Bible Study Guides – Hebrews 11:31–40

August 23, 2003 – August 29, 2003

Memory Verse

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 11 Peter 3:9.

Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 39, 40.


“Often those who suffer reproach or persecution for their faith are tempted to think themselves forsaken by God. In the eyes of men they are in the minority. To all appearance their enemies triumph over them. But let them not violate their conscience. He who has suffered in their behalf, and has borne their sorrows and afflictions, has not forsaken them.

“The children of God are not left alone and defenseless. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence. Prayer has ‘subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire’—we shall know what it means when we hear the reports of the martyrs who died for their faith—‘turneth to flight the armies of the aliens.’ Hebrews 11:33, 34.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 172.

1 How was it that Rehab was saved from the fate that befell Jericho? Hebrews 11:31.

note: “The advancing hosts of Israel found that knowledge of the mighty workings of the God of the Hebrews had gone before them, and that some among the heathen were learning that He alone was the true God. In wicked Jericho the testimony of a heathen woman was, ‘The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.’ Joshua 2:11. The knowledge of Jehovah that had thus come to her, proved her salvation. By faith ‘Rahab perished not with them that believed not.’ Hebrews 11:31. And her conversion was not an isolated case of God’s mercy toward idolaters who acknowledged His divine authority.” Prophets and Kings, 369.

2 In what did Rahab have faith? Joshua 2:9–11.

note: “It was God’s purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel men should be drawn unto Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God were to unite themselves with His chosen people. As the numbers of Israel increased, they were to enlarge their borders until their kingdom should embrace the world.” Prophets and Kings, 19.

3 What other ancients “obtained a good report” through faith? Hebrews 11:32.

note: “These examples of human steadfastness bear witness to the faithfulness of God’s promises—of His abiding presence and sustaining grace. They testify to the power of faith to withstand the powers of the world.” Conflict and Courage, 369.

4 What did these individuals accomplish through faith? Hebrews 11:33, 34.

note: “The great military commander conquers nations, and shakes the armies of half the world; but he dies of disappointment, and in exile. The philosopher who ranges through the universe, everywhere tracing the manifestations of God’s power, and delighting in their harmony, often fails to behold in these marvelous wonders the hand that formed them all. ‘Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.’ [Psalm 49:20.] No hope of glorious immortality lights up the future of the enemies of God. But those heroes of faith have the promise of an inheritance of greater value than any earthly riches,—an inheritance that will satisfy the longings of the soul. They may be unknown and unacknowledged by the world, but they are enrolled as citizens in the record books of heaven. An exalted greatness, an enduring, eternal weight of glory, will be the final reward of those whom God has made heirs of all things.” Gospel Workers (1892), 26.

5 What is one of the things accomplished by faith which should especially encourage us? Hebrews 11:34, middle part.

note: “Faith such as this [out of weakness made strong] is needed in the world today—faith that will lay hold on the promises of God’s word and refuse to let go until Heaven hears. Faith such as this connects us closely with Heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. . . . Through faith we today are to reach the heights of God’s purpose for us. ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’ Mark 9:23.” Prophets and Kings, 157.

6 Under what conditions are the grace and strength of Christ shown in perfection? 11 Corinthians 12:9.

note: “We need to trust in Jesus daily, hourly. He has promised that as our day is, our strength shall be. By His grace we may bear all the burdens of the present and perform its duties. But many are weighed down by the anticipation of future troubles. They are constantly seeking to bring tomorrow’s burdens into today. Thus a large share of all their trials are imaginary. For these, Jesus has made no provision. He promises grace only for the day. He bids us not to burden ourselves with the cares and troubles of tomorrow; for ‘sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’ [Matthew 6:34.]” Testimonies, vol. 5, 200.

7 What did the faith of the ancients lead them to endure? Hebrews 11:35–38.

note: “Centuries of fierce persecution followed the establishment of the Christian church, but there were never wanting men who counted the work of building God’s temple dearer than life itself. Of such it is written: [Hebrews 11:36–38 quoted].

“The enemy of righteousness left nothing undone in his effort to stop the work committed to the Lord’s builders. But God ‘left not Himself without witness.’ Acts 14:17.” The Acts of the Apostles, 597, 598.

8 What did these faithful followers receive? Hebrews 11:39, first part. Compare Hebrews 11:2.

note: “The faith of ‘the elders’ led to faithful conduct, which in turn testified to the reality of their faith. It was their faith that won for them divine approval. We may wonder how some of those named in this chapter could ever have obtained ‘a good report.’ But if only flawless heroes of faith were listed here, the account would provide little encouragement for the common man. If men who were subject to ‘like passions as we are’ (James 5:17) could obtain ‘a good report,’ there is every reason to believe that even the weakest of God’s children today may do likewise.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 471.

9 What did these faithful ones not receive? Hebrews 11:39, last part. Compare Hebrews 11:13.

note: “The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly interpreted the message. Century after century passed away; the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel, and many were ready to exclaim, ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth.’ Ezekiel 12:22.” Maranatha, 9.

10 Is the fulfillment of the promise any less sure because of Christ’s delay? 11 Peter 3:9.

note: “We lack living, abiding faith. When clouds surround us we are apt to sink under the cloud instead of laboring to have our faith alive amid the darkness and gloom. O let us not distrust God, but venture out. Trust, trust, forever trust. . . .” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 433.

“The Lord encourages the trust of the most faulty and most perverse. He is able to restore His moral image to the soul, and is not slack concerning His promises. Christ went to the very depths of human extremities in order that He might meet men where they are and know how to befriend them in their need. He is our Friend, who has come to save us. Why are we not more diligent in learning of the great Teacher lessons of patience, kindness, forbearance? We may suppose that we have great provocation to feel injured, and to be angry with those with whom we associate, but we may be laborers together with God no matter what may be our circumstances. We may be sustained by faith, inspired by hope, that God in His goodness and mercy will deliver us from evil.” Ibid., vol. 2, 269.

11 What is the “better thing” referred to in Hebrews 11:40? Hebrews 8:6.

note: “Under the new covenant, the conditions by which eternal life may be gained are the same as under the old—perfect obedience. . . . In the new and better covenant, Christ has fulfilled the law for the transgressors of law, if they receive Him by faith as a personal Saviour. . . . In the better covenant we are cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ.” God’s Amazing Grace, 136.

12 Why has the fulfillment of the promise been delayed? Colossians 1:28, last part; 1 Kings 8:60, 61; Ephesians 4:13.

note: “In the providence of God we have been accorded time in which to develop character and to prepare for admission to the eternal inheritance of the saints. The opportunity is ours as it was theirs [the ancients] . . . to be ‘made perfect’ . . . , to enter upon the eternal inheritance promised to Abraham and the fathers.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 479.

Bible Study Guides – Hebrews 11:20–30

August 16, 2003 – August 22, 2003

Memory Verse

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4.

Suggested Reading: Faith and Works, 17.


“The clouds that gather about our way will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Unbelief says: ‘We can never surmount these obstructions; let us wait until they are removed, and we can see our way clearly.’ But faith courageously urges an advance, hoping all things, believing all things. Obedience to God is sure to bring the victory. It is only through faith that we can reach heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 27.

1 What blessing did Jacob pronounce upon Joseph’s sons just before his death? Genesis 48:14, 16–20. Compare Numbers 26:34, 37.

note: “The sons of Joseph were to be formally instated among the children of Israel. Joseph, coming for a last interview with his father, brought with him Ephraim and Manasseh. These youths were connected, through their mother, with the highest order of the Egyptian priesthood; and the position of their father opened to them the avenues to wealth and distinction, should they choose to connect themselves with the Egyptians. It was Joseph’s desire, however, that they should unite with their own people. He manifested his faith in the covenant promise, in behalf of his sons renouncing all the honors that the court of Egypt offered, for a place among the despised shepherd tribes, to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 234.

2 How could Jacob say with such assurance what Ephraim and Manasseh should have? Hebrews 11:21.

note: “Jacob’s history is an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been betrayed into sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance. It was by self-surrender and confiding faith that Jacob gained what he had failed to gain by conflict in his own strength. God thus taught His servant that divine power and grace alone could give him the blessing he craved. Thus it will be with those who live in the last days. As dangers surround them, and despair seizes upon the soul, they must depend solely upon the merits of the atonement. . . . None will ever perish while they do this. . . .” Conflict and Courage, 69.

3 How did Joseph, at his death, show his faith in God’s promise? Hebrews 11:22; Genesis 50:25.

note: “[Joseph] witnessed the increase and prosperity of his people, and through all the years his faith in God’s restoration of Israel to the Land of Promise was unshaken.

“When he saw that his end was near, he summoned his kinsmen about him. Honored as he had been in the land of the Pharaohs, Egypt was to him but the place of his exile; his last act was to signify that his lot was cast with Israel. . . . He took a solemn oath of the children of Israel that they would carry up his bones with them to the land of Canaan. ‘So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.’ [Genesis 50:26.] And through the centuries of toil which followed, the coffin, a reminder of the dying words of Joseph, testified to Israel that they were only sojourners in Egypt, and bade them keep their hopes fixed upon the Land of Promise, for the time of deliverance would surely come.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 240.

4 How did the parents of Moses show their faith in God’s promise? Hebrews 11:23. Compare Exodus 2:2.

note: “A son was born to Amram and Jochebed, devout Israelites of the tribe of Levi. The babe was ‘a goodly child;’ and the parents, believing that the time of Israel’s release was drawing near, and that God would raise up a deliverer for His people, determined that their little one should not be sacrificed. Faith in God strengthened their hearts . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 242.

5 What did Moses’ own faith lead him to do when he was grown? Hebrews 11:24.

note: “The Lord preserved Moses from being injured by the corrupting influences around him. The principles of truth, received in his youth from God-fearing parents, were never forgotten by him. And when he most needed to be shielded from the corrupting influences attending a life at court, then the lessons in his youth bore fruit. The fear of God was before him. And so strong was his love for his brethren, and so great was his respect for the Hebrew faith, that he would not conceal his parentage for the honor of being an heir of the royal family.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 184, 185.

6 What did Moses prefer to the sinful pleasures of Egypt? Hebrews 11:25, 26.

note: “Our Master was a man of sorrows; He was acquainted with grief; and those who suffer with Him will reign with Him. When the Lord appeared to Saul in his conversion, He did not purpose to show him how much good he should enjoy, but what great things he should suffer for His name. Suffering has been the portion of the people of God from the days of the martyr Abel. The patriarchs suffered for being true to God and obedient to His commandments. The great Head of the church suffered for our sake; His first apostles and the primitive church suffered; the millions of martyrs suffered, and the Reformers suffered. And why should we, who have the blessed hope of immortality, to be consummated at the soon appearing of Christ, shrink from a life of suffering? Were it possible to reach the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God without suffering, we would not enjoy so rich a reward for which we had not suffered. We would shrink back from the glory; shame would seize us in the presence of those who had fought the good fight, had run the race with patience, and had laid hold on eternal life. But none will be there who have not, like Moses, chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 78.

7 What sustained Moses in leading the children of Israel from Egypt? Hebrews 11:27.

note: “When God commanded Moses to do anything, he did it without stopping to consider what the consequences might be. He gave God credit for wisdom to know what He meant and firmness of purpose to mean what He said; and therefore Moses acted as seeing the Invisible.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 346.

8 How did Moses keep the Passover? Hebrews 11:28.

note: “After the ninth plague Pharaoh had placed Moses under the threat of death should he again appear in the royal presence (see Exodus 10:28). It must have taken great faith on Moses’ part to issue the instructions he did with regard to the tenth plague, the Passover, and the Exodus.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 477.

9 Who is the real Passover? 1 Corinthians 5:7, last part.

note: “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. He gave his precious, sinless life to save guilty human beings from eternal ruin, that through faith in him they might stand guiltless before the throne of God.” The Youth’s Instructor, July 20, 1899.

“This blood of the ‘Passover’ represented to the Jews the blood of Christ. For in due time, God would give His dear Son to be slain as the lamb had been slain; so that all who should believe in Him might be saved from everlasting death. Christ is called our Passover. (1 Corinthians 5:7.) By His blood, through faith, we are redeemed. (Ephesians 1:7.)” The Story of Jesus, 18.

10 How did the Israelites pass through the Red Sea? Hebrews 11:29.

note: “The Hebrews were weary and terrified; yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, if they had refused to move nearer to the Red Sea, God would never have opened the path for them. In marching down to the very water, they showed that they had faith in the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that it was in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel performed His part, and divided the waters to make a path for their feet.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 26, 27.

11 By what were the walls of Jericho thrown down? Hebrews 11:30.

note: “The Captain of the Lord’s host communicated only with Joshua; He did not reveal Himself to all the congregation, and it rested with them to believe or doubt the words of Joshua, to obey the commands given by him in the name of the Lord, or to deny his authority. They could not see the host of angels who attended them under the leadership of the Son of God. They might have reasoned: ‘What unmeaning movements are these, and how ridiculous the performance of marching daily around the walls of the city, blowing trumpets of rams’ horns. This can have no effect upon those towering fortifications.’ But the very plan of continuing this ceremony through so long a time prior to the final overthrow of the walls afforded opportunity for the development of faith among the Israelites. It was to be impressed upon their minds that their strength was not in the wisdom of man, nor in his might, but only in the God of their salvation. They were thus to become accustomed to relying wholly upon their divine Leader.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 493.

12 For what purpose are all of the examples of faith given? 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11; Romans 15:4.

note: “The failures and mistakes of ancient Israel are not as grievous in the sight of God as are the sins of the people of God in this age. Light has been increasing from age to age, and the generations that follow have the example of the generations that went before. The Lord does not change, and a sin which he condemned in former generations should be avoided by us. We should heed the admonition that has been given in the past, and lay hold of the promises that are made for the encouragement of the obedient. If we are learning lessons in obedience, following the path of faith and virtue, we have a living connection with God, and he will be our strength and support, our front guard, and our rearward. The same conditions must be fulfilled by us now as were by those who received rich blessings in former days. The reason we do not have more of the blessing of the Lord is that the professed people of God serve him with divided hearts, as verily as did ancient Israel. They profess to be worshipers of God, but many as verily worship idols as did the Hebrews.” Review and Herald, May 21, 1895.

Bible Study Guides – Hebrews 11:17–19

August 9, 2003 – August 15, 2003

Memory Verse

“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12.

Suggested Reading: Patriarchs and Prophets, 152–154.


“In receiving Christ as our Captain, there must be a complete surrender of the human will to the divine will. The Lord can work out His will through those who have made this surrender, for they give prompt and cheerful obedience to His commands. God expects us to obey without questioning. We are to ask, ‘Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?’ Then, though the command may be as stern and startling as that given to Abraham, we are to obey. Abraham’s soul was rent asunder by the command, ‘Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him for a sacrifice on one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.’ [Genesis 22:2.] But he did not hesitate to obey.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 26.

1 How did God try Abraham? Genesis 22:1, 2. Compare James 1:2–4.

note: “What is temptation?—It is the means by which those who claim to be the children of God are tested and tried. We read that God tempted Abraham, that He tempted the children of Israel. This means that He permitted circumstances to occur to test their faith, and lead them to look to Him for help. God permits temptation to come to His people today, that they may realize that He is their helper. If they draw nigh to Him when they are tempted, He strengthens them to meet the temptation. But if they yield to the enemy, neglecting to place themselves close to their Almighty Helper, they are overcome. They separate themselves from God. They do not give evidence that they walk in God’s way.” The Signs of the Times, May 27, 1897.

2 What led Abraham to comply with God’s command? Hebrews 11:17.

note: “This act of faith in Abraham is recorded for our benefit. It teaches us the great lesson of confidence in the requirements of God, however close and cutting they may be; and it teaches children perfect submission to their parents and to God. By Abraham’s obedience we are taught that nothing is too precious for us to give to God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 368.

3 What had been promised to Abraham? Genesis 13:16.

note: “As Abraham had no son, he at first thought that his trusty servant, Eliezer, should become his son by adoption, and his heir. But God informed Abraham that his servant should not be his son and heir, but that he should really have a son.” The Story of Redemption, 77.

4 Through whom had it been said that this numerous posterity should come? Genesis 21:12; Hebrews 11:18.

note: “Isaac was the one divinely appointed to succeed him [Abraham] as the keeper of the law of God and the father of the chosen people . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 171.

5 In obeying the Lord’s command to sacrifice Isaac, what was Abraham apparently giving up? Genesis 22:17, 18; Galatians 3:16.

note: “Plain and specific prophecies had been given regarding the appearance of the Promised One. To Adam was given an assurance of the coming of the Redeemer. . . .

“To Abraham was given the promise that of his line the Saviour of the world should come.” The Acts of the Apostles, 222.

6 How did Abraham think the promise could be fulfilled? Hebrews 11:19; Romans 4:17–21.

note: “Abraham believed that Isaac was the son of promise. He also believed that God meant just what he said when he bid him to go offer him as a burnt-offering. He staggered not at the promise of God; but believed that God, who had in his providence given Sarah a son in her old age, and who had required him to take that son’s life, could also give life again, and bring up Isaac from the dead.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 106.

7 Of what was the offering of Isaac a striking figure? John 3:16.

note: “The offering of Isaac was designed by God to prefigure the sacrifice of His Son. Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God desired to impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation to men; and in order to make the truth a reality, and to test his faith, He required Abraham to slay his darling Isaac. All the agony that Abraham endured during that dark and fearful trial was for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 1, 1900.

8 Did Abraham know of Christ and His work? John 8:54–56.

note: “Abraham had greatly desired to see the promised Saviour. He offered up the most earnest prayer that before his death he might behold the Messiah. And he saw Christ. A supernatural light was given him, and he acknowledged Christ’s divine character. He saw His day, and was glad. He was given a view of the divine sacrifice for sin. Of this sacrifice he had an illustration in his own experience. . . . Upon the altar of sacrifice he laid the son of promise [Isaac], the son in whom his hopes were centered. . . . This terrible ordeal was imposed upon Abraham that he might see the day of Christ, and realize the great love of God for the world, so great that to raise it from its degradation, He gave His only-begotten Son to a most shameful death.” The Desire of Ages, 468.

9 What important lesson must Abraham have learned from his sore trial? Romans 8:32.

note: “God justly condemns all who do not make Christ their personal Saviour; but He pardons every soul who comes to Him in faith, and enables him to work the works of God, and through faith to be one with Christ. . . . The Lord has made every provision whereby man may have full and free salvation, and be complete in Him. God designs that His children shall have the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, that all may have the light of truth. God has provided salvation for the world at infinite cost, even through the gift of His only-begotten Son. The apostle asks, [Romans 8:32 quoted]. Then if we are not saved, the fault will not be on the part of God, but on our part, that we have failed to cooperate with the divine agencies. Our will has not coincided with God’s will.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 375.

10 What did Abraham’s works do for him and for his faith? James 2:21–24.

note: “James writes of Abraham and says, [James 2:21–24 quoted]. In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect.” Faith and Works, 100.

“The apostle James saw that dangers would arise in presenting the subject of justification by faith, and he labored to show that genuine faith cannot exist without corresponding works. The experience of Abraham is presented. [James 2:22 quoted.] Thus genuine faith does a genuine work in the believer. Faith and obedience bring a solid, valuable experience.” The Faith I Live By, 115.

11 How should we react when trials come to us? 1 Peter 4:12, 13.

note: “Trial is part of the education given in the school of Christ, to purify God’s children from the dross of earthliness. It is because God is leading His children that trying experiences come to them. Trials and obstacles are His chosen methods of discipline, and His appointed conditions of success. He who reads the hearts of men knows their weaknesses better than they themselves can know them. He sees that some have qualifications which, if rightly directed, could be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence He brings these souls into different positions and varied circumstances, that they may discover the defects that are concealed from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to overcome these defects and to fit themselves for service. Often He permits the fires of affliction to burn, that they may be purified.

“God’s care for His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon His children but such as is essential for their present and eternal good. He will purify His church, even as Christ purified the temple during His ministry on earth. All that He brings upon His people in test and trial comes that they may gain deeper piety and greater strength to carry forward the triumphs of the cross.” The Acts of the Apostles, 524, 525.

“The refining, purifying process, which is to be carried on by the Lord of hosts, . . . is most trying to the soul, but it is only through this process that the rubbish and defiling impurities can be removed. Our trials are all necessary to bring us close to our heavenly Father, in obedience to His will, that we may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. . . . You each need a new and living experience in the divine life in order to do the will of God. No amount of past experience will suffice for the present nor strengthen us to overcome the difficulties in our path. We must have new grace and fresh strength daily in order to be victorious.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 541.

12 What will be the result to the one who patiently endures trial? James 1:12.

note: “When trials come into our lives, when clouds darken the horizon, how ready we are to forget that Jesus is our Saviour, that behind the clouds the Sun of Righteousness is shining, that angels are close beside us, preserving us from harm. I would say to the despairing, Look and live. Hope thou in God, for on Calvary’s cross a complete sacrifice was offered for you. Jesus is the sinner’s Friend, the sinner’s Redeemer. Eternal joy—a life of undimmed happiness—awaits the one who surrenders all to Christ. Look away from yourself to Jesus, who is pleading before the throne of God in your behalf. Listen to His words, ‘Come unto me, . . . and I will give you rest.’ ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (Matthew 11:28; John 6:37). With the hand of faith grasp the promises of God. Appropriate these blessings to yourself, not at some future time, but today.” In Heavenly Places, 262.

Bible Study Guides – Hebrews 11:8–16

August 2, 2003 – August 8, 2003

Memory Verse

“He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” Hebrews 11:10.

Suggested Reading: Selected Messages, Book 1, 409, 410.


“The message of God came to Abraham, ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.’ [Genesis 12:1.] In order that God might qualify him for his great work as the keeper of the sacred oracles, Abraham must be separated from the associations of his early life. The influence of kindred and friends would interfere with the training which the Lord purposed to give His servant. Now that Abraham was, in a special sense, connected with heaven, he must dwell among strangers. His character must be peculiar, differing from all the world. He could not even explain his course of action so as to be understood by his friends. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and his motives and actions were not comprehended by his idolatrous kindred. . . .

“Abraham’s unquestioning obedience is one of the most striking evidences of faith to be found in all the Bible. To him, faith was ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ Hebrews 11:1. Relying upon the divine promise, without the least outward assurance of its fulfillment, he abandoned home and kindred and native land, and went forth, he knew not whither, to follow where God should lead.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 126.

1 What caused Abraham to leave his native land and go to an unknown country? Hebrews 11:8.

note: “Abraham was called to go forth from his home, a light-bearer to the heathen. And without questioning, he obeyed. . . . So today God’s servants are to go where He calls, trusting Him to guide them and to give them success in their work.” Gospel Workers, 26.

2 What did Abraham do in the land of promise? Hebrews 11:9, first part.

note: “Abraham’s unquestioning obedience was one of the most striking instances of faith and reliance upon God to be found in the Sacred Record. With only the naked promise that his descendants should possess Canaan, without the least outward evidence, he followed on where God should lead, fully and sincerely complying with the conditions on his part, and confident that the Lord would faithfully perform His word. The patriarch went wherever God indicated his duty; he passed through wildernesses without terror; he went among idolatrous nations, with the one thought: ‘God has spoken; I am obeying His voice; He will guide, He will protect me.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 4, 524.

3 For what purpose was Abraham called? Genesis 12:1–4.

note: “God selected Abraham as His messenger through whom to communicate light to the world. The word of God came to him, not with the presentation of flattering prospects in this life of large salary, of great appreciation and worldly honor. . . . The patriarch obeyed, and ‘went out, not knowing whither he went,’ as God’s light bearer, to keep His name alive in the earth. He forsook his country, his home, his relatives, and all pleasant associations connected with his early life, to become a pilgrim and a stranger.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 523.

4 Why was Abraham continually sojourning in the land of promise? Hebrews 11:10.

note: “A better than earthly reward awaits those who, basing their work on the solid Rock, build up symmetrical characters, in accordance with the living word. For them is prepared ‘a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.’ Hebrews 11:10. Its streets are paved with gold. In it is the Paradise of God, watered by the river of life, which proceeds from the throne. In the midst of the street, and on either side of the river, is the tree of life, which yields its fruit every month; ‘and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.’ [Revelation 22:2.]” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 63.

5 What city is referenced in Hebrews 11:10? Revelation 21:2.

note: “We are homeward bound. He who loved us so much as to die for us hath builded for us a city. The New Jerusalem is our place of rest. There will be no sadness in the city of God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections, will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer’s glory in the kingdom of God.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 287.

6 Of what was Isaac the child? Galatians 4:28.

note: “To Abraham was given the promise that of his line the Saviour of the world should come: ‘In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.’ ‘He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.’ Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16.” The Acts of the Apostles, 222.

7 What was unusual about Isaac’s birth? Hebrews 11:11. Compare Genesis 18:11, 14; 21:2.

note: “When Abraham was nearly one hundred years old, the promise of a son was repeated to him, with the assurance that the future heir should be the child of Sarah. . . . The birth of Isaac, bringing, after a life-long waiting, the fulfillment of their dearest hopes, filled the tents of Abraham and Sarah with gladness. . . .” The Truth About Angels, 77.

8 What promise was given to Abraham? Genesis 18:18; 22:18; Acts 3:25.

note: “In the renewal of the covenant shortly before the birth of Isaac, God’s purpose for mankind was again made plain. ‘All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him,’ was the assurance of the Lord concerning the child of promise. Genesis 18:18.” Prophets and Kings, 368.

9 In what state of mind did the patriarchs die? Hebrews 11:13.

note: “The heritage that God has promised to His people is not in this world. Abraham had no possession in the earth, ‘no, not so much as to set his foot on.’ Acts 7:5. He possessed great substance, and he used it to the glory of God and the good of his fellow men; but he did not look upon this world as his home. The Lord had called him to leave his idolatrous countrymen, with the promise of the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession; yet neither he nor his son nor his son’s son received it. When Abraham desired a burial place for his dead, he had to buy it of the Canaanites. His sole possession in the Land of Promise was that rock-hewn tomb in the cave of Machpelah.

“But the word of God had not failed; neither did it meet its final accomplishment in the occupation of Canaan by the Jewish people. ‘To Abraham and his seed were the promises made.’ Galatians 3:16. Abraham himself was to share the inheritance. The fulfillment of God’s promise may seem to be long delayed—for ‘one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ (11 Peter 3:8); it may appear to tarry; but at the appointed time ‘it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ Habakkuk 2:3. The gift to Abraham and his seed included not merely the land of Canaan, but the whole earth. So says the apostle, ‘The promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.’ Romans 4:13. And the Bible plainly teaches that the promises made to Abraham are to be fulfilled through Christ. All that are Christ’s are ‘Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’—heirs to ‘an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away’—the earth freed from the curse of sin. Galatians 3:29; 1 Peter 1:4. For ‘the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;’ and ‘the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.’ Daniel 7:27; Psalm 37:11.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 169, 170.

10 To what promises does Hebrews 11:13 refer? Genesis 13:14–17; 26:1–4; 28:13, 14; Romans 4:13.

note: “The patriarch [Abraham] begged for some visible token as a confirmation of his faith and as an evidence to after-generations that God’s gracious purposes toward them would be accomplished. The Lord condescended to enter into a covenant with His servant, employing such forms as were customary among men for the ratification of a solemn engagement. . . . The voice of God was heard, bidding him not to expect immediate possession of the Promised Land, and pointing forward to the sufferings of his posterity before their establishment in Canaan. The plan of redemption was here opened to him, in the death of Christ, the great sacrifice, and His coming in glory. Abraham saw also the earth restored to its Eden beauty, to be given him for an everlasting possession, as the final and complete fulfillment of the promise.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 137.

11 If the descendants of Abraham did not realize their inheritance on this earth, why were they not disappointed when they came to die? Hebrews 11:14–16.

note: “In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called ‘a country.’ Hebrews 11:14-16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.” The Great Controversy, 675.

12 If we are Abraham’s children, how shall we regard ourselves here in this world? 1 Peter 2:11, first half.

note: “As you empty the heart of self you must accept the righteousness of Christ. Lay hold of it by faith. . . . If you open the door of the heart, Jesus will supply the vacuum by the gift of His Spirit, and then you can be a living preacher in your home, in the church, and in the world. You can diffuse light, because the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness are shining upon you. Your humble life, your holy conversation, your uprightness and integrity, will tell to all around that you are a child of God, an heir of heaven, that you are not making the world your dwelling place, but that you are a pilgrim and a stranger here, looking for a better country, even an heavenly. . . .” That I May Know Him, 165.

Bible Study Guides – Hebrews 11:1–7

July 26, 2003 – August 1, 2003

Memory Verse

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.

Suggested Reading: Faith and Works, 47.


“Faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 126.

1 What is faith? Hebrews 11:1.

note: “Often the Christian life is beset with dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before, and bondage and death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, Go forward. Let us obey the command, even though our sight cannot penetrate the darkness. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every uncertainty disappears, and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey. Faith looks beyond the difficulties, and lays hold of the unseen, even Omnipotence, therefore it cannot be baffled. Faith is the clasping of the hand of Christ in every emergency.” Gospel Workers, 262.

2 What did the elders obtain by faith? Hebrews 11:2.

note: “Bible history stays the fainting heart with the hope of God’s mercy. We need not despair when we see that others have struggled through discouragements like our own, have fallen into temptations even as we have done, and yet have recovered their ground and been blessed of God. The words of inspiration comfort and cheer the erring soul. Although the patriarchs and apostles were subject to human frailties, yet through faith they obtained a good report, fought their battles in the strength of the Lord, and conquered gloriously. Thus may we trust in the virtue of the atoning sacrifice and be overcomers in the name of Jesus.” Conflict and Courage, 368.

3 What is the first great thing we understand by faith? Hebrews 11:3.

note: “The deepest students of science are constrained to recognize in nature the working of infinite power. But to man’s unaided reason, nature’s teaching cannot but be contradictory and disappointing. Only in the light of revelation can it be read aright.” Education, 134.

4 Why is the introduction of Creation at the beginning of a study of faith appropriate? Psalm 33:6; 11 Peter 3:5.

note: “[Hebrews 11:3 quoted.] There is no other way by which we can know anything about creation; for reason cannot grasp the idea of something brought from nothing. So-called scientific speculation concerning the origin of things always proceeds on the basis of something already existing, from which other things were evolved. How the first matter came into existence science cannot tell. Therefore since reason cannot settle the method by which the worlds came into existence, the most reasonable thing to do is to accept the inspired declaration that it was by the word of God. And this lies at the very foundation of faith. If we believe that God created the universe from nothing, we can believe that he has power to make something to his own glory out of us, who are ‘less than nothing and vanity.’ [Isaiah 40:17.] And so, in a discourse upon faith, it is eminently fitting that the power of God as manifested in creation should be the starting point.” International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Co., Oakland, California, February 15, 1890, 17, 18.

5 How did it come to pass that Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain? Hebrews 11:4.

note: “Abel was determined to worship God according to the directions God had given. This displeased Cain. He thought that his own plans were best, and that the Lord would come to his terms. Cain in his offering did not acknowledge his dependence upon Christ. He thought that his father Adam had been treated harshly in being expelled from Eden. The idea of keeping that sin ever before the mind, and offering the blood of the slain lamb as a confession of entire dependence upon a power outside of himself, was torture to the high spirit of Cain. Being the eldest, he thought that Abel should follow his example. When Abel’s offering was accepted of God, the holy fire consuming the sacrifice, Cain’s anger was exceedingly great. The Lord condescended to explain matters to him; but he would not be reconciled to God, and he hated Abel because God showed him favor. He became so angry that he slew his brother.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 77, 78.

6 Which was first, Abel’s faith or his sacrifice? Hebrews 11:4. See also Genesis 4:4; Proverbs 3:9.

note: “Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat, as God had commanded; and in full faith of the Messiah to come, and with humble reverence, he presented the offering.” The Story of Redemption, 53.

7 What was the nature of Abel’s righteousness? Romans 3:22.

note: “Genuine faith will be manifested in good works; for good works are the fruits of faith. As God works in the heart, and man surrenders his will to God, and cooperates with God, he works out in the life what God works in by the Holy Spirit, and there is harmony between the purpose of the heart and the practice of the life. . . .

“Those who are justified by faith must have a heart to keep the way of the Lord. It is an evidence that a man is not justified by faith when his works do not correspond to his profession. . . .

“Imputation of the righteousness of Christ comes through justifying faith, and is the justification for which Paul so earnestly contends. . . . [Romans 3:20–31 quoted.]” Selected Messages, Book 1, 397.

8 How was Enoch translated? Hebrews 11:5, first part.

note: “In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He continued to exclude himself at certain periods from all society. After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart.

“Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. . . .

“His faith waxed stronger, his love became more ardent, with the lapse of centuries. To him prayer was as the breath of the soul. He lived in the atmosphere of heaven.” Gospel Workers, 52.

9 What witness did Enoch have before he was translated? Hebrews 11:5, last half.

note: “Enoch walked with God. He honored God in every affair of life. In his home and in his business he inquired, ‘Will this be acceptable to the Lord?’ And by remembering God and following His counsel, he was transformed in character, and became a godly man, whose ways pleased the Lord. We are exhorted to add to godliness, brotherly kindness. O how much we need to take this step, to add this quality to our characters! . . . We should have that love for others that Christ has had for us. A man is estimated at his true value by the Lord of heaven. If he is unkind in his earthly home, he is unfit for the heavenly home. If he will have his own way, no matter whom it grieves, he would not be content in heaven, unless he could rule there. The love of Christ must control our hearts. . . . Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love. . . .” My Life Today, 98.

10 How alone is it possible to please God? Hebrews 11:6.

note: “The fact that unbelief prevails, that iniquity is increasing all around us, should not cause our faith to grow dim or our courage to waver. . . . If we will but seek God with all our hearts, if we will work with that same determined zeal, and believe with that unyielding faith, the light of heaven will shine upon us, even as it shone upon the devoted Enoch.

“Oh that I could impress upon all the importance of exercising faith moment by moment, and hour by hour! We are to live the life of faith; for ‘without faith it is impossible to please God.’ Our spiritual strength depends upon our faith.” My Life Today, 8.

11 What led Noah to build the ark? Hebrews 11:7.

note: “In consequence of Adam’s transgression, sin was introduced into the fair world that God had created, and men and women became more and still more bold in disobeying His law. The Lord looked down upon the impenitent world, and decided that He must give transgressors an exhibition of His power. He caused Noah to know His purpose, and instructed him to warn the people while building an ark in which the obedient could find shelter until God’s indignation was overpast. . . .” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 504.

12 What did Noah receive besides the saving of his family? Hebrews 11:7, last part.

note: “In Noah’s day, the inhabitants of the old world laughed to scorn what they termed the superstitious fears and forebodings of the preacher of righteousness. He was denounced as a visionary character, a fanatic, an alarmist. ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.’ [Luke 17:26.] Men will reject the solemn message of warning in our day as they did in Noah’s time. They will refer to those false teachers who have predicted the event and set the definite time, and will say that they have no more faith in our warning than in theirs. This is the attitude of the world today. Unbelief is wide-spread, and the preaching of Christ’s coming is mocked at and derided. This makes it all the more essential that those who believe present truth show their faith by their works. They should be sanctified through the truth which they profess to believe; for they are savors of life unto life, or of death unto death.” Review and Herald, October 20, 1885.

Children’s Story – Tales of a Tennessee Chain Gang, Part I

Bill Burchard jerked his head up and peered quizzically from among the cornstalks. What was that noise? He pushed a crumpled blue bandana slowly across his brow and then stood scanning the underbrush 40 yards away.

Seeing nothing, he moved to the next stalk and ripped the blades off. His family of seven had long since consumed the last of the corn, and now, early in September 1894, he was salvaging the blades to feed his scrawny cow.

Burchard worked five days a week in the Dayton Coal and Iron Mine. He ascended from the brutal bowels of the earth to go to church on Saturday, and this schedule left Sunday as his only day to catch up on work around his home.

He straightened up again. He had heard something. A screeching jay betrayed two men about to disappear over a low ridge.

Burchard thought nothing more about the incident until one evening a week or two later when he came home to find Sheriff Darwin sitting on his front stoop. The sheriff rose slowly as Burchard approached.

“Help ya ‘t all, Sheriff?” Burchard asked.

Darwin looked down, slipping the four fingers of each hand into his front pockets.

“I’m sorry, Bill,” he mumbled, “but I got to take ya in.”

“Take me in!” Burchard’s face paled in shock, even under the layer of coal dust. “But what in the world for?”

“Here,” said the sheriff, slipping a long folded piece of paper out from under his vest, “listen to this.”

“State of Tennessee, To the Sheriff of Rhea County, Greeting: You are hereby commanded to take the body of William S. Burchard, if found in your county, and him safely keep, so that you have him before the judge of our Circuit Court . . . at the Courthouse in the town of Dayton, on the first Monday in March next, then and there to answer the state for violating Sabbath. Herein fail not. . . . C. G. Gillespie, Clerk.”

By the time Burchard finally returned home, he understood what his two secretive visitors had been doing that Sunday.

Burchard lived four and a half miles from Graysville, Tennessee, in a little valley called the Cove. In Graysville, a town of 600, about 20 percent of the town kept the seventh-day Sabbath. The religious community had built up around Graysville Academy, a school begun two years earlier by a Sabbath- keeping minister named G. W. Colcord. (The school was later moved and grew into what is now known as Southern Adventist University near Chattanooga.)

Not only Burchard but also Colcord and two of the Academy teachers, along with several other Sabbathkeepers, were under indictment for violating Tennessee’s Sunday law. Burchard was charged on two counts—stripping fodder and helping to dig a well on Sunday. Others were charged with such crimes as putting chicken wire around a garden or carrying a few boards.

The trials made it obvious that the chief instigator of the trouble was an angry coal miner named Wright Rains, who had been refused credit by the Sabbath-keeping proprietor of a local grocery store. Two of his friends had slipped out of the services in their Sunday church, just over the ridge from Burchard’s cabin, to spy on him.

For more than 15 years, Sabbathkeepers had been subjected to sporadic persecution for Sunday-law violations in various states. They believed at the time that to rest on Sunday was an admission of Sunday’s sacredness. They believed that that would be giving in to a false system of worship.

To be continued . . .

Nature Nugget – Troglomorphic Fishes

There are 81 known species of subterranean fishes in the world. Some travel back and forth between the darkness underground and the light above, but many spend their entire lives in the pitch-blackness of subterranean rivers, streams, lakes, and springs. These are the troglomorphic species, and they have adapted to this harsh environment by the loss of their eyes and the development of numerous large sensory papillae on various parts of their bodies. These sensory papillae are sensitive to vibrations and touch and compensate for their lack of sight, permitting them to carry on life functions, such as finding food and avoiding predators, in total darkness. They also lack pigment in the skin and look pinkish because of blood vessels showing through their translucent skin.

There are two groups of troglomorphic fishes in the United States, the cavefishes of the family Amblyopsidae and the blindcats of the family Ictaluridae. The cavefishes are less than five inches in length and are found in the eastern United States. They have a large branchial cavity, which allows them to carry and incubate their eggs in the gill chamber. Because the cave systems they live in are energy poor, cavefishes eat infrequently and conserve energy by having slow metabolisms and remaining motionless most of the time. They are slow-growing and long-lived. Cavefishes feed on copepods, isopods, amphipods, crayfish, small salamanders, and even their own young.

The Alabama Cavefish is found only in Key Cave in Lauderdale County, Alabama. Its total known population is numbered at less than 100, making it one of the most endangered fishes in the world. In contrast, the Southern Cavefish is uncommonly found in caves over a fairly large area involving seven states. The two remaining troglomorphic species in this family are the Ozark Cavefish of the Springfield Plateau and the Northern Cavefish of south-central Indiana and central Kentucky. Both are considered rare, with the Ozark Cavefish being classified as a threatened species.

The blindcats consist of four species, of which two occur in the United States. These are known from five artesian wells penetrating the San Antonio Pool of the Edward’s Aquifer in and near San Antonio, Texas. They have been found to occur together in three of these wells. Both species are abundant in their habitat and occur in these subterranean waters at depths of 900–2,000 feet. The Toothless Blindcat, at four inches, feeds on fungal growths and detritus, while the Widemouth Blindcat, at five inches, is an opportunistic predator, feeding on shrimp, amphipods, and isopods.

Just as these subterranean fishes have lost their eyesight from living in total darkness, so the Christian is in danger of losing his spiritual eyesight by living in the darkness of sin. “In following the path of Satan’s choosing, we are encompassed by the shadows of evil, and every step leads into deeper darkness and increases the blindness of the heart. The same law obtains in the spiritual as in the natural world. He who abides in darkness will at last lose the power of vision. He is shut in by a deeper than midnight blackness; and to him the brightest noontide can bring no light. He ‘walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.’ 1 John 2:11.

“Through persistently cherishing evil, willfully disregarding the pleadings of divine love, the sinner loses the love for good, the desire for God, the very capacity to receive the light of heaven. The invitation of mercy is still full of love, the light is shining as brightly as when it first dawned upon his soul; but the voice falls on deaf ears, the light on blinded eyes.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 92.

David Arbour writes from his home in DeQueen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at

Ask The Pastor – Original Sin


Dear Pastor Mike,

I was listening to a person teach about our human nature the other night. He said that we are all born sinners. I have always understood that sin is a choice. Can you help me understand this issue?


There are many people who believe the doctrine that we are all born sinners. This comes from misunderstanding a false doctrine called “Original Sin.” The original sin doctrine teaches that when a human being is born, he inherits sin from his parent. Starting in the beginning, this of course would come from Adam. But the truth of the matter is that we do not inherit the sin of our parents. We inherit the sinful nature. There is a big difference!

The confusion comes by misinterpreting such texts as Ecclesiastes 7:20 which says: “For [there is] not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Also, Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” While these texts tell us that this is the way that all the world has gone, they do not teach that we are born sinners or that we inherit the sin of our parents. We would have to inherit the sin of our parents in order to be born sinners. Sin does not come through bloodlines; it comes from transgression. (See 1 John 3:4.)

Ezekiel 18 gives us good counsel about this matter. While the whole chapter should be read, we cannot quote it here because of space limitations, but it deals very clearly with this doctrine. The heart of the chapter has these words to say in verse 20: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

This text very clearly tells us that the one who commits the sinful act bears the guilt. Guilt does not come through inheritance. Remember that this must be read in the context of the whole chapter, which clarifies this even more.

While we do come into this world with a sinful nature, we do not need to sin. Sin is a choice. The Bible tells us, in 11 Peter 1:3, 4, “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.” Many people leave us with the hopeless thought that we will be sinning until Jesus comes. Peter here says No! We do not need to remain in a sinful condition. We can become a partaker of the divine nature and be a victorious Christian. We need not be held captive to false teachings such as the “Original Sin” doctrine. I hope that this helps you in your understanding of this issue.

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to, or mail it to LandMarks, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.

Restoring the Temple – The Reproductive System

“Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong [thy] days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.”

—Deuteronomy 4:40.

In the beginning, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. A rib was taken from his side, and from it, woman was created. God had a plan. Part of that plan included marriage and family. In Genesis 2, He said that man should leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. This was, of course, before there were any fathers or mothers, yet God mentions those relationships. Adam named his wife Eve, “because she was the mother of all living.” Genesis 3:20.

A female child is born with all the oocytes (eggs) that she will ever have—approximately 2 million, although only about 400 ever reach maturity. One egg is released—a process called ovulation—each month from puberty to menopause. Some women feel this when it occurs, experiencing a sharp pain or twinge in their lower abdomen. This phenomenon is called mittelschmerz, middle pain. When an egg is released from the ovary, it is “caught” by the fingerlike projections on the ends of the fallopian tubes. From there, the egg journeys through the tube to the uterus. If spermatozoa from the husband fertilize the egg (often in the fallopian tube), then the egg will implant in the wall of the uterus. Several hundred million spermatozoa are released from the male, but only a few thousand reach the woman’s body. If fertilization does not take place, then the egg continues to travel out of the body.

The definition of fertilization is the fusion of two distinctive cells into a totally unique DNA combination. Remember that DNA is what makes you specifically you. You are a unique blend of your father’s and your mother’s DNA. How many possible combinations of DNA can occur with fertilization? About 70 trillion. The only people that share the same DNA are identical twins (or other identical multiples). Most of us have at least seen a set of identical twins and know that although they may be incredibly alike in appearance, they are still very different in personality. Evolutionists like to say that this genetic variation enhances the survival of the population. I like to think that God makes us different so that we each can bring a unique talent and perspective in our relationships to God and to one another.

Normally, one sperm manages to fertilize one egg. When that one sperm gets through the outer barrier of the egg, the egg sends a chemical signal to shut out all the rest. However, there is the possibility of twins, or more. This happens in different ways. Identical twins occur when one egg is fertilized by one sperm, and afterwards, the cell splits into two. Fraternal twins occur when two eggs are released by the ovary and each is fertilized by a separate sperm. There is another possibility, called polar body twinning. This occurs when the egg splits prior to fertilization and two sperm fertilize the subsequent two eggs. These twins share 75 percent of their DNA and are sort of half-identical.

Sometime, after fertilization takes place, the brand new individual (currently a ball of cells) implants into the wall of the uterus. The placenta is a wondrous organ made by interlocking cells of the mother and child. The blood of the mother and that of the baby do not mix, but are separated by only a thousandth of a millimeter. Mother’s blood, hopefully rich in oxygen, water, and nutrients, releases this life-giving material across capillary walls into the capillaries of the fetus in the uterus, which then travel up through the umbilical cord and into the baby. Waste products from the baby are then released into the mother’s blood stream, where they exit her body along with her own wastes.

The period of time between fertilization and birth is usually nine months, divided into trimesters, each about three months in length. In the first trimester, cells become specialized, or differentiated. This means that a cell will permanently become a brain cell, or a liver cell, or maybe a cell on the skin of a toe. By the third week, these cells are forming into organs. The embryo becomes a fetus by the seventh week. By the second month, most of every major organ system is in place.

In the second trimester, the fetus increases in size and the bony part of the skeleton begins to form. The mother starts to feel the movement of her baby. During the last trimester the lungs and heart begin maturing in preparation for breathing air. Antibodies from the mother are transferred to the baby, conferring temporary immunity at birth.

After nine months comes the birth of the long awaited baby. This baby is the result of a combination of a genetic blueprint and what the mother puts into her body. Ellen White also said that fathers are a part of the responsibility of the physical and spiritual welfare of the unborn child. “[God] will enable her [the mother] to transmit to her offspring qualities that will help them to gain success in this life and to win eternal life. Fathers as well as mothers are involved in this responsibility, and they too should seek earnestly for divine grace that their influence may be such as God can approve. The inquiry of every father and mother should be, ‘What shall we do unto the child that shall be born?’ [Judges 13:8.] By many the effect of prenatal influence has been lightly regarded; but the instruction sent from heaven . . . shows how the matter is looked upon by the Creator.” The Signs of the Times, February 26, 1902.

Each of us is a wonder that God made and knew from the beginning. The Word tells us that our bodies are temples. Our loving Father gave us the choice to bring glory to Him by our thoughts and actions, made unique by our created individuality.

“With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.” Psalm 45:15–17.

Sheryle Beaudry, a certified teletriage nurse, writes from Estacada, Oregon where she lives with her husband and twin daughters. She may be contacted by e-mail at

Inspiration – The Crisis Imminent

I am deeply exercised in mind in reference to the low standard of piety among our people. And when I think of the woes passed on Capernaum, I think of how much heavier will come the condemnation upon those who know the truth and have not walked according to the truth, but in the sparks of their own kindling. In the night seasons I am addressing the people in a very solemn manner, beseeching them to ask their own consciences; What am I? Am I a Christian, or am I not? Is my heart renewed? Has the transforming grace of God moulded my character? Are my sins repented of? Are they confessed? Are they forgiven? Am I one with Christ as he is one with the Father? Do I hate what I once loved? Do I now love what I once hated?

Do I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus? Do I feel I am the purchased possession of Jesus Christ, and that every hour I must consecrate myself to his service?

We are standing upon the threshold of great and solemn events. The whole earth is to be lightened with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the channels of the great deep. Prophecies are being fulfilled, and stormy times are before us. Old controversies which have apparently been hushed for a long time will be revived, and new controversies will spring up; new and old will commingle, and this will take place right early. The angels are holding the four winds, that they shall not blow, until the specified work of warning is given to the world; but the storm is gathering, the clouds are loading, ready to burst upon the world, and to many it will be as a thief in the night.

Many smiled and would not believe when we told them, twenty and thirty years ago, that the Sunday would be urged upon all the world, and a law be made to compel its observance, and force conscience. We see it being fulfilled. All that God has said of the future will surely come to pass; not one thing will fail of all that he has spoken. Protestantism is now reaching hands across the gulf to clasp hands with [the] papacy, and a confederacy is being formed to trample out of sight the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; and the man of sin, who, at the instigation of Satan, instituted the spurious sabbath, this child of [the] papacy, will be exalted to take the place of God.

All heaven is represented to me as watching the unfolding of events. A crisis is to be revealed in the great and prolonged controversy in the government of God on earth. Something great and decisive is to take place, and that right early. If any delay, the character of God and his throne will be compromised. The armory of heaven is open; all the universe of God and its equipments are ready. One word has justice to speak, and there will be terrific representations upon the earth, of the wrath of God. There will be voices and thunderings and lightnings and earthquakes and universal desolation. Every movement in the universe of heaven is to prepare the world for the great crisis.

Intensity is taking possession of every earthly element; and as a people who have had great light and wonderful knowledge, many of them are represented by the five sleeping virgins with their lamps, but no oil in their vessels; cold, senseless, with a feeble, waning piety. While a new life is being diffused and is springing up from beneath and taking fast hold of all Satan’s agencies, preparatory to the last great conflict and struggle, a new light and life and power is descending from on high, and taking possession of God’s people who are not dead, as many now are, in trespasses and sins. The people who will now see what is soon to come upon us by what is being transacted before us, will no longer trust in human inventions, and will feel that the Holy Spirit must be recognized, received, presented before the people, that they may contend for the glory of God, and work everywhere in the byways and highways of life, for the saving of the souls of their fellow-men. The only rock that is sure and steadfast is the Rock of Ages. Those only who build on this Rock are secure.

Those who are carnally minded now, notwithstanding the warnings given of God in his word and through the testimonies of his Spirit, will never unite with the holy family of the redeemed. They are sensual, debased in thought, and abominable in the sight of God. They have never been sanctified through the truth. They are not partakers of the divine nature, have never overcome self and the world with its affections and lusts. These characters are all through our churches, and as the result the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die. There must be no indifferent testimony borne now, but a decided, pointed testimony, rebuking every impurity, and exalting Jesus. We must as a people be in the attitude of expectation, working and waiting and watching and praying.

This blessed hope of the second appearing of Christ needs to be presented often to the people, with its solemn realities; looking for the soon appearing of our Lord Jesus to come in his glory, will lead to the regarding of earthly things as emptiness and nothingness. All worldly honor or distinction is of no value, for the true believer lives above the world; his steps are advancing heavenward. He is a pilgrim and stranger. His citizenship is above. He is gathering the sunbeams of the righteousness of Christ into his soul, that he may be a burning and shining light in the moral darkness that has enshrouded the world. What vigorous faith, what lively hope, what fervent love, what holy, consecrated zeal for God is seen in him, and what a decided distinction between him and the world! “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” “Watch ye therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” “Therefore be ye ready also; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments.” [Luke 21:36; Matthew 22:42; 24:44; Revelation 16:15.]

Special Testimony for our Ministers (1892), 37–40.