Bible Study Guides – The Second Cleansing of the Churches, Part 1

April 10, 2005 – April 16, 2005

Memory Verse

“After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Revelation 18:1, 2.

Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 603–607.

1 What message in the second advent movement is a counterpart to the second cleansing of the temple by Jesus? Revelation 18:1, 2, 4.

note: “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. [Matthew 21:12–16.] So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches. The second angel’s message [first distinct call] is, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ And in the loud cry of the third angel’s message, a voice is heard from heaven [second distinct call], ‘Come out of her, my people . . . .’ [Revelation 18:4.]” Review and Herald, December 6, 1892.

comment: A similar statement is recorded in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 725, 726: “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 [first distinct call], and the voice heard in heaven [second distinct call], ‘Come out of her, my people, . . . for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ [Revelation 18:4, 5.]”

2 List four phrases from the following reference that indicate that the attitudes of the people of the second advent movement get worse following the proclamation of the first angel’s message.

note: “This scripture [Revelation 18:1, 2, 4] points forward to a time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14 (verse 8), is to be repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844. A terrible condition of the religious world is here described. With every rejection of truth the minds of the people will become darker, their hearts more stubborn, until they are entrenched in an infidel hardihood. In defiance of the warnings which God has given, they will continue to trample upon one of the precepts of the Decalogue, until they are led to persecute those who hold it sacred. Christ is set at naught in the contempt placed upon His word and His people.” The Great Controversy, 603.

“At the close of His mission He came again to the temple, and found it still desecrated as before. The condition of things was even worse than before.” The Desire of Ages, 589.

comment: The above references are clear that as the condition of the church was worse when Jesus cleansed the temple at the second Passover, so the condition of the Christian world is worse at its close than when the second advent movement began in the 1840s.

3 What instruction was banished from the minds of the disciples that found them unprepared when their time of trial came? Matthew 16:21; Luke 18:31–34.

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.” The Great Controversy, 594.

4 What identical condition does God say is occurring among God’s people in the second advent movement? For the Jewish type, see Hosea 4:6; 8:12.

note: “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.

5 In the reference above, what two points of instruction are specifically mentioned that the multitudes do not understand? See Isaiah 33:14–17 concerning preparation for the time of trouble.

6 Describe the attitude of the chief of the priesthood and the leading men of the nation that finally led the Jews to reject Jesus and His work to remove sin from their hearts. Isaiah 59. (The Desire of Ages, 458, says that Isaiah 59 describes the character of the priests and rabbis.)

note: “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, though they could not but feel the influence of the divine power and wisdom attending His words, yet they incased themselves in prejudice; they rejected the clearest evidence of His Messiahship, lest they should be forced to become His disciples. . . . It was the influence of such teachers that led the Jewish nation to reject their Redeemer.” The Great Controversy, 595, 596.

7 What spirit and attitude is manifested by many in the Christian world? For the Jewish type, see John 12:37–40.

note: “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, 596.

8 What did Christ say about the undue assumption of authority by church and state over the consciences of men? Matthew 20:25, 26; Mark 10:42, 43.

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 [Matthew 23:1–39], 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.

9 How will the popular ministry today respond when their authority is questioned? For the Jewish type, see Matthew 21:45, 46; 22:15.

note: “As the people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? the ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears, and quiet the awakened conscience. But since many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men, and demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ the popular ministry, like the Pharisees of old, filled with anger as their authority is questioned, will denounce the message as of Satan [Mark 3:22] and stir up the sin-loving multitudes to revile and persecute those who proclaim it.” The Great Controversy, 607.

10 Why are people today deceived, as were the Jews? 11 Thessalonians 2:9–12.

note: “Many are deceived today in the same way as were the Jews. Religious teachers read the Bible in the light of their own understanding and traditions; and the people do not search the Scriptures for themselves, and judge for themselves as to what is truth; but they yield up their judgment, and commit their souls to their leaders.” The Desire of Ages, 459.

11 Upon what foundation may all, both Jew and Gentile, safely build that will keep them safe through the final struggle over the Law of God? Matthew 21:42–44; John 7:17.

note: “In quoting the prophecy of the rejected stone, Christ referred to an actual occurrence in the history of Israel. The incident was connected with the building of the first temple. While it had a special application at the time of Christ’s first advent, and should have appealed with special force to the Jews, it has also a lesson for us.” The Desire of Ages, 597.

“Upon this living stone, Jews and Gentiles alike may build. This is the only foundation upon which we may securely build. . . . Our eternal safety depends upon our building upon the sure foundation. Multitudes are today building upon foundations that have not been tested. When the rain falls, and the tempest rages, and the floods come, their house will fall, because it is not founded upon the eternal Rock, the chief cornerstone Christ Jesus.” Ibid., 599, 600.

12 What was it that destroyed the Jews and will also destroy the careless and unrepentant sinner in the closing hour of the kingdom of grace? Luke 20:17–19.

note: “And what was it that destroyed the Jews? It was the rock which, had they built upon it, would have been their security. It was the goodness of God despised, the righteousness spurned, the mercy slighted. Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction. . . . So it will be in the great final day, when judgment shall fall upon the rejecters of God’s grace. Christ, their rock of offense, will then appear to them as an avenging mountain. The glory of His countenance, which to the righteous is life, will be to the wicked a consuming fire. Because of love rejected, grace despised, the sinner will be destroyed.

“By many illustrations and repeated warnings, Jesus showed what would be the result to the Jews of rejecting the Son of God. In these words He was addressing all in every age who refuse to receive Him as their Redeemer. Every warning is for them. The desecrated temple [Luke 19:45, 46], the disobedient son [Matthew 21:28–32], the false husbandmen [Matthew 21:33–41], the contemptuous builders [Matthew 21:42–46], have their counterpart in the experience of every sinner.” The Desire of Ages, 600.