October 3, 2010 – October 9, 2010
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.
Study Help: The Great Controversy, 55–60. The Acts of the Apostles, 265–268.
“ ‘There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.’ Hosea 4:1.” The Great Controversy, 60.
1 What special truth is laid aside by the papal teaching that exalts Mary and the so-called “saints”? I Timothy 2:5.
Note: “The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed.” The Great Controversy, 55.
2 What does the papacy use to create new unscriptural doctrines, and what does God’s Word say of such things? Matthew 15:1–3, 7–9.
Note: “When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.” The Great Controversy, 55.
3 What did Jesus say concerning the experience of those who choose to obey God’s Word rather than human teachings? Luke 21:16, 17.
Note: “Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman’s ax. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: ‘Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake.’ Luke 21:16, 17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield.” The Great Controversy, 54, 55.
“Often those who suffer reproach or persecution for their faith are tempted to think themselves forsaken by God. In the eyes of men they are in the minority. To all appearance their enemies triumph over them. But let them not violate their conscience. He who has suffered in their behalf, and has borne their sorrows and afflictions, has not forsaken them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 172.
“The servants of God must expect that they will be reviled, misrepresented, maligned, persecuted, and oppressed; for all who ‘will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution’ [II Timothy 3:12]. The people of God will stand firm to the faith only through the grace of God.” The Signs of the Times, November 14, 1895.
4 What event established the power of the papacy and marks the beginning of the Dark Ages? Revelation 13:2, last part, 5–7; Daniel 7:25.
Note: “In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority.’ Revelation 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5–7.
“The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened.” The Great Controversy, 54, 55.
5 What means were used by the teachers of Rome to uphold the spiritual power of the bishops and the authority of the church? John 8:44.
Note: “Notwithstanding that vice prevailed, even among the leaders of the Roman Church, her influence seemed steadily to increase. About the close of the eighth century, papists put forth the claim that in the first ages of the church the bishops of Rome had possessed the same spiritual power which they now assumed. To establish this claim, some means must be employed to give it a show of authority; and this was readily suggested by the father of lies. Ancient writings were forged by monks. Decrees of councils before unheard of were discovered, establishing the universal supremacy of the pope from the earliest times. And a church that had rejected the truth greedily accepted these deceptions.” The Great Controversy, 56.
6 What kinds of workers were raised up by God during this period of time when false teachings and persecution prevailed? II Timothy 2:3; II Corinthians 4:16–18.
Note: “Workers were raised up who ably defended the faith once delivered to the saints. History bears record to the fortitude and heroism of these men. Like the apostles, many of them fell at their post, but the building of the temple went steadily forward. The workmen were slain, but the work advanced. The Waldenses, John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, Martin Luther and Zwingli, Cranmer, Latimer, and Knox, the Huguenots, John and Charles Wesley, and a host of others brought to the foundation material that will endure throughout eternity.” The Acts of the Apostles, 598.
7 What is needed today if we will withstand the hour of temptation? Revelation 14:12; Matthew 24:12, 13.
Note: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education, 57.
8 During the period of papal persecution from 538–1798 (1260-day prophecy of Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:6), millions were martyred for their faith in the Word of God. In the thirteenth century, following the description given by Christ in Matthew 24:22, 23, what institution was created by the papacy?
Note: “In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy—the Inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. ‘Babylon the great’ was ‘drunken with the blood of the saints’ [Revelation 17:5, 6]. The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.
“Popery had become the world’s despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honored and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.” The Great Controversy, 59, 60.
“Every indignity, reproach, and cruelty that Satan could instigate human hearts to devise, has been visited upon the followers of Jesus. And it will be again fulfilled in a marked manner; for the carnal heart is still at enmity with the law of God, and will not be subject to its commands. The world is no more in harmony with the principles of Christ today than it was in the days of the apostles. The same hatred that prompted the cry, ‘Crucify Him! crucify Him!’ [Luke 23:21] the same hatred that led to the persecution of the disciples, still works in the children of disobedience. The same spirit which in the Dark Ages consigned men and women to prison, to exile, and to death, which conceived the exquisite torture of the Inquisition, which planned and executed the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and which kindled the fires of Smithfield, is still at work with malignant energy in unregenerate hearts. The history of truth has ever been the record of a struggle between right and wrong. The proclamation of the gospel has ever been carried forward in this world in the face of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering.” The Acts of the Apostles, 84, 85.
9 While the papacy claims to represent Christ on earth, what contrast exists between them? Matthew 20:25–28.
Note: “The Lord Jesus came to our world full of mercy, life, and light, ready to save those who should come unto him. But he can save no one against his will. God does not force the conscience; he does not torture the body that he may compel men to compliance with his law. All this work is after the order of Satan. Through the papacy Satan has carried out his decree by compelling men to acquiesce to his will, and in this way will seek to restrict religious liberty. But God deals with men after a different plan. He will give the sinner sufficient evidence to convict his conscience, and then if, of his own free will, he yields to the winning invitation of Jesus, he will receive the Spirit of God.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 17, 1893.
10 Even before the time of Martin Luther, whom did God raise up to bring light to the people?
Note: “In the Netherlands the papal tyranny very early called forth resolute protest. Seven hundred years before Luther’s time the Roman pontiff was thus fearlessly impeached by two bishops, who, having been sent on an embassy to Rome, had learned the true character of the ‘holy see’: God ‘has made His queen and spouse, the church, a noble and everlasting provision for her family, with a dowry that is neither fading nor corruptible, and given her an eternal crown and scepter; … all which benefits you like a thief intercept. You set up yourself in the temple of God; instead of a pastor, you are become a wolf to the sheep.’ Gerard Brandt, History of the Reformation in and About the Low Countries, b. 1, p. 6.” The Great Controversy, 237.
“The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring, and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.
“Those were days of peril for the church of Christ. The faithful standard-bearers were few indeed. Though the truth was not left without witnesses, yet at times it seemed that error and superstition would wholly prevail, and true religion would be banished from the earth. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions.
“They were taught not only to look to the pope as their mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages, acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines, and altars, the payment of large sums to the church—these and many similar acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favor; as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts or acts of penance!” The Great Controversy, 55.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.