Bible Study Guides – The Impending Conflict, Part 1

May 22, 2005 – May 28, 2005

Memory Verse

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.” James 2:10.

Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 9, 11–18.

Introduction

With this lesson, we will start a series of studies on the closing events of this earth’s history that begin with the latter rain. The main references for these studies are the book of Revelation in the Bible and the last seven chapters of The Great Controversy. We are now entering upon the final struggle in the great controversy between Christ and Satan over the Law of God. The object of these studies is to understand, as much as is possible, the issues involved and the order of events that are remaining to take place along the path that leads to the Holy City. The first lesson begins with The Great Controversy, 582, “The Impending Conflict.”

1 Where did the controversy between Christ and Satan begin? What has been the purpose of Satan since the beginning of the controversy? Revelation 12:3, 7–9; Isaiah 14:12.

note: “From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been Satan’s purpose to overthrow the law of God. It was to accomplish this that he entered upon his rebellion against the Creator, and though he was cast out of heaven he has continued the same warfare upon the earth. To deceive men, and thus lead them to transgress God’s law, is the object which he has steadfastly pursued. Whether this be accomplished by casting aside the law altogether, or by rejecting one of its precepts, the result will be ultimately the same.” The Great Controversy, 582.

2 Upon what great conflict is the world now entering? Revelation 13:11–18.

note: “In seeking to cast contempt upon the divine statutes, Satan has perverted the doctrines of the Bible, and errors have thus become incorporated into the faith of thousands who profess to believe the Scriptures. The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we are now entering—a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition.” The Great Controversy, 582.

3 What important doctrines of the Bible are being denied by multitudes, both in the world and in the church? Genesis 1:1–2:3; 3:1–19; Hebrews 2:17, 18; 9:11; Matthew 5:18.

note: “The Bible is within the reach of all, but there are few who really accept it as the guide of life. Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent, not in the world merely, but in the church. Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of the law of God, are practically rejected, either wholly or in part, by a large share of the professedly Christian world. Thousands who pride themselves upon their wisdom and independence regard it as an evidence of weakness to place implicit confidence in the Bible; they think it a proof of superior talent and learning to cavil at the Scriptures and to spiritualize and explain away their most important truths.” The Great Controversy, 583.

4 When people turn away from the truth and trample on the Law of God, whom are they rejecting? Hebrews 6:4–6. For Old Testament type, see Deuteronomy 31:20, last part; 1 Kings 19:10, 14; Ezekiel 20:13.

note: “In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Law-giver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature.” The Great Controversy, 583.

5 What error strikes most boldly against the law of God? Hebrews 10:28–31.

note: “No error accepted by the Christian world strikes more boldly against the authority of Heaven, none is more directly opposed to the dictates of reason, none is more pernicious in its results, than the modern doctrine, so rapidly gaining ground, that God’s law is no longer binding upon men. Every nation has its laws, which command respect and obedience; no government could exist without them; and can it be conceived that the Creator of the heavens and the earth has no law to govern the beings He has made? Suppose that prominent ministers were publicly to teach that the statutes which govern their land and protect the rights of its citizens were not obligatory—that they restricted the liberties of the people, and therefore ought not to be obeyed; how long would such men be tolerated in the pulpit? But is it a graver offense to disregard the laws of states and nations than to trample upon those divine precepts which are the foundation of all government?” The Great Controversy, 584.

6 When the divine precepts are rejected, what spirit is implanted in the heart? For Old and New Testament types, see Genesis 4:3–7; Numbers 16:1–3; 11 Kings 2:23; John 6:60, 61, 64.

note: “Wherever the divine precepts are rejected, sin ceases to appear sinful or righteousness desirable. Those who refuse to submit to the government of God are wholly unfitted to govern themselves. Through their pernicious teachings the spirit of insubordination is implanted in the hearts of children and youth, who are naturally impatient of control; and a lawless, licentious state of society results.” The Great Controversy, 584.

7 If divine law would be cast aside, what would soon happen with human laws? For the ultimate biblical example, see John 7:19.

note: “Those who teach the people to regard lightly the commandments of God sow disobedience to reap disobedience. Let the restraint imposed by the divine law be wholly cast aside, and human laws would soon be disregarded. Because God forbids dishonest practices, coveting, lying, and defrauding, men are ready to trample upon His statutes as a hindrance to their worldly prosperity; but the results of banishing these precepts would be such as they do not anticipate.” The Great Controversy, 585.

8 What other things in society would also collapse as a result of rejecting the divine law? For an Old Testament example, see Judges 18.

note: “If the law were not binding, why should any fear to transgress? Property would no longer be safe. Men would obtain their neighbor’s possessions by violence, and the strongest would become richest. Life itself would not be respected. The marriage vow would no longer stand as a sacred bulwark to protect the family. He who had the power, would, if he desired, take his neighbor’s wife by violence. The fifth commandment would be set aside with the fourth. Children would not shrink from taking the life of their parents if by so doing they could obtain the desire of their corrupt hearts. The civilized world would become a horde of robbers and assassins; and peace, rest, and happiness would be banished from the earth.” The Great Controversy, 585.

9 What false teaching has opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world? For Old Testament example, see Isaiah 42:20, 21, 24.

note: “Already the doctrine that men are released from obedience to God’s requirements has weakened the force of moral obligation and opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, and corruption are sweeping in upon us like an overwhelming tide. In the family, Satan is at work. His banner waves, even in professedly Christian households. There is envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy, estrangement, emulation, strife, betrayal of sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall to ruin.” The Great Controversy, 585.

10 As in former ages, who does Satan work through to further his designs? For New Testament type, see 11 Peter 2:1–3; 1 Timothy 4:1.

note: “The iniquity and spiritual darkness that prevailed under the supremacy of Rome were the inevitable result of her suppression of the Scriptures; but where is to be found the cause of the widespread infidelity, the rejection of the law of God, and the consequent corruption, under the full blaze of gospel light in an age of religious freedom? Now that Satan can no longer keep the world under his control by withholding the Scriptures, he resorts to other means to accomplish the same object. To destroy faith in the Bible serves his purpose as well as to destroy the Bible itself. By introducing the belief that God’s law is not binding, he as effectually leads men to transgress as if they were wholly ignorant of its precepts. And now, as in former ages, he has worked through the church to further his designs. The religious organizations of the day have refused to listen to unpopular truths plainly brought to view in the Scriptures, and in combating them they have adopted interpretations and taken positions which have sown broadcast the seeds of skepticism.” The Great Controversy, 586.

11 What two papal errors have removed the defense against the delusions of spiritualism? See Genesis 3:4 for the origination of these errors. For Old Testament example, see 1 Samuel 28:3, 8–11.

note: “Clinging to the papal error of natural immortality and man’s consciousness in death, they have rejected the only defense against the delusions of spiritualism. The doctrine of eternal torment has led many to disbelieve the Bible. And as the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon the people, it is found that the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is enjoined; and as the only way to free themselves from a duty which they are unwilling to perform, many popular teachers declare that the law of God is no longer binding. Thus they cast away the law and the Sabbath together. As the work of Sabbath reform extends, this rejection of the divine law to avoid the claims of the fourth commandment will become well-nigh universal. The teachings of religious leaders have opened the door to infidelity, to spiritualism, and to contempt for God’s holy law.” The Great Controversy, 586, 587.

12 To what do the religious leaders who reject the binding claims of God’s Law attribute the cause of the fast spreading corruption? For biblical types, see John 11:47–50; Acts 2:27–32; Jeremiah 20:9–13.

note: “Yet this very class put forth the claim that the fast-spreading corruption is largely attributable to the desecration of the so-called ‘Christian sabbath,’ and that the enforcement of Sunday observance would greatly improve the morals of society. This claim is especially urged in America, where the doctrine of the true Sabbath has been most widely preached. Here the temperance work, one of the most prominent and important of moral reforms, is often combined with the Sunday movement, and the advocates of the latter represent themselves as laboring to promote the highest interest of society; and those who refuse to unite with them are denounced as the enemies of temperance and reform.” The Great Controversy, 587.

13 What is one of Satan’s most successful methods of deceiving people? For biblical examples, see Genesis 3:1–4; Matthew 4:5, 6. See also Luke 4:9–11.

note: “But the fact that a movement to establish error is connected with a work which is in itself good, is not an argument in favor of the error. We may disguise poison by mingling it with wholesome food, but we do not change its nature. On the contrary, it is rendered more dangerous, as it is more likely to be taken unawares. It is one of Satan’s devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility. The leaders of the Sunday movement may advocate reforms which the people need, principles which are in harmony with the Bible; yet while there is with these a requirement which is contrary to God’s law, His servants cannot unite with them. Nothing can justify them in setting aside the commandments of God for the precepts of men.” The Great Controversy, 587, 588.

14 What three powers compose the union that tramples on the rights of conscience? Revelation 16:13, 14.

note: “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” The Great Controversy, 588.

[All emphasis supplied.]

Bible Study Guides – Preparing for the Latter Rain, Part 111

May 15, 2005 – May 21, 2005

Memory Verse

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:15–17.

Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 5, 207–216.

Introduction

In this lesson, we are going to take a closer look at how the Lord of heaven differentiates between two groups of people during the time of the final warning—that is, the time between the beginning of the latter rain and the close of probation. See chart on page 46.

1 How many groups/classes will there be during the end of time when every man will be tested? Revelation 12:17; 14:9, 12; 22:14, 15.

note: “The warfare against God’s law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion.” The Desire of Ages, 763.

2 What will be the distinguishing factor between these groups/classes of people? Revelation 22:11.

note: “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” The Great Controversy, 605.

“The worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard for the fourth commandment, since this is the sign of God’s creative power and the witness to His claim upon man’s reverence and homage. The wicked will be distinguished by their efforts to tear down the Creator’s memorial and to exalt the institution of Rome. In the issue of the conflict all Christendom will be divided into two great classes, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 16.

3 What is one name given to those who obey the laws of men? Revelation 18:1, 2, 4.

note: “This scripture [Revelation 18:1, 2, 4] points forward to a time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14 (verse 8), is to be repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844. . . .

“Of Babylon, at the time brought to view in this prophecy, it is declared: ‘Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ Revelation 18:5. . . . Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: ‘Come out of her, My people.’ ” The Great Controversy, 603, 604.

4 Who constitute Babylon? Revelation 14:8; 17:1–6.

note: “It is our individual duty to walk humbly with God. We are not to seek any strange, new message. We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon. The fallen denominational churches are Babylon.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 61.

5 From the following quotation, list the poisonous doctrines of Babylon. In the Scriptures, what symbolic language is used to describe the poisonous doctrines of Babylon? Revelation 14:8; 17:2; 18:3.

note: “Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by the various churches, and thus the Scriptures are fulfilled that say, ‘For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ [Revelation 18:3.]” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 61, 62.

6 What title is applied to the people of God from 1844 to the close of probation? Revelation 3:14–17.

note: “I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God’s people at the present time.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 186.

7 What is the purpose of the Laodicean message? Revelation 3:17–21. See also The Great Controversy, 416.

note: “I saw that this message would not accomplish its work in a few short months. It is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 186.

8 Is Laodicea part of Babylon? Compare Revelation 3:14–22 with Revelation chapters 17 and 18. Are these references talking about the same church or different churches?

note: “For years I have borne my testimony to the effect that when any arise claiming to have great light, and yet advocating the tearing down of that which the Lord through His human agents has been building up, they are greatly deceived, and are not working along the lines where Christ is working. Those who assert that the Seventh-day Adventist churches constitute Babylon, or any part of Babylon, might better stay at home. Let them stop and consider what is the message to be proclaimed at this time.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 36, 37.

comment: The reason Laodicea is not Babylon is that they do not teach the poisonous doctrines of Babylon described above. Laodicea professes to have the pure truth, but as noted below, “their works deny their faith.”

9 What is said about Laodicea? Revelation 3:14–17.

note: “The True Witness declares: ‘I know thy works.’ The selfish, covetous heart will be tested. . . . They [Laodiceans] profess to believe that Jesus is coming; but their works deny their faith. Every person will live out all the faith he has. Falsehearted professor, Jesus knows thy works.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 195.

“There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine. . . . All who preach the truth will not themselves be saved by it. Said the angel: ‘Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.’ [Isaiah 52:11.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262.

10 What two classes/groups described in the following texts are also present in Laodicea? Revelation 3:2–5 (see The Great Controversy, 490); 16:15.

note: “Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: ‘They are joined to their idols, let them alone,’ and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 187.

comment: This reference explains that at the time the latter rain begins, the people of God are separated into two classes. Those who overcome are obedient to the Law of God and give the final warning. Those who do not overcome join the disobedient group who obey the laws of men and remain in Laodicea.

According to the quotation above and the statements below, probation is over when the latter rain falls for those who have had great light (Laodiceans) but have not been purified by the truth.

11 To whom is the door closed so they will not hear the message of Revelation 18:4?

note: “The light that was shed upon the waiting ones penetrated everywhere, and those in the churches who had any light, who had not heard and rejected the three messages, obeyed the call and left the fallen churches. . . . Some chose life and took their stand with those who were looking for their Lord and keeping all His commandments. The third message was to do its work; all were to be tested upon it, and the precious ones were to be called out from the religious bodies.” Early Writings, 278.

“The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; his hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time.” Review and Herald, July 5, 1906.

comment: We have now documented from the Spirit of Prophecy that probation closes at the beginning of the final warning—the latter rain—for the Laodicean group. This group is described in The Great Controversy, 608. The message of Revelation 18:4 will go only to those who have not heard and rejected the third angel’s message.

Bible Study Guides – Preparing for the Latter Rain, Part 11

May 8, 2005 – May 14, 2005

Memory Verse

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” John 16:7, 13.

Suggested Reading: The Acts of the Apostles, 38–44.

Introduction

In our last study, we learned that the preparation the disciples made to receive the Holy Spirit in the early rain must also be completed by the people of God today. This important work of character development and putting away all sin must be completed before an individual can receive the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. This is the most important work before the people of God today, for all heaven is waiting to send the mighty angel of Revelation 18:1, 2 to join with the third angel of Revelation 14:9-12 and give the last warning call to the world, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins.” Revelation 18:4. In this study, we will review additional instructions concerning the character preparation God requires of His people before He will send the Holy Spirit in the latter rain.

1 What two things can the individual Christian do to prepare for the descent of the Holy Spirit? For New Testament teaching, see John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 11 Corinthians 3:18; 11 Timothy 2:15.

note: “All who claim to be children of God should seek daily to understand why they believe by searching the Scriptures for themselves. Those who humbly study the character of Jesus will reflect his image more and more. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church is looked forward to as in the future; but it is the privilege of the church to have it now. Seek for it, pray for it, believe for it. We must have it, and Heaven is waiting to bestow it.” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

2 What is required of the people of God so they can answer the prayer of Christ, that they might be one, as he is one with the Father? For biblical principles, see Galatians 5:19–21; Philippians 2:1–3; James 3:13–18; 1 Peter 2:1–3.

note: “Many fail to meet their high responsibilities and privi-leges. . . . Cannot we pray over this matter more earnestly, that the Holy Spirit of God may quicken the discernment of his people to see that by putting away envy, evil surmisings, jealousy, they may answer the prayer of Christ, that his disciples might be one, as he is one with the Father. Can it be that the senses of those who claim to believe the truth are paralyzed?” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

3 What two things do those who disagree and engage in controversy do to Christ? For New Testament type, see Titus 1:16; Matthew 12:30. See also 11 Timothy 2:23, 24.

note: “Do they not see that they deny Christ? Do they not understand that they scatter from him in acting as though it was a light matter to disagree and engage in controversy? Brother looks coldly upon brother, minister distrusts minister. The church seems to have lost the blending attribute of love, and its members unite no better than ropes of sand.” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

4 What reasons are given for the selfishness, bigotry, and self-satisfaction that exist in the church? What is the remedy for this condition? John 17:17; Matthew 23:25, 26.

note: “What is the reason of this selfishness and bigotry? What means this self-satisfaction, this disposition to tear down and not build up? The truth is not sanctifying the soul, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Many cling to their independence, choosing their own way, but not the way and will of God. The truth is believed in theory, but not received in the love of it, and the soul is left as cold as an iron wedge.” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

5 What will be the condition of those who are sanctified by the truth? John 17:21; Colossians 2:1–3. For Old Testament type, see Jeremiah 32:39.

note: “Those who are sanctified by the truth will be one in Christ Jesus. The cleansing blood of the Lamb of God cements hearts together. The branches are united in the vine.” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

6 What can bring unity of spirit among God’s people? Zephaniah 2:3; Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 2:1–8; Colossians 3:12; 1 Timothy 6:11.

note: “Trials are to come upon God’s people, and the tares are to be separated from the wheat. But let not Ephraim envy Judah any more, and Judah will no more vex Ephraim. Kind, tender, compassionate words will flow out from sanctified hearts and lips. It is essential that we be united, and if we all seek the meekness and lowliness of Christ, we shall have the mind of Christ, and there will be unity of spirit.” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

7 How did Jesus separate the chaff from the wheat during the crisis in Galilee? John 6:63–65.

note: “ ‘Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner.’ Matthew 3:12. This was one of the times of purging. By the words of truth, the chaff was being separated from the wheat. Because they were too vain and self-righteous to receive reproof, too world-loving to accept a life of humility, many turned away from Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 392.

8 How do many respond today when truth is brought home to the heart? For New Testament type, see John 6:60, 61, 66.

note: “Many are still doing the same thing. Souls are tested today as were those disciples in the synagogue at Capernaum. When truth is brought home to the heart, they see that their lives are not in accordance with the will of God. They see the need of an entire change in themselves; but they are not willing to take up the self-denying work.” The Desire of Ages, 392.

9 What three questions does the Lord ask His people as they make preparation to receive the latter rain? See Acts 3:19-24; Revelation 3:5.

note: “The latter rain is to fall upon the people of God. A mighty angel is to come down from heaven, and the whole earth is to be lighted with his glory [Revelation 18:1].

“Are we ready to take part in the glorious work of the third angel?

“Are our vessels ready to receive the heavenly dew?

“Have we defilement and sin in the heart?” Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.

10 What will never come to hearts filled with impurity? For New Testament instruction, see Acts 2:38; 3:19; Romans 8:5–9; 1 Corinthians 2:14.

note: If we have defilement and sin in the heart, “Let us cleanse the soul temple, and prepare for the showers of the latter rain. The refreshing from the presence of the Lord will never come to hearts filled with impurity. May God help us to die to self, that Christ, the hope of glory, may be formed within!” Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.

11 What symbolic representation is given in the Revelation concerning the saints’ preparation for the latter rain? Revelation 7:14; Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:7.

note: “ ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.’ [Psalm 42:1.] The day of judgment is upon us. O that we may wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb! [Revelation 7:14.]” Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.

comment: May the following be the earnest prayer of each one of us: “God help us to . . . wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb!” Ibid.

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14.

12 What are the people of God instructed to do that they may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord? Acts 3:19. See also Matthew 22:37–40; Romans 6:6; 1 John 3:2, 3.

note: “The third angel’s message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. . . .

“Today you are to give yourself to God, that you may be emptied of self, emptied of envy, jealousy, evil-surmising, strife, everything that shall be dishonoring to God. . . .

“It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord—fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Review and Herald, March 22, 1892.

13 What must the people of God do today that the disciples did to prepare for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early rain? For biblical principles, see John 17:20–23; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16.

note: “It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507.

“Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ.” The Great Controversy, 623.

14 What is the work of preparation for the latter rain that God requires of His people today? Revelation 3:18–22; 22:11, last part, 14.

note: “The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now. Then the human agent had only to ask for the blessing, and wait for the Lord to perfect the work concerning him. It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507.

15 What is promised and will come when Christians put away all dissension, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost? For New Testament type, see Acts 2:1–4; 4:32.

note: “Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. And the testimony borne of them after the Spirit had been given is the same. Mark the word: ‘The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.’ Acts 4:32. The Spirit of Him who died that sinners might live animated the entire congregation of believers.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 20, 21.

16 What alone is of worth in the final preparation for the latter rain? For biblical principles and examples, see Titus 3:2, last part; Philippians 2:5–8; Ruth 1:15–18.

note: “When the Spirit of God, with its marvelous awakening power, touches the soul, it abases human pride. Worldly pleasure and position and power are seen to be worthless. ‘Imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God’ are cast down; every thought is brought into captivity ‘to the obedience of Christ.’ 11 Corinthians 10:5. Then humility and self-sacrificing love, so little valued among men, are exalted as alone of worth.” The Desire of Ages, 135.

Bible Study Guides – Preparing for the Latter Rain, Part 1

May 1, 2005 – May 7, 2005

Memory Verse

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16, 17.

Suggested Reading: The Acts of the Apostles, 47–56.

Introduction

In our last study, we looked very carefully into the preparation that the disciples of Jesus made to receive the early rain. This study will consider the importance of the early rain experience in the second advent movement and when it is to be completed.

1 What is the work of the Holy Spirit? John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7–15.

note: “The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God’s grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 506.

2 What is the relationship of the former rain to the latter rain? For temporal and spiritual applications, see Deuteronomy 11:14; Joel 2:23, 24; James 5:7, 8.

note: “The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 506.

3 How many spots or stains (sins) can we have in our characters and still receive the Holy Spirit in the latter rain? Matthew 5:48; 11 Corinthians 7:1.

note: “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.

“We are too easily satisfied with our attainments. We feel rich and increased with goods and know not that we are ‘wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ Now is the time to heed the admonition of the True Witness: ‘I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214, 215.

4 What will be the condition of those who do not receive and appreciate the early rain? For New Testament type see Acts 7:51–54; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Hebrews 10:26–31.

note: “We may be sure that when the Holy Spirit is poured out those who did not receive and appreciate the early rain will not see or understand the value of the latter rain. When we are truly consecrated to God, His love will abide in our hearts by faith, and we will cheerfully do our duty in accordance with the will of God.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 399.

5 What was the condition of the people in the first advent who did not make the required preparation to receive the Holy Spirit in the early rain? Acts 2:6–8, 12, 13.

comment: At the end of the ministry of Jesus, only about 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) were prepared to receive and appreciate the value of the Holy Spirit. The priests and rabbis and “His disciples” who turned back during the crisis in Galilee could not see or understand the value of the Holy Spirit in the early rain. They had not made the needed character preparation to receive it. Such will be the state of the church at the beginning of the latter rain, as we can see from the quotation following the next question.

6 How well are the people in the second advent movement prepared to receive the latter rain? Revelation 3:14–17.

note: “Many have in a great measure failed to receive the former rain. They have not obtained all the benefits that God has thus provided for them. They expect that the lack will be supplied by the latter rain. When the richest abundance of grace shall be bestowed, they intend to open their hearts to receive it. They are making a terrible mistake. The work that God has begun in the human heart in giving His light and knowledge must be continually going forward. Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507.

7 What two things are required of those who will receive the Holy Spirit in the latter rain? For New Testament type, see 1 John 1:7; Philippians 3:12–14.

note: “But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507.

8 What is needed along every step of the way in our preparation for the latter rain and that which alone can complete the work? For New Testament type, see Philippians 1:6; 11 Corinthians 8:9; Titus 2:11; 3:7; Hebrews 4:14–16; 11 Peter 3:18.

note: “At no point in our experience can we dispense with the assistance of that which enables us to make the first start. The blessings received under the former rain are needful to us to the end. Yet these alone will not suffice. While we cherish the blessing of the early rain, we must not, on the other hand, lose sight of the fact that without the latter rain, to fill out the ears and ripen the grain, the harvest will not be ready for the sickle, and the labor of the sower will have been in vain. Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507, 508.

9 What kind of an attitude is needed by the people of God in order for them to make progress in their character development? For New Testament teaching, see Matthew 26:41; Luke 21:36; 1 Peter 4:7.

note: “There is no place for us to rest in a careless attitude. We must never forget the warnings of Christ, ‘Watch unto prayer,’ ‘Watch, . . . and pray always.’ A connection with the divine agency every moment is essential to our progress. We may have had a measure of the Spirit of God, but by prayer and faith we are continually to seek more of the Spirit. It will never do to cease our efforts. If we do not progress, if we do not place ourselves in an attitude to receive both the former and the latter rain, we shall lose our souls, and the responsibility will lie at our own door.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 508.

10 Why did the disciples lose the blessing that might have been theirs through sharing His self-sacrifice? Luke 9:32; 22:40–46; Matthew 26:40–45; Mark 14:34, last part, 37, 41.

note: “Through being overcome with sleep, the disciples heard little of what passed between Christ and the heavenly messengers. Failing to watch and pray, they had not received that which God desired to give them,—a knowledge of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. They lost the blessing that might have been theirs through sharing His self-sacrifice. Slow of heart to believe were these disciples, little appreciative of the treasure with which Heaven sought to enrich them.” The Desire of Ages, 425.

“But they had not heeded the repeated warning, ‘Watch and pray.’ . . . They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.” Ibid., 688.

11 What two conditions will those who exercise but little faith now experience during the time of trouble? For biblical type, see 11 Thessalonians 2:9–11; Job 15:20–25; Isaiah 13:6–9; Zephaniah 1:14, 15.

note: “Those who exercise but little faith now are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.” The Great Controversy, 622.

12 Who will succeed during the time of Jacob’s trouble? See biblical teachings in Hebrews 6:12; 10:35–37; James 1:12; 1 John 2:24, 25.

note: “The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. . . . Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God.” The Great Controversy, 621.

comment: It would be very helpful to memorize promises such as Isaiah 33:15, 16; Psalms 34:7; 27:5; 91:3–10, 14, 15; 121:5–7; Luke 18:7, 8. These passages, if stored in the mind, will help to give us strength to stand during the time of trouble.

13 What is to be repeated at the beginning of the latter rain? For biblical teaching, see Joel 2:28, 29; Revelation 18:1.

note: “It is with an earnest longing that I look forward to the time when the events of the day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion. John says, ‘I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.’ ” Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.

comment: See also Acts 3:19. The “refreshing from the presence of the Lord” refers to the time of the latter rain. (Early Writings, 71, 86, 271, 279.)

14 What miracle will be repeated when the latter rain begins? See New Testament type in Acts 2:4–11.

note: “Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue. God can breathe new life into every soul that sincerely desires to serve him, and can touch the lips with a live coal from off the altar.” Review and Herald, July 20, 1886.

comment: This reference explains that the latter rain has the same purpose as the early rain had for the disciples. It is to give us the power to give the final warning in the languages of the people. The latter rain is not to provide character preparation for the people of God. This work must all be completed before the Holy Spirit comes in the latter rain.

15 What will happen when this miracle occurs in the second advent movement? See New Testament types and prophecies regarding the last days in Mark 16:15–18; Acts 4:23–31; 5:12–16; Revelation 14:9–12; 18:1, 2, 4.

note: “Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. . . . Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.” The Great Controversy, 612.

Food for Life – Creamy Cucumber Dressing

When the Lord took His people from Egypt, He did not give them flesh-meat to eat till they mourned and wept in His ears, saying, ‘Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the flesh, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick; but now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all beside this manna, before our eyes.’ [Numbers 11:4–6.] Then the Lord gave them flesh to eat. He sent them quails from heaven, but we read, ‘While the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.’ [Verse 33.]

“The light God has given His people is that by eating the flesh and blood of dead animals, man becomes animalized. His lower passions are greatly strengthened by such a diet.

“Worldly physicians can not account for the rapid increase of disease among the human family. But we know that much of this suffering is caused by the eating of dead flesh. . . .

“Wise counsel and righteous practices are needed now, if the people of God succeed in preserving clear minds and healthy bodies. We must give close attention to eating, drinking, and dressing. The entire body of believers needs to make a decided reform. A high profession, followed by a disregard of the laws of life, shows a faithless life. Lack of fidelity, want of stability, slavery to wrong habits,—this is the sure result of such a course. Those who follow this course are not consistent Christians. Salvation means deliverance from every habit which tends to drag humanity down. Transgression of the laws of our being is transgression of the laws of God.” The Paulson Collection, 1, 2.

Creamy Cucumber Dressing

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed

1 medium to large cucumber, peeled (if bitter) and diced

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 Tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dill seed

1 teaspoon salt

Grind cashews and seeds; add remaining ingredients and blend well. Chill. Great for baked potatoes, sandwich spread, salad dressing.

Judy Ann Hallingstad manages the Mail Order Services Department for Steps to Life. She and her husband, Dennis, live in Derby, Kansas.

Do you have a favorite vegan recipe you are willing to share with LandMarks’ readers? Send it to us with a photo of you, if available, and a two or three line bio. We will consider all submissions. Send to the address below or by e-mail at: landmarks@stepstolife.org.

The Pen of Inspiration – A Warning Rejected

A profession of religion has become popular with the world. Rulers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, merchants, join the church as a means of securing the respect and confidence of society, and advancing their own worldly interests. Thus they seek to cover all their unrighteous transactions under a profession of Christianity. The various religious bodies, re-enforced by the wealth and influence of these baptized worldlings, make a still higher bid for popularity and patronage. Splendid churches, embellished in the most extravagant manner, are erected on popular avenues. The worshipers array themselves in costly and fashionable attire. A high salary is paid for a talented minister to entertain and attract the people. His sermons must not touch popular sins, but be made smooth and pleasing for fashionable ears. Thus fashionable sinners are enrolled on the church-records, and fashionable sins are concealed under a pretense of godliness. . . .

Says Howard Crosby: “The church of God is today courting the world. Its members are trying to bring it down to the level of the ungodly. The ball, the theater, nude and lewd art, social luxuries with all their loose moralities, are making inroads into the sacred inclosure of the church; and as a satisfaction for all this worldliness, Christians are making a great deal of Lent and Easter and church ornamentation. It is the old trick of Satan. The Jewish church struck on that rock; the Romish church was wrecked on the same; and the Protestant is fast reaching the same doom.” [Emphasis supplied.]

In this tide of worldliness and pleasure-seeking, self-denial and self-sacrifice for Christ’s sake are almost wholly lost. “Some of the men and women now in active life in our churches were educated, when children, to make sacrifices in order to be able to give or to do something for Christ.” But “if funds are wanted now, . . . nobody must be called on to give. Oh, no! have a fair, tableaux, a mock trial, an antiquarian supper, or something to eat, anything to amuse the people.”

Governor Washburn of Wisconsin, in his annual message, declared “that church fairs, charitable raffles, concert lotteries for charitable and other purposes, prize packages, ‘grabbags,’ Sabbath-school and other religious chances by ticket, are nurseries of crime, inasmuch as they promise something for nothing, are games of chance, and are really gambling. He says that the pernicious spirit of gambling is fostered, encouraged, and kept alive by these agencies to a degree little known by good citizens; and that, but for them, the ordinary laws against gambling would be much less violated and much more easily enforced. These practices, he declares, ought not to be permitted any longer to debauch the morals of the young.”

The spirit of worldly conformity is invading the churches throughout Christendom. . . . “Apostasy, apostasy, apostasy, is engraven on the very front of every church; and did they know it, and did they feel it, there might be hope; but, alas! they cry, ‘We are rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing.’ [Revelation 3:17.]” [Emphasis in original.]

The great sin charged against Babylon is that she “made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” [Revelation 14:8.] This cup of intoxication which she presents to the world, represents the false doctrines that she has accepted as the result of her unlawful connection with the great ones of the earth. Friendship with the world corrupts her faith, and in her turn she exerts a corrupting influence upon the world by teaching doctrines which are opposed to the plainest statements of Holy Writ. . . .

When faithful teachers expound the Word of God, there arise men of learning, ministers professing to understand the Scriptures, who denounce sound doctrine as heresy, and thus turn away inquirers after truth. Were it not that the world is hopelessly intoxicated with the wine of Babylon, multitudes would be convicted and converted by the plain, cutting truths of the Word of God. But religious faith appears so confused and discordant, that the people know not what to believe as truth. The sin of the world’s impenitence lies at the door of the church. . . .

The message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the Advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time, they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that “Babylon is fallen, . . . because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” She has not yet made all nations do this. The spirit of world-conforming and indifference to the testing truths for our time exists and has been gaining ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.

The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;” and they that “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” will be left to receive “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” [11 Thessalonians 2:9–11.] Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished, throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.

Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness, and alienation from God, that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition, and are longing for clearer light. They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart farther and farther from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation. The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” [11 Timothy 3:4, 5.]

Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her commu-nion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteous-ness,” [11 Thessalonians 2:12] shall be left to receive strong delusion, and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call, “Come out of her, my people.” [Revelation 18:4.]” The Great Controversy (1888), 386–390.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.

Children’s Corner – Who I am I?

This puzzle was written by a lady who lived in California during the year of 1890, in response to an offer from a gentleman residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who claimed he would pay $1,000 to anyone who could write a puzzle he could not solve. He failed to solve it and paid the lady $1,000. The answer is one word, and it appears only four times in the Bible. There are five letters in the word. An eight-year-old boy figured it out.

Adam, God made out of dust,

but thought it best to make me first.

So, I was made before man

to answer God’s most holy plan.

A living being I became,

and Adam gave to me my name.

I from his presence then withdrew,

and more of Adam never knew.

I did my Maker’s law obey,

nor ever went from it astray.

Thousands of miles I go in fear,

but seldom on earth appear.

For purpose wise which God did see,

He put a living soul in me.

A soul from me God did claim

and took from me the soul again.

So when from me the soul had fled,

I was the same as when first made.

And without hands or feet or soul,

I travel on from pole to pole.

I labor hard by day, by night

to follow man; I give great light.

Thousands of people young and old

will by my death great light behold.

No right or wrong can I conceive;

the Scriptures I cannot believe.

Although my name therein is found,

they are to me an empty sound.

No fear of death doth trouble me;

real happiness I’ll never see.

To heaven I will never go,

or to hell below.

Now when these lines you slowly read,

go search your Bible with all speed,

For that my name is there

I do honestly to you declare.

Answer will be given next month.

Nature Nugget – Owl Senses

There are 162 species of owls in the world ranging in size from the tiny Elf Owl, less than six inches in length and weighing 1.5 ounces, to the giant European Eagle Owl weighing up to nine pounds and with nearly a six-foot wingspan. Owls are found on every continent, except Antarctica, and on many oceanic islands far from any continent. They occur in habitats from the cold arctic tundra to hot, low deserts. Most owls are nocturnal (active at night), but some are diurnal (active during the day). The larger species feed on small mammals such as rabbits, skunks, and foxes, whereas the smallest owls are mainly insect eaters. Most average-sized owls feed on rodents and birds. A few, such as the fishing owls, feed on fish.

The most striking feature of an owl is its eyes. They are very large and forward facing and, depending on the species, may account for one to five percent of the owl’s body weight. The forward facing aspect of the eyes, which gives it a “wise” appearance, provides it a wide range of “binocular” vision (seeing an object with both eyes at the same time). This means the owl can see objects in three dimensions and can judge distances. An owl’s field of view is approximately 110 degrees with about 70 degrees being binocular vision. In comparison, humans have a 180-degree field of view with 140 degrees being binocular. An owl’s eyes are large in order to improve their light gathering capacity. They do not have eyeballs like other animals but have eyes that are elongated tubes. Therefore, they cannot “roll” or move their eyes but can only look straight ahead. The owl makes up for this with its long, very flexible neck, allowing it to turn its head nearly completely around and almost upside down.

Even more impressive than the owl’s vision is its highly developed hearing. Its ears are located on the sides of its head behind the eyes and are covered with feathers. The shape of the ear opening or aperture varies from round and small to an oblong slit, depending on the species. Some species have a valve called an operculum covering the ear opening. An owl’s hearing is very acute and sensitive, allowing it to hear even the slightest movements of its prey. Some of the more strictly nocturnal species have asymmetrically set ear openings (i.e., one ear is located higher than the other). These same species use their pronounced facial discs like radar dishes to guide sounds into their ears. When an owl hears a sound, it is able to tell its direction because of the minute time difference in which the sound is perceived in the left and right ear. Turning its head so that the sound arrives at both ears simultaneously puts it looking in the right direction from which the sound is coming. Owls can detect a left/right time difference of about 0.00003 seconds (30 millionths of a second)! Using its asymmetrical ear openings, it lines up on the sound on the vertical plane. All these signals combine instantly in the owl’s brain, creating a mental image of the space where the sound source is located. So accurate are these senses that an owl can capture prey in total darkness without the aid of its eyes and can even capture prey under snow.

Like the special senses provided for the owls, the Lord has given us special senses (i.e., touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight), according to our needs, for our function and enjoyment. “All should guard the senses, lest Satan gain victory over them; for these are the avenues to the soul.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 507.

David Arbour writes from his home in DeQueen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: landmarks@stepstolife.org.

Restoring the Temple – Control of Appetite

Then and Now

“The indulgence of perverted appetite, inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah, and led to widespread corruption. . . . The same sins of gluttony and drunkenness benumbed the moral sensibilities of the inhabitants of Sodom, so that crime seemed to be the delight of the men and women of that wicked city. Christ thus warns the world: ‘Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.’ [Luke 17:28–30.]” Ibid., 146.

“The gratification of unnatural appetite led to the sins that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God ascribes the fall of Babylon to her gluttony and drunkenness. Indulgence of appetite and passion was the foundation of all their sins.” Ibid., 147.

The World Today

“One of the strongest temptations that man has to meet is upon the point of appetite.” Ibid.

“Satan is constantly on the alert to bring the race fully under his control. His strongest hold on man is through the appetite, and this he seeks to stimulate in every possible way.” Ibid., 150.

Look to the Saviour

“His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God.” Ibid., 152.

“We must act our part, and divine power, uniting with our effort, will bring victory.” Ibid., 153.

Our Christian Duty

“Temperance in eating, drinking, and dressing is essential. Principle should rule instead of appetite or fancy. Those who eat too much, or whose food is of an objectionable quality, are easily led into dissipation, and into other ‘foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.’ 1 Timothy 6:9.” Ibid., 156.

“If we can arouse the moral sensibilities of our people on the subject of temperance, a great victory will be gained. Temperance in all things of this life is to be taught and practiced.” Ibid., 157.

Restrain Unnatural Appetite

“Those who have received instruction regarding the evils of the use of flesh foods, tea, and coffee, and rich and unhealthful food preparations, and who are determined to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, will not continue to indulge their appetite for food that they know to be unhealthful. God demands that the appetites be cleansed, and that self-denial be practiced in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before His people can stand before Him a perfected people.” Ibid., 161.

“Abstemiousness in diet, and control of all the passions, will preserve the intellect and give mental and moral vigor, enabling men to bring all their propensities under the control of the higher powers, and to discern between right and wrong, the sacred and the common. All who have a true sense of the sacrifice made by Christ in leaving His home in heaven to come to this world that He might by His own life show man how to resist temptation, will cheerfully deny self and choose to be partakers with Christ of His sufferings.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Those who overcome as Christ overcame will need to constantly guard themselves against the temptations of Satan. The appetite and passions should be restricted and under the control of enlightened conscience, that the intellect may be unimpaired, the perceptive powers clear, so that the workings of Satan and his snares may not be interpreted to be the providence of God. Many desire the final reward and victory which are to be given to overcomers, but are not willing to endure toil, privation, and denial of self, as did their Redeemer. It is only through obedience and continual effort that we shall overcome as Christ overcame.” Ibid., 163.

Relation of Habits to Sanctification

“It is impossible for any to enjoy the blessing of sanctification while they are selfish and gluttonous. These groan under a burden of infirmities because of wrong habits of eating and drinking, which do violence to the laws of life and health. . . . In the gratification of perverted appetite and passion, even professed Christians cripple nature in her work and lessen physical, mental, and moral power. Some who are doing this, claim to be sanctified to God; but such a claim is without foundation. . . .” Ibid., 164.

Decision of Character Required

“To deny appetite requires decision of character. For want of this decision multitudes are ruined. Weak, pliable, easily led, many men and women fail utterly of becoming what God desires them to be. Those who are destitute of decision of character cannot make a success of the daily work of overcoming. The world is full of besotted, intemperate, weak-minded men and women, and how hard it is for them to become genuine Christians.” Ibid., 165.

“ ‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.]

“Those who have a constant realization that they stand in this relation to God will not place in the stomach food which pleases the appetite, but which injures the digestive organs. They will not spoil the property of God by indulging in improper habits of eating, drinking, or dressing. They will take great care of the human machinery, realizing that they must do this in order to work in copartnership with God. He wills that they should be healthy, happy, and useful. But in order for them to be this, they must place their wills on the side of His will.” Ibid., 166.

By the Power of the Will and the Grace of God

“The necessity for the men of this generation to call to their aid the power of the will, strengthened by the grace of God, in order to withstand the temptations of Satan, and resist the least indulgence of perverted appetite, is far greater than it was several generations ago. But the present generation have less power of self-control than had those who lived then.

“Few have moral stamina to resist temptation, especially of the appetite, and to practice self-denial. . . . The walls of self-control and self-restriction should not in a single instance be weakened and broken down. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, says, ‘I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.’ [1 Corinthians 9:27.]

“Those who do not overcome in little things, will have no moral power to withstand greater temptations.” Ibid., 167, 168.

“A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to every one who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God.” Ibid., 170.

When Ellen Gould Harmon White was 17, she received a message from God in the form of a vision. It was the first of some 2,000 visions she would experience in her lifetime. Inspired by these visions and her sense of God, she worked throughout her life, first to help found the Seventh-day Adventist Church, then to spread its word around the world. She wrote letters of personal counsel, periodical articles, and books based on her visions, led a health reform movement, and established schools and sanitariums.

Ask the Pastor – Avoid Erroneous Teaching

Question:

I have lived in the Netherlands for about five years. I am from the Netherlands Antilles. I have studied the book, None Dare Call it Apostasy [Part 1 by Dr. John J. Grosboll, Part 11 by Dr. Ralph Larson], and I have seen many of the things cited in the book happen in the church where I am a member. My question is: Do I have to keep going to this church, or should I study at home with my children and my brother and sister so that we can follow God the way He wants us to follow?

Answer:

You have asked a very basic and fundamental question that has come up in many Seventh-day Adventists’ minds. It is a very delicate and sensitive question. To answer such a question, in a way not in line with denominational policy, can create a great deal of prejudice, because it can be viewed as disloyalty. But we need to be honest and truthful to the Word and to God and not just pleasers of men.

With the many and varied doctrines which are floating through Adventism today both in the structure and in historic circles, it can be spiritually dangerous for us to attend meetings where we can be snared and caught off our guard and led astray. God never requires us to go into a place of danger unless He Himself directly requires this of us. If God requires us to go into a place where error is being taught, then it is His responsibility to protect us from suffering harm. But if we go on our own, then we could face serious consequences. If that place of danger is attending a church where spiritual harm lurks, then it is pretty certain that God would have us to go somewhere else so that we do not receive spiritual damage.

I want to share two quotations from the pen of Ellen White which might help us to focus on this issue.

“We can not afford to separate ourselves from Jesus for a single hour. Without Him we are in danger of being overcome of Satan, who is ever watching to suggest doubt, unbelief, and error. The world is flooded with error; it meets us on every hand. It is taught from the sacred desk, and lurks in theology, in literature, in philosophy, in science. Error perverts the judgment and opens the door to temptation, and through its influence Satan seeks to turn hearts from the truth; but an intelligent love for the truth sanctifies the receiver, and keeps him from the enemy’s deceptive snares.” The Signs of the Times, November 7, 1896.

“God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels; and the light around us becomes contaminated with the darkness.” Early Writings, 125.

It becomes apparent that this can be a very serious matter. Each and every person must study the issues that they are confronted with in their church attendance and make their own decisions, but they must examine closely and carefully, so they are not deceived and caught in a snare from which there may be no escape.

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to: landmarks@stepstolife.org, or mail it to: LandMarks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.