The Message of the Prophets

The Message of the Prophets

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:16, Romans 3:21-28, Hebrews 9:1-8
Date: 03/07/2009  Lesson: 10
The prophets have shared a message with common themes throughout history, which have shaped our understanding of Christianity today.

Patriarchs and Prophets Audio CD Set by Ellen White

Patriarchs and Prophets Audio CD Set by Ellen White
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church in sunny Sacramento, California. Of course we have a little bit of rain today, which is a blessed thing. Wherever you're joining us and however you're joining us across the world, through radio, television, live on the internet this morning, welcome and Happy Sabbath. Our first song this morning we're going to sing is, "marching to Zion," hymn number 422.

And this comes as a request from carnetta in the bahamas, venecia in belize, joy in California, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, melody in Georgia, francisca in grenada, alii in malawi, melissa in New Jersey, frank in Ohio, kaye and Isaac in papua new guinea, and glenn, sam and w.g.c. In the Philippines. Hymn number 422, "marching to Zion," and we'll sing the 1st, the 2nd and the last verse. [Music] I can just imagine all across the world right now people in their homes are standing and singing that song. I love that song.

And we're all Marching together to that beautiful place that is so far from here in so many ways. If you have a special song that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at www.saccentral.org. And there you can contact us on the "contact" link. And you can request any song in our hymnal, and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. I also want to mention another church, emmanuel temple, in durham, North Carolina.

Jessica here was visiting there. And she just wanted to say "hi" to that church that watches faithfully every Sabbath. Our next song is hymn number 633 "when we all get to heaven," another happy song, so if you're standing at home, stay standing. This comes as a request from veronica, stephen, and vicky, henry, betty and ron in California, derron, dale, william in england, rodrigo in florida, Jordan in Georgia, Esther in ghana, kabelo and Esther in jamaica, sherry in Oregon, steven and art in the Philippines, laurence in saint lucia, jackie and krista in trinidad and tobago, James in Virginia, and dacia, anthony and Jordan in australia. And Jordan writes, "hi, my name is Jordan.

I'm 13 and I and my family love Pastor Doug Batchelor. We watch you guys every week. Thank you very much and God bless." God bless, Jordan. And thank you very writing in and requesting hymn number 633 "when we all get to heaven." [Music] Amen. You know I have family that lives all across the country, in Georgia, in Connecticut, in New Jersey.

And I'm looking forward to the day when we can spend every Sabbath together singing to our Lord! I can't wait! Let's pray. Dear Lord, I thank you so much for Sabbath. Thank you that we can come before you in humility, just to honor you for what you have done for us. I thank you so much for laying your life on the cross, that we can be restored to perfection to what you had created us for. I ask you to now please just bless pastor Batchelor as he brings us Your Words.

Lord, just help us to take these words to a dying world, to let them know that you are coming soon. How much you love them. Lord, just help us to be empty vessels to shine your light in every day that we live, that we have left on this planet. Lord, we love you. And we look forward to the day when you break through those clouds.

We pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen. Our lesson will be brought to us this morning by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you, jessica and jolyne, our musicians for leading us. I like that song.

[Singing] when we all-- good to see each of you. I want to welcome our friends who are watching on tv and the internet, and not only are members and visitors here, but are members and visitors there. And that's right. We've got folks now--we've been doing this for 13 years here at Sacramento central. And we've got friends who have been watching that have embraced the message over the years.

And some of 'em have joined as online members because there is no Seventh-day Adventist Church in their community or nearby. And we're getting more and more people who are saying, "we want to be part of the Sacramento central family." And you can learn about that by going to saccentral.org. And you'll get personal communication from pastor. And we go through the baptismal vows and do everything we could possibly do. Though there are some barriers with the internet.

You cannot download a potluck yet. But that day is coming. I think the internet today is to the proclamation of the Gospel what the printing press was back in the days of lutheran gutenberg to the reformation. It's incredibly powerful-- way to communicate with people. And just--oh, I don't know, couple months ago, somebody said, "doug, you need to get a Facebook page.

And I wasn't quite sure what that meant." But they said, "well, we'll help you set it up." And so they set up a Facebook page for me. And they said, "well, doug, you've already got 200 friends." And I said, "what?" And so they showed me and tried to show me how to negotiate and figure it out. And I couldn't believe how connected people are from all over the world now. Now I'm starting to figure out, you know, how to run that thing. And I've lost count, but I've got a lot of friends.

It's kind of nice. Problem is I can't keep up with typing to communicate with them all. But the internet, it's really great. It could also--you could become imprisoned to it if you're not careful. I've been teasing Karen lately, 'cause she got herself a Facebook page.

And now I keep telling her she needs to use more sunscreen, 'cause she's getting computer burn [laughs] talking to all her friends around the world. But anyway, it is kind of an interesting technology. And I see the Lord is using the internet in the last days. And that's wonderful. What else was I gonna say? Oh, I want to talk about the lesson.

First of all, we have a free gift that we always give away. And our gift for today is, "proving the prophets." Our lesson today is, "the message of the prophets." So this gift, or this free gift we're offering, "proving the prophets" is one of our storacle lessons. It is a perfect segue for that. If you'd like a free copy of the Bible study guide, "proving the prophets," call the free number. It's 866-788-3966.

If you're listening, you don't have a pencil, you can remember -study-more. And that'll add up to that phone number. Ask for offer number 776. We'll send that to you just simply because you ask. We're also taking a few moments at the beginning of each of our classes talking about the year of evangelism.

We're in the midst of it now. And we're trying to get 100,000 people coming to the Lord this year through the results of these evangelistic efforts all over the country, indeed all over the world. And we're taking a few moments just giving you some tips of things we've heard that people do to develop relationships and to invite them to the evangelistic meetings. I heard in Michigan about an interesting program, where you know there's so many evangelistic meetings now on dvd, used to be on video, but they're sort of obsolete now, aren't they? How many still have a vcr player? Some. There's still some out there.

You realize that those machines are terminal? It's a question of time, like the 8-track. But anyway, there's a lot of them on dvd and video. But you can get ken cox and shawn boonstra and steven borne, steven walburg, and Doug Batchelor, Mark finley. There's a lot of different video evangelistic series that are out there. In Michigan, they would take two or three single videos--now you would do it with dvd that are even easier to handle.

And they'd go to people's houses and they'd knock on the doors, and they'd say, "you know, we're doing a survey in the community of different Bible-study techniques. If you'd like to watch these two or three, and when we come back, we'll let you decide if you want to keep one of 'em. Tell us which you prefer. And then if you're interested, you can go through the whole series." And so they would do this and a phenomenal number of people said, "well, I like this one better than that one," or "I like this subject better than that subject." They could take all of one series. And then they'd say, "I want the rest of the series.

" They'd say, "we'll bring you another one each week." And then they'd give 'em a lesson to go along with it. And they had incredible results from doing this. Then when the evangelistic meetings began, they would say, "oh yeah, I'll come." And so that's one more thing you can do in your community. People all--you walk to their door and say, "I'd just like to leave this with you. I'm not gonna ask for any personal information.

I'm not asking-- I'm not selling anything. I'm not gonna come and twist your arm." They'll take it. They'll look at it. And they'll go watch it. A lot of 'em do.

So that's just one more idea of things you can do. Now in our study dealing with the prophetic gift, this is the first time in many years we've dedicated a whole quarter's lesson to talking about the gift of prophecy. And for Seventh-day Adventists, we recognize that gift in the ministry of Ellen white. And I want to remind our friends, there is a new website. And it's a dynamic website.

You'll see things up here-- there--this week that weren't there last week. And some things might be gone. So you might want to check out www--by the way, is it still required to say that? Once you say .com or .org, people know about the www. Right? Do you all know that stands for wild wild west? Isn't that right? Anyway, www.Ellengwhitetruth.com. Or if you just type in Ellenwhitetruth.

com, they'll both take you there. And there's a lot of other resources to better understand the role in the ministry. Today, more specifically, we're going to be talking about some of the doctrines. Just listen for a second in what I've got to deal with today. And you all pray for me.

Here's some of the questions we're gonna try to address in the five main topics: "why do we need to keep the law when we're saved by grace?" "What is the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary?" "How does the Sabbath commandment differ from others?" "What is the state of men in death, and why is this important?" And "what does the Bible teach about how Christ will return?" What do you think my chances are of covering those subjects today? So, I better stop talking about it and get into it. When the Seventh-day Adventist Church formed, Seventh-day Adventists are really unique in that we are not really an evolution of one church. We are a melting pot of people from all different, principally Christian backgrounds, or even some jews, that came together and they decided there's one Bible; there's one Jesus Christ, one Holy Spirit. When the adventists went through the great disappointment, they were wondering why are there all these divisions in the denominations? What is the truth? Why are there these differences of doctrines? There must be one truth. And they really put themselves to laying aside all of their preconceived ideas about what biblical truth is.

That's hard to do, you know? When you've been raised believing a certain way to say, "I'm not gonna go by what I've been raised to believe. I'm gonna go by--" or even by what's popular, or what's accepted. What does the Bible really say? And so this small group of believers--mostly young, with the exception of Joseph bates who is a sea captain, probably 35, 40 back then--they got together from all different backgrounds: presbyterian, methodist, Christian church, church of God, I think there's even reformed catholics that were in the group. And they said, "let's just pray and say what does the Bible say?" And you know, they came to some interesting conclusions. There were some major misconceptions in the church about the relationship between law and grace, about the work of Christ presently going on as our high priest in heaven, about one of the Ten Commandments, if not two, that were being neglected--some churches majorly neglect the one about idolatry--about death and hell, and then how Jesus is coming back.

Now we're going to kind of launch into this. And I'll just do my best to cover as much as possible. I might have to stop before I finish a subject so we can go on to another one. First of all, there is a problem. There's a big dichotomy that you're often gonna see.

We are all sinners. We're lost because of our sin. And we are as prone to sin as bees are to honey. Job puts it this way in the book of job 5:7, "yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward." And again job 14:4, "who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one!" Why don't I get someone to look up for me 1 Kings 8:46. Now we handed out a couple of Scriptures.

Do we have someone that has that? "If they sin against thee, for there is no man that sineth not, and thou be angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near." Alright, here Solomon is in the dedication prayer. He's making a statement. And the part of the statement that they're emphasizing in the lesson is: "for there is no one that does not sin." Alright, let me just establish that a little further. Jeremiah 13:23, "can the Ethiopian change his--" I heard someone say "spots." Come on. Don't you know this verse? That's the leopard.

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or can the leopard change his spots? Then may you do good who are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah 17:9, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Romans 3:10-11, "as it is written: 'there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They've all turned aside; they've all together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.'" So that's enough there to establish my point. Humans, in our fallen condition, are sinful. We're selfish. Without outside intervention, we're doomed, because the "wages for sin are death.

" We've all sinned. The penalty for sin is death. That's the problem. We are all terminal physically. And we are all terminal spiritually unless there is an intervention.

Jesus must intervene. And well, he has intervened in the world. So there's a problem. He comes to save us from our sin. But now you've got a couple of considerations here.

When he saves us from our sin, he saves us from the record of our past sins. We've all got a wicked past. Alright, let's just see. Get an audience shot set up here. I just want to embarrass everybody.

How many will admit that in the past you have a record of sins? My hand's up. I can raise both hands. And really, we shouldn't joke about it. Does the Lord forgive those sins? Does the Lord forgive present sin? Anyone want to tell us about present sin? It's easier for us to talk about past sins, "yeah, he'll forgive my past." But present sin, that's the stuff your still in. What about future sin? "God so loved the world," he died for all sin.

Christ--how much sin did he suffer for? All the sin of all the world. Alright, so does accepting Christ mean that he basically is giving us permission to continue sinning? So when it tells us he saves us from our sin, he not only saves us from the record of our sins, but does he save us from the present power of sin? And ultimately he saves us from the presence of sin. So it's the past sins, the power of sin and the presence of sin. Someday we'll be taken in a world where there's no more sin and temptation. But here's where there are two extremes.

And you know, I really like the way it's put in the lesson here. "Christians are always in danger of running afoul of either legalism or cheap grace. Those who fear that talk of assurance of salvation will lead to cheap grace, and the tolerance of sinful behavior stress the importance of obedience. Those who fear that talking of obedience in victorious Christian living directs attention away from Christ and leads to legalism. They emphasize God's part in salvation.

The balanced Christian will have assurance of salvation in Jesus and lead a victorious Christian life at the same time." You believe that? I do. "The two go together like two sides of a coin. Whoever God justifies, he also sanctifies. We cannot have one without the other." Ellen white put that very eloquently in the book, "steps to Christ," page 59 when she said, "there are two errors against which the children of God, particularly those who have just come to trust in his grace--" they're especially vulnerable at the beginning of the Christian experience-- "especially need to guard." Here's the two errors. "The first," already dwelt upon, "is that of looking to their own works, trusting to anything they can do to bring themselves into harmony with God.

He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone through faith that can make us holy." So you've got these two errors. They had it back in the time of Christ with the pharisees and legalism. And if you want to say the sadducees and liberalism.

The pharisees were very fastidious and punctual about their obedience and a lot of self-examination and washings and ritual. Whereas the sadducees, they weren't sure, or they were pretty sure there was no resurrection, no angels, no spirits. I mean, it's a pretty liberal theology if you ask me. They sort of said you sort of make your own heaven and hell here on this earth. So you got these different extremes.

The devil doesn't care whether you're burned with fire or drowned in water, as long as it's one of these extremes. And I've watched people like a pendulum in their own lives. They come to the Lord; they realize they're sinful, and they strain to find peace and righteousness through legalism. And then they almost realize, when they discover that's a mistake, then they go to the other extreme. And they start presuming on God's grace, and it becomes sloppy-agape righteousness by presumption.

And it's all about grace. And they live in the world, and they say, "well, it's okay." They sin presumptuously. And so you get these two extremes. And people will often quote the verse, Ephesians 2:8-10. And matter of fact, I want someone to read that for me.

I didn't hand that out, so I just need a volunteer. "For by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Alright, pause right there, andrew. Just a second. How many of you have heard that part? "We're saved by grace, not of works." Then people go, ppt. Period.

They stop. They move on, next thought. 'Cause they're trying to play up the grace and play down the works. Isn't that how that's usually quoted? But they don't read the next verse. Alright, keep reading now.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." What is the "in them" we're walking in? Good works. So we are saved by grace, not of works. It's a gift. But we are saved to walk in good works. And so we are justified completely by faith.

We come to the Lord just like we are. We are not made righteous by works. We're made righteous by faith. We come to him just like we are. But then because of the grace of God working in our lives there's a change in the behavior.

It's like the story of the unmerciful debtor. He has this tremendous debt. He's forgiven this tremendous debt. This is Matthew 18. And the King expected him to go out and show grace to others, the same way he received it.

But instead, he was so works-oriented, he went out and he took someone else by the throat that owed him a few talents and--not even a talent, $44 I think it is in today's economy, at least it was in February--and he said, "pay me what you owe me or I'm throwing you in jail." And the King said, "look, you wicked servant, I forgave you everything. You are justified by grace because you asked me. I expected you then to pass it on, but because you're not passing it on, you don't get to keep it. And he was then delivered to the tormenters. So we are justified by grace.

God then expects us to extend grace and love to others, to live out that grace in our lives. If we say we're justified by faith and we run right back into the arms of the devil, deliberately I'm talking about, presumptuous sin, then it's a denial of that grace, 'cause that grace will then sanctify us. It changes your heart. If you're really justified by grace, it has a sanctifying influence on the heart. Are we saved at all by works? At least one work we're saved by.

Somebody read for me John 6:29. "Jesus answered and said unto them, 'this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.'" Alright, I'll ask the question again. Are we saved by any works? Did Jesus call believing in him a work? Now the Lord may have said this tongue and cheek, meaning the most important work that you do to be saved is the work of belief. And so when you think about it, this is important because I've met folks who say, "there's nothing you can do that will contribute to your salvation." That is wrong. There is something you do.

You must believe. That's doing something, right? 'Cause there are people who say, "well, since there is nothing I can do, I'm not gonna do anything." Well, you do need to do something. And there's things you can do to believe. "How should they believe in him of whom they've not heard?" Isn't that what Paul says? Well, you put yourself in a place where you're gonna hear the truth and you're more likely to believe the truth. Does that make sense? Go to church; you might hear the truth.

Hear the truth; believe the truth, right? Read a spiritual book. Read the Bible. Hear the truth; believe the truth. Saved by belief. But there's something you can do to believe.

So there's a lot of misunderstandings out there and this very sloppy notion that we're just to sort of drift along in life and hope that faith hits us between the eyes, it just sort of lands on us like getting struck by a meteor one day. No. the Lord has told us that there's things we can do to pursue belief. Yeah, the Bible says, "labor to enter into that rest." And so we ought to seek after God. Again, one of my favorite Scriptures I quote is Jeremiah 29:13, "you'll find me when you search for me with all of your heart.

" So there's a seeking after God. Didn't Jesus say that? "Seek, and you'll find." "Knock and it'll be open." "Ask and you'll receive." And so this faith, this grace that God is offering is something to be appreciated. And we should make every human effort to embrace that grace, that belief, that faith that the Lord is offering us. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. And it's worth our pursuit.

And so the idea that you just sort of roll along whichever way gravity pulls you, or sail along whichever way the wind blows, and if God so chooses, you might get hit with it, that's a pretty loose interpretation of even calvin. I believe that we should seek after God as it's the most important thing. And if the Holy Spirit stirs you, go to where you can hear more, read more, seek after God. And your belief will grow, and you're saved by that belief. Does that make sense? I'd like to take more time talking about this.

I gave out a Scripture that I don't often read. Samuel 14:14. "For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but he devises means, so that his banished ones are not expelled from him." That's a beautiful verse filled with pictures of salvation. This is actually an old widow woman who's really not named, who joab hires to talk to David about redeeming a wandering son, a son that was separated from him.

And she's saying, you know, we're all gonna die, but God has devised means where his banished ones might be brought home. I was reading yesterday in adam clark's autobiography; interesting story, just a statement that he makes that using the old terminology of the english sailors that "God usually fires a shot across the bow before he loads the canon and fires the murderous blow." In other words, before the lethal shot, there's often a shot across the bow in life. God wants to save us. And you probably can all testify to times in your life that the Lord fired a canon shot across your bow to get your attention. And God doesn't want to take a life; he wants to save a life.

And he has devised a way by which his banished ones might not be separated from him. I always thought that was a beautiful verse. And you find it worded differently there. The next section is dealing with the truth of the sanctuary. This is also a unique belief.

Now Seventh-day Adventists--the reason I mention the part about law and grace, righteousness by faith is when you are a Sabbath-keeping church, and it's because of the Ten Commandments we're a Sabbath-keeping church, instinctively other Christians have a knee-jerk reaction to assume that means we're legalists. Right? So we needed to take a moment to explain. "No, we don't believe we're saved by keeping the Sabbath anymore than other Christians believe that they are saved by not lying or not killing or not stealing." Just because a church says, "we don't believe you should lie, doesn't mean they're legalists." And if that's true, then it's also true just because we say we believe you should rest the seventh day, doesn't mean we're legalists. It's one of the Ten Commandments. We believe it should get at least the same kind of recognition as the other commandments.

By the way, it does begin with the word, "remember," emphasizing you shouldn't forget it. So that's why we take time to say, "no, we believe in righteousness by faith, but we obey God because we love God." Now, another unique teaching that's often neglected is the whole idea of the priesthood. The priesthood originally goes all the way back to adam. They had the patriarchal priesthood from adam. That meant whoever the leader of the family was.

Abraham was the priest of his family. Jacob was the priest of his family. And that was God's plan. Then you developed in the priesthood of the levites and aaron and his family. Then new testament times it talks about the melchizedek priesthood.

We're really living under the priesthood now of all believers where we are all a nation of Kings and priests. Fathers should still be mentioned, still be the priests of their family. We still recognize the patriarchal, spiritual leadership in Christianity. But every believer is to be making atonement by leading others to Christ in that sense. But that's talking about what's happening here on earth.

What about what Christ is doing in heaven? The melchizedek priesthood on earth is a little more of an echo of what Jesus is doing in heaven. Paul says melchizedek was a priest who appears without beginning or ending. We don't know his genealogy. Christ is without beginning or end. And even Abraham paid tithe to melchizedek so he was a greater priest than either aaron or levi or Israel, because even Abraham recognized that priesthood.

Christ is the ultimate high priest for all believers. He ever lives to make intercession for us in heaven. Amen? I've got a verse, I think I distributed. Hebrews 8:1-2. "Now the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man.

" Alright, thank you. Very important verse that is contrasting the earthly sanctuary with the heavenly sanctuary. The earthly priesthood with the heavenly priesthood. It says, "here is the main point." And I did a whole lesson on the sanctuary not too long ago, so I'm not gonna spend a lot of time on this section. Here's the main point.

We have a high priest. Christ is our high priest. Where is he now? Seated at the right hand of the throne of majesty in the heavens. We've got a high priest before God almighty, who is seated there. He is a "minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord erected, and not man.

" The tabernacle that Moses and Solomon and Nehemiah and others built here on earth, they were modeled after a heavenly dwelling place where Christ is ministering on our behalf. He is there. And when we pray, we, through the blood of Christ--we don't take the blood of lambs-- do now spiritually enter boldly before the throne of God. We can come before the throne of God with the blood of Christ, pleading not only on our own behalf, but in behalf of others. That's a wonderful promise.

Back in Bible times, they had to go find a levite who would then bring their sacrifices in before the Lord. And then hopefully the high priest on the day of atonement would bring them in. But you and i, through Christ's blood--Christ is our high priest. We've got a friend in high places that goes right in before the almighty on our behalf. You know, what do you see when you pray? Do you ever picture anything when you pray? Sometimes, not always, but when I pray and I see Christ before The Father and of course is illuminated with the glory of The Father.

And I see him with his hands, his nail-scared hands spread out. And he's pleading his blood for me. And he's pleading his righteousness and his perfect life for mine. And it does a lot for me to just remember that I've got a very powerful friend in high places before the most powerful God. Just that picture in my mind settles my heart.

And you probably conjure up your own version of that. But I think it helps for us to remember that. He is there. Let's go to the next subject, the subject of the Sabbath. Now obviously when you think of the baptist church, you often think of a special doctrine of-- baptism.

Right? And when you think the pentecostal church, what Bible doctrine do you think of? Tongues I heard you say. That's probably what I would have said. The presbyterian church used to be known for their unique doctrine that they were led by the presbytery they had sort of unique leadership of the way they were organized in the elders of their church. They were the leaders, independent bodies like that. And the different names of the church sort of identify some of their characteristics.

Seventh-day Adventists, we're gonna take a moment to talk about that, unique characteristics: we believe in the seventh-day Sabbath, as opposed to the first day, because there's no biblical support for keeping the first day. I heard one of the best sermons I've heard on the Sabbath day preached by a Sunday minister. And he did an outstanding job. And much more conservative than the typical adventist about keeping the Sabbath holy and the reasons to keep it. It was very good.

I even played sections of it for stephen in the car. I said, "isn't that good?" I said, "boy, they kept this--" they used to keep Sunday a lot better than we keep Sabbath right now. But then of course he said-- he did a little caveat in his hour presentation--he said, "now of course, we keep it now on Sunday." And he quoted three or four verses. He said, "of course Jesus rose the first day." And I said, "uh! Wait. Where does that say it's a new Sabbath?" Nothing there I know, you know there's nothing there that says this is a new Sabbath.

And he said, "and then you've got in acts 20:7, it says that they had gathered on the first day of the week. And Paul preached to them 'til midnight, 'cause eutychus fell out the window and Paul resurrected him." And I said, "whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Where does that say that's a new Sabbath?" And when it says that they gathered there on the first day of the week and it's night, when did the days begin and end biblically? Sundown. So when you're talking about the evening of the first day, nighttime of the first day of the week is what we would commonly call Saturday night. They'd been together all Sabbath.

The sun's gone down. It's now the first of the week. Paul is getting ready to leave the next day, 'cause it's the first day to go on a journey. In the morning, he's sailing away. And he preaches so late 'cause he's not gonna see these folks again.

Some guy falls asleep and then eutychus falls out the window, probably died; we're not sure. Paul prays over him; he gets back up again. He was resurrected. That's why the story's in there. It had nothing to do.

The word Sabbath doesn't appear anywhere. I mean if God was gonna change the Sabbath, you'd think there'd be some nebulous statement like that? When God gives the Sabbath, he says, "remember it." It's an everlasting covenant. It's there in Genesis in creation. He spoke it from a mountain. He wrote it in stone, part of his covenant.

And all the other Ten Commandments are intact. I don't hear too many arguments about that. If he's gonna change the one that begins with the word, "remember," would it be something vague like that, ethereal, you just have to kind of read into it. "Well, see some guy fell out the window Saturday night and rose from the dead. That means it's the new Sabbath.

" No. How many think that's a good argument for changing one of the Ten Commandments? And then he quoted-- there was one more. And it's in 1 Corinthians 16 where it says, "and on the first of the week let every one of you lay by him and store that there be no offerings when I come." And the word "day" does not even appear there. It just says, "the first of the week." And that's simply saying they're taking a special offering. It's not the regular tithes and offerings for local work.

They're taking a special offering for the famine in Jerusalem. Paul says, "if you want to know what you can give, I don't have time to go to the churches, so lay by him in store." What does "by him" mean? At home. "That there be no offerings when I come." It's just saying, "the beginning of the week, when you do your accounting," you've been to church, you've done your tithe and offering, "when you do your accounting, set something else aside so that I don't have to do a collection. Have it ready to go so I can collect it and keep moving on my way to Jerusalem." And people say, "see, because they said on the first of the week lay something aside, they were in church and it was an offering in church." It doesn't say that. It says actually the opposite.

So a few verses have been tortured. "Oh, but Jesus appeared in the upper room on the first day of the week." Yeah, and he appeared in the upper room on Thursday too. That's when the last supper was. And he died on Friday. How important is that? I mean Jesus did a lot of important things on different days.

Where do we begin to say that whenever Christ does something that we're now supposed to shift the Sabbath holy, blessed day to a new day, 'cause Jesus did something on that day? Where's the argument for that? You know, I used to believe these things. And I used to go to church on Sunday. And I didn't want to be different, but I thought if I'm going to follow the Bible, I can't find strong biblical reasons for doing anything other than being a Seventh-day Adventist, or at least a Sabbath-keeping Christian. Because, you know, what struck me, I think just a year ago, when God calls something holy-- I mean a lot of things we call holy--but when God calls something holy, only a few things are called holy. We say marriage is holy.

That means these two people are exclusively set aside for a love relationship with each other. We say the Bible is holy. The tithe is holy, sacred money not to be tampered with. It belongs to God. And God says the Sabbath is holy.

Of course, God is holy. So, I was thinking one day, if there was a geographic point of focus from heaven on what is the holiest place on earth, if you could argue that, you might say, "well, on the planet, you'd say it's the holy land." Alright, now if you were gonna get a little more specific in the holy land, where would the holiest place be? Holy mountain, on the holy mountain. Holy city, Jerusalem, right? And in the holy city, you got the holy mount. They call it that. Mount Zion, it's where Abraham offered--mount moriah, same mountain.

And on the holy mount they had a holy temple. They're all called holy. And in the holy temple, they had two holies. They had the holy place, and then they had the holy of holies. And in the holy of holies--you see the circle getting tighter? In the holy of holies, they had the holy ark.

And in the holy ark, they had the holy law. You still with me? And in the holy law, there was one commandment in the middle, longest commandment that contains the word, "holy." That's the Sabbath commandment. That's why the devil hates it so much, because everything-- God is love. You can't have love without time. How do you have love without time? Well, with something experienced.

You ever go flipping back through photographs and you have all those sentimental feelings? And you thought, "why didn't know how precious that time was when I was living it and they snapped this picture?" Now looking back, I can see that was a precious time. And we experience love in time. And the Lord says, "I want to have a relationship with you. And I want you to have special relationships with each other, 'cause I want you to pause and think about our relationship by setting aside all things that are not holy, that are secular, focus on this holy time." The devil knows that your relationship with God will not grow without that holy time. So the devil has attacked the Sabbath truth, 'cause you destroy the holy time, you destroy the relationship.

How many marriages fall apart-- he asks on valentine's day-- how many marriages fall apart because there's no quality time? I won't ask for a show of hands, but you all know that's a rhetorical question. Right? Relationships between parents and children and I could go right down the line. Without that time, and the devil attacks that holy time that God has blessed. And if God blesses a day, who has the audacity--what man has the right to say, "I decided to change it." No, I think that's a very reckless thing to do. For us to say, "well, as long as it's one in seven.

" No, don't ever be ashamed of keeping the day that Jesus kept. Don't ever be ashamed of keeping the day that God spoke, that God wrote with his finger. It doesn't matter how unpopular it is in the customs and traditions of the world. If God's Word supports it, that's where you ought to stand. As a Bible Christian, you stand on a "thus saith the Lord.

" And if there is any "thus saith the Lord" that's clear, it's in the Ten Commandments, 'cause he really did say that. Right? And he wrote that, and he never rescinded it. You can't show me anywhere in the Bible where God says, "I have now substituted the first day of the week for the seventh." It's not there. Or any other day. And then some try and argue, "well, the law's been done away with.

" That's a losing argument, because then really you become an accomplice with sin. If sin is the transgression of the law, where there's no law there's no sin. You're saying there's no sin in the world. If there's no sin, we don't need Jesus. And what are we doing here anyway? Right? So that's a very weak argument when people go down that road.

The Seventh-day Adventist movement is a fulfillment of prophecy in connection with the Sabbath. There's a verse I want to read for you. Isaiah 58. That's a long one, so stay with me. Isaiah's contrasting the way the world fasts by afflicting themselves with a kind of fast that God wants.

Isaiah 58:6, "is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, that you bring to your house the poor that are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break forth like the morning, your healing will spring forth speedily, and your righteousness will go before you; and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you'll call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light will dawn in the darkness, and your darkness will be like the noonday. the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you will be like a watered garden, and a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you," your offspring, your heritage, "they will build up the old waste places; you will raise up the foundations of many generations; you'll be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in." Okay, stop right here. He's saying if God's people turn back to the basics of Christianity, he'll bless you in many ways.

He'll heal you. He'll be present with you. And then your children, they will restore the paths that have been neglected. They will repair the breach in the wall. They'll raise up the foundation that's been neglected.

There was a great revival of Isaiah 58, coming back to God during the methodist movement. Wesley and whitfield, this great reformation took place. The children of those reformers, largely became part of the adventist movement. And their work was then to build up and restore the paths that had been neglected. Now it specifically mentions what those paths were.

It says, "you'll be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord honorable, and shall honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, then you will delight yourself in the Lord; and I'll cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." So he said that as a result of this great reformation, the seed of that reformation would come back and restore the doctrines that had been neglected. And he specifically mentions the Sabbath, because there was a breech in God's law, right in the middle of his law, commandment that says, "remember," the one that deals with holy time that will ultimately be part of the seal of God, had been neglected, and so the Seventh-day Adventists have nothing to be ashamed of. We have a very important work to do in inviting Christians everywhere to rediscover the Sabbath, not only what it means is, but what it is, 'cause God did not bless every day.

Someone read for me Genesis 2:2-3. I know I gave that one out. Let's see, did somebody get it? Genesis 2, I don't see any hands here, Genesis 2:2-3. Ray, you gonna read that for us? "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

" Thank you. Now does God make it clear there was a certain day that he rested and blessed? Three times it says, "the seventh day," "the seventh day," "the seventh day." First time in the Bible anything's mentioned three times, it's the Sabbath day. And some people say, "well, man wasn't really required to keep the Sabbath day until Exodus 20. God mentions it here, but he didn't have to keep it." Wrong. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, m-a-n.

That doesn't mean jews; it means man. Adam. "In the beginning, man was made in his image." And do you think that God is resting on the seventh day and man is working in the garden, while God is resting? That's absurd. Of course, the early fathers kept the Sabbath day. That's why they were told to remember it, because for generations it had been forgotten.

That's why when God poured out the manna before they ever got to Mount Sinai, God said, "there'll be no manna on the seventh day, 'cause it's the Sabbath." And he called it his law, way back then before they got to Mount Sinai. So it's always been part of God's law. It's always been for man, not just for the jews. And it's always been on the seventh day. I've said enough about that.

If you want to know more about that, friends, there's a website, Sabbathtruth.com. Www.Sabbathtruth.com. You'll find a lot more information there that will help you with that. Now another unique teaching that the Seventh-day Adventists have that may be different from some Christians, many Christians, or even Sabbath-keeping Christians. But one of those is dealing with the subject of the state of the dead.

Now I saw andrew, you had your hand up. Can I just say a comment? You talked about Isaiah 58:4 today-- let me repeat what you said. If anyone has any question about what the Lord's day is, and some people go to Revelation 1:10 where John says, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." And they assume that's Sunday. There's nothing that calls it the first day or Sunday. Isaiah 58 says, "the Sabbath is my holy day," the Lord's day.

And in the Ten Commandments, he calls it his day. So if you want to know what the Lord's day is, it's always called the Sabbath in the Bible. It's never called the first day of the week. People just superimpose their idea that because Jesus rose the first day, it's the Lord's day. But the Lord never calls it that.

So good point, andrew. I appreciate that. Alright, on the state of the dead, typically Christians believe, but not all Christians, that when you die you immediately go to heaven or hell, even though the resurrection hasn't happened yet or the judgment. And you've been at many funerals, haven't you, where they're talking about, "they're now with the Lord." And you know, I want to be gracious to people that think that because you can understand, we even believe as Seventh-day Adventists, that when a saved person dies, their next conscious thought is the resurrection and being caught up to meet the Lord. That's true.

That will be their next conscious thought. But it doesn't happen until the resurrection. As far as they're concerned, we're happy for them, 'cause the next thing they're gonna know is the trumpet and the resurrection and hopefully the right resurrection, right? But it hasn't happened yet. So the idea that we talk to people like they're up in heaven looking down on us--the Bible, first of all, tells you not to consult with the dead. You know, that's the occult, that's mysticism.

It tells us that "the resurrection is when the Lord descends from heaven with a shout," in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, "then the dead in Christ will rise." It says in 1 Corinthians 15 that those that are-- "Christ will rise at his coming, that--" in the grave nobody knows anything. Somebody read for me psalm 146:3-4. I think jolyne has that there. "Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish.

" I like it better the way it's in the King James version, new king James, it says, "his thoughts perish." And also if you read in Ecclesiastes 9 and 10, it says, "whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might, for there's no knowledge," or wisdom, "in the grave where you're going. The living know they'll die, but the dead know not anything." By the way, there's another website: thetruthaboutdeath.com-- truthaboutdeath.com. I'm telling this to our friends at home because we're gonna run out of time in our lesson before we get to all this. I got 30 seconds now to talk about the secret rapture and the second coming. Makes you want to just sort of throw your hands in the air and see if they ever come back down again, right? So, the Bible's very clear.

The dead are asleep. And as far as he secret rapture, that idea that Jesus comes down again, or people are caught up to meet the Lord while life still goes on earth here for years, and then there's another coming after that, that wasn't taught until darby began to teach that a little more than 100 years ago. All of the early Christians and the Bible interpreters believe that there is one second coming of the Lord when he comes to the earth. He separates the wheat from the chaff right at that time. And that's the end at that point when that happens.

And there's no question about it. Um, I'm out of time. Let me remind our friends, we do have a lesson that talks more about the gift of prophecy. It's called, "proving the prophets," number 776, and we'll send you a free copy. All you got to do is call -788-3966.

And we'll send that to you. Thank you for studying with us, friends. And check out the other websites. There's other information on these subjects there. God bless.

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