I Spoke Too Soon

Q&A June 9

I Spoke Too Soon – A Follow-Up Answer to a Recent Question

Two weeks ago during the Q&A we had this question from GodChild:

Regarding Joshua 7, on April 15, 2021, you answered that it was Achan’s whole family that was stoned and burned, but your commentary says it was just Achan and his possessions. Please clarify…

My response to GodChild was something along the lines of, “I don’t really recall what I wrote in my commentary, but I am pretty sure that it says in Joshua 7 that his whole family was executed.”

I got curious about this, so later looked it up in my commentary – and now, I think I spoke too soon to GodChild and would like to expand a bit on it all.

This deals with Achan’s sin, which must be understood in the context of Israel’s conquest of Canaan and the Canaanites – which was not only a war to take the land that God has promised to the children of Israel, but it was also a unique war of judgment against the Canaanites, who were a particularly sinful and depraved people, whom God literally gave them hundreds of years to repent.

So, Israel’s war against the Canaanites was a unique ware of God’s judgment. Just was God sometimes used other nations to bring judgment against His people, on this occasion He used His people to bring judgment against the Canaanites.

Because it was a war of judgment, they were to receive no spoil from the battles – nothing at all. There were a few reasons for this, but one of the most important ones was that God did not want His people to profit, to gain, to be enriched by a war of judgment. Such wars are the holy expression of God’s sorrow at the necessity of judgment, and He did not want His people to gain or to be happy at it all happening. Therefore, Israel was strictly commanded that when they conquered a Canaanite city, none of the spoil could go to them. It didn’t go to the tabernacle, to the priests, or to Joshua. It was all to be destroyed.

In the battle to conquer Jericho, one man among Israel disobeyed this command and took some of the spoil for himself. His name was Achan and he took some gold, some silver, and some clothing. He took it back to his tent, dug a hole, and buried it all.

After Jericho – which was a mighty city, probably the best defended in all of Canaan – then Israel fought a small city named Ai. They were defeated at Ai, because God’s blessing was not with them, because of Achan’s compromise at Jericho.

So, God dealt with Achan – God exposed his sin, and brought him to judgment. Here is the description in Joshua 7:22-26

Joshua 7:22-26 The confession confirmed, and judgment executed.

So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.

His sons, his daughters: Achan’s sons and daughters had specific knowledge of the sin because it is unlikely that he could bury so much under their tent without their knowledge. At the same time, they were not necessarily stoned with Achan. Instead of being killed with their father, Achan’s children were probably brought forward to witness the judgment against their father.

  • In verse 23, them seems to refer to the items – the gold, silver, and the rest.
  • In verse 24, them seems to refer to both the items and the people, the sons and daughters.
  • In verse 25, them could refer either to just the items, or both. Probably, the most natural reading is to take it as both, but it could be just the items.

We notice the use of the singular in Joshua 7:25 and 7:26 ([25] you…. you…. him…. [26] him), in reference to a person being stoned. The use of the plural in Joshua 7:24 and 7:25 ([24] them…. [25] them…them) probably has reference to Achan’s possessions, not his children.

This is possible – but we must admit that the most natural reading of verse 25: they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones – the most natural reading suggests that it was people, not objects being stoned and burnt.

Ezekiel 18 tells us that God does not judge the children for the sins of the parents – that each stands on their own before God. So in principle, either the children of Achan participated in his sin, or they were spared this judgment.

I can take it either way:

It is plausible to believe that they participated in the sin, because the stolen good were buried under the tent, and it isn’t hard to believe that they knew about it all and maybe even helped – they covered for their father in his sin.

It is always plausible to believe that they were not stoned, but called out as witnesses to the great destruction. I don’t think this is conclusive, but it is definitely possible.

One more thing about the judgement of God: it is true that according to Ezekiel 18 that God does not judge the children for the sins of the parents. But, God does not only judge individuals, he also judges nations, cities, communities – even down to the family. When God does so, there are people who are relatively innocent who are caught up in the judgment that comes upon a nation, a city, or a community. When God used the Babylonian armies to judge wicked Jerusalem for her great sin, there were children who died in that, or who were enslaved or exiled, even though they had not directly participated in the sins of the community.

It’s possible that if the judgement against Achan extended to his family in Joshua 7, it is because God was carrying out the same principle of judgment against Achan’s family that Israel was carrying out against the Canaanites.

At the end of it all, we agree with Abraham in Genesis 18:25: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? That was a rhetorical question with the expected answer: “Yes, of course He will.” It’s fine to ask questions, seek clarity, and understand the Scriptures. But we dare not take away God’s right to judge, because in the end all His judgment is right. I find it curious that many people who think God has no business judging anyone have no problem judging God themselves.

How was Jesus’ financial situation?

How was Jesus’ financial situation? Is it true that He was very poor? Or is that a myth?

I think it’s possible. We know that Jesus was a relatively poor man. In Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58, Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

“I don’t have a home” is what Jesus said. We also know from the Gospel of Luke that during the days of His earthly ministry, Jesus was supported by the generosity of a group of women who followed Him around and provided for His needs. Maybe provision came from other places as well. But we know that there was a group of generous patrons of Jesus who supported His ministry.

Jesus lived as a simple man without a lot of possessions. When He died, the only thing He had was His clothing, and the soldiers gambled for it. So, Jesus was not a rich man. I would describe Him as a relatively poor man. But I do think it’s possible for people to exaggerate the poverty of Jesus.

Jesus was not a beggar. Jesus did not go without. Jesus was not hungry because He didn’t have food provided for Him. His God and Father provided for all His needs, but very simply so. I would say that Jesus was relatively poor, but He was not extremely poor.

Now, we don’t want to exaggerate the wealth of Jesus. The Scriptures clearly say that, in some measure, He lived as a simple man regarding material things. But we don’t want to exaggerate His poverty either. He wasn’t a destitute beggar who didn’t have money for the food. His needs were provided for Him.

As a prophet, Ezekiel suffered for Jerusalem. Is this an example showing that every prophet must go through struggles?

Often, though not always, God puts His prophets through an experience similar to the current situation of the people to whom he is prophesying. Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, was undergoing a lot of judgment in the days of Ezekiel and Jeremiah. It was a difficult time for those people and for those prophets. We wouldn’t regard that as an absolute law, but as a general principle.

How is the baptism of the Spirit?

The baptism of the Spirit is when Jesus Christ bestows His Spirit upon a person in abundant, beautiful measure. Now, there is significant debate within the Christian world whether this is something that happens to every believer when they’re born again, or if it can be and sometimes is a subsequent experience. I lean towards the idea of a subsequent experience, but I certainly believe that it can happen for a person when they are born again.

The important thing to realize is that when a person is born again, they do receive the Holy Spirit. There are not some Christians who have the Spirit and some Christians who don’t. However, not every believer has the same experience with the Holy Spirit. Visit endurinword.com to find some more in-depth answers about that important question.

Would Sodom and Gomorrah be a picture of what ancient Canaanite culture was like?

Yes, in some respect, although we must recognize that that was 400 years before the time of the Canaanites. Notably, God said in the days of Abraham that the Canaanite culture was due for judgment, but that He was going to hold off on His judgment, because the iniquity of the Canaanites was not yet ripe. So yes, you could say that Sodom and Gomorrah were a picture of the sinful Canaanites, but that things got even worse over a period of 400 years.

Do you believe King Saul was saved? If he was not, is it possible to prophecy without being saved?

We can’t with confidence say whether another person is saved, or at least we can’t do that all the time. Accepting that limitation, I would say that I do not think King Saul was saved, especially seeing how he ended his life rejecting God’s warning given to him through the Witch of Endor and the appearance of Samuel. To me, the ending of Saul’s life is very dark. Though I can’t say with certainty, I would suppose that he was not saved.

Now, it is possible for God to use someone who is not saved to prophesy. We find this in John 11:47-52, where Caiaphas the High Priest, as an unwitting prophecy, said that it was good for one man – Jesus – to die for the sake of the whole nation. John specifically tells us that he didn’t know what he was saying but he was speaking forth prophecy about the greatness and the importance of the work of Jesus Christ. So yes, I would say it is possible for a person to not be saved and still for God to use that person as His mouthpiece. There are probably a few occasions in the Scriptures where we could point that out.

Can you speak about the fine line between repentance and works?

I don’t know if I would draw a line between repentance and works. To truly repent is to do a work of some kind. And that’s fine, that’s good. But I would say that the fine distinction is not between repentance and works. The fine distinction must be made between repentance and faith.

Repentance and faith are not the same thing, but they are vitally related. If you truly repent, you will believe; if you truly believe, you will repent. In this sense they are two sides of the same coin. They are very much directly related to each other.

Now, if someone truly believes, they will repent. They’ll carry out the effect of that belief. I describe it like this sometimes. Repentance is turning away from sin, and faith is turning toward God. If I’m going to put my trust in God, I have to take trust away from myself. I must no longer trust sin and self and the ungodly world around me, but rather turn my trust towards God Himself. You could say that the turning away from sin itself is repentance, and the focus upon God Himself is my faith.

So, repentance is a form of work, but it is most pointedly that turning away from sin. It’s the partner of faith.

Is it a sin for persecuted believers to defend themselves against extremists?

At the moment, Nigeria is under great persecution. For example, 50 Christians were just murdered on Pentecost Sunday. Is it a sin for them to defend themselves against extremists?

This is a good question and a worthy question. We see two principles at work.

First, the Scriptures do give the right of self-defense to humanity. This is a basic right that the Scriptures grant to people. And I would say that Jesus and His disciples were careful for their own self-defense. There are at least two references to the fact that the disciples carried weapons with themselves. On one occasion, in Luke 22:38, the disciples said to Jesus, “Hey, we’ve got a couple of swords,” and He said, “Well, we won’t need those right now.” Matthew 26:51 tells us that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter took out a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. It was a foolish, futile act, but the point is that Peter still had a sword with him. The disciples of Jesus carried weapons, and Jesus did not tell them not to do that. So, on the one hand, we have a biblical right to self-defense.

On the other hand, especially in our role as believers, we have the responsibility to meekly submit unto God, and to not always resist violence. I would put this up to individual conscience. You can find a verse on either side, and if you make that verse an absolute, then you erase the other.

So, I would never say that a Christian should always practice self-defense. Neither would I say that a Christian should never practice self-defense. I do think that it’s wrong for a society to take away the ability of people to defend themselves. If certain people choose to deny themselves the access or ability to defend themselves, that’s fine. That’s their choice. But for a society to take away the ability or the means for people to defend themselves, that’s a whole other thing.

In persecuted places like Nigeria right now, I would say that there would be nothing wrong with believers forming security groups to guard and ensure the safety of people who are worshipping God. I wouldn’t say that it would be necessarily a command, but it would certainly be permitted for them to have armed guards, capable of defending and keeping the peace.

These are complicated questions. Again, I could show you scriptural lines that you could follow on either side which could erase either position. But our job in coming to the Bible isn’t to erase positions. It’s to understand what God says in His whole counsel.

I would recommend to our viewers and listeners that you pray for these people. There have been thousands of believers martyred for their faith in certain African countries just in the last few years. The world pays very little attention to it. Any decent person should decry this massacre of innocent people, simply for worshiping God in Spirit and in truth.

Thanks for this question. I certainly think that it’s permitted by the Scriptures to provide that kind of defense, and I would say that most of Christian history has understood it that way.

What language did people speak before they were dispersed at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11?

The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us. I’ll tell you what the Jewish Rabbis say. They would say, of course, it was Hebrew. The Scriptures are given to us in Hebrew. Whatever human dialogue we have before Genesis chapter 11 is all given to us in Hebrew. So that’s one answer. I don’t know if it’s the answer, but why not say it was Hebrew? Again, we can’t answer this definitively. But we can say that it’s certainly a possibility.

Why is it important to fast? Why does fasting make a difference?

I have two questions about fasting. Number one, why is it important to fast? Number two, why does it make a difference? For example, in Acts 14:23, Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church, and with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord. And then Matthew 17, it says, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Why is it important to fast? Well, I think there are a couple of reasons why it’s important to fast. First of all, fasting demonstrates a scriptural principle: that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We want to say that there are things more important than the food we eat. Now, for some of us, that’s not true, is it? For some of us, the most important thing in life to us is the food that we eat. But it’s important for the people of God to find ways to demonstrate that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. So that’s number one. It’s a demonstration of the truth of a scriptural principle.

Number two, it’s a valuable form of self-denial. There is value in learning how to say no to the desires of the flesh. We know that every believer must do this. I can’t eat everything I would like to eat. I can’t drink everything I might want to drink. I can’t ingest everything I might want to ingest. I can’t do everything with my body sexually, that I might desire to do with my body sexually. No, there is a time and a place for us to say no to the desires of our flesh. And fasting isn’t the only way. But it’s one wonderful, God-given way to keep the flesh under discipline and to learn how to say no to our flesh.

So, number one, it demonstrates that man does not live by bread alone. Number two, it demonstrates a discipline or a dying to the flesh.

Number three, it is a way to demonstrate focus unto God. Most of us are familiar with situations in our own lives or in other people’s lives where we were so worried or fascinated or consumed with something that we forgot to eat. Our child was in the hospital, and we were so focused on that situation that we didn’t even think of eating or working on a project or whatever it would be. Well, fasting is a way to demonstrate that principle to God. It’s saying, “God, I am so focused on You and Your will, and the extension of Your kingdom on this earth, that I’m going to set aside eating for the present moment.”

For these and other reasons, fasting is important. It’s a demonstration of the truth that man does not live by bread alone. It’s an expression of self-discipline and dying to the flesh. And it is a way that we show priority and passion unto God.

And for those reasons, fasting makes a difference. It honors God when we put Him first, even before the food that we eat. It honors God when we die to the flesh and learn how to, in certain ways, deny the flesh. It honors God when we put a focus upon Him and His kingdom. Since God honors those things, God honors the practice of fasting.

Now, friends, there are very few Christians who fast regularly. This is a neglected discipline in the Christian life. And I’ll just be very straightforward with you. My wife and I don’t have a scheduled time of fasting in the week or in the month, but normally, just in the course of our lives, we will fast a day or two a month, and sometimes more. We’ve learned a lot of this from the wonderful example of my father-in-law, Nils Bergstrom. He may be watching right now; I know he and my mother-in-law, Gunnel, often watch from their home in Sweden.

Nils is a man who has learned and experienced so much in the practice of fasting. He’s even written a book called Dedication through Fasting and Prayer, which gives more information about fasting. You can order his book on Amazon: Dedication Through Fasting and Prayer by Nils Bergström.

The Bible teaches us to obey our spiritual leaders. Who is my spiritual leader exactly?

The Bible teaches us to obey our spiritual leaders. Who is my spiritual leader exactly? Is it the lead pastor of the denomination, or the pastors of all the churches I ever attended, and in what way?

The spiritual leaders that God has put you under I would consider first and foremost to be the pastors and elders of the congregation that you’re committed to right now. I wouldn’t look especially to denominational leaders above them, or to past pastors of congregations that you maybe attended before. I would regard the pastor and elders of the church fellowship which you attend right now as being the first line of spiritual leaders to whom God would call you to submit. They’re the ones who have the care for your soul. They’re the ones who are with you in daily life.

Your previous pastors or denominational leaders may deserve respect, and God may call you to submit to them in some respect, but most pointedly, I would say that your spiritual leaders are the pastor and elders of the particular congregation that you attend.

But I do want to say something. I think it’s important to recognize that God never calls us to an absolute submission to any human authority. Whether it’s in the church, at our workplace, in connection to the civil government, or in the home between a husband and wife or between a parent and child, all of these are spheres of submission which God has commanded, yet God has never commanded absolute submission in a human relationship. Why do I say this? Because if any human being asks you to sin, tells you to sin, or commands you to sin, you’re not obligated to do it. We should obey God rather than man. God calls us to many valid arenas of submission, but He never calls us to absolute submission to another person.

What’s the difference between “age of accountability” and people getting saved on their deathbed?

What’s the difference between age of consent, and some adults later in life getting saved on their deathbed?

I don’t know if I would say that there’s a difference between the two. You’re talking about different concepts. When you mention the “age of consent,” I think that perhaps you’re speaking of maybe an age of accountability. Your question isn’t entirely clear. An age of accountability would be a certain age – and we don’t know the exact number – at which God holds people to greater accountability, based on the awareness and understanding they have. Presumably, there’s a time when God holds an individual responsible for their own spiritual life. They’re no longer under the governance or guidance or authority of parents or guardians. So, there’s that age of accountability.

Concerning people getting saved on their deathbed? Yes, it is possible for people to come to faith in Jesus Christ in their very last moments. I’ve seen it happen; maybe you have too. It’s wonderful. It’s powerful. It’s a great expression of the goodness and the grace of God. But we need to be very careful that we do not presume upon this.

God forbid that anybody would say, “I’m not going to get my life right with Jesus Christ now, because I can always do it on my deathbed.” Dear friend, you don’t know if you’ll have a deathbed. Maybe your life will be taken from you in a moment, in an unexpected moment, and you’ll have no opportunity or chance to repent. No, your day to repent and believe is now. You are presuming a lot if you say you’ll leave it for your deathbed.

I like this saying. It’s speaking of the thief on the cross, which somebody might say is the only deathbed conversion contained in the Scriptures. The thief on the cross, who was crucified right alongside Jesus on the cross, was saved in the last few moments of his life. And this isn’t original to me, but I like what one preacher said about this. He said, “There is one deathbed conversion in the Bible, so that no one would despair. The door is open right up until the time it is closed. But there is only one deathbed conversion in the Bible, so that no one would presume.” Friends, it’s a presumptuous thing to delay your repentance and faith because you believe you can do it at a later time.

Regarding Daniel’s 70-week vision, is the end of the 69th week at Christ’s death on cross? Does the 70th week begin just prior to Christ’s return to earth?

You’re asking a question about biblical prophecy. We call this eschatology, that area of biblical understanding and theology that refers to the end times and the last things. Whenever I talk about this topic, I always want to say that Christians from different backgrounds have different opinions. This can become an area of contention. The Scriptures don’t necessarily provide us with the same clarity about this topic as we have on other issues. I always want to be respectful to people who disagree with me, but I don’t mind saying what I believe. Since you’re asking me the question, I’m going to give my opinion.

I believe that the 69th week of Daniel culminated at the Triumphal Entry when Jesus presented Himself to Israel as Messiah the King. He was not received as Messiah the King, especially not by the leadership of the Jewish people at that time. I believe that that was the end of the 69th week, and I rely on the chronology of a great scholar of several generations ago, named Sir Robert Anderson. He detailed all of this in his book titled, The Coming Prince. Now, I acknowledge that Sir Robert Anderson’s chronology and scholarship is doubted by many people today, but I agree with John Walvoord, who in his commentary on the book of Daniel says that nobody has been able to conclusively refute it. In other words, it’s one thing to say whether or not it’s true; it’s another thing to say that it’s been conclusively disproven. But there are things about Sir Robert Anderson’s chronology that I favor.

His concept was that Jesus fulfilled the first 69 weeks at the Triumphal Entry. That would be 483 years after Daniel’s prophecy. Israel and the leaders of the Jewish people at that time did not receive Jesus as Messiah the King. Then God reserved the final (70th) week to be fulfilled at a later time. And I believe that we’re still waiting for that 70th week of Daniel, and the fulfillment of the prophecy recorded in Daniel 9.

What is your stance on keeping the Sabbath?

What is your stance on keeping the Sabbath? From what I understand, faith and resting in Jesus is enough. However, I do see many Christians challenge this view.
I do not believe that Sabbath observance is compulsory for Christians. I believe it’s part of the Old Testament law that was fulfilled in the perfect work of Jesus Christ. And that’s why it says in Colossians that we should let no man judge us regarding a new moon or Sabbath. That’s why it says in Hebrews that we have a Sabbath rest that’s fulfilled in Jesus Christ. For the Christian, every day is a day to cease from work and to find our rest in Jesus Christ.

Now I’m putting aside the issue of whether or not the Sabbath is helpful or good, or God-given as an institution. I’m simply dealing with the issue. Is it a matter of religious observance for a person to not work one day out of seven? And I would say no; that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

I know some people would object, arguing that it’s in the Ten Commandments. I know it’s in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were given primarily to Israel, and it’s part of the Mosaic law. We freely understand that there are parts of the Mosaic law that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and because they are fulfilled, we don’t have to do them anymore, such as animal sacrifice. Friends, don’t neglect this. Animal sacrifice was just as much a part of the Mosaic law as the command to keep the Sabbath. We see animal sacrifice rightly fulfilled by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And we see the Sabbath as perfectly fulfilled in the Sabbath rest that God gives His people in Jesus Christ.

Now, that does not mean that it’s wrong for a Christian to observe the Sabbath. We have freedom in Jesus Christ. And if you want to observe the Sabbath, you have perfect freedom in Jesus Christ to do so. God bless you and do it. Just don’t think that it makes you any more right with God than someone who does not observe the Sabbath.

That’s the only thing we’re talking about, whether it’s a ground of righteousness before God, whether it’s a command that we must obey before God. If you want to keep the Sabbath, God bless you in keeping it. You have perfect freedom in Jesus. I don’t think you should violate my freedom to not observe the Sabbath as it’s commanded under the Old Covenant. I think that you should observe my freedom to not keep the Sabbath, and I will certainly observe your freedom to keep the Sabbath. That’s how it works with these matters of Christian liberty. I think the Scriptures make it very plain in the New Testament that the Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Though Christians are free to observe it, if they would like to, they no longer have the same obligation to observe it, as was commanded to Israel under the Law of Moses.

Your commentary on Ecclesiastes seems to suggest the writing is not inspired and that Solomon gets things wrong. Could you clarify your views on the book of Ecclesiastes?

Let me just go on record here: I absolutely, positively, 100% believe that the book of Ecclesiastes is inspired by God. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. And if I wrote anything in my commentary on Ecclesiastes that would lead somebody to believe that it’s not inspired, then either I was confused or not expressing myself well, which is certainly possible. Sometimes we just don’t communicate well. But I definitely believe that every word of the book of Ecclesiastes is inspired Scripture.

Being inspired by the Holy Spirit, Solomon is writing from the perspective of a fool throughout much of the book of Ecclesiastes. And therefore, some of the things he says are not true in the way that he presents them. I’ll give you an example.

You may be familiar with the passages in Ecclesiastes that say that the point of life is to eat, drink, and enjoy yourself, for tomorrow we perish. That’s kind of the idea in the book of Ecclesiastes, that’s how life should be lived. Well, that isn’t a godly way to live. Solomon truly spoke, but according to the perspective of a fool, not according to the perspective of a righteous and wise man.

We have examples of this in other places, too. We have instances in the Bible where Satan speaks, and what he says is a lie, it’s wrong, but he truly said it. So, in the book of Ecclesiastes, we see Solomon speaking sometimes from the perspective of a fool. It’s true that he said it, and it’s true that fools think this way, but it’s not true that we should do it. But I certainly do believe that every word of the book of Ecclesiastes is inspired by God, as with the rest of the Scriptures. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

When does a fetus becomes a living soul? Adam became a living soul when God breathed in his nostrils.

When does a fetus become a living soul? Adam became a living soul when God breathed in his nostrils. A fetus does not start to use God’s air/breath until 10 to 12 weeks. Is this when it becomes a live soul?

Well, Donald, this is a complicated question. In some regards it needs to be informed by biology. In another regard it needs to be informed by what the Bible says. I don’t know that we have a firm marking point for when a person becomes a living soul. And because we don’t have a firm marking point, I would say that we should err on the side of safety and regard it as happening at the moment of conception.

At the moment of conception, you have life that will develop into human life. It won’t develop into bird life. I’m looking at it my chickens right here. It’s not going to develop into a chicken; it’s not going to develop into dog life; it’s not going to develop into elephant life. It’s going to develop into a human life.

If the normal healthy progress continues, what exists at the moment of conception will develop into human life and should be treated with respect because of that. We don’t have a firm marking point for when that person is regarded as a living soul. We just know that that entity exists as an individual from the moment of conception. And if we’re going to play it safe, I think that’s when we regard life worth protecting.

I think this has relevance to what methods of birth control that people use. It certainly has relevance to our understanding of abortion, and what kind of abortion laws should be in place. But I haven’t found any conclusive argument from the Bible or from science to regard life happening at any other point than conception. At that moment, that entity within the mother’s womb, under normal and healthy progression, will be a human being. It will be nothing else other than a human being, and a human being is made in the image of God. It’s almost as if we’re asking this: When does a person become made in the image of God? Again, I can’t give you any marking point for that, except at the moment of conception. That’s my understanding of it.

Is “Babylon the Great” of Revelation more likely to be Mecca, Rome, or New York?

Based on what you’ve studied or heard, is Babylon the Great, the harlot of Revelation, more likely to be Mecca, Rome, or New York?

This question refers to a passage in the book of Revelation that speaks of the great city of Babylon as a representation of the world system. The question is asked, Is this Mecca, is it Rome, or is it New York? And my answer to that question is simply this: Yes. Why not include all of them? Why couldn’t they all be within that purview? I would simply say, yes.

Babylon is a representation of the world system in its entirety. It’s not something that comes and goes. I would not confine it to one particular city, but to the world system in general. Today more than ever, we really have a global culture in many ways. So, I would not restrict it to any one particular city. Is it Mecca? Is it Rome? Is it New York? I would just say yes.