July 10, 2004 – July 16, 2004
“And 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.
Suggested Reading: The Desire of Ages, 231–235.
“Of the poor in spirit Jesus says, ‘Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ This kingdom is not, as Christ’s hearers had hoped, a temporal and earthly dominion. Christ was opening to them the spiritual kingdom of His love, His grace, His righteousness. . . . His subjects are the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted for righteousness’ sake. The kingdom of heaven is theirs. Though not yet fully accomplished, the work is begun in them which will make them ‘meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light’ (Colossians 1:12).” God’s Amazing Grace, 9.
1 What did Jesus preach? Matthew 4:23. Compare Mark 1:14, 15.
Note: “The gospel message, as given by the Saviour Himself, was based on the prophecies.” God’s Amazing Grace, 12.
“Christ ‘went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness.’ [Matthew 4:23.] He preached in the synagogues because thus He could reach the many who gathered there. Then He went out and taught by the seaside and in the great thoroughfares of travel. The precious truths that He had to proclaim were not to be confined to synagogues. . . .
“Christ might have occupied the highest place among the highest teachers of the Jewish nation. But He chose rather to take the gospel to the poor. He went from place to place, that those in the highways and byways might catch the words of the gospel of truth. He labored in the way in which He desires His workers to labor today. By the sea, on the mountainside, in the streets of the city, His voice was heard explaining the Old Testament Scriptures. So unlike the explanations of the scribes and Pharisees was His explanation that the attention of the people was arrested. He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes. With clearness and power He proclaimed the gospel message.” Evangelism, 54.
2 For what purpose is time being continued? Matthew 24:14.
Note: “Now, before the coming of the Son of man, the everlasting gospel is to be preached ‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’ Revelation 14:6, 14. God ‘hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world.’ Acts 17:31. Christ tells us when that day shall be ushered in. He does not say that all the world will be converted, but that ‘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.] By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God.” The Desire of Ages, 633.
3 What is said of the preaching of the gospel in Abraham’s time? Genesis 12:1–3; Galatians 3:8.
Note: “As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden, when after the Fall there was given a divine promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. To all men this covenant offered pardon and the assisting grace of God for future obedience through faith in Christ. It also promised them eternal life on condition of fidelity to God’s law. Thus the patriarchs received the hope of salvation.
“This same covenant was renewed to Abraham in the promise, ‘In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.’ Genesis 22:18. This promise pointed to Christ. So Abraham understood it (see Galatians 3:8, 16), and he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness. The covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God’s law. The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, ‘I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect.’ Genesis 17:1.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 370.
4 To what degree did Israel fail of meeting God’s purpose? Hosea 1:9, 10. Compare Hosea 2:23; John 1:12.
Note: “This gathering in of the Gentiles to the church of God had been traced by the pen of inspiration, but had been but faintly understood. Hosea had said, [Hosea 1:10 quoted]. And again, ‘I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.’ [Hosea 2:23.]
“During the life of Christ on earth he had sought to lead the Jews out of their exclusiveness. The conversion of the centurion, and that of the Syrophenician woman, were instances of his direct work outside of the acknowledged people of Israel. The time had now come for active and continued work among the Gentiles, of whom whole communities received the gospel gladly, and glorified God for the light of an intelligent faith. The unbelief and malice of the Jews did not turn aside the purpose of God; for a new Israel was being grafted into the old olive-tree. The synagogues were closed against the apostles; but private houses were thrown open for their use, and public buildings of the Gentiles were also used in which to preach the Word of God.” Redemption: or the Teachings of Paul, and his Mission to the Gentiles (1878), 14.
5 In the time of Israel’s punishment for her failure, what glad tidings did God proclaim? Daniel 2:44.
Note: “The dream of the great image, opening before Nebuchadnezzar events reaching to the close of time, had been given that he might understand the part he was to act in the world’s history, and the relation that his kingdom should sustain to the kingdom of heaven. In the interpretation of the dream, he had been plainly instructed regarding the establishment of God’s everlasting kingdom. [Daniel 2:44, 45 quoted.]” Prophets and Kings, 503.
6 Through whom will this promise be fulfilled? Luke 1:31–33.
Note: “[Luke 1:31–33 quoted.] These words do not refer to any human being, except to the Son of the infinite God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1128.
“Before the foundations of the world were laid, Christ, the Only Begotten of God, pledged Himself to become the Redeemer of the human race, should Adam sin. Adam fell, and He who was partaker of the Father’s glory before the world was, laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and stepped down from His high authority to become a Babe in Bethlehem, that by passing over the ground where Adam stumbled and fell, He might redeem fallen human beings. He subjected Himself to all the temptations that the enemy brings against men and women; and all the assaults of Satan could not make Him swerve from His loyalty to the Father. By living a sinless life He testified that every son and daughter of Adam can resist the temptations of the one who first brought sin into the world. . . .
“Christ came in human form to show the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds and of the fallen world that ample provision has been made to enable human beings to live in loyalty to their Creator.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 226, 227.
7 Before this promise could be fulfilled, what did the Son of God become? John 1:1, 2, 14.
Note: “In taking upon Himself humanity, our Saviour unites His interests with those of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, while through His divinity He grasps the throne of God. And thus Christ is the medium of communication of men with God, and of God with men.” The Desire of Ages, 143.
8 What name is given to this divine-human union? 1 Timothy 3:16. What did Jesus call this same mystery? Mark 4:11.
Note: “Great is the mystery of godliness. There are mysteries in the life of Christ that are to be believed, even though they cannot be explained. The finite mind cannot fathom the mystery of godliness.” Letter 65, 1905.
“In eternity we shall learn that which, had we received the enlightenment it was possible to obtain here, would have opened our understanding. The themes of redemption will employ the hearts and minds and tongues of the redeemed through the everlasting ages. They will understand the truths which Christ longed to open to His disciples, but which they did not have faith to grasp. Forever and forever new views of the perfection and glory of Christ will appear. Through endless ages will the faithful Householder bring forth from His treasure things new and old.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 134.
9 What shows that the wise men of Babylon did not understand this blessed, mysterious union? Daniel 2:11.
Note: “ ‘The union of the divine and human in the person of Christ is “the mystery of godliness,” or “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” In the case of the seed which is sown in the field, this same principle is illustrated by the union of the reproducing power with the material form. As the seed is thus capable of multiplying itself, so Christ reproduces His own character in believers, by making them partakers of the divine nature. At His coming He bestows upon the subjects of the kingdom the gift of immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51–53), and so the kingdom will stand forever. It is quite likely that the wise men of Babylon did not understand about the incarnation of God in the flesh in the coming Messiah; but in their statement that the dwelling of the gods was not with flesh, they announced the fundamental error of Babylon, both ancient and modern, and really denied the vital principle of the kingdom of God, which needed to be known in Babylon, and which is still to be proclaimed throughout the world.’ Bible Readings, 211.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1918, 9, 10.
10 How did Daniel’s experience show that the true God does dwell with flesh? Daniel 2:19. How personal is this union for us? What does this mystery accomplish for the believer? Colossians 1:26–28.
Note: “While Daniel clung to God with unwavering trust, the spirit of prophetic power came upon him. While honored by men with the responsibilities of the court and the secrets of the kingdom, he was honored by God as His ambassador, and taught to read the mysteries of ages to come. Heathen monarchs, through association with Heaven’s representative, were constrained to acknowledge the God of Daniel.” Education, 56.
“When His words of instruction have been received, and have taken possession of us, Jesus is to us an abiding presence, controlling our thoughts and ideas and actions. We are imbued with the instruction of the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. A sense of human accountability and of human influence gives character to our views of life and of daily duties. Jesus Christ is everything to us—the first, the last, the best in everything. Jesus Christ, His Spirit, His character, colors everything; it is the warp and the woof, the very texture of our entire being. The words of Christ are spirit and life. We cannot, then, center our thoughts upon self; it is no more we that live, but Christ that liveth in us, and He is the hope of glory. Self is dead, but Christ is a living Saviour. Continuing to look unto Jesus, we reflect His image to all around us. We cannot stop to consider our disappointments, or even to talk of them; for a more pleasant picture attracts our sight—the precious love of Jesus. He dwells in us by the word of truth.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 389.
11 In what words did King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge Daniel’s fellowship with God? Daniel 2:47.
Note: “The Lord worked with power to bring the mightiest king on the earth to acknowledge Him as King over all kings. He moved upon the mind of the proud king until Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged Him as ‘the most high God,’ ‘whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation.’ ” Evangelism, 88.
12 What invitation will the King extend to those who have experienced the mystery of the kingdom? Matthew 25:31–34.
Note: “Not until the personal advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom. The Saviour said: [Matthew 25:31-34 quoted.] We have seen by the scriptures just given that when the Son of man comes, the dead are raised incorruptible and the living are changed. By this great change they are prepared to receive the kingdom; for Paul says: ‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.’ 1 Corinthians 15:50. Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but the kingdom of God will be incorruptible, enduring forever. Therefore man in his present state cannot enter into the kingdom of God. But when Jesus comes, He confers immortality upon His people; and then He calls them to inherit the kingdom of which they have hitherto been only heirs.” The Great Controversy, 322, 323.