God's Children, His Precious Gems

Date: 01/22/2012 
An emerald was found in Brazil that weighs more than 25 pounds, and that's after it was cut and polished. Did you know the Bible says God views His children as precious jewels?
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Hello friends! This is Doug Batchelor. Talk about giant gems. An emerald was found in Brazil that weighs more than 25 pounds, and that's after it was cut and polished. Did you know the Bible says God views His children as precious jewels? Stay with us friends. We're going to learn more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.


Pastor Batchelor: Welcome friends to Bible Answers Live. If you have a Bible question, we have about half of our phones lines open. It's a free phone call. If you'd like to call in with a Bible question, that number one more time is, 1-800-GOD SAYS. 1-800-463-7297 will bring you into the studio with your Bible questions. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Jëan Ross: My name is Jëan Ross. Good evening listening friends, Pastor Doug. Let's begin the program with prayer. Father, we thank You that we have this opportunity to study Your word together. We ask for your leading and guiding. Be with those who are listening wherever they might be; and we pray for wisdom in the studio. For we ask this in Jesus' name, amen.

Pastor Batchelor: Amen.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Pastor Doug, you opened the program by talking about a giant gem. It's hard to imagine a gem weighing 25 pounds!

Pastor Batchelor: That's right. It was an emerald that they found. Originally, it was dug up in Brazil, and then shipped to India where it was polished and cut into a gem shape; and it takes two hands to lift this thing up. And then, I believe it has been auctioned in Calgary, Canada. They expect it's going to fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million. The name of the emerald, they call it the Teodora, which means--I guess it translates as--the "gift of God;" and that's 57,500 carats.

Typically you think about carats, you measure itsy, bitsy gems, but that would be 57,500 carats or, in simpler terms, 25.3 pounds of emerald, one emerald. They didn't even believe that it could be one emerald because, sometimes people use epoxy and piece them together and fabricate one. They just ran it through all the tests and were astonished to find out it is one emerald. They almost never form that size naturally.

And it made me think of the Bible, for a couple of reasons. One is, there were emeralds in the breastplate of the high priest. One of the gems that was in the breastplate of the high priest was an emerald. You can read that in Exodus 28, verses 17 through 20. One of the foundation stones in the New Jerusalem, emerald. There are 12 different foundation stones that, by the way, match up with these stones in the breastplate of the high priest.

The form, kind of, the color of a rainbow. But the reason that the high priest, on his special, golden breastplate had these gems set in gold, it represents Jesus, our High Priest, who has these gems. These stones represented the 12 tribes, which represent His people, close to His heart. And that, then, reminds me of that verse we kind of opened with. You find it in Malachi chapter 3, verses 16 and 17.

Malachi 3:16, 17, if you're reading along: "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another: and the LORD listened, and heard them, so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the LORD, who meditate on His name. And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, on that day that I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him."

Here God talks about His children as His jewels. Their precious High Priest had them on His heart. And we are on the heart of God when we give ourselves to Him. Of course, He loves us either way. He loves us when we're good. He loves us when we're bad; but He wants us to surrender to Him and let Him live out His life in us.

You know in the New Jerusalem, it's not just the foundation that has precious stone, the whole City is made of mineral. I doubt there's any lumber in it, because you have to cut a tree down. It's going to be made of gold, pearls, which is really a mineral; and the gates, and jasper, and the walls, and it's a real place.

Pastor Jëan Ross: It is!

Pastor Batchelor: Our friends can find out about that City, and find out how to be a jewel in that golden City of God.

Pastor Jëan Ross: We have a study guide, talking about this City that God is preparing for those that love Him. The study guide is entitled, "A Colossal City in Space." "A Colossal City in Space," and we can send it to you for free if you call our resource line. The number is 1-800-835-6747. Again, that number is, 1-800-835-6747. If you'd like to get your call in tonight on the program, the number to call to the studio is, 1-800-463-7297.

Pastor Batchelor: In addition, for any friends that might listen to the program on the computer, or you've got your computer or your Internet nearby--I suppose you could do it with your smart phone--we are streaming the program right now. And if you'd like to just take a peek into the studio and see what that looks like, or you could listen through the stream, the address is: live.amazingfacts.org; live.amazingfacts.org, and you could be streaming Bible Answers Live. And with that, I suppose it's time for the phone calls.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Our first caller is Roberto and he is calling from New Jersey. Roberto, welcome to the program.

Roberto: Good evening Pastor Doug

Pastor Batchelor: Good evening

Roberto: I just have a real quick question. I'm trying to find exactly where in the Bible is the story that depicts King David, when he was near the end of his life, as a matter of fact, I think he was on his death bed. He had a conversation with one of his servants; and one of his servants told him that one of the people that tried to assassinate him (inaudible) King David said, "Make sure he does not get out of the city alive. Make sure you kill him." I think it's in the Bible. I don't know exactly where it's at. Do you know exactly where that is? [Cross talk]

Pastor Batchelor: Well, yes. It's actually a combination of two things. When David is dying, he talks to Solomon; and he tells Solomon not to let Shimei--Shimei had cursed David when he fled from Absalom, his son. And David tells Solomon, "You're a smart man. You're going to know what to do, but don't let Shimei's gray head go down to the grave in peace" because David knew Shimei might try to start a coup and overthrow Solomon when he was young and get the followers of King Saul back into power.

And He said, "You can't trust him. You're going to have to put some restraints on him." But David had made a promise, "I'm not going to do anything to him," he said, "but Solomon, you better keep an eye on him;" and that would be in 1st Kings, probably the first two or three chapters. Solomon tells him, "If you leave Jerusalem, you're going to die," and he agrees to it.

For three years he stays in the city, but then two of Shimei's servants ran away, his slaves, and he ran after them, down to the land of the Philistines. Solomon heard that he broke his vow and left Jerusalem, and he had him executed. I don't know if Jëan is looking for that now.

I just know that, in the ballpark, at the end of 2nd Samuel and the beginning of 1st Kings is where you find that; and you may also find some of that in Chronicles. But I'm pretty sure you're going to find most of it there. In the end of 2nd Samuel is where David dies; 1st Kings is where Solomon takes over.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You're correct, Pastor Doug. The first chapter of 1st Kings tells you the story of Solomon becoming king and some of the things that he does. It's 1st Kings chapter 1 and chapter 2 where you can read that.

Roberto: Thank you so much gentlemen. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

Pastor Batchelor: Alright. You take care.

Pastor Jëan Ross: We have James who is listening from New York on WMCA. James, welcome to the program.

James: Oh thank you for welcoming me. And my question is, it has been said that if we commit a sin, but we don't know that it's sinful, that it's less harmful or less of a penalty than if we had the knowledge that it was sinful. Can you comment on that please?

Pastor Batchelor: Yes, it's a good question. If we don't know something is wrong and we commit a sin, are we as guilty as if we do know? And, if you don't know, you're not as guilty?

Jesus said--Pastor Ross might look this up--Jesus said, "He that knew his master's will and did not do it, he is beaten with many stripes. He that did not know, was beaten with few stripes."

Pastor Jëan Ross: That's Luke chapter 12, verse 48.

Pastor Batchelor: And then Jesus said, "If you did not see, you would have no sin, but since you say 'We see', your sin remains." In other words, seeing means understanding. If you didn't understand, you wouldn't be as guilty; but since you do understand, then your sin remains.

An example would be, if a parent takes some hot cookies out of the oven before dinner and tells the kids that are sniffing the cookies, "Don't touch these cookies. I'll give you one after dinner." Well if they didn't know that, and they just saw a cookie laying out in the kitchen and they ate it, they're not as guilty as if the parent looks them in the eye and says, "Don't touch them." Then they're really sinning against--it's kind of a defiant, high-handed sin--so they're more responsible. "To whom much is given, much is required." If we know more, we're more responsible.

Pastor Jëan Ross: That was John chapter 9, verse 41 that you're referring to.

Pastor Batchelor: Okay. "If you did not see, you would have no sin." So, does that help a little bit James?

James: It certainly answered the--what was the reference?

Pastor Jëan Ross: The second reference is John 9:41.

James: John 9:41. I thank you very much for a fine answer.

Pastor Batchelor: Alright. God bless you. Thanks for your call.

Pastor Jëan Ross: We have Loretta who is listening from Savannah, Tennessee. Loretta, welcome to the program.

Loretta: Good evening Pastors.

Pastor Batchelor: Good evening.

Loretta: I thank you very much for your ministry. I've been blessed. I've got a question from Revelation 12 and Revelation 13. Okay. When a first beast is described in Revelation 12, the crowns are upon the head. In Revelation 13, the crowns are on the horns. What's the significance of that please?

Pastor Batchelor: Do you want to take a stab at that Pastor Ross?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes, we can share with you a little insight. Horns, in Bible prophecy, represent ruling powers; and in Revelation 13, the first beast comes that up from the sea, has seven heads and 10 horns. The 10 horns represent the 10 divisions of the Roman empire, the 10 ten tribes that came down and occupied the territory that Rome once held; and they were monarchies, they were kingdoms.

But the seven heads also represent kingdoms, but they are kingdoms through which Satan worked throughout history to try and persecute God's people. That's highlighting chapter 12 more so, with the crowns on the heads; whereas the crowns on the horns in chapter 13, he's identifying the 10 divisions of Western Europe.

Loretta: Okay so, in Revelation 12, those 10 divisions hadn't come up yet?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes, that wasn't the prime focus of chapter 12. Chapter 12 is describing more the experience of God's people, the church; whereas in chapter 13, he focused more upon the beast power and how it comes to power and what it does.

Loretta: Okay, so the horns on the head, that particular passage, is dealing with God's people more so than the elements of the beast, meaning the monarchy, or whatever?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Well, the focus of chapter 12 is the dragon and the woman, the woman being God's people. Satan worked through seven principle nations in persecuting God's people, that's the seven heads with the crowns. There were kingdoms that Satan would work through.

Loretta: Oh okay.

Pastor Jëan Ross: In chapter 13, you have the 10 divisions represented by the horns of Western Europe. They were also kingdoms, and there they have crowns. They were also used, but not to the extent of the seven heads that you read about trying to persecute God's people in chapter 12.

Pastor Batchelor: You know, we have a lesson that talks about the beast; and that deals with some of those crowns, if I'm not mistaken--

Pastor Jëan Ross: That's right.

Pastor Batchelor: --as well as what the seven heads represent.

Pastor Jëan Ross: There are actually two lessons that I think would be interesting. The one is, "The Bride of Christ," which talks about Revelation chapter 12 and goes into more detail on the various symbols there. And then the other one is, "The Mark of the Beast," that talks a little about this beast power.

If you'd call our resource line and ask for those study guides, we'd be happy to send them to you Loretta. The number is 1-800-835-6747. Again, 1-800-835-6747, you can ask for the

study guide, "The Bride of Christ," which is Revelation 12; and then also you can ask of, "The Mark of the Beast," which talks about Revelation chapter 13.

Pastor Batchelor: Alright. Very good. By the way, for those that are listening, when it talks about that beast with seven heads, Pastor Ross alluded to these seven kingdoms that persecuted God's people, those would be Egypt, Assyria, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the divisions of the Roman empire, and then it was--

Pastor Jëan Ross: Babylon, you left one out there (laughs)

Pastor Batchelor: Babylon. I knew I was forgetting one. I was counting my fingers going, "I left something out, or lost a finger." Yeah, so let me try that again: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, the divisions of the roman empire. And then it gets a deadly wound; it comes back again. It says he's also the eighth.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Um-hum

Pastor Batchelor: And so those powers all occupied God's people during sometime.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright, next caller is Pat, and she's listening from Brooklyn, New York. Pat, welcome to the program.

Pat: Thank you Pastor. I have a question here. The NIV version, Mark 14, verses 3, 4. A friend of mine called me and she wanted to know was Mary Magdalene the sister of Lazarus; and was she one of Jesus' confidants?

Pastor Batchelor: Well, the first question, was Mary a sister of Lazarus, and that's yes. Sometimes she's called Mary of Bethany. Martha and Lazarus were brother and sister, and Mary. Martha and Lazarus had a place in Bethany. Mary, evidently, was working and may have been a woman of ill repute. She was working in a place called Magdala, which was a town on the port of the sea of Galilee where the Roman soldiers would vacation.

So, when you say Mary of Magdalene, it's like saying Mary of Las Vegas. It wasn't a very flattering term. And so evidently, she had a brother and sister in Bethany. She's the same Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The second part of the question you were asking, was she a confidant of Jesus?

Pat: Yeah, my friend called me and said that she feels that she's the same Mary that anointed Jesus, you know, anointed Him.

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, Mary of Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, same woman. Sometimes it says "a certain woman came unto the feast." John refers to her as "a woman;" the other Gospels say her by name. So there's no question that it's the same woman, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany.

Now the woman who was caught in adultery and brought to Jesus in the temple, some have wondered was that Jesus' first meeting of Mary; when they wanted to stone her, and Jesus said, "he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone." We can't prove that, but some wonder. We have a website that tells more about Mary Magdalene.

Pat: Okay.

Pastor Batchelor: You can go to it if you can get on the Internet. It's called, marytruth.org; and there's a book offer there, a lot of information on Mary Magdalene.

Pat: Thank you very much Pastor, you've been very helpful.

Pastor Batchelor: Alright. Thank you.

Pastor Jëan Ross: We have Jerry who is listening from Oregon. Jerry, welcome to the program.

Jerry: Thank you Pastors. I have a question about what appears to be slightly different accounts of the two thieves on the cross. Now in Mark 15:32, it reads as follows: " 'Let us see the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, and we will believe in Him.' And the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted Him also." Then it moves on to another topic. But then moving to Luke 23, there's a more well-known account where one thief mocks Him, but the other expresses regret that Jesus is being crucified unjustly.

Pastor Batchelor: Right. So we're wondering, well what was it, did they both mock Him, or did one of them convert? I think--

Jerry: The first Scripture said they both did.

Pastor Batchelor: --right, that's what I'm saying. So you might think it's inconsistent unless, you remember, they were on the cross six hours; and emotions are running high. And when a person's life is flashing before them, most scholars answer that by saying when they were first crucified, in desperation, they were both saying, "If You're the Christ, save us."

But then as time went by and when you're suffering like that, you've got adrenalin going through your brain, you're mind is racing, one of the thieves started to notice that Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them." They remembered that Pilate, when Jesus was standing before Pilate--because these were the friends of Barabbas, they saw the whole trial--that Pilate said, "I find no fault in Him."

Maybe they heard some of the crowd saying, you know, "He healed me" or "He did these miracles." Their mind was quickened by the Holy Spirit; and in those six hours is a long time. A lot can happen. Police sometimes bring a person into a room and they start out saying, "I don't know anything about the crime;" and then two hours later, they've made a full confession. So a lot can change in six hours.

And I think they both started out, kind of, desperately joining the crowd, mocking; and as time went by, the Holy Spirit worked on one man's heart, and he changed.

Jerry: I anticipated that response; and that's the way I thought would be the answer also. But it seems strange that if one came around, that Mark wouldn't acknowledge that. It would be like--I mean, you're very candid about your earlier life, and obviously, you wouldn't want to be remembered for that; you'd want to be remembered for what you are now.

Pastor Batchelor: Well you know, keep in mind the Gospel of Luke was assembled a little differently. Mark's Gospel was the first Gospel. Mark never mentions anything about the details around the birth of Jesus. He just gets right into the life and ministry of Jesus.

Luke went around, because Luke did not know Jesus firsthand. He interviewed the witnesses who were firsthand witnesses; so Luke, he knew Mary. He was able to interview Jesus' mother. Luke was able to talk to people, maybe the soldier who was converted at the cross; and he talked to Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus.

So Luke got a perspective that Mark did not include in his Gospel. And these events that happened at the latter end of the crucifixion; some of the other Apostles might not have even been standing there, because the Bible tells us they were standing afar off. You can read that in John chapter 20, verse 25, I think.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, also Pastor Doug, the context that Mark writes, he's commenting on a passage of Scripture from the Old Testament. And so, he quotes the Scripture and he says, "And He was numbered with the transgressors." Then he goes on to explain how that happened. He talks about those who passed by Him, they blasphemed Christ; and then the priests mocked Him; and then even those who were crucified reviled Him.

And then he goes on and talks about how Jesus says, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" So the focus of Mark is portraying the mockery that came against Christ, by both those passing by, by the priests, and even by the thieves. Luke kind of builds on that a little later, and he explains that there was a change in heart with one of the thieves, but Mark doesn't mention that. He's just more focused upon what happened to Jesus and the mockery that came against him.

Pastor Batchelor: Hope that helps a little, Jerry.

Jerry: Well that sounds reasonable.

Pastor Batchelor: Yup, and I look forward to the day when we can actually see the video and figure out what happened. I think it's all archived in heaven somehow. Thank you for your question; and by the way, that frees up a line, so if someone wants to call in with a Bible question, there is still time. We've got about another 35 minutes or so, and the number is 1-800-463-7297.

Pastor Jëan Ross: The next caller is Diane and she's listening from San Diego, California. Diane, welcome to the program.

Diane: Thank you, good evening. My question is on Matthew 12, verse 4.

Pastor Batchelor: Okay.

Diane: I have never understood why David got to eat the showbread.

Pastor Batchelor: Alright. This is referring back to an experience where David is fleeing from King Saul. He stops and he sees the priest at the temple and says, "Do you have any food?" David is really fleeing for his life; he's maybe got a few men with him. And they said, "Well the only food that we've got available right now is the day-old showbread from the temple."

They would replace it with fresh bread everyday. And he said, "You know, this is holy bread. We can't give it to you to eat, unless you say that you have been being holy." I think he asks him specifically "if your soldiers have kept themselves from women?" And he said, "Oh yup, we're on the King's business." So he was given this holy bread that had come off the table of showbread in the temple. Is that what you're talking about?

Diane: Well, because the text says, "...which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him."

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, David's soldiers.

Diane: It's only for the priests, but he got allowed to eat it and I never understood why.

Pastor Batchelor: Well, because David basically said, "This is an emergency. We need food." And God is saying, "You know, ritual goes out the window when there's a practical need." That's why Jesus said, "If you are a shepherd, and you have a sheep that falls into the ditch on the Sabbath day--well while you don't want to work on the Sabbath day--you don't walk off and leave your sheep in the ditch, or your oxen."

Diane: Oh.

Pastor Batchelor: And so, Jesus is saying, even though the priest took this holy bread out of the temple, David was hungry and his men were hungry. It didn't make sense to throw it in the fire, which is what they normally did. Only the priest could eat it. But, while David wasn't a priest, he was a prophet; and so the priest gave David the bread. By the way, he had killed Goliath. He was kind of a national hero so it was hard to tell him no (laughs): "We're going to leave you hungry because this is holy bread."

Pastor Jëan Ross: And there was, as you explained Pastor Doug, there was an emergency. They were fleeing; they were traveling; they didn't have anything to eat. The men were getting weary, possibly even faint, and they needed food; and that was the only food available.

Pastor Batchelor: That's right.

Diane: Okay. Thank you!

Pastor Batchelor: You're welcome.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Next caller is Lynn, and he is calling from Grand Lodge. Lynn, welcome to the program.

Lynn: Thank you. I was recently reading the book you offer called, "Feast Days & Sabbaths," which was very helpful in clearing up the distinction that the Bible makes between the moral law and the--

Pastor Batchelor: Ceremonial law.

Lynn: --Mosaic law. And I was curious if there was any more detail on, I don't know how I'm going to word this; say, I'm thinking more along the lines of the ceremonial part, and, say, the, uh, what's acceptable to eat and not eat--

Pastor Batchelor: Some of the health laws?

Lynn: Yeah. Was it the whole Mosaic law that was done away with, or was it just the ceremonial part, and where is there Scriptural evidence for that?

Pastor Batchelor: Well, first of all, you read the book, probably by Joe Crews, called "Feast Days & Sabbaths." It's a condensed study. And I'm not sure if this is mentioned in the book; but one clue about what laws are intact and which ones are of a more ceremonial nature connected with the sanctuary, the laws that existed before Moses, there was a distinction made before there was even a Jew about clean and unclean.

Before circumcision, Noah lived; and God made a distinction between the clean and the unclean animals when they were getting on the ark. So those basic health laws go all the way back to the garden of Eden, and to the very beginning.

Whereas the laws that relate to sacrificing lambs, and the temple, and circumcision, they all really originated with either Abraham, or with Moses. And those things, you know Paul is very clear, while circumcision was God's plan and it identified His people, that with the coming of Christ, it became the new covenant, which is circumcision of the heart; and that it really didn't have to do with sacrificing lambs anymore, but Christ is our Lamb.

So, that's one way to draw a distinction between what were the ceremonial laws that were written on paper and nailed to the cross. There are certain practical, social-civil laws that Moses had that are still in effect. Matter of fact, many governments base the foundation of their laws on the law of Moses, in principle.

But I don't know that we have another book; I don't know if you've seen our lesson called, "Written in Stone" Lynn. We could send that to you, if you've not seen that yet.

Lynn: I do have that one. For anyone who doesn't have "Feast Days & Sabbaths" or "Spiritual Israel," those two I had just read. And they're great books. It's small and easy to understand. It's just jam-packed with all the Scriptures.

Pastor Batchelor: Hey we appreciate the endorsement. Thank you very much. And friends, we're just going to be taking a break in a moment. You are listening to Bible Answers Live. Pastor Ross, before we go to the bottom of the hour break, I just want to remind our friends that last week, you and I were there by the nation's capitol in Silver Spring, Maryland, doing a broadcast on DIRECTV called, Reclaim Your Faith.

I just want to praise the Lord! I want to thank Pastor Ross for everything. He got sick just before he left; and he plowed through the whole thing and did a great job! And we were talking about how people can reach their friends. But you can find that at faithreclaimed.com. The programs are up online if you'd like to view them.

For right now, we're going to be taking a break, and have some important announcements; but we're not done with our Bible questions. You can call in with your questions. You can also listen at the Amazing Facts website on streaming.


Pastor Batchelor: We are back listening friends. For those who have tuned in somewhere along the way, this is Bible Answers Live. We're delighted that you've tuned in. We're doing a Bible study around the world; and people can call in with their Bible questions. For your Bible questions, it's an easy number. It's 1-800-GOD SAYS. The Bible is our source book, 1-800-GOD SAYS. That's 1-800-463-7297.

Also I want to mention, people listen week after week, but you can even watch on the Internet. We're streaming. If you want to watch, it's, live.amazingfacts.org. That's just, live.amazingfacts.org; and we can tell from our equipment we've got some of you streaming. My name is still Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Jëan Ross: My name is still Jëan Ross. You know Pastor Doug, before the break, you mentioned the Reclaim Your Faith website. Just a few things we want to mention about that website. It was a four-part series.

Pastor Batchelor: It's actually Faith Reclaimed.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Sorry, Faith Reclaimed. I'm looking on the website. We actually have the name of the program, Reclaim Your Faith.

Pastor Batchelor: We encourage dyslexia, in the sense that--

Pastor Jëan Ross: (laughs)

Pastor Batchelor: and you and I have both struggled with dyslexia--the program is called Reclaim Your Faith. Our website is Faith Reclaimed (laughs)

Pastor Jëan Ross: So you've got to think about that before you give out the website. But it was a four-part series and all four presentations are archived on the website. You can go to

the website; you can watch the programs right there. You can also see a number of testimonies, people who reclaimed their faith. Just great stories, great testimonies!

Pastor Batchelor: Inspiring!

Pastor Jëan Ross: And you can also send this website to a friend. Send it via email so they can go and take a look at it.

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, if you know anybody that used to go to church and they've become distracted with the cares of life, this is to help them reclaim their faith. And the website is not Reclaim Your Faith, it's--

Pastor Batchelor and Pastor Jëan Ross: Faith Reclaimed.

Pastor Batchelor: Alright, back to the phones.

Pastor Jëan Ross: We've got Charles who is in Michigan. Charles, welcome to the program.

Charles: Thank you for taking my call. I have a quick question about death. There are three Bible stories that I'm aware of. One is the rich man and Lazarus, where the rich man is in torment and Lazarus is sitting in the bosom of Abraham. The other one is Lazarus, Martha's brother, and Jesus says that "Lazarus has fallen asleep and let us go wake him up." And then the third one is in regards to the thief on the cross. Jesus told the thief, "Today you will be with me in Paradise."

Pastor Batchelor: Yup.

Charles: To me, those three stories are a little confusing, and I was wondering if you could clarify for me what happens when we die?

Pastor Batchelor: Alright, thank you, appreciate your question Charles. Very quickly, some people are confused; and you can walk through one of the church cemeteries and see, even on what's written on the gravestones, people are confused. Do they rest in peace? Do they sleep? Is the Lord coming to awaken them, or are they awake as soon as they die and in the presence of the Lord?

The Bible says, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." It is true, when you die, as far as we're concerned in this life, they are asleep, because the resurrection and the Judgment do not happen until the Day of the Lord. The Bible is very clear on that. First Thessalonians chapter 4, I did a funeral today and read that verse, that when the Lord descends from heaven, then the dead in Christ rise.

Paul said we don't need to sorrow as others that don't have hope--those who sleep in Christ--so it tells us they are asleep. Lazarus was asleep. After four days of being dead, he came back to life and he made no comment on being up in heaven or in hell or anywhere. He had no consciousness of anything.

But what about when Jesus said in Luke 23 to the thief on the cross, "Verily I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise"? Very simple. There's no punctuation in the Greek. Jesus did not say to the thief, "Verily I say to you [comma,] today you will be with Me in Paradise." Jesus said, "Verily I say to you today [comma,] you will be with Me in Paradise."

The thief did not go to Paradise with Jesus that day, because Jesus did not go to Paradise that day. Mary went to grab His feet Sunday morning; He said, "I've not yet ascended to My Father." So even Christ was resting in the tomb.

And the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the key to that is very simple: it is a parable. Jesus talks about a very interesting paradox where you've got this son of Abraham, a rich, Jewish individual, that he goes to the Gentile place of torment, Hades. And then you've got a Gentile who lays at his gate; he goes to Abraham's bosom.

Christ was just saying through that parable that if you're rich in truth and you don't share it with your neighbors around you, you might find that if they're using the crumbs they have faithfully, they may end up in heaven, even though they don't know all the truth, and those who have the truth but won't share it, may end up in the other place.

Pastor Jëan Ross: It's also interesting that, in that parable, Jesus actually gives the name to the beggar and says his name is Lazarus. It's interesting that there was a man that Jesus raised from the dead whose name was Lazarus. And even though the Jewish leaders saw that powerful miracle, they still refused to believe.

Pastor Batchelor: They even wanted to kill Lazarus--

Pastor Jëan Ross: That's right.

Pastor Batchelor: --because he was living evidence. You know, we do have both a website, Charles, and we have a lesson that we can give you. The lesson is called, "Are the Dead Really Dead?" The website is deathtruth.com, deathtruth.com; a lot of study information there that answers all of these questions you just asked. All of those common verses, it'll explain them using Scripture.

Pastor Jëan Ross: To receive the study guide, "Are the Dead Really Dead?" give us a call on the resource line. That's 1-800-835-6747; you can ask for the study guide, "Are the Dead Really Dead?" We have Mark, who's listening from Knoxville, Tennessee. Mark, welcome to the program.

Mark: Alright, thank you for taking my call. My question is in regards to the passage that says, "Lay thy bread upon wet faces." And I've always heard that refers to witnessing to people; and that after a long time fruit will bear. But I've read commentaries that say that that's referring to helping the needy.

Pastor Batchelor: Are you talking about where it talks about, "Cast your bread upon the waters"?

Mark: Yeah. I was quoting from the Bishop's Bible.

Pastor Batchelor: Okay, yeah, it's just a lot of our friends out there have the King James, or some of the other Bibles, and that's the more common quote. "Waters" in the Bible, if you look in Revelation chapter 17, it tells us that "waters" represents multitudes of people and nations and tongues. And so bread, of course, is the bread of life.

"Casting your bread upon the water and it will return to you" is saying that if you share the bread of life--and that's even true with money; some people call money bread--if you share with others and you care about the needs of others, that comes back to you. So that's sort of in line with what I think you're asking, Mark.

Mark: So it's not referring to witnessing?

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, witnessing is sharing the bread of life.

Mark: So can it refer both to witnessing and to helping the needy?

Pastor Batchelor: Yes, absolutely. If you remember the poor and the needy, the Lord says when you're in trouble, God will hear your prayer. There's another Proverb that tells us that. So the principle is the same. Very simply, Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you," whether you're giving the bread of life, or whether you're giving literal bread.

It says "with what measure you mete, it'll be measured to you again." And so it's a principle in the Bible, that as we share the words of life, God will bless us, and as we share the necessities of life, God will bless us. It's more blessed to give than to receive.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, I also think that there's a principle there. We don't always know who's receptive and open to spiritual things. Sometimes we might see someone and think, "Well, I'm not even going to waste my time witnessing to them." But we don't know where they're at. Maybe the Holy Spirit is working upon their heart.

So the admonition that we have, "Cast your bread upon the waters" is not for us to choose who we think is going to be open to our witnessing. Just share, share the Gospel, let the Holy Spirit convict and lead as He sees best.

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, and that would also be what we're doing right now. This is called broadcasting, and that's a farming term. We're spreading the seed. Some are driving down the road and don't even notice that I'm talking right now; and some are tuning in and saying, "Wow, this is profound." So we're casting the bread out there and hoping that it bears fruit.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Amen! We've got Jean listening from Irvine, New York. Jean, welcome to the program.

Jean: Yes. Hi!

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hi

Pastor Batchelor: Hi Jean. Thanks for calling.

Jean: Thank you for taking my call. I have a question concerning Matthew chapter 5, verses 31 and 32, where Jesus is talking about divorce. He's saying a husband, or a man, but does that fit with a woman?

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, I think the principle applies. Typically in the Bible, the laws are given from the patriarchal perspective. If someone puts away their spouse without Biblical grounds, it's adultery; but if the husband or the wife is unfaithful--according to the law--that if a man or woman was caught in adultery, either would be stoned.

And so I think that it's understood here Jesus is saying it works both ways. It's not only men. If a man looks on a woman, to lust in his heart, he has committed adultery. I think we all know that women can look and lust too.

Jean: Right, right.

Pastor Batchelor: So yeah, I think that the commandment is, maybe, given in the masculine; but it's understood in the Bible that that refers to mankind, meaning male and female.

Jean: Okay, okay.

Pastor Batchelor: I appreciate that.

Jean: Okay, well thank you very much.

Pastor Batchelor: Absolutely, and thank you for your call. By the way, we have a new book that just came out, dealing with the subject of marriage. It's on divorce, marriage, and the importance of that. It's, "Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage." If you'd like to have a copy of that, you can call our resource number, and we'll send that to you Jean.

Pastor Jëan Ross: The number is 1-800-835-6747, and again, the book is entitled, "Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage." You can also go to the Amazing Facts website, amazingfacts.org, and you can actually read the book online. Next caller is Robert and he is calling from New Jersey. Robert, welcome to the program.

Robert: Good evening Pastor Ross and Pastor Doug.

Pastor Batchelor and Pastor Jëan Ross: Good evening

Robert: Hi. My question is concerning the age of the earth, according to the Bible. Of course, we read in Genesis that it says the earth was created in seven days. The question is were they literal days, because scientists continue to tell us that the earth is over four billion years old, four and a half. And the Bible tells us that a day is like a thousand years; I mean, a thousand years is like a day to God. So, could it actually be that the seven days are not literal, but actually ages? What would you say about that, and what the Bible has to say about that?

Pastor Batchelor: Alright. I believe that the Bible is very clear that the seven days of creation, you know typically, they say six days of creation and then He rested the seventh, but it's seven days total; where we get our modern week. Everything God said, if we're going to believe the word, was made as clear as it could be. It says, "the evening and the morning were the first day."

Every time in the Bible where it talks about a day and it tells what happened in that day, it's understood to mean a literal, 24-hour day. What's throwing everybody is the scientists who say, "You know, we've done this research." And, of course, none of them were there six thousand years ago. Biblically, the world, or man's history on the planet, is about six thousand years old; so they are trying to measure what we have in the observable world now to understand that.

But there are wildly different understandings of the data that scientists get about the age of the earth. They can investigate the rocks of a volcano that has just formed, and it'll give readings that they're 10 million years old; and they know that they formed in the last 100 years.

They say that the dinosaurs died out 30 million years ago, but they just found, about five years ago, a Tyrannosaurus Rex thigh bone with soft tissue and blood cells. And nothing that they had before said that that could last more than 10 thousand years. So there's a lot of confusion. There's a big bias.

The whole evolutionary scheme is built on a house made of cards in the dating system. The whole dating system is grossly flawed but, you know, Adolf Hitler proved you can tell a lie often enough and loud enough and people will believe it. Now I know that sounds pretty strong, and I don't mean to insult anybody, but I used to believe that. And I started to really delve into the data and talk to scientists, Christian Scientists.

And many of them didn't start out Christians. They started really looking at the hard evidence and said, "You know, the tools that we're using to date the world and to date these fossils, carbon 14 and radioisotope dating, and the rest of it, is extremely suspect. It is all a theory.

Robert: Would the same be for the age of the universe?

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, because they're getting the age of the universe based on rays that they see; the speed that they're coming in; they're measuring and assuming it's constant. Let me just show you, in a quick symbol illustration, what I'm talking about.

Someone brings you up to a door. You open the door. You walk into a dark room, four walls, ceiling. And in the room, on a stool in the middle of the room, is a candle burning. And you look at the candle and you walk back out and then say, "Alright, well how long has that candle been burning?" And he says, "Well ah, I don't know, but I'm going to get another candle and I'm going to measure how fast the candle burns; and I'll see how tall that candle is; and I'll try and get a guess on how long that candle has been burning."

Or you can go in and look at the candle and measure how quickly it burns and use your watch and say, "Well, how tall was it when it started?" That's one thing you may not know. Another question you'd ask is, "Was the oxygen level the same once you closed the door as it was when you opened the door?"

There are so many variables to the speed of that candle burning, that it's hard for you to observe when you walk out of the room. And all they can do is go on some very limited data on what they can observe outside of the room right now.

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, with reference specifically to Genesis chapter 1, the Bible tells us that the evening and the morning were the first day, the second day, and the third day, so there is a sunset and a sunrise within that time period. Well we know that that's only 24 hours.

Pastor Batchelor: Furthermore, if God makes the vegetation on the third day, which He did, and He doesn't make the heavenly bodies until the fourth day, it's conceivable that vegetation could live without the sun for one day. But if those days are really thousands of years, they wouldn't have made it. If the sprinkler system didn't come on in time, if the sun wasn't there, it wouldn't have lasted a thousand years.

Robert: Thank you very much.

Pastor Batchelor: Absolutely. We have a book called, "How Evolution Flunked the Science Test." "How Evolution Flunked the Science Test;" and we can offer that for free to people that would like it. I think you can read that online or request it.

Pastor Jëan Ross: The number is 1-800-835-6747. The book, "How Evolution Flunked the Science Test." You can also read that online, amazingfacts.com (or .org). We have Nena who is listening from Elk Grove, California. Nena, welcome to the program.

Nena: Hello, good evening Pastors. It's good to talk to you.

Pastor Batchelor: Good evening

Nena: Good evening. I've been told that it's in the Bible that it is blasphemous to talk to God when you're under the influence of marijuana. And I just want clarification of this, whether it's a sin to try to have a relationship and to be talking to God when you're high?

Pastor Batchelor: Well we've probably had a few people call in the program under the influence before, and I hope the Lord spoke to them. You know, coming from somebody who spent a lot of time under the influence in my youth, full of alcohol and various drugs, a whole lot of marijuana, I talked to the Lord a lot.

You know, people often have regrets when you pray under the influence of drugs. Your mind is befuddled, but it doesn't mean you don't have a mind anymore. And I know people who were just convicted with sin while they were drinking; and they woke up and never drank again.

Nena: Wow!

Pastor Batchelor: Others I preached to while they were drinking, and they didn't remember anything I said afterward. It was just a waste of time. So, it could work both ways. But I don't know of any verse in the Bible that says that.

Nena: Okay, okay. I appreciate your clarification.

Pastor Batchelor: There's no verse that talks about marijuana.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Well, I think at any point, we can call out to God. Whatever our situation is, we can pray, if our heart is sincere; especially if somebody is trying to gain the victory over these temptations. The only way that you're going to truly gain victory is if you have God's help.

And when do you need God's help? Well, when you're tempted. That's the time to pray. So I'm sure God will hear a prayer, even if a person is under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. If they are sincerely asking God for help, if they are seeking to do God's will, He will hear that prayer.

Pastor Batchelor: Um-hum

Nena: Okay. I appreciate your time, Pastors, and I enjoy your program very much.

Pastor Batchelor: Well thank you. Tell all your friends and enemies to tune in. Appreciate that.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright, we have Sarah who is listening from Toronto, Canada. Sarah, welcome to the program.

Sarah: Hello

Pastor Batchelor: Hello Sarah

Sarah: Hi, good evening guys

Pastor Batchelor: Good evening

Sarah: Thank you for taking my call. I just want to know if Zechariah 14:7-12 is a future fulfillment or (unintelligible)?

Pastor Batchelor: Zechariah 14, verses 7-12? Alright, let me see. I don't know if I'll read all of that because it'll take a moment. "But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And the light in that day that living water shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them towards the former sea and half of them towards the hinder...."

That's the future; and this coincides, I believe, with prophecies that you would find in Ezekiel that talk about the Kingdom of God. Matter of fact, I think it's in Isaiah, where it says that the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter.

Everything will be brighter in that world; if you can imagine living in a world where the moonlight is like our sun today, and the sunlight is seven times brighter than what you can imagine.

Pastor Jëan Ross: That's Isaiah chapter 30 and verse 26.

Sarah: It's a future fulfillment coming then?

Pastor Batchelor: I believe that--is the future fulfillment coming?

Sarah: Verse 12, about verse 12?

Pastor Batchelor: "And this shall be the plague...." Well not everything is chronological when you read in Zechariah. In other words, it's not all happening in exact order.

Sarah: Okay

Pastor Batchelor: The prophets frequently talk about something and then they backtrack and they talk about something else. But when he talks about the plague that's going to come in verse 12, "...wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away" this is talking about at the end. This is future, but this is talking about the end of the millennium, the great Judgment that's going to happen.

Sarah: One more question, I'm hoping you will answer it. In Hebrews 12:12 it talks about they "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees."

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, I actually talked about that this weekend.

Sarah: Yeah. Could you explain what that means?

Pastor Batchelor: It means when we get discouraged, we're all, kind of, lame because of sin; and it's telling us to run this race with endurance and we are to be encouraged. When a person is discouraged, their knees are bent, their back slouches, they just don't have that courage and that straightness. Have you ever seen a person kind of walking around and their head is sagging?

Here he's saying, "Straighten up and fly right"--that's a modern translation--"and run that race that's set before us with patience and endurance, looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith." So I think he's just encouraging people to press on in that verse. Hey thank you, Sarah, for your question; and I hope that helped a little.

Pastor Jëan Ross: We have Kathy who's listening from Sacramento, California. Kathy, welcome to the program.

Kathy: Yes, I have a question about Deuteronomy 24, verse 4.

Pastor Batchelor: Okay.

Kathy: Do you want me to read that?

Pastor Batchelor: You can or I can, Go ahead.

Kathy: You can.

Pastor Batchelor: Alright, Deuteronomy 24:4, "Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God has given thee for an inheritance."

You have to read the previous verses, really. If a man put away his wife, and she gets married to someone else, and that doesn't work out, he's not to take her back again; and that would probably work both ways.

The Lord was saying, "Look, we don't want you to get into the idea that we're going to be doing wife swapping among the people, where you're going to say, 'I don't know that I'm getting along with my wife. I'll divorce her.' She's going to try another husband out and that doesn't work out. And then you don't find someone else and say, "Oh I guess I'll take her back."

The Lord says, "Look, these marriage covenants need to be firm. They need to be honored." If marriage is suppose to be permanent, and if a person says, "Look, I want a loophole, I want to get out of the marriage" and God says, "Alright. Suppose there is a loophole? Don't say, ' I'm trying the loophole and then I'm going to go back to the marriage again.' "

Kathy: Um-hum, okay.

Pastor Batchelor: That would encourage people to stray and want to experiment with other people.

Kathy: So to remarry that person would be sin? Because I'm looking also at [Cross talk]

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah. Are you asking this because you know of someone who's facing that right now?

Kathy: Yes, myself.

Pastor Batchelor: Okay. I wondered.

Kathy: And in addition to that, the verse I believe you read earlier about the adulterous--if you remarry, if it's not--because the verse, um--

Pastor Batchelor: Yeah, when a person commits adultery, and if they remarry without Biblical grounds, it's considered adultery.

Kathy: So wouldn't it be better then to go back to your first spouse if they divorce and then--since that wasn't an adulterous relationship anyway, and they recognized that it was wrong?

Pastor Batchelor: I'm just wondering, do you have a local church you attend?

Kathy: Yes.

Pastor Batchelor: Do you have a Pastor you can talk to about this?

Kathy: Yes.

Pastor Batchelor: I'm always reluctant to do more specific marriage counseling on the phone. Both Pastor Ross and I pastor, we do counseling. There are so many interesting circumstances. You need the wisdom of Solomon and the courage of Elijah to do this.

Kathy: Okay.

Pastor Batchelor: Hey you know, we're running out of time, Kathy. It's such an important question. Please contact a Pastor and get some counseling on that. And that book on what does the Bible say on marriage, divorce and remarriage would be perfect for the situation you're talking about. Please go to the website or call the number and we'll send you a copy.

Pastor Jëan Ross: The number is 1-800-835-6747. Ask for the book, "Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage."

Pastor Batchelor: We'll send that to you. Listening friends, we hate to run off like this, but we're out of time. Go to amazingfacts.org. God bless.


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