Pastor Mike answers questions on the Bible, God and Christianity
Questions in this service:
1. How do we maintain rest without being a legalist about it? What is rest?
2. How do you know that you are understanding what the Bible is instructing you to do. Talk about righteousness and self righteousness.
3. In Acts, Paul does not protest about his incarceration until late in the process. He did not mention his citizenship at the start. Why?
4. Question on Paul to the Corinthians questioning them on why they would be baptizing for the dead? What did Paul mean about this?
5. A question relating to the 4 soils. Is the second soil talking about burnout?
6. Relating to Ezra and Nehemiah… many broke up their marriages because they had married pagans. Is this not breaking God’s law to divorce for reasons other than adultery? What is to be done about the women and children left on their own?
7. Concerning Matt 24:36. Please explain why only the Father knows the day.
8. Having trouble with the math relating to the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel.
9. Please talk about Christians having to deal with the possibility of using or prescribed to use medical marijuana.
10. The 10 commandments seem to be different in list form from Catholics than what we see as Protestants. Is the Catholic religion a cult?
11. Is there physical proof of the reality of the Bible?
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Q&A 2019-Part 1
Pastor Mike Fabarez
Pastor Mike Well at Compass Bible Church we’ve got a great appetite for God’s Word and we want to give a chance every year for a weekend like this where we can open up our service to just let you ask whatever questions you might have about the Christian life, about the Bible, about Christian doctrine. So it’s an interesting weekend, as Pastor Lucas said, this is not what we do every week. We do it once a year all weekend long and we are excited to have our time together. We’ve got Pastor Rod, we’ve got John with microphones, and if you have questions about Compass Bible Institute I want you to defer that inquiry and curiosity to the end. We’re going to deal with that at the very end. But this is just our regular time of Q and A. So when one microphone has been waved down then you go ahead and wave down the other microphone and we’ll just take your question. Speak loudly, clearly in the microphone and we will do our best to answer questions about the Bible. Hopefully, it’ll be an edifying time so let’s start over here, John’s side of the room.
Question Good evening Pastor Mike. So the question is we know that Sabbath was with the Old Testament but this is more of a practical question. I know you travel a lot. I travel pretty frequently too and trying to find that balance for rest. So what does that look like? You know, I’m trying to be able to maintain some level of rest without being kind of a legalist about it.
Pastor Mike Well, certainly the Sabbath as a pattern was there before it was ever a law in the Levitical Mosaic law. So we’ve got to understand that God created the world in six days, the seventh day he rested, not because he was tired but the Bible says to give us a pattern of work and rest. That is that we should be working most of the time and then we should be resting and recharging. It became a sign of the covenant between God and his people, Israel. Of course, it was all fulfilled in Christ just like the Passover and Feast of Tabernacles and all the rest of the ceremonial law. But the pattern is there and that pattern is always to be observed, at least in our lives to see it as a pattern of work and rest. So how do we do it? We try to make sure we take an off day and that’s a hard thing to do. I understand that’s going to be a hard thing to do. I would say you need to at least once a week be having things that refresh you, things that are going to take your mind off your average and everyday work, things that are going to be hopefully helping you exercise part of your life that maybe you don’t do every day in your work. I may not be the expert in answering this question as to how to do that, but, you know, it’s not bad when I see people have hobbies, have interests in sports, all those kinds of things, and that’s a great, great thing. If you sit behind a desk like I do, certainly try to do some things that exercise your body and maybe your mind in a different way.
Pastor Mike The problem is in our day that a lot of people like to work to rest. In other words, they can’t wait, you know, they TGIF, they’re glad it’s Friday. They’re working for the weekend. Well, the Bible says just the opposite. We’re resting and being recreated and refreshing ourselves for work. God has made us to work. Work is a pre-fall gift of God to us to be exercising dominion over some little corner of the world. So I would say this: start by rethinking about what your rest is. That is that you need to be saying that rest is a means by which I get ready to do the work God has gifted me and called me to do. And then I’d say just be disciplined. I mean, there’s plenty of work for us to work seven days a week but we’ve got to be able to shut down and say I’m not going to have my regular work going on here in my life. Then find something I hope that exercises a part of your life you don’t normally exercise. You know, your body if, you know, if you’re working with your hands every day, maybe you want to rest and sit down and relax and read literature or whatever it might be. Get creative, let it be refreshing. That’s what recreation is all about, re-creating our heart, our spirit and our strength.
Pastor Mike Remember in the Old Testament even, it was something about letting the land rest. Jesus may have fulfilled the Sabbath but there’s something about even resting our animals it said back there. All the equipment that was used to do the agrarian work of producing the fields, all the rest. All of that was something God says, if you’re in charge of things make sure you let your employees rest, make sure you let your tools rest, make sure if you’re a farmer you let the land rest, and God will bless you as you find that focused time of disconnecting from your work. As I said, that might be a better question for a small group where you’ve got people who have some nice hobbies to introduce you to. I have not. I have no hobbies. I’d just like to relax my mind and laugh a little bit when I can on my off day and just try and chill out and let my mind relax. You don’t want to ask the kind of silly things I might engage in or what kind of YouTube videos I might watch to relax on my off day. But anyway, there you go. That’s the best I can do here.
Question That’s fantastic, you know, the idea of asking questions. I just have two simple questions. One is, you know, I know some people know the Bible and all the verses by heart. They can quote this and that. But if you watch their life they don’t follow what they are talking about. So how to encourage them to follow. I have noticed I follow the Bible more than they do and I cannot quote too much to be honest with you. My second question is, you know, we’re always told to be righteous but then self-righteousness is not good. So there’s a little confusion there.
Pastor Mike Those are great questions. James Chapter 1 is very forthright about telling us that you can be self-deceived just by thinking the point of getting in the Bible is learning what it says and stopping at that point. You’ve got to put what you learn into practice. That is the problem, certainly with Pharisees, they knew a lot about the Bible but they didn’t put it into practice. Matter of fact, they started to use the Bible as excuses to do whatever they wanted in their own lives. So we’ve got to recognize that everything you do in dealing with the Word you need to say, am I driving this truth to a place of response. Truth demands response. Truth always should be applied. So James says, if you’re not a doer of the Word and you’re just a hearer then you end up deceiving yourselves and you puff yourself up. I mean that’s what knowledge does, even biblical knowledge as Paul said in First Corinthians 13. It puffs up, it makes you prideful because you know stuff other people don’t know. But what God wants to do is to know those things and put them into practice. So that’s why we teach around here, even in your personal Bible study, we call it the “tanning method” where you’re always focusing on the original context, the “THEN part,” and then the “A part” is the principle of what we have in that text, the “ALWAYS part,” what is about this text that is always true. It’s not tied to the Galatians churches, it’s not tied, you know, to the Sabbath or what have you, the controversies in Romans 14. So we’ve got the “THEN,” we’ve got the “ALWAYS” and then you’ve got the “NOW.” A lot of people love to traffic in the “then,” they get really good at all the stuff that happened in biblical times, they’re experts in biblical history. They’re good at even extracting principles that they can talk about and they love theology, but they never get down to what difference does it make in my life today. So if you make that your habit, you may not know as much as the next guy in terms of quoting Bible verses, but if you’re doing what you learn certainly God is going to be pleased with that, and then it can make you hungry for more. So, yeah, always put every single truth you get in your brain about the Bible into practice.
Pastor Mike Remind me real quick what your second question was. Oh, self-righteousness. Got it. Yeah. God calls us to be righteous. Righteousness is a relative term of course. There are two problems with this. We can either think that my righteousness is the thing that makes me acceptable to God and that’s classic legalism. Right? People call people legalists because they believe in doing what the Bible says. Right? That’s not legalism. Legalism in a classic sense is that I’m trying to do good things thinking I’m acceptable to God. And that’s the classic picture of self-righteousness.
Pastor Mike Jesus tells the parable about the guy, the Pharisee, who goes up to the Temple Mount to pray and he looks at the other people around him and he says, I’m glad I’m not like this tax collector. Right? I’m not like him. He feels like he’s accepted before God because he’s better than the next guy. And that’s self-righteousness. What God is calling this tax collector to do when he comes to the Temple Mount is to confess his sins and, of course, guess what? Turned from those sins and do the right thing. That’s a call to righteousness. So we need to pursue righteousness and that means we put away what’s wrong and we pursue what is right. But that should never be the source of my confidence that I’m acceptable before God. So that’s self-righteousness. And it usually results in pride. Just like in that passage I’m always comparing myself to other people thinking I’m better than the next guy and therefore God must like me more. And that’s the danger in what we would call self-righteousness. It’s the classic example there is obviously that picture of the Pharisee and the tax collector. We would much rather be honest about our sin, not like some people like to say, and then we just glory in our sin as some have written books about that. That’s not the goal. The goal is to be ashamed, not even to want to speak about the things that people do in private that are sinful. We don’t even want to talk about it but we want to turn from it. We want to do what’s right. So, see the difference between trusting in your acts of righteousness and pursuing your acts of righteousness because you know that God loves righteous deeds. That’s a great passage there, we just read it in Psalm 11:7. Right? The Lord loves righteous deeds. He’s righteous and he loves righteous deeds.
Question I was actually reading Acts a few days ago and it was talking about the jailer who turned to Christ and it talked about when he’s about to stab himself and Paul said, no, don’t do that though. And at the end the passages it tells that Paul showed his citizenship, Roman citizenship, to the Hebrews. I was wondering why did he not show that before he was arrested? Did they just think that, oh, he’s just a Hebrew guy, you know? Or did he just forget though?
Pastor Mike No, I don’t think he forgot. I just think there was no proper due process for the Apostle Paul. It is interesting that he is forcing the Romans to publicly recant the injustice of arresting him, which is the interesting part of that passage. It’s not that he, you know, wasn’t telling them. I’m sure he was. You don’t even know what’s going to happen, I suppose, in the process of getting arrested. To what extent are you going to be punished and incarcerated which is what happened to him. So, I mean, I don’t know what all went on with Paul, obviously, the text doesn’t tell us, in the initial parts of his incarceration there in Philippi. But to understand that at the end he says, listen I’m going to make a point out of the fact that you can’t secretly dismiss me. You’re going to have to make it right, which he was doing a favor for all the people, really, Christians, who were going to be persecuted unjustly there, because the officials had their tail between their legs at that point. So I don’t know, I mean, we’ll have to ask the Apostle Paul one day, “What did you say about your citizenship at that point because it was unjust? But I’m assuming, clearly, he, like the rest of us would say, you don’t have any right to incarcerate me. But by the time that they realized that they needed to let him go, he wasn’t going to let that happen privately. So yeah, it’s a good question. It’s a good argument from silence. I don’t know exactly what happened there. But we do know he makes a big pointed of that at the end, but I doubt that he forgot it. He’s a super-smart guy.
Question Pastor Mike, I have a baptism related question for you. In First Corinthians Chapter 15 verses 29 and 30, Paul talks about people being baptized on behalf of others. Can you explain? That seems very confusing to me. I hope the Mormons aren’t right on this.
Pastor Mike No, I don’t think the Mormons are right. The argument in the passage, of course, is the Apostle Paul is laying on every argument that he can lay on the Corinthians for saying that the afterlife is real, you’re not done when you’re dead. And so he’s starting to describe all the reasons that you should believe in the afterlife, and the resurrection of Christ he gets into, obviously, which is the highlight of the passage. But he says, you know, why else then would you be baptizing for the dead? Right? Why would you be doing that? It’s certainly not on the surface if you think about someone trying to by proxy be baptized for someone who has already died, which is the Mormon practice. It’s not an endorsement of that even if that’s what’s in view there. Right?
Pastor Mike I spoke a message, it’s available on the Focal Point web site where we just got to carefully think through each of those words and wonder what he meant by each of those words, to be “baptized for the dead.” There are three words there and you’ve got to figure those out. I know four words in English, but three words, and say, you know, are we talking about water baptism, which is the assumption, although that’s not the context, the context is about resurrection, for them? In what way? By proxy like the Mormons? And “the dead.” Are we talking about physically dead people who have already died? We assume that’s the case because that’s the context.
Pastor Mike And even if you were going to talk to a Mormon for instance and say… Let’s say you were sitting with a group of Mormons and they said, “Well, we don’t believe in the afterlife.” You could ask the question without endorsing their practice, why in the world then would you be baptizing people by proxy for dead people? In other words, you’re proving by your actions there that you believe in life after death. So, I mean, at the worst, and by that I mean, if the Corinthians were engaged in that, which I don’t think they were, he certainly is not endorsing the practice. He’s trying to prove to them that there is life after death and you should know that. Even your behavior belies the fact that you’re saying there’s no life after death.
Pastor Mike So, I would recommend you to listen to that message because there are a few ways you can look at that. Either way, if there is a passage saying you should get out there and be baptized for the dead, then of course we would have to do that. Right? But that’s not what the Bible says. Corinth, remember, is filled with problems. There were all kinds of things going wrong in the church. Just the chapter ahead of that, Chapter 14, was all about things going on in the church that were just crazy, the kind of chaos in the church, and he’s correcting that. He doesn’t correct every single thing about what they’re doing. But he describes that, you know, the nutty services they’re having and tries to bring them back to an orderly service, because God is not a God of chaos, he’s a God of order, which he says in the passage. So in the next passage I think if you were to point out a fact that there’s another unorthodox thing going on, I wouldn’t be surprised by that, even if it is they’re trying to baptize by proxy to advantage someone for the dead. But I think there are some other options and you’ve got to look at those, which I try to mete out. If you just looked up that passage or baptism on Focal Point, which you can find at FocalPointMinistries.com or FocalPointMinistries.org.
Question My question is in regard to burnout, which I know is, according to statistics, you know I couldn’t tell you which ones, but I know that burnout is a huge thing as far as just different church ministries. So my question would be as in reading Scripture where it talks about the sowers and even the three different soils, where they talk about the second soil as far as the seed going and it being washed away. Could that be a potential… I know that that’s supposed to kind of symbolize those who weren’t Christians or they weren’t really faithful to the call. But could that be also that person just being burnt out and not really knowing the balance of boundaries? How do you keep balance from that potential burn out as much as you do?
Pastor Mike Well I wouldn’t take the concept of burnout, which I would really want to, if we had more time, have you defined exactly what you mean by that. I know people mean different things by that. But if someone’s going to, and I get enough of your question to see, that someone is going to somehow withdraw from active participation in the body of Christ because they feel, you know, they feel without energy, without strength. They feel like they’re overwhelmed and they, you know, they don’t have any umph to go on. I’m going to say I would never take that concept of someone being run down and “burned out” and say, well that’s an excuse for someone fitting into that category and yet they’re saved. I mean, the reality of what I think Jesus is getting at in the four soils is there, those two middle soils, the first one I understand there’s no way that they’re saved because they don’t even give the appearance of Christianity. But those middle two do. They give an initial reaction of receiving of the word with joy. They have some kind of adherence to the body of Christ but they don’t end up bearing fruit. It’s the last one who bears fruit and perseveres and that’s the definition of real conversion, real Christianity throughout the New Testament. So, I know that’s the real Christian. The first one is the obvious non-Christian and the two middle soils are these, you know, seemingly pseudo-Christians and then they end up falling away, and that proves the reality that they’re not genuine Christians.
Pastor Mike So, I’m going to say this based on your question: is the real Christian going to be so burned out and tired that he looks like the second soil or the third soil, but in reality, you know, they’re not? I’m going to say no and here’s why. Because real Christianity comes with genuine indwelling of the Spirit of God. There’s a genuine change of who I am on the inside. Which means this: the Spirit of God, according to Ephesians 1, is never going to leave me, he’s going to be the seal and the promise of my inheritance and, as Paul said about him working hard, he says, you know, it’s really God who is at work within him, the Spirit of God is working within, the Spirit of Christ he says in that passage, is at work within him.
Pastor Mike So I know this: that even though we’re tired and we’re run down, the real Christian is going to hang in there. It’s not that they’re going to bear 100-fold fruit every time. You could have a lot of “burned out” fatigued Christians who bear fruit some 20-fold or 15-fold or even 10-fold, but they’re not going to bailout, because that’s what soil 2 and 3 do, they bail out. They retract. As it says in First John 2, “They went out from us because they’re not really of us; if they would’ve been of us they would remain with us.” And it gets back to our first question, maybe someone is not bearing fruit in the Christian life the way they should, with the capacity that they should, because they’re just not even managing their personal lives well enough, they’re not taking time off. They feel overwhelmed because they’re just not managing the work and rest cycle that they should.
Pastor Mike So, I think here’s the concern we often have. I’m looking at someone saying, “I hope they’re saved. They talk like they were saved. I don’t want to think that they’re not saved but, you know what, they really aren’t living up to anything the Bible has to say. They’re not even coming to church anymore, they’re not involved in ministry. So, I don’t know. Let’s put them in the second soil category and say it’s not a real non-Christian but it just looks like the second soil.” And I’m going to say no. I’m going to say we need to see those straying sheep, if you will, and we preached a message not long ago about that, I guess it’s been two years now, and we want to bring them back. We want to bring them back and I think real Christians will have the magnet of God’s Spirit within them to be brought back. We can have seasons of like, I’m tired, I don’t even want to go anymore. We can have those as real Christians but that’s not going to last. It may impair their fruit production but it’s not going to be the thing that overwhelms them and makes them throw up their hands and walk away. The book of Hebrews is all about that. The apostasy of people who have the appearance of connection to Christ and then walk away.
Pastor Mike But I would get back to saying we need good discipleship, good time management, like the first question of the night, and say let’s help people who feel burned out to figure out what’s going on. There are a lot of bad habits in terms of their health, maybe the food they eat, I don’t know, the practices of their work and rest. Maybe they’re not even having the kind of good iron-sharpening-iron that they should have in the body of Christ. There are lots of reasons they could be impaired in their fruit production. But real Christians produce fruit and they hang in there, even though they don’t hang in there maybe as vibrantly as they ought to. Yeah, it’s a complicated question but maybe that’s a little bit to chew on.
Question At the end of the Babylonian captivity and specifically we see Ezra and Nehemiah talking about the people returning not only to the land but their hearts and their minds are turning back to Yahweh, learning his statutes and when they re-find the law, they read through it and they break their marriage vows and put away their foreign wives and children. Obviously, that’s not prescriptive we see in the New Testament, but what are we to do with the fact that now we have these women and children who are unable to take care of themselves, they’re not marriageable in the nation. It seems to be positive? What do we do with that passage?
Pastor Mike That’s a hard passage but I would say this. I don’t just want to say, hey, it’s descriptive, it’s not prescriptive, so I’m not going to follow that pattern. I know this no matter what. Malachi says God hates divorce. Right? It’s like saying, when do I amputate my arm? Well that’s never a good thing. There is a time, I suppose, to do it. But here was the nation of Israel that had a very similar although different boundary in terms of what they were to do regarding marriage. In other words, for us we recognize the unequally yoked passage in Second Corinthians 6 is dealing with our spiritual foundations. It was more than that for Israel. There was an ethnic issue there. They’re coming back here, they were not supposed to intermarry. They intermarried and this is the intermarriage again, we kind of blurred the line between the spiritual foundations and the ethnicity there. It wasn’t because they were “racist.” Right? But they had an ethnic obligation to be faithful to this covenant promise. And that was the seed of Abraham was this covenant people who was going to be blessed of God.
Pastor Mike They had gone through all this compromise and idolatry and intermarriage. You know, it really started all the way back to Solomon as the king, you know, in the 10th century B.C., but the idea was, hey, we’re not going to do this anymore. So we have to take these covenants of marriage and we need to fix it. So Nehemiah, and he gets really, I mean, aggressive in Ezra, in trying to solve this problem. And they say we’re going to dissolve these marriages. What we don’t see in the passage is what did you do with those wives you put away right? Right? We don’t know. And I do think that I know this about the rest of the Bible including the Old Testament, I mean you’re not going to not take care of practical needs even if you’re going to say we’re not going to sire children of foreign wives anymore because God wants Israel to keep its national identity after this terrible time of 70 years in the Babylonian captivity.
Pastor Mike So I do think the situation is a bit different. Right? We have a different, I mean, there’s nothing about us ethnically intermarrying. Right? Nothing. Our concerns are spiritual foundations. And what do we have in the New Testament? Very clear instructions about when we have a spiritual mismatch. What do we do? Well, my husband is not a Christian, my wife’s not a Christian. Well then divorce them. No. Paul addresses that very specifically and says this marriage covenant is very important. We don’t have the ethnic issues of national Israel after the exile. What we have is a concern for their salvation. So don’t ditch your non-Christian spouse and put them away because, who knows, you might be the avenue through which God saves them. Right? That’s even put even stronger. You might save your spouse. Right? So, of course, it’s God who does the work, but we’re active participants in that evangelistic effort.
Pastor Mike So, the responsibility is to stay married. And yet the text says what if my non-Christian spouse wants to leave. Then the text says, OK, let him go and let them leave. God’s called us to live in peace. At the end of the passage he talks about that, the freedom and living in peace, and says you can remarry after that, but only in the Lord. So I got to go back to thinking about spiritual foundations again. So, I think it’s, you know, certainly not prescriptive, you can say that, because we have a clear prescription in the New Testament what to do about mismatched marriages. But it has nothing to do with ethnicity, it has everything to do with our spiritual foundations.
Question I was wondering about Matthew 24:36. I didn’t understand when it says that only the Father knows the day, not the Son.
Pastor Mike Well, remember we’ve got Jesus in the Olivet Discourse in his humbled state. Right? And by that I mean here is Jesus who is eating food, John 4, getting tired, being fatigued, able to physically die on the cross. These are things that the glorified Christ is not subject to. So, there is something about the humility of Christ and what we call the “Kenosis” the Greek word in Philippians 2 about “he emptied himself and made himself to be found in the appearance of a man, like even a bondservant and subject to death, even death on a cross.” That kind of humility, that kenosis, that emptying of himself, clearly had to do with the holding back of the exercise of his divine attributes. Was Jesus fully God? Yes, always, from the time he was teething as an infant and crying in his mother’s arms, all the way to the time he was dying on a cross as an adult in his mid-thirties, he was God fully. But he didn’t exercise his divine attributes independently. He didn’t do it as though he did in his glorified state before the incarnation and he certainly has a different relationship to the exercise of his divine attributes after the exaltation and the glorification.
Pastor Mike So it was that period of time and he’s saying that there in Matthew 24 trying to make it clear, I’m not going to tell you when this is going to happen, because only the Father knows. In his humbled state, in the incarnation, in the humility of the first coming, he was willingly subjecting the exercise of his divine attributes, like omnipresence and omniscience, and he was freely giving that up. And in that state he states something that at that point he is restricted in that knowledge but he’s doing it willingly under the subjection of the Father and, in part, as an example to us, because we all live without divine attributes and we have to live in Christ as our template. So, it’s not as though he couldn’t, as we often say as it relates to christology, it’s that he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t exercise that attribute and he did that for the sake of representing us fully as humans. So, yeah, that was my quick answer on that.
Question Yeah, I’ve thought about this for a while. It’s not anything pressing, obviously. On the Daniel’s weeks, where they go the 7, 62 and 69 weeks and then do the prophetic years and do the math and it gets you to Palm Sunday. But it seems like elsewhere in the Bible, such as even the 70 years of exile, I don’t see the 70 years. You know, do the math and it just comes out to be a certain length other than 70 years or 400 years until God visits his people in Egypt. I was just wondering…
Pastor Mike I didn’t follow that. Go back to that. Are you saying you don’t see the exactness of the other numbers?
Question I don’t see the prophetic 360 day years.
Pastor Mike Oh, years.
Question Yes. As opposed to 70 years. Doing the math when they say…
Pastor Mike To get to the 486 years of this Daniel 9, 70 weeks, would be a prophesy.
Question But begin the 70 years of the exile they say here’s a date to this date and they don’t do the 360 days. I was just wondering what you thought.
Pastor Mike Well, remember this: all of the, and again it seems like, yeah, I get what you’re saying. Seems like we’ve got a special little calendar here for the 70 weeks prophecy. All I’m saying is all of the calendar of Israel, much like Egypt and other places, is a lunar calendar. And so when you have these kinds of markings of time, just like with Easter today, it’s always tied to the Passover and yet it always lands on a different day. Well why? Because if you follow the Jewish lunar calendar it has to adjust after a period of time. And so what happens in foretelling the future with this prophetic statement about 70 weeks, which isn’t even done with an exactness of saying, you know, seven sets of seven years. It’s just poetically stated as 70 weeks. But if you going to do that and forecast into the future, all he’s doing is taking the lunar calendar and just continuing to add that up. Because as we look back and we were to add up the lunar calendar, we come up to the right date for the triumphal entry of Christ.
Pastor Mike So all I’m saying is, yes, if you were to follow the seasons and make sure that you hit, you know, every year, you know, or at least every five years or six years we make sure we’re at the solstice at the right time or, you know, the equinox at the right time, you’re going to have to make adjustments. Well, there are no adjustments in looking forward in this prophetic statement. And so to me it’s, you know, it’s because we’re not looking back and trying to mark time so we don’t mess up the seasons. We’re taking the lunar calendar laying it out as a map and just you can count days and get yourself to the triumphal entry of Christ from the decree. You’ve got to choose which decree you’ve got to rebuild Jerusalem or desert Caesar Cyrus but you certainly come up with that time. And even if you’re going to be rough and dirty about these dates you end up rough and dirty with one of the decrees to the time of either Christ’s crucifixion or his presentation at Palm Sunday.
Pastor Mike So, yeah, I can see where that’s problematic if you’re thinking about it in terms of someone recounting history. But when you think of someone looking forward and down the corridor of time there are no adjustments. Like we have adjustments for leap year. And we say and I know it’s much more exacting because we’re much more exacting it seems today, but when you talk about 365 days a year, well there are not 365 days a year unless… If you do that you’re going to be off. Well say we’re going to say 365 days and you’re going to say something about something’s going to happen 2,000 years from now. Well if you stick with 365 days and live that you’re going to be off, you’re going to start having summer in the winter and winter in the summer. But you could see how you could do that and make a clear statement about a marking of time without adjusting for the seasons. So, because it’s really, you know, 365 and a quarter days, because that we have to adjust for with leap years.
Pastor Mike Do you follow any of that? Does that make sense? In other words, to look forward down the corridor of time without trying to mark everything in history looking back and adjusting for time in real life and the seasons, I think it makes sense. I would suggest the book, a little book by Alva McClain. I think it’s in our bookstore. He talks through all of that about the prophetic year. But the reason he says that is I think because you’re just dealing with months and years based on marking off a lunar calendar which leaves you short. Leaves you short because you have to adjust the calendar after a while. So anyway, I recommend that little book, Alva McClain, it’s called Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy, and it should be in our bookstore. But he spends time on that. And even Harold Hoehner’s book, The Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, he’s going to deal with the months and years in there. Then a secular work, if you really want to fun book, is called the Calendars, which is, I think it’s subtitled Humanity’s Epic Struggle, you know, to find the middle year or whatever. I don’t know. But he talks about how hard it has been throughout history to deal with calendars and the demarcation of time. Anyway, there are three books that’ll keep you busy for a while.
Question I wanted to ask you a question about… I’ve been exposed more and more with patients who I work with, more and more the prevalence of medical marijuana usage. The people who have exhibit chronic pain, not the recreational usage but just… And not just the CBD oils and the things that are non-hallucinogenic but also the THC which actually has that. It’s surprising to me how many people more and more use it with some efficacy and in particular when they go to the doctors and the doctors suggest that they can’t have any pain medicine anymore and so are left to these chronic conditions. For the Christian what are your thoughts about what you would counsel them, what they should do and if this is okay or not okay and how they would be able to gauge or guide, you know, how they should do that?
Pastor Mike Well, if you’re not up to speed with what you just said, there’s a difference between THC, the hallucinogenic, and CBD, cannabinoid, that is, you know, an active ingredient that doesn’t make you have a buzz, apparently. Not that I’ve smoked pot because I haven’t. But I know the differences in terms of how they work. Now, everyone loves to talk about the positive effects of CBD. And all I’m saying is currently right now the Federal Drug Administration says there’s no medicinal benefit to CBD. So the guys in the lab coats, at least in our country right now, will still say that. Though in California and Colorado and everywhere else and now it seems like everywhere they’re saying, hey, if it helps you smoke marijuana and you can bake it in your brownies, but there’s THC, they get the buzz. It’s a lot of guys and tie-dye shirts, not lab coats, trying to encourage people to somehow engage in marijuana.
Pastor Mike But that’s not what you’re talking about. You’re talking about the Time magazine articles, for instance, that say CBD really does have a positive effect, whether it’s kids in seizures or chronic pain, I guess even that, you’ve got to get the THC part. But I would say this: I think there’s a lot of work still left to do on CBD. I think you need to figure out if cannabinoid is going to be something that has an effect. If it does, let’s have it, regulated and dispensed like a lot of drugs that you take when you get a prescription from your doctor. THC, to get buzzed and high to deal with your pain, I would suppose at some point, and again don’t quote me on this, I guess I have a microphone, I’m on a stage but, you know. I could see in a situation were it legal, which I understand it is in our state right now. It’s federally against the law though. You understand the conflict that we have. Right? Are you up with this? It may be legal in our state but it’s not legal federally. So you’ve got a conflict there. But I would say, I would feel as a Christian with a clear conscience, if it were illegal federally and it was legal locally then I would say as it says in Proverbs, “Give wine to him who’s perishing.” If you’re really saying there’s nothing else that helps, you know, morphine is not going to help, we’re not going to get, you know, so the guy’s only way to get chronic relief on his deathbed or whatever is to have him smoke pot or eat brownies with pot in it, then I’m like I guess I’m going to go OK, if it’s illegal. Right? And this is an issue of comforting someone in their chronic pain, that’s one thing.
Pastor Mike And yet I’m saying you do know the FDA does not think there’s any medicinal value in this today. And I don’t think there’s a conspiracy at a national level, although a lot of surfers tell me there is, but there’s not. I just don’t think there is. I’ve had a lot of people argue with me about that. But let’s just see where all that goes in terms of the labs. I understand the debate, but of course most people are wanting, you know, permission to smoke pot because they love the high. And if when they’re toying with their body chemistry for recreation, I’m saying there’s a better way to deal with a lot of the issues in your life. And I mean that in terms of, you know, if you want peace or you want to relax, you want to de-stress. God has solutions to those things in the Bible. Now if you’re talking medically and biologically about pain and these other things, well, they’re working on that and let’s see where we end up on all that. We’re a long way from the population putting something on a ballot and everyone on the street in Santa Monica deciding whether or not this works or not. Right? Because that’s basically what happened. They say the doctors don’t think it works, although you can find some exceptions, and the government doesn’t think it works, the Federal Drug Administration doesn’t think it works. “But, you know what, we think it works. I’m not a doctor, I don’t even play one on TV, but I’m going to tell you what I think is right because it makes me feel good. And so we vote to approve it.”.
Pastor Mike Well I can tell you this. Go and watch what this has done. Watch what it’s done in Colorado. Watch what it’s done in Denver. I mean, you could visit that city 15 years ago and have a completely different experience than you’re going to have right now in Colorado. It is transformed. You should talk to some law enforcement officers in that city. And I mean, I’ve visited with gap that are large enough to know this place has not been helped by the legalization of marijuana.
Pastor Mike So, yeah. And again, I’m open to talk about drugs, I’m going to say this in general, even alcohol. You know, “It’s not for kings to drink wine, not for princes to crave strong drink, lest they decree and forget what they’ve decreed.” So I’m going to say, yeah, you want to see yourself in the passage that talks about “give wine to him who’s perishing,” if you going to put yourself in the perishing category, that’s one category to be in. I’d much rather see, I want to be a king and a prince in terms of making good decisions and anything like THC that’s going to impair my facilities, my capacities, I want to avoid that. Even if I’ve got some pain and I do, I’ve got chronic pain. I’ve had a lot of people offer me pot for my chronic pain but I haven’t taken it. I’ll take your jug of sweet tea. But I’m not going to take your hash brownies, just so you know.
Question Yesterday on the radio program there was a person who asked about the Catholic Church and it was mentioned that they revised the Ten Commandments and they got rid of one, which was don’t create idols, which makes sense for the Catholic Church. Well, my question since I have a Catholic background but in the 80s and 90s when a Christian cult was labeled a cult, it was because of their viewpoint on Jesus Christ. I think the Catholic Church didn’t change the Apostles Creed. Yet, they severely violated, I guess, Revelations 22 about changing the Word of God. So what’s your view?
Pastor Mike Well let me clarify this because my co-host on the show yesterday said things in a way I would not say that. And let me clarify it. If you open up a Douay-Rheims Bible or any Catholic version Bible, besides the Apocrypha that you’re going to find in it, you’re going to turn to Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 7, you’re going to find the same texts that you have in your Bible. It’s just that when they, as I tried to say on the program yesterday, when they were going to put the Ten Commandments on a little card or in a kid’s flannel graph or they’re going to even in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official doctrines of the church, when they list the Ten Commandments, they going to take Coveting, number 10, and they’re going to split that in half. And what you would see at the second commandment, not to make, you know, graven images, as it’s put in the King James, they are going to put that under the heading of “have no other gods before the Lord.”. So, basically on any list that graven images goes away and you got coveting now split into two, which is don’t cover your neighbor’s wife and then all this other stuff. So that’s what they’re doing in re-numbering the Ten Commandments. So the text itself is not changed. OK.
Pastor Mike A cult. Generally people haven’t called the Catholics a cult because cult is not a biblical term. I mean, basically we’ve looked at groups like Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons and whoever else might be, the Russellites, and you’ve said these guys have a different gospel, not just a different Christ, a different gospel. Now some people want to say, well, if that makes them a cult then you look at the Roman Catholic Church and you say how do I get saved? You may have a biblical christology, I believe the same things about Christ, but to get saved, well, it starts with the sacraments. You’ve got to get baptized. Right? I mean, that makes you a child of God. The Roman Catholic catechism of the Catholic Church, says that explicitly and definitively. Washes away your mortal sin is what baptism does. That’s not what the Bible teaches. Right? But that’s what the Catholic Church teaches. Well, if you follow their teaching and you see the Church of Rome as the dispensary of the merits of Christ, which they believe that they are, they stand between you and the merits of Christ and they dispense that through the sacramental system, then you’re going to say, well, if you trust in that and believe that, you’re not going to be saved because you don’t believe in the gospel of grace.
Now, if you want to say, well, I’m using the word cult over here over these groups, let’s just take that word and instead put it over here. That wouldn’t be the pattern of church history, recent church history. But if you’re using the word cult as something that if you follow their soteriology, how to get saved, well, you’re not going to get saved if you believe really the letter of the law in Roman Catholicism. Then I’m going to say, OK, I guess you can use that word but that’s not traditionally how the word cult has been used. My concern with Roman Catholicism is not that they don’t believe in the hypostatic union and the deity of Christ. They believe in good christology. It’s just now how do I get the merits of Christ to apply to me. That’s the problem of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pastor Mike And even now that I mentioned Catholicism, it’s going to happen. People will say, “Well, I know, I’m a Catholic,” or “you know, my mom’s a Catholic and she doesn’t believe any of that.” Well, then your mom’s a bad Catholic. Right? Because if you want to be a good Catholic, it’s an authoritarian system and that means that the authority comes from the church. Now you’ll say, “Well, they believe in the authority of the Bible.” Well, they do. They believe there are three different legs on the stool that hold up the Truth. And that is, the Bible is one. Yeah, they believe that, but then they also believe the magisterium is one, and tradition is one. So all the things that the leadership has said, the tradition of what the church has done, and what the Bible says, all three of those are equal. You can’t have one without the other they’ll say. And I’m getting all this from official Catholic doctrine. Read the catechism of the Catholic Church, the latest doctrinal stance from Rome. If you say you can’t have one without the other you’re saying this: I cannot have the Bible as a source of truth without the magisterium, which is the official teaching of the leadership, and the tradition of what the church has done. And I’m going to say, I’m going to be a reformer at that point, which is “sola scriptura,” the Scripture alone is the authority.
Pastor Mike So, I’m going to say it’s good for you if you say, “Well, that’s where I stand even though I’m a Catholic,” then I’m going to say you’re a really bad Catholic and why don’t you just get out of the Catholic Church? Right? Come on over. So I’m not saying there are no Catholics who are saved. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that Catholics who are saved, trusting in Christ alone, and not in the brokerage of the Catholic Church as the dispensary of the merits of Christ, I’m going to say well they’re just not great Catholics. They may be good Christians but they’re not great Catholics. I’d say at some point it would be good for you just to leave the Catholic church because they don’t think you’re a good Catholic. The guy at the church that you talk to you may say that, but you’re not in line with the teaching of the church and the teaching of the church, by definition, is that you toe the line on the magisterium and the tradition of the church. So it’s not the christology per se, it’s the soteriology, how to get saved. If you want to use the word cult over that, I mean that’s just not been the traditional verbiage. But, you know, the shoe can fit if that’s what you mean by the word cult.
Question Is there physical proof or maybe just something proving that the things in the Bible happened and aren’t just stories that were written?
Pastor Mike Oh yeah. Well that’s a great question. Yeah. I mean, even if you just got a book on biblical archaeology… Well, there are a couple of things you can… I’m not sure the full extent of what you mean by that, but there are a few things. In other words, let’s look at history affirming that God is telling the future ahead of time. Isaiah says God has proven that he’s God, here’s how God says it in Isaiah, is that “I can tell you the end from the beginning.” And so that’s something he says none of your idols can do, none of your religions can do. “I can do that and I’ve done it.” He’s saying that at a time before they go into the Babylonian captivity where 900 years before that in the Law of Moses, there’s a clear prediction about the Babylonian captivity and the return after the Babylonian captivity. There’s one example. And clearly, I think in Isaiah, that’s what he was pointing to is the whole Babylonian captivity has been prophesied in Scripture. So all you have to do is figure out was that written before it happened, what happened in Moses? Was the Mosaic law written before the history of the Babylonian captivity? And you’re going to say, yes, by 1,000 years, 900 years at least. And then you’re going to say, does that prove the reality of God writing this book? I’m going to say absolutely. I mean that’s one of many prophecies, very specific about nations, about events, about kings, about the Messiah, all of those things to me prove objectively the veracity of the truthfulness of Scripture.
Pastor Mike And then I thought, based on how you worded the question, about biblical archaeology. I would say this: you can look at the book of Mormon for instance and you can learn about this whole civilization in North America that was supposed to exist here in South America. And if you try to find archeology that backs up the monetary units that it speaks of, or the cities it speaks of, or the Nephites, or the Lamanites, or whatever you’ve got in the book of Mormon, you can’t find those things in archaeology. The great thing about the Scripture is it proves itself historically, scientifically if you will, historically by digging up the remains of these very things.
Pastor Mike Pontius Pilate for instance. Right? There wasn’t any proof at one point that there was a Pontius Pilate. You go to Caesarea now, the Caesarea of the Mediterranean, maritime they call it, where the port is on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, you can find a replica there, the real one is in a museum and you can go see it, of an inscription from Pontius Pilate. And all I’m saying is those are the kinds of things that continue to prove, time after time after time after time after time that the things that the Bible has said are true, they’re true historically. Now, you can say well it’s just a good source of history. Well it is. But it’s more than that, it’s a good source of prophetic history, which is what did God say beforehand.
Pastor Mike It’s one of the reasons I believe that we have an inter-testamental period. Why did God put a pin in prophecies from Malachi and wait 400 years until prophecies then fired up again in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Well, because I think he wants to make sure that everyone understands that all the prophecies of the Old Testament were really made before the things actually happen. That to me is an objective proof that the Bible is true and only God could write it because only God can tell the future with that kind of specificity. Where is the Messiah going to be born? Micah 5:2 says Bethlehem. Well, OK, what are the odds that you can even guess that? Let alone all the other things that it prophesies about Jesus the Messiah. How he dies, that he’ll be resurrected. I mean, that’s mind-blowing just as an objective statement. But all of those things are proved.
Pastor Mike And when at one point they started to say, and they did in the 18th – 19th century, they were saying things about the Old Testament being written after the New Testament. Think about that. That’s one way to say this isn’t a God-book because it’s written after the fact. That started to catch on in a lot of German seminaries. I mean, you had people graduating with doctorates believing all of that stuff. Well then it was great because when the Bedouin threw a rock into a cave in Qumran and pulled out these Dead Sea Scrolls that everyone objectively dates around the time of the first century B.C. and the second century B.C. They pulled out a whole library there. Well the first thing that John Trever took pictures of, the photographer, was the Isaiah scroll. I mean if there’s one book that’s ever been criticized as being a compilation, a late compilation, took place after all the events, it was Daniel and Isaiah. And here we had intact the Isaiah scroll laid out and John Trever just happened to be with the best camera equipment because he was doing a dissertation on the flora and fauna of Israel, and he starts snapping pictures with his tripod of this scroll that disproved everything that was being taught in the seminaries in Europe at the time. And that is that all these things were written clearly hundreds of years before they happen. And so, yeah, objectively, archaeology proves the historical facts and history proves the prophetic facts. And that’s one of the reasons you should objectively recognize you can’t pass the Bible off like you can a lot of other books. The Bible is unique among all religious books. All right. That’s a great question.