Harold S. Paisley
Question: Samuel said to Godís people "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you" (1 Sam. 12:23). Would this have any present day application?
Answer: These words of Samuel were spoken when Israel had rejected Godís rule over them by demanding a king. It sheds light upon a certain form of sin. Samuel was a priest. He knew, as an intercessor, it was his responsibility to pray for the people. Neglect of that duty was sin against the Lord. The application to us is evident. Believers are priests and therefore intercessors. It follows that what constituted sin for Samuel is sin for believers today also. It is often the case that we feel intercession before the Lord for others is entirely optional, and are under no obligation to exercise priestly exercise for our brethren and sisters as we see their need of spiritual help in times of departure from the owning of the lordship of Christ. But such is not the case. God requires and expects us to pray one for another. Faithfulness in prayer life is important for prayerlessness produces carelessness in the needs of others. Prayerlessness is sin. This is as true today as it was in Samuelís time.
Question: Did God have anything to do with the manifestation that was made to Saul when with the witch of Endor? Did Samuel appear?
Answer: The record of this sad happening is fully recorded in 1 Samuel 28 and should be read carefully to obtain the facts of the case. We believe that necromancy and spiritism are satanic in origin. Satan is the power over a hidden realm of demons. Through deluded mediums, demons work, imitate and falsely represent those who have gone to eternity themselves and their bodies to the grave. This dreadful power is increasing today and will be seen fully when Satanís final masterpiece will be seen in the man of sin being raised after receiving the deadly wound. Every evidence of this evil power should be shunned as a leprous plague.
Here, however, it is evident that the Lord himself empowered the prophet Samuel to appear to pronounce the final doom against king Saul who had so deliberately disobeyed Him. We cannot understand this passage to indicate anything otherwise. We believe God has all power and that He employs powers that are not understood, but according to His own wisdom.
Question: Could the two descriptions of the Lord God, as a Sun and Shield be explained?
Answer: The two expressions "For the Lord God is a sun and shield" are quoted in Psalm 84:11. Here is food for meditation! We may call to mind the immensity of the sun, its life giving heat and light and power to attract and hold all planets in its sway. Yet the same sun which under right conditions brings the flower to bloom will scorch and blast. The Lord God is the source of all life and He, unchanged and unchangeable, is a consuming fire.
The Lord is also a shield. He is a shield against the fire of His own holiness. He can never be less than a sun. He must wither and blast every unholy thing. How could any be saved? Only as God became a shield. The Lord Jesus, His Son, received the judgment due to sinful men. There is thus a shelter, a shield from the burning rays of the Lord as the Sun of righteousness. John Bunyan described this as grace abounding to the chief of sinners.
Question: Please state the meaning of James 5:12 "Swear not" in connection with legal matters when we are asked to swear by an oath. What shall we do?
Answer: The verse quoted in the question reads "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." This is the same instruction as given the Lord Himself (Matt. 5:33). In legal matters, in courts of the land, etc. one can claim that such swearing is contrary to his conscience and that to "affirm" without swearing is preferred. The laws of most countries will respect such conscience and the Christian is thus freed from the danger of taking the Lordís Name in vain, and disobeying His command.
Question: Please explain in what sense could a believer eat and drink damnation to himself as written in 1 Corinthians 11:29?
Answer: The word for damnation is "Krima" which is translated "judgment" in the Revised Version. This explains that the person is not going to suffer damnation in the judgment. We believe the context is solemnly teaching the present dealings of the Lord towards His own people as to their continuance in known sin and irreverent behavior in being at the Lordís supper without judging themselves before partaking of the bread and cup. The judgment took the form of sickness, weakness and even death, but it did not go beyond that point. It is judgment in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17), but not condemnation as the world. The whole concept may produce in all believers the sense of godly fear becoming to our gatherings unto Him. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints and to be had in reverence of all them that are around (R.V.) Him" (Psa. 89:7).