July 31, 1999 – August 6, 1999
MEMORY VERSE: “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:18.
STUDY HELP: Desire of Ages, 281–289.
“The purpose and plan of grace existed from all eternity. Before the foundation of the world it was according to the determinate counsel of God that man should be created, endowed with power to do the divine will. But the defection of man, with all its consequences, was not hidden from the Omnipotent, and yet it did not deter Him from carrying out His eternal purpose; for the Lord would establish His throne in righteousness. God knows the end from the beginning; ‘known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.’ Therefore redemption was not an afterthought—a plan formulated after the fall of Adam—but an eternal purpose to be wrought out for the blessing not only of this atom of a world but for the good of all the worlds which God has created. The creation of the worlds, the mystery of the gospel, are for one purpose, to make manifest to all created intelligences, through nature and through Christ, the glories of the divine character.” Signs of the Times, April 25, 1892.
“Another Angel in the Midst of Heaven”
What message is to be proclaimed to the entire world just before the coming of Jesus? Revelation 14:6, 7.
NOTE: “The duty to worship God is based upon the fact that He is the Creator and that to Him all other beings owe their existence. And wherever, in the Bible, His claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of the heathen, is presented, there is cited the evidence of His creative power. ‘All the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.’ Psalm 96:5. ‘To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things.’ ‘Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it: . . I am the Lord; and there is none else.’ Isaiah 40:25, 26; 45:18. Says the psalmist: ‘Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.’ ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.’ Psalms 100:3; 95:6. And the holy beings who worship God in heaven state, as the reason why their homage is due to Him: ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things.’ Revelation 4:11. In Revelation 14, men are called upon to worship the Creator; and the prophecy brings to view a class that, as the result of the threefold message, are keeping the commandments of God. One of these commandments points directly to God as the Creator.” Great Controversy, 436, 437.
In what way did the Lord call upon mankind to worship “Him that made heaven and earth”? Exodus 20:8–11.
NOTE: “The Lord says, ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.’ Isaiah 58: 13, 14. 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 labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” Desire of Ages, 289.
“I am the Lord that doth Sanctify You”
What sign has God given of His sanctifying power in the life of the Christian? Ezekiel 20:12; Exodus 31:13.
NOTE: ‘“Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For ‘all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, ‘I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,’—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.” Desire of Ages, 288.
What precious promises are offered to those who honour God by keeping the Sabbath holy? Isaiah 58:13, 14.
NOTE: “All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honourable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. Yet they can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interesting our children. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can walk out with them in the open air; we can sit with them in the groves and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and can inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature. The Sabbath should be made so interesting to our families that its weekly return will be hailed with joy. In no better way can parents exalt and honour the Sabbath than by devising means to impart proper instruction to their families and interesting them in spiritual things, giving them correct views of the character of God and what He requires of us in order to perfect Christian characters and attain to eternal life. Parents, make the Sabbath a delight, that your children may look forward to it and have a welcome in their hearts for it.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 584, 585.
“GOD IS LOVE”
What fundamental aspect of God’s character is revealed to us? 1 John 4:16.
NOTE: ‘“God is love.’ 1 John 4: 16. His nature, His law, is love. It ever has been; it ever will be. ‘The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,’ whose ‘ways are everlasting,’ changeth not. With Him ‘is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ Isaiah 57:15; Habakkuk 3:6; James 1:17. Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing to all created beings . . . The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God’s unchanging love.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 33.
What other aspect of God is revealed in creation? 1 John 1:5.
NOTE: “In the manifestation of God to His people, light had ever been a symbol of His presence. At the creative word in the beginning, light had shone out of darkness. Light had been enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, leading the vast armies of Israel. Light blazed with awful grandeur about the Lord on Mount Sinai. Light rested over the mercy seat in the tabernacle. Light filled the temple of Solomon at its dedication. Light shone on the hills of Bethlehem when the angels brought the message of redemption to the watching shepherds. God is light; and in the words, ‘I am the light of the world,’ Christ declared His oneness with God, and His relation to the whole human family. It was He who at the beginning had caused ‘the light to shine out of darkness.’ 2 Cor. 4:6. He is the light of sun and moon and star. He was the spiritual light that in symbol and type and prophecy had shone upon Israel. But not to the Jewish nation alone was the light given. As the sunbeams penetrate to the remotest corners of the earth, so does the light of the Sun of Righteousness shine upon every soul.” Desire of Ages, 464.
“THY MAKER IS THY HUSBAND”
What is the relationship of the Creator with those He created? Isaiah 54:5–8.
NOTE: “With untold love our God has loved us, and our love awakens toward Him as we comprehend more of the length and depth and height and breadth of this love that passeth knowledge. But when we turn aside to another master, we break our vows to Him, and make void the covenant; and we become adulterers, choosing the friendship and favor of others, and proving untrue to Him who has died for us. We declare by this act of separation, that we have found His service hard and his love unsatisfying; and thus we dishonor Him, and bring His name into reproach before the world. The Lord, infinite in power and wisdom, has declared, ‘Thy Maker is thine Husband.’ Everything that will serve for the best good and the highest interest of the people of God will be provided; and although the world seeks to entice them from their allegiance, although they are brought into difficult places, and experience affliction, they are not to seek the counsel of man, but to put their whole trust in God, casting all their care upon Him. Christ proves the sincerity of the faith and love of His church by trial and sorrow; and He will bring those who are faithful out of the furnace, refined and purified.” Signs of the Times, August 19, 1889.
What lessons can we learn about human marriage from the relationship of God with His people? Ephesians 5:25, 27; 1 Peter 3:7.
NOTE: “Affection may be as clear as crystal and beauteous in its purity, yet it may be shallow because it has not been tested and tried. Make Christ first and last and best in everything. Constantly behold Him, and your love for Him will daily become deeper and stronger as it is submitted to the test of trial. And as your love for Him increases, your love for each other will grow deeper and stronger. ‘We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.’ 2 Corinthians 3:18. You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have. ‘Put on therefore, . . . kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.’ ‘Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.’” Testimonies, vol. 7, 46.
“Cursed Is the Ground for Thy Sake”
What work was originally given to mankind? Genesis 2:15. (See verses 5, 6, 8, 9.)
NOTE: “God prepared for Adam and Eve a beautiful garden. He provided for them everything that their wants required. He planted for them fruit-bearing trees of every variety. With a liberal hand He surrounded them with His bounties. The trees for usefulness and beauty, and the lovely flowers which sprang up spontaneously and flourished in rich profusion around them, were to know nothing of decay. Adam and Eve were rich indeed. They possessed Eden. Adam was lord in his beautiful domain. None can question the fact that he was rich. But God knew that Adam could not be happy unless he had employment. Therefore He gave him something to do; he was to dress the garden.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 153.
What is in our world today that God did not create? Genesis 3:17, 18.
NOTE: “Christ never planted the seeds of death in the system. Satan planted these seeds when he tempted Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge which meant disobedience to God. Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden, but after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up. In the parable of the sower the question was asked the master, ‘Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares?’ The master answered, ‘An enemy hath done this’ (Matt. 13:27, 28). All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 288.
When will this curse be removed? Revelation 22:3.
NOTE: “The meek ‘shall inherit the earth.’ It was through the desire for self-exaltation that sin entered into the world, and our first parents lost the dominion over this fair earth, their kingdom. It is through self-abnegation that Christ redeems what was lost. And He says we are to overcome as He did. Revelation 3:21. Through humility and self-surrender we may become heirs with Him when ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ Psalm 37:11. The earth promised to the meek will not be like this, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. ‘We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.’ ‘There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 22:3. There is no disappointment, no sorrow, no sin, no one who shall say, I am sick; there are no burial trains, no mourning, no death, no partings, no broken hearts; but Jesus is there, peace is there. There ‘they shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.’ Isaiah 49:10.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 17.
“LEST ANY MAN SPOIL YOU”
What warning are we given of a departure from the simplicity of Bible doctrine? 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.
NOTE: “The warnings of the word of God regarding the perils surrounding the Christian church belong to us today. As in the days of the apostles men tried by tradition and philosophy to destroy faith in the Scriptures, so today, by the pleasing sentiments of higher criticism, evolution, spiritualism, theosophy, and pantheism, the enemy of righteousness is seeking to lead souls into forbidden paths. To many the Bible is as a lamp without oil, because they have turned their minds into channels of speculative belief that bring misunderstanding and confusion. The work of higher criticism, in dissecting, conjecturing, reconstructing, is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation. It is robbing God’s word of power to control, uplift, and inspire human lives.” Acts of the Apostles, 474.
What will happen to those who are deceived by human theories and deceptions? Colossians 2:8.
NOTE: “The follower of Christ will meet with the ‘enticing words’ against which the apostle warned the Colossian believers. He will meet with spiritualistic interpretations of the Scriptures, but he is not to accept them. His voice is to be heard in clear affirmation of the eternal truths of the Scriptures. Keeping his eyes fixed on Christ, he is to move steadily forward in the path marked out, discarding all ideas that are not in harmony with His teaching. The truth of God is to be the subject for his contemplation and meditation. He is to regard the Bible as the voice of God speaking directly to him. Thus he will find the wisdom which is divine.” Acts of the Apostles, 474.