February 27 — March 4
Memory Verse: “I have sent also unto you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto Me.” Jeremiah 35: 15.
Study Help: Early Writings, pages 229 – 258.
Introduction: “Preachers and people have looked upon the book of Revelation as mysterious and of less importance than other portions of the Sacred Scriptures. But I saw that this book is indeed a revelation given for the especial benefit of those who should live in the last days, to guide them in ascertaining their true position and their duty.” Early Writings, 231.
“We are on our way to the city of God, and the perils of the last days are all about us. The path we are climbing is narrow and dangerous, and we do not want to make any false steps. At such a time as this, a faithful guide is as necessary to us as to the mountain-climbers, and such a guide is provided for us in the word of God.” Signs of the Times, December 10,1885.
“My brethren and sisters, do not allow trifling things to absorb your time and attention. Keep your mind on the glorious themes of the Word of God. A study of these themes will give you a strength that will carry you through the trials and difficulties of the last days, and bring you to where you will walk with Christ in white, because you are worthy. In the Word of God, studied and obeyed, we possess a spiritual guide and instructor by which the worst forms of evil in ourselves may be brought under the discipline of His law. If the teachings of this Word were made the controlling influence in our lives, if mind and heart were brought under its restraining power, the evils that now exist in churches and in families would find no place. Upon converted households the purest blessings would descend, and from these households an influence would go forth that would make God’s people a power on the side of truth.” Review and Herald, November 24, 1904.
1. THE FOUNDATION ON A ROCK
- What is to be the foundation of the Christian’s faith? Luke 6: 47 – 48
NOTE: “The time has come when we must know for ourselves why we believe as we do. We must stand for God and for the truth, against a reckless, unbelieving generation. The man who has once known the way of life, and has turned from the convictions of his own heart to the sophistry of Satan, will be more inaccessible and more unimpressible than he who has never tasted the love of Christ. He will be wise to do evil. He has bound himself to Satan, even against light and knowledge. I say to my brethren: Your only hope is in God. We must be clothed with Christ’s righteousness if we would withstand the prevailing impiety. We must show our faith by our works. Let us lay up for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life.” Testimonies Volume 4, 596, 597.
“Our hope is to be constantly strengthened by the knowledge that Christ is our righteousness. Let our faith rest upon this foundation, for it will stand fast forever. Instead of dwelling upon the darkness of Satan and fearing his power, we should open our hearts to receive light from Christ and to let it shine forth to the world, declaring that He is above all the power of Satan, that His sustaining arm will support all who trust in Him.” Testimonies Volume 5, 742.
“God’s Word should be received as the foundation and the finisher of our faith. It is to be received with the understanding and with the whole heart; it is life and is to be incorporated into our very existence. Thus received, the Word of God will humble man at the footstool of mercy and separate him from every corrupting influence.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 374.
- What will be the fate of those who are merely hearers of God’s Word but do not put into practice the things they have heard? Luke 6: 49
NOTE: “The reason why our people have not more power is that they profess the truth, but do not practice it. They have but little faith and trust in God. There are but few who bear the burdens connected with His work. The Lord claims the strength of brain, bone, and muscle; but it is too often withheld from Him and given to the world. The service of God is made a secondary matter, while worldly interests receive prompt attention. Thus things of minor consequence are made important, while the requirements of God, things spiritual and eternal, are treated in an indifferent manner, as something which may be taken up at will and let alone at pleasure. If the mind were stayed upon God and the truth exerted a sanctifying influence upon the heart, self would be hid in Christ. If we realize the importance of the truth which we profess to believe we should feel that we have a sacred mission to fulfil, a responsibility involving eternal results. All temporal interests would yield to this.” Testimonies Volume 4, 613, 614.
2. THE PROPHETS HAVE INQUIRED AND SEARCHED DILIGENTLY
- How are we shown that the prophets themselves did not always fully understand the things revealed to them? 1 Peter 1: 10 – 12
NOTE: “The prophets to whom these great scenes were revealed longed to understand their import. They ‘inquired and searched diligently: . . searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify. . . . Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you; . . . which things the angels desire to look into.’ 1 Peter 1:10-12. To us who are standing on the very verge of their fulfillment, of what deep moment, what living interest, are these delineations of the things to come.” Education, 183.
“Yet while it was not given to the prophets to understand fully the things revealed to them, they earnestly sought to obtain all the light which God had been pleased to make manifest. They ‘inquired and searched diligently,’ ‘searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.’ What a lesson to the people of God in the Christian age, for whose benefit these prophecies were given to His servants! ‘Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister.’ Witness those holy men of God as they ‘inquired and searched diligently’ concerning revelations given them for generations that were yet unborn. Contrast their holy zeal with the listless unconcern with which the favored ones of later ages treat this gift of Heaven. What a rebuke to the ease-loving, world-loving indifference which is content to declare that the prophecies cannot be understood!” Great Controversy, 344.
- What example are we given of a prophet who did not fully understand the things revealed to him and his search for enlightenment? Daniel 8: 13 – 14, 27, 9: 2 – 3, 17
NOTE: “Not all was made clear to the prophet. ‘My cogitations much troubled me,’ he wrote of his experience at the time, ‘and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.’ Daniel 7:28. Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard ‘one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?’ Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed’ (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God’s sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, ‘The vision . . . shall be for many days,’ he fainted away. ‘I Daniel fainted,’ he records of his experience, ‘and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.’ Verses 26, 27. Still burdened in behalf of Israel, Daniel studied anew the prophecies of Jeremiah. They were very plain, so plain that he understood by these testimonies recorded in books ‘the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.’ Daniel 9:2. With faith founded on the sure word of prophecy, Daniel pleaded with the Lord for the speedy fulfillment of these promises. He pleaded for the honor of God to be preserved. In his petition he identified himself fully with those who had fallen short of the divine purpose, confessing their sins as his own. ‘I set my face unto the Lord God,’ the prophet declared, ‘to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession.’ Verses 3, 4. Though Daniel had long been in the service of God, and had been spoken of by heaven as ‘greatly beloved,’ yet he now appeared before God as a sinner, urging the great need of the people he loved. His prayer was eloquent in its simplicity, and intensely earnest.” Prophets and Kings, 553-555.
3. WHILES I WAS SPEAKING IN PRAYER
- How did God answer his prayer? Daniel 9: 20 – 23
NOTE: “As Daniel’s prayer is going forth, the angel Gabriel comes sweeping down from the heavenly courts to tell him that his petitions are heard and answered. This mighty angel has been commissioned to give him skill and understanding, to open before him the mysteries of future ages. Thus, while earnestly seeking to know and understand the truth, Daniel was brought into communion with Heaven’s delegated messenger. In answer to his petition, Daniel received not only the light and truth which he and his people most needed, but a view of the great events of the future, even to the advent of the world’s Redeemer. Those who claim to be sanctified, while they have no desire to search the Scriptures or to wrestle with God in prayer for a clearer understanding of Bible truth, know not what true sanctification is. Daniel talked with God. Heaven was opened before him. But the high honors granted him were the result of humiliation and earnest seeking. All who believe with the heart the Word of God will hunger and thirst for a knowledge of His will. God is the author of truth. He enlightens the darkened understanding and gives to the human mind power to grasp and comprehend the truths which He has revealed.” The Sanctified Life, 48 – 49.
- Until what time were the things revealed to Daniel sealed up? Daniel 12: 4, 9
NOTE: “Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that ‘at the end of the days’, in the closing period of this world’s history, he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. ‘Shut up the words, and seal the book,’ he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed ‘even to the time of the end.’ ” Prophets and Kings, 547.
- How was the apostle John shown the unsealing of Daniel’s prophecies at the time of the end? Revelation 10: 1 – 11
NOTE: “After the seven thunders uttered their voices, the injunction comes to John as to Daniel in regard to the little book, ‘Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered.’ Those relate to future events which will be disclosed in their order. Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel’s prophecies have their proper place in the First, Second and Third Angels’ Messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time. The books of Daniel and Revelation are one. One is a prophecy, the other a revelation; the one a book sealed, the other a book opened.” Manuscript 59, 1900. (See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7A, 971.)
4. NO PRIVATE INTERPRETATION
- In trying to understand Bible prophecy, what error are we first warned against? 2 Peter 1: 20
NOTE: “While exalting the ‘sure word of prophecy’ as a safe guide in times of peril, the apostle solemnly warned the church against the torch of false prophecy, which would be uplifted by ‘false teachers,’ who would privily bring in ‘damnable heresies, even denying the Lord.’ These false teachers arising in the church are accounted true by many of their brethren in the faith, but the apostle compared them to ‘wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever.’ ‘The latter end is worse with them,’ he declared, ‘than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.’ ” Review and Herald, September 26, 1912.
- What solemn denunciation given to the Jews should be a warning to those who look to Israel as the focus of end-time prophecy? Matthew 21:43
NOTE: “Let the mind be educated to look to Jesus. Let an effort be made to become doers of His word. The curse of God is upon Jerusalem and its surroundings, and the land is defiled under the inhabitants thereof. There is no real foundation for feelings of awe in looking upon the land of Palestine. In revering these earthly things, men clothe them with a false glory.” Review and Herald, February 25,1896.
- What counsel is given to those who desire rightly to divide the Word of truth? 2 Timothy 2: 15
NOTE: The word “study” in this verse means “show diligence.” This verse should not be understood simply as an exhortation to Bible study. This diligence should be exhibited in every aspect of the Christian’s life. “You must experience a death to self, and must live unto God. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.’ Self is not to be consulted. Pride, self-love, selfishness, avarice, covetousness, love of the world, hatred, suspicion, jealousy, evil surmisings, must all be subdued and sacrificed forever. When Christ shall appear, it will not be to correct these evils and then give a moral fitness for His coming. This preparation must all be made before He comes. It should be a subject of thought, of study, and earnest inquiry, What shall we do to be saved? What shall be our conduct that we may show ourselves approved unto God?” Testimonies, Volume 1, 705.
5. A LIGHT TO OUR PATH
- What promise is given to those who open their hearts to the Word of God? Psalm 119: 130
NOTE: “The work which the Lord has laid out before me especially is to urge young and old, learned and unlearned, to search the Scriptures for themselves; to impress upon all that the study of God’s Word will expand the mind and strengthen every faculty, fitting the intellect to wrestle with problems of truth, deep and far-reaching; to assure all that the clear knowledge of the Bible outdoes all other knowledge in making man what God designed he should be. ‘The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.’ With the light communicated through the study of His word, with the special knowledge given of individual cases among His people under all circumstances and in every phase of experience, can I now be in the same ignorance, the same mental uncertainty and spiritual blindness, as at the beginning of this experience?” Testimonies, Volume 5, 686.
- What promise of guidance is given to those who come to God, repenting of their sins? Psalm 32: 5 – 8
NOTE: “Let every child of God make Him their Counselor, and firmly believe that He is at their right hand to help them, trusting the promise, ‘I will guide thee with Mine eye.’ So many mistakes would not be made if all would make God their dependence, believing that He who never makes a mistake will prepare their way before them. We must believe in Christ as a personal, sympathizing Savior, who doeth all things well. Our path, however rugged it may be, is marked out for us by the Lord; but He will walk with us, for we are to be co-laborers with Him, guided by the Holy Spirit. ‘And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and to the left.’ ” Pacific Union Recorder, November 7, 1901.
“Do not be afraid to trust God. Rely upon His sure promise, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ Do not let go of the promise, even though you do not see an immediate answer to your prayers. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Man is erring, and although his petitions may be sent up from an honest heart, he does not always ask for the things that are good for him or that will glorify God. When this is so, our wise and good Father hears our prayers, and answers, sometimes immediately; but He gives us the things that are for our good and His own glory. If we could look into His plan, we should clearly see that our prayers are answered in wisdom and love. And through the temptations and trials of life the promise will be fulfilled, ‘I will guide thee with mine eye.’ ” Southern Watchman, March 24, 1908.
” ‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ These are they who are repairing the breach in the Law of God. In the face of bitter opposition, they take their stand under the banner of Prince Immanuel, proclaiming, bravely and fearlessly, the message He has given them. God watches over these faithful witnesses, and abundantly rewards their confidence. The way to His throne is always open to them. He sees and supplies their wants. They find their safety in looking to Him. When Jehovah gives them His protection, and says of them, Ye are laborers together with Me, they are safe in the midst of the greatest danger. Satan tries to deceive them, but God lifts up for them a standard against the enemy. Those who work righteousness have an ever-present help in time of trouble. In every time of need He is near. When they are tempted, He stands as their defense, saying, ‘I will guide thee with mine eye.’ I will deliver thee from perplexity, and be a covert for thee against the strife of tongues. The cause is the Lord’s. He is on board the ship as commander-in-chief. He will guide us safely into port. He can command the winds and the waves, and they will obey Him. If we follow His directions, we have no need to be anxious or troubled. In Him we may trust. He bestows His richest endowments upon those who love Him and keep His commandments. He will never forsake those who work in His lines.” Review and Herald, July 16, 1901.
“Do not say, ‘It is impossible for me to overcome.’ Do not say, ‘It is my nature to do thus and so, and I can not do otherwise. I have inherited weaknesses that make me powerless before temptation.’ In your own strength, you can not overcome, but help has been laid upon One that is mighty. Breathe the prayer, ‘Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths.’ Then believe the promise, ‘The meek will He guide in judgement: and the meek will He teach His way.’ Yes, the Lord says, ‘I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.’ In order to receive the virtue of the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of your sins, you must consent to the conditions He imposes. ‘If any man will come after Me,’ He says, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ Seeking pardon of sin from His cross, you will seek direction from His throne. Looking to and believing in Christ as your personal Savior, is your only hope of salvation. Receiving Christ in all His completeness, you are in truth able to sing: ‘I will follow Thee, my Savior, wheresoe’er my lot may be. Where Thou goest, I will follow; Yes, my Lord, I’ll follow Thee.’ ” Youth’s Instructor, October 2, 1902.