January 26- February 1, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12.
SUGGESTED READING: Patriarchs and Prophets, 293, 294.
INTRODUCTION: “Some have given a willing ear to the tempter and have talked out their unbelief and wounded the cause. Satan has claims upon them, for they have not recovered themselves from his snare. They have conducted themselves like children who were wholly unacquainted with the wiles of the tempter. They have had sufficient experience and should have understood his workings. He has suggested doubts to their minds, and, instead of repelling them at once, they have reasoned and parleyed with the archdeceiver, and listened to his reasonings, as though charmed by the old serpent. A few texts which were not perfectly explainable to the satisfaction of their own minds have been sufficient to shake the whole structure of truth and to obscure the plainest facts of the word of God. These men are erring mortals. They have not perfect wisdom and knowledge in all the Scriptures. Some passages are placed beyond the reach of human minds until such a time as God chooses, in His own wisdom, to open them. Satan has been leading some on a trail which ends in certain infidelity. They have suffered their unbelief to becloud the harmonious, glorious chain of truth, and have acted as though it was their business to solve every difficult passage of Scripture, and if our faith did not enable them to do this, it was faulty.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 377.
1 How does the priesthood of Christ relate to things pertaining to God? Hebrews 2:17; 9:15.
NOTE: “Christ is our Mediator and officiating High Priest in the presence of the Father. He was shown to John as a Lamb that had been slain, as in the very act of pouring out His blood in the sinner’s behalf. When the law of God is set before the sinner, showing him the depth of his sins, he should then be pointed to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He should be taught repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus will the labor of Christ’s representative be in harmony with His work in the heavenly sanctuary.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 395.
2 What strong assurance have the tempted sufferers that Jesus can sympathize with them and help them? Hebrews 2:18.
NOTE: “Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted. His life is our example. He shows by His willing obedience that man may keep the law of God and that transgression of the law, not obedience to it, brings him into bondage. The Saviour was full of compassion and love; He never spurned the truly penitent, however great their guilt; but He severely denounced hypocrisy of every sort. He is acquainted with the sins of men, He knows all their acts and reads their secret motives; yet He does not turn away from them in their iniquity. He pleads and reasons with the sinner, and in one sense—that of having Himself borne the weakness of humanity—He puts Himself on a level with him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 294.
3 Because of Christ’s sufferings for us, what are we exhorted to do? Hebrews 3:1.
NOTE: “Study Christ. Study His character, feature by feature. He is our Pattern that we are required to copy in our lives and our characters, else we fail to represent Jesus, but present to the world a spurious copy. Do not imitate any man, for men are defective in habits, in speech, in manners, in character. I present before you the Man Christ Jesus. You must individually know Him as your Saviour before you can study Him as your pattern and your example.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 170.
4 Webster defines apostle as “one sent.” Why is Jesus called an apostle? John 17:3, 8.
NOTE: “[John 17:3 quoted.] These words mean much. It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. The Sent of God calls upon all to listen to these words. They are the words of God, and all should give heed to them; for by them they will be judged.” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898.
5 Christ was counted worthy of more glory than Moses. Why? Hebrews 3:3.
NOTE: “[Heb. 3:1-3 quoted.] Because of the unbelief manifested toward Christ, the originator and foundation of the whole Jewish economy, a heavier retribution will come upon men than befell unbelieving Israel in the wilderness. Moses was the prophet by whom God communicated to the church in the wilderness; but great as was Moses, a greater than he is the Son of God, who builded the house.
“The presence of Jesus Christ, enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, followed this people in their wilderness wandering. The Angel of the covenant came in the name of God, as the invisible leader of Israel. . . . (Letter 97, 1898).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 927, 928.
6 Who built all things, and what bearing has this fact on the glory of Christ? Hebrews 3:4. Compare Hebrews 1:2; John 1:1–3.
NOTE: “The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence He might set forth the true position of His Son and show the relation He sustained to all created beings. The Son of God shared the Father’s throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both. . . . Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ, the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will. The Son of God had wrought the Father’s will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due. Christ was still to exercise divine power, in the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. But in all this He would not seek power or exaltation for Himself contrary to God’s plan, but would exalt the Father’s glory and execute His purposes of beneficence and love.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36.
7 In what capacity did Moses act over his house? Hebrews 3:5.
NOTE: “Moses was a type of Christ. He himself had declared to Israel, ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.’ Deuteronomy 18:15. God saw fit to discipline Moses in the school of affliction and poverty before he could be prepared to lead the hosts of Israel to the earthly Canaan. The Israel of God, journeying to the heavenly Canaan, have a Captain who needed no human teaching to prepare Him for His mission as a divine leader; yet He was made perfect through sufferings; and ‘in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.’ Hebrews 2:10, 18. Our Redeemer manifested no human weakness or imperfection; yet He died to obtain for us an entrance into the Promised Land.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 480.
8 Over whose house does the Son preside? Hebrews 3:6, first part.
NOTE: “The church of Christ is God’s agency for the proclamation of truth; she is empowered by Him to do a special work.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 11.
9 On what condition are we Christ’s house? Hebrews 3:6, last part.
NOTE: “If she [church of Christ] is loyal to God, obedient to His commandments, there will dwell within her the excellence of divine power. If she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her. If she will be true to her allegiance, the forces of the enemy will be no more able to overpower her than is the chaff to resist the whirlwind.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 11.
10 Is not our faith, our conversation, sufficient evidence that we are the house of Christ? Hebrews 3:7–10. Compare Matthew 24:14; 2 Peter 1:10.
NOTE: “But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 126.
11 To whom does the apostle apply the warning given in Hebrews 3:7–11? Hebrews 3:7, 12.
NOTE: “The unbelief and murmurings of the children of Israel illustrate the people of God now upon the earth. Many look back to them, and marvel at their unbelief and continual murmurings, after the Lord had done so much for them, in giving them repeated evidences of his love and care for them. They think that they should not have proved thus ungrateful. But some who thus think, murmur and repine at things of less consequence. They do not know themselves. God frequently proves them, and tries their faith in small things, and they do not endure the trial any better than did ancient Israel.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 251.
12 What is the character of an unbelieving heart? Hebrews 3:12.
NOTE: “There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust [Heb. 3:12 quoted] (Letter 97, 1898).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928.
[The questions in this series are adapted from lessons written in 1889.]