Bible Study Guides – “THE WORLD THAT THEN PERISHED”

August 21, 1999 – August 27, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:4, 5.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 4, 306–313.

INTRODUCTION

“The world’s Redeemer had many hearers, but few followers. Noah preached one hundred and twenty years to the people before the Flood, and yet there were few who appreciated this precious, probationary time. Save Noah and his family, not one was numbered with the believers and entered into the ark. Of all the inhabitants of the earth, only eight souls received the message; but that message condemned the world. The light was given in order that they might believe; their rejection of the light proved their ruin. Our message to the world will be a savor of life unto life to all who accept it, and of condemnation to all who reject it.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 36.

“MY SPIRIT WILL NOT ALWAYS STRIVE WITH MAN”

  1. What was the state of the world before the Flood? Genesis 6:5.

NOTE: “How was it in Noah’s day? ‘God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ Genesis 6:5. 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.” Desire of Ages, 633.

  1. What decision did the Lord make regarding those who lived before the Flood? Genesis 6:6, 7.

NOTE: “God became weary of this people whose thoughts were only of sinful pleasure and indulgence. They sought not the counsel of God who had created them, nor cared to do His will. The rebuke of God was upon them because they followed the imagination of their own hearts; and there was violence in the land. ‘And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth . . . and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them from the earth.’” Review and Herald, November 1, 1906.

  1. What period of probation did the Lord in His mercy grant to the wicked inhabitants of the earth before the Flood came? Genesis 6:3.

NOTE: “Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened destruction. As the time of Christ’s second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God’s law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God’s moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the authority of His law. Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God’s word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 102.

“WATERS ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH”

  1. What was the extent of the Flood? Genesis 7:19, 20.

NOTE: “From the highest peaks men looked abroad upon a shoreless ocean. The solemn warnings of God’s servant no longer seemed a subject for ridicule and scorning. How those doomed sinners longed for the opportunities which they had slighted! How they pleaded for one hour’s probation, one more privilege of mercy, one call from the lips of Noah! But the sweet voice of mercy was no more to be heard by them. Love, no less than justice, demanded that God’s judgments should put a check on sin. The avenging waters swept over the last retreat, and the despisers of God perished in the black depths. ‘By the word of God . . . the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 100, 101.

  1. What was the effect of the Flood on life on earth? Genesis 6:7, 13; 7:4, 21.

NOTE: “The entire surface of the earth was changed at the Flood. A third dreadful curse rested upon it in consequence of sin. As the water began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded by a vast, turbid sea, Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to remain to decompose and pollute the air, therefore He made of the earth a vast burial ground. A violent wind which was caused to blow for the purpose of drying up the waters, moved them with great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the mountains and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the bodies of the dead.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 107.

  1. How long did the Flood last? Genesis 7:24. (See Genesis 7:11, 12. Compare with Genesis 8:13, 14.)

NOTE: “For five long months their boat was tossed about, apparently at the mercy of wind and wave. It was a trying ordeal; but Noah’s faith did not waver, for he had the assurance that the divine hand was upon the helm. As the waters began to subside, the Lord caused the ark to drift into a spot protected by a group of mountains that had been preserved by His power. These mountains were but a little distance apart, and the ark moved about in this quiet haven, and was no longer driven upon the boundless ocean. This gave great relief to the weary, tempest-tossed voyagers. Noah and his family anxiously waited for the decrease of the waters, for they longed to go forth again upon the earth. Forty days after the tops of the mountains became visible, they sent out a raven, a bird of quick scent, to discover whether the earth had become dry. This bird, finding nothing but water, continued to fly to and from the ark. Seven days later a dove was sent forth, which, finding no footing, returned to the ark. Noah waited seven days longer, and again sent forth the dove. When she returned at evening with an olive leaf in her mouth, there was great rejoicing. Later ‘Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.’ Still he waited patiently within the ark. As he had entered at God’s command, he waited for special directions to depart.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 105.

“AN OLIVE LEAF PLUCKED OFF”

  1. What sign was given to Noah that vegetation had begun to grow once more? Genesis 8:11.

NOTE: “The beautiful trees and flowering shrubbery were destroyed, but Noah preserved seed and took it with him into the ark, and God by His miraculous power preserved a few of the different kinds of trees and shrubs alive for future generations. Soon after the flood, trees and plants seemed to spring out of the very rocks. In God’s providence, seeds had been scattered and driven into the crevices of the rocks, and there securely hidden for the future use of man.” Signs of the Times, March 13, 1879.

  1. What change in man’s diet did God sanction after the Flood? Genesis 9:3, 4.

NOTE: “Remember that when you eat flesh meat, you are but eating grains and vegetables second-hand; for the animal receives from these things the nutrition that makes it grow and prepares it for market. The life that was in the grains and vegetables passes into the animal, and becomes part of its life, and then human beings eat the animal. Why are they so willing to eat their food second-hand? In the beginning, fruit was pronounced by God as ‘good for food.’ The permission to eat flesh meat was a consequence of the fall. Not till after the flood was man given permission to eat the flesh of animals. Why then need we eat flesh meat? Few who eat this know how full it is of disease. Flesh meat never was the best food, and now it is cursed by disease. The thought of killing animals to be eaten is in itself revolting. If man’s natural sense had not been perverted by the indulgence of appetite, human beings would not think of eating the flesh of animals.” Notebook Leaflets, 114.

  1. What was one consequence of this change in man’s diet? Compare Genesis 9:29 with Genesis 11:10, 25.

NOTE: “The flesh of dead animals was not the original food for man. Man was permitted to eat it after the flood because all vegetation had been destroyed. But the curse pronounced upon man and the earth and every living thing has made strange and wonderful changes. Since the flood the human race has been shortening its period of existence.” Paulson Collection, 160.

“The patriarchs from Adam to Noah, with but few exceptions, lived nearly a thousand years. Since the days of Noah, the length of life has been tapering.” Christian Education, 10.

“SCOFFERS WALKING AFTER THEIR OWN LUSTS”

  1. What attitude to the Bible’s account of early history did Peter warn against? 2 Peter 3:3, 4.

NOTE: “Apart from Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Those who reason so confidently upon its discoveries, have no adequate conception of the size of men, animals and trees before the flood, or of the great changes which then took place. . . . In the history of the flood, inspiration has explained that which geology alone could never fathom. In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the flood, the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.” Christian Education, 191, 192.

  1. Of what event in particular did Peter prophesy that men would be “willingly ignorant”? 2 Peter 3:5, 6.

NOTE: “Before the Flood the development of vegetable and animal life was immeasurably superior to that which has since been known. At the Flood the surface of the earth was broken up, marked changes took place, and in the re-formation of the earth’s crust were preserved many evidences of the life previously existing. The vast forests buried in the earth at the time of the Flood, and since changed to coal, form the extensive coal fields, and yield the supplies of oil that minister to our comfort and convenience today. These things, as they are brought to light, are so many witnesses mutely testifying to the truth of the word of God.” Education, 129.

“AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH”

  1. What comparison did Jesus make between the days of Noah and the closing days of the world’s history? Luke 17:26, 27.

NOTE: “The same sins exist in our day which brought the wrath of God upon the world in the days of Noah. Men and women now carry their eating and drinking to gluttony and drunkenness. This prevailing sin, the indulgence of perverted appetite, inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah and led to general corruption, until their violence and crimes reached to heaven, and God washed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 163.

  1. What promises are given to the godly at times of widespread moral depravity? 2 Peter 2:4–9.

NOTE: “God has always given men warning of coming judgments. Those who had faith in His message for their time, and who acted out their faith, in obedience to His commandments, escaped the judgments that fell upon the disobedient and unbelieving. The word came to Noah, ‘Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me.’ Noah obeyed and was saved. The message came to Lot, ‘Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.’ Genesis 7:1; 19:14. . . . So Christ’s disciples were given warning of the destruction of Jerusalem. Those who watched for the sign of the coming ruin, and fled from the city, escaped the destruction. So now we are given warning of Christ’s Second Coming and of the destruction to fall upon the world. Those who heed the warning will be saved.” Desire of Ages, 634.

Bible Study Guides – “SINCE BY MAN CAME DEATH…”

August 14, 1999 – August 20, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12.

STUDY HELP: Patriarchs and Prophets, 52–62.

INTRODUCTION

“There is a constant effort made to explain the work of creation as the result of natural causes; and human reasoning is accepted even by professed Christians, in opposition to plain Scripture facts. There are many who oppose the investigation of the prophecies, especially those of Daniel and the Revelation, declaring them to be so obscure that we cannot understand them; yet these very persons eagerly receive the suppositions of geologists, in contradiction of the Mosaic record. But if that which God has revealed is so difficult to understand, how inconsistent it is to accept mere suppositions in regard to that which he has not revealed!” Patriarchs and Prophets, 113.

“DEATH BY SIN”

  1. How does Paul clearly state the origin of death? Romans 5:12.

NOTE: Theistic evolutionists believe that God used evolution to bring about the world as we know it. They believe that He began with the Big Bang, then gradually formed galaxies, stars and planets like our earth. Then He created life (or allowed it to evolve from chemicals) and endowed that life with the capacity to progress upwards from amoeba to man. They believe that the “days” of Genesis 1 were long periods of time. To accommodate these theories, they accept that death and bloodshed took place long before Adam (if he existed at all).

“When this earth was created by Christ, it was holy and beautiful. God pronounced it ‘very good.’ Every flower, every shrub, every tree, answered the purpose of its Creator. Everything upon which the eye rested was lovely, and filled the mind with thoughts of love for the Creator. Every sound was music, in perfect harmony with the voice of God. But a change has come. Sin has brought decay, deformity, death. Today, the whole world is tainted, corrupted, stricken with a mortal disease. The earth groans under the continual transgression of the inhabitants thereof. Human beings have degenerated. One after another they fall under the curse, because sin has entered the world, and death by sin.” Signs of the Times, June 27, 1900.

  1. How is the relationship between sin and death explained? Romans 6:23.

NOTE: “The vials of God’s wrath shall be poured out upon them [sinners]. Black despair, like the pall of death, will gather about their guilty souls, and then they will realize to the fullest extent the sinfulness of sin. Salvation has been purchased for them by the suffering and death of the Son of God. It might be theirs, if they would accept of it willingly, gladly; but none are compelled to yield obedience to the law of God. If they refuse the heavenly benefit and choose the pleasures and deceitfulness of sin, they have their choice, and at the end receive their wages, which is the wrath of God and eternal death. They will be forever separated from the presence of Jesus, whose sacrifice they had despised. They will have lost a life of happiness and sacrificed eternal glory for the pleasures of sin for a season.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 210.

“MORE VALUE THAN MANY SPARROWS”

  1. How did Jesus express God’s love for the animal creation? Luke 12:6.

NOTE: Theistic evolutionists contend that disease, suffering and death must have existed for millions of years in the animal creation before the emergence of man.

“Think of it, not one of these little brown sparrows that are carolling forth their praises to God will fall to the ground without the notice of the heavenly Father. Not one of these little brown sparrows that the boys so ruthlessly kill, drops to the ground but His eye marks its fall. ‘But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’ If God cares for a sparrow that has no soul, how will He care for the purchase of the blood of Christ? One soul is worth more than all the world. For one soul Jesus would have passed through the agony of Calvary that that one might be saved in His kingdom. ‘Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.’” Review and Herald, May 3, 1892.

  1. How did Jesus further explain God’s care for His creation? Matthew 6:26–30.

NOTE: “God, who created man, made the animals, also. They were to minister to man’s comfort and happiness, to serve him, and to be controlled by him. But this power was not to be used to cause pain by harsh punishment or cruel exaction. Yet some are as reckless and unfeeling toward their faithful animals as though the poor brutes had not flesh and nerve that can quiver with pain. Many do not think that their cruelty will ever be known, because the poor dumb beasts cannot reveal it. But could the eyes of these men be opened, as were the eyes of Balaam, they would see an angel of God standing as a witness to testify against them in the courts above. A record goes up to Heaven, and a day is coming when judgment will be pronounced against men who make themselves demons by their dealings with God’s creatures. If animals could speak, what deeds of horror would be revealed—what tales of suffering, because of the perversity of man’s temper! How often those creatures of God’s care suffer pain, endure hunger and thirst, because they cannot make known their wants. And how often is it determined by the mercy or the caprice of man, whether they receive attention and kindness, or neglect and abuse. Punishment given in passion to an animal is frequently excessive, and is then absolute cruelty. Animals have a kind of dignity and self-respect, akin to that possessed by human beings.” Signs of the Times, November 25, 1880.

“THE WHOLE CREATION GROANETH”

  1. What was to be man’s original role with regard to the animal creation? Genesis 1:26, 28.

NOTE: “He was placed, as God’s representative, over the lower orders of being. They cannot understand or acknowledge the sovereignty of God, yet they were made capable of loving and serving man. The psalmist says, ‘Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet:…the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air,…and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.’ Psalm 8:6–8.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 45.

  1. How did the creation share in Adam’s fall? Romans 8:22.

NOTE: “In drooping flower and falling leaf Adam and his companion witnessed the first signs of decay. Vividly was brought to their minds the stern fact that every living thing must die. Even the air, upon which their life depended, bore the seeds of death. Continually they were reminded also of their lost dominion. Among the lower creatures Adam had stood as king, and so long as he remained loyal to God, all nature acknowledged his rule; but when he transgressed, this dominion was forfeited. The spirit of rebellion, to which he himself had given entrance, extended throughout the animal creation. Thus not only the life of man, but the nature of the beasts, the trees of the forest, the grass of the field, the very air he breathed, all told the sad lesson of the knowledge of evil.” Education, 26, 27.

“THE DREAD OF YOU”

  1. How did God describe the changed relationship between man and the animal creation? Genesis 9:2.

NOTE: “As Noah looked upon the powerful beasts of prey that came forth with him from the ark, he feared that his family, numbering only eight persons, would be destroyed by them. But the Lord sent an angel to His servant with the assuring message: ‘The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 107.

  1. What change in man’s diet was necessitated by the Flood? Genesis 9:3, 4.

NOTE: “Previous to this time God had given man no permission to eat animal food. But every living substance upon the face of the earth upon which man could subsist had been destroyed; therefore God gave Noah permission to eat of the clean beasts which he had taken with him into the ark. God said to Noah, ‘Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb have I given you all things.’ God had formerly given them the herb of the ground.” Signs of the Times, March 6 1879.

“DEATH REIGNED FROM ADAM TO MOSES”

  1. Who was the first human being to be released from the bonds of death? Jude 9; Matthew 17:1–3; Romans 5:14.

NOTE: “Had not the life of Moses been marred with that one sin, in failing to give God the glory of bringing water from the rock at Kadesh, he would have entered the Promised Land, and would have been translated to heaven without seeing death. But he was not long to remain in the tomb. Christ Himself, with the angels who had buried Moses, came down from heaven to call forth the sleeping saint. Satan had exulted at his success in causing Moses to sin against God, and thus come under the dominion of death. The great adversary declared that the divine sentence—“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19)—gave him possession of the dead. The power of the grave had never been broken, and all who were in the tomb he claimed as his captives, never to be released from his dark prison house. For the first time Christ was about to give life to the dead . . . In consequence of sin Moses had come under the power of Satan. In his own merits he was death’s lawful captive; but he was raised to immortal life, holding his title in the name of the Redeemer. Moses came forth from the tomb glorified, and ascended with his Deliverer to the City of God.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 478, 479.

  1. What other human beings have already been raised to eternal life or translated without seeing death? Genesis 5:24; (Hebrews 11:5); 2 Kings 2:11; (Matthew 17:1–3); Matthew 27:52, 53, (Ephesians 4:8 margin).

NOTE: “Enoch was a representative of Christ as surely as was the beloved disciple John. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. To him was committed the message of the Second Coming of Christ. ‘And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all.” Jude 14, 15. The message preached by Enoch and his translation to heaven were a convincing argument to all who lived in his time. These things were an argument that Methuselah and Noah could use with power to show that the righteous could be translated. That God who walked with Enoch was our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He was the light of the world then just as He is now. Those who lived then were not without teachers to instruct them in the path of life; for Noah and Enoch were Christians.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 392.

“THE GIFT OF GOD”

  1. Although the wages of sin is death, what is offered to mankind through Jesus? Romans 6:23.

NOTE: “The Saviour of the world offers to the erring the gift of eternal life. He watches for a response to His offers of love and forgiveness with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, repenting, suffering son. He cries after the wanderer: ‘Return unto Me, and I will return unto you.’” Testimonies, vol. 4, 207, 208.

  1. What will determine whether we receive the gift of eternal life? Romans 2:6–9.

NOTE: “Said the angel: ‘Will ye have Christ, or the world?’ Satan presents the world with its most alluring, flattering charms to poor mortals, and they gaze upon it, and its glitter and tinsel eclipse the glory of heaven and that life which is as enduring as the throne of God. A life of peace, happiness, joy unspeakable, which shall know nothing of sorrow, sadness, pain, nor death, is sacrificed for a short lifetime of sin. All who will turn from the pleasures of earth, and with Moses choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world, will, with faithful Moses, receive the unfading crown of immortality and the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 101.

Bible Study Guides – “WE GROAN WITHIN OURSELVES”

August 7, 1999 – August 13, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Romans 8:22.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 3, 138–140.

INTRODUCTION

“God made man perfectly holy and happy; and the fair earth, as it came from the Creator’s hand, bore no blight of decay or shadow of the curse. It is transgression of God’s law—the law of love—that has brought woe and death. Yet even amid the suffering that results from sin, God’s love is revealed. It is written that God cursed the ground for man’s sake. Genesis 3:17. The thorn and the thistle—the difficulties and trials that make his life one of toil and care—were appointed for his good as a part of the training needful in God’s plan for his uplifting from the ruin and degradation that sin has wrought. The world, though fallen, is not all sorrow and misery. In nature itself are messages of hope and comfort. There are flowers upon the thistles, and the thorns are covered with roses.” Steps to Christ, 9.

“GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD”

  1. How does Paul describe the condition of the whole creation because of sin? Romans 8:22, 23.

NOTE: “Adam and Eve persuaded themselves that in so small a matter as eating of the forbidden fruit, there could not result such terrible consequences as God had declared. But this small matter was the transgression of God’s immutable and holy law, and it separated man from God and opened the floodgates of death and untold woe upon our world. Age after age there has gone up from our earth a continual cry of mourning, and the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain, as a consequence of man’s disobedience. Heaven itself has felt the effects of his rebellion against God. Calvary stands as a memorial of the amazing sacrifice required to atone for the transgression of the divine law. Let us not regard sin as a trivial thing. Every act of transgression, every neglect or rejection of the grace of Christ, is reacting upon yourself; it is hardening the heart, depraving the will, benumbing the understanding, and not only making you less inclined to yield, but less capable of yielding, to the tender pleading of God’s Holy Spirit.” Steps to Christ, 33.

  1. What assurance are we given that God suffers with us? Isaiah 63:9.

NOTE: “Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God—subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death—it is said that ‘His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.’ ‘In all their affliction He was afflicted: . . . and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.’ Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9.” Education, 263.

“AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD”

  1. How does the Book of Job describe the human condition? Job 5:7.

NOTE: “In order to serve God acceptably, we must be ‘born again.’ Our natural dispositions, which are in opposition to the Spirit of God, must be put away. We must be made new men and women in Christ Jesus. Our old, unrenewed lives must give place to a new life—a life full of love, of trust, of willing obedience. Think you that such a change is not necessary for entrance into the kingdom of God? Listen to the words of the Majesty of heaven: ‘Ye must be born again.’ ‘Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Unless the change takes place, we cannot serve God aright. Our work will be defective; earthly plans will be brought in; strange fire, dishonoring to God, will be offered. Our lives will be unholy and unhappy, full of unrest and trouble.” Youth’s Instructor, September 9, 1897.

  1. What precious promise was given to Adam and Eve on the day of their sin? Genesis 3:15.

NOTE: “The divine sentence pronounced against Satan after the fall of man was also a prophecy, embracing all the ages to the close of time and foreshadowing the great conflict to engage all the races of men who should live upon the earth. God declares: ‘I will put enmity.’ This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy. The apostate is never at rest, except as he obtains sympathy and support by inducing others to follow his example. For this reason fallen angels and wicked men unite in desperate companionship. Had not God specially interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven; and instead of cherishing enmity against Satan, the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God.” The Great Controversy, 505.

  1. How does the prophet Isaiah describe man’s alienation from God? Isaiah 59:2–8; 64:7.

NOTE: “Many are inquiring, ‘Why is it that we have so little strength? Is it because heaven is sealed? Is it because there are no precious blessings in store for us? Is it because our source of strength is exhausted, and we can receive no more? Why is it that we are not all light in the Lord? He who was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, is high and lifted up, and the glory of His train fills the temple. Why is this glory withheld from those who are in a world of sin and sorrow, trouble and sadness, corruption and iniquity?’ The trouble lies with ourselves. Our iniquities have separated us from God. We are not filled, because we do not feel our need; we do not hunger and thirst after righteousness. The promise is that if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we shall be filled. The promise is to you, my brethren and sisters. It is to me; it is to every one of us. It is the hungering, thirsting souls who will be filled. We may come to Christ just as we are, in our weakness, with our folly and imperfections, and offer our petitions in faith. In spite of our errors, our continual backsliding, the voice of the long-suffering Saviour invites us, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ To the needy, the fainting, those who are bowed down with burden and care and perplexity, the invitation is, Come. It is Christ’s glory to encircle us in the arms of His mercy and love, and bind up our wounds. He will sympathize with those who need sympathy, and strengthen those who need strength.” Review and Herald, January 2, 1900.

  1. How does the Bible describe the results of this alienation from God? Genesis 6:5, 12–13; Romans 3:10–18.

NOTE: “God executes justice upon the wicked, for the good of the universe, and even for the good of those upon whom His judgments are visited. He would make them happy if He could do so in accordance with the laws of His government and the justice of His character. He surrounds them with the tokens of His love, He grants them a knowledge of His law, and follows them with the offers of His mercy; but they despise His love, make void His law, and reject His mercy. While constantly receiving His gifts, they dishonor the Giver; they hate God because they know that He abhors their sins. The Lord bears long with their perversity; but the decisive hour will come at last, when their destiny is to be decided. Will He then chain these rebels to His side? Will He force them to do His will? Those who have chosen Satan as their leader and have been controlled by his power are not prepared to enter the presence of God. Pride, deception, licentiousness, cruelty, have become fixed in their characters. Can they enter heaven to dwell forever with those whom they despised and hated on earth? Truth will never be agreeable to a liar; meekness will not satisfy self-esteem and pride; purity is not acceptable to the corrupt; disinterested love does not appear attractive to the selfish. What source of enjoyment could heaven offer to those who are wholly absorbed in earthly and selfish interests?” The Great Controversy, 541, 542.

“THORNS AND THISTLES”

  1. What specific visible evidence were Adam and Eve given of the curse brought upon the earth by sin. Genesis 3:18, first part.

NOTE: “Let parents walk with their children in the fields and groves. Amid the beautiful things of nature tell them the reason for the institution of the Sabbath. Describe to them God’s great work of creation. Tell them that when the earth came from His hand, it was holy and beautiful. Every flower, every shrub, every tree, answered the purpose of its Creator. Everything upon which the eye rested was lovely and filled the mind with thoughts of the love of God. Every sound was music in harmony with the voice of God. Show that it was sin which marred God’s perfect work; that thorns and thistles, sorrow and pain and death, are all the result of disobedience to God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 358.

  1. How does Isaiah show that thorns and briers symbolize the curse on God’s unfaithful people? Isaiah 32:13; 34:13; 5:1–7.

NOTE: “Grace can thrive only in the heart that is being constantly prepared for the precious seeds of truth. The thorns of sin will grow in any soil; they need no cultivation; but grace must be carefully cultivated. The briers and thorns are always ready to spring up, and the work of purification must advance continually. If the heart is not kept under the control of God, if the Holy Spirit does not work unceasingly to refine and ennoble the character, the old habits will reveal themselves in the life. Men may profess to believe the gospel; but unless they are sanctified by the gospel their profession is of no avail. If they do not gain the victory over sin, then sin is gaining the victory over them. The thorns that have been cut off but not uprooted grow apace, until the soul is overspread with them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 50, 51.

“EVERY TREE IS KNOWN BY HIS OWN FRUIT”

  1. What lessons did the Lord teach about thorns? Matthew 13:7, 22; Luke 6:44.

NOTE: “Christ has said: ‘A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.’ ‘Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’ The deeds of a man’s life are the fruit he bears. If he is unfaithful and dishonest in temporal matters he is bringing forth briers and thorns; he will be unfaithful in the religious life and will rob God in tithes and offerings.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 311.

  1. What will be the end for those whose lives bear thorns and briers? Hebrews 6:4–8.

NOTE: “There are many who have not a correct knowledge of what constitutes a Christian character, and their lives are a reproach to the cause of truth. If they were thoroughly converted they would not bear briers and thorns, but rich clusters of the precious fruits of the Spirit—‘love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.’ The great danger is in neglecting a heart work. Many feel well pleased with themselves; they think that a nominal observance of the divine law is sufficient, while they are unacquainted with the grace of Christ, and He is not abiding in the heart by living faith . . . The testimony borne to you by the Spirit of God is: Parley not with the enemy. Kill the thorns, or they will kill you. Break up the fallow ground of the heart. Let the work go deep and thorough. Let the ploughshare of truth tear out the weeds and briers.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 306, 53.

“MADE TO BE SIN FOR US”

  1. How did our Lord suffer the curse of sin? Matthew 27:29.

NOTE: “When you think that the way is too strait, that there is too much self-denial in this narrow path; when you say, How hard to give up all, ask yourselves the question, What did Christ give up for me? This question puts anything that we may call self-denial in the shade. Behold Him in the garden, sweating great drops of blood. A solitary angel is sent from heaven to strengthen the Son of God. Follow Him on His way to the judgment hall, while He is derided, mocked, and insulted by that infuriated mob. Behold Him clothed in that old purple kingly robe. Hear the coarse jest and cruel mocking. See them place upon that noble brow the crown of thorns, and then smite Him with a reed, causing the thorns to penetrate His temples, and the blood to flow from that holy brow.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 240.

  1. How is the restoration of nature pictured? Isaiah 55:12, 13; Revelation 22:3.

NOTE: “Not only had man come under the power of the deceiver, but the earth itself, the dominion of man, was usurped by the enemy. Through the plan of salvation, through the sacrifice of Christ, not only man, but his dominion, was to be redeemed. Because of the merits of Christ, all that man lost through sin was to be restored. The time would come when there should be no more curse, but the throne of God should be in the earth renewed, and his servants should serve Him. The promise would be fulfilled, ‘The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.’” Bible Echo, July 15, 1893.

Bible Study Guides – “WORSHIP HIM THAT MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH”

July 31, 1999 – August 6, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:18.

STUDY HELP: Desire of Ages, 281–289.

Introduction

“The purpose and plan of grace existed from all eternity. Before the foundation of the world it was according to the determinate counsel of God that man should be created, endowed with power to do the divine will. But the defection of man, with all its consequences, was not hidden from the Omnipotent, and yet it did not deter Him from carrying out His eternal purpose; for the Lord would establish His throne in righteousness. God knows the end from the beginning; ‘known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.’ Therefore redemption was not an afterthought—a plan formulated after the fall of Adam—but an eternal purpose to be wrought out for the blessing not only of this atom of a world but for the good of all the worlds which God has created. The creation of the worlds, the mystery of the gospel, are for one purpose, to make manifest to all created intelligences, through nature and through Christ, the glories of the divine character.” Signs of the Times, April 25, 1892.

“Another Angel in the Midst of Heaven”

  1. What message is to be proclaimed to the entire world just before the coming of Jesus? Revelation 14:6, 7.

NOTE: “The duty to worship God is based upon the fact that He is the Creator and that to Him all other beings owe their existence. And wherever, in the Bible, His claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of the heathen, is presented, there is cited the evidence of His creative power. ‘All the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.’ Psalm 96:5. ‘To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things.’ ‘Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it: . . I am the Lord; and there is none else.’ Isaiah 40:25, 26; 45:18. Says the psalmist: ‘Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.’ ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.’ Psalms 100:3; 95:6. And the holy beings who worship God in heaven state, as the reason why their homage is due to Him: ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things.’ Revelation 4:11. In Revelation 14, men are called upon to worship the Creator; and the prophecy brings to view a class that, as the result of the threefold message, are keeping the commandments of God. One of these commandments points directly to God as the Creator.” Great Controversy, 436, 437.

  1. In what way did the Lord call upon mankind to worship “Him that made heaven and earth”? Exodus 20:8–11.

NOTE: “The Lord says, ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.’ Isaiah 58: 13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” Desire of Ages, 289.

“I am the Lord that doth Sanctify You”

  1. What sign has God given of His sanctifying power in the life of the Christian? Ezekiel 20:12; Exodus 31:13.

NOTE: ‘“Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For ‘all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, ‘I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,’—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.” Desire of Ages, 288.

  1. What precious promises are offered to those who honour God by keeping the Sabbath holy? Isaiah 58:13, 14.

NOTE: “All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honourable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. Yet they can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interesting our children. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can walk out with them in the open air; we can sit with them in the groves and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and can inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature. The Sabbath should be made so interesting to our families that its weekly return will be hailed with joy. In no better way can parents exalt and honour the Sabbath than by devising means to impart proper instruction to their families and interesting them in spiritual things, giving them correct views of the character of God and what He requires of us in order to perfect Christian characters and attain to eternal life. Parents, make the Sabbath a delight, that your children may look forward to it and have a welcome in their hearts for it.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 584, 585.

“GOD IS LOVE”

  1. What fundamental aspect of God’s character is revealed to us? 1 John 4:16.

NOTE: ‘“God is love.’ 1 John 4: 16. His nature, His law, is love. It ever has been; it ever will be. ‘The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,’ whose ‘ways are everlasting,’ changeth not. With Him ‘is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ Isaiah 57:15; Habakkuk 3:6; James 1:17. Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing to all created beings . . . The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God’s unchanging love.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 33.

  1. What other aspect of God is revealed in creation? 1 John 1:5.

NOTE: “In the manifestation of God to His people, light had ever been a symbol of His presence. At the creative word in the beginning, light had shone out of darkness. Light had been enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, leading the vast armies of Israel. Light blazed with awful grandeur about the Lord on Mount Sinai. Light rested over the mercy seat in the tabernacle. Light filled the temple of Solomon at its dedication. Light shone on the hills of Bethlehem when the angels brought the message of redemption to the watching shepherds. God is light; and in the words, ‘I am the light of the world,’ Christ declared His oneness with God, and His relation to the whole human family. It was He who at the beginning had caused ‘the light to shine out of darkness.’ 2 Cor. 4:6. He is the light of sun and moon and star. He was the spiritual light that in symbol and type and prophecy had shone upon Israel. But not to the Jewish nation alone was the light given. As the sunbeams penetrate to the remotest corners of the earth, so does the light of the Sun of Righteousness shine upon every soul.” Desire of Ages, 464.

“THY MAKER IS THY HUSBAND”

  1. What is the relationship of the Creator with those He created? Isaiah 54:5–8.

NOTE: “With untold love our God has loved us, and our love awakens toward Him as we comprehend more of the length and depth and height and breadth of this love that passeth knowledge. But when we turn aside to another master, we break our vows to Him, and make void the covenant; and we become adulterers, choosing the friendship and favor of others, and proving untrue to Him who has died for us. We declare by this act of separation, that we have found His service hard and his love unsatisfying; and thus we dishonor Him, and bring His name into reproach before the world. The Lord, infinite in power and wisdom, has declared, ‘Thy Maker is thine Husband.’ Everything that will serve for the best good and the highest interest of the people of God will be provided; and although the world seeks to entice them from their allegiance, although they are brought into difficult places, and experience affliction, they are not to seek the counsel of man, but to put their whole trust in God, casting all their care upon Him. Christ proves the sincerity of the faith and love of His church by trial and sorrow; and He will bring those who are faithful out of the furnace, refined and purified.” Signs of the Times, August 19, 1889.

  1. What lessons can we learn about human marriage from the relationship of God with His people? Ephesians 5:25, 27; 1 Peter 3:7.

NOTE: “Affection may be as clear as crystal and beauteous in its purity, yet it may be shallow because it has not been tested and tried. Make Christ first and last and best in everything. Constantly behold Him, and your love for Him will daily become deeper and stronger as it is submitted to the test of trial. And as your love for Him increases, your love for each other will grow deeper and stronger. ‘We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.’ 2 Corinthians 3:18. You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have. ‘Put on therefore, . . . kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.’ ‘Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.’” Testimonies, vol. 7, 46.

“Cursed Is the Ground for Thy Sake”

  1. What work was originally given to mankind? Genesis 2:15. (See verses 5, 6, 8, 9.)

NOTE: “God prepared for Adam and Eve a beautiful garden. He provided for them everything that their wants required. He planted for them fruit-bearing trees of every variety. With a liberal hand He surrounded them with His bounties. The trees for usefulness and beauty, and the lovely flowers which sprang up spontaneously and flourished in rich profusion around them, were to know nothing of decay. Adam and Eve were rich indeed. They possessed Eden. Adam was lord in his beautiful domain. None can question the fact that he was rich. But God knew that Adam could not be happy unless he had employment. Therefore He gave him something to do; he was to dress the garden.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 153.

  1. What is in our world today that God did not create? Genesis 3:17, 18.

NOTE: “Christ never planted the seeds of death in the system. Satan planted these seeds when he tempted Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge which meant disobedience to God. Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden, but after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up. In the parable of the sower the question was asked the master, ‘Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares?’ The master answered, ‘An enemy hath done this’ (Matt. 13:27, 28). All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 288.

  1. When will this curse be removed? Revelation 22:3.

NOTE: “The meek ‘shall inherit the earth.’ It was through the desire for self-exaltation that sin entered into the world, and our first parents lost the dominion over this fair earth, their kingdom. It is through self-abnegation that Christ redeems what was lost. And He says we are to overcome as He did. Revelation 3:21. Through humility and self-surrender we may become heirs with Him when ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ Psalm 37:11. The earth promised to the meek will not be like this, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. ‘We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.’ ‘There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 22:3. There is no disappointment, no sorrow, no sin, no one who shall say, I am sick; there are no burial trains, no mourning, no death, no partings, no broken hearts; but Jesus is there, peace is there. There ‘they shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.’ Isaiah 49:10.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 17.

“LEST ANY MAN SPOIL YOU”

  1. What warning are we given of a departure from the simplicity of Bible doctrine? 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

NOTE: “The warnings of the word of God regarding the perils surrounding the Christian church belong to us today. As in the days of the apostles men tried by tradition and philosophy to destroy faith in the Scriptures, so today, by the pleasing sentiments of higher criticism, evolution, spiritualism, theosophy, and pantheism, the enemy of righteousness is seeking to lead souls into forbidden paths. To many the Bible is as a lamp without oil, because they have turned their minds into channels of speculative belief that bring misunderstanding and confusion. The work of higher criticism, in dissecting, conjecturing, reconstructing, is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation. It is robbing God’s word of power to control, uplift, and inspire human lives.” Acts of the Apostles, 474.

  1. What will happen to those who are deceived by human theories and deceptions? Colossians 2:8.

NOTE: “The follower of Christ will meet with the ‘enticing words’ against which the apostle warned the Colossian believers. He will meet with spiritualistic interpretations of the Scriptures, but he is not to accept them. His voice is to be heard in clear affirmation of the eternal truths of the Scriptures. Keeping his eyes fixed on Christ, he is to move steadily forward in the path marked out, discarding all ideas that are not in harmony with His teaching. The truth of God is to be the subject for his contemplation and meditation. He is to regard the Bible as the voice of God speaking directly to him. Thus he will find the wisdom which is divine.” Acts of the Apostles, 474.

Recipe – Nut, Lentil and Rice Loaf

1-2 tablespoons water

2 cups streamed brown rice

1 cup mashed lentils

2 tablespoons chopped onions

1 tablespoon whole wheat flour

Sauté onion and sage in small sauce pan with the water. Mix browned flour and milk, stirring till smooth. Add this to the onion. Add remaining ingredients. Pack in non-stick loaf pan and bake at 350° for 20–30 minutes.

Food for Life – Flesh Food

What a spring, and now officially it is summer! How very eager we all are to see what this brings forth! Out here in the sunny west it has proved very strange indeed. No rain when it should have stormed and then buckets full when everyone was relaxed and thought that all we had to do was look forward to water rationing! So for all of you wherever you are in this old world, we wish you well, and hope with all our hearts that you are looking for Jesus’ soon return when we can say goodbye to all these unpredictable seasons.

This month we will be looking at a passage from Ministry of Healing, 315–317.

“The moral evils of a flesh diet are not less marked than are the physical ills. Flesh food is injurious to health, and whatever affects the body has a corresponding effect on the mind and the soul. Think of the cruelty to animals that meat eating involves, and its effect on those who inflict and those who behold it. How it destroys the tenderness with which we should regard these creatures of God!

“The intelligence displayed by many dumb animals approaches so closely to human intelligence that it is a mystery. The animals see and hear and love and fear and suffer. They use their organs far more faithfully than many human beings use theirs. They manifest sympathy and tenderness toward their companions in suffering. Many animals show an affection for those who have charge of them, far superior to the affection shown by some of the human race. They form attachments for man which are not broken without great suffering to them.

“What man with a human heart, who has ever cared for domestic animals, could look into their eyes, so full of confidence and affection, and willingly give them over to the butcher’s knife? How could he devour their flesh as a sweet morsel?

“It is a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed man in the beginning.

“When the use of flesh food is discontinued, there is often a sense of weakness, a lack of vigor. Many urge this as evidence that flesh food is essential; but it is because foods of this class are stimulating, because they fever the blood and excite the nerves, that they are so missed. Some will find it as difficult to leave off flesh eating as it is for the drunkard to give up his dram; but they will be the better for the change.

“When flesh food is discarded, its place should be supplied with a variety of grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits that will be both nourishing and appetizing. This is especially necessary in the case of those who are weak or who are taxed with continuous labor. In some countries where poverty abounds, flesh is the cheapest food. Under these circumstances the change will be made with greater difficulty; but it can be effected.”

Children’s Story – Fire!

In Montana, one of the most important farm crops is wheat—Montana winter wheat. In the fall, the farmers plow up the dark, rich earth and then they plant the winter wheat seeds. All winter the wheat lies dormant in the cold weather, but as soon as spring comes, the green little shoots come up like green grass out of the black earth.

Christi, Diana, and Zane watched as the wheat grew tall and green with perfect heads of wheat at the top. But it was not ready to harvest yet. Under the hot sun the wheat stalks turned a rich, golden yellow. Then the strong summer winds blew over the field of wheat and it looked like waves on a golden ocean.

When the wheat was almost ready to harvest, Dad walked to the edge of the wheat field. He picked a head of ripe, golden wheat. Putting the wheat between his hands, his rubbed it back and forth. The wheat berries fell out of their little pockets and into his hands. When he blew on them, all the chaff flew away and only the wheat berries were left. Dad popped that handful of wheat into his mouth.

“Ooh, that looks yucky,” Christi wrinkled up her nose.

“You won’t know until you try some,” laughed Dad. “Here, I’ll show you how.”

“I want to try some,” said Zane, eagerly!

Zane would try anything, thought Christi.

Zane and Diana began rubbing wheat between their hands and popping it into their mouths. They chewed and chewed and chewed.

“Aren’t you going to swallow it?” asked Christi.

“If you keep chewing, the kernels will break down and turn into gum,” Dad said.

Gum, thought Christi. I love gum. Maybe I’ll try some after all.

The wheat tasted good, like Mom’s home-made bread. It was so hard at first that Christi thought her teeth would break. But after awhile it became a soft chewy ball. Soon they all had mouths full of wheat gum. When they got tired of chewing they could swallow the gum because it was just wheat.

Later that day as the kids headed into town with Mom they noticed some smoke up ahead. Often they would see clouds of smoke at harvest time, but they never worried about it because they knew that after the farmers harvested their wheat, some of them would start little fires in the wheat fields to burn back the stubble that was left. But as they passed by the smoke, Zane’s head swung around.

“Mom,” he shouted, “Look! That wheat field is on fire.”

Mom slowed the car and pulled to the side of the road. Sure enough, they could see little red tongues of flame through the smoke. But this was not a stubble fire. This fire was at the edge of a wheat field that was just ready to harvest, and a strong wind was spreading the flames quickly. Mom turned the car around and sped up the long driveway to the farmhouse. The kids all tumbled out of the car as Mom knocked on the door. There was no answer from within. Mom looked nervously back at the fire.

“I’m not sure what to do if no one is at home,” she said, anxiously.

She knocked again on the door, very loudly this time. Finally they heard hurried footsteps coming toward the door. Mom looked relieved as the door swung open.

The lady standing in the open doorway wore a big apron and her hands and arms were all covered with flour and bread dough.

“Oh, I’m sorry it took me so long to come to the door,” she laughed, breathless from hurrying. “I’m right in the middle of making a batch of bread, and I was trying to get all this dough off my hands!”

“That’s all right,” replied Mom. “We noticed a fire at the corner of your wheat field that is spreading in this wind. We did not know if you had seen it.”

The lady stepped quickly out of the house to look at the fire. “Oh dear!” she looked alarmed. “No, I had not seen it.”

“Someone must have thrown a cigarette out of their car window,” said Mom.

“I’m sure you are right,” replied the woman. “I am so thankful you came and told me about it. My husband is gone right now, so I’ll have to call our neighbor to help me put it out. Thank you so much.” She reached out her hand and, disregarding all the bread dough, gave Mom’s hand a quick squeeze. Then she disappeared into the house.

As they turned and made their way back down the driveway, Christi could see a neighbor’s truck already heading toward the fire. She knew it would not take long to put out the fire now.

“We must thank God for your sharp eyes,” said Mom, to Zane. “With the wind blowing like it is today, that farmer could have lost his whole wheat crop if we had not caught the fire in time.”

“I’m glad, too!” grinned Zane.

“You know,” said Mom, “that fire is just like the naughty things we do or say sometimes.”

“What do you mean?” asked Christi.

“Well, every day we plant seeds that grow just like the farmer’s wheat crop,” Mom replied. “Those seeds are thoughts and actions that become habits. And good habits will grow if we cultivate them and will eventually become like the ripe wheat; a strong, good character. But just like that little fire in the corner of the wheat field, one wrong thought or deed, if not put away immediately, can grow very quickly and spoil our whole character; the crop that we had so carefully tended.”

Jesus is coming soon to harvest His crop—those with a pure, righteous character. I hope you will make sure that your crop, your pure character, is ready for Jesus’ harvest. Every day, ask Jesus to help you put out the little fires of sin so that you will be ready for Him to come.

“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7.

The Heavenly Trio

That doctrine that denies the absolute Godhead of Jesus Christ, denies also the Godhead of the Father.” Signs of the Times, June 27, 1895.

The Father and the Son

How long has Christ existed?

“If Christ made all things, He existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity. God over all, blessed forevermore.

“The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This was no robbery of God. ‘The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way,’ He declares, ‘before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth; while as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth.’ Proverbs 8:22–27.” Review and Herald, April 5, 1906.

Was Christ ever created or did He receive His divine power from any other source?

“In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.” Evangelism, 616.

“ ‘In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.’ It is not physical life that is here specified, but immortality, the life which is exclusively the property of God. The Word, who was with God, and who was God, had this life. Physical life is something which each individual receives. It is not eternal or immortal; for God, the Life-giver, takes it again. Man has no control over his life. But the life of Christ was unborrowed. No one can take this life from Him. ‘I lay it down of myself,’ He said. In Him was life, original, unborrowed, underived. This life is not inherent in man. He can possess it only through Christ.” Maranatha, 302.

Does Christ have a “lower position” in the Godhead than does God the Father?

“The Father can not be described by the things of earth. The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The word of God declares Him to be ‘the express image of His person.’ Here is shown the personality of the Father.” Bible Training School, March 13, 1906.

Is Christ equal in power and authority with God the Father?

“Christ left His position in the heavenly courts, and came to this earth to live the life of human beings. This sacrifice He made in order to show that Satan’s charge against God is false—that it is possible for man to obey the laws of God’s kingdom. Equal with the Father, honored and adored by the angels, in our behalf Christ humbled Himself, and came to this earth to live a life of lowliness and poverty—to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1129.

“In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem’s manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one. It is in this union that we find the hope of our fallen race. Looking upon Christ in humanity, we look upon God, and see in Him the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1130.

“Satan was envious and jealous of Jesus Christ. Yet when all the angels bowed to Jesus to acknowledge His supremacy and high authority and rightful rule, Satan bowed with them; but his heart was filled with envy and hatred. Christ had been taken into the special counsel of God in regard to His plans, while Satan was unacquainted with them. He did not understand, neither was he permitted to know, the purposes of God. But Christ was acknowledged sovereign of Heaven, His power and authority to be the same as that of God Himself.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 18.

Did Christ cease to be God when He took on the form of humanity?

“But although Christ’s divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1129.

“This wonderful problem—how God could be just, and yet the justifier of sinners—is beyond human ken. As we attempt to fathom it, it broadens and deepens beyond our comprehension. When we look with the eye of faith upon the cross of Calvary, and see our sins laid upon the victim hanging in weakness and ignominy there,—when we grasp the fact that this is God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,—we are led to exclaim, ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us!’ Christ could at any moment have called legions of angels to His side; He could have swept every sinner from the face of the earth, and created new beings by His power; but God so loved the world, degraded as it was by sin, that ‘He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 11, 1897.

Is it possible for us to fully comprehend the mystery of the union of divinity and humanity in Christ?

“If we repent of our transgression, and receive Christ as the Life-giver, our personal Saviour, we become one with Him, and our will is brought into harmony with the divine will. We become partakers of the life of Christ, which is eternal. We derive immortality from God by receiving the life of Christ for in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. This life is the mystical union and cooperation of the divine with the human.” Signs of the Times, June 17, 1897.

“Science is too limited to comprehend the atonement; the mysterious and wonderful plan of redemption is so far-reaching that philosophy can not explain it; it will ever remain a mystery that the most profound reason can not fathom. If it could be explained by finite wisdom, it would lose its sacredness and dignity. It is a mystery that One equal with the eternal Father should so abase Himself as to suffer the cruel death of the cross to ransom man; and it is a mystery that God so loved the world as to permit His son to make this great sacrifice.” The Signs of the Times, October 24, 1906.

Is God the Father a person like the Son?

“I have often seen the lovely Jesus, that He is a person. I asked him if His Father was a person, and had a form like Himself. Said Jesus, ‘I am in the express image of My Father’s Person.’ I have often seen that the spiritual view took away the glory of heaven, and that in many minds the throne of David and the lovely person of Jesus had been burned up in the fire of spiritualism.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 74.

“Our ministers must be very careful not to enter into controversy in regard to the personality of God. This is a subject that they are not to touch. It is a mystery, and the enemy will surely lead astray those who enter into it. We know that Christ came in person to reveal God to the world. God is a person and Christ is a person. Christ is spoken of in the Word as ‘the brightness of His Father’s glory, and the express image of His person.’ ” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 343.

God The Holy Spirit

How many members are there in the Godhead?

“The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Savior. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.” Evangelism, 615. [Emphasis Supplied]

Does the Holy Spirit also have the fullness of divine power?

“The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power.

It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer.” The Desire of Ages, 671.

Is the Holy Spirit God?

“The Holy Spirit indites all genuine prayer. I have learned to know that in all my intercessions the Spirit intercedes for me and for all saints; but His intercessions are according to the will of God, never contrary to His will. ‘The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities;’ and the Spirit, being God, knoweth the mind of God; therefore in every prayer of ours for the sick, or for other needs, the will of God is to be regarded. ‘For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.’” Signs of the Times, October 3, 1892. [All emphasis supplied.]

Is the Holy Spirit also a divine person?

“The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. ‘For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.’” Evangelism, 617.

“We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.” Evangelism, 616.

“The Holy Spirit always leads to the written word. The Holy Spirit is a person; for He beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. When this witness is borne, it carries with it its own evidence. At such times we believe and are sure that we are the children of God. What strong evidence of the power of truth we can give to believers and unbelievers when we can voice the words of John, ‘We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ ” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 68.

What is the work of the Holy Spirit?

“The Lord knows your desire; by faith keep close to Him, and expect to receive the Holy Spirit. The office of the Holy Spirit is to control all our spiritual exercises. The Father has given His Son for us that through the Son the Holy Spirit might come to us, and lead us unto the Father. Through divine agency, we have the spirit of intercession, whereby we may plead with God, as a man pleadeth with his friend.” Signs of the Times, October 3, 1892.

“Under the Holy Spirit’s working even the weakest, by exercising faith in God, learned to improve their entrusted powers and to become sanctified, refined, and ennobled. As in humility they submitted to the molding influence of the Holy Spirit, they received of the fullness of the Godhead and were fashioned in the likeness of the divine.” The Acts of the Apostles, 49.

“When God’s people search the Scriptures with a desire to know what is truth, Jesus is present in the person of His representative, the Holy Spirit, reviving the hearts of the humble and contrite ones.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 145.

Does the Holy Spirit speak?

“The Holy Spirit must work the man; the man must not endeavor to work the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a servant, but a controlling power. The Holy Spirit causes the truth to shine in every mind, and speaks through every discourse where the minister surrenders himself to its working. The Holy Spirit walks with the soul by the way, and talks with the human agent. It is He who gives the atmosphere that surrounds the soul, and speaks to the impenitent through words of warning.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 285.

What part does the Holy Spirit act when we pray?

“We must not only pray in Christ’s name, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This explains what is meant when it is said that the Spirit ‘maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.’ Romans 8:26. Such prayer God delights to answer. When with earnestness and intensity we breathe a prayer in the name of Christ, there is in that very intensity a pledge from God that He is about to answer our prayer ‘exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.’ Ephesians 3:20.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 147.

God’s Sacred Treasure

In 1 Kings 17, an enlightening story is recorded from the life of Elijah. The story took place during the time when the land of Israel was under the curse of God and was not receiving any rain or dew because of their rebellion against the God of heaven.

At the beginning of this three and a half year period, when it did not rain, the Lord sent Elijah to hide by the Brook Cherith to escape the grasp of King Ahab who was seeking for him all over the land. However, eventually, the brook dried up, and God gave Elijah further instructions. Notice: “And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him, Saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.’ ” 1 Kings 17: 7–9.

Elijah was sent out of the land of Israel to one of the most wicked areas of the world. There in Zarephath, Elijah met the widow who was out gathering sticks to make a final meal for herself and her son. Despite her desperate situation, this widow shared what little she had with the prophet, and as a result wonderful things happened. The Bible records: “So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.” 1 Kings 17:15, 16.

And this was not the only blessing she received from the Lord because she willingly gave her all. The story is later told of how her only son died. In her great distress she went to the prophet Elijah and he cried to the Lord and said, “ ‘O, Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?’…Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, ‘See your son lives.’ Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.’ ” 1 Kings 17:20–24.

Notice, God sent His prophet to a woman who was very poor; so poor that she was at the point of starvation. When she granted Elijah’s request for a meal, she showed confidence in the man of God that had come and asked a favor of her. Before she received a favor from God, she had to demonstrate her faith.

Isn’t it interesting that God chose to send His servant to such a poor household to be sustained during this difficult time? I am sure there were plenty of rich people close by who had houses and servants and silver and gold, but God ordained that His servant should be sustained by a poor widow woman. It is an amazing thing, but over and over again I have seen the Lord’s work sustained by the widows and the orphans. Why is this? Is it because God needs the resources of the widows and orphans? No. The money is not important to the Lord. It is the motive of the giver that is important in His eyes.

Ellen White wrote about this in Testimonies, vol. 3, 382: “God could have reached His object in saving sinners without the aid of man. He knew that man could not be happy without acting a part in the great work in which he would be cultivating self-denial and benevolence. That man might not lose the blessed results of benevolence, our Redeemer formed the plan of enlisting him as His co-worker.” God could finish the work without any of our help, but it is His desire that we learn the lesson of benevolence and self-denial so He gives us the blessing of assisting with His work.

“Every good thing of earth was placed here by the bountiful hand of God as an expression of His love to man. The poor are His, and the cause of religion is His. He has placed means in the hands of men, that His divine gifts may flow through human channels in doing the work appointed us in saving our fellow men. Everyone has His appointed work in the great field; and yet none should receive the idea that God is dependent upon man. He could speak the word and every son of poverty would be made rich. In a moment of time He could heal the human race of all their diseases. He might dispense with ministers altogether and make angels the ambassadors of His truth. He might have written the truth upon the firmament, or imprinted it upon the leaves of the trees and upon the flowers of the field; or He might with an audible voice have proclaimed it from heaven. But the all wise God did not choose any of these ways. He knew that man must have something to do in order that life might be a blessing to him. The gold and silver are the Lord’s, and He could rain them from heaven if He chose; but instead of this He has made man His steward, entrusting him with means, not to be hoarded, but to be used in benefiting others. He thus makes man the medium through which to distribute His blessings on earth. God planned the system of beneficence in order that man might become, like his Creator, benevolent and unselfish in character, and finally be a partaker with Him of the eternal, glorious reward.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 472, 473.

In all of God’s dealings with His creatures, His purpose is our sanctification, the development of our characters that we might become like Him in character—unselfish and benevolent. It is His desire that our constant impulse will be to do something to bless someone else. And if we follow His instructions, with humble faith and obedience, the result will be the perfection of our characters. The problem is that so often we are haphazard or lackadaisical and do not follow God’s instructions exactly. Then we do not reap the benefits that He desires to bestow on us.

The Tithing Plan

God has given implicit instructions in regard to our stewardship of both time and money. The fourth commandment deals with time and the tithing plan, taught throughout the Old and New Testaments, giving us instruction about our money.

Tithe is first mentioned in regard to Abraham in Genesis 14. Here the Bible records that Abraham “gave him [Melchizedek] a tithe of all.” So it is clear that Abraham understood the tithing plan.

In Genesis 28 we read concerning the experience of Jacob: “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.’ ” Genesis 28:20–22. Jacob also understood the tithing plan.

The Lord gave Moses very explicit instructions about the use of the tithe. He said, “Behold I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.” Numbers 18:21.

Because the Levities were faithful to God during the golden-calf apostasy, the Lord gave them a special blessing—the responsibility of the care of the sanctuary. Instead of giving them an inheritance of property, in the Promised Land, the Lord instructed that they should be sustained by the tithe.

Paul wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 9:13–14: “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”

The apostle taught that just as the Levites, in the Old Covenant, received the tithes for the work that they did in the sanctuary, those who preach the gospel, in the New Covenant, are to live of the gospel (from the tithe). The Bible clearly tells us how and for what purposes the tithe is to be spent. Through God’s special messenger for the last days the Lord sent even more explicit instructions about where the tithe is and is not to be used. We will look at several important passages.

“The Lord has specified: the tenth of all your possessions is Mine; your gifts and offerings are to be brought into the treasury, to be used to advance My cause, to send the living preacher to open the Scriptures to those who sit in darkness.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 26, 1897.

“ And He says to us, ‘A portion of the money I have enabled you to gain is Mine. Put it into the treasury in tithes, in gifts and offerings, that there may be meat in Mine house,—that there may be something to sustain those who carry the gospel of My grace to the world.’ ” The Review and Herald, May 9, 1893.

“Instruction has been given me that there is a withholding of the tithe that should be faithfully brought into the Lord’s Treasury, for the support of the ministers and missionaries who are opening the Scriptures to the people and working from house to house.” The Review and Herald, April 20, 1905.

“The people today are to remember that the house of worship is God’s property and that it is to be scrupulously cared for. But the funds for this work are not to come from the tithe. The tithe is to be used for one purpose—to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed to do His work.” Echoes from the Field, June 21, 1905.

Ellen White made it clear that these ministers, or workers, could be men or women. When there were some who insisted that minister’s wives should not be paid even though they were working just as effectively as their husbands, she gave this strong rebuke. “There are ministers’ wives…who have been devoted, earnest, whole soul workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions shall be reversed.

“The Word says, ‘The laborer is worthy of his hire.’ When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it my duty to create a fund from my tithe money, to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. I know that the faithful women should be paid wages proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls, and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to educating those newly come to the faith, and hire their own work done, and pay those who work for them. All these things must be adjusted and set in order, and justice be done to all.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 360.

Why We Lack Ministers

Ellen White warned that a great mistake is made when the tithe is withdrawn from the object for which it is to be used and she described the results that have followed. “There is a lack of ministers because ministers have not been encouraged. Some ministers who have been sent to foreign lands, to enter fields never before worked, have been given the instruction, ‘You must sustain yourselves. We have not the means with which to support you.’ This ought not to be if the tithe, with gifts and offerings, was brought into the treasury. When a man enters the ministry, he is to be paid from the tithe enough to sustain his family. He is not to feel that he is a beggar.…The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work.

“The tithe is to be used for the support of the ministry. The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have and there must be means in the treasury.” Echoes from the Field, June 21, 1905.

We are living in strange times. Now, probably more than any previous time in Adventism, this plain instruction is being overlooked and people are spending their tithe for all sorts of projects. And the result is that people that are trained to do Bible work cannot engage in the work full time because they do not receive enough to support their families. Many times I have seen qualified gospel workers spending their days working as computer technicians, nurses or carpenters in order to feed and clothe their families and then trying to work for the Lord in the time that remains. At the same time, we receive calls from people all over the country who are seeking for historic Adventist ministers and Bible workers to serve in their churches. The truth is that there are almost no historic Adventist ministers and the reason can be summarized as follows:

The leaders in the revival and reformation movement in Adventism have often refused to organize home churches. And when the home churches were organized, they were not organized into sisterhoods of churches that could help each other. As a result, only those churches large enough to support a pastor of their own could have pastors at all.

Now, if congregational church government is all you have, and that is all that Seventh-day Adventists had at one time, that, of course, is better than total disorganization, but we have never taught congregational church government. We have always believed in full New Testament church organization where the local churches work together for the common good of the cause of God. And we must face the facts squarely. The work of revival and reformation in Adventism is years behind where it could be if all historic Adventist believers would cease the rebellion against New Testament church organization and learn how to work together to plan more organized outreach and distribution of tithe in harmony with inspired counsel. We have to recognize the sad fact that God’s work is lame because of a lack of New Testament church organization.

Of course, the Lord is able to finish His work whether the work is lame or not. We read in Micah 4:6, 7: “‘In that day,’ says the Lord, ‘I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.’”

The Lord is able to gather those that are lame, those that are outcasts and have been disfellowshiped from their local churches, into a mighty army to finish His work. The Lord is not dependent on you or me to finish His work. His work will go forward. But the problem is, if we do not follow divine instruction, we will not reap the blessings that God wants us to have. The Lord does not want us to work in a haphazard way. The Lord wants us to come into working order.

The Need for Human Workers

We can spend millions of dollars for all kinds of good projects—radio, television, literature—and I believe in all of these projects, but we will never finish the work with those means alone. The work can only be finished by human workers. That is the way God has ordained it. All of these other methods only plant the seeds, and then human reapers are necessary to gather in the harvest.

A farmer would never spend thousands of dollars to plant a crop which he had no way to harvest. Yet that is what is done in God’s work all the time. People spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to plant seeds when there is no provision to send workers to reap the harvest. And then people wonder why there is so little harvest. One of the reasons is because the tithe is not being used to train and hire reapers to go out and reap the harvest.

Ellen White wrote, “The tithe is the Lord’s, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go.…The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have, and there must be means in the treasury.” Echoes from the Field, June 21, 1905.

“The light which the Lord has given me on this subject, is that the means in the treasury for the support of the ministers in the different fields is not to be used for any other purpose.” Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, 18. (See also Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 193.)

A Blessing or a Curse

God is able to bless His people when they obey Him, but when they disobey they are under His curse. In the Old Testament, the Lord told His people that they were under a curse because they were not returning the tithe. Notice what it says in Malachi the third chapter. “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.”

God has a specific purpose for the tithe. Hundreds and thousands of laborers are needed, and God has provided for their support if men will simply listen to the divine instructions. “The Lord regards the tithe as His own, to be used for a certain purpose.…” It “should be used only, to sustain the ministers in new fields as well as in other places.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 193.

“Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in any emergency nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 247.

We are not to use the tithe haphazardly or just decide we are going to use it on some missionary project that we see fit. We are to look and see what the divine instruction is and follow it.

We must be careful that we do not use the tithe simply for things like church expense. Ellen White gave much counsel on this. She wrote, “The writers supposed that they were authorized to use the tithe-money in meeting the expenses of the church, as these expenses were quite heavy. From that which has been shown me, the tithe is not to be withdrawn from the treasury. Every penny of this money is the Lord’s own sacred treasure to be appropriated for a special use.” Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, Number 10, 12.

“I have been shown case after case where men are working in the ministry, who are just as deserving of their wages as those who are employed in the publishing houses, are left without sufficient means to support their families.…Let not those to whom are entrusted responsibilities, allow the treasury that God has appointed to sustain the ministers in the field, to be robbed to supply the expenses incurred in keeping in order and making comfortable the house of God..” Special Testimony to the Oakland and Battle Creek Churches, 11.

A Solemn Warning

In another place this startling warning is given.

“When the Lord’s portion which He has reserved as His own in tithes and offerings is used for common purposes while the church is displaying a love of self-indulgence and selfish gratification, the Lord will not, cannot bless churches and will withdraw His spirit from all who serve themselves and dishonor God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 185.

This is one of the most frightful statements in the Spirit of Prophecy about the tithe question. If we take the tithe and we misappropriate it, God will not and He cannot bless our churches and He will withdraw His spirit from them.

Is there any use in even having a church if you do not have God’s spirit there? Of course not, “for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.” Upward Look, 315. Do you realize, then, just how important it is that tithe be used for its divinely intended purpose?

“Those who have used the tithe money to supply the common necessities of the house of God, have taken the money that should go to sustain ministers in doing His work, in preparing the way for Christ’s second appearing. Just as surely as you do this work, you misapply the resources which God has told you to retain in His treasure house, that it may be full to be used in His service. This work is something of which all who have taken a part in should be ashamed. They have used their influence to withdraw from God’s treasury a fund that is consecrated to a sacred purpose. From those who do this, the blessing of the Lord will be removed.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 183. This is a serious matter. Tithe is sacred and we are not to take it and appropriate it to whatever project we deem best. Tithe is to be used to support the gospel ministry.

There is a desperate need among historic Adventists today for the churches to work together so that the tithe is used to enable gospel laborers to go forward. Because of a lack of New Testament organization, people do not know where to send their tithe, so they send it to this ministry or that ministry or it goes to this or that good project, but it is not distributed to the gospel workers in the field, as we are told, in the Spirit of Prophecy, that it should be. A reform must be made before the end of time. We cannot go into the kingdom the way we are right now because we are not in harmony with divine counsel in regard to tithes and offerings.

There is going to be a people who will follow God’s instruction. Maybe it will be just the poor people like the widow of Zarephath. But there is going to be a people that are going to listen to what God says and determine to follow it exactly, and they will receive a priceless blessing from the Lord. But God is not going to use people to finish His work that are taking His tithe and using it to sue the brethren or for all kinds of projects that He has not ordained. It is time for a reform. The question is, How is it going to be with you when the world closes up? Will you be under God’s blessing or under His curse? Part of that depends on how you spend your money and what you do with God’s tithe.

Unadulterated

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart.” Psalms 24:1–4.

God is looking for a pure people. A people who are totally His and who have the pure character of Christ, unmixed and unadulterated by the sins and practices of the world.

“When the character of the Saviour shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim His own.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 324. The reason Christ has not yet come is because His character has not been reproduced in us. It is still mixed with impurities that should not be there. But when we represent Christ and our homes represent Christ’s home, then He will come to receive us unto Himself. It is time, brethren and sisters, that we take the impurities out of our lives and out of our homes. Shall we do it?

Adulterations

From time to time we hear of government inspectors finding other things in hamburgers besides beef. Some hamburger chain is trying to cut down on its costs and so they find some cheaper substance to mix with their beef. It may be a soy product or it may be a pork product, but whatever it is it should not be there and it is against the law. For when a product is labeled as “hamburger,” that signifies that it is all beef. Any added alteration makes it an adulterated product. This is what the government inspectors call it.

When you add an alteration to what something is supposed to be, it becomes adulterated or an adulteration. The dictionary says adulterate means: “To make impure by mixing in a foreign or inferior substance.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 1974.

Thought Question:

If there is not a pattern or standard for a product (if there is no label), can you alter it? Can it become adulterated?

The Home Pattern

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:22–26.

“God would have our families symbols of the family in heaven. Let parents and children bear this in mind every day, relating themselves to one another as members of the family of God. Then their lives will be of such a character as to give to the world an object lesson of what families who love God and keep His commandments may be. Christ will be glorified; His peace and grace and love will pervade the family circle like a precious perfume.” Adventist Home, 17.

The family is a symbol of heaven. Can you think of another symbol of heaven that God has given to this earth? Hebrews 8:5 says, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:23.

The sanctuary that Moses built was patterned after the exact same object which the home is patterned after. They are both patterned after and are a symbol of heaven.

Thought Question:

If you made two copies of the same thing, would they resemble each other?

Our families are to be built upon heaven’s plan and this Divine Plan for our families is graphically illustrated in the sanctuary. In fact, as the home is copied after heaven, as illustrated in the sanctuary, the home becomes a miniature sanctuary itself: a place patterned after heaven so closely that it becomes a little heaven on earth where God meets with His children.

God said: “And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” Psalms 77:13.

“The subject of the sanctuary . . . should be clearly understood by the people of God.…Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.” The Great Controversy, 488.

God’s way, His Divine pattern, is found in the sanctuary. This is where He meets in a special way with His people. As our homes copy this pattern, they in-turn become miniature sanctuaries and God in-turn meets in a special way with its occupants there.

“From the sacredness which was attached to the earthly sanctuary, Christians may learn how they should regard the place where the Lord meets with His people. . . . The house is the sanctuary for the family.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 491.

Adventists used to be known as the Sabbath and Sanctuary people. The sanctuary was so important that it was the very first thing God presented and enjoined upon us as a people—even before the Sabbath message. We used to preach and preach and preach about the sanctuary, but now it has become almost a dead subject to some members.

Let us look at heaven’s pattern and maybe we will see some alterations that have been added in our families and in our homes.

The Sanctuary

Who was allowed in the different areas of the sanctuary?

Court…………………… Israelites

Holy Place ………………… Priests

Most Holy Place ……. High Priest

It is noteworthy to observe that the further into the sanctuary you go, the more beautiful, luxurious, and holy it becomes and the more exclusive it becomes. The Most Holy place was filled with gold and tapestries and exquisite workmanship which radiated with untold glory.

And what was it that kept other people out of the respective places? The veil. The veil was a curtain that hung in front of each compartment to keep people out who should not be in. The veil, or curtain, that was rent from top to bottom at the time of Christ’s death, signified that there was no more sanctity in the Most Holy Place. Without the veil, there was no sanctity or holiness! The veil kept out what was not supposed to be there. It kept out any added alteration: any adultery. The veil provided the protection that maintained the purity and holiness within.

No Guided Tours

Once upon a time there was a very good king in Judah. The Bible says that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 26:4. His name was Uzziah and because he was such a good king the Lord permitted him to reign a very long time and gave him prosperity all around. No king since Solomon had been so prosperous and no king had ruled longer. “He sought God…(and) God made him to prosper.” “And God helped him against the Philistines.…And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.” “And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.”
2 Chronicles 26:5, 7, 8, 15.

He was a professional. He was the king. He had rights and privileges which no one questioned. So one day, he decided he wanted a guided tour of the temple. He wanted to see what all was in there. He wanted to take part in its services. The priests, not seeming to understand his profession and authority, tried to dissuade him, but he would not be turned aside from his heart’s desire.

Uzziah took the “censer in his hand to burn incense . . . (and) leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense alter. . . . And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 26: 19, 21.

What a severe punishment! And for one who had been so good for so long! But God said there would be no guided tours of the holy sanctuary. Only certain people were to go beyond the veils and anyone else was an added alteration to God’s heavenly plan.

Thought Question:

Why were these curtains covering things up? Why were others not allowed to go in? Was it because there was something bad going on in there? Why was only the High Priest allowed in the Most Holy place? Was there something “dirty” and unholy about the service?

Answer:

No! It was quite the opposite. (There are doors that do cover up things because they are unholy and “dirty” but that is not the case here.) These veils formed a sacred enclosure. Within each enclosure was found a more intimate and personal relationship with God until the high priest himself, alone, stood personally face to face before God.

It was totally holy for the right people, but totally unholy for all others. But remember, the sanctuary is but a symbol of heaven and of heaven’s relationship with us (like the home is).

Each individual can have a sanctuary relationship with God. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 491.) Each individual can have the same personal relationship with God that the high priest illustrated. Each of us can enjoy all of God’s riches as though they were meant just for us. Each of us can receive the blessing of Christ’s sacrifice as though it was done just for us.

“The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.” Steps to Christ, 100. That is worth memorizing!

And as the sanctuary represents Christ’s plan of government—His love—for us, so our homes and families do the same thing. “Through the… deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He [God] has sought to reveal Himself to us.” Ibid., 10.

What are the “deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know?” Mrs. White says that “The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth.” The Ministry of Healing, 356.

As in the sanctuary, so there are certain expressions of love and service that are perfectly proper within the church but which would be improper outside of the church body—such as foot washing. This is represented by the court.

Within the family there is more intimacy and devotion that is sacred and holy—but only as it remains in the family. This is like the Holy Place of the sanctuary.

But it remains for the husband and wife to receive the full glory of intimacy—and only within the veil. Is this exclusiveness because there is something that is unholy about marriage and its ordinances of love and service? No, Paul says:

“Marriage is honourable in all [some religions teach that it is not], and the bed undefiled; but [he quickly adds] whoremongers and adulterers [ones that have added alterations to the marriage—added a person that should not be there] God will judge [as He did Uzziah].” Hebrews 13:4.

Within the Most Holy

Within the Most Holy Place of the family, God would teach us that we are to give our allegiance to only one. We are to be all to God and He will be all to us. And so there is to be only one man for each woman and only one woman for each man. They are to be all to each other. (See Adventist Home, 177; 1 Corinthians 7:3, 4.)

“For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to
his wife: And they twain (2) shall be
one flesh?” Matthew 19:5. (To see how this teaches us about God, read
John 17:21–23.)

Christ said that they twain shall be one. Not they three or they four but they twain. Any third party to this union is an added alteration that is contrary to the pattern (or label). Around this sacred institution God has placed a “sacred circle” to maintain its purity and any third person makes it impure.

Thought Question:

Who all are excluded from this principle? Kings? Professionals? Friends? Parents?

(For further reading, read what Mrs. White says about physicians preserving “those barriers of reserve [the sacred veil] that should exist between men and women” in Counsels on Health, 363–365.)

Around every married couple and around every family God has put a veil, a sacred circle, which must be preserved. “There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle. The husband and wife should be all to each other. The wife should have no secrets to keep from her husband and let others know, and the husband should have no secrets to keep from his wife to relate to others. The heart of his wife should be the grave for the faults of the husband, and the heart of the husband the grave for his wife’s faults. Never should either party indulge in a joke at the expense of the other’s feelings. Never should either the husband or wife in sport or in any other manner complain of each other to others, for frequently indulging in this foolish and what may seem perfectly harmless joking will end in trial with each other and perhaps estrangement. I have been shown that there should be a sacred shield around every family.

“The home circle should be regarded as a sacred place, a symbol of heaven, a mirror in which to reflect ourselves. Friends and acquaintances we may have, but in the home life they are not to meddle. A strong sense of proprietorship should be felt, giving a sense of ease, restfulness, trust.” Adventist Home, 177.

“And they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain; but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Matthew 19:5, 6. God formed the union between man and woman in the garden of Eden. It was one of the two sacred institutions that were established even before sin.

God made man and woman with certain essential characteristics which would draw them together into this circle of love—into partnership—into being one.

God made man to notice (his wife!)

God made woman to be noticed (by her husband!)

It is as this plan is carried out in the home that the two become one. This is sacred and holy within the Most Holy Place of the home. But God made this blending to be carried on between two people, only, and around these two people he has put a sacred veil. Any third party within this enclosure is an added person and is adultery.

Thought Question:

God made man to notice his wife. Would the husband noticing another woman be, in actuality, introducing a third party into the relationship—and therefore committing adultery?

Christ understood this principle (for He had established it). He said: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.

Have you ever wondered why Christ did not mention women looking at men, but only men looking at women? This is man’s special problem, not woman’s. When a woman looks at another man, she is hoping that he will notice her.

God put into man the desire to notice his wife and any third party is adultery. (And any “third party” attraction of the husband lessens the attraction he should have for his wife.)

And yet, just as Satan has perverted the Sabbath institution so he has perverted the marriage institution. The seventh commandment is just as rarely kept today as the fourth. But those who go to heaven will be keepers of the commandments; the seventh as well as the fourth.

All around the devil has attractions which lead men to look at and notice other women than their wives. The whole television industry is built upon immorality—upon showing attractive women to catch men’s attention. Immorality is so common today that we take it for granted. But the chosen, peculiar people of God are going to be a pure, unadulterated people; keepers of the seventh commandment. They are likened to virgins. (Revelation 14:4.)

But if any man is going to escape the corruption that is in the world, he is going to have to have a veil in front of his eyes! We will have to be as a people that have ears and hear not and have eyes and see not.

Christ said that if you do not have this veil in front of your eyes, it would be better to cut out your eyes—because that would be the only way that you could be saved.

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:29.

The television “eye” in the living room is more precious to many people than would be their own right eye. But most people, if they are ever going to be saved at all, are going to have to cut this eye out from their life—because most of us do not have a good enough veil to block all the “third party” sexuality that comes over the screen. (Plus there are other commandments that are broken on television.)

The beginning of Lucifer’s fall was the desire to invade the sacred veil that enshrouded the Father and the Son. He wanted to be included in their councils and to be a third party into their relationship. We must learn to respect the veil God has put around man and woman before we can be trusted in heaven.

A Woman’s Problem Too

Listen! Do you think this is only a man’s problem. No, it is just as much a woman’s problem but it is in a different area. Because God made man to notice and He made woman to be noticed. The woman’s problem is in seeking to be noticed rather than in noticing!

The man’s veil must be in front of his eyes, but the woman’s veil must be in front of her body and conduct. The woman’s dress and demeanor are her covering veil (not a wedding ring—that does not cover nearly enough).

“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. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.” 1 Peter 3:1–5.

Notice that after telling women to be subject to their “own husbands” Peter immediately goes into the dress question and into conduct and the “adorning” and “putting on of apparel” and “chaste conversation.” These are a woman’s veil.

And remember, did the veil around the temple say to “come in” or “stay out”? The woman must resist the attentions and attractions of “third party” men or she is allowing a third party into the marriage relation and is also committing adultery.

“Any woman who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will listen to his advances and whose ears will be pleased with the outpouring of lavish words of affection, of adoration, of endearment, is an adulteress and a harlot.” Testimonies to Ministers, 434.

Have you ever wondered why the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy talk so much about woman’s dress and not about man’s? It is for the same reason that the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy talk so much about man’s “eyes” and not about woman’s. They each have their particular veil to keep, in order to preserve the sanctity of the marriage. And the devil has made it equally hard on each of them.

Have you, as a man, ever wondered why women have such a problem with their dress—but do you always guard your eyes? Or do you as a woman ever wonder why men have such a problem with their eyes—and yet, you have not mastered the dress problem?

A woman’s demeanor and dress are her veil. What would you think of someone in the sanctuary taking a pair of scissors and cutting off some of the veil in front of the Most Holy Place? Think about it.

The Home Is a Symbol of Heaven

Let us now remember, that as the sanctuary is a symbol of heaven, so is the home. As in the home there is to be no “third party” in the marriage relation, so there is to be no third party in our relation with God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3.

God is all sufficient. He wants to be all to us (as the wife and husband are to be to each other. (Adventist Home, 177.) God wants us to have an exclusive relationship with Him only. No courting with the devil. No enticing glances. No attracting. No lust.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. It is time to break away from our besetting sins and become wholly married to God. Then He will come back and claim us as His own.

The Lord is waiting to reproduce His character in us and to reproduce His home in ours; to establish His sanctuary in our midst. “And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, [they will have sanctified homes], when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezekiel 37:28. When the sanctuary is reproduced in our homes and in our church, then Christ “will come to claim His own.”