October 4, 2003 – October 10, 2003
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
Suggested Reading: Christ’s Object Lessons, 260–267.
“Nowhere in the Sacred Scriptures is found the statement that the righteous go to their reward or the wicked to their punishment at death. The patriarchs and prophets have left no such assurance. Christ and His apostles have given no hint of it.” The Faith I Live By, 181.
1 What passed upon all men as a result of sin? Romans 5:12.
note: “Sorrow filled heaven, as it was realized that man was lost, and that world which God had created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness, and death, and there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die.” Early Writings, 149.
2 What is death called? John 11:11–13; Matthew 9:24.
note: “Christ represents death as a sleep to His believing children. Their life is hid with Christ in God, and until the last trump shall sound those who die will sleep in Him.” The Faith I Live By, 175.
“To the believer, death is but a small matter. Christ speaks of it as if it were of little moment. . . . To the Christian, death is but a sleep, a moment of silence and darkness.” The Desire of Ages, 787.
3 During the time of sleep, where does man wait? Job 17:13.
note: “The Bible clearly teaches that the dead do not go immediately to heaven. They are represented as sleeping until the resurrection. . . . They that go down to the grave are in silence. They know no more of anything that is done under the sun. Blessed rest for the weary righteous! . . . As they are called forth from their deep slumber, they begin to think just where they ceased. The last sensation was the pang of death, the last thought that they were falling beneath the power of the grave.” The Faith I Live By, 181.
“The Life-giver will call the dead from their prison-house, and as they come up from the grave, they will receive the finishing touch of immortality. They will rise from their dusty beds and exclaim, ‘O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory!’ [1 Corinthians 15:55.] And they will be caught up with those who are translated to heaven without seeing death, to meet their Lord in the air. Then the crown of immortal glory will be placed upon each brow.” Review and Herald, July 29, 1890.
4 How long must the dead wait in the grave? Job 14:12. Compare John 5:28, 29; 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
note: “The Life-giver will call up His purchased possession in the first resurrection, and until that triumphant hour, when the last trump shall sound and the vast army shall come forth to eternal victory, every sleeping saint will be kept in safety and will be guarded as a precious jewel, who is known to God by name. By the power of the Saviour that dwelt in them while living and because they were partakers of the divine nature, they are brought forth from the dead.” Sons and Daughters of God, 359.
5 During this time, what is said of the dead’s knowledge concerning the affairs of earth? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; Job 14:20, 21.
note: “The Bible declares that the dead know not anything, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun; they know nothing of the joys or sorrows of those who were dearest to them on earth.” The Great Controversy, 556.
“The saints must get a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved friends and relatives, who will declare to them that the Sabbath has been changed, also other unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who appear to them are the spirits of devils. Our minds must not be taken up with things around us, but must be occupied with the present truth and a preparation to give a reason of our hope with meekness and fear. We must seek wisdom from on high that we may stand in this day of error and delusion.” Early Writings, 87, 88.
6 What testimony is borne concerning the death of Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:3; Isaiah 53:5, 8; John 19:28–30.
note: “And what is it to believe? It is to fully accept that Jesus Christ died as our sacrifice; that He became the curse for us, took our sins upon Himself, and imputed unto us His own righteousness. Therefore we claim this righteousness of Christ, we believe it, and it is our righteousness. He is our Saviour. He saves us because He said He would.” Faith and Works, 70.
7 What significance is attached to the death of Christ? Isaiah 53:12. Compare Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25.
note: “By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race. And now, not as a mere petitioner does the Captain of our salvation intercede for us, but as a Conqueror claiming His victory. His offering is complete, and as our Intercessor He executes His self-appointed work, holding before God the censer containing His own spotless merits and the prayers, confessions, and thanksgiving of His people. Perfumed with the fragrance of His righteousness, these ascend to God as a sweet savor. The offering is wholly acceptable, and pardon covers all transgression.
“Christ has pledged Himself to be our substitute and surety, and He neglects no one. He who could not see human beings exposed to eternal ruin without pouring out His soul unto death in their behalf, will look with pity and compassion upon every soul who realizes that he cannot save himself.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 156, 157.
8 What blessed hope for us was involved in Jesus’ coming forth from the tomb? 1 Corinthians 15:20–23.
note: “Death entered the world because of transgression. But Christ gave His life that man should have another trial. He did not die on the cross to abolish the law of God, but to secure for man a second probation. He did not die to make sin an immortal attribute; He died to secure the right to destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. He suffered the full penalty of a broken law for the whole world. This He did, not that men might continue in transgression, but that they might return to their loyalty and keep God’s commandments and His law as the apple of their eye.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 134.
9 What hope lightens the darkness of the grave? 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14.
note: “To the believer, Christ is the resurrection and the life. In our Saviour the life that was lost through sin is restored; for He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will. He is invested with the right to give immortality. The life that He laid down in humanity, He takes up again, and gives to humanity.” The Faith I Live By, 183.
10 To what time do followers of the Lord look forward to meet their loved ones who have fallen in death? John 11:23, 24.
note: “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life. ‘He that believeth in me,’ said Jesus, ‘though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ [John 11:25, 26.] Christ here looks forward to the time of His second coming. Then the righteous dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living righteous shall be translated to heaven without seeing death.” The Desire of Ages, 530.
11 How did Isaiah speak of this time? Isaiah 26:19.
note: “The Life-giver will call up His purchased possession in the first resurrection, and until that triumphant hour, when the last trump shall sound and the vast army shall come forth to eternal victory, every sleeping saint will be kept in safety and will be guarded as a precious jewel, who is known to God by name. By the power of the Saviour that dwelt in them while living and because they were partakers of the divine nature, they are brought forth from the dead.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1143.
12 Whose voice alone can awaken the dead? John 5:26–29; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18.
note: “It was not long after the passing of the time in 1844, that my first vision was given me. . . .
“Jesus’ silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven, and cried, ‘Awake! awake! awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise.’ Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted ‘Alleluia!’ as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 64, 66.
“Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ’s word of power. God is saying to all who are dead in sin, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.’ Ephesians 5:14. That word is eternal life. As the word of God which bade the first man live, still gives us life; as Christ’s word, ‘Young man, I say unto thee, Arise,’ gave life to the youth of Nain, so that word, ‘Arise from the dead,’ is life to the soul that receives it. [Luke 7:14.] God ‘hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.’ Colossians 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance.” The Desire of Ages, 320.
These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.