December 12 – 18, 1999
MEMORY VERSE: ‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.’ Revelation 19: 7 – 8.
STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 405 – 421.
‘In both the Old and the New Testament, the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people. To the mind of Jesus the gladness of the wedding festivities pointed forward to the rejoicing of that day when He shall bring home His bride to the Father’s house, and the redeemed with the Redeemer shall sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb. He says, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; . . . but thou shalt be called My Delight; . . . for the Lord delighteth in thee.” “He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” Isaiah 62: 5, 4, margin; Zephaniah 3: 17. When the vision of heavenly things was granted to John the apostle, he wrote: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19: 6, 7, 9.’ Desire of Ages, page 151.
‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord’
- What work was necessary in preparation for the first advent of Christ? Luke 1: 17.
NOTE: ‘John was to reform the children of Israel, and turn them to the Lord. He had the promise that God would work with him. He was “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” John was a representative of the people of God in the last days, to whom God has committed important and solemn truths. The world at large are given to gluttony and the indulgence of base passions. The light of health reform is opened before the people of God at this day, that they may see the necessity of holding their appetites and passions under control of the higher powers of the mind. This is also necessary, that they may have mental strength and clearness to discern the sacred chain of truth, and turn from the bewitching errors and pleasing fables that are flooding the world. Their work is to present before the people the pure doctrine of the Bible. Hence health reform finds its place in the preparatory work for the second appearing of Christ.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, January 7th, 1873.
- What work must the church accomplish before Christ can return? Matthew 24: 14.
NOTE: ‘The truth will be proclaimed in clear, unmistakable language. As a people we must prepare the way of the Lord under the overruling guidance of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is to be given in its purity. The stream of living water is to deepen and widen in its course. In all fields, nigh and afar off, men will be called from the plough and from the more common commercial business vocations that largely occupy the mind, and will be educated in connection with men of experience. As they learn to labour effectively they will proclaim the truth with power. Through most wonderful workings of divine providence, mountains of difficulty will be removed and cast into the sea. The message that means so much to the dwellers upon the earth will be heard and understood. Men will know what is truth. Onward and still onward the work will advance until the whole earth shall have been warned, and then shall the end come.’ Testimonies Volume 9, page 96.
‘Having the everlasting gospel to preach’
- What message is needed to prepare the way of the Lord? Revelation 14: 6 – 12.
NOTE: ‘The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgements for disobedience and transgression until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.’ Testimonies Volume 6, page 19. –
- What sort of person is needed to prepare the way of the Lord? Luke 1: 15 – 17.
NOTE: ‘John separated himself from friends and from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair, was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests, and of the people generally. His diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. The prophet Malachi declares: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things. The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God especially leads and blesses, is to be presented to the people in contrast to the extravagant, health-destroying habits of those who live in this degenerate age. God has shown that health reform is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body. There is nowhere to be found so great a cause of physical and moral degeneracy as a neglect of this important subject. Those who indulge appetite and passion, and close their eyes to the light for fear they will see sinful indulgences which they are unwilling to forsake, are guilty before God. Whoever turns from the light in one instance hardens his heart to disregard the light upon other matters.’ Testimonies Volume 3, page 62.
‘The harvest of the earth is ripe’
- What two harvests will take place when Jesus returns? Revelation 14: 14 – 20.
NOTE: ‘The tares are permitted to grow among the wheat, to have all the advantage of sun and shower; but in the time of harvest ye shall “return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” Malachi 3: 18. Christ Himself will decide who are worthy to dwell with the family of heaven. He will judge every man according to his words and his works. Profession is as nothing in the scale. It is character that decides destiny. The Saviour does not point forward to a time when all the tares become wheat. The wheat and tares grow together until the harvest, the end of the world. Then the tares are bound in bundles to be burned, and the wheat is gathered into the garner of God. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Then “the Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.”’ Christ’s Object Lessons, page 74 – 75.
- How is the ripeness of God’s people described? Ephesians 4: 13 – 15.
NOTE: ‘“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5: 22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life. “When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3: 12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, page 68 – 69.
- How is the ripeness of the follower of Satan described? Genesis 6: 5 – 6.
NOTE: ‘I was shown the state of the world, that it is fast filling up its cup of iniquity. Violence and crime of every description are filling our world, and Satan is using every means to make crime and debasing vice popular. The youth who walk the streets are surrounded with handbills and notices of crime and sin, presented in some novel or to be acted at some theatre. Their minds are educated into familiarity with sin. The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before them in the periodicals of the day, and everything which can excite curiosity and arouse the animal passions is brought before them in thrilling and exciting stories. The literature that proceeds from corrupted intellects poisons the minds of thousands in our world. Sin does not appear exceeding sinful. They hear and read so much of debasing crime and vileness that the once tender conscience which would have recoiled with horror becomes so blunted that it can dwell upon the low and vile sayings and actions of men with greedy interest. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”’ Testimonies Volume 3, pages 471 – 472.
‘Ye shall receive power’
- How was the early church empowered to accomplish its task of taking the Gospel to the world? Acts 1: 8.
NOTE: ‘On the day of Pentecost the Spirit was given. Christ’s witnesses proclaimed the power of the risen Saviour. The light of heaven penetrated the darkened minds of those who had been deceived by the enemies of Christ. They now saw Him exalted to be “a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5: 31. They saw Him encircled with the glory of heaven, with infinite treasures in His hands to bestow upon all who would turn from their rebellion. As the apostles set forth the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father, three thousand souls were convicted. They were made to see themselves as they were, sinful and polluted, and Christ as their friend and Redeemer. Christ was lifted up, Christ was glorified, through the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon men. By faith these believers saw Him as the One who had borne humiliation, suffering, and death that they might not perish but have everlasting life. The revelation of Christ by the Spirit brought to them a realising sense of His power and majesty, and they stretched forth their hands to Him by faith, saying, “I believe.” Then the glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost bounds of the inhabited world. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. The prophecy was fulfilled, The weak shall be “as David,” and the house of David “as the angel of the Lord.” Zechariah 12: 8. Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of benevolence and love. One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labour for the enlargement of His kingdom. “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. . . . With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4: 32, 33. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2: 47. The Spirit of Christ animated the whole congregation; for they had found the pearl of great price. These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the Former Rain, but the Latter Rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 120 – 121.
- What great change had taken place in the hearts of the disciples? Acts 2: 1. (Compare Mark 9: 34, Luke 22: 24.)
NOTE: ‘By the grace of Christ the apostles were made what they were. It was sincere devotion and humble, earnest prayer that brought them into close communion with Him. They sat together with Him in heavenly places. They realised the greatness of their debt to Him. By ear nest, persevering prayer they obtained the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and then they went forth, weighted with the burden of saving souls, filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. And under their labours many souls were brought from darkness to light, and many churches were raised up.’ Testimonies Volume 7, page 32.
‘It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, March 2nd, 1897.
‘The Latter Rain’
- What promise is given of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power in the last days? Acts 2: 17.
NOTE: ‘The first disciples went forth preaching the Word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, “confirming the word with signs following.” These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ’s promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day. So it may be now. Instead of man’s speculations, let the Word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days was the “former rain,” and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 19th, 1908.
- What reaction among some of the Jews at Pentecost is a warning for God’s people today? Acts 2: 13.
NOTE: ‘Only those who are living up to the light they have, will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognise the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, March 2nd, 1897.
‘Them that had gotten the victory’
- What work must be done by and for those who will experience the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord? Acts 3: 19 – 20.
NOTE: ‘I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of “refreshing” and the “latter rain” to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father. Before this time the awfully solemn declaration has gone forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” I saw that none could share the “refreshing” unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.’ Early Writings, page 72.
- What promise and hope does the church have that this work will be accomplished by the time that Christ returns? 1 John 3: 2 – 6.
NOTE: ‘The exhortation of the apostle is, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” It is by engaging in this work, and by exercising living faith in God, that we are to perfect Christian character. The work of cleansing the soul-temple and preparing for Christ’s appearing must be done while we are in this world of temptation. Just as Christ finds us in character when He comes, so we shall remain.’ Historical Sketches, page 134.
‘We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes, He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honour, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.’ Testimonies Volume 2, page 355.