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Sevens in Revelation

Scripture: Revelation 21:14
Date: 12/07/2014 
According to the Guinness world records, Roy C. Sullivan holds a record for being struck by lightning more times than any other human.
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Doug Batchelor: Hello, friends, this is Doug Batchelor. How about an amazing fact? According to the Guinness world records, Roy C. Sullivan holds a record for being struck by lightning more times than any other human. Sullivan worked as a US Ranger in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, a place that averages about 40 thunderstorms a year. Between 1942 and 1977 Sullivan was struck by lightning seven different times and survived, gaining him the nickname the Spark Ranger. All seven strikes were documented by the Shenandoah National Park's superintendent and verified by doctors.

A single lightning strike may contain 100 million volts and 20 thousand amps. The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are about one in three thousand. The odds of being struck seven times and surviving is over one in a trillion. Did you know the Bible talks about seven thunders that speak words of mystery? 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: Hello, listening friends, welcome to Bible Answers Live. If you have a Bible question, now is a good time to pick up the phone and give us a call. That number, one more time, is 800-GODSAYS, 800-463-7297, we'll bring your Bible question into our studios. We don't claim to have all the answers, but we'll search The Word together. That's 800-GODSAYS, 800-463-7297. For the next hour, we're going to be taking your live Bible questions, or you may have questions about the Christian faith and the Christian life, we'll do our best to find the answers together. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Jéan Ross: My name is Jéan Ross. Good evening, listening friends, and Pastor Doug. Once again, let's start the program with a word of prayer. Dear Father, we thank you that we have this opportunity to study your word together and we always ask for your blessing. We recognize that in order to understand the Bible we need the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and our hearts. So be with those who are listening, wherever they might be, and guide us Lord into a deeper and fuller understanding of The Scriptures in Jesus name, amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Jéan Ross: Pastor, there you spoke of a remarkable story of somebody being struck by lightning more than once. That in itself would probably be remarkable, but seven times and to survive, what a story he has.

Pastor Doug: Yes, you can actually read the seven different accounts. Once he's fishing. Once he's driving down the road, which almost never happens because your car actually grounds and protects you, but he had his window open and it really struck a tree next to him and his hair caught on fire because he was so close. Matter of fact, his hair caught on fire three times from lightning. He had scars on his legs and on his belly from the different lightning strikes.

After being struck four times, he really became a little paranoid and whenever there was a storm he would run for cover but it didn't seem to help because sometimes he'd run and he still gets struck [laughs]. The poor guy, seven times, but he lived through it. Of course, he's passed away now because he was born in 1912, but in any event, when I saw struck by lightning seven times, it made me think of a verse I know that you're familiar with all the sevens in Revelation, and there's one passage you read in Revelations 10:3-4, friends, this is a mystery and we need your help with this one.

Revelation 10:3-4, and it says, “This angel cried with a loud voice when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, 'Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered and write them not'.” Now, this is unique in the entire Bible, because virtually, every other time in the bible when prophets, and in particular John the apostle, when they see these things in vision, the angel says, "Write it down, tell people."

Now, he hears something that these seven thunders utter, he's preparing to write, the angel says, “No, no, not that. Don't write that down.” Everybody has speculated and wondered what was that mysterious message that John heard that's included in the Bible, “I heard something but I can't tell you”? It makes you wonder, it tantalizes us with what was it that the seven thunders said?

Some have wondered, "Well, did it have the day and hour of Christ's coming, and no man knows that, and so John heard that and the Angel said, 'No, no. Don't write that down,' or was it something more specifically related to Revelation Chapter 10 and all that happens there, great movement that happened among God's people?"

Anyway, we have a book that talks about the time of the end. Now, friends, one of the days that the Bible speaks of is called The Great Day of The Lord or The Time of The End, the Great Judgment Day. There is a book that is a real classic if you've not read this it'll really encourage you and maybe even convict you a little bit. It's called The Last Night on Earth and we'll be willing to send you that for free.

Jéan Ross: All you'll have to do is give us a call on our resource line and you can ask for the book entitled The Last Night on Earth. We'll send that to anyone who calls and asks. The number for our resource line is 800-835-6747. Again, that's 800-835-6747 and ask for the free offer The Last Night on Earth. If you have a Bible question, we'd love to hear from you this evening. We have a few lines that are still open. Our phone number here to the studio is 800-463-7297. Again, 800-463-7297. This is a good time to pick up your phone and give us a call.

Well, Pastor Doug, we're going to go to our first caller this evening. We have Gilbert who is listening from New York, New York. Gilbert, welcome to the program.

Gilbert: Yes, I have a question. I have a friend and if a person commits suicide, a believer, is he disqualified from heaven if he didn't get a chance to repent?

Pastor Doug: Well, that is a difficult question. It's an important question and it's a sobering question. Of course, the Bible is pretty clear that life is precious. There's a commandment that says not to murder, and that would certainly include self-murder. There are sometimes extenuating circumstances, because only God knows really what's happening in a person's heart.

A person can be overwhelmed with discouragement in a moment and God is not going to typically judge a person for what happens in one moment if they've had a lifetime of surrender and service to him. Sometimes a person-- there can be chemical imbalances in their body that leaves them very depressed or some people are physically not well and they make a bad decision. So, we don't know. We've got to be very careful.

Typically, suicide is not something believers consider as an option because we respect life and we know how precious it is to God. Even our lives, we entrust to God that when it's our time, it's our time. The only ones that you see taking their own lives in the Bible were typically people that were in a lost condition like King Saul or Judas or Ahithophel. It is a concern, but I know some people that were believers and they got very discouraged and sometimes it was connected with some overwhelming circumstances or sickness and they made a rash decision and tried to take some pills or whatever it was.

I can still hope for their salvation, I don't think they're automatically disqualified because God looks at what's happening in the mind and the heart. Like I said, if anyone out there is contemplating suicide, you don't want to think about that as a Christian, because typically, people consider suicide hoping they're going to find some better circumstances or they're going to get rid of a problem. But what it may do is eliminate all your options and put you in a very bad circumstance. It's not the solution the devil sometimes wants us to think.

Gilbert: God knows the heart, right?

Pastor Doug: Exactly.

Gilbert: I see, okay. All right, thank you very much.

Pastor Doug: All right thank you for your call, Gilbert, appreciate it.

Jéan Ross: We have Apostle listening from Queens, New York. Apostle, welcome to the program.

Apostle: Good evening, how are you?

Pastor Doug: Doing well, and your question tonight? Thank you.

Apostle: Yes Sir, Pastor Doug, good evening. On Landmarks of Prophecy, one of the episodes you said that Lucifer went and tried to rally other unfallen worlds before coming to newly created earth. Where does that teaching come from?

Pastor Doug: Well, for our friends that are listening, Pastor Ross and I just got back from Albuquerque where we were up linking a live satellite evangelistic program that went all over the world. We had like 40 different countries tune in. One night we talked about, why is there evil? In that presentation we said, “Before Lucifer was restricted to this earth, the same thing he did with Adam and Eve, he likely did with the other unfallen worlds." Of course, there was nobody fallen, but he and his angels to begin with.

There's a parable that Jesus talks about a shepherd that has 100 sheep and one of them goes astray and he leaves the 99 good sheep safe in the fold and he goes and looks for that one lost or wandering sheep. Some scholars have speculated that that's really a parable that talks about Christ leaving the unfallen worlds and coming to this stray sheep, this planet, to redeem it. That there, of course, are unfallen angels.

So, the same temptations that came to Adam and Eve, God allowed the devil freedom to tempt the other angels. We know that because a third of them listen to him, and probably stands to reason that he, at least temporarily, gave the devil access to present his case to others.

Jéan Ross: We also read in Revelation Chapter 12,for it speaks of the devil and it symbolizes the dragon. It says, “There's a point where he's cast out of heaven and he's cast to the earth." In other words, he's restricted to the earth at the same point. Prior to that, it seems as though he did have limited access, at least to the other created beings or to angels to some degree.

We read in Job, where Lucifer appears in this council that's probably taking place in heaven, there are the representatives of the unfallen worlds there referred to as the sons of God. Lucifer shows up, or Satan shows up, and God says, "Where have you come from?” He says, "From walking up and down on the earth." At some point, at the cross where Christ dies, Satan was bound to this earth. He couldn’t lead the earth, this is the planet that we build.

Pastor Doug: You're correct that you can't make a strong argument for the Devil going and talking to other unfallen worlds, it's something that's done just by a little bit of deductive speculation about where we're at, where he came from and did God only allow him to tempt Adam and Eve or would he have been allowed, as he tempted the other angels, would he have been allowed to tempt the other unfallen worlds. So, it's a deduction that's made.

Apostle: Just like the way we know how that the universe is, we can deduce that this has to be somewhere that God created.

Pastor Doug: Yes. Well, now, the Bible does say that God made the other worlds through Jesus. Not just world, worlds. You read a couple of places in Revelation where it says, “And all the creatures in Heaven are praising God." So, there are other, evidently, unfallen worlds that still worship and praise God. We appreciate your call. If you go to the Amazing Facts website, if you type in other worlds, I did a sermon talking about, is there life on other worlds? It addresses this a little bit. I go through everything in the Bible that gives any-- everything I could find, that gives any light on this subject.

Just go to amazing facts.org and under the Media Library just search other worlds. There's a free DVD online, you can watch. I think it's even on YouTube. I appreciate your call, Apostle.

Jéan Ross: All right. We have Montgomery listening from Columbia, South Carolina. Montgomery, welcome to the program.

Montgomery: Hello, how are you doing?

Pastor Doug: Doing good, how are you?

Montgomery: I’m pretty good, thank you all for having me. My question is about Jesus Christ. I hear a lot of people, evangelists, say that Jesus Christ and God are one and the same. But I read the bible and I also hear evangelists say, "There's so many times that Jesus Christ said in so many words that he wasn’t God.” Like, "Come to Him you get to God." And when He was in the wilderness He asked God, “Why do thou forsake me?” Could you kindly explain that to me?

Pastor Doug: Yes. Now, when you say God, it sometimes confuses people, because Moses said, for instance, and this is Deuteronomy 6:4, he said, “Hear, o Israel, the Lord our God is One.” Well, he said, “One.” What does that mean? In the Hebrew thinking, one doesn't always mean numerical quantity. Jesus said, “A man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife they become one flesh.” Jesus in John 17,praying with the apostles said, "Father, I pray that they may be one," the apostles, "even as you and I are one."

Think of God as the last name in a family; you have God the Father and then you have God the Son and then you have God the Spirit. The characteristics of God is they're all powerful. You read in Genesis it says, “In the beginning, God made the heaven and the earth.” Then it tells us in the New Testament that, “Everything that was made, was made by Jesus.” If it tells us that God made things in the beginning and then the New Testament says, “All things were made by Jesus,” Jesus must be God.

The Bible says that, “Only God can forgive our sin,” and yet the Bible says, “Jesus only can forgive our sin.” Well, Jesus must be God. The Bible says, “Only God knows the thoughts of men's hearts,” but it says, “Jesus knew what people were thinking.” Well, that was because Jesus is God. Then, again, the Bible says, “There’s only one savior,” but it says, “Jesus is the only savior.” So, if it says, “God is the only savior," and it says, "Jesus is the only savior,” Well, there's no problem if Jesus is God. He's God the Son.

At the baptism of Jesus, you see God the Father is in heaven. He speaks, he says, “This is my beloved son,” and then God the Spirit is coming down. Right there in that picture you see God the Father, the Son and the spirit. All of them are everlasting. Christ is said too be from everlasting to everlasting. He says, "I’m the Alpha and the Omega, before the mountains were brought forth.” There's a lot of evidence that Jesus is God as well.

Jéan Ross: Let me say something else about that verse, Pastor, that you mentioned, Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, o Israel, the Lord thy God is one.” Something you're seeing about the word one used here in the original Hebrew. There are two separate words in Hebrew sometimes translated as one; there is the one Hebrew word which means one in the sense of numerical value, there's only one. There’s another Hebrew word that means one in purpose, or united.

For example, the verse that says, "The two shall become one,” it's that word one that's used, united in purpose. In this verse, in verse 4, it is the word for united in purpose. The Lord our God is one; united in purpose, having the same goal. It's not the word one used in a numerical sense, which is interesting.

Pastor Doug: Yes, absolutely. In Genesis God says, “Let us make man." Who is the ‘Us’? "Let us make man in our image.” It's God the Father, Son and Spirit. We have a book, Montgomery that you can read for free online, it's called The Trinity. It talks about what is revealed in the Bible about this very important subject. Just go to amazing facts.org and click on the free library, or you can request it and we'll send you a copy or anyone.

Jéan Ross: The number to call is 800-835-6747, that is the resource line, and you can ask for the book The Trinity, is it Biblical. Again, 800-835-6747. Our phone number here to the studio, if you have a Bible question, is 800-463-7297. We have Lucas who's listening right here in Sacramento. Lucas, Welcome to the program.

Lucas: Hello, Pastor Doug?

Pastor Doug: Evening, how are you doing?

Lucas: I am very good; I have a question for you. Is celebrating Christmas a sin for Christianity?

Pastor Doug: Well, first of all, anything that's not of faith is sin. So, if a person is convicted that it's wrong for them, or they think it's unbiblical, they shouldn't do it, because there's no command that you have to in the Bible. Christmas comes down from a tradition. There are certain traditions that you can observe that as long as it's not violating the biblical principle, there's nothing wrong with it. Jesus, most certainly, wasn't born the 25th of December, I think most people know that now, but that's the date that the world has chosen to remember His birth.

Remembering His birth, that's not a sin. If people start getting-- if you're a believer and you put your emphasis on the materialism and Santa Claus and Elves, well, that could be a sin, no question. That's why it's a broad question, Lucas. When you say, “Celebrating Christmas,” if people are exchanging gifts, there's nothing inherently wrong in that. If people are singing songs about the birth of Christ, there's nothing wrong with that. You know what I mean?

Lucas: Yes, I know. Thank you.

Pastor Doug: We have a book that gives a little bit of the pagan history behind Christmas, but at the same time, try and give us a practical outlook on it. It's called Baptized Paganism. You can read it for free online, or we'll send you a copy.

Jéan Ross: The number to call, again, for our resource line is 800-835-6747. The book, again, is called Baptized Paganism. We'll send it to anyone who calls and asks. We have Virginia who’s listening in Albany, New York. Virginia, welcome to the program.

Virginia: Hello.

Pastor Doug: Hi. Welcome. You're on the air, Virginia.

Virginia: Okay. I wanted to discuss people that have said that they have died and gone to heaven and saw a bright light. My brother was one of them. My brother had a present mind to record his experience. He was having a heart attack so he had a tape recorder by his side. He was looking down at his body and he experienced a bright light and felt very calm, very self-assured, and he heard a voice saying, "It's not your time, you have to go back."

Pastor Doug: Is your question, is this biblical?

Virginia: This has happened so many times. There's the book that Heaven is for Real by the little boy. There's all kinds of things that people are saying the same thing and I don't think it’s demonic. I believe that my brother experienced this.

Pastor Doug: Is your question about what happens when you die, according to the Bible?

Virginia: The people that have been dead for more once, or whenever time has lapsed, and come back are saying the same thing. That they see this bright light. That they feel that they see God.

Pastor Doug: Sorry. I'm just trying to get your question so I can answer it. Is your question what do these experiences mean?

Virginia: Do you believe that this happens?

Pastor Doug: All right. I have no question but that people have experiences. I don't doubt that at all. That people have near death experiences or out of body experiences. Some people die on the operating table, or their heart stops beating and their minds are robbed of oxygen, and they may have all kinds of visions and experiences. It is actually a fact that not all of these experiences agree. If you go to India, where the majority of people are Hindu and they have near death experiences, they don't see Jesus, they often see Krishna.

If you go into Buddhist countries, they may have an experience where they say they were at one with Buddha and about to be reincarnated. When you leave Western cultures, or even in America, people have all kinds of different experiences. I just don't think that we should base our conclusions on what happens when you die, based on someone's dream or vision, when they're on an operating table. I'm not questioning they had these experiences. I'm just saying the Bible says that the resurrection doesn't happen till Jesus comes.

When people say they went to heaven or they went to hell and they see all these things, some of these things they contradict each other.

Jéan Ross: Just the name itself, we need to-- again, we're not questioning that somebody doesn't experience this. That this is their own experience, but they refer to as near death experiences. When somebody has a near death experience, we don't refer to them as somebody who was dead and was resurrected. That would be remarkable to have somebody, actually, die all the way, be dead for a period of time and then be resurrected. It's near death, as the brain's been starved of oxygen or if sometimes God could give somebody--

Pastor Doug: A dream.

Jéan Ross: Yes, if they've been looking forward to something or peace filling their heart. Again, we want to go with what the Bible says and make our conclusions based on that.

Pastor Doug: We actually have a book that would be happy to share with you, Virginia. We just wrote it and it's called Final Mystery, The Truth About Death Revealed. I think it's The Truth About Death Revealed. If you'd like a copy of that book, you're going to probably not see it at the Free Library, but you give us a call. I bet we can send you one of those called Final Mystery. It just goes through all the scriptures. When people say that they died and they went to heaven and they're talking to dead people up there, the Bible actually forbids us from doing that.

That's called necromancy, trying to communicate with the dead and we're not supposed to do that. Anyway, the Lord may give your brother or somebody a dream to encourage them or to have a personal message for them, but that doesn't mean that they went to heaven, or in the case of some people, going to hell or wherever it is. What does the Bible say happens? That's what we want to go by. Nobody in the Bible, there are about a dozen resurrections in the Bible, Virginia, not one of those people who was resurrected in the Bible ever makes a comment on any conscious state in death.

These are people who are really dead and then they were raised from the dead by either Jesus or Elijah or the Apostles. They never said, "Oh, I was in heaven," or, "I was down in Hades," or, "I had this experience," or, "I saw this person." None of them made any comment, which tells us that what Jesus said about death is true; that the living know they'll die but the dead don't know anything. Christ said, "It's called sleep." It's like a dreamless sleep. When do the dead rise? We believe the dead do rise. We believe that they go to heaven. It's after the judgment.

Once again, you or anyone else if you want that book, Final Mystery, just call the resource number.

Jéan Ross: The number to call is 800-835-6747. You can ask for the book called Final Mystery. You could also probably, maybe not at the moment, but it should be up at our Free Library, hopefully soon.

Pastor Doug: Few months.

Jéan Ross: You can read it there. Our next call is Clint and he's listening from Arizona. Clint, we have about two minutes before the break.

Clint: Okay. My question is, I have a hard time, I'm a control freak, so I have a hard time when something isn’t going right in my life, giving it to God and not taking it back. It's really easy for me to give it to Him and say I'm going to give it to Him and hand it over and let Him handle it on His time. I have a hard time not taking it back and trying to control the outcome. I'm just looking for some typical advice.

Pastor Doug: You want to you know how do you do this?

Clint: Yes.

Pastor Doug: Well, join the club. I bet you, Pastor Ross and I would probably also say that we-- a lot of men, we want to try and improve our lives, we want to try and help our families, we want to solve problems. When we're faced with problems and that's not just men, there’s women, everybody, when we're facing problems, we immediately begin to fret and saying, "How do I solve this problem?" First thing is to just remember, cast your cares upon God because He cares for you. Jesus said, “Take my yoke on you and you'll learn from me.” He doesn't say that we don't bear any of the burden. He says we bear it together and He makes it easier for us.

You have to continue to practice casting your cares upon God, giving it to Him, praying while you try to resolve problems and take care of your life. This is normal. Just giving it to God, trusting to Him and growing in your faith. You're listening to Bible Answers Live.

Jéan Ross: Pastor Doug, you mentioned a little earlier, we just got back from Albuquerque, New Mexico. We went through a whole Bible prophecies series. I forget 20 parts, 21 sit parts?

Pastor Doug: 21 presentations, plus all the questions and answers.

Jéan Ross: That's right. All of those programs are archived at a website called Landmarks of Prophecy and people can go take a look at the programs. There's also resources that will help them in their Bible study.

Pastor Doug: Absolutely. If you want to see what just happened in New Mexico. We've heard a lot of people say that they just had a renewal of their faith. Some people have come to-- many, come to Christ and been baptized from watching these programs. Talk about everything from Bible prophecy to the principles of salvation. If God is good why is there a devil? What will heaven be like? Talk about Armageddon and the mark of the beast and angels and all kinds of interesting Bible subjects.

Go to landmarksofprophecy.com, landmarksofprophecy.com, and you'll find it. Just wonderful study series there with the corresponding lessons. We're just going to have a break for a few minutes and we'll come back with your Bible questions. Lines are open, give us a call.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Doug: Just like we promised, we're back, ready for more Bible questions. Again, if you have a Bible question you can give us a call. This is Bible Answers Live, we’re live and we'll do our best to answer your questions from the Bible and at number 800-GODSAYS, 800-463-7297. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Jéan Ross: My name is Jéan Ross. Pastor, we got some exciting news to share with the listeners, especially those who are listening in Jamaica. The last weekend of January, January 31, you’re going to be doing a special rally weekend; Friday evening and then all day, going to be doing a program in the morning on Saturday and Saturday evening. It’s going to be in Kingston, Jamaica. We’ll give some additional details and have more information on the website as we get closer, but we thought we’d just mentioned that to our friends.

Pastor Doug: About half of the Jamaican people don't live in Jamaica; they're scattered around the world and they might want to know. We've been on TV in Jamaica for 20 years now, but this is going to be the first official trip where we're going to be preaching in the larger city there on what they call the rock, and renting, I think, one of the largest auditoriums in the nation. Just might want to tell your friends, "Come along with us. Take a vacation and come to the meetings." [laughs] Going to be in Jamaica in the-- what is it? 31st--

Jéan Ross: It's going to be the weekend of the 31st of January.

Pastor Doug: We're looking forward to that. It's going to, I'm sure, be an exuberant meeting. All right, we ready for some more phone calls?

Jéan Ross: Yes, we have Chris who's listening from Pennsylvania. Chris, welcome to the program.

Chris: How are you doing? First time caller, first time listener. I heard you comment on-- when they said that John don't write about--

Pastor Doug: Yes, the seven thunders.

Chris: Seven thunders, I'd just like to see what you think about this. I compare it to when there was Elisha, and then he was trembling because there was the army coming before him, and then Elisha said, asked God that he can open his servant eyes. The servant eyes opened and he'd seen the armies of God and stuff like that. Then at the time when Christ was resurrected, he was always there, but then they opened their eyes to see him, who he was, when he had disappeared. There's other emphasis in the Bible.

What I'm trying to get to is that the spirit world is always there and the only difference is that we probably can't see it. According to like the seven thunders, just to see what you think of it, probably after those things are uttered, it's like the veil that is before us-- how can I say it? Will be removed and how does the scripture say in that? We will no longer need to seek or ask knowledge. That we will be like the waters and stuff like that. Probably at that point, we will see everything.

Pastor Doug: We'll understand. Yes, see it all clearly. Well, I think you're on the right track. I agree with what you said about the spirit world. We're glad you called in, first time caller, Chris. Then there's that prophecy in Daniel, Pastor Ross might remember the verse where Daniel says that certain things were sealed and some things are opened. God is going to reveal some things in the last days what's that?

Jéan Ross: Daniel 12:4, and then it’s mentioned again in verse 9.

Pastor Doug: There are certain mysteries that God seems to prophesy will be revealed in the last days. I think that's the only reason that God would have said that to John. Why even mention something here but you can't write it right now, but it's as though it will be understood later in the future? So, yes, we appreciate your calling in, Chris. By the way, we will be happy to send you that offer that we're making available tonight. It's free, no strings attached, called The Last Night on Earth.

Jéan Ross: The number to call for that is 800-835-6747. You can just ask for the book called The Last Night on Earth. We have Tahim listening from Brooklyn, New York. Tahim, Welcome to the program.

Tahim: How are you doing? Thank you. God bless, my question is concerning Revelation 21:14, where it describes the city walls which stood on twelve foundations of stone. It mentioned that the 12 apostles’ names were ascribed in them. I wanted to know, is Judas among the 12?

Pastor Doug: Probably not. That would be awful, to have his name immortalized. After Judas died, they cast lots. Just before the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts chapter 1, Peter says, “We need to get someone to replace Judas.” So they picked some of the Apostles that had-- or disciples, I should say, that had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry. They cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias. Interesting thing is you never hear about him again other than his name being mentioned. There's no book by him, there's no reference to him.

But you can read a little further and it seems like God picked another apostle named Paul who was dramatically converted that wrote half the New Testament. I think instead of Judas, you're more likely to see the name of Paul written in that place. That makes sense?

Tahim: Yes, somewhat.

Pastor Doug: Do you think Judas' name is going to be there?

Tahim: Yes-- I don't know. I considered because he had a specific purpose to do; that was his destiny.

Pastor Doug: Even before Jesus died, he knew that Judas had problems because he said, “Have I not chosen the 12 of you and one of you is a devil?” You wonder, would Christ want to put the name of someone he calls a devil inscribed in the walls of the New Jerusalem? That's why I think it's going to be replaced with someone like Paul or Apollos or one of the other apostles.

We just finished doing a study on James, not James the brother of John. James the brother of Jesus became an apostle early in the New Testament and he was really chairman of the board of the bishop of the Church of Jerusalem and he was Christ older brother. He may even be his name in there. When the disciples James and John said, “We want to sit on your right hand and your left,” Jesus said, “That's really for my father to give.” So, it'll be interesting to get there and find out whose name is in the place of Judas name. I appreciate that good question, Tahim. You have a good evening. Thank you for your call.

Jéan Ross: We have Bill who’s listening from Waynesville North Carolina. Bill, you're on Bible Answers Live.

Bill: Hello.

Pastor Doug: Evening, your question.

Bill: Good evening, 1 John 4:2, " Spirit of God; Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. What I'm wondering is, the spirit, is it in human form or spirit form?

Pastor Doug: Well, when John is talking about a spirit there, he talks about that-- people have the Holy Spirit and then there's those who have the other spirit ,and so he's talking about when people come with a message. If they're saying that, “Oh, I've got the spirit,” but they're questioning the divinity of Christ or the incarnation of Christ, he said, you know right away that that's not a message of a person-- they got the wrong spirit. That's if they're not confessing that they believe in the literal incarnation of God in Christ.

Now, a common mistake that people make is they read here where John says, "Any spirit that confesses that Jesus has come in the flesh is of God." There have been a lot of false prophets out there that'll come along and they'll say, “Oh, yes, I believe Jesus came in the flesh. See, I must be from God.” Well, the word confess of there doesn't mean that you just say it once with your mouth.

In the Hebrew mind, to confess something means to proclaim it with your life. So, it's not just a verbal confession and all of a sudden you're automatically genuine. All you got to do is say, "Oh, yes, I believe Jesus came in the flesh," and that means that person has got to be authentic. Anybody can do that, the devil can pretend to do that.

Bill: Satan correct?

Pastor Doug: What's that now?

Bill: Satan and his

Pastor Doug: Yes, exactly. The devil and his angels. Satan can be transformed into an angel of light. I think that's 2 Corinthians 11.

Bill: He could also confess that Jesus Christ came in fresh.

Jéan Ross: Yes, no question that there have been many false prophets and preachers out there that will say, “Oh, yes, Jesus came in the flesh,” but they're not confessing it with their life; they're doing it briefly with their mouths verbally. John is talking about the really demonstrating it, not just saying it. Hey, I appreciate your call, Bill. We do have a study guide that talks about some of the deceiving spirits that are out there. We've got that study guide called, Did God Make a Devil? And talks about some of Satan's ways that he deceives people. We’ll send you a free copy.

Jéan Ross: The number to call is 800-835-6747, that is the resource line. Again, you can ask for the free offer and it’s dealing with, Did God Create a Devil? We’ll send it to anyone who calls and asks, 800-835-6747. Robert, listening from Vail, Colorado. Robert, welcome to the program.

Robert: Hey, thanks for taking my call, you guys, appreciate it.

Pastor Doug: Absolutely, thanks for calling.

Robert: Hey, a question about Gideon. Somewhere it says in the bible that we should not tempt God, for God can't be tempted. Why did Gideon get away with it when he said to God, "Hey, I'll just roll the fleece out and I want it to be wet in the morning and the grass dry. And then the next day, he want the fleece to be wet and the grass dry." Or vice versa. Why did he get to tempt God?

Pastor Doug: Well, tempting the lord is different than asking for a fleece. Gideon, first of all, God called him and told him, "I want you to lead the armies of Israel against the Midianites." He's getting ready to lead men to a point where they could die. Gideon, I don't think he cared so much about what would happen to him, but I think that he didn't trust himself and he thought, "I want to make sure that I'm not imagining that I saw this angel and I'm imagining what God's telling me to do. Because I'm getting ready to lead all these men into battle and I don't want their blood on my hands."

I think he just took a very humble approach and said, "Lord, please confirm. Give me reinforcement that this is what you're asking me to do."

Jéan Ross: Also, Gideon was to lead all of these men and they were probably going to ask,"Well, are you sure this is God telling you to lead us into battle?" And he's going to be able to say, "Well, yes, let me tell you what happened." He can give the account of how God clearly said, "You're the one that I've chosen."

Pastor Doug: Yes. Well, he had four things; one was, the angel appeared to him. The other was the fleece being wet and the ground dry, then the fleece being dry and the ground wet. Then he was told to go down and to listen to the Midianite soldiers that said they had a dream. He's on the edge of the camp and overhears, he's being translated through a servant, and the servant says, "They're telling each other a dream at the campfire that a loaf of bread rolled into the camp and knocked over the tent, and is-- one of the soldiers said, 'oh this is the hand of Gideon. He's going to destroy us'."

That was like confirmation also for him. God gave him a lot of this circumstantial and divine evidence because they were getting ready to go 300 men against like 800,000. That's like spartan army [laughs].

Robert: Is it a sign of lack of faith when Jesus also at the New Testament says, "It's faith that you're saved. It is faith--"

Pastor Doug: Yes, blessed are those who believe without seeing.

Robert: Right. So it shows-- to me, I struggle with this because it shows, to me, that Gideon has no faith. So, why would God choose a man that has very little faith? Even though I have little faith, but I do my best.

Pastor Doug: Well, now, I would respectfully disagree. I think Gideon did have faith, because when you read in Hebrews 11, Gideon is mentioned among the heroes of faith. Even those little tokens that God gave Gideon, it took an awful lot of faith to go charging down into the Midianite army with 299 other guys what do you get, trumpets and pitchers [laughs]. So, he did have a lot of faith, I think, and he just needed some encouragement. We all have measures of faith. You're right, Gideon had some doubts, and that doesn't mean he did not believe.

It's like that man came to Jesus and he said, "Lord I believe, but help my unbelief. I believe, and that's why I brought my son to you for healing, but I still struggle with doubts." And Jesus healed his son. Jesus loves it when he runs into faith like that centurion who said, "You can heal my son without even going to my house. Just speak the word." Jesus said, "Wow, I haven't seen faith like that in all of Israel." So, there are varying degrees of faith and I do believe Gideon had faith. But you're right, he did have some doubts too. I appreciate your call, Robert. Glad you're tuning in. Don't get too many calls from Vail, Colorado.

Jéan Ross: We have Kenny listening from Paradise, California. Kenny, welcome to the program.

Pastor Doug: Can we hear you? Kenny, Lenny-- there we go.

Jéan Ross: Kenny, welcome to the program. You're on the air.

Pastor Doug: We got you know.

Kenny: Yes, this question concerns Joseph, how he's been a real sensitive tender hearted person as far as I'm concerned. A lot of things of his story makes me almost weep because of the situation that he was such a perfect person. But I always wonder, why didn't he contact his dad when he was several years in Egypt and it seemed like to me he could have contacted his dad?

Pastor Doug: Yeah. He was separated from his father for--

[crosstalk]

Kenny: -- released some of the stress of his father.

Pastor Doug: Yes, that is a good question. I thought--

Kenny: Thank you.

[crosstalk]

Pastor Doug: I thought that myself many times. I just got done doing the series where I talked about Joseph.

Kenny: I love him. That boy he's just-- what a great person that-- anyway that's-

Pastor Doug: Tremendous faith and forgiveness.

Jéan Ross: Possibly, one of the reasons could be he did have the assurance from when he had those dreams prior to him being sold into slavery. Part of the dream had to do with the sun and the moon and the stars bowing down. He knew that ultimately, that dream would be fulfilled. Patiently, he waited for God to fulfill his promise in his time, which is rather remarkable. I'm sure Joseph would have loved to have seen his father, but it's as if he almost waited saying, "Lord, I know you're going to do this. I'm going to wait for you to unfold your plan the way you want to do it."

Of course, we know how God eventually did that by sending the famine and his brothers and so on. I think it's a testimony of his patience in waiting for God to work things out in his own way.

Pastor Doug: I think that when he considered what his brothers had done to him, I think he was afraid. They were grasping for their father's firstborn right, that's why they wanted to get rid of Joseph. Their father was going to leave, Jacob was going to leave everything to Joseph. He may have even feared what might happen to his younger brother or what might happen to his father if he basically revealed what they had done. Because by telling his father he's alive, he's going to say, "Egypt? How did you get to Egypt?" "Well, here's the rest of the story; your other sons sold me as a slave."

I think he struggled with some other issues. Because the first thing Josephs asks when he runs into his brothers is, "How is your younger brother? Is my father alive?" He was very concerned about them, because they were pretty evil men when they first sold him. They were going to kill him. Yes, I appreciate your call, Kenny. He's one of my favorite characters. By the way, Pastor Doug wrote a book called Shadows of Light, Seeing Jesus in All The Bible. I've got a whole section on Joseph and how he's a great type of Christ. They carry that at the Amazing Facts Book Store. Just go to amazingfacts.org.

Jéan Ross: Our next caller is Helen, she's listening from Fayetteville, Ohio. Helen, welcome to the program.

Pastor Doug: Helen, you're on the air. Bible Answers Live, listening on radio 74. Are you there? Helen may have her phone muted. Helen, are you there? Sometimes, while folks are waiting for the call, they put the mute button on.

Jéan Ross: All right, well, maybe we can come back. We have O'Ryan listening from Albuquerque, New Mexico. O'Ryan welcome to the program.

O'Ryan: Hi, good evening, gentlemen. Can you hear me all right?

Pastor Doug: Loud and clear. Yes, sir. How are we doing?

O'Ryan: I'm just doing fine thank you.

Pastor Doug: Your question?

O'Ryan: I just have a question about social media, sir. I just want to know what the bible have to say about social media. Now, let's say Jesus Christ is here on earth right now, how would he handle social media? For example, I have a Facebook. I joined Facebook to post about things that will benefit human lives. Like for example, to share Christ to them. At the same time, I'm so careful about accepting friends, because I don't want to be influenced by their worldly things. How would you balance that thing? When Jesus Christ was here on earth, He ignored those scribes and Pharisees and he didn't mingle with those worldly people.

Pastor Doug: All right, well, let me take a crack at that. Now, you obviously know, O'Ryan, that you're not going to find a verse in the bible that talks about Instant Messaging or Facebook or anything in particular, but there's principles there. The principles are that whatever you do, it should be holy, good, just, pure. You do have to be very careful with social media. I have a Facebook page where I communicate with our friends around the world.

I only post there a couple of times a week, because you just can't get absorbed-- I personally don't have time to delve into all the nuances of everybody's life [laughs]. It's not practical because it connects you around the world. But you do want to be able to connect and talk to people periodically. But there's also a lot of ads and things that are sometimes unsavory. So, you just got to pray that God will give you the Holy Spirit and a filter, so you can avoid some of that stuff as as much as possible and behold that which is good and noble and lovely.

I have had great opportunities with social media to communicate scriptures and prophesies and things with people around the world. So, you apply the principle overcome evil with good. Try and bring some good out of it. Radio can be used like this, to study the Bible, and radio can be used with just awful talk radio and awful music. Television can be good Christian programming, and it can be also the worst of the worst. So, these are mediums of communication, and I think Christians just need to use them as far as possible for good purposes. I hope that helps a little bit. Does that answer your question, O'ryan?

O'Ryan: Kind of, but I just wanted to ask, do you have to unfriend those people that are worldly? Do you have to distance yourself from them? Do you have to cut them off?

Pastor Doug: Well, if you think -- the question would be, is if you've got friends that are influencing you in the wrong direction, you're better off plucking out your eye and cutting off a hand and unliking a friend. If you're able to influence them in a positive way, gently and diplomatically try and encourage them for Christ, well, then, it's an evangelistic opportunity. Jesus did have friends that were not believers. He made friends with publicans and sinners to try to influence them for good. But you don't want to walk in their ways and you want to make sure they're not dragging you down. So you'll have to answer that question.

We do appreciate your calling in, we're going to try and get a few more questions while the program lasts.

Jéan Ross: We're going to see if we can go back to Helen listening in Fayetteville, Ohio. Helen, welcome to the program.

Helen: Thank you, my question is about cremation. I heard a program that talks about that the pagans years back, would burn people and then spread them out all over the place. I was wondering about these days and having people cremated, if they will still be able to get to heaven.

Pastor Doug: Well, the first part of that question, or maybe second part of that question, I would like to answer first, very simply; Can the Lord resurrect people who are cremated? That would be a resounding yes, of course, He can. Because when you die and you're buried, Bible says, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." You know that after a thousand years, someone that's dead in the ground, their body's pretty much turned back into the elements of earth, with the exception of a few stubborn teeth and bones that may exist.

When the Lord comes to resurrect us, He's not reassembling all the molecules of the old body and so for persons cremated and scattered around the world, God's going to throw His hands in the air and say, "This is too hard, I can't do it." So, of course, the Lord can do anything and He's going to make new bodies for us. He can speak us into existence. That said, in other words, people who are cremated, folks who've died at sea, soldiers who've been blown apart, that's not going to prevent someone from being resurrected, but the majority of people who died in the Bible, they are buried.

That's because the human body is made in the image of God, and out of respect for that, it's placed tenderly in a grave, it's dealt with in a respectful way, and the Lord is going to raise those people up out of their graves. When Jesus died, He was buried and the angel came to the spot where He was buried and raised Him from that spot. That's how it's going to happen with most of God's dead.

But that's not any condemnation on somebody who might be cremated. Thank you very much, Helen. We're going to maybe squeeze in another half a call, if we can do such a thing.

Jéan Ross: We have Phil who is listening from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil we have about two minutes, a little less.

Phil: Thank you, I'll make it real quick. My question is this; earlier in the program, you called James the older brother of Jesus, and my question is this; if Mary was a virgin, how could Jesus have an older brother?

Pastor Doug: Yes, they're actually half brothers. Most scholars agree that the James and Judas and Joseph, there were four brothers of Jesus, they were probably half brothers from Joseph's prior wife that may have died. I'm sure she died because he wouldn't have married Mary. There are several reasons for that; Jesus on the cross he commits his mother to the care of the apostle John. Well, if she's got natural children, why aren't they taking care of her? There's a number of reasons we think that they were probably half brothers of Jesus from a former family Joseph had. I know that kind of seems strange for folks.

Hey, listening friends, I knew that music was coming, but before you change the dial, are you still with me? It's coming around that time of year when people are giving special gifts to Christian ministries. If you're pondering doing such a thing, please remember Amazing Facts. This program is entirely supported by people like you who want to get the truth out. We appreciate it. Just go to amazingfacts.org, you can donate online. God bless, we look forward to studying His word together next week.

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