John Bradshaw - Traditions, the Temple, and the Ten Commandments
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. We get to answer your Bible questions on "Line Upon Line". We receive an avalanche of questions, Bible questions, at It Is Written. If you'd like to add to that avalanche, you're more than welcome to do so. Email us: [email protected] And then if we can, we'll provide you with a Bible answer to your Bible question. Wes Peppers, thanks for joining me.
Wes Peppers: Good to be here with you, Pastor John.
John Bradshaw: Always good to dig into the Bible.
Wes Peppers: Absolutely, always.
— And we would encourage you: You've got questions about the Bible. Of course, ask 'em. But we wanna encourage you to read the Bible. An astonishing amount of people don't.
— That's right.
— A remarkable amount of people who go to church don't read the Bible.
— It's amazing. And the numbers keep growing every year, it seems.
— Yeah. Easiest thing to do. Get your copy of the Bible, open it up, and read it and let God speak to your heart. Now, love to answer your questions, so let's dive in. Wes, let's start with this question from Johnson: "God says, 'I am the Lord that healed thee. "'I will take sickness away from thee, including all difficulties of [your] life.'" But what if everything is going the other way? Now, firstly, it looks to me like there's some creative license being taken with the text.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
— In Exodus 15, God did say, "I am the Lord that healeth thee". In the Psalms, the Bible says that God "forgives all your iniquities" and "heals all your diseases". Anyway, we get the point.
— That's right.
— So, what do we make of this question here? When God says, "I'll heal you, I'll take care of this stuff," but there are times people get sick and even die. What do we make of that?
— Sure. Especially with this verse, you're also looking again at the context, and He was dealing with a specific situation with the Israelites. And indeed God will heal all those who put their trust in Him. The question is the timing.
— When is that going to be? There are many passages in the New Testament that talk about this. Paul talks about that all who suffer or who live godly lives "in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution". He talks about a situation with himself where he had "a thorn in [his] flesh," and he asked the Lord three times, and God says, "My strength is sufficient for thee". And so, God sometimes allows us to go through these circumstances because there's something in our hearts that needs to change. And one thing, God may not always change our situation, but He will change our hearts.
— And sometimes God allows us to go through situations 'cause we live in a sinful world.
— That's right.
— Something you...don't always think you deserved it; it's not always the case. Sometimes we just live in a sinful old world. So, will God heal? Yes. How many times have people been healed miraculously? You know anything about that?
— Remarkable healing. God will work that healing in your life. Many, many times, in lots and lots of people, there are times that the healing doesn't come in the way we want it. Let me promise you something. In the resurrection, you'll receive a new body, no more sickness...complete healing. Yeah, we'd like to get it in this world, but look, if we gotta wait until the world-to-come, that'll be okay as long as we are there. God heals...not always in this world, not always in the way that we wish. But let's focus on that which He does, which is an immense amount, and we will be glad and rejoice in Him. So, have a question here from Beatriz, who says, "Can you please give me further study or advice on the traditions of Christmas and Easter"? She adds, "I have an unquenching thirst for truth". Here's what we're not gonna do. We're not gonna get into minutia of Christmas and Easter.
— Last thing I wanna do.
— But what about Christmas and Easter? The Christian world recognizes the birth of Jesus at Christmas time, the death of Jesus at Easter. Was Jesus born on December 25th? We know He was not. When was He born? We don't know. What would you say to somebody trying to navigate Christmas and Easter?
— Sure. I would say, you know, the truth is that Jesus was born.
— There is no commandment that says, "Do not celebrate the birth of Jesus," or "do not celebrate the death of Jesus". In fact, we're told to celebrate the death of Jesus, and we do that through baptism.
— And communion.
— And communion, that's right. And so, if a person wants to celebrate Christmas, they wanna acknowledge the birth of Christ, I don't think the Bible forbids that.
John Bradshaw: No.
— And now, what we don't wanna do, in either direction, whether we do or whether we don't, we don't wanna press that on other people and say, "You should or shouldn't". It's really one of those things like Paul says in Romans, chapter 14, "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind". And each person needs to have their own conviction about that. They need to have their own thoughts about that and let people do what they feel God's calling them to do.
— Yeah. If you go back, December 25, not a date in history that was covered in glory, in terms of the religious practices that were carried out at that time.
— That's right. Sure.
— And you can make a mountain out of that or not. People have said to me, "How can you have anything to do with..."? At It Is Written, when Christmas comes around, we post Facebook messages, you know?
— "Have a blessed Christmas". Oh man. God bless 'em. People come out of the woodwork, man. "How can you be doing that pagan stuff"? You know, wishing someone a happy Christmas I don't believe is pagan. Now, you're not gonna see me worshiping like the druids worshiped or bowing down before the sun. But to acknowledge that Jesus was born, to acknowledge that He died, to do so at that time of the year, is an opportunity.
— That's right.
— Now, I say this. If your conscience sees it another way, "May the road rise up to meet you". No problem at all. But I think, as Wes said, we extend to each other a little bit of grace, a little license to navigate this how others wish. Now, in our family, we've never done the Santa Claus thing. I don't think we do that.
— No, no, we don't do that either.
John Bradshaw: No, no.
— No, no.
— There are certain things that we would choose not to do.
— That's right.
— Yeah. And...
— Certain traditions that are associated with both holidays, and even other holidays, may not be ideal, they may not be perfect, and, you know, with our attitude we can drive people away. Many people's hearts are softened during these times, and it's an opportunity for us to speak to them about Christ and about the fact that He was born for them, that He lived for them, that He died for them. And you can just as much drive people away from Christ with a negative spirit about that, pushing that on other people. But you can also draw them close to Him and use that as an opportunity.
— Great answer. Question from Errol: "Did Moses write all the first five books of the Bible, and at what point in his life did he write them"? Yes. And we don't know. Yes, he wrote 'em. We don't know when he wrote 'em. Now, how do we know he wrote them? Because throughout the Bible he is credited as being the author of the books of the law. You'll find references in... Joshua and 1 Kings and 2 Kings and 2 Kings... 2 Chronicles, rather... and Nehemiah and Mark and Luke and John. Even Philip said that Moses wrote "in the law," so Philip believed that Moses was the author of these books. It seems indisputable to me.
— Yeah, that's right. That's pretty clear.
— And when did he write them? We don't know. We're just glad that he did.
— Even Jesus Himself said it, Luke 24 and other places... Jesus directs and points out Moses as the author. So, Bible's pretty clear about that.
— Amen. Amen. Frankwin is asking you, I believe, "In Revelation 7, the tribe of Dan is not mentioned. "Also, instead of Ephraim, Joseph has been mentioned. "Does this mean that Dan and Ephraim are not saved? "What ramifications are there if the tribe of Dan has not been saved"? Don't think we would say they're not saved, but you're right in noticing they're not mentioned. And that's a pretty astute judgment. How do we answer this question?
— Sure. Throughout the Chronicles in the Old Testament, you find that the tribes of Dan and Ephraim were pretty enticed with idols.
— And they went after those, and they were worshiping pagan gods. In fact, almost all the tribes probably did that at some point or another, but they continued to persist in that. They continued to push that to the place where God said, "They're no longer part of that". And He replaced them with the tribes of Levi and Joseph. Now, would you say that the entire tribe of Dan of all generations is lost?
— No, no, no.
— Certainly there would be individuals in there that followed God and...but the tribe as a whole, God says, just like with Israel, they're no longer filling that role as one of the tribes, and He replaced it with someone else.
— Yeah, in the Bible it says, "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone".
— That's right.
— So God is really making a statement about idolatry. He's certainly commenting on the life that these individuals lived, but He's not saying anyone who was ever associated with Dan and Ephraim are done. That, there's no reason to believe that at all. Carol asks, "I believe we should keep the Ten Commandments, "including the Sabbath, "but why don't we need to keep the feasts, especially since the Sabbath is called a feast"? Yeah, there's a question. So, here's how we would answer that. The Ten Commandments are unchanging, and they are eternal. The Bible makes that very clear. They're principles that represent the character of Almighty God. "Thou shalt not kill" is important today. "Thou shalt not commit adultery"; "Honor thy father and thy mother"... these are the bedrock of society, and certainly the Sabbath is important. It's included in the Ten Commandments. But there were ceremonial laws. It refers in Colossians 2:16 to some, "the handwriting of ordinances" being nailed to the cross. What was included in these ceremonies that we don't have to keep today?
— Sure. There were a number of feasts, the Feast of the Passover and the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles. And really, when you study those out, very powerfully, they were prophecies about the life of Christ. And so when Christ came and fulfilled those, they were no longer needed to be kept, because it's like, do you want the matchbox car, or do you want the actual Ferrari?
— In one place it says, Paul wrote, "Christ our passover"...
— That's right.
— ..."is sacrificed for us". The Passover lamb represented Jesus. When He died, there's no "What's the point of acknowledging the Passover"? for example.
— That's right. They were types and symbols that pointed to Christ, and when Christ came and fulfilled through His life all of those prophecies, then there was no longer a need to really acknowledge them. Because you had the true person that came, which was Christ. And so really those are two separate things. The seventh-day Sabbath is a celebration. It's a celebration of Creation or redemption, but it's not a part of those feast days. They were two separate things.
— Circumcision is something else that under the ceremonial law was mandatory for Jewish males. It's not mandatory today. You can take your little boy to the doctor if you want to, but it's not mandatory today. And in one place the Bible says, "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God".
Wes Peppers: That's right.
— So those types, those shadows, they're gone. The Ten Commandments remain. The Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments; we would continue to keep that today.
— That's right.
— Okay, Wes, let's do one more question before we go to the break. Robert is asking this question: "In Ephesians 4 and verse 9, did Jesus go to hell? If not, where did He go"?
— Sure. Let's read that here, Ephesians 4 and verse 9. It says, "Now this, 'He ascended'...what does it mean "but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth"? Well, Jesus made clear Himself in Matthew 13. There's a parable that He gives, and it's describing hell in the end of time, and Jesus says plainly at the end of that chapter that hell is not until the end. And so when Jesus was walking the earth, when He died, when He was crucified, hell was not taking place.
— It was not coming until later. So when it says He descended into the earth, very simply, He was buried in His tomb. That's all it means.
— Yeah, pretty simple, isn't it?
— Yeah, pretty easy.
— He was buried, and thank God He was.
— He ascended from Joseph's new tomb. Thank God He did. He went to heaven; He came back. He went to heaven, where He intercedes for us at the right hand of God. We appreciate that question. You can know that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. He didn't go to hell. There was no burning hell, or no place called hell, when Jesus died, other than the grave. And some of those words from the old languages that are translated "hell" simply mean "the grave".
— The grave.
— So, yeah, we appreciate that very much. Okay, if you have a question you would like to get to us, we would like to get it from you. So you could use carrier pigeon, if you wish, or email us: [email protected] With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.
John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. We have the privilege of answering your Bible questions. Submit them to us at [email protected] We get gallons of questions here at It Is Written, and it's fun to be able to answer some of them in a forum like this. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Wes Peppers. Glad to have you here.
— Good to be back, Pastor John. Thank you so much.
— Yeah. So what have we got?
— We have Jay asking the question, "Is the building of the temple necessary before Jesus returns"?
— Ooh. Depends who you ask.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm. That's right.
— There are loud Christian voices breathlessly stating, and there have been for many years, that the temple is gonna be rebuilt in Jerusalem, and it must be rebuilt before Jesus comes back. There's one voice that I've never seen or heard say that; that's the voice of the Bible.
— That's right.
— I've never noticed the Bible say that. So, there was a sanctuary built in the wilderness. It was replaced by a permanent structure, the temple in Jerusalem. Then when Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This was God tearing that thing. Jesus had said before this, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate". He's talking about the temple. And He never said, "It's gonna be rebuilt, and it needs to be remade". He said it's done; it's over. Now, here's the danger. There is a temple right now that exists. It's the one in heaven, and I wanna read about it with you. First we go to Hebrews, chapter 4, where the Bible says, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, "that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession". So Jesus is in heaven as High Priest. Let me go to Hebrews, chapter 9, and I'm gonna go to 9:11. It says, "But Christ being come an High Priest "of good things to come, "by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building". So Jesus is the minister in a heavily sanctuary, not made by human beings. So we could read again and again and again and again and again about this temple in heaven. We don't read about a temple on earth, except you do read about one temple, and that's the church. We are described as being a temple made of stones "fitly framed together". The church must be made, of course. There's no need for a temple on this earth. It would be a denial of the high priestly ministry of Jesus. What would a temple on this earth serve? What purpose would it serve when we by faith enter "within the veil," where our Forerunner has entered, according to the Bible, that is, Jesus? So, we're not looking to this earth now. We're looking to the heavenly sanctuary, where Jesus ministers for us at the right hand of God. There is a sanctuary, the one in heaven. Can you think of any need for a temple on this earth?
— Really, not at all, other than the church, as you mentioned. And the point of the one in the Old Testament was to point to the one in heaven. When Jesus came, He ascended. And then God, you find this very clearly in the book of Acts, God pointed the disciples to the temple in heaven.
— To the work that Jesus was doing. Stephen had a vision. He saw Jesus at the right hand of God. And in the book of Hebrews, as you mentioned, the book of Revelation, it mentions the temple. I wanted to say this too. Not only is there not a need for a temple on the earth; there's also not a need for an earthly priestly system any longer on the earth.
— That's right.
— Because Jesus is our High Priest. And so God would have us, all of us, friends, to look to the heavenly temple, to the work that Jesus is doing on our behalf, day by day, until He returns.
— Amen. Jay, great question, we appreciate it. We're looking at Pam's question now: "How should we as Christians treat people with different sexual orientations"? It would seem to me that the answer is somewhat obvious. And that is that we are to show love to everyone. How do we expand on that answer? Because one would think that's pretty straightforward.
— Sure, sure. You know, many people today view love as acceptance of anything. And certainly we have to draw some boundaries with that, and we can't accept certain behaviors. Let's just paint a scenario. If one of my children were to live that lifestyle, I would love them, I would be there for them as a parent, I would provide for their needs, I would care for them, but I would not allow them to practice that in my home. There's a difference. Could they stay at my house? Of course, they're my child. Would I still be close to them? Yes. So we don't have to beat people over the head to send them the message that we may not agree. We can still love them and provide for whatever needs they have, while at the same time making a stand in our own life.
— So it's important to understand that we are to show love. We're speaking here about different sexual orientations, but...okay. Choose any scenario that you can contrive or concoct. Whether it's a sinful practice, whether it's a disability, whether it's a job, whether it's they marry someone that you don't approve of, whatever it might be... we treat people with love. We treat people graciously. We wanna show Jesus to them. And, you know, you're gonna say, "Well, where do we show justice? And where do we say that we don't approve"? People typically know where you do or you don't approve, you know, and you can make that clear. But if that's how they define you..."Oh, he's that guy who doesn't like the lifestyle I've chosen," whatever that might be, then you're probably laying it on a bit thick. It oughta be, "She's that person who loves me". You know, I know of a couple of friends of mine who used to live a homosexual lifestyle, and what enabled them to make a change in their life was that they were absolutely assured that their parents loved them.
— So they could go home to their parents. Their parents accepted them. Might not have been happy about everything that they did, but they accepted them as their children. Can't we treat our friends like that? I might not agree with everything you do. I might not have thought it was a smart idea to get that tattoo on your neck or whatever it was, but I'm still gonna love you and treat you with dignity and respect.
— That's right. You have to do that. And that's what God does for us. We've all "sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," and God still treats us as children when we come to Him. And so, it's important to put our arms around those people, to love them, to be gracious to them, and just continue to set the example of Christ in our life for them.
— Yeah. Terrific. We've a question here from Raoul. Raoul writes, "Were the 'wise men from the east' Arabs"?
— The Bible doesn't specifically say that they were, but it doesn't say that they weren't. And many times the Jewish tradition regarded the regions of Arabia and Syria and Mesopotamia as the East.
— The East.
— So they very well could've been. They could've been from the further east. We don't exactly know. And so, you know, whether they were or they weren't, they were godly men.
— And they brought treasures, and they acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, as the Savior. And they were intelligent men. They were thoughtful men 'cause they studied the prophecies, they understood the timing of the coming of Christ when even the Pharisees, who were the teachers of Israel, missed it.
— So what prophecies were they studying that helped them know when the Messiah would come?
— Sure. They would've been studying the book of Daniel.
— Yes, they would've.
— Daniel, chapter 9, specifically, absolutely.
— Yeah. So they'd read about the star in Numbers.
— And they'd said, "Well, the star. We see a star. Let's study now. Daniel. Yes, Messiah is coming right about now".
— That's right.
— It's interesting that many Christian believers today can't figure out what the wise men figured out 2,000 years ago. We wanna be reading and studying Daniel. It will help us and guide us in our Christian experience. Jimmy asks us, "How does God hear prayer"?
— Well, God hears prayer when we pray. And when we pray sincerely from the heart, when we are seeking Him, when we're looking for Him, the Bible says, Jeremiah says, "Search for me with all your heart". God says, "Search for me with all your heart," and "you'll...find me". And He wants us to find Him. He wants us to pray to Him. And the scripture says, Isaiah 59:1, "Behold, "the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; [nor is] His ear heavy, that [He] cannot hear". And so God delights to hear from us at any time of the day. We cannot wear Him out. And He wants us to approach Him as a friend.
— Yeah, God is God. If He can call out the stars by number, create something out of nothing, say, "Let there be light," and there is light, He has no trouble at all hearing your prayer, no question. It'd be kind of fun to get to heaven and figure out exactly the mechanism how that all worked.
— What's amazing to me is that there are 7-plus billion people on the planet, and God hears all those prayers, all the millions of people praying even in one moment.
— He hears and understands and can answer those.
— God is God. Edward says, "Where are we in Bible prophecy"? Okay, mark of the beast, has that come yet?
— No, it hasn't. You read about another nation, a second nation, a lamb-like beast in Revelation 13 that rises into a position of greatness. Has that happened yet?
— That has happened.
— Well, it's happening, you know?
— Happening, that's right.
— We see that developing in the world right now.
— Seven last plagues, have they fallen?
— Not fallen yet.
— No, they have not. Twelve-hundred-and-sixty-day prophecy, the time prophecy in Daniel and Revelation, fulfilled, yes or no?
— It's fulfilled.
— Yes. Twenty-three-hundred-day-year prophecy, fulfilled, yes or no?
— That's been fulfilled as well. So we're pretty close. And if you were to look in Daniel, chapter 2, you've got the head of gold, the chest and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron, feet of iron and clay. We're way down in the toes, or even the toenails, many people have said.
— That's right.
— So where are we? Close to the return of Jesus.
— Right at the end. And, you know, a lot of people today, especially in the Christian church, even, they think the book of Revelation is closed, that none of it's been fulfilled, that it's for people further down the line, but when you actually study it, the way that we've understood it, much of the book has already been fulfilled. There are a few prophecies left that have not, but much of it has. And it indicates that we are on the very edge of eternity.
— That's right. That's right. Jesus is near, "even at the door".
Wes Peppers: That's right.
— Okay. Davanna asks us...we'll make this our last question: "Will there be sea creatures on the new earth, "and will there be polar bears or penguins on the new earth"?
— Sounds like a question my daughter has asked me before.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
— It's really a neat question.
— My first answer is, I really hope so.
Wes Peppers: I hope so too.
— Yeah. I'm sure there'll be bears. Whether there'll be penguins, you know, maybe there will be, and they won't be dependent upon the cold.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
— But the Bible... she might be asking this question, 'cause it says, "Will there be sea creatures"?
— Because the Bible says...
— "No more sea".
— ..."no more sea".
— And certainly we know there'll be water. Most likely there'll be the River of Life, and there'll be some creatures in that water, I'm sure. I'm confident there'll be bears. I hope there are. I'd love to have one as a pet, even. It'd be a fantastic thing. So I'm sure there will be sea creatures of some form, water creatures. But the Bible talks about all kinds of animals that there will be.
— It says, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, "the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together"... indicating there'd be no enmity among the animals... "a little child shall lead them. "The cow and the bear shall graze; "their young ones shall lie down together; ...the lion [will] eat straw like [an] ox".
— So it says bears. Whether there's polar bears...
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
— ...I don't know.
— Hey, you know what we wanna do? We wanna be there and figure it out and witness it for ourselves. And you may be there through faith in Jesus. If you've not done so, accept Him as your Lord and Savior. If you can, do it again. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. Thank you for joining us. We'll do it again. This has been "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.