Remarkable Birds

Remarkable Birds

Date: 02/20/2005 
Because there are so many pigeons in the world, we sometimes fail to appreciate these remarkable birds. Pigeons mate for life, make excellent parents...

365 Amazing Answers to Big Bible Questions Devotional by Doug Batchelor

365 Amazing Answers to Big Bible Questions Devotional by Doug Batchelor
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Hello friends! This is Doug Batchelor. How about a few amazing facts about pigeons? Because there are so many pigeons in the world, we sometimes fail to appreciate these remarkable birds. Pigeons mate for life, make excellent parents, and they've been known to live over 30 years.

The racing pigeon is the marathon athlete of the air. It has the ability to beat its wings up to ten times per second and maintain a heart rate of 600 beats per minute for up to 16 hours, without rest, while flying between 50 and 60 miles an hour. In addition, the pigeon has the rare capacity among large birds to be able to fly nearly straight up.

These skills have made the homing pigeons a valuable communication tool for carrying messages in war time. During World War II, 98% of pigeon missions were successful, often despite enemy fire. A famous World War I homing pigeon named Cher Ami delivered a vital message, the location of the famous lost battalion.

The mission of that pigeon alone is credited with saving nearly 200 human lives. Cher Ami was awarded a medal for his heroic service; and he died from his extensive battle wounds. The French, Swiss, Israeli and Chinese armies still use homing pigeons today because their messaging is not affected by electronic jamming.

In the 17th century, King George I of England decreed that all pigeon droppings were the property of the Crown and the loss was policed to enforce the law. The reason? Pigeon manure was used in making gun powder.

Advanced studies at the University of Montana and at Harvard had concluded, pound for pound, the pigeon is one of the smartest, most physically adept creatures in the animal kingdom. They'd been taught to use tools; their foundry retained hundreds of objects for images in their memory.

Knowing this, the pharmaceutical industry in Australia employed pigeons trained to identify anomalies in pills on a moving conveyor and to remove them from the production line. The birds did an outstanding job, but authorities quickly put an end to the practice fearing the backlash from the perception that pigeons were more efficient workers than people. And, of course, they would work for chicken feed.

Did you know, friends, that there is a prophet in the Bible who's name was Pigeon? Stay with us. We're going to learn more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Doug: We are thanking the Lord for another opportunity to come to you live with a fresh edition of Bible Answers Live. If you have a Bible question, some question about the Word of God, then we will claim the promise that, "If we seek we will find; if we ask, we will receive." The Bible is our text book.

If you'd like to call in your Bible question, it's an easy phone number to remember, 1-800-GOD-SAYS, that's 1-800-463-7297. This is Amazing Facts, and my name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Dick: And my name is Dick Devitt. Good evening Pastor Doug.

Pastor Doug: Good evening Pastor Dick.

Pastor Dick: We start with a word of prayer each week, so let's do that.

Heavenly Father, again, we come to You with thanksgiving and joy in our hearts for the privilege, Lord, of knowing and being able to share from the Word of God. And we pray that Your Holy Spirit will continue this ministry that You have begun by speaking clearly to Pastor Doug, and that You will speak clearly to our callers tonight, and that You will be able to communicate just what it is that You want us to know about the character of Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him. Help us Lord. Calm our hearts and our minds that we may have a right relationship with You. We thank You and we praise You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen!

Pastor Dick: A prophet named Pigeon. Now listen, I was stationed in the United States Army in Northern Italy and I went to Venice many times. There are a lot of pigeons in this world brother [laughs]

Pastor Doug: There sure are. I haven't been to Venice; been to Naples and Rome and Sardinia and some of the other Italian cities and saw a lot of pigeons there. But, of course, I grew up in Manhattan.

Pastor Dick: And there are a lot of pigeons in Manhattan!

Pastor Doug: There's a whole lot of pigeons in New York City.

Pastor Dick: [Laughs]

Pastor Doug: I remember once or twice my brother would catch them. My brother and I would catch a couple that were weak or young and we'd bring them home. And mom would say, "Get that dirty bird out of the house!"

Pastor Dick: [Laughs]

Pastor Doug: But, you know, because they are so common, we don't really give them the credit they deserve.

Pastor Dick: Right

Pastor Doug: What many people don't know is that pigeons and doves are the same bird. Doves are usually white. Pigeons, oh they might be gray. They have a breed of pigeon that's called a cooing dove.

Pastor Dick: Oh okay, sure, um-hmm

Pastor Doug: But there was a prophet in the Bible whose name was Dove, or Pigeon. It's the same word in Hebrew, and it's Jonah.

Pastor Dick: Jonah!

Pastor Doug: Jonah was a messenger of God; and you know many pigeons are used to send messages.

Pastor Dick: Yes

Pastor Doug: So I thought that would be an interesting name. But he is one of the very unusual prophets in the Bible because, of course, he's given a message that he doesn't want to bear. God says to go east and he goes west. And then when he does bear the message and the people repent, he regrets that God doesn't destroy them.

So he is sort of the reluctant prophet. Many people have wondered about a cryptic statement that Jesus makes. He talks about His ministry, His mission, and the mission of Jonah, which is interesting because we think Jesus was nothing like Jonah.

Pastor Dick: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: But, there is a comparison. In the same way Jesus said that Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, the Son of man would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. And people say, "Now wait a second. Jesus died on Friday. We call that Good Friday; and He slept in the tomb on Sabbath, or Saturday, and He rose Sunday. That's part of three days but it's not three nights. So is the Bible inaccurate?"

They have a lot of questions about Jonah and his mission and ministry. We have something that they would find very interesting about this message. Jesus said, "No sign will be given to this generation but the sign of Jonah." What is that sign that Jesus was talking about, and how does it apply to us today?

Pastor Dick: Pastor Doug has written a book entitled, The Sign of Jonah. We want to make it available to anyone who would like to add it to your resource library tonight. The Sign of Jonah is available by calling our resource operators, 1-800-835-6747.

Pastor Doug: And that's free!

Pastor Dick: It is free, and we'll send it out to you tonight if you'll call our resource operators, 1-800-835-6747, and ask for The Sign of Jonah. Good amazing fact Doug. I appreciate that. Let's do our Internet questions quickly. We want to go to the phones.

Our first Internet question, "I always thought that the Third Commandment had to do with profanity, but I'm beginning to wonder if the Third Commandment may have something to do with being a Christian by name only. Would you comment on that?"

Pastor Doug: Well, they're actually very close and the Commandments are numbered. The Third Commandment would be, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

Pastor Dick: Right

Pastor Doug: That, of course, is found in Exodus 20, verse 7. You can also find it in Deuteronomy chapter 5. When someone gets married, the wife, typically, it's changing, takes the name of her husband.

Pastor Dick: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: That actually dates back--they would say, "Mary, the wife of Joseph." And so, to some extent, they would take their name. When we are baptized, when we take God's name, it means more than calling yourself a Christian. It means that we really live under His name; and His name becomes associated with how we live.

So if we take His name and then live like the devil, we take His name in vain and it brings reproach on the Lord.

Pastor Dick: Okay

Pastor Doug: So, it certainly has that aspect. And then God's name, if there is a name in the universe that should be taken on our lips with reverence, it would be the name of God.

Pastor Dick: Right, amen

Pastor Doug: We should speak that name, someone once said, "with trembling on our lips" because it is a holy name. So, of course, profanity, you know, out of the same fountain we don't want to spring salt and fresh water.

Pastor Dick: Right, right. Okay, good. Second question. "Where is God's throne room in heaven and what does this throne room have to do with the heavenly sanctuary? Is there a heavenly sanctuary?"

Pastor Doug: Well the Bible says very clearly there is. You can read in a number of verses, Revelation chapter 11, verse 19, "Then the temple of God was opened in heaven." Well, that's pretty clear. There's a temple of God in heaven. And you can read, of course, in Hebrews it talks about that the temple that Moses made, or the sanctuary--and for our friends, the temple is sometimes called "tabernacle," "sanctuary," "temple." It goes by a couple of different names in the Bible.

But it's generally talking about one of three edifices. One was the curtain one that Moses built in the wilderness, a portable temple. It was fashioned after the pattern that God gave him, the pattern of the temple of God in heaven. It refers to that again in Hebrews chapter 8, chapter 9, where Christ is our High Priest.

What does that room look like? Well we can only speculate, the throne room of God. In the earthly temple on the Ark of the Covenant were two golden angels. They're probably symbols of the real angels by the throne of God that Ezekiel and John saw in vision.

Pastor Dick: Um-hmm, um-hmm, um-hmm

Pastor Doug: And Isaiah says there were these angels with six wings on the right and left of God. The angels on the wall paper in the Holy Place, well God probably doesn't have golden wall paper in heaven but there are real angels that surround His throne. So the temple on earth is a miniature of the dwelling place of God in heaven that is massive.

Solomon said, "No temple on earth can contain the Lord because the earth is His footstool."

Pastor Dick: Amen. Alright Pastor Doug. Let's take our first caller for this evening. We want to first - -

Pastor Doug: Pastor Dick, before I tie that thought off on the temple, we have a lesson we'll send people for free if they want to study the temple. It's called, God Drew the Plans. I just remembered that. God Drew the Plans.

Pastor Dick: Okay. Our resource operators will send that out to you at 1-800-835-6747. Pastor Doug, we're going to go to Europe to take our first caller for the evening, listening to Radio 74 in France, we want to talk with Byron. Hello Byron.

Bren: It's Bren.

Pastor Dick: Bren, I'm sorry. Welcome to the program.

Bren: Thank you

Pastor Dick: And your question please?

Bren: My question is I'm having Bible studies with someone who believes Jesus was the first created being. I want to know why did Jesus have to sacrifice His sinless life? Why couldn't an angel have sacrificed his life, being a sinless being? Because, you know, there's a parallel in the Old Testament where the sacrificial system, you know, a clean animal was sacrificed to represent a sinless person. And I sort of have an idea that it's because Jesus was the Lawgiver and the law was transgressed.

Pastor Doug: Now, Bren? - -

Bren: But I haven't been able to crystallize, you know, a response.

Pastor Doug: Alright. Let me see if I can help you with that. Can you hear me okay?

Bren: Yes

Pastor Doug: Okay. You don't sound French. You sound Australian.

Bren: Well I'm New Zealand actually.

Pastor Doug: Oh I wasn't that far off. I'm sorry. I just knew it wasn't French. I've been there.

Bren: [Chuckles]

Pastor Doug: In any event, it says in Romans chapter 5, "For scarcely a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps a good man, some would even dare to die." Conceivably, if I had lived a sinless life, which I haven't, I might die in the place of one other human.

Bren: Yes

Pastor Doug: But one person cannot die for more than one person as a substitute.

Bren: Right, I see.

Pastor Doug: The only one who could die for the whole creation would have to be the Creator. An angel is a creation. One angel could not die for the whole creation, you see what I'm saying, because they're created.

Bren: Yeah

Pastor Doug: They're just created beings like we are. So maybe one sinless angel could cover the sin and take the death sentence for one sinful human. I don't know how God measures those things, but I can promise you that one sinless angel, who's a created being, could not take the penalty for an entire created race that has sinned.

Bren: Ohhh

Pastor Doug: Only the Creator could do that, and that was Jesus.

Bren: Wow

Pastor Doug: And for anybody who believes that Christ is created, the Bible tells us all things that were made were made by Him. If He's created, that wouldn't be true. That would mean He'd have to make Himself.

Bren: That's right

Pastor Doug: So Christ is it. "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." He's the Alpha and the Omega.

Bren: Oh that's great.

Pastor Doug: Okay?

Bren: That's a really good answer.

Pastor Doug: Now, we have a book. If you'd like, we'll send--I don't know if we can send it to France, but you can call and try. It's called The Trinity. If we can get it to you for free, we'll sure try and do that Bren. Thank you for your question.

Pastor Dick: Bren, thanks for the call and God bless. Let's go next to Nova Scotia. We want to talk with Tom who's listening on the Internet in Nova Scotia. Welcome Tom.

Tom: Hi, thanks

Pastor Doug: And your question?

Tom: There are many churches in my area. There's eight in the general vicinity. And I don't attend any of them because of the simple fact they're not teaching the Bible teachings. They're not teaching the doctrine of the Bible; a lot of false doctrine going on.

Pastor Doug: Yeah

Tom: And basically, I find myself right now as a wilderness Christian. You know, I study my Bible and, thank God, I'd like to thank you guys for your website because I go there quite a bit for information and study.

Pastor Doug: Um-hmm

Tom: But uh, what does a man in my position do?

Pastor Doug: Well, fellowship is very important, Tom. And what I might suggest is find whatever church you feel is the closest to biblical teaching and go as, not only for the fellowship, but go as a missionary. If you believe that they're getting off track, then maybe God wants you to go in and help them.

Even Elijah, when he ran into the wilderness, God said, "Get back into Israel. They need revival, and you're not going to revive them out here by yourself." So, you can't clean a house from the outside; and you cannot bail a boat when you're in the water. You've got to be in the boat.

So go to whatever church you can find that is the closest to the Word, develop some relationships, and very respectfully, by your example and your word, try to introduce revival.

Tom: That's a good idea. I could try that. I guess my problem is a little bit of fear. You get involved in some of these things and you find yourself slipping or falling back.

Pastor Doug: Well, you just want to pray that you are sticking to the Word, and that you are doing the influencing, and not being influenced; of course, unless you're being influenced for truth.

Tom: Yeah

Pastor Doug: But fellowship is important. Hebrews chapter 10, "Let's forsake not the assembling of ourselves together."

Tom: Yeah, that's true.

Pastor Doug: Okay?

Tom: Yes, okay, thanks.

Pastor Doug: Hope that helps a little. Hey by the way, I've got a book--we can't give it away, but it's pretty reasonable. It's called, How to Survive in Church, and it deals with your situation. It talks about how do you survive in a big church, little church, dead church, churches that are not following the truth. You might find some encouragement there. How to Survive in Church. It's actually called, How to Survive and Thrive in Church.

Tom: How to Survive and Thrive in Church.

Pastor Doug: Alright?

Tom: Thanks. Thank you very much.

Pastor Doug: Alright, God bless Tom.

Pastor Dick: Okay Tom, give a call to the operators, 1-800-835-6747, and ask for that book and they'll send it out to you.

Pastor Doug: I think that one might cost $3.00 or something, sorry.

Pastor Dick: Might cost him a little bit.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, some of them we can give away and some we can't.

Pastor Dick: Right. Let's go next to a cell phone caller in Nebraska. Anita is listening and a first-time caller. Welcome Anita.

Anita: Oh thank you

Pastor Dick: And your question please?

Anita: Well my question is, I want to know if you can tell me if I'm dead in the water? I know that's kind of a weird question, but I don't know quite how to phrase my situation, other than--

Pastor Doug: Well, if you have no weight behind the boat, you're not going anywhere.

Pastor Dick and Anita: [Laughs]

Anita: Well, I'll tell you what happened. I was baptized as a child, at least I felt I was a child. I was 12 years old. I got baptized the same time my sisters did. It was, "Well, your sisters are doing it. You better do it too or it's not going to look right," that kind of thing. And so we all got baptized at the same time. I abided by the promises that I understood that I was committing myself to until I was about a teenager; and then I did the stupid teenager trick and did my own thing. And when I became a mother, I realized I needed to come back to the Lord; but it was a "give me" relationship instead of something where I said, "Lord, I love You and I want to serve You."

Pastor Doug: Um-hmm

Anita: I came because I needed Him. And now, um - -

Pastor Doug: Are you wondering if you should be rebaptized?

Anita: Years later, I've been back in the church for quite awhile. I am active in my church in a lot of ways, but I feel like there is more God needs me to do, and it has only been in the last couple years that I have started to understand that I was suppose to have gotten spiritual gifts. I don't know if I am one of those people that went down in the water but hasn't come up and haven't received my spiritual gifts, because I'm trying to do what God wants me to do. And I feel like I understand what the gifts are I'm suppose to be using, but it seems like, um - -

Pastor Doug: Well let--here, let me try and help you.

Anita: - - like it's not there to its maximum.

Pastor Doug: Right, I think I hear what you're saying.

Anita: So, I'm wondering if I need to be rebaptized, but I know there's a lot of people that don't understand why I would now.

Pastor Doug: That's a good question. There are other people that are probably thinking the same thing. There is an example in Acts chapter 19 of some believers--these are believers who were rebaptized, 12 of them. So there is a Bible precedent, even in the New Testament, for rebaptism.

There are three examples that we can find, or three reasons I should say, that we can find for rebaptism. One reason would be if you were not baptized biblically. Now Anita, you know the biblical method of baptism, of course, is immersion.

Anita: That's how I was baptized.

Pastor Doug: That's one reason. Some people were not. Another reason for rebaptism is, if you have divorced yourself from the Lord by wandering from Jesus publicly, baptism is like a public marriage.

Anita: And that's what I did.

Pastor Doug: Okay. When you come back - -

Anita: So it's like I divorced and then moved back in, but never married.

Pastor Doug: Exactly. Couples sometimes, they get divorced, they don't ever remarry. A few years later, they say, "You know, why did we separate? Let's get back together," and they move in but they don't ever get married again. They're legally not married.

Anita: That's wrong, yeah.

Pastor Doug: So you would want to go through a public declaration through rebaptism. And don't be ashamed of your testimony; you could probably encourage others, get rebaptized. Now, this doesn't necessarily apply to you, but the third reason, in Acts 19 these men were rebaptized not because they had wandered from the Lord or were not baptized properly. They were baptized by John the Baptist by immersion.

They were rebaptized because they had come into a whole new understanding of what the truth is, and they received gifts of the Spirit at that time.

Pastor Dick: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: So you pray about it. You do what the Lord tells you. I mean, I worry about people who want to get rebaptized every other year. There's something unhealthy about that.

Anita: Yeah. See, I was with the pastor when he had been talking to another gentleman who was wanting to be rebaptized, and it sounded like he had done it quite a few times now. And it was basically discouraging, unless he really felt he needed to.

Pastor Doug: When we have the Lord's Supper, the Communion service--and some churches practice foot washing--you know that? You ever heard that?

Anita: Yeah, yeah [cross talking]

Pastor Doug: Communion service is like a mini-baptism. And so you don't need to get rebaptized every time you sin. That's the purpose of the Communion service. But we have a study guide that we'll send you specifically on baptism if you'd like that. It'll answer - -

Anita: Is it one of the ones from one of your previous seminars that you've done?

Pastor Doug: Well it's actually a book by Joe Crews and it's called, "Baptism: Is It Really Necessary?" It's a booklet, not one of the study guides from my seminar [cross talk]

Anita: Okay, I didn't know you had that one.

Pastor Doug: "Baptism: Is It Really Necessary?" and it talks about rebaptism, okay? All you've got to do is call our resource number. Pastor Dick will give you that.

Pastor Dick: Yup. Call the resource number Anita, 1-800-835-6747, and ask for the book by Joe Crews called, "Baptism: Is It Really Necessary?" and we'll send it out to you this evening. Let's go to Boston, Massachusetts. Steve is on a cell phone listening on WROL. Welcome Steve.

Steve: Good evening

Pastor Dick: Good evening, your question please?

Steve: Well, my church is asking me for an altar call to recommit my life to Christ, which I don't mind doing. It's a new church, and I went with another fellow I told I was looking to do the 12-Step program for my eating disorder. In being freed before, the problem isn't in being free. The problem seems to be not falling back to sin because, when I got free, I didn't know what to do with myself and so I fell back because that (unintelligible) has been with me all my life. I really had no idea what to do with the freedom. So before I go and do it again to myself and make that mistake, I wanted to ask how can I hold onto the Word so that I don't fall back into sin?

Pastor Doug: Alright, good question. Steve, there's a lot of people who probably are able to resonate with what you're saying. We want to rededicate our lives, but we're afraid of our own promises because we'll get discouraged. Someone said once, "All our promises are like ropes of sand", and you're afraid: "Well you know, I'd like to rededicate myself, but how can I know that I'm not going to sin again if I rededicate myself?"

Well, you don't know that. Matter of fact, you probably will. It doesn't mean that you need to fall away from the Lord, but as humans, we're going to be, more chance than not, we'll still slip and make mistakes along the way. You want to see growth when you commit yourself to the Lord. That's what sanctification is all about, that you are growing to become more like Jesus.

Make sure that the church is not dictating, um, "You know everybody, it's time to come forward for another altar call and to recommit yourself." You want the Spirit to be inspiring you to do that so that it's really coming from your heart; that it's something that you're wanting to do. And then you live moment by moment, trusting the Lord to help you be faithful. Are you there?

Steve: I'm listening. It's just that, um, you know, as I described. I remember being free and I remember that fear coming in, and I remember choosing sin again because it was the easiest thought, you know, it was the [tape skips, unintelligible] that was so easy to fall back to.

Pastor Doug: Would you be willing to read something I'd like to send you, - -

Steve: Sure

Pastor Doug: - - that I think might encourage you a little bit?

Steve: Absolutely

Pastor Doug: It's a book we haven't offered very often Pastor Dick. It's called, The Power of a Positive NO. It's kind of a great title, Power of a Positive NO. It talks about how you can live a positive life and still say NO to temptation. And then there's another book, you could pick one of the two, and it's called, 12 Tips for Resisting Temptation. I wrote that one. Joe Crews wrote the one on A Positive NO.

Get some of these things to encourage you a little bit, Steve. Call the resource number and you can ask for 12 Tips for Resisting Temptation or Power of a Positive NO, and either of those books I think will encourage you.

Pastor Dick: 1-800-835-6747 Steve, 1-800-835-6747.

Pastor Doug: We'll send it to you free.

Pastor Dick: Pastor Doug, one more before we have to take a break. We'll go to Brooklyn, New York. Daniel is on WMCA. Daniel, we have about two minutes before our break. What can we do?

Daniel: Okay. My question is about the second coming. I was wondering if, prior to Jesus' second coming, will the whole world be Christian? I don't know if my interpretation is correct, but I believe that the Bible teaches the end-time powers to be Christian. And would that mean that the whole world will be converted to Christianity just prior to His coming?

Pastor Doug: Well, part of what you're saying is true, in that the whole world will claim to be Christian in the end. I believe that Satan is going to, of course, impersonate Christ. Jesus said there will be many false Christs, speaking of His second coming. But the whole world will not be Christian.

The Gospel will be preached to the whole world for a witness to all nations. It doesn't mean they'll believe, but they'll have an opportunity. Jesus actually said, "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leads to life, and few there be that find it." . He compared His second coming to the days of Noah and the days of Lot.

Now let me ask you Daniel, when the flood came, was it the majority, or the minority that believed?

Daniel: The minority.

Pastor Doug: Exactly. In the days of Lot, was the majority of Sodom and Gomorrah saved, or a very small minority?

Daniel: The minority again.

Pastor Doug: Yeah. So I don't want to discourage anybody, but I think history is going to repeat itself; and only those who truly believe and follow the Lord's escape plan will survive. So, the whole world is not going to be converted.

Daniel: But doesn't Revelation say that all who dwell on the earth will worship him whose names have not been written in the book of life?

Pastor Doug: Exactly. Those whose names are not written in the book of life worship the beast.

Daniel: And the beast is Christian, isn't it, or claims to be Christian?

Pastor Doug: He claims to be, yes, but he's not saved. It's a false form of Christianity. That's the point exactly. Oh, I hate to cut you off. This is my favorite kind of topic Dan. I apologize. We're going to take a break right now. Pastor Dick has some important announcements in just a moment.

In the meantime, I want to remind you, friends, that you can find a lot of the archives of our Bible answers by going to the Amazing Facts' website. It's easy to remember, Amazing Facts. You can type in AmazingFacts.com, or AmazingFacts.org and you'll get to the same place. And there is a plethora of Bible resources.

Those of you who are preachers or Bible teachers or you're teaching classes and home Bible studies, you'll find a free library with a lot of the resources we share here. AmazingFacts.com. We'll be right back.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Doug: Welcome back. If you have just joined us, you've found your way to Bible Answers Live. If you have any Bible questions, I think we still have one or two lines open. You can give us a call. That's 1-800-GOD-SAYS. That translates into 1-800-463-7297. It's a free phone call in North America. This is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Dick: My name is Dick Devitt, and we want to take our first caller for this half hour. We want to go to New York and talk with Earline who's listening on WMCA. Welcome Earline.

Earline: Hi, good evening Pastors

Pastor Dick: Good evening

Pastor Doug: Hi

Earline: Question, what is the origin of the words "Easter," well actually "Ash Wednesday," "Lent" and "Easter"? I know what they all mean, but I know they aren't biblical words; and I wanted to know the origin.

Pastor Doug: Well, I can help you with a little bit. I went to Catholic school growing up, but I am not a Catholic. I was sort of a--I guess I would have been a bi-polar religion back then because my mother was Jewish; my father was kind of a backslidden Baptist; and here I was going to Catholic school. So I wasn't a very good Catholic.

The word "Easter" actually has its roots back in the word "Ishtar," as far as I remember, that comes back from Babylonian worship.

Pastor Dick: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: It became synonymous with Passover. Matter of fact, you'll find in Acts chapter 12 the word "Easter" is in the King James Version, but it's really talking about Passover there.

Earline: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: "Ash Wednesday," if I'm not mistaken, in the Roman Catholic church ashes were obtained from burning palm branches the previous Palm Sunday.

Earline: Oh okay

Pastor Doug: They're blessed before mass on Ash Wednesday, and the priest places the blessed ashes on the foreheads of the officiating priest, the clergy, and congregation, while reciting over each one of them the formula, "Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you'll return."

Earline: Okay

Pastor Doug: And "Lent," is that the 40 days after the crucifixion?

Earline: No. It's the 40 days preceding Easter.

Pastor Doug: Okay

Earline: So it's from Ash Wednesday until Easter, or until Good Friday at least. Those are the 40 days.

Pastor Doug: Okay

Earline: But I think it's symbolic of Jesus' temptation.

Pastor Doug: Right

Earline: Uh, you know, before it is for 40 days.

Pastor Doug: Well I'm reading here. I'm actually just looking in an encyclopedia with some Christian articles and it's telling me that it originated the fourth century; and that Lent varies within Protestant and Anglican churches.

Earline: Oh okay

Pastor Doug: These bodies, they emphasize penitence. In the Roman Catholic church, in recent years, has relaxed its laws on fasting. But where the word originates, I don't know.

Earline: Okay

Pastor Doug: It may be from a Latin word. I'm not sure what it means.

Earline: Okay, well - -

Pastor Doug: Sorry, got two out of three.

Earline: Thanks a lot--okay, thank you.

Pastor Dick: Thanks for the call Earline. Let's go next to New York. Christina is listening on WMCA. Christina, welcome to the program.

Christina: Hi

Pastor Doug: Hi

Christina: My question concerns suicide. I wanted to know if people who suffer from mental illness, such as major depression or schizophrenia, are destined to hell if they kill themselves? I'm specifically asking about those who have faith and trust in God; however, not experienced any improvement, despite having gone through therapy and taking medication for many, many years.

Pastor Doug: You know what I always like to ask first, Christina, are you thinking of yourself?

Christina: Uh, no.

Pastor Doug: Okay. Because if I'm talking to somebody that is contemplating suicide, I always answer the question differently; and I didn't mean to put you on the spot, but I just like to find out if you're struggling with those issues because it is a very obviously, pardon the pun, it's a deadly issue. It's a life and death matter.

Will a person automatically be consigned to hell under those circumstances, is that what you're asking?

Christina: Yes

Pastor Doug: I'm not going to give you a yes or now answer because that is not an easy question. There are people who I believe will be saved who committed suicide. They, maybe, had once been believers and walked in faith, but because of maybe some mental illness; there are some people who have been absolutely beside themselves in agony from terminal illness that, in their right mind, never would have taken their lives. And the Lord will not judge them by the erratical thing they did in the last few moments.

But for most people, suicide, through discouragement, is a sign of hopelessness and faithlessness, which is the foundation of salvation. You've got to have faith. You've got to have hope. You need to have love. And suicide, in a sense, is really self-love, because what you're doing is saying, "No matter how it hurts those around me, I want to escape and so I'm going to do this."

The other dangerous thing about suicide is it really does represent a confusion in thinking, because the average person that commits suicide thinks they're going to improve their circumstances in their suffering; and really all they're doing is removing their options and sealing their suffering, see what I'm saying?

Christina: Yes

Pastor Doug: So it's, of course, a very tragic thing what happens. There are a few examples in the Bible of people who are suicides that may be in the Kingdom. One, of course, is Samson. Samson probably was about to be killed by the Philistines but he beat them to the punch, and he brought the building down on them and himself; and that could be, technically, called a suicide. Yet, the New Testament in Hebrews 11 says he'll be in heaven.

Some have even argued that, in a sense, Jesus was a suicide. Now I don't believe that because Christ said, "No man takes My life. I lay it down." Offering your life as a sacrifice is not the same thing as a suicide, see what I'm saying?

Christina: Yes

Pastor Doug: I know folks who lived Christian lives and then they had a car accident. There was some brain trauma and they struggled with pain and depression afterward, and they killed themselves. And you have to wonder, "Is God going to judge them on the medical problem afterward, or on the tenor of their life of service before?"

So it is a complex question. Generally speaking, those who commit suicide, "Thou shalt not kill," that would include yourself. It would be a sad thing to stand before the Lord where your last act was murder. Know what I'm saying?

Christina: Okay. Yes I do.

Pastor Doug: Alright. Hope that helps a little bit.

Christina: Thank you very much.

Pastor Doug: I wanted to give you a Bible answer. Thank you.

Pastor Dick: Thank you Christina for the call. Let's go next to New York. Carl is listening on WMCA. Welcome Carl.

Carl: Good evening

Pastor Doug: Good evening

Carl: I'd like to know, Pastor Batchelor, do you believe that Mary the mother of Jesus did not have any other children after Jesus?

Pastor Doug: Yeah, I do believe that. Let me tell you why. I know that Joseph had other children. Many scholars wonder if Joseph had the four brothers--it mentions four brothers of Jesus and then it says "sisters"--it does not mention their names. So there's at least two of them. They wondered if Joseph had a family prior to marrying Mary, and here are the reasons.

For one thing, Joseph, evidently, was older than Mary and he dies before Christ begins His ministry. Joseph never appears in the New Testament after Jesus' 12th birthday. The second reason is when Jesus is dying on the cross, He commits the care of His mother, not to any of His siblings, which would have been the normal thing to do. They would have just adopted their mother. But He commits the care of His mother to the apostle John, which seems strange, unless those were Mary's step-children.

And then the third reason is in the Jewish culture in the days of Jesus, it was highly unusual for the firstborn son, if that was Jesus, to leave the family business and become an itinerant preacher; because the firstborn son was suppose to stay home and take things over, like in the parable Jesus tells of the prodigal son. First-born stays home. The young son, he runs off. That frequently happened.

Now, those are the reasons some scholars believe this, and I agree with them, but I'm open to suggestions.

Carl: Well in Matthew 3, they're talking about the departure of Joseph and the young Child and His mother.

Pastor Doug: Yeah

Carl: That is Joseph, and Jesus and Mary, - -

Pastor Doug: Uh-huh

Carl: - - and fleeing into Egypt.

Pastor Doug: Never mentions any little siblings.

Carl: Well, no, but it doesn't mention where would Joseph's other children be when he was escaping to Egypt?

Pastor Doug: Well, two options are possible. One is there were with him. And the other option is that it wasn't uncommon to leave them with relatives. Joseph knew, the angel told him, "They're trying to kill the Baby." They had extended families. He may have left some of the children with family and fled to Egypt to save the Baby; may have taken them with him. We don't know.

Our minds are often, um, what's the word for it, our minds are often tattooed with images we grow up with that may not be accurate, but we see them on every Christmas card and that's what we remember, even though the Bible may not actually say it. For instance, if I were to ask you, Carl, how many wise men were there?

Carl: The Bible doesn't say the number of wise men. It just says they gave three different gifts.

Pastor Doug: Very good. But have you ever seen a Christmas card with four wise men, or five, or two?

Carl: No. No I haven't.

Pastor Doug: See, they always assume there are three, but it doesn't say that. We assume it. Now, let me give you some other reasons that it could have been that Jesus was not the oldest but the youngest, and the others were His step-brothers.

For one, the types of Christ in the Bible, Moses was a type of Christ; David was a type of Christ; Joseph was a type of Christ, they're always the youngest. Solomon, the son of David, was the youngest. David was the youngest of his father's sons. Moses was the youngest of Miriam and Aaron; and so there's a lot of reasons, and this isn't just to mean a lot of scholars--they don't make a big deal out of it because it's not a salvation issue.

I have no debate with someone who wants to disagree with me on this, but the scholars that look at it say, "You know, it's very likely that there were other children that Joseph had before he married Mary." Okay?

Carl: Alright. I guess I was just wondering about that.

Pastor Doug: I'll still respect you if you disagree. Like I said, I'm just - -

Carl: No, well, one more thing if I may. On Matthew chapter 1, verse 25, - -

Pastor Doug: Yeah

Carl: - - and it says, he "knew her," that is--Joseph, knew her, that is--Mary, "not till she brought forth her firstborn son."

Pastor Doug: Right

Carl: Now, it says "firstborn son." Doesn't that imply that they were sons and/or daughters after that?

Pastor Doug: "...brought forth her firstborn son."

Carl: Right

Pastor Doug: Well, I believe Jesus was her firstborn son. The other children belonged to Joseph from, obviously, a prior marriage. One man would frequently outlive several women in Bible times because the women did so much of the labor and then childbirth that their life expectancies were not, sometimes, as long as their husbands.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob all outlived their wives. Just some things to think about. Thank you Carl for your question and I hope that helped a little.

Pastor Dick: Appreciate the call Carl. Thank you very much. Let's go to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. We want to talk with Jim who's listening on WDNX. Hello Jim.

Jim: Yeah, hello Pastor Doug. I'm glad to get on program here.

Pastor Doug: I'm sorry to keep you. And your question?

Jim: Yeah, well I have a Sabbath question I guess. We've been, as of yesterday, a whole year observing the Sabbath.

Pastor Doug: Praise the Lord!

Jim: That's good; and we've been raised Catholic, so you know what I'm talking about.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, it's a little different.

Jim: Okay. What I got, in Exodus 16:29, - -

Pastor Doug: Okay

Jim: - - I'll read it real quick. "For see, the LORD giveth them the Sabbath day, therefore he gives them the sixth day the bread of two days;" the question is, "abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." That's my question, of place.

Pastor Doug: Alright. Some people have wondered, "Does this verse mean that people are just suppose to sit at home every Sabbath day?" Keep in mind, Moses makes this statement in connection with the people going out and gathering manna. He means, "Don't go out of your place looking for food in the field. On this day, you're suppose to collect twice as much."

They were not to be imprisoned in their tents through the Sabbath, because obviously, all through the other parts of the Old Testament and New Testament, - -

Jim: Yeah

Pastor Doug: - - they used to travel to the synagogue or the temple every Sabbath day. Matter of fact, speaking of Jesus, it says, "Every sabbath he went to the temple, as his custom was, and read the Scriptures." So there's no Bible mandate that you sit at home in a closet. Moses was saying, "Don't go out looking for the manna on the Sabbath day."

Pastor Dick: Um m hmm

Pastor Doug: Matter of fact, a little later, in, I believe it's the same chapter, someone went out looking for manna on the Sabbath, and God said, "Stone them."

Jim: Yeah. I did hear that. I was thinking it meant to stay in the city, or in this house, or their home or place; but it's good to know it ain't because I do like to go out.

Pastor Doug: Well, keep in mind, when they went through the wilderness, everything was in the camp and the camp was very big. The only times they really went out of the camp was looking for manna or firewood. God told them, "Get your firewood and kindle your fire before the Sabbath. Don't kindle," "kindle" means "start." "Start your fire before the Sabbath so you could keep it going." He didn't intend - -

Jim: You're not suppose to have an open flame on the Sabbath, or...?

Pastor Doug: No, it doesn't say that. It says you're not to kindle. Kindle means to start a fire.

Jim: Right

Pastor Doug: In our home, we had a fire this Sabbath. We started it Friday before the sun went down.

Jim: Hmm

Pastor Doug: In the desert, they didn't even need the fire for heat. I mean, they used to kindle their fires to cook and they had the manna prepared from the prior day. So, it's really just saying, "Don't do the unnecessary labor."

Jim: Yeah. It's just a couple of verses of the manna there.

Pastor Doug: Yeah

Jim: I have a question also, if you don't mind. The Sabbath, I have lots of friends that are Sunday believers. A lot of them tell me, "Oh, you could just work up all the days," but he did say "holy Sabbath" and I know that sanctifying has to do with us too.

Pastor Doug: Right

Jim: And it took me awhile to do that, you know, to search it and all.

Pastor Doug: Uh-huh

Jim: And it's just a good thing that if I can just find out more to tell them how important is the sign.

Pastor Doug: Well you know, I have a video tape. You can find out about it online. It's called, Sabbath, Sunday and the New Covenant. And you would really enjoy that. It's something you'll need to order there. But a lot of these questions you're asking are very common questions, and it answers them.

Pastor Dick: Jim, go to the website, AmazingFacts.org, and you can order that video tape from the resource library at that website, and they'll send it out to you.

Pastor Doug: And if you'd like that free book called, "Is Sunday Sacred?" we'll be happy to send you that as well. That we can send you for free.

Pastor Dick: Okay Jim, lots of resources available. Study them out at AmazingFacts.org. Let's go next to Steve in Sacramento, California who's listening on KFIA. Welcome Steve.

Steve: Good evening Pastors. I thank you and God for your ministries.

Pastor Doug: Well thanks for waiting.

Steve: I have a question regarding the end-times, and specifically Matthew 24, verse 15, when it is speaking of the "abomination of desolation" and "standing in the holy place."

Pastor Doug: Okay

Steve: I have two parts to this. The first is I'm wondering your take on that; and secondly, if it's not the actual building of the temple, where is it in Scripture I can find support that the temple will not be rebuilt?

Pastor Doug: Well, first of all, when Jesus made the prediction, "Destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will make one without hands," - -

Steve: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: - - you remember at His trial there was only one testimony against Him that they could corroborate with two witnesses, - -

Pastor Dick: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: - - and that was that testimony. Christ said in John, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up," and it says He spoke of His body.

Steve: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: When He died on the cross and the veil in the temple was ripped in two, it signified that the purpose for the earthly temple was fulfilled, in that Jesus, His body, His church, is now the temple. We are a living priesthood. We are living stones in this new building.

So the whole purpose for the temple, the sacrificial system was fulfilled in Christ. There's no Scripture that says it will never be rebuilt again. But when it does say, "When you see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place," what is the temple now? Paul says, "What? Don't you know that you are the temple of God?" Your body, your mind is holy.

The Bible says that we are to present ourselves a holy sacrifice; and the church, the people collectively, are God's holy temple. So when it says in 2nd Thessalonians, "That wicked one will sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God," it's talking about sitting over the church of God; and that's what the beast power does. He sits over the church of God, in the place of God.

It's not talking about a sacred room somewhere that's going to be rebuilt. That's why many people are waiting for something that will never happen.

Steve: Right. That's my curiosity, because I know there is strong belief and there's, obviously, mounting support and energy to rebuild a temple in Jerusalem.

Pastor Doug: Right. Yeah, I've been reading some of the releases on that. I heard that they're trying to form a new Sanhedrin now. Anyway, hope that helps a little bit. There's a book by Steve Wohlberg at our website and--oh, you know what? We can send you this for free. It's called, Spiritual Israel. I wrote a book with Steve Wohlberg. Steve Wohlberg is another Jewish Christian and he has been to Israel. He's got the scoop on this.

It's called, Spiritual Israel, and it talks about the temple, some of these issues of what is the church today and who is Israel today. Okay?

Steve: Great

Pastor Doug: We'll send that to you for free.

Steve: Thank you very much.

Pastor Dick: Okay, thanks for the call Steve. Let's go next to West Frankfort, Illinois. Richard is listening on WQIN. Welcome Richard.

Richard: Yeah, hello. Pastor Doug, could you explain what the unpardonable sin is? I use that word loosely lately. Could you explain what that is?

Pastor Doug: Yeah, I'll do my best. The unpardonable sin is the only sin that Jesus will not forgive, because it's the only sin for which we will not repent. I don't know if that makes sense. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is putting yourself in the place of God and refusing to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, "All manner of blasphemy and sin will be forgiven." Well, the Lord forgives murder in the Bible. That's homicide. And then they've got people in the Bible who have killed their children, like Manasseh, and God forgave them.

Pastor Dick: Adultery.

Pastor Doug: There are people in the Bible who are guilty of genocide and God forgave them. I mean, there are all kinds of horrific sins, adultery, so forth. So the only thing we can come up with is, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is grieving away the Holy Spirit through persistent resistance so that a person can't be forgiven because they won't repent. They've grieved away the Holy Spirit.

Judas grieved away the Spirit. He went out and hung himself. He committed the unpardonable sin. Saul committed suicide. He grieved away the Holy Spirit. So, I don't know. I'm hoping that maybe that helps you a little bit. There's a book we've got that offers some information on that. It's called, Remember Lot's Wife. It talks about the unpardonable sin.

It's not a big book, but it's an attractive little book that covers this subject. Would you like a free copy of that?

Richard: Yes

Pastor Doug: Remember Lot's Wife. Just call the number and we'll send it.

Pastor Dick: Richard, that number is 1-800-835-6747. If you call that number and ask for Remember Lot's Wife, we'll send it out to you tonight. It's free. The call is free and we'll send it out right away. Let's go next to Yonkers, New York and talk with Rachelle who's listening on WMCA. Hello Rachelle.

Rachelle: Hi

Pastor Dick: Welcome. Your question please?

Rachelle: My question is, I've been observing the Sabbath now for about three years. My son was four years old. And my husband is not exactly, for lack of a better explanation, on the same page as I am.

Pastor Doug: Right. Not of the same faith maybe, huh?

Rachelle: Yeah. He's not where I am spiritually. So I'm just trying to find out how do you deal with a situation like that? Like, where do you start to try and point out certain things about where a person should be spiritually with God?

Pastor Doug: Well first of all, there are three things you can do Rachelle. It's real easy to remember, but you may jot them down.

Rachelle: Um-hmm

Pastor Doug: Be a good example; - -

Rachelle: Right. That one I got.

Pastor Doug: - - pray; and if he is open, share information. That might mean personally with your Bible on your lap. It might mean giving him a book, a video, an audio tape, and say, "Would you watch this with me or take a look at this?" You can pray that God will work on his life through someone else.

Sometimes the last person that those we love will listen to is the family, but they'll listen to strangers.

Pastor Dick: Um-hmm

Rachelle: Um-hm

Pastor Doug: And I've had people I tried to reach in my family. I couldn't get to them, but someone else got to them. And so you just pray. Prayer is a powerful thing. It's not the last resort, it's a first resort.

Rachelle: Right

Pastor Doug: So I would do these things.

Rachelle: Because he asked me questions sometimes and I don't know exactly how to answer them [cross talk]

Pastor Doug: Does he ask you questions specifically about your faith regarding the Sabbath or your differences in belief?

Rachelle: Some questions are about that, but then other questions about, you know, why I believe what I believe and, you know, I can't necessarily explain everything to him because there are things that I'm still learning, of course.

Pastor Doug: Well, one thing you can do, can you get on the Internet?

Rachelle: Yes

Pastor Doug: Not that we're saved by the Internet, but if you can get on the Internet, the Amazing Facts' website, virtually most of the books we're sharing you can read them for free by clicking on the button that says, "Free Library."

Rachelle: Okay

Pastor Doug: And so if he asks you a question on heaven or hell, we've got studies on those. If he asks you a question about salvation, we have studies on that. And you can find the answers. So when he asks you, you could say, "Let me study that honey and I'll bring it back to you."

Rachelle: Okay

Pastor Doug: Okay?

Rachelle: Alright, thank you.

Pastor Doug: Thank you Rachelle.

Pastor Dick: Thanks for the call Rachelle. That's AmazingFacts.org. Pastor Doug, we have about three minutes left so let's see if we can get one more call in. We'll go to Sacramento, California. Susan is listening to KFIA. Susan?

Susan: Hi there

Pastor Doug and Pastor Dick: Hi

Susan: Pastor Doug, my 15 year old son, John, asked me to call your radio show and I can hardly believe I got on. But you know how the names in the Bible are so clear when God changes the name, like from Abram to Abraham, and Sarai to Sarah, and Jacob to Israel?

Pastor Doug: Um-hmm

Susan: Well, what we were wondering about, Lucifer, how it's so clear. Is it so clear that he is Satan because he was an angel, Lucifer was? Did he become a serpent or what?

Pastor Doug: Well the serpent became a symbol for Lucifer; and you can find that in Revelation 12. It says, "That old serpent, the devil, and Satan." It calls him the devil; it calls him the serpent; it calls him Satan. The reason that symbol stuck is because that's the first medium the devil used to tempt Eve. But his name used to be Lucifer. That means "light bearer" before he rebelled and fell.

God says in Isaiah, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" He was a bright angel who fell and has led the rebellion of the other angels. You can also find that in Revelation where it says, "There was war in heaven." The dragon--and it calls him the serpent--drew one-third of the angels, those stars that followed him, and cast them to the earth.

So the word "Satan" means "adversary," who--he used to be the highest of God's angels--became the adversary of Jesus, the arch enemy. You know, we have a study guide that explains that. We'll send it to you for free, if you'd like a copy. You can just ask for the study guide, "Did God Create the Devil?" and we'll send that to you.

I hope Susan got that. When our music comes up, the callers go down, and that's okay. Hopefully you'll get that sent through the resource number; and in the closing announcements, Pastor Dick will give that again. Ask for, "Did God Create the Devil?"

Listening friends, as we tie off these last few minutes, please bear with me as I simply share from my heart that we would like to be on more stations. That all depends on people like you

who are listening and believing in what we're doing, we'd love to hear from you. Maybe you've been listening for years and you've never done anything to help us stay on this station.

We'd appreciate anything you could do. You can donate online. You can send us a letter. We'll give the address in just a moment. Don't forget the website, AmazingFacts.org; and also BibleUniversity.com. You can get your Apostles of Prophecy degree. But keep in mind, the main reason we do this is it's all about Jesus, to set you free.

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