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World's Smallest Church

Scripture: Daniel 12:11-13, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Colossians 2:14-16
Date: 07/28/2013 
According to Roadside America the world’s smallest church can be found in Oneida, New York. Built in 1989 on wooden pilings and located on a small island in the middle of...
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Hello friends, this is Doug Batchelor. How about an amazing fact? According to Roadside America the world’s smallest church can be found in Oneida, New York. Built in 1989 on wooden pilings and located on a small island in the middle of a pond stands the Cross Island Chapel with a floor area of only 51 inches by 81 inches, or 28 square feet.

The Cross Island Chapel is just big enough to accommodate two people sitting; or barely big enough for a tiny wedding with a bride, a groom, and the pastor standing. Opened occasionally by appointment only, this itsy-bitsy, non-denominational church is only accessible by boat. Strangely, other denominations are considering building a smaller church to compete for the world record.

I wonder how Jesus would feel about Christians trying to build smaller churches? Stay with us friends. We’re going to learn more as Amazing Facts brings you this edition of Bible Answers Live.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Hello listening friends. Welcome to Bible Answers Live. This is a live, international, interactive Bible study. We invite you to join along. You can do that by calling in with a Bible question. We always have a few lines open at the beginning of the program and that’s the case right now. If you have a Bible question call this number, it's free, 1-800-GOD-SAYS. That’s 1-800-463-7297.

For those of you by your computer you can also do it online; and you can watch the streaming of this program. It’s simply Live.AmazingFacts.org. We’re streaming the video, Live.AmazingFacts.org. My name is Doug Batchelor. Pastor Jëan Ross is out doing a mission project in Arizona right now, so we’re going to go to the Word of God together after we go to the Lord in prayer.

Father in heaven, we thank You again for Your Word. It is the blessed Book, and we just pray that the power of the Word will come alive again tonight. Give us understanding together. You promised that if we ask, and if we seek, and we knock, that the answers will come. So we pray, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit will remind us of the verses we studied before and give us the understanding and interpretation according to truth. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Well friends, when we started the program tonight we talked about the smallest church in the world. I’m sure there are some out there who will contest this, but i guess this is the smallest church people can actually get in and it barely holds two. I suppose now churches wanting to have the record are going to compete by trying to build a church that will hold one person.

I don’t know if it would qualify if it doesn’t even hold a person. It would be more like a doll house. But I couldn’t help but wonder, "Isn’t that the opposite of what Jesus really wants us to do? Doesn’t He want us to grow His church?" It makes me think of that verse in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus said, “I say unto you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”

You know, from time to time, I’ll meet a friend and they’ll say, "Well Pastor Doug, I like going to a small church." And I think I know what they mean. They mean they like the atmosphere where you get to know people and you develop relationships, but I’m always a little concerned if a person wants a church to stay small.

It’s almost like, "It’s for our own comfort and convenience," as opposed to the missionof spreading the truth around the world and growing the body of Christ. But, undoubtedly, some of you are thinking right now, "Well Pastor Doug, when you talk about the church, which church?"

There’s no religion that’s more divided than Christianity. There are hundreds of branches of the Christian religion and many of them teach and believe wonderful good things; and I believe there are Godly people in many different Christian persuasions, but they’re not all true. So how can a person know--how do you pick a church? How do you define what is a biblical church is?

Well, we’ve got a free offer tonight friends if you'd like to know what are the Bible criteria for finding and discovering and being part of a biblical church. It’s a book called, Search for the True Church, by Joe Crews. He's the founder of Amazing Facts. Search for the True Church. We will send you a free copy of this study. We’ve been using it for years because it is so well done that you just can’t really improve on it.

So if you’d like a copy, you cannot only call 1-800-835-6747; we’ve got operators standing by right now if you’d like that free offer. Here’s the number again 1-800-835-6747, or you can read this book right now online.Just go to the Amazing Facts' website. That's AmazingFacts.org. If you type in AmazingFacts.com you’ll still get there. Amazing Facts, and go to the search window and look up the book, Search for the True Church. You can read it right there.

Well, with that friends, we’re going to go to the phones. I always feel like I’m a little handicapped without Pastor Ross here. So be patient with me. We'll talk first with Michael, who’s listening on WMCA, calling from West Orange, New Jersey. Michael, you’re on the air.

Michael: Pastor Doug, you are fine and you are covered; don’t even worry about it.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: [Laughter] well appreciate it. And how can we help you tonight?

Michael: My question is I’m having a debate with a lot of my friends and church members about free will, coming to Christ with free will. And I’m trying to tell them that Saul, or Paul the apostle, was forced into Christianity. Am I wrong?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well when you say forced, do you mean when he had his conversion on the road to Damascus and the Lord called him?

Michael: Called him, knocked him down and blinded him.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yes, and it is true that the Lord really knocked Paul over the head to get his attention, so to speak. But Paul still had a choice. He was not forced. I mean, you know, I think all of us like Jonah, Jonah went the wrong direction and God got his attention. He still, when the word of the Lord came to him the second time, Jonah didn’t have to go to Nineveh but, boy, after an encounter like that with God, he probably felt like it’s useless to resist God. But I think his will was still involved. Does that make sense?

Michael: Well, no. Of course it makes sense, but the point I was trying to make is that, to help, I have a friend that’s really out there and out of Christ. I assure that if tomorrow she woke up blind and unable to walk, she would reconsider her position.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah, sometimes God gets people’s attention by some dramatic experience. It might be a sobering lab report from a doctor or it could be some bad news over the phone. God has a lot of ways of getting our attention. But He still lets us use our will. You know, an example in the Bible would be, have you read the story in Numbers about Balaam the prophet?

Michael: Absolutely.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: And when messengers came and said, "We want you to go curse Israel," God told Balaam, "Don’t do it. I’m going to bless Israel." But they offered him a lot of money and he kept wanting to go. And so finally God said, "Alright, I’m not going to stop you. You can go, but you're going to have to say what...

Michael: But he was mad because he kept wanting to go, yeah.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah. Well he ended up dying because of it. He was stubbornly wanting to do his own thing. But the bottom line was that he was wanting the financial gain. It refers to Balaam also in the book of Revelation, and I think Peter. Well maybe it’s the book of Jude, I’m sorry. Jude refers to Balaam and it says he’s gone greedily after that error.

And so, even though he knew God’s will, he kept persisting. Even though God put an angel in his way to stop him, he kept persisting to do what he wanted to do. That also happened with King Saul. It even happened with Judas, when you think about it. But yup, the Lord got Paul's attention in a dramatic way; and friends, that’s the conversion of Saul. He later is known as Paul, same person, can be found in Acts chapter 8, or his conversion, more specifically, in Acts chapter 9.

He’s involved in the stoning of Stephen in Acts chapter 7. Hey, I appreciate your call Michael. We’ve got a few people lined up, so we’re going to talk next to Kym who’s calling from Tennessee. Kym, you’re on the air with Bible Answers Live.

Kym: Hey Pastor Doug, how are you doing? Can you hear me okay?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Loud and clear.

Kym: Okay, my question has to do with drums. I want to get your opinion on drums in the church. Lately, I’ve been seeing a prevalence of drums in the church. And, you know, back in the nineties when I first came in they didn’t really allow drums in the church. So what is your opinion on that? I noticed this especially in the Sabbath-keeping churches.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well it's in all churches.

Kym: Oh, yeah, okay.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah, it's getting to be all almost universal. But my belief is, and I think there’s some Scripture I can give you for it, my belief is that, obviously, music has tempo. I mean, even if you’re singing, “Shall We Gather at the River?” you can tap your foot while you’re doing it. There’s a tempo to music and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But the traditional use of drums in churches is more with the syncopated beats that you find in worldly music that I don’t believe you would have found in the Old Testament sanctuary. Now, the Bible does say in Psalm 150 that they praise the Lord in His sanctuary with cymbals and clanging instruments, but they weren’t using them in the sanctuary.

They were praising God who was in His sanctuary, and those were the Psalms that were written on their way back from battle. So when the U.S. military is playing, if you’re listening to the U.S. military band and they’re playing a march, they’ll have drums and it’s entirely appropriate because the drum music is march music.

It’s different from the syncopated music that is like the offbeat, ba-tab-ba-ta-bum; ba-tab-ba-ta-bum. I know I have no rhythm, but that’s a little different. You know, it’s almost sexually suggestive. And I--go ahead. You were going to say something?

Kym: Should I attend the church? There's one close to my house, I noticed that the churches in the country don’t really have it as much as, like, the cities Memphis, D.C. I noticed it just recently started mostly in the African American churches. I see it a lot, but not in the small, country towns. Now I was wondering, would I be out of God’s will if I went to a church that plays drums?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, I’ve got to be careful not to be the Holy Spirit for you. But, first of all, if you are uncomfortable, you might write a nice letter to your pastor and just say, "You know, the reverence that we normally expect and the kind of music we normally expect associated with worship doesn't usually incorporate the raucous drums that we’re finding showing up in the churches."

We’ve got a book at Amazing Facts. It’s written by someone else so I can’t give it away, but it’s a pretty reasonable book. It talks about drums and worship. If you go to the Amazing Facts' website, anyone who’s wondering about what do you do about some of the Christian churches that are bringing in some of these worldly rock drums and is that appropriate. I recommend people read that.

It’s a deep study. I mean, it’s well done; it’s not hard to understand, but I recommend you read that, Kym, and let the Holy Spirit guide you. But if you’re concerned, also let the pastor know because sometimes it takes enough people. The pastor might not know, "You know, folks are not comfortable and it’s interrupting their worship."

If the Holy Spirit is telling you this is not where you belong, then you need to follow that. For our friends out there, once again, that book is dealing with drums in the church. You can find that at the Amazing Facts' website. Alright, we’re going to talk next to Larry who is calling from Flint, Michigan on line 5. Of course, Larry, you don’t know you’re on line 5. You just know you’re in Flint, Michigan. And your question tonight?

Larry: Yes sir, thank you for taking my call. It has to do with Daniel chapter 12, verses 11, 12, and 13. There's a lot of questions I could ask, but I thought I would just let you explain to me what you think it is saying.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Alright, could I read this to our friends?

Larry: Yes.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: A lot of people are in their cars and I just want them to hear it. If you read in Daniel chapter 12 and you go to verse 11, an angel appears to Daniel and he’s explaining a vision. And the vision in chapter 12 begins in chapter 11. It’s one of the longest visions in the Bible.

And it says, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go your way till the end be: for you will rest, and you will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” Or I think the King James says, "You will stand in your lot at the end of the days."

Now, you have found one of the most challenging prophecies in the Bible, Larry, and I’ll tell you why. There is no Bible prophecy that has more dates and time periods in just a few verses, than Daniel chapter 12. Most of the people who interpret prophecy with what they call the historic method, you’ve got one group of people who interpret prophecy, the futurists, and those would be people who kind of go along with the "left behind" scenario.

Larry: I understand, yeah.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah, they put all of these prophecies in the future and they think it’s connected with the seven-year tribulation. The historists, and that would be many of the Protestant reformers, they understood that these prophecies were starting with the Roman era of persecution that really began in about 538 A.D., and it’s leading up to the time of the Great Reformation or a great revival that began in around 1844.

It’s difficult for me without having--radio is not a great medium for doing math equations, if you know what I’m saying? It’s great if you’ve got a board and you can draw the numbers and explain it to people. But what I would recommend is we have a study that talks about this time period.

This is part of a 2,300-year time period that you find in Daniel chapter 8, verse 14. We have a study that explains that. It’s called, God Sets a Date for the Judgment.

Larry: I know. I’ve read that and I don’t believe that I remember seeing the 1,290 and the 1,335 in there.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, there’s a book that you can read online that does explain it. It’s by Uriah Smith and it’s called, Daniel and the Revelation. So if you take a look at that--I’m just knowing it’s going to be very difficult in three minutes to explain this chapter with those three time prophecies and do it justice.

Larry: Is the day here [cross talk]

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yes. I believe you apply the day/year principle for this prophecy.

Larry: You say, you did believe it does?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: I do believe you apply a day/year principle, and I think this prophecy starts back in the 500's, 508 and so forth.

Larry: Okay. Well in the book it'll explain a little bit more. I know you’ve only got three minutes.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yup. Uriah Smith--yeah.

Larry: Do you know what they’re waiting for and what they’re coming to?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: The dates? Well, when he says, "You’ll stand in your lot at the end of the days," the book of Daniel was largely sealed...

Larry: Yeah.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: ...until the 18th century.

Larry: Okay, I follow that. Yeah.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Alright. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Larry: Okay.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Thanks a lot, Larry. Alright, talking next to Tonda--I hope I’m saying that right--in Washington. Hello Tonda. You're on the air with Bible Answers Live.

Tonda: Hi Pastor Doug.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Hi.

Tonda: Hi, my question is on trusting God. And the question that I have is, for instance, if I was to go out into the woods and I had a gun for my protection against wild animals or wild beasts, I think that that’s fine. But my question is if I have a gun in the world, the way the world is now and how all these gun laws are coming into effect and all these things are happening, would it be wrong of me to have a gun in my house for protection of my family? Would that be considered not trusting in the Lord for my protection?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, you know, this is one of those questions where I would not condemn a Christian that felt that they were being responsible and it was a prudent thing to do to have a gun. You know, Jesus said, "Do not tempt the Lord." In other words, we don't want to be reckless.

Depending on where you live, you just said, if you’re living in the woods and there's a lot of bears and you have a gun--we have a place up in the woods and it’s just swarming with bears, I mean, literally, and our kids have run into bears. One of our boys, he just shot in the air and the bears ran off and all was well.

Most black bears won’t bother you, but if they’ve got cubs you might have a problem. But what if you’re living in a community that is riddled with crime and, if there’s a burglar, are you going to shoot into the air and it might scare him off? Might not be bad, or you can even honestly say, "I’ve got a gun."

Some people have a dog and they put a sign on their gate and it says, “Beware of Dog,” and that keeps people away. Well, the dog might be a miniature poodle, but all they’ve got to do is put a sign out there that says, “Beware of Dog” and that sometimes is all it takes. So, it depends on what your logic and your reason is.

If you’re fantasizing about shooting people that come through the door, you’ve got to be careful because we’ve heard a lot in the news lately about someone that may have pulled the trigger too fast. And, you know, you sure don’t want that on your hands.

Tonda: Right, exactly. Okay, [Laughs].

Pastor Doug Batchelor: So, like I said, you just have to pray about it and make sure you have peace. If you don’t have peace, certainly don’t do that.

Tonda: Good, right, okay. Okay, thank you. I just wanted to hear your perspective on it. Thank you so much!

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Alright. God Bless, and I appreciate that question. I kept trying to think about a Bible verse. I guess I could just tell you that in Bible times, a lot of God’s heroes did carry a sword, or a sling or something. Of course, it was because of the times they were living in. But, at the same time Jesus also has people that just live by faith and God protects them. Talking next to Gardner, calling from New York, New York, listening on WMCA. You’re on the air.

Gardner: Doug, how are you?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Doing Great.

Gardner: Yeah, human beings can be worse than black bears and grizzlies combined.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: [Laughs] yes sometimes.

Gardner: Here’s my question. Is there anything in prophecy that would indicate that the Holocaust of the 1930's, led by Hitler, was one of the many historical judgments from God? It’s easy to associate suffering with the devil, but is it possible that this time in history was divine judgment?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, it is a judgment on humanity. Of course, I’m half Jewish; and I’ve been to the Auschwitz and I’ve been to Poland and seen the Holocaust Museum there in Israel as well and it’s just extremely disturbing. Most people, they are overcome with emotion when you just see what people can do to each other.

But in World War II, as well as in the Viet Nam War, as well as in Africa with the civil war they had there and millions were killed in just about all of these situations, man’s inhumanity to his fellow man is a sign of the times. You read, for instance, where it says in Genesis, and Christ said the days before He comes back it will be like the time of the flood.

It says, "The thoughts of men’s hearts were only evil and there was violence that filled the land." There was just total disregard for human life. And so, is there a prophecy? Yes. Some people have taken the prophecies and said, "Well this was a judgment on the Jewish nation;" but, there were Christians that were wiped out at different times in history by the Romans! So, are you to say it was a judgment on the Christians when they were wiped out by Nero and other emperors? Do you know what I’m saying?

Gardner: Um-hm.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: So sometimes it’s just a sign of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man and the devil is in this world and he’s always attacking God’s people.

Gardner: Thank you for your answer, Doug. Thank you.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Alright. Hey, I appreciate your question. Let’s see if we can take one more before the break. By the way, that frees up a line. If you’d like to call in with your Bible question, here’s the number again, are you ready? 1-800-463-7297 will bring you into the studio with your question.We’re going to talk next to Shantelle, calling in from Oregon, listening on line 9. There we go. You’re on the air Shantelle.

Shantelle: Hi.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Hi.

Shantelle: Thanks for taking my call. I also enjoy watching Sac Central every week.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well praise to the Lord. We’re glad someone’s watching.

Shantelle: Now, recently I came across an article about Biblical scenes and it explained the beliefs of different religions. When they explained Jewish beliefs, they used references from the Old Testament, as well as other sources that's not the Old Testament that we’re familiar with. So, if I were to study Scripture with a Jewish acquaintance and they quote from there, how can I address that during the study?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: You’re talking about if they quote from the Talmud or other Jewish writings?

Shantelle: Right, right.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, I would tell them that you think that the supreme inspiration of Scripture is to start at the source. Most Orthodox Jews would agree that there are levels of inspiration; and that the Old Testament Scriptures, or what we call the Old Testament, are from the highest level of inspiration. Most of the others they kind of look at as an inspired commentary.

Shantelle: Oh okay.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: But of course, not all believe that. There are varying groups of Jews. You’ve got more liberal Jews and they’ll read more recent authors, and they just think the Bible has been changed by man and they don’t take it as the divine, inspired Word of God. Then there are more Orthodox Jews that still do.

Shantelle: Oh okay. I thought they might hold that on the same level as the Old Testament that I’m familiar with.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, like I said, it depends on what group you’re studying with, kind of like in Christianity. You talk to some Christians and they think the Old Testament is done away with and they only study the New. Then you study with other Christians and they believe that the entire Bible is inspired.

Shantelle: Right, okay.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: So there’s variation, even among Jews, on how they regard the Bible. But a great place to study is if you study Isaiah 53, where it talks about the sufferings of Jesus.

Shantelle: Yes.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: If you go to Psalm 22 where it talks about Jesus on the cross, and they divided His clothing and they pierced His hands and His feet. It's pretty amazing the first words are, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me," the very words of Jesus on the cross. So you read the story of Christ, and then you go to Psalm 22 and honest, Jewish students are going to say, "Wow! There's obvious correlation there."

Shantelle: Yeah. I’ve already started matching Scripture from the Old Testament and then finding the fulfillment in the New so that, if I ever get a chance, I could show them how the New Testament is connected to the Old; and maybe that will be kind of a bridge to encourage them to accept the Old Testament.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Exactly. I’ll share one other thing, well, maybe two other things on this. My heart is just in this subject because I’ve got a lot of Jewish family. I’d love for them to find the Lord. The prophecy in Daniel chapter 9 where God, through the angel, talks to Daniel and tells him when the Messiah is going to come.

It's such a powerful and a clear prophecy. He says very clearly that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the prince, and it says it’s going to be 69 weeks, 69 Jewish weeks. A day is a year in prophecy, and so it’s 483 years. You can count exactly 483 years from that command. By the way, the command is in Ezra Chapter 7.

King Artaxerxes told them that they would go back to the Promised Land, which they did, and then they’d rebuild the wall in the Temple. Then it tells us that the Messiah would be anointed at the end of that period. Exactly 483 years after that time period of 457 B.C., Jesus is baptized in 27 A.D., and it says He’s anointed with the Holy Spirit. So that’s one thing.

The other thing is, and I know this is going to sound like a shameless plug, I just wrote a book called, Shadows of Light, that talks about Jesus in all the Bible. Principally, it shows the types of Christ in the Old Testament. If you want to know more about that, you can simply go to the Amazing Facts' website and look up the new book, Shadows of Light. You'll find out more about that there. You’re listening to Bible Answers Live.

Well friends, we’re going to transition into a break in just a moment. But before we do, I want to tell you about a website that has just reached a lot of people with simple Bible studies. It’s called, BibleUniverse.com. This is a great website because, anybody listening, if you’d like to know more about the Word of God, this is a website where you’ve got a daily devotional.

It shows you how to find things. There’s a hymn if you want to sing and have your own devotions. Right now I’m looking at it. It has the story about Job and his sufferings and how we can gain courage from that. It corresponds with a featured video. The best thing is that it has a whole bouquet of Bible studies that a person can get into, not only in English.

You can study prophecy. You can study just foundational Christian theology, and you can study it in scores of different languages. BibleUniverse.com, a great website. Write it down. Link to it and share it with your friends. We’re going to take a brief break friends and there will be more Bible questions coming.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Welcome back, friends, to Bible Answers Live. If you’re just joining us along the way, this is an interactive Bible study. We invite you to listen in as people call from around the country and other parts of the world with their Bible questions. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we do our best to study the Word together.

We’ve got the Bible open before us on our computers in several different translations and are able to search very quickly and try and find these answers you. If you want to call in with your question, I have one or two lines open. It's 1-800-GOD-SAYS, that’s 1-800-463-7297. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Jëan Ross is doing a mission building project right now on the Navajo Reservation and so keep him in your prayers. He’ll be back, God willing, next week. We’re going to go now to the lines and talk with Sherry, who’s calling from Minnesota. Sherry, welcome to the program.

Sherry: Hello Pastor Doug.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Hi.

Sherry: Thank you for taking my call. I’m a frequent caller, actually. It’s not my first time. I’m going to have a real hard time with this one, but I’ve been contemplating calling in and I got through and I’m going to go through with it. So, I know what the Bible says about suicide and, you know, the Commandments. I have a brother in Texas that sought the Lord to me every day over the phone and went through a very severe depression. In January he did commit suicide. I’m having such a hard time struggling with his salvation and my prayers. I overheard a Bible Answers Live this morning where you were talking a little bit about it and saying that, more than likely, they’re not going to be saved. And I just know that he prayed, and he loved the Lord, and he studied; and he went on medication. A week after the medication, before he even could get a follow up, he had done it. So I--you're kind of the closest Christians I have to go to.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Let me talk to you about that...

Sherry: And I’m having a real hard time.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah, ah sure; I know that is a heart breaker. When you heard my answer earlier, I always like to be careful and tell people there are two things that I’ve got to remember when I’m answering that question. One--well, of course, I want to share what does the Bible say?

I want to be careful to give people hope that may be facing hopelessness. And I want to be careful to talk to, especially young people or people who are thinking about suicide. People who are thinking about suicide as a way out, I try to scare them away from it. Do you know what I’m saying?

Sherry: Sure.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: So you’ve got this tension between two different groups that are listening when I answer this question. Some people are so discouraged or depressed with life, and typically it is teenagers; not always, but typically there's a high percentage of teenagers that take their lives.

I try and tell them, "Look, if you think you’re going to solve your problems by ending your life, the last thing you want to do is to have self-murder on your record - and then wake up in the wrong resurrection," and trying to say, "That’s not going to solve your problems. You’ll have a really big problem afterward."

But then I want to also add hope and say, "Now God looks on the heart, and some people who do commit suicide are dealing with just incredible pain or hopelessness. God looks on the heart. He knows if someone has got a chemical problem." I know people who have had accidents or there are birth defects and they just can’t cope with reality; or they don’t even realize what they're doing when they make that decision. They're just so overwhelmed by darkness and depression that you just have to put it in God’s hands. And right now, I’m especially concerned about you...

Sherry: Yeah, I [cross talk]

Pastor Doug Batchelor: ...because you can’t tear yourself up forever. All of my family has passed away, my mother, and my brother, parents, grandparents, and none of them professed to know the Lord. Then we lost a son a few years ago who was a grown young man. You always are worried, but you have to ultimately just say, "Lord, I know that You loved these people infinitely more than I do. And You're going to do everything You can do...."

Sherry: And I know the Lord so intimately, Doug, that seven or eight years ago I would be in a totally different state of mind about it. But I know that He looks upon the heart and I just, you know [cross talk]

Pastor Doug Batchelor: You just have to put it in His hands [cross talk]

Sherry: I know He wipes away that memory anyway. It’ll go away.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: But for right now, Sherry, that Scripture where Peter says, "Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you." You don’t want to bear that burden because it can just tear you up. It’s really hard when I talk to parents, and parents say, "You know, I have a child that took their own life. What does that mean? Are they going to be lost?" and you know I need to be honest and say, "Biblically, it’s not good."

You’ve just got to cling to hope and leave it with the Lord. You don’t know what was going on in their lives and there’s hope.

Sherry: Yeah. He asked me about it over the phone and I did tell him what I thought. He said, "Well I’m not going to do that." Then the next day I got the phone call. So it kind of really shocked me because we talked too much about it being not right to do.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah. Well, sometimes a person is just so deep in their depression that. There's actually, I hope I get it right, there’s a hymn writer who wrote a famous hymn. I think it's this song, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. He used to struggle with depression.

We all sing that song; but he took his own life. He just became overwhelmed one day. His friends realized there was something else going on and he had a great relationship with the Lord, but he would go through these incredible low points that he just couldn’t see realistically.

So, just give it to the Lord Sherry. You’re in our prayers. There's a lot of people like you out there that have lost loved ones to suicide. They need to take courage and, at the same time, know that it is a very serious and sobering choice. Hey, I appreciate your call.

We’re going to go next and talk with Phil who’s calling from Grand Rapids, Michigan and listening on satellite radio. Phil, welcome to the program.

Phil: Hi Pastor Doug. Thanks for taking my call.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Thanks for your patience.

Phil: My question is this, do you believe in a real place called hell where a lost person will spend a conscious eternity? And if your answer is no, what fear, what problem would there be with a person taking their own life?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Alright. That’s interesting you would ask that question, just on the heels of the previous question; but do I believe that there is a place called hell? The Bible is very clear there is punishment for the wicked, and that there is a lake of fire, and that the wicked are going to be cast into that lake of fire. You find that in Revelation chapter 22.

And, of course, you find in Malachi chapter 4, "Behold, the day comes, that will burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, will be stubble: the day that comes will burn them up.” So, no question, there is punishment for the wicked. How long the wicked burn is where I think that some people misunderstand the Scriptures.

When it tells us that the wicked are going to be destroyed, and they’re going to be consumed, and they’re going to perish, and that God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth where there’s no more pain or suffering, that leads me to believe that there is an end to the suffering.

If everyone is rewarded according to his works, if everybody burns through eternity, ceaseless, unending ages, well, everyone gets the same punishment. That would mean someone like Adolf Hitler, who is responsible for the death of millions, he gets the same punishment as a discouraged teenager that takes their life, and God is a just God.

So, obviously, that wouldn’t make sense. I don’t know if I’m answering your question, but do I believe that there's punishment for the wicked and a lake of fire? Yes. Do I believe that they burn through ceaseless ages? No. I think the Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.

Phil: Well you know, I have always understood that there’s going to be levels of rewards in heaven and levels of punishment in hell. I do believe in an eternal place called hell. But let me ask you this, I’ve always said that when we get to heaven we’re all going to find out that there were certain things that we were wrong about. Have you ever thought about the possibility that you could be wrong about this one issue? And if so, what are your feelings about that? Because if I’m wrong and there's not an eternal place called Hell, if I’m wrong, it’s not going to matter. But have you thought about the possibility that you could be wrong on this one issue?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well first of all, can I be wrong? Of course, I'm not infallible. I think only the pope claims to be infallible. But it sounds like you and I agree that there is punishment for the wicked so we’re agreeing about that. I think what we’re disagreeing on is what the Bible teaches about does it go on endlessly, and just think about what that means.

That means one billion years from now this teenager, who has just crossed the age of accountability, one billion years from now he has not yet begun to burn. He’s been burning all that time, but it is just going to go on forever and ever. You think about, "What does that say about God?"

Now there are verses; for instance, God said to Adam and Eve, “In the day you eat thereof, you will die,” and the Bible tells us the penalty for sin is death. John 3:16 says there are two choices: Believe in Jesus and have everlasting life, or perish. So we have to look at all the verses together.

You know, Jesus said, “Don’t fear him who can hurt the body but he can’t hurt the soul. Fear Him who will destroy soul and body in hell;” and, "The soul that sins it will die." That's Ezekiel 18 and the previous verse I gave you was Matthew 10. There are so many verses on this.

If I get to heaven and I’m wrong and I find out that the wicked burn longer; or you could get to heaven and find out that maybe you were wrong and God’s character was misrepresented as being more sadistic than He really is. So, you’re right, there are ramifications for being wrong on this.

Hey Phil, I don’t know if you’re still there but we have a website. It’s called, Hell Truth, HellTruth.com. If you take a look there--I know you’re probably in your car now. I’d appreciate, when you get a chance, get near a computer and take a look at that. Any friends, if you want to know more about this subject, "What does the Bible teach? What's a real Christian view on the subject of hell? Is there punishment?" Yes.

"Is it the medieval view that the wicked burn forever and ever and ever and ever and ever?" No. I don’t believe that's what the Bible teaches. So take a look, HellTruth.com; and we have a study guide called, "Is the Devil in Charge of Hell?" We’ll send that to you. You can read that at the Amazing Facts' website.

Alright, thanks Phil. We’re going to talk next with Ralph, who’s calling from Atlanta, Georgia. Ralph, you’re on the air with Bible Answers Live.

Ralph: Hello Pastor Doug. How are you doing?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Better than I deserve. How are you?

Ralph: Doing good. Pastor Doug, I know that the Bible says that Enoch walked with God and the main phrase today that’s saying that, "Walk in His ways and keep His Commandments." Now, all of this pleases God. What does it actually mean by "walk with God," and how can we walk with God?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, that’s a good question. It also tells us Noah walked with God. It says, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." When Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, you think, "Why would that have a spiritual significance?" Your walk in the Bible represents your daily direction, your life, who you’re following.

The children of Israel were told when they ate the Passover meal to do it with their shoes on because they were beginning a new journey. So the Christian life is a journey and we follow the Lord. So, walking with God means that you’re listening to God, you’re in communion with God. Obviously, when you walk with someone you talk to them.

Then you’ve got that story in Luke 24 where the disciples were on the road to Emmaus and they were walking and talking with Jesus. Sometimes they forgot who He was and that He was there. So walking in the Lord really represents an ongoing relationship with the Lord.

Are you still there Ralph? Hello, Ralph? Nope, I think we lost him. Apologize for that. Hey, we’re going to talk to, let me see, maybe you’re still there on line 6. Hello? This is Ralph?

Ralph: Oh yeah, this is a different Ralph.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: A different Ralph, okay, from Minnesota. And your question tonight?

Ralph: My question comes out of 1st Corinthians chapter 5. We’ve got, basically, a son having fornication with his probably Step-mother, I gather; and it talks about, you know, delivering such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord. What I’m trying to understand, I believe the spirit is the breath of life that God has given to us, and the soul is the essence of our being. But I just don’t understand where it’s talking about that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah, and you’re talking about verse 5. So it’s 1st Corinthians 5, verse 5, "Deliver such a one to Satan...." Well first of all, they were going to dis-fellowship him from the church. I think the Catholics use the word "ex-communicate." But they were going to put him out of the church membership, so to speak.

It says, “For the destruction of the flesh….” That means if he’s going to persist in being controlled by the flesh instead of the Spirit, Paul said when you live that way, if you sow unto the flesh, from the flesh you'll reap destruction. It's a destructive lifestyle. And so you deliver a person and say, "Look, we can’t force you to be a Christian. We’re putting you out of the church. If you want to live like the world, then you’re going to end up suffering the consequences of that," "that," it says, "his spirit might be saved.”

In other words, as he experiences the sorrow for living a life of immorality, hopefully he will come to repentance and his spirit will be saved in the day of the Lord. In other words, if you let them stay in the church and keep living like this, he’s not going to realize what he’s doing is wrong. You put him out of the church to live a self-destructive life, maybe he'll come to his senses and his spirit will be saved.

So sometimes, and I hope everyone is listening, some churches have people on their books that are living in terrible immorality, and they never deal with it. You’re not helping that person by leaving them on the church books while they’re living in rebellion. There should be some sort of church discipline, that is to be redemptive, that they might be saved in the day of the Lord. Do you see what I’m saying?

Ralph: Okay, okay. Yeah, I see. What I was seeing up above there was, it says, "You are puffed up and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this thing and might be taken away from among you;" where it says, "A little leaven leavens the whole lump."

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Yeah, exactly.

Ralph: And my thought about that was I was just curious, because I was thinking, "Is he talking about the church wouldn’t obey what Paul has basically given them from the Lord, that He might take the Spirit away from the church?"

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well to some extent, that’s true. You know, the Bible tells us that, like the story of Achan, when there is sin in the camp, it affects everybody. If you’ve got a Jonah on the boat that is running from God, the whole boat was ready to go down until they tossed him overboard. I know that sounds kind of brutal, but there are a lot of examples in the Bible that one person’s bad decision can take others down with them.

Look at what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5, that were involved in dishonesty and claiming to give money they didn’t govern, basically lying to the Lord. So there needs to be a standard raised in the church, or it affects the people. This was history of Israel, Ralph, all throughout the Old Testament, is that whenever they drifted from God, God’s protection withdrew and they ended up suffering for that.

Hey, I hope that helps a little bit, appreciate your question. I’ve got a few minutes left. I just want to remind you, we do also stream right now on the internet; and that is simply Live.AmazingFacts.org. And with that, thank you Ralph. We’re going to talk with Cathy, who's calling from Pismo Beach, California. Welcome to the program, Cathy.

Cathy: Thank you, Pastor Doug. I am a survivor of suicide. My husband took his life after asking our pastor if a person’s heart is so heavy that they take their life, does God understand. Our pastor told him, "Yes, God understands." When I was notified by the police of my husband’s suicide, I immediately called my mother-in-law, who relayed this information since she was the one who last spoke to my husband. And I immediately called my pastor, who, when I relayed verbatim what my mother-in-law had just told me, my pastor said to me, “You killed your husband.”

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Oh! Boy, that’s a heap of guilt to dump on a person.

Cathy: I want to know--for two weeks I could not talk. I finally got up the courage. I called a church member and I got the courage to call my pastor and I said, “What do you mean, 'I killed my husband?'” Then after he denied that he had said that, then he said, “Well, Samson committed suicide and he’s going to be in heaven, but Judas committed suicide and he’s not going to be in heaven.” Then I said, “Did you say this to my husband?” And he said, “Yes, we did have that conversation. I thought youwere suicidal."

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Hm. Now let’s frame this... [cross talk]

Cathy: And I was livid. He never called me, nothing.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Frame this as a Bible question, Cathy. Is there--are you...

Cathy: Yes, yes, yes, yes. I want to know what the Biblical stance on suicide is.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Okay. Did you hear our earlier call tonight on that?

Cathy: Yes I--yes, and that was very helpful. I would like to know, um...

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Well, the Bible is clear...

Cathy: ...what are the (unintelligible) steps...

Pastor Doug Batchelor: ...the Bible is clear, first of all...

Cathy: ...towards emotional healing, emotional healing?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Okay, emotional healing. Now don’t misunderstand me, be very careful. I think the key to success in life for the Christian, is to lay your life down for Christ. Now I am not talking about physical suicide. I’m talking about taking up your cross.

When you take up your cross and you say, “I am not going to live for myself anymore. My life I give up Lord. It’s in your hands.” That’s when you really begin to live because Jesus said, “He that will save his life, will lose it; but he that loses his life for My sake and the gospels, he will find it.”

I know that sounds backwards to people, but it’s really when you stop living for yourself you start living. So you’ve been through a terribly painful experience. I think that the key for you is to just give it all to the Lord and say, "Lord, I surrender. I’m going to live for You. I don’t know why this has happened, but I want to be a different person. I don’t want to be that person who has experienced all this pain anymore. I want to be born again."

So then He gives you an opportunity to really be a new creature. So Cathy, you know, I pray for you; and that’s a terrible experience to be through. It sounds like pastor may have given some really bad counsel and advice; and don’t hold that against God’s people. I know He’s got good, loving, wise people out there that will hold you up, and you'll be in our prayers. God can heal you.

When you’ve gone through a crisis like this--and this is coming from someone who has been through some painful things--you first feel like you’ve been hit by a tidal wave. There will be waves of grief that will continue to come when you think about what you’ve been through. But the good news is the waves get smaller, and they get further apart. It just gets easier to bear after awhile. Thank you Cathy. We'll be praying for you. We’re going to talk next to Barry, who is calling from Queens, New York on WNCA. Barry, you’re on Bible Answers Live.

Barry: Yes, good day Pastor Doug.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Good evening.

Barry: I want you to explain Colossians 2:14 to 16 for me.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Alright. Let me read that for our friends who are listening. "Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross; And having disarmed principalities and powers, he made a spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food, or in drink, or in regard to a festival, or of the new moon, or sabbaths: Which are shadows of things to come; but substance is of Christ.”

So here Paul is talking about a number of Jewish ceremonial laws, the feast days. You notice if you look here where it says "sabbath days," it's "sabbath" with a small "s" and they're plural, and he’s talking about food or drink. They had food offerings. They had drink offerings in the sanctuary. There were new moon celebrations. There were annual sabbaths. Paul is saying all of these ceremonial laws were nailed to the cross and that you shouldn’t let anyone judge you regarding these things.

Some people have taken this verse in Colossians 2 and tried to apply it to, "Well, that means you no longer need to keep the seventh-day Sabbath of the Ten Commandments." Paul is not talking about the Ten Commandments here; he’s talking about ceremonial laws and ceremonial annual sabbaths.

The annual sabbaths came once a year. They were things like the Day of Atonement, the Passover, Feast of Trumpets, and so forth. The Sabbath of the Ten Commandments, you find that before there’s even sin. You find that before the Ten Commandments. It's in the second book of Genesis when God makes the world. On the seventh day He blesses the Sabbath for man. That’s why Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man."

So that’s a completely separate and distinct law. The other annual ceremonial sabbaths, they came years later. They came over 2,000 years later during the time of Moses and they were specifically for the Jewish nation; where the seventh-day Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments; and all of God’s people need that day of rest and worship.

So I hope that helps a little bit Barry. We do have a book that talks about Feast Days & Sabbaths. You can read it online by going to the Amazing Facts' website. That’s simply AmazingFacts.org or you can call us and we’ll send you one. The number is 1-800-835-6747. Ask for the book, Feast Days & Sabbaths and it talks about Colossians 2 there.

Barry, I hope you’ll forgive me for rushing through your answer, but listening friends, we’re starting to wind up with this program. Oh, I knew it was coming. There it is, it's the music. I didn’t make it happen. They have complete control of that. But it gives me just a few minutes to remind you this program is entirely listener-sponsored friends.

You have to admit we spend the bulk of our time talking about the Bible; but we do need to just remind you, we’d love to hear from you and stay on this station, AmazingFacts.org. You can support us online. God Bless until we talk again next week.

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