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Stoning in the Mirror

Posted Sep 08, 2022 by Adrian Ebens in Everlasting Gospel
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This is a sermon transcript from Passover 2022

Stoning in the Mirror

Let's kneel and pray.

Father.  We thank You for such a beautiful day.  And felt like the last gasp of summer.  Getting up over 30 degrees but up at Wivenhoe Dam, it was just absolutely beautiful.  And Lord, I thank You so much for an opportunity to come inside and to put aside other things, and to dwell upon Your character and Your goodness with brothers and sisters.  We pray that You would be with us as we think tonight and study tonight the things that You placed on my heart.  And I thank You in Jesus' name. Amen.

So last night we lay out some very important principles from the story that Glenys asked in regard to Matthew 10:28. I'd just like to go back to there.  I'll pull it up on the screen here.  Matthew 10, we’ve got all these versions of the Bible.  A very important principle in terms of understanding Scripture. It says,

"Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is was able to destroy both body and soul in hell." 

 We looked at if God is the one that is able to destroy both body and soul in hell, how does that correspond with verse 30? 

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore you are of more value than many sparrows."

 How do we put those two together?  It's the contradiction.  We talked about the two steps process of the Gospel causing sin to abound, reflecting back to man his own thinking, and then giving grace much more abounding.  This is the process.  We find Romans 5:20, where we talked about this two-step process. 

“Moreover, the law entered that where sin abounds or the offence does abound, the grace might much more abound.”

We’re all tracking on that point, we all understand that two-step process and we looked at Christ's Object Lessons, page 263, where the story of the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, which for me as a minister, was one of the most annoying stories in the Bible.  When I'm meeting with Protestants and talking to people of other faith, and they take me to Luke 16, and they quote to me the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, and say, "Here is proof of eternally burning hell!"  (Sigh!) [Lord] why did you tell this story?  Well, now I think it's one of the best stories in the Bible.  It's beautiful because it really unpacks the process of what God is doing in the Bible and meeting man where man is, and then bringing him through into a better understanding. Meeting men on their own ground, thus creating a mirror that man might see himself and his true relationship to God.

Ruben made a really good point last night about verse 25, "That if they call the master of the house Beelzebub."  There's a reference here to the thinking of man, that God is like Beelzebub. I forgot to mention last night, a second witness (V 27) to that when Jesus says, "Whatever I tell you in the dark", why is Jesus talking in the dark?  Because we're in the darkness.  They think the master of the house is Beelzebub, and so, in order to reach man where he is, Jesus has to come into the darkness and speak into the darkness.  When He's speaking in the darkness, He says things like verse 28, because that's the darkness.  He's speaking into that darkness and that's the way that it's coming out. Meeting man where a man is.

With these things in mind, I'd like to step into another consideration.  Well, let me frame it this way.

….These feast keepers were discussing and they were talking about the statutes and the judgments.  We need to keep all the statutes of the judgments, and when are we going to bring back stoning?

Causing sin to abound.  Sin abounds in the United States and all the rest of us as little puppy dogs followed.  So Lorelle was telling me about these groups of feast keepers, and they're talking about bringing stoning.  And I'm like, “Get on the next plane and come back home!”

Lorelle That was my very first feast. And I'm going, "They're keeping the feast!"

Pr Adrian: They are keeping the feast and they're talking about stoning people.  A lot of people have this idea. People that think, “well, if we keep Passover, we need to sacrifice the lamb.” Which is really blasphemous.

Just putting it [plainly], I don't want to offend anyone, but it's blasphemy.  Jesus is the LAMB of God.  No other lamb can, offering a lamb is an insult to Jehovah, clearly in that particular case.  So how do we understand stoning?  Let's have a look at the Bible text.  Malachi 4:4,  what does it say? 

"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb, for all Israel with the statutes and the judgments."

  So remember the law of Moses, and we read the Spirit of prophecy, where it says, and you'll remember this quote. 

"The instructions given to Moses for ancient Israel with their sharp, rigid outlines are to be studied and?"

Congregation: Obeyed.

Pr Adrian: But what do you do with the stoning commandments then?   Are we supposed to obey those? Has it ever crossed your mind?  What do we do with those?  Did they get nailed to the Cross?

….It's the same thing Christ did with the stoning commandment.  What did he do with them? …People ask us, so you keep the feast, right?  Are you going to go and sacrifice a lamb?  You're going to go into the Old Testament, and like,

"Every male that attend Passover needs to be circumcised."

 You're going to have a circumcision tent on-site so that if anyone does not comply, we can have a circumcision mandate.

Ruben We have sacrificed the Lamb.

Pr Adrian: We have sacrificed the Lamb.  All right.  And how are we circumcised?

Congregation: In our hearts.

Pr Adrian: We're offering a spiritual interpretation of those passages.  But some people say, well, if you're doing this, then you have to do this.  So I want to look at the subject of stoning, particularly in Scripture.  And maybe some other statements.  The first reference to stoning is in Exodus and it's Exodus 8:26.  And what does it say?

Ruben: The abomination of the Egyptians.

Pr Adrian: The abomination of the Egyptians.  Pharaoh says, Oh, you want to sacrifice? Sacrifice here in Egypt?  (V.25) Wink, wink, wink. What happens if they sacrifice in Egypt?

Congregation: They get stoned.

Pr Adrian: They'd kill one of the gods of Egypt, the Apis bull or whatever one of those things then the people are going to, and Moses says, "If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us?"  So the abomination of the Egyptians. So is this an Egyptian definition of blasphemy?

Congregation: Sure.

Pr Adrian: Blasphemy in Egypt is manifested as “you have desecrated our God.”  You have violated the rules of our God, and therefore you will be stoned to death.  This is how the Egyptian culture operated.  Now, how long did the Israelites live in Egypt?

Congregation: 400 yrs

Pr Adrian: Was it 400 years?  For 200 and something years that they were slaves in Egypt.  It was 430 years from when Ismael first persecuted Isaac, but it was quite some time after this.  It's about 215 years since there were slaves in Egypt.  How long has Australia been operating as a nation?

Congregation: About 250 years.

Pr Adrian: About 250 years.  A lot of culture gets established in 200 years, doesn't it?  Do you think that the Israelites were affected by Egyptian culture and thought processes?  Blasphemy means stoning.  Wherever the word stoning occurs, it means all this is blasphemy against God.  It's interesting that the first place where stoning is presented in Scripture as something as a punishment for a transgression against a god comes from Egypt.  This is an Egyptian principle.  There was nothing before this where God mentions that stoning is part of His repertoire of dealing with His wayward children.  This is coming from Egypt.

We notice when we come to Exodus 17, we see that the children of Israel have learned well from their masters.  The people are thirsty and hungry, and they don't get what they want when they want it.  We want it all and we want it now.  They don't get it, so what do they say?  “

So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, what shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."

 Who was that blasphemy against?  Well, Moses was blaspheming.  Who was the god here?  Themselves!  How dare you insult My Majesty to make me thirst?  Well, were they thirsty?  No.  Inspiration says that it appeared that they didn't have any more water.  They had enough for their present need, but they couldn't see that they had enough for next week.

 

They started to get agitated about that and they were ready to stone him, which means that they had adopted the culture and mindset of the Egyptians, and this is their thinking, their understanding.  If we go down through the word stone, as we go down here, we see Exodus, you know, the altar of stone.  It's when you come to Exodus 21, hit one another with a stone.  There's nothing about stoning in these preliminary commandments. The first place where we see stoning occurring is in Leviticus.  It says in Leviticus 20,

"A man or a woman who is a medium who has a familiar spirit..."

What's a familiar spirit?  An evil spirit, demon-possessed or consulting, or a medium of evil spirits. 

"...shall surely be put to death. They shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them."

If you are in a community of faith and you are protected from a lot of these things, and there's someone who is consulting with demons and evil, does it make sense?  "Oh, well, I deserve to be stoned, because that's a dangerous threat to our society.  It's a cancer that needs to be cut out, so we have to get rid of it."  This is the first real indication where a judgment is being spoken that someone who is violating the principles of the community, and the principles of God, needs to be put to death.  Leviticus 20:27.

The next one is Leviticus 24, where a man was fighting with an Israelite.  This man was a half-caste. He was half Israelite and half Egyptian.  He was a bit of a mongrel breed like myself, of a mixture of a number of nations, like many of us here.  This man blasphemed. What's interesting about this verse is that they ask God, and it says,

"And the Lord spoke to Moses saying...",

In verse 12, they put him in custody that the mind of the Lord might be shown them. So they ask the mind of the Lord.  What is the mind of the Lord? 

"And the Lord spoke to Moses, take outside the camp, him who has cursed and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head and let all the congregation stone him."

They ask God what to do.  They ask the mind of the Lord.  And God says, "Take him and stone him."  So what do you do with that?  “God said it!  I believe it!  That settles it!  End of story.” But just keep in mind what we were talking about before about,

"Fear Him that is able to destroy body and soul in hell."

  Where did that statement come from and why is it being spoken?  This man was half Egyptian and half Israelite, could there be a motive of some of the people in that camp to get rid of him?  Could there be a motive? Do you think that some people might be inclined to think this is a good idea? This man has blasphemed our God.  He's spat in the face of our God, in the face of Jehovah, and now we're going to deal with it.

Lester: Well, obviously they thought that they could put him in jail.

Pr Adrian: Okay. They put him in custody suggest confinement and restriction.  You've done something really bad, and this is a terrible tragedy that's occurred, and we're going to God and we're going to sort this out.

Lester: He had No way to escape.

Pr Adrian: No escape. “He could run off into the desert and get away.”

Paul: In verse 17 it says anyone who kills a man shall be put to death. Was that by stoning?

Pr Adrian: It doesn't say.  Just put to death and the weapon of choice was stoning.

Lester: That “put to death” [in Lev 24:17] is the same words that were said in Genesis "thou shall surely die."

Pr Adrian: Yes.

Congregation: That’s interesting.

Pr Adrian: Well, it depends. I'd have to go back and check the mood and the tense of those Hebrew words to see if they are the same as the way that God said them because they can be said with kill intent, and they can be said with will perish because of wandering off the path. I'll have to check those again to make absolutely sure.  But what's interesting about this is that in verse 17, as you said, (and we've talked about this before, we've mentioned this in presentations, I've written this and in Gods of Egypt as Lightning from Heaven).  God is telling them all these things, and then right in the middle, He says, "Oh, and by the way, whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death."  Just saying.  So what do you do with that?  They take him out and stone him and the people that stoned him, whoever kills any man will surely be put to death. But what do you do then?  All those who picked up rocks and killed this man, you all line up and we're going to kill you.  All you those all lined up and then, “where did everybody go?”

So do you think God is trying to tell them something?  Do you remember my commandments? Did they have any clue about the Ten Commandments,

"Thou shalt not kill."

Did they have a clue?   "Well, that doesn't apply to certain people."   Isn't that how we get out of Scripture?  That only applies to these, this group.  That's for the Jews.  It doesn't apply in wartime.  Doesn't apply.  There you go!  It only applies when we decide that it applies.

Congregation: And then we've got that differentiation between murder and killing.

Pr Adrian: Judicial killing. That's the two words.  They say, well, it says, Thou shalt not “ratsak”.  I'm giving it a nice Australian twang to it because “ratsak” sounds really good, doesn't it?

Fiona: Do you see the verse said about laying their hands on him and then all the congregation stone him?  It made me think …

Pr Adrian: Okay.

Fiona: Would it have maybe put them into a closer relationship and maybe he was crying or something or asking for his life?  Or maybe it was a closer relationship.

Pr Adrian: That's a good thought. What happened in this particular case?  Come to the end of the chapter, and here's the conclusion of the whole matter.

"Then Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and I took him outside of the camp, him who had cursed and stoned him with stones."

Paul: "Whosover sheds man's blood, By man shall his blood be shed; For in the image of God He made man."  (Genesis 9:6)

Pr Adrian: it set a domino effect and it creates a society that heads in that direction so that anything it looks like or smells like or, you know, is anything that could be wrong, kill him!  That's how it becomes, doesn't it?  It's not what happened with the French Revolution?  They just got guillotine happy, and then the leaders of the revolution started dying and getting killed and all that kind of stuff because it just kept going.

Congregation: Like in history where one leader said “kill them all, God knows who are His!”

Pr Adrian: Yes, yes.  That's in the southern part of France in the Albigenses. "God knows who are His.  Kill them all and let God decide those who go to heaven, then they are His."  It's a very interesting thought process.  

Fiona Verse 23 didn't re-emphasize the laying of the hands.  Did they?

Pr Adrian: They didn't lay hands on him.

Fiona It doesn't say [they did].

Pr Adrian: So they didn't listen.

Eddie The end of the verse is also subjective

Pr Adrian:

"So the children of Israel did what the Lord commanded Moses."

Eddie:

"But whosoever kills the man shall be put to death", in verse 21.

Pr Adrian: So they did part of what God said.

Eddie: They just chose what they wanted to hear.

Pr Adrian: What is the sound of bleating in my ear? [referring to Samuel talking to Saul who only partially fulfilled the commands given.]

Congregation: Does it also affect the other one where they we're going to send spies in the land and the Lord spoke for Moses and told him to send spies in, and then later on when …he said the people came near to Him and said, let us send spies.  And he said that's a good idea.  Let's do that.

Congregation – comment about the possibility of Moses writing some of his own thoughts.

Pr Adrian: This is where it gets really dangerous because if we go too far down that track and the Old Testament is just satanic because it's just Moses smoking marijuana and writing the Scriptures and just making it up as he goes along, whatever he thinks, whatever he wants.  That's what some people have proposed to me so we've got to walk a very gentle line here, like, is it Moses writing what he thinks, or, you know what I mean?

Congregation: Some understand it this way.  

Pr Adrian: So I've taken you down an interesting path and some of you starting to getting like, “hey, hang on, I want to get in on this.  I got something to say.”  So let's just go a bit further and then...

Fiona:  Down the garden path.

Pr Adrian: We're down the garden path, all right.  We're like, whoa, what's going on?  So just come a bit further, we've got Numbers 14. 

"And all congregation..."

What's going on in Numbers 14?  All the congregation said to stone them with stones.  Who are we talking about now?  Caleb and Joshua brought back a report.  We were able to go up and take the Promised Land, but all the people said to stone them with stones.  This stoning thing is becoming a problem in Israel. It's appearing in the wrong places and on the wrong side of the ledger and in many situations.

After Numbers, the next real focus comes down to Deuteronomy.  We've got Numbers 35. What's that? 

"If he strikes him with a stone."

That's another story.  But then we come down into Deuteronomy and then we get in the second reading of the law. In the second reading of the law, there's an expansion of the stoning principle and starts to get more [wide spread]. Moses, by this stage, he's had to go through a lot of stuff and deal with a lot of people with a lot of evil.

 

Then we had the Middianite women coming in and seducing the whole nation.  And you know, what are you going to do?  What are you going to do with that kind of stuff?  We come down to Deuteronomy 13 and it says,

"If there arise among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams and he gives you a sign or a wonder of the sign of the one that comes to pass, that which he spoke to you saying let us go off to other gods, which you have not known and let us serve them. You shall not listen to the words of that prophet..."

  And it goes on down as we have it here,

"...and you shall stone him with stones."

If someone is preaching a false God and encouraging you, a prophet, a speaker of God's Word is leading you astray,

"...then you shall stone him with stones."

That's Deuteronomy 13:3 and then Deuteronomy 17:4.  We know we're going a bit further.

"...and it is told you, and you should hear of it, you should inquire diligently. (V5) Then you shall bring out of your gates the man or woman who has committed the wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones."

What are we talking about here?  (V3)

 "...go and serve the other gods."

This is about serving other gods and encouraging people to serve other gods.  They shall be stoned.  Deuteronomy 17.

Deuteronomy 21:19, says, and this is interesting.  Now, this gets really interesting.  So father and mother have got a son that's rebellious and defiant and lazy, and wretched, and stupid. 

"Then his father and his mother shall take hold of him, and bring him to the elder of the city, the gate to the city, and I shall say unto the elders of his city.  This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he's a glutton and a drunkard."

Then it says, “

And all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones, so shall you put away the evil from among you; and all Israel shall hear and fear."

  Well, that's one way of dealing with it.

Congregation: And adolescence.

Pr Adrian: And adolescence.  Children that don't listen.  Right.  Dispatched.

Lorelle There's a whole generation that would just go. 

Pr Adrian: What father or mother would do that to the children?  Let's not answer that question.

Okay. Deuteronomy 22 It is expanding. The stoning penalty is reaching further and further into the community to sort out problems that they've got.  Starts with those with evil spirits.  It goes to those who serve false gods.  Then it's coming down to if your son's lazy and rebellious and defiant, stone him as well.  It's going from the supposedly sublime to the ridiculous.

 

Congregation: Is there any evidence that anyone ever did it?

Pr Adrian: Did what?

Congregation: Stoning someone.

Pr Adrian: No, talking to stoning their children?  I don't know of any evidence of that one occurring.

Then we get into Deuteronomy 22 and it gets down to the real sordid stuff.  If a man is upset with his wife and then he accuses her of when he was married, she wasn't pure.  He comes and, you know, if they find he was lying, he gets chastised. If they find out that what he said is correct, she gets stoned.

Congregation: But doesn't seem quite the same for him.

Pr Adrian: Doesn't that sound fair?  It's getting more and more difficult, okay?  And then the stoning continues.  Deuteronomy 22: 24.  So this has to do with adultery. 

“Then ye shall bring them both out of the gate of the city, and ye shall stone them to death with stones; the young woman because she.."

This is if a woman is being raped and she doesn't cry out, she doesn't defend herself and cry out.  It's a really difficult situation, isn't it?  We had friends who were missionaries in another country and she got assailed by a group of men with knives.  What would happen if she cried out?  She would have died.  So because she didn't cry out, a fairly prominent Adventist leader said, "Well, you did the wrong thing.  You should have cried out." This gets really tough now, and these are friends of ours. This is a real story.

So, if she doesn't cry out, she's going to get stoned.  Then we come further down, there are other things down here where if a man rapes a woman, then she is forced to marry him.  Have you read that in the law?  Do You remember reading that?  If you talk to Richard Dawkins, that's one of his favourite Bible passages. This is your God!   A man can rape a woman and then she has to marry him and live with him, the one that caused all this mental trauma and difficulty, and she has to live with him for the rest of her life.  Is that fair?  There's nothing in that, that's fair whatsoever.  That's completely awful.  It's in the law!   This is why the whole world when you talk about keeping these things, they start pulling out these passages.  "Oh, you believe the Old Testament, you believe the statutes and the law of Moses,” and all these types of things. You would be happy for a woman if she had the misfortune of being overpowered by a man that she would have to live with him for the rest of her life?  Is that the God you serve?  Tell me about your God!  I'm not interested."  Who wouldn't be interested?  Does it make any sense to you?

This is the thing.  Then after that sort of goes on.  You've got all these statements in the Bible, of course, against all of these stoning principles, we have the blessed example of Jesus, which Shane mentioned before.  Jesus shows us how to deal with stoning.  There is so much wisdom!  Isn't Jesus the wisdom of God?  With the wisdom with which He handles these situations, He shows us the whole purpose of the law and how He uses the thinking of men. He meets men where they are in darkness, and He uses that thinking to bring souls to Himself and to give them freedom and forgiveness.  How does God do that?

We read it in John 8.  I mean, if it wasn't for the Life of Jesus, the beautiful example of the Life of Jesus, without that Life, that bright Light that has come into the world, it is impossible for us to understand the Scriptures. John 14:6 

"I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."

Yet all of Christendom has said, "Well, our God is bait and switch," and comes (acting nice).  And they all say, "Well, He showed the nice side of God when He came here the first time, but in the second, you're going to get the other side of God."   That's what we call a bait and switch.  But we'll give you the nice side and bring you in and fall in love with this God that suddenly changes.  Is that what happens to some people when they get married?  Let's not go there.

Congregation: (Laughter)

Pr Adrian: We see in verse 5. 

"Now Moses in the law...",

 they bring this woman.  Why are they bringing this woman to Jesus?  What is the basis upon which they are bringing this woman to Jesus?  The law of Moses is the instrument by which she is being brought to Jesus.  If the Law of Moses had not said this, they would not be bringing her to Him. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Congregation: It was both on this occasion.

Pr Adrian: Being brought to Jesus, it's a good thing.  "The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to..."

Congregation: "...Christ."

Pr Adrian: Even the enemies of Christ are serving Him and bringing this woman to Him.  Well, we can only conjecture that not every woman was brought to Jesus, but they were brought to justice as man understands it. 

"Now, Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what do you say?"

  This is where it gets interesting.  And Jesus doesn't say,

"You have heard it said of old Moses said these things, but Moses didn't understand the truth, he doesn't understand my character, so don't listen to Moses."

  That's one way of dealing with it.  But what does He say? Well, He says nothing at first, He ignores them, apparently.  He keeps writing down and they keep asking him, he raised himself up and said,

"He who is without sin among you, let him first throw a stone at her."

You could see them like, "Oh, hang on."  "He who is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her."  He doesn't do away with the law of Moses. The law of Moses is the very instrument that has brought this woman to Himself.  Is this woman carrying a load of guilt?  Does she need to get rid of it?  Where does she need to come to?  Jesus.  So everything's going according to plan. They brought her there!  Praise the Lord!  Where is the man?  When we ask that question, where is the man? What are we hoping for?

Congregation: Here he is.

Pr Adrian: Double for him.  The coward.  Do the cowardly act and then let her take the consequences.  Isn't that what Adam did in the beginning?  But racing ahead to the footnote of that particular story, this woman will be in heaven, the man will not.  Most likely.  Maybe he got saved later on. Maybe he turned around.  Maybe he got maybe, maybe, maybe.  But based on this story, he's not going there.  So who wins?  The woman.

Congregation: Jesus.

Pr Adrian: Yes, Jesus, in her case, loses in the case of the man.  Based on this story, I'm hoping.  I'm not willing that he should perish, but all come to repentance.  So I'm hoping he came around….raced down and told him the good news, and he repented and gave his heart to Jesus. Hallelujah!  That'd be great!

Congregation: He had guilt.

Pr Adrian: They had to get rid of the guilt somehow.  But the men that walked away, had greater guilt than she did.  Then we come to the punchline of the story.  When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, V 10-11 

“He said to her, Woman, where are those thine accusers?  Hath no one condemned you?"

 No one including yourself. 

"She said, no one Lord.  And He said, neither do I condemn you: go and say no more."

The purpose of the law is fulfilled.  The law has done its work.  The conviction of sin, the penalty that was annexed to the law has done its work. Jesus uses the thinking of men, as in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus to make a point and to bring this woman through into grace much more abounding.

Inaudible comment…

…The difference between that and what I was saying to Ian before is that if we only said that we'd be in big trouble.  But it is the thoughts of men and I won't say Moses specifically, but probably included, filtered through the mirror of God's character and coming back to him. Because they ask what is the mind of the Lord?  The mind of the Lord was to reveal to man what he is thinking. God speaks that which will cause the sin of man to abound.  God is speaking to Man about what the problem is, and we can't leave that piece out because if we leave that piece out, then the Old Testament is satanic.  That's the key piece of the puzzle that we know that God is speaking, as Christ is speaking, and meeting man where he is in the darkness and speaking in the darkness, the light of truth.  And that's such a pivotal point to understand, because the alternative is, "Well, Moses is just lost, don't worry about Moses, it's all waste of time."

But if you don't have Moses, the woman never would have ended up at Jesus' feet.  It's like, don't worry about it.  The law is nailed to the Cross, Moses is all gone and we can just all sin until Jesus comes and don't worry about it.  That's what happens.  It's like love, love, love.  We all love, and we're all going to heaven.  Everything's going to be great, but that's not reality.

There's this connection between Man having this within himself, and let me put it this way, I'm glad you're pointing on this Ian. Because the heart of man is deceitfully wicked, desperately about all things, (Jeremiah 17:9)  would he ever admit that he thinks this unless God said it to him?

Lorelle: So Jesus to the lady. "He that is without sin.

Pr Adrian: He that is without sin, let him first cast a stone at her.

Yes. I'm sorry. for those online who can't hear all this, I'm trying to summarize what you're saying.

…Very good.  What is actually written in the law is a reflection of God's character and what is actually reflected in the law is that of man's character.  Very simple, the character of Jesus Christ is that's the dividing line to knowing what is reflecting man's character, and what is reflecting God's character.  But in every case, God is the One that's speaking it.  God is the One that is speaking it because He is, as, in the case of Jesus, He is the faithful witness. What does Romans 3:19 tell us? 

"Now we know whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped."

What does that mean?  Silence. You're guilty.  Be quiet.  The law does this work to silence you, because you have to admit before the law that, "Yeah, I'm guilty."

Until God is the one that picks up your thoughts and brings them back to you, you will never admit them.  It has to go through the law, has to go through God.  He has to pick up your thoughts and speak them to you.  Just as in the story and in the Spirit of Prophecy, it is written that God had to take the trembling hand of Adam with a knife and lead him to help him, to strengthen him, to kill that lamb.  Why is He doing this?  Why is He helping Adam to kill the lamb?  Because the desire to kill is in Adam but he doesn't want to admit this.  God has to help him to bring him to see what is inside of himself.  To show him what is inside of him because He didn't want to kill that lamb, He made that beautiful little lamb.  He didn't want it to die but He had to help Adam to bring it out in the open to make sin abound, so that grace might much more abound.  Without a correct diagnosis, you don't get a remedy, but God has to help us by allowing our sin to abound. Romans 5:20 

"For where sin abounds, grace does much more abound."

 It's a very delicate process.

The only way we can tell the difference, as I said, between when the law is speaking of God's character and my character is the character of Jesus Christ.  That's why the law is a mirror, both of God's character and of man's character within the one document.  It's sheer brilliance.  It's the most wonderful document that could ever be crafted to meet the needs of sinful human beings in this case.

It's not just the thoughts of Moses.  It's not just the thoughts of man.  It is God bringing to man the reality of himself and speaking it back to him. This becomes part of the law.  This is really important ground that we're breaking here with this particular [point] because we've got to lay it out carefully.  We can't go too far left or too far to the right in terms of what, you know, like some of the things you see that Moses does in the Old Testament, just like, "Oh, Moses..."  And yet Moses is the one that says, "Take my life!"  He was willing to give his life.  It's always easy for those that have to stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before them to judge those of the past by the light that they have given you.

It's really…like pulling down the statue of Captain Cook and defacing him as an evil man.  Should we judge him by today or he's a man of his time and all these sorts of things? They're interesting questions, and I don't want to go too far into that tonight.

If we look at all these statements about stoning people, God is in this process and there are a number of functions in the law that are as occurring here. One of them is He's reflecting man's judgment system of how to deal with these problems, He's reflecting it back to us. But He's also using that judgment system to bring conviction of sin upon people, to bring them to repentance.  These are the two aspects of the law. 

It should be a wrestle on your mind because as Jesus said to the men when they were ready to do this,

"He that is without sin, let him first cast the stone."

  It's like, "Oh, hang on."  And then it's like, "Actually, lady, could you just move over?  I need to kneel down.  And I'm sorry, Lord, I'm really, really sorry."  That was what He would hope that those men would do in that particular situation.

Bill: So He would have laid His hand on the person.

Pr Adrian: Yeah.  Lay hands on them. Thank you, Bill.  Yes….

That's right.  That part's been neglected.  Can you see how that the Old Testament, in talking about this stoning and this is the text that we want to get to?  Ezekiel 20, starting from verse 23.

"I lifted up my hand onto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, to disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed my judgment, but had despised my statutes, and polluted my Sabbath, and their eyes were after their father's idols."

Because of this, what happened?

 "Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good...,"

What are statutes that are not good?

"... and judgments whereby they should not live."

 And what are the judgments by which man could not live?

Congregation: Stoning.

Pr Adrian: The stoning!  It's telling you that the judgments by which man could not live are the judgments which are not good.  The ones that were not good came because they would not do His statutes and His judgments, but hardened their hearts and did their own thing.  So, God gave to them their idols, their father's idols, which was like in Egypt to stone those who blaspheme their god. God gives to them what they want in His anger by allowing them to have these things.  

"And I polluted them in their own gifts, and that they caused to pass through the fire all that opened up the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end they might know that I am the LORD."

Huh?  How do they get to know that He is the Lord?  How many of us when we got to the bottom of the barrel and we've experienced the sinfulness of sin, and the guilt and the sorrow and the anguish, and suddenly we like in the pigpen, like, "Lord, I'm coming home",

"...that they may know that I'm the LORD"

Because His mercy, it doesn't matter how far down the path you go, His mercy is always available to you.  And this is how we unravel the stoning commandment.  This is the text that tells you why stoning came in and how it came about. Ezekiel 20:23,24,25.

That through all the Old Testament, you need to apply the same principle that Jesus applied in telling the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. Because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) The way He dealt with the Israelites is exactly the way He dealt with the Jews in the time when Christ came to this earth, and in speaking the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. Let's just read that again.

C0L 263 (Christ Object Lessons)

"In this parable, Christ is meeting the people on their own ground."

  I would like to insert there 'in the law of Moses, Christ is meeting the people on their own ground.'  Is that fair?  "The doctrine of a conscious state of existence." 'The doctrine of stoning people to death "...was held by many of those who were listening to Christ's words."  The same principle. 

"The Savior knew of their ideas, and He framed His parable so as to inculcate important truths through these preconceived opinions."

What is this process? 

"He held up before His hearers a mirror."

  This is the definition of the mirror. 

"...wherein the might see themselves in the true relation to God."

This is how the Law of Moses is a mirror.  It takes their preconceived opinion. He speaks to them in the darkness. He speaks to them their own thinking so that they may know, as it says, their true relation to God.  What did it say in Ezekiel?  What did we read? 

"That they might know that I am the LORD."

This is really important stuff.  If we're going to stand up for the Law of Moses and say that we believe in the Law of Moses, you've got to be able to answer the stoning question and this is how I understand the stoning question.

You can think of all those commandments to deal with stoning and killing and what to do when a man rapes a woman and does all these things.  Jesus is telling the same parable, the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus.  He's meeting them where they are to try and draw them into a better understanding.  He's causing sin to abound, that grace might much more abound. When you see the law of Moses in that context, the Bible becomes really beautiful, I believe. Can you see it?  Does it make sense?  Is it solid?  You're ready for bed? Everyone's processing.

I find this to be fantastic!  It's finally, of course, Jesus Christ, the same, and He's using the same method, He's doing the same thing, He's operating the same way, and He's meeting the people where they're at.  I was trying to work this out in my mind because I'm tempted, you know, like Moses, that's just what Moses thinks.  I'm going, No, no, no, no, no.  It's not just what Moses thinks.  It's God speaking to them because they asked what is the mind of the Lord?  And the mind says, "Take him out and stone him."  Why does it say that?  It didn't say ask Moses and ask the mind of Moses, no, ask the mind of God.  Why is God saying this?  Because He is speaking back to them about what's in their hearts because they would never admit it unless He said it to them.  It's framed as a command.

Congregation: Destroy this temple. (John 2:19)

Pr Adrian: Yes.  Destroy this temple. Not if you destroy this temple because it has to be framed as a command.  Because IF is an option, then it's like, well, you think that but no, we don't think that.  We're going to hide in our darkness and pretend that it's not us, but when it's a command, there's no way to go.  You can't escape.

So I hope that's been of benefit to you in thinking about these things.  We have to wrestle with these things because people will come and say, "Oh, you keep the feast, do you?  Do you stone people?  Why don't you stone people?

Lorelle Well, like in America, they said the only reason we don't stone is that our governments wouldn't allow it.

Pr Adrian: Yes. Thank God for pagan governments.

Lorelle Yes, yes.

Pr Adrian: Yes. That's the same as what the Jews said to Pilate. We can't stone Him.  We can't kill Him.  Again, this is going to become very important, because when the Christian world rouses itself, because the Christian world is laden with sin and iniquity, because of a wrong understanding of the Gospel, and now they have a righteous cause because the pagans and the evil men of this world are now killing all our children, sending them to hell.  Now we have a righteous cause to rise up and a fight, and to throw these people off, and to send them into oblivion.  We're going to call all the texts about stoning people, hanging people high.  That's where it's going, isn't it?  There's a lot of anger that's starting to be mustered, a lot of righteous indignation.  Crusades are just around the corner to purge the earth of the... Clean the swamp of all these people.  Drain the swamp with Trump at the head. Oh, my; it's going to be interesting.  So we’ll pray.

Father in Heaven.  We just thank You.  Thank You for helping us to go line upon line, precept upon precept to put the pieces together to see how this works and to explain why stoning is not part of Your character.  It's part of man's character.  But You have to point it out to us, and that's why it's in the law.  Help us, Father, to put these things, to study these things, to get them clear in our minds as to what is going on and how this connects to the Gospel.  It's important to put these pieces together.  We have to present this to people. We have to present it succinctly.  And we thank You for Ezekiel 20:24, 23, 24, 25.  That shows us exactly what's going on and why these statutes, which were not good came.  Why did they come and how the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, how this explains how You speak in the darkness to men that are in darkness that You might bring us into the light.  Give us a good night of rest tonight we pray, and we thank You in Jesus' name.  Amen.