Bible Study Guides – The Seal of God

July 19, 2009 – July 25, 2009

Key Text

“And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 207–216; The Great Controversy, 653–661.


“Although the nations are mustering their forces for war and bloodshed, the command to the angels is still in force, that they hold the four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 221, 222.

1 In contrast to those entrusted as guardians of God’s temple, what was Ezekiel shown? Ezekiel 9:1–4.

Note: “What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

2 How does the seal of God relate to faithful Sabbath keepers today? Revelation 14:1; Exodus 31:13, 14.

Note: “Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God. Those whose hands are not clean, whose hearts are not pure, will not have the seal of the living God. Those who are planning sin and acting it will be passed by. Only those who, in their attitude before God, are filling the position of those who are repenting and confessing their sins in the great anti-typical day of atonement, will be recognized and marked as worthy of God’s protection. The names of those who are steadfastly looking and waiting and watching for the appearing of their Saviour–more earnestly and wishfully than they who wait for the morning–will be numbered with those who are sealed.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 445.

3 Discuss the seriousness of the sealing message. Ezekiel 9:10. How does this message relate to the third angel of Revelation 14:9–12?

Note: “Those who link in sympathy with the world are eating and drinking with the drunken and will surely be destroyed with the workers of iniquity.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212.

“The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel’s message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God’s judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them.” The Great Controversy, 449, 450.

4 What should cause us to think soberly about the sealing message? Jeremiah 25:33.

Note: “Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God or be cut down by the destroying weapons. Already a few drops of God’s wrath have fallen upon the earth; but when the seven last plagues shall be poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation, then it will be forever too late to repent and find shelter. No atoning blood will then wash away the stains of sin.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 212.

5 When the destroying angel goes forth, who suffers first and why? Ezekiel 9:5–7.

Note: “Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus ‘Peace and safety’ is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.

6 What is especially offensive to God? Ezekiel 9:8, 9.

Note: “The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but by far the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed. The great Searcher of hearts knoweth every sin committed in secret by the workers of iniquity. These persons come to feel secure in their deceptions and, because of His long-suffering, say that the Lord seeth not, and then act as though He had forsaken the earth. But He will detect their hypocrisy and will open before others those sins which they were so careful to hide.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211, 212.

7 What will come upon the whole earth as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads? Revelation 16:1.

Note: “The angel with the writer’s ink horn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel.

“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. In deed it has begun already, the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming” “Ellen G. White Comments” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

8 How did several prophets describe the destruction that is coming upon the world? Isaiah 26:21; Jeremiah 25:31; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 2.

Note: “When He [Jesus] leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.” The Great Controversy, 614.

“In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God’s unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth—priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low.” Ibid., 657.

9 What was shown to John the Revelator? Revelation 7:2–4. How must we prepare to receive the seal of God?

Note: “Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity.

“Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God–candidates for heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.

10 What is promised to those who receive the seal of God? Malachi 3:17; Revelation 21:7.

Note: “The day of wrath to the enemies of God is the day of final deliverance to His church. The prophet declares: ‘Strengthen ye the weak hands, And confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: Behold, your God will come with vengeance, Even God with a recompense; He will come and save you.’ ‘He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.’ Isaiah 35:3, 4; 25:8. And as the prophet beholds the Lord of glory descending from heaven with all the holy angels, to gather the remnant church from among the nations of earth, he hears the waiting ones unite in the exultant cry: ‘Lo, this is our God; We have waited for Him, And He will save us: This is the Lord; We have waited for Him, We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’ Isaiah 25:9.” Prophets and Kings, 727, 728.

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Maranatha, 241.

Additional Reading

“‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ [Exodus 20:8–11.]

“The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator’s work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day signify by this act that they are worshipers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It is the only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307.

“Let us remember that while the work we have to do may not be our choice, it is to be accepted as God’s choice for us. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies nearest. ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.’ Ecclesiastes 9:10.

“If the Lord desires us to bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be as pleasing to Him for us to go to Joppa or to Capernaum. He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed. At that very place there may be someone in need of the help we can give. He who sent Philip to the Ethiopian councilor, Peter to the Roman centurion, and the little Israelitish maiden to the help of Naaman, the Syrian captain, sends men and women and youth today as His representatives to those in need of divine help and guidance.” The Ministry of Healing, 472, 473.

“Our plans are not always God’s plans. He may see that it is best for us and for His cause to refuse our very best intentions, as He did in the case of David. But of one thing we may be assured, He will bless and use in the advancement of His cause those who sincerely devote themselves and all they have to His glory. If He sees it best not to grant their desires He will counterbalance the refusal by giving them tokens of His love and entrusting to them another service.” Ibid., 473.

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

Bible Study Guides – Great Abominations

July 12, 2009 – July 18, 2009

Key Text

“Behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, [were] about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east.” Ezekiel 8:16.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 9, 232–244; Prophets and Kings, 178–189; 448, 449.


“Men have honored Satan’s principles above the principles that rule in the heavens. They have accepted the spurious sabbath, which Satan has exalted as the sign of his authority.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 352.

1 What vision was Ezekiel given to behold? Ezekiel 8:1–5. Why is “jealousy” mentioned in the context of God’s house of worship? Exodus 20:1–6.

Note: “The close and sacred relation of God to His people is represented under the figure of marriage. Idolatry being spiritual adultery, the displeasure of God against it is fitly called jealousy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 306.

“Our God is a jealous God, and he requires that we worship Him in spirit and in truth, and in the beauty of holiness.” The Signs of the Times, October 15, 1885.

2 In what sense do professed Christians provoke “godly jealousy” today? II Corinthians 11:2–4. How can we be secure against the deceptions of Satan? II Corinthians 13:5; John 14:6; I John 5:12.

Note: “We need an abiding Christ. We need to eat His word. He is the Bread of Life. The revealed word is our photograph of Christ. The world can only be expelled from the soul by filling the soul with Christ. Just as the life of the body is produced by the temporal food eaten, so the life of the soul is produced by the spiritual food eaten. He who would have spiritual life and vigor must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God.” Bible Training School, March 1, 1903.

3 How was God’s holy sanctuary being desecrated? Ezekiel 8:6–11. How does man degrade himself through idolatry? Romans 1:22–27.

Note: “How can man be elevated by adoring what is no higher than himself and may be symbolized by his own handiwork? If men could become so blinded to the power, the majesty, and the glory of the infinite God as to represent Him by a graven image, or even by a beast or reptile; if they could so forget their own divine relationship, formed in the image of their Maker as to bow down to these revolting and senseless objects—then the way was open for foul license; the evil passions of the heart would be unrestrained, and Satan would have full sway.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 335.

4 What self-deception did the ancients of the house of Israel reveal as they became bold in sin? Ezekiel 8:12. How may we be in danger of deceiving ourselves? Isaiah 29:13–15.

Note: “The Lord has shown us His way; shall we walk in it? or shall we, finite and erring as we are, walk in our own counsel, and practice the principles which He has warned us against?” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 382.

5 What was the next step in the downward spiral of defilement in God’s sanctuary? Ezekiel 8:13, 14. How does this process of apostasy stand as a warning to us? II Chronicles 36:14.

Note: “No outward shrine may be visible; there may be no image for the eye to rest upon; yet thousands are following after the gods of this world—after riches, fame, pleasure, and the pleasing fables that permit man to follow the inclinations of the unregenerate heart. Multitudes have a wrong conception of God and His attributes, and are as truly serving a false god as were the worshipers of Baal. Many even of those who claim to be Christians have allied themselves with influences that are unalterably opposed to God and His truth. Thus they are led to turn away from the divine and to exalt the human.” Prophets and Kings, 177, 178.

6 What was the most serious offense shown to Ezekiel? Ezekiel 8:15, 16. Today, how has most of Christendom been deceived into adopting a form of sun worship? Daniel 7:25.

Note: “Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment … and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as ‘the venerable day of the sun.’ ” The Great Controversy, 52.

“Through the setting up of a false sabbath, the enemy thought to change times and laws. But has he really succeeded in changing God’s law? The words of the thirty-first chapter of Exodus are the answer. He who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, has declared of the seventh-day Sabbath: ‘It is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations.’ ‘It is a sign… forever.’ Exodus 31:13, 17. The changed signpost is pointing the wrong way, but God has not changed. He is still the mighty God of Israel.” Prophets and Kings, 184, 185.

7 How did Christ condemn the practice of putting tradition above the Word of God? Matthew 15:9, 13. What should all Christians realize about the Lord’s Sabbath? Mark 2:27, 28; Luke 23:56.

Note: “Christ rested in the tomb on the Sabbath day, and when holy beings of both heaven and earth were astir on the morning of the first day of the week, He rose from the grave to renew His work of teaching His disciples. But this fact does not consecrate the first day of the week, and make it a Sabbath.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1113.

“Protestants now urge that the resurrection of Christ on Sunday made it the Christian Sabbath. But Scripture evidence is lacking. No such honor was given to the day by Christ or His apostles. The observance of Sunday as a Christian institution had its origin in that ‘mystery of lawlessness’ (11 Thessalonians 2:7, R.V.) which, even in Paul’s day, had begun its work.” The Great Controversy, 54.

8 As sincere Christian believers become aware of the facts regarding the unauthorized Sabbath/Sunday change, what does the Lord require of them? Acts 17:30.

Note: “The day of the sun, Sunday, was a day devoted to the most vile of the heathen worship, for it was celebrated in connection with sun-worship. This Sunday-sabbath has been accepted by many who know it to be the foundling of heathenism, which has been cherished and nourished by the Church of Rome, and by her clothed in the garments of sanctity. But while many are now aware of its origin, there are true Christians in every church who do not know the origin of the Sunday-sabbath, and believe that they are keeping the day which God sanctified and blest. This is true of worshipers even in the Catholic Church; and while this ignorance and integrity remain, God accepts of their sincerity; but when light shall fall upon their pathway, God requires them to come into harmony with His law, and to observe the Sabbath of his appointing.” The Signs of the Times, November 19, 1894.

9 How did God respond to the false worship in Ezekiel’s day? Ezekiel 8:17, 18. In our day, how will God’s people be pressured to conform to false worship? Revelation 13:11–17.

Note: “The enforcement of Sundaykeeping on the part of Protestant churches is an enforcement of the worship of the papacy—of the beast. Those who, understanding the claims of the fourth commandment, choose to observe the false instead of the true Sabbath are thereby paying homage to that power by which alone it is commanded. But in the very act of enforcing a religious duty by secular power, the churches would themselves form an image to the beast.” The Great Controversy, 448, 449.

“Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and accept the Sunday sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 976.

10 As believers in God’s word, what is our present duty? Mark 13:34–37.

Note: “It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter His people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 713, 714.

“Those who would not receive the mark of the beast and his image when the decree goes forth, must have decision now to say, Nay, we will not regard the institution of the beast.” Early Writings, 67. [Emphasis in original.]

Additional Reading

“ ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ Exodus 20:3. … It is not alone in denying the existence of God or in bowing down to idols of wood and stone that this first commandment is broken. By many who profess to be followers of Christ, its principles are infringed, but the Lord of heaven does not acknowledge those as His children who are cherishing in their hearts anything that takes the place which God alone should hold. With many the gratification of appetite holds sway, while with others dress and love of the world are given the first place in the heart. …

“God has given us many things in this life upon which to bestow our affections, but when we carry to excess that which in itself is lawful we become idolaters. … Anything that separates our affections from God and lessens our interest in eternal things is an idol. Those who use the precious time given them by God—time that has been purchased at an infinite cost—in embellishing their homes for display, in following the fashions and customs of the world, are not only robbing their own souls of spiritual food, but are failing to give God His due. The time thus spent in the gratification of selfish desires might be employed in obtaining a knowledge of the Word of God, in cultivating our talents, that we might render intelligent service to our Creator. … God will not share a divided heart. If the world absorbs our attention, He cannot reign supreme. If this diminishes our devotion for God, it is idolatry in His eyes. …

“ ‘God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24). When our hearts are tuned to praise our Maker, not only in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs but also in our lives, we shall live in communion with Heaven. … There will be gratitude in the heart and in the home, in private as well as in public devotion. This constitutes the true worship of God.” That I May Know Him, 322.

“The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit every sincere prayer is indited, and such prayer is acceptable to God. Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit’s working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul. For such worshipers He is seeking. He waits to receive them and to make them His sons and daughters.” My Life Today, 46.

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

Bible Study Guides – Ezekiel’s Duty—And Ours

July 5, 2009 – July 11, 2009

Key Text

“And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they [are] most rebellious.” Ezekiel 2:7.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 53, 54; This Day With God, 60.


“So far as his opportunities extend, everyone who has received the light of truth is under the same solemn and fearful responsibility as was the prophet [Ezekiel].” The Great Controversy, 459.

1 After Ezekiel was shown the wheels illustrating how God is in control, what was he told to do? Ezekiel 2:1–3. What lessons are contained here for us?

Note: “The rebuke of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way, that clearer light shall not come to the people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designs shall be done. The Lord has raised up messengers, and endued them with His Spirit, and has said, ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ [Isaiah 58:1.] Let no one run the risk of interposing between the people and the message of Heaven. This message will go to the people; and if there were no voice among men to give it, the very stones would cry out.” Gospel Workers, 304.

2 Under what circumstances will the Present Truth be proclaimed? Ezekiel 2:4, 5.

Note: “A season of great trial is before us. It becomes us now to use all our capabilities and gifts in advancing the work of God. The powers the Lord has given us are to be used to build up, not to tear down. Those who are ignorantly deceived are not to remain in this condition. The Lord says to His messengers: Go to them and declare unto them what I have said, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

“The time is right upon us when persecution will come to those who proclaim the truth. The outlook is not flattering; but, notwithstanding this, let us not give up our efforts to save those ready to perish, for whose ransom the Prince of heaven offered up His precious life.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 227, 228.

3 In what respect is the responsibility of faithful Reformers today similar to that of Ezekiel? Ezekiel 2:6, 7.

Note: “Now as in former ages, the presentation of a truth that reproves the sins and errors of the times will excite opposition. … Those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the state will so conflict with the law of God that whosoever would obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evildoer.

“In view of this, what is the duty of the messenger of truth? Shall he conclude that the truth ought not to be presented, since often its only effect is to arouse men to evade or resist its claims? No; he has no more reason for withholding the testimony of God’s word, because it excites opposition, than had earlier Reformers.” The Great Controversy, 458, 459.

“We should choose the right because it is right, and leave consequences with God. To men of principle, faith, and daring, the world is indebted for its great reforms. By such men the work of reform for this time must be carried forward.” Ibid., 460.

4 What was Ezekiel required to do before bringing God’s message to the people? Ezekiel 2:8–10; 3:1–4. What is our need today? John 6:53, 63.

Note: “Please read carefully the third chapter of Ezekiel. We must learn to put our entire dependence upon God, and yet we must ever bear in mind that the Lord God has need of every agency that holds the truth in righteousness.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 214.

“You can reveal the truth only as you know it in Christ. You are to receive and assimilate His words; they are to become part of yourselves. This is what is meant by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God.” Counsels on Health, 371.

5 What duty was sadly neglected in the days of Ezekiel and is often neglected even among God’s people today? Ezekiel 3:17–21; Matthew 18:15.

Note: “All your efforts to save the erring may be unavailing. They may repay you evil for good. They may be enraged rather than convinced. What if they hear to no good purpose, and pursue the evil course they have begun? This will frequently occur. Sometimes the mildest and tenderest reproof will have no good effect. In that case the blessing you wanted another to receive by pursuing a course of righteousness, ceasing to do evil and learning to do well, will return into your own bosom. If the erring persist in sin, treat them kindly, and leave them with your heavenly Father. You have delivered your soul; their sin no longer rests upon you; you are not now partaker of their sin. But if they perish, their blood is upon their own head.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 53, 54.

6 What did God reveal to Ezekiel while He was preparing him to be His spokesman? Ezekiel 3:22–27.

Note: “How God bore with the Jewish nation while they were murmuring and rebellious, breaking the Sabbath and every other precept of the law! He repeatedly declared them worse than the heathen. Each generation surpassed the preceding in guilt. The Lord permitted them to go into captivity, but after their deliverance His requirements were forgotten. Everything that He committed to that people to be kept sacred was perverted or displaced by the inventions of rebellious men.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 75.

7 What should each of us consider who have been entrusted with great light? Luke 12:47, 48.

Note: “We have much to answer for, considering our superior advantages and knowing that we must be judged by the light and privileges the Lord has granted us. We cannot plead that we are less favored with light than that people who have been for ages an astonishment and a reproach to the world. We cannot expect judgment to be given in our favor because, like Capernaum, we have been exalted to heaven. The Lord has wrought for His commandment-keeping people. The light that has been reflected to us from heaven was not granted to Sodom and Gomorrah, or they might have remained unto this day; and if the mighty works and knowledge and grace which have been manifested to this people had been made known to the nations in darkness, we know not how far in advance of this people they might now be.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 624.

8 What message of hope was given to a faithful remnant and how is this message paralleled in our days? Ezekiel 6:8.

Note: “Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. …

“The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 380.

“Thank God, all will not be rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. There will be faithful ones who will discern the signs of the times. While a large number professing present truth will deny their faith by their works, there will be some who will endure unto the end.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 10.

9 In the time of Ezekiel, what experience was reserved for those who had put their trust in mammon? Ezekiel 7:8, 9, 19. How will history be repeated? James 5:1–3.

Note: “The day is coming when the idols of silver and gold will be cast to the moles and to the bats, and the rich men will weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon them.” The Review and Herald, January 24, 1888.

“The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 152.

10 What message was Ezekiel to convey to the Jewish people? Ezekiel 7:25–27. What is soon to be seen on this earth? 11 Peter 3:10–12. What is our duty in the meantime?

Note: “God designs that His precious word, with its messages of warning and encouragement, shall come to those who are in darkness and are ignorant of our faith. It is to be given to all, and will be to them a witness, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. Do not feel that the responsibility rests upon you to convict and convert the hearers. The power of God alone can soften the hearts of the people. You are to hold forth the word of life, that all may have an opportunity of receiving the truth if they will. If they turn from the truth of heavenly origin, it will be their condemnation.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 35.

Additional Reading

“The history of nations speaks to us today. To every nation and to every individual God has assigned a place in His great plan. Today men and nations are being tested by the plummet in the hand of Him who makes no mistake. All are by their own choice deciding their destiny, and God is overruling all for the accomplishment of His purposes.

“The prophecies which the great I AM has given in His word, uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the ages and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.

“Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the events to precede His coming: ‘Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. … Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.’ Matthew 24:6, 7.

“The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.

“The Bible, and the Bible only, gives a correct view of these things. Here are revealed the great final scenes in the history of our world, events that already are casting their shadows before, the sound of their approach causing the earth to tremble and men’s hearts to fail them for fear.

“ ‘Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; … because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate.’ Isaiah 24:1-6.” Prophets and Kings, 536, 537.

“We have need to be alarmed if we have not the fear of God constantly before us. We have need to fear if there is any departing from the living God, for He alone is our strength and fortress, into which we may run and be safe when the enemy makes a charge upon us with his temptations.” In Heavenly Places, 199.

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

Bible Study Guides – The Vision of the Wheels

June 28, 2009 – July 4, 2009

Key Text

“The appearance of the wheels and their work [was] like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work [was] as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.” Ezekiel 1:16.

Study Help: Education, 173–184; Testimonies, vol. 5, 750–754.


“Those who have many talents and those who have few are to work unitedly, as a wheel within a wheel. And if all feel their responsibility and accountability to God, they will do His will, acting their part according to His appointment.” Medical Ministry, 201.

1 Under what mournful circumstances was the prophet Ezekiel given his first vision? Ezekiel 1:1–3.

Note: “This vision [of the wheels within the wheels] was given to Ezekiel at a time when his mind was filled with gloomy forebodings. He saw the land of his fathers lying desolate. The city that was once full of people was no longer inhabited. The voice of mirth and the song of praise were no more heard within her walls. The prophet himself was a stranger in a strange land, where boundless ambition and savage cruelty reigned supreme. That which he saw and heard of human tyranny and wrong distressed his soul, and he mourned bitterly day and night.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 752.

2 Describe what Ezekiel saw. Ezekiel 1:4–7. What factor in Ezekiel’s vision had special significance in the days of the prophet, and what does it mean in our day? Ezekiel 1:8.

Note: “While nations have rejected God’s principles, and in this rejection have wrought their own ruin, yet a divine, overruling purpose has manifestly been at work throughout the ages. It was this that the prophet Ezekiel saw in the wonderful representation given him during his exile in the land of the Chaldeans, when before his astonished gaze were portrayed the symbols that revealed an overruling Power that has to do with the affairs of earthly rulers.” Prophets and Kings, 535.

“The wheellike complications that appeared to the prophet to be involved in such confusion were under the guidance of an infinite hand. The Spirit of God, revealed to him as moving and directing these wheels, brought harmony out of confusion; so the whole world was under His control. Myriads of glorified beings were ready at His word to overrule the power and policy of evil men, and bring good to His faithful ones.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 752.

“In Ezekiel’s vision God had His hand beneath the wings of the cherubim. This is to teach His servants that it is divine power that gives them success. He will work with them if they will put away iniquity and become pure in heart and life.” Ibid., 754.

3 What realization of the psalmist parallels Ezekiel’s vision and why should it echo in our hearts? Psalm 121:1–4.

Note: “He who slumbers not, who is continually at work for the accomplishment of His designs, can carry forward His great work harmoniously. That which appears to finite minds entangled and complicated, the Lord’s hand can keep in perfect order. He can devise ways and means to thwart the purposes of wicked men, and He will bring to confusion the counsels of them that plot mischief against His people.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 754.

4 What assurance does God extend to us in seeking to promote His cause on the earth? Matthew 28:20; Romans 8:31.

Note: “We permit ourselves to feel altogether too much care, trouble, and perplexity in the Lord’s work. We need to trust Him, believe in Him, and go forward. The tireless vigilance of the heavenly messengers, their unceasing employment in their ministry in connection with the beings of earth, show us how God’s hand is guiding the wheel within a wheel. The divine Instructor is saying to every actor in His work, as He said to Cyrus of old, ‘I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.’ [Isaiah 45:5.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

5 Of what should the hand beneath the wheels in Ezekiel’s vision remind us? Jeremiah 32:27.

Note: “God is acquainted with every man. Could our eyes be opened we would see that eternal justice is at work in our world. A powerful influence, not under man’s control, is working. Man may fancy that he is directing matters, but there are higher than human influences at work. The servants of God know that He is working to counteract Satan’s plans. Those who know not God cannot comprehend His movements. There is at work a wheel within a wheel. Apparently the complication of machinery is so intricate that man can see only a complete entanglement. But the divine hand, as seen by the prophet Ezekiel, is placed upon the wheels, and every part moves in complete harmony, each doing its specified work, yet with individual freedom of action.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.

6 Describe the creatures which Ezekiel saw, and explain the significance of their appearance as a flash of lightning. Ezekiel 1:9–14; Hebrews 1:7.

Note: “The bright light going among the living creatures with the swiftness of lightning represents the speed with which this work will finally go forward to completion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 754.

7 How is efficiency depicted in Ezekiel’s vision? Ezekiel 1:15–21.

Note: “The striking feature of divine operations is the accomplishment of the greatest work that can be done in our world by very simple means. It is God’s plan that every part of His government shall depend on every other part, the whole as a wheel within a wheel, working with entire harmony. He moves upon human forces, causing His Spirit to touch invisible chords, and the vibration rings to the extremity of the universe.” Evangelism, 93.

8 How else is this principle described? Zechariah 4:10.

Note: “God often uses the simplest means to accomplish the greatest results. It is His plan that every part of His work shall depend on every other part, as a wheel within a wheel, all acting in harmony. The humblest worker, moved by the Holy Spirit, will touch invisible chords, whose vibrations will ring to the ends of the earth, and make melody through eternal ages.” The Desire of Ages, 822, 823.

9 What else did Ezekiel see and hear in this vision? Ezekiel 1:22–25. Describe the most glorious aspect of the scene, and explain how it can encourage us today. Ezekiel 1:26, 27.

Note: “We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. … Those who are making an effort to change the Constitution and secure a law enforcing Sunday observance little realize what will be the result. A crisis is just upon us.

“But God’s servants are not to trust to themselves in this great emergency. In the visions given to Isaiah, to Ezekiel, and to John we see how closely heaven is connected with the events taking place upon the earth and how great is the care of God for those who are loyal to Him. The world is not without a ruler. The program of coming events is in the hands of the Lord. The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations, as well as the concerns of His church, in His own charge.

“We permit ourselves to feel altogether too much care, trouble, and perplexity in the Lord’s work. Finite men are not left to carry the burden of responsibility. We need to trust in God, believe in Him, and go forward.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 753, 754.

10 What scene did Ezekiel finally behold, and how did he respond? Ezekiel 1:28.

Note: “There were wheels within wheels in an arrangement so complicated that at first sight they appeared to Ezekiel to be all in confusion. But when they moved, it was with beautiful exactness and in perfect harmony. Heavenly beings were impelling these wheels, and, above all, upon the glorious sapphire throne, was the Eternal One; while round about the throne was the encircling rainbow, emblem of grace and love. Overpowered by the terrible glory of the scene, Ezekiel fell upon his face, when a voice bade him arise and hear the word of the Lord. Then there was given him a message of warning for Israel.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 751.

“A rainbow is represented in Heaven round about the throne, also above the head of Christ, as a symbol of God’s mercy encompassing the earth. When man, by his great wickedness provokes the wrath of God, Christ, man’s intercessor, pleads for him, and points to the rainbow in the cloud, as evidence of God’s great mercy and compassion for erring man; also the rainbow above the throne and upon His head, emblematical of the glory and mercy from God resting there for the benefit of repentant man.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 78.

Additional Reading

“These lessons are for our benefit. We need to stay our faith upon God, for there is just before us a time that will try men’s souls. Christ, upon the Mount of Olives, rehearsed the fearful judgments that were to precede His second coming: ‘Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.’ ‘Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.’ [Mark 13:7, 8.] While these prophecies received a partial fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem, they have a more direct application to the last days.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 753.

“Every nation that has come upon the stage of action has been permitted to occupy its place on the earth, that the fact might be determined whether it would fulfill the purposes of the Watcher and the Holy One. Prophecy has traced the rise and progress of the world’s great empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. With each of these, as with the nations of less power, history has repeated itself. Each has had its period of test; each has failed, its glory faded, its power departed.” Prophets and Kings, 535.

“All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.” Prophets and Kings, 536.

“The day of doom for the kingdom of Judah was fast approaching. No longer could the Lord set before them the hope of averting the severest of His judgments. ‘Should ye be utterly unpunished?’ He inquired. ‘Ye shall not be unpunished.’ Jeremiah 25:29.

“Even these words were received with mocking derision. ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth,’ [Ezekiel 12:22] declared the impenitent. But through Ezekiel this denial of the sure word of prophecy was sternly rebuked. ‘Tell them,’ the Lord declared, ‘I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.’ [Ezekiel 12:23–25.]

“ ‘Again,’ testifies Ezekiel, ‘the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God.’ Ezekiel 12:22–28.” Prophets and Kings, 450.

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

Children’s Story – An Act of the Will

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” She spoke from personal experience. Of all the places that she could be right now, this small church in northern Germany was the last place Corrie ten Boom wanted to be, but the first place she felt called.

The many wounds inflicted by the Nazi regime were still bleeding in her heart as she spoke to the congregation about God’s love and forgiveness. Just months ago, she had been imprisoned in the Ravensbruck concentration camp; one of the most notorious and deadly camps of World War II; the very place where her beloved sister, Betsy, lost her life with countless other women. Only twenty percent of the women who entered the gates of the camp, ever lived to see freedom again.

Corrie’s mind flickered back to eight months ago and the German congregation in front of her disappeared behind the memory of the bitterly cold night Betsy was taken from her. Corrie still felt the chill of Betsy’s frail, icy fingers on her hand. Her clear blue eyes, warmed by God’s love, echoed her last words to Corrie. “Remember, dear sister,” she whispered gently, “no pit is so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Corrie spent a sleepless night next to her dead sister, reliving the vicious beating Betsy had endured at the hand of one of the German guards. Corrie could still see the hatred in the steely blue eyes of a man wholly consumed by a very different spirit than that of her beloved sister. Already emaciated and faint, the scourging had robbed Betsy of what little strength she still hung on to. And now she was gone. Like a robber who had stolen millions, the guard had come back for the pennies that were left. Silent tears of hatred and fervent prayers for forgiveness tore Corrie in two as her heart fought a war not unlike the one that was tearing the world apart outside. Even as she was suffering at the hand of her enemy, Betsy claimed aloud God’s forgiveness for the man. Corrie prayed for the same spirit.

The memories vanished again and the sea of German faces reappeared. “We all are adversaries of Christ, and yet His forgiveness is offered freely.” She continued, “As we ought to offer forgiveness to one another no matter how great or small the offense.”

After the service, Corrie stood by the doors of the church speaking with the members as they filed out of the sanctuary. She warmly shook hands and exchanged kind words with these people who had a short time ago been enemies, and her heart overflowed with gratitude—and then stopped. A face in the crowd that was moving slowly past froze her in place, causing her convictions on forgiveness to shake as violently as her hands. A few moments later, the same steel blue eyes that had flashed with hatred for her sister were staring her in the face. But the hatred was gone. In its place was a deep sorrow and a question. “Forgive me, Miss ten Boom,” he pleaded quietly, and held out a trembling hand toward her. “Please.” Corrie looked long and hard at the man who had killed her sister—“forgiveness—no matter the temperature of the heart,” she reminded herself, and raised her hand to grasp his. Tears of joy and freedom flowed from both their eyes.

Inspiration – Calling on His Strength

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17.

The great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, … will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. We are to hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith, and go forward from strength to increased faith. Ever we are to keep the faith that has been substantiated by the Holy Spirit of God from the earlier events of our experience until the present time. We need now larger breadth, and deeper, more earnest, unwavering faith in the leadings of the Holy Spirit. If we needed the manifest proof of the Holy Spirit’s power to confirm truth in the beginning, after the passing of the time, we need today all the evidence in the confirmation of the truth, when souls are departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. There must not be any languishing of soul now.

If ever there was a period of time when we needed the Holy Spirit’s power in our discourses, in our prayers, in every action proposed, it is now. We are not to stop at the first experience, but while we bear the same message to the people, this message is to be strengthened and enlarged. We are to see and realize the importance of the message made certain by its divine origin. We are to follow on to know the Lord, that we may know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. Our souls need the quickening from the Source of all power. We may be strengthened and confirmed in the past experience that holds us to the essential points of truth which have made us what we are—Seventh-day Adventists.

The past fifty years have not dimmed one jot or principle of our faith as we received the great and wonderful evidences that were made certain to us in 1844, after the passing of the time. The languishing souls are to be confirmed and quickened according to His Word. … Not a word is changed or denied. That which the Holy Spirit testified to as truth after the passing of the time, in our great disappointment, is the solid foundation of truth. [The] pillars of truth were revealed, and we accepted the foundation principles that have made us what we are—Seventh-day Adventists, keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus.

Have not the hearts of Christ’s disciples burned within them as He has talked with us by the way and opened to us the Scriptures? Has not the Lord Jesus opened to us the Scriptures, and presented to us things kept secret from the foundation of the world? Letter 326, December 4, 1905, to W.C. White.

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

What does God require? Perfection; nothing less than perfection. But if we would be perfect, we must put no confidence in self. Daily we must know and understand that self is not to be trusted. We need to grasp God’s promises with firm faith. We need to ask for the Holy Spirit with a full realization of our own helplessness. Then when the Holy Spirit works, we shall not give self the glory. The Holy Spirit will graciously take the heart into His keeping, bringing to it all the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We shall be kept by the power of God through faith.

When we are daily under the control of God’s Spirit, we shall be commandment-keeping people. We may show to the world that obedience to God’s commands brings its own reward, even in this life, and in the future life eternal blessedness. Notwithstanding our profession of faith, the Lord by whom our actions are weighed sees but an imperfect representation of Christ. He has declared that such a condition of things cannot glorify Him.

It means much to commit the keeping of the soul to God. It means that we are to live and walk by faith, not trusting in or glorifying self, but looking to Jesus our Advocate as the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Holy Spirit will do its work upon a heart that is contrite, but never can He work upon a self-important, self-righteous soul. In his own wisdom such a one would mend himself. He interposes between his soul and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will work if self will not interpose. …

The Holy Spirit is ready to cooperate with all who will receive Him and be taught by Him. All who lay hold on the truth and are sanctified through the truth are so united with Christ that they can represent Him in word and action. … May the Holy Spirit speak to the hearts of God’s chosen people, that their words may be as choice as gold as they give the bread of life to those in transgression and sin. …

It is God’s pleasure and will that the blessings bestowed on man shall be given in perfect completeness. He has made provision that every difficulty may be overcome, every want supplied through the Holy Spirit. Thus He designs that man shall perfect a Christian character. God would have us contemplate His love, His promises, given so freely to those who have no merit in themselves, He would have us depend fully, gratefully, rejoicingly in the righteousness provided for us in Christ. To all who come to God in His appointed way, He freely listens.—Manuscript 148, December 5, 1897, “The Christian Life.”

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22, 23.

I have very solemn feelings as I consider the condition the world is in. O how careless, how full of crime and disobedience and sin, how sad, how terribly sad is the fact that the world does not recognize the love of God in giving Jesus Christ as our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who was equal with God. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Sin has for ages disturbed, or I might say, impeded the great work of divine benevolence by obstructing the channel through human agencies that refuse to receive the heavenly gift and therefore cannot impart the same.

God is calling for men and women to become consecrated as laborers with Jesus Christ. Although sin and wickedness have disturbed for ages the flow of rich grace, yet this flow has not been cut off from earth. Its course is earthward, and if men would only cooperate with God, if the channel of communication was kept open, unrestrained, to communicate to the world, the light of heaven would be shining in all parts of the world, scattering the moral darkness.

I am satisfied that we must work in earnest. The ministers are not the only ones who are to shine, but workers are to be raised up in all the churches, and as these who receive the truth shall maintain humility and contrition, they are the very ones God will use to bless their fellow men, by doing whatever they can in their supposed humble capacity.

It is not the most learned, not the most eloquent of the human family through whom the Lord will reveal Himself. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15). “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” …

The Lord calls for us to render back to Him the endowments He has given to men, whereby they can use all their powers of intellect, and all their strength, physically and morally, in His service to do good and bless others. A crisis has arrived in the government of God on earth. Divine compassion has been flowing to the people, notwithstanding that the heavenly current has been beaten back by stubborn hearts.—Letter 52, December 6, 1895, to a minister in Australia.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1, 2.

How precious is the knowledge that we have a faithful Friend, One who will impart to us a noble, elevated character that will fit us for the companionship of the heavenly angels in the courts above! His guardianship is over all His children. They have a peace that the world can neither give nor take away. The loss of earthly treasures does not make them hopeless or homeless. …

Christ beholds the world, full of activity in seeking for earthly treasures. He sees many eagerly trying first one thing and then another in their efforts to obtain the coveted earthly treasure, which they think will satisfy their selfish greed, while in their eager pursuit they pass by the only path that leads to the true riches.

As One having authority Christ speaks to such ones, inviting them to follow Him. He offers to lead them to the riches that are as enduring as eternity. He points them to the narrow path of self-denial and sacrifice. Those who press on in this path, surmounting every obstacle, will reach the land of glory. In lifting the cross they find that the cross lifts them, and they will at last gain the imperishable treasure.

Many think to find security in earthly riches. But Christ seeks to remove from their eye the mote that obscures the vision, and thus enable them to behold the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. They are mistaking phantoms for realities, and have lost sight of the glories of the eternal world. Christ calls upon them to extend their view beyond the present and add eternity to their vision.—Letter 264, Dec. 7, 1903, to a businessman of some means, 1–6.

There is no place on earth where treasure is secure from loss. But there is a city that has foundations, whose builder and whose Maker is God. Christ seeks to draw the attention away from unwise investments in perishable riches, warning men to lay up their treasures in heaven. Ibid., 8.

Those who have lavished their affection on earthly treasures without regard to the heavenly riches will soon receive their reward. They will lose the earthly treasures to obtain [that for] which they have sold their souls to Satan. …

Will those who have not yet fully yielded themselves to the great rebel now come over to the Lord’s side? Will they, before it is everlastingly too late, leave the works of wickedness and stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel? Ibid., 6, 7. The Upward Look, 352—355.

Food for Life – Exercise

According to the time line in Genesis, man was put in a garden after his creation and his work was ascribed to him. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:15. God designed our body to be physically active. This is apparent from looking at the physiology of our bodies. The body is clearly designed for movement. This is seen in the skeletal frame that contains joints for movement and by the muscular covering of this frame. The muscular covering is complemented with ligaments and tendons to attach the muscles to the bones and cause movements as the muscles contract and release. We also have thumb and finger opposition which is ideal for the manual dexterity required for gardening and other manual activities in Eden. We are told, “Exercise in the open air should be prescribed as a life-giving necessity. And for such exercises there is nothing better than the cultivation of the soil.” The Ministry of Healing, 265.

According to Ecclesiastes 5, man is to rejoice in his labor as being a gift from God. One of the benefits of exercise is that the laboring man will have sweet sleep, which is seen in verse 12. A good day working in the sunshine and fresh air will do much to help us get a good night’s rest.

Ecclesiastics 9:10 cautions man, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.” God asks us to do all things to the best of our ability because once this life is over, we cannot change from the grave what we have done in life.

“There are but few who realize that, in order to enjoy health and cheerfulness, they must have an abundance of sunlight, pure air, and physical exercise.” Daughters of God, 175. If you do not have a regular exercise program, won’t you start one today?

Recipe – Esau’s Pottage

1 cup rice (uncooked)

2 cups lentils (uncooked)

4-6 large garlic cloves, minced

1 large diced onion (to taste)

1 to 1 ½ Tbsp chicken-style seasoning

1 tsp cumin (to taste)

Cook rice and lentils in separate containers for about 45 minutes. Add salt to taste. While these are cooking, in a large frying pan, sauté the garlic cloves and onion. Add the cooked rice and lentils to the garlic and onion. Then add the chicken style seasoning and cumin. Adjust salt, seasonings, and liquid as desired. Simmer for about an hour to blend flavors. Serve and enjoy.

Questions & Answers – Wearing of Jewelry


It appears when reading the Bible that in ancient times the wearing of jewelry was approved. The children of Israel had many jewels and wore earrings. Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, brought gifts of jewelry to Rebekah and her family when choosing her as a wife for Isaac. Why then is it objectionable for a Christian to wear jewelry?


Ezekiel 28 describes Satan in heaven before his fall. He was decked in jewels. In fact, it says that every precious stone was his covering: diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires, just to name a few.

In Revelation, chapter 21, is a description of the Holy City. It is called a city of gold; the walls are jasper with all manner of precious stones, and the gates are made of pearl. God, who is a God of beauty, loves beautiful stones and jewelry. This little quotation might put jewelry in its right perspective:

“God would have his children appreciate his works, and delight in the simple, quiet beauty with which he has adorned our earthly home. He is a lover of the beautiful, and above all that is outwardly attractive he loves beauty of character; he would have us cultivate purity and simplicity, the quiet graces of the flowers.” Christian Education, 54.

This world has been inundated with sin, and one of the chief sins is pride, which was the original sin that caused Satan to fall. God hates pride, for He says, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1.

All the proud are going to be done away with, root and branch. Since jewelry has a tendency to draw people’s attention, it also causes one to be proud. Pride has to be overcome and a character of humility developed—one that thinks of others before themselves, one that would attract people to Jesus and not to their own person decked in jewelry.

“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, and being clothed with humility, possessing that love that is pure, peaceable, and easy to be entreated, full of gentleness and good fruits, is not an easy attainment.” Gospel Workers, 376.

This is a battle that each one of us must fight, and if we are going to be ready for heaven we must not only fight, but we must win. Therefore, we need to follow the instructions that the apostle Paul gave us in Hebrews, which says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2.

We have this admonition, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” I Timothy 2:9.

Heaven is worth everything; if we lose it, we lose all, and if we gain it, we will gain all. Is it not worth striving for? It will take all to gain a character that will fit in there, but it will be more than worth it.

Consider what Jesus gave up for us. Those who are saved will be walking on streets of gold.

If you have a Bible question you wish to have answered, please e-mail it to:

Mighty Minerals, Vital Vitamins

Our bodies are built up from the food we eat. There is a constant breaking down of the tissues of the body; every movement of every organ involves waste, and this waste is repaired from our food. Each organ of the body requires its share of nutrition. The brain must be supplied with its portion; the bones, the muscles, and the nerves demand theirs. It is a wonderful process that transforms the food into blood and uses this blood to build up the varied parts of the body; but this process is going on continually, supplying with life and strength each nerve, muscle, and tissue.” Child Guidance, 378.

Our bodies were designed to operate without our conscious effort. We do not have to think through our body’s digestive process in order for it to happen, nor do we process out our blood’s circulation to get the life sustenance to our extremities. We do not usually pump our lungs manually to get air into them. We breathe without conscious effort. But in order to be able to do all these things, we need to provide our bodies with sufficient calories, vitamins, and minerals, which can best be done through a varied diet. Also, since the invention of dietary supplements, those who have a poor diet, or are compromised in their health condition, are able to use these aids to improve their overall health.

The substances that the body needs to develop and maintain properly are vitamins. There are 13 vitamins that are essential to our livelihood: A, C, D, E, K, and the B-family (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate). To break things down a little further, a vitamin is an organic compound that an organism cannot create in sufficient amounts on its own and must be obtained via another source, mainly through diet. As the word “compound” implies, each vitamin consists of several vitamers. These collective vitamers work together to produce the vitamin and the effect each vitamin has on the body. For example, cyanocolabim, hydroxocolabim, methylocolabim, and 5-deoxadenosylcolabim are all vitamin B12 vitamers. Each unique combination of vitamers are what allow the 13 different vitamins to play their different roles in the body’s upkeep. These roles are as diverse as regulating tissue growth and hormones and aiding in vision.

Today, we have an abundant supply of vitamins that come in the form of pills. But before these were available, food was the only way to obtain these necessary nutrients. Hippocrates, who is known as the Father of Modern Medicine said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine, thy food;” which is still the best health practice. His finding, among many others, was that feeding his patients liver which is packed with vitamin A, was a cure for night blindness. We now recognize vitamin A as necessary for night vision.

The Renaissance period spawned the growth of oceanic travel which led also to the rise in scurvy cases. Scurvy is a disease defined by the lack of collagen formation which prevents wounds from healing, bleeding from the gums, extreme fatigue, and severe joint and muscle pain. James Lind, a Scottish surgeon, found that citrus fruits prevented the onset of this terrible ailment. The ultimate finding was that scurvy was brought on by a vitamin C deficiency. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, scientists were able to identify necessary components of the diet through deprivation studies. However, it was not until 1912 that the word “vitamine” was pronounced as a vitally necessary component to the human body and its functionality. Later, in 1920, the word was changed to vitamin.

Since then, vitamins have been classified into two groups: fat soluble and water soluble. Four of the thirteen human vitamins are fat soluble: A, D, E, and K. The eight B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble. Water soluble vitamins are dissolvable in water and thus are eliminated through urination. Because of this, the water-soluble vitamins must be replenished on a daily basis.

Both groups of vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the aid of lipids, or fats. However, fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat for long periods of time and do not need to be replaced as frequently as the water-soluble vitamins. Replacing these vitamins too frequently leaves to a higher danger of toxicity (known as hypervitaminosis).

From the moment of conception, the human body develops through the use of vitamins and minerals. The nutrients play an integral role in the chemical reactions that are responsible for the creation of the body’s many intricate systems. When even one vitamin or mineral is lacking in an appropriate amount, the development can be seriously impaired. In order for the body to be properly maintained, these same nutrients must be available for use. They are necessary for everything from tissue repair to the support of chemical reactions that keep the body operational.

Minerals are the second of these two vital components. Unlike vitamins, which are carbon compounds, or derived from living matter, minerals are inorganic and make up about 4% of our body mass. There are two types of minerals: major or (macro) minerals, and trace minerals. Trace minerals are iron, zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, cobolt, fluorine, manganese, molybdenum, and chromium. The body requires less than 100 milligrams of trace minerals per day for optimum upkeep. The major, or macrominerals, are sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, sulfur (provided through adequate protein intake) and chlorine (amply provided through sodium). These minerals are needed by the body in quantities higher than 100 milligrams daily. Minerals serve three principle roles in the body. They provide structure in forming bones and teeth. Minerals maintain normal heart rhythm, muscle contractility, neural conductivity, and acid-based balance. Also in their realm is the regulation of cellular metabolism. Just like vitamins, minerals are obtained through our diet.

Vitamins and minerals interact with each other to produce the necessary effects in the body. For example, a combination of vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, fluoride, chloride, manganese, copper, and sulfur is necessary to keep bones healthy. And calcium, for instance, depends on the presence of certain vitamins such as vitamin D for its proper absorption. Because vitamins and minerals depend on the presence of one another to function optimally in the body , it is not enough to ensure that your body is just obtaining enough of one or the other; maintaining a proper balance of both is vital to optimum health.

“Health reformers, above all others, should be careful to shun extremes. The body must have sufficient nourishment. We cannot subsist upon air merely; neither can we retain health unless we have nourishing food.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 207.

“A diet lacking in the proper elements of nutrition brings reproach upon the cause of health reform. We are mortal and must supply ourselves with food that will give proper nourishment to the body.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 161.

1 Vitamins: Their role in the Human Body, by George F. M. Ball.

How Good is Good

Those of you who read your Bible, have surely read in Matthew and Luke about the young ruler who came to Jesus and said, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16. I am sure that all, or at least most of us, desire eternal life. Hopefully that is our goal and what we are living for. So we should be interested in Jesus’ answer.

“And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17.

If no one is good but God, what does that say about you and me? Where are we in the scale of life? Fortunately Jesus did not stop there. He said, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17.

The Ten Commandments express the Character of God. If there is none good but God, and the Ten Commandments are the description of His Character, it would be well for us to learn all that we could about them so we would know what good is. In the final analysis, when all lives come into review before the Judgment seat of God, we will be either good or evil. Only those who are like God, will be fit to live with Him, for God says, “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 18:13.

Let us take a look at the Ten Commandments. “Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29–31.

Here are a few texts that will help us to understand a little more about the power of love. “Love [is] the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10. “Charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” I John 4:7, 8.

When we understand that God is love and that all love comes from God, we begin to understand why Jesus said, “There [is] none good but God.” Virtually all the love that anyone has was planted in his life by God. Jesus wanted the lawyer to understand that Jesus Himself was God and that all of our goodness comes from Him.

“The ruler had addressed Christ merely as an honored rabbi, not discerning in Him the Son of God. The Saviour said, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.’ [Luke 18:19.] On what ground do you call Me good? God is the one good. If you recognize Me as such, you must receive Me as His Son and representative.

“ ‘If thou wilt enter into life,’ He added, ‘keep the commandments.’ The character of God is expressed in His law; and in order for you to be in harmony with God, the principles of His law must be the spring of your every action.

“Christ does not lessen the claims of the law. In unmistakable language He presents obedience to it as the condition of eternal life—the same condition that was required of Adam before his fall. The Lord expects no less of the soul now than He expected of man in Paradise, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement made in Eden—harmony with God’s law, which is holy, just, and good.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 391.

Why should we oppose the Law of God if it is all love? Let us look at it carefully and see if we really understand what it is saying to us and what love really is.

First we are told, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3. In other words, we are not to love any other person, place, or thing more than we love God, and we will want to please God. In order to please Him, we will do what He says. We will be obedient to His requirements, because we know that He loves us so much that whatever He asks of us is for our very best good and happiness.

The second commandment says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:4. This one protects us against the futile belief of trusting in some worthless object that cannot think, speak, walk, or help us in any way.

In the Orient, I used to see people kneeling before a rock carved into a likeness of Buddha, expecting help. Once a fire broke out in some thatched huts and the people were pouring water on Buddha, praying for help. Pouring the water on the fire would have been much more effective and may have reduced the damage. Three hundred huts were destroyed in the fire.

We are cautioned in the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7. This commandment helps us to have pure and beautiful speech that emanates from better and purer thoughts about God. It makes us better people with more pleasing conversation. If we really love God, we will not speak of Him carelessly or take His name in vain.

The fourth commandment is the one most rebelled against than any other. It says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For [in] six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8–11.

This is the commandment that helps us get better acquainted with God and protects us from being deceived by false, evolutionary theories. It provides one day each week to enjoy with our families and teach our children about the things that God has created. The Sabbath should be the happiest day of the week, and by acknowledging these first four commandments, we demonstrate that we love the Lord God with all our heart.

The second table of the Decalogue describes how to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The fifth commandment says, “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12. This commandment is the basis of a happy home. What pleasure it is to see a well ordered family consisting of loving parents and obedient children. How much heartache might be spared if children honored their parents.

Then there is a command that says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13. This commandment is also based on love. If we truly love our neighbor we would never want to do him or her harm. If this principle were carried out, what a safe, relaxed, and joyful society we would all enjoy.

Another commandment that is so lightly thought of today says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14. Oh, how many broken hearts would be saved if this commandment were always obeyed. It is God’s desire that our homes would be loving and happy and never experience the pain of rejection and humiliation that this sin causes. Every tear that is shed hurts the heart of Christ and every heart that aches and is lonely, pierces His soul. Love would save many a home.

“Thou shalt not steal.” Exodus 20:15. Nobody enjoys the intrusion of a robber. To have someone invade your home or private space and take that which does not belong to them can cause great suffering and loss. To love our neighbor as ourselves means that we would not do anything to him that would cause him any grief or pain by stealing his goods.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Exodus 20:16. How hurtful and damaging it is to be lied about or misrepresented. Lies have resulted in feuds and wars, broken friendships and homes, caused grief and heartache and have had many other damaging results. What peace and satisfaction we all would have if we conquered self and never broke this commandment.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that [is] thy neighbour’s.” Exodus 20:17.

Paul said, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.” Philippians 4:11. Again he says, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” I Timothy 6:8.

What a happy and wonderful world we would live in if we were all happy and content with what we have. The only way this can happen is to heed the instruction that God, in His wisdom, gave us to ensure our best good and happiness.

If we are faithful, one day we will live in that kind of a society, the glories of which we cannot accurately express. We can only let our imagination think about the wonders that we will someday become acquainted with, which will be ours. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9.

A few of the glories and blessings of heaven are recorded in the Bible:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:1–7.

So, how good is good? To be good, we must overcome all sin. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4. This can only be done by inviting Jesus into our hearts. He said He would live out His life within us, so if it is our desire to have eternal life, then we must invite Jesus into our hearts.

Like David pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10.

His divine nature united with our human nature overcame the battle with Satan. We also need His divine nature united with our human nature to become good and be like Jesus, and inherit eternal life.

There is none good but God, but our loving Savior has promised to live in our hearts. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” John 17:23.

May we all meet together on the sea of glass.

A member of Steps to Life staff, Ruth Grosboll is a retired registered nurse. She worked for many years with her husband in the mission field. She may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.