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Second Coming Not Secret

Scripture: Matthew 25:46, Matthew 8:27, Zechariah 14:1-4
Date: 11/01/2015 
Did you know that the ocean is a very noisy place? I'm not talking about the sound of waves crashing into the rocks, I'm talking about under the surface of the water. You can dive down into the sea and not hear these sounds, this is because a small plug of air in your outer ear blocks them out. But upon loading a hydrophone that is an underwater microphone into the ocean, you discover that the ocean is actually full of sound.
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Speaker 1: Hello friends, how about an amazing fact. Did you know that the ocean is a very noisy place? I'm not talking about the sound of waves crashing into the rocks, I'm talking about under the surface of the water. You can dive down into the sea and not hear these sounds, this is because a small plug of air in your outer ear blocks them out. But upon loading a hydrophone that is an underwater microphone into the ocean, you discover that the ocean is actually full of sound.

Triggerfish grind their teeth together, seahorses rub their heads against the back of their spines and pistol shrimp dislocate their claws and the resulting noise sounds like gunshots.But the greatest noisemakers in the ocean is of course whales. The humpback whales song consists of vast roars and groans interspersed with sighs, chirps and squawks. That description may not sound very exciting but their songs are interesting to listen to and they're gone for quite some time.

Each song can last 10 minutes or more. Once completed the whale will repeat it again and again for hours. Each year the songs change somewhat, as whales experiment with changes in tunes. The largest creature in the world is the blue whale. Some have been measured at a hundred feet in length. It has the largest lungs and vocal cords in the world as well and makes the most noise. Blasts of 188 decibels have been reported. The blue whale can be louder than a jet engine which reaches 140 decibels.

This extraordinary loud whistle can be heard for hundreds of miles underwater. Theoretical calculations have predicted that the loudest whale sounds might be transmitted across an entire ocean. Now the loudest animal on land is the howler monkey, whose calls can travel over three miles in dense forest, but did you know friends that the Bible predicts that one day, there'll be a great noise that'll be heard around the world? Well, stay tuned for more. You are listening to Bible Answers Live.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Ross: Hello friends, this is Pastor Sean Ross. Pastor Doug Batchelor is away this evening but this is Bible Answers Live and yes we are live ready to take your bible questions on the air. If you have a Bible question this is a good time to pick up your phone and give us a call. We have some lines that are open the number to call is 800-463-7297 again that number is 800-463-7297 or 800-God-says 8004637297.

We open the program by talking about the noise that you can find actually in the ocean. All of the animals are making different sounds for different reasons and even on land especially in the forest or in the jungle. The air is just filled with noises from all of these different creatures. But the Bible tells us, something very loud is going to happen associated with the second coming of Jesus.

Let me read you a verse, 2nd Peter 3:10 says, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away," and here it is, "With a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up." Here's another verse 1st Thessalonians 4:16 it says, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

You see the Bible describes the second coming of Jesus has been a cataclysmic event and not only is Christ coming and be literal and visible, but it's also going to be very loud audible. We will hear the sound of the trumpet.We will hear that shout. Says, "The earth will pass away with a great noise." Friends, if you'd like to learn more about the second coming of Jesus what does the Bible say, with reference to the manner of Christ's coming.

We have a book written by Pastor Doug Batchelor that we'd like to sing to you for free, all you'll have to do is just give us a call on our resource line and ask for the book called Anything but secret. The number to call for our resource line is 883-567-47 and you can ask for our free offer this evening, a book written by Pastor Doug Batchelor called Anything but secret.

If you have a Bible question, our phone line here to the studio is 8004637297. But before we go to the phone lines I want to invite you just to join me for a word of Prayer. “Dear father, we going to be opening up your word. We recognise that the Bible is your word indeed, and in order for us to correctly understand it, we need the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts and our minds. We ask a special blessing on those who are listening wherever they might be and lead us Lord into a clearer and full understanding of truth. For we ask this in Jesus name, Amen.”

Well, friends, we're ready to go to the phone lines and our first caller this evening calling from the wettest city in the US, Hilo Hawaii. Seth, welcome to the program.

Seth: Hi.

Pastor Ross: Hi, thanks for holding and your question this evening?

Seth: My question is Matthew 8:22.

Pastor Ross: Okay let me read it for our friends out there and then you can ask the question, it says, "But Jesus said unto him, follow me and let the dead bury the dead." Is that the verse?

Seth: Yes, that's the verse.

Pastor Ross: Okay and your question is, what does that mean right?

Seth: Yes I mean, what did it just mean by saying let the dead bury the dead?

Pastor Ross: Okay good question. Well if you begin in verse 21 you get a little bit of the context of what led up to Jesus saying that. Verse 21 says, "Then another of these disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." So the context is, here is a follower of Jesus, Jesus calls that person to follow him and he says, "Well Lord I will but I need to first go bury my father."

Now the context here seems to indicate that the father wasn't dead at the time, but he was maybe old or maybe he was ill and the thinking was, "I'll follow you, Lord later on, I am not quite ready to follow you now." Possibly with the death of the father, maybe there was an inheritance involved.

So the thinking was, well let me wait for my father to die and I get the inheritance and I'm in a better financial position, and then I will follow you. And you know Jesus makes the point and he says, "Now is the day of salvation when Jesus calls us to follow him, we don't want to postpone for tomorrow." Now when he says, "Let the dead bury the dead," he's talking in a symbolic sense.

The Bible speaks of those who have not received Christ as being dead in trespasses and sins. You can actually read that in Ephesians 2:1 also Colossians 2:13. So to be spiritually dead means that you haven't received Christ. And Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead. Let those who aren't concerned about following me, let them take care of that but I'm calling you, I'm asking you to follow me," and that same call I think is something that Jesus calls all of us. And we won't respond to that call.

Seth: All right.Thank you very much.

Pastor Ross: All right, thanks for your call Seth. We appreciate it, if you have a Bible related question, phone lines are open. The number to call is 800-463-7297 again that's 800-463-7297 to get your Bible question on Bible Answers Live. The next call is Christopher and he's listening from New York. Christopher welcome to the program.

Christopher: Welcome.

Pastor Ross: Thanks for calling and your question tonight?

Christopher: Yes, I'm calling about Matthew 25:46.

Pastor Ross: All right Mathew 25:46 let me read it and says, "These will go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous into eternal life."

Christopher: Right. According to your teaching, I believe that everlasting punishment is a nulliation. But in that verse everlasting and eternal to sing we were any oath. So there's the heaven and there's a hell, and I believe that both eternal. How do you explain that nulliation?

Pastor Ross: Okay well good question. Finish the verse for me, Jesus said, "The wages of sin is what? The wages of sin is death," right?

Christopher: That's eternal death.

Pastor Ross: All right eternal death. So the punishment for the wicked is death. The death they experience is eternal. There is no hope of a resurrection. In other words, there's no second chance. Notice the word in verse 46, "These will go away into everlasting punishment," not everlasting punishing. So the punishment of the wicked, the wages of sin is death. That punishment which is death is everlasting meaning there's no hope of a resurrection.

For the righteous, there is a hope of the resurrection. The Bible speaks about Jesus coming again and the dead in Christ will rise first and then those who are alive will be caught up to meet him in the air. I agree with this verse, absolutely, the punishment of the wicked which is eternal death is everlasting. There is no hope of a resurrection.

Christopher: They’re not going to be raised from the dead?

Pastor Ross: No, there’s no hope for the wicked. When they finally get destroyed in the lake of fire that you read about at the end of Revelation chapter 20 that punishment that they receive which is death, lasts forever. There is no hope of a resurrection. There are several resurrections that's spoken of in the Bible. You've got the first resurrection, which happens when Jesus comes the second time and the righteous are resurrected.

Then there is the second resurrection, that's when the wicked are resurrected at the end of the one thousand years that you read about in Revelation chapter 20. They are resurrected for the final judgment. At the conclusion of that judgment, the wicked mount their attack upon the New Jerusalem, fire comes and devours them or destroys them, that is the second death. There is no hope of resurrection for those who suffer the second death. That's the end for them.

Christopher: Eternal, that word eternal, everlasting it has two different meanings?

Pastor Ross: Not the same thing. Everlasting or eternal means the punishment for the wicked which is death is forever. It's not that they burning forever, because if somebody is burning forever they not dead. To be dead means you don't know anything, you cease to be. You no longer exist.

For the wicked, their punishment is eternal death. It's the opposite of what the righteous receive. The righteous receive everlasting life. The righteous have eternal life, the wicked have eternal death, meaning there's no hope of a resurrection. Forever, their life is over, there is no more sin in the world, in the universe. It's the end. Does that make sense?

Christopher: I know that when the body dies, the body doesn't know anything but the soul lives on forever.

Pastor Ross: It's interesting. There is no verse in the Bible that says the soul is immortal. Matter of fact the Bible tells the soul-

Christopher: The soul is created by God.

Jean: Well, God gives us the spirit which is breathe, which is life. The Bible says the soul that sins it shall die. The soul represents the person, the being, the totality of who we are. At death, the breath of life returns to God and at the resurrection that breathe of life returns back to the body, a new body and people are resurrected.

The result of the wicked their punishment is eternal death. There is no hope of a resurrection for them. We do have a study guide that deals with this. It's a big subject and it goes into all of these different Bible verses. I think you'd really enjoy it, Christopher.

If you just give us a call on our resource line and ask for it, it's called Are the dead really dead? That's what the title of the lesson is Are the dead really dead? Give us a call on the resource line its 800-835-6747 and you can ask for that study guide called Are the dead really dead? 800-835-6747 that is the resource line by the way you can also read that for free online at the amazing facts website, just amazingfacts.org.

Thank you for your call, Christopher. Our next caller is a David listening in Sacramento, California. David, welcome to Bible Answers Live.

David: Hello.

Pastor Ross: Hi.

David: My question is about Satan. Does Satan know that he will lose everything through being burned up in Hellfire at the very end his time? In other words, does he know that his cause is nothing but lost?

Pastor Ross: I think he does. The Bible says he's going around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He knows he has lost the battle, that was proved to the universe on the cross when Jesus died and then he rose again, Satan realized that the end has come. I'm just speculating here, it seems to me that the devil is in such a state of rebellion against God.

I think sin does this to a person or selfishness to the point where he knows he's doomed and he's going to try and pull down or tear down as many people as he possibly can. He's going around seeking who he can get to join his rebellion against God. He's going to try and take as many people down as he can.

David: May you and me not be one of those lost people.

Pastor Ross: Absolutely, and praise God we don't have to be.

David: Right.

Pastor Ross: He has provided a way of salvation and it's for everyone. Everyone can receive that gift of salvation. Well David, thank you for your call. We do have a study guide called Did God create a devil, kind of talks about the origin of Satan and how this rebellion began in heaven and spread to the earth.

It also tells us what we can do in order to be saved. That's really the important question. We know the devil is out there. We can see pain and sorrow and suffering and war in the world today. God has a plan. He has a plan of redemption and it's for anyone who will reach out to him by faith and receive the gift of salvation.

Call for that study guide called Did God Create a Devil? We'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. Again, the number, our resource line is 800-835-6747, 800-835-6747 ask for the study guide Did God Create a Devil? I'll be happy to send that to you. If you have a Bible question, our phone line here to the studio this evening is 800-463-7297, 800-463-7297 with your Bible question. Our next caller is Sean listening from Tennessee. Sean, welcome to the program.

Sean: Yes, thank you for taking my call. My question is about discernment. I'm quoting Charles Spurgeon saying that, “Discernment is not so much the knowledge of knowing between right and wrong but knowing between right and almost right”. My question is that getting down to the disposition of sin and the identity of Jesus Christ and who he really is and what he represents.

The verse in the 25th chapter of Matthew that seems to be a little bit contradictory about how Christ separates the sheep from the goats., although I feel that the disposition of people who embrace universalism is diametrically opposed to the gospel in that that's the reason that Paul would always preach the cross first versus any kind of philosophy.

How do we differentiate the people, the Wayne Dyers, the Gandhi’s and the people who seem to be on the side of serving the other people, being there for the people who are in prison, being there for the sick, being the so-called good Samaritans from the people who know and love the truth of the gospel that they will not be deceived by a form of godliness that's not based on redemptive theology?

Pastor Ross: Great question. There's a lot of folks in the world that do good things, many of which might not even claim to believe in God. They might be atheists, but they recognize that in being kind to others, it results in a happier life. There is a blessing in being of service. There's different reasons why people do good things.

The Pharisees back in the time of Christ, they did a lot of good things but their motives were wrong. They were self-centered in the purpose for why they did that, they wanted to draw attention to themselves. If we live an unselfish life or whatever the motivation and we try to serve our fellow man, our lives here on this earth will be better.

Ultimately, what's required to have everlasting life is receiving Jesus, without him, we can't do anything. The Bible says, “Our righteousness is as filthy rags.” All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. God knows the heart of every person and we are judged according to what we know. There might be those who have never had an opportunity or the privilege of hearing the truths of the gospel in the way that we have, living in a Christian environment.

The Holy Spirit has spoken to their heart and that they are living up to all of the truth or all of the light that they might have. God knows that and He will judge each person based upon their understanding and the opportunity that they had to receive truth. Without Jesus, there is no hope of salvation. We're all saved through the sacrifice of Christ.

You can't work your way into heaven. Any kind of good works that a Christian might have or any individual might have it needs to be the outflowing of gratitude towards God. When we understand what God has done for us and his great love for us, the kindness and the goodness we do to somebody else it's not for us to earn merit with God but rather it's the outflowing of gratitude for what God has already done for us.

Sean: Yes, and I see a lot of people who are not specifically of the face of redemptive theology but I sense that there out-flowing is for their fellow man and it's hard for me to discern whether or not they're scattering the gospel even in their good works because they're coming from a disposition of godliness. Whether that is more important to God and the identity of Jesus Christ as being selective and separate.

In other words that God comes to us from the outside in. He's not inherent in us and a lot of these new ages believe that God is just inherent.I'm looking for a way to witness to these people that the identity of God is a separate thing from us. It's not an inherent belief.

Pastor Ross: Absolutely. And that's key.

Sean: And it's a hard thing.

Pastor Ross: It's a hard thing to help people understand that. That is a key for salvation. We need to recognize that we need help outside of ourselves. The good news is when somebody comes to realization that salvation is a gift and it comes through Christ and we receive that gift by faith. There is such a burden lifted. Even those who might believe in this new age type philosophy, there is still a tinge of guilt and perhaps some effort that they have to put in to make their lives better.

But when we understand God's gift and His mercy and His grace and his love it is such a peace and a joy that fills the heart. That's the good news of salvation and that's what we need to share with the world. We do have a book talking about this called Three steps to heaven that helps people come to a clear understanding of the great gift of salvation, more importantly how we can receive that gift of salvation.

Sean, if you haven't had a chance to read that book I'd encourage you to call and ask for we'll be happy to send it to you. You can read it for free online at the amazing facts website. Just amazingfacts.org. Three steps to heaven. The number to call is 800-835-6747, that is the resource line. You can ask for the book called Three stepsto heaven. Just a great clear Bible study of what we have to do in order to be saved. Very important. 800-835-6747 ask for the book, Three steps to Heaven.

If you have your Bible question, you'd like to get in on the conversation this evening, the number here to the studio is 800-463-7297. Our next caller is David listening from New Jersey. David, welcome to the program.

David: Yes, how you doing?

Pastor Ross: Doing well and yourself?

David: I wanted to know what place does hominoids have in scripture in the Genesis. Does Genesis 6 play in with that?

Pastor Ross: All right, now you're talking about in Genesis 6 where just before the flood God says, “My spirit shall not always strive with man” where he's indeed flesh yet his days shall be 120 years and then you read on, it talks about the flood?

David: Yes, were there hominoids during that time? Did the world get so corrupt and so evil that there was so much-- man was genetically manipulating or does hominoids in the evolution process play a part in that?

Pastor Ross: That's a good question. The Bible tells us that at the time of the flood wickedness was so prevalent in the earth that every imagination of the heart was evil continually. It also says by the way that violence filled the land. When I came to the flood, you just have Noah and his family. They're the only ones that entered into the ark so this wickedness was widespread.

We also from the biblical account prior to the flood, people lived a lot longer that then people lived today and maybe they didn't have all of the technology that we have today but they were giants of intellect and understanding. It's quite possible and some have suggested that prior to the flood maybe some of these antediluvian spree flood individuals were tampering to some degree with genetics and trying to manipulate different animals in combining DNA and genetics.

To what extent we don't know, but it's quite possible that some of this was happening before the flood and finally God said enough is enough and the flood came. When we look at the various fossils that are on earth, they're quite different than today and some have wondered well, could these animals have actually been to some degree some kind of a hybrid or genetic modification that took place in the animal kingdom by these giant intellects before the flood? It's quite possible.The Bible doesn't specifically tell us.

David: That answered my question.

John: Okay, well very good. Thanks so much for your call David, we appreciate it. Again friends if you have a Bible related question good time to pick up your phone and give us a call the number is 800-463-7297. Our next caller is Eugene listening in Michigan. Eugene, welcome to the program.

Eugene: Hallo.

Pastor Ross: Hi, you're on the air.

Eugene: My question was a little bit similar to the previous callers, it's about the state of dead. My confusion is over the difference between the spirit and the soul and when a person dies their spirit returns to God. Our spirit self is part of us but is it a part of our conscious being?In other words are we conscious after we die in heaven after we die, as a spirit being not as sleeping soul?

Pastor Ross: Good question. We coming up in a break, let me just give you a couple of verses and if we don't get through we can follow up on this question right after the break as well but let me begin with how life began. Genesis chapter two verse seven. It says the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground that would be the body and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

Now the word there word their breath can also be translated the spirit of life. And man became a living soul. Notice the soul is a combination of the breath or the Spirit of God with the body or the dust. So death then is just the reverse of creation. The body returns to the earth, that spirit of life, that breath of life returns to God and the soul ceases to be or the person ceases to be.

At resurrection that breath of life, that spark of life is reunited with the body and the person is alive. That spirit, that breath that returns to God at death that's not a conscious entity. In other words the dead are not watching over us right now. The Bible speaks of death being as a sleep. The Bible says,“The dead don't know anything.” It's not until the resurrection then they'll have consciousness. Eugene, I hear the music playing, don't go away maybe we can talk about this after the break.

We're coming up on a mid-program break friends. Give us a call with your Bible question. 800-463-7297, will be back in just a moment.

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Pastor Ross: Hello friends, you're listening to Bible answers live. A live interactive international Bible study. My name is John Ross. Pastor Doug Batchelor is out this evening but if you have a bible question, our phone lines are open. We'd love to hear from you tonight. Phone line here to the studio is 800-463-7297. That’s 800-463-7297. Just before the break we were talking with Eugene about well the difference between the soul and the spirit.What happens to a person when they die? We have a website that I’d like to let you know about its just been recently redesigned. I'm looking at it right now, it looks great, a lot of tremendous resources dealing with that subject calledThe truthabout death, www.truthaboutdeath.com. Again that website is www.truthaboutdeath.com.

Take a look at the website, take a look at the studies there's some video content there, a lot of questions are answered at this website dealing with what happens to a person when they die.We are going to our next caller, we have Joe listening in Virginia. Joe, welcome to the program.

Joe: Thank you very much for letting me ask my question.

Pastor Ross: Yes, you welcome and your question this evening.

Joe: There are two Israel's, the physical and the spiritual Israel and I've heard some Adventist preacher say that the Israel in Zechariah 14 that just invaded-- He tried to spiritualize that and say,“That's not talking about the physical Israel”but my question is,why not allow for the possibility that God appearing over Jerusalem in Zechariah14 of one through four,why can't that be God saving physical Israel? Plain old unsaved Israel.

Pastor Ross: Well yes that's is a good question.This is a prophecy I'm just looking at it here Zechariah Chapter 14, in particular you mention from verse one through verse four.It's talking about a time when the enemies of God's people will surround Jerusalem and a key verse here in understanding this prophecy is verse four. It says,“And in that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the East and the Mount of Olives shall split into two from the East to the West making a very large valley.Half the mountain shall be moved towards the North and half towards the South.”

Now when we study Bible prophecy we recognize that there are two Jerusalem's, there is the Jerusalem on Earth but there is also a Jerusalem in Heaven.

Revelations chapter 21 talks about the new Jerusalem and at the end of the 1,000 years that you read about in Revelations chapter 20 it speaks of the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of Heaven and at that time that New Jerusalem comes to rest as this prophecy saysJesus sets his foot on the Mount of Olives it opens up, forms a great valley.The New Jerusalem comes to rest in that valley.

All the wicked are resurrected at that point, the final judgment takes place called the great white throne judgement,Revelations 20.At the end of that judgment, the wicked mount this massive attack against the city Jerusalem or the New Jerusalem and that's where fire comes and devours them. So yes, this verse has some historical applications because there were times when the enemies of Gods people gathered against Jerusalem. But it's also got a very significant prophetic application and that reaches its ultimate fulfilment at the end of that 1,000 year period.

Joe: I'm trying to clarify what you are saying. The invasion by all nations in Zechariah 14, that should be at the end of the Church age which is what we are in right now. We are at the end of the church age now. Are you saying that it's not at the end of the church age?

Pastor Ross: I'm sayingit's at the end of the 1,000 years. So in Revelation chapter 20-

[crosstalk]

Pastor Ross: In Revelation chapter 20 you will read about the second coming of Christ that's actually at the end of chapter 19 and then you have a 1,000 year period spoken of in Revelation chapter 20, and then in chapter 21 you have the new Jerusalem that comes down, and at the end of Revelation chapter 20 it talks about the new Jerusalem coming to rest on the Earth.

The wicked are all resurrected for the final judgement and then they make that attack against the New Jerusalem.Now will there be a gathering of nation against little Jerusalem before Christ comes? It could very well be.You know the Middle East is a very tense place and there is constant threat of war in the Middle East but the ultimate fulfilment of this verse is referring to that final eradication of evil at the end of that judgment.

Joe: Look I'll try just to say one more thing.

Pastor Ross: Yes.

Joe: The idea is that we see that the Arabs, they want to have another war.Russia is going with the Arabs and I expect Russia to take over the world by bombing America because we've disarmed so much and then Russia and the Arabs will invade physical Israel and then Christ will come and the second coming will be in our time.Now this thing in Zechariah 14 I think the evidence is very strong that it's not a thousand years from now.

Pastor Ross: You know Joe as I said it could very well be that the enemies of Israel will gather up against them but I would say this verse especially in the context if you line it up with Revelation chapter 20 and 21 it's clearly referring to time when Jesus comes and establishes His kingdom here on the Earth at the end of that 1,000 year period.

You know we have a study guide called A thousand years of peaceand it gets right into this, talks about the New Jerusalem, talks about this verse Zechariah chapter 14 verse four in particular.We'll be happy to send you that study guide for free.All you will have to do is just give us a call on our resource line it's 800-835-6747.You're going to ask for the study guide called A thousand years of peacetalking about the Millennium.

You can also read it for free online at amazingfacts.org.Our next caller is Scott and he is listening in Missouri. Scott, welcome to the program.

Scott: Hi my man.

Pastor Ross: Hi Scott, you’re in the air.

Scott: All right, can you hear me okay?

Pastor Ross:I can.

Scott:Thank you so much for having me out here tonight and glad to be a part of the radio show. I guess I have a question in regards to what the most recent caller spoke about. With all the things that are coming in I don't know when Jesus is coming back but I'm utmost certain that he is coming back.But I feel glad to-- and my dad is a good strong Christian man and I don't hear a lot of people could say this, but he says,“Scott, fly the American Flag. Go build that ranch, go marry that pretty girl, raise that family, occupy, spread the word of God." Could you just write some more biblical support for that?

Pastor Ross: Okay, well you know the Bible does give us certain signs that tell us when the coming of Christ is near.Now, we don't know the day or the hour, the Bible also tells us no man knows the day or the hour when Christ is going to come and yet there are certain prophetic events that the Bible speaks of that are to take place before Jesus comes.

One of the key things that still going to happen before Jesus comes Revelations chapter 13 talks about the creation of an image to the beast power and it has to do with worship. A time is going to come when almost all the inhabitants of the Earth are going to be forced to make a decision between worshiping God according to his commandments or worshiping the beast power.

We know the stage is being set for that and for those who study Bible prophesy and looked at the things happening politically in our world it's just astounding as we see these prophecies being fulfilled. We know the coming of Christ is getting closer but we don't know the day or the hour. Now in the meantime what are we to do? Well, for one I think the most important preparation that anybody can do is spiritual preparation.We need to make sure that our hearts are right with God.

That's number one, because if you think about it if somebody life ends, their probation comes to an end.We can't say, “Well, I still have lots of time, Jesus isn't coming for a while” and we postpone making a decision for him. Our lives could end tomorrow so today we need to make our lives right with God.

And then secondly we need to be do everything we can to spread the Gospel, to share the good news with as many people as we can and then just be aware. Be aware of what the Bible preaches, be aware of what prophecy says, keep our eyes open. Jesus told his disciples to watch, to be ready for these signs will be fulfilled.

Scott: Absolutely and I’m glad you brought that up. My second part of my question I guess would be I was just recently made aware like the piece symbol, is it really a symbol of peace its broken cross, and a Pastor was advising to stay away from that especially in this stage of the world where we are at and those are an invitation for evil forces to come be present near that symbol or that satanic called whatever , the symbol do and I don't think it's powered they're like making levitate but the devil doesn’t have any more power than a but if you listen to him and you act on it-

Pastor Ross: It's true we do live in the midst of a world where the devil is doing everything he can to deceive. There are people still today that are being possessed by evil spirits as it was in the time of Christ and before so we do need to be aware however, I don't think we need to walk around being paranoid over every symbol or something that might look like it could be a satanic symbol.

If our faith is in Jesus and we are trusting in him, we need not to fear those things but if we are a Christian, I don't think we want to be painting these different satanic symbols or anything we might have. I don't think we need to go around being afraid of this but at the same time this is not something that a Christian should dabbling understanding what these symbols mean. Does that make sense Scott?

Scot: Not absolutely but the clip is over there, over that you want to–

Pastor Ross: Exactly.

Scot: - where that and stay away from it and how I feel about it just I’m not scared of Satan as much as I’m scared of God not excuses but reference-

Pastor Ross: Reference God.

Scot: -God.

Pastor Ross:Yes we need a reverence God absolutely. Well, the Bible tells us I have no works, I have no companionship with the unfruitful works of darkness so we probably shouldn't be seeking after those things but at the same time if we have confidence and faith in God, we shouldn't be afraid.Thanks for your call Scott. Our next caller is Phil and he's listening in Michigan. Phil, welcome to the program.

Phil: Thanks for taking my call.

Pastor Ross: Thanks for calling Phil, and the question?

Phil: I've been a believer for about 24 years and I've been trying to share the gospel for about 20 years and one reason I try to share the gospel every day is because I believe that every single person is going to live in a real place forever.My question is, if a person can die and no longer exists why would a person even want to bother going in all the world and share the good news?

Pastor Ross: Well, it's a good question the motivation for sharing the gospel it's two fall the one is we don't want people to die the wages of sin is death but the other is the reward of receiving Christ is eternal life so the motivation for why we do what we do is because of the love of Christ.

We've experienced his grace, we've experienced his love, and we see people around us who don't know him and the motivation is if you knew what I know about Jesus your life would mean so much more. You would be so much more at peace, you'd have purpose you have a future to look forward to, a place without pain or sorrow or suffering.

It's the love of Christ that motivates us in sharing the gospel, so yes there is this warning but really the greatest motivation is love. That's what motivated Christ, it was the love of God “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” So our motivation for doing good and sharing the gospel is the love of Christ.

Phil: I like it. It makes sense.

Pastor Ross: Okay, well great. Thanks so much for calling we appreciate it. If you have a Bible question our phone line here is 800-463-7297. Our next caller is James listening from Louisiana. James, thanks for your patience.

James: Hey thanks for having me on.

Pastor Ross: Your question this evening?

James: Yes Sir, I had heard you mention earlier about being judged according to your understanding or your knowledge, now I know the scripture that says, “God weighs the hearts,” but is there any other scriptures that you know of it will back up that statement? I like it but I was just wondering if there's any other scriptures you could point me to?

Pastor Ross: Sure, well I do have one here Luke:12:47. This is talking more about the punishment of the wicked so not all the wicked receive exactly the same punishment meaning that those who knew and did not do what was right, they held more accountable than those who didn't know.

Let me read its Luke: 12:48 it says, “But he who did not know yet committed things deserving of stripes shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much has been given from him much will be required and to whom much has been committed of him they will ask more.”

We're held accountable based upon the knowledge that we have been given. Now let me just add one other thing, not only are we held accountable for what we know but we also are held accountable to some degree for what we could know. In other words, if I know that the Bible is revealing to me certain things in my life that I need to change and I don't really want to change those things and so I say, “Well I'm not going to read the Bible because I don't want to be held accountable,” meaning that I don't want to know what I have to change. Well that's not the right motivation, are you following me?

James: 100% yes.

Pastor Ross: Yes, we are held accountable for what we know but to some degree we also hold accountable for what we could know. The opportunities God has placed before us.

James: Do you believe the scripture that says well if someone didn't know that this was a sin and like you said they didn't have a way to know or something and they committed that sin would it not be sin to them in particular?

Pastor Ross: Well there will be people in heaven that lived up to all the light that they had and yet maybe they didn't understand some aspect of biblical truth. God recognizes their heart, he sees their heart, now if they are presented with truth-- I'll give you an example it's God's ideal that marriage be between one man and one woman but in the Old Testament because of culture and some of the things that the peoples faced, Jesus says it was because of their hardness of their hearts that God allowed in some cases multiple wives.

You think of David and some of the others that was never God's ideal but they lived up to what they knew and God looks at the heart and so it is today. You think of the millions of people around the world who have never had the opportunities that we have here in a Christian nation to study the word to an understanding of truth but their heart is sincere, the Holy Spirit is still speaking to their heart as he speaks to us and they're going to be judged based upon how they respond to what they know to be truth.

James: That's great. I appreciate it so much thank you very much. God bless you.

Pastor Ross: All right, thanks for your call James. Again if you have a Bible related question and you like to try and get that in before the end of the show tonight the number is 800-463-729-7. Our next caller is Ruth and she's listening in New Jersey. Ruth, welcome to the program.

Ruth: Thank you for taking my call, I didn't think I was going to get through.

Pastor Ross: Yes, your question?

Ruth: I just heard you say, that there will be degrees of judgment. My question is I've been told that there will be degrees of rewards as well as degrees of judgment, that there will be levels in heaven and levels in hell, based on once you know the truth whether or not you followed it or not, and that the rewards that we get in heaven will be the crowns that we are given a glory which we will lay back at Jesus’ feet.

I want to know is there any biblical truth to either one of these and if so could you give me verses that either support or disagree with this that there are levels in heaven and hell. I’m confused because you said that-

Pastor Ross: Yes, absolutely there are degrees ultimately the reward for those who receive Jesus is everlasting life the reward of-

Ruth: Could you give-

Pastor Ross: -the punishment for those who don't receive Jesus is eternal death. Now there are verses, let me give you one here. Revelation-

Ruth: -thank you very much.

Doug: -22:12, Jesus speaking, “And behold I am coming quickly” talking about the second coming “and my reward is with me to give to every man according to his works.” So even for those who are saved, they are rewarded according to their works, those who have faithfully lived a life of unselfishness, who have ministered to the needs of others and who have tried to be the best example that they could for Christ and for his cause they will be rewarded.

They are those who have laid down their life for Jesus for their faith, they will be rewarded. Now exactly what this rewards are, the bible doesn’t go ahead on details specifically on that, but it does appear based on this verse and others that there will be degrees of reward. Likewise for the wicked, there is punishment before their final destruction. The wicked are also held accountable for the works that they have done.

Now we're not saying that somebody's going to burn throughout all eternity, because that's not really fair, to burn somebody throughout all eternity for the bad things that they did on life here on this earth whether that be 80 years or 70 years, whatever it might be. Everybody is held accountable for the things that they have done whether it be good or whether it be bad.

Ruth: Okay. Sorry, could you just give me that-

Pastor Ross: The verse again? Sure.

Ruth: -that verse again from Revelation?

Pastor Ross: Yes. Revelation chapter 22 and it's verse 12, 22:12.

Ruth: Verse 12?

Pastor Ross: Correct.

Ruth: Thank you so much. I think you helped me a lot. Thank you.

Pastor Ross: All right. Thanks for your call, Ruth.

Ruth: God bless.

Pastor Ross: Our next caller is Sophia listening from San Francisco. Sophia, welcome to the program.

Sophia: Hi, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Pastor Ross: Yes. Thanks for calling.

Sophia: I've got a question. A question regarding forgiveness and reconciliations. I was just going through something with a particular family member and I've just been really having a very difficult time reconciling with the person. I'm a Christian, a standard Christian, and I've been hurt by this person over and over and over and over again. I've forgiven over and over and over and over again like Jesus had told me to.

I've asked this person what sin have I committed against them and why are they treating me this way. They still would not respond of what I have done and they continue to just really say hateful things to me. I've forgiven again and forgiven and I said, "Well, can we meet together? Can we sit down and talk with each other?" This was said through text because I guess this person won't speak to me. They still have not responded yes or no and just continue to send really hateful text through my phone-

Pastor Ross: You're wondering-- Your question is what do you do now in this situation?

Sophia: How do I deal with the person and do I go to my pastor and try to have a meeting? I don't know how to-

Pastor Ross: You're definitely doing the right thing in forgiving the person. But in forgiving somebody, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to stay in a relationship or in a situation that keeps causing pain. If you forgive the person and you've let it go, it doesn't mean that you always have to stay in that kind of relationship where they're going to keep hurting you.

Sometimes it's wise to step back from that situation at least for a period of time to see if there is genuine change, if they recognize what they are doing is wrong. Maybe having some counsel with a pastor and talking to them and trying to see what the best step forward would be a wise thing. Is the other person-- Do they recognize that they've been causing pain to you?

Sophia: Excuse me?

Pastor Ross: Does the person recognize that they've been hurting you?

Sophia: Yes, they have. I've tried with my pastor, this person-- We don't go to the same church so I tried with my pastor because in Matthew 18:15 it says, "If thy brother have sinned against thee go and tell him the fault". I've done that. I want to do-- My pastor recommended that I have a seat with this person and tell them what they've done to hurt me. I've tried to do that and this person continued to say, "Oh, you have a forgiving spirit. Yes, you're not forgiving." And I said, "No. I have a right to sit down and speak with you regarding what you're doing to me as a sister."

Pastor Ross: Sophia, you're right in doing that. Trying to make peace and trying to correct the situation is always the right way to go. But if you do need to take a break from that situation, that's also okay until there is some kind of a change. I'd encourage you to talk to your pastor and get some further counsel on that. Well friends, you can hear the music in the background. We have come to the end of this hour of Bible answers live.

Speaker 1: This has been a pre-recorded broadcast of Bible answers live, a production of Amazing Facts Ministries. If you would like to order the materials mentioned on this broadcast, call 808-835-6747 from 8 AM to midnight Eastern Standard Time. That's 800-835-6747.

If you've missed an episode of Bible Answers Live, you can find it on our website amazingfacts.org. You'll also find our online sale catalog of books, tapes, and other materials as well as numerous free resources on nearly every Bible topic, putting the answers to your Bible questions right at your fingertips.

If you've been blessed by this program, let us know. Write to us at PO Box 909 Roseville, California 95678. Be sure to tell others about the program and join us again next time for more Bible Answers Live with Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Speaker 3: I grew up in a church-going family. We're at every meeting. I sang in four of the choirs there. I directed three. Very involved, very active. It almost seemed like busywork sometimes. I went to Sunday school. I knew about God, I knew about Jesus but I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

My senior year in high school, I got the news my father had been murdered. I played it off well. No one really saw that I was struggling with it. It just really felt like there was a hole that needed to be filled. I tried to fill it with drugs, alcohol, with partying. After college I just stopped going to church altogether.

One day on a Sunday, because I didn't feel like going to church with my mom, I thought I should get a little bit of work. She had the satellite system hooked up and I'm flipping through channels and then the logo pops across, Amazing Facts Presents.

I've listened to a lot of different ministers but this was the first time-- He's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up. I've never heard this before, let me look through and find this. I went through all the historicals, I went through all the study guides and I just couldn't get enough.

Then the Sabbath came up. He's going through the appeal and I'm just going, "Lord, I hear you. I have to go to the church." I show up. It was funny I didn't feel like I was going to be judged, anything judgmental, anything. I walked in the door and I just felt at home. But there's still a problem. I'm still partying. I was still going out to the bars.

At this time I was selling cocaine to pay my rent. 16 days later, I find myself in a life or death situation. I had just came back from a liquor store to grab a bottle of vodka. There I am high off cocaine with my Bible in hand trying to do a Bible study. I heard an audible voice. "Look at yourself." And I did. I was like, "What am I doing?" I got on my knees and I said, "Lord, if you do not take this away from me now, I'm going to kill myself. I was going to continue this lifestyle and I was going to end up overdosing, having a heart attack, whatever it was. You have to take this away. All of it." That day he lifted all of it away. It was all gone. When God does something in your life, he does it complete.

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