JOHN: But, we do want you to have the opportunity to ask some questions that might be on your heart.
I might just make a comment. There’s been a lot of talk today about the Pope being shot and all of that in the St. Peter’s Square. He comes in there every Wednesday to do a speech and rides around. And was getting out of his vehicle to go up to where he gives his speech. I was there one Wednesday when he did that, in the St. Peter’s. And he goes up, and they throw a deal over a balcony window thing, and he comes out and talks. And he was shot.
Just to put things in perspective, I think it would be interesting for you to know just a few little details, perhaps, about him. He’s the first non-Italian Pope in four or five centuries. He’s Polish. But there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the Pope is a Christian. And in fact, one very famous Christian leader told me that the Pope is every bit as much a Christian as I am. And I have some questions about that, frankly. And I’ll tell you why.
Recently, the Pope has – this Pope, John Paul VI – right? – II – John Paul II, the last one was VI – I can’t keep them straight. There have been times in history when there were three at the same time, all fighting for the vicarship of Christ.
But anyway, he has adapted a new symbol. Every Pope identifies himself with a symbol; he has a logo – right? – like you put on stationery or a seal. His logo is very interesting. The traditional Christian symbol is a cross. A very simple cross. This Pope has a cross off center, with a long piece, and then the crossbeam is very short on this side and very long on the other side. It almost looks like a – like half of a box with a ragged edge sticking out. And in the middle of the box is a great big, huge, bold black M for Mary. So that the cross is moved off center, and simply boxes in Mary.
If there’s any illusion about where he stand in terms of redemption, that ought to pretty well explain it. He affirms the co-redemptrix character of Mary, that Mary is equally able to redeem with Christ, which is heresy and denies the singular atoning work of Jesus Christ.
So, there’s no way that a person can postulate that Mary is a redeeming person and adhere to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I’m not saying he’s not a good man, as men go. He may well be.
MALE: I think you – I think you kind of answered my question already. It was many of the –
JOHN: ESP. Okay, go ahead.
MALE: Many of the Catholic priests were saying all day long, “We have to keep communicating the gospel of love.” And I was just wondering what they mean by that. Is that the same gospel as ours or a different gospel, and if it’s different, in what way?
JOHN: It’s definitely different. The gospel of love is hearts and flowers. It’s a substitute for the reality of the Gospel, and it’s a typical – it’s a typical statement today. The gospel of love means – it’s sort of a humanistic, “Let’s be kind, let’s be loving.”
It’s been – it’s amazing to me that when this thing came on the radio, people like Mayor Tom Bradley said, “I’m praying for him.” And senators said, “I’m praying.” Everybody is praying for him. All of a sudden, in this irreligious, atheistic nation, where no one pays any attention to God, everyone is praying.
And I was – if I was in any of those interviews, I would have said to every one of those people, “By the way, to whom are you praying for him?” I would just be curious. It’s amazing how there’s sort of a latent confidence in God or belief in God in spite of all of our denials.
The gospel of love, that’s a term that substitutes, I think, for the true Gospel. It’s sort of a liberalized perspective. What they mean is we’ve got to be loving and kind, and that’s really true. We are a very ugly society because we’re fallen, and we’re always going to have those kinds of harebrained people that do things like that, and that’s a terrible thing to do.
But I wish I believed that the Roman Catholic system had the truth, but I’m confident it doesn’t, because I know this church is literally filled with people who were in it for years and years and never knew the truth. So, I don’t know what they mean by the gospel of love, but it’s something shy of what the true Gospel is.
By the way, I can just add a few footnotes; let me do that before we go on. You need to understand that the Roman Catholic Church is a hybrid system. You will find in the Roman Catholic Church just as much stuff taken from Babylonian cultism as you will taken from the Bible. For example, Lent has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible. The term “queen of heaven” – you know, that term they use for Mary? – that term is in the book of Isaiah – I mean the book of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and it refers to Ashtoreth, the mother of Baal. It refers to the false pagan cult, and they are forbidden to worship the queen of heaven. In fact, in Ezekiel, God came in and destroys the temple because the people there are worshipping the queen of heaven.
And the mother-child cult of Mariolatry, the Pietà and the mother and the baby are not really truly representative of Mary and Jesus, but they are the queen of heaven; they are Ashtoreth and Baal dragged over into Christianity. And it dragged its way through all of the pagan religions. It’s a very strange conglomeration of stuff blending together Christianity and paganism. And it has been that way throughout the years. So, okay.
ELAINE: Hi, my name’s Elaine. I have a question about 1 Samuel 16:14, “Now, the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” And I’m just curious about that “evil spirit from the Lord.”
JOHN: Right. The statement there is an evil spirit from the Lord – and the question is how can a good God send forth an evil spirit. Right?
JOHN: Obviously, the answer to it has to be in line with all other Scripture. Right? And all you have to do is keep this in mind: the holy angels are at the command of Jesus Christ. Right? Are the fallen angels at the command of Jesus Christ?
JOHN: Sure they are. When the – in Mark 5, Jesus approached the maniac of Gadara. You remember?
JOHN: “And they said to Him, ‘Do not’” – what? – “‘send us out, but cast us into’” – what? – “‘the swine.’” They knew that they would have to do what He commanded them to do. You see, in Ephesians 1 it says, and I will read it, it says, “The exceeding greatness of His power, which He wrought in Christ” – and so forth – “far above all principalities and powers and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that age which is to come: He’s put all things under His feet, given Him to be the head over all things” – right? Doesn’t matter what it is. There are times when God Himself, in His sovereign will, actually allows the demon hosts to carry out His will. And I think in that case, He simply, in line with His sovereign will, acted authoritatively over a demon to send him – or to allow him, permit him to do what he was going to do.
So, I think we have to give the ultimate sovereignty to God. Okay, good question.
FEMALE: Thank you.
MALE: What was the reason or reasons for God’s silence in the period of approximately 400 years between the Old and New Testament?
JOHN: What he’s saying is responding to an historical fact. When God closed the Old Testament Canon, and then opened the New, there’s a period of 400 years. The final books I guess would be Chronicles and Nehemiah – the final books of the Old Testament. Though they’re not the final ones in our English order, they are the latest ones. And when they were finished, the Old Testament was complete. It was laid down; the law was there.
I think, having completed the Old Testament, only God knows why that gap was there. But in a very real sense, it is – and I want to be careful that you don’t misunderstand me – it is inconsequential that there was 400 years of silence, because the Old Testament was enough.
We have had 2,000 years of silence, have we not? The faith was once for all – what? – delivered to the saints. This is the once for all delivered to the saints faith. And we have had silence for 2,000 years, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the Word of God.
And so, God in His wisdom had said all He wanted to say, and He entrusted this to them. Ezra, for example, was a masterful scribe, and it is said that he had memorized every letter of the Old Testament, and that he could sit down and write the entire thing from memory in the Hebrew language.
And so, the scribes like Ezra were putting it into the hands of the people after it had been pulled together. And so, there was that period of 400 years in which the Old Testament was available to them, and then it was broken – the silence was broken – the next time a prophetic voice spoke, who was it? John the Baptist. And he was the forerunner of the Messiah.
So, as to specifically why, that is a very difficult question to ask, but it does not mean that they were not responsible, because they had the whole revelation of God as much as we do for the 2,000 years since the New Testament was complete.
Okay? You want to fire on another one?
MALE: Once before you said that Russia’s greatest enemy was China. And from reading Late, Great Planet Earth many times and following the study we did in Daniel on Sunday nights, which, again, was terrific, I understood that Russia and China would be aligned against Israel so that – I – I don’t –
JOHN: Yeah, I’m not sure that it’s true that they’ll be aligned with each other, but they definitely will be against Israel. I think what you’re going to have is you’re going to have the West, the North, the South, and the East – the West being the Revived Roman Empire, the South being an Egyptian confederacy of – not of great consequence, the North being the tremendous power of Russia aligned with Cush, Put, Persia, and modern Iran and whatever. And then you’re going to have the kings of the East.
Although they all agree that they are desirous of controlling Israel, I do not think that they will ally themselves with one another. And I think Russia wants the Middle East, China wants the Middle East. It’s going to come down to the fact that China wants Russia or Russia wants China. I really think it’ll be a wide-open conflagration of not just everybody against Israel, but everybody against everybody.
MALE: Okay, great. Then –
JOHN: We’ll go with one more, okay? So, pick the one you want.
MALE: Okay. Are all demons ex- or fallen angels?
JOHN: Okay. Let me give you a little diagram. All right, look at it this way: there are – I’ll draw you a line like we’re going to diagram. On the line there are angels. Angels. Okay? Split the line. There are two kinds of angels. Up we’ll make holy angels. Okay? Down we’ll make fallen angels. Okay?
So, we have holy angels and fallen angels. Of the fallen angels, there are two kinds: loose and bound. The loose ones are the ones that are running around throughout the earth. The bound ones, there are two kinds, split off again: permanently bound – right? – Jude and 2 Peter, reserved in chains forever – and temporarily bound who will be loosed in Revelation 9 and are the – I believe are the locust that come out of the pit in the midst of the tribulation. But all demons are on that angelic strata. So, all demons are fallen angels.
MALE: Okay. So, in other words, all demons were angels at one time.
JOHN: That’s right. They were all holy angels; they all fell at the same time; they were all cast down at the same moment. There was only one fall; it happened in one moment of eternity and it was all over with. And one-third of all the angels fell, according to Revelation 12. It says, “When the dragon fell, he took one-third of the stars with him.” So, there are two-third holy angels, one-third fallen angels. And when the war between the two happens in the 12th chapter of Revelation, in the tribulation, the holy angels win. Michael and his holy angels are victorious, and they cast those fallen angels to the earth. So, you have the loose ones on the earth, you have the temporarily bound ones released, and you have every one – all of the rest of them that are in space cast to the earth, and that’s what creates the horrible tribulation, because they all wind up on the earth at the same time. And the Restrainer is pulled back and all hell breaks loose. Okay?
MALE: I’m concerned about dispensationalism. I’ve been listening to Charles Swindoll, yourself, and Dave Hocking. I really enjoy their ministry, and they all preach the pre-tribulation rapture. And I can buy that; I think it’s great. And then I hear some other respected men in the Lord say, “Well, that is a dispensational point of view,” and they imply that that is something that has taken place within the hundred years or so within the Church, and I would just like to hear a little from you.
JOHN: You see, that’s just a label that they throw. What do you mean a dispensational point of view? The word “dispensation” is a New Testament word. Paul said it was committed unto him the dispensation of the grace of God, dispensation of the mysteries. It simply means a stewardship. It’s simply a term, that’s all. And it is not – I mean this is the accusation over and over again. The dispensationalism popped up with J. N. Darby and C. I. Scofield and all of them.
But what we’re – we’re not working our way through a system but rather attempting to interpret Scripture on its own merit. Okay? You have some basic things to deal with. Dispensationalism, by the way, is simply a title for theology that recognizes a literal nation Israel to be restored in the future, and recognizes a literal kingdom, and a literal tribulation, and a literal return, and a literal rapture. And that is dispensational.
The other perspective is what’s called non-dispensational or covenant theology, which has no place for Israel, no kingdom in the future, and spiritualizes everything rather making it literal. Okay?
Now, what you have to do is go back to some very basic things. Okay? Dispensation simply means that God manages things in a certain way at a certain time. Now, what it boils down to in dispensational theology is that we believe that when God says something He means it. And He means exactly what He said. And we don’t want to take the liberty to spiritualize it.
For example, I heard Edmund Clowney, the president of Westminster Seminary, preach on Isaiah 9. And he preached on “The government shall be upon His shoulder.” And his sermon was is the government of your life on the shoulders of Christ? And he preached the whole sermon on that. That passage has absolutely nothing to do with the government of my life. That’s talking about the government of the world. And it’s talking about a millennial kingdom. But if you don’t want to have a millennial kingdom, then you’re stuck with making it a personal thing, and you have it over and over again.
Now, in the Old Testament, repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly the Bible says God has a place for the national of Israel. “I will not forget Jerusalem if My right hand loses its cunning,” etcetera, etcetera. God says, “I will never – My word will never return void; it will always accomplish that which I send it. I will fulfill My covenant to David forever and ever.” Right? “I will restore My people.” Romans 11. “Has God set aside Israel whom He foreknew? God forbid.” We take that literally. We say there is a kingdom for Israel. There is a kingdom for Israel.
But the non-dispensationalist says, “No, Israel forfeited its kingdom in the execution of the Messiah. The Church is the new Israel. We are the Israel of God; there’s no literal kingdom; everything is spiritual. And they go back into the Old Testament, take that theology, read it back into the Old Testament, and reinterpret all of the Old Testament promises as spiritual promises to the Church and eliminate Israel.
And so, you take John Stott, no less a scholar than John Stott. He’s in Switzerland. A student stands up and asks him in a seminar, “What is the significance of Israel’s return to the land today,” and his answer is, “It has absolutely no significance at all.”
But, you see, he has to say that for his theology’s sake, even though it’s ridiculous, because he doesn’t know any Hivites, Jebusites, Amorites, Amalekites, Moabites, Perizzites. But there’s an awful lot of Israelites around. Why? Why? My grandfather wrote a track called “Why You Can’t Rub Out the Jew.” Because God isn’t finished with them. And that’s all the dispensationalism affirms.
And if you have a literal kingdom, then you’re going to have a literal beginning of the kingdom. And then you’re going to have a literal return, and then you’re going to work with a literal tribulation and a literal rapture. That’s all. And when you get into the tribulation, you either believe the rapture comes at the beginning, the middle, or the end. The end is impossible. I believe the most impossible view is a post-tribulation rapture. It’s impossible, because you’ve just removed everybody from the earth, wiped out all the unbelievers, who’s left for the kingdom? You’ve got nobody.
I mean a mid-tribulation rapture would be better, but I don’t think that’s right either. Because Jesus is to come when no man thinks he’s coming. Right? He’s to come imminently. We’re not looking for signs; we’re looking for Christ. The blessed hope is not that the tribulation is coming. The blessed hope is that Jesus is coming. So, I mean these people that want to stick around are going to be very disappointed when they all leave in the rapture.
But does that help you to kind of see it?
MALE: That’s been very helpful. I really appreciate it.
MALE: John, I’m not going to stand before you and say I have a full and complete understanding of the Trinity of God. I do know that dwelling within me is the Holy Spirit. But when I pray – and I know this is – must be an old question to you, but who do I pray to? I find myself praying to God, and then I say, “I’m slighting Jesus,” and then I’m praying to Jesus, and I say, “I’m slighting God.” Who do I pray to?
JOHN: Well, my feeling is you can pray to all of Them. They’re all people – or not people – They’re all persons. I mean you can find in the New Testament illustrations of prayer directed to every member of the Trinity in Scripture.
I think that there is a calling on the Holy Spirit, there’s a calling on Christ, there’s a calling on God. I think you have that liberty to call on the Trinity in total or in part. I think we commune with all of Them. I mean there are times when I just ask the Holy Spirit to fill me. There are times when I ask Christ to bless me, and there are times when I talk to God the Father. And I don’t – I don’t know. I mean I don’t understand it. You know? I’ve said for years if you try to understand the Trinity, you find yourself under the bed saying the Greek alphabet even though you don’t know it.
You can’t – you can’t understand it. It’s just that act of simple faith. But I think you have the freedom to talk to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
MALE: Thank you, John. The answer –
JOHN: So, just be free to talk to any and all of them. In fact, you might even say, “Now, I want all three of your to listen here, because this is really important.” Okay?
MALE: Yes, in John 15, it talks about – and I’ve listened to your tapes about that all Christians bear fruit – and in that, if – and I know that’s true, what does Christ mean when He says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit,” He takes away. Is that referring to something like in Colossians, where He’s created all things so everybody is created in Christ?
JOHN: Yeah. And those branches that don’t bear fruit are gathered together and thrown into the fire and burned.
MALE: He says “in Me” though. So, what does the “in Me” mean?
JOHN: “In Me” is the key, but you don’t want to push the point. Okay? I believe that the key to unlocking the 15th chapter of John, where Christ says, “The branches in Me that don’t bear fruit are cast in the fire,” people say, “Well, does that mean you can lose your salvation? You be in Christ; you’re thrown into the fire because you’re not fruitful? You’re lost forever?”
If you take the total of Scripture, from beginning to end, does it each you can lose your salvation? No. So, we know it doesn’t mean that in that passage. Right? So, we use what the Reformists called the analogy of Scripture, analogia Scriptura. In other words, we take the big picture. And we say the Bible teaches that once you’re saved, you’re saved forever, that salvation is forever. Right? “Him that cometh unto Me I’ll in nowise cast out,” Jesus said, “and all that the Father gives to Me shall come to Me, and I have lost none of them.” Chosen to Him before the foundation of the world. Right? And so forth.
Okay. So, what does it mean? I believe the key to that passage is the context. And the context is the upper room, and the upper room scene was divided into two parts. There were the true branches, and there were the false branches in the analogy. The true branches are represented by the 11; the false branches are represented by?
JOHN: Judas Iscariot. That whole thing flows out of the context of Judas’ betrayal. And at that point, the “in Me” simply means identification. I don’t think you can push too much theology into that “in Me” and say that it means absolute conversion. It’s attachment at that point; that’s all. And I think you have a Judas branch. And I think what it’s saying is that there will be people who will attach themselves superficially to Christ, but in evidence, bearing no fruit at all, will ultimately be cut off and cast into the fire because they show they have no life. Because if they had any life at all, they’d have fruit. So, I think it’s a graphic illustration of the whole context of what the disciples have just been through with them as compared to Judas. Okay?
FEMALE: I’d like to ask you in 1 Corinthians 7:14, I am an unequally yoked wife. And the Lord has blessed me because my three children have come to the Lord.
JOHN: Oh, isn’t that wonderful.
FEMALE: I this particular passage, I have always – I don’t want to read between lines, but it says here, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife.” What does that exactly mean in context my husband?
JOHN: Okay. Let me ask you a question. Can you – can a person be saved by somebody else’s faith?
FEMALE: No, I realize that. He has to make the –
JOHN: He has to do it himself. Right? So, we know it doesn’t mean salvation. Right?
FEMALE: Yes, uh-huh.
JOHN: See, again, you’re dependent on the analogy of Scripture. You’re dependent on the whole picture of Scripture. So, what does it mean to be sanctified? It means to be set apart. In what way is an unbelieving husband set apart by a believing wife? I’ll tell you how. In marriage, as God has designed it, two people become what?
JOHN: One flesh. So, if God blesses you, guess who gets in on that blessing?
FEMALE: My husband.
JOHN: Your husband. It is not talking about redemption or salvation; it’s talking about the fact that a believer is set apart to blessing from God. And when you’re in union from an unbeliever, he gets it. It’s like the rain falling on the just and the unjust. And you – your husband, if he were married to an ungodly woman, and had ungodly children in his family, God would not be at all involved in that home. But because you have faith in Christ, and your children have faith in Christ, God is involved in blessing that home. And he, by being one with you in the act of marriage comes under that sanctifying grace. But he still has to make his own commitment to Christ.
And I’ll tell you, I think that a man who fights against that, in that kind of an environment, really manifests a very hard heart, because that kind of blessing from God should draw a person to Christ. Okay?
FEMALE: Thank you.
JOHN: You’re welcome.
MALE: In witnessing to a nonbeliever, how can we answer this type question, when someone says, “If Christ is the only way to heaven, then how does a little child, who cannot discern the truth, go to heaven, and how does Christ’s atonement come into play for the Old Testament people?
JOHN: Okay, let’s take a little child, first of all. You have to bring into focus the sovereignty and the justice of God. I think that the key thing is in the Old Testament, where David’s little baby died in infancy prior to reaching a period of life where he could make a conscious commitment to God. And David said when he died, “He cannot come to me, but I shall go to him.” And I believe that David had the confidence that that child went into the care of God, because God is a God of justice and love and mercy, and God is not going to damn an individual to an eternal hell who has absolutely no capacity to make a choice.
Now, in the New Testament, Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” Remember when the disciples said, “Send the kids away, this is an adult operation”? And Jesus said, “No, no. You allow those little children to come to Me, for of such is” – what? – “the kingdom of heaven.” I think Jesus affirmed what David knew in his heart, that when a little child dies, that little child is taken into the arms of God.
Now, after that period of time, when they reach the point of having to make their own decision, I think it becomes a different issue. You’re still asking the question, too, “What if they don’t have that information?” I believe that Christ is the light that lighteth every man that cometh in the world, and I believe Romans 1 says, “Man has enough knowledge intuitively and innately to be without excuse. And if he lives up to the light he has, God gives him more light and redeems him. And you can tell story, after story, after story about that.
So, I believe that that’s how God deals with those kinds of people I think that we have to leave the justice of God with God. God is not willing that any should – what?
JOHN: Perish. And if that expresses what’s in God’s heart toward man, then we don’t have to feel that God is going to unjustly condemn.
Now, what was the second part of the question?
MALE: In regards to the Old Testament saints.
JOHN: Right. Abraham believed – what? – God, and it was – what? – counted to him for righteousness. What do you have to do to be saved? You had to be righteous. How did you get righteous in the Old Testament? You had to be counted righteous, because you weren’t righteous. How did you get counted righteous? Abraham what?
JOHN: Believed God. What did you have to believe about God? You had to believe everything God said about Himself. Right? And if all you had was Genesis, that’s all you had to believe. Believe in God.
What did Noah believe when he got in the ark? Basically he believed that it was going to rain. I don’t think he believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gifts of the Spirit. I think he believed that God was God and if God says, “It’s going to rain,” he believed God’s word. Right? And he was a just and righteous man.
At any point in time in time, it was a question of faith. It was never a question of law or works. Always, in the Old Testament, when a Jew went through the sacrifices and through the works of the law, he was manifesting an inward faith. Right? Otherwise it was legalism. Why? Were the Pharisees keeping the sacrifices? Sure. Where they cranking out the law? Sure. And Jesus damned them all, didn’t He? Because it was superficial.
But what he was after was a true heart. So, when – in fact, in Malachi, He says, “You offer me the lame and the halt and the blind and the maimed animals,” showing that it was false. So, what God said is, “I want a true heart of faith, and a true heart of faith will express itself in keeping the sacrifices and obeying the law. And when you have a true heart of faith, I will count it to you as righteousness.
Now, what dealt with their sins in the Old Testament? What dealt with their sins? Sacrifices? Can the blood of bulls and goats take away sin? No. What was it that dealt with the sins of the Old Testament saints? It was the death of Jesus Christ. It just didn’t happen till later. But the cross is a pinnacle of history, and it covers everything before and everything after so that the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross dealt with the Old Testament saints’ sin.
Do you realize that the Bible tells us that up until Jesus Christ died on the cross, the Old Testament saints were in Sheol? When Jesus died, He went into the grave and led captivity captive. And I believe, when He died on the cross, He paid the price, and He took the spirits of the Old Testament saints and took them up to the place that he’d prepared for them. But they had to wait until that was done till they could enter into the fullness of that.
But so you have to see the cross of Christ as a point in history that goes forward and backward. Does that give it to you? But they were not saved by obeying the law. They obeyed the law because they believed God when their hearts were true and their obedience was simply the working out of that faith. And the death of Christ was what cared for their sin.
Abraham was saved by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, because only Christ’s death could atone for his sin, even though it didn’t come – but it’s no more problem – right? – that he was before it than the problem that we’re way after it. Because in God’s eyes, there’s no time anyway. Right? So, the cross stretches through all of the eons of time. Okay.
MALE: In light of the situation today where –
JOHN: In light of what?
MALE: The situation of today, where we’re seeing that Christ’s return is imminent – I feel that – and we’re seeing the one – maybe the one-world ruler coming about over there in the European Common Market, just many things that have Bible prophecy and rapture – I’ve been reading Hal Lindsay’s books – and things like that, I just wanted to know what the attitude of a Christian is for the subject of food storage?
JOHN: Mmm. Well, I’ll just give you a very blunt answer. I think that’s ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
JOHN: I mean I’m going to leave before the trouble anyway. But a Christian is never encouraged to stockpile stuff anyway, hoard things.
MALE: How about Joseph when he was told to stockpile for the famine that was going to come on the land.
JOHN: God told him to do that.
JOHN: If God tells you to do that, do it.
JOHN: But if you hear voices from God, you can ask another question, and I’ll answer that. But – no, that really bothers me. See, that’s the assumption we’re going through the tribulation anyway.
MALE: That’s true.
JOHN: And I think – I don’t think that’s correct. But where do we come by faith? And I don’t want to get carried away on this point, but I think stockpiling against the future – what are you going to do? I always ask people this question when they tell me, “We’re saving. We’ve got a hole in the ground.”
And I say – I’ve said this to several, “Well, when it happens, I’m coming over to your place. And I’m going to bring all the needy and the poor and the hungry, and you can feed them. Okay? Because that’s what the Bible says.”
“Well . . .” You know? So, if you’re storing it up because you believe in a post-trib rapture, and you’re storing it up to share with the whole world, wonderful. Anything less than that is selfish.
MALE: Now, John, a year-and-a-half ago I heard there was a conference in Arrowhead Springs, and that Charles Malik, ex-secretary of the United Nations, had mentioned that after evaluating the world scene, that he thought the only hope for Christianity, in light of the onslaught of Islam and Communism, would be to line up under the Pope and then –
JOHN: Join hands with the Pope is what he said.
MALE: Yeah. And at the same conference, Bill Bright had mentioned that Campus Crusade was now working with the Catholic Church in England because the Protestant Church was –
JOHN: Eastern Europe. They’re working with Eastern Europe, yeah.
MALE: Or Eastern Europe – was kind of dead. And someone had mentioned that the glue that was going to be holding together the ecumenical movement would be baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. And I just wondered what you thought, as far as our discernment goes, what will be the signs of the last days of the ecumenical movement, the World of Consulate Churches and so forth? What will be the things that hold that movement together do you think?
JOHN: Well, yes – let’s see, how do I approach that? Yeah, Malik said that the only hope for Christian – for the Protestant Church in the world today is to join hands with the Pope. And that’s where I came unglued at the seams. You know? I said, “I can’t handle that.” You know? But he’s a – he’s looking at Christianity as a political force in the world that needs to defeat the atheistic Communist force of the East. And so, his perspective is political not spiritual, unfortunately. He’s a sacramental Christian in the sense that he comes out of a Greek Orthodox background. And because he was the former secretary of the United Nations, General Assembly and all that, he sees a very political perspective. So, he’s looking at Christianity as a block to build a wall in Eastern Europe to prevent the overrunning of all of Europe by Communism.
I would say – Well, I don’t know; just state the last part, and maybe I can answer specifically.
MALE: Well, there was a mention that the glue that was going to hold together –
JOHN: Yeah, okay. Basically, I don’t know what the final thing will be. The Bible tells us in Revelation 17 that the whole world will come under one church. Right? The mystery Babylon, the harlot, the mother of abominations, and it’ll all be headed up on a city with seven hills, where they’re decked in purple and gold and all that jazz. I mean you don’t have to be a genius to figure out where that is – the city of seven hills is Rome – the jewels and all that stuff.
I really think Rome will be the center, and I think it’s very possible that the papacy will be right in the middle of the whole Antichrist thing. The focus that’s interesting, I think, is that the charismatic movement has brought about a joining together of the Protestants with the Catholics. And no one else was ever able to do that, but they have done that. And it’s going like wildfire.
In fact, if you – when I stood up in that meeting and said, “Now, wait a minute,” I went out.
And some guys came out and said, “What did you think of that?”
And I said – I told them what I thought. And I went to the leader, and I told him what I thought. I said, “Do you really believe that?”
And he said, “Well, I’ve – I’m not where I used to be; I’ve changed, and you’ve got to be flexible,” and so forth.
And so, I said, “Well, if you believe that, we’re in trouble, because we’re going right back into the system. Right back into the pagan system of Catholicism that’ll provide a one-world church.
So, I do think that the charismatic movement has lent itself to ecumenism. I think the non-charismatic tolerance of anything and everything is also feeding in. But it always interests me that if you’ve had the baptism, that’s all they ever ask; you got to be okay. The Catholic charismatic movement is really revolutionizing the church and so forth. So, I think we’re seeing it come together.
I just bowed out of a thing called the American Festival of Evangelism, which is going to be the biggest evangelism congress in the United States’ history. And they asked me to be a keynote speaker. And at first I said, “Yes,” and then when I saw the list of who’s going to be there, I called them up and said, “I’m not going to be on it. I want to withdraw.”
And so, a week ago, on the national PTL Club or The 700 Club, I guess, Pat Robertson or somebody said that I was going to be one of the speakers. And I’m not – in case you heard that – I’m not going to be there, because, boy, it started out, “We want you to come and speak to 25,000 pastors from across America and it them with holiness.”
And I said, “Bring them on.” And then I heard that everybody from soup to nuts is going to be there.
Okay, over here, yes?
Lissey: John, I was wondering if you could give a biblical perspective on how far does a physician go in prolonging a patient’s life, given all the technology available today.
JOHN: Oh, Lissey, ask me a tough question. This is very difficult. You know? Recently, Bill and I had a situation like that, where Olive Ash – well, I don’t know when she was dead – right? – I mean she was – there were all these things on her and everything. But the doctor said, “I mean we’re just keeping the stuff going, but there’s no life there. What do we do?” And it was a very difficult question.
She was 89, 90, who knows; she never would tell, right? But she was old. Really old, 90 maybe. No family, no husband, no kids, no relatives, no nobody. The nearest relative was some shirttail cousin in England or South Africa or some – she’d lived a full life. She knew Christ. Everything was well.
My answer to him that night was, “Hey, don’t prolong it; it’s pointless.”
Now, if you’re talking about a young person, talking about someone who doesn’t know Christ, talking about someone in the prime of life or the prime of ministry, I think I’d be prone to hold on as long as I could with medical technology.
And I guess the ultimate answer has to come in whether that – whether there’s the possibility – not only is the life sustaining itself, but whether there’s even that possibility, and I guess that would be clinical. But I think it depends on the circumstances.
You know, I know that many older people have it written in their will now that if they come to that point, they don’t want to be prolonged. And I think we have to take all of those factors into consideration. And even having done that, I think, it all comes back down to the very moment and the very person and the very circumstances. And you, as a physician, would know more about that than I would. You know? So...
FEMALE: Okay. Thank you.
JOHN: Does that help?
JOHN: You tell me, now, what’s – what do you think?
FEMALE: I think it’s an individual situation. And I also think that the physician has a lot of input in terms of whether the patient will die or live, because I think the family depends on the physician, and that’s why it’s very difficult for the physician to sway the family one way or another and to feel right about it. But I think it’s individual.
JOHN: Right. And I think that’s what’s so wonderful about a Christian physician is that you have high respect for life and you understand the eternity involved. And I think you would give the wise counsel, whereas someone else might be a little less spiritually oriented, a little more clinical and so forth. But that’s a tough question.
I hate to think that we’re going to make rules about that or laws about it, having a bunch of senators on a hill decide who lives and dies isn’t really – the same with abortions. You know? That these people could sit up there and make all these rules about killing babies by the millions – a horrible thing.
MALE: Oh. Praise the Lord.
JOHN: You’ve been waiting a long time, so we’ll go with you.
MALE: Praise the Lord. John, I have something that – the question I want to ask is that because there are a lot of pretenders and imitators and people playing in church, what is the difference between a chosen person and a called person?
JOHN: What is the –
MALE: In many of your passages it says, “Many are called” –
JOHN: “Many are called and few are chosen.”
MALE: – “few are chosen, yeah.”
JOHN: Yeah. Let’s assume, first of all, that there’s a lot of people in the church that aren’t saved. Right? Because there’s a lot of “Tares sown among the wheat,” Matthew 13.” There’s a lot of people on the broad road instead of the narrow way.
But I think – and people always say, “Well, I don’t want to join the church, there’s too many hypocrites there.”
And my answer to that is, “Well, that’s okay; we’ve got room for more. You’re welcome.” Because that’s a hypocritical response. See? But basically, I think when you get to the verse of many are called and few are chosen, it simply means that the Gospel is preached to many, but few respond and manifest, having been chosen by God.
In other words, God has extended the Gospel call to many, but there are only a few who respond. And if you look at it from God’s sovereignty, He calls many, but only a few are chosen. Now, I don’t think that that means that the Lord is calling all these people into the Church. I think the Lord is calling the true people into the Church, and the false ones infiltrate it. And they may not realize they’re Satan’s ambassadors, but that’s what it turns out to be.
Is like one pastor said to me one time, he said, “I think I’ve figured out our problem. Half our board is saved and half of them aren’t.” Well, that would be a problem. A real problem. Unfortunately – well, I’ll put it another way, I hope that people who are unsaved get miserable when they come here. Do you know what I’m saying?
JOHN: I mean if I was unsaved, I wouldn’t come to this church. Why would I sit here and hear all this stuff? I don’t want to be upset all the time; I’d go somewhere – I’d go down and hear hearts and flowers or something. I wouldn’t – I hope people feel – either you’re going to believe this or you’re going to leave. You’re not just going to hang around in comfort, hopefully, although it’s amazing; some people do.
But I think that there – God has extended the Gospel call to the whole wide world in the sense that only a few believe. Okay?
FEMALE: In our Bible study the other night, two questions came up which seemed to cause a little division. The first one was regarding the apostles. We know that there were 12, but in 1 Corinthians 16:7, where Paul sends his salutations, he said, “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” Now, does that mean they were apostles?
FEMALE: They were.
JOHN: A different kind.
JOHN: You’ve got all kinds of apostles. You know who the first apostle is? You know who the Great Apostle is? In the book of Hebrews it talks about the Great Apostle. You know who that is? Christ. Do you know what “apostle” means? Sent one. And after Christ – and you would say, “Christ is capital A, capital P, capital O, capital S, capital T, capital L, capital E.” The Great Apostle. Right?
Then you have the 12. They are capital A, little p-o-s-t-l-e. And then you have Andronicus, Junius, and a whole bunch – Barnabas, and they are little a-p-o-s-t-l-e. In other words, the word is a broad word. It’s like the word “servant.” It means sent one. And you can look at it in an official capacity or an unofficial one. Andronicus and Junius and those were sent ones. They were like missionaries. There’s a sense in which today some of us are sent ones, aren’t we?
So, you have to allow for the official office of the 12, which I believe is 11 minus Judas, plus Matthias, Acts 1, plus, out of due season, Paul, who is an apostle out of due season in a very special way. And then plus a lot of other apostles and prophets. I mean Ephesians 2:20 says, “The Church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” and it’s a very broad possibility. Okay?
FEMALE: Thank you. The other question is in light of the fact that once you’re saved Jesus never leaves you, and since the death of Christ, if a Christian willfully sins, then is it that God punishes the sin or in his falling away from the Lord, does he leave himself open for Satan to attack? Because the question – the argument was does God punish or does Satan punish.
JOHN: Both. You see, in 1 Corinthians it says we do not want Satan to take advantage of us. And so, if you fall into vulnerability, if you have a lack of a forgiving heart – 1 Corinthians – if you have a lack of a forgiving heart, you give Satan an advantage and he’ll move in. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against” – what? – “principalities and powers.” If you don’t have your arm around Satan, he’ll get you. That’s one side of it. Then you go into Hebrews chapter 12, and you find out that, “Whom the Lord loves He chastens.”
Now, the point is that sometimes the Lord uses Satan. 1 Corinthians chapter 5, “God will turn them over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” So, God uses very often Satan as His agent in His chastening. Okay?
FEMALE: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay. Over there.
FEMALE: John, I have another medical ethic –
JOHN: We’ll just finish with these three, and that’ll be it. Okay?
FEMALE: Another medical ethics question. As a nurse, working in an intensive care unit, what would my responsibility be as a Christian if I disagreed with a decision, say, to not resuscitate a patient that I thought was viable because they were brain damaged or whatever? I’ve had to deal with it a couple of times, and I’m still – it’s – I’m real torn.
JOHN: Yeah. I think that the thing to do – the best thing to do is to ask that someone else be put on that case and be responsible for that.
FEMALE: Do you think there comes a time when you just totally have to get out of that situation?
JOHN: Yeah, sure. Sure. There are some things that you may feel you cannot do. And so, at that point you would have to – you don’t want to be insubordinate and start a right in there. So, what you want to do is say, “I need – I have an ethical question here, a moral judgment to make. I cannot do this. I would ask that someone else replace me.”
FEMALE: Do you think it’s ever right to – if the decision is made to not agree with it but continue to support the family or the physician in the decision they made because they had the right to make it?
JOHN: No, that depends on what your conscience permits you to do. Because in Romans 14 and 15, it says, “Don’t violate your conscience or you’ll sear your conscience, and then when you want it, it won’t be any good.
JOHN: So, make sure it stays alerted to that. I guess it’s a judgment you have to make at that time. If you feel it’s something you could live with, but you can’t personally do, and it’s their choice, and that’s the way it has to be, then that’s okay. But if you feel it’s violently in defiance of what you believe is right, and you can’t be a part of it, then you have to make that judgment.
FEMALE: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay. Yes?
MALE: Okay, I have three short questions. I was listening the other day to Pastor Price from Crenshaw Christian Center.
JOHN: Fred Price.
MALE: Fred Price. It was the church where I was saved at, and I had problems speaking in tongues, and I no longer attend there. He said that the reason why Saint Michael, the archangel, did not enter into an argument with Satan in disputing for Moses’ body was because angels are not given authority to bind Satan or to cast out demons or anything like that. So, I wanted to know what were your thoughts about that; it has me a little – I was thinking about that a great deal.
JOHN: Well, that whole thing about binding Satan to me is a lot of hocus-pocus that I don’t understand to begin with. They keep talking about binding Satan. I don’t even understand what that means. That isn’t even in the Scripture. The only time Satan’s bound is in the thousand-year millennium, and the Lord’s going to do that. I don’t know where that came from. Did that come from Jesse Penn Lewis or something? I don’t know who invented that.
But anyway, I think the reason that the Scripture stresses that Michael made not a railing accusation against Satan over Moses’ body was to point up to us – is that in Jude? Yes. – is to point up to us the seriousness of dealing with the devil. Michael has power over the devil. I believe that. I mean I believe that. I believe there was a demon in Daniel who was withstanding the holy angel, and Michael came and just knocked that demon off and sent that angel on his way.
So, Michael can handle the situation. But I think that the point there that Jude is making in context is – you know where he says, “We have to be careful when we deal with apostates because they’re like brands snatched from the burning, and if we get too close we’ll be spotted by their filth.” And I think he’s saying, “Be very careful how you play around with that dimension. Even Michael was careful not to get himself involved with Satan in an argument.”
Now, if Michael, who is super angel, who is the champion of all angels, who can handle Satan – you just read Revelation chapter 12, and you’ll see Michael can handle Satan; he can handle not only Satan, but his whole demon host. But the point there that is being made is not that Michael – or not that Satan is a match for Michael, but that Michael recognized the fearfulness of dealing with the devil. And it is a warning to the believer to stay away from those things which are the manifestation of Satan. Whenever I see a Christian fooling around, casting out demons and messing with Satan, that’s somebody in violation of that Scripture. You run around binding Satan, binding demons, and you’re actually violating that Scripture. All you need to do, when – no matter what the situation is, is to go to God. Don’t mess with the devil, mess with God, and God’ll take care of the devil. See?
I mean it’s like a guy on guard. He sees the whole enemy coming, he doesn’t run out and fight the war; he goes and tells the commander if he’s got any sense. You don’t stand around and say, “I bind you all.” What do they mean? What does that mean? That doesn’t mean anything to them. I stood in that office up there one night and cast out demons for three hours, till I was blue in the face, and none of them went anywhere. And the girl kept kicking me till my legs were bleeding. All these demon voices were talking; I was sending them to the pit. I sent them everywhere: Phoenix, you name it. They didn’t go anyplace. I was dealing with the wrong thing. And I learned that early in my ministry, about my third year here. I realized you go right to God and God takes care of those things. So, I worry about these constant people binding Satan and going around binding the devil and this, and pleading the blood and this and so forth. Good question.
MALE: Many of the charismatic people, they feel that the reason why they cannot speak in tongues is because they are not faithful or spiritual enough. And I was talking a couple of months ago to a friend of mine who attends the – I can’t remember what the church is, but it’s a charismatic church I think, with Mary Beth Elliott, one of those ladies were there at the time. And he was telling me that he feels that the reason why he cannot speak in tongues is because his faith is not strong enough and because he has sins – sin unconfessed.
JOHN: See, that’s what they tell him. That’s exactly what they tell him. You know what that does? That intimidates a person. And so, the pressure is on to speak in tongues, and so eventually they do. And I believe it’s a learned behavior for the most part. Needs to learn how to do it.
MALE: Well, that happened to me.
JOHN: Yeah. And then you learn how to do it.
MALE: Yeah. But I still don’t know what I was saying. You know? I kept repeating it. You know?
JOHN: Well, the reason you knew what to say was because you heard other people say it.
MALE: Well, the person told me, “Open your mouth and just say ‘ahhh’.” You know? And then I started saying, “Ahhh.” You know? But I told him all I can speak is English and Spanish. I don’t know any.
JOHN: Amen. I’d rather speak 1 word in a known language than 5,000 in an unknown tongue. Okay. We’re going to have to quit. Can we do that and catch you next time, or do you have a real short one?
MALE: It’s really short.
MALE: And it’s a problem that’s been weighing on my heart a lot about wheats and – the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. How do we – as true believers, how do we determine the difference between someone who is a true believer and someone who is not?
JOHN: Okay, the answer to that – and see, they’re turning me off, and I’m not even done. That’s how – when they want to go. See? The answer to that is Jesus says, “Don’t try. Leave them alone, and when the time of the harvest comes, God will instruct the reapers to make the distinctions.”
MALE: Thank you.
JOHN: Okay. It’s been a good time – huh? – just to share a little bit. I’m going to – okay, I’m going to slip out, and I have to pick up my son. And I’m going to ask Bill – you’ve already prayed once, but I think you can turn the page and pray again if you will, bill.
BILL: Okay, thank you, John. I just wanted to comment that I was talking to Warren Wiersbe. Most of you know who he is. He’s written many books. He was the pastor of Moody Church. And he told me over the phone yesterday, he said, “Bill, keep John out of politics.” And I just praised God for John’s attitude that John has singleness of purpose to preach the Word and to be faithful to our Lord. Pray for him and pray for Grace Church that we might not lose sight of what we are here to do, and that each member of this assembly might be ready to do the work of the ministry for which I think we’re very well prepared. Let’s pray.
Father, we thank You for this opportunity to learn more about Your Word. We’re grateful for the leadership that You’ve given us in John. We’re grateful for Your Word, how wonderful it is that a book written by so many different men can be so unified and so perfect. We thank You for that, because we know that it’s because of the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that made that possible, that it all hangs together, and it’s all consistent.
So, we thank you for it, Lord, and ask You to go with us to our homes, bless us with Your presence throughout the week and bring us back on Sunday, in Jesus’ precious name, amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.