Bible Study Guides – A Divine Legacy, Part II

September 24, 2006 – September 30, 2006

Key Text

“As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” 11 Corinthians 9:9, 10.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 87–90.


“Christ is to be our pattern and example in all things, and if we follow his example, we shall avoid following the spendthrifts, whose example is so contagious to both young and old. We should make it a rule to bind about our wants, remembering that every penny belongs to the Lord, to be used not for wantonness, not for display, not in extravagance; for this would be an abuse of the Lord’s goods, but for actual necessities. There are obligations to the poor and needy laid upon us, and to spend money simply for the gratification of some extravagant taste is not in God’s order; for it prohibits us from doing good to those who are in need. Those in moderate circumstances are to bind about their wants, that they may also give out their talents to the exchangers, and those who have been blessed with large talents, who have abundance, should lay upon themselves the same restrictions, and guard against the needless expenditure of means for selfish gratification. The Lord has made them stewards of his means, and he designs that they should bless the needy, care for the poor, help the widow and the orphan, and send the light of the truth to those who sit in darkness.” Review and Herald, December 19, 1893.

1 What prominence did the apostles give to caring for the poor and widows? Acts 6:1–6.

note: “These Grecians were residents of other countries, where the Greek language was spoken. By far the larger number of converts were Jews who spoke Hebrew; but these had lived in the Roman Empire, and spoke only Greek. Murmurings began to rise among them that the Grecian widows were not so liberally supplied as the needy among the Hebrews. Any partiality of this kind would have been grievous to God; and prompt measures were taken to restore peace and harmony to the believers.

“The Holy Spirit suggested a method whereby the apostles might be relieved from the task of apportioning to the poor, and similar burdens, so that they could be left free to preach Christ.” The Story of Redemption, 259.

“Men are appointed to proclaim the truth in new places. These men must have funds for their support. And they must have a fund to draw upon for the help of the poor and needy whom they meet in their work. The benevolence that they show toward the poor gives influence to their efforts to proclaim the truth. Their willingness to help those in need gains for them the gratitude of those they help and the approval of Heaven.—Letter 32, 1903.” Welfare Ministry, 275.

2 What was connected with the giving of the right hand of fellowship to the apostles? Galatians 2:9, 10.

note: “When others see that you are determined to be right yourselves, they will see that the truth of God has an influence upon your life and character; then you will be a bright light to the world. I [Ellen White] beg of you to seek most earnestly to be a help to others, complying with the conditions in the Word of God, ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ [Matthew 11:29.]

“The trouble with many is [that] they have lost sight of Jesus. [They] fail to see the self-denial and love and mercy in His character, and therefore they do not imitate His life. But Jesus wants us to be one with Him, as He was one with the Father, and He wants us to be united one with another. We want to show to the world that we have a faith that is elevating, that makes us kind, courteous, self-denying, and begets in us love and reverence for God, and makes us Christian ladies and gentlemen.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 22.

3 What provision was made for the poor, stranger, widow, and fatherless in the law of Moses? Deuteronomy 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13.

note: “The Lord had commanded Israel, through Moses, that every third year a tithe be raised for the benefit of the poor; and a further provision had been made in the suspension of agricultural labor every seventh year, the land lying fallow, its spontaneous products being left to those in need. Faithfulness in devoting these offerings to the relief of the poor and to other benevolent uses would have tended to keep fresh before the people the truth of God’s ownership of all, and their opportunity to be channels of blessing. It was Jehovah’s purpose that the Israelites should have a training that would eradicate selfishness, and develop breadth and nobility of character.” Prophets and Kings, 646, 647.

4 What arrangement was made for the poor in the time of harvest? Leviticus 19:9, 10.

note: “The law of God gave the poor a right to a certain portion of the produce of the soil. When hungry, a man was at liberty to go to his neighbor’s field or orchard or vineyard, and eat of the grain or fruit to satisfy his hunger. . . .

“All the gleanings of harvest field, orchard, and vineyard, belonged to the poor. . . .

“Every seventh year special provision was made for the poor. The sabbatical year, as it was called, began at the end of the harvest. At the seedtime, which followed the ingathering, the people were not to sow; they should not dress the vineyard in the spring; and they must expect neither harvest nor vintage. Of that which the land produced spontaneously they might eat while fresh, but they were not to lay up any portion of it in their storehouses. The yield of this year was to be free for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and even for the creatures of the field. Exodus 23:10, 11; Leviticus 25:5.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 531.

5 By heeding this provision, who became one of the progenitors of Christ? Ruth 2:1–3; 4:13–17.

note: “Of Christ’s relation to His people, there is a beautiful illustration in the laws given to Israel. When through poverty a Hebrew had been forced to part with his patrimony, and to sell himself as a bondservant, the duty of redeeming him and his inheritance fell to the one who was nearest of kin. See Leviticus 25:25, 47–49; Ruth 2:20. So the work of redeeming us and our inheritance, lost through sin, fell upon Him who is ‘near of kin’ unto us. It was to redeem us that He became our kinsman. Closer than father, mother, brother, friend, or lover is the Lord our Saviour. ‘Fear not,’ He says, ‘for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.’ ‘Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.’ Isaiah 43:1, 4.” The Desire of Ages, 327.

6 What difference does Jehovah make between lending to their brethren and lending to strangers? Deuteronomy 23:19, 20.

note: “I was shown that the subject of taking usury should be considered by Sabbathkeepers. Wealthy men have no right to take interest from their poor brethren, but they may receive usury from unbelievers. . . .

“God has been displeased with Sabbathkeepers for their avaricious spirit. Their desire to get gain is so strong that they have taken advantage of poor, unfortunate brethren in their distress and have added to their own already abundant means, while these poorer brethren have suffered for the same means.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 534, 535.

7 What are among the characteristics of those who dwell in the city of God? Psalm 15:1, 5.

note: “Always kind, courteous, ever taking the part of the oppressed, whether Jew or Gentile, Christ was beloved by all. By His perfect life and character, He answered the question asked in the fifteenth Psalm: ‘Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.’ [Verses 1, 2.] In childhood and youth His course was such that when engaged in work as a teacher, He could say to His disciples, ‘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.’ [John 15:10.]

“As Christ grew older, the work begun in His childhood went on, and He continued to increase in wisdom, and in favor with God and man. He did not take the part of His own family merely because they were related to Him by natural ties; He would not vindicate their case in a single instance where they had been guilty of injustice or wrong; but He ever vindicated that which He knew to be truth.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 402.

“The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. This is the knowledge that works transformation of character. Received into the life, it will re-create the soul in the image of Christ. This is the knowledge that God invites His children to receive, beside which all else is vanity and nothingness.

“In every generation and in every land the true foundation for character building has been the same—the principles contained in the word of God. The only safe and sure rule is to do what God says. ‘The statutes of the Lord are right,’ and ‘he that doeth these things shall never be moved.’ Psalms 19:8; 15:5. It was with the word of God that the apostles met the false theories of their day, saying, ‘Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid.’ 1 Corinthians 3:11.” The Acts of the Apostles, 475.

8 Where does the responsibility of caring for widows first rest? 1 Timothy 5:16.

note: “Our church members are greatly in need of a knowledge of practical godliness. They need to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice. They need to give evidence to the world that they are Christlike. Therefore the work that Christ requires of them is not to be done by proxy, placing on some committee or some institution the burden that they themselves should bear. They are to become Christlike in character by giving of their means and time, their sympathy, their personal effort, to help the sick, to comfort the sorrowing, to relieve the poor, to encourage the desponding, to enlighten souls in darkness, to point sinners to Christ, to bring home to hearts the obligation of God’s law.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 263, 264.

9 What assurance is given to those who give to the poor? 11 Corinthians 9:9, 10.

note: “It means much to sow beside all waters. It means a continual imparting of gifts and offerings. God will furnish facilities so that the faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work. [11 Corinthians 9:9, 10 quoted.] The seed sown with full, liberal hand is taken charge of by the Lord. He who ministers seed to the sower gives His worker that which enables him to co-operate with the Giver of the seed.

“The Lord now calls upon Seventh-day Adventists in every locality to consecrate themselves to Him and to do their very best, according to their circumstances, to assist in His work. By their liberality in making gifts and offerings, He desires them to reveal their appreciation of His blessings and their gratitude for His mercy.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 132.

Bible Study Guides – A Divine Legacy, Part I

September 17, 2006 – September 23, 2006

Key Text

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” Deuteronomy 15:11.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 530–533.


“We are God’s servants, doing His service. Into the great web of life we are to draw no thread of selfishness; for this would spoil the pattern. But, oh, how thoughtless men are apt to be! How seldom do they make the interests of God’s suffering ones their own. The poor are all around them, but they pass on, thoughtless and indifferent, regardless of the widows and orphans who, left without resources, suffer, but do not tell their need. If the rich would place a small fund in the bank, at the disposal of the needy ones, how much suffering would be saved. The holy love of God should lead every one to see that it is his duty to care for some other one, and thus keep alive the spirit of benevolence. . . . With what goodness, mercy, and love God lays His requirements before His children, telling them what they are to do. He honors us by making us His helping hand. Instead of complaining, let us rejoice that we have the privilege of serving under so good and merciful a Master (Letter 112, 1902).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1118.

1 Who has ever maintained the right of the poor? Psalm 140:12.

note: “Real charity helps men to help themselves. . . . True beneficence means more than mere gifts. It means a genuine interest in the welfare of others. We should seek to understand the needs of the poor and distressed, and to give them the help that will benefit them most. To give thought and time and personal effort costs far more than merely to give money. But it is the truest charity.” Welfare Ministry, 199.

2 What provision did the law make for those too poor to bring a lamb offering? Leviticus 12:8.

note: “Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses.” The Desire of Ages, 615.

3 What shows that Christ’s parents were thus poor? Luke 2:21–24.

note: “The world’s Redeemer was the son of poor parents, and when in His infancy He was presented in the temple, His mother could bring only the offering appointed for the poor,—a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. He was the most precious gift of heaven to our world, a gift above all computation, yet it could be acknowledged only by the smallest offering. Our Saviour, during all His sojourn on earth, shared the lot of the poor and lowly. Self-denial and sacrifice characterized His life.” Counsels on Stewardship, 160, 161.

4 What was one evidence of Christ’s Messiahship? Luke 4:18; Matthew 11:4, 5. (Compare Isaiah 61:1.)

note: “The word ‘Messiah’ signifies ‘the Anointed One.’ In the autumn of A.D. 27 Christ was baptized by John and received the anointing of the Spirit. The apostle Peter testifies that ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.’ Acts 10:38. And the Saviour Himself declared: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.’ Luke 4:18. After His baptism He went into Galilee, ‘preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled.’ Mark 1:14, 15.” The Great Controversy, 327.

“Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised One. The evidence of His divinity was seen in His ministry to the needs of suffering humanity. His glory was shown in His condescension to our low estate.

“The works of Christ not only declared Him to be the Messiah, but showed in what manner His kingdom was to be established.” The Ministry of Healing, 35, 36.

5 In what way could a rich man transfer his wealth to heaven? Mark 10:21.

note: “The lover of self is a transgressor of the law. This Jesus desired to reveal to the young man, and He gave him a test that would make manifest the selfishness of his heart. He showed him the plague spot in his character. The young man desired no further enlightenment. He had cherished an idol in the soul; the world was his god. He professed to have kept the commandments, but he was destitute of the principle which is the very spirit and life of them all. He did not possess true love for God or man. This want was the want of everything that would qualify him to enter the kingdom of heaven. In his love of self and worldly gain he was out of harmony with the principles of heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 392.

“Christ points out the way in which those who have wealth, and yet are not rich toward God, may secure the true riches. He says: ‘Sell that ye have and give alms;’ [Luke 12:33] and lay up treasure in heaven. The remedy He proposes is a transfer of their affections to the eternal inheritance. By investing their means in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, and by relieving the needy, they become rich in good works, and are ‘laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.’ [1 Timothy 6:19.] This will prove a safe investment.” Counsels on Stewardship, 151.

6 What class of persons has God specially chosen? James 2:5.

note: “The faithful, trusting poor man becomes rich toward God by judiciously using the little he has in blessing others with his means. He feels that his neighbor has claims upon him that he cannot disregard and yet obey the command of God, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Matthew 19:19.] He considers the salvation of his fellow men of greater importance than all the gold and silver the world contains.” Counsels on Stewardship, 151.

“The Lord’s people are mainly made up of the poor of this world, the common people. Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called. God hath ‘chosen the poor of this world.’ ‘The poor have the gospel preached to them.’ [James 2:5; Matthew 11:5.] The wealthy are called, in one sense; they are invited, but they do not accept the invitation. But in these wicked cities the Lord has many who are humble and yet trustful.—Manuscript 17, 1898.” Evangelism, 565.

7 What is “pure and undefiled religion before God”? James 1:27.

note: “Grace is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his own, without any claim to offer to God. He is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who stands in the courts of heaven as the sinner’s substitute and surety. But while he is justified because of the merit of Christ, he is not free to work unrighteousness. Faith works by love and purifies the soul. Faith buds and blossoms and bears a harvest of precious fruit. Where faith is, good works appear. The sick are visited, the poor are cared for, the fatherless and the widows are not neglected, the naked are clothed, the destitute are fed. Christ went about doing good, and when men are united with Him, they love the children of God, and meekness and truth guide their footsteps. The expression of the countenance reveals their experience, and men take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Christ and the believer become one, and His beauty of character is revealed in those who are vitally connected with the Source of power and love. Christ is the great depositary of justifying righteousness and sanctifying grace.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 398.

8 Who on this earth personally represents Christ? Matthew 25:34–40.

note: “In the providence of God we are associated with those who are inexperienced, with many who need pity and compassion. They need succor, for they are weak. Young men need help. In the strength of Him whose loving-kindness is exercised toward the helpless, the ignorant, and those counted as the least of His little ones, we must labor for their future welfare, for the shaping of Christian character. The very ones who need help the most will at times try our patience sorely. . . .

“The brows of those who do this work will wear the crown of sacrifice. But they will receive their reward. In heaven we shall see the youth whom we helped, those whom we invited to our homes, whom we led from temptation. We shall see their faces reflecting the radiance of the glory of God. ‘They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.’ Revelation 22:4.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 348.

9 For how long will the people of God have the poor with them? Deuteronomy 15:11.

note: “In the providence of God events have been so ordered that the poor are always with us, in order that there may be a constant exercise in the human heart of the attributes of mercy and love. Man is to cultivate the tenderness and compassion of Christ; he is not to separate himself from the sorrowing, the afflicted, the needy, and the distressed.” The Signs of the Times, June 13, 1892.

“While the world needs sympathy, while it needs the prayers and assistance of God’s people, while it needs to see Christ in the lives of His followers, the people of God are equally in need of opportunities that draw out their sympathies, give efficiency to their prayers, and develop in them a character like that of the divine pattern.

“It is to provide these opportunities that God has placed among us the poor, the unfortunate, the sick, and the suffering. They are Christ’s legacy to His church, and they are to be cared for as He would care for them. In this way God takes away the dross and purifies the gold, giving us that culture of heart and character which we need.” Welfare Ministry, 17, 18.

10 What will give light, health, and righteousness to the people of God? Isaiah 58:7, 8.

note: “In the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn.

“All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery.

“Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 417.

Bible Study Guides – Tithing, Part IV

September 10, 2006 – September 16, 2006

Key Text

“And all the tithe of the land, [whether] of the seed of the land, [or] of the fruit of the tree, [is] the Lord’s: [it is] holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 545–547.


“We are to praise God by tangible service, by doing all in our power to advance the glory of His name. God imparts His gifts to us that we also may give, and thus make known His character to the world. Under the Jewish economy, gifts and offerings formed an essential part of God’s worship. The Israelites were taught to devote a tithe of all their income to the service of the sanctuary. Besides this they were to bring sin offerings, free-will gifts, and offerings of gratitude. These were the means for supporting the ministry of the gospel for that time. God expects no less from us than He expected from His people anciently. The great work for the salvation of souls must be carried forward. In the tithe, with gifts and offerings, He has made provision for this work. Thus He intends that the ministry of the gospel shall be sustained. He claims the tithe as His own, and it should ever be regarded as a sacred reserve, to be placed in His treasury for the benefit of His cause. He asks also for our free-will gifts and offerings of gratitude. All are to be devoted to the sending of the gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 300.

1 What portion of a man’s substance has God reserved as His? Leviticus 27:30.

note: “The Lord has specified: The tenth of all your possessions is Mine; your gifts and offerings are to be brought into the treasury, to be used to advance My cause, to send the living preacher to open the Scriptures to those who sit in darkness.” Messages to Young People, 308.

“That which lies at the foundation of business integrity and of true success is the recognition of God’s ownership. The Creator of all things, He is the original proprietor. We are His stewards. All that we have is a trust from Him, to be used according to His direction.

“This is an obligation that rests upon every human being. It has to do with the whole sphere of human activity. Whether we recognize it or not, we are stewards, supplied from God with talents and facilities, and placed in the world to do a work appointed by Him.” Education, 137.

2 Can a man dispose of that which is the Lord’s as he chooses? Leviticus 27:26; Deuteronomy 15:19.

note: “The Lord sought to teach Israel that in everything He must be first. Thus they were reminded that God was the proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that it was He who sent them the sunshine and the rain that developed and ripened the harvest. Everything that they possessed was His; they were but the stewards of His goods. . . .

“Men are tempted to use their means in self-indulgence, in the gratification of appetite, in personal adornment, or in the embellishment of their homes. For these objects many church members do not hesitate to spend freely and even extravagantly. But when asked to give to the Lord’s treasury, to carry forward His work in the earth, they demur. Perhaps, feeling that they cannot well do otherwise, they dole out a sum far smaller than they often spend for needless indulgence. They manifest no real love for Christ’s service, no earnest interest in the salvation of souls. What marvel that the Christian life of such ones is but a dwarfed, sickly existence!” The Acts of the Apostles, 337, 338.

3 What class of offerings connected with the tithe went to the priest? Nehemiah 10:37.

note: “Even before the tithe could be reserved there had been an acknowledgment of the claims of God. The first that ripened of every product of the land was consecrated to Him. The first of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, the first of the oil and the wine, was set apart for God. So also were the first-born of all animals; and a redemption price was paid for the first-born son. The first fruits were to be presented before the Lord at the sanctuary, and were then devoted to the use of the priests.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 526.

“Of all our income we should make the first appropriation to God. In the system of beneficence enjoined upon the Jews they were required either to bring to the Lord the first fruits of all His gifts, whether in the increase of their flocks or herds, or in the produce of their fields, orchards, or vineyards, or they were to redeem it by substituting an equivalent.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 474.

4 What does God say of those who withhold tithes and offerings from His treasury? Malachi 3:8, 9.

note: “God has specified one tenth of the increase. This is left to the conscience and benevolence of men, whose judgment in this tithing system should have free play. And while it is left free to the conscience, a plan has been laid out definite enough for all. No compulsion is required.

“God called for men in the Mosaic dispensation to give the tenth of all their increase. He committed to their trust the things of this life, talents to be improved and returned to Him. He has required a tenth, and this He claims as the very least that man should return to Him. He says: I give you nine tenths, while I require one tenth; that is Mine. When men withhold the one tenth, they rob God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 394.

“In that day when every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body, every excuse that selfishness may now make for withholding the tithe, the gifts and offerings, from the Lord will melt away as the dew before the sun. If it were not forever too late, how glad would many be to go back and rebuild their characters! But it will be too late then to change the record of those who, weekly, monthly, and yearly, have robbed God. Their destiny will be fixed, unalterably fixed. . . .

“Selfishness is a deadly evil. Self-love and careless indifference to the specific terms of agreement between God and man, the refusal to act as his faithful stewards, have brought upon them His curse, just as He declared would be the case. These souls have separated themselves from God; by precept and example they have led others to disregard God’s plain commandments, and He could not bestow His blessing upon them.” Messages to Young People, 307, 308.

5 What promise does God make to His people if they bring their tithes and offerings into the storehouse? Malachi 3:10, 11.

note: “Duty is duty, and should be performed for its own sake. But the Lord has compassion upon us in our fallen condition, and accompanies his commands with promises. He calls upon his people to prove him, declaring that he will reward obedience with the richest blessings. [Malachi 3:10, 11 quoted.]” The Southern Watchman, February 14, 1905.

“Those who are selfishly withholding their means need not be surprised if God’s hand scatters their possessions. That which should have been devoted to the advancement of his work and cause, but which has been withheld, may in various ways be taken away. God will come near to them in judgments. Many losses will be sustained. God can scatter the means he has lent to his stewards, if they refuse to use it to his glory. Some may have none of these losses to remind them of their remissness in duty, but their cases may be the more hopeless.” Ibid., February 21, 1905.

6 If while passing the flock under the rod to be tithed, the owner, for any cause, sought to exchange the tenth for some other, what direction did God give? Leviticus 27:32, 33.

note: “The Lord declared that he required his husbandmen to give him the returns of his vineyard. Men are not to use their possessions as their own, but only as intrusted to them. The Lord’s portion is to be faithfully returned to him. [Leviticus 27:30–33 quoted.]

“The statutes regarding the Lord’s portion were often repeated that the people might not forget them. They were to return to God his rental money. This he claimed as his portion. Their physical and mental powers as well as their money were to be used for him. His vineyard was to be faithfully cultivated, so that a large income could be returned to him in tithes and offerings. A portion was to be set apart for the sustenance of the ministry, and was to be used for no other purpose. Gifts and offerings were to be made to relieve the necessity of the church. Means was to be appropriated for the relief of the poor and suffering.” Review and Herald, July 17, 1900.

7 What instruction is given regarding the duty of those who receive the blessing of the gospel? Galatians 6:6; Romans 15:27.

note: “The plan of systematic benevolence is pleasing to God. I [Ellen White] was pointed back to the days of the apostles, and saw that God laid the plan by the descent of His Holy Spirit, and that by the gift of prophecy He counseled His people in regard to a system of benevolence. All were to share in this work of imparting of their carnal things to those who ministered unto them in spiritual things.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 190.

8 How does the apostle enjoin this duty? 1 Corinthians 9:6–11.

note: “In His first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul gave the believers instruction regarding the general principles underlying the support of God’s work in the earth. Writing of his apostolic labors in their behalf, he inquired: [1 Corinthians 9:7–14 quoted].

“The apostle here referred to the Lord’s plan for the maintenance of the priests who ministered in the temple. Those who were set apart to this holy office were supported by their brethren, to whom they ministered spiritual blessings.” The Acts of the Apostles, 335, 336.

9 How does the apostle show that the ministry should be supported? 1 Corinthians 9:13, 14.

note: “As a gospel minister, it was Paul’s privilege to claim a support from those for whom he labored. But though he became the servant of all, yet he worked with his hands to support himself, that none might find occasion to charge him with selfishness. He did not receive wages for his labor, though as a minister of the gospel this was his right. Thus he made it evident that he was working for souls, not for money. . . .

“Paul did not depend upon man for his ordination. He had received from the Lord his commission and ordination. He regarded his ministerial labor as a privilege. To him it was not a duty performed in return for money. He labored for the souls of men. . . . He studied constantly how to make his testimony of the greatest effect. He sought the approval of God.

“Would that today men might be found with faith to do as Paul did, men who would preach the gospel, not looking to men for their reward, but willing to receive their reward in souls (MS 74, 1903).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1088.

Bible Study Guides – Tithing, Part III

September 3, 2006 – September 9, 2006

Key Text

“Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:14.

Study Help: Counsels on Stewardship, 199, 200.


“God blesses the work of men’s hands, that they may return to Him His portion. He gives them the sunshine and the rain; He causes vegetation to flourish; He gives health and ability to acquire means. Every blessing comes from His bountiful hand, and He desires men and women to show their gratitude by returning Him a portion in tithes and offerings—in thank offerings, in freewill offerings, in trespass offerings. They are to devote their means to His service, that His vineyard may not remain a barren waste. They are to study what the Lord would do were He in their place. They are to take all difficult matters to Him in prayer. They are to reveal an unselfish interest in the building up of His work in all parts of the world.” Prophets and Kings, 707, 708.

“It is time for us to heed the teaching of God’s word. All His injunctions are given for our good, to convert the soul from sin to righteousness. Every convert to the truth should be instructed in regard to the Lord’s requirement for tithes and offerings. As churches are raised up, this work must be taken hold of decidedly and carried forward in the spirit of Christ. All that men enjoy, they receive from the Lord’s great firm, and He is pleased to have His heritage enjoy His goods; but all who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel are to acknowledge their dependence upon God and their accountability to Him by returning to the treasury a certain portion as His own. This is to be invested in missionary work in fulfillment of the commission given to His disciples by the Son of God: ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.’ ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ ‘baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ [Matthew 28:18, 19, first part; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19, last part, 20.]

“Those who are truly converted are called to do a work that requires money and consecration. . . . [God] calls for undivided service, for the entire devotion of heart, soul, mind, and strength. . . . Anything short of this is opposition to the work. There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures—in God’s storehouse or in Satan’s, and all that is not devoted to Christ’s service is counted on Satan’s side and goes to strengthen his cause.

“The Lord designs that the means entrusted to us shall be used in building up His kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 447, 448.

1 Who is our high priest? Hebrews 3:1; 4:14.

note: “Christ is our mediator and officiating high priest in the presence of the Father. He was shown to John as a lamb that had been slain, as in the very act of pouring out his blood in the sinner’s behalf.” Gospel Workers (1892), 13.

“Type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. Our great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that is of any value in our salvation. When He offered Himself on the cross, a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people. We are now standing in the outer court, waiting and looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. No sacrifices are to be offered without, for the great High Priest is performing His work in the Most Holy Place. In His intercession as our advocate, Christ needs no man’s virtue, no man’s intercession. He is the only sin-bearer, the only sin-offering. Prayer and confession are to be offered only to Him who has entered once for all into the Most Holy Place. He will save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” Lift Him Up, 319.

2 After what order is Christ a priest? Hebrews 5:5, 6; 6:20; 7:17, 21.

note: “The high priest was designed in an especial manner to represent Christ, who was to become a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. This order of priesthood was not to pass to another, or be superseded by another.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 930.

“Christ glorified not Himself in being made High Priest. God gave Him His appointment to the priesthood. He was to be an example to all the human family. He qualified Himself to be, not only the representative of the race, but their Advocate, so that every soul if he will may say, I have a Friend at court. He is a High Priest that can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities (MS 101, 1897).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 930.

3 Does Christ receive tithe? Hebrews 7:8.

note: “You need not weary yourselves with busy anxieties and needless cares. Work on for the day, faithfully doing the work which God’s providence assigns you, and he will have a care for you. Jesus will deepen and widen your blessings. You must make efforts if you have salvation at last. Come to these [camp] meetings prepared to work. Leave your home cares, and come to find Jesus, and He will be found of you. Come with your offerings as God has blessed you. Show your gratitude to your Creator, the Giver of all your benefits, by a free-will offering. Let none who are able come empty-handed.” Review and Herald, August 2, 1870.

4 What did the Saviour teach concerning tithing? Matthew 23:23.

note: “Never, by word or deed, did Jesus lessen man’s obligation to present gifts and offerings to God. It was Christ who gave all the directions of the law in regard to tithes and offerings. When on earth He commended the poor woman who gave her all to the temple treasury. But the apparent zeal for God on the part of the priests and rabbis was a pretense to cover their desire for self-aggrandizement. The people were deceived by them. They were bearing heavy burdens which God had not imposed. Even the disciples of Christ were not wholly free from the yoke that had been bound upon them by inherited prejudice and rabbinical authority. Now, by revealing the true spirit of the rabbis, Jesus sought to free from the bondage of tradition all who were really desirous of serving God.” The Desire of Ages, 397.

5 As followers of Christ, what then should we do? Malachi 3:10.

note: “Let those who assemble to worship God consider the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Let those brethren who profess to be children of God study how they can deny themselves, how they can part with some of their idols, and carefully economize in every line. In each house there should be a box for the church fund, to be used for the needs of the church. . . .” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 191.

6 How were the Levites supported in their work? 1 Corinthians 9:13. See also Deuteronomy 18:1; Numbers 5:9.

note: “The appointed ministers of the sanctuary, the Levites received no landed inheritance; they dwelt together in cities set apart for their use, and received their support from the tithes and the gifts and offerings devoted to God’s service. They were the teachers of the people, guests at all their festivities, and everywhere honored as servants and representatives of God. To the whole nation was given the command: ‘Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth.’ ‘Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance.’ Deuteronomy 12:19; 10:9.” Education, 148.

7 What has the Lord likewise ordained concerning the support of those who preach the gospel? 1 Corinthians 9:14.

note: “[1 Corinthians 9:7–14 quoted.]

“The apostle here referred to the Lord’s plan for the maintenance of the priests who ministered in the temple. Those who were set apart to this holy office were supported by their brethren, to whom they ministered spiritual blessings.” Counsels on Stewardship, 70.

“The payment of the tithe was but a part of God’s plan for the support of His service. Numerous gifts and offerings were divinely specified. Under the Jewish system the people were taught to cherish a spirit of liberality both in sustaining the cause of God and in supplying the wants of the needy. For special occasions there were freewill offerings. At the harvest and the vintage, the first fruits of the field—corn, wine, and oil—were consecrated as an offering to the Lord. The gleanings and the corners of the field were reserved for the poor. The first fruits of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, were set apart for God. So also were the first-born of all animals, and a redemption price was paid for the first-born son. The first fruits were to be presented before the Lord at the sanctuary and were then devoted to the use of the priests.

“By this system of benevolence the Lord sought to teach Israel that in everything He must be first. Thus they were reminded that God was the proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that it was He who sent them the sunshine and the rain that developed and ripened the harvest. Everything that they possessed was His; they were but the stewards of His goods.” The Acts of the Apostles, 336, 337.

8 Who commissions and sends out those who preach the gospel? Then whose servants are they? Who employs them? Matthew 28:18–20; John 20:21.

note: “It is God’s purpose that His people shall be a sanctified, purified, holy people, communicating light to all around them. It is His purpose that, by exemplifying the truth in their lives, they shall be a praise in the earth. The grace of Christ is sufficient to bring this about. But let God’s people remember that only as they believe and work out the principles of the gospel can He make them a praise in the earth. Only as they use their God-given capabilities in His service will they enjoy the fullness and power of the promise whereon the church has been called to stand. If those who profess to believe in Christ as their Saviour reach only the low standard of worldly measurement, the church fails to bear the rich harvest that God expects. ‘Found wanting’ is written upon her record.

“The commission that Christ gave to His disciples just before His ascension is the great missionary charter of His kingdom. In giving it to the disciples, the Saviour made them His ambassadors and gave them their credentials. If, afterward, they should be challenged and asked by what authority they, unlearned fishermen, went forth as teachers and healers, they could reply: ‘He whom the Jews crucified, but who rose from the dead, appointed us to the ministry of His word, declaring, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” [Matthew 28:18.]’ ” Testimonies, vol. 8, 14.

9 In accordance with what has been shown in this study, what provision has the Lord made for the support of His laborers and His work? 11 Chronicles 31:10.

note: “The tithe is the Lord’s, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go. Provision is to be made for these other lines of work. They are to be sustained, but not from the tithe. God has not changed; the tithe is still to be used for the support of the ministry.” Counsels on Stewardship, 102, 103.

“That there may be funds in the treasury for the support of the ministry, and to meet the calls for assistance in missionary enterprises, it is necessary that the people of God give cheerfully and liberally. A solemn responsibility rests upon ministers to keep before the churches the needs of the cause of God and to educate them to be liberal. When this is neglected, and the churches fail to give for the necessities of others, not only does the work of the Lord suffer, but the blessing that should come to believers is withheld.

“Even the very poor should bring their offerings to God. They are to be sharers of the grace of Christ by denying self to help those whose need is more pressing than their own. The poor man’s gift, the fruit of self-denial, comes up before God as fragrant incense. And every act of self-sacrifice strengthens the spirit of beneficence in the giver’s heart, allying him more closely to the One who was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” The Acts of the Apostles, 341, 342.

Bible Study Guides – Tithing, Part II

August 27, 2006 – September 2, 2006

Key Text

“Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” Genesis 14:19, 20.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 134–136; 157.


“Our brethren . . . have not hitherto fully accepted the tithing system and some have opposed this feature in our work as not required of them. But when it was shown to be the Bible plan, ordained of God from the first, that He had a church as far back as the days of Noah and Abraham, and that it was a duty enjoined upon believers in all ages of the world as God’s means to carry forward His work upon the earth, and to impress man that God was the giver of all his blessings and required them to return to Him in tithes and offerings a portion of His bestowed gifts, they saw this in a new light, and there was a unity in voting for the resolution not to be negligent in this, God’s requirement. No man, it was stated, obliged another to pay tithes. God did not make it a matter of compulsion any more than He compelled men to keep the Sabbath. It was God’s Sabbath, His holy time, and to be sacredly regarded by man. But man must obey from a willing heart, both to observe His Sabbath and not to rob God in employing sacred time for his own use or to employ the portion in tithes and offerings which the Lord has claimed to be rendered to Him.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 133, 134.

1 Under what circumstances was the first tithe paid, as recorded in the Scriptures? Genesis 14:16–20.

note: “Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, had invaded Canaan fourteen years before, and made it tributary to him. Several of the princes now revolted, and the Elamite king, with four allies, again marched into the country to reduce them to submission. Five kings of Canaan joined their forces and met the invaders in the vale of Siddim, but only to be completely overthrown. A large part of the army was cut to pieces, and those who escaped fled for safety to the mountains. The victors plundered the cities of the plain and departed with rich spoil and many captives, among whom were Lot and his family.

“Abraham, dwelling in peace in the oak groves at Mamre, learned from one of the fugitives the story of the battle and the calamity that had befallen his nephew. . . . From his own encampment he summoned three hundred and eighteen trained servants, men trained in the fear of God, in the service of their master, and in the practice of arms. His confederates, Mamre, Eschol, and Aner, joined him with their bands, and together they started in pursuit of the invaders. The Elamites and their allies had encamped at Dan, on the northern border of Canaan. Flushed with victory, and having no fear of an assault from their vanquished foes, they had given themselves up to reveling. The patriarch divided his force so as to approach from different directions, and came upon the encampment by night. His attack, so vigorous and unexpected, resulted in speedy victory. . . . Lot and his family, with all the prisoners and their goods, were recovered, and a rich booty fell into the hands of the victors. . . . On his return, the king of Sodom came out with his retinue to honor the conqueror. He bade him take the goods, begging only that the prisoners should be restored. By the usage of war, the spoils belonged to the conquerors; but Abraham had undertaken this expedition with no purpose of gain, and he refused to take advantage of the unfortunate, only stipulating that his confederates should receive the portion to which they were entitled. . . .

“Another who came out to welcome the victorious patriarch was Melchizedek, king of Salem, who brought forth bread and wine for the refreshment of his army. As ‘priest of the most high God,’ he pronounced a blessing upon Abraham, and gave thanks to the Lord, who had wrought so great a deliverance by His servant. And Abraham ‘gave him tithes of all.’ [Genesis 14:18, 20.]” Patriarchs and Prophets, 134–136.

2 What was the office of Melchizedek? Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1.

note: “Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 525.

3 What was said of Melchizedek’s genealogy and greatness? Whom did he represent? Hebrews 7:1–4.

note: “At one time Melchisedek represented the Lord Jesus Christ in person, to reveal the truth of heaven, and perpetuate the law of God (Letter 190, 1905).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1093.

“It was Christ that spoke through Melchisedek, the priest of the most high God. Melchisedek was not Christ, but he was the voice of God in the world, the representative of the Father. And all through the generations of the past, Christ has spoken; Christ has led His people, and has been the light of the world.” Review and Herald, February 18, 1890.

4 Who received tithes of Abraham? Hebrews 7:6. How much did Abraham give in tithe? Genesis 14:20, last phrase; Hebrews 7:4.

note: “God has a claim on us and all that we have. His claim is paramount to every other. And in acknowledgment of this claim, he bids us render to him a fixed proportion of all that he gives us. The tithe is this specified portion. By the Lord’s direction it was consecrated to him in the earliest times. The Scriptures mention tithing in connection with the history of Abraham. The father of the faithful paid tithes to Melchisedec, ‘priest of the Most High God.’ [Genesis 14:18.]” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.

5 Who was the greater, Abraham or Melchizedek? Hebrews 7:7.

note: “Many persons will meet all inferior demands and dues, and leave to God only the last gleanings, if there be any. If not, his cause must wait till a more convenient season. Such was not the course pursued by Abraham. Upon his return from a successful military expedition, he was met by Melchizedek, ‘king of Salem, and priest of the most high God.’ [Genesis 14:18.] This holy man blessed Abraham, in the name of the Lord, and the patriarch gave him tithes of all the spoils as a tribute of gratitude to the Ruler of nations.” Review and Herald, May 16, 1882. [Emphasis supplied.]

6 What proposition did the king of Sodom make? Genesis 14:21. What response did Abraham give? Verses 22, 23.

note: “Few, if subjected to such a test, would have shown themselves as noble as did Abraham. Few would have resisted the temptation to secure so rich a booty. His example is a rebuke to self-seeking, mercenary spirits. Abraham regarded the claims of justice and humanity. His conduct illustrates the inspired maxim, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Leviticus 19:18. ‘I have lifted up my hand,’ he said, ‘unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.’ [Genesis 14:22, 23.] He would give them no occasion to think that he had engaged in warfare for the sake of gain, or to attribute his prosperity to their gifts or favor. God had promised to bless Abraham, and to Him the glory should be ascribed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 135.

7 For whom did Abraham make an exception? Was the tithe before or after the young men had eaten? Genesis 14:24.

note: “Not only does the Lord claim the tithe as His own, but He tells us how it should be reserved for Him. He says, ‘Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase.’ [Proverbs 3:9.] This does not teach that we are to spend our means on ourselves, and bring to the Lord the remnant, even though it should be otherwise an honest tithe. Let God’s portion be first set apart.” Review and Herald, February 4, 1902.

8 By giving a tithe of all, whom did Abraham acknowledge as the only rightful owner of the tithe? Genesis 14:19; Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 24:1.

note: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all the treasures it contains. The cattle upon a thousand hills are His. All the gold and silver belongs to Him. He has entrusted His treasures to stewards, that with them they may advance His cause and glorify His name. He did not entrust these treasures to men that they might use them to exalt and glorify themselves, and have power to oppress those who were poor in this world’s treasure. God does not receive the offerings of any because He needs them and cannot have glory and riches without them, but because it is for the interest of His servants to render to God the things which are His. The freewill offerings of the humble, contrite heart He will receive, and will reward the giver with the richest blessings. He receives them as the sacrifice of grateful obedience. He requires and accepts our gold and silver as an evidence that all we have and are belongs to Him. He claims and accepts the improvement of our time and of our talents as the fruit of His love existing in our hearts. To obey is better than sacrifice. Without pure love the most expensive offering is too poor for God to accept.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 652, 653.

9 What solemn vow did Jacob make 150 years after Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek? Genesis 28:20–22.

note: “Jacob also recognized the obligation of tithing. When, fleeing from his brother’s wrath, he saw in his dream the ladder connecting heaven and earth, the gratitude of his heart found expression in the vow to God [Genesis 28:20–22 quoted.]” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.

“Jacob was not here seeking to make terms with God. The Lord had already promised him prosperity, and this vow was the outflow of a heart filled with gratitude for the assurance of God’s love and mercy. Jacob felt that God had claims upon him which he must acknowledge, and that the special tokens of divine favor granted him demanded a return. So does every blessing bestowed upon us call for a response to the Author of all our mercies. The Christian should often review his past life and recall with gratitude the precious deliverances that God has wrought for him, supporting him in trial, opening ways before him when all seemed dark and forbidding, refreshing him when ready to faint. He should recognize all of them as evidences of the watchcare of heavenly angels. In view of these innumerable blessings he should often ask, with subdued and grateful heart, ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?’ Psalm 116:12.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 187.

10 How can we account for the fact that Jacob knew God’s claim to the tenth? Genesis 18:19.

note: “Abraham’s household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the one God, found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the true faith. Thus a great responsibility rested upon him. He was training heads of families, and his methods of government would be carried out in the households over which they should preside.

“In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after they had families of their own. His descendants were taught to look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular matters. This patriarchal system of government Abraham endeavored to perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 141.

11 What tithing instruction was given to the children of Israel after they left Egypt? Nehemiah 10:38, 39.

note: “When God delivered Israel from Egypt to be a special treasure unto himself, he taught them to devote a tithe of their possessions to the service of the tabernacle. This was a special offering, for a special work. All that remained of their property was God’s, and was to be used to his glory. But the tithe was set apart for the support of those who ministered in the sanctuary. It was to be given from the first-fruits of all the increase, and, with gifts and offerings, it provided ample means for supporting the ministry of the gospel for that time.” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.

Restoring the Temple – Responsibility of Health Reform

As a people we have been given the work of making known the principles of health reform.  There are some who think that the question of diet is not of sufficient importance to be included in their evangelistic work.  But such make a great mistake.  God’s word declares, ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’  1 Corinthians 10:31.  The subject of temperance in all its bearings, has an important place in the work of salvation.”  Counsels on Diet and Foods, 450.

Teach Reform Principles

“We should educate ourselves, not only to live in harmony with the laws of health, but to teach others the better way.  Many, even of those who profess to believe the special truths for this time, are lamentably ignorant with regard to health and temperance.  They need to be educated, line upon line, precept upon precept.  The subject must be kept fresh before them.  This matter must not be passed over as non-essential; for nearly every family needs to be stirred up on the question.  The conscience must be aroused to the duty of practicing the principles of true reform.  God requires that His people shall be temperate in all things.  Unless they practice true temperance, they will not, they cannot, be susceptible to the sanctifying influence of the truth. . . .

“As we near the close of time, we must rise higher and still higher upon the question of health reform and Christian temperance, presenting it in a more positive and decided manner.  We must strive continually to educate the people, not only by our words, but by our practice.  Precept and practice combined have a telling influence.

Responsibility of Leaders

“Our ministers should become intelligent on health reform.  They need to become acquainted with physiology and hygiene; they should understand the laws that govern physical life, and their bearing upon the health of mind and soul.

“Thousands upon thousands know little of the wonderful body God has given them or of the care it should receive; and they consider it of more importance to study subjects of far less consequence.  The ministers have a work to do here.  When they take a right position on this subject, much will be gained.  In their own lives and homes they should obey the laws of life, practicing right principles and living healthfully.  Then they will be able to speak correctly on this subject, leading the people higher and still higher in the work of reform.  Living in the light themselves, they can bear a message of great value to those who are in need of just such a testimony.

“There are precious blessings and a rich experience to be gained if ministers will combine the presentation of the health question with  all their labors in the churches.  The people must have the light on health reform.  This work has been neglected, and many are ready to die because they need the light which they ought to have and must have before they will give up selfish indulgence. . . .

“The work of educating in medical missionary lines is an advance step of great importance in awakening man to his moral responsibilities.  Had the ministers taken hold of this work in its various departments in accordance with the light which God has given, there would have been a most decided reformation in eating, drinking, and dressing.  But some have stood directly in the way of the advance of health reform.  They have held the people back by their indifferent or condemnatory remarks, or by pleasantries and jokes.  They themselves and a large number of others have been sufferers unto death, but all have not yet learned wisdom.

“It has been only by the most aggressive warfare that any advancement has been made.  The people have been unwilling to deny self, unwilling to yield the mind and will to the will of God; and in their own sufferings, and in their influence on others, they have realized the sure result of such a course.

Failure to Practice

“Why do some of our ministering brethren manifest so little interest in health reform?  It is because instruction on temperance in all things is opposed to their practice of self-indulgence.  In some places this has been the great stumbling block in the way of our bringing the people to investigate and practice and teach health reform.  No man should be set apart as a teacher of the people while his own teaching or example contradicts the testimony God has given His servants to bear in regard to diet, for this will bring confusion.  His disregard of health reform unfits him to stand as the Lord’s messenger.

“The light that the Lord has given on this subject in His word is plain, and men will be tested and tried in many ways to see if they will heed it.  Every church, every family, needs to be instructed in regard to Christian temperance.  All should know how to eat and drink in order to preserve health.  We are amid the closing scenes of this world’s history; and there should be harmonious action in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers.  Those who stand aloof from the great work of instructing the people upon this question, do not follow where the Great Physician leads the way.  ‘If any man will come after Me,’ Christ said, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’  Matthew 16:24.

Education at Home

“Parents should live more for their children, and less for society.  Study health subjects, and put your knowledge to a practical use.  Teach your children to reason from cause to effect.  Teach them that if they desire health and happiness, they must obey the laws of nature.  Though you may not see so rapid improvement as you desire, be not discouraged, but patiently and perseveringly continue your work.

“Teach your children from the cradle to practice self-denial and self-control.  Teach them to enjoy the beauties of nature, and in useful employments to exercise systematically all the powers of body and mind.  Bring them up to have sound constitutions and good morals, to have sunny dispositions and sweet tempers.  Impress upon their tender minds the truth that God does not design that we should live for present gratification merely, but for our ultimate good.  Teach them that to yield to temptation is weak and wicked; to resist, noble and manly.  These lessons will be as seed sown in good soil, and they will bear fruit that will make your hearts glad.

Selfish Indulgence

“There is a message regarding health reform to be borne in every church.  There is a work to be done in every school.  Neither principal nor teachers should be entrusted with the education of the youth until they have a practical knowledge of this subject.  Some have felt at liberty to criticize and question and find fault with health reform principles of which they know little by experience.  They should stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, with those who are working in right lines.

“The subject of health reform has been presented in the churches; but the light has not been heartily received.  The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God.  If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them.  If the members of our churches disregard the light on this subject, they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy.  And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith.  The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted, but who have backslidden.”  Ibid., 451–455.

Nature Nugget – Poison Dart Frogs

In the warm, humid rainforests of tropical Central and South America lives a group of small, colorful frogs known as poison dart frogs. These frogs are some of the most poisonous creatures on earth. The origin of their name comes from the fact that the Choco Indians of the Pacific lowlands of Columbia use the frog’s poisonous skin secretions to dip their blowgun darts in. They hunt monkeys and other animals with these blowguns, the poison causing instant paralysis and a quick death.

The secretion of the most poisonous species, the golden poison dart frog, is a nerve poison called Batrachotoxin, which is a steroidal alkaloid. Its poison blocks neuromuscular transmission, resulting in muscle and respiratory paralysis and death. Only 136 micrograms of this alkaloid, which is equivalent to 2 or 3 grains of table salt, is enough to kill a 150 pound person. Other species produce poisons that are not as deadly. It is rumored that just touching one of the golden poison dart frogs will result in death. The truth of the matter is that the poison cannot penetrate the skin unless there is a cut or abrasion, which then will result in a quick death.

More than 100 toxins have been identified in the skin secretions of poison dart frogs. The source of the poison is the frogs’ diet. They feed on worms and small arthropods, especially ants, many of which feed on plants that contain these toxins. Captive specimens lose their toxicity because they are no longer able to feed on these toxic sources.

Poison dart frogs come in an assortment of bright colors and combinations of these colors such as reds, oranges, yellows, blues, and greens. Their bright coloration is a warning to would-be predators that they are poisonous. They are also diurnal so that their colors will show up and warn off predators. Poison dart frogs have a life span of 10 to 15 years and have few enemies. Only a few snakes and large spiders can cope with the noxious poisons of the adult frogs. The young (tadpoles) have more enemies, as they lack, because of a different diet, the poisons of the adults.

During the breeding season, poison dart frogs lay their eggs on wet leaves on the forest floor or in the canopy. Many species carry their hatched young on their backs to a source of water such as a puddle or stream, and some carry their young high into the canopy to deposit them in isolated pools in tree cavities, bromeliads, or other water holding plants. Only one tadpole is deposited per pool, as the young will cannibalize each other. If a parent frog carrying young approaches a plant with a tadpole already occupying it, the resident tadpole will warn the frog off by aiming its head at the center of the plant, holding itself rigid, and rapidly vibrating its tail. If the parent frog does not heed this warning and deposits a tadpole there, the larger resident tadpole will eat the younger tadpole. The strawberry poison dart frog is remarkable in that the females give parental care by periodically visiting the bromeliads where they deposited their young and laying nutritious unfertilized eggs called “nurse” eggs for the young to eat.

Just as deadly as the poison of the poison dart frogs is the sin we harbor in our lives. “The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society, and God calls for reformers to stand in defense of the law which he has established to govern the physical system.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 136.

The Pen of Inspiration – Tithes and Offerings

I have been shown that many are robbing the Lord in tithes, and as the result His work is being hindered.

God’s Forebearance

How can the beneficent Father continue to make us His stewards, if we grasp all that is placed in our care, selfishly claiming it as our own? All that we have comes from God. He gives to us, that we may be His helping hand to bless others. He requires that we return to Him the tithe. He says it is holy unto the Lord.

God will bear long. He will test and prove all; but the curse will surely follow the selfish transgressor. God knows the heart. Every thought and every purpose is open to His eye. He says, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] He knows whom to bless, and who deserves the curse. He makes no mistakes. Angels are keeping a record of all our works. When we rob God of the tithe, we also rob ourselves: for we lose the heavenly treasure. We deprive ourselves of the blessing of God, which is promised to those who deal honestly with Him. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” [Proverbs 11:24.] God’s ministers should not fail to warn the people, showing from the Bible the result of withholding the tithe.

When men realize that they are not their own, that they are bought with a price, and are therefore the Lord’s property, and all they have is simply intrusted to them as His stewards, they will, with cheerful heart, render to God the things that are His, and there will be no occasion to urge or beg for the tithe. All will realize that they are not proprietors, but stewards, and will know that they must give an account of their Lord’s money. . . .

Enduring Principle

The tithe should be consecrated to God. His requirements come first. We are not doing His will if we consecrate to Him what is left after all our wants have been supplied. Before any part of our income is consumed, we should take out and present to Him that portion which He claims as His. When this is done, the remainder will be sanctified and blessed to our own use. But when we withhold that which He says is His, the curse rests upon the whole, and we are recorded in the books of heaven as guilty of robbery. God gives man nine-tenths, but the one-tenth He claims for sacred purposes,—as He has given man six days for his own work, and has reserved the seventh day to Himself.

The tithing system was founded upon a principle which is as enduring as the law of God. It will be a blessing to those who will carry it out to the end of time. Our heavenly Father did not originate the system to enrich Himself, but to be a great blessing to man.

The simplicity of the plan shows the wisdom of God in its arrangement. Everything bearing the divine stamp unites simplicity with utility. Those who return to the Lord the tenth, will find it true that the nine-tenths are worth more to them than the ten-tenths. . . .

If all the tithes were brought into the storehouse, God’s treasury would not be empty. [Malachi 3:10 quoted.] When man does his part, God never fails to fulfil His promises.


God asks not only the tithe, but says we are to come to Him with tithes and offerings. Some will say that this was one of the rigorous laws binding upon the Hebrews: But it was not a burden to the willing heart that loved God. It is only when the selfish nature is made stronger by withholding that which God has given us that we might bless others, that we value earthly treasures above souls, above the blessings that are for the unselfish.

There are even more urgent necessities upon the Israel of God in these last days than were upon ancient Israel, for there is a great and important work to be accomplished in a very short time. God designed that the spirit of sacrifice should broaden and deepen for the closing work.

As followers of Christ we do not realize our true position. We do not have correct views of our responsibilities. We are stewards of our Lord, and the interests and prosperity of His cause should receive our first and best attention. In the balances of the sanctuary our gifts are not estimated according to the amount given, but according to the self-denial, prompted by love for Christ, that the gift has cost. . . .

Ensured Blessing

An all-wise God knew what was best when He gave to His people the plan of systematic offerings. They found that when they tried to increase their possessions, by withholding from God their tithes and offerings, the effort was sure to be a failure.

When we humbly use what God has given us for the honor of the Giver, we may feel at all times the peace and assurance that God’s hand is over us for good; for the treasure which is used to advance the cause of God, and which is given to the needy in Christ’s name, is given to Christ, and He lays it up for us in heaven. Then we grow rich. There is no danger of loss nor poverty when one has everlasting riches in heaven’s bank. Covetousness is idolatry; and it was to aid us in keeping the commandments that God originated the plan for tithes and offerings.

Free-will offerings of self-denial, made in faith and love to the Redeemer, will bring back blessings. Every act of liberality on the part of His saints is recorded in the books of heaven. We are to become like God. He gave all to save us.


In God’s system of offerings He would impress upon the minds of His people that the Lord is the great Proprietor. He must have the first place in their minds. He would have them know their dependence on Him. . . . Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love, could realize that their silver and gold, their time and strength, are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to gratify self.

God knows, and all who have had the experience know, that there is an elevated and permanent happiness in giving willingly and freely to bless others, which those who spend all on self-gratification, or hoard for greed of gain, can never experience. It is to bless us, to make us happy and rich, that God asks us to adopt His plan of giving. The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. Selfishness is the spirit of Satan. . . .

God in His wise plan has made the advancement of His cause dependent upon the personal efforts and free-will offerings of the people. By giving man the opportunity of becoming a copartner in the great plan of redemption, the Lord has placed a signal honor upon him, greater than has been conferred upon the angels. They would gladly do the work that God, in His love, has made it possible for man to do.

Gospel Mission

Some say: “We are tired of giving. It is the old cry, ‘Give, give.’ ” If we are tired of giving, we should be tired of receiving; for this is why God gives to us, that we may be channels through which His gifts may reach others, and we have the reward. As soon as we wish in our hearts that there would be no more calls to give, we virtually desire that the cause of God shall make no further progress, and that the gospel of the kingdom shall not be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, that the end may come.

As we near the end, the gospel will go with greater and yet greater rapidity. And opportunities will be given us to give more and more of the means of which the Lord had made us His stewards. In this God would have us act as His colaborers. What a blessing, to be a worker and an heir with the world’s Redeemer! If we suffer with Him, the promise is, we shall also reign with Him. As we hear the calls and demands being more and more urgently made for means to enter the many doors that are opening, we may know that the Lord’s coming is nearing. Who would delay it by withholding for selfish gratification the means God has placed in our hands for this very work?

Pacific Union Recorder, October 10, 1901; October 24, 1901.

Children’s Story – Small Corners

Georgia Willis, who helped in the kitchen, was rubbing [sharpening] the knives. Somebody had been careless and let one get rusty, but Georgia rubbed with all her might, rubbed, and sang softly a little song:

“In this world is darkness,
“So we must shine,
“You in your small corner,
“And I in mine.”

“Why do you rub at the knives forever?” asked Mary. Mary was the cook.

“Because they are in my corner,” Georgia said, brightly. “ ‘You in your small corner,’ you know, ‘and I in mine.’ I will do the best I can; that is all I can do.”

“I would not waste my strength,” muttered Mary. “I know that no one will notice.”

“Jesus will,” said Georgia; and then she sang again, “You in your small corner, And I in mine.”

“Cooking the dinner is in my ‘corner,’ I suppose,” said Mary to herself. “If that child must do what she can, I suppose I must. If Jesus knows about knives, it is likely that He knows about dinners.” And she took particular pains.

“Mary, the dinner was very nicely cooked today,” Miss Emma said.

“That is all due to Georgia,” said Mary, with a pleased face. Then she told about the knives.

Miss Emma was ironing ruffles; she was tired and warm. “Helen will not care whether they are fluted or not,” she thought. “I will hurry them over.” But then she remembered about the knives, and she did her best.

“How beautifully my dress is done!” Helen exclaimed. Emma, laughing, answered, “That is owing to Georgia.” Then she told about the knives.

“I believe I will not go for a walk,” mused Helen, hesitatingly. “I will finish that dress of mother’s; I suppose I can if I think so.”

“Why, child, are you here sewing?” her surprised mother queried. “I thought you had gone for a walk.”

“No, mother; this dress seemed to be in my ‘corner,’ so I thought I would finish it.”

“In your ‘corner’?” her mother repeated in surprise, and then Helen told about the knives. The doorbell rang, and her mother went thoughtfully to answer it and found her pastor there. “I suppose I could give more,” she said to herself, as she slowly took out the $10 that she had laid aside for missions. “If that poor child in the kitchen is trying to do what she can, I wonder if I am. I will make it $25.”

And I seemed to hear Georgia’s guardian angel say to another angel, “Georgia Willis gave $25 to missions today.”

“$25!” exclaimed the other angel. “Why, I thought she was poor.”

“O, well, she thinks she is, but her Father in heaven is not, you know! She did what she could, and He did the rest.”

But Georgia knew nothing about all this, and the next morning she brightened her knives and sang cheerily:

“In this world is darkness,
“So, we must shine,
“You in your small corner,
“And I in mine.”

The Ten Commandments, Part XIV – ’Til Death Do us Part’

In this series, we have been studying the Ten Commandments as recorded in Deuteronomy 5, and we have discovered that there are some changes and some additions in comparison to Exodus 20. Deuteronomy 5 is a pastoral rendering of the law by Moses in one of his Sabbath sermons to the children of Israel, just before they crossed over the Jordan River.

In this article, we will be studying the seventh commandment as found in Deuteronomy 5:18. In this text, it contains one extra word from that which is recorded in Exodus 20:14. “Neither shalt thou commit adultery.” The additional word is neither, which connects this text to the commandment that is given in verse 17: “Thou shalt not kill.”

The first three commandments given in the second table are very specific in their order. They center around the home and on the lives of those who make up the home. The fifth commandment, you may recall, tells us how we are to relate to that place, to those people, where life begins and where relationships have their origin—the home. The sixth commandment unfolds the sacredness of human life.

Just as the sixth commandment points to the value of human life, the seventh commandment points to the place of sexuality in human life. Writing on this commandment, one biblical scholar stated that sexuality is enormously wondrous and enormously dangerous. The danger of sexuality is that it is capable of evoking desires that are destructive of persons and of communal relations.

When the ancient Israelites interpreted the commandment about adultery, they understood it in a very limited sense: it was a prohibition against sexual relations with the wife of another man. The violation of another man’s wife was viewed so seriously that it was a capital offense. Leviticus 20:10 reads, “And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

A Sacred Gift

Human life centers in more than just one person; it centers in two people—the male and the female. Each is uniquely different, but when they are brought together, the Bible tells us, they become “one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. They form a beautifully composed unit of oneness. Human sexuality is a gift from God that is sacred and that is meant to be reserved for nurturing the lives of a man and a woman together into the bonds of an everlasting unity. The seventh commandment deals with the guarding of that relationship of oneness from any outside source of interference, so that the happiness and the perpetuity of the home and the family can be maintained on the earth.

God made provision for everything that would affect the human family so as to promote the greatest safety and harmony. The most intimate, the most binding, the most sacred of all human relationships is marriage, and it is upon this relationship that the very existence and the perpetuity of the human race depend. Marriage is a divine ordinance, older than any other human institution. Marriage is older than man’s fall and sin. Marriage is as old as Eden and the creation of man and woman.

After God had finished the creation of all animal life on the sixth day, He saw that “it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. When God said that “it was very good,” this included everything about the human creation. It included the very fact that God has placed in His Law a commandment that deals with sexuality. Sexuality is very good, as far as God’s pronouncement is concerned. What has happened, however, is that sexuality, as a result of sin, has become something nasty and bad in the minds of many people, and it is taught and perpetuated that way.


In Genesis 1:28, God commands the first man and woman whom He created to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.” The process of obeying this command is a sexual process—man and woman, sperm and egg, coming together in union form a new creature, ordained by God, blessed by God through the sanctity of marriage. No problem was considered that would affect this process, until sin came on the scene. When sin entered the Garden of Eden, almost immediately a shame came upon Adam and Eve, the Bible says, because “they were naked.” Genesis 3:7. Selfishness set in, and the divine plan that God had ordained turned into human purpose and was driven by human emotions. Adultery is the supreme example of selfishness—I need this for me; my wife or my husband does not meet my needs.

Great changes began to take place in that which God had pronounced as “very good.” One of the human family became subjugated by the other. Man held the rule, and woman became subjugated by man. God’s plan was distorted. The earth became wicked and violent, and, as a result of that violence, God destroyed everything upon the earth except that which was contained in the ark.

God designed the commandment that forbids adultery for the human family to protect husband and wife and to safeguard the rearing of children who had respect for God and for the human race. The seventh commandment is in God’s Law for this purpose.

A Sensitive Subject

Sex is a very sensitive subject because we have been subjected to unbalanced and false information. Very early on, in the Christian church, tampering began to take place, as far as sexuality was concerned, in the human mind. The church began to tamper with other commandments, and we know the result of that as far as the Sabbath/Sunday issue is concerned. We, as Seventh-day Adventists, have focused on that aspect of the tampering of the commandments. But, in reality, even though the wording of the seventh commandment was not tampered with, the understanding and the application of sexuality in the human family was.

By the fifth century, a monk in the Catholic Church by the name of Augustine began to set the tone for Christian thinking that would continue for centuries. Orders of monks came into being as well as convents for nuns and a distorted view of what God had pronounced “very good.” They began to teach and believe that chastity was the most favored position that the human race could hold. Such beliefs were taught in the schools of the church. The leaders began to destroy any and all documents and arts that had any reference to sexual matters. This is why, to a large extent in the European areas where Catholic influence has been felt, we have very little understanding of sexuality in earlier centuries. We have to go into areas where the Catholic influence was not felt to really understand the teachings that were going on at that time.

Out of this period came the Victorian era. The Victorian era is responsible for negatively impacting more people psychologically than perhaps any other era that has come to pass in this earth’s history. Today, we are still feeling the results of the Victorian era concerning sexuality. Generally, the first references children hear regarding their sexual organs are terms such as icky pooh and nasty. That comes from the Victorian mentality, and such thoughts have messed up innumerable people.

So, sex is indeed a very sensitive subject, because we have never fully understood what the Bible has to say about sex. We have never been able to come completely out of the Victorian era, which contended that sex is wrong, that it should not be preached about or discussed.

In Your Heart

Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:27, 28.

Jesus expands on these verses from the Sermon on the Mount telling what this commandment is prohibiting. It is not just the overt behavior of adultery that is being prohibited, but also the very disposition within us that underlies such behavior—the lust within us that gives rise to the kind of leers that veritably “undress” another person in order to feed the fires of our fantasized desires.

If you admire something long enough, you will soon want it. And if you want something long enough and bad enough, you will probably find a way to get it. We need to be careful, because sin starts in the mind. So the sin begins in looking and in thinking about that which is forbidden. The mind is the incubator of almost every deed that is done.

Ellen White counsels: “Our meditations should be such as will elevate the mind. ‘Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’ [Philippians 4:8.] Here is a wide field in which the mind can safely range. If Satan seeks to turn it to low and sensual things, bring it back. When corrupt imaginings seek to gain possession of your mind, flee to the throne of grace, and pray for strength from heaven. By the grace of Christ it is possible for us to reject impure thoughts. Jesus will attract the mind, purify the thoughts, and cleanse the heart from every secret sin. ‘The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God; . . . casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ [11 Corinthians 10:4, 5.]” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 136.

Adultery Lifestyles

Adultery is more than living a Clinton lifestyle. There is long distance adultery; the Internet opens up the possibilities for cyber adultery. This is a sin. Imagine spending hours tantalizing and playing with another human. And how do you even know if you are talking to a male or a female? If a married person allows his or her mind to fantasize about another person, they are playing with a fire that might just burn up their marriage. Your marriage gets torched when you are in the chat room dabbling with another person. Do not play with fire unless you want to spend some time in the burn unit. You know, I am sure, when the burn unit will occur. The New Testament is just as clear as the Old Testament when it says that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:21.) Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers will be in the kingdom of heaven. The Bible is very plain on this.

Another kind of adultery is pornographic adultery. You get burned when you allow your mind to feast on pornographic images, which come onto your computer screen or into your mailbox. You need to avoid these temptations. Job had it figured out, when he said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Job 31:1. That is a good covenant to make.

We need to eliminate anything that stirs us up with this type of temptation. Maybe we need to clean out the magazines in our houses. Maybe we need to get rid of some of the videos in our houses. Maybe we need to call the cable company and cancel certain channels, or, better yet, get rid of the television! We need to get our Bibles and read them.

Heed the counsel given in 1 Corinthians 7:2, 3: “Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.”

And then there’s another type of adultery. We would call it premarital adultery, or fornication or cohabitation. Did you know that individuals who cohabit and then marry are 33 percent more likely to divorce than if they had not?

Purity is also expected if you are unmarried. Fornication includes those who live together before marriage. A girl who is shacked up with her boyfriend is very likely to suffer physical abuse. A child who lives in such a home with his or her mother’s boyfriend is 73 times more vulnerable to experience fatal abuse than a normal child. (See Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage, Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C., 1996, 31.)


Adultery does have consequences that are not usually shown in the fictitious world of movies, television soaps, or make-believe stories and books. Those things teach us that adultery is all love and fun, and everything is fine. But, I will tell you that eternal life is certainly jeopardized. Health is endangered. Happiness is squandered. Your reputation is cheapened. Your marriage is often irreparably destroyed. Your children suffer the consequences for generations to come. Your family name will be dragged into the dirt. Can you really afford adultery?

Breaking the seventh commandment produces broken homes and poverty. Almost 75 percent of American children living in fatherless households will experience poverty before the age of 11, compared to only 20 percent of those raised by two parents. Such children tend to drop out of school and develop emotional or behavioral problems, commit suicide and fall victim to child abuse or neglect. Males from such households are more likely to become violent criminals. In fact, men who have grown up without dads currently represent 70 percent of the prison population serving long-term sentences. (See Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1999, 113.)

Consider as well the other commandments that are broken when adultery occurs. Adultery is stealing; it steals the love from another; it steals someone’s spouse away. Adultery destroys trust, and jeopardizes the family. Adultery is a living lie. It is done without the knowledge of the spouse. Adultery is coveting someone who does not belong to you.

A Symbol

In faithful, lifelong committed relationships—those in which the partners say, and really mean, “ ’til death do us part”—we have the opportunity to mirror something that is divine. We have the opportunity to mirror in our own relationships that same quality of faithfulness with which, throughout our lives, God relates to us.

By being faithful to your spouse, you are enhancing your ability to be faithful to God. The purpose of the seventh commandment is to build an atmosphere where two people can experience the highest joy and deepest intimacy as they both grow more and more into the fullness of the image of Jesus Christ. God’s commitment and fidelity to us is eternal. He created us, too, for fidelity. God wants to protect that bond, but Satan works overtime to destroy the Christian home, because it represents that connection.

This seventh commandment is about chastity, faithfulness, and the overcoming of lust. Yet the truth of the matter is that these qualities in our relationships are too difficult for us to accomplish all on our own. You see, the rest of society is just too heavily invested in tempting us away from these. So to come anywhere near succeeding at them, we need to understand the value and worth of chastity, faithfulness, and the overcoming of lust, and ask God to help us obtain and maintain His virtue in our lives each day.

“Let every one who desires to be a partaker of the divine nature, appreciate the fact that he must escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There must be a constant, earnest struggling of the soul against the evil imaginings of the mind. There must be a steadfast resistance of temptation to sin in thought or act.” Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.

The apostle Paul writes, in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality.”

To be continued . . .

A retired minister of the gospel, Pastor Mike Baugher may be contacted by e-mail at: