September 16, 2012 – September 22, 2012
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” II Peter 1:12.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 169, 170.
“Contemplating Christ and His righteousness leaves no room for self-righteousness, for the glorifying of self. … There is continual advancement in every stage of the knowledge of Christ.” Our High Calling, 60.
1 CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM: SPIRITUAL ISRAEL
- How are the Abrahamic promises to be understood by believers who seriously seek to follow Christ and inherit the Promised Land? Romans 4:9, 13; Galatians 3:29; John 8:39.
Note: “The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God. … A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.
“This principle bears with equal weight upon a question that has long agitated the Christian world—the question of apostolic succession. Descent from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. A life actuated by the apostles’ spirit, the belief and teaching of the truth they taught, this is the true evidence of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors of the first teachers of the gospel.” The Desire of Ages, 466, 467.
2 THE LIGHT SHINES MORE AND MORE
- In what sense should we be warned by the default of ancient Israel? Hebrews 3:19.
Note: “For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 69.
- What characterizes the heirs of the new earth? Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2.
- What truths must we accept today if we genuinely seek that better land? How is each generation privileged to be entrusted with greater light? II Peter 1:12; Jude 3, 20, 21.
Note: “Opposition is the lot of all whom God employs to present truths specially applicable to their time. There was a present truth in the days of Luther—a truth at that time of special importance; there is a present truth for the church today.” The Great Controversy, 143.
“Each will be judged by the light given him.” In Heavenly Places, 153.
- In God’s plan to restore the truth to His people little by little, what special point of the “present truth” has He revealed to them in these last days? Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 58:12–14 (Isaiah 61:1–4).
Note: “Since Jesus has opened the door into the most holy place, which contains the ark, the commandments have been shining out to God’s people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question. …
“The present test on the Sabbath could not come until the mediation of Jesus in the holy place was finished and He had passed within the second veil.” Early Writings, 42.
3 ADVANCEMENT IN HEALTH REFORM
- In 1858, how was swine’s flesh considered by the Advent believers, and what was Sister White’s message at that time?
Note: “I saw that your views concerning swine’s flesh would prove no injury if you have them to yourselves; but in your judgment and opinion you have made this question a test, and your actions have plainly shown your faith in this matter. If God requires His people to abstain from swine’s flesh, He will convict them on the matter. He is just as willing to show His honest children their duty, as to show their duty to individuals upon whom He has not laid the burden of His work. If it is the duty of the church to abstain from swine’s flesh, God will discover it to more than two or three. He will teach His church their duty.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 206, 207. [Emphasis author’s.]
- How does a footnote written by James White aid us in understanding the context of the above statement? Romans 13:11, 12, 14.
Note: “This remarkable testimony was written October 21, 1858, nearly five years before the great vision of 1863, in which the light upon health reform was given. When the right time came, the subject was given in a manner to move all our people. How wonderful are the wisdom and goodness of God! It might be as wrong to crowd the milk, salt, and sugar question now, as the pork question in 1858.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 206. [James White, note to second edition.]
- How does God lead His people progressively in the knowledge of the truth? John 16:13; Ephesians 4:11–15.
Note: “God is leading out a people, not a few separate individuals here and there, one believing this thing, another that. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly. Some run ahead of the angels that are leading His people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead. I saw that the angels of God would lead His people no faster than they could receive and act upon the important truths that are communicated to them.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 207.
4 DISCERNING PRINCIPLES OF GOD’S WORD
- How are we to “go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1)? Proverbs 4:18; II Peter 1:3–8.
Note: “The apostle [Peter] presents before the believers the ladder of Christian progress, every step of which represents advancement in the knowledge of God, and in the climbing of which there is to be no standstill.” The Acts of the Apostles, 530.
- What misunderstanding has entered the Christian world regarding unclean foods? Acts 10:10–16.
- How did God reveal the real meaning of this vision? Acts 10:17–20, 28.
Note: “By the vision of the sheet and its contents, let down from heaven, Peter was to be divested of his settled prejudices against the Gentiles; to understand that, through Christ, heathen nations were made partakers of the blessings and privileges of the Jews, and were to be thus benefited equally with them. Some have urged that this vision was to signify that God had removed his prohibition from the use of the flesh of animals which he had formerly pronounced unclean; and that therefore swines’ flesh was fit for food. This is a very narrow and altogether erroneous interpretation, and is plainly contradicted in the Scriptural account of the vision and its consequences.
“The vision of all manner of live beasts, which the sheet contained, and of which Peter was commanded to kill and eat, being assured that what God had cleansed should not be called common or unclean by him, was simply an illustration presenting to his mind the true position of the Gentiles; that by the death of Christ they were made fellow heirs with the Israel of God. It conveyed to Peter both reproof and instruction. His labors had heretofore been confined entirely to the Jews; and he had looked upon the Gentiles as an unclean race, and excluded from the promises of God. His mind was now being led to comprehend the worldwide extent of the plan of God.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 327, 328.
5 A STEP TAKEN UPWARD
- How did a more advanced, rediscovered biblical light inspire a change in the position of believers in the third angel’s message? Deuteronomy 14:8; Isaiah 65:3, 4; 66:17.
Note: “God has given you light and knowledge, which you have professed to believe came direct from Him, instructing you to deny appetite. You know that the use of swine’s flesh is contrary to His express command, given not because He wished to especially show His authority, but because it would be injurious to those who should eat it. Its use would cause the blood to become impure, so that scrofula and other humors would corrupt the system, and the whole organism would suffer. Especially would the fine, sensitive nerves of the brain become enfeebled and so beclouded that sacred things would not be discerned, but be placed upon the low level with common things. Light showing that disease is caused by using this gross article of food has come just as soon as God’s people could bear it. Have you heeded the light?” Testimonies, vol. 2, 96.
“The tissues of the swine swarm with parasites. Of the swine God said, ‘It is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.’ Deuteronomy 14:8. This command was given because swine’s flesh is unfit for food. Swine are scavengers, and this is the only use they were intended to serve. Never, under any circumstances, was their flesh to be eaten by human beings. It is impossible for the flesh of any living creature to be wholesome when filth is its natural element and when it feeds upon every detestable thing.” The Ministry of Healing, 313, 314.
- Why do we need health reform in our preparation for the second coming of Christ? I Corinthians 6:19, 20; I Thessalonians 5:23; 11 Peter 3:14.
Note: “Our bodies are composed of what we eat; and by partaking of nourishing food, we have good blood, firm muscles, and vigorous health. … When the day dawns, the light is faint and subdued; but as the sun rises, its light increases and strengthens, until its rays reach the perfect day. This is the way in which the Christian’s light is to increase. We are to know more of Christ today than we knew yesterday; we are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour; we are to trust Him more in trial.” The Review and Herald, April 14, 1891.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 Why has Christ’s second coming been so long delayed?
2 Do I really understand that the truth of God is progressive, advancing light—and that I need to reflect Abraham’s attitude of stepping forward by faith when brighter beams shine upon me?
3 How do we see the progress of advancing in greater light in regard to the eating of pork and all other unclean foods?
4 Why is light revealed in stages rather than all at once?
5 What is the only useful purpose for swine?
“There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is ‘present truth’ that the flock needs now. I have seen the danger of the messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul.” Early Writings, 63. [Emphasis author’s.]
“We should not measure ourselves by the world, nor by the opinions of men, nor by what we were before we embraced the truth. But our faith and position in the world, as they now are, must be compared with what they would have been if our course had been continually onward and upward since we professed to be followers of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 406.
“The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. There is opened before us a path of continual advancement. We have an object to reach, a standard to gain, which includes everything good and pure and noble and elevated. There should be continual striving and constant progress onward and upward toward perfection of character. …
“This is the will of God concerning every human being, even your sanctification. In urging our way upward, heavenward, every faculty must be kept in the most healthy condition, to do the most faithful service. The powers with which God has endowed men are to be put to the stretch.” Special Testimonies on Education, 207.
“Let us plead with the Lord in the home and in the church, that we may be of good courage, and may go forward step by step, onward and upward toward heaven.” Reflecting Christ, 249.
“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.