Bible Study Guides – Victory

March 20, 2011 – March 26, 2011

Key Text

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 662–678; Early Writings, 269–273.


“God will preserve all who walk in the path of obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 126.

1 How does the great controversy between Christ and Satan involve us? I Peter 5:8; Romans 7:14, 15; John 15:5.

Note: “Man is naturally inclined to follow Satan’s suggestions, and he cannot successfully resist so terrible a foe unless Christ, the mighty Conqueror, dwells in him, guiding his desires, and giving him strength. God alone can limit the power of Satan. He is going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it. He is not off his watch for a single moment, through fear of losing an opportunity to destroy souls. It is important that God’s people understand this, that they may escape his snares.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 341.

2 Wherein is our only hope of victory? I Corinthians 15:57; I Peter 5:9; Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:37.

Note: “The example of Christ shows us that our only hope of victory is in continual resistance of Satan’s attacks. He who triumphed over the adversary of souls in the conflict of temptations understands Satan’s power over the race, and has conquered him in our behalf. As an overcomer, He has given us the advantage of His victory, that in our efforts to resist the temptations of Satan we may unite our weakness to His strength, our worthlessness to His merits. And sustained by His enduring might under the strength of temptation, we may resist in His all-powerful name, and overcome as He overcame.” Messages to Young People, 50.

3 Explain one duty we have in the plan of salvation. Ephesians 4:27.

Note: “The tempter can never compel us to do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold upon Christ, before Satan can exercise his power upon us. But every sinful desire we cherish affords him a foothold. Every point in which we fail of meeting the divine standard is an open door by which he can enter to tempt and destroy us. And every failure or defeat on our part gives occasion for him to reproach Christ.

“When Satan quoted the promise, ‘He shall give His angels charge over Thee,’ he omitted the words, ‘to keep Thee in all Thy ways’ [Psalm 91:11]; that is, in all the ways of God’s choosing. Jesus refused to go outside the path of obedience. While manifesting perfect trust in His Father, He would not place Himself, unbidden, in a position that would necessitate the interposition of His Father to save Him from death.” The Desire of Ages, 125.

4 How is God willing to help us if we give our hearts to Him? I Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 50:15; II Peter 1:3, 4.

Note: “Jesus gained the victory through submission and faith in God, and by the apostle He says to us, ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.’ James 4:7, 8. We cannot save ourselves from the tempter’s power; he has conquered humanity, and when we try to stand in our own strength, we shall become a prey to his devices; but ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.’ Proverbs 18:10. Satan trembles and flees before the weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name.” The Desire of Ages, 130, 131.

“What human wisdom cannot do the wisdom of God can do through the surrender of the will, the mind, the soul, the strength, the entire being, to God. His providence can unite hearts in bonds that are of heavenly origin. But the result will not be a mere external interchange of affection in soft and flattering words. There will be a new experience; the loom of heaven weaves with warp and woof finer, yet more firm, than those of earth.” In Heavenly Places, 205.

5 How are we to do our part in overcoming? James 4:7, 8; II Corinthians 7:1; II Peter 1:5–8.

Note: “Will man take hold of divine power, and with determination and perseverance resist Satan, as Christ has given him example in His conflict with the foe in the wilderness of temptation? God cannot save man against his will from the power of Satan’s artifices. Man must work with his human power, aided by the divine power of Christ, to resist and to conquer at any cost to himself. In short, man must overcome as Christ overcame. And then, through the victory that it is his privilege to gain by the all-powerful name of Jesus, he may become an heir of God and joint heir with Jesus Christ. This could not be the case if Christ alone did all the overcoming. Man must do his part; he must be victor on his own account, through the strength and grace that Christ gives him. Man must be a co-worker with Christ in the labor of overcoming, and then he will be partaker with Christ of His glory. …

“It is a sacred duty that we owe to God to keep the spirit pure, as a temple for the Holy Ghost. If the heart and mind are devoted to the service of God, obeying all His commandments, loving Him with all the heart, might, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, we shall be found loyal and true to the requirements of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 32, 33. [Emphasis author’s.]

6 How are we to work out our own salvation? Philippians 2:12, second part, 13; I John 1:7, 9.

Note: “The work of gaining salvation is one of copartnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God. On the one side there is infinite wisdom, compassion, and power; on the other, weakness, sinfulness, absolute helplessness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 482.

7 How do John 5:39, II Corinthians 13:5, and I Peter 1:22 describe what our relationship is to be with God’s word?

Note: “We must search the Scriptures with humble hearts, trembling at the word of the Lord, if we would not be in any way deceived in regard to our true character. There must be persevering effort to overcome selfishness and self-confidence. Self-examination must be thorough, that there be no danger of self-deception. A little catechizing of self on special occasions is not sufficient. Daily examine the foundation of your hope, and see whether you are indeed in the love of Christ. Deal truly with your own hearts, for you cannot afford to run any risk here. Count the cost of being a wholehearted Christian, and then gird on the armor. Study the Pattern; look to Jesus, and be like Him. Your peace of mind, your hope of eternal salvation, depend on faithfulness in this work. As Christians we are less thorough in self-examination than in anything else; it is no wonder, then, that we make such slow advancement in understanding self.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 332, 333.

8 What promise belongs to those who walk in the path of obedience? Number 23:21, 23; II Timothy 2:19, 22; John 14:23.

Note: “If they [the people of God living in these last days] follow after righteousness and true holiness, if they keep all the commandments of God, Satan and his agents will not be permitted to overcome them. All the opposition of their bitterest foes will prove powerless to destroy or uproot the vine of God’s own planting. Satan understands what Balaam learned by sad experience, that there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither divination against Israel, while iniquity is not cherished among them; therefore his power and influence will ever be employed to mar their unity and defile the purity of their characters.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 599.

“Often when Satan has failed of exciting distrust, he succeeds in leading us to presumption. If he can cause us to place ourselves unnecessarily in the way of temptation, he knows that the victory is his. God will preserve all who walk in the path of obedience; but to depart from it is to venture on Satan’s ground. There we are sure to fall. The Saviour has bidden us, ‘Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.’ Mark 14:38.” The Desire of Ages, 126.

9 Explain the details of the Christian’s armor. Ephesians 6:10–18.

10 Name one victor who testified to the success given to those who wear this armor. 11 Timothy 4:7, 8.

11 What should we be doing while the great controversy is being waged? Mark 14:38; Luke 12:37, 38, 40, 42, 43.

Note: “Those who watch for the Lord’s coming are not waiting in idle expectancy. The expectation of Christ’s coming is to make men fear the Lord, and fear His judgments upon transgression. It is to awaken them to the great sin of rejecting His offers of mercy. Those who are watching for the Lord are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to co-operate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. These are the faithful and wise servants who give to the Lord’s household ‘their portion of meat in due season.’ Luke 12:42.” The Desire of Ages, 634.

Review and Thought Questions:

1 What are people unable to do unless they are under the control of Christ?

2 Although Satan has conquered humanity, when is he forced to tremble?

3 How do we become coworkers with Christ?

4 What must we do if we do not want to be deceived in regard to our own character?

5 How should we wait for the Lord’s appearing?

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Freedom of Choice

March 13, 2011 – March 19, 2011

Key Text

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 479–491; Steps to Christ, 105–114.


“To those who refuse the precious rays of light which would illuminate the darkness, the mysteries of God’s word remain such forever.” The Desire of Ages, 588.

1 What great privilege does God extend to erring man? Deuteronomy 30:19. What happens if freedom of choice is misused?

Note: “God gives sufficient light and evidence to enable man to distinguish truth from error. But He does not force man to receive truth. He leaves him free to choose the good or to choose the evil. If man resists evidence that is sufficient to guide his judgment in the right direction, and chooses evil once, he will do this more readily the second time. The third time he will still more eagerly withdraw himself from God and choose to stand on the side of Satan. And in this course he will continue until he is confirmed in evil, and believes the lie he has cherished as truth.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1112.

2 How is truth genuinely accepted? John 7:17.

Note: “The perception and appreciation of truth … depends less upon the mind than upon the heart. Truth must be received into the soul; it claims the homage of the will. If truth could be submitted to the reason alone, pride would be no hindrance in the way of its reception. But it is to be received through the work of grace in the heart; and its reception depends upon the renunciation of every sin that the Spirit of God reveals.” The Desire of Ages, 455.

3 If the truth is self-evident, why do men choose darkness rather than light? John 3:19, 20.

Note: “You may remove every prop today and close the mouths of objectors so that they can say nothing, and tomorrow they will go over the same ground again. Thus it will be, over and over, because they do not love the light and will not come to the light, lest their darkness and error should be removed from them.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 37.

“Light makes manifest and reproves the errors that were concealed in darkness; and as light comes, the life and character of men must change correspondingly, to be in harmony with it. Sins that were once sins of ignorance, because of the blindness of the mind, can no more be indulged in without incurring guilt. As increased light is given, men must be reformed, elevated, and refined by it, or they will be more perverse and stubborn than before the light came.” Gospel Workers, 162.

4 Through whose influence does Satan secure sin-loving multitudes to himself? Ezekiel 20:30; Micah 7:5, 6.

Note: “Many are the ways by which Satan works through human influence to bind his captives. He secures multitudes to himself by attaching them by the silken cords of affection to those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Whatever this attachment may be, parental, filial, conjugal, or social, the effect is the same; the opposers of truth exert their power to control the conscience, and the souls held under their sway have not sufficient courage or independence to obey their own convictions of duty.

“The truth and the glory of God are inseparable; it is impossible for us, with the Bible within our reach, to honor God by erroneous opinions. Many claim that it matters not what one believes, if his life is only right. But the life is molded by the faith. If light and truth is within our reach, and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.

“ ‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.’ Proverbs 16:25. Ignorance is no excuse for error or sin, when there is every opportunity to know the will of God.” The Great Controversy, 597, 598.

5 How can people rise from the lowest depths of ignorance and sin? Psalm 119:98, 105.

Note: “By giving heed to the teachings of God’s word, men may rise from the lowest depths of ignorance and degradation to become sons of God, associates of sinless angels.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 85.

6 What will be no excuse for those who persist in error and sin? Hosea 4:6.

Note: “He [Jesus] came in humility, in order that the humblest being upon the face of the earth could have no excuse because of his poverty, or ignorance, and say, Because of these things, I cannot obey the law of Jehovah. Christ clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity; that He might live with humanity and bear all the trials and afflictions of man. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. In His humanity He understood all the temptations that will come to man.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 925.

“Jesus is mighty to save His people from their sins. … Sin has been revealed to us by the Word and the Spirit of truth, that we may not be found transgressors of the divine precepts, and there is no opportunity to plead the excuse of ignorance. The command is ‘Depart from iniquity’ (II Timothy 2:19).” That I May Know Him, 255.

“The times of ignorance God winked at, but now, with the blazing light of truth shining all around us, with warnings, with reproofs, with increasing light if we will but open our eyes to see it, there is no excuse of any, even the weakest child of God, that they should not disperse light to the world. The four angels are holding the four winds that a special work may be accomplished: the saints of God are to be sealed in their foreheads. Brethren, how long before you will be ready for the seal of God? Every step you advance upon the path which God forbids, toward your own pleasure and in sin, is a step nearer your destruction. Every act of disobedience to the word of the Lord is exposing you to irreparable loss. Every moment of ease, of self-indulgence, secured by you in neglecting the divine admonitions and call to duty in earnest work for the Master, is placing you under the power and control of the prince of darkness.” The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.

7 What falsehood did Satan use successfully to deceive the Jews of Christ’s day? John 7:48.

8 How can we be deceived today in the same way?

Note: “Many are deceived today in the same way as were the Jews. Religious teachers read the Bible in the light of their own understanding and traditions; and the people do not search the Scriptures for themselves, and judge for themselves as to what is truth; but they yield up their judgment, and commit their souls to their leaders. The preaching and teaching of His word is one of the means that God has ordained for diffusing light; but we must bring every man’s teaching to the test of Scripture. Whoever will prayerfully study the Bible, desiring to know the truth, that he may obey it, will receive divine enlightenment. He will understand the Scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 459.

“Notwithstanding the Bible is full of warnings against false teachers, many are ready thus to commit the keeping of their souls to the clergy. There are today thousands of professors of religion who can give no other reason for points of faith which they hold than that they were so instructed by their religious leaders. They pass by the Saviour’s teachings almost unnoticed, and place implicit confidence in the words of the ministers. But are ministers infallible? How can we trust our souls to their guidance unless we know from God’s word that they are light bearers?” The Great Controversy, 596, 597.

9 How are people entrapped to cooperate with Satan? Isaiah 53:1; Acts 28:24.

Note: “Those to whom the message of truth is spoken seldom ask, ‘Is it true?’ but, ‘By whom is it advocated?’ Multitudes estimate it by the numbers who accept it; and the question is still asked, ‘Have any of the learned men or religious leaders believed?’ Men are no more favorable to real godliness now than in the days of Christ. They are just as intently seeking earthly good, to the neglect of eternal riches; and it is not an argument against the truth, that large numbers are not ready to accept it, or that it is not received by the world’s great men, or even by the religious leaders.” The Desire of Ages, 459, 460.

10 Why will one class of people remain blind to the truth? II Corinthians 4:3, 4.

Note: “God does not propose to remove every objection which the carnal heart may bring against His truth. To those who refuse the precious rays of light which would illuminate the darkness, the mysteries of God’s word remain such forever. From them the truth is hidden. They walk blindly, and know not the ruin before them.” The Desire of Ages, 588.

11 How might we (individuals, families and churches) be in danger of following the example of the Jewish people? Hosea 13:9; Jeremiah 6:19.

Note: “Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is ‘thou, even thou,’ who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.

“Christ foresaw that Jerusalem would remain obdurate and impenitent; yet all the guilt, all the consequences of rejected mercy, lay at her own door. Thus it will be with every soul who is following the same course.” The Desire of Ages, 588.

Review and Thought Questions:

1 To whom does God reveal the truth?

2 When the light of truth comes to a person, what are the two alternative possibilities?

3 Why is ignorance no excuse for error or sin?

4 What help should a carnal heart never expect from God?

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Character Revealed

March 6, 2011 – March 12, 2011

Key Text

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:20.

Study help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 150–163; Steps to Christ, 67–76.


“A profession of religion has become popular with the world.” The Great Controversy, 386.

1 How do false Christians often deceive themselves? I John 4:20.

Note: “It is the greatest and most fatal deception to suppose that a man can have faith unto life eternal, without possessing Christlike love for his brethren.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1141.

2 How do loveless Christians reveal their character? Matthew 7:4, 5.

Note: “The sin that leads to the most unhappy results is the cold, critical, unforgiving spirit that characterizes Pharisaism. When the religious experience is devoid of love, Jesus is not there; the sunshine of His presence is not there. No busy activity or Christless zeal can supply the lack. There may be a wonderful keenness of perception to discover the defects of others; but to everyone who indulges this spirit, Jesus says, ‘Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye’ [Matthew 7:5]. He who is guilty of wrong is the first to suspect wrong. By condemning another he is trying to conceal or excuse the evil of his own heart. It was through sin that men gained the knowledge of evil; no sooner had the first pair sinned than they began to accuse each other; and this is what human nature will inevitably do when uncontrolled by the grace of Christ.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 126.

3 When the love of Christ is lacking in the heart, how does this become evident? Revelation 3:17; Matthew 7:20.

Note: “Love of self excludes the love of Christ. Those who live for self are ranged under the head of the Laodicean church who are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. The ardor of the first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. The love of Christ in the heart is expressed in the actions. If love for Christ is dull, the love for those for whom Christ has died will degenerate. There may be a wonderful appearance for zeal and ceremonies, but this is the substance of their self-inflated religion. Christ represents them as nauseating to His taste.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 962.

4 How do men deceive themselves through self-love and self-confidence? Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19.

Note: “It is difficult for us to understand ourselves, to have a correct knowledge of our own characters. The word of God is plain, but often there is an error in applying it to one’s self. There is liability to self-deception and to think its warnings and reproofs do not mean me. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it’ [Jeremiah 17:9] Self-flattery may be construed into Christian emotion and zeal. Self-love and confidence may give us assurance that we are right when we are far from meeting the requirements of God’s word.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 332.

“Man’s great danger is in being self-deceived, indulging self sufficiency, and thus separating from God, the source of his strength. Our natural tendencies, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, have in them the seeds of moral death. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we cannot resist the unhallowed effects of self-indulgence, self-love, and temptation to sin.

“In order to receive help from Christ, we must realize our need. We must have a true knowledge of ourselves. It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save. Only as we see our utter helplessness and renounce all self-trust, shall we lay hold on divine power.

“It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed.” The Ministry of Healing, 455.

5 How does a counterfeit type of missionary work contrast with the genuine? Titus 3:2, 3; James 3:14–16; Proverbs 6:18, 19.

Note: “God will never say to us, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ [Matthew 25:23], at the end of our journey, if we now cherish a spirit which craves to crowd out and supplant others. Malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking are things which God abhors, and no one who reveals those fruits in his life will enter the kingdom of heaven. …

“Those who make faultfinding their work, may appear to be constantly anxious and interested in regard to the welfare of others. They may seem to be actively engaged in good work. But their work does harm, and by the Lord it is not regarded as of any value. ‘They say,’ is whispered here and there; by blind suggestions, other minds are filled with suspicion and distrust; uneasiness is created. Those who have listened to the ‘They say,’ call to mind something they have observed in their brethren, which might have been wrong, and much is made of that which is worthy of but little notice. These apparently innocent words strike long, fibrous roots into the minds of those that hear them, and untold harm is done. Seeds of bitterness are planted; evil suggestions rankle in human hearts, and the seed springs up to bear an abundant harvest.

“The enemy of all righteousness sets in operation objectionable missionary work of this kind. One who is professedly working for Christ is tempted by him to probe the minds of others, and ask their opinions of words which have been spoken. In this way suspicion and envy are planted in many breasts. If those who carry on this missionary work could see it as it is regarded by the Lord of heaven; if for one day they could trace the course of their work, and see its baleful results, they would repent.

“To do good to all, to faithfully perform our home duties, to devote our time to comparing our lives with the life of Christ, praying for a humble, sanctified mind—this is the missionary work which the Lord requires us to do.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 940.

6 What attitude too often destroys the peace of the church? Matthew 18:1–4.

7 Describe the attitude spread by those who boast in their own self-sufficiency over righteousness and truth. Isaiah 5:20; 65:5.

Note: “[Isaiah 5:19–23 quoted.]

“The class here represented, in order to exalt their own opinions, employ a reasoning which is not authorized by the word of God. They walk in the sparks of their own kindling. By their specious reasoning, they confuse the distinction that God desires to have drawn between good and evil. The sacred is brought down on a level with common things. Avarice and selfishness are called by false names; they are called prudence. Their rising up in independence and rebellion, their revenge and stubbornness, in their eyes are proofs of dignity, evidences of a noble mind. They act as though ignorance of divine things were not dangerous and even fatal to the soul; and they prefer their own reasoning to divine revelation, their own plans and human wisdom to the admonitions and commands of God. The piety and conscientiousness of others are called fanaticism, and those who practice truth and holiness are watched and criticized. They deride those who teach and believe the mystery of godliness, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ [Colossians 1:27]. The principles underlying these things are not discerned by them; and they go on in wrongdoing, leaving the bars open for Satan to find ready access to the soul.” The Review and Herald, December 22, 1896.

8 What will be the influence of capable but unconverted men, and what will be their end? II Peter 2:1–3.

Note: “Men may possess capabilities given them in trust of God, but if they are not humble men, daily converted men, as vessels of honor, they will do the greater harm because of their capabilities. If they are not learners of Christ Jesus, if they do not pray and keep their natural hereditary and cultivated tendencies under control, traits of character that God abhors will pervert the judgment of those who associate with them.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1138.

“Men who repudiate the teachings of the Spirit of God are not the proper persons to be placed in offices as leaders in the church. There is danger that the teachings of men who are not soundly converted may lead others into by and forbidden paths.” Loma Linda Messages, 465.

9 How are today’s popular ministries and professed Christians making Satan happy? II Timothy 3:1–5.

Note: “A profession of religion has become popular with the world. Rulers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, merchants, join the church as a means of securing the respect and confidence of society, and advancing their own worldly interests. Thus they seek to cover all their unrighteous transactions under a profession of Christianity. The various religious bodies, re-inforced by the wealth and influence of these baptized worldlings, make a still higher bid for popularity and patronage. Splendid churches, embellished in the most extravagant manner, are erected on popular avenues. The worshipers array themselves in costly and fashionable attire. A high salary is paid for a talented minister to entertain and attract the people. His sermons must not touch popular sins, but be made smooth and pleasing for fashionable ears. Thus fashionable sinners are enrolled on the church records, and fashionable sins are concealed under a pretense of godliness.” The Great Controversy, 386.

10 What warning is given to us who profess to believe in the third angel’s message? Matthew 23:25, 27.

Note: “Many who profess to be serving God are in the same position as Saul—covering over ambitious projects, pride of display, with a garment of pretended righteousness. The Lord’s cause is made a cloak to hide the deformity of injustice, but it makes the sin of tenfold greater enormity.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1017.

Review and Thought Questions:

1 To what is Christian love an index?

2 What are the characteristics of self-love?

3 How are seeds of bitterness scattered by self-righteous believers?

4 What are often the far-reaching ill effects of walking in the sparks of your own kindling?

5 What is often used as a cloak to hide injustice?

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – A Little Leaven

February 27, 2011 – March 5, 2011

Key Text

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” I Corinthians 5:6.

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 198–211; 272–283.


“It is not only by resistance but by neglect that the soul is destroyed.” The Desire of Ages, 323.

1 How did Pharaoh destroy himself? Exodus 4:21.

Note: “There was no exercise of supernatural power to harden the heart of the king. God gave to Pharaoh the most striking evidence of divine power, but the monarch stubbornly refused to heed the light.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 268.

“It is not God that blinds the eyes of men or hardens their hearts. He sends them light to correct their errors, and to lead them in safe paths; it is by the rejection of this light that the eyes are blinded and the heart hardened.” The Desire of Ages, 322.

2 How do sinners destroy themselves? Galatians 6:7; Romans 2:5.

Note: “Just what took place in Pharaoh’s heart will take place in every soul that neglects to cherish the light and walk promptly in its rays. God destroys no one. The sinner destroys himself by his own impenitence. When a person once neglects to heed the invitations, reproofs, and warnings of the Spirit of God, his conscience becomes seared, and the next time he is admonished, it will be more difficult to yield obedience than before. And thus with every repetition. Conscience is the voice of God, heard amid the conflict of human passions; when it is resisted, the Spirit of God is grieved.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 120.

“He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily the second time.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 268.

3 Why is it so dangerous to resist the first impressions of the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 4:30; John 16:13.

Note: “We want all to understand how the soul is destroyed. It is not that God sends out a decree that man shall not be saved. He does not throw a darkness before the eyes which cannot be penetrated. But man at first resists a motion of the Spirit of God, and, having once resisted, it is less difficult to do so the second time, less the third, and far less the fourth. Then comes the harvest to be reaped from the seed of unbelief and resistance.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 120.

4 Why is the process of apostasy almost unnoticed to those yielding to the power of Satan? Isaiah 44:18; Jeremiah 5:21.

Note: “A knowledge of the state of the backslider from God seems to be hidden from him. Has the candlestick been removed out of its place? I call upon all who are resting unconcerned in their present state of spiritual deadness, to arouse and arise from the dead, and Christ will give them light. Many rest as content as though the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night were sheltering and guiding them. Many profess to know God, and yet deny Him in their works. They reckon themselves among God’s peculiar, chosen people, who have a special, solemn message entrusted to their keeping to sanctify their lives and to give to the world, and yet the power of the truth is scarcely felt or manifested in our midst in zealous work for God. How great is our darkness, and we know it not! The light has not diminished, but we walk not in its rays.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 451.

“It is not God that blinds the eyes of men or hardens their hearts. He sends them light to correct their errors, and to lead them in safe paths; it is by the rejection of this light that the eyes are blinded and the heart hardened. Often the process is gradual, and almost imperceptible. Light comes to the soul through God’s word, through His servants, or by the direct agency of His Spirit; but when one ray of light is disregarded, there is a partial benumbing of the spiritual perceptions, and the second revealing of light is less clearly discerned. So the darkness increases, until it is night in the soul.” The Desire of Ages, 322.

5 What is the relationship between little things and big things? Luke 16:10.

Note: “The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin. Here, as well as elsewhere, we should not despise the day of small things. It is one of Satan’s most successful devices, to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the mind to the danger of little indulgences, little digressions from the plainly stated requirements of God. Many who would shrink with horror from some great transgression, are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But these little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul. The feet which enter upon a path diverging from the right way are tending toward the broad road that ends in death. When once a retrograde movement begins, no one can tell where it may end.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1017.

6 How does the neglect of little things affect our lives? The Song of Solomon 2:15.

Note: “It is the little foxes that spoil the vines; the little neglects, the little deficiencies, the little dishonesties, the little departures from principle, that blind the soul and separate it from God.

“It is the little things of life that develop the spirit and determine the character. Those who neglect the little things will not be prepared to endure severe tests when they are brought to bear upon them. Remember that the character building is not finished till life ends. Every day a good or a bad brick is placed in the structure. You are either building crookedly or with the exactness and correctness that will make a beautiful temple for God. Therefore, in looking for great things to do, neglect not the little opportunities that come to you day by day. He who neglects the little things, and yet flatters himself that he is ready to do wonderful things for the Master, is in danger of failing altogether. Life is made up, not of great sacrifices and wonderful achievements, but of little things.” The Review and Herald, December 29, 1910.

“They [the truths of the word of God] will brighten the common life, supplying motives for obedience and principles for the formation of a right character.” The Adventist Home, 189.

7 How may we be in danger of playing into the hands of Satan in a careless moment? Matthew 12:34, second part.

Note: “Men are influenced by their own words. Often under a momentary impulse, prompted by Satan, they give utterance to jealousy or evil surmising, expressing that which they do not really believe; but the expression reacts on the thoughts. They are deceived by their words, and come to believe that true which was spoken at Satan’s instigation. Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come to believe that they are. It is dangerous to utter a word of doubt, dangerous to question and criticize divine light.” The Desire of Ages, 323.

8 What often triggers the downward spiral of apostasy? Luke 11:24–26. How does a neglect of prayer and Bible study hasten this? Mark 4:19.

Note: “It is not only by resistance but by neglect that the soul is destroyed.” The Desire of Ages, 323.

“Many become so absorbed in business that they have no time for prayer, no time for the study of the Bible, no time to seek and serve God. At times the longings of the soul go out for holiness and heaven; but there is no time to turn aside from the din of the world to listen to the majestic and authoritative utterances of the Spirit of God. The things of eternity are made subordinate, the things of the world supreme. It is impossible for the seed of the word to bring forth fruit; for the life of the soul is given to nourish the thorns of worldliness.

“And many who are working with a very different purpose, fall into a like error. They are working for others’ good; their duties are pressing, their responsibilities are many, and they allow their labor to crowd out devotion. Communion with God through prayer and a study of His word is neglected.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 51, 52.

“When secret prayer and reading of the Scriptures are neglected today, tomorrow they can be omitted with less remonstrance of conscience. There will be a long list of omissions, all for a single grain sown in the soil of the heart. On the other hand, every ray of light cherished will yield a harvest of light.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 120.

9 What shows that professed believers may unwittingly join the ranks of Satan without leaving the church? Matthew 7:22, 23.

Note: “One safeguard removed from conscience, the indulgence of one evil habit, a single neglect of the high claims of duty, may be the beginning of a course of deception that will pass you into the ranks of those who are serving Satan, while you are all the time professing to love God and His cause. A moment of thoughtlessness, a single misstep, may turn the whole current of your lives in the wrong direction. And you may never know what caused your ruin until the sentence is pronounced: ‘Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity’ [Matthew 7:23].” Testimonies, vol. 5, 398.

10 What happens when church members fail to make a complete surrender to Christ? Romans 6:16.

Note: “He who does not give himself wholly to God is under the control of another power, listening to another voice, whose suggestions are of an entirely different character. Half-and-half service places the human agent on the side of the enemy as a successful ally of the hosts of darkness. When men who claim to be soldiers of Christ engage with the confederacy of Satan, and help along his side, they prove themselves enemies of Christ. They betray sacred trusts. They form a link between Satan and the true soldiers, so that through these agencies the enemy is constantly working to steal away the hearts of Christ’s soldiers.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 94.

Review and Thought Questions:

1 What will take place in every soul who neglects to walk in the light received?

2 How do people get their eyes blinded and their hearts hardened?

3 If the little digressions from the path of truth and righteousness continue, what is the unavoidable result?

4 Name two seeds from which self-destruction is reaped.

5 What things mark the beginning of the road that ends in damnation?

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Marinated Baked Tofu

1 16 oz. brick tofu

1 Tbsp. chicken-like seasoning

2 Tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Dice the tofu and place in a bowl with the seasoning. Toss to coat evenly. Place the seasoned tofu on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. This can be frozen; if frozen it becomes more the texture of meat.

Submitted by Blythe Hoppe and used by permission of Best Gourmet Recipes from the chefs of Five Loaves Deli & Bakery (Neva Brackett, Published December 1, 1999, by Jim Bracket).

Food – I Choose Not to Smoke

Once the decision and commitment is made to quit smoking, a stop smoking plan needs to be initiated. Enlist the help of the Lord through Scripture reading, meditation, and prayer. Look for a good friend who can support you during this time. Set a date to stop and then do it. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, invoke your power of choice by saying, “I choose not to smoke.” The urge to smoke only lasts for 30 seconds to 3 minutes and will disappear quickly if you focus your mind elsewhere. Regardless the temptation, never give up your power of choice. To persist in your decision not to smoke is to succeed.

It is important to create new habits to replace old ones. As a habit is repeated, little pathways are established in the brain that allows the activity to be done without thinking. By replacing the bad habit of smoking with a good habit, new pathways are created in the brain while the old pathways tend to fade. It is important during this time to avoid, if possible, being in settings where others are smoking.

The nervous system of a smoker becomes accustomed to functioning with nicotine. When smoking has ceased, the reduced nicotine disturbs the unhealthy balance of the nervous system, causing withdrawal symptoms. The most common symptoms are cravings, irritation, anger, weight-gain, problem with concentration, depression, headaches, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. These are no cause for alarm, because they will be reduced after 24–72 hours and tend to disappear after a few weeks.

Altering your diet will improve your game plan to stop smoking. It is important not to overeat and stress the brain with a full stomach. Eat slowly, pausing between bites, and chew your food well. Avoid foods high in fat and sugar, and all drinks that “go with” your smoking habit—coffee, tea and soda. Absolutely abstain from all alcoholic beverages. It is especially beneficial to include foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates in your diet.

Because toxins are often eliminated through the skin, excellent hygiene during this time is vital. A steam bath will help eliminate toxins. You can treat yourself to a mild, calming, non-caffeinated herbal tea. Adequate rest, a relaxing, warm shower or footbath before retiring is beneficial. It is also very important to get a healthy amount of sunshine, do deep breathing exercises in the fresh outdoor air along with daily exercise.

It is beneficial to know why you smoke and then have a strategy to deal with this. If it is due to nervousness, combat the nervousness with exercise. If you like to physically manipulate the cigarette, and then start a project that uses your hands. Most of all stay busy so your mind and body are active and not dwelling on the fact that you are not smoking.

By affirming that the Lord is your strength (Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 41:10), believing (Mark 9:23; Philippians 4:13), and beholding Christ (II Corinthians 3:18) you can be changed from a smoker to a non-smoker. Choose to start your journey today, or help someone else begin a smoke-free life.

Children’s Story – Kindness of a Stranger

It was a bitter, cold evening in northern Virginia many years ago. The old man’s beard was glazed by winter’s frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless. His body became numb and stiff from the frigid north wind.

Then he heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves galloping along the frozen path. Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first one pass by without an effort to get his attention. Then another passed by, and another. Finally, the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat like a snow statue. As this one drew near, the old man caught the rider’s eye and said, “Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side? There doesn’t appear to be a passageway by foot.”

Reining his horse, the rider replied, “Sure thing. Hop aboard.” Seeing that the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. The horseman took the old man not just across the river, but to his destination, which was just a few miles away.

As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman’s curiosity caused him to inquire, “Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by without making an effort to secure a ride. Then I came up and you immediately asked me for a ride. I’m curious why, on such a bitter winter night, you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?”

The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes, and replied, “I’ve been around these here parts for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good.” The old-timer continued, “I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need.”

Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply. “I’m most grateful for what you have said,” he told the old man. “May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion.”

With that, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America, turned his horse around and made his way back to the White House.

The Bible tells us of another Good Samaritan who helped somebody in need.

One day, a man who was traveling from a far away city, suddenly met up with a group of thieves. The thieves took everything he had, and then they beat him and left him lying half dead by the side of the road.

As he lay there he heard footsteps. “I hope he will help me!” He waited and listened and then the footsteps went a different direction. That was a priest who came by, but when he saw the man lying beside the road, he decided to take a different route because he was in a hurry and didn’t want to be bothered.

After a little while, he heard footsteps again. This time it was a Levite, a well-known teacher in the temple. But when he saw the man lying on the side of the road, he looked down and walked right by, completely ignoring the poor, hurting man.

It wasn’t long until the man heard another set of footsteps. The man who was traveling down the road this time was a stranger from Samaria. As he passed by, he noticed the man who was lying beaten and bloody on the side of the road. He felt sorry for him and wanted to help. He got off his donkey and bent down next to the man to get a closer look at the wounds. Gently, he wrapped bandages around the sores and helped him to his feet. He carefully put the man on his own donkey, and took him to the nearest hotel. He stayed with the man overnight and took care of him.

The next morning he had to leave, but he could not take the man with him. When he paid the bill, he gave the innkeeper extra money, saying, “Take care of him, feed him, and make sure he has everything he needs. If he owes you any money after he gets well and leaves, write it down, and I will pay the bill the next time I come by.”

Jesus tells us to go and do the same. Just like Thomas Jefferson took time to help somebody in need, you and I need to take time to help somebody in need.

The story of the Good Samaritan is recorded in Luke 10:30–37.

Keys to the Storehouse – Which Bundle are you Choosing?

A train of cars was shown me, going with the speed of lightning. The angel bade me look carefully. I fixed my eyes upon the train. It seemed that the whole world was on board, that there could not be one left. Said the angel, ‘They are binding in bundles ready to burn.’ Then he showed me the conductor, who appeared like a stately, fair person, whom all the passengers looked up to and reverenced. I was perplexed and asked my attending angel who it was. He said, ‘It is Satan. He is the conductor in the form of an angel of light. He has taken the world captive. They are given over to strong delusions, to believe a lie, that they may be damned. This agent, the next highest in order to him, is the engineer, and other of his agents are employed in different offices as he may need them, and they are all going with lightning speed to perdition.’

“I asked the angel if there were none left. He bade me look in an opposite direction, and I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies. Said the angel, ‘The third angel is binding, or sealing, them in bundles for the heavenly garner.’ ” Early Writings, 88, 89. [Emphasis supplied.]

“The wicked are being bound up in bundles, bound up in trusts, in unions, in confederacies. Let us have nothing to do with these organizations. God is our Ruler, our Governor, and He calls us to come out from the world and be separate (11 Corinthians 6:17). … If we refuse to do this, if we continue to link up with the world and to look at every matter from a worldly standpoint, we shall become like the world. When worldly policy and worldly ideas govern our transactions we cannot stand on the high and holy platform of eternal truth.” Last Day Events, 116.

In which bundle are you being bound? Is it the bundle or company that is obeying God as He calls us to come out from the world and be separate? Or is it the bundle or company that stands on the wide road with the whole world and following after worldly policy and ideas? We are known by our fruits. What are your fruits showing?

Even Abigail, the wife of Nabal, knew at that time about the bundles of life and gave the warning to David who was in danger of making the wrong decision and being bound into the wrong bundle. What decisions are you making today?

“And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground. … Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.” I Samuel 25:23, 29.

Oh Lord, Give me the strength to step from that speeding car, the world, which is encircling me and destroying my spiritual, mental, and physical health. Deliver me from the whirlwind of deception and error. Hold up my goings in Thy paths only, that my footsteps slip not so that I may be bound into the bundle of life with others. Amen.

Health – Watercress

“The true method for healing the sick is to tell them of the herbs that grow for the benefit of man.”  Pamphlet 144, 13

Watercress is an herb that has long been prized by the Muslims in India. In relatively recent times it has been used in Europe and England, being greatly valued for its health giving properties, but in the United States it is quite underrated and rarely used.

As food, the herb reaches back into history. During the seventh century B.C., Spartan athletes, who were famous for their dedication to superb health and sports, relaxed each day after they had completed their exercises in the outdoor arenas, which were the very first gymnasiums. Their coaches gave them heavily buttered, open-faced yogurt sandwiches topped with a bunch of watercress to enable the athletes to remain in top condition. In the days of Marco Polo (1254–1324), when only the very wealthy could afford the new seasonings that he brought from China, the peasants, who were never ill, seasoned most of their food with the pungent watercress. In England today, watercress soup and sandwiches are considered important to good health.

In Mexico, the raw herb was crushed, added to water and then sweetened. It was steeped for a few hours, strained, and given, when thirsty, to people with weak lungs or tuberculosis.

Spanish speaking New Mexicans use it as a treatment for kidney and heart problems. Native Mexicans drink the crushed leaves with water for an inflamed liver, mouth or larynx. The cooked leaves are mashed with olive oil and bound as a poultice over any painful place. The fresh plant is used in the treatment of constipation.

Watercress, like other plants that have a pungent taste, is celebrated as a blood purifier and has been used in the springtime to eliminate the toxins accumulated during the winter. It increases the appetite, frees up the bowels, and causes a freer flow of urine. It is strongly alkaline and therefore treats acidity of the blood, relieving symptoms related to over acidity. It is said to help clear up acne, as it cleanses the blood and relieves arthritis and rheumatism. It is relatively high in vitamin C and was extensively used to prevent scurvy during the last century. If you do not have a source of vitamin C in your diet or vitamin pills, watercress could be a valuable supply.

Used with carrots and spinach, it is said to be very helpful in treating low blood pressure and anemia. It is used as a diuretic, causing an increased flow of urine, thus helping to cleanse the system. Watercress nourishes the pituitary gland and strengthens the heart. Because it is rich in iron and iodine, it stimulates glandular activity. Having high sulphur content, it is often prescribed for eczema, while its unusual vitamin A content makes it particularly good for night blindness.

With its high potency in vitamins and minerals, and cleansing effect on the system, it is a good disease preventative taken daily. One should “eat as much watercress as can be obtained, raw, in the daily salad. There is no better salad herb available to man. An old name for watercress was poor man’s bread. When wheat bread could not be afforded there was always watercress.” It contains three times the amount of vitamin E as lettuce and therefore has been considered good to improve stamina.

The herb can be grown in pots as long as the soil mixture is kept wet. Therefore, the pots must be set in a tray of water. You can also plant it outdoors, in a miniature sunken garden; for example, in pots placed in a sunken bird bath or some other container sunk in the ground (the water stays cooler that way). The water should be changed often. Plants can be obtained by rooting sprigs from a bunch. Sprigs will sprout in a glass of water, provided the water is changed daily.

When collecting the watercress be sure that you gather only the cress, since the poisonous water hemlocks, which somewhat resemble the carrot plant, often grow nearby. The watercress usually sways and floats on top of the water and is quite easily distinguishable from plants. When harvesting, do not pull up the whole plant, but pinch or snip off the greens at the water’s surface. In this way, there will be plenty for future use.

You can gather and dry the leaves for sprinkling on winter fare, but by far the best way of using the herb is raw and in a salad. The dried leaves can be made into an infusion (tea) in the wintertime. It can be minced and added to soups or vegetables just prior to serving. Thinly slice whole grain bread and spread it thickly with watercress leaves for the classic sandwich. It is by far more nutritious when eaten raw.

Watercress can be cooked exactly as you do spinach. To make cream of watercress soup, add a pound of minced watercress to creamed potato soup. Cook until done.

Watercress is a superior source of many vitamins including C, K, E, Iron, Calcium—which strengthens bones and teeth, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, and Potassium, even more so than apples, broccoli and tomatoes. Adding it to cooked food, salads, stews, and even to stir fries, just before serving, is a great idea.

Watercress is considered to be a most wonderful plant by many herbalists. A member of the cabbage family, it is very nutritious. Besides containing carotenoids and lutein, memory and mental functions are improved by eating it. Digestion is improved, and the flow of bile is regulated. Because watercress is a blood cleanser, it is very valuable in improving the complexion.

Chopping the leaves and steeping in boiling water, or soaking them in honey overnight and then straining, can make a cough syrup. This mixture can then be used when needed to alleviate a cough.

When purchasing watercress, make sure the leaves are nice and green and not wilted or yellowing. They can be kept in the refrigerator for about three days in a sealed plastic bag.

If you are suffering from a bladder infection, it is wise to avoid watercress until the infection is cleared up.

Because of its high content of iodine, people who cannot tolerate iodine should avoid using it.

Excerpts of this article are from October 2010.

Historial Gem – Fearful Rejection

Paul was accused by Ananias of being the ringleader of the sect known as the Nazarenes. He was imprisoned for being a troublemaker who constantly incited the Jews to riots.

“Near the close of the two years, these dissensions led to a fierce combat in the market-place, resulting in the defeat of the Greeks. Felix, who sided with the Gentile faction, came with his troops and ordered the Jews to disperse. The command was not instantly obeyed by the victorious party, and he ordered his soldiers to fall upon them. Glad of an opportunity to indulge their hatred of the Jews, they executed the order in the most merciless manner, and many were put to death. As if this were not enough, Felix, whose animosity toward the Jews had increased every year, now gave his soldiers liberty to rob the houses of the wealthy.

“These daring acts of injustice and cruelty could not pass unnoticed. The Jews made a formal complaint against Felix, and he was summoned to Rome to answer their charges. He well knew that his course of extortion and oppression had given them abundant ground for complaint, but he still hoped to conciliate them. Hence, though he had a sincere respect for Paul, he decided to gratify their malice by leaving him a prisoner. But all his efforts were in vain; though he escaped banishment or death, he was removed from office, and deprived of the greater part of his ill-gotten wealth. Drusilla, the partner of his guilt, afterward perished, with their only son, in the eruption of Vesuvius. His own days were ended in disgrace and obscurity.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 245, 246.

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried by an avalanche of boiling mud and lava. Pompeii was buried under 20–40 feet of mud, and Herculaneum was under 60–75 feet.

In the summertime of 79 A.D., the young 18-year-old student, Gaius Plinius (Pliny the Younger) witnessed one of the most unbelievable catastrophes in the history of the world. He was staying with his mother and his uncle (Pliny the Elder) at a villa in the city of Misenum, which is located on the Bay of Naples, about 20 miles from Mount Vesuvius. While there he witnessed the eruption that completely buried the cities. His uncle, Pliny the Elder, died that day, but Gaius survived and wrote a startling account to the Roman historian Tacitus of what he saw in two long letters. Here are some translated excerpts of what he wrote: “On August 24, about one in the afternoon, my mother drew my uncle’s attention to a cloud of unusual size and appearance. It was not clear from a distance as to which mountain the cloud was rising from, although it was afterward known to be Vesuvius. …

“His uncle (Pliny the Elder) being commander of the naval fleet at Misenum, apparently realized, according to Gaius’s account, that Vesuvius was erupting and decided to take some ships across the bay to rescue whoever he could. It was impossible to come too close to land because of the hot, thick ashes and pumice (large chunks of lava), and so they headed for Stabiae, a city three miles south of Pompeii, and he came to the home of a friend, Pomponianus, who could not leave because of the opposing wind. So they waited. They watched Vesuvius, of which it is said that there was:

“ ‘broad streets of fire and leaping flames blazed at many points, their bright glow emphasized [sic] by the darkness of night.’

“Pliny the Elder was completely helpless to do anything and his hope of a rescue mission was impossible and he and the men with him were in great danger. …

“ ‘Only the shrill cries of women, the wailing of children, and the shouting of men. Some were calling to their parents, others to their children, others to their wives. … Many lifted up their hands to the gods, but most were convinced that there were now no gods at all and that this night was the end of the world. Finally the darkness lightened, and then like smoke or cloud dissolved away. Daylight returned, and the sun shone out, though luridly, as it does when an eclipse is coming.’ ” Excerpts from, November 8, 2010.

“Drusilla, the partner of his guilt, afterward perished, with their only son, in the eruption of Vesuvius. …

“A ray of light from Heaven had been permitted to shine upon this wicked man, when Paul reasoned with him concerning righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come. That was his Heaven-sent opportunity to see and to forsake his sins. But he said to the Spirit of God, ‘Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.’ He had slighted his last offer of mercy. He was never to receive another call from God.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 246.

Both Felix and Drusilla turned from the invitation and lost all.

Based on the story of Felix and Drusilla (Acts 24).