Bible Study Guides – “This Same Jesus”

April 23-29, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11, last part.

STUDY HELP: Desire of Ages, 829–835.

INTRODUCTION: “The promise of Christ’s Second Coming was ever to be kept fresh in the minds of His disciples. The same Jesus whom they had seen ascending into heaven, would come again, to take to Himself those who here below give themselves to His service. The same voice that had said to them, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end,’ would bid them welcome to His presence in the heavenly kingdom.” Acts of the Apostles, 33.

“The Glorious Appearing of the Great God, Our Saviour, Jesus Christ”

What promise was made to the disciples as they watched the Lord ascending to heaven? Acts 1:10–11.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 832.

What does the Bible tell us about the identity of “this same Jesus”? John 1:1–3, Titus 2:13.

NOTE: “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.” Desire of Ages,530.

“It was Christ who from the bush on Mount Horeb spoke to Moses saying, ‘I AM THAT I AM…” Desire of Ages, 24.

“The Word Was Made Flesh and Dwelt Among Us”

How complete was Christ’s assumption of human nature? Hebrews 2:11, 14–18.

NOTE: “If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man’s behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature.” Selected Messages, Book 1,408. (See also Desire of Ages, 117.)

In taking upon Himself man’s fallen nature, did Jesus participate in man’s sin? Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 5:7–9.

NOTE: “In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matthew 8: 17.) He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He knew no sin. He was the Lamb ‘without blemish and without spot.’ (1 Peter 1:19.) Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour’s head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 256.

“Even As I Also Overcame”

What was the secret of Christ’s victory over temptation? Hebrews 5:7.

NOTE: “Jesus came to bring moral power to combine with human effort, and in no case are His followers to allow themselves to lose sight of Christ, who is their example in all things. He said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.’ Jesus presents the truth before His children that they may look upon it, and by beholding it, may become changed, being transformed by His grace from transgression to obedience, from impurity to purity, from sin to heart-holiness and righteousness of life.” Review and Herald, December 22, 1891.

What example did Jesus give of “the faith of Jesus”? John 11:41–42.

NOTE: “For any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received. We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most. To live thus by the word of God means the surrender to Him of the whole life. There will be felt a continual sense of need and dependence, a drawing out of the heart after God. Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul.” Education, 258.

“Looking Unto Jesus”

How may we receive all things that are needed for us to attain to eternal life and godliness? 2 Peter 1:3–4.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 123.

What was Peter able to do by “looking unto Jesus;” and what happened when he looked away? Matthew 14:24–31.

NOTE: “When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Desire of Ages, 382.

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

In order to receive God’s blessings, what must we do? Matthew 7:7.

NOTE: See Steps to Christ, 94.

What are the conditions under which we must ask? James 4:3; 1 John 3:22.

NOTE: “He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.” Education, 257.

“True faith rests on the promises contained in the word of God, and those only who obey the Word, can claim the glorious promises contained in it. ‘If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7. Whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ 1 John 3:22.” Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, 59.

“When Ye Pray, Believe That Ye Receive”

What further condition must we fulfil for answered prayer? Matthew 21:22.

NOTE: “’Ye let go of the arm of the Lord too soon. Press your petitions to the throne, and hold on by strong faith. The promises are sure. Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.’ I was then pointed to Elijah. He was subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly. His faith endured the trial. Seven times he prayed before the Lord, and at last the cloud was seen. I saw that we had doubted the sure promises, and wounded the Saviour by our lack of faith.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 127.

What does James say of the one who does not believe that his prayer will be answered? James 1:6–7.

NOTE: “True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil, and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing, and claim it as ours. We are then to believe that we receive the blessing, because our faith has hold of it, and according to the Word it is ours. ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. Here is faith, naked faith, to believe that we receive the blessing, even before we realize it. When the promised blessing is realized and enjoyed, faith is swallowed up.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 126.

In presenting our requests to God, what must we not forget to do? Philippians 4:6. Compare John 11:41–42.

NOTE: “Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust in His promises. When we come to Him in faith, every petition enters the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it.” Desire of Ages, 200.

Bible Study Guides – “Not Everyone That Saith unto Me, Lord, Lord”

April 16-22, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 66:23.

STUDY HELP: Desire of Ages, 281–289.

INTRODUCTION: “So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. ‘From one Sabbath to another’ the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up ‘to worship before Me, saith the Lord.’” Sons and Daughters of God, 59.

“The Lord Blessed the Seventh Day and Sanctified It”

When was the Sabbath instituted? Genesis 2:1–3.

NOTE: “The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when ‘the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’” Job 38:7. Desire of Ages, 281.

For whose benefit was the Sabbath made? Mark 2:27.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 288.

“It Shall be a Sign Between Me and Thee”

What further significance did the Lord give to the Sabbath? Deuteronomy 5:15.

NOTE: “The Hebrews were held in bondage by the Egyptians, but the Lord delivered them from their bondage with a strong arm. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, Christ, their invisible Leader, guided them through the wilderness. Through Moses, their visible leader, He educated and instructed them, that they might love and serve the only true and living God. For their food the Lord gave them manna from heaven. Day by day this food was given, and on the sixth day enough fell for the Sabbath. This miracle testified constantly to the Sabbath commandment, which was given in Eden.” Signs of the Times, March 31, 1898.

Of what did the Lord ordain that the Sabbath should be a sign? Ezekiel 20:20.

NOTE: “The Sabbath is ever the sign that distinguishes the obedient from the disobedient. With masterly power Satan has worked to make null and void the fourth commandment, that the sign of God may be lost sight of. The Christian world have trodden underfoot the Sabbath of the Lord and observe a sabbath instituted by the enemy. But God has a people who are loyal to Him. His work is to be carried forward in right lines.” Counsels on Health, 235.

“Men could not place themselves more decidedly in opposition to God’s work and to His law than by upholding a day that is without one evidence of sanctity, and professing to worship Him on that day. Those who have corrupted the law by substituting a false sabbath for the holy Sabbath of God, and who compel the observance of this false sabbath, exalt themselves above God, and honor the spurious above the genuine.” Signs of the Times, March 31, 1898.

Of what divine work in the life did God intend the Sabbath to be a sign? Ezekiel 20:12; Exodus 31:13.

NOTE: “The Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.” Desire of Ages, 288.

“To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption..” The Faith I Live By, 33.

“There Remaineth Therefore a Rest to the Children of God”

What will prevent us from experiencing fully the Sabbath blessings? Hebrews 4:4–6.

NOTE: “The Sunday-sabbath is hoary with age, but this does not give it one tittle of sanctity, for God has not made it sacred. Sunday is not the Lord’s day; although it is called so by ministers throughout Christendom. This assertion of men has not removed the sanctity from the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, nor made the Sunday a day to be reverenced. God has not placed one particle of sanctity upon the first day of the week.” Review and Herald, September 13, 1898.

How does Paul show that the Sabbath rest was not finished in the earthly ministry of Christ? Hebrews 4:8–9.

NOTE: In verse 9, the word translated ‘rest’ literally means ‘a keeping of a Sabbath’, as will be found in the margin of the King James Bible.

“Here are the conditions upon which every soul will be elected to eternal life. Your obedience to God’s commandments will prove your right to an inheritance with the saints in light. God has elected a certain excellence of character; and every one who, through the grace of Christ, shall reach the standard of His requirement, will have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of glory.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 118.

“Not Everyone that Saith unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord’”

To whom will be given the right to eternal life in the City of God? Revelation 22:14.

NOTE: “God has elected a character in harmony with His law, and anyone who shall reach the standard of His requirement will have an entrance into the kingdom of glory.” God’s Amazing Grace, 350.

How are the saints of God identified? Revelation 14:12.

NOTE: “What preparation have you made for the judgment? Have you made your peace with God? Are you seeking to help those around you, those in your home, those in your neighborhood, those with whom you come in contact that are not keeping the commandments of God? Remember that profession is worthless without a practice that enters into the daily life. God knows whether we are keeping His law in truth. He knows just what we are doing, just what we are thinking and saying. Are we getting ready to meet the King? When He comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, will you be able to say, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us’ (Isaiah 25:9)? To those who can say this Christ will say, ‘Come up higher. Upon this earth you have loved Me. You have loved to do My will. You can now enter the Holy City and receive the crown of everlasting life.’” In Heavenly Places, 356.

What will Christ’s response be to those who profess to call Him Lord, but refuse to obey the commandments? Matthew 7:21–27.

NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 272.

“Delight Thyself in the Lord”

What promise is made to those who honor the Sabbath? Isaiah 58:13–14.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 288.

In these days, when evolution has become the religion of science and the world, what message is to be given by God’s people to the whole world before Christ returns? Revelation 14:6–7.

NOTE: “In Revelation 14, men are called upon to worship the Creator; and the prophecy brings to view a class that, as the result of the threefold message, are keeping the commandments of God. One of these commandments points directly to God as the Creator. The fourth precept declares: ‘The Seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: 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 20:10,11. Concerning the Sabbath, the Lord says, further, that it is ‘a sign, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.’ Ezekiel 20:20. And the reason given is: ‘For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.’ Exodus 31:17. ‘The importance of the Sabbath as the memorial of creation is that it keeps ever present the true reason why worship is due to God’ because He is the Creator, and we are His creatures. ‘The Sabbath therefore lies at the very foundation of divine worship, for it teaches this great truth in the most impressive manner, and no other institution does this. The true ground of divine worship, not of that on the seventh day merely, but of all worship, is found in the distinction between the Creator and His creatures. This great fact can never become obsolete, and must never be forgotten.’ J. N. Andrews, History of the Sabbath, Chapter 27. It was to keep this truth ever before the minds of men, that God instituted the Sabbath in Eden; and so long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, man’s thoughts and affections would have been led to the Creator as the object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel. The keeping of the Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to the true God. ‘Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ It follows that the message which commands men to worship God and keep His commandments will especially call upon them to keep the fourth commandment.” The Great Controversy, 437.

Bible Study Guides – “I Make New Heavens and a New Earth”

April 9-15, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” Isaiah 65:17.

STUDY HELP: Patriarchs and Prophets, 111–116.

INTRODUCTION: “I love to see everything that is beautiful in nature in this world. I think I would be perfectly satisfied with this earth, surrounded with the good things of God, if it were not blighted with the curse of sin. But we shall have new heavens and a new earth. John saw this in holy vision and said, ‘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’ Revelation 21:3. Oh, blessed hope, glorious prospect!” Last Day Events, 285.

“It Was Very Good”

What does the Bible tells us about the creation of the world? Exodus 20:11.

NOTE: “’By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.’ ‘For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.’ Psalm 33:6, 9. The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was evolved from chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 191. (See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 111.)

How did the Lord describe His creation? Genesis 1:31.

NOTE: “‘And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.’ Eden bloomed on earth. Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of life. No taint of sin or shadow of death marred the fair creation. ‘The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Job 38:7.” Sons and Daughters of God, 23.

“Sin Entered into the World, and Death by Sin”

What went wrong with God’s perfect creation? Romans 5:12.

NOTE: “Human beings have degenerated. One after another they fall under the curse, because sin has entered the world, and death by sin. The truth is not made precious by practice. It does not sanctify the soul. It fades from the mind because the heart does not appreciate its value. In consequence the mind becomes more and more darkened by the atmosphere which is malarious because of the perpetuating of Adam’s sin. The conscience has lost its sensitiveness. Through a repetition of sin, the impression made on the conscience by sin has no longer force enough to arrest the transgressor, diseased, depraved, and dying. The voice no longer echoes the voice of God, or gives expression to the music of a soul sanctified through the truth. The heart, in which God should be enthroned, is a place from which come forth all kinds of abominations. How has the fine gold become dim? Man has lost the reflection of God’s character. This calamity is well nigh universal. There is no place upon earth where the track of the serpent is not seen and his venomous sting felt. The whole earth is defiled. The curse is increasing as transgression increases. The earth is preparing for purification by fire.” Bible Echo, May 21, 1900.

Who introduced evil and death into this world? John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12: 9–12.

NOTE: “Man through sin has been severed from the life of God. His soul is palsied through the machinations of Satan, the author of sin. Of himself he is incapable of sensing sin, incapable of appreciating and appropriating the Divine nature. Were it brought within his reach there is nothing in it that his natural heart would desire it. The bewitching power of Satan is upon him. All the ingenious subterfuges the devil can suggest are presented to his mind to prevent every good impulse. Every faculty and power given him of God has been used as a weapon against the Divine Benefactor. So, although He loves him, God cannot safely impart to him the gifts and blessings He desires to bestow. But God will not be defeated by Satan. He sent His Son into the world, that through His taking the human form and nature, humanity and divinity combined in Him would elevate man in the scale of moral value with God. There is no other way for man’s salvation. ‘Without Me,’ says Christ, ‘ye can do nothing.’ (See John 15:5).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 340.

Apart from the moral damage caused by Satan, how was the earth itself affected as a consequence of sin? Genesis 3:17–19.

NOTE: “Although the earth was blighted with the curse, nature was still to be man’s lesson book. It could not now represent goodness only; for evil was everywhere present, marring earth and sea and air with its defiling touch. Where once was written only the character of God, the knowledge of good, was now written also the character of Satan, the knowledge of evil. From nature, which now revealed the knowledge of good and evil, man was continually to receive warning as to the results of sin.” Child Guidance, 46. (See also Conflict and Courage, 19.)

“Death is Swallowed Up in Victory”

How many have sinned and thus incurred the penalty of death? Romans 5:12.

NOTE: “The wickedness that fills our world is the result of Adam’s refusal to take God’s word as supreme. He disobeyed, and fell under the temptation of the enemy…And, apart from the plan of redemption, human beings are doomed to death. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ But Christ gave His life to save the sinner from the death sentence. He died that we might live. To those who receive him He gives power that enables them to separate from that which, unless they return to their loyalty, will place them where they must be condemned and punished.” Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.

How does Paul describe the triumph of Christ over death? Romans 6:9–10; 2 Timothy 1:10.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 785.

How should Christ’s victory over death affect our own lives? Romans 6:3–4.

NOTE: “Everyone is to discern his weak points of character and guard against them with vigor. Those who have been buried with Christ in baptism, and been raised in the likeness of His resurrection, have pledged themselves to live in newness of life.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 258.

How does Paul describe the time when mortals will become immortal? 1 Corinthians 15:51–55.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 421.

“That He Might Destroy Him”

What action did God take after Satan introduced sin and warfare into heaven? Revelation 12:9.

NOTE: “The only way to show the disposition of Satan was to give him a chance to develop himself as one who would be worthy of condemnation and death. So the God of heaven, while He did not destroy Satan, gave His Son to counteract the influence of Satan; and when He gave His Son He gave Himself, and here was the image of God that was brought to our world. What for? That we might become mighty with God.” 1888 Materials, 122. (See also Desire of Ages, 759.)

What was an important reason for Christ to take human nature? Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8.

NOTE: “Satan not only bore the weight and punishment of his sins, but the sins of all the redeemed host had been placed upon him; and he must also suffer for the ruin of the souls which he had caused. Then I saw that Satan, and all the wicked host, were consumed, and the justice of God was satisfied; and all the angelic host, and all the redeemed saints, with a loud voice said, ‘Amen!’” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, 218. (See also The Great Controversy, 673.)

“Behold I Make All Things New”

Once Satan and all who have been corrupted by him are destroyed, what promise will God make? Revelation 21:5.

NOTE: “The work of redemption will be complete. In the place where sin abounded, God’s grace much more abounds. The earth itself, the very field that Satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin, the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, where the Son of God tabernacled in humanity; where the King of glory lived and suffered and died, here, when He shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men, ‘and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself, shall be with them, and be their God.’” Review and Herald, February 25, 1915.

How does the apostle Peter link belief in the creation with the promise of the Second Coming? 2 Peter 3:4–5.

NOTE: “Looking down through the ages to the close of time, Peter was inspired to outline conditions that would exist in the world just prior to the second coming of Christ. ‘There shall come in the last days scoffers,’ he wrote, ‘walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ But ‘when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.’ Not all, however, would be ensnared by the enemy’s devices. As the end of all things earthly approached, there would be faithful ones able to discern the signs of the times. While a larger number of professing believers would deny their faith by their works, there would be a remnant who would endure to the end.” Review and Herald, September 26, 1912.

Bible Study Guides – “A More Sure Word of Prophecy”

April 2-8, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.

STUDY HELP: The Great Controversy, 299–316.

INTRODUCTION: “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.” Prophets and Kings, 536.

“Enoch Also, The Seventh From Adam, Prophesied”

Who was the first prophet to speak of the Second Coming of Christ? Jude 14.

NOTE: “Enoch was the first prophet among mankind. He foretold by prophecy the Second Coming of Christ to our world, and his work at that time. His life was a specimen of Christian consistency. Holy lips alone should speak forth the words of God in denunciation and judgments. His prophecy is not found in the writings of the Old Testament. We may never find any books which relate to the works of Enoch, but Jude, a prophet of God, mentions the work of Enoch.” Manuscript 43, 1900.

How did Job show his understanding of the closing events of this earth’s history? Job 19:25–27.

NOTE: “The doctrine of the Second Advent is the very keynote of the Sacred Scriptures. The coming of the Lord has been in all ages the hope of His true followers. The patriarch Job in the night of his affliction exclaimed with unshaken trust: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: . . . in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.’” The Faith I Live By, 348.

“Our God Shall Come”

How does the Psalmist describe the Second Coming of Christ? Psalm 50:3–6.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 300.

What insights does Isaiah give to the Second Coming of Christ? Isaiah 25:8–10, 66:15–16.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 727–728.

How does Zephaniah describe the Day of the Lord, so far as the wicked are concerned? Zephaniah 1:14–15.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 389.

What contrasting picture does the prophet give of the Day of the Lord for God’s people? Zephaniah 3:17.

NOTE: “All heaven appreciates the struggles of those who are fighting for the crown of everlasting life, that they may be partakers with Christ in the city of God, the very streets of which are pure gold, ‘as it were transparent glass.’ God wants you there, Christ wants you there, the heavenly host wants you there. The angels are willing to stand in the outer circle, and let those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus stand in the inner circle. Do you realize your value in the sight of God?” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 114. (See also Testimonies, vol. 6, 63.)

“The Lord Himself Shall Descend”

How does Paul describe the Second Coming of Christ? Titus 2:13.

NOTE: “We are pilgrims and strangers who are waiting, hoping, and praying for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. If we believe this and bring it into our practical life, what vigorous action would this faith and hope inspire; what fervent love one for another; what careful holy living for the glory of God; and in our respect for the recompense of the reward, what distinct lines of demarcation would be evidenced between us and the world.” Manuscript 39, 1893.

How does Paul picture the fate of the unrighteous? 2 Thessalonians 1:7–8.

NOTE: See Patriarchs and Prophets, 339.

“The Dead in Christ Shall Rise”

What comfort does Paul give to those who mourn the death of loved ones? 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 258.

How does Paul describe the transformation that will take place when Christ returns? Philippians 3:20–21; 1 Corinthians 15:51–54.

NOTE: “Those who believe the important truths that we profess, should act out their faith. There is too much seeking after amusements and things to take the attention in this world; the mind is left to run too much upon dress, and the tongue is engaged too often in light and trifling conversation, which gives the lie to our profession, for our conversation is not in heaven, whence we look for the Saviour.” Early Writings, 111.

“Be Patient Therefore”

What counsel does James give to those awaiting the Second Coming of Christ? James 5:7–8.

NOTE: “It will not be long till we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in His presence, all the trials and sufferings of this life will be as nothingness….Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city of God into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future of glory that is for the redeemed. ‘Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.’” Christian Experience and Teachings, 236.

What consolation does Peter reveal for those whose faith is being tested? 1 Peter 1:7.

NOTE: “The apostle’s words were written for the instruction of believers in every age, and they have a special significance for those who live at the time when ‘the end of all things is at hand.’” His exhortations and warnings, and his words of faith and courage, are needed by every soul who would maintain his faith ‘steadfast unto the end.’ Hebrews 3:14.” Acts of the Apostles, 518.

Bible Study Guides – “I Will Come Again”

March 26- April 1, 2000

A Daily Bible Study Guide for April 2000

General Introduction

“When the time came for Christ to ascend to His Father, He led the disciples out as far as Bethany. Here He paused, and they gathered about Him. With hands outstretched in blessing, as if in assurance of His protecting care, He slowly ascended from among them. ‘It came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.’ Luke 24:51.

While the disciples were gazing upward to catch the last glimpse of their ascending Lord, He was received into the rejoicing ranks of heavenly angels. As these angels escorted Him to the courts above, they sang in triumph, ‘Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord, to Him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens. . . . Ascribe ye strength unto God: His excellency is over Israel, and His strength is in the heavens.’ Psalm 68:32–34, margin.

The disciples were still looking earnestly toward heaven when, ‘behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.’ Acts 1:10, 11.

The promise of Christ’s Second Coming was ever to be kept fresh in the minds of His disciples. The same Jesus, whom they had seen ascending into heaven, would come again, to take to Himself those who, here below, give themselves to His service. The same voice that had said to them, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end,’ would bid them welcome to His presence in the heavenly kingdom.

As in the typical service, the high priest laid aside his pontifical robes and officiated in the white linen dress of an ordinary priest; so Christ laid aside His royal robes and garbed Himself with humanity and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. As the high priest, after performing his service in the Holy of Holies, came forth to the waiting congregation in his pontifical robes; so Christ will come the second time, clothed in garments of whitest white, ‘so as no fuller on earth can white them.’ Mark 9:3. He will come in His own glory, and in the glory of His Father, and all the angelic host will escort Him on His way.

Thus will be fulfilled Christ’s promise to His disciples, ‘I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.’ John 14:3. Those who have loved Him and waited for Him, He will crown with glory and honour and immortality. The righteous dead will come forth from their graves, and those who are alive will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. They will hear the voice of Jesus, sweeter than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, saying to them, ‘Your warfare is accomplished. Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew 25:34. Well might the disciples rejoice in the hope of their Lord’s return.” Acts of the Apostles, 32–34.

“This Same Jesus Shall So Come in Like Manner”

MEMORY VERSE: “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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1–3.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 8, 251–254.

INTRODUCTION: “When the Saviour was about to be separated from His disciples, He comforted them in their sorrow with the assurance that He would come again: ‘Let not your heart be troubled. . . . In My Father’s house are many mansions. . . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.’ John 14:1-3. ‘The Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him.’ ‘Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations.’ Matthew 25:31, 32.” The Great Controversy, 301.

“I Will Come Again”

Upon what promise of Christ is the Christian’s hope of the Second Coming based? John 14:3.

NOTE: “Long have we waited for our Saviour’s return. But nonetheless sure is the promise. Soon we shall be in our promised home. There Jesus will lead us beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God and will explain to us the dark providences through which on this earth He brought us in order to perfect our characters. There we shall behold with undimmed vision the beauties of Eden restored. Casting at the feet of the Redeemer the crowns that He has placed on our heads, and touching our golden harps, we shall fill all heaven with praise to Him that sitteth on the throne.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 254.

How did Peter express his confidence in the Master’s promise? 2 Peter 3:9–10.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 535–536.

“Every Eye Shall See Him”

Who will see Christ come? Revelation 1:7.

NOTE: “Whether we be saved or lost, we shall sometime see the Saviour as He is, in all His glory, and shall understand His character. At His Second Coming, conviction will be brought to every heart. Those who have turned from Him to the trivial things of this earth, seeking selfish interests and worldly honor, will in the day of His coming acknowledge their mistake.” Signs of the Times, January 28, 1903.

Who especially were told that they would witness the Second Coming of Jesus? Mark 14:61–62. (Compare Revelation 1:7 and Zechariah 12:10.)

NOTE: “Not only does this apply to those who last saw Christ when He hung on the cross of Calvary, but to those who by wrong words and actions are piercing Him today. Daily He suffers the agonies of crucifixion. Daily men and women are piercing Him by dishonoring Him, by refusing to do His will.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 214.

“As The Lightning”

How did Christ describe His return? Matthew 24:27; Luke 17:24. (Compare Zechariah 9:14 and Daniel 10:5–6.)

NOTE: “In the day of the Lord, just before the coming of Christ, God will send lightnings from Heaven in His wrath, which will unite with fire in the earth. The mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrible streams of lava, destroying gardens and fields, villages and cities; and as they pour their melted ore, rocks and heated mud into the rivers, will cause them to boil like a pot, and send forth massive rocks and scatter their broken fragments upon the land with indescribable violence. Whole rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed, and there will be dreadful eruptions and earthquakes everywhere. God will plague the wicked inhabitants of the earth until they are destroyed from off it. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and be removed as a cottage. The elements shall be in flames, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll. The earth’s crust will be rent by the outbursts of the elements concealed in the bowels of the earth. These elements, once broken loose, will sweep away the treasures of those who for years have been adding to their wealth by securing large possessions at starvation prices from those in their employ. The great general conflagration is but just ahead, when all this wasted labor of life will be swept away in a night and day.’ Maranatha, 283.

How does Peter describe the coming of Christ? 2 Peter 3:10–12.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 780.

“Our God Shall Come and Shall Not Keep Silence”

How does Paul describe some of the sounds of the Second Coming of Christ? 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52. (Compare Exodus 19:16; Zechariah 9:14 and Matthew 24:31.)

NOTE: “The voice that cried, ‘It is finished,’ was heard among the dead. It pierced the walls of sepulchres, and summoned the sleepers to arise. Thus shall it be when God’s voice shall be heard shaking the heavens and earth. That voice will penetrate the graves and unbar the tombs. A mighty earthquake will then cause the world to reel to and fro like a drunkard. Then Christ, the King of Glory, shall appear, attended by all the heavenly angels. The trumpet shall sound, and the Life-giver shall call forth the righteous dead to immortal life.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 223.

How does the Psalmist describe the Second Coming of Christ? Psalm 50:3–6.

NOTE: “The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. Not now a ‘man of sorrows,’ to drink the bitter cup of shame and woe, He comes, victor in heaven and earth, to judge the living and the dead. ‘Faithful and True,’ ‘in righteousness He doth judge and make war.’ And ‘the armies which were in heaven followed Him.’ Revelation 19:11, 14. With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms, ‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.’ No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. ‘His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light.’ Habakkuk 3:3, 4. As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head, but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun. ‘And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ Rev. 19:16.” The Faith I Live By, 349.

“This Same Jesus”

How were the disciples assured that the One who returns in power and great glory will be the same One with whom they had walked and talked on earth? Acts 1:10–11.

NOTE: “Precious, indeed, was this promise to those sorrowing disciples, that they should again see Jesus, who was greatly beloved by them all. Precious also is this promise to every true follower of Christ. None who truly love Jesus will be sorry that He is coming again. Jesus is coming…Jesus is coming as He ascended into heaven, only with additional splendor. He is coming with the glory of His Father, and all the holy angels with Him, to escort Him on His way. Instead of the cruel crown of thorns to pierce His holy temples, a crown of dazzling glory will deck His sacred brow. He will not wear a plain seamless coat, but a garment whiter than snow, of dazzling brightness. Jesus is coming!” The Faith I Live By, 351. (See also

Southern Watchman, October 3, 1905 and Sons and Daughters of God, 366.)

How did Paul express his conviction that it would be “this same Jesus” who would return”? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, first part.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 301.

“What Manner of Persons?”

What should be the effect on our lives of studying these things? 2 Peter 3:11, 14; 1 John 3:2–3.

NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 431.

How does Paul describe the preparation needed by the Christian for the Coming of Christ? 1 Thessalonians 5:2–8.

NOTE: “Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” Last Day Events, 196. (See also Acts of the Apostles, 55.)

Food for Life – Wine is a Mocker

March Comes in Like a Lion and Goes Out Like a Lamb—English Proverb

I wonder how truly we can accept these old proverbs? We, here in America, have not seen too great a disparity in the weather thus far, for months, have we? It truly spells the soon coming of our Lord and Saviour in the clouds of heaven. I hope we will all be ready for that great day!

“No argument is needed to show the evil effects of intoxication on the drunkard. The bleared, besotted wrecks of humanity—souls for whom Christ died, and over whom angels weep—are everywhere. They are a blot on our boasted civilization. They are the shame and curse and peril of every land.

And who can picture the wretchedness, the agony, the despair, that are hidden in the drunkard’s home? Think of the wife, often delicately reared, sensitive, cultured, and refined, linked to one whom drink transforms into a sot or a demon. Think of the children, robbed of home comforts, education, and training, living in terror of him who should be their pride and protection, thrust into the world, bearing the brand of shame, often with the hereditary curse of the drunkard’s thirst.

Think of the frightful accidents that are every day occurring through the influence of drink. Some official on a railway train neglects to heed a signal, or misinterprets an order. On goes the train; there is a collision, and many lives are lost. Or a steamer is run aground, and passengers and crew find a watery grave. When the matter is investigated, it is found that someone at an important post was under the influence of drink. To what extent can one indulge the liquor habit and be safely trusted with the lives of human beings? He can be trusted only as he totally abstains.

Persons who have inherited an appetite for unnatural stimulants should by no means have wine, beer, or cider in their sight, or within their reach; for this keeps the temptation constantly before them. Regarding sweet cider as harmless, many have no scruples in purchasing it freely. But it remains sweet for a short time only; then fermentation begins. The sharp taste which it then acquires makes it all the more acceptable to many palates, and the user is loath to admit that it has become hard, or fermented.

There is danger to health in the use of even sweet cider as ordinarily produced. If people could see what the microscope reveals in regard to the cider they buy, few would be willing to drink it. Often those who manufacture cider for the market are not careful as to the condition of the fruit used, and the juice of wormy and decayed apples is expressed. Those who would not think of using poisonous, rotten apples in any other way, will drink cider made from them, and call it a luxury; but the microscope shows that even when fresh from the press, the pleasant beverage is wholly unfit for use.

Intoxication is just as readily produced by wine, beer, and cider, as by stronger drinks. The use of these drinks awakens the taste for those that are stronger, and thus the liquor habit is established. Moderate drinking is the school in which men are educated for the drunkard’s career.” Ministry of Healing, 330-333.

Children’s Story – The Open Door

“Mama! Nellie’s head is on fire!” I screamed in absolute terror. My mother turned and dashed for the kitchen where my beautiful, thirteen-year-old sister was running back and forth, her long, heavy hair now in flames, her screams piercing the air.

Mama grabbed some kitchen towels, threw them over Nellie’s head, and began beating ineffectually at the flames, turning her own fingers into raw meat as the flames licked through the thin towels.

“Get me a blanket!” she screamed, and my fifteen-year-old brother, Bruce, dashed to the nearest bedroom to grab one of Mama’s heavy, homemade comforters, which was thrown over Nellie’s head, finally smothering the deadly fire.

I stood in mute horror as the scene unfolded in front of me. My sister’s screams pierced my consciousness, until she collapsed, moaning and twisting, on the cold linoleum floor.

She was no longer the sister I knew. Her hair was gone, as were her eyebrows and the tops of her ears. The smell of burned flesh rose sickeningly from this heap upon the floor, this heap that was my sister. Her hands and fingers were charred because she had thrown them in front of her face as a shield from the hungry flames licking at her cascading hair. Her dress had been burned from her shoulders and lay in a heap on the floor, exposing her raw, seared shoulders, which were already beginning to blister.

We lived in the Wisconsin hills, and we did not have a phone. Mama instructed Bruce to run to the landlord’s house for help. And run he did, leaping a four-foot chain-link fence that encircled our yard as though it was not there, he streaked for the valley below.

As Bruce ran for the landlord, my older sister, Clairece, ran the other way, up the hill to our nearest neighbor, an old, spinster lady who lived about half a mile away. She had a phone, and surely Clairece could use her phone to call for help.

While we waited at home, the hushed silence broken by Nellie’s sobbing and incoherent moans, another sister, Ruth, told Mama what had happened.

You would have to understand the time and the place, the hills of Wisconsin in the early 1940s. A child in the little country school we attended had come to school with head lice. She loved my sister’s long, flowing, blond tresses, and had asked if she could comb Nellie’s hair. Of course, Nellie agreed, not knowing that this child had lice. In those days, not only did finances prevent us from seeking medical help for something as common as lice infestation, but also, people just did not go to the doctor unless it was a life-threatening situation. The old-fashioned method for getting rid of lice was to wash your hair in kerosene. It was very effective. Mama had already rinsed my hair with kerosene, then shampooed the kerosene out with our regular shampoo, leaving it clean and fresh smelling—and lice free. It was an old, country remedy, but I am sure it is still used in some areas of the hill country today.

Nellie was preparing to rinse her hair the same way, when Bruce lit a cigarette. As he had done many times in the past, he handed the match to our two-year old nephew, Billy, to blow it out. But this time, instead of blowing the match out, Billy innocently toddled over and dropped the lighted match into the sink containing the pan of kerosene where Nellie was rinsing her hair. Her head exploded into flames.

Mama wrapped her now unconscious daughter in a clean, white sheet and I know in her mind she was calling out to her God for strength and healing.

Arthur, the landlord, and Bruce arrived with a pickup truck, and with Mama’s assistance they lifted Nellie into the truck bed and left for the hospital. The house was quiet; no one dared voice the fears that came rushing in to torture our minds, but we knelt and prayed, placing Nellie in the hands of God.

It was very late when Mama returned home. The news was not good. “If she lived,” the doctors said, “she would be blind, possibly deaf, and she most certainly would never be able to use her hands again.” But those doctors did not know the God that my Mother and Father knew! We did not know it then, but Nellie would spend almost a year in the hospital.

To be Continued…

Parallels in the Time of Trouble – Part II

In part 1 we began to examine the parallels between Christ’s experience in His “time of trouble,” and the final crisis of the ages that is soon to burst upon the remnant of spiritual Israel. We concluded with a passage from the pen of inspiration that bears repeating. “It will do you good, and our ministers generally, frequently to review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life.” Gospel Workers, 1892 edition, 246. Let us now continue “point by point…vividly grasping each scene.”

The Father’s Face is Hidden

“…the agony that racked His frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father’s face—speaks to each child of humanity, declaring, It is for thee that the Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt.…” Desire of Ages, 755. Will the Father hide His face from His people in the time of trouble? For a short period, yes. “All the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah is applicable to the people of God, and every specification of the prophecy will be fulfilled. The Lord will not [utterly] forsake His people in their time of trial. He says, ‘For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.’” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1148. Though the Lord “will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” Hebrews 13:5, it will seem that way for “a small moment.” This is when the remnant will cry “…why hast thou forsaken me?”

Mocked and Scorned

“Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said… He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” Mark 15:30-31. “A maddened throng enclose the Saviour of the world. Mocking and jeering are mingled with the coarse oaths of blasphemy. His lowly birth and humble life are commented upon by the unfeeling mob. His claim to be the Son of God is ridiculed, and the vulgar jest and insulting sneer are passed from lip to lip.” Desire of Ages, 734. Will it happen again to a group of people “claiming to be the sons of God?” When? “…there shall come in the last days scoffers….” 2 Peter 3:3. “…there should be mockers in the last time.” Jude 1:18. “The time of trouble was upon us.…the wicked were all around us mocking us and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words calculated to cut deep.” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 427. “The wicked had already begun to triumph, crying out, ‘Why doesn’t your God deliver you out of our hands? Why don’t you go up and save your lives?’ But the saints heeded them not. Like Jacob, they were wrestling with God.” Early Writings, 283.

“It was difficult for the angels to endure the sight [of Christ’s scourging and humiliation]. They would have delivered Jesus, but the commanding angels forbade them…Jesus knew that angels were witnessing the scene of His humiliation.” Ibid., 170. “…pitying angels had not been permitted to minister to their beloved Commander.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 168. Will the angels be restrained again? “Soon after they had commenced their earnest cry, the angels, in sympathy, desired to go to their deliverance. But a tall, commanding angel suffered them not. He said, ‘The will of God is not yet fulfilled. They must drink of the cup. They must be baptized with the baptism.’” Early Writings, 272. “With sympathizing tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress…But they must wait a little longer.” Great Controversy, 630.

“The worlds unfallen and the heavenly angels had watched with intense interest as the conflict drew to its close. Satan and his confederacy of evil, the legions of apostasy, watched intently this great crisis in the work of redemption.” Desire of Ages, 693. “We are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. The whole universe is looking with inexpressible interest to see the closing work of the great controversy between Christ and Satan.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 526.

Hopeless Invades the Soul

The watching universe could see Satan trying to crush out every ray of hope from Christ. “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice.” Desire of Ages, 753. “…what was to be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeeemer.…” Desire of Ages, 687. And a similar course of action will be pursued by Satan in the time of trouble. “As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away.” Great Controversy, 618. (See also Great Controversy, 630, Early Writings, 283, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 121.)

“For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:10-11. “Was He not perfect before?—Yes. But He was made a perfect Saviour.” Signs of the Times, May 20, 1889. So too will Christ’s brethren have perfect characters before the time of trouble, but they will not yet have been made “perfect through sufferings.” Then will His prayer be answered, “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one….” John 17:23. “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10. “Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. God’s love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace fire; their earthliness must be consumed that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.” Great Controversy, 621.

Let us always remember, “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.… ‘Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.’ Philippians 1:29. And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.” Conflict and Courage, 278. (See also The Desire of Ages, 224.)

Darkness Covers the Earth

As Christ hung upon the cross, “Inanimate nature expressed sympathy with its insulted and dying Author. The sun refused to look upon the awful scene. Its full, bright rays were illuminating the earth at midday, when suddenly it seemed to be blotted out. Complete darkness, like a funeral pall, enveloped the cross. ‘There was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.’ [Matthew 27:45]. There was no eclipse or other natural cause for this darkness, which was as deep as midnight without moon or stars. It was a miraculous testimony given by God that the faith of after generations might be confirmed. In that thick darkness God’s presence was hidden.” Desire of Ages, 753. So also in the time of trouble, “…darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.…” Isaiah 60:2. “…throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth.” Great Controversy, 635.

A Great Earthquake

“The Roman officers in charge were standing about the cross when Jesus cried out, ‘It is finished,’ in a voice of startling power, and then instantly died with that cry of victory upon His lips.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 169. And in the closing of the time of trouble, “…the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done.’” Revelation 16:17 (See Great Controversy, 636.)

“Suddenly the gloom lifted from the cross, and in clear, trumpetlike tones, that seemed to resound throughout creation, Jesus cried, ‘It is finished.’” Desire of Ages, 756. And when that “great voice, as of a trumpet” is heard again in the time of trouble, it will again triumphantly ring through the very heavens (See Revelation 1:10.) “For the Lord himself shall descend…with the trump of God.…” 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

“…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible…” 1 Corinthians 15:52.

“The heaving earth, the rent rocks, proclaimed that it was the Son of God who died. There was a mighty earthquake (Matthew 27:54.)” Lift Him Up, 42. “When Christ cried out while upon the cross ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), there was a mighty earthquake….” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 304. But brethren, “…He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26. When? “In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: ‘It is done.’ Revelation 16:17. That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, ‘such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.’ Verses 17, 18.” Great Controversy, 636.

Faces Shine Like the Sun

“‘…It is finished.’ ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.’ A light encircled the cross, and the face of the Saviour shone with a glory like the sun. He then bowed His head upon His breast, and died.” Desire of Ages, 756. “I looked upon the company, who, a short time before, were in such distress and bondage. Their captivity was turned. A glorious light shone upon them. How beautiful they then looked!” Early Writings, 272. “Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God, and they shone with glory as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai.” Ibid., 286. Praise God!

Earlier in Christ’s time of trouble, the Father had caused the divinity of His Son to flash forth. “As soon then as He had said unto them, ‘I am He,’ they went backward, and fell to the ground.” John 18:6. “A divine light illuminated the Saviour’s face, and a dovelike form overshadowed Him. In the presence of this divine glory, the murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, soldiers, and even Judas, fell as dead men to the ground.…prostrate and helpless at His feet.Desire of Ages, 694. And again, in the last time of trouble, God will manifest His glory through His sons who are “partakers of the divine nature,” at which time He will make the wicked “come and worship before thy feet.” 2 Peter 1:4, Revelation 3:9. “Those who were so eager to destroy the saints cannot endure the glory resting upon the delivered ones, and they fall like dead men to the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 354. “Their enemies, the heathen around them, fell like dead men; they could not endure the light that shone upon the delivered, holy ones.” Early Writings, 273. “…they would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan…worshiped at our feet.” Ibid., 15.

Satan’s Power Forever Broken

“…the Saviour cried out upon the cross, ‘It is finished.’ No longer had the enemy power to tempt or annoy Him.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 403. And how wonderful will be that day, as the time of trouble is closing, when “Satan and evil angels flee from the presence of the saints glorified. Their power to annoy them is gone forever.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 354.

“He knew that when He should exclaim, ‘It is finished,’ all heaven would triumph. His ear caught the distant music and the shouts of victory in the heavenly courts.” Desire of Ages, 679. So also will the Three “Angels” of Revelation 14 rejoice as Christ again proves victorious. “Soon I heard the voice of God, which shook the heavens and the earth.…I then heard a triumphant shout of victory, loud, musical, and clear.…rich, musical shouts of glory and victory were upon every immortal tongue.” Early Writings, 272, 273.

“…a shout of triumph rang through every world and through heaven itself. The great contest that had been so long in progress in this world was now decided, and Christ was conqueror.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 70. Our “great contest” (sometimes called the great controversy) has now been very “long in progress” in this world, but soon it too will be “decided.” “And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image.” Early Writings, 286.

“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” Acts 3:18. How significant to us should be these words of Christ concerning the Apostle Paul: “…I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:16. And to us, He says: “…ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:22. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:18. “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. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:2-3. Until at last: “…Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. Praise the Lord!

“We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us that we could not speak them out, and we all cried out, ‘Alleluia, heaven is cheap enough!’ and we touched our glorious harps and made heaven’s arches ring.” Early Writings, 17 “Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering.” Early Writings, 67. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18. Amen.

Conviction vs. Preference

In early October, I received a phone call from one of our attorneys. He asked me to set aside a full day on my calendar the following week so he and I could deal with some very important issues in my case. He instructed me to tell my secretary not to allow any calls or any interruptions, as we would be working from nine o’clock until five o’clock. He informed me that he wanted no excuses, and since I have to follow his directions in everything concerning the lawsuit and the court, unless it goes against God, I agreed.

When I asked why he needed the whole day, he requested that I come to his office and pick up some tapes. “After you have listened to them, then you will know what this is about,” he told me.

He gave me five tapes. He said it was my homework. Beside my studies, my work and my visiting, I was to listen to these five tapes. We made an appointment for the following week, which would be a week before the trial, and I left with the tapes.

On the day of our meeting he arrived promptly and instructed me to help him bring in several boxes that he had in his truck. We carried seven boxes of documents into the office that he had been preparing for my trial.

“This is what I have been doing for six months,” he stated. “I want you to see that we have been doing our homework. However, if we are going to nail this case in our favor, the rest will depend on you.”

You know, I want the Lord’s will to be done. That is how simple it is. I feel this is the Lord’s cause, not my own, even though it has caused me a great deal of stress. I know if I am not depending wholly on the Lord, we will be nothing. We will be destroyed. But now, my attorney tells me that the outcome of the case will also depend on how I present myself in this trial.

We went into my office where we were to spend the whole day, and he sat down facing me across the table, looked me in the eye, and said, “Now, I want you to answer several questions for me.

  1. Is the Seventh-day Adventist faith, to you, a preference or a conviction?
  2. As a minister, is the name Seventh-day Adventist a preference or a conviction?
  3. Is the preaching, that you have been doing all this time since you have been in the Adventist Church, a preference or a conviction?”

I did not know where these questions were going, so right there in my office he gave me a little workshop on how the American Constitution works, or how the Supreme Court sees religious matters here in this country today.

“So far, he said, “I know what you have been preaching and what you believe and what the prophet says.” [When he says “What the prophet says” you know who he was talking about? Ellen G. White]. He said, “I know that the Prophet has been saying that every principle of the constitution is going to be destroyed in this country, and we might be seeing that happen very soon, but so far, the Supreme Court of the United States respects an individual’s religious convictions. So far, in this land of North America, the Supreme Court still holds respect for religious convictions.”

I believe this man is going to be a converted Seventh-day Adventist, sooner, maybe than we think. He has already read The Great Controversy. He asked for the Spirit of Prophecy books. He is reading Testimonies for the Church. And he has told me on more than one occasion that he can identify so well with my case because he belongs to, what the mother Jewish Church would call, an offshoot group. He preaches to that offshoot Jewish group every week.

He went on to explain to me the difference between a preference and a conviction. Every true man of God, every faithful man or woman of God since Abel, [the first man to die because he stood for the truth], took their religion as a conviction. Every one of them!

Look at Noah. It took a man of conviction to preach the message that he was preaching in his day. Especially when the whole world was against him. It took a man of religious convictions, not a man who took his religious experience as a preference.

You see, even the Supreme Court of this nation knows that a preference can be changed. If you have been taking your religion as a preference, or religious belief as a preference, that means that, in some given circumstances, you can change, you can compromise. But when you have a conviction, there is no compromise. There is no change. There is no giving up. When you have a conviction, you are willing to die. That is conviction! A conviction, according to the law of this land, is respected because you are willing to put your life into that conviction. If you are not willing to go that far, then you are taking your religious belief as a preference, not a conviction.

While my attorney was telling me all of this, I began to understand just a little, why Sister White said the majority will forsake us, and forsake the faith. Because Satan has already been trapping many of our brethren into compromising, or preaching a smooth message in place of the message that God has given us, just for the sake of peace, love and comfort.

In Daniel 3:1 it says, “Nebuchadnezzar, the king, made an image of gold.” Every Seventh-day Adventist is familiar with that image of gold. And every time we talk about it, or read about it, or hear about that image, what comes to our minds? The image of the beast that is to be formed in the last days.

We, as historic Seventh-day Adventists, believe that we are living precisely in that time. The Lord has been raising up men and women who are going to finish this work in righteousness in a short time! So we believe we are living in that time when the image of the beast is being formed. The only thing missing is to make the enforcement, to see the oven, the fire there in front of us.

When I read this story, I become more convinced that if we do not have a true conviction of our religious belief, then we are going to give up. We are going to give up because Satan knows our weak point, and he is going to work hard on that point; whether it be appetite, worldliness, or sins that have been cherished in our lives. We have to pray to the Lord to show us what our weak point is, because Satan knows it and he is going to work hard on that.

We see in the Story in Daniel 3:6 that the order went out, “and whoso fall not down and worshipeth shall in the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” Even the enemies of these three faithful Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, knew their religious beliefs and principles. That tells me that they were not afraid to expose their religious belief. They were not hiding. They did not say, “Well, we can bow down here, because God knows what is really in our hearts, and He knows we really only worship Him.”

My Jewish attorney revealed to me something of the Jewish mentality. Back in the days of the Inquisition when the Roman Catholic came to the Jew and said, “Are you a Roman Catholic?” The Jews reasoned in their minds this way; “If I say no, they are going to kill me. They are going to burn me. But if I say, yes, the Lord God will forgive me on the Day of Atonement.” That is their mentality. Once every year they can ask God for forgiveness for all of their sins and be forgiven, even if they have renounced Him. That means that they have no convictions.

But these three faithful, godly men, they were not afraid. They lived their faith openly before their enemies, and they did not try to conceal their faith. I can identify with that.

The day came, and when it did, these three men did not know that God was going to deliver them. Perhaps the king thought he could scare them a little bit so maybe they would start shaking and come back and say, “You know what? We have changed; we are going to make a reformation in our beliefs. We are going to see if we can give up a little for the sake of unity. It looks like we are the only ones in the whole Kingdom that are causing trouble. So since we know the Lord loves us, we will kneel down.” But they did not say that, did they? “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.’” [Daniel 3:16, 17]. What an example of conviction we find here. “We don’t need time to think it over, O King! We can answer you right now!” They would say the same thing to the Pope if they were living today!

That is the kind of conviction that is needed in the ranks of God’s people today. A true conviction of our religious beliefs, a conviction that can only come through the Holy Spirit. So far, I am tempted to think that we have been taking our religious experience as a preference. I have heard brethren of mine say, “Look, I like to go to this big church. To me I feel so good with my family there. You should see how we clap and rejoice. We do not have to worry about this persecution thing that you have been preaching about. We feel so happy!” This is preference, not conviction.

I have been in several countries where this same kind of thing is taking place. Many Adventist churches in North America are starting to have Sunday worship. “It is a good way to witness to our Catholic brethren,” they say. They use a little quote from Sister White that says we have to be careful, not to defile the Sunday law when it comes. But she also said that we should not give the slightest appearance that we are worshipping that day [Sunday]. You see how Satan is already working in our people’s minds?

But in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego we do not see this kind of a wavering. Instead of waiting, trying to deceive the king into thinking that they might need some time to think about it, they said, “Do you know what, king? We are not careful to answer you. Right now we can answer to you. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:17.

King, you go ahead and do it! But our God can deliver us. “But even if our God does not deliver us, we are not going to worship the image.” [Daniel 3:18]. That is true conviction. That is a million dollar verse! They were not sure God would deliver them, but even if He did not, they were so convicted of their beliefs that they were not going to serve the king or his gods in any way!

Are we ready for these things? If we are not ready to say, “O King, we will not serve thy gods,” very soon it might be too late. We need to search our souls to discover what Babylonian gods we are still serving today.

In these last days we also have seen a king in the earth being raised up for many years, like every other king of this earth. We see the image, but we also see a faithful group of men and women, similar to these three Hebrew men, who are going to be standing up for the truth, whether God delivers them or not.

“Christ is coming the second time, with power unto salvation. To prepare human beings for this event, He has sent the First, Second, and Third Angels’ Messages. These angels represent those who receive the truth, and with power open the gospel to the world.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 978, 979. They do not just receive the truth, they are not going to hide this truth among themselves, but they are going to make the truth a part of them. So much a part of them that nobody is ever going to hide it under any circumstances, even up to death if it is possible.

Revelation 14:6 says, “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven.” Now we read that the angel represents those who receive and proclaim those three angels’ messages. Is that not true? So this angel was flying in the midst of heaven. Why flying? Because one of the things that we see here is the speed with which the work was going to be carried on.

This angel is flying in the midst of heaven. Why in the “midst” of heaven. I see, brothers and sisters, the Bible telling us not only the speed with which the work will go forward, but also the experience of those men and women who are going to be involved in that work. Their experience is not going to be an earthly, or worldly experience, it is going to be a heavenly experience.

In vision, Sister White was looking for God’s people all over the earth. She could not see them. But the angel said, “No, look above.” This will be the experience of the people who have a true conviction of their religious beliefs in their hearts, an experience that God has for us today.

I see one thing in prophecy; I see that when these nations will unite and establish the Sunday law, trouble is going to come. That is what we see in prophecy. We are seeing strange things going on.

In The Great Controversy, there is a chapter called “The Final Warning,” Please allow me to review a few things from this chapter with you.

“Heretofore those who presented the truths of the Third Angel’s Message have often been regarded as mere alarmists. Their predictions that religious intolerance would gain control of the United States, that church and state would unite to persecute those who keep the commandments of God, have been pronounced groundless and absurd. It has been confidently declared that this land could never become other than what it has been—the defender of religious freedom. But as the question of enforcing Sunday observance is widely agitated, the event so long doubted and disbelieved is seen to be approaching, and the Third Angel’s Message will produce an influence which it could not have had before.” The Great Controversy, 605, 606.

When the Sunday law is widely agitated, then we are going to see how a wise God has raised up the Seventh-day Adventist people, and why it is so important to keep in the mind of the people of every generation, this issue of Sunday observance being enforced.

“God has sent His servants to rebuke sin, both in the world and in the church. But the people desire smooth things spoken to them.…As the controversy extends into new fields, and the minds of the people are called to God’s downtrodden law, Satan is astir. The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it.” Ibid. 608

Oh yes, every time we put one of our ads in the paper, we get many, many letters, mad, even cursing us. But brothers and sisters, just because we do not want those people to get mad, are we are going to hide the message, the truth? No!

God gives a special truth for the people in an emergency. Who dare refuse to publish it? God has been giving this message, the last message that mankind is going to have before His coming. The Three Angels’ Message, while Satan has been making us believe that, instead of asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to finish this work, we can just entertain ourselves in the ecumenical movement, in Celebration and so on. I sometimes think we are more willing to identify ourselves with the Roman Catholic Church than God’s people.

“The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency. Who dare refuse to publish it? He commands His servants to present the last invitation of mercy to the world. They cannot remain silent, except at the peril of their souls” Ibid, 609.

Yet Satan has made us believe that if we preach this message we do not have love, instead we have hate. He twists everything around. But we must speak the truth, not fearing the consequences. Mrs. White writes, “Christ’s ambassadors have nothing to do with consequences. They must perform their duty and leave results with God. Ibid., 609, 610.

One of the dear men from the General Conference told me, “Oh, but you do not understand. That book, The Great Controversy, was written for the last century, not for now.”

You mean those truths were relevant for the 1800s, but not now? So now God has changed? He will create a new book, The Great Controversy for Today? No!

The Papacy, the beast, and Satan’s agents are all getting angry, but God is able to deliver us. Recently I went to a Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I noticed that the board outside was blank. When I asked why they did not have the name of the church on the board, the brother bowed his head. He said, “We had a sign there identifying our church as a Seventh-day Adventist Church, but since we heard about your lawsuit, we had to take it down.” I felt like I was living in the dark ages when people were hiding from the Roman Catholics! When people who revealed the conviction of their faith would be burned at the stake. That is how far our institution has gone in playing God. People are afraid, just like the Protestants were afraid of the Roman Catholic Church. I tell you this so you can see how far we have gone in this business of suing and threatening.

The Papacy is no longer hiding their plans. In the October 28 Florida Catholic, it says that they are going to meet with about twenty religious leaders at the Vatican at the end of the year. They are making plans! They are uniting. If Satan’s people are getting together, uniting, should not God’s people be united? This is of great importance! God’s people must press together, as Sister White says. The messages of Revelation 14 were given because the principles of the churches have become corrupted. Revelation 18 explains the condition that they are in. The whole world is guilty of receiving the mark of the beast. But— the prophet sees a company who are not worshipping the beast and who are not receiving the mark in their foreheads or in their hands. “Here is the patience of the saints,” he declares, “here are those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 12:17.

May the Lord give us the faith of Jesus. Then this whole problem of unity among ministries and God’s people is going to be a problem of the past. Satan has been uniting his army already. It is going to be only a small company that will be willing, with conviction in their heart, to follow the Light wherever it takes them.

Parallels in the Time of Trouble, Part I

In 1998 I received a videotape from Tim Simkin, a close friend of mine. In this video he drew parallels between Christ’s experiences in His “time of trouble,” and the experiences of those who will pass through the final time of trouble. The message contained in that video moved me to tears, and as I studied it further, I was astonished at just how deep this subject goes. It is my hope that God will bless you as richly as He has blessed me.

A Time of Trouble Such as Never Was

Bible prophecy makes it very clear that just prior to Christ’s second advent, “…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.…” Daniel 12:1. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.…” Jeremiah 30:7. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21.

The pen of inspiration has attempted to help us understand how serious this crisis will be. “It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal.” Great Controversy, 622. “…soon the time of trouble, such as never was, will come upon us, of which we have but little idea.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 241. “We are on the very verge of the time of trouble, and perplexities that are scarcely dreamed of are before us.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 43. “It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended” Last Day Events, 266. “We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages.” Prophets and Kings, 278. “The conflict that is right upon us will be the most terrible ever witnessed.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 407. “The most momentous struggle of all the ages is just before us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 711. From this perspective, let us now begin to look to Jesus, and to draw parallels between His experience and ours.

“Now [in Gethsemane] the tempter had come for the last fearful struggle. For this he had been preparing during the three years of Christ’s ministry. Everything was at stake with him. If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost…” Desire of Ages, 686. And today, in preparation for the time of trouble, “The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 11. And paralleling Jacob’s experience with ours Ellen White says, “The crisis in his life has come; everything is at stake.” Great Controversy, 617.

Why is God willing that His children go through such a terrible crisis? What purpose will it serve? To answer this question, we must look to Calvary where Christ triumphed over “principalities and powers,” and “made a shew of them openly.” Colossians 2:15. “Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings.…Yet Satan was not then destroyed. The angels did not even then understand all that was involved in the great controversy. The principles at stake were to be more fully revealed. And for the sake of man, Satan’s existence must be continued. Man as well as angels must see the contrast between the Prince of Light and the prince of darkness. He must choose whom he will serve.” Desire of Ages, 761. So in Christ’s time of trouble, God purposed to reveal Satan’s character and uproot sympathy for him. But when will “man as well as angels” have this experience? “The time of trouble is the crucible that is to bring out Christ like characters. It is designed to lead the people of God to renounce Satan and his temptations. The last conflict will reveal Satan to them in his true character, that of a cruel tyrant, and it will do for them what nothing else could do, to uproot him entirely from their affections.” Our High Calling, 321. Praise God!

“At the cross of Calvary, love and selfishness stood face to face. Here was their crowning manifestation. Christ had lived only to comfort and bless, and in putting Him to death, Satan manifested the malignity of his hatred against God. He made it evident that the real purpose of his rebellion was to dethrone God, and to destroy Him through whom the love of God was shown.” Desire of Ages, 57. Brethren, a yet greater manifestation of satanic hatred will be shown against those “through whom the love of God is shown,” for it is written: “The wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of trouble.” Great
, 623.

We Have a Law

The religious leaders of Christ’s day had cried out to the state authority: “…We have a law, and by our law He ought to die…” John 19:7. So in the time of trouble, “…the image of the beast should both speak [legislate], and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15. “…the Jews said…’We have a law, and by our law He ought to die.’ Over and over again this will be repeated.” Signs of the Times, May 26, 1898. “The religious character of professed Christians makes them act like demons. ‘We have a law,’ they say, ‘and by our law He ought to die.’ More than common contempt will be shown to those who make the Word of God their criterion. The scenes of Christ’s condemnation will be acted out in the courts by the people of this age who claim to be serving God.… Men will do the deeds of their fathers, repeating as far as possible the course of action pursued against Christ.” Signs of the Times, January 31, 1900.

Again, paralleling Christ’s experience with ours, Mrs. White says: “…the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the ‘rulers of the people.’ ‘It is expedient for us,’ said the wily Caiaphas, ‘that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.’ John 11:50. This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death.” Great Controversy, 615. How full of meaning to us are the words of our Lord: “…the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service…. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.” John 16:2,4.

Speaking of the religious leaders of His time, Jesus said “They hated Me without a cause.” John 15:25. (See also Psalms 69:4, 109:3-5.) This hatred reached its culmination as Jesus hung upon the tree. Why? “There was never one who walked among men more cruelly slandered than the Son of man. He was derided and mocked because of His unswerving obedience to the principles of God’s holy law. They hated Him without a cause.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 32. And why will those who follow the Lamb be hated by the world in the time of trouble? “As Christ was hated without cause, so will His people be hated without cause, merely because they are obedient to the commandments of God and do His works in the place of working directly contrary to them.” Manuscript Releases, No. 19, 163. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18.

Infuriated Mobs Rush In

In Gethsemane, Christ “…heard the footsteps of the mob in search of Him…” Desire of Ages, 694. So too will the righteous be hunted by wicked mobs: “Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs.…” Early Writings, 56.

“Turning to the multitude he [Herod] angrily denounced Jesus as an imposter.… No sooner were these words spoken than a rush was made for Christ. Like wild beasts, the crowd darted upon their prey.” Desire of Ages, 731. The sealed remnant will have a similar experience. “…the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands upon us to thrust us into prison.…” Early Writings, 15.

Who was stirring up the wicked in the closing scenes of our Saviour’s conflict? “Satan with his angels, in human form, was present at the cross. The archfiend and his hosts were co-operating with the priests and rulers.” Desire of Ages, 746. What about our time of trouble? “Satanic agencies in human form will take part in this last great conflict.…” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 383. Will these agencies again work hand in hand with the rulers of this world? “Urged on by Satan, the rulers of this world are seeking to destroy them; but… angels of God encamped about them.…” Testimonies, vol. 5, 475.

Heavenly messengers also had a part to act. “Standing in advance of His disciples He said, ‘Whom seek ye?’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus replied, ‘I am He.’ As these words were spoken, the angel who had lately ministered to Jesus moved between Him and the mob.” Desire of Ages, 694. Angels will again interpose between the wicked and the righteous in the coming conflict. “Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul.” Great Controversy, 631.

To Stand Alone

“Repentant sinners stand before the Father justified, because the Innocent One has borne their guilt. ‘…I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Me.… I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold…’” Signs of the Times, August 26, 1903. Though the 144,000 will at times have the companionship of each other and the guidance of angels, they will, nonetheless, be (collectively) alone and helpless. “In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan, those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off.Desire of Ages, 121. And during some periods they will be individually cut off. “…at this time…they will be tried singly, not in groups. Every one must stand the test for himself.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1143. “The faith of individual members of the church will be tested as though there were not another person in the world.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 983. (See also Last Day Events, 260.)

“I invite you to look to the Man of Calvary.…Look to him who was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, who was despised and rejected of men.” Review and Herald, May 10, 1892. “…his [Noah’s] message was rejected and despised. So it will be now.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 102. “Said the angel, ‘…They have rejected Jesus and despised His saints. The filthy must remain filthy forever.’” Early Writings, 281.

We Must Drink the Cup

“The awful moment had come—that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony?” Desire of Ages, 690 “…the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11. But Jesus asked another question: “…Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able. And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.…” Matthew 20:22-23. When will the words of Jesus reach their complete fulfillment? When will people experience most deeply that cup? “The people of God must drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism.… Yet for the elect’s sake the time of trouble will be shortened.” Great Controversy, 630.

As the mysterious cup trembled in the balance, the angel Gabriel was sent to minister to Jesus. Did he come to remove or lessen the force of that terrible cup?

“The angel came not to take the cup from Christ’s hand, but to strengthen Him to drink it.…” Desire of Ages, 693. So too, “In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the righteous will be preserved [to drink their cup] through the ministration of heavenly angels.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 256.

“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’” Matthew 26:42. “Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: ‘If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’” Desire of Ages, 690. And in the time of trouble, “Day and night their cry ceased not: ‘Thy will, O God, be done! If it can glorify Thy name, make a way of escape for Thy people!…’ All seemed to have a deep sense of their unworthiness and manifested entire submission to the will of God; yet, like Jacob, every one, without an exception, was earnestly pleading and wrestling for deliverance.” Early Writings, 272.

Paleness Sits Upon Every Face

“The disciples roused from their slumber to find their Master standing over them in a state of mental and bodily anguish such as they never before had witnessed. They saw the grief and agony of His pale face, and the bloody sweat upon His brow, for ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’” Signs of the Times, August 14, 1879. “…His pale countenance expressed a sorrow past all description.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 95. Jeremiah, when shown in vision the last experience of the faithful, asked the solemn question: “…wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble.…” Jeremiah 30:6-7. “Like Jacob, all are wrestling with God. Their countenances express their internal struggle. Paleness sits upon every face. Yet they cease not their earnest intercession.” Great Controversy, 630.

“…From the pale, quivering lips of the innocent Sufferer a prayer of pardoning love was breathed for His murderers: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’” Testimonies, vol. 2, 208. “…Those hands so often reached out in blessing, nailed to the wooden bars; those feet so tireless on ministries of love, spiked to the tree; that royal head pierced by the crown of thorns; those quivering lips shaped to the cry of woe.” Desire of Ages, 755. But in the time of trouble, those righteous lips will be shaped to a “silver trumpet” which will be heard echoing throughout the lengths of the earth. And then, “…from His lips they hear the request, presented before His Father and the holy angels, ‘I will that they also, whom thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ John 17:24. Again a voice, musical and triumphant, is heard, saying: ‘They come! they come! holy, harmless, and undefiled. They have kept the word of My patience; they shall walk among the angels;’ and the pale, quivering lips of those who have held fast their faith utter a shout of victory.” Great Controversy, 636.

Mental Anguish Draws Sweat of Blood

“‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ ‘Tarry ye here,’ said He, ‘and watch with Me.’ He was bowed to the earth with mental anguish, and in an agony He prayed to His Heavenly Father.” Signs of the Times, August 14, 1879. “His heart was broken by mental anguish.” Desire of Ages, 772. No amount of mental anguish can be compared with that of the Prince of sufferers, for no one will ever be called to bear the guilt of the sins of the world. Nevertheless, “The righteous in their mental anguish will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the hand of the wicked who surround them.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 121. What degree of mental anguish? “…I saw the saints suffering great mental anguish. They seemed to be surrounded by the wicked inhabitants of the earth.” Early Writings, 283.

“…And His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44. “The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality.… He ‘resisted unto blood’ in that hour when the fear of moral failure was as the fear of death. As He bowed in Gethsemane, in His soul agony, drops of blood fell from His pores, and moistened the sods of the earth.” Youth’s Instructor, October 26, 1899. In describing a vision of the time of trouble, God’s messenger said, “My husband was just before me. Large drops of sweat were falling from his brow, the veins in his neck and temples were increased to double their usual size, and suppressed, agonizing groans came from his lips. The sweat was dropping from my face, and I felt such anguish as I had never felt before. A fearful struggle was before us.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 596. Beloved, it would seem that the following words were penned for us, more than for any other people that have ever lived. “…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. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1–4. For how long? “But ‘ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’ We have an incessant strife, but is not the reward at the end of the conflict worthy of all the labor?” Signs of the Times, September 7, 1891.

“Could one sin have been found in Christ, had He in one particular yielded to Satan to escape the terrible torture, the enemy of God and man would have triumphed. Christ bowed His head and died, but He held fast His faith and His submission to God.” Desire of Ages, 761. So also, “…in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed.…” Great Controversy, 620.

Forsaken by God

In the first verse of the twenty-second Psalm, David prophesied as to how Jesus would feel as He was dying upon the cross. In fulfillment of this prophecy, Jesus uttered the very words that David had penned. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice… ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?’” Matthew 27:46. So too has Ellen White prophesied (brace yourself): “The remnant in the time of trouble will cry, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Special Manuscript, 2a.

As we close part 1 of this study, it would be well to ponder anew the significance of the words that follow. “It will do you good, and our ministers generally, frequently to review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life.” Gospel Workers, 1892 edition, 246. In our next article we will examine even more intense parallels between our Saviour’s experience and ours.

(all emphasis supplied by the author unless otherwise noted.)