February 9–February 15, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.” Hebrews 4:14.
SUGGESTED READING: Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928, 929.
INTRODUCTION: “I have been shown that God has a work for you to do, and you can do it to His acceptance if you rely firmly upon the arm that is infinite. But you must not think that He would have you bear the whole burden of His work. The cause is the Lord’s; He will take care of His own. You could do much greater and more efficient work if you would cultivate calm trust in God, and not become anxious and worried, as though Jesus still lay in the sepulcher, and you had no Saviour. He has risen; He has ascended to the heavens, and is your advocate before the throne of God. You may prefer your requests to God, knowing that you have a faithful High Priest, who will be touched with the feeling of your infirmities; for He has been tempted in all points like as we are. Do not feel that God is unmindful of you, but always remember that He loves you, and is willing to give you rest and peace in Him.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 132.
1 Of the children of Israel, whom did God determine would enter into rest? Hebrews 4:6, first part; Numbers 14:29–32.
NOTE: “Moses was soon to die, and he was commanded to gather the children of Israel together before his death and relate to them all the journeyings of the Hebrew host since their departure from Egypt, and all the great transgressions of their fathers, which brought His judgments upon them, and compelled Him to say that they should not enter the Promised Land. Their fathers had died in the wilderness, according to the word of the Lord. Their children had grown up, and to them the promise was to be fulfilled of possessing the land of Canaan.” The Story of Redemption, 170.
2 Why had those who left Egypt been denied entrance to the Promised Land, and how does this apply to us today? Hebrews 4:6, last part.
NOTE: “The lesson of this record is for us. The Lord had prepared the way before His people. They were very near the promised land. A little while and they would have entered Canaan. They themselves delayed the entering. In the first place, it was they who requested that spies should be sent up to search the land. . . .
“The request that the spies be sent into Canaan showed a lack of faith . . . .
“Brethren and sisters, from the light given me, I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His Word, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan.” The General Conference Bulletin, March 30, 1903.
“Many who, like ancient Israel, profess to keep God’s commandments have hearts of unbelief while outwardly observing the statutes of God. Although favored with great light and precious privileges, they will nevertheless lose the heavenly Canaan, even as the rebellious Israelites failed to enter the earthly Canaan that God had promised them as the reward of their obedience.
“As a people we lack faith.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 162.
3 What warning was given to David, long after the time of Moses? Hebrews 4:7.
NOTE: “There is a day that God hath appointed for the close of this world’s history. ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ [Matthew 24:14.] . . . The day is at hand when the destiny of every soul will be fixed forever. This day of the Lord hastens on apace. The false watchmen are raising the cry, ‘All is well;’ but the day of God is rapidly approaching. Its footsteps are so muffled that it does not arouse the world from the deathlike slumber into which it has fallen. While the watchmen cry, ‘Peace and safety,’ ‘sudden destruction cometh upon them,’ ‘and they shall not escape;’ ‘for as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.’ [1 Thessalonians 5:3; Luke 21:35.] It overtakes the pleasure-lover and the sinful man as a thief in the night. When all is apparently secure, and men retire to contented rest, then the prowling, stealthy, midnight thief steals upon his prey. When it is too late to prevent the evil, it is discovered that some door or window was not secured. ‘Be ye also ready: for in an such hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.’ [Mathew 24:44.] People are now settling to rest, imagining themselves secure under the popular churches; but let all beware, lest there is a place left open for the enemy to gain an entrance. Great pains should be taken to keep this subject before the people. The solemn fact is to be kept not only before the people of the world, but before our own churches also, that the day of the Lord will come suddenly, unexpectedly. The fearful warning of the prophecy is addressed to every soul. Let no one feel that he is secure from the danger of being surprised. Let no one’s interpretation of prophecy rob you of the conviction of the knowledge of events which show that this great event is near at hand.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 335, 336.
4 What was the rest into which Joshua led the children of Israel? Joshua 21:43, 44; Deuteronomy 12:10.
NOTE: “The Hebrew reads, ‘rest from round about,’ that is, from the surrounding nations.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 284.
5 If this was not the true rest, when is the true rest to be given? Hebrews 4:8, 9.
NOTE: “More than fourteen centuries before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the children of Israel gathered in the fair vale of Shechem, and from the mountains on either side the voices of the priests were heard proclaiming the blessings and the curses—‘a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God: . . . and a curse, if ye will not obey.’ Deuteronomy 11:27, 28. And thus the mountain from which the words of benediction were spoken came to be known as the mount of blessing. But it was not upon Gerizim that the words were spoken which have come as a benediction to a sinning and sorrowing world. Israel fell short of the high ideal which had been set before her. Another than Joshua must guide His people to the true rest of faith.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 1.
6 What are the conditions for entering this future rest? Hebrews 4:10, 11.
NOTE: “Here are the conditions upon which every soul will be elected to eternal life. Your obedience to God’s commandments will prove your right to an inheritance with the saints in light. God has elected a certain excellence of character; and every one who, through the grace of Christ, shall reach the standard of His requirement, will have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of glory. All who would reach this standard of character, will have to employ the means that God has provided to this end. If you would inherit the rest that remaineth for the children of God, you must become a co-laborer with God.” Christian Education, 118.
“If you are willing to learn meekness and lowliness of heart in Christ’s school, He will surely give you rest and peace. It is a terribly hard struggle to give up your own will and your own way. But this lesson learned, you will find rest and peace. . . .
“In being co-workers with Christ in the great work for which He gave His life, we shall find true rest.” Sons and Daughters of God, 76.
7 How is the Word of God described? Hebrews 4:12.
NOTE: “The Bible is the standard by which to test the claims of
all who profess sanctification. Jesus prayed that his disciples might be sanctified through the truth, and He says, ‘Thy word is truth;’ while the psalmist declares, ‘Thy law is the truth.’ [John 17:17; Psalm 119:142.] All whom God is leading will manifest a high regard for the Scriptures in which his voice is heard. The Bible will be to them ‘profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.’ ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits.’ [2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Matthew 7:16.] We need no other evidence in order to judge of men’s sanctification; if they are fearful lest they shall not obey the whole will of God, if they are listening diligently to his voice, trusting in his wisdom, and making his word the man of their counsel, then, while they make no boasts of superior goodness, we may be sure that they are seeking to attain to perfection of Christian character. But if the claimants of holiness even intimate that they are no longer required to search the Scriptures, we need not hesitate to pronounce their sanctification spurious. They are leaning to their own understanding, instead of conforming to the will of God.” Review and Herald, October 5, 1886.
8 What is that Word of God that will discern every thought and intent of the heart? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
NOTE: “To those who love God it will be the highest delight to keep His commandments and to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. . . .” My Life Today, 163.
“Let those who feel inclined to make a high profession of holiness look into the mirror of God’s law. As they see its far-reaching claims, and understand its work as a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, they will not boast of sinlessness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 562.
9 Before whom are all things open? Hebrews 4:13.
NOTE: ” ‘A book of remembrance’ is written before God . . . . Malachi 3:16. . . . Every deed of righteousness is immortalized. There every temptation resisted, every evil overcome, every word of tender pity expressed, is faithfully chronicled. And every act of sacrifice, every suffering and sorrow endured for Christ’s sake, is recorded.” The Great Controversy, 481.
“God will bring to light every word and every action. He is in every place. . . . The hidden works of darkness will be brought to light. The thoughts, the intents and purposes of the heart, will stand revealed. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Counsels on Health, 412.
10 What position has Jesus taken in the courts of Heaven? Hebrews 4:14.
NOTE: “The Son of God . . . has fulfilled His pledge, and has passed into the heavens, to take upon Himself the government of the heavenly host. He fulfilled one phase of His priesthood by dying on the cross for the fallen race. He is now fulfilling another phase by pleading before the Father the case of the repenting, believing sinner, presenting to God the offerings of His people. Having taken human nature and in this nature having overcome the temptations of the enemy, and having divine perfection, to Him has been committed the judgment of the world. The case of each one will be brought in review before Him. He will pronounce judgment, rendering to every man according to his works (Manuscript 42, 1901).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 929.
11 What assurance is given to us because of His position? Hebrews 4:15. Compare Hebrews 2:17, 18.
NOTE: “In Christ were united the human and the divine. His mission was to reconcile God and man, to unite the finite with the infinite. This was the only way in which fallen men could be exalted through the merits of the blood of Christ to be partakers of the divine nature. Taking human nature fitted Christ to understand man’s trials and sorrows, and all the temptations wherewith he is beset. Angels who were unacquainted with sin could not sympathize with man in his peculiar trials. Christ condescended to take man’s nature and was tempted in all points like as we, that He might know how to succor all who should be tempted.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 201.
12 How may we come to the throne of grace, and what will we find there? Hebrews 4:16.
NOTE: “Heaven is open to our petitions, and we are invited to come ‘boldly unto the throne of grace . . .’ (Hebrews 4:16). We are to come in faith, believing that we shall obtain the very things we ask of Him.” In Heavenly Places, 80.
“With the trusting faith of a little child, we are to come to our heavenly Father, telling Him of all our needs. He is always ready to pardon and help. The supply of divine wisdom is inexhaustible, and the Lord encourages us to draw largely from it. The longing that we should have for spiritual blessings is described in the words, ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.’ [Psalm 42:1.] We need a deeper soul-hunger for the rich gifts that heaven has to bestow.” Sons and Daughters of God, 121.