Thursday Bible Study -questions by Pastor Don
Pastor Don sometimes opens up a Bible study by asking those attending if they have any questions and then answers them extemporaneously. I love hearing the questions and answers.
One person asked about what the book of Zechariah was about .
Pastor Don told him that it was half history, half prophecy. It speaks about the establishment of the Temple and the prophetic message, the pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. The priesthood and the Temple is covered as is the Messianic coming of Christ and how the Jews would respond to it, mentioning about the piercing of Christ. The momentum of the anti-Jewish group was quickly being established and they would bring an attack on Israel. Jesus of Nazareth is the true Messiah, and all the Jews had to do was search the Scriptures. The Jews of Jesus’ day should have been capable of tracing the lineage of Jesus back to the High Priest. It mentions the fee of 30 pieces of silver thrown into the temple, the dirty money, and how it would be used to buy a potter’s field. Also mentions the Day of the Lord, the vengeance of God against those who hate, reject, and are apostate. It also mentions the 70 year Babylonian captivity, because the Jews did not obey God’s commands. Most importantly it covers how you can obey in a sincere or an insincere way.
Someone asked about the Jewish Feasts and Sabbaths. There is mention of the Sabbaths and the Holy Seasons. The 7 feasts are holy, Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of First Fruits , The Feast of Pentecost, The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, The Feast of Tabernacles. There is also a celebration of Hanukkah which was established after the Maccabean revolt. The Maccabees recaptured the temple and cleansed it from the defilement that had been performed by it. The had to use the ashes of the red heifer, and light the lamps but they only had enough oil for one day. It took 7 days to make new oil, and God kept the lamps burning for the full 8 days needed to make new oil. The menorah has 9 candles – one candle is higher than the others and is called the servant candle (a picture of Christ) and that one is used to light the other candles. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is also our light, for we know that we are the temple of God.
At this time of year, there is a procession to the temple with those processing carrying lights – a procession of lights. Symbol of Christ’s return to the temple. At this time of year those celebrating Christmas celebrate the birth of Jesus, but most probably it was the time of His conception (Jews do count time in the womb as the first year of life). Jesus was probably born in September, for that would be when the shepherds would have their sheep in the field.
Pastor Don continued to tell us that Jesus’ family history was not from the aristocracy of Israel, but from Nazareth, where no one felt that a Messiah could come from. This allowed all people to identify with him. If he came up from the aristocracy who could relate to him? But all can relate to Jesus.
Then someone asked about the flood and where humans came from if only Noah and his family were there. Pastor Don pointed out that the earth then was not as it was today. People lived longer, the oxygen was more prevalent, and there was a canopy around the earth that kept the destructive radiation of the sun from reaching the planet (now that the ozone layer is deteriorating, we have more problems with sunlight). It was like a terrarium with no need for rain. During this time of no rain, when it had never rained on the earth, Noah built a boat, this was a very prophetic act of Noah, for because of the canopy the earth remained moist and did not get dehydrated, and there was no need for rain.
Today people are finding skeletons and deciding they were millions of years old based on their shape – assuming that it implies that people were evolved from monkeys. But there have been people doing research to decide what a person’s skull would look like if they lived 400 or more years, and the teeth would be larger, the nose would grow, eyebrows would have greater definition, in fact it would look like some of these skulls that are said to be related to the apes. Most of the skulls and bones in the museum and the drawings said to show what the person would look like are blatant lies. The scientists will not tell the truth, that they take one bone from one part of the body and use their imaginations to draw what they think a body would look like.
God tells us in His word that one day is as 1000 years and 1000 years is as one day. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they did die in one day – no one on earth has ever lived to be 1000 years old, some have come close, but none over. God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth, and they, through their disobedience, turned it over to satan, and that began to create a deadly environment for people. Virtue went out of the soil, the soil began to be depleted, and they had to live off of the earth. Sin was on the earth, and this was passed down through the generations. Men began to multiply, and because life was so long, they could have many children and the population increased. Because the gene pool was not polluted at that time, intermarrying did not have the repercussions that it has today. As time went on, the rules about marriage began to change because the gene pool was more polluted, and marriage to close relatives was forbidden by the law. But the population at the time of Noah was tremendous for the people lived long and had many offspring.
Pastor Don also pointed out how wrong scientists have been in their assessment of dinosaurs. For example, the vegetation at the time of the early years was very large and tough and required larger teeth to chew and process. The T-rex was probably not carnivorous, for its teeth were only embedded one inch into the jaws, not deep enough to tear and chew meat, but perfect for tough vegetation.
Then a question was asked about the Holy Spirit, how in the Old Testament it rested on a person, but is within the believer in the New Testament, why the difference.
Pastor Don pointed out that salvation was a process that is only possible according to laws in effect. We may not get what we want when we want it. Mercy calls for justice. It is hard for us to be merciful and just. What stops us from giving a 3-year-old permission to drive a car? It is because they are not ready to drive in many ways from physical to mental. There is justice in not letting them drive a car.
We have a problem when God says “No.” Often what he tells us is, “later,” for His purpose is to bless us, and we cannot get blessed if we are receiving a gift we are not ready to receive. Not everyone has his ministry and marriage just right, yet. Sometimes God gives us time to get healed and to work on those things in our lives that we need to resolve before we are mature enough to handle our ministry or marriage. God waits until it is the right time to say, “Yes.”
Pastor Don said, why would God deliver you from cigarettes if all you are going to do is go back to smoke? God will wait until you are really ready to give up smoking, then He will deliver you.
We need to be patient for it takes a while to grow up (mature) and step into the full benefits of what God wants for us.
Pastor Don could have had a career in professional music while he was out in the world – before becoming a pastor. He played professionally and had the talent, but never got that hit record. He realizes now that he would have destroyed himself had he gotten that hit record back then.
We need to realize that God wants our character developed enough for the blessing to be available to us.
Obedience is not optional. If God says, “Don’t,” don’t.
When the Holy Spirit comes, God comes. The Holy Spirit can’t come and leave His glory somewhere else. He is God, and we can’t ask Him to show up and not want God there too. The Holy Spirit manifests. There is no way for the Holy Spirit, Jesus, or the Father to walk through the door and we are not affected.
If Jesus showed up in this building, He would not come without His glory. When He shows up, something has to change, to manifest, and it changes the atmosphere. That is the difference between a church service and CHURCH SERVICE (where the Presence of God shows up).
Sadly, many churches do not know the presence of the Holy Spirit, and if the Holy Spirit showed up they would not be able to identify it. They may detect that there is something different but not know what that difference is. Something has to give.
Most people know the Presence of the Lord. Even people who do not know Him, can detect Him. The music, singing, and atmosphere changes. They do not always recognize the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
In the days of the Old Testament, God’s mercy made it so God showed up, but His justice limited when and how he could show up. That is why they could not look at His face and live, and why there were rules about who and how God’s Tabernacle could be approached. God is Holy and we are not. God taught the people what to do and how to do it, so that an atmosphere of worship could be created that would permit God’s presence to show up.
God showed up personally in the Garden of Eden and walked and talked with Adam and Eve – there was no sin. They felt no shame around God.
We take years and years of marriage to learn to be comfortable around our spouses, and we still have shame when we are undressed in front of our spouses.
When Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God’s command by listening to satan, they hid – they had shame and were aware that they were naked (without God’s glory). God did not change, they changed, and they hid. Sin entered into the World.
The reality of getting to know God is getting to know yourself without shame, not hide in a closet or sneak around.
Pastor Don had us laughing about the kinds of clothes the people on earth would make with the fig leaves – Jordache Fig Leaves, etc. , but no matter the big name on our clothes or what we are hiding behind, God meets us with out appearances. He knows everything.
Before Pastor Don was born again, he was in the car snorting cocaine, and one day the realization hit him, God said to him, “I see you. If you keep getting high He sees you. Jesus is seeing you do it right in front of Him.” Nothing is hidden from His eyes.
The disobedience of Adam and Eve changed how they could relate to God. God cannot be around the presence of sin, and He needed to provide a way for us to get back to Him so that we can hang out with HIm, so we needed a savior so that our sins would be redeemed. God knew that if He hung out with us in our unclean state we would die.
Yet God did talk with Moses and Enoch walked with God, so it was not impossible to have a relationship with Him.
God made a way for us to come into His presence. Because God is just, if we came to Him in our sinful state God would either have to kill us, or find some way to tone down His violence against sin, or to increase our righteousness. There had to be repentance and atonement for sin.
Man’s sin caused man to be kicked out of the Garden. Mankind made the decision to let evil rule their life. We also make decisions to let sin rule our lives through wrong thinking, disobedience, etc. God sees us as we are, and He knows our sins, even our secret sins.
The light and presence of God destroys sin, and yet God has perfect Justice. God tells us that He will be merciful to us, but we have to deal with our sin. God’s presence changes the atmosphere, and and hidden sin will bring out feelings of shame and condemnation. Sins cannot hide.
Since God wants to hang out with us, have a relationship with us, under the Old Covenant, the best that God could offer was to cover over the sins, and He created a system of sacrifice so that we could spend time with God, but our sin was still there, so our relationship was not in the fullness of intimacy, but we had a chance to be closer to Him. The sacrificial system that God set in place for the Jews was a temporary covering that had to be repeated every year, and for each sin. But Jesus came down as the perfect sacrifice, and His sacrifice dealt with our sins permanently and for eternity. It made it possible for a better intimacy with God. Jesus sacrifice was perpetual, eternal, an eternal sacrifice, so that man had a change of heart. Jesus took away sin for all time and for all things.
God sees our hearts, and we need to believe this in our heart. Faith is greater than any other thing of earth. The power of sin has been destroyed by Jesus’ sacrifice.
In the Old Testament sin was covered over, with a covenant with God. But it was only a partial covering for the blood of bulls and goats could not fully atone for our sins. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, and at the proper point of time He came to the Earth and gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He will come again and Tabernacle (be with us).
Jesus told us that until that time, He would send His comforter to be with us, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would be perpetually available to us here on earth. God would write the law on our hearts and the Holy Spirit would help us to obey that law. God is no longer at a distance, His Spirit is within us, and will help us to deal with our stuff. We HAVE BEEN delivered, so it is time for us to do something.
Being in a relationship with God is a choice you make. The Holy Spirit is in us when we make that choice and He will never leave or forsake us. He will not walk out on us no matter what we do. He is FAITHFUL, so how can He be anything but ASSURITY, PEACE, HONEST, TRUSTWORTHY.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit rested upon people, but in the New Testament it is an inside job. Jesus was Spirit-filled, and we find that the greatest miracles and wonders are done by those who are spirit filled.
Jesus fed the 5,000 (more like 15,000 if you count wives and children), with a few loaves of bread and fish. They had a picnic. But why did Jesus feed them? They had spent 3 days listening to teachings without food. Jesus knew they needed food. The power of the Holy Spirit working through Jesus multiplied that food to feed thousands.
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
What is the measure of Christ’s gift. Jesus was given the Holy Spirit without limit, all the power of God was available to Him while He was on the planet. We also have all that power and can access it, it is the gift of Jesus Christ. We have all the power in Heaven and Earth given to us to use with no limit. Grace entails the ability and gifts of God. Why did we get it, we see it in verse 8
Ephesians 4:8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”
When Jesus ascended He left the planet, but captivity was captive. It is for this reason that we have authority on earth, and satan is not our captor. We do not need to wait for Jesus to do something here on earth about the problem of sin, Jesus ALREADY DID something, and then He left us with all His power and authority to deal with our circumstances here on earth.
Adam and Eve were happy sitting in the Garden, and enjoying all that God gave them. Then satan comes and asks a question – Did God say?… Eve says yes, and chose to disobey God, doubting God’s Word. She did not believe God, and that’s the problem we all face. When are we going to believe what God says?
Pastor Don says that his job as a pastor is to get people to believe that what God says is the truth, and it will turn out just as God says. We tend to think that God REALLY did not mean this or that, and try to switch what God said to fit our desires. But God tells the truth and He stands on His Word. His word does not change due to customs or traditions of our day and age. His Word stands.
Eve ate the fruit because it LOOKED good. So much of what satan presents us looks good, but he does not show us the ugly side of what he is presenting. Why can’t we be content, happy and blissful, which we can only be if we trust God. TRUE FREEDOM comes in complete dependence of God. It does not make logical sense to our selfish selves, but truly God has our best at heart and knows what will work best for our lives.
We all believe certain lies when it seems to be to our advantage. But the truth is those lies will lead to our disadvantage. We think that certain things are true for others, but that somehow if we disobey God we will not get hurt by it. Satan uses the media to make us feel that we are “missing” something by obeying God, that somehow God does not want us to have pleasure or good things in our lives. The media works at making us feel that way.
To get blessed we need to develop the ability to obey God, especially in these last days. There are sins of OMISSION and sins of COMMISSION, both are sins and can leave us in a bad way.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
God wants to be with us, but some of the stuff we love puts a wall between us and God. He can break through any wall, but does not want to force us. He wants us to ask Him in. So He waits until we are ready to accept His promise and a new level of intimacy that we have not know.
In retrospect, when we look back at our time of living in obedience to God we will see it is worth every moment to get to know Him. Our sins will not pervert God, but they do pervert us if we don’t believe that He is the propitiation, the sacrifice. He loves us no matter who we are or what we were. Where the rubber meets the road, we can trust that God is with us. He has a plan, but we keep trying to do things our way, and we need to get back to His perfect plan for us.
Mercy without Justice is out of balance. Jesus gave gifts to man, and the Holy Spirit is the best gift. He is a person we can know Him and He knows us, corrects us, talks with us, and helps us to know God’s will for our lives.
What a great question and answer session we had.
Hoping you are getting all you need done for Christmas. We are having a peaceful, quiet, and simple Christmas this year. I am just grateful that my children are all home for Christmas. Praying your Christmas is blessed!
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