The Sign of Jonah

The Sign of Jonah

Scripture: Exodus 30:38, Revelation 17:5
Date: 10/23/2016 
Back in 1982, the Almeida family lost a beloved pet. The red-footed tortoise named Manuela, mysteriously disappeared from the home in the suburbs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The mystery was solved recently when Leandro Almeida was cleaning out the storage shed. In the process, he placed an old wooden box with the record player on the pavement for the trash collectors to pick up. Then a neighbor walking by asked, "You're not throwing out the turtle as well, are you?" At that moment, Leandro turned

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Speaker 1: Welcome to Bible Answers Live, where you’ll get honest answers to your Bible questions. Let's face it, it's not always easy to understand everything you read in the Bible. With 66 books and more than 700,000 words, the Bible can generate a lot of questions. If you like answers to your Bible questions, you've come to the right place. Now, here's your host, Pastor Doug Batchelor. President and Speaker of Amazing Facts.

Doug: Hello, friends. This is Doug Batchelor. Would you like to hear an amazing fact? Back in 1982, the Almeida family lost a beloved pet. The red-footed tortoise named Manuela, mysteriously disappeared from the home in the suburbs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The mystery was solved recently when Leandro Almeida was cleaning out the storage shed. In the process, he placed an old wooden box with the record player on the pavement for the trash collectors to pick up. Then a neighbor walking by asked, "You're not throwing out the turtle as well, are you?" At that moment, Leandro turned white and said, "I just couldn't believe what I was seeing." In the box, with the old record player, was their long, lost tortoise still alive after more than 30 years. Leandro's sister, Lenita, who had been given the tortoise as a childhood pet told the local news, "We are all thrilled to have Manuela back. But no one can understand how she managed to survive her 30 years in a box. It's just unbelievable." Even the experts are stumped. Jeferson Peres, a Rio veterinarian, said that red-footed tortoises have been known to go without eating for two or three years in the wild but 30 years is totally off the charts. He speculated that Manuela survived by licking condensation and eating small insects that crawled into the box. Being stuck in the box for 30 years sounds even worse than being trapped in a whale for three days. Stay with us friends. We're going to learn more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.

Speaker 1: You're listening to Bible Answers Live, honest answers to your Bible questions. Our phone lines are now open. If you have a Bible related question, call us at 1-800-GOD-SAYS, that's 1-800-463-7297. Now, let's join our host, Pastor Doug Batchelor and our co-host Pastor Jean Ross.

Doug: Welcome listening friends to Bible Answers Live, one of the best possible uses of talk radio is to talk about the word of God. If you got a question about the Bible, this is the program. We'll do our best to answer it together. The phone number lines are wide open right now, 800-GOD-SAYS, 800-463-7297. We know we've got a lot of friends that are out on the road listening on satellite radio. Give us a call, 800-GOD-SAYS with your Bible questions. That's 800-463-7297 and we'll do our best to search the word and find some answers together. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Jean: My name is Jean Ross. Good evening, friends and Pastor Doug. Let's begin the program with prayer. Dear Father in heaven, we thank you once again that we have this opportunity to study the Bible together. We ask for the Holy Spirit to come guide our hearts and minds. Lead us Lord into a clear understanding of scripture. For we ask in Jesus name. Amen.

Doug: Amen.

Jean: Well, Pastor Doug you opened the program by talking about a remarkable tortoise. Talk about endurance. 30 years in a box and of course, as you mentioned, they think maybe it lived on eating some kind of ant or grub that found its way into the box. [laughs]

Doug: Termites, something. They're not sure. It's got everybody mystified.

Jean: Remarkable. Yes.

Doug: I think the story even appeared in National Geographic because they thought it was astounding. It was the family pet. They all witnessed it. I guess it had some peculiar markings on it. Poor thing. I wonder how he felt after, if your turtles could talk.

Jean: Set free. [laughs]. Yes.

Doug: “You just forgot about me for 30 years.” But it made me think that turtles can actually, and this was a tortoise, but turtles can put themselves in the form of suspended animation. They can restrict their breathing and slow down their metabolism. They bury themselves in the mud but tortoises, this have never been known of before. It made me think about people always read the miracles in the Bible saying that could never happen. We hear about miracles all the time. When it tells us that a man could be in a fish for three days and three nights and come out alive, you're right. That is incredible. That is hard to believe. That's why it's in the Bible, it's a miracle that it happened. But I believe it happened because Jesus said that happened. Matter of fact, you can read about this in Matthew 12.

Christ said what happened to Jonah is very important of that. It's actually a sign of his ministry. If you read Matthew 12:38 some of the Scribes and Pharisees answered and said to Jesus, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you." But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulteress generation seeks after a sign. Those sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish so the son of man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The man of Nineveh will rise up in the judgement with this generation and condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. Indeed, a greater than Jonah is here."

That really must have been something to be stuck in a fish all that time. But the bigger question is, what did Jesus mean when He said the only sign given to that generation will be the sign of Jonah. He could have pointed to a hundred Old Testament miracle. He could have said the liger, the water under the rock or something but He said Jonah. Well, if you look at the story of Jonah, it's very interesting that for three days and three nights, Jonah was in the heart of the earth. Now some people think that's anonymous to when Jesus was in the tomb.

But it says three days and three nights. Heart of the earth does not mean the tomb. It's talking about when Christ began suffering for us. Thursday night, when the mob came and arrested Him. Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, He was in the clutches of the devil. He was a captive. He suffered for the penalty of our sins, rose Sunday morning. But even more than that, after Jonah came out of the fish, the fish burped him out on dry land. He went to Nineveh, says it was a great city, three days journey and then he entered the city half a day and he began to preach that in 40 days it would be destroyed.

Well, Jesus didn't preach three and a half days. Jesus preached three and a half years and said in 40 years, there wouldn't be one stone left on another in the temple. I think that's where Jesus said He was a sign, Jonah was a sign to this generation because Jesus was there saying, "Repent, for judgement is coming in 40 years." Remember on the way to the cross, He said to the women of Jerusalem, "Don't weep for me. Weep for yourselves because the days are coming when they all hit you in on every side." He foretold several times that this great judgement was coming on Jerusalem which came exactly 40 years later.

Now, there's a lot more about Jonah and Jesus that you could learn. Of course, Jesus slept in a boat during a storm. Jonah slept in a boat during a storm. There are other things. The Bible says there was casting lots at the cross, there is casting lots in the book of Jonah. I'm not going to tell you anymore because this is a book we want to send you that draws the parallels between that four chapter book called Jonah, one of that great books in the Old Testament in the life of Jesus that will really excite you friends and it's free.

Jean: The number to call is 800-835-6747. That is a free resource phone line and you can ask for the book called The Sign of Jonah. We'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and ask. Again, that number is 800-835-6747. If you have a Bible question, to reach us here in the studio the number is 800-463-7297, that's 463-7297. Pastor Doug, this time of the year, just the other day I was passing some stores and of course all of the Halloween stuff is out there and you got skeletons and ghosts. People sometimes ask, "Well, what really happens when a person dies. Can the dead actually come back and speak to the living?" Well, we do have a website that deals with the subject called ghosttruth.com.

Doug: We get that question a lot this time of year. I was at a building supply place, you think you're going to get two by four and they're selling Halloween material there. [laughs] But, yes, of course, it's the skeletons and it's the witches and all these kind of ghoulish images and we get a lot of questions about seances and the dead during Halloween. It's supposed to be sort of a high day for the people in the cult, and they say they're communicating with the dead but not according to the Bible. If you would like to know more about what does the Bible about it. Are there ghosts? What are these demons? Go to the website ghosttruth. It's a very popular site. It's got Bible answers to these issues. ghosttruth.com.

Jean: Yes. Alright. Our first caller for this evening is Denise, listening in Toronto. Denise, welcome to the program.

Denise: Hi.

Doug: Good evening. Thanks for calling. Your question?

Denise: Basically, I wanted to know, what will happen to a person if they die unrepented but they were Christian all along?

Doug: Well, what you're saying, if you don't mind my challenging your question a little bit, Denise, is if they're Christian but you're saying they die without repenting.

Denise: Yes, if something happened instantly and they died within that moment.

Doug: Oh, I see what you're saying, typically a Christian is going to repent as soon as they're convicted of evil. I think God is very gracious and some people say well, can you have no assurance of salvation and does that mean that if a person has been a Christian for years and they just make one mistake are they going to die right away? Well, it is dangerous to sin and presume on God's grace. There is a story in the Bible of Ananias and Sapphira who are church members, but they told a lie. Even though it did not seem like a big lie. They told a lie or some people would call it a half truth, about an offering they were giving and they dropped dead. I don't think they're going to be saved, because Peter said, you didn't lie to man, you lied to God, so it is a dangerous thing for a Christian to feel easy about sinning, and so at the same time, God is not trying to catch us and allow the devil to end our lives while we are in an unrepentant state, so we shouldn't be living in fear, but at the same time we should be afraid to sin.

We don't want to deliberately sin, so a person may have been a Christian for years and the answer to that, now where is it, Pastor Ross, in Ezekiel 18, it says, " But if the righteous man turns from all his righteousness and does that which is evil, he will die in his sin.” I don't think God is going to try to catch us, Denise, in a moment of weakness. I think Denise's line dropped off number four, you still there, Denise? Are you there? Some of our phone system--

Jean: Sometimes it does that. Yes, by the way the verse you're referring to there, Pastor Doug, is Ezekiel 3:20.

Doug: Yes.

Jean: Ezekiel 3:20.

Doug: A righteous man turns from his righteousness, yes, he will die in a lost condition, but if we hang on to the Lord, he said, he'll never let go of us.

Jean: We do have a study guide, actually it's a book that I think you'll enjoy, it's called, "Is it easier to be saved or lost?” We’ll send that to you, Denise, or anybody who wants to learn more about this, just give us a call on the phone number 800- 835-6747, and you can ask for the book, "Is it easier to be saved or to be lost?"

Doug: It's free.

Jean: Absolutely. Our next call is Carlton, listening from Huntsville, Alabama. Carlton, welcome to the program.

Carlton: Yes.

Pastor: Hi, thanks for your call.

Carlton: Okay. Thank you.

Jean: Your question?

Carlton: My question is about, unclean beings like pigs, vultures, scavengers, were they created after the fall of man or were they there before then and what was the purpose if they were?

Doug: Yes, well, I don't believe God created new species of creatures afterwards, there’s no record in the Bible. All of these animals have a purpose. Now, of course after sin, before there was death, these animals probably ate other things. The Bible tells us that in Heaven, the lion and the bear will eat straw like the ox and in heaven, people will not be carnivorous or omnivores, it’s a vegetarian diet, that was the original diet for men, but after sin, the creation was warped and that's where thorns and thistles came out and some of the animals became predators, but I do believe that pigs and skunks and all those things, they existed before sin but their purpose changed after sin. They became scavengers.

Carlton: Okay.

Doug: Yes, good question. We do have a lesson that talks about, what does the Bible say about the clean and the unclean animals and what are some of the scientific reasons we think that that's in there, and we'll send that to you for free.

Jean: It's called “God's Free Health Plan." We'll be happy to send the study guide to anybody who calls and asks. That number is 800-835-6747, you can ask again for the study guide called "God's Free Health Plan." We'll send that to anybody. Just give us a call. Pastor Dough, just one additional thought on that. When you're reading the Bible account found in Genesis where God curses the serpent and he says, "You are going to go around on your belly." My thinking is this probably around that time, that things began to change even in nature where, for example, the lion became a beast that needed to survive on eating other animals. Prior to that, they ate grass or whatever else, so it seems when the curse came as a result of sin and God cursed the serpent that also extended to the other creatures.

Doug: I think there was another stage it got even worse and that would be after the flood, because the whole environment, the amount of vegetation because bears, they do eat a lot of vegetarian material and some other animals but when it's scarce, they become more carnivores. I think after the flood when a lot of the very lush vegetation that existed before the flood was gone, I think the animals, as they began to multiply started saying, "What else is on the menu?" [laughs]

Jean: Right. All right. This is call is Patrick, listening in Algrove. Patrick, welcome to the program.

Patrick: Hello.

Doug: Hi, you're on the air, Patrick. Thank you for calling, and your question?

Patrick: My question is, I've been reading in the Book of Exodus and I have a question about specifically in Exodus 30:38. Moses says this throughout the whole chapter, he says, “And you will be cut off, after the people have committed certain sins but my question is, what does he mean by cut off? What is he specifically mean by cut off because that could mean a lot of things?

Doug: That is a good question. He says, "That person shall be cut off from his people.” In some cases, it almost sounds like it was an execution, and in other places it sounds like it was a banishment. I think sometimes if they would not obey the laws of Israel, they would be banished, cut off from the people, but other times it seems like the context of cut off is execution that there was a death penalty. I thought the exact same thing, as I read that phrase, “He shall be cut off." You see it several times. Pastor Ross, you have any thoughts on that?

Jean: Yes, it is interesting. Children of Israel, almost all God's people and God promised them a wonderful inheritance and inheritance in the Promised Land but ultimately the inherent of Heaven, those who are faithful to God. To be cut off is almost to be removed from the will so to speak where, you don't receive the promised inheritance, and so those who deliberately turned away from God's law, they were cut off from the inheritance that was promised to the children of Israel, and in many cases, they were banished from the land of Israel or from the brethren. In some cases, like Pastor Doug says, there were consequences, which included death depending upon what the crime was.

Doug: I don't know if that helps a little bit, Patrick. I was trying to do a search here, trying to figure out how many times it actually says that in the Bible. Let’s see, cut off from the people, should be cut off from, yes. No, it says it several times. Numbers it also says, “He shall be cut off; if you sin presumptuously, you'll be cut off from the people.” There again, I think it meant you couldn't have access to the temple, anymore, because that was dealing with the sacrifices. Good question. It's a phrase, let me see, it's 39 times in the Bible. I just finally narrowed it down. Whoever eats leaven bread is cut off, that won’t be a death penalty for eating bread that had leaven in it. I think probably meant that you couldn't approach the temple any more. You're separated.

Another example would be, when you were unclean, like when Miriam sinned, she was sent outside the camp, she was banished for seven days, and I think this is talking about banishment from the people. Good question, Patrick, we appreciate it.

Jean: Our next call is Jerry, listening from Montana. Jerry, welcome to the program.

Jerry: Good evening, pastors.

Doug: Evening.

Jerry: My question is this, where God told Moses to put the Ten commandments alongside the ark.

Doug: Right.

Jerry: It wasn't just ceremonial instruction that he was supposed to lay it alongside the ark.

Doug: Yes, the ceremonial law were placed in a compartment and I’m trying to remember what that verse is, Pastor Ross where, He gave him the Ten Commandments, they were placed in the ark and the testimonies and ordinances were placed in the pocket in the side of the ark. They weren't inside because it's really clear, the only thing in the ark it says was the tables of stone. At one point, they put in a pint of manna and they put in Aaron's rod but by the time those other things had disappeared and the only thing left in there was the stones.

Jerry: Yes, the reason I called is, so many times they try to combine in you you’ve heard it for hundred times but anyway, they try to use that text for an excuse for the Sabbath.

Doug: Yes.

Jerry: I tried looking in my concordance but I might not have looked in the right spot.

Doug: Yes, I'm trying to remember if it's Exodus or Deuteronomy where it says where the law of commandments and ordinance was placed outside the ark.

Jerry: On the outside of the ark, as I remember it.

Doug: I think Pastor Ross is also looking diligently right now, there's so many references where Moses is talking about the ordinances that finding that one might take a minute. Anyway, we will look that up for you, I know it's there I've read it many times and we appreciate your question, Jerry. We do have matter of fact -- it's in our lesson, I bet that verse in our lesson on written in stone. We’ll send you a free copy of that lesson, written in stone, Jerry, and appreciate your calling.

By the way friends, that does free up another line, we got several lines free. Is there a big football game or something going on? [laughs] Sometimes during the Super Bowl, the lines get quiet and but otherwise, they’re usually buzzing. You got a Bible question, good chance you'll get your question on tonight's program, give us a call 800-463-7297 brings your question into the studio. Also, tonight people will often this time of year asking questions about Halloween and you can take a visit, take a look at that website called ghosttruth.com. You'll find a lot of interesting Bible information that addresses some of the cultural beliefs about death.

Jean: If you have a Bible question, the phone line here to the studio is 800-463-7297. If you have a Bible question, this is a good time to pick up your phone and give us a call and get your question on tonight's program. As you mentioned at the beginning of the program, we want to remind everybody, take a look at our website, just recently revamped called ghoststruth.com. A lot of questions about what happens when a person dies or ghosts coming back to haunt people? Well, the Bible has the answer. Take a look at it, ghoststruth.com. Let's discover the reality of really what happens, what the Bible says on this important subject. Again, if you have a Bible question, the phone line is 800-463-7297. If you don't get through right away, well, stay on the phone and we'll try to get to your call as soon as we can.

Pastor, I just following up on the previous call, talking about the Law of God in the Old Testament, we find that there's different types of law. You have the ceremonial law but then you also have the Ten Commandment law. You have laws relating to food, clean and unclean food, and then also, some civil law. We have a book called Feast days and Sabbaths which deals with the ceremonial law, the Ten Commandment law and the importance of both and how we as Christians should relate to the ceremonial law on the various feast days. We’ll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and asks. The number is 800-835-6747, and you can ask for the book called Feast days and Sabbaths.

Doug: I found that verse, Deuteronomy 31:26, take this book of the law and place it beside the Ten Commandments. It was an aside -- Deuteronomy 31:26 is that the verse we were looking for, I think it was for Jerry. It says that in the sight of the ark of the covenant that it may be a witness against you. All right, who's lined up next?

Jean: All right. I think we have Rick, that's going to come through here. Hi Rick, you're on the air.

Rick: Hello, how are you?

Doug: Doing good, thanks for your call.

Rick: Thank you very much for having me. I was curious as to what happened to – if you know was ark landed on -- we're not really sure exactly where he landed but some mountain in Europe, right?

Doug: The mountain is near Turkey, the Mountains of Ararat which is a whole range of mountains.

Rick: Okay. Now, how did the kangaroos and koala bears make their way to Australia because we know for sure they can't swim. That's puzzling me.

Doug: Yes, it's a good question. The theory and this is believed by both Christians and evolutionists is that there’s been tectonic plates that have shifted where Christians and evolutionist disagree is the speed. Immediately after the flood, just like a piece of ice skimming on a thin surface of water, these plates -- there was a time in the Bible it says—I think it is in Genesis 10. It talks about in the days of Peleg, the earth was divided and some of the marsupials were on this section of land that drifted off and separated from the other continents as big mammoth continent called Pangea, they call it.

It was isolated and so you've got a lot of marsupials in Australia been there before. There are similarities between the marsupials you'll find in Australia and some other parts of the world. But whenever they're separated for thousands of years they kind of have what you call micro-evolution. They develop unique characteristics.

Jean: The verse you're referring to there is Genesis 10:25, talking about the earth being divided.

Doug: Yes. It's a continental shift that took place not too long after the flood. Now, they don't swim very well, do they? Koalas and Kangaroos, you still there?

Rick: I’m not asking too much, can I ask one more question?

Doug: Sure.

Rick: I’ve read Genesis, I don’t know how many times but there's no specific statement that says that Jesus did all of this or God, which is He is really in a 24-hour period. Like if God's been around forever, would he not have created the galaxies and everything? I’m just thinking with my own mind. He said one day as a thousand years, therefore it's quite possible that it took a little while to do this because there were no clocks for this stuff. I don't know if this makes any sense at all, but I was wondering if you could elaborate a little on that.

Doug: Yes, of course. It's tells us in the Bible in six days the Lord made heaven earth, you're wondering if those days were really epics or ages and they could have been 6000 years or six million years. But the way it's worded in the Bible, if we're going to be consistent in the hermeneutics and interpreting the Bible. It tells us the evening and the morning were the first day, the evening and the morning were the second day. All the language makes it clear that it's very tight. Hey, we’re going to take a break, we will be back in just a few minutes, friend, going to catch your breath still, not too late to give us a call, 800-GOD-SAYS brings you to the studio with your Bible question.

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Stay tuned Bible Answers Live will return in a moment.

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Throughout recorded history, tales of ghosts and spirits can be found in folklore in nearly every country and culture. Egyptians build pyramids to help guide the spirits of their leaders, Rome sanctioned holidays to honor and appease the spirits of their dead. Even the Bible tells of a king that used a witch to contact the spirit of a deceased prophet. Today, ancient folklore of spirits and apparitions have gone from mere superstitions to mainstream entertainment and reality. Scientific organizations investigate stories of hauntings and sightings, trying to prove once and for all the existence of ghosts. Even with all the new-found technology and centuries of stories all over the world, there is still no clear-cut answer. How do we know what's true? Why do these stories persist? Does it even matter? We invite you to look inside and find out for yourself. Visit deathtruth.com.

Every Bible question you have answered moves you one step closer to the fullness of God's will for your life, what are you waiting for? Get the answers you need for a fuller, richer, more life. You're listening to Bible Answers Live. We still have a few phone lines open, if you have a Bible related question, call us at 1-800-GOD-SAYS, that's 800-463-7297. Now, let's join pastors Doug Batchelor and Jean Ross for more Bible Answers Live.

Doug: We’re back listening, friends, and for those who may have joined us along the way, this is Bible Answers Live. We still have a couple lines open, that number again 800-463-7297. This is a live international interactive Bible study. my name is Doug Batchelor.

Jean: My name is Jean Ross. We’re going to go to the phone lines, try and get as many calls in this next 30 minutes as we can. Again, if you have a Bible related question, the phone line is 800-463-7297. Our next caller is Bruce, listening in Pennsylvania. Bruce welcome to the program.

Bruce: Thank you very much.

Doug: Yes, thanks for calling.

Bruce: Can you hear me?

Doug: Yes, loud and clear.

Bruce: [chuckles] Okay, thank you. I really appreciated your comments about marriage and how we as believers and members of the church are accountable in some ways for adultery -- for accepting adulterous or homosexual marriages. I was wondering if you could give me a scripture reference to other sinful behaviors such as abortion. If believers endorsed candidates that endorse abortion, are they also held to account.

Doug: Well, we need to be very careful when we put people into office because to some extent, we can vicariously be responsible for encouraging bad policy. Everybody is accountable for those actions. There's no scripture that mentions abortion per se. There are verses that are pretty clear that God considered human life to be sacred after conception. You have everything from even when David sinned with Bathsheba, she said to David, “I am with child,” she didn’t say I'm with a fetus, they always referred to it as a living being. Of course, when John the Baptist was in vitro with Elizabeth, he rejoiced when Mary knocked on the door and she was pregnant with Jesus, and she said the babe rejoiced and leapt within me at your tidings.

The language in the Bible is pretty clear that they believe that once a person was with child that there was something sacred about that. If human life begins what is the starting point and really the only time that you could point to, you can't say, well, after this many months and it has these many cells and it’s got 500 cells, and this is developing -- People are just trying to move the definition once conception takes place, there is a spark of life and it begins to grow all through its life before and after birth. Life would begin at conception which means that terminating that life would be serious business. Of course, this is in our cultures, it’s in our candidates, people need to keep be advised of what they're voting for when they vote.

Bruce: If believers endorse or vote for candidates that say they will promote what God is against, are they held account?

Doug: Yes, that’s probably one of several issues that are on the table. There's a lot of – that, of course, is a very serious issue. The candidates -- I want to be very careful not to go in any specific party or candidate. There is also the issues about, the views on marriage and things that used to be sacred to Americans, it seems like a lot is changing. Well, we just need to pray, the Bible is pretty clear we need to pray for our leaders and pray for our country because it's looking pretty frightening right now. Hey, I appreciate your call, Bruce, hope that helps answer your question.

Jean: Our next caller is Britney, listening from Amarillo, Texas. Britney, welcome to the program.

Britney: Hi, I’m going to try to make this as clear as possible. I was raised that people have spirits – and that when you die whether you’re a Christian or a non-believer, the kind of death you experience -- My question is what is the biblical contextual--

Doug: Britney, your phone, I don’t know if you're on wireless or but if you got a handheld actually, I think we may have lost you. You’re asking about the spirit. Your phone is breaking up with a digital break up and I think we lost you. You're asking a question if I understand correctly about the spirit, what verses talk about the spirit. What part of man goes to be with God? Is this the good and the evil? What does it mean in the Bible? Where it says that when a person dies, the dust returns the earth as it was and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

You'll find that in Ecclesiastes 12:7. Well, the spirit that returns to God is not a little ghost of you. It’s the word spirit there is a Hebrew word ruach, and it means the breath. Just like God breathe into Adam and he became a living soul. Job says, “All the while the spirit of God is in my nostrils.” Well, you don't usually think of a little spirit or ghost being in your nose, he was talking about the breath of God being in your nostrils.

When a person dies, the power of life, the breath of life returns to God who gave it. The body returns to earth. The essence of who you are comes back to life at the resurrection when God reunites that essence, it’s like I've got a jump drive plugged into my computer, it’s got all my files on it. It's absolutely useless when it's on my jump drive. when I plug it into the computer and put in the right software, it comes to life. Well, that’s a crude illustration but God's got the data on who we are. It's not conscious and floating around without a body. When the resurrection happens, God places the essence of who we are back in our bodies and we experience consciousness again. That's why Jesus said, otherwise you're asleep. When Lazarus died, Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep.”

Jean: We have a study guide called, “Are the dead really dead?” It deals with this very verse in this very subject. We’ll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. The number to call is 800-835-6747, you can answer the study guide called, “Are the dead really dead.” We’ll be happy to send it to anybody who calls and asks. Our next caller is Carol. Carol is listening in Oakland, California. Carol, welcome to the program.

Carol: Hi, good evening.

Doug: Good evening, thanks for calling.

Carol: Thank you for taking my call. I've been conflicted and confused about holidays and still trying to make up my mind about God, I should say. I look to the churches but when I see them celebrating Halloween parties, they have rabbit for Easter or they have Santa at Christmas. I get confused as to, is that okay to celebrate those holidays in some of the secular ones?

Doug: Well, there's obviously -- let’s just talk about the Christmas, Easter, first. There's no commandment to celebrate either of those. There are pagan trappings connected with Christmas because Jesus was very likely born in the fall, the Bible is pretty clear on that. The date of Christmas was picked by the church hundreds of years after Christ in an attempt to try to win over some of the sun worshipers that were in Rome. To them, the big holiday was the 25th that was when the days were the shortest in the year and they finally got longer, I think the shortest day in winter is solstice, at least in the northern hemisphere is the 21st, and the day stay about the same length and the first noticeably longer the 25th, they always call that the birth of the sun.

The Christians said, “Look, let's pick a birthday for Jesus and try and win over some of these sun worshipers.” A lot of the pagan rituals connected with Christmas. I think the Christian should avoid and if you’re going to do it, Paul says, in Romans 14, if you are going to regard it, you regard it to the Lord. Talk about the gift of God's son and so forth. Even with Easter, Jesus did rise that time of year but there's a lot of pagan spring rites that are connected with Easter that have nothing to do with the Bible, bunnies and eggs, it's all from the pagan fertility rites but Halloween is the really nothing Christian about it. It comes from a Druid celebration and a combination of some of the Fall Harvest Festivals that they had but it was always mixed with the occult, and sacrificing to the Pagan Gods for their harvest. You could actually look at the website talking about Death Truth or Ghost Truth and their stuff there. I don't think that Christian should get involved in that. That doesn't mean when trick or treat has knocked on your door, if you're in the suburbs, that you're supposed to open the door and yell at them and slam the door and say, we don't believe in Halloween. I mean, you can probably do something redeeming and give them something good but use it as witnessing opportunity, but yes, I wanted to send my kids out trick or treat. I don't know, did that sound like a convoluted answer, Carol?

Carol: No, no. It didn't but I just feel like I'm being, where to use that word, legalistic to people that know me, if I see those things that are not godly and those holidays, and I even see churches have--

Doug: You're not being legalistic. If your friends think that and that's their issue but if you say, "Look, I've got convictions that some of these holidays, that it's become commercial, and it's got pagan roots, and I'm not comfortable," they ought to respect that. That's what, again, what Paul said in Romans 14, he said, "If you do not regard the day, then to the Lord you're not regarded and you should not judge each other about these things," so they have no right to judge you.

Carol: What’s that verse?

Doug: Romans 14. You can start with Verse 1, I guess Verse 5 is where that part begins and--

Carol: Romans 14. Okay.

Doug: Romans 14. Yes, it talks about judging people regarding keeping up days. Paul was talking about some of the Jewish converts to Christianity where telling the Christians, you need to remember the day of atonement, and pass over, and the annual Jewish feast. Paul said, "No, they don't. Those things were fulfilled in Christ and if you want to, go ahead, and if you don't, don't judge your brother." They had the same kind of issue back then but it were different feast days they were talking about.

Carol: Different things, so if you were at a family gathering and they had nothing but Santa, they didn't even really believe in God, so I just sometimes wonder why they even celebrate Christmas because—[laughs]

Doug: Well, you're asking a great question, it's a very practical question. Sometimes, I might be with family that is not of a Christian persuasion and there's grandkids and people there and they're making a big deal about Santa. You have to know when to have good judgement to hold your peace and to be diplomatic. You don't have to barge out and sometimes you just grin and bear it. All of us when with family, [laughs] you have to sometimes just love them and they don't understand. I've got a lot unbelieving family, I just went to a wedding where there's drinking and stuff going on, I would never do but this is some of my closest family and I wanted to be there to support the marriage. It's awkward.

Carol: I guess we just leave it to God to decide whether we, because I heard the sermon the other day and it really convicted me, and I'm trying to decide what I believe about Jesus and God, and it talks about not just believing in Jesus to keep from going to hell. But you really know that you're going along the right path when you're doing things to please Him.

Doug: Yes. Absolutely, and you want to do it because you love the Lord. Carol, instead of focusing too much right now on how to react to the holidays, you would really be blessed by the Amazing Facts Bible Study course because it just goes through the foundations of what does it mean to be a believer. It's free, and no one's going to knock on your door to try and sell you make up products. You just ask for this free Bible study course, they will send it to you and I promise you, it will change your life.

Jean: The number to call is 800-835-6747. Carol, just say you'd like to sign up for the free Amazing Facts Bible Study. Ask for the Amazing Facts and Bible Studies, it's absolutely free, we'll send it to you in the mail. Our next caller is Carol, listening in California. Carol, welcome to the program.

Carol: Hi. How are you folks? Thank you for taking my call.

Doug: Doing good. Thank you.

Carol: Yes. I have a question for Doug. I have listened to 3ABN two Sabbaths ago, and you were speaking on abortions. My question -- and I may have not understood what you've said, but from what I understood, if someone has done that, then because they robbed the child of making a decision to serve God or not, they’re gulity and forever it can't be fixed, like even if you ask forgiveness so—the mother would be lost forever?

Doug: No, not necessarily. It's a sin but it's not the unpardonable sin. I'm not sure what program you watch, but I don't think I've ever said, because sometimes I shoot programs on different networks. They may have been taped five years ago, I don't know. But my belief is, that abortion is a sin. A lot of people do it in ignorance, the culture acts it's just having a cavity filled, and so there are people who aren't aware of the gravity of what's happening and God knows that, He looks on the heart. Whenever a person confesses the sin and repents of a sin, the promise is, in First John, that if we confess and repent his faithful and just to forgive us, and it cleanses more on righteousness. Now, that doesn't mean that a child will suddenly now be born. There are consequences to our sins that will never change, that's probably what you heard me say. But it doesn't mean that there's no forgiveness. I mean God forgave David for adultery and murder of a friend, and so certainly, there is forgiveness. I want to make sure you understand that loud and clear, you just tell the Lord, confess your sin, repent of your sin and God promises He'll look upon you as you're born again and you're a new creature.

Carol: Even though the child never had the chance--

Doug: You can't decide-- Well, there's all kinds of ways that we sin where we affect other people. We cannot take back those consequences. Let me give you another quick example from the Bible. There was a King of Judah whose name was Manasseh, and he was not a good man and he killed the prophet Isaiah. He killed several people, he even made some of his children pass through the fire, which means he offered them to Pagan Fire Gods, Moloch, and others. Just think, well that's the unpardonable sin but he repented of his sins and God forgave him. If God can forgive people like Manasseh, then of course, there's hope, but it doesn't mean now that there will be cases where children are resurrected in the new earth, and be reunited with their parents. You see what I'm saying? There's still hope in that respect but the other consequences for earth anyway, we can't always reverse that. Thank you very much, Carol, I hope it gives you a little encouragement and that answers that question.

Jean: Our next call is Evan, listening in New Jersey. Ivan, welcome to the program.

Ivan: Hello. How are you?

Doug: Doing well. Thank you for calling.

Ivan: Thank you. I'm calling about Revelations 17. My explanation of it and the focus . Is that verse talking about actual physical woman? I'm trying to understand the concept of that chapter.

Doug: All right. I will answer the first part of your question and then Jean, Pastor Ross, he loves Revelation, I'll let him take a stab at it. No, the woman is not a real woman, that woman -- this is a vision John has in and this woman. Bible tells us women represent churches, and a woman that has a paragraph in her forehead that says, "Mother of Harlots" she is an unfaithful church, out of which many other churches came. Keep in mind also, it says those who were saved in the last days have the seal of God in their foreheads too, and so a lot of people have things in their foreheads in Revelation, it's all symbolic of what they believe. Pastor Ross, you have anything to add?

Jean: We not only talk about Babylonian Revelation 17, but if you look at the second angels message in Revelation 14, it says, "Babylon is falling, is falling," Babylon, the name given to a woman, represents a religious institution that also has a great political influence. At the end of time, plays a rather significant role in pulling the world together and at some point, enforcing the mark, the beast. We do have a study guide that goes into this and a lot more detail than we have time to be able to cover here in the program and we will be happy to send anybody the study guide called "The Other Woman". Now, Revelation 12, there is a woman representing God's true church and then Revelation 17, there is another woman which is called “The Other Woman” by the name of Babylon. Will be able to send anyone the study guide called "The Other Woman" just call and ask.

Doug: Yes, also you mentioned the verse on Revelation 14 where it says, Babylon is fallen. Revelation 18, says, “Come out of her, my people.” Obviously, it's a symbol of a church and God is calling His people out of the false into the truth.

Jean: The number to call is 800-835-6747 and you can just ask the study guide called "The Other Woman." Matter of fact, you can ask for two. Also, ask to the one called "The Bride of Christ" that's Revelation 12. "The Other Woman" is Revelation 17. The number again to call is 800-835-6747, ask for the study guide "The Other Woman" and "The Bride of Christ." Our next caller is Florence, listening in Queens, New York. Florence, welcome to the program. Florence, are you there?

Florence: Yes, I'm here. Thank you for taking my call. I enjoy listening to the program. My question is, why does Jesus refer to himself as the Son of Man in many of the Bible verse that I've read?

Doug: Yes, that's a good question. Where is it Pastor Ross? One of the Gospel, He says more than any idea, I forget whether it's Luke or John. Jesus loves to refer himself as the Son of Man. He's also quoting Ezekiel. Frequently, when Ezekiel, God of vision, God said to him, Son of Man, prophesy this, Son of Man, prophesy that. Jesus loves the fact that while He was divine, He was born as a human and He married himself to the human race by becoming one of us. He love to identify, "I am a Son of Man." He seem to rejoice and showing his brotherhood with a human race. He's forever joined with the human race, the incarnation forever put him with a human body and even on the Resurrection, He appeared as man with a glorified body but he was still real so He endured it.

Jean: Yes, I was just looking at the verse here. In the Old Testament, without a doubt, the book has a phrase "The Son of the Man" more than any other is Ezekiel, it's all over the place there. It looks like Matthew is the book where is the most followed by Luke.

Doug: Okay, very good. Hey, thank you very much, Florence. Hope that helps answer that question a little bit. All right.

Jean: Our next caller is Wilfred, listening from Brooklyn, New York. Wilfred, welcome to the program.

Wilfred: Hi, how are you?

Doug: Doing well, how are you?

Wilfred: Not too bad. When Mary and Jesus went to the Feast, the weddings, in the Kingdom of Galilee. Where was Joseph?

Doug: Well, it seems that by the time Jesus began His Ministry, Joseph was either infirmed because he was getting old or he had died. But you don't see Joseph appear anywhere. It refers to him, when Jesus was preaching in Nazareth, it says, is this not the carpenter's son but it doesn't say that Joseph is alive. Whenever Mary comes to talk to Jesus with the brothers, Joseph was never there. Now, Joseph was older than Mary, most commentators agree. How much older? We don't know. But Christ has begun His Ministry till He was 30. Jesus already had some brothers and sisters probably from Joseph's first wife when He was born of Mary and people didn’t live as long back then. I don't know, He may have either died or He was unable to get out that much, and he was home.

Wilfred: Okay, thank you.

Doug: All right, thank you, Wilfred.

Jean: Next call is Grace, listening in Savannah, Tennessee. Grace, welcome to the program.

Grace: Yes, hello.

Doug: Hi, thanks for calling.

Grace: Thanks for taking my call. I’ll try to make it quick. I know it's getting late. Does the Bible have anything to say preferably about embryos?

Doug: Like in human embryos?

Grace: Yes, they look very strange, [laughs] when they're very small.

Doug: [laughs] Well, the Bible doesn't seem about how they look or anything because, of course, they didn’t have an ultrasounds and they didn't have the microscopes or the capability of doing internal photography. They do say, as I mention to an earlier caller that when a woman was pregnant, she would say, "I am with child" and even when the angel came and talk to Samson’s mother, they told her to be very careful about what she ate and how she acted during the time of gestation while she was incubating this baby, that was going to be the strongest man who ever live. That's about all you're going to find in reference to a baby being in embryo. Pastor Ross, we got a minute, can we maybe take one more caller? Thank you, Grace.

Jean: All right. We've got Michael listening from -- let's see, Virginia. Michael, welcome to the program.

Doug: Hi Michael, are you on the air? We got just about 60 seconds, can we do something quick?

Michael: Okay, you guys do a great job, and I really appreciate what you all do. I've gone through a divorce and it wasn't for adultery which is after 20 years we got divorced. I was wondering if the issue is -- can someone remarry and not be in an adulterous relationship?

Doug: Now, were you a Christian?

Michael: Yes, sir.

Doug: How about your wife?

Michael: I'm sorry.

Doug: How about your ex-wife, was she is also a believer?

Michael: Oh, yes, very much so.

Doug: Yet, you divorce through some incompatibility issues.

Michael: Yes, well I would say, we both needed to work on our Christianity. After 21 years, I was probably the least of the believers. [laughs]

Doug: Well, I don't want to treat your question like, it's tried because it's a very important question but I have to give you a quick answer because of time. Says in Matthew that the only grounds for divorce is if there is infidelity that you should not – you don’t have a right really to remarry unless you're going to get reconciled to your wife. We do have a book, we can send you called Divorce, Marriage, and Remarriage. Free copy, call Amazing Facts and we will be happy to send that to you, Michael, go to the resource address. God Bless friends.

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