The Bible and History

Scripture: Revelation 1:8
Date: 03/03/2012 
Lesson: 9
"Our God works in and through history, and in and through history He has given us powerful evidence for faith.
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We're so glad that you're tuning in wherever you're joining us from. If you're live on the internet this morning watching at, listening on the radio, watching on a different satellite network - we are so glad that you're tuning in and you are a part of our Sabbath school family here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We have an extended family that join us each week from around the world and it is so exciting to get in your song requests that you send in faithfully every week at our website and today is no exception. We are going to sing a couple of those - some really good ones.

Those of you at home pull out your hymnals and sing with us loudly this morning if you believe the words of this song - and I'm sure you do - 'Jesus is coming again'. #213 In your hymnals. This is from fernando in brazil, george and shawn in California, carmi in camaroon, jari, linda, Daniel, Benjamin, and Isaiah in Canada, hanah in the dominican republic, halima and verdieu in florida, berry in Georgia, anastasia in germany, bob, Paula, ed, and patricia in Idaho, dave in Indiana, tean and connie in jamaica, magalie and micha in mauritius, marilyn in New York, yaw in Rhode Island, Michael in tanzania, justin in zambia, and pius in zimbabwe this morning. #213 - We're going to sing all four stanzas - 'Jesus is coming again'. Amen.

I am very glad that that song is true and Jesus is coming again. We know that - the Bible tells us and it's really obvious, if you look around the world, that he is coming very, very soon. If you have a favorite song that you would love to sing with us on an upcoming program, go to our website - and click on the 'contact us' link and you can find any song in our hymnal and join with us. If you don't have a hymnal, contact us and we can tell you where you can get one. Our next song - #246 'worthy, worthy is the lamb' is #246, like I said.

This is from helen in antigua and barbuda, saara, ana, and puroku in australia, irving in barbados, tony in Canada, roxnel in cayman islands, margaret in florida, keryl in France, howard and dian in Mississippi, melvert in the Philippines, meaghen in saint kitts and nevis, subin in south korea, ana in Texas, petal and helen in trinidad and tobago, and milimo in zambia. We're going to sing all three stanzas - 'worthy, worthy is the lamb'. Father in Heaven you truly are worthy, worthy to receive our praise this morning and I pray that our hearts will be pure and clean and the praise that we give you will be acceptable and sweet in your ears. Father, thank you so much for loving us, for blessing us - like you do every week with this holy day that we can come and just spend time with you. We thank you so much for thinking of us and the rest that we desperately need every week.

At this time, father, please just be with us as we open up Your Word, we study together and be with Pastor Doug as he brings us our lesson study. In Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson study will be brought to us at this time by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. Thank you very much debbie, jessica, kula, musicians and thank you friends for coming today to study.

Those who are members, we're glad that you're here and our visitors, we're also equally glad that you are worshiping and studying with us today. Again, I want to welcome those who are part of the extended and expanding central class that are either studying on the internet or you are watching on one of the satellite programs that broadcast and we are glad that you're studying the lesson with us today. In a moment we'll get to our lesson - we like to tell people about a free offer we often couple with the Sabbath school study - and today we're offering a book simply for the asking by leslie kaye and it's a book called 'to live in his sight'. If you'd like a copy of that - you don't already have it - it is an inspiring read and it's offer #783 so when you call the toll-free number, ask for offer #783 - and that number is -study-more. That's 866-788-3966.

Just call, we'll send it to you. We like to give people additional materials to help them in their personal study and - I'm trying to think what else is going on I want to talk about before - I think I'm forgetting something. Oh, for our friends who are watching online - by the time this is broadcast it's going to be old news, but for those who are watching the live broadcast online, next week I will be at southern university. I look forward to seeing the students there on the campus. I'm going to be having a special program talking about 'nearer than you think' - talking about the nearness of God.

And for our friends who watch in europe, I'll be in germany in March - towards April - so for about three weeks I'll be in germany, switzerland, geneva, and the munich area, visiting frankfurt, bogenhofen - I forget where I'm going - all over the place. So, it'll be in the papers there or something, but I look forward to seeing our friends in that part of the country. We get song requests from germany all the time. A lot more of them speak english than we do speak german - you know that. You see, they make fun of Americans because it's only in America that we speak one or two languages and people all over europe speak three or four.

Anyway, all right. With all that rambling we're going to go to our study guide talking about 'glimpses of our God'. We're on lesson #9 today and the lesson today is dealing with the subject of the Bible and history. It tells about the Bible through the scope of history. Our memory verse - a lot of different verses we're going to try and consider - we're not going to get through all of them, I'll tell you right now so, I'm just trying to set you up with low expectations, that way you'll be happy if I get to more than I think.

But we have a memory verse - Revelation 1:8. Revelation 1:8 - and I hope you say it with me. It's from the new king James version. You ready? "I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty." 'I am the alpha and the omega'. Now, we're going to dive right into a number of references.

We're going to invite you to be looking at with us for our lesson today. I've given out some verses and some of you maybe have the little slips that have those verses - of course they're in your Bible, but sometimes I hand out the slips because it makes it easier for us to all get it from the same translation. So somebody has Isaiah 46:9 - I need you to hold your hand up. Okay, that would be miss rengifo - right over there. And while they're setting up for that, we're talking about the Bible through history.

Now, when you look at a clock and you see the hands going around on the clock, it can lead you to think that history is circular. And while it is true that history does sometimes repeat itself, history is not circular, it's really linear. History is forever future, forever past - it runs on a line. Amazing Facts is really excited now because we're doing something that we've wanted to do for years. It is a Bible prophecy timeline - and it's a website that people anywhere in the world can go to and you can type in the name of any Bible character - any prominent Bible character and it will show you where on the timeline they lived, how long they lived, tell a little bit about them, show how their life overlapped with other lives.

Like you type in Abraham - you'll be surprised to find out that shem - the life of shem overlapped the life of Abraham. And you'll see how these different character's lives lived and it will have the prophecies and the timelines of the prophecies and you'll see linearly how all the prophecies showed up, how they overlapped, and how the different empires appeared for the different prophecies - oh, we're so excited about it. So, we're - pray for us as we develop this, it'll be a great, great study tool. Anyone that wants to look at a timeline of Bible history and prophecy, there it will be. So we're excited about that, but one thing it taught us is history is not a circle.

The world might rotate and the earth may go around the sun - a lot of things in space are a wheel within a wheel, but time is linear. Jesus is the alpha and the omega. Alpha was the first letter in the Greek alphabet, omega was the last letter. We say a to z, they said alpha to omega and that meant all the words of God are made up in the - who Jesus is. He is the embodiment of all the letters in the alphabet in the vocabulary of God, you might say.

All right, we're going to find out more about God in history and why don't you read for us, elizabeth, Isaiah 46, verses 9 and 10. It says, "remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.'" This is a powerful verse. Twice the Lord says, 'I'm not like other Gods. I am God. I am the Lord.

' He's telling us - and the greatest evidence he has is 'I can tell you everything that has been and everything that will be.' God lives in eternity. Can God see the past as perfectly as he sees the present? Can God see the future perfectly? He knows everything. Now when we think about someone being omniscient, we're always thinking in the context of 'do you know what's going on right now?' And someone might think, 'yeah, God is aware of every blade of grass in every field on every planet all over the world. He's aware of all those things.' But he's not just aware of them right now the point in which we live, he's aware of what they're going to look like a thousand years from now or a million years from now where they're going to be in the breeze. Every little leaf, every little fruit, the Lord knows everything.

He can take a prophet and transport them a million years into the future and show them what will be. Or he can take a prophet back and show them the war between good and evil. And so, the Lord knows everything and he's able to show all this to anybody. Now, why is that important to us? Right here at the beginning of the lesson - I'll tell you what I think the most important point is and then I hope I don't lose your attention after that, but I don't want you to miss this. Do you ever feel a little helpless about what's going to come with the future? Does God have a plan for my life? Or why did this happen? Did God's plan go wrong? the Lord knows everything and that means that you can trust your future to him.

The fact that God, in the Bible, is able to predict, with perfect accuracy, the history of this planet, tells us that he is still at the wheel - that nothing surprises him. Nothing takes him off guard. He knows all things. And so, when you say the word history - history is really his story. History is his story.

When you studied history in school - how many of you studied history in school? How many of you liked history in school? You know, when they'd give you all the dates and the epics of the different civilizations, I'd kind of get bored. History is often taught in the different great civilizations, but the thing that appealed to me in history is the stories. Some of the amazing stories - and the Bible really is a storybook. While it does talk about the rise and fall of civilizations and there's a lot of prophecy about that, it's really a story and just - you think about how incredible prophecy is that God can predict all these things with such accuracy. I've said this before but, in this room right now, God knows - you think about that - we've got, I don't know, 250 bodies in this room - that's just a straw poll - and all those bodies are made up of zillions of molecules and atoms and all of them have, you know, little electrons and neutrons rotating and all this microscopic matter.

And you go into string theory and there are things even smaller that we can't understand and every one of those is where it's supposed to be right now according to God's design. He knows where every one of them is. If you were to alter one of those - if you were to mess up the orbit of one of those little electrons around the atoms, it would alter history because everything interacts. All of our lives interact with other lives. Oh, I forget what they call this, but someone said that everyone in the world is connected by five or six levels of relationship.

If you go five or six levels through people, you can usually connect to almost everybody on the planet in one way or another. You know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody and you start following those threads and you'll find out that they are somehow connected with somebody else - almost every other person, really, on the planet through five or six different levels. We're all interreacted somehow. People say, 'it doesn't matter whether I serve God or I don't, it's my business.' Oh yes it is everyone's business - your life affects other lives. Everything you do is going to affect the world some way.

And we all have a part - a role in history. You might be thinking, 'oh well, I'm not a president, I'm not a politician, I'm not a preacher I'm not a priest or a pope. What impact do I have on history?' Everybody has an impact on history and you're all going to make a difference for eternity one way or another. When we get to the Kingdom - or the lake of fire - you're going to find there are people who are there because of you - either place. Every decision you make, even the thoughts you choose to think - 'how would that affect history?' Because it affects who you are and who you are affects those around you.

And everything you even think affects history. Did you get that? You want me to say it again? What you think affects your behavior. Do you agree with that? Because even righteous deeds or sin begins in the mind. So what you think will ultimately affect how you behave. How you behave affects those around you.

And we all like a pool table that has a chain reaction or pinball or - I don't know, you know, it's - we kind of react in a fission reaction with all the other people in the world and even what you think affects history. Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever thought about what you thought about? You need to think more about what you think about because 'as a man thinks, so is he.' So, the fact that God knows all history and he says, 'I'm declaring things even from ancient times before they're done. My counsel will stand.' His Words do not fall to the ground. Only God can do that. We were teaching an evangelism class this week - the afcoe class - and I told them, when you advertise handbills - we teach all different aspects of evangelism - I was talking about advertising a handbill.

You know what the single most important word is you can put on a handbill? If you're going to advertise to bring people in? Personal invitations most valuable, second is mailers - handbill - in North America. Most important word is prophecy. You know why that word seems to be the most effective word to bring people to a Bible study? Because folks want to know, 'does anyone out there have control? Is there anybody out there that knows what's coming? Is there a God on the throne who is at the wheel? Or is all of this at the whim of just the forces of nature and what's happening with the planets?' You know why people got into astrology? Because they taught that the alignment of the stars was somehow going to affect their lives and people wanted to know, 'is there a purpose? Can I know?' When you think about how goofy that really is - but God does know all that. So, we're going to talk a little more about 'glimpses of God' and the Bible in history. First big prophecy that encompasses everything in history - go in your Bibles to the book of Genesis.

Genesis chapter 3, and, oh we'll start with verse 13, or 14. Genesis 3, yeah, let's start with verse 13. "And the Lord God said to the woman, 'what is this you have done?'" - Of course, this is after the forbidden fruit was eaten - "what is this you have done?' And the woman said, 'the serpent deceived me and I ate.'" All right, so here at the very beginning you've got two primary players. How many people are in the world? Two. Adam and eve.

How many people in the world are talking? Three. Adam, eve, and a snake. Right? Now, that's interesting because not too many other animals - until you get to balaam's donkey - do any talking. "So the Lord God said to the serpent" - first prophecy in the Bible - "'because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than any beast of the field; on your belly you will go and you will eat dust all the days of your life.'" Now who - was the Lord just taking it out on snakes? Or does that snake really represent something here? Who is the snake? You go to Revelation 12 and it says, 'that serpent of old, the devil, satan.' You can't miss who it is - it calls him devil, satan, serpent, dragon - all in one verse. Going on your belly - that's the lowest part.

Satan exalted himself - he wanted to be God. God said, 'you're going to be brought the lowest. You're going to go back to dust.' Yes, the devil was disguised as a snake. "And I will put enmity between you" - enmity means there's animosity - there is a battle - "between you and the woman. Between your seed (the descendants of the devil or the children of the devil) and her seed.

'" - That's not only the descendants of the woman being the church, it's talking about the ultimate descendant of the woman which is Christ. The church is the body of Christ. But it's talking about this man-child who would come and there would be a battle raging between the children of the serpent - call them the daughters of Babylon - you can call them the children of the devil, as Jesus said - and the seed of the woman. The Bible history - now, I'm kind of summarizing what the Bible's all about. The Bible history, the great controversy is about this battle between the children of the devil and the seed of the woman.

You've got cain and his descendants at war with seth and his descendants. And when they began to intermarry, everything was destroyed except this remnant that's saved. And you find this remnant that's saved and God trying to retain and maintain and preserve a pure people to reach to the line of his son and then to the end of time right here - not done yet. "I'll put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he" - the seed of the woman - that's Jesus - "will bruise your head" - that's the head of the serpent - that's a mortal wound - "and you will bruise his heel." - A heel is on your foot, it's what you use for walking - it means your progress will be handicapped because of the devil. Now, ultimately, God is going to win.

But has the work of the church been crippled through history because of the resistance of the devil? Is there a war going on? When you look at history is everything you read in the Bible God's will? Everything you read in the Bible is God's truth. Not everything you read in the Bible is God's will. It was not God's will that Abraham take extra wives. God can work things together for good, but that wasn't his will. A lot of things that happened in the Bible are not God's will.

Was it God's will that adam and eve eat the forbidden fruit? Now, it is the Word of God, but the Bible is not telling you that everything that happened was his will. It tells you that there was a battle and through the line of history you've got a serpent snapping at the heels of the man-child. But ultimately, Jesus stomps the head of the serpent and he's destroyed. Be careful about trying to step on a rattlesnake - they're pretty fast. And you might think you're going to get his head and he'll snap back and bite your heel.

So, there's this battle between the two. Now, you read it there - oh and then, well, you know, it goes on - notice here, verse 16 he says to the woman, "I'll greatly multiply your sorrow in your conception." Conception is actually before the baby's born - that can actually be talking about morning sickness. "In pain you'll bring forth children." All right, I want to stop here. Who does the woman represent? If the seed of the woman is Christ, if the dragon or the serpent is the devil, then who is this woman? The church. 'In sorrow you'll conceive, in pain you'll bring forth.

' Has the church brought forth new children through pain? When did the church grow the fastest in the old testament? When they were persecuted the most in Egypt. When did the church - when was it the purest in the new testament? When it was a forbidden religion and they went underground. 'In pain you will bring forth.' You know, you find the church is often the purest and does the quickest growing when there's persecution. Isn't that interesting? "Your desire shall be for your husband" - who is the bridegroom of Christ? I'm sorry, who is the bridegroom of the church? It's Christ. I gave you the answer.

"And he will rule over you." The Bible says, 'husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church.' "And then to adam" - isn't Jesus the second adam? "He said, 'because you have heeded the voice of your wife and eaten from the tree that I commanded you shall not eat, cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it will bring forth'" - what was on the head of Christ? Thorns. "'And you'll eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread." - And Jesus, there, sweat great drops of blood in the garden. Now jump with me to the last book of the Bible.

I just showed you the first prophecy in the first book. Now I want you to go to Revelation. I am summarizing Bible history - that's why I wanted to cover these - and you can read here in Revelation 12, verses 1 to 5, "and a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. And being with child" - who is that child? "She cried out in labor and pain" - 'in pain you will bring forth' - did we just read that? "To give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon" - is that the serpent? "Having on his head seven" - I'm sorry dragon - "having seven heads and on his - and ten horns and seven diadems on his heads.

And his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth to devour her child as soon as it was born." Is it telling you about why there is a battle in this world? War between Christ and the dragon and that one third of the angels were cast out? Those are the stars that came down with satan. "And he stands before the woman who is ready to give birth to devour her child as soon as it is born." Did the devil want to destroy Christ before he was born? Did the dragon have all the baby boys in Egypt thrown into the river trying to destroy the seed of the woman? Did atheliah kill all the descendents of David - or try - to prevent The Son of David from coming? But one was spared. Was there an effort when Jesus was born to kill all the babies in Bethlehem to keep that man-child from coming? The devil heard this prophecy in the Garden of Eden. All of history, biblically, is defined by the battle between the woman, the dragon, and then there's this man-child who ends up growing up becoming a prince that defeats the dragon.

How many stories of lore do we hear about a damsel in distress and a fire-breathing dragon and some charming prince? You know, these all are drawn from these analogies and symbols in the Bible because that woman, while you say she's bearing a man-child, in a sense she's also the bride of Christ, isn't she? You read Song of Solomon and these others. Then it says, "the woman fled" - I'm sorry, verse 5 - "she bore a male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God in his throne. And the" - that's Jesus - does everyone know that? He's ascended - "the woman fled into the wilderness" - why? She's now being persecuted. So you've got this battle and this persecution that's happening all through the Bible between the woman and the dragon and the seed of the woman and the seed of Christ or the man-child. You've got gog and magog - that's the enemies of Christ and magog are the children - the ones who came from the matrix of gog that are enemies of Christ - and you've got the woman and the remnant of the woman.

You go to Revelation 12:17 the dragon is wroth - he goes to make war with the remnant of the seed. I hope I'm not rambling here. What I'm trying to tell you is have you seen something - you go to Genesis, there's this prophecy about a woman and a dragon and a man-child. And then you go to Revelation - you've just covered the two books of the Bible - all of history is in the context of this battle that's taking place between Christ and satan. That's why that book 'the great controversy' is a great book because it shows you history through the eyes of what's been happening behind the scenes in this battle between good and evil.

All right, back to our lesson. I just wanted to say that to sort of set things up. Oh - tell you what - I didn't give this to anybody. Someone find the book of job. All right, you got it? Job? I want you to read job chapter 2 and 1 through 3.

I want you to read job - here, we'll get you a microphone - go ahead and hand that to her there. Job chapter 2, verses 1 through 3. Just one more example of that battle that's going to take place. I think we're ready. You go ahead.

"Again there was a day when The Sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto satan, 'from whence comest thou?' And satan answered the Lord and said, 'from going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it.' And the Lord said unto satan, 'has thou considered my servant job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movest me against him to destroy him without cause.'" Thank you. The book of job - probably the first book in the Bible written - and what you're reading right now, chronologically was some of the first sacred Scripture ever written. Job is dealing with a man who probably was a contemporary of Abraham's father, terah. Job lived over 200 years and that's the life span of the people during that era.

And what you have here is satan is called the accuser of the brethren. He's basically saying, 'men are fallen. They cannot live holy lives. And it's not fair that you require them to keep your law.' And God says, 'have you considered my servant job?' That it is possible for a man to be Godly. And the devil is so angry he said, 'well, the only reason he serves you is because you've just guarded him and you've glazed him with sugar on every side and so he says he loves you, but he doesn't really love you.

You take away his health, you take away his family, take away his money - he'll curse you.' And so, God allows that, he allows suffering to come to demonstrate through the life of job that people can be loyal to God through prosperity and through adversity. What God did through job is what he wants to do through the church. What you see happening in job - all of history can be defined in a battle between Christ and satan and we are on the stage. We are what the world is - the universe - is looking at. We have a chance to demonstrate the glory of God.

What's God's purpose for the church? He wants to do through the church what he did through job. He wants us to bring glory to him in spite of - in good times and in bad times - in spite of the persecution that the devil might bring. The devil wants to tempt us to sin so he can shake the finger at God and say, 'they don't really love you, they don't obey you, they're not your children.' And so job is another story that helps us see the panorama of history through the context of the Bible. All of history can fit into this story. Does the devil appear in a prophecy in Zechariah accusing Joshua the high priest? Does Revelation 12 call the devil the accuser of the brethren? And there's this battle going back and forth - doesn't Jesus say, 'if we are willing to confess him before men our father will confess our name before the angels? Or that Jesus, rather, will confess our name before the father and the angels? Did God confess the name of job before the devil and his angels when The Sons of God came together? And so, there's this heavenly battle that's happening that's affecting what's happening here on earth.

That's why history is what it is. And yet, you ask people in the world 'what's the message of history?' They study history to find out what's going to happen economically and they study history to find out what's going to happen culturally and socially and all the historians miss the big point of history. The big point of history is his story. It's what's happening between God and the devil and you and me. Are we giving glory to God? Are we demonstrating that we can be new creatures and live Godly lives? That's what it's about.

All right. Now we're going to look at some of the civilizations that rise and fall and show you - that was my introduction. Actually, that was the great controversy in history is what I was talking about. Past in the future - and we've got a section here about Babylon being destroyed. In Isaiah 13, verse 19 - I'm just going to read this for you real quick.

God's not been surprised by these kingdoms and what happened. "And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew sodom and gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the arabian pitch his tent there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper - or dance - there. A hyena will howl in their citadels, and jackals in their pleasant palaces.

Her time is near to come and her days will not be prolonged." Now, Isaiah makes this prophecy that Babylon is not going to last and he makes this prophecy when Babylon is growing in power and getting ready to conquer Jerusalem for that matter. Isaiah is also the one that told hezekiah 'the Babylonians that you just showed all your stuff to - they're going to come and take it all away. They're going to take your children away.' The prophets were never surprised by these things - or God was not. Now, some have said Babylon is going to be rebuilt. Matter of fact, some pastors have said that.

They read about Babylon in Revelation 17 and they think that's talking about literal Babylon and that means it needs to be rebuilt. God said it would never be rebuilt. Did nebu - saddam hussein try and rebuild Babylon? He spent millions of dollars trying to rebuild the ancient city - his work was interrupted during the first gulf war, then he tried to start it up again and then it was interrupted by the second gulf war and, of course, we know how his story ended. But he said he was the reincarnation of nebuchadnezzer. And today it's still ruins.

And you can go look at the ruins, but it never did turn into a city. And that's what God said would happen in His Word. Well that's so strange because you've got places like damascus that have been destroyed and rebuilt hundreds of times. They've been there longer than even Babylon. Why was this city that used to be the great golden city not rebuilt? Rome has been destroyed and rebuilt many times - it's still there.

But to make a reckless prediction that Babylon's going to fall and because of what they did to God's people, God said, 'they'll be cursed like sodom and gomorrah - it will never be rebuilt.' And after all these years it never has been. That's an amazing thing when you think about it. God's prophecies don't surprise anyone. But what about his people? Even though they were carried off to Babylon would they come back? Someone look up for me Jeremiah 23:3. Who'd I give that to? Someone's got these verses - right back here - we've got a hand.

"But I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their folds and they shall be fruitful and increase." Now, you know, there's a lot of speculation out there about how do we study the history of Israel? You've got some people that teach that everything in the Bible that talks about Israel is only talking about literal Israel. And you've probably all heard about pastors that say, 'we need to pray for Israel and everything in the news today is defined in the context of what's happening in Israel and Israel to be the focus point - and all these prophecies about Israel are all talking about literal Israel and they're waiting for the temple to be rebuilt so the antiChrist can sit in the temple - you've heard this, right? And then you've got people who teach what they call replacement theology and they say, 'once 34 a.d. Came along and they stoned stephen - or 70 a.d. And Jerusalem was destroyed - God was done with Israel. Everything that says Israel now in the Bible is talking about spiritual Israel.

And, which is it? Well, I think you have to read it as both. I think that you - the Bible is not saying that once the gentiles accept Christ and they become spiritual Israel that that means God no longer remembers anything he said to Abraham for his literal children. Does Paul also talk about literal jews? Notice here, Romans 11:23. It tells us that gentiles were grafted into the stock of that olive tree of Israel, but that doesn't mean that that branch was thrown away and burnt and there was no more plan for Israel. He said, 'and they also, if they do not continue in unbelief will be grafted in for God is able to graft them back in again.

' Now, I included the word 'back' - "for if you" - I'm sorry - "for if you were cut out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature, and were grafted in contrary to nature" - in other words, you take a wild olive tree and you graft in a cultured branch, it can take the root or the branch can take the sap of the root. It says it might not be natural but it'll work, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree - how much more will these who are natural branches be grafted back into their own tree? So, Paul is saying, 'don't rule out Israel.' That's what he's really saying here. Let me give you another verse. Luke 21, verse 20 - there's a lot of disputing over this one. "When you see Jerusalem" - and I'll read part of it up to verse - Luke 21:20 - "when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation thereof is near.

" Okay, talking about the destruction of Jerusalem. Then you jump to verse 23 - "for there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people." Jesus foretold that there was going to be a judgment upon Israel. "And they will fall by the edge of the sword" - this happened in a.d. - "And they will be led away captive into all nations" - can that be misunderstood? Were the jews - was Jerusalem destroyed? Were they literally led away captive into many nations? Yes. "And Jerusalem will be trampled by the gentiles until" - these are the words of Jesus - "until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled.

" Now, exactly what that time is you could argue, but, you know, one thing that's hard to argue is that do the jews still remain a distinct people? You cannot really find any of the ancient Egyptians in the world today. No, the people who live in Egypt now are not the ones who built the pyramids. Those are the descendents of ishmael that live there now, they are arabs. The Egyptians who built the pyramids were conquered so many times - they intermarried, they disappeared, they lost their identity as a distinct people. For centuries no one even knew what the hieroglyphics said because the people who chiseled them were all gone.

You can't find any of the ancient Babylonians. Many of these great civilizations, once they were conquered - the hittites - do you know anyone who speaks hittite? They were a world empire - conquered, intermarried, lost their identity - that happens to people. Have we seen it happen to many of the native Americans in North America? Very, very few - I've worked and lived on two different reservations - very few speak the language anymore. And it's only been a couple hundred years. You wait until 500 years goes by.

They get absorbed - they live with the people around them, they absorb the culture and they lose their distinct identity - and that's sad when that happens, but it happens historically. Now the Jewish people are an enigma because though they were conquered and scattered all over the world - and they might have learned the different languages and the different customs of the different countries where they went, they still somehow, scattered around the world, maintained a web of unique identity where they kept their language, they kept their culture - you know what kept them all together, the Scriptures. They had the Scriptures that all these other religions needed. Then after being taken out of their land three times, they left in the days of Jacob - they went to Egypt for a famine, right? Came back. They left during the Babylonian captivity - came back.

Then they left during the great dispersion after they were conquered by the Romans - but is there a country called Israel in the world today? You can't tell me that's a coincidence that God was surprised by. So, while I do believe the church is also spiritual Israel - I wrote a book on that - no question about it. Many of the prophecies are talking about not just literal Israel but you become spiritual jews. God has not written the jews off. And so he says that here - he has not been surprised by any of this.

You can see that tracking all through history. How phenomenal is it that that little bitty country has managed to survive? Look on a map. You know, let's face it, there are religious differences between the jews and the arabs. It's not just what you'd call palestinians - you know, whether they're in syria, whether they're shiites or sunni or whatever branch of islam - they are surrounded by islam countries and yet their country is about the size of New Jersey and somehow they survive. Do you think that God has his hand over history? That is pretty amazing, I think, when you consider it.

Let me give you some other - and God foretold this would happen - some other verses on that. Jeremiah 16, verses 14 and 15 - "'behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord, 'it shall no more be said, 'the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' but 'the Lord lives who brought the children of Israel from the land of the north and from the lands where he has driven them.' For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.'" That happened, of course, during the Babylonian captivity and it happened again after 1900 years of being scattered when the Romans destroyed the city. Someone read Isaiah 43:5 - I gave that to someone. Over here. Okay? "Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendents from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, 'give them up!' And to the south, 'do not keep them back!' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

" Did the Lord do that? I think that's - he did it with Israel more than once. You see, when he brought them back from the Babylonian captivity they didn't come back from the ends of the earth, they came from Babylon. When he says, 'I'll bring you from the ends of the earth, that meant that was a greater scattering. That, I think, may be a reference to what happened in the last century. But beyond that - someone look up for me Matthew chapter 16, verse 18 - talking about God through history.

Who has that verse? Right back here. Okay. Matthew 16, verse 18. When we're thinking about the history and the Bible, is there anything the devil can do to stop the progress of God's work? The woman might flee into the wilderness, but the devil is not going to succeed in preventing the work of God from going forward. All right, go ahead and read that for us.

Are we ready? "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it." Now when it says the gates of hades will not prevail against the church, that means two things: 1) that means the devil cannot prevent us from storming his territory, but it's basically saying that the domain of the devil is not going to prevent the work of God. And so, God's history, he's going to accomplish his will in the world. Oh, there's so much more I want to say and I'm running out of time. I'm looking at the clock here. I tell you what, you know, I want to jump down - I've got a section here on the prophets and the historians.

Someone look up Daniel 9, verse 2 for me. Who has that? Got it right here. "In the first year of his reign i, Daniel, understood by the books the number of years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish 70 years in the desolations of Jerusalem." Hey, this is a really, really fantastic verse of Scripture because here you have Daniel, the great prophet - he says he's reading Jeremiah the great prophet - so here we are studying the prophecies of Daniel and there he is studying the prophecies of Jeremiah. And he understood that the history of God's people was going to happen the way God prophesied it and Daniel lived to see it happen. Could it be we read the prophecies of Daniel we live to see his prophecies come true? We can have the same experience that Daniel had - where we are studying the things that Daniel outlined - Daniel said, 'I realize what's going to happen!' And you read Daniel 9 and he prays quite a prayer in there that even though Daniel knows what God is going to do, he prays that God will make it happen now.

Even though we know from prophecy what's going to happen, should we pray always that we'll be accounted worthy to escape all these things and stand before The Son of man when he comes? And then you jump back to Daniel chapter 2 - and this, of course, is one of the just great passages in the Bible where you've got the history of the world - most evangelists - how many of you have heard a sermon on Daniel 2 let me see your hands. If you've heard a sermon on Daniel 2 hold your hands up. How many of you never raise your hands when I ask a question? Because I think everyone here has heard a sermon on Daniel 2 - one more time - how many of you have heard Daniel 2, the metal image? Come on, 'fess up. I see some of you aren't raising your hands - I know you have. Because if you've ever seen me do an evangelistic meeting or any Amazing Facts evangelist or any it is written evangelist - they've all done sermons on Daniel 2.

Why? Because it is the perfect sermon to show that God understands the scope of history - that prophecy is so dependable - that you can trust the Word of God. Because in this vision - well, it's really a dream that nebuchadnezzer has as opposed to a vision - Daniel has the same dream - so you've got one dream, two people dreamed it. A pagan dreams it and a prophet dreams it. Isn't that something? Both dream the same dream. In this vision the history of the world is laid out.

Read in Daniel 2, for instance - we can't do the whole thing right now - but go to Daniel 2, verse 27 and verse 28. "Daniel answered and said in the presence of the King" - this is nebuchadnezzer - "the secret which the King has demanded, the wise men, astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers cannot declare to the King. But there is a God in heaven" - as opposed to all these pagan Gods - "who reveals secrets and he is making known to the King nebuchadnezzer what will be in the latter days." God is not surprised by history. He knows what's going to happen and he's not just showing it to jews. God showed the dream to a pagan because he wants to save everybody.

And, matter of fact, later on nebuchadnezzer is symbolized not only by the head of gold, but by this great tree that nourishes the whole earth. Did God give a dream to another pagan king in the days of Joseph? Did that dream show the history of what was going to happen in Egypt? At least for the next 14 years. Were people saved because that dream was interpreted by one of God's people? Have you noticed that through the scope of history they have to keep going to God's people to understand the future of the world? the King of Egypt - he's got to go to one of the - to the jews. He's got to go to God's people to understand what does this dream mean? What is coming? What's the history going to be? the King of Babylon goes to all of his wise men - just like the king of Egypt, they can't tell him. They're just shooting in the dark, they don't know what's going on.

And, finally Daniel, God's servant, he then explains what the history is going to be. Have these dreams come true? Has every part of Daniel's dream and nebuchadnezzer's dream happened yet? Not every part. Have all - has all of it been accurate up to the present? Regarding those different minerals of gold and silver and bronze and iron and iron mixed with clay and ultimately the stone is going to come and we're living right now on the tail end of that image. Why would we doubt that it's all going to happen? It's happening right now before our eyes. So, should that make us nervous? Or if we're one of God's children can we rest in confidence - I almost said rest in peace but that sounds like a tombstone - can we rest in confidence that God has a plan for our lives? That we're not just totally victims of whatever serendipity thing sort of happens in history? But there is a plan and there's a purpose that God is trying to accomplish.

So in this brief lesson I've been trying to help you see what is that purpose. Ultimately - last section here - the cross in history. All of it is talking about the cross - from the prophecy given to adam and eve in the beginning about the seed of the woman. That's talking about who? Jesus is the seed of eve that was to come and Jesus is the second adam that would live a sinless life. Adam fell in paradise, Jesus overcame in a wilderness, right? And I just could go on and on with the analogies between adam and Jesus.

You read in Isaiah 53, verse 4 - "surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord laid upon him the iniquity of us all." That verse is telling us right there - and Isaiah wrote this years before Jesus was born - that the Messiah would come and that all of the sins of the world were coalesced in him - that he experienced and suffered for all of that. All of history is defined by Jesus. The cross of Christ is the axle upon which history revolves.

But history is not a wheel, it's linear. He is the alpha and the omega. And then, of course, we're promised that if we are in Christ we are new creatures. So, all history is really summed up in Jesus. I'm out of time.

I want to remind those who may have missed it when we started out, we do have a free offer and that offer today is the book by leslie kaye called, 'to live in His sight'. Just call the number -study-more and we'll send that to you for asking. God bless you friends and we'll look forward to studying together again next week at study time at central church. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents, central study hour, everlasting Gospel, Bible answers live, and wonders in the word. You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions and our online Bible school is just a click away. One location, so many possibilities.

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