John Bradshaw - Murder, Melchizedek, and Being Absent From the Body
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw, with me, Wes Peppers. This is where we get to answer your Bible questions. We appreciate you sending them and hope that you're encouraged and blessed as we share with you the Word of God. Great to have you here, Wes. Thanks for joining me.
Wes Peppers: Thanks, Pastor John. Good to be here.
John Bradshaw: We will start at the beginning with a question from Nancy.
Wes Peppers: Okay.
John Bradshaw: Let's dive right in. "In Hebrews 6 in verse 20, Did Jesus appear on earth as Melchizedek before He was born as the Son of God? I was taught that in Bible study". Nancy was taught Jesus appeared as Melchizedek. Did He?
Wes Peppers: I think probably if Jesus were going to appear as somebody, He'd appear as Jesus.
John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.
Wes Peppers: And so, certainly Jesus was... or, Melchizedek would've been a type of Jesus. So he represented a lot of the characteristics of Jesus, but he wasn't Jesus Himself. And there is a passage in Hebrews, chapter 7 that talks a little bit about Melchizedek that makes it, makes some people think maybe it is Jesus, but reality, there's no true evidence for that.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Wes Peppers: I dunno if you wanna read that or not.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, I think that the challenge comes in Hebrews 7 in verse 3; it starts in verse 1, "For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, [prince] of the Most High God", so that's who he was, he was the king of a locality, "who met Abraham [after] returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; ...Abraham gave [him] a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation 'king of righteousness,' ...after that...king of Salem, which is, 'king of peace'; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now," it says, "consider how great this man was, to whom even...Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils". It simply says we don't have a genealogy for Melchizedek.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
John Bradshaw: That's all.
Wes Peppers: He wasn't eternal; he wasn't immortal. He wasn't Jesus. Jesus was Jesus. This guy was the... sorry, "this guy", this individual was the king of Salem.
John Bradshaw: Certainly a godly man, he was a priest, and Abraham recognized that and gave him a tithe, or a 10th, of all that he had collected. And so... but yeah, no evidence that it's Jesus Himself. A lot of likeness like Jesus...
Wes Peppers: Yeah, yeah.
John Bradshaw: ...characteristics like Jesus, but not Jesus.
Wes Peppers: He came to give us an idea of what Jesus would be like.
Wes Peppers: He was type of Christ in this case.
John Bradshaw: That's right.
Wes Peppers: Jesus was the anti-type.
John Bradshaw: Sure.
Wes Peppers: Okay. Second question comes to us from Burt: "What happens to a loved one who dies, ... where do the soul and spirit go after they leave the body"? Great question.
John Bradshaw: That is a good question. And the Bible's very clear about this all the way through, from Genesis to Revelation, that the soul and the spirit, you know, many times people think those are the same things, but in Genesis, chapter 2, it says that God breathed into Adam "the breath of life; and man became a living soul". So, the soul is two things. It is the dust of the earth combined with the breath of God, which makes a soul. So "man became a living soul". The spirit, often in the Old Testament, and New Testament, both... in the Old Testament, the word there is "ruach," which means "breath"; that's the Hebrew word. In the New Testament, it's "pneuma," which is where we get the word "pneumonia". So the word "spirit" often used in the Bible is simply talking about the breath of God. So, the Bible is clear. And, you know, we can read passages all day long, just to give you one passage, 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4: "The Lord...will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel, ...the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first". And so, the Bible gives indication all the way through that when we die, we sleep. Even Jesus taught this.
— In John, chapter 11, with the story of Lazarus, Jesus said, the disciples were confused and said, "Oh, he's asleep". Jesus said, "No, he's dead". And so the Bible teaching is, all the way through, that when we die, we sleep; we rest in the grave until Jesus comes at the end of time to resurrect us. That's gonna be a great day. "Behold, I shew you a mystery," Paul wrote. "We shall not all sleep". "The dead know not any thing," the wise man wrote. So you live; you die; you rest in the grave until Jesus comes back and wakes the sleeping saints. If it were another way, if you died and went to heaven, the resurrection would just be theater.
— That's right.
— No need for resurrection.
— There's no point for it.
— I figured this out as a little boy. I dunno if I figured it out, but I figured out there was a conflict. I...went to a lot of funerals because I was the priest's helper, altar boy.
— Oh, the priests we had, they were good fellas. I mean, they drank a bit, but they were good men and didn't do anything we could ever really criticize. Here we were, you know, you'd be in the church, and the priest would say, "And, you know, today we're gonna commit Grandfather to the grave, but thank God, we can be so glad he's in heaven. He's in heaven". So that brings a bit of joy to somebody. And you go to the cemetery, you're lowering the body into the ground, and the same priest says about the same man, "Now we lower Grandfather's body into the grave, where he will rest and wait until the resurrection".
— Kind of, people get confused, start to see people scratching their heads.
— How can he be in two places at once?
— Now, I know it's some, some dear... and this is what's interesting to me, Wes. Well-educated, kind, good-hearted people are gonna say, "Well, what that means is the body sleeps, but the soul goes to heaven". That's not what it says. 'Cause when you go back to Genesis and you discover just what a soul is, "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [to] his nostrils the breath of life; and [then he] became a living soul". A soul is what you are; it's not what you have. When you die, dust goes back to the ground; the breath goes back to God. That's the life spark. God keeps that which, He has the capability of booting you back up. So at the resurrection, that spirit goes back into your body, and the new body comes out of the grave. So...it's a better way. Grandma's not in heaven looking down on me. I spoke to a lady in California, elderly lady, and she was absolutely tormented by the fact that her dead husband wouldn't communicate with her. "I know you're out there," she would say. "I know you loved me. I'm so lonely. Why won't you communicate with me"? Number one, she'd set herself up to be deceived by demons.
— Whether or not that happened, her understanding of what happened to a person in death left her miserable. Instead she could have said, "Well, Henry, you're no longer suffering, no more disease".
— "You're resting. Wait right there".
— "It won't be long and we'll be together. Jesus is coming back".
— That's just a wonderful way.
— It is. It really is.
— Yeah, thank God. Good question, Burt, we thank you for it. David asks, "My question is about rebaptism. I was baptized at 12 years old but left the church later in life for quite some time. Do I need to be baptized again? I want to feel clean, but I haven't felt...the presence of God ever left me". Yep. But you left the presence of God. Rebaptism is personal. I don't think we can say you must. What would we say?
— Yeah, I'd say if you're praying about it and you're asking God and you're feeling convicted about it, or you're thinking about it regularly, maybe that's a sign from God that He wants you to do that. But it's not really a decision that anyone can make for you, except you. It's between you and God. I think it's appropriate. If you decided you wanted to do that, I think it'd be okay to do that. It's not, you know, there's sometimes people that want to be rebaptized and really, they don't need that. They just need confession of sin, maybe a communion service. But if you've left the presence of God, you know, if you get divorced from your wife and you're separated for 10 years, and then you decide, oh, we're gonna come back together, should we just get back together and live together? Well, probably not. You probably ought to renew your marriage vows, get remarried together, and then know that you're just making a fresh, clean start. And really, that's what you're doing. And you know, sometimes 12 year olds, they're ready for baptism.
— Yep, yep.
— Sometimes they're doing it because their friends did it or it's some, just the thing to do. And so, you have to decide upon yourself, but it sounds like God may be impressing you. Follow that conviction. There's nothing unbiblical about doing the rebaptism, if that's how God leads you.
— Amen. James, James asks, "I understand that Christ was fully divine and fully human. I assume then that it's His human nature that died on the cross. My question is during this time of death, what happened to the divine nature? Was the divine Christ aware of what was happening during this time when His human nature was in the grave"? We want to avoid conjecture. I mean, we just do. So here's what we know. You're right, Jesus was fully human and fully divine. Human nature died; His divine nature didn't. He somehow set that aside. I don't know the mechanism for doing that, but I believe that's what the Bible makes clear. What happened to that divine nature? I could speculate; I could conjecture. Was the divine nature existing over here, watching what was going on on Calvary? I just don't know. So it's probably better that we don't speculate, but understand that Jesus died and then rose from the dead.
— Yeah, I agree with that. And you know, there's just some things we won't know. The Bible talks about the mysteries of God, but God, I'm sure, will have a great answer for us in heaven. He'll be glad to give that to us, as it's appropriate. So, some things we'll just have to wait till then to find out.
— Amen to that. Melanie asks, "Is it a sin to dream about sinning"?
— I hope not.
— Yeah. No, no, it isn't. You don't have a whole lot of control over the things that you dream about. Except that, I'll say this, Melanie; if you're dreaming about shoplifting all night long, or if you're dreaming about, I don't know, a man who's not your husband all night long, or even for part of the night, you might wanna ask why. It may simply be no reason about nothing. Now, if you're reading certain books or visiting certain websites or watching certain movies and so on and so and so on, and this is what's popping up in your dream, you might say, "Mm, I need to change my ways". But I'm not accusing; it may not be that way. Sometimes you just dream crazy stuff.
— Yeah, sometimes you're walking down the street, and you happen to look over at the window of a store, and you see a television playing, and you see some scene you wish you hadn't seen, and you go home that night and you dream about it, or you've seen something on the news or something out in public or whatever. But, you know, I've been a pretty bad rascal in some of my dreams, and I hope that that's not counted against me. I don't believe it is. But at the same time, you know, sinning, dreaming is not a sin. But certainly, you don't want to carry out those dreams, whatever you're doing.
— Yeah. Be careful about that.
— It may simply be something from your past.
— I mean, you said you had...
— Yeah, that's right.
— ...some interesting days, and it may simply be that those things are going around inside our minds.
— I think the thing is this; we don't really understand dreams and what goes on with our mind and in our mind as we sleep and the way the body gets rid of certain things as we rest. The mind kind of resets.
— That's right.
— It recalibrates as we rest. Dreams, it would seem, are, many cases, a function of that.
— Now, if you say it sounds like that guy doesn't know what he's talking about, well, it's kind of my point. I mean, I don't. I know about that much about the science of dreams and the science of the mind, but I'm just saying that the little that we know indicates that maybe something is happening in our minds as we dream that's maybe helpful, maybe mechanical, maybe necessary. No, it's not a sin to dream about sinning. But do ask yourself why it might be. If you can't, if there's nothing there that indicates, well, here's why I'm dreaming about punching my neighbor, if there's no obvious reason, just brush it off. Talk to God about it. "Hey, Lord, I'm not choosing these thoughts. I'd prefer that You kept them from entering my mind". You might find it starts to happen a whole lot less.
— [Wes] Amen.
— Do we have time for this? Let's try it. If we run outta time, we'll come back, but I think we can do this. "How do you know it's the voice of God and not something else"? This is a question from Nancy.
— You know, that's a great question. And...you know, Abraham had that whole situation, how do you know it's God, when he sacrificed Isaac.
— And he knew the voice of God. He had spent quality time with God. He knew. And you know, one way you can tell this voice of God is that God is typically not gonna tell you to do something that is contrary to Scripture.
— No, He's just not.
— And He did that with Abraham, but that was a special circumstance.
— Special case.
— That's not normal.
— And the second thing is, if you spend time with God each day, you're gonna know those promptings, you're gonna know that voice, so those are a couple small things.
— Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Another thing, talk to somebody that you trust spiritually and say, "What do you think"? And there's wisdom in a "multitude of counselors". But yeah, it won't go contrary to the will of God if it's God. We'll be back with more in just a moment. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.
John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. We welcome your questions. You can email them to us: [email protected]. Here's a question from Patti. Wes, this is a good question.
Wes Peppers: Sure.
John Bradshaw: I mean, they're all good, but you know what I mean.
Wes Peppers: They're all good.
John Bradshaw: "My question is about confession". She says, "I want to be sorry for my sins and turn completely away, but there are the ones that I just keep failing at. My prayer and worship time this morning was beautiful and all about that, but I know myself, and I'm scared. I'm feeling like such a failure every day because of this".
Wes Peppers: Yeah, that's...that's frustrating, Patti. And I know that can be difficult to experience. I've experienced it myself. You know, we have certain things in our life that are just strong tendencies. and we sometimes go back and back to them. But I think, it seems to me, like sometimes your focus may be in the wrong place. You're looking at your failings, you're looking at not even just your failing, but you said, "I'm scared to fail". And you're afraid of what might happen rather than having confidence in what God can do. And so, you know, we're always growing, we're taking steps of faith. And you know, there may be five things in my life that are obvious to me that God needs to change, but maybe he's just dealing with that one today. And if you're trusting in Christ, and if you're trusting in the righteousness of Christ, you have security. What's important is your attitude towards those things. You know that you're sorry, you know that they're wrong, you know that you want God to give you victory over them, and you're day by day allowing Him to do that. That's what's key. And if you will continue on that path, God is gonna finish that work that He started in you. So you don't need to fear; you need to have faith in the promises of God.
— My question for Patti is this: Patti, whose job is it to give you the victory over those things that you hate? I mean, clearly it's bugging you; it's bothering you. You've identified it as being sin; you don't want it in your life. Whose job is it to give you grace and strength to deal with that? It's your job to desire that and to accept that it's God's job to do that work in you. So, if I were you, I'd be going and having a really good conversation with God. I'd be getting quite impatient, like this; I would be saying, "I can't do this. I don't want to fail. It's Your will. It brings me no joy failing like this. I want to be in the center of Your heart". And then I would remind God: Jude, verse 24 says, "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling..". I'd remind God that 1 Corinthians 10, verse 13 says that God is able to get you out of any temptation and provide a way of escape. I would remind God about the verse in Philippians, chapter 4 in verse 13. It says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I'd remind God about Philippians 2:13, which says, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do [for] His good pleasure". I'd remind God about 1 Corinthians 10, verse 31, where Paul said, "I die", that's die to self, "daily". Talk to God about this and focus on God. You focus on your weakness, all you're gonna see is your weakness. Focus on the great and the mighty strength and power of God. You believe that He can deliver you, He'll deliver you. Whatever this is, you don't want this sin in your life. You've said it bugs you. Paul went through that: I can't do the things that I wanna do, and I do a bunch of stuff I know I shouldn't do. "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death"? I've been preparing recently for a program on the life of John Newton, you can watch that on It Is Written soon, the fellow who wrote "Amazing Grace"; he was a slave trader. When he says, "Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me," he was not kidding. He was a wretch, not just because he was a slave trader. I mean, that's bad enough. He was a bad actor. And yet God changed his life, and He really did transform Newton into a wonderful Christian man. Focus on Jesus. Put your foot down with Him. "This has gotta stop. I want You to do this work in my life. I won't take no for an answer". Watch God grow you, and hang in there while He grows you. Don't expect perfection immediately. You've received the perfection of Jesus. But He will change your heart and He will give you victory.
— Alrighty, that was Patty's question. And now we look at David's question. "Could you kindly give a scriptural definition of who the 'righteous' ones are and who are the 'wicked' ones"?
— Who are the righteous, and who are the wicked?
— Sure. Well, I would... the Bible talks all about the righteous as those who have yielded their heart to God, their lives to God. They're seeking to follow Him with all of their heart. They're not halfhearted; they're not wishy-washy. They've made a decision to follow Jesus, and they are not looking back. The wicked, of course, on the other hand, are those that are doing the opposite. They're disregarding God. They're ignoring God; they're running from God. They're blatantly disobeying God, seeking after their own pleasure rather than the pleasure of God. And so, you know, I think about, you know, there's a number of texts that talk about this, the saints of God being righteous. I was looking at a couple verses here. Psalm 51, verse 5: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in [my] sin my mother conceived me". And so, you know, I think that's basically saying we're all born with the tendency of sin. So a saint or a righteous person is not always someone that's always done right, but someone who chooses right and chooses to allow God to change their life to become right.
— Yeah. The question is, where does your righteousness come from? And there's only one place that you can receive righteousness, and that's in Jesus. Isaiah wrote in Isaiah, chapter 64 in verse 6, that "all [of] our righteousnesses are [as] filthy rags". We can bring nothing to this thing, but we receive our righteousness from Christ. What I mean, "we bring no righteousness", we open up our hearts, we receive Jesus; when you submit yourself to Him, your heart is united with His heart, your will is merged in His will, your mind has become one with His mind, your thoughts are brought into captivity to Him, you live His life, and that's what it means to be clothed in the robe of His righteousness. Accept Jesus; that's where your righteousness is. You grow and grow and grow in Christ. The unrighteous are those, simply, who've not chosen Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Don't make that mistake. Okay, here's a question from Michael: "I've heard what you believe about spiritual life and death, but I'm confused about it since I read in the Bible what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8. It sounds like he says that the body just dies and we go somewhere else. I'm having a hard time understanding". So here's what's gonna happen. I'm gonna read that verse, Wes.
— And then we're gonna discuss it.
— Very good.
— Second Corinthians 5, verse 8, now, I'll say this, I'm just gonna read the verse, but you can really only understand this if you look at it in context.
— That's right, that's right.
— But he writes, "We are confident, I say", and I'll pause there. How many times have you heard somebody say that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord"? I've heard preachers say it at funerals, and they've said it with great enthusiasm: "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord". But here's where it comes from; 2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord". A lady asked me this question once about this very text. I read her that verse. She said, "No, that's not the verse. It's somewhere else in the Bible".
— Yeah, yeah.
— "No, no, no, it really isn't. No, no, no, that's not the verse, 'cause my preacher said, 'To be absent is to be present,' and it doesn't say that there, so it must be somewhere else in the Bible".
— Yeah, I've heard that too.
— Too bad, eh?
— Yeah, that's very interesting.
— He doesn't say "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord". He says he's "willing...to be absent from the body"; that's what he wants. and he'd like "to be present with the Lord". Take it from here.
— You know, it's interesting to me that people will take, you have hundreds of texts that say the exact opposite of what this one appears to say to many people.
— Yes, yes, correct.
— And people will be glad to just throw those right out the window and embrace one text.
— And yet at the same time, we have hundreds of texts that say the exact opposite, and they just disregard them to hang on to one.
— Because many times people go to the Bible, not to believe what it says, but to find what they believe. And so that's a very dangerous thing. So when you look at the context... even if you don't look at the context, just the verse says it. Very plainly he says this, "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord". He's not saying we are.
— He's saying we'd rather be.
— Yeah. So, here's the thing. Paul, he'd been through, oh, a lot of stuff. He had vision problems, he'd been beaten and whipped, he'd been shipwrecked and so forth, and he's saying, "You know, if I had my druthers, I'd be out of this body".
— That's right.
— "And I'd be present with the Lord". Who wouldn't agree with that? If you could be present with the Lord immediately, leave this body behind? The chapter starts, "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle", he's talking about his body, "were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens". So you die, and you go to the grave, and you turn to dust. It's okay because you will receive a "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens". Not talking about the mansion, but your new body. "In this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven". See? We groan in this body. We want our heavenly body. Now, here's the thing. Paul knew that one day he'd be in heaven, and he knew that one day he'd receive a new body. And he was so...clear about this, that in speaking to exactly the same people, the Corinthians, he told them when this would happen. He wrote in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, starting in verse 51, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the [trump] shall sound, ...the dead [will] be raised incorruptible, ...we shall be changed". And it's then "this corruptible...[puts] on incorruption, ...this mortal must put on immortality". When does it happen? When are we present with the Lord? At the last trump, when Jesus comes back. It's a key point. So, to be absent from the body? Sure, one day we will be. We'll be present with the Lord. When? If I were to die tomorrow, and I'm certainly hoping I don't, but if I were to die tomorrow, I'd be present with the Lord one day, when Jesus comes back, not tomorrow.
— That's right.
— It's really important. Okay, okay, I asked you once, why does it matter? Someone's right about this, wrong about that. Why does it matter?
— Well, very...
— Here you see why.
— Yeah, that's right. That's right, because, you know, going off on one text can lead to a whole new idea of Scripture. And the devil in the last days has very strong deceptions that will lead people astray. Many of the errors that have come out of this verse have led people ultimately into spiritualism...
— Oh yeah.
— ...and dabbling in things...
— Oh yeah.
— ...that are very much forbidden by God. And so we have to be very careful with Scripture. So, if we don't have the right understanding of Scripture, we're gonna lead down to error, and it's gonna lead to ultimately destruction.
— You may pray to saints.
— You may start to believe in ghosts.
— You might say, "I'm so desperate to see my loved one"; you go to a seance.
— And go to a... someone will say, "Oh, I would never do that". I hope you wouldn't, but you might. You might pray to the dead. You might believe in some crazy apparition thing that's going on. People believe them. Nothing makes me more special than the people that believe that. The thing that sets us apart is Scripture, and I wanna believe the Bible. Time for one more question.
— Let me just add one thing to that: that the truths and the principles of Scripture guard us against emotional responses and decisions. And so, you know, when, for instance, when the death of a loved one takes place, we're very harmed by that, it's very hurtful, it's very painful, and so we can make decisions that we wouldn't normally make.
— So if we abide by the principles of Scripture, it very much guards us from those errors and protects us.
— Yeah, good one. Raquel writes, "Could you...explain to me the difference between 'kill' and 'murder' in the Bible? ...How does God deal with each of these sins"? The commandment says, "Thou shalt not kill," but a better translation would be "[thou shalt] not murder". "Killed" might be warfare. You've probably had soldiers former military people...
— ..".Oh, what do I do about this"?
— That's right.
— They feel terrible. They kill.
— Heavy guilt.
— But it wasn't murder.
— It was killing. It might be, I don't wanna dream up a bunch of scenarios, but I think we know what murder is.
— Or something, self-defense for someone, another person.
— That's right. You know, the cities of refuge, if you accidentally kill someone, run to the city of refuge. So, that's killing. Murder is murder.
— God sees them very differently, and I hope you will too. Well, that's all we have time for.
— Thank you.
— Great to be here.
— And thank you. If you have a question, we'd love to get it. Email us at [email protected]. See you for more next time. I'm John Bradshaw with Wes Peppers. This was "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.