Bible Study Guides – The End is Coming

August 25–August 31, 2002

Memory Verse: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:13.

Study Helps: Christ’s Object Lessons, 405–421; Evangelism, 694–697; The Desire of Ages, 627–636.

INTRODUCTION: “I am bidden to say to you that you know not how soon the crisis will come. It is stealing gradually upon us, as a thief. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God; men are pursuing their usual course of eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage; merchants are still engaged in buying and selling; publications are still issuing one upon another; men are jostling one against another, seeking to get the highest place; pleasure lovers are still attending theaters, horse races, gambling hells, and the highest excitement prevails; but probation’s hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. There are few who believe with heart and soul that we have a heaven to win and a hell to shun; but these show their faith by their works.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 413.

1 Does any one know the exact time of Jesus’ second coming? Mark 13:32; Matthew 24:36.

NOTE: “We are not to be engrossed with speculations in regard to the times and the seasons which God has not revealed. Jesus has told His disciples to ‘watch,’ but not for definite time. His followers are to be in the position of those who are listening for the orders of their Captain; they are to watch, wait, pray, and work, as they approach the time for the coming of the Lord; but no one will be able to predict just when that time will come . . . . You will not be able to say that He will come in one, two, or five years, neither are you to put off his coming by stating that it may not be for ten or twenty years. . . . We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.” Review and Herald, March 22, 1892.

2 What are we expected to know about the time of Christ’s return? Matthew 24:33.

NOTE: “Though no man knoweth the day nor the hour of His coming, we are instructed and required to know when it is near. We are further taught that to disregard His warning, and refuse or neglect to know when His advent is near, will be as fatal for us as it was for those who lived in the days of Noah not to know when the flood was coming.” The Great Controversy, 371.

3 With all the apparent delays of Christ’s return, what do Christians need and why? Hebrews 10:35–37.

NOTE: “It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness; He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But ‘they could not enter in because of unbelief.’ Hebrews 3:19. Because of their backsliding and apostasy they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the Promised Land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed and His people should remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God. As they refused to do the work which He had appointed them, others were raised up to proclaim the message. In mercy to the world, Jesus delays His coming, that sinners may have an opportunity to hear the warning and find in Him a shelter before the wrath of God shall be poured out.” The Great Controversy, 458.

4 Why were the angels commanded to hold the four winds? Revelation 7:1–3.

NOTE: “I [Ellen White] asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father, and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels, and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 102.

5 What experience should the saints be having during the delay of His coming? Matthew 25:1–13.

NOTE: “In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh,’ . . . many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit. . . .

“The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan. . . .” Reflecting Christ, 210.

6 How will the unbelievers react to the delay of Christ’s second coming? 2 Peter 3:3, 4.

NOTE: “The world, full of rioting, full of godless pleasure, is asleep, asleep in carnal security. Men are putting afar off the coming of the Lord. They laugh at warnings. The proud boast is made, ‘All things continue as they were from the beginning.’ ‘Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.’ 11 Peter 3:4; Isaiah 56:12. We will go deeper into pleasure loving. But Christ says, ‘Behold, I come as a thief.’ Revelation 16:15. At the very time when the world is asking in scorn, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?’ the signs are fulfilling. While they cry, ‘Peace and safety,’ sudden destruction is coming. When the scorner, the rejecter of truth, has become presumptuous; when the routine of work in the various money-making lines is carried on without regard to principle; when the student is eagerly seeking knowledge of everything but his Bible, Christ comes as a thief.” Maranatha, 34.

7 As the unbelievers scoff, in what may the believers be confident? Isaiah 46:13; Hebrews 10:37.

NOTE: “God designs that His people shall fix their eyes heavenward, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While the attention of worldlings is turned to various enterprises, ours should be to the heavens; our faith should reach further and further into the glorious mysteries of the heavenly treasure, drawing the precious, divine rays of light from the heavenly sanctuary to shine in our hearts, as they shine upon the face of Jesus. The scoffers mock the waiting, watching ones, and inquire: ‘Where is the promise of His coming? You have been disappointed. Engage now with us, and you will prosper in worldly things. Get gain, get money, and be honored of the world.’ The waiting ones look upward and answer: ‘We are watching.’ And by turning from earthly pleasure and worldly fame, and from the deceitfulness of riches, they show themselves to be in that position. By watching they become strong; they overcome sloth and selfishness and love of ease. Affliction’s fire kindles upon them, and the waiting time seems long. They sometimes grieve, and faith falters; but they rally again, overcome their fears and doubts, and while their eyes are directed heavenward, say to their adversaries: ‘I am watching, I am waiting the return of my Lord. I will glory in tribulation, in affliction, in necessities.’” Testimonies, vol. 2, 194, 195.

8 Why is God not willing to fulfill His promise to come immediately? 2 Peter 3:9, 10.

NOTE: “In mercy to the world, Jesus delays His coming, that sinners may have an opportunity to hear the warning.” The Great Controversy, 458.

9 What assurance does God give His people that His purpose has not failed? Habakkuk 2:1–4.

NOTE: “The faith that strengthened Habakkuk and all the holy and the just in those days of deep trial was the same faith that sustains God’s people today. In the darkest hours, under circumstances the most forbidding, the Christian believer may keep his soul stayed upon the source of all light and power. Day by day, through faith in God, his hope and courage may be renewed. ‘The just shall live by his faith.’ . . .

“We must cherish and cultivate the faith of which prophets and apostles have testified—the faith that lays hold on the promises of God and waits for deliverance in His appointed time and way. The sure word of prophecy will meet its final fulfillment in the glorious advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as King of kings and Lord of lords. . . .” Conflict and Courage, 242.

10 What instruction did Jesus give to His servants? Luke 12:35–40. Compare Mark 13:33–37.

NOTE: “Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man’s destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy’s offer to guilty men. ‘Watch ye therefore . . . lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.’ ” Sons and Daughters of God, 355.

11 What warning is given of putting far off the second coming? Matthew 24:48–51.

NOTE: “Those who are ‘do-nothings’ now will have the superscription upon them, ‘Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.’ They knew their Master’s will, but did it not. They had the light of truth, they had every advantage, but chose their own selfish interests, and they will be left with those whom they did not try to save.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 237.

12 How are we to employ our time until Jesus comes? Luke 19:13. Compare Matthew 24:45, 46.

NOTE: “God has left us in charge of His goods in His absence. Each steward has his own special work to do for the advancement of God’s kingdom. No one is excused. The Lord bids us all, ‘Occupy till I come.’ By His own wisdom He has given us direction for the use of His gifts. The talents of speech, memory, influence, property, are to accumulate for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. He will bless the right use of His gifts.” Counsels on Stewardship, 116.

“Belief in the near coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven will not cause the true Christian to become neglectful and careless of the ordinary business of life. The waiting ones who look for the soon appearing of Christ will not be idle, but diligent in business. Their work will not be done carelessly and dishonestly, but with fidelity, promptness, and thoroughness. Those who flatter themselves that careless inattention to the things of this life is an evidence of their spirituality and of their separation from the world are under a great deception. Their veracity, faithfulness, and integrity are tested and proved in temporal things. If they are faithful in that which is least they will be faithful in much.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 309.

Bible Study Guides – The Final Sign

August 18–August 24, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14.

STUDY HELPS: Christ’s Object Lessons, 225–237; Testimonies, vol. 8, 19–23; The Great Controversy, 603–612.

INTRODUCTION: “Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability. When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 111.

1 What great work did Christ say will be completed before He returns? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “Our work has been marked out for us by our heavenly Father. We are to take our Bibles and go forth to warn the world. We are to be God’s helping hands in saving souls—channels through which His love is day by day to flow to the perishing.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 150.

2 Why must everyone hear the gospel before probation closes? Romans 10:14.

NOTE: “But not one is made to suffer the wrath of God until the truth has been brought home to his mind and conscience, and has been rejected. There are many who have never had an opportunity to hear the special truths for this time. The obligation of the fourth commandment has never been set before them in its true light. He who reads every heart and tries every motive will leave none who desire a knowledge of the truth, to be deceived as to the issues of the controversy. The decree is not to be urged upon the people blindly. Everyone is to have sufficient light to make his decision intelligently.” The Great Controversy, 605.

3 What is the final message that is to be given to the world? Revelation 14:6–12.

NOTE: “God has given the messages of Revelation 14 their place in the line of prophecy, and their work is not to cease till the close of this earth’s history.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 804.

4 When and to what extent is the final message to be preached? Revelation 14:6.

NOTE: “The message of Revelation 14, proclaiming that the hour of God’s judgment is come, is given in the time of the end; and the angel of Revelation 10 is represented as having one foot on the sea and one foot on the land, showing that the message will be carried to distant lands, the ocean will be crossed, and the islands of the sea will hear the proclamation of the last message of warning. . . .” Maranatha, 18.

5 What will be the climax of the final message? Revelation 18:1.

NOTE: “The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. The advent movement of 1840–44 was a glorious manifestation of the power of God; the first angel’s message was carried to every missionary station in the world, and in some countries there was the greatest religious interest which has been witnessed in any land since the Reformation of the sixteenth century; but these are to be exceeded by the mighty movement under the last warning of the third angel.” The Great Controversy, 611.

“God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of his judgments these faithful ones must be called out, that they partake not of her sins and ‘receive not of her plagues.’ Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: ‘Come out of her, My people.’ These announcements, uniting with the third angel’s message, constitute the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth.” Ibid., 604.

6 What resulted from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost? Acts 2:41–43.

NOTE: “As they [the disciples] proclaimed the truth as it is in Jesus, hearts yielded to the power of the message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. Those who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions. The prophecy was fulfilled: The weak shall be ‘as David,’ and the house of David ‘as the angel of the Lord.’ Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of love and benevolence. One interest prevailed. One subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 19, 20.

7 How widely was the gospel proclaimed in apostolic times? Mark 16:20.

NOTE: “[Mark 16:20 quoted.] Notwithstanding the fierce opposition that the disciples met, in a short time the gospel of the kingdom had been sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 15.

8 How great a manifestation of Divine power are we to expect in the last days? Joel 2:28, 29.

NOTE: “If this prophecy of Joel met a partial fulfillment in the days of the apostles, we are living in a time when it is to be even more evidently manifest to the people of God. He will so bestow His Spirit upon His people that they will become a light amid the moral darkness; and great light will be reflected in all parts of the world. O that our faith might be increased, that the Lord might work mightily with His people (MS 49, 1908).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1175.

“I [Ellen White] heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. . . . I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, ‘It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.’” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 177.

9 What qualifications will those who give the last warning message have? 1 Corinthians 12:7–10.

NOTE: “The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. . . . All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised. . . .

“The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 327.

10 What urgency encompasses the final warning? Luke 14:23.

NOTE: “The things of this world are soon to perish. This is not discerned by those who have not been divinely enlightened, who have not kept pace with the work of God. Consecrated men and women must go forth to sound the warning in the highways and the byways. I urge my brethren and sisters not to engage in work that will hinder them from proclaiming the gospel of Christ. You are God’s spokesmen. You are to speak the truth in love to perishing souls.” Colporteur Ministry, 24.

11 What standard has God set for His people to reach to hasten Christ’s return? Matthew 5:48; Deuteronomy 13:18; 2 Peter 3:11, 12, 14.

NOTE: “God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. The living God has given in His holy law a transcript of His character. The greatest Teacher the world has ever known is Jesus Christ; and what is the standard He has given for all who believe in Him? [Matthew 5:48 quoted.] As God is perfect in His high sphere of action, so man may be perfect in his human sphere.

“The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness. There is opened before us a path of continual advancement. We have an object to reach, a standard to gain, which includes everything good and pure and noble and elevated. There should be continual striving and constant progress onward and upward toward perfection of character. . . .” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 365.

Bible Study Guides – Signs That Deceive

August 11–August 17, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” Mark 13:22.

STUDY HELPS: The Great Controversy, 593–626; Testimonies, vol. 1, 290–302.

INTRODUCTION: As the end approaches, Satan’s deceptions will increase in subtlety. His supreme effort will be directed against the remnant church, if only to nullify the great work God has commissioned it to do in preparation for Christ’s second coming. Many will be deceived, “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” They will “go out from us,” says Ellen G. White in Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library, vol. 1, 57. (See also Selected Messages, Book 2, 392.) It is therefore of the utmost importance that every member become familiar with Satan’s strategy and how to meet it, so as to be both forewarned and forearmed for the perils ahead. “Nothing disturbs Satan so much as our knowledge of his devices. If we feel our dangers we shall feel the need of prayer. . . .” Testimonies, vol. 3, 572.

1 What did Christ tell His disciples about last day deceptions? Mark 13:22, 23.

NOTE: “We shall all be severely tested. Persons who pretend to believe the truth will come to us and urge upon us erroneous doctrines, which will unsettle our faith in present truth if we pay heed to them. True religion alone will stand the test of the Judgment.” Review and Herald, December 2, 1884.

“Christ foretold that the going forth of deceivers would be accompanied with more danger to His disciples than would persecution.” Evangelism, 359.

2 How will the world be deceived in the last days? Revelation 12:9. Compare Revelation 19:20.

NOTE: “The enemy is preparing for his last campaign against the church. He has so concealed himself from view that many can hardly believe that he exists, much less can they be convinced of his amazing activity and power. They have to a great extent forgotten his past record; and when he makes another advance move, they will not recognize him as their enemy, that old serpent, but they will consider him a friend, one who is doing a good work. Boasting of their independence they will, under his specious, bewitching influence, obey the worst impulses of the human heart and yet believe that God is leading them. Could their eyes be opened to distinguish their captain, they would see that they are not serving God, but the enemy of all righteousness. They would see that their boasted independence is one of the heaviest fetters Satan can rivet on unbalanced minds.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 294.

3 What final delusion will Satan use? Matthew 24:5; Mark 13:21.

NOTE: “As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. . . . The shout of triumph rings out upon the air, ‘Christ has come! Christ has come!’ The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him. . . . In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. . . .

“Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive.” The Faith I Live By, 346.

4 How successful will this deception be? 1 Timothy 4:1.

NOTE: “It is difficult to hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end; and the difficulty increases when there are hidden influences constantly at work to bring in another spirit, a counterworking element, on Satan’s side of the question. In the absence of persecution, there have drifted into our ranks some who appear sound, and their Christianity unquestionable, but who, if persecution should arise, would go out from us. In the crisis, they would see force in specious reasoning that has had an influence on their minds. Satan has prepared various snares to meet varied minds. When the law of God is made void the church will be sifted by fiery trials, and a larger proportion than we now anticipate, will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Instead of being strengthened when brought into strait places, many prove that they are not living branches of the True Vine; they bore no fruit, and the husbandman taketh them away.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 368.

“As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. We need to make every effort to keep the way of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man. The Lord’s angels are appointed to keep strict watch over those who put their faith in the Lord, and these angels are to be our special help in every time of need. Every day we are to come to the Lord with full assurance of faith, and to look to Him for wisdom. . . . Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness.” God’s Amazing Grace, 201.

5 How will we recognize the true church? Revelation 12:17.

NOTE: “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.” Maranatha, 33.

6 What will be the outward appearance of many false religions? Matthew 7:15.

NOTE: “Public opinion favors a profession of Christianity. Little self-denial or self-sacrifice is required in order to put on a form of godliness and to have one’s name enrolled upon the church book. Hence many join the church without first becoming united to Christ. In this Satan triumphs. Such converts are his most efficient agents. They serve as decoys to other souls. They are false lights, luring the unwary to perdition. It is in vain that men seek to make the Christian’s path broad and pleasant for worldlings. God has not smoothed or widened the rugged, narrow way. If we would enter into life, we must follow the same path which Jesus and His disciples trod,—the path of humility, self-denial, and sacrifice.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 172.

7 How are we to know what is true and what is counterfeit? 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1–3.

NOTE: “Faith in a lie will not have a sanctifying influence upon the life or character. No error is truth, or can be made truth by repetition, or by faith in it. Sincerity will never save a soul from the consequences of believing an error. Without sincerity there is no true religion, but sincerity in a false religion will never save a man. I may be perfectly sincere in following a wrong road, but that will not make it the right road, or bring me to the place I wished to reach. The Lord does not want us to have a blind credulity, and call that the faith that sanctifies. The truth is the principle that sanctifies, and therefore it becomes us to know what is truth. We must compare spiritual things with spiritual. We must prove all things, but hold fast only that which is good, that which bears the divine credentials, which lays before us the true motives and principles which should prompt us to action. —Letter 12, 1890.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 56.

8 What standard should God’s people use to test every message? Isaiah 8:20. See also Mark 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

NOTE: “While conflicting doctrines and theories abound, the law of God is the one unerring rule by which all opinions, doctrines, and theories are to be tested.” The Great Controversy, 452.

9 Should we accept a prophet because he performs miracles? Deuteronomy 13:1–4.

NOTE: “We shall encounter false claims; false prophets will arise; there will be false dreams and false visions; but preach the Word, be not drawn away from the voice of God in His Word. Let nothing divert the mind. The wonderful, the marvelous, will be represented and presented. Through satanic delusions, wonderful miracles, the claims of human agents will be urged. Beware of all this.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 49.

10 Since there will be so many counterfeit Christs, how will Christians know it is really Jesus when He comes the second time? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Revelation 1:7.

NOTE: “Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of Christ’s advent. . . . Those who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the testimony of the Scriptures they will detect the deceiver in his disguise.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 443.

11 How thoroughly should Christians understand the reasons for their beliefs? 1 Peter 3:15.

NOTE: “The Lord desires that every soul who claims to believe the truth shall have an intelligent knowledge of what is truth. False prophets will arise and will deceive many. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken. Then does it not become everyone to understand the reasons for our faith?” Evangelism, 363, 364.

12 Why did Paul commend the Bereans? Acts 17:10, 11.

NOTE: “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.” The Great Controversy, 625, 626.

13 To whom does God promise protection in times of trial? Revelation 3:10.

NOTE: “He [Satan] can gain his object only as men voluntarily yield to his temptations. Those who are earnestly seeking a knowledge of the truth and are striving to purify their souls through obedience, thus doing what they can to prepare for the conflict, will find, in the God of truth, a sure defense. . . . He would sooner send every angel out of heaven to protect His people than leave one soul that trusts in Him to be overcome by Satan.” The Great Controversy, 560.

Bible Study Guides – Spiritualism Influences the World

August 4–August 10, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15.

STUDY HELPS: The Great Controversy, 511–562; 582–592.

INTRODUCTION: “The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593.

1 How were our first parents deceived into sin? Genesis 3:1–6.

NOTE: “The tempter often whispers that the Christian life is one of exaction, of rigorous duties; that it is hard to be on the watch continually, and there is no need of being so particular. It was thus that he deceived and overthrew Eve in Eden, telling her that God’s commands were arbitrary and unjust, given to prevent men from becoming free and exalted, like himself. Satan’s object is the same now as then. He desires to deceive and ruin us.” Youth’s Instructor, November 21, 1883.

2 How closely did the Egyptian magicians’ counterfeit resemble the real? Exodus 7:11, 12.

NOTE: “The magicians seemed to perform several things with their enchantments similar to those things which God wrought by the hand of Moses and Aaron. They did not really cause their rods to become serpents, but by magic, aided by the great deceiver, made them to appear like serpents, to counterfeit the work of God. Satan assisted his servants to resist the work of the Most High, in order to deceive the people, and encourage them in their rebellion. Pharaoh would grasp at the least evidence he could obtain to justify himself in resisting the work of God performed by Moses and Aaron. He told these servants of God that his magicians could do all these wonders. The difference between the work of God and that of the magicians was, one was of God, the other of Satan. One was true, the other false.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 184.

3 When God would not communicate with Saul, to whom did he turn? 1 Samuel 28:7, 13, 14.

NOTE: “When Saul inquired for Samuel, the Lord did not cause Samuel to appear to Saul. He saw nothing. Satan was not allowed to disturb the rest of Samuel in the grave, and bring him up in reality to the witch of Endor. God does not give Satan power to resurrect the dead. But Satan’s angels assume the form of dead friends, and speak and act like them, that through professed dead friends he can the better carry on his work of deception. Satan knew Samuel well, and he knew how to represent him before the witch of Endor, and to utter correctly the fate of Saul and his sons.” Conflict and Courage, 172.

“[In 1 Chronicles 10:13, 14] it is distinctly stated that Saul inquired of the familiar spirit, not of the Lord. He did not communicate with Samuel, the prophet of God; but through the sorceress he held intercourse with Satan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 683.

4 How do Satan and his evil angels deceive people? 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15.

NOTE: “God revealed to His servant the perils of the church in the last days. He writes, ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.’ [1 Timothy 4:2.]” Confrontation, 92.

“In the future, Satan’s superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 293.

5 In what likeness did the prophet describe the spirits that are to be in our day? Revelation 16:13.

NOTE: “We need to be anchored in Christ, rooted and grounded in the faith. Satan works through agents. He selects those who have not been drinking of the living waters, whose souls are athirst for something new and strange, and who are ever ready to drink at any fountain that may present itself. . . .” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1099.

“There will be seducing spirits and doctrines of devils in the midst of the church, and these evil influences will increase; but hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end.” Review and Herald, August 9, 1906.

6 How do these spirits deceive the whole world? Revelation 16:14.

NOTE: “Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: [Genesis 3:4, 5 quoted]. Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time. . . . [Revelation 16:13, 14 quoted.] Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God.” The Great Controversy, 561.

7 What deceptive miracles will be used by evil spirits? 2 Thessalonians 2:8–12. Compare Matthew 24:24.

NOTE: “It is fondly supposed that heathen superstitions have disappeared before the civilization of the twentieth century. But the word of God and the stern testimony of facts declare that sorcery is practiced in this age as verily as in the days of the old-time magicians. The ancient system of magic is, in reality, the same as what is now known as modern spiritualism. Satan is finding access to thousands of minds by presenting himself under the guise of departed friends. . . .

“The magicians of heathen times have their counterpart in the spiritualistic mediums, the clairvoyants, and the fortune-tellers of today. . . . Could the veil be lifted from before our eyes, we should see evil angels employing all their arts to deceive and to destroy. Wherever an influence is exerted to cause men to forget God, there Satan is exercising his bewitching power. . . . The apostle’s admonition to the Ephesian church should be heeded by the people of God today: ‘Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.’ Ephesians 5:11.” The Acts of the Apostles, 289, 290.

8 Why do Satan and his angels perform miracles? Revelation 13:13–15.

NOTE: “The time is at hand when Satan will work miracles to confirm minds in the belief that he is God. All the people of God are now to stand on the platform of truth as it has been given in the third angel’s message. All the pleasant pictures, all the miracles wrought, will be presented in order that, if possible, the very elect shall be deceived. The only hope for any one is to hold fast the evidences that have confirmed the truth in righteousness. Let these be proclaimed over and over again, until the close of this earth’s history.” Review and Herald, August 9, 1906.

9 For what purpose has Satan designed the last day miracles? Matthew 24:24, last part.

NOTE: “The time is coming when Satan will work miracles right in your sight, claiming that he is Christ; and if your feet are not firmly established upon the truth of God, then you will be led away from your foundation. The only safety for you is to search for the truth as for hid treasures. Dig for the truth as you would for treasures in the earth, and present the word of God, the Bible, before your Heavenly Father, and say, Enlighten me; teach me what is truth. . . . It is important that you continually search the Scriptures. You should store the mind with the word of God . . . .” Review and Herald, April 3, 1888.

10 How will the Christian respond to Satan’s deceptions? Isaiah 8:19, 20.

NOTE: “For thousands of years Satan has been gaining an experience in learning how to deceive; and to those who live in this age he comes with almost overwhelming power. Our only safety is found in obedience to God’s word, which has been given us as a sure guide and counselor. God’s people today are to keep themselves distinct and separate from the world, its spirit, and its influences.” Fundamentals of Education, 501.

“So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593.

11 To meet these deceptions, how are we to prepare? 2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 6:11–18.

NOTE: “Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided. They can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in His word; they can honor Him only as they have a right conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them. None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God’s immutable word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?” The Great Controversy, 593, 594.

Bible Study Guides – Signs in Society of Christ’s Soon Return

July 28–August 3, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” 3 John 1:11.

STUDY HELPS: Patriarchs and Prophets, 90–104; 156–170.

INTRODUCTION: “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.” Conflict and Courage, 41.

1 What type of social life will people have just before Christ’s return? Luke 17:26–28.

NOTE: “The same sins that brought judgments upon the world in the days of Noah, exist in our day. Men and women now carry their eating and drinking so far that it ends in gluttony and drunkenness. This prevailing sin, the indulgence of perverted appetite, inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah, and led to widespread corruption. Violence and sin reached to heaven. This moral pollution was finally swept from the earth by means of the flood.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 146.

2 What conditions existed before the Flood? Genesis 6:2, 5, 11–13.

NOTE: “This is inspired testimony respecting the state of society in the days of Noah,—an accurate description of the generation that perished in the waters of the flood. . . . The fear of God had well-nigh died out of the hearts of the children of men. Lawlessness was rife, and almost every conceivable sin was practiced. The wickedness of men was open and daring, and the cries of the oppressed reached to heaven. Justice was trampled in the dust. The strong not only disregarded the rights of the weak, but forced them to commit deeds of violence and crime.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, July 1, 1887.

3 What were the conditions in Sodom and Gomorrah? Ezekiel 16:49, 50.

NOTE: “The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was on account of their great wickedness. They gave loose rein to their intemperate appetites, then to their corrupt passions, until they were so debased, and their sins were so abominable, that their cup of iniquity was full, and they were consumed with fire from heaven.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, 121.

4 What did Paul say about the moral conditions of the last day? 2 Timothy 3:1, 3, 4, first part.

NOTE: “Perilous times are before us. Every one who has a knowledge of the truth should awake, and place himself, body, soul, and spirit, under the discipline of God. The enemy is on our track. We must be wide awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God.” Gospel Workers, 308.

“The picture which the apostle Paul has drawn of the professed people of God in the last days is a sad but faithful delineation of the popular churches of our time. . . . And in view of the frequent and startling revelations of crime, even among those that minister in holy things, who dare affirm that there is one sin enumerated by the apostle which is not concealed under a profession of Christianity?” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 239.

5 During this time, what is the reaction of young people to parental authority? 2 Timothy 3:2.

NOTE: “The sin of rebellion against parental authority, lies at the very foundation of the misery and crime in the world today.” The Faith I Live By, 269.

“One of the signs of the ‘last days’ is the disobedience of children to their parents. And do parents realize their responsibility? Many seem to lose sight of the watch care they should ever have over their children, and suffer them to indulge in evil passions and to disobey them.” Child Guidance, 229.

6 What will be the consuming interest of people living in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:4, last part.

NOTE: “One of the sins that constitute one of the signs of the last days, is that professed Christians are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Deal truly with your own souls. Search carefully. How few, after a faithful examination, can look up to Heaven and say, I am not one of those thus described. I am not a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God. How few can say, I am dead to the world; the life I now live is by faith of the Son of God. My life is hid with Christ in God, and when he who is my life shall appear, then shall I also appear with him in glory. The love and grace of God! Oh precious grace! more valuable than fine gold. It elevates and ennobles the spirit beyond all other principles. It sets the heart and affections upon Heaven. While those around us may be engaged in worldly vanity, pleasure-seeking, and folly, the conversation is in heaven, whence we look for the Saviour; the soul is reaching out after God for pardon and peace, for righteousness and true holiness. Converse with God, and contemplation of things above, transform the soul into the likeness of Christ.” Review and Herald, May 11, 1886.

7 From whom are we to turn away? 2 Timothy 3:5.

NOTE: “Pleasure-lovers may have their names upon the church-records, they may stand high as worldly-wise men; but they have no connection with Christ of Calvary. . . . Be not deceived by them, do not imitate their practices.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 295.

“Many have a form of godliness, their names are upon the church records; but they have a spotted record in heaven. The recording angel has faithfully written their deeds. Every selfish act, every wrong word, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling, is faithfully chronicled in the book of records kept by the recording angel.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 442.

8 What course will men take in these last days on earth? 2 Timothy 3:13.

NOTE: “We must make up our minds that instead of matters taking a more favorable turn, wicked men, seducing teachers, will grow worse and worse, deceiving themselves and deceiving others. We may expect greater opposition than has yet been experienced. . . . We must now make Christ our refuge, or in the days before us our souls will be overwhelmed with darkness and despair. There is a point beyond which human help cannot avail. Every one must live by faith as he is forced into close and apparently deadly conflict with the powers of darkness. Each must stand or fall for himself. The arrows of the destroyer are about to be hurled against the faithful ones, and no earthly power can turn aside the shaft. But could our eyes be opened we could see angels of God encircling the righteous, that no harm may come upon them. . . .” Our High Calling, 362.

9 How did the antediluvians reap the results of their wickedness? Genesis 6:7; 7:11, 19, 21, 22.

NOTE: “From the highest peaks men looked abroad upon a shoreless ocean. The solemn warnings of God’s servant [Noah] 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. . . . The avenging waters swept over the retreat, and the despisers of God perished in the black depths.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 100, 101.

10 What wickedness caused God to rain fire from heaven to destroy men? Genesis 13:13; 19:4, 5.

NOTE: “In Abraham’s day the people of Sodom openly defied God and His law; and there followed the same wickedness, the same corruption, the same unbridled indulgence, that had marked the antediluvian world. The inhabitants of Sodom passed the limits of divine forbearance, and there was kindled against them the fire of God’s vengeance.” Prophets and Kings, 297.

11 At the end of time, how will God again cleanse the earth? 2 Peter 3:10.

NOTE: “The hand of omnipotence is at no loss for ways and means to accomplish his purposes. He could reach into the bowels of the earth and call forth his weapons, waters there concealed, to aid in the destruction of the corrupt inhabitants of the old world. . . . Water will never destroy the earth again, but the weapons of God are concealed in the bowels of the earth which he will draw forth to unite with the fire from heaven to accomplish his purpose in the destruction of all those who would not receive the message of warning and purify their souls in obeying the truth and being obedient to the laws of God.” Signs of the Times, January 3, 1878.

12 What is the last message to be sent to our world? Revelation 14:6–12.

NOTE: “The Three Angels’ Messages are to be combined, giving their threefold light to the world. In the Revelation, John says, ‘I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.’ [Revelation 18:1.] . . . This represents the giving of the last and threefold message of warning to the world.” Maranatha, 173.

13 What message are we to be giving to the people who are in error about the true worship of God? Revelation 18:1–4.

NOTE: “Angels were sent to aid the mighty angel from heaven, and I heard voices which seemed to sound everywhere, [Revelation 18:4, 5 quoted]. This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844. The glory of God rested upon the patient, waiting saints, and they fearlessly gave the last solemn warning, proclaiming the fall of Babylon and calling upon God’s people to come out of her that they might escape her fearful doom.” Early Writings, 277, 278.

“Many of the honest in heart are gasping for a breath of life from heaven. They will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in the beauty and simplicity with which it is presented in God’s Word.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 110, 111.

Food for Life – Oatmeal Burgers

“Let several families living in a city or village unite and leave the occupations which have taxed them physically and mentally, and make an excursion into the country, to the side of a fine lake, or to a nice grove, where the scenery of nature is beautiful. They should provide themselves with plain, hygienic food, the very best fruits and grains, and spread their table under the shade of some tree or under the canopy of heaven. The ride, the exercise, and the scenery will quicken the appetite, and they can enjoy a repast which kings might envy.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 86, 87.


Oatmeal Burgers

3 cups rolled oats 

3 cups water 

1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos 

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 medium onion, chopped

1 4 oz can mushrooms

1/2 cup olives, sliced

Combine the rolled oats, water and Braggs Liquid Aminos; cook for five minutes. Add other ingredients and mix well. Form patties and place on cookie sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. 12–15 burgers.


2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 cups tomato purée

1 cup tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sweet basil

1/4–1/3 cup water

Mix all ingredients in saucepan, stirring well. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.


1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1–2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup soy mayonnaise

Dash parsley, chopped or dried

Dash garlic salt

Dash paprika

Stir all ingredients together until mixed well.


1 cup water

1/3 cup Soyagen

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dill weed

2/3 cup olive oil (May vary, the more oil the thicker the product.)

1–3 Tablespoons lemon juice (Depending on your taste.)

Place water and all dry ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Add oil slowly. When blended, add lemon juice. Let set in blender a minute then store in a covered container. Keep refrigerated.

Nature Nugget – Feathered Jewels

Hummingbirds, the second largest family of birds in the Western Hemisphere, are found from Patagonia at the southern tip of South America all the way north to Alaska. There are 338 species of hummingbirds, which range in size from the 2.5 inch Cuban Bee Hummingbird, the world’s smallest bird, to the 8.5 inch Giant Hummingbird of the Andes Mountains in South America. Not only are hummingbirds the smallest birds in the world, many weigh less than a penny, they are also among the most colorful and are often referred to as “feathered jewels.”

Hummers, as they are frequently called, are the only birds that can fly backwards. They can even fly upside down! Famous for their aerial acrobatics, they are capable of all flight maneuvers except soaring.

Hummingbirds can beat their wings up to an incredible 78 beats per second. Because of this, hummingbirds burn up energy very quickly. To supply their high energy needs, hummingbirds feed mainly on nectar from flowers and consume about 50 percent of their weight in sugar daily. They also feed on small invertebrates such as insects and spiders, which supply them with protein, minerals, vitamins, and fats. When flowers are scarce, they can survive for short periods of time on just invertebrates. Some have learned to feed on honeydew excreted by certain insects. Hummingbirds also visit sap wells created by sapsuckers on trees, feeding on the insects trapped there and possibly on the sugary sap as well.

Hummingbird bills come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are adapted to the particular feeding habits of each species. They can be straight or decurved or even curved upward and may be red, yellow, or black in color. Hummingbirds feed with their tongues, using a licking motion at a rate of about 13 licks per second. Their tongues are very long and can be greatly extended, if needed, when feeding.

The gaudy colors of hummingbirds are caused by two things: pigments and feather structure. The iridescent colors, such as red, green, and violet, are structural and are caused by light refraction or interference. Refraction is what causes rainbow colors when light passes through a prism. Interference is what causes the colors on thin films such as soap bubbles and oil slicks. These structural colors are especially represented in the hummingbird’s gorget and crown.

To get an idea of the incredible variety of jewel-like colors found on hummingbirds, consider their names: Ruby Topaz, Flame-rumped Sapphire, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Garnet-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Jewelfront, Horned Sungem, and Purple-throated Mountain-gem, to name a few.

God’s word speaks of jewels. Solomon says, “. . . lips of knowledge are a precious jewel” (Proverbs 20:15) and “the lips of the wise disperse knowledge . . .” (Proverbs 15:7). In Proverbs 3:13–15 he speaks of wisdom and understanding as being better than silver and gold and more precious than rubies.

But how do we get wisdom, knowledge, and understanding? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. “. . . of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2, 3. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, . . . and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” James 1:5, 6. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.

Restoring the Temple – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

When a friend suggested I do a series on the systems of the body, I was delighted with the idea, since biology is one of my favorite subjects. The articles in this series will cover each of the 11 systems of the body. My goal is to present the information in a way that can be easily understood. Obviously, there is no way to thoroughly explore a system in the space of two pages; a room of books could be devoted to a system and not repeat itself. I will, however, do my best to outline the basic anatomy and physiology of each system, in a way that glorifies the Designer.

What are organ systems? Cells that are alike group together and form tissues; tissues unite to form organs; organs work together to form systems. (See Table 1.) The systems function interdependently. For example, the circulatory system cannot perform its job of moving blood, nutrients, and waste through the blood vessels, without the nervous system, which sends signals to the heart to pump. The reproductive system cannot produce a baby without the endocrine system’s hormones signaling when and where and how fast to grow that new life. How could the bones move without muscles? How could the muscles move without bones?

Need more help to understand what anatomy and physiology are? Think of two scientists, one an anatomist and the other a physiologist. They are asked to examine a truck. The anatomist starts measuring and photographing each part of the truck: the chassis, the catalytic converter, the screw holding the cup holder in place. The physiologist is somewhat interested in these parts as well, but only as they relate to the function of the truck. What the physiologist does, is measure the torque applied to the wheels, how energy is transformed to movement from the spark to the moving piston, and so forth.

How does all this fit in a column labeled “Restoring the Temple”? Ellen White, an enlightened individual in a relatively unenlightened era, understood the relationship between hygiene—or health—and God’s creature: “It is well that physiology is introduced into the common schools as a branch of education. All children should study it. It should be regarded as the basis of all educational effort. And then parents should see to it that practical hygiene be added. This will make their knowledge of physiology of practical benefit. Parents should teach their children by example that health is to be regarded as the chiefest earthly blessing. They cannot do this while the love of money and of display is made of greater consequence than the health of their children.” The Health Reformer, November 1, 1871.

“The study of anatomy, the form and structure of the body; of physiology, the use and functions of the various organs; and of hygiene, the laws that underlie their healthful activities, is pursued from a Biblical and scientific point of view.” Review and Herald, October 11, 1898.

When I took the Cell Biology class in college, I was saddened when my instructor said that although she personally believed in creation she was required by the school to teach evolution. I remember my dad telling me, before I entered college, to be careful because evolution would be taught. It is a credit to my Christian upbringing that my dad need not have worried! Not only did I not fall prey to the fallacy of Darwinism, but the more I studied science, the more I believed in creation. How could this wondrous, fabulously complex organism they called Homo sapien, be an accident of nature? It became clear to me that a Master Designer is directly involved with not only creating the life but second-by-second maintenance of each one of our bodies. Does not the Bible say that He sustains our every breath? (See Job 12:10; Matthew 10:30.)

Consider homeostasis. Homeostasis is the word scientists use to mean that the body maintains itself in equilibrium. What does that mean? God made your body to know how to keep warm but not too warm; to maintain a blood pH that is slightly alkaline, not slightly acidic; to make sure you have enough fluid to keep things running properly, but not so much that you could literally drown; to make sure your cells have enough energy in the form of glucose to keep you alive, but not so much to kill you; to make sure you have enough potassium to maintain nerve function and muscle control, but not so much that it stops your heart, and so on, ad infinitum. Isn’t it beautiful?

Consider the building block of the body: the cell. There are 50–75 trillion cells in the body, and each second 6 trillion functions take place in each of them. (See The New York Public Library Science Desk Reference, Macmillan, New York, NY, 1995, 151.) There are cells so tiny that a million can fit in the period at the end of this sentence. The largest are about the size of that period. Cells have various life spans. The cells of the colon and stomach live only 4–5 days; red blood cells live about 125 days; brains cells last your lifetime. (See Ibid.)

So are we merely a product of evolution? Do we share the same ancestor as the slug and the goat and the dandelion? I think not! So eloquently and simply, Mrs. White put it: “Akin to the theory concerning the evolution of the earth is that which attributes to an ascending line of germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds the evolution of man, the crowning glory of the creation. . . . Shall we, for the privilege of tracing our descent from germs and mollusks and apes, consent to cast away that statement of Holy Writ, so grand in its simplicity, ‘God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him’? Genesis 1:27. Shall we reject that genealogical record,—prouder than any treasured in the courts of kings,—‘which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God’? Luke 3:38.” Education, 130.

It is a mystery! We cannot understand how God spoke, and it was so. It is “so grand in its simplicity.” We truly are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and perhaps in understanding a miniscule portion of the created, it will provide us with a greater respect for the Creator.

Inspiration – Teaching From Nature

Christ employed the things of nature to illustrate divine truth. He bade them speak, that man might heed the voice of God. He used as object-lessons the flowers He had created, and the things of the animal world. Under His teaching, nature utters her voice to declare the wonderful works of God, and to reprove man’s unbelief and his forgetfulness of his constant dependence upon the Creator.

“Take no thought for your life,” Christ said, “what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” Consider the ravens. They neither sow nor reap; but they act the part God designed them to act, and He takes care of them. And will not that God who has given man all that he has, keep him in health and strength if he complies with the conditions by obedience to the laws of his being?

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature,” Christ asked. “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Let the lily, beautifully tinted and gracefully formed by the great Master-Artist, surpassing in its loveliness the artificial adorning of Solomon, teach us the lesson of simplicity and faith.

The lesson book of nature is open to all. When men and women cease trying to counter-work the purposes of Divinity; when they place themselves under the discipline of grace, they will see that they have a work to do in becoming conversant with plant and animal life. If less time were devoted to the preparation of elaborate meals for the gratification of appetite, and more time spent in the contemplation of God’s works in nature, men and women would be better fitted to serve their Creator.

God has entrusted human beings with talents. He has given men and women intellect, that they may study His dealings with them. All have the privilege of knowing the only true God, whom to know aright is life eternal. Shall we, then, follow our own inclinations, and indulge our inherited and cultivated tendencies to wrong, without reference to God’s word? The birds of the air, guided by instinct, are obedient to the laws that govern their life. But the beings formed in God’s image fail to honour Him by obeying His laws. By disregarding the laws which govern the human organism, they disqualify themselves for serving God. God sends them warnings to beware of how they dishonour Him by breaking the laws which govern their bodies; but habit is strong, and they will not heed.

The swallows and the cranes observe the changes of the season. To find a suitable clime, they migrate from one country to another, as God designed they should. But men and women sacrifice life and health in seeking to gratify appetite. In their desire to accumulate earthly treasure, they forget the Giver of all their blessings. They abuse their health, and use their powers to carry out their unsanctified, ambitious projects. Their days are filled with pain of body and disquietude of mind because they are determined to follow wrong habits and practices. They will not reason from cause to effect, but sacrifice health, peace, and happiness to their ignorance.

The wise man addresses the indolent in these words: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise; which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her fruit in the harvest.”

The habitations which the ants build for themselves show wonderful skill and perseverance. Only one little grain at a time can they handle, but by diligence and perseverance they accomplish wonders. Solomon points to their industry as a reproach to those who waste their hours in sinful idleness, or in practices which corrupt soul and body. The ant prepares for future seasons. This lesson is, by many gifted with reasoning powers, entirely disregarded. They fail entirely to prepare for that future life which God has secured for those of the fallen race who are obedient to Him.

Stones have frequently been used as memorials of God’s dealing with His people. Joshua, knowing that the time of his service as the visible leader of the children of Israel was about to end, gathered the people together, and caused them to renew their covenant with their Maker. Then he “wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. Behold, he said, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord, which He spake unto us. It shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.”

None have an excuse for misusing their powers. Such misuse robs God of the service He demands. By creation and by redemption man is the Lord’s. The qualities with which he has been endowed shows how high an estimate the Lord places on human beings. He has given every man his work. Every youth, every child, has a work to do in accordance with the Lord’s revealed will. No one can waste his opportunities and privileges without robbing God. How can we ignore the responsibilities which rest upon us? The sun, the moon, the stars, the rocks, the flowing stream, the broad restless ocean, all teach lessons that we would do well to heed. Shall we not learn from God’s great book of nature that He bestows His love, mercy, and grace on us every moment of our lives, that in turn we may serve Him and our fellow-men? Bible Echo, August 7, 1899.

The Consecrated Way, Part V – Godliness

Things are happening right now that Seventh-day Adventists have pondered and thought about for decades. Now the wheels are turning at a rapid pace, bringing those things into fruition that, before, we could only see in seed form.

When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, He had great expectations for them, but a fracturing took place because of sin. The character development of that noble creature whom God had created was changed from that point forward. I believe that it was God’s purpose that the plan of salvation occur in a shorter period of time. God never wanted pain and suffering and sorrow to go on the way that it has over these long centuries.

The words of Jeremiah ring true, nonetheless, when he says that the human heart is desperately wicked and who can know it. (See Jeremiah 17:9.) God made grace available in such abundance that if man would have responded to the call of God, this whole thing could have been shortened.

Blindness Covers the Land

There is a blindness that has taken over the whole world. It is not a physical blindness; it is a psychological blindness. We do not want to see what truth is all about. As a result, we turn to fables. This is exactly what has brought us to the point where we are today. The extreme blindness that the devil has perpetrated upon human beings causes them to do such heinous acts as happened at the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001.

Where does that leave us? How do we fit into the whole scheme of what is transpiring? We can become aroused to the physical state of things that have been transpiring—we can become aroused spiritually. These occurrences are not necessarily designed by God to create within us a patriotic fervor, although that is not to be condemned.

Jesus Calls Us

More than anything else, God wants to redeem man—bringing him out of the carnage that he himself has created. God has a plan for that.

We realize that there is not going to be a golden millenium on this earth, but at the same time we long for the kingdom of heaven. In reading the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, a message keeps coming through over and over again. That message is God saying to us, I want you to respond to the offers that I have made to help you.

In Christ’s Object Lessons is the message of the restoration of character that was fractured because of sin: “God requires perfection of His children. His law is a transcript of His own character, and it is the standard of all character. This infinite standard is presented to all that there may be no mistake in regard to the kind of people whom God will have to compose His kingdom. The life of Christ on earth was a perfect expression of God’s law, and when those who claim to be children of God become Christlike in character, they will be obedient to God’s commandments. Then the Lord can trust them to be of the number who shall compose the family of heaven. Clothed in the glorious apparel of Christ’s righteousness, they have a place at the King’s feast. They have a right to join the blood-washed throng.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 315. [Emphasis supplied.]

God cannot take us to heaven while we have an unrestored, fractured character. This is the reason why God, through the Holy Spirit, inspired the apostle Peter to pen the words that we have been studying now for several months—the ladder, or restoration of the fractured character.

We all realize that the time of the end is upon us. So what is the crucial message that needs to be shared for this hour that will help us the most?

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.” 11 Peter 1:3–6.

How is Your Foundation?

If the terrorists had been climbing this ladder, we never would have experienced what happened on September 11. Godliness leads us to god-likeness. Up to this point we have discovered that Peter has been laying the groundwork for Christian character development.

In the construction of a home there is need for laying a proper foundation—concrete, block, bricks—so that the home can rest on something that is solid and firm. We do not pay too much attention to the foundation once it is laid. We give more attention to the building itself. When you drive down any street in a city, you begin to look at the countryside, at the buildings that are there. You do not look to see the foundation; you notice the building itself. The foundation is very important, but once it has been laid, it is finished. There is no need to consider it again, until it becomes apparent that the foundation is becoming weak or is starting to disintegrate entirely. Then attention needs to be given it again. This is the point we have reached on this rung of the ladder.

Godliness, is part of the structure that is visible in the life. Godliness is not the foundation. Godliness is built on the items that have gone before.

The word used by Peter comes from the combination of two Greek words, eu which means well, and sebomai which means to revere or worship. Putting these two words together we end up with a definition that means piety, which is characterized by a godward attitude, doing that which is well pleasing to God.

Ellen White talks a lot about piety—the right kind of piety and a false kind of piety. The piety to which Peter refers is characterized by a godward attitude, which is well pleasing to God. There are two types of godliness spoken of in the Bible. One is called a form of godliness and the other is true godliness.

Heart Rescue

True godliness and false godliness are at direct odds with one another. This theme is outlined in The Great Controversy—Satan, who is the counterfeit of godliness, having only a form, which he uses to snare unsuspecting souls, and Christ, who is the very essence of godliness, which leads to eternal life.

The apostle Paul talks about this, and in this context he is talking about the inward workings of the heart. We are looking at heart rescue. “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” 11 Timothy 3:1–4.

Having a Form of Godliness

Paul goes on to outline the prevailing sins of the time and finally says that all of this can be done in a setting where there is “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Verse 5. Along with all those who are in obvious disobedience to the things of God, Paul says, there will be those who appear to be god-like from the outside, yet who are involved in wrong things. It is outward godliness only. They have a form of godliness, but they will not have the power.

In other words, they believe in Jesus Christ, as a person. They believe that He is the Saviour; they believe that He is God in the flesh, but they will deny the power, which means that they will not be obedient, because power gives obedience. You can believe all you want to believe and still be lost because there is no power. Power is that which gives strength for obedience. What happens as a result of having a form of godliness but no power? You become a hypocrite.

A hypocrite is a person who recognizes the claims of God on his life, but accepts them only on pretense. They know better and could have victory if they would appeal to Christ for help, but they want to keep their pet sins and still have the benefits of church fellowship.

Paul says to Timothy, “Do not have anything to do with these folk who are of a hypocritical nature, turn away from them.” Those are hard words, are they not? Where do you suppose we would be in our whole setting of Christianity if even just that counsel had been followed?

There are likely many who would become offended and walk away, but the church would be stronger because of it. The Christian walk is not an easy walk. Jesus warned that it is a narrow way. (See Matthew 7:14.) It is uphill; it is rugged, and it is a struggle all the way. But when you reach the top of the mountain, you can look over into the Promised Land and swing across on the cord of faith. (See Testimonies, vol. 2, 594–597.)

Pet Sins

The person who has only a form of godliness is often consciously and deliberately a hypocrite. He maps out the road to heaven; he knows it well. He has studied the signposts, and he knows the course of the highway. He can talk about the promises, but he has his little pet sins snuggly tucked in a corner of his heart, and he is not willing to part with them. A form of godliness but no power.

Even individuals in leadership positions may have pet sins they are trying to overcome. I heard a preacher say one time, from a Seventh-day Adventist pulpit, that he had his cherished sins written in the front leaf of his Bible in a foreign language shorthand, so if someone picked up his Bible and looked through it, nobody but himself would probably be able to read them.

If we have a cherished pet sin, there is a way to get rid of that sin. We need to confess it, ask the Lord to take it away from us—not only the sin but also the taste and the desire for it. If we are operating by faith, the Lord has promised to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Timothy must have had a special problem with people who were professing but not living the example, because Paul wrote to him twice about such problems. He says, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:1–5.

What Are We Doing Here?

We, as Seventh-day Adventists, have probably not followed that counsel as closely as we should. Sometimes we have been involved in disputings and evil surmisings and doting about questions and strife of words, railings and what have you, calling it godliness. That is not godliness according to the Bible. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Verses 6–10.

The Lord knows that we have need of material things in order to maintain life, but it is when we lose sight of the reason we are here that the problem develops. Abraham, who was the father of the faithful, was a very rich person, but everything was held in its proper perspective. All too many are constantly reaching for more material things but are never satisfied and, of course, that is where the problem lies.

This was the problem with Judas. Judas had a form of godliness but no power. Mrs. White says, “Judas professed to be a disciple of Christ, but he possessed only a form of godliness. He was not insensible to the beauty of the character of Christ; and often, as he listened to the Saviour’s words, conviction came to him, but he would not humble his heart or confess his sins.” Acts of the Apostles, 557, 558.

If Judas had a Bible, he could have had his sins written in the front cover, maybe in Arabic shorthand so nobody else would be able to read them. “By resisting the divine influence he dishonored the Master whom he professed to love. . . . The practice of the truths that Christ taught was at variance with his desires and purposes, and he could not bring himself to yield his ideas in order to receive wisdom from heaven. Instead of walking in the light, he chose to walk in darkness. Evil desires, covetousness, revengeful passions, dark and sullen thoughts, were cherished until Satan gained full control of him.” Ibid.

Wanting the Best of Both Worlds

Judas was blessed with opportunity. He walked and talked with Jesus face to face. He saw Jesus perform miracles, yet he had only a form of godliness, a form that had no power to prevent Satan from gaining control. All the while Judas was in the presence of power, he coveted the riches of this world, thinking that it would gain him godliness. Just a form, wearing a mask—being a hypocrite—believing one thing and consciously doing something else and believing that the two were compatible.

It is sad to say that there are many people today who are living just like Judas. They want the best of both worlds. They know just enough about Christ to come to church week by week, but never enough for them to have the corresponding works that give evidence and testimony that there is power in their lives. They are ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth that will change them completely.

Many Christians, even Seventh-day Adventist Christians, think that if they hear the latest message, the up-to-date events, somehow that will change their character and they will be saved in the kingdom of heaven. But they do not climb the ladder that is necessary for them to climb.

Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. We have that somewhat as our history, as the legacy of Seventh-day Adventists, because we have capitalized on last day events to the neglect of character development. Is it wrong to know about last day events? Not at all, but we also need to know what God requires of us in terms of character development.

Stripping Away the Mask

All those things that are contrary to the character development that God has outlined for us in His word need to be eliminated from our lives. Those things that are to be cut away we are responsible for choosing to cut away. We cannot serve two masters. We learn to love one and hate the other. (See Matthew 6:24.) This was spoken by Jesus 2,000 years ago, tested by tens of thousands over the years, proven to be true, and yet the nature of the human heart prompts each generation to question, to try, to test, causing multitudes to lose their souls just like Judas did.

We need to ask ourselves when are we ever going to learn to let God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, strip away the mask of hypocrisy and clean up our act so that the testimony of God can be seen in the lives of His disciples? That is what God is waiting for. He does not want lip service; He wants the real thing.

Judas’ form of godliness is contrasted with true godliness as expressed in the life of the apostle John. Both were disciples of Jesus. Both started out from the same city. John was called one of the Sons of Thunder. Judas and John both had problems. We all have problems. The question is how are we going to deal with our problems? Are we going to become like Judas and have dark and sullen thoughts relative to the problem, or are we going to allow the very presence and power of God to help us to overcome those problems? Judas and John, a Son of Thunder, oh, what different roads they took.

“In the life of the disciple John true sanctification is exemplified. During the years of his close association with Christ, he was often warned and cautioned by the Saviour; and these reproofs he accepted.” The Acts of the Apostles, 557. What about Judas? When warnings and reproofs would come, he would get dark and sullen. That was the problem.

Yielded to His Will for Us

John was just the opposite. He was grateful to the Lord. “As the character of the Divine One was manifested to him, John saw his own deficiencies, and was humbled by the revelation. Day by day, in contrast with his own violent spirit, he beheld the tenderness and forbearance of Jesus, and heard His lessons of humility and patience. Day by day his heart was drawn out to Christ, until he lost sight of self in love for his Master. The power and tenderness, the majesty and meekness, the strength and patience, that he saw in the daily life of the Son of God, filled his soul with admiration.” Ibid.

Have you noticed some of the same character traits that we have been studying in the ladder are coming up in the Spirit of Prophecy as Mrs. White outlines these things over and over again? “He yielded his resentful, ambitious temper to the molding power of Christ, and divine love wrought in him a transformation of character.” Ibid. She goes on to say that John and Judas are representatives of those who profess to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Both these disciples had the same opportunities to study and follow the divine Pattern. Both were closely associated with Jesus and were privileged to listen to His teaching.” Ibid., 558. Both of them had serious character defects, but they also both had access to the same divine grace that could transform their characters to become like His. While John was learning, in humility, about Jesus, Judas was a hearer only, not a doer of the word. He had a form of godliness, but no power. John was daily dying to self, overcoming sin, being sanctified by the truth, developing true godliness and Judas was “resisting the transforming power of grace and indulging [in] selfish desires.” Ibid. Eventually he was brought into bondage, totally and completely, to the devil.

Lord, Is It I?

At the last supper Jesus sat with His 12 disciples, and the pronouncement was made: “One of you is going to betray me.” They all turned around and began to look at one another and ask the question, “Is it I?” Do you know something? John even asked a question—He questioned, “Lord, who is it?” (See John 13:21–25; Matthew 26:20–25.) John had come to a point in his experience with the Lord Jesus Christ that he knew what his relationship was to Jesus. The others apparently did not. If there is anything that true godliness teaches, it is that we can only realize true contentment as we reach out to our Lord and let Him be to us all that is necessary for our life on this earth. We need to have the faith with which He will provide us. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us [whom Jesus called Sons of Thunder, sons of violence], that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1–3.

This is the last testimony from a man who started out as a Son of Thunder, who had undergone a transformation and who now understands that he has become a son of God. I do not know of anything that could inspire someone to greater fidelity than to have the consciousness of who you are become aware to you, to realize and to understand to the fullest extent what you have become, a child of God.

This is the appeal of Scripture. Over and over again it appeals to the hearts of men. Although John never mentions the word godliness in his writings, he certainly understood the principle that produces it—beholding. As Paul puts it, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2.

—To be continued. . .