Thunder in the Holy Land

The Great Controversy

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Charles Byrd (Host), Stephen Fowler, Andrea Endries, Levi Longoria


Series Code: THL

Program Code: THL000003

00:01 My dad was one of the best examples to me
00:03 of what it means to be a true Christian.
00:05 He talked with God the way friends talk to each other.
00:09 He knew God's voice.
00:10 And he set the example for me of the kind of relationship
00:13 that I want to have with God.
00:15 It seems that everywhere he went
00:17 he was always showing his faith,
00:18 whether it was to his coworkers
00:20 or to his friends or the complete stranger
00:23 in the gas station.
00:24 God used him to touch countless lives.
00:27 That's why it was so terribly confusing to everyone
00:31 when he suddenly passed away with a heart attack
00:33 at the age of only 51.
00:35 Leaving me and my seven siblings without our father
00:38 and my mom without her husband who she loved and needed.
00:42 How could God allow such a good man,
00:45 a good father, a good husband
00:47 and a worker for Him to simply be taken away?
00:51 If God really is an all powerful God
00:54 then He could have stopped it.
00:55 He had every ability to prevent this tragedy.
00:58 And in fact, has every ability to prevent all tragedy
01:02 and suffering and pain in this world.
01:04 Yet He allows it to continue. Why?
01:08 And how am I supposed to believe
01:10 that a God who has the ability
01:12 to stop these things yet does not,
01:15 could really be a loving God?
01:17 Now have you ever wondered the same thing?
01:20 Well, today we're gonna
01:21 take a look at the teachings of Jesus
01:23 concerning these very questions.
02:16 It's the age old question
02:18 that continues to cause a storm of controversy.
02:22 Why do bad things happen to good people?
02:25 Or to say it another way, if God is so good
02:29 why does He allow so many bad things to take place?
02:33 There have been many throughout the ages
02:35 who have struggled with these very questions, and rightly so.
02:40 You would think that if God were truly a loving and caring God,
02:44 He could never allow such things as child abuse
02:47 or cancer or divorce or the loss of a loved one to take place.
02:53 So why then are these things so common in our world?
02:57 It's a very important question for it has everything to do
03:01 with whether or not you can truly believe
03:03 in a loving and merciful God.
03:07 A God of the Bible.
03:10 You know, often He is in fact the first one to be blamed
03:14 when something tragic happens.
03:16 And some people have turned their backs on God altogether
03:19 because they just can't imagine believing in a God
03:22 who is seemingly indifferent to our sufferings.
03:25 So how do we reconcile the apparent inconsistencies
03:30 between a loving and compassionate God
03:33 and the terrible tragedy and suffering
03:35 that takes place in this world?
03:38 Often we hear answers like,
03:40 "we just can't understand God's ways,"
03:43 or "well, I suppose we'll have to wait
03:46 until we get to heaven to find out."
03:49 Now however true these things may be,
03:52 to many people, these are quite frankly
03:54 just not satisfactory answers.
03:57 And to those people I would say, "That's okay,
04:01 you don't have to be satisfied with these answers." Why?
04:05 Because the Bible gives us an answer.
04:08 And not just any answer but a good answer. Levi?
04:14 It sure does, Charles.
04:16 And, you know, often when we're seeking to understand
04:18 some of life's big questions,
04:21 the best way to go about it
04:22 is to take a look at the big picture.
04:24 In Matthew 13: 24-30,
04:27 Jesus tells an interesting parable
04:30 and that can help us to understand
04:31 a couple of very important points
04:33 about why so many terrible things take place in this world.
04:37 In this parable, there was a man
04:38 who planted a wheat field.
04:40 But while he slept, an enemy came
04:42 and sowed tares among the wheat.
04:45 When his servants asked him
04:46 what they should do with the tares,
04:48 he said to let them grow until the time of the harvest.
04:51 And at that time, they could be separated from the wheat.
04:54 But then Jesus goes on to explain
04:56 in verses 39-41 what this parable represents.
05:01 He says that the enemy in the story is the devil.
05:04 The harvest is the end of the world,
05:06 that reapers are the angels
05:08 and the tares represent all things that offend
05:11 and them which do iniquity.
05:13 Now with that information we can understand
05:15 what Jesus was actually saying in this parable.
05:19 And He said that an enemy, that is the devil,
05:21 was the one responsible for sowing the tares.
05:24 And again, what did the tares represent?
05:27 All things that offend and them which do iniquity.
05:31 Now let me ask you a question.
05:33 Would this all things that offend include, say, genocide
05:37 or how about child abuse or rape?
05:40 Would they be included in this "all things?"
05:42 Of course, it includes all of the suffering
05:45 and death and pain in this world.
05:48 All things that offend.
05:50 And who is responsible for it?
05:51 According to the teachings of Jesus Himself, the devil.
05:55 And so the first point I want you to notice
05:57 is that God is not the one causing these things.
06:01 And Jesus is very clear
06:02 that the responsibility rests upon Satan.
06:06 Well, you say, I already knew that God's not causing it,
06:10 but why does He allow it?
06:12 Well, let's go back to the parable.
06:14 We're told in verses 28, 29
06:16 that when his servants came and asked him
06:18 if they should go and gather up the tares,
06:21 he told them to wait.
06:23 In other words, he would allow the tares
06:26 to continue growing for a time.
06:28 Now notice, this is the question.
06:30 Why does God allow these things to continue
06:34 and what was the reason Jesus gave?
06:37 "No, lest while you gather up the tares
06:39 you also uproot the wheat with them.
06:42 Let both grow together until the harvest."
06:47 So the reason the tares weren't dealt with
06:49 when they first sprang up
06:50 was because some of the wheat
06:52 may have been pulled up with them.
06:54 You see, in their early stages of growth,
06:56 the two plants look virtually identical.
06:59 It's only as you allow them to mature
07:02 that you can begin to clearly distinguish between the two.
07:05 And so what was Jesus saying?
07:08 Sin, that thing that offends,
07:10 must be allowed for a time to prosper, to grow to maturity,
07:15 that its true nature, its true ugliness,
07:18 and all of its terrible results can be clearly seen.
07:23 But why is it important for us
07:24 to be able to so clearly see the results of sin?
07:28 Andrea is standing by with that important insight.
07:32 Well, Levi, I think the best way to understand
07:35 why it's important that we see the results of sin
07:38 is to go back to the beginning and look at the origin of sin.
07:41 How it entered the universe
07:43 and what was actually at stake because of it.
07:46 Often, when we think of where sin began,
07:49 we think of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve
07:51 disobeying God and partaking of the forbidden fruit.
07:54 But this is actually not where sin originated.
07:57 As we touched on in our previous study,
07:59 sin actually originated in heaven
08:02 with one of the angels.
08:04 We read about this in Ezekiel Chapter 28.
08:07 In this chapter, the writer uses a wicked earthly king,
08:10 that is, the King of Tyre as a figure to describe
08:13 this being in heaven that would eventually become
08:16 who we know as Satan or the devil.
08:19 Now maybe you've wondered,
08:20 "Why would God create the devil?"
08:23 Well, the question is, did He create a devil?
08:27 I want you to notice a few important things
08:29 here in Ezekiel 28.
08:31 And describing this being, verse 12 says
08:33 that he was not only perfect
08:35 but that he was the seal of perfection.
08:38 That is to say,
08:39 he was the crowning act of God's creation.
08:42 It also says that he was full of wisdom
08:45 and perfect in beauty.
08:47 And verse 15 says that he was perfect in all his ways
08:50 from the day that he was created.
08:53 Now I don't know about you,
08:55 but to me, this doesn't quite sound like the devil
08:58 we're used to hearing about.
09:00 Well, that's because it's not.
09:02 This was the prefect sinless being
09:04 that God originally created
09:06 before he became corrupted by sin.
09:09 And in fact, it appears that this angel
09:12 may have been more closely connected to God and His throne
09:15 than were any of the other created beings.
09:18 This is evident by what is said in verse 14.
09:21 "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth..."
09:25 And what does that mean?
09:27 Well, if you study the Old Testament sanctuary
09:29 that God had Moses build in the wilderness,
09:32 you'll find that on either side of the mercy seat
09:34 which represented God's throne in heaven, there were cherubim
09:38 which held their wings above the place
09:40 where God's presence was to dwell.
09:44 So a covering cherub was the one who stood closes to God's throne
09:48 and would arch his wings over the place where God sat.
09:52 And this was the former position of this angel
09:54 described in Ezekiel 28.
09:57 The former position of the one who we now call, Satan.
10:02 You know, it really makes you wonder.
10:04 What was it that cause one so highly exalted
10:08 and favored by God to fall so far away? Stephen?
10:14 Well, Andrea, that's a good question.
10:16 And it's actually the same question
10:17 asked in Isaiah Chapter 14.
10:20 "How art thou fallen from heaven,
10:22 O Lucifer, son of the morning?
10:24 How art thou cut down to the ground,
10:26 which didst weaken the nations?"
10:28 How could sin enter into a perfect and sinless universe?
10:32 How could such a bright and holy being
10:34 as this exalted angel named Lucifer
10:36 become the most bitter enemy of God?
10:39 It's something called the mystery of sin.
10:43 It's a hard thing to understand,
10:45 but Ezekiel tells us that it was ultimately
10:47 due to the seeds of pride that began to grow inside of him.
10:51 Pride for the very beauty and splendor
10:53 that God intended to be a blessing.
10:56 Isaiah 14:13, 14 tells us that this pride eventually
11:00 let him to desire the very throne of God Himself.
11:04 I want you to notice all of the references to ascending
11:06 or going up that we find in these verses.
11:10 "For thou hast said in thine heart,
11:12 I will ascend into heaven,
11:13 I will exalt my throne above the stars of God,
11:17 I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,
11:20 in the sides of the north,
11:21 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
11:24 I will be like the most High."
11:28 He wanted to go up, to ascend,
11:30 to be above all other heavenly beings
11:32 and even above God Himself.
11:35 He wanted to be like the most High,
11:38 not in character, but in position.
11:41 By his desire to take God's position,
11:43 he was essentially saying that
11:45 he could do a better job of running things
11:47 than could God Himself.
11:49 That God's ways and God's holy law,
11:51 that law of love and liberty
11:54 which is the very foundation of His government
11:56 were somehow faulty,
11:58 that he had a better way of doing things.
12:00 So who was right and who was wrong?
12:03 Who were the other heavenly beings to believe?
12:05 And how were they supposed to discern
12:07 between what was truth and what was a lie
12:09 when all they had ever known was truth?
12:12 So God had a critical decision to make.
12:15 How would He deal with this rebellion,
12:17 this sin that had entered into His perfect universe?
12:21 If He were to immediately rid the universe
12:23 of this rebellious angel without allowing him
12:26 the opportunity to prove his case,
12:28 there could for ever remain questions
12:30 in the minds of all the other created beings.
12:33 Questions about who was actually right
12:35 and who was wrong and about His justice
12:37 and fairness in dealing with Lucifer.
12:39 And even if they still chose to serve Him,
12:42 it will be based, at least in part,
12:44 upon fear of punishment
12:46 rather than pure and genuine love.
12:49 So He chose to allow this being the opportunity
12:51 to carry out his principles, to test his form of government.
12:55 And by experience
12:56 show where the result of this rebellion or sin
12:59 would eventually lead.
13:01 Thus, the evidence would be given.
13:03 The questions answered and all of creation
13:06 could then of their own free will
13:08 choose whether or not they would still love
13:10 and obediently serve their creator.
13:14 In 1 Corinthians 4:5,
13:16 Paul tells us to "judge nothing before the time,
13:20 until the Lord come,
13:22 who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness,
13:26 and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts."
13:30 From what we've studied so far,
13:32 it seems that this is exactly the principle God works on.
13:36 And the same principle that Jesus taught
13:38 in the parable of the wheat and the tares.
13:41 God doesn't want His creatures to serve Him out of blind fear,
13:45 but out of true heartfelt love.
13:49 Love that is motivated by His goodness,
13:52 kindness, and fairness toward all His creation.
13:57 "We love Him, because He first loved us."
14:01 Not because we're afraid that He'll
14:03 zap us out of the existence if we don't.
14:06 It really all centers on the freedom of choice
14:09 that God has entrusted to each one of us.
14:12 You can't force someone to love you
14:14 by simply yelling loud enough or threatening
14:17 to hurt them if they don't.
14:19 If you would gain true love from someone,
14:21 it can only be because they want to love you.
14:25 They choose to love you.
14:27 So God chose to allow this rebellion to run its course.
14:32 He chose not to do away with Lucifer
14:34 and this infectious disease called sin
14:37 until the issues were made clear.
14:40 And we're told in Revelation Chapter 12
14:43 that the sad result of this uprising
14:45 was that Lucifer actually persuaded
14:48 an entire third of all the angels in heaven
14:51 to side with him and eventually
14:54 be cast out of heaven.
14:56 So now the two sides have been clearly chosen.
14:59 It was Michael, another name for Jesus,
15:02 and His angels versus Satan,
15:04 also called the Dragon or the Serpent, and his angels.
15:08 The two sets of principles for these two kingdoms
15:11 were also clearly established.
15:14 God and His holy law which is based on the principle of love
15:19 versus Satan and his law which is based on the principles
15:23 of selfishness and self exaltation.
15:27 Coveting a position that did not belong to him,
15:30 as it says in Isaiah 14:14.
15:33 "I will be like the most High."
15:37 Now that Satan's kingdom had been solidly established,
15:41 can you guess where he turned in order to
15:43 test his new and "better form of government?"
15:47 Right here to planet earth.
15:50 That's exactly right, Charles.
15:51 The Bible tells the story beginning in Genesis Chapter 1.
15:55 God had created a brand new and beautiful planet
15:57 that was full of life and happiness.
15:59 And He created Adam and Eve
16:01 as the first inhabitants of this planet.
16:02 The father and mother as it were,
16:04 of the whole human race.
16:06 He even made them their own special garden to live in
16:08 and tend to which was called the Garden of Eden.
16:11 In creating this new planet, God never intended
16:14 for there to be sin or suffering or pain here.
16:17 In fact, His original plan for this world,
16:20 the original state in which He created it is repeated
16:23 several times in the first chapter of Genesis.
16:26 It tells us that everything God made was good,
16:28 and in fact, very good according to verse 31.
16:31 This was God's original plan for this world.
16:34 He didn't create it with the suffering
16:35 and tragedy that we see now.
16:37 And He doesn't enjoy seeing these things take place.
16:40 Certainly Jesus proved this by the life He lived
16:42 while here on earth.
16:44 And describing some of the things
16:45 Jesus did, Matthew 11:5 says,
16:48 "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk,
16:52 the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear,
16:55 the dead are raised up, and the poor
16:57 have the gospel preached to them."
16:59 And it wasn't just Jesus that hated seeing humans suffer
17:02 because He says in John 14:10 that it was the Father
17:05 doing His works through Him.
17:08 So God never intended man to suffer,
17:10 He doesn't enjoy seeing us subjected to pain.
17:13 His original intent for the human race
17:15 was for us to simply love Him and live forever,
17:18 enjoying the beautiful world He had created for us.
17:21 But something happened that would drastically change that.
17:25 It sure did.
17:26 Let's go back to the story of this controversy
17:28 between Christ and Satan that had been going on in heaven.
17:32 Genesis Chapter 3 tells us that this fallen angel
17:35 now came to pay a visit to Adam and Eve
17:37 in the form of a serpent.
17:43 And what was his intension
17:44 in visiting this newly created pair?
17:46 He aimed to gain them and the whole human family
17:49 which they represented as subjects of His kingdom,
17:53 thus establishing the arena in which he could set up
17:56 his new form of government.
17:59 But how could he accomplish this?
18:01 Romans 6:16 says,
18:03 "To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey,
18:07 his servants ye are to whom ye obey,
18:09 whether of sin unto death,
18:12 or of obedience unto righteousness."
18:15 By leading them to obey the principles of his kingdom
18:18 while disobeying the principles of God's kingdom,
18:21 he would gain them as his servants, as his subjects.
18:25 So under the guise of a serpent, he came to the garden
18:28 to do this deadly work of deception.
18:31 "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field
18:35 which the Lord God had made.
18:37 And he said unto the woman,
18:39 'Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat
18:41 of every tree of the garden?'
18:44 And the woman said unto the serpent,
18:46 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden,
18:48 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst
18:51 of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it,
18:55 neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'"
18:58 God had given them one test of obedience,
19:01 one proverbial cookie jar they were not allowed to open.
19:05 And said that if they were to disobey,
19:07 death would enter into the world. Why?
19:10 Because disobedience to God on any point
19:13 regardless of how small it may appear, is sin.
19:17 And the wages of sin according to Romans 6:23 is death.
19:21 But I want you to notice how the serpent
19:23 responds to the woman.
19:25 Here's where he introduces to her mind
19:27 the principles of his kingdom.
19:29 The same principles of pride and self exaltation
19:32 that had motivated his own rebellion against God.
19:35 Here's where we find him, as it were, inviting Eve
19:38 to become a part of his kingdom.
19:41 Notice what he says.
19:43 "And the serpent said unto the woman,
19:45 'Ye shall not surely die,
19:47 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
19:50 then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,
19:54 knowing good and evil.'"
19:57 Sadly, verse 6 tells us that, "When the woman saw
20:00 that the tree was good for food,
20:02 and that it was pleasant to the eyes,
20:04 and a tree to be desired to make one wise,
20:07 she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,
20:10 and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat."
20:15 Thus, they forfeited their citizenship
20:17 of the heavenly kingdom.
20:19 They delivered the whole human race
20:21 into the hands of the enemy and into the slavery of sin,
20:25 to be the legal subjects of the kingdom that Satan had now
20:28 successfully established.
20:30 But that's not the end of the story.
20:34 And praise God that it's not, Andrea.
20:36 Only nine verses later, God gives a first promise
20:40 of one who would come and defeat this serpent,
20:43 taking back what had been lost and making a way
20:46 for human beings to again be a part of God's kingdom.
20:50 In fulfillment of this promise, Jesus came to this earth
20:54 and through His sinless life and sacrificial death on the cross
20:58 provided everything needed for us to again
21:01 have the eternal and happy life that He intended.
21:05 Jesus, the God of all creation was willing to humble Himself
21:10 to an almost infinite degree and becoming part of His
21:13 own creation and allowing Himself to be beaten,
21:17 spat upon and crucified are the very ones He came to save.
21:22 At the cross, the contrast between these two kingdoms
21:26 was more clearly seen than ever before or since.
21:31 The one based on principles of such selfishness and hatred
21:35 as would cause the creature
21:37 to take the very life of its own creator.
21:41 And the other of such humility and love as would allow
21:45 His own creation to take His life in order to save them.
21:50 If to the on looking universe the results of sin
21:52 had not yet been made clear enough by all of the suffering
21:56 and degradation it had wrought, it was certainly made
21:59 clear enough at the cross.
22:02 This rebellion had essentially placed
22:04 God's own character on trial.
22:06 This sin that had entered into God's perfect universe
22:10 and had been allowed to grow and mature
22:13 had now shown its true colors.
22:16 So this begs the question.
22:17 If the results of sin were made clear enough at the cross
22:21 then why didn't God just end the controversy there?
22:24 Why is He still allowing it to continue?
22:28 And speaking of the promise that Jesus
22:30 made to come back and take His people home
22:32 and end this controversy with sin, 2 Peter 3:9 says
22:37 that "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,
22:40 as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,
22:45 not willing that any should perish,
22:47 but that all should come to repentance."
22:51 So why is He still waiting?
22:53 He is waiting for you because He loves you
22:56 and He wants to save every last person
22:58 that He can before He makes an end of sin.
23:02 The Bible is clear that very soon Satan and his angels
23:05 and all who choose to follow in their ways will be destroyed.
23:10 Sin will be no more.
23:11 This earth will again be free from the curse
23:14 and will then be recreated back to its original beauty.
23:18 And best of all, God himself will then move His capital
23:22 to this very planet and live here forever in perfect peace
23:27 and happiness with His people.
23:30 The controversy will be ended.
23:32 Every question will have been answered and God's character
23:35 will have been vindicated before all of His creation.
23:39 Consequently, we're told in Nahum 1:9
23:42 that "Affliction shall not rise up a second time."
23:46 It'll be a better and safer universe
23:49 than before sin entered.
23:50 And His desire is for you to be there.
23:55 The Bible is an amazing book
23:58 written by many different authors
24:00 yet containing one cohesive storyline.
24:03 From beginning to end, it tells the story of this great conflict
24:07 with sin and contains all the instructions
24:10 you and I need in order to safely make it through.
24:15 This is very clear when you look at
24:17 how the Bible is actually laid out.
24:20 The first two chapters in the Bible,
24:22 Genesis 1 and 2 describe creation
24:25 and the happy existence of mankind
24:27 in a perfect and sinless world,
24:30 being in perfect communion with its creator.
24:34 And then the third chapter of Genesis
24:36 describes the entrance of sin into the world
24:40 and the beginning of all the sorrows it would cause.
24:43 These three chapters begin the story of the Bible.
24:47 And notice how the Bible ends.
24:50 The third chapter from the end of the Bible, Revelation 20,
24:54 describes the eradication of sin and sinners.
24:58 And the last two chapters of Revelation, 21 and 22
25:02 describe the recreation of the earth and mankind again
25:06 living the happy and sinless existence with its creator.
25:12 Everything in between is the story
25:14 of this great battle that's taking place over you and me.
25:19 And this is the framework into which every teaching of Jesus
25:23 and His word will fit.
25:26 But how about that big question?
25:29 Why do bad things happen to good people?
25:32 How does this study help us answer that question?
25:36 Here's how.
25:37 First, think about this.
25:39 Though God does often intervene to stop human suffering,
25:43 if in every instance He stopped every murder,
25:46 every disease, every war, every famine,
25:49 every bad thing that could ever take place in this world,
25:53 could the results of sin ever be clearly seen?
25:57 Think about that.
25:59 The answer is no.
26:02 And why must He allow the results of sin to be seen?
26:05 So that all of His on looking creation can clearly see
26:10 where the results of rebellion will lead.
26:13 And thus, choose to love and serve God
26:15 of their own free will.
26:18 It all comes down to this one great eternal truth,
26:23 that God is love and He desires true love from His creation.
26:29 So what about you, friend?
26:31 What side will you be on?
27:34 Being in the middle-east
27:36 and preparing this new teaching tool
27:38 will forever be a highlight in my life.
27:40 I agree, Levi.
27:42 It was a lot of work.
27:44 But what a joy to be where Jesus was,
27:46 digging into the teachings that have made
27:48 the world a better place to live.
27:50 But what did you mean when you said, "Teaching tool?"
27:54 Well, Andrea, "Thunder in the Holy Land"
27:56 was designed from the ground up to be a Bible study
27:59 where the local pastor gets inserted into the video
28:02 as the host, replacing Charles.
28:05 What a great idea.
28:07 And now the local pastor and the church members
28:09 can be a team working together.
28:12 And our viewers can get all of the details
28:14 at our website,


Revised 2014-12-17