John Bradshaw - Heaven, Hell and the Health Laws
— Welcome to "Line Upon Line" brought to you by It Is Written. This is where we get to answer your Bible questions. And I'll tell you right up front, if you have a question you would like answered, please email it to us [email protected] I'll say that again, [email protected] And I said, we, because joining me is Eric Flickinger. Thanks for being here.
— Good to be here, John.
— What have we got, what's coming up? Tell me about one question coming up you think this is gonna be a good one.
— One question, we're gonna start right off with it. And I get this question a lot. What is appropriate and inappropriate to do on the Sabbath?
— That's a real question.
— What should we do and what shouldn't we do? That's what we're gonna kick things off with.
— Okay. Hey, why don't you kick things off with our opening question?
— Alright. Here is our opening question, and this one comes from Eric, oddly enough.
— There we go.
— Eric wants to know the answer to this question, what things are appropriate and inappropriate to do on the Sabbath? Where should we start with that?
— You start with God, you start with Christ in your heart. Okay. Let's back up. In the beginning, God created the heaven in the earth and he got to day seven, and he rested. And Adam and Eve had been created on day six. Their first full day of life was a Sabbath. And God says to us in the Bible, while he loads the Sabbath with infinite possibilities, the fact of the matter is, most people have forgotten about the Sabbath. You go find anyone almost and ask him about what grandpa did, maybe great grandpa by now. And irrespective of denominational affiliation, they will say, "Well, you know, it was a day of a rest. Grandma did the cooking ahead of time, and it was family time and there was no work done. And if it was a farm, they left the farm chores, and if it wasn't, they left those chores". The Sabbath was given by God as a gift. A gift, the Bible says, "The Sabbath was made for the human family," Jesus said in Mark Chapter 2. And so what we want to do, and it's a good question from not this Eric, but from Eric, how to make it big. Now, it's a day of worship, let's get that straight.
— It is absolutely. When you look at Jesus life, Jesus ministry, it was his norm to go into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Now, of course, the equivalent for us of the synagogue would be church, going to church is appropriate. We ought to be communing one with another, We ought to be learning. We ought to be spending time in God's word, in prayer, and strengthening one another. So those are some things that we should do on the Sabbath.
— Sure, sure, sure. Worship, family, ministry, wonderful stuff. So when you talk about what you shouldn't do, we don't wanna make this sound like a list of do's and don'ts, and rules and regulations. But in the commandment, it says, "In it thou shall not do any work". And this is regular secular work. Ezekiel talked about the six working days. So your job waits until the six working days, and on the Sabbath, you get a reprieve or restbite. Now, if you're a doctor delivering a baby, you don't get to say to the lady, "Could you hold on for 24 hours, please"? There are sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, but the vast majority of the time, you don't gotta do what somebody thinks you gotta do, because it's the Sabbath. And God thinks what you wanna be doing is worshiping and resting, and communing with him. All right, just quickly, what are some of those other things we wanna avoid doing? So working, that's not the thing.
— The things that you don't need to do on the Sabbath, like take, for example, yard work.
— That's right.
— Probably, nobody's gonna pay you for yard work.
— I had a neighbor once who felt like he never had to do yard work, so that wasn't a problem for him on the Sabbath.
— But for most people, yeah, you've got weekends and yard work needs to be done. But yard work could be done other times than the Sabbath. So that time from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, the idea is spend that time with God. If you're gonna be out there mowing the lawn or playing tennis, or playing golf or whatever, again, like you said, we don't wanna make a list of dos and don'ts, but if you're going to be distracted from your relationship with God by doing activity X, then you probably don't wanna do activity X on that day. Now for somebody boating might be very relaxing.
— Go out there on the lake and relax, and spend time in nature and reflecting on God. For other people, they may be out there to see how fast they can cross the lake in the boat, how many fish they can catch that day.
— And so it becomes less of time with God and more of other activities.
— Yeah. So the Sabbath is a day for the sacred and not the secular. In the book of Nehemiah Chapter 13, Nehemiah got pretty direct with some people who are buying and selling on the Sabbath. The Sabbath biblically speaking is not a day for commerce, it's not a day that you buy and sell. You don't go to the store, the restaurant, other places on the Sabbath where you're doing the regular exchange of money for services or goods, because this is what God has spoken clearly about. Now look, somebody could say, "Humph," or somebody could say, "Ah, this was God's idea. These are God's principles". The Sabbath day is a rest day. So back off from the secular, embrace the sacred, remember the Sabbath day. And as the commandment says, keep it what? Holy. You may grow in this, you may learn in this, you may develop in this, but back off from work, commerce, trade, all of the secular things, make it your day with God. Thank you for the question. I got another question here, Eric, and it's not from Eric this time, it's from Isaac. And the question says, "Can a mortal human speak in tongues of angels"?
— All right. Can I mortal humans speak in tongues of angels? Well, the question then comes, what are the tongues of angels?
— That's my question.
— Depending on who you ask, my wife happens to speak Spanish and she, and many of her friends are pretty certain that when we get to heaven, we're all gonna be speaking Spanish, which is more than likely the tongue of angels, I guess.
— I'm running the risk of offending every Spanish speaker here. I don't think so.
— Think maybe not.
— It's either gonna be English with a New Zealand accent, or Italian.
— Could be.
— Not Spanish. Sorry.
— But we'll have to get there and find out. So what are the tongues of angels? Well, let's kind of step back a little bit and talk for just a moment about speaking in tongues, because a lot of times people have this idea that what is often referred to as speaking in tongues today is a heavenly language. When you look at tongues as it's spoken of in the Bible, the New Testament, Acts Chapter 2 is probably one area where it's most frequently described. These are not unintelligible languages from the heavenly realms. It makes it pretty clear, these are earthly languages.
— Actual languages. If you look at Acts, Chapter 2, people are gathered from multiple countries. They come for the feast of Pentecost. God poured out a spirit, enabling unlearned men to speak languages they'd never studied. The phrase, "tongues of angels" comes from 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, Verse 1, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity". So can immortal speak in the tongues of... we don't know what language that is. But if you're saying, can a person speak in tongues? Sure. That is a gift of the spirit, an actual bonafide gift. The genuine gift of tongues, where somebody speaks a language they've never studied, never learned, I don't hear about that regularly, but I hear about it.
— I've spoken to people who've spoken to people. I've not even had someone say it happened to me. There's a reason why it happens less today than more, and that's because we have interpreters, and we have people who speak other languages. And I don't need to have the miraculous gift of speaking Swahili, because it's been very rare that I've ever encountered a group of Swahili speakers who don't understand English, who need me to speak Swahili so they can hear the gospel, but it's still a genuine bonafide gift. And I have this sneaking suspicion, Eric, that the closer we get to the return of Jesus, when the gospel really starts going, I mean really starts going, I think we'll see the gift of tongues more so than we do now.
— I think you're absolutely right.
— The biblical and genuine gift of tongues.
— That's right.
— So we've got another question here. This one comes from Dealia. And Dealia asks the question, "If Jesus paid with his blood, whom did he pay"? Who did Jesus pay?
— You can get yourself into a bit of a jam when you start talking about this, because then you say, was there a certain sum that needed to be spent? Does God exact a fee for this, what's going on? Is there a sort of a business transaction? Why does somebody need to pay? I'm okay with the phrase, theologically, you may choose to dig a little deeper and say, "I'm not certain I like the wording a whole lot," but it's just wording. The concept is what we need to get our heads around. Human beings were created perfect, they chose to sin sin. Sin, as a consequence brings death. Paul used the phrase, "the wages of sin". What you get paid for sin is death. What happened next was, a loving God who could have said I'm done with those scoundrels, didn't. Jesus came to the world. Why in the world would he do that? Because God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that... Now, you and I who choose to believe in him, don't perish, but instead we have everlasting life. And here's a Verse I want to look at with you. 1 Peter Chapter 2, and Verse 24. Speaking of Jesus, it says, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth". That's 22, we're getting to 24. "Who, when he was reviled, revealed not again. When he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judge righteously, who his own self bear our sins in his own body on the tree," which is the cross, "That we being dead to sins should live under righteousness by whose stripes we are healed". And so the terminology people use is, "Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe". Jesus paid the debt, and that's fair. But biblically speaking, he bore our sins, he carried our sins. If you wanna say he paid the price, that's okay. The Bible doesn't say too much about Jesus paying the father to make up a debt that we owed. But the net effect is about the same.
— So this is one of those situations where you don't wanna get too deep into the theological weeds. You could, to make a certain point and to avoid a certain pitfall, but Jesus bore our sins. And if that means he paid the price, okay, I understand. But he satisfied the requirements of the law. The father wasn't saying, "Gimme money". The law was saying, "I've been broken. What's going to atone for that". The atoning sacrifice was the death of Jesus on the cross, by which, at-one-meant, atonement was made. So I don't wanna dance or dance here, but I just wanna make sure we're not stepping into a theological hole in the ground.
— Very good, very good.
— Here's one for you. Listen to this. This is from Jerry. Jerry's referencing Revelation Chapter 1 in Verse 18, and Revelation 20 in Verse 14. He says, "Why would Jesus have the keys to the gates of a hell if it didn't exist? And if angels are sent to a hell, it must exist". Jerry has a question about the existence of hell. I'll ask you a question straight. Does hell exist? Yes or no.
— Hell will exist.
— All right.
— Hell will exist. When you take a look at the timing of things, and timing is very, very important when you're looking at especially prophetic things, Revelation Chapter 20 makes it plain that hell does not yet exist, but it will exist, and it's a lot hotter than a lot of people think.
— Yeah, why do you say that? Why do you say that?
— Well when you look at what the Bible says about hell, hell does not say, or the Bible does not say that God keeps sinners burning throughout eternity in hell. Now somebody, "But wait, wait, wait, wait". Well, take it all together, and what you're going to find is that God promises eternal life, not to the wicked, but only to the righteous.
— That's a very nice way of putting it.
— So if you are not among the righteous, I hate to use the word "good," because good doesn't really... Being good enough doesn't get you into heaven. It's not about your works, but if you have accepted Jesus as your personal savior, if you have embraced him with all that you are, then his righteousness is accounted for yours. But what if you don't accept Jesus? What if you don't receive his righteousness? Is God going to give you eternal life?
— The answer is no.
— The answer is no.
— For God So loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. So those are the two options, perish, and everlasting life. If you are among the wicked, you will perish.
— That's right. The wages of sin is...
— So there's no question about the existence of hell. There's gonna be a hell, a real hell, a very hot hell, hotter than many people think, because some think that hell can only bother you, torture you inflict pain, and never really get the job done. It's a pretty lousy fire that cannot get the job done. And this fire is gonna reduce sinners to ashes, and they won't exist anymore. That's in the Bible.
— That's right.
— And a lot of people are astonished to find that it's in the word of God. And the reason we believe otherwise, why do we believe otherwise? Why do we have this horrible picture of God in our head, that he is gonna burn you, burn you, burn you, burn you, burn you, and you never, you know how long that is? Never gonna escape the burning. Why do some think that.
— There are some misunderstandings, even in Christianity, about what happens at death. And if we believe that some part of us, a soul continues to live on, then that's not really death. But we've got some Greek theology, philosophy If you wanna call that, mixed in with our Christianity and it's got things rather muddled. So back to Jerry's questions about Revelation 1:18 and Revelation 20:14, he says, "I am he who lives and was dead, and behold, I'm alive forever more, Amen. And I have the keys of Hades or hell, and Death". Revelation 20:14, "Then Death and Hades or hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second Death". Hades there, or hell, is essentially the grave. So Jesus has the keys of death and the grave, not of someplace that's burning right now.
— Amen. Great question, Jerry. We thank you for it, and we thank you for others. We thank you in advance for your question. We'll be back with more Bible Q&A. This is "Line Upon Line" from It Is Written, more in just a moment.
— Welcome back to "Line Upon Line" brought to you by It Is Written. We're excited to try to give you biblical answers to your Bible questions. And if we can't find a Bible answer, we'll just tell you we don't know. But for many of the questions that come in, the vast majority, there are some good answers.
— Eric, Peter asks this question, "Was the apostle Paul married"?
— Good question. And like I just shared with you, sometimes the Bible really doesn't give us a solid answer, this is one of those times. Was he married? Probably. Probably he was married because he was a Pharisee, and Pharisees were by and large married. He did an awful lot of traveling. As we read through the New Testament, we don't read about his wife traveling anywhere with him. So we don't know whether he stayed married or something happened along the way. The Bible just doesn't give us a whole lot of information there.
— Maybe she died.
— Could have died.
— Yeah. So the likelihood, yeah, probably, but the Bible is not especially clear. Okay. Here's a question from Keith. "How old will we be in heaven, or when we're transformed at the second coming? How old.
— How old are we gonna be? Well, we'll be as old as we were when we were changed, if you wanna look chronologically. Now, biologically, how old are we going to be? Well, there's several places in the Bible to talk about what happens to us, that is the righteous, and we're going to make the assumption here, that we are the righteous. When Jesus comes back, something significant is gonna happen to us.
— 1 Corinthians Chapter 15, in Verse 51, "Behold, I show you a mystery". Paul wrote, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immorality". So we'll be perfected, will be made, well, perfect. Funny that, we'll be perfected and made perfect, I wanna make that especially clear. The Bible speaks about little ones growing up as calves in the stall. So there'll be infants that will grow. But how we max out where we settle, I don't know. Do you?
— I don't, but if I were to guess, and this is really all that it is, I'm guessing we'll probably be biologically a little younger than 50, 'cause I'm at 50 right now. And I know that some years ago I was in a little better shape than tan I am today.
— Nobody wants to look forward to that.
— Gotta be like Eric right now?
— No, you don't want that too much. So 20, 25, we could guess and speculate, but who really knows?
— Except you know, going back away, Sarah had a baby. She was in her 90s. So I mean maybe 90 then, maybe we'll be 90 from the first few hundred years, we don't know. You know what I'm saying?
— But nobody's gonna have aches and pains. Nobody's gonna say, "Oh, I wish I'd been made a little bit younger or a little bit older. We're gonna be as John so eloquently put it, perfect.
— And that'll work for me.
— Lori has a question. "Please give a clear biblical outline on the state of the dead". She's not referring to North Dakota or Montana, or Michigan or Vermont. This is a different state altogether, the state of the dead, a clear biblical outline please.
— So let's take a look at a few Verses here. 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4, Paul writes, "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep". It's interesting that Paul uses that word "asleep". The Bible uses it very regularly to describe those who have died. "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord". So Paul here gives us a synopsis of what's going to happen when Jesus comes back, he says, there will be in essence, two groups of people who are alive. One of them is gonna be the righteous, they're ready for Jesus when he comes back, they'll be ascending to meet Jesus in the air and being given glorious immoral bodies. Others who are alive will not be ready for that, and unfortunately, things don't look quite so good for them. But there's another group here of the righteous that Paul describes, "That we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep". So those who have fallen asleep in Jesus, those who have died in a saving relationship with Jesus, they are not going to go to heaven before us, and we're not going to go to heaven before them. We're all going to heaven together when Jesus comes back. But what's with this "sleep" that Paul talks about.
— Oh yeah. Let me tell you a story. I'd like to tell you a story. it's about Lazarus. Jesus had a friend whose name was Lazarus and his disciples came to him one day and they said, that Lord, our friend, the one we love, the one you love, Lazarus is sick, this is in John Chapter 11. When Jesus heard this, he said, no problem, this is for the glory of God. They waited several days and then Jesus made an utterance. He said, "Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I go that I may wake him out of sleep". The disciple said, "If he's sleeping, he'll be okay". Then Jesus said, "Lazarus is dead". Verse 14. Verse 13 says Jesus spoke of his death, they thought he was speaking of taking rest in sleep. So the state of a human being in death is that of sleep, a dreamless rest for sleep. You can't wake a dead person up, not this side of the second coming of Jesus. So we live, we die. We don't go anywhere at death immediately except perhaps to a mortuary or a cemetery where we rest and sleep, a blissful sleep. And then Jesus returns at which time the dead are awakened. That's how the Bible explains it. It doesn't explain it any other way. Tradition will dictate to you that it does, just doesn't.
— It doesn't. And one of the wisest men who ever lived was Solomon. Solomon wrote a book of the Bible that's called Ecclesiastes. When you take a look at Ecclesiastes 9 Versus 5, 6, and 10, you find something very interesting about, what happens when a person dies. In Ecclesiastes 9 Verse 5, he says, "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred and their envy have now perished. Nevermore will they have a share in anything that is done under the sun"? And Verse 10 says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might for there is no work or device, or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going". So when a person dies, their conscious thought comes to an end. There's no more communication. You can't communicate with loved ones who have been left behind, there's no more thinking, no more knowledge. It just comes to an end, until Jesus comes back and wakes us up.
— Amen to that. It's a good plan, it's very biblical, and it makes sense. So where's grandma, she's in heaven. Really? What's she doing? She's watching over you. Really? You don't really believe that. If you believe that everybody in heaven was watching your movements day to day, you would be traumatized. And how would you ever want to look them in the face when you get to heaven after they have watched you doing what you do. No, they're words of tradition, not from the Bible. Eric, we might get two more questions, and maybe one, let's see how we do with this question
— Very good.
— From James. "Matthew 16:18 "ekklesia" means, or ecclesia, "the called," "congregation," "assembly". These are the correct words to describe true worshipers. Thank you, James. Why use the word church"?
— You've got the same idea going on here. It's not that church and congregation, or assembly, are diametrically opposed one to another. When God calls his people, he is calling them out, he is calling them into a group of believers, a congregation, "the called" and "assembly". We use the English word "church" to describe that, it's not an opposition to it, but many, many times you will find that the word "church" is used to describe this gathering together of believers.
— James, what Eric's trying to say is, don't be fussy. It's just a word, "assembly," "congregation" "called ones," we call it a church. It's all good. Question from Bea. "Are the health laws still applicable in New Testament times? How about that question?
— Very good.
— Now we could take half an hour here, but we gotta take a minute.
— We're gonna take about a minute. You take a look at the New Testament and what you're going to find is that those who followed Jesus didn't change their dietary habits from Old Testament times to New Testament, nothing changed in the quality of food of animals, the makeup of a pig, when Jesus died on the cross at all.
— As a matter of fact, you've got Peter, has this vision. He sees the sheet, knit at the four corners. A whole lot of unclean animals are in it. The voice says, "Rise, Peter, slay and eat". And Peter said, "No way. I've never eaten anything common or unclean". And this was three or four years after Jesus died on the cross. And so that health law wasn't changed. Somebody' gonna say, "Ah, but Jesus told him to eat it". Keep reading, you will discover that the purpose of that vision was to educate Peter to understand that he shouldn't be racist. God was calling him to go to some Gentiles. They considered Gentiles who are unclean. God was saying, "No, no, no, no, this racism isn't gonna fly anymore. Don't be a bigot, you gotta go". How was he showing him that the unclean people were now clean? By showing him the unclean animals and telling him to go ahead and eat. And he explained it to Peter. So God never changed that distinction between clean and unclean animals, not even once.
— And the story that you're referencing is in Acts Chapter 10. And the key to understanding that whole story is found in Verse number 28. In Verse number 28, it says, "Then he said to them, you know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with, or to go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean". Peter got it, he understood what the vision was about. It was about people, not about food.
— Yes, he did. Now there are other health laws in the Bible. Maybe we'll get to them later. By the way, here's what people don't know, those in the New Testament, if they were going to eat and meat at all had to drain the blood, it's about as much fun as eating rubber. Speaking of fun, this has been fun. Thanks for joining us. We'll be back again next time. He's Eric Flickinger. I'm John Bradshaw. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.