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Dr. Brown Answers Your Toughest Questions

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2023 4:40 pm

Dr. Brown Answers Your Toughest Questions

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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April 28, 2023 4:40 pm

The Line of Fire Radio Broadcast for 04/28/23.


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All lines are open. Let's do it. You've got questions.

We've got answers. It's time for the Line of Fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity. Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on the Line of Fire. And now, here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Welcome, welcome to the broadcast.

Michael Brown, so glad to be with you. 866-34-TRUTH is the number to call. Any question of any kind that relates in any way to anything that has anything to do with me, the Line of Fire, by all means, give us a call. I also welcome, as always, though we get very few takers, those who differ with me and would like to challenge me, 866-348-7884. Let us go straight to the phones, beginning with Michael in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Welcome to the Line of Fire.

Hey, Dr. Brown. Thank you for taking my call. You're very welcome. So my question is, I was wondering what your thoughts were, along with your biblical insights, on the soaking prayer movement. I wrote an article entitled, Demystifying Soaking Prayer Gatherings, several years ago.

Actually, I emailed a copy of it to you recently. First, just, Michael, for the sake of everyone listening and to make sure we all understand what you mean when you speak of soaking prayer, how would you describe that, and how much you say that those opposed to it might characterize it? Well, many characterize it as a mystical experience with people gathering around, praying, and letting their minds, keeping their minds open to whatever floats in it and floats out of it.

I don't see it that way. I see it as a ministry where people are able to come together to spend time in God's presence, listening for His voice, meditating on the Word of God, and just allowing that time to be a time where God gives them what they need for that gathering. So, would you say, when you're speaking of soaking prayer, that it is someone praying for you, like, laying hands on you over a period of time and saying, Lord, touch Michael, touch him, bless him, work in his life more. Are you talking about just believers gathering in his presence and just worshiping and waiting before him for extended hours? Are you referring to both, or the former or the latter? The former, waiting in God's presence.

Got it. Yeah, so, the term soaking prayer maybe became best known with the Toronto blessing that began in early 1994. Perhaps that's when the term was used. I don't know if it was used a lot before that, but it was a characteristic in Toronto, if you went to the meetings, that there'd be prayer teams afterwards, and they might pray for you over a period of time and just ask the Lord to soak you with His presence, et cetera. So, number one, in principle, it was a good thing, and it is a good thing, to pray for someone, just like you might pray for them in private, right? Maybe you're going through a difficult time and I just get alone in a room and for a couple hours I just pray for you and lift you up to the Lord and ask God to work and help and just pray many, many different ways.

Well, why not do that in person? And if the Holy Spirit is moving through you, we know that importation through the laying on of hands is clearly taught in many different dimensions. Healing comes through it, importation of gifts comes through it, importation of authority comes through it, et cetera. So, if the Holy Spirit's moving through you and you see an anointing to pray for someone, and as you're praying they're being touched and blessed, great. The key thing in all of this is to be in communion with God, right? That none of us are saying just any spirit out there, something somehow touched me. We're saying, Father, I want to draw close to you and grow in you and get a greater revelation of Jesus and be changed by your presence. So, yeah, most of the time when I've laid hands on people over the years, it's a short prayer, just asking God to touch them, but I've been in settings where there is, quote, soaking prayer. On rare occasion, I've had folks just gather around me and pray and just lots of people praying over a period of time, and I've left change. I felt something touch me from the Lord in a way that drew me closer to Him and empowered me to serve Him better. So, any practice can be abused, and anything that's utterly mindless with no focus on the Lord can be negative, but generally speaking, I don't see any issue with it or any scriptural argument against it, and I see good fruit that's come out of it.

Amen. You answered my question, and I hope you at some point will get a chance to read the article that I emailed to you the other day. So, just real quick, give me the summary, when you say demystifying it, give me your summary of what you wanted to convey in the article. So, basically, the article touches on the fact that my wife Joanne and I host a, have done a series of soaking prayer gatherings in the past, and it was only recently that I was reading some negative things online about this movement, and so I decided to just write something about it and just put it out there and share it with people. And I said, you know what, I need to see if I can find my namesake and see if I can send it to him and let you look it over and give me your feedback. I appreciate it, yeah, and Michael, obviously we get a ton of stuff sent to us, and I'm not able to see most of it, but someone on our team would have seen it and hopefully get it passed on.

Hey, I appreciate it very much, 866-348-7884. Let me emphasize this, our relationship with God primarily comes directly with him, from him, in him, etc. In other words, I'm not looking to a person to bring me to God. As a believer, we have direct access to the throne room, to the heavenly Father, through the blood of Jesus. We can be in intimate fellowship with God, we can walk with him, we can talk with him, we can hear his voice, we can be led by him, touched by him. At the same time, we recognize the gifting of the body, just like you may go to a Sunday morning service in your church to hear your pastor teach, because he's gifted to do that and help open the word for you. Just like in a time of real crisis, you might call a friend and say, hey, could you pray with me, I'm really struggling in this area. Just like there's James, Jacob, the fifth chapter, there any sick among them and call for the elders of the church. So, there are times for that, and we know that Paul speaks to Timothy about spiritual gifts given to him through the laying on of hands when he was set apart for the work of ministry. So, we can receive from others, as long as we're not dependent on that, that we're dependent on our own walk with the Lord, but receive from others, be helped by others, blessed by others. Amen.

Why not? All right, let us go to Jeff in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Welcome to the line of fire.

Oh, thank you very much, Dr. Brown. Well, I like to speak about SatanCon in Boston, the biggest event in the world happening right now for the next three days. This is truly evil. The good part is, God has raised up, revived Boston by James Sedaris, and he's stirring up a movement to go against SatanCon.

That's the good part. But here's a deeper thought. Even though this Satanist gathering is going on, who voted in the politicians who made this possible? I'll tell you who. A lot of believers. Hey, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, yeah, hang on, because this is just not the time for preaching.

Is there a question that you wanted to ask me? Okay, the question is, do you see things getting better in this country? Do you see us having a true revival, or will there be severe persecution before the revival comes? I mean, like in a communist country kind of persecution in the blue states of America.

Yeah, so it's an important question, Jeff. I absolutely see growing opposition. There's no question to it. How far it will go? Will it go as far as a communist country in some blue states?

It's possible. My hope is still that it is America, and that there's so many pushing for liberty, just like there were pushbacks against COVID restrictions that seemed severe, or churches that were told they couldn't meet, even in very blue states, that there was pushing back because of that. But do I expect ongoing persecution opposition? Yes. Do I expect it to get worse in certain circles?

Yes. At the same time, I absolutely see God moving in revival. I absolutely see stirrings. I see churches that are thriving as God is moving, and I do believe that there'll be a mighty and powerful outpouring. It could well be that both happen side by side, Jeff, that the great moving of God stirs even greater opposition. Without deep repentance across the nation, beginning in the church, beyond what we've seen thus far in our lifetimes, America is only going to get more and more deeply divided, and it could well be that outpouring heightens the division by separating light from darkness even more.

Hey, one question for you, sir, real quick before the break. The Satanic Conference, most of our listeners are probably not familiar with it. What is actually happening these days in Boston? Oh, Boston is going further and further to the left. I used to work in Boston and it's gone further to the left, and this Satanic Conference is the ultimate fruit of this.

I'll wrap it up with something positive. Revive Boston is being held as 200 stewards to be in Boston, Massachusetts. You can look up the website, Revive Boston.

It's a three-day revival series of meetings going on in Boston and outreach in the Boston area. That's the positive. God bless you, Mr. Brown, and do have a great day. Bye-bye. God bless. Thanks for the call, sir.

866-348-7884. All right, we'll be going right back to the phones. Diane on YouTube asks, does essence precede existence? That's really a philosophical debate, and to me as a matter of terminology, semantics, what one means by it. So unless I had explicit definitions and what essence means to someone versus what existence means, that's the kind of speculation that I don't engage in. My mind doesn't quite work like that.

So unless I had more definition of what is meant by those terms, are they meant in philosophically precise terms or some more generic way, that's one we could maybe debate. Yeah, all right, existentialism saved my life used to say essence precedes existence. Is that right? Okay. Yeah, so I'm just looking at further questions from Diane. Why don't you call in if you can?

866-344-TRUTH. Maybe I could do a better job answering there. And let's see, Jordan, Randy will be up next. And Smeraldo, were the fallen angels, demons, unclean spirits, different way to describe the same thing or different entities?

Ooh, that's a good question. We'll tackle these on the other side of the break. But first, a message from our co-sponsor, Trivita, helping us reach more people on the air, helping you in your own pursuit of wellness. Give them a listen.

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All right. We go back to the phones. 866-348-7884.

Let's go to Jordan in Michigan. Welcome to the Line of Fire. Hey, Dr. Brown. Pleasure to speak with you here. Thank you.

You're welcome. I am a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but I'm a student at Dr. Randy Clark Global Awakening Theological Seminary. Wonderful. Yeah, I'm earning a PhD there, and it's what I call grueling from.

So I'm in the thrills of it now. And this isn't maybe your typical theological question, but I've reached out to some people, some leading scholars like Dr. Craig Keener and now yourself. And basically, I'm in that process of trying to pin down a dissertation topic. And I know a few years ago, several years ago, you debated Dr. Stem Waldron, and you've debated plenty of others. But I just didn't know if you could recommend or even just point in a general direction. A doctoral student such as myself and my dissertation work would be in the area of defending the continuationist and rebutting the cessationist position.

So I didn't know if you would have anything off the top of your head to point somebody in that direction for somebody like me. Yeah, absolutely. And by the way, I've been to Kalamazoo a few times now with Pastor Lee Cummings Radiant Church, so gotten in your area, and then begun teaching at Global Awakening Theological School. So did it last November, and God willing, this November. You know, it's on the calendar again to be there. You laid hands on me when you were there in November, and I got rocked by the Holy Spirit in a way I never really have before. The Lord is good, yeah, that final impartation service. So after a week of teaching for hours, yeah, Dr. Clark and I got to pray for folks.

So I threw out a couple of ideas. One would be, it's a practical level one, which is separating cessationist arguments between experiential and intellectual. And that in many cases, people are cessationists not because of doctrinal issues, but experiential issues, that they thought someone would be healed and they weren't healed, or they had prophesied, spoken to them that didn't come to pass. So it would be a matter of kind of combing through the major cessationist teachings and seeing how much of this is not actually a matter of doctrine, but a matter of experience. Because when we've been told over the years, well, you Charismatics, you put all your emphasis on experience, we put ours on the word. I said, actually, I'm a Charismatic because of the word first and experience second. And I've often challenged them, maybe you're a cessationist because of bad experiences.

That's one thing. Another might be trying to tackle what would be maybe a strong cessationist argument, if the gift of healing is really in operation. First, what is the gift of healing or gifts of healings, technically, in the Greek?

What is that actually? How does cessationists understand it? Is it at will or can someone command that to happen? And many cessationists say, why don't you just clear out the hospitals if you have gift of healing, etc.? Is it even proper to talk about someone having, quote, the gift of healing? But then tackle the argument of, should we be seeing more healings?

If these gifts are really in operation, why aren't we seeing more? So, in other words, you're doing something that's theoretical, but pastoral as well, which fits in with some of the goal of GATS. Those would be a couple of things that I might pursue that I think would be very interesting. Another would be where you can analyze, say, cessationist arguments against tongues, when they claim that tongues are always intelligible languages. I just dialogued with a fellow about this yesterday with a brother. Ended up being more of a debate than I expected, but that's great. I'm always up for that.

But I was just curious to look at a wide range of commentaries on 1 Corinthians in Greek to see how widely the views that I was espousing as very clear from Scripture were held to by a wide range of scholars, conservative, liberal, charismatic, non-charismatic, and pretty much across the board they all read the verses the same as I did, which indicates that we're not reading something into the text. That might be another thing that would be worth pursuing, where you can get into good academic study but ultimately have a practical outcome. That is absolutely wonderful, Dr. Brown, I thank you so much. You are very welcome, and next time around you can introduce yourself to me, okay? Yes sir, will do, thank you.

God bless. All right, so, Zmaraldo's question, 866, three-four truth, great time to call in, we've got some lines open. Zmaraldo's question on YouTube, on Ask Dr. Brown, the feed on YouTube if you want to watch, who are the fallen angels, demons, and unclean spirits, different ways to describe the same thing or different entities. According to my understanding of Scripture, fallen angels are not demons, demons and unclean spirits would be synonymous. So the question is, where did demons come from, and that's a subject of real debate. The Bible does not tell us explicitly. There are those who hold that there was a first creation in between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, that's why the earth was formless and void, the first creation rebelled, was utterly destroyed, and the spirits of those first human beings who were preserved in ancient fossils, etc., that people think are prehistoric, that the spirits of those fallen beings are demon spirits, others say it's the spirits of the Nephilim, etc., but my honest answer is, I cannot tell you with any certainty where demons came from, what their exact essence is in that regard, they are clearly spiritual beings that inhabit physical beings, and they are destructive, they are part of Satan's kingdom, they are under his domain. When I first got saved, I just assumed that they were fallen angels, that seemed to make sense, and I just assumed that, yeah, they're fallen angels, but when I dug deeper, it's like, well, the Bible actually never says that.

So, as far as I can tell, different entities, but the last thing that I am gonna do is get dogmatic about the origin of demons, and if that's a real big thing to you, and you're gonna make it a big doctrinal issue, my big question to you would be simply this, where does the Bible tell us plainly, and if it's that important, why doesn't the Bible give us more than a possible possibility of what might be a hint? Supreme Revival asks, Dr. Brown, I smoke cigarettes, will I still make it to heaven? Smoking cigarettes or not smoking cigarettes will not get you saved or unsaved.

The only way that you cannot make it into heaven is if you refuse the grace of God and refuse the lordship of Jesus. So, I would just say this to you, if you're struggling with cigarettes, ask God for help and do what you can to get free. If God has made plain to you that it is a sin for you to smoke cigarettes, then don't play games with it. You need to repent of that and not reject the lordship of Jesus. If ultimately you say, Jesus, I will not have you as Lord because I choose cigarettes, that can be like any of a thousand other sins. If we refuse Jesus as Lord and say, I will not submit to you, I will not obey you, I will not listen to you, I'm going to do my own thing, whether it's cigarettes or porn or beating someone up or being an atheist or an agnostic or a million other things, that will exclude us from the kingdom of God, rejecting the lordship of Jesus. Yes, that's a fatal and destructive thing to do, of course, for sure. But smoking cigarettes itself, struggling with a particular sin, it's not going to damn us to hell. Otherwise, one way or another, we'd all be damned, we'd all fall short. Okay, I'm going to get right back to your calls.

On the other side of the break, 866-348-7884 is the number to call. And I want to welcome all of our new torchbearers, all of our new monthly supporters. Thank you for standing with us. We really are making a difference.

We're expanding into more major cities, even the next few weeks, increasing our potential listening audience by probably over 15 million people. Yeah, and it's through your help, it's through your support, it's through your prayers. Thanks for standing with us. Together, friends, we're making a difference. Lives are being changed and impacted, and Jesus is being glorified. Rejoice. We keep getting wonderful testimonies from around the world, from our regular listeners. God's at work, and you're part of it. Thank you, thank you. It's our world.

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Dr. Michael Brown Thank you again for your great calls and questions. I just want to throw out one thing, especially to our new listeners. It's okay if we disagree on certain points. You know, I don't believe in one saved all we saved. For many, that's like a key cardinal doctrine. But at the same time, I don't believe that you can just lose your, I just lost my salvation and I lost my salvation three times this week. But either way, best thing is we understand what we each believe and why. And if it's not something that is fundamental to following Jesus, in other words, if it's not the difference between salvation and damnation, then it's better to emphasize what we have in common. And if you say, I hold to one saved all we saved, but I don't believe that a true believer can just do whatever they want to do.

That's a sign they're not really saved. Okay, great. Good. We're in harmony there. And I say, I believe in God's keeping power.

I don't believe you're saved one day, lost the next, saved one day, lost the next. You say, oh, good. That's something we have in common. A lot of times we get all like, oh, it's like, well, it's okay. We have some differences. You may be pre-trib, I'm post-trib. You might not believe in a trib the same way.

That's okay. We don't have to pull our hair out over it or get all upset about it. And often we do. And I think from an eternal perspective, sometimes we overreact.

So, I'm all for truth. And I've divided over issues. I've lost friends over issues.

I've lost support over issues. So be it. We honor the Lord first and foremost. But sometimes we divide unnecessarily. James Robinson told me that the most important thing Billy Graham ever told him, as a young man of God who was going to be the next Billy Graham and preaching on fire, was to spend time with Christians that he didn't know or didn't like. I don't have the exact words.

But get to know the people that you normally don't hang out with. And it changed his life. 866-34-TRUTH.

We go to Randy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Welcome to the line of fire. Hello, Dr. Brown. Can you hear me, sir? I can hear you, yes.

Awesome. I just wanted to thank you. The last time I spoke with you, you've helped me, definitely, on the issue of blasting me of the Spirit. You were a huge blessing. Ever since then, you gave me some peace. So thank you for that, sir.

All praise to the Most High God. A question I did have was if, and I think I'll go into detail, the question I have is if a church, per se, that I'm fellowshipping at requires us in order to fellowship with them or call it a place of home in order to plant ourselves in, it requires us to take a secular test. For example, it's the core value index. It's supposed to be a test that was, I guess, developed by Abraham Maslow. It reveals the unchanging nature of a person where they can make the most of contributions or productivity in their life, depending on where they sit at with this core value index. Now, my biggest concern is to the degree of using that as a baseline to maybe, I can't say God wouldn't use it, I'm sure He could and would, and praise God for people being blessed through that as a base to kind of see where they're at in terms of where they can serve. But to say it's required for fellowship and in terms of using it as a way to gauge someone's purpose that God has designed for them, I find it a little challenging, per se, in terms of that versus, you know, having the Holy Spirit guide us, having our relationship with God, and leading by the Spirit, what He's calling us into. My biggest concern is, if somebody was to, let's say, participate in that, a concern for me would be, personally, that I do not want to end up in a position where, you know, I'm putting, based on this test, per se, that is a secular test, and to be, you know, put in a position of, well, this core value index determines this plus this is this, or this or whatever it may be, depending on what this does. Yeah, yeah, no, I'm all clear on the question. Sorry.

Yeah, let me respond. Number one, any church group can say, okay, if you want to be officially recognized as a member here, and one of those that our pastoral team is going to be devoted to serving, and one that wants to make a real contribution to who we are by your participation, then we require XYZ, we require that you tithe, or we require that you go to a foundations class, or they set whatever they want, you know what I'm saying? That's just a local fellowship. Many would say the concept of membership is not even a biblical concept, but since it's very common, they're not saying you can't come to our services, they're not saying you're not saved if you don't comply with this, but these are standards that we hold. In other words, you give of your time, your talent, your treasure to the church, and we give back to you in all these different ways, and you help support the work as we are serving you and your family, etc. So, churches can, in other words, I don't believe you can make a New Testament case that tithing is mandatory. I believe you can make a great case for the important principle of tithing, but I don't believe you can make a case that tithing is mandatory according to the New Testament.

However, I do believe that a local church can say if you want to be a member, we ask you to tithe. In other words, they can make those standards. So, the question is this, if they have found over the years, not that this locks things in, but because there are lots of different people, that this just gives them an idea of who the people are, and as they get to know you better, they can learn better who you are. Because many times, first impressions are wrong, or superficial observations are wrong, or we know someone in the natural, but we have to know them after the Spirit.

So, all that takes time, right? So, if it's just a grid that they find helpful, I wouldn't have an issue, I mean, be a little odd, but I wouldn't have an issue with it if it is something that now they categorize people and they lock them in certain slots, and they're not going to know you after the Spirit because, oh no, on the test you came up X, Y, Z, then I'd have a bit of an issue with it, not so much being unwilling to do it, but just the larger philosophy of the church. Look, I haven't taken a lot of these tests over the years. I remember I took this spiritual gift test years ago, and it confirmed what I knew to be true.

It's like, all right, the end, yep, that's me. Then I did one, Strength Finders, which is well-known, Gallup uses it, it's constantly a best-selling book, and I did the online test with that, and I was like, wow, I learned a lot about myself. One thing was that my highest value was Achiever, so the Achiever starts every day with a blank slate, you feel like you haven't accomplished anything, you know, it's like, okay, I can relate to it, it helped me, then it helped me sort certain things out spiritually with that observation about more practical ways to live. I know Christian ministries will have their teams, everybody go through that, and it's like, just, it helps get a little insight. So, in sum, they have the right to set whatever they want to set as a standard, and someone else has the right to say, I feel at home here, or I don't feel at home here, I believe in this or I don't. As for this, if it's a general grid that they find helpful, no problem. If it's something that they're not going to lock you into, that would be my concern. And that's just what I'd ask them, how do you use this? And if they tell you, oh, well, we put you in these categories, and that's it. If they say, oh, we just find it helpful, because there's so many new people coming in, it just gives us a little bit of an idea, and then we get to know you better. I'd have no problem. All right? Okay, no, that makes perfect sense.

That is definitely something I'll probably look into more. I know that I've asked the elders about it, they have personally done a lot of work and they have personally told me that it is a requirement, but I do want to probably get more informed, because like you said, if this is something that gives us a general grounding of what values or things or assets about me could be, I would say, highlighted in the best way to contribute to the church or whatever, being servitude, I'll absolutely take that route before I would consider anything else. But I appreciate it, I really do. Yeah, and Randy, yeah, great, I appreciate that. The last thing I'd throw out to you, sir, is just by and large, do you feel good about the leadership there? Do you find them trustworthy? Do you find the leaders to be people of integrity? To the best of your understanding, are they seeking to really preach the word and make disciples and reach the lost?

And those are the bigger things I'd look at, and these other areas would be secondary to me if I felt good about the larger things about that church. Hey, Randy, thank you for the call. Andrew, can you break down Galatians 3, 13 to 18, when it mentions Jesus becoming a curse when he was hanging on the cross when Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21, what does it mean when he says that? So, the one who was hung on a tree in ancient Israel was considered accursed by God.

This was an offensive thing and was taken down overnight, you know, the body would be taken down overnight because of the degree that this was an offense, this was a reproach. Instead of this person just being buried, this is a sign of their being accursed by God or the result of being accursed by God. So, when Jesus hangs on the tree for us, symbolically, that language is now used. It's not meant to be an exact parallel because Jesus hanging on a tree was not hung up after his death as the case would be in Deuteronomy 21, but the parallel is still there, that he's subject to public humiliation, public shame, the worst of all deaths, not just the most brutal and the most barbaric, but the most debasing, the lowest form, the most humiliating in front of everyone. I mean, you're talking about hanging there naked on the cross where a bird can come and poke your eye out.

I mean, just horrific on every level, a mockery in the eyes of the society beyond anything that we really can compare it to today. So, Jesus becomes a curse for us that we can receive blessing. He takes our sin on his shoulders so that we could be declared righteous. He takes our righteousness on his shoulders.

He does not himself become sinful, but he takes on himself the guilt of our sin, bears the punishment of our sin in a public way so that we can receive privately and publicly the blessings of his righteousness and his goodness. That's what Paul is opening up there. And let's just see, I tell you what, before I go back to the phones, another quick YouTube question, most excellent is, Theophilus, what's your take on the 70 weeks in Daniel? And thoughts on Toby Singer saying Daniel just went off. I encourage you to go to,, where you will be able to just look for Daniel's 70 weeks. Look at the Messianic prophecy objections.

Under the most common objections, you'll see video answers, written answers. I understand clearly that this text indicates that the work of redemption, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness being brought in, had to be accomplished before the Second Temple was destroyed. And that the text is very explicit about that, whether there are two Mashiach figures there or one is not even the issue, two anointed leaders or one. The issue is that the work of redemption, forgiveness of sins, atonement, everlasting righteousness brought in, had to be done before the Second Temple was destroyed. And of course, Toby is quite long in this position on the 70 weeks.

And I do believe where it says Mashiach being cut off, you can write Mashiach that is speaking of Messiah Jesus. Be right back with the cause. I'm Paul Burnett, a board certified doctor of holistic health. And I want to take this opportunity to talk to you about the importance of healthy blood flow and how it's enhanced by a miracle molecule known as nitric oxide. You see, blood vessels release nitric oxide, which increases blood flow known as something called vasodilation.

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This is just a great way to invest in yourself and invest in the kingdom and help us reach more people. All right, let us go to back to Texas. Jeremy, welcome to the line of fire.

When I say back to Texas, I'm in Texas all the time these days. Welcome to the line of fire, sir. Hey, yes sir, I appreciate your ministry, I appreciate you taking my call. Yes.

I'm a terrible speaker, I had to write down my question. That's fine. Okay. While John the Baptist and his disciples and Jesus's disciples were baptizing, what did the Jews who were coming to be baptized believe was being accomplished by the baptism, and what do you think that the conversation was in John 3.25, the discussion that they were having? Right. Yeah, go ahead, go ahead. The guy who was discussing with John's disciples, he didn't have the same conviction of what was being accomplished by the baptism, and neither did the Pharisees.

And what do you think the difference was in the opinion, and what was the reason for the difference? Right. So, a couple of things. Ritual immersion was common in ancient Judaism. If you're part of our tour group, if you're with us next month in Israel or on a previous trip, and you're standing in front of the steps which would have been leading up to the ancient temple, you'll see these baptismal areas, these immersion areas where you have stairs going down one side, you know, stone steps going down, a little pool in the middle, stone steps going back up.

And you had numerous sites like this because this was part of Jewish practice, and there were two aspects to it, two basic aspects. One was ceremonial washing, right? Just like someone might wash their hands before having a meal in traditional Judaism, it's become a ritual that you do that. If you ever go into a Muslim prayer room or like an interfaith prayer room at an airport, you'll have, you know, an area where Muslims, here's where you can wash your hands before you pray. So, there is ritual ceremonial washing, or if you were unclean, something, you know, a woman after a menstrual cycle would have ceremonial washing.

That's one thing. The other thing was it was a sign of repentance. It was a sign of new beginning that, just as we would say as Christians, you go under the water one way, you come out differently. So, as John was preaching, it was a baptism, an immersion of repentance, right? That's explicit in Luke 3 and Matthew 3 in particular. So, what they were all doing was saying, here's a man preaching, God is ready to come, the kingdom of God is ready to come, we got to prepare the way, which means we got to clean up our act, we got to get right with God, we need to repent.

So, this was a public confession, I'm repenting of my sin and I want to be washed clean, and that's what the ritual immersion, the baptism represented. The argument in John 3.25, an argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, Rabbi, that man who is with you on the other side of the Jordan, the one you testified about, look, he is baptizing and everyone is going to him. So, we don't know what the dispute was. Was it, well, John, you're doing this, but this Jesus guy is doing something else. Of course, he didn't baptize himself, but his disciples did. Was it a matter of who had authority to do it? Was it a matter of what's the nature of it? We don't know. We don't know that. But the common practice that would have just been understood that didn't need explanation was repent, get right with God, be immersed as a sign of your repentance and as a sign of renewal and cleansing.

That would have been universally understood to the Jewish people coming to John or Jesus to be baptized. All right. Well, I sure appreciate it, sir. You are very, very welcome. Thank you. And by the way, if you're ever concerned, friends, about calling in and you don't, you get a little nervous on the phone, even though it's just two of us having a talk, you have a lot of people listening, write out your question, like Jeremy did. It's great.

It works just fine on radio, and this way you can make sure you ask it the way you want to ask it, you're not nervous. That's just fine. All right, let us go to Adam in Morrisville, North Carolina. Welcome to the Line of Fire. Thanks, Dr. Brown. I appreciate it.

Really happy to get the chance to speak with you. So, my brother and I started an apologetics ministry about a year ago, and we do lots of debates, live debates online, and sometimes in person with atheists and agnostics. And so one of the biggest challenges that I get when we're talking about morality is the Mosaic law.

So, my question to you is kind of two-part. One, how do we kind of portray the Mosaic law and how ancient Israel interpreted it and adhered to it? And then, two, what was your response be to the atheist that says that the Mosaic law is immoral?

Right. So, let's start backwards and ask what other things the atheist would object to that we would hold to. In other words, it's going to be a lot more than the moral law that the atheist would have an issue with. So, we just have to bear that in mind that it's a very good possibility we're not going to be able to satisfy the atheist at all. And I don't mean that in a way that's disparaging towards atheists. I mean, they may have certain views of what is moral and what is not moral. And in their view, if a god existed, for example, if there would be a hell, that would be a bigger issue than Mosaic law. Or if we would say that certain people are excluded from God's kingdom based on certain things, they might have a problem with the idea they most likely do of the God of the Bible being true if he allows so much human suffering. How could he be good?

How could he be a compassionate father? Etc. So, always bear that in mind. I don't debate atheists a lot. It's not my specialty. But the last time I did a debate on a largely atheist-watched YouTube channel, I made clear I'm not trying to persuade you. I'm just going to explain to you why I personally believe and testify. And of course, floods of people, I glanced at some of the comments, just mock every point.

It's like, that's going to happen. I'm going to plant seeds anyway. But always, always remember that, that there is a different mindset. There is a different standard.

So, you may not be able to satisfy. As far as the Mosaic law itself, I'd first start with the Ten Commandments, which is the heart and soul of it, and point to the morality of that, and point out how if the world lived by those commandments, especially the moral things of not murdering and stealing, etc., if we lived like that, the world would be a much better place. That's number one. Number two, I would look at the characteristics of God as revealed in the Mosaic law about not clearing the guilty, but clearing the innocent and not condemning the guilty. I'd look at the high ethical standards of how you have to judge, how you have to treat the poor fairly, how the rich can't get favoritism, etc., how you're commanded to treat the stranger and the foreigner because you were strangers and foreigners, how even within the system of slavery, which was common in the ancient world, that there was much more compassion and grace extended towards slaves that you had by law.

I'd point all of those things out. Many of the highlights of the good things, many of the highlights of the lofty things in the Mosaic law, and then I'd say, also in the ancient world, in the ancient context, that there were things that were very standard. Just like in the very devout Muslim world, there are certain standards that have been there for centuries and centuries that in the ancient world, some of the things that may strike us as odd were very common, and in most of those cases, biblical law was going to be more compassionate or more fair. At the same time, I would say that the Mosaic law is not the final stopping point. In other words, we are not, under the Gospel, stoning adulterers today. We are not putting witches to death.

And the reason that those things were so stringent was because of the higher need of preserving Israel as a nation so the Messiah could come and bring salvation to the entire world. So I'd hit it from a bunch of different angles and then leave it there, understanding I'm not necessarily going to satisfy the person, but I'll do my best to overcome the objections. I think that was very satisfactory, because ultimately I can't guarantee that these people are seeking truth, but if they are, I think that would satisfy them. So I appreciate your feedback on that. Thanks for what you guys are doing. It's important.

A lot of people have these questions. In my newest book, Why So Many Christians Have Left the Faith, I mention how the trickle-down effect of a lot of the objections of atheists that became popularized about 15 years ago kind of just spread through into the larger culture through social media and memes and things like that. But what's important is to not only be on the defensive, which often happens in a setting like that, but to be on the offensive, right? To be on the offensive, and as we are on the offensive, then we can also say, hey, look at the positive ethics here. Look at this, look at this, look at this, and look at what happens when we live by many of these commandments. Let's compare apples to apples. Let's compare ancient Israelite law to ancient laws of other cultures, and then let's look at the continuing development of the New and Better Covenant through the gospel. Hey, friends, remember to download our app, Ask Dr. Brown Ministries, ASKDR Brown Ministries. You'll find thousands of hours of useful articles, videos, all kinds of things to bless you. Oh, it's our resistance. You can't resist us. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-28 18:29:44 / 2023-04-28 18:50:42 / 21

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