Ask me Anything!

Do you think we could possibly see Israel strike Iran because of the new Biden administration and their negative Israel policy?

What you’re really asking is a geopolitical question. This isn’t necessarily a Bible question, and I don’t have a problem answering it. I regard myself as someone who has studied the Bible extensively. I’ve been teaching the Bible for more than 40 years and studying it intently for more than 40 years, so I think I know at least something about the Bible. I don’t regard myself as a geopolitical expert, but I would say this. Israel has not been shy about attacking the Iranian nuclear program, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they would do so again, if they felt it was necessary or they were being threatened. I think that’s entirely possible.

It’s just something to keep an eye on and realize that there have been times, in the fairly recent past, when Israel has made aggressive attacks against the nuclear program and the development of potentially nuclear weapons or their delivery from the Iranian government.

I want you to know that we pray for the Iranian people. We are grateful that God is doing a great work among the Iranian people. We are grateful that God is moving among them in a dramatic way right now. There are many Iranian or Persian people coming to Jesus Christ. This is one reason why we are putting a greater focus upon our project of translating my Bible commentary into Farsi, the language that is spoken among the Iranian people. There are also people in Afghanistan and some other neighboring regions that speak Farsi. We do this because we are very impressed with what God is doing among the Iranian people right now, bringing many people to Christ. We want to give them good Bible resources.

When was the nation of Edom destroyed?

You mentioned how the nation of Edom was already destroyed according to Obadiah 1:18. Can you tell me the time period of this happening in secular history? What empire did this happen in?

From my knowledge, I would say that it happened in two phases or aspects. First of all, there was a significant attack and diminution of the Edomite standing and territory by the Assyrians and later the Babylonians when they came and conquered the region. The most notable one happened under the Romans. The Romans came and disrupted the Edomites, and it seems that many of them depopulated their region that lay on the east side of the Jordan River. They had a mass migration, most of them going to the southern Judean area, the area of the Judean Desert. This was the period of what you call the inhuman aspect of the Edomites, transitioning into what were known as the dominions.

So, it happened in phases. Some under the Assyrians who came and laid conquest, some under the Babylonians who laid conquest of the entire region, and, most notably, among the Romans in that time.

I would recommend you read outside of your normal reading bounds, and read good archaeological history from a lot of different sources. It’s easy for us to put ourselves inside our own window and only read people that agree with us, but it’s good, at least from time to time, to read outside of our normal circles and see what other people say.

How will we feel in heaven if our loved ones didn’t make it there?

When we tend to think of heaven as sort of a continuation of Earth, we think, “Wouldn’t we be tremendously sad? Wouldn’t we be tremendously grieved at the idea that, in heaven, our loved ones wouldn’t be with us?”

There’s going to be something so profound about heaven that it will fundamentally reorder their priorities, their relationships, and their understanding. The idea and the presence of God will be so big and so dominant in heaven that there’ll be a complete reordering of who we are and how we relate to each other. This is one of the reasons why Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew that in heaven we will neither marry nor be given in marriage. We’re like the angels in that regard.

In other words, we won’t have a marriage relationship with our present spouse. We will have some relationship with them, but it won’t be a marriage relationship. There will be something so overwhelming and overpowering about the relationship that we have with God and the reality of God’s person and presence in heaven that it will completely reorient all of our other relationships.

Now, when you take that truth and add it to what is described in Revelation 21 and 22, about the experience of having no more sorrow, no more pain,and no more suffering, we understand that we will not grieve our relatives who are not with us in heaven. We won’t celebrate that they’re not with us, but we will acknowledge that the judge of the earth does what is right and good, and all the ways of the Lord are just and true.

There will be no one in heaven or in hell who believes God has done wrong. The testimony from the inhabitants of both heaven and hell will be the judge of all the earth and does what is right. Nobody will be thinking in hell that they were robbed. They will be so aware of the justice and righteousness of God and their own deserving to be where they’re at.

We can’t just think of heaven as being an ultimately improved Earth. It’s far beyond that. Heaven is something different. It’s obviously something so much greater. I think that the reality of God’s presence, the reality of God’s person in heaven, will more than compensate for what we might anticipate would be any sense of sorrow from having friends or loved ones not there with us. This gives us an incentive to pray for such people and bring them the good news of what God has given to us in Jesus Christ so that we may escape hell and go to heaven and have the goodness of God evident in this life and in the age to come.

Who are some good expository teachers of the Bible who are not so widely known?

Who are some guys you would recommend to listen to who are, in a sense, under the radar and not as popular when it comes down to expository teaching, especially in the Old Testament? Thank you.

This is a great question, because there are certain popular, well known Bible teachers and preachers out there who I believe are well known for a good reason. They are outstanding expositor teachers and preachers of God’s Word. While I may not agree with those individuals on every last point of their doctrine, I nevertheless appreciate that they are people who effectively preach and teach God’s word.

I think of Alistair Begg, but he’s very well known. Again, I would say, deservedly so. I think of people like John MacArthur. Even though I would disagree with him on some doctrinal points, I cannot deny that he’s a very skilled and effective expositor of God’s Word. Within my own experience and circle of the Calvary Chapel world, there are men like Joe Foosh. He is an amazing preacher and teacher, but again, quite well known.

You’re asking about people who might be under the radar. Let me give you a few names. First of all, one of my oldest and dearest friends in ministry is a man who pastors a church in a nearby community, Oxnard, California. His name is Lance Ralston. He is an extremely effective communicator of God’s Word. He’s a tremendous expositor and teacher. I highly recommend his content.

Here’s another one. This man is a little more prominent but may be under the radar of some. He teaches at Calvary Chapel Modesto California. Pastor Damien Kyle is an outstanding expositor and knows both the old and New Testament. Those are two fellas that come to my mind immediately. If you gave me a little bit more time I could discuss many, many more. I’m very privileged to be part of a church family of Calvary Chapel. We have a lot of very gifted expository teachers because of the emphasis on verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book teaching of the Word of God.

What does it mean that Elijah will “restore all things” in Mark 9:12?

In Mark 9:12, we see Jesus refers to Elijah coming before Jesus’ second coming to restore all things. What does that mean, “He will restore all things?” 

Mark 9:12 says,

Then He answered and told them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?

I believe that Jesus here is referring back, either quoting or referring in tone, to a promise made at the very end of the book of Malachi. He’s telling us that this will be fulfilled in this sense.

Malachi 4:5-6 says,

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet

Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 

And he will turn

The hearts of the fathers to the children,

And the hearts of the children to their fathers,

Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

I believe Jesus is generally referring to, in the promise in Mark 9, this work of Elijah coming. He would come and restore all things. The idea of Elijah coming is a little bit complicated and nuanced. The Bible promises, as we saw in Mark 9:12, that Elijah will return before the Messiah. It’s prophesied in Malachi, but Jesus also speaks of it in the Gospels.

It also says, John the Baptist fulfilled the role of Elijah, but not in its completeness. In other words, before Jesus Christ returns, there will be another coming of Elijah. Some people believe that it will be another person coming in the spirit and office of Elijah, as John the Baptist did. Other people believe it will be a literal, God sending of Elijah to the earth from heaven.

Specifically, to your question of the meaning to “restore of all things,” is Jesus’s way of simply referring to the fulfillment of that old testament promise in Malachi. It probably has some rabbinic connotations that maybe I’m not immediately sensitive to, but we know that Jesus isn’t speaking of Elijah coming and restoring all things in a messianic sense. He’s really just fulfilling the Office of restoration leading the way to the Messiah that is prophesied in Malachi.

What is the best Bible for a pastor to use?

What is the best Bible and study tool for pastors to understand the parallelism of Jesus and the sacrificial lamb as well as the laws He fulfilled?

I, in my own teaching and preaching ministry, use the New King James translation. Part of the reason I use it is because I genuinely prefer it, both from its textual history and from its memorability. I do like the link that it has with the King James Version. For me, it’s just a very good, memorable, understandable translation.

I’ll be very honest with you. Another reason why I use the New King James version is that I have 40 years of Bible preaching and teaching invested in that particular translation. I want to continue that. There’s some respect where I feel if I were to really focus on another Bible translation, I’d have to have a very compelling reason to do it. I’ve got so much invested in my own study and understanding of this particular Bible translation now.

Another popular translation today is the English Standard Version, ESV. I think it’s a good translation, and I certainly don’t have any objection to somebody using the ESV. I will say, I find that the ESV so frequently reads like the New King James, and I don’t see any compelling reason to switch. I don’t see it as being for my own taste and improvement upon the New King James.

For pulpit ministry, I would focus on either the New King James Version or perhaps the ESV. Although there is something to be said for the New Living Translation, NLT. I’ve never taught through a book of the Bible, verse by verse, with the NLT. I would like to do it at some time. I think it would probably be a great thing to do with our YouTube audience here. Again, I would want to do it simply because I want to see what it would be like to teach verse by verse through a book. I think, oftentimes, the New Living Translation really gets it right and explains things in a very understandable way. I would recommend that one to you as well, but for pulpit ministry, for serious Bible study, I would recommend either the New King James or the ESV.

I believe that every person who is serious about Bible study should read through the entire King James Version at least once. I’ll tell you why. For a few 100 years, this was the Bible of the English speaking world. So many sermons, commentaries,and Bible reference works are connected to the King James Version. You won’t really understand those works unless you understand the King James Version of how it phrases things and how it speaks.

I’ll give you a very concrete example. I’m a big fan of Charles Spurgeon and his preaching. Of course, Spurgeon preached from the King James Bible. There are many references that Spurgeon makes to biblical passages that you wouldn’t know he’s quoting or referring to a biblical passage unless you were familiar with the King James Version.

Your second question here is the best study tool for understanding the parallelism of Jesus and the sacrificial lamb as well as the laws he fulfilled. I would suggest some good commentaries on Hebrews. William Newell has a commentary on Hebrews that does a good job of explaining that. I don’t think I could recommend any further particular work on that.

Why did Noah first send out a raven when the flood waters started to recede?

Could you explain why Noah sent a raven out first. What is the meaning of the raven?

I don’t know that I can give you a good answer to that. I could do some research. Maybe it’s in my very own commentary on this section as to what the raven would signify or what it means. I would say this. We do know that the Jewish people, later, considered the raven to be an unclean bird. Ravens are among those birds that are scavengers, and, as scavengers, they are considered to be unclean. It could be that Noah considered the raven to be more expendable. If the raven doesn’t come back, at least it’s the loss of an unclean bird and not of a clean bird.

I’m absolutely sure that there are people who have a more symbolic understanding of what the raven is. I don’t think I could give you a particular answer to that question. I’m not aware of any particular great meaning or significance behind that idea. To tell you the truth, I can’t tell you whether or not there’s some reference to this in my commentary on the book of Genesis.

What was the role or purpose of prostitutes in the Old Testament and the Bible?

Can you explain the role of prostitutes in the Bible? What was their purpose in the Old Testament?

The Bible doesn’t give us the purpose of prostitutes in the Bible. I think it assumes that people would understand the purpose of prostitution. The purpose of prostitution is that people can buy sex outside the covenant of marriage. It’s something that’s not right. It’s something that would be a sin on both parties. The Bible really didn’t explain any particular role other than it being something that is a fulfillment of the sinful impulses of men and women. That’s really the role of prostitutes.

Now, we do see that the Bible mentions prostitutes and prostitution in several different ways in the Old Testament. More often than we would think, prostitutes in the Bible are shown to be people who are deserving of sympathy. I’ll give you two examples that come immediately to mind.

You have the example of Tamar, the daughter in law of Judah, one of the sons of Israel or Jacob and one of the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel, the tribe of Judah. Tamar was being defrauded and not treated fairly by her father in law, so she posed as a prostitute and tricked her father in law. Through that she got justice. She got fair treatment from her father through her own deception. In the way this scene is presented to us in the book of Genesis, Tamer is presented to us as a sympathetic figure, somebody who’s just trying to get a proper treatment from someone who’s not treating her properly.

Another example of a prostitute being brought to us in a sympathetic light is the idea of Rahab, the prostitute in the city of Jericho. She and her family were the only people of faith in Jericho who were spared the destruction and the judgment of God when it came upon the city. Again, we have the prostitute but never justifying what the prostitute does in terms of prostitution, yet nevertheless, presenting the prostitute in a sympathetic light.

Now, what do we learn from this? Well, we certainly learned that God doesn’t regard prostitution as a sin. The act of prostitution is never presented in a positive light in the scriptures. Yet, we see here that God’s love, grace, and transforming power is extended, even to people that might be thought of as notorious sinners. We have that concept given to us in the New Testament of how it seems that the prostitutes were among the class of people that heard Jesus gladly.

What is the purpose of prostitution? I would say the purpose of prostitution is assumed, yet the presentation several times, not universally, is presented in only a negative light in the book of Porverbs. Other passages in the Old Testament, such as Genesis with Tamar and the book of Joshua with Rahab, it is presented in a sympathetic light without approving of their practice of prostitution.

What should we think about the Covid 19 vaccines? Are they the mark of the beast?

Can you address some people’s view of the COVID-19 vaccine? It is the mark of the beast?

I would say without hesitation that the COVID 19 vaccine is not the mark of the beast. I don’t know who might agree or disagree with that statement, but I am convinced of that. I am convinced that the COVID-19 vaccine is not the mark of the beast, and I’ll tell you why. When you look at the references in the book of revelation to the mark of the beast, you see that the mark of the beast is tied to the worship of the Antichrist or the beast. In other words, the mark of the beast has a definite economic aspect to it, because the book of Revelation says that no one could buy or sell without the mark. You could also say that it has a biometric aspect to it, because it’s some kind of mark on the hand or the forehead. It also has a worship aspect to it, because associated with the mark of the beast is worship of the Antichrist, known as the beast in the book of Revelation. There is some kind of pledge of allegiance to him and his government or his system. Of course, these things are missing in the COVID-19 vaccine.

Argument has been made, and I find myself in agreement with it, that the vaccination sort of prepares the world for a mark of the beast to come at a later time. I see some definite validity in the idea that it is not the mark of the beast, but it is preparatory for the mark of the beast.

You also mentioned the aspect of the mRNA changing DNA. I want to be careful with this, because I am not a biologist or medical researcher. I don’t want to be a person who speaks with authority about such things that I know very, very little about. I can say this. There is concern that things that may alter a person’s genetic code or makeup could be used, later, in a very negative way. Now, I don’t know, because I don’t know enough about the science. You can read contradictory opinions. I don’t know if COVID-19 vaccines change or alter one’s genetic code. I don’t know if this fits that category, but I do know that there are some people who will have those concerns, not so much in the immediate, but for what it might prepare for at a later time.

As to whether or not a person should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I would just say that it is a matter of Christian conscience and liberty. I’m speaking to believers here. It would have to do with anything that isn’t specifically spelled out to us in the Bible. Again, I want to stress I’m speaking to believers, people who are born again by God’s Spirit and are truly a son or a daughter in God’s family. You are a free man or woman in the Lord, and you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Seek the Lord. Read, as widely as you can, about the science, the technology, the concerns, the pluses, the minuses. Read as widely as you can, and then come to a decision as a free man or woman in Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t do it just because everybody else is doing it. And might I say, we shouldn’t not do it because other people we know are not doing it. We are free men and women in Jesus Christ, and I believe that these are matters of conscience. So, if a person comes to me and says, Pastor David, I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve sought the Lord about it. I believe that this is what God would have me do in regard to the vaccine, taking it or not taking it. I would just say, God bless you. I pray God will give you continuing wisdom along the way. Keep seeking God about it. Maybe more information comes out and more things are known. Maybe something that you are cautious about before turns out to be not a reason for caution. Maybe something that you weren’t cautious about before turns out a reason to be cautious.

I believe that as free men and women in the Lord, we need to respect how God may speak to the conscience of another believer. I think there needs to be a re-emphasis on this biblical idea of the freedom of a man or woman in Jesus Christ. When I say freedom, I never mean freedom that is in contradiction to the Bible. There are many things we deal with that are not spoken of in the Bible, either in clear command or in clear principle. There are many things the Bible doesn’t deal with that we can seek God for ourselves about. We shouldn’t just do what other people are doing or not doing. We shouldn’t look to the culture around us, nor should we look at what other believers around us do. We should seek the Lord.

What about the idea of the “divine counsel” as taught by Michael Heiser?

Have you read any work by Michael Heizer? For example, the unseen world and his teaching on the divine Council. Your thoughts, please. 

I’ve read some of Michael Heiser’s work. I haven’t read much, so I don’t account myself as an authority. I’ve listened to some of his teaching on the divine Council. I would just count myself in the group. I am not persuaded regarding his ideas of the divine counsel. I’m just not persuaded that the scriptures clearly teach what he seems to present as something that he believes that the scriptures clearly teach. So, I’ve just put myself in the camp of those who are not persuaded by Michael Heiser’s view on the divine Council, the idea that God governs with a divine Council of angelic beings.

I guess I would want to read and learn more and maybe hear from somebody who says, No, I am persuaded by these ideas. Other than that, the idea is held to be interesting by some people, but I don’t find it persuasive.

What about the “hyper grace” movement? Under grace, is confession and repentance unnecessary for the believer?

Is hyper grace in line with the true gospel? Some say that all our sins have been forgiven, and there’s no need for confessing and repenting for our sins.

No, I would say that the hyper grace attitude of our sins being forgiven and not needing to confess our sins, is a very limited view of sin and confession and the role of it in our Christian life.

1 John 1:8-10 says,

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 

I think this passage teaches us the necessity of confessing our sins. I do think the confession of sin needs to be understood in a proper context. We don’t earn the forgiveness of our sins through confession and repentance. That’s not the idea at all. We simply demonstrate our faith and our trust in the Lord by confessing and repenting of our sins. We come to Jesus just as we are, and that’s the person who needs to be forgiven. I think this is a very important point. We need to be forgiven as we really are not as we would pretend to be.

The real David Guzik sins. When I know there is a sin, it doesn’t deny me salvation because I’m a believer, I’m saved. I’m born again by God’s Spirit. What sin can do is hinder my fellowship with God. I think fundamentally here in 1 John 1:9 where he says, If we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, the primary idea in mind is the forgiveness of sin to restore real and unbroken fellowship with God.

Sin can be a barrier for salvation, but there’s another dynamic of sin that may be what, is termed, our hyper grace friends neglect. They neglect the fact that sin can hinder our fellowship or experiential fellowship with God, and that needs to be dealt with as well.

In the Old Testament, was the Angel of the LORD actually Jesus?

I heard a sermon where the pastor said that the Angel of the LORD in the Old Testament was Jesus. Is this accurate?

Yes, it is accurate. When we think of that term, Angel, we normally think of what we would call an angelic being. I’ll describe to you three different types of being. There’s the divine being, one God in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Secondly, there’s angelic beings, faithful angels or fallen angels, which we often call demons or demonic spirits or unclean spirits. Thirdly, there are human beings, people made in the image of God.

When we hear that term, the Angel of the Lord, we usually think or assume that it’s speaking about an angelic being. That word angel, in both the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, simply means a messenger. Sometimes, the Messenger of the Lord is the Lord Himself in some kind of bodily form, and this is why we say this. There are occasions in the Old Testament where the Angel of the Lord is said to appear, yet it also presents that God Himself is appearing. There are many occasions in the Old Testament where God appears in some physical form. This is what we would call a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.

Why wouldn’t we say that it’s the appearance of God the Father? The Bible tells us that no man has seen God the Father, but Jesus Christ has been revealed. We believe that there are certain occasions, before His incarnation, Jesus Christ appeared to people here on Earth.

Jesus withdrew to desolate places to pray (Luke 5:16) – should we also do this?

My question is based on Luke 5:16. Should we consider retreating to God more often when we have big wins? What other situations should we consider relating to God in desolate places? 

Yes, we should look for more undistracted time with God. It would seem that this is what Jesus was doing. Jesus was going to speak almost in a flippant way here. Jesus was a good theologian. Obviously, He was a perfect theologian. Jesus knew that God was not more present in the wilderness, in a desolate place, than He is present in a city surrounded by people. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. God is not more present in a desolate place. There are fewer distractions in a desolate place, and we need to look to have more undistracted time with God. More time when we will not be distracted by our phones, the media, and everything around us all the time. So, dear brother or sister, look to spend more undistracted time with God. Whatever it takes.

I remember reading the story of a great missionary named Hudson Taylor. According to the biography written by his daughter and son in law, Hudson Taylor used to get up at three o’clock in the morning. She remembers awakening in the night and seeing her father on his knees praying by candlelight up behind a sheet. The reason why Hudson Taylor did that was because his home was so filled with family and visitors all the time, and it was the only undistracted time he could get with the Lord.

I believe that that was the whole purpose of Jesus having a desolate place. It was to have that undistracted time. We need to do whatever we can to build more undistracted time to seek Jesus, especially in seasons of great spiritual prosperity and spiritual challenge.

Undistracted time with God is something we need to seek after more.

What was the difference between the Sadducees and the Pharisees?

There were many differences between the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees were more liberal in their theology. They did not take the Old Testament scriptures as seriously in a literal sense. When the Old Testament mentioned angels or the resurrection, the Sadducees took it as just a symbol or metaphor. The Pharisees took it literally.

The differences between the Sadducees and the Pharisees was not only theological but also cultural. The Sadducees would be more accommodating to Greek culture than the Pharisees would. It was also political. The Sadducees were much more friendly with the Romans in power, and therefore, they were at a higher status. They were more of the elite, more of the people who held real authority and power. They were more of the people that pulled the strings.