In 4 min. or less, Greg answers questions about God’s healing, OT law similarities to secular sources, and the rapture.
- How do you reconcile praying and believing that God will heal and yet still be at peace if God does not?
- The strange law found in Deut. 25:11 is also found in the Code of Assura, which pre-dates the Torah. What are the implications?
- What are your thoughts on the rapture? There seems to be so much good evidence for it.
Melinda: Hi there! This is Melinda, the Enforcer, and I’m here with Greg Koukl, and this is the #STRask podcast, our short podcast for people who just don’t care about listening to a full hour of Greg rambling on and talking to callers.
Greg Koukl: How could that possibly be? I can’t imagine.
Melinda: I don’t understand either, but the fun thing with this podcast is because we let people send us questions on Twitter, using #STRask. People come up with questions that we’ve never had people call in. A lot of things you can see people are sort of curious about, but we still do have the long podcast Tuesdays. Call in between 4 and 6 p.m. Pacific time.
Greg Koukl: I think one of the fun things about this is you’re on the air. A lot of people say that to me.
Melinda: We’re good. Thank you. I think a lot of people like hearing me needle you, which is our normal way.
Greg Koukl: And also how successfully I fight back.
Melinda: Okay, let’s get going.
Greg Koukl: Like that one.
Melinda: If something’s fruitless and pointless, there’s no reason me responding.
Greg Koukl: Oh, see! Now that’s a response, see! That’s a response, see! Here we go! That’s it. That’s what they like.
Melinda: Enabled by Him asks the first question.
Greg Koukl: I’ll let you have the last barb.
Melinda: Enabled by Him asks the first question.
Greg Koukl: This person was on last time, too.
Melinda: Right. Have you reconciled the Nabeel Qureshi’s belief that God will heal him and yet still be at peace if God does not? He’s asking about Nabeel Qureshi who has...
Greg Koukl: Oh, Nabeel’s...I thought you said the Beatles, and I thought, “I never heard that.” Nabeel’s belief that...Nabeel Qureshi.
Melinda: Nabeel Qureshi has stomach cancer. He’s a young man, in his early 30s.
Greg Koukl: And a friend of ours.
Melinda: And a public person because he’s an apologetic speaker for Ravi Zacharias Ministries.
Greg Koukl: Has been.
Melinda: It appears that, while many, many people have been praying for his healing, at least so far, it seems like medicine is not going to heal him. This is a question, not just about Nabeel, but anybody that we pray for for healing, so how do we reconcile believing and praying that God will heal someone who’s sick and yet be at peace when He doesn’t answer that?
Greg Koukl: I actually had a long conversation with Nabeel in November about this, and I think his attitude is, he is trusting and praying for God to move, but if God decides sovereignly not to do this and decides to allow the disease to take it’s course, and this is the way that God will take Nabeel home, then Nabeel’s attitude - and I think I’ve heard him say this and I think this is entirely genuine from him - “Not my will, but Thine be done.” I don’t think that there’s a conflict there, not at that particular point, how one can pray for the best from one’s own perspective. In other words, ask specifically of God for something that one thinks is going to be good yet, at the same time, be willing to surrender if God wills, sovereignly here, differently.
Like James says, “Don’t say, I’ll go to this city or that city or do this or that.” You don’t even know if you’re going to be around tomorrow. “Say rather, if God wills,” so there’s a sense in which we are planning and even praying regarding particular ends yet, at the same time, we are acknowledging that our ends may not be God’s ends in the mind of God, which we don’t usually know in any give circumstance, certainly not this one, and having a willingness in the midst of that uncertainty to ask boldly, but a willingness to accept whatever God decides to do. This is Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.
His prayer was a little different, or at least the circumstances were different because I think he clearly understood what was going to happen and what needed to happen, but here he was pouring out his anguish about what he had to face before the Father, knowing what the outcome was going to be. In Nabeel’s case and in our case when we pray like that, we don’t know what that outcome is, but our attitude, I think, should be the same as Jesus’ was, and that is, not my will, but yours, whatever it is be done. I do think that that is genuinely Nabeel’s attitude.
Melinda: The next question comes from Adversity Gift. A strange law...Sorry, I didn’t warn you. Open up to Deuteronomy 25:11. This is...
Greg Koukl: There’s a lot of strange laws, not just a...Deuteronomy 25:11.
Melinda: The strange law found in...
Greg Koukl: Strange to us, at least.
Melinda: Deuteronomy 25:11 is also found in the Code of Assura, which predates the Torah. What are the implications that the Torah actually includes something from a non-Jewish, non-true-God source?
Greg Koukl: I guess the question is, and I know we just read it, but the details are not critical to the question. The fact is that it’s reflected also as a moral obligation of other ancient codes, like the Code of Hammurabi would be an example. The question sounds like, ’What are the implications for the divine source of this, given the fact that it’s in other sources that are not divinely inspired?’ My response is, there’s no implications for it whatsoever. We shouldn’t be the least bit surprised by this. Think about this. A part of what our divine source tells us about human beings is that morality, in a certain fashion, is built into us.
That is, we have the machinery to, if you will, the categories of understanding right and wrong and morality, and Francis Schaeffer called that ’moral motions.’ It’s kind of a formal category, but we also have the substance of it. We have the material stuff built in. We know particulars about morality, and this is one of the reasons we can argue from the Old Testament and say, “Just because the Old Testament law does not apply to us,” it was a law given to Jews under a theocracy and it never applied to Gentiles, and it doesn’t apply to us now or it’s used now.
Even so, that doesn’t mean that nothing from that contract has application because, sometimes, universal obligations - that is, obligations that are universal to all mankind and, consequently, human beings have this faculty to understand it - they would apply it to the Jews under the theocracy and also to Christians who are not under the theocracy. “Thou shalt not murder” was obligatory to Jews, but it’s also obligatory to us now because murder is wrong for anyone under any circumstances, under any set of laws, even if it’s not a divinely driven one. Human beings understand the propriety of that kind of rule, only to say we shouldn’t be surprised when any number of things would show up in other laws that are not divinely inspired.
Now it turns out this particular one is a little unusual because it talks about two men fighting, and the wife of one of the men grabbing the genitals of another man to enter into the fray and to help her husband win, which would be an effective way of doing it. This is prohibited there. I don’t know all the backgrounds to this, but, if this shows up in another law, this sounds a little bit different than just, “Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal,” whatever.
Melinda: Pretty specific.
Greg Koukl: Yeah, it is pretty specific, but it doesn’t seem...Those others are specific, too, but certainly this is very...
Greg Koukl: In a different fashion, I agree. My only answer to that is that whatever is in view here is the impropriety of this in God’s revelation was understood by other members of those ancient Near Eastern cultures. There’s something else that’s going on here, and then there was a certain impropriety of that, or people in those cultures saw it, and then God, in a sense, redeemed that for His own purposes. Circumcision was practiced by Egyptians, I think, before the Jews, but God gave that action a new significance. Significant portions of the Book of Proverbs are taken from the wisdom, literature...
Melinda: Are also found.
Greg Koukl: ...Of the Amenemope. Yeah, also...
Melinda: We don’t know that they’re taken from, but they’re also found.
Greg Koukl: They’re actually, it looks like...
Melinda: They were actually taken from...
Greg Koukl: Since many cases, it’s almost word for word, it looks like it’s taken from there, but that doesn’t mean that what we find in the scripture is not what God intended to write down. Look, if I found ’a stitch in time saves nine’ in the Old Testament, and that’s Benjamin Franklin, I think, or at least that’s his summary of it...He took a lot of old proverbs that were just hanging around, and he gave them a little twist and put them in his Poor Richard’s Almanack, and they became famous, but this is the wisdom of the ages that human beings can gather and develop on their own.
This is one of the statements in the Book of Proverbs themselves. “I looked at, I observed, and I concluded, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hand to rest, and poverty comes upon you like a robber, like an unarmed man.” These are things that people can think up on their own, and they find their way into the inspired scripture because they are examples of wisdom that God is ultimately the source of.
Melinda: So, ’Women don’t fight dirty’ is sort of a general practical rule, and God included it there.
Greg Koukl: You could say that. I’m not sure that’s exactly the point, but that’s one way of putting it.
Melinda: Next question comes from TigerDaddy48. What are your thoughts on the rapture? There seems to be so much good evidence for it.
Greg Koukl: You know, you’re chuckling.
Melinda: Because I know what you’re going to say.
Greg Koukl: Well, yeah. What I would ask in classical Columbo style is, “What exactly is the rapture you have in mind, and what exactly is the good evidence for it?” The rapture is language that is tied to a particular theology about the resurrection in the end times. The rapture is the idea that the church is taken out of, lifted up, and disappears from the earth some time before the Great Tribulation, whether it’s the seven years before the final visible return of Christ or three and a half years. There are differences of opinion there, but it’s this disappearance of the church, and the evidence...Trust me. I’ve seen all the arguments for this.
I was raised as a new Christian under Hal Lindsey. When I say under Hal Lindsey, I mean personally taught by him because I was part of his school. I think he had a lot of good things to teach, but this was part what he became famous for, The Late Great Planet Earth, etc. I don’t hold to that theology any more, not the rapture stuff, because when I looked at the scripture, there are only two places that explicitly speak about this event that is called the rapture, and that’s I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15. Those are passages that are quoted, of course, and both passages, they call it the Resurrection, and they tell exactly when it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen when Jesus returns.
There was one coming of Christ. There’s going to be a second coming of Christ. That second coming, as I understand it from Matthew 24, the Olivet Discourse, is that it would be visible, powerful, and conclusive, so I take that event described in I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15 to happen when Jesus returns in power and great glory, and you could see them in the sky, etc. I don’t have any reason to believe in this kind of secret rapture of the church. I don’t think there’s anything in scripture that demands it, and I don’t think it’s the most common way of taking the text.
One other thing that alerted me to the possibility, I might be mistaken about this, is that no one really saw this as a doctrine until the mid 19th century. Then it came by way of a private prophecy, and I think it’s a point of view that is read back into the text. It’s not one that people get from the text. There will be a resurrection. That resurrection will happen at the end of the age when Jesus returns. There will not be an escaping of Christians from this Great Tribulation that God will pour on the earth.
Melinda: Yeah, I was going to say there’s actually a negative consequence of Christians who hold to this view of the rapture. What is that?
Greg Koukl: I haven’t talked about this a lot recently but when I, in the past, would speak on this, then I could see the look on people’s faces, people who had a basic tendency to trust what I had to say, they would get really frightened. They would look, “Oh, my gosh! Could this be true? I’m not ready for this” is kind of what I saw on their faces.
Melinda: Going through difficult times of persecution.
Greg Koukl: They think, man, I’m not going to be around. I’m going to be rescued from that, so it’s almost, instead of girding their loins for action, they are thinking they’re going to get...
Melinda: Swept away.
Greg Koukl: ...Swept away and then taken away and rescued from this. Now they will not experience the wrath of God because God has not destined us for wrath, but they are going to get the wrath of world. The Book of Revelation is absolutely clear about this, and some people have said, “Well, that’s because those people didn’t believe in Jesus before the rapture, so now they have to go through the...There are Christians in the Tribulation, by everybody’s assessment. Are we going to say they’re not part of the church? Then what are they part of? Of course, they’re part of the church, and there’s blood being shed everywhere by Christians, and their lament is going up to the throne of God. “When are you going to avenge your blood,” basically, you see in the Book of Revelations.
There’s a host of other things going on there, but to put it most simply, I see those Biblical verses that speak very directly to when this is going to happen, I Thessalonians 4, I Corinthians 15, and I see no other compelling reason, of all the reasons people have given me, and I’ve seen every single one of them, to think otherwise that what the church as believed for 1800 years, that Christians are going to experience the Great Tribulation and be rescued by persevering through it.
Melinda: Thanks. You answered those very well in short time periods. Thanks. That’s it for this episode. Send us questions on Twitter using #STRask. We’ll answer them, almost all of them, eventually. New episodes on Mondays and Thursdays. I’m Melinda the Enforcer with Greg Koukl for Stand to Reason.