Bible Study Guides – The United States in Bible Prophecy

April 20, 2014 – April 26, 2014

Key Text

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” Revelation 13:11.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 440–450, 606, 607.


“The lamblike horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented [in Revelation 13:11]. The ‘speaking’ of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities.” The Great Controversy, 442.


  • As the leopardlike beast received a deadly wound in 1798, what arose around that time, and how do we know it is a nation? Revelation 13:11, first part.

Note: “The beast with lamblike horns was seen ‘coming up out of the earth’ (Revelation 13:11). Instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied and grow up gradually and peacefully. It could not, then, arise among the crowded and struggling nationalities of the Old World—that turbulent sea of ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues’ (Revelation 17:15). It must be sought in the Western Continent.” The Great Controversy, 440.

  • What does “coming up out of the earth” signify? Compare Revelation 13:1 with 13:11.

Note: “What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America.” The Great Controversy, 440.


  • What characteristics of a lamblike nation are found in the early history of the United States? How do the founding principles of this nation embody these traits? Isaiah 53:7; Jeremiah 11:19; Acts 8:32.

Note: “The lamblike horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United States when presented to the prophet as ‘coming up’ in 1798. Among the Christian exiles who first fled to America and sought an asylum from royal oppression and priestly intolerance were many who determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty. Their views found place in the Declaration of Independence, which sets forth the great truth that ‘all men are created equal’ and endowed with the inalienable right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ And the Constitution guarantees to the people the right of self-government, providing that representatives elected by the popular vote shall enact and administer the laws. Freedom of religious faith was also granted, every man being permitted to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. The oppressed and downtrodden throughout Christendom have turned to this land with interest and hope.” The Great Controversy, 441.

“The founders of the nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result—intolerance and persecution. The Constitution provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ and that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust under the United States.’ ” Ibid., 442.

  • Even before the end of religious persecution under state churches, how was the United States already helping the persecuted Christians? Matthew 24:21, 22; Revelation 12:14–16.

Note: “As the tidings spread through the countries of Europe, of a land where every man might enjoy the fruit of his own labor and obey the convictions of his own conscience, thousands flocked to the shores of the New World. …

“The Bible was held as the foundation of faith, the source of wisdom, and the charter of liberty.” The Great Controversy, 296.


  • What change takes place in the prophetic lamblike beast? Revelation 13:11, last part.

Note: “[The lamblike nation] will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. The prediction that it will speak ‘as a dragon’ and exercise ‘all the power of the first beast’ plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns ‘causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast’ (Revelation 13:12) indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.

“Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government, to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. … Only in flagrant violation of these safeguards to the nation’s liberty, can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority. But the inconsistency of such action is no greater than is represented in the symbol. It is the beast with lamblike horns—in profession pure, gentle, and harmless—that speaks as a dragon.

“ ‘Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast’ (Revelation 13:14). Here is clearly presented a form of government in which the legislative power rests with the people, a most striking evidence that the United States is the nation denoted in the prophecy.” [Emphasis author’s] The Great Controversy, 442, 443.

  • In what sense would the lamblike beast (United States) finally speak as a dragon, forming an image (following the example) of the leopard-like beast (Rome)?

Note: “To learn what the image is like and how it is to be formed we must study the characteristics of the beast itself—the papacy.

“When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends” The Great Controversy, 443.


  • If the lamblike beast speaks like the dragon, what actions must be expected? Revelation 13:12.

Note: “A refusal to obey the commandments of God, and a determination to cherish hatred against those who proclaim these commandments, leads to the most determined war on the part of the dragon, whose whole energies are brought to bear against the commandment-keeping people of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 117.

“Courts of justice are corrupt. Rulers are actuated by desire for gain and love of sensual pleasure. Intemperance has beclouded the faculties of many so that Satan has almost complete control of them. Jurists are perverted, bribed, deluded. Drunkenness and revelry, passion, envy, dishonesty of every sort, are represented among those who administer the laws. ‘Justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter’ (Isaiah 59:14).” The Great Controversy, 586.

  • Under whose influence will the civil government of the United States form an image (imitation) of Rome? Revelation 13:15–17.

Note: “In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.

“Whenever the church has obtained secular power, she has employed it to punish dissent from her doctrines. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience. An example of this is given in the long-continued persecution of dissenters by the Church of England. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of nonconformist ministers were forced to flee from their churches, and many, both of pastors and people, were subjected to fine, imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom.” The Great Controversy, 443.

“The ‘image to the beast’ (Revelation 13:14) represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas.” Ibid., 445.


  • In what sense, and against whom, will the lamblike beast use force? Revelation 13:12, last part.

Note: “The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and, in this work, papists and Protestants unite. As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment keepers. They will be threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some will be offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith. But their steadfast answer is: ‘Show us from the word of God our error’—the same plea that was made by Luther under similar circumstances.” The Great Controversy, 607.

  • How can a government make freedom-loving people accept a loss of its freedoms? II Thessalonians 2:9–12.

Note: “The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending. Its professions are mild and apparently Christian, but when it shall speak it will reveal the spirit of the dragon. … We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 452.


1 Around what year did the lamblike beast appear?

2 How did the United States, historically, help those Christians suffering under religious persecution in Europe?

3 What drastic change is to be seen in this peace-loving nation?

4 In what specific ways will the lamblike beast (United States) imitate the leopardlike beast (Rome)?

5 How will this freedom-loving nation give up her constitutional liberties and follow the example of Rome by establishing a form of inquisition?

© 2010 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Rise of the Papacy

April 13, 2014 – April 19, 2014

Key Text

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” II Thessalonians 2:3.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 49–57, 266, 438, 439.


“We are to stand for true Protestant principles; for the policies of the papacy will edge their way into every possible place to proscribe liberty of conscience. Every eye should now be single to the glory of God.” The Review and Herald, September 9, 1909.


  • The third angel’s message of Revelation 14 uses certain terminology such as “beast,” “image of the beast,” and “mark of the beast.” In order to understand these terms correctly, what Scriptures must we study in comparison with one another—and why? Revelation chapter 13 and Daniel chapters 7 and 8.

Note: “The study of the Revelation directs the mind to the prophecies of Daniel, and both present most important instruction, given of God to men, concerning events to take place at the close of this world’s history.” The Great Controversy, 341.

“If the believers in the truth are not sustained by their faith in these comparatively peaceful days, what will uphold them when the grand test comes, and the decree goes forth against all those who will not worship the image of the beast, and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands?” The Review and Herald, September 21, 1876.

  • What characteristics are found in the beast mentioned in Revelation 13:1, 2, first part, 6, and also in Daniel 7:8?


  • In prophecy, who is the dragon, and what kingdom most fully complied with his plans to destroy Jesus? Revelation 12:3–9; Matthew 2:16–18. To which kingdom did the dragon give its seat and great authority?

Note: “The line of prophecy in which these symbols [represented by the beast, the image, the mark] are found begins with Revelation 12, with the dragon that sought to destroy Christ at His birth. The dragon is said to be Satan (Revelation 12:9); he it was that moved upon Herod to put the Saviour to death. But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.” The Great Controversy, 438.

  • What characteristics did Rome, the symbolic beast, assume at its later stage? Revelation 13:5–8; Daniel 7:8, 20, 24, 25.

Note: “[The] compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of ‘the man of sin’ foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God.” The Great Controversy, 50.

“This symbol [of the leopardlike beast described in Revelation 13:1–10], as most Protestants have believed, represents the papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once held by the ancient Roman empire. … This prophecy, which is nearly identical with the description of the little horn of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the papacy.” Ibid., 439.

  • Since a day in prophecy represents a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6), how long would this power have persecuting authority? Daniel 7:25, last part; 12:7; Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5.

Note: “The forty and two months are the same as the ‘time and times and the dividing of time,’ three years and a half, or 1260 days, of Daniel 7—the time during which the papal power was to oppress God’s people. This period … began with the supremacy of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798.” The Great Controversy, 439.


  • What essential truths must we realize about the law of God? Matthew 5:17–19; Luke 16:17; Psalm 111:7–9 (compare Deuteronomy 4:13; Isaiah 24:5, last part).

Note: “If God could have changed one iota of His law, Jesus need not have come to our world to suffer and die.” The Signs of the Times, November 24, 1887.

“[The law of Jehovah] always has been, and always will be, holy, just, and good, complete in itself. It cannot be repealed or changed.” Prophets and Kings, 625.

  • What did the little horn (the beast of Revelation 13) think to do with the law of God? Which commandments are involved? Daniel 7:25, third part; Exodus 20:4–6, 8–11.

Note: “To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number.

“The spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for a still further disregard of Heaven’s authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as ‘the venerable day of the sun.’ This change was not at first attempted openly. In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. They were jealous for the honor of God, and, believing that His law is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts. But with great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 52.

“Satan strives to turn men from their allegiance to God, and from rendering obedience to His law.” Ibid., 54.


  • Give examples of blasphemy. Matthew 9:2, 3; Mark 2:7; John 10:33. By speaking “great words against the most High” in Daniel 7:25, how does this power blaspheme God? II Thessalonians 2:4.

Note: “It is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal church of Christ, invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. More than this, the pope has been given the very titles of Deity. He has been styled ‘Lord God the Pope,’ and has been declared infallible. He demands the homage of all men. The same claim urged by Satan in the wilderness of temptation is still urged by him through the Church of Rome, and vast numbers are ready to yield him homage.” The Great Controversy, 50.

“Popes and priests claimed the power to forgive sins, and to open and close the gates of Heaven to all mankind. Senseless superstitions and rigorous exactions had taken the place of the true worship of God. The lives of popes and clergy were so corrupt, their proud pretensions so blasphemous, that good men trembled for the morality of the rising generation.” The Signs of the Times, May 31, 1883.

  • What shows that the manifestation of the antichrist had already begun in the days of the apostles, and how do we know that “the man of sin” is not going to come out of an atheistic community but out of established Christianity? II Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7; I John 2:18, 19; 4:1–3; Acts 20:28–30.

Note: “The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. … Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy.” The Great Controversy, 49.

“In the counsels of the synagogue of Satan it was determined to obliterate the sign of allegiance to God in the world. Antichrist, the man of sin, exalted himself as supreme in the earth, and through him Satan has worked in a masterly way to create rebellion against the law of God and against the memorial of His created works. … The false sabbath has been upheld through superhuman agency in order that God might be dishonored.” The Signs of the Times, March 12, 1894.


  • What characterized the history of the religio-political power that held supremacy for 1260 years? Matthew 24:21, 22; Revelation 13:7; 17:6.

Note: “In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy—the Inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes.” The Great Controversy, 59.

  • What happened to that power at the end of the 1260 years in 1798? Revelation 13:3, first part, 10.

Note: “[In 1798] the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity’ (Revelation 13:10).” The Great Controversy, 439.

  • What should we keep in mind when facing atrocities from other so-called believers? John 16:33; II Timothy 3:12.


1 How are the prominent characteristics of the fourth beast of Daniel 7 reflected in the leopardlike beast of Revelation 13?

2 For how long was the power symbolized by the little horn (and also by the leopardlike beast) permitted to control the affairs of this world?

3 Since God does not change His eternal law, which commandment did Antichrist only think he had the authority to change?

4 Define blasphemy, and explain how pope and priests blaspheme against God.

5 Why are the 1260 prophetic days fitly called the “Dark Ages”?

© 2010 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Empires of Prophecy

April 6, 2014 – April 12, 2014

Key Text

“Four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” Daniel 7:3.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 531–536, 552–557.


“We are to consider the dealings of God with the nations of the earth. We are to see in history the fulfillment of prophecy, to study the workings of Providence in the great reformatory movements, and to understand the progress of events in the marshalling of the nations for the final conflict of the great controversy.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 307.


  • How vital is the study of prophecy, especially those prophecies written by Daniel? Matthew 24:15.

Note: “Read the book of Daniel. Call up, point by point, the history of the kingdoms there represented. Behold statesmen, councils, powerful armies, and see how God wrought to abase the pride of men, and lay human glory in the dust. God alone is represented as great. In the vision of the prophet He is seen casting down one mighty ruler and setting up another. He is revealed as the monarch of the universe, about to set up His everlasting kingdom—the Ancient of days, the living God, the Source of all wisdom, the Ruler of the present, the Revealer of the future.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 333.

  • What was Daniel shown in vision shortly before the fall of Babylon? Daniel 7:1–3.

Note: “Shortly before the fall of Babylon, when Daniel was meditating on these prophecies and seeking God for an understanding of the times, a series of visions was given him concerning the rise and fall of kingdoms.” Prophets and Kings, 553.


  • What kingdom was symbolized by the lion of Daniel 7:4, and how did it fulfill its role in history? Jeremiah 4:6, 7; 50:17.

Note: “God answered the cry of His loyal children. Through His chosen mouthpiece He revealed His determination to bring chastisement upon the nation that had turned from Him to serve the gods of the heathen. Within the lifetime of some who were even then making inquiry regarding the future, He would miraculously shape the affairs of the ruling nations of earth and bring the Babylonians into the ascendancy. These Chaldeans, ‘terrible and dreadful,’ were to fall suddenly upon the land of Judah as a divinely appointed scourge (Habakkuk 1:7).” Prophets and Kings, 385, 386.

  • What happened to Babylon when the leaders of that kingdom had filled up the measure of their guilt? Daniel 5:1–6, 17, 23–31.

Note: “In that last night of mad folly, Belshazzar and his lords had filled up the measure of their guilt and the guilt of the Chaldean kingdom. No longer could God’s restraining hand ward off the impending evil. Through manifold providences, God had sought to teach them reverence for His law. ‘We would have healed Babylon,’ He declared of those whose judgment was now reaching unto heaven, ‘but she is not healed’ (Jeremiah 51:9). Because of the strange perversity of the human heart, God had at last found it necessary to pass the irrevocable sentence. Belshazzar was to fall, and his kingdom was to pass into other hands. …

“Even while he and his nobles were drinking from the sacred vessels of Jehovah, and praising their gods of silver and of gold, the Medes and the Persians, having turned the Euphrates out of its channel, were marching into the heart of the unguarded city. The army of Cyrus now stood under the walls of the palace; the city was filled with the soldiers of the enemy, ‘as with caterpillars’ (Jeremiah 51:14); and their triumphant shouts could be heard above the despairing cries of the astonished revelers.” Prophets and Kings, 530, 531.


  • Describe the overthrow of Babylon according to prophecy. Isaiah 44:27, 28; 45:1–3.

Note: “In the unexpected entry of the army of the Persian conqueror into the heart of the Babylonian capital by way of the channel of the river whose waters had been turned aside, and through the inner gates that in careless security had been left open and unprotected, the Jews had abundant evidence of the literal fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the sudden overthrow of their oppressors. And this should have been to them an unmistakable sign that God was shaping the affairs of nations in their behalf.” Prophets and Kings, 552.

  • What was the extent of the next world empire, Medo-Persia, symbolized by a bear and by a ram? Daniel 7:5; 8:3, 4, 20; Esther 1:1, 3.

Note: “Daniel’s prayer had been offered ‘in the first year of Darius,’ the Median monarch whose general, Cyrus, had wrested from Babylonia the scepter of universal rule. The reign of Darius was honored of God. To him was sent the angel Gabriel, ‘to confirm and to strengthen him’ (Daniel 11:1). Upon his death, within about two years of the fall of Babylon, Cyrus succeeded to the throne, and the beginning of his reign marked the completion of the seventy years since the first company of Hebrews had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar from their Judean home to Babylon.” Prophets and Kings, 556, 557.

“In the history of nations the student of God’s word may behold the literal fulfillment of divine prophecy. Babylon, shattered and broken at last, passed away because in prosperity its rulers had regarded themselves as independent of God, and had ascribed the glory of their kingdom to human achievement. The Medo-Persian realm was visited by the wrath of Heaven because in it God’s law had been trampled underfoot. The fear of the Lord had found no place in the hearts of the vast majority of the people. Wickedness, blasphemy, and corruption prevailed. The kingdoms that followed were even more base and corrupt; and these sank lower and still lower in the scale of moral worth.” Ibid., 501, 502.

“While the nations rejected God’s principles, and in this rejection wrought their own ruin, it was still manifest that the divine, overruling purpose was working through all their movements.” Education, 177.


  • By what symbols was Greece, the third universal empire, represented? Daniel 7:6; 8:5–8, 21.
  • What was the symbolic meaning of the four heads of the leopard and the four horns of the goat? Daniel 8:8, 22.
  • How have the proud philosophies of the Grecian Empire pervaded throughout history even to our day—and what should be our response to them? Ecclesiastes 12:12–14.

Note: “Is it safe to trust our youth to the guidance of those blind leaders who study the sacred oracles [of the Scriptures] with far less interest than they manifest in the classical authors of ancient Greece and Rome?” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 98.

“Paul declared that neither Jewish learning nor Grecian eloquence could reach the mark of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus.” Central Advance, April 8, 1903.

  • How was Rome, the fourth empire of prophecy, described? What instrument of cruelty did the Romans employ? How was the fall and division of the Roman Empire predicted? Daniel 7:19, 20, 23, 24.

Note: “As in old time Cyrus was called to the throne of the world’s empire that he might set free the captives of the Lord, so Caesar Augustus is made the agent for the fulfillment of God’s purpose in bringing the mother of Jesus to Bethlehem. She is of the lineage of David, and the Son of David must be born in David’s city. Out of Bethlehem, said the prophet, ‘shall He come forth … that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity’ (Micah 5:2, margin).” The Desire of Ages, 44.

“The cross was associated with the power of Rome. It was the instrument of the most cruel and humiliating form of death.” Ibid., 416.


  • Explain the vision given Ezekiel showing that, amidst the strife and tumult of nations, God guides the affairs of this world. Ezekiel 1:4, 26; 10:8.

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

“While nations have rejected God’s principles, and in this rejection have wrought their own ruin, yet a divine, overruling purpose has manifestly been at work throughout the ages. It was this that the prophet Ezekiel saw in the wonderful representation given him during his exile.” Prophets and Kings, 535.

  • How will history be repeated until the world’s kingdoms are given to Christ and His faithful ones? Ezekiel 21:26, 27; Psalm 75:7; Daniel 2:21, 44; 7:27.

Note: “The final overthrow of all earthly dominions is plainly foretold in the word of truth. …

“That time is at hand. Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events.” Education, 179.


1 Why did the prophets read the writings of other prophets?

2 How does prophecy reveal that Babylon eventually trusted to its own abilities—and with what results?

3 How did God use Babylon’s overthrow to prepare for the exiles’ return?

4 Describe the legacy of the Grecian Empire.

5 What was the predominant characteristic of the fourth kingdom?

© 2010 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Bible Symbols

March 30, 2014 – April 5, 2014

The Lord Has Spoken

Key Text

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7.

Study Help: Education, 173–184.


“The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation are to occupy the first place in the minds of God’s people. Nothing else is to be allowed to engross our attention.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 302.


  • Why is prophecy so important, and how does telling the future identify Jehovah as our Creator? Amos 3:7; Isaiah 46:9, 10; 41:21–23.

Note: “A revelation is something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this book [of Revelation], and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those living in the last days of this earth’s history, as well as to those living in the days of John. Some of the scenes depicted in this prophecy are in the past, some are now taking place; some bring to view the close of the great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven, and some reveal the triumphs and joys of the redeemed in the earth made new.” The Acts of the Apostles, 584.

  • How does the Lord reveal Himself to His prophets, and how can we distinguish the true prophets from the false ones? Hebrews 1:1; Numbers 12:6; Deuteronomy 13:1–5; Job 33:15, 16.

Note: “We shall encounter false claims; false prophets will arise; there will be false dreams and false visions; but preach the Word, be not drawn away from the voice of God in His Word.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 49.


  • What record do we have that men and women of God, even prophets themselves, took time to study the prophecies? Daniel 9:2. Besides the human race, who else is deeply involved in the study of prophecy? I Peter 1:9–12.

Note: “Even the prophets who were favored with the special illumination of the Spirit did not fully comprehend the import of the revelations committed to them. The meaning was to be unfolded from age to age, as the people of God should need the instruction therein contained. …

“While it was not given to the prophets to understand fully the things revealed to them, they earnestly sought to obtain all the light which God had been pleased to make manifest. They ‘inquired and searched diligently,’ ‘searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.’ What a lesson to the people of God in the Christian age, for whose benefit these prophecies were given to His servants! ‘Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister’ (I Peter 1:10–12). Witness those holy men of God as they ‘inquired and searched diligently’ concerning revelations given them for generations that were yet unborn. Contrast their holy zeal with the listless unconcern with which the favored ones of later ages treat this gift of Heaven. What a rebuke to the ease-loving, world-loving indifference which is content to declare that the prophecies cannot be understood!” The Great Controversy, 344.

  • Why is the study of prophecy so important? Who gave these revelations to the godly men and women of old? II Peter 1:16–21.

Note: “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.” Prophets and Kings, 536.

“I AM means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike to God. He sees the most remote events of past history, and the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things that are transpiring daily.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1099.


  • Why does God speak in symbols and parables? Matthew 13:10–14, 16.

Note: “Christ had truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature, He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Saviour’s teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 21.

  • How can we correctly understand the illustrations and symbols used in Bible prophecy? I Corinthians 2:13; Isaiah 28:9–13.

Note: “The Pharisees of Christ’s day closed their eyes lest they should see, and their ears lest they should hear; therefore the truth could not reach their hearts. They were to suffer retribution for their willful ignorance and self-imposed blindness. But Christ taught His disciples that they were to open their minds to instruction, and be ready to believe. He pronounced a blessing upon them because they saw and heard with eyes and ears that believed. …

“Only he who receives the Scriptures as the voice of God speaking to himself is a true learner. He trembles at the word; for to him it is a living reality. He opens his understanding and his heart to receive it. …

“A knowledge of the truth depends not so much upon strength of intellect as upon pureness of purpose, the simplicity of an earnest, dependent faith. To those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance, angels of God draw near. The Holy Spirit is given to open to them the rich treasures of the truth. …

“Merely to hear or to read the word is not enough. He who desires to be profited by the Scriptures must meditate upon the truth that has been presented to him. By earnest attention and prayerful thought he must learn the meaning of the words of truth, and drink deep of the spirit of the holy oracles.

“God bids us fill the mind with great thoughts, pure thoughts. He desires us to meditate upon His love and mercy, to study His wonderful work in the great plan of redemption.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 59, 60.


  • What does wind often represent in prophecy? Jeremiah 25:32, 33; 4:13.

Note: “We hear now of earthquakes in divers places, of fires, of tempests, of disasters by sea and land, of pestilence, of famine. What weight do these signs have upon you? This is only the beginning of what shall be. The description of the day of God is given through John by the Revelator. The cry of the terror-stricken myriads has fallen upon the ear of John. ‘The great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand’ (Revelation 6:17)? The apostle himself was awed and overwhelmed.

“If such scenes as this are to come, such tremendous judgments on a guilty world, where will be the refuge for God’s people? How will they be sheltered until the indignation be overpast? John sees the elements of nature—earthquake, tempest, and political strife—represented as being held by four angels. These winds are under control until God gives the word to let them go. There is the safety of God’s church. The angels of God do His bidding, holding back the winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree, until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads. The mighty angel is seen ascending from the east (or sun rising). This mightiest of angels has in his hand the seal of the living God, or of Him who alone can give life, who can inscribe upon the foreheads the mark or inscription, to whom shall be granted immortality, eternal life. It is the voice of this highest angel that had authority to command the four angels to keep in check the four winds until this work was performed, and until he should give the summons to let them loose.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 444, 445.

  • We often find different prophetic illustrations around some sort of water or sea. What do these represent? Revelation 17:1, 15.

Note: “The great kingdoms that have ruled the world were presented to the prophet Daniel as beasts of prey, rising when ‘the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea’ (Daniel 7:2). In Revelation 17 an angel explained that waters represent ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues’ (verse 15). Winds are a symbol of strife. The four winds of heaven striving upon the great sea represent the terrible scenes of conquest and revolution by which kingdoms have attained to power.” The Great Controversy, 439, 440.


  • When God wants to enlighten His people, He uses angels or something glorious to represent them. What does God use to represent earthly kingdoms or empires? Daniel 7:17, 23.

Note: “Earthly governments prevail by physical force; they maintain their dominion by war; but the founder of the new kingdom is the Prince of Peace. The Holy Spirit represents worldly kingdoms under the symbol of fierce beasts of prey; but Christ is ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). … Christ implants a principle. By implanting truth and righteousness, He counterworks error and sin.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 77.

  • Often a prophet would see beasts flying with wings—totally contrary to the natural likeness of the animal. What do these wings symbolize? Habakkuk 1:6–10.

Note: “The world needs men of thought, men of principle, men who are constantly growing in understanding and discernment. There is great need of men who can use the press to the best advantage, that the truth may be given wings to speed it to every nation, and tongue, and people.” Gospel Workers, 25.


1 How does a holy God communicate His will with lost, sinful, human beings?

2 Holy men of God in the past received divine illumination. Why were they also interested in what God revealed through others before them?

3 Why does God use parables and symbols, and how is it possible to have a correct understanding of their intent?

4 What is the meaning of the winds and the sea in Bible prophecy?

5 How do beasts and wings depict the actions of nations?

© 2010 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Thai Noodles with Tofu

8 ounces linguine

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1/3 cup chili sauce

2 carrots, shredded

3 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos

2 red bell peppers, slivered

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 rib celery, cut into 2-inch julienne strips

1 Tbsp. Honey

4 ounces firm tofu, diced

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the linguine until just tender. Drain well and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the chili sauce, Bragg Liquid Aminos, lime juice, honey and 2 tablespoons water. Whisk in the cilantro and mint. Add the carrots, bell peppers and celery to the dressing and stir well to coat. Add the linguine and toss to combine. Add the tofu and gently toss again. Provide 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped, unsalted peanuts that may be sprinkled as topping to the salad.

Food – Low Fat Vegetables

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect, that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 81.

Vegetables are healthful and economical, and provide a wide variety of flavors, colors and textures. As we’ve long known, vegetables are an important part of our diets, providing essential nutrients and fiber and, in most cases, next to no fat and few calories. They also are cholesterol-free. And now the USDA’s (United States Department of Agriculture) Food Pyramid places vegetables in a central role in our diets, calling for three to five servings a day.

In the past, fat-laden cheese sauces, sloppy salad dressings, and deep fat-frying were used to make vegetables appealing to the pleasure-seeking fat sensors. Since vegetables are generally very low in fat, the trick is to keep them that way when preparing them for the table. Avoid excessive amounts of cooking fat by using nonstick pans, which allow you to sauté with minimal oil. To create the illusion of fat and to reduce the total calorie count, a variety of tasty vegan cheeses may be used. For creaminess without heavy cream, your favorite alternate milk or sauces may be thickened with a flour and zesty seasonings to replace the missing flavor of fat.

To preserve nutrients, avoid over-cooking vegetables. One of the easiest ways to cook them is to briefly plunge them into boiling water until they are just crisp-tender—the French call this blanching. An alternative to this is steaming.

To steam, the vegetable is placed in an open basket suspended above a small amount of boiling water in a tightly closed pot. The trapped steam (which is better than boiling water) cooks the vegetable. You can use a steamer insert designed to fit a particular pot or a collapsible stainless steel version that adjusts to fit any sized pan.

Children’s Story – Bread Upon the Waters

“Oh! Jacob, now you see how all your hopes are gone. Here we are worn out with age—all our children removed from us by the hand of death, and ere long we must be the inmates of the poorhouse. Where now is all the bread you have cast upon the waters?”

The old, white-haired man looked up at his wife. He was, indeed, bent down with years, and age sat tremblingly upon him. Jacob Manfred had been a comparatively wealthy man, and while fortune had smiled upon him he had ever been among the first to lend a listening ear and a helping hand to the call of distress. But now misfortune was his. Of his four boys not one was left. Sickness and failing strength found him with but little, and had left him penniless. An oppressive embargo upon the shipping business had been the first weight upon his head, and other misfortunes came in painful succession. Jacob and his wife were all alone, and gaunt poverty looked them coldly in the face.

“Don’t repine, Susan,” said the old man. “True we are poor, but we are not yet forsaken.”

“Not forsaken, Jacob? Who is there to help us now?”

Jacob Manfred raised his trembling finger toward heaven.

“Ah! Jacob, I know God is our friend, but we should have friends here. Look back and see how many you have befriended in days long past. You cast your bread upon the waters with a free hand, but it has not returned to you.”

“Hush, Susan, you forget what you say. To be sure I may have hoped that some kind hand of earth would lift me from the cold depths of utter want; but I do not expect it as a reward for anything I may have done. If I have helped the unfortunate in days gone by, I have had my full reward in knowing that I have done my duty to my fellows. I would not for gold have one of them blotted from my memory. Ah! My fond wife, ‘tis the memory of the good done in life that makes old age happy. Even now, I can hear again the warm thanks of those whom I have befriended, and again I can see their smiles.”

“Yes, Jacob,” returned the wife, in a lower tone, “I know you have been good, and in your memory you can be happy; but, alas! There is a present upon which we must look—there is a reality upon which we must dwell. We must beg for food or starve!”

The old man started, and a deep mark of pain was drawn across his features.

“Beg!” he replied, with a quick shudder. “No, Susan, we are—”

He hesitated, and a big tear rolled down his furrowed cheek.

“We are what, Jacob?”

“We are going to the poorhouse!”

“O No, I thought so!” fell from the poor wife’s lips, as she covered her face with her hands. “I have thought so, and I have tried to school myself to the thought; but? My poor heart will not bear it!”

“Do not give up,” softly urged the old man, laying his hand upon her arm. “It makes but little difference to us now. We have not long to remain on earth, and let us not wear out our last days in useless repinings. Come, Come.”

“But when—when—shall we go?”


“Then God have mercy on us!”

“He will,” murmured Jacob.

That old couple sat for a while in silence. When they were aroused from their painful thoughts it was by the stopping of a wagon in front of the door. A man entered the room where they sat. He was the keeper of the poorhouse.

“Come, Mr. Manfred,” he said, “the selectmen have managed to crowd you into the poorhouse. The wagon is at the door, and you can get ready as soon as possible.”

Jacob Manfred had not calculated the strength he should need for this ordeal. There was a coldness in the very tone and manner of the man who had come for him that went like an ice-bolt to his heart, and with a deep groan he sank back in his seat.

“Come, be in a hurry,” impatiently urged the keeper.

At that moment a heavy covered carriage drove up to the door.

“Is this the house of Jacob Manfred?”

This question was asked by a man who entered from the carriage. He was a kind-looking man, about forty years of age.

“That is my name,” said Jacob.

“Then they told me truly,” uttered the newcomer. “Are you from the almshouse?” he continued, turning toward the keeper.


“Then you may return. Jacob Manfred goes to no poorhouse while I live.”

The keeper gazed inquisitively into the face of the stranger, and left the house.

“Don’t you remember me?” exclaimed the newcomer, grasping the old man by the hand.

“I cannot call you to my memory now.”

“Do you remember Lucius Williams?”

“Williams?” repeated Jacob, starting up and gazing earnestly into the stranger’s face. “Yes, Jacob Manfred—Lucius Williams, that little boy whom, thirty years ago, you saved from the house of correction; that poor boy whom you kindly took from the bonds of the law, and placed on board your own vessels.”

“And are you—”

“Yes—yes. I am the man you made. You found me a rough stone from the hand of poverty and bad example. It was you who brushed off the evil, and who first led me to the sweet waters of moral life and happiness. I have profited by the lesson you gave me in early youth, and the warm spark which your kindness lighted up in my bosom has grown brighter and brighter ever since. With an affluence for life I have settled down, to enjoy the remainder of my days in peace and quietness. I heard of your losses and bereavements. Come, I have a home and a heart, and your presence will make them both warmer, brighter, and happier. Come, my more than father—and you my mother, come. You made my youth all bright, and I will not see your old age doomed to darkness.”

Jacob Manfred tottered forward and sank upon the bosom of his preserver. He could not speak his thanks, for they were too heavy for words. When he looked up again he sought his wife.

“Susan,” he said, in a choking, trembling tone, “my bread has come back to me!”

“Forgive me, Jacob.”

“No, no, Susan. It is not I who must forgive—God holds us in His hand.” “Ah!” murmured the wife, as she raised her streaming eyes to heaven, “I will never doubt Him again.”

Storytime Treasury, Compiled by P. G. Temple, (Harvestime Books, Altamont, Tennessee 37301).

Health – Excess Mucus

Excess mucus is a common problem that ails many people, especially during the winter months. The common cold, asthma, bronchitis, sinus congestion, all involve excess mucus that constrict the airways. There are ways to prevent or even eliminate the problem using simple natural therapies, but we shall briefly look at how this problem can be helped by using specific foods.

Mucus is a thick fluid secreted by various cells that line body organs. The thick fluid consists of water, salt, mucin and other small cells. Mucus has an important function of preventing the body from drying out. Normal mucus is clear. The problem occurs when thicker, excess mucus does not allow the sinuses to properly drain. In addition, when mucus turns another color other than clear, it signifies that an infection is present. When irritants such as mold, smoke or pet dander are inhaled, they become trapped in the mucus.

Especially helpful when excess mucus is a problem are all citrus fruits, especially grapefruit, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. It reduces salt in the body and speeds up the elimination of the thick mucus and swelling. Fresh lemons, squeezed into hot water and drunk, will loosen phlegm. Fresh watermelon juice is effective at reducing toxins and symptoms. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein.

Vegetables have the power to make the mucus move along and dissolve. Some vegetables with powerful elimination properties are asparagus, onions, cauliflower, celery and garlic. Fresh green vegetables are better immunity boosters, as they contain chlorophyll.

Heat dissolves mucus. Warm pureed soups of vegetables are a delicious and soothing way to remove mucus from the body. Turn up the heat with spices like garlic and ginger. Drink lots of water and herbal teas.

The main mucus forming food group to avoid is dairy. Removing milk during this time can slow down mucus production. Cheese and yogurt should also be avoided. It is best to avoid all grains for a time, as they are mucus forming. Avoid all refined sugars and refined salt, as well as refined flour products. Chocolate, with its high concentration of refined sugars, should also be avoided and starchy foods (bananas are very mucus forming). While suffering with cold symptoms, yeast products should be eliminated and not be a part of the diet. Instead, focus on eating lightly steamed fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. Canned vegetables and fruit lose much of the nutritive value during processing, so fresh is always better.

Kaye Sehm, Back to Eden Newsletter. Winter 2011, No. 47., P.O. Box 850, Lavington, NSW 2641, Australia.

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Question & Answer – How can the Morning and Night be Simultaneous as stated in Isaiah 21:12?

As the watchmen are accosted, ‘What of the night?’ the answer is given unfalteringly, ‘The morning cometh, and also the night.’ ” Isaiah 21:11, 12.

For God, easy! “Soon there will be a revealing of His glory. The Sun of Righteousness is about to shine forth. The morning and the night are both at hand—the opening of endless day to the righteous, the settling down of eternal night to the wicked.” The Great Controversy, 632.

Ellen White, in The Review and Herald, March 16, 1897, expresses another thought regarding this:

“Christ sees the wickedness on the earth today. He sees that the sins of Noah’s and Lot’s time are being repeated. What terrible revelations of crime are being made! Everything seems to be stirred with an intense activity from beneath. Excitement is continually kept up. Feasting, buying, and selling, are brought into the churches. The watchman cries, ‘The morning cometh, and also the night.’ The night symbolizes prevalence of error, misinterpretation and misapplication of Scripture. Every species of delusion is now being brought in. The plainest truths of God’s word are covered with a mass of man-made theories. Deadly errors are presented as the truth to which all must bow. The simplicity of true godliness is buried beneath tradition.”

Both of these explanations are relevant. As we press on to the final conflict, this is no time to compromise. The eternal morning is just ahead as long as we are faithful. If we choose a path of disobedience and disloyalty to the God of heaven, we will be partakers of the night.

“God’s watchmen are to lift up the voice, saying, The morning cometh, and also the night. ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate. … and touch not the unclean thing’ II Corinthians 6:17. ‘Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord’ (Isaiah 52:11).” Spalding and Magan Collection, 193. [All emphasis added]

Pen of Inspiration – A Firm Platform

I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps—the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, “Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.” I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform. I saw individuals approach the platform and examine the foundation. Some with rejoicing immediately stepped upon it. Others commenced to find fault with the foundation. They wished improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier. Some stepped off the platform to examine it and declared it to be laid wrong. But I saw that nearly all stood firm upon the platform and exhorted those who had stepped off to cease their complaints; for God was the Master Builder, and they were fighting against Him. They recounted the wonderful work of God, which had led them to the firm platform, and in union raised their eyes to heaven and with a loud voice glorified God. This affected some of those who had complained and left the platform, and they with humble look again stepped upon it.

I was pointed back to the proclamation of the first advent of Christ. John was sent in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of Jesus. Those who rejected the testimony of John were not benefited by the teachings of Jesus. Their opposition to the message that foretold His coming placed them where they could not readily receive the strongest evidence that He was the Messiah. Satan led on those who rejected the message of John to go still farther, to reject and crucify Christ. In doing this they placed themselves where they could not receive the blessing on the day of Pentecost, which would have taught them the way into the heavenly sanctuary. The rending of the veil of the temple showed that the Jewish sacrifices and ordinances would no longer be received. The great Sacrifice had been offered and had been accepted, and the Holy Spirit which descended on the day of Pentecost carried the minds of the disciples from the earthly sanctuary to the heavenly, where Jesus had entered by His own blood, to shed upon His disciples the benefits of His atonement. But the Jews were left in total darkness. They lost all the light which they might have had upon the plan of salvation, and still trusted in their useless sacrifices and offerings. The heavenly sanctuary had taken the place of the earthly, yet they had no knowledge of the change. Therefore they could not be benefited by the mediation of Christ in the holy place.

Many look with horror at the course of the Jews in rejecting and crucifying Christ; and as they read the history of His shameful abuse, they think they love Him, and would not have denied Him as did Peter, or crucified Him as did the Jews. But God who reads the hearts of all, has brought to the test that love for Jesus which they professed to feel. All heaven watched with the deepest interest the reception of the first angel’s message. But many who professed to love Jesus, and who shed tears as they read the story of the cross, derided the good news of His coming. Instead of receiving the message with gladness, they declared it to be a delusion. They hated those who loved His appearing and shut them out of the churches. Those who rejected the first message could not be benefited by the second; neither were they benefited by the midnight cry, which was to prepare them to enter with Jesus by faith into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. And by rejecting the two former messages, they have so darkened their understanding that they can see no light in the third angel’s message, which shows the way into the most holy place. I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches had crucified these messages, and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare. Some he deceives in one way, and some in another. He has different delusions prepared to affect different minds. Some look with horror upon one deception, while they readily receive another. Satan deceives some with Spiritualism. He also comes as an angel of light and spreads his influence over the land by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit. The excitement will die away and leave the world and the church in a worse condition than before.

I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth. Satan knows this; and before the loud cry of the third angel is given, he raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth may think that God is with them. He hopes to deceive the honest and lead them to think that God is still working for the churches. But the light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant.

Early Writings, 258–261.