How do I know if I'm experiencing spiritual abuse? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.
833-843-2673. And we're open to all types of questions. Maybe you've got a question about doctrine or theology.
Maybe you're experiencing some type of persecution in your life at work or at school. We'd love to hear from you. Here's the number again, 833-THECORE. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com.
First up today, here's an email from one of our listeners. Interesting question, Adriel. This is from Carol in Oregon, and she says, And so, the Jesus in Islam is very different from the Jesus of biblical Christianity. And of course, Islam came after the Christian faith.
In some ways, it's... I mean, you think of groups like the Mormons, for example, that took the teachings of scripture and twisted them and then essentially introduced a new and different Jesus. Well, that's precisely what Islam did as well, taking some of the teachings of the Christian faith. Some of the teachings that were there, I mean, it seems like there's a lot of misunderstanding too as to the biblical doctrines, but twisting them and then introducing us to a new kind of Christ who really is not Christ at all. You think about what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11.
Listen to this. Beginning in verse 1, ...since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ, but I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or if you accept that you have been saved, which is... a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
He's warning, he's saying, I'm concerned for you, I've betrothed you as a chaste and pure virgin to Christ, and I want you to have a devotion, a holy devotion to Jesus, the true Jesus preached by the apostles, but if someone else comes along preaching another Jesus, you might listen to them. And that's precisely what has happened with some of these groups, with the Muslims, with the Mormons, they've come after the fact, preaching a different Jesus, who is not the Jesus of holy scripture, and is not the Jesus that was proclaimed by the apostles, and is not the Jesus who can save you from your sins. And so I think that there is a spiritual deception here, you ask, well why don't they embrace Jesus, in part because of the deception there, the presentation of Christ Jesus in Islam and in the Quran, and so the issue is primarily spiritual. That's why we got to go back to the teachings of the Bible. Now if you talk to a Muslim or a Mormon in fact, pointing them to scripture, talking about who Jesus is according to the gospels, who he claimed to be, oftentimes what you'll hear them say is, well those documents, those gospels were corrupted, they've been changed. And so that's one of the ways they get around from submitting to I think God's inspired word is they just say, well that's been changed. And so in one sense there's this tension that they have where they tried to have a kind of respect for the holy scriptures, but then they reject those parts of the scripture that contradict what they teach in their doctrine, and so we need to be discerning with regard to that and with regard to anyone who comes along teaching the Jesus or a gospel that is not the Jesus or the gospel of the apostles. Thank you for that email. Really well said, thanks for that Adriel. This is Core Christianity, our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, perhaps there's a passage of scripture that's always kind of dumbfounded you and you would love some clarification on it, hey by all means give us a call, especially if it's something from Leviticus, because man, Adriel is really good on Leviticus. Or any book of the Bible. Yeah that's right, my specialty is on the Levitical law, this is my favorite actually, I can't get enough of it.
Especially the shellfish part. Here's the phone number, it's 833-THE-CORE, that's 1-833-843-2673, our phone lines will be open for about 15 minutes now so feel free to give us a call. Let's go to Adrian calling in from St. Louis Missouri, Adrian what's your question for Adriel? Yes, Pastor Adrian, how are you guys doing today? We're doing well Adrian, how are you doing?
I'm doing good, I'm blessed. So Revelation 16 and 12 talks about the sixth seal, I know the book of Revelation, actually I think you said you was in the book of Revelation about a month ago, I know that book's not literal, but I kind of want to know a little bit about 16 and 12, it says, the sticks poured out its bone on the great river Euphrates and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the king from the east, then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming through the dragon's mouth from the beast of the mouth and from the mouth of the false prophet, so I was looking up Euphrates River and how now it's drying up, so I kind of want to know your input on that, can you put that with this scripture? Adrian, great question, and yeah man the book of Revelation is full of all of these symbols and mysteries, I mean this is one of the reasons why I think a lot of people don't want to touch the book of Revelation with a ten foot pole, it's because I don't understand what's going on there, and so it's so important that we recognize it for what it is, I mean this is apocalyptic prophetic literature full of symbolic imagery and so unpacking those symbols I think is the key. Now Revelation chapter 16 verse 12, the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east, now the following chapters in the book of Revelation are really going to get into the judgment of Babylon, chapter 17, 18, and then also 19 rejoicing over the judgment that has come upon Babylon, there's this focus and Babylon is this picture of the world empire, empires that persecute the people of God, of course Babylon in the Old Testament was where the southern kingdom went into exile, it was a judgment from God, but persecuting the people of God severely associated with idolatry, now this language of the drying up of the great river Euphrates, well in the Old Testament when God judged Babylon he did so by sending Cyrus to judge her and part of the way that happened was through the drying up of the waters and I think that's one of the things that's being pictured here, it's almost like this new judgment on Babylon similar to the judgment that took place in the Old Testament, so for example in Isaiah chapter 44 verse 27, this is God speaking about this judgment that's coming through Cyrus and he says, who says to the deep, be dry, I will dry up your rivers, who says of Cyrus, he is my shepherd and he shall fulfill my purpose saying of Jerusalem she shall be built and of the temple your foundation shall be laid, here's God calling this Gentile king to execute judgment on behalf of his people and so this image of the Euphrates drying up, of the rivers drying up, it's just preparing for that great judgment of Babylon, that's what's being pictured here and so I don't think that you read an article on the news today that says hey the Euphrates river is getting drier and drier by the year, I don't think that that's really what's happening here, I think that there's a symbolic imagery focusing on the fact that God is about to bring judgment, his judgment on Babylon, the eschatological Babylon, the full Babylon who has been persecuting the saints since Jesus ascended into heaven and that's precisely the judgment that we see in the following chapters in Revelation 17, 18 and 19, for some other verses to look at with regard to this idea of the drying up of the waters for the judgment of Babylon, here's Isaiah 11 15, Jeremiah chapter 50 verse 38 and Jeremiah chapter 51 verse 36, thank you for that question and God bless. Interesting question and when you read about Babylon in Revelation and you preached about this before, how do you perceive that, do you perceive it just the world's system that stands opposed to Christ? Yeah I mean when you read those chapters in the book of Revelation it is, it does seem to be like this all-encompassing system that the nations of the world are in bed with, if you will, so it's not, you know, we sometimes think this is one particular country but no, it's actually I think that spirit of the Antichrist that permeates everything, the injustice, the evil, the wickedness that we see crop up throughout human history and one of the ways it exhibits itself most clearly is in persecuting the people of God and so that's what we have there and ultimately in the book of Revelation we have the promise that God is going to crush that, that God is going to judge that in favor of his people, his children who have been persecuted and so that is the great hope that we have as the people of God that one day justice is going to reign forth and those enemies of God and of his church are going to have to stand before the Lord and answer for what they've done.
Great explanation. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. You can call us at 833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Chad calling in from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Chad, what's your question for Adriel? Hey Pastor Adriel, I just had a question. How do we interpret the animal sacrifices and the millennial age from a non-dispensational perspective?
That's a really good question and let me just, for those listening, let me just explain some of the background, I'm guessing Chad, to this question. So there is in the book of Ezekiel, at the end of Ezekiel, this vision of the end times temple, if you will, and it's this glorious edifice and there are sacrifices and there are some people that think there is going to be a rebuilt temple and that's what Ezekiel is picturing. Now, of course, when you get to the later chapters of the book of Revelation, like I was just talking about there, you have this picture again with the heavenly temple that comes down from heaven on earth and so I think that's ultimately what that's looking forward to. In one sense, I would also say that it's giving us a type of picture of the church as the temple of God on earth right now. There are some people, as you mentioned, who say, no, there's going to be a temple that's rebuilt and there are going to be sacrifices like there were in the Old Testament there.
The issue with that is the entire book of Hebrews because Hebrews makes it absolutely clear that the church is not to go back to the types and shadows of the Old Testament. Those sacrifices in the temple pointed forward to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And so to go back to those sacrifices is in one sense to say that Jesus' once for all sacrifice was not sufficient and so we have to understand it, I think, as this symbol or this picture, not of this literal rebuilt temple right now where as Christians offering new sacrifices, no, not at all, but as a picture, one of the church here on earth now offering spiritual sacrifices to God, but then also of that end times temple of God where God promises to live with his people, to dwell in their presence and so that's how I think about it. Now you remember also what Peter said in 1 Peter 2, speaking of the church here on earth now, we ought to picture ourselves as the temple of God spread out throughout the world. Peter said in 1 Peter 2 verse 4, as you come to him, Jesus, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, that's us. We are the temple of the living God, living stones fitted together by Jesus himself, a holy priesthood called to offer spiritual sacrifices that are pleasing to the Lord, not animal sacrifices, bloody sacrifices because Jesus is once for all sacrifice, put that to a rest. We don't need any more sacrifices for sin.
Now we offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thanks Chad. Amen.
Well said. Thanks, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez and the book of Hebrews, if you haven't read it before, really unpacks many of the things we're talking about here. It's a difficult book at times to tackle but it's definitely worth reading so maybe put that on your reading list. We've got some open phone lines right now. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, give us a call at 833-THE-CORE. Also want to tell you about a great resource we've been offering for the past couple of weeks which we know will be a big help to you. It's a book by Lee Strobel called The Case for Christ.
Yeah. Look, if you've wanted to bolster your faith and understand the reasons behind why we believe what we believe about the Christian faith, like the resurrection of Jesus, the inspiration of holy scripture, get a hold of this resource by Lee Strobel. It's again called The Case for Christ. It's an apologetics book. It's going to help you defend the Christian faith and it's also going to encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Get a hold of this resource over at COREChristianity.com.
Love to get that in your hands. We know it will help, as Adriel said, bolster your faith, help you answer some of those tough questions you might be receiving from friends or relatives who are skeptical about the faith. Go to COREChristianity.com forward slash offers and look for The Case for Christ. We do receive voicemails here at the CORE.
You can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question on our voicemail system. Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Holly. Is it considered spiritual abuse if a friend tries to lead you away from your faith and believe that there is just one God and Jesus isn't the Son of God?
Thank you. Well, the topic, Holly, of spiritual abuse is a really important one. I think of spiritual abuse as people who are in positions of spiritual leadership using that leadership in a destructive manner, in a coercive manner, manipulating people, sort of throwing around their spiritual authority and leading people astray, frankly, and it can look like all sorts of things. It's something that we have to talk about, that the Church has to talk about. It's something that God's Word takes very seriously. There is a severe judgment that awaits those quote-unquote leaders, spiritual leaders in the Church, who use their authority to pray on the flock of God.
It's a terrifying thing and we fight against it and we expose it, we pray against it. It sounds to me like in this situation, I don't know the friend, it sounds to me like they're just giving you really bad advice, detrimental to your own spiritual health. I guess in one sense you could call that a sort of spiritual abuse or deception, but it's something that you need to take seriously and certainly God's Word takes it very seriously under the law in the Old Testament. God said, don't put up with that at all. Deuteronomy chapter 13 verse 6, if your brother, the son of your mother or your son or your daughter or your wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly saying, let us go and serve other gods which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him. Don't put up with this. In fact, this was a capital offense there under the Mosaic law.
So this is a really serious thing. Sometimes with friends we have conversations and they disagree with our faith in Jesus Christ and it can be a healthy dialogue and back and forth, maybe an opportunity even for them to learn about the gospel, to come to faith in Jesus Christ, but if it's someone who's just persistently trying to drag you down and doesn't respect the faith that you have and is in fact trying to undermine it, then I would say, Holly, maybe picking a different friend, better friends who even if they disagree with you aren't going to try to turn you away from Christ. And I would warn this person and say, look, you maybe don't think that this is a big deal, but I follow the true and the living God who shed his blood for the forgiveness of my sins and I am committed to him and we can disagree and boy, I hope that you embrace this truth because you need it just as much as anyone else, but I'm not going to be okay with you trying to undermine what I believe or mock what I believe and try to get me to turn away from Jesus because I am committed to following him and may God help you as you continue to follow him. Thank you. Thank you, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
If you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can leave us a, send us a voicemail anytime at 833-THE-CORE or you can email us at questions at corechristianity.com. Let's go to Kenny calling in from Minnesota. Kenny, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, can you guys hear me? Yeah. Hey, how are you doing, Kenny?
I'm well. Hey, so my question is, through a discussion with my older kids a while back here, they have some friends that are homosexuals that claim to be Christians as well and their challenge came up to me was, since you brought up shellfish earlier, this is what triggered the question more too. What separates sin from homosexuals to eating shellfish? The law is the law or sin is a sin.
Where do we separate that? This is an excellent question and just at the outset, I want to let you know that I've written an article over at corechristianity.com called Why You Don't Have to Obey All the Rules in the Bible. It's kind of a catchy title, but it gets to the heart of your question because this is one of the objections that is frequently brought up, especially in the context of discussions related to the moral law and homosexuality and is homosexuality a sin? Well, if you're going to say homosexuality is a sin because of what Leviticus says, doesn't Leviticus also say that we shouldn't eat shellfish and so you're picking and choosing? The answer is, first and foremost, we have to distinguish between those laws and rules that God gave to his people under the old covenant that were a part of the ceremonies in Israel, the types and shadows of the ceremonial system of worship or of the civil government that they had there, this theocracy ultimately under the Mosaic covenant. We have to distinguish those laws between the law of God, the moral law that's forever binding, summarized in the 10 commandments, for example. It's the same reason why we don't have the animal sacrifices that we were talking about earlier on the program. Those laws served a purpose for a time, just like the food laws served a purpose for a time, but when Christ was revealed, the reality was fulfilled. Those laws ultimately were fulfilled in a way that abrogated them so that we're no longer bound to the ceremonial system of worship. That's why we don't have animal sacrifices, that's why we don't go to the temple or do incense or those things that they were doing under the old covenant, but we're forever bound by God's moral law. That gets to the question of homosexuality. Of course, this is repeated in the New Testament in places like Romans chapter one in the book of First Corinthians, and so it's not like homosexuality was just condemned in the book of Leviticus.
No, this is something that we see throughout the scripture, and it strikes at the heart of the very moral law of God, and that's why we differentiate. Appreciate the question. Hope that was helpful, and may God bless you as you continue to have these conversations with your children. Thanks. I'll see you next time.
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