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Thursday         July 18

Sabbath Rest for the Land

As we have seen, Sabbath was an ingrained part of the lifecycle of the Israelite nation. But the Sabbath principle was not just about a day each week. It also included a special rest each seventh year, culminating in the year of jubilee after seven sets of seven years, meaning each 50th year.

Read Leviticus 25:1-7.

 25:1   And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, 
 25:2   Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. 
 25:3   Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 
 25:4   But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 
 25:5   That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: [for] it is a year of rest unto the land. 
 25:6   And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, 
 25:7   And for thy cattle, and for the beast that [are] in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat. 

What is remarkable about this kind of instruction? In what possible ways could you incorporate this kind of principle into your life and work?

The Sabbath year allowed the farm land to lie fallow for the year. It is a remarkable act of stewarding the land, and the wisdom of this as an agricultural practice has been recognized widely.

The seventh year was also significant for slaves (see Exod. 21:1-11). In the event that any of the Israelites became so indebted as to sell themselves into slavery, they were to be freed in the seventh year. Similarly, outstanding debts were to be canceled at the end of the seventh year (see Deut. 15:1-11).

Like the manna God provided to the Israelites in the wilderness, not planting crops for a season was an act of trust that God would provide enough in the previous year and from what the ground produced by itself in the Sabbath year. Similarly, to release slaves and cancel debts was an act of mercy but also an act of trust in the power of God to provide for our needs. In a sense, the people needed to learn that they didn’t have to oppress others in order to provide for themselves.

I don't see this as necessarily oppressing others. Taking a year off every seven years sounds pretty good to me. That's a long vacation!

The principles and pattern of the Sabbath were to be closely tied to the structure of the Israelite society as a whole. Similarly, contemporary Sabbath keeping should be a spiritual discipline that transforms all our other days. In a practical sense, the Sabbath is one way of living out Jesus’ instructions to seek first His kingdom: “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs … and he will give you everything you need” (Matt. 6:32, 33, NLT).

What difference should keeping the Sabbath make to the other six days of your week? After all, if you are greedy, selfish, and uncaring from Sunday through Friday, what does it really matter if you are none of these things on Sabbath? (Or truly can you not be those things on Sabbath if you are that way the rest of the week?)

That's right. If we have not Jesus on the Sabbath, a spiritual day, then why would we have Him the other days? But, we are are in a converted state, then what does keeping the Sabbath do for the other work days? They ought to be filled with blessings as we continue to commune with God as we work. Sabbath ought to prepare us for our work days
Wednesday          July 17

A Day of Healing

While the original vision for the Sabbath and Sabbath keeping was broad and inclusive, the Sabbath had become something quite different for many of the religious leaders by the time Jesus came to earth. Instead of a day of freedom and equality, Sabbath had become a day of human, traditional rules and restrictions. In His day, Jesus stood up against such attitudes, especially as they were imposed on others.

The Sabbath commandment is not phrased as one of freedom and equality in any manner. It is a command to do something by not doing a number of things. Why is it phrased in this manner. Why do some want to change it?

Why are we told to keep the Sabbath holy? Can we do this if we are not holy, if we are not sanctified and fully surrendered to God? No, we cannot. We can do no good thing until we are filled with the Spirit. If we have not His Spirit, we are not His (Romans 8:9).

How interesting that He did this most significantly by performing a number of healings on Sabbath. It seems that Jesus intentionally performed these miracles on Sabbath, as opposed to any other day, to demonstrate something important about what the Sabbath should be. Often in these stories, Jesus made comments about the appropriateness of healing on Sabbath, and often the Pharisees used His statements as an excuse to further their plots to have Jesus killed.

Read the stories of Jesus’ Sabbath healings in Matthew 12:9-13, Mark 1:21-26, 3:1-6, and John 9:1-16. What are the most significant things you notice in these stories?

Jesus confirmed that the Sabbath is important. We need to put boundaries around Sabbath time to keep it special and to allow this weekly time to be an opportunity to grow our relationships with God, our families, our church, and our community. But Sabbath keeping should not be selfishly about just us. As Jesus said, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:12, NKJV).

After we have received blessings from God on His Sabbath Day, then we are prepared to minister to others. This is seen in the Hebrew Sanctuary service. None could begin ministry to others until they washed their hands and feet in the brass laver. They were to have clean hearts before thinking they could minister to others. How can we give to others what we do not have? We cannot. The sun day will be a very good day to minister to others. It will be a good work to do on the sun day when we are ordered to not work. We ought not perform deeds on the Sabbath that can be done on other days. When one is suffering and it can be relieved on the Sabbath, then fine. Just as we would rescue an animal on the Sabbath, so we ought to rescue one who was made in the image of God. Surgery that can wait a day, ought to wait. But, when needs help today, then do it on the Sabbath. We need to be careful what we do on the Sabbath thinking we are helping others. Do the yard cleanup on the painting for a neighbor on Sunday, not on the Sabbath, unless there is a very special reason to do so.

Many church members do much good work to care for others. But many of us also feel that we should do more to help. We know God cares about those who are hurting, oppressed, or forgotten, and that we should care, too. Because we are commanded not to pursue our regular work and are freed from the pressures of the week, on Sabbath we are given time to focus on this concern for others as one of the ways of true and active Sabbath keeping: “According to the fourth commandment the Sabbath was dedicated to rest and religious worship. All secular employment was to be suspended, but works of mercy and benevolence were in accordance with the purpose of the Lord … To relieve the afflicted, to comfort the sorrowing, is a labor of love that does honor to God’s holy day”. – Ellen G. White, Welfare Ministry, p. 77.

What do you do for the good of others on Sabbath?

It would have been very good for the lesson to make clear the principles of working on the Sabbath. I am doing the Sabbath School lesson that others might be blessed while I am blessed also. Is this appropriate work on the Sabbath Day? Why?
Tuesday        July 16

A Day of Equality

One of the things obvious from a quick reading of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 is that the fourth commandment is the most detailed by far. Whereas some of the commandments are recorded in as few as three words in some versions (in the Hebrew some can be expressed in only two words), the fourth commandment gives space to the why, how, and who of remembering the Sabbath day.

Read Exodus 20:8-11. What does it say about the servants and strangers, even animals, and what does it mean?

Notable among these Sabbath details is the focus on others. Sigve K. Tonstad argues that this kind of command is unique among all the cultures of the world. The Sabbath commandment, he explains, “prioritizes from the bottom up and not from the top looking down, giving first considerations to the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. Those who need rest the most—the slave, the resident alien, and the beast of burden—are singled out for special mention. In the rest of the seventh day the underprivileged, even mute animals, find an ally”. – The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day (Michigan: Andrews University Press, 2009), pp. 126, 127.

Sigve is being quoted. It is good to know a little about those who some think worthy to quote. I prefer not to be quoted, but to point others to Christ and His inspired Words. Here is just a little of what Sigve thinks we ought to believe. He apparently fails to consider the order given by God to Israel to kill all men, women, and children in a particular country. And, He Himself destroyed all men, women, and children, and animals that lived on the Earth except for what was on the ark. source

The commandment has a special focus on urging that the Sabbath is a day to be enjoyed by everyone. In the light of the Sabbath, we are all equal. If you are an employer during the week, you have no authority to make your employees work on Sabbath. And that’s because God gave them, too, a day of rest. If you are an employee—or even a slave—for the rest of your days, the Sabbath reminds you that you are equally created and redeemed by God, and God invites you to celebrate this in ways other than your usual duties. Even those outside the Sabbath-keeping people—“any foreigner residing in your towns” (Exod. 20:10, NIV)—should benefit from the Sabbath.

We are all equal in some respects, but not in others. There are varying positions in the government of God in heaven. Not all are equal and not all were created equal. Lucifer was created more like God than any other created being. Not all cultures are equal. And in the end it will be seen that some of God's created beings will suffer much longer than others in the judgment. The Sabbath gives us an opportunity to know God better. Yes, we can help others on the Sabbath, but our first consideration is to be converted ourselves so we can help others unselfishly.

This idea would have been a remarkable change of perspective for the Israelites, fresh from their own experiences of slavery and marginalization. Now that they were to be established in a new land, God did not want them to adopt the habits of their former oppressors. As well as giving them detailed laws for their society, He gave them (all of us, actually) a weekly reminder, in a powerful way, of just how equal we all are before God.

Again, equal seems to be the watchword in the world and even in the church. All are not equal. We love and respect each other in Christ. We seek to lead all to Christ who do not know Him. We Lord it over no one. But, all are not equal.

“And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders; and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.” These persons were endowed with the Spirit of the Lord in a similar manner as were the disciples on the day of pentecost. They foretold the work and mission of Christ, and by their wisdom and fluency of speech evidenced to all men that the power of God was upon them. The Lord saw fit to thus prepare them for their work, and honor them in the presence of the congregation, that confidence should be established in them as men chosen of God to unite their authority with that of Moses in his arduous work of restraining and governing the people during their sojourn in the wilderness. Signs of the Times,  August 12, 1880.

Some were to "restrain and govern the people." Others were to be restrained. Some are wealthy and others are poor. How is this equal? And, are we to take this out of the hands of God and make all wealthy, even those who sell drugs?   :(  The convict has no right to freedom nor to money, nor to vote. Equal? This thought about equality needs to be written with further explanations. Sadly, we have too many in the church supporting political positions that want to feed all even if they are unworthy and unwilling to work.

How can you share the Sabbath in your community, meaning how can others in your community benefit from your Sabbath keeping?

When the world sees Seventh-day Adventists not working on the Sabbath, when they hear our name, Seventh-day Adventist, then they will know the Sabbath is on the seventh day, not the first. They will know that the commandments means do not work on the seventh day. But, if they do not see a transformed Christian, then they will not believe keeping the Sabbath Day important. On the other hand, if we are loving and kind, then what effect will not working on God's Day have on those seeking truth?

Monday        July 15

Two Reasons for Sabbath

Read Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15.

 20:8   Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 
 20:9   Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 
 20:10   But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: 
 20:11   For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 

 5:12   Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. 
 5:13   Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 
 5:14   But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. 
 5:15   And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. 

How do these two versions of the fourth commandment complement each other?

They are the same except that a reminder was added that we ought to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Not all are equal, but all can be treated by us as we wish to be treated. The While some will work for others, there is no reason to mistreat anyone even though in a position to do so. We do not make all equal for that is not going to be even in heaven. But, we can manifest a holy character no matter how high our position.

Remembering is an important part of the relationship that God seeks to re-establish with His people, a relationship centered on the fact that God is our Creator and Redeemer. Both roles appear in the two versions of the fourth commandment and are thus linked closely with Sabbath and its practice.

Coming out of a land dominated by so many false gods, the Israelites needed to be reminded of the true God’s role as the Creator. The Sabbath was a crucial way to do that, made all the more significant in the context of the weekly cycle of providing extra manna on Friday, a powerful example of His creative power. In the Exodus 20 version of the fourth commandment, God as our Creator is revealed most clearly.

By contrast, their rescue, redemption, and salvation is the focus of the fourth commandment in Deuteronomy 5. This was a story that the Israelites were to retell regularly; they could reconnect with it especially every Sabbath. Their first story was one of actual, physical rescue from slavery in Egypt, but as their understanding of God and His salvation grew, Sabbath would also become a weekly symbol and celebration of their spiritual salvation.

Sadly, many were called to salvation, but few Jews found it. Even when the Son of God came to them, they knew Him not and put Him to death. What can we do to avert the same? Israel was deceived as to what is required for salvation. They were taught by the leaders that their offerings were meritorious. They were not, they stunk in the nose of God. He wanted their hearts which many refused to give. Is it possible the church today remains in a Laodicean  (lost) condition? If so, how can a deceived person find salvation? Is there something in the forth commandment that can wake them up to their condition?

Both of these motivations for Sabbath were about restoring the relationship between God and His people: “I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy” (Ezek. 20:12, NIV).

No, this is an incorrect translation. We use the KJV so that this does not happen. God did not make them holy. He wanted to make them holy, but most refused to allow Christ into the heart, so they remained fallen and evil. "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them." "Made" is past tense. "Sanctify" is not. Does it make a difference in your mind? It ought to. None are holy until the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart. Then all of the fruits of the Spirit are manifest in the life of the true convert.

 And, as we have seen, this was never about this group of people only. On the foundation of this relationship, they were to establish a new kind of society, one that was kind to outsiders and a blessing to the wider world.

They, and we, are to be witnesses of the power of grace to transform sinners into saints. We shall no have holy flesh this side of heaven, but we can have holy hearts that empower us to keep the commands of God, all that we know.

“Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deut. 5:15, NIV). By keeping the Sabbath as a way of remembering and celebrating both our creation and Redemption, we can continue to grow in our relationship, not only with the Lord but with those around us. God is gracious to us; therefore, we need to be gracious to others.

There is no need to tell us to be gracious to others because God was gracious to us. We know we ought to be loving to others. But, we cannot be unless we give our hearts fully to Christ. No matter how much we "need to be," we cannot until we repent of our sins and allow Christ to take possession of the whole heart. The issue is not what is right, but that God can change us if we will cooperate with Him. We need to spend time with Him that we would know Him and make a full heart surrender each day. They we will be gracious to others, even our enemy. What a miracle!

In what ways should Sabbath keeping make us better, kinder, more caring, and compassionate people?

Sabbath keeping will not make us good people, only Christ can. We need Jesus and we need Him all the time. Then we will love those who despitefully use us.
Sunday        July 14

Manna Enough

After generations of slavery and the social degradation that such a condition can inflict on His oppressed people, God sought to lift up the newly freed Israelites, pointing them to a better way of living and giving them laws for the best ordering of their new society. But one of the first parts of this process came in the form of a practical and instructive object lesson.

They were indeed oppressed. Why? Why was the family of Abraham led into slavery? Was it for their good they were oppressed? And, in the end, why was Israel as a nation cut off from God?

Continuing for the full 40 years of their wilderness wanderings, this rhythm of life, visible evidence of God’s provision and practiced unselfishness, should have become part of the culture of Israelite society. It came in the form of manna, a food that appeared each morning on the ground around the Israelites’ camp.

Yes, God did reveal His love and power to His people. Not only was grace revealed, but justice also. Not "social justice" but God's justice. There is a difference. One is the imposter, the other real. God's blessings in the Manna was not enough for some. The result was first a slaughter of birds, then a slaughter of the people. From the Book of Numbers "And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for [it was] well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which [is] among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?  And when God had brought to them a multitude of quail they did eat.  "And while the flesh [was] yet between their teeth, ere it was  chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague." 11:18-20, 33.

And as gracious as God was and His servant Moses, none but two of the adults were allowed to enter the Earthly Canaan.

Read Exodus 16:16-18. What do you think is the significance of the specific measure for each person emphasized in these verses?

In 2 Corinthians 8:10-15, Paul references this story as an example of how Christians should give: “At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality” (vs. 14, NIV).

The lesson for the Israelites, and us, was that God has provided sufficiently for His people and His creation. If we take only what we need and are prepared to share our excess with others, all will be cared for and provided for. Taking only enough for the day required the people to trust that there would be more the following day. Oppressed people, such as the Israelite slaves, tend to focus on their own survival, but God wanted to demonstrate to them a life of trust, generosity, and sharing.

Satan is at work on both sides of the fence. First, to do away with justice, the other to do away with mercy. If in the world, many did not seek to buy low and sell high, there would be enough food for all. There needs to be restraints upon capitalism. Socialism is not the answer, neither is pure capitalism. Look at God's economy for Israel. There were restraints upon free enterprise. So it ought to be today.

But there was also another, more remarkable, dimension to this practice. Each Friday a double portion of manna appeared on the ground, and on that day—and only that day—the people were to collect the extra manna in preparation for the Sabbath. The special provision for the Sabbath became an additional way for them to learn to trust the Lord for all their needs. This extra portion of manna, an act of grace on God’s part, enabled them to enjoy even more fully the rest that God has promised them on the seventh-day Sabbath.

What can we do on Fridays that will help us better enjoy what God offers us on Sabbath

Do what can be done on Friday instead of waiting until the Sabbath. There is no need to gather wheat from the field and grind it on the Sabbath. Do it before. Prepare for the Sabbath before it comes so that we can receive God's blessing and be a blessing to others.

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Exod. 16:16-18, Exod. 20:8-11, Deut. 5:12-15, Matt. 12:9-13, Lev. 25:1-7.

Memory Text: "And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27

God created the Sabbath as the final act of the Creation week. It has been said that on the seventh day, God not only rested, but He created rest as an integral part of the way that the world was to be. The Sabbath was a demonstration of how we were created to interact with God and with each other.

A complicated way to express why God gave us the Sabbath as a day of rest. It is a memorial of creation. It reveals God's love of us and His creative power. This is vital to understand since it can seem impossible to be transformed in character. It was easy for God to create Adam, but is impossible for God to recreate all sinners into His image. He can only recreate those who will cooperate with Him. And, this is the greatest miracle that God can perform, to transform sinners into His image (character).  Thus, we are assured of His creative power as we think upon creation. And, we better understand His love for us while we were yet sinners as we spend time in nature which is His second Book.

So, it is hardly surprising to find the Sabbath, as one of the commandments in God’s plan for His people, appearing early on in the establishment of the new Israelite nation. It was to have a pivotal role in the life of the Hebrews.

It is interesting and instructive to realize that God commanded them to keep the Sabbath while captive in Egypt. It was very painful for them since they were then required to obtain their own straw since they were told they felt they could  take a day off work. Was it indeed a command from God that led to greater oppression?

Often when we talk about the Sabbath, the conversation quickly moves to how to keep it. What are the things that we should not do, and the like? However important these questions are, we need to understand the integral role that the Sabbath was designed to play in the world and in the lives of God’s people as a symbol of God’s grace and provision.

A symbol of God's love and creative power which need today more than ever.

As Jesus said, the seventh-day Sabbath was created for all humanity. When we truly “remember the Sabbath day”, it will change us every day of the week, and—as Jesus demonstrated—it can be a means of blessing others, as well.

Yes, it can be a day for blessing others, but first we need to receive the blessing God has for us. Then having drunk of the water of life, we can then be a blessing to others. The Sabbath Day gives us time to be with and commune with God. This even applies to those called into ministry. We must receive in order to give.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 20.

The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--50--Among Snares
« Last post by Dorine on July 13, 2019, 08:41:53 AM »
"Those to whom the message of truth is spoken seldom ask, "Is it true?" but, "By whom is it advocated?" Multitudes estimate it by the numbers who accept it; and the question is still asked, "Have any of the learned men or religious leaders believed?" Men are no more favorable to real godliness now than in the days of Christ. They are just as intently seeking earthly good, to the neglect of eternal riches; and it is not an argument against the truth, that large numbers are not ready to accept it, or that it is not received by the world's great men, or even by the religious leaders."   

So many are impressed with 'numbers' and what is popular. We are surrounded every day with the pressures of culture; in the world and in the church. To follow Jesus and to know truth we must be willing to hold firm to what we know is right no matter what the majority is saying. To find truth we must spend time in communion with God through prayer and study. We may stand all alone but we are never alone when we are on the side of righteousness. God promises to be with us always and to never leave us.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--50--Among Snares
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on July 13, 2019, 03:57:30 AM »
Amen, Brother Beacon! Happy Sabbath in Jesus our Savior!!

I am so thankful for how Jesus offers us new beginnings! He looks not at what we have been, but upon what we may become through His grace!!!

 "This was to her the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace, devoted to the service of God. In the uplifting of this fallen soul, Jesus performed a greater miracle than in healing the most grievous physical disease; He cured the spiritual malady which is unto death everlasting. This penitent woman became one of His most steadfast followers. With self-sacrificing love and devotion she repaid His forgiving mercy." {The Desire of Ages, page 462, paragraph 2} 

Let us abide Christ today and go forth to gladly minister to others because Jesus first loved us!
Friday         July 12

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “The Law Given to Israel”, pp. 303-314; “God’s Care for the Poor”, pp. 530-536, in Patriarchs and Prophets.

“There is nothing, after their recognition of the claims of God, that more distinguishes the laws given by Moses than the liberal, tender, and hospitable spirit enjoined toward the poor. Although God had promised greatly to bless His people, it was not His design that poverty should be wholly unknown among them. He declared that the poor should never cease out of the land. There would ever be those among His people who would call into exercise their sympathy, tenderness, and benevolence. Then, as now, persons were subject to misfortune, sickness, and loss of property; yet so long as they followed the instruction given by God, there were no beggars among them, neither any who suffered for food”. – Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 530, 531.

“These regulations were designed to bless the rich no less than the poor. They would restrain avarice and a disposition for self-exaltation, and would cultivate a noble spirit of benevolence; and by fostering good will and confidence between all classes, they would promote social order, the stability of government. We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves”. – Pages 534, 535.

Discussion Questions:

    Of the blueprint God gave to Moses and the Israelites for the kind of society they were to establish, what feature, law or regulation, most catches your attention (whether it be specifically mentioned in this week’s study or from your wider reading)?

The Hebrew Sanctuary revealed the character of God and the plan of salvation. All ought to study the sanctuary and its services that they may confirm their understanding of the gospel of grace. Yes, it was the all important central theme in all that was to be seen and heard in the sanctuary.

One of the important truths seen in the structure of the Hebrew society was the protection God gave to the children. We look at the economic systems in the world today and we see two main economic systems in the world, capitalism and socialism with varying degrees of both in many countries. Which is best? Which is more moral? Study Israel's economic system and see how God dealt with the issues concerning us today. For instance, in Israel if one did not work, he did not eat unless there was a good reason why he could not work. How does that align with the world today in most societies?

And, in Israel, according to the regulations given by God, the rotten characters who loved not God nor his neighbor had restrictions placed on his ability to gather to himself his neighbor's land and home. He might buy it, but he could not steal the children's inheritance. After 50 years the land would return to its rightful owner. Do we see anything like the Jubilee in today's world? Ought we be concerned that the rich not get richer and the poor get poorer no matter what?

    In the laws He gave to His people, why do you think God seems so focused on the most vulnerable?

God is fair to all, not just the vulnerable. He has proved His love for us all. All are guilty of putting to death the Son of God. In today's world the "vulnerable" are often guilty of injuring others who are innocent.  In the end, all will receive from God according to what they did in the flesh.

    How should we understand and relate to these laws today? How do we choose which of these are applicable and relevant to us today? What is the most important thing we can learn from these detailed instructions for how the Israelites were to order their society and lives?

The laws given to Israel fall into three categories. It will help the student to understand this so they can know what is binding today. There was civil law which applied to Israel as a theocracy. It no longer is binding in our world. There was the ceremonial law which was ended with the suffering and death of Christ when the "Lamb of God" was slain. And there is the moral law which is still binding. Much of the law in the Old Testament was moral law. If it is not civil nor ceremonial, then it is still binding.

Summary: God heard the cries of the suffering people of Israel in Egypt and intervened to rescue them. He sought to build a special covenant relationship with them and to work with them to establish a new society that would be a blessing to all, even those often forgotten, marginalized, and vulnerable.

Yes, and God ordered all killed in other societies, men, women, children and animals. Even the vulnerable. Why? God is merciful, so why order the vulnerable to be killed? Those who believe God does not kill, are surely deceived as we all know that every living thing that lived on this earth was destroyed by God in the flood, all except what was on the ark and in the sea. Why  bring this up? Because we need to study more deeply that we would know the character of our God. How we trust someone we do not know? We cannot. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes. Then we would learn to love our God because He first loved us.

The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--50--Among Snares
« Last post by Beacon on July 12, 2019, 07:18:04 PM »
"It is not Christ's follower that, with averted eyes, turns from the erring, leaving them unhindered to pursue their downward course. Those who are forward in accusing others, and zealous in bringing them to justice, are often in their own lives more guilty than they. Men hate the sinner, while they love the sin. Christ hates the sin, but loves the sinner. This will be the spirit of all who follow Him. Christian love is slow to censure, quick to discern penitence, ready to forgive, to encourage, to set the wanderer in the path of holiness, and to stay his feet therein."

Jesus said....Come unto Me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 When we hear His voice speaking to us through His Word or by one of His messengers of mercy and grace it is the Holy Spirit pleading with us to turn from our sins and experience the joy and peace of a full surrender. Then as we sense our own need of forgiveness and experience the joy of full surrender to Jesus, we in turn should be willing to show love, forgiveness and mercy to others.

"In His act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness. While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The Sinless One pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. While the hypocritical Pharisees denounce, Jesus bids her, "Go, and sin no more.

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