Creation, Again

Creation, Again

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:13
Date: 03/30/2013  Lesson: 13
"The same Lord who through the supernatural power of His Word created the world once will create it again, and with His supernatural power too. ... The new heavens and the new earth are the culmination of God's promises to us."

Heaven: Is It for Real? (PB) by Joe Crews

Heaven: Is It for Real? (PB) by Joe Crews
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church and thank you for joining us at central study hour. You know, we have a very large, very extended, very global family. We have brothers online, sisters on television, and of course our siblings right here in the sanctuary. So we'd like to welcome each and every one of you this morning. Every week you send in your requests and every week the Lord delivers our voices and our music team to sing those requests with you.

Our first song this morning is an oldie but a goody - hymn #526 - 'because he lives'. So if you have your hymnals, pull those out and we'll sing the first and second stanzas. 'Because he lives' comes as a request from angie and carmen in argentina, kenyon, felicia, and nicole in australia, randy from belize, cristhian from chile, David from the czech republic, senilili, I think, from fiji, caroline, colleen, immanuel, and trilok in india, selina and jonathan in the netherlands, jell and carphe in south korea, and francis in sri lanka. So we'll sing the first and second stanzas - 'because he lives'. Amen.

Amen. That was an oldie but a goody and it came as a request from a lot of us. And why wouldn't it? It's an ode to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you have a request that you would like us to sing with you, visit us at www.saccentral.org - 'saccentral.org'. Click on the 'contact us' link and we'll be happy to hear from you.

Our next hymn is 'morning has broken'. Remember, we're moving our way through the hymnal and we're encountering some new songs, but I think this is a bit of a familiar tune. This comes as a request from bill and ayleen in australia, camilo in colombia, avis in California, Luke in nigeria, jerson and repell in Oregon, doris in Pennsylvania, sangmi in south korea, eufort and janice in the united arab emirates, lorika in Washington and a very special request from jolyne's special friends jim and bev in Nebraska. We'll sing the first, second and third stanzas - 'morning has broken'. Amen.

Morning has broken. This tune - it's kind of like a lullaby and joy told me this morning I looked like spring and I think I was already in the mood for this - with this song. God's recreation of the new day. Think of what morning means for you. What it means for your faith.

What spring means. It's a recreation of a new day. God gives us a chance each and every day to wake up and start anew by his grace - by his strength alone, not ours. Let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the morning.

We thank you for the new days. Each day, lord, you give us a chance to start over - to recommit ourselves to your word - to the hope of your soon coming, dear lord. As we go on throughout the week and right now in the service, we ask that your Holy Spirit be with us and be with Pastor Doug Batchelor as he brings us our lesson study today. Bless us and keep us that our eyes may be fixed upon you. In Jesus' Name we pray.

Amen. Our lesson study will be brought to us today by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor at Sacramento central church. Thank you for our singers and musicians this morning. Good morning everybody. Welcome to our class and we're going to be continuing our study in just a moment.

We're going into the last lesson in our quarterly dealing with origins and by the grace of God we'll tie that all off today and that is probably a good time to naturally mention we're preparing to go into our new quarter's lesson. Our class here studies three weeks in advance of most of the country so the programs can be edited and we can add the subtitles and get them out to the different networks. But we're going to be studying 'major lessons from the minor prophets' and I've been thumbing through the quarterly and I'm excited to be delving into this - 'major lessons from the minor prophets' and - so that's going to be exciting. We have a free guide that we're offering to anybody - that goes along with today's study and it's called 'a colossal city in space'. We're going to be talking about the restoration of all things in our study today and this really talks about heaven - that's the theme.

It's talking about heaven and the new earth and so if you'd like a copy of 'a colossal city in space' ask for offer #115 and call the number 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #115 and we're going to take 50% off free. So anybody can have it if you just ask. We just ask that you then read it and then share it with somebody. We want to spread the word around, amen? Alright, in our lesson today we're talking about the last study, 'creation again'. We have a memory verse and the memory verse is from 2 Peter :13 and if you'd like to say that along with me, I'm going to read it right here out of the quarterly - 2 Peter 3:13 - "but in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

" - Or - "wherein dwells righteousness." Here it's from the niv. In my mind I just know it from the King James and I automatically keep wanting to say that. That's one of the challenges when you get these different translations is you memorize the verses in one version, then when you hear it in another version that's like - you say, 'what's wrong?' I remember going, once, to rent-a-car - I was traveling and rented the typical economy or mid-size car - we were supposed to get - and when I got there at the counter she said, 'well, you know, because of the convention in town, I'm sorry to tell you that we're all out of your car.' Well, that put me in a pickle because I had to drive from st. Louis to 3abn two hours away and I was about to plead and protest and she said, 'don't worry, we do have a car, but because we're out of all the other cars we're going to have to give you an upgrade and give you one of our executive cars.' I thought, 'oh!' - And I was glad that I wasn't ugly with her and so they ended up giving me this, like, cadillac escalade or something and I found out later that the reason they had several of those on the lot is because the fuel economy is not very good and nobody wanted them. But it was really nice other than that.

Driving in comfort - you know, I had a heated steering wheel and all this stuff. God had an original plan - we're talking about origins this quarter, right? Learned a lot as we've talked about origins. I think we all know that God's original plan was marred because of sin. God's original plan was detoured. Will God accomplish what he originally planned? I remember talking with some of my friends about heaven and they say, 'you know, in heaven we're just going to be spirits and kind of just float around and sing God's praises and.

..' I said, 'no, my Bible says we're going to be real people doing real things and we're going to' - I said, 'you know, God's plan for adam and eve was they were to plant and tend a garden and work and live and eat and travel and they were to live real lives.' And they said, 'well, that was before sin and now we're just going to be spirits.' I said, 'no, no, God is going to accomplish his original plan, but it's going to be an upgrade in many ways. You know, they used to make these bells - I guess they still do - these great big church bells that were made of bronze, like the liberty bell, and it was quite a process. The metallurgy - they needed to very carefully - to pour a big bronze bell and to not have it crack as it cooled was quite a scientific process, even in ancient times, and when they poured a bell, if it was at all marred, if it wasn't perfectly even all the way around, it wouldn't ring right or when it rang it would crack. They were very susceptible to that when the big metal clapper hit the inside and that happened to the liberty bell. And then they would bust it up, because bronze is expensive - they'd melt it down and they'd recast it.

And that's pretty much what God is going to do with our world. There has been a crack in the bell. God made a perfect world but the devil came along and he messed things up. So God is going to basically melt it all down. When the Lord comes - it says the earth is going to be on fire and he's going to create - 'the elements will melt with fervent heat, the earth and the things that are in it, and then God will create a new heavens and a new earth.

' Or let me give you one more illustration we could relate to in our day - any of you ever get a virus in your computer? And don't tell me, 'I've got a mac we don't get viruses' - they crash too. But those of you that have pcs - how many of you have ever had a virus get into your computer? And then what you do is you'll run a virus removal program. Thank goodness they have some programs that will remove most but not all viruses. Sometimes you've got to just erase your software and reinstall, but when you do that, you run your virus removal program, then you need to reboot and Jesus came down and he has run a satan-removal program - or a sin removal program - whatever you want to call it - and he is going to reboot. And when he reboots everything is going to run the way he originally planned.

But God's original plan had been marred by the devil. And so, anyway, we're going to be considering a number of verses as we go through our study today and we've given out some verses. Somebody has psalm 51:12 - who has that? Right up front here - let's get you a microphone - and a little bit later we'll be looking for a few other verses. How many of you remember reading in the Bible about the Kingdom during the time of Solomon? God's plan for Israel - did he ever achieve his plan for Israel? Not perfectly, but what was the closest he ever came? He wanted them to be a nation of Kings and priests where people from all over the world would come and learn about the wisdom of their God and see the way that he would bless his people and see a kingdom of peace and the closest the children of Israel ever came to that ideal was during the time before Solomon apostatized when it was a kingdom - it says, 'gold in the Kingdom was like stones - silver was like stones.' And they'd just - people came, like the queen of sheba, from around the world to hear about their wisdom and to see the glory of their God and to see the beautiful temple that he had built and it was, like, at its pinnacle and that was his ideal for them but they fell from that. His real ideal is going to be the restoration of that where Jesus, The Son of David, sits upon the throne and it is another golden kingdom and we will be a nation of Kings and priests that will go throughout the universe to tell about the wisdom of our God, right? And then it will not be the old Jerusalem - Jerusalem means 'city of peace' - it will be the new Jerusalem or real city of peace.

Okay, go ahead and read that for us, psalm 51:12. Psalm 51:12, "restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me by your generous spirit." The operative word in this verse is 'restore'. You remember - we'll be studying the minor prophets soon - where it talks about 'restoring what the locust has eaten.' It's like after a plague has gone through - God said, 'you'll never believe it but things will be green and flourish again.' Some of you have thought, 'you know, I've wasted some years, can God restore what the locust has eaten?' Or maybe you've seen your kids make some mistakes and you think, 'oh, how can God restore what the locust has eaten?' But he can. I mean, God is going to restore and make all things good, good, very good. His original plan, if we have any doubts or questions, everything was good, good, very good.

He is going to get back to his original plan where we are living in a beautiful perfect world. How many of you know what John , verses 1 through 3 says? "In my (father's) house are many (mansions). I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you might be also." Alright, so the Lord has prepared mansions for us. Where are we going to live? Up there or down here? When he restores everything. A little of both.

Now this is what - this really confuses people because people say, you know, the rapture - we're caught up and people talk about 'I'm going to live up in heaven' and, you know, but then it says, 'blessed are the meek...they will inherit the earth.' And it says, 'I will create a new heaven and a new earth.' Well, which way are we going up or down? Where - well, it starts out when he comes, yeah, we go up and he's going to take us there to heaven. We'll see the mansions he's prepared - it tells us the new Jerusalem is mobile. People struggle with that. They say, 'aw come on. You're going to tell me the Bible says that God's got a space city? How can that be?' I really wonder sometimes why we think we're so much smarter than God.

If I told you that nasa has plans for a space city, would we believe it? Would we doubt they could do it given enough money and time? I mean, look at what they did with the space station, they kind of put this thing together like lego pieces - just kept adding to it and it's up there and running. So if man can do it, why do we question that God could make a space city? Can God make space? I mean, you know, it shouldn't be a problem. So he's taking us to this place - I don't know what the atmosphere is like or I don't know, you know, a lot of things about it. Matter of fact, God said, 'don't be frustrated, the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, neither has entered into the heart' - meaning the imagination of man - 'what God has prepared for those that love him.' You say, 'oh that's hard to imagine.' Well, that's exactly what he said. It's much better than you can imagine.

It is hard to imagine but it's real. Those things that are not possible with man are possible with God. So when he comes, we are first all caught up the Bible tells us. It tells us there's going to be a great resurrection. What - what was man made of? Someone read Genesis 3:19 - who got that one? Somebody - I think we gave it to someone - regina? Let's get you a microphone.

Hold your hand up so they can find you. It's talking about that section in our lesson, adam started out, he was made from what? He was made from dust, right? You know they have a new series that's just begun on the history channel on the Bible. Yeah - and I guess it had record audience and last week I met the producers. They were there at the nrb - as the guy who played Jesus was there. He's actually from portugal.

But he said it really - it really changed him that he had to play Jesus. He said, 'who can play Jesus? Nobody can do that right.' And so he was very intimidated by the role. He had a very humble attitude, which made me feel better. But there's this one scene now where they show creation. Everyone pictures it a little later and it kind of show adam rising up out of the dirt and he looks like the creature from the black lagoon and he - if any of you remember that one - and he just kind of rises up out of the muck except he comes out of the dust, flickers his eyes a little bit, the dust falls off and - some of you saw when amazing facts recreated adam - in other words, we did a depiction of God creating adam and it had Jesus molding him a little more from the ground and then he breathed into him the breath of life and he became a living soul.

I like that version better. But you think about it, when we die, 'dust you are' - oh, I'm sorry, I'll let you read that verse, I won't do it for you. Go ahead, read Genesis 3:19. "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." Have you remember - you remember reading in Daniel chapter 12, verse 1, "at that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over The Sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt." Of course, it's the dead in Christ who rise first, but it says they're sleeping in the dust. Let me take you to one more verse. Go with me to Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 37, talking about how God is going to restore all things, I'm going to read a little bit of this, so bear with me. "And the hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

Then he caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry." - No life in them - "and he said to me, 'son of man, can these bones live?' So I answered, 'o lord God, you know.' - He wouldn't say 'no' but when you typically look at a bone and it's a very dry bone you say - I mean you can't even take a dna sample - 'can these bones live?' You'd say, 'well, it doesn't look like there's much hope for recovery.' But even the prophet said, 'lord, all things are possible. You know.' - "And he said to me, 'prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'o dry bones,'" - he's saying, 'preach to the bones' - I know exactly how he felt - "'prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'o dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'surely I will cause breath to enter into you,''" - how did God first make adam? Breathe - "''I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you will know that I am the lord.'' So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise," - it must have terrified him. He probably felt silly preaching and prophesying to this valley of bones.

You know, back in Bible times after these big battles sometimes, you know, thousands were killed and they often fought the battles in the valleys and families and ambulances and red cross weren't always there to bury the dead and they were often picked by the birds and the beasts of carrion until there was a valley of bones. That was something that they would often see in places where there were great battles. And so here, it looked like the children of Israel had been defeated. Remember, Ezekiel lived when they had been carried off by Nebuchadnezzar and it was like 'will your people ever rise again?' So that's what's going on in Ezekiel's mind, but what's going on in our mind when we think about this? Will we ever rise again? Well, it's the resurrection is what we're talking about and it says, "so I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise," - that must have been a little disturbing - "and suddenly a rattling;" - a rattling like bones - "and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over, but there was no breath in them.

Also he said to me, 'prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'thus says the Lord God: 'come from the four winds, o breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.'' So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army." Now, no matter what you make out of this verse, it is a picture of a resurrection - that God takes that which is dry and utterly dead and through the power of the word it is animated and brought back together and brought to life. Anyway, it tells us that God is creating a new heavens and a new earth. Isaiah 65, verse 17 and then Hebrews 11, it says he's prepared for them a city. Now when you think of heaven, who wants to go to a city? What is the name of the city? The new Jerusalem. Where's that ultimately going to be? It's going to be here on earth.

It says, "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." And so we go away, we spend a thousand years - we live and reign with Christ during the millennium. Some people think that the millennium is down here and that the righteous are reigning over the wicked. Now that is a really strange teaching when you think about it - and I don't mean to ridicule anyone that believes that but when the millennium begins and the righteous have been given glorified bodies and we're living forever, are we going to be living in the same world where there's still death and decay and the wicked are dying every 70 or 90 years? It just doesn't make sense. So when the Lord comes, all the wicked are destroyed by the brightness of his coming. See, there's two kinds of Christians - one group of Christians believes that the tribulation happens after the rapture - that's your 'left behind' scenario - and the other Christians - protestants - believe that the tribulation happens just before the Lord comes and we're caught up.

That's the group we're in. And the reason for that is the Bible says, 'all that live Godly will suffer persecution.' Again, it tells us 'it is through much tribulation we enter the Kingdom of God.' That's what Paul said, 'through tribulation we enter the kingdom.' Did God save Noah from the flood or through it? Did he save the children of Israel from the plagues or through those plagues? They were in Egypt during those plagues. Did Joseph get saved from his trials or did God save him, in spite of it, through his trials? How about job? Through his trials. God saves us - somehow we learn best through trouble and so will we be in the world when those seven last plagues fall? Were the Israelites in Egypt when the ten plagues fell? Yes. He will save us through them, see? So after those seven plagues, then the Lord descends, the dead in Christ are caught up, they're transformed in the twinkling of an eye, those of us who are alive and remain are transformed, we meet the Lord in the air, the wicked are destroyed - they are dead for a thousand years.

The Bible says in Revelation 20, 'the rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years are finished.' So if we're going up - if all the saved go up - and the millennium begins at the second coming, where do we spend the millennium? We live and reign with Christ. People think - they see the word reign and they think that means we need to reign over somebody bad. No, we're reigning in glory with him and we'll be extolling his virtues and praises to all the unfallen beings so that'll be a good thing. Someone read for me Isaiah :19. Over here? Okay, Isaiah 26 - still we're talking about the resurrection and things surrounding that and let me see here, what kind of bodies do we have when we rise? Are we ghosts? What kind of body did Jesus have when he rose? Did they think Jesus was a ghost when he appeared in the upper room? They did, because it seemed like the door was shut and voila! He was there.

And he said, do not think within yourselves that I'm a spirit - a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see that I have. Do you have anything to eat?' And they gave him some honeycomb and a fish and he ate in front of them. He said, 'touch me. Feel me. See that I'm real, that I'm not a ghost.

' Jesus did everything that he could do to make it clear that he was not a spook. He was not some disembodied spirit. He rose with a real body. Now, you'll notice that Jesus never appears at more than one place at a time after he rises. He does appear down in Jerusalem - I'm sorry - in emmaus.

He appears in Jerusalem. He appears to the disciples by the sea of Galilee, but he never appears in two places at once. Christ took on human form. That's why he said, 'it's expedient for you that I go.' He says, 'because I can be with you physically - a few of you - but when I go the Holy Spirit can be with all of you.' You know, the Lord, to some extent, seems to have sacrificed part of his omnipresence when he married himself to the human family. He has that through eternity.

Did he have scars on his hands? As a forever reminder. Okay, you're going to read a verse for us please. Isaiah 26:19, "your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead." Yeah, job says, 'though my flesh worms might consume, I know that in my flesh I will see God.' So though our bodies might decompose, and we think, 'that's the end of them.' You know, a lot of people in the world they just think, 'well, they're now entering the circle of life and they're going to come back as a daffodil or something.' No, the Bible tells us that God knows where you are and he's going to reconstitute us. Philippians 3:20 - what kind of bodies will we have? ".

..the Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall change our vile body," - these old bodies, these ones that are corrupt and turn back to dust - "that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," so we will have glorified bodies, but they're real. Now, this is what throws people. Was Jesus different in some way when he rose? Yeah, he walked through walls. He could appear and disappear.

Did something happen to adam and eve's bodies after sin? See, originally, man lives in four dimensions - four - I didn't say three. You've got your length and your depth and your heighth - breadth - we live in these three dimensions now, but originally man had also a dimension of the spirit realm. the Spirit realm is around us right now. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. You realize for the first six and a half thousand years of the world's history people didn't know there were radio waves.

Right now we know there's another whole realm where, while you're in this room, radio waves and television waves and different frequencies are just like an ocean all around us right now, right? How many of you believe that they exist? Every time you take out your phone and start texting you believe they're there. You can't see them. We didn't know they were there for a long time. There's a spiritual realm around us right now. It is that - I'm calling it the fourth dimension - call it the fifth dimension you'll think of a rock group so I'm just making that up - it's just this other dimension and - it's real, because are there angels? Could adam and eve talk to angels face to face? With your new glorified body will that dimension be restored? That's why it tells us flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, we will have to have spiritual bodies - they are real.

A spiritual body isn't the spirit absent the physical, it is the physical plus the Spirit. Did you get that? So it's the whole package again. We'll have the bodies like adam and eve had where you're able to talk to angels and you'll be able to leave the planet and - so that's what it means when it says we have these spiritual bodies - they're real - did adam and eve eat and drink and work before sin? Those things aren't bad - that's part of God's original plan that he's going to restore. Again, that was Luke 24:39 when Jesus said, "behold my hands and my feet and see a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see I have." And what about painful memories? When we get into the new earth are we going to be worried about those things? There's a promise here - it tells us in Isaiah 65:17, "and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind." Does that mean we're going to forget the sacrifice Jesus has made for us? Does it mean God is going to brainwash us so we don't remember the plan of salvation? No, but when - just this morning nathan asked me - was it last night or this morning? He said, 'dad, sometimes I get a song in my head and I don't want it in my head. How do I get it out?' I said, 'sing a different song.

' You ever have that problem? I mean, sometimes - you and I all know some songs we wish we didn't know and, you know, sometimes you think, 'oh, glad I got rid of that.' And then you go into a supermarket or an elevator or chipotle and they're playing it again and then you walk out - it's in your head. 'What do I do?' You just start singing another song, right? Find a good song and you overcome evil with good and pretty soon that other doesn't come into mind because you've so filled your mind with what is good. You ever try and sing two melodies at once? It's kind of hard to sing two completely different songs - some of you can do that but I can't. And, in the same way, when we're in heaven, it's not like we're going to forget that - everything that happened, but our minds are going to be so full of the spectacular, glorious, wonderful things, and the music of angels and our senses are going to be just taking in a waterfall of new images and feelings and sensations that - those other things, whew, they're not going to come into mind. But it's not like we're going to forget what got us there.

We're not going to forget how Jesus forgave us and saved us and what he paid for our sins - and we're going to cast our crowns at his feet. And so, we'll always see the scars on his hands that we knew were caused by our sins so - but we're not going to forever be in pain. There'll be a time - notice - the Bible tells us - when does God wipe away the tears? Before - at the beginning or end of the millennium? Millennium, Revelation 20 - wipe away tears, Revelation 21 and 22. At the end of the 1,000 years when there's that great white throne judgment and all of us, probably, are going to know some people that are on the wrong side of those city walls, right? Are we going to have no concern or care? I think there's going to be some very deep feelings. I think there's going to be some pain.

I think there's going to be some regret. I think we'll think, maybe, even about some of the lost opportunities. First of all, remember that during the 1,000 years we're going to know who made it and who didn't because they're there or they're not - there's no third option. If they're not in the city during the 1,000 years, that's a bad omen. So we're already prepared.

We'll maybe have our angels take us to look at the library - the record books. You know it tells us - it's in your lesson that - oh, I'll have someone read it - 1 Corinthians , verses 2 and 3 - over here. I get excited and I sometimes want to steal the verses I'm supposed to be giving away. I'll give you a minute to find that. But we're going to look at the record books.

You know, someone said there'll be three surprises in heaven - you've heard this before - surprise #1 is when you're there you go, 'I made it!' And surprise #2 is you'll see people that are there and you'll wonder, 'how did they make it?' And I always think a couple Bible examples - you think about Isaiah. One of the last things he knows is king manasseh commanded him to be sawn in tw0 - he was placed in a hollow log and sawn in two. Manasseh - the wickedest king of all - Isaiah gets to heaven and there's manasseh and Isaiah's going to say to his angel, 'well you guys made a mistake. What's he doing here?' Or stephen - the last thing stephen sees is there's this - yeah, he's going to see that there's this pharisee that was the lead culprit in having him executed and there he is in heaven and stephen's going to say to his angel, 'uh, you guys normally do really good work but, you know, I think that quality control needs some attention because he's not supposed to be here. He was killing Christians.

That was his mission. What's he doing here?' And the angel will say, 'stephen, I've got something exciting to show you. Come look at the record book.' And so we're going to be doing some judging while we're there. Alright, go ahead and read that for us. 1 Corinthians 6, verses 2 and 3, I think.

"Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" Principally, Paul is saying there to the church - he said, 'look, ultimately the saints are going to be judging angels and the lost. Can't you judge small matters between your brethren? Why do they have to go to outside courts? Can't you' - and, you know, it's -the greatest shame is that it's terrible to be in a lawsuit - it's really terrible when you've got two Christians suing each other, right? That's - what kind of witness is that to the world if you can't bring those things - those disagreements - before the church and agree to some mediation and have that settled. Paul says, ultimately, we're going to be affirming the judgments of God - we're going to be living and reigning with God. Now, does that mean that the saints are deciding who's saved and lost? No, because by the time they get to those record books the lost are lost, the saved are saved. But we're going to have questions about why.

So to some extent we're judging the judgments of God. We might be affirming the punishment. And you know what else is going to be happening? There will be degrees - are there varying degrees of reward in heaven? Are there varying degrees of punishment? And we'll probably be affirming those things too. And, you know, God is involving us because we know these people and we're going to be the most inclined to have mercy. So I can't guarantee you that's what is meant there but I've heard that before and that's one possibility.

Alright, so during the 1,000 years we're going to have a lot of questions, we're going to probably go through space and be doing some exploring and if you read in acts chapter 3, verses and 21 - some of the other encouraging promises - it says, "he may send Jesus Christ,...who heaven must receive until the time of restoration of all things." So Christ - one of the reasons Jesus is coming is to restore things to their original plan. Who made everything in the beginning? God - father or son? God The Son, right? All things that were made were made through him. Isn't that what the Bible says? So who is the most interested in things being restored to their original plan? Christ is. So one of the reasons he's coming is to - he's going to melt things down and re-forge the bell, so to speak, to it's original plan. Will people in heaven recognize each other? I've had that question a lot.

'Well, now last time you saw grandma she was a hundred years old. Is she going to look kind of wrinkled and stooped in heaven?' How are you going to know her? You'll be going up and down the golden streets saying, 'grandma! Where are you?' Is she going to look the same? She'll look better than any of the black and white photographs you had - going to have a glorified body. You know, I think the idea is that because we have the fourth dimension in heaven, we're not only going to have our physical senses. Have you ever known someone with a spiritual sense? How much time do I have? I'll tell you a quick story. I don't - I think I've told - I know I've said it on tv before but I'll tell you real quick.

I have a daughter I didn't know I had until she was years old. It was from the cave days. It's all I can tell you and, you know, I'll have to live with that - I - it was very exciting because she's a wonderful, beautiful person. It was very troubling because she grew up without her father. I'm not proud of that.

I was young and stupid. You all know my story. You've read my book - and that's just further evidence. I got a phone call one day from my old girlfriend - her mother - and said, 'you've got a daughter. I never told you.

' - You know, I had no address when I lived in the cave. She didn't know how to reach me and - and she said, 'she's getting married. She'd just like a little medical history.' And it just kind of blew me away. Blew Karen away a little bit too. And, so finally, there was no question about it.

I saw pictures, timeline, everything. She's my daughter and she looks like the twin sister of Daniel. I mean really does. I've got pictures of them together. When she got off the plane the first time I saw her - I'd never seen her in person before - as soon as she got off the plane I looked at her - I thought there was this spiritual - this deeper knowledge that you knew that person that goes way beyond facial recognition software and that's the only time I could tell you that it's like there was a discerning there that you thought, 'there's something different about that person.

' She had my dna so, you know, that's part of it but also she looked like her brothers and sisters. And we get along fine, we spend time together and all the kids and siblings - this has been 12 years ago so, you know we have a wonderful relationship and God blessed it all in spite of the dumb things I did 35 years ago - whatever - longer than that - she's 37 now. But in heaven we will spiritually know. We'll have this discernment. As soon as you see grandma you're going to go, 'grandma, you're beautiful! And you can jump so high! And you can run so fast!' Because everybody's going to have - you know, they'll run and not be weary.

We'll have our glorified bodies. Alright, so yes we will know each other even as we are known. What are some of the other thrilling promises that the Bible tells us about heaven here? Isaiah 35:10, "and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy." Will we be happy? Did someone read psalm 16:11 yet? You - who's got it? No, I don't think we've done that one yet. It's in your lesson but I don't think we read it out loud. By the way, this is Karen's favorite verse and - I just read to you there from Isaiah where it said we're going to have everlasting joy.

You're just not - you know, joy right now - when you have a few moments of joy you're excited. How long will it last there? Forever. Alright, go ahead. Read that for us. "Thou will shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

" Is pleasure a bad thing? We always think that if it tastes good it must be bad for you - that any pleasure must somehow be correspondingly evil. But pleasure is something that God gave us and in heaven, not only will you have joy, he said, 'at your right hand are pleasures' - for how long? 'For evermore.' The pleasures that God blesses should bring joy and peace and without guilt or a hangover. I mean, God wants you to have the holy joy. And where is that - where's the greatest - you know what it said in that verse? 'In thy presence.' What's the most wonderful thing about heaven? It says that God himself will be with us. Now there's a few other things we can read about this.

What - well - by the way, that was Revelation 21:3, "God himself will be with us." What's going to be excluded from that city? Revelation 21:27, "there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles," - so anything defiling now it'd be a good idea to pray for the victory and lay those things aside and God now wants us to have the victory over our besetting sins. He didn't just come to save us from the penalty of sin. I mean, what if he had told the children of Israel, 'I've come to place you under the blood of the lamb, but you're still going to feel the whip of the task master on your back.' They not only wanted to be forgiven, they wanted to be saved from their bondage, right? And so we want to be saved from the slavery, the torment, the tyranny of the devil's sin in our lives. Sin will keep us out. Jesus promises, 'to him that overcomes, to him that overcomes you will inherit all these things.

' Revelation 21:7, "he who overcomes shall inherit all things." And so then he tells us what we can do about that. You know, I've got some other things in the lesson - I'm not quite done - but as I near the end - I was thinking about this study and as we're reaching the end of this quarter's lesson I thought, you know, I can't improve on the words in the book 'Great Controversy'. How many of you have read the book 'Great Controversy'? I'm just going to read to you - matter of fact, I want you to pretend - those who are watching on tv, pretend your television is a radio right now because there's really nothing visually redeeming about watching some bald guy read. So I want you to listen, okay? You're here, you want to just maybe close your eyes and listen. This is from 'the great controversy' pages 676 and 678 as she's tying off what the city of God will be like.

You need to read the whole chapter talking about the new Jerusalem. In the city of God there shall be no night. None will need or desire repose. There'll be no weariness in the doing of the will of God and offering praise to his name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close.

And they do not need a candle nor the light of the sun for the lord God gives them light, Revelation 22:5. The light of the sun will be surpassed by a radiance that is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noontide glory. The glory of God and the lamb flood the holy city with unfading light. The redeemed walk in the sunless glory of a perpetual day that is streaming from that city." By the way, the city is all made of minerals - we're not using wood - and you look at the minerals and they're all these beautiful translucent gems that they'll capture the light and reflect it. So you've got the colors of the rainbow just bouncing off everywhere through the city because of the glory of God that is illuminating that.

And it doesn't hurt. It's not the kind of light where you wince and it's painful to the eyes. "There the redeemed shall know even as they are known. The love" - oh wait, I forgot a verse - "I saw no temple therein for the Lord God almighty and the lamb are the temple of it, Revelation 21:22. The people of God are privileged to hold open communion with The Father and The Son.

Now we see through a glass darkly, 1 Corinthians 13:12. Behold the image of God reflected in a mirror, in the works of nature, and in his dealings with men. But then we will see him face to face without a dimming veil between. We'll stand in his presence and behold the glory of his countenance. There the redeemed will know even as we are known.

The loves, the sympathies, which God himself has planted in the soul shall there find their truest and their sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb, the sacred ties that bind together the whole family in heaven and on earth, these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed. There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power, the mysteries of redeeming love, there will be no cruel, deceiving foe to tempt to forgetfulness of God. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies.

There, the grandest enterprises might be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized, and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind, soul, and body. All the treasures of the universe will be opened to the study of God's redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they will wing their tireless flight to worlds afar" - aha, that's my favorite part. I want to soar to worlds unknown - "worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul" - these worlds are watching. Our planet is a theater to the unfallen worlds - "with unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings" - these are beings even - not just angels from other worlds - that have not fallen into sin - "they share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God's handiwork.

With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation - suns and stars and systems all in their appointed order circling the throne of deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the creator's name is written and in all are the riches of his power displayed and the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious Revelations of God in Christ. As knowledge progresses, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of his character. As Jesus opened before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the Great Controversy with satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion and more rapturous joy.

They sweep their harps of gold and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise and every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea and all of them I Heard saying, 'blessing and honor and glory and power be unto him that sits upon the throne and under the lamb forever and ever, Revelation 5:13. The Great Controversy has ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats throughout the vast creation.

From him who created all flow life and light and gladness throughout the realms of a limitless space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things animate and inanimate in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy declare that God is love." That's only 20% of that chapter. It talks about what God has prepared for those who love him. Hold hope friends, you want to be there and describe it. There's still a lot of things here that - someone - did you have acts 1:6? I don't believe I had anybody read that yet.

Acts 1:6 - let's get you a microphone. Right over there. You know, we often focus on the kingdom down here and Jesus says the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. That kingdom is available right now to everyone - that's the spiritual kingdom. But there finally will be an ultimate, literal, real kingdom too.

Isn't that true? And we're looking forward to that. Alright, go ahead, please read for us acts 1:6. Acts 1:6, "therefore, when they had come together, they asked him saying, 'lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'" You know, even after he had been with them for three and a half years trying to explain the nature of his kingdom, they still didn't quite get it. They kept thinking about an earthly kingdom. And, you know, I wonder if we make the same mistake sometimes where we get so preoccupied with the Kingdom down here - how good our lives are going to be down here - we forget about the one that's going to last forever.

And really, our attentions and energies ought to be looking at the big picture. Not only that we want to be saved forever and be in that kingdom, but about others that can be influenced by our lives now forever. You and I can make a difference in people's lives that will have a difference forever and - that they can be in that kingdom. And then, when you're in heaven forever and you see them there, think about the eternal joy of seeing people that are there because of your influence. Won't that be exciting to know that? That's the greatest thrill for me.

Well friends, we have run out of time and I just would ask you to remember that there's a free offer - it's called 'colossal city in space' - we'll send it to you. Just call the number - -study-more, that's -788-3966 - ask for offer #115 when you do. God bless you until we study together again next week. And don't forget - new lesson.

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