Bible Study Guides – “They Overcame Him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of Their Testimony”

MEMORY VERSE: “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” Revelation 10:11.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 1, 58–61.

INTRODUCTION: “The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Review and Herald, October 12, 1905.

  • How is the remnant of God’s church in the final generation described? Revelation 12:17.

NOTE: “Those who are living amid the perils of the last days, days which are characterized by the masses turning from the truth of God to fables, will have close work to turn from the fables which are prepared for them on every hand, and have an appetite to feast upon unpopular truth. Those who turn from these fables to truth are despised, hated, and persecuted by those who are presenting fables to the people for their reception. Satan is at war with the remnant who are endeavouring to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. Evil angels are commissioned to employ men as their agents upon the earth. These can the most successfully exert an influence to make Satan’s attacks effective against the remnant whom God calls ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ This, Satan is determined to hinder. He will employ everyone who will engage in his service to hinder the chosen people of God from showing forth the praises of Him who has called them from darkness into His marvelous light. To hide, to cover up this light, to cause people to distrust it, to disbelieve it, is the work of the great rebel and his host. While Jesus is purifying His people unto Himself, redeeming them from all iniquity, Satan will employ his forces to hinder the work and prevent the perfection of the saints. He does not exert his power upon those who are all covered up with deception and walled in by fables and error, and who make no effort to receive and obey the truth. He knows he is sure of them; but those who are seeking for truth, that they may obey it in the love of it, are the ones who excite his malice and stir his ire. He can never weaken them while they keep close to Jesus; therefore he is pleased when he can lead them in a course of disobedience.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 105.

  • Against what particular error are those who live in the last days warned? 2 Timothy 3:1 and 5.

NOTE: “We are living in perilous times, when those who profess to love and obey God deny Him in their daily lives. ‘For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’ God does not want you to be found among this class . . . In His word you may learn how to shun these evils, and in the end be overcomers . . .It is not enough for you to avoid the appearance of evil; you must go farther than this; you must ‘learn to do well.’ You must represent Christ to the world. It must be your daily study how you can learn to work the works of God. His followers are to be living epistles, ‘known and read of all men.’ You can never secure a good character by merely wishing for it. It can be gained only by labour. Your desires in this direction must be expressed in earnest, honest endeavour and patient toil. By taking advance steps each day up the ladder of progress, you will find yourself at last at the top, a conqueror, yes, more than a conqueror, through Him who has loved you.” Youth’s Instructor, November 5, 1896.

  • What message must be proclaimed to the whole world before Jesus comes? Revelation 14:6–12.

NOTE: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculation, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in their God-given work. Christ says of His people: ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ Matthew 5:14. It is not a small matter that the counsels and plans of God have been so clearly opened to us. It is a wonderful privilege to be able to understand the will of God as revealed in the sure word of prophecy. This places on us a heavy responsibility. God expects us to impart to others the knowledge that He has given us. It is His purpose that divine and human instrumentalities shall unite in the proclamation of the warning message.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19.

  • How does the prophecy of Revelation 10 picture the worldwide proclamation of the final message and the disappointment of those who first proclaimed it? Revelation 10:1–11.

NOTE: “The message of the coming of the Lord in the autumn of 1844 spread rapidly through America and other parts of the world. It greatly moved the hearts of men and stirred the Protestant churches of that time. Tens of thousands looked for the coming of the Lord at the close of the great prophetic period of 2300 days in 1844. Every preparation was made to greet Him with great joy and gladness, and then came the bitterness of disappointment, for the Lord did not come….The disappointment, however, was no evidence that the Lord was not in the movement, for in this tenth chapter of Revelation He anticipates this very experience, and in the last verse points His people to a task of world-wide extent He had yet for them to perform prior to His glorious appearing, for their work had not yet been finished.” Daniel and the Revelation, Uriah Smith, 528.

  • Against what development in the church in the last days are we warned? 2 Timothy 4:3.

NOTE: “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillarsof our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath, of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?” Battle Creek Letters, 81–82.

  • What will guard God’s people against such developments? Acts 17:11.

NOTE: “The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition and worship they know not what.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 707.

  • What are the Scriptures able to do for the one who has faith in Jesus? 2 Timothy 3:15.

NOTE: “The truth of God received into the heart is able to make you wise unto salvation. In believing and obeying it you will receive grace sufficient for the duties and trials of today. Grace for tomorrow you do not need. You should feel that you have only to do with today. Overcome for today; deny self for today; watch and pray for today; obtain victories in God for today. Our circumstances and surroundings, the changes daily transpiring around us, and the written word of God which discerns and proves all things—these are sufficient to teach us our duty and just what we ought to do, day by day.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 333.

  • What salvation did Jesus come to this world to offer? Matthew 1:21.

NOTE: “The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner.” Acts of the Apostles, 482.

“Your only hope and salvation is in overcoming as Christ overcame.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 457.

“The Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shalt,’ and, ‘Thou shalt not,’ are ten promises, assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe. ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments.’ Here is the sum and substance of the law of God. The terms of salvation for every son and daughter of Adam are here outlined.” Bible Echo, June 17, 1901.

  • What responsibility does God place upon parents? Deuteronomy 6:6–7.

NOTE: “In every Christian home, God should be honoured by the morning and evening sacrifices of prayer and praise. Children should be taught to respect and reverence the hour of prayer. It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children. In the church at home the children are to learn to pray and to trust in God. Teach them to repeat God’s law. Concerning the commandments the Israelites were instructed: ‘Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.’ Deuteronomy 6:7. Come in humility, with a heart full of tenderness, and with a sense of the temptations and dangers before yourselves and your children; by faith bind them to the altar, entreating for them the care of the Lord. Train the children to offer their simple words of prayer. Tell them that God delights to have them call upon Him. Will the Lord of heaven pass by such homes and leave no blessing there? Nay, verily. Ministering angels will guard the children who are thus dedicated to God.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 110.

  • What promise is given concerning children taught in this way? Isaiah 54:13.

NOTE: “What can give you greater joy than to see children and youth following Christ, the great Shepherd, who calls, and the sheep and lambs hear his voice and follow Him? What can spread more sunshine through the soul of the interested, devoted worker than to know that his persevering, patient labour is not in vain in the Lord, and to see his pupils have the sunshine of joy in their souls because Christ has forgiven their sins? What can be more satisfying to the worker together with God, than to see children and youth receiving the impressions of the spirit of God in true nobility of character and in the restoration of the moral image of God—the children seeking the peace coming from the Prince of Peace?” Christian Education, 156.

  • What must be the foundation of every preacher’s message? 2 Timothy 4:2.

NOTE: “This solemn charge to one so zealous and faithful as was Timothy is a strong testimony to the importance and responsibility of the work of the gospel minister. Summoning Timothy before the bar of God, Paul bids him preach the word, not the sayings and customs of men; to be ready to witness for God whenever opportunity should present itself, before large congregations and private circles, by the way and at the fireside, to friends and to enemies, whether in safety or exposed to hardship and peril, reproach and loss.” Acts of the Apostles, 503.

“Ministers are not to preach men’s opinions, not to relate anecdotes, get up theatrical performances, not to exhibit self; but as though they were in the presence of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are to preach the word. Let them not bring levity into the work of the ministry, but let them preach the word in a manner that will leave a most solemn impression upon those who hear. Let them not present their own ideas and fanciful notions as God’s word, but let them present the pure word of God, in all sincerity.” Review and Herald, September 28, 1897.

“Our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ, and on kindred truths.” Gospel Workers, 301.

“Instead of discussing erroneous theories, or seeking to combat the opponents of the gospel, follow the example of Christ. Let fresh truths from God’s treasure house flash into life. ‘Preach the word.’ ” Christ’s Object Lessons, 40.

  • What will be the effect of the Word of God on those who are willing to receive it? Acts 20:32.

NOTE: “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. We must have the holy unction from God, the baptism of His Spirit. This is the only efficient agent in the promulgation of sacred truth. It is the Spirit of God that quickens the lifeless faculties of the soul to appreciate heavenly things, and attracts the affections toward God and the truth. What we need, what we cannot do without, is the power of the Holy Spirit to work with our efforts. All pampering of self must be at an end. There is a weakness of intellect, a lack of religious fervour, in those who want to lean upon others, to be petted, waited on, and propped up. There must be an earnest longing, a soul-hunger, for the presence of the Lord. Make Him your support, your front guard and your rearward.” Home Missionary, November 1, 1890.

  • Against what form of religion are God’s people warned to turn away? 2 Timothy 3:5.

NOTE: “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavour to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.” Great Controversy, 464.

Bible Study Guides – “To Withstand in the Evil Day”

MEMORY VERSE: “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.” Revelation 12:17.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 5, 449–454.

INTRODUCTION: “If the veil which separates the visible from the invisible world could be lifted, and the people of God could behold the great controversy that is going on between Christ and holy angels and Satan and his evil hosts concerning the redemption of man; if they could understand the wonderful work of God for the rescue of souls from the bondage of sin, and the constant exercise of His power for their protection from the malice of the evil one, they would be better prepared to withstand the devices of Satan. Their minds would be solemnized in view of the vast extent and importance of the plan of redemption and the greatness of the work before them as co-labourers with Christ. They would be humbled, yet encouraged, knowing that all heaven is interested in their salvation.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 467.

  1. How is the beginning of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan described? Revelation 12:7.

NOTE: “Until this time all heaven had been in order, harmony, and perfect subjection to the government of God. It was the highest sin to rebel against His order and will. All heaven seemed in commotion . . . Satan, ambitious to exalt himself, and unwilling to submit to the authority of Jesus, was insinuating against the government of God. Some of the angels sympathised with Satan in his rebellion, and others strongly contended for the honour and wisdom of God in giving authority to His Son. There was contention among the angels. Satan and his sympathizers were striving to reform the government of God. They wished to look into His unsearchable wisdom, and ascertain His purpose in exalting Jesus and endowing Him with such unlimited power and command. They rebelled against the authority of the Son. All the heavenly host were summoned to appear before the Father to have each case decided. It was there determined that Satan should be expelled from heaven, with all the angels who had joined him in the rebellion. Then there was war in heaven. Angels were engaged in the battle; Satan wished to conquer the Son of God and those who were submissive to His will.” Early Writings, 146.

  1. What was the outcome of the war in heaven? Revelation 12:8–9.

NOTE: “Satan is a deceiver. When he sinned in heaven, even the loyal angels did not fully discern his character. This was why God did not at once destroy Satan. Had He done so, the holy angels would not have perceived the justice and love of God. A doubt of God’s goodness would have been as evil seed that would yield the bitter fruit of sin and woe. Therefore the author of evil was spared, fully to develop his character.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 72. “Satan’s rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages, a perpetual testimony to the nature of sin and its terrible results. The working out of Satan’s rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God’s government is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy beings, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature of transgression, to save them from committing sin, and suffering its penalty.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 42, 43.

  1. What were the qualities in Job that God held up before Satan? Job 1:8, Job 2:3.

NOTE: “True worship consists in working together with Christ. ‘Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ The love of Christ dwelling in the heart will be manifested in earnest effort to accomplish the work which Jesus came to do. Kind words, deeds of benevolence, of tender care for the needy and the afflicted, this is the fruit that grows naturally upon the good tree. Such was the fruit manifest in the life of that righteous man of whom God himself declared, ‘There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man’ ” Home Missionary, July 1, 1891.

  1. What are the qualities that Christ is looking for in His saints? Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.

  1. What were Job’s motives for obedience to God, according to Satan? Job 1:9–11, Job 2:4–5.

NOTE: “Job was permitted to suffer; he was severely tempted; but he would not speak one word against God. During Christ’s life on earth the scribes and Pharisees, instigated by Satan, tempted him in every possible way. But he never allowed these temptations to lead him from the path of obedience. When God speaks, let us obey, no matter how the enemy may tempt us to disobey; for the path of obedience is the only safe path.” Signs of the Times, May 27, 1897.

  1. Does Satan continue his war against the people of God today? 1 Peter 5:8.

NOTE: “The Scriptures declare that upon one occasion, when the angels of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among them (Job 1:6), not to bow before the Eternal King, but to further his own malicious designs against the righteous. With the same object, he is in attendance when men assemble for the worship of God. Though hidden from sight, he is working with all diligence to control the minds of the worshipers. Like a skillful general he lays his plans beforehand. As he sees the messenger of God searching the Scriptures, he takes note of the subject to be presented to the people. Then he employs all his cunning and shrewdness so to control circumstances that the message may not reach those whom he is deceiving on that very point. The one who most needs the warning will be urged into some business transaction which requires his presence, or will by some other means be prevented from hearing the words that might prove to him a savour of life unto life.” Great Controversy, 518.

  1. What protection is placed around those who obey God? Job 1:10. (Compare Isaiah 5:3–5, Ezekiel 13:3–5, Ezekiel 22:29–30.)

NOTE: “Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would, He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favour and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.” Great Controversy, 589.

  1. What was the basis of the test Satan brought to Adam and Eve? Genesis 3:1.

NOTE: ” . . . He addressed himself to Eve, ‘Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ Genesis 3:1. Had Eve refrained from entering into argument with the tempter, she would have been safe; but she ventured to parley with him, and fell a victim to his wiles. It is thus that many are still overcome. They doubt and argue concerning the requirements of God, and instead of obeying the divine commands, they accept human theories, which but disguise the devices of Satan.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 352.

  1. What alternative version of God’s will did Satan create for Eve? Genesis 3:4–5.

NOTE: “The very same reasoning is employed today in the Christian world. When the claims of the law are presented, men begin to frame excuses for continuing in disobedience, stating that God will not punish them for the breaking of His precepts. But let us think of it soberly. Will God change His holy law to suit my convenience? Will He sanction sin, and countenance disobedience? If God had a character of this kind, we could not reverence Him. His authority could not be respected.” Review and Herald, November 18, 1890.

  1. What was a principal reason for Christ taking upon Himself our nature? Hebrews 2:14.

NOTE: “The cross of Calvary, while it declares the law immutable, proclaims to the universe that the wages of sin is death. In the Saviour’s expiring cry, ‘It is finished,’ the death knell of Satan was rung. The great controversy which had been so long in progress was then decided, and the final eradication of evil was made certain. The Son of God passed through the portals of the tomb, that ‘through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.’ Hebrews 2:14. Lucifer’s desire for self-exaltation had led him to say: ‘I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: . . . I will be like the Most High.’ God declares: ‘I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth, . . . and never shalt thou be any more.’ Isaiah 14:13, 14; Ezekiel 28:18, 19. When ‘the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;. . . all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.’ Malachi 4:1.” Great Controversy, 503, 504.

  1. How complete was Christ’s acceptance of man’s nature? Hebrews 2:17–18.

NOTE: “Christ in the weakness of humanity was to meet the temptations of one possessing the powers of the higher nature that God had bestowed on the angelic family. But Christ’s humanity was united with divinity, and in this strength He would bear all the temptations that Satan could bring against Him, and yet keep His soul untainted by sin. And this power to overcome He would give to every son and daughter of Adam who would accept by faith the righteous attributes of His character.” Review and Herald, January 28, 1909.

  1. What identifies those who truly know God and those who merely claim to know Him? 1 John 2:3–5.

NOTE: “We should feel the necessity of searching the Scriptures for ourselves. We should study God’s word until we know that our foundation is on the solid rock. We should dig for the gems of truth. We are to test every man’s doctrine by the law and the testimony; for, says the prophet, ‘if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ John says, ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ Those who claim to have light from God, and yet turn away their ear from hearing the law, are under great deception. Those who understandingly reject the fourth commandment are in darkness. Says James, ‘For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.’ It is vain for us to think that we are prepared for the finishing touch of immortality, while we live in willful transgression of any of God’s holy precepts.” Review and Herald, August 27, 1889.

  1. What is God’s attitude to those who “hold the truth in unrighteousness”? Romans 1:18–32.

NOTE: “Never was there a time when this warning was more appropriate than at the present time. Far too large a number of professed Christians are Christians only in name. They have no root in themselves. Their hearts are filled with pride, impurity, unholy ambition, self-importance, and love of supremacy. They may have an intelligent knowledge of the theory of the truth, and prove their doctrines to be sound and Scriptural, but they hold the truth in unrighteousness. By their course of action they deny the Saviour. Their hearts are not sanctified through the truth. They are unholy in heart, and unchristlike in deportment. Unless the spirit and principles that characterized the life of Christ are planted in the heart, they can not control the life. The law of God must be written in the heart, the truth of God must illuminate the soul. Holiness, mercy, truth, love, must be brought into the life. Unless the soul-temple is cleansed from its defilement, unless there is purity of heart, unless earnest efforts are made to meet the standard of God’s word, they will never be fitted to be the companions of the pure and holy; they will never wear the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints.” Review and Herald, November 28, 1899.

  1. As we face the final phase of the great conflict between Satan and Christ, what preparation is necessary? 1 John 3:3, 2 Peter 3:14.

NOTE: ” The world would not be what it now is if professed believers in Christ were receivers of His divine nature. It is the example of men who claim to believe the truth, but who do not practice the truth, that detracts from the influence of Christianity. They hold the truth as a theory, but unrighteousness surely characterizes their course of action. Many reveal that they are far away from Christ, because they are destitute of Christianity. Please read the ninth and tenth chapters of Ezekiel. Should we not seek to understand the work which God requires us to do? Its results are sacred and awful. If one thread of selfishness is woven into God’s service, He is greatly dishonoured. Unless those who have knowledge of the truth are sanctified through the truth, their profession counts for nothing, and their condemnation will be proportionate to the light granted them, which they have not honoured by walking in the light as Christ is in the light. Truth as it is in Jesus is the creating power of Christ. Those who claim to have advanced light must reveal the influence of that light in their words, their deportment, their voice, their actions, at all times and in all places.” Gospel Herald, January 1, 1900.

Bible Study Guides – “He That Heareth the Word, and Understandeth It”

MEMORY VERSE: “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew13:23.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 8, 299–304.

INTRODUCTION: “The word of God should be thoroughly studied. All other reading is inferior to this. A careful study of the Bible will not necessarily exclude all other reading of a religious nature; but if the word of God is studied prayerfully, all reading which will have a tendency to divert the mind from it will be excluded. If we study the word of God with an interest, and pray to understand it, new beauties will be seen in every line. God will reveal precious truth so clearly that the mind will derive sincere pleasure and have a continual feast as its comforting and sublime truths are unfolded.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 337, 338.

  1. How did Jesus describe the fate of those who hear God’s Word but do not understand it? Matthew 13:19.

NOTE: “The seed sown by the wayside represents the word of God as it falls upon the heart of an inattentive hearer. Like the hard-beaten path, trodden down by the feet of men and beasts, is the heart that becomes a highway for the world’s traffic, its pleasures and sins. Absorbed in selfish aims and sinful indulgences, the soul is ‘hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ Hebrews 3:13. The spiritual faculties are paralysed. Men hear the word, but understand it not. They do not discern that it applies to themselves. They do not realize their need or their danger.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 44.

  1. What prayer should be ours whenever we read God’s Word? Psalm 119:169.

NOTE: “In the experience of Philip and the Ethiopian is presented the work to which the Lord calls His people. The Ethiopian represents a large class who need missionaries like Philip, missionaries who will hear the voice of God and go where He sends them. There are those in the world who are reading the Scriptures, but who cannot understand their import. The men and women who have a knowledge of God are needed to explain the word to these souls.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 58.

“Many think that they must consult commentaries on the Scriptures in order to understand the meaning of the word of God, and we would not take the position that commentaries should not be studied; but it will take much discernment to discover the truth of God under the mass of the words of men. How little has been done by the church as a body professing to believe the Bible, to gather up the scattered jewels of God’s word into one perfect chain of truth? The jewels of truth do not lie upon the surface, as many suppose. The mastermind in the confederacy of evil is ever at work to keep the truth out of sight and to bring into full view the opinions of great men. The enemy is doing all in his power to obscure heaven’s light through educational processes; for he does not mean that men shall hear the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’Isaiah 30:21.” Christian Education, 85.

  1. How do the following verses illustrate some of the techniques of the Bible’s poetry?

  • Psalm 34:3, Isaiah 55:8. The second line echoes the thought of the first in different words.
  • Psalm 34:4, Psalm 23:1. The first line gives a statement and the second gives the result or consequence arising from it.
  • Psalm 34:10, Isaiah 40:8. The second line contrasts with the first.
  • Psalm 43:5, Psalm 42:11. The first line poses a question and the second gives the response.

NOTE: Bishop Lowth, in 1741, first used the term “parallelism” for this poetic style. He pointed out that, because it is based on meaning, it survives translation into other languages with little or no loss, unlike poetry that depends mainly on complex patterns of rhyme, rhythm, word patterns or vocabulary. Some Bible poetry does, sometimes, use such patterns. For example, in Psalm 119, in each section, all eight verses begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Other psalms also begin each verse with a different letter of the alphabet in sequence. In the book of Lamentations, each of chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 contain 22 verses which begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order. Chapter 3, in contrast, has 66 verses that are grouped in threes, each group beginning with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. These are called acrostics. The fact that such poetic patterns do not easily translate does not, however, significantly detract from the poetry of these passages.


“As an educating power, the Bible is of more value than the writings of all the philosophers of all ages. In its wide range of style and subjects, there is something to interest and instruct every mind, to ennoble every interest. The light of revelation shines undimmed into the distant past, where human annals cast not a ray of light. There is poetry which has called forth the wonder and admiration of the world. In glowing beauty, in sublime and solemn majesty, in touching pathos, it is unequalled by the most brilliant productions of human genius.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 428, 429.

  1. How did God teach those who lived before Christ the plan of salvation? Hebrews 8:5; 10:1.

NOTE: “Through the teachings of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before all nations, and all who would look to Him should live. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption.” Acts of the Apostles, 14.


“The power of Christ, the crucified Saviour, to give eternal life, should be presented to the people. We should show them that the Old Testament is as verily the gospel in types and shadows as the New Testament is in its unfolding power. The New Testament does not present a new religion; the Old Testament does not present a religion to be superseded by the New. The New Testament is only the advancement and unfolding of the Old.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 392.

  1. How did Paul explain the significance of some of the feasts of the Lord? 1 Corinthians 5:7–8; 15:20–23.

NOTE: “The Passover was followed by the seven days’ feast of unleavened bread. On the second day of the feast, the first fruits of the year’s harvest, a sheaf of barley, was presented before the Lord. All the ceremonies of the feast were types of the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Saviour.” Desire of Ages, 77.

  1. Besides the sanctuary service, what Old Testament stories are presented as types of future events and experiences? 1 Corinthians 10:1–13.

NOTE: “The smitten rock was a figure of Christ, and through this symbol the most precious spiritual truths are taught. As the life-giving waters flowed from the smitten rock, so from Christ, ‘smitten of God,’ ‘wounded for our transgressions,’ ‘bruised for our iniquities’ (Isaiah 53:4, 5), the stream of salvation flows for a lost race. As the rock had been once smitten, so Christ was to be ‘once offered to bear the sins of many.’ Hebrews 9:28. Our Saviour was not to be sacrificed a second time; and it is only necessary for those who seek the blessings of His grace to ask in the name of Jesus, pouring forth the heart’s desire in penitential prayer. Such prayer will bring before the Lord of hosts the wounds of Jesus, and then will flow forth afresh the life-giving blood, symbolized by the flowing of the living water for Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 411.

  1. What Old Testament figure was selected to be a type of the prophetic message to prepare people for the coming of the Lord? Matthew 11:12–14, (compare Malachi 4:5).

NOTE: “The prophet Malachi declares: ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.’ Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 62.

  1. What do some of the things connected with the tabernacle symbolize?

  • The lamb. Exodus 12:3–5. Compare John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7.
  • The table of shewbread. Numbers 4:7. Compare John 6:35; 6:51.
  • The candlestick. Exodus 25:31–35. Compare John 1:9; 8:12.

NOTE: “Everything in the Jewish service had been misinterpreted and misapplied. The purpose of the sacrifice offerings had been perverted. They were to symbolize Christ and His mission, that when He should come in the flesh, the world might recognize God in Him, and accept Him as the world’s Redeemer. But their lack of true heart service for God had blinded the Jews to a knowledge of God.” Signs of the Times, July 14, 1898.

“In patriarchal times the sacrificial offerings connected with divine worship constituted a perpetual reminder of the coming of a Saviour, and thus it was with the entire ritual of the sanctuary services throughout Israel’s history. In the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day, by means of types and shadows, the great truths relative to the advent of Christ as Redeemer, Priest, and King; and once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners. The sacrifices and offerings of the Mosaic ritual were ever pointing toward a better service, even a heavenly. The earthly sanctuary was ‘a figure for the time then present,’ in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices; its two holy places were ‘patterns of things in the heavens;’ for Christ, our great High Priest, is today ‘a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.’ Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2.” Prophets and Kings, 684, 685.

  1. By what method did Christ seek to fix eternal truths in the minds of His listeners? Matthew 13:34.

NOTE: “Parable teaching was popular, and commanded the respect and attention, not only of the Jews, but of the people of other nations. No more effective method of instruction could He have employed. If His hearers had desired a knowledge of divine things, they might have understood His words; for He was always willing to explain them to the honest inquirer. Again, Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Saviour’s teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident. Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but appealed to the different hearers. Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the surroundings of their daily life. None who listened to the Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 21.

  1. What reply did Jesus give when His disciples asked Him why He taught in parables? Matthew 13:10–17.

NOTE: “And He had another reason for teaching in parables. Among the multitudes that gathered about Him, there were priests and rabbis, scribes and elders, Herodians and rulers, world-loving, bigoted, ambitious men, who desired above all things to find some accusation against Him. Their spies followed His steps day after day, to catch from His lips something that would cause His condemnation, and forever silence the One who seemed to draw the world after Him. The Saviour understood the character of these men, and He presented truth in such a way that they could find nothing by which to bring His case before the Sanhedrin. In parables He rebuked the hypocrisy and wicked works of those who occupied high positions, and in figurative language clothed truth of so cutting a character that had it been spoken in direct denunciation, they would not have listened to His words, and would speedily have put an end to His ministry. But while He evaded the spies, He made truth so clear that error was manifested, and the honest in heart were profited by His lessons. Divine wisdom, infinite grace, were made plain by the things of God’s creation. Through nature and the experiences of life, men were taught of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 22.

  1. Why are the stories of Bible times recorded for us? 1 Corinthians 10:1–11.

NOTE: “A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God, a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they. ‘Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 609.

“We have evidence in God’s word of the liability of His people to be greatly deceived. There are many instances where what may seem to be a sincere zeal for the honour of God has its origin in leaving the soul unguarded for the enemy to tempt and to impress the mind with a perverted sense of the real state of things. And we may expect just such things in these last days, for Satan is just as busy now as he was in the congregation of Israel. The cruelty and strength of prejudice are not understood.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 353.

  1. Against what specific danger do these stories warn us? 1 Corinthians 10:12.

NOTE: “Satan well knows the material with which he has to deal in the human heart. He knows, for he has studied with fiendish intensity for thousands of years, the points most easily assailed in every character; and through successive generations he has wrought to overthrow the strongest men, princes in Israel, by the same temptations that were so successful at Baalpeor. All along through the ages there are strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the rocks of sensual indulgence. As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the highest positions, in the most holy office; if he can lead them to pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand years ago. By worldly friendships, by the charms of beauty, by pleasure seeking, mirth, feasting, or the wine cup, he tempts to the violation of the seventh commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 458.

Bible Study Guides – “No Prophecy of the Scripture is of Any Private Interpretation”

MEMORY VERSE: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20.

STUDY HELP: Acts of the Apostles, 529–537.

INTRODUCTION: “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. We have no time to lose; God calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But be not too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of God. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, ‘the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star’ Revelation 22:16.”

Testimonies, vol. 6, 61.


“As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the Revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. ‘The wise shall understand’ (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God’s people all through the centuries, the promise is, ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ Revelation 1:3.” Prophets and Kings, 547, 548.

  1. The name “Daniel” means “God is my Judge.” Judgement is a theme running throughout this book. Notice the following:

  • Daniel 1:18–21. Nebuchadnezzar judges Daniel and his three friends.
  • Daniel 3:13–29. Nebuchadnezzar judges Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but God overrules.
  • Daniel 4:31–33. God pronounces judgement upon Nebuchadnezzar.
  • Daniel 5:18–28. Daniel pronounces God’s judgement on Belshazzar and Babylon.
  • Daniel 6:16–17, 24. Darius pronounces sentence on Daniel. God overrules and Darius condemns Daniel’s enemies.
  • Daniel 7:9–14, 26. Daniel sees in vision God’s judgement.
  • Daniel 8:13–14. Daniel hears the prophecy concerning the time of God’s judgement.
  • Daniel 12:10. God’s judgement on both the righteous and wicked.
  1. Judgement means “to bring justice.” Notice how the following passages explain the Bible concept of judgement.

  • Genesis 4:10. Abel’s blood cries out to God for justice.
  • Psalm 10:12–15. The psalmist cries out to God “to requite mischief and spite with Thy hand.”
  • Daniel 8:13. The call to God is, “How long is evil to be permitted to oppress God’s people?
  • Revelation 6:10. The martyred saints cry out to God to judge and avenge their blood.
  1. The Book of Daniel promises deliverance for God’s people.

  • Daniel 2:5, 13, 48–49. God delivers Daniel and his three friends from Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree.
  • Daniel 3:27. God delivers Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree.
  • Daniel 6:20–22. “My God hath sent His angel and hath shut the lion’s mouths.”
  • Daniel 7:25–27. The little horn wears out the saints of the Most High but it is they who receive the kingdom.
  • Daniel 12:1. “A time of trouble such as never was…and at that time thy people shall be delivered.”
  1. The Book of Daniel is the book of the kingdom. Every chapter begins with a reference to kingly power, either man’s or God’s.

  • Daniel 1:1–2. The apparent destruction of the kingdom of God by Babylon. (But notice that God gave Jehoiakim into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. God is in control.)
  • Daniel 1:1. The conflict is between Jerusalem and Babylon. This conflict continues between spiritual Babylon and spiritual Jerusalem in Revelation. This is the conflict between true and false worship. Idolatry and its conflict with true worship runs through much of Daniel and Revelation.
  1. The first six chapters of Daniel contain history with some prophecy. The last six chapters of the book contain prophecy with some history. What has been acted out in narrative form is taught by prophetic vision.

  • Those who worship idols are inferior in wisdom to those who worship and obey God. Compare Daniel 1 and 2.
  • Those who refuse to submit to idolatrous worship will be delivered by God. Compare Daniel 3 and 6 with Daniel 12.
  • Earthly laws fall to the ground before the decree of the Divine Lawgiver. Compare Daniel 6 with Daniel 7:25–26.
  • God will condemn self-worship and blasphemy. Compare Daniel 4 and 5 with Daniel 7:25–27. Worship, true and false, is the major issue. Compare Revelation 13 and 14.
  1. Daniel is the book of the sanctuary.

  • The pivotal verse of the entire book is Daniel 8:14.
  • Can you find mention of the sanctuary in chapters 1, 5, 8, 9, 11 and 12? The sanctuary has been defiled by the sins of God’s people, desolated by Babylon and will be cleansed by the Son of man at the time of the end.
  • In the Book of Daniel, God uses the teaching technique of repetition and expansion. Each vision rehearses the ground of the previous vision and focuses on some part of it to add additional light. Those who fail to appreciate this truth will find themselves reaching private interpretations. For example, since Daniel 2 ends with Rome in both its imperial and its papal forms, (first the iron and then iron mixed with clay) each of the other visions, Daniel 7, Daniel 8–9 and Daniel 11–12, will also end with Rome, in its imperial and then its papal form. Failure to see this led to some to substitute Turkey for papal Rome in the final vision.


  1. How is the book of Daniel contrasted with the Book of Revelation? Daniel 12:4, 9, Revelation 22:10.

NOTE: “In the Revelation are portrayed the deep things of God. The very name given to its inspired pages, ‘the Revelation,’ contradicts the statement that this is a sealed book. A revelation is something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this book, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those living in the last days of this earth’s history, as well as to those living in the days of John. Some of the scenes depicted in this prophecy are in the past, some are now taking place; some bring to view the close of the great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven, and some reveal the triumphs and joys of the redeemed in the earth made new. Let none think, because they cannot explain the meaning of every symbol in the Revelation, that it is useless for them to search this book in an effort to know the meaning of the truth it contains. The One who revealed these mysteries to John will give to the diligent searcher for truth a foretaste of heavenly things. Those whose hearts are open to the reception of truth will be enabled to understand its teachings, and will be granted the blessing promised to those who ‘hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ ” Acts of the Apostles, 584- 585.

  1. The first eleven chapters of Revelation deal with three great visions, the Seven churches, the Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets. Each vision looks at the period from apostolic times to the time of the end.

  • The seven churches describe the spiritual state of the church during this period in seven stages: Ephesus, the apostolic church which began well but lost its first love, Smyrna, the church of the imperial persecutions, “faithful unto death,” Pergamos, the church which compromised with false worship, Thyatira, the persecuted church in the wilderness, Sardis, the church of the failed reformation, with “a name that thou livest and art dead,” Philadelphia, the church of the advent awakening, and finally Laodicea, a people judged, woefully unprepared for her Lord’s scrutiny.
  • The seven seals describe the history of the church. First, a rider on a white horse “conquering and to conquer.” Then a rider on a red horse, suffering and persecuted. Then a rider on a black horse at a time of spiritual famine. Next a rider on a deathly pale horse suffering the terrible persecutions of the dark ages. Next comes the cry of the martyrs calling to God for judgement on their persecutors. Next we see the signs of Christ’s soon coming and the cry, “Who shall be able to stand?” In answer to this question, John hears that 144,000 will be able to stand and then he sees the great multitude of those who will come through the Great Tribulation because they have washed their robes.
  • The seven trumpets reveal God’s judgements on Rome, the persecutor of God’s people. First are pictured the attacks on the Western Roman empire and the African Roman empire through Alaric and the Goths, Genseric and the Vandals, Atilla and the Huns and Odoacer and the Heruli. The final three trumpets are called “woes” and, under the 5th trumpet, we see the rise of Islam in response to the darkness brought by papal Rome. Then follow the Turks who destroy the Eastern Roman Empire. Read Great Controversy, 334–335 for the marvelous fulfilment of Revelation 9:15. Revelation 10 describes the Great Disappointment and Revelation 11 begins with a brief mention of the judgement of God’s people. The 1260 years of the papal suppression of the words of God is described and the rise of atheism is also described. All these events come within the period of the 6th trumpet. The vision ends with the 7th trumpet, the establishment of the kingdom of Christ and the judgement.
  • The remainder of Revelation deals with the beginning, progress and triumphant outcome of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan, first in heaven and then on earth. We see the final conflict and its outcome for the enemies of God, Babylon, and for God’s people, the New Jerusalem. It would be well to read the final two chapters of this book aloud.


  1. What attitude should we take towards the Book of Revelation? Revelation 1:3.

NOTE: “In the Scriptures are presented truths that relate especially to our own time. To the period just prior to the appearing of the Son of man, the prophecies of Scripture point, and here their warnings and threatenings pre-eminently apply. The prophetic periods of Daniel, extending to the very eve of the great consummation, throw a flood of light upon events then to transpire. The book of Revelation is also replete with warning and instruction for the last generation. The beloved John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, portrays the fearful and thrilling scenes connected with the close of earth’s history, and presents the duties and dangers of Gods people. None need remain in ignorance, none need be unprepared for the coming of the day of God. It is not enough to have an intellectual knowledge of the truth. This alone cannot give the light and understanding essential to salvation. There must be an entrance of the word into the heart. It must be set home by the power of the Holy Spirit. The will must be brought into harmony with its requirements. Not only the intellect but the heart and conscience must concur in the acceptance of the truth.” Review and Herald, September 25, 1883.

Recipe – White Sauce

1 1/2 T. Arrowroot powder

1 t. chicken style seasoning

1 c. cashew milk

1/2 t. sea salt

Put Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) into sauce pan and gradually add milk, stirring until well blended. Cook over low heat until thickened, and add seasoning. Serve over vegetables.

Food for Life – Discard Flesh Meats

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22. How grateful we should all be that God has ordained the seasons, and even though we cannot always understand the workings of Providence, we can rest assured that He will never fail us or forsake us!

We continue this month from Ministry of Healing, 305–307: “Another serious evil is eating at improper times, as after violent or excessive exercise, when one is much exhausted or heated. Immediately after eating there is a strong draft upon the nervous energies; and when mind or body is heavily taxed just before or just after eating, digestion is hindered. When one is excited, anxious, or hurried, it is better not to eat until rest or relief is found.

“The stomach is closely related to the brain; and when the stomach is diseased, the nerve power is called from the brain to the aid of the weakened digestive organs. When these demands are too frequent, the brain becomes congested. When the brain is constantly taxed, and there is lack of physical exercise, even plain food should be eaten sparingly. At mealtime cast off care and anxious thought; do not feel hurried, but eat slowly and with cheerfulness, with your heart filled with gratitude to God for all His blessings.

“Many who discard flesh meats and other gross and injurious articles think that because their food is simple and wholesome they may indulge appetite without restraint, and they eat to excess, sometimes to gluttony. This is an error. The digestive organs should not be burdened with a quantity or quality of food which it will tax the system to appropriate.

“Custom has decreed that the food shall be placed upon the table in courses. Not knowing what is coming next, one may eat a sufficiency of food which perhaps is not the best suited to him. When the last course is brought on, he often ventures to overstep the bounds, and take the tempting dessert, which, however, proves anything but good for him. If all the food intended for a meal is placed on the table at the beginning, one has opportunity to make the best choice.

“Sometimes the result of overeating is felt at once. In other cases there is no sensation of pain; but the digestive organs lose their vital force, and the foundation of physical strength is undermined.

“The surplus food burdens the system and produces morbid, feverish conditions. It calls an undue amount of blood to the stomach, causing the limbs and extremities to chill quickly. It lays a heavy tax on the digestive organs, and when these organs have accomplished their task, there is a feeling of faintness or languor. Some who are continually overeating call this all-gone feeling hunger; but it is caused by the over-worked condition of the digestive organs. At times there is numbness of the brain, with disinclination to mental or physical effort.”

To us as a people preparing to meet our God so soon, this is extremely important! You may be used or called of God to bring this last day message of health reform to God’s people, whom Satan has ensnared. It is vital and we need it now, as never before, to prepare us for the end of all things. There will be no gluttons in Heaven! Let me quote from the Lord’s own words: “One of the highest attainments in the Christian life is to control appetite . . .without this victory, all hope of Heaven is vain.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 206. This is a very serious statement by our Father in Heaven, and remember, God never makes a misstatement! Think it over seriously, and pledge today that you will keep the word of the Lord with all diligence. May He help you and keep you is my earnest prayer for this new year!

Children’s Story – He Stood the Test

The Blue Line street-car stopped at the corner, and an anxious-looking young woman put a small boy inside.

“Now, Robin,” she said, as she hurried out to the platform again, “don’t lose that note I gave you. Don’t take it out of your pocket at all.”

“No, Mama,” said the little man, looking wistfully after his mother as the conductor pulled the strap, the driver unscrewed his brake, and the horses, shaking their bells, trotted off with the car.

“What’s your name, bub?” asked a mischievous looking young man sitting beside him.

“Robert Cullen Demms,” he answered.

“Where are you going?”

“To my grandma’s.”

“Let me see that note in your pocket.”

The look of innocent surprise in the round face ought to have shamed the baby’s tormentor; but he only said again, “Let me see it.”

“I tan’t” said Robert Cullen Demms.

“See here, if you don’t, I’ll scare the horses, and make them run away.”

The little boy cast an apprehensive look at the belled horses, but shook his head.

“Here, I’ll give you this peach if you’ll pull that note half way out of your pocket.” The boy did not reply, but some of the older people looked angry.

“I say, chum, I’ll give you this whole bag of peaches if you will just show me the corner of your note,” said the tempter. The child turned away, as if he did not wish to hear any more; but the young man opened the bag, and held it just where he could see and smell the luscious fruit.

A look of distress came into the sweet little face. I believe Robin was afraid to trust himself; for when a man left his seat on the other side to get off the car, the little boy slid quickly down, left the temptation behind, and climbed into the vacant place.

A pair of prettily gloved hands began almost unconsciously to clap; and then everybody clapped and applauded, until it might have alarmed Robin if a young lady sitting by had not slipped her arm around him, and said, with a sweet glow on her face: “Tell your mama that we all congratulate her upon having a little man strong enough to resist temptation, and wise enough to run away from it.”

I doubt if that long, hard message ever reached Robin’s mother; but no matter—the note got to his grandmother without ever coming out of his pocket on the way.

Taken from the Youth’s Instructor, December 6, 1900.

A New Day Dawns

On the banks of the old Erie Canal was situated the town of Port Gibson, New York. A mile south of town lay the farm of Hiram Edson. He was the leader of the advent believers in that community and they often met in his house when the district schoolhouse was not available.

Dr. Franklin B. Hahn, a physician living nearby, was another prominent member of the Adventist company in that area. A third influential member was Owen R. L. Crosier, an orphan youth that had become a keen Bible student and promising writer. Edson and Hahn had befriended him and provided him with a home.

These three men joined together and published a paper called the Day-Dawn. It was one of a number of Adventist journals that were published following the Disappointment. Crosier served as editor of the paper.

Like thousands of other Adventist groups scattered over the land, those in Port Gibson met on October 22, 1844, to wait for the expected return of Christ. Edson invited the people to come to that last meeting, and said good-by to those who refused, expecting to never see them again.

The believers “reviewed the evidences, and lived in hope as the hours passed slowly away. Spalding phrases it impressively: ‘Would it be in the morning? The frost of the dawn melted under the rising sun. Might it be at noon? The meridian was reached and the sun began to decline. Surely the evening! But the shades of night fell lowering. Still there was hope:’ ‘For ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning.’

“The neighborhood company of believers expected to meet their Lord at any moment. Says Edson: ‘We looked for our coming Lord until the clock tolled twelve at midnight. The day had then passed, and our disappointment became a certainty. Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted.’” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 878, 879.

At the dawning of October 23 many of the believers returned to their homes. Edson suggested, to those that remained, that they go into the barn and pray. There they poured out their souls to God in earnest prayer that He would not desert them and would shed light as to what to do next. Finally the conviction came that their prayers had been heard and accepted and that light would be given explaining the Disappointment. Edson was reassured that there is a God and that His word is sure. God had blessed them abundantly in their advent experience, and He would make known to them the nature of their mistake and reveal His plan. Edson said that the cause of their perplexity would be made plain as day. He further encouraged the believers to have faith in God.

After breakfast, Edson suggested to Crosier that they should go and reassure the other believers of God’s promise to guide them through this crisis. To avoid meeting people on the way Edson thought it would be wise to not travel on the roads but to go cross-country instead.

As they walked along silently, suddenly Edson stopped and in deep meditation he looked to the skies overhead and prayed for light. He pondered the Biblical evidence of Christ’s ministration, in the sanctuary in heaven, on the anti-typical Day of Atonement. Suddenly he realized that there were two phases to Christ’s ministry in heaven as there had been in the earthly sanctuary of Old Testament times. “In his own words, an overwhelming conviction came over him—

‘That instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary and that He had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth.’” Ibid., 881.

Thus the light shown on the confusion over the Disappointment and revealed that the sanctuary to be cleansed was that in heaven and not the earth. This came to Edson as a new idea and a wondrous discovery. It was the answer to the prayer he and Crosier had made that morning. He saw how Christ, the Bridegroom, went at that time to the Ancient of days to receive dominion, glory and a kingdom; and that we are to wait for Him to return from the wedding.

Edson stated, “My mind was directed to the tenth chapter of Revelation where I could see the vision had spoken and did not lie.” Ibid., 883. This chapter reveals the symbol of the sweet followed by the bitter book. The experience of the advent believers had surely been sweet in the beginning but had become as gall following the day of disappointment. The prophecy indicated that they were to testify again. But how was that to be? After October 22, when Christ did not come as proclaimed, who would listen?

Edson and Crosier walked quickly from home to home telling the brethren the good news that Christ’s priestly ministry in heaven was fulfilling another Mosaic type, that He had just entered into, instead of coming out of, the Most Holy as they had formerly believed. This meant that this was the beginning, not the ending, of the anti-typical Day of Atonement. Christ had fulfilled the prophecy. It would be some time before He completed His work, and not until then would He come out as King.

Edson and Crosier invited Dr. Hahn to join them in continuing Bible study of the prophecies regarding Christ’s work in the sanctuary as revealed in the book of Hebrews, especially chapters 8 and 9, until it should be made clear. They focused upon the whole Mosaic system of types and ceremonies and their meaning for the end time. They also studied diligently the prophecies as outlined in the books of Daniel and Revelation concerning the latter times. This study time went on for many months and confirmed their understanding of how and why Christ had entered the Most Holy place to cleanse it.

“But there was yet another angle demanding study, an inkling of which had also been caught by Edson as he walked through the cornfield that epochal October day in 1844. With Crosier and Hahn he also saw that the bitterness of the Disappointment—and in fact of the whole advent experience—was itself a matter of inspired prediction, portrayed through the apostle John in Revelation 10. This they also studied. Here a message, that ‘there should be time no longer,’ is represented as proclaimed on land and sea by a ‘mighty angel come down from heaven.’ And the heavenly messenger ‘clothed with a cloud’ seemingly indicated something that at the time was obscured, or not clearly understood. And with the message that prophetic ‘time shall be no longer,’ there was opened a ‘little book’—apparently the book of Daniel, a portion of which had been sealed. The eating of this bittersweet book obviously symbolized the joy of expectation and the bitterness of disappointment, after which came the declaration, ‘Thou must prophesy again.’ Apparently God still had a work to be done by those who had passed through the disappointment. Another message was obviously to go forth, after the first and second angel’s message had spent their initial force. But how—with all the bitter, unreasoning prejudice from without and the factional disputes within already beginning to grow out of the Disappointment—could they meet the people? And what would be their message?” Ibid., 900.

By the spring of 1845 the studies of the sanctuary and its services were sufficiently solidified in their minds to the point that they understood more clearly the whole question of the Disappointment as well as the justification for the existence of the Advent Movement. It gave meaning to their past experience and direction for their present and future course of action.

Edson, Crosier and Hahn decided to publish another issue of the Day-Dawn to spread the truth regarding the cleansing of the sanctuary and the work of Christ therein. The paper came into the hands of Joseph Bates and James White, both of whom received it gladly. Edson and Hahn submitted an expanded article that was published in the Day- Star Extra (another Adventist journal published following the Disappointment). Bates and White were especially pleased with this enlarged treatise. Bates said it was the best produced so far on the subject bringing light and hope to many people.

A conference was convened at Edson’s place and Bates was invited to attend. “Bates’ burden was the relation of the seventh-day Sabbath to the sanctuary position. During his presentation Edson became so interested and delighted that he could hardly keep his seat. And upon its conclusion he was on his feet with the declaration: ‘That is light and truth!’ He had already caught certain glimpses of the Sabbath through his study of the sanctuary, the ark, and the Ten Commandments, and through reading ‘a few lines from T. M. Preble,’ but he had not yet seen its importance. This was the first public instance of joining the sanctuary and the Sabbath position in united relationship, these constituting two of the three distinctive tenets of faith characterizing this slowly forming body of believers, which had their inception in widely separated spots.” Ibid., 904.

The Port Gibson group was the first to take a stand on the two phases of Christ’s work in the sanctuary. This group made contact with those in New Hampshire that had begun keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath. These two groups were the nucleus of Sabbatarian Adventism that developed into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Battle of Armageddon

There are four major events that must take place before the Bible millennium begins.

  1. The national and universal Sunday Law
  2. The general close of probation
  3. The battle of Armageddon
  4. The Second Advent of Christ

When the national Sunday law is proclaimed, the final conflict will be engaged. The world will then be engaged in spiritual warfare, with Satan and his followers on one side and Christ and His commandment-keeping people on the other side. What a battle this will be!

The Bible describes it vividly in Revelation 19: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. . . And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army.” Revelation 19:11–17, 19.

The Spirit of Prophecy has much to say about the battle of Armageddon. We will look at a number of quotations in order to understand better these important events that will soon take place. First, why do men join in a rebellion against their Creator? The answer we are given in inspiration is very solemn. “Every soul that is not fully surrendered to God, and kept by divine power, will form an alliance with Satan against heaven, and join in battle against the Ruler of the Universe.” Testimonies to Ministers, 465.

The universal Sunday law will force every one on earth to make a personal decision—either to join one side or the other in the battle of Armageddon. “Soon all the inhabitants of the earth will have taken sides, either for or against the government of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 141.

Christ will bring the armies of heaven to fight for His earthly commandment-keepers. “The battle of Armageddon is soon to be fought. He on whose vesture is written the name, King of kings, and Lord of lords, is soon to lead forth the armies of heaven.” Ibid., vol. 6, 406.

Satan, with all the nations of the world, will oppose God and His faithful: “The nations of the world are eager for conflict; but they are held in check by the angels. When this restraining power is removed, there will come a time of trouble and anguish. Deadly instruments of warfare will be invented. Vessels with their living cargo will be entombed in the great deep. All who have not the spirit of truth will unite under the leadership of satanic agencies. But they are to be kept under control till the time shall come for the great battle of Armageddon.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 967.

The battle of Armageddon begins during the seven last plagues:

“We need to study the pouring out of the seventh vial. The powers of evil will not yield up the conflict without a struggle. But Providence has a part to act in the battle of Armageddon. When the earth is lightened with the glory of the angel of Revelation 18 the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber, and the armies of the living God will take to the field.” Ibid., 983.

“Two great opposing powers are revealed in this last great battle. On one side stands the Creator of heaven and earth. All on His side bear His signet. They are obedient to His commands. On the other side stands the prince of darkness, with those who have chosen apostasy and rebellion.” Ibid., 982, 983.

“Every form of evil is to spring into intense activity. Evil angels unite their powers with evil men, and as they have been in constant conflict and attained an experience in the best modes of deception and battle, and have been strengthening for centuries, they will not yield the last great final contest without a desperate struggle. All the world will be on one side or the other of the question. The battle of Armageddon will be fought . . . Wide-awake we must be, as wise virgins having oil in our vessels with our lamps . . .

“The power of the Holy Ghost must be upon us, and the Captain of the Lord’s Host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct this battle. Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth. Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us.” Ibid., 982.

“The Revelator describes the destruction that is to take place when the ‘great voice out of heaven’ announces, ‘It is done!’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 509. And thank God! We are assured of a Captain who will lead us to victory. “The Captain of the Lord’s Host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle.” Selected Messages, 426.

Deliverance of the Saints

The basic reason why the armies of heaven are coming to the earth is to rescue and deliver the saints. “The people of God—some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forest and in the mountains—still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by the hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen . . .

“With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecations, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested. Their mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With fearful forbodings they gaze upon the symbol of God’s covenant and long to be shielded from its overpowering brightness.” The Great Controversy, 635, 636.

“By the people of God a voice, clear and melodious, is heard, saying, ‘Look up,’ and lifting their eyes to the heavens, they behold the bow of promise. The black, angry clouds that cover the firmament are parted, and like Stephen they look up steadfastly into heaven and see the glory of God and the Son of Man seated upon His throne. In His divine form they discern the marks of His humiliation; and from His lips they hear the request presented before His Father and the holy angels: ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with Me where I am.’ John 17:24. Again a voice, musical, and triumphant is heard saying: ‘They come! They come! holy, harmless, and undefiled. They have kept the word of My patience; they shall walk among the angels;’ and the pale, quivering lips of those who have held fast their faith utter a shout of victory.” Ibid., 636.

“I looked upon the company, who, a short time before, were in such distress and bondage. Their captivity was turned. A glorious light shone upon them. How beautiful they then looked! All marks of care and weariness were gone, and health and beauty were seen in every countenance. Their enemies, the heathen round them, fell like dead men; they could not endure the light that shone upon the delivered, holy ones.” Early Writings, 272.

The same voice that brings shouts of victory from the saints will produce the opposite effect upon the wicked. “When the voice of God turns the captivity of His people, there is a terrible awakening of those who have lost all in the great conflict of life. While probation continued they were blinded by Satan’s deceptions, and they justified their course of sin . . . Now they are stripped of all that made them great and are left destitute and defenseless. They look with terror upon the destruction of the idols which they preferred before their Maker . . . The gain of a lifetime is swept away in a moment. The rich bemoan the destruction of their grand houses, the scattering of their gold and silver. But their lamentations are silenced by the fear that they themselves are to perish with their idols.

“The wicked are filled with regret, not because of their sinful neglect of God and their fellow men, but because God has conquered. They lament that the result is what is; but they do not repent of their wickedness. They would leave no means untried to conquer if they could.” The Great Controversy, 654.

Great Wonders in the Heavens, Earth and Sea

At this time, great wonders will take place one after another: “It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark heavy clouds come up and clash against each other . . .

“That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, ‘such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.’ Revelation 16:17, 18. The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a hurricane like the voice of demons on a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seems to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters. Babylon the great has come into remembrance before God ‘to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.’ Great hailstones, everyone ‘about the weight of a talent,’ are doing their work of destruction. Revelation 16:19, 21. The proudest cities of the earth are laid low. The lordly palaces, upon which the world’s great men have lavished their wealth in order to glorify themselves, are crumbling to ruin before their eyes. Prison walls are rent asunder, and God’s people, who have been held in bondage for their faith, are set free.” The Great Controversy, 636, 637.

“In the day of the Lord just before the coming of Christ, God will send lightenings from heaven in His wrath, which will unite with fire in the earth. The mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrible streams of lava, destroying gardens and fields, villages and cities; and as they pour their melted ore, and rocks and heated mud into the rivers, it will cause them to boil like a pot, and send forth massive rocks and scatter their broken fragments upon the land with indescribable violence. Whole rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed, and there will be dreadful eruptions and earthquakes everywhere. God will plague the wicked inhabitants of the earth until they are destroyed from off it.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 82-83.

The Special Resurrection

Now comes that time of the special resurrection in which two classes of those who have died will be resurrected. “Graves are opened, and ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth . . . awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ Daniel 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the Third Angel’s Message come forth from the tomb glorified to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law.” The Great Controversy, 637.

We have all lost loved ones, a father or a mother or children that had been faithful who loved the Lord and have died in this wonderful Three Angels’ Messages. They will all come forth out of their tombs to see Jesus come. And we can join them. What about the wicked who are resurrected? ” ‘They also which pierced Him’ (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory and to see the honor placed upon the loyal, the obedient.

“Thick clouds still cover the sky, yet the sun now and then breaks through appearing like the avenging eye of Jehovah. Fierce lightenings leap from the heavens, enveloping the earth in a sheet of flame. Above the terrific roar of thunder, voices, mysterious and awful, declare the doom of the wicked. The words spoken are not comprehended by all; but they are distinctly understood by the false teachers. Those who a little before were so reckless, so boastful and defiant, so exultant in their cruelty to God’s commandment-keeping people, are now overwhelmed with consternation and shuddering in fear. Their wails are heard above the sounds of the elements. Demons acknowledge the deity of Christ and tremble before His power while men are supplicating for mercy and groveling in abject terror.” Ibid., 637, 638.

The righteous know that they are delivered and they will be singing praises to God. A bright star is seen and the faces of the righteous are radiant as they sing praises. The clouds sweep back and the sky is filled with the stars. “Through a rift in the clouds there beams a star whose brilliancy is increased four fold in contrast with the darkness. It speaks hope and joy to the faithful, but severity and wrath to the transgressors of God’s law. Those who have sacrificed all for Christ are now secure, hidden in the secret of the Lord’s pavilion. They have been tested, and before the world and the despisers of truth they have evinced their fidelity to Him who died for them. A marvelous change has come over those who have held fast their integrity in the very face of death. They have been suddenly delivered from the dark and terrible tyranny of men transformed into demons. Their faces, so lately pale, anxious, and haggard, are now aglow with wonder, and faith, and love. Their voices rise in triumphant song: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the water thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.’ Psalm 46:1-3.

“While these words of holy trust ascend to God, the clouds sweep back, and the starry heavens are seen, unspeakably glorious in contrast with the black and angry firmament on either side. The glory of the celestial city streams from gates ajar.” Ibid., 638, 639.

“The captivity of the righteous is turned and with sweet and solemn whispering they say to one another, ‘We are delivered. It is the voice of God.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 354.

God’s Law Revealed

“Then there appears against the sky a hand holding two tables of stone folded together. Says the prophet: ‘The heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is Judge Himself.’ Psalm 50:6. That holy law, God’s righteousness, that amid thunder and flame was proclaimed from Sinai as the guide of life, is now revealed to men as the rule of judgment. The hand opens the tables, and there are seen the precepts of the Decalogue, traced as with a pen of fire. The words so plain that all can read them. Memory is aroused, the darkness of superstition and heresy is swept from every mind, and God’s ten words, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, are presented to the view of all the inhabitants of the earth.” Ibid., 639.

“In the temple will be seen the ark of the testament in which were placed the two tables of stone,on which are written God’s law. These tables of stone will be brought forth from their hiding place, and on them will be seen the Ten Commandments engraved by the finger of God. These tables of stone now lying in the ark of the testament will be a convincing testimony to the truth and binding claims of God’s law.

“Sacrilegious minds and hearts have thought that they were mighty enough to change the times and the laws of Jehovah; but, safe in the archives of heaven, in the ark of God, are the original commandments, written upon the two tables of stone. No potentate of earth has power to draw forth those tables from their sacred hiding place beneath the mercy seat.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 972.

“It is impossible to describe the horror and despair of those who have trampled upon God’s holy requirements. The Lord gave them His law; they might have compared their characters with it and learned their defects while there was yet opportunity for repentance and reform; but in order to secure the favor of the world, they set aside its precepts and taught others to transgress. They have endeavored to compel God’s people to profane His Sabbath. Now they are condemned by that law which they have despised . . . Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious sabbath and the sandy foundation upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God.” The Great Controversy, 639.

And what about former Sabbath-keepers who had accepted Sunday because of the new theology that is being taught? “Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garment were written in large characters, ‘Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting.’ I asked who this company were. The angel said, ‘These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and who have given it up.’ I heard them cry with a loud voice, ‘We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.’ And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet—trodden the Sabbath underfoot—and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting.” Early Writings, 37.

“Church members, who have seen the light and been convicted, but who have trusted the salvation of their souls to the minister, will learn in the day of God that no other soul can pay the ransom for their transgression. A terrible cry will be raised, ‘I am lost, eternally lost.’ Men will feel as though they could rend in pieces the ministers who have preached falsehoods and condemned the truth.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1157.

“The people see that they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. ‘We are lost!’ they cry, ‘and you are the cause of our ruin;’ and they turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction. The swords which were to slay God’s people are now employed to destroy their enemies. Everywhere there is strife and bloodshed.” The Great Controversy, 655, 656.

This brings us to that climactic hour when the devil’s evil work will be brought to a halt. “The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth. The Israel of God stand listening with their eyes fixed upward. Their countenances are lighted up with His glory and shine as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai.” Ibid., 640.

The remaining wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. The great conflict between good and evil, though forced to stop, will be revived by the resurrection of the wicked at the close of the thousand years. Then Christ with His saints will return to this earth with the New Jerusalem. The wicked will surround the city to destroy it, but fire will come down from heaven and will annihilate the devil, his evil angels and all the host of wicked, purifying the earth of every taint of sin. Thus comes to its end the battle of Armageddon.

We have studied the seriousness of the battle of Armageddon. On what side will you participate in this closing struggle? Will you fight with Satan against the God of love? Or will you stand with Christ in keeping all of His commandments? I ask you today, “Is Your All Upon the Altar of Sacrifice Laid?”

The Appearance of Defeat

Many believers around the world are struggling to know how to relate to the apparent shrinking numbers of faithful Seventh-day Adventists. This is a difficult question, but to discover the answers we can look at the example that Christ left for us. For, there was a time in Christ’s ministry, when, to almost everyone, it looked like His work was a failure.

Ellen White speaks of how Christ’s work appeared just three days before the crucifixion.

“At this time Christ’s work bore the appearance of cruel defeat. He had been victor in the controversy with the priests and Pharisees, but it was evident that they would never receive Him as the Messiah. The final separation had come. To His disciples the case seemed hopeless.” The Desire of Ages, 621.

Have you ever been in a situation that seemed hopeless? The last week of Jesus’ life, His cause seemed hopeless. At that time, Christ’s followers, His church, consisted of just eleven men and a few women. It appeared as though the movement Christ had begun was about to fall apart. Yet, at this very time, the work of God was just hours away from its greatest victory. Christ was approaching the consummation of His work. The great event, which concerned not only the Jewish nation but also the whole world, was about to take place.

Why did God allow His work to sink to such a low ebb, especially when the hour of victory was so near at hand? When thinking about this, we may rightly wonder how defeated God’s work may appear before His second coming. Will we, if we are faithful, have to go through a time when to all outward appearances the case seems hopeless?

To answer this we need to go back to the Wednesday before the crucifixion. Christ had faithfully borne the final and last rebuke to Israel’s leaders. He had exposed them in front of the multitude. The disciples, with keen discernment, saw that their last opportunity to make peace with the church leaders was forever gone. All looked hopeless!

Jesus knew that in a few hours His disciples would see Him in a position they had never before dreamed of. They had trusted that no matter how disheartening things might look, Jesus would eventually proclaim Himself king. But to be placed on a cross instead? Would it be more than they could bear?

Jesus had carefully told them, in the kindest way, what was to happen to Him, but they would not listen. Consequently their minds never comprehended it. They never dreamed they would see Jesus hanging on a cross, for they believed Him to be the Messiah.

This Man who came to earth was actually the King of the universe. He looked like a man among men, but He was infinitely more than that. He was God, clothed in the garb of humanity. Yet He came here, and walked among men, living the life of the ones He had created.

When sin first entered the world, Christ made a pledge with His Father that He would redeem man at all costs to Himself. And before He came to this earth, while He was still on the throne in heaven, He watched the events of this world. As He looked at the course of sin for four thousand years, in counsel with His Father, He planned how He was to come into this world and how He was to act while He was here.

Why then, with all the carefully laid plans, were things looking so unpromising? The disciples wondered if He had made a mistake. Why was this Man, who they knew to be altogether lovely, being rejected by the leaders and the people? It did not make any sense to them. To human thinking it is incomprehensible. The God of the universe, looking into the hearts of men, chose to redeem us in a way that is beyond our comprehension. He, who owned everything, chose to come here, not in wealth, but in poverty. Instead of being born into the palace of a king, He was born into the home of a common laborer. Instead of studying the great wisdom of the world, the God of heaven chose for Him to be taught by His own mother out of the Scriptures.

The Jews were looking for a Messiah to come with great outward show, with the pomp of a king, the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Samson. They were looking for one who, with all power, would change the current of men’s thoughts and force men everywhere to believe in Him. (See The Desire of Ages, 700.) This idea was so implanted in their minds that it seemed that the way Jesus planned to come was predestined to fail. And so it seemed to the disciples on that eventful day, the Wednesday before the crucifixion, when things were at their lowest ebb. It looked like there was no hope because they knew how it had to be—and it was not turning out that way.

No Beauty That We Should Desire Him

Had Jesus been willing to establish a temporal dominion He would have gladly been received by all. (See The Desire of Ages, 509.) Why did He not do it? Isaiah 53 tells us how He chose to come. This prophecy, given hundreds of years before Christ came, described how He must come. It says, in verse two, “When we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

When Jesus was baptized, John the Baptist said to the crowd, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The crowd looked all around to see who John was talking about, but they did not see anyone who looked different than themselves. They did not see a man of great stature that was far more beautiful and noble than all the rest. Every face that they searched in the crowd appeared to them as just a common man.

He came like you and me. It was planned to be this way. In Luke 17, Jesus spoke straight to this topic because the Pharisees had such a preconceived idea of how He would come. “And when He (Jesus) was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show.” Luke 17:20.

The kingdom of God was in their midst but they did not discern it. It was powerful and they saw the power, but it was not the power they wanted. They had their minds fixed on how they thought it had to be and so they came to Jesus and demanded of Him when the kingdom of God would come—not realizing that the way to the kingdom of God was in front of them. Jesus said, trying to correct their faulty thinking, “The kingdom of God comes not with outward show.”

The kingdom of God never comes with outward show. Oh, yes, it will be something great when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven. We will be able to see it, but the only ones who will be rejoicing are those who have been changed inside. As Jesus said, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21. The kingdom of God always starts on the inside.

The Cardinal and the Sparrow

How quick we are to look at the outward appearance, as the disciples did. I recently had an experience that brought this lesson home to me in a tangible way. On our back porch we have a bird feeder and we enjoy watching the birds come and go. We have had little juncos, sparrows, cardinals, finches, blue birds, a blue jay and a mocking bird that came to visit our feeder. Early last spring, when it was still cool, there were three kinds of birds that came quite frequently; juncos, sparrows and cardinals. The cardinals came even when it snowed. The white snow made the red of their coats seem iridescent. The red was accented with the sharp black around their beak and the white snow. It was beautiful. I noticed that when the cardinals came, every one stopped to look. People tiptoed around the window because they did not want to frighten them away. Sometimes my children ran back in the bedroom and whispered, “Mother, the cardinals are here.” And everyone stopped for a few moments to enjoy the loveliness of the scene.

I noticed, though, that when the sparrows came, they did not get quite the same attention. People did not run to the window. No one stopped what they were doing; everything went on as usual. We enjoyed the sparrows but it was not the same as the cardinals. What made the difference? We are drawn to the beautiful. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. (See 1 Samuel 16:7.)

Typically we judge the heart by the appearance. Jesus knew this, and that is why He did not come in the garb of the cardinal, beautiful above other birds. He came like the sparrow. He chose to come with the appearance of the common man. He knew that if He came with the pomp of royalty, that His beauty would stun men, and He did not want that.

Inside His heart He had something that was far more beautiful, powerful, wise, and worth more> than anything this world could give. It was the beauty of His character. He did not want us to be attracted by outward beauty, so He chose not to come that way. Rather He came with the glory, beauty and the wealth of heaven in His heart. He came with love. He came with kindness for all and salvation to the poorest of humanity as well as to the rich. No one was excluded.

Someday we will see His great beauty when He comes in the clouds of heaven, but by that time everyone will have made a decision one way or the other. When He comes in the glory of His Father and the angels, there will be many that will say, “If only You had come with the pomp of the world, we would have accepted You.”

A System Based on Outward Show

In the last two thousand years, God has let a system develop that is built on outward show, to help us see what the result of Christ’s mission would have been had He come that way. And the results, that following this type of system always bring, can be seen in the history of the Papal system. Following a system based on outward show always leads to breaking God’s Law.

This will be seen most clearly in the final days of this earth’s history. At that time, Paul prophesied that Satan, through his agents, would work “with all power, signs and lying wonders.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

Men have the desire for something outward that they can look at and fasten their faith on without changing what is on the inside. Men say today, as the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Show us a sign.” And that is why this method will be so deceptive in the last days. Revelation says about this same power: “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast;” Revelation 13:13, 14. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10.

If you base your religious decisions on appearance, you will be fooled when this happens. We must learn to be led, not by outward signs, but by the inward guidance of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit working upon our hearts. That is our only safety against deception.

Sometimes we are struck with the outward appearance of men of greatness, men that know how to carry themselves with great poise and nobility. Jesus talked about people like that. He said: “And ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” John 5:43, 44.

If you long for the honor of men and the show of this world, then you will be attracted to people who also have that goal and they will deceive you. The only way to be kept from deception is by having a change of heart. That is why Paul said, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11.

If you have not received the love of the truth in your heart, you are looking for show, and you will find it. The whole world will be deceived by it. Satan has set up his counterfeit knowing that human beings are looking for show. They are looking for something great that they can see. He knows how the human heart works, and he has planned a deception that is a perfect fit.

You might say, “Oh, the Sunday law would never trick me.” But a man who is seeking glory for himself might trick you. The only ones who will withstand his deceptions are those who have had a change of heart, who are not seeking for great things for themselves, those who live for one purpose —the glory of God.

The Victorious Ones

This great power of evil organized in Babylon will be overcome and exposed. “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Revelation 14:1.

The 144,000 will overcome the power of the Papacy. And they do it by following the Lamb. They have learned that their Leader is so powerful that when everything around them has the appearance of defeat, they can trust in Him for victory.

There is a report of a vision Ellen White was given on the train platform in Loma Linda. She never wrote it down, but she related it to those who were there and they wrote it for our benefit.

In this vision, Sister White saw the world. She said that as she looked over the world she could not see any Seventh-day Adventists. The angel standing by her side said, “Look again” and one by one God’s true and faithful stood up and their lights were burning. They chose leaders among themselves and they carried forward the work of the Loud Cry that was given to this world.

Is your faith strong enough so when you cannot see any true and faithful, and everywhere you look you see the inroads of sin, you can stand up against it? Often before God does His most signal work for human beings, He allows things to appear hopeless that our faith and vision may be directed to Him.

Pharisaism—The Common Problem of Mankind

There is another problem with men’s attraction to appearance that we have not considered yet. Jesus talked about it in Matthew 23, when he rebuked the Pharisees. He said: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter that the outside of them may be clean also.” Matthew 23:25, 26.

It is not a big problem to clean up the outside, the big challenge is to clean up the inside and Jesus said, “Do that first.” Before we can be delivered from Satan’s power on the outside, we must first be delivered from his power on the inside. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 174.) Then Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so, ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:27, 28.

I earnestly plead with you, ask the Lord to clean the inside of your heart. That is your only hope. Only He has the power to do it. However righteous you appear to men is of no account. It will not make any difference in the Day of Judgment the front you have worn. What makes the difference is what is on the inside of the heart.

Men are so awestruck with strength and riches, and because God knew our tendencies, He left us this warning. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

What are you looking for? What are you glorying in? Jesus said in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” When Jesus said that, how His heart must have been breaking. Here was the One that was altogether lovely. Who the angels of heaven recognized as beautiful beyond any other being in the universe. He is the fairest of ten thousand and He came to this world and all He brought was blessings, but He was rejected. That is why Jesus said and He says to us now, “Do not judge by the outward appearance. I have come among you. I am not beautiful above anyone else, but if you could see what I have brought, you would know that I have the pearl of great price. I have the hidden riches that I can give you. They are infinitely more than anything you have ever had before. Just come to Me that you might have life.”