May 18, 2014 – May 24, 2014
“Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.” Isaiah 56:1.
Study Help: The Great Controversy, 451–460.
“In order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 283.
1 SABBATH OBSERVANCE TO BE RESTORED
- What evidence proves that the call of the Lord in Isaiah 56 applies especially in New Testament times? Compare Isaiah 56:1 with I Peter 1:4, 5, and Romans 3:21–24.
- When, and upon what condition, would a blessing rest upon the Gentiles gathered in by the gospel? Isaiah 56:2–7; Ephesians 2:12–22.
Note: “Here [in Isaiah 56:8] is foreshadowed the gathering in of the Gentiles by the gospel. And upon those who then honor the Sabbath, a blessing is pronounced. Thus the obligation of the fourth commandment extends past the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, to the time when His servants should preach to all nations the message of glad tidings.” The Great Controversy, 451.
“The true sign is placed upon every one who accepts the Sabbath, to keep it holy unto the Lord. The claims of the Sabbath if obeyed, will sanctify us, soul, body and spirit. In coming out from the world and being separated, in accepting the Sabbath of creation which God has sanctified and blessed, we give evidence of genuine conversion. We wear God’s sign. We are stamped with the mark of His government.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 425.
2 AN INWARD EXPERIENCE CONFIRMED BY OUTWARD ACTION
- Define the necessary inward experience of those who take part in the Lord’s Sabbath rest. Matthew 11:28–30; Isaiah 48:16–18; Jeremiah 6:16, first part.
Note: “To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28).” The Desire of Ages, 289.
- What should we understand about the depth of spiritual rest that Christ wants us to experience? Hebrews 3:7–12; 4:12.
- What evidence do we have that the Lord’s rest (“His rest”), into which we are to enter, is an inward experience confirmed by an outward sign? Ezekiel 20:12, 19, 20; Hebrews 3:12–14; 4:3, 4, 9–11.
Note: “Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the sanctification of the truth, the believer becomes fitted for the courts of heaven; for Christ works within us, and His righteousness is upon us. Without this no soul will be entitled to heaven. We would not enjoy heaven unless qualified for its holy atmosphere by the influence of the Spirit and the righteousness of Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 395.
“True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 350.
3 THE SEAL OF GOD TO BE RESTORED
- The disciples of Jesus are called upon to restore the seal of God. How are they to do this work? Isaiah 8:13–16; 58:12–14. (Compare Isaiah 8:14 with I Peter 2:7, 8.)
Note: “The seal of God’s law is found in the fourth commandment. This only, of all the ten, brings to view both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It declares Him to be the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and thus shows His claim to reverence and worship above all others. Aside from this precept, there is nothing in the Decalogue to show by whose authority the law is given. When the Sabbath was changed by the papal power, the seal was taken from the law. The disciples of Jesus are called upon to restore it by exalting the Sabbath of the fourth commandment to its rightful position as the Creator’s memorial and the sign of His authority.” The Great Controversy, 452.
- What rule has God given us to test religious things? Isaiah 8:20. How do we know that this rule applies especially to the Christian era? Isaiah 8:14.
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.” The Great Controversy, 593.
“While conflicting doctrines and theories abound, the law of God is the one unerring rule by which all opinions, doctrines, and theories are to be tested.” Ibid., 452.
- What work is to be done in the time of the end, shortly before the coming of Christ? Acts 3:19–21.
4 THE LAW OF GOD: THE FOCAL POINT OF THE CONFLICT
- Upon which Old Testament prophet and his accomplishment is the last work of restoration to be modeled? Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:11, 12.
Note: “In every generation God has sent His servants to rebuke sin, both in the world and in the church. But the people desire smooth things spoken to them, and the pure, unvarnished truth is not acceptable. Many reformers, in entering upon their work, determined to exercise great prudence in attacking the sins of the church and the nation. They hoped, by the example of a pure Christian life, to lead the people back to the doctrines of the Bible. But the Spirit of God came upon them as it came upon Elijah, moving him to rebuke the sins of a wicked king and an apostate people; they could not refrain from preaching the plain utterances of the Bible—doctrines which they had been reluctant to present. They were impelled to zealously declare the truth and the danger which threatened souls. The words which the Lord gave them they uttered, fearless of consequences, and the people were compelled to hear the warning.
“Thus the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them.” The Great Controversy, 606.
- What ultimately distinguishes the remnant people of God from the nominal churches? Matthew 7:21–23; Revelation 14:12.
Note: “Though the ‘man of sin’ succeeded in trampling underfoot God’s holy day, yet even in the period of his supremacy there were, hidden in secret places, faithful souls who paid it honor. Since the Reformation, there have been some in every generation to maintain its observance. Though often in the midst of reproach and persecution, a constant testimony has been borne to the perpetuity of the law of God and the sacred obligation of the creation Sabbath.” The Great Controversy, 453.
5 ENDURING AS ETERNITY
- What prophecy shows that the Sabbath will be kept throughout eternity? Isaiah 66:23.
Note: “God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 368.
“When Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun.” The Desire of Ages, 283.
“When there shall be a ‘restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began’ (Acts 3:21), the creation Sabbath, the day on which Jesus lay at rest in Joseph’s tomb, will still be a day of rest and rejoicing. Heaven and earth will unite in praise, as ‘from one Sabbath to another’ (Isaiah 66:23) the nations of the saved shall bow in joyful worship to God and the Lamb.” Ibid., 769, 770.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How can we prove that God wants to bless the Sabbath-keeping Gentiles brought in by the gospel?
2 Explain the twofold aspect (inward experience and outward sign) of the Lord’s Sabbath rest into which He wants us to enter.
3 Through what work is the seal of God’s law to be restored?
4 Explain the meaning of the Greek word anomia, translated as “iniquity” in Matthew 7:23.
5 What Edenic institution, restored among the last generation of Christ’s true followers, will be observed in Paradise regained?
© 2010 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.