Bible Study Guides – The 144,000

September 22, 2013 – September 28, 2013

Key Text

“These [the hundred and forty and four thousand] are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Revelation 14:4.

Study Help: Early Writings, 36–38; Testimonies, vol. 5, 207–216.


“Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 445.


  • What evidence do we have that the sons of Jacob became completely different men from what they were in their early days of cruelty to their brother Joseph? Genesis 50:15–18.

Note: “During the years since Joseph had been separated from his brothers, these sons of Jacob had changed in character. Envious, turbulent, deceptive, cruel, and revengeful they had been; but now, when tested by adversity, they were shown to be unselfish, true to one another, devoted to their father and, themselves middle-aged men, subject to his authority.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 225.

“He [Jacob] saw in his sons evidence of true repentance; he saw his family surrounded by all the conditions needful for the development of a great nation; and his faith grasped the sure promise of their future establishment in Canaan.” Ibid., 233.

  • How does the earthly life of Jesus give us a flawless example of perfect submission to the will of our heavenly Father? John 8:29; 14:30.

Note: “There was in Him [Christ] nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us.” The Desire of Ages, 123.


  • Name some outstanding characteristics of the overcomers in the last days. Zephaniah 3:13; Revelation 14:5, 12; 12:17.

Note: “A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness—sin in all its forms—must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 231.

  • How are we to cultivate these noble traits of character? John 8:12; 16:13, first part; 17:17.

Note: “Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.

  • Describe the mental outlook necessary to be total overcomers. Philippians 2:1–8; II Peter 3:11, 14.
  • What will be the reward of these overcomers? Psalm 37:11.

Note: “Many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.” Early Writings, 71.


  • Explain the work of the sealing angel before the seven last plagues will be poured out. Ezekiel 9:4–6; Revelation 7:1–3.

Note: “I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, ‘Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.’ ” [Author’s italics.] Early Writings, 38.

“The angel is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel will follow, to slay utterly both old and young.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 505.

  • What are some key points to realize when one considers the seal of God? Exodus 20:8–11; Leviticus 20:7; Ezekiel 20:12.

Note: “What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption.

“The angel with the writer’s ink horn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel.

“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

“Those who trample upon God’s authority, and show open contempt to the law given in such grandeur at Sinai, virtually despise the Lawgiver, the great Jehovah. …

“By transgressing the law which God had given in such majesty, and amid glory which was unapproachable, the people showed open contempt of the great Lawgiver, and death was the penalty.” Ibid., 1162.


  • Explain the spiritual depth of the seal of God, and why it is essential that believers in the third angel’s message understand its true significance. Psalm 24:3–5; Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14.

Note: “Let church members bear in mind that the fact that their names are registered on the church books will not save them. They must show themselves approved of God, workmen that need not be ashamed. Day by day they are to build their characters in accordance with Christ’s directions. They are to abide in Him, constantly exercising faith in Him. Thus they will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ—wholesome, cheerful, grateful Christians, led by God into clearer and still clearer light. If this is not their experience, they will be among those whose voices will one day be raised in the bitter lamentation: ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! Why did I not flee to the Stronghold for refuge? Why have I trifled with my soul’s salvation, and done despite to the Spirit of grace’ (Jeremiah 8:20.)?” Testimonies, vol. 9, 48.

“The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts.” Ibid., vol. 5, 216.

  • When did the sealing begin, and how many will receive the seal of the living God? Revelation 7:4; 14:1, 9–12. What is the “covering,” “shelter,” or “protection” that we must have for the time of trouble?

Note: “The enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the holy place, that Jesus has shut, and to close the door of the most holy place, which He opened in 1844, where the ark is, containing the two tables of stone on which are written the ten commandments by the finger of Jehovah.

“Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble.” Early Writings, 43. [Written in 1849.]


  • What privilege belongs to the faithful souls described in Revelation 14:13? How do we know that Sister White and many others who have fallen asleep in Jesus will be among the 144,000 who are alive at His coming? Daniel 12:1, 2.

Note: “As he [the prophet John] looked with intense interest he beheld the company of God’s commandment-keeping people. They had upon their foreheads the seal of the living God, and he said: [Revelation 14:12, 13 quoted].” Testimonies, vol. 6, 15.

“I may live until the coming of the Lord; but if I should not, I trust it may be said of me: ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them’ (Revelation 14:13).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 55, 56.

“The graves were opened, and those who had died in faith under the third angel’s message, keeping the Sabbath, came forth from their dusty beds, glorified, to hear the covenant of peace that God was to make with those who had kept His law.” Early Writings, 285.

“The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people.” The Great Controversy, 640.

“The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice.” Early Writings, 15.

  • What is the significance of the song sung by the 144,000 sealed saints? Revelation 14:2–4; 15:2, 3.

Note: “They [the company of them who were redeemed from among them] sing ‘a new song’ (Revelation 14:3) before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb—a song of deliverance.” The Great Controversy, 648, 649.

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” The Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.


1 Explain the depth of genuine union with Christ.

2 Why is it so important to receive the seal of God?

3 Why do the 144,000 have the joy of singing a unique song?

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – An Opportunity Treasured

September 15, 2013 – September 21, 2013

Key Text

“They [the sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh] cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him.” 1 Chronicles 5:20.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 263–268; Christ’s Object Lessons, 296–299, 305, 306.


“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.” Steps to Christ, 43.


  • What blessing did Jacob pronounce upon Ephraim and Manasseh? Genesis 48:14–16. How can both young and old obtain similar blessings today?

Note: “You should feel an earnest desire for the Holy Spirit and should pray earnestly to obtain it. You cannot expect the blessing of God without seeking for it. If you used the means within your reach you would experience a growth in grace and would rise to a higher life.

“It is not natural for you to love spiritual things; but you can acquire that love by exercising your mind, the strength of your being, in that direction.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 263.

  • How did some from the tribe of Manasseh respond to calls for reformation on various occasions? Judges 6:11–15, 25–29; II Chronicles 15:1, 2, 8, 9; 30:1, 10,11. What can we learn from these events?

Note: “We all need to draw near to God. He will draw near to those who approach Him in humility, filled with a holy awe for His sacred majesty, and standing before Him separate from the world.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1136.


  • How is our opportunity to be among the 144,000 spiritual Israelites similar to the privilege extended to the sons of Joseph to become direct sons of Israel? Romans 11:13, 17, 19–21.
  • What should be our attitude regarding this opportunity? Romans 11:18, 22–25.

Note: “Some feel their need of the atonement, and with the recognition of this need, and the desire for a change of heart, a struggle begins. To renounce their own will, perhaps their chosen objects of affection or pursuit, requires an effort, at which many hesitate and falter and turn back. Yet this battle must be fought by every heart that is truly converted. We must war against temptations without and within. We must gain the victory over self, crucify the affections and lusts; and then begins the union of the soul with Christ. As the dry and apparently lifeless branch is grafted into the living tree, so may we become living branches of the True Vine.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 47.

  • Realizing that the tribe of Dan was cut off for indulging in backbiting, envy, and jealousy—and Ephraim ultimately rejected the chance to step in—what should each of us consider? Hosea 4:6; Revelation 3:11, 16.

Note: “The words of God to ancient Israel have a solemn warning to the church and its leaders today. Of Israel the Lord said, ‘I have written to him the great things of My law; but they were counted as a strange thing’ (Hosea 8:12). …

“Shall the warnings from God be passed by unheeded? Shall the opportunities for service be unimproved? Shall the world’s scorn, the pride of reason, conformity to human customs and traditions, hold the professed followers of Christ from service to Him? Will they reject God’s word as the Jewish leaders rejected Christ? The result of Israel’s sin is before us. Will the church of today take warning?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 306.


  • By the weakness of his human nature, Jacob had been a supplanter and a liar. Nonetheless, what was his determination with regard to the things of God? Genesis 32:24–26.

Note: “[Proverbs 26:2; Isaiah 3:10, 11; Jeremiah 6:19 quoted.]

“Terrible is this truth, and deeply should it be impressed. Every deed reacts upon the doer. Never a human being but may recognize, in the evils that curse his life, fruitage of his own sowing. Yet even thus we are not without hope.

“To gain the birthright that was his already by God’s promise, Jacob resorted to fraud, and he reaped the harvest in his brother’s hatred. Through twenty years of exile he was himself wronged and defrauded, and was at last forced to find safety in flight; and he reaped a second harvest, as the evils of his own character were seen to crop out in his sons—all but too true a picture of the retributions of human life. …

“Jacob in his distress was not overwhelmed. He had repented, he had endeavored to atone for the wrong to his brother. And when threatened with death through the wrath of Esau, he sought help from God.” Education, 146, 147.

  • Why was Jacob’s name changed to Israel? Genesis 32:27–29; Hosea 12:2–6.

Note: “The error that had led to Jacob’s sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now clearly set before him. He had not trusted God’s promises, but had sought by his own efforts to bring about that which God would have accomplished in His own time and way. As an evidence that he had been forgiven, his name was changed from one that was a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. ‘Thy name,’ said the Angel, ‘shall be called no more Jacob [the supplanter], but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed’ (Genesis 32:28).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 197, 198.

“In the power of His [God’s] might the forgiven one [Jacob] stood up, no longer the supplanter, but a prince with God. He had gained not merely deliverance from his outraged brother, but deliverance from himself. The power of evil in his own nature was broken; his character was transformed.” Education, 147.


  • What does the Lord emphasize about seeking the kingdom of God with firm determination? Matthew 6:33; 11:12.

Note: “With the great truth we have been privileged to receive, we should, and under the Holy Spirit’s power we could, become living channels of light. We could then approach the mercy seat; and seeing the bow of promise, kneel with contrite hearts, and seek the kingdom of heaven with a spiritual violence that would bring its own reward. We would take it by force, as did Jacob. Then our message would be the power of God unto salvation.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1089.

“The characters we form here will decide our eternal destiny. What kind of material are we using in our character building? We must guard well every point, seeking to gain that purity which will make our lives harmonize with the saving truth we profess to believe. Our part is to put away sin, to seek with determination for perfection of character. As we thus work, God co-operates with us, fitting us for a place in His kingdom.” The Review and Herald, June 11, 1901.

  • How did the apostle Paul exemplify perseverance in spiritual matters? Philippians 3:7–14.

Note: “God calls upon you to no longer dally with the tempter, but to cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in His fear. You need to work fast to remove the defects from your character. You are in God’s workshop. If you will submit to the process of hewing and squaring and planing, that the rough edges may be removed, the knots and uneven surface smoothed and fitted by the planing knife of God, you will be fitted by His grace for the heavenly building. But if you cling to self, and are not willing to endure the trying process of fitting for the heavenly building, you will have no place in that structure which will come together without the sound of ax or hammer.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 258.

“The battle is yours. No one can fight it for you. Others can pray for you, but the work must be wholly your own.” Ibid.


  • What truths should we realize about the indescribable glory of Heaven? Matthew 13:44–46; I Corinthians 2:9.

Note: “At the day of judgment there comes to the lost a full realization of the meaning of the sacrifice made on Calvary. They see what they have lost by refusing to be loyal. They think of the high, pure association it was their privilege to gain. But it is too late. The last call has been made.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 16.

  • What can we learn from the way in which, on a difficult occasion, the hand of God was extended toward Manasseh? 1 Chronicles 5:18–20. What is the good news for the spiritual members of this tribe? Revelation 7:6, last part.

Note: “Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering. We must deny self all along the way, die to self daily, let Jesus alone appear, and keep His glory continually in view. I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels.

“As I saw what we must be in order to inherit glory, and then saw how much Jesus had suffered to obtain for us so rich an inheritance, I prayed that we might be baptized into Christ’s sufferings, that we might not shrink at trials, but bear them with patience and joy, knowing what Jesus had suffered that we through His poverty and sufferings might be made rich.” Early Writings, 67.


1 How can we obtain spiritual blessings from God?

2 What should be our attitude as branches grafted into God’s olive tree?

3 Explain the spiritual significance of the term “Israel.”

4 What do Matthew 6:33 and 11:12 mean for each of us today?

5 Name some point which deeply impresses your mind about the value of the Christian’s goal.

Copyright © 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – An Opportunity Slighted

September 8, 2013 – September 14, 2013

Key Text

“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” Hosea 4:17.

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 212–218; Testimonies, vol. 4, 89–94.


“If your nature is not transformed, if you are not refined and elevated by the sanctifying truth for these last days, you will be found unworthy of a place among the pure and holy angels.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 258.


  • What did Joseph do when he heard about the illness of his aged father? Genesis 48:1, 2. How did Jacob describe to Joseph his blessed experience with the Lord? Genesis 48:3, 4.
  • What did Jacob declare concerning Ephraim and Manasseh? Genesis 48:5. How did he depict their future? Genesis 48:9, 13–20.

Note: “The sons of Joseph were to be formally instated among the children of Israel. Joseph, coming for a last interview with his father, brought with him Ephraim and Manasseh. These youths were connected, through their mother, with the highest order of the Egyptian priesthood; and the position of their father opened to them the avenues to wealth and distinction, should they choose to connect themselves with the Egyptians. It was Joseph’s desire, however, that they should unite with their own people. He manifested his faith in the covenant promise, in behalf of his sons renouncing all the honors that the court of Egypt offered, for a place among the despised shepherd tribes, to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God. …

“[Genesis 48:5 quoted.] They were to be adopted as his [Jacob’s] own, and to become the heads of separate tribes. Thus one of the birthright privileges, which Reuben had forfeited, was to fall to Joseph—a double portion in Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 234.


  • What did Moses predict about the predominance of the tribe of Ephraim? Deuteronomy 33:17, last part.
  • How do we know that mere numbers have never indicated spiritual prosperity either among the Ephraimites or among God’s people in general? Hosea 9:11–13.

Note: “Those to whom the message of truth is spoken seldom ask, ‘Is it true?’ but, ‘By whom is it advocated?’ Multitudes estimate it by the numbers who accept it; and the question is still asked, ‘Have any of the learned men or religious leaders believed?’ Men are no more favorable to real godliness now than in the days of Christ. They are just as intently seeking earthly good, to the neglect of eternal riches; and it is not an argument against the truth, that large numbers are not ready to accept it, or that it is not received by the world’s great men, or even by the religious leaders.” The Desire of Ages, 459, 460.

“Not in our learning, not in our position, not in our numbers or entrusted talents, not in the will of man, is to be found the secret of success. Feeling our inefficiency we are to contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the strength of all strength, the thought of all thought, the willing and obedient will gain victory after victory.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 404.

  • How and when did envy on the part of the Ephraimites almost cause a war? Judges 7:24, 25; 8:1–3.
  • What evidences do we have that God wanted the tribe of Ephraim to change their nature? Jeremiah 31:20; Isaiah 11:13. How are we warned against the danger of cherishing envy and jealousy?

Note: “Never can the love of Jesus be received and shed abroad in the heart until envious feelings, hatred, jealousies, and evil surmisings are put away. …

“God considers more with how much love we work, than the amount we do.” Sons and Daughters of God, 49.


  • How did the petty jealousy of Jeroboam, a member of the tribe of Ephraim, spoil a chance for reformation among the Israelites and lead to further spiritual decay? I Kings 11:29–38; 12:25–33.

Note: “Jeroboam, the former servant of Solomon, was in a position to bring about wise reforms in both civil and religious affairs. Under the rulership of Solomon he had shown aptitude and sound judgment; and the knowledge he had gained during years of faithful service fitted him to rule with discretion. But Jeroboam failed to make God his trust.

“Jeroboam’s greatest fear was that at some future time the hearts of his subjects might be won over by the ruler occupying the throne of David. …

“So strong was Jeroboam’s desire to keep the ten tribes away from Jerusalem that he lost sight of the fundamental weakness of his plan. He failed to take into consideration the great peril to which he was exposing the Israelites by setting before them the idolatrous symbol of the deity with which their ancestors had been so familiar during the centuries of Egyptian bondage.” Prophets and Kings, 99, 100.

  • How does God consider envy? Job 5:2; Proverbs 27:4; 14:30.

Note: “Envy is not merely a perverseness of temper, but a distemper, which disorders all the faculties. It began with Satan. He desired to be first in heaven, and because he could not have all the power and glory he sought, he rebelled against the government of God. He envied our first parents and tempted them to sin and thus ruined them and all the human race.

“The envious man shuts his eyes to the good qualities and noble deeds of others. He is always ready to disparage and misrepresent that which is excellent. Men often confess and forsake other faults, but there is little to be hoped for from the envious man. Since to envy a person is to admit that he is a superior, pride will not permit any concession. If an attempt be made to convince the envious person of his sin, he becomes even more bitter against the object of his passion, and too often he remains incurable. …

“He seeks to be thought best and greatest, not by putting forth heroic, self-denying efforts to reach the goal of excellence himself, but by standing where he is and diminishing the merit due to the efforts of others.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 56.


  • How does the Lord depict the persistent mingling of Ephraim with heathenism? Hosea 7:8–16.
  • Describe His pleadings in behalf of apostate Ephraim. Hosea 11:3–9, 12, first part.

Note: “[Hosea 7:9 quoted.] …

“Some of the leaders in Israel felt keenly their loss of prestige and wished that this might be regained. But instead of turning away from those practices which had brought weakness to the kingdom, they continued in iniquity, flattering themselves that when occasion arose, they would attain to the political power they desired by allying themselves with the heathen.” Prophets and Kings, 280.

  • Why is the tribe of Ephraim not included among the names of the 144,000 sealed saints? Psalm 78:9–11; Hosea 8:9, 11–13; 4:17. How does God work in behalf of nominal believers who exhibit the character of the Ephraimites?

Note: “God calls upon you, Brother G, to repent and be converted, and become as a little child. Unless the truth has a sanctifying influence upon your life to mold your character, you will fail of an inheritance in the kingdom of God. … Brother G, you were raised up in answer to prayer, and God gave you a new lease of life; but you have let jealousy and envy into your soul, and have greatly displeased Him. He designed to bring you where you would develop character, where you would see and correct your defects.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 91, 92.

“It is all that Brother C can do, in the weakness of his nature, to guard his own soul and close every avenue whereby Satan can gain access to insinuate doubts in regard to others. He is in great danger of losing his soul by failing to perfect Christian character during probationary time. He is slow to follow Christ. His senses seem to be clouded and almost paralyzed so that he does not place a proper estimate upon sacred things. He may even now correct his errors and overcome his defects, if he will work in the strength of God.” [Author’s italics.] Ibid., 39, 40.


  • What solemn warning is given especially for these last days? Isaiah 2:10–12, 17–22. How may each of us be in danger of following in the footsteps of Ephraim? Luke 16:13; 13:6–9.

Note: “The warning sounds down along the line to us in this generation. Are you, O careless heart, a fruitless tree in the Lord’s vineyard? Shall the words of doom erelong be spoken of you? How long have you received His gifts? How long has He watched and waited for a return of love? Planted in His vineyard, under the watchful care of the gardener, what privileges are yours! How often has the tender gospel message thrilled your heart! You have taken the name of Christ, you are outwardly a member of the church which is His body, and yet you are conscious of no living connection with the great heart of love. The tide of His life does not flow through you. The sweet graces of His character, ‘the fruits of the Spirit,’ are not seen in your life. …

“Yet in His great mercy God has not cut you down. He does not look coldly upon you. He does not turn away with indifference, or leave you to destruction. Looking upon you He cries, as He cried so many centuries ago concerning Israel, ‘How shall I give thee up, Ephraim’ (Hosea 11:8)?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 216–218.

  • What hope does God extend to souls who, by His grace, overcome the sins of idolatry and envy? James 4:4–7; Titus 3:3–7.

Note: “Make thorough work with your own soul, to right every wrong there, and make every effort to master self, lest you miss heaven. This you cannot afford to do. For Christ’s sake, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 93, 94.


1 In what way were Ephraim and Manasseh offered a special chance?

2 How do we know that God’s favor depends not upon large numbers?

3 To what did Jeroboam’s envy lead?

4 Explain why envy is such a serious problem.

5 Describe the only process of hope for the spiritual Ephraimites today.

Copyright © 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Benjamin

September 1, 2013 – September 7, 2013

Key Text

“Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.” Genesis 49:27.

Study Help: Judges, chapters 19–21; Testimonies, vol. 4, 200–205.


“Whatever may be man’s besetting sin, whatever bitter or baleful passions struggle for the mastery, he may conquer, if he will watch and war against them in the name and strength of Israel’s Helper.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1017.


  • Explain the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jacob and Rachel’s second son. Genesis 35:16–19.
  • What evidence do we have of the tender regard of Jacob toward this motherless boy? Genesis 42:36–38. Explain what may easily happen when one child in a family is especially favored or coddled.

Note: “In many families the seeds of vanity and selfishness are sown in the hearts of the children almost during babyhood. Their cunning little sayings and doings are commented upon and praised in their presence, and repeated with exaggerations to others. The little ones take note of this and swell with self-importance; they presume to interrupt conversations, and become forward and impudent. Flattery and indulgence foster their vanity and willfulness, until the youngest not unfrequently rules the whole family, father and mother included.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 200, 201.


  • With what illustration did Jacob depict the nature of Benjamin? Genesis 49:27. What warning should we take from the words of Jacob?

Note: “Children who are allowed to have their own way are not happy. The unsubdued heart has not within itself the elements of rest and contentment. The mind and heart must be disciplined and brought under proper restraint in order for the character to harmonize with the wise laws that govern our being. Restlessness and discontent are the fruits of indulgence and selfishness. The soil of the heart, like that of a garden, will produce weeds and brambles unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and cultivation. As in visible nature, so is it with the human soul.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 202, 203.

“If such persons have families of their own, they become arbitrary rulers at home and display there the selfish and unreasonable disposition they are forced to partially conceal from the outside world. Their dependents feel to the utmost all the faults of their early training. Why will parents educate their children in such a manner that they will be at war with those who are brought in contact with them?

“Their religious experience is molded by the education received in childhood. The sad trials, which prove so dangerous to the prosperity of a church, and which cause the unbelieving to stumble and turn away with doubt and dissatisfaction, usually arise from an unsubdued and rebellious spirit, the offspring of parental indulgence in early youth. How many lives are wrecked, how many crimes are committed, under the influence of a quick-rising passion that might have been checked in childhood, when the mind was impressible, when the heart was easily influenced for right, and was subject to a fond mother’s will. Inefficient training of children lies at the foundation of a vast amount of moral wretchedness.” Ibid., 202.

  • Relate one experience which reveals the cruelty and arrogant belligerence found in the posterity of Benjamin. Judges 20:4, 5, 12–14, 23, 46.
  • What did the men of Israel feel compelled to vow regarding the Benjamites, and why only did they relent? Judges 21:1–4, 13–15.


  • Describe the natural talent of skillful precision possessed by some members of the tribe of Benjamin. Judges 20:15, 16; I Chronicles 8:40; 12:1, 2.
  • What should talented persons realize, especially in these last days? I Samuel 2:3; I Corinthians 8:1, last part, 3; I John 4:20, 21.

Note: “It is a dangerous age for any man who has talents which can be of value in the work of God; for Satan is constantly plying his temptations upon such a person, ever trying to fill him with pride and ambition; and when God would use him, in nine cases out of ten he becomes independent, self-sufficient, and feels capable of standing alone.” Counsels on Health, 367.

“If those who are now riding upon the wave of popularity do not become giddy, it will be a miracle of mercy. If they lean to their own wisdom, as so many thus situated have done, their wisdom will prove to be foolishness. But while they shall give themselves unselfishly to the work of God, never swerving in the least from principle, the Lord will throw about them the everlasting arm and will prove to them a mighty helper. ‘Them that honor Me, I will honor’ (I Samuel 2:30).” Testimonies, vol. 4, 538.

“There is in the natural heart a tendency to be exalted or puffed up if success attends the efforts put forth. But self-exaltation can find no place in the work of God. Whatever your intelligence, however earnestly and zealously you may labor, unless you put away your own tendencies to pride, and submit to be guided by the Spirit of God, you will be on losing ground.

“Spiritual death in the soul is evidenced by spiritual pride and a crippled experience; those who have such an experience seldom make straight paths for their feet. If pride is nourished, the very qualities of the mind which grace, if received, would make a blessing, become contaminated. The very victories which would have been a savor of life unto life, if the glory had been given to God, become tarnished by self-glory. These may seem to be little things, unworthy of notice, but the seed thus scattered brings forth a sure harvest. It is these little sins, so common that they are often unnoticed, that Satan uses in his service.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1080.


  • How did the decisions and actions of Saul the king—a Benjamite—lead to spiritual degeneracy? I Samuel 9:17, 21; 10:1, 9; 15:16–23, 28; 18:11. Explain how God’s attempts to arrest his downward course and help him overcome apply also in our day.

Note: “There are many whom He [God] has called to positions in His work for the same reason that He called Saul—because they are little in their own sight, because they have a humble and teachable spirit. In His providence He places them where they may learn of Him. To all who will receive instruction He will impart grace and wisdom. It is His purpose to bring them into so close connection with Himself that Satan shall have no opportunity to pervert their judgment or overpower their conscience. He will reveal to them their defects of character, and bestow upon all who seek His aid, strength to correct their errors. … The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin. Here, as well as elsewhere, we should not despise the day of small things. It is one of Satan’s most successful devices, to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the mind to the danger of little indulgences, little digressions from the plainly stated requirements of God. Many who would shrink with horror from some great transgression, are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But these little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul. The feet which enter upon a path diverging from the right way are tending toward the broad road that ends in death. When once a retrograde movement begins, no one can tell where it may end. …

“We must learn to distrust self and to rely wholly upon God for guidance and support, for a knowledge of His will, and for strength to perform it.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1017.

  • How was the character of Saul, a Benjamite of the New Testament era, miraculously transformed? Acts 8:3; 9:1–6. Relate the personal testimony of Saul (who was later called Paul) concerning his change of heart. Philippians 3:4–7.

Note: “By beholding the matchless love of Christ, the selfish heart will be melted and subdued.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 394.


  • With what words did Moses prophesy that there would be a decided change in the character of many Benjamites? Deuteronomy 33:12. Give an example of how the presence of a Benjamite brought safety to God’s people in Persia. Esther 2:5; 3:13; 4:1–3; 8:7, 8, 15–17.

Note: “Mordecai was given the position of honor formerly occupied by Haman. He ‘was next unto King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren’ (Esther 10:3); and he sought to promote the welfare of Israel.” Prophets and Kings, 602.

  • How do we know that 12,000 last-day spiritual Benjamites are to be total overcomers? Revelation 7:8, last part. Due to the character transformation of this remnant, what glorious sight adds poignant symbolism on the earth made new? Isaiah 65:25.

Note: “There are those who listen to the truth, and are convinced that they have been living in opposition to Christ. They are condemned, and they repent of their transgressions. Relying upon the merits of Christ, exercising true faith in Him, they receive pardon for sin. As they cease to do evil and learn to do well, they grow in grace and in the knowledge of God. They see that they must sacrifice in order to separate from the world; and, after counting the cost, they look upon all as loss if they may but win Christ. They have enlisted in Christ’s army. The warfare is before them, and they enter it bravely and cheerfully, fighting against their natural inclinations and selfish desires, bringing the will into subjection to the will of Christ. Daily they seek the Lord for grace to obey Him, and they are strengthened and helped. This is true conversion.” Messages to Young People, 73, 74.


1 What point should fond parents and teachers carefully consider?

2 Explain how one’s early childhood can affect future generations.

3 Cite the inherent risks that accompany extraordinary talent.

4 Describe God’s process in strengthening men to overcome.

5 What is true conversion?

Copyright © 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Children’s Story – The Unbeliever

The foreman glanced at his pocket watch and listened intently in the chilly early-morning air. The metal rails gleamed faintly in the bluish light. The sun began to flood the tops of the mountains. Then he heard it—the wail of an approaching train. The rest of the work crew turned their attention from the writhing flames of burning railroad ties and stared down the track. In a few moments they spotted the yellow eye of the headlight atop the rumbling gray bulk of the engine.

Black smoke spewed furiously from the smokestack and drifted back along the length of the train and across the plain. The workmen leaned on picks and shovels and watched as the locomotive slowed before it reached the section of the track where the men were working. The air brakes hissed the train to a crawl. The smell of pinewood smoke filled the air. Sticking his head out of the cab window, the fireman waved to the men along the track. They returned his greeting as the olive-green Southern Pacific cars rocked past. A child pressed his face against a coach window, wide-eyed, wondering what the men were doing out on the lonely plain. The train began to gather speed, and seconds later—with a blast from the whistle—the Southern Pacific limited vanished in the distance, heading for Chicago. A lantern still burned on its observation car.

Mrs. Ellen White drowsed in her seat, one cheek laid against the plush mohair upholstery. The jolt of the slowing train had awakened her, and she watched the silent figures of the track crew slide past her window. A voice from the rear of the coach attracted her attention. She could by listening carefully make out the man’s words above the rattle and clatter of the coach wheels on the track. He seemed to be talking about religion. She turned around to see who he was. The conductor had extinguished the Pintsch gas lamps. Not too much light filtered into the coach yet. The varnished walnut wood of the car’s walls and ceiling made it seem even darker inside. But she located the person she had heard. He was talking to another man, a man who looked as though he wished he were by himself in the dining car, eating breakfast. Instead he feebly argued with a stranger who seemed to enjoy attacking religion.

When the unbeliever saw that his seatmate no longer wanted to talk, he looked for another victim. Not all of the seats were filled, and he easily found a seat beside someone willing to talk to him. For a couple of hours he went from one person to another in the coach, criticizing and condemning Christianity. Some of the passengers agreed with his statements, laughing at his clever arguments and manner of gesturing. Others tried to defend Christianity, but soon gave up when he defeated their every attempt.

The unbeliever knew that everybody in the car was listening to him, and he enjoyed the attention. Some of the more devout Christians in the coach wished that someone would silence his ridiculing and boasts, but they could only sit helplessly in their seats or go into another chair car. With pride and triumph on his face, he walked up and down the aisle and swayed back and forth as the engineer tried to make up for lost time and regain his fifty-mile-an-hour average speed.

Spotting Mrs. White with a Bible in her hand, the man sat down in the empty seat beside her and began a tirade against Christianity. Religion, he said, reminded him of someone juggling balls. It was all a form of trickery with nothing real behind it. He compared it to sorcery and superstitious magic. On and on he ranted and raved. Mrs. White said nothing.

Still talking loudly, the man knew he had the complete attention of the passengers. His voice boomed down the length of the coach. Many wondered what Mrs. White would say to the atheist, but she remained silent. She made no attempt to argue with him. Finally the man stopped from sheer exhaustion. Turning to face him, Mrs. White quoted, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3.

Briefly she told the man about her own conversion and life. “You call religion sorcery,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion. “But we have ‘a more sure word of prophecy’, a promise ‘whereunto ye do well that ye take heed’ (11 Peter 1:19).” She raised her voice so that everybody could hear.

The unbelieving man objected vigorously to her reply. Trying to regain what he thought had been his advantage, he asked if she had ever read books by certain authors. Some of the books tried to find mistakes in the Bible and prove it was nothing but a collection of myths. Others were about ancient philosophy. If she answered that she hadn’t read them, he hoped to make her look ignorant in front of the other passengers.

Ignoring his attempt to make her look foolish, she answered simply, “No, I have not.”

“There. There, you don’t know,” he sneered. “Since you haven’t read even these books, you don’t know the first thing about the subject.”

“I don’t want to know,” she declared firmly. “I have no time to read such trash.” All the wisdom of the secular philosophers, she explained, came as a gift from God. Instead of using it in God’s service, they had perverted their intelligence and twisted it to satisfy human pride and ideas. Anything worthwhile such men wrote or said came as inspiration from God. All true knowledge came from Christ, and the world’s greatest men only reflected its Source as the moon reflects the light of the sun. Carefully Mrs. White explained that man could find truth only with Christ’s help. She talked more to the other passengers than to the man in the seat beside her. Everybody listened, clearly hearing her above the rhythmic click of the wheels on the rails.

Angry at the way Mrs. White had gotten control of the conversation, the man muttered and mumbled under his breath. He turned in his seat and sat in sullen disgust. The other people in the coach, seeing how tiny, elderly Mrs. White had silenced his boasts, burst into laughter. After taking the laughter for a few minutes, the unbeliever hurried down the aisle and crossed the swaying open vestibule to another coach.

Mrs. White had not used any complicated arguments with the scoffing man. To have done so would have given him a chance to twist the discussion to his own advantage. Instead she exposed the man’s ignorance by revealing to the other people in the coach that he knew nothing about God. He could not hide that fact by quoting statements from books he had read. The Spirit of God took Mrs. White’s simple defense and stabbed it into the agnostic’s heart, humiliating his pride. She showed that she knew true wisdom.

Angel Over Her Tent and Other Stories, D. A. Delafield and Gerald Wheeler, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, 2000, 92, 95.

Food – The Beauty of Beans

“If we plan wisely, that which is most conducive to health can be secured in almost every land. The various preparations of rice, wheat, corn, and oats are sent abroad everywhere, also beans, peas, and lentils. These, with native or imported fruits, and the variety of vegetables that grow in each locality, give an opportunity to select a dietary that is complete without the use of flesh meats.” Counsels for the Church, 377.

Beans are one of the least expensive forms of protein. They are high in fiber and low in fat and come in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. Beans can be enjoyed in every kind of dish from a dip or a salad to stews and soups to hearty main courses. In Asia, sweetened red beans are dessert—they are used to fill pastries and even make ice cream.

adzuki beans

These small, dark red beans are slightly sweet and creamy when cooked. They are the basis for sweet red bean paste used in Asian desserts.

black beans (turtle beans, frijoles negros)

Black beans are a staple of Latin America dishes. Their strong, earthy flavor and firm texture help them stand out in soups, salads and all sorts of side dishes.

cannellini beans (white kidney beans)

Mild-tasting meaty cannellinis are often used in minestrone soup and other Italian dishes.

chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

The versatile chickpea has an almost buttery flavor and is a nutritional powerhouse with over 80 nutrients, plus plenty of fiber and protein. Many classic vegetarian dishes, including hummus and falafel, are based on the versatile chickpea.

kidney beans

Kidney beans are full-flavored and retain their kidney shape even with long cooking times. They are usually the bean of choice for chili or cold salads. They come in dark red, light red, pink or white.


Lentils cook quickly and are often served puréed. The most common varieties are brown and red, but for a larger selection explore the many different kinds used in Indian or Middle Eastern cuisines.

lima beans (butter beans)

Pale green limas are starchy and satisfying. If you’ve had only canned, give them another chance. Their rich buttery flavor holds up better when they’re fresh or frozen.

pinto beans

Speckled beige beans with darker streaks, pintos are used for refried beans, chili and many Mexican recipes. Unfortunately their pretty markings—pinto means painted in Spanish—turn a dull pinkish beige after cooking.

white beans (Great Northern, navy beans)

These mild, meaty beans are favorites in casseroles, stews and soups.

The Vegetarian Bible, Publications International, Ltd., Lincolnwood, Illinois, 2011, 22.

Insight – The Martyrdom of Anne Askew

Long, indeed, is the list that might be given of those who suffered for the truth in the fires of Smithfield, England. Perhaps the most interesting victim was the celebrated Anne Askew. She had been singled out by the crafty and ambitious enemies of Queen Katharine Parr and the godly ladies of her court, to be the instrument through whom they might find an accusation against the queen for holding the faith and the principles of the Reformation. Anne Askew was the youngest daughter of Sir William Askew, of Kolsey, in Lincolnshire. Her eldest sister had been engaged to marry a gentleman of the name of Kyme, a harsh and bigoted papist; but the sister died, and she was compelled by her father to take her sister’s place, and become the wife of Mr. Kyme. It had turned out a most unhappy marriage for poor Anne Askew. Her education had been superior to that usually given to her sex, and she was a woman of enlightened mind, unlike in character and disposition to her morose and narrow-minded husband. She seems to have been a child of God from her earliest years, and to have searched and prized the Holy Scriptures, which had made her wise unto salvation. Her love of truth, as it is found in its purity and freshness in the word of inspiration, had given great displeasure to her husband, and she was cruelly driven from her home. Being compelled to come up to London to sue for a divorce, the persecution of her husband and the popish priests followed her, and she fell into the toils which they had laid for her.

Two objects were plainly manifest in all the examinations which she underwent: The first was to make her incriminate herself, the second to lead her to incriminate the queen and those of her ladies who were suspected of holding “the new learning,” as the eternal truths of the gospel were termed by the papists.

We read that she was examined and questioned concerning her opinions by Christopher Dare, and Sir Martin Bowes, the then lord mayor, and their brother commissioners. With inimitable simplicity did she reply in the conversation which is recorded to have taken place between the lord mayor and herself.

But we pass over these examinations, in which the patience of those adversaries, who could not overcome her patience, was at length exhausted. These bold and crafty men were determined to spare neither threat nor violence, by which they might extort from her some word or other as a ground of accusation against the Lady Herbert, who was the queen’s sister, or the Duchess of Suffolk, and so at last Queen Katharine herself. As yet they discovered nothing.

Rich, and another of the counsel, came to her in the Tower, where she was then confined, and demanded that she should make the disclosures which they required concerning her party and her friends. She told them nothing. “Then they did put me in the rack,’’ she relates, “because I confessed no ladies or gentlemen to be of my opinion; and thereon they kept me a long time, and because I lay still and did not cry, my lord chancellor and Mr. Rich took pains to rack me with their own hands till I was nigh dead.” These two wretches, it is recorded, provoked by her saint-like endurance, ordered the lieutenant of the Tower to rack her again. He, Sir Anthony Knovitt, “tendering the weakness of the woman,” positively refused to do so. Then Wriothesly and Rich threw off their gowns, and, threatening the lieutenant that they would complain of his disobedience to the king, “they worked the rack themselves, till her bones and joints were almost plucked asunder.” When the lieutenant caused her to be loosed down from the rack, she immediately swooned. “Then,” she writes, “they recovered me again.” After that, “I sat two long hours reasoning with my lord chancellor on the bare floor, where he with many flattering words persuaded me to leave my opinion; but my Lord God, I thank His everlasting goodness, gave me grace to persevere, and will do, I hope, to the very end.” And she concludes this account to her friend by saying, “Farewell, dear friend, and pray, pray, pray.”

She gives her confession of faith, and concludes it with this beautiful prayer: “O Lord! I have more enemies now than there be hairs on my head, yet, Lord, let them never overcome me with vain words, but fight Thou, Lord, in my stead; for on Thee cast I my care! With all the spite they can imagine, they fall upon me, who am Thy poor creature. Yet, sweet Lord, let me not set by them that are against me; for in Thee is my whole delight. And, Lord, I heartily desire of Thee that Thou wilt of Thy most merciful goodness forgive them that violence which they do, and have done, unto me; open also Thou their blind hearts, that they may hereafter do that thing in Thy sight which is only acceptable before Thee, and to set forth Thy verity aright, without all vain fantasies of sinful men. So be it, O Lord, so be it.”

Unable to walk or stand, from the tortures she had suffered, poor Anne Askew was carried in a chair to Smithfield, and, when brought to the stake, was fastened to it by a chain which held up her body; and one who beheld her there describes her as “having an angel’s countenance, and a smiling face.”

At the very last, a written pardon from the king was offered to Anne Askew, upon condition that she would recant. The fearless lady turned away her eyes, and would not look upon it. She told them that she came not thither to deny her Lord and Master. The fire was ordered to be put under her, “and thus,” to use the words of John Foxe, “the good Anne Askew, with these blessed martyrs, having passed through so many torments, having now ended the long course of her agonies, being compassed in with flames of fire, as a blessed sacrifice unto God, she slept in the Lord, A.D. 1546, leaving behind her a singular example of Christian constancy for all men to follow.” Her crime was the denial of the mass. “Lo, this,” she wrote, “is the heresy that I hold, and for it must suffer death.” She kept the faith to her God; she kept the faith to her friends, for she betrayed no one, enduring shame and agony with meek, unshaken constancy. None but Christ, none but Christ could have made the weakness of a delicate woman so strong, the feebleness of a mortal creature so triumphant!

And thus the square of Smithfield, which was made, in the reign of Henry the first, “a lay stall of all ordure or filth.” The place of execution for felons and other transgressors has become not only drenched with the blood of martyrs, but hallowed by the faith and patience of the saints, by the witness of their good confessions, and by the breath of their dying prayers and praises.

But why bring those horrible details forward? Because, if ever there was a time when it was right to show the real character of popery, it is now. The principles of popery are beginning to spring up throughout the length and breadth of the land, openly in some parts, covertly in others; and men whose Bibles might have taught them other things, are beginning to be enamored with the delusions and ensnaring allurements of a system which can appear to be anything or everything, in order to suit all times and all circumstances; a system which, in the doctrine of tradition, opens the door to the most unbridled license, and finds a cloak for every enormity. We are told that those deadly superstitions, those savage persecutions, those inhuman tortures, were rather the fruit of those dark ages than peculiar to popery. I cannot agree to this. Popery contains in itself the germ of all the deadly errors and dreadful practices which have ever been inseparable from bigotry and superstition. Memorials of the English Martyrs.

The Signs of the Times, August 14, 1884.

Health – Keep Your Brain Alive – Go Neurobic

Get ready to exercise your brain! The brain needs to be exercised or it will get stuck in a rut. Neurobic exercises use all five senses in a very unique way to enhance the brain’s natural drive to form associations between different information. It is possible to grow your own brain food without any pills. You will keep your brain alive!

“Neurobics is a scientifically based program that helps you modify your behavior by introducing the unexpected to your brain and enlisting the aid of all your senses as you go through your day. An active brain is a healthy brain, while inaction leads to reduced brain fitness. Or, in simpler words, ‘Use it or lose it.’ ” Keep Your Brain Alive, Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D. and Manning Rubin, Workman Publishing Company, New York, 1999.

“Simply by making small changes in your daily habits, you can turn everyday routines into ‘mind-building’ exercises.” Ibid., 32

So what makes an exercise neurobic? “If you are right-handed, controlling a pen is normally the responsibility of the cortex on the left side of your brain. When you change to writing left-handed, the large network of connections, circuits, and brain areas involved in writing with your left hand, which are normally rarely used, are now activated on the right side of your brain. Suddenly your brain is confronted with a new task that’s engaging, challenging, and potentially frustrating.” Ibid., 33.

Try it now; take a pen or a pencil and write a sentence or two with the hand you do not normally use to write. This is very challenging, but it is great for the brain. I have been attempting to use my other hand in writing numbers in my Sudoku games and find it is a real challenge—it feels like it is totally backward.

Also, try getting dressed with your eyes closed or take a completely new route to work. Do not try to use neurobic exercises for every activity all day, but just choose one or two things. And don’t give up the crossword puzzles, reading, learning a new language and other activities. Here are a few more suggestions for neurobics:

  • Take a shower with your eyes closed—this can be very interesting!
  • Lay out your wardrobe the night before and then, with your eyes closed, put your clothes on by feel only.
  • Using the opposite hand, put toothpaste on your toothbrush and brush your teeth with the wrong hand. (This is very challenging, and you will definitely laugh at yourself.)
  • Try shaving, applying makeup, buttoning clothes, eating with the wrong hand—the opposite hand(s).

These exercises require you to use the opposite side of your brain instead of the side you normally use. “Consequently, all those circuits, connections, and brain areas involved in using your dominant hand are inactive, while their counterparts on the other side of your brain are suddenly required to direct a set of behaviors in which they usually don’t participate. Research has shown that this type of exercise can result in a rapid and substantial expansion of circuits in the parts of the cortex that control and process tactile information from the hand.” Ibid., 45.

Some variations would be to “use only one hand to do tasks like buttoning a shirt, tying a shoe, or getting dressed. For a real workout, try using just your non-dominant hand. … Another exercise that associates unusual sensory and motor pathways in your cortex with a routine activity is to use your feet to put your socks and underwear in the laundry basket or pick out your shoes for the day.” Ibid.

Try musical chairs: “At dinnertime, have everyone switch seats. In most families, everyone has his or her ‘own’ seat, and it’s remarkable how permanent these arrangements become. Switching seats changes whose ‘position’ you occupy, who you relate to, your view of the room, and even how you reach for salt and pepper.” Ibid., 103. This is good brain workout!

Exercise your brain and give it some challenges. Neurobics is a unique brain exercise program based on the latest neuroscience research. These deceptively simple exercises help stimulate the production of nutrients that grow brain cells to keep the brain younger and stronger. Neurobics uses the five senses in unexpected ways and shakes up everyday routines. The result is a mind fit to meet any challenge and the ability to stay creative in your life and work.

Don’t get stuck in a rut. Go neurobic and keep your brain alive!

Question & Answer – Revelation 12:10 Meaning of Accuser Cast Down

The accuser of the brethren is Satan. He contended earnestly with Michael over the body of Moses (Jude 9). Revelation 12:3, 4 states, “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” These stars refer to the fallen angels that were cast out with the devil.

Satan was no longer welcome in the heavenly courts. But, although he was cast out of heaven, he apparently was not confined entirely to this earth. Job 1:6; 2:1 states: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.” These verses show that Satan was not entirely confined to this earth at that time but had limited access to other places.

In Revelation 12:10 John again said that “the accuser of our brethren is cast down.” At the cross when Jesus was crucified, Satan’s character was fully revealed. Witnessing the scene, the heavenly host lost any remaining sympathy for him. Since then, he and his evil angels have been confined to this earth.

The angels watched Satan’s actions toward Jesus and in putting Him to death, we are told: “When Christ came to the earth in person, Satan’s fiercest warfare was directed against Him. But by causing the Son of God to be crucified, Satan struck a blow at himself. When Christ died on the cross, Satan’s death-knell was sounded. His deceptions were narrowly watched by the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds, as he, in disguise, worked in such a way that he thought he could not possibly be detected. But he was left to follow his own course, to condemn himself by his own deeds. And before the cross of Calvary he stood revealed in his true character. When Christ cried out, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), the unfallen worlds were made secure. For them the battle was fought and the victory won. Henceforth Satan had no place in the affections of the universe. The argument he had brought forward, that self-denial was impossible with God, and therefore unjustly required from His created intelligences, was forever answered. Satan’s claims were forever set aside. The heavenly universe was secured in eternal allegiance.” The Review and Herald, March 12, 1901.

Inspiration – To See the King and The Glories of the Future World

“Thine eyes shall see the king in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.” Isaiah 33:17.

If we desire to see the King in His beauty we must here behave worthily. We must outgrow our childishness. When provocation comes let us be silent. There are times when silence is eloquence. We are to reveal the patience and kindness and forbearance that will make us worthy of being called sons and daughters of God. We are to trust Him, and believe on Him, and rely upon Him. We are to follow in Christ’s steps. “If any man will come after me,” He says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). … It may be a heavy cross to keep silent when you ought to. It may be a painful discipline, but let me assure you that silence does much more to overcome evil than a storm of angry words.

Here in this world we are to learn what we must be in order to have a place in the heavenly courts. We are to learn the lessons that Christ desires to teach us, that we may be prepared to be taken to the higher school in the courts above, where the Saviour will lead us beside the river of life, explaining to us many things that here we could not comprehend. … There we shall see the glory of God as we have never seen it here. We get but a glimpse of the glory now, because we do not follow on to know the Lord.

Every right principle, every truth learned in an earthly school, will advance us just that much in the heavenly school. As Christ walked and talked with His disciples during His ministry on this earth, so will He teach us in the school above, leading us beside the river of living waters, and revealing to us truths that in this life must remain hidden mysteries because of the limitations of the human mind, so marred by sin. In the heavenly school we shall have opportunity to attain, step by step, to the greatest heights of learning. There, as children of the heavenly King, we shall ever dwell with the members of the royal family; there we shall see the King in His beauty, and behold His matchless charms.

Long have we waited, but our hope is not to grow dim. If we can but see the King in His beauty we shall be forever blessed.

Glories of the Future World

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.” Isaiah 64:4.

Many have longed to penetrate into the glories of the future world and to have the secrets of eternal mysteries disclosed to them, but they knock in vain. That which is revealed is for us and for our children (Deuteronomy 29:29). … The Great Revealer hath opened to our intelligence many things that are essential in order that we may understand the heavenly attractions and have respect to the recompense of the reward. …

The unfoldings of Jesus in reference to heavenly things are of a character that only the spiritual mind can appreciate. The imagination may summon its utmost powers in order to picture the glories of heaven, but “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The heavenly intelligences are all around us. … Angels of light create a heavenly atmosphere about the soul, lifting us toward the unseen and eternal. We cannot behold their forms with our natural sight; only by the spiritual vision can we discern heavenly things. Our human powers would be extinguished by the inexpressible glory of the angels of light. The spiritual ear alone can distinguish the harmony of heavenly voices. It is not Christ’s plan to excite the emotions by brilliant descriptions. … He has with sufficient distinctness presented Himself, the way, the truth, and the life, as the only means whereby salvation is to be obtained. No more than this is really required.

He might bring the human soul to the threshold of heaven, and through the open door show us its inner glory flooding the heavenly sanctuary and shining out through its portals; but we must behold it by faith, not with the natural eyes. He does not forget that we are His human agents, to work the works of God in a world all seared and marred with the curse. It is in this world, that is clothed with moral darkness like the pall of death, where darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people (Isaiah 60:2), that we are to walk in the light of heaven. …

Come, Ye Blessed

Those who truly love God will desire so to improve the talents that He has given them, that they may be a blessing to others. And by and by the gates of heaven will be thrown wide open to admit them, and from the lips of the King of Glory the benediction will fall upon their ear like richest music, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Thus the redeemed will be welcomed to the mansions that Jesus is preparing for them. There their companions will not be the vile of earth, but those who through divine aid have formed perfect characters. Every sinful tendency, every imperfection, has been removed by the blood of Christ; and the excellence and brightness of His glory, far exceeding the brightness of the sun in its meridian splendor, is imparted to them. And the moral beauty, the perfection of His character, shines through them in worth far exceeding this outward splendor. They are without fault before the great white throne, sharing the dignity and privileges of the angels.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9). In view of the glorious inheritance which may be his, “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26.) He may be poor; yet he possesses in himself a wealth and dignity that the world could never bestow. The soul, redeemed and cleansed from sin, with all its noble powers dedicated to the service of God, is of surpassing worth.

To dwell forever in this home of the blest, to bear in soul, body, and spirit, not the dark traces of sin and the curse, but the perfect likeness of our Creator, and through ceaseless ages to advance in wisdom, in knowledge, and in holiness, ever exploring new fields of thought, ever finding new wonders and new glories, ever increasing in capacity to know and to enjoy and to love, and knowing that there is still beyond us joy and love and wisdom infinite—such is the object to which the Christian’s hope is pointing.

Longing for Heaven

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2.

When God’s people take their eyes off the things of this world and place them on heaven and heavenly things they will be a peculiar people, because they will see the mercy and goodness and compassion that God has shown to the children of men. His love will call forth a response from them, and their lives will show to those around them that the Spirit of God is controlling them, that they are setting their affections on things above, not on the things of the earth.

In thinking of heaven, we may put our imagination to the utmost stretch and think the loftiest thoughts that we are capable of thinking, and our mind will grow weary in the effort to comprehend the breadth and depth and height of the subject. It is impossible for our minds to take in the great themes of eternity. It is impossible for us even to make an effort to understand these things without the effort affecting our whole character for good and having an uplifting influence on our minds. As we think of how Christ came to our world to die for fallen man, we understand something of the price that was paid for our redemption, and we realize that there is no true goodness or greatness apart from God.

Only by the light shining from the cross of Calvary can we know to what depths of sin and degradation the human race has fallen through sin. Only by the length of the chain let down from heaven to draw us up can we know the depths to which we had sunk. And it is only by keeping the unseen realities in view that we can understand anything of the wonderful theme of redemption.

We are almost home; we shall soon hear the voice of the Saviour richer than any music, saying, Your warfare is accomplished. Enter into the joy of thy Lord. Blessed, blessed benediction; I want to hear it from His immortal lips. I want to praise Him; I want to honor Him that sitteth on the throne. I want my voice to echo and re-echo through the courts of heaven. Will you be there? … God help us, and fill us with all fullness and power, and then we can taste of the joys of the world to come.

In Heavenly Places, 365-368.