John Bradshaw - Life on Other Planets, the Apocrypha, and Jesus' Birth Date
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. It is great to see you. Thanks for joining us. And by us, I mean me, John Bradshaw, and him, Wes Peppers, from It Is Written. Welcome, Wes.
Wes Peppers: Great to be here with you, Pastor John.
John Bradshaw: Good to have you here, and good to have you here. Want you to know that if you have a question you would like to submit, email it to us at [email protected] That is [email protected] We want to take you into the Bible, share some clear answers, as far as we can, and encourage you in your faith in Jesus. So let's begin at the beginning with a question from Kathryn, that's Kathryn with a "K". Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, "For the living know that", I've got a niece with exactly the same spelling.
Wes Peppers: My grandmother's name was that as well.
John Bradshaw: With a "K"?
Wes Peppers: Yes, with a "K".
John Bradshaw: My grandmother's name was Catherine, but not with a "K".
Wes Peppers: With a "C" maybe.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, maybe with a "K" but with an "E" on the end.
Wes Peppers: It's a beautiful name.
John Bradshaw: There's some Kathryns around.
Wes Peppers: There's a lot of different spellings.
John Bradshaw: Kathryn, we approve of your name. Just thought you'd wanna know about that. We like it a lot. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten". That's how the King James Version renders that verse. "But I have good memories of deceased loved ones," Kathryn says. What sayest thou?
Wes Peppers: Well, I think maybe she's misreading the text here. The Bible says, "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing". So of course the living know things. You have thoughts, you have memories, you have ideas, and so once you die, the Bible says you go to the grave, you're sleeping until the resurrection of Jesus. Those people know nothing. But we do have memories; we do have thoughts. So I think that just a clear understanding of the text is the living know. So, the fact that they know that they will die means they know something.
— Yeah, sure.
— So, certainly.
— Yeah, you oughta have good memories of your departed loved ones. Sure, that's okay. But your departed loved ones don't have any memories because at death your mind switches off; you fall asleep. The Bible teaches that death is a sleep, an unconscious sleep. Because in the beginning, God breathed into the nostrils of the inanimate Adam "the breath of life, and he became a living being, a living soul". He was the combination of body and breath. At death, the breath goes back to God, which merely means that God retains that life spark. He can then put it back into a body when He re-creates it at the resurrection. So dead people aren't thinking about anything; they aren't remembering anything. But you? Enjoy your memories of your loved ones; that's why you have them. What's our next question, sir? What you got?
— Sure. Our next question comes from Clarence, and he asks, "Will people who worship the Virgin Mary be saved"?
— Let's make something clear about those people. People will be saved who love Jesus with all their heart. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Let me ask you a question: Do you, Wes, worship the Virgin Mary?
— I certainly do not.
— Okay, okay. Would you think that worshiping the Virgin Mary is a good and recommendable spiritual practice?
— I don't think so.
— You're not in favor of that?
— I'm not in favor of that.
— Okay, okay. Let me ask you this: Do you... Ooh, I'm not even sure which example to use here. Do you confess your sins to a priest?
— I confess them to the high priest, Jesus.
— All right, but do you ever go along to church...
— Not to a man.
— No, you don't do that. All right... Do you eat pork?
— No, I don't.
— No, all right, all right. Drink alcohol?
— Okay, okay, very good. So, let me ask you this: Is there anybody who drinks alcohol who could be saved?
— Okay, anybody who eats pork could be saved?
— Anybody who confesses their sins to a priest could be saved?
— Anybody who worships the Virgin Mary, possible they could be saved?
— I think so.
— Yes. Listen, the fact that somebody doesn't know something doesn't mean they're automatically lost. Now, if that person knows they shouldn't do A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, and they go on doing it, what they're doing is they're thumbing their nose at God, and they're demonstrating they don't really love God. But salvation doesn't come because you do do this or you don't do that. Salvation comes because you have faith in Jesus Christ. You've accepted His death in your behalf; you're placing your faith and trust in Him. You have said, "I'm not worthy to go to heaven, but I'm hitching my wagon to Jesus. Jesus is worthy. I have no righteousness. I'm claiming Jesus' righteousness". That's how you're saved. Now, as you grow, you will undoubtedly learn more and live more like Jesus. You might not get everything figured out this side of everlasting life. You might. But you might not. So we are not going to tell you that a person who worships the Virgin Mary cannot be saved. We're going to tell you that it's an unbiblical practice; we would recommend that a person does not do that. Mary, as wonderful as she is, blessed among women, is dead. She's sleeping in her grave, no need to worship her. Don't pray to Saint Anthony. Don't pay money in the hope of getting somebody outta purgatory. Don't do that. But while some things are inconsistent with the Bible, we cannot be so judgemental as to say anybody who does that cannot be saved. I wanna see if you have anything to add to that.
— Sure. You know, I think about John in the book of Revelation. There was an angel that was speaking to him, he fell at his feet to worship him, and the angel said, "See that you don't do that". I would consider an angel a higher hierarchy than a person.
— So if we're not to worship angels, then we're certainly not to worship Mary. The Bible says, worship God. He's the one that deserves our worship. Surely Mary was a godly woman, that's why God chose her to be the mother of the Son of God, but that doesn't give her divinity; it doesn't give her the status of anyone higher than anyone else to be worshiped. And so we would treat her just like we would treat anyone else. And so we wanna keep our worship and our devotion focused on Him who died for us.
— Amen, amen. We have a question here about Ephesians 6 in verse 12; let me read it for you: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". That's Ephesians 6:12. The question is, "Does this verse tell us that not only does other life in the universe exist, but some of it is evil? I thought only evil existed on this earth". So there's life in other places than Planet Earth, evil, some of it? Thought only the evil, thought the evil was only here.
— Sure. Here Paul's talking about principalities and powers, which are the forces of Satan. It's Satan and his evil angels, and they have the ability to, have had in Scripture at different times the ability to go to other places in the universe. So, no, there's not other forces that exist or other entities or life forms that God created that are evil, but it's speaking about those powers. Now, there are other planets. You read the book of Hebrews, chapter 1, the book of Job, chapter 1; it indicates that there are other life forms that are unfallen...
— ...not sinful, not evil, but part of God's creation.
— Outstanding. That question was from Marie, and we appreciate that, Marie. And now we have a question from Gift. I've never met someone named Gift. So, Gift, we thank you for your question. Lemme ask you this question, Pastor Wes: "Are there some missing books in the Bible"?
— If they're in the Bible, they're not missing.
— They're all there, and so...
— Yeah, yeah. But now, are there missing books of the Bible? Now you understand the question.
— Are there some books that should be in the Bible that somehow are not? I think no. What do you think?
— I think no. I think all the books that were intended to be a part of Holy Scripture, that God intended, are there. There are other books mentioned. There's the book of Enoch.
— There's the book of, I think, the book of Elijah, and there's others that are kind of mentioned. But I believe that if God had intended them to be essential for us, they would be there. And there's a lotta speculation in the world today, especially. People are always trying to bring up these different books that are missing, missing here, missing there.
— But, from what I read, from the Scripture we have, God has given us everything we need essential for salvation and an understanding of His character and His will for our lives. And we certainly don't need to add, does that mean we shouldn't ever read any other books? No. You know, there's lots of books by Christian authors that we're blessed by. But those are not Scripture. Scripture is what we have here in the Bible.
— The word "Bible" means "books". We have 66 books in the Bible. Now, there are some books that some wanna say should be in the Bible, in some Bibles. In Catholic Bibles you'll find the books of the Apocrypha. And there you'll get books such as Maccabees, First and Second Maccabees, Tobit, Jasher, Bel and the Dragon, addition to the book of Esther, a 13th chapter in the book of Daniel. There's a reason they're not in most Bibles, they don't belong in the Bible. But no, I don't think you need to fear there's any book that should be in the Bible that somehow escaped. If it was meant to be there, as you said, Wes...
— It would be.
— ...God would see to it.
— That's right.
John Bradshaw: Cheryl asks us, "If God Almighty forgives us for our sins and they're as far from north to east, why do we have to be judged when we go to heaven"? That's interesting. Why do we have to be judged? He's forgiven us; why judge us?
— Sure. There is a passage, Revelation, chapter 20, that talks about judgment in heaven...
John Bradshaw: Yes.
— ...during the 1,000 years. If you read that passage closely, those who are saved are already in heaven; they're not the ones being judged. And when you do a study of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, there is a judgment that takes place before Jesus comes. Jesus says, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according [to] his works". And so, there's different phases of the judgment. And there's a judgment that takes place before Jesus comes. Prophecy is clear about that, Daniel, chapter 8. Also there is another form of judgment in heaven; that's Revelation, chapter 20. The people that are judged there in Revelation 20 are the lost. When we get to heaven, we're gonna have a lot of questions about maybe why Grandma isn't here, why cousin So-and-So isn't here. And God gives us that 1,000-year time period to understand why those who are lost were lost.
— Yup, absolutely right. If you look at the sanctuary service, you discover that confessed sin was transferred to a lamb, then it was transferred from the lamb into the sanctuary, and then it was cleansed. Our confessed sins are transferred to Jesus, and ultimately they're cleansed in the judgment after they're placed on Satan. Say that and someone says, "Oh, you've made Satan the sin-bearer". No, no, no, no, no. Jesus bears the sins; He's the sacrifice for sins. But then Satan is punished as the originator and instigator of sin.
— That's right. He's responsible for its beginning.
— I hope people can separate that out.
— Jesus the sin-bearer, Satan's punishment is for his part in all the sins that have been committed. What judgment does is judgment determines who has accepted Jesus as Savior and who has not. The judgment runs a little bit like an audit. You named the name of Jesus. You said, "I'm a Christian; I'm saved". Your name is in the Book of Life if you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. The judgment, then, will be an opportunity for heaven to look on and say, "Okay, we'll start with Aaron Aardvark. You confess Jesus as the Lord and Savior. And look at that, the record of your life shows you were a genuine Christian. You're saved". It's an audit. It's not God looking for dirt or trying to keep you out of heaven. But there will be a judgment to determine whether the saved were fit to be saved, and to determine that the lost should have been lost. God isn't only just, but He is seen to be just.
Wes Peppers: Yes.
John Bradshaw: And that's powerful.
Wes Peppers: So it's not just for everybody, not just for Him. He already knows.
John Bradshaw: Absolutely.
Wes Peppers: But it's for everybody else because He wants everyone's questions to be answered and satisfied.
John Bradshaw: This is one I think we can answer quickly. Albert has a question: "In heaven will the Holy Spirit have a body as did Jesus when He walked this earth and ascended to heaven"? Here to heaven, what do you say?
Wes Peppers: The Bible doesn't indicate whether He will or He won't.
John Bradshaw: No.
Wes Peppers: It calls Him a Spirit, and so I think that's probably what He'll be forever. But we don't know that for sure; the Bible doesn't indicate to us, yeah.
John Bradshaw: So you don't wanna speculate? No, you don't.
Wes Peppers: Yes, that's right. Yeah, that's right.
John Bradshaw: The thing is this: We don't want to speculate. I think it's an interesting question. I think it's really a question most people have had: "What does the Holy Spirit look like? What will the Holy Spirit's form be when we get to heaven"? But if we told you that we knew, we'd be lying, 'cause we don't, because the Bible doesn't really clearly point that out. We'd love you to participate in this program, if you'd wish, and send us a Bible question. If you'd like to, email it to [email protected] With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.
John Bradshaw: This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. Thanks for being part of this program. We are sharing answers to Bible questions. If you've submitted a question, thank you. If you'd like to, email us: [email protected] We'll do our very best to give you a Bible answer for your Bible question. If we don't know, we'll tell you. I think just a few moments ago we said, "We don't know". Somebody said, "What's the Holy Spirit gonna look like throughout eternity"? We don't know. It says "Holy Spirit," we think it's a spirit, but we dunno if He'll have a body or not. We'll find out one day. So let's proceed here, Wes Peppers, and find out what Gwendolyn's question is all about. She asks, "If it is appointed unto man to die once", and you read that in Hebrews 9:27, "why then do people say they died, went to heaven, and came back"? Now, there's a good question.
Wes Peppers: Sure enough. And a lotta people are experiencing that more and more. You can find tons of stuff about this on the internet, near-body or out-of-body experiences...
John Bradshaw: Near-death experiences.
Wes Peppers: ...near-death experiences.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Wes Peppers: And so, what's interesting is you can find a lot of those stories on the internet, but you don't find very many in the Bible.
John Bradshaw: That's correct. Now, now, full disclosure: We do have Moses dying, being resurrected, going to heaven; Elijah, not dying, being taken to heaven. They came back and appeared with Jesus at the Transfiguration. That's easy to explain. But what about, what about the kid who wrote the best-selling book, said he died, went to heaven? Later on he said it was a hoax.
— It was a hoax; that's right.
— I knew it was a hoax; so did you, because it's not biblical. A person lives; they die; they sleep; they wait until the resurrection, everyone you know. The only exceptions we know of: Moses, Enoch, Elijah, and maybe that group of people who were resurrected at the time of Jesus; they were probably taken to heaven, it seems. We've got good biblical evidence for that. Outside of that, everyone you know who has died is sleeping. So, let's see if we can tackle this head-on and try to be gracious about it. Gwendolyn asks, "Why do people say they died and went to heaven and came back"?
— You know, a lotta times, they're finding scientifically that a lot of these experiences are associated with some kind of head trauma or some kind of, you know, drugs or maybe even prescription drugs when they're in the hospital. And a lotta times people will say, "Oh, I went through a tunnel of light, and I came out the other side, and God was saying to me, 'No, no, no, it's not your time. Go back.'" Now, we wanna be sensitive to that. We wanna ask the question, "Does God make a mistake with those things"? Would God say, "Oh no, it's not your time to be here; I made a mistake; I'm gonna send you back"? I don't think so.
— No, and that's also not dying. What about... Oh, oh, oh, I meant to tell you this. Researchers have found there's a little portion of your brain that misfires under stress and gives you a sensation of being outside your body.
— That's right.
— Brain is an interesting organ. Now, when you get the guy who says, "Well, I was in an accident and they loaded my body into an ambulance, and I followed my body all the way to the county hospital above the ambulance," well, you can understand that was because of some stress. A woman I met told me that she and her friends used an inordinate amount of cocaine, got really wasted. They thought she died; they dumped her body behind a hedge. Lucky they were her friends; who knows what they'd have done.
— Right, right.
— And then she had this out-of-body experience. Well, yeah, sure, under those circumstances. You don't hear of someone sitting on the beach in Cancun with a little glass with an umbrella in it and multiple colored drinks, they're just sitting there enjoying the afternoon sun, and suddenly having an out-of-body experience.
— That's right.
— Doesn't work that way.
— It's almost always associated with trauma or an accident or even surgery many times. Or, you know, sometimes, I'm sleeping very hard, I've had a hard day of physical work or whatever, and I wake up in the night, and I kinda think, "Oh man, where am I"? Just for a few seconds, a little bit groggy, and it takes my mind time to adjust. So, you know, the Bible's very clear: When you die, "The living know...they will die, but the dead know nothing," Ecclesiastes 9:5. And so, when we die, there's not a hovering out of the body; there is a unconscious sleep.
— Psalm 146, verse 4 says that when you die, your "thoughts perish".
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
— So that's clear. So, I don't know. Someone you know said that they went to heaven and came back, I'd hate to be the judge, jury, and executioner in that case. But what I can tell you is that's not a biblical experience; it's just not. And we wanna stand on the Bible; otherwise we open Pandora's box to a whole slew of distortions and inaccuracies. All right, Wes, Adoration asks this question: "What is a sin which is not unto death"? Ah, good question. She is asking in reference to 1 John 5:16 and 17. She says, "Aren't the wages of sin death"? But, you know, it says over there in 1 John 5 that "there is a sin [that is] not unto death," or not leading to death. What's that all about?
— That's right. The death, all sin leads to death, to physical death. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death," which, in that particular verse, is talking about the second death. And so we are gonna die a physical death as a result of sin, but not all sin leads to the second death. And the sin that doesn't lead to the second death is that which is confessed and forgiven by Jesus. And so here it's referring to a person that would be continuing to sin in rejection of the Holy Spirit convicting them to turn away from that sin and towards Christ. And so, those are the sins that don't lead to death. Don't misunderstand. Some people think, "Oh, maybe there's some sin I can participate in and be okay". But certainly that's not the case. All sin will lead to that place if we don't ultimately stop and heed the voice of Christ.
— Amen. Here's a fun question. Let's see where this takes us. William asks, "What will we be doing if we go to heaven throughout the millions of years"? What are we gonna be doing with Christ and God during that time? "I realize time will not be counted as years"! But, in other words, what are you gonna do with all that time? You know, I do remember talking to a lady; she was 82. She said, "I don't know that I want to go to heaven. It seems like such a long time to live". Oof. And I used to wonder years back, "What are we gonna do for all that time"? Then, as you get older, I would've thought my 82-year-old friend would've thought, "I've done so little," you know? Life just goes by.
— It goes quickly.
— Think of the people you want to know, the skills you want to master, the, I don't know, the languages you want to learn, the things that you want to become expert in, the places you want to go. When I began to think about it like that, I thought, "Man, I'm not sure if eternity will even be long enough, you know".
— That's right.
— And we don't know what God has prepared.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
— Are things gonna change? Will there be new challenges, new vistas, new activities? It's worth thinking about, though: What are you gonna do there all that time?
— That's right. I mean, in the book of Isaiah, it talks about that we'll build houses, that we'll plant vineyards. We'll have all these activities to do. I'd love to learn how to play instruments and to sing. You know, I don't sing so well. My wife's a beautiful singer.
— Yes, she is.
— But just to fully grow into all that God has planned for us to be, that'll take a long time. We will never be able to exhaust the mind of God. God's mind is so deep, it is so infinite, there will always be new things to learn, there will always be new things to experience and do, so I don't think anyone's gonna get bored. You know, sometimes, my kids will say to me, "Oh, I'm bored, Dad". And I say, "Well, I'll tell you what". Every time they say to me, they've learned, they say they're bored; I have work for them to do.
— So God will have plenty of things for us to do and think about; it will never be boring. And I think sometimes people say, "I don't know if I wanna live that long" because they're thinking about the hurtful, painful experiences of this life.
— But in that life, all pain will be healed. There'll be no more tears; it will be total bliss and joy.
— Yeah, think about a place where there's no strangers, no enemies, no danger. It's never too hot; it's never too cold. It's always beautiful. God is there. Let's think about this. You'll be there with Jesus. There'll be angels, things that you just can't imagine. And I don't wanna talk about this as some kind of heavenly New Zealand or heavenly Hawaii, I don't just mean that, but think about this world that God has crafted intentionally for your blessing.
— I think of my favorite places on the earth: the woods, the beach. I really don't get tired of being in the woods, you know. And that's not even a drop compared to what heaven's gonna be. So, it's gonna be endless joy.
— Okay, our next question is from Ariel.
Wes Peppers: Yeah, Ariel asks, "What time of year was Jesus born"?
— Yeah, that's a really good question, you know. He certainly wasn't born in December.
— He was born at a time where shepherds were outside watching their flocks, so it was a warmer part of the year. There are tons of calculations you can look at based on when the angel came to see Mary and when the various festivals took place. I've looked into this and discovered one theologian I have a little time for says that maybe it was June, maybe June 1, maybe early June. So, I don't know with any unerring accuracy, but it was warm, might have been summer. Wasn't winter time, wasn't December 25. Okay, got a question for you here.
Wes Peppers: All right.
— And this is a question that came to us from Mimi. I like this question. "Is every sin a salvation issue"? Now, I know what people are gonna say: "Oh, well, that's not a salvation question". Now, if they're going to say drinking...smartwater... isn't a salvation issue, okay, fine. Fine, fine, fine. But that's not what she said. Mimi asks, "Is every sin a salvation issue"?
— That's right, not every issue, but every sin. And certainly every sin would be a salvational issue because sin is sin. And whether it's a big sin or a small sin, there is really no white lie versus big lie; a lie is a lie.
— Let me flip the question a little bit.
Wes Peppers: Yes.
— Are you gonna go to hell just 'cause you told a little lie? Now, it's not a question that we really want to answer 'cause it's a loaded question.
— Right, it's a loaded question.
— But, so imagine the answer is no.
— No, you're not gonna go to hell for doing little sins. Okay. So there's this sliding scale. If I'm a little bad, it's okay. If I'm a lot bad, it's not okay. You know what we've just done? The question pushes you, if you enter it, it pushes you straight to the place where you're advocating salvation by works.
— So here's what we would say. Listen, "The wages of sin is death". Sin separates a person from God. Sin is super unhealthy. Sin is bad for you. It caused the death of Jesus. What you wanna do is say this: "How should I be saved"? That's by surrendering to Jesus and inviting Him into your heart. That's how a person's saved. Well, what then about a little sin versus a big sin? You don't want it if it's little or big because little sins tend to lead to big sins. And little sins are a manifestation of separation from God and a lack of faith in God. So what you wanna do now is to try to get as close to Jesus as possible, get as much of Jesus in your life as you possibly can. Now, so I stubbed my toe, and I said a word I shouldn't have said. Do I need to feel like I'm condemned? No, no, no. You say, "Ooh, sorry, I should never have done that". And by the way, the closer you get to Jesus, you stub your toe; you're gonna say, "Oh, Lord, what did I do that for? Oh, I'm so sorry". Or, "Oh, oh, that hurts". Or, "Jesus, help me". You're not gonna cuss like once upon a time you did.
— That's right.
— So you grow in the grace of God. You're not gonna worry about every time I put my little pinky finger in the wrong position, "Am I condemned by God"? That's not how salvation works. God has a common sense. God, He loves you. He wants you to be saved; He doesn't want you to be lost. But I had a pastor once who said, "It's all salvational". And it is; it's all salvational. But be careful how you apply that.
— That's right, for sure.
— You've got 15 seconds.
— Yeah, it's not so much the act of one thing; it's the pattern of a life. What is my character? And we're human, sometimes we're gonna slip, but God is continually working on us, and He's making us more like Christ every day. And we have to look to Him.
— Yeah, we grow in Him; we slip less; we love Him more. It's all salvational. Just be careful how you apply that to your life so you don't get things out of whack. Hey, thanks for joining us. We're outta time. We'll do it again! This has been "Line Upon Line". With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw, brought to you by It Is Written.