What Happened?

Scripture: Genesis 1:26-27
Date: 04/03/2021 
Lesson: 1
The biblical account of the Creation of humanity is one filled with hope, happiness, and perfection. Each day of Creation ended with the divine pronouncement that it was “good.” Certainly that didn’t include typhoons, earthquakes, famine, and diseases. What happened?
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Jëan Ross: Good morning, friends. Welcome to the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church, here in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome all of those who are joining us online, across the country, and around the world. Very happy to have you. Also would like to welcome our regular Sabbath School members who are meeting here in the Sanctuary. We're very excited. Today is the start of a brand new lesson quarterly entitled, "The Promise." And it's dealing with the covenants: the everlasting covenant, the new covenant, the old covenant, how do they relate together? So just 13 weeks of great studies.

Now for those of you who are here, if you don't have a lesson quarterly, I want to encourage you, you can pick one up as you leave today. For our friends who are joining us online, if you don't have a lesson quarterly you can just go to a local Adventist church and you'll be able to get one there or go online and just type in, "Sabbath School Quarterly." We're doing lesson number-- oh, actually, we starting this series called, "The Promise." It's for the month of April, May, and June, and you can download the lesson, study along with us. We're looking at lesson number one this morning.

But before we get to that, we want to tell you about our free offer. We have a book entitled, "The Final Verdict." And this is our free gift to anyone who would call and ask. The number for that is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer number 162. We'll get it in the mail, we'll send it to you. You can also receive a digital copy of this book by texting the code "SH078" to the number "40544." And you can get a digital copy of the book, "The Final Verdict." I think you'll be blessed as you read that.

Well, before we get to our study this morning, we have a special treat. We've got Every Breath Quartet that'll be bringing us a special musical number at this time.

♪ Lord, let Your light, light of Your face ♪

♪ shine on us ♪

♪ Lord, let Your light, light of Your face ♪

♪ shine on us ♪

♪ That we may be saved ♪

♪ that we may have life to find our way ♪

♪ in the darkest night ♪

♪ Let Your light shine on us ♪

♪ Lord, let Your grace, grace from Your hand ♪

♪ fall on us ♪

♪ Lord, let Your grace, grace from Your hand ♪

♪ fall on us ♪

♪ That we may be saved, that we may have life ♪

♪ to find our way in the darkest night ♪

♪ Let Your grace fall on us ♪

♪ Lord, let Your love, love with no end ♪

♪ come over us ♪

♪ Lord, let Your love, love with no end ♪

♪ come over us ♪

♪ That we may be saved ♪

♪ that we may have life ♪

♪ to find our way in the darkest night ♪

♪ Let Your love come over us ♪

♪ Let Your light ♪

♪ shine on us ♪♪

Jëan: Let us pray. Dear Father in heaven, what a joy to be able to gather in Your house on this beautiful Sabbath that You've given us blue skies and opportunity to open Your Word again, Lord, and just reflect upon Your grace and Your love and the plan of redemption that was set into effect many, many years ago, Lord, revealed in the covenants, the promises made. And Lord, we ask Your blessing as we study this very important subject today. Be with Pastor Rod as he opens the Word in Jesus's name, amen. Our lesson today, lesson number one, is going to be brought to us by Pastor Rod Thompson.

Rod Thompson: Good morning, everyone. I want to invite you to open up your Bibles to Genesis chapter 1. Genesis chapter 1. What a beautiful song, huh? "May Your grace come down on us." I want to welcome all of you, whether you're here in the Sanctuary with us, whether you're at home watching online or around the country or around the world. Welcome to the Granite Bay Hilltop Church Sabbath School Study Hour. And thank you, Pastor Ross, for praying for us, but I'd like to have another prayer. Let's bow our heads.

O loving Father, thank You so much for Your amazing love. And Lord, You are good and we thank You so much that You did not abandon us to the deceptions of the devil but, Lord, You have a plan and You are working Your plan. And Lord, we want to surrender our will to You and allow You to do in us what we cannot do on ourselves. So we pray this morning the Holy Spirit would speak to our hearts and minds and, Lord, You would show us what You would have us do and we ask it in Jesus's name, amen.

I heard a story about a group of scientists who, well, they decided that we no longer need God. Now in our world today, that might not surprise us at all that they would feel that way, but they had this group and they decided that they were going to send one of them to God to explain that to Him. And so the one that was chosen went and he said to God, "God, we no longer need You. We've come a long way. We can--we can clone a human being. We can do many miraculous things. We can practically create out of nothing. We don't need You anymore. You can go Your way."

And God listened very patiently to the scientist and when he was done, He said, "Wow, it sounds like you guys think you've got it all figured out there. I'll tell you what, why don't we have a man-making contest?" And the scientist got excited. He was like, "Wow, that's a great idea. Let's do that." But God said, "Okay, but we're going to do it like I did it back in the old days with Adam." And the scientist said, "Okay."

And he got--he went and he got his scientist buddies and they all got together and they were so excited they went out and they got their wheelbarrow and they got their shovels and they started digging in the dirt and putting it in the wheelbarrow. And God said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. What are you guys doing?" And they said, "We're getting our dirt so that we can make a man." And God said, "No, no, you gotta go get your own dirt."

Now we have probably all heard that story before. It's a cute story. It may make us chuckle inside, but it teaches us one very important truth about God, and that is that God created everything out of nothing. We believe that, don't we? I want you to notice what it says in Hebrews chapter 11, verse 3. Paul says: "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."

Now if I just said that a different way, I would just simply say that we understand that the creative process that God used was what? He spoke, and it was. He spoke things into existence and so, on that first day of Creation, He created matter and then He formed that matter into the objects that we-- that populate our physical universe. And as we start this new quarterly on "The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant," we want to start with the biblical account of Creation. It is a story that is filled with hope, it is filled with happiness, it is a story that is filled with perfection.

If you have your Bibles open to Genesis chapter 1, and if you look there with me, I'm not going to read this all to you, you can read it for yourself, but we see in verses 3 through 5 the first day of Creation: God created light and He saw that it was good. In verses 6 through 10 we see the second day of Creation: God created the firmament, the waters, and the dry land, and God saw that it was good. Verses 11 through 13 is the third day of Creation. God created the grass, the herbs, the trees, and He saw that it was good. Verses 14 to 19, the fourth day of Creation. God created the sun and the moon and the stars, and He saw that it was good.

And verses 20 to 25 are the fifth day of Creation, and God created the sea creatures, the land beasts, and the birds of the air, and God saw that it was good. And so the first five days of Creation, God saw that it was good, it was good, it was good, it was good, it was good. And then on the sixth day, God created a man and He said, "It is very good." And so in six days, God created all that is seen and He saw that it was good. It was perfect. And He created a seventh day and rested on that day, observing and enjoying His Creation, and it was a perfect Creation. It was spot--without spot. It was without blemish.

But, friends, that is not the world that we have today, is it? And so the question is, what happened? And that's the name of our study today, isn't it? "What Happened?" This world was perfect when God first made it, but something happened and now it's not perfect. And if we were to sum up this entire quarter's new study on "The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant," we could sum it up with just one question, and that is, "What is God doing now to make it right?" What's He doing to fix it? What's He doing to make it perfect once again?

And Sunday's lesson teaches us a very important lesson and that is in the Genesis account, those first three chapters of Genesis, whether you read it in there or whether you read, Psalm 100, verse 3, Isaiah 40, verse 28, Acts 17:26, Ephesians 3, verse 9, Hebrews 1, verse 2 and 10, or any other verse in the Bible that talks about Creation, nowhere in Scripture does God ever try to prove that He is the Creator. The Creation account simply says God created everything out of nothing and then in very basic language it explains to us how He did it. He spoke and it was. He formed the man out of the dust of the ground. And if we go back to Hebrews 11, verse 3 again, let me read that to you. "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."

I want you to focus on the first two words of that passage: "By faith," because you see, brothers and sisters, whether you're a Christian or not, whether you believe in God or not, or you believe in Creation or you believe in evolution, everyone must live by faith. And there's a reason for that, and it's very simple: because we weren't here when it all started. And so we have to live by faith. And so if you're an atheist and you believe in evolution, you have to have a measure of faith to believe that there was nothing and then it blew up and then millions and millions of years later, we have all of this intelligence and all of this life. But on the opposite side of the coin, if you're a Christian and you believe in a Creator and you believe in the six-day literal Creation, then you too have to live by faith. And that's what Paul says: "By faith we believe," or we understand, "that the world was created by God."

And personally, I think that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in God. Let me tell you why. Let me give you an analogy here. How many of you--let me see a show of hands. How many of you have heard the saying "blind faith"? Blind faith. Okay, almost everyone's hand in the audience is up here, and those that you didn't, you're just afraid to do that or--but I believe that all of us have had that saying. So let me ask you a question. What is blind faith? What is blind faith? Is that believing in something we can't see? Okay, then what is faith?

Well, faith is also believing in something we can't see, but there's a difference, isn't there? Because, you see, God doesn't say, "Just believe that I'm the Creator because I said so," but rather, He gives enough evidence for Creation that we can believe that and we can, by faith, understand that He formed the worlds by His Word. We believe that, don't we? And in Monday's lesson, it points us to Genesis chapter 1, verse 27. Notice what that says. It says: "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." We believe that, don't we? God created us in His image and in His likeness. But that really begs of us the question, "What does it mean to be created in the image of God?"

Well, we know that John chapter 4, verse 24, tells us that God is Spirit and we must worship Him in Spirit and truth. But there's more to it than that, isn't there? We are physical beings. We have a body. And we are also mental beings, aren't we? We have a brain, we have a mind, we have the capacity to think and to reason. So we're physical beings, we're mental beings. We're also emotional beings. We have feelings and we sometimes have our feelings hurt and sometimes we have joy and peace and love. We have the capacity to-- we are physical beings, we are mental beings, we are emotional beings. But God also created us to be spiritual beings, didn't He? He created us in His image.

Now, we read in Genesis 1, verse 27, that we're created in His image but I want to show you something. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 5, and notice what it says, starting in verse 1. It says: "This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the," what? "In the likeness of God." So in Genesis 1:27, we see we were made in the image of God and here now, in 5, chapter 5, verse 1, we see we're made in the likeness of God.

Let's keep reading. Look at verse 2. "He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived 130 years old, and begot a son," in the likeness of God. Is that what it says? No, it says: "He begot a son in his own likeness and after his image, and he named him Seth."

So we see that Adam was created in the image and in the likeness of God, but then when Adam has a son, rather than being made in the image and the likeness of God, he's made in the image and likeness of Adam. What happened? Something went wrong there and now he is not in the likeness of God, but rather, he's in the likeness of Adam. But, of course, we know what happened, don't we? Our first parents sinned against God and we lost that Spirit nature. We are no longer in the image of God.

I find it very interesting that this book that we call the Bible has just three chapters where God describes everything that he created and what happened. Out of the entire book, just three chapters. And we know that there was something that caused man to no longer be in the image of God. Something that caused this world to be cursed and, of course, we know what that was, because Wednesday's lesson took us to Genesis chapter 2. And notice what it says in verse 16 and 17. It says: "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.'"

Now, we know that it also talks about there being another tree in the garden, the tree of life. And so we see that Adam and Eve are created by God, they're put in this garden. It has two special trees in it: the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but God created man to be free mortal agents. He gave them the right to choose. And, friends, that's a very dangerous thing to do, isn't it? I mean, think about that for a minute. If you give someone the right or the freedom to choose to obey or disobey, they just might disobey. If you give them the right or the freedom to choose whether to love you back or not, they just might not do it. And so it's a very dangerous thing that God did but God does not want us to be robots.

God didn't want us to love Him just simply because He programmed us to do that. And so He wanted his Creation that was made in His image and His likeness to choose to love Him back. God wanted to have a relationship with His Creation. God is love, isn't He? To that, I don't think there's any dispute among any of us.

God is love. But in order for love to exist, they must have the freedom to choose whether or not to love back. God would allow the masterpiece of His Creation to be tested. He would ask that they would prove whether they would love and whether they would be obedient and it would choose-- it would essentially force them to respond either positively or negatively to their relationship with the Creator: were they going to trust Him or were they going to go their own way?

I want you to notice what it says in the book, "Conflict and Courage." Chapter 9, page 15. It says: "To man, the crowning work of Creation, God has given power to understand His requirements, to comprehend the justice and beneficence of His law and its sacred claim upon him and of man unswerving obedience is required. Like the angels, the dwellers in Eden had been placed upon probation. Their happy estate could be retained only on condition of fidelity to the Creator's law. They could obey and live or they could disobey and perish."

Here we see a little bit more into the story that God put our first parents in the Garden of Eden. He gave them the freedom to choose whether to love Him back or not, whether to be obedient or disobedient, and they were placed there on probation. In other words, as long as they ate from the tree of life, they would live, but if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would no longer have access to that tree because God didn't-- wouldn't want them to live in that condition forever.

But we also know that there's more to the story than that, isn't there? We know that there was an angel in heaven by the name of Lucifer who was a very high-ranking angel, who also had the freedom to choose whether to rebel or not, or to love God or not. And we know that he wanted to have the prerogatives of God, he wanted worship like God, but he did not want the image of God. He did not want the character of God. He wanted to go his own way. And, of course, he got a third of the angels to rebel with him, and the Bible tells us there was war in heaven. Oh, what happened, right? There was perfection in heaven. How could there be war in heaven? But it says that the devil, that's Lucifer who gained for himself the title "devil" or "Satan," and a third of the angels fought against Michael and his angels and they were kicked out of heaven.

And I want you to notice what it says in the book, "Early Writings," page 145. "When God said to His Son, 'Let Us make man in Our own image,' Satan was jealous of Jesus. He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man and, because he was not, he was filled with envy, jealousy, and hatred." So here we see a little bit into the insight of Satan, that he wanted to be included in the Creation of the world and the Creation of man, and because he wasn't, he was furious. He was jealous, he was envious, and he was filled with hatred. And guess what? He brought that envy, jealousy, and hatred to this world and he tempted our first parents into disobedience.

Notice what it says in "The Great Controversy," page 532: "Satan's envy was excited as he looked upon the beautiful home prepared for the sinless pair." That's Adam and Eve. "He determined to cause their fall, that having separated them from God and brought them under his own power, he might gain possession of the earth and here establish his kingdom in opposition to the Most High."

So, again, we see a little more into the picture here. We see that Satan was envious and his desire was to take away the dominion of the Earth from Adam and Eve. Remember, God had given them dominion. And so his thinking was that he was going to wrestle that away from them and by deceiving them and getting them to disobey God, he gained for himself the title, "Prince of this world."

I want you to notice what it says in the book, "The Pulpit Commentary, Volume I," page 30. It says that English word "image" comes from the Hebrew word "tzelem," and it says that it denotes the shadow outline of a figure. So the word "image" is a shadow outline of a figure. And then it goes on to say that the English word "likeness" comes from the Hebrew word "demuth" which means the correspondence or resemblance of that shadow.

So if you and I are made in the image or in the likeness of God, we are a resemblance of the shadow of God. And so, like God, we have the power to choose, the freedom to think and act according to moral imperatives and thus we are free to love and obey or to distrust and disobey. And what was the result of that?

Well, in that book, "Conflict and Courage," page 16, it says this: "Having herself transgressed, she," that is Eve, "became the agent of Satan working the ruin of her husband. In a state of strange unnatural excitement, with her hands filled with the forbidden fruit, she sought his," that's Adam's, "presence and related all that had occurred. An expression of sadness came over the face of Adam. He appeared astonished and alarmed. To the words of Eve, he replied that this must be the foe against whom they had been warned. And by the divine sentence, 'She must die.' To the words--" excuse me. "In answer, she urged him to eat, repeating the words of the serpent that they would not surely die. She reasoned that this must be true for she felt no evidence of God's displeasure but, on the contrary, she realized a delicious, exhilarating influence thrilling every faculty with new life, such she imagined as inspired the heavenly messengers."

And so here we see that, essentially, what she said to Adam was, "God said that we had-- would die but I didn't die. I'm not feeling any ill effects at all, so you should eat also." And notice what it says in, "The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume I," page 40. It says: "They both ate and they obtained the knowledge of sin and a sense of guilt. The covering of light about them soon disappeared and under a sense of guilt and loss of their divine covering, a shivering seized them."

Isn't that interesting? They gained the knowledge of good and evil, and the light that surrounded them began to disappear and they had a sense of guilt. And Thursday's lesson tells us at this point their relationship with God was broken. They were no longer in the image of God. God had warned them that if they ate of that forbidden fruit, that they would surely die. And though they didn't die physically that day, in a sense they died spiritually.

I want to read in the Bible here. Turn with me to Genesis 3 and notice what it says, starting in verse 7. This is after they ate of the fruit: "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 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 God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' So he said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.' And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?'"

I want you to notice that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God was immediately there. Did you catch that? God was immediately there, not to bring immediate physical death but rather to question them. "Why were you afraid?" "What have you done," right? God was there, not to bring reproach, but rather to bring hope. God had compassion and mercy on man. He knew that they had been deceived by the enemy and God had compassion on them and, rather than bringing immediate death, He brought hope, He brought forgiveness and healing.

And notice what it says in verse 12: "Then the man said, 'The woman whom You gave to me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.' And the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?' And the woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'" Verse 14: "So the Lord God said to the serpent: 'Because you have done this.'" Because you have continued your rebellion, even though you were kicked out of heaven, you've brought that rebellion here. Because you deceived the crown of My Creation, created in My image and in My likeness. Because you have done this, notice what He says in verse 15: "'I will put enmity,'" that is hatred for sin, 'between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.'"

Notice that God says, "I'm going to put enmity, I'm going to put hatred, between you, Satan, and the woman." And of course, in Bible prophecy we know a woman represents the church, right? God's people. "I'm going to put hatred for sin in between the two of you."

And notice what it says in, "The Great Controversy," page 505. It says: "This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil and he was in harmony and not at variance with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy. The apostate is never at rest, except as he obtains sympathy and support by inducing others to follow his example. For this reason, fallen angels and wicked men unite in desperate companionship. Had not God specifically interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an allegiance against heaven and instead of cherishing enmity against Satan, the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God."

Here we see that if God had not stepped in, if He had not intervened, that man would have been lost forever. Because we would not have the capacity to overcome that evil on our own, and so He says, "I'm going to put enmity between you." And here He promises a redeemer, the one who would reconcile God to man, the one who would restore our relationship with Him, and that is the beginning of the atonement process that God began. Another way of saying atonement is at onement, right?

God is a social creature and He desires to have fellowship with man. He created them in His own image and in His own likeness, and His desire more than anything else is that we would choose of our own free will to love Him back. In fact, in 1 John chapter 4, verse 19, it says that "we love Him because He first loved us." And so God came into the garden to point man forward, to show him how he can recover from the mistake that he had made.

And I want you to notice that Adam and Eve understood what God said. Let me show it to you. Look with me in your Bibles, Genesis 4, verse 1. The Bible says: "Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, 'I have acquired a man from the Lord.'" That's what it says in my New King James Version. But it's very interesting, brothers and sisters, if you go back to the original text, it literally reads this way: "I have gotten a man the Lord."

Do you see the difference? In the New King James, it says: "I have gotten a man from the Lord," but in the original text, it says: "I have gotten a man the Lord." In other words, when Eve held her child in her arms, she remembered the promise of God and she entertained the hope that he was the promised deliverer, and she named him "Gotten."

Notice what it says in, "The Desire of Ages," page 31: "The Savior's coming was foretold in Eden, and when Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their firstborn son, hoping that he might be the deliverer." They were expecting God to answer that prayer in their firstborn son. And God further showed man how redemption and restoration to a relationship with Him could be brought about. He instituted the sacrificial system by which man could have his sins covered. And you'll remember that both of Adam and Eve's sons, Cain and Abel, they both brought a sacrifice. They both brought an offering to God. Cain brought the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought the lamb sacrifice, the blood offering, that God had asked for. And, of course, the blood offering was the only one that was accepted, because only through the death of an innocent animal could the sin of man be accounted for.

The penalty for disobedience was death. And either man had to pay for his own sins or a substitute had to be found. And so by transferring his sins upon the animal, and then slaying the animal, could his sins be covered up. And even though the promise, it was dim and shadowy in its outline, and it was foretold as the seed of the woman, what--that was completely to restore the lost dominion and glory of man, it was to restore man in the image of God, therefore, sin must not only be covered up, but sin has to be completely eradicated. And God has shown us how we can do that.

And you'll remember that Jesus was speaking to a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus in John chapter 3, and He told him, "You must be born again." And of course, you'll remember how Nicodemus responded to that. He was thinking that was something physical. He said, "How can I enter a second time into my mother's womb?" And Jesus, essentially, said to him, "You're thinking physically but I'm speaking spiritually. You have lost your spirit nature and you need to get it back. You must be born again," right? And so we look at the Holy Spirit and we understand and we know that after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out but Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is in the world and He is convicting the world of what is wrong, what is right, and trying to lead you to a decision.

You know, many times, I have been talking to people about spiritual things and I've heard people say, "Well, I'm a good person." You ever heard somebody say that? I love it when people tell me that because then I can tell them the only reason that you're as good as you are is because the Holy Spirit is there convicting you, but God wants more than that. He wants you to invite Him into your heart because you can't do it on your own, and you need to be born of the Spirit. You need the Spirit of God in you. And when He comes in, He writes His law on your mind and in your heart. He gives you the power and the capacity to live for Him and no longer follow or live in sin. There's that enmity between Satan and the church so that now we have the power, now we have the capacity, now we have the ability, to live for God.

I want you to notice what it said in the magazine, "The Signs of the Times," on December 12, 1895. It says: "In the councils of heaven, hope was furnished for the fallen race. Jesus Christ offered His life as a ransom for the lost as the price by which He might purchase the right to recreate the sinner and form again the image of God in the soul. Fallen man was to be renewed in the divine likeness. He was to be uplifted, to be pardoned and redeemed, not by the law, but by Jesus Christ our righteousness."

You see, all of those lambs that were temporarily covering up sin, they were actually pointing to Jesus Christ who would come and ultimately be the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world. That He would give you the power and the capacity to live for Him and that He could recreate you into the image of God. And so God instituted that sacrificial system to help us. God continued His revelation of reconciliation then with Noah and with Abraham and with Moses, and the consummation of His revelation was in the giving of the commandments, the covenant, and the Sanctuary service.

And so today we have laid the foundation for this amazing study that we're going to be doing called, "The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant." The problem that the majority of the Christian world has today is that they don't understand the plan of salvation. There's a verse in the Bible that says: "Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary." And if we are going to truly understand how God is going to make atonement for our sins, how God is going to save us, we need to understand the sanctuary service. We need to understand the covenants. And so I think it's very timely as we are living in these last days that God is bringing this study to us that we can truly understand both the old covenant and the new covenant. And so we have laid the foundation. And I don't know about you but I'm excited about this study and I can't wait as we get further and further into it.

But before we end today, I want to remind you of our free offering today. It is the pocketbook called, "The Final Verdict," and you can get this by dialing 866-788-3966. You can ask for, "Offer number 162, 'The Final Verdict.'" You can also get that by texting the code "SH-078" to the number "40544," and you can get that book, "The Final Verdict."

Why don't we close with a word of prayer. Loving Father, Lord, You are so good. Lord, You could have just abandoned us to the deceptions of the devil, but You stepped in and You were providing a way for us to be restored to a relationship with You, to be restored into the image and in the likeness of God. Lord, we pray for Your forgiveness.

We pray that You would continue the work that You have begun in us, and Lord, that You would bring it to completion. We understand, Lord, that it's not about trying harder to be good, but rather it's about surrendering our will. And Lord, we know that every single person that arrives in heaven will arrive there with their free will still intact. You will never take that away. You have given that to us because you want a relationship with us. You want us to love You back because we choose to. And Lord, by surrendering our will to You, we are still within the confines of our own will. You have given us that privilege and that joy.

And Lord, our desire is as we continue forward in this study, that You would show us that plan of salvation. Help us to understand the Sanctuary service. Help us to understand the Commandments, that they are still applicable today and they are still a requirement of God that we would follow them and keep them, and that You give us the power and the capacity to do it. And it's the devil still working today to try and convince us that we don't need to keep the Commandments. And Lord, we want to understand those covenants, and so we pray as we go forward in our study that You would bless us and You would keep us. Make Your face shine upon us, Lord, and give us Your peace. And we ask it all in Jesus's name, amen.

Well, God bless you all. I hope that you enjoyed that first study as we laid the foundation for more to come. God bless you and have a great day.

Male announcer: Don't forget to request today's life-changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the keyword on your screen to 40544 or visit the web address shown on your screen and be sure to select the digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with Amazing Facts wherever and whenever you want. And most important, to share it with others.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" Changed Lives.

Charlie Green: My life was in turmoil. My wife and I were fighting all the time. I got away from everything and everybody. I don't know, I just always had this emptiness in my heart, and I want it filled. I just felt like I went my whole life, you know, just searching for something and my father died and that ruined me a lot. My father didn't believe in suicide and I didn't want to live but, rather than disrespect him, I decided I would just become so mean that someone else would do it to me and I wouldn't have to.

So I joined the army, thinking, "What better place to get killed than in the army?" And while I was in the army, my daughter got injured. She was in an accident and she was blind and paraplegic and it's just like I felt the whole world was coming down on me.

One morning, I just really got mad and I gave God a cussing like you wouldn't believe. I said, "I'm not Moses, not Abraham, you know. I don't--but I put my sandals on just like they do and I'm a man. I don't want to know why this is happening to me. I just want to know that it's happening for a reason. If You tell me right now that this is all for a reason, then You can stack it on me from here to the end of time and I will never complain again."

And that little TV came on. It had been sitting there just static all night long. And there was this minister, when he pops up and he says, "Today's lesson's from the book of Job. God only lets those suffer that He loves the most." And I thought, "That's all You've got to say, Lord. I appreciate your Word. From that day forward, I knew that He was there, He's in my life, and that He would help me.

I went to prison just almost immediately after that. I was in prison for aggravated assault. I was in one of the worst prisons in the state of Tennessee. It was full of gang activity. I got my throat cut, 52 stitches. I could take those fingers and stick 'em all the way through, out my mouth.

I'd gone to the library that day because it was really about the only thing to do. But I ran across this little book called, "The Richest Caveman." This book, it's hilarious, but it is great. I'm sitting there with this big beard. I'm thinking, "Hey, I know what it's like to look like a caveman but [laughing]-- I'm not an educated person, I guess you'd say, but I'm a simple guy. I'm just really a simple guy. That's what I loved about Doug Batchelor, because this guy, he's just as straight out as you can get.

And my wife and I, we've kept contact through all these years and so much has gone on. And I told her, I said, "Listen, this is the center of my world right now." And I said, "I really want you to be involved in it with me. I need Him." And I said, "You will too if you ever get to take hold of it." I told my wife, I said, "Listen, they've got this 'Amazing Facts' Bible study going here and this is the best way for you to get this information, I think," I said, "because it's broken down and they give you questions and-- to make you look for these things, you know? So it's not anyone telling you. You find it on your own. And they teach you to actually use the Bible."

She was there faithfully, every Wednesday, until we decided, you know, she wanted to be baptized also. She saw it coming round. The choice was made, and October 4, 2014, my wife and I, we were baptized in the water at the same time. And we started our walk together, I guess you'd say. I went through everything that a man could possibly go through, I guess, from marital trouble, loss of family members, death of my family, my children were harmed and my daughter's handicapped for life. I went to prison, but still, I kept my word to God that He could stack it on me as much as He wanted and I'd never question Him and I didn't. But I can say this much: He never put nothing on me that I couldn't handle. And He walked me through it all.

And I like to say that to anyone who is in prison, not to give up. Don't lose hope. Put your faith in the Lord and study and seek Him and He will seek you. And my name is Charlie Green and I want you to know that you and "Amazing Facts" have changed my life. ♪♪♪

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" Changed Lives.

Diamond Garcia: Hi, my name is Diamond Garcia and I am from the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I was raised in a very dysfunctional family, like most families. Being in that environment, I would lie, cheat, steal, rob houses, cheat in school on tests, and lie to teachers and getting into fights and all kinds of stuff. One day I was asked to take this little box of something and I had to walk down the road and give it to someone and they would give me money and I would walk back home. And I later realized I was dealing drugs.

Growing up in that environment, I thought that, you know, being an adult was a life of drinking and smoking and partying and that's just what adults did. When I looked at my family and saw the road that they were going down, getting arrested, getting beaten up, coming home drunk and puking all over the floor, I just didn't want that for myself.

Growing up, I had a grandma who was baptized as a Christian in her 20s but then she wasn't a real practicing Christian. And so one day I was at her house and there was a box of various books so I went to the bottom of that box and found a book called, "The Great Controversy." And I picked it up and I said, "This is interesting." And I opened to the first page of that book and it said: "If thou hast known," I had no clue what it meant. And so I said, "You know what? Forget this." I put the book down. I just walked away, did my thing.

But then something told me, "You know, Diamond, go back to that book." And so I went back to the book, picked it up. Went to the last two chapters and I read it. And I said to my grandmother, I said, "What church is this from? I want to go to that church." So she brought me down to the local church and I walk in through the back door and the piano's off-key, people were off-key. It's, like, "Man, this is really kind of-- I don't want to be here." And I got to the front of the church and I sat down. I was listening to the sermon and the whole service was so boring to me.

But then someone gives me the set of DVDs and it was called, "The Prophecy Code." It was through watching Doug Batchelor explain the truths found in the Bible that really brought me to Christ and brought me to realize that, you know what? There is a life better than my family's life.

My second week at church on Sabbath, there was one person there. He basically told me, "Hey, Diamond, do you want to make some money?" And I said, "Sure." I said, "What do you do?" He says, "Well, I'm a colporteur. We go door to door and we sell Christian books." I said, "Oh, okay. Well, that sounds interesting. I do want to make some money too." And so he said, "Okay, well, why don't you come with me?"

We drove out to the neighborhood, parked the car, and that night was just raining. It was pouring and pouring. It could not stop raining. He prayed. He said, "God, this is Diamond's first night. If it's Your will, stop the rain so we can go knocking on doors." And as soon as he said, "Amen," the rain just stopped. I was just thinking in my head, "Is this guy a prophet or what?" I mean, he just prayed and asked God and it happened. And so I was so happy, I grabbed the books and I went to the first door, and the first door I went to, the person gave me 50 bucks.

That night was actually a big night for me because it was where I saw God's power work in stopping the rain and people actually giving me lots of money. I then became a colporteur or a canvasser and I saved money to pay for my way through the academy and when my church began to see how God was using me and they immediately recognized that it was God's Spirit moving and they put me, you know, preaching and teaching and sharing my faith.

And I've been engaged in ministry for the past six or seven years now and God has taken me all over the world on multiple continents, sharing my testimony, how God has brought me out of darkness into His marvelous light, which is total contrast as to was I was before I am now, you know, it's a total contrast. My name is Diamond and "Amazing Facts" has helped to change my life.

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