Story – Julia’s Missionary Money

Once upon a time there lived a little girl in a town in New York State. I know that she was a bright and happy and delightful little girl, because now that she is growing old, she is bright and happy and delightful.

She lived with her father and her mother and brothers in a real old-fashioned, homey home where guests liked to come. One of the guests who liked to come was the great Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States. The little girl was always very happy when he came. She used to like to sit close and talk to him. She called him “Uncle Abe.” He often called her “Sissy,” though her real name was Julia.

One time when the President was visiting at Julia’s home, the family were all gathered in the sitting room in the evening. Julia was counting the money in her missionary box. Mr. Lincoln watched her.

“What are you doing over there?” he asked.

“I’m counting my missionary money, Uncle Abe,” Julia answered.

Mr. Lincoln put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a coin, and held it toward Julia. Julia drew her box back.

“Oh, no, I can’t take that, Uncle Abe. I have to earn all the money I put in this box,” she said earnestly.

“Is that so?” said Mr. Lincoln, thoughtfully. Then he put his hand back into his pocket.

The next day he was getting ready to start for the train.

“I wonder if you couldn’t walk down to the depot with me, Julia?” he said.

“Oh, yes, I’d love to!” cried Julia, and she ran for her hat.

As they started down the street together, Abraham Lincoln changed his valise [a small traveling bag] to the other hand. It was an old-fashioned valise with two handles. As he looked down from his great height at his little companion, he asked, “Do you suppose that you could help me carry my valise? It’s pretty heavy.”

Julia was a little surprised, for Mr. Lincoln had never before asked her to help him carry his valise. But she took hold of one of the handles, and they carried it between them all the way to the depot, talking gayly as they went. At the depot the President took the valise and pulled a shining coin out of his pocket, holding it out to the little girl.

“There, Julia,” he said, “now you have earned your missionary money.”

Julia was much surprised, for she had not thought of such a thing as earning money by helping her friend carry his valise. But she saw that she really had earned it.

“Oh, thank you, Uncle Abe!” she exclaimed joyfully.

Then he went away on the train, and Julia ran home with the shining coin held tightly in her hand. She thought it was the very brightest penny she had ever seen. She hurried to put it into her missionary box, where it would be safe.

The next week, when the missionary boxes were opened, Julia was called out into another room. There sat the superintendent, and there were her father and one of her brothers. And there on the table was her missionary box. Everyone looked sober.

“How much money did you have in your missionary box, Julia?” asked the superintendent.

“Eighty-two cents,” answered the little girl.

“I knew it was a mistake. It is not her box,” said her father.

“Are you sure that was all you had? Where did this come from?” she was asked, and she saw the bright penny that the President had given her.

“Oh, that’s the money Uncle Abe gave me!” she answered.

The shining coin was a five-dollar gold piece.

This is a true story. I know it is true, because the little girl, who is a little girl no longer, told me the story herself.

Cockleshells, True Education Series, Olive Vincent Marsh, 16–19.

Inspiration – The Trial of Our Faith

In this time of trial, we need to be encouraged and comforted by each other. The temptations of Satan are greater now than ever before, for he knows that his time is short, and that very soon every case will be decided, either for Life, or for Death. It is no time to sink down beneath discouragement, and trial now; but we must bear up under all our afflictions, and trust wholly in the mighty God of Jacob.

The Lord has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation, and through His grace come off victorious.

If we overcome our trials, and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is much more precious than gold, and are stronger, and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down, and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker and get no reward for the trial, and shall not be so well prepared for the next. In this way we shall grow weaker, and weaker, until we are led captive by Satan, at his will. We must have on the whole armor of God, and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God, and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty; but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light, and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus. Then would Israel move forward strong in God, and in the power of His might.

God has shown me that He gave His people a bitter cup to drink to purify and cleanse them. It is a bitter draught, and they can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus, must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left filthy and impure in heart. I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus received it, and God will be honored and glorified. It is no small thing to be a Christian, and to be owned and approved of God. The Lord has shown me some who profess the present truth, whose lives do not correspond with their profession. They have got the standard of piety altogether too low, and they come far short of Bible holiness. Some engage in vain and unbecoming conversation, and others give way to the risings of self. We must not expect to please ourselves, live and eat like the world, have its pleasures, and enjoy the company of those who are of the world, and reign with Christ in glory.

We must be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, if we would share in His glory hereafter. If we seek our own interest, how we can best please ourselves, instead of seeking to please God and advance His precious suffering cause, we shall dishonor God and the holy cause we profess to love.

We have but a little space of time left to work for God. Nothing should be too dear to sacrifice for the salvation of the scattered and torn flock of Jesus. Those who make a covenant with God by sacrifice now, will soon be gathered home to share a rich reward, and possess the new kingdom forever and ever.

O, let us live wholly for the Lord, and show by a well ordered life and godly conversation that we have been with Jesus, and are His meek and lowly followers. We must work while the day lasts, for when the dark night of trouble and anguish comes, it will be too late to work for God. Jesus is in His Holy Temple, and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins, and will now pardon all the transgressions of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the Sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the Sanctuary, then he that is holy and righteous, will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in the Sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father’s throne, Therefore, what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath, must be done before Jesus leaves the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary.

A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, published by James White, ©1851, 27–29.

Pretentious Foliage

The word pretentious means attempting to impress by affecting greater importance than is actually possessed or in other words: a fake. An example is the mineral like iron pyrite that has a superficial resemblance to gold and affectionately called “fool’s gold.”

We may ask ourselves the question: Are we Christ’s followers or just pretenders?

Jesus said, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22–26).

In John 15:1–11, we read the lesson Christ taught about the vital importance of being connected to the vine. He said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Jesus makes it very plain when He says that unless we are connected to the TRUE VINE, we will not bear fruit. Why? Just think of the branches on the tree. If the branch is disconnected from the tree, its source of life, it is fit for nothing but to be burned. So, it is a fact that if we are not connected to Christ, we are useless, yes friends, useless for Christ. Without that connection we cannot bear the fruits of the Spirit – longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance and the list goes on. We may pretend to be Christ’s, but in reality, we are none of His and in the final analysis, how terrifying it will be to hear the words, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).

The fig tree is native to the Middle East and northwestern Asia. It was brought to North America by Spanish missionaries in the early sixteenth century. Figs are one of the oldest fruits known to mankind and are members of the moraceae family, which includes the Mulberry and breadfruit. The shade provided by a mature tree is definitely appreciated in the summer and in the right conditions some species will produce two crops in a year. The first, called a “breba” crop, ripens in late May or June, and a second will be ready in late September to early November.

One day Jesus was walking to the temple. “On the way He passed a fig orchard. He was hungry, ‘and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find anything thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet’ (Mark 11:13).

“It was not the season for ripe figs. … But in the orchard to which Jesus came, one tree appeared to be in advance of all the others. It was already covered with leaves. It is the nature of the fig tree that before the leaves open, the growing fruit appears. Therefore this tree in full leaf gave promise of well-developed fruit. But its appearance was deceptive. Upon searching its branches, from the lowest bough to the topmost twig, Jesus found ‘nothing but leaves.’ It was a mass of pretentious foliage, nothing more.

“Christ uttered against it a withering curse. ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever’ (verse 14), He said. The next morning, as the Saviour and His disciples were again on their way to the city, the blasted branches and drooping leaves attracted their attention. ‘Master,’ said Peter, ‘behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away’ (verse 21).

“Christ’s act in cursing the fig tree had astonished the disciples. It seemed to them unlike His ways and works. Often they had heard Him declare that He came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. They remembered His words, ‘The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them’ (Luke 9:56). His wonderful works had been done to restore, never to destroy. The disciples had known Him only as the Restorer, the Healer. This act stood alone. What was its purpose? they questioned. …

“The cursing of the fig tree was an acted parable. That barren tree, flaunting its pretentious foliage in the very face of Christ, was a symbol of the Jewish nation. The Saviour desired to make plain to His disciples the cause and the certainty of Israel’s doom. For this purpose He invested the tree with moral qualities, and made it the expositor of divine truth. The Jews stood forth distinct from all other nations, professing allegiance to God. They had been specially favored by Him, and they laid claim to righteousness above every other people. But they were corrupted by the love of the world and the greed of gain. They boasted of their knowledge, but they were ignorant of the requirements of God, and were full of hypocrisy. Like the barren tree, they spread their pretentious branches aloft, luxuriant in appearance, and beautiful to the eye, but they yielded ‘nothing but leaves.’ The Jewish religion, with its magnificent temple, its sacred altars, its mitered priests and impressive ceremonies, was indeed fair in outward appearance, but humility, love, and benevolence were lacking.

“All the trees in the fig orchard were destitute of fruit; but the leafless trees raised no expectation, and caused no disappointment. By these trees the Gentiles were represented. They were as destitute as were the Jews of godliness; but they had not professed to serve God. They made no boastful pretensions to goodness. They were blind to the works and ways of God. With them the time of figs was not yet. They were still waiting for a day which would bring them light and hope. The Jews, who had received greater blessings from God, were held accountable for their abuse of these gifts. The privileges of which they boasted only increased their guilt.

“Jesus had come to the fig tree hungry, to find food. So He had come to Israel, hungering to find in them the fruits of righteousness. He had lavished on them His gifts, that they might bear fruit for the blessing of the world. Every opportunity and privilege had been granted them, and in return He sought their sympathy and co-operation in His work of grace. He longed to see in them self-sacrifice and compassion, zeal for God, and a deep yearning of soul for the salvation of their fellow men. Had they kept the law of God, they would have done the same unselfish work that Christ did. But love to God and man was eclipsed by pride and self-sufficiency. They brought ruin upon themselves by refusing to minister to others. The treasures of truth which God had committed to them, they did not give to the world. In the barren tree they might read both their sin and its punishment. Withered beneath the Saviour’s curse, standing forth sere and blasted, dried up by the roots, the fig tree showed what the Jewish people would be when the grace of God was removed from them. Refusing to impart blessing, they would no longer receive it. ‘Oh Israel,’ the Lord says, ‘thou hast destroyed thyself’ (Hosea 13:9).

“The warning is for all time. Christ’s act in cursing the tree which His own power had created stands as a warning to all churches and to all Christians. No one can live the law of God without ministering to others.” The Desire of Ages, 581–584.

As we take the time to read this article, I would like to state that I stand condemned, for if I am truly honest, I do not want to be pruned. Pruning is a painful process, but if we desire to spend eternity with Jesus, we must allow God to take control of our lives, we must surrender and allow Him to make us more productive.

Pray that God will help us to be connected to the True Vine and daily remain connected to Him. Remember there is nothing good in us unless we receive the power that flows from the Vine.

May the Lord help us daily and give us His grace, His strength and His Love to share Jesus.

Revella Knight is a registered nurse and writes from her home in Arkansas.

The Atonement and the Sanctuary

The Spirit of the Lord has given pointed warnings concerning the doctrine of the atonement.

“The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.” The Great Controversy, 488.

“Satan is striving continually to bring in fanciful suppositions in regard to the sanctuary, degrading the wonderful representations of God and the ministry of Christ for our salvation into something that suits the carnal mind. He removes its presiding power from the hearts of believers, and supplies its place with fantastic theories invented to make void the truths of the atonement, and destroy our confidence in the doctrines which we have held sacred since the third angel’s message was first given. Thus he would rob us of our faith in the very message that has made us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work.” Evangelism, 225.

These words are being fulfilled before our very eyes today. The word atonement is mentioned only once in the King James translation of the New Testament and reads: “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:9–11). However, the word reconciliation or its derivative (translated from the same Greek word or its derivative) is found nine times, five of which are found in 2 Corinthians 5:18–20 and two in Romans 5:10. The other two (1 Corinthians 7:11 and Romans 11:15) do not pertain to the cross of Christ.

Speaking of the reconciliation, Paul says, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:18–21). Paul says God has reconciled us and the world and given to us the ministry of reconciliation to go forth as ambassadors, taking the word of reconciliation, which is a call to be reconciled. How can people who have been reconciled be called to be reconciled?

When we think of the atonement or reconciliation, we usually limit our understanding to the cross. Yet we are told that Jesus is ministering as our High Priest, not the sacrifice, to make reconciliation. “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). This word is primarily different from the previous word in that it does not carry the connotation of being restored to divine favor, but denotes the mercy received through Christ as our “propitiation.”

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14–16).

Although the word atonement is found only once in the New Testament, it is mentioned 80 times in the Old Testament (10 times in Exodus, 49 times in Leviticus, 17 times in Numbers, and once each in 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, and Nehemiah). Over half of these are found in the book of Leviticus and pertain to the sanctuary service. Therefore, to fully understand the atonement, we must also understand the biblical doctrine of the sanctuary. There is only one people in the whole wide world that even remotely understand this great Bible truth, and many of them have but clouded concepts of this glorious doctrine.

Most Christians have come to believe that the atonement is based solely upon the cross. But what good would the sacrifice of Jesus have been, if He had remained in the grave? You see, the atonement consists of much more than many are aware. “It was not alone His [Christ’s] betrayal in the garden or His agony upon the cross that constituted the atonement. The humiliation of which His poverty formed a part was included in His great sacrifice. The whole series of sorrows which compassed humanity Christ bore upon His divine soul.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1103.

The atonement is as much an ongoing process as is salvation. Under the Levitical law, when the animal was sacrificed, was not the person forgiven? Was not an atonement made? Why then did the blood have to be taken into the sanctuary? Why was it necessary that there be a yearly “cleansing of the sanctuary” if a full and final atonement had already been made in the death of the sacrifice?

Notice what Scripture says: “And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with Him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:7–10).

If the death alone was sufficient, why did the blood have to be carried into the sanctuary? Why was an atonement made as much as a year after the sacrifice? Because it took more than the sacrifice. This is what Paul meant when he said, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain” and “we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19).

On the surface the popular evangelical view of the atonement sounds so good, and thus we join in thought with the errors of evangelicalism and claim that it all happened 2000 years ago; that the atonement is finished, over, final, and complete. However, this presents a real problem, for where does that leave us? Where does it leave Jesus? Where is Jesus now? What is He doing? What are we to be doing? Why are we still here? Why hasn’t Jesus come back? These are questions that find no satisfactory answer if one holds the common view conveyed to Christianity through Catholicism.

We find the parallel to the ministry of Jesus, our high priest, in the heavenly sanctuary in the services of the earthly sanctuary. God gave the following instruction for the earthly high priest on the day of atonement. “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:20–22).

While here on this earth Jesus was declared to be “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” and more than 700 years before His birth, the prophet Isaiah had declared that He was to be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (John 1:29; Isaiah 53:7).

Beyond any doubt, the Son of the Living God became our Sacrifice to cleanse us from sin, for “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). But the good news of the Gospel of Christ is that He was more than just a Sacrifice. He did more than just die for us. He now lives for us as well. He burst forth from that tomb victorious and He declares: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18).

Death could not hold the Son of God, who is now “set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1). “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Herein lies our hope, for there is but “one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5, 6).

Jesus died as our Sacrifice, but more than this, He ascended to heaven to minister as our Intercessor, our Mediator in the heavenly sanctuary. There He began the first apartment phase of His ministry—that of the forgiveness of our sins through the merits of His own shed blood.

Without this ministry of Jesus where would we be? “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23). But praise God, Jesus is there, and “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” and “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 2:1; 1:9).

This ministry of Jesus had its parallel in the daily ministry of the priests in the holy place of the earthly sanctuary and “For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of his solemn work—to cleanse the sanctuary.

“As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering, and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But, before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation—a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when He comes, His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works (Revelation 22:12).

“Thus those who followed in the light of the prophetic word saw that, instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to His coming.” The Great Controversy, 421, 422.

This has always been the position of Seventh-day Adventists until recently. F. D. Nichol stated in his book Answers to Objections, 408: “We believe that Christ’s work of atonement was begun, rather than completed, at Calvary.”

The cleansing of the sanctuary was the last service to be completed in the yearly round of ministration. It was the closing work of the atonement, the removal of and putting away of the sins of the people, and it prefigured the work of our High Priest in heaven in the removal or blotting out of the sins of His people, which are registered in the heavenly records, as well as the removal of sin from their lives. The atonement is not over, regardless of what Babylon may say.

Notice what God says is to take place when it is over. “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people” (Leviticus 23:27–30). The word here translated “cut off” means to kill or destroy. (See Exodus 4:24; Hosea 4:6; Daniel 9:26.)

“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. … While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.

“When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. … Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a ‘glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing’ (Ephesians 5:27).” The Great Controversy, 425.

The passionate pleas of the prophet should awaken in our hearts and minds a riveting realization of who we are and the tremendous importance of the fact that we are living in the day of atonement.

“Shall we forget our holy calling, brethren? Shall the mournful deterioration of piety be seen among us, that caused the rejection of the Jewish nation? Shall we who have had so great light upon Bible truth let a dry, dead formalism take the place of zeal and faith? … We must arouse and take in the situation. We are in the day of atonement, and we are to work in harmony with Christ’s work of cleansing the sanctuary from the sins of the people. Let no man who desires to be found with the wedding garment on, resist our Lord in His office work. As He is, so will His followers be in this world. We must now set before the people the work which by faith we see our great High-priest accomplishing in the heavenly sanctuary. Those who do not sympathize with Jesus in His work in the heavenly courts, who do not cleanse the soul temple of every defilement, but who engage in some enterprise not in harmony with this work, are joining with the enemy of God and man in leading minds away from the truth and work for this time.” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 21, 1890.

“Christ is in the heavenly sanctuary, and He is there to make an atonement for the people. He is there to present His wounded side and pierced hands to His Father. He is there to plead for His Church that is upon the earth. He is cleansing the sanctuary from the sins of the people. What is our work? It is our work to be in harmony with the work of Christ. By faith we are to work with Him, to be in union with Him.” Ibid., January 28, 1890.

If we accept the Evangelical position on the atonement, we must say there is no such thing as a cleansing of the sanctuary, the day of atonement, or an investigative judgment beginning in 1844. Yet the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy are very clear that we are today living in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment. When this work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, Jesus will leave the heavenly sanctuary making the awesome pronouncement, “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. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:11, 12), and return to this earth to receive His people.

“As the priest entered the most holy once a year to cleanse the earthly sanctuary, so Jesus entered the most holy of the heavenly, at the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, in 1844, to make a final atonement for all who could be benefitted by His mediation, and thus to cleanse the sanctuary.” Early Writings, 253.

“Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself, ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me’ (John 14:30). Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.

“It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 623.

Joe Gresham was raised in an agnostic, humanistic environment and first experienced the life-changing power of the love of God at age 27. His transformation from a life of crime and violence into an international speaker is a miracle of God’s grace. An ordained minister, evangelist, author, radio and TV speaker, Joe served on the staff of Andrews University as adjunct professor of religion.

Many Voices

In the book Faith and Works, page 55, it says,

“The voice of God is speaking to us through His word, and there are many voices that we will hear; but Christ has said we should beware.”

Already people are hearing many voices, but as time goes on there will be many more. Ellen White has warned to beware. To beware means to watch out!

She writes, “After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, ‘Lo, here is Christ, Lo, He is there. This is the truth. I have the message from God, He has sent me with great light.’ ” Maranatha, 189. Will you listen to them at the peril of your soul?

It is imperative to be able to distinguish the voices. John 10:1–6 says, “ ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.” This is still true today.

John 18:37 says, “Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ ”

Speaking to Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Here is the question: Do you recognize the shepherd’s voice well enough to distinguish His voice from all the other voices? We all hear other voices and must be sure that we are receiving communication from the right Spirit.

If we are receiving communications from the right spirit, certain things will happen in our lives. “A stubborn, willful spirit is not of Christ, but of Satan; hence, it will not be cherished by him who has the mind of Christ. All impurity of thought will be overcome, and the mind will be trained to pure and holy thoughts. Backbiting and evil speaking will be put away. Jealousy and selfishness will be overcome, for they are Satanic, and not Christlike. Bitter are the fruits of self-indulgence, of unsanctified traits of character.” The Signs of the Times, October 12, 1891. Notice what will be overcome: all impurity of thought, backbiting, jealousy and selfishness, for these traits are Satanic.

Psalm 15:3 describes the character of those who are going to be in heaven. It is the person who doesn’t take up a reproach against his neighbor, even in his bedroom at home. It is the person you can trust; they speak no evil behind another’s back.

The condition of church members may give some idea why the Holy Spirit isn’t yet poured out so that God’s work can be finished. In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul wrote, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29–32).

Notice the context of the scripture when describing how the Holy Spirit is grieved—the way we speak. The word blasphemy simply means evil speech. The worst kind of evil speech is against God, but all evil speech is blasphemy. The Holy Spirit can never be poured out upon people who are backbiting and evil surmising and speaking evil of each other.

It is during this lifetime that we are to learn godly habits, which include pure speech. Jesus spoke directly to the Pharisees and the Sadducees with any rebuke that was necessary. He talked to them right to their faces and never behind their backs.

If the Holy Spirit is working on the mind, the words will be right. “If we cherish His [Jesus’] Spirit, if we manifest His love to others, if we guard one another’s interests, if we are kind, patient, forbearing, the world will have an evidence by the fruits we bear that we are the children of God.” That I May Know Him, 153.

Christianity today seems so powerless to make an impact on the world and the reason is that though we claim to be Christians, we don’t act like Jesus and talk like Jesus. If the world is going to see Jesus, they are going to have to see Him revealed in somebody that claims God as their Father and Jesus as their Brother.

It was not the early church in Antioch that called themselves Christian, rather it was those to whom they had witnessed who affixed that name to them. The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because they continually spoke about Jesus, what He taught and did, and they were just like Him.

If you were the only Christian amongst the non-believers in your area, would others say, by watching you and listening to you speak, “That person is like Jesus Christ”?

Everyone is tempted in the area of speech. No one is excluded. The devil will see to it that evil surmising and bad reports about you will be widely spread. When you hear of it, the temptation is to absolutely destroy every argument by presenting the facts, but most of the time, if you give all the facts, it would often damage somebody else’s reputation. Never think that pastors aren’t tempted to damage someone’s reputation by giving people the facts when rumors about them start spreading. Rumors were spread about Jesus, about the apostle Paul, about Martin Luther. Rumors were spread about Ellen White. Be aware that it will happen to you if you are a Christian. If you are living right and following the Lord, all manner of evil reports will be spread about you. In fact, I’ve sometimes thought that if there are no evil reports circulating about you, you ought to get scared and wonder if you are really a Christian.

Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26).

Some may spread gossip, claiming that they are just telling their closest friend, but why speak evil to a friend that will do nothing more than to pollute and poison their mind? Before the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost the disciples had to meet together in that upper room for ten days and talk over things, because they had been jostling with one another over who was going to be first, who was going to have the highest place. They had to confess their sins and talk things over.

Think this through: After the death of Judas, the 11 disciples were in the upper room with about 110 other people who had gathered there to make things right. And they did have a lot to discuss and make right because they had been talking a lot of evil against each other. They had a lot of praying to do and confession of sin. Suppose one of those people got so upset when he found out how much evil had actually been spoken against him and said, “This is too much,” and walked out. They would have had every right to leave. Jesus never stopped anyone from leaving, but they would not have received the Holy Spirit when it was poured out. It is time to work things out with our brethren. It is time to make things right while there is still time.  Think through how serious this is, for the Holy Spirit will be given only to those who are wearing Christ’s yoke—who are reflecting His character—and He said, “I am gentle and humble in heart.”

Would you recognize the Holy Spirit if it were poured out? In Acts chapter 2, we read that the Jews did not recognize when the Holy Spirit was poured out. There were a number of reasons for that. If they had recognized that it was the Holy Spirit, they would have had to recognize who Jesus was and they refused to do that. When the Holy Spirit is poured out in its fullness, many won’t recognize it again.

Jesus said, “And when He [that is, the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). Notice, Jesus teaches that when the Holy Spirit comes, He comes to reprove. Many people would like to receive the Holy Spirit, but they do not want to be reproved of their sins. Unfortunately for them, that is not how the Holy Spirit works.

Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had been working on the minds of the disciples and convicting them of their sins. As a result, they were ready to make things right between themselves. They desired their carnal natures to be subdued and made whole. The Spirit had already worked on their hearts and on the Day of Pentecost, they were ready to receive the early rain.

The result of this conversion and unity was that the Lord added to the church every single day. At that time, they did not need long series of evangelistic meetings to raise up churches. People recognized Jesus in those early believers and the churches increased daily. That will happen again before Jesus returns. However, it is never going to happen unless the Holy Spirit is poured out and that isn’t going to happen until the church members talk with each other to make things right and get things straightened out.

What an experience it would have been to be in that upper room when the Holy Spirit was poured out. Would you have stayed and faced your mistakes or fled with your pride and stubbornness? There were plenty of places to go, for there were many other Sabbath keeping churches around the area that were strictly orthodox in their belief, practice and teaching. But those churches didn’t receive the Holy Spirit because they hadn’t made things right. They were still talking about Jesus and saying that He was an imposter.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide [continue, stay] in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ ” (John 8:31, 32). Those who received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost were people who had stayed with the word of God and kept studying it even when they couldn’t understand what was going on. When Jesus was crucified, they didn’t understand what was going on. They were perplexed and confused but still refused to give up their faith. They continued to search for truth and humbled themselves before the Lord and He revealed the truth to them.

Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come, He would “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). From this text, we get the idea that receiving the Holy Spirit is closely connected with receiving the truth and following that truth as it is in Jesus. The Holy Spirit always guides into truth—never error. The devil’s counterfeit is what we call sophistry. Webster’s dictionary definition of sophistry is reasoning that is sound in appearance but actually it is false.

The devil’s sophistry puts people in a position so that they will not receive the Holy Spirit. “The cause of God is in great peril because the physicians in whose minds sophistry has prevailed against truth, are bracing themselves against the impressions of the Holy Spirit, and are placing themselves where the Lord can not use them as leaders of His people.” Spalding and Magan Collection, 364, 365. This was written at the time that we call the alpha of apostasy. These leading Adventist physicians had become convinced that the devil’s sophistry was the truth and as a result they were braced against receiving the real truth. Such is the case of many sincere people calling themselves Christians throughout the world today. By believing some erroneous doctrine, they reject truth. The word of God is true, and the Lord has given it as a measuring stick to measure things, whether they are of the truth or not.

Jesus prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). It is impossible to be sanctified through error. To be sanctified by the truth is to practice it, live it.

Hebrews 6:18 says, “It is impossible for God to lie.” But the whole world has, at various times, decided that God didn’t know what He was talking about. It happened in Noah’s day (Genesis 6 and 7). The people decided they knew better. After all, how could there be a flood when there had never been rain? The Jews mocked Jesus’ virgin birth and called Him a bastard. They told Him that they hadn’t been born of fornication to indicate their belief that He had been. Jesus said that He didn’t come for Himself, but that His Father had sent Him. The ascension of Christ proves that He was telling the truth. God does not want you to be deceived by the sophistry of the devil.

“God desires scientific sophistry to be purged from every heart. He desires us to rebuke every evil devising, every evil work. If we allow such devising to go unrebuked, we shall have to suffer the consequences.” The Review and Herald, June 29, 1905. To rebuke evil devising is not fun for any preacher to do and certainly doesn’t gain any popularity. However, Jesus said, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 NASB).

We are commanded that if we allow evil devising and evil work to be unrebuked, we will have to suffer the consequences. We are living in a time when there is more evil surmising, more evil devising, more scientific sophistry than has ever been in Adventism and it is a snare that only God can deal with.

So how do you figure out what is true and what is not? When Eve spoke to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, she did not know who in reality she was talking to. (See Genesis 3:1–5.) Eve was deceived by someone anonymous. Think this through because this same thing is happening all around us today.

The devil works anonymously. He did not introduce himself to Eve and say that he was going to speak through a snake and deceive her. That would never have worked.

Around the time of the alpha of apostasy some young, very good-looking men began to hang around Battle Creek Sanitarium and go for walks and talk with John Harvey Kellogg. The trouble was John Kellogg did not know who these young men were. Ellen White revealed to him a scene that she had witnessed while in Oakland. “Angels clothed with beautiful garments, like angels of light, were escorting Dr. Kellogg from place to place, and inspiring him to speak words … that were offensive to God.” Ellen G. White, vol. 5, The Early Elmshaven Years, 304. Watch out, friend, for anonymous information. If they can’t give you a name, a date, a place, a phone number, and an address, watch out. You are going to be misled by something you do not understand or even recognize as spiritually dangerous.

Jesus said, “They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:5). As we draw closer to the end of time, we are going to hear more and more voices. Make no decision based on that anonymous information, not any. Ellen White wrote, “We are not to accept these suppositions and pass them along as truth.” Ellen G. White, vol. 5, The Early Elmshaven Years, 428. Weigh the evidence for what you believe or what you don’t believe. “There is no excuse for doubt or skepticism. God has made ample provision to establish the faith of all men if they will decide from the weight of evidence.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 311. As we approach the final crisis, what are you going to do?

“Present the affirmative of truth. Stand on the platform of eternal truth. But do not accuse. Say nothing to arouse enmity and strife. …

“The signs of the end are fast fulfilling. The time of trouble is very near us now. We are to be brought into strait places [that is, narrow places] in a way in which we have not been brought heretofore. The time of trouble is near, and we are to awake to a realization of this. We are to be sure that our feet are in the narrow path. We need an experience that we have not yet had, that we may have the assurance that the God of all grace is a very present help in time of need. The time of trouble—trouble such as was not since there was a nation—is right upon us, and we are like the sleeping virgins. We are to awake and ask the Lord Jesus to place underneath us His everlasting arms, and carry us through the time of trial before us. …

“How little we know of what is going on in heaven! What fearful indifference those on this earth show to eternal realities. Souls are unprepared for what is about to take place in our world; the warning must be given. The end of all things is at hand. …

“Preach the Word. The last message of mercy is to be given to prepare a people to stand in these last days. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 436–438.

Study Psalm 15 to know how not to be shaken in the last days.

“This is what has been presented to me—that we are asleep, and do not know the time of our visitation. But if we humble ourselves before God, and seek Him with the whole heart, He will be found of us.” Ibid., 438.

Oh friends, the Lord says you are asleep and that it is time to wake up! Jesus told a parable of ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Because he was delayed, they all fell asleep. At midnight they heard the cry, “Behold the bridegroom is coming” (Matthew 25:6) and they awoke; some were ready to meet him, but sadly, some were not. Those not ready had failed to make the necessary preparation and were not allowed into the marriage feast. (See Matthew 25:1–13.) Learn from this parable. Determine today to seek the Lord with your whole heart. Enjoy a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and get to know His voice so you will not be found a victim of the sophistry of the devil. True joy and happiness are found only in the presence of the Lord.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Editorial – Lest Any Fail of the Grace of God

It is possible to receive the grace of God in vain and fail to receive eternal life.

Paul said, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:14, 15).

“We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1).

The special messenger to the Second Advent Movement gives us insight as to how this happens.

“A soul hurt is often a soul destroyed. …

“The redemption of man means unity with Jesus Christ. The Saviour pledged Himself to recover the principles of human dependence upon a plan that could save and reform man. He would make man a laborer together with God. By the sacrifice of Himself He would enable every human being to be one with his fellow men and with God. …

“This plan unites the believers to God as one man. One rule of life is the principle of action. A chain of mutual dependence, made fast to the throne of God, passes round every blood-bought soul. … It is the work of God to expel evil from the soul by connecting humanity with divinity. All difference and disunion are destroyed by a union with the great Center.  …

“Man stands in need of just such a firm, abiding life-principle, a principle which will connect him with God, and through God with his fellow man. …

“The Redeemer did not shun man as man is inclined to shun his fellow men. When God condemned the guilty sinner because he was deserving of condemnation, the Majesty of heaven came near in all the fullness of the God-head. … He knew that by paying the ransom He could end the reign of the enemy, and vindicate the justice of God. Therefore He clothed His divinity with humanity. He stooped to this fallen world that He might restore in man the divine image.

“ ‘Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,’ the apostle writes; ‘and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed’ (Hebrews 12:12). … Let not your coldness, your unkindness, turn souls from the path that leads to Christ. There are souls who need your words of encouragement, and these can not be helped by your unfeeling decisions, and words and looks of contempt.” Excerpted from The Review and Herald, June 5, 1900. (All emphasis supplied.)

Bible Study Guides – The Passover

October 25 – 31, 2020

Key Text

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no. life in you” (John 6:53).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 273–280.

Introduction

“The followers of Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must receive and assimilate the word of God so that it shall become the motive power of life and action. By the power of Christ they must be changed into His likeness, and reflect the divine attributes. They must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, or there is no life in them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 278.

Sunday

  1. A MERCIFUL WARNING

  • How was Moses regarded by the Egyptians? Exodus 11:3, last part.
  •  What judgment was foretold before the tenth plague, and what would Pharaoh and his servants do? Exodus 11:1, 4–8; 12:12.
  •  What can we learn about God’s character from the many warnings He sent to the Egyptians before sending the tenth plague? 2 Peter 3:9.

 Note: “The judgment of which Egypt had first been warned, was to be the last visited. God is long-suffering and plenteous in mercy. He has a tender care for the beings formed in His image. If the loss of their harvests and their flocks and herds had brought Egypt to repentance, the children would not have been smitten; but the nation had stubbornly resisted the divine command, and now the final blow was about to fall.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 273.

“The Lord wills not that any soul should perish. His mercies are without number.” The Upward Look, 150.

Monday

  1. THE PASSOVER INSTITUTED

  • Who was permitted to eat the Passover lamb? Exodus 12:43, 48, 49.
  • What were the Israelites instructed to do with the blood, and what was the purpose of that institution? Exodus 12:7, 13, 23.

Note: “Before obtaining freedom, the bondmen must show their faith in the great deliverance about to be accomplished. The token of blood must be placed upon their houses, and they must separate themselves and their families from the Egyptians, and gather within their own dwellings. Had the Israelites disregarded in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the lamb, but failed to strike the doorpost with blood, or had any gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They might have honestly believed that they had done all that was necessary, but their sincerity would not have saved them. All who failed to heed the Lord’s directions would lose their first-born by the hand of the destroyer.

“By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 278, 279.

  • Who was to perform the work of slaying the Passover lamb and applying the blood to the doorpost? Exodus 12:21. What significance does this have for us today?

Note: “The father was to act as the priest of the household, and if the father was dead, the eldest son living was to perform this solemn act of sprinkling the doorpost with blood. This is a symbol of the work to be done in every family. Parents are to gather their children into the home and to present Christ before them as their Passover. The father is to dedicate every inmate of his home to God and to do a work that is represented by the feast of the Passover. It is perilous to leave this solemn duty in the hands of others.” The Adventist Home, 324.

Tuesday

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PASSOVER

  • How were the Israelites to eat the lamb and the other provisions of the Passover feasts? Exodus 12:8–11. What change took place after they had settled down in their own land?

Note: “At the time of their deliverance from Egypt, the children of Israel ate the Passover supper standing, with their loins girded, and with their staves in their hands, ready for their journey. The manner in which they celebrated this ordinance harmonized with their condition; for they were about to be thrust out of the land of Egypt, and were to begin a painful and difficult journey through the wilderness. But in Christ’s time the condition of things had changed. They were not now about to be thrust out of a strange country, but were dwellers in their own land. In harmony with the rest that had been given them, the people then partook of the Passover supper in a reclining position.” The Desire of Ages, 653.

  • How was the marvelous deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt kept fresh in the minds of their children? Exodus 12:26, 27.

Note: “The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that, year by year, as the children should ask the meaning of this ordinance, the history should be repeated. Thus the wonderful deliverance was to be kept fresh in the minds of all.” The Desire of Ages, 652.

  • What is the relationship between the Passover service and the Lord’s Supper? What work is kept fresh in our minds by the communion service? Matthew 26:17–19, 26–29; 1 Corinthians 11:26.

Note: “As He [Christ] ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. …

“The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds.” The Desire of Ages, 652, 653.

Wednesday

  1. THE SYMBOL AND THE SUBSTANCE

  • Of whom was the Passover lamb a type? John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7.

Note: “God desired to teach them [Israel] that from His own love comes the gift which reconciles them to Himself.” The Desire of Ages, 113.

“The sacrificial lamb represents ‘the Lamb of God’ (John 1:29), in whom is our only hope of salvation. Says the apostle, ‘Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us’ (1 Corinthians 5:7). It was not enough that the paschal lamb be slain; its blood must be sprinkled upon the doorposts; so the merits of Christ’s blood must be applied to the soul. We must believe, not only that He died for the world, but that He died for us individually. We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of the atoning sacrifice.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 277.

  • Who is symbolized by the bread and what reality should this remind us of? John 6:47, 48, 51.

Note: “To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament.

“And how much more are Christ’s words true of our spiritual nature. He declares, ‘Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life’ (John 6:54). It is by receiving the life for us poured out on Calvary’s cross, that we can live the life of holiness. And this life we receive by receiving His word, by doing those things which He has commanded. Thus we become one with Him. [John 6:54, 56, 57 quoted.] To the holy Communion this scripture in a special sense applies. As faith contemplates our Lord’s great sacrifice, the soul assimilates the spiritual life of Christ. That soul will receive spiritual strength from every Communion. The service forms a living connection by which the believer is bound up with Christ, and thus bound up with the Father. In a special sense it forms a connection between dependent human beings and God.” The Desire of Ages, 660, 661.

Thursday

  1. THE TENTH PLAGUE – DEATH OF THE FIRSTBORN

  • Describe the last plague. Exodus 12:29, 30.
  • How were the Israelites driven out of the land of Egypt? Why? Exodus 12:31–33.

Note: “Throughout the vast realm of Egypt the pride of every household had been laid low. The shrieks and wails of the mourners filled the air. King and courtiers, with blanched faces and trembling limbs, stood aghast at the overmastering horror. Pharaoh remembered how he had once exclaimed, ‘Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go’ (Exodus 5:2). Now, his heaven-daring pride humbled in the dust, he ‘called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said. … And be gone; and bless me also’ (Exodus 12:31, 32). The royal counselors also and the people entreated the Israelites to depart ‘out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men’ (verse 33).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 280.

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1     How did God show mercy in His warnings before each plague and especially before the tenth plague?

2     How does the Passover service illustrate how faith and works are to be combined? How does this relate to my own personal experience?

3     What deliverance does the Lord’s Supper commemorate? Why do we need to observe it regularly?

4     How do we appropriate to our souls the saving blood of Christ?

5     How do we, as Pharaoh, sometimes wait until God has humbled us before we obey His voice?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – The Plagues of Egypt

October 18 – 24, 2020

Key Text

“Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed” (1 Samuel 6:6)?

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 265–272.

Introduction

“God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself. Everyone who stifles the admonitions of conscience is sowing the seeds of unbelief, and these will produce a sure harvest.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 84.

Sunday

  1. A PROTEST AGAINST SENSELESS WORSHIP

  • What was the first plague, and why was it sent? Exodus 7:14–21.

Note: “During the plagues on Egypt Pharaoh was punctual in his superstitious devotion to the river, and visited it every morning, and as he stood upon its banks he offered praise and thanksgiving to the water, recounting the great good it accomplished, and telling the water of its great power; that without it they could not exist; for their lands were watered by it, and it supplied meat for their tables.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, 54, 55.

  • What was the second plague, and how did God choose to remove the effects of this plague? Exodus 8:2–14.

Note: “The frog was regarded as sacred by the Egyptians, and they would not destroy it; but the slimy pests had now become intolerable. …

“The Lord could have caused them to return to dust in a moment; but He did not do this lest after their removal the king and his people should pronounce it the result of sorcery or enchantment, like the work of the magicians. The frogs died, and were then gathered together in heaps.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 265, 266.

Monday

  1. GOD CARES FOR HIS OWN

  • How did the Lord make a distinction in those affected by the fourth plague? Exodus 8:20–24.

Note: “Flies filled the houses and swarmed upon the ground, so that ‘the land was corrupted by reason of the swarms of flies’ (Exodus 8:24). These flies were large and venomous, and their bite was extremely painful to man and beast. As had been foretold, this visitation did not extend to the land of Goshen.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 266.

  • What further distinction was made by God in the fifth and ninth plagues? Exodus 9:1–6; 10:22, 23.

Note: “A more terrible stroke followed—murrain upon all the Egyptian cattle that were in the field. Both the sacred animals and the beasts of burden—kine and oxen and sheep, horses and camels and asses—were destroyed. It had been distinctly stated that the Hebrews were to be exempt; and Pharaoh, on sending messengers to the home of the Israelites, proved the truth of this declaration of Moses. ‘Of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one’ (Exodus 9:6). Still the king was obstinate.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 267.

“Suddenly a darkness settled upon the land, so thick and black that it seemed a ‘darkness which may be felt’ (Exodus 10:21, last part). Not only were the people deprived of light, but the atmosphere was very oppressive, so that breathing was difficult. ‘They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings’ (Exodus 10:23). The sun and moon were objects of worship to the Egyptians; in this mysterious darkness the people and their gods alike were smitten by the power that had undertaken the cause of the bondmen.” Ibid., 272.

  • What care did the Lord promise to have for His people? Deuteronomy 32:43?

Note: “Yet fearful as it was, this judgment [during the ninth plague] is an evidence of God’s compassion and His unwillingness to destroy. He would give the people time for reflection and repentance before bringing upon them the last and most terrible of the plagues.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 272.

TUESDAY

3 . THE MAGICIANS ADMIT DEFEAT

  • What was the reaction of the magicians to the third plague? Exodus 8:18, 19.

Note: “At the command of God, Aaron stretched out his hand, and the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh called upon the magicians to do the same, but they could not. The work of God was thus shown to be superior to that of Satan. The magicians themselves acknowledged, ‘This is the finger of God’ (Exodus 8:19). But the king was still unmoved.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 266.

  • How did God instruct Moses to introduce the plague of boils? Exodus 9:8–10. What was the significance about the ashes coming from the furnace?

Note: “Moses was next directed to take ashes of the furnace, and ‘sprinkle it toward heaven in the sight of Pharaoh’ (Exodus 9:8). This act was deeply significant. Four hundred years before, God had shown to Abraham the future oppression of His people, under the figure of a smoking furnace and a burning lamp. He had declared that He would visit judgments upon their oppressors, and would bring forth the captives with great substance. In Egypt, Israel had long languished in the furnace of affliction. This act of Moses was an assurance to them that God was mindful of His covenant, and that the time for their deliverance had come.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 267.

  • What effect did the boils have upon the magicians? Exodus 9:11.

Note: “As the ashes were sprinkled toward heaven, the fine particles spread over all the land of Egypt, and wherever they settled, produced boils ‘breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast’ (Exodus 9:10). The priests and magicians had hitherto encouraged Pharaoh in his stubbornness, but now a judgment had come that reached even them. Smitten with a loathsome and painful disease, their vaunted power only making them contemptible, they were no longer able to contend against the God of Israel. The whole nation was made to see the folly of trusting in the magicians, when they were not able to protect even their own persons.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 267.

WEDNESDAY

  1. THE EGYPTIANS ARE FEARFUL

  • How did God warn the Egyptians in mercy concerning the seventh plague, and what were the results? Exodus 9:18–21.

Note: “Rain or hail was unusual in Egypt, and such a storm as was foretold had never been witnessed. The report spread rapidly, and all who believed the word of the Lord gathered in their cattle, while those who despised the warning left them in the field. Thus in the midst of judgment the mercy of God was displayed, the people were tested, and it was shown how many had been led to fear God by the manifestation of His power. …

“Ruin and desolation marked the path of the destroying angel. The land of Goshen alone was spared. It was demonstrated to the Egyptians that the earth is under the control of the living God, that the elements obey His voice, and that the only safety is in obedience to Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 269.

  • After God warned the Egyptians of the eighth plague of locusts, what showed that Pharaoh’s servants were afraid of God? Exodus 10:7.

Note: “The counselors of Pharaoh stood aghast. The nation had sustained great loss in the death of their cattle. Many of the people had been killed by the hail. The forests were broken down and the crops destroyed. They were fast losing all that had been gained by the labor of the Hebrews. The whole land was threatened with starvation. Princes and courtiers pressed about the king and angrily demanded, ‘How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed’ (Exodus 10:7)?” Patriarchs and Prophets, 271.

  • After all that had happened thus far, how did Pharaoh show that he was still not willing to let all of Israel go? Exodus 10:8–11.

Note: “Pharaoh had endeavored to destroy the Israelites by hard labor, but he now pretended to have a deep interest in their welfare and a tender care for their little ones. His real object was to keep the women and children as surety for the return of the men.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 271.

THURSDAY

  1. REBELLION IS A CHOICE

What was the effect upon Pharaoh of each successive judgment of God? Exodus 9:7, 35; 10:3.

Note: “God speaks to men through His servants, giving cautions and warnings, and rebuking sin. He gives to each an opportunity to correct his errors before they become fixed in the character; but if one refuses to be corrected, divine power does not interpose to counteract the tendency of his own action. He finds it more easy to repeat the same course. He is hardening the heart against the influence of the Holy Spirit. A further rejection of light places him where a far stronger influence will be ineffectual to make an abiding impression.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 268.

  • As Pharaoh chose to be in rebellion to God, to what is this sin likened, and what is always the result of such a choice? 1 Samuel 15:23, first part; Proverbs 28:14.

Note: “He who manifests an infidel hardihood, a stolid indifference to divine truth, is but reaping the harvest of that which he has himself sown. It is thus that multitudes come to listen with stoical indifference to the truths that once stirred their very souls. They sowed neglect and resistance to the truth, and such is the harvest which they reap.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 268, 269.

FRIDAY

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1     How were the gods of Egypt shown to be inferior to the God of heaven during the first and second plagues?

2     During the plagues, how did God show His care of both His people and the Egyptians?

3     How did the lice and the boils defeat the magicians?

4     How did the Egyptians show that they believed God’s word concerning the coming plague of hail? How do we show belief in God’s word?

5     What two attitudes lead to unbelief?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – Stubbornness, a Fruit of Pride

October 11 – 17, 2020

Key Text

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6.7).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 257–265.

Introduction

“Pharaoh sowed obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy. He himself put this seed into the soil. There was no more need for God by some new power to interfere with its growth, than there is for Him to interfere with the growth of a grain of corn.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1100.

Sunday

  1. PHARAOH RESISTS GOD

  • When Moses and Aaron came before the king of Egypt, what request did they present to him, and how did he respond? Exodus 5:1–3.
  • Why is it dangerous to ignore or resist a Divine warning? Hebrews 3:12–14; John 12:35.

Note: “Those who exalt their own ideas above the plainly specified will of God, are saying as did Pharaoh, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice’ (Exodus 5:2, first part)? Every rejection of light hardens the heart and darkens the understanding; and thus men find it more and more difficult to distinguish between right and wrong, and they become bolder in resisting the will of God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1100.

“Let all be warned by the messages sent from heaven that when any man shall exalt his own ways and his own judgment as supreme, he will come under Satan’s jurisdiction and will be led blindfold by him until his spirit and his methods will conform to the archdeceiver, little by little, until his whole mind is under the influence of the spell. The serpent keeps its eye fixed upon a man, to charm him, until he has no power to go from the snare.” The Publishing Ministry, 175.

Monday

  1. PHARAOH ADDS GREATER BURDENS

  • What accusation did the king bring against Moses and Aaron? Exodus 5:4, 5. To what “rest” was he referring?

Note: “In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the knowledge of God’s law, and they had departed from its precepts. The Sabbath had been generally disregarded, and the exactions of their taskmasters made its observance apparently impossible. But Moses had shown his people that obedience to God was the first condition of deliverance; and the efforts made to restore the observance of the Sabbath had come to the notice of their oppressors.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 258.

  • What was the purpose of God in bringing Israel out of Egypt? Psalm 105:43–45. What implications does this have for us?

Note: “As the Sabbath was the sign that distinguished Israel when they came out of Egypt to enter the earthly Canaan, so it is the sign that now distinguishes God’s people as they come out from the world to enter the heavenly rest. The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they honor His law. It distinguishes between His loyal subjects and transgressors. …

“The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 349, 350.

“And when the law of God is thus exemplified in the life, even the world will recognize the superiority of those who love and fear and serve God above every other people on the earth.” Ibid., 12.

  • What was the result of the interview with Pharaoh? Exodus 5:6–14.

Note: “The king, thoroughly roused, suspected the Israelites of a design to revolt from his service. Disaffection was the result of idleness; he would see that no time was left them for dangerous scheming. And he at once adopted measures to tighten their bonds and crush out their independent spirit.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 258.

Tuesday

  1. GOD TESTS THE FAITH OF ISRAEL
  • With what reproach did the officers of the children of Israel come to Moses and Aaron? Exodus 5:19–21.
  • What part do trials have in preparing a people for deliverance? James 2:1–4.

Note: “The Hebrews had expected to obtain their freedom without any special trial of their faith or any real suffering or hardship. But they were not yet prepared for deliverance. They had little faith in God, and were unwilling patiently to endure their afflictions until He should see fit to work for them. Many were content to remain in bondage rather than meet the difficulties attending removal to a strange lane; and the habits of some had become so much like those of the Egyptians that they preferred to dwell in Egypt. Therefore the Lord did not deliver them by the first manifestation of His power before Pharaoh. He overruled events more fully to develop the tyrannical spirit of the Egyptian king and also to reveal Himself to His people. Beholding His justice, His power, and His love, they would choose to leave Egypt and give themselves to His service. The task of Moses would have been much less difficult had not many of the Israelites become so corrupted that they were unwilling to leave Egypt.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 260.

“The children of Israel were addicted to licentiousness, idolatry, gluttony, and gross vices. This is ever the result of slavery. But the Lord looked upon His people, and after their deliverance He educated them. They were not left uncared for.” The Southern Work, 43.

  • As Moses complained to the Lord when new trials came upon Israel, what did the Lord promise to do for His people? Exodus 5:22, 23; 6:1–8.

Note: “In mercy to us, He [God] does not always place us in the easiest places; for if He did, in our self-sufficiency we would forget that the Lord is our helper in time of necessity. But He longs to manifest Himself to us in our emergencies, and reveal the abundant supplies that are at our disposal, independent of our surroundings; and disappointment and trial are permitted to come upon us that we may realize our own helplessness, and learn to call upon the Lord for aid, as a child, when hungry and thirsty, calls upon its earthly father.” Reflecting Christ, 353.

Wednesday

  1. THE PEOPLE ARE DISHEARTENED

  • When Moses spoke to the children of Israel the second time, how did they receive the message of the Lord? Exodus 6:9. What promises should have been a source of hope for all the Israelites? Genesis 15:13, 14; 50:24.

Note: “The elders of Israel endeavored to sustain the sinking faith of their brethren by repeating the promises made to their fathers, and the prophetic words of Joseph before his death, foretelling their deliverance from Egypt. Some would listen and believe. Others, looking at the circumstances that surrounded them, refused to hope. The Egyptians, being informed of what was reported among their bondmen, derided their expectations and scornfully denied the power of their God. They pointed to their situation as a nation of slaves, and tauntingly said, ‘If your God is just and merciful, and possesses power above that of the Egyptian gods, why does He not make you a free people?’ They called attention to their own condition. They worshiped deities termed by the Israelites false gods, yet they were a rich and powerful nation. They declared that their gods had blessed them with prosperity, and had given them the Israelites as servants, and they gloried in their power to oppress and destroy the worshipers of Jehovah. Pharaoh himself boasted that the God of the Hebrews could not deliver them from his hand.

“Words like these destroyed the hopes of many of the Israelites. The case appeared to them very much as the Egyptians had represented. It was true that they were slaves, and must endure whatever their cruel taskmasters might choose to inflict. Their children had been hunted and slain, and their own lives were a burden. Yet they were worshiping the God of heaven. If Jehovah were indeed above all gods, surely He would not thus leave them in bondage to idolaters. But those who were true to God understood that it was because of Israel’s departure from Him—because of their disposition to marry with heathen nations, thus being led into idolatry—that the Lord had permitted them to become bondmen; and they confidently assured their brethren that He would soon break the yoke of the oppressor.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 259, 260.

  • With what argument did Moses try to excuse himself when the Lord told him to speak to Pharaoh again? Exodus 6:10–12.

Thursday

  1. GOD SENDS SIGNS AND WONDERS

  • As the Lord encouraged Moses to return to Pharaoh, what did He say He would multiply in Egypt, and what would be the reaction of the Egyptians? Exodus 7:1–5.

Note: “Before the infliction of each plague, Moses was to describe its nature and effects, that the king might save himself from it if he chose. Every punishment rejected would be followed by one more severe, until his proud heart would be humbled, and he would acknowledge the Maker of heaven and earth as the true and living God. … God would glorify His own name, that other nations might hear of His power and tremble at His mighty acts, and that His people might be led to turn from their idolatry and render Him pure worship.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 263.

  • How were God’s and Satan’s powers contrasted before Pharaoh? Exodus 7:8–12. What was Satan’s purpose in trying to counterfeit the work of God?

Note: “By counterfeiting the work of God through Moses, he [Satan] hoped not only to prevent the deliverance of Israel, but to exert an influence through future ages to destroy faith in the miracles of Christ. Satan is constantly seeking to counterfeit the work of Christ and to establish his own power and claims. He leads men to account for the miracles of Christ by making them appear to be the result of human skill and power. In many minds he thus destroys faith in Christ as the Son of God, and leads them to reject the gracious offers of mercy through the plan of redemption.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 265.

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1     How do we sometimes show the same pride as Pharaoh?

2     In what way is the Sabbath a distinguishing sign for God’s people today?

3     Why were so many of the Israelites unwilling to leave Egypt? Why are so many of us unwilling to let go of worldly customs and ideas today?

4     Why had God allowed the Israelites to become slaves?

5     Why did Satan try to counterfeit the miracles of God?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – A Message of Deliverance

October 4 – 10, 2020

Key Text

“And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs” (Exodus 4:17).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 251–256.

Introduction

“The time for Israel’s deliverance had come. But God’s purpose was to be accomplished in a manner to pour contempt on human pride. The deliverer was to go forth as a humble shepherd, with only a rod in his hand; but God would make that rod the symbol of His power.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 251.

Sunday

  1. COMMUNICATION FROM GOD

  • While Moses was tending Jethro’s flocks, what was happening in Egypt? Exodus 2:23–25.
  • What experience did Moses have at the burning bush? Exodus 3:1–5.
  • What important lesson can we learn from this experience? Psalm 89:7.

Note: “Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 252.

Monday

  1. GOD CALLS MOSES

  • What was the Lord about to do in behalf of His people? Exodus 3:7–9.
  • How did Moses fit into God’s plan to accomplish this? Exodus 3:10; Acts 7:34, 35.    
  • How did Moses respond to God’s call and what did the Lord want him to realize? Exodus 3:11–15.

Note: “Amazed and terrified at the command, Moses drew back, saying, ‘Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt’ (Exodus 3:11)? The reply was, ‘Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain’ (verse 12).

“Moses thought of the difficulties to be encountered, of the blindness, ignorance, and unbelief of his people, many of whom were almost destitute of a knowledge of God. ‘Behold,’ he said, ‘when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them’ (Exodus 3:13)? The answer was—“ ‘I AM THAT I AM.’ ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you’ (verse 14)” Patriarchs and Prophets, 252, 253.

“Moses did not expect that this was the manner in which the Lord would use him to deliver Israel from Egypt. He thought that it would be by warfare. And when the Lord made known to him that he must stand before Pharaoh, and in His name demand him to let Israel go he shrank from the task.

“The Pharaoh before whom he was to appear, was not the one who had decreed that he should be put to death. That king was dead, and another had taken the reins of government. Nearly all the Egyptian kings were called by the name of Pharaoh. Moses would have preferred to stand at the head of the children of Israel as their general, and make war with the Egyptians. But this was not God’s plan. He would be magnified before his people, and teach not only them, but the Egyptians, that there is a living God, who has power to save, and to destroy.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 189, 190.

Tuesday

  1. GOD ASSURES MOSES

  • What message was Moses to give the elders of Israel? Exodus 3:16–20?
  • How was God going to fulfil His promise that His people would not leave Egypt empty-handed? Exodus 3:21, 22.

Note: “The Egyptians had been enriched by the labor unjustly exacted from the Israelites, and as the latter were to start on the journey to their new home, it was right for them to claim the reward of their years of toil. They were to ask for articles of value, such as could be easily transported, and God would give them favor in the sight of the Egyptians. The mighty miracles wrought for their deliverance would strike terror to the oppressors, so that the requests of the bondmen would be granted.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 253.

  • As Moses was reluctant to accept God’s calling, what further evidence did the Lord give him of His providence? Exodus 4:1–9. How should we respond to God’s calling today?

Note: “Moses saw before him difficulties that seemed insurmountable. What proof could he give his people that God had indeed sent him? ‘Behold,’ he said, ‘they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee’ (Exodus 4:1). Evidence that appealed to his own senses was now given. He was told to cast his rod upon the ground. As he did so, ‘it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it’ (verse 3). He was commanded to seize it, and in his hand it became a rod. He was bidden to put his hand into his bosom. He obeyed, and ‘when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow’ (verse 6). Being told to put it again into his bosom, he found on withdrawing it that it had become like the other. By these signs the Lord assured Moses that His own people, as well as Pharaoh should be convinced that One mightier than the king of Egypt was manifest among them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 253, 254.

“Who is ready at the call of Providence to renounce cherished plans and familiar associations? Who will accept new duties and enter untried fields, doing God’s work with firm and willing heart, for Christ’s sake counting his losses gain?” Ibid., 127.

Wednesday

  1. GOD CONTINUES TO ENCOURAGE MOSES

  • What shows that Moses was still unwilling to obey God’s call? Exodus 4:10–13.

Note: “But the servant of God was still overwhelmed by the thought of the strange and wonderful work before him. In his distress and fear he now pleaded as an excuse a lack of ready speech. … He had been so long away from the Egyptians that he had not so clear knowledge and ready use of their language as when he was among them. …

“These excuses at first proceeded from humility and diffidence; but after the Lord had promised to remove all difficulties, and to give him final success, then any further shrinking back and complaining of his unfitness showed distrust of God. It implied a fear that God was unable to qualify him for the great work to which He had called him, or that He had made a mistake in the selection of the man.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 254.

  • What help did God provide for Moses, as He patiently tried to encourage His servant? Exodus 4:14–17. How does God encourage His people today?

Note: “Let them [the members of God’s church] realize that the work in which they are engaged is one upon which the Lord has placed His signet. … He bids us go forth to speak the words He gives us, feeling His holy touch upon our lips.” God’s Amazing Grace, 275.

  • With what further assurance did God provide Moses? Exodus 4:18–23.

Note: “A man will gain power and efficiency as he accepts the responsibilities that God places upon him, and with his whole soul seeks to qualify himself to bear them aright. However humble his position or limited his ability, that man will attain true greatness who, trusting to divine strength, seeks to perform his work with fidelity. Had Moses relied upon his own strength and wisdom, and eagerly accepted the great charge, he would have evinced his entire unfitness for such a work. The fact that a man feels his weakness is at least some evidence that he realizes the magnitude of the work appointed him, and that he will make God his counselor and his strength.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 255.

Thursday

  1. MOSES RETURNS TO EGYPT

  • As Moses accepted God’s call and went to Egypt, what happened along the way? Exodus 4:24–26. What solemn parallel can be drawn from this event?

Note: “He [Moses] had failed to comply with the condition by which his child could be entitled to the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine precepts upon the people. … In his mission to Pharaoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril; his life could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels. But while living in neglect of a known duty, he would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God.

“In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the righteous will be preserved through the ministration of heavenly angels; but there will be no security for the transgressor of God’s law. Angels cannot then protect those who are disregarding one of the divine precepts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 256.

  • When Moses and Aaron arrived in Egypt and gathered together the elders, how did the people react to the message of deliverance? Exodus 4:29–31.

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1     What does the account of Moses at the burning bush teach us regarding the manner in which we should approach God in prayer and in the sanctuary?

2     How did Moses expect God to deliver Israel from Egypt? Why didn’t God deliver Israel in this manner?

3     Why are we sometimes reluctant to accept God’s call to labor for Him?

4     What is a sign of the true greatness in those who serve God?

5     In the time of trouble before us, what do those who disregard just one of the divine precepts forfeit?

Copyright 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.