Sometimes we hear or read something and say to ourselves, I remember hearing or reading that 20 years ago or more. Some of what we heard is true today.
[Jim Kocher] Many times you see something in a newspaper article or you see something on a… hear something on a radio or a printing of something and it kind of comes back to the forefront years later. I'm sure some of you have seen that before where “Boy, that really applies too today. I saw that 20 years ago. I heard that 20, 30, 40 years ago.”
I'd like to read you something that has been in print recently. It's a reprint and also in other publications. And it is from 1965, Paul Harvey, and it's titled, If I Were the Devil. And I'm going to just read you a few portions of that. "If I were the Prince of Darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness… I'd subvert the churches first. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whisper to Eve: 'Do as you please.’ To the young, I would whisper that the Bible was a myth. I would convince the children that man created God instead of the other way around. I'd confide that what's bad is good and what's good is ‘square.’" Remember that term? Square. "Oh, that's square.” “And the old, I would teach to pray after me: 'Our Father which are in Washington.’… I'd peddle narcotics to whom I could. I'd sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I'd tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the Devil, I'd soon have families at war with themselves, with their churches, and with nations at war with each other.”
Moving down further through the article to certain sections, "If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects but neglect to discipline emotions. I'd tell teachers to let the students run wild… Within a decade, I'd have prisons overflowing and judges promoting pornography. Soon I would evict God from the courthouse, and the schoolhouse, and then the houses of Congress… If I were the Devil, I'd take from those who have and give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of ambition. What do you bet I could even get whole states to promote gambling as a way to get rich."
And I'm sure you've seen that. "I'd convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, and what you see on television is the way to be and thus I could undress you in public and lure you into bed with diseases for which there are no cures. In other words, if I were the Devil, I just keep right on doing what he's doing." 1965.
I retired from full time teaching in a small rural Eastern Ohio School. And there's a little newspaper we used to get every week. And this is a poem speaking to young people in schools and the pressures they have in today's society. So, poem, it's by an unknown student but it was printed in the local newspaper. It's called the "New School Prayer."
"Now I sit me down in school where praying is against the rule for this great nation under God finds mention of Him very odd. If Scripture now the class recites, it violates the Bill of Rights. And anytime my head is bow becomes a Federal matter now. Our hair can be purple, green or orange, that's no offense; it's a freedom scene. The law is specific, the law is precise, prayer spoken aloud are a serious vice. For praying in a public hall might offend someone with no faith at all. In silence alone we must meditate, God's name is prohibited by the state. We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks, and pierce our noses; tongues and cheeks. They've outlawed guns, but first the Bible. To quote the Good Book, makes me liable. We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen, and an 'unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.” Senior Queen, senior King.
“It's ‘inappropriate’ to teach right from wrong. We're taught that such ‘judgments’ do not belong. We can get our condoms and birth control, study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles. But the Ten Commandments are not allowed, no word of God must reach this crowd. It's scary here I must confess, when chaos reigns the school's a mess."
So this was written in 1985, 20 years after Paul Harvey's dialogue. So you can see that evil has been going on a long time. And the number one bad guy who influences our society, of course, is Satan, the devil. A lot of evil has been going on recently with the rioting, scandals, and then just most recently, the terrible shootings in Las Vegas.
And Satan has been deceiving human nature from the beginning of time, but we are here, we are here today and throughout this Feast of Tabernacles around the world, to picture a time when God and Jesus Christ will be changing human nature. So that's your title, "Changing Human Nature." Let's go back about 6,000 years just to see where this all started. You know where I'm going, right?
Many of you people been around the church a long time. Remember the two trees. Let's go back to Genesis 2. And we're going to start in verse 15. Of course, the setting here is the Garden of Eden. Verse 15 of Genesis 2, "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend, to cultivate it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat but…’” now, that's a big word, isn't it? “But," have you ever told your children that? "You can do this, but you can't do that." "You can eat of every tree but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in that day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Of course, God saw that it was not good that man should be alone. So He made him a helper and of course, that was Eve, someone to be comparable to him. Adam was given the opportunity to label, name all the animals in the Garden of Eden to give them names. He followed exactly what God had told him. Everything is going really well. And then, of course, God took in verse 22, a rib from Adam and made Eve so he could have a companion in life. And everything was going really, really well. But uh-oh, look at chapter 3.
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree in the garden?”’ And a woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, “You shall not eat, nor you should not touch it, lest you die.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. Come on. Really? You got to be kidding, right? Why would that nice, beautiful tree cause you to die? For God knows that in the day that you eat of your trees your eyes will be open and you will be like God knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw the tree was good for food, it was pleasant for the eyes and the tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit.” So she was deceived by the sales pitch of the talking snake. And, of course, and she gave it to her husband, and he named all the animals so that's even more puzzling and he took from the tree as well.
And of course, you know the rest of the story. They felt guilty as God came and talked to them. And because they disobeyed, didn't follow God's instruction, “God said, 'You are cursed more than all cattle,” on verse 14, I'm sorry. He said, “You will be cursed,” and then he told the serpent, “You'll be cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast on the field.'" And this is interesting right here.
This is actually a prophecy in Genesis 3:15 Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
American King James Version×. “Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed;” referring to “your seed” as the followers of the devil and “her Seed,” Jesus Christ as capitalized on my New King James Version. “He shall bruise your head,” speaking of Christ, “and you shall bruise His heel.” So Christ will, it's prophesied that He will overcome, He will smash or bruise the head of the serpent, even though He may be bruised temporarily. We'll talk more about that later.
And this continued on for 1,650 years. Of course, you know, in the days of Noah, God reached the point where He was so sad that He had created humankind that He said that I am just so sorry, verse 6, Genesis 6. “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was grieved.” So He decided to send the flood to destroy everyone but Noah and his family, eight people, and that was 1,650 years. And eventually, all the thoughts of mankind had become wicked or evil continually. That's how bad society had gotten by the time of Noah, Noah's time. So you can see that over 6,000 years this has been a habit, that Satan the devil has influenced human nature into doing wrongdoing, to doing evil. Everybody has caved into this at one time or another except one, Jesus Christ.
He set the perfect example. Let's look at Luke 4 now. Luke 4:1 Luke 4:1And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
American King James Version×going over to the New Testament. How many of you have checked out this ancestry.com site or genealogy sites? A good many of you have. We've been wanting to do that. We know a little bit about our family background. But this, if you look at the end of Luke 3, and actually before we get into chapter 4, this is Christ’s ancestry.com. If you want to label it that way, ancestry.com because it's in reverse order. And it goes back of course through… of course, His parents were Joseph and Mary and goes on back through the time of David and Ruth and Jacob and Noah and so on, go back to Adam. So it's His ancestry.com listed in reverse order. Let's look at chapter 4 verse 1.
"Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterwards, when they had ended, He was hungry." I always think about this when we're observing the Day of Atonement. One day is nothing compared to the 40. But then the devil came back to and tried to tempt Him. And you know the story. I'm going to paraphrase a little bit but in verse 4, it says, "Jesus answered the devil and said, 'It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”' Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” Thinking about going up on some of these mountains here, Mount Hood and The Sisters and some of the other ones here and looking out, and the devil promising you everything.
“The devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and in their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if you will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then Satan tried again to deceive Him. And he wanted Him to jump down off of the temple wall and say, "Oh, the angels will protect You, lest You dash Your foot on a stone."
“And Jesus said” in verse 12, “and said to him, ‘It has been said, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”' Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” And you know that came after that, with Christ's crucifixion. So you can see that Jesus Christ set the perfect example. He never caved into a deception of His human nature. He was in human form. He followed His Father's commands. He put on the divine nature of His Father, Jesus Christ. He never caved into the wicked side, the dark side. And He was a perfect example of how we should be, our human nature should be in our life as we follow our calling. Let's look at John, and just go over one book in the New Testament, to John 8:42 John 8:42Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
American King James Version×. John 8 and we're going to start in verse 42. Many of you familiar with this, about the Pharisees giving Jesus Christ a hard time. And let's break in right here in verse 42.
“And Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.’" And going down to verse 44. This is an accusation. And He tells the Pharisees, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."
So, because they didn't believe Him, they caved in to their carnal nature. They were deceived totally believing He was the Messiah. Let's look at chapter 17 of John. We read this passage many times if not always at Passover service, John 17:15 John 17:15I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.
American King James Version×. Jesus Christ was quite aware of human nature with the people He dealt with and He also prayed for His disciples.
John 17:15 John 17:15I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.
American King James Version×, "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They're not of the world, just as I am out of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Set them apart by Your truth. Your word is truth." Verse 18, "As you sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. And I do not pray for these alone,” verse 20, “but also for those who believe in Me through their word;” that carries on to our time.
So Christ prayer was not only for his disciples but for those that would follow to keep the evil one from deceiving them. And then finally, and one more reference in John. Let's go back to chapter 12. John 12. And, excuse me, we're going to look at verse 27. This was just before the crucifixion. They're trying to go after Lazarus and also Jesus Christ at this time. They wanted to kill both of them. Of course, He had resurrected Lazarus from the dead, His friend. Look at verse 23, John 12:23 John 12:23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
American King James Version×.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.’” Going down to verse 26, "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor." Then He said, "Now My soul was troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour.’" He was human. And He just asked God to save Him from that hour, but He knew that it had to be finished.
"But for this purpose, I came to this hour." So just being human, He would obviously not want to have to go through that. And He realized that even though He made the comment, "Saved Me from this," He said, "But for this purpose, I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name."
And looking down at verse 31. This is a very powerful statement. "Now, is this judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out." At that point when He made it, when He never caved in and with His human nature to do things that were evil or wrong, and always did good, that was the beginning of the end for Satan the devil, the beginning of the end started right there.
When Jesus finished His work as a perfect example it started the beginning of the end for Satan. Christ stood up against evil and defeated it with good. Edmund Burke, a British historian from the 1700s said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. We must triumph with good. We must do something."
And on the lighter side, that reminds me of a joke that I wanted to tell you. It seems that back in the Middle Ages, there was a young fella who wanted to become a monk. And he went to the monastery and talked to the head priest or the head monk there and said, "I want to devote my life to serving God and the church." And he says, "Okay. Well, it's got to be a very rigid life. You have to stay in this little confined corner, you know, you just have very limited resources to work with. You have to work all day in the fields. You have to pray and you have to study, and stay by yourself."
Now you come back in a month and check in with me. So he did this, followed this regimentation. And he came back in a month and the head monk asked the young fella, he said, "Okay, I'm going to give you two words. Tell me how it's going in two words." He thought for a minute and he said, "Hard bed." "So he said, Well, I think you need to go out there and you just really need to work at this a lot longer. I don't like your attitude."
So he did the same regimentation for another month and he came back and he's like, okay, now what do you have to say for yourself this time? And he said, "Bad food." And the head monk said, "Oh, you need more training, go back there again and do all this and I'll see you in a month."
So after three months, he came back and he said, "All right, young fella. What do you have to say for you this time after three months of this? And he thought for a minute and he said, I quit." And the head monk said, "Well, that you know, that doesn't surprise me. All you've done ever since you've been there is complain." So six words of complaining. But you know, we can't quit. We can never quit.
This young monk did, he couldn't take it. And we've had hard times. We've had to follow regimentation, haven't we? And the regimentation is following God's Word, His truth, His knowledge, keeping His Holy Day and His Sabbath, setting an example at school, setting an example at work. So that's our mission. That's our mission, is to never quit. And we have to triumph with good.
The church has a booklet that came out a few years ago. It's called Transforming Your Life. How many have seen that booklet or have that booklet? Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion. I just want to go over a few points, three points. Brief points in that. The first one is it brings out our selfish fleshy desires often get us in trouble. They often get us in trouble.
Of course, Paul describes this in Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×, the works of the flesh. They often get us in trouble. The second area talks about human nature is our natural deviousness including self-deception. We deceive ourselves, don't we? Just as the Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
American King James Version×says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and wicked." And of course, in Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×talks about the way that seems right. We think we're right in our own eyes and that gets us in trouble.
"My way, my way's not bad. I think I could follow my way. It doesn't have to always be God's way." And of course, the third thing as that book brought out was we have a natural tendency to resent having our desires limited by rules. People don't like to follow the rules. And we've seen this today. I mean, we have people rioting and protesting and complaining and not following the rules. It's unbelievable. We live in a society when I was a kid my parents used to tell me, you know, "Jim, two wrongs don't make a right. So somebody wrongs you, you don't do another wrong.”
In our society, it's like they think it's 2,000 or 2 million wrongs make a right, that's how bad it is. It's just a vicious cycle. So we need to realize that the rules especially God sets up are for our own good. At the end of that segment in the book, it turns us to Romans 8:5 Romans 8:5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
American King James Version×. Let's take a look there, Romans 8:5 Romans 8:5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
American King James Version×. A very powerful section of reading by the apostle Paul. Romans 8:5 Romans 8:5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
American King James Version×.
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Verse 8, "So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” And then continuing in verse 13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many that are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons and daughters of God."
So we need to follow this advice, to put away our fleshly desires and weaknesses. And you know the devil, you probably heard the old phrase, Flip Wilson, how many remember Flip Wilson, the comedian? He would have this phrase is, "Oh, the devil made me do it. The devil made me do it." But the devil doesn't make us do it. He doesn't force us, he deceives us into doing things. He deceives us. He influences us.
Of course, Paul made many references about Satan being the god of this world, the prince and the power of the air. And while you know he's going to be taken out, the prince and the power of the air, the god of this world is going to be taken out and we look forward to that day. And I'm sure there was a lot of reference to this on the Day of Atonement last week.
Of course, in Revelation 20, I love this scripture. Let's look at Revelation 20:1 Revelation 20:1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
American King James Version×. It gives us so much hope. Revelation 20:1 Revelation 20:1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
American King James Version×. And as I mentioned, this is probably mentioned on, I'm sure on Atonement, repetitions a good teacher, though. "Then I saw an angel coming down from the heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he could not deceive the nations no more till thousand years were finished.”
Can you imagine the bottomless pit, something pitch black? Before I got into school teaching, I was an underground coal miner for about 14 years. And you turn your light out on your hard hat and there's no equipment, it is pitch black. I was discussing this with Mike Iiams earlier. And you actually deceive yourself thinking you can see your hand, but you really can't. So imagine him being put in a bottomless pit, how much turmoil, how much of a punishment that will be for 1,000 years.
So I hope it's pitch black. But that's what he deserves. He's been the murder and liar throughout society. Now, once this occurs the Millennium will begin in earnest. Without Satan's influence, it will be easier to overcome carnal human nature. We won't have a magic wand and we just go poof, and everything's taken care of. It'll be a little rough around the edges at first until more and more people know God's ways.
Let's look at Ezekiel 36 and see how will God and Jesus Christ accomplish this, as we go to our main point that we want to drive home here the last few minutes. How will God and Jesus Christ accomplish changing human nature? Ezekiel 36. And we're going to begin in verse 23. “'And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,’ says the Lord God, ‘when I'm hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all the countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean. And I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols. I will give you a new heart and a new spirit,’” different from human nature, different from carnal human nature.
“I will take the stone out of your heart, out of your flesh. I will give you a heart of flesh.” It won't be a hard, cold, stony heart, it'll be a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” So a new spirit will be given to the people. They'll want to follow God's ways. There won't be any influenced by Satan, the devil. This will be a miraculous change in human beings.
Let's continue in verse 31 of the same chapter of Ezekiel 36. "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds and that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves.” You will despise yourself. This will be a time of repentance. People will see where they went wrong and be sorry for it. And God will bless them for that."
Verse 33 "Thus says the Lord God, ‘On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt… This land that was desolate,” verse 35, “has become like the garden of Eden,” the Garden of Eden. Wow. “And the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited."
So what a blessing that's going to be that God is going to provide for people that repent, they're sorry. He gives them a new spirit. He gives them His mind. Satan's out of the picture. The ultimate bad guy is put away. It will be easier and easier to learn God's ways without all that deception and deceit going on. And in Ezekiel 37 it talks about in verse 24, you're familiar with this, David will rule as a king.
So David was a man after God's own heart, and he is going to rule as king at that time under Jesus Christ and God's leadership. Let's look at Jeremiah 23 as we wrap this up. Jeremiah 23 for another promise that God has given us in His beautiful, beautiful Holy Book, the Bible. Jeremiah 23, just back a little ways from Ezekiel.
Jeremiah 23:3 Jeremiah 23:3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
American King James Version×, we talked about David being king and being a shepherd over the people but look at this right here. I thought this was quite interesting. "But I will gather the remnants of My flock out from out of the countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.” Similar what we read in Ezekiel. But look at verse 4, Jeremiah 23:4 Jeremiah 23:4And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, said the LORD.
American King James Version×.
"I will set up shepherds,” plural, “shepherds over them who will feed them;” teach them, “‘and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,’ says the Lord.” Those shepherds, plural, are you and I, are all the people that God is working with right now. We'll have a chance to be those shepherds, to teach these people, to help them become converted, to throw away any weaknesses from human nature as they put on the divine nature of God through His Holy Spirit.
Yes, there will be a few people that might be stubborn for a little while. And let's end as our final scripture. Let's look at Zechariah 14. Many of you are quite familiar with this, Zechariah 14:16 Zechariah 14:16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
American King James Version×, We'll be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles with millions and millions of people in the Millennium. “And it shall come to pass that everyone who was left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be whichever the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.”
No rain, no rain. That's scary when you don't have any rain. We saw what happened to the fires here. Thankfully some rains came in and put those out. They can be devastating when you have a drought, no crops. It says if this is an example. “If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plagues with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of all nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” So there'll be no question who's in charge. They'll be no question of what the consequences are of not following God's commands and His Holy Days.
And people will learn quickly. It won't take long. God means business. This is the right way to go. And as more and more of us shepherds teach people, and more and more people become converted and put on good, godly human nature as opposed to carnal, things will get better and better in time with each generation.
So, in conclusion, we just have to realize that we have to hang in there. We have to fight obviously satan's deception. We have to fight our weaknesses, our human weaknesses, we have to continue to become less and less carnal-minded, we need to become more and more godly-minded. Set the example as I mentioned to our coworkers at work, to our friends in school for you young people, and also to our neighbors, and for the rest of our families as well. So, let's really strive to work on changing from evil to good so that we can be a part of this future time in changing human nature.