Great Apostasies of the Bible

The Constantine Syndrome

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Pr. Stephen Bohr


Series Code: GAB

Program Code: GAB000005

01:09 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
01:12 Our Father in Heaven, what a joy
01:14 it is to be in Your house of worship on Your holy Sabbath.
01:18 We thank you Father, for the beautiful sunshine,
01:21 but we also thank You for the rain,
01:24 which has made everything so green
01:26 and beautiful in this valley.
01:29 We ask Father, that the rain of Your Holy Spirit
01:31 will fall upon our hearts and our minds this morning.
01:35 We ask that the sunshine of the face of Jesus
01:38 might also shine upon our countenance
01:42 as we open Your Holy Word.
01:45 We thank You for the promise that you will be with us
01:48 when we sincerely ask from our heart.
01:52 And so Father, we ask that You would be present
01:54 through the ministration of angels,
01:56 through Your Spirit.
01:58 And we thank you Lord, for hearing our prayer
02:00 for we ask in Jesus name, amen.
02:05 As we've studied before
02:08 the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan
02:13 is actually a symbol of the journey
02:17 that we are in the midst of from the earthly Egypt
02:22 to the heavenly Canaan.
02:24 Now if you remember in the history of Israel,
02:27 Israel arrived on the borders a Promise Land.
02:31 And it was God's plan to introduced Israel
02:34 immediately into the Promised Land.
02:38 But because of a lack of faith,
02:41 because of unbelief we find that God told Israel
02:46 that they would not enter the Promise Land.
02:49 They would have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
02:54 And so that whole generation
02:56 with the exception of these two men
02:58 and all of the young people 18 years and under
03:03 went through the course of the wilderness
03:07 for a period of 40 years because of unbelief.
03:11 In other words there was a delay
03:13 in the coming to the Promised Land.
03:17 Four years later, Israel once again arrived
03:21 at the borders of the Promise Land.
03:26 You can imagine what it must have been like for them.
03:29 They have spent 40 years in the wilderness
03:33 at least the 18-year-olds.
03:36 And now they came to the valley of Siddim
03:39 which is on the east side of the Jordan River.
03:43 The valley is filled with fountains of clear waters.
03:49 It has an abundance of trees primarily palm trees
03:53 and acacia tree just absolutely lushly beautiful,
04:00 a sight for sore eyes.
04:03 Imagine this scene after spending 40 years
04:07 of seen only sun, sand, rocks, serpents and dust.
04:15 And now they see this beautiful scene
04:17 before them crystal clear brooks, beautiful palm trees.
04:24 And as they looked out towards the west
04:28 they could see beyond the Jordan River
04:31 the glistening of the city of Jericho
04:37 known as the city of a Thousand Palms.
04:42 But folks, here in the Valley of Siddim,
04:48 Israel was going to face
04:51 a more formidable enemy then they would face
04:56 as they attacked the cities in the Promised Land.
05:01 In that spectacular Valley,
05:05 Israel was going to face a temptation
05:10 which would be far greater than any
05:13 that they had faced up till this time.
05:16 In fact, there in that lush beautiful valley
05:22 there would be a final great shaking
05:25 before Israel entered the Promised Land.
05:30 In fact, we could look at the first arrival
05:35 at the borders of Canaan as the Alpha of apostasy
05:41 and we could look at this second arrival 40 years later
05:46 as the Omega of apostasy.
05:51 It's interesting to notice what this place was like.
05:57 Yes it was beautiful, yes it had crystal-clear brooks,
06:02 yes it had wonderful trees, it was a sight for sore eyes,
06:09 but in that place you have
06:12 all sorts of idolatrous practices.
06:16 In fact, incest, homosexuality
06:22 and prostitution, rampant there.
06:26 Despicable acts of idolatry were practice there.
06:32 In fact, the main god which was worshipped
06:35 in the high places was Baal the sun god.
06:39 And so Israel in this beautiful place
06:43 lush and wonderful after being in the desert in the dry
06:47 and deselect desert was faced with the temptations
06:53 which existed there in that beautiful place.
06:58 Now I want you to notice
07:00 as we enter our study this morning
07:04 that the devil has used two methods throughout
07:07 the course of human history to try and destroy
07:13 God's people as individuals and as a corporate group.
07:19 The first method that the devil has used is persecution.
07:24 He's tried to physically destroy God's people
07:29 by persecution from the face of the earth.
07:33 But there's a second method that the devil uses
07:36 to try and destroy God's people and it's not persecution,
07:41 it's not trying to physically destroy God's people,
07:45 it is the method of infiltration
07:49 or corrupting God's people from within.
07:54 And here on the borders of the Promise Land
07:57 we see the devils two attempts
08:00 to try and destroy the people of Israel
08:04 by using these two methods.
08:08 Now turn with me in your Bibles
08:10 to the Book of Numbers Chapter 22,
08:13 Numbers Chapter 22
08:16 and we're going to go through
08:18 Numbers 22-26 in our study today.
08:22 It's the final apostasy in the encampment of Israel
08:27 before they finally entered the Promise Land.
08:30 And we're going to notice that the devil attempted
08:32 to use the first method and he actually
08:35 was successful in using the second method.
08:39 Now notice Numbers 22:1.
08:44 It says there "Then the children of Israel moved,
08:50 and camped" that's an important word
08:53 "camped in the plains of Moab
08:57 on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho."
09:03 Now it was God's plan that Israel arise
09:06 and enter the Promise Land immediately,
09:09 but we're told in this verse
09:11 that Israel decided to camp in the plains of Moab.
09:17 Now we're told in verse 3 that when the King of Moab
09:23 actually heard that Israel had arrived on the borders
09:27 of the Promise Land he was scared to death
09:31 along with his people.
09:33 Notice Numbers 22:3,
09:38 "And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people
09:44 because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread
09:50 because of the children of Israel."
09:53 You see, they knew that Israel
09:55 had spent 40 years in the wilderness.
09:59 Who could live 40 years in the wilderness
10:02 and not have your clothes wear out?
10:05 Who could live for 40 years in the wilderness
10:07 and find enough water to drink or enough food to eat?
10:11 They knew that it was the miraculous preservation
10:14 of God that had kept Israel in the midst of the wilderness.
10:18 And now when Israel arrives
10:19 on the borders of the Promise Land,
10:21 Balak is scared to death.
10:26 And so Balak comes up with a plan.
10:29 He is going to curse Israel and if he can curse Israel
10:34 then he will be able to take his armies and destroy them.
10:41 Now Balak had heard that Israel
10:43 had a certain prophet called Balaam.
10:46 He was an insider.
10:48 In fact Balaam, was a faithful prophet of God at first.
10:53 And so Balak said, maybe I can entice Balaam
10:57 the prophet to go and to curse Israel
11:00 so that when I come upon them with my armies
11:03 I'll be able to destroy them.
11:06 And so we're told in the story
11:08 that Balak encouraged Balaam
11:11 to use divination and incantations
11:17 by the way that means sorcery to curse Israel.
11:22 And of course when Balaam hears
11:24 about Balak's plan to have him
11:26 curse Israel Balaam says well,
11:29 I must consult with the Lord to see
11:31 if the Lord will allow me to do this.
11:34 Balaam knew very well that God was not gonna curse Israel,
11:37 because Israel was in a proper good relationship
11:40 with God at this point.
11:42 In other words Israel was faithful to God.
11:44 They were keeping God's covenant.
11:46 They had learned their lesson in the wilderness for 40 years.
11:50 But Balaam anyway consults with God and he says
11:54 Lord, will You give me permission to curse this people
11:57 that You have a blessed?
11:59 And God told him You will dare not curse My people,
12:07 I forbid you to curse them.
12:10 And so Balaam goes back to Balak and he says Balak,
12:13 I'm sorry, but God has told me
12:16 that I cannot curse Israel from outside.
12:19 I cannot pronounce incantations and sorcery against them
12:23 and I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord.
12:28 Now Balak wasn't about to give up.
12:30 So he says maybe I just didn't offer enough money,
12:34 maybe I just did not send princess
12:37 that work high enough in rank to impress Baleem.
12:42 And so now for a second time
12:45 Balak attempts to convince Balaam to curse Israel.
12:51 And so we find in chapter 22 and verse 18
12:56 that when the messengers higher in rank are sent to him
13:01 and with more riches that had been offered before
13:05 refined Balaam saying in chapter 22 and verse 18.
13:10 "Even if Balak gave me his palace
13:15 filled with silver and gold,
13:18 I could not do anything great or small to go beyond
13:22 the command of the Lord my God."
13:26 And so Balaam says to Balak just give me a chance to go
13:29 and check with the Lord again to see
13:32 if He's changed His mind
13:34 if He will allow me to curse Israel.
13:38 And so Balaam decides
13:40 that he is going to consult with the Lord.
13:41 And the Lord this time seen that Balaam is insistent,
13:44 He says yes, go with the princes.
13:48 And so Balaam gets his donkey ready
13:51 and you know the story of the donkey.
13:54 And he begins riding his donkey
13:57 and as he's riding three times the donkey stops.
14:03 And the third time, I'm making a long story short,
14:06 the third time the donkey stops and he will not budge.
14:10 And Balaam begins beating his donkey.
14:15 And you can imagine how angry Balaam must have been,
14:20 but the Bible tells us that the donkey--
14:23 it doesn't say he turned, but maybe he did.
14:25 The donkey turned and he says, why are you beating me?
14:32 Now if I were in my senses and a donkey spoke to me,
14:39 I would be out of there in no time,
14:42 but Balaam was so furious
14:45 that when the donkey spoke to him
14:48 he actually said to the donkey,
14:50 you know I really ought to kill you for not budging.
14:54 And then the Bible tells us
14:56 that the eyes of Balaam were opened
14:59 and he knew why the donkey had not advanced any further.
15:03 It says there that the angel of the Lord,
15:05 by the way the angel of Lord
15:07 in the Old Testament is Jesus.
15:09 The angel of the Lord had his sword unsheathe
15:13 and therefore the donkey would not budge.
15:16 God was warning the sword
15:17 is the symbol of the Word of God.
15:20 God was giving Balaam a warning, He was saying,
15:23 don't you dare, go and curse my people.
15:29 And so Balaam goes to Balak and he says to Balak,
15:35 I can only speak that which God puts in my mouth.
15:42 And so Balaam goes to a high elevation,
15:45 Balak actually takes him there
15:47 and Balak is expecting Balaam to curse
15:50 the children of Israel and Balaam opens his mouth
15:54 and he pronounces the words
15:56 that we find in chapter 23 and verses 8-10.
16:01 "How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
16:07 And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
16:13 For from the top of the rocks I see him,
16:16 and from the hills I behold him.
16:19 There!
16:20 A people dwelling alone,
16:22 not reckoning itself among the nations."
16:25 Notice that they were a separate people,
16:27 they were not reckoned among the nation.
16:31 "Who can count the dust of Jacob,
16:34 or number one-fourth of Israel?"
16:37 And then he says "Let me die the death of the righteous,
16:41 and let my end be like his!"
16:46 And of course when Balaam pronounces
16:48 these wonderful words about Israel
16:51 and about the God of Israel, Balak is filled with fury.
16:56 And he says to Balaam, listen,
16:58 I said that I would pay you to curse Israel
17:01 all you've done is speak well of them,
17:03 all you have done is bless Israel.
17:06 And so Balak thinks, he says well,
17:08 maybe it's because I took him to a place
17:10 where he can see all of the people
17:13 and he was intimidated
17:15 by the number of the people in Israel.
17:17 So now he takes Balaam to a place
17:19 where he can only see a portion of the camp of Israel.
17:23 He says maybe if he sees less of them
17:25 he'll be impressed to curse this people.
17:30 And so Balak takes him to this elevation.
17:33 And I want you to notice,
17:35 once again what we find in chapter 23 and verse 20-23,
17:42 the reaction of Balaam.
17:44 "Behold, I have received a command to bless,
17:50 He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
17:55 He has" now notice why "He has not observed inequity
18:00 in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel."
18:05 What condition was Israel in?
18:08 According to this God had not seen inequity in Jacob,
18:11 nor had He seen wickedness in Israel.
18:15 "The Lord his God is with him,
18:18 and the shout of a King is among them.
18:22 God brings them out of Egypt,
18:25 He has strength like a wild ox.
18:28 'For there is no sorcery against Jacob,
18:31 nor any divination against Israel.
18:35 It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel,
18:38 Oh, what God has done!'"
18:43 And so here Balaam is supposed to go to the elevation
18:46 and he's supposed to curse Israel
18:49 and all he's doing is pronouncing
18:51 wonderful glittering messages and blessings upon Israel.
18:57 And so Balak says perhaps where was the angle
19:01 at which he saw the people.
19:02 So he takes him to another elevation.
19:05 And he says Balaam curse these people,
19:09 so that when we attacked them they can be destroyed.
19:14 And what's interesting is that Balaam
19:16 instead of cursing Israel
19:19 he curses the enemies of Israel by name.
19:23 He mentions Edom, Amalek, the Canaanites, Ashur and Eber.
19:30 In other words he curses the very nations
19:32 that are scared of Israel.
19:34 And so Balak is simply filled with fury.
19:37 He says forget it. Don't even bless or curse.
19:44 And now Balaam, of course, wanting the money
19:46 and wanting the power and the prestige
19:49 he begins thinking and he says,
19:51 now what could I do to gain these riches
19:55 that Balak has offered me.
19:57 Because he won't give me these riches
19:59 and this prestige if unless I curse Israel.
20:04 And so Balaam comes up with a "plan B."
20:09 Now I want you to notice
20:10 that "plan A" is to destroy Israel
20:14 by removing God's blessing from Israel, by crushing them.
20:20 But they were in a proper relationship with God.
20:23 There was no inequity in Israel
20:25 and therefore Israel had the guarantee
20:28 of the protection of God.
20:29 They could not be cursed,
20:31 they could not be destroyed from outside.
20:34 But now Balaam comes up with another idea.
20:38 He says to Balak, you know I know a plan
20:41 which just might work.
20:43 If you can't fight them, join them.
20:50 And so we find that Balaam speaks with Balak
20:57 and with the harlots of Moab
21:00 and encourages the harlots to come
21:02 in among the Israelites to corrupt them from inside.
21:07 Let's read about it in Numbers 25:1-3,
21:12 Numbers 25:1-3.
21:17 It says "Then Israel" now notice this is important.
21:20 "Israel remained in Acacia Grove."
21:26 Was that God's plan for them to remain?
21:28 Absolutely not.
21:30 They were to arise and conquer the Promise Land,
21:33 but they decided to remain there.
21:35 And so it says "Then Israel remained in the Acacia Grove,
21:40 and the people began to commit harlotry
21:44 with the women of Moab.
21:46 They invited the people to the sacrifices up their gods,
21:50 and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.
21:54 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor,
21:59 and the anger of the Lord" was against
22:03 or "was aroused against Israel."
22:06 You see Israel felt that they could trust Balaam
22:10 because he was a prophet of the Lord,
22:14 but Balaam the individual who claim to speak
22:18 from God betrayed Israel from within.
22:23 What the devil could not do from outside,
22:26 he did from inside by infiltration, by corrupting
22:30 the children of Israel on the inside.
22:34 There's a very interesting statement.
22:35 And I'm gonna read some statements
22:37 from Patriarchs and Prophets.
22:38 There's a wonderful chapter
22:40 where Ellen White comments on this experience.
22:44 And I want to read a statement
22:46 that's found in Page 451 where she says this.
22:50 Speaking about Balaam's plan.
22:53 "He immediately returned to the land of Moab
22:57 and laid his plans before the king.
23:01 The Moabites themselves were convinced
23:05 that so long as Israel remained true to God,
23:09 He would be their shield."
23:13 Even the Moabites knew that as long as Israel
23:15 was faithful to God, God would be their shield.
23:20 She continues saying.
23:21 "The plan proposed by Balaam was to separate them from God
23:27 by enticing them into idolatry.
23:30 If they could be let to engage
23:32 in the licentious worship of Baal and Ashtaroth,
23:36 their omnipotent protector would become their enemy,
23:41 and they would soon fall a prey to the fierce,
23:44 warlike nations around them.
23:48 This plan was readily accepted by the king,
23:53 and Balaam himself remained to assist
23:56 in carrying get it into effect.
24:00 Balaam witnessed the success of his diabolical scheme."
24:08 You know, this has a very important lesson for us
24:11 who are living in the very end of time.
24:15 As we look at what's happening in the world folks,
24:17 there's no doubt whatsoever that we're on the brink,
24:21 we're just about there,
24:23 we're about to enter the Land of Canaan
24:25 this time the heavenly Canaan.
24:27 Is it just possible that the devil has determined
24:31 that he is not able to destroy the church
24:34 who is in a proper relationship with God
24:37 and he will attempt to use
24:38 the second method of infiltrating
24:41 and corrupting the church from within
24:44 so that God withdraws
24:45 His protection and the church falls?
24:50 There are several lessons that I want to share with you
24:54 about this experience of Israel in the Valley of Sittim.
24:59 There's actually nine points that I want to cover with you.
25:02 Number one, this temptation came to Israel
25:09 when they were at ease.
25:13 When they should have been out marching for the Lord
25:16 and conquering for the Lord they were at ease.
25:22 You've heard the expression that the idle mind is what?
25:27 The devil's workshop. It's kind of like David.
25:34 You know, when he should have been out
25:35 fighting the wars of the Lord
25:37 it says that he stayed in the palace
25:40 and that's where the big temptation came.
25:42 Solomon when he had all of these riches
25:45 he felt comfortable.
25:47 The Laodicean Church which feels rich
25:49 and increased with goods and in need of nothing.
25:51 These are the most dangerous moments.
25:54 And so while they're at ease they lower their guard.
26:00 In Numbers 25:1, I read.
26:02 "Then Israel remains" that's an important word
26:05 "They remained in Acacia Grove,
26:07 and the people began to commit harlotry
26:10 with the women of Moab."
26:12 Patriarchs and Prophets, Page 459 we find this comment.
26:16 "It was when the Israelites
26:19 were in a condition of outward ease
26:23 and security that they were led into sin."
26:27 And Ellen White goes on to say
26:28 that they should have been meditating
26:30 upon the goodness of God,
26:31 they should have been praying to the Lord as they prepared
26:35 to conquer the nations of Canaan,
26:37 but instead of this they were at ease.
26:39 In other words, their great temptation came
26:42 when they left their guard down.
26:45 The second important lesson that I want us to notice
26:48 about this episode is that the people
26:51 had more to fear from within than from without.
26:56 They were betrayed by an insider
26:59 who had a desire for wealth and popularity and power.
27:07 Once again in the book Patriarchs and Prophets,
27:09 Page 459 we find these words.
27:14 "It was the traitors within the walls
27:19 that overthrew the strongholds of principle
27:23 and betrayed Israel into a power of Satan."
27:28 Not only do we learn the lesson
27:30 that when we are at ease instead of preparing
27:34 for battle and fighting the battles of the Lord
27:37 are we endanger we discovered
27:39 that the greatest enemies to entice God's people
27:42 into apostasy come not from outside,
27:45 but from where, from inside.
27:49 Third lesson, the process of apostasy was slow.
27:57 Ellen White says that the harlots of Moab--
28:01 notice this word, she says
28:03 they began to steal into the camp.
28:08 Now when a thief comes, steal has to do with the thief.
28:10 When a thief comes he says "here I am, here I come."
28:15 No, they began to steal into the camp.
28:19 In fact she says that they famed interest
28:23 in the religion of Israel.
28:25 And maybe the Israelites thought,
28:27 you know, maybe we can convert these people,
28:29 'cause they're showing an interest in our religion,
28:31 they're showing an interest in our God.
28:37 In other words, at first the apostasy
28:40 did not take place openly,
28:43 it was a slow gradual almost imperceptible process.
28:48 Once again in Patriarchs and Prophets
28:50 we find these words, Pages 453 and 454.
28:54 "On every side were places
28:58 noted for idolatry and licentiousness."
29:01 You know, I could describe to you some of the things
29:02 that archaeologists have discovered
29:04 but if I describe those things to you
29:08 it would be embarrassing for me
29:10 and it would be embarrassing for you it was that bad.
29:13 One archaeologist have discovered
29:15 in terms of the licentiousness and the incest
29:18 and the homosexuality and the corruption
29:21 of their system of religion.
29:23 She says "On every side were places noted for idolatry
29:26 and licentiousness, the very names
29:30 being suggestive of the vileness and corruption of the people.
29:34 These surroundings exerted
29:36 a polluting influence upon the Israelites.
29:40 Their minds became familiar
29:42 with the vile thoughts constantly suggested,
29:46 their life of ease and inaction."
29:49 See the idea again "Their life of ease and inaction
29:53 produced its demoralizing effect,
29:56 and almost unconsciously to themselves
30:00 they were departing from God and coming into a condition
30:05 where they would fall an easy prey to temptation."
30:09 Ease, imperceptibly they could hardly notice
30:13 what was happening,
30:14 but they were exposing their eyes
30:16 and their minds to the religion
30:18 and to the practices of that society.
30:22 Also we find this statement,
30:26 "At first there was little intercourse
30:29 between the Israelites and their heathen neighbors,
30:33 but after a time Midianitish women
30:36 began to steal into the camp."
30:41 On page 459 we find these words.
30:44 A long-- listen to this.
30:45 "A long preparatory process,
30:50 unknown to the world, goes on in the heart
30:54 before the Christian commits open sin."
30:58 That is an important statement.
31:00 "A long preparatory process,
31:02 unknown to the world, goes on in the heart
31:05 before the Christian commits open sin."
31:08 That's the reason why Jesus said,
31:10 whoever looks upon a woman to covet her
31:13 has already committed adultery in his heart.
31:16 You know, the act of adultery does not happen overnight.
31:20 The act of homosexuality does not happen overnight.
31:24 It's actually the result of a long slow gradual process
31:29 where the mind is corrupted
31:30 and when the mind is corrupted the result is
31:34 that the life or the actions are tainted.
31:37 She continues saying
31:39 "The mind does not come down at once
31:43 from purity and holiness to depravity,
31:46 corruption, and crime.
31:49 It takes time to degrade
31:52 those formed in the image of God
31:54 to the brutal or the satanic."
31:58 Another very important lesson that we learned,
32:00 this is number four from this experience,
32:03 is that not even the leaders
32:06 in Israel perceive the dangers
32:09 of what was happening.
32:12 Allow me to read you
32:14 a couple of statements on this point.
32:17 Page 454 of Patriarchs and Prophets,
32:22 "Their appearance" that is the harlots of Moab.
32:24 "Their appearance excited no alarm,
32:27 and so quietly were their plans conducted
32:31 that the attention of Moses was not called to the matter."
32:35 That's amazing, not even the attention of Moses
32:38 was called to the matter.
32:40 She continues saying.
32:42 By the way, if Moses had actually seen the dangerous
32:45 he would have done something about it,
32:47 but he didn't perceive the dangerous
32:48 that was so slow and gradual.
32:50 She continue saying "It was the object of these women,
32:54 in their association with the Hebrews to seduce them
32:59 into transgression of the law of God,
33:02 to draw their attention to heathen rites and customs,
33:05 and to lead them into idolatry.
33:09 These motives were studiously concealed
33:13 under the garb of friendship,
33:16 so that they were not suspected,
33:18 even by the guardians of the people."
33:23 That's amazing, even the guardians of the people
33:27 did not perceive the dangers
33:29 of what was coming into the camp of Israel.
33:32 And you notice that they concealed this
33:34 under the garb of friendship.
33:37 Let's be friends.
33:39 You know, you're not really so much different than us.
33:42 You know, you would almost be able to use the word ecumenism
33:48 with regards to what was happening there.
33:51 Patriarchs and Prophets, page 454
33:54 we find these words.
33:55 "The rulers and leading men
33:59 were among the first to transgress,
34:03 and so many of the people were guilty
34:06 that the apostasy became national."
34:09 Who were the first ones to transgress?
34:12 Was the leaders.
34:15 By the way, did this happen also
34:16 when Israel worshiped the golden calf?
34:20 Absolutely.
34:21 Aaron should have stood as a strong leader
34:23 and said this is not gonna happen, bury it.
34:27 But instead of doing that
34:28 Aaron gave into the will of the people,
34:30 he did not have the moral backbone to be the leader
34:33 that God wanted him to be.
34:36 Patriarchs and Prophets, page 457 and 458
34:40 we find this comment.
34:42 Speaking about our time now
34:44 "As we approach the close of time,
34:47 as the people of God stand upon the borders
34:49 of the heavenly Canaan"
34:51 Folks, that's us.
34:53 "Satan will, as of old,
34:56 redouble his efforts to prevent them
34:59 from entering the goodly land.
35:02 He lays his snares for every soul.
35:06 It is not the ignorant," notice, "and uncultured merely
35:10 that need to be guarded,
35:12 he will prepare his temptations
35:15 for those in the highest positions,
35:19 in the most holy office,
35:22 if he can lead them to pollute their souls,
35:25 he can through them destroy many."
35:30 The fifth lesson, is that as Israel
35:35 was constantly exposed to sin
35:39 their minds adapted to those sins
35:43 and sin looked less offensive.
35:47 You know, there is a very important principle
35:49 in 2 Corinthians 3:18
35:52 were it says that, by beholding we become what?
35:55 By beholding we become changed.
35:58 And that applies not only to beholding Jesus
36:02 which makes us more like Jesus
36:04 it also applies to beholding evil things
36:07 which make us more in character like Satan.
36:13 Now in Patriarchs and Prophets, page 454,
36:18 we find a few of the things that enticed Israel mentioned.
36:25 She says this, "Beguiled with music."
36:31 That's not a problem today, is it?
36:36 "And dancing
36:42 and allured by the beauty of heathen vestals,
36:49 they cast off their fealty to Jehovah."
36:53 That means their loyal to Jehovah.
36:56 "And they united in mirth and feasting,
37:00 indulgence in wine beclouded their senses
37:03 and broke down the barriers of self-control.
37:07 Passion had full sway,
37:09 and having defiled their consciences by lewdness,
37:13 they were persuaded to bow down to idols.
37:16 They offered sacrifice upon heathen alters
37:20 and participated in the most degrading rites."
37:27 That's Israel who a short while before
37:30 was in a proper relationship with God.
37:32 And they could not be destroyed from outside.
37:36 Here are they under the idea a friendship.
37:41 Oh, let's not say that we're different than they are,
37:43 you know, let's we're all part of the same people,
37:47 let's just make friends with them.
37:49 You know, their practices aren't so bad
37:51 we can refine them and we can make them
37:54 acceptable in the sight of God.
37:57 Patriarchs and Prophets, page 459
38:00 we find these words.
38:01 "Satan is using every means
38:03 to make crime and debasing vice popular.
38:09 We cannot walk the streets of our cities
38:11 without encountering flaring notices of crime
38:15 presented and some novel,
38:17 or to be acted out at some theater."
38:22 You know, used to be in the Adventist church
38:23 that we say that we shouldn't go to the movie theatre, right?
38:27 How many people really actually follow that
38:30 teaching of the church anymore?
38:33 Not all.
38:36 Let me ask you, is there really anything
38:38 good to see in the theatre?
38:42 You know, we've made a mistake as Adventist.
38:43 We've said that it's the place that's wrong.
38:45 And our kids don't buy it.
38:49 Because movie theatres I understand are pretty nice
38:52 and they don't allow smoking and they don't allow drinking.
38:56 So you're in a pretty good environment.
38:58 So it doesn't have anything to do with the place.
39:01 It has everything to do
39:03 with what you're gonna see in that place.
39:07 And I sustain today that there's nothing
39:09 that Hollywood produces that is worth watching
39:13 because even the good is tainted with immorality
39:18 and vulgarity and pride
39:22 and a desire for fame and riches.
39:25 If you don't believe so just watch the Oscars sometime.
39:30 It's all a huge exercise in vanity
39:33 and as we expose our minds to these things
39:36 our minds adapt to what we're watching
39:38 and the mind says,
39:40 you know, this thing really isn't so bad,
39:41 the more we watch it the mind says this is okay,
39:43 it's all right, it's all right,
39:45 until finally we think it's okay.
39:47 We deceive our own mind,
39:49 we deceive our own conscience.
39:51 She continues saying
39:54 "The mind is educated to familiarity with sin.
40:00 The course pursued by the base and vile
40:03 is kept before the people in the periodicals of the day,
40:06 and everything that can excite passion
40:09 is brought before them in exciting stories."
40:12 What would she say today
40:13 with the exciting stories on television?
40:15 She is talking about newspapers here.
40:18 She wrote in a time
40:19 when they were only printed materials.
40:22 She says "They hear and read so much of debasing crime
40:28 that the once tender conscience,
40:31 which would have recoiled with horror from such scenes,
40:36 becomes hardened, and they dwell upon these things
40:40 with greedy interest."
40:44 And then she says "By beholding we become changed.
40:47 By the indulgence of impure thoughts
40:50 man can so educate his mind that sin
40:54 which he once loathed will become pleasant to him."
41:00 What, sin which once you hated
41:05 and you said this is terrible,
41:08 come to the point where you would actually
41:10 think that it's okay?
41:15 Sixth lesson and this is very significant.
41:20 Have you ever noticed
41:21 what happened with the leaders in this rebellion?
41:25 This is one of those episodes
41:26 that people don't like to read these days.
41:29 They only like to read about the love
41:30 and mercy of God and by the way,
41:32 God is loving and merciful.
41:35 God is grace, yes He is.
41:38 But God also will not be trifled with
41:42 because God is our Father,
41:43 but God also is the judge of the universe.
41:47 And so we need to look at several models
41:49 of God in Scripture.
41:51 Notice what God had done with the leaders.
41:56 Numbers 25:4, 5
42:00 it says "Then the Lord said to Moses,
42:05 'Take all the leaders of the people
42:07 and hang the offender's before the Lord,
42:12 out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord
42:16 may turn away from Israel.'
42:18 So Moses said to the judges on Israel,
42:21 'Every one of you kill his men
42:23 who were joined to Baal of Peor.'"
42:27 Whoa, it's God that is saying this.
42:31 God wanted the people to see the leader's hung in the sun,
42:35 because He wanted them to know
42:36 how terrible this apostasy was.
42:41 How sinful sin is in the sight of God.
42:45 He wanted them to be clear on this point
42:48 and it was the leaders that suffered this.
42:50 You say well, that doesn't happen today.
42:52 But you know Ellen White says that
42:55 it might not happen now,
42:58 but it will happen when Jesus comes.
43:02 It's just a matter of when the destruction
43:03 is gonna take place.
43:05 In the Old Testament it was a theocracy
43:07 so it took place at that point.
43:09 And by the way, the Book of Revelation says
43:12 that those who are rebellious against God
43:16 will be destroyed with the sword
43:17 that comes from the mouth of Jesus.
43:20 Do you know how Balaam died?
43:22 He refused to listen to the warning of the sword
43:26 saying, don't go down that road.
43:28 And therefore we're told in the Book of Numbers
43:31 that he went out the battle
43:33 and he was actually killed by the sword.
43:37 The sword which he refused to listen to,
43:39 which was warning him arose to destroy him.
43:44 This has a very important message to us, leaders.
43:46 I'm talking to myself now.
43:49 I'm talking to ministers, to church leaders,
43:54 to leaders in the church
43:56 of the different departments of the church folks,
43:59 we are held more accountable in the sight of God.
44:02 In fact we find in early writings
44:03 that the leaders in the final rebellion
44:07 will be punished ten times worse than the common ordinary person
44:10 which they deceived,
44:12 because we as leaders of the people
44:14 are to give a good example.
44:16 We're supposed to lead people down the right road.
44:20 And do you know what was happening
44:21 as people were dying by plague,
44:24 in the encampment this is besides the leaders
44:26 thousands were dying by a plague that came into the camp.
44:32 Something happened which you'd say this is unbelievable.
44:35 Let's read about it in Numbers 25:6-8,
44:39 Numbers 25:6-8.
44:43 This is while Israel is wailing and crying out to God,
44:46 because of a plaque that's killing thousands of people.
44:50 It says "And indeed,
44:52 one of the children of Israel came
44:55 and presented to his brethren
44:56 a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses
44:59 and in the sight of all the congregation
45:02 of the children of Israel,
45:03 who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting."
45:08 Can you believe that?
45:10 In other words Israel was crying,
45:12 because of what was happening
45:14 and here this guy is presenting his harlot
45:17 to the congregation of Israel
45:18 in the sight of Moses and everybody was crying.
45:22 This is rebellion with a high hand against God.
45:26 And now notice verse 7,
45:29 "Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar,
45:34 the son of Aaron the priest, saw it,
45:36 he rose from among the congregation
45:39 and took a javelin in his hand,
45:42 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent
45:46 and thrust both of them through,
45:49 the man of Israel, and the woman through her body.
45:52 So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel."
45:59 Folks, we might not like the picture
46:03 that's been presented here, but it is biblical.
46:07 And it teaches us tremendous lessons.
46:09 It doesn't mean that we're going to slaw
46:10 everybody in the church that practices sin,
46:15 but it does mean that
46:16 we can use the sword of the Spirit
46:18 to get rid of sin in the church,
46:20 at least open known sin as leaders.
46:24 In other words we have to rebuke known
46:27 and open sin in the church.
46:30 Lesson number eight,
46:32 there was a terrible shaking in Israel
46:34 before they enter the Promise Land.
46:37 In fact 24,000 were shaken out of Israel
46:43 before the plague ended before Israel
46:46 was ready to go into the Promise Land.
46:48 We find that in Numbers 25:9,
46:51 it says "And those who died in the plague
46:53 were twenty-four thousand."
46:59 And then point number nine, this is so interesting.
47:03 After the camp of Israel had been cleansed
47:07 from the transgressors in Numbers Chapter 26
47:11 you have a census of the 12 tribes of Israel.
47:17 By name, by each of the names of the sons of Jacob
47:21 you have the census the number
47:23 of those who were going to enter the Promise Land
47:26 from among the Israelites.
47:29 Now some of you might be wondering Pastor Bohr,
47:31 can you really take this passage
47:33 in Numbers and apply it to us.
47:37 The fact is that not only can I apply it,
47:40 but the Apostle Paul does apply it.
47:44 Notice what we find in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10,
47:48 1 Corinthians Chapter 10
47:51 the Apostle Paul speaks about this experience.
47:53 I'm not gonna read the whole passage.
47:55 But the Apostle Paul speaks about this experience
47:59 among others.
48:01 And notice what he says in verse 11.
48:04 He says "Now all these things happened to them
48:10 for examples and they are written for our admonition,
48:15 upon whom the ends of the ages have come."
48:21 Have the ends of the ages come upon us? Yes.
48:24 For whom are these experiences written?
48:27 They are written for us.
48:30 Let me ask you, does God still command His people
48:33 to remain separate from the practices,
48:36 from the sinful practices and ideas
48:39 and philosophies of the world?
48:41 You look at the Christian churches today
48:43 you don't see any difference
48:44 between Christians and non-Christians.
48:47 The dresses the same, the food is the same,
48:50 the entertainment is the same, the divorce rate is the same,
48:55 the music is the same.
48:58 Now there as hardly a distinction
48:59 between Christians and non-Christians,
49:02 because the leavening process has been taking place.
49:05 You say, well, Pastor, your being a fanatic,
49:08 you been a legalist.
49:09 Let me tell you what this is all about folks,
49:12 in order to enter the kingdom
49:14 we must reflect the character of Christ.
49:17 We must reflect Jesus.
49:20 And when we're looking at these things
49:22 and listening to this music
49:23 and participating in this entertainment
49:25 we're developing a character
49:26 totally unlike the character of Jesus.
49:29 How was Jesus gonna take us to heaven
49:32 if we have a character totally unlike His?
49:35 It's about Jesus,
49:38 it's not about rules and regulations and legalism,
49:41 it's about not exposing our minds,
49:44 it's not exposing ourselves to that which corrupts
49:47 and makes us like the devil
49:48 instead of making us like Jesus.
49:51 That's what it's about.
49:53 Notice James 4:4.
49:57 This is New Testament by the way,
49:58 for those who say it's only the Old Testament
50:00 that speaks about the need to remain separate.
50:02 It says "Adulterers and adulteresses!
50:06 Do you not know that friendship
50:08 with the world is enmity with God?
50:12 Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world"
50:15 we would say Moab in the Old Testament.
50:18 "Whoever would be a friend of the world
50:20 makes himself" what?
50:22 "An enemy of God."
50:24 See the matter is, you're a friend of God
50:26 or an enemy of God?
50:28 To use the words of George Bush
50:29 you're either with Him or you're against Him.
50:33 There's no two ways about it.
50:35 You can't be a Christian and live like a worldly.
50:39 God says you're either My friend or My enemy.
50:42 And what determines that
50:43 is your attitude towards the world.
50:46 Notice 2 Corinthians 6:14-18,
50:49 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
50:52 We've all read this before
50:53 and we usually applied to marriage,
50:55 it applies to much more than marriage.
50:57 It says here "Do not be unequally yoked
51:00 together with unbelievers."
51:02 That is what the Moabites.
51:04 "For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?
51:08 And what communion has light with darkness?
51:11 And what accord has Christ with Belial?
51:14 Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
51:17 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
51:21 For you are the temple of the living God.
51:24 As God has said, 'I will dwell in them
51:27 and walk among them.
51:28 I will be their God, and they shall be my people."'
51:31 But there's a condition for God.
51:33 Being our God and us being His people.
51:36 It says "Therefore 'Come out from among them
51:40 and be separate, says the Lord.
51:44 Do not touch with is unclean, and I will receive you.'
51:48 'I will be a Father to you,
51:50 and you shall be my sons and daughters,
51:53 says the Lord Almighty.'"
51:57 There are condition for being sons and daughters of God.
52:00 There is conditions for God being our God.
52:03 There are conditions for us
52:04 being His peculiar special people.
52:07 And there is come ye out from among them and be separate.
52:11 Let me ask you in the end time,
52:12 is God gonna use the harlots spiritually speaking
52:16 to try and entice God's people into apostasy.
52:18 You've all read Revelation Chapter 17.
52:21 It speaks up about the mother and her daughters,
52:24 apostasy Christianity which will try
52:26 to entice God's people into rebellion against God.
52:32 You see, Satan is not able to destroy the church
52:34 when it is in a proper relationship with God.
52:38 So it says if I can't fight them,
52:40 I will join them.
52:43 But in the Seventh-day Adventist Church
52:45 almost imperceptibly we have embraced
52:47 all types of worldly practices.
52:51 Dress, music, entertainment, television,
52:57 video games, the theatre, Sabbath,
53:01 lack Sabbath observance, laxness in our diet.
53:05 You know it used to be
53:06 that people didn't drink caffeinated drinks
53:08 in the Adventist church.
53:10 So Pastor, now you really becoming legalist,
53:12 you're living in the Stone Age.
53:15 So what happened recently that makes caffeine okay now
53:18 and it wasn't okay before?
53:22 Is there any radical thing
53:23 that happened that sanctified caffeine?
53:27 I don't think so.
53:29 I mean, if caffeine was detrimental
53:30 for our health before it is today.
53:33 So who is changed?
53:35 Not the caffeine, what's changed is us,
53:40 our perspective of things,
53:42 because we become familiarize with the world.
53:46 You know, if you want to read some challenging books
53:48 that have not been too popular in the Adventist church
53:52 read some books that were written
53:53 by Joe Crews many years ago,
53:55 Creeping Compromise, Reaping the Whirlwind,
53:58 Enemy at the Gate
54:00 and if you don't particularly like Adventist literature
54:02 read the book "Love Not the World"
54:04 by Watchman Nee that Chinese theologian.
54:08 Little booklet tremendous
54:11 or is even stronger than Joe Crews
54:13 in speaking about the need of the church
54:15 being special and unique.
54:19 You see like Israel
54:20 we're on the borders of the Promise Land
54:23 and the devil knows it.
54:25 And there's gonna be a tremendous shaking
54:27 among God's people.
54:29 And whatever can be shaken out will be shaken out
54:32 and what will be shaken out is that
54:34 which has conformed and adapted to the worldly standard
54:38 both according to the Bible and to the Spirit of Prophecy.
54:42 You see, the story of Cain and Abel shows
54:44 that the devil destroyed Abel by persecution.
54:50 But of course Abel died a conquer,
54:52 because he was faithful to God.
54:54 But in Genesis 6 we have the other method of the devil
54:57 joining the Sons and God with the daughters of men.
55:00 See there you have the amalgamation idea
55:02 and of course the devil did much more by doing that,
55:07 because the whole world became corrupted
55:09 out of millions of people
55:10 when the devil blended the righteous
55:12 with the unrighteous the Sons of God with the daughters of men
55:15 there were only eight people left faithful to God.
55:18 So the devil were saying if I can't destroy the seed,
55:21 but like I did by destroying Abel
55:23 God raised up another seed itself
55:25 I can destroy them by persecution
55:27 I'll blend the two seeds, I will amalgamate them.
55:29 And the whole world became demoralized before the flood.
55:34 You know, on the borders of the Promise Land,
55:36 God is also gonna do a census.
55:40 It's found in Revelation Chapter 7.
55:41 Have you ever read the census of the 144,000?
55:44 Those who are the living saints when Jesus comes.
55:48 The sons up Jacob are mentioned by name
55:50 and the numbers from each one of the tribes
55:53 are mentioned in a census before we enter the Promise Land.
55:57 Folks, we are on the brink of eternity.
56:00 God is telling us to get serious about Him.
56:03 He's telling us to fill our minds and our hearts
56:06 with that which will make us more like Jesus.
56:09 "Be like Jesus, this my song.
56:11 Be like Jesus, all day long! I would be like Jesus."
56:16 That's what it's all about.
56:17 In fact we need to prepare
56:19 a special character for eternity.
56:22 You know, it says in Hebrews 12:14
56:25 that "We need to develop holiness
56:26 without which no one will see the Lord."
56:30 In Matthew 5:8 it says "Blessed are the pure in heart,
56:34 for they shall see God."
56:36 Psalm 119 says "Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
56:40 that I might not sin against thee."
56:43 1 John 3:3 says
56:45 "Everyone who has this hopes of the coming of Jesus,
56:48 cleanses or purifies himself even as Jesus is pure."
56:52 Jesus will have a church which will be shifted.
56:57 Those who have confirmed to the world
56:59 will be shaken out,
57:00 but God will have a church that will be without spot
57:04 or wrinkle or any such thing,
57:08 but it will be pure and perfect in the sight of God.
57:12 Not because she is perfect,
57:15 but because they have accepted Jesus into the heart
57:18 and Jesus lives his life
57:20 through the instrumentality of the church.
57:23 I pray that God will do that with our church.


Revised 2014-12-17