship of God.

As far as I know, there wasn’t a specific “memorial offering.” Instead, many of the offerings, or portions of them, were to serve as memorials (see Leviticus 6:15). A memorial is anything that serves as a reminder to people or to God. We celebrate Memorial Day in America as a way to remember those that have fought for our country.

Q: How Would Someone Know if He or She was Cursed by God?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

It depends on what you mean. The way that word, curse, is used in our culture, like in books, TV, and movies, probably isn’t the same way God uses it in the Bible. Now in movies and stuff, most of the time being cursed is like being jinxed or having bad luck. I don’t really believe in that type of curse. God is in control of everything, and He’s told us how to have fellowship with Him. Now there are things in life that happen we may call “bad luck,” but God uses those tough times in our life to draw us closer to Him.

Q: Why Did God Let Job’s Children Die?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Why is it that God and Satan talk as described in the book of Job? In the book of Job, God let Satan ruin Job. I know that it was a test of Job’s faith, but was God so heartless that it didn’t bother Him to kill off Job’s children for a test of faith? So what if Job had more kids that were more beautiful afterwards? That doesn’t replace the lives lost.

It seems strange to me also that God and Satan still talk. I don’t understand everything about the spiritual world. The book of Job is a good reminder for us that we can’t, nor do we need to, understand everything.

Q: Can Someone Who Used to Belong to a Cult Be Saved?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In reference to Jude 22-23 (and other false-prophet, false-teaching, and apostasy verses), can someone who used to belong to and participate (teach) in a cult, like the Unity Church of Christ, truly repent and accept Christ as their Savior, or does the Bible say that they are forever lost, damned to Hell, and cannot be saved?

It is possible for a cult member to turn to Christ in faith. In fact, there have been entire cult groups who have recognized their errors and turned to orthodox Christianity. We should not give up on someone, even if they are a cult teacher.

Q: Should You Give Up on an Unrepentant Sinner? Does Jesus Give Up on Us?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Where in scripture does it say that Jesus promised to never leave us alone? And how much time should you give a sinner to repent if they know the truth but ignore it on purpose?

Jesus promised to never leave us alone in Matthew 28:20. He gave this promise to His disciples as part of His farewell to them, but it also applies to us today since we are His followers. This section, Matthew 28:16-20, is known as the Great Commission because Jesus commanded them (and us by extension) to take the Gospel to all the nations. So this promise is in the context of our responsibility to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world.