God's message to all today written own for us is "obey My voice and keep My covenant"

Fred R. Coulter—June 3, 2017

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Greetings, everyone! Welcome to Sabbath services. This is Day 49 in the count of 50 days to Pentecost. There's a lot we can learn from this day. Let's cover just a few things that are very interesting before we get into the message for today.

We can think of some things that very important. Remember in the Old Testament (Isa. 5) God likened Israel to a grape vine. Remember the parable that Jesus gave concerning the scribes and Pharisees about the vineyard. It was planted, leased out to husbandmen and they were against Him, finally sent His Son and they killed Him. In John 15 we see this likewise with the Church.

  • we see analogies
  • we see similes
  • we see parallels
  • we see opposites
  • we see many things in the Bible

John 15:1: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman." I saw one translation which translated that as farmer, but husbandman is much better. Husbandman pictures the one who takes care of the land is married to the land. In other words, he takes care of it in a very special way.

Verse 2: "He takes away every branch in Me that does not bear fruit… [we've see that at different times and different ways] …but He cleanses each one that bears fruit, in order that it may bear more fruit. Dwell in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself…" (vs 2-4). You can tie many Scriptures in with that. 'Within Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17).

"…but only if it remains in the vine…" (v 4). What's the first inclination of people? To leave the vine!

"…neither can you bear fruit unless you are dwelling in Me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. The one who is dwelling in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; because apart from… [or separate from] …Me you can do nothing" (vs 4-5). You may be able to do a lot of works that men do, but you can't do anything spiritual.

What else did Jesus say of the end-time? Luke 18:8: "I tell you that He will execute vengeance for them speedily.…" This in relationship to the parable of the widow who kept coming to the judge.

Very interesting thing concerning prayer. Let's look at the daily offerings—morning and evening—they were every day. Many things that we pray about we need every day. This is what He is saying here with this parable of the widow woman who kept coming to the judge. It was 'avenge me, avenge me.' He said, 'God will help avenge you, too.'

Verse 7: "…who cry out to Him day and night, and patiently watch over them? I tell you that He will execute vengeance for them speedily. Nevertheless… [here we are today, right here in this verse] …when the Son of man comes… [we're getting closer to that day] …shall He find the true faith on the earth?" (vs 7-8).

Then He said in another place 'where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of you.'

You take these two things and put them together and with what's happening in Christianity in the world, and what's happened to the Churches of God, we see the whole nature of church changing.

One of the reasons people do not want to go to a church is because there's nothing there for them, or they have gone and they have left because there was nothing there for them.

We've got a couple of booklets on that: Why Christianity is Failing in America and The Collapse of Anglican Christianity. We have three segments on churchathome.org on Quitting Church. People quit church and it's not the new ones that quit. It's the old ones, because when they come, after a period of time, they learn nothing new, nothing changes!

They are not taught how to lead their lives. Matt. 13 is the parable where He says that it's like a scribe who was teaching. He covers things that are old and things that are new.

Matthew 13:52: "Then He said to them, 'Therefore, every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.'"

The Word of God is continuously new. That's why Jesus said to the disciples, 'The words I speak to you, they are Spirit and they are life.'

We're going to learn some things on this Sabbath before Pentecost. What three words—maybe a little theme on variation with it in some places—are consistent all the way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation concerning our relationship with God? Obey My voice!
You go clear back to Adam and Eve. They had a covenant to be in the Garden of Eden, 'you rule the earth, you to do everything I tell you; don't eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.' God married them and told them to be fruitful and multiply.

Then when God talked to Adam, because Adam ate what Eve gave him to eat off the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God said, 'This is because you listened to the voice of your wife, rather than Me.' He didn't put 'rather than Me,' but that was meant.

Then you come down through time. Enoch walked with God. Noah walked with God and was righteous. That means Noah obeyed His voice. Then you come down to Abraham. Abraham obeyed God!

When the promise went from Abraham to Isaac, God told Isaac that 'you're getting this because Abraham kept My commandments and My charge, and My statutes, and obeyed My voice.'

Then you come down to the time of the children of Israel coming out of the land of Egypt. Let's see how this is continuous here.

Let's reflect on what Jesus said concerning His words. He told them, 'Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?' The simplest thing, which is easy to understand, which the world won't do, because all they're interested in—in Christianity today—is having your conscience whitewashed so you won't have a guilty conscience anymore. Then you do anything you want because God's love is unconditional.

God's love is very conditional. His love to everyone is that He gives them food, air, water, all of those things. But His love for His people is greater and special.

The Israelites got there to Mount Sinai, really quite a spectacular thing that was there because the Ten Commandments were given on the Day of Pentecost.

Isn't it interesting how that God has hidden everything that He has said—His plan, His purpose—and there are many things that are simple that people can do, if they read it and find out about it.

  • remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy
  • don't make any graven images and bow down to them

Those two were keys to help unlock further understanding in the Bible.

God tells Moses to tell the children of Israel, Exodus 19:4: "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you unto Myself. Now, therefore, if… [with the condition] …you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant…" (vs 4-5).

Everything that God has, going down in dealing with people is with a covenant:

  • there was a covenant with Adam and Eve

the covenant was changed after they sinned

  • there was a covenant that Enoch kept
  • there was a covenant that Noah kept
  • then God made a special covenant, beginning with Abraham that stretches clear down to the end-time

Part of that covenant was his seed would be as the sand of the sea, that's through:

  • Isaac, the physical Israel
  • the stars of heaven, spiritual Israel

That phrase covers the entirety of the Bible!

Then God begins to apply it at different times and in different ways. So He says, v 5: "Now, therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine."

Did God love them more than He loved other people? Yes, He did! But other people from other nations had to come into the community of Israel, and then they became part of the covenant if they had physical circumcision.

Verse 6: "'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a Holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."

Then they took three days to get ready. The third day they all gathered around the base of Mount Sinai. God came down on top of Mount Sinai with fire and glory and burning, smoke, wind and trumpet. Then He spoke to them and gave them the Ten Commandments. They got all afraid and said, 'Moses, you speak to God and you speak to us and we'll do what God says.' You know how that turned out.

God said He would do it. Then He gave the laws in Exo. 21-23. Remember, He said, 'Obey My voice and keep My covenant.' Keeping the covenant means everything that is in the covenant.

Just a key thing, point of argument that people will have: 'We don't have to keep any of these laws here, just the Ten Commandments. We don't have to keep the Sabbath, we don't have to keep the Holy Days.'

What did God have in the covenant after giving the Ten Commandments and then within the covenant laws we have:

Exodus 23:14: "'You shall keep a Feast unto Me three times in the year. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And no one shall appear before Me empty. Also, the Feast of the Harvest of the Firstfruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field. And the Feast of Ingathering, in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field" (vs 14-16).

Then you go read all the rest of it. Exo. 24 becomes very important because the covenant involves two parties:

  • God
  • children of Israel

In the case of Moses, he was the intermediary between God and the people. He came down, had all these things with him and let's see what happened. There is always a covenant ceremony. That's what we have in Exo. 24. What we're going to see is that after Pentecost—because the Law was given on Pentecost—here's what happened:

Exodus 24:1: "And He said to Moses, 'Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship afar off…. [witnesses] …And Moses alone… [he's the mediator] …shall come near the LORD, but they shall not come near. Neither shall the people go up with him.' And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments… [Exo. 21-23] …And all the people answered with one voice… [when you say something to God, He is going to hold you to it] …and said, 'All the words, which the LORD has said, we will do'" (vs 1-3).

Concerning the New Covenant, 'If you love Me, keep My commandments' (John 14); same thing.

Here's something else that's very important: God wants it all written down. If you buy a house or you buy a car and it's going to be purchased over time, there is a contract. It's all spelled out. Likewise if you're in a business deal, a partnership, a corporation. It's all written down. Why is that important? A lot of people say, 'It was all traditional, it wasn't written down when you think it was written down.' It was written down before you think it was written down.

  • Why is that important?
  • What's the key?
  • if there is no law, there is no sin

So, if there is no clause… Dolores used to be a specialist in reading contracts. She would even go in and show the boss the problems with some of the contracts because they wouldn't sign them unless every word was there.

What did God say? Here are the words and I'm going to give you some more! What did the people say? 'All the words which the Lord said we will do'! Then Moses commanded the people to memorize them because you have to pass this down by tradition. No! When the Jews say Moses had other laws that God gave him, which was passed down word-of-mouth, it's a complete lie! Never happened!

Verse 4: "And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD…"

Think about the book of Revelation. What did Jesus tell John? 'Write the things that you have seen, the things that are, and the things that shall be and send them to the seven churches.' Written down! I'll just mention here the sermon, Jesus' Stenographers, how the apostles took those down.

Moses wrote these words. How long have they been preserved? 3,500 years! What if no one in the world believed it except one man? God would use him to preserve it! Like with the Jews today, very few really keep what's in the Old Testament. In spite of their sins, God has made them preserve it because we need it for today. We need it for the history of what God has done. So, God said to write it.

Verse 4: "And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the base of the mountain and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel." And they had peace offerings on it.

Remember what we talked about peace offering. Burnt offering is total dedication to God. The priest gets nothing; the offerer gets nothing., Part of the peace offerings sacrifice is burned on the altar and that goes to God. Part of the sacrifice goes to the priest and he partakes of it, and part of the sacrifice goes to the offerer. This tells us, with these peace offerings and so forth, that this is something everyone is participating in:

  • God
  • Moses
  • Aaron, the coming priest
  • all the people

Notice what Moses did, v 6: "And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the Book of the Covenant, and read in the ears of the people. And they said… [three times] …'All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.'" In this case they added obedient.

Verse 8: "And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, 'Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.' And Moses went up, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. And they saw the God of Israel…" (vs 8-10).

Why is this an important one? What did Jesus tell the scribes and Pharisees (John 5)? 'No one has seen God nor heard His voice.' That's the Father. Did these people hear the Lord God of Israel? Yes, they heard His voice! Now they saw Him. Notice how they saw Him. It was a far off. He wasn't in His glory.

What did God tell Moses when Moses said, 'I want to see Your face'? He said, 'No man can look on My face and live.' So, this was not in glory. It was maybe kind of like the vision on the Mount of Transfiguration. They could see that.

"…And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the heavens in clearness." What is that called in the New Testament? The Sea of Glass!

Some people say, 'I don't know about this Sea of Glass stuff.' Look at it as a contract. It's in the contract. What did John see when he was called up to see the throne of God? He saw a sea of glass in clearness!

Verse 11: "And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay his hands. Also they saw God, and ate and drank." Then Moses went up and got the rest of the instructions. All the rest of the instructions, beginning in Exo. 25 is 'make a sanctuary for Me.'

Exodus 25:8: "And let them make Me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them." What a fantastic thing that was. God put His presence in it. It's amazing!

Let's see what else is given here because all covenants have many facets that are not added to it, but revealed from it, that are not spoken at exactly the same time.

Deut. 5 is a reiteration of the Ten Commandments. This is what God wants and this follows in every covenant:

Deuteronomy 6:1: "Now, these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God commanded to teach you… [we are to be taught] …so that you might do them in the land where you go to possess it, that you might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you, and your son, and your son's son, all the days of your life, and so that your days may be prolonged" (vs 1-2).

  • What has happened because we don't do that to the children today?
  • What has happened to the society?

One thing everyone needs to always remember is:

  • all the blessings for love and obedience are automatic
  • all the curses and troubles and difficulties because of disobedience are automatic

The question will come up, because we're here with the commandments: Jesus said, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God' (Matt. 4:4, Deut. 8:3, Luke 4:4).

Someone's going to come up say, 'What about all of those that a person did this you take them out and kill them?' Stop and think for a minute, because that's not done today, what do we have? A lot of crime! What else do we have? Jails full of 'lifers'!

So, if you don't obey the voice of God, that those who have done crimes worthy of death should be executed, because God has a way of resurrecting them later on. But He didn't tell them here. Most people who read the Bible would not have a clue that there's a second resurrection.

So, they say, 'What about where's a death penalty? What about the other ones?' The answer is that Israel was not only God's people, Israel was also a nation in the world with a geographical territory, with people, with laws, and so forth. God gave to all the other nations the administration of death to carry out executions, to carry out various penalties.

When we come to the New Covenant, since the Gospel is preached in all the world, God will not put a second sovereign government within a geographical territory that will have laws different and run counter to the nation within that geographical territory. Now you see the problem that exists between Islam and the West.

When Jesus said that 'man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God,' that means all the commandments that relate to your behavior toward God and toward your neighbor! All judgment beyond that God gave to the nations. Rom. 13 says 'they bear the sword not in vain.' They are there to come against the evildoers. So, just a little clarification here.

Verse 3: "Hear therefore, O Israel, and be diligent to observe it, so that it may be well with you…" Notice how many times God says it will be well with you. If you want an interesting read, read the whole book of Deut. and you will be amazed how many things come up there. God wanted it to be well with them, be good with them, that they were to live long.

"…and that you may greatly multiply, as the LORD God of our fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel. Our one God is the LORD, the LORD" (v 4). That's the correct translation. You can read Appendix W, The Two Jehovahs of the Old Testament, in the Faithful Version Bible, as to why.

Verse 5: "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart" (vs 5-6). Then He says to teach them to your children. Everything that God does is based upon loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and being.

We're going to see that the command for the Feast of Pentecost, which is tomorrow, is the longest number of words explaining about it. Since there are more words, does it have more meaning? Yes, it does!

However, as I have explained before. It just is amazing to me that everything God does with life is with a seed. All life begins with a seed. You look at a seed, unless you know what it is, you don't know what's in it. What is stored in a seed? Everything that is required to reproduce that plant, that animal, and human beings. Everything!

What did God tell Adam would happen to him because he sinned? 'Dust you are and to dust you will return.' Keep that in mind. You came from a speck of dust, or virtually nothing, and you go back into the ground and you become part of the ground again, virtually nothing. If you are cremated, you are really dust. In the case of my hips, if I'm cremated, they will have a little metal to take to the junkyard because I have two artificial hips. That is literally true. Think about what's in a seed, whatever it may be.

That grain stores everything that the plant was and will reproduce more than one seed. All seeds need helpers. Helpers are bees, different insects to pollinate, birds to pollinate. Just like with human life. You must have a father and a mother and the part that each one produces is one-half of their genetic code. How does that work when every other cell of your body has your full genetic code on it? If that isn't special! Likewise with all animals.

I got tired of all the bickering on the news and arguing back and forth, so I turn on NatGeo Wild and what do I have? Wild animals fighting, lions, tigers, panthers, buffalo. They're all fighting. Even insects. Ants fighting, birds fighting, different animals fighting. You ought to see the apes and chimpanzees and monkeys. It's something. Then you go back to the news and you find human beings fighting. This world is all messed up.

Why do I bring this out? From this point of view: that Lev. 23 has the seed for every part of God's plan, but you will never, never discover it in Lev. 23. God has put all the Holy Days there with the correct dates that it should be and it appears to be some sort of ritual that we don't even need to give any credence to. You know how it is.

It starts out with the Sabbath. Do they give credence to the Sabbath? No! Then we have the Passover. They like to have their sins forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but will they keep the Passover? Then Unleavened Bread; the world thinks Unleavened Bread is so stupid that they have Easter where everything is all puffed up, just the opposite. Then there's Pentecost. Pentecost is interesting. Parts of it they did not keep until they entered in to the 'promised land.'

Leviticus 23:9: "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, "When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring the premier sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest"'" (vs 9-10).

That could not be understood until the New Testament time. How were they to know that that would apply to Christ and His ascending to the Father to be accepted as the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world and He was crucified on the Passover Day.

When you keep the Sabbath, keep the Holy Days—and keep them properly—a lot of things begin to become understandable. The world has no idea because they believe Jesus was crucified on a Friday. They are so magical in what they believe that a day and a half equals three.

You try that down here at the gas station. You want $3 worth of gas and it gives you $1.50 worth of gas. What do they have right there? They have a seal saying, 'This has been inspected and is accurate.' Why don't people think that God has done that with His Word? But you have to find it.

They love to have their sins forgiven, but they know nothing about the resurrection of Christ, except that He went to heaven to be with God the Father.

Here's a special ceremony of the premier sheaf. It was a special sheaf that was grown in a special place and was cut right at the end of the Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was waved on the first of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Both are important.

You see how complicated I'm getting? Why? Because other Scriptures bring this out that you add to it! The Bible is understood 'a little here, a little there, line upon line, precept upon precept':

  • some from the Old Testament
  • some from the New Testament
  • some from the Gospels
  • some from the Law
  • some from the book of Revelation

Verse 11: "And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted for you…"—all the children of Israel. Christ's sacrifice is for the sins of the world. We see two things working here:

  • firstborn—Jesus was the Firstborn
  • all the firstborn of Israel had to be dedicated to God

All the males belonged to God. The females belonged to the Festival fund. All the sons had to be redeemed. All the unclean animals had to be redeemed or you break its neck.

Since God wants the firstborn, the first fruit, the first of everything, why does He demand that? Because everything you have comes from God! Maybe you work for someone, and you get paid a wage. Who created the man? God did! Could you work unless he was there? No! Everyone who has a boss, God made that person and he pays you. The fruit of your labor is what? It used to be money. Today it can be a check, or it can be an electronic entrance into your bank account. But thieves are in there trying to get it.

Everything comes from God: first of your firstfruits, firstborn, first of everything goes to God! What is the Church called? The Church of the Firstborn! Christ is the Firstborn and the Firstfruits. What did we read where we started out (John 15)? 'I am the vine, you are the branches!'

"…On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it" (v 11).

  • 'ha Shabbat' is the weekly Sabbath.
  • 'Shabbat' is the Holy Day Sabbath

Look at what was to be offered, v 12: "And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering… [type of Christ, wholly given to God] …to the LORD. And its grain offering shall be two tenth parts of fine flour mixed with oil…" (vs 12-13).

What is the grain offering? The Bread of Christ! Eat My flesh, drink My blood! In Deuteronomy it talks about the blood of the grape, very interesting.

Verse 13: "And its grain offering shall be two tenth parts of fine flour mixed with oil… [type of the Holy Spirit] ..an offering made by fire…"—trial by fire. Wants it to be complete, wants it to be finished, wants it to be the way that God wants it.

"…for a sweet savor. And the drink offering of it shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears until the same day, until you have brought an offering to your God. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings" (vs 13-14).

The thing that's important with this is they did not keep this ceremony this way until they got into the land, which was 40 years later. I don't know what they did with this. They just didn't do it at all.

Verse 15: "And you shall count to you beginning with the next day after the Sabbath…" One thing very important to understand is that counting is different than adding and subtracting.

What's the final year of high school? Twelve! What's the first year of high school? Ninth! You have twelve, you put nine under it and subtract and you get three. But when you count it's: nine, ten, eleven, twelve—four. Same way: You work Monday through Friday. What if your boss said, 'I count the week differently than you do. You're paid from Tuesday to Friday.' You'd have him in court.

Does God take people to court because they count wrong? What happens? Why did the Church not understand that Pentecost was the day of the resurrection? Because for forty years they kept it on Monday instead of the first day of the week and Monday is the second day of the week.

What was the penalty? We didn't understand it! What did the leader of the Church say? 'I'm so important because I sanctified it that God bound it.'

  • How can that be?
  • Did we have penalties because of different things like that?
  • Did we all suffer? Yes!

"…beginning with the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete…. [Want a whole week? Ends on the Sabbath!] …Even unto the day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days…." (vs 15-16).

When is Monday ever after a Saturday? Never! Counting is different, so it's on the first day of the week.

"…And you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD" (v 16). We'll cover the two loaves when we come to tomorrow. There is significance in the two loaves.

(go to the next track)

Here is a shorter parable; Mark 4:3: "'Listen well to this!.… [we get understanding from this parable] …Behold, the sower…"—the Son of man. What is the seed? The Word of God! This ties in with where we just finished in Lev. 23 with the harvest.

"…went out to sow. And you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. And another seed fell on a rocky place, where it did not have much soil; and it quickly sprang up, because it did not have depth of soil; but after the sun rose, it was scorched; and because it did not have root, it withered away. And another seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it did not yield any fruit. And others fell into the good ground and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing; and one brought forth thirtyfold, and one sixtyfold, and one a hundredfold.' Then He said to them, 'The one who has ears to hear, let him hear'" (vs 3-9).

Do a little word search in your Bible and find out 'the one who has ears, let him hear.' Where do we find that repeated seven times? Rev. 2 and 3!

Verse 10: "Now, when He was alone, those who were around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, 'To you…'" (vs 10-11)—that is the ones who are the true followers of Jesus Christ, not to the world. If you said to people in the world, 'The Bible is the greatest book the world has ever had:

  • it contains the history of mankind from the beginning to the end

it tells you

  • who God is
  • what God is
  • where He's been
  • those He has dealt with
  • the prophetic history of the world
  • the beginning from the end
  • how to live your life
  • how to be in contact with God
  • how you can remain in that contact with God

All of that is in this book.' They would say it's a myth; it's a fairy tale, full of lies.

I remember I was reading a book on certain of the atheists in Britain. One of them said that the Bible is full of lies. If you live contrary to the way that the Bible gives—completely contrary—and you read it and you don't want to change, to you it is a lie because you have been blinded by your behavior.

Verse 11: "And He said to them, 'To you it has been given to know the mystery… [secret] …of the Kingdom of God… [there are a lot of secrets and mysteries] …but to those who are without, all things are done in parables; so that in seeing they may see, and not perceive; and in hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them'" (vs 11-12).

That's quite a statement from Jesus Who came to die for the sins of the world. Now is not the time of conversion for the world. The world has its own version of Christianity, which is a deception. Now is the time for the Church.

Verse 13: "And He said to them, 'Don't you understand this parable? Then how will you know all the other parables? The sower sows the Word'" (vs 13-14). Has the Bible been produced more than any other book in the world? Yes!

Verse 15: "Now the ones by the way, where the Word was sown, these are the ones who hear, but Satan comes at once and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts." Satan is right there.

When we examine the seven churches, will we see Satan at work against the churches? Yes!

Verse 16: "And the ones which were in like manner sown upon the rocky places, these are the ones who when they hear the Word, immediately receive it with joy; but because they have no root in themselves…" (vs 16-17).

Think about how that ties in with the very first Scripture we started with; John 15:5: "I am the vine, and you are the branches. The one who is dwelling in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; because apart from Me you can do nothing."

Verse 4: "Dwell in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, but only if it remains in the vine…"

Mark 4:17: "But because they have no root in themselves, they do not endure; when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, they are quickly offended."

Think about the church experience that you went through. Were there a lot of people offended? Why were they offended? Because there were things going on that shouldn't be going on! Why were they offended to the point of leaving God? many of them? Whether it's permanent or not, only God knows! Because they were taught to look to a man, instead of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

When men do wrong and don't repent, and sin more, and don't repent, pretty soon it gets to a point where there's an explosion. It's happened over and over again in the Churches of God.

God is able then to keep the crop pure. You can read the parable of the tares, the parallel account in Matt. 13. The tares were sown by the devil amongst the church. Did that happen? Yes! What does that prove? Proves the Word of God is true! Proves what Jesus said is true.

Verse 18: "And those which were sown among the thorns, these are the ones who hear the Word, but the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things that come into their lives choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. Now, those which were sown upon the good ground, these are the ones who hear the Word and receive it, and bring forth fruit…" (vs 18-20). That means:

  • you love God
  • you keep His commandments
  • you obey Him
  • you develop the spiritual characteristics in preparation for entering into the Kingdom of God

"…one thirtyfold, and one sixtyfold, and one a hundredfold" (vs 20). Remember the one seed. The seed that we receive from God has two parts (John 14):

  • from the Father
  • from Christ

1-John 3:8: "The one who practices sin is of the devil…" Let's understand a lot of sin is very enticing and looks very good to a lot of people and Satan gives a benefit knowing that the curse will come later.

Sidebar: Walt Disney Productions owns Disneyland—or the other way around ABC, ESPN, and the History Channel. They do pretty good on the History Channel and they have a lot of actors that do pretty good. Then you have the mixture of the good and evil there. Look how it started out—little cartoons. Oh, that's fun, that's good. Satan wants people to have fun. Then he can get them to sin.

Look where it is today. We have a whole generation coming out of school that they are 18-19-year-olds, and you get into college, maybe up to 22-year-olds, that their minds are like 12-13-year-olds. It's reflected in the advertisements to them, because most of those advertisements are cartoons. Why? Because they've been reared on cartoons! You watch that. Watch how many ads are cartoons. How many ads are really challenging mentally? None of them!

"…For this purpose the Son of God appeared that He might destroy the works of the devil" (v 8)—which He will, in His time, according to His plan, as we find in the Holy Days.

Verse 9: "Everyone who has been begotten by God…"—meaning the seed of God has come into your spirit of man. The Spirit of God, which consists of the Spirit of Christ and of the Father, because Jesus said:

John 14:23: "…and We will come to him and make Our abode with him." How does that start out? Just like a little seed! How much did you know when you were baptized? Just enough to receive the seed so it could be planted! What are we supposed to do from there?

  • grow in grace
  • grow in knowledge
  • grow in understanding

that comes by:

  • obeying My voice
  • studying the Bible
  • living by every Word of God

All of those things constitute what is called here 'fruitful ground,' the good ground. You're doing something with it. Also the Spirit of God is working within you to develop the character within the spirit of your mind with the Holy Spirit of God. It's also revealing the evil that is there that you don't even know is there.

I bet every one of us still have in our minds the music of the Christmas carols that we sang when we were growing up. We have another song in there, the first one we learned in kindergarten. A-B-C-D-E-F-G… How much more evil is in there that we don't even know?

As you're going along, what happens is these thoughts come into your mind. You need to repent of them and ask God to clean them out. But what is happening, the Spirit of God is exposing them in your mind so that you can pray about it and ask God to remove them and replace it with the Truth.

1-John 3:9: "Everyone who has been begotten by God does not practice sin…" Doesn't say he doesn't sin. The first part of 1-John says 'if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. If we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive them.' Cannot means does not ever sin!

"…because His seed of begettal is dwelling within him…" (v 9). When you die, what happens to your spirit? It goes back to God! What is that? You began as a seed and you end it as a seed!.

Just like you plant wheat and it grows up. There's the stock, there are the leaves, there's the whole thing, and then there's the head of grain. When you harvest it, you take the grain, you leave all the stems, leaves, roots. Then you take the grain, you get rid of the chaff. What do you have? A grain of wheat! In some cases, thirty grains for one, some cases sixty grains for one, some cases a hundred grains for one.

Just like you had to have the physical body—the mind, and everything like that—in order to be a human being, in order to become a spirit being, a full-fledged son of God, you have to have that Spirit of just men made perfect right at the altar of God, waiting for the resurrection.

"…does not practice sin because His seed of begettal is dwelling within him, and he is not able to practice sin…" (v 9)—because the Spirit of God will prick your conscience. Maybe not all at once, but it will. That's God's Spirit giving you a chance to repent.

"…because he has been begotten by God. By this standard are manifest the children of God and the children of the devil. Everyone who does not practice righteousness… [everything that God commands us to do, beginning with loving God] …is not of God, and neither is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning: that we should love one another" (vs 9-11).

Let's come back here and see where this began. Acts 2 is on the Day of Pentecost. The progression in God's plan is:

  • sacrifice for sin
  • forgiveness of sin
  • overcoming sin—Unleavened Bread
  • receiving God's Spirit

In translating the New Testament I got a whole bunch of Old Testaments from the Baker Society in England:

  • it had Cranmer's translation
  • it had Tyndale's translation
  • it had Coverdale's translation
  • it had Wycliffe's translation

The worst one was Cranmer's!

There was one minister in the Church of God, up in Eugene, Oregon, who used that mistranslation of Acts 2:1 to say that Pentecost was on Monday. Why is that important? What did the Greek say?

Acts 2:1: "And when the Day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day, was being fulfilled…" That is correct from the Greek. Cranmer translated it 'when the Day of Pentecost ended.' So he said, 'See, it's Monday.'

"…was being fulfilled…" Why is this the correct translation? Because this is what is called an articular infinitive! An infinitive is a verb with 'to' in front of it: 'to go' Come is a derivative of 'to go.' An articular infinitive is a special way of having the expression and it was in the present-tense passive, which means it could never have meant ended. It only means 'when it was being fulfilled.'

Let's see what happened, very similar to back there in Exo. 19. The only thing it was, God did not personally come down on the temple, but this was at the temple. All around the temple there were different rooms. The apostles were in the room called Solomon's Porch. That's where they would meet all the time. So they were there at the temple.

Let's stop and think about this Pentecost here for a little bit, why this is very unusual and for the reasons that Jesus finished His three and a half year ministry. The Jews from the Diaspora would be coming up to Jerusalem all the time. They would hear about it. They probably had friends. 'Did you know that I was following this man Jesus around and I saw Him heal. I saw Him heal the blind.' Another one would say, 'I was walking along with this widow woman here and we're going out to bury her son and He walks up to the coffin, lays His hands on it, and says, young man, arise.'

Another one says, 'Hey, just a couple months ago I was in Bethany and I was there when a man named Lazarus was raised from the dead. All He did was say, Lazarus, come out of the tomb and he came out of the tomb.'

Can you imagine what the people were probably expecting? They were wondering what's going to happen. 'Need to go up to Jerusalem to find out. We hear He was dead. Never found His body. Why was He killed? What did He do?' So, they come to the temple.

The apostles were at the temple, the whole group. The biggest congregation that Jesus had was 120. So, here they are and a spectacular miracle occurs.

Verse 2: "And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a powerful wind…" What do we find back in Exo. 19 and 20? The wind blowing, trumpet blowing! What did they blow on the day of Pentecost? The trumpet!

Just picture the whole temple area filled with people, all expecting, waiting for the trumpet to be blown. The daily sacrifice was given and then the trumpet was blown. All of a sudden here is this great miracle. What did Jesus say the Jews demand? A sign! What a powerful sign this was.

"…and filled the whole house… [or room] … where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire… [What was on top of Mount Sinai? Fire!] …and sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit; and they began to speak with other languages…" (vs 3-4).

Imagine that you speak in your language that's in your mind and it comes out of your mouth to the hearer in his language. There must have been at least a dozen or more there. These were all Jews, even some proselytes who were there at the temple. They didn't know what it was; some said they were drunk.

Verse 14: "Then Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke out to them: 'Men, Jews, and all those of you who inhabit Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words. For these are not drunken as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day…. [9 in the morning] …But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…" (vs 14-16)—pouring out the Spirit of God.

Then he preached them Jesus, Jesus crucified, Jesus resurrected. I imagine there were some of those right there in the crowd who were in the group shouting out to Pilate 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!' Peter explains all about it. David's grave is still there. He hasn't ascended to heaven.

Here's the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles. Notice how similar this is to when Jesus began preaching (Mark 1) coming into Galilee:

Verse 36: "'Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with full assurance that God has made this same Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.' Now, after hearing this, they were cut to the heart; and they said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'" (vs 36-37).

Then Peter said to them, 'Bow down and kiss my ring. I announce to you I am the first pope.' No, he didn't!

Verse 38: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you … [Who was to be saved first? The Jews!. There it is right there] …and to all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God may call.' And with many other words he earnestly testified…" (vs 38-39). God has to do the calling. Then 3,000 were baptized.

Let's leap forward to the book of Revelation. If you don't have the dramatized version of the book of Revelation, that's with music and reading, and so forth, you can write in for it.

First chapter of Revelation Jesus says, 'I am the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending, Alpha and Omega.' Then John sees Him in His glorified form.

Revelation 1:17: "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead; but He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, even the One Who is living; for I was dead, and behold, I am alive into the ages of eternity. Amen. And I have the keys of the grave and of death'" (vs 17-18).

All men are trying to figure out how they can live a whole lot longer than their living. They think, 'If we can do it by computers, we can do it by chips, we can do it by genetic engineering, and so forth.'

How far God will let them go, we don't know. Isn't it interesting, they're not willing to come to God, that they may live forever, but they want to live forever their own way. Satan is deluding them in it.

Verse 19: "Write the things that you saw, and the things that are, and the things that shall take place hereafter. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, is this: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven lampstands that you saw are the seven churches" (vs 19-20). Then he lists all the seven churches.

A lot of the commentators say, 'We wish we had something that Jesus wrote. Then we could be assured that it was from Jesus.' These seven letters to the seven churches are directly from Jesus Christ through his scribe, John! That's how they wrote in those days. So these are written directly to the Church.

Scriptural References:

  • John 15:1-5
  • Luke 18:8, 7-8
  • Matthew 13:52
  • Exodus 19:4-6
  • Exodus 23:14-16
  • Exodus 24:1-11
  • Exodus 25:8
  • Deuteronomy 6:1-5
  • Leviticus 23:9-16
  • Mark 4:3-17
  • John 15:5, 4
  • Mark 4:17-20
  • 1-John 3:8-9
  • John 14:23
  • 1-John 3:9-11
  • Acts 2:1-4, 14-16, 36-40
  • Revelation 1:17-20

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Isaiah 5
  • Acts 17
  • Exodus 21-23
  • John 14, 5
  • Matthew 4:4
  • Deuteronomy 8:3
  • Luke 4:4
  • Romans 13
  • Revelation 2, 3
  • Matthew 13
  • Mark 1

Also referenced:

Booklets:

  • Why "Christianity" is Failing in America by Philip Neal
  • The Collapse of Anglican Christianity by Philip Neal

Sermon Series: Quitting Church (churchathome.org)
Sermon: Jesus' Stenographers

From The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, Appendix W: The Two Jehovahs of the Old Testament

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 6-11-17
Formatted: 6/12/17

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