Was Jesus Second Miracle Really His Second?

In John 2, John says turning water into wine was Jesus 1st miracle. In John 3, Nicodemus says he knew that Jesus had done signs. In John 4, John says Jesus did his second miracle. The question is, was it really only his 2nd miracle?

I appreciate this question. It shows that someone is thinking about the Bible and what it says. The Bible is the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). This means that everything in it is true because it is impossible for God to lie (Heb.6:18; Titus 1:2). As a result of having a book of complete truth, it is impossible for one part of that book to contradict another part of that book. If one part of the Bible contradicts another part of the Bible, then the Bible contains a lie and it cannot be the product of God. It really is as simple as that. So the Bible must contain absolutely no contradictions within its pages in order to be God’s word.

Now, in order for one statement to contradict another statement, certain conditions must be true of both statements. First, those statements must be talking about the same thing. That is, the definition of the words of both statements must be in reference to the same things. For example, if someone from South America were to say to me, “Football is a sport that uses a round ball,” I might disagree and say that football is a sport that uses an elongated ball. In my mind there is a contradiction because I may not understand that he is discussing what we call the game of soccer, but what in South America is called the game of football. Our definitions of the word “football” were different and so we thought we had a contradiction when we really did not. Second, the events under discussion must have occurred within the same time frame. If I were to say to Rusty that I had a chicken fried steak for lunch and he said to me, “How is that possible since we had lunch together and we ate Bubba’s BBQ?” We might think that we had a contradiction. But when I explain that I was talking about lunch a couple of weeks ago and he was talking about lunch last week, then we both realize there is no contradiction, just cholesterol laden arteries. Third, the events under discussion must have occurred within the same place. If I am on the phone with my mother and I step outside and say, “Well, would you look at that rain,” my mother might say, “There’s not a cloud in the sky.” We could both be correct because we may be in different places. In order for someone to contradict whether it is raining or not, you have to be talking about the same place. Finally, in order to show that something is NOT a contradiction, one need not have to prove so. The person who is pointing out the contradiction has the burden of proof upon them. In order to show that there is not a contradiction, one must merely show the possibility that the alleged contradiction can be understood in a non-contradictory way. So, having these things in mind, let’s see whether or not we have a contradiction with John’s statement in John 4.

The context is in regard to a nobleman’s son sick at Capernaum. The nobleman walks about twenty miles to Cana of Galilee in order to seek help from Jesus. When he arrives and inquires of Jesus concerning his son, Jesus tells him that his son lives. So the nobleman returns to Capernaum and on the road a servant meets him to tell him that his son lived. When he inquired at what time he became well, the servant indicates that it was about the same time of the day that Jesus told him that his son was going to live. All of this is found in John 4:43-54. In verse 54, John writes, “This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.” Our question is along these lines, “How can John say that this was the second miracle Jesus did when he had done more than two since the changing of the water into wine where John clearly says, that was Jesus’ first miracle?”

First, John 2:11 states the following, “This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” While it is true that this was Jesus’ first miracle, it is a mistake to assume that John was keeping a specific count of all of the miracles that Jesus did. John was not saying, “This is number one, that is number two, this is number three, etc.” Rather, he was marking the specific time and occasion when Jesus started performing the signs. Remember, John says that there were many other signs that Jesus did that he does not record (John 20:30). So to compare this miracle to the first as if John was keeping a running total is a mistake to begin with.

However, John does mention in John 4 that this was Jesus “second” sign. What do we make of this? Well, he says that it was his second sign “when he was come up out of Judea into Galilee.” First, understanding that John is not necessarily comparing this sign with the first sign, he could be saying that since Jesus decided to come up out of Judea into Galilee, this is his second sign, that is, on that journey–in that specific amount of time. This is a possibility and it at gives us a reason to say that this is not a contradiction. Second, notice that at the beginning of this narrative in John 4:46 we read, “So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.” He was in the same place that he was in when he turned the water to wine. John may be saying that this is the second sign that he had performed in this specific place. I think this is the more likely meaning. Again, there is no implication here that this was only the second sign that Jesus did in his entire ministry. So, there is no contradiction involved. This is a good question, though, and I am glad that it was asked. Peter says that we should always be ready to give answer to EVERY man who would ask of us the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).

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Why Does God Refer to Jerusalem as His Daughter?

Why does God refer to Jerusalem as his daughter?

The first reference to Jerusalem as a daughter occurs in the Psalms. Psalm 9:13, 14 says, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.” The phrase, “daughter of Zion” is a poetic phrase used to symbolize the relationship between God and his people. The phrase is used at least fifty times in the Old Testament to refer to God’s people. However, the word “daughter” is sometimes used to describe other nations as well as in “daughter of Egypt” or “daughter of Babylon.” Usually in these cases it is simply referring to the nation itself. Sometimes the context in which the phrase is used refers to God’s people in a favorable way and sometimes in an unfavorable way. The emphasis, however, is not upon the people themselves, but the relationship that they have with God–one of a Father and daughter. The phrase is mostly found in the prophets. Out of all of the prophets, Jeremiah uses it the most. The poetical context of the book of Lamentations is replete with the phrase.

We get more information about this metaphorical relationship between God and his people in Ezekiel 16. Here, God describes his people as a female child that had been tossed out in an effort of abortion. Abandoned, rejected, naked, cold, and still bloody, God rescued this child from a likely death. Ezekiel then describes God as raising the child, clothing the child, and even providing a permanent household for the child. On top of this, God gave this child clothing and raiment and jewelry and held nothing back for her profit. The result was that this young child grew into a beautiful woman. However, the response of the woman once she was grown was to trust in her own beauty and play the harlot, rejecting the one who had rescued her and blessed her with so many great and wonderful things.

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the people of Jerusalem as God’s daughter in Matthew 21:5. This is from a prophecy in Zecheriah 9:9. The prophecy is related to the triumphal entry of the Messiah into the city of Jerusalem and in this context the phrase refers to the people of Jerusalem. Today, the daughter of God is the church. She is the bride of Christ (Eph.5:21ff). She will be presented to Jesus in heaven without spot and blameless (Revelation 21:2, 9).

There is another point that I would like to make in regard to this particular metaphor. God speaks to us in terms that we can understand. We can understand the metaphor of the relationship between a father and daughter and so we learn a little more about God and who He is by understanding that relationship. The Bible uses this type of language frequently. We refer to it as accommodative language–language that uses terms and illustrations that we can understand so that God can teach us lessons. This is one of the reasons why Jesus spoke in parables. He used terms that we can understand. God makes every effort on his part to try to communicate with us in ways that we can understand.

There are some today who say you can’t understand the Bible. That it is too difficult and too hard. These metaphors and illustrations stand as a testimony against those who say such. God wants us to understand His word and speaks to us in ways that we CAN understand His word. The problem is usually on our part–that we simply do not want to hear. In a beautiful illustration of this very point, Moses says to the children of Israel, “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deut.30:11-14). What will your response be to God’s word today?

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Is the Church of Christ the only ones going to Heaven?

I have a very tough question. I have been a member of the Lord’s Church for a few years, and once people find out, the first question they ask is “Why does the church of Christ think they are the only ones going to heaven and not the denominational churches?” I think they ask this because they do not understand the Bible. Could you help me with this because a lot of my friends ask me this. I need some scriptural versus on this matter.

You are correct that it is a misunderstanding of the scriptures. It is also a misunderstanding of what the name “church of Christ” means. To a denominational person, the name “church of Christ” is no different than “Baptist,” “Methodist,” or “Presbyterian.” You may have heard people say, “I am church of Christ” as opposed to saying, “I am a Christian.” Such speech simply perpetuates the misunderstanding. The name “church of Christ” is not a denomination, it is an effort on the part of Christians to honor and glorify the Savior. The early churches were mostly referred to as the church of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 3:5). This was not a “name,” but a description to whom they belonged. The early churches were also called churches of Christ (Romans 16:16 KJV). Jesus said that the church belonged to Him (Matthew 16:18) so it is the church that belongs to Christ–the church that is Christ’s–the church of Christ. The name is not a label to be stuck on the outside of a product. Rather, it is descriptive of the group of people who meet to worship at that particular location. This is a difficult concept to get denominational people to understand because they are so stuck on labels. In fact, this is exactly what Paul rebuked the Corinthians for doing in 1 Corinthians 1:10–labeling themselves and using the label as a reason for division. Even those who labeled themselves “Christ” were wrong because they were using the name “Christ” as a label and not as a description of who they were. The only name that we as individuals should be worried about carrying is the name “Christian.” A person cannot be a true Christian and be a “Baptist-Christian” or a “Methodist-Christian” or a “Presbyterian-Christian.” Either one is a Christian or one is not. The concept of a “flavored” Christian is not found in the Bible and is, in fact, forbidden by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10. Now, if you can get them to understand this, then you can get them to understand the next part, but if they do not understand this, then they will never understand the next part.

The Bible teaches that there is only ONE church–the church that belongs to Jesus (Matthew 16:16-18) and that there is only ONE body (Ephesians 4:4). The Bible also teaches that the body is the church (Eph.1:22,23). That means there is just ONE church. In addition, we read in Ephesians 5:23 that Jesus is the Savior of the body. He is not the Savior of anything else but the body. So he is the Savior of the church and only the church. Now, applying the principles that we learn from above, we can understand that Jesus is the Savior of the church–His church–the church that belongs to Him–the church of Christ. He is not going to save anyone who is not a member of His church as only the saved are added to His church (Acts 2:47 KJV). So to state it plainly, the saved are members of the church and the church is made up of saved people. No one outside the church is going to be saved.

At this point the denominationalist will probably say, but you are talking about the universal church, not the local church and we all know that the universal church is made up of all of the denominations. This is completely false. In the scriptures we only read of two different descriptions of the church. There is the universal church and there is the local church. A denomination doesn’t fit either of those categories. A denomination is bigger than the local church, but smaller than the universal church. Moreover, even if the organization was correct, a congregation would have to practice all of the things that are enjoined upon churches in the New Testament to practice. Many denominations just are not doing this today. To be the New Testament church, a church must have an authorized description (church of Christ, church of God, etc.), an authorized worship, an authorized plan of salvation, an authorized organization, and an authorized mission. A person has no authority from God to just go somewhere and set up a congregation of people to do whatever they want to do and call that the church. The church must conform to God’s pattern for the church and that is what makes the church the church of Christ! When we do things the way God has told us to do things, then by His grace, we will be saved. If we fail to do things the way God told us to do things, then we have no promise of salvation.

The accusation, “the members of the ‘Church of Christ’ think they are the only ones going to heaven” is a straw man argument. It assumes that the churches of Christ are denominations just like everyone else. It assumes that it doesn’t matter how the church is organized. It assumes that all denominations are members of the one universal church. To speak to someone about this issue you must first point out the falasies of these assumptions.

So, to answer this question or statement, I would tell the person who made the statement that this is a misrepresentation of what we believe and if you would like to find out what we do actually believe, then we can have a Bible study to discuss it. You might also point out to them that they believe that Christians are the only ones going to heaven and they don’t seem to have a problem with that. Then you could get into a discussion how does a person become a Christian. If they don’t believe that only Christians are going to heaven, then you will need to have a discussion with them regarding the resurrection of Christ and the authority that Christ has in our relationship with God (John 14:6, etc.)

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