February 18, 2007 – February 24, 2007
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.” 11 Peter 1:12.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 632–636; The Great Controversy, 355–374.
“There was a present truth—a truth at that time of special importance—in the days of Christ, of Paul, of Luther; there is a present truth for the church today.” The Signs of the Times, June 21, 1883.
1 How do Christ’s teachings perfectly harmonize with Old Testament scripture (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18)? Matthew 22:36–40; 5:17–19. What explanation did Christ give concerning His doctrine? John 7:16.
note: “ ‘Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.’ My words are in perfect harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures, and with the law spoken from Sinai. I am not preaching a new doctrine. I am presenting old truths rescued from the framework of error, and placed in a new setting.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1136.
2 What was the “present truth” taught after Christ’s ascension? 1 John 1:1–3; 11 Peter 1:12, 15, 16. How does that truth also affect us today? John 17:17–20.
note: “When, after His [Christ’s] ascension, the Holy Spirit brought His teachings to the remembrance of the disciples, their slumbering senses awoke. The meaning of these truths flashed upon their minds as a new revelation, and truth, pure and unadulterated, made a place for itself. Then the wonderful experience of His life became theirs.” The Acts of the Apostles, 520.
“The disciples boldly testified to the things which they had seen and heard. . . .
“The Holy Spirit especially rested upon the apostles, who were witnesses of our Lord’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—important truths which were to be the hope of Israel. All were to look to the Saviour of the world as their only hope.” Early Writings, 196, 197.
3 What did Paul say about the plan of redemption which was more fully revealed in the gospel of Christ? Ephesians 3:3–6, 9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:25, 26.
note: “Mysteries which had been hidden for ages were revealed to him [Paul], and as much as he could bear of the workings of God, and of his dealings with human minds, was made known. The Lord told Paul that he must preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Light was to be given to the Gentiles. This is a mystery which had been hidden for ages.” The Signs of the Times, March 25, 1897.
4 What will happen when this mystery of God (light given to the Gentiles) is completed? Matthew 24:14. What final verdict will then be declared? Revelation 22:10, 11.
note: “The gospel dispensation is the last period of probation that will ever be granted to men. Those who live under this dispensation of test and trial and yet are not led to repent and obey will perish with the disloyal. There is no second trial. The gospel that is to be preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples presents the truth in clear lines, showing that obedience is the condition of gaining eternal life. Christ imparts His righteousness to those who consent to let Him take away their sins.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 971, 972.
5 How do we know that the Lord’s return is very near? Matthew 24:32–39.
note: “Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near, even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, ‘This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.’ [Matthew 24:34.] These signs have appeared. Now we know of a surety that the Lord’s coming is at hand.” The Desire of Ages, 632.
“[Matthew 24:37–39 quoted.] Christ does not here bring to view a temporal millennium, a thousand years in which all are to prepare for eternity. He tells us that as it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of man comes again.” Ibid., 633.
6 What should we realize about Noah’s day? Genesis 6:5.
note: “[Genesis 6:5 quoted.] The inhabitants of the antediluvian world turned from Jehovah, refusing to do His holy will. They followed their own unholy imagination and perverted ideas. It was because of their wickedness that they were destroyed; and today the world is following the same way. It presents no flattering signs of millennial glory. The transgressors of God’s law are filling the earth with wickedness. Their betting, their horse racing, their gambling, their dissipation, their lustful practices, their untamable passions, are fast filling the world with violence.” The Desire of Ages, 633.
7 What great religious revival marks the beginning of the “present truth” especially applicable in our day, and how is it described? Revelation 14:6.
note: “A great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ’s soon coming is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14. . . .
“The fact that an angel is said to be the herald of this warning is significant. By the purity, the glory, and the power of the heavenly messenger, divine wisdom has been pleased to represent the exalted character of the work to be accomplished by the message and the power and glory that were to attend it. And the angel’s flight ‘in the midst of heaven,’ the ‘loud voice’ with which the warning is uttered, and its promulgation to all ‘that dwell on the earth,’—‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,’—give evidence of the rapidity and world-wide extent of the movement.” The Great Controversy, 355.
8 How does the message of the first angel exalt the Law of God, to prepare a people to see Christ? 1 John 3:2, 3; Psalm 19:7.
note: “The message proclaimed by the angel flying in the midst of heaven is the everlasting gospel, the same gospel that was declared in Eden when God said to the serpent, ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel’ (Genesis 3:15). Here was the first promise of a Saviour who would stand on the field of battle to contest the power of Satan and prevail against him. Christ came to our world to represent the character of God as it is represented in His holy law; for His law is a transcript of His character. Christ was both the law and the gospel. The angel that proclaims the everlasting gospel proclaims the law of God; for the gospel of salvation brings men to obedience of the law, whereby their characters are formed after the divine similitude.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 106.
9 Who is to teach the first angel’s message? Matthew 28:19, 20.
note: “As His representatives among men, God does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that He might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ.’ Ephesians 3:8.
“In His wisdom the Lord brings those who are seeking for truth into touch with fellow beings who know the truth. It is the plan of Heaven that those who have received light shall impart it to those in darkness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 134.
10 What does the last remnant experience, and how is it distinguished from the rest of the world? Matthew 24:9; Revelation 12:17.
note: “Whoever sees the repulsive character of sin, and in strength from above resists temptation, will assuredly arouse the wrath of Satan and his subjects. Hatred of the pure principles of truth, and reproach and persecution of its advocates, will exist as long as sin and sinners remain. The followers of Christ and the servants of Satan cannot harmonize. The offense of the cross has not ceased.” The Great Controversy, 507.
“The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects, he has gained control of the apostate churches; but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 472, 473.
“Luther came in possession of the truth that waked up the Reformation. It is men of humility and prayer that become mighty men in the Scriptures. They search the word of truth as for hidden treasures. And as they read and pray, and pray and read, they become living channels of light and truth. Here is a lesson of vital importance to those who feel that God has called them to present to others the solemn truths for this time. These truths will stir the enmity of Satan and of men who love the fables that he has devised. In the conflict with the powers of hell, there is need of something more than intellect and human wisdom. . . .
“As Luther, with noble firmness, stood in defense of the gospel, his doctrines spread, and priests and people rallied about him as their standard-bearer. Hard as it was for them to change their opinions, the light of truth was dispelling the darkness of error. Some who secretly rejoiced in the work, took at first no active part in it; but the determined opposition against Luther and the truths he preached, brought these persons to the front, and changed their doubts to the certainty of faith. In the hearts of those who would obey his word, the Lord placed a firmness and decision that nothing could move. . . .
“Luther . . . had given himself to the service of truth, and the Spirit of truth gave him wisdom, strength, and understanding. . . .
“It should be remembered that Luther was attacking with determined blows the institutions of ages. This could not be done without exciting hatred and opposition. No arguments against him could be drawn from the word of God; for his feet were firmly planted upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. When his enemies appealed to custom and tradition, or to the assertions and authority of the Roman pontiff, Luther met them with the Bible and the Bible alone. Here were arguments which they could not answer. Therefore the slaves of formalism and superstition clamored for his blood, as the Jews had clamored for the blood of Christ. . . .
“God had a work for him [Luther] to do, and angels of Heaven were sent to protect him. Many, however, who had received from Luther the precious light, were made the objects of Satan’s wrath, and for the truth’s sake fearlessly suffered torture and death.
“Opposition is the portion of all whom God employs to make an advance move in his work by presenting truth specially applicable to their time. The controversy between Christ and Satan is to increase in intensity to the close of this earth’s history. Those who dare to present truths that are not in harmony with the popular churches and with the world, will thereby become the objects of slander, reproach, and falsehood. Many who at first but partially unite with scoffers, finally lend themselves fully to Satan, to oppose and overthrow what God would build up.
“There is today the same disposition to substitute the theories and traditions of men for the word of God as in the days of Christ, of Paul or of Luther. Ministers advance doctrines which have no foundation in the Scriptures of truth, and in place of Bible proof, they present their own assertions as authority. The people accept the minister’s interpretation of the word, without earnest prayer that they may know what is truth. There is no safety in depending upon human wisdom and judgment. . . .
“All who possess reasoning powers can know for themselves what is truth. Those who pray and search for light, will receive light. The reason why so many are groping their way in the fog of error is, that they take the assertions of men, instead of searching the word of God for themselves. [Isaiah 8:20 quoted.] Worldlings and superficial Christians will accept nothing which interferes with their selfish love of pleasure; hence they are willingly ignorant of the truth which would save their souls. Satan works with all his deceptive art to present pleasing fables before the people, and he takes thousands in his snare.
“The advocates of truth in our day should not expect their message to be received with greater favor than was that of the early Reformers. Nay, rather, they should expect greater difficulties and more determined opposition than were experienced by Luther and his fellow-laborers. Satan’s hatred for the truth is the same in all ages; but as he sees that his time is short, he makes one last mighty effort, by signs and lying wonders, to deceive and destroy, not merely the unbelieving world, but the great mass of professed Christians who have not received the love of the truth that they might be saved. . . . [11 Thessalonians 2:9–12 quoted.]
“There was a present truth—a truth at that time of special importance—in the days of Christ, of Paul, of Luther; there is a present truth for the church today. But truth is no more desired by the men of today than it was by the Jews in the time of Christ, or by papists in the days of Luther. Therefore Satan, working now with tenfold greater power, succeeds as of old in blinding the eyes of men and darkening their understanding.
“As those who now labor in the cause of reform, experience conflicts and trials, as they find their path hedged in by difficulties, and obstructed by the rubbish of error, let them remember that they are traveling the same road that prophets, apostles, and reformers of every age have traveled before them. Christ himself trod a more thorny path than any of his followers. They may comfort themselves with the thought that they are in good company. One mightier than Satan is their leader, and he will give them strength to be steadfast in the faith, and will bring them off victorious.” The Signs of the Times, June 21, 1883.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.