For tonight, we’re going to answer some Bible questions that were left from the last couple of times. We tried to cover all of the questions but were unable to do it, and tonight we’ll cover a few more of them.
Paul reasons with them out of the Scripture. He dialogued; he answered their questions. Jesus spent a tremendous amount of time answering questions. Reading in the Gospels, you find that day after day after day, the disciples asked Jesus questions, and He gave them answers to the questions. And so, I feel it’s very important to do this, and we always have a great time doing it.
Now, the questions may or may not be related, and I really don’t know what’s going to happen when I get up here. So, it’s a grab bag for me. I sort things out in my mind as we go; and so, I’m not always sure how it’ll end up, but we trust the Holy Spirit to tie it all together.
The first question that comes is what does the Bible say about divining rods? Now, I don’t know if you know what a divining rod is, but it’s a stick that has been used in past history to find water; this is a very ancient custom. And just a couple of weeks ago, somebody asked me if I thought it was all right because this person’s father or uncle had hired somebody with a divining rod. You hold two ends of it; it’s like a wish bone. You hold two ends of it, and the pointed end will take you to water, supposedly.
What does the Bible say about divining rods or, as it’s called in its scientific term, radiesthesis? Well, it does say something, believe it or not. Deuteronomy chapter 18. Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 10. And, of course, the Lord is talking to the children of Israel, warning them that when they enter the land of Israel, they’re going to run into all kinds of strange religious customs. And He tells them that these things are an abomination, and they are not to be involved with them at all. And in verse 10 He says, “There shall not be found among you” – that is, when you enter the land, of course, and you mingle with the people, the potential is there, but the abominations of the nations you’re to avoid – “not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire” – and that was a custom of those who worshipped the god Moloch, to pass their children through the fire – “or who useth divination, or an observer of times” – that would be an astrologer, incidentally, astrological charts are forbidden in Scripture – “or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter of mediums, or a wizard, or a necromancer.”
Now, you have various terms, and we’re not going to take the time to point out, but the word “divination” in verse 10 has to do with this idea of divining. That is trying to find something through a divine contact. And that is forbidden.
In Hosea chapter 4 and verse 12, we read this, “My people ask counsel of their idols” – now listen – “and their staff declareth unto them” – now “staff” there does not mean like the staff of the church; it means a divining rod; they literally consult a divining rod, and here he is speaking about their idolatry. And, of course, it’s a forbidden thing to consult a divining rod.
Now, the reason is simple, because you are entering the world of mediums and demons. Demons get their wishes and their will through all of the various methods mentioned in Deuteronomy 18, and divining rods is simply a way that you release your mind to an outside power, much like a Ouija board, and demonic control can be the result. And so, it’s a forbidden thing, and it has been ever since the time of Israel.
All right, a second question. My brother-in-law attends a church where a woman is the minister. Is this right? Well, the answer is no, it’s not right. And I was interested – weren’t you? – last week, to see where the Episcopal Church ordained a woman priest, not only a woman, but a stated lesbian woman priest, and now the Episcopal Church has moved into that category. It’s startling to realize how far afield the church has come from the Bible.
I was talking to this fellow from Dallas Seminary yesterday, and he had just left a conference that was held up in the Berkeley area, around Stanford somewhere – no, it wasn’t Berkeley, across the Bay – but there was a conference there of all seminary people involved in administration in seminaries. And he said what was so interesting about it was that they did not have prayer less they would offend someone. These are all seminary men. And the only song that they could agree on to sing was “You Are My Sunshine.” So, they sang that before each session.
Well, you know, when you see the Episcopal Church come to the place where they will ordain a woman and ordain a lesbian woman, you know that they have opted out for the floating ethics of a society that has no authority. They have abandoned the Scripture, because the Bible is very clear about whether a woman could pastor. And I’ll show you a couple of incidents in – 1 Timothy is a good place to begin. And we’ll just do this briefly, because we’ve covered it before, but I want to clear up your mind if you’re the one who asked the question, or you still have this question.
First Timothy chapter 3 and verse 2. Now, the word “bishop” here is the same as pastor or elder. Minister of a church is what it means. “A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife” – a one-woman man is literally the Greek; a one-woman man. Now, it’s very hard for a woman to be a one-woman man. Very difficult. Like the lesbians, she could be a one-woman woman, but not a one-woman man. So, here you have the husband of one wife, indicating that an elder would be one who was a man totally devoted to his wife.
Now, backing up to verse 11 of 1 Timothy 2, it says, “Let the women learn in silence, with all subjection. I permit not a woman to teach, nor to take authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman” – in other words, because Adam was made first, and because the woman was the first to sin, confirming the priority of man in terms of leadership, God says this is an age-old principle, that the man is in authority, and the woman takes the place of submission.
In 2 Timothy, I think it most interesting that 2 Timothy 2:2 gives us a pattern for leadership in the church, “And the things that thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” The teachers within the church are to be men, who have the responsibility to teach others also.
Titus 1:6, again, the husband of one wife, or a one-woman man, again implying that women are not in a position of being ministers. No, I believe that in the church, men are to minister. Now that is not – that is not a chauvinistic statement; that is a biblical statement.
And I’m not here to advocate a chauvinistic viewpoint or anti-woman or any of that; I’m just echoing what the Spirit of God has said in the Scripture. And so, it is not right for a woman to be in the role of a pastor.
Now, there are some people who say, “Well, that was just cultural.” No, it wasn’t just cultural, and that’s why Paul pointed back to Adam and Eve. It was from the beginning that way; it was not just a Corinthian culture or a culture around the time of the apostle Paul.
So, I think it’s wrong. And, of course, if it’s wrong, then I don’t think that we ought to associate with such a church, because I think that is in very obvious defiance of the Word of God.
Okay, a third question, and this will take a little more time to answer, but I think it’s a really interesting question. If there is no more condemnation to those in Christ, does God still punish believers? That’s a good question. If there’s no more condemnation to those in Christ, does God still punish believers?
Let’s look at Hebrews chapter 12. Hebrews chapter 12, and let’s see what the Bible has to say, because here you have a great statement relative to chastening. Now, notice in verse 5, he says, “Have you forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto sons? My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you’re rebuked of Him.”
Now, you see the word chastening. The word chastening is an interesting word. In the Bible you have some words associated with punishment and some words associated with training. This word is associated with training. It is paideia. And paideia is a word very similar to paidia means child. And paideia has to do with the training of a child. So, the term here is not krinō; krinō is a term of judgment. It is not katakrinō, which is the term for damnation, but it is the term for training.
There will be, in the life of a believer, a certain amount of chastening, or a certain amount of difficulty brought on for the purpose of training him to spiritual maturity. In 1 Corinthians 11:29, it even use the word krinō. And krinō means punishment, but not katakrinō, which is the very forceful kind of condemnation and damnation that Paul speaks of in Romans 8, when he says, “There’s therefore now no katakrinō,” no condemnation. There will never be katakrinō or damnation to the believer, because Christ has already born that, but there will be krinō, which is a lesser kind of punishment, and there will be paideia, which is a training process or a chastening with a view to changing behavior.
Now, I believe there are three reasons for which God responds in chastening. Number one is retribution. I do believe that in the life of a believer, when he sins, God will respond with some chastening. People want to say today, “Well, we’re under grace, and God never chastens us. God never – for our sin, it’s all covered.”
And I don’t believe that. I believe, though, the sin is forgiven and set aside. God still chastens the believer so that he will remember not to do that again. As in David’s case, God forgave David, and then God made him pay a terrible penalty so he wouldn’t think about doing it again. Your children are the same way. You spank your child and forgive your child at the same time; forgiving him because you’re gracious and loving, and spanking him so he doesn’t do it again; so, he learns that there are consequences to that kind of behavior.
In David and Bathsheba’s case, it’s pointed up. It also is pointed up in 1 Corinthians 11 where it says, because of the sin of the Corinthians, many of them were weak and sickly, and some of them were actually dead. So, the Lord might even take your life, ultimately, as an act of retribution against your sin. And when that happens, you say, “Well, that’s for sure you would never do it again if He just took your life.” Well, there’s a second purpose in that, and that is so that you won’t do it again and foul up the fellowship. He’ll remove you.
The second reason that God chastens is not only retribution, consequence of sin, but it is prevention. There are some things that come into your life by way of trials and troubles that are not a result of sin, but are to prevent you from sinning. I can think of one good illustration, and that would be in 2 Corinthians 12 – you don’t need to look at it – where Paul says that, “Because of the abundance of revelations given unto me, the Lord gave me a thorn in the flesh lest I should become overly proud.”
In other words, Paul’s thorn in the flesh, which apparently was some kind of eye disease, which was a very ugly disease, and a very painful one, and one that he never was relieved from, was given to him by God as a preventative from Paul ever getting to the place where he became very boastful and proud. The Lord just sort of kept him in a position of humility and dependence so that pride would not overrule his submission to the Lord.
So, read 2 Corinthians 12 and hear Paul say that, “The Lord gave me that thorn in the flesh to prevent me from being proud about my many revelations and many visions.”
And there’s a third reason that God brings chastening along, and that is not only retribution and prevention but education, to teach us. And you say, “Well, what do we learn?” Well, what do you learn when you go through trouble? I think the first thing you learn is you learn a lot more about God. Don’t you?
Look at Job chapter 42. Job had some trouble. He had a lot of trouble. He had physical disease and he lost his whole family to death. He lost his fortune. He lost his land. He lost his crops. He lost everything in the world that he owned. And his response, it was most wonderful, frankly. After all of that was said in done, in chapter 42, verse 1, “Job answered the Lord and said” – Job 42:2 – “‘I know Thou canst do every thing, that no thought can be withheld from Thee. Who is he who hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” He says, “God, through this whole thing, I have learned things and said things that I never knew before.”
“Hear, I beseech Thee, and I will speak: I will demand of Thee, and declare Thou unto me. I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees Thee.” Do you see? He says, “I have heard about how You work. I have heard about the fact that You’re a God of all comfort. I have heard about the fact that You’re a God who sustains in trouble, but now I have seen it.” And that’s the best lesson there is. Right? He doesn’t just hear it anymore; he knows it. And he says, “Wherefore I abhor myself; I repent in dust and ashes.” He also says, “Having gotten to know You, I know myself better, and the only place for me is in dust and ashes.”
You see, it was a learning thing for him. Incidentally, the second thing you learn is not only a lot about God, but it’s a lot about how to help other folks going through the same thing. “And the Lord” – verse 10 of 42; I love this – “turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.” You see, job began to care for those who were his friends in need as well.
So, the Lord has a plan in discipline. His plan is both retributive, preventative, and educational. And for all of those reasons, there will be trouble in the life of a believer, because that’s how you learn about Him. That’s how you prevent yourself from getting into areas which you will be overly tempted. And that’s how the Lord makes sure you know the consequence of sin and forces you back into the path of righteousness.
Now, in verse 5, he says there are two perils in discipline; two things you have to watch out for. Look at verse 5, “My son, despise not.” The first thing that can happen, if you don’t take God’s chastening right, is that you can despise. Now, that simply means you treat it lightly. You just pass it off. You look with disdain upon it, “Ah, it’s insignificant.” You don’t think about what’s going on. That’s foolish.
The second thing, at the verse 5, “Nor faint.” Now, there are two perils in discipline. The first one is that you treat it lightly. The second one is you collapse under it. “Oh, despair,” and you faint. Well, neither one of those is necessary. When you treat discipline lightly, you fail to learn the lesson. When you crack up under it, you fail to see the purpose, which isn’t to make you crack up but to make you shape up. There’s a big difference. And it’s all because of His love. Verse 6 says, “For whom the Lord loves He” – what? – “chastens.”
And the purpose of it all is clear down in verse 10 and 11, “For they verily, for a few days, chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His” – what? – “holiness. No chastening for the present seems joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them who are exercised by it.” So, the Lord wants to make us holy, and He wants to make us righteous, and chastening is part of that.
All right, another question. And this one comes up a lot, and it’s good, because it shows you’re studying. In what way can we harmonize John the Baptist’s claim that he was not Elijah with our statement – with the statement of the Lord that he was?
Now, let me give you a little background. John the Baptist was a forerunner to Jesus Christ. He was a proclaimer of the coming Messiah. The Lord said, “This is that Elijah that would come.” In other words, the prophecy said that in the last days, one like unto Elijah – in the spirit and power of Elijah – would come. And John the Baptist supposedly was that Elijah. The Lord seems to indicate that, and yet John denies it.
Well, let’s go back and find the solution to this by, first of all, the last book in the Old Testament, Malachi chapter 4. Malachi chapter 4, verse 5, and we’ll hurry, because I want to get to some other things. The Old Testament ends with a statement about the forerunner of Christ, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Now, before the great and terrible day of the Lord, Elijah will come. Now, let’s look at Luke 1:17. Luke 1:17. And this is very interesting. And here is the account of the birth of John the Baptist. And the angel comes to Zacharias and tells him he’s going to have a son, and he’s very, very happy about that, after he finally believes the Lord. He didn’t believe at first. And it says in 17, “He shall go before Him” – this is his son now – “in the spirit and power of Elijah.” All right, now, this prophecy of Malachi, “One will come, an Elijah.” Now, that doesn’t mean a literal Elijah any more than the fact that Christ would come as David. He is one in the line of David. And so, this one coming would be like Elijah. And here it says of John, “He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah.”
Now, let’s look at Matthew chapter 17 and see what Jesus said. It looks like John the Baptist is going to be this fulfillment of one like Elijah, who comes before the great and terrible day of the Lord. In Matthew 17:10, the disciples and Christ, in conversation, “And his disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?’ And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things’” – get everything ready – “‘But I say unto you that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they desired. Likewise also the Son of Man.’”
And, of course, what did they do to John the Baptist? They cut off his head. And Jesus is saying, “Well, the one to fulfill that prophecy has already come, but they killed him, just as they did the Son of Man.”
Now, I want to add something that’s very important. If – and I’ll show you in a minute from Matthew – if they had accepted John the Baptist, if they had accepted Christ, John the Baptist would have been the fulfillment of that prophecy. Look at Matthew 11:11. Matthew 11:11, a very important text, “Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” – the greatest man that ever lived – “notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” He was the greatest one of the Old Testament, but those in the new are greater.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” Now listen, here comes the verse we want to note. “And if you will receive” – and you can imply “him” there rather than “it” – “if you will receive him, this is Elijah, who was to come.” Or you can read it this way, “If you will receive it” – that is the kingdom – “then this is the Elijah who was to come.”
In other words, the prophet said there will be a forerunner who comes, announcing the kingdom. Jesus says, “If you will receive the kingdom now, John the Baptist will have been that Elijah.” But the implication is, if you reject the Messiah and the kingdom, then he is not going to fulfill that prophecy, there will yet have to be another.
And so, did they receive the kingdom? No. Did they receive the King? No. Did they receive John the Baptist? No. So, there is yet future the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord didn’t come, did it? It didn’t come then, because they rejected the King. And so, God postponed it. And before the day of the Lord comes again in the future, another will come in the spirit and power of Elijah and fulfill that prophecy.
So, John could have been that one, but John was not. Now, there are many who believe that Revelation chapter 11 describes the future one or ones, because here you have two witnesses who come. I’ve always thought this is one of the most fascinating accounts in the Bible. You who were with us when we studied Revelation will remember just how fascinating it is. But many people believe that one of these two will be Elijah. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it might be. Very, very difficult to know; in fact, it’s impossible.
But during the time of the tribulation, “There will come two witnesses who prophesy” – Revelation 11:3 – “they will prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days” – and that’s exactly half of 7 years, 1,260 days, 3-1/2 years – 3-1/2 years of the tribulation. Half of the tribulation, these two men will prophesy. And many believe that these will be – one of these will be the fulfillment of that Elijah. Who the other is – some say it’s Moses – and we don’t really know. One representing the law of Moses, one representing the prophets; Elijah is often suggested. I’m not sure, but I’m just going to give it to you because many do say that. I kind of feel that we don’t know who they are. And I’ve told the Lord, time and time again, that I certainly will volunteer for this job if He’s looking for someone. Because they’re very interesting.
It says, “If any man hurts them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies.” Isn’t that interesting? “And if many will hurt them, in this manner he will be killed.” So, they will go around preaching during the tribulation. The world will try to kill them, but instead of the world being able to kill them, the world will find that there will be fire coming out of their mouth, consuming the one who tries to do that.
“They have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy” – they can go into a town and simply say, “It will no longer rain until we’re finished,” and they stop the rain – “they have power over the water to turn it to blood and smite the earth with all the plagues, as often as they will.”
Now, this is going to be headline stuff in the tribulation, folks, believe you me. You start reading in the tribulation about the fact that it hasn’t rained in a certain city the whole time they were there, and all the time they were in Chicago the water was turned to blood, and then they went over to Kansas City and all the plagues – frogs jumping all over Kansas City or whatever – this is going to be very real, occurring in the tribulation.
“And when they have finished their testimonies, the beast that ascends out of the pit” or the Antichrist – “makes war and kills them.” And the world let’s their bodies lie in the street for three-and-a-half days. They’re so glad they’re dead – and in our modern society, that’s incredible. But it happens in Jerusalem. They’re killed in Jerusalem. It says at the end of 8, “The city where our Lord was crucified.” They call it Sodom and Egypt because they associate it with paganism, because Jerusalem is so far from what it used to be.
So, they die there, and they’re left there three-and-a-half days. And according to verse 9, the whole world will watch them on television. “And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half.” Now, how in the world could everybody in the world see those people in Jerusalem unless there was some medium to transmit that? Television. The whole world will watch.
“And they will rejoice” – and this is crazy – “they’ll make merry and send presents” – happy Dead Witnesses Day, and send a gift. And, of course, verse 11, “After three days and a half, the spirit of life from God enters them, and they stood on their feet” – oh, man, how would you like an instant replay on that? They stand up. After three-and-a-half days of being dead in street, they stand up. And everybody panics. Great fear. A voice from heaven, “Come up here,” and they ascend into heaven. And a great earthquake comes, and a tenth part of the city falls.” And it says, “they were slain of men” – and in the Greek here, they were men of renown – seven thousand of the famous men of the world die.
Well, you can see that there’s coming some prophet. Now, some say this might be Elijah. We don’t know, but it is clear from our Lord’s word in Matthew 11 that John was not able to fulfill that Messiah – that prophecy because the people rejected the Messiah.
Okay. Another question. And we’ll stay in the book of Revelation and turn to chapter 17 as long as we’re there. Where is the current ecumenical trend leading the Church? Now, this is a question we’ve answered some time ago in our study of Revelation.
Now, we know that there is an ecumenical movement. There is a movement to have a one-world church. There is an organization called COCU; it’s Consultation on Church Union. And they are getting all of the denominations together. There is a tremendous move afoot to wed American Protestantism with itself, all of the fractions, putting it all together, and even marry it to Roman Catholicism for a one-world church. This is rapidly happening, and I’m sure we’ve all seen this. But we don’t need to talk about it much because it’s so very, very obvious to everybody that compromise and ecumenicity and the world church concept is happening. The National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches is an effort to amalgamate all of Christianity into one great, huge, world church. And the idea of it, of course, from Satan’s standpoint, is it’ll make it a lot easier to control the whole system of religion if it all comes under one umbrella.
Now, in Revelation 17, you have a discussion of this whole movement very clearly. It predicts the doom of the Gentile system of demonic religion. You could even say this is the end of the World Council of Churches. Now, there are only two things necessary for a world church. One is a whole lot of people who could care less about doctrine, and two is a drive for unity. And that’s what we have. We have, within denominations in America and around the world now, such a liberalism and such an apostasy that doctrine is no longer an issue. They’re into the same relativity that philosophy’s in, talking about the same vague concepts of love and unity that philosophy talks about. And so, the drive is on for unity, and it’s going to happen.
And the chapter says some most interesting things about it. This great, huge system will be developed in the tribulation – the period of the tribulation. Its name is in verse 5. It has a title, “Upon her forehead was a name, “Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.” In verse 1, it is called, “The great whore,” or, “The great harlot.”
Now listen; if the true Church is a bride, then the false church would be a prostitute – right? – or a harlot. And that’s the idea. Satan’s church. And you can see many interesting features. In verse 1, “Came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls,” and this is indicative of pouring out of judgment. “He said, ‘Come here, and I’ll show you the judgment of the great whore’” – the false church – “‘sitting on many waters.” Waters seem to have to do with nations. The great church permeates the nations.
“‘With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication’” – in other words, this religious system has managed to seduce the world, seduce the kings of the nations, and all of their systems have come together and committed fornication. Incidentally, fornication is any kind of false worship. Any kind. “‘And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’”
So, this whore, this phony system set up by the Antichrist and by Satan himself and his demons, this world church is going to have seduced the world.
“So, he carried me away in the spirit to a wilderness: and I saw a woman” – this is the great whore, the false church – “sit on a scarlet-colored beast” – now, this is the Antichrist; so that we find that the false church of the book of Revelation will be, really, riding on the Antichrist’s system. And it says she was – “full of names of blasphemy” – and, of course, this character is blasphemous; he had – “seven heads and ten horns.” The ten horns have to do with the revived Roman Empire ten-nation confederacy. The beast will head up a European confederacy of nations. The Common Market today is a good forerunner to that. And I think they are dickering right around ten nations there; so, that’s fulfilling of prophecy. He’ll have seven heads. The seven heads we’ll see explained in a moment.
Verse 4, “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abomination and filthiness of her fornication.” Now, it’s most interesting here that the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet and so forth shows us a religion that arrays itself in fancy scarlet and purple colors.
If we know anything about Rome and the Roman Church, we know that this is the color reserved only for the popes and the cardinals, which seems to hint at the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is going to be involved in this. Now, lest we have all the Catholics panic at this point, believe me, the Protestants are going to be there, too. They’re going to be there. All the liberal, apostate Protestants are going to be there and carrying it out as well, but it seems to be indicated here that there will be a characteristic of it, of its pomp and its color that could be easily associated with Rome.
Verse 5 gives the name again, “Mystery, Babylon” – and the reason it’s called Mystery is because a mystery is something that’s never before been seen, and this is a kind of church that’s never before been. The reason it’s called Babylon is because it’s the final stage of false religion. And where did false religion begin? At the Tower of Babel. So, here you have the final form of false religion consummating in a form called Mystery, Babylon.
“I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints” – incidentally, this false system will be involved in killing true believers – “drunk with the blood of true saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” – and if you’ll remember, false religion throughout history has slaughtered the saints. And so, he goes on to discuss further about it.
Verse 9 I think is interesting, “And here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits.” There’s one city in the world that sits on seven mountains. What is it? Rome. And again, we find the connection seemingly that this whole thing would be headed up in Rome. A statement that would be totally obscure to the mind of John in 96 A.D. but seems amazingly accurate to us in the year 1977, again showing us the power of prophetic Scripture.
And then he talks about the seven kings, and I don’t want to go into that in detail except to say it has to do with different empires that have ruled. So, you can see, then, that there is going to be this system rising up, connected with the beast. But what is interesting is in verse 14. “This whole system makes war with the Lamb,” – who’s the Lamb? Christ. And guess who wins? The Lamb shall what? “Overcome, for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings.”
Now, where the ecumenical movement is going is right smack into chapter 17 of Revelation. And where it ends is in verse 14, when Christ comes in victory over that evil system. So, that is really where this movement is leading. And I think that we need to be very much aware of what’s going on. You know, when we see these kinds of things, it’s our responsibility to warn people. I grieve in my heart over this kind of apostasy that we see today. You know, it’s a painful thing to hear about a meeting of seminary leaders from across America who could only agree on “You Are My Sunshine” as a song to sing. It’s pretty pathetic. And they’re producing the next generation of pastors. That’s pretty sad. It certainly lays the responsibility at our feet – doesn’t it? – who proclaim and know the truth. That’s where it’s going, and I don’t want to be any part of it. Do you? I’m a part of the true Church.
All right, another question. Was Judas saved? Was Judas saved? I wrote my thesis in seminary on that subject, on the subject of Judas Iscariot, because I was fascinated by him. Let me show you the several views. There are, incidentally, people who believe Judas was saved. There are many views.
The first view is what’s called the patriotic view. Recorded in an apocryphal book entitled The Story of Joseph of Arimathea. There were a lot of books written after the New Testament that were apocryphal books, and one of them was this one, The Story of Joseph of Arimathea. And in that book, Judas is presented as the brother of Caiaphas the high priest. He was persuaded by the Jewish leaders to become a member of Jesus’ inner circle. And when he got into Jesus’ inner circle as the brother of Caiaphas, he was a spy. And the reason the people – the leaders of Israel were always giving Jesus a hard time was because there was a guy in the camp who was always telling them what was going on. He was a member of the Sicarii which were the wild revolutionaries who were set up – setting about to destroy Jesus. Now, that view is that Judas, poor soul, was a misguided patriot. The poor guy was working for the high priest. What better place for a guy to - this guy was devoted to the high priest, and surely God would see him simply as a misguided patriot.
There’s a second view, and that is what’s called the kingdom view. This view is the liberal view, the view of liberal theologians today, and they say that the reason Judas betrayed Jesus was because he wanted to force Jesus into a situation where He would have to set up the Kingdom. Judas was tired of everyone hassling Jesus. Judas was tired of the Romans ruling the world, and the world in which they lived, and Judas just wanted to help Jesus get the kingdom going. So, he betrayed Him so he could get Him in a position to do what He did. And he had a pure, positive, wonderful motive. And then, when the kingdom didn’t happen, he went out and killed himself in terrible disappointment. But that doesn’t make it.
The patriotic view doesn’t make it because we have absolutely no evidence, and the second view of the kingdom aspect doesn’t make it because Jesus said, “One of you is a” – what? – “is a devil.” “One of you is a devil.” And Jesus said it was better for that man if he’d never been – what? – born. No, there was only one reason that Judas betrayed Jesus, and it was simple. It was greed. Greed. He was an ungodly, ambitious, selfish man. He could have come to Jesus, but he didn’t. He is the greatest story of lost opportunity the world has ever, ever heard.
I forget who it was that wrote, “Man, as of old, by himself is priced. For 30 pieces Judas sold himself, not Christ.” And that’s right. He was a man totally dominated by greed. There are some who want to imagine that Judas was saved, but there’s no evidence whatsoever. “One of you is a devil,” said Jesus. And when he died, it says he went to his – what? – his own place. No, I don’t believe Judas was saved. He is even called the son of perdition.
Okay, this is a most interesting – Deuteronomy 25:9. This is a question about spitting on someone. When is it right to spit on someone? That’s basically what this comes out to be. In Deuteronomy 25:9 and 10, what is the significance of shoes loosed? Boy, I don’t know how anybody found this. Somebody must really have just looked to find a question to mess me up. But anyway, I’ll attack it.
Deuteronomy is talking about a very important principle here, and that is the perpetuation of a name. Among the tribes of Israel and the people of Israel, it was very important that they perpetuated their seed through male children. They perpetuated their name because it had to do with the possession of the land. It had to do with the tribal domain. Very important.
And so, in verse 5, of Deuteronomy , “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry outside the family unto a stranger.” Why? Because the land was to be kept for that family. They were very familial in Israel. And so, if you married this guy, and he died – and you were a lady, and he died and didn’t give you a son, then you were to marry his brother. Now, that is, of course, if his brother was available, assuming that there was another brother coming along.
Verse 5, “Her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, take her to him as his wife, perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her. And it shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother who is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. And if the brother desire not to take his brother’s wife” – if the guy says, “I don’t want her; she’s a loser; she’s not my type – I just – my brother may have liked her; I’m not so hot about her, and so, I don’t want to do that” – “then let his brother’s wife go to the gate, to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’”
You know what is fascinating about this to me is how small a thing romance was in this whole idea. That was irrelevant. You know what it teaches me? You can really learn to love anybody that you make a commitment to. Anybody. People say, “Well, I can’t love her anymore.” No, you won’t love her anymore. That’s the answer.
Because in every other society in history, there wasn’t romance at all. One day your father came in and said, “That one is yours.”
And you said, “Gee, Dad, thanks.” “What’s your name?” And that was it. And it wasn’t a question of whether you could or couldn’t; it was a question of whether you would or wouldn’t love her, because love is something that you do. Isn’t it? And when you’ve done it, then you feel it. And so, here it was right to do this, and this fellow wouldn’t do it.
Well, “Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him.”
Now, this does not apply any longer, so we don’t want girls coming to the elders and saying, “There’s a guy that ought to marry me and he won’t. Will you please call him in?”
“And he comes and stands and says, ‘I desire not to take her.’ Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face” – now, that is a rather humiliating thing – “and shall answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him who hath his shoe loosed.’”
Oh, yeah, that’s The house of him who hath his shoe loosed. See, I know somebody just found that and tried to stump me. Now, let me tell you what’s going on here. If a man refuses to marry the widow of his dead brother, he is free to do that. But the woman has a recourse. She is to bring the matter before the elders of the town. They were to summon the man and speak to him, and if he persisted in refusing, she was to take his shoe off and spit before his face. Taking off the shoe was an act of indignity to him. It declared that he was not worthy to stand in his brother’s place and was scornfully rejected by the woman. And the spitting was again the most unimaginable indignity.
Now, you’ll remember that when somebody claimed land in those days, they took their shoe and placed it on the land. You remember when God said, “Every place the sole of your foot shall touch shall be your land”? So, when the foot was on the land, that was the emblem of taking possession of the land. And the voluntary handing of your shoe to another spoke of giving up the right to the land.
And so, when this guy took his shoe off, he was repudiating all rights and all claims in the matter of the land that belonged to the woman. So, he was to have no right at all to that land, and the spitting aspect was simply the shame of such an act toward that woman. Incidentally, Isaiah 20 says that a Jew felt ashamed to be barefoot. So, that would add something interesting at that point.
So, you can see that that was a very interesting rule, and a very interesting principle that God did very much want the brother to come and raise up seed for that family. And when he did not, he suffered great indignity; he lost all right to ever claim any of that land, and he did it publically, in front of the elders, and he was very dishonored with an indignity when he was spit upon. That’s kind of interesting, isn’t it?
Another question. What is God’s plan for animals? Everybody immediately thinks of their dog or cat. Just like that or their horse or whatever. Well, I just have to tell you one thing, animals don’t have souls. Now, we don’t want to take the time to support that, but if you were to study carefully the Old Testament, you would find that animals do not have souls. They do not have spirits. They have bodies, and they have instinct. And there’s a great difference. The difference is that a soul and a spirit has what you would call self-consciousness. That is the ability to know that it lives, and to think, and to reason, and to feel, and to collate facts and make conclusions. An animal has no self-consciousness, does not know that it exists, and cannot collate facts and make conclusions; it can only operate on the basis of instinct. It can be trained to function in a certain way.
And so, we don’t have any reason to believe there’s anything in heaven relative to animals. Now, I know Dr. Ironside said, “Well, my dog is going to be there, and I don’t care what anybody says.” And there may be some of you who think that yours is going to be there, but you’d have a hard time getting it through the Scripture.
The only problem we have, of course, is that there will be white horses descending from heaven. Now, we do not believe that these would be – well, I don’t know how to say this – they would not be typical horses. Typical horses would not descend from heaven, and typical horses would provide problems for heaven that heaven is not set up to handle. So, whatever – you understand, right? So, whatever – whatever the Word of God has in mind, it is something very unique and very distinct. Okay?
This is an interesting question that we covered in the 8th through the 10th of 1 Corinthians. If an idol is nothing – and we agree that an idol is nothing; it’s nothing but stone or wood or – I mean there’s not anybody home there really – and if an idol is nothing, and eating meat offered to an idol was okay, because the idol was nothing – that’s exactly what it says in 1 Corinthians – why did the Jerusalem Council make the statement against doing such things?
All right, let’s look at that 1 Corinthians chapter 8. And the answer is simple, and we’ll try to point it out very, very briefly to you here real quick. 1 Corinthians 8:4, because I want to answer at least one more and we’ll be done. 1 Corinthians 8:4, “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, there’s no other God but one.” So, an idol isn’t anything. So, eating something to an idol itself isn’t anything. There isn’t anything wrong with that.
Verse 8 says, “Food commends us not to God: neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” So, eating something that had been offered to an idol – and you remember how it worked: the people bring stuff to an idol. They’d give a third to the idol, burn a third, and take a third home. And the question was could you eat the third you took home if it had been offered to a pagan idol. And, of course, the Christians were having a problem with this, because the stuff that was offered to the idol would go out the backdoor of the temple and be sold in a butcher shop that was run by the priests. Could you eat meat that you bought in the butcher shop that had been offered to an idol? Or if you went to a Gentile’s home, and they fed you something that had been offered to an idol, could you eat it? Well, the answer, of course, there’s nothing wrong.
Well, why then do you have the statement of Act chapter 15 and verse 29? When they were going out to do their missionary work in the Gentile world, the statement there is this, verse 28, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us” – and this is the Jerusalem Council making a decision about behavior in taking the message into Gentile areas – “to lay upon you no greater burden than those necessary things” – in other words, we don’t want to make it legalistic, but keep these in mind, “abstain from things offered to idols.” Now stop there. Why?
If it is not wrong, and if an idol is nothing, why does he tell them to abstain? Well, the answer, go back to verse 19, “Wherefore, my judgment is, that we trouble not them, who from among the Gentiles are turned to God” – let’s not make an issue about meats offered to idols – “but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and fornication, and things strangled, and blood.” Why? “For Moses of old time hat in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” Why were they not to do this? For the sake of whom? Sake of the Jews who would be offended. Right?
So, you’d just have the same principle that you have in 8 to 10 of Corinthians. Some things are not wrong, but we don’t do them for the sake of folks that might be offended. And those things would very definitely have offended the Jews in the community. And if the Gentile church did those things, they would lose the opportunity to witness to those Jewish people.
Now, I want to answer at least this one final question and then let you go, because this is an important one, and we still had a few that we didn’t get to, but we’ll save them. How does that Bible help us to be able to cope with the anxieties of life and psychological problems?
Well, the Bible is not a book on psychology, because psychology is a – I used the word advisedly – a “science.” It is a so-called science. And it’s interesting to know that in the preface to some books on psychology, it says that psychology has never been proven to be a valid science, because there is no way to verify that change that has occurred in someone’s life is due to psychology rather than the passing of time or other forces. So, they can’t really prove anything because it’s unprovable. It can’t be put in a test tube.
So, the Bible is not a book on psychology. It doesn’t discuss things in the same vein that a psychologist would. But it does involve principles for living, and that, in fact, is what psychology is all about; it’s trying to help you to live the fullest possible life with the least anxiety. And the Bible does have a lot to say about that.
Let me just take you to one passage that, in my mind, is the most clear statement in all the Scripture about having a healthy attitude toward life. Philippians chapter 4, verses 1 to 9. Philippians 4:1-9. This is, I think, the greatest passage – single passage in the Bible in terms of dealing with psychological problems.
You know what I believe? I had gotten to the place now where I believed that our society, for many reasons, wants people to be psychologically messed up. In the first place, it’s great for the pharmaceutical business. You know, the more people that can’t cope, the more stuff they’re going to sell people who can’t cop. And I think our society is disjointed and almost celebrates its disconnections in order to stimulate economy.
Secondly, I think that our society wants us all to be a little wacko, because most of it is, and misery loves company. And I think we are victimized, to some extent, by a society that wants everybody to be in the same bag. You know, nothing is as frustrating to our society as somebody who’s got it together. You know, the little deal says if you can maintain your cool in this situation, you just don’t understand the facts. I mean that’s the statement of our society. Nobody has the right to be healthy. Nobody has the right to have it together.
TV commercials monitor the fact that you ought to be miserable. “He kissed you once, will he kiss you again?” “Are your floors yellow? And then it goes on to tell you about all the miseries of your life: your coffee needs Mrs. Olson, and on and on and on.None of us is ever adequate. We never use the right coffee, the right deodorant, the right toothpaste. We never drive the right car because Ford has a better idea. We’re all one step behind real living all the time. And I think a lot of times this society just foments the anxiety of people. Just constantly makes them anxious over what they don’t have. Advertising is a psychological crusher to people. People are under pressure to attain what they don’t possess, to find the beautiful life that’s out there somewhere, portrayed in the movies and on TV, that they never know. Very frustrating.
Now, there are only three ways to handle problems, and I’ve shared this with you before, but they’re simple. When you have a problem, you either breakout in anger or a rash or something. Or you break down; you silently withdraw, and you get eaten up inside. Or you break through, and that’s really what you want to do, isn’t it? Victory. And in order to break through, I want you to notice what Paul presents here is the patter for victory over anxiety.
And just quickly, Paul really is a great model. Look at verse 11 of 4, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, in this to be” – what? – “content.” Now, that’s a guy I’d like to learn from. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you like to learn from somebody who was always content? Terrific man. That is the kind of person I would like to learn from. I don’t want to go to a psychiatrist who goes out the backdoor to another psychiatrist. I want to go – I remember a sign on the office of a counselor that said – and this is the truth – “Dr. So-and-so is not in. He is seeing his psychiatrist.” And that’s true. I want to go to somebody who has it together.
The apostle Paul says, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased; I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed to be full and to be hungry, to abound and suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Now, that guy really had it together.
You say, “Yeah, but he didn’t have my problems.” Oh, man, you don’t have his problems. You kidding? Here’s a man who had it together. Now, what does it take to get it together? Let me show you how to be adequate, starting in verse 1. Number one, you need an adequate stand. An adequate stand. “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast” – where? – “in the Lord.”
The first thing that a believer has to have in order to really get it together is a firm footing. And he stands fast in the Lord. He has a sense of security. 1 Corinthians 6:17, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” And one great, solid, powerful, sustaining reality is that I can stand firm because Christ is on my side.
Remember in Ephesians 6 the armor? Your feet are shod with the gospel of peace. And the gospel of peace means that I’m not longer at war with God; I’m at peace with God. He’s on my side. And what allows me to stand firm in the battle with Satan is that my feet are rooted on the reality that Christ is on my side. So, Satan, you can come and do whatever you want; God is stronger than you are. And that’s what he’s saying here.
I really believe that psychologically healthy people have a great understanding of the doctrine of God and Christ. They are sustained by who God is and who Christ is. Now, we have problems in our family, and you have problems in yours, and I have problems in my life, and my wife has problems, and your wife, and your husband and all. And the things that I always go back to and the thing that I always take my family back to is, “Did you forget that God is in control? Did you forget that God loves you? Did you forget that Christ is always seeking the best for you? That’s the stand we take, and that’s where the rock is.
A second thing that I think is important in psychological health, and we’re just suggesting, is adequate love. And this is interesting. Verse 1, 2, and 3. He says, “So, stand fast my dearly beloved.” Now, verse 2, “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche” – those are two women – “that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other fellow workers whose names are in the book of life.”
Now, notice something about that. Notice the first line of verse 1, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved.” The last line of verse 1, “dearly beloved.” Now, Paul loved somebody. Who he loves is most interesting. He loves Euodias and Syntyche. Who are they? Two cantankerous women splitting his church. Now, that’s a very important thing. The Philippian church was being fractured, and two women were quarrelsome, and they were leading the split.
And you want to see a psychologically healthy person. It’s the person who can love the people who set about to destroy what he spent his life building. See, that’s a healthy person. A person who doesn’t know the meaning of vengeance, who doesn’t know the meaning of resentment, who doesn’t know the meaning of antagonism, who doesn’t seek in vengeance to get his due, who isn’t threatened. But here is a person who responds to two people who are actually fracturing a fellowship which he, at great cost to his own life, set about to found. And his only response to them is one of – what? – of love.
Now, you see, that’s forgiving 70 times 7. And that’s the mentality of a whole, healthy person. You want to see somebody with psychological problems? You want to see somebody with a high rate of anxiety? Then you find the person who cannot forgive somebody who steps on his toes. And you’ve got a psychological basket case. And so, there’s got to be an adequate love.
Thirdly, and this is another very important element in psychological wholeness, and that is an adequate joy. Verse 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice.” You know, you want to hear something? Happy people are usually happy. Sad people are seldom happy. There’s just a commitment in – I don’t know if you ever encounter this, but this is just practical stuff, not so much biblical, but you know, I have determined in my life to be happy. That’s right. I just determined that I am going to be happy. No, you can’t make me sad, because I’m going to be happy.
We were staying with some dear folks in Philadelphia, and I said to – Bowlie is her name, and we call her Aunt Bowlie. Her name is Eleanor, but when she was a little – when the kids were little, she was taking them bowling, and so, they got to calling her Bowlie, and so that’s her name.
But anyway, so, we were with – we were with Bowlie, and I was saying to her, “You know, you’re amazing.” She’s 80 – what is she, honey, 81? 82? – whatever, 81 or 82 – you’re a terrific help. How old is she? Oh, 82, all right. So, I said to her – and she is amazing. I mean she is at it all the time, and her mind is as sharp as anything, and boy, she’s...
So, I said to her, “Do you ever get down?”
She says, “No, I’d never allow that.”
I said, “Do you ever rest?”
She said, “I’ll rest when I’m six feet under.”
And her husband says, “No, I’ve never known her to be anything but happy and positive.”
“You know,” she said, “I just decided I’m going to be happy.”
And happy people are usually happy. You know, it’s an important thing to look at life with a sense of joy. Paul had that commitment, didn’t he? Rejoice. You know 70 times in the New Testament you’re told to rejoice? That implies that you could if you wanted to. And the apostle Paul, he rejoiced all the time. Even in jail he sang hymns and rejoiced. And so, one of Christ’s gift to us – isn’t it in John 15:11 where He says, “I’ll give you My joy”?
I think that psychologically healthy people are happy people. And you need to make a commitment to be a happy person and not dwell on the things that tend to make you sad.
Well, number four, an adequate gentleness. This is a good thing. Verse five says, “Let your gentleness be known to all men.” Some say “moderation,” but gentleness is really what it translates. “Let your gentleness be known to all men.” If you wanted a simple translation, have a reputation for gentleness.
You know, I like this. You know, there are people who have a lot of anxiety are usually bull-in-a-china-closet type people who just go blasting into every situation. They’re threatened; they’re insecure; they’re intolerant. And the very opposite is gentleness.
Paul says to the Thessalonians, “When we came to you, we didn’t come pounding the pulpit and smashing things; we came to you like a nursing mother cherishes her baby.” In other words, “We treated you with gentleness.” Read that, 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 7. He talks about gentleness. Don’t crash in; don’t assert yourself. Usually, healthy people are people who approach things very gently, cautiously, quietly.
And then fifthly, an adequate security. And this is great, verse 5, the end says, “The Lord is at hand.” It’s not talking about the second coming; it’s talking about His nearness. The Lord is at hand. And what do you have to worry about. Right? Did you forget He was there? He says, “I’ll never leave you nor” – what? – “forsake you.” “I’m a friend that sticks closer than” – what? – “a brother.” “Lo, I am with you” – what? – “always.”
And so, we need to practice His presence. And then I think, maybe lastly, an adequate knowledge, verse 8. If you’re going to be a psychologically healthy person, then you have to think on these things. “What’s honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.”
You know, if you just spend all your time thinking about those things – and where are those things recorded? – right here. Spend your time in the Word. Spend your time practicing the presence of Jesus Christ. Spend your time being gentle and quiet. Spend your time being happy. Make that commitment. Do the best you can to love the people who step all over you, and remember that you stand fast in the Lord, and He’s there, and His power is available to you. There’s really nothing to get too worried about.
Paul Reece tells a story of a man on a ship being torpedoed. He leaped into the sea when the ship was struck. Second World War. And he was picked up by a German freighter. The experience was a great fear and strain on his nerves and the others that were rescued out of the sea, and they were thrown into the hold of this German freighter.
He says, “I began to commune with the Lord. At first I couldn’t sleep. He reminded me of the 121st Psalm, which says, ‘My help comes from the Lord which made heaven and earth. He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He shall neither slumber nor sleep.’ So, I said, ‘Lord, there isn’t any use of both of us staying awake.’” “‘If you’re going to keep watch, I’ll thank you for some sleep.’ And He gave me some.
And I think we can have that kind of confidence because we know the Lord is our sustenance. So, though the Bible isn’t a textbook on psychology, boy, it has some great things to say – doesn’t it? – about the practical aspect of life.
Well, again tonight I think we’ve seen some answers to some questions. And again I say to you that the Bible does have answers, and it’s encouraging and exciting to see what they are. Let’s bow and pray.
Thank You, Father, for a good fellowship tonight. Thank You that You’ve enriched us so much in just being together. Thank You for the love we share. We’ll give You the praise because Jesus made it all possible, whom we love and whom we serve, and in whose name we pray. And everybody said, amen.
God bless you, have a great week.
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