Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth, to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to him. Now Dave—before we get to our first question taken from your book, In Defense of the Faith—you’re heading for Florida.
Dave: God willing.
Tom: Now this program is taped, just to let our listeners know, so you may be back before it’s aired on the one hand, but you’re going to Florida! That sounds pretty cushy, Dave, but on the other hand, you just came from the snows of upstate New York. Now, why do you do this? There is so much that you have to do, you know—you’re writing books, doing articles for the newsletter, you do radio interviews, and you do radio programs…. Why are you out and about, especially at your young age of mid-seventies?
Dave: Well, Tom, I don’t do it for a salary, because I don’t get that. I don’t do it for a fee because I never ask anything, you know, whatever the Lord provides, that’s fine. That’s a good question.
Tom: Especially since you’re traveling on two artificial hips, here, which made you a lot faster than— I remember when you had no cartilage left in those hips, so you move about pretty well.
Dave: Well, my hips are younger than yours, Tom, so they are still in good shape. And of course when I am home, I am on my computer—what would I say?—at least 15 hours a day, answering letters, writing articles, trying to write some books and so forth.
Tom: So, your speaking engagement, that really takes you away from a lot of the concentrated work that you do. Why do you do it then?
Dave: It’s helpful, Tom, to get out and talk to people. I wish I could talk to everybody. You know, I often tell an audience, “I wish I knew what you are all thinking.” I hate to give them just my ideas. I like to get some feedback, and we do have Q&A—question and answer time. I like to know what people are thinking. I think we had 4 or 5 overseas trips last year, England, Germany, Romania, Australia…
Tom: By the way, Dave, I just have to throw this in. I know sometimes your trips cost you more money, especially South America and places like that, but, again, I’m encouraging you to communicate your motivation here, because I find it encouraging to me, and I’m sure others do as well. We need the body, we need to minister to one another, encourage each other.
Dave: Yeah, Tom, it’s very encouraging I can tell you, I meet people all over the world who tell me how they have been saved, brought out of Catholicism, brought out of cults, brought out of the occult by my books and tapes, that’s tremendously encouraging. If there were only one person, it would make it worthwhile. So I do it for that reason.
I believe that I’ve been called by the Lord to preach His Word, to write, to travel, to get the message out as widely as I can. Now, as you intimate, there is a conflict between: wouldn’t it be better just to do videos or to write books because of the time that I spend traveling. Well, I write on airplanes, in hotels and so forth. I’m trying to find a balance in that, but it is very helpful to talk with individuals in various countries. In Romania, to see what’s going on there—in Russia, to see what’s going on; Poland, various places where we have been— Australia. I found Australia (my wife and I both were there, I think for three weeks a few months ago)— that was a wonderful experience, some really fervent Christians down there. But wherever I go, it seems pretty much the same thing, Tom. People, as you know—we get letters from all over the world— “I can’t find a church; I can’t find a place where they really teach the truth. I thought this one did, and then, whoops! in comes something, you know, from the pastor or whatever.” There are people who tell me that our newsletter—they really count on it as the one thing they find. Now I’m not saying that that’s the only thing out there but in many people’s experience, that really builds them up in the Lord, directs them to the Word of God, and so forth.
So, I can tell you my prayer: “Lord, help me to know you and to be able to communicate who You are and Your Word more succinctly, more clearly, and in the power of Your Holy Spirit so that I could help some others. And, Lord, I’m not worthy of any reward for it—I don’t deserve anything, and that’s not what I want, but I wish that I could make the gospel known. I wish I could make Your truth known more clearly—as Paul writes to Titus.” This is a prayer that I guess I have mentioned and I pray over and over. “Lord,” he says, Titus:2:7,8: “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing incorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; so that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Now that’s my passion, my desire.
Tom: Dave, one of the things that I think about with regard to the world, particularly looking at it from the perspective of—as you mentioned, we get letters from all over the world, and it isn’t just that people have a difficult time finding a church and a fellowship that just preaches the Word and that totally clings to God’s Word and His truth. On the other side of that is that there is so much confusion out there. It isn’t just in the world, but it’s in the church. And part of what we try to do here in Search the Scriptures Daily, we’re not forcing or coercing anybody to take our view, but we want to—as in your prayer—help us to articulate things, explain some things simply, but then say, look, don’t just buy it because we’re saying it! Search the Scriptures to see if these things are true! It’s not all that complex—incredibly profound, God’s Word is incredibly profound, but at the same time He has written it for everyday man, woman, child, and that’s our encouragement.
So, what we’re doing here, this segment of our program, Search the Scriptures Daily, we’re going through Dave’s book, In Defense of the Faith, because over the many years he’s received questions, tough questions. Well, Dave, if God’s Word cannot answer the tough questions, it’s not God’s Word!
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: And all we’re trying to do here is present some questions, respond to those questions, and hopefully, we are doing it according to God’s Word. But let’s go for our first question: Isn’t it true that when the body dies, the soul goes to sleep, only to awaken at the resurrection of the body? Isn’t this what is meant by the expressions “them which are asleep” and “which sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians:4:13-15)?
Dave: Well, Tom, there’s no—first of all, you say we’re going to go to the Bible—and we will go to the Bible—but scientifically there’s no reason to imagine that when the body is dead there is no conscious activity, no consciousness. I’ve often said it, and I don’t try to be funny, but I say to people, “Look, your brain doesn’t even think. If your brain thought, you would be the prisoner of your brain. What’s my brain going to come up with next? I’m going to have to do whatever my brain comes up with.”
Tom: Your brain’s just about chemicals and has physical elements.
Dave: Thoughts are not physical—we know that. They call it the Einsteinium Gap; we’ve probably talked about it many times. Einstein himself admitted that matter cannot create information, and there is a chasm between matter and information, and the body is matter and the body doesn’t think—the soul and spirit do the thinking. And the brain is like a computer that your spirit operates to operate your body—to communicate with other people in this space/time/matter universe in which we live.
So, first of all, the idea that if your body is dead, then your soul and spirit have gone to sleep and they are waiting to get another body, that simply isn’t true! God doesn’t have a body, does He? So, the spirit is more real, really, than a body. A body is temporary. Paul said (2 Corinthians chapter 4), “…we look not at the things which are seen…because the things which are seen are temporary; but the things that are not seen are eternal.” So, the Bible teaches in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, Paul said, “…absent from the body …present with the Lord…which is far better…” Now if you are asleep present with the Lord, how is that far better? And in Philippians chapter one, Paul says, “…I am in a strait betwixt two…”(that’s Old English) “I am at a crossroads here, I don’t know which one I want to choose,” he said, “having a desire to depart and to be with Christ.” Now the only way he was going to depart was to die—he knew he was going to die as a martyr. “Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” And he wanted to remain with them to minister to them.
So, Paul is a man who has a passion for souls. He’s serving the Lord—and yet he has a desire to just go to sleep for eternity until the resurrection? That doesn’t make sense. Furthermore, you have the example of the rich man—this is not a parable, but even if it were a parable, what is it saying? Is Christ leading us astray with the idea that the dead are conscious? So, you have the story, actually, of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, and there are no names given to any characters in parables, so we know this is a real story. And it says of the rich man in hell, “he lift up his eyes being in torment” and he sees Lazarus, the beggar, afar off in Abraham’s bosom, and he’s in torment and he can see and he can speak, and he calls out to father Abraham and so forth.
So, there is absolutely no basis, either scientifically, medically, or biblically to imagine that when the body dies the soul goes to sleep. Furthermore, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 says, “…those who sleep in Jesus…”—that’s talking about the body, “…shall God bring with him.” So they are with the Lord, in His presence in heaven, the soul and spirit, and He brings them with Him at the Rapture, and they are reunited with their bodies, new resurrected body—and we are caught up together with them, and we are transformed.
Tom: Dave, we’ve talked about this before, that the language of Scripture often is figurative, and some things are literal, and you have to really be able to distinguish between the two or you are going to run into trouble. You would do that in reading anything—a book, a novel or whatever it might be, but more so with the Word of God because we’ve seen time and time again, major doctrines, whether it be within denominations or cults, whatever it might be, all of a sudden they are building on something that’s presented clearly figuratively, but they have given the literal interpretation of it.
Dave: I think you can understand quite readily when it is literal, when it’s figurative; when it’s an analogy, and I don’t believe that there is any basis for imagining that there is unconsciousness when the body is dead, because it isn’t the body that did the thinking anyway! It’s the soul and the spirit. In fact, it is released from the bondage of the body to be much more clear in its thinking. You don’t have the impingement of nerves and pain and the limitations—maybe you’ve got some wires crossed in the brain or whatever—but we think apart from the body, but we use the body, the brain, because that’s what we live in. So, I just don’t think that there’s any basis for that idea, Tom.
Tom: Right. Now here’s another question, Dave. Many are teaching that the church must be united and purified before Christ can return. Is that biblical? Now Dave, I think this is an important question for today because we have many within even evangelical Christianity who are trying to set up some kind of a kingdom, or…I just read an e-mail the other day from Christians now or who are regathering, I’m talking about Christian leaders, and trying to network, to do something! The upshot is, I believe, to take more control, you know, of the world.
Dave: Tom, there are a number of false ideas out there. For example, there is the idea that the gospel must be preached to every tribe and so forth, before the Rapture. They get that from Matthew:24:14, when it says, “…this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the whole world…and then shall the end come.” It doesn’t say then shall the Rapture come—then shall the end come. What is the end? Well, it’s the end of the age. Everything doesn’t end at the Rapture, but you read of the end in 1 Corinthians chapter 15:24, 28, when Paul said, “Then comes the end, when he, (that is Christ) shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father.…God shall be all and in all….” and so forth. So, the idea that the gospel must get out to everybody so they all have an opportunity before the Rapture simply isn’t true. Now they are talking about the Rapture, saying that Christ isn’t going to come back for a divided church, a church that’s not living for Him. I’m just sure we talked about this at least briefly recently, Tom, but that’s not biblical. Paul tells you in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2:3—he says, “Don’t let…”—and can I just put it in modern language?
Tom: I think that’s acceptable, Dave.
Dave: Okay. I stick to the King James, but this is a little variation, —he said, “Don’t let anybody sweet talk you with this idea of a great last days revival.” He says, “That day”— that is, the day of the Lord, which I believe begins with the rapture, “will not come except the apostasy comes first.” Jesus—remember we quoted Luke:18:8, Jesus said, “When the Son of man returns, will he find the faith on the earth? Well, that doesn’t sound like the last days rapture, and I just remembered, Tom, I’m sure we talked about it, but we can mention it again….
Tom: Well, Dave, I know you’re going down this line, but what I was thinking more of is the whole idea of unifying and then throwing off doctrines, throwing off—in other words, on one hand it says “purified” but basically, if we can come together and put all of our doctrinal differences aside, that’s sort of the thrust I thought this question had in it.
Dave: Well, of course that’s not biblical at all. We are united in Christ. We are one. Christ prayed in John 17 that “…they may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee.” That’s a dynamic family unity. We are one because we are members of the body of Christ. You can’t make unity with members of some other organization. They’re not even Christians; they are cult members, or whatever.
So the unity that many people talk about today—unity, if you can imagine, with Islam. Some are even saying that Allah is the God of the Bible, when, in fact, Allah is not—we’ve talked about that many times. He was the chief god in the Ka’aba, a pagan temple; the Koran says Allah is not a father, he has no son; in fact Allah had three daughters, he’s the moon god—we won’t go into that again. But the Catholic Church says Allah is the God of the Bible. The Catholic Church, as you know, has been in dialogue for what?—24 years with Muslims and they have put out a pretty large booklet, very impressive, with colored pictures of getting together, and so forth, recognizing these “spiritual bonds that unite us.”
There are no spiritual bonds that unite us, but many religious leaders have been saying that. Robert Schuller spoke in a mosque and so forth and said of the Imam there, “I never felt such oneness of the spirit with anyone as I felt with him. Now, we want to be friends. We want to be kind to people, but the kindest thing you can do is let them know that what they believe is not true and it’s going to take them not to heaven but to hell! And the Bible never teaches that there should be a great ecumenical movement before the Rapture, and we’ve got to somehow unite with everyone.
I don’t like denominational barriers; I don’t like the idea of denominations. John Wesley certainly didn’t want people to call themselves after him and follow him. Martin Luther did not want it either. On the other hand, some of these denominational differences, they are because of serious differences in doctrine. But the idea that we all have to get united—if we are Christians, we are one in Christ. Christ’s prayer was answered in John 17. So, you can’t say we are not united—we are united in Christ. But now, what is it that divides people? Is it a failure to love one another? There are arguments over doctrinal differences that don't really matter, but as far as salvation is concerned, Tom, many people who call themselves Christians don’t even agree on that. You know what some of the polls say. I think—what was it—43% of those who called themselves born-again Christians—and one poll didn’t believe that Jesus is God!? Well then, you’re not a Christian! Jesus himself said so. I think it was a high percentage of pastors didn’t believe in the resurrection! Well then, you’re not a Christian if you don’t believe in the resurrection. So, because you call yourself a Christian—and then we’re all going to get together on the lowest common denominator? No, that’s not biblical and certainly that does not need to happen before the Rapture. On the other hand, it sounds like the apostasy—this ecumenical movement that Paul said would precede the Rapture.
Tom: Well, that was the thing that I was thinking about as you were talking. This is going to take place. We’re seeing that there will be a united church, a united religion; only at the head of it will be the Antichrist.
Dave: I’m afraid that’s what is being set up.
Tom: So, that’s why we address these questions, because people out there who are drawn into some things, I think without thinking, there are so many things going on that would draw you away from simple, basic truth—the truth of the Scriptures. And that’s like heading down the road and the bridge is out. You’ve climbed aboard on whatever vehicle, but we have these “fundamental” Christians— or really, biblical Christians, along the side saying, “Hey, the bridge is out!” but nobody seems to be paying attention, or few at least.
Dave: Tom, it’s like I said on the radio to a Muslim recently. He said “Islam is peace.” I said “You can’t invent your own Islam, it’s already been invented, and you can’t make it up. If you are a Muslim, then you must follow the fundamentals of Islam and what Mohammed said and did.” And you can’t call yourself a Christian; you can’t invent your own Christianity. We must follow what Jesus Christ taught; we must follow His example, and Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Just because a person calls himself a Christian doesn’t mean that he is, and I’m not going to unite in that way with someone who is not really a Christian. In fact, Jesus said “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophecy in your name, in your name we cast out devils, in your name we did miracles, and I will say, I never knew you! Depart from me!" So we don't want to join with that crowd.