March 22, 2009 – March 28, 2009
“Since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, [what] he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.” Isaiah 64:4.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 261–268; Education, 301–309.
“Eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which man, restored to God’s image, may attain.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 61.
1 What should we understand about the plan of salvation and our future? Isaiah 49:15, 16.
Note: “Through Christ alone can you make sure of heaven, where all is purity, holiness, peace, and blessedness, where there are glories that mortal lips cannot describe. The nearest we can come to a description of the reward that awaits the overcomer is to say that it is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 131.
“How little do the young suffer, or deny self, for their religion! To sacrifice is scarcely thought of among them. They entirely fail of imitating the Pattern in this respect. I saw that the language of their lives is: Self must be gratified, pride must be indulged. They forget the Man of Sorrows, who was acquainted with grief. The sufferings of Jesus in Gethsemane, His sweating as it were great drops of blood in the garden, the platted crown of thorns that pierced His holy brow, do not move them. They have become benumbed. Their sensibilities are blunted, and they have lost all sense of the great sacrifice made for them. They can sit and listen to the story of the cross, hear how the cruel nails were driven through the hands and feet of the Son of God, and it does not stir the depths of the soul.
“… ‘If such should be ushered into the city of God, and told that all its rich beauty and glory was theirs to enjoy eternally, they would have no sense of how dearly that inheritance was purchased for them. They would never realize the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love. They have not drunk of the cup, nor been baptized with the baptism. Heaven would be marred if such should dwell there.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 155.
2 What aspect of the plan of redemption should we especially keep in mind? Isaiah 63:7–9; I Corinthians 1:18.
Note: “Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God—subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death—it is said that ‘His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.’ ‘In all their affliction He was afflicted: … and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.’ Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9.” Education, 263.
3 What promises of God, referring to the new world, can have a partial fulfillment even on this earth? Isaiah 35:5–10. On what condition can we claim these promises? Revelation 7:14.
Note: “God will do great things for His people if they will co-operate with Him. He will work upon the minds of men, so that there will be seen in their lives, even in this world, a fulfillment of the promise of the future state.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 78.
“The washing of the robes of character in the blood of the Lamb is a work that we must attend to earnestly while every defect of character is to be put away. Thus are we working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The Lord is working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 81.
4 What privileges will be extended to the redeemed? Isaiah 33:17; 64:4.
Note: “Throughout the unnumbered host of the redeemed every glance is fixed upon Him [Jesus], every eye beholds His glory whose ‘visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’ [Isaiah 52:14.] Upon the heads of the overcomers Jesus with His own right hand places the crown of glory. For each there is a crown, bearing his own ‘new name,’ and the inscription, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ [Revelation 2:17; 3:12.]” My Life Today, 347.
“Those who have made the most of their privileges to reach the highest attainments here, will take these valuable acquisitions with them into the future life. They have sought and obtained that which is imperishable. The capability to appreciate the glories that ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,’ [I Corinthians 2:9] will be proportionate to the attainments reached in the cultivation of the faculties in this life.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 49.
5 Mention some of the differences between the old world and the new world. Isaiah 33:24; Revelation 21:4.
Note: “The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying. As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for our good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
“Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. In the home of the redeemed there will be no tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. … One rich tide of happiness will flow and deepen as eternity rolls on.
“We are still amidst the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities. Let us consider most earnestly the blessed hereafter. Let our faith pierce through every cloud of darkness and behold Him who died for the sins of the world. He has opened the gates of paradise to all who receive and believe on Him. To them He gives power to become the sons and daughters of God. Let the afflictions which pain us so grievously become instructive lessons, teaching us to press forward toward the mark of the prize of our high calling in Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 286, 287.
6 What conditions will characterize the eternal home of the redeemed? Isaiah 11:5–9; 32:17, 18; 65:17–19.
7 Describe the lifestyle on the new earth. Isaiah 65:21–25.
Note: “There [in the Holy City] the redeemed shall know, even as also they are known. The loves and sympathies which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together ‘the whole family in heaven and earth’ (Ephesians 3:15)—these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed.” The Great Controversy, 677.
8 What do you know about the religious services that will be held on the new earth? Isaiah 66:22, 23.
Note: “The Sabbath never will be done away; but that the redeemed saints, and all the angelic host, will observe it in honor of the great Creator to all eternity.” Early Writings, 217.
9 What should characterize our daily lives now if we are planning to be there? II Peter 3:13, 14.
Note: “In heaven God is all in all. There, holiness reigns supreme; there is nothing to mar the perfect harmony with God. If we are indeed journeying thither, the spirit of heaven will dwell in our hearts here. But if we find no pleasure now in the contemplation of heavenly things; if we have no interest in seeking the knowledge of God, no delight in beholding the character of Christ; if holiness has no attractions for us—then we may be sure that our hope of heaven is vain. Perfect conformity to the will of God is the high aim to be constantly before the Christian. He will love to talk of God, of Jesus, of the home of bliss and purity which Christ has prepared for them that love Him. The contemplation of these themes, when the soul feasts upon the blessed assurances of God, the apostle represents as tasting ‘the powers of the world to come.’ [Hebrews 6:5.]” My Life Today, 293.
10 What example of the apostle Paul should we ever have in mind? II Corinthians 4:17, 18; 11 Timothy 4:7, 8.
Note: “Let your soul’s burden be, how to secure the better life than this, a title to the mansions prepared for those who are true and faithful to the end. If you make a mistake here, everything is lost. If you devote your lifetime to securing earthly treasures, and lose the heavenly, you will find that you have made a terrible mistake. You cannot have both worlds. ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ [Mark 8:36.]
“These trials of life are God’s workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our characters, and fit us for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory. But as we pass through these trials, as the fires of affliction kindle upon us, we must not keep the eye on the fire which is seen, but let the eye of faith fasten upon the things unseen, the eternal inheritance, the immortal life, the eternal weight of glory; and while we do this the fire will not consume us, but only remove the dross, and we shall come forth seven times purified, bearing the impress of the Divine.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 706, 707.
“That which will bless humanity is spiritual life. He who is in harmony with God, will constantly depend upon Him for strength. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ [Matthew 5:48.] It should be our life work to be constantly reaching forward to the perfection of Christian character, ever striving for conformity to the will of God. The efforts begun here will continue through eternity. The advancement made here will be ours when we enter upon the future life.
“Those who are partakers of Christ’s meekness, purity, and love, will be joyful in God, and will shed light and gladness upon all around them. The thought that Christ died to obtain for us the gift of everlasting life, is enough to call forth from our hearts the most sincere and fervent gratitude, and from our lips the most enthusiastic praise. God’s promises are rich, and full, and free. Whoever will, in the strength of Christ, comply with the conditions, may claim these promises, with all their wealth of blessing, as his own. And being thus abundantly supplied from the treasure-house of God, he may, in the journey of life, ‘walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing;’ [Colossians 1:10] by a godly example blessing his fellow-men, and honoring his Creator. While our Saviour would guard His followers from self-confidence by the reminder, ‘Without me, ye can do nothing,’ [John 15:5] He has coupled with it for our encouragement the gracious assurance, ‘He that abideth in me … bringeth forth much fruit.’ [John 15:5.]” Sons and Daughters of God, 327, 328.
“The Lord reads the intents and purposes of men. Those who have exalted views of His character will feel it their highest pleasure to have everything which has any connection with Him of the very best work and displaying the very best taste. But those who can grudgingly build a poorer house to dedicate to God than they would accept to live in themselves show their lack of reverence for God and for sacred things. Their work shows that their own temporal concerns are of more value in their eyes than matters of a spiritual nature. Eternal things are made secondary. It is not considered essential to have good and convenient things to use in the service of God, but they are considered highly essential in the concerns of this life. Men will reveal the true moral tone of the principles of their hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 257, 258.
“Shortsighted mortals do not comprehend the ways and works of God. Their eyes are not directed upward to Him as they should be. They do not have exalted views of eternal things. They only look at these things with a clouded vision. They take no special delight in contemplating the love of God, the glory and splendor of heaven, the exalted character of the holy angels, the majesty and inexpressible loveliness of Jesus, our Redeemer. They have so long kept earthly things before their vision that eternal scenes are vague and indistinct to them. They have limited views of God, heaven, and eternity.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 258.