October 2, 2011 – October 8, 2011
“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
Study Help: The Faith I Live By, 350; Testimonies, vol. 4, 306–309.
“The patriarchs, prophets, and all the holy martyrs from righteous Abel, looked forward to a coming Saviour, in whom they showed their faith by sacrificial offerings.” The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1879.
1 THE FAITH OF ABEL
- What are we to learn from the offering of Abel compared to Cain’s? Genesis 4:1–7.
Note: “Abel, by faith in a future Redeemer, offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain. His offering the blood of beasts signified that he was a sinner and had sins to wash away, and that he was penitent and believed in the efficacy of the blood of the future great offering. Satan is the parent of unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion. He filled Cain with doubt and with madness against his innocent brother and against God, because his sacrifice was refused and Abel’s accepted. …
“That which made Cain’s offering offensive to God was his lack of submission and obedience to the ordinance of His appointment. He thought that his own plan, in offering to God merely the fruit of the ground, was nobler, and not as humiliating as the offering of the blood of beasts, which showed dependence upon another, thus expressing his own weakness and sinfulness. Cain slighted the blood of the atonement.” Confrontation, 24.
“The matter was plainly laid open before Cain; but his combativeness was aroused because his course was questioned, and he was not permitted to follow his own independent ideas.” The Signs of the Times, December 16, 1886.
“The offering of Cain was an offense to God, because it was a Christless offering. The burden of our message is not only the commandments of God, but the faith of Jesus.” Gospel Workers, 162.
2 THE FIRST MARTYRDOM
- What was Cain’s attitude, and why must we avoid it? Genesis 4:8; I John 3:10–12.
Note: “Cain invites Abel to walk with him in the fields, and he there gives utterance to his unbelief and his murmuring against God. He claims that he was doing well in presenting his offering; and the more he talks against God, and impeaches his justice and mercy in rejecting his own offering and accepting that of his brother Abel, the more bitter are his feelings of anger and resentment.
“Abel defends the goodness and impartiality of God, and places before Cain the simple reason why God did not accept his offering.
“The fact that Abel ventured to disagree with him and even went so far as to point out his errors astonished Cain. It was a new experience; for Abel had hitherto submitted to the judgment of his elder brother; and Cain was enraged to the highest degree that Abel did not sympathize with him in his disaffection. Abel would yield when conscience was not concerned; but when the course of the God of Heaven was brought in question, and Cain spoke derisively of the sacrifice of faith, Abel was courageous to defend the truth. Cain’s reason told him that Abel was right when he spoke of the necessity of presenting the blood of a slain victim if he would have his sacrifice accepted; but Satan presented the matter in a different light. He urged Cain on to a furious madness, till he slew his brother.” The Signs of the Times, December 16, 1886.
- What great truths did Abel understand? Hebrews 9:22; 11:4; Romans 6:23.
Note: “There are multitudes who have no desire to come to God’s terms, but who make terms for themselves, and expect God to accept them. Such a religion is of the same character as that of Cain. The great question should be, What can I do to meet the approval of God? not, How can I best please myself?” The Signs of the Times, February 6, 1879.
“Those who feel that they can be moral without divine help, who feel no need of the blood of Christ, are betrayed into grievous sins. If they do not gladly, gratefully, accept the cleansing blood, they are under condemnation. There is no other provision made whereby they can be released from sin’s terrible thralldom.” Ibid., September 11, 1884.
- What is written of Enoch, the seventh from Adam? Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 5:24.
- In what ways is the experience of Enoch to be repeated in the life of God’s remnant preparing for the second coming of Christ? Jude 14, 15; I Thessalonians 4:15–18.
Note: “Enoch became a preacher of righteousness, bearing God’s message to all who would hear the words of warning. In the land where Cain had sought to flee from the divine presence, the prophet of God made known the wonderful scenes that had passed before his vision. …
“The power of God that wrought with His servant was felt by those who heard. Some gave heed to the warning and renounced their sins; but the multitudes mocked at the solemn message. The servants of God are to bear a similar message to the world in the last days, and it also will be received by the majority with unbelief and mockery.
“As year after year passed, deeper and deeper grew the tide of human guilt, darker and darker gathered the clouds of divine judgment. Yet Enoch, the witness of faith, held on his way, warning, pleading, and teaching, striving to turn back the tide of guilt and to stay the bolts of vengeance.
“The men of that generation mocked the folly of him who sought not to gather gold or silver, or to build up possessions here. But Enoch’s heart was upon eternal treasures. He had looked upon the celestial city. He had seen the King in His glory in the midst of Zion. The greater the existing iniquity, the more earnest was his longing for the home of God. While still on earth, he dwelt by faith in the realms of light.
“ ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ [Matthew 5:8]. For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of heart, that he might be in harmony with heaven. For three centuries he had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued on earth, continued, and he passed through the gates of the holy city. …
“To such communion God is calling us. As was Enoch’s, so must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord’s second coming.” Gospel Workers, 52–54.
4 THE DAYS OF NOAH
- How had the moral condition of the world deteriorated even further by the time Noah came along? Genesis 6:5–7, 13.
- What are some of the various ways in which our society today is similar to that of Noah’s time? Matthew 24:37–39.
Note: “The inhabitants of the antediluvian world turned from Jehovah, refusing to do His holy will. They followed their own unholy imagination and perverted ideas. It was because of their wickedness that they were destroyed; and today the world is following the same way. It presents no flattering signs of millennial glory. The transgressors of God’s law are filling the earth with wickedness. Their betting, their horse racing, their gambling, their dissipation, their lustful practices, their untamable passions, are fast filling the world with violence.” The Desire of Ages, 633.
“Every emotion, every impulse and imagination, was at war with the divine principles of purity and peace and love. It was an example of the awful depravity resulting from Satan’s policy to remove from God’s creatures the restraint of His holy law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 79.
“Very plainly Christ saw what the condition of society would be in the future. He saw that self-indulgence would control men and women. What of the marriage relation today? Is it not perverted and defiled, made even as it was in Noah’s day? Divorce after divorce is recorded in the daily papers. This is the marriage of which Christ speaks when He says that before the flood they were ‘marrying and giving in marriage’ [Matthew 24:38].
“Before the flood there was violence in the land—heart-sickening violence. What is acted out constantly in our cities today? Men are killing women and women are killing men.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 56, 57.
5 THE FAITH OF NOAH
- How was Noah very distinct among the people of his day? Genesis 6:9, 13; 7:1, 5.
Note: “While Noah was giving his warning message to the world, his works testified of his sincerity. It was thus that his faith was perfected and made evident. He gave the world an example of believing just what God says.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 95.
- Why are we to be inspired by Noah’s faith? Hebrews 11:7; I Peter 3:17–22.
Note: “The world is fast becoming as it was in the days of Noah. Satan is working with intensity of effort, knowing that he has but a short time. Wickedness prevails to an appalling extent. God’s people are but a handful, compared with the ungodly, and we can gain success only as we co-operate with the heavenly angels, who will go before all who press forward to do that which God has said should be done.” The Review and Herald, June 15, 1905.
“God will have a people zealous of good works, standing firm amid the pollutions of this degenerate age. There will be a people who hold so fast to the divine strength that they will be proof against every temptation. Evil communications in flaming handbills may seek to speak to their senses and corrupt their minds; yet they will be so united to God and angels that they will be as those who see not and hear not. They have a work to do which no one can do for them, which is to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 472.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What are some of the various ways in which the attitude of Cain is manifested today?
2 How can I cultivate the spirit of Abel?
3 What characteristics of Enoch are essential for us to have?
4 What are some of the most compelling evidences that Christ will return soon?
5 Why does the life of Noah provide such a prime example of righteousness by faith?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.