Abraham’s Seed

Abraham’s Seed

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9
Date: 05/08/2021  Lesson: 6
Our study this week focuses on the identity and role of God’s true Israel in every age, including our own.

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Shawn Brummund: And good morning to you. Welcome to another edition of the Sabbath School Study Hour. It is such a nice day to be able to get together, to be able to study God's Word. I trust that you are having a good day so far, and I know that if you invest the next hour with us and with this program, that you will be even more blessed, as we continue to study the great promise that God has given to us in his overall covenant, that he has given throughout history, since the fall into sin. And then as we also look at the different covenants that God has presented that through and to today, looking at lesson number six, which is Abraham's seed. And so as many of us know, Abraham is the great patriarch of the faith. He goes back the furthest, as far as one of God's most prominent people since the flood, and we are continuing to go through a very, very powerful quarterly study, entitled, "The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant."

If you don't have a copy of the Sabbath School Quarterly, make sure that you get a copy. If their local Seventh Day Adventist Church is open and go and visit that local Seventh Day Adventist Church. I know that many of them have them. They'll be happy to give you a free copy for you to be able to use. And if you also go and Google that online--I know that more than once I've also found different resources online that offer that in a digital format for free. So, please take advantage of that, as we look at it here again, today.

Before we look into our worship in song, I also want to offer you a free gift offer that we always have available in different forms, as we get together to study during the Sabbath School Study Hour. Today is one of the most powerful classics of the past. It's called "Alone in the Crowd," by Pastor Joe Crews. And if you'd like to receive a free copy of this, and you are in the United States or--in this case actually--in North America, you can go ahead and dial 866-788-3966. That's 1-866-788-3966 or 1-866-Study-More.

Now, when you go and dial in for that, the easiest way to be able to get this free offer is to ask the servant or agent that will be answering there. The number is 714. That's offer number 714. Now, I know that a lot of us are looking for digital copies of our different literature today, and we like to read from our phone or tablets, our computers and such. In that case, go ahead and text the word SH004, and you want to text that to the number 40544. Now, that is only available in the United States right now. If you, again, go to the Amazing Facts website and search around a little bit, you can also find that free digital copy available, if you're in different countries of the world.

Well, with that being said, before we open up with prayer and invite our teacher out here today, we want to invite our musicians out, as we worship the Lord in song.

♪♪♪

♪ My heart can sing when I pause to remember. ♪

♪ A heartache here is but a stepping stone. ♪

♪ Along the trail that's winding always upward. ♪

♪ This troubled world is not my final home. ♪

♪ But until then, my heart will go on singing. ♪

♪ Until then, with joy I'll carry on, ♪

♪ until the day my eyes behold the city, ♪

♪ until the day God calls me home. ♪

♪♪♪

♪ The fields of earth will dim and lose their value, ♪

♪ if we recall they're borrowed for just a while. ♪

♪ And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble, ♪

♪ remember there will only bring a smile. ♪

♪ But until then, my heart will go on singing. ♪

♪ Until then, with joy I'll carry on, ♪

♪ until the day my eyes behold the city, ♪

♪ until the day God calls me home. ♪

♪♪♪

♪ But until then, my heart will go on singing. ♪

♪ Until then, with joy I'll carry on, ♪

♪ until the day my eyes behold the city, ♪

♪ until the day ♪

♪ God calls me home. ♪♪

Shawn: I want to invite you to close your eyes, as we bow our heads and pray. Father in heaven, this morning we are thankful to be able to come together. We are thankful for your Bible, that you give us the Word of Truth, that you have not left us to our own, but you desire for us to be able to understand the great love and promises that you have towards us. And God, today, as we come together to open your Bible and look at this great promise that you gave to Abraham, that even extends to us, want to pray, God, that your Holy Spirit will guide us and lead us and help us to understand. Please bless our teacher today, as Pastor Rod is going to be presenting your Word. You know the time that he's spent with you, both on his knees and in your Word. And Father, we want to pray that all of that hard work in the service today will help us to better understand your Word. In Jesus' name, we pray these things. Amen.

Rod Thompson: Good morning, everyone. Happy Sabbath. Have you been blessed by the quarterly that we've been in, the promises, the covenants of God, this plan of salvation. I have truly been blessed. And today, we have an amazing topic to talk about, "Abraham's Seed." It is a powerful lesson. And I don't know about you. I don't know if your mind works the way mine does, but when I hear that statement, "Abraham's Seed," it immediately comes to my mind, "Who is that?" Right?

Who is Abraham's seed? Well, we want to answer that question today. But before we can answer that question, we've got to ask another question, and that is "Who is Israel?" Who is Israel? Well, you remember that there was a man in the book of Genesis, in the Old Testament, by the name of Jacob, and Jacob is the son of Isaac, and Isaac is the son of Abraham, and Abraham is the father of the Jews. And the name Jacob means deceiver.

I love that the names of the people in the land of Israel, that their names have meaning, and Jacob means deceiver. And Jacob truly lived up to his name, didn't he? He deceived his brother out of his birthright, and then he deceived or tricked his father into giving him the blessing.

Now, Jacob and Esau were brothers. They were twins. But Esau was the firstborn, and so he was entitled to the family blessing. He was to receive the rights of the firstborn, but Jacob tricked him out of that, deceived him out of that, and then he deceived his father, Abraham. And you see in the picture there on the screen that Jacob had something funny on his hand. He took some goat skin, and he put it on his hand, because his brother was very hairy. And at this point, Isaac was losing his eyesight. He couldn't see very well. And so the idea was, when his father would feel that, he would think that it was Esau and give him the blessing. And guess what? The trickery worked. In fact, in Genesis chapter 27, verse 36, Esau was so mad, he said, "Is he not rightly called Jacob?" Because Jacob means deceiver.

Well, the deception cost Jacob a lot, because Jacob had to flee from his home, because his brother, Esau, was very upset with him. He was considering killing him, and so Jacob had to run away, and he never got to see his mother alive again. But Jacob ran away, and he went to his Uncle Laban, who was a bit of a deceiver himself, wasn't he? Jacob fell in love with Laban's daughter, and he wanted to marry her, but on the wedding day his father-in-law tricked him, deceived him, and he married the oldest daughter, Leah. And so now he says, "Well, I'll give you Rachel, but you've got to give me more years of service." And then the two wives ended up giving him a couple of their handmaids, and so there was some polygamy going on here, and Jacob had many children from them. They became a blended family.

But eventually the time came when Jacob was impressed by God to return to the land of his birth and to be reunited with his brother Esau. And as they are on the journey and going, they get to the point where the next day Jacob is going to meet his brother, and he is not certain whether or not his brother has truly forgiven him. And so he's afraid. He sends the family ahead, and he is alone by himself one night, and he begins wrestling with a man. And he thought that this man was one of maybe his brother's men, and he was fighting for his life. And he began to fight all through the night, wrestling with this man. The Bible says the angel of the Lord. And it came about morning, just when the sun was about to break, and the man touched him on his hip, and his hip was immediately put out of place, and Jacob realized that he was not wrestling with an ordinary man, but he was wrestling with the Lord.

So, now he really began to wrestle, not to get away this time, but this time he was holding on. Because if this was the Lord, he needed assurance. He needed a blessing. And so he held on, and he said to the Lord, "I will not let you go until or unless you bless me." And, in fact, the Lord did bless him, and Jacob received a new name, and that new name was Israel, which means overcomer or someone who has been victorious. And so Israel is the spiritual name that was given to the father of the nation of Israel, and Jacob had 12 sons, and they became the sons of Israel, and eventually they became the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel that we know as the nation of Israel, over there in the Middle East, in Palestine. And the Bible says in Genesis 32:28, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel."

Now, the New Testament makes a distinction between Israel and his children. I want to show you that. Turn with me in your Bibles to Romans chapter 9, Romans chapter 9. The Apostle Paul is speaking to the church in Rome. He's speaking to us, and notice what he says, starting in verse 1. Paul says, "I tell you the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen, according to the flesh, who are Israelites to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God, and the promises of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all the eternally blessed God, amen. But it is not that the Word of God has taken no effect, for they are not all," what? "They are not all Israel, who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham, but in Isaac your seed shall be called, that is those who are the children of the flesh. These are not what? These are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as the seed."

So, here we see the Apostle Paul telling us that they are not all Israel, who are of Israel. There's the Israel of the flesh, and then he also speaks of the children of promise, and he refers to the children who come by Isaac as the children of the promise. And I want you to notice something that Jesus says in John chapter 8, verse 39. He says, "If," and he's talking to the Pharisees that have been questioning him. He says, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. In other words, what he is saying to them is, "You must not be Abraham's children; because if you were Abraham's children, then you would be doing the things, or you would be doing the works of Abraham."

In another place, in John chapter 1, verse 47, when Jesus was looking, he saw Nathanael coming and he said, "Behold an Israelite indeed." Or in other words, an Israelite in truth, or a true Israelite. In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 18, Paul says, "Observe Israel after the flesh." And I ask you the question, why did Paul have to qualify his statement? Or why did he have to say, "Observe Israel after the flesh"? Well, I'll tell you why. Because there are two Israels.

Notice in Galatians chapter 6, verse 14 through 16. It says, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision," that's the Jews, "nor uncircumcision," that's the Gentiles, "avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon," who? "Upon the Israel of God," which is a different group of people than Israel of the flesh.

You have the Israel of the flesh, those who are of the genealogy, those who are of the heredity of Abraham, and then you have the Israel of God, who are the descendants of Abraham's faith. In other words, both Jew and Gentile, who have faith in Jesus Christ, they are the Israel of God. And he makes that point in Romans chapter 9, which we just read, which says, "For they are not all Israel." That is they are not all the Israel of God, who are of the nation, the lineage, the flesh of Israel.

That's pretty revealing, isn't it? It says, not everyone who is a descendant of Abraham is actually a true Israelite. The Bible reveals that there are two Israels. Did you catch that? Two Israels. I want you to notice in Romans 2, verse 28, that it says, "He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh." In other words, you are not necessarily an Israelite if you have the genes of Abraham, or if you are of the heredity. There is the Israel in the flesh, that is those who are of the genealogy of Abraham, those over there in the Middle East, in the land of Palestine. And then Romans 2:28 continues. He says, "But he is a Jew who is one," what? "--inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart."

You see, all through the New Testament, Paul reveals that there are two Israels. There's the Israel of the flesh over there, who believe that they receive the promises of God, simply because they were of the heredity of Abraham, and then there is Israel of the spirit, or spiritual Israel, those who believed like Abraham believed, those who have the faith of Abraham, not necessarily the genes of Abraham.

And so I have a question for you. To which of the two Israels are the promises of God made? To the Israel in the flesh or spiritual Israel? Well, in order to answer that question, we need to understand a prophecy that is so amazing and so clearly shows that Jesus is the Messiah that the Jewish rabbis put a curse on anyone who would attempt to determine its meaning. Because remember, the Jews do not consider Jesus to be the Messiah. But this so perfectly addresses the fact that he is, that they wrote this in Talmudic law. "May the bones of the hands and the bones of the fingers decay and decompose of him who turns the pages of the book of Daniel, to find out the time of Daniel 9:24-27, and may his memory rot from off of the face of the earth forever."

That's a pretty strong curse, isn't it? They don't want anyone looking into Daniel chapter 9, verse 24 to 27. And you'll remember--you know, I don't believe in coincidences, do you? I think it's perfect timing, on behalf of God, that we would have this study of Abraham's seed today, as we have been going through this "Seven Deadly Myths" Bible Study with Scott Ritsema. And you'll remember on the first night that he talked about this prophecy. It's called the 70-week prophecy of Daniel chapter 9. And then he talked about it again last night.

Now, I don't want to go through the whole thing, but I do want to do a little bit of a review of this. They were given the command to restore and build Jerusalem. That was to be the indication of the beginning of the 70-week prophecy, which was cut off from the larger 2300-day prophecy. And there were actually three decrees that went out. You'll remember that Israel was taken captive to Babylon, but then Babylon was overtaken by the Medes and the Persians, and it was the first king of the Medes and Persians, Cyrus, who made the first decree to let them go back to Israel and to start building the walls and to rebuild the temple. And then the second decree was essentially the same thing reiterated by King Darius, and it wasn't until Artexerxes made the decree that they could both build and restore, and that was when he allowed them to go back and set up magistrates and judges to have their own civil government.

So, now this third decree is the one that actually fulfills the prophecy, where they could restore to their own government. They could be once again a sovereign nation. And you go back and you look at Ezra chapter 7, and you'll see that decree. And you look at history, and you'll see that that was in 457 BC that that command was given, and it was a 70-week prophecy. So, if you take 70 weeks times 7 days in a week, that's 490 days. But as Scott was talking about, over the first day and then last night in this new Bible series, "Seven Deadly Myths," you saw that the days actually, in Bible prophecy, equal a year. And he took us into Numbers and Ezekiel. And so that's 490 years. And the command was that there would be 7 weeks and 62 weeks. And then what would happen? Messiah the Prince would show up, right?

So, 69 weeks into the 70-week prophecy, Jesus would show up. And it's very interesting that Jesus, at his baptism, he became anointed with the Holy Spirit, right? That's what Messiah means, the Anointed One. And the Bible tells us that it was in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberias Caesar. And you go back in history and look at that, and you'll see that that was 27 AD.

Friends, Jesus was anointed right on time. But that leaves one more week into the prophecy, and that prophecy told us in Daniel chapter 9, that in the middle of that week, the Messiah would be cut off, but not for himself. And we know that 3 1/2 years into that last 7 years, that Jesus died on the cross, that he confirmed a covenant with many, and he put an end to sacrifices and oblations. And so we see that that perfectly fits, that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah. But in Daniel chapter 9, verse 24, it says, "Know and understand the vision." Right? That there were 70 weeks determined for you and your people.

Now, Daniel was a Jew, and so this 70-week prophecy is a probationary period for the children of Israel. And what were they to do in that probationary period? They were to finish the transgression. They were to make an end of sin. They were to make reconciliation for iniquity. They were to seal up the vision and prophecy. And they were to anoint the most holy place.

Now, I have a question for you. Did they, in fact, fulfill the conditions of the 70-week prophecy? Did they finish the transgression? Did they make an end of sin? Well, not as a nation they didn't, right? But the 70 weeks were fulfilled in who? In Jesus Christ, that's right. He finished the transgression. He put an end to sin. He made reconciliation for iniquity. He sealed up the vision and prophecy. And when he returned to heaven, he anointed the most holy place.

The 70-week prophecy was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, who became the new Israel, the overcomer on our behalf. He is the spiritual Father of Israel. He is the true Israel and the seed of Abraham, and that's why the Bible says in Galatians chapter 3, verse 29, "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed."

So, I ask you the question again. To which of the Israels are the prophecies of the Bible pertaining to, and to which Israel are the promises made? Literal Israel or spiritual Israel? Well, we have already seen, haven't we, that Jesus is the only one who fulfilled the conditions. Now, let's look for a moment with our spiritual glasses on at the nation of Israel. When the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt, God raised up a man by the name of Moses. And you'll remember that Moses killed one of the Egyptians, and then he fled into the wilderness, and he was gone for 40 years. But then you remember in Exodus chapter 4, verse 22, that God said to Moses, "You shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn.'"

So, here we see that, "Israel is my son, he is my firstborn." In Psalm chapter 80, verse 8, it says, "Thou hast brought a," what? "--a vine out of Egypt. Thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it." So, here we see that Israel is a vine out of Egypt. In Isaiah chapter 49, verse 3, it says, "And he said to me, 'You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.'" So, here we see that Israel is called "My servant." In Isaiah chapter 42, verse 1, it says, "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom my soul delights! I have put my Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles." This is talking about Israel. In Isaiah chapter 41, verse 8, it says, "But thou, Israel, art My servant; Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend..."

Again, we see here that Israel is called my servant, and then we see that Israel is also called the seed of Abraham. In Hosea chapter 11, it describes how Israel was to be brought out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm by God via the ten plagues and through the leadership of Moses. And it says in verse 1, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt."

Now, do you remember after being called out of Egypt, as the nation of Israel came out, what happened? They went to the Red Sea, and then Pharaoh's army was coming after them. They were trapped. They had nowhere to go. And so God parted the Red Sea, and they walked through. And it tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 1, Paul says, "All of our fathers were baptized into Moses and into the cloud and in the sea." And so they were all baptized in the sea. And then you remember when they came through the Red Sea, they went into the promised land. But because of a lack of faith, because of unbelief, they were not allowed to go into the Promised Land, and they had to wander in the wilderness for how long? For 40 years. That's right.

So, I ask you the question again. Who is Israel? Well, Israel is My Son, My Firstborn, a Vine out of Egypt, My Servant, the Seed of Abraham. They were baptized and then they spent 40 years in the wilderness. Now let's look at a few more verses. In Matthew chapter 2, verse 13, it says this: "The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, 'Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt.'"

Now, who is this talking about? Talking about Joseph, right? You'll remember that when Jesus--or excuse me. It's talking about Jesus, but you'll remember that when Jesus was born, that Herod was the king, and he knew about this messianic prophecy, some king who was going to come and rule all of Egypt. He was jealous of that. He wanted to continue his rule. And so he sent his men, and they went to Bethlehem to kill all the baby boys two years and under. And so Joseph and Mary and Jesus had to flee down into Egypt.

Now, I find it very interesting, just on a side note, I find it very interesting that in the history of Israel, that there was a man by the name of Joseph who was one of the sons of Abraham, who was sold by his brothers into slavery, into Egypt. And now you--and he had dreams, right? That's kind of what got him in trouble with his brothers. He told them about his dreams.

And now you have another Joseph who has a dream, and he's told to go down into Egypt. And Matthew chapter 2 verse 13 continues, though, and it says, "That it may be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, 'Out of Egypt I have called my son.'"

Now, hold on a minute. What's this saying here? This is saying that in order for the prophecy to be fulfilled, it wasn't going to happen to literal Israel, but it was going to happen to who? To Jesus. That's right, Jesus Christ had to be called out of Egypt. It says, "That it might be fulfilled which is spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, 'Out of Egypt I have called my son.'"

And so Hosea 11, verse 1, was only fulfilled by Jesus. In Colossians chapter 1, verse 1, it speaks of Jesus. It says, "He is the image of the invisible God," the what? "--the firstborn over all creation." John chapter 15, verse 1, says, Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser." Matthew chapter 12, verse 16 to 18 says, "He warned them not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'Behold! My Servant.'" And do you remember the promise of God to Abraham? Genesis chapter 15, verse 5, he said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars-if indeed you can count them...So shall your offspring be." But then Paul says in Galatians chapter 3, verse 16, "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made."

And I want you to notice that it goes on, and it says, "And he does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ." Now keep following along with me. Mark chapter 1, verse 9, it says, "It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan River." Matthew chapter 4, verse 1 and 2 then says, "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he was tempted," for how long? For forty days, right?

So, I ask you the question again, who is Israel? Well, Jesus is My Son. Jesus is My Firstborn, a Fine out of Egypt, My Servant, the Seed of Abraham. He was baptized after which time he spent 40 days in the wilderness. You see, friends, Jesus is the fulfillment of true Israel, and that's why the Bible says that, "Those who are Christ's are Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise, because Jesus fulfilled that which was spoken of."

You see, Jesus is the true Israel, and Jesus is the Seed of Abraham. And if you believe in Jesus, if you have asked him to come into your heart, be your Lord and Savior, forgive you of your sins, he has written his law in your mind and in your heart, you have the Spirit of God in you. You become co-heirs with Christ. You become spiritual Israel. You become the Seed of Abraham through him.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 20, "For all the promises of God in him are yes and in him amen, to the glory of God through us." In Christ, all of the promises of God are yes. And Paul says it's not that the Word of God has taken no effect. It's that literal Israel has been replaced by spiritual Israel, and he is our new spiritual Father, Christ Jesus, our righteousness.

Now let's look at some of the text dealing with Israel as God's favored nation. Because as Scott was talking about last night, all eyes are on Israel today, aren't they? They're looking to physical Israel. They're looking to the temple being rebuilt. But what does the Bible have to say about that? Notice in Galatians chapter 3, verse 7. It says, "Know ye therefore, that they which are of--" The genes of Abraham? Is that what it says? No, "they are of the faith, the same are the children of Abraham." Galatians 3:28, the next verse says, "Therefore, there is neither Jew nor Greek...for you are all one in Christ Jesus." It goes on to say, "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

The promise is for those who are Christ's. There's no special reuniting of the Jews that's required to fulfill the promise to Israel, because the promises are fulfilled in those who believe in Jesus Christ. We are not looking forward to an earthly Canaan. Yes, Israel was given the Promised Land. They are the type, but Christ is the anti-type. They were pointing forward to Him. So, we're not looking for an earthly Canaan. We are looking to a heavenly Canaan. Galatians chapter 4, verse 28 says, "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise."

Friends, God has promised us some pretty amazing things, hasn't He? He has promised us that He can give us--not only cleanse us, wash us as white as snow from our sins, but He can give us the Holy Spirit, He can give us the power to overcome and to live without sin. And God has also promised, "I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may also be." Philippians chapter 3, verse 3, says, "We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no," what? "--no confidence in the flesh." The flesh avails nothing, right?

Well, I'm going to end today by making this appeal to you. On the first coming of Jesus, the world was looking for a conquering king, and so they missed the suffering servant. And I ask you the question--we are on the brink of the second coming of Jesus. And as the world is looking to physical Israel, are they going to miss spiritual Israel?

You see, Israel received the name Israel because he wrestled with God and received a name change. Have you received your name change? In our study this week, we saw that these people are Christians, whether Jew or Gentile, but it called them, in our study, the remnant, right? Do you remember Elijah had this mountaintop experience on Mount Carmel, called down fire from God, killed the prophets of Baal and Asherah, but then Jezebel threatened to kill him, and he fled. He was afraid. And at some point, he said to God, "They've killed all the other believers." He says, "I'm the only one left." And do you remember what God said? He said, "I have 7,000 that have not bowed the knee to Baal." Right?

God has always had a remnant. When Cain killed Abel, there was still a remnant, because then Seth was born. But then things became corrupted, as the children of God, the true Israel began to mingle with physical Israel, if you will, and it pulled them away from God. And in the days of Noah, there was a great flood, but God had a remnant, eight people that survived. And God has always had a remnant, even up to this day. And even though, as Scott has been showing us, through this series, that there is apostasy in the church of God, God still has a remnant. Amen? God still has people who are faithful to him today. And all of the promises are to them.

I want you to notice, if you have your quarterly with me, look at Wednesday of this week, as we studied this topic of "Abraham's Seed." Notice the first paragraph. It says, "Although God's plan for ancient Israel was spoiled by disobedience, it was never completely frustrated. Among the weeds, a few flowers still grew. Many of the Old Testament prophets speak of this faithful remnant whom God would gather unto himself as a lovely bouquet." The plan of God has not been frustrated by the attempts of the devil. Amen? God still has a remnant, and He is still working His plan, and He's going to bring that to a place where His people are just like Him. Amen?

Look at the third paragraph. "Thus, no matter how bad the situation became, God always had some faithful people, who despite apostasy within the ranks of God's chosen people, kept their own calling and election sure. In short, whatever the failings of the nation as a whole, there were still those who tried to keep, as best they could, their end of the covenant. And though perhaps they suffered with their nation, as a whole, such as when exiled from the land, the final and ultimate covenant promise will be theirs, that of eternal life.

And so even though there is this apostasy in the church going on, God has a faithful people, and God--and what does it say about those people in Revelation chapter 12, verse 17? They keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus or the testimony of Jesus, right? One's 14:12, one's 12:17. They have the faith of Jesus.

I don't know about you, friends, but my faith always fails. My faith is weak. My faith stumbles, right? But the faith of Jesus is powerful. The faith of Jesus, he overcame on our behalf, right? He is the overcomer. He is Israel. He is the Seed of Abraham, and we are co-heirs, along with him.

Notice on Thursday's lesson, first paragraph, "Whatever the mistakes and failings of ancient Israel, the Lord was not finished with the plan of creating a faithful people to serve him. In fact, the Old Testament looked forward to a time when the Lord would create a spiritual Israel, a faithful body of believers, Jews and Gentiles, who would carry on the work of preaching the Gospel to the world." And then it goes on to say, "Welcome to the early church." Right? Probation had closed for Israel. They did not do what they were called to do in that probation, but Jesus did. Remember when Jesus first went into the temple, when he began his ministry, he said, "This is my Father's house, but you have made it a den of thieves." And then the last time He went in, at the end of His ministry, He said, "Behold, your house is left to you," what? Desolate, right? God had left the sanctuary. God was no longer with him. They were no longer the chosen people of God.

And I liked how last night that Scott was talking about, you know, some people seem to think that God has one plan for Israel and another plan for the Gentiles. But we see that God is the only one who can bring both Jew and Gentile together and create a people who truly will keep his commandments, who love him enough to do all that he has asked. And so here we see the spiritual Israel.

And friends, we want to be a part of that group, don't we? We want to be a part of spiritual Israel. We want to be those who don't necessarily have the genes of Abraham, but have the faith of Abraham. And this is the Israel that God has made all of the promises to. And I ask you the question, have you received a name change?" Are you a new person? Paul said--or excuse me--Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again, right?" You must have the Spirit of God in you, not only to cleanse you from the inside-out, but to empower you to keep the commandments of God. And that's why Paul says that at the end of time, there is going to be a group of people who call themselves Christians, who have a form of godliness, but deny its power. Only those who are the remnant, only those who truly have surrendered their life to Jesus Christ, it's only those who the promises are given to. I'm looking forward to eternal life. How about you? Amen.

You know, there's so much that we could talk about in this lesson, and I just really appreciate it. Let me read one more. Look at the last paragraph on Thursday's lesson. "As a son of Abraham, Christ became, in a special sense, heir to the covenant promises. By baptism, we acquire kinship to Christ and through him acquire the right to participate in the promises made to Abraham. Thus, all that God promised Abraham is found in Christ, and the promises become ours, not because of nationality, race, or gender, but through grace, which God bestows upon those through faith. That's us, isn't it? He has given those promises to us.

Well, friends, we are out of time, so let's close with a word of prayer. Oh, loving Father, we are so grateful and thankful that you love this world so much. You loved us, that you gave your only begotten Son, that he came to this earth, took on the form of a man, and he went to the cross and died for us. He overcame the deceptions of the devil to save us.

Lord, you have great plans for us and great plans for the nation of Israel. It's not that they can't be saved now. They can be grafted in, just like we are. And so, Lord, our prayer is that you would open our eyes to this truth. Help us to fall in love with the truth. And Lord, help us to surrender our heart to you more and more each day. Lord, we want to be the children of promise. We want that heavenly Canaan. But more importantly, Lord, we want you. As you said to Abraham, "I am your exceedingly great reward."

Lord, we look forward to the time when we will be with you. We will no longer live by faith, but we will live by sight. And Lord, our prayer is that you will do that work in us, that we cannot do in ourselves. And Lord, the things that we can do, we pray that you would send your angels to come and minister to us and that, Lord, they would help us to do those things that we can do; because the things we can do, you won't do. But the things we can't, you come alongside, and you do those things for us. You are our overcomer. You are Israel. You are the Seed of Abraham. And Lord, we want to be co-heirs with you. And we ask it all in Jesus' name, amen. God bless you.

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Announcer: "Amazing Facts, Changed Lives."

Male: Well, I actually grew up in a loving home. I had no religious background. My parents were completely secular. I had questions in my life like most young people do. What does my future hold for me, and what is my purpose in even being here? They were questions that my parents couldn't answer. Because of moving around a lot, I found it kind of hard to adjust at times. By the time I made it into high school, my grades were really terrible, and I had a problem with authority. I started smoking at the age of 14 and drinking by the age of 15. I really started getting involved with crime, break and enter, selling drugs, stealing cars.

Male: At one point, I had overdosed on ecstasy, and I was doing anything I could just to find some sort of excitement or something that reflected some version of happiness in my life. Didn't want to be alone, and I was looking for some sort of a relationship. I had found myself in Australia, and I met a girl down there who was a Christian girl, and we really started to hit it off. We ended up in a long, fairly long relationship. We were together for about seven years. Neither one of us were having a relationship with God. We kind of excluded him out of what we were doing, and we were just trying to do everything on our own.

When we came out of that relationship, I ended up in a really deep depression. I was so depressed that I was coming home; and as soon as the door would close behind me, I would drop down to my knees and just start crying. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I tried to take my life at one point with pills, and it wasn't because I wanted to die. I just didn't want to feel this way anymore. It hurt so bad, and I'd never felt so lonely. I would end up in my bedroom, and I was praying for hours each day, and that was kind of my life. I was alone and unhappy, and I really needed answers.

I had started studying the Bible and found "Amazing Facts" online and was watching hours of sermons each day. Spending more time with Pastor Doug Batchelor and really getting a lot of the answers to the questions that I was seeking out, I felt that there was hope that was coming through that, and that was kind of pulling me out of--gradually pulling me out of the darkness that I was in.

So, eventually, I decided I was going to church. I would drive to the church, and I would sit in the parking lot for about half an hour, and then I would drive home. Eventually, I found myself inside the church. They were all quite amazed that I kind of found my own way there. I started building relationships with people there, and my life really started changing. Eventually, I was baptized. I still, I couldn't get enough. I wanted to read more, I wanted to study more, and all these new things that I was learning, it all made sense to me.

I had prayed to God specifically for two things at this point. I prayed for a new job, and I prayed for an opportunity in my life, some direction. And within one week, He had answered the prayer. I got a new job, and I was going to be starting right away. But He had also answered the other prayer. Two ladies in my church came up to me and offered to send me to go to AFCOE. My life has changed so much since I started following God's path for me. I'm just so much happier in my life, and I realize that there's so much more in this world that I can do to help others, and I look forward to a life of service to God.

Male: I grew up in a church-going family. I mean, we were at every meeting. I sang in four of the choirs there. I directed three. Very involved, very active. It almost seemed like busy work sometimes, you know. I went to Sunday School. I knew about God, I knew about Jesus, but I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My senior year in high school, I got the news that my father had been murdered. I played it off well. No one really saw that I was struggling with it.

It just really felt like there was a hole that needed to be filled, and I tried to fill it with drugs, alcohol, with partying. After college, I just stopped going to church altogether.

One day, on a Sunday--because I didn't feel like going to church with my mom--I thought, you know, "I should get a little bit of Word." She had the satellite system hooked up, and I'm flipping through channels. And then the logo pops across, "Amazing Facts Presents." I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up. And I've never heard this before. Let me look through and find this. I went through all the Storacles, I went through all the study guides, and I just couldn't get enough. And then the Sabbath came up, and he's going through the appeal, and I'm just going, "Lord, I hear you. I have to go to church. So, I show up.

It was funny. I didn't feel like I was gonna be judged, anything judgmental, anything. And I walked in the door, and I just felt at home. But there's still a problem. I'm still partying. I was still going out to the bars. At this time, I was selling cocaine to pay my rent.

Sixteen days later, I find myself in a life or death situation. I had just came back from a liquor store, and I grabbed a bottle of vodka. And there I am, high off cocaine, with my Bible in hand, trying to do a Bible study. And I heard an audible voice. "Just look at yourself." And I did, and I was like, "What am I doing?" And I got on my knees and I said, "Lord, if you do not take this away from me now, I'm going to kill myself." I was going to continue this lifestyle, and I was gonna end up overdosing, having a heart attack, whatever it was. "You have to take this away, all of it." And that day, He lifted all of it away from me. It was all gone.

When God does something in your life, He does it complete.

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