Retributive Punishment

Scripture: Job 11:7, Isaiah 40:12-14, Genesis 6:5-8
Date: 11/12/2016 
Lesson: 7
"As humans we should always strive for the right balance between law and grace in our theology and in our dealing with others."
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Good morning, friends. Welcome, again, to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very warm welcome to those joining us across the country and around the world - our extended Sabbath school class. We're delighted that you're part of this time studying together. And also, the members of the Granite Bay church and those who are visiting - always good to see you here Sabbath after Sabbath - early - ready to study the lesson.

Our lesson - we're going to continue in the book of job and we're on lesson #7 which is entitled retributive punishment. Now, for those of you who might not have a copy of our lesson dealing with job, you can go to the Amazing Facts website and you can actually download lesson #7 and you can study right along with us together as we look at this important subject. We have a book that goes along with our study today, it's a book entitled your case in court. This is our free offer this morning, so for anybody joining us across North America, you can call us on our resource phone number 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #192. The number, again, is 866-788-3966 - ask for the book your case in court - offer #192 - and we'll be happy to send that to you.

If you're outside of north America, just go to the Amazing Facts website - you can type in the title of the book, your case in court, and you can read it for free online. Well, before we get to our study, as we normally do, we like to lift our voices in praise. I'd like to encourage and welcome our song leaders to come and let's sing together. Thank you, Pastor Ross. We are excited to be here to sing your favorites with you.

We're ready here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church, so if you're at home, pull out your hymnals and join with us. Our first one is one of my favorites - a child of the King - we're going to do the first, second, and fourth stanzas - #468. When you have the assurance that you are a child of the King, it truly doesn't matter what your lot is in life on this earth - whether you live in a palace or a cottage. As a child, I lived in a mud hut in the jungle of belize for a year with a mud floor and a thatched roof and a boa constrictor up in the ceiling and, you know, truly, it doesn't matter where you live or how much money you have in the bank because one day we're going to be in heaven with a palace and, most importantly, with Jesus, which gives us lots of joy and sunshine in our souls when we think about that, amen. #470 - There is sunshine in my soul today - just on the other side of the page.

And we will also do the first, second, and fourth stanzas. Thank you so much for singing along with us and, at this time, Pastor Ross will have our opening prayer. Let's begin with a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege, once again, to be able to gather in your house, in your presence, to study Your Word. And Lord, as we look to the story of job and see the great controversy being played out and the decisions that are being made, I pray that our faith would be encouraged - that we would be strengthened to recognize your love, and that you're aware of every trial and difficulty that we face.

So bless our time together, in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross. Good morning, friends. Good morning.

How is everybody? It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood - amen. Here in Sacramento. I guess we're not really in Sacramento - we're at the Granite Bay church in rocklin, right? Long story behind that. We are a church plant in granite bay, but right now we're renting a church in rocklin while we build in Granite Bay. People have sometimes typed the Granite Bay church into their gps and they can't find a Granite Bay church in Granite Bay and that confuses them.

Anyway, that's too much information, friends. Welcome to our Sabbath school study time, and we are continuing our study in the book of job and today we are in lesson #7 and the lesson is called retributive punishment. You've heard of retribution? Retributive punishment - and we have a memory verse from job 11:7 and if you want to say that with me, you can go there. This is from the new king James version - job 11:7 - are you ready? "Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the almighty?" I heard a preacher saying, just this week, that because God is all-knowing, that we should despair - not even try to understand why God is doing what he's doing because it's impossible for us to understand the mind of God. I'd respectfully disagree.

Man is made in the image of God and God wants to appeal to our intellect and he says, 'come let us reason together'. God wants us to use our noodle, as they say, he wants us to think and he wants us to know him and he wants us to think about why he does what he does. And so, yes, it is true that we'll never know what God knows - and the Bible says, 'as the heavens are high above the earth, so are my ways above your ways.' the Lord still wants us to think. And I think he enjoys for us to study to better understand his mind. So it is true that we cannot search out the deep things of God.

I think he wants us to know as much as we can and we'll spend eternity trying to understand the mind of God and to be like him. Alright, in our first section here, it's more accusations - now, you realize, as we go through the book of job, the first couple of chapters are telling about the circumstances - things that happen - and then, once you get into chapter 3 on until you get to about chapter 39, it's a dialogue that is happening. And then, eventually, you get into the conclusions where it's talking about some actual events again. We're now into the dialogue. We started last week and we're looking at, principally, today, the responses of bildad in chapter 8 and in zophar in chapter 11.

Now, I want to say just a word about who these characters are. I touched on it briefly last week, but you've got job and his three friends, and then a fourth friend shows up - I'm not going to talk about him yet, before the discourse is done. Eliphaz the temanite, bildad the shuhite, zophar the naamathite. Now, job is actually sometimes harder for us to figure out than his friends. His friends appear in the Bible and so we can kind of get some background.

For example, eliphaz the temanite - you can read in Genesis 36, verse 11 - it says, "The Sons of eliphaz" - it tells us eliphaz was one of The Sons of esau - and then it goes in the genealogy and it says, "The Sons of eliphaz were teman, omar, zepho, gatam, and kenaz." By the way, the kenazites were some friends of the Israelites. You remember this girl named jaal that when a fleeing enemy general came, named cicero, came to her tent, she drove her tent stake in him. She was from the tribe of the kenazites, and so, they were related to esau. Now, you might wonder, 'why does it call him eliphaz the temanite?' He had a son named teman. It was not uncommon for them to name a town after their son.

For example, Genesis 4:17, "and cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son - Enoch." Here he had a son, he named The Son - he named the city after his son - so the reason eliphaz is called 'the temanite' is because he came from the city named after his son. Remember, they lived a long time back then. And you can read in Obadiah 9, "then your mighty men, o teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that everyone from the mountains of esau" - so there you have it again; eliphaz the temanite is related to the children of esau. This was in the deserts that are southeast of Israel.

Next you've got bildad the shuhite - oh, by the way, the name 'eliphaz' means 'endeavor' or 'strength of God'. These are good names these guys had - except bildad, he's got the name 'son of contention'. It makes him sound argumentative. Son of contention - and he's called 'bildad the shuhite. You can read in Genesis 25:1 and 2, "Abraham again took a wife, and her name was keturah.

" - This was after Sarah dies; Abraham marries again. By the way, you know, he may have actually had more than one besides keturah because it talks about 'The Sons of his concubines' - plural - 'he sent away from esau.' Now, they might be thinking the concubines were hagar and keturah, that's why it's plural. They were wondering if he had others besides. But it tells about the names and it says here, he "...gave gifts to The Sons of the concubines which Abraham had;" - I'm, again, in Genesis 25:6 - "and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country in the east." But it says keturah bore him zimran, jokshan, medan, midian, ishbak, and shuah. And so bildad is the shuhite, meaning that he's from the area of shuah.

This is where The Sons of keturah came - eastward again, back in the vicinity of esau. And then you have zophar - and the word 'zophar' means 'to leap'. I was listening to j. Vernon mcgee, that old southern preacher - it says - he said, 'it's because zophar kept leaping to conclusions in his responses to job.' I don't know if I can support that, but I thought it was interesting. He was the naamathite.

You can read in Joshua 15:21, it says, "the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of judah towards the coast of edom" - edom is where the people of esau were, again, descendants of esau, and it names some of them: "...gederoth, beth dagon, naamah" - so some of the cities that belonged to esau - one of them was naamah and you've got zophar the naamathite. And so, it's really conclusive where this all took place and, you know, we don't know, but the Bible does talk about one of the Kings of edom was jobab and some have wondered if this king, jobab, was the same job of the land of edom, because it says he was the greatest man of the east. So, anyway, this just gives you a little background on these guys. And so, we're going to read a little bit, now, of what bildad says and someone's going to read for me, in a moment, James 4:14 - that'll be you, manjeet? Alright, I'm going to read first, job 8 - this is the response after job has broken forth and shared his broken heart. It says, "then bildad the shuhite answered and said: 'how long with you speak these things, and the words of your mouth be like a strong wind?" - How would that make you feel? You ever heard someone called a 'blowhard'? Just because they're full of hot air - some of these expressions, this is pretty much what bildad's saying to his good friend who just lost everybody and everything - "and the words of your mouth be like a strong wind? Does God subvert judgment?" In other words, he's saying, 'why are you saying 'why? Why, Lord? What are you doing? You're doing things wrong' - "does God subvert judgment? Or does the almighty pervert justice? If your sons have sinned against him, he has cast them away for their transgression.

" And so, it's telling us that his sons were suffering because they did something wrong. How do you think it would make you feel if you lost your sons - or your children - and job lost what? His sons and his daughters - and someone said, 'well, it's because they got what they deserved.' Would that be what you'd say to comfort them? Job is broken hearted - not only has he lost everything, he's lost everyone, he's lost his health - and then you've got a friend who says, 'well, maybe they're just getting what they deserve.' Alright, and if you read in job 8:5-9, "if you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the almighty, if you were pure and upright, surely now he would awaken for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place." - He says, 'well, if you were purer, God would step in right now, he would hear your prayer, he'd turn things around - but look, you've been suffering for days, maybe weeks like this - you're probably getting what you deserve.' - "Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly. For inquire, please, of the former age, and consider the things discovered by their fathers; for we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow." Now again, we've got this statement that we need to address. You've got job, you've got his friends. His friends don't know why job is suffering.

But are they speaking the truth? Generally speaking, what they're saying is inspired. And what you're going to read, now, manjeet, is an example of that. We just read where bildad said, 'our days on earth are as a shadow' - is that true? Go ahead, read for us James 4:14. "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

" That's the same principle - our lives are like a vapor. The Bible says it's like grass that springs up and then withers in the sun. Our days are as a shadow. Compared to eternity, how long are our lives? Have you noticed that when you were young, it seemed like it took forever for a year to go by? And I distinctly remember thinking - my brother had his tenth birthday and I thought, 'man, I'm seven - ten, I'll never get there. That's forever.

I'll never live to be ten.' And it just seemed so eternally far away that the days seemed to drag by. And now, I'll tell someone - they'll say, 'when did that happen?' I'll say, 'oh, maybe last year.' And then I'll look and I find out it was six years ago. And I go, 'wow! I can't believe how quick the years go by.' Anyone else? You know what I'm talking about? It's like you build momentum and it seems like it rolls quicker and quicker and you lose your consciousness of time. And you realize, finally, our days are just like a shadow. And so, a lot of what bildad is saying is true, but he misunderstands why job is suffering.

I'm going to jump back to bildad's response - go to job 8, verse 10 - job 8, verse 10 - and someone's going to read for me, in a moment here, Ecclesiastes 8:12, okay? In job 8:10, "will they not teach you and tell you, and utter words from their heart? Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the reeds flourish without water?" And so what bildad is saying, he says, 'if you're suffering there's sin. You did something wrong.' You see how he's reasoning these things? It's a cause and effect principle. And he goes on to say, "can the reeds flourish without water? While it is yet green and not cut down, it withers before any other plant." - If there's no water, it'll wither right away - "so are the paths of all who forget God; and the hope of the hypocrite shall perish," - now, is that true? Did Jesus talk about the hope of the hypocrite perishing? - "Whose confidence shall be cut off, and whose trust is like a spider's web." You know, sometimes you want to hang on a rope that can support you. You wouldn't have a lot of trust in a little spider's web - "he leans on his house, but it does not stand. He holds it fast, but it does not endure.

" - Some people have built rickety houses and when the wind came up, the house went over - "he grows green in the sun, and his branches spread out in his garden. His roots wrap around the rock heap, and look for a place in the stones. If he is destroyed from his place, then it will deny him, saying, 'I have not seen you.' Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth others will grow. Behold, God will not cast away the blameless," - this is the principle of what he's getting at - "God will not cast away the blameless, nor will he uphold the evildoers." Does it seem, sometimes, that innocent people are swept away in some catastrophe? If a plane goes down, do we automatically assume that everybody on that plane was a sinner and their judgment came? Is that what bildad is saying? Well, in principle, when God does take a person away, there's - the Bible says 'a curse causeless will not come' - there's something going on, but isn't war indiscriminate? Is everybody that's hit by a drunk driver that was their judgment? Or have we all known innocent people that are struck down? And you wonder, what does that mean? Is it always immediate cause and effect or is there a war going on in the world between good and evil? I just got done listening to a lengthy series on philosophy in light of Christianity, and some philosophers have said there can't be a God - or, if there is a God, God is not good. Because if we see bad in the world and if we see innocent suffering, if God is all-powerful, he would not allow that.

Have you heard people reason this way before? And, you know, a number of philosophers said, 'so therefore, either there is no God or God can't be good. Because if he's all-powerful why would he allow the innocent to suffer?' And what they're misunderstanding is they don't realize there's a Great Controversy - there's a battle where, yes, God does have the power, but he must allow. Sometimes, cause and effect of the creatures he's made. Have you, as parents, ever stood back - you had an opportunity to intervene in some sibling squabble between your children and you did not intervene because you wanted them to experience the consequences of their decision. Do you know what I'm talking about? I'm not talking about if they're walking in front of a, you know, careening car.

I'm talking about sometimes they insist on kneading their bread with a hairbrush and you try to explain, 'you know, there might be hair in your bun when you bake it' - but you let them just find out. I'm sharing this by experience. (Laughter) our daughter, rachel, one time wanted to help bake bread and she wanted to knead the bread with her hairbrush. We said, 'you know, that may not work.' 'I want - it's perfect' and there was a lot of hair in the bun when she got done. And you just have to let them find out.

Well, God, sometimes has had to stand back. And, because - what would have happened if, as soon as lucifer rebelled, God struck him with lightning? Or as soon as some of the angels decided to listen to lucifer, he just destroyed them all? The other good angels would wonder, 'well, maybe they were right. Maybe we should just fear God.' God had to often allow things to play out so you can see 'what is the result of good and evil in the world?' And it's horrible that we have to experience that, but he wants to make sure, once this is over with, sin will never rise up again. And so, we see the cause and effect of good and evil in the world today and God, sometimes, waits and allows things to reveal themselves. It doesn't mean God isn't powerful.

It doesn't mean God isn't good. It means there's a battle. And it doesn't mean every time something bad happens that God did it. Does the devil ever cause evil? Yes. You know, the first thing we learn in the book of job - you pull away the curtain and you see that God withdrew his protection from job and, basically, gave the devil license.

But it was the devil who brought the sickness, who brought the calamity, who brought the reverses on job, and job lost virtually everything in one day and then he lost his health completely another day. And it says, 'the devil went forth from the Lord and smote job.' So the devil can cause war, sickness, disease, disaster, plagues, all kinds of things. What does the insurance company call those things? Act of God. An act - I don't know if they call that 'acts of God' anymore. I think they've changed the language to 'natural disaster' or something like that, but they used to call it an act of God.

And, you know, if you're - if you miss a flight and you got to the airport on time - and if you missed a flight because there was a mechanical problem, the airline is supposed to - because if it was their airplane you missed a flight, they're supposed to either help you book another flight or get you a hotel and take care of your flight and a meal - I've had to go through that many times - but if the weather is the problem for your missing your flight, they say, 'that is out of our control.' And they may help you rebook, but you might have to sleep in the airport. 'It's an act of God. We can't control that.' And you can tell the flight attendant that's booking you, 'the devil did it.' See if that'll help. It wasn't God. Alright, go ahead, read for us Ecclesiastes 8:12.

"Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God." Many, many, many people in the world misinterpret the patience of God as the approval of God. 'Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore The Sons - the hearts of The Sons of men are fully set in them to do evil.' Because God does not strike wicked with lightning as soon as they disobey, they interpret that, since things are going smoothly, 'God must be blessing me. I must be doing the right thing.' Not so. He's just really patient.

And though it may look like an evil person is prospering - and this is what Solomon is saying in Ecclesiastes 8, 'though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his days are prolonged,' does that mean God's blessing him and his days are prolonged? No, it means that God is patient. God does not zap a person immediately every time something - he does something bad. And, likewise, God does not always bless a person immediately, every time they turn and do something good. Jesus said - and you've heard me quote this many times in our study of job, 'God sends the rain and the sunshine on the good and the bad.' Sunshine can be a blessing; sunshine can be a curse - if it's drying out your crops and killing everything - rain can be a blessing; rain can be a curse. Rain is good if you've just planted your seed.

Rain is bad at certain times of the harvest. So when Jesus is talking about the sunshine and the rain, he's saying, 'good and bad comes to everybody.' God is a loving God and sometimes he'll bless people that are even rebelling against him. Don't misinterpret his blessings and think that must mean 'I'm doing everything right' and don't misinterpret trials and think it must mean that I sinned and did something wrong, because good and bad comes to every body. Have you ever - you know, something bad happens and you think, 'what did I do?' We don't always know why what's happening is happening. We can know that God is a loving God.

Alright, here's the next section. We're going to jump now - we kind of looked a little bit at the answer of bildad. Matter of fact, let me see here, I better keep moving here - we're going to go to chapter 11 - job 11 - and now we're looking at some of the answers of zophar the naamathite. And he says if you - well, let's look at verse 1, "then zophar the naamathite answered and said:" - in verses 9 and 10 you've got job's response to bildad - in verse 11, zophar the naamathite answers and said, "should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be vindicated? Should your empty talk make men hold their peace? And when you mock, should no one rebuke you?" Again, his other friend said, 'you're just full of hot air' and now zophar is saying, 'what a bunch of empty talk. You're talking about your righteousness.

God always punishes the wicked. And so he says - and you go to verse 4 - "for you have said, 'my doctrine is pure, and I am clean in your eyes.' But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against you, that he would show you the secrets of wisdom! For they would double your prudence. Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves." In other words, 'you're suffering, job, but you're really getting less than you deserve.' Was he right or was he wrong? Both. I know, whenever you're trying to talk out of both sides of your mouth like that, it sounds like you're running for some public office. But I just - I want to be careful.

What is the penalty for sin? Death. Death. Is job sinless or did he also sin? Sinned. All have sinned and fallen short. So had job sinned? The penalty for sin is death.

Job was not dead, so he was getting less than his iniquity deserved. Frequently people ask me how I'm doing and I say, 'better than I deserve.' Is that right of all of us? Amen. I don't always feel that way, but I know it's true. But, compared to other people - since - let's just assume all of us are living by the grace of Jesus. Job was not suffering now because of a sin, because God had already shown him mercy for his sin.

They misunderstood his suffering. They said, 'oh, but if God were to open your eyes, there's something you don't realize that - you're suffering for some sin and you're getting a judgment.' Someone's going to read for me, in a moment, psalm 130, verses 3 and 4 - emma, you'll have that? I want to read, for you, 2 Samuel 12, verses 5-7, "so David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to nathan, 'as the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! Then nathan said 'you are the man!'" - Go to verse 13 - I'm in 2 Samuel 12 - "so David said to nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' And nathan said to David, 'the Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.'" That's why, when bildad says, 'God is punishing us' - I'm sorry, it was zophar - 'he's punishing us less than our iniquity deserves.' The penalty for sin is death. All of us, right now, are alive because of God's mercy. Now that's because we're Christians, right? Really? How about the people that are all milling around the world right now that are not Christians, that are alive - have they sinned? What's the penalty for sin? Death. How come they're alive? Mercy of Jesus.

It's the mercy of Jesus. Do you realize Jesus dying on the cross - we always think, 'well, he died for my sins.' Jesus also died to buy time for the lost to find him, because he could have just destroyed them but he died to buy probationary time for even the lost to find him. And so, all of us are getting less than our iniquity deserves. Alright, and if you go to job 11, we're going to keep reading some of his statement - zophar - "can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the almighty? They are higher than heaven - what can you do? Deeper than sheol - what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea." God is infinite in his knowledge. He is infinite in his life.

He is omnipresent and so, through eternity, we will be searching to better know God and we will progress in our understanding of God. The highest education that anyone could receive is theology. You know what theology is? Theo is God; ology - study of - geology, paleontology - it's the study of God and to understand God gives everything else purpose and meaning. It gives meaning to what happens in the minute things of our day. It gives meaning to what's going on in the cosmos - the universe - is to understand God.

That's why we should spend time in prayer every day, contemplating spiritual themes. Isaiah 55:9, it is true, God is bigger than we are. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Then again, go to Isaiah 40, verse 12, "who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, measured the heaven with a span" - you know what a span is? This is a cubit - a span was when you could go between - you go your fingers - and that was called a span - and so, when it says God measures the heavens with a span - "and calculated the dust of the earth in a balance [measure]? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as his counselor has taught him? With whom did he take counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge and showed him the way of understanding?" God, The Father and creation - The Son in creation and the spirit in knowledge and wisdom. We can't advise God but, you know, that's what makes it so wonderful. You remember when God was on his way to destroy sodom and God's talking with Abraham and they're walking and talking? Back in Bible times, when you were going on a journey and, after you'd been visiting somebody, they would, you know, in America you walk them to the door - that's supposed to be polite.

Karen slowly taught me that. But in Bible times, when someone was leaving, you didn't just say good-bye at the door, you took a few steps with them on their journey. You remember when Ruth and orpah - I always want to say oprah - orpah went on the way with naomi and they were seeing her off. And she said, 'look, you've gone far enough. Now's the time to turn and go back.

' Abraham was seeing the Lord on his way and God says to Abraham, 'will I hide from you, since you're my friend, what I'm about to do to sodom? Because I know you've got family there. You're a friend. I've got to let you know. I'm going to destroy the city.' Abraham starts to argue with God about 'won't you spare the city if there's at least a few righteous people there?' And they go back and forth in this dialogue. Couldn't God have just said, 'Abraham, will you - look, I'm God, just trust me.

I'll kill as many as I need to kill.' But they get into this dialogue. Does God like that? Does the Lord want to reason with us? Does the Lord like when you pray and you just - you don't give him a list, but you conversate with the Lord in your prayers? He wants to commune with us, doesn't he? I mean, you look in the Bible: the Lord delights to reason with us. Moses on the mountain - 'Moses, I've had all these Israelites I can take. I'm going to wipe them out. Tell you what, I'm going to wipe them out, I'll make a great nation of you and I'm going to start over again.

' And Moses said, 'look, you don't want to do that. I mean, the Egyptians are going to see that and they're going to say, 'you know, God was just not powerful enough. He could take them out of Egypt, but he couldn't make a great nation and bring them into the promised land. He's not a powerful God and it's going to be bad for your reputation, Lord, you don't want to do that.' And God says, 'you know, you're right. Glad you thought of that.

' But it's just - like God didn't know. But they're having this conversation and Moses is interceding. But the Lord likes when we talk to him. You know that song? 'He walks with me and he talks with me'? Jesus said, 'can you come and pray with me in the garden?' He wanted them to be in communion with him. So yes, God is great, his knowledge past finding out, but he does want to commune with us.

Luke 13:1 - it says - sometimes we automatically think, when bad things happen, it's because they got what they deserve. This is another important verse to explain that principle. Luke 13:1 - and I'll read through verse 5, "there were present at that season some who told him about the galileans whose blood pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." - There was an event where, during a feast, a number of galileans were in the temple and things got out of hand - there was a riot - pilate sent soldiers into the temple and there they were. Offering sacrifices, and many were slaughtered in the temple, in the process of offering sacrifice. And you know what the jews thought? 'Wow, if they were in the temple, the presence of God, and they died there, they must have been really bad.

' That's what everybody was assuming. And listen to how Jesus responds to that thinking - "do you suppose that these galileans were worse sinners that all other galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." Good things happen to bad people; bad things happen to good people - the bottom line is everybody needs to repent or they'll perish - "or" - and Jesus talks about something else that was in the headlines there around Jerusalem - they maybe had had an earthquake or there was some rain and a wall eroded and a bunch of people were standing by a wall as it fell over and they died - "or those eighteen on whom the tower in siloam fell and killed them," - eighteen people were killed - "do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?" - There's that question we ask when a plane goes down - 'they must have been bad sinners' - 'well, lots of planes fly every day. Because that plane went down, they must have been really bad.' Do you ever think those things? I was sitting on an airplane next to a lady - I heard - c.d. Brooks said this once and it happened to me too - it was on an airplane, there was a bunch of turbulence and somehow the lady found out that he was a pastor and she says, 'well, as long as I'm sitting next to a pastor, I guess I'm okay.' And someone told me the same thing. We were on a rough plane she said, 'oh good.

I'm safe if I'm next to a pastor.' It's like we're a good luck charm. (Laughter) I could probably show you - pastors have died in plane crashes too. So, you know, the idea that because something bad happens they were worse sinners. Jesus said, 'no, but unless you repent you'll perish.' So there's two kinds of death: you've got the eternal death and you've got the death that all men die. Turn real quick with me to the book of Ezekiel.

I was looking at this just before I got up to preach and I didn't get a chance to find - or got up to teach, I should say - the verse. But yeah, look at Ezekiel chapter 18, verse 3, "'as I live,' says the Lord God, 'you shall no longer use this proverb..." All souls are mine; the soul of The Father as well as the soul of The Son is mine; the soul who sins shall die.'" Now, wait a second, doesn't everybody die? They say it's as sure as taxes, right? He's not talking about that death. "But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right; if he has not eaten on the mountains," - talking about to the pagan Gods - "nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, nor defiled his neighbor's wife, nor approached a woman during her impurity; if he has not oppressed anyone, but has restored to the debtor his pledge; has robbed no one by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing; if he has not exacted usury nor taken any increase, but has withdrawn his hand from iniquity and executed true judgment between man and man; if he has walked in my statutes and kept my judgments faithfully - he is just; he shall surely live!' Says the Lord God." Now, what does Ezekiel mean, 'he will surely live'? Does that mean he won't die? No, they all died also. So what does Ezekiel mean when he says this person who follows God will surely live? He's talking about the life that doesn't end - eternal life. And then he says if he has a son who is wicked, he'll die.

He's talking about he's going to die the second death, and we'll get to that a little later. So you've got this principle when it talks about they'll not perish - it's not talking about you'll not perish in this life, it's eternal life. Divine retribution is the next section, and it is true that there is - there are examples in the Bible of the Lord - just severe judgment. You've got the flood, for example, Genesis 6:5-8, "then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and he was grieved in his heart.

So the Lord said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth," - do you see the connection? Every thought sinful - I will destroy from the face of the earth. So did God destroy them the same day he made that declaration? Or did 120 years go by? God's very patient, isn't he? "'I will destroy man whom I have made [created]'...but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Why? You read the next verse, it says Noah walked with God. So there's a connection between the obedience and the finding grace in the long run. Noah survived this calamity. You can read 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 5, "for this they willfully forget: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.

But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition" - pardon me - "the day of judgment and perdition of unGodly men." The same way there was a judgment that fell on people back in the days of Noah, is there going to be a future judgment? Who is judged? The perdition of unGodly men. And so, in the days of Noah, did God preserve Noah through that judgment? In the final judgment, will God preserve his people? During that judgment? So when we're studying the subject of divine retribution, God knows how to single out the wicked, although it doesn't always seem that way, he does know how to single out the wicked and to preserve the just. Okay, here's a couple of examples of that - well Exodus - I'm sorry, Genesis 13:13, "but the men of sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord." But did he save lot out of that? And he judged the others. And then, even among God's people, sometimes, the Lord has brought judgment down among people who profess to serve the Lord. One example that's given talks about the rebellion of korah that you find in Numbers 16:1, "now korah The Son of ishar, the son of kohath, The Son of levi, with dathan and abiram The Sons of eliab, and on The Son of peleth, sons of reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregations," - there must have been a couple million at this point - "representatives of the congregation, men of renown.

They gathered together against Moses and aaron, and said to them, 'you take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?'" Well, God had chosen Moses and he said, by His Word, 'Moses is my representative' and they didn't like that. They said, 'we're all - any of us could be - you - you put yourself over us' - and there was, sort of, this rebellion over authority and who had authority and you have some of that going on even in the churches today. Amen. Deuteronomy 4:4, it tells us that we should keep his statutes and his commandments that he commands us that it may be well with us and our children.

You know, I never did finish reading what happened here - I've got to - you jump to Numbers 16 - hang on here - Numbers 16 - it tells about the rebellion and, finally, you can read in verse 23, they would not repent - in korah's rebellion - and "so the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'speak to the congregations, saying, 'get away from the tents of korah, dathan, and abiram.' Then Moses rose and went to dathan and abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spoke to the congregation, saying, 'depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.' So they got away from around the tents of korah, dathan, and abiram; and dathan and abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children. And Moses said: 'by this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will.'" - And all of Israel is watching - "'if these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men,'" - they get old, they die, they maybe get a sickness and they die - "'then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord creates a new thing,'" - our study section is named after that - "'and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the Lord.' Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split" - it's like Elijah, right after he got done praying, it happened. Right after Moses said this - if God does a new thing - the ground split like a great earthquake - ".

..under them, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them" - their family, their tent - everything - "went down alive into the pit;" - and after they all fell in there screaming, then the earth closed up like a vault door. That would encourage you to be good, wouldn't it? If you saw that? So are there examples in the Bible of just immediate justice and judgment? When ananias and sapphira - acts chapter 5 - when they sinned and Peter says, 'you've not lied to men, you've lied to God' and all of a sudden they drop dead, that was pretty severe. Does God, sometimes, hold sin more severely in the church than in the world? Because higher expectation - to whom much is given, much is required - that's why it's very dangerous for us to rebel against God. Someone's going to read for me, Deuteronomy 5:29 - do you - you've got that, John? Before you get there, I'm going to read Deuteronomy 4:40, "you shall therefore keep his statutes and his commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.

" If you're obedient, it's a general principle: it'll go well. It doesn't mean you'll never have problems, but it'll go well. Go ahead, read Deuteronomy 5:29. "Oh that they had such a heart in them that they would fear me and always keep all my commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!" Why does God want us to keep his commandments? Just to prove he's right, or because he loves us? And he said that it might be well with you - because if we don't keep his commandments, we'll be lost and he doesn't want us to be lost. He's not willing that any should perish.

He wants us to obey and live - is what it says. Now we can only do it by his power, but there's no question he wants us to do it. So when good and bad comes to each person, we might wonder, 'why is this happening to me?' It might be temporary. It may not always be because of our behavior. It could be God's teaching us through the trials that come.

There's an interesting quote in the - actually, this isn't in the lesson; I found this one - it's the faith that I live by, page 64, "God never leads his children otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with him. When you trust God, you know that in the judgement, if you could look back on the trial you're going through, and see through God's binoculars, you'd say, 'oh, now I know why that happened. That was exactly what needed to happen.' And you would be content. It'd be nice if we could know that ahead of time, but we don't always know it ahead of time. Alright, we're just about out of time.

Last section: the second death - and there is a judgment - we all go through trials but there is a trial from which there is no recovery and that is the second death he speaks of in Revelation when it says, 'death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.' And the lost, in that case, will declare, as it says in Jeremiah 8:20, "the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!" And that means they've waited beyond mercy - the point of no return - probation is closed - and that's not a very good note to end on so let me tell you about the free offer instead. (Laughter) we'll send this to you for free - it's called pending: your case in court and it talks about the judgment and God's love in the judgment. Ask for offer #192 and the number is 866-788-3966 and that's 866-study-more.

When you get it and read it, then please share with your friends. God bless you, our friends that are watching, our extended members and class, and we'll look forward to studying his word together again next week. Amazing Facts, changed lives. You know, I wasn't raised to be a methamphetamine manufacturer. I wasn't raised to be a drug dealer.

I was raised in the church. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be in the in crowd. I wanted to feel accepted, so I got into all the things that my friend was into. She was an avid drinker and by the time I was 16 I was drinking quite a bit.

And pretty soon someone asked me if I wanted to have some cocaine. And one thing led to another that I - pretty soon I started to sell cocaine and I thought, you know, 'I can quit any time I want.' That this really doesn't have a hold on me. And one day my friend, she was driving, a train had went by and somehow she didn't see the other train coming and she didn't make it. And that right there just devastated me. It was at that point that I just cried out to God and I said, 'God, you know, do whatever you have to do.

I don't care what it is. Intervene in my life.' My parents, in the meantime, had been praying for me - that I would come back to the Lord. They actually had invited me to a prophecy seminar. I decided to come, but I went there high and, I'm not proud of it - why I even mention it today is because I just want you to know the Holy Spirit is much more powerful and he started working on my heart. It's like I - I knew that the Holy Spirit was convicting me, but yet it wasn't even like it was me, literally, I was picked up and taken down to the front.

You can be raised in the church and do all kinds of things and - and the devil will make you think that he - that God won't accept you back, but God is merciful. He is loving and he - it doesn't matter what you've done, he just wants you to come back home. Together we have spread the Gospel much farther than ever before. Thank you for your support. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming, visit the Amazing Facts media library at 'aftv.

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