Rebirth of Planet Earth

Rebirth of Planet Earth

Scripture: Isaiah 65:17
Date: 03/27/2021  Lesson: 13
Why is the promise of eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth so basic to our Christian belief? What good would our faith be without that promise?

Heaven: Is It for Real? - Paper or Digital Download

Heaven: Is It for Real? - Paper or Digital Download
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Jëan Ross: Good morning, friends. Welcome once again to "Sabbath School Study Hour," coming to you here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. We'd like to welcome those who are joining us online across the country and around the world. Also those who will be viewing this in the various television networks, very warm welcome. But also I'd like to welcome those who are here in person for Sabbath School. It's kind of nice to be able to gather together again, and sing a few songs, and come and study the Word. So we praise God for that.

As many of you know, we've been studying through the Book of Isaiah. This has been our lesson over the past 13 weeks--well, 12 weeks. Today we'll be finishing our study in Isaiah, lesson number 13 which is entitled "Rebirth of the Planet--Rebirth of the Planet Earth." But next week--we want to tell you about the new lesson quarterly that we'll start. I'm looking so forward to this. It's entitled "The Promise, God's Everlasting Covenant," and this is going to be our study. We'll start with lesson number one next week. So make sure--for those of you who are here in person, be sure to pick up the lesson quarterly and you'll study that for next Sabbath.

We have a free offer that we'd like to tell you about. It's a book entitled "Heaven, Is It for Real?" And we'll be happy to send this to anyone who calls and asks. The number for that is 866-788-3966, and ask for offer number 189 and we'll get that in the mail and send it to you anywhere in North America. If you're outside of North America or you just like a digital copy of the book, all you have to do is text the code SH033 to the number 40544.

Now, I mentioned if you'd like to get the digital copy and you're outside of North America, it might be a challenge for you to be able to text the code. So you can go to the Amazing Facts' website and you can just click on the free library, type in the title, "Heaven, Is It for Real," and you'll be able to read the book right there online.

Well, before we get to our study today we have a wonderful special music, and we'll bring that at this point.

♪ When I fear my faith will fail, ♪

♪ Christ will hold me fast. ♪

♪ When the tempter would prevail, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ I could never keep my hold ♪

♪ through thy fearful path. ♪

♪ For my love is often cold, ♪

♪ He must hold me fast. ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ For my Savior loves me so, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ Those He saves are His delight, ♪

♪ Christ will hold me fast. ♪

♪ Precious in His holy side, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ He'll not let my soul be lost, ♪

♪ His promises shall last. ♪

♪ But by Him at such a cost, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ For my Savior loves me so, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ For my life he bled and died, ♪

♪ Christ will hold me fast. ♪

♪ Justice has been satisfied, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ Raised with Him to endless life, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ Till our faith is turned to sight when he comes at last, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ For my Savior loves me so, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪

♪ For my Savior loves me so, ♪

♪ He will hold me fast. ♪♪

Jëan: Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, we are indeed so grateful for this beautiful Sabbath, blue skies outside, a wonderful place to gather and to worship You and to study Your Word. And, Lord, as we always do, we want to invite Your presence to be with us. We're going to be looking at the great hope of the Christian today that earth made new, the fulfillment of the promise made back--way back to Abraham and his descendants. And, Lord, we ask for Your Spirit. Come guide our minds, our hearts. Be with Pastor Doug as he teaches today. We ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

Our lesson today will be brought to us by our senior pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Doug Batchelor: Well, we've come to the last lesson in Isaiah, and the good news is that Jesus wins in the end. The story has a happy ending, you might say. And Isaiah does take us all the way through the--just the highs and lows of Scripture. Talks about God's people going through some really tough times in captivity, and then it talks about them being triumphant in the kingdom, talks about Jerusalem destroyed and Jerusalem restored, and most of all, Isaiah talks about Jesus. I want to welcome everybody, those who are here studying with us at the Granite Bay hilltop church. And we know we have a lot of friends and family, some of our online members who are studying with us different parts of the globe, different parts of North America.

As I mentioned, we're in our last lesson now, lesson number 13, and the title is the "Rebirth of Planet Earth." I guess it rhymes a little bit. And we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Isaiah 65:17, Isaiah 65:17, and this is in the New King James Version. You can say it with me. "For behold I create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered or come into mind." I think we're all looking forward to that new heavens and that new earth.

Now our mission today, we're going to finish out the Book of Isaiah. We're going to take up Isaiah 65, verse 17 and read through the end of the book, which is chapter 66. I don't know if we'll get through it all, but I'm going to do my best. And it's sometimes tough to know how to--you know, if I speed up--only thing worse than going long is running out of material and then just being in a holding pattern. You ever see a pastor who's in a holding pattern in a sermon, keep saying the same thing over and over again? It's really pathetic. So I'm going to--I bit off more than I can chew to make sure that doesn't happen.

But turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 65, verse 17, and we will start here. And it begins with these beautiful words: "For behold I create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former will not be remembered nor come into mind." All right, you got to stop right there. We got a lot to talk about. A new heavens and a new earth.

First of all, why does he say a new heaven? I mean, we all can understand why God would make a new earth, but we thought that, you know, heaven is a dwelling place of God and everything there would be perfect. And why would He need a new heaven? It doesn't mean a new heaven where God dwells, it means a new atmosphere. The Jews had three words or three terms or three levels for heaven. You had the first heaven, second heaven, third heaven. You can read where Paul says, "I knew a man who was caught up to the third heaven." And he's talking about--in vision when he was taken up into paradise and he saw the dwelling place of God and heard things that cannot be repeated. It's why he kind of tells the story in the second hand.

How many of you have read the verse talks about the seventh heaven? There is no seventh heaven in the Bible. Doesn't say that anywhere. A lot of sevens in Revelation, but it doesn't say seventh heaven. But, you know, some girl will kiss Mr. Tall, dark, and handsome and she'll say, "I was in seventh heaven." But that's not in the Bible. But just talk about the third heaven. God does not have heaven divided in levels where you've got heaven for, you know, the really good people and then you get sort of some different levels below that. And when it says third heaven, it's talking about the dwelling place of God. First heaven was the atmosphere around the world.

You know, in the beginning when it says God separated the waters above from the waters below the heaven, it's talking about the atmosphere; the clouds above the atmosphere and then you have the waters below, and it meant the place where the clouds float and the birds fly. Is our atmosphere today in the world polluted? It is. So when He says He's making it--and what happens to the atmosphere when Jesus comes? The heavens will dissolve with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. It's all going to burn. The heavens, the atmosphere, and the earth are going to burn. So they naturally are promising a new heavens and a new earth.

And then it tells us that--well, first of all, let me read you a few verses. This is not the only place you find that in the Bible. If you look in Revelation 21, verse 1, "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away." Oh, I never did tell you what is the second heaven. That's the place in space where the stars and the planets are. That's called the second heavens. The third heaven is the one you cannot see, the dwelling place of God, paradise. So you got first heaven, atmosphere; second heaven, sun, moon, stars; third heaven, dwelling place of God or paradise. "So I create a new heavens and a new earth. The former will not be remembered."

Now, does that mean we're not going to remember that Jesus died for our sins here? How do we know we will always remember Jesus died for our sins? Yeah. Didn't Jesus have scars in his hands and in his feet after the resurrection? We'll always know that. So it doesn't mean that we're going to get a little amnesia or dementia in heaven so we just don't remember what happened here.

No. I think it's telling us really that the painful memories of this life will be so overshadowed and eclipsed by the glory of the new world and eternity stretched out before us that we will not even be looking back, even in this life. The Bible admonishes us forgetting those things that are behind. That doesn't mean don't forget important lessons you've learned, it means forgetting the painful memories, forgetting your mistakes.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I think about things I've said and done in my life and I groan. Even though I've asked God to forgive me, I think and I go, "Oh." You won't have that in heaven. You won't look back to earth. You'll be looking forward. You'll know and believe you're forgiven. All those painful memories are forgotten. They will not be remembered or come into mind. "But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create."

All right, let's talk about forever. You just think about it, and Bible is promising us eternity. How long is eternity? You can read in Titus 1, verse 2. "In hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began." So time--when was that before time began? God's--from everlasting to everlasting. I think Ellen White says a few different places that we will have a life that measures with the life of God because we will have eternal life, and we will go on into eternity with God.

You can't--do you realize eternity never gets off the starting line? After a billion years go by, you haven't even started. Because compared with what's in front of you, you never can even get a fraction of the beginning. I remember hearing this pastor trying to tell a room full of youth what eternity was, and he said, "Picture, if you will, a little bird that goes to Yosemite and it lands on the granite rock Half Dome." Now, we're in California here. How many of you here know what Half Dome is? You know, it looks like a big massive rock. And those watching, you can get a picture online. Big massive granite rock that rises up thousands of feet out of the ground. "And a little sparrow sharpens his beak and then flies away. A thousand years later, another sparrow lands on Half Dome and sharpens his beak." And the pastor went on repeating that several times until it got boring, and then he said, "After the sparrows have worn away Half Dome, eternity will have begun." So there's a lot of creative ways evangelists try to help people visualize eternity, but you never can really capture it, that God is going to give us a life like that.

Now, how many of you have had days that felt like eternity and you couldn't wait for it to end? But the eternity God's promising us is not going to be a bad eternity. It is just going to get better to--and better and better, and just continually new and fresh waves of glory it's hard for us to comprehend. Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 John 2:25, "And this is the promise that He's promised us: eternal life." Mark 10:29, "Assuredly I say to you," Jesus is speaking, "There is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my sake and the gospels who will not receive a hundredfold more now in this time houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands with persecution and in the age to come eternal life."

And of course John 3:16, "For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish--" That means forever. "Should not perish, but have eternal life." This is what God is promising us. So moving on in Isaiah chapter 65, "But they will glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy, and I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in My people."

In Zephaniah you find one of the only places in the Bible where it talks about God singing, other than where it says that Jesus sang at the Last Supper when they went out. And it says, "I will rejoice over her with singing, and Jerusalem a joy."

Now, this is especially precious when Isaiah wrote it because, you know, Jerusalem--once they had been conquered by the Egyptians following the time of Solomon, Rehoboam was conquered by the Egyptians, they just had continually gone back and forth from independence to conquest, independence to conquest. Even during the time of Judges, they were oppressed by the Edomites and they were oppressed by the Assyrians, and there's just constant oppression. To finally know that Jerusalem would have unending peace and joy was a great promise. Look in Revelation 21, verse 2. "Then I, John, saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

Now, when it talks about a bride adorned for her husband, is Jerusalem talking about a city or who lives in this city? What's important to God? Is He a city builder, or is He a people builder? Yeah, it says He's prepared for them a city. But when it talks about them being like the bride, that's really speaking of her being--the people in the city, the church, and it's talking about being invited to the wedding supper of the lamb. And it says, you can read on here, "And I will wipe away every tear from their eyes." This is Revelation 21:4. "There'll be no more death nor sorrow nor crying, neither will be--there'll be any more pain, for the former things have passed away."

And we can read here in Isaiah chapter 65, "And the former shall not be remembered." And it says in verse 19, "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in My people. The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her." Can you say, "Amen?" "Nor the voice of crying." Now, here are some difficult verses. If you've got your Bibles--I hope your Bibles are open because we're just going to try and read on through this last chapter and a half of Isaiah. It says, "No more shall an infant from there live but a few days."

You know, one of the most dangerous times in your life statistically is a child in the first 3 months, as a lot of children die from diseases or birth defects or infections, you know, in their infancy. Sudden Death Syndrome, and that was especially prevalent, you know, before they had some of the modern medicine. A lot of people would bring forth children. Karen and I, we're just finishing a book on Adoniram Judson and it was heartbreaking how many of these missionary wives had stillborn children because their lives were so difficult. And you--to carry a child for, you know, 8 or 9 months and then you got all this hope and then realize that the child is gone, and that used to happen a lot in Bible times. And it says that will not happen again.

"Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days." You know, sometimes people died prematurely and their days were not fulfilled, and that's tragic. Now, this is the part that people struggle with. "For the child will die 100 years old--" Okay, wait a second. Aren't we in the new heaven now, and don't we have eternal life now? Why will the child die 100 years old? Now, first of all, that doesn't mean children will die. How do we know that? Didn't we just read there's no more weeping? So you read the prior verses and you say, "No, that just can't be possible." So this is a verse that's often been difficult.

It's basically saying that child will not die from being a child. You can use the word cease from being a child until it is 100. Notice, if you look in your Bible--something here. I don't know if you caught this before, but you go to Genesis chapter 5, verse 6. "And Seth lived 105 years and he begot Enosh."

Now, how many of you when you plan on starting your families are going to try and start at 105? How many of you with young adult children are going to wait--hope they wait until they're 105 before they get married? Look at the ages of the patriarchs from the time of Seth and those after. They're not even getting married until they're 80 and 90, some 60 years of age. Do you know how old--Jacob was, I think, 65 or 70 when he finally got married. Isaac was 40 when he got married, and I don't think that Rebecca had children for 20 years.

That's why he was praying about her barrenness. They lived longer, and it's saying that in eternity--will there be children in heaven? Yeah. Talked about the child playing on the hole of the venomous serpent, child leading the wolf and the lamb in the woods. Yes, there's definitely children in heaven. It says they shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall in Malachi. And so there are children in heaven, at least to begin with, but they'll grow up.

But will they grow as quickly or will they grow more like they grew in the Garden of Eden? It's going to be a lot slower. The child will not even cease being a child until it is 100. But even after 100 years, the sinner will be accursed. There's not going to be sinners there. It's basically saying the name of the sinner is accursed.

If you look in Daniel chapter 12 when it talks about Michael standing up and there'll be a time of trouble such as there never was, ever since there was a nation even at that same time--and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. What is everlasting contempt? That means their names, the sinners is covered with contempt forever. And so it's not saying that there's going to be sinners or there's going to be death, it's just making--and Isaiah speaks in poetic terms.

You've probably pick that up in the last quarter, that sometimes he uses some hyperbole to emphasize points. Child would not even stop being a child until it's 100 years of age, but the sinner at 100 years of age will be accursed even after 100 years. And remember we read the verses above. There is no more weeping, no more crying, no more death. And so no, children are not dying, children will cease to be children, and--but the sinners are accursed.

If you look--another example for that is Ecclesiastes 8, verse 12. "Though a sinner do evil 100 times and his days be prolonged, yet I know that it will be well with them that fear God with fear before Him, but it will not be well with the wicked, the sinner; neither shall He prolong his days, which are but a shadow because he fears not God." And even 100 years is but a shadow. And so Isaiah is just basically talking about, you know, God's children are going to be blessed, no more sorrow, Jerusalem's rejoicing; the sinner will forever be accursed, meaning there are no sinners in the city.

All right, going back to our verse here. And it says, "They will build houses--" I'm in verse 21, Isaiah 65. "They will build houses and inhabit them. They will plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They will not build and another inhabit. They will not plant and another eat." All right, let's pause there. What is that talking about? Look in Amos chapter 9, verse 14. "'I will bring back the captives of My people, Israel. They will build the waste cities and inhabit them. They will plant vineyards and drink wine from them. They will also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in the land. No longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,' says the Lord."

You look at the history of Israel--you read the Book of Gideon, for instance--it's not the book of Gideon, the Book of Judges, the story of Gideon, and it says that as soon as the children of Israel planted, that the Midianites came like locusts and they ate everything they planted.

Well, the children of Israel had planted and they were carried away captive, and other people ate the things they planted. And I've had that experience a few times. Karen and I have had a home 40 years up in the hills. And sometimes we try to put in a garden and we have to go off and do an evangelistic meeting or a mission trip, and our neighbors take care of the garden. They eat the fruit. We don't even get to eat it. And it'll be really nice in heaven to be able to plant and eat. You're not carried away by another enemy in power. You're not having another enemy alien army come and eat your produce.

See what He's talking about here? My elect will long enjoy the good of the hand--the land. And then you read in verse--I mean, verse 22 of Isaiah 66, you read in the second half of that verse, "For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people."

Now, this is an example of Isaiah hyperbole. Does he mean we will be trees? Does a tree eventually grow old and die? Yeah, in this world. In heaven they won't, but--so don't start taking the tree, thinks, "What kind of tree?" Some trees don't live very long. Longest living tree we know of is the Methuselah pines that they've got--not Methuselah. Sorry. The Bristlecone pines, they got one called Methuselah, that's in the White Mountains of California. You know, the tallest trees and the oldest trees are both in California, the redwoods. And they go thousands of years, but, you know, they eventually get old and die.

The oldest fruit tree that was planted in the United States is the Endicott pear tree that was planted by a governor in--near Massachusetts, and it's over 300 years old and it is still bearing pears. Can you imagine that? It's amazing to arborists because even trees die, and that's very long for a pear tree. Karen and I have some pear trees in our front yard in Covelo that were planted by a family that owned the land before us over 100 years ago. And there are still apples and pears, and they're still bearing fruit even after the bears have ravaged them every year for 100 years. It's amazing. They're all gnarly and ugly, but they're still alive. So he says as the days of a tree. You don't have a birthday party for trees. You just figure they're going to keep on living.

Have you noticed that in the Bible that sometimes, especially during the time of Abraham through King Saul, it will say that Abraham was dwelling by the oak tree in Bashan, and you think, "That was his address, the oak tree in Bashan?" Well, they must have had some pretty substantial trees so that it became a landmark, and it was historical. They figured it'd be there for generations. And Saul, he was sitting under a tree and the tree kind of became a legend and it was a landmark. And so it's saying, "As the days of a tree, so are the days of My people."

We just go on and on, is what He's promising. "They will not bring forth--" Verse 23, "They'll not labor in vain or bring forth children for trouble, for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord and their offspring with them. It will come to pass that before they call I will answer." Isn't this a wonderful promise? "And while they're still speaking, I will hear." God is so close. "And the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent's food, and they will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain," meaning--it says--remember, in Daniel tells us that stone that struck the image grew into a great mountain and filled the whole earth. So when it talks about the holy mountain, it's talking about the kingdom of God that now fills the world is that new holy mountain.

There is no death. There's no dying. Did the animals kill? Every animal is a vegetarian. Mosquitoes are going to eat fruit. I don't know what they're going to eat. Maybe they won't be there. I won't mind. But everything's a vegetarian.

How many of you--I think most of you here probably know the story of Little Tyke, but there's maybe some watching or listening--this is true story. Little Tyke is a female African lion born and raised in America. Lived her entire lifetime without ever eating meat. In fact, the owners, George and Margaret Westbeau, alarmed at the lion's dislike of meat went to great lengths to try and coax her to eat meat. And they ended up adopting this baby lion. They had a bunch of exotic animals at their farm in Washington, and there was this one cub the mother had killed--she had two cubs. She killed the first one, and the keepers of the zoo took the other one out thinking that she was going to kill the other one. And they said poor Little Tyke, that's how it got its name, it had already been injured by the mother.

But they nursed it back to health. But they tried to get it to eat meat and it would not eat meat. Had no taste for it. They even advertised a cash reward for anybody who could devise a formula containing a meat formula that the lioness would like. Nobody was able to claim the prize. The curator of the New York Zoo advised the Westbeaus that putting a few drops of blood in the lion's milk would help the lioness, but she refused to drink the milk. Even with one drop of blood had been added to the milk, she would not eat it.

Meanwhile, Little Tyke continued to do extremely well on a daily diet of cooked grain, raw eggs, and milk. By 4 years of age, she was a fully-grown, weighed 352 pounds. To condition her teeth and gums, she wouldn't gnaw on bones. So they gave her rubber boots, and she went through a boot a week. The lioness not only survived on a vegetarian diet, she thrived, and one of America's most amiable zoo curators said that the lioness was the best of her species he had ever seen. Never ate meat. That was not God's original plan. And some people say, "Well, they were designed to eat meat because they get these teeth for ripping and tearing." Well, you know, hippos and elephants and gorillas have very big teeth and they're all vegetarians. And so in heaven the animals will all be peaceful. Wouldn't that be wonderful? They will not hurt or destroy.

I think I had another verse in here I was going to share. Yeah, Isaiah 11. He said something similar here. Isaiah 11, verse 6, "The wolf will dwell with the lamb. The leopard will lie down with a young goat." He adds leopards and goats. "The calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child will lead them." Can you imagine that in heaven you'll tell your kids, "Can you go out and play with the lions and the leopards, lions and tigers and bears?" And they won't hurt.

All right, chapter 66 Isaiah. "Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build for Me, and where is the place of My rest?" Where does God ultimately move His capital? To earth. "God Himself will be with them and be their God, and we will see His face."

Isn't that amazing when you think about it? Here, Isaiah is quoting from Solomon's dedication prayer. When Solomon dedicates the temple, he said, you know, "This house we built--no house can contain You. The heavens of heavens cannot contain You." "'For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exists,' says the Lord. But on this one I will look, on him who is of a poor and a contrite spirit." This is who God is going to be--who's going to be in the kingdom. "One who is of a contrite spirit, who trembles at My Word."

You remember reading in Psalm 51 where he says, "A contrite heart You will not despise, oh God." What does contrite mean? You feel remorse over sin, meek, humble. And he says--yeah, in verse 3--a contrite spirit. "He who trembles at My Word." And some of you might be thinking, "Well, tremble must not mean tremble there." No, tremble means tremble. It means that you--when God speaks, you take it very seriously. You don't say, "Oh, well, you know, that's what they said. We don't know if it really meant that." The Bible says work out your salvation with fear and trembling. "Oh, it must not mean tremble." Oh, it means tremble. It means we ought to take our eternal life very seriously, and we should fear to sin against God.

And I remember this man, one of the best Christians I knew. And when he prayed, his voice would quiver just the idea he was talking to God. He just knew that he knew God, and there was always this reverence in his voice. And I don't think he was pretending, he just really revered the Lord. And then here's an interesting passage. Verse 3--Isaiah 66, verse 3, "He who kills a bull as if he slays a man, and he who sacrifices a lamb as if he breaks a dog's neck, and he who offers a grain offering as if he offers swine's blood, he who burns incense as if he blesses an idol; just as they have chosen their own ways and their soul delights in their abominations."

So he's saying there are people that were going through religious services and they're sacrificing bulls or offering lambs, but he said it's like you're committing murder because your heart is not right. It's like breaking a dog's neck, an unclean animal. Like, he who offers a grain offering, he's offering pig's blood. God says if we're living lives of sin and we're going through a religious facade, Jesus says you're like whited sepulchers.

The strongest denunciations that Christ had was against self-deluded hypocrisy, that we could go through the form of religion and not have the power of God's Spirit. And God said, "It's unclean to Me." It's like offering swine's blood, and nothing was more unclean than that. "He who burns incense as if he blesses an idol--" Idolatry was forbidden. "Just as they've chosen their own ways and their soul delights in abominations, so I will choose their delusions."

You know, the Bible says that if we receive not a love of the truth, God will send strong delusion that we should believe a lie. And so because they did not love the truth and believe--"I will choose their delusions and bring their fears on them because when I called no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear, but they did evil before My eyes and they chose that in which I do not delight. Hear the Word of the Lord, you who tremble at His Word." There it is again. "Your brethren who hated you, who cast you out for My name's sake--let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy. But they will be ashamed."

So what's he doing here? Isaiah is contrasting. He's speaking to God's people. He's saying we've got the sincere who are going to be separated from the hypocrites. "We've got those who are going through the religious motions, and I despise what they're doing. And then we've got those who have contrite hearts that tremble at My Word." One is going to be ashamed, one will see joy. Then he says in verse 6, "The sound of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice from the Lord."

You know, it tells us that when the Lord rises up and leaves His temple, He's coming then. Silence in heaven, He's coming then to redeem the--to save the redeemed from earth. "Who fully repays His enemies. Before she was in labor, she gave birth. Before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing, and who has seen such a thing? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day, or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children." It's saying that God said, "Look, I brought you up out of Egypt."

And they gave birth to a nation. You did not grow up slowly, but you became a nation that day of the exodus. They had the whole calendar, religious ceremony. "Shall I bring to the time of birth and not cause delivery?" God's saying, "I will not raise you up as a nation and not ultimately deliver You." "'Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?' says the Lord God. Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her all you who love her. Rejoice for joy with her all you who mourn for her, that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom. You may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory." And he's got the picture here of a mother nursing its child.

God's saying, "I will not forget you." "For thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.'" Do you know that song "I've got peace like a river in my soul?" "I will extend peace to her like a river." It's not talking about the--you know, a river with rapids. It's talking about a wide river. It's shimmering. "And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you will feed on her sides, and you will be carried, and you'll be dandled on her knees." You've seen mother and fathers kind of holding little children on their knees and--as they're giggling. "As one whom his mother comfort, so will I comfort you, and you will be comforted in Jerusalem." And he's going back and forth.

Go to verse 14. "When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones will flourish like the grass. The hand of the Lord will be known to His servants, and His indignation to His enemies." God is going to separate the wheat from the chaff when He comes. "For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury and His rebuke with flames of fire." Does that sound like it's a secret rapture? He's coming with fury when He comes. He's rebuked with flames of fire. It says the wicked are destroyed by the brightness of His coming. A devouring fire will issue before Him. "For by fire and by His sword the Lord will judge all flesh."

Now, that's still true today. It's by His Word, and it's by the Spirit--power of the Spirit. All flesh will be judged. And it says, "The Lord--" I'm in verse 16. "The Lord will judge all flesh, and the slain of the Lord will be many." Now, you can read where it tells us in Isaiah that the slain of the Lord in that day cover the earth from one end to the other with no one to lament or to mourn them, and no one to bury them. And it talks about that also in Jeremiah chapter 4, verse 23. All the cities are broken down at the presence of the Lord by His fierce anger.

So when the Lord comes and He catches up, you can use the word rapture there, those who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet Him in the air. The righteous are resurrected. It says they come forth from their graves at the second coming. They are taken back to the mansions that Christ has prepared. That day, the slain of the Lord will cover the earth from one end to another. And then he makes an interesting statement here. "Those--" Verse 17, "Those who sanctify themselves," they're not being sanctified by the Lord, "they purify themselves. They go to the gardens." That's where they have their idols. "After an idol in the midst, eating swine's flesh and the abomination--"

Anything wrong with eating swine's flesh? The Bible says it's forbidden. Now, is it just forbidden for Jews, or is it talking about anyone who's doing that before the Lord comes? And nobody--it's what he compares with. "Eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse." So if you're going to make a defense for eating swine, I want you to also make the same defense for eating rats. "'Eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse shall be consumed together,' says the Lord."

They burn forever and ever, what happens? They're consumed. "For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see My glory. And I will set a sign among them; and among those who escape, and I will send to the nations of Tarshish--" That was my mother's maiden name. Tarshish was Spain. It was like the farthest you could go in the Mediterranean back then. "And Pul--" They believe that was down in Africa. And Lud--" They thought that was Lydia, talking about the pagan nations. "Who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan-" That was up in Europe. "To the coastlands afar. All who have not heard My name--all who have not heard My fame or seen My glory, and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles."

Again, he's saying that the Jews were going to take the gospel to the Gentiles, and they will be among those redeemed when the Lord comes. "'Then they'll bring all of your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in leaders, on mules and camels, to My holy mountain, to Jerusalem,' says the Lord. As the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord and also take some of them," talking about these pagans, "for priests and Levites." It saying--doesn't it tell us in the Bible that we will be a nation of kings and priests?

You can look in Isaiah--and by the way, this is for Wednesday. I've been just running along here. Exodus 19, verse 5, "Now therefore if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you will be a special treasure to Me above all people that are on the earth for all the earth is Mine, and you will be to Me a nation, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." Peter says, "You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people." Is that just for Jews or is God going to be bringing some of the Gentiles together and they will be part of that holy nation?

And then we're going to wrap it up. We may get through verse 22. "'For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,' says the Lord, 'So shall your seed and your name remain. And it will come to pass that from one new moon to another, and one Sabbath to another, all flesh will come to worship before Me.'"

Now, says coming and worshiping before the Lord on the Sabbath. You know, it's been difficult during COVID to worship alone at home. It's really nice to come before the Lord. And you notice there's something that says the Sabbath is a holy convocation. You know what that means? An assembly, a coming together, a convention. And I think God blesses in a special way when we collectively come together. When the Holy Spirit was poured out, they were all of one spirit in one place. There's something to be said for coming together to worship the Lord. And I think God said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there." And He says the Sabbath in heaven, all Jews." Is that what He said? All flesh; Jew, Gentile.

Now, if God wants all flesh to come before Him and worship Him in heaven on the Sabbath, would it make sense to you that He would also want all flesh to worship before Him on the Sabbath here on earth? Is it still one of the Ten Commandments? Amen. It is. And it says, "From one new moon to another." Now, that's this--you know, the moon is how we divide the months. The Sabbath is how we divide the weeks. He's basically saying from month to month and week to week.

Now, I've got a theory I can't prove. I think before the great flood, the axis of the earth was altered in its rotation. First of all, we didn't have summer and winter. You know, something happened. The earth teeters 20 something degrees on its axis every year, and it throws off the seasons, and the poles are cold, and the moon looks like it's been hit by a bomb. And I think that there may have even been rocks that says great--you know, rocks came down, and they came out, and water exploded everywhere. It was a cataclysmic event. I think it altered the time clock of the planet a little bit.

You know, the earth right now--how many days in a year? And one-quarter. 365 one-quarter. We've got to add a day every few years to compensate. And how--what's the lunar cycle? Twenty-nine days. Approximately 4 weeks and 1 day. Just under--do you realize that if the lunar cycle was every seventh--every 28 days, that means the new moon would always fall on a Sabbath, and it would always just line up like clockwork. And so I think everything is going to realign then. And so every new moon will also be a Sabbath.

Do you see what I'm saying? Because--I can't prove that. This is--that's the gospel according to Doug. But anyway, I'll admit I'm wrong when we get to heaven if I'm wrong, but then I'll expect extra stars if I'm right for sharing that with you now. And then it kind of ends abruptly with a difficult passage here. Speaking of redeem, "From one Sabbath to another, all flesh will worship before Me, and they will go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched, and they are abhorrent to all flesh."

I don't think he means forever we're going to be looking at people burning. I think it means from the New Jerusalem we're going to see those who have turned. Notice a contrast. Those that are saved, new heaven, new earth, worshiping God. They go forth from the New Jerusalem, they see the wicked who will ultimately become dust under their feet. It's what it says in Malachi. There shall go forth, and the wicked will be dust under their feet. And God then creates a new heavens and a new earth on the ashes of the purified planet.

Can you say, "Amen?" And I time that just right because we're out of time. I want to remind you, though, in a few seconds I hope the studio will give me "Heaven, Is It for Real?" And we'll send this to anyone who asks and if you call. Just call 866-788-3966. And this is in North America, of course. Or you can call 866-STUDY-MORE. Ask for offer number 189. And you can even download this by texting "SH033." Text that to 40544, and you can download and read it right now.

Thank you, friends. God bless. I enjoyed studying Isaiah. Next week we begin a new study, a new quarter together, and hope you can tune in and join us.

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