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G.I. Joe - War Pigeon

Date: 11/05/2006 
One of the most outstanding flights ever made by any war pigeon took place on October the 18th, 1943. On the day before the flight, the British 56 Infantry Division had requested air support to assist them in breaking the stubborn German defense lines at the heavily fortified village of Kovio Vecchia in Italy.
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Hello, friends! How about an amazing fact?

One of the most outstanding flights ever made by any war pigeon took place on October the 18th, 1943. On the day before the flight, the British 56 Infantry Division had requested air support to assist them in breaking the stubborn German defense lines at the heavily fortified village of Kovio Vecchia in Italy. However, soon after the message was sent, the British suddenly succeeded in making a surprise breakthrough.

Without warning, the German resistance collapsed completely, and the English troops over-ran the little town. The British quickly realized that this unexpected victory would be disastrous for them unless they could get word through at once to call off the air support that they so recently requested. If not, they would certainly be massacred by their own planes as they now occupied the very position they had asked to have bombed. It was at this point that they discovered that they could not get word because of the problems they had run into with communications in the hectic events. There was no choice now but to entrust their urgent message to one of the pigeons always kept on hand for just such an emergency.

G.I. Joe was the pigeon chosen to carry this life-or-death message. Flying swiftly over the battle-torn land, the pigeon flew the 20 miles back to the U.S. air support base in 20 minutes, arriving just as the planes were warming up for takeoff on their mission. The successful completion of this historic flight saved the lives of more than a thousand British soldiers. After World War II, G.I. Joe was housed at the U.S. Army Hall of Fame in New Jersey along with 24 other pigeon heroes. In November 1946, G.I. Joe was cited and awarded the Dickin Medal of Gallantry by Lord Mayor of London. In March 1957, he was placed with the Detroit Zoological Gardens where he died June 3, 1961 at the age of 18. G.I. Joe is the only bird or animal in the United States to receive such a high award for successfully carrying a life-saving message.

Did you know that the Bible talks about a life-saving message carried by three angels? Stay tuned for more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Jëan Ross: Welcome to Bible Answers Live brought to you by Amazing Facts Ministries. Are you looking for a clear, concise answer to your most challenging Bible questions? Maybe you’re struggling to understand difficult passages of Scripture. If so, you’ve come to the right place. Join us now as we open God’s Word to discover His will and find honest, practical answers to your Bible-related questions. This broadcast is pre-recorded. If you have a Bible question, call us Sundays from 7 to 8 P.M. Pacific Standard Time at 800-GOD-SAYS. That’s 800-463-7297. Now, let’s join our host, author, speaker, and evangelist, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hello, friends! This is Pastor Jëan Ross. Pastor Doug Batchelor is in India today. He’s doing a series of meetings there. We would like to welcome all of you to this live, interactive Bible study. If you have a Bible-related question, the number to call right here into the studio is 1-800-GOD-SAYS; that’s 1-800-463-7297. We are glad that you have tuned in tonight. We recognize that in order to understand the Bible, we need God’s Holy Spirit to guide us. And so before we open up the Bible this evening, I invite you just to bow your heads for a word of prayer.

Father, we thank You for Your word. And tonight, in a special way, we ask that Your Spirit will be with us. Be with us here in the studio as we open up the Bible to answer these questions. Be with those who are listening. For this we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I opened the program this evening by talking about G.I. Joe, the pigeon that saved more than a thousand British troops during the Second World War. This bird flew in just the nick of time with an urgent message that called off the air raid that would have destroyed the lives of those British that had ordered them. This bird saved more than a thousand people. When I read that amazing fact, I thought of another message that we find in the Book of Revelation— Revelation chapter 14. It’s an urgent message. It’s God’s last warning message to planet Earth just before the second coming. We refer to this message as the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, and this is what it says— Revelation 14:6— “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, to every nation and kindred and tongue and people; saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him that made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and the fountains of water.’ And there followed another angel saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city because she has made all nations drink the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ And a third angel followed him, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beats and his image and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.’”

Here, we find in Scripture three angels carrying an urgent message to the inhabitants of the earth— to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. And if you read further in Revelation, you discover that immediately following this proclamation, this special message, Jesus is pictured coming in the clouds of heaven to reap the harvest of the earth. This is, indeed, an important message.

Oh, friends, we want to make sure that we know what this important message is all about. Who is the beast spoken of in Revelation 14? What about Babylon? And what does it mean when the first angel says that we are to worship God Who made heaven and earth and sea? Well, tonight, our free offer that we would like to make available to all of you who are listening who would like to find out more about the three angels’ message, it’s an Amazing Facts study guide called “Angels’ Messages from Space.” Again, it’s “Angels’ Messages from Space.” And in order to get that study guide, all you need to do is call our resource number. The resource number is 1-800-835-6747. Again, that’s 1-800-835-6747.

Don’t get that confused with the number, if you want to call in a question this evening, that’s 1-800-GOD-SAYS; 1-800-463-7297. Not only can you call in with your Bible questions to the program, but you can also send us your Bible questions via the Internet. You can go to the Amazing Facts website, amazingfacts.org. There is a link that you can click on that says “Bible Answers Live,” and you can actually listen to previous programs. There is also a place that says Contact Us; you can click on that link and you can type in your Bible-related question. And we will try and answer as many of those questions as possible.

Well, tonight, there are a few questions that I would like to answer that has come in. The first question is this— will the world be converted when Jesus comes? Well, that’s an important question. To answer it, let’s take a look at what Jesus said in Luke 17:26-30. And Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days when the Son of Man is revealed. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, and they kneweth not until Noah entered into the ark; and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, also, it was also in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, destroying them all. Even thus,” Jesus said, “shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

So, according to this passage of Scripture in Luke chapter 17, Jesus is very clear, and He likens the second coming to the days of Noah and the days of Lot. Well, if you look back at those two historical events, we discover that not everyone was saved. Of course, it was Noah and his family that was saved in the ark at the time of the flood; and at the time of Lot, it was Lot and his daughters that made it out of the city of Sodom alive. So, likewise, at the end of time, not everyone will be converted; but God will have His faithful children here on earth who are obedient to Him, who love Him with all of their heart. And when Jesus comes, He will take them unto Himself, but they will be many— the majority will not be ready for Jesus to come, and they will, by that time, have had every chance that God could possibly give him, and their lives will be then be over.

Well, the next question that came in is, how many resurrections does Christ mention, and what are they called? Well, a verse in John 5:28-29, Jesus talks about two different kinds of resurrections. Let me read it for you— John 5:28-29. Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth. They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” So, from this verse, there are two resurrections. Jesus refers to the one as being the resurrection of life, and refers to the other as being the resurrection of damnation. Now, does the Bible talk anywhere else about these two resurrections? The answer is yes. In Revelation 20:6, the Bible says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him for a thousand years.”

So, based upon Revelation 20:6 and what Jesus said in John 5:28-29, we would need to conclude that the first resurrection that Jesus spoke of is the resurrection of life— the resurrection for the righteous. The second resurrection then would be the resurrection for the wicked. So, there will be a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked. The resurrection of the righteous takes place at the second coming of Jesus, and they are taken to be with Jesus in heaven. The resurrection of the wicked takes place at a later time, according to Revelation chapter 20. And their resurrection is for the final judgment, which ends in destruction.

Well, friends, we want to thank you for your questions that you email into the program, and that covers it for today as to how many questions we can do. But please, feel free, if you can call in your question, please go ahead and email to us. We’d be happy to try and answer it. We’re going to the phone lines, now; 1-800-GOD-SAYS, that’s 1-800-463-7297. Welcome to the program. You’re on Bible Answers Live. Michael, are you there?

Michael: I am here. I have a question regarding Sunday being the first… is it a new day for worship? I mean, I attend a Sabbath-keeping church arcadia called the [inaudible], and at that church, we like the New International Version, the NIV… And in studying, you know, Pastor Doug has always wanted to challenge those that, you know, study, just study guides, what have you, to come up with any Scriptures that might indicate that Sunday is the new day for worship. And there’s two, there’s actually three Scriptures in particular. There’s 1 Corinthians 16:2 when it talks about the first day of the week, that each one should set aside some money with keeping with his income, setting it up for that when Paul comments that no collection for us be taken…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes.

Michael: And it talks about that, you know, they did this on Sunday, it talks… and the note that indicates that the new day for worship, and the reference is Acts 27 and also Revelation 1:10. You slip over to Revelation 1:10, this is when John was having his vision. It starts on the Lord’s Day. And then in the notes, it says it’s a technical term for the first day of the week, because Jesus rose from the dead on that day. It was also a day in which the Christians met, and its cross-reference is Acts 27, once again, and 1 Corinthians 16:2…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay.

Michael: …so, I’m a little confused…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Sure.

Michael: I know that the Sabbath is Saturday. And I know the Catholics, in my estimation, have tried to transfer the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday. I do believe that…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Let me see if I can tackle a few of these couple verses. First of all, you bring up a good point, what day is John referring to in revelation chapter 1? Of course, no number of the days attached. In other words, it’s not the first, second, or third day. It just simply says “the Lord’s Day.” Something else that we want to note before we look at that a little further is that John who wrote the Book of Revelation wrote it somewhere around early 19 A.D., in the early 90s. So, at this time, he’s the last of the 12 apostles still alive, and he’s writing the Book of Revelation. It’s interesting to note that God, according to John, still has a day that He considers His own. So, that’s the first point.

Secondly, we must allow the Bible to interpret itself. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Lord’s Day is the first day of the week. But let me direct your attention to a verse that we have in Exodus chapter 20, it’s the fourth commandment, and it deals with the Sabbath. In that commandment we read, “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.” Six days you are to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Now, it’s interesting here, I’m going to go talk about it, I don’t want to do any work. Six days, the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that’s in it, and then He blessed and rested and sanctified or made holy the Sabbath Day. And we can go back to Genesis chapter 2 and read about that. According to the commandments, the Lord’s Day is the Sabbath Day; that’s the day that He had set aside for a holy use.

But then what about the reference that you made there in 1 Corinthians where it talks about the Christians lying by themselves in store? Nowhere does it say in that verse— by the way, this is a church service, but Paul is writing to the believers in Corinth and he’s speaking about a special collection that he’s going to take or gather on his way down to Jerusalem. And there was a famine in the area of Jerusalem and Judea, and Paul was traveling on his way down and the believers in Corinth had gathered some funds together as sort of a relief effort for those in Jerusalem. And Paul is writing before he even gets there and says to them, go ahead and set aside what it is that you are going to give. Now, notice the phrase Paul says, “Let each man labor by himself in store.” In other words, “Set it aside by yourself at home, so when I come, you’re going to know exactly what you’d like to give for this relief effort in Jerusalem or in the area of Judea.” So, I don’t believe that 1 Corinthians is indicating any type of special sacredness being attached to the first day. Instead, Paul was telling the believers to just go ahead and use that day to work out what money they’re going to give.

Michael: I see. And what about Acts 27 when he starts off at the first day of the week, “We came together to break bread…”

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay, let’s take a look at that one. Acts chapter 27, you say?

Michael: Yeah, because the breaking of bread usually indicates a religious service.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Well, it can, and you’re right. It can indicate a religious service, but it can also indicate just a gathering together and eating together. Well, you’re on the Book of Acts that speaks about the Christians breaking bread from house to house, gathering together on a regular occasion throughout the week, not necessarily for the purpose of a religious service. They could gather together and break bread that was to eat together, they famished up together. But the interesting point here that you bring up in Acts chapter 27, and the verse that you’re referring to is which verse here?

Michael: Acts 27:7.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Beginning with verse 7…

Michael: Just on the first day of the week, because they were gathering on the first… Paul was about to depart on the first day of the week, they gathered in the breaking of bread, you know, the Lord…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Sure.

Michael: …and ended in the Lord’s Supper. And so, they were just observing it regularly. And it indicates here, on Sunday they came together and they broke bread before Paul’s departure.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay. Again, we want to note that this is a special taking place here. Paul is leaving the next day. He leaves very early in the morning. And if you read the story there in Acts, this sermon goes on for the whole night.

Michael: It does.

Pastor Jëan Ross: And during the night, this young man is sitting at the… he actually falls out. Right. And he’s brought back to life. So, there’s a number of things that make this meeting very interesting. But Paul is leaving the next day and he has many things to tell the believers. So, he gathers together for the purpose of sharing some things and then early the next morning, he heads out. Now, something else interesting to note is that when this gathering took place, there were lights in the upper chamber. It was an evening meeting that this happened. So, if it’s the first day of the week, then it would be… well, if you look at the Biblical principle for a day, a day in the Bible goes from sunset to sunset. Does that make sense?

Michael: It does.

Pastor Jëan Ross: In other words, Friday evening, if you look at the crucifixion of Jesus, He died Friday afternoon. And then sunset came along and the disciples were busy burying the body of Jesus, but they didn’t have time to anoint the body with spices because the Sabbath had come, the sun had set. So, a day from, in Bible reckoning, is from sunset to sunset. And so here is a gathering taking place on a dark part of the first day of the week…

Michael: Oh, I see. I’m talking about Sunday.

Pastor Jëan Ross: What… well, the dark part of the first day of the week would be…

Michael: Would be Saturday night.

Pastor Jëan Ross: …it would have been Saturday night. So, it’s quite possible that this meeting started sometime Saturday afternoon and then continued down right through the night. Paul preached all night long, and then he left early in the morning on what we would refer today as Sunday morning.

Michael: I see.

Pastor Jëan Ross: So, it’s not telling us now that this day is set aside for holy use.

Michael: That’s the thing. I don’t contend that Sunday is a holy day. It clearly is the first day of the week. My question is as a Sabbath-keeping Christian, you know, the fourth commandment indicates, talks about not laboring on God’s holy day that to set it from the other six. But… and that’s fine! So, my question is I know it’s Christ’s custom to worship on Saturday, to go into the synagogue for to read, but as a Christian, if we were to gather on a Sunday, the first day of the week, we want to fundraise, discuss church business and have a gathering in Sunday to do those things, is that necessarily a bad thing— to get together on a Sunday?

Pastor Jëan Ross: No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting together any day of the week, and even worshiping God. I mean, we’d encourage people to get together at least once a week during the evening for a time of prayer and Bible study. You know, of course, a lot of meetings can be done on different days of the week. But there is something special about the seventh day.

Michael: Yeah.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Genesis chapter 2 talks about God setting it up a part for a special, holy use. So, there’s nothing wrong in gathering and even studying God’s word and sharing together, but that must never eclipse the blessing that God has set on the seventh day of the week. You know, Michael, we’ve got an Amazing Facts study guide I don’t know if you’ve seen it before. It’s called “The Lost Day in History.” And it’s a great resource for anyone asking about the Bible Sabbath and what is it all about, what are the requirements of that day. I would encourage you to call our resource number; it’s 1-800-835-6747, and ask for the Amazing facts study guide “The Lost Day of History.” And we’ll be happy to send that out to you.

Thanks for your call, Michael. Our next caller, Glenn, calling from Jamestown, New York, listening on WHR. Welcome to the program. Glenn?

Glenn: Hi, Jëan!

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hi!

Glenn: How are you doing?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Good. Thank you.

Glenn: My question is, I was raised in a Sabbath-keeping church, and I was taught that at a certain point in the future, they’re going to pass Sunday laws, and that at that time, Sunday will then become the mark of the beast. My question is, if that is true, why does that Sabbath-keeping church still keep Christmas… and I don’t understand what they do on Easter, but Christmas was set by the medieval church.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Let me… I think I know where your question’s coming from. What is the Biblical base for Christmas? First of all, let me just add a few things concerning the day of December 25th. I think it’s general knowledge to a lot of folks who have done some research and studied the Bible that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. There’s a number of reasons for that. Number one, the Bible says that there were shepherds in the field with their sheep when Jesus was born, and in Palestine, the 25th of December is cold. All of the sheep are in the barns, and the shepherds are taking care of the sheep at home and not out in the fields. So, that one incident tells us that Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th of December. Of course, the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly the day that Jesus was born.

So, the actual date, the 25th of December is a tradition, a custom that, you’re right, it did come up during the Middle Ages, during the Dark Ages. Is there anything wrong then in celebrating the birth of Jesus on the 25th of December? I don’t believe there’s anything, I mean, the fact is that Jesus is born, and that was a very significant event. And it’s probably good to think about that, it’s in the Bible to read the story, to think about what that means— Jesus came to this earth, the salvation that He came to bring. But as far as keeping the 25th of December as some kind of a holy day, as something special, I don’t see any Biblical evidence for that.

Glenn: Yeah, okay. I was always taught that the little horn in Daniel was to change times and laws. That was what I was taught. And one of those times that they changed was into Christmas. And if… it’s logical to me that if you’re keeping Christmas, that’s obeying the little horn, like the church I grew up in teaches…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Well, let me give you a couple… I mean, you’re probably addressing a lot of things and folks listening, they’re probably wondering where is all of this coming from? Let me guide you to some resources that I think would be very helpful for you. The first one is “Who is the Antichrist?” And that does deal with the little horn power of Daniel chapter 7 that you’re referring to, Glenn. The other one is “The Mark of the Beast.” What is that all about? I think these two study guides will help folks understand this whole issue that we’ve been talking about. So, to get these free study guides from Amazing Facts, just call the resource number. The number, again, is 1-800-835-6747. And you can ask for the study guides “Who is the Antichrist?” and then the next one, what is the mark of the beast— or “The Mark of the Beast.” And it deals with this whole important as it’s revealed in the Book of Revelation.

Glenn, thank you for your question. We appreciate it, Our next caller is Shawn listening on 3BM Radio. Welcome to the program, Shawn.

Shawn: Yes. I wanted to know something about Psalm 83:5-8, and I want to know if you could explain them exactly. Who are the alliances mentioned and who they are today?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Let’s take a look at that, just to kind of bring a few of our folks up to speed. Psalm 83, it begins by saying, “Keep not Thou silence, O God: hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, Thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.” And then it goes on to list a number of these tribes, including the tabernacles of Edom, it talks about the Ishmaelites of Moab, and Philistines, and those that inhabit the area of Tyre and so on. And it lists a long list of all of these groups. What Psalm… Psalm 83 is all about, it is a plea for justice on behalf of God’s people to move against those enemies of God’s people that came up against them at different times in the history of Israel and mounted attacks.

Now, in one sense, these were literal nations and groups that had attacked God’s people. But in a broader sense, we can see— if we go to Revelation, we study what’s going to happen at the end of time— there is this gathering together of different groups, those who are in opposition to God’s people right at the very end of time. And they will be just gathering together. Revelation chapter13 talks about, first of all, economic sanctions, God’s people can’t buy or sell during this time, and finally, it talks about a death decree that’s even passed against those who remain faithful to God. But just before this death decree can be put into effect, the good news is that Jesus comes and He delivers His people and takes them away. So, in one hand Psalms 83 deals with specific nations that did arise and come up against Israel. But in a broader sense, it can also refer to what’s going to be happening in the future. And God’s people will be protected from those that come up against them. Does that help, Shawn?

Shawn: Are the Ishmaelites… is that referring to Islam?

Pastor Jëan Ross: The Ishmaelites, they are the descendants of Ishmael, and, you know, you have a number of the Arab nations that were in the area that are descendants from Ishmael. So, they split up later on into different groups. And so, a lot of the Arab nations do come from the side of Ishmael.

Shawn: Okay.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright! Thank you for that call. We appreciate it. Our next caller is Angela listening on KFCF from Rochester, Washington. Welcome to the program.

Angela: Yeah. I was wondering if there’s any Bible verses that can kind of give me encouragement to help stop smoking.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay. You know, you’re right. Sometimes, it’s a real challenged, and I’v never smoked myself, but I’ve worked with several folks who have wanted to quit. And it’s a challenge. You know, out of all of the habits, it seems like smoking is one that really does grab a hold of you. Let me just a share a few verse, I think, that will be able to give you encouragement. First of all, Jesus says that He can set people free from anything. Jesus says if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed. In other words, whatever the habit is that we have, Jesus is able to give us power, to give us victory to overcome that. Not only that, but the Bible says that with God, all things are possible. So, if we take hold of God’s strength and we trust in Him, He will give us the victory.

You know, Angela, it’s a good question that you have, and I’m sure there’s many other folks out there also wondering about how can we have power and victory not only of smoking or whatever it might be in our lives. But I hear the music playing in the background. I know we’re coming up in our break. So, Angela, why won’t you hold on, and when we take our break here, it will be just a short break. We’ll come back, and I’d like to give you a few more texts that you can kind of claim and hold on to, and God will be able to use that to give you the victory. So, if you just hang on, Angela, we’ll be back in just a few moments. Friends, again, this is “Bible Answers Live,” and we will be back after the break. There are some important announcements coming up.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hello, friends! Welcome back to the second half of “Bible Answers Live.” This is a live Bible study, if you have a Bible-related question, the number to call is 1-800-463-7297. Again, that’s 1-800-463-7297. Our phone lines are now open. So I’d encourage you to call. We have a few lines that are still available. This would be a good time for you to call in. Before we took our break, I was talking with Angela, and she was asking, how can she gain victory over smoking? What promises do we have in the Bible? Angela, are you still there?

Angela: Yes, I am.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. You know, I quoted the text in Philippians 4:13 that I believe is just a tremendous text, something that you can claim. The Apostle Paul writes and he says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Now, that “all things” includes all things. It even includes smoking. And, so, as we claim the promise of God’s word and say, “Lord, I don’t have the power to do it. On my own, I can’t do it. But you have promised to give me strength. You’ve promised that with You, all things are possible, and I’m going to claim that promise.”

Now, of course, there’s things that you want to do in connection with claiming God’s promise. If you want to quit smoking, you want to remove those cigarettes out of your house. You know, the temptation is always to go back there and pick it up, right?

Angela: Correct. You’ve got to clean all the cigarette butts out, too. [Laughing]

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s right. Have you tried to quit smoking before?

Angela: Yes, I have.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. And obviously, it was a challenge for you, but yet you feel as though the Lord’s convicting you that now’s the time you need to do it?

Angela: Yeah. Well, I [want to be] baptized, and the pastor said unless I’m smoke-free for a month, he won’t do it.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Mm-hmm. Now, has he shared with you some texts from Scripture as well as some techniques that you could try and use? You know, we want to do everything on our part that’s possible…

Angela: Well, he said that fruit juices and fruit can help detox your…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Sure, that’s important. You get the nicotine out of your system. You do what you can. Do what you can to quit smoking, but then you need to rely on God. You need to put your faith in Him and say, “Lord, I can’t do this on my own, but I believe that with You, all things are possible.” Take Him at His word. Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.” So, what I’d encourage you to do is take your Bible, look up Philippians 4:13. Read it several times and then get on your knees and say, “Alright, Lord. I’m going to do this. I’m going to take You at Your word. Give me the strength.” Get rid of your cigarettes, clean them out of your house, don’t want them around. And then believe God, claim His promise, and He’ll give you the victory.

Angela, let me have a special word of prayer with you if I could, just to ask God to give you added strength as you make this commitment and move forward. Can we do that?

Angela: It’s going to be tough because I have a teenage son who smokes, too, and he doesn’t want to quit. [Laughing]

Pastor Jëan Ross: Right. That is tough, especially if you are in the home of someone who smokes. Maybe you can ask him to smoke outside, at least, for this period that you’re trying to quit…

Angela: Yeah.

Pastor Jëan Ross: It’s going to be tough. You know, even so, God can still give you the victory. Angela, let’s just have a short prayer.

Dear Father, we just want to pray for Angela in a very special way today. She feels a really strong desire to stop smoking. She wants to make a firm and complete commitment to you. And Lord, I pray You give her strength, Give her the ability to trust in You. Come with supernatural strength so that she’s able to kick this habit for good. We pray not only for her, but for everyone that’s listening and has that same desire to live a life free tobacco. Thank You, Father, for hearing our prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Angela: Amen.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Well, Angela, God bless. I know it’s possible. God has given thousands of people victory by claiming at His word. Hold on to Philippians 4:13, and God will give the victory.

Angela: Well, thank you!

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright, thank you for calling. Our next caller is Jean calling from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania listening on the Internet. Welcome to the program!

Jean: Hello?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hi!

Jean: Yes, this is Jean from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have a question.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes.

Jean: Okay. My question is, who are those 24 elders and the four beasts of Revelation 5:9? They were singing.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes, that is a good question. Let’s take a look at Revelation chapter 5, and you start reading about the four beasts. Actually, they come up in Revelation chapter 4, where it talks about these four beasts gathered around the throne of God. Now, you’re asking about the four beasts or the 24 elders, or both?

Jean: Both.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay. Let’s start with, let’s see… You first mentioned the 24 elders here. This is Revelation chapter 4, and I will begin with verse 4. It says, “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” And then a little later, it talks about the four beasts, So, let’s first talk about the 24 elders, The 24 elders, I understood, two ways. On the one hand, they can represent; and there’s two different views of looking at it, so I‘ll present both. On the one hand, the 24 elders can represent those who were resurrected at the time of Christ’s resurrection. If you’re familiar, Matthew talks about when Jesus died and rose, the graves of many of the saints that slept were opened and they came out and appeared o many in the city.

Jean: Yeah, Matthew 27.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Matthew 27. That’s the only reference we have to them in Scripture. It doesn’t say that they were part of the early church or they played any type of leadership in the church. They just simply, they seem to disappear! So, some Bible scholars feel that the 24 elders surrounding the throne are those who were taken to heaven with Jesus as first fruits at His ascension. Now, there’s something to that. The number 24 is significant because the number 12 in the Bible is a number often connected with the church. You have the 12 tribes of the Old Testament; you have the 12 apostles of the New. And here, you have 24. It could represent those of the Old Testament as well as those of the New Testament— God’s people in both areas. So, that’s one understanding of the 24 elders.

There is another, and that is that the 24 elders represent those from the other worlds or the unfallen worlds, the sons of God that are spoken of in the Book of Job. You can read in Job chapter 1, where it says there was a certain day when all of the sons of God came to present themselves before God, and Satan was there. And God said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” And he said, “I’m from walking up and down on the earth.” And God said, “Have you considered my servant Job?” And then you get into the story of Job. It’s twice in chapter 1, and then again in chapter 2 that talks about these gathering of the sons of God who came to represent, or came before God as representatives— Satan representing the earth and then these other sons of God quite possibly representing other worlds that God had created. Some feel that the 24 elders could represent that group, those form the other world. So, those are the two ways of looking at the 24 elders. I don’t have a definite one or the other. But I think they’re both interesting, and they both need to be looked at and studied.

Jean: Would that be a world of God’s angels?

Pastor Jëan Ross: That could be the worlds that were created of those who never sinned. Hebrews talks about all things created by Christ and through Him and by also He made the worlds. And the word there “worlds” is plural. So, it could be very well that there are other worlds of people who had never sinned. You know that planet earth, Adam and Eve were tempted and they sinned. But there could be very well other inhabited worlds of people who never did sin. And they could be represented as those who can be for God in Job.

So, I hope that helps a little bit with the 24 elders. I can’t give you a definite one of the other, but I think both are worth a consideration.

Jean: My view was the first one— resurrected at the time of Jesus…

Pastor Jëan Ross: It could very well be. It could very well be. Now, what about the four beasts surrounding the throne? You know, this is interesting. If you look at the four beasts, I want to just read through it, You find in Revelation 4:7, it describes them. It says the first was like a lion, the second beast was like a calf, the third beast had a face of a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. It said each of the beast had six wings; they were full of eyes within, and they did not rest day or night, but they said, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.” Now, a key here is the fact that they have six wings. Ezekiel describes the same view, the same throne room with these beings that have these six wings and calls them cherubim. So, they’re kind of an angel.

But there is significance to the fact, the first was like a lion, the second a calf, the third a man, and the fourth a flying eagle. A lion in the Bible represents loyalty. A calf was a sacrificial animal that represents sacrifice. The third beast had the face of a man that could represent our representative or our priest, our intercessor. The fourth was like a flying eagle. An eagle, often in Scripture, has reference to judgment. So, if you piece these all together, the first beast was like a lion that could refer to Christ and His kingly role before He came to the earth. He was one with the Father, but then Christ came to this earth to become our sacrifice, which could be symbolized by the calf. He laid down His life for us. And then the third beast, the face of a man, Christ then ascended to heaven and now He is our high priest, our advocate before the Father. And then Jesus will come back as judge symbolized by the flying eagle. So, if you look at the four creatures surrounding the throne of God, it gives us a little insight into the ministry of Jesus.

Jean: You mean, it points to Jesus Christ?

Pastor Jëan Ross: It does point to Jesus Christ.

Jean: Okay. I heard they were like angels…

Pastor Jëan Ross: They are! It speaks of them, you know, Ezekiel talks of cherubim having six wings, so it could be angels that have these different features. But I think the significance of the features does point to Jesus and the different faces of His ministry.

Jean: Especially with the one like the face of man…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes, He is our high priest. He intercedes on our behalf.

Jean: I think… I was a minister of a Pentecostal church in 1998, and two years ago I became a Seventh-day Adventist…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright.

Jean: …I’m opening a church, and so [inaudible] with those things like, I don’t want to contradict the Seventh-day Adventist…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Well, Jean, thank you…

Jean: [inaudible]

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s right, Thank you so much for calling, Jean. We appreciate your call. Our next caller is Cecilia listening on WMCA from New York, New York. Welcome to the program, Cecilia. Cecilia, are you there?

Cécile: Hello?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hi!

Cécile: Yes, Sir!

Pastor Jëan Ross: Oh, it’s Cécile, I’m sorry. Welcome to the program, Cécile.

Cécile: Thank you.

Pastor Jëan Ross: What’s your question today?

Cécile: [inaudible] verse… Exodus 35:3 and Exodus 16:29…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay, Exodus 35:3…

Cécile: It talks about Mark leaving the house on the Sabbath day and the other one not kindling a fire but I know that, you know go to a place of worship on Saturday and I know that you warm up the food that you cooked on Friday. Is that breaking the Sabbath then?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Well, let’s first of all consider what was involved with an Israelite, especially in the wilderness— kindling a fire on the Sabbath. First of all, you would have to go gather sticks or wood. And they were in the wilderness so there’s not much wood around. So, they would have to travel far and wide, travel quite a distance, gathering together the materials they would need. They would have to build this fire outside; they couldn’t build it in the tent. Maybe they had some sort of heating mechanisms, small fires, maybe, in the tent; but for the most part they had to do this outside. They had to gather together the wood; they had to gather together what they were going to use to cook. It was a quite a chore to make a fire— a little different than today, just turning on a switch and you’re able to heat up your food. However, I think the principle here is still important, and that is as much of the work that you can do prior to the Sabbath in preparing for your food, that’s what you want to do. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with heating up your food on the Sabbath or preparing a salad or something like that. But if you’re going to cook your whole casserole, it would be better to do that on Friday than on the Sabbath. Does that make sense?

Cécile: Yes, it does make some sense. But as I have said, you know, if you’re going to keep it the way the Israelites had did, there was no kindling of fire on Saturday at all…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Right.

Cécile: …and they were not supposed to leave the house on the Sabbath day at all…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Well, we do know…

Cécile: …and the penalty [of death].

Pastor Jëan Ross: Well, we do know that they did gather together for worship on the Sabbath. So, obviously, when it’s speaking of them not leaving their hose, it wasn’t for the idea of worship; it was leaving the house to go work or go gather sticks or go do what they would normally do. But the Sabbath was a day that was set aside for worship, and we see that all the way through because Jesus is our example of that. He defines for us what is acceptable and what’s not on the Sabbath, and He would always go and worship on the Sabbath— get up and read on the synagogue. So, you know, I think that whole question of what is permissible on the Sabbath and what is not, we want to follow the principles of the Bible, also recognizing for the time and the place when it was written. We want to be careful not to be Pharisaical and add to it more than what the Bible says. Otherwise, we make the Sabbath a burden, and God never intended it to be a burden.

You know, there’s a whole lot more information on this whole question on the Sabbath, how do you keep the Sabbath, and I’m going to just encourage those of you who would like to learn more about it to call the resource number. It’s 1-800-835-6747, and ask for the study guide “The Lost Day in History.” Again, that’s 1-800-835-6747. Ask for the study guide “The Lost Day in History.” Alright, we’ll go to our next caller. Hugh is listening on WMCA from Brooklyn, New York. Welcome to the program!

Hugh: Welcome.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Hello! Thanks for your call.

Hugh: Thank you for having me. My question is similar to the gentleman asking concerning the Sabbath.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes.

Hugh: My question is who the Sabbath was originally given to?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay, that’s a good question. Is the Sabbath just for a particular group of people? Or is the Sabbath intended for everyone? Well, if you go back to the very beginning of the Sabbath, when was the Sabbath first given? When was it made? To do so, we go back to Genesis 2:1. Now, Genesis chapter 1 describes the creation of the world in six days. And of course, in the sixth day, God created Adam and Eve. And in Genesis chapter 2, beginning with verse 1 says, “Thus, the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work which He made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” Now, the words “sanctify” means to set apart for a holy use. So, God blessed the seventh day. He set it apart for a holy use because in that He had rested from all the work which God had created made.

And so, here we find the very first reference to the Sabbath and it takes us all the way back to Creation. It says, on the seventh day, God finished the work and He rested. Now, God didn’t rest because He was exhausted. We read in Genesis chapter 1 that in order for God to create, He simply spoke and things were there. So, this wasn’t a rest from exhaustion; but a rather it was a rest of satisfaction. The work that God had done was good, and so God rested. He ends the work of creation, and He sets aside the seventh day as a memorial of His creative work. So, to sanctify, to set apart, and to bless— these are the three things that God did. He did this and He must have given this time, or at least told Adam and Eve what this day was all about. It was a special time.

Adam and Eve were the only two alive. Now, they weren’t Jews. Jews did not come along until Abraham’s time. So, if the Sabbath was given at creation, then the Sabbath is not for some specific group but rather it’s for everyone. And you know, this is also brought out in the Ten Commandments. If you look at the fourth commandment, Exodus chapter 20, beginning with verse 8, it says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” And it begins with the word “Remember”— the only commandment in all of the Ten Commandments that begins with the word “remember.” The rest say, “Thou shalt not.” But this one says “Remember.” The fact that it says “Remember” helps us to realize the Sabbath was not something new that God gave there at Mount Sinai, when He gave the Ten Commandments; But rather something in the past that He was calling Israel’s attention to, which was the Sabbath. Thus, He said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” So, from Scripture, I don’t see the Sabbath being limited to any group, but rather it is a gift that God has given for mankind as a whole.

Hugh: Well, Deuteronomy 5:15, and it said that it was given as a remembrance?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Deuteronomy 5:15?

Hugh: Yes, as a remembrance that they were slaves down in Egypt?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay. It was given as a remembrance, but according to Exodus 20, the Sabbath commandment points us back to creation. It doesn’t point us back to the deliverance of Egypt.

Hugh: Okay. What I [inaudible] is because I see it as a rest…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes.

Hugh: ...as personal worship. It was a rest day. And that rest day, you could have done nothing but rest.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Right. Now, the Sabbath is a day of rest, there’s no doubt about it, But it’s also a holy day. It’s set a part for a holy use. It’s sanctified by God. And…

Hugh: So are we… are we not resting in Christ now?

Pastor Jëan Ross: We are. I mean the Sabbath does indicate that Christ is our rest. You know, He died for us. Our salvation is in Him. We cannot save ourselves by works, and the Sabbath definitely reminds us of that. It points us to that. But it also reminds us that God is the Creator and He created the earth in the beginning; so likewise, He can recreate us in His image, and the Sabbath is a continual reminder of that. So, we rest in the work that God has done for us. And there’s nothing wrong going and worshiping. I mean Jesus Himself went out on the Sabbath to the synagogue and worshiped…

Hugh: And one more thing. If a person is not [inaudible] on the Sabbath as you do, what will be accepted by God?

Pastor Jëan Ross: You know, God knows the…

Hugh: …[inaudible] in Jesus Christ?

Pastor Jëan Ross: God knows the heart of everyone, and I believe there are many God-fearing men and women who love the Lord and are living up to all the life that they have. And God is the Judge. We can’t sit and judge on this. I think what we need to do as individuals is say, “Lord, what is Your purpose and plan for my life? What is Your will?” Study God’s Word for ourselves, and He will direct us. He will direct those who are [inaudible]. So, that’s something that each of us need to ask ourselves— “Lord, what is Your purpose and plan for my life?”

You know, Hugh, the study guide “The Lost Day of History” deals with this, and I think there’s a lot of good information there, a lot of reference verses that I think that you’d really enjoy. I’d encourage you to go ahead and call the resource number. Do you have a pencil handy?

Hugh: Yes.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Let me give it to you again. It’s 1-800-835-6747, 1-800-835-6747, and just ask them for “The Lost Day of History”— “The Lost Day in History,” and they’ll be happy to send that out to you.

Hugh: Okay, thank you.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright, thank you so much for your call. Again, friends, our lines… we still have some lines that are open. If you’d like to get your question in tonight’s program, the number is 1-800-GOD-SAYS; 1-800-463-7297; 1-800-463-7297. Our next caller is Mary, Mary listening on KSVA. Welcome to the program, Mary.

Mary: Oh, thank you! I just have a very brief question. Some people have had near-death experiences, and this is in conflict with the teaching that says when we die, we sleep. So, what do you make of this?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Okay. How do we explain near-the-death experiences? First of all, let’s just look at what the Bible has to say concerning death, and then maybe we can try and tackle near-death experiences. You know, again and again in Scripture, we find Jesus referring to death as asleep. John 11:11-14, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 refers to death a sleep. Of course, when a person is asleep, they are unaware as to what is happening around them. Job 14:12 says that the dead don’t know what’s happening. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says that the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything. So, there’s lots of Scripture to support the idea that when a person dies, they sleep the sleep of death. And of course, the second coming is when the resurrection takes place and the dead in Christ are resurrected.

But what about near-death experiences? Well, I think near-death experience can be explained two ways. On the one hand, the [inaudible] kind of gives us a clue when it refers to near-death experiences. Notice the phrase “near death”; not necessarily death, but “near-death” experiences. And with the modern technology, people are quite good at sort of taking people to the very brink. In other words, the heart can stop, but there can still be oxygen in the brain. And as this oxygen is being depleted, there is a possibility of hallucinations taking place. I do, on the other hand, believe that in this final moments of a person’s life, God might, in some way, comfort them. Maybe they believed something their whole life and that’s what they experience at that time. But according to Scripture, the dead— they don’t know anything when they actually die. I remember as a child I got a very high fever one day. And I was lying in bed and I looked up, and I saw the door turning into a snake and it started slithering to me. And I was convinced that this was a snake, and of course, I was wide awake, but it was because of this high fever. So, our minds could play all kinds of tricks on us. We want to make sure that our base for what we believe is found upon the Bible, not so much upon what someone might experience or feel. Does that help any, Mary?

Mary: Well, thank you for talking with me.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Alright. Well, you’re welcome. Thank you for calling. Our next caller is Jeff, and he is calling from Arkansas. Welcome to the program, Jeff.

Jeff: How are you doing?

Pastor Jëan Ross: Fine, thank you.

Jeff: My question for you tonight, I’ve been listening to you. I’m going to start reading Revelation 22…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Yes.

Jeff: The first two verses. “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” My question to you is in chapter 21 in Revelation where it says there shall be no more pain, no more death, and no more crime. If there’s no more sickness in heaven, and this throne and river and tree of life being in the kingdom of heaven, what would the tree of the leaves be for? It says for the healing of the nations, but if there’s no sickness in heaven…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Why would you need healing?

Jeff: …would it be necessary… What are the leaves for?

Pastor Jëan Ross: That’s a good question. I think we can look it at two ways. On the one hand, for the healing of the nations, it could be understood as preserving health for the nations. This tree, of course, is the tree of life. We know from Genesis, in the Garden of Eden, there was a tree of life. And after Adam and Eve sinned, God sent them outside from the Garden so they couldn’t have access to the tree of life, because if they did, then they would be able to live forever and sin would go on forever and ever. So, by eating the fruit of tree of life, it continues life. The eating of the leaves of the tree of life could also serve that same function to make sure that you stay healthy, that you never get sick. That’s one way to understand.

There is another way, and that is… when we talk about the leaves of the tree, if you don’t think about eating the leaves, but you think about what happens under the leaves of the tree. Back in Bible times, people life to gather in the shades of trees, and then we gather together to visit, to fellowship, to discuss… And it could be there in heaven, nations gather together for healing, for discussing, for making things right. I mean, do the nations today on the earth need some kind of healing amongst themselves?

Jeff: We could sure use it. In both ways, in spiritual… you know, the war and everything overseas, and then [inaudible], and here in the U.S. also with the AIDS…

Pastor Jëan Ross: Oh, we definitely could do with some healing…

Jeff: It would be great to have a few of those leaves now, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Pastor Jëan Ross: Absolutely. You know, that’s the great hope. In the world that God is preparing, there’ll be no pain, no sickness, no death… There’s not going to be any nations or groups angry with each other or wanting to fight with each other. Everything will be complete, peaceful, and full of joy. And Jeff, that’s our great hope as Christians, and that’s what we long for. Well, I want to thank you so much for calling, Jeff. I hear the music playing there in the background. That means that we are running out of time. I want to thank you for calling in, those of you who did.

Bible Answers Live is a program that is kept on the air by your financial support and prayers. If you would like to help to keep the program on the air, I would encourage you to go to the Amazing Facts website, just amazingfacts.org. And there’s all kinds of resources and information there. There are sermons that you could listen to. There’s resources that you can order. And also, if you’d like to contribute or contact us, you can do so through the website.

Again, friends, we would like to remind you of our free offer for tonight. If you would like to do that, just call our resource line and we look forward to joining you again next week for another edition of Bible Answers Live.

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