Bible Study Guides – The Past and The Present

August 26, 2007 – September 1, 2007

Key Text

“When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8.

Study Help: Conflict and Courage, 41; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 74-76.


“These words of Christ should sink into the hearts of all who believe present truth: ‘And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.’ [Luke 21:34.] Our danger is presented before us by Christ Himself. He knew the perils we should meet in these last days, and would have us prepare for them. ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.’ [Luke 17:26.] They were eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the Flood came and swept them all away. The day of God will find men absorbed in like manner in the business and pleasures of the world, in feasting and gluttony, and in indulging perverted appetite in the defiling use of liquor and the narcotic tobacco. This is already the condition of our world, and these indulgences are found even among God’s professed people, some of whom are following the customs and partaking of the sins of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 309.

1 To what time of the past are the days immediately preceding the Second Coming of the Lord compared? Luke 17:26, 28.

note: “The inhabitants of the Noachian world were destroyed because they were corrupted through the indulgence of perverted appetite. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed through the gratification of unnatural appetite, which so benumbed the intellect that they could not discern the difference between the sacred claims of God and the clamor of appetite. The latter enslaved them, and they became so ferocious and bold in their detestable abominations that God would not tolerate them upon the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 162.

2 What is said of the time of Noah? Luke 17:27.

note: “To the long-lived, antediluvian race, only a step from paradise, God gave rich gifts, and they possessed a strength of body and mind of which men now have but a faint idea; but they used His bounties, and the strength and skill He gave them, for selfish purposes, to minister to unlawful appetites, and to gratify pride. They expelled God from their thoughts; they despised His law; trampled His standard of character in the dust. They reveled in sinful pleasure, corrupting their ways before God, and corrupting one another. Violence and crime filled the earth. Neither the marriage relation nor the rights of property were respected; and the cries of the oppressed entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. By beholding evil, men became changed into its image, until God could bear with their wickedness no longer, and they were swept away by the flood.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 421, 422.

3 What instruction is given in regard to eating and drinking? 1 Corinthians 10:31. What is the real danger in the last days in regard to eating and drinking? Luke 21:34.

note: “Intemperance of any kind is the worst sort of selfishness. Those who truly fear God and keep His commandments look upon these things in the light of reason and religion. How can any man or woman keep the law of God, which requires man to love his neighbor as himself, and indulge intemperate appetite, which benumbs the brain, weakens the intellect, and fills the body with disease? Intemperance inflames the passions and gives loose rein to lust. And reason and conscience are blinded by the lower passions.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 31.

4 To what time did the antediluvians keep up this excessive debauchery? Luke 17:27.

note: “The indulgence of perverted appetite inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah, and led to widespread corruption. Violence and sin reached to heaven. This moral pollution was finally swept from the earth by means of the Flood.” Counsels on Health, 23.

5 What warning was being given at the time of Noah? 1 Peter 3:18-20; 11 Peter 2:5. How long was the warning given? Genesis 6:3. What effect did the message have on the great mass of the world? Hebrews 11:7.

note: “Remember how soon after the transgression of Adam the apostasy of his posterity became so marked that God repented that He had made man. They followed the imaginations of their evil hearts, and the strivings of the Spirit were not heeded. They refused to be admonished. They had an abundance of blessings for their own enjoyment, and they soon forgot that they had forfeited immortality.

“God granted them one hundred and twenty years of probation, and during that time preached to them through Methuselah, Noah, and many others of His servants. Had they listened to the testimony of these faithful witnesses, had they repented and returned to their loyalty, God would not have destroyed them.” Review and Herald, April 23, 1901.

“Men cannot with impunity reject the warning which God in mercy sends them. A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah’s day, and their salvation depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the Flood.” The Great Controversy, 431.

6 What is said of the condition of the world at that time? Genesis 6:5,6. What brought them to this low state? Do we see any of these excesses at the present time?

note: “God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for themselves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifying their dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They sought only to gratify the desires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness. Not desiring to retain God in their knowledge, they soon came to deny His existence. They adored nature in place of the God of nature. They glorified human genius, worshiped the works of their own hands, and taught their children to bow down to graven images.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 90, 91.

“God has given us laws whereby to live, but now, as in the Noachic age, the imagination of men’s hearts is evil and only evil continually; men walk after the desire and devices of their own hearts, and so accomplish their own ruin. God would have men stand in their God-given manhood, free from the slavery of appetite.” Temperance, 281.

“Our large cities are fast reaching the condition represented by the condition of the world before the flood, when [Genesis 6:5 quoted] God-dishonoring sins are practiced by people living in lordly homes . . . .” Evangelism, 567.

7 What did the Saviour say in regard to the days of Lot? Luke 17:28.

note: “The same sins of gluttony and drunkenness [that brought the wrath of God upon the world in the days of Noah] benumbed the moral sensibilities of the inhabitants of Sodom, so that crimes seemed to be the delight of the men and women of that wicked city.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 60, 61.

8 What were the sins of Sodom? Ezekiel 16:49, 50. How did the people of this wicked city employ their time?

note: “In Sodom there was mirth and revelry, feasting and drunkenness. The vilest and most brutal passions were unrestrained. The people openly defied God and His law and delighted in deeds of violence. Though they had before them the example of the antediluvian world, and knew how the wrath of God had been manifested in their destruction, yet they followed the same course of wickedness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 157.

“Fairest among the cities of the Jordan Valley was Sodom, set in a plain which was ‘as the garden of the Lord’ [Genesis 13:10] in its fertility and beauty. Here the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics flourished. Here was the home of the palm tree, the olive, and the vine; and flowers shed their fragrance throughout the year. Rich harvests clothed the fields, and flocks and herds covered the encircling hills. Art and commerce contributed to enrich the proud city of the plain. The treasures of the East adorned her palaces, and the caravans of the desert brought their stores of precious things to supply her marts of trade. With little thought or labor, every want of life could be supplied, and the whole year seemed one round of festivity.

“The profusion reigning everywhere gave birth to luxury and pride. Idleness and riches make the heart hard that has never been oppressed by want or burdened by sorrow. The love of pleasure was fostered by wealth and leisure, and the people gave themselves up to sensual indulgence.” Ibid., 156.

9 What righteous man was living in this city? Genesis 13:12, 13; 19:1. Had the Sodomites been informed in regard to the true faith?

note: “When iniquity abounds in a nation, there is always to be heard some voice giving warning and instruction, as the voice of Lot was heard in Sodom. Yet Lot could have preserved his family from many evils had he not made his home in this wicked, polluted city. All that Lot and his family did in Sodom could have been done by them, even if they had lived in a place some distance away from the city.” Evangelism, 78.

10 What effect did the lives of this people have on Lot? 11 Peter 2:7, 8.

note: “Lot chose Sodom for his home because he saw that there were advantages to be gained there from a worldly point of view. But after he had established himself, and grown rich in earthly treasure, he was convinced that he had made a mistake in not taking into consideration the moral standing of the community in which he was to make his home.

“The dwellers in Sodom were corrupt; vile conversation greeted his ears daily, and his righteous soul was vexed by the violence and crime he was powerless to prevent. His children were becoming like these wicked people, for association with them had perverted their morals. Taking all these things into consideration, the worldly riches he had gained seemed small and not worth the price he had paid for them.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 110.

11 Did God find faith on the earth in those days? Hebrews 11:7; 11 Peter 2:8.

note: “More than one hundred years before the Flood the Lord sent an angel to faithful Noah to make known to him that He would no longer have mercy upon the corrupt race. But He would not have them ignorant of His design. He would instruct Noah and make him a faithful preacher to warn the world of its coming destruction, that the inhabitants of the earth might be left without excuse. . . .

“Noah and his family were not alone in fearing and obeying God. But Noah was the most pious and holy of any upon the earth, and was the one whose life God preserved to carry out His will in building the ark and warning the world of its coming doom.” The Story of Redemption, 62, 63.

“Lot, not desiring to flee to the mountains, had pleaded with the Lord to spare a smaller city a few miles from Sodom to which he could flee. What unbelief he manifested! His faith was very weak. But God in his mercy spared Zoar, in answer to Lot’s petitions.” Southern Union Worker, October 16, 1913.

12 Will the Lord find faith when He comes the second time? Luke 18:8.

note: “We must cherish a living, active faith. The permanence of our faith is the condition of our union.

“A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness–sin in all its forms–must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols.

“After the union with Christ has been formed, it can be preserved only by earnest prayer and untiring effort. We must resist, we must deny, we must conquer self. Through the grace of Christ, by courage, by faith, by watchfulness, we may gain the victory.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 231.