Bible Study – Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary

January 23 – 29, 2022

Key Text

“We have such an high priest … a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1, 2

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 409–422; Early Writings, 250–253

Introduction

“The holy places of the sanctuary in heaven are represented by the two apartments in the sanctuary on earth.” The Great Controversy, 414

Sunday

1 A REPLICA OF THE HEAVENLY

1.a. When Moses spent forty days with the Lord on Mount Sinai, what specific instructions did he receive? Exodus 25:8, 9, 40

 Note: “The sanctuary in heaven, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy. God placed His Spirit upon the builders of the earthly sanctuary.” The Great Controversy, 414

1.b. With what was the earthly tabernacle constructed? Exodus 25:1–7. How was it divided?

 Note: “For the building of the sanctuary, great and extensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required, but the Lord accepted only freewill offerings.” Prophets and Kings, 61

“The tabernacle itself consisted of two apartments called the holy and the most holy place, separated by a rich and beautiful curtain, or veil.” The Great Controversy, 412

Monday

2 THE MINISTRY IN THE HOLY PLACE

2.a. What provision was made for those who ignorantly transgressed God’s law? Leviticus 4:27–31; Acts 17:30

 Note: “The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary.” The Faith I Live By, 198

“Such was the work that went on, day by day, throughout the year. The sins of Israel were thus transferred to the sanctuary, and a special work became necessary for their removal.” The Great Controversy, 418

2.b. What was the daily duty of the common priest in the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary? Hebrews 9:6, 9, 10

 Note: “The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and the special offerings for individual sins. …

“Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be ‘without blemish.’ Exodus 12:5. The priests were to examine all animals brought as a sacrifice, and were to reject every one in which a defect was discovered. Only an offering ‘without blemish’ could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as ‘a lamb without blemish and without spot.’ 1 Peter 1:19.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 352

Tuesday

3 THE WORK OF THE HIGH PRIEST

3.a. How was the high priest attired? Exodus 29:4–7. What was the difference between the garments of the common priests and those of the high priest?

 Note: “In accordance with their office, a special dress was appointed for the priests. ‘Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty,’ was the divine direction to Moses. The robe of the common priest was of white linen, and woven in one piece. It extended nearly to the feet and was confined about the waist by a white linen girdle embroidered in blue, purple, and red. A linen turban, or miter, completed his outer costume. …

“The garments of the high priest were of costly material and beautiful workmanship, befitting his exalted station. In addition to the linen dress of the common priest, he wore a robe of blue, also woven in one piece. Around the skirt it was ornamented with golden bells, and pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet. Outside of this was the ephod, a shorter garment of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and white. It was confined by a girdle of the same colors, beautifully wrought. The ephod was sleeveless, and on its gold-embroidered shoulder pieces were set two onyx stones, bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 350, 351

3.b. What event took place on the tenth day of the seventh month in Israel? Leviticus 23:27–32. What solemn ceremony was performed by the high priest? Hebrews 9:3, 7

Note: “Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration.” The Great Controversy, 419

“No mortal eye but that of the high priest was to look upon the inner apartment of the sanctuary. Only once a year could the priest enter there, and that after the most careful and solemn preparation. With trembling he went in before God, and the people in reverent silence awaited his return, their hearts uplifted in earnest prayer for the divine blessing.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 352

Wednesday

4 THE REVELATOR’S FIRST VISION

4.a. How is Christ described in John’s first vision, and what was John’s reaction upon seeing his Lord? What words of encouragement were given to him? Revelation 1:14–19

 Note: “John, who has so loved his Lord, and who has steadfastly adhered to the truth in the face of imprisonment, stripes, and threatened death, cannot endure the excellent glory of Christ’s presence, and falls to the earth as one stricken dead. Jesus then lays His hand upon the prostrate form of His servant, saying, ‘Fear not; … I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.’ Revelation 1:17, 18. John was strengthened to live in the presence of his glorified Lord, and then were presented before him in holy vision the purposes of God for future ages. The glorious attractions of the heavenly home were made known to him. He was permitted to look upon the throne of God.” The Sanctified Life, 78

4.b. What details about the description in Revelation 1 show that Christ was in the first compartment of the heavenly sanctuary? Revelation 1:10, 12, 13. Describe the scene which Sister White was also shown.

 Note: “I was then bidden to take notice of the two apartments of the heavenly sanctuary. The curtain, or door, was opened, and I was permitted to enter. In the first apartment I saw the candlestick with seven lamps, the table of shewbread, the altar of incense, and the censer.” Early Writings, 251, 252

“The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, ‘within the veil’ which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court, represents the work of ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension. It was the work of the priest in the daily ministration to present before God the blood of the sin offering, also the incense which ascended with the prayers of Israel. So did Christ plead His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners, and present before Him also, with the precious fragrance of His own righteousness, the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven.” The Great Controversy, 420, 421

Thursday

5 TWO PHASES OF MEDIATORIAL WORK

5.a. What work was Jesus to perform in the heavenly sanctuary after His ascension? Hebrews 8:3–6

 Note: “For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record.” The Great Controversy, 421

5.b. What work did Jesus undertake in 1844? Daniel 8:14; Hebrews 9:11–15. Why should we be aware of this final mediation?

 Note: “As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. …

“As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded.” The Great Controversy, 421, 422

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1    What gifts are acceptable to God?

2    What daily service was performed in the sanctuary?

3    Why was the yearly work of the high priest so solemn?

4    What do we learn about Christ from John’s first vision?

5    What began in the sanctuary in 1844?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – The Book of Revelation

January 16 – 22, 2022

Key Text

“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 578–585; Early Writings, 110, 285–289

Introduction

“In the Revelation all the books of the Bible meet and end. Here is the complement of the book of Daniel. One is a prophecy; the other a revelation.” The Acts of the Apostles, 585

Sunday

1 REVELATION — NOT A MYSTERY

1.a. Who is the author of the book of Revelation? Revelation 1:1. What is the meaning of the word “Revelation”?

 Note: “God gave this revelation [of the truth for these last days] to Christ, and Christ communicated the same to John.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 150

“In the past teachers have declared Daniel and the Revelation to be sealed books, and the people have turned from them. The veil whose apparent mystery has kept many from lifting it, God’s own hand has withdrawn from these portions of His word. The very name ‘Revelation’ contradicts the statement that it is a sealed book. ‘Revelation’ means that something of importance is revealed. The truths of this book are addressed to those living in these last days.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 113

1.b. Why is it that many do not appreciate the study of the book of Revelation? 2 Timothy 4:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 4:3

Note: “The study of the Revelation directs the mind to the prophecies of Daniel, and both present most important instruction, given of God to men, concerning events to take place at the close of this world’s history.” The Great Controversy, 341

Monday

2 WRITTEN FOR THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION

2.a. What can we understand from the words “which must shortly come to pass” written in Revelation 1:1?

Note: “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.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 150

“The book of Revelation, in connection with the book of Daniel, especially demands study. Let every God-fearing teacher consider how most clearly to comprehend and to present the gospel that our Saviour came in person to make known to His servant John—‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.’ Revelation 1:1. …

“ ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.’ Revelation 1:3.” Education, 191

2.b. Why is it important to heed the messages contained in the book of Revelation? Revelation 1:3

 Note: “It was Gabriel, ‘His angel,’ whom Christ sent to open the future to the beloved John; and a blessing is pronounced on those who read and hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written therein. …

“God has given these things to us, and His blessing will attend the reverent, prayerful study of the prophetic scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 234

“The Lord will bless all who will seek humbly and meekly to understand that which is revealed in the Revelation. This book contains so much that is large with immortality and full of glory that all who read and search it earnestly receive the blessing to those ‘that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ One thing will certainly be understood from the study of Revelation—that the connection between God and His people is close and decided.” The Faith I Live By, 345

Tuesday

3 A WONDERFUL PROMISE

3.a. What is the message of the words used by John in his greetings to the churches in Asia? Revelation 1:4–6

 Note: “Why is it that there are so many who feel in uncertainty, who feel that they are orphans?—It is because they do not cultivate faith in the precious assurance that the Lord Jesus is their sin-bearer. …

“We should daily exercise faith; and that faith should daily increase as it is exercised, as we realize that He has not only redeemed us, but has loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and the Father.” Sons and Daughters of God, 287

“The Lord would save us from the corruptions of the world; for He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Jesus, our precious Saviour, has redeemed us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has clothed us with the garments of salvation, even in His own robe of righteousness.” The Signs of the Times, May 2, 1892

3.b. In the upper room, what assurance had the Saviour given to His disciples? John 14:1–3. When and how was this promise repeated and further described? Acts 1:9–11

Note: “It was the compassionate Saviour, who, anticipating the loneliness and sorrow of His followers, commissioned angels to comfort them with the assurance that He would come again in person, even as He went into heaven.” The Great Controversy, 339

“Jesus is coming, but not as at His first advent, a babe in Bethlehem; not as He rode into Jerusalem, when the disciples praised God with a loud voice and cried, ‘Hosanna’; but in the glory of the Father and with all the retinue of holy angels to escort Him on His way to earth. All heaven will be emptied of the angels, while the waiting saints will be looking for Him and gazing into heaven, as were the men of Galilee when He ascended from the Mount of Olivet. Then only those who are holy, those who have followed fully the meek Pattern, will with rapturous joy exclaim as they behold Him, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.’ ” Early Writings, 110

Wednesday

4 A SOLEMN AND GLORIOUS PROMISE

4.a. What prophetic event is repeated in the very first chapter of Revelation? Revelation 1:7

 Note: “Many think lightly of Christ now. They despise and reject Him, and say, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.’ But we read, ‘He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him.’ The same Jesus whose atonement has been rejected, whose followers have been despised and reviled, will be revealed from heaven … .” The Review and Herald, November 22, 1898

4.b. What else should we understand about this wondrous scene? 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10

Note: “One of the most solemn and yet most glorious truths revealed in the Bible is that of Christ’s second coming to complete the great work of redemption. To God’s pilgrim people, so long left to sojourn in ‘the region and shadow of death,’ a precious, joy-inspiring hope is given in the promise of His appearing, who is ‘the resurrection and the life,’ to ‘bring home again His banished.’ The doctrine of the second advent is the very keynote of the sacred Scriptures. From the day when the first pair turned their sorrowing steps from Eden, the children of faith have waited the coming of the Promised One to break the destroyer’s power and bring them again to the lost paradise. Holy men of old looked forward to the advent of the Messiah in glory, as the consummation of their hope.” The Great Controversy, 299

4.c. As believers in Christ’s glorious return, what solemn truths must we realize? John 3:2, 3; Matthew 16:27

Note: “It is through faith in Jesus Christ that the truth is accepted in the heart, and the human agent is purified and cleansed. … He has an abiding principle in the soul that enables him to overcome temptation. ‘Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not.’ 1 John 3:6. God has power to keep the soul that is in Christ who is under temptation.” The Faith I Live By, 130

Thursday

5 AN APPROPRIATE TITLE

5.a. How does Jesus identify Himself to John the Revelator, and what truths does this signify? Revelation 1:8

 Note: “When the students of prophecy shall set their hearts to know the truths of Revelation, they will realize what an importance is attached to this search. Christ Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Genesis of the Old Testament, and the Revelation of the New. Both meet together in Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1092

“The first gleam of light that pierced the gloom in which sin had wrapped the world, came from Christ. And from Him has come every ray of heaven’s brightness that has fallen upon the inhabitants of the earth. In the plan of redemption Christ is the Alpha and the Omega—the First and the Last.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 367

5.b. What distinct aspects of Jesus Christ should we keep in mind? Revelation 22:12, 13

 Note: “What a Saviour we have! … None but just such an ever-living, mighty God, could pay the ransom to save sinners.” The Review and Herald, February 18, 1896

“The return of Christ to our world will not be long delayed. Let this be the keynote of every message.

“The blessed hope of the second appearing of Christ, with its solemn realities, needs to be often presented to the people. Looking for the soon appearing of our Lord will lead us to regard earthly things as emptiness and nothingness.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 406

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1    Why is the book of Revelation important to us today?

2    How should the Christian approach Revelation?

3    Why are many wandering in hopelessness?

4    What are some key aspects to Christ’s second coming?

5    What is significant about the title “Alpha and Omega”?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – John the Revelator

January 9 – 15, 2022

Key Text

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:9

Study Help: The Sanctified Life, 69–79; The Acts of the Apostles, 568–577

Introduction

“To John the Lord Jesus opened the subjects that He saw would be needed by His people in the last days.” The Review and Herald, October 22, 1903

Sunday

1 THE BELOVED DISCIPLE

1.a. Which of the disciples were the closest with Jesus? Mark 5:37; Matthew 17:1; John 13:2326; 21:2025. Of these three who was still closer, and why?

 Note: “John and James, Andrew and Peter, with Philip, Nathanael, and Matthew, had been more closely connected with Him than the others, and had witnessed more of His miracles. Peter, James, and John stood in still nearer relationship to Him. They were almost constantly with Him, witnessing His miracles, and hearing His words. John pressed into still closer intimacy with Jesus, so that he is distinguished as the one whom Jesus loved. The Saviour loved them all, but John’s was the most receptive spirit. He was younger than the others, and with more of the child’s confiding trust he opened his heart to Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 292

1.b. What subject especially attracted the attention of John? John 13:34, 35; John 3:11

 Note: “The apostle John realized that brotherly love was waning in the church, and he dwelt particularly upon this point. Up to the day of his death he urged upon believers the constant exercise of love for one another.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 241

Monday

2 TRANSFORMED BY GRACE

2.a. What was the character of John like in his early experience in the gospel ministry? Mark 3:17; Luke 9:51–56

 Note: “John and his brother [James] were called the ‘sons of thunder.’ John was a man of decided character, but he had learned lessons from the great Teacher. He had defects of character, and any slight shown to Jesus aroused his indignation and combativeness. His love for Christ was the love of a soul saved through the merits of Jesus; but with this love there were natural evil traits that had to be overcome. At one time he and his brother claimed the right to the highest position in the kingdom of heaven, and at another he forbade a man to cast out devils and heal diseases because he followed not with the disciples. At another time when he saw his Lord slighted by the Samaritans he wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume them. But Christ rebuked him, saying, ‘The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’ ” The Signs of the Times, April 20, 1891

2.b. By what means was John, “the son of thunder,” transformed into an apostle of love? Hebrews 12:1, 2

 Note: “John was a living illustration of sanctification. On the other hand, Judas possessed a form of godliness, while his character was more satanic than divine. He professed to be a disciple of Christ, but in words and in works denied Him.

“Judas had the same precious opportunities as had John to study and to imitate the Pattern. He listened to the lessons of Christ, and his character might have been transformed by divine grace. But while John was earnestly warring against his own faults and seeking to assimilate to Christ, Judas was violating his conscience, yielding to temptation, and fastening upon himself habits of dishonesty that would transform him into the image of Satan.” The Sanctified Life, 59, 60

“It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, which Jesus said He would send into the world, that changes our character into the image of Christ; and when this is accomplished, we reflect, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord. That is, the character of the one who thus beholds Christ is so like His, that one looking at him sees Christ’s own character shining out.” Our High Calling, 58

Tuesday

3 PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS

3a. What prediction of Jesus was fulfilled in the lives of the early Christians? John 15:20; 16:2

 Note: “One after another the foremost of the builders fell by the hand of the enemy. Stephen was stoned; James was slain by the sword; Paul was beheaded; Peter was crucified; John was exiled. Yet the church grew. New workers took the place of those who fell, and stone after stone was added to the building. Thus slowly ascended the temple of the church of God.

“Centuries of fierce persecution followed the establishment of the Christian church, but there were never wanting men who counted the work of building God’s temple dearer than life itself. Of such it is written: ‘Others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.’ Hebrews 11:36–38.” The Acts of the Apostles, 597, 598

3.b. What promises are made to those who are persecuted? Isaiah 43:2; Job 23:10

 Note: “John was cast into a caldron of boiling oil; but the Lord preserved the life of His faithful servant, even as He preserved the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. As the words were spoken, Thus perish all who believe in that deceiver, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, John declared, My Master patiently submitted to all that Satan and his angels could devise to humiliate and torture Him. He gave His life to save the world. I am honored in being permitted to suffer for His sake. I am a weak, sinful man. Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled. He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.

“These words had their influence, and John was removed from the caldron by the very men who had cast him in.

“Again the hand of persecution fell heavily upon the apostle. By the emperor’s decree John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, condemned ‘for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Revelation 1:9.” The Acts of the Apostles, 570

Wednesday

4 ON THE ISLE OF PATMOS

4.a. In order to silence the voice of John, what did the enemies of the gospel do to him after he had been saved from the boiling oil? Revelation 1:9

 Note: “Again the enemies of truth sought to silence the voice of the faithful witness. John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. Here, they thought, he could no longer trouble Israel, and he must finally die of hardship and distress.” The Signs of the Times, March 22, 1905

“John, the beloved disciple, was exiled to lonely Patmos, that he might be separated from all strife, and even from the work he loved, and that the Lord might commune with him and open before him the closing scenes in this earth’s history.” The Review and Herald, June 14, 1887

“Patmos, a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, had been chosen by the Roman government as a place of banishment for criminals; but to the servant of God this gloomy abode became the gate of heaven. Here, shut away from the busy scenes of life, and from the active labors of former years, he had the companionship of God and Christ and the heavenly angels, and from them he received instruction for the church for all future time. The events that would take place in the closing scenes of this earth’s history were outlined before him; and there he wrote out the visions he received from God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 570, 571

4.b. What was John specifically instructed to do while on Patmos? Revelation 1:11

 Note: “The history of John affords a striking illustration of the way in which God can use aged workers. When John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, there were many who thought him to be past service, an old and broken reed, ready to fall at any time. But the Lord saw fit to use him still. Though banished from the scenes of his former labor, he did not cease to bear witness to the truth. Even in Patmos he made friends and converts. His was a message of joy, proclaiming a risen Saviour who on high was interceding for His people until He should return to take them to Himself.” The Acts of the Apostles, 572, 573

Thursday

5 THE LORD’S DAY

5.a. What account does John give us of his first vision on the Isle of Patmos? Revelation 1:10.

 Note: “ ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.’ Did John here mean Sunday?—There is but one day called the Lord’s day, and that is the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath instituted at creation.” The Signs of the Times, May 13, 1897

“It was on the Sabbath that the Lord of glory appeared to the exiled apostle. The Sabbath was as sacredly observed by John on Patmos as when he was preaching to the people in the towns and cities of Judea. He claimed as his own the precious promises that had been given regarding that day.” The Acts of the Apostles, 581

5.b. What promise is given to those who respect and honor the Sabbath? Isaiah 56:6, 7; 58:13, 14

Note: “John remembered that one of these ten precepts called upon him to ‘remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ And the Lord’s day, the day on which Jehovah rested after the great work of creation, and which He blessed and sanctified, was as sacredly observed by him upon the lonely isle as it had been when he was among the churches, worshipping with them on that holy day.” The Signs of the Times, February 5, 1885

“To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight.” The Desire of Ages, 289

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1    How did John become the beloved disciple?

2    How can we have the transformation experienced by John?

3    What will happen to all who follow Christ?

4    What is always the Christian’s duty?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – God’s Character Revealed Through Jesus

January 2 – 8, 2022

Key Text

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” Hebrews 1:1, 2,
first part

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 85–91; That I May Know Him, 288, 289

Introduction

“Christ came to the world to reveal the character of the Father, and to redeem the fallen race.” The Review and Herald, January 7, 1890

Sunday

1 THE LAW OF GOD

1.a. What is revealed about God’s character as represented in His moral law? Psalm 119:142; Romans 7:12

 Note: “Christ came to this world to live the law and represent the character of God, that the delusions which Satan had brought upon the world might be dispelled.” The Signs of the Times, February 24, 1898.

1.b. What was Jesus’ attitude in regard to the ten commandments? Isaiah 42:21; John 15:10; Psalm 40:8

Note: “The claim that Christ by His death abolished His Father’s law is without foundation. Had it been possible for the law to be changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died to save man from the penalty of sin.” The Great Controversy, 466

“Though Christ did away with their multitudinous exactions, He explicitly declared that not one jot or tittle of the law should ever fail. He had come to exalt the law, to magnify the law and make it honorable.” The Review and Herald, April 30, 1895

Monday

2 GOD WITH US

2.a. Who was Christ before His incarnation and what was His position? John 1:1–4; Philippians 2:6

 Note: “Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God. … 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. …

“Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore. The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right.” The Faith I Live By, 46

“There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory.” The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906

2.b. What constituted a miraculous sign about the incarnation of Jesus? Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:34, 35

 Note: “The more we think about Christ’s becoming a babe here on earth, the more wonderful it appears. How can it be that the helpless babe in Bethlehem’s manger is still the divine Son of God? Though we cannot understand it, we can believe that He who made the worlds, for our sakes became a helpless babe. Though higher than any of the angels, though as great as the Father on the throne of heaven, He became one with us. In Him God and man became one, and it is in this fact that we find the hope of our fallen race. Looking upon Christ in the flesh, we look upon God in humanity, and see in Him the brightness of divine glory, the express image of God the Father.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 128

“He [Jesus Christ] was ‘the image of God,’ the image of His greatness and majesty, ‘the outshining of His glory.’ It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love—to be ‘God with us.’ Therefore it was prophesied of Him, ‘His name shall be called Immanuel.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 19

Tuesday

3 SPEAKING THROUGH PROPHETS AND APOSTLES

3.a. Who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave him the ten commandments written on two tables of stone? Acts 7:38; 1 Corinthians 10:4

 Note: “It was Christ who spoke the law from Sinai. It was Christ who gave the law to Moses, engraven on tables of stone.” The Review and Herald, September 27, 1881

“Christ was not only the leader of the Hebrews in the wilderness—the Angel in whom was the name of Jehovah, and who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, went before the host—but it was He who gave the law to Israel. Amid the awful glory of Sinai, Christ declared in the hearing of all the people the ten precepts of His Father’s law. … It was Christ that spoke to His people through the prophets.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 366

“Through patriarchs and prophets He [Christ] revealed His truth to His people. Christ was the teacher of His ancient people as verily as He was when He came to the world clothed in the garments of humanity. Hiding His glory in human form, He often appeared to His people and talked with them ‘face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.’ He, their invisible leader, was enshrouded in the pillar of fire and of cloud, and spoke to His people through Moses.” Lift Him Up, 314

3.b. When Jesus was on earth, what did He affirm about His real identity? John 8:58; 13:13

Note: “The teaching of Christ in the gospel is in perfect harmony with the teaching of Christ through the prophets in the Old Testament. The prophets spoke through the messengers of Christ in the Old Testament as much as the apostles voiced His messages in the New Testament, and there is no contradiction between their teachings.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 345

“It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons; by His word He stilled the sea, and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ, and the Saviour desired to fix the faith of His followers on the word.” The Desire of Ages, 390

Wednesday

4 CALLED TO BE WITNESSES

4.a. Just before His ascension, what did Jesus request from the disciples? Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4. What must we realize about the Holy Spirit?

Note: “A determined, vigilant leader was in command of the agencies of evil, and the followers of Christ could resist and overcome the powers of darkness only through the help that God could give them. But through the power of the Holy Spirit they [the disciples] were to be successful witnesses of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. Beginning at Jerusalem, they were to widen the scene of their operations until all nations should hear the sound of the gospel.” The Review and Herald, November 6, 1894

“Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions. There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord’s promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us.” The Desire of Ages, 672 [Author’s italics.]

4.b. What is involved in the gospel commission and how far does it extend? Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8

Note: “The Saviour’s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained minister. … All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be coworkers with Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 822

“Christ urges again and again upon His disciples the obligation to make known the gospel to the world. When within one step of the throne of God, He opened their understanding that they might know the Scriptures, repeating again the old commandment to go forth and preach the message of salvation.” The Review and Herald, November 6, 1894

Thursday

5 THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

5.a. According to the promise of Jesus, what event took place ten days after His ascension, and what was the result? Acts 2:1–4, 16–18, 41

 Note: “That the disciples of Christ might be prepared for the great work which they were to do, Jesus had instructed them to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high. On the day of Pentecost, as they were assembled together, and with one accord were seeking for the fulfillment of His promise, the Spirit of God descended, and the hearts of those who believed were filled with the Holy Ghost. The most signal evidence of the power of God was manifested, and thousands were converted in a day.” The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1890

5.b. In these last days of earth’s history, what promise is given us, and what will be its result? Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 3:19

Note: “As the ‘former rain’ was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the ‘latter rain’ will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. … The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close.” The Great Controversy, 611, 612

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1    What relationship exists between Christ and the law?

2    What miracle can we not now fully understand?

3    How does Christ communicate with His people?

4    What is our great duty as Christians?

5    What will help us in the fulfillment of our commission?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – The Importance of Prophecy

The Book of Revelation

December 26, 2021 – January 1, 2022

Key Text

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 722–733; The Acts of the Apostles, 25–28

Introduction

“As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies relating to the last days especially demand our study.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 133

Sunday

1 IN THE BEGINNING

1.a. After creating man, how did God communicate with him? Genesis 1:28, first part; 3:9 In what special sense can this kindle hope in our hearts? Matthew 5:8

 Note: “The pure in heart live as in the visible presence of God during the time He apportions them in this world. And they will also see Him face to face in the future, immortal state, as did Adam when he walked and talked with God in Eden. ‘Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.’ 1 Corinthians 13:12.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 27

1.b. What privilege was extended to Moses? Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:6–8; Deuteronomy 34:10

Note: “It was the Son of God that gave to our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation through man’s Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 366

Monday

2 DURING THE OLD DISPENSATION

2.a. What were the prophets called in old times, and why? 1 Samuel 9:9; Numbers 12:6; 24:16. Describe the important scene they beheld. Numbers 24:17

Note: “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

2.b. What are some of the various deeds performed by God’s prophets, and how are we all to benefit from their work? Hosea 12:13; Amos 3:7; 2 Chronicles 20:20

Note: “This is a time when every soul needs to cling earnestly to God. Those whom the Lord is leading to do His last work in the earth are to stand as Micah and Zephaniah and Zechariah stood in their day, to call to repentance and good works. The writings of these prophets contain warnings and instruction applicable to this time, and should receive our careful study. They should teach us to shun every phase of evil that made such warnings essential to the people of the past. Let every soul arouse and make diligent examination of self, that everything that would separate the people of God from righteousness may be put away. …

“I would say to all our people, Place yourselves in the light, that you may reflect light, and that souls may be led to see the great and soul-saving truths of the word of God. Every believer in Christ should be a laborer together with Him in drawing souls from sin to righteousness. We are to keep in view the life that measures with the life of God. We are to watch for opportunities to bring the truths of the word before those who do not see and understand. Christ is not now with us in person, but through the agency of the Holy Spirit, He is present to impart His power and grace and great salvation.” The Review and Herald, September 16, 1909

Tuesday

3 PROPHETS AFTER OLD TESTAMENT TIMES

3.a. What shows that the prophetic gift continued in New Testament times? Acts 11:27, 28; 13:1; 21:8–11

 Note: “During the ages while the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament were being given, the Holy Spirit did not cease to communicate light to individual minds, apart from the revelations to be embodied in the sacred canon. The Bible itself relates how, through the Holy Spirit, men received warning, reproof, counsel, and instruction, in matters in no way relating to the giving of the Scriptures. And mention is made of prophets in different ages, of whose utterances nothing is recorded. In like manner, after the close of the canon of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit was still to continue its work, to enlighten, warn, and comfort the children of God.” Lift Him Up, 118

3.b. What are two identifying marks of the true church during the time of the end? Revelation 12:17; 19:10; Malachi 4:5, 6; Joel 2:28, 29

 Note: “ ‘And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ This prophecy points out clearly that the remnant church will acknowledge God in His law and will have the prophetic gift. Obedience to the law of God, and the spirit of prophecy has always distinguished the true people of God, and the test is usually given on present manifestations.

“In Jeremiah’s day the people had no question about the message of Moses, Elijah, or Elisha, but they did question and put aside the message sent of God to Jeremiah until its force and power was wasted and there was no remedy but for God to carry them away into captivity. …

“As the third angel’s message arose in the world, which is to reveal the law of God to the church in its fullness and power, the prophetic gift was also immediately restored. This gift has acted a very prominent part in the development and carrying forward of this message.” Loma Linda Messages, 33

Wednesday

4 THE GIFT OF PROPHECY WITHDRAWN

4.a. Why was the gift of the Holy Spirit, which includes the gift of prophecy, withdrawn from the Christian church for a time? Revelation 11:6; Psalm 74:9

 Note: “When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of ‘heresy.’ In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.” The Great Controversy, 443

4.b. What conditions can be expected when the gift of prophecy is either not present or not appreciated in the church? Acts 7:51–53; 7:35–39

Note: “The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world, and those who have had great light and opportunities and have not improved them, will be the first to be left. They have grieved away the Spirit of God. The present activity of Satan in working upon hearts, and upon churches and nations should startle every student of prophecy. The end is near.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 154

“[The] … reasoning will be heard today from worldly-wise men, from the unfaithful watchmen in the pulpits, ‘My Lord delayeth His coming, all things remain as they were from the beginning. You have no need to be alarmed, there is to be a thousand years of temporal millennium before Christ will come. All the world will be converted. Peace, peace; you should pay no regard to these fanatics, who are only alarmists.’ The world generally will despise prophecy and abuse those who speak to them the words of God, rebuking their sins and calling them to repentance.” The Signs of the Times, January 3, 1878

“I know your danger. If you lose confidence in the testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth. I have been fearful that many would take a questioning, doubting position, and in my distress for your souls I would warn you. How many will heed the warning?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 98

Thursday

5 THE PROPHETIC GIFT RESTORED

5.a. Why should we earnestly heed the counsel given by the apostle Peter regarding prophecy? Peter 1:19–21; 3:1–7

 Note: “The laws of nature cannot prevent the fulfillment of God’s word. The law is never greater than the Lawgiver, nor are the things created greater than the Creator. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man. As men are warned of impending judgment, thousands will say, it cannot be. They will despise the truth, make light of prophecy, and deride the teacher of righteousness. One will turn aside to his farm, another to his merchandise, and care for none of these things.” The Signs of the Times, February 24, 1887

“Already the judgments of God are abroad in the land, as seen in storms, in floods, in tempests, in earthquakes, in peril by land and by sea. The great I AM is speaking to those who make void His law. When God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth, who will then be able to stand?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 136

5.b. In view of the nearness of the end of time, what are we admonished to do?Thessalonians 5:20; Revelation 22:7

 Note: “The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn the people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed, be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message.” Evangelism, 195

Friday

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1    How can we be sure to retain the gift of prophecy?

2    What acts were performed by the Old Testament prophets?

3    How were prophets used in the early Christian church?

4    Why was the gift of prophecy withdrawn?

5    What deserves our special attention in these last days?

Copyright 2000, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Recipe – Apple and Pomegranate Jellies

Pomegranate

The pomegranate, categorized as a berry, is a shrub that produces a red, round fruit about 2-5 inches in diameter. The skin is thick and inedible with hundreds of edible seeds within. Each seed is surrounded by a red, juicy and sweet seed covering known as an aril. The seeds and arils are eaten either raw or processed into pomegranate juice.

Pomegranates really shine in their wealth of powerful plant compounds, some of which have potent medicinal properties. Pomegranates pack two unique substances that are responsible for most of their health benefits.

Punicalagins

Punicalagins are extremely potent antioxidants found in pomegranate juice and the peel. They are so powerful that pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red grape juice and green tea.

Test-tube studies have shown that punicalagins can reduce inflammatory activity in the digestive tract, as well as in colon cancer cells, diabetes, and breast cancer. Pomegranate extract may inhibit the reproduction of breast cancer cells—even killing some of them.

Punicic Acid

Punicic acid, found in pomegranate seed oil, is the main fatty acid in the arils. It’s a type of conjugated linoleic acid with potent biological effects which may help protect against several steps in the heart disease process. Several human studies have shown it improves cholesterol profile and protects LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage. One research analysis concluded that regular intake of pomegranate juice reduces high blood pressure levels in as little as two weeks, a major factor for heart disease.

If you wish to reap the many health benefits pomegranates have to offer, eat the arils directly or drink the juice.

www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-benefits-of-pomegranate#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

Recipe – Apple and Pomegranate Jellies

Ingredients

1 cup apple juice

1 cup pomegranate juice

1½ Tbsp. agar flakes

3-4 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds

Process

  • Pour the fruit juices in a saucepan; heat gently until quite warm, but not boiling.
  • Sprinkle the agar over the surface of the liquid; continue to heat without stirring, while the agar dissolves.
  • When the liquid starts to just bubble, stir in the agar, then simmer, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until all the agar flakes have thoroughly dissolved. Strain the hot jelly into four small serving glasses or dishes. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to the fridge until cold and set. Before serving, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of pomegranate seeds onto the top of each jelly.

In Danger of Hell Fire

If a person cherishes a spirit of malice and unkindness, he is cherishing a spirit that will result in hatred and a desire for revenge. This is why the Bible says that a person who hates his brother is a murderer and cannot hope to have eternal life. The question is, how can this spirit be removed or changed?

Across the Sea of Galilee from where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount was the land of Bashan. This land, filled with wild gorges and wooded areas, had for a long time been a favorite lurking ground for criminals of all descriptions. Even in Jesus’ day, there were reports of frequent murders and robberies committed in the area. People thought that if Jesus was teaching the law, He would have a stern rebuke for the people committing these crimes. They were shocked when He quoted the sixth commandment that says, “You shall not murder,” and showed that the commandment applied to them.

The people of that time cherished bitter hatred against the Romans and other people of their own country who did not in all things conform to their ideas. They were contentious and passionate, and so Jesus said to them, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ [an empty-headed, vain fellow] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ [a person who has abandoned himself to wickedness] shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21, 22

Actually, many of the most accurate and ancient manuscripts leave out the words “without a cause.” The text would then read: “I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council.”

This spirit of hatred and revenge is at the basis of murders. It originated with Lucifer, the leading angel of heaven. His name became Satan, which means adversary, devil, or slanderer. This spirit led him to put to death the Son of God. The New Testament is very clear, the person, the intelligence that was behind the crucifixion of Jesus, was not just the Jewish leaders or the Roman government or Pilate, but an influence of supernatural forces. The devil wanted to destroy the Son of God, so he engineered and programmed the whole event. The heavenly universe saw and knew exactly what was going on, but the people of the earth did not know or understand.

So, as with the devil and many in ancient Israel, whoever today cherishes malice or unkindness is cherishing the same spirit and its fruit will be death. The revengeful thought is the seed that once grown or unfolded, produces the evil deed. The Bible says, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15

In the gift of His Son, given for our redemption, God has shown how high a value He places on every human soul. He gives no one permission or liberty to speak contemptuously about another human being. It is true, having eyes and ears, we will see and hear of faults and weaknesses in other human beings. But God claims these as His property, first because He created them, as we find in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”

But human beings are doubly His because He purchased them back by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. So, since all human beings were created in the image of God, even those that have been most degraded by sin, we are to treat one another with respect and compassion. When we study the life of Jesus, we find that He treated even His persecutors with politeness and courtesy.

Jesus teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount that God will hold us accountable if we speak contemptuously about anyone for whom Jesus laid down His life. The New Testament also is very strict about this principle. Notice what it says in 1 Corinthians 4:7: “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

Paul says that everything you have received is from God, so why do you talk as if you produced something on your own? Paul also says in Romans 14:4: “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”

We are not to speak contemptuously of any human being no matter how degraded they are because of a life of sin. We are not to condemn our brother or sister as someone who is beyond the reach of salvation, as though they cannot be saved. If we pronounce judgment on someone else and say that we believe they cannot be saved, Jesus says that we are in danger of hell fire ourselves. The book of Jude provides us with an example of how we should talk and treat our fellow human beings. “Yet Michael [one who is like God] the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ ” Jude 9. Jesus did not bring a railing accusation against the devil. If He had, He would have placed Himself on Satan’s ground for accusations are the weapon of the wicked one. Revelation 12:10 says, “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’ ”

This scripture calls Satan “the accuser of the brethren.” Jesus did not bring an accusation against the devil; He left it for His Father to decide the condemnation and judgment of the devil. We are to follow His example. When we are brought into conflict with the enemies of Christ, for He still has many enemies in this world, we are to say nothing with a spirit of retaliation, or anything appearing to be a reviling or railing accusation. If we stand as a mouthpiece for God, as all Christians should, then we should not utter words that even the Majesty of heaven would not use when contending with the devil. We must leave with God the work of judging and condemning.

The love of God is a positive, active principle, a living spring ever-flowing out to bless others. If the love of Christ really dwells in our hearts, we not only will refrain from cherishing evil against our brother or sister, or speaking in a contemptuous way to them or about them, but we will ever and always seek to manifest love for them. In Matthew 5:23, 24, Jesus said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” In other words, don’t even go to church to worship the Lord in public until you have made things right with the person that you have wronged. We cannot expect to be able to express faith in God’s pardoning love if we are indulging an unloving spirit.

If, when we come before God, we remember that someone else has something against us, then we are to leave our gift of prayer, thanksgiving, or freewill offering, and we are to go to that brother or sister with whom we are at variance, and in humility confess our sin and ask them to forgive us. If we have in any manner defrauded or injured them, we are to attempt to make restitution. This has been a principle in the Bible from the most ancient times.

Ezekiel 33:15 says, “If the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” So, if we have unwittingly borne false witness against a brother or sister, if we have misstated their words, if we have injured their influence in any way, we need to go to those with whom we have conversed about them and take back all the injurious misstatements.

If Christians would do this in matters of difficulty between Christian brothers or sisters, if instead of laying them before third parties we went frankly and honestly to speak directly to them to make things right, in the spirit of Christian love, how much evil might be prevented. How much bitterness, would be avoided, and how closely Christians would be united in a bond of brotherly love (Hebrews 12:15).

As Jesus presented His sermon, the Jews prided themselves on their morality and they looked with horror upon the sensual practices of the Romans and other nations. But when Jesus showed them that the sixth commandment had to do with what was in the mind and heart, not just in the action, He also revealed something shocking about the seventh commandment. He said in Matthew 5:27, 28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” When the thought of evil is loved and cherished, even secretly, it shows that sin still reigns in the heart.

He who finds pleasure in dwelling upon scenes of impurity, he who indulges the evil thought and the lustful look, may behold in the open sin the result of what he has been thinking. The Bible is very clear that all human beings are tempted in this world. But temptation does not create the evil that is revealed; it only develops or makes manifest that which was already in the heart, although it has been hidden. The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. “For out of it [the heart] spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23, last part

To prevent a physical disease from spreading to another part of the body and destroying the life, a man would submit to having a part of his body, an arm or a hand, amputated. How much more should a person be willing to surrender whatever imperils the life of his soul? In Matthew 5:29, 30, He said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

This is a spiritual principle: whatever endangers the soul must be given up. If we are looking at something that endangers our souls, then we must stop looking at it. If we are handling something that endangers our souls, we must put it away. If where our feet take us is somewhere that endangers our souls, we must stop going there, because, through the gospel, souls that have been degraded and enslaved by Satan, by sin, are to be redeemed and are to share the glorious liberty of the sons of God. God’s purpose is not just to deliver us from the suffering that is the inevitable result of sin, His purpose is to save us from sin itself.

The gospel purifies, transforms, and sanctifies the soul that has been corrupted and deformed. It is to be clothed in “the beauty of the Lord our God.” Psalm 90:17. It is “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:29. The Bible says that “ ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ ” 1 Corinthians 2:9. In fact, eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which every man and woman may be restored.

If we are going to reach this high ideal, whatever causes our souls to stumble must be sacrificed. It is through the will that sin retains its hold upon us. Often it seems to us that if we surrender everything to the Lord, we will be maimed, or crippled, or unable to do the things we have been planning to do. But it is through the surrender of the will to God, represented by Jesus as the plucking out of the eye or the cutting off of the hand, that we are freed from sin’s grip.

Jesus says it is better to enter into life, even if we are maimed or crippled, than to continue in sin and lose our souls. You see, God is the fountain of life and we can only have life as we are in communion with Him. Sin separates us from God and if we are separated from God, we may exist for a little time, but it is inevitable that we will die. The only way that we can truly live is when we surrender to the Lord as our Master and Saviour, and through that surrender we will receive what the Lord wants to give to us.

If we refuse to yield our will to God, if we cling to self and sin, then we are choosing death because sin is going to be destroyed (1 John 3:8), and we will be destroyed along with it.

Friend, what will be your destiny? You have a choice to make. Will you forsake your sin and live, or will you hang on to it and be destroyed?

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: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health – The Health Benefits of Singing

Many studies done over a number of years have focused on the health benefits of singing, and the evidence is overwhelming: singing is good for you.

Singing strengthens the health, broadens the mind, refines the intellect, expands the imagination, makes one happy and gives life a little added zest.

Singing boosts the immune system by causing the body to generate immunoglobin A, a protein considered a first line of defense against respiratory infections. It also increases the production of hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone.

Singing releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel uplifted and energized. People who sing are frequently healthier than people who don’t.

Singing gives the lungs a workout. It makes us breathe more deeply than many other forms of strenuous exercise. We take in more oxygen and in turn, our aerobic capacity is improved and we can experience a release of muscle tension.

All of these things—a more robust immune system, a happier mood, stronger lungs, reduced stress and improved circulation—can help prolong life.

And, singing is free. Nearly everyone has the ability, if not perfect tone, to sing for their entire lifetime. Greg Cohen of George Washington University tracked a Senior Singers Chorale in Arlington, Virginia. The chorale singers’ average age is 80—the youngest is 65 and the oldest 96. Preliminary data shows the singers suffer less depression, make fewer doctor visits a year, take fewer medications and have increased their other activities. So singing can provide an inexpensive, easily accessible and powerful way to improve physiological and psychological well-being.

Singing starts in infancy. Babies are known to sing to themselves in moments of absolute emotional tranquility. Like the infant, we sing to ourselves because we feel good. We often find ourselves humming along with a tune or singing in the car or the shower which, in turn, makes us feel even better.

Preschool and kindergarten teachers have found that children learn best through singing, and for a long time, have used music to help children learn and remember material. Music is used to engage the children in activities that are associated with the songs they are singing. Music, including singing, also helps to strengthen math skills.

In music therapy, certain sounds benefit particular parts of the body. For example:

  • Singing the short-a sound, as in ahh, will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
  • To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in emit. It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body’s biological clock.
  • Singing the short-e sound, as in echo, stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed of digestion and other bodily processes.
  • Singing the long-o sound, as in ocean, stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
  • To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in too. This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells.

So, think about this: when a choir does vocal exercises that include ahh, a, e, o and oo, they are not only developing flexibility and helping to control pitch and tone—which is the purpose of vocalizing—they have just made themselves happy, given themselves a boost of energy, helped to regulate their blood sugar and have strengthened their immune system. This is one of the reasons why choral singers look to be in a state of euphoric happiness when they sing.

So, to summarize here are a few of the health benefits gained from singing:

  • improves mood
  • effective stress reliever
  • improves sleep
  • releases pain-relieving endorphins
  • improves posture
  • increases lung capacity
  • clears the sinuses and respiratory tubes
  • tones your facial and stomach muscles
  • tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm
  • stimulates circulation

And in addition, a few of the emotional and psychological benefits are:

  • strengthens concentration and memory
  • broadens expressive communication
  • adds a rich, more pleasant quality to speech
  • stimulates insight into prose and poetry and piques interest in the deeper meaning of words
  • is an ageless enjoyment—you are never too young or too old
  • is therapeutic
  • improves mental alertness
  • increases poise and presentation skills
  • increases confidence

And the best part is, you don’t have to be a world-class singer to enjoy all of these benefits. Singing enriches the life far beyond notes and music. Add a healthy, new dimension to your life—SING!

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

Singing with grace in our hearts to God hymns, scripture songs and uplifting songs of worship are ways we can let the word dwell in us richly. At such times when words alone aren’t enough to convey the depth of our thankfulness or praise to the Lord, singing helps open our heart to Him in a way that words may be difficult to express. So let us sing for health and praise to our God!

“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised.” Psalm 96:1–4, first part

Adapted from the following sources: Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, Roehampton, UK; Jovita Wallace, Sound Therapist; www.barbershop.org/the-health-benefits-of-singing; Patty Mills, American Academy of Teachers of Singing

Question – How was the ark able to withstand the flood?

Question:

How was the ark able to withstand the flood? Was Noah just a really good builder?

Answer:

“The building of this immense structure was a slow and laborious process. On account of the great size of the trees and the nature of the wood, much more labor was required then than now to prepare timber, even with the greater strength which men then possessed. All that man could do was done to render the work perfect, yet the ark could not of itself have withstood the storm which was to come upon the earth. God alone could preserve His servants upon the tempestuous waters.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 95

“The massive ark trembled in every fiber as it was beaten by the merciless winds and flung from billow to billow. The cries of the beasts within expressed their fear and pain. But amid the warring elements it continued to ride safely. Angels that excel in strength were commissioned to preserve it.” Ibid., 100

“After Noah had done all in his power to make every part of the work correct, it was impossible that it could of itself withstand the violence of the storm which God in His fierce anger was to bring upon the earth. The work of completing the building was a slow process. Every piece of timber was closely fitted, and every seam covered with pitch. All that men could do was done to make the work perfect; yet, after all, God alone could preserve the building upon the angry, heaving billows, by His miraculous power.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 71

How then are we to withstand the flood of evil, described to be “as in the days of Noah,” that is overwhelming our world today?

“It should be the first work … to be right before God … and then to stand in the strength of Christ, unaffected by the wrong influences to which they will be exposed. If they make the broad principles of the word of God the foundation of the character, they may stand wherever the Lord in His providence may call them, surrounded by any deleterious influence, and yet not be swayed from the path of right.” Counsels on Health, 405

Nature – Why Birds’ Feet Don’t Freeze

A quick glance at a winter weather forecast is enough to make most of us grateful for our warm homes and thankful for those who work outdoors in these brutal conditions.

For the wildlife in our communities, there is no escaping the harsh realities of winter. In fact, many of these animals must spend time each day out in the snow and ice to find the food necessary for survival. Take the Canada goose, for instance. They are a familiar sight at our local lakes and ponds, whether they are frozen solid or not. How do they do it?

Like people and all mammals, birds are warm-blooded. Their body temperature remains constant—about 106 degrees. To maintain their body heat in freezing temperatures, their bodies have been designed with several specialized mechanisms.

Birds’ feet are little more than bone, sinew and scale, with very few nerves, and for birds such as geese, ducks, and other waterfowl that spend time on ice or in cold water, keeping their legs and feet warm is essential for survival. Birds rely on a vascular system called rete mirabile designed to keep their feet warm. In this system, the arteries and veins in the legs and feet are close together, allowing the blood to be warmed and cooled quickly.

Here is how it works. As warm, oxygenated blood leaves the heart in arteries moving toward the bird’s feet, it passes in close proximity to veins returning oxygenated blood back to the heart. This allows for a concurrent heat exchange. The exchange allows the warmth from the arterial blood to increase the temperature of the blood returning in the veins, which is colder after circulating to the bird’s extremities. The warmer arteries heat the cooler veins and the veins cool the arteries. And since the temperature of the bird’s feet is closer to the environmental temperature, they don’t lose as much heat as they would if they were at body temperature. Also, birds’ feet lack sweat glands, so they stay dry with no danger of freezing to a perch.

The heat exchange is just one way birds stay warm in winter. Many birds have a winter plumage with more feathers to better insulate their bodies. Some species, such as finches, add fat in winter to both better insulate themselves and provide an energy source.

Many small birds, though, cannot bulk up too much because it would affect how they fly. For these birds, such as chickadees, shivering helps them stay warm. Shivering in birds isn’t quite like it is for humans. When birds shiver, they are able to activate particular muscle groups that work in opposition to one another. This causes muscle contractions that allow the birds to better retain their body heat.

All of the interaction between the several parts of the different systems in a bird’s anatomy only reinforces the certainty that birds did not evolve, but were instead created by a loving God who cares deeply for all of His creation, great and small.

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” Job 12:7–10

Sources: reconnectwithnature.org (including Audubon Society, Smithsonian, Popular Science); Michael Stein for Bird Note