June 5, 2005 – June 11, 2005
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20.
Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 5, 573–580.
1 Why does the God of heaven direct the people to the Scriptures for their safety during the final warning? For New Testament counsel, see 1 John 4:1; 11 Thessalonians 2:1–3.
note: “The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. At every revival of God’s work the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers.” The Great Controversy, 593.
2 What is the only way faithful believers will be able to distinguish between the counterfeit and the true religion? For New Testament teaching, see 11 Timothy 3:16, 17.
note: “The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593.
“In the religious life of every soul who is finally victorious there will be scenes of terrible perplexity and trial; but his knowledge of the Scriptures will enable him to bring to mind the encouraging promises of God, which will comfort his heart and strengthen his faith in the power of the Mighty One. He reads: ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward;’ ‘that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.’ [Hebrews 10:35; 1 Peter 1:7.]” Testimonies, vol. 5, 578.
3 What is required of those who will successfully endure the trial before them? For applicable biblical principles, see Proverbs 2:1–8; Ephesians 5:17; Hosea 14:9; Psalms 111:10; 119:33, 34; Philippians 2:12, 13.
note: “Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided. They can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in His word; they can honor Him only as they have a right conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them.” The Great Controversy, 593.
“The trial of faith is more precious than gold. All should learn that this is a part of the discipline in the school of Christ, which is essential to purify and refine them from the dross of earthliness. They must endure with fortitude the taunts and attacks of enemies, and overcome all obstacles that Satan may place in their path to hedge up the way. He will try to lead them to neglect prayer and to discourage them in the study of the Scriptures, and he will throw his hateful shadow athwart their path to hide Christ and the heavenly attractions from their view.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 578.
4 Who only will stand through the last great test? For biblical teachings, see Deuteronomy 6:4–9; John 8:31, 32; 17:17.
note: “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand.” The Great Controversy, 593, 594.
“Those who are called of God to labor in word and doctrine should ever be learners. They should constantly seek to improve, that they may be ensamples to the flock of God and do good to all with whom they are brought in contact. Those who do not feel the importance of advancement and self-improvement will not grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 573.
5 List two things that multitudes do not understand today but are opened to us as plainly as Christ revealed the events regarding His death and resurrection to the disciples. These important truths are introduced in the following texts: Daniel 7:9–13; 12:1; Matthew 22:1–14; 25:1–13; Acts 3:19; Revelation 7:1–3.
note: “Before His crucifixion the Saviour explained to His disciples that He was to be put to death and to rise again from the tomb, and angels were present to impress His words on minds and hearts. But the disciples were looking for temporal deliverance from the Roman yoke, and they could not tolerate the thought that He in whom all their hopes centered should suffer an ignominious death. The words which they needed to remember were banished from their minds; and when the time of trial came, it found them unprepared. The death of Jesus as fully destroyed their hopes as if He had not forewarned them. So in the prophecies the future is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples by the words of Christ. The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed.” The Great Controversy, 594.
Comment: Because of our great need in these last days, God has revealed these truths to us in much more detail through the Spirit of Prophecy.
6 What message does God require every person with reasoning powers to understand? Revelation 14:9–11.
note: “When God sends to men warnings so important that they are represented as proclaimed by holy angels flying in the midst of heaven, He requires every person endowed with reasoning powers to heed the message. The fearful judgments denounced against the worship of the beast and his image (Revelation 14:9–11), should lead all to a diligent study of the prophecies to learn what the mark of the beast is, and how they are to avoid receiving it. But the masses of the people turn away their ears from hearing the truth and are turned unto fables.” The Great Controversy, 594.
7 List four things that should not be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. For biblical counsel, see Psalms 118:8, 9; 146:3; Proverbs 25:19; Jeremiah 7:4; 1 Timothy 6:20.
note: “But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support. . . .
“The spirit which actuated those priests and rulers is still manifested by many who make a high profession of piety. They refuse to examine the testimony of the Scriptures concerning the special truths for this time. They point to their own numbers, wealth, and popularity, and look with contempt upon the advocates of truth as few, poor, and unpopular, having a faith that separates them from the world.” The Great Controversy, 595, 596.
8 To whom does Satan direct the people to look as guides for their religious faith? What biblical warning is given against this practice? 11 Peter 2:1–3; Isaiah 2:22; Jeremiah 17:5.
note: “Those who laud and flatter the minister, while they neglect the works of righteousness, give unmistakable evidence that they are converted to the minister and not to God. We inquire: ‘Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’ Was it the voice of the Holy Spirit or merely the voice of man which you heard in the message sent from God?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 227.
“Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in the place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn their duty for themselves. Then, by controlling the minds of these leaders, he can influence the multitudes according to his will.
“When Christ came to speak the words of life, the common people heard Him gladly; and many, even of the priests and rulers, believed on Him. But the chief of the priesthood and the leading men of the nation were determined to condemn and repudiate His teachings. Though they were baffled in all their efforts to find accusations against Him, . . . yet they incased themselves in prejudice; they rejected the clearest evidence of His Messiahship, lest they should be forced to become His disciples. These opponents of Jesus were men whom the people had been taught from infancy to reverence, to whose authority they had been accustomed implicitly to bow. ‘How is it,’ they asked, ‘that our rulers and learned scribes do not believe on Jesus? Would not these pious men receive Him if He were the Christ?’ It was the influence of such teachers that led the Jewish nation to reject their Redeemer.” The Great Controversy, 595, 596.
9 What did Christ see that would not cease with the dispersion of the Jews? Jeremiah 5:31. For New Testament type, see Acts 9:1, 2, 14; 26:9–12.
note: “Christ foresaw that the undue assumption of authority indulged by the scribes and Pharisees would not cease with the dispersion of the Jews. He had a prophetic view of the work of exalting human authority to rule the conscience, which has been so terrible a curse to the church in all ages. And His fearful denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees, and His warnings to the people not to follow these blind leaders, were placed on record as an admonition to future generations.” The Great Controversy, 596.
10 What principle of Rome prevents multitudes today in the Protestant churches from searching the Scriptures? For a similar attitude in Jesus’ day, see John 7:45–49.
note: “The Roman Church reserves to the clergy the right to interpret the Scriptures. On the ground that ecclesiastics alone are competent to explain God’s word, it is withheld from the common people. Though the Reformation gave the Scriptures to all, yet the selfsame principle which was maintained by Rome prevents multitudes in Protestant churches from searching the Bible for themselves. They are taught to accept its teachings as interpreted by the church; and there are thousands who dare receive nothing, however plainly revealed in Scripture, that is contrary to their creed or the established teaching of their church.” The Great Controversy, 596. [Emphasis in original.]
11 Although the reason and consciences of many are convinced of the truthfulness of the message, why do they not accept and act in accordance with it? See again John 7:45–49; see also Jeremiah 5:31, last part.
note: “A lack of moral courage to step aside from the beaten track of the world leads many to follow in the steps of learned men; and by their reluctance to investigate for themselves, they are becoming hopelessly fastened in the chains of error. They see that the truth for this time is plainly brought to view in the Bible; and they feel the power of the Holy Spirit attending its proclamation; yet they allow the opposition of the clergy to turn them from the light. Though reason and conscience are convinced, these deluded souls dare not think differently from the minister; and their individual judgment, their eternal interests, are sacrificed to the unbelief, the pride and prejudice, of another.” The Great Controversy, 597.
12 What is impossible for us to do when the Bible is within our reach? For Old Testament type, see Jeremiah 14:14–16; 23:32–34; Hosea 4:6. For New Testament teaching, see Hebrews 6:4–6; 1 John 2:21–23.
note: “The truth and the glory of God are inseparable; it is impossible for us, with the Bible within our reach, to honor God by erroneous opinions. Many claim that it matters not what one believes, if his life is only right. But the life is molded by the faith. If light and truth is within our reach, and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.” The Great Controversy, 597.
“The position that it is of no consequence what men believe is one of Satan’s most successful deceptions. He knows that the truth, received in the love of it, sanctifies the soul of the receiver; therefore he is constantly seeking to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel. From the beginning the servants of God have contended against false teachers, not merely as vicious men, but as inculcators of falsehoods that were fatal to the soul. Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, firmly and fearlessly opposed those who were turning men from the word of God. That liberality which regards a correct religious faith as unimportant found no favor with these holy defenders of the truth.” Ibid., 520.