Jesus in Jerusalem - 2016

Scripture: Matthew 21:42, Zechariah 9:9, Romans 4:13-16
Date: 06/04/2016 
Lesson: 10
"How can we make sure that we are not letting our desire to gain our maintain anything here, even something good, jeopardize what really matters: eternal life in Jesus?"
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We are thrilled that you are joining us to study God's Word together as you do every week. We have an extended family across the globe that loves to study God's Word and some day, very soon, we will be seeing our Savior face to face but until then, we will keep studying, we will keep singing together. Welcome. Our first song today is going to be hymn #248 - we're going to be singing about how we love Jesus and he is the reason we sing, the reason we take every breath.

O, how I love Jesus - hymn #248 - we are going to sing all three verses. There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth; it sounds like music in my ears, the sweetest name on earth. O how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, because he first loved me. It tells me of a Savior's love, who died to set me free; it tells me of a Savior's blood, the sinners' perfect plea. O how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, because he first loved me.

It tells of one whose loving heart can feel my deepest woe who in each sorrow bears a part that none can bear below. O how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, because he first loved me. You know, as we were singing that, I was thinking about when I was a little girl. I used to sing that all the time - we sang it at camp. We sang it at camp meeting.

We sang it at home. We sang it in church. And even though I'm much older now, it still rings true today. Oh how I love Jesus and what he's done. Hymn #249 - praise him, praise him - it's all about praising Jesus, is it not? It's the reason that we exist and we have a lot to be thankful for with this world falling apart.

He's about to restore it and I'm so excited for that. Praise him! Praise him! - Hymn #249 - we are going to sing all three verses. Praise him! Praise him! Jesus, our blessed redeemer! Sing, o earth, his wonderful love proclaim! Hail him! Hail him! Highest archangels in glory; strength and honor give to his holy name! Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard his children, in his arms he carries them all day long: praise him! Praise him! Tell of his excEllent greatness. Praise him! Praise him! Ever in joyful song! Praise him! Praise him! Jesus our blessed redeemer! For our sins he suffered, and bled, and died. He our rock, our hope of eternal salvation, hail him! Hail him! Jesus the crucified.

Sound his praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong. Praise him! Praise him! Tell of his excEllent greatness. Praise him! Praise him! Ever in joyful song! Praise him! Praise him! Jesus, our blessed redeemer! Heavenly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever. Crown him! Crown him! Prophet, and priest, and king! Christ is coming! Over the world victorious, power and glory unto the Lord belong. Praise him! Praise him! Tell of his excEllent greatness.

Praise him! Praise him! Ever in joyful song! Let's pray. Our father in heaven, we are so grateful today that you are coming soon and that you are coming as Christ victorious, as we just sang about. We offer you our honor and our praises and we just offer you our lives today as we again come before your holy throne to study Your Word and learn more about how we can be ready, how we can share your love and your grace to those around us - to a dying world. Lord, help us to do our part. Thank you, this morning, for Pastor Doug as he brings us your word, Lord.

Bless his message and help us to apply the things that we learned to our lives, that we can be ready and waiting and looking for our God. We pray these things in your precious and holy name, Jesus, amen. Our study today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Morning friends. Thank you, jolyne and musicians and singers.

I enjoy that song too. Welcome to our friends who are worshiping with us or studying the Sabbath school lesson, we're so glad that you are here. We do have a free offer each week and today we've got a book called blood behind the veil - talking about the plan of salvation, which ties in with our lesson today. And call the number on your screen, it's 866-788-3966 - -3966 and ask for offer #130. The book is blood behind the veil by Joe Crews.

Read it and share it with a friend, our lesson today - we're going through our lesson on the book of Matthew. I just love this. We're studying about Jesus and today we're just going to be getting right in the thick of it. We're going to be talking about Jesus in Jerusalem, and we have a memory verse and the memory verse is from the book of Matthew 21:42 and you might want to find that. You'll find it right there in the front of your lesson - it's from the new king James version, which is typically the version I use when I teach and preach - Matthew 21:42.

If you can, say it out loud with me. Are you ready? "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?" Now we've got a section in our lesson, in a little bit, that's going to be talking specifically about the subject of the cornerstone. So I'll kind of hold off and we'll get to that in a little bit. Our assignment today is, you know, as you go through these study guides, we have a different study guide quarterly and the idea is that you cover the major themes of the Bible in five years.

This one, of course, is dedicated to Matthew. You can't really read every word in Matthew, but the assignment sort of breaks it up. Our task for today is to read Matthew - all of chapter 21 and up until verse 15. So we're going to do our best to cover that. Last week, I apologize, I think I left about a third of the lesson out because I became hypnotized by my own voice and took up too much time.

But if you go to Matthew chapter 21 in your Bibles, this tells a very interesting story. We're going to read verses 1 through 11. I'll probably stop and do some commentary along the way and, just for my benefit, someone's going to read Zechariah 9:9 in a minute. Who has that verse? Zechariah 9:9 - is that you dear? Oh, you'll have that - okay katrina, we'll get to you in just - you'll be queued up next. Alright, Matthew 21, "now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to bethphage," - and the word 'bethphage' means 'house of figs' - "at the mount of olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her.

Loose them and bring them to me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'the Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them.'" Now this is the last journey that Jesus makes before his death. He has just come up from Jericho - matter of fact, I think sherle's got a map queued up she'll put on the screen here, just to give you a visual because it talks about four places here and you've got Jericho - he's coming from Jericho and sherle - I don't know if she can hear me in the studio - will put that map up on the screen of - for the Sabbath school lesson. There we go, thank you. That red line shows he's come from Jericho.

What happened there? He saw zaccheus in a tree, he healed blind bartemaeus. You'll notice it says, 'in Jericho' and he's on his way to Jerusalem. He take - goes up from below sea level, basically, he comes up, he spends the night at his friends' house. Who were these friends? Martha, Lazarus, and they had a sister named mary, and that's in bethany. You can see where bethany is there - the lower line, hopefully.

Then he goes - on his way to Jerusalem - he takes - he gets to the road again and he sends his disciples off into bethphage - and bethphage means 'a house of young figs'. Now that's significant because fig trees come into the story. Bethany is there on the bottom and then he goes across the mount of olives towards Jerusalem and you go over a hill and descend - Jerusalem is spread before you - just sort of wanted you to have you have that picture in mind because this is going to come into play in just a moment. And so he tells them, 'go, you'll find this donkey tied with a colt. Loose them.

' Now only in Matthew - you'll find this story in Mark and in Luke and in John, but only in Matthew does it talk about the mother, as well as the colt that Jesus sat on, was brought along. Why do you suppose they were told to bring the mother along? Because if you take the colt of the donkey away, it's going to bray and heehaw and make all kinds of noise. And it would be a lot more relaxed, so they just let the mother come. He said, 'bring them.' But Jesus sits on the colt, one on which never a man has sat. And the others it just talks about him taking the colt.

But the mother came along also, and it says, "all this was done" - this is verse 4 - Matthew 21:4 - "all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet," - now, what prophet are we talking about? It says, "tell the daughter of Zion, 'behold, your king is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" Why don't you go ahead and read for us Zechariah 9:9 then? Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion! Shout, o daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey." As near as we can tell, this was written 450 years before it happened, and it's talking about the King coming, he's going to be riding on the foal of a donkey, which is exactly what's happening, and this is one on which never a man has sat. Now, have any of you broke wild horses before? I have. I just want to tell you, you just can't climb on and expect to ride. We adopted some mustangs from Arizona 35 years ago, up in covelo, we were part of a program. We made a youth ministry out of it and the kids would come, but we had to break these so you could ride them.

And the first time you climb on the back - first of all, they are kicking and carrying on if you try to put a saddle on them. And the first time - now, domesticated ones are a little tamer because they're a little more used to people. These ones from Arizona and Utah and Nevada, they're just like wild. I mean, they'll not only try to buck you off, then they'll go after you to kick and bite you. I mean, they're really wild.

And so the idea that Jesus just got on this donkey is a miracle. It's a miracle that he told the disciples they'd find it where he said they'd find it, without having been there, and it's a miracle that the people let it go just by the word of the Lord. You know, this reminds me of another story in the Bible. You remember when Jesus told his disciples 'we're going to have - we've got a place for the last supper.' It's not long after this - he said, 'when you enter the town, into Jerusalem, you're going to see someone carrying some water. Follow them.

They will lead you to a room and say, 'where's the room where my master's supposed to have the supper?' And it's like maybe they had seen it in a dream. I mean, you wonder, 'how did he get this information to these people? But it's like supernaturally the Lord arranged for these things. Now, it's interesting that this happens five days before the passover - the triumphal entry. Most scholars agree. You know what else was supposed to happen five days before the passover? Is the pascal lamb was to be chosen.

They didn't pick the lamb out of the flock and slay it the same day of the passover. Five days before the passover the lamb was chosen and set aside - kind of like the turkey before thanksgiving is picked. And Jesus enters the city as the lamb five days - he enters as king - it's like this is the time he is surrendering to being the passover lamb five days before - and this is during the triumphal entry. Why is he riding a donkey? A young donkey, why not a horse? Well, in Bible times, the horses meant battle. You know, you talk about military build up? Military build up in Bible times was they did not buy guns and tanks.

Military build up was you got horses because if you're charging, with horses and spears, armies that are on the ground - and they used to put armor on the horses - the horses would just plow through the troops. And so, when you were on a horse it meant you were coming to conquer and it meant war. When you came on a donkey or a mule, it meant peace. And so here he's coming as the King of peace within the gates. I'll give you an example of that.

If you look in the book of Judges, leaders used to ride them. Judges chapter 12, verse 13 - and there's a judge most of you probably never heard about. "After him, abdon, The Son of hillel the pirathonite judged Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy young donkeys." - What kind of donkeys? Young donkeys. What did Jesus ride on? Young donkey - the foal of a donkey.

And so, the leaders of these - the judge had his sons help administrate the Kingdom of Israel and they were riding on these donkeys. But they were doing it as Judges in peace. It wasn't for war. So you go to Matthew chapter 21, verse 6, "so the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set him on them.

And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road." - And they used to do this - some of you probably remember a romantic piece of history - and I believe it's true, from what I've read about sir walter raleigh, when queen elizabeth was walking to court one day, he took off his cloak, because there was a puddle in the road, and he threw his cloak down because she was a queen and she should not soil her shoes on the puddle. And he said, 'walk on my cloak because you're the queen.' Any of you remember that image from history? Yeah, so when you have royalty, they didn't want their feet to touch the ground and they'd put down these fronds and they'd throw their clothes down on the road and it was a symbol of respect. And they're all celebrating. They believe - they've been waiting for Jesus to make his move. Remember? They were going to take him by force and make him a king when he multiplied the bread.

And he sent the crowd away. And when he performed his miracles he kept telling them, 'don't tell anybody. Keep it quiet.' But they proclaim it abroad. He'd open the eyes of the blind and say, 'don't tell anybody.' He'd heal a leper - 'don't tell anybody.' But they'd widely proclaim it and everybody said, 'this is the Messiah. When is he going to make his move? When's there going to be the announcement? Finally,can you see there's all this pent-up enthusiasm.

Finally the disciples - they're the most excited of all. They've been waiting because now he's going to let them sit on the right and the left in their kingdom. Somehow he's going to do something to proclaim himself the new king of Israel, The Son of David. And everybody is just electric with excitement and they start to throw their clothes down for him to March over and their taking palms and they probably stripped the trees for miles around. They're taking the palms and throwing it in the way and the people are more and more - you hear the commotion - 'what's the noise?' And they're all rushing together and they're shouting louder and louder as the crowd swells as he's coming - you know, because it's a couple of miles that he's riding - and all these people are coming to the feast.

The roads are already crowded. Josephus says, during the passover 250,000 lambs were sacrificed because the jews that had been scattered all around the world would come to Jerusalem. It was one of the principle feasts - not every jew, but many of the devout jews would come. That's why - pentecost - they were still there. And so, you've already got the parades of people coming from the south and Egypt and from mesopotamia, and they're coming from the roman empire and this spectacle begins to happen and they all rush around him and this mass of people.

'What is it?' 'Oh, it's The Son of David, the Messiah's come.' 'Who is it?' 'Jesus.' 'Oh, that's right, it would be Jesus.' And they're shouting and they're singing and what are they saying? "Hosanna to The Son of David!" So they all knew the Messiah would be The Son of David. "'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' 'Hosanna in the highest!'" And the hills are ringing with the sound and it says, 'when he came into Jerusalem, all the city was moved saying, 'who is this? And the multitude said, 'this is Jesus, the prophet from nazareth of Galilee.' Now, there's more that happens here. At one point, when he's coming in the city, it tells us that he stops and he weeps over Jerusalem and, as he's coming across the brow of the city, and he said, 'o, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have taken you under my wings but you would not.' And the disciples can't understand why there's this pause all of a sudden. So as they're coming from the intersection of bethany and bethphage - you saw on the map there - they're going up the top of the mount of olives, the crowd is going - you get to the peak and you can see the city of Jerusalem - one of the magnificent wonders was the temple that had been embellished by herod the great. He was a great builder - wicked king, but great builder.

He built massad and he built caesarea and the aquaducts and he spent 40 years making the temple of Nehemiah and Ezra even more beautiful. And they come over the hill - it's still morning - the sun is hitting it. It's got gold that's glinting on its edges, the bronze is polished. It's the iconic beautiful centerpiece of the nation of Israel and, at that point, Jesus pulls back on the reigns or he tells the disciples to stop and he stops and he looks and everyone grows quiet because tears come to his eyes and he mourns out this lament, 'o, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the hour is coming when your enemies are going to hedge you in on every side and you didn't know the hour of your visitation.' They're going, 'what is this all about?' And then when he's done with that, they begin to come to the city and maybe they're thinking it's because there's going to be a war with the Romans as he takes the city. They don't know.

They start resuming their singing again. And so the whole city is in an uproar and he comes to the temple and the religious leaders are saying, 'don't you hear what they're saying? Tell them to be quiet.' Jesus said, 'oh, if I tell them to be quiet, even the stones'll cry out because this is a fulfillment of prophecy. It's going to happen.' Jesus is saying, 'when God says it, it's going to happen.' So they come into the city and he begins to teach again. Now, by the way, that verse I quoted from is Luke 19:41 where it talks about - I ought to read it to you really quick. "Now as he drew near, he saw the city " - and notice what it says in verse 38 of Luke, "blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Kind of like when Jesus was born, too.

They said, 'peace on earth, good will to men.' And it says, as he came near the city - oh, and some of the pharisees called them and said, 'rebuke the disciples. Tell them to be quiet.' 'If I should, the stones would cry out.' "Now as he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, 'if you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Then he went into the temple and he began to drive out those who bought and sold. Now, we're going to get to that in just a minute. So, one more thing before I leave this - I'm trying to pace myself - before I leave the triumphal entry - what gate did he go through? There's one principle gate that faces the mount of olives, it's called the golden gate.

Would you like to see a picture of that today? Sherle, we're going to put up a picture of the golden gate from Sabbath school. She's working on church slides, probably, and so I want to make sure she hears my queue. There it is. See that? That's the way it looks today. That is the gate that Jesus rode through on his way to Jerusalem.

Why is it all walled up? I'll tell you a few interesting things about this gate. Most of the ancient walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by an arab leader called Solomon the magnificent. He was really a very good king. He fought the crusaders and won. He won back Jerusalem.

He was quite a general. This is one rare section of the wall that the stones date back to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah when it was rebuilt. If you want to see some of the walls that Nehemiah and his crew rebuilt, this section is part of that. It's a beautiful gate. The foundation stones - they can even find stones that date back to Solomon there.

The reason it's walled up is because about 700 years ago, the muslims, knowing the prophecy that the Jewish Messiah would come through that gate, wanted to block it and they desecrated the ground by putting a cemetery in front of it. Interesting, isn't it? The problem is they were several hundred years too late, because Jesus already went through that gate. There was a prophecy about that gate, in particular, and that's exactly what happened. Matter of fact, if you look, for instance, in Zechariah 14:4 - we read, a minute ago, Zechariah 9:9. Zechariah 14:4, speaking of his coming, "on that day his feet will stand on the mount of olives that lies before Jerusalem.

" Directly between the mount of olives and Jerusalem you've got the golden gate. That was another reason they believed that was the gate. If you read in psalm 1:18 - now bear with me, I'm going to read a couple verses to you. Psalm 118, verses 19 and 20, "open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, through which the righteous shall enter.

" So they put that together with psalm 118:26, "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" What did the people say when Jesus came down the hill? 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' So you see what they're quoting from? Their quoting from psalm 118 that talked about the Messiah coming through the gate. And so, when Jesus rode that donkey through the golden gates, it was fulfilling these prophecies and - it's interesting that the muslims thought they were going to stop the Messiah from coming by walling up the golden gate and putting a cemetery in front. It's interesting, there are not only muslim graves there, there's Jewish graves there. And they thought, 'well this will keep him from coming' but he already went through the gate. Alright, Jesus and the temple, what does he do? Well, we already heard that the children come and they're singing and he's healing people, but when he first comes in the temple - Matthew 21:12 - in a moment, someone's going to read for me 1 Peter 2:5 - will that be you? Okay.

I'll read Matthew 21:12, "then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And he said to them, 'it is written, 'my house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" Now where does it say God's house will be a house of prayer? A few places. One, the dedication prayer of Solomon said, 'if your people pray towards this place' - but there are actually several places where it said it would be a house of prayer for all people. Is this the first or the second time Jesus drives the money changers out of the temple? Second time. Once, at the beginning of his ministry, and once at the end.

Obviously, just because he drove them out, when he went back up north around capernaum and the sea of Galilee teaching, they all came swooping back in again and they set up their flea Markets and people, especially, there was big money in selling sacrifices during the passover. They had t-shirts - 'I survived passover' - they were selling. They had all kinds of merchandise there. People would bring their lambs and, I mean, they were selling stuff in the temple all year long, but the best week of sales was the passover. It was spring.

People were - all the pilgrims were there and they just could not give up this opportunity to make money. And even though Jesus had driven them out before and they behaved for a little while, they came back in. And so, again, he drives them out of the temple. So you've got - it's interesting, it talks about 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen' - and 'the temple was cleansed, was cleansed.' Now, when you talk about the temple, you've got a few different things that are the temple. You've got the physical temple, like the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the one built by Nehemiah, Solomon, refurbished by herod - the physical temple.

You've got the temple which is your body. Your body - 'don't you know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?' And then Paul says the church is a temple and that's important because we're going to talk about the cornerstone in a little bit. I want you to understand that. Jesus cleansed the temple there from the merchandising. Do we sometimes see merchandising come into the church? Have you ever heard of a theology called 'prosperity preaching'? Yes.

They call it 'name it and claim it' theology. I heard another preacher say it's called 'blab it and grab it.' (Laughter) the idea is that you just say, 'I'm going to claim this promise and God's going to make me rich and if I give my donation to this prosperity preacher, in return, God promises he's going to double that.' They call it a seed investment of faith. You invest in this ministry, you give them a little money, God's then going to bless you. And it's all about 'I'm going to give to God so he'll give back to me.' Which really shouldn't be the reason we give. It is true that God often blesses when we're faithful in tithes and offerings, those blessings come in many shapes and forms, but they always make it sound like it's monetary and these televangelists often flit around the world in private jets and they are bedecked with jewels and it's all about prosperity and you'll see they've got gilded sets for their television programs and - and I wonder what Jesus would do.

Would he come with cords to some of these temples and drive out the money changers? The pulpit is not supposed to be an auction block where you're selling things and auctioning things. He drives the money changers out of our lives. Who knows what the tenth commandment is? Thou shall not covet. And it talks about several things that could be coveted. But never being satisfied and covetousness or, even like I said, coming to church because of what's in it for me? The wiifm - what's in it for me - is what people are often wondering.

And the materialism - if they had a lot of things you could buy and sell back 2,000 years ago when Jesus went to the temple, how many more things are there to buy and sell in the world today? They've got whole channels dedicated to selling you stuff and there's a zillion websites and you can go to just amazon and buy a zillion things. Never has there been a time in the world where there was more stuff to be bought and sold. And so, to think that's not going to impact Christians living in a world of hyper-materialism, we're kidding ourselves. We're all - i, you know, it happens to you. It happens to me.

Yesterday I went on a mission to walmart. I'm usually pretty good. I walk in the door, I've got one or two things I'm going to get and I get those things and I walk out. Amen. It doesn't always work that way for people close to me.

(Laughter) there's - sometimes you go to get something and you come back with three or four extra things that you just happen to see. They call to you. You always appreciate it. I didn't mention anybody in particular. (Laughter) I saw a pretty funny - I saw a cartoon once and it was - it showed a picture of a mall - it was like a maze - a grid - and it shows a man going to the mall to buy a shirt and it shows a direct line in, shirt, back out again.

And it says, 'a woman going to the mall' - I'm going to get letters over this - 'a woman going to the mall to get a shirt' - and she's - the line goes like this all through the mall and comes back down again. But even I - yesterday it happened to me. I said, 'oh, I forgot, I could use some of that too. And so I ended up - and they count - and you know, the things that people buy the most in the store, they put in the back of the store so you've got to go on this long circuitous route through the store looking at all the other merchandise because they know the more you look - why do they think they put a few things on sale and they put them in the back? So you'll see all the other things that are really going to bring you happiness on your way to that one thing that you actually need. And you're sure - I - something's missing in my life, it must be this.

And so, I'm just saying, when Jesus came he drove out the money changers. And I just wonder if - what he would do today. Now, what is that temple? Go ahead, nathan, you're going to read 1 Peter 2:5 for us, please. "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." So we've got the physical temple and the Bible tells us there is a spiritual temple - that we're living stones built on a cornerstone - we'll get to in a little bit - to build up this spiritual house. Your body is a temple of God.

Now, when you study the sanctuary subject, it's important to know that there are three symbols for it. You've got the temple of God in heaven, you've got the church as a sanctuary that needs cleansing, and our bodies are sanctuaries that need cleansing, okay? And Jesus, before he comes, he cleanses the sanctuary. It's very important. Is he cleansing the sanctuary in heaven? Before he died on the cross he cleansed the temple. Before he finishes his work of mediation he cleanses the temple.

And so - and he drives out the money changers. He's going to purify his church before he comes. Corinthians 3:16 and 17, "do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." You individually are the temple of God and you collectively are the temple of God. Alright - and then, after he does this, people often wonder, when he made the cord - where do you make the cord from? They had little ropes they used - when they'd sell the lambs, they'd tie off the lambs - maybe he grabbed some of those - and he took these little cords and he - it says he made a whip - I don't know if he put several of them together and put a knot in them.

It never says he whipped anybody, but I've seen paintings where they show Jesus thrashing the money changers and driving them out of the temple. It never says he whipped anyone. It doesn't say he yelled. I think that he just held that in his hand and it was an image of judgment that terrified them. And he spoke, but when he spoke, his voice was so powerful that it put terror - and they went scrambling and he went by and he began to - he did turn over the tables of the money - the coins were clanging on the floor and they were afraid to even take them up.

He said, 'take these things hence - and they were hearing the voice of the almighty speaking to their souls. But, evidently, it wasn't frightening because what happens right after that? Then the blind and the lame came to him in the temple and he healed them. And when the priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did - and they heard the children crying out in the temple. They're still saying the refrain from the triumphal entry - "'hosanna to The Son of David!' They were indignant and said to him, 'do you hear what these are saying? They're calling you the Messiah. Stop them.

' And you can tell why they wanted to crucify him. And Jesus said, 'did you hear' - he said, "have you never read, 'out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise'? And he left them and he went out of the city to bethany, and he lodged there." So he went back after that day of teaching, he went out of the temple. So here we have him cleansing the temple and then the next morning - now, we don't know if it was immediately the next morning, but it sounds like it from the reading of Matthew. We've got no fruit. Matthew 21 - let's jump there - verse 18, "now in the morning, as he returned to the city, he was hungry.

And seeing a fig" - well, you would think, you know, he would just be fed by Martha and Lazarus - they were taking care of twelve apostles - it's a pretty big household. Maybe Jesus wanted to spare them. And so he goes for a walk - bethany is not that far from both Jerusalem and from Bethlehem - and he goes and he sees there's a fig tree. He came and he found nothing on it but leaves. And he said, 'let no fruit grow on you ever again.

' Immediately the fig tree withered away." Now, when you read this in Mark, I just need to be honest with you, there's a little discrepancy here between Mark and Matthew. Mark says the next day they came and saw the fig tree was withered. What Matthew is saying, is right after he spoke the word it began to wither. The disciples noticed it the next day. It had just - it died when Jesus spoke, but you could see it was visibly shriveled the next day.

Did Jesus have a tantrum because he didn't get breakfast and so he cursed the tree? People have often wondered, 'what's going on here? Why'd he get mad and curse the tree? What did that poor tree ever do to him?' He comes to the tree that has all of the - the advertising - it has the pretense that it's going to have fruit, but there is no fruit and so he curses it because it's a fruitless fig tree. What does that fig tree mean? 'Let no man ever eat fruit on you again' - and immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled and said, 'look how the fig tree has withered away so soon.' "So Jesus answered and said to them, 'assuredly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say this to the mountain, 'be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.'" That's a wonderful promise. Now he still hasn't told them 'why'd you do that to the fig tree?' What they're impressed by is that he spoke and this miracle happened - that he just has power over nature.

And he said, 'look, if you say and pray in faith, things will happen. Did the disciples try that later in their lives? Do you remember when - did the disciples speak and heal cripples? Paul spoke one time and a sorcerer went blind - so child of the devil, you're now going to be blind for awhile because you're turning people away from the truth. They just had the - I wouldn't want to try that. First of all, because it wouldn't not seem very nice. Secondly, it might not work.

But, you know,they would, speak and say - some guy's crippled for his whole life - 'take my hand. Stand up and walk.' Wouldn't it be embarrassing if you tried that and it didn't work? Then they just fell down. But the disciples developed the same kind of faith as Jesus. Where they would speak these things and they said it in faith and miracles happened. Have you ever wondered that we don't see any miracles because we don't take Christ at His Word and try it? You know, I've prayed some prayers that I had doubts the prayer would be answered, even when I prayed it, and God answered the prayer in spite of my lack of faith and I thought, 'man, I ought to pray big prayers more often.

' So he's talking to them about asking in faith and he says, 'you'll do great thing for them.' But what's going on with the fig tree? Let me give you something quick to think about. Someone's going to read for me Galatians 5:22. First of all, why did he curse a fruitless fig? What does that fruit represent? Go ahead and read that for us. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, against such there is no law." So he wants the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. What does it say in John 15? 'He's the vine where the branches, if they don't bear fruit, they're good for nothing but to be cut and burned.

So it tells us pretty clearly what the fate is for fruitless Christians. He wants the fruit. What is the fruit? The fruits of the Spirit should be in our lives. And - but why - what does the fig tree represent? Why did he curse the fig tree? You remember in Matthew 24, Jesus said, 'learn a parable of the fig tree, when it's branches already become tender, it puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

' Many have believed that the fig tree was a symbol for Jerusalem - the Jewish nation - he came to them looking for the fruits of the Spirit. Here he is, the Messiah, he's just come through the city and, instead of having righteousness and being ready for his first coming, they're - he has to chase the money changers out of the temple and there's fruitlessness. Christ tells a parable - if you go to Luke it gives us a little more insight in this - Luke chapter 13 - you'll only find this in Luke - Luke chapter 13, verse 6, "a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'look, for three years'" - how many years? Three years - I want you to just catch that - "'I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?'" - No fruit - "but he" - the man who cares for the tree - "but he answered and said to him, 'sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

'" - 'I'll dig around it, I'll irrigate it, I'll fertilize it, I'll give it one more chance.' Who knows? Some trees don't bear every year. Maybe it was an off year. Karen and I just went out to our little cherry tree in the backyard. Right now you should have cherries. Not a cherry.

We don't know what went wrong, but I don't remember cursing it - I don't know what happened. But who knows - I don't know - the bees didn't come or something, but not a single cherry. Some cherry trees - and then you'll have another year - bumper crop. And so he said, 'look, I know there's been no figs for three years and, typically, there would be. Give it another year.

' Some trees never bear, you know that? They just - for whatever reason they don't do it. He said, 'give it one more year.' He wants the tree to be fruitful. 'I'll do everything I can to make it fruitful. And if it bears fruit, well - we've saved the tree, but if not, then you can cut it down.' Now this is a parable but it's sort of a prophecy because what does that fig tree represent? God's people. Back there - the nation of Israel.

There's a time period connected with it. How many years are in it total? Four years. It says, 'three years, no fruit. Give it one more year.' A total of how many years? What does a day equal in prophecy? Year. A year.

How many days in a Jewish year? 360. 360. You know that because it tells us 42 months is three hundred - is 1260-year-prophecy is 42 months. It's got to be a 360-day - 30-day month, 360-day year in that lunar calendar. So, 360 times 4 is 1440.

If you go from when - who's the fig tree? It's Jerusalem, in particular, planted in the land of Israel. You read in Isaiah chapter 5 it says, 'I planted Israel as a vineyard.' This man plants a fig tree in his vineyard. When were the children of Israel planted in the promised land? Joshua entered in and they began to take Jericho and started taking - they ended up fighting oh, for 35-40 years - taking the promised land, but they first settled in it 1406 - you'll find that number in your Bibles. If you go 360 times 4 prophetic years, that's 1440 years from 40 - 1406 - you know what that comes to? 34 A.d. Isn't that interesting? What happened in 34 a.

d.? If you know your prophecy. The sanhedrin plugged their ears, they stoned stephen, the disciples - a great persecution began, and the 490-year prophecy was up for the Jewish nation. Isn't that interesting? That four years - that parable Jesus shares covers that as well. All right, running out of time. Let's talk about this cornerstone.

Cornerstone - "'hear another parable.'" - We're in Matthew 21:33 - "'there was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.

Then last of all he sent his son" - I would have not done that but in the parable he does - "he sent his son to them saying, 'they will respect my son.' But when the vinedressers saw The Son, they said among themselves, 'this is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.'" - He'll have no one else to take it. We'll get it.' - "So they took him and they cast him out of the vineyard" - Jerusalem - cast out - "and killed him. 'Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?' They said to him, 'he will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.' Jesus said to them," - here's the punch line - he says, "'have you never read in the Scriptures: 'the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits" - what does the Lord want? Fruits.

He doesn't want us to just have the name. He doesn't want us just to have a building. He doesn't want us to have a culture. He doesn't want us to have a registered denomination. I mean, there might be a place for all those things, but what does he want? Christianity is all about 'do you have the Spirit? Do you have the fruits of the Spirit? Are you living the Christian life? And if we don't, he cuts it down, takes the nation away and gives it to a nation that will bring forth the fruit.

Jesus said, 'you'll know them by their - by their fruits.' And then he goes on and he says, "whoever falls on this stone" - oh, by the way, who is the nation? The gentiles and any Israelite that wanted to be part of it, they could also still, but it wasn't just going to be the nation of Israel anymore, the Gospel was going everywhere - whosoever will. And in one generation - it started out the early church was all Jewish but within 40 years the number of gentiles greatly outpaced the number of jews that were in the early church - "'whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.' Now when the chief priests and the pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking of them." - They were right - "but when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitudes, because they took him for a prophet." You know, he quotes from - when they said, 'oh, this is the heir, let us seize him and kill him and the inheritance will be ours' remember when Joseph came to his brothers? They said, 'here comes that dreamer. Let's kill him.' Why were they so upset with Joseph? Because Jacob was going to make Joseph the heir that normally would go to the firstborn. And so, they said, 'we will get the inheritance by killing Joseph - father's favorite. And so they understood what was going on here and they knew he spake this about themselves.

So something I want you to think about here, as we're looking at this is what is this cornerstone? Who's going to read for me, Romans 9:33 - alright, in just a moment I'll get to you. Let me read Isaiah 8:13 - this is the Scripture that Jesus is quoting. "the Lord of hosts, him you shall hallow; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. He will be a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel." - Meaning the southern and northern kingdoms - "as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them will stumble and they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken.

" Alright, read for us, please, Romans 9:33 "as it is written: 'behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on him will not be put to shame.'" Thank you very much. You know, the Bible tells us the apostles say 'we're living stones built on the chief cornerstone' which is Jesus. This whole story about the cornerstone doesn't make sense unless you know about a story that is in Jewish literature but is not in the Bible. And it's referenced by the Bible several times. When they were building Solomon's temple, all the stones were cut at a quarry a few miles away so there was no sound heard when they got to the temple.

This is a quote from Desire of Ages, I forgot the reference, but if you look in there you'll find it. "In quoting this prophecy about the stone rejected, Christ referred to an actual occurrence in the history of Israel. The incident was connected with the building of the first temple. While it had a special application for the time of Christ's first advent and should have appealed with special force to the jews, it has a lesson for us. When the temple of Solomon was erected, the immense stones for the walls and the foundation were entirely prepared at the quarry.

Afterward, they were brought to the place of the building. Not an instrument was to be used upon them. The workmen had only to put them in place for use in the foundation. The one stone of unusual size and a peculiar shape had been brought but the workmen could find no place for it and would not accept it. It was an annoyance to them.

It lay unused in their way. Long it reMained a rejected stone." - It gathered dust and building materials were set on there and blueprints and they stumbled into it and tripped over it and bumped into it because the people from the quarry, they knew it was a cornerstone. They didn't have radios to talk to each other back then. They delivered it and they thought they'd know. And they put it right in the middle because they thought, 'oh, you'll need this first.

' - "So it was right in the way. But time came for them to now pick the cornerstone and to find a stone of sufficient size and strength and the proper shape to take the particular place and to bear the great weight that was to rest upon it, should they make an unwise choice for this important place, the safety of the entire building would be endangered. They must find a stone capable of resisting the influence of the sun, the frost, the tempest. Several stones, at different times had been chosen, but under the pressure of immense weights, they had crumbled to pieces. Others could not bear the test of sudden atmospheric changes and they cracked.

But at last, attention was called to the stone that had been in the middle of the work area so long rejected. It had been exposed to the air, to the sun,the storm - without revealing the slightest crack. The builders examined the stone; it bore every test but one. If it could bear the test of severe pressure they decided to accept it for the cornerstone. The trial was made, the stone was accepted and brought to the assigned position, it was found to be an exact fit.

In prophetic vision, Isaiah was shown this stone was a symbol of Christ." And that's the verse that we just read. The cornerstone - the stone that was rejected. You and I are living stones built up to a spiritual house, but you've got a cornerstone. Any of you ever build a wall - men - with masonry? You know how important it is - you get the bottom stones have to be square or the whole wall tips if they're a little bit out of line. But even more important, if you're building a wall that's got a corner in it, if the cornerstone is not square - because it not only controls one side, it controls the elevation, it controls that wall and it controls this wall and the floor - the pavement.

And so everything goes off of the cornerstone. If the cornerstone is not perfectly squared, the whole building gets out of skew. And so, here the quarrymen had prepared a perfect stone but they didn't like the stone that was brought. They expected something different. And this is an illustration that God had sent Jesus, the rock of ages, for them to build the church upon, but it didn't fit with their - they kept stumbling on it.

Why does it say if you fall on the stone you'll be broken? Is that a bad thing or a good thing? Good thing. It means you're broken-hearted - you fall on the stone and you surrender. But it says on whoever the stone falls, it grinds into powder. Where do we see a stone grinding things to powder? Daniel chapter 2. All the lost kingdoms blow away as the wind.

And so you don't want to be ground to powder, you want to fall on the stone and be broken, but you notice something? Everybody encounters the stone. Either you fall on it or it falls on you. And so Jesus is that rock of ages and - and I did run out of time. No - I've got two seconds left. Now I'm out of time (laughter) and I didn't get to the last section on the cost of grace, so please read Matthew 22:1-14.

I want to remind our friends studying with us we do have a free offer if you missed it at the beginning. It's called blood behind the veil and just ask for offer #130 when you call the number on your screen. We'll send you a free copy. Please read it. You can also go to amazingfacts.

org and read it there and you can watch the archives of this program also at the website. God bless you 'til we study His Word again next week. Amazing Facts has impacted my life. And I just praise God for Amazing Facts. Amazing Facts actually did have an impact on my life.

This whole process - getting where I am today - I felt good about that. I didn't feel condemned. I began reading the Bible and - I got baptized into a Seventh-day Adventist - I realized that there had to be more to life. God is really doing this. The life that he's given me.

This message was so powerful. I'll follow Christ wherever he goes. Amazing Facts. More than 45 years of proclaiming God's message around the world. And then the logo pops across Amazing Facts presents.

I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up and I've never heard this before. Let me - let me look through and find this. That I just couldn't get enough. And so I started doing Bible studies. Every single one of these guys started being changed, including myself.

My question was, 'why did that happen to me, God?' the Lord was able to reach out and - and I actually saw him as a father. I lost everything and that was when I realized that it was God missing in my life. I went to a prophecy seminar, which knocked me out. This message was so powerful and so irrefutable, I just went, 'this is real. This is - this is amazing.'

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