Bible Study Guides – How to Understand the Bible

January 23, 2005 – January 29, 2005

Memory Verse:

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26, RSV.

Suggested Reading: Selected Messages, Book 1, 15–23.

1 What claim does the Bible make about itself? 11 Timothy 3:16. See also 11 Peter 1:20, 21.

note: “God committed the preparation of His divinely inspired Word to finite man. This Word arranged into books, the Old and New Testaments, is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world; bequeathed to them, that by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 16.

2 Why were God’s people in ancient times destroyed? Hosea 4:6. See also Isaiah 5:13.

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. And to the priests and teachers He declared, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee; . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.’ Hosea 4:6. . . .

“Will they [God’s people today] 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.

3 How much of God’s Word is needed for real spiritual growth? Matthew 4:4. See also Deuteronomy 8:3.

note: “The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ, and the Saviour desired to fix the faith of His followers on the word. When His visible presence should be withdrawn, the word must be their source of power. Like their Master, they were to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4. . . .

“We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 390.

4 What did Jesus say was the basic theme of the Scriptures? John 5:39. See also Luke 24:44.

note: “In every page, whether history, or precept, or prophecy, the Old Testament Scriptures are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. So far as it was of divine institution, the entire system of Judaism was a compacted prophecy of the gospel. To Christ ‘give all the prophets witness.’ Acts 10:43. From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven’s glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession. In every sacrifice Christ’s death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt.” The Desire of Ages, 211, 212.

5 What did Jesus call those who did not believe all that the Bible says? Luke 24:25. See also Matthew 22:29.

note: “The great themes of the Old Testament were misapprehended and misinterpreted, and Christ’s work was to expound the truth which had not been understood by those to whom they had been given. The prophets had made the statements, but the spiritual import of what they had written, was undiscovered by them. They did not see the meaning of the truth. Jesus reproved His disciples for their slowness of comprehension. Many of His precious lessons were lost to them, because they did not understand the spiritual grandeur of His words.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 404.

6 On what two points did Paul commend the Bereans? Acts 17:10, 11. See also 11 Timothy 2:15; 11 Chronicles 20:20; Isaiah 8:20.

note: “The minds of the Bereans were not narrowed by prejudice. They were willing to investigate the truthfulness of the doctrines preached by the apostles. They studied the Bible, not from curiosity, but in order that they might learn what had been written concerning the promised Messiah. Daily they searched the inspired records, and as they compared scripture with scripture, heavenly angels were beside them, enlightening their minds and impressing their hearts.

“Wherever the truths of the gospel are proclaimed, those who honestly desire to do right are led to a diligent searching of the Scriptures. If, in the closing scenes of this earth’s history, those to whom testing truths are proclaimed would follow the example of the Bereans, searching the Scriptures daily, and comparing with God’s word the messages brought them, there would today be a large number loyal to the precepts of God’s law, where now there are comparatively few.” The Acts of the Apostles, 231, 232.

7 What is one condition that God sets forth for understanding the Bible? Matthew 11:25; Psalm 25:9. See also Isaiah 57:15; 1 Corinthians 1:21, 26–31.

note: “It was the experience gained during the years of toil and waiting in Midian—the spirit of humility and long-suffering there developed—that prepared Moses to meet with patience the unbelief and murmuring of the people and the pride and envy of those who should have been his unswerving helpers. Moses ‘was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth’ [Numbers 12:3], and this is why he was granted divine wisdom and guidance above all others. Says the Scripture, ‘The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.’ Psalm 25:9. The meek are guided by the Lord, because they are teachable, willing to be instructed. They have a sincere desire to know and to do the will of God. The Saviour’s promise is, ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ John 7:17.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 384.

8 What is a second condition that God gives for understanding the Bible? 11 Timothy 2:15. See also Isaiah 28:9, 10; Luke 24:25–27, 44.

note: “The Holy Spirit is ever at work, seeking to purify, refine, and discipline the souls of men, in order that they may become fitted for the society of saints and angels. . . . As children of God, we should make earnest efforts to be overcomers; and as students who seek to honor and glorify God, we should study to show ourselves approved of Him, workmen that need not to be ashamed.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 238.

9 What is a third condition for understanding the Bible? 1 Corinthians 2:10–14; John 16:13.

note: “The office of the Holy Spirit is distinctly specified in the words of Christ: ‘When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ John 16:8. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin. If the sinner responds to the quickening influence of the Spirit, he will be brought to repentance and aroused to the importance of obeying the divine requirements.” The Acts of the Apostles, 52.

10 What is the fourth condition God sets forth for understanding the Bible? 11 Thessalonians 2:9–12. See also Romans 1:28; Hebrews 4:12.

note: “Those who are unwilling to accept the plain, cutting truths of the Bible are continually seeking for pleasing fables that will quiet the conscience. The less spiritual, self-denying, and humiliating the doctrines presented, the greater the favor with which they are received. These persons degrade the intellectual powers to serve their carnal desires. Too wise in their own conceit to search the Scriptures with contrition of soul and earnest prayer for divine guidance, they have no shield from delusion. Satan is ready to supply the heart’s desire, and he palms off his deceptions in the place of truth. It was thus that the papacy gained its power over the minds of men; and by rejection of the truth because it involves a cross, Protestants are following the same path.” The Great Controversy, 523.

11 What is a fifth condition God gives for understanding the Bible? Jeremiah 29:13. See also Matthew 5:6; 13:45, 46.

note: “We are not at liberty to teach that which will reach the world’s standard, or the standard of the church, because it is the custom to do so! We are safe only when following the lessons of Jesus Christ. That which was safe for Him to teach, is safe for our children to study. Eternal life is before us, and do we not want our children to win the precious boon? But all who win eternal life, old or young, must put aside their likes and dislikes, and with simplicity of heart and profound humility they must search God’s Word. Those who are bold and domineering and full of self-sufficiency, will not search the Scriptures with an eye single to the glory of God; for they will seek to find something with which to vindicate their own ideas and sustain their own theories. There is a great deal of insubordination in the heart that is not fully sanctified.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 75, 76.

12 What is a sixth condition for understanding the Bible? John 8:31, 32. See also John 7:17; Matthew 13:12; 7:24–27.

note: “When we are truly Christ’s, our hearts will be full of meekness, gentleness, and kindness, because Jesus has forgiven our sins. As obedient children we shall receive and cherish the precepts he has given, and shall attend to the ordinances he has instituted. We shall be seeking constantly to obtain a knowledge of him. His example will be our rule of life.” Review and Herald, August 4, 1891.

Answer key available upon request.

Bible Study Guides – How to Study the Bible

January 16, 2005 – January 22, 2005

Memory Verse:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 11 Timothy 2:15.

Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 593–602.

Introduction

“The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593.

1 What example has been left to us by the early followers of Jesus? Acts 18:24.

note: “We all need and must have pure religion, not borrowed from another, but from Christ Jesus, the source of all heavenly grace. Then we are to honor God by looking to God, trusting in God, and keeping the truth in the heart pure and undefiled, having that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The truth, when practiced, is a guide. Christ is truth. We must yield to him who alone is truth, and who alone can give to the troubled heart assurance and peace.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 29.

2 How often are we to study the Scriptures? Acts 17:11.

note: “It is of little advantage to skim over the surface of the Scriptures. If we would understand fully the words of Christ, thought must be brought into the searching of the Scriptures. We should open the Scriptures with great reverence, and not in a slothful, lazy manner. The word of Christ is spirit and life to the receiver.” The Upward Look, 368.

3 How are we to study the Scriptures? Isaiah 28:10.

note: “The Bible is a divine communication, and is as verily a message to the soul as though a voice from heaven were heard speaking to us. With what awe and reverence and humiliation should we come to the searching of the Scriptures, that we may learn of eternal realities. When the spell of Satan is broken, and the Bible becomes to us the living word of God, we shall be safe in following our convictions of duty; for if we watch unto prayer, they will be inspired by the Spirit of God. Let everyone study the Bible, knowing that the word of God is as enduring as the eternal throne. If you come to the study of the Scriptures in humility, with earnest prayer for guidance, angels of God will open to you its living realities; and if you cherish the precepts of truth, they will be to you as a wall of fire against the temptations, delusions, and enchantments of Satan.” The Signs of the Times, September 18, 1893.

4 How important is the study of the Scriptures? 11 Timothy 3:16, 17.

note: “The first place in our thoughts and affections should be given to the Book of books; for it contains knowledge that we need above all other. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ [Proverbs 9:10.] Let us seek to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Let us draw near to God, that his angels may protect and bless us. Thus may we gain the victory over the powers of darkness, and finally receive the crown of glory, honor, and immortal life in the kingdom of God.” The Signs of the Times, May 19, 1887.

5 What will be the experience of those who study the Scriptures? Romans 15:4.

note: “If there was ever a time when a knowledge of the Scriptures was more important than at any other, that time is the present. I appeal to old and young, Make the Bible your text-book. Here you will find the true standard of character. Here you will learn what is required of you in order to become a child of God.” The Signs of the Times, May 19, 1887.

6 To what is the Word of God compared? 11 Peter 1:19.

note: “No one is left in darkness as to that which God approves or disapproves. In studying the Scriptures we become acquainted with God, and are led to understand our relation to Christ, who is the sin-bearer, the surety, the substitute, for our fallen race. These truths concern our present and eternal interests. The Bible stands the highest among books, and its study is valuable above the study of other literature in giving strength and expansion to the mind.” Review and Herald, February 25, 1896.

7 How early in life should a person begin to learn and study the Scriptures? 11 Timothy 3:14, 15. See also Luke 2:40.

note: “In childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus studied the Scriptures. As a little child, He was daily, at His mother’s knee, taught from the scrolls of the prophets. In His youth the early morning and evening twilight often found Him alone on the mountainside or among the trees of the forest, spending a quiet hour in prayer and in the study of God’s Word. During His ministry His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures testified to His diligence in their study. And since He gained knowledge as we may gain it, His wonderful power, both mental and spiritual, is a testimony to the value of the Bible as a means of education.” The Signs of the Times, September 19, 1906.

8 What did Peter hope to accomplish by encouraging people to study the Bible? 11 Peter 3:1, 2.

note: “The Bible should be a book for study. The precious pearls of truth do not lie upon the surface, to be found by a careless, uninterested reader. Christ knew what was best for us, of whatever age, when he commanded us, ‘Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.’ [John 5:39.] Jesus, the greatest teacher the world ever knew, would have men and women and children and youth reach the highest standard of excellence of character. He would have them become fully developed mentally, morally, and physically.” Review and Herald, November 9, 1886.

9 If we study the Word of God, how will we deal with sin? Psalm 119:11.

note: “If the Bible had been made the book of study in the schools, what a different showing there would be in society today! It is for our present and our eternal good to inquire at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? Since the fall of Adam, it has been the fashion of the world to sin, and it is for our interest to know what sin is. John declares: ‘Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.’ [1 John 3:4, 5.] The information is plainly given that sin is the transgression of the law.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 20, 1898.

10 What will happen to our mind if we will study the Word of God? Jeremiah 15:16.

note: “Those who are conversant with the Scriptures will be men and women who exert an elevating influence. In searching for Heaven-revealed truths, the Spirit of God is brought into close connection with the heart. An understanding of the revealed will of God enlarges the mind, expands, elevates, and endows it with new vigor, by bringing its faculties into contact with stupendous truth. No study is better to give energy to the mind, to strengthen the intellect, than the study of the Word of God. No other book is so potent in elevating the thoughts, in giving vigor to the faculties, as is the Bible, which contains the most ennobling truths. If God’s Word were studied as it should be, we should see greater breadth of mind, stability of purpose, and nobility of character.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, October 1, 1892.

11 What is another name given to Jesus Christ? John 1:1–3, 14.

note: “We are to feed upon Christ, the living bread from heaven. Our souls are to thirst for the waters of salvation, and we are to study the Scriptures, and practice the truths they teach in our daily life. Those who do this will reveal the fact that they are feasting upon the bread of life, eating the flesh of the Son of God, and drinking daily of the waters of salvation. If we closely study the words of Christ, and take heed to his lessons, we shall feed upon his flesh; for the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. Christ says: ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.’ [John 6:63.]” The Youth’s Instructor, June 27, 1895.

12 What does God desire as the end product through the study of the Word? John 15:1–3.

note: “The Word specifies the gifts and graces that are essential for every soul who receives the truth. But especially does the Lord require His messengers, who carry His Word to others, to live the truth, to reveal that they are sanctified through the truth. If they do not show their love of the truth by meeting the infallible standard, let them step out from the ministry and no longer dishonor God by their disorderly course of action. Let close, critical examination be made of the tenor of their life and action. Have they the marks that testify that they are children of God, that they apply the Word of God as a test of their own qualification to do service that will properly represent Christ? Have they shown a clear understanding, a right judgment in the things of God? Have they a sweet, pure, clean spirit in the sight of God, in the home and in the church? Do they give evidence that they are undefiled, that they can labor to help others out of Satan’s power, or do they show a want of sincere piety and conscientious scruples in willing toil, failing to lift burdens for Christ? Do they give evidence that day by day they are learning the meekness and lowliness of Christ?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 29.

Bible Study Guides – The Difference Between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant View of the Bible

January 9, 2005 – January 15, 2005

Memory Verse:

“All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 11 Timothy 3:16, 17.

Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 197–210.

FIRST DIFFERENCE: The Basic Attitude Toward the Scriptures

1 Does the Bible contain all things necessary for salvation and can the Scriptures alone enable the Christian to reach spiritual perfection? 11 Timothy 3:16, 17.

note: The Protestant Position. “I see plainly and with my own eyes, that there are popes against popes, councils against councils, some fathers against others, the same fathers against themselves, a consent of fathers of one age against a consent of fathers of another age, the church of one age against the church of another age. . . . In a word, there is no sufficient certainty but of Scripture only for any considering man to build upon.” William Chillingworth, M.A., The Religion of Protestants, London, 1866, 463.

“He who receives a single doctrine upon the mere authority of tradition, let him be called by what name he will, by so doing steps down from the Protestant rock, passes over the line which separates Protestantism from Popery, and can give no valid reason why he should not receive all the earlier doctrines and ceremonies of Romanism, upon the same authority.” John Dowling, D.D., History of Romanism, New York, 1871, 67, 68.

See also The Great Controversy, 81, 102, 126, 166.

The Catholic Position. “The church . . . does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, 1994, Paragraph 82, 26.

“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God.” Ibid., 29.

“Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition. For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community.” Ibid., 291.

“The Bible was actually placed on the ‘Index of Forbidden Books’ by the Council of Valencia in the year 1229.” Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Philadelphia, 1962, 97.

SECOND DIFFERENCE: What Books Should Be Included in the Bible?

2 What books did Jesus include in the Bible or Scriptures? Luke 24:44.

comment: The Hebrew Bible used by the Jews in the days of Christ consisted of three parts. Those three parts are, first of all, the Law. This first part was Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The second part of the Bible was the prophets. The prophets consisted of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 11 Samuel, 1 and 11 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The third part of the Bible was the Writings. The first book of this third part of the Bible was the Psalms and this third part of the Bible was often referred to as the Psalms as in Luke 24:44. This third section consisted of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and 1 and 11 Chronicles, in that order.

3 What does the Bible warn about either adding or omitting any of the sacred writings? Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18, 19.

note: See The Great Controversy, 289, 290.

4 How many books are in the Catholic Bible? (See any official Catholic Bible in your public library.)

note: “It was by apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books. This complete list is called the canon of Scripture. It includes 46 books for the Old Testament . . . and 27 for the New.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, 1994, 34.

comment: Notice in the above statement that if it is tradition that determines which books should be in the Bible, then tradition is above the Bible as a source of divine revelation. The Bible student who is a Protestant must have a different method of determining what should be included in the Bible than this, or he is on his way to becoming a Roman Catholic.

5 How many books are in the Protestant Bible? (See any Bible that has been translated by people who are Protestants, such as the NASB, the NIV, the fourth revision of the KJV, the NKJV, the RSV, etc.)

comment: Although the apocryphal books as they are called were included in the original 1611 King James Version, Protestants in general, from the time of the sixteenth century Protestant reformers, only have 39 books in their Old Testament (exactly the same as the Hebrew Bible used by the Jews) and 27 books in their New Testament.

6 Does the church have authority to add anything to the teachings of Christ? Matthew 28:18–20.

note: “The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach. ‘The law and the prophets,’ with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world.” The Desire of Ages, 826.

7 As in Bible times are there any popular beliefs and church practices today that cannot be found in the Protestant Bible? 1 Peter 1:18; Ephesians 2:3; Matthew 15:8, 9.

note: “When the common people started reading the scriptures they [as the Waldenses and the Paulicians and the Albigenses hundreds of years before] were ‘struck with the strange discrepancy between the teaching of the Sacred Volume and that of the church of Rome.’ ” Eugene Lawrence, Historical Studies, Harper Brothers, New York, 1876, 255.

“In the Book of God there were found no purgatory, no infallible pope, no masses for the dead, no sale of indulgences, no relics working miracles, no prayers for the dead, no worship of the Virgin Mary or of saints!” Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee, 1943, 14.

THIRD DIFFERENCE: Attitude Toward Bible Translations

8 What was the Roman Catholic attitude toward the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures and Bible Translations at the time of the Protestant Reformation? What is the Protestant position on this subject? Acts 22:2; 11 Timothy 4:13; 1 Corinthians 14:19.

comment: The Roman Catholic Attitude. The Roman Church at the Council of Trent condemned the idea that the Scriptures must be studied in the original languages. The theory that there were errors in the Vulgate was also condemned by the Council of Trent. In other words, they believed that they had an infallible Bible in terms of faith and doctrine.

The Protestant Position. For any person whose faith is based on a sacred book, it is very important to know exactly what that book teaches as originally written, that is, in the language in which it was originally written. This is why there was an increased interest in the study of Greek and Hebrew among the Protestants during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Protestant position was then, and still is today, that the Scriptures should be studied in the original languages, and that there were errors in the Vulgate. Protestants have never believed that there was an infallible or inerrant translation of the Scriptures. This was not claimed for any of the Protestant Bibles in the sixteenth century or for the King James Version or for any Protestant Bibles since that time.

9 In what language does the Holy Spirit want the people of the human race to receive the Word of God? Acts 2:4–11; 1 Corinthians 14:27, 28.

FOURTH DIFFERENCE: How Can An Understanding of the Bible Be Acquired?

10 What is the Protestant position about understanding the Bible? 11 Timothy 3:13–15.

comment: The Protestant reformers all taught that the Bible was plain, and its meaning could be discovered by anybody with the help of the Holy Spirit even without the aid of commentaries, clergy, or the church. See The Great Controversy, 251.

The Roman Catholic position condemned the idea that the meaning of the Scriptures was plain, and that it could be understood, without commentary, with the help of Christ’s Spirit.

11 What method was used by William Miller to acquire an understanding of the Bible? Isaiah 28:9, 10.

note: “Endeavoring to lay aside all preconceived opinions, and dispensing with commentaries, he compared scripture with scripture by the aid of the marginal references and the concordance.” The Great Controversy, 320.

12 What is the result of allowing either the church or theologians to interpret the Bible for us? 11 Timothy 4:3.

note: “The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support.

“Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in the place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn their duty for themselves. Then, by controlling the minds of these leaders, he can influence the multitudes according to his will.” The Great Controversy, 595.

Bible Study Guides – The Inspiration of Scripture

January 2, 2005 – January 8, 2005

Memory Verse:

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke [as they were] moved by the Holy Spirit.” 11 Peter 1:19–21.

Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 5, 698–711.

1 How much of the Scripture is inspired? 11 Timothy 3:16.

note: “The apostle Peter says that there are in Scripture ‘things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest . . . unto their own destruction.’ [11 Peter 3:16.] The difficulties of Scripture have been urged by skeptics as an argument against the Bible; but so far from this, they constitute a strong evidence of its divine inspiration. If it contained no account of God but that which we could easily comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could be grasped by finite minds, then the Bible would not bear the unmistakable credentials of divine authority. The very grandeur and mystery of the themes presented should inspire faith in it as the word of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 700.

2 How did Scripture come into being? 11 Peter 1:20, 21.

note: “There is need of a much closer study of the Word of God. Especially should Daniel and the Revelation have attention as never before in the history of our work. We may have less to say in some lines, in regard to the Roman power and the papacy, but we should call attention to what the prophets and the apostles have written under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit has so shaped matters, both in the giving of the prophecy, and in the events portrayed, as to teach that the human agent is to be kept out of sight, hid in Christ, and the Lord God of heaven and His law are to be exalted.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 333.

3 How was the process of inspiration established in the prophet? Isaiah 1:1; Ezekiel 1:1; Daniel 7:1.

note: “The Lord was pleased with the course that Daniel pursued. He was greatly beloved and honored of Heaven; to him the God of wisdom gave skill in the learning of the Chaldeans, and understanding in all visions and dreams.” The Signs of the Times, September 18, 1884.

4 What claim does God make that establishes inspiration? Isaiah 46:9.

note: “The Bible is a wonderful book. It is a history that opens up to us the past centuries. Without the Bible we would have been left to conjectures and fables in regard to the occurrences of past ages. It is a prophecy that unveils the future. It is the word of God unfolding to us the plan of salvation, pointing out the way by which we may escape eternal death and gain eternal life. Of all the books that flood the world, however valuable, the Bible is the Book of books, most deserving of our study and admiration. It gives not only the history of this world but a description of the world to come. It contains instruction concerning the wonders of the universe, it reveals to our understanding the character of the Author of the heavens and the earth. In it is the revelation of God to man.” The Signs of the Times, January 30, 1893.

5 Did the writers of the Bible recognize other prophets also? 11 Peter 3:1, 2; Luke 1:69, 70. See also 11 Thessalonians 3:14.

note: “The Bible points to God as its Author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers. The truths revealed are all ‘given by inspiration of God’ (11 Timothy 3:16); yet they are expressed in the words of men. The Infinite One by his Holy Spirit had shed light into the minds and hearts of his servants. He has given dreams and visions, symbols and figures; and those to whom the truth was thus revealed, have themselves embodied the thought in human language.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1906.

6 What did God design that His inspired Word should do? Hebrews 4:12.

note: “The Bible may be studied as a branch of human science would be, but its beauty, the evidence of its power to save the soul that believes, is a lesson that is never thus learned. If the practice of the Word is not brought into the life, then the sword of the Spirit has not wounded the natural heart. It has been shielded in poetic fancy. Sentimentalism has so wrapped it about that the heart has not sufficiently felt the keenness of its edge, piercing and cutting away the sinful shrines where self is worshiped.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 97.

7 Can Bible writers claim the endorsement of God through His Word? 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

note: “There are many who claim that they have been sanctified to God, and yet when the great standard of righteousness is presented to them, they become greatly excited, and manifest a spirit which proves that they know nothing of what it means to be sanctified. They have not the mind of Christ; for those who are truly sanctified will reverence and obey the word of God as fast as it is opened to them, and they will express a strong desire to know what is truth on every point of doctrine.” Review and Herald, March 25, 1902.

8 Why were prophets who were inspired of God given to the church? Ephesians 4:11–14.

note: “We can see from this scripture that the Lord has his appointed workers, and that the work committed unto them has in view a definite object. Prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, are all to work for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Review and Herald, March 7, 1893.

9 Should we try to separate some Scripture as inspired and others not? Matthew 4:4.

note: “The union of the divine and the human, manifest in Christ, exists also in the Bible. The truths revealed are all ‘given by inspiration of God’ [11 Timothy 3:16]; yet they are expressed in the words of men and are adapted to human needs. Thus it may be said of the Book of God, as it was of Christ, that ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ [John 1:14.] And this fact, so far from being an argument against the Bible, should strengthen faith in it as the word of God. Those who pronounce upon the inspiration of the Scriptures, accepting some portions as divine while they reject other parts as human, overlook the fact that Christ, the divine, partook of our human nature, that He might reach humanity. In the work of God for man’s redemption, divinity and humanity are combined.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 747.

10 When a person uses inspired Scripture to support some position, should we accept it just because they quote or paraphrase words from the Bible? 1 John 4:1.

note: “We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar of the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstrations of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.” The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, 208.

11 Will the time come when there will be an attempt to change the force of God’s Word in the life of His followers? Jude 3, 4.

note: “There are those in the church who, unless thoroughly converted, will crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. I appeal to every church-member to inquire, Am I doing all I can to honor my Redeemer? Truth held in unrighteousness is the greatest curse that can come to our world. But the truth as it is in Jesus is a savor of life unto life. It is worth possessing, worth living, worth defending. Christ calls upon us to enter the narrow pathway, where every step means a denial of self. He calls upon us to stand upon the platform of eternal truth, and contend, yes, contend earnestly, for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Review and Herald, December 4, 1900.

12 Did the gift of prophecy operating under inspiration end with the apostolic age? Acts 2:17, 18.

note: “We call upon you to take your stand on the Lord’s side, and act your part as a loyal subject of the kingdom. Acknowledge the gift that has been placed in the church for the guidance of God’s people in the closing days of earth’s history. From the beginning the church of God has had the gift of prophecy in her midst as a living voice to counsel, admonish, and instruct. We have now come to the last days of the work of the third angel’s message, when Satan will work with increasing power because he knows that his time is short. At the same time there will come to us through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, diversities of operations in the outpouring of the Spirit. This is the time of the latter rain.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 151, 152.

Bible Study Guides – Can We Depend on God’s Word Today?

December 26, 2004 – January 1, 2005

Memory Verse:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105, NKJV.

Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, v–ix.

Introduction

The Bible says that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” for “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” 11 Timothy 3:16; 11 Peter 1:21. The Bible teaches that it is the word of the living God, written by human penmen, to the inhabitants of earth. How can we know that this claim of the Bible is true?

1 What does Jesus say is the source of truth? John 17:17. See also 11 Peter 1:19–21.

note: “ ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ [Proverbs 9:10.] A knowledge of God and His requirements will open the understanding of the student to realize his responsibilities to God and to the world. To this end he will feel that his talents must be developed in that way which will produce the very best results. This cannot be done unless all the precepts and principles of religion are connected with his school education. In no case should he disconnect God from his studies. In the pursuit of knowledge he is searching for truth; and all truth comes from God, the source of truth. Students who are virtuous and are imbued with the Spirit of Christ will grasp knowledge with all their faculties.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 273.

2 From Whom did Jesus receive the information contained in Revelation? Revelation 1:1.

note: “The whole Bible is a revelation; for all revelation to men comes through Christ, and all centers in Him. God has spoken unto us by His Son, whose we are by creation and by redemption. Christ came to John exiled on the Isle of Patmos to give him the truth for these last days, to show him that which must shortly come to pass. Jesus Christ is the great trustee of divine revelation. It is through Him that we have a knowledge of what we are to look for in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. God gave this revelation to Christ, and Christ communicated the same to John.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 953.

3 What two phrases describe the record that John wrote out? Revelation 1:2.

note: “They [kings and rulers] saw John the aged, honored and beloved, constantly referring to Jesus as the eternal Word, giving to him a power exceeding their power. His testimony was always the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. And notwithstanding his age, his venerable appearance, his white locks, in their envy and jealousy they condemned the faithful apostle to what was then thought to be the most severe of all punishments. He was separated from his beloved people, and banished to Patmos. ‘I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ [Revelation 1:9.]” Review and Herald, May 16, 1899.

4 Who does the disciple John say is the Word? John 1:1, 2, 14. See also John 6:47–51; Revelation 19:13.

note: “The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate—a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.’ John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, in purpose—the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.

5 How long has the Word of God been in existence? Micah 5:2. See also John 17:5; Psalm 119:89, 160.

note: “ ‘His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6. His ‘goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.’ Micah 5:2. And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: ‘The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting. . . . When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.’ [Proverbs 8:22–30.]” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.

6 What knowledge does God have concerning the past and the future? Isaiah 46:10. See also Isaiah 41:4; 45:21; Revelation 10:7; 1:1, 2; John 16:13.

note: “He that ruleth in the heavens is the one who sees the end from the beginning—the one before whom the mysteries of the past and the future are alike outspread, and who, beyond the woe and darkness and ruin that sin has wrought, beholds the accomplishment of His own purposes of love and blessing.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 43.

7 For how long will God’s precepts or Commandments be trustworthy? Psalm 111:7, 8. See also Psalm 119:111, 112, 152; Isaiah 40:8.

note: “ ‘The word of our God shall stand forever.’ ‘All His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.’ Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 111:7, 8. Whatever is built upon the authority of man will be overthrown; but that which is founded upon the rock of God’s immutable word shall stand forever.” The Great Controversy, 288.

8 Where is the Word of God anchored? Psalm 119:89. See also Revelation 11:12.

note: “The law of God in the sanctuary in heaven is the great original, of which the precepts inscribed upon the tables of stone and recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch were an unerring transcript. . . . The law of God, being a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, must forever endure, ‘as a faithful witness in heaven.’ [Psalm 89:37.] Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or tittle has been changed. Says the psalmist: ‘Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.’ ‘All His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever.’ [Psalms 119:89; 111:7, 8.]” The Great Controversy, 434.

9 What standard of character is ascribed to the testimonies? Psalm 119:144. See also Psalm 119:137, 138, 160, 164, 172.

note: “ ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.’ Proverbs 9:10. The great work of life is character building, and a knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education. To impart this knowledge and to mold the character in harmony with it should be the object of the teacher’s work. The law of God is a reflection of His character. Hence the psalmist says, ‘All Thy commandments are righteousness;’ and ‘through Thy precepts I get understanding.’ Psalm 119:172, 104. God has revealed Himself to us in His word and in the works of creation. Through the volume of inspiration and the book of nature we are to obtain a knowledge of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 596.

10 How enduring are the words of God (the Bible)? Matthew 24:35. See also Psalm 119:144, 152; Mark 13:31.

note: “If with a humble heart you seek divine guidance in every trouble and perplexity, His word is pledged that a gracious answer will be given you. And His word can never fail. Heaven and earth may pass away, but His word will never pass away. Trust in the Lord, and you will never be confounded or ashamed. ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 427.

11 Will any weapons or plans to destroy the Scriptures succeed? Revelation 11:3–12. See also Psalm 119:126, 152, Isaiah 54:17.

note: “Millions have joined in the war upon the Bible. But it is so far from being destroyed, that where there were a hundred in Voltaire’s time, there are now ten thousand, yes, a hundred thousand copies of the book of God. In the words of an early Reformer concerning the Christian church, ‘The Bible is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.’ Saith the Lord: ‘No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.’ Isaiah 54:17.” The Great Controversy, 288.

12 What does the Bible say about those who walk according to the law of the Lord and who keep His statutes; who seek Him with all their heart? Psalm 119:1–3; Revelation 22:14. See also Psalm 119:104, 130, 165, 175.

note: “In our churches we should not act as though we were groping our way in the dark. Clear light has been given us. The Lord has spoken to every one in his word, and that word is luminous with light, and weighty with the precious ore of truth. In the Bible we have a perfect rule of conduct, and we are safe in humbly following it. With reverent hearts we should bow to God’s expressed will. We are not left in uncertainty; for in all the varied circumstances of life we may walk according to the instructions of God, which are based upon golden principles of truth, and revealed in the precepts of his law. In the Bible there are rules to meet every case. A complete system of faith has been revealed, and correct rules for practice in our daily life have been made known. Those who turn from the beaten path marked out in God’s word, because it suits their feelings better to do so than to walk according to the commandment, leave the light, and are enshrouded in darkness. Peace of mind, happiness, and heaven are sacrificed for the sake of maintaining human pride and indulging stubbornness of will.” Review and Herald, July 22, 1890.

Food for Life – Carob Sweets

When reading the Bible with humble, teachable heart, we are holding intercourse with God Himself. The thoughts expressed, the precepts specified, the doctrines revealed, are a voice from the God of heaven. The Bible will bear to be studied, and the mind, if not bewitched by Satan, will be attracted and charmed. . . . The light which beams through the Scriptures is light from the eternal throne flashed down to this earth. . . .

“All who make the Word of God their guide in this life will act from principle. Those who are vacillating, vain, and extravagant in dress, who are gratifying the appetite and following the promptings of the natural heart, will, in obeying the teachings of God’s Word, become balanced. They will devote themselves to duty with an energy that never falters, and they will rise from one degree of strength to another. Their characters will be beautiful and fragrant and devoid of selfishness. They will make their way and be acceptable anywhere among those who love truth and righteousness.

“The psalmist prayed, ‘Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.’ The Lord heard him, for how full of assurance are the words, ‘How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ ‘More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.’ (Psalm 119:18, 103; 19:10.) And as the Lord heard and answered David, so He will hear and answer us, making our hearts full of gladness and rejoicing.”

That I May Know Him, 196.

Carob Sweets

1 cup almonds, soaked in water overnight

1 cup walnuts, soaked in water overnight

Drain off water and grind the nuts together into butter.

Add:

1 teaspoon light tahini

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon honey

Mix together well to make a dough, and divide into two halves. Add 1 teaspoon carob powder to one half. Chop some dates or other dried fruit. Roll up a small piece of white dough and a small piece of carob dough, adding a piece of dried fruit in the center. Roll each ball in carob powder to coat.

A friend of Steps to Life, Margaret Murray enjoys reading LandMarks and watching sermon videos on Sabbath. She lives on the Sussex Coast at Eastbourne, England.

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

LandMarks Recipes
Steps to Life Ministry
P.O. Box 782828
Wichita, KS 67278

Nature Nugget – Dove Invasion

The Eurasian Collared-Dove is a medium-sized, pale grayish-brown dove with a black collar on the back of the neck. It was originally native to the Indian subcontinent with a slight extension over to Turkey. During the sixteenth century, the Collared-Dove spread through Asia Minor and the Balkans. Recently, it has undergone an explosive range expansion throughout Europe and most of North America.

Over a 44-year period during the past century, the Collared-Dove expanded its range westward by 1,800 miles, covering most of Europe at an average rate of 41 miles per year. They now occur as far north as Iceland and above the Arctic Circle in Norway. Colonization occurred in jumps of several hundred miles at a time with subsequent back filling. It is currently still expanding its range into Russia and the Iberian Peninsula.

During the early 1970s, an order was placed to Great Britain from the Bahamas for some Ringed Turtle-Doves, a similar looking domesticated relative of the Collared-Dove. Unable to fill this order, the supplier sent Eurasian Collared-Doves instead. In 1974, as the result of an aviary break-in, about 50 of these birds were released into the wild. Over the next ten years, their population reached around 10,000 birds, and they started spreading to other islands. By the mid-1980s, they reached Miami, Florida, on the North American mainland. From there, their colonization of North America has been very rapid. Now, almost 20 years later, they currently have an almost continuous population extending from Florida north to Indiana and west through the Great Plains. They are still spreading north and west, and there are now records of sightings as far away as Minnesota, Washington, and Nevada. There is a separate introduced population in coastal southern California that is starting to spread also.

Fortunately, the Eurasian Collared-Dove does not seem to be competing with the native North American doves but seems to be occupying an empty ecological niche in our environment created by man. They prefer suburban areas of towns and cities where they frequent bird feeders and ornamental plantings found in people’s yards. They feed on agricultural grains, leaves, fruits, and seeds. They also occur in the country around farms with grain bins.

“Have you ever watched a hawk in pursuit of a timid dove? Instinct has taught the dove that in order for the hawk to seize his prey, he must gain a loftier flight than his victim. So she rises higher and still higher in the blue dome of heaven, ever pursued by the hawk, which is seeking to obtain the advantage. But in vain. The dove is safe as long as she allows nothing to stop her in her flight, or draw her earthward; but let her once falter, and take a lower flight, and her watchful enemy will swoop down upon his victim. . . .

“We have before us a warfare,—a lifelong conflict with Satan and his seductive temptations. The enemy will use every argument, every deception, to entangle the soul; and in order to win the crown of life, we must put forth earnest, persevering effort. We must not lay off the armor or leave the battlefield until we have gained the victory, and can triumph in our Redeemer. As long as we continue to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith, we shall be safe. But our affections must be placed upon things above, not on things of the earth. By faith we must rise higher and still higher in the attainment of the graces of Christ. By daily contemplating His matchless charms, we must grow more and more into His glorious image. While we thus live in communion with Heaven, Satan will lay his nets for us in vain.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 12, 1898.

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

The Pen of Inspiration – The First and the Second Advent

At the first advent of Christ, which was in apparent obscurity, the angels of heaven could scarcely be restrained from pouring forth their glories to grace the birth of the Son of God. The glorious manifestations of heaven were not entirely restrained. The wonderful event was not without some attestations of a divine character. That birth, so little prepared for on earth, was celebrated in the heavenly courts with praise and thanksgiving in behalf of man.

While the shepherds on the hills of Bethlehem watched their flocks by night, “the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” [Luke 2:9–14.] The message given, the angels swept back to heaven, and the light and glory of their presence was no longer seen.

He who came in human flesh, and submitted to a life of humiliation, was the Majesty of heaven, the Prince of life, and yet the wise men of the earth, the princes and rulers, and even his own nation, knew him not. They did not recognize him as the long-looked-for Messiah. Notwithstanding mighty miracles did show forth themselves in him, notwithstanding he opened the eyes of the blind, and raised the dead to life, Christ suffered the hatred and abuse of the people he came to bless. They regarded him as a sinner, and accused him of casting out devils through the prince of devils. The circumstances of his birth were mysterious, and were remarked upon by the rulers. They charged him with being born in sin. The Prince of heaven was insulted because of the corrupt minds and the sinful, blasphemous unbelief of men. What a baleful thing is unbelief! It originated with the first great apostate, and to what fearful lengths it will lead all who enter upon its path is seen in the Jews’ rejection of their Messiah.

Understanding Prophecy

The leaders of the Jewish nation had the Old Testament Scriptures, which plainly foretold the manner of Christ’s first advent. Through the prophet Isaiah, God had described the appearance and mission of Christ, saying, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” [Isaiah 53:3–7.]

The leaders in Israel professed to understand the prophecies, but they had received false ideas in regard to the manner of Christ’s coming. Satan had deceived them; and all the glories of Christ’s second advent they applied to his first appearing. All the wonderful events clustering around his second coming, they looked for at his first. Therefore, when he came, they were not prepared to receive him. The disciple John tells of the reception with which he met. He says: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” [John 1:10, 11.]

Wonderful Contrast

Between the first and the second advent of Christ a wonderful contrast will be seen. No human language can portray the scenes of the second coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven. He is to come with his own glory, and with the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. He will come clad in the robe of light, which he has worn from the days of eternity. Angels will accompany him. Ten thousand times ten thousand will escort him on his way. The sound of the trumpet will be heard, calling the sleeping dead from the grave. The voice of Christ will penetrate the tomb, and pierce the ears of the dead, “and all that are in the graves . . . shall come forth.” [John 5:28, 29.]

“And before him shall be gathered all nations.” [Matthew 25:32.] The very One who died for man is to judge him in the last day; for the Father “hath committed all judgment unto the Son: . . . and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” [John 5:22, 27.] What a day that will be, when those who rejected Christ will look upon him whom their sins have pierced. They will then know that he proffered them all heaven if they would but stand by his side as obedient children; that he paid an infinite price for their redemption; but that they would not accept freedom from the galling slavery of sin. They chose to stand under the black banner of rebellion to the close of mercy’s hour.

As they gaze upon his glory, there flashes before their minds the memory of the Son of Man clad in the garb of humanity. They remember how they treated him, how they refused him, and pressed close to the side of the great apostate. The scenes of Christ’s life appear before them in all their clearness. All he did, all he said, the humiliation to which he descended to save them from the taint of sin, rises before them in condemnation.

They behold him riding into Jerusalem, and see him break into an agony of tears over the impenitent city that would not receive his message. His voice, which was heard in invitation, in entreaty, in tones of tender solicitude, seems again to fall upon their ears. The scene in the garden of Gethsemane rises before them, and they hear Christ’s amazing prayer, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” [Matthew 26:39.]

Again they hear the voice of Pilate, saying, “I find in him no fault at all.” [John 18:38.] They see the shameful scene in the judgment-hall, when Barabbas stood by the side of Christ, and they had the privilege of choosing the guiltless One. They hear again the words of Pilate, “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus, which is called Christ?” They hear the response, “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas.” To the question of Pilate, “What shall I do then with Jesus?” the answer comes, “Let him be crucified.” [Matthew 27:17; Luke 23:18; Matthew 27:22.]

Again they see their Sacrifice bearing the reproach of the cross. They hear the loud, triumphant tones tauntingly exclaim, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” “He saved others, himself he can not save.” [Matthew 27:40, 42.]

Now they behold him not in the garden of Gethsemane, not in the judgment-hall, not on the cross of Calvary. The signs of his humiliation have passed away, and they look upon the face of God,—the face they spit upon,—the face which priests and rulers struck with the palms of their hands. Now the truth in all its vividness is revealed to them. It is the wrath of the Lamb that they have to meet,—of him who came to take away the sin of the world,—of him who had ever acted toward them with infinite tenderness, long-suffering patience, and inexpressible love. They realize that they have forfeited all the riches of his great salvation. As they look upon him who died to take away their guilt, they cry out to the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” [Revelation 6:16, 17.]

Perils of the Last Days

We are now amid the perils of the last days. The scenes of conflict are hastening on, and the day of days is just upon us. Are we prepared for the issue? Every deed, small and great, is to be brought into recognition. That which has been considered trivial here will then appear as it is. The two mites of the widow will be recognized. The cup of cold water offered, the prison visited, the hungry fed,—each will bring its own reward. And that unfulfilled duty, that selfish act, will not be forgotten. In the open court around the throne of God it will appear a very different thing from what it did when it was performed. The secret sin that appears as nothing now, when placed before men in the light of God’s countenance, will appear grievous. It will be seen that these selfish pleasures and indulgences have made the human being a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.

How stands our account in the books of heaven? Have we chosen to be partakers with Christ in his sufferings? Have we been learning in the school of Christ his meekness and lowliness of heart? Have we stood by the side of Christ to bear his reproach? Have we taken his yoke upon us, and lifted the cross in self-denial and self-sacrifice? Have we helped to bear his burdens, and co-operated with him in his work?

Satan has come down with great power, working with all deceivable-ness of unrighteousness in them that perish; but it is not necessary for any to be deceived; and we shall not be if we have fully taken our stand with Christ to follow him through evil as well as through good report. The serpent’s head will soon be bruised and crushed. The glorious memorial of God’s wonderful power is soon to be restored to its rightful place. Then paradise lost will be paradise restored. God’s plan for the redemption of man will be complete. The Son of Man will bestow upon the righteous the crown of everlasting life, and they shall “serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” [Revelation 7:15–17.]

Review and Herald, September 5, 1899.

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

Restoring the Temple – Diet and Spirituality

Let none who profess godliness regard with indifference the health of the body, and flatter themselves that intemperance is no sin, and will not affect their spirituality. A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 43.

When Sanctification is Impossible

“The heart cannot possibly maintain consecration to God while lustful appetite is indulged. A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lust, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible. The apostle [Paul] understood the importance of the healthful conditions of the body for the successful perfection of Christian character. He says, ‘I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.’ [1 Corinthians 9:27.] He mentions the fruit of the Spirit, among which is temperance. ‘They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.’ [Galatians 5:24.]” Ibid., 44.

Mental Effects of Disobedience to Physical Law

“God requires of His people continual advancement. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform, many of us eat improperly.” Ibid., 45.

Effect on Appreciation of Truth

“You need clear, energetic minds, in order to appreciate the exalted character of the truth, to value the atonement, and to place the right estimate upon eternal things.” Ibid., 47.

Effect Upon Discernment and Decision

“All are required to do what they can to preserve healthy bodies and sound minds. If they will gratify a gross appetite, and by so doing blunt their sensibilities, and becloud their perceptive faculties so that they cannot appreciate the exalted character of God, or delight in the study of His word, they may be assured that God will not accept their unworthy offering any sooner than that of Cain. God requires them to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” Ibid., 49.

“The abuses of the stomach by the gratification of appetite, are the fruitful source of most church trials. Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. An intemperate man cannot be a patient man. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating, eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food, destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting. And this is a fruitful source of church trials. Therefore, in order for the people of God to be in an acceptable state with Him, where they can glorify Him in their bodies and spirits, which are His, they must with interest and zeal deny the gratification of their appetites, and exercise temperance in all things.” Ibid., 50.

“Our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us the great blessing of light upon the health reform, that we may obey the claims which He has upon us, and glorify Him in our bodies and spirits, which are His, and finally stand without fault before the throne of God. Our faith requires us to elevate the standard, and take advance steps.” Ibid., 51.

“The diet has much to do with the disposition to enter into temptation and commit sin.” Ibid., 52.

“Our own strength is weakness, but that which God gives is mighty, and will make every one who obtains it more than conqueror.” Ibid., 53.

Effect Upon Influence and Usefulness

“The affliction of the stomach affects the brain. The imprudent eater does not realize that he is disqualifying himself for giving wise counsel, disqualifying himself for laying plans for the best advancement of the work of God. But this is so. . . . The food he has eaten has benumbed his brain power.” Ibid.

Reformation

“The light has been shining upon your pathway in regard to health reform, and the duty resting upon God’s people in these last days to exercise temperance in all things. . . . As the light of truth is received and followed out, it will work an entire reformation in the life and character of all those who are sanctified through it.” Ibid., 57.

“Eating, drinking, and dressing all have a direct bearing upon our spiritual advancement.” Ibid.

“All who are partakers of the divine nature will escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is impossible for those who indulge the appetite to attain to Christian perfection.” Ibid.

“This is true sanctification. It is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking, and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies,—not an offering corrupted by wrong habits, but ‘a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.’ [Romans 12:1.]

“Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world.” Ibid., 57, 58.

“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” Ibid., 59.

Relation of Diet to Morals

“ ‘Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,’ is the language of the apostle Peter. [1 Peter 2:1.] Many regard this warning as applicable only to the licentious; but it has a broader meaning. It guards against every injurious gratification of appetite or passion. It is a most forcible warning against the use of such stimulants and narcotics as tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and morphine. These indulgences may well be classed among the lusts that exert a pernicious influence upon moral character. The earlier these hurtful habits are formed, the more firmly will they hold their victim in slavery to lust, and the more certainly will they lower the standard of spirituality.” Ibid., 62, 63.

“Moral principle, strictly carried out, becomes the only safeguard of the soul. If ever there was a time when the diet should be of the most simple kind, it is now. Meat should not be placed before our children. Its influence is to excite and strengthen the lower passions, and has a tendency to deaden the moral powers. Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven. . . . Gratification of taste should not be consulted irrespective of physical, intellectual, or moral health.” Ibid., 64.

Follow the Saviour

“O how many lose the richest blessings that God has in store for them in health and spiritual endowments! There are many souls who wrestle for special victories and special blessings that they may do some great thing. To this end they are always feeling that they must make an agonizing struggle in prayer and tears. When these persons search the Scripture with prayer to know the expressed will of God, and then do His will from the heart without one reservation or self-indulgence, they will find rest. All the agonizing, all the tears and struggles, will not bring them the blessing they long for. Self must be entirely surrendered. They must do the work that presents itself, appropriating the abundance of the grace of God which is promised to all who ask in faith.

“ ‘If any man will come after Me,’ said Jesus, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ Luke 9:23. Let us follow the Saviour in His simplicity and self-denial. Let us lift up the Man of Calvary by word and by holy living. The Saviour comes very near to those who consecrate themselves to God. If ever there was a time when we needed the working of the Spirit of God upon our hearts and lives, it is now. Let us lay hold of this divine power for strength to live a life of holiness and self-surrender.” Ibid., 58.

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

Children’s Story – Moses the Cat

“Meow, Meow, Meoooooooow!”

“Do you hear that?” my wife, Regina, asked.

“Yes, it sounds like a cat.”

“Meow, Meooooow, Meooooooooow!”

“Richard, you better go check. It sounds like it is in trouble.”

As I walked down the hill to the creek behind our house, the pitiful cries grew louder and louder. At the creek, I discovered a small, gray kitten caught in a tangle of roots on the far side of the creek. To reach it, I had to find a narrow place to wade across the creek, then fight my way through a mass of bushes and briars. When I finally reached the drenched kitten, it frantically held on to the roots. I had to pull with all of my strength to retrieve it.

Because of how fiercely the kitten had struggled to hold on to the roots, I was afraid that it would fight me like a little tiger, but when I held it close, it melted into my chest. Almost immediately I heard a soft, gentle purring. “Hello, Moses,” I whispered. “Your name will have to be Moses because I drew you out of the water.”

I carried Moses to our back porch. Regina brought towels and an old pet taxi, and we dried him off and made him a soft bed in the pet taxi. When I put Moses down, though, he immediately climbed up my leg and perched on my shoulder.

Our back porch became Moses’ home. He was firmly attached to it. The world beyond the back porch was a strange and scary place into which he would not venture. If I carried him into the yard, he would begin desperately clawing and fighting. He wanted down so he could get back to the safety of the back porch.

As I remember how Moses came into our lives, it reminds me of how my relationship with God has developed. I remember being in the creek. In Psalm 69:1–3, David wrote about his experience in the creek: “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to [my] neck. I sink in the deep mire, where [there is] no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry.”

When Moses cried out, I came to his rescue. God has made a promise to us. “Call to Me, and I will answer you.” Jeremiah 33:3. When we cry out, God will answer our call, and He will bring us to a place of safety.

Moses found a place of peace and safety on the back porch. He knew that as long as he was there nothing bad would happen to him. God has provided a place of peace and safety for us. “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 119:165. We need to look at God’s law the way that Moses looked at the back porch. He realized that it was his place of peace and safety, and he wanted to be there. Anyplace else made him very uncomfortable.

Many times we look at God’s law as a jail. We feel that it creates uncomfortable restrictions. We need to ask God to give us a love for His commandments and to instill in us a desire for the peace and safety of His law. No one forced Moses to stay on our back porch; he stayed because he loved the feeling of security. That is how we should view God’s law. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3.