Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 10 Tuesday
Read memory text,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Can you give example of how God’s ways are higher than our ways?” Isaiah 55:8&9
“43 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:43-45
What do you hear? Do you hear God’s design law, the principles of love? Notice what example Jesus gave after He said to love our enemies—sun and rain, which are physical examples of giving without discrimination—the law of love in action. What kinds of laws to humans make? Imposed—but God’s laws are higher; they are the protocols reality is built upon. Yet, many Christians teach God’s law functions no different than ours—which is the infection of thought contaminating the world. What about justice—what is God’s justice? Based on design law, healing, delivering, restoring!
What is human justice—based on imposed law? Inflicting punishment.
Which version of justice is the common view taught in Christianity?
Again, we see how the lie has infected the church. Other examples? How do we understanding the passage about hardening Pharaoh’s heart?
Bible Description #1 – God hardening Pharaoh’s heart
- But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. Exodus 7:3,4
- But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses. Exodus 9:12
Bible Description #2 – Pharaoh’s heart became hard
- Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said. Exodus 7:13
- Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go.” Exodus 7:14
- But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. Exodus 7:22
Bible Description # 3 – Pharaoh hardened his own heart
- But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. Exodus 8:15
- But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. Exodus 8:32
- When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses. Exodus 9:34,35
We gain insight from another story in Scripture, what transpired after the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant in battle. They took the ark into the temple of their god Dagon. Initially, Dagon was found on his face in front of the ark – and what did the Philistines do? They ignored the evidence and put Dagon back on his pedestal in front of the ark. The next day Dagon is found on his face in front of the ark but this time his hands and head were broken off. What did the people do? They again ignored the evidence and made the spot where the broken hands and head of Dagon were found a holy place.
Then the people developed tumors which they could not ignore so they called a counsel to try and decide what to do, notice the discussion:
- The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and pay honor to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When he treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way? 1st Samuel 6:4-6
The wise men asked, “Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did?” What were the Philistines doing? What did God do? How did this result in hardening of hearts? What is similar to what happened in Egypt?
God provided evidence exposing the impotence of the Egyptian and Philistine gods. Each of the 10 plagues that fell on Egypt demonstrated the powerlessness of the gods of Egypt. Dagon prostrated in front of the ark and then having his hands and head broken off demonstrated his powerlessness.
God was acting in both these countries to demonstrate He is the only true God, that the gods they worshiped were not God. God was responsible for presenting the evidence, but then God left Pharaoh and the Philistines free to decide how they would respond to the evidence. Would they repent and humble themselves before the Lord or would they reject the truth and thereby harden their heart?
God’s role in Egypt was to present the truth to which Pharaoh had to decide how he would respond. If no truth had been presented to Pharaoh his heart would not have hardened against God as it did, but when truth is presented and we reject it the rejection of truth results in hardening of the heart.
So why did God present truth to Pharaoh when He, in His foreknowledge, knew Pharaoh would reject it and experience a hardened heart? Even though Pharaoh was going to reject the truth, God knew it is only by the presentation of truth that sinners can be set free (John 8:32). God would not deny Pharaoh the opportunity to be freed from sin. God would not deny Pharaoh the opportunity to be saved. Therefore God presented truth to Pharaoh in order to reach his heart and save him—but Pharaoh rejected it and hardened himself.
Do we see the beautiful harmony to all the Scripture that we get when we apply design law instead of imposed law?
Read last paragraph,
“The crucial point in all this is that as fallen human beings we have such a narrow view of the world, of reality, and of God and how He works in the world. How can we expect to understand all of God’s ways when the natural world, everywhere we turn, holds mysteries we can’t understand? After all, it was only in the past 171 years that doctors learned it might be a good idea to wash their hands before performing surgery! That’s how steeped in ignorance we have been. And who knows, if time should last, what other things we will discover in the future that will reveal just how steeped in ignorance we are today?”
This is well said, and why we advocate never arriving at the truth, but being a lover of truth who is willing to grow, advance and move forward in understanding as more truth is revealed.
The lesson talks about becoming people of God—who are the people of God today?
Would this describe them? “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 12:17
So who is this group that Satan hates? What does it mean to obey God’s commandments?
Did the Jews 2000 years ago, who crucified Christ, want Him off by sunset to keep the Sabbath?
So is keeping the commandments the same as keeping the Sabbath?
No! This refers to those who have the law written on their hearts, such that they love God and others more than self. They live in harmony with God’s law of love, they live truth, love and practice freedom. This is true Sabbath keeping.
What about the testimony of Jesus?
This group not only has had their hearts renewed so they live in harmony with God’s design laws of truth, love and freedom but they also give the same testimony about God that Jesus gave. Jesus said: “If you seen me you’ve seen the Father” If we are not presenting God in the exact same light as Jesus presented Him, then we are not giving the testimony of Jesus!
Those who teach the Sabbath as an arbitrary test, or that God will punish if not given the blood offering of a sinless being—are not members of this group end time people of God.
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