February 13, 2005 – February 19, 2005
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, NASB.
Suggested Reading: Daniel 7:9–13; 8:14; Revelation 14:6–8; The Great Controversy, 433, 434, 375–390.
In the Sabbath School lesson for February 5, we were introduced to two quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy that revealed that as Christ cleansed the temple at the beginning and again at the end of His ministry, so there are to be two cleansings of the second advent movement. These two paragraphs are repeated below as a review. Last week’s lesson was a study of the trials and attitudes of the people at the first cleansing of the temple. In the lesson this week, we will study the similarities between the trials and attitudes of the people at the beginning of the second advent movement and those exhibited by the people in the first advent.
“ When Jesus began His public ministry, He cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation.  Almost the last act of His ministry was to cleanse the temple again. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches;  the second angel’s message [Revelation 14:8], and  the voice heard in heaven, ‘Come out of her, my people, . . . for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ (Revelation 18:4, 5.)” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 725, 726. [Emphasis supplied.]
“ When Jesus began His public ministry, He cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation.  Among the last acts of His ministry was the second cleansing of the temple. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches.  The second angel’s message is, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ [Revelation 14:8.]  And in the loud cry of the third angel’s message, a voice is heard from heaven, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ [Revelation 18:4, 5.]” Review and Herald, December 6, 1892. [Emphasis supplied.]
1 When was the second angel’s message of Revelation 14:8 first proclaimed?
note: “The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844. . . . But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844.” The Great Controversy, 389.
2 To whom did the second angel’s message apply?
note: “It then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. . . . The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower.” The Great Controversy, 389.
3 Whose example were the Protestant churches following?
note: “Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome’s example of iniquitous connection with ‘the kings of the earth’—the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And the term ‘Babylon’—confusion—may be appropriately applied to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects, with widely conflicting creeds and theories.” The Great Controversy, 383.
4 The proclamation of the second angel’s message announced the rejection of what message?
note: “The first angel’s message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God’s judgment and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message, God has sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him. Had they received the message from heaven, humbling their hearts before the Lord and seeking in sincerity a preparation to stand in His presence, the Spirit and power of God would have been manifested among them.” The Great Controversy, 379.
5 Describe the attitude of the churches toward the first angel’s message.
note: “But the churches generally did not accept the warning. Their ministers, who, as watchmen ‘unto the house of Israel,’ should have been the first to discern the tokens of Jesus’ coming, had failed to learn the truth either from the testimony of the prophets or from the signs of the times. As worldly hopes and ambitions filled the heart, love for God and faith in His word had grown cold; and when the advent doctrine was presented, it only aroused their prejudice and unbelief. . . .
“In refusing the warning of the first angel, they rejected the means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844.” The Great Controversy, 380.
6 What special work were the people to do during the proclamation of the first angel’s message?
note: “The first angel’s message, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come,’ pointed to Christ’s ministration in the most holy place, to the investigative judgment.” The Great Controversy, 424.
“While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” Ibid., 425.
comment: As Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart by cleansing the temple in the first advent, so during the investigative judgment announced by the first angel, “there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people.”
7 What verses from the Old Testament that were applied to the first cleansing of the temple are also applied to the opening of the second advent movement? See The Desire of Ages, 161; The Great Controversy, 424, 425.
note: “Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil.” The Great Controversy, 425.
comment: The weight of evidence is that the first cleansing of the temple and the first angel’s message had the same purpose in the plan of Jesus. They were both provided so that the people would have the opportunity to remove sin from their hearts.
8 Describe the reaction of the ministers and religious leaders toward the first angel’s message.
note: “As his [William Miller’s] work tended to build up the churches, it was for a time regarded with favor. But as ministers and religious leaders decided against the advent doctrine and desired to suppress all agitation of the subject, they not only opposed it from the pulpit, but denied their members the privilege of attending preaching upon the second advent, or even of speaking of their hope in the social meetings of the church.” The Great Controversy, 376.
“It suits the policy of Satan that men should retain the forms of religion if but the spirit of vital godliness is lacking. After their rejection of the gospel, the Jews continued zealously to maintain their ancient rites, they rigorously preserved their national exclusiveness, while they themselves could not but admit that the presence of God was no longer manifest among them. The prophecy of Daniel pointed so unmistakably to the time of Messiah’s coming, and so directly foretold His death, that they discouraged its study, and finally the rabbis pronounced a curse on all who should attempt a computation of the time.” Ibid., 377, 378.
comment: These references reveal that the attitude of the ministers and leaders at the beginning of the second advent movement was identical to the attitude of the priests and rulers in the first advent movement.
note: “The spiritual darkness which falls upon nations, upon churches and individuals, is due, not to an arbitrary withdrawal of the succors of divine grace on the part of God, but to neglect or rejection of divine light on the part of men. A striking illustration of this truth is presented in the history of the Jewish people in the time of Christ. By their devotion to the world and forgetfulness of God and His word, their understanding had become darkened, their hearts earthly and sensual. Thus they were in ignorance concerning Messiah’s advent, and in their pride and unbelief they rejected the Redeemer.” Ibid.
9 How did the multitudes of people react to the first angel’s message, which called for them to put sin out of their lives?
note: “Multitudes, trusting implicitly to their pastors, refused to listen to the warning; and others, though convinced of the truth, dared not confess it, lest they should be ‘put out of the synagogue.’ The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all too surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ.” The Great Controversy, 380.
comment: The weight of evidence is that the attitude of the large majority of the people was the same as the multitudes in the first advent.
10 How did the faithful believers react to this departure from the truth by the large group of ministers and people?
note: “Thus the believers found themselves in a position of great trial and perplexity. They loved their churches and were loath to separate from them; but as they saw the testimony of God’s word suppressed and their right to investigate the prophecies denied they felt that loyalty to God forbade them to submit. Those who sought to shut out the testimony of God’s word they could not regard as constituting the church of Christ, ‘the pillar and ground of the truth.’ ” The Great Controversy, 376.
comment: As in the first cleansing of the temple there was a small group of faithful who followed Jesus, so also, at the time of the proclamation of the first angel’s message, a small group of believers held to the truths that were being revealed to them.
11 What would happen today if God’s professed people would receive the light as it shines upon them?
note: “If God’s professed people would receive the light as it shines upon them from His word, they would reach that unity for which Christ prayed, that which the apostle describes, ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ ‘There is,’ he says, ‘one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’ Ephesians 4:3–5.
“Such were the blessed results experienced by those who accepted the advent message. They came from different denominations, and their denominational barriers were hurled to the ground; conflicting creeds were shivered to atoms; the unscriptural hope of a temporal millennium was abandoned, false views of the second advent were corrected, pride and conformity to the world were swept away; wrongs were made right; hearts were united in the sweetest fellowship, and love and joy reigned supreme. If this doctrine did this for the few who did receive it, it would have done the same for all if all had received it.” The Great Controversy, 379, 380.
12 Summary question: Identify the four organizations and/or groups of people that had the same attitudes at the beginning of both the first and second advent movements.
note: “It suits the policy of Satan that men should retain the forms of religion if but the spirit of vital godliness is lacking. After their rejection of the gospel, the Jews continued zealously to maintain their ancient rites, they rigorously preserved their national exclusiveness, while they themselves could not but admit that the presence of God was no longer manifest among them. The prophecy of Daniel pointed so unmistakably to the time of Messiah’s coming, and so directly foretold His death, that they discouraged its study, and finally the rabbis pronounced a curse on all who should attempt a computation of the time. In blindness and impenitence the people of Israel during succeeding centuries have stood, indifferent to the gracious offers of salvation, unmindful of the blessings of the gospel, a solemn and fearful warning of the danger of rejecting light from heaven.” The Great Controversy, 378.