John Bradshaw - Addictions and The Man God Tried to Kill
John Bradshaw: Welcome to "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written. We are really glad to see you. We've got some Bible questions to get through, questions that have been submitted by It Is Written viewers. And so with that, I'm inviting you to submit a question you might have. Email us: [email protected], [email protected]. I'm John Bradshaw, and I'm with Wes Peppers. Wes Peppers, great to have you here.
Wes Peppers: Always good to be here, Pastor John.
John Bradshaw: Really thankful for your presence because together we're gonna tackle some important questions.
Wes Peppers: Some good ones.
John Bradshaw: This first one is from Marcus: "What happens to a believer's soul if they're caught in a house fire and the body is reduced to ashes, with no bones to bury? Where does the soul sleep? How can it be resurrected"?
Wes Peppers: Sure. Great question. Thank you, Marcus, for that. Well, the sleeping of the soul, or sometimes people call it soul-sleep, we have to be careful about how we say that. The Bible says that when the dust of the earth comes together with the breath of God, there is "a living soul". When the person dies in any form or fashion, that breath goes back "to God who gave it," and the body goes back to the earth to be turned into dust.
John Bradshaw: Is the breath the soul?
Wes Peppers: The breath is not the soul. The breath is the breath.
John Bradshaw: So, like, the life spark?
Wes Peppers: The life spark, the life source that God gives to that person to make them come alive, and so the combination of that breath, that life spark, and the dust makes the soul together. You find that in Genesis, chapter 2 and verse 7. So we wanna make sure that's very careful. Now, God is not dependent upon, Pastor John, that body that went into the ground to be restored. Many people were blown apart in war.
John Bradshaw: Sharks got 'em.
Wes Peppers: Sharks ate them, whatever it may be.
John Bradshaw: Yeah.
Wes Peppers: But at the end of time, God's gonna give us new bodies. And so He's not dependent upon that. So a person might be cremated; they might be destroyed in a house fire; they might be swallowed by a shark. It doesn't matter because they'll get a new body when Jesus returns.
John Bradshaw: That's correct. So... the resurrection is independent, as you just said, on the bits and pieces left over.
Wes Peppers: Thank goodness.
John Bradshaw: Uh-huh. And what you're asking is, "Where does the soul sleep"? Well, the body's dead. The person is dead. That's the question: What is death? You die; you sleep. You sleep until the resurrection. And we'll leave it with you because, you know, online Bibles and concordances and Googles and things like that can make it very easy for you just to search the word "sleep" in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, but the Bible. And you search that word; you go, "Oh my". This king died and "slept with his fathers". This king died and "slept with his fathers". "David [has] not ascended into the heavens". But his grave is with us to this day.
Wes Peppers: That's right.
John Bradshaw: So the dead sleep. And so the question about, oof, where does the soul go? The soul, you, Marcus, are a soul. The soul is what you are, not what you have. So the living soul becomes a dead soul. The breath, the life spark, God retains that. Your body molders away in the ground. And then Jesus gives you a brand new body at the second coming of Christ. Fantastic news. Okay, do we have a second question? Sure. Alona asks, "If Jesus told the thief on the cross, today he would be [with Him] in paradise..., how can the dead be sleeping"? That's a good question.
Wes Peppers: Great question.
John Bradshaw: I love that question.
Wes Peppers: We often get that in live meetings that we hold...
John Bradshaw: Always get 'em.
Wes Peppers: ...wherever we are.
John Bradshaw: Oh yeah, absolutely. Why don't we look at it together, Wes?
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: Luke, chapter 23, late in the chapter, this is what we discover. So, Jesus was on the cross, and there were, in verse 39, malefactors with Him. One of them "[rails] on Him, saying, 'If [You] be the Christ, save...us.'" The other's like, no, no, man. "[Don't you] fear God, "seeing [as we're] in the same condemnation? ...We...justly...but this [Fellow has] done nothing amiss". And so he, the thief, turns to Jesus, and he says, "Lord, remember me when [You] come [in Your] kingdom".
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: Now, let's just pause right there. "When You come in Your kingdom", when was that? Can you remember when that happened, when Jesus came in His kingdom?
Wes Peppers: Well, according to the Bible, He hasn't quite done that yet.
John Bradshaw: So Jesus hasn't returned.
Wes Peppers: That's right.
John Bradshaw: So whatever happens next, we understand the thief wasn't saying, "Hey, listen, when You die, presumably today or tomorrow, would You remember me"? He wasn't saying that. He said, "Remember me when You come in Your kingdom". "Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come". We're still waiting for that time. So the whole idea of this fellow having gone to heaven at death is just blown out of the water. Or, should I say, that difficulty merely melts away or evaporates away like the dew evanesces before the rising sun. It's gone now because we're... no issue. Jesus hasn't come back in His kingdom, so the whole request of the thief, it's another matter. Now, but He did go on to say this: "Jesus said, 'Verily I say [to] thee today, [you'll] be with me in paradise". Obviously not, because Jesus didn't go to paradise that day. The thief slept, waiting for the resurrection, 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15, "the dead in Christ...rise" when Jesus returns. He said to the thief, "Verily I say to you today, you'll be with me in paradise". I'm telling you now. It's a quirk of the comma. You know that there are many Bible translations, there are many Bible translations...
— ...but there is a good number of them that put the comma in the right place.
— Yeah. Not the mainstream ones, of course...
— That's right.
— ...but numerous that do.
— Jesus used that phrase many times throughout the Bible, "Verily, verily I say to you today," and He would tell whatever truth He was gonna say. So that was just a reiteration of the many times He had done that before.
— And what fantastic assurance that the thief got. You can know right now; I'm telling you now. Hey, Mr. Thief, while you're on the cross, nails in your hands, nails in your feet, you're in great agony, you're going to die, there's no way out of this, but I can tell you right now, in the moment of your great hopelessness, you'll be with me in paradise. That's the assurance Jesus gives to us right now. In spite of your sin, you accept Jesus, you have the assurance in the here and now that you will be with Him in paradise.
— Some people might ask, "Well, does that mean I can't trust the Bible because that common was there? Why is it there if it's not correct"?
— Oh, very interesting. Well, what do you say when people ask you that?
— Well, in the original Greek language, the Bible had no punctuation, it had no commas, and the sentences would kind of run together. And so when it was translated into English, it was during the Dark Ages when the popular belief was held that when you die you go straight to heaven or straight to hell. And so the Bible translators put that comma in that place that reflected that teaching. Does that mean we can't trust the Bible? No. The Bible, the thought is still there, we just understand that that comma was dropped in the wrong place. You know, also, Bible evidence for this is that when Jesus resurrected, the very first person He appeared to was Mary. And in the garden, she goes and clings to Jesus because she's so happy to see Him, and Jesus says, "Touch me not [yet]; for I [have] not yet ascended to my Father". And so even on the resurrection day, which was, you know, later in time, Jesus says, "I've not yet ascended to my Father". So Jesus could not have said, "Today you will be with me in paradise" because He didn't go to paradise that day either. He went to the grave, and He rested. The Bible says there in the rest of chapter 23 and chapter 24 of Luke that He rested in the tomb on the Sabbath, and He rose the first day of the week.
— I heard a bright man, a wise man, a theologian, in fact, it was Dr. Alberto Timm, who recorded "Sabbath School" programs with us a while back. He said, "Much theology is autobiographical".
— That's interesting.
— Isn't it just?
— You listen to people espousing theology, and a lot of the time it's, right, it's autobiographical. It's coming from your experience. It's really difficult to separate that out. So when they translated the Bible, they translated the Bible in some places due to their experience. "Where do we put the comma"? "Well, it sounds like it goes there". Because it wasn't in the original. And then you get into theology about sin and righteousness and so forth, and you go, hmm. Some of that theology is autobiographical.
— You know what we want? We don't want autobiographical theology. We want biblical theology, and that takes some honesty where you say, "God, simply lead me according to Your Word and Your will". Okay, Ricky asks us this question, Wes: Can you explain the special resurrection of those who were responsible for Jesus' crucifixion"? Oh, that's interesting, isn't it? Revelation 1, verse 7, Jesus said, "Behold, He cometh with clouds; ...every eye [will] see Him, [even] they [who] pierced Him".
— Ooh. So what's that about?
— Yeah. So the Bible talks about that special resurrection in John, chapter 1... I'm sorry, Revelation, chapter 1. And those that pierce Jesus will see Him. We don't know exactly how that's gonna happen...
— ...and how that, what that's gonna look like, but Jesus makes that declaration, or the Bible does, that those who pierced Him will also see Him when He comes in the clouds of heaven. So it appears to be that there would be some kind of special resurrection of those that are coming up, who pierced Him, who will see Him...
— ...coming in the clouds of heaven.
— Now, Jesus spoke to this. He was talking to Caiaphas, and you've got it written in Matthew 26:64.
— "I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven".
— So some of these people responsible for His death, I mean, look at the big picture.
— Jesus is coming back. There were people who put Him to death as a criminal and as the scum of the earth...
— ...and Jesus wants them to realize, oh, He truly was the divine Son of God.
— That's a very, you know... what a shock that's gonna be for them. They're gonna see that, and they're just gonna be blown away that we put this Man on a cross, but here He is, in the clouds of heaven with a glorified body, a crown on His head, white robes, riding a horse, coming in the clouds of heaven with all the angels of heaven. What a sight that's gonna be. There's gonna be some shock going on with those people.
— Ooh yeah. Lisa asks us a question about Jacob and Esau. Well, it's really about God, actually. "Before Jacob and Esau were born, God said He hated Esau. So why did He...create him"?
— God's hating Esau? What's up with that?
— Yeah. Well, you know, sometimes the Bible will give a verbiage that insinuates, that may seem like one thing, but when you look into it a little more closely, it was something else. I don't think that God hated Esau. Certainly He hated his sin and many of his actions, but that God had chosen, ultimately, Jacob, his brother, to be the chosen one that would be the heir of Christ. And so, yeah, God, I don't think, hates anybody. He hates sin. He hates evil. And when we choose that in our life, He hates those actions, and He's always seeking to deliver us from them, but God would not have hated Esau any more than He would hate anyone else. He loves us, but He hates the sin within us, and He wants to take that away.
John Bradshaw: At the same time, there were two sons. One was preferred...
Wes Peppers: Yes, one was preferred.
John Bradshaw: ...as the heir, the one who would receive the birthright.
Wes Peppers: Yes.
John Bradshaw: And one was not preferred as the one who would receive the birthright. And this is a way of explaining, look, there's two; typically the elder would receive the birthright; in this case it's the younger. Well, why? Because the one I preferred and the one I hated? Well, wait, wait. Not hated, as in you...
Wes Peppers: Didn't like him.
John Bradshaw: ...you hate brussel sprouts, or you... I'm not gonna say a person, because, of course, you'd never hate a person, would you? It's not that. I prefer this; this is my choice. The other fellow I did not prefer. He was not my choice.
Wes Peppers: Yes.
John Bradshaw: And so God uses those words, even though it's kind of provocative, or not even God using the words, but the Bible using the words, let me put it that way. And it's to help us to understand a certain reality.
Wes Peppers: It's also important to note that Esau did not want that blessing.
John Bradshaw: That's right.
Wes Peppers: He was not interested in it, and so God moved on.
John Bradshaw: Yeah, 100 percent.
Wes Peppers: So he kind of rejected God first.
John Bradshaw: We'd love to get your Bible questions, if you have some, even one. Email them to us: [email protected]. And we'll be back with more "Line Upon Line" 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 Marcy asks this question: "Can you explain the difference between the resurrection for believers and the resurrection for non-believers"? How about that?
Wes Peppers: Yeah. Thank you, Marcy, for that question. There is. You're very perceptive to notice this. But there are two resurrections that the Bible speaks аbout: the resurrection of life and the resurrection of condemnation, or damnation, as some versions refer to it. But I'm gonna point us to John, chapter 5, verse 28 and 29, because Jesus actually speaks about this. He says, "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation". So there are two resurrections, of life and damnation. And Revelation, chapter 20 tells us when those resurrections will take place.
John Bradshaw: Let me read that to you. I've got 'em right here. In Revelation, chapter 20 and verse 4, it's speaking about the saved, and it says, "They lived and reigned with Christ [for] a thousand years".
Wes Peppers: Yep.
John Bradshaw: They were resurrected, you understand, and so they're with Jesus during the millennium. "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished".
Wes Peppers: Mm-hmm.
John Bradshaw: Verse six: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power".
— Two resurrections, two groups of people. Jesus comes back; the dead in Christ rise. The lost, they're asleep; He don't even wake 'em up. At the end of the millennium, the lost are awoken, and they realize they're in the wrong place.
— Yeah, that's right. And Daniel spoke of this as well in Daniel, chapter 12; he speaks about those who awake from out of the dust, some to life, some to everlasting destruction. So this is a consistent teaching throughout the Scripture.
— Love this question. I've spoken about this many times. Lea asks us, "Why did God seek to kill Moses in the book of Exodus? That seems like it came out of the blue". Lovely turn of phrase. It kind of does seem it, doesn't it? And I'm absolutely certain that there are people watching this right now who go, "What? God sought to kill Moses"?
— Yeah. Yeah.
— Yes. Moses is the man God tried to kill.
— And we're gonna read to you about this in Exodus, and I believe it's in Exodus, chapter 4. Let's turn to Exodus, chapter 4 and see if we can get some background here. Moses is God's man. He's been called by God to go down to Egypt and lead the exodus. You've gotta understand how important that is. He's God's man to lead God's people. He's gotta be an example.
— We know how important his example is because at the end of his life, why did he die? Because he really committed this rash action in front of God's people, and God said, "I can't sanction that. I can't have you go into the Promised Land leading my people after you've done that. They've got to know"...
— ..".that what you did, you crossed a line".
— So later on, He did take his life because of a rash act. He's helping him to understand here that no rash acts or no impetuous acts or no acts of disobedience, "Because you are gonna be leading my people. You're gonna be the shepherd of my sheep, Moses. I need the very best from you". So we read in Exodus 4, verse 19, "The Lord said [to] Moses in Midian, 'Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.' ...Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. ...The Lord said [to] Moses, 'When [you go] to return [to] Egypt, see that [you] do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.'" And away he went. Verse 24: "It came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him". You know, you're kind of right in what you said. That seemed to come out of the blue. Moses? Man, what would Charlton Heston have done if God had followed through and taken the life of Moses? There would've been no Moses "Ten Commandments" movie.
— Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah.
— So what was it all about? We are told in the next verse. "Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.' So He", God, "let him", Moses, "go". Moses hadn't performed the sign of the covenant upon his own son, hadn't circumcised his boy. Now, back then it was mandatory. Today it's not mandatory; it's optional. Do what you think works for you and your family. But this was to be a sign of the covenant and a sign of obedience and fidelity. You might say it's a small thing. God cares about the small things. And it was actually a really big thing that Moses, God's man, would go down to Egypt to lead God's people while he had this act of disobedience hanging over his head. So it really wasn't from out of the blue at all. That's God saying, "I care about the things I care about. And when I've said that you really ought to, you really ought to, and it really matters and your example matters. And I've called you". And down here in the close of time, God has called us to be kings and priests. Our example matters. We ought to care about the little things.
— That's right. And you know, it was his wife that really kind of saved him there, and she knew exactly what the trouble was. And you know, thankfully that was taken care of. And you know, it does emphasize the importance of small things, and that, not that the Lord is gonna seek to take our life every time we don't do a little thing...
— That's right, that's right.
— ...but at the same time, it's the seriousness of it, the importance of it, so let's not take God's word lightly. Let's make sure that we understand that when God says something, He says it for a reason, and He means it.
— Hundred percent. Maria is asking a sensitive question: "I would like to ask how I could get past the pain I am going through right now. My stepdad is addicted to sex and drugs, and I don't know what to do". Well, Maria, I don't know your age, so I don't know how much agency you have. I mean, do you live in the home? Do you have a car? You have a job? Are you somewhat independent? If you're in danger, you've gotta get out of there, gotta get to a safe place. And maybe you're not in danger. You ought to talk to some trusted counselors, get some good advice. Your welfare is paramount here, and you don't want to put yourself in harm's way. Maybe you have children; you gotta make sure that they are not jeopardized by the actions of your stepfather. But what we're really encouraged about is that what you've said clearly is that your stepdad is going through some stuff, and you'd like to help, and it's causing you some pain as you deal with this. Where do we start with this, Wes?
— Yeah. First of all, I would say... we want you to know that God feels your pain as well. That when you watch your stepdad going through that, God sees it too, and when your heart hurts, He's hurting. When you're crying, He's weeping. And so God, Jesus identifies with that. And so the second thing is, is that you know that God has the power to help him, and he has to make the choice to be able to allow God to do that. And you can't feel guilty if your stepdad doesn't do that. It's gotta be his choice. And so you don't need to carry that guilt; that is his responsibility. But you wanna do all that you can. You want to reveal Jesus to him in your life, you want to be a good example to him, you want to encourage him in the right thing without, you know, frustrating him, not forcefully so, but sweetly so, and do all that you can to be the right influence, and it may be that you just go straight to him and say, "I'm concerned about you. I love you, and I'm concerned about you. I wanna see you well. And so I wanna encourage you to break free from this, and God can help you". And so be that example. And those are just a few things that as a start you can do. He may need to have professional help.
— And you may need to help him get that. Sometimes people that need professional help don't always realize they do, and so that may be a process, but do what you can.
— Pray. Offer help; offer encouragement. Don't throw gasoline on a fire. You don't want to wind a man up or so forth. But we're encouraged that you care, and you need to know that God loves your stepdad, and He's working, and He'll continue to work. Okay, here's a question from Brenda: "In the Old Testament, when people sinned, the Lord destroyed all the family". Well, there were times, Brenda.
— There were times.
— Korah, Dathan, and Abiram... and Achan. But God didn't wipe out the family of every sinner. If He had, then there'd be nobody left. These were special times, drastic times. And...but we don't wanna say that this was what God did right, left, and center. So, first thing, we wanna keep that in mind. "Will this also happen in the last days, even if you are saved and your family is not? [It's] bothered me because I love my family, ...I want all my family and friends to be in the kingdom of heaven. ...How can I convince them that Jesus is coming back ...they need to read the Word", "and [that] they need to read the Word and obey His commandments"? What God doesn't do is wipe people out simply because they're in a family. He doesn't cause people to be lost. People are saved and lost based on what they do with the information they have with the, based on the decisions that they make. So you can be sure that your salvation doesn't mean they're lost. Their lostness doesn't affect you and cause you to be lost. Everybody stands or falls based on what they do with Jesus. So your question is, how can I get them to read the Word, to know Jesus is coming back, and obey His commandments? Number one, I'm gonna say, pray and pray and pray, and don't stop praying, and claim the promises of God. What are you gonna add to that?
— Yeah, I'll add. You know, I think of a text in Acts, chapter 17, verse 30. It says, "Truly, [in] these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men", and I would add women, "everywhere to repent". So there's a sense of individuality that every person is making their own choice. In Corinthians, it says that we are all stand "before the judgment seat of Christ" to answer for "the things done in the body". And so the Bible pretty consistently declares that every individual is responsible to God for themselves. And so you can take hope in that, that just because of one thing one person may do, doesn't mean the whole family. Like Pastor John said, those examples in the Old Testament were just that; they were specific special circumstances. It was not a principle, an application for all. So we are individually saved and individually accountable to God.
— Stephen asks our final question. And I recall that in recent times, we've really answered this question several times, but the reason we're gonna answer it again is 'cause it's clearly a question that a lot of people struggle with and wrestle with. So here's Stephen's question. We don't have a lot of time, but I don't think we need a lot of time. "I went to a church in my youth but was disenchanted by the sermons that lacked any real substance". Well, that's... sure. "I finally found more truth and was baptized into a commandment-keeping church. I haven't lived a perfect life, but I'm headed in the right direction. Why don't I have peace? And why is my life still hard if I'm trying to follow Jesus"? Okay, I would challenge you on the peace thing. If you have Jesus, you ought to have some measure of peace. You know that you have the gift of eternal life; your sins are forgiven; you are headed, in your own words, in the right direction. That's something that ought to bring you some measure of peace. So, believe. Believe you're saved; believe you have Christ; believe your sins are forgiven. There's some peace there. But let's get down to this in the few seconds we have. "Why is my life still hard if I'm trying to follow Jesus"?
— Jesus said, pick up your cross "and follow me". Just because we follow Jesus doesn't mean we're gonna have it easy.
— The Bible says, "All who...live godly [lives] in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution". That's in Timothy. And so we have to remember that just because we follow Jesus, Jesus never promises things to be easy. He said He'd give us strength and victory. Even Paul said...
— Oh yeah.
— ..".Three times [I asked for this thing to] depart from me," this "thorn in the flesh". And Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you".
— Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced death for not bowing down before an image. Daniel went in the lions' den.
— That's right.
— Daniel, chapter...
— Noah through the Flood.
— Noah went through the Flood. Daniel, chapter 2, there was death decree on all of them.
— Hey, it can be tough being a Christian. It's pretty tough. The devil aims all of his arrows at you. But hang on to Jesus. "Where sin abound[s], grace [does] much more [abound]". And Jesus will do His work, and you hang in there. You're growing! Keep your eyes on Jesus, and keep growing.
— Hey, thanks for joining us today. This has been great fun. Thank you, Wes.
— With Wes Peppers, I'm John Bradshaw. This has been "Line Upon Line," brought to you by It Is Written.