John Bradshaw - Alcohol, Human Sacrifice, and 666
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. This is where we get to answer your Bible questions. You know, we can't answer them if you don't send them. So if you have a Bible question, send it our way; email it to us: [email protected]. I am John Bradshaw, with me, Wes Peppers. Great to have you here.
Wes Peppers: Thanks, Pastor John, always good to be here.
John Bradshaw: Hey, so, I mean, why do you do this?
Wes Peppers: You know, I've studied with the Bible with many people for many years, and one of the great joys I find is when they get the answer they're looking for from the Bible, and their eyes just light up. There's a sparkle there, and their heart jumps, and it draws them closer to Christ.
John Bradshaw: So one man believes one way, one man believes another, one woman believes one thing, does it matter?
Wes Peppers: Well, I think it does. God...
John Bradshaw: Why?
Wes Peppers: Yeah, well...
John Bradshaw: Why can't you just leave them, leave them people happy, believing what they believe? Why can't you do that?
Wes Peppers: Well, they may be happy, but they're not gonna be biblical and right. And so, you know, John tells us that God delights when we walk in the truth.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Wes Peppers: And so understanding the truth is a truth that sets us free, and we can live happy but ignorant and not in the truth. And we want to be free from error. And so the beauty of the Bible is that it speaks truth to us, and we want people to experience Christ, and Christ is the Word, and it changes lives. So for me, that's the most powerful thing.
John Bradshaw: You wanna draw as close to the heart of God as you possibly can live in a way that pleases Him, walk in the light. Aaron asks us a question that, I think, you can shed some light on.
Wes Peppers: Sure.
John Bradshaw: Question is simple: "Are we born sinners"?
Wes Peppers: Yeah. That's a great question, and it's been a debated question for many centuries.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, oh yeah.
Wes Peppers: And so, you know, the Bible very clearly teaches that we are born with sinful human natures, that we are bent towards sin that we are, you know, we have the tendency to sin. But sin, when you look at what all the Bible says about it, is a choice. It's not something that we're forced to do. There's no sin that you've ever committed that the devil made you do. Now, probably every sin you've ever committed, the devil tempted you to do.
John Bradshaw: That's right.
Wes Peppers: But you've chosen to do that. And so our wills are the power of choice. God has given us the power of choice. We don't have to choose sin, but we are bent to do that. Now, when we were created in the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had unfallen human nature, which means they had the full capacity that God had given them, and they were not driven or pulled towards sin. They had no inclination towards it. But we, since the fall of humanity, have had that. And so, but God gives us a great tool. He gives us His grace. He gives us His Spirit. He gives us His Word. And so we can be restored back into that, and we can resist sin in the power of God, not in our own power, but in His power. So are we born sinners? No. We're born with a sinful nature. We choose to sin, and that's when we become sinners.
John Bradshaw: Amen. Let's just move on. There's nothing to add to that answer.
Wes Peppers: It's a long answer, probably.
John Bradshaw: No, extraordinary well done, and why add to that? Shelley asks, "Who are the 'captives' that were raised up when Jesus ascended? And why were they considered captives"? The Bible says that "He led [a multitude of captives] captive". Who were these people when this happened? Can you tell me, please?
Wes Peppers: Sure. You know, the Bible tells us in the gospels that when Jesus was resurrected from the dead, there was a great earthquake, and a number "of the saints who had fallen asleep" rose up with Him, "they went into the...city," and they spoke to the people in the city and was telling them about things of God. When Jesus ascended into heaven, those people went with Him. And so you know, the Bible doesn't go into great detail about this, but it does give us that clue. So those captives were people who were captive in the grave, Jesus brought them forth, and then they ascended into heaven with Him.
— Yeah, amen. All right, won't add to that, to you.
— Pretty simple.
— You're burning it up today.
— All right.
— Peter asks, "At the resurrection we're changed and receive incorruption and immortality. So why do we have to eat from the tree of life to sustain life like Adam and Eve did"? You know, here's what I think the Bible teaches us. That immortality, you do not wanna make a Freudian slip like that, the immortality that we receive, when Jesus comes back and confers immortality upon us, is still conditional immortality.
— Yes, yes.
— The life we have is still in Christ. Our life extended to us now. I mean, to a degree we have immortality now by faith.
— But when we have immortality there, that's still, it's still, it's not independent of God. We can't say to God, "Listen, I'm done; I'm leaving You; I'm rebelling, going my own way" and retain that immortality.
— That's right.
— So, eating from the tree of life is a reminder that we are still dependent on God for life and for health and for strength and all of that, even though we have been given the gift, in reality, the one that we receive now by faith of everlasting life.
— If people were to sin again in heaven, which, the Bible says it won't happen...
— Won't happen.
— ...but if, then that process would be repeated. There would be death that would be brought forth from that. So we are reminded that our dependence upon Christ, that's the only way to have life, in obedience to Him.
— Cheryl asks us this; it's from Deuteronomy 12:15. She's asking about that verse, wanting us to explain it. It deals with the eating of unclean meat. Here's what it says, as she writes, "However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike". Mmm.
— Yeah. That seems like it could be tricky, but I think...
— It's not.
— ...it's not. It seems, it could seem that way, but it's not.
— Good, 'cause, for one thing, the food source mentioned is the gazelle and the deer.
— That's right.
— And that's clean meat.
— So what's this verse getting at?
— So I think the key is right towards the end, right before that, it says the clean, well, let's back up. "You may slaughter and eat meat within your gates, whatever your heart desires". Now, that would naturally mean we would have to take the secondary principle of clean and unclean. So whatever my heart desires, that it's clean.
— That's right.
— But secondly, it says, "According to the blessing of the Lord your God, which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it". It's not saying that you can eat unclean food. It's saying those that are clean and unclean may eat of the food that's being offered there. And then He says "the gazelle and the deer". So, you know, it's not describing here the permission to eat unclean foods. It's basically saying those things that are clean can be eaten.
— Yeah. And the people who were clean ceremonially, or ceremonially unclean, could eat of that food.
— Yeah. There we go. So that gets us to a question asked by Philip: "Why do some people say that Jesus turned water into grape juice when the Bible says He turned it into wine"? Yeah, that's a really good question. The answer is absolutely straightforward. It all depends on your definition of that word "wine". Now, when I say to you, "Philip, would you like a wine"?, you have every reason to believe that what I'm offering you is alcoholic, a cabernet sauvignon, a Rhine Riesling, I don't know, whatever it might be. We say "wine," we think booze, right? Yes. Now, in the Bible, the word is translated "wine" whether it refers to alcohol or juice, something alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It's the same word used, "oinos" in the Greek, "yayin" in the Hebrew. Very, very infrequently, if ever at all, it says, "And Jesus enjoyed some juice". It would just say "wine". So the context is gonna decide whether we're dealing with something alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It's a wedding feast. It's the end of the wedding feast. There's 125 people there, let's say, that's what scholars reckon would've been at a wedding like that, And Jesus turns 150 gallons of water into wine. Ask yourself, was that liquor or was that juice? What are you thinking? Now, someone whose culture is to drink wine and enjoy wine is gonna say, "Well, that would be wine, surely". But someone who's read the Bible, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; ...whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise". Proverbs 23:29-35, it's a lengthy passage, and alcohol consumption is absolutely negatively... per something. In Proverbs 31, verse 4, "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor...princes strong drink". And we remember God "has made us kings and priests".
— That's right.
— So it's not for us. What do you add to that? It's juice. I got asked this recently myself: "Hey, I heard you talk about Jesus turning water into juice, but it says 'wine,' and that's because wine and juice the same thing".
— Well, a couple of things, it's very powerful that, you know, you mentioned 150 gallons. Well, where did we get that? That's John, chapter 2. It says there were six waterpots "containing twenty [to] thirty gallons apiece". So if you take the middle number 25, it's 150. Now, that's 150 gallons of wine for about 150, maybe 200 people. That's after they had already drunk the other wine that was gone. That was a lot. So if all of that wine was alcoholic, those people would already be staggering drunk. And then here's Jesus adding to that more alcoholic wine. I just can't see that in the character of Jesus.
— Now, the other thing you ask is, what is alcoholic wine? Well, it's fermented grape juice. Well, what exactly does that mean? Very simply, it's rotten. It's rotten grape juice. The grape juice begins to break down, and as it does that, it releases those gasses that give the intoxifying effect. So does it make sense that Jesus would create anything rotten? Well, it doesn't make any sense at all. And so therefore it has to be fresh wine that he's turning from water. There is really no other explanation.
— You know what hangs people up is the governor of the feast says, "You've saved the best till last". Wow, the best! Now, you ask me, 'cause I haven't drunk alcohol in decades, You ask me, "The best"? I'd say, "Ooh, yeah, the best..." As someone who's drunk a bit of wine in his time, the best I ever had was, I really think, it was from Mendocino County in California, was not alcoholic.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Mm.
— It was staggeringly good. Just this past weekend I was in a certain place, and they left me a bottle of red grape juice. It was a winey bottle with a cork in the top. I popped that cork out and drank some of that. Ay, Wes!
— So good?
— It was!
— That's right.
— That's right.
— I'd never had a cabernet merlot as... well, no, never had a merlot as good as this.
— It was drop dead fantastic. But we say, "Oh, it's the best wine. It had to be alcohol".
— Doesn't necessarily mean that.
— You know, I hope you'll be my friend. But I'm not here for that purpose. I'm here to help ya understand the will of God. If you say, "I understand God's against drinking wine, and I'm gonna drink it anyway," that's one thing. But if you say, "Oh, I think God's okay with drinking wine," you've gotta think again. Alcohol is responsible for suicide, domestic violence. I'd love for you, look up the stats and try to find out how much domestic violence is related to alcohol. Rape. Are you comfortable with that? Are you comfortable with sexual assault and domestic violence? Are you comfortable with that? No, you're not. Alcohol fuels tons of it. It ruins minds. It destroys careers. It is a ruinous, ruinous substance. Now, I know, some little wine drinker isn't happy with me right now. I mean, I'd rather you are happy with me, but I don't care, because what you need to do is think, read what the Bible says, and understand something about this. If you want to be complicit in this massive scheme causing enormous damage in society, that's up to you. From a spiritual perspective, from a physical perspective, from a cultural and societal perspective, I can have nothing to do with it. And I want to tell you this, when you choose not to drink alcohol, you are not worse off. You don't appear less sophisticated. Your friends won't look down their nose at you. If they do, move on; you don't need them. But they won't because people understand it's a choice these days. Some people do; some people don't. There's no good reason that you have to drink alcohol. There's just not. "But I like it". There's a thousand things you like that you don't do because it falls outside the will of God. So I will just encourage you, particularly Christians, (have mercy!) this isn't something that you need in your life. It's not the will of God. Leave it behind. Save the money, save your dignity, save your witness before others, and get on God's program. Did I make that clear?
— I think you made it clear.
— Okay. Well, if I didn't, send me another question about it. I'll take another run at it next time. Speaking of next time, we'll be back in just a moment with more of your questions. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.
— Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. If you have a question for us, we'd love to receive it. Best way for you to get that to us is by emailing us: [email protected], [email protected]. All right, Pastor Wes, Simon asks, "Can you explain what it means that Abraham died and 'was gathered to his people'" in Genesis 25 in verse 8? "I heard a pastor explain that it meant his soul had departed to someplace where his fathers were". What do you think?
— Well, I don't want to have any disrespect for that pastor, but I doubt that he quoted a Bible verse when he said the soul was departed up into heaven.
— He may have, but if he did, it was likely misquoted. And so there are a number of passages that will explain this. And that's the general principle for any Bible verse that doesn't seem clear. You look for the context or another verse that will explain that meaning. And so, you know, there's a number of verses I'm looking at here in Genesis 25, verse 8. That's the verse that he asked about. It says that he "was gathered to his people". Sometimes that meant they would gather the people together before they died, but then sometimes it's referring to the death. They would be gathered to their other family members that were already buried. Here's Genesis 35:29; speaking of Isaac, it says, he "breathed his last and died" at the ripe old age, joining his ancestors in death.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, there you go.
— Another, and then it says they, he was buried, no mention of going to heaven there. Genesis 49:29, same thing, Jacob said, "[Soon I will die and join my ancestors]; bury me with my [father and grandfather] in the cave...of Ephron". And so he was buried there with them. Acts 13:36, speaking of King David, David, when he had done "the will of God" in "his own generation," he died and "was buried with his [ancestors]," and his body decayed. So the Bible's very clear about this. That little phrase just simply means that they died, and they were laid to rest with their ancestors, who had died before them, wherever they were buried.
— Amen. Miranda writes, "If 'Vicarius Filii Dei' is supposed to add up to 666 in Roman numerals, is the 'U' supposed to be [of] the same value as the 'V'"? Hey, great question, we're talking about one of the identifying marks of the antichrist, and you can catch one of our It Is Written programs to go in depth there. Have you ever been to the "covrt hovse"? The "covrt hovse"? Have you ever seen that on a courthouse? C-O-V-R-T H-O-V-S-E?
— Mm-hmm. Yes. Yes.
— Yeah. The "U" is a modern "V". That's really all it is. The "U" is a modern "B", "V". So when you're looking at "Vicarius Filii Dei" and you're looking at the numerical values of those letters, the "D" is worth 500 and the "C" is worth 100. The "V "is worth five; the "U" is worth five as well because same letter. There you go, the "U" and the "V," essentially the same; letter "U" is a modern "V," and over time it's taken on a slightly different role in the English language. And what's fascinating about this, if you go back and look at some of the letters that used to be used in language, quite fascinating.
— Oh yeah?
— Some of the sounds that we used to have that were represented by this or that, and they've since been moved out of the English language. The language has changed over time. And that's why the "U" and the "V" are given the same numerical value in that phrase "Vicarius Filii Dei," which means "the Vicar of the Son of God," or one who stands in the place of the Son of God. All right. Here's...Albert. And Albert asks... I mean, I don't mean to sit in judgment on any of the questions, but a thinking question.
Wes Peppers: Absolutely.
— "In Revelation 4 and 5, the thrones are shared by the Father and the Son, but you don't see the Spirit. Why isn't the Holy Spirit featured in these scenes"?
— That's a great question. Sometimes the Bible will portray these types of scenes, and it may not mention a certain detail, like the Holy Spirit, but that doesn't mean His presence wasn't there.
John Bradshaw: That's correct.
— And so there are other places in the book of Revelation where the Holy Spirit is very present in those same types of scenarios where it's displaying the authority or the power or the sovereignty of God. So when you look all through Scripture, you see the use of the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You see that in Creation. You see that in various places in the gospels of the baptism of Jesus. There was the Father speaking from heaven, Jesus being baptized, the Spirit of God descending like a dove upon Jesus. And so there are just multiple examples there. In John, chapter 16, where Jesus is explaining the function of the Holy Spirit...
— "When He, the Spirit of truth"...
— "He, the Spirit of truth has come"...
— "He will guide you into all truth".
— "He will guide you". And so over and over again, the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit as a person, as a part of the Godhead, as having divine attributes. And so it is, we believe very firmly, the Bible teaches that that Trinity or Godhead, the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible, we understand that, but the concept is very much there. So just because, again, just to reiterate, because in that particular place, the Bible may not specifically mention it, doesn't mean it wasn't happening.
— The Spirit of God isn't depicted as being on a throne there. There's a reason why. Jesus came to live this world and demonstrate to us who the Father is. The Spirit of God doesn't assume the same role as the Father. They have different roles, and the Spirit's role is to lead us to and to glorify the Father and the Son. Now, you may say that's a tertiary role, a subordinate role. Oh, I wouldn't think so. Divine, divine, divine, it's all divine. But you understand They have different roles. And so the Spirit isn't depicted as reigning on a throne. That's not His role. You've identified very clearly that He is a member of the Godhead. That's correct. Different role, different function, don't let that throw you. Someone's gonna say, "See, He's not really God because not on a throne". You don't have to be fooled by that. The Spirit of God has different roles than the Father and the Son. Okay, I have a question for ya. This is a fascinating one. Gladys asks, "In Judges 11, Jephthah promised to offer whatever came out of his house as a burnt offering to the Lord, and his daughter came out. I assume he sacrificed her, but isn't that an abomination to God"? Now, I have a view on that that may differ from the view of some. You want me to go first? Or...
— I want you to go first. I want to hear about that.
— All right.
— That may just answer the question straight up.
— It may reveal me as being in disagreement with you.
— I don't know. We'll see.
— Let's find out.
— All right.
— So we'll look at the story of Jephthah. "Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, ...behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: ...she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter". We're in Judges 11, and that's verse 34. "Came to pass, when he saw her, ...he rent his clothes, and [he] said, 'Alas, my daughter! [You have] brought me very low,'" and so forth; I can't go back. I've vowed a vow to the Lord. She said, "My father, if [you've] opened [your] mouth [to] the Lord, do to me according to that which...proceed[s] out of [your] mouth; forasmuch as the Lord [has] taken vengeance for thee of [your] enemies, even...the children of Ammon.'" Jephthah had been a very successful judge in Israel before the time of the kings. She said, "[But] let this thing be done for me: let me alone [for] two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows". Not... not that she was unmarried, she wasn't bewailing that, but bewailing the fact that she would never be married, you understand.
Wes Peppers: Yes.
— "He said, 'Go.' ...Sent her away for two months: ...she went with her companions, [that] bewailed her virginity upon the mountains", the fact that she had lost the opportunity to be a mother, to be a wife. "Came to pass at the end of two months, ...she returned [to] her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, that the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year". I don't think he sacrificed her.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm. Right. I agree with that.
— I think the sacrifice was she's gonna be dedicated to the Lord, not that you can't if you're married, and she was never gonna be married. I know what he said. The passage is ambiguous. If you disagree with me, you disagree with me; we can still be friends. I don't think he sacrificed her.
— I don't think you jumped off the cliff of heresy there.
— Yeah? Okay.
— I think you're all right.
— Ooh, phew!
— Thank you for that. I think she, because the stress here is they bewailed her virginity and "she never knew a man," that seems to be her lot in life rather than living that more mainstream existence that a girl growing up in that time would expect to. I don't think he sacrificed her.
— Mm-hmm. And you know, there's many ways to offer something or yourself to the Lord.
— Notice in Romans 12...
— Yeah. That's right.
— ..."that you present your bodies a living sacrifice". That's the burnt offering that's being...
— That's right; it doesn't mean you're literally, physically doing that, but spiritually you're letting your life be led by God in surrender to God. So, there are different ways to understand how one would give themselves to the Lord, or sacrifice to the Lord, in that way.
— Yeah. What Jephthah did, he was foolish.
— Mm-hmm. Oh yeah.
— He met a rash vow: "first thing I see," "first thing I see", now, I don't know, but I think it'd have been okay for him to say, "Yeah, but not my kids".
— You know? "Yeah, but not my kids". And I think he kind of did do that. "Yeah, I'm not sacrificing my child, but I did make a vow, so therefore something's gonna happen here". And her life was therefore given in a certain way, that perhaps she served God or... I don't know.
— And you know, it's a good sermon on impulsiveness, impulsive speaking and actions. And we wanna be careful about that and think things through because, you know, you make a vow to the Lord, and you know, I think...
— It's important.
— It's important. It's important, something that shouldn't be done rashly or hastily, but you could think about it and do it with a lot of prayer and searching the Scripture and making sure you're doing it in the right way.
— We've got time for a quick question, and I think this is okay. Candice asks, "In Matthew 24:20, when it says, 'Pray your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath,' I understand winter because it's cold, but does it mean that we are not to leave our house on Sabbath to flee? Please help me [to] understand". Now, Jesus was looking forward to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; He said, "Pray that it doesn't happen in winter or on the Sabbath day". In winter, because, well, that just would've been dreadful, you'd be stuck and confined, and you wouldn't be able to escape easily. The snow would be heavy, perhaps, and so forth. On the Sabbath day, 'cause you're at worship, you're not geared up to flee. You don't want to be fleeing on the Sabbath. That's not the way to spend the Sabbath hours with God, but be that as it may, you're gonna be sitting ducks; you're not gonna be prepared to flee you. What are you gonna do? Be very, very difficult to flee on the Sabbath, perhaps you're at the synagogue; you'd be taken unawares. Anything to add to that?
— No, I think you covered that. You just, you know, it's common sense, and you know, it shows, in my estimation, how important the Sabbath is to God that we can even pray that certain events would be influenced by...
— That's right.
— You know what I'm saying?
— So, that's very important as well, so.
John Bradshaw: Outstanding.
— Hey, great one. Great questions, we thank you for them. We hope you'll join us next time for more. We love doing this and hope that you are blessed by it. He's Wes Peppers. I'm John Bradshaw, reminding you to email us your questions at [email protected]. This has been "Line Upon Line".