Baruch: Building a Legacy in a Crumbling World

Baruch: Building a Legacy in a Crumbling World

Scripture: Isaiah 8:20, Jeremiah 7:1-11, Jeremiah 28:1-17
Date: 12/25/2010  Lesson: 13
Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, left an important legacy as the world he knew crumbled around him.

Prophets and Kings (ASI Version) by Ellen White

Prophets and Kings (ASI Version) by Ellen White
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Good morning and a very, very Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are tuning in and joining with us this morning at the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in California on the west coast of the United States of America. We know that we have an extended Sabbath school family that are joining us from across the country and around the world. And that is exciting, because there's just not that many of us actually here in the sanctuary, but we know that we have many, many more joining with us as we open up God's Word and we study together here at central church. So we of course want to welcome each and every one of you, whether you are listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.

org, or watching on the various television networks. Happy Sabbath. We're going to sing a couple requests that have come in. And the first one is "it came upon the midnight clear." Pull out your hymnals, those of you at home, and join us, 130. This is from neil in australia, nellie in grenada, Paula and bob in Idaho, joyce in Michigan, howard and dian in Mississippi, jamie, jenny and lynda in North Carolina, tito and alma in South Dakota and Christa in Virginia, 130.

We're going to sing all three stanzas... Are you looking forward to hearing the angels sing? It's absolutely nothing that we can imagine I'm sure. We can't imagine in. And I think if we just heard one angel sing, we would be in absolute rapture. And imagine hundreds of thousands of angels singing.

Oh, wonderful. If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, please go to our website at saccentral.org, and click on the "contact us" link, and send in your favorite hymn. And we would love to sing that with you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our next song, "while shepherds watch their flocks," 139. And this is from lorna in ArKansas, rollie in California, linden and marilyn in Canada, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, ananya in guyana, corrine, cheryl, anand and ruby in india, joyce in Michigan, selina and jonathan in netherlands, Joshua in Oregon, and mainza in zambia.

We're going to do all six stanzas because it's really short. It's actually equal to like three verses. So let's sing, 139, "while shepherds watch their flocks..." Father in Heaven, we thank you so much this morning for coming to this earth as a little baby, giving up the glories of heaven, giving up the majesty and the adoration of angels to come down here and become a human being. And when we contemplate what that was, our minds can't wrap around that, but we know that you did it because you loved us, and because there was a greater plan for saving each and every one of us. And father, I just pray this morning that we will accept you into our hearts, and that our desire every single day will be to show you how much we love you by living for you.

And we just pray that you'll be with us this morning as we open up Your Word and we study together on this beautiful Sabbath day. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at central church. Good morning, friends.

Happy Sabbath everybody. Glad to see you here. Very thankful to see any that might be visiting with us. I want to welcome you to central Sabbath school. And I want to welcome our friends who are tuning in via satellite or cable, whatever the means might be.

Or you might be watching streaming live right now on the internet. I want to welcome our extended class. Sacramento central has some members scattered around the world. And this is their only connection with the Sabbath school study or a church. And we welcome you.

As always we have a free offer we like to make available. And it's called, "compromise, conformity, and courage." It's offer number 774. And that number is -study-more, or 866-788-3966. And we'll be happy to send that to you. And we just want you to study more.

You know, how many of you are aware that our church met a couple of months ago, at least as of this broadcast, and they formed a committee that is especially dealing with the subject of revival and reformation. And they've got a committee that is doing everything they can to hold up the members to experience that, especially as we're so close to the second coming. And one thing that's in connection with that is we all need to not only draw close to God, we need to get involved in sharing the Lord with others. The members need to become mobilized. You know, it's wonderful that there are approximately , 16 million Seventh-day Adventists in the world.

That is wonderful progress, until you realize there are million new people added to the planet every year. And then that 16 million starts to shrink into insignificance. The only way we're going to finish the work is by a special outpouring of God's Spirit. And it can't rest upon the pastors and the ministers and evangelists. The members need to catch on fire with the Spirit of soul-winning and evangelism.

Amen? So I thought it was very appropriate for us to take just a moment. You know, here in Sacramento we've just finished another session of a.f.c.o.e. A.f.c.o.e is Amazing Facts college of evangelism, or center of evangelism. And they've just finished a meeting in the lincoln area. That's on the outskirts of Sacramento here.

And they've got some wonderful experiences they've just had. I've asked if erik flickinger, our assistant director of a.f.c.o.e and bill, I'll let him introduce bill. They're going to share a little bit, for a couple of minutes, about their experience in soul-winning. And they've got an exciting story to share. Thank you Pastor Doug.

Good morning. I brought with me bill walker, one of our recent graduates from the a.f.c.o.e program. And I just had a couple of questions that I wanted to ask him. Bill, we've been here now for four months, going through the a.f.c.o.e program, but what was your life like before you came to a.f.c.o.e, and what inspired you to come? Well, I've spent 27 years in drug and alcohol abuse. And I was at the end of my rope.

And 2 1/2 years ago, the Lord reached down into the pit of despair and pulled me out. It's like this. If you're driving a car down a dark, lonely road in the middle of the night and it's snowing, and there's nobody there but you, and you start to slide, and the car flips upside down and hits the tree and you're pinned in the car. No hope. And a stranger comes out of nowhere and rescues you.

Are you going to keep that a secret? Absolutely not. It'd be like having the cure to cancer in your back pocket and not sharing it with anybody. And that's what Jesus did for me. He rescued me. So then now what? I wanted to share the word, but I didn't know exactly how to do it.

And I felt like I needed some confidence, some knowledge, and that's why I came to a.f.c.o.e. You heard about a.f.c.o.e and you applied and you were accepted and you came. And this class had 49 students ranging in age from 18 to about 65. Bill, you're somewhere between age 18 and 65, somewhere in that neighborhood. What was it like to be a part of this class? Well, it's closer to 18, but I met people from all over the United States and all over the world in fact.

And it was like--i had a problem when I first decided to come to a.f.c.o.e. I was concerned that I was going to be this old guy and there were going to be a bunch of kids. It was going to be like Moses and a bunch of teenagers. But it didn't turn out to be that way, like erik said. We had people from 18 to 65.

And I learned how to deal with different age groups. We learned how to--we ate together, we prayed together, we were together all the time. It was amazing. And the really good thing about that is, is that when you get out there and you start sharing the Gospel, you're going to be sharing the Gospel with people from 18 to 65 and older. And so it was good for me to learn how to deal with these people, 'cause now I'm able to go out there.

And no matter what situation I'm in, I'm able to share. Now there may be some folks out there right now who are trying to decide whether they should come to a training program like this. Bill, do you have any advice for people like that? Absolutely, back at home, after I was converted, /2 years ago when I got into the church, I got a little prison ministry kind of started. I got that started with the help of a friend. And I was going into this ministry, and I was a little concerned.

I didn't know exactly how to approach people. I didn't want to bonsai them. I wanted to effectively be able to witness, and I wanted to have the knowledge and understanding necessary to do that. And coming to a.f.c.o.e gave me exactly what I needed to do that. And now I can go out and I can see people no matter where I'm at.

And I'm confident that what I have to share is going to change their life like it did me. And I learned that at a.f.c.o.e. So there's 49 students who are now headed out into the world, into the Gospel field, sharing the message of Christ. And go get the training that you need to share your faith effectively. And if we can help you out in that, contact us.

We'd love to help you. Thank you Pastor Doug. By the way, pastor erik, you just finished the meetings in lincoln, what's the results of that so far? Twenty-six people were baptized in the lincoln church through this last series. And it was laymen that did the visiting and the Bible studies and saw the fruit of that. So everybody can get involved in soul-winning.

Amen? That's what's going to make a big difference. Now before we dive into our lesson today, it's the last in our studies dealing with background characters in the old testament. I should mention that we're getting ready for our new quarterly's lessons. It says, "Jesus wept: the Bible and human emotions." And you'll be seeing that we'll be studying things about emotions, divine provision for anxiety--do you ever worry? Stress, relationships, guilt, good thinking, hope against depression, resilience, self-esteem, jealousy, freedom from addictions, nature as a source of help, partnership with Jesus. That sounds very interesting and relevant.

So you'll want to--if you're a visitor and you've been doing Sabbath school with us, we hope you stop by your local Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ask them if they have a spare quarterly that they'd be willing to share with you. And you can study along. Okay, we're getting into our study, number 13, lesson 13, "baruch: building a legacy in a crumbling world." And some of you may wonder why I said it the way I did, baruch. It's because I grew up with Jewish grandparents.

And his name, this is a scribe, who was an assistant to Jeremiah, his name is at the beginning of most Jewish prayers. You ever hear jews pray? [Praying in Hebrew] baruch means blessed. It starts out by saying, "blessed is the Lord," is how most of those prayers begin. That's why you see that name. His name is blessed.

And he is a real character who lived. He was a scribe. Now something interesting that I saw. And I'm going to ask sherle if she'll put this picture up on the screen and hopefully it will appear for those of you watching at home as well. In 1975, they found a collection of nearly 250 clay seals about miles southwest of Jerusalem.

These small lumps of clay were used--they pressed them on important documents with the seal of the respective scribes that were responsible for etching the documents. And among the clay seals that were found, amazingly, they found the names of three biblical characters that are mentioned in Jeremiah 36 that we're studying today. And among those three that are mentioned, yep, one of them says, "baruch--" and you've got it up there on your screen there-- "berekhyahu, son of neriyahu the scribe." Now that is exactly, that's not maybe. This is the same time period, the same place, the same person that we're going to be studying today. They found one of his seals.

Something else interesting about that--ah, you probably can't see it in the picture on your screen. You'll notice that on the clay seal, the top right-hand corner is a little highlighted section. They even have the remnants of a thumbprint of this scribe. So you could say we've got the fingerprints of our character today. He was a real person from history.

Isn't that interesting? And I also put up there, the scribes work there, there's a painting, by I believe jim arabito, of how they work. They had either papyrus, or they would use skin. It was very expensive paper back then. And they wrote very carefully, 'cause if you made a mistake, you didn't press the delete key. You're writing with indelible ink.

They didn't have white-out. Someone became rich years ago when they invented white-out for the typewriters. I used to be a company clerk in military school. And I was typing, and I'd make a mistake, which happened frequently. I had one of these old olympic typewriters.

Any of you remember them? You had to press hard. Sometimes if you wanted carbon copies you had to whack every key. You know what I'm talking about? You made a mistake with carbon copy. Oh, I remember once weeping because I had gotten half-way through a document. In military school you had to have it right.

And I made a couple of big blunders. I had to start all over again. And then they came up with what they called erasable bond paper. Some of you remember the erasable bond. It was typing paper, and you had this ribbon.

You made a mistake, you could roll your little thing up. You'd erase that spot and you try and roll it down and have it line up where it was before. Sometimes the letters were a little off center on that word. So being a scribe back in Bible times, you had to be a perfectionist. You had to get it right.

And so this is I thought interesting that this individual, we've got physical evidence he really did live. And I wanted to show you that on the screen. In our study today, we're going to be looking at Isaiah 53:1-5, Jeremiah 7:1-11, and also 28:45. We'll be looking at Jeremiah 32:36 and Matthew 6:25-34. We have a memory verse.

Memory verse is from Isaiah 8:20. And if you'd like to find that, I'd welcome you to say that with me. Isaiah 8:20, and I believe it's from the new king James version. Are you ready? "To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to tHis Word, it is because there is no light in them." The law and the testimony. That there testimony means the law and the prophets.

The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Alright, so there is this scribe who works for Jeremiah. Now it probably would be a good idea to get something of an understanding for the times in which they're living, baruch's world. First of all, his name appears times in the Bible. There's another baruch you're going to find out about in the book of Nehemiah, not related.

But in the book of Jeremiah, baruch doesn't really appear until you get to chapter 32, though he may have been responsible for writing everything up to that point. And turn with me in your Bibles to Jeremiah 7:1-11...and I'm going to--I'm going to just read this. It wants us to read it all, and so if it's okay with you, I'm going to read it. It tells something about what they're dealing with, and I'll give you a little background. Jeremiah 7, and I'll read verses 1-11.

"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 'stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there tHis Word, and say, 'hear the word of the Lord, all you of judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!' Thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel: 'amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying that, 'the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.' For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, The Fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other Gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave your fathers forever and ever. Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to baal, and walk after other Gods who you do not know, and then come and stand before me in this house which is called by my name, and say, 'we are delivered to do all these abominations?'" Did God save us to sin or from the sin? "'Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, i, even i, have seen it,' says the Lord." Alright, so here he's telling them, you can't just come to church and say, "oh the temple of the Lord, the house of the Lord, we've come to worship." Everything's okay. And then go home and sin like the heathen and not have consequences.

They had false prophets back then that were saying, "peace, peace." Because the Babylonians had already carried off a number of people under the first king Nebuchadnezzar's father, nabopolassar, I think his name was. And he had carried off a number of the princes that Daniel was carried off during that time. They had set up a temporary king who was supposed to be loyal to the King of Babylon. And he had made a vow and a covenant. But the people were saying, "we don't need to serve the Babylonians anymore.

" the King, who was one of The Sons of josiah--josiah is actually in the sermon later today--zedekiah had made a vow to the King of Babylon in the name of the Lord that they would pay the tax to the King of Babylon. They would be allowed to have their own monarchy, and to operate with some independence and to worship their God, but they would be under the dominion of Babylon. Well, some of the people were saying, "God doesn't want us to be under them. We should rebel. That promise, that vow that you made to the King of Babylon, you don't have to keep it, because he's a pagan king.

And if we rebel, God will support us. We can defeat the Babylonians. They're having enough problems other parts of the world." They were being told this. And false prophets were rising up saying, "we don't need to serve the King of Babylon." But they continued in their sins. So Jeremiah is standing up and he's saying something very unpopular.

He's saying, "your problem is not that you're under the yoke of Babylon. Your problem is that you're under the yoke of sin. And you're saying, "because we've got the temple, we don't need to serve Babylon; let's rebel." He says your problem is not Babylon. Your problem is that you're disobeying God in your lives once you leave church. You can't just say, "the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.

" Because we got the ark of God and we got the altar. We can continue sinning. So Jeremiah is making some very unpopular prophecies. Now what he's saying is very much like what Jesus said. The times of baruch, who is this scribe for Jeremiah, very similar to the time of Jesus.

What was the condition of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus? Was there a world power that they were subjugated by? Who was it? Rome. Were there patriotic jews that were saying, "we don't need to stay underneath the grasp of rome?" Why do we need to submit to them? Do they have false problems that were saying, "we can rebel," and "we can overthrow the Romans?" And they weren't turning from their sins. They were oppressing The Fatherless and the widowed. Did Jesus talk about that? Were some of them being told, "peace, peace?" And what did Jesus say to the women when he went to the cross? "Don't weep for me. Weep for yourself, for the days are coming when you're going to say, 'blessed are the wounds that did not bear and the breasts that did not nurse.

' Because if they do these things in a green tree, what will be done in the dry? You'll be surrounded. There won't be one stone left upon another. The temple will be destroyed." The exact same message that Jeremiah gave in his day when they were under the dominion of Babylon is the same message that Jesus was giving in his day. Now how many books did Jesus write? We got the words of Christ in the Gospel, but did Jesus write them? Only thing that we know of that Jesus wrote is when he wrote in the dust of the temple floor. Matter of fact, there's three examples in the Bible I know of where God physically wrote for our world.

It's talking about a scribe here. That's why I'm emphasizing this. You've got-- well, let me ask you. What are the three things where God wrote? Ten Commandments. Writing on the wall of Babylon.

And when Jesus wrote on the dust of the temple floor the sins of mary's accuser. We presume that's what he was writing. That could be the law, would have been the same thing. So who wrote the Gospels? Here Christ was speaking the word of the Lord, but there were other scribes, the apostles. Matter of fact, I understand that Mark, John Mark was the scribe basically for Peter.

Mark is really Peter's Gospel. And did Paul write for himself? I want someone to look this up for me. Thessalonians 3:17. "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle; so I write." At the end of his epistles, he says in every epistle, Paul basically signed it. The declaration of independence has a lot of signers, but they didn't all write it.

They endorsed it. Paul dictated this message. He signed it himself. But he had other scribes. I don't know that any of them are named.

We can speculate. Maybe Luke wrote some of it, 'cause Luke knew how to write. We know that. So, you know, we're not sure what their names were. Maybe if we had some of the originals.

They signed it. But even Paul largely dictated his letters. Part of the reason for that is Paul had bad eye sight. Did you know that? And some reasons we believe that, first of all, in one of Paul's letters he says, "I'm writing this in my own hand. Notice with what large characters I write.

" 'Cause his eyesight was so bad, he wrote large like John hancock, right, a big old signature. Paul was before the sanhedrin, and he talked back to the high priest, and then he was asked by the guard, "how dare you revile God's high priest?" And Paul said, "oh, I didn't know that was a high priest." Well, he's standing right there. So he must have been very nearsighted. Paul talked about this thorn he had in his side. You remember when he saw Jesus, it said that he was blinded after adonis prayed for him, scales fell from his eyes.

And he could see again. But it doesn't say he saw perfectly. He may have had problems with his eyesight the rest of his life that reminded him of that vision of Christ. When Jacob wrestled with Jesus, the angel, he limped the rest of his life and never forgot that experience. Paul may have had some residual vision problems.

Paul never traveled alone. He might have needed someone to kind of lead him around. And so there seems to be evidence in the Bible that Paul had problems with his vision, with seeing. And so he had a scribe. Well, Jeremiah had a scribe, and it may not be because he had problems writing himself.

It just might be that it was a real skilled profession back then. In the time of Christ, did they have pharisees, sadducees, lawyers and scribes? Matter of fact, one of Jesus' followers said, "Lord, I want to follow you, but first let me go bury my father." And Jesus said, "foxes have their holes and birds of the air have their nests, but The Son of man has nowhere--" or actually this scribe said, "I'll follow you wherever you go." And he said, "foxes have their holes, birds of the air have their nests, but The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." And in the book, "Desire of Ages," the author says there, "that was Judas." A scribe. They were very trained in writing very carefully. You know when they were writing out the word of the Lord, they had a special pen that they would pick up for writing the name of jehovah, they thought his name was so sacred. And when they finished writing the name, sometimes they'd say a prayer, and then they'd write the name of jehovah.

They put that pen down. I mean so it was a full-time elaborate profession. And they wrote very beautiful. Any of you ever send out invitations for some formal dinner or a wedding, and you hire someone who does what? Calligraphy because they've got beautiful flawless handwriting. And you can't have them printed because you wanted to actually write that person's name.

It's too expensive to get it set by type for every individual card. So you get someone who's skilled in calligraphy. And those people got great handwriting, right? When they do that. Scribe was a specialized, it was almost an art form. So Jeremiah had baruch who wrote this.

Jeremiah probably was called to ministry right about the time that king josiah died. There was a lot of national insecurity. Josiah had implemented a reform, a number of reforms that they hoped would last. Now keep in mind they had come out from 55 years of manasseh's wicked reign, near the end of manasseh's life--and manasseh, it says he shed more blood. His sins were so bad that even after josiah repented, the prophet said, "you know, I'm going to show mercy to you in your days, but I'm not going to be able to forget what manasseh did.

It's so bad. He filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, killed the prophet Isaiah." Josephus says Isaiah tried to flee and hide in a cedar log and Messiah had him sawn asunder in the log. It says in Hebrews some of them were "sawn asunder," talking about probably Isaiah. Manasseh repented at the end of his life, but he had gone so far that it could not turn back the tide. The Son of manasseh, amon, was also wicked, worshipped false Gods.

He lasted two years. He was so wicked; his own people assassinated him. Then they made josiah king. And he implemented reforms that lasted about oh, 32 years. He lived to 39, he was 8 years old when he began to reign, years roughly.

And now the young sons of josiah are on the throne. They are not thoroughly converted. And the people are drifting back to the ways of manasseh again. This is the time that Jeremiah is writing and baruch. The assyrian empire carried off the northern kingdom.

They've been carried off into captivity. The assyrians during the time of josiah got into a civil war. They became so involved in their civil war, they couldn't worry about Israel anymore. You remember during the time of hezekiah, it looked like the assyrians were going to conquer? He prayed and what was it, ,000 of them died in the night. They went back home and they could barely recover from that.

Well, during this time Babylon was strengthening. And they were conquering nation after nation. And you had two choices: either be obliterated, or become a vassal and pay taxes to Babylon. You could be a county in the state of Babylon. And so a lot of the jews were saying, "we're supposed to come back to the Kingdom.

We're waiting for the Messiah. We're supposed to be a world empire like we were in the days of Solomon." Jeremiah said, "no, you're never going to have that again. Judgment's coming, but if you want to postpone that judgment, repent and turn to the Lord." But there was too much sin against the people. The preaching of Jeremiah is very much like the preaching of Jesus. Someone please turn with me to Matthew 21:12-13.

"And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all of them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers and the seats of them that sold doves. And said unto him, 'it is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.'" And I want someone to read for me Jeremiah 6:14. "They have also healed the hurt of my people slightly, saying, 'peace, peace!' Where there is no peace." And were they also doing that in the days of Jesus? They said, "oh, everything's going to be well." He said, "no." He said, "there won't be one stone left upon another." The Romans, who they rebelled against, were going to come and destroy the city, burn it with fire, destroy the temple. In the days of Jeremiah, the Babylonians they rebelled against were going to come, destroy the temple, destroy the walls and burn the city. It was a parallel for what was going to happen a second time.

Alright, so finding out a little more about scribes, why don't you turn with me to the book of Jeremiah 32 now, Jeremiah 32. And I'm going to read a story. And this is where baruch appears in the chronicle. And starting with verse 9, I'll read this for you. Now Jeremiah at this point--you know, Jeremiah has got like 52 chapters, so we don't have time during our Sabbath school class in finding out about baruch to read all 52 chapters.

So I'm getting some of the high points here. Jeremiah's message through a series of visions and experiences, he's telling the people to repent if they're willing to serve the King of Babylon and accept that these are the consequences for their sin, they would have freedom to worship God and they'd be able to stay in the land. If they do not repent of their sins and accept this, if they rebel, they're going to be carried off to another land. The temple's going to be destroyed, and these judgments are going to fall but Jeremiah then is giving hope to the faithful. And he's saying, "even though you will be carried off to Babylon because of the sins of the people, because the King is now--zedekiah was not listening to Jeremiah.

He was listening to false prophets. He said, "go fight. Be victorious." Jeremiah said, "look, you are going to be judged. The city is going to be destroyed. But God is still going to show you mercy.

After 70 years, you're going to come back again. And it's going to seem like that Jerusalem would never be restored again, that you'd never come to your promised land again, but I'm going to prove it. God is telling me to buy a field for the future." And that would be like someone right after hurricane katrina saying, "yeah, buy property--" or just before hurricane katrina, "buy property in new orleans," or even just after katrina. It didn't look like a very good Market at the time, right? Even today, it doesn't look like a very good Market for real estate because of what happened there. So they were going through that same kind of mindset.

Alright, having said all that, go to Jeremiah 32:9. "So I bought the field from hanamel, The Son of my uncle who was in anathoth, and I weighed out to him the money: shekels of silver. And I signed the deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money in the balances. So I took the purchase deed, both that which was sealed according to the law and the custom, and that which was open; and I gave the purchase deed to baruch The Son of neriah, The Son of mahseiah, in the presence of hanamel my uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses who signed the purchase deed, before all the jews who sat in the court of the prison." This point Jeremiah's been in prison for his prophesying. "Then I charged baruch before them, saying, 'thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: take these deeds, both the purchase deed which is sealed-'" isn't that interesting, the "deed which is sealed.

" You wonder about that seal we saw on the screen a minute ago, if it was the same one. "And this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days." Did we ever find any Scripture in an earthen vessel? The dead sea scrolls. Isn't it interesting that the assyrian who put these Scriptures in earthen vessels in those caves out by the dead sea, they also knew judgment was coming. And those were sealed and found almost 2,000 years later, proving the veracity of Scripture. So I thought that was very interesting.

"For thus says--" I'm in verse now-- "thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in the land.'" He's saying, "I'm going through this action. I'm buying a field, putting the dead," baruch was-- the scribe was also a notary. He sealed it. Do notaries have seals? They seal an official document. Are there witnesses? So this is how they have their transactions.

I mean you might come to my house and say, "I'd like to buy your lot." And I'll say, "sure, I'll sell it." And you give me some money, you walk out. And then later I say, "you never bought anything from me." And there's no evidence. They needed a recorded deed that was witnessed. Even when Abraham bought the field to bury his wife in, they did it in the presence of several witnesses. They weighed out the money.

They did an oath. Everybody knew Abraham bought that field. It should not be questioned. It was publicly witnessed. And so they made these transactions official.

Now God was saying, "when Jerusalem is destroyed. Do not lose faith." It may look like the jews are going to fall after many other conquered kingdoms. They're conquered. They're absorbed. You also need to keep in mind, what had just happened to the ten northern tribes? They'd been conquered by the assyrians.

They've been carried off. The assyrians had placed samaritans, these assyrians who kind of intermarried with some jews. They called them samaritans, back in the northern area. And it's brought in different religions. They corrupted the true religion.

That's why the jews never had any patience for the samaritans. They felt like they had corrupted the true religion. They lost their identities of people, the language changed, the culture changed. They said it's over with forever. Most nations when they're conquered like that, their capital is burned.

The people are carried off. They are absorbed by the conquering nation. They lose their identity, their language, their religion. They evaporate as a people. The jews were saying, "it's all over.

The promises God made to Abraham will never be fulfilled. The Messiah never came. We are destroyed as a nation. We're gone for good." Jeremiah was saying, "nope. Believe it or not, as hopeless as it may seem, not only will you remain distinct as a people, you are going to come back to this same land again.

" I mean usually another country would take it. They had already conquered it from the canaanites. You mean they had to conquer it again? He said, "no, you're going to get your land back again. And you're going to remain a distinct people. And the temple will be rebuilt.

And you're going to buy and sell property again." And that seemed so unlikely. Now you know what's so remarkable? Not only did they come back from the Babylonian captivity, and the jews were reestablished as a people, but that's happened to them three times in history. There is no other nation in the history of the planet, in recorded history, that has been dispossessed like the jews, scattered around the world. And yet they remain the distinct people and came back to the land that was promised to them again. In the days of Abraham and Jacob, went to Egypt, someone else moved in, took over, they came back; took it.

Then Babylonian captivity carried off, scattered, city burned, others moved in. They came back, took their land again, became a distinct people, same religion, same people. Romans destroy and burned the city, carried off, scattered around the world, 1900 years. And God said that, "I will call my people for the four quarters of the earth, my sons and daughters will come back to me." They came back again, still have the same Scriptures, still have the same language, still have the same culture, though it's evolved a little bit through history. Is that phenomenal? I heard a really good presentation one time.

They said, "what's the best evidence that you have that the Bible is true?" And they said, "one three-letter word: jew." Greatest evidence for the truth of the Bible is the Jewish nation. There's just no other people that have been through what they've been through and still somehow manage to survive, remain distinct, to prosper where they go, and to get their land back again. It's just phenomenal. Alright, well I didn't mean to say all that. I was going to talk about scribes.

Why did God need scribes? When God first spoke His Word to adam and eve, how did they record it? They pressed record... Right here. Adam and eve, I believe, perfect brains. I mean if you have met somebody with a good memory, they have, I believe photographic memories. Because first of all, God designed them to live how long? Forever.

I mean, you know, some of us, our short-term memory is okay. If you're going to live forever, what kind of long-term memory do you need? You need a really good forever long-term memory. So adam and eve and the early descendants, when they passed on the Word of God, they did it word of mouth. They were the oral traditions. They didn't need to cartify it.

They had perfect memories. After the flood, and man's lifespan was shortened, and his stature was shortened, and sin degraded humanity, you'll notice that by the time you get to Moses, God says, "look, my law that I originally gave to man--" did the Ten Commandments exist before Moses? How do you know the Ten Commandments existed before Moses? Well, Exodus 16, you've got them gathering manna and keeping the Sabbath. Before the Ten Commandments are given they're told to rest on the seventh day. Was it a sin to commit adultery before the Ten Commandments? How do you know that? When Joseph was tempted by potiphar's wife, and he said, "how can I commit this sin against God." They knew that adultery was a sin back then. What about going back to cain? That's going back pretty far.

Was it a murder--was sin a murder, back in the days of cain? I mean so the law of God--does God say, "Abraham kept my laws and my commandments? I think that's Genesis 25, "Abraham kept my statutes, my commandments, my laws." Anyway, so there was a law of God that went all the way back. But how did they pass it on? Orally, verbally, and they had incredible memories. And they categorized those things as the Word of God in their minds. By the time of Moses, things were getting fuzzy. Moses living in Egypt--did the Egyptians write a lot of things down? They had this interesting language of hieroglyphics, but they recorded things because people were forgetting.

They were forgetting their history. They noticed that. So God began to cartify and inscribe things. Karen and I had a conversation just last night. I used to have an idea for a sermon early in the week, and eventually I'd get home and I'd write it down.

I can't do that anymore. I have an idea. I got a tape player in my car. I've got to say it, or I will forget. Other things will happen, I'll say, "oh what was that great idea?" Totally forget.

And so I've got to record it somehow. Or I've got to jot down a note on something. And I take all my scribblings at the end of the week when I'm-- hopefully it's not the end of the week when I'm putting my sermon notes together. Because we forget, don't we? We've got to be reminded. And, you know, the children of Israel were told not only that they were to write the Word of God down, they were to stand before the people and read it, repeat it.

Peter says, "I need to often put you in remembrance." And so this is part of the work of these scribes. Not only were the scribes writing the law, they did more than that. Someone read for us Ezra 7:6. "This Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given." Now was the role of Ezra just he was a notary? Or was the role of Ezra bigger than that? Did Ezra just write down the Word of God, or was he also proficient at reading it, at teaching it and rehearsing it? Matter of fact, some have believed the good part of the old testament had been collected and maybe edited by Ezra the scribe, this inspired scribe. And so we've got a whole book of Ezra.

Ezra, you know, he chronicled a lot of the word of the Lord, could have been lost while the children of Israel were in Babylon, but he helped to preserve it. So it was a very important position. Alright if we look in Jeremiah 32:37, God had promised through Jeremiah and he had given this to baruch, he said, "I will gather my descendants from all the lands where I banished them in my furious anger and my great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. And they will be my people, and I will be their God.

" Alright, then you've got this other experience about thwarted ambitions. Now scribes often work in the palace. And baruch, he probably was privy with what was going on in the palace. And the Kings, they knew him by name. He may have thought, you know, "perhaps they will submit to the King of Babylon and I'll be brought into the palace and I can be a scribe for the King.

" And Jeremiah says, "no, because of your association with me, things aren't going to play out the way you think. Those that hate me are going to hate you," 'cause he's a scribe for Jeremiah. Somebody read for me Jeremiah 36:4. "Then Jeremiah called baruch The Son of neriah; and baruch wrote on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah, all the words of the Lord which he had spoken to him." Now you'll have to read all of Jeremiah 36 to get the gist, and even 35, of what was happening. But let me summarize it for you.

Kind of running short on time. Basically, he stood up. Can you imagine right now if somebody went on a political platform and addressed the nation and said, "you know, we've been consulting together and I've got a message from God. We're supposed to surrender to afghanistan and submit to them--" or to china, that's probably a better scenario-- "America is supposed to surrender to china, and they're going to be the next world power. And if we want to have peace and prosperity, we need to surrender to them.

" How popular would that person be? That wouldn't go very well. All the patriotism that they felt in the Kingdom now, you've got to realize that Nebuchadnezzar had withdrawn back to Babylon, out of sight, out of mind. The people thought, we don't need him. We got the temple. We're in power.

We've got our own king. They're having their own troubles. We don't need to serve them. And the prophets were saying, "rebel! We'll be an independent nation once again! Return to the glory of David and Solomon!" And it sounded really good. And the prophets were saying, "yes, yes!" And Jeremiah, like a wet blanket, he stands up and he says, "no, thus says the Lord, 'you need to serve the King of Babylon, or I'll destroy this city.

I'll burn the gates with a fire that will not be quenched. The temple is going to be burnt. He'll carry all the vessels off. The eyes of the King are going to be gouged out. His sons will be slain.

'" How popular would that message be? Jeremiah delivers this message in the presence of the people, and it's not met with a lot of popularity. He has baruch write it down. He reads it in the temple, and when they hear this message, they say, "what?" I mean the people, their mouths drop. He says, "you better take this and read it to the King's counsel." So then baruch takes this message of Jeremiah, this message of whine and pine, "woe is me." And he reads it to the King's counsel, and they are overcome with fear. Then they take and they bring it to the King.

And baruch reads it to the King. Now how does the King respond to that message? This arrogant king. He was kind of a vacillating king. He takes the scribe's knife. The scribes had a knife so sometimes when they got to the end of the scroll, they'd make a cut and they'd attach it to the stick and role it up.

And he takes this what we call a pen knife. They used to use for sharpening a quill. And as they read a section of the prophecy, it's in the winter time, the King cuts off those verses, drops it in the hearth, and burns it. He reads more. That would be a little intimidating.

You're a scribe, you're going though the scroll, and you're reading this prophecy of doom, and as you read a section, king says, "just a moment." He cuts off the bottom of what you just read, throws it in the fire, says, "go ahead, keep reading." Now this is a message from God. And you know what else that represents? How much work was it for him to create that scroll? And paper was a lot more expensive. He's not only taking something that is a message from God and burning it, he's taking something that represents a lot of work for a scribe back then, and he's showing absolute contempt for the word of the Lord. He's basically saying, "if I burn it up, it won't happen." Is that how the Word of God is? God says to Jonah, "go east," he goes west and he thinks that the Word of God is going to change. Did the Word of God change? So what does God tell Jeremiah? He says, "tell baruch, go to the store, buy another scroll.

Write down all the words that were in the first scroll. And I'm going to add additional words to it." Because in addition he says--he tells the King, "that message that you burnt up, not only is it all going to come true," but he pronounces personal judgment on the King because he did not appreciate the Word of God. And it all happened. It was bad. When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, people were starving to death.

the King of Babylon basically beseeched the city because they had rebelled against a vow made in the name of the Lord. And when they got so hungry, the King tried to escape with some of the soldiers himself, leave all his people and escape instead of going out and surrendering. And they caught up with him. And the last thing he saw was that Nebuchadnezzar killed all of his children before his eyes and then he put out his eyes. That would be his last memory, carried him in chains back to Babylon.

It didn't end well for him. And then Jeremiah delivers a message, Jeremiah 45:2, to baruch, "thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, o baruch: you say, 'woe is me now! For the Lord has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.' Thus you shall say to him, thus says the Lord: 'behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck, that is, this whole land. And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,' says the Lord. 'But I will give you your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.

'" You know, because baruch was committed to Jeremiah and the Word of God, he says, "you're not going to have a position in the palace, but I'm going to let you live." Nebuchadnezzar and the soldiers of Babylon heard that Jeremiah had been pleading with the people to surrender for what they were doing. And when the city was destroyed, Jeremiah was in prison. They were also hunting for baruch at that time too. He was partially in prison, that they not only let Jeremiah live, they gave him a ration. Matter of fact, let me read it to you.

Jeremiah 40:2. After Jerusalem was destroyed, city is burnt with fire, Jeremiah 40:2, "and the captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him: 'the Lord your God has pronounced this doom on this place. Now the Lord has brought it, and has done it--'" here the heathen recognized it was jehovah that had done it-- "just has he said. Because your people sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore has this thing come upon you. And now look, I free you this day from the chains that were on your hand.

If it seems good to you, come with me to Babylon, come, and I'll look after you." This is what the head general in charge of all the prisoners said to him. "But if it seems wrong for you to come with me to Babylon, stay here." If you want to stay on what's left of the land, stay. "See, all the land is before you; wherever it seems good and convenient for you to go, there go." "Now while Jeremiah had not yet gone back, nebuzaradan said, 'go back to gedaliah The Son of ahikam, The Son of shaphan, whom the King of Babylon has made governor over the cities of judah, and dwell with him among the people. Or go wherever it seems right for you to go.' So the captain of the guard gave him rations," he gave him an allowance, "and a gift and let him go." He not only gave him freedom; he gave him money so that he could survive. But Jeremiah interceded on behalf of baruch.

Now some say Jeremiah went with them down to Egypt when they rebelled. They ended up killing the governor that Nebuchadnezzar set up after zedekiah, and they fled to Egypt. And those people really suffered there. I think that's what jerome says. Josephus says, "no, Jeremiah went with baruch, and they went back to Babylon.

And they finished their days there in peace. History's a little sketchy about what happened after that, but you can see in the Bible that they were cared for after the city was conquered. Anyway, just gives you a little history of one of the background characters, a scribe of God. We are out of time, friends. I want to remind you about our free offer.

It's offer 774, "compromise, conformity and courage." We'll be happy to send that to you. Just call the number on the screen, and it's our gift to you. God bless you, and we will study together, God willing, next Sabbath.

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