Bible Study Guides – Unbalanced Minds

February 6, 2011 – February 12, 2011

Key Text

“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.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 511–517; The Desire of Ages, 631.


“It was Satan’s purpose to mingle truth with error, that through these deceptive exercises he might make of none effect the genuine work of God.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 77, 78.

1 Why are the warnings given in Matthew 24:4 and Isaiah 8:20 so important for our time?

Note: “I would say to our dear brethren who have been so eager to accept everything that came in the form of visions and dreams, Beware that you be not ensnared. Read the warnings that have been given by the world’s Redeemer to His disciples to be given again by them to the world. The Word of God is solid rock, and we may plant our feet securely upon it. Every soul must needs be tested, every faith and doctrine must needs be tried by the law and the testimony. Take heed that no man deceive you. The warnings of Christ on this matter are needed at this time; for delusions and deceptions will come in among us, and will multiply as we near the end.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 952.

2 How were dreams and visions used to deceive Israel, and what should we learn from this? Jeremiah 23:25–27.

Note: “There will be false dreams and false visions, which have some truth, but lead away from the original faith. The Lord has given men a rule by which to detect them: [Isaiah 8:20 quoted]. If they belittle the law of God, if they pay no heed to His will as revealed in the testimonies of His Spirit, they are deceivers.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 98.

3 How has God warned His people about false dreams and visions, and why does Satan use them? Jeremiah 29:8, 9.

Note: “After a very solemn meeting with these deceived ones [who claimed to have from God messages of reproof to others], confessions were made that they threw themselves into attitudes resembling Sister White, as nearly as they could. It was all a farce, a deception. Yet many things they told came to pass as they predicted.

“I was asked how this could be if the visions were all false. I told them that it was Satan’s purpose to mingle truth with error, that through these deceptive exercises he might make of none effect the genuine work of God. From that time all their many visions ceased. What has become of those who had the visions, and those who encouraged them? Several now living are skeptics, have no belief in the gifts of the church, no faith in the truth, no religion at all. Such, I have been shown, is the sure result of spurious visions.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 77, 78.

4 What do we know about the different categories of dreams mentioned in the Word of God? Ecclesiastes 5:3; Jeremiah 23:32; I Kings 3:5.

Note: “There are many dreams arising from the common things of life with which the Spirit of God has nothing to do. ‘There are also false dreams, as well as false visions, which are inspired by the spirit of Satan. But dreams from the Lord are classed in the word of God with visions and are as truly the fruits of the spirit of prophecy as visions. Such dreams, taking into the account the persons who have them, and the circumstances under which they are given, contain their own proofs of their genuineness.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 658.

5 What were true prophets called in old times, and why? I Samuel 9:9; Numbers 12:6; 24:16, 17.

Note: “To Christ ‘give all the prophets witness.’ Acts 10:43. From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven’s glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession.” The Desire of Ages, 211, 212.

6 What will some hold as revelations from God? Ezekiel 13:7, 8.

Note: “Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate. When persons will speak lightly of the word of God, and set their impressions, feelings, and exercises above the divine standard, we may know that they have no light in them.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 146.

“They [who are deceivers that belittle the law of God] are controlled by impulse and impressions, which they believe to be from the Holy Spirit, and consider more reliable than the Inspired Word. They claim that every thought and feeling is an impression of the Spirit; and when they are reasoned with out of the Scriptures, they declare that they have something more reliable. But while they think that they are led by the Spirit of God, they are in reality following an imagination wrought upon by Satan.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 98, 99.

7 With what presumptuous claim will many try to justify their course of action in the last days? Acts 8:9, 10.

8 What consequences result from the influence of those refusing to accept the counsel of godly brethren? Isaiah 50:11.

Note: “I have been shown many who will claim to be especially taught of God, and will attempt to lead others, and from mistaken ideas of duty they will undertake a work that God has never laid upon them. Confusion will be the result. Let everyone seek God most earnestly for himself that he may individually understand His will.

“There will be those who will claim to have visions. When God gives you clear evidence that the vision is from Him, you may accept it, but do not accept it on any other evidence.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 72.

“These teachers follow the sparks of their own kindling, move according to their own independent judgment, and cumber the truth with false notions and theories. They refuse the counsel of their brethren, and press on in their own way until they become just what Satan would desire to have them—unbalanced in mind. …

“The great adversary of God and man [Satan] is exulting today that he has succeeded in deceiving souls, and in diverting their means and ability into harmful channels.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 56.

9 What contrast can be seen between the words of Paul in Philippians 3:12–14 and some professed Christians today?

Note: “The apostle Paul had been caught up to the third heaven and had seen and heard things that could not be uttered, and yet his unassuming statement is: ‘Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after.’ Philippians 3:12. Let the angels of heaven write of Paul’s victories in fighting the good fight of faith. Let heaven rejoice in his steadfast tread heavenward, and that, keeping the prize in view, he counts every other consideration dross. Angels rejoice to tell his triumphs, but Paul makes no boast of his attainments. The attitude of Paul is the attitude that every follower of Christ should take as he urges his way onward in the strife for the immortal crown.” The Acts of the Apostles, 562.

“None of the apostles or prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God had honored with divine light and power, have confessed the sinfulness of their own nature. They have put no confidence in the flesh, have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ. So will it be with all who behold Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 160.

10 What do we know about anyone who claims sanctification above the possibility of committing sin? I John 1:8–10.

Note: “Let the recording angels write the history of the holy struggles and conflicts of the people of God; let them record their prayers and tears; but let not God be dishonored by the declaration from human lips, ‘I am sinless; I am holy.’ Sanctified lips will never give utterance to such presumptuous words. …

“Let those who feel inclined to make a high profession of holiness look into the mirror of God’s law. As they see its far-reaching claims, and understand its work as a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, they will not boast of sinlessness. ‘If we,’ says John, not separating himself from his brethren, ‘say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ ‘If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.’ I John 1:8, 10.” The Acts of the Apostles, 561, 562.

11 Explain one major contrast to help us discern between the Spirit of God and Satan’s counterfeit. I Kings 19:12, 13; 18:26, 28; I Corinthians 14:33, 40.

Note: “Mere noise and shouting are no evidence of sanctification, or of the descent of the Holy Spirit. …

“The Lord desires to have in His service order and discipline, not excitement and confusion.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 35.

“The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time.” Ibid., 36.

12 How can we distinguish between the true gift of tongues and the false one? Acts 2:6–8; I Corinthians 14:9; Isaiah 8:19.

Note: “Some of these persons [a certain class of Sabbathkeepers] have exercises which they call gifts and say that the Lord has placed them in the church. They have an unmeaning gibberish which they call the unknown tongue, which is unknown not only by man but by the Lord and all heaven. Such gifts are manufactured by men and women, aided by the great deceiver. Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 412.

Review and Thought Questions:

1 How can we stand firm against all of Satan’s delusions?

2 For what purpose does Satan mingle truth with error?

3 What boastful claims are made by professed believers controlled by feelings, impressions and imaginations?

4 If order and discipline in a meeting are replaced by excitement and confusion, what spirit is leading?

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.