Desire of Nations

Desire of Nations

Scripture: Isaiah 60:3
Date: 03/20/2021  Lesson: 12
Sin can destroy our relationship with the Lord and thus lead to our eternal ruin—not because sin drives God away from us but that it drives us away from God.

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Carlos Muñoz: Maranatha and good morning. Happy Sabbath to everyone that's joining us today on this beautiful day. We want to welcome you all to the Sabbath School Study Hour here at the Granite Bay Hilltop Seventh-day Adventist Church. We're located here in the Sacramento area, specifically in Granite Bay. And so if you're ever in the area, if you're ever coming to visit, or if you live in the area and you want to come join us, we-- please, we ask you to come and fellowship with us every Sabbath morning if you-- if it's your delight. So today we're continuing in our study on the book of Isaiah. How many of you have been enjoying the book of Isaiah, amen? And today we're touching on a very important and a beautiful topic, which is the desire of ages, amen? The desire of ages.

So I'm really looking forward to today's lesson and we also have a free offer, right? Remember, we always have a free offer. And our free offer for today is this book called "12 Steps to Revival." "12 Steps to Revival," it's one of our pocketbooks. You can receive this book by calling us at 1-866-788-3966 or 1-866-Study-More, and you can ask for offer number 780. Now, sadly, it's only mailed in North America, in the United States territories, but you can also receive this digital copy if you text SH001. Again, text SH001 to the number 40544. The number is 40544 and you will receive a digital copy and you can also find this pocketbook and many others on the "Amazing Facts" website. So you can go there and find many of these wonderful blessings as well.

Well, before we get into the study of our lesson today, we are going to be delighted with a praise from the-- Rennan and Nicole Ramus and Dorling Coinan, and they are going to be singing "If You but Trust."

♪ If you but trust in God to guide you and place ♪

♪ your confidence in Him, ♪

♪ you'll find Him always there beside you ♪

♪ to give you hope and strength within; ♪

♪ for those who trust God's changeless love build on the ♪

♪ rock that will not move, ooh. ♪

♪ What gain is there in futile weeping, ♪

♪ in helpless anger and distress? ♪

♪ If you are in His care and keeping, ♪

♪ in sorrow will He love you less? ♪

♪ For He who took for you a cross ♪

♪ will bring you safe through ♪

♪ every loss, ooh. ♪

♪ Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving, ♪

♪ offer your service faithfully, and trust His Word; ♪

♪ though undeserving, you'll find His promise true to be. ♪

♪ God never will forsake in need the soul that trusts ♪

♪ in Him indeed, ooh. ♪

♪ God never will forsake in need the soul that trusts ♪

♪ in Him indeed, ♪

♪ ooh, ♪

♪ ooh. ♪♪

Carlos: I didn't hear enough amens there. Amen, that was beautiful. Let's have a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, we thank You again for this great privilege and this honor that You give us to come together. We thank You for the beautiful music that elevates our mind to contemplate Your beauty and Your glory and Christ there, Father, at Your right hand interceding on our behalf. Well, Father, now as we come to study the Word of God, we ask that Your Spirit guide us, and come with an attitude of what can we learn, what more can we grasp, of how better can we understand Your Word? And today, Your servant, Father, is Pastor Doug Batchelor. We just ask that Your Spirit continue to speak in him and through him and that we may delight and rejoice in learning more about the desire of ages. We thank You, Father, for this opportunity and this blessing and we ask and beg these things, in Jesus's name, amen.

Doug Batchelor: Good morning. Happy Sabbath. I want to welcome everybody that is here in-house with us today and we're glad that we're in some spring weather here in the Granite Bay, Sacramento, area. I want to welcome those who are worshiping and studying with us online through either one of the satellite channels or Roku or Facebook or YouTube, and it's amazing the testimonies we get of people who join us in studying God's Word from all over the world. We know you're there, we see your notes, we love to hear from you, and thank you for being there.

Today, we're continuing in our lesson on Isaiah, and today we're going to be in lesson number 12. We've got one more lesson in this series and I think I'm lined up to teach that next week, and then we're moving on to a new quarterly. I thought I'd just give you a little preview glimpse. And it's going to be called "The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant." This is really going to be interesting because it's going to go through the various covenants that God made to His people and I know that will be an edifying study. Today's study is lesson number 12 in Isaiah and it's dealing with "Desire of Nations." How many of you have read the book "Desire of Ages"? And I think that the title is drawn from this section that you find in Isaiah.

Now, it's really been a challenge to, you know, normally for these quarters, for those watching you may or may not know that we, in this church, we go through a study guide every quarter, every, you know, 13 weeks or so. And you know, in five years' time we try and cover the Bible but it's really difficult to get the 66 chapters of Isaiah in 13 weeks. They really need to dedicate two quarters to this. But we're going to do our best to try to cover our subject today.

We're going to be dealing with Isaiah chapter 59, 60, and part of 61. And we've got our work cut out for us. There's a memory verse. The memory verse is from Isaiah 60, verse 3. Isaiah 60, verse 3, and this is a good choice. You want to say it with me if you have it there. It says: "The Gentiles shall come to Your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising." And this is certainly a fulfilled prophecy in that the Gentiles came to the light of not only the Messiah but the Word that was brought by the Jewish nation, and kings to the brightness of His rising.

Well, we're going to start with Isaiah chapter-- Isaiah chapter 59, and I like to just dive right in and start reading the Word and do some just expository teaching along the way. This is under Sunday's section, "The Effects of Sin." And you read here in verse 1, Isaiah 59: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear."

Some people say, "How come my prayers are not being answered?" Well, there could be a few different reasons. One thing, you want to pray according to God's will. You want to pray in faith. There are certain criteria in prayer: patiently and persistently, but the Bible's pretty clear that if we stop our ears to hearing the law, even our prayer is an abomination, that our iniquities can separate us from God and what did it say? "So that He will not hear." You cannot live a life of, you know, known, open, high-handed sin and then give God your Christmas shopping list and say, "I wonder why He's not answering my prayers."

Do not misunderstand, please: God always hears a prayer of repentance and confession. When you come to Him and you've got a penitent heart, the Lord always hears those prayers. But when you're giving God your list, it does make a difference if you surrendered your life to Him and if you're willing to do His will, turn from your sins. And Isaiah's here, he says that there's separation that happens because of our rebellion: sometimes our connection is broken.

Now, up in the hills where we have had our cabin for many years, when I first moved up there, we had no telephone. There's no cell phone, and the way we all communicated with each other is we had CB radios. Does anyone remember what a CB radio is? I think truckers still have them. And all of the mountain people up there, we had-- I had an antenna was, like, 40 feet tall so that I can reach everybody. And we all had our handles. You know, with one family it was Country Girl, and the other guy was Flying Fan, and I was Cave Man. And so we all had our handles. We communicated with CBs.

Then finally, one day, I said, "Enough is enough." Two miles from my house, Mendocino County had a phone line and I called the phone company and they said, "Look, if you want to connect to the phone line, we'll connect it for you, but," they said, "you got to put your own line in." And so we bought 2 miles of copper phone line. Now, it wasn't that much back then. Right now, that would be worth a fortune. The price of copper went up so people are stealing copper from people's houses. You heard about that. And so I ran through the woods and through the trees and over hill and dale, this spool of wire all the way to the house, 2 miles, to the county road and it was wonderful, finally. I tell you, it was so neat when we finally hooked it up and they hooked us and he said, "You should be good to go." We picked up the receiver, we heard, "Nnnnn," ready to make a phone call. It was amazing. I mean, it was so exciting.

But then one day it stopped working and I called the phone company and they said, "It's not at our end; it's at your end." They said, "Something happened to interrupt your connection." And I had to walk 2 miles of phone line to find where a squirrel had chewed through the line and it was shorting out. And so I found it and I taped it up and then I-- I mean, for a while there, I would actually, to make it a quicker trip, I would cut the phone line in two and do a meter test and test this mile and test this mile. And then the snow would fall and trees would fall on the line and break the line and I'd have to go reconnect it. And you know, I spent years reconnecting the line, walking the woods, in the rain. Had to make important phone calls, the line is out. I'd get out there and I found it was better if I take a rag. I'd put a rag in my hand and I'd walk like this with the line. If there was a break in the line, I'd feel a lump. You could feel it. And then you'd stop and I always had my tape and I had my solder gun and everything and I'd fix it up. Walking through the rain.

I'll tell you, friends, you have no idea how happy I was when we got cell reception. It was so wonderful. And then we had some neighbors. We were sharing our line with them. Any of you remember the days where you have a party line? And I said, "Well," I said, "the line is all yours now. We're not going to use it anymore. We're using the cell phone. You guys need to get a cell phone." "No, no, causes brain cancer. We're not getting a cell phone." But then he had to fix the phone line and it wasn't long before they got the victory and they got a cell phone because it was a constant job to keep reconnecting the line.

Well, you know, it's sort of how it is in the Christian life. It is--we are constantly struggling to maintain the connection with God. If you fall, sin, repent, confess, turn back to God, reconnect, and the devil will come along and there'll be another storm or the squirrel will chew through the line. Reconnect, reconnect, reconnect. Just--that's what it is in the Christian life. It's just one of constantly striving to maintain that connection. And not only is that true of God, if you're married it's true also. Can you have an "amen" out there? You've got to be constantly reconnecting to maintain the relationship. The devil wants to sever that relationship and break our connection with God.

In the beginning, did God run from man or did man run from God? Genesis 3:8: "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord," from God in the trees in the garden. They heard the sound of the Lord and they ran from Him. Someone said the first question in the Bible is God asking, "Where are you?" to Adam. And the first question in the New Testament is the wise men asking, "Where is He?" So you've got man looking for God and God looking for man.

Now, technically, the first question in the Bible is the devil questioning God's Word, "Hath God said?" But that's where all our troubles come from: doubting God's Word. So it's all about the connection. And God wants us to be connected with Him, but He does want us to be separated from sin. Our sins separate us from God so if we want to be connected with God, we must be separated from sin. And that's why Jesus came. Listen to what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:17: "Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.'"

Does that mean that the Lord wants Christians to live in a monastery by ourselves somewhere where, you know, like, Simeon Stylites. We find a tall pillar and climb up there and just separate from the world? Or you run off to a cave or deserted island so that you can maintain your holiness? How are we going to preach the gospel like that?

One of the great challenges for every Christian is how do you separate from sin in the world and still be in the world to reach sinners? Well, Jesus gave us an example of how to do that. You sort of have to go from the mountain to the multitude. Go to the mountain and pray, and then you go to the multitude. But God is calling us to be separate, be holy, and maintain that relationship. You know, there's a great quote in the lesson from the book, "Faith and Works," page 36. "We must learn in the school of Christ nothing but His righteousness can entitle us to one of the blessings of the covenant of grace. We've long desired and tried to obtain the blessings but have not received them because we've cherished the idea that we can do something to make ourselves worthy of them. We've not looked away from ourselves, believing that Jesus is a living Savior. We must not think that our own grace and merits will save us. The grace of Christ alone is the hope of salvation. Through the prophet, the Lord promises, 'Let the wicked--'" she's quoting Isaiah-- "'Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.'"

Notice, she's saying it's only through Christ but then it goes on to say, "We must forsake our way and our unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and He will have mercy on him, and to our God and He will abundantly pardon." That's how we gain that reconnection. "We must believe the naked promise and not accept feeling for faith. When we trust God fully, when we rely upon the merits of Jesus as a sin-pardoning Savior, we shall receive all the help that we desire." What a wonderful promise.

Now, I want to go back to Isaiah chapter 59. I just read verse 1 and 2. Go to verse 3. Then he gets specific. "For your hands are defiled with blood, your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity." He's going through all the anatomy here. "No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers' eggs and weave the spider's web." The viper, remember what John the Baptist said to the Pharisees and scribes, so, "Den of vipers who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come." "He who eats their eggs dies, and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out. Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works--" now notice this. "Their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hand." You might underline that word: "in their hand." "Their feet run to evil, they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction is in their paths."

So you've got "in the hand" and "in the thoughts." What are two characteristics of the mark of the beast in the last days? When it says "in the hand," is it physical or is it talking about their works are works of iniquity in their hand. See what it said? In the forehead, their thoughts are thoughts. And so in the Bible, when it says, "in the forehead," and "in the hand," Isaiah helps spell out what does that mean? It means your actions, your thoughts, is what's that's talking about. "The way of peace they have not known, and there's no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know the way of peace."

So it talks here about our sins have separated us but God wants us to separate from sin, come out and be separate. What is the second angel's message in Revelation chapter 14? "Babylon is fallen, is fallen. Come out from her, my people. Come out and be separate lest you receive of her plagues and partake of her sin." So there is actually a message of calling out and separating from sin is part of the three angels' message, amen? If you look in Romans-- I'm sorry, Romans 8:38-39.

Now, while we are to separate from sin, do our sins separate us from God's love? Nothing can separate us. Let's read this. Romans 8:38: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That love that God has for us, does that begin after we come to Him or does He love us even before we come to Him? That love that God has for us, is that love after we've confessed and forsaken our sins or does He love us as sinners? God loves sinners.

There's nothing that can separate you from the love of God. That love brings the sinner to Christ. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." "God so loved the world," the holy world and the sinful world. He loved the world of sinners so that He gave His only begotten Son, so let's remember that.

All right, under Monday, the section "Who is Forgiven?" Now we're going to read Isaiah 59, verse 15 to 50-- verse 15 to 21. So if you want to join me there. It says: "So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him." What's one of the big challenges in the world today? Truth fails. When you read Daniel chapter 8:14 and it talks about this beast power, what does a beast power do? Casts down truth. And the cleansing of the sanctuary is a restoration of truth. And so that's part of the work of the church.

Are we living in a world today where truth is becoming relative? I don't know-- not for us, I mean, the truth is absolute. Jesus is the truth. His Word is truth. But in the world, it's like, you've got your truth, I've got my truth. Everybody has their own truth. And it's like everybody's living in various fantasies and we're supposed to respect everybody's fantasies as it's a truth. But I don't like the idea the government's telling me I need to respect someone else's fantasy and call it truth just to make them happy.

There is absolute truth and we need to be clear about that because it is the truth that sets you free. The truth is what saves. Jesus is the truth. When we start going in for some of the cultural ideas of what is truth so that we can fit in, it's really a betrayal of Christ. When you start buying into this idea that there are really 15 or 20 different genders, no, the Bible says there's 2. And no, it doesn't matter how many times someone tells a lie, it doesn't make it true. And so we've got to be careful. No, the truth is the truth is the truth. And our mission as Christians is to be constantly seeking out and sharing what is true. But boy, it is sure getting murky out in the world today.

All right, so tells us that truth is fallen in the streets. And then you go on and read here what it says in verse 16 in Isaiah chapter 59: "He saw that there was no man, and He wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and as a helmet of salvation on His head; He put the garments of vengeance on for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak."

Now, do a couple of those phrases sound familiar? If you look in Ephesians, you know, the armor of God, so much of what the apostles were saying, they are quoting from the Old Testament. You read the armor of God that you find in Ephesians chapter 6, starting with verse 13: "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you might be able to withstand in the evil day, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness."

Did Isaiah just talk about truth? Did he just talk about a breastplate-- breastplate of righteousness? That was the big centerpiece of steel, or scales of iron, that protected your vitals. "Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace." Now, Isaiah's not talking about that here, but does Isaiah talk about how beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of those that bring good tidings, good news, feet? Paul is alluding to things that Isaiah has said for the believer. "Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you were able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation." Well, we just read that, "helmet of salvation," here in Isaiah 59. "Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." So he kind of unpacks a little more for us what those elements are.

All right, continuing, Isaiah 59, verse 18: "According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay." Is there another Scripture that says that? "Behold, He comes in the clouds and every eye will see Him and He will reward every man according to their works." Everyone's going to be-- "The books were open and every man was rewarded according to his needs."

Now that confuses people because we know, as Protestants, that Christians are saved by works or by faith? By faith. But we're rewarded by works or by faith? By works. Saved by faith, and then if you are saved by faith, there'll be a change in your works and your works are evident of whether or not you've been saved. That's where Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits." The fruits is talking about their actions. So if a person says, "Lord, Lord," and they're not following the Lord, Jesus said, "It's not everyone that says, 'Lord, Lord,' but he that does the will of My Father."

So it's ultimately who does the will of God that determines if the heart has been changed. "According to their deeds," I'm back in Isaiah 59, verse 18, "He will repay, fury to His adversaries, and recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun," that would be the east, "when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him." Now, that's a promise you can underline in your Bible. Who's the enemy? The devil. Well, we got another enemy I'm talking about in the sermon today. But principally, we think about the devil.

Can you think of a time in the Bible when an enemy was approaching God's people and He lifted up the standard against them? When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, before they crossed the Red Sea, the Pharaoh and his army began to say, "Why did we let all of our slaves go? What were we thinking? We let them go, we gave them our treasure. We must have been out of our minds. Now, we're going to have to do all the work." And they took off after the Israelites. And the Israelites, so they're feeling pretty good about freedom and when they get to the Red Sea, they see a barrier and there's now mountains on the right and the left, and then they see a cloud of dust coming from the west and, alas, it's the Egyptians with all their chariots of war coming to either kill or retrieve the Israelites. And they say to Moses, "Were there not enough graves in Egypt that you brought us into the wilderness to kill us?" And God said, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."

Now, listen to what happens here. Exodus 14:19: "And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel," he's moving in this pillar, leading them. "The Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went up from before them and stood behind them," as their rear guard. "So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to one," the Egyptians, "and it gave light by night to the other," the Israelites, "so one did not come near the other all that night."

Here the Lord set up a standard against them. He created this barrier of protection. That's a wonderful promise that you can claim. Go back to Isaiah 59, verse 20: "The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob." Now, who does the Redeemer come to? "To those who turn from transgression," those who are hungering after righteousness. "Says the Lord. 'As for Me,' says the Lord, 'this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words that I put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants,' says the Lord, 'from this time and forevermore.'" Saying that the Word of God, those words that Isaiah spoke have continued to go down through time to all of those who are either children of Abraham or spiritual children of Abraham, to the present day where here I am teaching those words to you. It was a covenant that God made that that word about the Messiah would continue to go on.

And so here you've got-- it says the Redeemer will come. If you've got your Bibles, you'll notice that's capital R, that's Isaiah 59:20. "The Redeemer will come to Zion." There are so many prophecies about the Redeemer coming. Look in Isaiah chapter 49, verse 8: "And I will preserve thee and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that you might say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,' and to them that are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.' And they will feed thee and the way of the pastures shall be in all the high places. And they will not hunger or thirst, neither shall the heat or the sun smite them; for He will have mercy on them and He will lead them, by the springs of water He will guide them." It's one of the prophecies of the Messiah, leading them to that living water.

You read in Isaiah 54:10: "'For the mountains will depart and the hills will be removed, but My kindness will not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed,' says the Lord, that has mercy on thee." Another promise of God's mercy in his covenant. And then Romans chapter 3, verse 20: "Therefore by the deeds of the law will no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God, apart from the law, being revealed, being witnessed through the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus,"

Now what prophets is Isaiah talking about? One of them's Isaiah. I'm sorry, what prophet is Paul talking about? One of them is Isaiah. "Being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ." So the idea that the Jews were saved by works but in the New Testament we're saved by faith. Does the Bible teach that? No. How are they saved in the Old Testament: by works or faith? Faith. Nobody--no one's getting to heaven based on works. They were saved by faith. This is the message that you always see in the writings of Isaiah and the other prophets. Habakkuk said, "The just shall live by his faith." Abraham, way back in Genesis: "Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Whether you're a Jew or a Greek, a Gentile, it doesn't matter. It's--all of us are saved by that grace.

All right, under Thursday's section, universal appeal. Now, we're going to look at Isaiah chapter 60, verse 1 and 2. And again, I'm having to-- there's so much I could say on these verses in Isaiah. Isaiah 60:1: "Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and the kings to the brightness of your rising."

Now, that's a messianic promise: that the Gentiles would come to the light of Israel. All the Gentiles that are Christians around the world, the book they read, who wrote the book? It was written by the Jews, by the Israelites. And so this is the message and, you know, when you look at the religions of the world, just, it's amazing to me that Jesus said, "This gospel will be preached in all the world." How did He know that? Was He right? You know, all the prophecies Jesus made about His Word going into all the world, and, you know, like the woman who washed Jesus's feet, "what she has done will be remembered forever," and He made all these promises.

How--that's a pretty bold statement for an uneducated carpenter who doesn't have a social media account to say that His message is going to go into all the world. Did it? Number one religion in the world is Christianity, with all its flaws and warts. There's about, oh, 2 billion Christians in the world, 2.1; second is Islam, about 1.7. Then you've got, you know, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the other religions. Jews are comparatively very small, 16, 17 million Jews in all the world. But the influence of what they wrote has changed the world. You could even look at, you know, even Islam claims to believe the five books of Moses.

So look at that incredible influence of the Word of God going everywhere. Universal appeal. And He says the time has come for you to rise and shine. Didn't Jesus say to the church, "You are the light of the world"? We're to be shining. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works." They ought to see a difference in our lives. I know years ago, they had a bumper sticker. It said: "Christians aren't perfect; just forgiven." And while it's true that most Christians are not perfect, I hope we're more than "just forgiven." That seems we might be downplaying that there's supposed to be a transformation and we're new creatures. Arise and shine. "Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people."

When do Christians shine the brightest? When it's the darkest. Is it just me or do you also sense that it seems the world is getting a little darker? I'm talking about the spiritual. It seems like there's more spiritual wickedness in high places. And that's one of the signs of the end. When does the bridegroom come? Midday when the sun is shining or at midnight? Says in the parable, "And at midnight." It's at the darkest hour, "darkness will cover the land, and deep darkness the people. But the--" It says: "The Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you," especially during this time of darkness, God wants the church to reflect the character of Christ. And to show the world what is a Christian. And I think we're going to be tested.

Our faith is going to be tested in the months and years to come. 1 Thessalonians 5:2: "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say to you, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruct comes upon-- sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they will not escape. But brethren, you are not in darkness, so that that Day should overtake you as a thief."

Now, does any man know the day or the hour of the Lord's coming? Can we look up and see the signs and know when it's near? And Paul also says here, "You are not in darkness that that Day should overtake you as a thief." It's going to come as a thief for the world but He's given us signs and I think we're seeing those signs. "You are sons of light and sons of the day. We're not of the night or of the darkness. Therefore since we're not of the darkness, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night."

You know, my friend's mother used to always say-- we'd go out and goof off. She'd say, "I want you back by 11." "Oh, but you know, can we stay out a little later?" And she'd say, "Nothing good ever happens after 11. You've got to be home by 11. Nothing good ever happens after 11." You know, I could look now over my life and I thought, "Well, that's true." The police say, "You know, the most interesting phone calls are about 2 in the morning." "Oh, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. Let those of us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and a helmet as the hope of salvation." There he is implementing those implements of armor again. "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ."

Look at Amos. What does it mean when it says, "Darkness covers the land"? What's another name for the Word of God? "Thy Word is a lamp." What's a lamp do? Gives light. So when it says that darkness covers the land, what does that mean? Word taken away. Amos 8, verse 11: "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord God, 'that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they'll wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; and they'll run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but will not find it.'"

Now, Isaiah, is he writing to the pagans or is he writing to the church? Writing to the church. Pagans don't have Isaiah, and he's telling us in the church there can be a famine for the Word of God. You can have Christians in North America where the average Christian has five Bibles in their home but you start quoting Scripture and they act like they've never heard it before. Many, many Christians think owning a Bible is a substitute for actually reading it. They go to church once a week and nowadays they may not even take it with them. And there's a famine for the Word of God. We need to be storing up our minds with the Word of God because we're going to be challenged about our beliefs on every front from both the world and even some who are in the church. We need to know what we believe.

All right, Wednesday, I'm running out of time here. I want to get to Wednesday, the year of the Lord's favor. It says: Isaiah 61, verse 1 and 2: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Is Isaiah speaking about himself or is he speaking about the Messiah? I hadn't finished. Or both? It's really both. This is what you would call a dual prophecy. Did not the word of Isaiah have some relevance in his day? The people were being attacked by the Assyrians in the northern kingdom of Israel, and remember, Isaiah lived during the time of Hezekiah and they were greatly discouraged and he gave them encouragement.

Did Isaiah receive the Holy Spirit? Have you read Isaiah 6, where he saw the Lord and God took a coal from his altar and touched his lips. Isaiah was anointed. He was called as a prophet of God to proclaim the good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives," through the Word of God, people are liberated from sin, "and the opening of prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." That was all true in his day. So this is what you call a dual prophecy.

You know, one of my favorite examples of a dual prophecy in the Bible is where Nathan comes to David. David is sitting in his home and Hiram the king of Tyre had helped David build a beautiful cedar home and David is looking at this beautiful home and he's thinking, "Man, I used to be a shepherd. This is such a nice house and the ark of God is in a tent that's all tattered after its years in the wilderness and its wandering. He said, "I really need to build a temple." And Nathan the prophet comes in and David says to Nathan, "I live in a house of cedar but the ark of God is in a tent. I--" and he said, "I want to build a temple." And Nathan says, "Do all that's in your heart. The Lord is with you."

But then as Nathan leaves, God said, "No, no, go back and talk to David. Tell him I don't want you to actually build the temple. You can store up materials and build the design but you're not going to build it because you're a bloody man. Not only were you a man of war, but you were guilty of innocent blood." And so Nathan the prophet comes back and he tells David, "You're not going to build My house, but your son who comes after you. He will build My house and I will establish his kingdom forever."

What is that prophecy about? Is it about Solomon, who built the temple, the son of David, or is it about Jesus, or is it about both? That's an example of a dual prophecy in the Bible. So it was relevant in the day that Isaiah said this that the Lord had anointed him but that would be even more. How do we know that it also applies to Jesus? All you've got to do is look-- and this is our next section in Thursday, in-- you read in Luke 4, verse 17: Jesus goes to His church in Nazareth, His home town, and He's handed the book of the prophet Isaiah, probably at His request. "And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.'"

First of all, friends, I've just got to tell you it's really encouraging to me that in the 700 years from when Isaiah wrote that to the time when Jesus read it, it had not changed. God had preserved His Word all those years, and it's really encouraging to me, you can go to Israel today and they have found a scroll of Isaiah that predates Jesus and it's the same as what you find in your Bibles today. Of course, it's in Hebrew. Yours is translated into English. But it is essentially the same. God has protected His Word in a miraculous way.

So that was one thing. As Jesus is reading it, it sounds just like what you read in Isaiah because it had not changed in those 700 years. But notice that it says: "He closed the book." Why did Jesus close the book and He did not read the rest of this because if you look in Isaiah chapter 62, it says: "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort those that mourn." "Vengeance of our God." Why did Jesus not read the part about vengeance? Because when Jesus came the first time, was He coming as a Lamb or as a Lion? He came as a Lamb. He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, that you could be accepted by God if you come to God now. Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation. This is what Jesus was talking about.

But what about the rest of the passage in Isaiah? It says, "In the day of vengeance of our God." Now, this is a very important point. When you're reading through prophecies, especially prophecies like Isaiah and Ezekiel and Zechariah and even Daniel, you might see the prophet who is writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and between two words you can have 2000 years go by. There--the day of vengeance was not when Jesus came the first time. The day of vengeance-- and Jesus showed that because He closed the book. He didn't even read "and."

That part of the prophecy is going to be fulfilled also, isn't it? You read in Leviticus 25, verse 9: "Then you'll call--" So now, this is talking about the Jubilee. I think most of us here know what the Jubilee is. Once every set of 50 years or 49 years would go by, then in the 50th year they'd blow the trumpet and they'd be Jubilee. It was called the acceptable year of the Lord. "Then you'll cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement and you will make the trumpet to sound throughout all of your land." So Jesus said, "This is the acceptable year." He came to set the captives free, to open the prisons.

But is there a time when He's going to be coming and there's going to be judgment? Yes. You look in Luke 21:21-22: "Let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains." Now, you realize that Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17, Luke 21 are the places where Jesus prophesies the last days. So Luke 21 is one of those. "Then let those that are in Judea flee into the mountains. Let those who are in the midst of her depart. Let not those who are in the country enter her, for these are the days of vengeance, that all things are written may be fulfilled."

Now, notice, Luke says, "All things written." The rest of Isaiah chapter 62, or 61 rather, is going to be fulfilled where it says: "In the day of vengeance of our God." Jesus, when He comes in the end, how is He pictured coming? "Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see Him coming. And the wicked are going to call for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sits on the throne," and you know, these words always seem like an oxymoron to me.

It talks about the wrath of the Lamb. I mean, you might think about the wrath of a lion, a tiger, the wrath of a bear, the wrath of a snake. Most people don't have nightmares about lambs attacking them. Doesn't it seem a little incongruous, the wrath of the Lamb? But Jesus, because they rejected Jesus coming as a Lamb during the acceptable year of the Lord, He is going to be coming like a lion to execute judgment. He said at His trial, "Hereafter," He said to the high priest who condemned Him. "Hereafter you will see the Son of man coming on the right hand of power," and that's going to be the day of vengeance of our God. So all of these prophecies are going to be fulfilled, every word.

You know, the Bible tells us all these prophecies that Moses made about the blessings and the cursings, and Joshua, when they entered the Promised Land just before he died, he gathered Israel together and he said, "You bear witness today. Everything that Moses said has happened. All that he prophesied has come true. God brought us into the land, He brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, and not one--" I like the way he says it. "Not one word has fallen to the ground." Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word, every word of God is pure. None of these prophecies in Isaiah, "not one jot or one tittle will in anywise fail from the law," amen? So I think sometimes we lose.

A lot of people speculate about the Bible and say, "Well, I believe most of it. You know, some things you can't trust." You start down that road, friends, and pretty soon you'll be the arbiter of what you want to follow or not. "Every word." You look at Isaiah and you can see everything that he foretold is coming true. Anyway, well, I hope you've been blessed.

I think we did get through our lesson today, and I want to remind those who are watching, we have a free offer and it's called "12 Steps to Revival," and if you'd like a free copy, that's a good book, I really recommend the author. And it's number 780 and the number if you'd like to call in to receive that is 866-788-3966, that's 866-Study-More, and that's, of course, in North America. You can also go to the Amazing Facts website, that's in our section of free downloads. "12 Steps to Revival," we know you'll appreciate that.

And just want to give you again a heads up. In the next couple of weeks we're going to be moving into our new quarterly dealing with the promise, talking about the covenants of God, and I know you'll be blessed. Let's have prayer as we close.

Father in heaven, thank You so much for just the things we've learned from this fantastic study of the prophecies of Isaiah and what we still will learn. And Lord, we pray that You will be present now with us in a special way. Thank You for these Sabbath hours and blessing our service now that will follow. We ask in Jesus's name, amen.

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Announcer: "Amazing Facts," Changed Lives.

Steve Johnson: I was heading south on Interstate 5. This commercial come on KFBK radio about a Revelation Seminar by Amazing Facts. I began--my chest began to tighten up. I began sweating profusely. I had difficulty in breathing. There were this big rest area and, at this time, I pulled into there. I thought, "Well, maybe I'm having a heart attack." I got out of my truck, walked into the men's restroom there and put cold water on my face. And then finally, things subsided. A week later, again, I heard this Amazing Facts commercial come on the radio. In fact, the meetings were going to start that very night. Just--and again, immediately I had these same symptoms. I thought, "You know, this isn't my heart. I have to go to that meeting." And as I was going down to Sacramento, I decided to park and go inside.

Well, I got in and walked into the furthermost rear seat they had, in the pew there. And this particular evangelist-- his name was Kim Kjaer. It was like taking one layer off at a time of an onion. He laid it out so perfectly that we could all understand it. And I was really motivated. I couldn't believe it. Well, I finished-- I didn't miss a meeting. In fact, on the fifth night, they had an altar call and my knees stood right up and I walked forward and I gave my heart to Jesus Christ.

I've learned throughout this whole thing that when you leave the devil's territory, he gets pretty active in causing a lot of problems. Well, I had the evangelists come out and they had prayer with me about my business. I would find a sick business and make it well and then market it. I finally ended up with a business that I really enjoyed. It was one that was building equestrian centers. And they said to me, "Steve," he said, "you know, if you're going to really keep the Sabbath, you've got to shut your doors on the Sabbath."

Well, I did and so I sold the business to my brother. Took me 22 years to build that business and he lost it in 33 months. My son who was my business partner, I'd been giving him 10% of the business every year. He thought I'd just fallen off the bridge. My son didn't talk to me for 5 1/2 years.

And then a few other things happened. I had an ex-employee living in my guest house. He kind of watched after our place and he said, "Steve." He said, "There's an Allied moving van backed up to your front door in your home." I said, "You're kidding." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "They're moving everything out of your house into this truck and your wife is out there supervising them." And when I went home and opened the front door, my voice echoed in that house. There wasn't any furniture left anywhere. There was one bed left in the house.

I knew my wife was upset because of my coming to this church, but I had no idea that she would move out like this. That was a total shock to me. It was some time there, I locked myself in the bedroom and I began reading the Bible. I spent about a half a year just every night, getting home, and I would-- I would study. It allowed me to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Well, to make a long story short, I met Crystal and she was a godly woman. That was the Lord's doing, not mine. And He was just there to let me know that I'm with you all the way, even though you're going to have some trials and you're going to have some hardships, I want you to know that I'll be with you." Because no matter what I do now, He is my leader. He's the leader of my marriage, He's the leader of everything in my life today. That one meeting with the Amazing Facts seminar changed my entire life and to this day, I'm still on fire for God. I'm still witnessing to my neighbors. My name is Steve Johnson and it's because of you that Amazing Facts has changed my life.

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Male: I come from a Hindu background. My mom is a preacher for Shiva, who is a Hindu god, and my father is the agnostic kind, so me myself, I grew, like, as an atheist. In the year 2007 I had an experience of being in South India and that was the first time I experienced Christian people, you know? The majorities were Christians there. There were some Adventist youth who invited me to be a part of one of their midweek service. They were presenting a video of Pastor Doug Batchelor, "The Richest Caveman."

I was moved, you know? I do understand good and bad and I pictured myself into the bad category than the good one. I started experiencing several dreams and which started troubling me. And you know, I kept the website in my mind. I went to the Internet Cafe and started browsing the website of Amazing Facts. And then I saw the Bible study guide there. Every day I started taking one of the lesson and I was baptized, 2007.

After my conversion, I straightly came to Spicer to do my studies. During the summer vacation, I decided to go back home and give my mom and my father a visit. By that time, they knew that I have converted to Christianity. I was thrown out of the house. We are not in good terms even today but sad part for them, not for me.

There in 2015 I was diagnosed with leukemia. I had only one professor and one friend who was coming along with me to the hospital every day. When I asked this assistant doctor what do you think is the lifespan of a person like me, she said, "You'll be losing weight and you'll get sick slowly, slowly if you don't go for treatment." So a year plus, one night I had decided, it was January 2015, I said, "I am not going for any treatment anymore." I said, "Lord, You gave me one year so what I'll do is I'll just do Your ministry and that's okay."

And I never went for any treatment after that. I just left everything right away there. I didn't take even one tablet, one medicine. I'm standing in front of you, strong in 2018. Nothing happened. I don't know what happened. I don't know. I don't know if it's still there in my body or what. I don't know. I'm not dead yet. I want to serve in India. Amazing Facts team, especially Pastor Doug, has really paid a very important element in my life to give me an identity.

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