Second Death, Pt. 5

Scripture: Acts 5:5, Acts 12:21, Hebrews 13:8
Is the God of the Old Testament different from the God of the New Testament? Do we have two different Godsone of wrath and the other of love? Is this what the Bible really teaches?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word. [music]

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Recently on Bible Talk, we've been talking about hell. Hell, fire. We've talked about how hell is going to burn up and burn people to ashes according to the Bible that is. We've talked about the severity of hell. There is no question about it and we have underlined the fact that God is love. God doesn't want anybody to perish. He wants all to come through repentance. He pleads. The prophet Josiah said I will heal your backsliding and I will love you free. At least God said that through the Prophet Josiah. We see in the New Testament and Old Testament a pleading, a loving god. But the fact remains that God is a god. God is a god of Judgment as well. How do we marry these things together? Often these days, Christianity tries to get around this seeming dichotomy by saying, well, that's what God was like in the Old Testament. Now, God is a god of love in the New Testament.

And so, there's two different gods that the B, C, A, D dividing line separating it. That can't be right. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Can we talk about this god of wrath and judgment and a god of love in the same breath and try to reconcile these ideas? It's difficult for many people.

Gary: It is and evangelical Christianity does make a big point. And rightly so, that the god of the New Testament is the god of love. Jesus definitely came to reveal a god of love and he also reveals the sterner side of God, the god of judgment that holds people accountable. It's not love to let someone get away with murders. Not love to get... Get someone get away with rape or thievery. You have to hold people accountable and some people are not going to melt under that love and have their lives changed. What are you going to do with them? You have to punish them somehow and God does that. In the New Testament god did it just like the Old Testament god. I tell you, one of the most startling stories in the Old Testament, my opinion, is found in Acts five with Ananias and his wife, Sapphira.

John: You mean in the New Testament?

Gary: In the New Testament, yes. In Acts 5. Just checking to make sure you know where that book is found.

John: Oh, yeah, I got Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5, New Testament.

Gary: Here they are. They sold all their possessions. Promised to give it to the fledgling church and yet they held it back. Ananias goes in to meet Peter and Peter says, "Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the holy ghost, to keep back part of the price of the land"? And Ananias, hearing these words, according to Acts 5:5, falls down dead.

John: Just like that?

Gary: Dies on the spot. Judgment from God. If you question whether that is a judgment, you've got to read down what happens when the wife comes in. Now, the wife comes in looking for her husband and they are just dragging him out right now. They are carrying him out to be buried. It's about three hours later, in verse seven, "when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. Peter answered her and said, 'Tell me, what did you sell? Whether you sold the land for so much. Yeah. How much did you sell it for? Was it this amount'? And she said, 'Yes, I sold it for that amount'".

John: Oh, that was a bad...

Gary: Peter kind of sets her up. Did you get X number of dollars out of the land? Because that's what the wife and husband had agreed to. They were going to come in and they were going to say, "We sold the land for $3,000." They really sold it for 10 and they're pocketing seven. Peter says, "Did you sell it for three"? And she says that's my story and I'm sticking to it, yes. That's what my husband and I sold it for. "And then Peter said, 'How is it then that you have agreed together to tempt the spirit of the Lord. Behold, the feet of them which have buried your husband are at the door and they'll carry you out'. She fell down, straight way at his feet, and died. And they had to go and bury her with her husband".

John: That's a serious judgment from God right there.

Gary: Now that's a New Testament God.

John: Hey, I got another one for you in the same book. Acts 12, Herod in verse 21. Upon a set day, a right and royal apparel sat upon his throne and made an oration to those people you know. And the people gave a shout, saying it is the voice of a god and not of a man. And what happened? Immediately, the angel of the Lord smote him because he gave not God the glory, and he was eaten of worms and gave up the ghost. Again, a direct judgment of God. He was smitten, struck down, boom. Now, God is love and God struck down Herod and Ananias and Sapphira. You mentioned God is a god of love in the New Testament. He is also a god of love in the Old Testament. He is a god of judgment in the New Testament and in the Old Testament as well.

Gary: That's right.

John: There's a little book we want to offer you as our offer today. It's called "The Rich Man and Lazarus." And if you've heard us talking about hellfire, you've probably had a question that goes somewhere along the lines like this. Hey, what about the "Rich Man and Lazarus"? We want to tell you that in book form. If you want to get this small book, contact us, email us, phone us. The details are at the end of the program. We'll send it to you free, without charge, without obligation, with a prayer that it'll be a blessing to you.

Gary: We have to remember, we make a false dichotomy, a false line of distinction, between the Old and New Testament. And preachers need to get off of this. They just need to stop doing this. Jesus says in Hebrews 13:8, he is the same yesterday, today and forever. Malachi 3:6, "I am the Lord. I change not". God is the same. He is the god of love in the old. He is a god of judgment. And as you said, he is also in the New Testament. And what we need to do is we need to reconcile, why does God judge this way? Why did he go in and wipe out categorically, or at least command His people to go in and kill all the Amorites, all the Canaanites and the Philistines? Why did he say just go ahead and wipe them out, men, woman and children? Why does God, in hellfire, burn up all the unsaved? Men, women and children in this terrible, fiery inferno. What is there about the nature of God that would allow him to do this and yet it still be defined as love?

John: OK, let's see whether we can come back to that and not forget to do that. Firstly, look at something that is a type of hellfire, the flood. God examined the earth. He was looking for people that would reflect his character. The only people that he found on earth that would do that were Noah and his family. And you know, they were far from perfect. Nevertheless, they loved God. God pleaded through Noah with the antediluvian world. They rejected his call. God said, OK, we got to cleanse the earth because the earth was filled with violence, and the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually. It was as though they had filled up their cup of sin and iniquity. God said, "You've become so wicked."

Now, remember something. Here's what God was planning to do. God was planning to bring the Messiah into the world. He was going to have a nation. He was going to have a people. Some influences needed to be ... the earth needed to be rid of certain influences. These people were thoroughly wicked. It would not have been a blessing for them to remain alive on the earth. They were as wicked as sin. It wouldn't have done the whole idea of raising up a Messiah any good.

It was for the good of all humanity that these people were gotten rid of off the face of the earth so that goodness could have a chance at thriving and flourishing. These people just weren't a curse to themselves anymore.

Gary: Well, there were only eight people that went on that ark.

John: Not many.

Gary: That were considered righteous enough to go through the flood and survive and repopulate the new earth. Only eight people. Now, the population was massive, that was lost. So God had to destroy the wicked, who were unrepentant, they weren't going to change. They proved that. He had to destroy them before they destroyed all the righteous.

John: Sure. Another place you see this is with Sodom and Gomorrah. And please, when we're talking about God and judgment you've got to ask yourself a question. Is God God? If he is then he probably knows what he's doing. Secondly, does God do the right thing or not? Is God fair or not? You've got to be prepared to give God some credit here. You look at Sodom and Gomorrah. Man, these people were wicked. The angels came to town and they were about to do gross wickedness to the angels. Even when they were blinded they were groping about trying to find these people to do some terrible things to them. They were as wicked as wicked could be. You mean, it was in their best interests to stay alive? It was in the best interests of their posterity to remain alive on the earth?

It was in everybody's best interest to get rid of these people. It was clear to God they were not going to repent and they were only a hindrance to the plans of God. Look at this selfishly. Maybe if God had left all these wicked people on the earth we wouldn't exist today. Wickedness would have overrun the planet.

For the sake of the Gospel and out of mercy to these wicked people, God had to get rid of them.

Gary: I think it was in Revelation 6, it says that when Jesus comes the second time he comes to destroy those who destroy the earth.

John: Correct.

Gary: I want to come back to the Sodom and Gomorrah thing because it...

John: Really, or Revelation 11.

Gary: Revelation 11. Excuse me. You come back to Sodom and Gomorrah and you see that this is a judgment from God. Listen to these words in Genesis 18:20. The Lord said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and because their sin is very grave I will go down, now, and see whether they've done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to me and, if not, I will know". What he's saying here is that people have been abused by Sodom and Gomorrah. They've been victimized by Sodom and Gomorrah. We see that in the story here, in chapter 19. These travelers are traveling through. The city is going to abuse them and victimize them. This wasn't the first time they've done that. They've done this to many travelers. They've done it to surrounding people. They've done it to their own children in their families.

So, he's had this outcry of people, going up to heaven, saying, "Oh God, these people are unrighteous and wicked". Now, God says, "I'm going to go see if that's true".

John: And notice that, "I'm going to go and check". God didn't have to put that in the Bible. And God could check from way up there. Couldn't he? But God, clearly, goes out of his way to impress upon us, "I'm investigating. I'm checking this out". And what did he say? "If there's 50 righteous people I'll spare them all." Now, some critic is going to run off at the mouth and say, "God is unkind. He's cruel. He's merciless". But God would've left all of those miserably wicked people alive if there were 10 or 15 righteous people among them.

Gary: He came down to 10. That's right.

John: Yeah. So before you go off on hammering away at God and his goodness, understand the Bible record, in the midst of this shows, God went more than the extra mile to do everything he could to save even those wicked. "If there's 10 good people then I will save all of those utterly depraved people in Sodom and Gomorrah."

Gary: And that tells you the righteous in this world actually are a salt. They are a preservative to the wicked in the world. When the numbers get imbalanced God says he's got to turn this around. He's talking about judgment here. This cry. He's going to avenge these people.

In Revelation 6: 10 it talks about those who've died in the Lord. They cry out, "Will you not avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" That's what happens in hellfire. It is the final judgment. It is the avenging of all the sin that these people have committed. Many of them have never received the penalty for the sin and sorrow that they've caused.

John: Yeah, they got off scot-free. God says, "No. Can't do that."

Gary: They've gotten off scot-free. This is where God makes everything right in the universe and they receive the wages of sin which is death.

John: How about, quickly now, and remember, we're offering you "The Rich Man and Lazarus", a little book. You've got to get that. Call us. Write us. Email us. What about where God says, "I'm going to destroy them all, infant and suckling, camel and ass, all the young". Is that God being cruel or is that God just acting in best interest of those people?

Gary: It's definitely in the best interest of them. [music]

John: He knows they're not going to repent. They filled their cup. They're as wicked as they can be. The world would be better off without them and they'd be better off without the world. Well, that's a big subject. And you know we're going to encourage you to get your Bible. Study, read, pray, and let the Holy Spirit of God lead you. Thank you for joining us today. It's been a blessing for us. We look forward to seeing you again next time on Bible Talk.


John: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know. To receive this free, informative Bible study guide simply call, write, or email and ask for "The Rich Man and Lazarus". The toll free number is 866-BIBLESAYS, that's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678. That's P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678. Or email us at Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of LifeTalk radio.

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