Interpreting the Prophetic Writings

Interpreting the Prophetic Writings

Scripture: Luke 24:27
Date: 03/14/2009  Lesson: 11
Since prophetic writings are communications from God, they can be difficult to understand sometimes. Proper study techniques can yield results with confidence.

Does God Inspire Astrologists & Psychics by Bill May

Does God Inspire Astrologists & Psychics by Bill May
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you this morning who are joining us, like you do every week from across the country and around the world. We welcome you to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. It is a beautiful sunny day here in Sacramento. I know that's not like that all the way across the country. Some of you are having snow and rain, but we're enjoying the sunshine for you this morning.

We're gonna sing a couple of your favorite songs that have come in. And the first one is 473, "nearer my God to thee." And this is from bernard in germany, trevor in Idaho, randy and kimberly in Kansas, suzanne in Missouri, and donna in Texas; , all five verses, "nearer my God to thee." Oh, I like the words of that last verse. You know, one day we are going to be on our way to heaven, believe it or not. And one of my favorite topics, my themes is the resurrection and heaven. And imagine that day when the graves burst open and we're united, we're reunited with our loved ones and we're on our way to heaven.

And we're going to go past the stars and out of the milky way galaxy all the way to heaven. And that is gonna be very exciting. If you have a favorite song request that you would like to sing with us, on an upcoming Sabbath, you know what to do. Go to our website at saccentral.org, click on the contact us link and send in your song request. And we will do our best to sing that for you, I know it's taking a while to get through some of your requests.

But we have about 3,000 of them that have come in the last, just the last couple years. But we're doing our best and we are getting through them slowly but surely. Our next song is 294, "power in the blood," 294. I forgot to say who requested that song. Was vanessa, natalie, and cindy, all the way in australia; krishon in bahamas; emanuel in barbados; evelyn, barbara, and ron in California; James in england; jim, dianne, jamie, and buffy in florida; odessa in honduras; anna in Illinois; donald in Mexico; tina in Montana; melissa in New Jersey; tammy in Oregon; melvin roy in the Philippines; gillian in trinidad and tobago; freddie in the united arab emirates; and Joshua owens all the way in hampshire england who says he's "12 years old and he enjoys watching 'central study hour' with his mom, dad, and sister alicia who is 8.

" So, Happy Sabbath to Joshua and everybody else who sent in that request. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for the power that is given to us through your death. We have power because you died and you live and you love us and you are watching over us, and we can claim victory through you. You live down here in this world that was sinful, but you never sinned and father, you are our example.

We thank you so much this morning for that. I pray that you will be with each one as we study together, be with those that are here at central church and those that are joining us wherever they are, whether the radio, the television, or the internet this morning. Father, be with each one. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Thank you very much debbie and jessica and anthony and our musicians. I wanna welcome our friends who are here today and studying with us, we're very glad to see each of you. I wanna welcome our extended class, those that are studying with us on television and it's always it good to hear from you. It's encouraging to me when I hear The Song requests coming in from just about every corner of the globe, amen. And you never know what country you're gonna hear named next.

That's one of the marvels of satellite television. And I wanna thank the networks that are broadcasting this for us. I believe they all do it as a service. And we're very grateful for that. We're going to get to our lesson in just a moment, we have a free offer that corresponds with our study today.

It's called "the faithful witness." And if you'd like a free copy of this book by sharon cruise, it's called "the faithful witness." Just call the number -788-3966, Ask for offer number 104 and we'll send it to you just to help enhance your Bible study, because we're nice people. And you ask for that and we'll put it in the mail for you. Also, want to remind everybody that we're right now in what we're calling the year of evangelism. And every church in North America is being encouraged to engage in some aspect of evangelism. And so we've been talking a little bit at the beginning of our study time about different things you can do to help encourage soul winning in your districts.

By the way, there's a website called share the hope. And if you'd just type in share the hope into Google or yahoo, it'll take you to that website, I believe. And they've got a lot of resources where you can go to the different media ministries and get names of people who are interested in your area, different study resources, different--how to get evangelistic handbills. Some people are engaged in evangelistic meetings right now, number of churches. Typically the prime time of the year for evangelism in the northern hemisphere is the fall.

And so I think most churches are sort of gearing up to do some evangelism this coming fall, right after school starts. And one thing you might consider, not every church can afford an evangelist, not every church even has a pastor. But there's a growing trend, especially in light of the strained economy, some conferences have had to even cut back on the number of ministers. But there are lay ministers that are being trained across the country by a number of organizations. And not only "Amazing Facts," we have a program called afcoe, where laymen are trained to do evangelism and Bible work.

There's arise, there's mission college, and some others I can't remember them all. But you can call these organizations and ask them, "do you have some laymen that are trained to do lay evangelism and Bible work?" Sometimes even if the pastor is gonna do the evangelistic meeting, you bring in a Bible worker for a few weeks or months before and they can then train members to do Bible work, to give Bible studies, to follow up on the interests that have been developed. And it can really help maximize your harvest in evangelism. You might even want to attend one of these programs yourself. You've thought, I'd like to do more ministry, but I still have a job.

You might take one of these Bible training programs. I think, in the end if pastors are doing their job the way they should, they'll all be in jail. That means, who's gonna finish the work? It's gonna be the laymen. And we need to mobilize the members. So, you might look into the one of these lay training programs or how you can attend or recruit one of the graduates to help your church do Bible work or evangelism.

Just another idea, trying to give you a few little thoughts to think about at the beginning of each of our study times. Some evangelistic tips. We're in our lesson dealing with the prophetic gift. And today we're on lesson number 11, dealing with interpreting the prophetic writings. Now, this is a little bit of a cerebral lesson today.

So, I'm not sure that I'm qualify to teach it, but I'm gonna do my best. It's talking about how to really study the Bible, how do we interpret the writings of the prophets? And it's a very interesting study. I have a number of Scriptures we're going to consider and our memory verse is from Luke 24:27, this is in the new king James version. I'll be thankful if you wanna say this with me. Luke 24:27, you ready? "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

" This is the story when Christ was walking after the resurrection on the road from Jerusalem to emmaus and he's speaking with cleopas and his partner. And they didn't know it was Jesus at first. And there'd be moaning, of course, that the Messiah has died and they don't understand what's happened and they're bewildered and confused. And Jesus says, "oh, fools in slow heart to believe all the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and entered into his glory.

" And then this verse, "and beginning at Moses," start of the Bible, "and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." And I've often told our afcoe class, how much would you pay for an audio recording of the sermon of Jesus doing an exegesis? Can't get a better exegesis than an exegesis from Jesus. Going from Moses to Malachi, showing in all of those Scriptures how he was the Messiah. What better way or place to interpret the writings than allow Jesus to do it. How much would that cd recording be worth? Do we have any idea of what he said? Well, I do, I do think we do. First all, did the disciples hear what he said? So, in the writings of Peter, James, and John and Paul, because I'm sure Paul heard from them.

We can learn from their example how Jesus told them to interpret the prophets. For example, we've got a number of ways we can show you how to do this. Now, I've got some Scriptures I've distributed to different people, some of 'em I did not distribute. Somebody please look with me at John, the Gospel of John 19:36-37, I don't have that distributed, so I need a volunteer to hold up their hand. John, first, where are the microphones? Got a microphone there, microphone here.

I want John 19:36-37. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, not one of his bones shall be broken. And again-- keep going. And again, another Scripture says, they shall look on him who they pierced. All right, now here John who, of course knew Jesus, is interpreting an old testament prophet.

And he's applying the Scriptures, he's applying the Scripture of course in Exodus 12 where it says, "the passover lamb bones should not be broken." But he's also referring to, psalm 22, it's a messianic psalm verse 17, "I may tell or count all my bones." Now, this is the story that happens in the Bible when Jesus is crucified. In Luke, it tells us he's crucified between two thieves, in John it tells us they broke the legs of the thieves on the right and left. But when they came to break his legs to accelerate his death, he was already dead. And then John says, "this was a fulfillment of an old testament prophecy." So, they probably heard Jesus tell them how to interpret these old testament prophecies. Sometimes it's a verse here and a verse there and you go, why not what it said before and after? And you know, sometimes this is a mystery, because, well, let me give you an example.

This week, we were teaching with the afcoe students up in weimar and one of 'em came to me and I've had this question a hundred times, with Zechariah 14. And you've got the place in Zechariah 14 where it talks about the feet of Jesus touching the mount of olives. And it splits and forms a great valley. How many of you know what I'm talkin' about? How many know that takes place after the millennium? Let me see your hands. Okay, but then it goes on and it talks about the feasts of the Lord and everyone will come to Jerusalem and it talks about those that don't worship will be ravaged.

And it's, wait, is that gonna be happening after the millennium? Something I think that it's very important to understand when you're reading the prophets, not everything the prophets say is sequential. Gonna say it again, might even say it a third time. Not everything the prophets write or say is done sequentially, it's not always chronological in the history that it happens. Many times it's not. Read the book of Revelation, is it chronological? No, matter of fact, Daniel 2 has the vision of the histories of the world in a golden image.

It's not all golden image, I'm sorry, metal image, all these different medals. Then you go to Daniel 7, it's got the history of the Kingdoms of the world again, but it's done in beasts. Same history, but it's backing up and covering it again. Daniel 8, now it's like from a shepherd's perspective, it's a goat and it's a ram; same history, backs up different perspective. And so God is going around things and he's showing it to you.

He'll often show one truth from different angles. And don't forget the chapters and verses were not in the Bible, so sometimes we start and stop based on where the verses and the chapters are. But the writers weren't doing it that way. Another example would be Revelation, got the history of the church, in the seven churches chapter 2 and 3 from the first coming to the second coming. Then it backs up and it gives the military history of the church in the seven trumpets.

It gives the political history of the church, backs up again through the seven seals. And you're reading in Revelation 12 about the woman fleeing from the dragon and then all of a sudden it says, "there was a war in heaven." Right in the middle of chapter 12, between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels. Does that happen after the woman flees into the wilderness or was that a long time before adam and eve? See what I'm saying? So, these prophets are often taken and shown things in vision. Or when they're writing and it's not always in sequential order. Remember that and it makes it a lot easier.

So, Jesus would often take a verse, pull it out of what seemed to be the surrounding story and say, "there is a spiritual interpretation of this verse." Now, having said that I'd better keep movin'. In your first page of your lesson, it talks about an exegesis. The definition of an exegesis, it is the critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text. It focuses on what the author wanted to say and what the text meant to the original reader. What it meant from their context of what they were saying.

Now, let's take a couple verses and we'll talk about how you apply that. Romans 2:14-16, I think I gave that out on a card to warn somebody--who's got that? Romans 2, do you have that verse? "For when the gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves. Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them. In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel." Okay, can a person be saved if they've never heard the name of Jesus? Yes. So, why do we need to go and preach the Gospel to them? He says, rhetorically; I'm not serious.

But there are some who have said that. Have you met people before who think that since we're only saved by Jesus, those who have not heard about Jesus cannot be saved? Now, do we all agree that nobody is saved by any other means than Jesus? Everyone agree with that? Nobody's gonna be saved, there's only one name given among men whereby we must be saved, that's Jesus. So, the people who are saved who have never heard the name Jesus, what are they saved on? Well, it said here in Romans, the law of God written in their hearts. Now, Ellen white addresses this and it's a big mystery that a lot of people have avoided. And a matter of fact, one of the reasons that I became a seventh day adventist, I studied with Christians from many different churches and backgrounds and they all disagreed on different things.

One thing is they'd say, unless you're a member of this church, you cannot be saved. A matter fact, recently, pope benedict reaffirmed what has long been the belief of the catholic church, that technically you can't be saved outside of the church. You all aware that that's the official teaching? I used to think, what does that mean? Does that mean that for thousands of years, all those people that were in south America or australia or africa who had never heard about the Gospel, all of them were doomed for generations? Does that sound very just? No, but does the Bible teach that? Let me give you some other verses, Ezekiel 3:17-19, "son of man, I've made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Therefore hear a word from my mouth and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, 'you will surely die,' and you give them no warning nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

" Oh, that always gives me the chills to think that we're going to be responsible for everybody that we haven't warned. "Yet, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn away from his wickedness nor from his wicked way he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul." So, we've got a responsibility to tell people, it's not only a privilege, it's a responsibility. Now, here it's talking about the wicked that don't turn away. But are there some who are not jews, back in old testament time, who were God's people, who could be saved? Matthew 8:10-12. "And when Jesus heard it, he marveled and said unto them that followed, 'verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven. But the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" Wow. Now, that's telling us, Jesus said, here's a centurion, he's not even circumcised, he's not a jew, and he said, "he's got greater faith than the people of Israel." Then Christ goes on to say, "there will be many from the east and the west, the north and the south who will come and sit down in the Kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," they're saved. But the children of the Kingdom, meaning people who might be literal descendants or church members, they're in outer darkness. We're not saved by virtue of our dna, we're not saved by virtue of our membership.

Now, membership's important. And there were benefits to being an Israelite back in the old testament. But that's not what saves us and Jesus wanted it to be very clear, God has his people everywhere. And man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. Let me read a statement to you from the book "Desire of Ages.

" And before I read that, I just want to remind our friends, these lessons are dealing with how to interpret prophecy and it specifically talks about how to relate to the ministry and writings of the seventh day adventist believe are inspired in Ellen white. And you know, how do you relate to that in connection with the Bible. We have a website that explains that in more detail, and it's simply Ellenwhitetruth.com, Ellenwhitetruth.com. If you type in Ellengwhitetruth.com, you'll still get there. But here's a statement, "Desire of Ages," 638, "among the heathen, non-believers, non-church members, are those who worship God ignorantly.

Those to whom light is never brought by human instrumentality. Yet they will not perish, though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard his voice speaking to them in nature and have done those things the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, they are recognized as the children of God." God only expects us to walk in the light that he's given us. We can't do what we don't know. And if we're faithful to live up to the light that he's revealed, both through providence, through nature, through his spirit, maybe angels.

He's communicated with people in all different parts of the world then they can be saved. And so we need to live up to the light he's given us. I mean, think about how brutal that would be. Somebody's born in darkness, they never have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and they cannot be saved unless they do hear--but I'm just saying, you know, what some calvinists might believe. They cannot be saved unless they do hear about Jesus.

And you've got just generations, millennia, whole continents never heard about it. They're all doomed, no hope. Wouldn't that be kinda brutal to say that? God is good, God offers mercy and grace to everybody. Now, obviously it's a lot easier to accept the truth when you hear the truth and you know these things. And that's all the more important it is for us to do mission work.

Let me give you one or two more verses on that point. Luke 4:25, "but I tell you the truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah when the heavens were shut up years and 6 months. And there was a great famine throughout the land. But none of them was Elijah sent to except to zarephath in the region of sidon to a woman who was a widow." In other words, there were a lot of Jewish widows in the days of Elijah. But Elijah wasn't sent to a Jewish widow, he was sent to a gentile widow.

And then he goes on to say, "and many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet. And none them was cleansed except naaman, the syrian." Non-jew. God did a miracle for a non-jew. God did a miracle for the woman, the widow of zarephath. And Jesus is saying, don't think that God doesn't show mercy to these others.

Did God send Jonah to nineveh? Did he? Why, to condemn them or save them? Did they all convert to judaism? No. Did they repent of their sins? Yes. Did he show them mercy? Yes. God cares about people everywhere, he's not willing that any should perish. He says, "whosoever.

" What makes the jews different and what makes our church different, he committed to them the oracles of truth. He's given to the seventh day adventist church an understanding of the Bible. That doesn't mean you're saved by being a seventh day adventist. It means, we got a responsibility to share the oracles of truth that he's communicated to us. Amen.

All right, Luke 12:48, one more verse and then we'll of move on, on this subject. I think birdie's got her hand up here. "But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From every one who has been given much, much will be demanded. And from the one who's been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

" All right, here's another principle. To whom much is given, much is required. Those nations and peoples who didn't have much truth, God required--he winked at their ignorance, acts 17 tells us. God is merciful, they didn't know. But those who do know, Jesus said to the scribes and pharisees, "because you say you see, your sin remains.

" Because they said, "we do understand these things, we have knowledge, we have light." And you're more accountable then when you do know these things. All right, let's move on to the section on homiletics. Homiletics is very simply the art of preaching. You're taking a passage, you expound on that passage. And it's interesting how they apply this principle different places in the Bible.

Mark 1:14-15. "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, 'the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel.'" All right, now, when Jesus spoke those words, when he said the Kingdom of God is at hand. Did he mean the second coming had arrived? 'Cause even when he went to ascend to heaven, the disciples said, "will you now at this time restore the Kingdom?" And he said, "the Kingdom of God does not come through observation, it's within you." So, he was talking about a kingdom of grace. But when Jesus said, "the time is at hand," what time was he talking about? Well, those listening to him, they probably thought, the Messiah's coming! Right? And they were right about that, he did mean that. the Kingdom of the Messiah has begun.

But afterward they understood that he meant, the Kingdom of grace has begun. Because of the first coming of the Messiah, the sacrifice. It wasn't when the Messiah comes as a conquering king, we're still looking forward to that as adventists, right? But there's more to it. Looking back on that point, adventist preachers, we see where Jesus says, "the time is fulfilled and we understand that means, well, there are times that are given in prophecy about when Jesus would begin his ministry." In Daniel 9, pardon me, it tells us that he would be anointed with the Holy Spirit and he'd begin preaching. And there's a specific time that's given for that.

At the end of that 69 weeks, and when Christ got up and he said, "the time is fulfilled." We now have clearer vision looking back to preach what that means, that meant that time in Daniel 9 is fulfilled, he began his ministry right there in a.d. And started preaching that message. He was the anointed. Anointed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism. And so, depending on where you are sometimes standing in history, you might have a little different perspective of what these prophecies mean.

I believe Ellen white was a prophet. I don't even think that she understood everything that she saw in vision or even wrote. I don't believe all the prophets understood everything they saw. Let me give you a couple more examples of how that works. Daniel 12:4.

"But you Daniel shut up the words and sealed the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase." All right, let me ask you, many will run to and fro and knowledge will increase. What does that mean? That's right, it's got a duel application. Any evangelist worth his salt, when he reads this to a fresh audience, he's gonna say, "hey, friends, people are traveling to and fro faster now than they ever have before. And knowledge has increased more exponentially in our generation than in any other time in history combined.

" But when Daniel wrote that, he's talkin' about going to and fro on the Word of God, comparing Scripture here a little, there a little, line upon line, verse upon verse. By going to and fro, knowledge increased. He's thinking of it as a scholar would, pullin' all the scrolls off the shelf. Going to and fro and they're putting it altogether and saying, "I understand now." But keep in mind this is Daniel 12 and Daniel 9, he was studying the prophecies of Jeremiah and he understood the 70 years was up. Now, in Daniel 12 that's all behind him.

He says, I understand how this knowledge increases. But now, you and I have the perspective of living in the generation where people are going from one side of the globe to the other in one day or less. The sr-71 blackbird could fly just about mach 3 and they could be in the north pole and about 4 hours later be at the south pole, if you can imagine that. If you're the space shuttle up there circling the earth-- what do they go, ,000 miles an hour? In one day you can circle the whole planet several times. And so when we say going to and fro, it takes on a little different context 'cause of the perspective of history where we live.

And knowledge increasing, you can't deny, there, I mean, the most dangerous thing that the world had was a horse and a chariot for 5,000 years. Maybe a catapult, cannon ball, but now look at the weapons that man has, just in one generation. I'll never forget my grandfather's funeral, my Jewish grandfather. I was able to preach at his funeral. I got the attention of his friends that were there.

But among the things we talked about was, can you imagine being in that generation? Some of you are sitting here now or listening. You're over 90, when you were born, you were born at home with kerosene light. You still actually rode a horse not because it was a novelty or a pet or chic, but because that's the only way to get around. Can you imagine the changes that that generation has seen? From kerosene light and a horse living through world war i, world war ii, space program, computers, satellite television, text messaging, just the mind boggling changes in one lifetime, unprecedented. So, when you read that verse in Daniel, it means something different to us, right? The other's still true, but you get perspective with time.

For instance, when Ellen white and her contemporaries talked about the cleansing of the sanctuary, they thought about principally the sanctuary in heaven being cleansed. And that certainly is a fulfillment of that prophecy. But now you and I standing back, we look at what was happening with the early days of the seventh day adventist church and we say, well, at the same time God was cleansing the sanctuary in heaven--don't forget in Daniel 8 it says, "the truth was cast to the ground, the sanctuary would be cleansed." We know also there was a sanctuary on earth, God's church that had been defiled by false teachings for over a thousand years. And Joseph bates and James white and Ellen white and hiram edson and j.n. Loughborough and andrews and all of these founders, they were part of the fulfillment of prophecy.

In their lives, when they began to discover Bible truths that had been lost, talk about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit and baptism by emersion and salvation by grace and these things that were lost during the dark ages. God was cleansing the sanctuary on earth, they were a fulfillment of that. And I don't remember anywhere I've seen where they wrote, they recognized that. Now, we looking back say, "yeah, he's cleansing the sanctuary in heaven and he started cleansing the sanctuary on earth in 1844 too," right? See what I'm saying? Does God have a temple on earth? "What know ye not, ye are the temple of the God." But I've never heard 'em think of it that way. Looking back we've got a different perspective.

Homiletics, is that what we're talkin' about? All right, when Jesus said to Peter, James, and John, "follow me and I'll make you fishers of men," what did they think he meant by that? Leave your nets behind, I'm gonna tell you how to catch people instead of fish. Before a preacher preaching today, I might tell you follow Jesus and he'll make you a fisher of men. You don't really think about fish like Peter, James, and John did, do you? But you understand that fishing for men means winning souls, it takes on a little different context, because of our perspective today. So, that's an example of homiletics. Then in interpreting the message of the prophets, you've got time and place, time and place.

Now, this one throws people, Jeremiah 4:23-26. Most evangelists use this when they talk about the millennium. "I beheld the earth and indeed it was without form and void. And the heavens, they had no light." Now, if you stop right there, you think, the earth void, heavens have no light, what's he talkin' about? Must be Genesis. No, it's not.

Keep reading. "I beheld the mountains and indeed they trembled and all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld and indeed, there was no man and all the birds of heaven had fled--" now, the wording there tells you something, men used to be there, but they're gone. The birds used to be there, but they fled. "I beheld and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord and by his fierce anger.

" Now, when you and I read that, we read it in the context of the second coming, the condition of the world during 1,000 years, right? Coming of the Lord, cities broken down, no man, birds of heaven are fled, the world is dark, the hills tremble, that great earthquakes unsettle the foundations of the world. What did that mean to Jeremiah in his time and those who read his prophecy? He was warning of the coming of Nebuchadnezzar who was going to completely destroy the land of Israel. You read a little further in Jeremiah, for instance Jeremiah 33:10, it tells you what the context was that they understood. "Thus says the Lord, again there shall be heard in this place of which he said it is desolate without man and without beast, in the cities of judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate without man and without inhabitant, without beast. The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, the voice of the bride.

" Now, that's an example of a Scripture that has a duel fulfillment. I think martin was just referring to that, just a moment ago. There's a lot of that in the Bible, a duel fulfillment. It is true that the whole world is gonna be desolated by the second coming, no man, no beast, cities broken down. And in this world, God will make a new heaven and a new earth and the bride will come down.

God's bride, the new Jerusalem, right? So, there is a spiritual fulfillment of that. Before the people of judah, they understood they were gonna be conquered, they were gonna be carried away, but they'd be brought back again. And in those streets that were desolated because of Nebuchadnezzar's attack and burning the city, they'd be rebuilt, there would be weddings again, there would be joy again and children playing in the streets again. So, there was a literal historic, earthly fulfillment, but there was a much broader future, spiritual fulfillment. You all still with me? You gotta understand that, because when you read Matthew 24, where Jesus talks about the signs of the second coming, Jesus is using a double or triple barreled shotgun in that prophecy.

And I use the word shotgun literally, because it kinda sprays. There is at least one barrel where they're asking, what do you mean there will not be left one stone upon another in the temple? What do you possibly-- what could that mean? The end of the world, right? And he's talking about the destruction of Jerusalem, which was not the end of the world, though it was the end of their world. It was not the end of the world. And so he talks about the context of things that are gonna happen that will help them understand the signs that will precipitate the destruction of Jerusalem. And it just so happens, because Israel is a template for prophecy in all history, what happened to the jews, happens to the church.

The jews went into the wilderness and God fed her there. Did the church go into the wilderness during the dark ages and God fed her there? You read in Revelation 12. So, what Jesus says in Matthew 24 that happens to the jews before the destruction of Jerusalem, just coincides with conditions in the world before the second coming. In the 40 years from when Jesus made this prophecy in about a.d., Said this generation will not pass away; that's 40 years. Until Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus and his armies, there were wars and rumors of wars, nation rose nation, kingdom against kingdom.

They had an earthquake, they had a lot of the same things, but also come before the second coming. And so, it's very valuable to understand these duel prophecies. Let me give you another example. Someone read for me, I don't think I gave this out to you. Isaiah 7:14-16.

"So, the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive and shall bring forth a son. And they shall call his name immanuel." Keep reading. "Butter and honey he shall eat until he knows to refuse the evil and choose the good." Don't stop, I told you through verse 16. "For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you loathe shall be forsaken before both its Kings.

" All right, now when you hear the verse, I don't think there's even a--the Christians that go to church twice a year have heard this verse. Where it says, "a virgin will conceive and bear a son," as a matter of fact, folks stayin' home, hear this verse. What do you think of when you hear that verse? Somebody read for me, Matthew 1:22. "Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, 'behold a virgin shall be with child. And shall bring forth a son.

And they shall call his name immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.'" All right, so when you get to Matthew and Matthew refers back to Isaiah's verse, he tells us--first of all, is Matthew inspired? Matthew, up until Jesus came, how did jews read that verse in Isaiah? Let me tell you how they read it. Go to Isaiah 8:3-4. Up until the time of Jesus, whenever the jews read the prophecy about a virgin conceiving and bearing a son, they then read in Isaiah 8, "and I went to the prophetess and she, this was Isaiah's wife. And she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, call his name, maher-shalal-hash-baz--" I want you to say that three times fast.

"For before the child shall have knowledge to cry 'my father' and 'my mother,' the riches of damascus and the spoil of samaria will be taken away, before the Kings of this area." And by the way, that happens when the assyrians came in 732 and Israel stopped being a nation in 722. And so that all precipitated the northern kingdom was gonna attack Israel. Isaiah said, "don't worry about it, a virgin's gonna have a son and before he knows how to even say, 'my father,' Israel's gonna lose its power, they won't attack you." They all saw this as being fulfilled in the past. But after Jesus came, and a virgin really did conceive and bear a child. Isaiah's wife, when they called her a virgin, she was a holy lady and she may have been a virgin when he married her.

But it wasn't talkin' about the virgin birth that you and I know about. And so now, Matthew's telling us you've gotta take that one verse and it is a window that you can't miss that points ahead to Christ. And so they give us the context of time and place. When you're reading the Spirit of prophecy, you need to make the same application. Some people like to make great sport of the fact that Ellen white made this statement.

I'll read it to you, it's from the book, "testimonies to ministers," page 398. Ellen white said here, "the money expended in bicycles and dress and other needless things must be accounted for." And people said, "oh, she can't be a prophetess, look, she was speaking against bicycles." No, she wasn't, she was speaking against extravagance. And when she wrote what she wrote about bicycles, bicycles were a new invention, they were a novelty. And I read that they cost $1,500 a piece. Keep in mind, we're talkin' about 100 years ago $1,500 for a bicycle.

They didn't, they weren't very efficient. You ever seen those bicycles that have great big front wheel, little bitty pedal. It's like a great big tricycle and you'd ride it around and everybody would look. And it was a novelty, very expensive, everybody wanted a bicycle so they could make a fashion statement. And so you gotta contextualize what she's talking about.

But today, bicycles are very efficient, a practical means of communication, you go to china and there's as many bicycles on the street, as there are in many countries in the world, as cars or more than cars. And so, no, she wasn't making a blanket statement about the evil of bicycles, she was talking about needless extravagant expense. So, you gotta read these things in context. Amen. And so that also, let me see here.

There's another verse that people have struggled with. Go to Isaiah 65. Did I give that to someone? Isaiah 65:17. "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind." Now, when you and I think about the new heaven and the new earth, what are we typically thinking about? We're thinking about heaven, right? You read a little further in this verse, Isaiah 65:20, I'm not that far away. Same story, same prophecy.

And it says, "no more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days. For the child will die years old--" wait a second. Will children die 100 years old in heaven? This verse has confused a lot of people. "But the sinner being 100 years old shall be a curse." Now, some people have said, you know, there are some prophecies that God made about Israel. And if they had behaved, they would have happened.

So, these prophecies aren't applicable anymore, because Israel misbehaved and so their prophecies were conditional and these things didn't happen. I respectfully disagree with that. I believe every prophecy that you read in the Bible, that is made about Israel, is going to happen. It may apply to spiritual Israel, but it's gonna happen. And you know, I don't claim to have all the answers for them, but I don't think you can read a prophecy in the minor prophets that's just gonna be a big vacuum through history.

I think none of the words of God fall to the ground. Every word will be fulfilled. If it's not fulfilled historically then there will be a spiritual fulfillment. Now, some people have misunderstood this verse about a child dying 100 years old. That word there, die, can also be cease.

And it means in heaven, a child will not even cease to be a child until they're 100. And here, Isaiah's going back to the early patriarchs when it says, he lived 100 years and he begat a son. People weren't even getting married until much later then. I mean, think about it, friends, when Abraham goes to Egypt and he lies about Sarah being his wife because she's so beautiful he thinks they're gonna kill him to take his wife, and she's years old. They just aged slower back then.

Who was it? Jacob didn't get married 'till 70? Isaac didn't get married 'till 40. You start looking and they started having their families younger and younger, and you can see that as you go through the history until you get to the time of the Kings and they're in their teenage years when they get married and start having kids. It's the only way it could work, 'cause sometimes they're offspring begins to reign, that tells you what their ages were. They must have been born when the dad was 19 years old. So, you get to heaven, will there still be children in heaven? If someone dies in this life as a child, they're resurrected as a child.

Bible says, "the child will play on the hole of the venomous serpent, but it will not hurt them. A child will lead the wolf and the lamb." And so there are children in heaven. Are they gonna grow up like they do now? You know, they enter puberty at 9? No, 100 years old and they haven't died from being a child, ceased from being a child. That's what it's talking about. No children are dying in heaven.

Is that clear to everybody? Now, I know I got off track there a little bit. There's another statement that sometimes has confused people. I'm on this passage here where it says, "never say you're saved." Can you ever say, "I'm saved"? Have you ever wondered, what do I say when someone comes up to me and they say, "are you saved?" Oh, it depends on what they're saying to you and what they mean by that. Jesus, speaking of John baptist, said, "if you can understand it, this is Elijah who was to come." Didn't Jesus say that? We're all together. Matthew 11, several places, even the angel said to John's father, he will go forth in the Spirit and power of Elijah.

But when the religious leaders came to John the baptist, and they said, are you Elijah? He said, "no." Why'd he say no to them? They didn't mean the same thing. They thought, are you Elijah resurrected? They were asking the wrong question. They were looking for Elijah to be resurrected. John said, "no, I am not Elijah resurrected." So, he had to give them a "no." Did he come in the Spirit and power of Elijah? Jesus said, "if you can receive it." Meaning if you understand what the prophecies mean by this, it's a "yes." He was the one who was to come in the Spirit and power of Elijah, but not the only one. When someone says to me, and if I meet another Christian and they say, "are you saved?" I say, "yes.

" 'Cause what they're asking you is, are you a Christian? Right? But if you ever are in a debate with a calvinist who believes in predestination and they say, "don't you believe you're saved?" I say, "I'm being saved." You don't wanna brag and say, "I cannot be lost." They're asking a different kind of question. So, when Ellen white makes these statements and she says, "it's dangerous." For instance, Christ object lessons page 155, never can we safely put our confidence in self or feel this side of heaven that we are secure against temptation. The Bible says, "let him who thinks he stands take heed less he fall." Peter said, "I'll never forsake you." What happened to him? Yeah, so the Bible tells us Christians oughta have a humble attitude about their confidence with the Lord. But can we have assurance of salvation? Jesus said, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. He who has begun a good work in you will perform it.

And then of course, you've got, in 1 John 5:12, I think I gave that to somebody. "He that hath a son, hath life. And he that hath not a Son of God, hath not life." Keep reading. "These things have I written unto you, that believe--that you believe on the name of The Son of God. That ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of The Son of God.

" Does the Lord want us to have joy? Does he want us to have peace? Should we have a confidence in Christ that he will never leave or forsake us? That's where the joy and peace comes from. If we're constantly living in an ongoing doubt, that's different from presumption. You see what I'm saying? He wants us to have an assurance, he wants us to have a peace, the Bible says we can have that. Ellen white is talking about having a presumption in saying that there's nothing the devil can do to tempt me or take me away. We oughta have a humility about temptation, because we're all weak and recognize that.

So, there's a balance there and that's all that's talking about. Anyway, that's probably as good a place as any to tie this off. Wanna remind our friends, you can also go to saccentral.org if you'd like to see these programs streaming as well as amazingfacts.com and there's a special website that deals with our theme for this quarter, it's called Ellengwhitetruth.com. And look it up, there's more information there. God bless you 'till we study again next Sabbath.

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