Questions & Answers

Harold S. Paisley

Question: Was Nathanael one of the apostles of the Lord? Was he also called Bartholomew?

Answer: Nathanaelís name means "given of God." His name is only recorded in Johnís gospel, being introduced at the beginning of the Lordís ministry and also at its close (John 1 and 21). There is a tradition that he was one of the two on the Emmaus road and also that he was Bartholomew. Both have no scriptural basis. Men who followed the Lord Jesus Christ, enjoyed fellowship with the apostles though not apostles themselves. Nathanael was one of those of whom the Lord Jesus described "the men whom thou gayest Me" (John 17: 6, 9, 12, 24). Concerning these men He said "Not one of those thus given were lost." One of the apostles was lost, but not one of those special group given by the Father to His son. Nathanaelís name as already noted means "given of God." The Lord called the twelve apostles but all of those who are true disciples are among those who are "given by God," as was Nathanael and none can ever be lost.

Question: Is capital punishment sanctioned in the writings of Paul? Is such punishment applicable today?

Answer: The reading of Romans 13:1-5 clearly teaches that every soul is to be subject to the civil authority, for such is ordained of God Himself. From the beginning, the Lord revealed His mind concerning capital punishment for deliberate murder. Genesis 9:6 states plainly "Whoso sheddeth manís blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." The murderer had done more than destroy another human, for he has destroyed that which God made in His own image. God therefore makes human government responsible to avenge this crime by the supreme penalty.

In Paulís time, this was evidently still carried out "for he (the officer of the law) beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (Romans 13:4). It is clear that Paul, writing by divine inspiration, sanctioned capital punishment. All who accept the truth of scriptures can only accept capital punishment for deliberate murder.

Question: Would it be possible to explain the meaning of the words of the Lord Jesus "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18).

Answer: It is our understanding that the "jot" is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It is like our English comma. The "tittle" is a tiny curve at the end of some Hebrew characters to distinguish them from others which otherwise would be similar. The "tittle" while small, is very important. The Lord Jesus Christ asserted that the smallest letter and the tiniest mark would not pass away without fulfillment. What greater proof could there be of divine inspiration and validity of verbal inspiration?