John Bradshaw - Original Sin, Death Decrees, and Vegetarianism
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. This is where we get to answer your Bible questions. Now, if you have a Bible question you'd like to submit, please do, and keep in mind that if the question has occurred to you, there are undoubtedly many other people who are wrestling with the same question. So here's our address. Email us, would ya? [email protected], [email protected]. Email questions will come to us, we will answer them to the best of our capability, and we'll go to the Word of God and see what the Word of God says. I'm John Bradshaw; with me is Wes Peppers. Wes, always good to be here with you.
Wes Peppers: Great to be here, Pastor John, thanks so much.
John Bradshaw: Ready to go?
Wes Peppers: I think we're ready.
John Bradshaw: We've got a good question to begin with.
Wes Peppers: We've got some great ones today.
John Bradshaw: This one's from Rick; it says, "In Daniel 1, where it says that Daniel and his friends ate vegetables for 10 days, was God really promoting a vegetarian diet? That seems like a bit of a force".
Wes Peppers: Yeah, it does. It could seem that way.
John Bradshaw: Why? Why in the world would God encourage people to take care of their health?
Wes Peppers: Well, because God's a God of love, and He wants us to be healthy, and He created us to be healthy.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Wes Peppers: And He created all the things that are needed to keep us healthy, and so Daniel wasn't just coming up with this on his own. This wasn't just something that God thought about in the days of Daniel, but Daniel remembered all the way back at the Garden of Eden when God had created a vegetarian diet for Adam and Eve.
John Bradshaw: It says this. Let me read this here.
Wes Peppers: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: Genesis 1:29, God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat", or for food is the word right there. So the first diet God ever gave was about as vegetarian as you can get.
Wes Peppers: Fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables, those were the things that God had chosen, and of course He wanted us to be creative with those and make different things like we make today. But nonetheless, those are the things that God had selected for us to be healthy. Daniel knew that, and really it set him apart. Once he did that, and he honored God and he followed that diet for 10 days, the Bible says that he became 10 times wiser than all the others who weren't following that diet, who were eating from the king's table. So there's a huge benefit to it. You can't deny it; even scientifically today, it's been proven that it's a better lifestyle, it's a better practice, and it started in the Garden of Eden.
John Bradshaw: Was God really promoting a vegetarian diet? In one word, what would you say?
Wes Peppers: Undoubtedly.
John Bradshaw: No question about it.
Wes Peppers: That's right.
John Bradshaw: Why? 'Cause He loves you. He wants you to live the best life that you possibly can. Now, the challenge is down through time, we figured out ways to do things with food that...not good for us. I don't know if you've ever eaten a french fry. Have you ever eaten a french fry?
Wes Peppers: I've had a few french fries.
John Bradshaw: You have? A few, just a few?
Wes Peppers: I have, yeah.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, I've...
Wes Peppers: Probably more than a few, probably more than a lot.
John Bradshaw: I've only ever had one.
Wes Peppers: One?
John Bradshaw: One. But I really liked it.
Wes Peppers: Yeah?
John Bradshaw: Yeah. I want you to go back to the Garden of Eden, and Adam's digging around in the dirt; he goes, "Hmm, a potato". And who had the idea, who said, "Look, if you squeeze all the oil out of that olive and heat it up to boiling point and drop that potato right in there, that'd just be the best thing for you"?
Wes Peppers: Yeah, I don't know who's thinking about that, but...
John Bradshaw: I don't know. I mean, look, man, I love french fries. Sorry, I just do.
Wes Peppers: Yeah, but you've only had one, you said.
John Bradshaw: Only one, it's just the only one.
Wes Peppers: One a day, is that one container a day or...?
John Bradshaw: I just love that one french fry.
Wes Peppers: Okay, okay.
John Bradshaw: But we take good food... I mean, deep frying stuff, it may taste good...
Wes Peppers: Yeah, yeah.
John Bradshaw: But it sure ain't good for ya. So what we've done is we've really messed with our own taste buds.
Wes Peppers: We have.
John Bradshaw: We've learned to like things that weren't ever in God's original plan. Now, you know, the World Health Organization, I think it's WHO, has said that processed meat is cancer-causing.
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
John Bradshaw: Not maybe, but is.
Wes Peppers: It is.
John Bradshaw: Just recently they came out, and they said processed foods are really bad for ya. So I don't know that you turned on "Line Upon Line" today to get a health lecture, but hey, you get more than you ask for sometimes. Think about what you eat and then say to yourself, how much of what I eat is processed? How much of that is highly processed? It's just not best. It's not best. I'm not sharing with you as one who only ever eats leafy greens and celery smoothies. That's not all I eat. But we really ought to do ourselves a favor and think just a little more about what we are doing to ourselves because of what we're eating. Now, I would say this: If someone's looking at their diet and go, "Yeah, I'm not doing so good," I'd encourage a person to say, what little change can I make?
Wes Peppers: Yeah.
John Bradshaw: What's the worst thing I'm eating that I could stop eating?
Wes Peppers: Easily do without? Yeah. What change can I make? And if you look at it that way, and you start making changes, and you don't say to yourself, "Well, by this time tomorrow, I'm gonna be eating exactly like Daniel", you know, that's okay to do that, but it's kind of tough.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, it's tough.
Wes Peppers: So we just say this 'cause we love you. Make some changes. Think about your diet. That Daniel diet, that's the very best diet, closer we can be to that, the better.
— And you know, sometimes we eat a lot of food-like products food-like products that are not really food.
— Oh, so many times I've said, "Hey, this food, the interesting thing about it is it's a lot like food".
— Yeah, that's right.
— It resembles food.
— That's right. And we kind of, if we kind of turn our nose up at the Daniel diet or the Garden of Eden diet, what we're really saying is God didn't make that great of a thing.
— And so, what we need to say is, "Hey, God has ordained this. He's made this for me, for my good, for my health". There's nothing good that God's ever gonna take away from us. He's always gonna give us the best. And so what is the best? And how can I obtain that, the gift that God has given to me? And He's done that so that we can have the greatest joy and fulfillment in our lives. So, you know, like you said, just we want to consider those small changes and start implementing the good. You know, another thing is to get some good exercise.
— Get good sleep.
— Make sure you're doing your body good.
— And your mind will thank you. Your heart will thank you.
— I don't want you to think that I'm stuck on french fries.
— Oh man.
— But you know, the good thing about it, good french fries are very hard to find.
— They're very hard to find.
— Most fast food places, the french fries are garbage.
— Yeah, that's right.
— Yeah, so... Not that I would know, you know, 'cause I only ever did eat one french fry.
— We all believe that. Everyone watching believes that, Pastor John.
— Yeah. Question from Mack, actually two questions, Mack says, "I have two questions: What is the specific work that Jesus is doing right now in heaven? And what is the specific work that the Holy Spirit is doing right now in heaven"? So we could take all day to answer this, but we won't. I'll throw to you that first one: What's Jesus doing in heaven right now?
— Sure. You know, this is a big answer. I'm gonna try to give it as short as we can. In the book of Daniel, chapter 8, verse 14, it speaks about the final end-time judgment; unto 2,300 days, "the sanctuary shall be cleansed". When you read the book of Hebrews, you see that there is a sanctuary in heaven, in which the process of salvation is being taken place. And Jesus, when He went to heaven initially, He presented His blood to His Father. And now He's doing that final work of judgment. Revelation 14:6 says, and 7, that "the hour of His judgment has come".
— So the work of judgment is taking place. How long does that happen? Until Jesus comes. We don't have an exact date for that, but we know that that's happening now. God's examining the records; the whole universe is looking on in the battle between good and evil. But that's what Jesus is doing right now. He's also interceding for us. As we pray, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit carries our prayers into heaven and mixes them and blends them with the prayers of Jesus, and God answers those according to His will. So there's many things Jesus is doing; that's about as short of a summary as we can give.
— I'll give a couple of Bible verses. Hebrew 7, verse 25 says, "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them". Jesus is making intercession right now. In Hebrews, chapter 8, "Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle". Best place you can go to find out what Jesus is doing for you right now is the book of Hebrews. It'll explain His high priestly ministry just powerfully appreciate what you said.
— What's the Holy Spirit doing right now?
— Yeah, what's the Holy Spirit doing? He's doing a great work on the Earth; especially, He's doing the work in our hearts. And when we come to Jesus by faith, the spirit of God has been already drawing us to Christ. So He's convicting us of sin. He's comforting us in our troubles. He's bringing us closer to Christ. He's doing that work of removing the sin in our life, of bringing us to a place of surrender to Christ. And He's moving upon the world to do so. So there's many things; you may want to add some things to that.
— I'll just read John 16, verse 13. Jesus said, "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth".
— So He's doing that. "He will not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: ...[He'll show] you things to come". Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit and said in the same chapter, "When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment". He, the Holy Spirit, is doing those things right now.
— I wanted to add to that, that when you said He guides us in the truth, the truth, of course, is the Bible. John 17:17, Jesus says, "[Thy] word is truth. Sanctify them by [the] truth. Your word is truth". And the Spirit of God, you cannot truly understand the Bible without the Spirit of God.
— So He opens to us that understanding, and He makes that plain to us. So, there's an important role. You want to ask God for the Holy Spirit every day; invite Him into your life because He's doing a sanctifying work preparing you for heaven.
— Alvie asks, "I understand that the tithe is the tenth part of our income (increase), and it belongs to the Lord and should be returned to Him". Now, "What is the second tithe that I've heard some people talk about"? Isn't that interesting? Now, back, you had, the Hebrew people had a second tithe used for various things. We don't read about that as being... impressed upon God's people today.
— That's the word. We don't read about that as being a requirement. But what some people do forget is that in Malachi 3, Jesus speaks, I'm saying "Jesus", the Spirit of God inspired Malachi to write, in fact, it's God's speaking that God's people should be offering tithes and offerings.
— That's right.
— Now, that doesn't have to be a tithe. It might be, if you choose. The tithe is the tenth that goes to God through the church. The offering is however much you want it to be. It could be less, could be more. I would encourage you not to be too tight-fisted with your offerings, and they go to wherever you designate. You can give that right to the church. You can give that to wherever you see God working and something that you would like to support. You may be thinking of that. But you know, I'm not really familiar in my circle with the idea of a second tithe.
— Yeah, some people choose to do it. It's, like you said, it's an offering, and what people often neglect is they will mention the tithe being required of God. And it is. God says, "Bring...[a tenth] into the storehouse". And He says if we don't do that, we're robbing Him. But many people leave off that phrase where it says "tithe and offering". So God does ask for an offering above the tithe. But again in the New Testament, it speaks very clearly about that being an amount that you decide on your own between you and God. There's not a certain amount or a percentage, but it says, give with a cheerful heart. And so some people have chosen that second tithe, they do that as an offering, but you need to pray about that and ask the Lord. But I do wanna say that any tithe or offering given is an act of faith. It's an act of faith because you're saying... and it's also a testimony to the world that God is taking care of me, and I'm returning that in thanksgiving and gratitude to Him. And the promise is He's gonna bless you beyond, He's gonna make your cup runneth over. That doesn't always mean financially, but He does it in different ways.
— He absolutely does and always. This is "Line Upon Line". We have the good fortune of answering your Bible questions. We'll do that again in just a moment.
John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. With Wes Peppers, I am John Bradshaw. And here's another of your Bible questions. This one's from Marsha: "When the decree went forth to kill all the wise men of Babylon, were the wise men killed, or were they forgiven"? What sayest thou?
Wes Peppers: Yeah. We don't know if some of them were killed or some of 'em were not. But we do know that Daniel went to the king and said, "[Please don't kill] the wise men of Babylon". He intervened. And really in that picture of Daniel doing this, that scenario, he's a type of Christ.
John Bradshaw: Yes.
Wes Peppers: He's intervening for those that were lost and doomed to death. And so we see that happening. So we don't know, maybe before Daniel got there, some of them might've; we don't know that. But I like to think, I hope to think that He made it there before any of them were killed.
John Bradshaw: Yep.
Wes Peppers: So that would be the hope.
John Bradshaw: Now, later on in Daniel 6 with the lions' den?
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, that was a disastrous...
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Wes Peppers: That was, they sealed their own faith.
John Bradshaw: They surely did.
Wes Peppers: Question from Eric: "I was told that the Bible says that we are all born into sin, automatically, meaning that we need salvation. Now, if this is true, when Jesus was born, would He have been born into sin also, automatically making Him a sinner, requiring forgiveness"? Now, what this sounds like to me is original sin.
— You are born guilty of sin. You can say we're all born in sin, in a sinful world of sinful parents, even of Jesus; it says that He was born in sin, but it doesn't mean that He was born as a sinner, as a sinner. A child is born naturally with a bent towards sinfulness, with a sinful nature. But that child isn't a "sinner" until she or he sins. Now, I know we are getting in, we are starting to deal with stuff that you can split hairs on and "What did you mean by this word and that word"? I get that. But Jesus was not born a sinner. Jesus was not born guilty of any sin. Jesus was not born needing a savior. That would have complicated the plan of salvation.
— Yeah, who would be the savior of Jesus?
— You know? And...I think you nailed it right on the head. There was a teaching that was very prevalent called original sin, where it simply means that a baby born had some form of sin about it. And the practice was in those days that the baby had to be baptized immediately. And if that baby were to die before it was baptized, then it would be lost. And of course we understand that God offers every human being, even us, all of us, with sinful natures a choice. And so if you have to choose to sin, then obviously babies can't be born with sin. They can't have sin. They do have sinful natures. And as they grow, that will have its effect on them. But God still gives us a choice there. And so you said, "I was told that the Bible says we are all born into sin, automatically, meaning that we need salvation. Now, if this is true", well, the answer is it's not true. That's the doctrine of original sin, which is not true. We are born with that sinful nature. But as we grow and develop, it needs to be, we have to make the choice to sin, but in the same choice that we have to sin, God gives us choice not to sin. And He gives us power to resist temptation if we're willing to yield ourselves to Him.
— Not the simplest concept.
— It's one that's got tentacles.
— Entire books are written on this, many books, and it's a good subject, but it's a deep subject, hard to cover thoroughly in a question-and-answer program. But...
— You gave it a shot.
— Pat asks, "Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit a separate baptism to the baptism of new life ([that's] water baptism) upon accepting Christ as our Savior? Are they the same, or are they different"? Well, let me read to you here, and I hope I can find that Bible verse that I was looking at moments ago.
— John 3:5?
— No, it wasn't John 3:5. But why don't you go read that 'cause it's a great verse.
— Yeah, let's read that together, John 3:5.
— Jesus talking to Nicodemus here.
— That's right. Talking to him in the middle of the night, and He says something very profound. So John, chapter 3 and verse 5, it says, "Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'" So Jesus there is making a distinction between both.
— Yeah, there is certainly two baptisms.
— Do they happen at once, or do they happen at different times? And I think we are gonna say, that depends.
— That's right.
— Acts 2, verse 38 is what I was thinking about a moment ago: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". So, indicating that the two baptisms could happen simultaneously.
— Could happen.
— Except there were some who didn't accept them simultaneously. Some were baptized by water without receiving the special baptism of the Holy Spirit. And you find that in Acts, chapter 19; they'd been baptized into John's baptism, water baptism, completely unaware that there had been a, that there was a Holy Spirit. Now, another thing happens too, and that is that people can come to faith in Christ, and then they can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands.
— And that should probably happen at a baptismal service.
— That's right.
— So the two ought to be simultaneous. Imagine if it's not. So you're baptized, but you're not filled with the Holy Spirit.
— Mm-hmm. That'd be a tragedy. Wouldn't you be kind of empty?
— Yeah, yeah.
— And I know that many baptismal services, they do do that. They baptize the person, and then the pastor and the elders will lay hands on them and ask God to fill them with the Holy Spirit. I think that's valid and important to do. You think about the baptism of Jesus; when He was baptized, the Spirit came down in the form of a dove and landed upon Jesus, signifying that God was pouring out His spirit on Jesus as He began His earthly ministry. So...
— I think what we say is that ideally there's no reason that these baptisms should not happen at the same time.
— Mm-hmm, right.
— In fact, I feel like they should.
— Right, yes.
— But there are likely evidences, and we find them in the Bible, where it didn't happen that way for one reason or another.
— And you know, sometimes it may be that there's a certain time and place where God will allow that to happen separately. And it provides a witness and a testimony to unbelievers there.
— And they accept them. So there's different reasons. It doesn't always mean that there's something wrong or something bad happened; it just means the timing is in God's hands. But daily we should be asking for the Holy Spirit.
— Absolutely, daily. Ask daily for a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Question from Ajay, Ajay: "I am searching for God, but sometimes the Spirit of God goes silent. I am trying to get rid of some personal issues that I know I have. I want to please God so much but [I'm] not searching well enough for Him, or am I searching in the wrong way"? You know what it sounds like to me is that Ajay isn't the completed product.
— Complete in Jesus. Ajay, you accept Jesus, you have salvation; He loves you; you receive His righteousness. You are credited as having the righteousness of Christ. It's that simple. Please believe that. What happens, though, is you look in the mirror and you go, "Oh, look at that. I see faults". You have a day where things don't all always go right. You failed to keep your eyes on Jesus at certain times. And now, you may say, "I've got some personal issues that I can't get rid of". I think people need to know that if you learn, if you go to driver training school, they throw you the keys to the car. You can't drive perfectly first time out the gate.
— You just can't do it.
— That's right.
— Math class, you need to learn how stuff works before you can do calculus and algebra; you've gotta figure some things out. Every discipline in life, there are very few people who can take a golf club and swing perfectly or get on a horse's back and know what to do right off the bat. Maybe there are some, not many. Things are learned. Ajay, faith is learned. Growth is learned. Growth is growth. So you have some personal issues in your life. Wes, I'm gonna ask you in a moment to offer our good friend some advice. But mine is, be a little bit patient, impatient inasmuch as "Lord, take this away; Lord, help me grow," but understand that you're growing. Did you ever see parents with a 6-month-old say, "No, no good, can't run, can't walk, can't feed itself, take it back to the hospital; there seems to be a defect here"? No, the baby's perfect as it is. It's just got some growing to do.
— Mmm. Yeah. And there's a balance to that. We have to be patient with ourselves and know that God is doing a work in us and know that we're growing and we're not gonna have that perfect picture today. But at the same time, sometimes people, certain people, personalities, will use that as an excuse to say, "Oh, I don't need to worry about this. And this thing is not that big of a deal". And I think that we have to have just the right balance. We have to be patient with ourselves, while at the same time our mindset and our attitude needs to be that we want to grow. We want to diligently seek God out. I think of this verse, Ajay, it's Jeremiah, chapter 29 and verse 13, it's a very classic verse, very powerful, and He says, well, I'll start in verse, let me start in verse 11: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward[s] you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope". So the first thing to remember is that God is always on our side; no matter what our circumstance is, no matter what those issues are that we're struggling and we want to get rid of, God is on our side. There's never a moment in time when God is not on our side. He's always there. Secondly, "You will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you". The second thing is we have to take initiative. We can't just sit and wait for osmosis to run its course, "I think God's gonna do some miracle", we have to seek Him out. God says, "Get up and go and pray". Thirdly, "You will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart". And there's a good self-examination that can take place. There's nothing wrong with that. That's healthy to say, am I lukewarm? Am I halfhearted here? Am I wishy-washy? Am I going to God in prayer and then going right out and doing the exact opposite, knowing that God's given me the strength to resist? And so we wanna search for Him with all of our hearts and say, "Lord, I want my entire heart to be Yours". And sometimes we can't even give it. Sometimes we just have to give God permission to take our hearts. And so don't view the struggle as a bad thing. View it as my journey of faith, my step towards God, I'm walking towards Him, and if you're making that conscious decision day by day, He's gonna strengthen you. He's gonna walk with you, and He's gonna eventually get you there.
— You know, a guy came to me a couple of weeks ago, he'd heard me preach a sermon, and he said, "Hey, I wanna tell you how something I heard really helped me". And I wondered what that was. He said, "You said in your sermon, 'If you're struggling, that's good.'"
— "Keep struggling". He said, "I'd never thought about it like that".
— He always thought that he was struggling, and so... But you've heard of growing pains, right? If you're experiencing growing pains, keep on growing.
— The Bible talks about striving against sin.
— That's right.
— There's a struggle; there's a battle.
— That's right.
— And that won't end until Jesus comes.
— That's right. Fight in the Spirit and under the strength of Jesus. You'll be okay. God will get you there. He'll grow ya. Hey, thanks for your questions. That's all we've got time for this time. We're looking forward to seeing you again and hope that you are blessed each time you join us. With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This is "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.