John Bradshaw - Daniel 12, Evil in Eden, and Baptism for the Dead
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," where we answer your Bible questions. "Line Upon Line" is brought to you by It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Pastor Wes Peppers. Great to have you, Wes, thanks for being here.
Wes Peppers: Thanks, Pastor John, good to be here always.
John Bradshaw: Ready to answer some questions?
Wes Peppers: We are ready.
John Bradshaw: Okay, now, I remember in one program I said, "If you have a hard question, address it to Wes; if a nice easy one, address it to me". And here's a question. It's tough, so it must be for you. You ready?
Wes Peppers: I'm ready to throw it right back at you.
John Bradshaw: Ohhh!
Wes Peppers: No, I'm just kidding.
John Bradshaw: Linda writes, "What are the numbers in Daniel 12:11 and 12 about"? These would be time prophecies. "What are the numbers in Daniel, chapter 12, verses 11 and 12 about"? So it's right at the end of the book of Daniel. The last verse in the book of Daniel is Daniel 12:13. So, third-last, and then the penultimate verse, why don't you read them for us?
Wes Peppers: Sure, we'll read those. Daniel chapter 12, verse 11 says, "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise [with] your inheritance at the end of the days".
John Bradshaw: Okay, so in Daniel, we've got the 1,260 days mentioned more than once.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: And then you get to the end of the book; uh-oh, you've got the 2,300 days.
Wes Peppers: Yes.
John Bradshaw: As a subset of that, the 70 weeks.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: A day in Bible prophecy represents...
Wes Peppers: One literal year.
John Bradshaw: So the 1,260 is 1,260 years, 2,300 is 2,300 years, 70 weeks is 490 years. Now, just, here we are diving in the deep end and sort of just dropping this on ya. So the 1,260 years, we've taught, both of us many times and even right here at It Is Written, that the 1,260 extends from 538 to 1798 AD, 538 to 1798. The 2,300 expired in the year 1844 and initiated with the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC. But these ones what are they about? What are they for?
Wes Peppers: They are pointing to some of the same events as these other prophecies, but they're adding more details about certain events that took place in a string of years that were kind of either preluding or postluding those. And so really they're talking about the same events, just, I'm sorry, the same prophecies, just a little bit slightly different events throughout history.
John Bradshaw: Pointing to events in the end of time...
Wes Peppers: That's right. That's right.
John Bradshaw: ...clustering around 1798 down to 1844 around that time.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: Now, there's a reason that we're giving you the short answer, not the long answer. and that's because the long answer...would be really long.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: But what are they about? In short, they point to end-time events around 1844. Fair enough to say that?
Wes Peppers: Yeah, that's right, talking about the judgment, the second coming of Jesus, the fulfilling of, you know, prophecy in the medieval times. And there's prophecies in the book of Revelation that point to the same events as Daniel here.
John Bradshaw: Very good. Dan asks us, "All was 'very good' after each day of Creation", well, hold up. It was good, Dan, after most of the days of Creation. It was after day six God said, after creating Eve, "very good". We'll just point that out. "So why the one tree? Why was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden along with the serpent if everything was 'very good'"? Okay, let me boil the question down: How can you call it "very good" if Satan was there, if the snake was there? I think the answer's pretty clear. When was it very good?
Wes Peppers: It was very good when God created it. And everything that God created was good. Obviously, the devil being there wasn't good, but it wasn't God's intention to put him there.
John Bradshaw: And he wasn't there when God said, "Very good".
Wes Peppers: "Very good". That's right. And so that's kind of the simple answer. And so why was the devil allowed to dwell in the midst of a brand new creation? Well, you find the answer to that in Revelation, chapter 12, it says that there was war in heaven, and the devil "was cast out...; he was cast [down] to the earth". And God was creating this new planet, this new earth, and placing Adam and Eve there in His image. And the devil was allowed to go there and tempt them and to interact with them to try to get them to sympathize with his cause. And of course, Genesis 3 says that he was successful in that.
— Why'd God let him do that? Why did God let the devil even have access to His children?
— Well, you know, we find in Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28 kind of those interchanges that were taking place between God and Satan. And the devil was claiming that God was unfair, He was unkind, He was unjust, He was trying to withhold the true freedom that He promised everybody, and so there was that contention taking place. And God respects freedom of choice, and freedom of... He wants us to follow Him because we love Him and we choose Him. And so God had to give Adam and Eve the same freedom of choice, the same opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Him, as He did all the angels and all the other creative beings. And so the devil was making that argument, "If You don't allow me access to them, it's unfair," and so God gave the devil that opportunity, and unfortunately, humanity fell for his lies.
— It was an opportunity to, for Adam and Eve, to demonstrate fidelity to God.
— Now, why give them that opportunity? Well, you gotta consider the entire big picture of the great controversy, this war between Christ and Satan, that was rolling along. You know, I don't wanna say I'd have done anything different if I was there, I would've done different to Eve, I hope I would've, but I wanna say I would've. Look, let's be honest. The temptation wasn't that tough.
— I just wanna be honest about it. She's in the Garden of Eden; snake starts talking to her. You can know that God warned her. Well, does the Bible say that? Not explicitly, but you can be sure that somewhere along the line, somebody said to Eve, "Now, Eve, if you should ever see a talking snake", or, "There's a devil, and he's out to get ya," or, "Be very careful for temptation". Undoubtedly, God spoke to them about the nature of truth and error, sin and unrighteousness, and faith and trust, and this thing that had taken place in heaven. There's no question at all. Eat some fruit. No, no, I can't do that. No, no, no, it'll be better for you. God's withholding things. He knows that if you eat this fruit, "your eyes [will] be opened, and you'll] be as gods". Ohh. She didn't need to do that.
— She didn't have any inherited tendencies to sin. It's not like her mother was ditzy, and her father was some kind of...scoundrel. She knew better. She had the opportunity to flee. It was an opportunity to have faith in God. The same opportunity has come to us today. Somebody tempts you with A, B, C, D, or E. You can look at that and go, "Hmm, that would taste good," or you can say no, like Joseph: "How can I do this and sin against God"? So it's just a matter of temptation. Eve didn't need to fall. Here we are. Look. Imagine this in the Bible. Imagine you read the story of God's dealings with humanity: "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth," beautifully, put Adam and Eve there. A snake came along and offered Eve some fruit. And Eve said, "Are you out of your mind? You're a talking snake". Turned her back and walked off.
— Wouldn't that be something?
— Wouldn't it be something?
— That'd be amazing.
— We would be reading that book today and going, "Ha"!
— "What kind of dumb snake would've thought he could fool the mother of all humanity"? You know, you understand what I'm saying?
— The Fall was unnecessary. And having said that, our falls are unnecessary too.
— That's right.
— You don't have to lose your temper. It's not the kid's fault. It's not that guy driving's fault. It's not the president's fault. You don't have to click on that webpage. You just don't. You can click out and walk away from the computer. You don't have to sit and watch that movie, and your mind's going to all kind of crazy places. A, you don't watch it in the beginning. And B, when it gets raunchy, you turn the thing off. So, there's no excuse for sin. Jesus has said He can "keep [us] from falling". We're growing. I mean, we're growing; we don't always serve aces, right? We sometimes serve faults and double faults, so a little grace and balance there. But it didn't have to happen. It's not fair or even honest to blame God for what took place in the Garden of Eden. Question for you: "Can you explain 1 Corinthians 15:29 and 30? It sounds like Paul is saying that one person can be baptized for another, but I can't find that anywhere else in the Bible. I thought you could only be baptized for yourself". So I'm gonna ask you to take off with that right after I say this. When you find one verse in the Bible that seems to say this, and then everything else in the Bible seems to say the complete opposite, it's clear the problem is with your interpretation of this one text. All through the Bible, God says, "If you love me, keep my commandments". "Here are they that keep the commandments of God". "Blessed are they that do His commandments". And somebody says, "Oh, Colossians means the law's done away with". Well, that's just dishonest. You don't even have to go there. It's dishonest. You're only going there 'cause you want to go there, probably 'cause you love sin or 'cause you're caught up in the traditions of your church. So you don't take one verse, which might be difficult or obscure or challenging, and say, "This one little verse invalidates this massive weight of Bible evidence". So, the Bible speaks about baptism. It doesn't say you can be baptized for another person anywhere, but here, kind of seems as though it might say that.
— So what's the story?
— So the context of the chapter is the resurrection of the dead. And Paul is saying that Jesus rose from the dead. But if He didn't, then we're all in big trouble. And so he's basically making the point that if Jesus rose from the dead, Christ can raise us from the dead as well. And of course, the process of being raised from the dead, the way that we get there is by having faith in Christ and being baptized in Him, which symbolizes death to the old life and life in Him and the new walk that I have with Him. And so what Paul doesn't say in this chapter is that we should do this.
— He doesn't say, give a command, and not everything in the Bible is a command. Sometimes the Bible describes something that happened or something that somebody did, and the point is not that we should do that thing, but that we should not do that thing.
— And so I think that's one of the situations here. He almost mentions it kind of in a secondary nature. The point of the chapter is not baptism for the dead; the point of the chapter is resurrection from the dead. And so he makes that point all throughout. And then you go on down, he says in verse 20, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep". And he talks about that in the next several verses. Verse 29 he says, "Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not [raise] at all"? And so he talks about that. He doesn't speak about it positively or negatively, but it appears that way in the English. But when you look at the Greek, what he's really kind of initially saying is, you know, why is someone doing this? Then at the end of the chapter, he, at the very last, not the very last verse, but in verse 34, he says, "Awake", well, let me back up to verse 33: "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.' Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God". So he seems to indicate that people doing this don't have the knowledge of God, and it's not a wise thing to do. And so there's not enough... detail here to say this is something we should do. There are groups of people today, Christian denominations, that baptize for the dead based upon this one verse. And so we have to be very careful to make an entire belief system out of one verse, especially when the context of the verse is secondary to the main topic, which is resurrection from the dead, and also there's not a specific command to do that.
— Yeah, amen. I've heard that explained several ways. I think that's as good as any. Baptism, yes, absolutely. You be baptized for you. You can't be baptized for somebody else. Baptism is a personal act based on a personal decision for Jesus. We don't believe it, the Bible doesn't teach baptizing for the dead. Hey, thank you for your questions. The questions we answer come from It Is Written viewers. If you'd like to get a question to us, email us at [email protected], [email protected]. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw with Wes Peppers, and we'll be back in just a moment.
John Bradshaw: Thanks for being here at "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. We're answering your Bible questions. And, Wes, here's a moral, ethical question, more ethical than moral, I think: "In Isaiah 66, God says that pork is an abomination to eat. What about kidney"...
— Which is true.
— Huh? Yeah, it's true, right?
— It's very true.
— "What about kidney or heart transplants from pigs to humans to save a life"?
— Yeah, that's becoming a big deal, has over the last several decades, and people have questions about that. They're concerned. They wanna do the right thing. What is the right thing? Well, you know, this is an issue of preserving life here. And in some cases, if people don't get that transplant, they may die. And the Bible says specifically not to eat it, but whether a person, you know, uses that in a surgery, a pig heart or whatever it is, transplant, a valve, I think it really needs to be left up to the individual person. And we have to be careful not to impose our own convictions upon someone else. We may choose not to do that, and that's fine. We may feel it morally wrong, and that's okay. But, you know, people have to decide that for themselves. It's a difficult thing.
— A friend of mine was having a dental procedure. It's an involved sort of a thing, and while laying in the chair with his mouth open and various parts of his mouth exposed, the dentist was packing something in and said, "Well, we're packing some extra bone in here. This is cow bone". Now, the individual who was talking to me about this was a vegetarian. He's like, "Ah-ah-ah...I don't want cow bone in my face". But, "Uh-huh", there's nothing much they could actually do about it, rather than say, "Stop this whole procedure and", now, that's cow. It's not unclean. But some of these things happen, you know? I think your point is fair, accurate. A transplant is not eating it.
— That's right.
— It's not eating it.
— We are unclean ourselves. We're unclean creatures. So you have an unclean going into unclean.
— Yeah, no difference, right, if you had a human heart going into a human 'cause that's unclean too.
— You know, when you're eating it, you're impacting your digestive area, you're absorbing that into your bloodstream and so forth. It's kind of really a different situation here.
— Yeah. And fortunately, it doesn't impact too many people. I don't know anybody who's ever been offered a pig kidney.
— Very rare.
— You know, doesn't happen very often.
— That's right.
— Ryan asks us this: "If eternal hell doesn't mean eternally burning, then how is it that eternal life means eternally living"? Wes, let's back up first because someone says, "What's that question"? "If eternal hell doesn't mean eternally burning", so do people in hell burn forever? I just saw something, and I should have saved it, where the author was writing, presupposing, that hell burns forever. Now, I mean, it doesn't for a number of reasons.
— One, because God is not a tyrant.
— Two, because hell takes place here on the earth, the earth turns into a lake of fire; it's cleansed from sin. You can't have something burn forever that's recreated. Three, the purpose of hell is to get rid of sin, not to perpetuate sin. Four, how does that work? So you burn up, and then God's gotta recreate you to burn up, and recreate and burn up. It's utter madness.
— It's very tyrannical, if you ask me.
— God, you know, some people say, "Well, if you don't believe in eternally-burning hell, you don't believe in hell at all". No, we believe in hell, just one that's hot enough to get the job done.
— Yeah, burns people, reduce them to ashes.
— It reduces to ashes, and it destroys sin, and that's the whole point of hell. It's not just to endlessly punish people, but it's to remove sin from the universe, to get rid of it.
— Endlessly... You know how long a day can be?
— It's long. It can be long.
— It's a long time if you're hooked up to an electric chair.
— A week, a month, a year, a millennium, a bazillion years? Wes, the reason people believe this is because preachers got up in pulpits, and they thundered, "Hell, it burns forever"! And of course, you can point to the Bible and say, "Look, it talks about hell in here, and there are places that says 'the smoke of their torment ascended up forever.' You've just gotta understand what that means". And so the great unwashed went home and said, "Well, I guess it means", shouldn't call them "the great unwashed". The great unstudied went home and just said, "Well, that's what the preacher says. That's what we believe". And in church, it can be very manipulative, you know. "If you don't believe this, then you're not orthodox," or, "You're not a true Christian. You don't believe like the rest of us". There's a lot of pressure on to believe like the herd. Now, God wants you to think and understand something about His Word, about His character, about His plan. So, Malachi, chapter 4 talks about the wicked being ashes under your feet.
— Numerous places the Bible talks about ashes. Okay. So if eternal hell doesn't mean hell that goes forever, then why is eternal life life that goes forever?
— Well, you know, the Bible indicates that the result of hell lasts forever, which is the ending of sin forever which is a good thing. But it also says in Romans that "the gift of God is eternal life," but "the wages of sin is [eternal] death".
— And that's where you get the contrast. "The wages of sin is death, ...the gift of God is eternal life". It doesn't say "eternal, eternal". It doesn't say it. It just says "death".
— We contrast that, it's eternal life. So the question is not very well constructed. No disrespect, Ryan. Death on the one hand, eternal life on the other, that's pretty clear.
— That's pretty clear.
— Yeah, Romans 6 answers that question.
— And you find that consistently throughout the Bible. But, you know, you look at... because there are verses, to be fair to people, there are verses in the Bible that talk about turning into ashes...
— ...death, so forth. Then there are verses, you know, like in Revelation 14, it says that "the smoke of their torment"...
— "Torment ascends forever".
— ..."ascends forever and ever". So there are those verses that are "forever and ever". We don't have time to do it all here, but we...
— Well, there are not many of them.
— There are not many of them. There's a few of them. But when you study them in context, in comparison with the other texts, you find very clearly and consistently throughout Scripture that the Bible says that hell does not last forever, that the wicked are destroyed, and then God makes the earth new. So you have to compare scripture with scripture, that's why we have "Line Upon Line" and let the Bible speak very clearly about that.
— What happens is people get scared into faith in God.
— Now, I think it's pretty scary, anyway, the fact that I'm gonna one day be gone forever if I don't have faith in Christ. Because Christ is the lifeline. It's just like if I'm out in the ocean, I take the life jacket off and throw it away, I'm sooner or later gonna drown. Jesus is the life jacket.
— That's right.
— Thank God, He died for me.
— Yes, yes.
— The cross is where Jesus gave His life, shed His blood, so that through His death for me, I can be saved. If someone were to die for you. I mean...that's just huge, right? That's why we remember our war heroes, those who gave their lives and served so valiantly, because it was through their great sacrifice that we experience the freedoms that we experience today. We might all be speaking another language if it wasn't for those who enlisted and volunteered and made the big sacrifice.
— That's right.
— We'd be lost eternally if it wasn't for Jesus giving His life for us. So we don't wanna forget that. It's the love of God that constrains us, that motivates us. It's not the fact that, well, I might be lost and go to hell for a while or forever, and I'd better get saved. That doesn't last long.
— Yeah, fear might be a catalyst to get my attention, but it's the love of God that has to hold me in that saving experience with Him.
— Betty asks us, "Could you please explain how Isaiah 66:23 and 24 fit together, especially verse 24? I rather doubt the saved will be looking at the carcasses of those who have transgressed against God. That would not be a pleasing thing for those in the New Jerusalem". Well, I think I know what you might say here.
— Yeah, you know, there have been preachers in history who have said it will be the great privilege of the righteous to look upon those people burning, again, eternally and say if we didn't have that, the great joy of heaven would be lost. And, friends, I mean, that couldn't be any further away from the true character of God than anything you could imagine. That's about as bad as it can get.
— That's right.
— And so what this is talking about is you put it in the context of Revelation, chapter 20. We're at the end of the millennium when the heavenly city comes down. And the Bible says that all the dead that were lost are now resurrected, and there's a "great white throne" judgment that happens at the very end of time. When that judgment takes place, the final destruction of sin is gonna happen. God's gonna bring fire from heaven to destroy the wicked. And we will witness that standing inside the city. We will see that. And it's speaking about that. But again, God says in Jeremiah, "[Do] I have [any] pleasure in the [destruction] of the wicked"?
— "I have no pleasure". And it's not gonna be pleasurable, but it is gonna be necessary. It's a painful process to remove sin from the universe. And no heart hurts worse than God's heart in that whole scenario. These are His children. But justice must be done, and sin must be cleansed.
— I don't mean to bend this just to suit myself. It says here in Isaiah, chapter 66, "[It'll] come to pass, ...from one new moon to another, ...from one sabbath to another, ...all flesh [will] come to worship before me". That's in heaven. And then it says, "They shall go forth, ...look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me". And it talks about the lost, their worm dies not, "neither shall their fire be quenched; ...they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh". It's talking about the destruction of the wicked, the complete annihilation, the utter destruction. That's why it says their worm doesn't die, fire will not be quenched. It will do its job, get the job done. And it's like the trash heaps that burned. What the fire doesn't get, the worms will get.
— Yes. That's right.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
— Having said that...
— But, but... Yeah, go ahead.
— ...the questioner asked, well, I don't think that would be terrifically pleasurable. Okay. Even though it says this, we don't know what that's gonna look like. Are we gonna be inside the New Jerusalem watching people burn, looking at any dead bodies? I mean, it sounds like we're gonna witness this, but what's that gonna be? Or would we be doing this? You understand what I mean?
— I've been in India on the banks of the Ganges River, where the ghats are, the concrete steps where they cremate the dead. Kind of interesting to be there, you can see legs poking out the end of a fire burning and being cremated. I don't know that it's gonna be like that, Wes. I'm not saying it's not. I'm simply confessing that we don't know. It just says that we'll behold it. But what does that do to us? I don't know. By then, we'll have heavenly minds, re-created minds. We'll be able to understand things a whole lot better. All I'm saying is, as graphic as this sounds, and it is graphic, I think it's fair to remember that we don't quite know precisely what that experience is gonna be like. Do you understand what I'm saying?
— I'm not discounting it.
— No, I agree. And it's certainly not, no part of it's gonna be pleasurable. And I think that God would allow us to see only what's necessary for us to see, what's important to make the point that He's trying to get across, and we have to keep that in mind as well.
— Nahum wrote that "affliction [will] not rise [again] the second time". Maybe we witness this, and part of that is the horror of witnessing the disastrous results of sin. And that'll be kind of an insurance policy to ensure that nobody would ever want to go there again and bring about the pain and destruction and misery that sin causes. 'Cause while someone's doing their sin today, what they're not realizing is the ultimate result of that sin in all its horror.
— That's right.
— Okay. Well, I thank you. Good to do this again.
— Yes, absolutely.
— We should do this some more.
— We should.
— And we thank you for joining us. Your questions are welcome at [email protected]. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This has been "Line Upon line," brought to you by It Is Written.