OAFSaSNotes 2021

Handwritten Notes below are for 2021 OAF Sabbath School Sessions:

2/13 (Cancelled due to snow).

2020 FOUND HERERecordings of the same are found by clicking here.

1/2/2021 Sabbath School Notes:
(bullet points = Steve; circles = attendee)

  • JC has a new definition for 6.b.1 J
    • I went by my definition, groveling for approval. I thought, “Why is this in my brain?”
    • The Old Testament has a lot of complete absolutes.
    • Maybe we should redefine “repent; Emmett Fox uses it. Webster’s dictionary says it is to “have your mind changed.”
    • Fox says that it is the deepest and most sincere point in sin to not see a need for change.
  • Forgiveness is unconditional. Yet, once He forgives us, He expects us to change. Some don’t think change is required. Some even teach repentance is not necessary.
    • Addicts know that it is a moment-by-moment work at change.
    • We have a choice. We have a new section in Health class about “building covenants.” We are trying to get ourselves to think differently – to make a conscious choice to change. Research has been clear that we cannot consistently choose the right thing to do. We can do it briefly, but it is a challenge to do it long-term. I want my students to start healthy habits. We need to start habits to create persistent change on our willpower. Our brains gets tired otherwise. Just like driving. Most decisions are not a conscious choice. I can be driving down the road, thinking on something, and, ten minutes later, not know how I got from where I was ten minutes ago to where I am now. So, on this list of 49 you have here, I need to make this list habitual in my life.
  • Observing the festivals (including 7th Day Sabbath) changed us. Our physical actions in following the festivals are a part of that.
    • I know a gal who sleeps in her gym clothes. It helps her get up in the morning and be in the mind-set to go work out, forming a habit to do it.
    • The problem I have with this whole topic of repentance is that God forgives but He doesn’t forget. I have that same problem. I’m not good at forgetting, so have I forgiven?
  • I have a cousin that, when she was little, she would come over and kick me in the shins every Sabbath as her greeting. I haven’t forgotten that. Have I forgiven her? I think so.
    • God has helped me see, in a circumstance, how I harmed someone else so that I could have a change of heart and mind then know how to repair the damage.
  • Matthew 5:16 – Is this equal to good works? (making your light shine)
    • Our instruction is to love Jesus. Then, good works and His Light shining in us is what will happen naturally.
  • What is His Light?
    • If we are transparent, then others can see his light in us.
  • Change is what allows light to be seen. As the photons bounce off something, our eyes see the light.
  • Is it ever appropriate to hide what is true? When is it not proper to be transparent?
    • Truth may be helpful. It may do harm. We need to have discretion with it.
    • Dad used to say to me, “It may be the truth, but that doesn’t mean it always has to be said.”
  • How does God look at us?
    • Look at Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (KJV)
  • Do I need to always tell someone the truth? Or, do you just let your example be the light that shines?
    • Telling the truth is a skill.
    • I’m an individual. My ability to handle truth is different than yours. It is about what God wants. How far do we take truth-telling for that individual? God is the One who knows.
    • I don’t worry too much about it. My recovery and my spirituality is going to be as it is.
    • Let your light shine by where you put your energy.
    • Dad is showing his age nowadays. His language is getting kind of mixed up, but look at his actions. That’s where his light is still shining. His beliefs are shown in his actions.
  • What does it mean to honor God’s law? The hand-out is a result of my conversation with Suz, a speaker of Greek. Can you honor God’s law without doing it?
    • I think so. Look at 1 Corinthians 13:11. I changed.
  • So, you are saying that my interpretation of the Law changes with phases in my life?
  • By coming together on Sabbath, it strengthens us. By honoring Sabbath, it helps us both.
  • In the world of the dairy farmer, those cows need milked every day, including Sabbath. How we honor the Sabbath is unique to each of us.
  • Adventism teaches that, one day, there will be a Sunday law. So, if you go to church on Sunday, are you doing wrong?
  • Is it okay to worship on Sabbath and on Sunday?
    • I did that for 3.5 years in Spokane.
    • Look at Daniel where they refused to bow down. If you are told to worship on Sunday and not on Saturday, do as those three did.
  • So, if it becomes required that you worship on Sunday and it is against the law to worship on Saturday, that’s when you refuse to comply?
    • If it is forced by man, honor God instead.
  • Look at Daniel 7:25.
  • Look at the story of Esther. I think the end times might be like that where maybe it is decreed that, on a certain day, it is okay to harm or kill certain people not complying with a law. “I’m not telling you to do it, but I won’t punish you for it either. I won’t do it; but if you do, I won’t stop you.”
  • What does it mean to honor the law? Look at Daniel praying in the open window. Look at the 3 in the furnace.
    • The adversaries of Daniel knew him well enough to know he would violate the law and pray, so they knew that passing the law against it would cause him to be removed from being an annoyance to them.
  • Do we choose to honor Him publicly as a light – a way of being transparent?
1/9/2021 Sabbath School Notes:
(bullet points = Steve; circles = attendee); See linked document up above.
  • “Be reconciled.” (#6) What does this mean?
  • Be reconciled. Isn’t this pretty straight forward?
    • Go to someone when they have something against you. You’d have to know they have something against you.
  • There is a person in the community who greatly disagrees with my viewpoints. She has something against me — my stated perspectives. She keeps saying she just won’t talk to me anymore, yet she keeps talking to me about these same subjects where we differ. She can’t help herself. Am I to settle up with her somehow before I can do anything with God?
    • Seems like since she cannot be silent about it; you have something she wants. Maybe it’s just that you listen to her, despite your disagreeing on things.
    • This verse seems to be talking about working it out with fellow believers. There may not be reconciliation with unbelievers.
  • Are we enemies with God?
    • I think it’s like marriage. You discuss it.
    • This isn’t saying “get reconciled.” It’s “be reconciled.” In other words, get there then stay there.
  • Is Jesus the active participant in this commandment?
  • Next on the list. Do not lust. Discussion?
    • He made it impossible. [general chuckles]
    • All things are possible through Christ.
  • Most of these commands are actions we should or shouldn’t take, right?
    • Do we have to think what we think? We seem to have troubles with or enjoy freedom in whatever we think about, what we dwell on.
  • These are things on a list of what Jesus says is good to do or not to do. Is this too “legalistic?”
    • He said to the prostitute, “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.” Did she try not to sin anymore? Was she inspired by the encounter to try to sin no more? We don’t know.
  • God’s love (and forgiveness) is unconditional. Are there any exceptions after we’re forgiven?
    • Paul says you can’t disregard the Law. I just try to have holy moments.
  • Once forgiven, He expects us to sin no more. Is that unrealistic? Why command that? Do we look at it and say, “It’s just an aspiration?” If I choose to intentionally sin, He won’t forgive me until there’s repentance. It requires you to change your ways. It seems to be a fundamental question in the churches. Can we even be without sin?
    • He continually forgives us, if we ask Him.
    • It is in willfulness. What do we choose to do in life? Our brains are designed to have most of our actions on autopilot. I don’t think God holds us accountable for those autopilot things, but rather only those things we’ve done wrong we’ve become conscious of.
  • Some churches teach that I can do anything and God will forgive, even as we continue to do that which is wrong.
    • If we are doing it and know it is wrong and continue, our hearts are hardened. It becomes sin. Like Israel, they went astray and stayed afoul.
  • Hard-hearted as a group. How many groups were hard-hearted?
    • People in the time of the Flood.
    • People at the foot of Mt Sinai.
    • Sodom and Gomorrah.
    • Yet, there were good people among all those groups that were saved.
  • Who was responsible for killing Jesus? [answers unheard] Hardly anyone was left after AD 70.
    • The people in Jesus’ time arrested Him in the middle of the night and went against their own rules to make things happen to Him that shouldn’t have. It was mob mentality. Other people knew this was against the rules of the church, but they didn’t stop it either.
    • It is easy to conflate what happens here on Earth with salvation. They don’t correlate. People killed by the Flood aren’t necessarily not going to be saved, eternally.
  • So, the punishment of the entire group does not indicate the guilt of any particular individual in that group. They could just be swept along in the punishment?
    • Not swept in or out of the Kingdom; just swept up into the chaos on Earth.
  • You are responsible to issue warnings. How much responsibility do we each have to point out what someone is doing wrong? Are you dragged into responsibility for their actions?
    • How did Christ do it? He kept knocking. He kept peacefully and passionately talking about what is right.
    • God, in His mercy, gives us examples.
    • Our cousins had a list of family rules. When their kid got caught doing something against the rules, the parents would ask the kid what numbered rule they broke. Our kids thought having a list like that was cool. They acted like they wanted one. 🙂 Maybe the immature person needs a list.

1/16/2021 Sabbath School Notes:
(bullet points = Steve; circles = attendee)
  • Jennifer and I are going to keep the festivals again this year. If you were going to join us in that, what does that mean? When would you do it and how? When is Passover this year?
    • We don’t know. Approximate dates are given, but written on the calendar ahead of time may not be accurate.
  • Right. Will the barley be ripe in Judea? It happens at approximately the same time of year each year because the seasons don’t change. This may be a 13 month year, so the start of the year may be around March 1st. The new moon was on Thursday. Retrograding 1-2 days per month…so the new moon will probably be around March 10th or so. How many days after the new moon is Passover?
    • The 14th day after.
  • Right. It starts at “twilight” 14 days after the new moon. I’ve been doing research on what “twilight” means and to various groups. To the Jews, it is “between the evenings,” so sometime in the afternoon. So, during the last week of March, we can figure will be Passover.
    • The celebration of Passover. Isn’t that when they slaughtered a lamb, roasted it, and put its blood on the doorposts?
  • Yes. Do I need to kill a lamb now?
    • No. Jesus was the sacrifice, once for all.
  • I agree. Do we still need to observe then?
    • The Christian church did away with the sacrificial system when Jesus died and rose. So, do we still need to do it?
    • Passover is about coming out of slavery.
    • Communion is still remembering coming out of slavery, right?
  • Communion is the recognition of Jesus’ sacrifice.
  • Passover is about rescue from slavery. Slavery to sin and the rescue of the nation from Egyptian slavery.
    • I’ve been thinking about this twilight concept, too. There’s a time when it is neither wholly light nor wholly dark. That’s twilight. Is there something in there, philosophically?
  • There could be. The modern definition of twilight is that it is about 30 minutes after sunset. Jews have had other ways of determining it. However long it takes the average person to walk 3/4 of a mile. After sunset once you’re able to see three stars. In Exodus 12:6, the word there means “between the evenings,” says the Jews.
  • My theory is that God moved twilight so that when Jesus died, it was dark during the day.
    • Wouldn’t “between evenings” mean between 3pm sacrifice and sunset?
    • Yes.
    • So, we don’t do sacrifices for sin anymore. Do we not do firstfruits, grain offerings, tithes, etc?
  • I believe observing the festivals develops our relationship with God and causes us to see more about Him than we did before. They help us recognize what He’s done for us, including Jesus’ sacrifice. What is the message to be conveyed in the festivals of Leviticus? We still need to want to come out from sin, as individuals and as a group. Is it wrong not to keep them?
    • Maybe the question to ask is if it is wrong TO keep them. If I was to sacrifice an animal, wouldn’t that be discounting Jesus’ sacrifice?
  • Yes. And, I agree with you that Jesus’ sacrifice made it so we no longer do the animal sacrifices. What is curious, though, is that the Bible seems to say we may do animal sacrifices again in the future.
    • Where?
  • I think it is in Ezekiel 43 and 44 area as well as in Isaiah 56. The Bible also talks about there still being death for a while after the New Heaven and New Earth have come. Is it wrong to observe the festivals? Are we denying His sacrifice if we do? Unleavened Bread comes up at Passover, too. What is the message of Unleavened Bread? We are to remove all the leaven from the house.
    • Why is it leaven? It’s a good message in that we are to search and eliminate sin.
  • In some instances, leaven is considered good. For this week, in this context, it is considered bad.
    • I think it is that but also the concept that we are often busy trying to provide for ourselves rather than on God to provide for us. Those fleeing from Egyptian slavery had to rely on God to provide for them so that they could have bread again.
    • The origin of Unleavened Bread is that they had to flee quickly, so they didn’t have time to wait for bread to rise.
    • It seems in 1 Corinthians, Paul says to celebrate Passover but applies it as symbolism.
  • I personally find that WHEN the festivals occur matters. Jesus is my Lamb at Passover. I look at that festival and others as a way to remember God and what He did for us as well as what He does for us. I believe He uses these festivals to mark events in the past as well as in our future. In no way, shape or form is it a denial of what Christ did and does for us.
    • (Unheard comment; [sorry])
  • For me, it is the time that is especially important.
    • I think how we celebrate them is an individual conviction. The times don’t seem random to me. I think they are there so we are aware and are not deceived.
    • I believe that Jesus was born around the time of Tabernacles. [others agree]
    • I think the feasts are given as a supplement in our lives.
    • I think the feasts are symbolic of the Plan of Salvation.
    • The feasts are there for us to remember rather than as fulfillment.
  • People use the same arguments against observing the festivals as people do in arguing against Sabbath is Saturday. When people find out we recognize Sabbath on the 7th Day and it is an important time for us, they argue that the day we worship on doesn’t matter. That we should worship every day. But, to us, the Sabbath is special. It is a day for us to set aside. It sets us apart.
    • I think Jesus is tired of empty flag-waving. We take the practical approach to everything. Sacrifice is still important, but we do it in a different way now. Animal sacrifice was empty flag-waving after a while. We need to look at that and figure out how we’ll still sacrifice and honor Him.
    • Every day, I love my husband. Our anniversary, though, is special. The festivals are like our anniversaries with God. They are for us to take time away from our regular work and focus on His work — on what He’s done and is doing.
  • So, I’ll go back to the original question. If you were to choose to observe Passover and Unleavened Bread as Jennifer and I will be doing, what will you do to observe? On the 14th day, we will prepare for the next day. We will remember Jesus’ sacrifice. There’s a Sabbath on the first day and on the last day of Unleavened Bread.
  • We’ve found that observing the festivals changes one’s mindset. So, we have chosen not to have leavened items in the house.
  • That verse that people sometimes use to argue against observing the festivals…. Since we’re going to observe the Sabbaths and festivals and watch for the new moon, that verse says not to judge me for that. Yet, I encourage you to try observing them and see what a great blessing it is, as it has been for us.
  • When we first observed Unleavened Bread, we looked all through the house and thought we got out all the leavened bread. Then, after the festival was over, we found some way back in an area where we hadn’t looked very well. Oops. It made us think about the concept of sitting down with God and carefully looking for something between us and God that would be a sin.
  • There’s Passover, Unleavened Bread, then Firstfruits, which will probably be on a Sunday this year, which means it will be two Sabbaths in a row for us. Jesus was raised on Firstfruits. I encourage you to think about it. Without His resurrection, there is no salvation. His is the most important sacrifice in all history and in all humanity.
  • Note, though, that you do as God leads in your life. What is wrong for Roy may be right for me and vice versa. The important thing is for us to treat our neighbors with respect and love.


  • 1/23/2021 Sabbath School Notes:
    (circles = Steve; bullet points = attendee)

    • Basics down. Passover is the 14th of the month on God’s calendar. Moses said to select a lamb on what day?
      • 4th?
    • It is to be selected on the 10th It needs to be a 1 yr-old without blemish, and you were to hold it in your house for 4 days. Have any of you ever kept a lamb inside your house?
      • We did when I was a kid. Their mama had twins and died, so…
    • Were they potty-trained?
      • No.
    • Did it smell?
      • I don’t know. I was a kid. I didn’t care.  (chuckles)
    • As the sun goes down on the 14th, you were to kill the lamb at twilight. How long does it take to roast a 30 lb lamb?
      • About 6 hours.
    • To the Jews, twilight is “between the evenings,” so about 3pm.
    • So, on what day was the lamb eaten?
      • 15th
    • It was to be eaten by what time?
      • By dawn.
      • Was there any provision for those without a lamb?
    • A one-year-old lamb will serve about 10 people, so they were to share it in order to consume it all by morning. Each person was to eat their share. They were to eat standing up and ready to go, to leave Egypt. Bitter herbs were eaten for the Passover meal, too.
    • Caiaphas said to take census by counting the lamb kidneys from the Passover lambs. At the time of Christ, 600,000 kidneys were collected.
    • When did all the firstborn get killed at the time of Exodus?
      • Midnight.
    • Let’s look at Luke 22:7 and on. Jesus is saying to His disciples that they should prepare for Passover. What is the Passover meal to be?
      • Bitter herbs was part of it.
    • The bitter herbs are to represent how miserable bondage was.
    • What’s another name for this ritual we are seeing in the Last Supper? What foods are we seeing, and what is taking place?
      • Communion.
      • Unleavened bread, wine, footwashing.
    • We do this to remember Him. Let’s look at the graphic on the screen (see here). When is Jesus having this meal. Was it at the green bar you see here?
      • [Several “no’s.”]
    • Jesus was resting in the tomb when the Passover meal was happening in many households. True or false?
      • True.
      • Are you saying that the Last Supper is not the same as the Passover meal?
    • Yes. Read verse 15 very carefully. Let’s bring up the second graphic. Last Supper happened at the light purple line (points). The Passover meal is at the green line.
    • Every Jew eats lamb and bitter herbs at every Passover meal on the 14th . Read carefully. I will not eat it until I can eat and drink it with you in the Kingdom of God. When is the Kingdom of God? Is there any other way to read this?
      • Jesus walked on the road with the guys as they were walking to Emmaus. So, was the Kingdom of God right after His death. So, the Passover He did have with them was that night?
      • [garbled due to poor connection; sorry]…I think the Kingdom of God is after Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire.
      • [more garbled words I couldn’t understand]. Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God. He says it is among you. Jesus Himself doesn’t support the idea that it is only in the future. There are verses that seem to say something else…a fulfillment.
    • Same word here for the word that says “responsible for” or “to pay” when talking about Jesus coming not to abolish the Law but to fulfill the Law.
      • Another reason the Last Supper was not the Passover meal is that they were reclined for the Last Supper
    • They were reclining. We are not told they were eating Passover food. They were eating on the wrong day for it to be the Passover meal.
    • I think this is Jesus saying to the disciples that this is what they should do on Passover now: break bread and drink wine in remembrance of Him.
    • I think Jesus fulfilled the prophecies laid out in the festivals so that we’d believe in Him. John 14:29 says, “And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” Jesus died when the Passover lamb was slain. He fulfilled the prophecies in order for us to believe. Jesus did everything at the proper times so we would believe. Can you read it any other way than that the Last Supper is different than the Passover meal?
      • You can. Much of Christiandom, including Ellen White in the Desire of Ages, calls it the Passover meal.
      • Who is Ellen White? [Steve explains.]
      • I’m still thinking about when the Kingdom of God is. Wouldn’t that mean when the Holy Spirit came?
    • What is the Kingdom of God, Ron?
      • The Kingdom of God is the area of God’s influence, a physical place in time. [garbled connection]
    • Are we living in the Kingdom of God now?
      • Yes. But, in the Luke 22 passage, I think we get a different sense of what the Kingdom of God is. It seems to be a goal for Him for the future.
    • A day when the manifestation of being with Him is greater?
      • Yes.
    • Jesus is saying He will eat and drink with us when?
      • At some point in the future.
      • Sometime in the future; we don’t know when.
      • [answer somewhat garbled] I think there’s a huge banquet after His second coming and maybe that is when.
    • The wedding banquet is talked about, yes. All weddings In the Jewish system were arranged. The boy goes to the girl’s house with the bride price. The girl says, “yes.” The marriage contract is signed. There’s a cup of wine shared. The groom goes back to his father’s house to prepare the Chuppah (bridal chamber) there. His father decides when the Chuppah is ready and tells the groom he can go. The groom shows up at the bride’s house by surprise and takes her to the Chuppah he has built. There’s consummation. The guests are celebrating, and then the couple joins them.
    • Jews believe that God met with all of us individually to ask for a covenant with us but only the Jews accepted. So, the marriage contract was signed at Mt Sinai. The wedding feast and marriage consummation comes later.
    • Jews have four cups of redemption. One matches the cup at the Last Supper. “I go to my Father’s house…” is marriage language.
    • This is God saying, “I want to unify with you. I want to be your partner. I want to live in you and with you.”
    • [points to graphic] I know some think this is wrong. Please speak up so we can hash it out together.
      • The idea of this not happening until the Kingdom of God is fulfilled…[garbled]
    • I encourage you to go read about this in all the Gospels, and we can talk about it later. I think Jesus did eat and drink at the Last Supper, but I don’t think that was the Passover meal.
    • Where were the disciples the evening of the crucifixion?
      • Hiding.
    • I believe many may have been having Passover in the Upper Room.
    • In my opinion, the communion food is a replacement for eating the actual lamb because we are now remembering the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
    • As you study, read it carefully. If you see it differently, come back and let’s all look at it together.
    • I think Jesus is the One who told the Exodus group how to keep Passover.
    • Jesus was selected by the people on the 10th People laid down palm branches in front of Him as He rode into Jerusalem, saying, “God save us.”
    • Psalm 118 and the Song of Solomon are used at Jewish weddings, Passover, etc.
    • All the language is there. If we tap into the Jewish roots, we can see it clearly.

Sabbath School Notes 1/30/2021:
(Steve = bullet points; indented circles = attendees)

  • Let’s look at the “why” for God setting all this up. Why are these actions there? We have the Unleavened Bread festival.


  • You are to get rid of all leaven products. Why though?
    • It’s a symbol, right? Like the Last Supper is to “do this in remembrance of Me,” so something about timing and events then.
  • Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. In the Bible, slavery is often talking about evil, sin, and bondage. When you were slaves to sin/Egypt, did you feel stuck and like you’d never get out? We cannot escape sin. It is a mindset we have.
  • God came to Moses and said, “We are taking My people from bondage.”
  • Passover = release from the bondage of sin.
  • It is a promise of removing leavened products and leaven from your area. Why?
    • Because it is infectious.
  • God says to treat leaven as if it is sin. Unleavened Bread is a week-long festival. No leaven or leavened products in the house, and no eating it elsewhere (like in restaurants). What happens if you do?
    • You are impure?
  • You are cut off from the congregation.
  • The analogy is: On Passover, I’m pulling you out of sin. Search out all the sin and omit it from your life. Do so for seven days of consecration.
  • Teaching is a transformative experience. If you choose to observe Unleavened Bread practice, it will have an effect.
  • We sometimes think Jews do nutty things; but, maybe, looking at us, we do also.
  • We are asked to inspect our lives and rid it of what isn’t good.
  • We say, “I can’t break out of sin!”
    God says, “I can do mighty miracles. This can be done.”

    • Easier said than done.
  • We are sinners in this life. We say it is impossible to be without sin. God says He will break you out of that bondage. That’s the message of Passover and Unleavened Bread.
  • We leave Egypt and arrive at the Red Sea. It looks like an impossible barrier. God performs a miracle. The Cloud protects me from Egypt/sin. Firstfruits festival is on the other side.
  • 49 days later, they were at Mt. Sinai.
  • There was a big noise at Mt. Sinai. Jews said He spoke to each person on Earth. It was His saying, “I did what everyone says is impossible. We will write about this. People will say it is impossible, but I did it. I want you to unite with Me now.” He asks each person individually. People said, “yes.” They signed the marriage contract.
    • We are asked to do something. At the Red Sea, they had to believe they could get across. David had to believe God would help against Goliath. It may be uncomfortable, but trust.
    • It is simple to say to trust God and have faith. The Israelites witnessed all these miraculous things. Look at Leviticus 26:13: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.” They still had the slave mentality despite seeing all He did for them. We still think as slaves.
    • God said at the burning bush, “I have heard the pleadings of Israel.” Then, He went to the most unlikely person in the world to act.
    • It’s a week’s time of introspection. Christianity has a tradition of that happening all the time. It is a sense of freedom to isolate that in one week. That’s a good news sort of thing. It is freeing…a Gospel sort of thing.
  • Jews also teach that He spoke to all throughout time. To those who respond, He says, “I will write my Law in your heart.” That promise was given in the Old Testament. Look at Jeremiah 31:33.
  • “Stop thinking as a slave,” says God.
    • I was telling the Exodus story to my kids and they were like, “Why did they have to walk in the desert so long?” I said, “Because they weren’t ready to enter Canaan.”
  • Egyptians joined Hebrews when they left. Some of the group didn’t like all the traipsing around the desert without sin. They wanted to go back to Egypt where they could do what they want.
  • I encourage you to practice keeping Passover and Unleavened Bread.
    • So, the clear message is to teach the children to honor God? “That way, we don’t have to so much.” (smile)
  • Look at prophesy in the Bible. Daniel 9 has the same period of time between Firstfruits and Weeks as between their journey from the Red Sea to Mt. Sinai. Daniel 9:24 and onward sound like Passover and Unleavened Bread language when you read it.
  • There’s the counting of the omer. Firstfruits to the Festival of Weeks = 7 Sabbaths. Coincidence? Then comes? The King James version replaces “anointed one” with “Messiah.”
  • There’s the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Pentecost is when the anointed one comes. There’s 62 more weeks, and he is cut off.
  • The Biblical year is not 360 days. God uses the lunar calendar. In 62 weeks is another festival (where the anointed one is cut off).
    • Is Passover when the anointed one is cut off?
  • One year later. If you start them concurrently at the same starting time, 1 year later is a festival. Time prophecies coincide with the festivals. The festivals unlock the prophecies. Each festival can tell me when prophecies start and end.
  • 29-30 days for a month on the lunar calendar. Some years have 12 months, and some have 13. God’s entire calendar has intentional “play” in it. So, it is impossible to know the day and the hour of His return.
    • Maybe it is supposed to be a mystery.
  • I agree. God will bless you with understanding, though.
    • Will you know the year?
  • No, not until events start happening.
  • Note that God has a habit of moving the sun. The Passover lamb was slain at twilight. So, God moved twilight.
    • Isaac Newton was a Sabbath keeper who studied prophecy.
  • He also studied the festivals. There’s nothing wrong with science. The Bible and believing in God require faith. We can do both.
    • Historically, we know events happened on certain years. What calendar were these based on? Did the festivals happen for them, too?
  • The whole point is God is saying: “I freed you. Don’t think like a slave. I’m writing my Law on your hearts. The Festivals are part of that Law. I will bless you in your efforts.”

2/6/2021 Sabbath School Notes

Sabbath School Notes 2/6/2021:
(bullet points = Steve; circles = attendees)

  • What happened that time of year in the Exodus story? They crossed the Red Sea and came up on the other side. Festival of Weeks/Pentecost; they arrived at Mt. Sinai where God writes His Law on their hearts.
    • The festivals hadn’t been set up yet, so they were set up regarding past events.
  • So, what is “Pentecost” in Greek? What does it mean?
    • 50
  • So, 50 days after Firstfruits was Pentecost where the Holy Spirit was poured out. They were in the temple at the time on a festival date. Why were they gathered at the temple on a festival date (Festival of Weeks), if the festivals had been done away with? Their belief grew from their experience at Pentecost.
  • I believe all prophecy is meant for all people in all times, including us. What happens on Firstfruits in our future? Does the Bible tell us? Yes. Look at Daniel 9. [Show Daniel 9]
  • Let’s take a look at a graphic (see HERE). It’s the Daniel 9 and the Sevens, Jennifer. Let’s read Daniel 9:25. Would you, J.C., if you’ve got it there. “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuildJerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.”
  • This matches with the time between Firstfruits and Pentecost. I work under the assumption that this isn’t a coincidence.
    • What is the Sixty-Two Sevens prophecy?
  • The time between when the decree goes out to restore and build Jerusalem and when the anointed one is cut off.
  • Gabriel was told to explain the vision to Daniel.
  • In this book, Daniel is reminding God that He had said they would only be in captivity for 70 years.
  • The first day of 49 days is when the decree happens. The anointed one shows up. Who is the anointed one? Then, he works for 490 days (62 weeks).
    • If the Messiah was cut off…. [Sorry; I didn’t catch the question.]
  • The last 7 was at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry is what most of Christianity teaches.
  • I believe all prophecy is for every generation, including you and I.
    • Doesn’t the use of the term “weeks” remove any uncertainty?
  • I think when it talks about a period of 7, it actually is meaning a week. I know some say one day equals a year. Yet, when it says 70 periods of 7, I think it means 70 weeks. I take it literally.
  • Think of the decree happening on Easter, then 49 days later is Pentecost and the anointed one arrives.
  • Now, look at verse 24. Who is “your people” here? And, is “your holy city” Jerusalem? Are we part of this “your people?” Or, is that only for the Jews?
    • It seems like the events then will affect everyone. The question is how we’d each relate to it?
  • Look at 1 and 2 on the list: “1) to put an end to the transgression and, 2) to seal up sin.” What is the difference between 1 and 2?
    • The first is to put an end to crime.
  • To put an end to crime means?
    • Repent.
  • Last week we talked about being free from the bondage of sin. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” That sounds like verse 24, the 1st and 2nd put together. But, this is a decree for the Jews? So, only the Jews have to stop sinning.
  • Atonement for guilt. How do you do that?
    • Wouldn’t that be the sin offering?
  • Okay, but how does one do that after the Cross? How does a Jew do that now?
  • I believe in following the festivals. Does that make me a Messianic Jew or a Jew?
    • No.
  • Where will the earthly temple be rebuilt?
    • They are all prepared to build it in Jerusalem when they get the go-ahead. They have even been growing the trees for that purpose.
  • As Christians, do we believe the temple should be rebuilt?
    • Yes, in order to fulfill prophecy.
    • We need only accept God’s promises and accept Jesus.
    • Just because they rebuild it, it doesn’t mean that is of God.
  • Read Isaiah 56 and Ezekiel 45. That’s your assignment. J
    • The decree to rebuild Jerusalem isn’t the same as it actually being rebuilt.
  • It says it is during a “troubled time,” so we aren’t told it is all rebuilt.
    • These are signals for the Jews and for Jerusalem, but there are certainly effects on others.
    • The temple can be defined in other ways.
  • We have talked about the various temples: the Heavenly temple and the earthly temple, the temple in each of us, Jesus is the temple and all aspects of the temple, and the people as a group are the temple.
  • If that third statement, “make atonement for guilt,” is applicable to us, how do we make atonement? Accept Jesus? Atonement is to “make good” or to “bring together.”
    • To live in covenant with God.
  • So, to live according to the Law?
    • I think you have to bring in the New Testament.
  • Meaning?
    • We depend on God. We are to be His Light in the world. Spread the gospel.
    • I think we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, help the poor.
  • Can you keep the Law without the proper Spirit, God’s Spirit?
    • Yes.
    • I believe so.
  • I don’t think it is possible to keep the Law without the Holy Spirit.
    • [Lots of comments; I was distracted and couldn’t keep up] [Listen to the video]
    • It is all God.


2/13/2021 Sabbath School and Church cancelled due to snow.

2/20/21 Sabbath School Notes:
(Dots = Steve; Circles = Midrashers)

  • I go to Drudge Report, and there’s an announcement with a red, flashing light to draw my attention to it. I see the headline says, “Abomination in the Holy Place.” I turn on the TV for the news. There are all kinds of end times thing happening.
  • One “talking head” says, “This is crazy, for the abomination was already seen a couple thousand years ago when a pig was slaughtered on the altar in the temple.”
  • Another says, “The Jews are no longer the chosen people. Now, it is the Christians.”
  • The Adventist says, “The abomination will be the Sunday Law.”
  • Read Matthew 24:15-16 – “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
  • Is this something we need to worry about?
  • Look at Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:20-21, too.
    • It’s in Ezekiel 8, too.


  • What do we care about regarding the abomination?
    • Imitation bacon bits are abominations. Wham, too.
  • Do I need to pay attention to this talk about the abomination?
    • These are parables.
  • What are the parables?
    • I think you’d have to go back to the culture back then to understand.
  • The visions Daniel had. He had an angel explain them, but he still didn’t understand. Then, he received some information that was sealed.
    • I think everything in the Bible is for us to apply today; something in there in a passage will apply in my life.
  • I agree. It is for each person in their time.
  • The Festivals were followed every year for centuries, then they became very special in one year when Jesus’s life events occurred on those dates. I think this same phenomenon will be repeated. Some future generation will have their foundation in the festivals and will know that what is happening around them is special.
  • There is a theory that the Holy Spirit was only for certain, special people before Jesus was born. I think that’s a bogus theory.
  • We are grafted in. What are we grafted into?
  • What is the abomination? What makes this abomination so different? Idolatry has happened for centuries. What makes this End Times abomination different than in past years?
    • What’s the ‘desolation’ part?
  • It means ‘empty.” What does ‘abomination’ mean? Something horrifically bad and wrong. What does the Adventist Church teach about it?
    • The Sunday Law.
    • I think it will be a universal law. It would be a law that everyone all across the world will need to worship on Sunday.
  • What is this based on?
    • There’s the verse that says he will change times and laws.
  • Has this already happened?
    • I think so.
  • People have been killed and persecuted for their beliefs for ages. How is this different?
    • How about the antichrist?
  • Who is the antichrist?
  • Daniel 8, 9, 11, 12. They all use the same language. These verses don’t say what the abomination is. Why do we say that the verse about his changing the times is about Sabbath? What if it is referring to the festivals?
  • In Scripture, he is called the “Little Horn” as well as the “King of the North.” Either way, it is a blasphemous power that attacks the angels and takes down a third of them with him. He destroys God’s people.
  • So, let’s look at the times that have changed so far:
    • Sundown is not the beginning of the day anymore. It’s at midnight.
    • When the new year begins.
  • Right, the new year is in March or April, when the new moon arrives during barley harvest. Now, our calendars say the new year starts on January 1.
  • Also, the festivals are not observed, though they are a part of God’s calendar.
  • We ignore some time changes but concentrate on Sabbath. We say that the other ones don’t apply to us.
  • Some think the Little Horn is the Catholic Church or the Pope. I think it is far larger than that. I think Satan is the Little Horn.
  • To come up with the calendar the Jews would use, priests in 300 AD did the math. Seder and the Festivals are still in the Jewish lifestyle, including Sabbath.
  • Two important events in Jewish history: Exodus, the 1948 founding of Israel.
  • (Told the story of the ship of Jewish people (1/3 men, 1/3 women, 1/3 children), “Exodus.”)
  • https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/quot-exodus-1947-quot-illegal-immigration-ship


2/27/2021 Sabbath School Notes:
(Bullet points = Steve; circles = attendees)
• Addressing the teachers in the room: Did you ever give homework to your students?
o Yes.
• Why?
o So the information would go from short-term memory to long-term memory.
• Did it work?
o It helped. [chuckles]
• Showed the 490-year Graphic. (see link below)
• What year was the decree issued? Who is Cyrus? Cyrus persuaded the Medes/Persians he needed to be their king. He defeated the Persians. He waged war on Babylon. He conquered many groups and was their king.
• The year after Cyrus defeated Babylonians, the Jews in the empire (Daniel at the head of them) told Cyrus they’d found his name in their scrolls where he issued a decree to restore Jerusalem. He figured he’d better issue that decree then, so he did so in 539 BC. Cyrus’ decree then wasn’t the right one to lead us to Jesus 490 years later.
• Cyrus’ successor, Cambyses or Bardis, said, “No need to build the temple.”
• Darius became the new leader. He was related to Cyrus. They shared a great grandfather.
• The Persian empire invented the Pony Express concept. It was a 10-day journey from one side of the empire to the other. Darius established this communication system.
• Talked about the inscriptions on Mount Behistun. See link below.
• In the inscriptions, Darius had inscribed, “I’m King of _____” then listed who all he’d conquered as well as wrote a list of who’d been the kings, in order, and who he was related to.
• The Germans studied the inscriptions until World War II. Then, after the war, the British Museum studied them.
• It can’t be Cyrus’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem because going 490 years from there doesn’t allow us to end up at Jesus.
o I challenge it not being Cyrus. It is when the decree was issued, not when construction started. Satan tried to mess up prophecy. Christ, though, got involved with Cyrus’ decree to make it as He willed.
• Let’s look at Babylon. The Egyptians revolted. Jeremiah was saying, “You need to stick with Babylon. They will be the ones who will succeed.” But, the king sided with Egypt anyway. The Babylonians crushed Egypt. Egypt was the primary supplier of food for the entire region. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple. Jeremiah prophesied, “You will be captives in Babylon for 70 years.” Daniel was one of those captives. Daniel 8 is a prayer about the prophecy. “Lord, for Your sake, You said we’d get to go back to Jerusalem after 70 years. Please remember.” The vision was not understood by Daniel. Gabriel gives the prophesy of 70 years of captivity.
• In 539 BC, Cyrus took control of Babylon. Cyrus did give a decree to return to Jerusalem.
• 539-483 = 56 BC. So, we cannot use that decree, or we say the inscriptions on rocks are wrong.
• I have a long history of questioning what people say are “truths.” When I was in school, we had a test where we were to write the answer as if we believed evolution philosophy to be true. So, I wrote my answer, “The book says….” What I said after that was the right answer, but the teacher objected to my writing, “The book says.” I failed because I didn’t buy the story, despite my giving the answer that was wanted.
o How much does Behistun confirm dates?
• Dates are not on the inscription. It does give the names of empires and who were the kings, though. It gives the Medes’ side of the genealogy, too. At the time, the dating system was in terms of the king rulership.
• Cyrus’ tablets exist because he was successful and could smash all of the other clay tablets from previous rulers.
• The Book of Ezra has the story of the decrees. This is how we got to the 457 BC. We went from AD 27 and worked back.
• There were decrees from Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes (which is a title).
• Darius died before 457 BC.
• Artaxerxes lived 60 years later, but we want to use the Book of Ezra to say “457 BC.” We insert 60 years between chapter 6 and chapter 7 of Ezra. We look at Ezra being 140 years old, so we decide that chapter 7 is a son or grandson of the Ezra that is in chapter 6.
• Read Isaiah 45:1 or so – “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held – to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut…”
• Cyrus is the only non-Jew that’s been called “anointed.”
• I agree that he gave a decree, but I dispute the dates. It was issued before the prophecy of Jeremiah expired. The Jews showed that verse to Cyrus.
o [Someone made mention of Jesus and the clay pots.]
• Jesus was baptized, started His ministry, and turned the water into wine within a few months. Even if we use the year He was born, we are still off, date-wise.
• So, what do we do if 457 is incorrect? Do we say the prophecy wasn’t about Jesus? Do we say the right decree was given by a successor of Cyrus?
• My purpose is not to destroy faith in historical documentation. It has given hope to many. People have established faith in Jesus because of this understanding about 457 BC.
o Was 1844 not a significant date in theology?
• William Miller, a Baptist, studied the Bible well. He thought that sometime during 1843, Jesus would be returning.
• Talked about Snow and his research on the timing of Day of Atonement and 1843 being a 13-month year.
• Our church grew out of that era of the disappointment.
• Christianity ignores the 457 BC problem and the split between the seven sevens and the 62 sevens.
o How did we get to 1844 again?
• Explained it with a Daniel 8:14 reference and continued.
• Those who remained after the disappointment said, “What did we get wrong?” They decided that this date was when Jesus moved from one role in the sanctuary to another role. This was all based on the festivals.
o What about the anointed one being cut-off mid-week?
• Look at the week of Jesus. He was cut off in 31 AD. We needed to get close to the seventy sevens, so we chose the stoning of Stephen.
• It was good for people to believe the history so that they could be inspired to believe in Jesus.
o It is an interesting history. God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts.”
o The Bible says no one knows the day or the hour.
• That phrase is commonly associated with Jewish weddings, by the way.
o So, what you are saying is that these were important stepping stones in our faith. They are to be used as launch points into other understandings.
• Yes.
o There’s a certain amount of “pride in authorship” that happens. What we believed in history is different than what we believe now. We can grow from here.
• Yet, that foundation is important to Biblical understanding.
o I think our founders would have been uncomfortable locking themselves into this (457 BC) understanding forever. Defining our group in flexible ways is good. Our founders would have thought this practice of questioning would be good.
• Who was it that told Solomon to build the temple? The first decree came from God. Did you know that a decree from God came to build the second temple?
3/06/21 Sabbath School Notes: (circles are comments/questions from attendees).
• There is a grace period on your homework. I believe if you write out what you think, you’ll be able to codify in your mind what you think. Again, the homework is to write an essay, length of your choosing: “Do the festivals apply to us today? Why or why not?” When we get them, we’ll strip off the name and make them available for the group to read.
• [Shows traditional 457 BC belief graphic.] Anyone not seen this? The year 457 is essential to Christianity.
• [Shows expanded timeline graphic.] Write down 586 BC as an important date. That’s when Babylon took Jerusalem and its citizens were taken captive. Jeremiah 29:10 says there will be 70 years in Babylonian captivity. So, write on your paper that 516 BC is when they should be freed. Another important date to write down is 539 BC – Cyrus’ decree.
• When you see “artaxerxes,” know that that is a title.
• [Shows Ezra genealogy graphic.] 2 Kings 25:18-21. Ezra was alive or at least in the womb when Jerusalem was taken and the temple destroyed. His father was killed at that time. Since infants and pregnant women may not have been taken to Babylon, Ezra may have been old enough to be deemed worth taking to Babylon.
• [Shows expanded timeline graphic.] The decree to restore and build by Cyrus was here, in 539. The book of Nehemiah mentions five gatekeepers. So, they were alive at the time of the captivity. They were called gatekeepers or porters, and there were about 212 of them. They were guards at the temple as well as bodyguards.
• You find the 520 BC decree in Ezra 6. This was a reaffirmation of the Cyrus decree. Read in Ezra and Nehemiah. Once out of captivity, 5000 can live in Jerusalem, but the 45,000 rest must live in the other towns. Levites can stay in Jerusalem, if they are on the list.
• The 501 BC decree: The city walls were still in disrepair, so Darius issued a decree for those to be repaired.
• [Next graphic.] If Ezra was alive in 457 BC, he would have been 129 years old. Read in 2 Kings 25:18-21. Look in Genesis 6:3 – the maximum age of people was 120 years.
• [Expanded graphic of Darius era.] Many things happened during Darius’ reign. Before that, Cambyses was collecting taxes is Egypt. The temple should have been under reconstruction, but people in the neighboring provinces didn’t want rebuilding in Jerusalem. Cambyses or Bardis issued a decree revoking the building permit. On the way back from Egypt, Cambyses died of gangrene from an “accidental lance wound.” His lance bearer was Darius. Curious. Darius took power when got back to Babylon. The Daniel 9 vision took place in year one of Darius’ reign. Cyrus issued his decree in 539. So, 539-521 = 18 years. So, 18 years after Cyrus’ decree, Daniel had his Daniel 9 vision.
• In Ezra 6, we see that Darius affirmed Cyrus’ decree. This was the second year of Darius’/Artaxerxes’ reign (522 BC).
• The province was called “Beyond the River.”
• [Next graphic]
o Was the governor at the time Sennacherib?
• No. It was Tattenai. All able-bodied people were transferred from a conquered province like this.
• The neighboring communities were opposed to the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
• In 516 BC, the temple was done. 586 (demolished) – 516 = 70 years.
• Look in Haggai 1:1-15 and Zechariah 1:1-2. Let’s read those.
• Day twenty-one is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
• [Ezra 7 graphic). They got to Jerusalem in 515 BC (586-515 = 71 yrs away). Ezra would have been 81, if he had been 10 years old when his father was killed. 91, if he’d been 20. 71ish, if he’d been in the womb. The Emancipation Decree was 70 years after they were taken captive.
• Their judges had been their enemies, so Ezra 7:25 is significant.
o Was Darius a Christian?
• No. He was into Zorastrianism. Yet, he found it wise to keep his captives happy by allowing them to follow the religion of their choice.
• It took Ezra and other released captives four months to get back to Jerusalem because it was basically another Exodus. There were many people and they were carrying many goods, including gold and silver for the rebuilding of the temple.
• [Next graphic] Nehemiah was the cupbearer for Darius, but he wasn’t happy because there were holes in the walls of Jerusalem. So, Darius said, “Go. Repair the walls.” Nehemiah did so, and it took them 52 days to repair the walls. He became the governor.
• All of these graphics and write-ups about this subject can be found on servantsvoice.com
• Please remember to do your homework. We’ll strip off the names and make them available for reading.
3/13/21 Sabbath School Notes: (circles are the comments/questions from attendees)
• Ezra genealogy. It is possible the list skipped a generation, as in Zechariah. Since it is possible, we cannot go by genealogy.
• How do we know that 586 BC is right? There were clay tablets found in Nineva. It is called the Jerusalem Chronicle. It says, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, conquered the big city of Judea [Jerusalem] in my 11th year.”
o What date was Jerusalem first taken?
• Maybe 597. Zedekiah was put on the throne.
• In 586, Babylon came back because they didn’t pay their taxes, according to the Bible.
• How do we know the year 586, 539, etc are correct? Assyria named their years based on whoever was in charge of the New Year’s party. Scholars went back and researched, agreeing to put numbers on the years so we could all use the same references when talking about history.
• The priests and gatekeepers were marched to Nebuchadnezzar, and he killed them. Others were chained and taken to Babylon.
• How long were they captive? 70 years.
o I think their captivity maybe started in 539.
o Or, were they taken 70 years before 539? So, 609?
• We need to read in 2 Kings 25 regarding their captivity.
• Egypt said they were tired of paying taxes. They were having to give 25% of their grain crop to feed the Babylonian army. They were having to give a couple tons of silver per year. India, by the way, had to pay in trees and gold, same for the areas around Lebanon. Gold was required from other countries. One country, Scythya perhaps, had to send 100 eunuch boys each year.
• Egypt said no taxes anymore. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Oh yes, you will,” and killed them. Jerusalem had sided with the Egyptians, so that didn’t make Nebuchadnezzar happy
• Read Haggai, paying close attention to verse 8 where God is asking for His temple to be built. Year 2 of Darius’ reign.
• Read Chapter 6 of Ezra. The province was called, “Beyond the River.”
• Bible sections to read: Ezra 6 and 7, Haggai, Zechariah 1, 2 Kings 25:18-21, Isaiah 45, Daniel 8 and 9, Jeremiah in Judea when writing his letter.
o Is this rebuilt temple the same as “Herod’s Temple?”
• Yes. 450 years later, it was enlarged and embellished with a courtyard by Herod.
• Cyrus’ decree was to rebuild the temple.
• Darius’ decree was a reaffirmation of Cyrus’ decree to restore and rebuild. He was emphasizing that he and Cyrus shared a grandfather. “So, if you were loyal to him, you should be loyal to me.”
• Then, Darius issued a decree for the wall to be repaired.
o There were three separate conquests of the Jews. Where does the prophecy take you, if 457 is not right?
• Did the Jews put away sin, etc. (re: prophecy in Daniel 9)?
• What if there’s a concept on the table that says 3+5 = 10 and some are saying that is correct? Where is the problem in seeing that as correct? Is the problem with the 3, the plus sign, the 5, the equals, or the 10?
• Ezra 7 says all the Jews were freed.
• I suggest you read the story of Zerubbabel and the family being cursed. I think we should read the stories in the Bible during the week. If we only read in His Word on Sabbath, we’ll experience a spiritual famine.

3/20/21 Sabbath School — Steve gave a portion of his testimony and asked how everyone wanted to proceed, topic-wise.


3/27/2021 Sabbath School Notes:

(See Matthew 24 instructions that were emailed.)

  • Verse 4 – applicable to all generations? ((nods))
  • Verse 6? – As a general principle, yes.
  • Verse 15?
    • These seem applicable in Noah’s time.
    • Do we worry about self-preservation or just trust?
    • It doesn’t all apply to our relationship with Him? ((yes))
  • So, don’t they all apply?
  • Can we not follow His instructions and still have a relationship with Him?
    • We may stumble, but that doesn’t jeopardize my relationship with a loved one.
    • “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” I wish it said, “try to keep them,” but it doesn’t. Lots of people have fallen, but have grown and done better.
    • It’s like that story with the apple cart. The kid goes up and is staring at the apples. The vendor asks, “Son, are you trying to steal an apple?” The kid says, “No, sir. I’m trying not to.”
    • “Keep” means to treasure or guard something valuable.
    • However we decide to obey, remember how much He cares.
  • I think the journey toward Jesus is like an elevator in a multi-story building. You get on at the bottom when you decide to move toward God. There’s no limitation on who gets on. You just step on when the elevator opens on your floor. The doors close behind you, then they open again at the next floor up. A new truth – honesty, maybe — about living with Jesus gets on with you there. You accept it, so you keep going up. Next floor, another truth gets on. Eventually, there’s a floor where a new truth gets on that you’re not quite ready for. My choice is to get off or stay on the elevator with that hard truth. Let’s say I step off. The door is still open. I can live my life outside the elevator. I can even walk down the stairs. At each floor is that open elevator, but that hard truth is still sitting there inside. I can go all the way down, but the elevator is still there.. I can choose to accept the invitation and get on again. Once I see those doors closing, I can jump on at the last second, right? Once I’m on again, God says, “Now, I’m going to weld the door shut. No more getting off.” Does it work that way? [some “no’s”] He wants everyone on the elevator, but there’s no welding. It is always your choice. That is His choice – to make it your choice. Going up, there are different paces for different people.
  • What happens on the elevator? You read and learn; you accept truths as He shows you.
    • I think each person has a unique relationship with Him. He’s looking for sincerity in the heart. I may not have the same struggles as you.
  • That’s exactly what I’m saying.
  • The Bible says if you willfully sin, there is no sacrifice (Hebrews 10:26). I think that’s a big challenge for most of us.
    • If I look at myself, I will want to get off the elevator. If I look at Jesus, He keeps me on.
  • Repentance is getting back on. The only difference is you feel the person stays on. I think he steps off.
    • You might stop on that floor, but Jesus still works with you.
  • The invitation is always still there.
    • Jesus restored Peter.
  • It was Peter’s choice to step back on.
    • I believe that Jesus dying on the Cross means everyone is saved.
    • The Bible describes it as “falling down.”
  • Inside the elevator?
    • Maybe the analogy is inadequate.
    • Peter knew who to go to. He went to Jesus. He’d felt great sorrow for the denials.
    • It is not my job to judge others.
  • The disciples told people what they should do, but they did not judge the people.
    • I look at this list of instructions and ask myself a different way. Would it do good to do the opposite of all these things? It is another way of looking at this list and answering. So, would it do good to be alarmed? Would it do good not to endure? Would it do good to believe in false messiahs and false prophets?
  • We didn’t get to Daniel 9:27. We know one application of this is 70 AD. The leader of the Roman legion said, “We must crush this rebellion.” He surrounds Jerusalem for 5 days, then he picks up and leaves. This was the sign to get out. This happened in late November in 66 AD. According to Josephus, there was no explanation for the Romans’ departure. In the end, half of the leader’s troops died and the Roman eagle was taken. He failed. He went home and died.
  • It was a strong covenant made in history. This happened in history tonight. The gospels talk about it. It was the Lord’s Supper. Tomorrow, in history, Jesus died. Then, tomorrow night in history, after He died, was the Passover meal. Tonight in history, the New Covenant was made. On this night in the future, a covenant will be made, too.

4/3/21 Sabbath School Notes (bullet points = Steve; circles = everyone else)

  • As I learn what He wants, I allow Him to change me and teach me how to conduct myself. To me, this is a relationship with God. Did I miss something?
    • “Sounds okay”; “That’s right”; “Consider the origin.”
  • Look at #4: “Do I live eternally with God if I intentionally ignore some of His instructions?”
    • It isn’t advisable. Look at Jonah.
    • Our relationship with Him is a very precise, mathematical process. (general chuckles)
  • What about the first part of that question – Live eternally with God?
    • Jonah is a good example. He repented.
    • I believe if the willful ignoring continues, it would be problematic. But, I have a hard time believing that one act will cause the loss of eternal life.
  • Using your precise, mathematical formula, look at Caiaphas. Where did the failure occur in his life? Did he know or not that he was killing the Son of God? Before that, did he make a series of choices that took him away from God?
  • We can ignore some instructions willfully, but we can still live with Him eternally?
    • It depends on the time frame.
  • It is a soccer game with an unknown end time.
    • Look at Adam and Eve. There’s a trajectory in their relationship with God. Cain’s relationship with God didn’t end immediately after the murder. God came to him again and again. Moses married a descendant of Cain. So, Cain’s descendants survived through the flood. The relationship wasn’t over. God’s end of a relationship is never over. Ours could be.
    • In Romans, Paul states that, in Heaven, there will be people there who never knew God at all. They will wish they had known Him earlier, but they’ll be saved.
  • Go back to the instructions in Matthew 24. When we discussed these last time, someone said, “What do these instructions matter; all we have to do is have a relationship with Jesus.” Is this a good summary of what was said?
    • I feel crucified for saying it now. (general laughter)
  • In our Bible studies, I do this. It is my personality to poke like this. I welcome the same. Banter and debate.
  • Anyone think that these instructions don’t matter now?
    • Shema is a hearing and obeying as a unit, a connected thing. The Jews see it as a simultaneous action. I don’t think God judges our responses as harshly as we ourselves do. He wants a response from us rather than our ignoring Him.
    • If we see God as our warden, we may say, “no,” to Him.
  • Is there anyone in the group who thinks we don’t need to follow His instructions?
    • I grew up without reading the Bible; yet, I knew God exists. I believed in Him. I knew right from wrong. I knew this without reading His instructions.
  • What does it mean to believe? For someone who didn’t have the instruction manual for 40 years, how does one believe?
    • We learn to trust at our mother’s breast. We come through her into how we view the world.
    • I don’t know. I had trust issues with my mom.
    • The way I see it, He put that desire for relationship in us – a desire for knowing that Power Who is higher than us. Even if people don’t say the name of Jesus, they have a desire to connect with a Higher Being. They think, “someone will resolve my issues.” They want their hearts connected to Diety. The King of the World will come; read Matthew 25. We all have to choose whether we are good or not.
  • We often cite people who didn’t read about Him or know Him before, like the thief on the cross and those without the Bible for years. We have been blessed (or is it cursed?) with more knowledge from the Bible than others have. Does this increased knowledge give us a different kind or amount of relationship? He grew up without the Bible for 40 years of his life. Does he have a different responsibility once he turned 40 and started reading the Bible? I think God is saying, “I want you to hear and react to My Word.” It is like we are looking at the Bible through a diamond. Every once in a while, He’ll rotate the diamond to help us see the same information a new way.
    • Like seeing different parts of His robe, then when the wind blows and the robe moves, we see other aspects of the robe because what was in the folds is exposed.
  • Jennifer and I read a lot. If someone says something wrong, something that doesn’t jive with Scripture, we don’t throw out all of what they’ve said. We put brackets around that wrong section and keep reading. Maybe we didn’t get it yet and we find out later what they meant. Or, maybe they were wrong after all.
  • We look at the Pharisees and say, “How could they have done that?”
    • Yeah, they read the Bible, even memorizing whole passages.
  • But, we are made out of the same material. I think the Pharisees’ behaviors are mentioned as a warning to us.
    • Part of being a member of the Christian family is helping each other make good choices. They may have an insight into the Bible that I don’t yet.
    • Ron and I can be reading the same section and can get something totally different out of the same passage. We all understand things differently.
    • I think as we gain more knowledge, He increases our responsibility. He doesn’t increase our punishment, though.
  • Paul was knocked off his donkey. Before that, he thought he was doing right. God saw the passion, but it was misguided passion. So, the killer of God’s people became a messenger of God.
    • Where are we going with these studies?
  • I’ve been fascinated with the festivals and did a lot of study on them. But, some of the group didn’t want to talk about that. So, since the festivals have to do with prophecies, we went there. To study those, we went into the history of God’s people. Some weren’t wanting to study that, so I said, “Let’s go to Matthew 24 instructions.” I was hoping we’d eventually go to Daniel 9 from there so we could talk about our future and how they will correspond with festival dates. As we go, I want to set up each block carefully. I want to make sure each block is true and plumb before we proceed to the next block in what we’re building.
  • Some say that 2 Peter 3:9 means that none will perish because God’s will is to not let that happen. If it is His will, then none will perish.
    • God wants us in eternity. To suggest that we won’t be means we can override His will. He’ll burn off what is sin.
  • So, you’re saying that, when I get to Heaven, God will burn off all the impurities and build from there, no matter how small that piece is?
    • God’s thoughts are a mystery to us. [Mentions “strange act of God.”]
  • So, we will all be saved, even if it is against our will?
    • I think the “strange act of God” is when God allowed His righteous Son to die. In the end, it is a mercy to let those die who don’t want to be with Him.
  • I think it is good to talk through differences in opinion.
  • So, when you get to Heaven, there will be this row of mannequin heads. This one won’t comply, so let’s replace his brain with a mannequin head so he will. The first sin was in Heaven. Lucifer changed the hearts of one third of the angels.

4/10/21 Sabbath School Notes (bullet points = Steve; circles = everyone else)

  • We went over whether or not we should pay attention to what Jesus says. Is it fair to say that we arrived at the idea that we should?
    • His words are in red! (chuckles)
  • So, universal agreement among those here. If Jesus says to pray for something, does it happen? For example, pray that your flight doesn’t happen in winter or on Sabbath, as in Matthew 24. If Jesus says to pray for it, does that mean it will happen as we ask?
  • The Roman general and his troops surrounded Jerusalem. It happened around November 22, which is winter in the Mediterranean climate.
  • Jesus doesn’t want that anyone should perish, so can we trust, then, that no one WILL perish?
    • It is not an assurance or a promise from God. It is His desire.
    • Explain “perish.” Die and not be resurrected…die eternally?
    • I will expand that definition. It isn’t Jesus’ choice for us to die or be saved. It is our choice. We must choose. My attitude can have a particular stench to it. My choice.
    • Perishing of the soul? Excluded from the commonwealth of Israel? We are preordained in christ. All life will turn back and recognize its source. He says, “You are my people, my children. You WILL be my people. I WILL write my covenant on your hearts.”
  • Do I have the right to walk away?
    • We have a predestiny to forever be in the presence via anointing you have before you came into the world. It is your essence.
  • Do I have a choice in the matter?
    • Yes.
    • God created man and angels with free will. I think they can reject God. There are sinners who have repented and accepted Christ. Even if there is predestiny, there is still free will.
  • There is a danger in thinking we are saved no matter what. If I’m saved no matter what, it doesn’t matter what I do. This leads to a chaotic world. It leads to sin. The Bible says to be like Jesus. Paul says our natural nature is to not be like Jesus.
    • We either choose Him or we walk away.
    • I think God predestined Israel, but not all Israelites chose Him.
  • One of the greatest gifts we have is choice. We can choose Jesus and eternal life. With that gift, it is a tremendous risk to the universe. For each of us, the end comes. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly and painfully.
    • This conversation is delightful. I am vacillating between grace and pre-destiny. All I need is a desire, but that may not stop me from making the wrong choice. Freedom. I love what you are saying because, ultimately, we’re all in different places on this road. I have to give my energy and focus on living this life.
  • We’ve been looking at Matthew 24. It is a set of instructions. Are they for you and I or for someone else? For His disciples rather than us? Like Ron said, look at these instructions in the opposite way. Are they good to do? Don’t watch; be alarmed; don’t endure; etc.
    • What’s the abomination of desolation again?
  • That’s a rabbit hole I’d love to jump down.
    • It’d take a couple days.
    • If we see the abomination, it applies to us.
  • We’ve learned there’s almost universal agreement that 70 AD was a fulfillment of the abomination of desolation. Did it happen then and then only, or does it have a meaning to us today as well? I believe it applies to us, too. If only in history, we can ignore this part of scripture.
    • Dual application is a well-known way to interpret prophecy.
  • The Biblical Research Institute says there’s no such thing as dual application.
    • Lots of stories in the Bible apply to us today. The probation for people when the Ark closed was over. Job overcame diversity. There’s knowledge to be gained in the Bible and applying it to ourselves.
  • For those who don’t know what the “close of probation” means it is the belief that a time comes when you either have to choose God or not and there’s no going back.
    • I think Matthew 24 is talking about 70 AD and for the time in the end.
  • So, these instructions from Jesus are to us as well. Fair?
  • I personally believe the Bible was written for each person in each generation.
    • Question about what the Bible Research Institute is.
  • The Bible Research Institute is the official research authority for the Adventist Church. They say this has only one application – that of 70 AD.
  • Preterest = everything is in the past; Futurist = everything is in the future. The Bible Research Institute says that the dual application concept is a form of futurism. For them, once a fulfillment of prophecy occurs, it never happens again. All prophecies are single-use.
    • Would you send me that article you’re talking about? (Steve, then, did so.)
    • Are they talking about dual application or dual interpretation?
  • I think the Bible is a message to each of us. It changes lives.
  • Matthew 24 says go read Daniel. Should we read Daniel 9 and apply it to ourselves? It will be hard to apply it to ourselves. I’m bringing you into looking at Daniel 9 this way. It is a trap. You know it. But, I’m in this trap with you.
    • I see what you are doing as the removal of fear. If I fear, my walk with Christ comes to a halt.
  • It has become a mantra in the churches – “We don’t know when He’s coming, so let’s not talk about it.” Don’t talk about time because mankind’s been wrong before.
  • There’s also the thought, “That thief on the cross guy, he did it right. Do what I want then convert at the last minute. Should be fine!”
  • Keep in mind that when we go to Daniel 9, I’m going to say it applies to us. This is where we’re going. I haven’t heard anyone say they want to jump in the escape pod. (chuckles)
  • So, we’ll go to Daniel 9 next week. Read chapter 9 of Daniel. The quarterly is talking about the covenants, too. Daniel has a covenant.
  • Daniel 9 is one of the most beautiful and incredible prayers in the Bible.
  • [Went through the rest of the instructions quickly. See comments below.]

Instructions of Matthew 24:

4) Watch out that no one deceives you!
6) You will hear about wars, but don’t be alarmed.
13) Endure to the end — this person will be saved.
15-19) Understand; when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, then abandon everything and flee.
17-18) Don’t stop to gather things.
20) Pray that your flight will not be in the winter or on the Sabbath.
24-31) Do not believe in false messiahs and false prophets. Don’t even go to them to check them out (you’ll know when the real Jesus comes, for everyone will see His coming “on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” trumpet call, gathering).
33) Learn from the fig tree. When you see the signs, know that He is near.
42) Remain alert, for you do not know the day or the hour of His coming.
43-44) You must understand. You must be ready.
45-50) Do not think you have time to indulge in sin before His return. Do not grow weary of doing good.
4/17/21 Sabbath School Notes (bullet points = Steve; circles = everyone else)