Through a Glass, Darkly

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:19
Date: 02/16/2013 
Lesson: 7
"...this week's lesson will examine what the Bible has to say regarding the question of what it is that nature reveals, and does not reveal, about God."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church here in Sacramento - the capital city of California. And we are coming to you - like we do every week - ready to open up God's Word and study together and, of course, before we do that, we always sing your favorite hymn requests and today is no exception so I hope that you are ready at home - that you are blessed and you are ready to praise the Lord with us because we sure are here at central church. And the first song that we're going to sing is #608 - 'faith is the victory'. This is from kenyon, felicia, jessica, stephen, richard, and cathy in australia, birdie, ralph, veronica, angel and jasmine in the bahamas - long list - it's so exciting - ian in barbados, andrea in the british virgin islands, carmi in cameroon, jeanne and lureen in Canada, shavon in england, Georgia, grenada, jamaica, olga in japan, claudine in Jordan - we don't get many requests from the middle east - from Jordan - so that is very exciting, norsey in malaysia, let's see - selina and jonathan in the netherlands, charity in New Mexico, lakiesha and saintil in New York, dayna in North Carolina, teresa and joan in the Philippines, valerie in saint vincent and the grenadines, and tito, alma, maricel and arlene in South Dakota. We're going to sing all three stanzas - #608 - 'faith is the victory' - join us.

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. If you have a favorite song that you want to sing with us on an upcoming program, I encourage you to go to our website - '', click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in your favorite hymn requests and we will learn that if we don't know it and we'll all sing it together on an upcoming Sabbath. We are working our way through the hymnal - we started this last year and we've actually gotten to the end of one section in the hymnal! #38 Is the last song in the 'adoration and praise' section. We've learned some wonderful songs, so I hope those of you at home are enjoying this learning experience with us. We'd love your feedback.

I don't know if you love it or you hate it. So go to our website, send in your song requests and let us know. And we would love to know if you're enjoying learning these songs with us or not. So #38 is our new one for today. It is another finnish folk tune.

Last week's was also a traditional finnish melody. So if you are in finland, I really hope you're enjoying these songs with us. If you are, let us know. If you're in finland, send in song requests. We don't get that many requests from finland and we would love to hear from you.

So #38 is our new one and we will sing both stanzas. This is from gregory in dominica, alex in hungary, and jim, dianne, jamie, buffy and jacquelyn in florida. #38. Wasn't that beautiful? Thank you so much for sending in those requests that we are learning with you. At this time let's bow our heads for prayer.

Father in Heaven, thank you so much for loving us, for bringing us here to worship you through songs and through opening up your word and just praising you with happy hearts this morning. Please come and live inside of us. Change us - make us like you. Make us ready so that we can see you when you come very soon. Be with each person here and our extended family around the world.

You know exactly who they are and where they are and one day soon we all want to meet together on the sea of glass. Father, continue to work in our lives. And I pray that you be with Pastor Doug as he brings us our lesson study - that you will continue to work through him to touch us. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Thank you. Welcome friends, and glad to have each visitor that might be here and our regular class members as well as those who may be watching either on satellite or on the internet or some are listening on the radio. We want to welcome you to Sabbath school at central church and remind you right out of the gate here, we have a free offer for anybody who would like to call and ask for it. And it helps to, I think, enhance our subject for today. It's called 'the high cost of the cross' by Joe Crews - a founder of Amazing Facts.

And if you call the number on your screen - 866-study-more, we'll be happy to send that to you and that's 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #156. We'll send you 'the high cost of the cross'. I also want to welcome a lot of people who are watching - it's just wonderful when we hear the reports and see the requests that come in. There are a lot of people that are just alone - this is their church. You'd be surprised how many people say the Sabbath school programs and the church service - sometimes it's a combination of Sabbath school from central, the church service from here or some of the other broadcast services - they say, 'this is how we get our church' because they're not aware there's a local church they can attend, for some reason.

They might be in the isolated outback of australia or remote regions of Canada or, as we saw, some who are located in the middle east where there just is no adventist church. If you'd like to know more about how you can be an online member of our church here at Sacramento central, go to the website, 'saccentral' - that stands for, of course, sacrament0 - '' and you'll be talking to some of our local pastors. They'll take you through the process of how we can integrate you. You know, one of the things I thought we might begin making available, with his permission, for all of our online members - pastor buttery, one of our new pastors here, has a weekly blog. I've been reading them and they're very interesting and so, we'll make that part of your spiritual fodder if you're a member of our online church.

We're going to lesson #7 today, dealing with our study guide talking about origins. Very interesting studies - I'm learning new things as we delve into these issues. And we have a memory verse. It's under origins, study #8 - I'm sorry, it's study #7 - it's titled 'through a glass, darkly'. We'll explain more about what that title means.

And our memory verse is from Corinthians 3:19 - I'll be reading it from the new king James version - 1 Corinthians :19, talking about the wisdom of the world. You ready? "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 'he catches the wise in their own craftiness.'" You know, sometimes people say, 'well, you know, the world says' or that 'science tells us that the world is millions of years old and it all evolved slowly and they have some very creative and colorful ideas about how that all happened. It's never made a lot of sense to me. And just because you have a lot of supposedly 'sophisticated' people that are defending something doesn't necessarily make it true.

The scientists back in Noah's day said it would never rain. And the wisdom of the world denied that Jesus was the Messiah or that he could rise again. I heard just yesterday that a group of theologians got together in the bay area and they said, 'you know, we've come to the conclusion that the resurrection never really did happen.' These are theologians. And it's 'the resurrection really wasn't necessary to the Christian faith.' And - but, you know, really, that is, I think, unwise and unscientific. What evidence would you use? The evidence that you read in the Bible - the account of several people is very powerful - that there was a resurrection - even the evidence of history and all the historians that are contemporaneous - that something remarkable happened and that's why there were soldiers guarding the tomb.

Anyway, I'm getting into a different subject here. So, we're going to talk about that. Now, the lesson talking about 'through a glass, darkly' is really saying, 'even though, in the creation of the world we see around us, there's a lot of evidence of evil - darkness - curse - you can still see evidence of God. We are looking at God - when you look at the creation, you are looking at God, but through a glass, darkly because the creation has been tainted. How many of you have driven through some old community where you see a majestic-looking old home that obviously was well-designed, must have had a good architect, but there's a problem: the renters that are there now are not taking good care of it.

You can tell from the way that it's laid out it's a house that is symmetrical, that it may have a good foundation, it may have good design to it, some intricate work on the eaves, well built, but there's old cars in the front yard and cans on the front porch and the windows are dirty and the curtains are torn - you know what I'm saying? And you can see they're just - the grass is all torn up by the dog that's chained there in the front yard. And you can say, 'it's just not being taken care of, but I can see through all the clutter and the garbage that that was once a nice house - that there was a good designer. Well, when you look at the world today, whether you're looking in nature or even at man, you can still see God, but you're looking through a glass, darkly because the world - we read in Genesis 3 - has been cursed. And those are the verses we're going to focus on and try and understand today. Turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis 3 and we're going to be reading - well, we'll read Genesis 3:14 in a minute, but we're going to start with Genesis 3 reading verses 16 to 19.

I'll read this for you and then we'll break it apart. We're going to spend all of our time really delving into understanding these important verses. Genesis 3:16, "to the woman he said: 'I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.' Then to adam he said, 'because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'you shall not eat of it': cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

'" So, in Genesis 3, after the fall of man - man disobeyed God - a number of curses rested on the creation that have obscured the beautiful picture of God that was originally designed to be seen in the world and the creation. Now, the first thing we want to establish is that, in spite of the curse - curses really, that we see in the world, you can still see God and it belongs to God. There are renters in the planet that are messing things up, but it still belongs to God. And we'll talk about the dominion of the devil in a minute. Let's look at some verses on that.

Alright, first of all, let me just find out where the microphone managers are - we've got one here. One over here. I would like for someone to please look up for me job 12, verse 10. We've got a hand right here and we'll have you read that in just a moment. I'll read job 41:11.

We're going to find out 'who does this world belong to?' In job 41:11 it says, "who has preceded me," - God is speaking - "that I should pay him? Everthing under heaven is mine." You know, we've been talking a lot about immigration in our country and in reality, everybody immigrated here at some point. As they've tracked the dna, even the native Americans, most of them, they believe, came across the bering straight when it was connected with russia. They can study the dna and they say they believe there may have been some that made another journey from polynesia and some of their genes may be mixed up, but the vast majority immigrated. Well God is saying, 'look, I don't have to pay rent to anybody because I made it all.' It's not like we need to invite God into our world, it belongs to him. Psalm 50, verse 10, "for every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.

" God says everything belongs to him. And you're going to read for us job 12:10, I believe. "In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?" In God's hands, the life of everything rests. He, in spite of the fact that our world is still clouded with the curse and tainted by sin, God is still the ruler of all. And I'd like to read one more.

Corinthians 6:19 through 20, "or do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit," - notice - "which are God's." So everything belongs to God. This world belongs to God because of both creation and redemption, and you belong to God by creation and redemption. And so, I wanted to first establish that, even though the devil has sort of set up his - he set up his ownership sign in this world and the ownership of this world is being contested like a battlefield. Some of you who've studied various wars through history know that certain important high ground has been taken and then lost, and then taken, and then lost by various opposing armies. Well, that's happening in this world, both with just the political and spiritual battles in this world and in your heart.

Have you sometimes felt like your heart - the Lord has it and you're serving him and then, oh, it seems like the devil now has the high ground. And then the Lord has it again. And have you felt that contest - that battle - going back and forth? All of us feel this battle. So, while it is God's world, there's a battle raging and that - this ground is being contested and we'll talk about that. Now, it's a fallen world.

That brings us to our next section in our lesson. Genesis 3:14 - now backing up, you remember what God said to the serpent? "So the Lord said to the serpent: 'because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.'" Now, it's believed that prior to sin, that the serpent - when the devil chose the serpent as the medium through which he communicated to eve - you could say that it was possessed - at least temporarily - that during that time it was beautiful - God made it - there was nothing wrong, it was a perfect animal - it probably flew. Now, this is interesting because as we study the fables and the artwork from virtually every nation in the world, there are legends of flying serpents or dragons and even in the fossil record we know that there were some kind of flying reptiles - pteradactyls or peradactyls and they've got a variety of them. One of them was as big as a cessna 150. I mean, they were huge.

This is just from the fossil record. Yes, I believe those things lived. And the scientists and, you know, people who study the history, they say, 'well, these different legends grew up because people saw these fossils and they said, 'yes, there were once flying dragons.' But evidently, these serpent-like creatures lived in trees and they could fly. And they were much bigger and more beautiful than, you know, even today - and I know that some of you may beg to differ, but serpents can have some beautiful designs. Right after they molt their skin it's very bright.

And I remember going to miami - they had a serpentarium, which is a snake museum. They had snakes from all over the world and you know, they're hypnotic. The way they would move - even Solomon says, 'a serpent on a rock' - speaking about things that were wonders. And you ever see - I mean, how does a snake climb up a slick rock - it's just kind of - it's a ballet. Well, I don't want to spend too much time on that.

Anyway, the point I wanted you to know - it says, 'the serpent was cursed above all the other creatures.' And you know what that means? It means the serpent was not the only one cursed, but it was cursed more than the others. That means all of the creation - animals - were all cursed because of man's sin. See, as goes the King, so goes the Kingdom. Man was the King of this world. Man was given dominion of this world.

And when man sinned, that had a ripple - a trickle-down effect - to the whole creation and it affected even the animals. Did the animals originally eat each other? If you want to know what God's original plan was for the animal kingdom, look in your Bibles with me to Isaiah 11, verse 6 - you might want to go there - Isaiah 11, verse 6. It says, speaking of heaven, when God restores things to their original plan, "the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;" - a fatling's a little calf - "and a little child shall lead them." By the way, there are seven things mentioned up until you get to the child - the child being the seventh there. I thought that was interesting - the human. It goes on and it says, "the cow and the bear will graze; the young ones will lie down together;" - little cows and little bears playing together - "and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

And the nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den." So it takes the most cursed creature - it says little children will be playing - and a viper is not just a harmless little garden snake, a viper is like a pit viper - they've got the venomous glands - it's saying a venomous serpent will "not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." So what was the condition before sin? If you want to know, what will the condition be when sin is washed away? Will the animals be enemies? Will they eat each other? Will they kill and maul and tear each other apart? No. So not only was the serpent cursed, the animal kingdom was cursed. But the serpent was cursed more. Now, not only that, but then it talks about - this is - friends, y'all pray for me. I've got to talk about a very volatile and delicate subject here when I talk about the curse upon the woman.

This is in the news a lot lately and I'm just going to read the Bible to you and do my best to share. Is that okay? You won't be mad at me, alright? It's a politically unpopular subject right now, but I want to be faithful to share the word of God with you. Genesis 3:16, "to the woman he said, 'I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'" Now, there's a lot in this verse. First of all, it said 'I'll greatly multiply your sorrow.' Stop right there. In one way, that I believe a woman's sorrow - and I was reading this in the commentaries - these are not original thoughts with me - a woman's sorrow is multiplied is women, I think, are better lovers.

Now, what I mean by that is I think that women love more than men. For instance, stephen is down in argentina, our son. Karen's got some friends that are heading in that direction - she's putting a little care package together for them to take down to him. I wouldn't have thought of that. 'Oh yeah, that's a good idea!' And so, then as she's getting it together, I'm looking at this stack of stuff, I said, 'dear, does it bother your conscience that you want to give 20 pounds of stuff to somebody to take to your son?' I said, 'maybe it should be a little smaller.

' But she loves her son, you know? They yearn - you miss your kids. And then last night she wrote a note, she had friends write a note, and she said, 'doug, do you want to write a note?' And I thought, 'oh, that's a good idea. Why didn't I think of that?' What's wrong with men? Now, do you know what I'm saying? Women are very relationship oriented and this is not just in the Bible, they've done all - some of you remember those classic books 'men are from mars, women are from venus'? And they were very popular because they talked about women are very relational oriented. Well, that's wonderful, but you know what it means? They also have a lot of sorrow because they worry and yearn about kids that might be wandering from the Lord or relationships that are damaged. If a man loses his job, he can go into severe depression because men are very task-oriented.

If a woman is having problems in her relationships - friends, spouse, children - that can send her into great depression, and so their sorrow is multiplied in this way. But it goes beyond that. 'Your sorrow and your conception; in pain you'll bring forth children.' Now, in new life coming into the world, you've got the starting point of pregnancy, which is conception, some have thought this is a reference to morning sickness. It says, 'in sorrow...conception; in pain...bring forth.' That's the birth. Of course, aside from the modern drugs they've got, for which many people are thankful, children typically come into the world and there's some crying and some pain connected with that.

'Your desire will be for your husband' and, now the desire there has nothing to do with sexual desire. It's talking about your desire - the word there your 'will' - you will yield to your husband. In other words, there will be a submission there and it said, 'he will rule over you.' That rule there is not to be like the despotic rule of a king. Let me allow the Bible to explain itself, is that okay? Stay out of trouble? First, before I get to that, I've got a couple of verses I want you to read - still dealing with the childbirth issue. Genesis 5 - I'm sorry, Genesis :16 - who has that? Let's get you a microphone.

And someone's got Revelation 12, verses 1 and 2 - right over here. Okay? Alright, are we ready for Genesis 35:16? I think we are. Go ahead. Then they journed from bethel. And when there was but a little distance to go to ephrath, rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor.

" Okay, when rachel labored in childbirth - this is with Benjamin - she not only had a hard labor, she died. So childbirth was not only painful, it became dangerous. It could be very severe and it still is today. And - notice this in comparison with the next verse - so please read Revelation 12:1 and 2. Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.

Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth." Alright, here you've got painful childbirth. In Revelation 12, is this literal or is this symbolic of the church? Who is this woman in Revelation laboring to bring forth? It's a type of the church bringing forth Christ to the world, right? And that dragon wants to devour it as soon as it's born. You see this played out in the devil trying to destroy Jesus while he was still a baby and the roman soldiers, you know, when they came into Bethlehem. And the devil has tried to destroy the Messiah coming forth several times in history. When a deliverer was coming in the days of Moses the devil wanted to destroy that.

You remember it says the Hebrew women were not like the Egyptian women, before the midwives even got there the babies kind of popped out. And so they greatly multiplied back then because they were being blessed, but the devil wanted to destroy those baby boys - and the same thing with atheliah destroying the seed of David. But this is a type of Christ. Can you see a symbol of the church even in childbirth? Does the Bible tell us there's a symbol? So can we still see God through a glass darkly even in a creation that's cursed? See what I'm saying? And then, talking about the male headship - I said I'd mention these verses - 1 Corinthians :3 - somebody look up for me Ephesians 5:22. Who has that? You've got that right here? Let's get you a microphone.

We gave that slip to somebody? Oh no, I think someone over here has it. Alright, go ahead. Yeah. Ephesians 5:22 and I'll get to that in just a second. Let me read 1 Corinthians 11:3, "but I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man" - is this new or old testament? New testament - "the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

" Now, in our culture today it is considered very unpopular to say that the head of woman is man, but we're looking at this through a Christian worldview. Is it a bad thing that the Bible says the head of Christ is God? Is there a love relationship between God The Father and God The Son - Christ? Is that an appropriate recognition of authority? Is it abused authority between The Father and The Son? Is there a oneness and a love between The Father and The Son? So it says 'the head of Christ is God' - that's a good thing biblically, right? It's a good arrangement. Then that is the exact same way we need to understand where it says the head of woman is man. When men love their wives as Christ loves the church and there's a oneness, that's a good thing. So don't be ashamed, don't be badgered, don't be intimidated by a politically correct society that we're to abandon something that God has in the new and the old testament.

It's very clear. It's not that Paul was being, you know, distorted or twisted by the culture of the day and these things - he didn't really mean them - they're just - they were temporary. It's no less temporary than saying God is the head of Christ. You see what I'm saying? Timothy 2 - oh wait, I was going to have Ephesians 5:22. Are we ready for that? Go ahead.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body." So how is Christ the head of the church? Because he died for her. How is the husband the head of the wife? Willing to protect and die for her. Generally speaking, men are bigger and stronger than women. Is that safe to say? Does the world recognize a distinction in the olympics? Do they often have the men's team and then the women's team and they, in many categories, do not - not all, but in many categories they don't compete against each other just because the physical strength of a woman weight lifter is not going to match a man weight lifter - generally speaking.

I'm sure there are exceptions to that. But, having said that, men often are there as to also protect their wives. The Bible says 'they are the weaker vessels.' But it's to be the kind of love and protection that Christ has for the church, right? Alright, let me read one more thought. Now getting - this is interesting - 1 Timothy - new testament still - 2, verses 12 through 15, "and I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence." - That's a difficult verse. No matter how difficult you might think that verse is - you do whatever you want with that verse.

I wanted to read that to you - look at the next part of it - "for adam was formed first, then eve. And adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." So whatever you think that first verse means - the first part of that means, the interesting thing is that Paul harkens back to where to explain it? He goes to the same thing we just looked at in Genesis and it says, 'because the woman was leading in this category of transgression, now the man must lead in the Spiritual matters.' Men are supposed to be the priest leaders in the home and I think that translates into the church too. But notice what it says after this: "nevertheless" - I'm in Timothy 2:15 - "she shall be saved in childbearing" - where's Paul going back to? Isn't he going back to the curse? He said she could be preserved in childbearing "if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control." It doesn't need to end up like rachel did. Corinthians 14 - 1 Corinthians :34 and 35, "let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive," - now, no matter how difficult you think that first verse is - you all want me to comment on that - I'm not going to because it doesn't matter what you think about that - what I'm doing in this lesson is I'm wanting you to look at how it goes back to Genesis. We're studying origins - where does Paul go to explain that? If nothing, I think we understand that he's saying there's some distinction that's made between men and women in church.

He's making some distinction - do we all agree with that? How you interpret that, I don't know, but let's agree there's some distinction being made. And he says, "as the law also says." Paul - the law - is always refering to old testament Scriptures. I think he's referring back to Genesis 3 here. So it's not that alien to understand these issues in the new and the old testament - that there was something that happened in Genesis 3 - a curse that fell not only on the creatures, it feel on the creation, it fell on woman and it fell on man. Oh, you know, how much time have we got? I think we've got time.

Let me read something to you from the book 'patriarchs and prophets' - before I get to men I want to just make sure, you know, someone once said 'if you're going to deal with a difficult subject, deal with it and then move on.' So I'm going to deal with it. "Eve was told" - this is 'Patriarchs and Prophets' page - "eve was told of the sorrow and pain that must henceforth be her portion. And the Lord said, 'thy desire shall be to your husband and he will rule over you.' In the creation, God had made her the equal of adam. Had they reMained obedient to God in harmony with his great law of love, they would ever have been in harmony with each other, but sin had brought discord and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by sumission on the part of one to the other." Does everyone understand that? It was because of sin. It wasn't his original plan.

"Eve had been the first in transgression. She had fallen into temptation by separating from her companion contrary to the divine direction. It was by her solicitation that adam sinned." By the way, who wrote this? A man or a woman? A woman. This helps a little bit. "And she was now placed in subjection to her husband.

Had the principles joined in the law of God been cherished by the fallen race, this sentence, though growing out of the results of sin, would have proved a blessing to them, but man's abuse of the supremecy thus given has too often rendered the lot of woman very bitter and made her life a burden." This decree in the Bible has often been abused - as everything the devil has done with what God says. "Eve had been perfectly happy by her husband's side in her eden home, but like restless modern eves, she was flattered with the hope of entering a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. In attempting to rise above her original position, she fell far below it. A similar result will be reached by all who are unwilling to take up, cheerfully, their life duties in accordance with God's plan. In their efforts to reach positions for which he has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where they might have been a blessing.

In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character and have left undone the very work that heaven has appointed them." And here she's kind of, I think, referring to some of what's happening politically with feminism in trying to shake off anything of what, traditionally, women have enjoyed and found a blessing in. So, I'll get letters on that, but I want to move on. Alright, let's move to men now - the curse that came on man. Then God said to adam - Genesis :17, "because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and eaten of the" - I'm sorry - "because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'you shall not eat of it': 'cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.'" Notice, for the woman it seemed like relationships, both with her offspring - with her spouse - felt the curse. Man, who is very task and work-oriented, his work was going to be cursed - saying, you shall not - 'cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you will eat of it all your life.

' Now, of course, then there's the curse of death. It said, 'from the dust you came and unto dust you will return.' Genesis 4:11 - notice this: he says, "so now you are cursed from the earth," - this is cain - it's a curse that goes on to the creation and the agriculture, you might say, also - "so now you are cursed from the earth, which as opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth." Alright, someone look up for me Genesis 5:29 - you got it over here? Alright, Genesis 5:29 - and I want you to think about something, when Jesus shares the parable of the sower - do we all know that parable of the sower? Where the sower goes out and sows seed. How many different kinds of ground are there? Four - four different types of ground in the parable, right? You have the wayside, stony ground, weedy ground, where the thorns are, good ground.

Of those different kinds of soil, which - what percentage has a good crop? One out of four. Percent don't do well. Does that tell you something about the creation? Jesus shares that parable and he says, 'the ground doesn't do very well now. It's because of the curse of sin.' Thank God for the 25 percent that we can produce on. Okay, go ahead.

Genesis 5:29, "and he called his name Noah, saying, 'this one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the lord has cursed.'" And then - so we all know the ground was cursed - what - how did the ground - what's the curse of the ground? Thorns and thistles. Now, does that mean that when God said 'a curse is going to rest on you' that all of a sudden adam and eve looked out and star thistle and thorns began to come out on the roses? Or did those plants kind of go under some kind of a transition? Will there be roses in heaven? You know they have thornless roses now that are hybrids that are - can be very beautiful. It was an aberration that came out. Things became amalgamated because of sin - just like animals eating each other. It was never his plan.

Cactus in heaven? There might be cactus in heaven but they're going to be furry - they won't hurt. The thorns won't be hard - and, of course, that's what I'm speculating here, I don't know that, but I think cactus flowers are beautiful - just you don't want to touch the cactus. So everything has been cursed by that. Romans 8:19 and through 22. "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of The Sons of God.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." Everything in the world - you can see the taint of sin. But the good news is, while we see there are thorns and thistles in the vegetable kingdom, can you still see God in the vegetable kingdom? In the plants? You know, I'm a little conflicted, but I love a good nature program and I've enjoyed watching these programs that bbc puts out - David attenborough, who's getting up there in years right now, but he's produced some just spectacular nature programs. But I always have to grit my teeth and cringe a little bit because he'll say, 'and millions of years ago" and you go, 'oh!' You know - and our kids have kind of learned to substitute the word 'thousands' when he says that. And then 'evolution' and I say, 'oh!' The photography - they do this like slow, high definition photography of these plants coming out of the ground and these flowers un-spiraling and it's just so incredible.

You know what I'm talking about - you've seen some of these things? And I just - it's awe inspiring. And I saw an interview this week where someone was talking to David attenborough in england. They were trying to get him to say he was an atheist. He said, 'no, I'm not.' He said, 'i'd be an agnostic.' Well, why don't you go all the way and be brave and say you're an atheist?' He said, 'well, I'll tell you why.' He said, 'I've been around the world and I've seen all of God's - all of the creation' - he didn't say God's creation around the world. He said, 'I remember breaking off the top of a termite mound' - so that they could do some taping and they aimed the camera inside and saw these thousands of termites swarming around and they have no eyes and they couldn't see.

He said, 'they didn't know I was up there looking in and I meant them no harm.' And he said, 'you know, when you think about how big the universe is - how much we don't know - it would be pretty arrogant for me to say 'I know there's no God.'' And I admired him for at least saying that. He said, 'there's so much I don't know that I might be like one of those termites and there's a God up there and I just can't see him. And I don't understand some things.' One of the problems he, in particular had, he said, 'you know, if there's a loving God, then why does this - why do worms appear in children's eyes in africa that make them go blind?' Like a lot of people - they want to believe in God but they don't understand the curse in creation. They don't understand the devil. But can we still see God in the plant kingdom? Oh, it's just incredible and even though the animal kingdom is cursed, can we still see God in the animal kingdom? Yeah, and you can see that God has a sense of humor.

In our backyard, you know the squirrels start getting hungry this time of year. We've got just a whole herd of squirrels in our backyard - tree squirrels - and we became a little more friendly with tree squirrels when - a couple of years ago, one of the students at weimar found a baby squirrel that had been blown out of a tree in a storm and we gave it to stephen and we had a pet squirrel for several months. And so we look at the squirrels in our backyard with a new eye. But they kind of cleaned off the - we had some tangerines growing in our backyard and they got real hungry and, typically that's not their favorite food but they pulled off some of the remaining mandarins - not tangerines, mandarins - and started eating them. And I saw yesterday - went to the backyard and they got so hungry that they got one of the grapefruits and how that squirrel moved that grapefruit - it's like he tried to take it up the tree because he carried it from one side of the yard to the other side.

I would have liked to have just had video of him rolling the grapefruit across the yard. And so, God has a sense of humor and you can see the wonders of God in the animal kingdom. Even though there's pain in childbirth, can you see God in the reproductive process? You know Solomon looked at that with wonder. He said, 'who can tell how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child?' What a mystery - that he particularly talks about a skeleton growing inside the soft tissue of a human - perfectly formed - all the organs in place. What a miracle that is.

Can you see God in those things? And even though relationships have been cursed by sin, can you see God in love relationships and sacrifice of a mother for her children? And even - Solomon says, 'one of the things that I can't explain is the way of a man with a maid.' Just the romance and the love and, you know, the strange incredible things that men will do because of love for their wives. So, you know, you can - even though - I guess what I'm saying is, even though the creation has been cursed by sin, we still see a lot of evidence for God in this world - though, albeit, through a glass, darkly, right? The ruler of this world - alright, let's look up some verses here. Now I don't think I gave this to anybody. You wanted one to look up. Alright, let me give you one.

Look up 1 Peter, 5:8 - Peter 5:8. And I'm going to read job 1:7, "and the Lord said to satan, 'from where do you come?' So satan answered the Lord and said, 'from going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.'" So where is the devil's headquarters? He's here in this world. Why do we see so much sickness and death and hear the periodic siren? It's because the devil claims this world as his territory. The Bible tells us that whoever you obey, that's whose servants you are. And when adam and eve chose to listen to the word of the devil instead of the Word of God, satan basically said, 'okay, this planet is now my beachhead.

This planet is my staging ground where I'm going to wage my war against God.' From here. Let me give you one more. John 12 - these are the words of Jesus - John 12:31, "now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out." What does the Lord call the devil? The ruler of this world. Now, I talked about this - I didn't know it was in the lesson, but I talked about this a few weeks ago when I was commenting on this terrible massacre in newtown, Connecticut and people say, 'where is God? How can there be a loving God?' Like David attenborough and others, they wonder, 'if there's a loving God, why do innocent children die? Why are people, like my brother, born with an incurable disease? And folks always say, 'if there's a God' and yeah, if we understand the battle - if we understand that the devil is out there. Matter of fact, that's a good lead-in to the next verse.

Go ahead please. Read 1 Peter 5:8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." So there's an enemy that is on the prowl. He's roaming all through this world and it's not just that he's going up and down the streets of the city, he and his representatives - fallen angels - what we call demons or devils - they're constantly trying to find tracks and paths into our lives. They're roaming looking for us.

He's prowling looking for our weaknesses. That's why we need Jesus at the gates of all the avenues of our soul. A few more verses - I don't want to over-state this because I don't want to scare you. Jesus said in John 14:30, "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me." Just before his arrest he was talking about when the devil would fill Judas and - it said satan entered Judas - remember there at the last supper? He came with a mob and Jesus was arrested. What about this? Luke 4, verses 5-7 - the temptation of Christ? Luke 4:5-7, "then the devil, taking him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

" Who gave the devil power to take Jesus anywhere? Think about the kind of power that satan would need in this world to say, 'you're coming with me.' When he was in the wilderness - well, first of all, God allowed it - it says 'he was led of the spirit into the wilderness and there he went through a great temptation.' Can sometimes the devil take us places we don't even want to go? Sometimes - you ever find yourself in a situation and say, 'how did I get here? What did I do to get here?' And the devil will take you places you didn't want to go, sometimes and you'll be tested and tempted. "And he showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time." Don't miss that. Satan can sometimes, in a moment, make the world look very good. You can forget everything the Lord has done for you. You can forget about all the sin and the curse in the world and the devil can make this world look real good to you so this is what you want instead of the next world.

"And the devil said to him, 'all this authority I will give you, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomsoever I wish.'" How many of you have heard stories about people who have, ostensibly, sold their souls to the devil for some worldly benefit? Now, you know, it doesn't really say anything in the Bible about people making contracts with the devil and then selling their souls and not being able to come back to Jesus, but it does sound here like he was saying to Jesus, 'let's make a deal. You bow down and worship me and I'll give you the world.' I think there are some people that, in their hearts, have done that. They may not have signed a contract - who was it that wrote that story about the devil and Daniel webster? Was it Mark twain? I forget - anyway - but you know, variations of that have come out. But the devil said, 'this world's mine and I'll give it to whoever I want.' Jesus said, 'I rebuke you.' You're to worship only the Lord. And we sing that song 'this is my father's world' but the world is contested ground.

Let me read one more verse on that. Ephesians 2, verses 1 and 2, "and you he has made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air," - we once walked according to the devil's leadership - "the Spirit who now works in The Sons of disobedience," - two kinds of sons: sons of God - "behold what manner of love that we should be called sons of God." That's 1 John chapter 3. And here you've got sons of disobedience. Christ called the scribes and pharisees a den of vipers and said, 'you are children of your father the devil.' So there's two different adoptive fathers out here in the world. And then, just for our last section here, the wisdom of the world - we talked a little about this - 1 Corinthians 1:18, I'll read through verse 21, "for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.' Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" For since the wisdom of God - I'm sorry - "in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." When Jesus came, did he go to the scientific institutions to share his message? Or did he go to the shores where the fishermen were and the meadows where the shepherds were and to the dark alleys where the publicans and the prostitutes were? And you might think well, that's because he could easily fool them. No, it's because sometimes people are educated a little too much for their own good. People - knowledge is wonderful And Solomon says a lot of things about the importance of wisdom. Wisdom is very important, but what's the beginning of wisdom? Worldly wisdom or the fear of the Lord? The foundation of all true wisdom must be a biblical world view. It must be Bible-based wisdom.

The only way we're going to rightly be able to interpret what's going on in the world today is to have wisdom that's founded on God's wisdom from the Bible. One more passage here, 1 Corinthians 3, verses 18 to 21, "let no one deceive himself, if anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise." - How wise did Paul think he was when he was killing Christians? He thought he had all the answers. Did he have to re-learn some things? If he "seems to be wise in this age, let him be a fool that he may bedcome wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 'he catches the wise in their own craftiness'; and again, 'the lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.

' Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:" well, you know, it is a - it's a wonderful world. There's a lot of beautiful things in the world and we all see that there is pain and death and suffering and there is curse in the world - death itself is a curse - and we're all looking forward to the day when the curse is removed and he will make all things new and it will be restored. His original design and plan will be restored. That's all going to be possible because of Jesus and his sacrifice for our planet.

I want to remind our friends who may have joined us late - we do have a free offer we'd like to make available. It's called 'the high cost of the cross'. We'll send this to you if you just ask. Call the number, it's 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966. Ask for offer #156.

We're happy to send it to you. God bless you. Study your Sabbath school lesson. We'll study again next week. In six days God created the heavens and the earth.

For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit ''.

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