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Playing to the Dead

Date: 06/26/2011 
One stormy night in 1910, a group of traveling musicians arrived at the city of Riga on the Baltic Sea to fulfill a concert engagement. The weather was so bad, however, that the conductor of the orchestra tried to persuade the manager of the hall to cancel the concert.
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Hello friends, how about an amazing fact? One stormy night in 1910, a group of traveling musicians arrived at the city of Riga on the Baltic Sea to fulfill a concert engagement. The weather was so bad, however, that the conductor of the orchestra tried to persuade the manager of the hall to cancel the concert. He felt sure that no one would venture out on such a rainy night. The manager refused to cancel, but he did agree that if no one turned up that the orchestra could leave early in order to catch the night boat bound for Helsinki in Finland.

When the musicians arrived at the concert hall they found only one person sitting in the audience. A stout old man who smiled at everyone. Because of this old man the musicians were forced to play the entire concert. And they were unable to leave early to catch the boat. After the concert was over the old man continued sitting in the seat. Thinking he was asleep an usher nudged him on the shoulder.

Only then was it discovered that the old man was dead. The musicians had played the entire concert, for a dead man. But, ironically in doing this, they had saved their own lives. For you see the boat that they would have taken to Finland, sank that very night with a complete loss of life. The death of one man saved the lives of many.

Stay tuned for more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of “Bible Answers Live”.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Ross: This is Bible Answers Live, my name is Jean Ross. Pastor Doug Batchelor is off this evening, but as the name suggests this is a live interactive, international Bible Study. And if you have a Bible related question, we would love to hear from you. Tonight the number to call to get your question on the air is 800-463-7297 that number again is 800-GOD-SAYS that’s 463-7297. We have a few lines that are still open. One more time the number is 800-463-7297.

Friends before we go to the phone line, let’s ask God’s blessing to be on this program. Dear father once again we want to ask that You would be present. As we study Your word. We do know that the Bible is Your book. And in order for it to be correctly understood we need the leading of the Holy Spirit, so we ask Your blessing here in the studio and be with those who are listening, wherever they might be. Father, guide us into a clearer understanding of your will for our lives. For we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastor Ross: I opened the program by sharing with you an amazing fact about a group of musicians who back in 1910 played concert for a dead man, but actually in doing so, they ended up saving their own lives. You know this reminds me of really the Gospel story. The Bible tells us in John Chapter 3:16 that the most famous verse in all of Scripture. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. That whoso ever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans Chapter 5: verse 8 puts it this way. “But, God demonstrates His love towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The great central theme of Scripture is the death of Jesus the death of one that provides eternal life for many.

Now the most important question that someone can ever ask is how can I obtain that gift of eternal life? Based on the death of Jesus on Calvary for me perhaps there is someone listening this evening, perhaps even you are wondering that what is it that you have to do in order to be saved? We have a book that we would like to make available to you. Call our resource line. It’s entitled, “Three Steps to Heaven” and it’ll explain from Scripture exactly what you have to do to avail yourself of the gift of eternal life provided through the sacrifice and the death of Jesus.

To receive the book, “Three Steps to Heaven” call our resource line at 800-835-6747. That resource line again is 800-835-6747 and, asks for the book, “Three Steps to Heaven” and we’d be happy to send that out to you.

Pastor Ross: Alright we’re going to go to our phone lines and our first caller this evening is Sheila. And she is calling from Hawaii, Sheila, welcome to the program.

Sheila: Hi. Aloha.

Pastor Ross: Hi Sheila and your question? Aloha, yes, and your question this evening?

Sheila: Oh, yes, In the Scripture, Matthew 22:14, yes, it says, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” And I wanted to get a little more understanding on that verse.

Pastor Ross: Alright, good question. Matthew 24 is a short verse which simply says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” And sometimes people wonder well why is it that many are called, but only a few are actually chosen? Who’s the one doing the choosing? And who’s the one doing the calling?

Well, the one doing the calling in this verse is God. The Bible tells us that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God is calling all through His Spirit, through Providence, through His word, through the testimony of others. God is calling people to respond to the Gospel invitation and to accept Jesus as their personal savior.

Those who respond to the Gospel invitation, they are the ones who are chosen to be conformed into the image of Christ. But, it is us as individuals that need to respond to the call of God. When we respond to that call, then we are chosen to be part of God’s elect. It’s not a predestinating that God does, but it’s a response that we have to God’s call and then God choose us to be His. Does that make sense Sheila?

Sheila: Yes. I guess I just want to make sure that I’m called and I’m chosen. I thought all were called. Not just many are called but, like you said all are called.

Pastor Ross: All are called those who respond to the call, they are then the ones who are chosen. See when we choose Jesus, Jesus chooses us. God calls all of us and then when we respond to that call we are then chosen in Christ Jesus, to become formed to the image of Christ and we are also chosen for the gift of eternal life.

Sheila: Okay.

Pastor Ross: You know we have a book dealing with the subject a little bit more and I believe it actually deals with this very question. There are probably a lot of folks who are wondering about this very verse. The book is entitled, “Can a Saved Man Choose to be Lost?” It deals with this what does it mean to be chosen and who is the one who does the choosing? To receive that book call our resource line it is, 1-800-835-6747 and you can ask for the book, “Can a Saved Man Choose to be Lost?”

Our next caller is Aaron and Aaron is from Carmichael, California, Aaron, welcome to the program.

Aaron: Hi. I havea question about healing and miracles.

Pastor Ross: Yes.

Aaron: I was thinking about this because I actually broke my femur about a month ago and it’s sort of healing up. But, as far as like immediate healing like the book of Acts, and it seems like today like if your leg was healing, isn’t that still considered a miracle of what or how does God work in that sense?

Pastor Ross: Well, that’s a good question. Why is it that we see such dramatic miracles during Bible times and it seems that today the miracles don’t seem to be as dramatic? Well, God has several ways that He can work. One of the ways that He can work is through a dramatic healing. And there are cases and I believe I have been involved in cases where we have prayed for someone who is deathly ill, and we witnessed a miracle. Their recovery was totally the opposite of what the doctors were saying. It really was a miracle. God intervened and preserved that individual’s life.

But, even the healing process, for example the healing of a broken bone in your situation, that’s really the miracle working power of God working through the laws that have been established by God for health and healing.

So all healing in one way or another comes from God. He is the giver of all good gifts. Sometimes God chooses to work in a dramatic fashion for healing. At other times God chooses to work through modern science, medicine, He’ll also work through natural remedies there are different ways that God will work in different situations, but really all healing comes from God. Does that help?

Aaron: Yeah that helps. Is there like a study or something I could read about this so I could understand it better?

Pastor Ross: A little bit more on healing? You know we do have a study guide that kind of outlines some of the health principles that we find in the Bible. As well as the blessings that God pronounces on those who follow those health principles. It’s called, “God’s Free Health Plan” it’s an Amazing facts study guide and Aaron, if you’d call our resource line, it is 1-800-835-6747. You can ask for that free study guide, “God’s Free Health Plan” and we’ll send that out to you and I believe you will find that very helpful.

Aaron: Okay.

Pastor Ross: Alright, thanks for your call. We have Robert who is listening on the internet. He’s calling from Cathedral City in California. Robert, welcome to the program.

Robert: Hi, good evening.

Pastor Ross: Good evening.

Robert: My question was on Ezekiel 9:4 and it goes into the facts that God directs His angels to put marks on men. Kind of like similar to the sealing in Revelation. And then beyond, the next verse or two after that, after He has done that, He instructs the angels to slay and this is pretty drastic, but I’ll just say He has a reason for this the men, women and children and stuff. My question is whether this is something that has already happened or is this a prophecy yet to be fulfilled?

Pastor Ross: You know that is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and itis closely linked with the prophecy you made reference to in Revelation Chapter 7: The last verse of Chapter 6: “For the great day of His wrath has come and who shall be able to stand?” And that question is answered in Revelation Chapter 7 the first part where it describes an angel coming down from heaven and he has the seal of the living God. And he places a seal in the forehead of God’s people. They are then protected from the judgments referred to as the wrath of God which includes the seven last plagues in Revelation they are protected when those plagues are poured out.

The same scene is described during Ezekiel Chapter 9: you also have a mark for those who sigh and cry for the abomination that were done in Jerusalem in the church and then following that sealing there is this general destruction that comes and so it will be the end of the world. Those with the seal of God they will be protected those who don’t, end up with the mark of the beast and they will experience the judgments of God as poured out as the seven last plagues and then finally, there will be a complete destruction of the wicked that happens at the second coming of Christ.

Robert: Well what’s confusing and I understand that vision of it. But, what I’m confused of is begins and it ends at my sanctuary so it appears to be a slaying that happens within the church.

Pastor Ross: Well, you’re right the sanctuary refers to the church. There is a cleansing or a judgment that takes place prior to the second coming of Christ that really involves the church. You see there are individuals within the church who claim to be followers of the Christ, but they’re not genuinely followers of Christ. There is a judgment sometimes referred to by theologians as the pre-advent judgment or the investigative judgment that precedes the second coming of Christ before the close of probation. And that’s what refers to those who are in the temple being the one who receive the mark if they sigh and cry for the abominations done to us.

Robert: So would Isaiah 4:2 describe this also as the same thing?

Pastor Ross: Isaiah Chapter 4: verse 2, let me read that and it says, “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious and the fruit of the earth shall be exceedingly and comely for they that are escaped of Israel.” Yes, that would refer to those who have the seal of God and those who have the mark described here in Ezekiel Chapter 9. They escape the judgments that come upon the world.

Robert: They are like the ones who go out and are like the super apostles of the 144,000, correct?

Pastor Ross: They are filled with the spirit of God they are empowered to do a great work, just prior to the close of probation.

Robert: Okay, yeah, that makes sense.

Pastor Ross: Good question. You know we do have a study guide talking a little bit about the seal of God, I’m not sure if you have seen it before, it is entitled, “Case Closed” it talks about this judgment just preceding the coming of Christ. And if you’d call our resource line, Robert, we’d be happy to send that to you. The number is 800-835-6747 and you can ask for the Amazing Facts study guide, “Case Closed” and we’ll send it out.

Our next caller is Tracy and she is calling from Vancouver, Washington. Tracy, welcome to the program.

Tracy: Hi, thank you. I have a question regarding trusting God. Someone told me he was praying about something and it didn’t come through so the answer was no and he was just trusting God with that. And then a couple of days later he picked it back up again and I didn’t and don’t know how to respond to him regarding that. Can you help me with that?

Pastor Ross: Now is he wondering if he should keep praying about that?

Tracy: No apparently, he stopped praying because he figured—or he was praying, but everything that he was praying for was not coming through, and so he said well, that was God saying no and he was accepting that. And a couple of days later he picked it back up again and said he was going to try something else.

Pastor Ross: Well you know when we come to pray and we’re asking God to in some special way bless us to be praying for a friend, maybe praying for a financial situation. Whatever the situation might be and God does not answer our request immediately, God responds in three ways. One is yes the other is no and the third is wait or not now. And we’re not quite sure if it’s a yes or a not now answer by God or maybe even a no. So we want to pray with faith believing that God knows what is best for us and that in His time He will work all things out for our good.

Now if there is clear evidence that the answer is no, then we can let that go and trust God that He’s got another plan. But, if there’s no clear answer, either through Providence or through Scripture or through the counsel of a godly person, if there’s no clear direction from God that it is no then I would encourage that person to persist in prayer. Maybe the answer that God has is just wait awhile. Maybe your situations aren’t right and maybe your motives are not as pure as they should be. So persist in prayer and believe that God is going to work things out according to His will based upon what’s best for us.

Tracy: Okay.

Pastor Ross: Does that help?

Tracy: I guess what I should tell him because the answer was a clear no, so I guess I just don’t know.

Pastor Ross: Well if the answer is a clear no, then the thing to do is to leave it in God’s hands and move on. You know, if God’s answer is no, then say alright Lord, I will accept that. And I will pursue whatever it is that you want me to do. You know we’re not going to be able to change God’s mind by just nagging Him. So if we know God’s answer is no, then we need to move on in faith believing that God has a different plan. You know you might need depending upon the situation, you know you might want to do it in a tactful manner, but if it’s clear to you that the answer is no or clear to him that the answer is no, then leave it with God and let God work it out.

Tracy: Okay.

Pastor Ross: You know we do have a book dealing with the subject of knowing God’s will and this might be helpful in th situation, just call our resource line at 800-835-6747 ask for the book, “How to Determine God’s Will” and we can send that out to you. It gives some Bible principles. It talks about prayer. I think you’d find it helpful.

Tracy: Thank you.

Pastor Ross: The number to call Tracy is 800-835-6747 and again you can ask for the book, “Knowing God’s Will” the number is 800-835-6747. If you have a Bible question we have just a couple of lines here still open. The number here to the studio is 800-463-7297, that’s 800-463-7297.

Bill is on the line from Virginia, Bill, welcome to the program.

Bill: Hello, how are you?

Pastor Ross: I’m well and yourself?

Bill: Just great and I’m a first time caller, but I listen to you all, all the time.

Pastor Ross: Well great I am glad you had the courage to call today.

[Laughter]

Bill: My question is my wife and I have read Chapter 66 of Isaiah the 13th verse on to 24th. And I don’t quite understand what it is talking about here, whether it has to do with the Syrian Army or whether it has to do with the end of time.

Pastor Ross: Okay let’s take a look at that. Isaiah Chapter 66:13-24 and verse 13 it says, “One whom his mother comforteth, I will comfort you and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when you see this your heart shall rejoice and your bones shall flourish like an herb and the hand of the Lord shall be known towards His servants and His indignation towards His enemies. ” Now the question you have is does this relate to an experience that Israel had in the past or does it relate to something in the future? Is that correct?

Bill: Yeah that’s right.

Pastor Ross: Okay, well I think there were times in Israel’s experience where they were surrounded by the enemy and it seemed as though all hope was lost, but they trusted in the Lord and God came to their defence. And there was great rejoicing. But, that was really a microcosm if you like of what’s going to happen just prior to the second coming of Christ based upon Bible prophecy we know that before Jesus comes the enemy of God’s people will gather themselves against God’s faithful children. And at that time there will be no earthly support of God’s people will have to trust completely in Him. And as the enemy comes against them, matter of fact, Revelation Chapter 13 tells us that there will even be a death decree that is passed against those who refuse to worship the beast and his image or to receive his mark. But, prior to the execution of that death decree, by the enemy of God’s people, Jesus comes to their defence. Jesus comes and redeems them the second coming takes place and so this prophecy which related to instances in Israel’s experience also relates to the experience of God’s people at the very end of time, when God comes to their defence.

Bill: Okay I understand that, but at the end of that chapter I am confused. Okay he talks about and I’ reading from the New King James Version, “They shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against me for their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched and they shall be abhorrent to all flesh.”

Pastor Ross: Alright and what is that event being described? That is describing the final destruction of the wicked. That happens at the end of that 1000 year period. That Revelation Chapter 20 refers to as the millennium. At the end of those 1000 years you have the wicked who gather themselves in bands against the New Jerusalem which in Revelation Chapter 21 comes down from God out of heaven. All the redeemed are inside the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem then settle son the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Olives forms the great valley. The wicked are resurrected you have the final judgment as described in Revelation Chapter 20 and then the wicked mount their attack upon God’s city, but at that point, fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours the wicked. That’s hellfire or the final destruction of the wicked and that is what is being referred to here.

Now that also had a literal fulfillment for the children of Israel. There were times when their enemies came up against them and God in a miraculous way worked, and destroyed them and the Israelites literally looked upon the bodies of the enemies, the corpses of the enemies. But, that again refers to the final and complete eradication of the wicked at the end of their 1000 year period.

Bill: Okay, that helps a whole lot.

Pastor Ross: Bill, let me send you a study guide dealing with that 1000 year period and also the judgment of the wicked and how that relates to Revelation 20 and 21. It’s simply called, “A Thousand Years of Peace” and if you’d call our resource line, ask for that study guide entitled, “A Thousand Years of Peace” we’ll be happy to send that out to you. The number is 800-835-6747 that is our resource line and again ask for the study guide, “A Thousand Years of Peace”.

We have Audrey who is listening on the internet from Japan, Audrey, welcome to the program.

Audrey: Yes, hello.

Pastor Ross: Thank you for calling that’s a long way away from California.

Audrey: Yes it’s actually Monday morning here, but I’m so glad to be on the show.

Pastor Ross: Thank you, glad you called and what’s your question.

Audrey: Well during Bible study with a few people they brought up a question in Genesis 1: verse 3 and verse 14 which I just cannot answer and I was wondering if you can help me. In Genesis 1:3 God said, “And let there be light” and everything was bathed in light. And then Genesis 1:14 says I guess on the fourth day God made the sun the moon and the stars which were a light on the earth. And these people are saying well this is not literal the Bible is not literal because of the fact that, what was the first light and what was the fourth light? And obviously if there is not sun there is no light and I was wondering if you can kind of help me with that? Kind of guide me through how to explain this to the people of what the first light was and the fourth day’s light was?

Pastor Ross: Sure. The first light described there in Genesis 1 refers to the light or the glory from the presence of God. The second light refers to the sun. Now we know in John Chapter 1: verse 1, the Bible says, “In the beginning was the word and the word were with God and all things were made by Him, and without Him not anything was made that was made.” So that’s referring to Christ and then it says,”In Him was light and the light was the life of men.” So when it comes to the creation of the earth as God came to this part of the universe, and you have the have the earth, just dark and void, just water covering the face of the deep. As God approached the planet and He’s about to begin His creative work, His very presence brings light. That’s the first light that’s described, that’s the presence of God. And then He begins His creative activities. Then a little later in the creation account, you have God actually creating the sun and the various other planets and the stars and so on. So it’s two different sources of light, the first source is God’s presence the second source would be the sun.

Audrey: Okay and so the first light and I’m just clarifying is not created because obviously God is eternal so that light of the first light of let there be light, it’s not like God created it, it was eminent in Him and when His presence came, it just naturally lit up the darkness.

Pastor Ross: Correct. It shone forth so as God arrived. God said let there be light, there was light, but that light was proceeding from Him. That’s His glory, His presence. Where ever God is there is light.

Audrey: But, that light was not created so if they ask me so just His presence came into the part of the universe and it lit.

Pastor Ross: It lit up, yeah.

Audrey: Okay.

Pastor Ross: As God moved down the corridor of space and He passed the various worlds and various planets as He moved there was this light all around Him so it kind of lit the way as He came and as He came to planet earth, He said, “let there be light”, as He approached the planet and the planet was then engulfed in the light that shone forth from God.

Audrey: Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much for clarifying that for me.

Pastor Ross: You’re welcome. That’s a good question. Thanks for calling.

Our next caller is Carl and he is calling from San Francisco. Carl, welcome to the program.

Carl: Thank you for taking my call. In Revelation 7 and 14 it talks about the 144,000. My question is when you go to Galatians 3:29 and Galatians 6:16 where it talks about one is not a Jew that is of the circumcision. So would those 144,000 be spiritual Israel as opposed to Israel in the flesh?

Pastor Ross: Yes. That would be spiritual Israel. But, when you get to the book of Revelation, the book was written by the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos, and as best that we can estimate the time period it’s the early 80s-90s of the late early 80s to the late 90s by this time Jerusalem had already been destroyed by the Romans and you’ll find in the book of Revelation, there is no reference to Christians. There is reference to Jews Jews are symbolic in Revelation of those who have trust in Christ. For example to the Church of Ephesus, Jesus said, “I know them, who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” So that’s really referring to those Christians who claim to be Christians, but are in reality opposed to Christianity.

They are opposed to the work that God is doing. So when you get to Revelation, chapter 7 you have a description of these various tribes, 12,000 from each of the tribes. What’s interesting is that the format of the tribes listed in Revelation 7 is unique only to Revelation.

There is no other place in Scripture that describes these tribes in this order. And when you look at the meaning of the name of these various tribes, you get an overview of the experience of God’s people at the end of time. And that’s really the central force that’s been emphasized by these tribes.

Carl: Alright thank you for clarifying that.

Pastor Ross: You are welcome Carl. Thanks for calling.

Friends we’re just coming up on a short break don’t go away we’ve still got another half an hour of Bible questions. So we’ll be right back.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Ross: Hello friends and you are listening to Pastor Ross. Pastor Doug is out this evening, but our phone lines are open. And if you have a Bible related question, this would be a great time to pick up your phone and give us a call. On our toll free number 800-463-7297 and again that number is 800-GOD-SAYS that’s 800-463-7297.We would love to hear from you this evening and we opened the program by talking about a free book that we would like to send you if you have any questions about what must you do in order to be saved? How can you be the recipient of the gift of eternal life that Jesus promises to those who believe or trust in Him?

The book is entitled, “Three Steps to Heaven” and we’d be happy to send that to you and all you have to do is call our resource line at 1-800-835-6747. Our resource line again is 1-800-835-6747 call that number ask for the book, “Three Steps to Heaven” and we’ll send that out to you.

Now the number to call with your Bible questions is 1-800-463-7297 that’s 1-800-463-7297.

We’re going to go to the phone lines and we have Melissa who is listening from Brooklyn, New York, Melissa, welcome to the program.

Melissa: Hi. Good night. I have a question. My question is that I was watching and listening to John Lemur, a sermon on the radio and he was exposing the news about the saint industry and how they’re not serving God. And there are a couple of artisans that call themselves, but not really call themselves—but, they title themselves, I Am. For an example there is an artist named Beyonce and one of her CD titles was I Am.

Can you please tell me the significance of that please?

Pastor Ross: Well you know the name I AM is a very significant title that God uses for Himself.

Melissa: Oh. Okay.

Pastor Ross: The first instance of God referring to Himself as the, I AM, you can read about it in the book of Exodus where you have Moses who is leading sheep in the wilderness and he sees a strange sight which is a bush that is burning, but not being consumed. Do you remember that story?

Melissa: Yeah, I do.

Pastor Ross: And he begins to approach the bush and God speaks to him from the bush and says, “Take the sandals off your feet because the place where you are standing is Holy ground.” And then God says, “I have heard the cry of my people Israel in Egypt I want you to go and tell Pharoah to let them go!” “Let my people go!” And Moses asks well if I go they’re going to ask well who sent you? And who do I say sent me? And God said, “Tell that the I Am that I Am sent you.” So the I Am is a name that God has chosen for Himself. It’s not the I Was it’s not the, I will. But, it’s the, I Am, in the present tense and God is always in the present tense.

Then when you come to the New Testament you find that same kind of use by Christ. On several occasions Jesus said, I Am the way, I Am the truth, I Am the life. But, also you can read when the Roman soldiers, the chief priests and Judas Iscariot came to arrest Jesus, when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus said, who are you looking for? And they said we’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus said I Am. And when Jesus said the words I Am His glory shone through His humanity and all of those who had come to arrest Him fell onto the ground. And then they got up and they asked the same question. You know, we’re looking for Jesus, so, the name I Am is really a title that belongs to God.

Melissa: Oh, okay, but I understand that part so the—what she’s saying is those artist’s out there are just referring to themselves as they are their own god?

Pastor Ross: Well quite possibly. It is somewhat presumptuous of somebody to take the title of God. And to claim to be the I Am and that would imply that they are thinking that they are the self-existing one, they’re the creative one, they’re the all powerful one. Those are things of course that only belong to God.

Melissa: I understand that I AM part, but what if like for example I’m in a meeting and you know how they give you those name tag things? With your name and I am thing—could that like be the same thing or I am Melissa for example because I’m not referring myself as God if I’m Melissa on it.

Pastor Ross: No you’re not and there’s a difference between saying that I am Bill, or I am Mary to I AM the, I AM. When someone refers to the I AM as a name well that’s really taking a name that belongs to God.

Melissa: Okay, thank you.

Pastor Ross: You’re welcome and thank you for calling. That’s a good question.

We have Ralph who is listening in Brooklyn, New York, Ralph, welcome to the program.

Ralph: Thank you for taking my call. I have a question I don’t think it says in the Bible, but I could be wrong. When I light up a candle on my Mom’s Anniversary, since she’s passed away, and the priest in my church told me that when the candle flickers, it’s the wind blowing, but I remember my Grandma telling me that it’s the bad luck burning off. What is the story on that?

Pastor Ross: Well you’re right the Bible doesn’t say anything with reference to lighting candles to the dead or having any significance with reference to those who have died. We do find candles in the Bible, but they were always used in reference to the sanctuary and they often symbolized prayer. The smoke that ascended from the altar of incense was a symbol of the prayers of God’s people ascending up to heaven. The lamp stands that we find in the sanctuary, there were seven of them the light on them represents Jesus who is the light of life. So that’s the reference to candles that are in Scripture and their meaning. There is no meaning in the Bible to those who have somehow died and—or burning off when a candle flickers, it relates to burning off of bad character qualities that finds its root more in tradition than in Scripture.

Ralph: Okay, thank you very much.

Pastor Ross: Alright, well, thank you for calling Ralph. You know we do have a study guide that deals with the subject of death. And it is simply entitled, “Are the Dead Really Dead?” It doesn’t address specifically your reference to candles, but it deals with the subject of loss. How do we understand death, especially for the Christian? To receive that study guide call us on our resource line which is at 800-835-6747. You can ask for the Study Guide, “Are the Dead Really Dead?” The number is 800-835-6747.

James is listening in Rosewell, Michigan, James, welcome to the program.

James: Oh hi how are you?

Pastor Ross: I am well thank you.

James: The reason I am calling is my mother-in-law passed away March 12th of this year and my mother just passed June 3rd of this year. And basically my question to you is my wife and kid we are believing in Jesus read the Bible and everything and go to church, attend church, but we’re really having it hard right now and my wife and especially my children and my question is my mother and my mother-in-law both believed in Jesus Christ as their savior. My question is well where are they right now because when Jesus died on the cross and I’m not sure I if can get the Scripture correct, but He told a thief you will be in heaven with me in today? And then in another part in the Bible it could be John and I could be wrong, but where He said I’m going to make up a way for you and if I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t tell you that. Now can you help me?

Pastor Ross: Sure. Sure. You know what the Bible has to say as to reference with death for the Christian actually is very comforting, very hopeful and very encouraging. The great hope that the Christian has is the resurrection 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4 says, “For the Lord himself will descend from the heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel, with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” So we have hope that when Jesus comes that the dead in Christ that would be those that love Him. They will be resurrected. And when they are resurrected at the second coming of Christ, they will have glorified bodies. Just like those who are alive when Jesus comes, they will be hanged in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.

1 Corinthians Chapter 15, those who are resurrected when Jesus comes, they will also have His glorified bodies, but what happens to a person who dies today and what happens to them until the resurrection at the second coming of Christ? Well during that time period the Bible refers to those who dead as being asleep in Jesus. For example you have the story of Lazarus. Where you have Lazarus who died and Miriam sent word to Jesus and Jesus said, he’s sleeping, but I am going to go wake him up and the disciples said well Lord if he is sleeping he’s doing very well. But, then Jesus said to them plainly that Lazarus is dead, but I am going to go and resurrect him.

In the Bible, sleep is a symbol for death. And you know when a person has worked a hard long day and they close their eyes and sleep it’s peaceful, it’s restful, the very next thing they know it is morning. When a person closes his eyes in death and he loves the Lord, the very next thing that person knows is it is the glorious resurrection morning Christ has come to take that person home. A death is likened unto a sleep a dreamless sleeps that ends, when Jesus comes again.

Now you asked about the thief on the cross? Would he go to heaven that very day? You know it is interesting to tread a story in the Gospel of Luke. The thief said Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. In other words the thief wasn’t expecting to receive his reward that very day. But, he said Lord remember me when you come. Jesus gave him the assurance that very day when Jesus was hanging on the cross, just about ready to die, Jesus gave him the assurance that he would be with him in paradise. So we have assurance from the words of Jesus that those who love him will be remembered when He comes again. They will be awakened from that sleep forever to be with the Lord.

James: That’s awesome, you answered my question and that’s awesome. Thank you so much I appreciate it.

Pastor Ross: You are welcome James. You know let me direct you to a few resources that I think you’d find helpful. We have a website dedicated to what the Bible says with reference to death. It’s called, “Truth about Death” dot com. Just “truth about death dot com” and if you’ll go to the website you’ll be able to do a Bible study based upon this subject. You’ll also be able to watch some videos that we have there and it will answer any question that you might have in regards to what happens to a person when he dies. Again the website is called, “Truth about Death”. You can also call our resource line 1-800-835-6747 and you can ask for the Amazing Facts study guide, “Are the Dead Really Dead?” and we’ll be happy to send that out to you.

We have Richard who is listening from Brooklyn, New York, Richard welcome to the program.

Richard: Hi, how are you doing?

Pastor Ross: Good, thank you.

Richard: Oh I just happened to turn on AM and I found you and it sounds really great what you’re doing. Maybe you can answer a question that has been boggling me for a long time. You know as a Christian in Christ.

Pastor Ross: Alright, we’ll do the best we can.

Richard: Okay basically when God speaks to your heart, you have to be careful because you don’t know if it is a certain thing that you desire or the devil could sneak a couple of thoughts into you. But, that inner voice that I hear sometimes, is it the Spirit of God? How do you discern who’s talking to you on certain things? I know to match it up with the word of God, and it will come clear who is speaking to me. But, I just hear that voice sometimes.

Pastor Ross: Sure. Okay. That’s a good question. You know, like you mention the first test is always the word of God so if we have an impression or we hear a voice speaking to us in our hearts, we want to make sure, that what that voice is asking us to do or prompting us to do is of course in harmony with the word of God. That’s our first test.

The second way that we can really be sure that whether or not the voice is of God is by getting to know God, the closer we come to God the clearer we hear his voice. It is more distinct and we understand His leading in our life. The Holy Spirit’s voice is clearer to us.

You know when you get to know a person well and they call you up on the phone. They don’t have to introduce themselves. You recognize their voice. You know this is so and so.

And when we get to know the voice of God as a result of spending time with Him and when we are drawn close to Christ we can recognize His voice immediately and say this is the voice of God. God is leading me in this situation and He wants me to do this.

Richard: Right because I was to live that many years ago when I got into some serious trouble and I received Christ. I did get Him in and He changed my life and I am a born again Christian. And then the federal government showed up and they said look now you have to pay on federal time now. You’ve paid to the State and I was crying and the Pastor was praying for me and in 2002 on Valentine’s Day, I went in front of twelve people at the federal courthouse, and I was crying and then the voice started again and then I was crying and crying and I thought my life was over and the people said they believed it changed my life. They believed I put all the past to the past and I had walked away. Yes praise God.

Pastor Ross: Well praise the Lord.

Richard: That is still my testimony and that’s something like thirty years. And I tried to get to the government and I was in a phone booth crying and God spoke at the courthouse and the next thing you know I was just speaking to God and I [inaudible] with your hand and this can’t be God, you know I had 22 witnesses against me from the government and the next thing you know I go in there and they say not guilty.

Pastor Ross: Well you know the Bible tells us if God is for us who can be against us.

Richard: Right and Amen.

Pastor Ross: And when we get to know God and we get to know His voice, we’re going to be able to follow His leading. You have in the Bible the example of Abraham. Who lived so close to Him that when God said, take your son and sacrifice Him as an offering to me. There was no question in Abraham’s mind as to whether that was God speaking to him. He knew the voice of God.

And you know that can be our experience if we draw close to God. God will communicate His will to us. And we will get to recognize His voice.

Richard: Well I’ve done a lot of ministry and the people of this society who won that case they also learned that the evil one likes to use Scripture likes to taunt things in your mind and you’ve got to really discern what’s going on. Is it the flesh, is it the devil, or is it the Lord? And like you said, the best way is to take time, but you don’t want to get caught up in a voice that can break your whole heart.

Pastor Ross: Exactly. You’ve got to be careful because not every voice is from God. Spend time in His word and then as you draw close to Him and with a sincere heart, you say Lord I want you to guide me. And then God will guide you if we are willing to go, where He leads.

Richard: Amen. Amen. Brother, thank you because you just gave me a boost to my faith because it’s very, very hard. I have some days where I just lock myself in with my Bible and don’t even go out in the world because there are so many issues.

Pastor Ross: You know that is challenging, you’re right. But, you’re on the right track, keep trusting God. All the best to you, Richard. We have David who is listening in Nashville, Tennessee, David, welcome to the program.

David: Hi.

Pastor Ross: What was your question?

David: I heard you guys talking about Bible commentaries and I asked I was just curious which ones you guys would recommend?

Pastor Ross: Okay.

David: Actually I study and collect commentaries.

Pastor Ross: You know the ones that I use, I don’t know if Pastor Doug uses these as well. Matthew Henry is a tried and trusted commentary. Gill is another trusted one that’s G I L L. And then there’s a few of these other older commentaries that you can use. You can—you know—those have been around for a long time. Many of those commentaries follow more of the historicist’s interpretation of prophecy. But, even in those commentaries when it comes to prophecy you know, you want to be careful. I’m not saying everything Matthew Henry said is right on the money. There are times when maybe he didn’t have a complete understanding of a particular passage, but you can gain great insights by reading these commentaries.

Recognize that ultimately the Holy Spirit needs to teach you and the Holy Spirit needs to guide you. You want to compare Scripture with Scripture and then you can look at these various commentaries as a resource to help in your understanding of Scripture. So I would go along with the older Bible commentaries. By the way, there are a number of free older Bible commentaries available online. I believe resort is one of those free programs where you can actually collect these various commentaries.

David: Okay. Well, I have the Matthew Henry and you mentioned Gill, G I L L,

Pastor Ross: G I L L that’s a good one.

David: And I will look into that as well. I appreciate the answers. Thank you very much.

Pastor Ross: Alright. Thanks for calling, David.

We’ve got Steve who is listening in Washington, Richland, Washington, Steve, welcome to the program.

Steve: Good to be here. Hey got a question. Ellen White taught the doctrine 1830 or somewhere in there of investigative atonement that Jesus entered into the Temple in heaven and is investigating our sin and binding His blood to it. However, Jesus said it was finished on the cross when Jesus said, “It is finished.” How do you reconcile that?

Pastor Ross: Oh, alright sure well let me talk a little bit about that. You know there’s a teaching in Scripture that we find and I referred to it a little earlier called, investigative judgment or the pre-advent judgment. In other words, investigation or the word pre-advent you won’t find connected with judgment in Scripture.

But, you do clearly find a judgment in the Bible, and in Christ’s ministry there are three distinct phases to His ministry. Just like there are three distinct phases to salvation. The first phase to salvation is justification, the second phase is sanctification, and the third phase is glorification. That happens at the second coming of Christ.

So likewise in Christ’s ministry there is three phases and we can see these three phases illustrated in the Old Testament sanctuary service. There were three compartments in the old sanctuary. You had the outer courtyard. Then you had the Holy and the most Holy place. These are the three compartments. The lamb was always sacrificed in the courtyard. And the courtyard symbolizes the work that Jesus does for us here on this earth. Jesus came as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Jesus dies on the cross for our sins. That describes what happened in the courtyard. When Jesus said on the cross, it is finished, His work that He had come to accomplish here on earth, was finished, He had completed the work that God had called Him to do. But, then Jesus said it is expedient for you that I go, for if I do not go you cannot receive the Comforter or the Holy Spirit.

So then you have Jesus ascending up to heaven. The book of Hebrews talks about Jesus being our high priest, who ministers in the heavenly sanctuary. A sanctuary not made with man, but a sanctuary that God himself established.

Now the earthly sanctuary is a shadow of the heavenly sanctuary. And in the earthly sanctuary there were two different types of services that took place. The high priest ministering in the first compartment of the sanctuary on behalf of the people, throughout the year, but on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would move into the most Holy place on the Day of Atonement and on the day of judgment and he would do a special work for the people.

Immediately following that Day of Atonement or Judgment, the high priest would come out of the sanctuary and he would pronounce a blessing upon the people. So likewise in heaven when Jesus ascended He ministered as our high priest in that first compartment so to speak. But, then just prior to the coming of Christ, Jesus enters into that final phase of His high priestly ministry as typified by the Day of Atonement which is a type of judgment. Following that work, Jesus then comes out of the heavenly sanctuary and He comes back to the earth as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

Steve: But, I thought that sin was judged on the cross.

Pastor Ross: Well, the atonement was provided on the cross. But, its application takes place individually for us. In other words, Jesus provided a sacrifice, which would atone for the sins of the whole world. But, it is only as we avail our self of that sacrifice, that we are forgiven. That’s why we have a high priest. You know if you read 1 John Chapter 1: verse 9, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Hebrews Chapter 8: says, “Now of the things we have spoken this is to some we have a high priest, in heaven who is ministering for us.” So Jesus is ministering for us even now He is applying the merits of His sacrifice that he did on the cross for those that put their faith in Him. Does that make sense?

Steve: Not completely. I just think that—

Pastor Ross: Well you know it’s a deep subject.

Steve: Because it says that when He went to heaven that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous and so He has an attorney if you will an advocate that is somebody that goes between like Job said I look for a layman to put his hand on my shoulder and then talk to me and then talk to God which Christ fulfills that and—

Pastor Ross: And He does that in the function of a high priest. He’s the high priestly ministry for us in heaven.

Steve: But, as far as the atonement, for His vicarious suffering that everything was finished on the cross and Christ is omnimition so, He works as an advocate, not as some type of a sin—or a sin bearer—or a sin investigator or any type of atonement-- that when Christ died for Christians—we died with Him. And that’s the picture of baptizism being buried in the likeness of His death and risen to a life of resurrection. So then the sin issue was dealt with on the cross and we either receive Him or we reject Him here and now.

Pastor Ross: Well you’re right Jesus died on the cross, cleansed us from our sins but, the appropriation of His sacrifice is something that we take upon ourselves now. Jesus is our high priest He is our advocate now ministering for us. And just like there are phases in salvation justification, sanctification, glorification, there are phases in the work of redemption that Christ does on our behalf. You know we have a study guide Steve we’d be happy to send you it talks about this judgment and gives you the various Bible verses and a study related to it, it’s called, “Case Closed”. And if you would call our resource line which is 1-800-835-6747 ask for the study guide, “Case Closed” a great resource that deals with the subject of the judgment and how that relates to Christians today.

I want to see if we can squeeze in one more caller, but just before the program ends. Gary is listening from Orangeville, California. We have about a minute Gary.

Gary: Yes you know how people talk about revelations? And war is going to come to the end? Why do the ministers allow that to happen? And they don’t correct the other ministers?

Pastor Ross: Okay why do others allow people to say that Jesus is coming? Or setting a date for the coming of Christ is that what you’re asking?

Gary: Yeah. Yeah.

Pastor Ross: Well you know not too long ago there was a well known radio host that set a date for the coming of Christ. Which it came and went May 21. At Amazing Facts we recognized the danger of setting dates. The Bible says no man knows the day or the hourwhen Christ comes.And for us to say Jesus is coming on a particular day really we’re setting people up for disappointment. And at Amazing Facts we were willing to go online and say this is not right. This is what the Bible says. Now there are some who are willing to say that and others don’t, but I think if we see error or we hear error it’s our responsibility to try and warn people of the error and encourage them to be faithful to the word of God. Gary, I thank you for your call.

Gary: Correct these and we’ve got a right to correct those who do so?

Pastor Ross: Well, you know if they have freedom to share their views, we have freedom to present the Bible’s views as well. So nothing wrong in sharing Biblical truth. I think as Christians that is what God would want us to do.

Well, Gary, I think we are running out of time. Those of you who are listening to us you hear the music playing in the background. I want to thank you so much for joining us on tonight’s program. If we did not get to your call, then call us back next week. We’ll try and answer your question here on the air. Again this is “Bible Answers” thank you for joining us. God bless you.

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Life in the Spirit (PB) by Joe Crews

Life in the Spirit (PB) by Joe Crews
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