Feeding on God's Word

Feeding on God's Word

Scripture: Isaiah 40:31
Date: 12/20/2015 
The Artic Woolly Bear Caterpillars found in the far north around Greenland and Canada have a marvelous metabolism. They are called woolly bears because of their fuzzy, brown and black appearance.

365 Amazing Answers to Big Bible Questions Devotional by Doug Batchelor

365 Amazing Answers to Big Bible Questions Devotional by Doug Batchelor
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Pastor Doug: Hello friends, this is Doug Batchelor, how about an amazing fact? The Artic Woolly Bear Caterpillars found in the far north around Greenland and Canada have a marvelous metabolism. They are called woolly bears because of their fuzzy, brown and black appearance.

After the woolly bear emerges from its egg in the fall, it does its best to eat and fatten up until the weather gets too cold. At this point, the caterpillar will crawl under some bark or a rock where it freezes solid through the long Artic winter. In the spring, it thaws out, twitches back to life and starts eating again. It survives being frozen by producing a cryoprotectant antifreeze in its tissues.

In warmer climates, caterpillars are normally voracious eaters, that can increase their body mass about 1000 times in just a few weeks before becoming moths or butterflies. But in the Arctic, the summers are short and vegetation is sparse, so the woolly bear caterpillar must relentlessly feed through several summers, freezing each winter and thawing out again until they get enough body mass to spin a cocoon and metamorphosis into an Isabella tiger moth.

This means the woolly bear caterpillar has the longest lifecycle of any butterfly or moth. In their journey from the egg to wings, some are known to live through as many as 14 winters, surviving temperatures as cold as 60 degrees below zero, year after year.

Have you ever felt like you're trapped on a treadmill in your walk with The Lord just waiting for your wings? Stay with us friends, we're going to learn more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.

Jean Pastor Ross: Welcome to Bible Answers Live, with author and evangelist, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Is understanding God's word a challenge? Are there passages of Scripture that are a mystery to you? Maybe it's difficult to reconcile what you've read in the Bible to what you've always believed. If you have Bible-related questions, stay tuned to get honest, practical answers, straight from the word of God on Bible Answers Live.

Bible Answers Live is a production of Amazing Facts Ministries, dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world. Our lines are open, so call us now at 800-GOD-SAYS. That's 800 463-7297. Now, here's your host, Pastor Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Doug: Welcome listening friends to Bible Answers Live and if you have a Bible question, we have phone lines open. If you've never called before, it's a toll-free number 800 835-6747, 800 835--Wow, you know what, I just gave the wrong phone number. Let's try this again. That's our resource number. Hey, I've only been doing this 20 years. 800-GOD-SAYS, it's 800 463-7297, with your Bible questions. That other number is for our free resources.

If you want to call in with a Bible question, 800 463-7297, lines are open, we are live, my name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My name is Jean Ross, good evening friends, and Pastor Doug let's begin the program with a prayer.

Dear Father in heaven, once again as we open up the Bible, we ask the Holy Spirit to give us guidance and bring back to our memory the things that are written in the Scriptures. Be with those who are listening wherever they might be. Lead us Lord into a clearer and a fuller understanding of your will for our lives. For we ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Pastor Ross: Well Pastor Doug, you opened the program by talking about a remarkable little caterpillar. It's enough for a caterpillar to eat as much as it does and to go through the change from a worm to a butterfly. That in itself is incredible, but to have this caterpillar freeze and then unfreeze and then freeze again [laughs] over and over again, as it's making that journey to becoming a butterfly is most remarkable.

Pastor Doug: Yes, I guess evidently up there in the far north, there's just not enough calories in the vegetation it eats, so it eats and eats but one season is not enough to get the fat reserves to cupate into a moth and so it will do it up to 14 years, and their summers are very short, it's mostly June.

Finally it thaws out, it eats all it can but if it's not fat enough, it just freezes, thaws out again. It's just amazing because I've seen the video of it, to see it when it finally thaws, to just kind of give it a twitch and it's back alive again but you could have just snapped it like a twig up until it was frozen, evidently solid and it's almost like multiple resurrections [laughs] but we weren't going to use that as an illustration.

What it made me think of, is sometimes a person thinks, "Man, am I ever going to get out of this rut of eating and freezing, and am I ever going to get my wings? Am I ever going to go to the next level?" Some of you who are listening, you've been Christians for years and you feel like you've stopped progressing. Well, you know what this caterpillar does is it eats relentlessly what it needs. If you keep feeding on the word and storing up, God is going to help you grow and you will mature and reach that new level.

That was a promise in Isaiah 40:31; They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles. They'll run and not be weary, they'll walk and not fail.

Sometimes following the Lord might feel like a treadmill or might feel like you're going in circles but you faithfully follow what you do know from day to day, you may fall and make mistakes, you may freeze through the winter, get back up again and keep going and he'll help you grow into what he wants you to be.

Some of you are thinking, "it's so hard to be a Christian?" Life is hard. It is harder to be lost than it is to be saved. Now you may not know the Bible teaches that. It is really harder to be lost than to be saved. It is easier to be saved than to be lost. Maybe you'd like evidence for that but we've got a book that you'll really enjoy. If you sometimes struggle with it being difficult to be a Christian, this book will encourage you. It's simply called, Is it Easier to Be Saved or to Lost?

Pastor Ross: To receive the book, give us a call on our resource line, the number is 800 835-6747 and you can ask for the book, Is it Easier to Be Saved or to Lost? We'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and asks.

You can also go to the website, amazingfacts.org, and you can read it at our free library as well. Again that number is, 800 835-6747, that is the resource line, you can ask for the book, Is it Easier to Be Saved or to Lost, and if you have a Bible question, the phone number here to the studio is 800 463-7297. 800 463-7297. We're going to go to the phone lines, our first caller this evening is Lisa, listening from Boston, Massachusetts. Lisa, welcome to the program.

Lisa: Hi, thank you for having me.

Pastor Doug: All right Lisa, how can we help tonight?

Lisa: Actually, most of the things I've learned, I've learned from you, it's been now almost five years. I really went from milk to some solid food. I was going over John today again because I feel like I get a lot more from it. One of the questions that I have is that, I came across where, when Jesus met the disciples in the upper room and then he says, "Receive the Holy Spirit, if you forgive the sin- " this is John 20, verse 23. "-Receive the Holy Spirit, if you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven then if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."

Then it says going to Mathew 16:19 and it basically says the same thing. I bought SON, I went to Allen because I have the study Bible, and she was saying that it wasn't to going to the purgatory and all the things that the papacy is doing but isn't that-- that just shocked me because they're saying that man has the right to forgive sins.

Pastor Doug: Yes. What this is really saying is, when Christ gives the great commission to his disciples, he is giving us the ability to communicate salvation or not to communicate salvation as we share the word. Jesus doesn't give any man the right to say, "I will decide who and who is not forgiven."

He's simply saying that, as you share the gospel, you will be sharing the path to forgiveness and those that do not hear the gospel, will not. In other words, Christ is just saying, "You have a responsibility and a privilege to pass on eternal life to others as you share the message I've given you."

Matter of fact, he told Peter "I'm giving you the keys of the Kingdom." Peter preached the first sermon at Pentecost, it was through the sermon, Peter was putting the keys in the hands of others to eternal life. When they said, "What must we do to be saved?" And Peter opened the door for them by saying, "Believe in Christ."

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the light." He is the door, so man doesn't have the ability to give eternal life to other people. Does that make sense?

Lisa: Not really, no, because from what I'm reading, it says right here and clear, that "if you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven", and I'm like, that's just giving man the power to power to forgive sins, so you have this Pope who's running around saying that he can do this, and in many ways, if you look at that verse, that's what it saying, that he doesn't know that he does it, but that's like saying that he can [laughs]

Pastor Doug: Here would be my question for you, at what point would a man receive the power to decide who is forgiven, is it just the Pope, is it priests, is it pastors? What man would have the right decide who is forgiven?

Lisa: I agree, that’s what I’ve always thought, that’s how I've always seen it because I study with myself and when someone asks me, that's the one thing I say, no man has the right to forgive sins.

Pastor Doug: That's right it's just only God can really forgive sins.

Pastor Ross: Like many other passage of Scripture you've got to look at the context and then also look at the other things that the Bible says on that same subject, in this case in order to correctly understand what Jesus is saying, we need a look at all of Christ's teaching and what was the work that Jesus gave the disciples, that of preaching the gospel, those who receive the gospel yes they have forgiveness, those who reject the gospel well they don't have forgiveness.

Christ is by no means asking a man to judge the motives of another person's heart the Bible says, “Man looks at the output but God looks at the heart.” Only God knows if repentance is genuine. You have the example of Judas who in the eyes of the other disciples seemed to be a pretty good guy but of course they didn't know his heart, he was covetous, that's why forgiveness is something that God alone can give, he can provide it.

Matter of fact they accused Jesus of blasphemy when he forgave people of sin.

Pastor Doug: That's right, Mark chapter 2. Lisa we have a book that talks about, “Is it possible to live without sinning?” It really talks about where the power of forgiveness comes from we'll send you a free copy of that if you call the resource line. You can also read it online.

Pastor Ross: The number is 800-835-6747 that is the resource line, and you can ask for the book, Is it possible to live without sinning. Again 800 835 6747 we have Jerry who's listening in Toronto Canada Jerry welcome to the program.

Jerry: Good night thank you for taking my call.

Pastor Doug: Evening how are you?

Jerry: I'm okay.

Pastor Doug: Your question tonight.

Jerry: My question is on the topic of the second commandment and images. Is it ungodly for Christians to produce fictional gospel films, for example films that have a narrative depiction of someone coming to faith after adversity or a similar such scenario. Is this a violation of the second commandment or we've got to go against John 2:4 where it says, “We must worship in spirit and truth?”

Pastor Doug: Well it can. I want to be careful not to give people the idea that every allegory or depiction is wrong. If you've got the book “Pilgrim’s Progress” which is a beautiful allegory of a plan of salvation, Jesus told many parables and the parables were not true, what I mean by that is when it talks about a camel going through the eye of a needle or people being like plants that are growing, he compared people to sheep and to plants and used a lot of allegories and metaphors.

Using some of these stories to teach a lesson there's nothing wrong with that. I think some Christian media have done that and done it appropriately. Then there are some that get into the sensational, it's inappropriate and they almost deify the actors and you're right it can't be breaking the second commandment.

The second commandment does not say, “Do not make an image” The second commandment says, “Do not make an image and bow down to it.” There’s a place in the Bible where God commanded the children of Israel to make depictions. He told Moses to make a serpent and put it on a pole and he told Solomon to put calves in the temple under the Laver and angels on the ark.

There's no sin in making an image.

Jerry: What I’m getting at is I gave you an example of a fictional gospel film. Typically what it is somebody who's out in the world and then they come to faith through some situation or adversity, they're being depicted that way. Is that fundamentally wrong or can it be wrong? Can you give me an idea of how that could be wrong because I've actually had to face this.

I studied as a film writer and director, I wanted to go ahead and do gospel films when I came to faith but what happened was the Lord seemed to impress me that I could not do, that and showed me by John 4:24 and some other verses that that was not what he wanted and for his reasons but I don't fully understand.

Pastor Doug: You're wondering because it's not true, God is a spirit those who worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. I would just say that of course you always want to be supporting the truth as a Christian, that would not prevent you from sharing a true allegory because Jesus did that, there are a number of characters in the Bible that told stories that were illustrations to teach a truth.

When you start purporting something to be true that is not true, but if you are telling a story and you let people know this is a parable and you're illustrating a truth, I don't see a problem with that, I don't know if you got any thoughts on that Pastor Ross?

Pastor Ross: Again the whole environment maybe the concern, is that whole environment of make believe sometimes is so conditioned by Hollywood, that we don't believe anything that we see. The power of the gospel and the reality of a changed life sometimes is diminished by trying to picture that or illustrate that in an actor who is forcing tears or whatever the situation might be. I could see that as being a concern.

Pastor Doug: I'd like to recommend something for Jerry, there's actually another ministry that has some good material and we don't carry it but they do and it's called, “Little Light Studios” if you type in-- these are some Hollywood producers.

They were producing in the film industry, became Christians and began to really evaluate what Hollywood's putting out and they really studied into the principles the very thing you're talking about Jerry and I just recommend you go to their website, they've got some free videos you can watch and some material you can download as well and we appreciate your call.

Pastor Ross: We have Gardner is listening from Yonkers New York Gardner welcome to the program.

Gardner: Good evening Pastor before I hang up I want to make sure that I have the right title to offer that I see that you offered on TV this morning. My question this evening is, the prophecy in the Bible regarding the Holy Roman Empire, the Apostle John in Revelation 17, 400 years before the entity came about and Daniel, 1000 years before the Holy Roman Empire came to existence.

I wanted to know Jesus prophesied or God prophesied and predicted that organization but did he have a hand in the creation of the Holy Roman Empire? Sometimes you see a modern writer would say about the prediction and the prophecy but then he says, “Only God could bring it about.” Did God bring about the Holy Roman Empire, did he have a hand in it and to what extent?

Pastor Doug: God is all powerful but the Lord-- there's a battle between good and evil in the world and not everything that happens in the world is God's will. The Lord used the Roman Empire in the timing of Jesus coming when Rome ruled the world was very providential because the Romans had built roads and so when the gospel finally began to spread because of the Romans roads that were circulating all throughout the civilized world back then, the gospel went very quickly.

There are things that God obviously worked things together for good, it doesn't mean the Lord approved of everything the various Roman Caesars were doing, some were of course terribly persecuting Christians.

There's a battle going on between good and evil, there's been a lot of evil leadership that have done despicable things through history in many kingdoms. The Lord tries to work these things together for good for the spreading of the gospel and saving the people and the devil does his best using people to thwart the efforts of God and quite honestly a lot of things that happen are not God's will that's why we pray in the Lord's Prayer, “thy will be done.”

If God's will is always done then why even pray?

Gardner: Yes sir. This morning I saw you on TV and you were sharing the scriptures of that proves that Jesus was God, is that often titled the ultimate deliverance?

Pastor Doug: Yes, that's probably the title of it, The Ultimate Deliverance some folks are surprised to learn that I have no idea what I say from week to week on TV because I don't watch myself. I always get annoyed when I watch myself on TV. I don't know what I said this morning but these things are pre-recorded but I do recognize the offer and it's called the, Ultimate Deliverance and if you can even go to our website or and you can order it there still but we thank you for your call Gardener.

Pastor Ross: Our next caller is Crystal listening from New York, New York, Crystal welcome to the program.

Crystal: I'm calling about a personal issue and it is about egg donor with IVF which is to help a couple, the wife is infertile, and to see if there's any similarity with the law of marriage in the Bible and a couple receiving an egg donation because the husband is without children and wanted to raise up an heir.

Pastor Doug: There are some very interesting ethical questions for Christians with in vitro fertilization. Of course Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and that was an interesting, unique scenario. If a Christian couple were to adopt someone else's child and raise it, there's certainly nothing wrong with that. If, they need to use natural biological mechanisms to have that child, I don't initially see anything wrong with that.

The problem is when they start manipulating the cells and doing things like that and showing disrespect for life. I know a lot of couples that have needed some outside encouragement. Let me give you an example in the Bible. The wives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the parents of Samson, all of them struggled with infertility. The Lord had to work a miracle.

There is one story where Leah, she had stopped having children after her first four boys and she began to resent that her hand maids were having kids. Her son was out in the field and they found mandrakes. Mandrake was a plant that was believed, increased fertility, you call it a medicine but they used an outside source to try to increase fertility. She ended up getting pregnant again, and had more children.

It's interesting that the Bible would share that. For people that use ethical methods to try to procreate, God said be fruitful, multiply, doesn't mean everybody's got to have children but there's certainly nothing wrong with wanting them. Then I don't have a problem as long as as I said it's not -- When they start re-engineering the cells, then you start having a amalgamation and you're tampering with God's design at that point.

I think if time lasts, it will get to that place where they'll start engineering cells to say, "I just want to engineer that I'm going to have a kid with red hair and freckles." Then it starts getting unhealthy.

Hopefully, that helps a little bit. I'm trying to think of an offer that would touch on some of those principles Pastor Ross. We do have the study guide that deals with the law of God written in stone, talks about some of the principles of the Ten Commandments, and you might something in there Crystal that would relate to this.

Pastor Ross: The number to call this 800-835-6747, that is the resource line, you can ask for the study guide called Written In Stone, all about God's law. We'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and asks. Our next caller is Roy, and he's listening in New York. Roy, welcome to the program.

Roy: Good evening fellows?

Pastor Ross: Evening.

Roy: Keep spreading the truth.

Pastor Ross: Thank you.

Roy: My question is, do aborted babies wind up in Heaven and who takes care of them and feeds them and what do they eat?

Pastor Doug: That is a tough question. I've got to be honest with you. I've made a couple of enemies because I've talked to some friends about this and said I personally don't find scriptures that teach that every baby that is conceived at any level -- I'm firmly against abortion. I believe that life is sacred at conception, but I don't know that the Bible is teaching that every conception, that is miscarried at any stage automatically is going to be resurrected.

Because if you do the math on this, Roy I think you'll find that Heaven will be a virtual nursery, the redeemed adults would be swimming in a sea of babies in Heaven. There will be children that are resurrected, the Bible is very clear about that. Will every conception be there? One of the reasons there's a scripture, and I don't know Pastor Ross if I'm going to find this right away.

In Job, when you go to Job Chapter Three, after he's gone through all these suffering, he begins to talk. He talks about, "That I might be as an unborn child that never saw the light of day." He starts praying that he could be as though he had not been, because he was cursing all his sufferings. Then I think there's two places, I just don't have the scriptures off the tip of my tongue right now.

There's two places, you might start with Job Chapter Three, where he talks about a miscarried child being as though it had not been, so there may be some of these aborted babies, does that mean the aborted babies have even lost people- obviously a lot of that would go together -would automatically all go to Heaven.

Roy: My question is to those that will get there, I don't know if but the ones that will get there, who will take care of them and what would they eat?

Pastor Doug: First of all it talks about there being children in Heaven, it tells us that they're angels of course. They'll probably be plenty of redeemed that would love to help care for them, but Jesus said, speaking of the children "Their angels, do always behold the face of my Father in Heaven."

God appoints guardian angels for this children, I expect in the resurrection the angels will be there to help care for them as they grow up. It does say in Malachi Chapter Four, that the redeemed will go forth and grow up as calves of the stall. They're doing some growing even in Heaven.

Roy: At several months old only, they'll be taken care of by angels?

Pastor Doug: Angels won't have to take care of them for very long because people do grow, and when you consider that we live for billions and zillions of years, never ending, they'll grow up, they'll reach maturity, and angels aren't going to have to care of them much beyond six or seven years old as far as feeding them, they're going to care for themselves at that point. Yes, I think the many babies will be placed in the arms of their parents that were maybe torn away by death.

Pastor Ross: The verse you're referring to there is Malachi Chapter Four, Verse Two that speaks about redeemed shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall, so there is growth.

Pastor Doug: Thank you, Roy. I appreciate your call. We do have a study guide that talks about the resurrection and it's in the study on the Second Coming of Jesus.

Pastor Ross: That is called Ultimate deliverance, we'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and asks the number is 800-835-6747, that is the resource line. You can call and ask for the study guide called Ultimate deliverance. If you have a Bible question the number to call is 800-463-7297, 800-463-7297.

Pastor Doug: Now's a good time to pick up that phone and call, we have lines open. We're going to take a brief break and there's going to be more Bible questions on the way. You're listening to Bible Answers Live.

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You're listening to Bible Answers Live with Pastor Doug Bachelor. If you have a Bible related question, call us now to receive clear, honest answers, directed from scripture. We have a few lines open, so please give us a call. The phone number to the studio is 800-GODSAYS. That's 800-463-7297.

Recorded voice 2: If you've enjoyed Bible Answers Live, you've love Pastor Doug's Book of Bible answers straight from the broadcast. The very best questions and answers have been compiled as an awesome resource for Bible study and personal evangelism. Each answer has been expanded with more Bible verses and insightful commentary. The book of Bible answers can be yours today for just $12. Call now 1-800-835-6747, and request offer 257. That's 1-800-835-6747.

Pastor Doug: It is not to late to order that book and make it a Christmas gift. Friends is a great way for people to begin the new year with a devotional like that going through the interesting questions in the Bible and increase your Bible knowledge. I'm convinced when people get done with that book after a years reading, that they're going to know more about their Bible than many people that are leading congregations.

If you've joined us along the way this is Bible Answers Live. We do our best to answer Bible questions. We don't have all the answers but we do have some Bible computers at our fingertips to search the Word together and the Word is the truth and the truth will set you free.

If you'd like to call in, lines are still open. 800-GOD-SAYS, 800-463-7297. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My name is Ross Ross and we're going to go to our next caller in Tennessee, Thelma Louis. Thelma, welcome to the program. Hello. You're there, Thelma?

Thelma Louis: Yes. Thank you. 2 Kings 2:21-24, it says, Elisha cursed the children for calling him a bald head. [laughs] I am sorry. He cursed them in the name of Jesus and two or three, I forgot, two or three--

Pastor Doug: Two bears came out of the woods.

Thelma: Two bears came out and killed this little children.

Pastor Doug: First of all, it doesn't say the bears killed them. You'll notice, first of all, it says, "Two she-bears, two mother bears came out of the woods and mauled 40 and 2 of them." It says, "tear" and that word there it means, it maulled them.

Thelma: What's the word?

Pastor Doug: I think in the King James, it says tore. Pastor Ross can look that up. You said it's 2 King 2, here it is "came out of the wood and 40 and tear--" it says tear 40 and 2 children of them. That word tear I think is just saying it mauled. They bit and and scratched.

The children that came out, when it says children, it's not talking about toddlers. These are teenagers. Elisha had just become the national prophet. He represented God. They began to tease him. The reason they said, "Go up thou bald head," is because Elijah had gone up to heaven and they said, "We don't believe he really went up to heaven in a fiery chariot. You prove if he really did." It was like they're mocking Jesus on the cross. "If you're really the Christ, come down. Prove it."

He realized that his ministry was never going to be respected unless something happened. He called down the wrath of God on those kids and two she-bears came charging out of the woods and when rip snorting through that hard of kids and 42 of them were scratched and torn and bitten. It doesn't say any of them were killed.

For the rest of Elisha's ministry, over 50 years, nobody ever disrespected him again. He became a very respected prophet. It was a painful lesson. I don't recommend pastors to go out there cursing young people but this was a rare occasion. I don't think it says if they were killed. It says, they were torn.

Thelma: T-O-R-N?

Pastor Doug: Yes.

[crosstalk]

Pastor Doug: It means, what we would call, when a bear mauls somebody, they get scratched and bitten.

Thelma: Torn to be mauled and hurt real bad?

Pastor Doug: Yes. They got spanked by a couple of she-bears.

Thelma: When I was thinking about this, the reason it bothers me and I'm calling about it, that seems so cruel. For calling him a bald head?

Pastor Doug: No. It wasn't because they were calling him a bald head. I think it's because they were disrespecting. He was God's appointed man. God told Elijah to pick Elisha and then Elisha was given a double portion of Elijah's spirit. The very fact that Elijah was able to say that-- and God inspired him to say what he said.

God does judge and chasten people and nations. What is worse, when Elisha, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, cursed these kids and two bears came out and mauled them or when God curse the whole world and flooded them? A lot of children died in the flood. Right, Thelma?

Thelma: My problem was, I thought, if they were children, how would they know any better than to do that?

Pastor Doug: When it uses the word children, it just means they weren't adults and they could have been teenagers. They knew better than to disrespect the prophet of God.

Thelma: Yes. Then I have they have reason being to the age of accountability. I was thinking of small children.

Pastor Doug: No. I don't think they were little kids and if they were, I don't think he would have done that. I think it was an older group. I hope that helps a little bit Thelma. We appreciate your call.

Pastor Ross: The next call is Steven listening in Savannah, Georgia. Steven welcome to the program.

Steven: Thank you. Pastor I'm a 74 years old. I've been an SDA for 36 years. I'm a supporter of Amazing Facts. I was flipping through the channels last night and I came upon the History channel. They were talking about some lost books or some books that did not make it into the Bible.

I remember they mentioned something about protoevangelium. They were talking about a book. I think it was, if I'm not mistaken, like the lost book of James and it was talking about that Mary was an immaculate conception.

Pastor Doug: Steven, I would not worry about-- I didn't mean to cut you off but it's interesting that even tonight, I flipped on the History channel and they were talking about the book of Judas. There is no shortage of what they call Apocryphal or suspicious extra biblical books they claim to be of divine origin.

They've got one that's says it's the gospel of Mary and Judas and James and Thomas. The thing that you've got to know is the Bible that you have, the regular protestant Bible, all the books that are in the Bible, were recognized by church leaders and they were all mentioned and noted by 100 AD.

John, the Apostle was still alive then. The books that were recognized to be inspired that were included in the cannon of the scripture we have. Of course, all the books in the Old Testament, everyone agreed on in the time of Jesus. There's never any real question about the Old Testament books. I know they've got some of the Maccabees and things that are in the Catholic Bible but most of the Old Testament books that are recognized as inspired, everyone has agreed on.

Then for years after, when the church became corrupt, different priests would manufacture a book and say, "Hey, we've discovered this missing manuscript." No one had ever heard of it before, none of the early church fathers ever commented on it and just out of the blue, they said, "We found the gospel of Judas."

I can write a book and call it the gospel of Andrew. Anyone can write a book and say, "I've just found this manuscript," and people would get excited. I remember when I was a hippie up in the hills, they said, "We've found the aquarian gospel of Jesus Christ." Some guy had just written this book and said it was the aquarian gospel.

There's a lot of counterfeits out there that just don't stand the test of scholarship. The History channel and Discover channel, they just love creating the sensation by saying, "There's a missing book. We've found this new secret book and it says things that nobody knows about it."

It makes for good TV, but Hollywood has never done a very good job of portraying the Bible. You just look at the Ten Commandments and they've got Moses having an affair with Pharaoh's wife. Hollywood always love to scandalize the Bible and make it interesting. I'm sorry. I just went on a rant there Steven. Did I answer your question?

Steven: Yes, you did. Yet, it didn't shake my faith and I rarely even listen to the History channel because of that fact. I would just flip in through it and it's two, three or four words that caught my attention there.

Pastor Doug: Like I said, this very thing happened to me tonight. I only watch a couple of channels and I do like some of the History and the Discovery stuff, but I got disgusted the time when they're talking about the book of Judas.

You'll find nothing from the first 300 years of church history of any other fathers referencing this book. It just appears out of nowhere. It was manufactured and someone claimed to be the author. That still goes on today.

But I appreciate your call Steven. We do have a book that deals with the dependability of the Bible and how it was assembled.

Pastor Ross: Call the ultimate resource and we'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and ask. The number again is 800-835-6747. That is the resource line. You can ask for the book called The Ultimate Resource, and we'll be happy to send it to anybody who calls and asks.

Our next caller is Juan and he's listening from Columbus, Ohio. Wan, welcome to the program.

Juan: Hi guys. Thank you for taking my call.

Pastor Doug: Thank you.

Juan: My question tonight is, I was watching a documentary about Christmas and how it is a lot of stuff in it. Does Jeremiah 10:2-5, does it predict about the use of Christmas trees? How is that pagan?

Pastor Doug: Let me read that to our friends. It says here, "Thus says the Lord." This is Jeremiah 10:2. "Learn not the way of the heathen and do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven. For the heathen are dismayed and they're looking at what's going on in the sky. For the customs of the people are vain. One cuts the tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workmen with an axe and they deck it with silver and with gold.

They fasten it with nails and with hammers that it doesn't move. It's upright as a palm tree and it doesn't speak. They need to be carried because they cannot go. Don't be afraid of them."

Is he talking about Christmas trees? No, I do not believe he is. Jeremiah is saying something very similar to what Isaiah says about idolatry. That it doesn't make any sense. A guy goes out into the woods and he cuts a tree. He curves it up into an idol. They plate it with silver and gold. They carry it around. They pray to it. He says, "They take part of the wood and they cook their dinner with it and they take part of it and make a god out of it." He says, "How absurd is that?"

This really wasn't talking about Christmas trees. I just need to be honest with you, you just read it by itself out of context, people will say they cut a tree and they decorate it, that's what's happening. They're talking about worshiping an idol. If I see somebody bowing down to their tree-- there's probably some kids that are praying to Santa, I'd tell them they better get that thing out of their house.

It is true Juan, that there are a lot of pagan customs connected with Christmas that have nothing to do with the Bible. The burning of the Yule Log, even the date of Christmas really is not the date of Jesus' birth, we're pretty certain that Christ was born in the fall based on biblical evidence, but it doesn't matter if we don't know what the day is, the 25th of December will probably work. Christians ought to be at least informed about it, am I answering your question.

Juan: Yes you are do you have any books about Christmas?

Pastor Doug: Yes, we actually have a book that talks about this, it's called Baptized Paganism.

Juan: I do think there's a lot of paganism in Christmas, I celebrate thanks giving but I don't believe in the whole Santa Claus thing.

Pastor Doug: That's the point. If the world is going to remember the first coming of Jesus-- let's face it a pastor looks really weird if he's going preach about the Jesus' birth in July. It's such a seasonal custom in our culture that everyone remembers the birth of Jesus during this time of year, that you may as well take advantage of it and talk to people about those verses of the Bible, talk about the gift of God's Son.

There's wonderful theology in the first coming of Jesus in so many of those stories, even though it's been commercialized like crazy, there's still good that comes from it and the gift of God's son and there's nothing wrong with giving gifts, but there's a lot of pagan trappings that have come out of heathen religions connected with Christmas that I think Christians should avoid, that's why you've got to call and ask for our resource on baptized paganism.

Pastor Ross: The number to call 800-835-6747, you can ask for the book called Baptized Paganism, I'll be happy to send it to you Juan or anybody who calls and asks. It's 800-835-6747.

Our next call is Henry and he is listening from Bronx New York, Henry welcome to the program.

Henry: Yes, good evening, thanks for taking my call. Back in the day of Noah, why was it forbidden for his two sons to walk backwards and cover up his nakedness?

Pastor Ross: This is after the flood, that must be Genesis 9 or 10. After the flood Noah planted a vineyard, he drank the wine it was fermented he got drunk they had never done this before and I don't know that they understood fully what the effects would be, Noah was staggering around in his tent drunk.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they covered their nakedness, there was a modesty there. Even in front of each other and they were married. When Noah, who is the patriarch of the world at that time did this, his son Ham came in, instead of trying to cover his father, respect him and say this is unfortunate, he went out and he told everybody "dad is running around" and evidently told his grandson too because Canaan was cursed as well as his father, said "grandpa was running around naked in the tent, get a load of this."

His brothers on the other hand said, he's your father you should respect your father, that's one of the 10 commandments in spite of the fact of what he's doing is embarrassing. They walked in backwards, covered his nakedness, they wouldn't even have the image in their mind.

It was a question of parental respect where Ham was mocking his father and that's why he was cursed for that. Does that make sense Henry?

Henry: Yes, I heard you mention something about Hollywood with the10 Commandments, he was not having an affair with Pharaoh's daughter.

Pastor Ross: If I remember it my mother is actually in that movie, [laughs] if I remember right, Moses has a romantic relationship with the lady that ends up being the Pharaoh's wife. I'm pretty sure that's correct.

Henry: She was in love with him, but according to the movie, I have the movie here. He did not have an affair with her.

Pastor Doug: Well when I said an affair, he had a romantic relationship with Pharaoh's wife. Of course that's totally extra Biblical, that's not the Bible. We don't want to stray too far into talking about Hollywood's renditions, I appreciate your call Henry and hope that helps a little with your question.

Pastor Ross: We've got Phil listening from Grand Rapids Michigan, Phil welcome to the program.

Phil: Thanks for taking my call, I know that many Christians do believe that babies are resurrected as babies, but if we're going to believe that babies are resurrected as babies, wouldn't it make sense to believe that the elderly are going to be resurrected as elderly, the disabled are going to be resurrected as disabled.

Pastor Ross: No, well because I don't think childhood is not a curse or a disability. In other words before there was sin Phil, God never intended people to get old, decrepit, wrinkled and die, but he did intend for people who are healthy and sinless to have children that would grow up.

Childhood is part of God's original plan, there's nothing sinful or wrong about it and you do have in Isaiah 11, Pastor Ross where it says "The child will play”, speaking of heaven it says “For as the new heavens and the earth that I will make”, he talks about the wolf will lay down with a lamb and the child will play on the hole of a venomous serpent.

Pastor Doug: Its Isaiah chapter 11:8. In order for there to be children playing on the hole of snake and not be hurt, there has to be children there. Then there's another one that says the children, speaking of the New Jerusalem, children will play in the streets.

There's a number of prophecies about the new earth, the New Jerusalem that talk about children, so I think they will be resurrected as children, they will grow there but they'll never grow old.

You're right, grandma when she's raised is going be ravishing. She'll have a beautiful healthful look but she'll have an experience and a knowledge that gives her, her character.

Phil: Do you believe that all the created have a sinful nature then.

Pastor Doug: Do I believe-- say that one more time

Phil: Do you believe that everybody is born with a sinful nature?

Pastor Doug: I think we're all born with a selfish nature since the fall of Adam and without a miracle of a new birth and getting that new heart we will naturally gravitate towards sin because we are selfish.

Where Adam and Eve when they were made, they were made where it was natural for them to love God and their fellow man. What sin did was it turned the compass needle from north to south so instead of us looking out of ourselves and being naturally loving others, we became in love with ourselves, that's where the devil came from, he turned the needle around, made himself God, love for self more than others.

Great Commandments, love the Lord, love your neighbor as yourself, sin turns it around love yourself first. I think we're all born with these selfish natures. It's only through conversion. If we're only born once, we'll die twice, you died the second death, you've got to be born twice. You've got to be born once physically and then born again. Everybody has to be born again.

If you're born once you died twice, if you're born twice you die once. I hope that helps a little Phil and by the way we've got a book, I'd like to send you if you'd like look at, it it's called Three Steps To Heaven send it to you for free .

Pastor Ross: The number to call 800-835-6747, you can ask for the book called Three Steps To Heaven. Again that's 800-835-6747, our next caller is Steve, listening from Illinois, Steve welcome to the program.

Steve: Good evening Pastors.

Pastor Doug: Evening, get real close to your phone Steve. Illinois is a long way from California.

Steve: [laughs] I was reading recently and I wonder if you could verify this or clear this up for me in the Great Controversy, there's a passage where it says that Lucifer repented at some point after he created war in heaven and I was wondering if that's Biblical I know there's some things in relation with the king of Tyre--

Pastor Doug: That's not in the Bible. I don't think that's in the Bible. I don't think you're going find a verse that says Lucifer repented, I do think it's true that when Lucifer realized what he lost being cast out of heaven, he had a regret but that regret-- it even says that Judas repented then he went and hung himself.

There's a couple of kinds of repentance. One repentance is you're sorry for the consequence of your sin. The other kind of repentance is you're sorry about what you've done because it's hurt God it's hurt others and you wouldn't do it again.

Pharaoh repented whenever there was a plague but as soon as the plague was gone he went back to his bad behavior. That's the kind of repentance Lucifer probably felt when he was evicted from heaven.

Steve: It just seems contrary to me, to God's nature, to not forgive his first opportunity I suppose to forgive somebody.

Pastor Doug: The Lord is long suffering and merciful and if there's ever a redeemable quality, if there's hope of someone being saved God will do all he can to save. I think Lucifer had reached the end. He had reached a point of no return and committed the unpardonable sin.

I think his repentance that's spoken of in the book Great Controversy which I agree with. I think his repentance there is the repentance of Judas and Pharaoh, it's not sorrow for sin, it's regretting his punishment.

Steve: So it's not technically repentance, it's more regret.

Pastor Doug: Exactly the word's used interchangeably. Thank you very much Steve, appreciate your question.

Pastor Ross: Eve Lauren, listening from Huntsville Arizona Lauren, welcome to the program.

Lauren: Thank you for taking my call this evening. My questions is in regards to the Sabbath. The Bible is very clear about that. When I was listening to a similar radio program where people write in questions about the Bible and someone asked the question about is the Sabbath required for salvation and the person that answered the question tried to say that it was not and he even went so far as to liken the Sabbath to the Jewish custom of circumcision.

He tried to use the verse Colossians 2:16 to verify that, and that brought up two questions in my mind. One, is circumcision still something we should be considering today as far as believers and secondly, what exactly does Colossians 2:16 mean in reference to the Sabbath?

Pastor Doug: We'll deal with this two separately and I'll have to talk quick. First of all, it's totally irrational for me to compare circumcision with one of the Ten Commandments. Circumcision doesn't appear in the Ten Commandments, when God spoke the Ten Commandments, he didn't mention circumcision.

Circumcision was a ceremonial law that was given after sin, given to Abraham, Paul's very clear circumcision doesn't matter, uncircumcision doesn't matter and then he goes on and says but the keeping of the commandments is what matters. I forget that verse in Galatians. Circumcision is nothing uncircumcision is nothing but keeping the law of the commandments is what matters.

Pastor Ross is looking that up for me right now. When God gave the Sabbath, it was before there was even sin. It's in Genesis 2 and he says, remember it. There were later ceremonial Sabbath's, annual Sabbath's connected with the feast days that were given, like Passover and Yom Kippur and the day of atonement. You got that verse?

Pastor Ross: First Corinthians chapter 7:19. It says, "Circumcision in nothing and uncircumcision is nothing but keeping the commandments of God is what matters".

Pastor Doug: All right, Lauren. There's a verse right there that says circumcision is not one of the commandments and so to compare the two is not valid. There may be some health benefits they've discovered connected with circumcision but it's certainly not mandated and I want to also make it clear that nobody's saved by keeping any of the Ten Commandments, we're saved by grace.

The question is, when we are saved, will we want to keep the law because we love God. Jesus said, if you love me, keep my Commandments and that would be all ten. The idea that God's people no longer need that day of rest and worship is ludicrous and the pastors who teach this, there in church every Sunday. They have no problem with the Sabbath if you say you keep it on Sunday. They have problem on Sabbath if you say, you keep it on the seventh day.

Let's look at Colossians 2 quickly. It says in verse 16, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink or in respect of a holiday, new moon or Sabbath days which are a shadow." He says, there are Sabbath days, the annual ceremonial Sabbaths, which were shadows of things to come. That's not talking about the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments. You'll also notice, it's plural, it's it's small 's', the translators understood it was talking about these ceremonial Sabbath's.

The idea that one of the Ten Commandments, the longest of the Ten Commandments, the only one of the Ten Commandments that says, remember would be the one we're to forget. The only of the Ten Commandments where the word holy appears. The one that talks about our sacred time with God.

For pastors to say that that doesn't matter. Jesus said whoever therefore shall break on of the least of these Commandments and teach men so, he will be spoken of as the least in the kingdom of heaven. Anyway, Lauren, I hope that helps a little bit but it's dangerous business to be teaching that.

Pastor Ross: You know, we have a book called, Does God's Grace Blot Out of the Law. [crosstalk] Anybody who wants to learn more on the subject, then number to call for our resource line is 800-835-6747. You can ask for the book called, Does God's Grace Blot Out of the Law.

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Testimony: I grew up in a church going family. We were 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 and 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 and I tried to fill it with drugs, alcohol, with partying. After college, I just start 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 word. 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 ministries but this was the first time and he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible to actually pick it up and I've never heard this before. Let me look through and find this. I went through all the storacles, I went through all the study guides and I just couldn't get enough.

Then the Sabbath came on and he's going through the appeal and I'm just going "Lord, I hear you, I have to go to 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 just came back from a liquor store and grabbed a bottle of vodka and there I am, high off cocaine with my Bible in hand, trying to do a Bible study and I heard an audible voice, "just look at yourself." Then, I did and I was like, what am I doing? I got all my knees, 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 was going to end 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 from me. It was all God. When God does something in your life, he does it complete.

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