OAFSaSNotes 2020

Handwritten Notes below are for OAF Sabbath School Sessions:


1/18/2020, 1/25/2020, 2/1/2020, 2/8/2020, 2/15/2020, Midrash, 2/22/2020, 2/29/2020, 3/7/2020, 3/14/2020,
3/21/2020, 3/28/2020, 4/4/2020, 4/11/2020, 4/18/2020, 4/25/2020, 5/2/2020, 5/9/2020, 5/16/2020, 5/23/2020, 5/30/2020, 6/6/2020, 6/13/2020 (just gathered online for music and chat), 6/20/2020, 6/27/2020, 7/4/2020, 7/11/2020, 7/18/2020, 7/25/2020, 8/1/2020, 8/8/2020, 8/15/2020, 8/22/2020, 9/5/2020, 9/12/2020, 9/19/2020, 9/26/2020, 10/3/2020, 10/10/2020, 10/17/2020, 10/24/2020, 10/31/2020, 11/7/2020, 11/14/2020, 11/21/2020, 11/28/2020, 12/5/2020, 12/12/2020, 12/19/2020, 12/26/2020.


Recordings of the same are found by clicking here.



Guest Facilitator — Steve Smith
Questions posed:
* If we were to create a set of beliefs, how would we decide to proceed?
* How did the Council of Nicaea start?
The Council talked about whether or not a leader of the Church should be allowed to live with a woman. Decided it was okay if mother, sister, aunt. Council also discussed whether or not Jesus is divine.
The list of SDA beliefs were shown on the projector, so we started going through them, one-by-one, to discuss whether or not we agreed with the official SDA position on it.
HOLY SCRIPTURES — Consensus seemed to be that a relationship with God is important to add into the description.
TRINITY — Consensus of our group is that the stated position is accurate, though there was some debate on whether the “all-knowing” part about the Triune Godhead is accurate. What do we do with the verse about even Jesus not knowing when He’s coming back? (see Matthew 24)
— It was brought up that the Father raised Jesus from the grave, Jesus raised Himself, and the Holy Spirit raised Jesus. (see this link)
— Steve mentioned that 316 of the 318 at the Council said “yes” that Jesus is divine.
— Steve brought up polymath Thomas Young and his light wave/particle experiments, explaining that’s what helps him think about the nature of God (being both One and Triune).
— Steve mentioned he actually counts God as being 9 (Father, Son, and Holy Spirits (7)).
* Point of clarity from Steve — It is like the quantum nature of light in that it is both a wave and a particle. Therefore, he believes the Holy Spirit is one as well as seven.
Other questions pondered in class:
– Did we exist before we had a body?
– Was Jesus a man? Fully man and fully divine? Did He retain His divinity?
– Did Jesus know He was going to rise?
— One class member suggested reading Psalm 139.
We talked about Jesus’s sacrifice and our role to play as well as what the 144,000 are to do. Steve played “devil’s advocate” again (chuckle), saying that if he were Satan, he’d be saying, “Of course Jesus could be sin-free, even in the face of death. He was God!” But, if mere non-divine mankind could do the same with God’s help, then God’s plan is the best. One class member mentioned that it is all about trust in God, trust like Jesus’s, Job’s, and Abraham’s.
Further Reading: John 2:18-22, Matthew 12:39-40, Matthew 16:21, Matthew 27:62-64


FacilitatorRon Claus
Subject: The Sabbath
* Ron mentioned that one of the things that really struck him about our Fellowship is their perspective — “We exist to serve and help, as a church.” He liked that.
* “The Sabbath is God’s gift to us, a time for rest and restoration of our connection to God and others. It reminds us of God’s creation and Jesus’ grace.” (see link)
* Ron shared relevant scriptures — Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12 .
* One student said that Sabbath might be like the time of wandering after being freed from Egyptian slavery. Maybe they had PTSD as a group. There’s a lot of suffering as a slave, and by the time they were freed, they were likely a wreck — culturally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. They needed time to work that all out of their system as a nation. Perhaps we need Sabbath to work all the week’s “stuff” out of our systems.
* It was mentioned that this was “service Sabbath” where church members go out into the community and help people with things around their households that they personally cannot do.
* There was some discussion about what “work” is and how it might mean something different for one person than it does for another.
* It was pointed out that a past decision by the Fellowship was to have service Sabbath, yet we have new members and maybe the subject needs discussed again. What is Sabbath? What is work? What are we supposed to do on Sabbath?
* Student Question: “As a church, how strict are we?”
* Numbers 15:32-36 was brought up by one student, as an example.
* One student mentioned that maybe the definition of work is anything nonessential. In other words, if your work is in the medical or emergency field, then it would be allowable on Sabbath — anything that brings life and care to others. If it can be done on a different day and cause no harm, then it might be “work.”
* One student mentioned having worked on a caregiving team where he was asked to work on Sabbath. After prayer with his wife, he decided that he would refuse and quit. Not long after, another employer found out about that refusal and hired him.
* Steve’s write-up on the topic.
* Student Question: “Does the day matter as long as you pick one day a week to dedicate to God?”
(Further discussion will occur next Sabbath.)
The bell tolled.

2/8/2020 (Notes from Ron)

Books about Sabbath that I have found helpful.

The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics , Ched Myers
The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Herschel
The Sabbath World, Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, Judith Shulevitz
Subversive Sabbath, The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World, A. J. Swoboda

Sabbath Discussion 2/8/2020

Purpose of discussion> Not to prescribe the proper sabbath behavior, but to describe the range of what this community of faith considers sabbath observance. We recognize that this community of faith is diverse and contains a wide range of understanding and experience of and about God, with each taking the words of Scripture seriously.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Discussion> We remember things that are happy, birthdays, anniversaries of our first fish, good times at Disneyland. We also remember times which were difficult or traumatic through which we have emerged, with our perspectives, personalities and understandings, enlarged and enhanced. It is interesting that the Sabbath commandment is given twice with different rationale, the first being the happy remembrance of God’s creation, and the second the remembrance of being in slavery in Egypt and God’s rescuing.

What does it mean to “Remember”? The Hebrew zākar (H2142) occurs some 238 times in the OT, fifty-seven of which are in the Psalms. It is usually translated as remember, “remembered,” or “remembrance,” but a few other translations include: “mention, think, and mindful.” It means not only to remember but also “to think of or pay attention to.”

Discussion> Remembering takes conscious effort, it is a way of re-experiencing something, or the feelings of that something. Remembering is active and intentional, not passive and rote or automatic. There is something in this command that implies that a habitual practice of Sabbath keeping is not what God had in mind, but that he desires a continual reevaluation of the the day in context with our past and present situations.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
The word, Sabbath means “ceasing”, “resting”, “reposing”. God after the acts of creation “sabbathed.”
In many languages and cultures, Sabbath and Saturday are the same word, and interestingly, that is not limited to languages surrounding the Hebrew areas of the Middle East. Some 30+ languages out of the 100+ looked at had this linguistic feature.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

The word “holy” means to set apart, to separate, to distinguish, to be special, to be for a different purpose.

So putting these three word meanings together we get something like…

Continue to think about, keep mindful your usage of the day of ceasing, resting, reposing which is set apart from the other days for something special.

Questions to think about for next week’s discussion:

What is your definition of HOLY, what things/events/people do you separate from others for special purposes?

The commandment goes on to say “six days shalt thou labor… but not on the sabbath”.

What is your definition of work/labor?

Possibly helpful links:
God Creates:
God Saves (verse 6, 12):
Study member Steve’s research:
* https://l.facebook.com/l.php…
* Steve’s Google study about “Sabbath” in the various languages
* 1 Thess 3:11-13

Links to reading that Ron mentioned:


* “Sabbath is for us, for time with Him. It has to be an active process — not something we did ‘last year.’ It is a time to ‘cease.’ An intimate time with Him.”
* We read Genesis 2:1-3 — “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis+2%3A1-3&version=NIV
* “Sabbath is sanctified; set apart from for a sacred purpose.”
* “As we look at God creating then resting in review, maybe He was setting an example. We are to sit back with Him and review our week’s work for Him.”
* “It may be a day where He imbues us with His own characteristics. When we actively seek Him and His perspective, we gain insight from Him.”
* “As we remember the Sabbath, we are taking on more of His holiness.”
* Question presented: Is there anything in Scripture that says this day is different?
* “For six days, God was creative. Then, He rested. Some take that to mean we cannot do anything perceived to be creative on Sabbath. They won’t cut paper or hammer a nail on Sabbath.”
* “The seventh day wasn’t holy until God spoke that it was.”
* “According to dictionary.com, ‘holy’ means ‘inspiring awe.'”
* “God makes it holy by spending time with us, if we choose to spend time with Him.”
* “I like Sabbath because we do this. We gather together with like-minded people, and that’s part of what makes it sacred. We don’t do this every day.”
* “And, this goes deeper than just awe. It goes more into the Mystery.”
* “Sabbath is a different engagement of an aspect of you. We have different parts of who we are — physical, mental, spiritual. Sabbath is when we go deep into the spiritual. Think of what time with Him does to our countenance. Think of when Moses came back from spending time with God on Mt. Sinai ( https://biblehub.com/exodus/34-29.htm ). Think of 2 Corinthians 3:18 — ( https://biblehub.com/2_corinthians/3-18.htm ). The more time we spend with Him in His holiness, the more we shine His Light and are sanctified/holy.”
* “One thing I’ve always noted is that Jesus, when here, didn’t set up any holy places, items, or people. He didn’t set up any holy days that weren’t already established. I find that interesting.”
* “Look at Exodus 34:10 — ‘Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.’ He is saying that He does awesome actions. When we try to honor Him by keeping the Sabbath, He will honor us with His Presence and fill us with awe of Him.”
* Question proposed: What does it mean to labor/work? What does that mean to you?
* Exodus 33:14 was quoted — “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”” (NIV)
* Question proposed: Is it okay to keep another day as Sabbath?
* “It seems to be our human character to ask, ‘Why can’t it be another day? Does it matter?’ But, that is our asking Him to adjust to us, to what we want. We need to adjust to Him and to what He commands us to do.”
* Examples given where disobedience on exactly what He said was important resulted in punishment — Jericho, Moses with the rock, etc.
* “But, how do we know which day it is? We have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…now. How do we know Saturday is the 7th?”
* “The days were named later. They were numbered before.”
* “How do we know there were seven? Has it always been 7? When did that start?”
* “From the beginning…Creation. Six days of God creating, then He rested on the 7th. He set it.”
* “I think it is a good argument that Saturday is Sabbath because the Jews have been keeping the seventh day as Sabbath for thousands of years. They’ve set aside the day and kept it that way. Eighty to ninety of the languages in Google translate said ‘Sabbath’ means Saturday.”
* “As the Israelites came out of Egypt, they had to learn a lot, including what Sabbath was to look like. They needed to learn obedience and how to walk with God.”
* “I think it comes down to our needing to decide whether or not we follow God or we follow man. God says, ‘I don’t want you to work on this day.’ Our employer says, ‘I want you to work on this day.’ That is a choice we have to face. Our choice shows where we are with God.”
* “As we think on this, we should think about when Sabbath-keeping started. It started before we were given the commandment among the ten. It started at Creation, but look at the giving of the manna where they were to gather extra and prepare it on the sixth day because they wouldn’t be given any on the seventh day. That was before Mt. Sinai. This is important to Him.”

“Midrash, which initially struck me as something of a cross between biblical commentary and fan fiction, introduced me to a whole new posture toward Scripture, a sort of delighted reverence for the text unencumbered by the expectation that it must behave itself to be true. For Jewish readers, the tensions and questions produced by Scripture aren’t obstacles to be avoided, but rather opportunities for engagement, invitations to join in the Great Conversation between God and God’s people that has been going on for centuries and to which everyone is invited.”

Rachel Held Evans, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again

What is midrash?


* “Agreement isn’t our goal; rather, to understand one another and let the text come alive in us.”

* One of the goals of Midrash — “Her story reveals how the biblical text comes alive in the context of community, its endless shades and contours revealed in the presence of a diversity of readers—young and old, learned and unlearned, rich and poor, historic and contemporary, living and dead. This style of engagement not only brings us closer to Scripture’s many truths, but closer to one another. The sacred text becomes a crucial point of contact, a great dining room table, erected by God and set by God’s people, where those who hunger for nourishment and companionship can gather together and be filled.” — from Rachel Held Evans’s “Inspired

* We read in Exodus 16 about collecting manna and how it worked with Sabbath.

“God gave them what they needed; maybe not in an expected way. He gave them food. But, what is it? God takes care of us, but sometimes we miss that because we are looking for it some other way. We are looking for a different answer to our prayers.”

* “It is hard for humans to change or adapt.”

* “God says, ‘If you would submit, watch what I’ll do.'”

* “If you’re happy with what you have, you’ll be happy with what you get.”

* “Be content in whatever state you find yourself.”

* “The command was strict, ‘Don’t even go look for the manna on Sabbath.'”

* “Thirty days after their release from Egypt, they started getting the manna and observing the Sabbath. Fifty days after, they received the Ten Commandments. So, there was some understanding of God’s Law before the commandments were given.”

* “They could have gotten to Canaan earlier than the 40 years. They probably stayed put in various places for years at a time. The 40 years was a time of learning, becoming habitually tied to God and seeing His provisions.”

* In both Genesis and Exodus, “shabath” is used.

* Question asked: Why are we trying, as humanity, to dismiss Saturday being Sabbath?

* One answer: “cognitive indolence.” (lazy thinking)

* Think about the difference between:

— what happened when people went out to look for manna on Sabbath, though God had told them not to do so

— collecting sticks on Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36)

— reprimand vs stoning

— Is the question, “Can we love a God who does this?” ?

* Did God change? After the Cross, is He more lenient?

* “He is the same God. He has the same heart.”

* “Our picture of Him pay have changed over time. We are still accountable to Him in whatever time.”

* “Maybe the difference between the sticks and the manna is intentional sin and unintentional sin.”
* “In Numbers 15, it does talk about the difference before you get to the gathering sticks story.”

* “Maybe the stick collector was going to build a fire to make a sacrifice to an idol. Maybe there was a deeper reason why he was gathering sticks.”

* “Maybe in the case of the manna, it was just curiosity. ‘Is it out there on the Sabbath? Let’s see.'”

* Theodicy — rewritten as “The Odyssey”

— “There’s no solid answer to this that works for all. The Bible calls us to engage with its text and think it through together.”


* 19 different books of the Bible mention the Sabbath; many of the passages being in Exodus and Leviticus.
* We read Exodus 31:14-17 — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+31%3A14-17&version=NIV
* Regarding the Numbers 15:32-36 story about stick-gathering, Ron looked and found no other reference to someone being put to death for working on the Sabbath.
* Question asked: Is being put to death the same as being “cut off from the community?”
* “I think this is partly a metaphor. There are several stories out there of young people, like in their 20s and 30s who work non-stop, not taking a rest at all. They drop dead early in their lives. This is an example of His knowing us and designing us to need to rest. Otherwise, we just work our bodies into the ground.”
* “This is serious. This explains how serious.”
* Question asked: So, is the stick-gatherer set as an example for us?
* “Last week, it was mentioned that there might have been a nefarious reason for the man to be collecting sticks. That the manna was provided by God, and they simply went out to check if it was there on Sabbath. Perhaps the stick gatherer had a different motive.”
* “But the Exodus scripture we read doesn’t mention conditions. It just says you will be put to death.”
* “I would suggest we read in Numbers 15 what it says before the sticks story. Go back several verses before. It is talking about intentional versus unintentional sin.”
* “So, maybe the stick gathering was deliberate rebellion.”
* We read scripture before the sticks story — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=numbers+15&version=NIV
* “This is also talking about what is expected from native-born Israelites compared to non-Israelites and foreigners.”
* “In Exodus 35, it also talks about starting a fire on Sabbath.” — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+35&version=NIV
* “I think this also might be demonstrating the difference between God’s requirements and man’s wisdom.”
* “I think we need to think through the questions of ‘Why does it matter? Does it matter to the studier?'”
* “Maybe we need to think about where this is on Alden Thompson’s law pyramid.” In response, Ron drew the law pyramid on the white board. J.C. came up to the board and summarized the progression of maturity in the Christian walk.

* “The punishment here, stoning, is culturally-based. Death comes as the result of sin, no matter what era you’re in.”
“So, what you’re saying is that the ultimate trajectory is toward death. As soon as we sin, we begin to die or move toward our eventual death. Like the Bible says, ‘The wages of sin is death.'” (several nods around the room)
* We read Leviticus 23:3. “Here, ‘holy assembly’ is added to our instructions.” — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=leviticus+23%3A3&version=NIV
* “I think work is a gift from God, just as rest or Sabbath is. He led by example. He worked, and then He rested. Both are gifts from Him…something we dedicate to Him.”
* “It also says we should do ‘no regular work’ or ‘no customary work.'”
* We read Leviticus 24:8 and on. — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=leviticus+24&version=NIV
* We read Leviticus 25:1-6 — https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=leviticus+25&version=NIV
* “There’s a family we know that does this.”
* “Letting the land lay fallow for a year is good farming practice.”
* “Is this about not selling the crop on the seventh year but rather only gleaning and eating what you and your family can use?”
* A study member mentioned a book he read called, “How Should We Then Live?” by Francis Schaeffer.
* “Is this driving us to definite ‘Sabbath’ for ourselves?”
* “I think what we are doing is really enjoyable, this gathering together to hash out what we each think. This really is enjoyable for me, and I thank you all for this.” (general agreement in the room)
* “I think we tend to define things based on our experiences. Our experiences are brief, though. Each person’s lifespan is brief in the scope of time. There are days where I think I’ve experienced enough already. Death isn’t something I really look at and fear.”
* “Sabbath can be looked at as a celebration of Creation. It is communion with God in celebration of what He did and does. I find it interesting that God’s last day of activity during Creation was man’s first.”
* “Perhaps this is a call for us to evaluate our footprint on the world….to think about how we interact with others.”
* “The word used for Sabbath in Greek is the ‘down’ version, so it is talking about God coming down to fellowship with us.”
* “Perhaps what we need to think about regarding Sabbath is, ‘How does God want us to live?'”


* Slide displayed when we entered: “Midrash on Sabbath”
* Comment from Peanut Gallery: “Is that a rash on your stomach?” 😆
* We read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 — “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV)
* Also, John 3:8 — “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (NIV) Note that “wind” in this verse is ‘pneuma’ in Greek.
* Also, Hebrews 4:12 — “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (NIV)
* “So, scripture is God’s breath. It is alive.”
* Question asked: In what ways do you think Scripture is alive?
* “It reveals who you truly are. It goes where you normally wouldn’t go, revealing things about you.”
* “Scripture is constantly redefining life, us, relationships…”
* “I think this is part of what the Abomination of Desolation is. We are choosing. The abomination is my choosing death over life, choosing negative over positive. It is spiritual rather than physical. Sin is alive and well in me. So is Christ. Which do I pick?”
* “John 3 talks about those born of the Spirit. I cannot judge how others are moved.”
* “The Word is living because the Word is God.”
* “I find that when I’m reading the Bible, I may see something enlightening in a verse this time that I didn’t see that way last time I read it. You can read a verse hundreds of times before it will suddenly stand out right when you need it.”
* “We are His. If you live in God, He is alive and with you.”
* “In the ‘Inspired’ book we talked about last time, it says we often ask ‘What does it mean?’ when reading the Bible. Instead, ask, ‘What am I looking for?’ If you are looking for love and growth, you’ll find it. If you’re looking for excuses, you’ll find it.”
* “How about, ‘WHO am I looking for?'”
* “Maybe ‘Why is God important to me?’ is more fulfilling than ‘What should I do?'”
* “We should look less for answers and more about Who He is and trying to draw close to Him.”
* “Maybe we should do both because one leads to the other.”
* “Isn’t maturity in Christ an interesting concept?!”
* “Can you imagine the depths of maturity we’ll blossom into in eternity?!”
* “I find that the Bible is rather dry when I go to it to try to prove something to someone or straighten THEM out. It is much better when my approach is to read to make ME better.”
* “Do I need to come to the Bible with questions at all? Or, can I just go to the Bible and see where it takes me? Let Him lead.”
* Ron: “That’s the Living Word aspect, isn’t it?” (several nods)
* Ron: “The Israelites were given their freedom from Egypt, then they were given the Law. The Laws were given as freedom tools. That’s the context in which they were given. God invites me into freedom via the Bible.”
* We read Leviticus 23:1-8.
* Ron: “In verse 3, it says not to do ‘any work,’ then in verse 8 it talks about how we are told to ‘do no regular work.’ (comments about some versions saying ‘no customary work” and ‘no laborious work.”) So what is that about?”
* “I think that’s whatever keeps you away from assembly.”
* “I think it is about my motive behind the work. Am I there to pay the bills or because I have a mortgage. Or, am I helping someone?”
* “I was an employee for a power company. The power went out on Sabbath. We worked to get it fixed and restore power. I found out that one of the residents who’d lost power needed it to run their oxygen pump, so we were helping them.”
* Question presented: “So, is the 7th day command to refrain from work the same as the festival refraining from work?”
* “To me, they are different. It says NO work on the 7th day. It is no CUSTOMARY work for the festival days.”
* “We seem to select the parts of the Bible we want to follow. We ask how much of this in Leviticus was applicable to those back then and not to us in modern times.”
* “And, as we were saying earlier, what is my day 7 compared to your day 7?”
* “For some overseas, their Sabbath is already over.”
* “Are you saying I can go with another country’s Sabbath and worship on that day instead?”
* “I think the seventh day matters and always has.”
* “Look at the festivals and Jesus’s life events. Certain parts of His life, death, and resurrection happened at specific times. If that meant enough to God to have that happen, specific times and specific days matter to Him.”
* “For the Israelites back then, they were living it. They received no manna on the seventh day, so there was no question for them which day was the seventh.”
* “Hmmm. Was there manna on the festival sabbaths?”
* “Good question.”
* “The Festival of First Fruits was a predictive festival, predicting Christ’s resurrection. It was also predictive of their entering Canaan back in Exodus.”
* “It’s also a giving back to Him what He provided.”
* “I think the festivals are evidence that set-aside sabbaths are important to God.”
* “God says it is okay to help others on Sabbath. It is not our job to judge how someone else keeps Sabbath.”
* “I think ‘essential to life’ tasks are okay. If it is a day-to-day task that can be delayed, it isn’t essential to life. So, it can wait until another day.”
* “I think it comes back to our conscience. If I don’t do something or I do something and feel guilty about it, it is probably a sin. That happens in a relationship with God. So, my conscience is part of keeping Sabbath.”
* “We lived on a farmer’s homestead. They were concerned that if they had to be gone, we wouldn’t feed the animals on Sabbath. We told them that we wouldn’t let the animals suffer, that they need food on the Sabbath. You look ahead at the consequences of doing or not doing something on Sabbath and decide based on compassion for others.”
This is what is used in John 3:8 for both “The wind” and “the Spirit.”
More on “pneuma”:
I’m finding this word for “Spirit” where Genesis 1:2 says, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
And, this word for “darkness” in the first part of Genesis 1:2 where it says, ”
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

Notes for OAF Sabbath School 3-14-2020, taken by Anna.

Ron gave a brief review of recent discussions. Reviewed the terms: “remember”; “Sabbath,” and the meaning including ‘to cease’ or ‘to rest’; and, “work,” including discussion of normal work.

He also mentioned how it deals with the experience of the day – walking, or dancing, with the ideas in Scripture and with a focus on our experience with God.

Discussion started with the idea that God desires our participation.

Sabbath points to some other rest.

Deut 3:18-20 rest comes after work

Deut 12:8-12

Deut 25:19

Josh 1:10-18 — God gave them rest…there is a reference to remember.

Josh 24:11-25 — God gave them the land.

Question from group: How do we follow all of God’s laws today? (alluding to the harsh punishments in the OT for various things) How should we practice them now?

How do we decide what to practice? Is it cultural? Is it the law of Moses vs the 10 Commandments?

Someone mentioned that the 10 Commandments may be of greater importance or authority, since they were under the mercy seat rather than on the outside of the ark.

Do we think it is important to engage with what God has said? Do we dance with the ideas? Wrestling? Coming to grips?

As to the law of Moses (such as divorce, unclean meats, or mixing fabrics), was the solution perfect? Jesus elaborates on some of these, like Jesus saying that divorce was allowed, “due to the hardness of your hearts.”

Does God accept the results as engagement with humanity?

There is tension in the verses….God says, “I gave you a work to do, a job.” Yet, God also does the work Himself. The work doesn’t earn anything, but we still need to be working.

God wants us to “fit into the family,” and it takes time to learn what it means to fit in.

We get greater knowledge as we mature.

God is faithful to bring us to where we need to be.

There is a foundation to build on as we mature.

Ps 95:1-11 – enter rest…promise, worship, obedience, listen

Listen – Shema – the concept of valuing what is heard, of taking it seriously.

Were “those” commandments culturally based and for “them” with all the references to the event of the Exodus. Reference to “what I require.” Micah 6:8

Preview of next week:

Finish reading OT verses referring to a future rest other than the weekly Sabbath. Noting that, in the NT, Jesus says “I am the rest.” Comment by Ron that he doesn’t see it as just for the Israelites.

3/21/2020 Sabbath School Notes (I had a different set-up for the next Sabbaths, so could take notes as usual; keep scrolling for next Sabbath’s notes. Jennifer)

* We were “live” via Zoom. Thanks, Ron and Steve.

* I didn’t take notes because I was working with a computer (for audio) and Bible in one hand and my phone (for video) in the other hand. You didn’t know I could juggle like that, eh?! 

* But, the verses we studied are below:

Hebrews 4 in relation to “rest.”

Psalm 95 in relation to “rest.”

Mark 2, most specifically verse 27-28: “And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.'” (RSV)


* Ron read about midrash and letting the Biblical text come alive then asked, “How does this resonate with you in this time?”

* “God desires our participation as individuals and as a community.”

* “In the desert, rest is promised to Israel.”

* We read Exodus 33:13-14.

* “There’s a weekly cycle where we find rest on the Sabbath.”

* We read Joshua 22:1-11.

* “There’s a rest that’s being given. What does that include?”

* Some of the answers:

— “They are worshiping.”

— “They are resting from their labors.”

— “God said they are in the land and they have the rest.”

* “How is their discord while still given rest?”

— “Rest is part of the relationship being their despite the circumstances.”

— “They are going back to their normal lives after the war they had so that the land could belong to Israel. They’d been in the desert. Now, they’ve been at war.”

* “So, which is more restful — the desert of Canaan?”

— “The desert. They stayed in place and rested quite often.”

— “They entered the Promised Land, and that’s the rest.”

— “We need to remember that some stayed in the Promised Land, and some went back over the Jordan. They received ‘special rest’ no matter where they were. They were going to have problems no matter what, but they still had ‘special rest.'”

— “I think they had it easier in the desert. They weren’t building cities. There weren’t gardens to weed, etc.”

— “Yet, we can have God’s rest regardless of what we’re doing.”

— “The Promised Land side looks like more work and effort.”

* “So, how does this inform us?”

— “Distractions. When there are a lot of distractions, they take us away from our main focus – God.”

* “So, it take more work from us to remain focused. How can rest involve more work?”

— “In our nation, we enjoy work. Work is taken away from us as punishment.”

* “How is Sabbath related to work?”

— “Hopefully, it is a part of your greater ministry.”

* “There is a ceasing that happened when they went into Canaan, but something new, too. They were to do no work on the Sabbath, but they were to keep it holy, too. Keeping it holy might have involved work. They were building a new kingdom with God at the head of it. Their work level might not have been different, but the focus of that work may have been different.”

* “We narrowly define ‘rest’ in the English language; but for the Hebrews, it wasn’t that way. For them, it was a ceasing from one thing to start something else.”

— “It reminds me of Lent that is observed in some churches. It is a giving up of one thing to pick up another that is for God. It’s like what the Catholics and other more liturgical churches do.”

* “It is an odd thing for the Western mind to comprehend.”

* “When they were freed from Egypt, they entered into a new relationship with God. The book of Hebrews talks a lot about rest. God talks about where He’s going to rest. In us, He finds His rest. Rest takes reconciliation.”


Original notes: “– Read the different accounts in the Gospels about Jesus healing the woman in the temple. Read to see the differences and think them through.”
** Now that I’ve gone to look for this, I’m thinking Ron must have said to look for different accounts of Jesus healing people (not just the crippled woman) on the Sabbath.


Note from Ron: Please read the verses posted earlier as an assignment for 4/11/2020.

* We read Matthew 5:17,18 aloud. Why necessary? [Verses 17 and 18: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”]

* We read Hebrews 4:1-8 aloud.

* If there’s disobedience and/or lack of faith, rest is not experienced.

* “Goes back to the Garden and the first sin. God said death would have to happen in order to fix it.”

* Question: “If something is fulfilled, isn’t it over or completed?” Answer: “If fulfillment of the Law happens, you enter rest.”

* What was missing from Jewish life?

— Faith; didn’t achieve rest in the wilderness; trust.

— They trusted in their own deeds rather than on God.

— “My yoke is easy; My burden is light.”

* Ron did a study on the word, “fulfill.” The Hebrew word has the idea of accomplishing, upholding, carrying it out. It is meant to properly interpret the Torah.

— Comment: “If you use the word “perform” in place of “fulfill,” it often brings better understanding.

— “To perform the Law as God intended. Yes.”

* For the word “abolish,” the Hebrew root is “to uproot.” So, effectively, Jesus said (in paraphrase), “I’ve not come to uproot the Law but rather to interpret it as it is meant to be interpreted.”

* Comment: Sadducees were in charge of the temple; the Pharisees did most of the writing and, therefore, controlled history. But, it is dangerous to stereotype. The average citizen wasn’t “Israel going astray.”

* “When talking about Israel going astray, it is talking about a minority group in power going astray, yes.”

* “There are seven recording healings on Sabbath day.”

* Read Mark 1:29-34 aloud. What things do you notice here or what does this make you think about?

— He healed her by touching her.

— The rest were healed after sundown.

— The whole city gathered.

— She was healed not in the temple and without any religious people around.

— Simon’s mother-in-law served them after she was healed.

— Her healing/rest motivated her to do for others.

— This makes me wonder what is essential work and what is routine, unnecessary work?

— “This doesn’t mean any action on Sabbath is wide open to us.”

— “This says to me that beneficial work (serving others) is good on Sabbath.

— “Maturity in our relationship with Christ allows you to know what is good or okay on Sabbath. Some work harmonizes precisely with what Sabbath is for, especially when God uses us to serve another. Judging others on how they spend their Sabbath is not our place.”

— “Preparing food may have brought her joy. She didn’t get to cook maybe while she was sick. So, it was a gift to her to suddenly be able to serve again in that way.”

* We talked about the Lineage Journey YouTube videos.

* We talked about ADRA.

* We talked about Sam Leonor on YouTube. One of you had mentioned that the Sam Leonor sermon on “marshmallows” was good, but I’m not sure where to find that. 🙂


* Quick recap: “fulfill the Law” means that Jesus came to properly interpret and live according to the Torah.
* We read Mark 2:23-28. Those with farm backgrounds told us how it is second nature for grain growers to grab some grain as they are walking through the field and chew on it. The disciples were gleaning and snacking as they walked.
* Question: Do we need the same re-interpretation on this that the Jew leaders did?
* Question: Have I become complacent with the interpretation of Sabbath and not open to re-interpretation?
* Question: What story is referred to in verse 25? Read in 1 Samuel 21 about the shewbread.
* Question: What Law is Jesus using to say that the disciples are okay? Ceremonial Law. Did the Jewish leaders see a difference between the two? Or, is all Law on the “same playing field?”
* We talked about Moses getting the Law from God and where the story can be found in multiple places in the Bible, but we’re sometimes least familiar with the Exodus 34 version.
* Question: We this not necessarily a weekly Sabbath but rather one of the other Sabbaths observed?
* Is this story in Mark pointing out that Jesus is like David?
* Comments from the group when thinking on verse 27:
— Sabbath’s purpose is not to be a burden.
— Picking up a stick as a walking aid is not work.
— The Jewish leaders tended to be extreme, and Jesus was hoping to keep them from going to that extreme.
— Sabbath is there as a blessing for us.
— Sitting in fear of breaking Sabbath is the wrong focus; we are to think about what we are grateful for and to consider our relationship with God. Asking, “Am I doing this right?” is a focus on ritual. “Am I doing what brings God and I closer?” focuses on our relationship with Him. That’s what Sabbath is for, I think.
* We read Mark 3:1-6. They went out to plot with Herodians in hopes to advance their cause. Herodians meaning (based on Google search of a participant): Jews in support of Herod.
* Comments from the group:
— The pharisees were looking for ways to accuse Jesus. That was their purpose behind listening.
— Jesus was bothered that they didn’t get what Sabbath was about.
— Their hearts were hard and they were using the Law to keep people under control rather than using Sabbath as it should be.
— The NIV version says that Jesus was “deeply distressed.” Others say He was “grieved.”
— He was hurting because they’d lost their hearts; they couldn’t…or wouldn’t…answer his question there in verse 4.
— Verse 2 shows their intention, their purpose. They weren’t interested in re-interpretation of the Law so they could keep Sabbath as it was intended.
— How had God’s Law been so turned around?!
* Jesus was wanting “shama.” He was wanting them to listen with the desire to understand. Instead, they listened with anti-shama, the desire to catch Him in wrongdoing.
* Question: What sort of take-away should we have from this? If you are willing, share something about how you might re-interpret Sabbath or what you think about this.
* Comments from the group:
— Doing good on Sabbath is restoration. It is what God wants in order to draw us into His Ultimate because He loves us. If we love Him, our inclination is to do good for our fellow man as an outpouring of gratefulness for His love for us.
— As you have been blessed, bless others, yes.
— Sabbath is a day to look for excuses to offer grace!
— Sabbath is made for us to find rest and spend time with God.
— God is saying, “Rules are not the focal point, I am.”
— Maybe we should ask ourselves, “How will I heal or restore on Sabbath?”
* Question: If we look at the purpose of Sabbath…what we will do on Sabbath…giving life somehow, what then are the boundaries on our behavior?”
— Whatever is a stumbling block to my brother or sister, don’t do that.
— Not judging the way others spend their Sabbath.
— A woman came up to me after Sabbath service because I’d been knitting and she was concerned for my salvation. So as not to burden her with worry for me, I stopped doing needlework during Sabbath services.
* Question: Are we seeing the blessings of Sabbath in our lives and in the lives of those around us?


* “Midrash — the ancient Jewish practice of plumbing for the meaning of the words in the Torah, an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions…”
* Matthew 5:17 — Jesus came to “fulfill the Law.”
* Jesus healing on the Sabbath was designed to hone people’s perspectives on what the Sabbath is.
* In Mark 1:27, onlookers were puzzled by His teaching.
* In Luke 4:38-39, Peter’s healed mother-in-law got up and served them.
* In Mark 3, Jesus healed a man’s withered hand and explained where the focus should be on the Sabbath. The Pharisees should have had hearts softened toward God.
* Also read: Mark 1:29-34; Mark 3:1-6; John 9:1-41.
* “Jews used to have the thought that sins caused problems like blindness.”
* “Yes, but if you were born blind, how did you sin before birth?”
* “Well, kids of a certain age couldn’t cause these things, so then it must be the sins of the parents.”
* “Things can be passed on genetically, and think of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.”
* “We humans don’t lose our opinions very easily.”
* “So, God here made someone blind because he wanted to demonstrate His power.”
* Question: “How do we resolve what Jesus is doing and how we behave on Sabbath? How do we do likewise?”
* “Life isn’t fair; this guy was blind all his life just for this moment? That doesn’t seem fair. But, life isn’t fair.”
* “Any malady could be there for eventual action that gives glory to God.”
* “So, a person without maladies cannot give glory to God?”
* “Show me that person and we’ll talk.” 
* “Jesus healed the man with spit and dirt…mud. The first reference to mud/clay is God making man. God kneeled in the mud and made man.”
* Question: “What lesson was Jesus trying to teach?”
— The proper use of Sabbath.
— God is Love.
— He is not honored with every malady. He is honored when He redeems us from self-imposed afflictions.
— God knew about genetics back then.
— God works hard at getting people to understand Who He is as our One God.
— God ALLOWS the negative to happen. I cannot accept that God CAUSES the negative.
— God gives us the freedom of choice. There are consequences.
— If we didn’t experience consequences from our own choices, how would we understand good and evil?
— Look at the 10th plague of Exodus or Revelation with its judgments and plagues. God directs these. Humans interpret death and pestilence as evil.
— There are results to having free will.
— But God did the actions, right?
— God is Law. Let’s say you’re a train driver whose train hits the person who jumped out in front of the train. The Law is the train. God is saying, “Sin will be done away with. I don’t want you to be part of that.”
— Can’t we just look at the book of Job to clear up a lot of this?
— We say, “What I know of God, how could He allow evil? This doesn’t add up.” He lets our choices play out so we can see where sin leads.
— I think God straightens us out like a parent. If my daughter is playing in the road when she knows she shouldn’t, she may not get hit. However, I know what could happen. So, I go out and create a lasting memory for her to feel a consequence so she is less likely to want to play in the road again.
* The idea that there are no easy answers is a feature, not a flaw. So, we can gather and think it through together.
* Read John 9:39-41.
— I take it as they weren’t doing Sabbath right. Jesus gave them an example of how to do it right.
— Isn’t this here to tell us how to do it by the spirit of the Law rather than by the letter of the Law?
* When God and man work together, God is glorified.
* Jesus used Sabbath to heal brokenness.


* The 7 Sabbath Healings were posted on the screen (Mark 1:29-31, Mark 3:1-6, John 9:1-16, Luke 13:10-17, Luke 14:1-6, Mark 1:21-28, John 5:1-18). We read Luke 13:10-17 aloud.
* Question posed: “What stands out to you in these verses?”
— How long each person that was healed had been afflicted (decades to all their lives).
— The leaders didn’t question nor seem to marvel at the idea that Jesus was actually healing people; Rather, they were saying they wanted Him to do it on a different day.
* Last time, we talked about how humans have a hard time changing. Question posed: What inhibits us from reaching out to others on the Sabbath?
— Is it okay to rescue someone from drowning, if they are drowning on the Sabbath?
— What constitutes “work?” Pastors work on Sabbath, for instance.
— Christ is asking us to step “out of normal” and re-establish the worth of exercising compassion. Stop suffering, if it is within your power. That’s our calling, on Sabbath, too.
— What we do in real-life situations will show where Christ is in our lives.
— We tend to hold onto our beliefs. This story is a reminder of our need to evaluate and self-reflect if any of our beliefs hold us back from helping others.
— People are valuable. Jesus is saying that you’d help your animals on Sabbath, so do the same for people.
— Sometimes I get really intense to finish work I need to do, to the point that I can trample others in the process, for the sake of getting that work done. When I realized that, I knew I needed to evaluate my priorities.
— Maybe we need to ask ourselves, “If Jesus were to come tomorrow, would that be an unwelcome change? Would such an event mess with what we had planned?”
— Where are our boundaries for Sabbath? We need to think on that and decide.
— I don’t know. I’m not sure “re-evaluate” is the correct term here. When you need to re-evaluate something, it means it isn’t working somehow. Doing what we do on Sabbath seems to be working, so maybe think about a different term. We need to figure out where to draw the lines. And, everyone has different points in their growth. We’re all works in progress.
— I remember a verse or saying when I was little, “Turn your foot away from doing YOUR pleasure on Sabbath.” But, how do I turn away from my delight when what gives me delight is something that serves God or at least honors Him? That was my thought when I was a kid. I enjoyed going for hikes to enjoy His creation. Was that wrong to do on Sabbath?
— What we like on other days is bounded by our belief boundaries, too.
— Look at Proverbs 4 regarding interacting with fools. Now, look at Proverbs 5 for the same. They seem to contradict each other. When we have Biblical references like this, we need to take them within the context of our surroundings and what is happening. Sabbath practices develop over time, so we shouldn’t condemn others for how they are conducting themselves on Sabbath.
— Pay attention to others, but not in judgment.
— It is impossible to get into the mind of someone else and determine why they did or didn’t do something.
— If we are so enrapt with engaging with God, we aren’t looking around at what others are doing and aren’t bothering to judge them.
— Yes, look inward, rather than to our left or to our right and how they are spending their Sabbath.
— I find it interesting that Jesus was still allowed to teach in the synagogue when what He did and said seemed to be so controversial. They let Him keep doing it.
— Synagogues back then weren’t like our churches of today. Back then, it was more like our modern-day coffee shops. People met all over in little groups to read, discuss, and talk about things.
— There was a separation between the genders, too, I believe; similar to how it is in mosques now.
— So, Jesus calling over the woman in order to heal her obliterated that line between the genders.
— That and the Hebrews didn’t touch women outside their marriage, but Jesus touched women in healing, That could have been a scandalous act back then.
— Jesus broke societal boundaries. And, Jesus healing the crippled woman brought her from being an outcast and re-established her social status.
— Jesus is all about lifting people up in several senses.
— Interestingly, the Greek word for “grace” sounds like “scandalous.”
— Racial boundaries are set in other religious settings.
— This concept of “privacy” is uniquely an American thing.
* Question posed: What are the cripplings people have now that we can heal them of and left them up?
— Fear!
— We can share Bible texts with them that are encouraging, like the verses Sally is sharing on the newsletter.
— Most people really just need someone to listen to them.
— Yes, and help them to feel seen.
— Help them to have shifts of perspective or focus.
— I’ve found that, sometimes, when people are just out-of-sorts, they just need some food, water, sleep, and/or solitude.
— Mark says a lot to “fear not” and to “only believe.”
— I’ve found that when I pray every morning for God to bring me someone needing something, He will honor that. Be prepared for it, though. He’s good to bring someone.
— The virus seems to be affecting people the same way the lions in the stadium did for Christians. It was a threat on their existence back in Mark’s time, so that puts into perspective all the “fear nots” in his writing.


* We reviewed what midrash means and went over the list of Scriptures about the 7 Sabbath healings.
* We read Luke 14:1-6.
* As far as we know, Peter was the only disciple who was married. Perhaps Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law as a way to relieve Peter’s concern and freeing him to go on the ministry adventure.
* Question posed: What do you think of Jesus being invited to the house of a Pharisee leader?
— The Pharisees were not a unified block against Him.
— There was likely a bit of curiosity about Him.
— Maybe people were remembering He was that kid of 12 who was asking all the great questions in the Temple.
— Could be in the house of Joseph of Arimathea.
* Question posed: What do we learn here about how we spend our Sabbath?
— It is okay to go see Pharisees. ?
— …and lawyers.?
— Serving others on Sabbath is okay.
— Jesus was willing to step out of a typical human’s comfort zone and be with people who may oppose Him. It was an example, perhaps, of loving one’s enemies.
* Verse 2: Dropsy. What is that? Sally mentioned it could be congestive heart failure, diet-related, edema.
— The man with dropsy must have been prominent in society or he wouldn’t have been there on the Sabbath (could have been considered “unclean”).
* Verse 3: He’s asked this question before. They neglected to answer last time. Why ask again?
— Giving them another chance to believe.
— Jesus was being “that relative” at the dinner party that suddenly “changes the mood.” 
— Jews typical ate while reclining. The man with dropsy was likely near to Jesus (“before Him”).
* Note that in both verse 4 and in verse 6, they were silent. They did not reply. Why?
— They maybe agreed with Him but didn’t want to agree publically.
— The King James version says, “They held their peace,” and, “They did not answer Him.” Before the healing and after the healing, it may have been different reasons for the silence.
— Maybe they were silent because they were too ignorant of the Law to defend their position or to extend what they already believed from helping animals to helping people.
* Jesus healed him that sent him on his way. What do you think of that? Where was he sent?
— Maybe he had to go to the temple to be checked out…to verify healing.
— Maybe he was to go show his loved ones his healed state.
— When you are changed by Jesus, it is hard to hang around disbelievers without getting discouraged. So the man healed didn’t get brought down by people without his best interest in mind, he was told to go elsewhere and rejoice.
— Or was the infirmity sent on its way rather than the man?
* Sally was asked if the swelling would be visible. She thought it likely.
— So perhaps being sent away was for him to go out into public and be seen, thus demonstrating the man’s, now, good health.
* Verse 5: Notice that in the previous study’s healing, He was talking about taking the animals to water. Here, He’s talking about pulling the animal from the pit.
— He’s upping it a notch. Still taking care of the animal, but it takes more work to get them up from a pit than it does to bring them to water.
* There’s nothing written in the text here that the healed man responded in any way. Was there a response?
* Question posed: Does this story add to our thoughts on Sabbath?
— It is okay to ask hard questions multiple times.
— Restoration, bringing wholeness, and miracles done on Sabbath are good.
* Question posed: How are we to behave as healers?
— It’s okay if there’s no response, kudos, or thanks. Do good for people anyway.
— Do good to others whether they are for you or against you.
— Step out of your usual social circle to hang with others.
— Jesus looked around and SAW people. He didn’t ignore people with needs. He looks at each individual rather than seeing a sea of faces.
— Knowing how the Pharisees typically responded to people who were ill, Jesus had the intention to really look at them, know their needs, and make them whole.


* Sabbath is a gift from God.

* We read Mark 1:21-28.

* In the synagogue at the time, there was an organizer/president that made events happen; wasn’t necessarily a teacher or rabbi. It was a gathering place for teaching and learning.

* Verse 12:

— They were “astonished” when He was 12, too.

— Mark uses “astonished” more than other Bible writers.

— In the book of Matthew healing, they were also astonished.

— The Greek word for it means “unexpectedly surprised.”

— Reason they were astonished: He spoke as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

— His words cut through everything and strikes to the heart.

— When words are spoken with authority, you are fully persuaded.

— If come with any other gospel, you are cursed.

— When your beloved parent calls, you are called to attention and sit upright more than if someone else calls your name.

— It is like He’s saying, “I Am” (“I exist.”).

— This authority/power has a purpose; it is more directed and concentrated than other power. With the power of dynamite, it is powerful in all directions. This power is directed and concentrated with the authority to release, to bring freedom.

— Unlike what the scribes of the age did, Jesus didn’t reference other scribes or teachers when He taught/spoke.

— The words He spoke were His originally. He inhabits the Word. He is the Word. When He spoke, it was the Word speaking.

— A plain lecture doesn’t strike your heart; the words of Jesus, though, captured their attention and spoke to deep places within their hearts.

— Later, we’ll see that demons recognize His voice as that of the Creator’s.

* Question: Who in your life is someone who brought this authority or perspective — someone who made a difference in your life and how you see the world?

— Graham Maxwell. We all have our own lives and beliefs. We should desire to study the Truth and know it. All over social media are conspiracy theories about COVID-19. But, we know who God is and that He’s in control. We know the truth about God’s character. He’s not “out to get us.” He’s here to save us.

— If the Holy Spirit is operating through us and through others we are interacting with, we sometimes don’t know how His power is working. But, others will see the actions or words, know it is the Holy Spirit, and be encouraged.

— Someone else’s ideas, when shared, can impact you and your life with God.

— In Graham Maxwell’s class, we had to write about faith. We learned that he has a consistent life with God, and that is very powerful. A consistent life with Him might be more powerful than words.

— For me, it is Elizabeth Talbot. My love language is Acts of Service. You cannot work your way into Heaven. We know that with Jesus, the work is done….He wins.

— I made a mistake in class. The teacher stilled the others and said, “She’s human; let her make a mistake.” That made me no longer scared of making errors. I wasn’t scared to be wrong.

— It’s not good to tie yourself up so much with restrictions; get to the heart of Law; Law isn’t about binding you; it’s about freedom and rescue.

* Question: What is Sabbath for?

— Jesus spoke from His heart; maybe we are called to do that.

— The unclean spirits called out to Him; He didn’t call them out.

— What was the man with unclean spirits doing there in the Temple anyway?

— Satan can have influence on believers. Remember Jesus saying toward Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Jesus recognized who was working through Peter. Jesus recognized the enemy.

— An evil spirit cannot seem to keep quiet when Jesus is near.

* We read different versions of Verse 24 and focused on what the unclean spirits said.

— “What to us and to thee.”

— “This is our place!” they said. Jesus said, “No, he is mine!”

— The way He taught with authority is the same as how He cleansed/freed the man from unclean spirits.

— His Word spoken dryly to a man searching for God will still ignite his spirit; His Word spoken dynamically to bored, unseeking listeners will have no impact.

— Jesus didn’t always follow the synagogue’s set format.

* Verse 25:

— This is His saying for them to be muzzled or gagged. This is exorcism with full authority and no ritual. Basically, “shut up and get out!”

— Demons could see the Divine in Jesus.

— It reminds me of the line from Robert DeNiro, “You talkin’ to me?!”

— The gloves come off in spiritual warfare. Jesus doesn’t parse His words. He speaks and even the winds obey Him. He uses the same words here as when He spoke to the storm.

* Verse 27. Verse 22 was a deep response to His teachings. This, though, really is more surprise. Surprise that He commands with power and is obeyed.



* We recapped the six healings we’d covered already.
— Peter’s MIL getting healed, possible to prevent Peter from getting distracted in his ministry.
— Withered hand: outcast; restoration into society.
— Blind man: “stop the blame game.”
— Cripple woman: crossing societal gender boundaries.
— Man with dropsy: being among those who might oppose you and reaching out to them anyway. Jesus could see deeper than the obvious. Sent the man away.
— Evil spirit banishment: Jesus spoke with authority and power.
* Healing of the man at the pool in Bethesda. We read John 5:1-18.
* There are seven categories of water mentioned in the Talmud, from poor quality all the way to ‘living water’ like this might have been (pure water from an underground spring).
* This pool sounds like an elaborate place, 5 porches.
* The myth floating around about the pool is that an angel stirs the water. Jesus didn’t condone that belief, but he did use the setting to further His Kingdom.
* Steve brought up an image of the pool (See) (also this).
* Question: Why would Jesus go to this place?
— It’s where the people were.
— The timing might have been during the Festival of Unleavened Bread where the first and last days are sabbaths. So, with the weekly Sabbath, that would account for there being three days of rest. The verses don’t say which feast it was, though.
— This man that was healed didn’t even know who Jesus was.
— This might not have been where most religious people were gathering. Feast times were usually spent in their homes or at the Temple or synagogue. So, this would be Jesus visiting people “outside the system.”
— Maybe because these people were sick/unclean, they couldn’t be at the normal gatherings at the people where well people were.
— So, maybe this is an example of Jesus reaching outside the normal church boundaries.
— He took advantage of the “living water” language.
— He healed and stretched people’s minds about normal Sabbath practices.
* Question: What would be an analogous thing people would look to for healing today, something object or place like this?
— “Benny Hinn comes to mind.”
— Crystals and other New Age items.
— Shrines and relics.
— There are holy sites still visited by people seeking healing.
* Question: What was the point of mentioning the number of years (38) he’d been ailing?
— That’s a long time of being ill and waiting by a pool for healing purposes.
— It shows that he still believed he would or could be healed.
— You can be resigned to your fate yet still have faith that you can be healed.
— There’s no limit to God’s healing power. No matter how long you’ve been sick, He can restore you.
— Was he the only sick person there? He was healed, but no one else was? The Bible doesn’t say anyone else was that day.
— Yeah, but this man couldn’t get into the pool. He was by himself. He didn’t have help.
— Does that imply that others who could get in were healed?
— Maybe he was well known at this location. His identity was tied up with the pool. So, when he got healed, it would be known that the Bethesda old man is healed! Everyone might have known him as the icon of the pool.
* Question: What was the average life-span back then?
— Google says that he would have been considered an “old man.” The average life span was 50.
— So Jesus healed someone near the end of his life.
* Question: If the pool was “stirred” only once a year, why was the man there so much?
— Just a place to go?
— I’ve been to a spring, and they do “stir.”
* Question: Jesus asked if he desired to be healed? Why?
— Maybe he had been on the verge of giving up hope.
— Was this guy really into getting well, or was he making his living by collecting alms? He may have wanted to still keep earning money the way he’d been doing it all these years.
— Steve showed a map of the city. Look toward the upper right for the pool.
— Jesus was a long way outside the main city to be at the pool.
* Question: So, did the man say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Jesus’s question?
— Neither. He dodged the question by saying he had no one to help him.
— Why even ask the question? To see if there was a desire to be healed?
— Who would help him after 38 years of this?
— People still play the lottery because they maintain hope.
— Whole villages could be healed? Why just one man?
— The writer may have just written about this one but others were healed, too.
— Maybe he was the only one there who was alone. Maybe he felt all alone, too.
* Maybe this is something to be thinking about this coming week. We are called to help those who feel alone or who are struggling. What kind of healing can we bring to them and how?


* We reviewed Exodus 20, Exodus 31:13, Deut. 5; the 7 Sabbath healings; meanings of “midrash,” “Sabbath,” and “Holy.”
* We read John 5:1-15.
— The healed man with the mat may have walked to the Temple, for that’s where he got accosted for carrying his mat.
* Question: So, why was it a bad thing to be carrying his mat?
— It was work.
— Some Jews have been so cautious that they will not carry a kerchief on Sabbath, so they pin it to their clothes.
* Question: What was the man’s response?
— “I’m carrying it because that guy told me to.”
* Question: Do you think the leaders had a good idea who it was the man was talking about?
— Yes.
— The man himself didn’t know who it was, though. He was a man on the outskirts of society, not in tune with the news in the land.
* Later, when Jesus found the man (verse 14), He said stop sinning or something worse will happen.
Question: Why did Jesus say this to the man? What is his sin?
— If the man was in his 50s and he’d been this way for 38 years, that may mean he was passed his Bar Mitzvah and, therefore, sins were on his own head rather than his parents’.
— My theory is that calamity falls on the just and the unjust. Yet, we do things that do cause us problems.
— You can choose a path you know will cause you problems, but you do it.
— Our actions matter.
* Question: Can you think of another time when Jesus told someone to stop sinning?
— The woman caught in adultery.
* Question: What was different about what Jesus said to the man compared to what the Jews said to him about carrying the mat?
— The desires of our heart can cause us to sin.
— Jesus didn’t say the sin was breaking Sabbath by carrying the mat.
— Maybe Jesus was saying, “Stop hanging around the same people,” or, “Don’t get into the same environment as before that led you into sin.”
— Maybe spending time in this particular Temple wasn’t good for this particular man.
* Verse 16: Jews persecuted Jesus for doing these things and saying these things on Sabbath.
* Verse 17: He said, “My Father is always at work on this day.” The Jews were upset at this, that He called God His Father.
Question: How do we take this verse?
— Jesus is actively defending Himself here.
— “My Father doesn’t stop working, so I don’t.”
— It is good to do good on the Sabbath. Not helping is allowing injury; allowing injury isn’t loving.
— Always love. Always bring healing. This is the work of God.
— Any kind of work is breaking Sabbath, but there are exemptions.
— The Jews patterned the laws to make sure they didn’t fall again, so strictly that they lost the purpose of Sabbath.
— There are a couple different types of pardon in the U.S. “Pardon” is like you never broke the law. “Commutation” is saying, “Yeah, you broke the law, but there’s no penalty.”
* Question: Why have the Sabbath commandment at all?
— It is said two ways in the Bible. 1) You shall do no work, and, 2) You shall do no ordinary work. So, to me, “ordinary work” is not okay on the Sabbath.
* Question: What did God do on the Sabbath?
— He rested from His work of creation.
* I think God is saying about Sabbath, “I don’t want you to forget this. This day is made for something else. Working for your own sustenance or benefit is for other days. This is for more. Sabbath is for more than ordinary work.”
* We have an annual day set aside to remember the soldiers who died in service for us. We have a weekly day set aside to to remember what God did for us.
* The point is to spend time with God. God lifts roadblocks that are keeping you from spending time with Him and resting in that.
* Jesus may have been saying to the man, “You no longer have a roadblock to worshipping God.”
* The human body needs at least one full day to rest each week. Ordinary work is hard on us, so physical rest is needed so we can serve Him the rest of the days.
* John 5:17.
* Ron shared a Westcott and a couple of John Calvin quotations.
— “Man’s true rest is not a rest from human, earthly labor, but a rest for divine, heavenly labor. Thus the merely negative, traditional observance of the Sabbath is placed in sharp contrast with the positive, final fulfillment of spiritual service, for which it was a preparation.” (Westcott)
— “What Christ insists upon is this, that the holy rest which was enjoined by the Law of Moses is not disturbed when we are employed in works of God.” — John Calvin
— “For why does the Law enjoin men to abstain from their own works, but in order to keep all their senses free and occupied for considering the works of God? Consequently, he who does not, on the Sabbath, allow a free course and reign to the works of God, is not only a false expounder of the Law, but wickedly overturns it.” — John Calvin
* Question: Any comments on the quotes?
— When I’m not in the Word as I want to be, I get on a different wavelength or frequency than He is. God’s Spirit speaks to my Spirit when I am in His Word. If I want to stay in the Spirit and in communication (same wavelength), I do on the Sabbath what I should be doing. I need to tune in so I live in the Spirit, not by my flesh. It’s like being on auto-pilot. I am His vessel.
* HOMEWORK: Take time to clear your senses. See what God is doing around you. Take time to do the mental work of putting aside concerns to see what God is doing in our world (at the personal, local, national, and earthly levels). What do you recognize as His working? Be prepared to talk about this next Sabbath.
— Like Psalm 74 — God is working continually for our salvation.
* Ron: “May you know in a fuller way how God is working in our world.”


  • We re-read the Westcott and Calvin Quotes from last week.
  • Question: What have you recognized this week as God working? His building His Kingdom?
    • You have to pause to be “in the moment”….to focus on microscopic flowers. 🙂 Stop and look into the lives of people around us…to see them. Take the time to be present for others.
    • In working with a friend, I got to tell him that the tests he’s going through and the negative consequences from it don’t define who you are. I told him his humor cheers me up. He said, “God is with me.” He has a lot of deep self-reflection. I’m thankful God works through me for him.
    • People online in a group I’m in have been spewing hate. I’ve been working with them in order to recognize what they are doing. The rest of the group sends me notes that thank me for helping them to chill out.
    • I met a stranger on the beach and ended up talking for 3 hours about her concerns and her lack of hope. She had kind of a weird mindset of having only a few more decades before she dies. She said, “You have hope. You’re hoping in Jesus.” I told her that she recognizes that so must know about Him and could also have hope in Him.
    • It seems like the vast majority of people are unified in their reaction to a cop killing a man. I think God is moving to unite the country.
    • Yes, people are feeling a righteous anger, an anger they feel comfortable expressing.
    • I’ve had the blessing of finding housing during a pandemic! <3
    • We are messengers of reconciliation, no matter where we are. We are the church, not the building.
  • Question: We’ve looked at how Jesus used Sabbath. “My Father works on Sabbath, so I do, too.” How do we try to use those hours the same way? Jesus had strong words about grieving the Holy Spirit. How is His Spirit leading us to conduct ourselves on Sabbath?
    • I’m convinced it is beyond just shunning ordinary work and napping.
    • In the learning about the festivals that we’re doing in our Bible study, maybe we should consider how we are to observe them and fill them with meaning.
    • What is essential, required work for Sabbath?
    • There’s often a negative reaction to rules or the Law, but we could think of it as an opportunity to grow.
    • I’ve learned to ask myself, “What does God want done?” instead of, “What does God require me to do?” I am one person. I think about what brings me happiness and that might help others.
    • Yes, it is a menu from God that you can pick from!
    • I think God is definitely working at OCS.
    • God wants intimate partners in His business.
  • We read Matthew 12:1-8.
    • “I’m struck by Jesus’s defense of the disciples.”
    • We went back to the last lesson about the difference between “pardon” and “commutation.”
    • “Yeah, can you break the law and be innocent?”
    • Jury nullification (definition) — “Yes, he is guilty but we don’t care; we’re finding him not guilty. He was justified to do what he did.”
    • God says, “Yes, you are guilty of breaking the law, but I’m not going to punish you.”
    • We read Matthew 11:28-30. Jews had made Sabbath a burden. Jesus is saying “rest in me” instead. “My Sabbath isn’t a burden. Come to me and rest.”
    • A rabbi’s heavy yoke is his teachings, but Jesus is saying that His yoke is light.
    • We read Matthew 12:7-8. When you act out of mercy, God works within it.
    • “I am reminded of Aslan’s death in the Chronicles of Narnia. Yes, you are breaking rules, but there’s a ‘deeper magic’ at work.”
    • https://biblehub.com/greek/5083.htm


Pastor Grayson teaching.
Reading: Genesis 9:8-17, Genesis 15:1-18 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+9%3A8-17&version=KJV
* Pastor screen-shared the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible’s definition of “covenant” and other writings.
* It is saying, “we are going to be together from now on.”
* Is a covenant a one-way agreement or do I have to agree to it for it to be valid? Must you agree with God on it?
Question: Is there a deeper understanding we can gather to gain a blessing? * I was a product of my parents’ marriage covenant, when I was born. It wasn’t a covenant I agreed to, but I’m part of it.
* Is there a difference between covenant and contract?
* Today, “covenant” could be replaced with “promise.”
* We are a covenant-seeking people.
* Some versions of ____ (bible verse)(couldn’t hear) say, “I now establish…”
* The Old Testament covenant says, “I’m going to.”
The New Testament covenant says, “I have done it. I acted, and this is what I did.”
Question: As we read the two stories in Genesis, what do you see as similar and different? How are our studies on Sabbaths related?
* There are consequences with contracts. Commitment. With a covenant in the Bible, God is committing Himself, becoming the debtor, to Israel. A covenant causes one to be indebted to another. A favor is happening.
* I think a covenant is one-way. If we are to perform, it isn’t one-way.
* Is it God only who promises?
* God’s promises involves Him doing it regardless.
* Yeah, I don’t see it as a conditional promise where Israel was to do something or God wouldn’t fulfill His part.
* When you marry someone, it is a promise to care for and love them. There’s no condition on it.
* This is God saying, “This is what I’m doing.”
* The rainbow as a promise keeps happening, so we are reminded that His covenant is still there.
* If I refuse to trust my wife, the covenant in my heart is broken.
* I don’t think Sabbath is just a day; it’s an attitude. When I am with one of His followers, I feel I am with God. I’m not going to limit the Spirit of Sabbath to just one day.
* Israel reflects God’s covenant.
* I’m walking now in the Promised Land.
* God established His covenant forever with His blood.
* Will there be a new Heaven and new Earth? A second coming, then? If you’re walking in Heaven now?
* I believe in the 2nd coming and re-creation, but I believe I can have my heart and mind changed by God as I walk on this earth. To a large degree, the Kingdom of Heaven is now. None of this around us is mine. It is God’s. I am God’s.
* Luke 17 was mentioned as good reading about the Kingdom of God. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+17&version=KJV

6/13/2020 — We just gathered online for music by Andy R (thank you) and chatting.

06/20/2020: We watched Steve Gregg’s presentation as well as Doug Batchelor’s on the start of this video that Ron played for us. A few notes in the comments. We will talk about what we watched next Sabbath. https://youtu.be/X9C7BDuqOuY

* We’ll now look at counter-arguments on keeping the Sabbath.
* Steve Gregg’s presentation:
— Sabbath is a sign between God and the people of Israel. It is a sign of the Covenant in the Old Testament.
— God was sanctifying the people and the covenant was not with anyone previously (their fathers).
— In Exodus, it says to keep the Sabbath because He freed them from slavery. Deuteronomy is about the ten commandments on Sinai and that’s the covenant only with the people who were there…not before with their fathers.
— It says the covenant is “forever” but the word used is “olam,” which means hidden or “most distant times.” It CAN mean for all time, but often doesn’t. (Scriptures with “olam” not meaning forever – Isaiah 42:14; Jeremiah 2:20; Exodus 21:6; 1 Chron. 17:14-17; Exodus 27:21; Exodus 29:9; Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 16:34; Numbers 18:19; Deut. 23:3). Also 2 Kings 5:27 and Jonah 2:6.
— It isn’t forever because there’s a New Covenant. Look at Luke 16:16 (law and prophets). The Law was given for a while. The Law was given as a tutor during Israel’s spiritual childhood.
— Also see Gal. 3:19 and 3:23-25 as well as Gal. 4:1-5.
— We are redeemed from the Law. See Romans 10:4. We are free from the Law after Christ.
— Jeremiah 31:31-33 is about the New Covenant.
— The New Covenant has substance. The Old Covenant is obsolete and has become a shadow of the real thing — the New Covenant.
— See Hebrews 8:13. The Temple was about to fall and God was letting the Romans destroy the Temple because it was obsolete.
— See Mark 9:2-8
— The Law was given through Moses. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah were taken away and Jesus left behind because our focus is now on Jesus. Hebrews 1; 2 Corin. 3:3-11; Romans 7:1-4.
— Summary: 1) Sabbath is a sign only for Israel; the covenant was made with the people freed from slavery; 2) The word for forever (olam) could mean forever, but not often; 3) The Law and the Prophets was only until the Seed came; 4) The Law was applicable only until Israel reached spiritual maturity; 5) The New Covenant is with Judah and Israel. In Hebrews, it said the Law was ready to vanish (once temple destroyed); 6) Moses and Elijah taken away at Mount of Transfiguration because their covenant is no longer applicable. We are to focus on the one left behind with Whom we have the New Covenant — Jesus.
* Doug Batchelor’s Presentation:
— Looking in Hebrews 8:8. It is true that we are under the New Covenant, and it is true that “forever” in the Bible doesn’t also mean forever.
— God found fault with Israel; they broke the agreement.
— The covenant is what God is promising.
— Sabbath was established at Creation (Genesis 2:1-3); He hallowed the 7th day; Sabbath was made for this world.
— Jesus was not at odds with the Ten Commandments. He wrote them! The Sabbath commandment calls for us to remember; it uses that language. It is the longest commandment, and it is in the middle. Why would we remove the one in the middle as no longer important? Within the commandment, it even explains why it is important.
— The Sabbath is not just for the Israelites.
— The Sabbath is practical as a day in the week to rest. Mark 2:27, Isaiah 56:6-7, Exodus 31:1-7, Exodus 20:2-3.
— God first made man, then made Sabbath for man.
— Sabbath is for animals, slaves, and strangers within your gates, too.
— Jesus and His apostles all kept the Sabbath as well as the other commandments.
— Acts 13:42. That’s the whole city, including the gentiles. It was a gathering for all, not just the Jews. God never calls it the “Jewish Sabbath.” It would have been easy for God to clarify and say that the Sabbath was no longer needed…that we no longer had to keep it. He didn’t, though. See Matthew 24:20.
— Part of the commandments are for expressing our love for God; other part for expressing His love for our fellow man. If you love God, you keep the commandments.
— Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it. Matthew 5:17, Matthew 5:19.
— See Matthew 19:17-19; James 2:11-12 and before; Psalm 119:44-45.
— Notice that in the end times (Daniel 7:25), the only time and law that is commanded of us is the Sabbath, and we are warned that the enemy tries to change it.
— The commandments aren’t a bondage; they liberate us.
— See Exodus 5:1-5; Exodus 16:25. They were observing the Sabbath before Mount Sinai. See Genesis 26:5 also.
— Revelation 12:17 talks about people keeping the commandments. See also Revelation 14:12, Revelation 22:14; Isaiah 66:22,23.
— What blessing is promised if you keep the Sabbath? — REST.
— See John 14:15.
* Steve Gregg (on video we watched last Sabbath) argued that the covenant was only with the people of Israel in the current era who’d been slaves in Egypt. How would you refute that? How to you respond to that argument?
— By example. Are you loving? Are you companionable?
— Remember details about people and work on the relationship that draws them in.
— Remember your covenant to God and show what a relationship with God looks like. They’ll want it, too.
— It says something when some of the Egyptians joined them in leaving Egypt.
— “Bible Lab” said something about this. God gave everyone a warning on the hail, telling them to bring the animals in. — The hailstones had fire inside, according to the Hebrew.
— It is expedient and useful to keep the commandments.
— Search for meaning rather than ritual.
— Prayer with the kids: “May the people around us be blessed by our presence near them.” When that wasn’t fulfilled by the Jews, He threw out Israel and grafted in the gentiles.
— Genesis 22:18 — “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (emphasis placed on ‘because you have obeyed me’)
— “Obey” in Hebrew isn’t as we understand it. It is giving value to what you hear from someone (shama): https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=h8085
— In Greek: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g5219
— I believe the old and new covenants are the same. Jesus will come to fulfill the Law; He has come; He came; He’s coming again.
— The purpose of Israel was to bless nations around them, to be a kingdom of priests…a holy nation.
— “The Jews have been replaced” is a common sentiment. They insist that the Law was given only to the Jews; that Christians are now the chosen and we can do as we please. Are we grafted in with the Jews or replacing them? I think we are joining in; we are grafted in.
— Read Romans 11:11 and on.
— “Twice Chosen” is a good book to read.
— Steve Gregg never said that the other nine commandments weren’t applicable.
— All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable (1 Corinthians 10:23); does that lend credence to Steve Gregg’s comment about Sabbath not being required? That it isn’t against the rules not to keep the Sabbath, but it is still helpful to do so?
— Keeping the Sabbath and the Law, the 10 commandments, helps us know how to act in this world.
— See 1 Corinth. 6:12. Israel’s argument is usually “I can do what I want” and this is Paul’s response to that.
— If we do what we want, we are saying, “I matter more than You do, God.”
— Following the Law develops habits and patterns for us.
— It helps us to be on auto-pilot in doing good.
* Ron drew out the Love Pyramid again (Law on the bottom; Love God/Love man on the next level up; Love on the top level/peak).
— What we have as guidelines and habitual practices are what we’ll fall back on in tough times.
* There are some verses that were brought up by Steve Gregg. Read them: Luke 16:16; Galatians 3:19.
— Steve Gregg said that the Law and prophets were only valid until John.
— However, read on into other verses beyond Luke 16:16 as well as Galatians 3:19.
— Once someone is taught, do they need to be re-taught?
— We need to be in the habit of following the Law.
— Story from attendee: Driving with young daughter when daughter asked mother to give a running commentary of what she was thinking as she was driving. So, mother explains why she was looking in certain places and watching for certain things. Daughter said, “Driving is exhausting.” Being in the habit of keeping the Law helps us to keep from wearying of doing good.
7/4/2020 Sabbath School notes:
* We’ve been looking at objections to keeping Sabbath.
* We read Colossians 2:9 and on. Jesus has fulfilled everything.
* What is referred to when we say something is “nailed to the cross?”
* Read Col. 2:16-17: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Thoughts?
— Don’t think they’ve been done away with, but don’t judge others on whether or not they keep them…including pagan activities.
— Don’t judge others…but when you do, be loving so you don’t create a stumbling block.
— We can make stumbling blocks out of many things. It’s the relationship that’s important. Moving toward God…growth…is key.
— Those in authority need to have discernment so they don’t discourage others. Do as school teachers do…don’t judge salvation, but you can judge growth, if done properly and with love.
* Jesus is the reality of all these things listed. How do we decide to conduct our lives? This list is in the same order as they are in the Old Testament. Why would Paul do this? The same concept is in Ezekiel, Exodus, Numbers, and several other books. All having to do with sacrificial offerings. Even “eat and drink” doesn’t mean what you consume but what you bring to the Temple for offerings during those listed events. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice. No other one is needed anymore. [Several in the classroom talked here, but we on Zoom couldn’t hear them.]
* Chapter 3, verse 12, says it well. Love.
— It’s about humbling myself to lead in situations.
— In John, it says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” I didn’t get the impression he was judging.
— They were so worried about angering God that Jesus reassured them that He loved them. Jesus helped them see God as loving.
* If sin is unintentional, how do you know you did it and should make an offering?
— Don’t we carry these rule-following tendencies over to today. We don’t do rules and other things to gain favor with God. We need to concentrate on our relationship with Him.
— Is this talking about all sin offerings, though? This is burnt offerings and others, too, right? Love is more important than sacrifice. There seems to be an expansion of previous rules once you get to the New Testament. Don’t murder turns into “don’t be angry with your brother.” We are being taught to live in love.
— Yeah, living in love is the new sacrifice.
— Follow the fruits of the Spirit.
* During P.E. time, the kids held each other to harsh rules on games. The level of harshness depended on whether they didn’t know the rules or knew them but just didn’t follow them.
* God is our taskmaster, but His objective is to have us live in His Spirit, walking in Love. As humans, we need rules to live by, but they are not the end goal. Love is.
— What do we want to accomplish? What do we want to be?
— If I pay attention to others and treat them with dignity, the rules are less important.
* The Greek phrase for “keep” means “guard” or “value” or “raise in importance.” Do as God says so you walk in Love toward others. Be like Jesus. Ask for the indwelling of His Spirit. If we keep in Him, less important things fall away.
— We can follow the rules yet still have a cold heart. We need to interact with God.
* Keeping commandments IS following Jesus and paying attention to Who He is. Walk as He does.
— People are often wanting to live moral lives, but their hearts still aren’t right with God.


07/11/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
* Read Romans 14:1-4. What does this mean?
— Take care of the log in your own eye. Be loving, not overbearing.
— Things are lawful, but not all things are expedient.
— Everyone has their own experiences, their own walk in Christ. Be gentle with one another.
— Each of us is answerable to God. We all have the same destination, but not all are coming from the same spot.
* What sorts of things is he talking about? Do we accept anybody and everything?
— How we observe Sabbath.
— Accept each other as we are.
— Doesn’t that fly in the face of the legalistic view?
* Does this say that the Law isn’t applicable?
— We are called to judge by the results…the fruits.
— Look at the previous chapters to Romans 14. They are on authority and love. The apostles have authority over the church members but not members over each other. We are supposed to grow, but we are all needing growth in different areas. The Holy Spirit is the answer in this.
— God made promises to Abraham, then came the Law, then Jesus. There are still absolutes that I have to hold to. What are those absolutes? Rest is optional.
— Accept others for who they are.
— Doubt stands out. It can creep in. Be careful what you do and say so that it doesn’t sow doubt in others.
— Romans 14:1. Some versions say “opinions” rather than absolutes.
* Read Romans 14:14-23. How do we do verse 21 in a world full of people easily offended?
— Move on to verse 22.
— The Gospel is offensive to some. Just being followers of Christ can be offensive to some.
— Let the Holy Spirit lead on what to say and do.
— In Greek, this is saying ‘disputable things’ – things that might cause those with weak faith to stumble. Let people be convinced in their own minds. On things not clearly spelled out by God, there may be differing opinions among His followers. Arguments can be bad.
— Help one another in love without being overbearing.
* Luke 18:9-12 and on; Mark 2:18 and on.
* The Jews had a culture of fasting; the Gentiles did not. So, fasting is one of these ‘disputable things” about which we do not judge people.
— When you look at our culture…many cultures in the world, food is at the center of community. We have gatherings to consume food. Each culture has eating rituals.
* Back in Romans 14:5, I don’t think he’s talking about Sabbath here. How many days in the year were festival times? [Answer given: Over 70 that were not God-ordained.]
— I think people, in general, are an argumentative lot.
— There’s a saying that if you have a room of Jews, you have a room full of opinions.
— Every family gathering with the Jews in our family was full of debates.
— I think it is human nature to debate. We all do.
* We all have convictions. What we do with that conviction is important.
— That verse about being not a respecter of persons.
* Verse 13 is really the summary here. Make the way easy; don’t burden others.
07/18/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
* Paul was a complicated man with complicated writing. It is easy to think that two verses he wrote are in conflict with one another.
* We read 2 Peter 3:16, written about Paul’s writing.
* Paul’s writings can be manipulated in various ways, so it takes some work to figure them out, so we’ll go to John’s writings today.
* We read Revelation 12:17. Who is this talking about? When? Some say the dragon is Satan, the woman is the Church or mother Mary, and the rest of her children are the Jews, for they kept His commandments.
* We read other Bible versions of Revelation 12:17.
* What commandments are these that are mentioned?
* We read Revelation 12:13 and 14:12.
— In Chapter 12, the Greek is describing this like a testimony given in Court (external). While in Chapter 14, the Greek is describing a more internal experience, like it is personal faith being tested.
— Trust is required to maintain patience.
— Faith is the assurance of things not seen.
* What commandments are these referring to? What did the Ark look like? Let’s go to Numbers to what is inside.
— They represent faith in God’s leadership, and there’s a Sabbath component, too.
* What’s atop the Ark?
— cherubs, Mercy Seat.
* What’s on the side?
— carrying equipment.
* What else?
— Ceremonial Law.
* So, the Ark of the Covenant. What covenant?
— The covenant with Israelites that extended to others beyond those given the law at Sinai.
— There’s no punctuation and capitals in the original text. go to 2 Timothy 2:15.
* John is seeing deep and mysterious truths. This is not a travel log of a visit to Heaven. Ancient things are pointing to the future.
— What covenant? Revelation is such a difficult book.
* What is the significance of the Ark being seen in Heaven?
— The 10 Commandments are still important.
— Aaron’s rod and the manna are about faith, sustenance, leadership plan, and patience.
— The Law is tied in with that.
* We can have forgiveness, even is we break the Law. We can rely on the grace and faith of Jesus.
* Read Revelation 22:14 and on. Cleansing of the robes. What does this refer to? How do you wash your robes?
— Repent. — Do His commands.
— I see tension here. How are you saved by grace, yet you need to keep the commandments?
— Jesus tried to answer this tension.
— Jesus works in us to wash our robes.
* Read Revelation 14:12.
7/25/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
* We’re wrapping up our discussion on Sabbath. Read Exodus 20:8 and on as well as Deut. 5:12 and on.
* How has Sabbath been a blessing to you?
— In college, I took too many credits at once so was going to classes from early morning to late at night. Yet, I would take Sabbaths off, though fellow students thought me to be crazy for doing so. I would rejoin them in study on Sunday mornings. I stayed healthy, and I did well in my classes.
— I have a similar story. Growing up, Sabbath was just a tradition. In college, many took the break from study. Others did not. I could see the stress level differences on the people’s faces and spot who had taken the Sabbath break and who had not.
— On the farm, I didn’t have to do my daily chores on Sabbath, so that was nice.
— My way of resting is doing what I didn’t get to do during the week because of work. I find I’m more productive at work, then, because I do that.
— Things happening in this world weigh on me, except on Sabbath. On Sabbath, taking the time to pull close to Him helps me to remember, “God’s got this.” It’s relaxing.
* Does Sabbath make a difference? How?
— What’s a “blessing?” Good things. Most Adventists have better health than their peers. We obey His commandments, and He blesses us. Read the book about the “blue zones.”
— Growing up on the ranch, we’d need to get the hay in before the rain. But, if it was Sabbath, we stopped anyway. The neighbors thought we were nuts. But, stopping was a welcome celebration after working hard all week.
— We rented a place at a farm where the owners wondered if they could leave us to take care of things over the weekend. They were concerned we wouldn’t take care of the livestock on Sabbath. We told them that we wouldn’t let the animals go hungry. We won’t weed the garden on Sabbath, but we don’t believe in making others suffer just because it is our Sabbath, including the animals. That seemed to really relieve them.
— When I planned something for Sabbath, God would call me to rest instead. He’d turn around and bless me for keeping Sabbath.
— I was interviewing for a job on the phones and warned them I couldn’t work on Saturdays. I explained that I couldn’t work from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. They still hired me. They still tried to schedule me for work during that time. Yet, my voice would go out. I wouldn’t have any other symptoms; just no voice. So, I’d have to call in to explain there was no way I could work the phones with no voice.
— There’s a good book you might want to read. It’s “Gifts of Rest.” The author is a practicing Jew who looked forward to the specialness that Sabbath is.
— I went to a small, country K-8 school with about 60 kids in total. My brothers and I were the only Adventists. There were sports on Friday nights, but I wasn’t available because of Sabbath. Because we were a small school, they needed me to play. So, they shifted the game nights to a different night of the week so I could play. And, the other schools in the region adapted to our school’s schedule that they’d adapted to have me and my brother play.
— There’s Desmond Doss, a medic during WWII. They were set to conduct an invasion on the Sabbath, but Desmond wouldn’t go until he was through praying. And, his unit wouldn’t proceed without him. So, the invasion didn’t happen until after Desmond was through praying. https://www.adventist.org/people/religious-liberty/desmond-doss/
— When I was young, I’d accepted Jesus but not necessarily Adventism nor keeping the Sabbath. Eventually, I became a Sabbath keeper. I was taking care of 50 dogs at a kennel and decided to close up for Sabbath, one of the busiest days at kennels. The neighbor watched many cars come and go, disappointed. I figure I lost $500 in business that Sabbath. I was mad. I didn’t go back for a while. I went to God with anger and got convicted. Come to find out, I’d gone to church on Sabbath expecting a reward for doing so. I didn’t go because it was the right thing to do. So, the next Sabbath, I went because it was the right thing to do. The neighbor said very few people came by. The next day (Sunday), I was really busy with customers. I’d kept Sabbath for the right reason.
* From notetaker — These stories are better straight from the speakers, so I’d suggest listening to the recording.
8/1/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
* Andy Rivera was our facilitator.
* Topic chosen: Spiritual Gifts and Ministries.
* God empowers each of us to work with others for His glory.
* Read Acts 6:1-7; some: preaching His Word, serving, praying.
* Read Romans 12:3-8; some: prophesying, ministering, teaching, encouragement, giving, leading, showing mercy with cheerfulness; “leading with diligence is nice.”
— Gifts may be in line with our talents; sometimes, He gives us gifts to grow us.
— Be humble as God deals out talents/gifts to us.
— Mandela in S. Africa was freed in 1994. There were three races in Africa: black, colored, and caucasian. Mandela was humble when he was released, but he had never backed down from his perspectives.
— Look at Moses; he didn’t think he had the gift of leadership, but God developed it in him.
— Each person has a function, a gift, a ministry from God.
— These verses are just the highlight; read more.
— If you use the talents/gifts He gives you, you will be given more. God doesn’t stop giving us gifts.
— Be open to God.
* Read 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
— We’re all players on stage with a role in the Kingdom of God for His purposes. Yet, there’s always an understudy in the wings, if we refuse our role.
— We are encouraged to proceed with the gift when someone lets us know we are affecting lives or making a difference. So, if someone makes a difference in your life, let them know.
— We are just stewards of His gifts and talents.
* Read Ephesians 4:8 and 11-16.
* Review the teamwork God intends for us by reading 1 Corinthians 12:12 to the end of Chapter 13 then on to Chapter 14:1-25.
— It all serves one purpose…unity, knowledge of God, equipping the saints…all this is to build up the Kingdom of God. We’re all working together toward one purpose, to edify the body of Christ.
— When a kid gets hurt in school, one person calls 911. One grabs the First Aid kit and administers aid. One leads by giving orders to the rest on what to do. One comforts the kid. One calls the parents.
* Look at verse 16: “the whole body, joined and knit together.”
— Some gifts might be temporary gifts needed right then and you’re available.
* Andy played an educational video about the joints in the human body.
— Think about the joints in the human body. Think about the joints…the connections…between people in the body of Christ.
— Think about the three types of joints and how that might relate in the body of Christ: fixed joints, slightly mobile joints, and movable joints.
— Fixed joints protect the Church.
— Slightly movable joints provide support for the body.
— Movable provide the flexibility.
* Sometimes, we have to listen to others in the body of Christ in order for us to know what our gifts are.
— Was at a church gathering where people got to know each other over a few days. We were talking about gifts. We were to say what we thought the gifts were of those around our table. Every one of them said I was a leader. I never saw myself as a leader and said so. Then the leader of the group said I was. Hmmm.
* Andy played “Dry Bones” by Delta Rhythm Boys
8/8/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
* Andy Rivera was the facilitator.
Chosen Topic: Experience of Salvation — “When we accept God’s grace and salvation, the Holy Spirit reveals our need for Jesus…”
* As Christians, we need to look at ourselves as Paul did in Athens…reveal an unknown God. We, as the Church, need to reach others about our “unknown God.”
— There’s a way of living as a Christian that brings restoration.
— Don’t let challenges define you. Rely on Him through dark times.
— Accepting God’s grace can be a struggle. All we have to do, though, is accept.
* One family I know has a tradition of building/creating/crafting a gift for one family member every year at Christmas; Can you imagine the recipient never opening that gift? We need to open God’s gift to us.
* Read Genesis 3:15. What does enmity mean here? — strife, contention, hatred.
[Moment of silence here; Zoom crowd chatted with each other until the in-person microphone unmuted.
? ]
* Read Isaiah 45:22. Can you think of a time when you turned away from a me-centric life? Isn’t that called repentance, which is super-critical in terms of salvation, right? We are saying, “I’m willing to change, Lord. Tell me how.”
— Sometimes, we have to choose God over loved ones. So hard to do and that can cause separation. Honor God anyway.
* Jeremiah 31:31-34.
— Our lives show Who Jesus is. <3
— People will know there is a God. Holy Spirit talks to their hearts.
— Quotation that says something like, “We should minister every day. If necessary, use words.”
— Here in small-town America, it is particularly important what you do. You do something and it doesn’t take long before the whole community knows.
— The “New Covenant” is talked about in the Old Testament. The New Covenant is simply writing God’s Law on our hearts rather than on physical stones.
— If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments, said Jesus.
— As Christians, we are living as the Jews did. Salvation is of the Jews. God called them out for this.
— Why was Jesus born a Jew? The Jews were exacting and staid in their ways. They would not have heeded anyone from a different culture, so Jesus was born a Jew in order to speak to them as one accepted.
— I saw a commercial on YouTube that was about Jews in Israel becoming Christians.
* Mark 9:21-24
* Andy played “The Lord is My Salvation” by the Gettys.
8/15/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
* Goals of Midrash: “Let the Biblical text come alive in the context of community, its endless shades and contours revealed in the presence of a diversity of readers…”
* Back in Biblical times, they HEARD the Biblical text read aloud rather than most reading it for themselves. https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Luke%2011:28
* We’ve been looking at the “7th Day” part of our name. Now, we’ll look at the “Adventist” part.
* What does it look like to you to believe in the second coming?
— I like to read cemetery inscriptions. There’s been a change in Christian theology. “There’s no need to the second coming. We’re already in Heaven.”
* Christianity has gone through many changes. The disciples thought He was returning right away. Every generation has thought He is coming soon. Now, with COVID, people are saying the same.
* 2nd Advent: What is “the almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy…”?
— With God, a day is like a thousand years.
— How do you measure time? Will all of the Universe be on Earth time once New Heaven is on Earth?
— Time is a deep mystery. Our greatest minds have pondered this.
— Your position and motion in relation to your observation makes a difference.
— Reflection of humility perhaps to have “almost” and “most” there.
— 2nd coming is fulfillment of most things, but there will be more after that.
— Ask yourself…would it make a difference if we knew the day and hour of His coming?
* 1 Thess. 4:13-18; John 14:1-3; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 1:7; Rev. 22:12-14.
— 1 Thess. — be ready all the time!
— In verse 14, who is Jesus bringing with Him?
— Some talk about “flattening the fear” rather than the curve.
— What is Heaven?
— 1 Corinth. 13:6 and Matt. 27:52 (from the tombs)
* John 14:1-3
— How does this inform us?
— It is encouraging. It gives us life-giving hope.
— We don’t know when He’ll be back, but we need to be ready whenever He does.
* Titus 2:11-14:
— We become changed via man/God collaboration.
— There’s behavior that is expected. Live in hope and be ready for Him so it’s fine when He comes.
* Discreetly — thoughtfully; with purpose; with intention.
* How are we to live? We have lots of clues, but the Bible isn’t always specific. We’ve talked previously how this is not a flaw but rather a feature. It is a good thing to need to engage with the Bible and each other to learn and to understand. * Take the time to think about how His second coming is going to affect your life.
— “Be so Heavenly-minded that you’re no Earthly good!”
— If we have that strong relationship with God, we won’t be able to stand seeing others not know about Him. Learning to relate to our neighbor is part of that. Everyone is our neighbor.
— Behave with gentleness; His Light needs to shine through us.
8/22/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
  • We read Psalm 119:1-32. Note from facilitator: Some psalms are like proverbs; some are songs; some are prayers. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+119%3A1-32&version=NIV
  • What changes will happen from Old Earth to New Earth? Will people on the New Earth pray these same sorts of things we see in what we just read?
    • Look at verse 28. There will be no heaviness like this in the New Earth…no sin issues, no burdens, no discouragement.
    • It’s an attitude of gratitude. We won’t have uncertainty. We’ll live in security, with no fear.
    • Pains will be gone; medical is the biggest industry in our towns/cities now; it won’t be needed then.
  • Look at verses 18 and 19. What does this mean?
    • The festivals seem hidden from us, but God isn’t hiding them from us. They just aren’t our focus.
  • Will this be different on the New Earth?
    • His commands are written on our hearts.
    • Holy Spirit brings us knowledge.
    • When are we changed to have joyful perspective? In the twinkling of an eye when Jesus comes.
  • Will we be praying the same sorts of things?
    • We will have the assurance of God’s acceptance.
    • There will be no animosity like in verse 23.
    • Nor like that in verse 22, too.
    • Shame, guilt, embarrassment are the devil’s tools, so they will be gone.
    • Love will reign. Shame and self-loathing…the lying to ourselves….all that will be gone.
  • Which verses will be the same?
    • Verses 11, 15, 16, 32.
    • Look in verse 32 — we are running, not just walking.
    • So, we’ll be leaping with joy like the deer in the field.
    • “Look at it this way, Roy, the New Earth will still have fishermen!”
  • How much of this joy in the heart can be happening now?
    • A lot. Gratitude is a great place to start. I’ve been listening to an A.W. Tozer book, “The Purpose of Man.” We need to graduate from the baby Christian stage into becoming ambassadors for reconciliation.
    • The psalmist has a dual perspective: there’s the weight of the world but also gratitude.
  • How can we, as Adventists, walk in a New Earth perspective now? How much can we shift our view? I personally think a lot. How? How do we shift perspective?
    • Be His bride. Level of commitment we make to Him changes the level of intimacy we experience with Him.
    • As a teacher, there’s a “growth mindset” we teach the kids. Recognizing we CAN change allows us to go ahead and change.
    • David, as a young man, was able to face a giant with only a sling. That kind of faith.
    • Yes, so teach faith like you teach a “growth mindset.” Faith takes practice, too.
    • When we tell kids to have faith, that is nebulous. We need to connect to it something they already know. “Do you have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow?” Give kids something to have faith in as a starting point. As adults, we tend to do it ourselves instead of waiting for another adult to get with it and do it. We know we can do it right. Impatience is the enemy of faith.
    • As we teach faith, more around us can learn this New Earth perspective.
    • Look at Phil. 3:20 and 1 Thess. 5:16-18…and others. Prayer takes practice.
    • It needs to become routine that we’re just talking with Him.


9/5/2020 Sabbath School Notes:

  • Facilitator: Steve Smith
  • Time matters.
  • What happened at Gethsemane?
    • Prayers.
    •  Judas and cohorts.
    • Peter got “rambunctious” with the sword.
  • Then?
    • Trial, Cross, Crucifixion, Resurrection.
  • What time of day was Jesus taken to the Cross?
    •  “Third hour” on Passover day.
  • There were two ways of keeping time back then — Jewish and Roman. In the Roman, there were 4 watches — two before midnight and 2 after. The days, no matter what time of year, were 12 hours long. On the Jewish method of keeping time, the hours were shorter in winter; each hour was 1 hour and 20 minutes long in the summer.
  • What time of year was Jesus crucified? — Spring.
  • How do we know it was the Spring? Passover is the 14th day of the 1st month on the Jewish calendar.
  • What crop was harvested at the time? — barley, and that is harvested in the Spring in Jerusalem.
  • In the Temple back then, the priest took the lamb, sacrificed it, and put the blood on the altar of incense at the third hour, which is about 9am in the Spring there.
  • At noon (at the 6th hour), the sky turned dark. For how long? About 3 hours or until about the 9th hour (3:30pm-ish).
  • What happened at the 9th hour in the Temple? The daily sacrifice of another lamb. Jesus died about the 9th hour.
  • There was a rush to get Jesus in the tomb because the Sabbath was coming at sundown.
  • Is Passover a Sabbath? No.
  • How many non-7th-day Sabbaths are there in the Jewish calendar year? Seven (7), all falling on festivals.
  • The first day of Unleavened Bread after Passover is a Sabbath, always on the 15th day of the 1st month.
    • What is a Sabbath?
  • I think a Sabbath is when God wants our attention.
    • Isn’t that every day that He wants our attention?
  • Yes, but He does special things on Sabbaths.
  • Jesus was resurrected on First Fruits (festival), which is not a Sabbath.
  • I think times matter to God. He didn’t die on any old day or time. He didn’t rest in the tomb on any old set of days. He didn’t rise on any old day.
  • There are 7 festivals plus one.
  • There’s the Festival of Weeks/Pentecost in the third month.
  • Pentecost means “50” (50 days after First Fruits is Pentecost.
  • The Festival of Unleavened Bread, Weeks, Pentecost…. were all after Jesus died. Did He orchestrate events in His life to coordinate with the Jewish festivals but ignore the rest? Were the festivals done away with at the Cross?
  • I don’t think He did away with the festivals at the Cross.
  • There’s the Festival of Shouts (sometimes called Trumpets) in the 7th month. What’s that about? We’re not told, but it might mark something.
  • Remember the overlays in medical textbooks where there were clear sheets piled on top of each other? There’s the skeletal system overlay and the organs, the nervous system, the muscles, and the skin. I think we can examine the Bible like that. Look at the time of Exodus, at the time of Christ, and in the future with overlays of the festivals.
  • What happened at Passover in the time of Exodus?
    • The lamb was inspected and chosen, slain, and blood spread on the doorpost.
  • The lamb was kept in the house for four days. Anyone in the house was safe.
  • Think of remembering Passover all the years between then and Jesus. If you were a Jew, would you have recognized that the Messiah would come, be crucified, and die at the appropriate times? Would they recognize that it was Jesus? The Jews then did not.
  • What’s the application at the time of Christ of the Festival of Shouts, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, 8th Day?
  • How do the festivals apply in our future? Are their predictors?
  • Keep in mind that Passover and Unleavened Bread were used interchangeably by the Jews back in Biblical times.
  • There was a space of 1500 years between Moses and Jesus. Jews kept the festivals, Passover, and the Temple practices that whole time. One lamb was sacrificed for every ten people.
  • In Revelation, it talks about Satan changing times. I think the little horn will attempt to do away with God’s times.
  • Look at what’s already been done with our times.
    1. Sabbath, to the Jews, was sundown to sundown. A day was from sundown to sundown. Now, our days go from midnight to midnight.
    2. For most of Christiandom, Sabbath was changed from the seventh day to the first.
    3. We no longer honor the festivals. We pay attention to other holidays now. If I say “eggs,” what holiday do you think of? If I say “gifts,” what holiday do you think of. Our kids automatically know all of man’s adopted holidays. Very few know God’s holidays. Why?
  • God chooses to interact with humanity on festival dates. I think the festivals are His way of saying, “Be ready. I’m going to do something special on these days.” That’s what happened in the past, and I think that’s what is in our future.
  • We can say that the festivals weren’t fulfilled exactly or won’t be, but look at Jesus. His death didn’t match the Temple system exactly either. The lamb’s throat was slit; Jesus’s throat was not. The lamb was killed in the outer courtyard; Jesus was killed outside the city (Golgatha).
  • I think the Festivals are a part of the Plan of Salvation. They tell us Who is the true God. I think they did in Jesus’s time, and I think they will in the future, too. We are told that, in the end times, Satan will impersonate Jesus. The festivals might help us to know whether it is an imposter in front of us or not.
  • Where do man’s holidays point us?
  • Re-establishing the festival traditions will point us to the Creator. ((See chart below.))








9/12/2020 Sabbath School Notes: (Facilitator: Steve)

* Brief review of last week’s Sabbath School. [Passover on 14th day of 1st month; unleavened bread; First Fruits; Weeks; 1st month is not January and is determined by when barley is ripe in Judea and new moon; winter barley is planted so ripe around March.
* We are in the 6th Hebrew month right now. 7th month starts at next new moon, which (in theory) is next Friday evening (19th).
* Moon has several things that vary. One complete revolution = sidereal.
* Synodic month every 29.5 days, on average. Varies between 29.2 and 29.8; varies because orbit not perfect circle and not on perfect plane.
* 71 Jewish leaders = Sanhedrin. Three of them were delegated with calendar management.
* People in different locations were to look for the new moon and report back. If two witnesses, it is declared a new moon; so run up the hill to light a signal fire so surrounding communities knew the new moon was sighted.
* New moon visible to human eye about 18 hours after new moon phase starts. New moon always seen 40-120 minutes after sundown.
* We don’t know when Passover is until new moon.
* If we don’t see the new moon, is the sighting “declaration” delayed until you do? If after 29-30 days of seeing the last new moon, you don’t see the new moon, the new month starts anyway.
* Festival coming up next is Feast of Shouts or sometimes called “Feast of Trumpets.” (Read Leviticus 23).
* We are instructed just to make noise.
* Beginning of the Days of Awe; Sound the alarm. Get ready; the Day of Judgment is coming. Make noise!
  — Attendee: “It is interesting to me that God involves people so much on the interpretation of His calendar.”
  — Attendee: “Where was the barley observation?” Steve — Judea.
* Farmer checks for ripeness of the grain by chewing it and seeing how hard it is. Nowadays, there’s a device to measure moisture in the grains.
  — Attendee: “And, they had to test a substantial quantity throughout the chosen field to see if it was ripe.”
* An omer of grain is the amount it takes to make a loaf of bread with it.
* Wave offering at the start of the month is with an omer of barley.
* Pre-COVID, we gathered at our house to look for the new moon. We didn’t worship the moon. We are just asked to fellowship. So, we got together for a meal, visiting, and looking out to see if we could see the new moon.
* First day of the 7th month is Sabbath.
* The Jews had 1500 years of keeping the festivals and Temple practices until the Lamb showed up.
* I believe the reason we are still here is because the appointed time has not yet come for Jesus to return. Watch back in time how events happened on festival dates.
* We don’t know the day and hour of His return, even when we are celebrating the festivals.
* At the end of time, the two witnesses will have the same power as Elijah and Moses to call for drought.
* Next Friday will be the Feast of Shouts. Ten days later, we are to be in the state of having our sins worked out with God.
09/19/2020 Sabbath School Notes: (Facilitator: Steve) [asterisk= facilitator; — = comments from attendees]
* Today is a special day. It is a seventh-day Sabbath, but it would be a Sabbath if it wasn’t the seventh day. Today is the Festival of Shouts.
* Read Leviticus 23:23-25.
* Teruah: shout or make noise, either by a crowd or by a horn.
* Why do we shout? — To the Lord. — Affirmation. — Cheer. — Magnify. — Anger.
* Our instruction is to remember to shout. The same word for remember is used in the verse about remembering the Sabbath and keeping it Holy as when it is used to tell us to remember to shout. So, maybe we need to go back to our previous Sabbath School lessons about remembering the Sabbath.
— I think Google has a good definition for shout: utter a loud cry to express strong emotion.
* For the festivals, we are told to “mark these days.” So, it is important. Remember what happened. Remember to watch for applications in the future. Remember this day. It is important. Why? We’re not told yet.
* What happened at the time of Exodus and at the time of Jesus on earth during the Feast of Shouts?
— They went around Jericho, shouting and blowing trumpets.
* Look at Revelation 14:6-7. Related? Is it reasonable to think it is?
* I think God tells us to remember and mark this day, historically and in the future. Does this day matter? Are the festivals only relevant to the Jews? ((asks for a show of hands on whether or not we think the festivals are important))
— I am undecided.
— How is it relevant?
— Jews are God’s ambassadors to all nations, so if the festivals are relevant to them, then they are relevant to all, including Gentiles.
— I think it is super important to know what Jews did and thought.
* Why?
— Because Jesus was a Jew.
— It is good to look at the Old Testament to know our history, our heritage.
— Anything that draws us to Christ is good.
— I think that if we, as Christians, understand the festivals and recognize them as holidays God gave us, then we have a way of perhaps reaching the Jews about Whom we follow — Jesus.
* If festivals are irrelevant to living now, is there a reason to still study them?
— We can learn from them.
* What are the reasons normally given not to observe the festivals?
^ The Law was nailed to the Cross. All the rituals, rites, and sacrifices in the Old Testament are done away with.
^ Only grace matters now.
* Look at the the Interlinear Bible to see the Greek word for “fulfill” then put that word into Google Translate. It says “pay.” So, Jesus is saying, “I did not come to abolish the Law, I came to pay the price.”
* So go back to the presentation I did about a year ago. Was Jesus on the Cross ridding us of the speed limit or the citation against us for violating the speed limit?
* Adventists believe in the Ten Commandments. We believe other restrictions, though, were nailed to the Cross. We are also heavily influenced by White. She is relatively neutral on the festivals, but James White believed we were dishonoring Jesus by honoring festivals. So, we don’t talk about them.
— Historical reason: followers of Jesus vs. being a Jew. Christ’s disciples had a real desire to differentiate themselves from the Jews. So, the festivals may have been dropped so as not to be associated with the Jewish beliefs.
* Do converts need to heed the Law? The vote was that the Gentiles needed to keep Noah’s Law (Acts 15).
* Gentiles get the inheritance, but don’t have to do as the Jews do?
* I believe the remaining festivals after the Cross are part of the Plan of Salvation. The first four are, so why not the other 3?
* I think the festivals mark times where God is saying I will do something important here, how He’ll interact with man in a major way.
— The Jerusalem Council made the statement that the agreement seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us. There’s a time and place component to this decision. They were saying it was important for right then to separate Judaism from the Christian walk. It was good then, but not necessarily in the future.
— Purpose of festivals is to give a perspective of what’s going to happen.
— Read Acts 15:22 and on about circumcision in order to work with the Jews.
* So, Sabbath is only for the Jews because that passage is interpreted as everything else is not applicable?
— People want an action plan.
* Some said, “You must be circumcised to be saved.” Paul said, “no.”
— Auntie Ellen said that by turning to God, people make a great change, so don’t complicate that with stumbling blocks like festivals, circumcision, etc.
* I agree. Our primary goal is to bring others to God.
* Ten days to the next festival – Day of Atonement, which starts next Sunday night at sundown. Blow a trumpet and fast.
* Read in Leviticus 23 about the Day of Atonement. Bring a gift to the Lord. How do we do that?
— Praise and prayer?
* What Jews do right now, yes. They intend to get the Temple rebuilt then start doing the rites again.
* Evangelical Christians believe Jews and Israel will be restored and will be a prominent part of our future.
— God says he will make in our body a sanctuary for Him. His sanctuary is within us. If work is to be done in this sanctuary, how will Jesus (High Priest) do it? If we are looking for a way to make the Day of Atonement applicable to us, be intentional with how we approach Him for this.
* Temple sacrifices were not when sins were forgiven. Sins were forgiven and removed on the Day of Atonement.
9/26/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(Facilitator: Steve Smith *)(Attendee comments after “–“)
* The next festival starts on Sunday at sundown. It is the Day of Atonement or the “day of forgiveness.” It is from sundown Sunday to sundown Monday. It is the 10th day of the 7th month.
* Our instructions: It is a Sabbath, so no regular work. Fasting.
— We are to be humble, too.
* How do we be humble?
— Surrender self; focus on God.
* What does it have in common with Noah’s ark? The root for the verb used for pitch to cover the ark to seal it (keep it afloat) is the same root used for the verb, “atone.”
* This is the day that God forgives your sins. Were all individuals within the nation rebellious? Did some rebel, as in 10%, and the whole nation was punished?
— God was willing to negotiate over Sodom and Gomorrah.
— Why was there no negotiation before the ark/flood?
— It was pretty black-and-white. They either obeyed or didn’t. God desired to make them a holy nation, a kingdom of priests. In Hebrew, when they say, “We will obey,” it means, “We will listen to You.”
* Maybe it is between each person and God what humble is; He knows whether or not we are being humble.
* When I ask for forgiveness, when does it happen? Immediately or delayed?
— It isn’t delayed, but it is like a check given. You don’t have to wait. Forgiveness is immediate, but the legal elimination of it is on the Day of Atonement.
— What if you don’t realize you need forgiveness; you don’t realize you did something wrong?
— You get the benefit of no bitterness in your heart if you forgive. They don’t get the benefit of being forgiven until they realize they did something wrong.
* Passover was the ultimate sacrifice. So, what happens on the Day of Atonement? Read Leviticus 16:30. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2016&version=KJV
* So, it is like saying, “…on that day, He will apply the tar and pitch.”
— Maybe that is when God’s children are sealed in the end days.
* Who all is involved in the sacrificial system for the Temple? The olive growers, goat herders, grain farmers, sheep herders, bull ranchers. All are involved. The high priest takes the sacrifices all the way into the Holy Place.
* What is on the hem of the priest’s robe?
— bells and pomegranates. [Only worn outside the Holy of Holies; Inside the Holy of Holies, he wore only a white priestly garment without the bells and pomegranates.]
* When the priest comes out, what does he do?
— Puts his hands on the head of the goat.
* Yes, the azazel or scapegoat.
* He confesses the sins of the nation on the goat’s head. There are red ribbons on the horns. The azazel is taken into the wilderness by whom?
— a good man; a fit man.
* If the goat came back to camp, that would have been bad. So, it was led far away and over a cliff.
* Jesus died at Passover. If sins are forgiven on the Day of Atonement/Forgiveness, how do you reconcile this?
— The sanctuary was cleansed on the Day of Atonement.
— Is it possible that the Israelites felt Passover was the final straw to wanting out of Egypt, but they still had a long, arduous journey in order to actually leave. So, Jesus gives us the possibility of forgiveness. We just take the step toward the freedom He offers.
— Forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration.
* If Jesus hadn’t resurrected, there’d be no salvation.
— To a sinner looking to the Savior, the instant you ask for it, you are forgiven. There’s still a lot to learn, but you walk on with the thought in your mind that you are forgiven.
* So, there’s more to it, once you get the basics.
— When you come to Christ, your sins are forgiven. But, there’s a cycle you go through. A learning curve to getting the Christian walk right.
* When God moves into this impure vessel, what happens?
— I think of Peter when Jesus is washing his feet, saying, “Don’t wash just my feet. All of me needs washed.”
* God is saying, “I want a relationship with humanity.” You are a part of His salvation plan. I don’t think God will give us a lobotomy when we get to Heaven. When you go to Heaven, does God rewire your brain?
— It says we won’t remember sin.
— Other unsinful worlds are seeing what happens if sin would continue.
* Will God unleash Steve Smith into Heaven unchanged?
— God gave us free will.
— He takes us as we are.
* So, Jesus says, “I vouch for him. I know his heart is good.”
— I see it like high school. Not everyone who graduates is an A student, but most will graduate. God desires a kingdom of priests. If someone accepts Jesus, they graduate.
— Look at the thief on the cross. He’s told he’ll go to Paradise.
— Fellowship means Jesus went out and chose people he knew would be humble and teachable, no matter where they were and what they were doing in life.
— Will you be you in Heaven? He will relieve you of what is hard on you here in this world…the defects in your character that lead you into sin. But, you’ll have the same personality.
— You won’t have any pains or worries.
* Would you be a perfect person in a perfect environment?
— No.
* So, what causes us to be good once we get to Heaven?
— It says, “The kingdom of Heaven is now.”
— When God enters in, a person becomes changed. Same personality, better traits to make them more personable and compassionate in society.
* The high priest is the only one in the Holy of Holies. There’s smoke in the Temple.
— The language in Revelation 15 is the same.
— Jesus’s white robe of righteousness covers something.
* The next festival is the Festival of Booths or Tabernacles. It is on the 15th day, so it starts at sundown next Friday evening (Oct 2nd). We are to live in an outside shelter. The first day of this festival is a Sabbath. It happens to also be the 7th Day Sabbath. The last day of this festival is not a Sabbath, but the next day is. The festival after that is the day after the last day of the Festival of Booths and is the “Eighth Day,” which is also a Sabbath and happens to be also a 7th Day Sabbath this year.
* There are 7 Sabbaths besides all of each year’s Seventh Day Sabbaths. Seven steps in God’s Plan of Salvation.
10/03/2020 Sabbath School Notes: (Facilitator: Steve Smith * ; attendee comments — )
* Last night at sundown was the start of the Festival of Booths or the Festival of Tabernacles. What is that? What are we to do?
— It’s a time to reflect on Exodus and the years in the wilderness.
* It starts on the 15th day of the 7th month on God’s calendar and lasts for seven days.
* What are we to do for this festival?
— Dwell in tents or shelters.
— Rejoice over His provisions.
* Leviticus 23 says that, on the first day, we are to gather branches from leafy trees and willows by the stream to create shelters. Yet, we remember from previous studies that a man got in trouble for gathering sticks on Sabbath. He was stoned to death.
— Community service vs. a profit motive?
— The 40 years in the wilderness thing. Was that number there for the symbology. Is there historical/archeological evidence they were in the desert for 40 years?
* No pottery shards, animal bones, pillars, etc have been found.
* So, we go on faith that it was “40 years,” as the Bible says.
— The story makes it clear that they were there long enough that one generation died out.
* Why not go straight to Canaan?
— They weren’t ready for it yet.
* During the festival, on the first day, they were to sacrifice 13 bulls, 2 rams, 7 lambs, and 1 goat. Do the math for me. On the first day, 13 bulls. The next day, it was 12. Next, 11. Fourth day, it was 10. Fifth, 9 bulls. 6th, 8. 7th, 7. The total…
— 70.
* So, 70 bulls over the time of this one-week festival. What are the other 70s we find in the Bible?
— 70×7.
— 70 + 2 disciples of Jesus.
— 70 elders in the Sanhedrin.
* 70 leaders joining Moses on Mt. Sinai.
* Noah had 70 sons (70 nations/groups from there, according to Jewish tradition).
* It says there is to be an “ingathering of Jews and Gentiles as chosen people of God to reach the world.” The festival commemorates this, according to Jewish tradition.
* Where else in the Bible does it talk about days or years in the “wilderness?”
— Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days.
— The scapegoat was taken into the wilderness.
— Moses herded sheep in the wilderness for 40 years.
* There’s the wilderness for the woman in Revelation 12.
— For 1,260 days.
* I think the wilderness in Revelation 12 might be referencing this festival and the time when Jesus went to the wilderness, too.
* Let’s do a high overview to figure out Jesus’ birth. John the Baptist’s father probably served in the Temple. There’s likely about a 6 month difference between John and Jesus, so it is likely that Jesus was born in the 7th month.
* Jesus began his ministry at what age?
— 30
* How do we know this? Boys started learning Torah at 12. If they showed good memory skills and spiritual aptitude, they became a disciple to the rabbi. The disciple is to emulate the rabbi in everything, becoming just like the rabbi. At the age of 30, the boy can become a priest.
* On the Day of Atonement, two goats were selected. Azazel, or scapegoat, had sins laid on its head and it was taken away, never to return. Remember what John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world.”
— Then, after baptism, Jesus was led away into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and remained there for 40 days.
— The “woman” in the wilderness will be there 1,260 days.
* I do believe Revelation 12 and the Festival of Tabernacles are related.
* Jesus died on Passover. There are seven festivals plus one. Jesus rested during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. He resurrected on First Fruits. The Festival of Weeks (Pentecost) happened after the work on the Cross was finished.
* I believe the Festival of Shouts/Trumpets is part of the Three Angels message.
* I believe the Day of Atonement is an important part of the Plan of Salvation.
* Festival of Tabernacles. In Revelation, there’s a fleeing to the wilderness. Why hide? Shouldn’t they be spreading the gospel among the people?
— They are told to hide or be destroyed.
— They are being hunted.
* So, the Dragon is after the Church.
— Just as Pharoah was after the Hebrews.
* This is also called the “Time of Wrath.” Look in Isaiah 26:16-21. It is the same phrasing as in Revelation 12.
* On the Day of Atonement…Day of Forgiveness, only the High Priest can go into the Holy of Holies.
* In Revelation, during the pouring out of bowls, no one is allowed to go into the smoke-filled Temple. No one is allowed in the Temple during the Time of Wrath.
* During the Festival of Tabernacles we are to remember the time of the Hebrews in the wilderness and Jesus in the wilderness and the goat in the wilderness that is not to return and the Woman in the wilderness during the Time of Wrath.
* What do the two witnesses do?
— They can smite with plagues, drought, and call down fire.
* Who else could call for drought and ask for fire from Heaven? Elijah.
* Jews set a cup on the Passover table for Elijah because they think he’s coming back to prepare the way of the Lord. What did Jesus say about John the Baptist and Elijah? I think another “Elijah” will come in the End Times. I think that Elijah in the End Times will show up at Passover.
* After the Festival of Tabernacles is the “Eighth Day.” What are some examples of where there were 7 and then an eighth on the end like this?
— On the Day of Atonement, they were to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice in front of the Ark 7 times, then once onto the Ark.
— On the 8th day after birth, there was the circumcision.
— The dedication of the first born.
* What is being restored? Dedicated?
* Jesus was taken to what temple for His dedication? Forty days after birth, there is another dedication. So, they stayed in Bethlehem either 8 days or 40 days.
* Last Sabbath, how many of us refrained from work, afflicted your soul, fasted? If not, why not? Was it not relevant? Unsure about it? Not applicable to us now?
* We are here to relieve suffering and pain, to visit those imprisoned. This will continue, though, and things will get worse. The Church will be persecuted. Both Ezekiel and Revelation say so. Also, it says the measuring line will start at the house of God. We will be purified.
* During the early years of his career, the cartoonist for Calvin and Hobbes had a trial employment at a newspaper. He hated it. He was told that his trial wasn’t up yet, but that in three months, he’d be fired. So, he could stay through the end of the trial or he could go. He stayed for the money. He said, “That humiliation was the best thing that happened to me.” God uses bad things to make us have better characters. In Amos, it says God will withdraw information. So, gain the information while we have it.
— Nowadays, who are the native Israelites? Who should be observing the festivals?
* People have various reasons for not observing the festivals. One reason commonly given is that they are just for the Jews. So, Sabbaths and festivals are just for the Jews? When we choose to be grafted in, are we only accepting the blessings and ignoring the requirements?
* Not keeping or observing the festivals doesn’t mean we should ignore their relevance in Scripture or in God’s Plan.
10/10/2020 Sabbath School Notes: ( * Facilitator: Steve Smith; — Attendees)
* Today is the 7th Day Sabbath but also the “Eighth Day,” which is a Festival Sabbath.
* What is special about the 8th Day?
* It is the last festival of the year, but it is sometimes not listed as a festival. It is sometimes just an “add-on” to the Festival of Booths/Tabernacles. It is, however, a distinct festival the Bible mentions.
* Recap: There are health issues related to the 8th Day. A baby is circumcised on the 8th day after birth. If you are a leper and think you are healed, the procedure to see if you are is to watch for 7 days for any sign of it. If you are still okay on the 8th day, you are declared healed. Anything that makes you “unclean,” as in bodily fluids (menstruation, for example), you must stay away from people for 7 days and then are considered clean on the 8th day.
* There’s the consecration of the Temple and altar. On the 8th day, it is consecrated or sanctified. There are seven days of sacrifices (122,000 lambs) and then a dedication on the 8th day. There is the Feast of Tabernacles and then consecration of the Temple on the Eighth Day.
* There’s the 7 days of consecration for the priests; then, on the 8th day, they become priests. That’s the ordination of the priests.
* So, the Eighth Day is associated with purification, dedication, and consecration.
* We are called to be a nation of priests. We are part of the building blocks of the Temple. We are the Legos. (grin)
* As you know now, I believe the Festivals are part of the Plan of Salvation. There are 7 festivals plus one. The plan ends with us being priests.
* When you think about it, though, why does Heaven need a nation of priests? Or, are we priests for the time before we go to Heaven?
* In Revelation 3:12, it talks about how we become a part of the Temple, the pillars.
* When does our priesthood begin? When we accept Jesus?
— Baptism, maybe? That’s an acceptance of Christ.
* I think when we join the community of believers, we become priests.
* At the time of the end, we become God’s Ambassadors to the universe, the “demonstration squad.”
— Why do you think that?
* Good question. Why do I think that?
— I think of Creation. On the 8th day of Creation, it was humanity’s first day in the Garden on their own. The 8th day started their purpose. I think the verse in Genesis and the verse in Revelation have strong correlation. The Greek word for pillar means support, as taking care of a spouse. Consecration is an establishing of purpose. I don’t believe our purpose ends at the Second Coming.
* Go to Revelation 14:4.
— Was the 8th Day of Creation the first day of the fall of man?
— We don’t know how long after Creation that man fell.
— Satan and sin predates Creation. Why is man placed in the Garden with Satan being there? What is the purpose of that?
— The Bible doesn’t speak of other Trees of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do you think there are others?
— We are created in His image. So, was He also tempted to eat of the tree like man was?
* Not all of us like the idea of the festivals. Some believe they were done away with at the Cross. What’s more, some believe that to honor them is morally wrong because it is denying Jesus.
* Read Leviticus 23:1-4 and on.
* Am I misreading this? Is this not talking about the 7th Day Sabbath being the first feast…the first appointed time to be kept?
* So how many festivals are there? Seventh Day, Passover, Unleavened, First Fruits, Weeks/Pentecost, Shouts/Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, 8th Day (though Jews considered it to be part of the Feast of Tabernacles, but there is a distinction).
* Show me where, in the Bible, that the 7th Day Sabbath is not one of the feasts, as mentioned here.
* I go to Ezekiel 20:13 in my Bible version (CEV), and it says, “But the Israelites rebelled against me in the desert. They refused to obey my laws and teachings, and they treated the Sabbath like any other day.” In my eyes, this is God saying that, to Him, the day matters.
* And, to me, these are not the “Jewish festivals.” These are God’s festivals. Why do we build in Satan’s substitutes? We have them in our schools. We have them in our yearly schedules as families. We have them in some churches. Why?
— Look at Colossians 2:16:  “Don’t let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don’t let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival.” Going on to 17: “These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real!”
* Go to the beginning of Colossians to 2:16. Is this about pagan festivals or God’s festivals? Are the festivals talked about part of His plan?
— If we are Jesus worshippers, it seems important to look up and watch festivals on our public calendars, to utilize the festival calendar in the society we live in. I see no reason to ignore the Biblical calendar.
— That could be wrong, though. Ellen White doesn’t address the subject very much, but her hubby said not to observe them. He felt it was wrong.
* I could show you other documents that say that Ellen White, toward the end of her life, eased up on the festivals, saying there might be something there. It wasn’t an endorsement. She did a comparison of the Camp Meeting and the Festival of Booths, although she did not equate them.
— Also, James White wanted a clear separation from the Jews. It was important to him to establish that, and it could have been that he had some anti-Semite views.
* Other churches are not convicted of the 7th Day Sabbath.
— To me, we are battling Satan’s traditions…man’s holidays.
— The 7th Day Sabbath, though, is different. It is one of the 10 commandments. It isn’t just for the Jews.
— Once we get to Heaven, will we keep the Festivals other than the 7th Day Sabbath?
* Post Second Coming, what will happen? Look in Zechariah 14 in the verse 16 region.
— I think the stumbling block issue is something important to address. Saying we must do this could be a stumbling block to new Christians.
— I’m not saying it is wrong to observe them. I’m just not convicted of it yet. I might be eventually. I’m just not right now.
— I think spiritual stumbling blocks are different than just saying something that offends someone or doesn’t jive with their opinion.
10/17/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
( * Facilitator: Steve Smith; — Attendees)
* God requires the same sacrifices in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
* Look at the Hosea 6:6 passage.
— So then why did they have to do them?
— Paul was a Roman (born there) and a Jew.
— Whole sacrificial system seems like mass murder; whole focus becomes distorted.
* What was the reason for the animal sacrifices?
— Punishment? (chuckle)
— Show your love by making a sacrifice.
— Other religions around them had sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites did. It was a cultural thing, I think.
— “If you feel guilty for not sacrificing, then maybe you should” concept.
— It is a sharing with God what is your best; it’s a part of your livelihood; it’s equivalent to putting your cell phone on the altar now.
— For that time, that was what to do because God was revealing Himself progressively. It was the accommodation He made just to move people along; they weren’t meant to stay at the animal sacrifice stage. It wasn’t a simple concept, so He went slowly.
* God never really wanted the killed animals. They were there as a parable so people could understand the sacrificial concept. The blood of the animals didn’t blot out sin. It is His saying, “there’s more about Me to learn.”
— The Bible tells you how to run your life. So, was this not a way to get the sacrificial system into our culture?
— Yeah, but the sacrificial system seems so works-based.
— Why do it? We are showing our love for Him.
— But, can’t you justify anything in the name of “pleasing God?”
— Look at Ecclesiastes 7:13-14: “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”
— I think we humans find it easier to sacrifice a bull than to follow bullet points in a set of laws.
* What was the reason for the animal sacrifices? Why was the practice there?
— I see a conflict in it. If your neighbor is doing sacrifices, do you then feel like you should be doing it? If so, is that coveting?
* The sacrificial system was to get us from Point A to Point B.
* Look at Colossians 2:16-17: “Don’t let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don’t let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real!”
* You can kill all the animals but not get anywhere if your heart isn’t right.
— Right. The Lord gave ordinances, but He says, “I’m not pleased with HOW you are doing it.”
— It talks about how the earthly temple is a shadow of the Heavenly temple. Over 30% of Scripture is poetry; if we read it that way, we would see more of it as allegory and metaphor.
* Look at Romans 12:1-2: “….offer your bodies to Him as a living sacrifice…” Now, look at the bullet points on the last page. Those are the sacrifices God has always wanted, still wants, and will always want. I basically took verses from the Old and New Testaments to create this list of what He really wants.
— The bullet points you have here are a good summary of the intent behind the commandments: love God; love others.
* Now, look at the section about sacrifices in the future. Why are there sacrifices in the future?
— There are instances in the Bible where God changed His mind. Did He change His mind on this?
* I think God wants us to love Him and to love our neighbor. I think He gets upset when we don’t.
* I think God is saying, “I’m giving you sacrifices to do because I want you to understand the Steps of Salvation.” I don’t think it is a cultural thing.
— Why not make a perfect being instead of a flawed being that can sin?
— David was constantly challenging the idea of our ever being perfect, yet he was the apple of God’s eye.
* I think God says, “I want you to be like Me in character, but I want you to have your own personality.”
* The blood of animals never saved anyone. He’s saying, “What I really want is you to be like Me and to be with Me.”
— I think, culturally, God had to establish the sacrificial system to explain what Jesus was going to do; but, nowadays, we don’t understand it or like it.
* So, the sacrificial system was to convey a concept.
— Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:9: “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.”
— When Jesus died, the curtain was torn from top to bottom, right? That symbolized the end of the sacrificial system.
* Yet, some of it didn’t stop. Can the sacrificial system be ignored?
— As an example, no.
— I think His true desires are summarized in the bullet point list you have here.
* God’s desires from us are the same in both the Old and New Testaments.
— The disciples asked Jesus what the most important thing was for us to do. He said for us to love. But, that doesn’t tell me specifics of what I should do in this moment. Let’s say I have a disagreement with my spouse. What should I do, specifically? Love is an abstract concept.
— God tells us, “When you commit a sin, this is what to do.” You repair the relationship. That’s what is needed.
* Did the death of the lamb save Joshua? Was it the change of heart?
— Look at the differences between the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. It was a situation of God saying, “Do as I ask.” It wasn’t the lamb itself that saved him. It is the obedience.
* Likewise, Saturday attendance of church doesn’t save us. It is obeying Him.
— Absolute obedience. Yet, I look at that verse that says, “Come, let us reason together…”
* Indeed, I do want God to explain why more often than He does.
— We are each a work in progress. What I need to do to work on my relationship with God is different than what another needs to do to work on their relationship with Him.
* I killed a lamb, so I can go sin some more, right? It doesn’t work that way. I accepted Jesus. Now, I can go do what I want, right? Our jobs are to be shining lights no matter what happens.
— Look at the story in Jeremiah 35 about the Rechabites and the lesson learned there. Obedience is the key point.
— Look at 1 Samuel 15:22 where it says “…to obey is better than sacrifice…”
10/24/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
* Steve Smith, facilitator; — = Midrashers
* As we know from Scripture, the earthly Temple is a shadow of things to come.
* What was the purpose of the Temple? We talked about the sacrificial system and what is necessary from us.
— It was constructed so that God could dwell with His people.
— When Moses came down from the mountain, the people asked for him to put a veil over his face. Do you think the Temple was for that purpose?
* No.
— I do. The mystery of God is in Jesus. Even in Paul’s time, God was mysterious. He was hidden. Is this a limitation of man or a limitation of God?
* I think God can reveal Himself, if He chooses to do so.
* Limitations. It reminds of our going to Him and saying, ‘Tone down your requirements, God, because I’m getting rid of sins as fast as I can.’ “
* I believe the sacrificial system began in Exodus and got real with Jesus. The Cross was not the end of what the sacrificial system was trying to show; it was a real beginning.
* So, in the Temple, what happens? You sin, so then what?
— You took a lamb, goat, dove, whatever to the entrance, and it got approved by the priest.
— Its throat was slit and the blood drained on the courtyard altar of sacrifice.
* Then other things happened. Which part of the Temple system represents the Cross?
— animal sacrifice on the altar.
* Yes. Then, the blood was carried inside the Temple to the Altar of Incense and before the curtain. This all happened after the sacrifice, the Cross.
— So were the type of animals sacrificed chosen by what sin was done? Were they defined by the sins?
— No.
* The Cross is the first step in the Plan of Salvation.
* Christ’s body was taken from the Cross, washed and anointed, and entombed.
* The priest washed himself after the sacrifice.
* How many veils were in Herod’s Temple?
— Multiple.
* Josephus said that the veil between the Holy and the Most Holy were actually two veils with a passage between them. The Entrance into the Holy Place was a copper door donated by a rich person, and it took 20 people to move it. In front of the door was a blue veil, a Babylonian tapestry, with depictions of the galaxy and stars with scarlet threads.
* We don’t know which veil was torn when Jesus died. We presume it was the one between the Holy and the Most Holy.
* What starts with Jesus?
— He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
— It ALL starts and ends with Jesus.
— The Gospel has to be spread to the entire world so then He can come.
— Jesus was in events after the Cross.
* Agreed. Those events also include us.
* Jesus intercedes on our behalf. All parts of the Temple represent Jesus. Part of us is in there in the Temple, too. We are part of the sacrificial system. We are not bystanders. What is our role?
* I think that when we say it ends at the Cross, we lose our purpose.
* I think the Temple and the sacrificial system teaches us what happens after the Cross.
— He calls us to be priests.
— Right. We have to believe.
* Once we believe, we are called to be priests. What do priests do? Back then, they were shepherds. Some cleaned the laver. Some carried the water. Some made the oil. Some gathered the spices and worked with them to make incense. Some were set aside specifically to handle the sacrificing of the animals.
* There were 24 pillars and hoops around the courtyard. Each family in charge of sacrifices had a pillar that was theirs where they were responsible for a two-week period of sacrifices at that pillar.
* One family was responsible for the incense forever.
* So, what is our role? Why do we need to know all this? It is about sacrifice and obedience. Look at the bullet-point list from last week.
* Are we that priestly group now, or is that for later?
* When the veil was torn at the time of the Cross, did Jesus have access to the Most Holy Place then?
— Jesus got to go in after His sacrifice.
* Adventism traditionally teaches that He didn’t go into the Most Holy Place until 1844.
— Jesus may have had access, but His ministry there didn’t take place until 1844.
* What is our role? We are to bring our sacrifice and we are done?
— There must be more because there was more after the sacrifice back in Exodus.
— We are living sacrifices, and I think Christ comes when that’s a practical reality.
* A certain number of us making ourselves living sacrifices? All of us? Jesus’s return depends on reaching that certain number? So, His return is based on our actions?
— God must be held up in each of our lives.
* Once COVID started, how long did it take word to spread that we all needed to start wearing masks? Is there a person anywhere in the world that doesn’t know about the concept of wearing masks? Some tribe in New Guinea maybe. So, let’s say God’s return is conditional on everyone knowing about these masks. We all need to go on a search for that hidden tribe that hasn’t heard yet and make them see this (holds up mask) so that Jesus will return?
— It is the opportunity to know.
* I think the Gospel is in the whole world. I think all have heard about Christianity.
— I think people know it in their hearts, too.
— It talks in Colossians about the gospel going all over the world and bearing fruit.
* I don’t think Matthew 24:14 is a statement about His return being conditional upon what we do. I think it is a statement of fact. It will be preached around the world, and then the end will come. I don’t think His return is conditional on us at all. I don’t think we need to find the tribe who hasn’t heard the Gospel so that Jesus will come back.
— Right. We’d be like, “Let’s think about this. What haven’t we done so that Jesus can come back?”
— If we read Matthew 24:14 chronologically, it does make sense as fact.
— It says it will spread to all nations; not necessarily to all individuals.
* When Jesus cast out the demons into the pigs, do you remember what the demons said? “It isn’t the appointed time yet, so why are you picking on us now?” What did they know that we don’t?
* What is the “appointed time?”
* In this time since the Cross when more and more people have been born, if God needs to see a certain percentage of people convert before He returns, God is losing the war. If it is simply a number, then God increases His odds if more people are born.
* The Levitical/sacrificial system was not there to save the Jews. He wants obedience. He wants a pure heart. Look at all those things on that list from last week. He wants reconciliation with us. It is what He’s always wanted.
* It starts with the Cross and ends with marriage. Look at the festivals. His death. His entombment. His resurrection. His message out to the world. Get ready; the Day of Forgiveness is coming! There’s the Day of Atonement or Forgiveness where our sins are wiped away. There’s a time in the wilderness…a time of doubt and testing. Then, finally, there’s the reconciliation of man and God. The twinkling of an eye and marriage.
* These times are appointed.
10/31/2020 Sabbath School Notes: (Steve = *; attendees = — )
* As we talk about the temples, I’ll tell you where I want to end up. I think of the word “Temple” in the Bible as the Pentagon — five aspects.
  • The building in Jerusalem.
  • Jesus (Who is represented in everything in the Temple, too).
  • Each of us (“our body is the temple…”)
  • Us, as a group of believers.
  • The Heavenly Temple that the earthly one is modelled after.

* In various places in the Bible, when it says ‘Temple,’ is it always one word meaning these five things? One thing? Figure it out via the context?

— Philosophically, all serve the same purpose.

— Here’s what the online dictionary says: “a building for the worship of a diety; anyplace Diety dwells, as in the body of Christ.”

* When we hear the concept that Jesus “comes into us,” what does that mean? He runs around on our neurons? It is purely a spiritual concept? He’s running around in our body, physically?

— You don’t ask easy questions, do you?! I think it is the same sort of mystery to us as is the Trinity. I think His ultimate goal is God and man together. This sort of togetherness and the extent of it is a mystery to us still. Man, absent the Bible, doesn’t work. The Bible, absent man, doesn’t work either. We are to be one.

— I think it depends on how secure you are with Him. That relationship with Him has to be THE most important thing.

* When we read the word “Temple” in the Bible, then, it’s talking about all of these things? Fair?

— I think there are a variety of applications that can go into those directions, yes. You sort it out based on the text around it.

* I tend to go to the extremes. [loving chuckles in the room] My teachers talked of this. I ask questions that take it to the extreme to see if something is still true. So, I look at all aspects. When is “Temple” used when it is NOT all of these things? Is it kind of the elephant analogy where each of the blind men think it is something different?

— I think it is up to us how we interpret it at whatever time we’re reading it. As I change through time, I may see a verse differently based on what I need right then.

— When it says Jesus went into the Temple, I think it was straight forward that He went into the physical building. That’s what the writer saw, and that’s what he wrote down. I think he thought of it as a physical place when he wrote something like that.

* So, in that Temple was the community of believers. He went into the building because that’s where the believers were. So, He went into that definition of Temple as well.

— Is there any record of Jesus going to Temple for sacrifices?

* It talks about Joseph and Mary bringing Jesus as a baby for dedication. You were supposed to bring a lamb, but if you were poor, you could bring a dove like Joseph and Mary brought. But, when you think about it, they brought the Lamb, too.

* I think it is often stated where it means all five. The earthly Temple is the shadow of the Heavenly Temple. Is it a live-action camera…a real time example of what’s happening in Heaven, or is it a dress-rehearsal of what will happen?

— “Shadow of things” is an interesting allegory. Plato thought real life is like ‘shadows on the back wall of the cave.’ Every action is a shadow, so how complex is the real thing in Heaven?

— The earthly temple is the abstract model…the simplification.

* Is the throne room just in the Heavenly Temple?

— It is in us. It was in the one on earth, too.

* So, when it is written in the Bible, it is about all 5 in almost all cases?

— John in Revelation said in 21:22: “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.”

* When we join with Him, we become the Temple of God. He sets up a throne in us.

— It also means He cleans it!

— We need to take care of our bodies, then.

* It is interesting that this spot on our face is called “the temple.” I wonder how it got its name.

— Well, the frontal lobe tells us right from wrong.

* Does He, then, affect the neurons themselves?

— I think of it this way. He’s dwelling with us. When we dwell with our earthly kids, what do we do? We sometimes sit in silence together. We chat; we have fun; we eat together; we share ideas. We build relationships with them.

— I think of the verse that says, “Come, let us reason together.”

— I think God can rewire our brains. Sometimes it happens quickly; sometimes, it is over time. Think of Jericho. It was conquered quickly. The rest of Canaan was taken over more slowly, little-by-little.

— There’s the verse about how we need to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

— I think of addiction. Why can some stop “cold turkey” and others don’t?

* Can we change God’s mind?

— I think we can change the example that was going to be used. The number on Sodom and Gomorrah, for example.

* Like when the people wanted a king and insisted on it. They wanted Saul, so God gave them Saul as their king. God’s like, “This is a bad choice, but here you go.”

— There’s Hezekiah’s healing, delaying death for years.

* There’s the Scripture that says the prayers of a righteous man availeth much.

— Every illness and problem was healed in Palestine. It was a physical phenomenon. It was all at once for some and slowly for others.

— Demon possession changes people.

* I think of the Science Fiction show where the Borg wants to assimilate everyone to group-think. It’s the case of either allowing God’s Spirit in or allowing in the alternative. Either way, how we think and act changes. Holy Spirit changes us, cleans house. We start changing our actions and thoughts. We love our neighbors.

* Can Satan kill God?

— He tried.

— No.

— If we open the door to it, Satan can kill Him in us.

* What happened on the Cross? Did God die?

— Yes.

— No.

— The man part, yes.

— The Bible says He has the power to lay down His life and to pick it up again.

* So, all parts of God died, or a certain part?

— I think the best analogy is us. Our body dies. Our soul/spirit continues.

* So, Hell, to many, is a separation from God. We are made of a physical body and a spirit. When separated, we have death. Can the spirit die?

— Holy Spirit?! No!

* Our spirits. Are they immortal?

— No.

* Do we have our own spirit, independent of Holy Spirit?

— No. One can read in Genesis 1 and 2 for clues. The Hebrew authors say in Genesis 1:2-3 that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. The waters are void…evil. This Spirit is mighty in a strange way. The word “hovering” here is used like a mother hen over her eggs. The term of God speaking, His breath, is the same as “hovering.” He divides the light and the dark. Darkness was not done away with. It is still there. Suddenly, then, there are options. Light and dark are both available to us. God breathed into the mud and it became a living soul.

— Spirit is a Person in the Trinity.

— It is the unpardonable sin to reject the Holy Spirit.

* How many Spirits are there?

— Light and Dark.

— Look at how we look at the word, “spirit.” Each person has a unique personality.

— A soul.

* So the physical body is matched up with either the Light or the Dark. The mind is something more than physical?

— comment about quantum mechanics [I missed it. Sorry.]

— I don’t think we have either the Light or the Dark. We can go one way or the other at any time. We are sinful beings.

* Our spirit still exists when we die?

— In a sleep state.

* Yes, we Adventists believe that way. But, do I have a unique spirit independent just to me?

— It doesn’t matter because it says we’ll be changed. When Christ comes, we’ll be changed. Our spirit will be perfected. We’ll get a better body.

* But, is there something uniquely me that persists after death? Something that God can reanimate later? What if God chooses not to reanimate that one, what happens to him or her?

— I think we have a unique soul like we have a unique body.

— I think of Numbers 11:17 — “Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.”

— He breathes His Spirit into mud, and there’s man.

* So the Holy Spirit gives us life.  We each have a Light spirit and a Dark spirit in us?

— It depends on our choices.

* Are you saying that my unique spirit can die?

— The question is whether the nonbeliever exists forever?

* Yes.

— I don’t know.

— We have a genetic code that is unique to us. When the Breath of God goes into us, I think He is quantumly entangled with us. Forever, it is an intimate mix of our unique code and God’s Spirit. He can recreate that imprint/code any time.

* At the end of Revelation, where it says the Temple is no more…

— It doesn’t say it isn’t there. It just says there’s no need for it because we and Jesus are together.
[Sabbath School stopped here so we could go on to the service.]

11/7/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(* Steve, facilitator; — attendee)
* How many sons did Aaron have?
— Nadab, Abihu…
* Nadab, Abihu and two more. And, they had sons that are divided up into 24 groups.
* Why do we care? ((Lists the clans and stops at Abijah)) [See link to hand-out in comments below.]
* Go to Luke 1 where we are introduced to the birth announcement of John the Baptist. Zechariah was offering incense in the temple as a priest in the division of Abijah. Why do we care it was Abijah?
* 12,000 men in each clan were to serve in the military to defend the nation for the month. The next month, it was another clan contributing 12,000 men. If there was a 13th month, they drew lots to see who would serve that month.
* The Levites were to do temple services, each clan for 2 weeks. Each clan had a pillar in the courtyard where sacrifices would be carried out that was theirs they’d use for their two weeks. There were 24 pillars (with yokes) in the temple courtyard.
* The baby jumped in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary (with child) arrived.
* Jesus was likely born in the 7th month.
— Is their 7th month our 7th month nowadays?
* No. The first month is in our Spring and the 7th month, then would land in our Sept/Oct time period.
* Jesus was most likely born during one of the 7th month festivals, and, I think, probably Tabernacles.
* Look at John 1:14. “And God came to dwell with us.” Another way of saying that is to “tabernacle with us.”
* The priest division list is in 1 Chronicles 24. The order during Jesus’ time might not have been this order, but possibly. There were 24 different courses of priests. It is possible that they served 1 week twice per year, but I think it might have been two consecutive weeks because some clans lived a good distance away.
* As Levites and priests, they weren’t just doing sacrifices. They had the tasks of dedications, circumcisions, shepherding, farming, surgeons, marriage counselors, etc.
* At what age could a person serve as a priest?
— 30 to become a priest.
* Right, and they could begin apprenticing at 25.
* Jesus likely turned 30 during Tabernacles.
* Do festivals matter? To me, they do. Because I think they overlay well through time to express important events. Their purpose has been to tell us about what would happen in Jesus’ time, but also beyond. I think there are 3 overlays. Think of it like you see in medical books where you have one partially see-through page that shows the skeleton then another that shows the organs and another for muscles and so on.
* The first overlay is during the time of the Exodus, the skeleton.
* The second overlay is during the time of Jesus.
* The third overlay is this time after Jesus.
* Are there differences between the Exodus and Jesus overlays?
— Passover: actual lamb; man/God as the Lamb.
— Where Jesus was killed? Temple courtyard compared to outside the city.
* Jesus was taken where right after He was arrested?
— Caiaphas’ office.
* On the side of the courtyard; the decision to kill Jesus was made there.
— Another difference is that the animal lamb’s throat was slit; Jesus was nailed to the Cross and His throat was not slit.
* Right, and that’s one reason some give for His being the wrong Messiah.
— It was a draining of the blood in both instances.
* I think it is important to see the discrepancies as well as the similarities. In the time of Exodus, a lamb was sacrificed at the 3rd hour and the 9th hour (about 9am and 3pm). Jesus was put on the Cross at approximately 9am; He died at approximately the 9th hour. So, he died on a festival time or daily time?
* Was Jesus killed as the Passover Lamb or the daily Lamb?
— both.
* During the Day of Atonement in the Tabernacle system, what animals were used?
— Bulls, goats…2 of them.
* 7 lambs as well.
* Why were goats used?
* What was the purpose of the Day of Atonement?
— cleanse the Temple.
* What was the duty of the congregation?
— Be humble, fast, confess our sins.
* This is the day when sins are forgiven/erased.
* Is it possible to have sins forgiven without blood? (general “no”)
* Yet, Jesus said He forgave people before blood was spilt. Man with his bed; woman; thief of the Cross.
* Did the sacrifices cause forgiveness of sin?
* I believe that forgiveness is based on the promise of His death.
* Sins are forgiven on the Day of Atonement?
— They are washed away/removed on the Day of Atonement.
* When were the sins carried into the Temple?
— Every day sacrifices were made.
* So, they were taken out when?
— Day of Atonement.
— The sins were transferred to the animal before death/blood was spilt.
* What is the Temple? We talked about the 5 aspects of Temple.
— People weren’t called “temple” until after Christ.
* What changed at the Cross? The promise went from what will happen to that it did happen. Either way, the requirement of us is the same: willing heart. God says, “I want you to love Me.”
* Jesus died on Passover. When is the Day of Atonement in the overlay? In Exodus, it was the 7th month (our Sept/Oct).
* I believe that in the time of Jesus, it all happened in a span of a few days.
* I think there are Day of Atonement festivals every year, but I believe it will happen in a dramatic way in our future.
* I believe the Bible is written for every generation in all times. There was the time of Exodus. There was the time of Jesus. There’s the time of regular people in the End. The Bible is written in such a way that it applies to each reader in every era.
* I think it was a super special time in Jesus’ day because many of the festivals were fulfilled in a short period of time. I think it will happen in the same, special, fast way in the end times, too.
* I think that if we lock our interpretations onto the past and don’t move from that, they can’t apply to us.
* I think we need to ask of everything we do, “Does this practice take me closer to God or further away?” The festivals should not be a divisive thing. They are there to tell us when special times will happen. Why know? Because Satan puts up counterfeits. Knowing the festivals may help us to discern real from


11/14/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(* Steve, facilitator; — Attendee)
* Who can tell me in a brief summary, what is the Plan of Salvation?
— God’s rescue plan for this planet’s humanity.
— It is still working; “…to be concluded shortly.” [laughter]
* What are the elements of this plan?
— A lot of education.
— Relationship-building.
— Demonstration of Jesus in us.
* What is the plan to eradicate death?
— The same.
— It depends on how you define death.
* 2000 years ago, the Plan of Salvation and the Plan to Eradicate Death were completed, right?
— It depends on how you define “completed.”
— It takes a lot to take care of people.
— God is still doing things.
* So, it is still a work in progress?
— I think it was completed at the Cross, but how it is fulfilled is different.
— I think that someone still thinks the selfish plan for humanity is best, so it is allowed to continue as a demonstration of what the results of that evil and selfishness would look like.
* Approximately 60 billion people have been born and died since the Cross. The Eradication of Death doesn’t happen until ____? Is it a part of the Plan of Salvation? What completes the Plan of Salvation?
* Does death end at the Second Coming?
— No.
— No.
— Yes.
— Death is thrown into the Lake of Fire at one point in Revelation.
— Death is the result of sin; if there’s no more sin, there’s no more death.
* To me, the Plan of Salvation is equivalent to the Eradication of Death.
* The Cross is one part of the plan. I think the throwing of death into the Lake of Fire is the end.
* What is our role in the Plan of Salvation?
— Not to mess it up. [chuckles]
* How would we mess it up?
— With our choices.
* If I make one bad choice, do I lose my salvation?
— You could.
* How did Caiaphas get to the point he could kill the Son of God? Did he know what he was doing? My guess is not.
— In that case, the leader of the religious people was acting as an agent of Satan. — Zoom comment: Jesus said on the Cross, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
* Is there any part we have in the Plan of Salvation besides just making the decision for ourselves?
— I think so. Angels have decisions to make, too. So, mankind’s role goes beyond that. We already have a universe full of beings to make decisions for or against God. So, why humans?
* What is the difference between man and angels?
— Yeah, right?! Why couldn’t the angels have just made the Plan of Salvation work? [chuckle]
— It gives you pause for thought.
* Each one of us must make a choice, yes. But, I agree that there’s more.
— Back then, one person in the family would make the decision and all would be saved. There are examples in both the Old and New Testaments.
* Right, and I believe our church and our school has this effect, too.
* Go back to the story of Esther. God has put you in position to save. If you choose the role to honor God, you save. If you don’t make the decision, God will still save…only through someone else.
— There’s no human barrier that can stand up to the power of Satan.
— Judas could have chosen Jesus, even after he sold Him out.
* How many in Earth’s history have been without sin?
— One.
* Yet, in the Bible, we are told to be perfect. Why only one? What makes Him special?
— He was half God.
— No, I think that’s wrong. If that was the case, Satan would have a valid argument with God. “Of course, He could do it. He’s Your Son!”
— It’s a choice of surrender every moment.
— Jesus mentioned that we grow in Him as a plant grows. As a plant grows, everyone is excited. As it matures, we know what it is…a flower, a tree, etc. Each of us is like that. We can be perfect at each stage of that growth.
— Isn’t God a good God? Isn’t it comforting to know people will sleep in eternal peace, even if they don’t choose Him?
* Some of you haven’t heard my elevator analogy maybe. There’s an elevator that goes to Heaven. You choose to go in, but He doesn’t weld the door shut. At each floor, a new truth gets on the car with you. If you don’t like this new truth, you can get off. You can either stick around outside the elevator or start descending the stairs down. If I chose to get off (not repent), there is still an elevator up at every level. I can choose to get back in, but I must accept that truth that is still in the car.
— If you choose to stay, even if you are uncomfortable with that new truth in the car, you will grow.
— Does your elevator go to the top and stop? [* Yes.]
— So, Jesus was without sin. Is that saying that He wasn’t even curious about the bad things?
* I think He was curious just like we all are.
* I believe the Plan of Salvation is still continuing, and we have a role in it.
11/21/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(* Steve; — Attendee)
* Okay, this is an open Book test. 🙂
* Summary: The Plan of Salvation is also the Plan to Eliminate Death and to Eradicate Evil. It starts with Jesus coming to Earth as step 1, then dying. Was that the end of the Plan?
* Is Christ’s death on the Cross enough to save us.
— I don’t think Christ had the foreknowledge He would be resurrected.
* Jesus at the Temple said that the Temple would be destroyed, but it would be rebuilt in three days; He was talking about Himself.
— Well, we all “know” we’ll have eternal life, but we aren’t absolutely sure until we ARE resurrected. He knew it was the plan, but He had to trust that His Father would raise Him.
* So, was His death enough. [various answers] It seems we have a division in thought on this in the group.
— Shocking! 🙂
* Okay. Those of you who say, “yes,” why?
— I’m waiting for you to get to the next point. 🙂
* Okay, then, was His resurrection sufficient to save us?
— Maybe it should be asked, “Why did Jesus have to die?”
* Jesus was the sacrifice. He stepped between us and God so that God isn’t seeing us in our sin.
— I think of it as a seed. Is the plant seed dying and becoming a plant sufficient to produce grain?
— Individually, are each of the aspects sufficient? No.
* I agree. Each one alone isn’t enough by itself.
— When Jesus saw Mary after He was risen, He said He needed to go to the Father. So, there’s another step.
* I argue that there’s a part we each need to play in order for salvation to happen. We must accept Jesus in order to be saved, too.
— His sinless life was also not enough on its own; however, it is important.
* So, we must have all aspects?
— We have to accept Jesus with His death and His resurrection. Then, we will be saved.
— There’s more to it than just believing.
— Amen. Demons also believe.
* Is accepting Jesus the same as repenting?
— No.
— Trust needs to be part of this; not just mental ascent; we need to follow Him.
— You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
— We’re sinners, but Jesus wants to save us for His sake.
— It is the Holy Spirit that draws us to God, then Him Who polishes us to be okay for God. I think it all comes down to the idea that we don’t know how desperately unsaveable we are. God carries us over the threshold.
— Lean not on your own understanding….in all your ways acknowledge Him.
— The thief on the cross was saved. All he did was believe.
— Right. It was enough.
— Yeah, the thief just said, “I want to be with You.” That was enough.
— When we believe, repent, and turn away from sin, we become good people. There are lots of good people, but not all will be in Heaven.
* What does it take for us to be saved? His death and resurrection alone is not enough. What does it mean to accept Jesus?
— He who is not against Me is for Me vs. he who is not for Me is against Me.
— The Devil believes. Yet, he doesn’t want to spend time with God.
— The thief surrendered. He said, “We deserved this. He doesn’t.”
— Nicodemus knew He was special, but he didn’t surrender.
— You know that verse, “When did I feed You or clothe You?” Those people were just living selfishly. Bad people saved, but good people not? One does something because they want to look good. The other just cares.
* As you spend time with Him, you WANT to do what He asks. You share values with God. It becomes easier. His yoke is light.
— Seek me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Seeking Him, He becomes the desire of our hearts. And, His goal is to share Himself with us.
— [Good words from Pastor Grayson that I couldn’t hear.]
— “Is it necessary for me to be saved?” I repaired 5 flashlights last night. A young mind was visiting us and did some disassembly, so some didn’t work after that. My wife just wants them to work. She doesn’t care how they work. She wants to be able to pick them up and use them. Here I am in the middle. For some, the nuts and bolts are important. For others, they just want salvation to work. “Just bring me home, please.” What is required for my salvation may be different than for you. In John 6, it explains that this is the work of God. Even our belief in Him is a work of God. Because of Jesus, there is great flexibility in this.
— Online: He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.
— It is almost like we have to work harder to not be saved than it is to be saved. It is pretty hard to not want good things.
— Online: Yeah, but what about the verse that talks about the narrow path and few will be on it? Matthew 7:13-14.
— [Patricia said something good, but I couldn’t hear it all.]
* What is it do we want in being saved?
— We look for salvation everywhere. But, the only thing that works is the death and resurrection of Jesus.
* We share God’s world because of the same values?
— This world is terrible, but I’m a part of this world, too.
* God says, “I want you to share My values. Love your enemies.”
— I don’t want to do that. Am I still saved?
— Every time my wife picks up the flashlight, she trusts it will work, despite her physical experience of it not working before. She has faith.
* His Spirit impressed upon you a truth. His Spirit says Sabbath is important. So, is anything, then, expected of you by God? Merely believe it, or do you act on it?
— Online: I think in the flashlight analogy – those that just want it to work vs those who want to understand how – is not whether or not we want what God wants. We both want to follow the Light.
— This is the work of God in us, says Paul. This is God’s gift; not from anything we’ve done. This is a gift. We can close our ears to the Holy Spirit. This is the grieving of the Holy Spirit.
— What does God require of us? Walk humbly with God, love justice and mercy.
— Because God works with each of us individually, we are prone to think He is lackadaisical about this. He’s unique with each of us so truth is not as important. Ignorance is bliss, right? It’s a struggle.
— [More good comments from Grayson I didn’t catch.]
* Death, resurrection, and our acceptance is not enough.
11/28/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(* Steve; — Attendee) [Please remember that you need only ask Jennifer or Steve for the link to the page of recordings, if you want to hear what we talked about rather than read these notes.]
* [Summarized what we talked about last week.] So, His life, death, and resurrection…is that enough to eradicate death? Individuals accepting salvation is enough? I argue that humanity must demonstrate, with God’s help, that it is possible for mankind to have a righteous relationship with Him.
— What I find interesting is that in a previous week, we talked about how 60 billion people or so have been born and died since the Cross. You’ve got those in the Bible who were called “righteous” on four pages. That makes the 144,000 seem like a big number! 🙂
[See link for what was available in person]
— I don’t have a problem with last ages prophecy or humans striving toward perfection, but when people have gotten involved in the Plan and insert religion, trite behavioralism comes in.
* I agree that that happens. We are told to be perfect, though. We are told to be like Jesus. So, is it a problem to want to be like God?
— It is an interesting thought, isn’t it? Satan gets in trouble for that thinking. Yet, we’re told to be like God.
— Yeah, but he wants to BE God.
* Agreed. It is scriptural that Lucifer wants to be God and that he WILL sit on the throne of God.
— Are you referring to the time when he comes and impersonates Jesus?
* Yes. I think many will fall for it.
— My contention is that the distinction between people accepting Him is real, but perhaps it is none of our business. He wants our ear attuned to Him and responding to Him. The rest of how it all works out is His business. Once a person has given their ear to Him, it is God’s business from thereon.
* I agree that harmony with God is an individual thing. He asks that of each of us now, not just those in the End Times.
* The definition of righteousness, in my opinion, is to share the values of Jesus. We need to ask ourselves, “What do I see differently than Jesus does?” Then, I should change based on that. We’ve been studying Job a lot at home. In the book of Job, he’s saying he’s done nothing wrong. Yet, he also says that no one can be pure. How can you not be pure but be innocent at the same time? What do you do with the filthy rags scripture that was mentioned before? God still sees problems; but, “if you share my values, I count that as innocent.”
— Isn’t Job about God and not about humanity?
* What are we to learn about God?
— I think we must go back to the Creation story. What was God’s intent behind creating us? He wanted human interaction.
— How do we not fall into the trap of pride? “I’m good” and “I’m bad” are both focused on me. It misses the big picture.
– Message of Job is God’s evaluation of us. How does He see us? Job is saying, “I know God’s view, and I will stick with that, no matter what you say or do.”
* God is still in control, no matter what. Love and respect God, no matter what. The good suffer just like the bad do. I agree with you both in that it is about being in relationship with God. We still have a part in salvation or we wouldn’t still be here.
— All righteous people on this list are rascals. But, the thing in common is that they all have made God important in their lives.
* We often get hung up on our actions and not being “enough.” We need to focus on adopting God’s values. I think there will be a greater revelation of God than has happened before. Even now, some seem to have more of a relationship with Him than others do. Is this possible?
— Yielding to the Holy Spirit is a work in progress in each of us. It is a journey. We need to keep following that Voice.
* Do some know Him better than others do?
— Some are more attuned to Him. They are not necessarily more or less righteous, though.
* I do believe people have more of a relationship because they are mindful of Him and study. That constantly challenges a person. They are often going, “Oh, well, that’s new. But, I still love You.” The more we see and like, the deeper the relationship. It is our choice how we treat that relationship. I believe that’s the righteousness…accepting Him for Who He is and wanting Him regardless.
* What makes those people in the End Times unique? The Bible calls them the most precious people on Earth.
— I think humanity around us is choosing to separate themselves from the values of God and from God Himself. Those with a spiritual focus and values like Him, therefore, become unique and special in comparison.
* Many go to Heaven, I think. I think a small number will live through the End Times experience. Many good people will be saved but are like Methuselah. He was good, but he didn’t get on the ark. I think God looks at people and says, “You aren’t going through the End Times. I’ll let you rest.” I think it is a small group on which everything rides. I think many will go to Heaven, but not everyone will have the burden of going through the End Times.
— I think we can draw parallels between the End Times and the time of the Flood.
— I think your definition of righteousness is to be sin-free on your own, and you just can’t do that!
* That isn’t what I’m saying. I’m glad you are reviewing what I’m writing at home. I value your input. I think you are good for me. But, there, too, there’s a misunderstanding.
— Iron sharpens iron. {smiles}
* Humanity needs to demonstrate they can have that relationship like Jesus did. The difference is that they’ve sinned and are forgiven.
— Paul says we are saved by faith and that comes from God, too. God is doing it all.
* I think that final group must be willing to participate and remain with God, holding onto His values throughout.
— When I was taking a martial arts class, I was in a match where I used an advanced technique I hadn’t yet been taught. I’d picked it up naturally, and I used it more than once in matches. The teacher talked about how I’d picked it up naturally without being taught. If I’m focused on techniques, I won’t get there. I need to focus on my relationship with Him.
* As the imposter steps onto the throne, it will cause problems between us all. Our relationship and ability to hear Him is important. We’ll need to love Him over everyone and everything. We’ll have to maintain our focus on Him.
* [Tells the story of God talking on the hill with Abraham about any good people being in Sodom and Gomorrah.] God is wondering if He’ll be able to find enough people on Earth at the appointed time.
— Job believes strongly that he is innocent in God’s eyes. His friend dreamed a whisper against Job.
— We must believe in His view of us. “I believe. Help my unbelief.”
* Let’s clarify something. How many people have not sinned in Earth’s history?
— One.
* Because He is God?
— No.
* So, it is possible for us to be without sin?
— Yes.
* It is my belief that everyone on that list has sinned, but each went to God and said, “I want to love what You love and hate what You hate.” God says, “I count that as righteousness. Go and sin no more.”
— If it was impossible, it would not have been asked of us.
* So, He is saying, “Stay with Me. I Am Your Friend.”
— Right. “Have a close connection with Me.”
— Those in the End Times. Their whole objective is to be tight with God and saying, “Thank You for Your righteousness.”
— Jesus told His disciples He would never leave them and that, no matter what, He will be with them via the Holy Spirit.
[I may have missed something here.]
— That’s maybe why people will be surprised when God comes.
* The sins are taken away on the Day of Atonement.
12/05/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(bullet point, Facilitator: Steve; round point, Attendee)
! We read in Matthew 24 and Luke 21: 8+, 20+.
• Is this talking, in part, about events that happened 40 years later?
• Why does it not apply to the destruction of the Jews?
o To me, this sounds like End Times events.
• Does this apply to people in multiple eras?
o Yes, with the exception of the Abomination of Desolation.
o To me, it is clear it is End Times discussed in Revelation and Daniel.
• The Luke verse related to Matthew? Are we expecting the Jews to be surrounded in the future?
o What IS the Abomination of Desolation?
• I feel you must read Daniel 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 to get a good idea of what it is.
• Daniel is given three visions as well as an interpretation for each. Jesus says to pay attention to what it says in Daniel.
• People study Daniel and come away from it, saying, “I’m not sure.”
• What is common in the visions? There’s the little horn, king of the north, and the dreadful beast. Basically, no matter what you call him, you have this entity challenging God. He’s saying blasphemous words against God. He’s claiming to be God.
• I argue that the Abomination is when this entity sets himself up as God.
• (Review of who and what is the Temple; 5 aspects.)
o In Adventism, we look at Matthew 24:29 and feel it already happened.
• Yet, I believe these verses will happen again.
• I think the Little Horn/King of the North will overthrow the Temple. How will that work?
• When we allow the Holy Spirit in us, what are we doing? Allowing Him into our temple. If we don’t allow this, Satan has overthrown our temple.
o What does this mean? What is different about this concept happening in the End than at any other time in history?
• Lucifer was in Heaven when he got prideful and began to sin. When was/is Lucifer evicted? Lucifer persuaded others to join him (a third). I argue that Satan still has access to Heaven. Look at Zechariah 3 where Satan the accuser stands to the right of the high priest. He argued in Heaven against Job as well.
• How can Heaven possibly be overthrown? Was God killed?
o Jesus was.
o Robert J. said something I didn’t catch.
• Lucifer was created. Jesus came to Earth and died. In Daniel, we are told the sanctuary will be surrendered.
• In the End Times, people will be tempted the same way Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.
• The “man of sin” will be revealed for who he really is, but people will still choose to worship him anyway. They’ll say, “we like what he did for humanity. Look at the atrocities God did!”
• I think God will allow a small number of people to go through awful things like Job did. Through God’s power, they will overcome.
• I think the leaders of most churches will give this imposter their allegiance.
o What about those who were told they would personally see the end?
• I think they will be resurrected to see it. At least five months after resurrection, they will live on Earth.
• [Later addition: Also look at the Transfiguration and the idea that some of the disciples saw Jesus in His glory.]
• Every generation feels that the End Times verses are about them.
• Some feel that the End of the Age happened when the “Chosen” people went from the Jews to Christians.
o Or when Stephen was stoned.
o You don’t think they could repent and still be saved once those who worshipped the imposter saw who he really is?
• I think they can.
• I think the responsibility of these End Times people is huge. It isn’t just physical torture. It is mental, too. I believe the fate of all humanity rides on this small group of people.
• The Jews at the time of Jesus expected their Messiah to rescue them from their current circumstances. Yet, Jesus was not there to rescue them from the Romans. He said, “I want you to focus on Me by believing in Me.” Very few in Israel accept Jesus. They believe the coming Messiah will make them, as a people, the focal point. Jesus says for us not to be deceived. In Daniel, there are visions and interpretations. It is the same thing repeated.
• What is the daily sacrifice? I asked someone that and they said, “Why don’t you let Daniel interpret Daniel?” So, I read to figure out what “the daily” meant to Daniel. He prayed in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. This was his “continual.”
• I think God’s chosen champions will succeed. Will the 144,000 stay true? I think so. God calls them the most precious people on Earth. Most of us won’t be in that group. Our relationship with God matters, whether or not we are in that group.
12/12/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(bullet point, Facilitator: Steve; Round Point, Attendee)
Link to the hand-out: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P2LQBM7iy_E-Wbi2MUV2BIKcEQ0Yutp0FzusONe9G_k/edit?usp=sharing
• Let’s look at #1. Is there more? Is sin part of evil that will be eradicated?
• As Christians, we say we are born evil. “We are all born into a world where death controls us” is a more acceptable statement.
• Look at 2d. Is that accurate?
• We live in an age where life is better for more people than in any time in history – in health, happiness, prosperity. In multiple ways, humanity is better off than at any other time.
• Yet, we don’t think that’s the case. I think it is because we turn on the news and think all is bad. If we’d turn off the TV, we’d discover life is better. Much of our angst comes from the news.
o And, what is dire to one person isn’t dire to another.
o I’m not sure it is better, as you say. There is still hunger and famine. Holocausts are still there.
• Plagues and troubles are all a part of this world.
o I think the reason for the delay in Jesus coming back isn’t so much waiting for the right number of people to convert but, instead, to see if people will turn to God during good times.
• Read Galatians 4:4. What is the ‘fullness of time?’
o Biblical prophecy: Daniel 9:24.
o Maturity achieved. The children have grown up.
o How do we have God’s discernment? If you aren’t being tested, be concerned!
• Maybe some are tested less than others because that’s how much they can take.
• I think all the Bible is written for me. All the Bible is written for you. God’s precious people in the End will say the same.
o I do think there will be a time of prosperity to test our faith and will.
• I think others in the universe will look and say, “Do we want these people with us in Heaven?” God vouches for us that we are safe to be released in Heaven. “I trust them. They love me.”
o I’m willing to go with that and see where it leads. [chuckles]
o I think 2d is a result of a, b, and c so should be its own bullet point.
• Is number 3 true?
o No. We cannot have the same values. We are sinners.
• Yet, He counts us as good when we are on His path. He wants us to have the same goals.
o All prophecy is conditional. Based on these ideas of what will happen according to prophecy, maybe all will get their act together.
• All prophecy is conditional?
o Yes, because God can change His mind in response to humans.
o We are given a lot of values, then we can choose to keep those values or abandon some, as kids do with their parents’ values as they mature.
o We may have slightly different values from each other here, then God brings us together to use them together.
o I may agree with His values but not follow through and act on them.
• I see fairness, love, and understanding as God’s values. I like them.
• To allow Jesus to work His will through us…is that having a relationship with Him?
o [several affirmative answers]
o We don’t want to obey, but God chose us to do so. So, we need to pray for help to choose to obey.
• If I isolate myself from people, my heart for people gets not as involved or doesn’t mature.
o The Bible says we don’t have salvation without righteousness. He gives us that righteousness.
• God asks us to do it. It is our choice to do it and allow Him. Values are a choice we make, as Ron says.
o Some people are naturally nice, though. We see this in school. Some kids are naturally loving and kind.
o Yeah, but don’t those same kids have other issues, though?
• There are a lot of good people out there.
o Isn’t it removing some essence of our humanity to strip away our ability to sin?
o Shema in Hebrew is to hear and obey. It is a combined concept in the Hebrew mind. When you hear, you obey. It is to hear AND act.
o I think we have great latitude in acting. I think God cares more about our desire to act than about what action actually happens.
o God is saying, “Because I Am in your life, you should pay attention to what pleases Me.”
o We are to seek Him every day.
• Are those who lived before Jesus came eligible for salvation?
o I’d say, “yes.”
• I think we have a natural instinct to know what is right and wrong.
o I agree. Even children have an inner sense of what is fair play.
o I think it is our nature to know God is there.
12/19/2020 Sabbath School Notes: (bullet point: Facilitator Steve Smith; — Attendee)
  • In the Plan of Salvation, I’ve focused on various parts of the law. Why do we care? I think the Bible says there is a time coming when Satan impersonates Jesus, and I think many churches will fall for it.
— Why do you think that?
  • I think Satan has watched us for a long time. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He’s watched us longer than Google has! [chuckles] It is said he will speak boastful words, claim to be God, sit on God’s throne, bribe people with wealth and power, educate people on the benefits of his kingdom, etc.
  • I think we are to observe the Festivals, yes. But, I think they help us determine the difference between the real Jesus and the imposter. I think he will show up in Jerusalem and bring peace & prosperity.
  • Look at 6b on the hand-out and see what we are asked to do. There are 49 things Jesus Himself said to do.
  • Where else do we find the number “49?”
— Days between Pentecost and Firstfruits.
— Years between Jubilees.
  • What is Jubilee?
— Don’t collect your crop.
— Freedom.
— Termination of your lease.
— All slaves are released and compensated for their time worked.
— Did they ever practice Jubilee?
  • There’s no record of it being practiced.
  • What’s another significant reference to 49?
— 49 weeks.
  • Yes, 7 sevens. 49 days, actually. You’ve got Daniel 9:25-26. This most famous prophecy in the Bible has 49.
  • What starts the 49 in Daniel?
  • Should I tell my brother not to harvest?
  • On what day does Jubilee begin? The 10th day of the 7th month, which is?
— Day of Atonement.
  • Read Daniel 9:24-27. Who is “your people?”
  • There are 49 years between jubilees, 49 days between Firstfruits and Pentecost, and now Daniel 9:25. Anything in common in those? I think we can tie these events to the festivals.
  • Firstfruits always starts on the 1st day of the week (Sunday).
  • You count omer, which is a unit of measure — a sheaf of barley or wheat.
  • What do we do with the omer?
— Bring it to the Temple.
— Put away sin.
  • What happened at Feast of Weeks/Pentecost?
— A Great Wind or noise was associated with the event.
— The Holy Spirit was poured out.
— People came from all over and heard the Good News in their language. They learned they could be saved.
  • Jesus and others were resurrected on Firstfruits.
  • In the time of the Exodus, what was the Firstfruits event? There’s nothing recorded, but a harvest of grain was resurrected in Jesus’ day.
  • Nearly every Christian organization looks at Daniel 9 and Christ’s birth year. Daniel 9:25 is usually interpreted to say Christ will be born 483 years from year zero (483 B.C.). What happened then? Was there a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem? So, add from when Christ was killed. This is used to say that Jesus was born 490 years after a decree.
  • Some say, “I don’t care. It happened to people 2000 years ago.”
  • Others say, “It gives me comfort to know prophecy was fulfilled.”
  • I think it will happen again, and in days — not years. I think the prophecies were written for you and I, too.
— Another 49 sort of thing is when Jesus said to forgive 70×7.
— A Jewish man was required to attend at least three of the Festivals of the seven. Which three? Did they get to choose?
  • Unleavened Bread/Passover/Firstfruits is so close together that they treated it as one Festival of 8 days. They gathered together. Jesus and His disciples talked of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits interchangeably. The other two times they attended were Feast of Weeks/Pentecost and Day of Atonement.
  • In verse 25, what are we restoring?
— The Temple.
  • Right. Which of them? Heavenly, You and I (our hearts), Jesus, Jerusalem building, the body of believers?
  • We can put the restoration/rebuilding in the past. People say that it doesn’t matter – “as long as we love God and others, it doesn’t matter.” I personally believe that all the Bible and all prophecy is for our education, edification, comfort, etc. Is it unreasonable to think this verse has a meaning for us? I believe this is a prophecy about the time of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet, I also believe it is about our era and our future.
  • Should we study this? Is it a worthy discussion and study to have?
— I think it is reasonable to study this.
— I think it is worthy.
  • Let me tell you my end destination. I believe that there’s a group of people that God works through — He calls them the most precious people on Earth. They are called to live like Jesus. I think the Festivals can be tied to every prophecy. I think of it as a key in the lock with tumblers that are the festivals, every prophecy ending and starting on festivals. That’s the concept.
— It seems that the people are saying they want to tread this path and hear what you have to say.
12/26/2020 Sabbath School Notes:
(bullet points – Steve; circles — attendees)
[NOTE: Our sermon from Mike really synched with the end of Sabbath School, so look at the notes from that on the church’s main Facebook page.]
· Look at #4 on the hand-out. How does God reveal His Will? Are these four accurate? Would you add anything?
o Maybe add community or people in your life.
o Is that not the same as the Church (4d)?
o Maybe you learn from those outside the body of believers.
o How we “render onto Caesar” depends on how we decide whether or not to listen to someone.
o What is Caesar to you compared to when it is someone else?
· 4a – Is that all of the Bible? (consensus is ‘yes’)
· 4b – Prayer. I’m on the football team, praying for a win. I’m at the lottery ticket counter. Does that count?
o What about meditation? Is that the same?
o Meditation is listening. Prayer is talking.
o Just make sure you’re sitting down to meditate with God beside you.
o Yeah, none of the “clear your mind” stuff.
o If you fill your mind with God’s Word, that’s what will be your meditation.
· 4c – Circumstances.
o God uses our experiences, like Gideon’s experience..
· 4d – This means I need to ask you guys for God’s Will for me?
o YES! [laughter]
· In the Jewish culture, as we see in the Torah, the body of believers in the synagogue holds a lot of weight. How do we know when to listen to the body of believers?
o Test what they say against the authority of Scripture.
o There can be varying beliefs based on Scripture, though – opinions, personal convictions.
o What about that verse about not letting others judge you for what you eat and do?
· That makes a good example. As you’ve heard, I’ve talked about our observing God’s festivals. Should I stop following the festivals, if my church says “no?” Or, should I go on to the next church?
· How do we know God’s Will? And, what causes division in a church and how do we prevent it when opinion leads us apart?
o Like the saying goes, ‘Church is a many splintered thing.’ Is that a bad thing, though? You get like-minded people gathered together in their own group.
· Should there be a 4e? Can we learn God’s Will via the non-believers in the community and among our friends who are disbelievers?
o Well, God spoke through an ass! [laughter]
o Are we talking about specifics? I am married. It is the general will for both of us to want to stay married. But, within that general will, there are decisions where we have choice, like the specific food to make for breakfast.
· In our personal Bible study, we had some debate on adding nature. Thoughts?
o Nature provides a sense of awe and wonder beyond just the general thought of evolution just happening. It helps us see our Creator.
o One just needs to be careful not to let it go over into shamanism and looking to nature too much. I was into that for a while in my younger years. When an eagle flew across the road in front of my car, I watched to see what was the next thing to happen because that would be a message of importance for me.
· So, ignoring God in lieu of nature is what will lead us astray.
o God speaks to people as they will understand.
· At first, I didn’t think I needed fellowship. In fact, I thought it would be detrimental rather than helpful. I was wrong.
· As we learn new things, they cause course corrections.
· The willingness to learn and change is what is repentance.
o In Greek, it is “metanoia.” It is a combination of “change shape” and “thinking.” It is to change one’s mind about something.
o Like on 6b1, be willing to adjust; be humble enough to change.
· Okay. 6b2. What does it mean to “Follow Me?”
o Do as I do.
o Put yourself in the role of a disciple. A fisherman came to follow Him willingly…to emulate Him.
o “Follow” gives a sense of motion. You haven’t arrived yet, if you are still following.
o I believe Paul thought he was following God when he was stoning people. He had an intense need to go after God, and that’s why he was that way. Then, that is what ultimately led to his conversion. We don’t sit back. We respond and move.
· I believe the imposter will show up and give us answers that we like. We’ll want to follow him.
o Jesus didn’t do anything without talking to His Father about it. We should emulate that.
· 6b4. Let your light shine. How do we do that?
o Have a thankful spirit. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/…
o For the longest time, I was hard-hearted. I didn’t have emotions. When I started growing closer to Him, my emotions came back. I was so glad to experience those!
o You might as well rejoice, for you are in it for the long game.
o With me, when we talk of rejoicing, it is finding the good in every scenario. I think it is a growing period we go through. It is how we are the light in the world.
o A rejoicing attitude doesn’t mean you ignore the negative. Just think of the long game…the end of the story where we are headed.