Insights from the Book of Isaiah (2) – The Creator’s Comfort and Care

January 21 – 27

Key Text

“He [God’s servant] shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law” (Isaiah 42:4).

Study Help: The Ministry of Healing, 29–43.


“By studying the word of God we shall see that we are not left to our weakness, to our doubts, and that there is no occasion for sinking under discouragement. Talk faith; act faith. Cultivate the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” The Review and Herald, May 19, 1896.


1              A PATTERN FOR US

  • Where does God the Father urge all of us to look—and why? Isaiah 42:1.

Note: “Jesus was the fountain of healing mercy for the world; and through all those secluded years at Nazareth, His life flowed out in currents of sympathy and tenderness. The aged, the sorrowing, and the sin-burdened, the children at play in their innocent joy, the little creatures of the groves, the patient beasts of burden—all were happier for His presence. He whose word of power upheld the worlds would stoop to relieve a wounded bird. There was nothing beneath His notice, nothing to which He disdained to minister.

“Thus as He grew in wisdom and stature, Jesus increased in favor with God and man. … The atmosphere of hope and courage that surrounded Him made Him a blessing in every home. …

“He lived to please, honor, and glorify His Father in the common things of life. His work began in consecrating the lowly trade of the craftsmen who toil for their daily bread. He was doing God’s service just as much when laboring at the carpenter’s bench as when working miracles for the multitude. And every youth who follows Christ’s example of faithfulness and obedience in His lowly home may claim those words spoken of Him, … ‘Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth’ (Isaiah 42:1).” The Desire of Ages, 74.



  • What is meant by Isaiah’s prophecy about the voice of Jesus? Isaiah 42:2.

Note: “The voice of Christ was not heard in the street, in noisy contention with those who were opposed to His doctrine. Neither was His voice heard in the street in prayer to His Father, to be heard of men. His voice was not heard in joyful mirth. His voice was not raised to exalt Himself, and to gain the applause and flattery of men. When engaged in teaching, He withdrew His disciples away from the noise and confusion of the busy city to some retired place more in harmony with the lessons of humility, piety, and virtue, which He would impress upon their minds. He shunned human praise and preferred solitude and peaceful retirement to the noise and confusion of mortal life. His voice was often heard in earnest, prevailing intercessions to His Father; yet for these exercises He chose the lonely mountain, and frequently spent whole nights in prayer for strength to sustain Him under the temptations He should meet, and to accomplish the important work He came to do for the salvation of man. His petitions were earnest and mingled with strong cries and tears. And notwithstanding the labor of soul during the night, He ceased not His labor through the day. In the morning He would quietly resume His work of mercy and disinterested benevolence.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 30, 31.

“In marked contrast to the teachers of His day was the Saviour to conduct Himself among men. In His life no noisy disputation, no ostentatious worship, no act to gain applause, was ever to be witnessed. The Messiah was to be hid in God, and God was to be revealed in the character of His Son.” Prophets and Kings, 693.

  • What did those who heard Jesus’ words say of His manner of speaking? John 7:46.

Note: “Jesus is our example. His voice was musical, and was never raised in high, strained notes while He was speaking to the people. He did not speak so rapidly that His words were crowded one upon another in such a way that it made it difficult to understand Him. He distinctly enunciated every word.” The Review and Herald, March 5, 1895.

“They [the disciples in the upper chamber] beheld the hands and feet marred by the cruel nails. They recognized His voice, like no other they had ever heard.” The Desire of Ages, 803.



  • What else did Isaiah prophesy concerning Jesus? Isaiah 42:3. What did the Lord’s work include? John 10:16; Matthew 12:20, 21.

Note: “The church has not been properly educated to work outside of their own people. Many souls out of the church might have been enlightened, and a great deal more light brought into the church, if every church member in every country, who claims to have the advanced light of truth, had worked with heart and soul and voice to win souls to the truth. Altogether too little work is being done by church members for those who need the light, those who are outside of the church of Seventh-day Adventists. … The Lord has pointed out the duty of every soul. In the judgment no one will have any excuse to present for not doing his duty.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 127, 128.

“To the heart of Christ the very presence of trouble was a call for help. The poor, the sick, the desolate, the outcasts, the discouraged, the desponding, found in Him a compassionate Saviour, a Mighty Healer. … Christ identifies His interests with those of suffering humanity, and He tells us that whatever we do to relieve a sufferer, we do for Him.” Medical Ministry, 121.

  • For what purpose did Jesus come to this world? John 3:17. What shows His patience with sinners?

Note: “When Judas joined the disciples, he was not insensible to the beauty of the character of Christ. He felt the influence of that divine power which was drawing souls to the Saviour. He who came not to break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax would not repulse this soul while even one desire was reaching toward the light. The Saviour read the heart of Judas; He knew the depths of iniquity to which, unless delivered by the grace of God, Judas would sink. In connecting this man with Himself, He placed him where he might, day by day, be brought in contact with the outflowing of His own unselfish love. If he would open his heart to Christ, divine grace would banish the demon of selfishness, and even Judas might become a subject of the kingdom of God.” The Desire of Ages, 294.

“Jesus hungered for his [Judas’] soul. He felt for him such a burden as for Jerusalem when He wept over the doomed city. His heart was crying, How can I give thee up? The constraining power of that love was felt by Judas.” Ibid., 645.


4              AN UNFAILING HELPER

  • What was Jesus’ attitude toward difficult situations, and how can this example help us? Isaiah 42:4.

Note: “He [Jesus] reached to the very depth of human misery and woe, to take man as He found him, a being tainted with corruption, degraded with vice, depraved by sin, and united with Satan in apostasy, and elevate him to a seat upon His throne. But it was written of Him that ‘He shall not fail nor be discouraged,’ and He went forth in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, giving us an example that we should follow in His steps. We should work as did Jesus, departing from our own pleasure, turning away from Satan’s bribes, despising ease, and abhorring selfishness, that we may seek and save that which is lost, bringing souls from darkness into light, into the sunshine of God’s love. We have been commissioned to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature. We are to bring to the lost the tidings that Christ can forgive sin, can renew the nature, can clothe the soul in the garments of His righteousness, bring the sinner to His right mind, and teach him and fit him up to be a laborer together with God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.

  • What assurance comes to all who are seeking to work for God in their sphere? Isaiah 40:30, 31.

Note: “Wonderful are the possibilities before the youth to grasp the assurances of God’s word. Scarcely can the human mind comprehend the spiritual attainments which can be reached by them as they become partakers of the divine nature. Daily correcting mistakes and gaining victories, they grow into wise, strong men and women in Christ. …

“The man who waits upon the Lord is strong in his strength, strong enough to hold firm under great pressure. Yet he is easy to be entreated on the side of mercy and compassion, which is the side of Christ. The soul that is submissive to God is ready to do the will of God; he diligently and humbly seeks to know that will. He accepts discipline, and is afraid to walk according to his own finite judgment. He communes with God, and his conversation is in heaven.

“Linked to the Infinite One, man is made partaker of the divine nature. Upon him the shafts of evil have no effect; for he is clothed with the panoply of Christ’s righteousness.” My Life Today, 277.


5              HOW GREAT A GOD WE SERVE!

  • What does Isaiah tell us of the power of God? Isaiah 40:26–29.

Note: “In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. He ‘who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6).” The Desire of Ages, 281, 282.

“The stars also have a message of good cheer for every human being. In those hours that come to all, when the heart is faint and temptation presses sore; when obstacles seem insurmountable, life’s aims impossible of achievement, its fair promises like apples of Sodom; where, then, can such courage and steadfastness be found as in that lesson which God has bidden us learn from the stars in their untroubled course?” Education, 115.

  • As we consider the greatness of God, what will this lead us to do? 1 Samuel 12:24; Mark 5:19; Psalm 31:19.

Note: “The tree of the desert is a symbol of what God means the life of His children in this world to be. They are to guide weary souls, full of unrest, and ready to perish in the desert of sin, to the living water.” Education, 116.



1              How can Christians—including the young—fulfill Isaiah 42:1 in their daily life?

2              What made Christ’s style of teaching distinctive in this world?

3              How can we follow Christ’s example of helping those who are outside of the church?

4              As we grow in wisdom, what will we be doing every day?

5              What lesson can we learn from the stars?

Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Insights from the Book of Isaiah (2) – Meeting the Messiah

January 14 – 20

Key Text

“He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 629–635.


“Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He cares for His feeble, sickly, wandering sheep. He knows them all by name. The distress of every sheep and every lamb of His flock touches His heart of sympathizing love, and the cry for aid reaches His ear.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 346.



  • As we consider our plans for the future, what should we remember? Isaiah 40:6–8. What other illustration also shows God’s greatness and, at the same time, relates a piece of scientific information? Verse 22, first part.

Note: “At this time, before the great final crisis, as before the world’s first destruction, men are absorbed in the pleasures and the pursuits of sense. Engrossed with the seen and transitory, they have lost sight of the unseen and eternal. For the things that perish with the using, they are sacrificing imperishable riches. Their minds need to be uplifted, their views of life to be broadened. They need to be aroused from the lethargy of worldly dreaming.

“From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the pages of Holy Writ, they need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and its magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring—how completely has it passed away! As ‘the flower of the grass’ it has perished. So perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose and expresses His character can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows.” Education, 183.


2              THE ONLY TRUE GOD

  • As Isaiah prophesied of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, what did he reveal about the work of the Messiah? Isaiah 40:9–11.

Note: “The truths of the third angel’s message have been presented by some as a dry theory; but in this message is to be presented Christ the Living One. He is to be revealed as the first and the last, as the I AM, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star. Through this message the character of God in Christ is to be manifested to the world.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 20.

“In Christ is the tenderness of the shepherd, the affection of the parent, and the matchless grace of the compassionate Saviour. His blessings He presents in the most alluring terms. He is not content merely to announce these blessings; He presents them in the most attractive way, to excite a desire to possess them. So His servants are to present the riches of the glory of the unspeakable Gift. The wonderful love of Christ will melt and subdue hearts, when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing. … Tell the people of Him who is ‘the Chiefest among ten thousand,’ and the One ‘altogether lovely’ (The Song of Solomon 5:10, 16). Words alone cannot tell it. Let it be reflected in the character and manifested in the life. … In everyone Christ’s long-suffering love, His holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth are to be manifested to the world.” The Desire of Ages, 826, 827.

  • Where are we to look for salvation, and why? Isaiah 45:21, 22.

Note: “Come with your whole heart to Jesus. Repent of your sins, make confession to God, forsake all iniquity, and you may appropriate to yourself all His promises.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 634.

“Will not our church members keep their eyes fixed on a crucified and risen Saviour, in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered? This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer. If we can awaken an interest in men’s minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. They thus receive their lesson.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1113.


3              AN ENDURING UNION

  • How does the Lord depict the tender care He has for His children? Isaiah 49:15, 16; Matthew 12:50; Galatians 3:29. How can we be sure to be included among those children?

Note: “Those who share Christ’s suffering and reproach now will share His glory hereafter. He ‘is not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Hebrews 2:11). His angels minister to them. His second appearing will be as the Son of man, thus even in His glory identifying Himself with humanity. To those who have united themselves to Him, He declares: ‘Though a mother may forget her child, “yet will not I forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” Thou art continually before Me’ (Isaiah 49:15, 16). …

“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. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 230, 231.

  • As we surrender our entire being to the guidance of the Good Shepherd, what assurance comes to us? Psalms 36:7; 34:22.

Note: “He who took humanity upon Himself knows how to sympathize with the sufferings of humanity. Not only does Christ know every soul, and the peculiar needs and trials of that soul, but He knows all the circumstances that chafe and perplex the spirit. His hand is outstretched in pitying tenderness to every suffering child. Those who suffer most have most of His sympathy and pity. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and He desires us to lay our perplexities and troubles at His feet and leave them there.” The Ministry of Healing, 249.


4              MAGNIFYING THE LAW

  • What work would Jesus have us do for souls who are in darkness? Isaiah 42:5–7.

Note: “As a people we are to be reconverted, our lives sanctified to declare the truth as it is in Jesus. In the work of scattering our publications, we can speak of a Saviour’s love from a warm and throbbing heart. God alone has the power to forgive sins; if we do not speak this message to the unconverted, our neglect may prove their ruin. Blessed, soul-saving Bible truths are published in our papers. There are many who can help in the work of selling our periodicals. The Lord calls upon all of us to seek to save perishing souls. Satan is at work to deceive the very elect, and now is our time to work with vigilance. Our books and papers are to be brought before the notice of the people; the gospel of present truth is to be given to our cities without delay. Shall we not arouse to our duties?

“If we are making the life and teachings of Christ our study, every passing event will furnish a text for an impressive discourse. It was thus the Saviour preached the gospel in the highways and byways; and as He spoke, the little group that listened to Him swelled to a great company.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 63.

  • How does God regard His law? Isaiah 42:21. What can we learn from this?

Note: “We must strive to arouse church members, and those who make no profession, to see and obey the claims of the law of Heaven. We are to magnify this law and make it honorable.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 403.

“The very One who ages before had spoken the law from Mount Sinai, now came to magnify it and make it honorable. In His Sermon on the Mount He explained the law, showing what each precept comprehended. Covetousness was shown by Him to be idolatry, lust adultery, and anger murder. He made manifest the spirituality of the law, and pointed out that it reaches to every phase of life.

“Before the universe of heaven, before the fallen angels, and before those whom He had come to save, Christ lived the law of God. By His supreme obedience to its requirements, He exalted and enforced it. …

“As Christ lived the law in humanity, so we may do if we will take hold of the strong for strength.” The Signs of the Times, March 4, 1897.



  • What does the Lord want us to do with our eyes and ears? Isaiah 42:19, 20. Why?

Note: “God does not wish us to hear all that is to be heard, or to see all that is to be seen. It is a great blessing to close the ears, that we hear not, and the eyes, that we see not. The greatest anxiety should be to have clear eyesight to discern our own shortcomings, and a quick ear to catch all needed reproof and instruction, lest by our inattention and carelessness we let them slip and become forgetful hearers and not doers of the work.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 707, 708.

“It makes every difference what we give our minds and souls to feed upon. We can let our minds dwell upon romance and castle-building, and what will it do for us? It will ruin us, soul and body. … We want to have that power that will enable us to close our eyes to scenes that are not elevating, that are not ennobling, that will not purify and refine us; and to keep our ears closed to everything that is forbidden in God’s word. He forbids us to imagine evil, to speak evil, and even to think evil.” Our High Calling, 334.

  • What does God want us to behold? Hebrews 12:1, 2.

Note: “Let us look to Jesus and consider the loveliness of His character, and by beholding we shall become changed into the same likeness.” Our High Calling, 334.



1             How does a sense of our own mortality give us a better perspective on life?

2             In what ways should we tell others of Jesus and His love?

3             Explain the depth of a genuine union with Christ.

4             In what sense did Christ magnify the law in His teaching and example?

5             To what things should we close our eyes and ears?

Insights from the Book of Isaiah (2) – The Voice in the Wildnerness

January 7 – 13

Key Text

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 8, 9–13.


“Our work of heralding the second coming of Christ is similar to that of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ at His first advent. We are to proclaim to the world the message, ‘The great day of the Lord is near’ (Zephaniah 1:14).  ‘Prepare to meet thy God’ (Amos 4:12). We are to do much more than we have yet done.” Reflecting Christ, 201.



  • What is one of the most beloved messages Isaiah was ever directed to pen? Isaiah 40:1, 2.

Note: “The covenant mercy of God led Him to interpose in behalf of His people Israel after their severe chastisement before their enemies. Israel had chosen to walk in her own wisdom and righteousness in the place of the wisdom and righteousness of God, and as a result her nation was ruined. God permitted them to suffer under a double yoke, that they might be humiliated and repent. But in their dispersion and captivity, the Jews were not left in a hopeless state. Encouragement was given them, for through this humiliation they were to be brought to seek the Lord. God gave to Isaiah a message for this people: [Isaiah 40:1, 2 quoted].

“When the Jews were dispersed from Jerusalem, there were among them young men and women who were firm as a rock to principle, men and women who had not pursued a course to make the Lord ashamed to call them His people. These were sad at heart for the backsliding which they could not prevent. These innocent ones must suffer with the guilty; but God would give them strength sufficient for their day. It was to them that the message of encouragement was sent. The hope of the nation lay in those young men and maidens who would preserve their integrity.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1144.



  • With what description did Isaiah prophesy of John the Baptist? Isaiah 40:3; Luke 3:2–4. In what sense was John to be “a voice in the wilderness”?

Note: “There was a great work appointed for the prophet John, but there was no school on the earth with which he could connect. His learning must be obtained away from the cities, in the wilderness.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1115.

  • What enabled John, like Isaiah and Elijah before him, to stand fearless before the people in carrying out his lifework? Isaiah 33:17; 6:5.

Note: “John did not feel strong enough to stand the great pressure of temptation he would meet in society. He feared his character would be molded according to the prevailing customs of the Jews, and he chose the wilderness as his school, in which his mind could be properly educated and disciplined from God’s great book of nature. In the wilderness, John could the more readily deny himself and bring his appetite under control, and dress in accordance to natural simplicity. And there was nothing in the wilderness that would take his mind from meditation and prayer. Satan had access to John, even after he had closed every avenue in his power through which he would enter. But his habits of life were so pure and natural that he could discern the foe, and had strength of spirit and decision of character to resist him.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1115.

“Under the guiding of the divine Spirit, he [John] studied the scrolls of the prophets. By day and by night, Christ was his study, his meditation, until mind and heart and soul were filled with the glorious vision.

“He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was lost sight of. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and knew himself to be inefficient and unworthy. It was God’s message that he was to declare. It was in God’s power and His righteousness that he was to stand. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because with trembling he had bowed before the King of kings.” Gospel Workers, 54.



  • How does history’s wise man summarize our fallen human condition? Ecclesiastes 1:15. Nonetheless, what hopeful message was John the Baptist to bring, in harmony with Isaiah’s prophecy? Isaiah 40:4; Luke 3:5.

Note: “Everything that God could do has been done in behalf of man. Every want has been anticipated; every difficulty, every emergency, has been provided for. The crooked places have been made straight, the rough places smooth, and therefore no one will be excused in the day of judgment, if he has cherished unbelief and resisted the workings of the Holy Spirit.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 251.

  • In the last days, how are we to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us in ways that we never thought possible? Isaiah 40:5; Luke 3:6.

Note: “The Lord gave him [John the Baptist] his message. Did he go to the priests and rulers and ask if he might proclaim this message?—No, God put him away from them that he might not be influenced by their spirit and teaching. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness [Isaiah 40:3–5 quoted]. This is the very message that must be given to our people; we are near the end of time, and the message is, Clear the King’s highway; gather out the stones; raise up a standard for the people. The people must be awakened. It is no time now to cry peace and safety.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 410.

“Let those who have special aptitude, work for unbelievers in the high places as well as in the low places of life. Search diligently for perishing souls. …

“Let your light shine forth in such clear, steady rays that no man can stand up in the judgment, and say, ‘Why did you not tell me about this truth? Why did you not care for my soul?’

“Then let us be diligent in the distribution of literature that has been carefully prepared for use among those not of our faith. Let us make the most of every opportunity to arrest the attention of unbelievers. Let us put literature into every hand that will receive it. Let us consecrate ourselves to the proclamation of the message, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’ (Isaiah 40:3)! … Now is the day of our responsibility.” Counsels on Stewardship, 189, 190.



  • What timeless principle shows how God can crown with success even the smallest efforts of those who are sincerely seeking to promote His cause? Zechariah 4:9, 10.

Note: “The way of the world is to begin with pomp and boasting. God’s way is to make the day of small things the beginning of the glorious triumph of truth and righteousness. Sometimes He trains His workers by bringing to them disappointment and apparent failure. It is His purpose that they shall learn to master difficulties. …

“If they will hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end, God will make the way clear. Success will come to them as they struggle against difficulties. Before the intrepid spirit and unwavering faith of a Zerubbabel, great mountains of difficulty will become a plain; and he whose hands have laid the foundation, even ‘his hands shall also finish it.’ ‘He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it’ (Zechariah 4:9, 7).” Prophets and Kings, 595.

  • Through what means can we cooperate with God to enlighten the inhabitants of this dark planet? Zechariah 4:6.

Note: “The Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 300.

  • How does the message we are called upon to bear reflect the first part of John the Baptist’s message? Matthew 3:2; Luke 3:8–14.

Note: “[Matthew 3:2 quoted.] This same message, through the publications from our printing houses, is to be given to the world today.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 139.



  • Explain the goal of John’s teaching. Matthew 3:4–12.

Note: “Christ bore the same message that John bore. [Matthew 4:17 quoted.] But while John preached in the wilderness, Christ’s work was done among the people. That He might reach sinners where they were, He encircled the race with His long human arm, while with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the Infinite, uniting finite man to the infinite God, and connecting earth with heaven.” The Review and Herald, August 15, 1899.

  • Which commandment did John present before Herod, and what was the result? Mark 6:17–29. What did Jesus say about John? Luke 7:28.

Note: “Herod was affected as he listened to the powerful, pointed testimonies of John, and with deep interest he inquired what he must do to become his disciple. John was acquainted with the fact that he was about to marry his brother’s wife, while her husband was yet living, and faithfully told Herod that this was not lawful. Herod was unwilling to make any sacrifice. He married his brother’s wife, and through her influence, seized John and put him in prison, intending however to release him. … Soon John was beheaded, through the influence of Herod’s wife. I saw that the humblest disciples who followed Jesus, witnessed His miracles, and heard the comforting words which fell from His lips, were greater than John the Baptist; that is, they were more exalted and honored, and had more pleasure in their lives.” Early Writings, 154, 155.



1             What hope does God offer to all who submit to His chastening rod?

2             What should we learn from John’s concern about his surroundings?

3             How can our literature be especially helpful in the times in which we live?

4             Why will God surprise us with His manner of enlightening the world?

5             What are some things we can learn from the life and ministry of John the Baptist?

Insights from the Book of Isaiah (2) – The Crisis in Heaven

December 31 – January 6, 2018

Key Text

“I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11, last part).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 33–43.


“The bulwarks of Satan will never triumph. Victory will attend the third angel’s message. As the Captain of the Lord’s host tore down the walls of Jericho, so will the Lord’s commandment-keeping people triumph, and all opposing elements be defeated.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 410.


1              WHO IS JESUS, REALLY?

  • What must we realize about the role of Jesus Christ in the creation of the universe and its inhabitants? John 1:1–3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1, 2.

Note: “The Father wrought by His Son in the creation of all heavenly beings.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.

  • What contrast exists between all creatures and Christ who was, by decree, to become our Saviour? Hebrews 1:6–8, 13, 14; Luke 1:30–35.

Note: “From Jesus is our life derived. In Him is life that is original—unborrowed, underived life. In Him is the fountain of life.” The Review and Herald, August 6, 1914.

“In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God.” The Signs of the Times, August 29, 1900.



  • What are some attributes of the government with which the Creator has always ruled the universe? Psalm 89:14; Romans 7:12.

Note: “The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it.” The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1886.

“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.

“So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34, 35.

  • What has always been the attitude of the unfallen, holy angels with regard to Christ? Revelation 5:11, 12. What did the Father, as King of the Universe, also declare concerning Christ? Hebrews 1:3–6.

Note: “The Son of God shared the Father’s throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both. … Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ, the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will. The Son of God had wrought the Father’s will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due. Christ was still to exercise divine power, in the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. But in all this He would not seek power or exaltation for Himself contrary to God’s plan, but would exalt the Father’s glory and execute His purposes of beneficence and love.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36.



  • Under the figure of the king of Tyrus, what can we learn about Lucifer, the anointed cherub, who later became Satan, the adversary? Ezekiel 28:11–15.

Note: “Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ. His countenance was mild, expressive of happiness like the other angels. His forehead was high and broad, and showed great intelligence. His form was perfect. He had a noble, majestic bearing.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, 17.

“Satan had led the heavenly choir. He had raised the first note, then all the angelic host united with him, and glorious strains of music had resounded through Heaven in honor of God and His dear Son.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 28.

  • What led to the fall of Lucifer? Ezekiel 28:17, first part.

Note: “Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. … Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself. And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35.

  • How uncontrollable is the spirit of envy and jealousy? Proverbs 27:4; 6:34. What happened when the Father, the Son, and the angels tried to reason with Lucifer?

Note: “Lucifer’s disposition to serve himself instead of his Creator aroused a feeling of apprehension when observed by those who considered that the glory of God should be supreme. … But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35, 36.


4              SUBTLE DECEPTION

  • What was Isaiah shown about the attitude that Lucifer strangely adopted? Isaiah 14:12–14.

Note: “The angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ, and prostrating themselves before Him, poured out their love and adoration. Lucifer bowed with them, but in his heart there was a strange, fierce conflict. Truth, justice, and loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy. … The high honors conferred upon Lucifer were not appreciated as God’s special gift, and therefore, called forth no gratitude to his Creator. He gloried in his brightness and exaltation and aspired to be equal with God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36, 37.

  • How did Lucifer’s attitude disrupt heaven? James 3:16.

Note: “The exaltation of the Son of God as equal with the Father was represented as an injustice to Lucifer, who, it was claimed, was also entitled to reverence and honor. If this prince of angels could but attain to his true, exalted position, great good would accrue to the entire host of heaven; for it was his object to secure freedom for all. But now even the liberty which they had hitherto enjoyed was at an end; for an absolute Ruler had been appointed them, and to His authority all must pay homage. Such were the subtle deceptions that through the wiles of Lucifer were fast obtaining in the heavenly courts.

“There had been no change in the position or authority of Christ. … Many of the angels were, however, blinded by Lucifer’s deceptions.

“Taking advantage of the loving, loyal trust reposed in him by the holy beings under his command, he had so artfully instilled into their minds his own distrust and discontent that his agency was not discerned. Lucifer had presented the purposes of God in a false light—misconstruing and distorting them to excite dissent and dissatisfaction. He cunningly drew his hearers on to give utterance to their feelings; then these expressions were repeated by him when it would serve his purpose, as evidence that the angels were not in full harmony with the government of God. … While secretly fomenting discord and rebellion, he with consummate craft caused it to appear as his sole purpose to promote loyalty and to preserve harmony and peace.

“The spirit of dissatisfaction [was] thus kindled.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 37, 38.



  • When the archdeceiver finally instigated open rebellion in heaven, what was the outcome? Revelation 12:7–9. What will be his final end? Isaiah 14:15–17.
  • What was the real object at stake in the war in heaven? Psalm 119:126.

Note: “He [Lucifer] began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 37.

  • What reveals God’s perfect wisdom in handling this crisis? Jude 6; 1 Corinthians 6:3, first part; Philippians 2:10, 11.

Note: “Had he [Satan] been immediately blotted out of existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages, he must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might be forever placed beyond all question.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 42.



1              How can we answer some common misconceptions about who Christ is?

2              Why can we say that God’s government is balanced and just?

3              What was the root of Lucifer’s problem?

4              Trace the steps that he took that spoiled the sweet harmony of heaven.

5              Why didn’t God simply blot Satan out of existence immediately?

Recipe – Cold and Flu Home Remedy Drink

⅛ red onion, diced 1 lemon, juiced
1–2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 large orange, peeled and chopped
1 thumb-size piece of ginger 2 Tbsp. honey

Add to blender onion, garlic cloves and ginger; pulse. Add lemon juice and orange chunks and pulse until orange is finely blended. Pour into glass; whisk in honey. Sip slowly.

Food – Immune-Boosting Nutrition

Our marvelous immune system acts like a protective physical and biochemical bubble around the human body, defending against threats from both outside and inside. Most often, the external threats are infections caused by invading bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, while abnormal or cancerous cells pose the major internal threats. In addition, this complex system oversees the repair of tissues that are injured by wounds or disease.

The immune system is capable of making more than 100 billion types of antibodies, so it can recognize and attack just about anything it comes into contact with. Its most remarkable characteristic is its memory for every foreign protein it encounters. Confronted with a virus or other invading organism, the immune system creates an antibody that will recognize and attack against it at any future encounter. It will remember, and if the germ ever comes back, the appropriate antibodies will quickly go into action. By constantly adapting, the body can also fight against bacteria or viruses that change over time.

Feeding the body certain foods will keep the immune system on guard, having a major influence on immune health. The body’s most powerful protection is achieved by eating a well-balanced diet containing a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. These foods are high in nutrients and antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. In a study at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, researchers found that people who got the most of a variety of nutrients, including antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E in their diets, were able to produce greater numbers of natural killer cells (immune cells that search out and destroy bacteria and other invaders) and virus-killing lymphocytes (specialized white blood cells), than those getting the least.

Foods high in beta-carotene include orange-colored foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, yams and squash. Red pepper, spinach, kale, watercress, mangoes, and apricots are also excellent sources. Eating just one sweet potato and one carrot, providing nearly 30 mg daily value (DV), can have a significant impact on immunity.

Sources of high antioxidant vitamin E foods include hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, avocados, tofu, peanuts, olives and olive oil. Also included are tomatoes, bell peppers, papaya, and dried herbs.

Because our body does not synthesize vitamin C internally, it is a crucial nutrient to consume. Many fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin C. Black currants and guava are excellent sources as well as cantaloupe, strawberries, peppers and pineapple. Spring greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions, garlic, ginger, berries, rose hip tea and citrus fruits are highly rated sources as well.

Keeping our immune system healthy is important, no matter the season, but increasing antioxidant foods during cold and flu season will provide nutrients to fend off illness or shorten the duration if one does succumb.



Cold and Flu Home Remedy Drink

⅛ red onion, diced 1 lemon, juiced
1–2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 large orange, peeled and chopped
1 thumb-size piece of ginger 2 Tbsp. honey
Add to blender onion, garlic cloves and ginger; pulse. Add lemon juice and orange chunks and pulse until orange is finely blended. Pour into glass; whisk in honey. Sip slowly.

Children’s Story – Dearer to Her Than Life

“And it came to pass, that, as He (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father …” 

Luke 11:1, 2

If I call someone “Father” that means I am the child, and in the Bible God tells children how they are to be towards their parents. Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” and the Lord says through Paul, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1).

Jesus tells us, through His child Ellen White, “But if you call God your Father you acknowledge yourselves His children, to be guided by His wisdom and to be obedient in all things, knowing that His love is changeless. You will accept His plan for your life. As children of God, you will hold His honor, His character, His family, His work, as the objects of your highest interest. It will be your joy to recognize and honor your relation to your Father and to every member of His family. You will rejoice to do any act, however humble, that will tend to His glory or to the well-being of your kindred.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 105, 106.

Margaret lived in Scotland in the sixteenth century when Covenanters, followers of Christ through His servant John Knox, were thrown into prison, and many were martyred for their faith. Margaret was a Covenanter who ended up in jail for nothing more than belief in the Scriptures.

There she became friends with Mrs. Lauchlison, a fellow Covenanter who insisted on obeying Scripture rather than the king’s religion. The two encouraged one another in their cell, quoting Bible verses and praying for strength to endure to the end.

The day came when soldiers tied the hands of Mrs. Lauchlison and led her away to her execution. “Let me go too!” Margaret begged. Guarded by soldiers, she walked beside her friend to the beach where a wooden stake already stood at the water’s edge. Margaret watched as they bound her friend to the wooden pole. She stared as the tide came in, slowly raising the water level about the woman tied to the stake. Each wave brought the water higher about her body.

“What has the old woman done?” someone cried out of the crowd.

“She was found on her knees in prayer,” a guard answered.

As Margaret kept staring at her friend, the old woman’s wrinkled face seemed aglow with heavenly light. Margaret strained to catch her words above the crash of the waves. “I have promised to obey Thee, heavenly Father. Help me now when I am tested.”

The faint strains of a hymn sounded above the pounding waves. Margaret watched as they washed over the old woman’s head. “Lord, help me to be as faithful to Your word,” she breathed a silent prayer of commitment.

The next day Margaret was the one tied to the stake. As the tide came in, she recited Romans 8:31–39: “If God be for us, who can be against us? Who can divide us from the love of Christ? … For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Margaret and her friend Mrs. Lauchlison both honored their Father in heaven. To do anything different than they did would have been to dishonor, disobey and deny Him. Though their obedience to their heavenly Father cost them their lives on this earth, they are simply sleeping in their temporary beds until the great waking up morning, when their Saviour and Lord will awaken them to the joys of eternal life.

Pray that each one of us will make the same commitment to our heavenly Father that Margaret and Mrs. Lauchlison made, to be faithful no matter the cost. Then we also, on that great waking up morning when Jesus returns, will be with our Father and His only begotten Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, for eternity.

Life Sketches – A Rich Fool

Ironically, there is temporal gain in this world that later results in great loss, and there is also temporal loss that later results in great gain. A wise person considers the long-term effects of day-by-day decisions.

When Jesus was on earth, He taught that there were consequences to all decisions that may be completely different from what was expected. For instance, recorded in Matthew 16:24–26, literal translation, is this seeming paradox: “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’ ”

That is interesting, for the result is the opposite of what is expected. If you save your life, you will lose it, and if you lose your life for Christ’s sake, you will end up finding it. Jesus mentioned this several times (see also Mark 8:35 or Luke 9:24). If you find what you think is success in this world and have not denied yourself by taking up your cross and following Jesus, you may have gained the whole world, but you could eventually lose your own soul. Jesus asked, “What have you gained?” In light of eternity you have gained nothing because any gain on this earth is temporary.

However, there have been those who have apparently lost everything who will end up gaining more than they lost. Matthew 19:27–29 says, “Peter answered and said to Him [Jesus], ‘… See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit ever-lasting life’ ” (literal translation). Jesus greatly rewards a hundred fold those who are prepared to put all on the line in order to follow Him.

The Bible gives many stories of people who made both decisions. There is nothing in this world more valuable than the offer of eternal life. In Luke 12:18–21 there is a story about a rich man who said, “ ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

The apostle Paul, before he met the Lord on the Damascus road, was a zealous persecutor of the Christian church. In fact, he was on his way to Damascus with orders from the high priest in Jerusalem to take captive any that were found in the city of Damascus who were Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem bound for judgment and punishment when Jesus caught his attention in a mighty way.

It says in Acts 9:3–6, “… suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’ … So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ ”

After that encounter, Paul could not see anything for the light had completely blinded his eyes. So he arose and had to be led by the hand by his fellow traveling companions into the city. The Bible records that after a few days he was baptized by Ananias in the river. Paul was given back his eyesight; however, the vision that he had on the Damascus road affected his eyesight for the rest of his life.

After Paul’s baptism, he went back into the city to fellowship with the Christians. Now, instead of taking them prisoners, he shared with them his testimony of how, during his three days of blindness and fasting, he had reviewed in his mind the knowledge he had of the Old Testament prophecies. He now saw how the Old Testament prophecies pointed specifically to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and how everything fit perfectly together. He knew the time prophecies in Daniel and saw that Jesus had come at exactly the time predicted in Daniel 9. He connected the prophecies in the minor prophets predicting that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and that He would be born of the lineage of David. He recalled from the prophecies in Isaiah that the Messiah’s work would be headquartered in the territory of Galilee.

The scales were lifted from Paul’s eyes, and through his blindness, he now understood that the prophecies in the Psalms and Isaiah predicting that the Messiah would be rejected by the Jews and that He would be killed as a criminal by His own people had been fulfilled. He knew well from memory the prophecies in the Psalms, and in Isaiah, and in Jeremiah, and the minor prophets, in Daniel, and the prophecies given by Moses concerning the Messiah. But now he was able to see how these prophecies pointed directly to Jesus as the Messiah.

With this new understanding, he began to preach. First, he preached to the Jews and showed them from prophecy that this Jesus, who had been put to death, was really the Son of God. His arguments from prophecy were so convincing and conclusive, and his preaching was attended by the power of God so much, that the Jews who opposed him were confounded and unable to answer him.

In Acts 9:20–22, the Bible says,  “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?’ But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews that dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”

Paul showed them that his change of mind was not brought about by some impulse or fanaticism, but had been brought about by overwhelming evidence from Scripture.

As he presented it, he saw more and more clearly that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. There was no more argument, for all the Bible prophecies of the Old Testament proved it. Paul met such fierce opposition from the Jews in Damascus that he had to leave. Instead of being converted by the evidence presented, they developed an intense hatred of him. The same result is often true today. When the gospel is presented, some people accept it, but most people resist it and when the evidence becomes exceedingly powerful that what is being resisted is the truth, people develop hatred against the presenter. That has been true for thousands of years.

The same intense hatred was now exhibited toward Paul as was manifested before toward Jesus. Paul’s life in Damascus was in peril and he was directed by the Lord to leave there for a time, so he went to Arabia. In that land, he had opportunity for close contemplation and communion with God. He had time to search his own soul to deepen his repentance and to prepare himself by study and prayer for the work that he was about to engage in, which seemed to him to be too great and too important for him to undertake.

The Lord had already plainly told him that his work was to be among the Gentiles. To the Galatians Paul wrote, “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem … ” (Galatians 1:15–18).

The time spent in Arabia was to him a time of great soul-searching, prayer, and study. He wanted to know for sure that his great sin against Christ and His followers had been forgiven. Jesus had told him that it was He whom Paul was persecuting. When you persecute a Christian, a person who is a real follower of Jesus Christ, not only by profession but in character, the persecution is accounted as being done to the Lord Himself.

In the book of Matthew Jesus pulls back the veil from the future and tells us what is going to happen when He returns to this world again. Matthew 25:31–33 says, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Notice what He says to both groups. To the ones on His right side He says, “ ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ” To those on the left side, He will say to them, “ ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me’ ” (verses 40, 45).

When Paul went back to Damascus preaching boldly in the name of Jesus, the Jews could not withstand his arguments. So they counseled together to silence his voice by force, the only argument left to a sinking cause. In 2 Corinthians 5:11, Paul says, “We persuade men.” The only force that the apostles used was the constraining love of Christ. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14, literal translation, “The love of Christ constrains us.” That is the force that God uses, the force of His love. If that doesn’t draw you, then there is no other weapon that God will use to win you. Revelation 22:17 says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

In the books of Daniel and Revelation, all persecuting powers are described as Satanic. God does not use compulsion, except for the force of love to draw and to attract. In Jeremiah 31:3, literal translation, the Lord says, “With an everlasting love I have loved you, therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” But, the only argument left to a sinking cause is to silence the voice by force that cannot be silenced by persuasion or any logical arguments. When you look down through human history you find that this has happened millions and millions of times. If you cannot gain the best of your opponent by logic or reason, or persuade him of the righteousness of your cause, and he is determined to resist, the only thing left to do is to kill him. When you do that, of course, you reveal which side of the great controversy between Christ and Satan that you are on. There is a great controversy going on in our world between two supernatural powers, and the methods that we use when we deal with each other reveal which side of this controversy we stand on (see Revelation 12).

Unable to resist the wisdom spoken by Him, the Jews decided that they would kill Jesus to get Him out of the way. They did the same with the apostles. James was the first to be killed. They wanted to kill Peter, but his time to die was not yet and they were not allowed to do it. The Jews decided to kill Paul in Damascus and the disciples in Damascus did not know what to do. It says in Acts 9:23–25, “After many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. But their plot became known to Saul (Paul). And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.”

After he made his escape from Damascus, Paul went to Jerusalem to see the great apostle Peter, who was with James, but there he met with a lot of trouble because the Christians would not receive him, remembering him as a persecutor. He had no way to even contact the apostles.

Paul had been away from Jerusalem for three years. He had many friends, acquaintances, and relatives living there and he thought that they would be excited about hearing the wonderful experience he had. He thought that they would accept Christ, too, but he misjudged his former friends and associates. Not only did they reject what he said, but their rage and anger against him knew no bounds. They sought to kill him. This is often the same reaction today when a person finds Jesus, the Pearl of great price, that is worth more than anything in the world. Often that person who is so excited to share their new love and hope in the One described as “altogether lovely,” the “Prince of Peace,” the only Person in the universe who can deliver you from the guilt of your sin and the power of sin, and put joy and peace and love in your heart, is met with ridicule and rejection.

When a person finds Christ, he knows he has found such a treasure so wonderful that he immediately wants to tell his friends, acquaintances, and relatives what he has found. But it is still true today, just as it was in those days, that the eyes of those who are perishing are blinded by the god of this world, so that they should not see the light of the gospel. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4, says, “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

Not only did Paul meet with disappointment from his former fellow associates and friends, but the Christians would not accept him either because they were afraid that this was a set-up to flush them out and then destroy them. “When Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to Him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus” (Acts 9:26–30).

Throughout the ages, the person who knows the truth and wants to share it with others has been forced to flee because so many will not accept it. Paul was willing to stay in Jerusalem even if it meant giving his life to try to save his former associates. But while he was there, he said, “It happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him (Christ) saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles’ ” (Acts 22:17–21).

Although the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus, divine wisdom saw that there were multitudes in the Gentile world that if they heard the gospel would accept it. There are still people scattered here and there around the world who accept the gospel when hearing it.

Have you accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you surrendered yourself to Him? Has He become the Sovereign of your life so that He can deliver you from the guilt and power of sin, and give you an inheritance among those that are sanctified? Have you found the real reason that you are here, the real reason for living? Do you have security for the future because you are following the One who never makes a mistake?

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health – The Brain and the Nerves

There is a strange relation between the mind and the body. Diseases of each affect each. Involuntary actions of the heart, digestion, etc., are affected by the mind. Certain nerve-cells in the brain restrain other nerve-cells. One center causes contraction of the small blood-vessels: If this continued, the contraction would be too severe and prolonged. Another center therefore restrains the action of the first, thus balancing up the work of contraction, so that the proper supply of blood goes to all the body. This principle is called “inhibition.” Coughing and sneezing may be controlled by opposite nerve-cells. Cells that inhibit action of other cells lie in the front part of the large brain, or cerebrum. Here lies the power to exercise the will. 

We can inhibit wrong desires and curb evil inclinations. At first self-indulgence is a moral sin; then it becomes a physical disease. If we allow certain cells to act daily, always in certain ways, – that is, in our thoughts – this action becomes easier the oftener done; in other words, habit is formed. When we do a wrong act once, it is easier the next time, and becomes easier with each repetition. So with right ways. If we conquer evil and do right, it will become habitual. God gives us power if the will is submitted to him to overcome habit. While we cannot understand the will wholly, we know it is that which makes character, and character is what we are. This will live forever if the individual believes in Jesus Christ, and lives with the will submitted to Him. 

As one accustoms himself to think along certain lines, so the brain-cells become set, and thought runs in a certain groove, or channel. Think pure, sweet, happy thoughts, in harmony with the love of God and Christ’s example, and the brain and mind are thus attuned to heaven’s music. Philippians 4:8 is a good mental exercise. Proverbs 23:7 states a fact. A man once confessed to a Christian worker that it was impossible for him to think pure thoughts. Even Scriptures read in his hearing were, in his evil mind, associated with impurity in some form. He said that he had allowed his mind so to develop that it was impossible for him to be saved, for he could not think of anything but sin. God hates sin, and he will pour out his wrath upon it; but he does not destroy men: this they do themselves. How? – By thinking on evil, and then acting it out. In this way it becomes ingrained in them, a part of them; in fact, it is they themselves, SIN! This God will consume in the last day, because it has already consumed the man. If we heed the invitation of mercy before this condition of mind becomes fixed, there is hope. God wrought miracles in the past, and healed the lesions of the brain-cells, so that it was possible for pure thoughts to travel their course, and thus affect the character; and where a heart is now truly desirous of such a change, God freely gives it. 

The Youth’s Instructor, December 13, 1900.

Question & Answer – Explain who are the “sons of God” and “daughters of men” in Genesis 6:2?

“That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” 

Genesis 6:2

“The descendants of Seth were called the sons of God; the descendants of Cain, the sons of men. As the sons of God mingled with the sons of men, they became corrupt and, by intermarriage with them, lost, through the influence of their wives, their peculiar, holy character, and united with the sons of Cain in their idolatry. Many cast aside the fear of God and trampled upon His commandments. But there were a few that did righteousness, who feared and honored their Creator. Noah and his family were among the righteous few.” The Story of Redemption, 62. [Emphasis supplied.]

“The Scriptures briefly state the reason for the prevailing iniquity in Noah’s day. The sons of God married the daughters of men. Those who still cherished the knowledge of God united themselves with the ungodly and corrupt, and as a result became assimilated to them in character. The message of warning would have been received by a larger number, had it not been for their connection and association with those who despised and derided the word of God.” The Signs of the Times, February 16, 1882.

“For some time the two classes remained separate. The race of Cain, spreading from the place of their first settlement, dispersed over the plains and valleys where the children of Seth had dwelt; and the latter, in order to escape from their contaminating influence, withdrew to the mountains, and there made their home. … But in the lapse of time they ventured, little by little, to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys. This association was productive of the worst results. ‘The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair’ (Genesis 6:2). The children of Seth, attracted by the beauty of the daughters of Cain’s descendants, displeased the Lord by intermarrying with them. Many of the worshipers of God were beguiled into sin by the allurements that were now constantly before them, and they lost their peculiar, holy character. …”  Christ Triumphant, 38.

“The great crime in the marriages of the days of Noah was that the sons of God formed alliances with the daughters of men. Those who professed to acknowledge and revere God associated with those who were corrupt of heart; and without discrimination they married whom they would.” Messages to Young People, 456.