Lightning

Lightning

Scripture: James 5:16, Revelation 20:7-15
Date: 10/12/2014 
At 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a bolt of lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun and one of the most powerful phenomenon on Earth. The International Space Station has observed that our planet is struck by more than

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Pastor Doug: Hello friends. This is Doug Batchelor. How about an amazing fact? At 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a bolt of lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun and one of the most powerful phenomenon on Earth. The International Space Station has observed that our planet is struck by more than a hundred lightning bolts every second. Special sensors in the United States record an average of 25 million lightning strikes every year, and some produce over a hundred million volts that's why it's no surprise that lightning is one of the leading weather-related cause of death in the US, killing about 51 people each year.

The odds of becoming a lightning victim in your lifetime, is about one in 3000. Most people don't realize they can be struck by lightning even when the center of a thunderstorm is miles away and the overhead skies are blue. But, lightning is only not confined just to thunderstorms. It's been seen in volcanic eruptions, large tornadoes, and even in intense forest fire smoke. What causes lightning is still something of a mystery. Did you know that Jesus said that history's most spectacular lightning display is coming soon? Stay with us friends, we're going to learn more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Doug: Do you have a question regarding the bible, friends? You got a question about the Christian faith or the Christian life? Give us a call. We have lines open. We got several lines open right now, free phone call. All you got to do is dial 800-GODSAYS. That's 800 463 7297 will bring you into the Bible Answers Live studio with your bible question. One more time, if you weren't ready, 800 463 7297 for your bible question tonight. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Jéan Ross: My name is Jéan Ross. Good evening, listening friends and Pastor Doug. As usual, let's begin the program with a word of prayer. Dear Father we thank you that we have this opportunity to study your word together. We want to invite the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds be with those who are listening wherever they might be. And, Father lead us together into a deeper and fuller understanding of the scripture in Jesus name, Amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Jéan Ross: Pastor, you opened the program by talking about lightning strikes, and of course we've all seen lightning bolts in the sky, some of the most spectacular bolts of lightning is probably in those great electric storms that you get in the Midwest and some of the tropical areas. We have those just incredible lightning strikes. Sometimes at night, you get those bolts of lightning one after another where it seems as bright as noon day. Even brighter than noon day, we can see things so clearly. It's just amazing the amount of light and power in a bolt of lightning.

Pastor Doug: The energy is phenomenal. I remember years ago, I for a while, our family live on the planes of west Texas where unlike northern California where you see mountains in virtually every direction, you can see the horizon almost infinitely. I mean the tallest thing is a cotton and or the city of the water tower. And, we've seen just from east to west the sky filled with lightning that not only were shooting down in these fingers of light, but we saw it shooting up. I mean I've never seen anything quite like it. We saw these trees of lightning that were just bolting up into the air.

We've had a clear view because the whole front of the storm was just off in the distance so the sky was clear up to the storm. It was just quite a show. And, it is very dangerous. It's beautiful to look at but at the same time, as we mentioned in our amazing facts, it is among the most deadly of weather-related causes of death. I mean you think about tornadoes and hurricanes but year after year, there'll be some bad years for tornadoes or bad years for hurricanes but just like clockwork, every year there's about 50 people in the US that die from lightning strikes. So, that adds up.

There's some things I thought it might do, we might take advantage of radio and save a few lives tonight, tell you some things you can do if you happen to get caught out where you see there's lightning or it looks like its imminent.

One, avoid being out in an open field like a golf course. A lot of golfers get struck. By the way, while 51 people died, there's about 250 that get injured from lightning, so there's a lot more that tell us you'd hit.

Two, stay away from all forms of metal. I remember I was in the Florida Keys during an electric storm and we were in these metal bunk beds in our camp. Lightning hit the building; it went right through the bunk beds and shocked us, so you want to stay away from metal. Some people get killed because they're on the phone, the old phones.

Jéan Ross: Through the lines?

Pastor Doug: Yes. Don't be swimming. Water is a great conductor of electricity. Get out of the water. Don't stand under tall objects like towers or trees. Trees, lot of water in them, they're great lightning rods. I was telling you before the show, we had a bear get killed on our property. He was under a tree that got hit by lightning. It killed the bear.

Don't fly kites, do the Ben Franklin thing because with that wet string, you actually can get electrocuted from something like that. If you're carrying an umbrella in an electric storm, it may be safer actually to get wet because if you're out in an open spot, it's just like a lightning rod.

Believe it or not, get in a car. Even though they're made of metal, there's something about their grounding. Lightning strikes airplanes all the time and people inside don't get hurt. It just seems like it dissipates it. A car is a safe place to go.If you're in an open field, get down.

Now, I kiss people with the opening of the program when I told them that Jesus said the biggest most spectacular lightning display in history is coming. You can read about that in Matthew 24: 24, Jesus talking about his second coming. He said, "For there will arise false Christs and false prophets, and they'll show great signs and wonders.

In so much that if it were possible they will deceive the very elect. Behold, I'm telling you in advance, wherefore if they say unto you, "Look, he's in the desert," go not forth. Behold, he's in secret chambers, believe it not for as lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so shall also the coming of the son of man be."

The coming of Jesus is going to be more brilliant and obvious than a lightning storm that's reaching from one horizon to the other. That's important to remember for people that think that when Jesus comes, folks are just going to disappear and no one's going to know. Jesus said, "If they say, "He's in secret chambers." Don't believe it. Nothing is secret about it.

And, we have a free offer, friends. If you'd like to know more about some of the ways, the Bible says Jesus is coming; you might want to get this free study tonight.

Jéan Ross: It's entitled Ultimate Deliverance and it's the bible study talking about the second coming of Jesus. We'll send it to anyone who calls and asks for it. Again it's called Ultimate Deliverance, all about the second coming of Christ. If you would call our resource line which is 800-GODSAYS. That's 800 835 6747. Again, that's 800 835 6747 you can ask for the study guide called Ultimate Deliverance. We'll be happy to send that to you or anyone who calls and asks. Just ask for the study guide all about the second coming of Christ.

Well, we're ready to go to the phone lines. Our first caller this evening is David. He's listening in New York City. David, welcome to the program. You're on the air.

David: Hi. How are you, Pastor Doug?

Pastor Doug: Good God and your question?

David: My question is about James 5:16 which is confess your fault, one to another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. My question about this verse it is the application of it. Is God calling us like to-- Since I'm going through something, a struggle and I need someone to pray for me, help me through it without kind of saying or like anyone that I may have wronged in my entire life, whether they are believer or not. Whether they know I've wronged them or not, I want to confess to them. I'm trying to understand what the verse means.

Pastor Doug: That's a good question. First of all in James 5:16 when he says confess your sins to one another or faults to one another and pray for one another, it's not saying that we're to be confessing private sin where people are not a priest so to speak. God doesn't say confess your sins to a priest. But, there are things when you offend somebody you go to that person and you confess your wrong to them. You apologize and you pray for each other. If you're like believers, you forgive each other. If there's somebody that you've wronged and they don't know it, in other words, let's just suppose, hypothetically, you gossiped about someone. They don't know it. You don't need to go to that person, "You know, just thought I'd let you know I've been telling everybody around town, how awful you are." That's not going to make them feel better and it won't bring glory to God.

I would go to the people that you gossiped to and say to them, "You know, I said some unkind things about so and so and I really shouldn't have and I hope you'll forgive me. I'm going to try and stop doing that." That would be the way to deal with that. When you wrong somebody-- Now, if you're a member of a church and you get involved in a scandal that's pretty public, it might call for a public confession.

When Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" It was after Peter had publicly denied Jesus three times. In front of the other apostles, Jesus said, "Do you love me?" So, it required a public confession. It takes wisdom to know how to apply these things. I hope that helps a little bit, David. We're getting a little background noise. It's hard to hear.

But, we do have a series where we talk about confession. If you go to the Amazing Facts website, it's a sermon series that talks about the formula for faith. In that series, we have a whole study that just deals with the subject of confession and repentance and what that's all about. Also in the book, I wrote a book, called To See the King got a whole chapter in there on confession. That's at the Amazing Facts website.

Jéan Ross: Read it online at amazingfacts.org or can we get that by calling the resource line?

Pastor Doug: Sure.

Jéan Ross: The number to call for that is 800-835-6747. You can ask for the book, To See the King. We'll be happy to send that to you, David, or anyone who calls and asks or you can read it right now by going to the Amazing Facts website, amazingfacts.org. Our next caller is Egbert calling from Belize. Egbert, welcome to the program.

Egbert: Good night, Pastor Ross, Pastor Doug.

Jéan Ross: Evening. Yes, hello. Welcome.

Egbert: Yes, good night. I got a couple questions I have for you guys.

Pastor Doug: Well, let's start with the first one.

Egbert: Okay. The Bible talks about, they have the last two grounation that happened here on the earth where the Queen Elizabeth and Haile Selassie of Ethiopia that got crowned in 1930. The Bible talk about the land of the tribe of Judah, Isaiah chapter nine and verse six say that for to us a child is born, to us a child is given and government will be upon his shoulder and his name shall become Wonderful, Comfort, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and he is going to sit on King David's throne.

Will Jesus Christ come back from heaven and you see the light of God the Father, and come back on David's throne to sit on David's throne? Or is that prophecy a fulfill to the land of Judah, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia from 1930?

Pastor Doug: For our friends that are listening, there was a long-reigning king in Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. Is a nice man, short man, and he sometimes was referred to a Christian, they referred to him as the lion. But no, he was not the fulfillment of that prophecy. The prophecy you read, unto us a child is given, is from Isaiah and it's talking about Jesus. Jesus when He came the first time.

Christ, when he comes again he will reign over the earth. Jesus is the son of David. Matter of fact, Pastor Ross knows a bit better than me and Revelation isn't one of the titles even there, referring to Jesus as the son of David?

Jéan Ross: Let me look it up.

Pastor Doug: Even in Revelation when Christ comes in as a king, he is the son of David that will reign on the throne. He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. I'm pretty sure you'd find that title in Revelation as well meaning it's future tense.

Egbert: I have a presentation from Pastor Billy Graham that the shall the queen have on a 10 commandment book that the commandment, the move two times. The commandment the move twice. On that, he has exhibit Pastor Billy Graham. And, Pastor Billy Graham has presented a presentation from the conference of Berlin and is to go back Haile Selassie to the throne and that country was a Christian country.

Pastor Doug: Egbert, make this a question. What's your question?

Egbert: What I'm saying is if Pastor Billy Graham presents Haile Selassie as the distinguished guest on his show. He's lying because he present Haile Selassie back to Ethiopia as the last Christian king that until the story of Acts, Ethiopian or the man that converted to Christ, he was Christian king. He was the last king to sit on David's throne.

Pastor Doug: All right, hang on one second.

Egbert: Yes.

Pastor Doug: I just would have to respectfully disagree with you. I don't think the former king of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, is a fulfillment of any of these prophecies. In spite of what Billy Graham may have said, with all due respect. Jesus is who this is talking about when it says that Jesus is the King of kings and the son of David.

But, we are glad to get a call from Belize, we appreciate your call. Hopefully, you are also listening to Faith FM. Our friends there with their radio station across Belize. Who do we have next, Pastor Ross?

Jéan Ross: We have David listening in Kentucky. David, welcome to the program.

David: Good evening, pastors.

Jéan Ross: Evening.

David: I have a question about the, actually get into Leviticus learned about the whole sacrificial lamb. And, then in the New Testament, the Book of John talks about after He was crucified, they wanted to get Him down from the cross because it was a special Sabbath, non-regular Sabbath.

Pastor Doug: Right, it's a high Sabbath.

David: Okay, now you knew this because you're a Jew. It was the first day of unleavened bread which made it a high Sabbath.

Pastor Doug: No. Being the first day of unleavened bread isn't what makes it a high Sabbath. Whenever there was a seventh day Sabbath and it overlapped during one of the annual feasts, they claimed a double blessing and they called it a high Sabbath.

So, the Sabbath, during the week of Passover was called a high Sabbath, because they claim the double blessing and because you had the annual Sabbath overlapping with the weekly Sabbath. It didn't matter what day of a feast it was whether it was the first day or the sixth day of the Passover feast. Whenever part of the Passover overlapped during the Sabbath day, it was called a high Sabbath.

David: Okay. Now, I am going back a little bit with Daniel too. It talks about it being cut off in the midst of the week which, midst of the week everybody knows is Wednesday.

Pastor Doug: Are you wondering if Jesus was crucified on Wednesday?

David: Yes, sir.

Pastor Doug: Let me share with you what I know about that, David. It tells us that Jesus rose on the first day of the week and the Bible's pretty clear that it was the preparation day when He was on the cross, that would be Friday. Friday's always called the preparation day. It says they rested according to the commandment. That was Friday evening at sundown which would have been just before the Sabbath which is the seventh day.

Jesus was crucified Friday morning. People often try to explain a Wednesday crucifixion and it almost always traces back to a misunderstanding of the verse in Matthew chapter 12 where it talks about the three days and three nights of Jonah. The three days and three nights of Jonah really began Thursday night. It talks about the heart of the earth and people assume that means that Jesus was in the tomb three days and three nights.

I think it's just saying that Jesus was suffering the sins of the world, for the sins of the world. That started Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night. He was suffering for the sins of the world over a period of three days and three nights. God's not going by exact 24-hour periods anyway in that. Anyway, we do have a book on that.

Jéan Ross: Yes, the book I was going to mention is called The Sign of Jonah. We get right into this and this very subject was dealt with-

Pastor Doug: Wednesday crucifixion, yes.

Jéan Ross: -yes, in that book. You mention also, David, the prophecy in Daniel where it says, "in the midst of the week, He shall cause sacrifice and oblations to cease." Of course, one prophetic day in bible reckoning is equal to a year and Christ's public ministry was three and a half years and then He was crucified and that is a seven-year period in that last week of that 90-week prophecy.

So, three and a half years, He died on the cross and then there was another three and a half years of special working towards the Jews before the gospel they must preach to the gentile world. That's a little different, the three and a half in the midst of the week that refers to the three and a half year period.

But, I'd encourage you to get the book called The Sign of Jonah, I think you'll enjoy it and it gets right into this very topic that you’re asking about. The number to call for the resource line is 8008356747 and again the book is called The sign of Jonah. That's 8008356747 and again the book's called The Sign of Jonah. The next call is Larry, and Larry is listening from North Carolina, Larry welcome to the program?

Larry: Hello.

Pastor Doug: Yes, Larry you’re welcome.

Larry: I'll ask my question, and then say a few words. Where you all think that's okay, does the Bible say anything good about pride? I was raised up to be proud of my work, proud of my appearance, that kind of thing and pride seem to be a good thing because I'd see people that weren't proud of their work and weren't proud of their appearance.

And, then decades go about and the Lord called me the second time, and at that time, I arbitrarily just decided I was going quit being proud because the Bible, I thought didn’t say anything good about pride and it made a remarkably good change in me.

I hear all kinds of Christian organizations talk about proud supporters and having been proud as kids, does the bible say anything good about pride that you know of and I know that's a wrong question?

Pastor Doug: No, that's okay, it's a very good question, in English when we say pride, we may use it a couple of ways. It's probably nothing better you can do for your kids, tell your kids that you delight in them and we might say we're proud of you and in Proverbs it talks about having children that are a delight to their parents. And then, there's parents that have children that are a shame and make them miserable.

All of us would prefer the former so saying that-- Putting your arm around your son or daughter and saying, I'm really proud of you and you're doing a good job, teaching self-respect, making sure your house is clean and presentable, your clothes and your appearance and wanting to have a good reputation that you might bring glory to God, that's appropriate. But, when the subject of pride turns inward where we are wanting attention, we're wanting prestige for our own benefit, the Bible says nothing good about that kind of pride.

Jéan Ross: I'm looking at a verse, Proverbs chapter 16 verse 18 and I like the way the Bible describes it. Because, it'll give a point and then it will repeat that point in different words which helps us to understand or define the point and here's the verse it says, “Pride goes before destruction.” Then it expands upon the kind of pride and it says, “A haughty spirit before a fall.”

The kind of pride that the Bible condemns is a pride that is inward focused, here it's defined as a haughty spirit so self-centeredness or actions that is there to draw one's attention or to draw attention to one’s self, that is what's condemned. That's pride selfishness, but says to have self-respect or to do a good job, to do something in order to-

Pastor Doug: It brings glory to God.

Jéan Ross: -bring glory to God or to do something to make your parents proud for their sake. No, that's a good characteristic, to do a job well, those are good principles.

Pastor Doug: I hope that helps and we do actually have, I know that Larry, if you're still with us, I have a whole series that we did that talks about pride and it's you can read that either at the amazing facts website or you can listen to the programs, if you go to our amazingfacts.org and you go into our media and search pride, you'll see there's two or three messages that deal about that.

As a matter of fact, I'm teaching a new one Tuesday night, we're going to the book of James and it's dealing with pride and humility, it's humility in Florida but anyway so we invite you to go to the website and take a listen to that and thank you for your perceptive comments.

Jéan Ross: Next holder is Lawrence, and Lawrence is listening from Illinois, Lawrence welcome to the program.

Lawrence: Thank you, my question dealt whit Revelation 20:7-15 where it talks about Satan's doing on the great white throne judgment where the dead are judged. I was reading and it talked about the wicked surrounded the camp of the fence and then fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

And then, after that it speaks about in 20:11, then I saw the great white throne and he who sat on it. And, then all the dead who were in the earth and on the Hades and the books were opened and they were all judged according to their works. Then those who weren’t found written in the book of life are thrown in the lake of fire, if you could just help me with that?

Pastor Doug: Yes, well first of all keep in mind that Revelation is not written in an exact chronology. Most of what you have with Revelation is it takes a vision so far then it backs up a little bit, it overlaps the former vision. It takes it further then it backs up and overlaps. And, you're seeing that here in this chapter when it talks about the fire coming down, it's to say in what happens to the wicked when they try to take the city of God prior to them all being devoured is this great white throne judgment. Paul says we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, every man is going to give an account.

The timing of it is different, now at the end of the 1,000 years and we have a lesson, we can send you the outlines on this, we have a whole lesson on the judgment. But, at the end of the 1,000 years, when Jesus comes down to earth, the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, all the wicked who have ever lived are resurrected in the second resurrection, they seek to take the city of God and the Bible tells us that their Lord stops them in their final attack that they are all judged.

This is panorama, their lives past before them and then this is so great white throne where everybody-- The Lord is not going to have people lining up in a line that wraps around the world three times. Is great white throne judgment is something where he's on his throne and all the nations stand before him, like what you read in Matthew 25 where he separates the sheep from the goats.

All the saved are in the city, all the lost are outside the city and the good angels on the inside, the bad angels are on the outside, we're all going to meet that day again in this great judgment time. Then people's lives pass before him, they see what God has done everything he could to save them, so it is at that point every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours the wicked. And, God makes a new heaven and a new earth on the ashes of this purified world. You're listening to Bible Answers Live.

Jéan Ross: Well, pastor that we're getting close to a very exciting event starting in just how looks like three weeks from now, the 31st of this month in Albuquerque in New Mexico, we’re calling it landmarks of prophecy.

Pastor Doug: Absolutely, and everybody out there if you'd like to be involved in bringing a soul to Jesus, we're creating a program where everybody can do something. It's going to be on TV, anyone that gets three ABN or Amazing Facts Television, you'll see that and that three ABN is also on the Dish network around the country. So, anyone with Dish network should be able to get this.

In addition it'll be on YouTube so anybody with the internet around the world will be able to get this program, Landmarks of prophecy. You can invite your friends to your church, your home, there's lessons you can download or order and say, “Look we want to watch this program.” Just begin one at a time, believe it or not it starts October 31st, there's something good that you can do on Halloween, now you hear the music, we aren’t going away, we're just going to take a break and coming back for more Bible questions, stay in your seat, get a drink and we’ll be back.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Doug: For our friends that have recently joined us, this is “Bible Answers Live”, and you can tell from the title it's a live interactive Bible studying. You’re invited to call in with your Bible questions. Yes, we have some lines open and we have people waiting to answer your call and to jot down your questions that pop up on our screen, the number 800-GOD-SAYS, 800-463-7297. 800-463-7297 brings your Bible question into the program. My name’s Doug Batchelor.

Jéan Ross: My name is Jéan Ross and we’re ready to go to the phone lines. Our first caller is Jane, listening from South Carolina. Jane, welcome to the program.

Jane: Hi, guys. Thank you John for taking my call, I appreciate your ministry. My question is about keeping the Sabbath holy in the 21st century. Our culture tells us that it’s okay not to, but I know it was written in stone and it was nail to the cross. And, primary reason I’m calling is I have a career that requires me to work on the Sabbath. It’s not like a retail job. I’m in law enforcement, so I have to be here because so many people don’t keep the Sabbath holy.

Pastor Doug: Right.

Jane: So, how do I reconcile that? How do I keep the Sabbath holy and be obedient, and still do my job?

Pastor Doug: That’s a tough question. That’s a good question. If a person obviously is a Sabbath keeper, and they are involved in medical work, or people’s lives are at stake-- Jesus healed on the Sabbath, obviously. You don’t want to have people walking out of the hospitals every Friday afternoon, and saying nothing wrong. And then, there’s varying degrees. Let’s suppose you’re a firefighter. If I was-- I know they do actually get vacations and have some time off. There’s days when they’re off duty and on duty. I’d work in every way I could to make arrangements so that you had your Sabbaths off.

There’re probably other firefighters, it didn’t make any difference to them or they want a different day off. Best thing to do is to arrange that. If there was some kind of fire, where they are calling all hands on deck because there’s some kind of emergency, or even in times of war, there are soldiers that have been Sabbath keepers. They take care of the sick, or they hold the wounded. There are certain emergency things. My wife was in the medical field, and if she got into a rotation where someone needed help on the Sabbath, she would not charge. I know that sounds crazy, but she'd say “Look, this is non remunerative.

Or if they insisted on paying me because of the way they are set up, I’m just going to donate that money, but I’m not going to get paid for working on Sabbath.” And, that was her choice. You know better than anyone if your work is emergency work. If there’s any way to schedule it so that you can have some consistency-- People, even if they are in a medical field, if they’re taking time off every week, and they are not, they are working every Sabbath and missing their corporate fellowship, their faith becomes weaken.

So, it’s not a good long-term practice in an emergency in medical situations. I don’t know if I’m making sense. Some people lose their jobs because of the Sabbath. Shadrach, Meshach and. Abednego would not break God’s commandment at the risk of losing their lives. They were willing to lose their lives, let alone a job.

Jane: Well, it’s got to be done. The work I do has got to be done. You want Christians doing my job, believe me.

Pastor Doug: I believe you.

Jéan Ross: You know, what we suggest is, start by talking to those around you and saying, “You know, I’d like to keep the Sabbath and is there any way we could try and work something out?” Quite often there are people who say, “You know, maybe we could work a deal. you work for me on Saturday, and I’ll cover for you on Sunday.”

Jane: Yes, but I’m making somebody else work on a Sabbath then.

Jéan Ross: Well, often people don’t care. They are just happy to get the day off to them some other day-

Pastor Doug: If it’s important to you.

Jéan Ross: -so, if you can, that’s usually the way we try to work it at first. If there is a need, a natural disaster, or, as I said, everybody needs to come in, that’s a little different, but just a regular rotation. You want to do everything you can to try, for your own spiritual growth, so that can fellowship together, you have that time off to rest and be strengthen and encouraged. Start where you can and start working things out as much as you can. And, pray about it say “Lord, you want me to keep the Sabbath? Please, help me to try and get this time off.”

Jane: Sounds good.

Pastor Doug: We appreciate your call, Jane. We do have a study guide that talks about that subject, it say “Last day of history.”

Jéan Ross: That’s right, talks about the Sabbath. We also have a website called sabbathtruth.com

Pastor Doug: Very good.

Jéan Ross: As a matter of fact, the lesson guide is actually available to read right there on the website along with video, just a great resource. Great study resource for people, sabbathtruth.com. If you’d like to get that hard copy of the study guide, just call our resource line 800-835-6747. You can ask for the study guide called “Last day in History”, all about Sabbath. Our next caller is Chanel, listening from Clear Water, Florida. Chanel, welcome to the program.

Chanel: Hello, pastors. How are you?

Pastor Doug: Good. Thanks for calling.

Chanel: I’m just calling with a question about Christmas. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and I know that Christmas has a lot of pagan rituals, but I was wondering should we as Christians still celebrate Christmas?

Pastor Doug: Well, not if you’re uncomfortable with it, for one thing, absolutely not. The Bible says “Anything that’s not of faith is sin”, so if you’re convicted that because of some of the pagan history of the day-- And, it is true, Jesus was not born on the 25th of December, I think most churches agree on that now. But, since there is a day that our culture has picked to remember the birth of Christ, there can be a great witnessing opportunity, but you don’t have to get involved in the pagan aspects of that.

A lot of Christians exploit the good things about that time of year when you can talk about God’s gift and salvation. Nothing wrong with giving gifts to people, it’s an opportunity. God’s all about giving, that’s why Jesus came, gave his son. There’s good things, you can “overcome evil with good”, Paul says. Even though the winter solstice is how we ended up with the 25th of December, Jesus was almost certainly born sometime the fall based on the Bible evidence.

We don’t know the exact date of his birth, probably this date is as good as any. If a person is convicted and they are thinking, “Well, because it has some pagan trappings in its history, I don’t want to have anything to do with it”, I’d say it’s like Romans 14. If you’re going to regard the day, do it to the Lord. If you’re not, don’t regard it to the Lord. You know what I’m saying?

Chanel: Yes, I understand. Because, I was reading up on Easter in a book I was reading, and I know that had some pagan stuff but I thought, maybe just because it was celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ it would be a good thing, just not the pagan aspect.

Pastor Doug: Yes. The day of Easter is more accurate, it’s based on the Passover, whereas Christmas, the date is almost entirely coming from what they call “the birth of the sun”, S-U-N. In the northern hemisphere, the shortest time of year is December 25th. I’m sorry, 21st. And, the days don’t start getting longer again until the 25th of December, and so they call it the birth of the sun.

That transitioned into the date-- The early church thought this is a great way to witness the pagans will just adopt their date, and call it the birth of the Jesus. That’s what happened. If it bothers you, you don’t have anything to do with it, if you think you can use it to accomplish good, and just hang on to the good part of it, then do that. Make sure it’s all faith, whatever you do.

Chanel: All right. Thank you, pastor Doug.

Pastor Doug: Thank you, Chanel. We do have a book that talks about baptized paganism; we’ll send you a free copy. Thank you for your question.

Jéan Ross: The number to call is 800-835-6747. Again, if you’d like to study more about the subject, just ask for the book called “Baptized paganism”. 800-835-6747. We have Brandon who is listening from Mount Vernon, Illinois. Brandon, welcome to the program.

Brandon: Hello.

Pastor Doug: Evening.

Brandon: I was wondering if there’s any similarity in the story of Samson and Delilah with Christ and the Church. If there’s any kind of—

Pastor Doug: Parallels?

Brandon: What do you really call it, allegory or something?

Pastor Doug: Absolutely, I’m glad you asked. I actually wrote a book, but we can’t give it away just because it’s a full book and it's a published book, but it’s called “Shadows of Christ". And, I took several years and I went through the analogies or allegories of Christ in the bible characters, Jesus is like Moses, David, Joseph and a number of others and I did a chapter called parallels of Samson and Jesus. People are always saying Samson he was a womanizing bachelor and how can he be a type of Christ.

But, Samson was arrested by his own people and handed over to the pagans, the Philistines, Jesus was tied up and handed over to the Romans. Samson was betrayed for silver, Jesus was betrayed for silver. Samson was betrayed by a woman, Jesus-- A woman in the Bible is a symbol for the church, Jesus was betrayed by his own church, the leaders of the Sanhedrin voted to have him put to death.

Samson was blinded, Jesus they put a bag over his head and he was blinded, when they beat him. And, Samson was filled with the spirit just before he died and the Bible says the Spirit came upon Christ just before he died. Last thing Samson did, he stretched out his hands and he brought down the pagan temple of Degum, Jesus stretched out his hands on the cross and he brought down the kingdom of Satan, there is a number of parallels.

Jéan Ross: I just thought of another one, Samson carried the wooden doors of the gates of the city up a hill; Christ carried the cross up the hill.

Pastor Doug: Samson is actually mentioned in Hebrews 11 as someone who will be saved as a person of faith, he often fought alone. There is a number of parallels between Samson and Delilah, Jesus and the church. He is one of the judges of Israel so Jesus is our judge, yes it's a fascinating story Brendon, take a look at that book and you can get it online it's called Shadows of Christ, seeing Christ in all the bible, thanks for your question.

Jéan Ross: We’ve Jimmy listening from Savanna Georgia, Jimmy Welcome to the program.

Jimmy: Yes, good evening, how are you all doing?

Pastor Doug: Doing great, how are you Jimmy?

Jimmy: I got a question; how come Paul that wrote so much of the New Testament was not mentioned was not prophesied just like the Sabbath day that was going to be changed? What I mean is that you said one time that if there was going to change the speed limit on the highway, they would put it on a newspaper, on the television and for everyone to know beforehand. Jesus never mentioned the change of the Sabbath to Sunday, but how come Paul was not mentioned anywhere, he wrote so many letters of the New Testament?

Pastor Doug: Well, that's exactly the point is, since the Sabbath was obviously a very prominent weekly part of the Jewish culture, from even before the time of Abraham, we know Sabbath goes back to creation, it's not really Jewish, Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man meaning mankind, back there in Genesis two when God blessed it.

And, then he reminded the people of it when they were led out of Egypt. If you look at all the arguments that Paul has regarding the subject of circumcision, that was changed or done away with, if there was going to be a change in one of the Ten Commandments not to mention the only commandment that starts with the word remember, you would think that there would be enormous attention drawn to that and the great debate about it and even though Jesus healed people on the Sabbath, he never told them don't keep it anymore.

Jimmy: Pastor Doug, I'm sorry but I think you misunderstood my question. My question is, how come Paul was not mentioned, Paul himself, there is nobody prophecy about Paul being so important in the New Testament?

Pastor Doug: Well, why would somebody prophecy about Paul? Maybe-- The prophecies are about Jesus, they all point to him. Paul was just one of the apostles, there's no prophecy about Peter or Matthew or the other apostles.

Jimmy: Okay, because he was an apostle, all right I get that, I understand that part. He was an apostle, he was not a prophet or John the Baptist was not an apostle right, he was a prophet.

Pastor Doug: John the Baptist was prophesied, you're correct about that because in Malachi chapter four, it talks about and I’ll send my messenger before your face-- Oh, actually that's in the Isaiah. I'll send my messenger before your face, and that was a prophecy by about John the Baptist.

I'll send you Elijah the prophet is in Malachi chapter four, but really the closest thing you get to a prophecy of the twelve apostles, is where it talks about the twelve princes of Israel from Moses, the twelve patriarchs, they were types of the twelve apostles. But, there's really no prophecy talked about the apostle that I can think of. I don't know Pastor Ross if you can? I appreciate your question Jimmy, thank you for calling.

Jéan Ross: We have Eugene listening from Sacramento, Eugene Welcome to the program.

Eugene: Hey, how are u doing guys?

Pastor Doug: Doing good, thank you for calling.

Eugene: My question is not about the Bible, I mean it’s biblical, I gamble, I'm a gambleholic, how do I get rid of that, there's so many things that I try to do and I still can’t give it up it’s like--

Pastor Doug: An addiction?

Eugene: Yes, an addiction.

Pastor Doug: Well I really appreciate your call and that's a good practical question. Gambling is unique in that when a person gets addicted to cigarettes or alcohol, there's actually a physiological dependence from a drug where you feel a withdrawal but you were not born gambling. Gambling is something that happens from the neck up in your thoughts; the victory over gambling is a victory that takes place in the mind. For one thing, don’t underestimate the power of prayer and maybe you have prayed about this.

There’s a book we’ll send you a free copy of on tips to resisting temptation and all of these tips, there's twelve specific tips, it's a free book we’ll give you scriptures. It'll tell you what you can do, think for one thing about the reward, think of all the money that you'll save, by avoiding this addiction. And just, think about how different your life would have been, and how much more you would have now if you'd not been pouring it into those places.

The gambling, the whole industry is built around making people addicts. It creates an illusion of happiness and a temporary sensation, it releases endorphins in your mind, whether it's the poker table or the slot machine, just the excitement of it captivates people. But, it's all an illusion, it's not real, it doesn't bless, it doesn't bring lasting happiness, it's a temporary high followed by a corresponding low. We'd like to pray with you Eugene if that's okay and we're going to send you if-- All you got to do is ask for it well even you can read it for free online.

It's called tips for resisting temptation and when we are done praying, Pastor Ross will give you the number. Father in heaven we just want to pause right now and pray for Eugene, he represents a lot of people like him around the country that struggle with not only the addiction to gambling but a number of other addictions, we all are really sinaholics[sic] and we need salvation from these addictions, I pray that you'll give him victory, help him to experience freedom from these things, give him the power and wisdom to know how to resist the temptation and get a new life, we thank you for your power and your promise, we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jéan Ross: Amen. Eugene give us a call on our resource line that's, 800-835-6747 you can just ask for the book called tips for resisting temptation. Again that's 800-835-6747, we'll be happy to send that to you or anyone who calls and asks for it. Our next caller is Bill and Bill is listening from Snowflake Arizona, Bill welcome to the program.

Bill: Oh yes, good evening?

Pastor Doug: Good evening.

Bill: My question is about Biblical lineage, my last name is Elijah and I’ve always wondered about who the prophet Elijah had left behind in his family tree, when I went through the ancestry.com, I didn’t get to go that far backward but I'm wondering if you guys have any knowledge on the descendants of Elijah?

Pastor Doug: Well, it calls him Elijah the Tish bite, and Elijah is an interesting character because it gives no genealogy. We believe he was not married and part of the reason for that is that there’s no reference at all to his having a family. During the famine, he stays with the widow; his wife might not have understood that. He stays with the widow there up in Tire and Sidon and it's called Zarephath up north. I don't know that God would have taken him to heaven in a fiery chariot, if he had to leave behind a wife with no children.

And then, Elisha who was the apprentice of Elijah, he asks for the inheritance of the firstborn, when Elijah says he's going to heaven. Elisha basically said you're adopting me as your son, there's really not a thread of evidence that Elisha had a family and now there were the name Elijah was such a popular character. It's like even in the Bible, you have several people by name Jesus, even in the Bible. And, you got several people with the name John or Judas even.

Elijah was such a famous Bible hero, there were probably many other people that had that name that rose out of the ranks of Israel. Maybe even some Christians adopted that name, if you trace your name back; you may discover that 500 years ago, someone took the name Elijah. And, it became their last name or they were given that nickname of Elijah, as a family name and it may have no Jewish roots at all.

My name is a real conundrum, last name Batchelor. How do you end up with a last name at all if your name is Batchelor. Now, my mother's maiden name goes back to the Bible but not my dad's. Anyway, I don't know if that will discourage you Bill but you can live like Elijah.

That's the thing that God wants is for us to have his kind of faith. Appreciate your call. By the way I do have a book that talks about it's called the last Elijah message, the last Elijah message you can read at the amazing facts website.

Jéan Ross: In the website is amazingfacts.org. We have Melanie listening from Toronto Canada. Melanie welcome to the program.

Melanie: Thank you. God bless your program, absolutely wonderful. Can you hear me okay?

Pastor Doug: Loud and clear, thanks for getting close to your phone.

Melanie: Loud and clear, fabulous. In the, our father it says, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Now if this was a crime that was committed against you, against a person, how does one differentiate between what the secular laws are, which says to hold the person accountable in a court of law and the biblical, because I had a crime committed against me by a Toronto police officer who lied. We proved in court that he had lied.

Then, one of the other officer said to me, "Well you are a woman of faith, you should forgive and forget." And I said to him "Yes, sir I do forgive and forget. That's between my God and myself. But, you're Caesar and you're Pontius Pilot and that's the secular part which you need to hold this police officer accountable for his crime against myself which was absolutely a torment to myself and to my family.’’ He happened to be a neighbor. How does one answer our policemen?

Pastor Doug: Where do you draw the line between--?

Melanie: Where do you draw the line? I do forgive because it is between God and myself but how does one hold our police accountable in North America for criminal activity against the civilian? This is a very hot topic.

Pastor Doug: Before we run out of time, let me jump in. I think it's a good question. I want to try and answer it but I'm going to change the scenario a little bit. All right, so you're a Christian you catch a thief breaking into your house and you may forgive him for stealing your property. That doesn't mean you got to let him keep your property. He's going to break into someone else's house unless you prosecute. There's going to be thieves that will not be held accountable.

You may not hold a personal grudge against that person you might even go visit him in jail. I suppose its murder. You're going to say "well, look I'm just going to forgive you." Well, it doesn't matter; the county is going to prosecute. Because, you can't just turn your head-- They're turning the cheek when people murder it's not what Jesus was talking about.

Sometimes in order to keep a society law abiding, you have to prosecute lawlessness or justice becomes runaway and you can say to the individual "Look I have nothing against you. I can love and forgive you and I'll pray for your salvation, but what you did because of your office needs to be addressed.’’

Melanie: It was so shocking to myself and my friends and especially in my church. I mean everybody knows and the community knows them. They said, "How could this police officer say you're a woman of faith, you should forgive and forget?" And I said “No, I don't want this happening. I'm a senior citizen almost and if this kind of a crime can be committed for someone who has been law abiding all their life, it's so shocking what's happening with our Police in North America. We need to hold them accountable."

Pastor Doug: Well, there are-- I would just want to be clear there are some naturally, there are some very good majority, I hope are good law abiding policemen. I'm sure that in every field you're going to find some that are, even Jesus had a Judas. There's going to be some corrupt individuals and just about every line of work. There is going to be honest businessmen and there's going to be a white collar crime and corporate thieves. I want to lump them all together, but really the question is sometimes you have to practice tough love and you need to prosecute just to protect others so that they're not taken advantage of.

I'm sorry to cut you off Melanie and if we did not get to anyone else's call please forgive us and give us a chance next week, God willing we're going to be back again. Before you change stations will you let me just remind you that this program is on the air entirely by faith. Week after week for nearly what, almost 20 years now, we've been doing Bible Answers Live. And, Pastor Ross and I come in, we volunteer our time. But, the radio time costs money. We are on hundreds of stations but everyone listening.

There are people in virtually every community that say, "I appreciate this program. I want to keep it on the air. I'm going to send a little something to Amazing Facts to make it possible for others to find everlasting life to get their questions answered.’’ If you've not done that before would you consider doing it now. It's really easy. You can just go to amazingfacts.org, click the donate button and we just love to hear from you. Tell us if the program's been a blessing. Remember friends that the main thing is we want to get the truth of Jesus out.

He's coming soon and he's got a special plan for your life that he wants to activate and so pass on the good news about Bible Answers Live. And, I look forward to talking with you again next week.

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