Bible Study Guides – Revival and Reformation

September 20, 2009 – September 26, 2009

Key Text

“So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” Ezekiel 37:10.

Study Help: Messages to Young People, 71–74; The Review and Herald, January 17, 1893.


“What could the might and power of man accomplish with these dead bones? The prophet could see no hope of life being imparted to them. But as he looked, the power of God began to work.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1165.

1 What plan did God have for His people at the end of the Babylonian captivity? Ezekiel 36:24, 25. What parallel does this plan imply?

Note: “The work of restoration and reform carried on by the returned exiles, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, presents a picture of a work of spiritual restoration that is to be wrought in the closing days of this earth’s history.” Prophets and Kings, 677.

2 What did God mean when He promised to give His remnant people a new heart? Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:5–7.

Note. “When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?—A changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride.” Messages to Young People, 72.

3 How is God’s promise of a new heart to affect our lives in a practical way? II Corinthians 5:17.

Note: “When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.” The Desire of Ages, 173.

4 What great miracle is performed in the human life? Ezekiel 36:27; Romans 8:1–4.

Note: “Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God’s heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.’ Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle.” The Desire of Ages, 407.

5 How should God’s mercy inspire us to bring forth fruits of true repentance? Ezekiel 36:29–31.

Note: “It is to those whom the Lord has forgiven, to those whom He acknowledges as His people, that He says, ‘Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight.’ Ezekiel 36:31. … Then our lips will not be opened in self-glorification. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 160, 161.

6 What does the Bible teach about sanctification? John 17:17; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

Note: “The Scriptures teach us to seek for the sanctification to God of body, soul, and spirit. In this work we are to be laborers together with God. Much may be done to restore the moral image of God in man, to improve the physical, mental, and moral capabilities. Great changes can be made in the physical system by obeying the laws of God and bringing into the body nothing that defiles. And while we cannot claim perfection of the flesh, we may have Christian perfection of the soul. Through the sacrifice made in our behalf, sins may be perfectly forgiven.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 32.

7 What was Ezekiel shown in vision to symbolize the spiritual condition of the people of Israel? Ezekiel 37:1–3. What is the present-day application of that vision?

Note: “The souls of those whom we desire to save are like the representation which Ezekiel saw in vision,—a valley of dry bones. They are dead in trespasses and sins, but God would have us deal with them as though they were living. Were the question put to us, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ our answer would be only the confession of ignorance, ‘O Lord, Thou knowest.’ [Ezekiel 37:3.] To all appearance there is nothing to lead us to hope for their restoration. Yet nevertheless the word of the prophecy must be spoken even to those who are like the dry bones in the valley. We are in no wise to be deterred from fulfilling our commission by the listlessness, the dullness, the lack of spiritual perception, in those upon whom the Word of God is brought to bear. We are to preach the word of life to those whom we may judge to be as hopeless subjects as though they were in their graves.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1165.

8 What miracle did Ezekiel witness? Ezekiel 37:5–10. How is this miracle accomplished today?

Note: “It is not the human agent that is to inspire with life. The Lord God of Israel will do that part, quickening the lifeless spiritual nature into activity. The breath of the Lord of hosts must enter into the lifeless bodies. In the judgment, when all secrets are laid bare, it will be known that the voice of God spoke through the human agent, and aroused the torpid conscience, and stirred the lifeless faculties, and moved sinners to repentance and contrition, and forsaking of sins. It will then be clearly seen that through the human agent faith in Jesus Christ was imparted to the soul, and spiritual life from heaven was breathed upon one who was dead in trespasses and sins, and he was quickened with spiritual life.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1165.

9 What does the vision of Ezekiel represent? Ezekiel 37:11, 12.

Note: “Not only does this simile of the dry bones apply to the world, but also to those who have been blessed with great light; for they also are like the skeletons of the valley. They have the form of men, the framework of the body; but they have not spiritual life. But the parable does not leave the dry bones merely knit together into the forms of men; for it is not enough that there is symmetry of limb and feature. The breath of life must vivify the bodies, that they may stand upright, and spring into activity. These bones represent the house of Israel, the church of God, and the hope of the church is the vivifying influence of the Holy Spirit. The Lord must breathe upon the dry bones, that they may live.

“The Spirit of God, with its vivifying power, must be in every human agent, that every spiritual muscle and sinew may be in exercise. Without the Holy Spirit, without the breath of God, there is torpidity of conscience, loss of spiritual life. Many who are without spiritual life have their names on the church records, but they are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. They may be joined to the church, but they are not united to the Lord. They may be diligent in the performance of a certain set of duties, and may be regarded as living men; but many are among those who have ‘a name that thou livest, and art dead.’ [Revelation 3:1.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1165, 1166.

10 What does the Lord offer us in answer to our great need? Ezekiel 37:14.

Note: “Unless there is genuine conversion of the soul to God; unless the vital breath of God quickens the soul to spiritual life; unless the professors of truth are actuated by heaven-born principle, they are not born of the incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth forever. Unless they trust in the righteousness of Christ as their only security; unless they copy His character, labor in His spirit, they are naked, they have not on the robe of His righteousness. The dead are often made to pass for the living; for those who are working out what they term salvation after their own ideas, have not God working in them to will and to do of His good pleasure.

“This class is well represented by the valley of dry bones Ezekiel saw in vision.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1166.

Additional Reading

“The conversion of the human soul is of no little consequence. It is the greatest miracle performed by divine power. Actual results are to be reached through a belief in Christ as a personal Saviour. Purified by obedience to the law of God, sanctified by a perfect observance of His holy Sabbath, trusting, believing, patiently waiting, and earnestly working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, we shall learn that it is God that worketh in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Evangelism, 289.

“Man must not only read the Word of God, supposing that a casual knowledge of this Word will bring about in him a reformation of character. This work only the One who is the way, the truth, and the life can accomplish. Firmly may certain doctrines of truth be held. Again and again they may be reiterated, till the holders come to think that they are indeed in possession of the great blessings which these doctrines represent. But the greatest, most powerful truths may be held, and yet kept in the outer court, exerting little influence to make the daily life wholesome and fragrant. The soul is not sanctified through the truth that is not practiced.

“All, high or low, if they are unconverted, are on one common platform. Men may turn from one doctrine to another. This is being done, and will be done. Papists may change from Catholicism to Protestantism; yet they may know nothing of the meaning of the words, ‘A new heart also will I give you.’ [Ezekiel 36:26.] Accepting new theories, and uniting with a church, do not bring new life to anyone, even though the church with which he unites may be established on the true foundation. Connection with a church does not take the place of conversion. To subscribe the name to a church creed is not of the least value to anyone if the heart is not truly changed.” Evangelism, 290, 291.

“We must have more than an intellectual belief in the truth. Many of the Jews were convinced that Jesus was the Son of God, but they were too proud and ambitious to surrender. They decided to resist the truth, and they maintained their opposition. They did not receive into the heart the truth as it is in Jesus. When truth is held as truth only by the conscience, when the heart is not stimulated and made receptive, only the mind is affected. But when the truth is received as truth by the heart, it has passed through the conscience, and has captivated the soul with its pure principles. It is placed in the heart by the Holy Spirit, who reveals its beauty to the mind, that its transforming power may be seen in the character.” The Review and Herald, February 14, 1899.

“The conversion of souls to God is the greatest work, the highest work, in which human beings can have a part.” Evangelism, 292.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Shepherds and the Flock

September 13, 2009 – September 19, 2009

Key Text

“I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 7, 254–266; Ibid., vol. 9, 19–29.


“Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 54.

1 What admonition given to church leaders in Ezekiel’s time has a special application for us today? Ezekiel 34:1–3.

Note: “Upon the ministers of God rests a solemn, serious charge. They will be called to a strict account for the manner in which they have discharged their responsibility. If they do not tell the people of the binding claims of God’s law, if they do not preach the Word with clearness, but confuse the minds of the people by their own interpretations, they are shepherds who feed themselves, but neglect to feed the flock. They make of none effect the law of Jehovah, and souls perish because of their unfaithfulness. The blood of these souls will be upon their heads. God will call them to account for their unfaithfulness. But this will in no wise excuse those who listened to the sophistry of men, discarding the Word of God. God’s law is a transcript of His character. And His word is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1164.

2 What attitude, especially when manifested by ministers and workers, is displeasing to God? Ezekiel 34:4-6.

Note: “We are not to condemn others; this is not our work; but we should love one another and pray for one another. When we see one err from the truth, then we may weep over him as Christ wept over Jerusalem. Let us see what our heavenly Father in His word says about the erring: ‘If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.’ [Galatians 6:1.] ‘If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.’ [James 5:19–20.] What a great missionary work is this! how much more Christlike than for poor, fallible mortals to be ever accusing and condemning those who do not exactly meet their minds. Let us remember that Jesus knows us individually and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows the wants of each of His creatures and reads the hidden, unspoken grief of every heart. If one of the little ones for whom He died is injured, He sees it and calls the offender to account. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He cares for His feeble, sickly, wandering sheep. He knows them all by name. The distress of every sheep and every lamb of His flock touches His heart of sympathizing love, and the cry for aid reaches His ear.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 345, 346.

3 What contrast is drawn between the true and false shepherd? John 10:1, 2, 7–15. What will God demand of everyone who professes His name? Jeremiah 13:20.

Note: “To save His sheep, Christ laid down His own life; and He points His shepherds to the love thus manifested, as their example. But ‘he that is an hireling, … whose own the sheep are not,’ [John 10:12] has no real interest in the flock. He is laboring merely for gain, and he cares only for himself. He studies his own profit instead of the interest of his charge; and in time of peril or danger he will flee, and leave the flock. …

“The shepherd who is imbued with the spirit of Christ will imitate His self-denying example, constantly laboring for the welfare of his charge; and the flock will prosper under his care.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 191, 192.

4 What example for shepherding did Christ leave for our imitation? Matthew 18:12–14; I Peter 5:2–4.

Note: “The shepherd who discovers that one of his sheep is missing does not look carelessly upon the flock that is safely housed, and say, ‘I have ninety and nine, and it will cost me too much trouble to go in search of the straying one. Let him come back, and I will open the door of the sheepfold, and let him in.’ No; no sooner does the sheep go astray than the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. He counts and recounts the flock. When he is sure that one sheep is lost, he slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine within the fold, and goes in search of the straying sheep. The darker and more tempestuous the night and the more perilous the way, the greater is the shepherd’s anxiety and the more earnest his search. He makes every effort to find that one lost sheep.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 187, 188.

5 What is written about the relationship between Christ and His flock? Ezekiel 34:23–25.

Note: “Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. ‘I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.’ Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live.” The Desire of the Ages, 483.

6 How does Christ express His great care for us? Ezekiel 34:30, 31; John 10:27, 28.

Note: “As an earthly shepherd knows his sheep, so does the divine Shepherd know His flock that are scattered throughout the world. …

“Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep.” The Desire of Ages, 479.

7 What does Christ declare in defense of the souls of His scattered, neglected flock? Ezekiel 34:7–15.

Note: “These souls whom you despise, said Jesus, are the property of God. By creation and by redemption they are His, and they are of value in His sight. As the shepherd loves his sheep, and cannot rest if even one be missing, so, in an infinitely higher degree, does God love every outcast soul. Men may deny the claim of His love, they may wander from Him, they may choose another master; yet they are God’s, and He longs to recover His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 187.

8 What assurance is given us concerning many who have strayed from the fold? Ezekiel 34:16.

Note: “The sheep that has strayed from the fold is the most helpless of all creatures. It must be sought for by the shepherd, for it cannot find its way back.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 187.

“When the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd’s voice. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 401.

9 What wonderful event is to take place before the close of probation? Acts 3:19; Joel 2:28.

Note: “The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel, are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. …

“Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.

“The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them.” The Great Controversy, 611, 612.

10 How does the Bible describe the final phase of God’s work on earth? Ezekiel 34:26; Acts 2:17, 18.

Note: “The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. …

“But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain.” The Acts of the Apostles, 54, 55.

Additional Reading

“A shepherd’s life was one of constant care. He was not qualified for a shepherd unless he was merciful, and possessed courage and perseverance. …

“The relation of Christ to his people is compared to a shepherd. He saw, after the fall, his sheep in a pitiable condition, exposed to sure destruction. He left the honors and glory of his Father’s house to become a shepherd, to save the miserable, wandering sheep who were ready to perish. His winning voice was heard calling them to his fold, a safe and sure retreat from the hand of robbers; also a shelter from the scorching heat, and a protection from the chilling blasts. His care was continually exercised for the good of his sheep. He strengthened the weak, nourished the suffering, and gathered the lambs of the flock in his arms, and carried them in his bosom. His sheep love him. He goeth before his sheep, and they hear his voice, and follow him.

“ ‘And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.’ [John 10:5.] Christ says, ‘I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ [John 10:11–14.]

“Christ is the chief Shepherd. He has intrusted the care of his flock to under shepherds. He requires these shepherds to have the same interest for his sheep which he has ever manifested, and to ever feel the responsibility of the charge he has intrusted to them. Ministers, who are called of God to labor in word and doctrine, are Christ’s shepherds. He has appointed them under himself to oversee and tend his flock. He has solemnly commanded these to be faithful shepherds, to feed the flock with diligence, to follow his example, to strengthen the weak, nourish the fainting, and to shield them from devouring beasts. He points them to his example of love for his sheep. To secure their deliverance, he laid down his life for them. If they imitate his self-denying example, the flock will prosper under their care. They will manifest a deeper interest than Jacob, who was a faithful shepherd over the sheep and cattle of Laban. They will be constantly laboring for the welfare of the flock. They will not be merely hirelings, of whom Jesus speaks, who possess no particular interest in the sheep, who in time of danger, or trial, flee and leave the sheep. A shepherd who labors merely for the wages he obtains, cares only for himself, and is continually studying his own interest, and ease, instead of the welfare of his flock.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 122–124.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Appeals for Salvation

September 6, 2009 – September 12, 2009

Key Text

“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 7, 254–266; Ibid., vol. 9, 19–29.


“It is in mercy and love that He [God] lifts the veil from the future, and reveals to men the results of a course of sin.” The Desire of Ages, 582.

1 What did God prophesy about Egypt—a superpower in ancient times? Ezekiel 29:3, 9, 10, 14, 15.

Note: “With unerring accuracy the Infinite One still keeps account with the nations. While His mercy is tendered, with calls to repentance, this account remains open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath begins. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. Mercy no longer pleads in their behalf.” Prophets and Kings, 364.

2 How does the Bible depict the rise of Assyria? Ezekiel 31:3–9. How did its rulers grieve the Most High?

Note. “The rulers of Assyria, instead of using their unusual blessings for the benefit of mankind, became the scourge of many lands. Merciless, with no thought of God or their fellow men, they pursued the fixed policy of causing all nations to acknowledge the supremacy of the gods of Nineveh, whom they exalted above the Most High. God had sent Jonah to them with a message of warning, and for a season they humbled themselves before the Lord of hosts and sought forgiveness. But soon they turned again to idol worship and to the conquest of the world.” Prophets and Kings, 363.

3 How did the Lord warn Egypt through the fall of Assyria? Ezekiel 31:2, 10–18.

Note: “The pride of Assyria and its fall are to serve as an object lesson to the end of time. Of the nations of earth today who in arrogance and pride array themselves against Him, God inquires, ‘To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth.’ [Ezekiel 31] Verse 18.

“‘The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end’ of all who endeavor to exalt themselves above the Most High. Nahum 1:7, 8.” Prophets and Kings, 366.

4 What should we learn from Zechariah’s brief summary of the punishment that came upon Assyria and Egypt? Zechariah 10:11.

Note: “This is true not only of the nations that arrayed themselves against God in ancient times, but also of nations today who fail of fulfilling the divine purpose. In the day of final awards, when the righteous Judge of all the earth shall ‘sift the nations’ (Isaiah 30:28), and those that have kept the truth shall be permitted to enter the City of God, heaven’s arches will ring with the triumphant songs of the redeemed.” Prophets and Kings, 366.

5 What is our responsibility as believers entrusted with the proclamation of the three angels’ messages? Ezekiel 33:1–6.

Note: “The responsibility of the watchmen of today is as much greater than in the days of the prophet as our light is clearer and our privileges and opportunities greater than theirs. It is the minister’s duty to warn every man, to teach every man, in all meekness and wisdom. He is not to conform to the practices of the world, but, as God’s servant, he must contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. …

“The end of all things is at hand. My brethren, ministers and laymen, I have been shown you must work in a different manner from what you have been in the habit of working. Pride, envy, self-importance, and unsanctified independence have marred your labors. When men permit themselves to be flattered and exalted by Satan, the Lord can do little for them or through them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 16.

6 How are we accountable for our words and influence? Ezekiel 33:7.

Note: “The Lord is soon coming. The watchmen on the walls of Zion are called upon to awake to their God-given responsibilities. God calls for watchmen who, in the power of the Spirit, will give to the world the last warning message; who will proclaim the time of night. He calls for watchmen who will arouse men and women from their lethargy, lest they sleep the sleep of death.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 304.

“The day of woe, of wasting and destruction, is upon all who do unrighteousness. With special severity will the Lord’s hand fall upon the watchmen who have failed to place before the people in clear lines their obligation to Him who by creation and by redemption is their owner.” Ibid., vol. 8, 195.

7 How was Ezekiel’s commission similar to ours? Ezekiel 33:8, 9.

Note: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. …

“The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculation, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in their God-given work. …

“So far as his opportunities extend, everyone who has received the light of truth is under the same responsibility as was the prophet of Israel to whom came the word: [Ezekiel 33:7–9 quoted.]” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19, 20.

8 What should we realize about the character of God in relation to sin and to ourselves as sinners? Ezekiel 33:10, 11.

Note: “It is Satan’s special device to lead man into sin and then leave him there, helpless and hopeless, fearing to seek for pardon. But God invites, ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.’ Isaiah 27:5. In Christ every provision has been made, every encouragement offered.” Prophets and Kings, 326.

“God does not desire the destruction of any. … Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life. It is only those who reject His pleading that will be left to perish. God has declared that sin must be destroyed as an evil ruinous to the universe. Those who cling to sin will perish in its destruction.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 123.

9 Name some principles of salvation given to Ezekiel that are vital to our understanding. Ezekiel 33:12–20.

Note: “The whole purpose in giving His Son for the sins of the world is that man may be saved, not in transgression and unrighteousness, but in forsaking sin, washing his robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. He proposes to remove from man the offensive thing that He hates, but man must cooperate with God in the work. Sin must be given up, hated, and the righteousness of Christ must be accepted by faith. Thus will the divine co-operate with the human.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 631, 632.

10 How were the messages given in Ezekiel’s day vindicated, and how is this situation similar to ours today? Ezekiel 33:23–33.

Note: “There are persons who believe that they are right, when they are wrong. While claiming Christ as their Lord, and professedly doing great works in His name, they are workers of iniquity. …

“A mere profession of discipleship is of no value. The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. ‘Believe, believe,’ they say, ‘and you need not keep the law.’ But a belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption. The apostle John says, ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ I John 2:4. Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate. When persons will speak lightly of the word of God, and set their impressions, feelings, and exercises above the divine standard, we may know that they have no light in them.

“Obedience is the test of discipleship. It is the keeping of the commandments that proves the sincerity of our professions of love. When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, we may know that it is the truth of God. When benevolence, kindness, tenderheartedness, sympathy, are manifest in our lives; when the joy of right doing is in our hearts; when we exalt Christ, and not self, we may know that our faith is of the right order.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 146, 147.

Additional Reading

“Christ saw in Jerusalem a symbol of the world hardened in unbelief and rebellion, and hastening on to meet the retributive judgments of God. The woes of a fallen race, pressing upon His soul, forced from His lips that exceeding bitter cry. He saw the record of sin traced in human misery, tears, and blood; His heart was moved with infinite pity for the afflicted and suffering ones of earth; He yearned to relieve them all. But even His hand might not turn back the tide of human woe; few would seek their only Source of help. He was willing to pour out His soul unto death, to bring salvation within their reach; but few would come to Him that they might have life.

“The Majesty of heaven in tears! the Son of the infinite God troubled in spirit, bowed down with anguish! The scene filled all heaven with wonder. That scene reveals to us the exceeding sinfulness of sin; it shows how hard a task it is, even for Infinite Power, to save the guilty from the consequences of transgressing the law of God. Jesus, looking down to the last generation, saw the world involved in a deception similar to that which caused the destruction of Jerusalem. The great sin of the Jews was their rejection of Christ; the great sin of the Christian world would be their rejection of the law of God, the foundation of His government in heaven and earth. The precepts of Jehovah would be despised and set at nought. Millions in bondage to sin, slaves of Satan, doomed to suffer the second death, would refuse to listen to the words of truth in their day of visitation. Terrible blindness! strange infatuation!” The Great Controversy, 22, 23.

“How little do we enter into sympathy with Christ on that which should be the strongest bond of union between us and Him—compassion for depraved, guilty, suffering souls, dead in trespasses and sins! The inhumanity of man toward man is our greatest sin. Many think that they are representing the justice of God while they wholly fail of representing His tenderness and His great love. Often the ones whom they meet with sternness and severity are under the stress of temptation. Satan is wrestling with these souls, and harsh, unsympathetic words discourage them and cause them to fall a prey to the tempter’s power.

“It is a delicate matter to deal with minds. Only He who reads the heart knows how to bring men to repentance. Only His wisdom can give us success in reaching the lost. You may stand up stiffly, feeling, ‘I am holier than thou,’ and it matters not how correct your reasoning or how true your words; they will never touch hearts. The love of Christ, manifested in word and act, will win its way to the soul, when the reiteration of precept or argument would accomplish nothing.” The Ministry of Healing, 163, 164.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Pride and Destruction

August 30, 2009 – September 5, 2009

Key Text

“Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:15.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 35–41; The Great Controversy, 493–499.


“The first sinner was one whom God had greatly exalted. He is represented under the figure of the prince of Tyrus flourishing in might and magnificence.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 387.

1 How do the Scriptures depict the character and destiny of Lucifer? Ezekiel 28:6, 9. Why did Satan resent God’s law?

Note: “Under the symbol of the king of Tyrus, the Scriptures give us a description of the character and destiny of the first great rebel against the law of God. He who knows the end from the beginning, had his laws and commandments before the world was created, and Satan chose to question his claims before the angels of heaven, because the law set forth the Omnipotent as the only true and living God, and forbade the worship of any other being.” The Signs of the Times, September 24, 1894.

2 Why have the deceptions of Satan always been so alluring? Ezekiel 28:11–14. What counsel and warning is given us concerning Ezekiel 28?

Note: “I ask our people to study the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel. The representation here made, while it refers primarily to Lucifer, the fallen angel, has yet a broader significance. Not one being, but a general movement, is described, and one that we shall witness. A faithful study of this chapter should lead those who are seeking for truth to walk in all the light that God has given to His people, lest they be deceived by the deceptions of these last days.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.

3 How does Inspiration summarize the steps of Satan’s rebellion? Ezekiel 28:15.

Note: “Little by little Satan came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. … Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.

4 Why was Satan’s behavior displeasing to God? Ezekiel 28:16–18, first part. What attitude are we urged to cultivate?

Note: “In this place ‘traffick’ is the emblem of corrupt administration. It denotes the bringing of self-seeking into spiritual offices. Nothing in spiritual service is acceptable to God except the purposes and works that are for the good of the universe. To do good to others will redound to the glory of God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1163.

5 How did God deal with Satan? Revelation 12:7–9.

Note: “God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan’s government. The Lord’s principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God’s government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power.” The Desire of Ages, 759.

6 What is prophesied about Satan’s influence in the last days? II Thessalonians 2:7–9; I Peter 5:8.

Note: “[II Thessalonians 2:7, 8; Ezekiel 28:2, 6–10 quoted.] The time is fast approaching when this scripture will be fulfilled. The world and the professedly Protestant churches are in this our day taking sides with the man of sin. … The great issue that is coming will be on the seventh-day Sabbath.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1163.

“Satan has originated fables with which to deceive. He commenced in heaven to war against the foundation of God’s government, and since his fall he has carried on his rebellion against the law of God, and has brought the mass of professed Christians to trample under their feet the fourth commandment, which brings to view the living God. He has torn down the original Sabbath of the Decalogue, and substituted in its place one of the laboring days of the week.

“The great original lie which he told to Eve in Eden, ‘Ye shall not surely die,’[Genesis 3:4] was the first sermon ever preached on the immortality of the soul. That sermon was crowned with success, and terrible results followed. He has brought minds to receive that sermon as truth, and ministers preach it, sing it, and pray it.

“No literal devil, and probation after the coming of Christ, are fast becoming popular fables.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 342.

7 What did Satan declare? Isaiah 14:12–14. How can we overcome the tendency toward pride and ambition? James 4:6, 7, 10.

Note: “Christians should regard it as a religious duty to repress a spirit of envy or emulation. They should rejoice in the superior reputation or prosperity of their brethren, even when their own character or achievements seem to be cast in the shade. It was the pride and ambition cherished in the heart of Satan that banished him from heaven. These evils are deeply rooted in our fallen nature, and if not removed they will overshadow every good and noble quality and bring forth envy and strife as their baleful fruits.

“We should seek for true goodness rather than greatness. Those who possess the mind of Christ will have humble views of themselves. They will labor for the purity and prosperity of the church, and be ready to sacrifice their own interests and desires rather than to cause dissension among their brethren.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 242, 243.

8 What struggle is before us? Ephesians 6:11–13.

Note: “Satan’s aim had been to reproduce his own character in human beings. No sooner was man created than Satan resolved to efface in him the image of God, and to place his stamp where God’s should be. And he has succeeded in instilling into the heart of man the spirit of envy, of hatred, of ambition. In this world he has set up a kingdom of darkness, of which he, the leader in guilt, is prince. He desired to usurp the throne of God. Failing in this, he has worked in darkness, in crookedness, in deception, to usurp his place in the hearts of men. He has set up his throne between God and man, to appropriate the adoration that belongs to God alone.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1119.

9 What will be the end of Satan? Ezekiel 28:18, last part, 19; Revelation 20:10; Malachi 4:1–3.

Note: “Satan’s rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages, a perpetual testimony to the nature and terrible results of sin. The working out of Satan’s rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God’s government and His law is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy intelligences, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature of transgression, to save them from committing sin, and suffering its punishment.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.

10 In what sense will the universe be safe after the destruction of Satan? Nahum 1:9.

Note: “The whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought fear to angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law. Never will evil again be manifest. Says the word of God: ‘Affliction shall not rise up the second time.’ Nahum 1:9. The law of God, which Satan has reproached as the yoke of bondage, will be honored as the law of liberty. A tested and proved creation will never again be turned from allegiance to Him whose character has been fully manifested before them as fathomless love and infinite wisdom.” The Great Controversy, 504.

“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” Ibid., 678.

Additional Reading

“When men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great sacrifice which was made by the Majesty of heaven in dying in man’s stead, then will the plan of salvation be magnified, and reflections of Calvary will awaken tender, sacred, and lively emotions in the Christian’s heart. Praises to God and the Lamb will be in their hearts and upon their lips. Pride and self-esteem cannot flourish in the hearts that keep fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary. This world will appear of but little value to those who appreciate the great price of man’s redemption, the precious blood of God’s dear Son. All the riches of the world are not of sufficient value to redeem one perishing soul. Who can measure the love Christ felt for a lost world as He hung upon the cross, suffering for the sins of guilty men? This love was immeasurable, infinite.

“Christ has shown that His love was stronger than death. He was accomplishing man’s salvation; and although He had the most fearful conflict with the powers of darkness, yet, amid it all, His love grew stronger and stronger. He endured the hiding of His Father’s countenance, until He was led to exclaim in the bitterness of His soul: ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ [Matthew 27:46.] His arm brought salvation. The price was paid to purchase the redemption of man, when, in the last soul struggle, the blessed words were uttered which seemed to resound through creation: ‘It is finished.’ [John 19:30.]”

“Many who profess to be Christians become excited over worldly enterprises, and their interest is awakened for new and exciting amusements, while they are coldhearted, and appear as if frozen, in the cause of God. Here is a theme, poor formalist, which is of sufficient importance to excite you.

“Eternal interests are here involved. Upon this theme it is sin to be calm and unimpassioned. The scenes of Calvary call for the deepest emotion. Upon this subject you will be excusable if you manifest enthusiasm. That Christ, so excellent, so innocent, should suffer such a painful death, bearing the weight of the sins of the world, our thoughts and imaginations can never fully comprehend. The length, the breadth, the height, the depth, of such amazing love we cannot fathom. The contemplation of the matchless depths of a Saviour’s love should fill the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character. The language of the apostle is: ‘I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.’ [I Corinthians 2:2.] We also may look toward Calvary and exclaim: ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ [Galatians 6:14.]” Testimonies, vol. 2, 212, 213.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Garden Tacos

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked lentils

1 onion

1 bell pepper

1 cup celery

2 cups zucchini

3 cloves minced garlic

2 tsp chili-like seasoning

1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes


Finely chop vegetables and sauté with garlic until tender.

Add rice, lentils, and seasonings, simmering until flavors

Are absorbed. Partially fill taco shells and add your

Favorite toppings.

Food – Exercise

A machine properly maintained and used for what it was built will last. However, if the same machine is not well cared for and is used for other purposes than intended, the lifespan will be significantly reduced and littered with problems. It is no wonder then that the human body, created for activity and in need of proper nutrition, would be compromised in health if one or both were neglected. Proper nutrition has been addressed in this feature in the past, but what about exercise?

Exercise increases heart and respiratory rate which, in turn, increases blood flow and oxygen to the cells. Waste material is more efficiently removed leaving room for nutrients to flood the cells instead. Since the body is made entirely of cells, this improves health overall.

There are many specific benefits of exercise, one of which is the decrease in disease. Exercise increases the number of white blood cells (WBC’s) and their activity level in the body. The WBC’s are responsible for finding and destroying harmful agents in the body such as bacteria and viruses that we come in contact with on a daily basis. Elevated activity levels = elevated immunity.

Stimulating colon function has become quite a lucrative business, raking in billions in sales each year. There are three very simple, natural ways that colon issues can be prevented for the vast majority of those who suffer—increasing the intake of dietary fiber, drinking adequate amounts of water each day, and getting daily exercise. Exercise stimulates the digestive function and helps with regularity.

One health problem facing people all around the world is obesity. This is a risk factor in so many of the diseases that plague the human body. Enter exercise—it burns calories, boosts the metabolism, and decreases the appetite, all of which help maintain a healthy weight and thus decreases the risk of life-threatening disease.

These are only a few of a myriad of benefits brought to the body through consistent exercise. God made the human body very efficient and precise, but we are responsible for the well-being of the incredible machine entrusted to us to accomplish His work. “Many act as if health and disease were things entirely independent of their conduct, and entirely outside their control. They do not reason from cause to effect, and submit to feebleness and disease as a necessity. … If those who are sick would exercise their muscles daily, women as well as men, in outdoor work, using brain, bone, and muscle proportionately, weakness and languor would disappear. Health would take the place of disease, and strength the place of feebleness.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 230.

Children’s Story – Reap also Bountifully

Ignacy Paderewski!” The whisper came out more like a muffled scream drawing attention from several other students who made it obvious through their glares that they wanted to concentrate on the lecture. Toning his voice down a little, he looked again at his classmate, “That’s great! I can’t believe it!”

“Yah! And he’ll be here at the University!” his friend replied. “I want to organize a concert before he leaves town again. Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear a true master at the piano?”

The side-talk soon drew the attention of their professor and the excited banter was put on hold for the time being. But that did not necessarily mean that their minds were reverted back to their class. Who could possibly concentrate on a lecture about plate tectonics in geology class when you have a world famous Polish concert pianist and statesman coming to town!

Their professor let up eventually and the session dismissed. The two young men walked out of the lecture hall of Leland Stanford University excitedly chattering about their plans to organize a concert with Paderewski.

Unfortunately, however, their town did not share their enthusiasm. Their carefully laid plans turned out to be a disaster. So few people were in attendance that the two young men were not even able to pay the booking fee, that was arranged with Paderewski’s manager, let alone the rental for the concert hall and their own personal expenses for advertising and other allowances that they had taken. It goes without saying that these young men were beyond embarrassed when they approached Paderewski with the paltry amount that their excited endeavors had brought in, well short of the contract amount!

“Sir, we will make up the remaining balance through the summer’s work,” they said handing him a promissory note.

Smiling at the two young men Paderewski tore the note into tiny pieces. “Boys, take ten percent of the money each for your hard work, and give the remaining money to me. I will pay the cost of the concert hall. I will do this under one condition—that you think no more of it.”

Both relieved and still feeling more than sheepish, the two tripped all over themselves with gratitude. The man’s kindness was far from expected, which made it all the sweeter. They promised to make it up to him, which he disregarded with a wave of his hand.

The year is now 1919, 27 years after the disastrous concert. Paderewski has since been elected as the first Prime Minister of Poland. It was a devastating time to be in office. He had just seen his country through World War I and the country’s economy was devastated, and starvation was rampant. With most of the European countries also struggling to regain their balance after the war, there was only one man in the entire world who could be of service to him in this time of crisis—the president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, the same man, who years ago had tried to arrange a benefit concert with such disastrous results.

The two men had maintained a friendship since their meeting at Stanford University and President Hoover finally had the opportunity to return the kindness shown to him so many years before. Launching the largest relief effort ever in Europe, thousands of tons of food and supplies were given to Poland feeding over 1.5 million people in Poland alone.

Memory Verse: “But this I [say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” II Corinthians 9:6.

Health – The Busy B’s

The B-vitamin family truly is just that—a family—and they are really busy. The B’s have a role in more than 50 different body processes! Each one performs a vital role independently, but the body also depends on them to work together to maintain vital body functions. Take the heart for example—it depends on folic acid (or B9), pyridoxine (B6), and cobalamin (B12), for optimal health. The job that B12 does cannot be done by two B6. The body needs both of them. This group of vitamins carries many important responsibilities from assisting in cell growth and reproduction to breaking food down into a fuel usable by the body.

Each of the B vitamins has an accompanying number—why? These numbers serve no other purpose than for identification. The first B vitamin was called water-soluble B. The second B recognized was riboflavin, or B2, hence the 2. Thus a system was developed—a faulty system however, because later in 1926, B1 was found to actually be two separate vitamins. Since thiamin was already named and there was a preexisting B2, niacin took the vacant slot of B3. As more B’s were found, more numbers proceeded them. Once again, though, the system was proven inadequate since scientists discovered that some of the ‘vitamins’ they named with the B group were not really vitamins at all but wholly different substances, hence the missing B4, B8, B10, and B11.

Here is an abbreviated rundown, starting with B1, of the B-family and their most recognized roles in the human body.

Thiamine (B1): Sometimes called aneurin, is responsible for keeping the body’s cells working properly. Nerve and brain cells particularly benefit from B1. The body also needs thiamine to convert food into a fuel that the body can use.

Riboflavin (B2): Works with B1 to release energy from food. It is necessary for creation of hormones, normal body growth, and red blood cells.

Niacin (B3): This B-member wears many hats, having a hand in over 50 different body functions; from releasing energy from food to detoxifying chemicals.

Pantothenic Acid (B5): Your body needs B5 to make vitamin D, hormones, and red blood cells. In addition to this, it also serves as a helper to several of the other B’s to turn fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy.

Pyridoxine (B6): The human body needs over 50,000 different proteins to operate properly. We turn to B6 to help the amino acids fill these many positions.

Biotin (B7): Sometimes known as vitamin H, it is also involved in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into a usable energy for the body.

Folic Acid (B9): First and foremost, B9 helps cells grow and divide properly. This means, for pregnant women, folic acid is essential for the prevention of birth defects. Additionally, it helps to keep veins and arteries open which, in turn, lowers chances of related health issues. It also has a hand in making chemicals in the body that control things like sleep patterns, mood, and appetite.

Cobalamin (B12): Although that scrape on your knee feels like raw nerves, those nerve cells actually have a protective covering that are formed by B12. Cobalamin helps with the other B’s in the fueling of the body from food.

The B-family has some closely related relatives that almost made the cut to become part of the group, but the body normally makes them in high enough quantity to supply need: choline, which the brain uses to store memories; inositol, helps make healthy cell membranes; lipoic acid works hand in hand with the B’s to convert food into energy, is a great antioxidant, and works to help the body get more use out of vitamins C and E; and lastly, PABA (Para-aminobenzoic acid) helps protect the skin from UV rays (it is commonly found in sunscreens).

As with most vitamins and minerals, there is much controversy over the amounts of the B vitamins that we ought to take in each day. Like vitamin C, the B’s are also water-soluble so they need to be replenished through diet or supplements on a regular basis. The daily recommended intake has changed several times, being lowered in the late 1980’s and then raised again in the 1990’s. Much to the chagrin of dieticians and nutritionists, though, the recommended intake was not raised to the levels that most were seeing that their patients needed. Most believe that higher levels of intake would do much good for overall health, especially of folic acid. Vitamin B deficiency is generally acknowledged in older patients even with the recommended daily dosages. Because vitamin B plays such a huge role in the development and division of cells during the years of major growth (0-25), it is imperative that there is an ample supply of vitamin B. As the body develops from infancy to childhood to puberty to adulthood the need for vitamin B only increases as the body goes through its changes before reaching a plateau. Women who are pregnant also require higher levels of vitamin B. After all, they are eating for two!

Some people may need to be extra aware of getting the levels of vitamin B in their systems. Those who drink alcohol may need a higher intake since alcohol blocks the body from using the vitamin B and also excretes it faster. Elderly people also absorb less and often do not get adequate nourishment to begin with. Smokers have the same issue as someone who uses alcohol; their bodies do not absorb vitamins properly. Those with digestive issues and special diets may also need to monitor closely their vitamin levels more so than usual.

Vitamin B, for the most part, is easily obtained through a proper diet. Thiamine is found in peanut butter, oranges, beans, wheat germ, and grains. Riboflavin is in dairy products, beans, nuts, avocado, leafy vegetables, and beets. These foods are also good sources of Niacin, and folic acid. Pantothenic Acid is in whole grains and nuts. Peas, bananas, potatoes, beans, and avocado are good foods to eat to get pyridoxine. Oatmeal, bananas, and peanut butter are great for Biotin. Cobalamin is found mainly in dairy so those who practice a vegan diet must be aware of this.

There are many benefits of keeping the B’s replenished in bounty. A study conducted in 1995 by the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people with high levels of vitamin B lowered the levels of homocysteine in the blood. (People with high levels of homocysteine are at greater risk of stroke and heart disease.) The people in the study with the highest levels of vitamin B were 50% less likely to suffer from either stroke or heart disease; whereas those with lower levels of vitamin B had higher homocysteine levels in their blood and twice as likely to suffer from either one! The lower levels of homocysteine and higher B’s also raise the strength of bones. Niacin is used in prescription drugs to lower cholesterol. One in four people who are hospitalized for depression are seriously low in pyridoxine and cobalamin. Pyridoxine, folic acid, and cobalamin are important for the immune system as they assist in making the white blood cells that constitute it.

See a reference table for the current vitamin B RDA’s (recommended daily allowance).

Obviously, the recommended daily allowances for the B vitamins are very small. However, no matter how small, it is easy to see how vital these amounts are to the body and its ability to operate. As was mentioned before, most nutritionists and health experts are quite dissatisfied with these low numbers. The best option would be to consult with your physician to decipher what is best for you.

We have only one life and one body on loan to us. No one would borrow another’s property and destroy it. When we become aware of the fact that our beings are the property of our heavenly Father, the careful care of His property becomes important to us. Awareness of what the body needs allows us to put the optimal effort into our lives for good health. God is the key to an enriching life.

Q & A – The Strait Gate

Thank you for that thoughtful question. There are two texts in the Bible that I believe you are referring to. “Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14. “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24.

Heaven is such a wonderful place that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9. Isaiah 65:21 describes our home as real. We will build houses and live in them and plant vineyards and eat the fruit.

In the capital city, the New Jerusalem, the gates are made of one pearl, the streets are paved with gold, the walls of the city are made of jasper, and the River of Life runs right through the middle with the Tree of Life on either side of the River. How beautiful it must be. Not only is there physical beauty, but also peace and tranquility. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9. It is worth striving for.

But what if this beautiful place was ruined with pain, sickness, sorrow, death and hatred? What would be gained by Jesus dying on the cross to save us? What would our salvation be worth, just to change locations for the gold and riches of heaven?

Heaven has suffered from the very inception of sin. God and Christ have suffered beyond description, as have the angels in their sympathy for their Lord and for the human race. God hates sin and cannot afford to allow it to enter heaven again.

God is faced with a problem then—how to save the sinner without retaining the sin. Before God can take us home, we must eradicate sin from our lives. He wants to help us do this, for without Him, it would be a hopeless endeavor.

It is not an easy road, but it will be worth it. We have the assurance of Jesus’ presence to help us along the path to the narrow gate. No matter the cost, we will agree that “heaven is cheap enough.” Our calling is to strive to become like Christ and trust Him to work in our lives. Indeed, few are willing to give their whole hearts to Christ, yet there is no cost so great that heaven is not greater still.

Pen of Inspiration – The Gift of Giving

In the balances of the sanctuary, the gifts of the poor, made from love to Christ, are not estimated according to the amount given, but according to the love which prompts the sacrifice. The promises of Jesus will as surely be realized by the liberal poor man, who has but little to offer, but who gives that little freely, as by the wealthy man who gives of his abundance. The poor man makes a sacrifice of his little, which he really feels. He really denies himself of some things that he needs for his own comfort, while the wealthy man gives of his abundance, and feels no want, denies himself nothing that he really needs. Therefore there is a sacredness in the poor man’s offering that is not found in the rich man’s gift; for the rich give of their abundance. God’s providence has arranged the entire plan of systematic benevolence for the benefit of man. His providence never stands still. If God’s servants follow His opening providence, all will be active workers.

Just as long as we are in this world, and the Spirit of God is striving with the world, we are to receive as well as to impart favors. We are to give to the world the light of truth as presented in the Sacred Scriptures, and we are to receive from the world that which God moves upon them to do in behalf of His cause. The Lord still moves upon the hearts of kings and rulers in behalf of His people, and it becomes those who are so deeply interested in the religious liberty question not to cut off any favors, or withdraw themselves from the help that God has moved men to give, for the advancement of His cause.

We find examples in the word of God concerning this very matter. Cyrus, king of Persia, made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it into writing, saying: “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel.” [Ezra 1:2, 3.] A second commandment was issued by Darius for the building of the house of the Lord, and is recorded in the sixth chapter of Ezra.

The Lord God of Israel has placed His goods in the hands of unbelievers, but they are to be used in favor of doing the works that must be done for a fallen world. The agents through whom these gifts come, may open up avenues through which the truth may go. They may have no sympathy with the work, and no faith in Christ, and no practice in His words; but their gifts are not to be refused on that account. …

I have repeatedly been shown that we might receive far more favors than we do in many ways if we would approach men in wisdom, acquaint them with our work, and give them an opportunity of doing those things which it is our privilege to induce them to do for the advancement of the work of God.

Example of Nehemiah

Nehemiah did not depend upon uncertainty. The means that he lacked he solicited from those who were able to bestow. And the Lord is still willing to move upon the hearts of those in possession of His goods, in behalf of the cause of truth. Those who labor for Him are to avail themselves of the help that He prompts men to give. These gifts may open ways by which the light of truth shall go to many benighted lands. The donors may have no faith in Christ, no acquaintance with His word; but their gifts are not on this account to be refused.

God’s work is now to advance rapidly, and if His people will respond to His call, He will make the possessors of property willing to donate of their means, and thus make it possible for His work to be accomplished in the earth. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith in the word of God will place His people in the possession of property which will enable them to work the large cities that are waiting for the message of truth.

Receiving Gifts From Outside

You inquire with respect to the propriety of receiving gifts from Gentiles or the heathen. The question is not strange; but I would ask you, Who is it that owns our world? Who are the real owners of houses and lands? Is it not God? He has an abundance in our world which He has placed in the hands of men, by which the hungry might be supplied with food, the naked with clothing, the homeless with homes. The Lord would move upon worldly men, even idolaters, to give of their abundance for the support of the work, if we would approach them wisely, and give them an opportunity of doing those things which it is their privilege to do. What they would give we should be privileged to receive.

We should become acquainted with men in high places, and by exercising the wisdom of the serpent, and the harmlessness of the dove, we might obtain advantage from them, for God would move upon their minds to do many things in behalf of His people. If proper persons would set before those who have means and influence, the needs of the work of God in a proper light, these men might do much to advance the cause of God in our world. We have put away from us privileges and advantages that we might have had the benefit of, because we chose to stand independent of the world. But we need not sacrifice one principle of truth while taking advantage of every opportunity to advance the cause of God.

God Preparing The Way

If the needs of the Lord’s work were set forth in a proper light before those who have means and influence, these men might do much to advance the cause of present truth. God’s people have lost many privileges of which they could have taken advantage, had they not chosen to stand independent of the world.

In the providence of God, we are daily brought into connection with the unconverted. By His own right hand God is preparing the way before us, in order that His work may progress rapidly. As colaborers with Him, we have a sacred work to do. We are to have travail of soul for those who are in high places; we are to extend to them the gracious invitation to come to the marriage feast.

Although now almost wholly in the possession of wicked men, all the world, with its riches and treasures, belongs to God. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” [Psalm 24:1.] … O that Christians might realize more and still more fully that it is their privilege and their duty, while cherishing right principles, to take advantage of every heaven-sent opportunity for advancing God’s kingdom in this world! (An Appeal to Ministers and Church Officers Regarding the Soliciting of Gifts for Our Foreign Mission Work.)

Impressed by the Spirit to Give

Medical missionaries who labor in evangelistic lines are doing a work of as high an order as are their ministerial fellow workers. The efforts put forth by these workers are not to be limited to the poorer classes.

The higher classes have been strangely neglected. In the higher walks of life will be found many who will respond to the truth, because it is consistent, because it bears the stamp of the high character of the gospel. Not a few of the men of ability thus won to the cause will enter energetically into the Lord’s work.

The Lord calls upon those who are in positions of trust, those to whom He has entrusted His precious gifts, to use their talents of intellect and means in His service. Our workers should present before these men a plain statement of our plan of labor, telling them what we need in order to help the poor and needy and to establish this work on a firm basis. Some of these will be impressed by the Holy Spirit to invest the Lord’s means in a way that will advance His cause. They will fulfill His purpose by helping to create centers of influence in the large cities. Counsels on Stewardship, 180, 183–187.