John Bradshaw - Eternal Fire, Jesus' Brothers, and Salvation by Diet
John Bradshaw: Welcome. Thanks for joining us. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. This is where we get to answer your Bible questions. The "we" being myself, I'm John Bradshaw, and my friend and colleague from It Is Written, Pastor Wes Peppers. Wes, great to have you here.
Wes Peppers: Great to be here, Pastor John, and answer questions from the Bible.
John Bradshaw: Now, where do we draw the line? What questions will we not answer?
Wes Peppers: Any question that we can answer from the Bible, we wanna answer.
John Bradshaw: Okay, fantastic. So, if you've got a question you'd like to ask us, email us: [email protected] Lots of people do. These are actual questions that we have received at It Is Written, and we wanna share some of them with you. So let's start at the beginning, Wes. I'll ask you a question that comes from Esmie. She asks, "If the Bible doesn't mean that eternal hellfire burning is eternal, then what makes us think that eternal life means we'll live eternal"? So, if the hellfire is not eternal, why is the everlasting life eternal?
Wes Peppers: That's a great question, and there's a very clear Bible verse, I think, that answers that. It's Romans, chapter 6, verse 23. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord". And when you look at all the passages of the Bible that deal with hell and all the passages that deal with eternal life, there are many, depending upon the context, that talk about hell not burning eternally.
John Bradshaw: That's right.
Wes Peppers: The Bible points to that. There are no Bible verses throughout Scripture that say that eternal life is temporary or only for a certain amount of time, but it does extend, indeed, forever and ever.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, life or death.
Wes Peppers: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: If you'd like to study more about the subject of hell, visit us at itiswritten.study. We have a fantastic free series of Bible studies available online. You can study your way through them at leisure. The truth about hell is one of the greatest, most liberating truths that you will ever learn. Wes, we hear it again and again: "Hell gonna burn forever".
Wes Peppers: Yes.
John Bradshaw: "The wicked are gonna burn forever". It's not biblical. I don't know if any wrong teaching has made more atheists than that one.
Wes Peppers: That's right, and discouraged people. I've talked to many people, you have, too, that are very frustrated with God, bitter towards God, even, because of that. And the texts are very clear. There are those that clearly say that hell is a temporary time, everything will be burned up, and then there are those texts that are kind of, I'm not sure that say "forever and ever," but as you look at those individually, and you study them a little more deeply, you find that they line up with the others, and our It Is Written Bible Study Guides help to clarify that.
John Bradshaw: Absolutely. If hell burns forever, God is a monster; God is a liar.
Wes Peppers: Yes.
John Bradshaw: God is really a devil. How... This is a fascinating one. A very well-known Christian minister, well, fairly well-known Christian minister, wrote a book about hell, and he investigated the subject, and he got to the end, and he said, "I conclude that hell burns forever". He said, "I don't know why God would wanna do that".
Wes Peppers: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: "But if God wants to do that, that's up to Him". Two issues I have with that. Number one: God doesn't wanna do that.
Wes Peppers: That's right.
John Bradshaw: And secondly, you ought to know why. There ought to be a compelling reason. Here's why God would burn someone for eternity. You lived on the earth for 22 years, got drunk too much, crashed your car, and died. You're not gonna be saved. You didn't love Jesus. You're gonna be lost. So for that, God will burn you for a million years, and at the end of the million, He'll say, "Let's start another million and then another million"? That's madness.
Wes Peppers: It's a little intense.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, it's kinda madness. Christian asks a question: "Why is there a temple in heaven? Is it just for worship, or is there another purpose? Why the candlesticks, etc.? Especially if there was no sin before us and the earthly temple was a model of the heavenly one". Exodus 25 in verse 8: "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them". The next verse says, let them model this earthly sanctuary on the plans that I give them of the heavenly sanctuary. Jesus is in heaven now. Revelation 11, verse 19 talks about the temple in heaven being opened. Why a temple in heaven?
Wes Peppers: That's a great question. And in the temple in heaven is where God performs and orchestrates the plan of salvation.
John Bradshaw: Yes.
— [Wes]And He gave it to us as a model on the earth because, wonderfully, He wants us to understand what's happening in heaven.
John Bradshaw: Yes.
Wes Peppers: He wants us to know what He's doing in the process of salvation. So He gives that to us as a model. And so we can study still the Old Testament sanctuary and I, amazingly, many Christians today, they just dismiss that. They say, "Oh, that's old stuff," and then you ask them, "What is Jesus doing now"? They say, "Oh, I really have no idea," or, "He's building me a mansion in heaven". But when you study through the New Testament, through the book of Hebrews, through the book of Revelation, even through the Gospel of John, it's really sanctuary language. And so the sanctuary unveils God's plan of salvation for us on the earth, and each component in the sanctuary tells about what God is either doing for us, in us, or through us.
John Bradshaw: Yes.
Wes Peppers: It's a very powerful study.
John Bradshaw: Absolutely, and keep in mind, too, there's another function for the sanctuary right now. That's where Jesus is ministering for us.
Wes Peppers: That's right. That's right.
John Bradshaw: The subject of the sanctuary could consume 10 or 12 programs.
Wes Peppers: Oh, absolutely, hours and hours of programs.
John Bradshaw: It's deep stuff, yeah. Bruce has a question for you... well, has a question. I'm targeting it towards you.
Wes Peppers: Sure.
John Bradshaw: "'So the evening and the morning were' the seventh day? Why is this terminology used in the Genesis account for each of the first six days of Creation but not at the end of the account of the seventh day (as given in Genesis 2:3)"?
Wes Peppers: Yes. That's a great question. And it's really not, it's another one of those things that goes back to semantics. It's not that huge of an issue...
John Bradshaw: Right.
Wes Peppers: ...because it doesn't mention it. But the Sabbath was the same as everything else in the evening, the sunset began the Sabbath. When the sun set Saturday night, it ended the Sabbath. In Leviticus, it talks about that, and it says, "From evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath". In Mark, chapter 1, it talks about the evening-to-evening concept. And so, other places in the Bible, it does say that. Just because it doesn't say it in Genesis, some theologians have tried to use that to nullify the Sabbath and say it doesn't really matter because of that. The Bible's clear. One thing that I find is interesting is that the fact that God doesn't mention that separates the Sabbath from the other days.
John Bradshaw: Mm.
Wes Peppers: And God does do that. The seventh-day Sabbath "is the Sabbath of the Lord". And so it is different from the other days, not just because of that, but it's interesting that you find that piece there.
— Yeah, yeah, yeah, fascinating. So there were seven days of, in the Creation week, and as you study this, compare scripture, and investigate the original languages, these were 24-hour periods.
— That's right.
— Each one was a 24-hour period. That first Sabbath day was a 24-hour period as well. Here's a question from Daniel: "We see 'the law' mentioned many times in the New Testament. At times it refers to the written Mosaic law and at other times the Ten Commandments. How can we determine when it is referring to which law"? Context is king, and when they talk about circumcision and feast days, ceremonial law. When the writer is talking about the Ten Commandments, moral law, Ten Commandment law. Why don't we take a look at a couple of examples?
— When you get to Romans 7, you will discover that Paul says something I think interesting. Romans, chapter 7, we'll pick it up in verse 7. Which law is he talking about? "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. [No], I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, 'Thou shalt not covet.'" And then he goes on. So again, what we're looking at here is an example where the Bible speaks about law, spells out it's talking about the Ten Commandments. Where might we find a reference to law and would be able to say, "Ah, that's ceremonial"?
— Sure, in Colossians 2, it talks about the law of ordinances or the handwriting of Moses, the law of requirements. And so, many times you can find these words, "ordinances" or "ceremonies," would be talking about the law of Moses. Sometimes it just plainly says "the law of God" or "the law of Moses". And so, almost every time, you can determine from the context which law it's referring to.
— When you get to Galatians, it can be a little muddier there.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
— However, I don't know that that really matters because in Galatians, Paul is talking about being saved by the law.
— You can't be saved by...
— By either one.
— ...yeah, by any law. We can only be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and live up to all of the light that shines in our pathway. A really good question, Sharon asks, "The Bible mentions the [brother] of Jesus", or "the brothers of Jesus. Who were they? How old were they? Who were their parents? What happened to them"?
— Yeah, it's a great question. And many times the Bible talks about the brothers of Jesus. In Matthew 12:46, it says, "While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside...[and speaking to] Him". So, Jesus had a number of brothers. Actually, James was one of His brothers.
— That's correct.
— Wrote part of the Bible, and some of His brothers were actually killed. And many of them ended up believing in Him as the Messiah, accepted Him, where initially they seemed to reject Him, and they seemed to not believe that, similar to, like, you know, Joseph in the Old Testament when his brothers were jealous of him and kind of made fun of him. But ultimately, they saw His life, they studied the scriptures, and many of them came to believe.
— So His brothers were either sons of Joseph...
— ...that Joseph had before he married Mary. That seems pretty likely.
— Might have been other children that Mary had had. The reason that that may not be so is that at the crucifixion, Jesus commits the caring of His mother to John and not to one of his siblings.
— So, more than likely these were children that Joseph had before he married Mary. Did Mary have more children? Could have, she could have. The Bible doesn't mention them by name. So, you're asking for some specifics that we're not really able to provide.
Wes Peppers: Not fully.
— But, generalities: We know he had brothers, seems that these were children of Joseph. All right, next question.
— Our next question is from Daniel, and he says, "I began a 40-day fast, where I only ate a morning meal, but I got hungry and didn't finish the full 40 days".
John Bradshaw: Mm.
— "Is it a sin? Should I force myself to continue or alter my fast"?
— A few years ago, somebody wrote a book. It may have even been a little series of books, think I might have them, given to me as a gift: "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff".
— Mm-hmm. Now, I don't wanna intimate that your relationship with God is small stuff. And if you started a 40-day fast, then you were probably pretty serious about it. I would say this. If you were fasting for 40 days, where you only ate a morning meal, you probably got hungry.
— I would get hungry.
— I'd get hungry, too. Listen. You start with an intent, right? And then you don't quite know what you're gonna face.
— To eat because you got hungry is not a sin. God was not disappointed with you. I don't wanna use the phrase "did your best," but I'm going to here. You decided to fast. You felt like you were led by God to fast. You did your best. I mean, you know how well your body's gonna react to some of that. And then you ate because you were understandably hungry. Now, I'd say this. A 40-day fast is pretty extreme. Now, you said you were gonna only eat in the morning, but this is like Ramadan in reverse, where you don't eat during the day during Ramadan, Muslims, and then they eat in the evening. That's okay. But, man, you might wanna talk to a doctor. Is your body up to that? You might wanna make sure you're eating a really, really good breakfast and then that you have the right stuff to drink throughout the day. There's maybe no need for you to bite off such a big thing. Maybe you start with a two-day fast or a one-day fast or a week-long fast, and maybe you say, "This could get really difficult because it's 40 days where I'm eating only one meal a day". And then you may wanna say, "I'm gonna eat a morning meal and maybe a little something," maybe some grapes or some fruit or some whatever, crackers, something, or maybe a small meal later in the day. You don't earn extra brownie points with God because you decided to climb Everest and not K2. So, let's keep that in mind. You don't want to make things so difficult that you're essentially guaranteeing defeat.
— That's right. You don't earn favor from God by fasting. What it does is it helps to clear your mind. It helps to kind of humble yourself and recognize His presence more. But it doesn't earn favor.
— And so we do it for health reasons, we do it for spiritual reasons, but we're not doing it for salvation.
— It's important to remember that. You get into the fast, and you just can't do it 'cause you're too hungry. Okay, eat something.
— Drink something. Turn your 40-day fast into a four-day fast or a 14-day fast. No need to, I'm saying it again, go so hard-out. You might decide to do something a little more manageable. Maybe you built up to this. So, something else I would like to say, and that is that God is reasonable. Don't think that because you attempted to fast and it didn't work out that somehow you're in the bad books with God. Have mercy! God loves you. You fast for a day. He loves you. You fast for two days. He doesn't love you more; He just loves you. You fast for a week or a month. He loves you anyway. So learn to look at God as though God is a kind and benevolent God. See, what happens is this. When you have an attitude like this and you sin, this is where it gets to the "will God forgive me"?
— That's right.
— There are so many people today who don't have a benevolent view of God: "Oh, He's gonna hate me if I did this". "Oh, I committed this sin, so He won't love me". "Oh, I've gone too far this time". Let's remember this does not make God permissive. This does not make God...permissive.
— Couldn't think of a second word. It makes God...God. God is love. He loves you. Don't worry about letting God down because you didn't complete a fast. I think you did great. I might even think you pushed it a bit hard, but that's between you and God, not me and you.
— That's right. I would add this, that there are some days I'm, if I do decide to fast in some way or another, that I'm more in a mindset to fast that day than another day. Some days I'm not mentally prepared for it. And don't beat yourself up over that. Just say, "God, I wanna do this for You. I wanna do it to have a stronger connection with You". Don't do it worried that if you don't finish it, you're gonna be lost. It's not connected to salvation. And so you're doing it for a special purpose, but do not beat yourself up if you can't do it the way that you thought you want to do it. The most important thing is the heart. "And, Lord, I have this intent. I have this desire for You. I love You. I wanna do my best for You". Leave the rest with Him.
John Bradshaw: Okay, that went fast. It always does. We'll be back with more in a moment. This is "Line Upon Line". Love for you to share your questions with us if you have 'em: [email protected] Email us and do visit our online Bible study website, itiswritten.study. Back with more "Line Upon Line" in a second, brought to you by It Is Written.
John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. We have your Bible questions, and I'm gonna kick one in your direction and see what you make of this one from Sidney, Wes.
Wes Peppers: Sure.
John Bradshaw: "Why did God extend grace to Adam and Eve, but He didn't to Satan? They all rebelled against God. And why do we all pay the price"?
— It's a very good question, and I've been asked that question before, several times, actually. But I believe that God did extend grace to Satan.
— The Bible indicates in the book of Ezekiel, when it talks about Satan's first sin, that He bore long with him. He was patient with him, and there was a process of time that took place by the time he initially was turning in his heart away from God and the time when war broke out and he was removed from heaven. And so I believe that God was trying to get him to turn back from his ways. But the reality is he did not ever receive that grace. He was unwilling to turn to God. With Adam and Eve, when God offered that grace, immediately when they sinned, they knew it was wrong. And when God offered them that grace, they received it. Satan put himself in a place where he, y'know, he's really unable to receive it any longer. He has rejected and refused for so long and rebelled for so long that he just refuses. He has no interest in it whatsoever. And we can do the same thing.
— He has committed the unpardonable sin.
— That's right.
— What's fascinating too, you look at the millennium where Satan is confined to a desolated earth for a thousand years. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying this is probationary or this is given to him to repent, but the end of a thousand years, he's still a rebel.
— That's right.
— So there's nothing in there where Satan falls on his knees and he says, "I'm just so sorry". He's absolutely rebellious.
— What's interesting is at the end of the thousand years, during the thousand years, rather, he's seeing all the destruction and the devastation that he himself has caused.
— If there was ever a moment where he would think to himself, "Maybe I wasn't right here; maybe I should turn back," that when God raises those wicked from the dead, the Bible says immediately he goes out to deceive them for one final battle.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
— Even after a thousand years of watching his own destruction, his heart is unchanged. And that's, to me, is the signifying deal right there that he'll never change. He would never turn back.
— Sidney asked another little, there's an end of her question: "Why do we all pay the price"?
— Hold on a minute. We don't pay the price. Jesus, if I can use that terminology, paid the price. Now, I know what you mean. Why do we suffer and get sick and struggle and die and so on? Well, because we are responsible. Oh, not you and me, initially, but that was our grandparents back there, the human family, our forebears, they fell, and so we receive from them this broken stuff, these damaged goods that we are. But God is so good. God says, "You all fell into sin. I will make a way of escape. You rebelled. I will come after you," like the story of the prodigal son. So I don't wanna think that we pay the price. We are beneficiaries of the grace of God. We receive the gift of everlasting life. We get a really good deal. Okay, question from Diane: "If a person changes their diet and lifestyle and does not stop eating clean meat all the way, [can] they still be saved"?
— Well, that's very, a good question. The Bible says, even Paul says, salvation is not from eating and drinking.
— That's right.
— And so it's certainly not, the Bible doesn't condemn eating of clean meat. It does talk about, as we've referred to in other episodes, the way that you prepare it is important. But we're saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
— That's right.
— That's our ticket to heaven.
— Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's remember that. It's not doing this or not doing that. It's faith in Jesus Christ. Now, when you have Jesus in your heart, He will work in your life and start to clean things up. And I would say this, I would say this to you: If you were convicted that eating clean meat was absolutely against the will of God and you shouldn't do it, then don't do it.
— And maybe that would get in the way of... if God is speaking to you and you're saying, "Forget it, God, I'm hanging on to this, and nothing gonna dissuade me," you know, that could be a challenge to you spiritually because you're putting something ahead of God. Now, I dunno how many people do that. Maybe some, maybe the vast majority of people do not. So let's not try to say, "This thing is gonna trip you up". A lack of surrender to Jesus will keep you out of the kingdom of heaven. We are saved, as Wes said a moment ago, by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Outstanding. I love to be able to talk about these things that are important.
— That's right.
— Brent asks, "Can you explain where it says, 'I will put enmity between you and the woman'? How does that mean God, at that time, is talking about Jesus, from that time, going to atone for man's sins"?
— That's a great...
— I hope you could understand the way I read that.
— Yeah, it's a little bit confusing, the question, the way it's written. But in Genesis 3:15 is, I believe, what he's referring to. I call this the garden promise.
— He says, "I will put enmity between you and the woman", it means "hatred or contention," as talking about Satan and the church, God's people, "and between your seed and her Seed". Then He says this: "He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel". So, it refers to He, speaking, obviously, about Jesus dying upon the cross. And so, from that point in time, Jesus, the plan of salvation was put in place.
— Jesus was "the Lamb slain"...
— ..."from the foundation of the world".
— That's right.
— Revelation 13:8. So God had a plan at the creation of the world for the salvation of man if man had chosen to sin. Now, God knew that beforehand. He knew that that would happen. But He still created man anyway and allowed man to have his own choice. And God responded to that choice in love. It's very powerful. But that enmity existed, that hatred between Satan and God's people. That's a gift that God gave us.
— He gave us the gift of repentance.
— That's right, the very same moment that man sinned.
— Yeah. That was the gospel promise. Did it speak about Jesus? Yes, broadly, broadly.
— Didn't name Him by name, But certainly, as you weigh that up, that's God intervening to save us through Christ.
— And there when it says, "He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel," it's talking about the Crucifixion.
— When Jesus died on the cross, He received a wound, but He was resurrected. That's talking about the wound, or the heel. Of course, Jesus was nailed in the hands and the feet. But when it says, "He will bruise your head," He's talking to the serpent there. And it was the death of Christ that sealed the fate of Satan. Not immediately, but it was the beginning of the end for Satan. And when you kill a snake, Pastor John, growing up in the South, I knew this, if you kill a snake, it can still come up and bite you, even though it's dead. It still has the ability; until the sun goes down and the warmth of the body's gone, it can still hurt you. And so, even though the blow was given, Satan's final ending will come at the end of time.
— Mm. Mm. Yeah, it can't come soon enough. Interesting question. I think a lot of people wonder about this one that Charley asks: "How do I know it is God's voice that I hear"? Okay, let's consider a couple of things. How does God speak? He speaks to us through His Word.
— He will speak to us in answer to prayer. He will speak to us by providence. He will speak to us through others. Okay, first thing is this: You gotta get to know God real well. Get to know God real well. The better you get to know God, the more you will recognize His voice. It is a growing thing. When somebody said, "Jump off this high building onto the car park below," that wasn't God. When somebody said, "Take all your possessions, sell them, and give the money to the poor," that might have been God, may not have been God. You gotta pray your way through this. So, learn to pray. Learn to know the voice of God. There are times people say, "The Lord spoke to me and said..." Sometimes you wonder if people aren't being a little fanciful. But I think what happens is they got a strong impression. God has impressed them before. They recognize this as being God. So, God is not gonna lead you out of harmony with the Bible. It will always square up with what's written in this book, absolutely always. I often ask people, "What are those that you trust the most telling you"? 'Cause if you and other people are walking closely with God, and pray. You, listen, when you pray, you can remind God, "God, You have an obligation to lead me in harmony with Your will. You are God. What am I"? And God will lead you.
— That's right. And, you know, whether it's providence or even other people, other godly people can make mistakes sometimes.
— Yes, of course.
— Sometimes they may misunderstand your question. They may give you advice that's not ideal in a weak moment or whatever. So, whatever it is, if it's providence, if it's the counsel of other people, if it's any other thing, you have to test that, once again, to the Bible. And if any of those things conflict with God's Word, whether it's a dream or whatever it may be, you have to always trust the Bible. I've met people that said, "Well, I had this dream," and they've even told me, "I know that it conflicts with the Bible".
— "But I'm gonna still follow the dream".
— Oh yeah.
— Or "What this person told me made me feel good. And I know that was from God. It's not what the Bible says". But the Word of God is the most trustworthy thing that we have. And we have to compare everything with Scripture.
— So how about the young minister who gets a call from a church leader in another part of the country? "Pastor, we've been praying, and the Lord told us you're the man to come to this part of the country". At the same time, on the other side of the continent, another church leader calls and says, "Pastor, we've been praying, and the Lord told us you're the man". You know that that happens.
— Yes, it happens.
— "God has told us you are the man". Well, listen, God may have told one of them, probably didn't tell 'em both.
Wes Peppers: Right.
— Might've told none of them. So it's up to you to go to God and speak to God and find out for yourself and tell God, "It's Your job to direct me, not mine". "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; ...lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths". That's Proverbs 3. Great question, thank you. We'd like to get more of your questions. Email 'em to us: [email protected] With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This has been "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.