Corn

Corn

Date: 04/27/2008 
Corn is the most abundant crop growing in the US, more than twice that of any other. It’s also one of the most versatile of all plants.

Wisdom for Life: A 31-Day Devotional in Proverbs by Doug Batchelor

Wisdom for Life: A 31-Day Devotional in Proverbs by Doug Batchelor
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Hello friends! This is Doug Batchelor. How about an amazing fact?

Corn is the most abundant crop growing in the US, more than twice that of any other. It’s also one of the most versatile of all plants. Corn is used to make everything—from flour, syrup, starch, oil, livestock feed to paints, soap, linoleum, nylon, antibiotics, lipstick, and much more. But when corn was first discovered in the Americas, it was nothing like the robust specimens we see blanketing the plains today.

The plants were only about three feet tall, and the small, uneven ears had scattered kernels. Then, in and about 1933, botanists discovered they could combine the best qualities of different varieties of corn to develop vigorous hybrids. They saw this simple act of crossing different strains resulted in healthier plants and up to 50% higher yields. They called this “hybrid vigor.” Today, most of the corn grown in the US Corn Belt is hybrid, and it reaches about eight feet tall. But some varieties grow up to 20 feet tall.

So stay with us, friends. We’re going to learn more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Jëan Ross: Welcome to Bible Answers Live brought to you by Amazing Facts Ministries. Are you looking for a clear, concise answer to your most challenging Bible questions? Maybe you’re struggling to understand difficult passages of Scripture. If so, you’ve come to the right place. Join us now as we open God’s Word to discover His will and find honest, practical answers to your Bible-related questions. This broadcast is pre-recorded. If you have a Bible question, call us Sundays from 7 to 8 P.M. Pacific Standard Time at 800-GOD-SAYS. That’s 800-463-7297. Now, let’s join our host, author, speaker, and evangelist, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Doug: Welcome, listening friends! We are very thankful through either design or providence you found your way to this broadcast. This is Bible Answer Live. It is a live, international, interactive Bible study. And you can participate by calling in with your Bible questions. It’s a toll-free number. We still have lines open, so this is a great opportunity right now. Pick up your phone and call with a Bible question for tonight. That number is 800-GOD-SAYS; that’s an acronym for 800-463-7297.

And my name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Jëan Ross: My name is Jëan Ross. Good evening, listening friends. And welcome again to another hour of Bible Answers Live. Pastor Doug, before we go to the phone lines, let’s start with a word of prayer.

Dear Father, again, we thank You that we can study Your Word. We thank You for the promise of Your Holy Spirit to bring guidance and understanding. So be with us once more, again tonight, and we ask that You would lead. Be with those listening and those that call in. For this we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You spoke a little bit about corn and the amazing uses for corn, and one of the things that stood out to me was you spoke about the height of some types of hybrid corns—20 feet tall.

Pastor Doug: Isn’t that amazing?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yeah. That’s huge!

Pastor Doug: Now, if I’m not mistaken, you used to pastor in the Corn Belt— what they call the Corn Belt— they are across the Midwest.

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s right.

Pastor Doug: And you drive from Missouri…

Pastor Jëan Ross: I worked hours…

Pastor Doug: …nothing but corn, corn, corn! [Laughing]

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s right. Corn and soya beans.

Pastor Doug: That’s right. But now, I guess they’re using a lot of corn—special breeds of it— they’re turning into biofuel that is affecting even food prices. But, you know, I think of that verse in the Bible when the settlers first came, the corn was… it was so puny and sickly compared to what they have now. I’ve seen some of the drawings they had of the original Indian corn. And now, thick, long ears—foot-long plants of 20 feet high— and they call that, of course, “hybrid vigor.”

Jesus said, “Faith is like a grain of mustard seed”— they’re in Mark 4:31-32. It’s like a grain if mustard seed that when it is sown in the earth, it’s less than all the seeds that be in the earth. But when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, shooting out great branches so that the fowl of the air might lodge in the shadow of it. And I can’t help but think that, you know, the Bible tells us God has dealt to all men a measure of faith, and we are saved by grace through faith.

Some people think, “How could I ever be saved? I’ve got all these problems. I’ve got this wicked past.” Friends, you can be completely saved if you use and direct the little faith that you’ve got. Direct it to Jesus. One time, a father said, “Lord, I believe but help my unbelief.” If you’ve got a measure of faith, give it to Him and say, “Lord, I’m coming just like I am. Would You cleanse me? Will You give me some assurance that I can make it?” And the Lord can take that seed of faith that may seem so small and puny, and through crossing it with His Spirit and His power, you get “hybrid vigor”— that faith that will help you to grow up into a new creature in Christ. And we’ve got a free offer that talks to you about how you can have that assurance and that justification.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Absolutely. You know, Pastor Doug, just before we mentioned the name of our free offer this evening, I was reminded of a verse as you spoke— Hebrews 11:6, talking about faith— “But without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

Pastor Doug: That’s right.

Pastor Jëan Ross: A person that comes to God must believe that He is, and that is a reward for those who diligently seek Him. So faith is very important to the Christian.

Well, the little book that we have today as a free offer is entitled, “Assurance: Justification Made Simple.” And it’s free! All you need to do is call our resource number, 1-800-835-6747; 1-800-835-6747. And you can ask for the little booklet, “Assurance: Justification Made Simple.” We’ll be happy to send that out to you. Also, by the way, if you have a question that you’d like to e-mail to us, we’d be happy to get your e-mail question and try to get on the program.

Pastor Doug, our question this evening has something to do with the rice shortage that’s taking place today. I was just coming down listening to the news, and I guess it’s a big deal!

Pastor Doug: Yeah.

Pastor Jëan Ross: There really is a shortage of rice!

Pastor Doug: Here in California, at least in Northern California, believe it or not, people don’t thing of Sacramento as rice country, but when you fly over, this is rice country. The paddies are everywhere because it’s a low-lying valley with several rivers coming in. And certain kinds of rice right now, there’s a shortage of, I guess, maybe it’s the long-grain and the short-grain isn’t available— I forget. But it does make you think about the passage in Matthew 24 where Jesus says one of the signs in the Last Days is going to be famine. Now, you hardly wonder, could there be a famine in a country like North America where we’ve got, you know, this Corn Belt that’s just field after field, mile after mile of food? But there’s some strange things happening, you know. People have heard about the colony collapse disorder of bees. One out of three things that you eat is pollinated by a bee. And again, the shortage of rice, the increase of fuel, the overseas economies… I understand that 50% of the Iowa farmers ship their corn overseas. So, the dynamics are very delicate right now, and who knows? It’s only by the grace of God that we eat our daily bread. So, I think it is a sign, though it’s certainly not catastrophic right now.

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s right. Of course, we have the assurance that God will provide for us, but still it is eye-opening. We realize that we are living in some very exciting but sobering times.

Pastor Doug: That’s right.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Let’s go the phone lines! Our first caller this evening is Cindy. She’s listening on the Internet calling from Ontario, Canada. Cindy, you’re on the air with Pastor Doug!

Cindy: Hello! Good afternoon. Good night, actually.

Pastor Doug: Evening. And your question?

Cindy: My question actually has to do with eating, specifically with eating clean and unclean food.

Pastor Doug: Okay.

Cindy: And so, in my familiarity with the Bible and the text in Leviticus 11 that talks to eating specific foods that are clean and unclean, and it goes through the whole list of them…

Pastor Doug: Right.

Cindy: …of clean and unclean food. And when I was talking to one of my friends who… she says that she believes in the New Testament and she gives me the text in Acts chapter 11 where Peter has that dream of the animals where it comes down and God says to him, “Rise up and eat.” And he says, “No, nothing impure has ever entered my mouth.” And then the voice spoke back to him and said, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

Pastor Doug: Yeah.

Cindy: And so, she says then that’s when… that’s the Bible, in a sense, giving permission for all foods to be edible, alright—including pork and seafood and other kinds of food that is opposite to what’s in Leviticus. And then I was coming across Mark chapter 7, actually. I was reading it this weekend, and so it put a question on my mind to think, “Well, what’s going on?” So, the text that I’m referring to in Mark chapter 7 verse number 18, where it says, “Are you so dull?” when Jesus was speaking to His disciples and He says, “Are you so dull? Do you not see that nothing that enters the man from the outside can make him unclean? For it is what goes into his heart… but what goes into his heart but not into his stomach, then out of his body.” And then brackets, it says the same as Jesus declared all food clean.

Pastor Doug: Yeah. Now, when you read that… let me just share something with you. That’s found in the New International Version?

Cindy: Yeah.

Pastor Doug: That’s not found in the other translations. The translators of the NIV became very liberal in what manuscripts they chose and in that particular verse. It’s not in the original Greek. In other words, there was in a manuscript a footnote of a scribe of his own thoughts, and they knew that it was a footnote of a scribe— he’s commenting on his own chronicling of the Scripture. They included that and it confuses people into thinking that that’s part of what Jesus said. But it’s not in the original Greek.

Cindy: Okay.

Pastor Doug: So, that’s a dangerous thing for them to include. Now, you’ve mentioned several…

Cindy: But I’ve read different versions of the Bible, and all of them have the same thing, not only the NIV…

Pastor Doug: Well, no, they don’t all say into saying Jesus declared all foods clean. That’s… you know, what I did is… you started talking about Acts 10, and I went there; and now you’re back at Mark, so let me first deal with Acts…

Cindy: Because I’m talking about three texts that refer to eating.

Pastor Doug: Right. Well, let me take one at a time.

Cindy: Okay.

Pastor Doug: Acts chapter 10— the vision that Peter has— it has nothing to do with food. In that vision, three times a sheet comes down. Peter never takes anything out of the sheet. A matter of fact, this vision proves that the disciples did believe they were not to eat unclean food. Because after walking with Jesus for three and a half years, after Jesus has ascended to heaven, they’re still saying, “We have not eaten anything common or unclean.” So what does this vision mean? Peter defines the vision in verse 28; he says, “God has shown me I should not call any man common or unclean.” That’s his definition of the dream— his interpretation. God was telling them to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. Many Jews thought, “No, they’re unclean!” And so he used this vision to illustrate that God had cleansed the Gentiles—they were to receive the Gospel. And so, it had nothing to do with food at all! So anyone that twists it say it’s talking about food is, you know, what like when Jesus talks about He’s the Shepherd and we’re the sheep; if we go shear somebody’s hair, and say, “Well, because Jesus said you’re a sheep,” that’s a misapplication of vision or a parable.

Now, the other one you asked about was in Mark chapter 7. Once again, the issue there was they were eating with unwashed hands. Never in this whole chapter does it talk about eating any kind of food. The Jews were not disputing with the apostles that they were eating pork or that they were eating buzzards or some unclean food. The dispute was they were eating without ceremonially washing their hands. Now, one way I would answer this to people, Cindy, is… I don’t know if you have any children or not…

Cindy: I do.

Pastor Doug: …but any parent that has children cares what their children eat. If your children say, “You know what, anything I eat is clean. I just pray over it and it’s clean,” it’s really ridiculous because the Bible says, “God is not mocked. What you sow, you’re going to reap.” If people eat and drink too much sugar, they’re going to reap calories. If they eat and drink too much cholesterol, they’re going to reap heart disease. So you can’t… people sometimes twist the Bible to say that, “It doesn’t matter what we eat.” That’s not… Jesus was not talking about that in Mark 7. He’s talking about eating without ceremonially washing your hands, and yet they were not concerned about the weightier matters of justice, mercy, and faith. So, you know, that’s the main thing that we need, I think, to get out of this verse, Cindy. You know, I want… we want to try to get a couple more calls in before we get to the break.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, we do also have a study guide dealing with the subject that, Cindy, you might want to call our resource number and get it. It’s called, “God’s Free Health Plan,” that deals with clean and unclean and I believe it actually addresses this verse…

Pastor Doug: It does.

Pastor Jëan Ross: …that we’ve just looked up in Mark. So, a great resource and a study guide— 1-800-835-6747. You can ask for the study guide, “God’s Free Health Plan.” And we’ll be happy to send that out. Sally is calling from Georgia, Atlanta. Welcome to the program!

Sally: Hi! Thank you.

Pastor Doug: Thank you! Your question?

Sally: I have a question on Matthew 5:32 where they’re speaking of divorce and remarriage, and where Christ says that “saving for the cause of fornication,” and, you know, “that whosoever shall put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery,” and how it relates to the betrothal period. Does that directly… was He like speaking directly to the Jewish people at the time when they had that custom of the betrothal? Because nowhere else in Mark, in Luke, in Romans… there is no exception and the results.

Pastor Doug: You mean, you think there should be no exception, not even for violating the marriage vows?

Sally: Right.

Pastor Doug: Well, the fact that Jesus said this would indicate that a person has the right to get a divorce if a man is unfaithful in his vows to his wife; or if a wife is unfaithful in her vows to her husband. They don’t have to get divorced. As Pastors, we would counsel them to do everything they can to redeem the relationship. But it does provide the one caveat that Jesus offers that, you know, if a person is forsaking their covenant, they’ve broken the covenant… and some evidence of this would be probably in the way God deals with His church. The Lord looks upon His church as His bride. But many times, she plays the harlot, and He’s very faithful and He goes after her because He loves her and He’s willing to forgive. But ultimately, He says, when it comes to Ephraim, “Ephraim is joined to her idols, let him go.” And so—that was the ten tribes of Israel—there’s a limit to even God’s patience. And, you know, He continually talks about His church running after other lovers.

So, it’s not only a New Testament teaching of Jesus; it’s an Old Testament teaching that, you know, if a person persists in violating the vows, then the covenant can be revoked. But that doesn’t mean, because there’s an argument between the husband and wife, or you know, one of them runs up their credit card debt or if the… the only reason that Jesus gives is fornication, meaning they sleep with someone else.

Sally: I just found that interesting that it’s just mentioned in that one line. It’s usually God, when He has a message, He seems to reveal the same thing in several different places throughout the Bible, but...

Pastor Doug: Well, you also, you know, you do have it not only in Matthew 5; you’ve got it in Matthew 19.

Sally: Right. But again, it’s in Matthew. I don’t find it in any of the other books in the Bible, any verse.

Pastor Doug: Well, there are actually [laughing] if you read in the Old Testament in Genesis, God instructed— and this is Genesis 21:14— God told Abraham to put away Hagar because he had one wife too many. That would, of course, be another reason for [laughing]… you’re supposed to have one wife. We’re seeing a lot in the news about that lately. But I’m not an advocate for divorce; I just need to tell you what the Bible says.

Sally: Right. Yeah. It just causes some confusion where, you know, like it speaks of fornication; and fornication, of course, is between unmarried people, and adultery is between married people. And when He speaks in His word about the different sins, and He specifies fornication and adultery, He talks of them as two separate things. But then in Matthew, He refers to fornication being an excuse for divorce. So, that’s when I recently studied about the Jewish betrothal period— their betrothal pretty much was they made vows and they were considered as though they were married. And so that’s why…

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, just to…

Sally: …He referred to it as fornication…

Pastor Jëan Ross: …just to address the word “fornication” there, if you look at the original Greek, it also is including adultery. So it’s not limited to just fornication; it’s definitely broad and includes adultery.

Pastor Doug: Yup. That’s true. So it’s both. A person married or unmarried can… any elicit intimacy is fornication, whether you’re married or not. I appreciate that, Sally. I hope that helps a little with your question.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. John is listening on WVOA from Syracuse, New York. John, welcome to the program!

John: Yes. Hi! How are you guys doing?

Pastor Doug: Very well! How are you?

John: Oh, not too bad!

Pastor Doug: And your question tonight?

John: Yes, I do have a question. Well, I’ve received your booklet on, “Are the Dead Really Dead?” And my question… and I read it, by the way, and it’s fantastic. I just want to confirm some things that I… I always believed that as I read in the Bible that the dead are asleep and will be alive at the resurrection. Anyways, there’s two characters in the Bible— and that’s my question— Elijah and Enoch. Now, in Hebrews 11:5, it talks about, “Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and was not found because God took him up…”

Pastor Doug: Right.

John: ...and he walked with God. And “Elijah was taken up to heaven by a whirlwind…”

Pastor Doug: A fiery chariot. Yup.

John: …and was seen no more— that’s in 2 Kings 2:11. It almost implies that these two characters were, in fact, just taken up to heaven.

Pastor Doug: Well, that’s true. There are exceptions, and not only is Elijah and Enoch in heaven. If you read in the Book of Jude verse 9, it talks about Moses being resurrected— special resurrection. And then, of course, in Mark chapter 9, Moses and Elijah appear speaking to Jesus on the mountain. So, we know there are some who are in heaven. But the general resurrection, obviously, hasn’t happened yet, because that happens when the Lord returns! The dead in Christ will rise when the Lord descends— 1 Thessalonians 4.

John: Right.

Pastor Doug: So, yeah, it sounds like you’re on the right track.

John: But there are… okay. So there are some characters as well— people that are in the Transfiguration. Okay. But that wasn’t just a vision then; that was an actual…

Pastor Doug: That was really Moses and Elijah.

John: Some… I’ve heard some, you know, schools have taught it that it was just a vision, you know. But that was an actual…

Pastor Doug: Yeah, it’s real. A matter of fact, the last prophecy in the Old Testament, it’s very interesting, if you look there, John, in Malachi 4:4, the last thing it says is, “Remember the law of Moses, my servant…” and then you jump down to verse 5, “Behold, I send you Elijah the Prophet.” So, the Old Testament ends by saying, “Remember Moses,” and, “Behold, I send you Elijah.” That represents Moses, the law; Elijah, the prophets— remember the law and the prophets. And then when you get to Christ, Moses and Elijah are there basically endorsing that Jesus is the Messiah. But they really were there. That was them. That wasn’t just a vision because that would be the only time in the Bible three people had the same vision at the same time. Peter, James, and John were all there…

John: That’s true.

Pastor Doug: And so, you know, you don’t have three people having the same dream…

John: Yeah.

Pastor Doug: …at the same moment. And they really saw them.

John: Right. Very good!

Pastor Doug: Alright. Thank you! I appreciate that, John. Good question.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay. Our next caller is Mario, and he’s listening on the Internet from Oregon. Mario, welcome to the program.

Mario: Hi. Thank you for taking my call. What does Revelation 9:6 mean?

Pastor Doug: Oh, let’s go there real quick. Yeah, get real close to your phone. Revelation 9:6, you said?

Mario: Yes.

Pastor Doug: Alright. “In those days shall men seek death and not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” Well, I know one time that this verse applies is at the end of the 1,000 years when it talks about the wicked being raised. If you read in Revelation chapter 20, it tells us, “The rest of the dead,” in verse 5, “live not again until the thousand years are finished.” When the dead in Christ rise first—so the very fact that the saved or the dead in Christ rise first means somewhere, there’s a second resurrection—the dead outside of Christ or the wicked—they’re in the second resurrection—when they come forth for judgment, they are resurrected, and God just basically does not even permit them to take their own lives because they’re forced to experience the judgment! Someone can’t look at the Judgment Seat of Christ and say, “I’m going to jump off a cliff somewhere. I don’t want to do this.” They may seek death and not find it.

It also talks about those who run from the face of Christ and call for the rocks and mountains to fall on them. And you wonder, “Why are they calling for rocks and mountains to fall on them? Is there no other way?” And so, there is a state for the wicked, when they’re—prior to judgment— when they’re seeking death and they can’t find it. But it’s also describing a time in history where people have really been persecuted for their faith.

Pastor Jëan Ross: It also, just to speak to that point as well, Pastor Doug. It’s… remember, Revelation is a prophetic book, and it’s describing a very difficult time in earth’s history where people are suffering and death is appealing to them, and they wish they could have it. And so, it’s just a very… and if you look at the context of it, it’s all about the locusts and all the rest— very symbolic, representing the onslaught of the Turks…

Pastor Doug: The Ottoman Empire.

Pastor Jëan Ross: …the Ottoman Empire and the devastation and the death and the war— it was just a very unpleasant time in history for the people who were involved.

Pastor Doug: Yup.

Mario: Okay.

Pastor Doug: So, when you look at these prophecies, there’s a couple of things you consider. One is what is the prophecy saying historically? And then, another thing is, as you look at the individual verses of the prophecy, there is a personal application and there can also be a future application for some of these things.

Mario: Okay.

Pastor Doug: An example of that would be the 7 messages to the 7 Churches that you find in Revelation chapter 2 and 3. It describes a person’s individual experience. Some people are in… they experience a brotherly love and others are in the experience of Laodicea. It describes a cycle that a church may go through; one church family, sometimes, they start out like Ephesus and they end up like Laodicea. And it also describes the history of God’s people over the course of time.

Now, I know that’s a lot to swallow, but hopefully that helps a little bit. We’ve got some advanced studies at our website. If they go to amazingfacts.com… I’m sorry, well, we don’t want to get you there… amazingfacts.org. and… or even Bible Universe would be the better place to go for the advanced prophecy studies.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Well, let’s see if we can get one more call in before the break. Nancy is calling from Ontario, Canada. Nancy, welcome to the program!

Nancy: Hi.

Pastor Doug: Evening!

Nancy: I just have a question. I’m not sure if it’s exactly about doctrine, but you know when Jesus was speaking to the disciples about the signs of the end times…

Pastor Doug: Right.

Nancy: …and He specifically said that there was going to be false teachers and people that would do signs and wonders, and they would even deceive the elect. First part of the question is, is the elect the body of Christ— like the people that are saved? Because I’m wondering if we’re in that time right now, because it seems to me that… well, I’ve been approached about these things to go to them, but there’s a lot of these things that people flock to that are…

Pastor Doug: Well…

Nancy: …that are called revivals and different things, and I’m kind of… I just don’t have a good feeling about the kind of manifestations that are going on and I’m…

Pastor Doug: Well, you’re on the…

Nancy: I’m not sure how to discern it, you know?

Pastor Doug: You’re on the right track, Nancy. There are a lot of false christs and false prophets out there. Now, you’ve asked a question about the elect. The elect, of course, are those who have accepted Christ. Many are called; those who accept or respond to the call are chosen, or elect. And the elect are… they’re a special threat to the devil, and he’s seeking to deceive them!

Pastor Jëan Ross: And of course, if you think about the ones the devil really wants to deceive are those who’ve accepted Jesus. He’s not too concerned about deceiving those who have not decided for Christ; he’s already got them. So, the ones that’s going to receive his deceptions, or the ones that he’s going to go after with his deceptions are Christ’s followers.

Pastor Doug: His church. You know, if you look in 2 John 1:1, there in writing to the church, John refers to her “the elder unto the elect lady and her children.” And so, he refers to the church as the elect lady— one of the many verses where the church is used in the symbolism of a woman. And so, all the saved are God’s elect. And that’s why Jesus said there’s going to be so many false Christs and false prophets; and if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived.

You know, Pastor Ross, I’m thinking we’ve got several Bible studies that could be a blessing to Nancy. One of them would be the study dealing with the subject of “Does God Inspire Psychics and Astrologers?” talking about false prophets that proliferate out there. If you’d like a free copy of that, Nancy, we’ll send it to you.

Pastor Jëan Ross: The number to call is 1-800-835-6747. Ask for the study guide on prophets and false teachers.

Pastor Doug: We do have some lines open! That freed up a couple of lines. We’re going to come back just after our break. If you have a Bible question, good time to pick up your phone and call 800-GOD-SAYS. That will bring you right here to the studio where you can ask your Bible question. That’s 800-463-7297. I hope you keep a pencil handy. You’ve probably noticed that we make a lot of offers available—various Bible resources—to help you in your personal devotions! One place, of course, we want to recommend is that you go to the main website for this ministry, Amazing Facts. You’ll find out not only on archives of this radio broadcast, but in addition, there are TV programs there you can watch and a lot of other links of good study resources. We’ll be right back!

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Jëan Ross: Welcome back to Bible Answers Live with Pastor Doug Batchelor. This broadcast is pre-recorded. If you have a Bible-related question, you can call us from 7 to 8 P.M. Pacific Standard Time on Sundays and receive clear, honest answers directly from Scripture. Call 800-GOD-SAYS; that’s 800-463-7297. Now, please join us as we look to God’s Word for more Bible answers live with author and evangelist, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Doug: We’re back, friends! This is live. And if you have a Bible question, a couple of lines are still open! The number is 800-GOD-SAYS; 800-463-7297. And if you’ve tuned in, this is an international, interactive Bible study called Bible Answers Live! My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Jëan Ross: My name is Jëan Ross. Pastor Doug, you’ve mentioned this program, the ministry that brings you this program is Amazing Facts. But Amazing Facts also has some outstanding websites for people wanting to learn more about the Bible.

Pastor Doug: Yes, people who are interested in prophecy—if you’ve got your pencil, friends— you might want to make a note of these links. We’ve got a website called Prophecy Code, and at that website, not only does it have a series of Bible studies you can order that’ll take you through some of the great Bible prophecies dealing with everything from Armageddon to the Second Coming to the antichrist to the Tribulation, but there are videos you could watch! You can watch the presentations for free right there online. It’s easy to remember; it’s prophecycode.com.

There’s another website called Most Amazing Prophecies. Pastor Ross and I recorded that in Michigan last year. And you can go there; it’s just mostamazingprophecies.com. It talks about some of the high points, what does the Bible say about the spirits from the dead? And a lot of answers to some of the common questions you hear right here on this broadcast. And along with that, we have Bible studies dealing with the Millennium of Prophecy. You can type that in; it will take you… a matter of fact, I understand if you YouTube Millennium of Prophecy; some dear souls out there has put them all up! So you can watch them. We’ve got the final events of Bible prophecy that deals with all the chapters in that very popular DVD now or on YouTube.

Pastor Jëan Ross: And then a new website that we’re very excited about— Amazing Facts TV.

Pastor Doug: That’s right. 24 hours a day! They could be watching…

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s right.

Pastor Doug: …evangelistic programming.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Excellent. Excellent website. So, we encourage those who are listening to take a look at some of these websites. Going to the phone lines now. Sherman is listening on the Internet from Chicago, Illinois. Sherman, welcome to the program!

Sherman: Thank you, gentlemen. Good evening, by the way.

Pastor Doug: Evening!

Sherman: My question is about servitude toward others.

Pastor Doug: Okay.

Sherman: And I was just wondering how would we handle those who would take advantage of our servitude towards them?

Pastor Doug: Well, you know, Jesus… He makes it difficult for us [laughing] because He says if someone compels you to go one mile, you go two. I mean, nobody expects that. He says pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. Now, I struggle with those teachings of Jesus, but I know it’s the truth! It’s just my nature, sometimes, that recoils at letting someone to take advantage of me. Now, that doesn’t mean—I just want to make this clear, Sherman, for you and for anyone listening—sometimes, the best way to help a person is not let them take advantage of you.

Sherman: Okay.

Pastor Doug: Because you don’t want to encourage a person in bad behavior, then they just go from one relationship to another using everybody. Sometimes, the loving thing to do is to draw a line.

And I’ll give you a quick example. I used to sell firewood, and a buddy asked me if I’d help and cut wood for a day and he’d split the money with me. Well, I worked all day long and cut for a course of firewood, and he never would pay me! So, I forgave him. But then he asked me again a few months later if I wanted to help cut some wood! I said, “Thank you. No.” You know, I just felt like I’m not helping him by letting him just take advantage of people like that. So you’ve got to know where to be wise, and you’ll also be loving and patient.

Sherman: Well, what about forgiveness? Should we forgive them at least once or twice? I mean, Jesus did tell us that we are to forgive others…

Pastor Doug: Well, He told us seventy times seven. You should always forgive them…

Sherman: Right.

Pastor Doug: …but that’s a different issue than placing yourself in a situation where you’re perpetually being used. You know, there’s a verse that’s difficult; we don’t like to apply it very often but it’s from the words of Jesus. He said, “Do not cast your pearls before swine, and do not give that which is holy to the dogs.” And I struggle with that, I mean, do we ever call anybody swine or dog? But what He’s saying is there are people who will just take advantage of your life and your time and they’ll never produce anything good—like washing a pig that just runs back to the mud puddle, or a dog that returns to eat that which it made it sick. They’re just not growing any investment you make in their lives; it’s like a black hole. Yet, there are people all around you that will grow, that will prosper. And so, you’ve got to… your time is holy! Your time is sacred. You can’t spend all your time pouring it into lives that are showing no promise or growth!

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yeah. We also need to remember that it’s not a noble Christian characteristic to stay in a bad situation just for the sake of trying to be a witness. Jesus said if they persecute you in one city…

Pastor Doug: Go to the next!

Pastor Jëan Ross: …go to the next! So if you’re in a difficult situation, there’s no virtue in staying in that situation if people are taking advantage of you.

Pastor Doug: Now, are we answering your question, Sherman? I don’t know if we’re right on target.

Sherman: …and I appreciate the verse. What’s the verse you quoted earlier? Not about the swine?

Pastor Doug: Well, you’re talking about Matthew where Jesus said, “Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you?”

Sherman: Yes. Where exactly was that?

Pastor Doug: Matthew 5. I believe you’re going to find that in the Sermon on the Mount. There’s several references that “turning the other cheek,” “praying for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.” You’ve also got the “loving your enemies.” So I just say, read Matthew 5. You’re going to run across a lot of mountain peaks that deal with that principle.

Sherman: Excellent. Thank you, gentlemen.

Pastor Doug: Alright, thank you.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay. Our next caller is Robert, and he is calling from New Jersey listening on WMCA. Robert, welcome to the program!

Robert: Good evening, Pastors.

Pastor Doug: Evening!

Robert: Hi. My question is about predestination and something you touched upon before election. Because I was listening to a popular radio pastor the other day, and I’m surprised that the panel is a Calvinist.

Pastor Doug: Right.

Robert: And he made reference to something which kind of struck me a little bit. He said two things that were kind of eye-opening. For one thing, he said, “Would God waste His time by letting Jesus die for people that He knew might not come to Him?” So, in other words, he’s saying that the elect have been picked from the very beginning, knowing that they would come to Him. And then he used a Bible verse which is John, the Gospel of John 17:9, which says, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but the ones You have given to Me because they are Yours.” Now, what does that exactly mean? And how do you explain the elect and predestination free will?

Pastor Doug: Okay.

Robert: Where in the Bible backs any of these?

Pastor Doug: Well, two things you’re asking about. First of all, in John 17, this prayer is a very specific prayer for the apostles. And Jesus is saying during that prayer, “Lord, right now I’m praying specifically for them. I’m praying that they might be one. I’m praying for those who will be converted through their influence.” But this is really a prayer where Jesus is about to go through His passion. He’s praying for the disciples, the apostles more specifically.

Robert: Okay.

Pastor Doug: But regarding your other question, “Would God send His Son to die in behalf of those who might not accept it?” And my answer is yes. Our God is very loving. And you could even ask a question this way, “Would God create people who could not be saved?” Did God create some people that will not be saved? Yeah.

Robert: No.

Pastor Doug: Well, no, wait a second. All people are made by Jesus, right?

Robert: Right.

Pastor Doug: I mean, will everybody be saved? Or will some be lost?

Robert: Well, some will definitely be lost, according to Scripture.

Pastor Doug: Does that… is the Lord happy about that? God says He’s not willing that any should perish.

Robert: Well, okay.

Pastor Doug: And then if you read at John 3:16, “God so loved this world He gave His Son… He so loved the world,” so, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world that whosoever will. In other words, His sacrifice, He did not measure His sacrifice and turn it off when He said, “Well, I’m only going to save 144,000, so I want to pinch off My suffering right there, because I’m not going to suffer for those who may not, you know, I want to get my money’s worth.” He suffered enough to save the whole world.

Robert: So, predestination is not biblical then?

Pastor Doug: I respectfully don’t agree with predestination. There are two groups, and you know, there’s loving people on both sides. I’m not here to condemn. And I’ve got some friends that I love and respect, but we disagree on this point. I love reading about John Wesley and I love reading about George Whitfield. They did not agree with each other; one was an Armenian and one was a Calvinist, which is what we’re talking about but...

Robert: Okay.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, I’m looking at a verse here dealing with the word “predestination” that sometimes can confuse people. Romans 8:29, it says, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate.” Some say, “Well, there it is! God predestinated some to be saved.” But you read the rest, it says, “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” In other words, those who respond to the Gospel. It’s God’s purpose and design that they be conformed to the image of His Son. But it’s still up to us to choose whether we will allow ourselves to be conformed to His image. We have to choose salvation.

Robert: Is there any material on this?

Pastor Doug: Yes! We’ve got a couple of books.

Pastor Jëan Ross: “Can a Saved Man…”

Pastor Doug: There you go.

Pastor Jëan Ross: “...Choose to be Lost?”

Pastor Doug: Yup. “Can a Saved Man Choose to be Lost?” by Joe Crews. It’s very popular on dealing with predestination.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Let me give you the number there, Robert. That’s 1-800-835-6747.

Robert: Okay.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Just call the resource line and ask for the book, “Can a Saved Man Choose to be Lost?” and they’ll be happy to send that out to you.

Robert: Thank you very much, Pastors.

Pastor Doug: Thank you! God bless.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. We’re going to go to our next caller in Mississippi. George, are you there?

Pastor Doug: Jeff, I think.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Jeff! Sorry. Jeff, are you there?

Jeff: I’m here.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hi! And your question this evening?

Jeff: Hi, yeah. I think it’s great what you’re all doing. My question is will you burn in hell if you kill yourself?

Pastor Doug: Well, you could. Well, you know, the Bible tells us…

Jeff: If you were saved, if you believe in Jesus, and you know He died for you… you know what I mean? If you believe and you had it right and is there somewhere in the Bible that says that you’ll go to heaven if you take your own life?

Pastor Doug: Well, there’s nowhere in the Bible that says that if you take your own life… first of all, sin is defined as transgression of the law. One of the commandments is, “Thou shall not murder,” and that would include murdering yourself. See, we’re a gift of God. We did not make our lives; it belongs to God. And so when a person, when the last act of their life is self-murder, then it’s often a result of faithlessness. And the Bible says, “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”

So, there may be some exceptions. I mean, God is on the throne and He looks at people’s hearts. And I can’t see everyone’s heart. There may be some people where their circumstances are just so unbearable that in a moment of weakness, or there may have been some chemical imbalance, they take their lives. And God won’t judge them for that last act. But in most cases, I believe suicide is a very bad indicator for their future if that’s the last act of their life. Now, let me give you something to think about, Jeff, because hopefully you’re not thinking of this but…

Jeff: No, I’m just asking for close friends, lately who’d done it and actually, the man that led me to Christ took his own life. And in his letter to me, he said he’d see me in heaven. And you know, I just had a preacher told me there is a verse in Revelations about it, but I haven’t been able to find it. And…

Pastor Doug: Well, I’m not sure what that verse is. Let me give you a little hope, though. Like I told you, there may be some exceptions. You’ve probably heard the song before, if you go to church, called “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” It’s a very famous church hymn. That was written by a hymn writer, great hymn writer, great Christian. But he went through terrific ups and downs emotionally, and during one of those times of great depression, he took his life! I think his last name is Robinson or Robertson. And you know, there are some exceptions. Samson, the last act of Samson’s life was basically he pulled down the tower to defend God’s people from their enemies, but he pulled it down on himself, too! But Hebrews 11 tells us we’ll see Samson in Heaven.

Now, I would just encourage anybody thinking of suicide. Some people do that because they have reached a point of hopelessness, and they think that by committing suicide, they’re going to improve their circumstances.

Jeff: Well, in his letter, he said that he heard the devil talking to him. And just the urge got too strong, and he said he was praying and, you know what I mean? I don’t have no answers for it. I just don’t understand it.

Pastor Doug: Well, the best thing… you know, I’d recommend anyone thinking about it that they cast their cares upon the Lord and give their anxiety to Jesus, and that’s referenced in 1 Peter 5:7. But sometimes, I… and I’ve had friends, also, Jeff, that have, you know, for whatever reason they got discouraged and they took their lives. And you just say, “Lord, you know, I don’t know if they’re going to be there, but I just have to put this in Your hands. I certainly hope they are.” But I would say, generally speaking, it’s not a safe choice.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, this is one of those areas where we can be so grateful that we’re not in God’s shoes having to make these decisions whether the person is going to be saved or not. We can… one thing we do know is that God is a God of love, and that God’s design is to save people. And He’s going to do everything He can to save people, and we can trust that He’s going to make the right decision.

Jeff: Well, I just thank you all, guys, for being out there for people who’s not just completely educated to understand the Bible like they should. You’re really helpful.

Pastor Doug: Well, thank you so much, Jeff. We appreciate your call.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Our next caller is Mitchel, and he’s calling from Florida. Mitchel, welcome to the program!

Mitchel: Hello! Thank you. I’m calling in regards to Daniel 12, chapter 12, where it speaks of 1,260 days. If this is the time of trouble— because it speaks of Michael standing up where we won’t be able to buy or sell due to worship…

Pastor Doug: Right.

Mitchel: …worshiping the beast—are we to prepare for this time as far as going to the country starting a garden? Are we supposed to lay stuff up for this time or do we just depend totally on the Lord? And is that what this time is about in Daniel 12?

Pastor Doug: Well, first, for our friends that are listening, there is a time period in prophecy you find—oh, I don’t know, Pastor Ross, it must be five or six times in the Bible— and that time period is 1,260. 1,260 is 3 ½ Jewish years. A Jewish year had 360 days in it because they had a lunar calendar. Jesus preached 3 ½—1,260 days. The famine in the days of Elijah, 3 ½ years. In Revelation, it talks about the beast’s power ruling for 42 months, which is 1,260 days or years in prophecy. “For a time, a times, and the dividing of time,” a time was one complete cycle of the seasons. By the way, you find that in Daniel 12:7. It talks about for a time, times— that’s two, and half a time. So one time, one year; one couple of times, or a pair of times, which is two years; and a halftime, that’s 3 ½ years. That time period is several times in the Bible.

Most Bible scholars, of course, they believe that first of all, the historic interpretation of this is that from 538 A.D. to 1798 A.D., those are two big pillars in history when the church in Rome was really ruling the ancient Roman kingdom that had divided into ten parts. And it was called the Dark Ages— the Bibles were taken away, great persecution against the church.

But some have wondered will there be a literal three-and-a-half year period at the end of time? I don’t know, there may be. Should we store up food to prepare for that when we can’t buy or sell? I don’t think so. I think it’s always a good idea if you can… I mean, I’ve planted five tomatoes in my backyard, I don’t expect it to feed my whole family, but, you know, it’s always a good idea to have a month or two food in your cupboard, as they say. You can end up wasting more if you put too much more in there.

You read there in Isaiah, and I can’t remember the reference, Pastor Ross. It says the bread and water will be sure, speaking of that time of trouble. And in Psalm 91, God says, “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come nigh unto you.” You know, God promises to protect His people. So, when Elijah went into the wilderness for three and a half years, did He feed him, Michael?

Mitchel: Yeah…

Pastor Doug: Or rather, when he went through the wilderness for… at the end of that three and half years, God fed him. When the children of Israel fled into the wilderness, He fed them. When Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, it says afterward, the angels ministered to Him, and we figure that mean they fed Him. So, God will provide for His people, and…

Mitchel: That’s where I stand, and I’m having people telling me, “No, no, no. You need to start saving your money.” And I’m turning my money back out into donations to different organizations that are preaching the Gospel. And they’re like, “Man, you got to quit giving your money away. Quit giving your money away and start saving your money.” And I’m like, “Why? God’s going to take care of you. You’re supposed to make the kingdom of God first, and then He’ll take care of all your needs, but you make Him first.” And I said, “I’m not spreading the Gospel myself, but I’m going to support the people that are spreading the Gospel,” and I’m getting beat up by different friends and relatives over this.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Well, you know, the Bible also tells us that we aren’t to store up possessions on this earth. And if you think about it, the events associated with the Second Coming, or shortly before the Second Coming and the time of trouble, there’s going to be financial collapse and difficulties that your money probably won’t…

Pastor Doug: Your money could turn into dust!

Pastor Jëan Ross: And if you store up a whole pile of, you know, Gabonza beans or something, someone’s going to break in and steal it anyway. So, we’ve got to trust in God. And I think that’s the lesson that we have to learn through this time is that God is trustworthy.

Pastor Doug: You know, there is that verse in James, where he talks about the rich, and it says, “They’ve heaped up riches that will… they’re going to rust, and are going to be witness against them.” So those who are hoarding money in the Last Days, Mitchel, it condemns those in the Book of James. A matter of fact, it tells the rich to howl for their miseries that will come upon them.

I hope that helps a little bit. You know, we do have a… did you find that reference? I saw you typing away, I don’t know if you’re looking for it, Pastor.

Pastor Jëan Ross: No, I was looking for something else.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, we do have a study guide “In God We Trust” that I think will give you some insights on that, Michael. And we’ll send you a free copy of it.

Pastor Jëan Ross: And the verse you mentioned, Pastor Doug, is James 5:1. Again, the number for the resource line is 1-800-835-6747, and you can ask for the study guide “In God We Trust.” We’d be happy to send that to you.

Jim is listening on the Internet from Ohio. Jim, welcome to the program.

Jim: Well, good evening, gentlemen. Pastor Doug, I love your show; it’s been very helpful. And I have something that’s kind of been bothering me lately. I have a friend of mine that I’ve known for a while, and you know, I‘ve always got along with her. We’ve always been good friends. And she’s going through a little trouble right now. She’s up in Cleveland in prison; she’ll be out in July. And you know, we’ve been talking about getting together. And as somebody that I thought about to have a future with, but she told me she was married, and she said her husband had left her. She never had gotten a divorce. And I don’t understand the Scripture about divorce. I know a little of people abuse it, and I think maybe that’s what’s kind of aimed it. And I’m not really after this question to get like your approval, but it’s been weighing on my mind whether I should pursue a relationship with this girl or… because she, you know, she’s going to get that divorce taken care of— she can’t find him. I know drugs were an issue between the two, and I think, you know, she had told me that he was doing drugs and he just got up and left her.

Pastor Doug: Well, if you were to summarize what you’re asking… are you asking is it wrong to marry someone who was divorced because of abandonment?

Jim: Yes, in a way. Yes, I guess.

Pastor Doug: Do you… you know, this is one of those things where if you do have a local Pastor, I’d talk to him, because chances are if— I mean, I don’t know what the circumstances are for this young lady being jailed, but— chances are that he abandoned her, he’s pursued another a relationship, which would meet the Biblical criteria for giving her grounds for divorce. I would not pursue a relationship, because she’s either married or not married. And so, if she is married, then you need to make sure that she gets that all squared away and she is free to develop a relationship…

Jim: That’s what she was going to do. That’s what she’s talking about. She is talking about, you know, getting everything taken care of. She said that if they can’t find him, that she would get some kind of disillusion…

Pastor Doug: Yeah, there are legal ways of doing that. But I know that makes it awkward, because, you know, the Bible’s very clear. If you marry a woman that is divorced without Biblical grounds, it says you’re causing her to commit adultery.

Jim: Exactly.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, another point that I would ask is has she experienced a genuine change of heart? Has she been converted? You don’t want to pursue a relationship with anyone if they are not genuinely converted. Now, things might have happened before in a person’s life, before they met the Lord, before they were genuinely converted. They can ask for forgiveness; God will forgive them. And you can move on from that. But if there isn’t genuine conversion, you don’t want to get involved in that kind of relationship.

Pastor Doug: That’s right. I hope that helps a little bit, Jim. And we do have our study guide on keys to a happy marriage that talks about some of those principles. We’ll send you a free copy! Thanks for your call.

Pastor Jëan Ross: All you need to do is call our resource number 1-800-835-6747. And we’ll be happy to send that out to you.

Our next caller is Ernest, and he’s calling from Ohio listening on WLRD. Ernest, welcome to the program.

Ernest: Hello.

Pastor Doug: Evening! Your question, Ernest? We’ve got about three minutes.

Ernest: Yes, my question is on the Second Coming. Will Jesus touch the ground or stay in a cloud?

Pastor Doug: Well, if you look in Matthew 24, it says He’ll send forth His angels to gather together His elect. And then if you read in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, it says we are caught up to meet Him in the air. It leads us to believe that we are caught up to meet Him in the air and He takes us back to heaven. His feet did not touch the ground until the end of that Millennial Period— the One Thousand Years. Jesus said, “I will prepare a place for you.” And He’s coming again to receive him unto Himself. So He’s coming to take us back where the mansions are. He’s not planting Himself here on the ground when He comes.

Ernest: Okay.

Pastor Doug: Does that help a little?

Ernest: Yup, it does.

Pastor Doug: Yup. We’ll be up to meet Him in the air!

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s a real important question, too, because we know the devil’s going to try to deceive as many people as he can. So understanding the way Jesus will come is a matter of life and death. It’s to avoid deception.

Pastor Doug: And that’s why Jesus also said, “Behold, if they say to you, ‘He’s here or there.’ If he’s in secret places, if he’s in the desert, go not forth,” implying if anybody on the earth claims to be Jesus come in the flesh, you know, after Christ has ascended to Heaven, you’ll know it will be like lightning shining from the east to the west. And that’s another sign— lightning up in the sky. And so, He’ll be up there; we’ll be caught up to meet Him in the air.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, Ernest, we have a study guide dealing with the subject of the Second Coming of Jesus. It’s called “The Ultimate Deliverance.” We’ll be happy to send that to you. All you need to do is call the resource number 1-800-835-6747. Ask for the study guide on the Second Coming, and we’ll send it out.

Pastor Doug: Very good. I’m looking at the… How much time do we have there? Oh, we’ve got less than a minute. Why won’t we talk about the Kids’ Meeting coming up next September, Pastor Ross?

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s a great idea.

Pastor Doug: Let our friends know. We’ve already mentioned something else exciting, which is the new Amazing Facts website, just amazingfacts.tv. And if you go to the Amazing Facts website, you’re going to see that there’s a meeting coming up there; it’s called Amazing Adventure. Pastor Ross and I are going to be in Texas. We’re doing a satellite TV broadcast just for kids. I’ve still got some bachelor kids at home; Pastor Ross has his own tribe of three young kids. And we thought, “Let’s do some evangelistic meetings just for kids.” And so, writing new lessons— it’s going to be a series of ten meetings— September 12 through the 20th. If you’d like to know more about that, then go the Amazing Facts website, and you’ll see that information there.

And in our closing thoughts, if I still have you before you change the dial, friends, keep in mind, if you’ve been blessed or edified at all by this program, it’s all done by faith. We go from month to month at Amazing Facts. We’re a self-supporting ministry. We appreciate your donations. If you’d like to contact us with Bible questions, comments, or a donation, that can also be done through the website.

God bless you, friends. Remember, it is all about Jesus, the Truth Who sets you free.

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