Symbolic Acts

Scripture: Romans 9:21, Genesis 4:3-7, Numbers 21:1-9
Date: 11/07/2015 
Lesson: 6
"We can rest assured that, despite the reality of human free will and free choices, and the often calamitous results of abusing that free will, in the end, we can hope in the absolute sovereignty of our loving and self-sacrificing God, whose love is revealed on the cross."
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Good morning, friends and welcome again to "Sabbath School Study Hour." A very warm welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world, also to our online members who faithfully tune in every Sabbath to join us as we study together, also to our church members here in Sacramento area. A very warm welcome to you. We know we have some visitors that have come from oh, quite a distance to be with us this morning and a very special and warm welcome to all of you. Our study today is lesson number six entitled symbols or "symbolic acts" is what it's called and we're studying through our lesson currently* dealing with the book of Jeremiah, the prophet. Just a great study that we've been going through.

We do have a free offer we would like to let you know about. It is a, something a little different about this offer. This is "prophecy foundations" dvd. For our friends watching across North America if you'd like to receive our free offer the number to call is 866-788-3966. That number again is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer 814.

We'll be happy to send that to you called "prophecies foundation" dvd set. Well at this time I'd like to invite our song leaders to come and join me here on stage. And we're going to begin our study time together by lifting our voices in praise to God. Thank you. Jolyne simler: thank you, Pastor Ross.

We know that you love to sing with us as much as we love to sing with you by the emails that we receive. So let's sing together "anywhere with Jesus" hymn number 508 and we'll sing all three verses. [Music] anywhere with Jesus I can safely go, anywhere he leads me in this world below. Anywhere without him, dearest joys would fade. Anywhere with Jesus I am not afraid.

Anywhere, anywhere, fear I cannot know. Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go. Anywhere with Jesus I am not alone. Other friends may fail me, he is still my own. Though his hand may lead me over dreary ways, anywhere with Jesus is a house of praise.

Anywhere, anywhere, fear I cannot know. Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go. Anywhere with Jesus I can go to sleep, when the gloomy shadows round about me creep. Knowing I shall waken never more to roam, anywhere with Jesus will be home, sweet home. Anywhere, anywhere, fear I cannot know.

Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go. Jolyne: we know that we can go anywhere with Jesus safely don't we? He is with us every step of the way and it is his own way. We are going to sing now 567 "have thine own way Lord." And as you're singing that I pray that you will think of these words that it's Lord not my way, but your way and your will that we can live totally in harmony with him till he comes, 567. [Music] have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way, thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will, while I am waiting yielded and still.

Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way. Search me and try me, master, today. Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, as in thy presence humbly I bow. Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way. Wounded and weary, help me, I pray.

Power, all power, surely is thine. Touch me and heal me, Savior divine. Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way. Hold over my being absolute sway. Fill with thy spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me.

Jolyne: at this time Pastor Ross will give us our opening prayer. Pastor Ross: we invite you to bow your heads for prayer. Dear Father, in heaven, we thank you once again for the opportunity to gather together to study Your Word. Thank you for the special time, the Sabbath, and Lord, as we open up the Scriptures we ask that the Holy Spirit will guide our hearts, our minds, lead us into clearer truth and impress upon us the lessons that you would have us know. For we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen.

Our lesson this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Doug Batchelor: thank you Pastor Ross. Morning, everyone. It's good to be home. Some of you maybe didn't know I was gone.

But for those that didn't know we were in Michigan for the last couple of weeks doing the "heroes of faith" program. Did some of you tune into? Someone, come on. I'm your pastor. Hold your hand up. Just make it look good.

And the Lord blessed. We had some of our team here was there with us and had a great program, heard wonderful reports of people that tuned in from around the world. Heard about one church said they had 21 decisions for baptism from the participating there and so it was exciting and very thankful for the lansing Michigan church. One of dear friends, pastor wes peppers, was there. And just the church opened up to us and had a wonderful program.

Good to be home, and I'm glad to be able to study the lesson with you today in Jeremiah, and a subject of special interest of mine dealing with symbols. There's a lot of symbols in the Bible that the Lord uses, especially if you're an evangelist and you teach Revelation, you need to know there's a lot of symbols and what do these symbols mean? Jeremiah being, a prophet, God often gave him messages in symbols, and so our lesson number six is "symbolic acts." And we have a memory verse and the memory verse is from roman 9:21. I'll be encouraged if you say it with me. Romans 9:21, are you ready? "Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?" Talking about the potter and the clay and that'll be addressed in more detail in some of the sections that we're going through here in just a moment. So there's a number of symbols in the Bible and maybe we should start by just laying down some ground work.

Did Jesus sometimes use visual symbols to teach? He used grain. He used the sheep. He used planting, fishing, all the things that people saw in their daily life. Everything from flowers to mountains, Jesus used a lot of the symbolic imagery in his teaching. There's a quote here in the lesson from "Christ object lessons," page 133.

The significance of the Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended. TRuths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols." And she says they're not even fully understood yet. "The Gospel is the key that unlocks its mysteries. Through a knowledge of the plan of redemption its are truths open to the understanding." And so all through the Bible there are a number of symbols and stories that are used, and God teaches us through these things. And so we're gonna dive right in, and in the first section, "truth in symbols," it talks about just starting there in Genesis with the story of cain and abel.

Two sacrifices that really highlight and illustrate two completely different forms of worship and you can read about this in Genesis chapter 4, verse 3 through 7. "And in the process of time it came to pass that cain brought an offering the fruit of the ground unto the Lord. Abel also brought the firstlings of his flock and their fat. And the Lord respected abel and his offering, but he did not respect cain and his offering. And cain was very angry and his countenance fell.

So the Lord said to cain, 'if you do what is right won't you to be accepted? But if you're doing what's wrong sin lies at the door.'" Anyway we all know the story of cain and abel. At the very foundation of the Bible you've got this picture of two different kinds of worship. How does the Bible end? A battle between a true and a false worship. One group is worshipping the beast and its image. The other is worshipping God biblically.

And the one who is persecuted is the one who is worshipping right by the one who is worshipping wrong. I know that sounds very simplistic, but that's what happened. Cain who had manmade worship, it's really righteousness by works. Cain brought the fruit of his labors rather than a sacrifice, a cost of life. Cain's was not accepted.

How do we know cain's was not accepted? In the early days, like when the temple was built, I can think of three times, four times in the Bible when fire came down from heaven. When God built the earthly sanctuary in the wilderness and it was finished and they activated the first sacrifice, fire came down from God, showed it was accepted. When there was a plague in Jerusalem, and the men were dying, and David offered on the threshing floor of araunah there was an angel with a sword drawn. Fire came down from God to show he had accepted the sacrifice. In the story of Mount Carmel and Elijah who is the true God baal or jehovah? Fire came down from God to show.

And then when Solomon dedicated the temple, says the fire of the Lord came down from heaven and the glory of God so filled the temple they could not even enter and minister. So when it says "cain's offering was not accepted" it meant that the fire came and accepted abel's and nothing but fruit flies, 'cause he offered vegetables and fruit came to cain's. And he was angry and so he persecuted his brother. And so you got these two different forms of worship, true and false. Do you see those two themes running through the Bible? Did Jesus deal with counterfeit worship with the pharisees and the scribes? Do you see the prophets addressing counterfeit worship in their messages to Israel when they begin to compromise with the pagans? And Moses warned about it, and he tried to save the Israelites from adopting the ways of the Egyptians with the golden calf and the Ten Commandments, two opposite forms of worship.

And it's the theme in the last days. True worship and false worship and you'll be called legalistic if you make a big deal about the particulars of worship, but God does. He cares how we worship him, because how you worship him says something about who he is, and that's very important. All right, so that's one symbol. Now then there's another prominent symbol that we find and Jesus refers to this one.

You remember in John chapter 3 and verse 15 he says, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so The Son of man should be lifted up that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." And then we all know John 3:16. As Moses lifted up the serpent, that harkens back to a story you kind in Numbers 21, verse 8, if you've got your Bibles, and there's a symbol here, an important symbol. "Then the Lord said to Moses all the children--let me give you the background story. Most of you know it, but the children of Israel began to complain, manna, manna, manna everyday. Manna for breakfast.

Manna for lunch, manna sandwiches, manna porridge, manna casserole, manna, manna. We wish we were back in Egypt. And they began to complain about the manna that God gave 'em bread from heaven. And so the Lord was displeased. He withdrew his protection and there was a plague of serpents.

Now it is true that in some parts of the country in springtime snakes can begin to breed, and hatch out in just enormous Numbers, and these snakes were not like your garden snakes. They were actually venomous, and so there was a plague of serpents that broke out, and they were finding snakes in their boots, and in their clothes, and in their tents, and they were being bitten. And they were dying from the bites. And so God told Moses, "make a fiery serpent." They called it the fiery serpent. We're not sure.

It could've been because he had a fiery red color or it could've been the fiery burning nature of their sting, but they called them fiery serpents. "Make a fiery serpent and set it on the pole, and it shall be that whoever is bitten when he looks at it shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. Obviously a pole so it could be lifted up and if a serpent had bitten anybody when he looked at bronze serpent he lived. Now God did not want them to worship the bronze serpent, 'cause years later they had actually kept that as a relic, and in the days of hezekiah he saw people were burning incense to this ancient bronze serpent that Moses had made, and hezekiah crushed it. He said, "you're turning to idolatry.

That's not what this is all about." That serpent was supposed to be a symbol of the sacrifice of Christ, but when it happened they did not know. What did a serpent on a stick represent to a nation of shepherds? Did shepherds carry staffs? Are snakes a problem for sheep and goats? Do you know if you have pigs can by--or rather pigs can be bitten by snakes and live. And we had a dog that was bitten by a rattlesnake and his neck swole up, but they live through it. But sheep and goats they're like people. They're a lot more vulnerable.

They will die. They'll seize up and they'll die from a venomous snake bite. So when the shepherd saw a serpent that was anywhere near their sheep they would clobber it and then because they're venomous you don't leave them there on the ground, 'cause if someone steps on it barefoot the skeleton teeth of a dead rattlesnake can actually still cause an infection, and pain, and problems for a person. So you bury it. And so whenever you saw a shepherd carrying a serpent on a stick it meant there is a dead snake going off to a funeral.

And so when they saw this serpent up on a pole that to them, as shepherds, represented a defeated serpent. Now we know what that represents for us. When Jesus died on the cross and we look by faith at the cross we are saved from sin by that. And so this was a symbol of salvation. Looking in faith--matter of fact, you can read in "Patriarchs and Prophets.

" There the author says, "the Israelites saved their lives by looking upon the uplifted serpent. That look implied faith. They lived because they believed the Word of God and trusted the means provided for their recovery." And then as time goes by, because Jesus said, "as Moses lifted up the serpent even so The Son of man should be lifted up," we know there's a bigger meaning in that, that it symbolized Christ being lifted up. Christ said, "if I am lifted up I will draw all men. What does lifted up mean? Crucifixion right? And so no Jesus was not the serpent, but he became sin for us who knew no sin.

All right, somebody look up for me psalm 91. I think we gave that out. Who's got that, alberto? All right you'll be next. Meantime I'm going to read Genesis 3, verse 14-15. Still talking about the serpent.

If you look here it says, "so the Lord said to the serpent, 'because you've done this you are cursed more than all cattle and more than any beast of the field. On your belly you will go and eat dust all the days of your life and I'll put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. It shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.'" Does the serpent have a symbolic meaning in the Bible? You know Jesus said in, and I'm not seeing too many in North America practice this, but Jesus said in Mark chapter 16, "and you will take up serpents and if you drink any deadly thing it will not hurt you." Did Jesus really want us going around on snake safaris? So what does a serpent represent? Go ahead and why don't you read psalm 91:13. Alberto: "you shall tread upon the lion and the cobra. The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

" Pastor Doug: are we supposed to go around stomping on lions and snakes? When God--when the devil spoke through the serpent from then on the serpent became a symbol of what? When you go to Revelation 12 that old dragon, the serpent and the devil. So who is the serpent? It's symbolic for the devil, because it was the devil that had possessed the first serpent and so through his--so when it says, "you will tread upon the serpent," it's talking, yeah. And in the lion. The devil goes around as a roaring lion. All right, so through the Bible you'll see, and when Samson kills a lion, and David kills a lion these are talking about types of Christs taking on the devil so forth.

The lions could not keep Daniel in the den. The devil could not keep Jesus in the tomb. So now I'm getting beyond the lesson a little bit, but you get the point. Okay, now we're going to go to Jeremiah's prophecy. So far that was just talking about some of the symbols.

Go to Jeremiahs prophecy in chapter 18. And we'll be reading verse 1 through 4. This is the prophecy dealing with the potter's clay, Jeremiah 18, 1 to 4. And it says, "the word came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 'arise and go down to the potter's house and there I will cause you to hear my words.'" He said, "I'm not telling you yet. You go and I'll tell you.

" "So I went down to the potter's house and there he was making, he was at the wheel and the vessel that the potter made was marred." Any of you have ever seen a potter working with a potter's wheel? They're all motorized now, but you can still today go to india, and africa, and some parts of the world, and you'll see a potter, and what they've got is like a big axle with some kind of a bearing, and it's a big flat table, and you'll see them take their foot, and very dexterously they are spinning the wheel with their foot. Some of you remember the old treadle sewing machines where you actually had to make the fly wheel go, I had one of those, with your foot and it worked, singer, old singer treadle sewing machine. Anyway so they're spinning it, and they got a lump of clay, and they get it going fast enough. It's got quite a bit, it's like a big fly wheel. It's got quite a bit of weight to it.

So it going. It's got a lot of momentum. And they take a big old blob of soft clay and they slap it. And they know how to get it right in the middle, and they start working it, and they center it, and they begin to shape it, and press it. They'll hammer it down, and they start getting the air out.

They start making something, and it gets spinning pretty quick, and when they're doing the final work on the edges if they wiggle, or sneeze, or something, once it gets out of center and it wobbles and it just [blowing strawberries], the whole thing just falls apart. Have any of you have ever seen this? So they had to have a steady hand to do that. So that's why Jeremiah says, the potter was working and it says, "the vessel that he made of clay was marred, it was disfigured in the hand of the potter. It flopped. So he pounded it down and made it again into another vessel as seen good to the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'oh house of Israel, can I not do with you as the potter?' Says the Lord. 'Look, as the clay is in the potter's hands so are you in my hand o house of Israel. The instant I speak concerning a nation, concerning a kingdom to pluck it up, to pull it down, to destroy it, if that nation who I have spoken to turns from it's evil I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.'" He saying, "look, I am the potter. You are the clay." We were just singing about that a minute ago. "And at my will I can change what I planned to make out of you.

" Now can you think of a nation that God had destined for destruction, but they repented and he changed? Nineveh in the time of Jonah. A lot of people say, "oh, I guess Jonah wasn't a prophet." He said it would be destroyed. He Marched up and down the street. He said, 'forty days nineveh will be destroyed." They repented and he didn't destroy it. And they say, "oh, I guess he wasn't a profit.

" God says, "no. I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. I want them to repent." And so he's saying, "look, it also is true if a wicked nation repents I will relent of destroying it. If a nation I promised to bless turns from their righteousness I can change my plans for them and punish." The children of Israel said, "we're God's chosen people. You brought us out of Egypt.

You did all those miracles. Your temple is in our midst. We're your people." But they were turning to sin and God is saying, "look, I can change what I'm going to do with you." And that's the message that he's trying to give him here. And you look, for instance, in Isaiah 29. Somebody down here has got Isaiah 64.

Okay. I'm gonna read Isaiah 29:16. "Surely you have turned things around. Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay? For shall the thing made say to him who made it he did not make me? Or shall the thing formed say to him who formed it he has no understanding?" It's always strange when you hear an atheist say, "I happened by accident," and "there is no God." And you know God is looking down and he's going, "you're denying that I made you." And this is what the nation is doing. They're saying, "no, you didn't raise us up.

" You can also look in, these are a couple of verses dealing with vessels. You can look in Isaiah 45:9. "Woe to him who strives with his maker. Let the potsherd," now potsherd is a broken piece of pottery. It's what job used to scrape himself when he was mourning and from his boils.

It says, "will the potsherd strived with the potsherds of the earth? Shall the clay say to him who forms it, 'what are you making?' Or shall the handiwork says, 'he has no hands?'" You know what always struck me as peculiar and I haven't really figured out how to deal with it. How does the devil who goes way back with God and saw God create many things and the devil, lucifer, knows that God is the creator, how does lucifer grapple with the idea that he as the creation that he could somehow over throw the creator? Isn't it madness to think that the creation can somehow have more power than the creator? But if we're made less than angels, the Bible says we are, and if lucifer was the greatest of the angels than can human deceive themself too that somehow they can manipulate the maker and they're just the, we're just the clay. What did God make adam out of? There's not a big difference between dust and clay is there? And so here we are. We're just the clay you know. And have you heard of the story in the Bible where Jesus took some dust, and he spat on it, and he made clay, and he put it on a man's eyes, and he healed him? Yeah, so there's a healing that came from the clay itself.

All right, go ahead read for us please Isaiah 68. Female: "but now o Lord you are our father. We are the clay and you our potter and all we are the work of your hand." Pastor Doug: yeah, Karen and I had a long discussion this morning about praying according to God's will. Sometimes we pray and we tell God, "this is what you're supposed to do with my life." And we say, "this is what I want" and "Lord, how come you didn't answer my prayer?" We don't always have submission to his will in our prayers. We say, "Lord, you gotta do this.

You gotta fix it. You gotta give me this job. You gotta heal me. You gotta do this and if you don't do what I'm telling you to do then you're not real." But maybe God is saying, "you pray about it. That's fine, but I might have a different answer than you anticipate part of my perfect will.

" That means are you gonna be pliable clay in his hands so he can shape you? Or are we gonna be resistant and hard and so you crack in the potter's hands? Romans, now this gets really deep in theology. This is one of the great mysteries that the Christians have argued about for ages. Romans 9:17, "for the Scripture says to the pharaoh, 'for this very purpose I have raised you up.'" He's quoting from the old testament. "God said to pharaoh, 'for this purpose I have raised you up that I might show my power in you and that my name might be declared in all the earth.' Therefore he has mercy on whom he will and whom he will he hardens. And you'll say to me then, "why does he still find fault for who has resisted his will? But indeed, old man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'why did you make me like this?' Does the potter have power over the clay from one lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" Now do you see what the problem is here? Did God make the pharaoh hard-hearted so that he can use him as an example to talk about his power? This is where we're talking about free will and predestination, which is a big debate.

It says here God hardened pharaohs heart. But you know you can read two or three other verses in Exodus where it says, "pharaoh hardened his heart." In the Hebrew mind in the old testament you'll find that God often is given credit for everything. Says, "shall not good come from the hand of the Lord and evil also?" Isn't that what job said? But the Bible says every good and perfect gift is from God. What they mean is that God is sovereign and for evil to come he must allow certain things. If God wants to make a bad person say something good he can.

Did he do it with balaam? When balaam tried to curse he couldn't when blessing came out of his mouth. And in the same way you know the Lord can choose to change a person's intended direction, but ultimately a person is saved based on how they respond to the providence of God. The things, the plagues, the events that God sent upon Egypt, pharaoh could have softened his heart, but pharaoh hardened his heart. Now some people say God hardened pharaoh's heart, 'cause God sent the circumstances. You see what I'm saying? It is true God sent the circumstances, but pharaoh had a choice of how to respond to the circumstances.

Otherwise why would the Lord say, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Choose ye this day who you will serve." If you have no choice, if God is up in the sky as the Greek Gods used to make it look, kind of going, eeny meeny miny moe. I'm gonna save you and you're lost and I need someone to be the fall guy. I'll call you Judas and you're gonna be the one to betray me. Otherwise I know you wanted to be good, but you don't have a choice.

I need someone to be the fall guy. So Judas you're going to betray me and hang yourself. Sorry, I'm the potter, you're the clay." Is that what God did with Judas? Or was Jesus anxious to save Judas? Did Judas have an opportunity to be saved? And then people will say, "but someone had to be the betrayer." I don't know how God would have done it. Those hypothetical questions can go forever and ever, but he would have worked it out another way or he never would have foretold it was a betrayer, but God knew down through time how it was going to happen. You see, God knows.

It's like now with weather satellites the accuracy of weather prediction is getting better. Still not perfect, but it's a lot better. They can look and they could say, "we see this front moving in you direction. You're gonna get some rain. You're gonna get some wind.

" And usually they're getting closer and closer, 'cause they have a perspective from the sky that we don't have. They get a big picture. They can look miles away. They can look thousands of miles away and say, "a hurricane is gonna hit in a week." And they track it with computers and models and that's man making his best guess, but they have a higher perspective now. How good is God's perspective of the future? Is it better than a satellite and a weatherman? He can look a thousand year's into the future with his perspective.

So could God predict thousands of years in advance exactly how Judas was going to respond? But who made the choice? See this is the important point. Judas chose how to respond. Now what about a person who's born with maybe some handicap and you're lacking in some gifts and you shake your fist at God and say, "how come all this other people are pretty and I'm not? How come they got these talents and I don't? How come I'm handicapped and they're not?" Well that's a place where you might say, "shall the thing made say to the one that made it, 'why do you make me thus?' Will the clay protest against the potter?" There's some things where God is sovereign and we just need to surrender and say, "Lord, this is what I've got to work with. I will do my best with the free will I have to work with these circumstances. I've been born into this body, these talents to serve you.

" That's where you just need to surrender and say, "he's the potter." But it doesn't mean we don't have a free will. You see the difference between the two? All right, so moving along here. Acts 19:5, "but the Lord said to him." I'm gonna look at several vessels. We're talking about symbols here. Through the Bible vessels are often symbols of people.

Acts 19:5, "the Lord said to him--" or 9:5. Try that one more time. Acts 9:15, "the Lord said to ananias, "go, for he is a chosen vessel of mine." He's telling him to go lay hands on Paul. He doesn't wanna do it. He says, "Paul, man, he's been persecuted.

" He said, "no. Paul is actually gonna be a great apostle. He's not gonna be an enemy of Christianity. You go lay hands on him. He's a vessel of mine.

" What does he mean vessel? What are vessels for? What do you do with a vessel? They hold things, right? And we're supposed to be vessels that are filled with God's Spirit. Vessels are used to save. What was Moses put in when he was plucked from the river? Put in a vessel. What did God use to save Noah and his family? Used a vessel. That's what a ship is called, a vessel.

The ark of the covenant that held the Ten Commandments, it's a vessel. You've got these. Any of you ever heard of the holy grail? That's of course a legend, it's not true, but it's a legend that came during the gothic era that somewhere somebody and managed to carry off from the last supper the actual plate where the lamb was or, it goes back and forth, or it's the cup that Jesus passed around. They say it was one cup he passed around, and if you could just find that plate or that cup, one of those vessels, and you could eat from it or drink from it you'd have some kind of supernatural powers, and people went on great prilgrimage to find the holy grail and they figured, "boy, if you could drink from the cup." You know the last thing in the world the disciples were thinking of, I don't know if you heard this, but when pope francis spoke to congress they had a cup of water. He took the cup.

He took a sip of it and he put it down. He may have taken two sips of it. Most of it was full. Immediately after he walked off the platform one of the congressman ran up and grabbed the cup. How many of you heard about that? He took it back to his office where his staffers, catholics, were taking the water and sprinkling each other.

And then they decide, "let's just save it. "And someone said, "you stole it." He said, "no, I'm gonna pay for the cup." But to them that was the holy grail. But the last thing in the world the disciples were thinking when Jesus walked away from that upper room was, "who wants to sell the cup on ebay?" They weren't thinking, because they had eaten so many meals with Jesus, they had drunk from so many cups with Jesus it didn't even occur to them. So the chances that anybody made a special note of that cup is pretty remote that it's floating around out there, or the shroud, or splinters from the cross. They didn't necessarily--matter of fact, that was idolatry.

They didn't do that back then. Anyway, but vessels in the Bible, they represent something that holds. You know that boy in 1948 that was looking for a goat and instead he found these vessels in a cave? And you know what was in those vessels? The dead sea scrolls. The Word of God in a vessel. Isn't that what you and I are supposed to be? Isn't that what Jesus was? The word became flesh.

Yeah, I used to--when I first moved up in the hills I didn't have all the fancy tanks and things they have now. My hot water heater was a 55 gallon drum. You know an oil drum. We cleaned it out. We ran our water in it, and set it next to the stove, and it really worked very good in the winter.

The stove was going. We had 55 gallons of hot water under pressure and we could have hot showers. It was really nice. Just put your hand on the barrel you could see how much hot water you had left. It would* be ice cold at the bottom and be piping hot at the top.

It was amazing. Eventually it would blend if you weren't using it, but I learned something about barrels. I'd get these old barrels and if I kept them full of water they would last for years. If they were left empty they rusted and rotted very quickly. And if we're not full we don't last.

Those that just kinda live under themselves, if they're empty vessels they don't last very well. 2 Timothy 2:19, "let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver," in other words in a mansion,"but there's also would and clay. Some for honor. Some for dishonor.

" Now in some of those homes they had vessels that were for display and they were beautiful and then you had vessels for taking out the trash. And Paul was saying it's all kinds of different vessels. "There if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, "being a poor vessel, "he'll be a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the master, prepared for every good work." That's an important truth. We want to allow the Lord to cleanse us so that we can be vessels for the filling of his spirit. God cannot fill a full vessel.

He fills empty ones. Any of you remember the story? This is found in 2 Kings chapter 4. It's one of my favorite vessel stories. A widow comes to Elisha, the prophet. And she had been married to one of The Sons of the prophets, but her husband died.

Left her with two boys, and she had no income, and her husband had borrowed money to farm, but he died, and she couldn't pay back the debt. And the creditors back then, if you owed money and the law supported them, they would just come whenever payment was due, and if you couldn't make the payment they could walk through your house ransack, take whatever they thought was value of the next payment. So the creditor would come and he'd take things, whatever, you know, take her furniture, and take the carpets, and take things, and finally there's nothing left to take. In his next trip he has the right to take her boys and make them slaves. And she comes to Elisha and she says, "I have nothing.

" And he says, "what do you have in the house?" Nothing. All I've got this jar of oil. He said, "you got something. Here's what you do. Go through the neighborhood.

" All she had was one little vessel with some oil in it. Said, "go through the neighborhood. Tell your boys to help you collect vessels, borrow empty vessels from your neighbors. Not just a few." In other words, get as many as you can get. So the boys run up and down the street with their radio flyer wagons, and they collected vessels, and they brought this new ones, and old ones, and short ones, and tall ones, and thin ones, and wide ones, and some were ornate and some were plain.

Just all these different ran--they didn't match vessels, but they were empty. Brought 'em into the house. Shut the door. All the neighbors cared about her and she says, "Elisha told me to borrow vessels." And so they gave her vessels. Then he said take the oil and start to pour from your little vessel into your empty ones.

Now you don't question Elisha. Even though it didn't make any sense she started doing it and the oil kept coming, and kept coming, and kept coming, and here she's got this little, you know, quart of oil, and it fills this 30-gallon firkin full of oil, and another one, and another one, and these chalices and vessels are being filled. And then she goes back and she says, "now what?" And he said, "well." When all the vessels were full the oil stopped flowing." Notice the miracle happened as long as there were empty vessels available. As long as were--and you notice the miracle of Jesus multiplying bread lasted as long as there were hungry people. God provides where the need is.

God doesn't provide miracles in abundance. He provides miracles in want. And so she says, "now what?" He said, "now go sell what you have. Pay off your debt and live off the rest. There will be surplus.

" Just like there was surplus when he multiplied the bread. So what does that story mean? Talking about symbols and vessels here. What does a woman represent? It's not in this study, but we know. What does a woman represent in Bible symbols? Often the church. Frequent examples in Scriptures on that.

Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and so forth, and the women in Revelation 12, the woman the Revelation 17. So here's a woman. She's a widow. She's got boys and the creditor is to come take them slaves. It's like the devil.

She goes to the prophet, by the way Elisha's name is very much like the name of Jesus. Elohim is Savior is what it means. And he says, "fill your home with empty vessels." What do vessels represent? People. What kind of vessels? Empty ones and pour out the oil. What does oil represent? If our churches would do that, if we'd go through our community and bring all the empty vessels into our house, people that are empty.

You're surrounded in your community with empty vessels. They're tall and they're short, and they're wide, and they're thin, they're young, and they're old, and some of crackpots. And you bring all of those vessels into your home and you take the little oil you've got. Well Lord, I don't have much. Do you have any? I have a little.

Okay take the little you've got and share and you'll find--how much bread did it take to feed 5,000? A few loaves. All they had was a little. Everyone's got something. You take what you have, if you're willing to share what you have God performs miracles and multiplies. That, to me, is sort of like a story of symbols that talks about what the church ought to do.

And her sons are saved. The debtor goes away and everybody's got oil. And so it's just a wonderful illustration of vessels in the Bible. Somebody's got 2 Corinthians 4:7. All right dick, you go on ahead read that.

You let me know when you're ready. In the meantime I'm gonna read John 2:6. How many of you remember the first miracle of Jesus? What did he do? It was a miracle of vessels wasn't it? What is says, "now there were six water pots of stone according to the manner of purification of the jews containing 20 or 30 gallons," I think they call it firkins, "a piece." Twenty or thirty gallons, now he did not turn that water into booze. Can you imagine someone coming to Jesus and saying, "you know they're nearly out of booze, liquor for the party." And he says, "oh man, I'm gonna make hundreds of gallons more. You just don't worry about it.

We'll really party now." No, that was pure grape juice. They called it wine. Same word is used. But he performed a miracle in taking something very common, water, and he turned it to wine, grape juice. I always thought it was interesting the first miracle of Jesus is turning water to wine, pure grape juice.

The last thing that happens on the cross, they offer him sour wine fermented. It's almost like Jesus does a blood trans--what does that wine represent? When he gave his grape juice to the disciples it was unleavened bread and unfermented wine. He gave it to them. It's a symbol of his blood and so here he gives the pure to man at a wedding. And at the crucifixion they give him the sour.

It's almost like he makes a trade with humanity. Sorry, go ahead read for us that other verse in Exodus. Male: "but we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excEllence of the power may be of God and not of us." Pastor Doug: thank you. I misspoken. I meant 2 Corinthians 4:7.

We have this treasure in earth and vessels. What's the treasure? God's Spirit, the presence of Christ. Not I that live, but what? Christ who lives where? In. Go through just for your own study sometimes go through the writings of Paul, make a note how often Paul uses the phrase in Christ or Christ in you the hope of glory. The Christ, Paul is always referring to Christ within.

If Jesus is always out here you're not a Christian. Jesus needs to be inside. That's what it means to have the personal relationship. Okay, the degradation of a nation. I'm not gonna take a lot of time here and someone, I think, has got Exodus 19.

Yuri, you'll have that? Jeremiah 19, verse 1-2, "thus says the Lord, 'go, and get a potter's earthen flask, and take some of the elders of the people, and some of the elders of the priests, and go out to the valley of The Son of the hinnom, which is by the entry of the potsherd gate.'" Now that's not a good sign right there. They're going to the valley of gehenna, later known as gehenna, son of hinnom, which became a type of hades. It was the city dump because they had all these idols down there. And so one of the Kings finally said, "that's where we're throwing the garbage." It was a very steep valley too and they would frequently burn the trash down there. That's why they called it the potsherd gate.

Broken pottery. Everything was done with pottery back then. There were a lot of broken pots. I remember when I went to live with my uncle in New Mexico that--i think I can tell you this without getting arrested, that he took me to an ancient site near chaco canyon. He lived at the nageezi trading post and there was another trading post I would watch over called kimbato.

* There's nothing there now but some red cars. I went there with Karen last year. But I remember, I'm talking 40 years ago. I was young, that's more than 40 years ago, 42 years ago uncle harry took me, and he showed me an indian dump, and I couldn't believe it. There was all this ancient, indian pottery, just piles and mounds.

And if you thought, "oh wow, I found an indian artifact," you'd get bored there, 'cause there was just mountains of it. Some of it hundreds, maybe even thousands of years old, painted. We'd dig around, we'd find little turquoise beds, and it was just like, "oh, this was great!" And I had a whole pile of this stuff I carried around with me for a while. Now you're not allowed to do that anymore, but back then it was just everywhere. It was a dump and they had that back in Bible times, just lots and lots of broken pottery.

So he said, "take this vessel and go out." Let's read it here in Jeremiah 19, "get a potter's earthen flasks. Take some of the elders with you. You want them to be witnesses. Go to the valley of The Son of hinnom." I'm in Jeremiah 19:1-2. "By the potsherd gate and proclaim there these words that I will tell you and say, 'hear the word of the Lord, o Kings of judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place that whoever hears of it their ears will tingle, because they have forsaken me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other Gods whom neither they, nor their fathers, or the Kings of judah have known and they filled this place with the blood of the innocents. They've also built the high places." And it goes on and it tells us that after he makes this statement, says in verse 10, "then you will break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you and say, 'thus says the Lord of hosts even so will I break this people and this city as one breaks a potter's vessel, which cannot be made whole again and they will bury them in topheth until there is no place to bury. There will be so many graves." Wow that would be a pretty scary symbol, illustration. Any of you know the story humpty dumpty? All the King's horses and all the King's men. Humpty dumpty's like a name* we have that's supposed to be analogous of king george when they wrote it.

I don't remember. It's* someone from england here that can remind me, but anyway something broken that can't be fixed with superglue. And he's saying, "this is what's going to happen to the nation." He takes them and he does it where they're worshipping false Gods and he cracks down a vessel in there presence. That's a pretty strong symbol that they would not forget. Did it happen? They were destroyed.

They never returned. They've never had a king. You realize since Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, Israel has never had a king other than Jesus, but you know what I mean. They never had a monarchy again. So they were broken so that they could not be repaired.

All right I've got just a few minutes to talk about, let me see here. Someone's gonna read Exodus 19:5 first. Go ahead, yuri. I think you're ready. Yuri: "now therefore if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my commandments then ye shall be a special treasure to me above all people for all the earth is mine.

" Pastor Doug: so he said, "if you disobey me I will cast you down like a crack pot. If you obey me you will at a special treasure. You don't throw it at the dump. You put it on a place of honor. It's like what Paul said again.

You got vessels of honor, vessels of dishonor. So he makes this extreme comparison. And you're saying, "if you'll obey me I'll protect. I'll treat you like a vessel of honor, a treasure." Okay that's the first part about smashing the jar. And now last section is under the linen belt and someone, I think, has got Leviticus 16, okay.

If you're read in Jeremiah 13, Jeremiah 13 I'll read verses 1 and 2. "Thus says the Lord to me, 'go and get yourself a linen sash and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.' So I got a sash according to the word of the Lord and I put it around my waist." Now what was this sash to represent? You're gonna give us that when you read Leviticus 16. So go ahead Leviticus 16:4. Male: "he shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body. He shall be girded with a linen sash and with a linen turban he shall be attired.

These are holy garments." Pastor Doug: so it's pretty clear that the holy garments of the priests included a linen sash and we learned in an earlier study that Jeremiah was from the family of the priest, right? Remember that? So he's told to put on, and this is not a normal linen sash. It's not a diaper. This is not you know, just a piece of white cloth that they wrap around. It was the kind of piece where it was beautiful. It may have had blue in it, which is a sign of loyalty to God and it was very spectacular, but then he's told, 'don't put it in water.

" In other words don't wash it. It was to have all the vivid brightness. Wrap it tight, close to your body, but don't wash it and he was to wear it for a while. Then he was to go up and then to bury the sash by the Euphrates river. God told Jeremiah a couple of times to take things to the Euphrates.

Once he was told to take a deed up there. Now the Euphrates was the border of Babylon where they were going to be carried captive and that was a journey that took him a couple of weeks to get up there. So when God said, "Jeremiah, I want you to illustrate something. Take a trip to the Euphrates." O Lord, really? I mean, you know that's a long trip, but this is what I want you do. So now he takes the sash and he's got to go up to the Euphrates river and he buries it in a hole, one of the rock up above the river.

A little crag in the rocks and he buries it there. Says, "okay, go home." Okay Lord. Says, "after many days." It doesn't tell us how long. May have been moths. May have been a year.

Says, "go back." It doesn't say a few days, says many days. And of course what happens to a piece of cloth that's just left out in the elements where there's rain, and rot, and bugs. And he goes back, and he digs it up, and he says, "it was ruined and there's nothing I could do." It says, "so I went and I hid it at the Euphrates." And this is verse 4 to 11, "as the Lord commanded me." And it says, "after many days, I went to Euphrates, and I dug, and I took the sash from the place where I had hidden it, and there was the sash ruined. It was profitable for nothing." You know we say good for nothing? "Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'thus says the Lord in this manner I will ruin the pride of judah and the great pride of Jerusalem for as the sash clings to the waist of man he called us to be a nation of priest.'" The sash was worn by the priest. It's close.

It's intimate. God wanted an intimate relationship with us. It was for glory. He wanted to be the glory of his people. "As a sash clings to the waist of man so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of judah to cling to me,' says the Lord.

'That they may become my people for reknown, for praise, and for glory, but they would not hear.'" So basically he says, "I'm going to take you to Babylon by the Euphrates and there you'll find out what happens." And there would be a great punishment that would come upon them. You're reading Jeremiah 13:15, "hear and give ear. Do not be proud for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before he causes darkness and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains and while you're looking for light he turns it into the shadow of death and makes dense darkness. If you will not hear my soul will reap in secret for your pride.

" How does God feel about our pride? "My soul will weep,' God says, "because of your pride. My eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock has been taken captive." He says you'll be carried away, you'll be humbled for these things. So he uses a sash as an illustration. Sometimes cloth was used as illustrations and symbols. How many of you remember when Solomon had too many wives and he started to worship other Gods.

God sent the prophet, I think his name was Elijah to jeroboam, and what Elijah did was he took a cloth, and he tore it into 12 parts, and he gave 10 parts to jeroboam, and he said, two parts will be for judah. So that cloth represented the Kingdom of Israel, that robe. And then another time when king Saul told Samuel, "wait." He had disobeyed God and he'd not dispatched the aMalachites as he was told. Samuel was walking away, and Saul reached out to grab Samuel, and he grabbed his linen garment, and it tore off in his hand. A piece of it tore of in his hand, and Saul was desperate, and he didn't know his own strength, and for whatever reason, and Samuel used it as a symbol.

He turned back and he said, "thus the Lord has torn the Kingdom away from Saul and he will give it to your neighbor who is better than you." And so, you can see these symbols that are made about the cloth as well. Well we've just about run out of time, but I think we've covered the bulk of the lesson. By the way, I wanna remind our friends that maybe not all the time, but most of the time what we do is we upload the notes and so we've got these notes I've shared and a few extras that will be at the Amazing Facts website. If you are a teacher and you want to download them or just for your personal study we usually have the notes that are uploaded there and also don't forget we do have a free offer and Pastor Ross mentioned to you that everybody who would like a copy of "the prophecy foundation" dvd. It is a dvd.

It is not a movie. So you need to put it in your computer. It has a lot of sermons on it. Matter of fact, it's a whole evangelistic meeting. It's got all the sermons of an evangelistic meeting.

The videos are on here. The lessons are on here, the resource study books. It's a whole evangelistic series that we have condensed into one dvd. So you get this and you share with people to watch and study on their computer. People have got it before and say, "well I wonder what the "prophecy foundation" movie is.

" It's not a movie. It's a dvd for your computer filled with Bible study material. You can have it for free. It's a great resource for sharing. 788-3966 That's 866-study-more and we'll you a send you a free copy of that.

God bless you until we study His Word again next week. Male announcer: for life changing Christian resources visit or call 1-800-538-7275. Announcer: can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth filled programming. Watch Amazing Facts television by visiting At you can view "Amazing Facts" programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right from your computer or mobile device. Why wait a week? Visit It's that easy. [Music]

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