God Will Remember you

Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark…. Genesis 8:1 NKJV

Photo by William Earnhardt

A family I had studied with called me late one afternoon, asking me to meet them ASAP at the hospital. Their mother was dying, and they wanted prayer. Now I believe that God can hear your prayers for your sick loved one, just as easily as He can hear an elder’s prayer. GoodSalt.com-pppas0004Nevertheless, I met the family in ICU. They told me they were praying for a miracle. One son told me they knew God was going to work a miracle for his mother. He explained that God was going to raise her up right now, or He would heal her, like He did Lazarus, by letting her sleep and then waking her up at the resurrection. Either way it would be a miracle.

We admire people who have the faith to heal a loved one, but what about having enough faith to just let them go to sleep? The son had faith in the miracle of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

A few days later his mother fell asleep in Jesus, and his family is encouraging each other with the promises of the greatest miracle yet to come.

There are more Bible prophecies about the Second Coming than any other event. While many prophecies have already been fulfilled, we are certain the prophecies pertaining to the second coming are just as sure.

I understand that while we sleep, when we enter the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, we are actually very close to death. Yet each morning when we wake up, we don’t realize the miracle that has just taken place. I understand there are many mysteries about sleep that medical science is still researching. Could it be that sleep is just our “rehearsal” for the resurrection? That God is just getting us used to falling asleep and trusting Him to wake us up when it is time?

I walked into the church lobby after worship service one Sabbath, to find a very distraught elderly lady. She has Alzheimer’s disease, and had forgotten who had driven her to church. She was afraid she was going to be left. I put my arm around her and assured her that even though she may have forgotten who had taken her to church, whoever they were, they had not forgotten her. I told her we all loved her and would not leave her alone. She began to cry like a little girl, as she told me “Thank you very much!” Sure enough her ride found her. She had forgotten them, but they remembered her.

This elderly lady felt like a little child left all alone. When we face the grave of a loved one, or even our own, do we feel like a little child left all alone? We needn’t be afraid. Our Ride to heaven will remember us even if in death we forget Him as we sleep. The same God who wakes you up every morning, the same God who remembered to create you and remembered to redeem you on the cross, is the same God responsible for waking you up when He comes again. Don’t worry, even when in death you forget Him, He won’t forget you!

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

How the Story of Noah and the Flood Establishes 360 Days to a Prophetic Year

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Occasionally when I am studying Daniel and Revelation with someone, they will question how we get 360 days to a prophetic year instead of 365. The story of Noah actually confirms for us that in Bible times each month had exactly 30 days, thus giving us 360 years in a Bible year. 

First, where do we get a day for a year in Bible prophecy? 

While I don’t know that this is necessarily appointing a day for a year in Bible prophecy, I find it interesting that when Laban tells Jacob to work seven more years for Rachel, he calls it a week. That would be a day for a year. 

Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years. Genesis 29:27 NKJV

The first time we find a day for a  specific year in prophecy is in Numbers 14:34,

According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.

Later, in Ezekiel 4:5-6 this year/day principle is repeated. 

For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.  And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.

So now, how does the story of Noah and the flood help us establish one year equaling 360 days to a year in Bible prophecy?

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. Genesis 7:11NKJV

And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days. Genesis 7:24 NKJV

And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. Genesis 8:3-4 NKJV

Here we see clearly that from the 17th day of the second month to the 17th day of the seventh month is exactly 150 days. Every month had 30 days equaling 360 days for a hear. With this in mind, the 42 months of Revelation 13:5 would be 1260 prophetic days or 1260 years. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

4: The Flood-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, April 23, 2022.

Main Theme: While God has to destroy sin He wants to save the sinner.

Read Together: Genesis 6:13-7:10. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What lesson can we learn from this amazing account of early human history?

Apply: Read 2 peter 2:5-9. Why was only Noah’s family saved? What lesson can we learn from the Noah story regarding our role in warning the world about coming judgment?

Share: Your friend mentions that today it seems like God does not punish sin. Evil people get away with everything, never facing judgment. How do you answer your friend?

Read Together: Genesis 7:1-24. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: Why does the description of the Flood remind us of the Creation account? What lessons can we learn from the parallels between the two events?

Apply: What in us needs to be destroyed in order to be created anew? See Romans 6:1-6.

Share: While studying prophecy a friend asks, “Why does a year equal 360 days instead of 365 days?” How do you answer your friend? See Genesis 7:11 and Genesis 8:3-4.

Read Together: Genesis 8:1. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What does it mean that God “remembered” Noah?

Apply: Read Genesis 8:1, Genesis 19:29 and Psalm 106:4. What does the expression “God remembers” mean? What does this truth mean for us, now — that is, how has God shown you that He “remembers” you?

Share: A friend asks, “If God remembers everything how does He forget out sins?” How do you answer your friend?

Read Together: Genesis 9:8-17. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What is the significance of the rainbow? How does this “sign of the covenant” (Genesis 9:13) relate to the other sign of the covenant, the Sabbath?

Apply: Next time you see a rainbow, think about all of God’s promises to us. Why can we trust those promises, and how does the rainbow show us that we can trust them?

Share: Do you have a friend who needs to hear the plan of God’s salvation? Can you share it with them this week?

“God hates the sin but loves the sinner” -Ellen G. White.

Resurrection Moment in Light of the Cross, the God-Forsaken God

Critics of Christianity will often argue that Jesus knew beforehand that, though He would die, He would be resurrected to life. Thus, they ask, what was the big deal about His death when He knew it would be only temporary?

My mother knew that flying in an airplane is safer than traveling by car. She knew the sad statistics that people are killed every day on the highways, while a rare jet crash makes headlines around the world. Knowing all this, when my would get on an airplane she sure didn’t feel that it was safer! There is a difference between knowing and feeling. Jesus died as a man, not as God.

As a man, this is what Jesus experienced;

“In that thick darkness God’s presence was hidden. He makes darkness His pavilion, and conceals His glory from human eyes. God and His holy angels were beside the cross. The Father was with His Son. Yet His presence was not revealed. Had His glory flashed forth from the cloud, every human beholder would have been destroyed. And in that dreadful hour Christ was not to be comforted with the Father’s presence. He trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.”-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 753, 754.

“The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 753.

Foxe’s book of Martyrs tells us John Huss was singing songs of praise as he burned at the stake for his faith. We wonder if John Huss, a mere mortal man, could be singing songs of praise as He died at the stake, why couldn’t Jesus sing songs of praise instead of crying out “My God My God why have You forsaken me?”

It is because John Huss died a totally different death than Jesus died. John knew he would be resurrected. He knew he was at peace with the Father. But on the cross Jesus was being treated the way we deserve to be treated so we can be treated the way He deserves to be treated. Think about this, Jesus always called God His Father.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
“I always do those things that please my Father.”
“I and my Father are one.”

But when Jesus was on the cross being treated the way we deserve to be treated He could not call God His Father! He did not know that He would be resurrected. Instead He cried out, “My God! Why have you forsaken me?” This fulfilled the prophecy of Psalms 22 of Jesus dying the second death.

Jesus was not crying out, “Why have you forsaken me till Sunday morning?” You don’t forsake someone when you leave them for the weekend. When I tell my Sabbath School class I will be preaching at another church next Sabbath, none of them ask me why I have forsaken them. They know I will be back the following week. When Jesus cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” He felt abandoned forever. He felt what the wicked will feel.

Obadiah 1:16 says the wicked will be as though they had never been. Jesus was not facing a mere six-hour pain endurance marathon. A lot of cancer patients would gladly trade their years of battling cancer for six hours on a cross. The physical pain is not what made it the supreme sacrifice. What Jesus was facing was going into total oblivion and being as though He had never existed! While Satan was willing to sacrifice anyone who got in his way of being number 1, Jesus was willing to go into total oblivion if He could just save even one of us.

Hebrews 2:9 tells us Jesus tasted death for everyone. Jesus and Paul both refer to the first death as sleep. Jesus did not save us from that death, as we plainly experience that death ourselves. Paul did not say Jesus tasted sleep for every man. No, He tasted death, the death of the wicked. Yes, He prophesied of His own resurrection, but that was while He still felt the presence of His Father. When Jesus felt the Father turn His back on Him, He felt, as a man, that the promise of the resurrection had left with the Father. Jesus became the God-forsaken God.

Some say, how could Jesus have tasted the second death while He never lost faith in His Father? Remember Jesus had no sense of self-preservation. The sense of self-preservation belongs to Satan. Jesus had faith, but His faith was not that He would be saved but that you and I would be saved!

Some have a hard time wrapping their minds around this awesome love. Some refuse to believe that Jesus would be willing to die forever to save us. In that case they have made Moses more loving than Jesus. In Exodus 32:32 Moses is willing to be wiped out of eternity in order to save the children of Israel. Do you think Moses loved them more than Jesus loves sinners? Of course not! Only when Moses experienced the self-sacrificing love of God could he express such love. If you don’t believe that Jesus was willing to say good-bye to life forever in order to save us, then you believe that Moses demonstrated more love than Jesus.

Since the Jews were accusing Jesus of blasphemy they could have just stoned Him to death. According to Leviticus 24:16, blasphemers were to be stoned and not crucified. Yet Jesus was crucified. Why? Because Deuteronomy 21:22-23 tells us those who are hung are cursed by God. Someone could plead for mercy and have the hope of salvation, just like John Huss had, even though they were stoned to death. However, being hung was a sign you were cursed by God. Joshua 10 tells the story of five kings who refused to accept Israel’s God and were hung from five trees, telling the world they had rejected God and so there was no salvation for them. It was good-bye to life forever.

Friend, does this help you understand how much Jesus loves you? He could have come down from the cross and returned to heaven where He could wear His kingly Crown instead of the crown of thorns. He could have left the road to Calvary and walked on streets of gold. He could have left the mocking mob and returned to hear angels sing His praise. He could have returned to His mansion. Why didn’t He do just that? Because the thought of going back to heaven without you did not appeal to Jesus. Heaven would not be paradise without you, as far as Jesus is concerned.

There is nothing I would rather be preaching than this message here. It is the everlasting gospel in the three angels’ messages. This kind of love changes everything. It changes how we look at the cross and how we look at sin. Most of all it changes our hearts. The disciples were just a bunch of self-ambitious men until they saw this love displayed on the cross. After they saw this love they were willing to give everything – even their own lives. Revelation 15 tells us there will be a multitude singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. They will be filled with this self-sacrificing love just like Moses and Jesus. They will hate sin more than they hate death and they will love God more than they will love their own lives or self preservation.

Jesus’ love for you goes deeper than the nail scars. He loves you more than He loves life itself. He was willing to go into total oblivion and be as though He had never existed if that is what it took to save you!

I am not Writing a Blog Post This Week

I love writing blog posts. I have been blogging for Sabbath School Net for just over ten years now. I have had my personal blog for 14 years. I have been preaching ever since I was 15. A friend was surprised the other day, when I told her I love writing blog posts ever bit as much if not more than preaching. I love learning and sharing what I have learned. I love connecting with the world, while sitting on my comfy sofa in my pajamas with my laptop. That must be why I love blogging more than preaching. I can’t preach in my pajamas. I also love hearing from people all over the world as they comment on my posts, and share their thoughts and what they have learned, from their personal Bible study time. 

And personal Bible study time is where I am going with this. oh no! I just started a sentence with a conjunction and ended it with an adjective. two no no’s in the same sentence. My college composition professor would be turning over in his grave if he could see this. But guess what? I’m not writing a blog post this week, so I don’t have to worry about my grammar. Back to the personal Bible study time. As much as I love writing and preaching, sometimes I don’t have anything new or relevant to share. As sermon and blog deadlines approach I start feeling pressured. I start studying my Bible for new ideas and get frustrated if I can’t find anything. I start relating more with Martha than with Mary. You know the story, when Jesus visits Martha and Mary, and Mary is just visiting with Jesus while Martha was busy doing all the work. 

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 NKJV

Often when I am substitute teaching at school I have to tell the kids to put away their distractions and get to work, but Martha was distracted by her work. Her work was the distraction. Martha was so busy preparing a meal she forgot Jesus was the main attraction and not the meal. I love studying my Bible and preparing blog posts and sermons when the ideas and revelations just seem to flow. But I get frustrated when I feel pressured to come up with something new and can’t. That’s when I have to tell myself to stop trying to be like Martha and just be like Mary. I have to open my Bible and tell myself not to worry about preparing a spiritual meal for anyone. I don’t mean to be irreverent by saying this, but when I study God’s Word instead of it being about a sermon or blog post preparation, I just like to chill with God. I love and treasure the moments in His Word when He speaks to me as His own child and not just His spokesperson. I love it when He shows me something just between the two of us, that is not meant for the rest of the world to see or hear. I love reading my Bible without an agenda! No deadlines to meet, no thinking about how to fit this into a blog post or sermon. I remember those nights so long ago as a little child laying in bed at night talking to Jesus like we were best friends having a slumber party. No sermons, no blog posts, just me and my best friend hanging out together because we loved each other.

I don’t mean to make this about me. It’s really about you. What brought you here right now? Are you just chilaxing and studying right now, enjoying reading what others have to say? Then great! Are you preparing for Sabbath school class, maybe even preparing to teach and everything is perfectly falling in place as you put your lesson together? Wonderful! However, if you are trying to put  your lesson together and nothing seems to be falling into place and here it is Friday already, don’t worry. Relax. Chill. Stop feeling like a Martha thinking  you have to prepare all the time. God didn’t just create you to teach Sabbath School. He created you to be His child. He created you to be His best friend. Just borrow Michael Fracker’s lesson plan this week. It’s perfectly fine. Its not cheating. Pick up your Bible with no lesson plan, sermon preparation or agenda in mind, and just chill with your Best Friend. Don’t let lesson plans and sermon preparations distract you from what your relationship with Jesus is really all about. After all, the Bible is not just a book to prepare you for eternity. The Bible takes us into God’s presence here and now. The Bible is not just a reference book to help you write sermons and prepare Sabbath School lesson plans. The Bible is God’s love story written to you. 

Like the title says, I am not writing a blog post this week. Jesus and I are having a slumber party again tonight. This is not a blog post. This is your invitation. You are invited. Let’s leave our preparation agendas behind and take our Bibles and just chill with Jesus tonight. It’s okay you don’t have to be a Martha tonight. You can be a Mary, because there will be no pastors, Bible workers or Sabbath school teachers at the party. Only best friends of Jesus.