The Golden City

The Golden City

Date: 03/03/2019 
The new Jerusalem, the white throne judgment and the exclusivity of the 144,000... the lake of fire, the eternity of hell and the new millennium : these end-time themes are our present truth, so do we really understand them ? Tune in as Pastor Doug and Pastor Ross search the Bible to help callers demystify the timeline and details of last-day events, in this installment of Bible Answers Live.
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Pastor Doug Batchelor: Hello, friends. Would you like to hear an amazing fact? Some described it as a hailstorm of biblical proportions. On June 5, 2018, severe storms swept through North Texas around the DFW area pounding some communities with baseball-sized hail. Residents reported that it sounded like roofs were being beaten in with baseball bats. Skylights were shattered, car bodies and wind-shields destroyed, and trees were decimated everywhere.

To confirm the unbelievable size of the hailstones, several residents collected and photographed samples. Some put them in their freezers so others could look at them later. According to the Insurance Council of Texas, approximately 20,000 structures and 25,000 vehicles were damaged for an estimated $425 million in losses. One resident said, "I've been here my whole life in North Texas and in the Dallas area, and I've never seen anything like this before."

The Bible says that just before Jesus returns, there'll be the mother of all hailstorms. Stay with us friends, we're going to learn more on this edition of Bible Answers Live.

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Automated Voice: You're listening to Bible Answers Live, honest answers to your Bible questions. This broadcast is a previously recorded episode. To receive any of the Bible resources mentioned in this evening's program, call 800-835-6747. Once again, that's 800-835-6747. Now, let's join our host, Pastor Doug Batchelor, and our co-host, Pastor Jean Ross.

Pastor Doug: Welcome, listening friends, to Bible Answers Live. The reason we do this program is to study the word of God with friends everywhere. If you have a Bible question, we have lines open. We don't know all of the answers, but we have a few of them at our fingertips, in the Bible, on our computers, and between us, we've probably got about 60 years of pastoring, so give us a call. It's 800-463-7297. That's (800-GOD-SAYS) 800-463-7297. We'll bring your questions into the studio here in Northern California.

We're also streaming this live if you want to tune in and watch, it's on the Doug Batchelor and the Amazing Facts Facebook pages. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My name is Jean Ross. Good evening, listening friends. Pastor Doug, as we always do, let's start the program with prayer. Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that we can open up your word and study together this evening on a number of questions, ideas and various passages of scripture, so we do pray that your spirit would lead our thoughts and guide our discussion. Lead us into clear understanding of what the Bible teaches in Jesus' name. Amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Pastor Ross: Well, Pastor Doug, you opened the program by talking about a terrible hailstorm. It's interesting when you look in the Bible, the Bible does speak about hail being used by God on several occasions to bring judgement upon the enemy of God's people.

Pastor Doug: Yes, actually, the Lord fought against some of the enemies of Israel when they were entering the Promised Land with hail. Of course, before the Exodus, one of the ten plagues, you read about this in Exodus 9:23, "And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail and fire darted to the ground," - that's lighting - "and the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt, so there was hail and fire mingled with the hail so very heavy there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation, and the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, and all that was in the field, both man and beast," and tells us in the prior verse they died. "And the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field."

I remember I was living in Texas, a few years ago, we had hail that scared us. You look out the window, it was walnut-size hail. Not the baseball-size hail they had at DFW. I had a little mass at GLC, and it was so sad because it came out, not just my car but every car that was parked outside, it looked like someone had taken a ball-pin hammer and just beat up the top of the car, so the rest of the time I had that car, it looked like the surface of the moon.

I can't imagine, that was just walnut-size hail. If you've got baseball-size hail, you can see actual pictures of it online, these things are huge. I remember hearing a story by HMS Richard Sr. He's the founder of the Voice of Prophecy radio program. When he was a young man preaching on Revelation one day, there were horses tied up outside, some atheist was mocking him in the congregation as he talked about the plagues. A hailstorm struck in Colorado right while he was preaching. The stones were coming right through the roof into the meeting hall and it killed the horses outside. It's a pretty dramatic story. That fella was converted. He was making fun of the sermon on Revelation.

Now, what it says in Revelation, just one of the very last plagues that comes, Revelation 16:21, "And a great hail from heaven fell upon men. Each hailstone the weight of a talent," - that'd be somewhere around 75 pounds - "and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail since that plague was exceedingly great."

Well, the Bible tells us there is a day coming when it'll be too late to pray, and God is going to punish the world for their iniquity. We want to know how to be ready before that day comes. We have a free offer that talks about that.

Pastor Ross: We've got a book and we'll be happy to send this book out to anyone who calls and asks. It's called, The Last Night on Earth. Again, this is free. All you'll have to do is call us on our resource phone line, the number is 800-835-6747 and ask for the book called The Last Night on Earth. We'll be happy to send it to anyone in North America. If you're outside of North America, just go to the Amazing Facts website, amazingfacts.org or amazingfacts.com, and you can read the book for free online. It's called The Last Night on Earth. I think you'll find it very enlightening as it talks about end-time events and the second coming of Christ.

Pastor Doug: All right. Well, I think with that, we're probably ready to go to the phones. We still have a couple of lines open if you give us a call. 800-GOD-SAYS. Who's first in line, Pastor Ross?

Pastor Ross: We've got Ashley listening from Florida. Ashley welcome to the program.

Ashley: Hi, good evening, Pastors.

Pastor Doug: Evening. Thank you for calling, and your question tonight.

Ashley: Thank you. I was just wondering if you could clarify Revelation 14:11-12. It seems like it's pointing towards an eternal hell, so I just wanted some clarification on those verses.

Pastor Doug: Yes. If you read in Revelation 14:11, let me read it, speaking of the wicked, it says, "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever and they have no rest, day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

Well, first of all when it says "smoke goes up forever and ever," you probably said, "Well, it went on forever," and that meant as far as you could see. The smoke, it's like when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and the Bible tells us the wicked will be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and it tells us that the smoke of the country went up like a furnace. Then it says, "In the presence of the holy angels and the lamb," you read in Isaiah-- Is it 65, Pastor Ross? Or maybe it's 66, "They'll go forth and look upon the carcasses of them that have transgressed against me and their worm will not die and they'll be abhorring to all flesh."

It's talking about beholding the judgement of the wicked and you're probably wondering about where it says, "day and night, forever and ever." First you've got to ask yourself, does that mean that the righteous are going to be forever and ever watching, and the lamb and the holy angels, the wicked burning? The word forever there means until they are all consumed. Now someone's going to say, "Wait a second, does eternal life mean forever?" Yes.

You've got to read things in their context.

Pastor Ross: The verse you're referring to there, Pastor, was Isaiah 66:24. Another way I heard this explained with reference to the smoke ascending forever and ever. The smoke is the consequence of the fire and some have seen it as emphasizing the fact that the consequence of the fire, meaning death, is eternal. There's no resurrection from the second death. Just as the smoke symbolically ascends up forever and ever, so the consequences of the judgement that comes upon the wicked, their eternal destruction is forever. There is no end to that.

Ashley: Yes, that makes a lot of sense actually.

Pastor Doug: Well, one more thought now, let's talk about the day and night. It says, "They have no rest, day or night who worship the beast." Now, obviously, the wicked are not in hellfire still worshiping the beast, so now it's talking about back when they worshiped the beast. The people who worship the beast have no rest. Jesus said, “Come unto me and I'll give you rest.” It's making a contrast between those who worship Christ have rest, those who worship the beast have no rest. They have no peace, because obviously in hellfire, they're not still worshiping the beast because he's been cast in. That'd be a pretty big mistake to worship the one who's been cast into hellfire. See what I'm saying?

Ashley: Yes.

Pastor Doug: People emphasize the day and night forever and ever, and they think that means they're burning forever and ever. It's actually making a different point in that part of the sense. Hey, thank you, Ashley, and whenever you're in doubt about a Bible verse, you just create a little scale. You can get a piece of paper and say here's the-- Some people think that the fires of hell are going to burn the wicked through eternity.

List those scriptures, then get the other scriptures and make a list. The scriptures that say, “They're consumed, they perish, they die, they're destroyed, never will they be any more, no more pain, no more crying.” Start making a column and you'll see the preponderance of evidence is on the side that the wicked are ultimately consumed in the fires of hell, it's called the second death. Then, there's a few difficult verses that you need to explain. That's usually the best approach when there is some apparent conflict.

Ashley: Thank you so much.

Pastor Ross: We do have a study guide dealing with the subject of hell, the destruction of the wicked and it’s called Is the Devil in Charge of Hell? We’ll be happy to send this to anyone who calls and asks, the number is 800-835-6747. This is an important subject and a lot of Christians don't quite understand what the Bible teaches on this and it's important for us to know it. Again, the study guide is called Is the Devil in Charge of Hell? The resource line is 800-835-6747.

Automated Voice: Want to know God's plan for our world and solutions for your life's challenges? Beautifully redesigned, Amazing Facts 27 Bible study guides provide encouraging Bible based answers to questions on healthier relationships, when Jesus will return and much more. Prefer to watch while you read? Our brand new prophecy encounters DVD series makes the perfect companion set. Order your study guides and DVDs today by visiting afbookstore.com or by calling 800-538-7275.

Pastor Ross: We have Maya who’s listening from Maryland. Maya, welcome to the program.

Maya: Thank you for taking my call. Good evening, Pastor Doug and Pastor Ross.

Pastor Doug: Evening.

Maya: My question is, it says that in New Jerusalem, when New Jerusalem comes down, there will be four gates. Why the New Jerusalem will have gates? Usually, we have gates to protect our home from intruders.

Pastor Doug: Yes, that's a great question. Sometimes we think of gates is you're worried about some enemy army invading, but gates also are places in the Bible-- First of all, there's 12 gates, there’s three on each side, four walls. It says there's a gate is named for each of the tribes and the names of the apostles are in the foundation stones, but the gates are also in the Bible places where judgment happened.

Gates were places where folks would hear stories from the elders. It was like a gathering spot. We're going to be able to fly. The walls are not keeping people out of the city. Bible says, “They'll mount up with wings like eagles.” You could fly over the gates if you wanted to, but I think it's a place where those verses says, “We enter His gates with thanksgiving.” Gates weren’t always for war, just represented a boundary, we finally enter the city of God.

Pastor Ross: Of course, if you read in Revelation Chapter 21, it talks about the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven. In Chapter 20, it tells you, “When Jesus sets His feet upon the Mount of Olives, it opens up, forms a great Valley, the New Jerusalem comes to rest, and the wicked are resurrected.” They're outside the city and the righteous are inside the city.

I'm sure at that point, those gates will be closed for the Great White Throne Judgment, then the wicked mount their attack upon the New Jerusalem, and the Bible says, “Fire comes and devours them.” When the New Jerusalem is on the earth, there'll still be the wicked outside the city and the righteous in the city until the final judgment occurs.

Maya: Thank you.

Pastor Doug: Thank you. We do have a lesson that talks about the New Jerusalem and we'll be happy to send you a free copy of that, Maya.

Pastor Ross: It's called A Colossal City in Space. We'll be happy to send this to anyone who calls and asks, the number again is 800-835-6747. You can ask for the study guide on heaven, it's called A Colossal City in Space. Our next caller that we have is Tyler, and he's listening from Oklahoma City. Tyler, welcome to the program.

Tyler: Hi.

Pastor Ross: Hi, and your question.

Tyler: In Revelation 20, it talks about, that the wicked will charge to the New Jerusalem and then they will be cast into the lake of fire. Then, right after that, it says that in the Great White Throne of Judgment, they will be cast into the lake of fire. I had a confusion on when they’ll be cast into the lake of fire.

Pastor Doug: Well, both those verses are talking about the same event. It's referring back to the original event again. The one time when it says they're cast into the lake of fire, then it gives you more details and it talks about it again.

Pastor Ross: We also find a feature that we see in Bible prophecies, you have a story or a particular subject presented. Then, sometimes, as you read a little further, the prophet is inspired to kind of back up and give you some additional details. For example, in Revelation Chapter 20, it talks about the wicked surrounding the Golden City, the New Jerusalem, but you don't read until Chapter 21 where the New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven. Those two chapters overlap a little bit with some of the details. It's not always in chronological order. That's, I think, what confuses some people.

Pastor Doug: Tyler, if I was just to tell you in layman's terms, what's happening here in Revelation 22, Revelation 20 also, the wicked surround the City of God, they launch an attack, they’re called Gog and Magog, all the wicked who've ever lived.

In the midst of that attack, Christ is exalted above the city on His white throne. There's a mass judgment that takes place, and everyone whose names are not found in the book of life is cast into a lake of fire. Actually, God rains fire and brimstone down out of heaven upon them, forms a lake just like any rain can eventually form a lake. There, they get the consequences of being in that lake of fire and every man is punished according to what he deserves. We've got a couple of questions on hell tonight.

Now your question would fit with our lesson on the millennium. Tyler, we have a special lesson on the millennium, we'll send you a free copy if you call.

Pastor Doug: That lesson is called 1000 Years of Peace, and to receive that, call 800-835-6747. You can ask for the study guide called 1000 Years of Peace. Our next caller is Kathleen listening from Arizona. Kathleen, welcome to the program.

Kathleen: Hi, thank you. Hi, Pastor Doug and Pastor Jean Ross, thank you for taking my call and thank you for your ministry.

Pastor Doug: Thank you.

Kathleen: My question is pertaining to Psalms 55. I was reading it and it seems like David is asking God to destroy the people who have hurt him. I’m under the understanding that we-- I pray for people, for God to soften their hearts that they would turn to God and repent and be saved. Should we pray for someone's destruction if they're harming us?

Pastor Doug: Well, David was a prophet, and so we don't have the insight he had. Sometimes when a person is hurting others, even Jesus was so angry at the scribes and Pharisees because they were blind leading others to destruction. The blind guides leading the blind. Some of the strongest things that Jesus said, He called them, a brood of vipers. Well, I guess John the Baptist said that, he said, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” Jesus had some pretty strong language and he said, “There would be a severe judgment,” He wept over Jerusalem and talked about the severe judgment that was coming on them because they had stoned the prophets and done so many things.

David, as the king of the people, he's looking at the enemies of God's people and what they've done to hurt God's people. He wants them to stop hurting the innocent. God has those same emotions.

Kathleen: Okay. When I see in the news where somebody has killed a kid or something, I, of course, pray for their family for comfort, but I also pray for that person that they turn on their ways. Should I not do that?

Pastor Doug: No, I think that's appropriate. That's one thing that makes Christians unique, is that we look beyond the sin and we realize that if it wasn't for the grace of God, human hearts can do desperately wicked and evil things. We need to pray because there's stories in the Bible of there was a king that even killed his own children that later converted. It's hard to believe, so you never can underestimate God's power to transform someone.

Kathleen: Maybe because David was a prophet, he knew that the one that was hurting him was not going to change.

Pastor Doug: Yes. Well, and keep in mind, there's two things that you see here in the Bible. One is, the law that has to do with interpersonal relationships, we should turn the other cheek. Then, there's civil law where talks about an eye for an eye. David here is probably speaking as a king, and he's dealing with civil law and justice that must come upon the wicked. You've got several dynamics happening here. Thank you, Kathleen. We appreciate your question.

Pastor Ross: Our next caller that we have is Agnes listening from Billings, Montana. Agnes, welcome to the program.

Agnes:  Thank you.

Pastor Doug: Thank you. Your question?

Agnes: My son and I have just been studying and we are looking to see where in the Bible it says that each one of us has a guardian angel.

Pastor Doug: There's a couple of verses. You don't find the word guardian angel in the Bible or the phrase, but you do have a few verses. You can look at Psalm 91:11, "He will give His angels charge over you to keep you and all your ways." Then there's the verse, and maybe Pastor Ross is looking that one up, in Matthew.

Pastor Ross: Matthew 18:10. It says, "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones for I say unto you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my father who is in heaven." Guardian angels, particularly here, it's referring to the little children and says that they're angels. That will give you the idea of a guardian angel.

Pastor Doug: The Lord has no shortage of angels. The Bible describes them as 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands. God could appoint angels to watch over humans. We know the devil has evil angels that are trying to trip us up and tempt us. Not too many people argue that they are free of temptation. If devil has got enough angels to go around and tempt us to sin, then we know that God has got two good ones for every bad one. That's in Revelation, is it 12 where it says a third of the angels are cast out. Two-thirds were good, and they're there to help us resist the devil.

Agnes: What was that verse in Revelation.

Pastor Doug: Revelation 12. It talks about Satan is cast out of heaven and his angels were cast out with him. It says that he drew a third of the stars to the earth and later tells us these are the angels. Satan was able to persuade one-third of the angels to follow him in his rebellion against the creator.

Agnes: Thank you so much.

Pastor Doug: All right. Thank you. Good question.

Pastor Ross: We've got Deborah listening in Burbank, California. Deborah, welcome to the program.

Pastor Doug: Hi, Deborah. I was born in Burbank.

Deborah: I know. That's what I told them when I called in.

[laughter]

Pastor Doug: That's why we gave you special access.

[laughter]

Deborah: My question is, why is there confusion over the number in the Godhead?

Pastor Doug: You mean whether there's three individual persons or one?

Deborah: Yes.

Pastor Doug:  First of all, in all honesty, I think people in our culture struggle with the idea of one. We always think, when the Bible says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one," we think about numerical quantity that it's just one, but you read the rest of the Bible, and the word one did not always mean numerical quantity. It often meant unity. It's like, Jesus said, "I and my father are one." We know they're different persons because there at the baptism, you've got Jesus in the water and God the Father says, "This is my son." Jesus was not doing a ventriloquist job at that time.

Christ said to the apostles, "Father, I pray they may be one as you and I are one." Jesus said, "A husband and a wife get married, they become one flesh." The word one for the Hebrew often meant unity of purpose and direction that you're kind of one body. When the Bible tells us that God is Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, in Genesis God says, "Let us make man in our image." The plural is used there. There had to be at least two, and we read in the New Testament there were three. Now, I've got a book I just finished on this.

Deborah: I've always believed that there's three.

Pastor Doug: Yes, you're right. I've got a book that I just wrote, because a lot of people have questions on this and it's on the Trinity. It called The Trinity, One God or Three? If you call Amazing Facts, we will send you a copy of that book.

Deborah:  That will be fabulous. I appreciate that.

Pastor Doug: Sure. I got a whole list in the back of the book of like 24 quotes from scripture that mention the three persons of the Godhead in one or two verses together.

Pastor Ross: The number to call for that is 800-835-6747. Again, just ask for the book on the Trinity. We'll be happy to send it to you. 800-835-6747. We've got Jerry listening from Oregon. Jerry, welcome to the program.

Jerry: Good evening, Pastors Ross and Batchelor. Always nice talking to you. I saw your sermon online two days, that was, Saturday morning, and you mentioned that many people in mainstream Christianity believe that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday because Jesus appeared on Sunday, which is true. I've heard that too, but my question to you, yes, the Bible makes it clear He was seen Sunday morning, but that doesn't mean He was necessarily resurrected on Sunday morning. He could have been resurrected 12 hours earlier. Do you know any scriptures that pin down His actual time of resurrection?

Pastor Doug: I think there are scriptures. I'm looking right now in Luke 24:1, and it says, "Now, on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they and certain other women came to the tomb bringing spices. They went, they didn't find the body of Jesus." We believe that He had risen shortly before that. I'm trying to remember which one of the gospels says, the angel of the Lord descended and the soldiers , and he threw aside the stone. Is that Matthew 28? Let me see. Yes, here it is.

In Matthew 28:2, "Behold there was a great earthquake." It says, "On the first day of the week, a great earthquake, the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, came, and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it, and his countenance was like lightning." The angel rolling back the door from which Christ ultimately emerges, that definitely happens Sunday morning.

Jerry:  Yes, but he could have rolled away the stone just so that these ladies could go into the tomb. It still doesn't specifically say that Jesus was resurrected at that time.

Pastor Doug:  I think that contextually, it's clear but I suppose you could argue that.

Pastor Ross: After you read the passage, you just looked at, I think in Mathew, Pastor Doug, it talks about the angel coming down from heaven, the soldiers fell to the ground as though they were dead. The angel rolled away the stone. It doesn't specifically state that Jesus rose from the dead, but when the soldiers came around, they got up and ran back to Jerusalem and they gave the message that Christ was resurrected from the dead. It was evident to them that Christ rose from the dead at the same time that the Angel had rolled away the stone.

Pastor Doug:  Of course, the angel in Mark 16, he says that he's not here, he is risen. I think the Angel's making it sound like this eminently had just happened. That's in Mark Chapter 16 in the first few verses. We don't mean to cut you off, Jerry, but we've got to take a hard break right now. We'll be back, more questions, don't go away.

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This broadcast is a previously recorded episode. If you'd like answers to your Bible-related questions on the air, please call us next Sunday between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM Pacific Time. To receive any of the Bible resources mentioned in this evening's program, call 800-835-6747. Once again, that's 800-835-6747. Now, let's join Pastors Doug Batchelor and Jean Ross, for more Bible Answers Live.

Pastor Doug: Welcome back, listening friends. If you tuned in somewhere along the way, as you can tell, this is Bible Answers Live and we are live and we take Bible questions live. If you have a question, we've got lines open right now. It's a free phone call, and just simply dial 800-463-7297, our operator will pick up and prep you for getting on the air and we'll take your Bible question. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My name is Jean Ross. We're going to go to our next caller, we have Scott listening in Nebraska. Scott, welcome to the program.

Scott: Hello, good evening pastors. How are you all tonight?

Pastor Doug: Good. How can we help you?

Scott: My question is, at the end, when we see Jesus coming in the clouds, where exactly is Satan going to be? Is he still going to be trying to deceive people or? I know he's going to be on the earth, but where exactly in scripture does it say is he going to be when all this happens?

Pastor Doug: Well, some would argue that he's going to make some kind of a grand appearance in the Holy Land. They read where it tells us in 2nd Thessalonian, "Sits in the temple of God showing himself he is God." I think Satan's going to maybe appear a number of places around the planet impersonate Jesus. Where he'll be geographically exactly when Christ comes, I don't know, but he might be in Washington DC, but he's going to be going around the planet impersonating Christ and trying to win people over to worship him.

Scott: We won't be able to see Satan as a glory of light and Jesus coming in the clouds?

Pastor Doug: Well, the glory of Christ, when He comes is going to eclipse any earthly glory, any being on Earth. There'll be nothing like it. Satan, he's a created being. Some have argued, is Satan going to appear as a man or is he somehow going to be taking on the form of a man? I don't think Satan has the power of incarnation like Jesus did. That's a mystery that only God could perform, but Satan is somehow going to appear in the form of a man to deceive humans.

Scott: Wow. Okay.

Pastor Doug: Yes. All right. He may possess, he may just thoroughly possess an individual. He's done that in history before.

Scott: Okay. Well, I appreciate your answers.

Pastor Doug: Well, very good. Thank you, Scott. Some of these things, we're going to have to wait and see. Of course, we're not looking forward to that part of the story. We had a lesson we can send you on the Antichrist.

Pastor Ross: It's simply called Who Is The Antichrist, and we'll be happy to send this to you, Scott or anyone who'd like to receive it. The number is 800-835-6747. Again, you can ask the study guide called Who Is The Antichrist. Again 800-83 5-6747. Next caller that we have is Mac listening from Washington. Mac, welcome to the program.

Mac: Good evening, Pastors. How are you?

Pastor Doug: Great, thank you for calling.

Mac: Well, the question that I have has to do with asking the Lord for signs. If you have a decision you need to make in your life and you want the Lord's input on it. I've read in different places that we shouldn't tempt the Lord that way or try him that way, but then there's stories about Gideon and the fleece on the ground. I just wanted some clarification about that.

Pastor Doug: Yes, well, you're right there. Christ does say in Matthew 12:39, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah." Christ is not condemning there or ever asking for some divine guidance. Of course, He wants us to follow His Word, sometimes if you want leading to look in the word. Sometimes He'll speak through Christian counsel, other believers that have wisdom. He'll guide us with the impressions of His spirit.

I've been in situations before, I think, and a lot of Christians have where you had two good alternatives. You just say, "Lord, I need some additional evidence to make my decision. I've seen where God has given signs. The disciples, when they needed to pick a new apostle to replace Judas, they cast lots, that's essentially asking for a sign.

Sometimes the Lord would give some providential evidence that would guide people, but Christ said, "Blessed are those who believe without sin." When He was talking to the scribes and Pharisees and He said it's an evil a generation that seeks after sign, Christ was saying, "Look, you've got the sign of the prophets to know that I'm the Messiah. You don't believe the prophets, you won't believe me. You shouldn't be asking for a sign that I'm the Messiah." I don't think that was a blanket statement, we should never ask for any extra evidence.

I know a lady that was really praying whether or not she should marry a man, and a very godly woman. Just not knowing and just wanting to know [chuckles] she knelt by her bed, opened the Bible, closed her eyes, flipped through the Bible, just put her finger down on a page. She put her finger down on the part in Genesis 22, I think, where they're looking for a wife for Isaac and it says, "If he bids you go with him."

[laughter]

Pastor Doug: She married the guy, was happily married, but she said she just needed a sign. [laughs] Sometimes God does that, but it's best not to depend on flipping coins and looking for signs.

Mac: Well, I guess what I wanted to know is there's lots of times that I'm a Christian and I'm looking to do the Lord's work at every chance I get. Sometimes, I just want to know is what is your purpose for my life? There are things that I would do or think of doing and I will say, "Well, Lord is this it? If this is it, show me this sign or show me that sign." How does that work?

Pastor Doug: The best thing is say, "Lord, guide me," and then start reading the Bible. You'll find that the Lord will bring you the passages. It's like He's saying, I speak to you primarily through my word. He will lead you to passages. Now, I've got a book I can send you where I talk specifically about this, Henry [sic] and it's called How To Know The Will of God. It talks about looking for leading in these situations.

Pastor Ross: Again, the number to call for that is 800-835-6747 and ask for the book called Determining The Will of God, and we'll be happy to send that out to you, Mac, or anyone who calls and asks. Our next caller that we have is Henry listening from New York. Henry, welcome to the program.

Henry: Yes. I'm calling from New York. The best of the new year

Pastor Doug: Thank you.

Henry: Was Moses before Cleopatra or after Cleopatra?

Pastor Doug: Moses was before Cleopatra. Cleopatra lived closer to the time of Julius Caesar, and that would have been about 50 BC. Moses lived about 900 years before that. Yes, he definitely lived quite a ways before then. When he was in Egypt, long before Cleopatra came around.

Pastor Ross: All right, thank you for your call, Henry. Our next caller that we have is Latham listening from Alberta Canada. Latham, welcome to the program.

Latham: Thank you. My question is, if God knows the future so well, why did He create Lucifer?

Pastor Doug: Well, God creates creatures free, and the Lord was willing to make Lucifer even though God knew that he might rebel. It's like when your parents decided to have children, they probably knew in advance that the children may not always obey them, but they wanted to love their children and so they took the risk.

Well, God, He doesn't make us robots, He makes us free. God even made an angel that had the potential to go bad. Lucifer is going bad was his decision. It wasn't God's choice. God is a loving God, and that's why He does it. Latham, we have a study guide called Did God Make A Devil, and it talks about, why would God create an angel that He knew could go bad?

Pastor Ross: To receive that study guide, all you have to do is call our resource phone line, that's 800-835-6747. Again, after that study guide called Did God Create A Devil, we'll be happy to send that to anyone who calls and asks.

Automated Voice 5: Journey back through time to the center of the universe. Discover how a perfect angel transformed into Satan, the arch-villain. The birth of evil, of rebellion in heaven. A mutiny that moved to earth. Behold the creation of a beautiful new planet and the first humans. Witness the temptation and evil. Discover God's amazing plan to save His children. This is a story that involves every life on earth, every life. The Cosmic conflict; if God is good, if God is all-powerful, if God is love, then what went wrong?

Pastor Ross: Next caller is Poch Lee, I guess, listening from Florida. Poch Lee, welcome to the program.

Lee: Yes. How're you doing? My question is on the that version of, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in air."

Pastor Doug: 1st Thessalonians 4, yes.

Lee: Yes, is that the 144,000 that's caught up in air?

Pastor Doug: Well, they may be some of them, but we don't think it's only 144,000 that are saved because when you read in Revelation Chapter 7 and 14, where it talks about the 144,000, principally Chapter seven says, ''There's also a great multitude that no man can number.'' The 144,000 will certainly be part of that group, but they're not the only ones.

Lee: There's going to be another group that's there also ?

Pastor Doug: Yes, the 144,000, it says the 12,000 from the 12 tribes, that's a spiritual term talking about those who have come to believe in Jesus. There may be some literal Jews and spiritual Jews in that group, but they're like leaders. The 12 apostles were leaders, they were not the only ones that Jesus saved. At Pentecost, there were 120 in the upper room, and then through their preaching, there's 3,000 saved. That all began with the 12 apostles Jesus trained.

If only 144,000 are saved, and now there's pushing 8 billion people in the world, I did the math once, and that would mean your chances of being saved are 1 out of 50,000. That's pretty sad, I wouldn't want to be hoping that I'm 1 out of 50,000. There's going to be a lot more than that saved in the last days.

Pastor Ross: We do have a book talking about the 144,000, we'll be happy to send that to you. It's called, Who Will Sing The Song? Understanding the 144,000. The number to call is 800-835-6747. Again, the book is called Who Will Sing The Song? Understanding the 144,000 that we read about in Revelation.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Pastor Ross: Thanks for your call. Our next call is Allan listening from Mississippi. Allan, welcome to the program.

Allan: Thank you so much. Truly a pleasure gentlemen, you've blessed me for years.

Pastor Doug: Thank you, appreciate your calling.

Allan: Thank you, sir. In Numbers 13:1, the children of Israel are in the wilderness, Numbers 13:1 says, "The Lord said to Moses, send some men to explore the land of Canaan."

Pastor Doug: Yes.

Allan: In the end, in Deuteronomy 1:22, It appears that the Israelites came to Moses said, "Let's send some spies," and Moses said, "It seems like a good idea to me."

Pastor Doug: Yes. You're wondering, that sounds like a contradiction.

Allan: Yes, sir.

Pastor Doug: Well, the way I've had it explained in looking at the different commentaries, is it was initially the people's idea. They went to Moses, said, "You know, Moses, you've actually never been in the Promised Land." Moses, he wandered 40 years in the wilderness. He never crossed the Jordan. The other Israelites that had not been there for several generations, they said, "We probably ought to send some surveillance out there to see what's going on. We don't know God's Promised Land, but all we have is hearsay." It was the people's lack of faith initially, they said, "Let's send some spies."

It wasn't necessarily a bad idea to have spies, because 40 years later, Joshua sent spies. Joshua was one of the original 12 spies. God then can sense, and what you're reading in Numbers 13 is God consenting to the requests of the people. The Lord said to Moses, "Send men to spy out the land," but He's not responding to a request that's already been made by the people. The idea started with the people, and Moses said, ''Well, sounds good, Lord, they want to send spies," and God said, "Okay," but it wasn't initially God's idea. Does that make sense?

Allan: Yes, sir, absolutely. Thank you so much.

Pastor Doug: Thank you, Allan. I appreciate that.

Pastor Ross: Next caller that we have is Damien listening from Miami, Florida. Damian, welcome to the program.

Damian: Thank you. Good night, Pastor Doug and Pastor Ross.

Pastor Doug: Evening, and how can we help you tonight?

Damian: Okay, I was reading Genesis 1:26-27. What does it mean God created man in His own image?

Pastor Doug: Yes, that's great. Well, God actually has a form. For one thing, man is made in a similar form of God. God does not look like a giraffe or a zebra or a mouse or flying squirrel. If we want to know something about what God looks like, we look like Him just like a child may have a striking resemblance to its parents.

God has a head and hands and feet like us, He walks up erect. There are a couple of images where you see God in the Bible, in Daniel 4, Daniel 7, Revelation 1, Ezekiel, I don't remember what chapter. There is different prophets saw the Lord, Isaiah 6, God sitting on a throne. He's got eyes and hair and clothes like a human.

We are made in that form in the image of God, but man is made in the image of God in that God creates and man was made to procreate in our image. When we have children like God, we have children in our own image. God is a ruler, man was made to be the ruler of this planet. God gave dominion of the world to Adam and Eve. That's another way that man is made like God. There are many other characteristics and emotions we have that we get from God. Does that make sense?

Damian: Thank you, thank you very much.

Pastor Doug: Okay, thank you, Damian. I appreciate that, good question.

Pastor Ross: Our next call is Roger listening from Colorado. Roger, welcome to the program.

Roger: Thank you for having me. My question concerns something that was asked earlier. When Jesus was resurrected from the grave, I understand somebody had said something about that there were other resurrections at about the same time. Is that true?

Pastor Doug: Well, they're talking in Matthew 27:52, it tells us that at the time that Christ died, there was an earthquake, many of the graves around Jerusalem were shaken open, and after the resurrection of Christ, some of them came out of their graves and appeared to people in the city. We understand they ascended to heaven when Christ did. There was a small group of people that were resurrected at the same time as Christ, according to Matthew 27.

Roger: Well, I thank you very much for that. Thank you also for Friday night Bible question.

Pastor Doug: Thank you, we appreciate your calling. Take care, Roger.

Roger: You got it, thank you.

Pastor Ross: Next caller that we have is Jo listening from Pennsylvania. Jo, welcome to the program.

Jo: Thank you. Good evening pastors?

Pastor Doug: Evening. Thank you for calling.

Jo: Yes, I would like your comments on Matthew 15:10-20 and Mark 7:14-21. I know you've probably answered this 100 times, but unfortunately, I've never heard you answer. These scriptures talk about what goes into the body does not defile the body. It is what comes out of the body. To me, it seems to be talking about food because it says what goes in is eliminated.

Pastor Doug: Correct. The issue here, though, is not a particular kind of food. What the dispute is over is the religious leaders were giving the apostles a hard time because they did not ceremonially wash their hands before they ate. Jesus said, "Don't you realize that that's not what defiles you." If you eat with dirty hands, it doesn't defile your heart." He wasn't making that statement as a blanket that a person can eat anything that might crawl across their plate, that now the unclean food suddenly were cleansed. Some people read it that way.

Jesus is talking to Jews, they had no discussion. There was no dispute here about what clean foods were and unclean foods. The dispute here is if you eat with ceremonially unwashed hands, does that defile your heart? Jesus said, "No, we eat a certain amount of bacteria every day, and it goes through your digestive system," that's where Christ said, "Purging all meats." There's a certain purging that takes place, and like you say, it's eliminated. It goes in and comes out, and it doesn't defile your heart. God blessed Daniel when Daniel said he would not defile himself with the unclean foods that the king of Babylon was wanting to feed them.

Pastor Ross: Also, the religious leaders in the time of Jesus laid a heavy burden upon the common people. In order for them to eat, they would have to go through the ceremonial washing, otherwise, they would be defiled and this was difficult for a lot of the common people, especially the poor people.

Jesus, in this whole passage was talking to the religious leaders and said, "You're making void the law of God by your man-made traditions." Then He uses this one, for example, the washing of cups and ceremonial washing of the hands, and then He called the multitude together, this is the people and He said, "Understand, it's not what goes into the mouth," meaning it's not the ceremonial washing of the hands and the cups, that's really the most important thing. It's what comes out of the heart. Jesus was illustrating that truth. The context there is these traditions created by the religious leaders.

Pastor Doug: Then later in Matthew 12, He said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks," and we're defiled by our words actually, we'll be judged by our words. If you're wondering about whether God still cares if we eat clean or unclean food, or what Jesus' teaching was on that, you jump to Acts 10, which happens about four years after the death of Christ. Peter has a vision, and he says, "Not so Lord, I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

If the disciples who lived surrounded by Greeks and Romans, were thinking it was okay to eat anything, well, they sure weren't doing it even four years after Christ, because Peter says very explicitly, "I've never eaten anything common," and he never takes anything out of this visionary sheet and eats it. That was a vision about preaching the gospel to the gentiles.

Jo: Right. Well, thank you.

Pastor Doug: Buzzards and skunks and camels are still unclean. I won't eat them. [chuckles] I just heard a pastor say one time, he said, "If you say that every creature of God is good and you think that you can eat any living thing, well, technically, that would be an endorsement of cannibalism." God is not saying that.

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Pastor Ross: Next caller that we have is Lindsey, listening from Michigan. Lindsey, welcome to the program.

Lindsey: Hi, Pastor Doug and Pastor Ross.

Pastor Doug: Hi. Thank you for calling.

Lindsey: My question is, did people, back in Bible times, know that they were fulfilling prophecy? A couple of examples that I was wondering about was when Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus, when Herod commanded the slaughter of children and when Jesus rode the donkey. I know that was all prophesied, I think, in the book of Isaiah, I'm not for sure, but I was just curious about that.

Pastor Doug: Well, when Christ rode the donkey, I think that's Zechariah.

Lindsey: He knew.

Pastor Doug: Yes, Jesus knew. Now, I know you were talking about Joseph, Jesus' father. When Joseph the Patriarch was in Egypt, near the end of his life, he told his brothers, "I know that the prophecy God gave me as a young man that you'd all bow down to me and that He would bring good of it. Now I know what that prophecy is all about."

Joseph lived to see a prophecy God gave him fulfilled. That's Joseph the Son of Jacob.

I don't think Mary and Joseph realized when they tied off their donkey in Bethlehem before Jesus was born, "Hey, let's hurry up and go fulfill this prophecy." I think it was the last thing in their mind. Mary had been told by Gabriel that you're going to have the Messiah, but I'm not sure that they were going to Bethlehem because there was a tax and they had to go. I don't think they thought, "Let's hurry and get there so that we could look like we're fulfilling Micah's prophecy." What do you think? No one's ever asked me that before. [chuckles]

Lindsey: So those scrolls were not available?

Pastor Doug: No, they had the scrolls. There's a lot of prophecies in the Bible. I'm not sure that they had made the connection. Because Micah's prophecy, "Bethlehem, out of you will come forth He who will be savior," I'm not sure that they had always put two and two together on that.

Pastor Ross: Pretty certain that Herod did not realize that he was actually fulfilling Bible prophecy when he had all the little baby boys put to death. Of course, that was a fulfillment of prophecy that you read later on, but in the story of the Wise Men that came from the east and they saw the star, they had been studying the scriptures and understood that that had prophetic importance, so they followed the star. Yes, there are some who recognize the fulfillment of prophecy and some who didn't.

Lindsey: Okay. Well, thank you guys so much for all your work. I really appreciate it.

Pastor Doug: All right, God bless.

Lindsey: Have a good one.

Pastor Ross: Next caller that we have is Jim, listening in Oregon.

Pastor Doug: Hey, Jim. We've got about a minute and a half. Can we do it?

Jim: Oh, shucks. For sure.

Pastor Doug: We'll try.

Jim: The New Millennium where the people of God are in Heaven and there's comes down and Jesus resurrects the wicked dead. Then Satan is loose from his chains because the wicked dead are now alive. Then it says that he is loose and the seasons were the days, a year, a season is three months. Does that mean that he's going to be tempting the wicked and deceiving them for nine years?

Pastor Doug: Let me just repeat your question because you're cutting in and out. We're going to put you on mute here because we're getting some feedback. I think Jim is asking when it says in Revelation 20 that Satan is loose from his prison for a little season and he'll go out and deceive the nations. How long is that little season? I think it's a phrase that is used, it's indefinite.

The closest I've heard is Moses, he refused to be called son of pharaoh, willing to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, some have said that was 40 years or 80 years. I've heard arguments about maybe Moses' life. A season there, it just means a spell of time. Season for us can be the cycle of the seasons which is one year.

Pastor Ross: If you look at the translation of this in the New King James, verse three, it says, "Shall be released for a little while." They don't use the word season, they just say a little while.

Pastor Doug: That sums it up. Hey, I hope that helps a little bit, Jim. We appreciate your question. I don't know that we'd have time to do justice to our last caller, Angelita. Give us a call next week. If you don't giving us a call, we'll try and put you at the head of the list here.

Listening friends, before you go away, let me just remind you that Amazing Facts has a broad spectrum of ministry. This Bible Answer program is a service we do once a week because we just love to study the word with people and get the truth out there. We've got a Bible school, we have missionary training, we have television programs around the country. We're on stations like TBN and Day Star and Lifetime and many others. Hope you'll go to our website and check out Amazing Facts. It's simply amazingfacts.org.

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Thank you so much for studying the word of God with us. God willing, we'll back together again to do it again next week.

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