March 20, 2005 – March 26, 2005
“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.]
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