Discovering God's Perfect Will

Discovering God's Perfect Will

Date: 01/27/2013 
There is a small remote island in the south pacific called “The Yap” that’s known as, “The Island of stone money”, reason? Well for several centuries...
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Hello friends, this is Doug Batchelor, how about an amazing fact? There is a small remote island in the south pacific called “The Yap” that’s known as, “The Island of stone money”, reason? Well for several centuries, the Yapese would sail a perilous 500 mile round trip voyage to the rock islands of Palau. Their mission was to query and to bring home large donut shaped disks of calcite stones that they would use as money, these shiny stone disks known as “rai”, would range in size from 1 inch around, to some as large as 12 feet diameter, the large disks were transported back to Yap, toad on rafts behind wind powered canoes.

These big Rai stones weighed as much as a car and require 20 men to transport them making it the largest and heaviest money in the world, the stones' value was kept high because of the difficulty and dangers involved in obtaining them, which often included dealing with hostile islanders and braving sharks and storms. To this day, the stone disks may still be used as money, changing ownership during marriages and land sales. One of the greatest wonders, was how the Yapese, managed to find the tiny islands while crossing hundreds of miles of the vast, trackless Pacific ocean, using only the sea and sky to navigate.

You know friends, it can be equally daunting for a Christian to discover God’s perfect will in this busy life. Would you like to know how? 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 very thankful you have tuned in again for a fresh installment of Bible Answers Live. Listen friends, if you have a Bible question, that’s what this program is for. We invite you to call in. We do have phone lines open and now is a great time to call our toll free number with your Bible question. Do you have your pencil ready? 1-800-GOD-SAYS, that’s 1-800-463-7297. 1-800-463-7297 will bring your Bible question into our studio, here in the capital of California; and we also have some other resources available that we give away for free. So stand by with your pencil and we’ll give you those addresses and the websites where you can obtain these other study materials. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My name is Jëan Ross. Good evening listening friends. Pastor Doug, let’s begin the program with prayer. Dear Father, once again we thank you for this opportunity that we have to study the Bible. We ask for your blessings on those who are listening, wherever they might be; and Father, we ask for wisdom as we search the Scriptures for answers. For we ask this in Jesus name, amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Pastor Ross: Well Pastor Doug, you opened the program by talking about a rather strange medium that was used for money. Now of course many years ago, they used to use salt as the means of exchange for money, but they have stones--and not just any kind of stone but a stone that is round and flat and was very difficult to get.

Pastor Doug: You know, it’s something that you can see the pictures of the Rai stones that they have on the island of Yap. And they did look like big donuts, because some of the larger ones, as one tribal family would purchase a piece of property for another, they’d put, I suppose, a big stick or pole through it, and they’d carry it off and kind of set it in their front yard. That’s how the transactions were made. They transferred their stone money. You'd need a big wallet, I think, if you went to the mall with that kind of money.

Pastor Ross: (Laughing)

Pastor Doug: But really for me the amazing thing--and I’ve been around the South Pacific, not to the island of Yap, but I’ve been to Johnston island, Kwajalein island, Guam, and Ponape; you hear about all these islands--but when you’re out there in the Pacific, you can go thousands of miles without seeing anything. It’s amazing how these little boats would be able to scour the trackless sea being pushed by currents and wind and manage to find the little island of Palau--where, by the way, there’s great scuba diving--and then manage to find their way back again. And all those perils that they would expose themselves to without any of the modern GPS or navigational equipment we use, they were able to read these little signs and find their way.

Then I kind of tied off the amazing fact by asking how do we discover God’s perfect will for our lives? There are so many different variables, little ripples on the water we use to ask, “Is this God’s will or is that God’s will?” Can we know? And Jesus tells us that there are some criteria in the Bible so a person can know what His perfect will is for them. Now of course, God’s will is His law for everybody. "So as I love to do Your will, Your law is within my heart." That’s in Psalm chapter 119.”

But beyond that, everyone knows God wants us to obey Him. We all have different paths and gifts that God has chosen for us, so how do we know what His is? I mean, He has somebody He wants us to marry. We may not know who that person is. How do you know if you've found the right person; or what about the (Unintelligible) and a number of other big decisions a person might face? Well the most important thing Jesus said is: a willingness to do His will.

The biggest battle in knowing God’s will is first being completely surrendered and resigned to say, “Lord, whatever You reveal, I will do it." Once we come to that place, He’ll reveal it. By the way, if you look in John 7:17, Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he will know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God, or whether I speak on My own authority." So Christ lays out a principle here: if we are willing to do His will, he will know. There are a number of other things. Just to name a few: consult Christian counsel if you have Godly friends. The Bible says, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety" Proverbs 11:14.

Ask some of your Godly friends, "What do you think I should do about the courses I take in college?" Or, "What do you think God has called me to do?" Or, "What do you think about this person I’m dating? Are we a match?" Something else to look for are providential openings. The Bible tells us that God will guide us through events and things that happen. The Holy Spirit guides. Most importantly, what does the Bible say? There are Scripture [commands] on more than just the Ten Commandments.

Now there are about a dozen different primary ways that the Bible gives us in order to know God’s will for our lives. Maybe you, listening friend, are struggling to better understand God’s will in some area of your life. We’d like you to have those answers and we’re going to make a special resource available for free.

Pastor Ross: We have a book in titled, “Determining the Will of God.” If you want to find that true treasure that’s God’s will for your life, if you’d call our resource line, we’ll be happy to send it to you. Just ask for the book, “Determining the Will of God” written by Pastor Doug. The number to call is 1-800-835-6747. That is our resource line. And again, the book is entitled, “Determining the Will of God." Just ask for that and we’ll be happy to send it out to anyone who calls. Pastor Doug, we're also streaming this program live from the studio this evening. For those who are close to their computer, they can join us at live.amazingfacts.org. That’s just simply, live.amazingfacts.org. There is no "www" in front of that. Just type live.amazingfacts.org. I think we’re ready for the phone lines. Our first caller this evening is John, and he’s listening from Louisiana on-line. John welcome to the program.

John: Hey Pastor Doug and Pastor Ross.

Pastor Doug: Good evening, and your question tonight?

John: I have two really quick questions, and then one that will take just a few minutes maybe.

Pastor Doug: Alright, let’s start with the quick one.

John: Okay. The quick one is, do you know how much longer until Revelation's prophecies are going to be, until it comes out?

Pastor Doug: The DVD? Well all the shooting for the DVD is done now. For our friends that are listening, Amazing Facts is doing a special DVD called, “Revelation's Hidden History.” We’re tracking the book of Revelation, principally through the vision of the woman in Revelation 12 and then the woman in Revelation 17, talking about the great apostasy and the great reformation. All the shooting is done and now they are doing the real hard work--it’s called "post production.” That's going going on now. We’re really hoping that by the end of march we will have this available.

John: That would be great. Alright--and my other question is, as a Christian, do you think we should eat chocolate?

Pastor Doug: As a Christian, do I think we should eat chocolate?

John: Yes.

Pastor Doug: Well, if that’s your biggest problem then you’re probably nearing sanctification.

John: (Laughing)

Pastor Doug: But, you know, some people actually are allergic to chocolate. I’m one of those people that don’t react well to it. I love the taste of it but I end up suffering for it later, so I try to stay away. But you know, there’s nothing in the Bible that’s going to say, “Thou shall not eat chocolate.” Some people are addicted I think...

John: Right.

Pastor Doug: ...and you out there know who you are.

John: The reason why I asked that is because I know that caffeine is kind of considered a drug, so I didn’t notice in chocolate. I hear it has caffeine and I didn’t know if we should stay away from it, or it’s okay to eat it in small portions?

Pastor Doug: There is a distinction, it is true. Chocolate has an ingredient in the caffeine family and there's another word for it. I’m going to get slaughtered if I try and say it. It’s something like (unknown). Anyways whatever it is, it is something of a stimulant, that’s true; and that’s probably one reason that some people are so attracted to it I’d say. The Bible tells us, (unintelligible--insert proper Scripture text here), and so, if a person is being convicted because they're becoming addicted to chocolate--I’m not sure which would be worst, the high sugar content in most chocolate or the stimulant effects--but...

John: Alright.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, let’s make sure that before a person worries about that, make sure that you’ve dealt with the way to matters of the law.

John: Right.

Pastor Doug: If a person is beating their wife and then they're saying, “Maybe I should give up chocolate,” well I’d start with stop beating your wife and we’ll worry about the other later, you know.

John: Okay.

Pastor Doug: Just make sure you have your priorities right.

John: My question, my last question is on Revelation 20:9. It says about how--this is what I understand--it’s supposed to be hell-fire, where fire comes down and devours the ones that come past the camp of the (Unintelligible). And then, in verse 10, it says about how the devil was cast into the lake of fire. Then it goes on to verse 11 and says, “After this takes place, he sees the white or the white throne judgment;” and then it says in verse 14 that, “death and hell was cast into the lake of fire." Then in 15 it says, “And whosoever was not found in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.” So I didn’t understand since that already took place then, and fire came down and devoured them. Why are they being judged and then cast down to a lake of fire?

Pastor Doug: Well, I’ll tell you the way I understand where it fits and Pastor Ross may want to weigh in. When the last forces of evil assail the city of God, or they gather against the city of God, there’s this great judgment. And before they launch the attack, or maybe even as they launch the attack, fire comes down from God out of heaven upon them. They're all outside the city and they're referred to as “Gog and Magog" in the Bible. It forms a great lake [of fire] out there. Everybody is punished in that lake according to what they deserve. Now the devil and his angels-- they're not like humans where, you know, humans are stuck by gravity on the planet--and they’re going to have the fire rise up around them, but the devil is physically thrown in to the lake and everyone is rewarded according to his works. Ultimately they are burned up. It says, “This is the second death.” And then you read in Malachi chapter 4 it says the righteous go forth from the city and they tread on the wicked for their ashes are under the soles of their feet.

Pastor Ross: Let me just add a little bit to that. We have Revelation, which is written in what’s referred to as a structure (Unintelligible); and we also find a number of the Old Testament Hebrew prophets and books written also in a similar structure, meaning that a general idea is presented and then further details are added. For example, in Genesis chapter 1, you have a description of creation; and then Genesis chapter 2 covers much of what was already covered in chapter 1, but includes more detail. And we can see the same thing happening here in Revelation chapter 20, because you read over here in verse 9 where it says the wicked surrounded the beloved city; but it’s not until chapter 21 that you read that the New Jerusalem is coming down from God out of heaven. So chapter 20 gives a quick overview. Then from verse 10 onwards and verse 11, it fills in a few more of the details of what is to happen within that time period. So Revelation is not always chronological in its order.

Pastor Doug: Well, even Genesis is like that.

Pastor Ross: Yeah.

Pastor Doug: God gives the headlines: In the beginning, God creates the heaven and the earth. Then He backs up and gives the details about how He did that.

Pastor Ross: Right.

Pastor Doug: All through the Bible, you’ll find that pattern of headlines and details; and often one chapter will back up and then give a few more details before it goes into the next subject from the last chapter.

Pastor Ross: Right.

Pastor Doug: I don’t know if that helps a little bit John, but appreciate your call; and of course you sound like you’re acquainted with the Amazing Facts study material. We’ve got entire studies dealing with the subject of Revelation--the millennium in particular--that study guide on the millennium would be good.

Pastor Ross: That’s right, it’s called, “A Thousand Years of Peace," and if you’d call our resource line John or anyone, you can ask for the study guide and we’ll send it to you, it’s 1-800-835-6747. The study guide again is “A thousand Years of Peace.”

Pastor Doug: And even that study guide on the Judgment talks a little about the same subject.

Pastor Ross: The best thing is to enroll into the entire Bible study course and you’ll learn about the millennium, the Judgment, and much more. The number again is 1-800-835-6747. We have Greg who is listening in Iowa. Greg, welcome to the program.

Greg: You hear me now?

Pastor Ross: Yes, you’re on the air.

Pastor Doug: Loud and clear.

Greg: Okay, there was a beep there. Yeah, I’ve called you several times. I appreciate always talking to you guys for advice and counsel. I’m curious about the--there’s a show on TV about "doomsday preppers" and there’s a lot of talk about that--people preparing for all kinds of different end-of-the-world tragedies. I just wanted your advice, kind of like, what a Christian should do maybe, like, should they be saving up food for a week or a year or something--from your opinion--because I’m like in my early 60’s and I feel that God would take care of me no matter what, if I’m faithful to Him. Just like in the Bible, He’s going to supply food, water, whatever, and so I just wanted your advice on that. And real quickly at the end of that, I just can’t figure out who wrote the book of Song of Solomon. I’d like your opinion on that too because I can’t figure out after reading.

Pastor Doug: Well, of course I think the title, the Song of Solomon, is something of a clue I believe.

Greg: Yeah.

Pastor Doug: Reading the title, it’s the Song of Solomon. As you get into the book, he doesn’t really refer to himself in that way and so it can confuse a person. Traditionally, everyone has believed that the Song of Solomon was written by Solomon and the Shunammite woman. Now this is a little bit of theory, but the Shunammite woman that he is in love with, you remember, David had a young lady take care of him in his old age. He never knew her. Her name was Abishag and she was a beautiful Shunammite. And some have believed that Solomon fell in love with her; so, as matter of fact, Solomon's brother wanted to (inaudible 17:53) wanted to know if Solomon would let him marry Abishag, and he had him killed.

Greg: Oh yeah.

Pastor Doug: It could be that this is describing a love affair between Solomon and Abishag the Shunammite. That’s, you know, traditionally what’s believed. Now, to your other question about doomsday preppers. You know, should people prepare for a tidal wave or some political pandemonium or the implosion of our society, I think a lot of people take that too far. The Bible does say that a wise man foresees evil and prepares himself. It’s good to look down the (inaudible) and make certain provisions. For instance, it’s good for Christians to have some savings for a rainy day because those things do happen. There are periodically crises where there could be a little gas shortage. Or, you know, if all the trucks stop running for a couple of weeks, you could have some food shortages; but these people that are digging holes in the ground and outfitting a renovated septic tank to live in, I think they're kind of taking it too far.

Greg: Yeah, it seems like.

Pastor Doug: And people that are arming themselves to the teeth, as though they're going to singlehandedly stay off hordes of marauding gangs, you shouldn’t be living in that kind of fear. It's probably a good idea to have a little bit of dry food put up in your house and some bottled water. They tell you that in all the cities in case there’s a hurricane or something like that. If things get as bad as what’s being described, I think you better just find a trail and head for the hills and have enough for a back pack; but yeah, the extremes people are going to, I think, are going a little overboard.

Greg: Yes.

Pastor Doug: Anyway, hope that helps a little bit, but that’s just my--I can’t give you much scripture on that--that’s my personal belief. Jesus did send out the disciples and He said don’t take an extra purse or script or shoes, I’ll watch out for you. Hey, thanks for your question Greg.

Pastor Ross: We have David who is listening in (inaudible 20:04), listening on-line. David, welcome to the program.

David: Hi Pastors.

Pastor Doug: Good evening.

David: I’ve been planning to call you guys all the while. I have a two-part question.

Pastor Doug: Okay.

David: It’s regarding Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Now I look at the story of Adam and Eve as a story of a father that has two six-year old children, puts them in a room with a bowl of ice cream and says, “Don’t eat out of the ice cream”, and then leaves the room. They have an adult who comes into the room and convinces the children to eat out of the ice cream. Now don’t you think Adam and Eve never stood a chance against Satan?

Pastor Doug: Alright so when God--well first of all Adam and Eve--even though they were innocent and they had not been living very long, when God created them, He gave them the intelligence of adults, not children, so they had the emotional intelligence of an adult; and secondly, God would never ask us to do something that’s not possible for us to do, and then punish us for not doing His will. So Adam and Eve had the moral opportunity and power to resist the devil’s temptation. He had given them--to use the analogy of ice cream--if you put a bowl of ice cream in a room with kids and there is nothing else to eat, that would be a serious temptation, because that’s all they're looking at; but God put Adam and Eve in an ice cream parlor with five thousand flavors and said, “Don’t eat this one flavor.” You see what I saying?

David: Yes.

Pastor Doug: They could eat from every other tree and so it was a choice. It was a primordial choice on their part to do that.

David: Okay, and the second part of my question is, what would have happened if Adam and Eve had eaten out of the tree of life? Because apparently, God did not put any protection on the way to the tree of life until Adam and Eve...

Pastor Doug: Right. You know what I believe David, and I might be alone, but I think Adam and Eve did eat from the tree of life. I think the tree of life is something you need to continue eating from and could be one reason they lived 930 years--or at least Adam did. I think he ate from the tree of life, God chased them out of the garden that they could no longer eat from the tree and so the effects of that fruit faded and they eventually died; but I think they probably did eat from it. I don’t think the first tree they ate from was the forbidden tree. What are your thoughts Pastor Ross on that?

Pastor Ross: Well, you’re right. It almost sounds as though, if you read the passage in Genesis 3, that their access to the tree of life had to be stopped, meaning that, God said eat of all of the trees in the garden. Probably the tree that had the best fruit would have been the tree of life, so Adam and Eve probably ate of that tree prior to them eating of the tree that they should not have eaten off.

Pastor Doug: And then in heaven it says the tree of life will be there again, speaking of Revelation. I think people will periodically come and eat from that tree and...

Pastor Ross: Even the leaves, you can eat the leaves.

Pastor Doug: yeah, so you don’t have to do it every day probably. Hey I appreciate your question David. Hope that helped a little bit. We have time for a couple more before the break.

Pastor Ross: We’ve got Glen listening in Pennsylvania. Glen, welcome to the program.

Glen: Hello.

Pastor Ross: You’re on the air.

Glen: Hi Pastors.

Pastor Doug: Good evening.

Glen: I had a discussion--a question from Matthew 22.

Pastor Doug: Okay.

Glen: When Jesus is discussing the resurrection and directing about marriage...

Pastor Doug: Yes.

Glen: and when He says that God said that He’s the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and He said I’m not the God of the dead, He’s the God of the living. What did He mean by that? Because it sounds like He’s saying they're not dead, they're in heaven. That’s what He sounds like He’s saying.

Pastor Doug: Well when someone goes to sleep, are they dead or are they sleeping?

Glen: You mean?

Pastor Doug: I guess that was sort of a loaded question. When God refers to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Bible tells us that the Patriarchs died and slept with their fathers. God looks upon them as sleeping. He doesn’t look upon them as dead...

Glen: Right.

Pastor Doug: because He is going to wake them up. Just like He said, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep and I’m going to wake him.” Now when the wicked die, it’s serious business because they're facing the second death; but when a Christian dies, they don’t really die, they go to sleep and they wake up with glorified bodies. So that’s why He said, “Look, there is a resurrection. I’m not the God of the dead. I’m the God of the living. They're asleep and I’m going to raise them up.”

Glen: Okay. I was talking to another pastor about sleeping. You know the dead are sleeping and of course, most people don’t believe that--most Christians. And he said that that was a Mormon belief. And I said that goes back way further than that, you know.

Pastor Doug: No it’s--well first of all--there are a lot of Christians that understand biblically, when a believer dies, it says all that sleep in the graves will hear His voice. So it’s really clear that some will come forth to everlasting life and some to everlasting condemnation. That’s, by the way, Daniel chapter 12. What authority do we want better than Christ when He said that the dead are sleeping? And so you know, I think it’s pretty clear. I think Martin Luther believed it that way. He said, “When the Lord comes, He would knock on his grave and tell him, 'Wake up Doctor Martin.' ” So it’s a very common belief among Christians, and I know there are a lot that don’t believe it. They believe as soon as a person dies they go right to heaven or hell before the Judgment and the resurrection; but the Bible is pretty clear that those rewards come after the Judgment and after the resurrection. Well we've got two minutes Pastor Ross. I hope that helps a little Glen. We're going to try and take one more call before we have our break.

Pastor Ross: We have Lee listening from Idaho. Lee, welcome to the program. We have about two minutes, a little less.

Lee: Okay well thanks for taking my call Doug and Jean. I have a question on the stoning of Stephen.

Pastor Doug: Yes. Get real close to your phone, the question about the stoning of Stephen being the close of probation?

Lee: For the Jewish nation, yes.

Pastor Doug: Okay.

Lee: That’s in Acts 7:58; and then also that was before Paul had his, you know, road to Damascus experience and was converted.

Pastor Doug: Right.

Lee: Then Paul's first missionary journey was in chapter 12. Then in Acts 13:46, he says, “Seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” So it almost sounds like, for me in those texts, that there’s two closed probations: one, the stoning of Stephen; and one, Paul turning to the Gentiles. I’m curious about that.

Pastor Doug: Well let me see if I can touch on that. And then of course Peter, in Acts chapter 10, he goes to the Gentiles--and that’s shortly after the stoning of Stephen--when the Holy Spirit falls on the Gentiles at Cornelius' house; but what’s really happening is an official national rejection of Christ's teaching. In Acts chapter 7, you've got the Sanhedrin, which is the Supreme Court; and they basically plug their ears. They don’t want to hear the testimony about Christ. They take Stephen out of the city and they stone him to death; and Paul then becomes converted and goes to the Gentiles. And that was a great turning point, right there. You’re listening to Bible Answers Live.

Pastor Ross: Pastor Doug, we’re going to be coming up on a break in just a few moments, so if you are waiting on-line to ask your Bible question, don’t go away. There are some important announcements--but just before we take our break--we'd like to highlight one of our websites. Tonight we want to take a few moments to talk about amazingfacts.tv.

Pastor Doug: Yes! We’ve talked about the number of the websites that we have available that have a plethora of different studies, but at amazingfacts.tv, people can go there and they can find that 24 hours a day, there are television programs that they can tune into, good Christian television programs. And not only will you hear a spectrum of Amazing Facts presenters, we have other really good Bible teachers and preachers. It’s basically evangelistic programming 24 hours a day. That’s simply AFTV.org. AFTV.org. Please check it out. You might want to save that number and go back to it again and again. We’ll be back in a moment friends.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Doug: We’re back listening friends. Welcome to Bible Answers Live. If you’ve joined along the way, we invite you to call in with your Bible questions. We’ve got a couple lines still open. That number is 1-800-463-7297. One more time, 1-800-463-7297 will bring your Bible- related question into the studio. We’re not going to be able to help you with romance and finance but if you want to know about what the Scriptures say, we’ve got a lot of Bible resources on our computers at our fingertips; and we’ll do our best to find those answers for you. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My name is Jëan Ross. Pastor Doug, let’s go straight to the phone lines. We have Sy. He is calling from Georgia, Atlanta Georgia. Sy, welcome to the program.

Sy: Hey Pastor Doug, I had called back in April, when I told you that my boss wanted me to work on the Sabbath, well from Sunday, Friday. Well, you know, a quick testimony: I told him that I couldn’t do it because I’m a man that keeps the Ten Commandments, me and my family, and we serve God and we share God. Anyway three months later, you know, we were home. We were wondering what’s taking the Lord so long. I was trying to find a job then. Ends up coming to find out that he called me back and he begged me to come back--to tell me that, you know--I was one of the best drivers he had and he had to have my back; and he had me work on the Sabbath. He’ll work here on the Sabbath with me but from that point on we didn’t seem to handle (inaudible 32:01) God. And we came into another trial, like a difficult trial. It’s been almost for seven months, and we’ve being seen the handiwork of God, and we’re being (inaudible 32:11) and all these things; but we need the Lord to like, work in our favor right now because we have like an emergency. And also at the same time, a lot of people looking at us like we’re crazy because of our faith. It reminds me of Elijah, when he was on mount Carmel. We had all these false prophets and the death and they're cutting up themselves and...

Pastor Doug: Yes.

Sy: ...doing all these things; and then when Elijah called on God, God answered him, So we're just asking, can you pray with me?

Pastor Doug: Well, we would, tell you what...

Sy: Ask the Lord for deliverance, you know?

Pastor Doug: Well we’ll be happy to do that; and why don’t we have a prayer for you right now Sy? Pastor Ross, do you want to pray?

Pastor Ross: Sure, Dear Father in heaven, we thank You that You’re a God that we can trust, and that when we step forward in faith to do what You ask us to do, You do provide; but we want to lift up in a special way Sy and his family. Father, we thank you for the way that You’ve taken care of them and blessed them for their decision to follow You, but the devil isn’t happy so he is going to bring obstacles he has against them. We do pray, Lord in a special way, that You’d give wisdom. Help them to make wise decisions and then lead through Your providence to what it is You’d want them to do. So we just ask in a special way for Your presence and blessing on this family. In Jesus' name, amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen. Well thank you brother and we will be praying. Glad to hear your testimony but we need to go back to the Bible questions. So who’s next Pastor?

Pastor Ross: We’ve got Nick calling from Alberta, Canada. Nick, welcome to the program.

Nick: Hello?

Pastor Doug: Yes.

Pastor Ross: Yes, you’re on the air.

Nick: Hi, just wondering about people who are considered lukewarm. God says that He’s going to spew them out of His mouth. Are they in danger of being destroyed?

Pastor Doug: Yes. In the messages to the seven churches, there are several churches that are given very serious warnings; and in one example, Jesus said, "If you don't repent, I’ll remove your candlestick out of its place." And He talks about their names in the book of life being jeopardized; and of course, if people remain lukewarm, Jesus says that is the most unacceptable state to be in. He prefers they were hot or cold, hot being zealous and on fire working for God. Cold means not in a state of humility and repentance. Now He can work with the attitudes of zealousness and enthusiasm. He can work with humility and repentance. He can’t work with the idea that we have no need of God, you know: "We’ve got what we want. We’re rich and increased with goods." And so, one of the first things that must happen is a person needs to recognize they're poor in spirit, in spiritual bankruptcy, and then He can work with them. If Laodicea doesn’t come to that state, they're lost.

Nick: Well what if people, say if people didn’t have a fair representation of the gospel, is it that?

Pastor Doug: Well the Lord knows why everybody is in the condition they're in and yeah, there may be some who are lukewarm and they’ve never heard a good revival message. I think God will send them that in time because God is good that way; but it’s especially dangerous when people have heard that message and say, “I’m fine the way I am; but we’ve always done it this way and that’s good enough."

Nick: Yeah I believe that, that’s true. Can you say a quick prayer for my family?

Pastor Doug: Sure. Father in heaven, I just want to lift up a prayer for Nick and his family, bless them. You know what the particular needs are and I just pray You’ll send the Holy Spirit in their lives and help them experience that revival and first love that You talk about. In Christ name, amen. We appreciate that Nick. And we’ll see who’s lined up next Pastor Ross.

Pastor Ross: Amen. We’ve got Michelle and she is listening from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Michelle, you’re on the air.

Michelle: Good evening Pastor Ross and Pastor Doug. I would like to know actually, when was the devil cast out of heaven, and was he cast into the abyss or was he cast into the earth?

Pastor Doug: Alright, well the first time Satan is cast out, you can read about in Revelation chapter 12, where there’s this war in heaven. Of course, Revelation is referring back to the battle between Christ and His angels and the devil and his angels. The devil is called the dragon in this scenario and he is evicted from the gates of heaven; but even by the book of Job, you see that the devil is still coming to some heavenly meeting. Then God says to the devil in Job chapter 1, “Where did you come from?” and he said, “I came from the earth.” But then Christ says, “I saw Satan cast out of heaven”--and I don’t know if you have the reference right there Pastor Ross--but ultimately, Satan’s access to heaven was restricted when Jesus died on the cross and Jesus said, “It is finished.” That was another low blow for the devil.

Pastor Ross: The verse you’re referring to is Luke chapter 10; verse 18, where Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Pastor Doug: Yes

Pastor Ross: So in Revelation chapter 12, there appears to be, I feel like, a casting out of Satan out of heaven...

Michelle: Okay.

Pastor Ross: and that’s right after the war that you read about in verse 7; but then there is a second casting down that took place at the cross, where Satan was now no longer the representative, or at least claiming to be the representative of earth. Christ now is our representative and Satan is cast down that second time.

Pastor Doug: And then when you ask about the abyss in Revelation 20, the bottomless pit, that’s when Satan can no longer--he’s chained--he can no longer temp or manipulate anybody because the surface of the earth is covered with broken cities and bodies of the slain, and he’s bound for a thousand years. This world is like an abyss. I guess the Greek word is “Abussos.” It means void. That's the word that’s translated deep in Luke chapter 7, and bottomless pit, same word in Revelation chapter 20. Now we have a lesson on that we’ll be happy to send you. It’s the lesson dealing with the subject of the millennium and it talks about this casting out and what that abyss is.

Pastor Ross: The lesson is entitled, “A Thousand Years of Peace.” And Michelle, or anyone wanting to learn more about this, give us a call on our resource line. The number is 1-800-835-6747. You can ask for the study guide, “A Thousand Years of Peace”, or you can go to the Amazing Facts website--just amazingfacts.org--and you click on the link that says Bible studies or resources and you can actually read the lesson for free on-line. That’s amazingfacts.org. Our next caller is Ken and he is listening right here in Sacramento on KFIA. Ken, welcome to the program.

Ken: Yeah, hi, can you hear me?

Pastor Doug: Loud and clear.

Ken: Yes, I want to ask about communions. Some churches practice closed communion. What is your opinion on that and if it's biblical, where in the Bible can I find it?

Pastor Doug: Well--I think that if you look at the example of Jesus--well maybe I should first explain what Ken is talking about. When churches celebrate the Lord's supper and they give out the emblems of Jesus' sacrifice, He said, “This bread is my body. This grape juice or wine is a symbol of my blood,” some people say, “You can only participate in that service with us if you are a confessing Christian;” and other churches will say, “You need to be a member of our particular denomination.” I don’t know if any churches say, “You need to be a member of our particular local congregation”, but usually they’ll say, “You’ve either got to be a Christian, or you must be a member of our denomination to participate, having been baptized.”

Jesus appears to have practiced an open communion because the Lord knew that Judas' heart was not right. Even though he was not technically a member of the Jewish church, his heart wasn’t right. He was about to betray Jesus and even during the dinner, Christ exposed that he was going to do that; and He still allowed Judas to participate. So I think God gives us freedom to choose--and I think the biblical support is for what we would call, “open communion.” Paul says, “Let every man examine himself." You know, it’s difficult for pastors to be police of a person’s heart and to police, you know, peoples denominational church membership when they come to celebrate this service, so I think it needs to be an open communion.

Ken: Thank you.

Pastor Doug: Alright, appreciate that, thanks for your question Ken.

Pastor Ross: We have Ryan who is listening in Michigan on WWGCP. Ryan, welcome to the program.

Ryan: Hi, how’s it going?

Pastor Doug: Doing great, and your question tonight?

Ryan: Absolutely, I have a question, two questions about (inaudible 41:04-41:07).

Pastor Doug: Okay.

Ryan: I was wondering, firstly, is there any significance about Jesus actually naming a character in a parable, besides the fact that (inaudible 41:20-41:23), that’s the first question. I don’t know if you’ll answer that or if you want me to answer that, either the two.

Pastor Doug: Well, if the second question is connected with the same question, you can ask them both.

Ryan: Sure, so the second one is something that it says that, gathered to Abraham’s bosom, that referred to heaven or that referred to (Unintelligible) place before Judgment?

Pastor Doug: Okay, good question. First question: In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, which you find in Luke chapter 16, by the way friends, you don’t find that in any of the other gospels. This is the only place. It starts with verse 19. Jesus in this parable specifically names a person, and I think there are a couple of reasons. First of all, Lazarus was one of the most common names in Bible times; so it would have been like if I was telling a story and I said, “One day Johnny was walking down the street,” or you know--it’s often they’ll have a credit card blank or something on-line, it’ll just say John Doe--and they just pick some common name like John Smith. Lazarus was a very common name, so He picked that; but even beyond that, in the end of the parable, Abraham tells the rich man that there’s a (Inaudible 42:38) and they can’t talk to each other. The rich man says, “...But if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent”; and Abraham says, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Jesus did raise someone from the dead by the name of Lazarus, and so Christ may have thrown a name in there to increase the conviction that the religious leaders did not accept the evidence of someone being raised after four days of being dead. In fact they said, “We not only need to kill Jesus, we need to kill Lazarus because he is living evidence.” And if you don’t believe Moses and the prophets, then you won’t be persuaded by the one who should rise from the dead.

Your second question was about Abraham’s bosom. Abraham’s bosom again, is only used here in the Bible and it represents the place where every Jew wanted to be. Every Jew said, “I want to be with father Abraham”; and it’s interesting that Lazarus, who sort of represents the Gentiles outside the gate, begging, getting comfort from the dogs--you know, there were many people the Jewish leaders said were "out of the grace of God”; they couldn’t be saved and they thought the Gentiles were dogs--but here you’ve got Lazarus like the Gentiles. He’s going to the Jewish place of comfort, Abraham’s bosom; but the rich man dies and he goes to Hades, which in Greek mythology was a place of torment, so it’s an interesting play of words that Jesus has used. It’s like a reversal of fortunes. It’s the extreme example of the reversal of fortunes. So that could be another reason that he used the name Lazarus there and also, what Abraham’s bosom represents, obviously.

Ryan: Got it.

Pastor Doug: It’s a symbol because you can’t put everybody that’s ever saved into one man’s bosom unless it’s like Aga stadium, so...

Ryan: Right. Of course.

Pastor Ross: (Laughing.) We have a book called, “The Rich Man and Lazarus” dedicated to this passage of Scripture because it is often a popular question that people have, "What does this mean, what is this parable all about?" If you’d call our resource line, we’ll send that to you. It’s 1-800-835-6747 and the book is simply entitled, “The Rich Man in Lazarus.”

Pastor Doug: And it’s free.

Pastor Ross: We’ll be happy to send that out to anyone who calls and asks for it. Our next caller is Candice and she’s listening from Toronto, Canada. Candice, welcome to the program.

Candice: Hi, thank you, good evening.

Pastor Doug: Good evening.

Candice: My question is about Matthew 15 verses 25, probably down to 28--and if I should mention, you know, about a group of people being mentioned as dogs--but this might be of the same with the Canaanite woman and God’s response to her in verse 26?

Pastor Doug: Yes.

Candice: Is there is a deeper meaning to that or is it just, kind of, taking out that read?

Pastor Doug: Well I know this is a troubling story because it seems like one of the harshest things Jesus ever said. Jesus helps everybody that comes to him. When Bartimaeus the blind man says, “Son of David, have mercy on me”, Jesus doesn’t answer him the first time he called out. He lets him continue to call and then He answers him. That tells us something about God. The Lord says, “Ask”, and He wants us to persist and to seek. He asks us to seek with all our hearts. In Jeremiah 29:13 it says, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

This woman says, “Lord, please come and help my daughter" and Jesus gives the typical answer a Pharisee rabbi would’ve given, “The Gentiles are dogs, we can’t take God’s blessings and give them to the dogs.” So He answers her the way the apostles and she might have expected, but she persists in asking for God’s mercy; and then God tells her, “Great is your faith.” He answers her prayers, heals her daughter--and I think he was teaching the disciples a lesson--that God loves the Gentiles and wants them to hear the gospel too. So it helps us wonder why sometimes God makes us wait when we pray? He wants to test our faith. Like in Luke 18, you've got that widow who persists with the unrighteous judge until she gets her request.

Pastor Ross: You know, I, Pastor Doug as you were saying, I think the story that we have here is just as much for the disciples as it was for the woman who had her prayer finally answered. Something interesting is this was the only miracle that Jesus did in that region. He went all the way up there and healed her daughter and then turned around and went back down into Galilee and continued His ministry.

So he went up specifically to heal her daughter and to teach the disciples a very important lesson. At first, Jesus doesn’t respond, giving the disciples an opportunity to respond, and what is their response? They say, “Send her away, for she cries after us.” And then Jesus goes on and finally illustrates every person’s importance and that faith is rewarded; and so that was an important lesson that the disciples had to learn. It took them awhile to learn that but finally they did. After the resurrection they went out and preached the gospel to everyone.

Pastor Doug: That’s right.

Candice: Okay so then yeah, that ties into even just when they were preaching to the other Gentiles and they were speaking in tongues.

Pastor Doug: Right. Like with Cornelius, Peter first was hesitant to go to the house of Cornelius because he thought like, “He’s a Gentile.” There was some deep-seated racism among, or kind of an exclusive feeling, among the disciples that had been bred by the Pharisees and this is where Jesus struck at the very heart of that. They thought, “Well because we are the chosen people that everyone else is less valuable to God." That’s why the disciples had to say, “God has made of one blood all nations.”

And Jesus and John the Baptist said, “Many will come from the east and the west,” meaning the Gentiles, and sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that was a shocking thought for them. “What? There will be no Jews with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom?” So it took a while for them to overcome some of that (inaudible 48:45) they had for the Gentiles. They thought they were unclean because they believed in pagan gods. Hey appreciate your question Candice. By the way, we do have a book that talks a little about what I just mentioned, and it’s called, “Spiritual Israel." We’ll be happy to send you a free copy.

Pastor Ross: Again, the book is entitled, “Spiritual Israel.” You can give us a call at 1-800-835-6747. That is our resource line. Ask for the book, “Spiritual Israel”. We have Jim listening from Delaware-Ohio. Jim, welcome to the program.

Jim: Thank you, nice to hear you guys again.

Pastor Doug: Well, likewise.

Jim: I was wondering, I had a friend of mine who had been divorced; and she’s just starting to get back into the Bible and stuff. She said she wrote a passage that said that she wasn’t allowed to re-marry once she got divorced, and she was just wondering about that.

Pastor Doug: Well it doesn’t say that in the Bible. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that there’s a few reasons when a person does have the right to re-marry. One is, of course, the death of your spouse. Paul refers to that in the New Testament. Secondly, if a person is divorced with biblical grounds--and Christ said there are no grounds other than fornication--so if you've got two believers that are married, if they divorce because they say, “We've just got irreconcilable differences”, biblically, they're not free to re-marry.

If they divorce because one has broken the marriage vows and committed fornication, then the innocent spouse is free. And then Paul tells us that if you’ve got two people that are pagans, and this is in 1st Corinthians chapter 7, they are non-believers, and one becomes a Christian and the non-believer says, “I’m leaving,” then the believer is free to marry a believer. That’s the way I typically understand it Pastor Ross. I don’t know if you’ve got anything to add.

Pastor Ross: Pastor Doug, we have a book dealing with this very subject.

Pastor Doug: That’s right.

Pastor Ross: It’s called, “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage” and it goes into a much greater detail than we have time for here on the program. And Jim, she might be very interested in reading that book, or anyone wanting to know more about this subject. Call our resource line, that’s 1-800-835-6747. You can just ask for the book on marriage and remarriage and we’ll be happy to send it to anyone who calls and asks. The book again is entitled, “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.”

Pastor Doug: Thank you Jim.

Pastor Ross: Our next caller is Neil and he is listening from Las Vegas. Neil, welcome to the program.

Neil: Why thank you very much, God bless you both and thanks for your ministries on radio. Pastor Doug, I have a couple of questions for you. Number one, I’m a new Christian, and I don’t want to tell my faith or anything, but I keep the Sabbath. I watched your, I attend Bible class and Bible study with you on the Sabbath; but you know, I want to come as I am and be baptized. And my goal is to be baptized by the church that I’ve been attending, but the pastor says he doesn’t baptize someone that smokes. I’m trying to quit, but I have a problem. Then question number two is, I know (inaudible 52:12-52:14) and why is the road to destruction, if you find that, that narrow road, but then I find John speaking in Revelation saying that there's a multitude that he can’t count; and many of those, like gazillions of people, they're in white robes. I need clarity on both of these questions.

Pastor Doug: Alright, I only have a few minutes so I’ll do my best Neil. First of all, praise the Lord that you’ve made the decision to come to Jesus. You’ve made your decision to come to Jesus. It’s like proposing to a bride and now you get ready for that. Baptism is like a marriage. It's wonderful. A person doesn’t necessarily need to get baptized the day they make that decision. When you're baptized, it represents a new life. You’ve been washed, and it’s a good idea to have any of these addictions behind you because it hurts your witness.

I know exactly what you’re talking about because I had the exact experience of you. I smoked when I came to the Lord; and I learned the truth and I thought, "Yes, I want to get baptized." And the pastor said, “Brother Doug, don’t you want to get this smoking behind you first?” Because it’s like you're a born again baby, you know. If babies are born with a cigarette in their mouth, you just wonder. Or if you’re a new Christian saying, “Praise the Lord, Jesus set me free” and then your blowing smoke rings, it’s like, well you’re not totally free, are you?

And so I’d say you can quit. I wouldn’t worry about whether you should get baptized or quit smoking. First I’d say, “What prevents you from being set free?” I think the Lord can save you from that in five minutes. He did it for me; and the Bible tells us that when Christ calls you, just get up and start to follow. And you know what? You may fall down a few times; I threw away my cigarettes about 10 times before I threw them away for the last time.

Neil: Would you baptize somebody if they were still...

Pastor Doug: Smoking? No. If someone is smoking or drinking--and I know there are good Christians out there that are struggling with those things--but if a person has a habit like that, that’s going to hurt their witness. I think they need to get that behind them because it’s easier to quit before your baptized than after.

Neil: What about the multitude?

Pastor Doug: The great multitude in Revelation? Well there is a great multitude that no man can number that will be saved. Christ said, God said that Abraham's seed will be like the stars of heaven which are beyond number. There is an even greater multitude that are lost, unfortunately, because it says, “Broad is the way that leads to destruction.” Hey Neil, I don’t want you to fret about that because I think you can be in that first group. You can be in that group that is redeemed, and the Lord is obviously speaking to your heart. I’d go all the way. Let me pray with you before we close this program. Father in heaven, I pray You’ll be with Neil and thousands others like him out there that want to follow Jesus. And they want to shake free from the shackles of sin in this world and the habits that are impeding their progress and their witness. I pray you’ll deliver him and help him to get a completely new beginning and be washed in the blood of the Lamb. In Jesus name, amen.

Pastor Ross: Amen.

Pastor Doug: Hey listening friends, you can tell from the music, we’re just about out of time but in the seconds that remain, we’d love to hear from you. Go to amazingfacts.org--go to our website--and contact us. Tell us that the program has been a blessing and remember, the reason we do this is because Jesus is the truth that will set you free! God bless.

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