Bible Study Guides – Many of His Disciples Turn Back at the Present Time

March 20, 2005 – March 26, 2005

Memory Verse

“But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, [and that] ye shall not prolong [your] days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.” Deuteronomy 30:17, 18.

Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 593–602.


In last week’s lesson, we studied about the trials and attitudes of the independent movement during the first advent. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy both speak of a large group of “His disciples” that turned their backs on Jesus the day following the feeding of the 5,000. In this lesson, we will study about the trials and attitudes of the independent believers during the time of the second advent movement.

The importance of this subject is emphasized by the following statement: “We want to understand the time in which we live. We do not half understand it. . . . The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 406.

1 What two phrases tell us that the trials and attitudes of the people during the second advent will be similar to those of “His disciples” during the first advent? What did Jesus predict about the second advent? See Matthew 24:3, 4, 10, 11, 24.

note: “Because they were too vain and self-righteous to receive reproof, too world-loving to accept a life of humility, many turned away from Jesus. Many are still doing the same thing. Souls are tested today as were those disciples in the synagogue at Capernaum. When truth is brought home to the heart, they see that their lives are not in accordance with the will of God. They see the need of an entire change in themselves; but they are not willing to take up the self-denying work. Therefore they are angry when their sins are discovered. They go away offended, even as the disciples left Jesus, murmuring, ‘This is an hard saying; who can hear it?’ [John 6:60.]” The Desire of Ages, 392.

2 In the above statement, what three phrases explain the attitudes that will be revealed in the people of God when they are tested today? What does Mark record Jesus as predicting about attitudes today? Mark 13:12, 13.

comment: In last week’s lesson, we noted that the following attitude changes took place among “His disciples” when they turned their backs on Jesus: They (1) sought out His enemies; (2) were in harmony with His enemies’ spirit and work; (3) misinterpreted His words; (4) falsified His statements; (5) impugned His motives; (6) stirred up false reports; (7) wished to wound the Saviour; (8) left Him with disdain; and (9) desired to gratify the malice of the Pharisees.

3 What prophecy is written concerning a large class who profess faith in the third angel’s message? What does Paul predict about this very development? 11 Thessalonians 2:10–12.

note: “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition.” The Great Controversy, 608.

4 Describe the attitude change that takes place after they abandon their position. This had already happened in the first advent type. See John 8:58, 59; 11:45–50.

note: “By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them.” The Great Controversy, 608.

comment: It has now been documented that as a large group of “His disciples departed from the faith during the crisis in Galilee,” so a large group of believers in the third angel’s message will depart from the faith in the second advent movement. It has also been seen that they exhibit the same attitudes.

After the large departure of “His disciples” during the crisis in Galilee, Jesus began to give instruction to the twelve disciples to prepare them for their crowning trial and final test. So also Christ has sent messages to His faithful believers in the second advent movement to prepare them for their crowning trial and final test.

5 What specific information did Jesus give to His disciples? Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31, 32, first part; Luke 9:22.

note: “Before His crucifixion the Saviour explained to His disciples that He was to be put to death and to rise again from the tomb, and angels were present to impress His words on minds and hearts. But the disciples were looking for temporal deliverance. . . . The words which they needed to remember were banished from their minds; and when the time of trial came, it found them unprepared. The death of Jesus as fully destroyed their hopes as if He had not forewarned them.” The Great Controversy, 594.

6 What is opened to us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples? See Isaiah 33:14–17.

note: “So in the prophecies the future is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples by the words of Christ. The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed.” The Great Controversy, 594.

7 According to the above reference, how well are these important truths understood by the people today? See Hosea 4:6; 8:12.

8 What was the crowning trial and the final test for His beloved disciples? What will be the crowning test today? See Jeremiah 30:5–8.

note: “Compassionate Redeemer, who in the full knowledge of the doom that awaited Him, tenderly smoothed the way for the disciples, prepared them for their crowning trial, and strengthened them for the final test.” The Desire of Ages, 394.

“He foresaw that in the hour of temptation every one of His beloved disciples would be severely tested. His agony in Gethsemane, His betrayal and crucifixion, would be to them a most trying ordeal.” Ibid.

“Christ had spoken a sacred, eternal truth regarding the relation between Himself and His followers. He knew the character of those who claimed to be His disciples, and His words tested their faith. He declared that they were to believe and act upon His teaching. All who received Him would partake of His nature, and be conformed to His character.” Ibid., 391.

9 What will be the great test of loyalty for the people of God in the second advent movement? Revelation 13:15–17; 14:9–11.

note: “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty; for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not.” The Great Controversy, 605.

“Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided. They can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in His word; they can honor Him only as they have a right conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them. None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men?” Ibid., 593, 594.

10 How did the eleven disciples react when they came up to their crowning trial and final test? Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50.

note: “The disciples were terrified as they saw Jesus permit Himself to be taken and bound. They were offended that He should suffer this humiliation to Himself and them. They could not understand His conduct, and they blamed Him for submitting to the mob. In their indignation and fear, Peter proposed that they save themselves. Following this suggestion, ‘they all forsook Him, and fled.’ [Mark 14:50.] But Christ had foretold this desertion, ‘Behold,’ He had said, ‘the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.’ John 16:32.” The Desire of Ages, 697.

11 How will the faithful people of God in the second advent movement respond to their crowning trial and final test? Revelation 14:12; 20:4.

note: “In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord’s servants will be tried. They have faithfully given the warning, looking to God and to His word alone. God’s Spirit, moving upon their hearts, has constrained them to speak. Stimulated with holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they entered upon the performance of their duties without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord had given them. They have not consulted their temporal interests, nor sought to preserve their reputation or their lives. Yet when the storm of opposition and reproach bursts upon them, some, overwhelmed with consternation, will be ready to exclaim: ‘Had we foreseen the consequences of our words, we would have held our peace.’ They are hedged in with difficulties. Satan assails them with fierce temptations. The work which they have undertaken seems far beyond their ability to accomplish. They are threatened with destruction. The enthusiasm which animated them is gone; yet they cannot turn back. . . . God put the truth into their hearts, and they could not forbear to proclaim it.” The Great Controversy, 608, 609.

12 What experience will every soul pass through on their way to the Holy City? Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1.

note: “The ‘time of trouble, such as never was’ [Daniel 12:1], is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God.” The Great Controversy, 622.

13 What will be the consequences to those who delay their preparation for the time of trouble? See Matthew 22:11–14. Compare Revelation 16:15.

note: “Those who delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain it in the time of trouble or at any subsequent time. The case of all such is hopeless.

“Those professed Christians who come up to that last fearful conflict unprepared will, in their despair, confess their sins in words of burning anguish, while the wicked exult over their distress. . . .

“The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. . . . All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he [Jacob] did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it.” The Great Controversy, 620, 621.

14 What must the people of God do now if they would pass safely through the time of trouble? Revelation 3:18–20; 12:17; 19:10.

note: “Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. . . . Christ declared of Himself: ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.” The Great Controversy, 623.

“Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come.” Ibid., 625.

[All emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted.]

Answer key available upon request.

Bible Study Guides – Many of His Disciples Turn Back

March 13, 2005 – March 19, 2005

Memory Verse

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.” John 6:63.

Suggested Reading: John 6; The Desire of Ages, 383–394.


Three events have been documented that have their counterpart in the second advent movement. They are: (1) The first cleansing of the temple and the second angel’s message (Revelation 14:8) in 1844; (2) The Sanhedrin’s rejection of Jesus at the second Passover and the second advent church’s rejection of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy; (3) The second cleansing of the temple and the loud cry of the third angel (Revelation 18:1, 2).

As it was necessary for Jesus to begin a ministry independent from the Sanhedrin in the first advent, so in the second advent movement, God found it necessary to begin a ministry independent from the organized church. He led E. A. Sutherland and P. T. Magan to open a school and a sanitarium for the people in the South.

Our study this week concerning “the trials of the children of Israel and their attitude” during the first advent of Christ will continue, as we look at the events connected with the ministry of Jesus in Galilee just a year following the Sanhedrin’s rejection of Christ’s message and His departure from Jerusalem.

1 What is the setting for the crisis in Galilee? John 6:1–13.

note: “The Passover was at hand, and, from far and near, bands of pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem gathered to see Jesus. Additions were made to their number, until there were assembled five thousand men besides women and children.” The Desire of Ages, 364.

2 What did the twelve disciples and the crowd plan to do after they were finished eating? John 6:14, 15.

note: “All day the conviction has strengthened. That crowning act is assurance that the long-looked-for Deliverer is among them. The hopes of the people rise higher and higher. This is He who will make Judea an earthly paradise, a land flowing with milk and honey. He can satisfy every desire. He can break the power of the hated Romans. He can deliver Judah and Jerusalem. He can heal the soldiers who are wounded in battle. He can supply whole armies with food. He can conquer the nations, and give to Israel the long-sought dominion.

“In their enthusiasm the people are ready at once to crown Him king. They see that He makes no effort to attract attention or secure honor to Himself. In this He is essentially different from the priests and rulers, and they fear that He will never urge His claim to David’s throne. Consulting together, they agree to take Him by force, and proclaim Him the king of Israel. The disciples unite with the multitude in declaring the throne of David the rightful inheritance of their Master. It is the modesty of Christ, they say, that causes Him to refuse such honor. Let the people exalt their Deliverer. Let the arrogant priests and rulers be forced to honor Him who comes clothed with the authority of God.” The Desire of Ages, 377, 378.

3 How did Jesus respond to this effort to make Him king? John 6:15, 16.

note: “But Jesus sees what is on foot, and understands, as they cannot, what would be the result of such a movement. Even now the priests and rulers are hunting His life. They accuse Him of drawing the people away from them. . . . Calling His disciples, Jesus bids them take the boat and return at once to Capernaum, leaving Him to dismiss the people.

“Never before had a command from Christ seemed so impossible of fulfillment. The disciples had long hoped for a popular movement to place Jesus on the throne; they could not endure the thought that all this enthusiasm should come to nothing. . . .

“Jesus now commands the multitude to disperse; and His manner is so decisive that they dare not disobey.” The Desire of Ages, 378.

comment: Here we have a clear description of a group of people who are followers of Jesus along with the twelve disciples. They plan to take Jesus by force to Jerusalem and, through popularity, proclaim Him King of Israel over the authority of “the arrogant priests and rulers.” It is evident that even though these people had left the organization to follow Jesus, they had no better understanding of the nature of Christ’s kingdom than had the priests and rulers in Jerusalem.

4 Because Jesus refused to let the people proclaim Him king, what great change now occurred in His ministry? John 6:66.

note: “When Christ forbade the people to declare Him king, He knew that a turning point in His history was reached. Multitudes who desired to exalt Him to the throne today would turn from Him tomorrow. The disappointment of their selfish ambition would turn their love to hatred, and their praise to curses. Yet knowing this, He took no measures to avert the crisis. From the first He held out to His followers no hope of earthly rewards. . . . Of those now connected with Him there were many who had been attracted by the hope of a worldly kingdom. These must be undeceived. The deep spiritual teaching in the miracle of the loaves had not been comprehended. This was to be made plain. And this new revelation would bring with it a closer test.” The Desire of Ages, 383.

comment: Although the crowd was dispersed by Jesus, the next day they gathered again at the synagogue in Capernaum. Before we join the meeting at the synagogue, it is important to understand the relationship of these people to the organized church in Jerusalem and the independent ministry of Jesus.

5 How does John identify the relationship of these people to Jesus three times in his gospel? John 6:60, 61, 66.

note: The Spirit of Prophecy calls them “His disciples” seven times:

“He knew the character of those who claimed to be His disciples, and His words tested their faith.” The Desire of Ages, 391.

“By the public rebuke of their unbelief these disciples were still further alienated from Jesus.” Ibid., 392.

“Many are still doing the same thing. Souls are tested today as were those disciples in the synagogue at Capernaum. . . . Therefore they are angry when their sins are discovered. They go away offended, even as the disciples left Jesus, murmuring, ‘This is an hard saying; who can hear it?’ [John 6:60.]” Ibid.

“As those disaffected disciples turned away from Christ, a different spirit took control of them.” Ibid.

“With a yearning heart, Jesus saw those who had been His disciples departing from Him, the Life and the Light of men.” Ibid., 393.

“When Jesus presented the testing truth that caused so many of His disciples to turn back, He knew what would be the result of His words; but He had a purpose of mercy to fulfill.” Ibid., 394.

comment: In looking back, the picture becomes quite clear. About the time of the second Passover, the Jewish church rejected Jesus and His ministry. Jesus then departed from them and went into Galilee to work. This resulted in large multitudes joining Him as “His disciples.” At the feeding of the 5,000, they planned to take Jesus to Jerusalem and proclaim Him their King, but by the end of the next day, the records say that most of “His disciples” turned away and left Him. Let us now take a look at the reasons for this amazing change in the attitude of “His disciples.”

6 What was the hope of this multitude of “His disciples” that attracted them to Jesus? John 6:14, 15. See The Desire of Ages quotation after Question 4.

7 According to the reference following Question 4, what did Jesus have to do for these people before they could understand the true nature of His kingdom? See John 18:36.

8 What would this new revelation bring to the people? John 6:61–64.

note: “Christ had spoken a sacred, eternal truth regarding the relation between Himself and His followers. He knew the character of those who claimed to be His disciples, and His words tested their faith.” The Desire of Ages, 391.

9 What did Jesus tell “these disciples” they would have to do to become His true disciples? John 6:53, 63.

note: “To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated.” The Desire of Ages, 389.

10 What does this character change involve that Jesus requires? John 6:44–56.

note: “He [Jesus] declared that they were to believe and act upon His teaching. All who received Him would partake of His nature, and be conformed to His character. This involved the relinquishment of their cherished ambitions. It required the complete surrender of themselves to Jesus. They were called to become self-sacrificing, meek and lowly in heart. They must walk in the narrow path traveled by the Man of Calvary, if they would share in the gift of life and the glory of heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 391.

11 What was the attitude of “these disciples” after Jesus told them that they must believe and act upon His teaching? John 6:60, 66.

note: “The test was too great. The enthusiasm of those who had sought to take Him [Jesus] by force and make Him king grew cold. This discourse in the synagogue, they declared, had opened their eyes. Now they were undeceived. In their minds His words were a direct confession that He was not the Messiah, and that no earthly rewards were to be realized from connection with Him. . . .The insincere, the selfish, who had sought Him, no longer desired Him. If He would not devote His power and influence to obtaining their freedom from the Romans, they would have nothing to do with Him.” The Desire of Ages, 391.

12 When “these disciples” turned from following Jesus, what kind of spirit took control of them? John 6:60–64.

note: “As those disaffected disciples turned away from Christ, a different spirit took control of them. They could see nothing attractive in Him whom they had once found so interesting. They sought out His enemies, for they were in harmony with their spirit and work. They misinterpreted His words, falsified His statements, and impugned His motives. They sustained their course by gathering up every item that could be turned against Him; and such indignation was stirred up by these false reports that His life was in danger.” The Desire of Ages, 392, 393.

13 What fatal finality was involved in their decision to separate from Jesus? John 6:66.

note: “By the public rebuke of their unbelief these disciples were still further alienated from Jesus. They were greatly displeased, and wishing to wound the Saviour and gratify the malice of the Pharisees, they turned their backs on Him, and left Him with disdain. They had made their choice,—had taken the form without the spirit, the husk without the kernel. Their decision was never afterward reversed; for they walked no more with Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 392.

14 What evidence is there of the number of “His disciples” that turned their backs on Jesus at this time? John 6:66–68.

note: “Without attempting to hinder those who were leaving Him, Jesus turned to the twelve and said, ‘Will ye also go away?’ [John 6:67.]” The Desire of Ages, 393.

15 How did Peter express the faith of the disciples at this time? John 6:68, 69.

note: “ ‘To whom shall we go?’ [John 6:68.] The teachers of Israel were slaves to formalism. The Pharisees and Sadducees were in constant contention. To leave Jesus was to fall among sticklers for rites and ceremonies, and ambitious men who sought their own glory. The disciples had found more peace and joy since they had accepted Christ than in all their previous lives. How could they go back to those who had scorned and persecuted the Friend of sinners? They had long been looking for the Messiah; now He had come, and they could not turn from His presence to those who were hunting His life, and had persecuted them for becoming His followers.” The Desire of Ages, 393.


Bible Study Guides – The Second Advent Church Rejects the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, Part 11

March 6, 2005 – March 12, 2005

Memory Verse

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24.

Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 8, 104–106; 247–251.


In this lesson, we will conclude the study on the second advent church’s rejection of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

The following quotation had reference to the 1901 General Conference session: “One day at noon I [Ellen White] was writing of the work that might have been done at the last General Conference if the men in positions of trust had followed the will and way of God. Those who have had great light have not walked in the light. The meeting was closed, and the break was not made. Men did not humble themselves before the Lord as they should have done, and the Holy Spirit was not imparted.

“I had written thus far when I lost consciousness, and I seemed to be witnessing a scene in Battle Creek.

“We were assembled in the auditorium of the Tabernacle. Prayer was offered, a hymn was sung, and prayer was again offered. Most earnest supplication was made to God. The meeting was marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The work went deep, and some present were weeping aloud. . . .

“The speaker turned to those who had been praying, and said: ‘We have something to do. We must confess our sins, and humble our hearts before God.’ He made heart-broken confessions and then stepped up to several of the brethren, one after another, and extended his hand, asking forgiveness. Those to whom he spoke sprang to their feet, making confession and asking forgiveness. . . . The spirit of confession spread through the entire congregation. . . .

“No one seemed to be too proud to make heartfelt confession, and those who led in this work were the ones who had influence, but had not before had courage to confess their sins.

“There was rejoicing such as never before had been heard in the Tabernacle.

“Then I aroused from my unconsciousness, and for a while could not think where I was. My pen was still in my hand. The words were spoken to me: ‘This might have been. All this the Lord was waiting to do for His people. All heaven was waiting to be gracious.’ [Emphasis in original.] I thought of where we might have been had thorough work been done at the last General Conference, and an agony of disappointment came over me as I realized that what I had witnessed was not a reality.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 104–106.

1 According to the above reference, what was the Lord’s assessment of the attitudes of the leading men following the 1901 General Conference session? What similar experience did Jesus have with the Jewish church? John 5:39, 40.

2 What was not received because of the attitude of these men? See the Jewish similar experience in John 3:3–12.

3 What work needed to be done that was not done at the 1901 General Conference? Compare the experience of the Jews in John 12:40–43.

4 What great disaster occurred in 1902 because the leading men did not forsake their sins and humble their hearts at the 1901 General Conference? What did Jesus say would happen to the Jews because they refused to repent? Luke 19:41–44.

note: “Today I [Ellen White] received a letter from Elder Daniells regarding the destruction of the Review office by fire. . . . I was not surprised by the sad news, for in the visions of the night I have seen an angel standing with a sword as of fire stretched over Battle Creek. Once, in the daytime, while my pen was in my hand, I lost consciousness, and it seemed as if this sword of flame were turning first in one direction and then in another. Disaster seemed to follow disaster because God was dishonored by the devising of men to exalt and glorify themselves.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 97.

“At the General Conference, held in Battle Creek in 1901, the Lord gave His people evidence that He was calling for reformation. Minds were convicted, and hearts were touched; but thorough work was not done. If stubborn hearts had then broken in penitence before God, there would have been seen one of the greatest manifestations of the power of God that has ever been seen. But God was not honored. The testimonies of His Spirit were not heeded. Men did not separate from the practices that were in decided opposition to the principles of truth and righteousness, which should ever be maintained in the Lord’s work.” Ibid., 97, 98.

5 What was God’s purpose or desire in the burning of the two institutions in Battle Creek in 1902? What similar appeals to the Jews did the Lord make? Isaiah 55:5, 7; Malachi 3:7; Acts 3:19, 20.

note: “When the Battle Creek Sanitarium was destroyed, Christ gave Himself to defend the lives of men and women. In this destruction God was appealing to His people to return to Him. And in the destruction of the Review and Herald office, and the saving of life, He makes a second appeal to them. He desires them to see that the miracle-working power of the Infinite has been exercised to save life, that every worker may have opportunity to repent and be converted.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 102.

6 Why did Ellen White repeat, at the 1903 General Conference, the same vision that she presented at the 1901 General Conference? Why does God give repeated calls to repentance? 11 Corinthians 13:1–5.

comment: At the 1903 General Conference, in March and April, Ellen White repeated the theme of this vision, which revealed what might have been done. Here are a few of the words that she wrote: “In every institution among us there needs to be a reformation. This is the message that at the last General Conference I bore as the word of the Lord. At that meeting I carried a very heavy burden, and I have carried it ever since. We did not gain the victory that we might have gained at that meeting. Why?—. . . There were those at that meeting who did not see the work that needed to be done. If they had confessed their sins, if they had made a break, if they had taken their stand on vantage ground, the power of God would have gone through the meeting and we should have had a Pentecostal season.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1903.

7 What is the standard of character development that God requires of His people? Revelation 14:4, 5, 14; 11 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 1:22.

note: “God is in earnest with us. If the heart is pure, there will be purity of action and nobility of purpose in all the work done. Every mind is to be cleansed, every heart purified.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1903.

comment: The statements written between 1879 and 1903, in last week’s and this week’s lessons, reveal a trend in the leaders to reject the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and to mold the work of the church according to their own ideas. By 1888, Ellen White refers to this attitude of rejection as “satanic,” and after the 1901 General Conference the observation is that no change was made. At the 1903 General Conference, on April 1, Ellen White referred to the January 3, 1903, vision and said that there was still no change in the attitudes of the leaders and ministers, even after the Review building was burned.

We see that as the Jews rejected Jesus and His word in the first advent movement, the leaders, ministers, and people rejected the testimonies of God’s spirit in the second advent movement.

8 Who does God say the people of our day are like? To see the similar development in the Jews, see Acts 7:51–54.

note: “When the Jews took the first step in the rejection of Christ, they took a dangerous step. When afterward evidence accumulated that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, they were too proud to acknowledge that they had erred. So with the people of our day who reject the truth. They do not take time to investigate candidly, with earnest prayer, the evidences of the truth, and they oppose that which they do not understand. Just like the Jews, they take it for granted they have all the truth, and feel a sort of contempt for anyone who should suppose they had more correct ideas than themselves of what is truth.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 169, 170.

comment: As Jesus began an independent work among another class of people in Galilee, so in the second advent movement, God used Edward A. Sutherland and Percy T. Magan to begin an independent ministry in the South that was not to come under the control of the conference.

note: In writing about this, Ellen White stated: “When my advice was asked in reference to the Madison school, I said, Remain as you are. There is danger in binding every working agency under the dictation of the conference. The Lord did not design that this should be. The circumstances were such that the burden bearers in the Madison school could not bind up their work with the conference. I knew their situation, and when many of the leading men in our conferences ignored them, because they did not place their school under conference dictation, I was shown that they would not be helped by making themselves amenable to the conference. They had better remain as led by God, amenable to Him, to work out His plans.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 202, 203.

9 In the above reference, to whom was the Madison school to be amenable? For the biblical principle, see Proverbs 3:6; James 1:5–8.

comment: It is clear from this statement that Sutherland and Magan could not work under the direction of the conference and still be amenable to God. In both the Old and New Testaments, God instructs His people to seek their counsel and instruction from Him.

10 What prophecy did Ellen White make concerning the church in 1904? What counsel given in Galatians 6:7, 8 would we do well to heed? See a similar experience that developed in the Jewish church in Matthew 23:37-39.

note: “Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 250.

11 Who, like the Jews, are in danger of rejecting the truth at the present time? For the example of the Jewish experience in rejecting the truth, see John 5:40; 12:37–41.

note: “Unless there is less of self, and far more of the Holy Spirit to take control of the minds and hearts of men who have stood in the foremost rank, there will be a failure on their part to walk out in harmony with the opening providences of God; they will question and quibble over any light that the Lord may send, and will turn away from the teachings of Christ, confiding in themselves, and trusting in their supposed knowledge of what is truth. As the Jews refused the light of the world, so many of those who claim to believe the present truth will refuse light which the Lord will send to His people.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 174.

comment: The Jews had the Light of life in their midst but rejected it. (John 3:19–21; 8:12.) As Jesus lived among the people during the first advent and was not accepted, so the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy live among God’s professed people today, and are not accepted.

Bible Study Guides – The Second Advent Church Rejects the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, Part 1

February 27, 2005 – March 5, 2005

Memory Verse

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:39, 40.

Suggested Reading: John 5; Testimonies, vol. 5, 62–84; vol. 8, 104–106.


Before beginning this lesson, let us take time for a little review. In The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 725, 726 and the Review and Herald, December 16, 1892, we are told that there were two events during the first advent that had their counterpart in the second advent movement—the first cleansing of the temple with the second angel’s message (Revelation 14:8) and the second cleansing of the temple with the loud cry of the third angel (Revelation 18:1, 2).

The similarity of the trials and attitudes between the people at the time of the first cleansing of the temple and the time of the second angel’s message were studied in previous lessons. Last week we studied the trials and attitudes of the Sanhedrin—the priests and rulers—toward the ministry of Jesus. Because of their hatred of Jesus and His Word, Jesus left them to begin an independent work among another class of people. In this week’s lesson we will study the trials and attitudes of the second advent church toward the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. It is the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy that stand as the audible voice of God in the second advent movement.

Let us keep in mind the purpose of our study. “The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 406.

Some Bible texts may identify trials and attitudes of ancient Israel that have their counterpart in the Spirit of Prophecy reference cited with the question.

1 What is true of the second advent movement that was also true of the first advent movement? See Luke 19:41–44.

note: “Sufficient light was given to the Jewish people so that they might have known ‘the time of their visitation.’ [Luke 19:44.] . . . From Christ, the Light of the world, shone forth the clear, bright beams of His Father’s glory. Yet the Jews comprehended it not.

“Thus it is in our day. The light of truth is shining upon us as clearly as it shone upon the Jewish people, but the hearts of men are as hard and unimpressible as in the days of Christ. . . . Many who claim to be standing in the light are in darkness and know it not. They have so enshrouded themselves in unbelief that they call darkness light, and light darkness. They are ignorant of that which they condemn and oppose. But their ignorance is not such as God will excuse, for He has given them light, and they reject it.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 408.

2 What similar attitude of the Jews during the first advent was manifest at the General Conference held at Minneapolis? See John 5:39, 40.

note: “A woe is pronounced upon all such unbelief and criticism as was revealed in Minneapolis and as was revealed in Battle Creek. By their fruits ye shall know them. Evidence at every step that God was at work has not changed the manifest attitude of those who in the very beginning pursued a course of unbelief which was an offense to God. With this barrier they themselves had erected, they—like the Jews—were seeking something to strengthen their unbelief and make it appear they were right. Therefore they could not drink in the great salvation that the Lord proffered them. The riches of divine grace they refused.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 369, 370.

comment: The Jews were diligent students of the Scriptures, but when Christ came among them, they did not accept Him because of their unbelief. When they rejected Christ, they rejected the foundation of their faith. The Christian world of today, who claim faith in Christ yet reject the Law of God, the Bible, and the Spirit of Prophecy, are making a similar mistake as did the deceived Jews.

3 When was this attitude of unbelief and rejection of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy instruction first recognized as a serious problem in the church of the second advent movement? What type of rejection occurred in Israel? Jeremiah 36:20–26.

note: “For years the Lord has been presenting the situation of the church before you. Again and again reproofs and warnings have been given. October 23, 1879, the Lord gave me a most impressive testimony in regard to the church in Battle Creek. . . . I [Ellen White] had no confidence in the course which many were pursuing, for they were doing the very things which the Lord had warned them not to do.

“That God who knows their spiritual condition declares: They have cherished evil and separated from Me. They have gone astray, every one of them. Not one is guiltless. They have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters. . . .

“Many excused their disregard of the testimonies by saying: ‘Sister White is influenced by her husband; the testimonies are molded by his spirit and judgment.’ . . . Have I not a knowledge of the state of the church, when the Lord has presented their case before me again and again for years? Repeated warnings have been given, yet there has been no decided change.

“I saw that the frown of God was upon His people for their assimilation to the world. . . .

“Yet now when I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you declare it to be merely the opinion of Sister White. You have thereby insulted the Spirit of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 63, 64.

4 List three things from the note above that God had identified as serious problems that caused His professed people to be separated from Him. What did God’s people do in Jeremiah’s time? Jeremiah 2:11–13, 17–25.

comment: In the first advent we saw that it was the rejection of Jesus that separated the leaders and people from Him. In the second advent movement, it is the rejection of the instruction given in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy that separated the ministers and the people from God by 1879. Three years later the following warning was written concerning the second advent church.

5 Describe the warning that was sent to the second advent church in 1882. What is the type of this prophecy about being weighed in the balance? Daniel 5:27.

note: “The church will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. If her moral character and spiritual state do not correspond with the benefits and blessings God has conferred upon her, she will be found wanting. The light has been shining clear and definite upon her pathway, and the light of 1882 calls her to an account. If her talents are unimproved, if her fruit is not perfect before God, if her light has become darkness, she is indeed found wanting. . . . We profess to know God, and to believe the truth, but in works deny Him. Our deeds are directly adverse to the principles of truth and righteousness, by which we profess to be governed.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 83, 84.

comment: If a tree does not bear good fruit, it will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:17–23.)

6 What did God say concerning the condition of the church by 1885 that was similar to the spiritual condition in ancient Israel? See Nehemiah 9:32–35.

note: “Like ancient Israel, the church has dishonored her God by departing from the light, neglecting her duties, and abusing her high and exalted privilege of being peculiar and holy in character. Her members have violated their covenant to live for God and him only. They have joined with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin have been cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church.” Review and Herald, May 5, 1885.

7 In the reference above, what is said of the relationship of Christ and the Holy Spirit to the church? What is the promise given to the followers of Christ? John 14:15–18.

8 What is the only hope that remains for the church? How does the Bible make it clear that this was the same standard in the apostolic church? Matthew 5:48; Colossians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 12:14.

note: “Their only hope of salvation is to separate from the world, and zealously maintain their separate, holy, and peculiar character. . . .

“Perfection, holiness, nothing short of this, would give them success in carrying out the principles he has given them.” Review and Herald, May 5, 1885.

9 Describe the attitude of the men who were holding positions of trust and molding the work after their own similitude in 1888. How were the Jews cultivating hatred against Jesus and working with Satan? John 5:16–18; 8:42–47.

note: “The perils of the last days are upon us. Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God. Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this Satanic work at Minneapolis [1888]. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. . . . They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. . . . Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 79, 80. [Emphasis in original.]

10 How did God describe these ministers who would not enthrone truth in their hearts? For a biblical type, see Matthew 15:1–9.

note: “Unless the truth is enthroned in the heart, and a thorough transition takes place from darkness to light, those who handle sacred responsibilities are ministers of darkness, blind leaders of the blind. ‘Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.’ [Jude 1:12.] God requires that every soul that names His name shall have the truth enthroned in the heart.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 81.

comment: Jesus used similar phraseology in Matthew 15:14 and 23:16, first part, to describe the religious leaders. These attitudes are not presented to criticize the leaders or ministers, but to reveal how God views the condition of the church and the direction it is taking. We need to understand the similarities in the attitudes of the people in the two advent movements, so we do not reject the truth.

11 What did the Lord reveal to John the Revelator and to Ellen White concerning the attitude of the people toward the Spirit of Prophecy? For a biblical type, see John 5:47; 11 Chronicles 36:14–16.

note: “I [Ellen White] have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies has been steadily increasing as the people backslide from God. It is all through our ranks, all over the field. But few know what our churches are to experience. I saw that at present we are under divine forbearance, but no one can say how long this will continue. No one knows how great the mercy that has been exercised toward us. But few are heartily devoted to God. There are only a few who, like the stars in a tempestuous night, shine here and there among the clouds.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 76.

12 What will happen to those who have yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs when the test will come to every soul? For a biblical type, see John 6:60–66; 11 Thessalonians 2:10–12.

note: “The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 81.

13 What is the only safety for God’s faithful people? Ephesians 6:12–17; 1 John 2:15–17.

note: “Our only safety is to stand as God’s peculiar people. We must not yield one inch to the customs and fashions of this degenerate age, but stand in moral independence, making no compromise with its corrupt and idolatrous practices.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 78.

Food for Life – Eggplant Spread

Eternal life is the receiving of the living elements in the Scriptures, the doing of the will of God. This is what is meant by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. It is the privilege of all to partake of the bread of heaven by studying the Word, and thus gain spiritual sinew and muscle.

“Each one must appropriate the blessing to his own soul, or he will not be fed. . . . You know you would not be nourished by seeing a well-spread table, and by others eating. We would starve if we did not partake of physical nourishment, and we shall lose our spiritual strength and vitality if we do not feed on spiritual bread. . . .

“The table has been spread, and Christ invites you to the feast. Shall we stand back, refusing bounties, and declaring, ‘He does not mean this for me?’ We used to sing a hymn that described a feast where a happy household gathered to partake of the bounties of the board at a kind father’s invitation. While the happy children gathered at the table, there stood a hungry beggar child at the threshold. She was invited to come in; but sadly she turned away, exclaiming, ‘I have no father there.’ Will you take this position as Jesus invites you in? Oh! if you have a Father in the courts above, I entreat you to reveal the fact. He wants to make you a partaker of His rich bounties and blessings. All who come with the confiding love of a little child will find a Father there.” The Faith I Live By, 22.

Eggplant Spread  –  This is a favorite Romanian recipe.

5 to 7 large eggplants

1 large onion, finely diced

1 medium-sized bulb garlic, finely diced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, diced

Salt to taste

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 to 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)

Bake the eggplants in the oven at 350 degrees until they are very soft (45 to 60 minutes). When cooled, remove the peels. Chop the eggplant pulp very finely, until mushy. Add onion, garlic, parsley, salt to taste, and olive oil. If the flavor seems to be too strong, add mayonnaise and mix well together. Spread on bread or toast and enjoy!

Bianca Lazor, a homemaker and mother, is an English to Romanian language translator. Originally from Romania, she now lives in Hawaii with her husband, John, and son, Joshua. She may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 808-965-0222.

Ask the Pastor – The Unconverted Spouse


What did Peter mean when he said, in 1 Peter 3:1, 2, “Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear”?


One thing that we need to remember, when we read counsel such as this, is the fact that when people are converted, they will experience trials in their lives. We are not removed from relationships that exist between family members and husbands and wives. Where one is converted and the other is not, special care needs to be given to present the gospel in all of its power, so a loved one will experience the witness and respond.

There are few experiences more difficult than to be united in marriage to an unbeliever. The Christian young man or young woman should never go voluntarily into such a union. Paul’s counsel surely reflects the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he says, in 11 Corinthians 6:14, 15: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for . . . what communion hath light with darkness? . . . or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

But where one member of an already formed family is brought to know the Lord while the other remains in the darkness of unbelief, serious misunderstandings and perplexing circumstances can arise.

If the wife has been converted, while the husband has not been, special wisdom and grace are called for on her part to draw the husband to know the Lord. If she takes a superior attitude toward her unconverted husband, she will only stir up his opposition to the truth and make her circumstances miserable. She is counseled here, by Peter, to be in subjection to her own husband. She is to manifest such grace and humility of spirit that even though he resents the Word that is being presented to him, it is by her exceptional behavior and the beauty of her Christian character that he is won to Christ.

We have the saying that actions speak louder than words. This is a principle of Scripture. A whiney, dominating woman will drive her husband further from God instead of drawing him to Christ. But a gentle, gracious lady, whose life is characterized by purity and whose adorning is not simply that which is outward but which is inward, will have a great influence over even a godless husband. The goal of the purposes of a loving wife should be to win her unbelieving husband.

I have never read in Scripture where force or nagging ever won anyone to the Lord. But there are many instances where a meek and submissive spirit has won multitudes to the Lord. This is the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The world works in just the opposite way. Force is the order of the day. This is why, in the issue of the Sunday law, force will be used to try to control the conscience.

The same principle is to be used where the wife is the unbeliever and the husband is a believer. Kindness, patience, care, and love are mighty when applied to the marriage relationship to win the heart of the unbelieving mate.

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to: or mail it to: LandMarks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.

Restoring the Temple: Physiology of Digestion

Respect paid to the proper treatment of the stomach will be rewarded in clearness of thought and strength of mind. Your digestive organs will not be prematurely worn out to testify against you. We are to show that we appreciate our God-given intelligence by eating and studying and working wisely. . . . We are to appreciate the light God has given on health reform, by word and practice reflecting clear light to others upon this subject.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 101.

“God holds you responsible to obey the light He has given you on health reform.” Ibid., 102.

Clogs the Machinery

“You indulge your appetite by eating more food than your system can convert into good blood. It is sin to be intemperate in the quantity of food eaten, even if the quality is unobjectionable. Many feel that if they do not eat meat and the grosser articles of food, they may eat of simple food until they cannot well eat more. This is a mistake. Many professed health reformers are nothing less than gluttons. They lay upon the digestive organs so great a burden that the vitality of the system is exhausted in the effort to dispose of it. It also has a depressing influence upon the intellect; for the brain nerve power is called upon to assist the stomach in its work.

“Overeating, even of the simplest food, benumbs the sensitive nerves of the brain, and weakens its vitality. Overeating has a worse effect upon the system than overworking; the energies of the soul are more effectually prostrated by intemperate eating than by intemperate working.

“The digestive organs should never be burdened with a quantity or quality of food which it will tax the system to appropriate. All that is taken into the stomach, above what the system can use to convert into good blood, clogs the machinery; for it cannot be made into either flesh or blood, and its presence burdens the liver, and produces a morbid condition of the system.” Ibid., 102, 103.

Digestion Aided by Moderate Exercise

“Exercise is important to digestion, and to a healthy condition of body and mind. You need physical exercise. . . . Healthy, active exercise is what you need. This will invigorate the mind. Neither study nor violent exercise should be engaged in immediately after a full meal; this would be a violation of the laws of the system. Immediately after eating there is a strong draft upon the nervous energy. The brain force is called into active exercise to assist the stomach; therefore, when the mind or body is taxed heavily after eating, the process of digestion is hindered.” Ibid., 103.

Aided by Pure Air

“The influence of pure, fresh air is to cause the blood to circulate healthfully through the system. It refreshes the body, and tends to render it strong and healthy, while at the same time its influence is decidedly felt upon the mind, imparting a degree of composure and serenity. It excites the appetite, and renders the digestion of food more perfect, and induces sound and sweet sleep.” Ibid., 104.

Avoid Very Hot or Cold Food

“The stomach is greatly injured by a large quantity of hot food and hot drink. Thus the throat and digestive organs, and through them the other organs of the body, are enfeebled. . . .

“Food should not be eaten very hot or very cold. If food is cold, the vital force of the stomach is drawn upon in order to warm it before digestion can take place. Cold drinks are injurious for the same reason; while the free use of hot drinks is debilitating. . . .

“Many make a mistake in drinking cold water with their meals. Food should not be washed down. Taken with meals, water diminishes the flow of saliva; and the colder the water, the greater the injury to the stomach. Ice water or ice lemonade, taken with meals, will arrest digestion until the system has imparted sufficient warmth to the stomach to enable it to take up its work again. Masticate slowly, and allow the saliva to mingle with the food.

“The more liquid there is taken into the stomach with the meals, the more difficult it is for the food to digest; for the liquid must first be absorbed.” Ibid., 106.

Caution to Busy People

“Take time to eat, and do not crowd into the stomach a great variety of foods at one meal. To eat hurriedly of several kinds of food at a meal is a serious mistake.

“In order to secure healthy digestion, food should be eaten slowly.” Ibid., 107.

Limit Variety

“For those who can use them, good vegetables, prepared in a healthful manner, are better than soft mushes or porridge. Fruits used with thoroughly cooked bread two or three days old will be more healthful than fresh bread. This, with slow and thorough mastication, will furnish all that the system requires.” Ibid., 108.

“Do not have too great a variety at a meal; three or four dishes are a plenty. At the next meal you can have a change. . . .

“There should not be many kinds at any one meal, but all meals should not be composed of the same kinds of food without variation. Food should be prepared with simplicity, yet with a nicety which will invite the appetite.” Ibid., 109, 110.

War in the Stomach

“Disturbance is created by improper combinations of food; fermentation sets in; the blood is contaminated and the brain confused.” Ibid., 110.

“It is impossible for the brain to do its best work when the digestive powers are abused. Many eat hurriedly of various kinds of food, which set up a war in the stomach, and thus confuse the brain. . . .

“When fruit and bread, together with a variety of other foods that do not agree, are crowded into the stomach at one meal, what can we expect but that a disturbance will be created?” Ibid., 111.

Fruits and Vegetables

“There should not be a great variety at any one meal, for this encourages overeating, and causes indigestion.

“It is not well to eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal. If the digestion is feeble, the use of both will often cause distress, and inability to put forth mental effort. It is better to have the fruit at one meal, and the vegetables at another.” Ibid., 112.

Sugar and Milk

“Far too much sugar is ordinarily used in food. Cakes, sweet puddings, pastries, jellies, jams, are active causes of indigestion. Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients. The free use of milk and sugar taken together should be avoided. . . .

“Sugar and the milk combined are liable to cause fermentation in the stomach, and are thus harmful.

“The less that condiments and desserts are placed upon our tables, the better it will be for all who partake of the food. All mixed and complicated foods are injurious to the health of human beings. Dumb animals would never eat such a mixture as is often placed in the human stomach. . . .” Ibid., 113.

Afflict the Stomach, Afflict the Soul

“If men and women would only remember how greatly they afflict the soul when they afflict the stomach, and how deeply Christ is dishonored when the stomach is abused, they would be brave and self-denying, giving the stomach opportunity to recover its healthy action. While sitting at the table we may do medical missionary work by eating and drinking to the glory of God.” Ibid., 111.

Nature Nugget: The Mangrove Rivulus

The Mangrove Rivulus is a small killifish (a family of numerous small, oviparous fishes much used as bait and in mosquito control) found in the tropical and subtropical portions of the western Atlantic/Caribbean Basin from central Florida south through the West Indies and Caribbean to Brazil. It is strictly a coastal species occurring in salt and brackish habitats and rarely in freshwater. Its range closely parallels that of red mangrove forests, which is its preferred habitat, where it occupies marginal and ephemeral (temporarily flooded) bodies of water such as stagnant, seasonal ponds, sloughs, and mosquito ditches. It also occurs in similar habitats away from the mangroves in elevated marsh habitats above the intertidal zone, especially in microhabitats such as the burrows of the great land crab. The crab burrows provide refuge for the Mangrove Rivulus during the dry season when seasonal pools of water dry up. Up to twenty-six small individuals have been found in a single crab burrow, but one or two per burrow is the usual number found.

Tolerating the extremes of temperature and salinity found in these habitats, the Mangrove Rivulus is one of the few fishes that can survive here. It can tolerate salinities from 0–68 parts per thousand and temperatures ranging from 7–38 degrees Celsius. It also can tolerate low oxygen levels and high sulfide levels that are produced in these habitats from decaying leaf litter, which would kill most fish species. The Mangrove Rivulus is also amphibious and frequently travels across land during rains to reach pools of water or crab burrows. It will also leave drying up bodies of water and waters that are too low in oxygen or too high in sulfides and bury itself in moist debris. It is capable of surviving out of water in this moist situation for up to 60 days. It is able to do this because of special epidermal capillaries that allow it to absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide through its skin.

Reproduction in the Mangrove Rivulus is very unusual. It is the only known vertebrate “hermaphrodite” that is self-fertilizing. Hermaphrodite means that it has both male and female reproductive parts. Both eggs and sperm are produced in reproductive organs called “ovotestes.” Each hermaphroditic individual fertilizes its eggs before laying them. The young are “clones,” meaning that they are genetically identical to the parent. This hermaphroditic mode of reproduction may be an adaptation to isolation in the crab burrows and other microhabitats these fish invade. Not all Mangrove Rivuli are hermaphrodites. There are two types of males that occur: primary males and secondary males. Primary males are hatched from fertilized eggs, but secondary males were once hermaphrodites that underwent a change and became males due to certain environmental conditions. True females have not been found in the wild but occur in captive-raised populations. Hermaphroditic individuals are identified by the presence of an eyespot at the upper base of the caudal fin and by a white band in the outer part of the anal fin. There is recent evidence that shows that the young adult fish are able to reproduce by normal sexual reproduction at first, but as they age, they become hermaphroditic. Eggs, at laying, vary in development from recently fertilized to ones containing already developing embryos. Mangrove Rivuli eggs are capable of surviving droughts in damp substrates or debris in a state of “embryonic diapause” where the embryo is in suspended animation. Eggs in this state are viable for several months and hatch soon after inundation by water.

God has implanted in the genes of His creatures enough genetic variability to allow for adaptation for survival under the most extreme circumstances. “It was the Maker of all things who ordained the wonderful adaptation of means to end, of supply to need. . . .

“He who studies most deeply into the mysteries of nature will realize most fully his own ignorance and weakness.” Education, 133.

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

The Pen of Inspiration: Abiding in Christ, Part I

I am am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” [John 15:1, 2.]

When the purging comes, we frequently feel that the Lord is against us. Instead of this, we should look to ourselves, and see if there is not something we have left undone, or something we need to take away from our lives, before we can stand in right relation to God. We should let nothing interpose between us and the beams of light that will come to every one of us if we will comply with the conditions specified. We do not want to be the branch that shall be taken away, but the branch that shall produce fruit.

“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” [Verses 3, 4.] It is for our present and eternal interest that we understand these words. Do we let our petitions come up before God daily? Do we realize that we must have an abiding Christ if we would represent Christ to the world in our speech, in our characters, and in all our dealings with our fellow men? When this is our experience, we shall not be found fruitless.

“I am the vine,” the Saviour continues, “ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” [Verses 5, 6.]

How important it is that we so relate ourselves to our Creator and to our Redeemer that the influence we exert shall represent Christ and represent the Father. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that those who abide in Christ might become the sons of God. Everything is at stake here. What will you do about it, my brethren and sisters? Are you going to let worldly ideas, worldly customs and practises [sic], come into your lives and characters? Are you going to study what this one or that one will say? Or are you looking to the One who so loved the world that he did not withhold from us his only begotten Son? God gave Christ to the world to reveal to men that humanity united with divinity could overcome the temptations that are in the world through lust. This union we must experience. We must be living branches of the True Vine, daily laying hold of our Redeemer, that we may bear the fruits of a Christian character. Christ is our only hope. “I am the vine,” he declares, “ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

“I in him.” It is of the greatest importance that you abide in Christ, and that in your humanity you lay hold upon divinity. Unless you take hold by living faith of his divine power, you will miss that life that measures with the life of God. We can not afford to miss that life. We can not afford to live careless, indifferent, selfish lives; for such God can not accept.

God has given Christ as a pattern of what our lives should be. Do you see him walking in the streets, and looking upon and pitying the sick? His heart is drawn out in compassion for them. He weeps for the afflicted and the suffering. He draws them close to his heart of love, and heals them. . . .

What we need . . . is a faith that abides in Christ, that lays hold upon his power, that is obedient to him, and that leads us to take up the cross of self-denial and self-sacrifice. This unites the soul to Christ, and makes us one with him.

To every one of us the Lord holds out this privilege if we will cut away our own wrong habits and practises [sic]. There are many who think that they can retain their wrong habits, their perverted appetites and passions, and at the last get into a condition of self-denial. But the longer selfishness is practised [sic], the harder it is to break away from it. What the Lord wants now is men and women who have the missionary spirit, who understand why Christ gave his life, why he laid off his royal robe and kingly crown, and came to the world as a little child, to be brought up in poverty.

The Lord has the power to forgive the sins of every soul, . . . if you will repent of your backslidings, if you will turn to the Lord, and will cut away from your lives wrong habits and dispositions and your hardness of heart. What you need is the humanity that was in Christ Jesus, that laid hold upon divinity. Take hold upon that divinity, and bring it into your life, and you will be a savor of life unto life. Every one of us should stand in that position where we can receive a commission from God. Will you not come into that place? Will you not humble your souls before God, that you may comprehend and respond to the immense sacrifice that has been made in your behalf?

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,” the Saviour said, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” [Verses 7, 8.] There is peace to be found in continuing in Christ’s love, and in daily carrying out the conditions upon which our salvation depends.

What can you do in the work of saving the lost unless Christ imbues you with his divine power? A little is being done in our world; but O, that the good work might spread abroad and reach every needy soul! O that the present truth might be proclaimed in every city! This great need is kept before me night and day. Some nights I can not sleep. I seem to be proclaiming to companies as large as this the great salvation, the great power of God, the great glory to be obtained by the exercise of a living faith. We need to lay hold of Jesus Christ, that we may have the power to become the sons and daughters of God.

There is something for each one of us to do. It is no use to talk of being Christians if we leave unhelped those who are perishing all around us. . . .

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be my disciples.” It is fruit that Christ wants. When we are willing to practise [sic] self-denial and self-sacrifice, as Christ practised [sic] it in his life, we shall bear fruit to God’s glory. Often after a day of toil, although tired and worn with labor, while his disciples were sleeping, his voice could be heard all through the night pleading with the Father that he would clear the highway, that the words of the living God might reach the multitudes, and that they might lay hold of the truth. Such labor as this costs something. It does not mean the making of a little sacrifice. It costs much to be men and women of God. . . .

The General Conference Bulletin, May 17, 1909.

To be continued . . .

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

Children’s Corner – The Right Decision

It as the beginning of vacation when Mr. Davis, a friend of my father, came to see us, and asked to let me go home with him. I was much pleased with the thought of going out of town.

The journey was delightful, and when we reached Mr. Davis’ house, everything looked as if I would have a fine time. His son, Fred, was a boy about my own age, and all the family soon seemed like old friends.

“This is going to be a vacation worth having,” I said to myself several times during the evening, as we all played games, told riddles, and laughed and chatted merrily.

At last, Mrs. Davis said it was almost bedtime. Then I expected family prayers, but instead, we were very soon directed to our bedrooms. How strange it seemed to me, for I had never before been in a household without the family altar.

“Come,” said Fred, “mother says you and I are going to be bed fellows,” and I followed him up two pair of stairs to a nice little room. There he undressed first and jumped into bed. I was much longer about it, for a new set of thoughts began to rise in my mind.

When my mother told me good-bye, she said tenderly, in a low tone, “Remember, Robert, that you are a Christian boy.”

I knew very well what that meant, and I had now just come to a point of time when her words were to be minded.

At home I was taught the duties of a Christian child; abroad I must not neglect them, and one of these was evening prayer. From a very little boy, I had been in the habit of kneeling and asking the forgiveness of God, for Jesus’ sake, acknowledging His mercies, and seeking His protection and blessing.

“Why don’t you come to bed, Robert?” cried Fred. “What are you sitting there for?”

I was afraid to pray, and afraid not to pray. It seemed that I could not kneel down and pray before Fred. What would he say? Would he not laugh? The fear of Fred made me a coward. Yet I could not lie down on a prayerless bed. If I needed the protection of my heavenly Father at home, how much more abroad!

At my hesitation, Fred finally cried, “Come on, come to bed.”

I mustered courage, and replied, “I will kneel down and pray first; that is always my custom.”

“Pray?” said Fred, as he turned over on his pillow and said no more.

His propriety of conduct made me ashamed. Here I had long been afraid of him, and yet when he knew my wishes, he was quiet and left me to myself. How thankful I was that duty and conscience triumphed.

That settled my future course. It gave me strength for time to come. I believe that the decision of the “Christian boy,” by God’s blessing, made me a Christian man; for in after years I was thrown amid trials and temptations which could have drawn me away from God and from virtue, had it not been for my settled habit of secret prayer.

Let every child who has pious parents, read and think about this. You have been trained in Christian duties and principles. When you go from home, do not leave them behind.

Carry them with you, and stand by them; then, in weakness and temptation, by the help of God, they will stand by you.