December 1–7, 2002
MEMORY VERSE: “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7.
SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 424–428, 467, 468.
INTRODUCTION: “God’s message for the inhabitants of earth today is, ‘Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.’ Matthew 24:44. The conditions prevailing in society, and especially in the great cities of the nations, proclaim in thunder tones that the hour of God’s judgment is come and that the end of all things earthly is at hand. We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another—fire, and flood, and earthquake, with war and bloodshed. We are not to be surprised at this time by events both great and decisive; for the angel of mercy cannot remain much longer to shelter the impenitent.
“‘Behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.’ Isaiah 26:21. The storm of God’s wrath is gathering; and those only will stand who respond to the invitations of mercy, as did the inhabitants of Nineveh under the preaching of Jonah, and become sanctified through obedience to the laws of the divine Ruler.” Prophets and Kings, 278.
“The announcement, ‘The hour of His judgment is come,’ points to the closing work of Christ’s ministration for the salvation of men.” The Great Controversy, 435.
1 Why should we fear God more now than ever before? Revelation 14:7; 2 Corinthians 5:10.
NOTE: “Great and small, high and low, rich and poor, are to be judged ‘out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ [Revelation 20:12.] Day after day, passing into eternity, bears its burden of records for the books of Heaven. Words once spoken, deeds once done, can never be recalled. Angels of God have registered both the good and the evil. The mightiest conqueror upon the earth cannot call back the record of even a single day. Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. They go before us to the Judgment.
“The use made of every talent will be scrutinized. Have we improved the capital intrusted us of God? Will the Lord at his coming receive his own with usury? No value is attached to the mere profession of faith in Christ; nothing is counted as genuine but that love which is shown by works.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 311.
2 As we face the time of judgment, what should be our greatest concern? 1 Peter 4:17, 18; Ezekiel 18:24.
NOTE: “All who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” The Great Controversy, 490.
3 In the judgment, what is our only hope? 1 John 2:1, 2.
NOTE: “How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How he fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, he does not turn from us, and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not like our Saviour. Christ prays for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, he knows how to succor those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of his Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks upon him, grasps him as the one who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. Unto Christ is committed all power in heaven and in earth, and all things are possible to him that believeth. Christ’s glory is concerned in our success. He has a common interest with all humanity. He is our sympathizing Saviour.” Review and Herald, September 1, 1891.
4 What distinction is made between the true followers of Christ and those who only profess to believe in Him? 1 John 2:4–6; Matthew 7:21–23.
NOTE: “There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the judgment—those who violate God’s law and those who obey it. Christ gives the test by which to prove our loyalty or disloyalty. ‘If ye love Me,’ He says, ‘keep My commandments. . . . He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. . . . He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.’ ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’ John 14:15–24; 15:10.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 283.
“There are only two classes in the world,—those who are obedient to Jesus Christ, who seek counsel of the Master, that they may do his will; and the children of disobedience. There are many, who, under the profession of godliness, are yet in alliance with the world, and through them souls are being deluded. The fear and love of God have not a controlling power over them. The world is their master, and they are chasing a delusive mirage.” Review and Herald, July 31, 1894.
5 When and how does this distinction become unmistakably clear? Revelation 16:1, 2. Compare Daniel 7:25, 26; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.
NOTE: “As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite ‘the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; . . . because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.’—Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, page 58. What then is the change of the Sabbath, but the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Roman Church—‘the mark of the beast’?” The Great Controversy, 448.
“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Ibid., 445.
“The seven last plagues were soon to be poured out upon those who have no shelter; yet the world regarded them no more than they would so many drops of water that were about to fall. . . . Then I realized, as never before, the importance of searching the Word of God carefully, to know how to escape the plagues which that Word declares shall come on all the ungodly who shall worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. It was a great wonder for me that any could transgress the law of God and tread down His holy Sabbath, when such awful threatenings and denunciations were against them.” Early Writings, 64.
6 What standard will be used to judge each person, as they have been enlightened by God’s Word? Romans 2:12; 3:19; James 2:10–12.
NOTE: “The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it. After the Fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
“By this law, which governs angels, which demands purity in the most secret thoughts, desires, and dispositions, and which shall ‘stand fast for ever’ (Psalm 111:8), all the world is to be judged in the rapidly approaching day of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 220.
7 In what way does the amount of light an individual has received relate to their accountability in the judgment? Luke 12:47, 48.
NOTE: “God’s test of the heathen, who have not the light, and of those living where the knowledge of truth and light has been abundant, is altogether different. He accepts from those in heathen lands a phase of righteousness which does not satisfy Him when offered by those of Christian lands. He does not require much where much has not been bestowed (Manuscript 130, 1899).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1121.
8 What question, asked by the rich, young ruler, should we also ask? Matthew 19:16.
NOTE: “The only question asked in the judgment will be, ‘Have they been obedient to My commandments?’” Gospel Workers, 315.
“In His teaching He ever presented the law as a divine unity, showing that it is impossible to keep one precept and break another; for the same principle runs through all. Man’s destiny will be determined by his obedience to the whole law.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 377, 378.
9 If we want to have a home in heaven, what principles must guide our lives here on earth? Luke 10:25–28; 1 John 5:2, 3.
NOTE: “Both the poor and the rich are deciding their own eternal destiny and proving whether they are fit subjects for the inheritance of the saints in light. Those who put their riches to a selfish use in this world are revealing attributes of character that show what they would do if they had greater advantages, and possessed the imperishable treasures of the kingdom of God. The selfish principles exercised on the earth are not the principles which will prevail in heaven. All men stand on an equality in heaven; for there is no caste with God. Christ said, ‘All ye are brethren.’ [Matthew 23:8.]” Review and Herald, March 31, 1896.
“In heaven none will think of self, nor seek their own pleasure; but all, from pure, genuine love, will seek the happiness of the heavenly beings around them. If we wish to enjoy heavenly society in the earth made new, we must be governed by heavenly principles here.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 132.
10 What prophecy foretells an investigative judgment? Malachi 3:1–3. Compare Proverbs 17:3.
NOTE: “Everything in our character that cannot enter the city of God will be reproved; if we submit to the Lord’s refining, all the dross and the tin will be consumed. As the Lord’s chosen ones will receive the light appropriate for this time, they will not be led to exalt themselves. They will not manufacture a standard whereby to measure their own character; for the Lord has given one standard, by which every character is to be tested. There is not one standard for the poor, and another for the rich; for all will be tested by that law which bids us to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Those who win the treasure of heaven will be those who have laid up their treasure above. God gives us light and opportunities to learn from Christ; that we may be like Him in spirit and character; but we are not to conform to any human standard. We are to receive the truth of God into the heart, that it may regulate the life and form the character.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1181.
11 How is this depicted in the parable of the wedding garment? Matthew 22:11–14.
NOTE: “Remember that every one who shall be found with the wedding garment on will have come out of great tribulation. The mighty surges of temptation will beat upon all. But the long night of watching, of toil, of hardship, is nearly past. Christ is soon to come. Get ready! The angels of God are seeking to attract you from yourself and from earthly things. Let them not labor in vain.” Review and Herald, April 17, 1894.
12 What is Daniel’s description of the investigative judgment? Daniel 7:9–13.
NOTE: “The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event . . . .” The Great Controversy, 426.
13 After the judgment, what will Christ receive, and what will be the next great event? Daniel 7:14; Luke 12:36; Revelation 22:12.
NOTE: “Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, ‘dominion, and glory, and a kingdom;’ He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, ‘prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people . . . .” The Great Controversy, 426.