Bible Study Guides – “It Is Done”

June 23, 2001 – June 29, 2001


“And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5.

STUDY HELP: The Great Controversy, 635–678.


“Every question of truth and error in the long– standing controversy has now been made plain. The results of rebellion, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, have been laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The working out of Satan’s rule in contrast with the government of God has been presented to the whole universe. Satan’s own works have condemned him. God’s wisdom, His justice, and His goodness stand fully vindicated. It is seen that all His dealings in the The Great Controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of His people and the good of all the worlds that He has created. . . . With all the facts of the The Great Controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare: ‘Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.’” God’s Amazing Grace, 373.

“The Lord Himself Shall Descend”

1 How did Christ describe His Second Coming? Matthew 24:27. Compare Mark 13:26.

NOTE: “Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant.” The Great Controversy, 640.

“Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of Christ’s advent. The Saviour has warned His people against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the manner of His Second Coming. . . . This coming there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world.” The Great Controversy, 625.

2 How did Paul picture this scene? I Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

NOTE: “Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His hands to heaven, He cries: ‘Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!’ Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live. And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ I Corinthians 15:55. And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.” The Great Controversy, 644.

“In Righteousness He Doth Judge and Make War”

3 How did the prophet John see the Second Coming of Christ? Revelation 19:11–16. Compare Revelation 16:12–16.

NOTE: The Second Coming of Christ is from the east, literally the sun– rising. The battle of Armageddon is “that great day of God Almighty.” “The kings of the earth” unite in warfare against the armies in heaven.

“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’ (Revelation 19:11, 14) follow Him. 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. . . . ‘And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ Revelation 19:16.” The Great Controversy, 641.

4 How is the fate of the wicked pictured in John’s prophecy? Revelation 19:17–21. Compare II Thessalonians 2:7, 8.

NOTE: “‘The Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.’ Isaiah 26:21. ‘And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold everyone on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor.’ Zechariah 14:12, 13. In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God’s unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth—priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low. ‘And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried.’ Jeremiah 25:33. At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth—consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory.” The Great Controversy, 656, 657.

5 What promise did Christ make to those who had a hand in His condemnation? Mark 14:61, 62. Compare Revelation 1:7.

NOTE: “There are those who mocked Christ in His humiliation. With thrilling power come to their minds the Sufferer’s words, when, adjured by the high priest, He solemnly declared: ‘Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’ Matthew 26:64. Now they behold Him in His glory, and they are yet to see Him sitting on the right hand of power. Those who derided His claim to be the Son of God are speechless now. There is the haughty Herod who jeered at His royal title and bade the mocking soldiers crown Him king. There are the very men who with impious hands placed upon His form the purple robe, upon His sacred brow the thorny crown, and in His unresisting hand the mimic scepter, and bowed before Him in blasphemous mockery. The men who smote and spit upon the Prince of life now turn from His piercing gaze and seek to flee from the overpowering glory of His presence. Those who drove the nails through His hands and feet, the soldier who pierced His side, behold these marks with terror and remorse. With awful distinctness do priests and rulers recall the events of Calvary. With shuddering horror they remember how, wagging their heads in satanic exultation, they exclaimed: ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him.’ Matthew 27:42, 43.” The Great Controversy, 643.

“The Thousand Years”

6 Where did Christ promise to take His people when He returned? John 14:2, 3. Compare I Thessalonians 4:17.

NOTE: “‘Jesus has gone to prepare mansions for us.’ . . . It is these mansions that I am looking to; it is not the earthly mansions here, for erelong they are to be shaken down by the mighty earthquake; but those heavenly mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for the faithful. ‘We have no home here; we are only pilgrims and strangers, passing to a better country, even a heavenly. Place your mind upon these things, and while you are doing this, Christ will be right by your side. May God help us to win the precious boon of eternal life.’” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 293.

7 What work awaits God’s people during the thousand years? Revelation 20:4; I Corinthians 6:2, 3.

NOTE: “During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the Judgment of the wicked takes place. The apostle Paul points to this Judgment as an event that follows the Second Advent. ‘Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.’ I Corinthians 4:5. Daniel declares that when the Ancient of Days came, ‘Judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.’ Daniel 7:22. At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and Judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:4, 6. It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ I Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death. Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people.” The Great Controversy, 660, 661.

8 How does the Bible picture Satan’s situation during the thousand years? Revelation 20:1, 2.

NOTE: “For six thousand years, Satan’s work of rebellion has ‘made the earth to tremble.’ He has ‘made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof.’ And he ‘opened not the house of his prisoners.’ . . . Even the wicked are now placed beyond the power of Satan, and alone with his evil angels he remains to realize the effect of the curse which sin has brought. ‘The kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, everyone in his own house [the grave]. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch. . . . Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people.’ Isaiah 14:18–20. For a thousand years, Satan will wander to and fro in the desolate earth to behold the results of his rebellion against the law of God. During this time his sufferings are intense. Since his fall his life of unceasing activity has banished reflection; but he is now deprived of his power and left to contemplate the part which he has acted since first he rebelled against the government of heaven, and to look forward with trembling and terror to the dreadful future when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done and be punished for the sins that he has caused to be committed.” The Great Controversy, 659–660.

“When the Thousand Years are Expired”

9 When will the remainder of the dead be raised to life again? Revelation 20:5, first part. Compare John 5:28, 29.

NOTE: “At the close of the thousand years, Christ again returns to the earth. He is accompanied by the host of the redeemed and attended by a retinue of angels. As He descends in terrific majesty He bids the wicked dead arise to receive their doom. They come forth, a mighty host, numberless as the sands of the sea. What a contrast to those who were raised at the first resurrection! The righteous were clothed with immortal youth and beauty. The wicked bear the traces of disease and death.” The Great Controversy, 662.

10 What activity does Satan then engage in? Revelation 20:7–9.

NOTE: “Now Satan prepares for a last mighty struggle for the supremacy. While deprived of his power and cut off from his work of deception, the prince of evil was miserable and dejected; but as the wicked dead are raised and he sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he determines not to yield the The Great Controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans.” The Great Controversy, 663.

11 What prevents him from carrying out his plan? Revelation 20:11–15.

NOTE: “Sad will be the retrospect in that day when men stand face to face with eternity. The whole life will present itself just as it has been. The world’s pleasures, riches, and honors will not then seem so important. Men will then see that the righteousness they despised is alone of value. They will see that they have fashioned their characters under the deceptive allurements of Satan. The garments they have chosen are the badge of their allegiance to the first great apostate. Then they will see the results of their choice. They will have a knowledge of what it means to transgress the commandments of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 318, 319.

“Behold I Make All Things New”

12 Once the controversy is over, what work will God perform? Revelation 21:5; Isaiah 65:17.

NOTE: “Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God. In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called ‘a country.’ Hebrews 11:14–16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever– flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide– spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.” The Great Controversy, 675.

13 Is it possible for the human mind to imagine what is in store for God’s people? Isaiah 64:4.

NOTE: “And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the The Great Controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise. ‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ Revelation 5:13. The The Great Controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” The Great Controversy, 678.

Bible Study Guides – “The Hour of His Judgment”

June 16, 2001 – June 22, 2001


“Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31.

STUDY HELP: The Great Controversy, 423–432.


“The cases of all are pending in the heavenly sanctuary. Day by day angels of God are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. In the Judgment the question will not be, What profession did you make? but, What have you done for Me? What fruit have you borne to My glory? Now is the time to prepare for the coming of the King.” Signs of the Times, April 12, 1905.

“A Name That Thou Livest”

1 How did prophecy depict the church as it emerged from the long centuries of tribulation? Revelation 3:1, 2.

NOTE: “While many of the doctrines of Rome had been renounced, not a few of its forms were retained. The supremacy of the pope was rejected, but in his place the monarch was enthroned as the head of the church. In the service of the church there was still a wide departure from the purity and simplicity of the gospel. The great principle of religious liberty was not yet understood. Though the horrible cruelties which Rome employed against heresy were resorted to but rarely by Protestant rulers, yet the right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience was not acknowledged. All were required to accept the doctrines and observe the forms of worship prescribed by the established church. Dissenters suffered persecution, to a greater or less extent, for hundreds of years.” The Great Controversy, 251, 252.

“Under the rule of the established church the people of England had lapsed into a state of religious declension hardly to be distinguished from heathenism. Natural religion was the favorite study of the clergy, and included most of their theology. The higher classes sneered at piety, and prided themselves on being above what they called its fanaticism. The lower classes were grossly ignorant and abandoned to vice, while the church had no courage or faith any longer to support the downfallen cause of truth.” The Great Controversy, 253.

2 What remedy did the Lord propose for this spiritual darkness? Revelation 3:3–5.

NOTE: “Wesley, under the instruction of a Moravian preacher, arrived at a clearer understanding of Bible faith. He was convinced that he must renounce all dependence upon his own works for salvation and must trust wholly to ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ At a meeting of the Moravian society in London a statement was read from Luther, describing the change which the Spirit of God works in the heart of the believer. As Wesley listened, faith was kindled in his soul. ‘I felt my heart strangely warmed,’ he says. ‘I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation: and an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’ Through long years of wearisome and comfortless striving—years of rigorous self-denial, of reproach and humiliation—Wesley had steadfastly adhered to his one purpose of seeking God. Now he had found Him; and he found that the grace which he had toiled to win by prayers and fasts, by almsdeeds and self– abnegation, was a gift, ‘without money and without price.’” The Great Controversy, 255, 256.

“I Saw Another Angel”

3 What message was the church to give to prepare the world for Judgment? Revelation 14:6, 7.

NOTE: “A great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ’s soon coming is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14. An angel is seen flying ‘in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’ ‘With a loud voice’ he proclaims the message: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His Judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ Verses 6, 7. The fact that an angel is said to be the herald of this warning is significant. By the purity, the glory, and the power of the heavenly messenger, divine wisdom has been pleased to represent the exalted character of the work to be accomplished by the message and the power and glory that were to attend it. And the angel’s flight ‘in the midst of heaven,’ the ‘loud voice’ with which the warning is uttered, and its promulgation to all ‘that dwell on the earth,’—‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,’—give evidence of the rapidity and world– wide extent of the movement. The message itself sheds light as to the time when this movement is to take place. It is declared to be a part of the ‘everlasting gospel;’ and it announces the opening of the Judgment. The message of salvation has been preached in all ages; but this message is a part of the gospel which could be proclaimed only in the last days, for only then would it be true that the hour of Judgment had come.” The Great Controversy, 355, 356.

4 What message was to follow the message of the first angel? Revelation 14:8.

NOTE: “The first angel’s message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God’s Judgment and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message, God had sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him. Had they received the message from heaven, humbling their hearts before the Lord and seeking in sincerity a preparation to stand in His presence, the Spirit and power of God would have been manifested among them. The church would again have reached that blessed state of unity, faith, and love which existed in apostolic days, when the believers ‘were of one heart and of one soul,’ and ‘spake the word of God with boldness,’ when ‘the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Acts 4:32, 31; 2:47. . . . But the churches generally did not accept the warning. Their ministers, who, as watchmen ‘unto the house of Israel,’ should have been the first to discern the tokens of Jesus’ coming, had failed to learn the truth either from the testimony of the prophets or from the signs of the times. . . . The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all too surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom and turned away from the heart– searching message of truth.” The Great Controversy, 379, 380.

“Neither Hot nor Cold”

5 How does prophecy picture the professed people of God in the hour of His Judgment? Revelation 3:14–17.

NOTE: The name “Laodicea” may be translated to mean “a people judged” or “a just people.” Though the Laodicean church is portrayed as lukewarm, this is not the meaning of the name, “Laodicea.”

“Many who profess to be looking for the speedy coming of Christ are becoming conformed to this world and seek more earnestly the applause of those around them than the approbation of God. They are cold and formal, like the nominal churches from which they but a short time since separated. The words addressed to the Laodicean church describe their present condition perfectly. (See Revelation 3:14–20.) They are ‘neither cold nor hot,’ but ‘lukewarm.’ And unless they heed the counsel of the ‘faithful and true Witness,’ and zealously repent and obtain ‘gold tried in the fire,’ ‘white raiment,’ and ‘eye– salve,’ He will spew them out of His mouth.” Early Writings, 107.

6 Is the state of the Laodicean church hopeless? Revelation 3:18–21.

NOTE: “I was shown the people of God, and saw them mightily shaken. Some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, were pleading with God. Their countenances were pale, and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness were expressed in their countenances, while large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them. . . . I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people. The testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance, and all that truly receive it will obey it and be purified.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 179–181.

“Without Spot or Wrinkle”

7 How is the work of Judgment pictured by the prophet Malachi? Malachi 3:1–3.

NOTE: “Both the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,’ and the first angel’s message, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His Judgment is come,’ pointed to Christ’s ministration in the most holy place, to the investigative Judgment, and not to the coming of Christ for the redemption of His people and the destruction of the wicked. . . . Christ had come, not to the earth, as they expected, but, as foreshadowed in the type, to the most holy place of the temple of God in heaven. He is represented by the prophet Daniel as coming at this time to the Ancient of Days: ‘I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came’—not to the earth, but—‘to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.’ Daniel 7:13. This coming is foretold also by the prophet Malachi: ‘The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Malachi 3:1. The coming of the Lord to His temple was sudden, unexpected, to His people. They were not looking for Him there. They expected Him to come to earth, ‘in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.’ 2 Thessalonians 1:8.” The Great Controversy, 424.

8 How are God’s people pictured when Christ has completed His work of purification? Ephesians 5:26, 27.

NOTE: “To the church it is given ‘that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,’ ‘not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Revelation 19:8. The fine linen, says the Scripture, ‘is the righteousness of saints.’ Ephesians 5:27. It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 310.

9 What choice will be placed before mankind in the time of Judgment? Revelation 13:15–17, Revelation 14:9–12.

NOTE: “This symbol [the beast], as most Protestants have believed, represents the Papacy. . . . The ‘image to the beast’ 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. . . . As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite ‘the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday.’ . . . What then is the change of the Sabbath, but the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Roman Church—‘the mark of the beast’? Sundaykeeping is not yet the mark of the beast, and will not be until the decree goes forth causing men to worship this idol sabbath. And it is not until the issue is . . . plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue in transgression will receive ‘the mark of the beast.’ When God sends to men warnings so important that they are represented as proclaimed by holy angels flying in the midst of heaven, He requires every person endowed with reasoning powers to heed the message.” The Faith I Live By, 286.

“At That Time Shall Michael Stand Up”

10 How is the conclusion of the Judgment announced in Scripture? Revelation 22:11–14.

NOTE: “Jesus is in His holy temple and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins and will pardon all the transgressions of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then they who are holy and righteous will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in the sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father’s throne. Therefore what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath must be done before Jesus leaves the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.” Early Writings, 48.

11 When the Judgment is complete, what event follows and what promise is made to those whose names are in the Book of Life? Daniel 12:1.

NOTE: “Many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary, through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God, and are protected in the time of trouble, must reflect the image of Jesus fully. I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful, and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord, and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation, therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets, and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father. Before this time the awfully solemn declaration has gone forth, ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 112.

“The Harvest is Ripe’

12 By what symbol does the Bible picture the Second Coming of Christ? Mark 4:29. Compare Revelation 14:14–20.

NOTE: “‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.’ Galatians 5:22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life. ‘When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.’ Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 68, 69.

13 What fruit is Christ seeking in His people? Galatians 5:22, 23. See also Matthew 7:17–20.

NOTE: “The Christian is in the world as a representative of Christ, for the salvation of other souls. There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 67, 68.

Bible Study Guides – “The Woman Fled into the Wilderness”

June 9, 2001 – June 15, 2001


“He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” Isaiah 33:16.

STUDY HELP: The The Great Controversy, 61–78.


“Among the leading causes that had led to the separation of the true church from Rome was the hatred of the latter toward the Bible Sabbath. As foretold by prophecy, the papal power cast down the truth to the ground. The law of God was trampled in the dust, while the traditions and customs of men were exalted. The churches that were under the rule of the papacy were early compelled to honor the Sunday as a holy day. Amid the prevailing error and superstition, many, even of the true people of God, became so bewildered that while they observed the Sabbath, they refrained from labor also on the Sunday. But this did not satisfy the papal leaders. They demanded not only that Sunday be hallowed, but that the Sabbath be profaned; and they denounced in the strongest language those who dared to show it honor. It was only by fleeing from the power of Rome that any could obey God’s law in peace.” The The Great Controversy, 65.

“Thou Dwellest Even Where Satan’s Seat Is”

1 How is the persecution of the church by the Roman emperors depicted in prophecy? Revelation 2:8–11.

NOTE: “Thousands of the followers of Christ—men, women, and children—were put to death in the most cruel manner. Some were crucified, some covered with the skins of wild beasts, and torn in pieces by dogs, others were clothed in garments of inflammable material, and set on fire at night to illuminate the circus of the Vatican and the pleasure gardens of Nero. Thus this monster in human form amused the public by exhibiting his victims in their dying agonies, while he himself stood by, taking the keenest delight in their misery. Degraded and hardened as were the Romans, and bitter as was their prejudice against the Christians, the constant repetition of these horrible, heart– sickening scenes excited even their compassion.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 303, 304.

2 What deterioration in the church’s spiritual state took place in the period following the persecutions? Revelation 2:14–16.

NOTE: “Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, ‘the mystery of iniquity’ carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 49, 50.

“I Will Put upon you None Other Burden”

3 How did Paul prophesy the emergence of apostate Christianity? II Thessalonians 2:3, 4.

NOTE: “This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of ‘the man of sin’ foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan’s power—a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will. Satan once endeavored to form a compromise with Christ. He came to the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation, and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, offered to give all into His hands if He would but acknowledge the supremacy of the prince of darkness. Christ rebuked the presumptuous tempter and forced him to depart. But Satan meets with greater success in presenting the same temptations to man. To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan—the bishop of Rome. 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.

4 As persecution began again, what was the church obliged to do? Revelation 12:6, 14.

NOTE: “Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman’s ax. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: ‘Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake.’ Luke 21:16, 17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus says the prophet: ‘The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three–score days.’ Revelation 12:6.” The Great Controversy, 54, 55.

“Hold Fast Till I Come”

5 What words of encouragement did the Lord address to the church of this time of persecution? Revelation 2:24–25.

NOTE: “Amid the gloom that settled upon the earth during the long period of papal supremacy, the light of truth could not be wholly extinguished. In every age there were witnesses for God—men who cherished faith in Christ as the only mediator between God and man, who held the Bible as the only rule of life, and who hallowed the true Sabbath. How much the world owes to these men, posterity will never know. They were branded as heretics, their motives impugned, their characters maligned, their writings suppressed, misrepresented, or mutilated. Yet they stood firm, and from age to age maintained their faith in its purity, as a sacred heritage for the generations to come. The history of God’s people during the ages of darkness that followed upon Rome’s supremacy is written in heaven, but they have little place in human records. Few traces of their existence can be found, except in the accusations of their persecutors. It was the policy of Rome to obliterate every trace of dissent from her doctrines or decrees.” The Great Controversy, 61.

6 How are those who laid down their lives for the truth pictured in prophecy? Revelation 6:9–11.

NOTE: “The cries of the faithful, persecuted ones ascend to heaven. And as the blood of Abel cried from the ground, there are voices also crying to God from martyrs’ graves, from the sepulchers of the sea, from mountain caverns, from convent vaults: ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? When the fifth seal was opened, John the Revelator in vision saw beneath the altar the company that were slain for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Maranatha, 199.

“A Thousand Two Hundred and Three-score Days”

7 How long was this period of persecution to last? Revelation 12:6, 14. Compare Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 11:2, 3; Revelation 13:5.

NOTE: This period of persecution is mentioned seven times, far more frequently than any other Bible time prophecy.

“The periods here mentioned—‘forty and two months,’ and ‘a thousand two hundred and threescore days—are the same, alike representing the time in which the church of Christ was to suffer oppression from Rome. The 1260 years of papal supremacy began in A.D. 538, and would therefore terminate in 1798. At that time a French army entered Rome and made the pope a prisoner, and he died in exile. Though a new pope was soon afterward elected, the papal hierarchy has never since been able to wield the power which it before possessed.” The Great Controversy, 266.

8 What events were to usher in this period of papal power? Daniel 7:8, 24.

NOTE: “When he dispatched his letter to Rome, in 533, Justinian commissioned his general Belisarius to exterminate the remnants of the surviving Arian Christians in north Africa and Italy. He wished to eradicate his rivals and support the bishop of Rome politically. This would make it possible for him to act without restraint in establishing his brand of Christianity. . . . The Ostrogoths made a series of blunders and were annihilated by 538 A.D. By these tactics the three Arian Christian Barbarian ‘horn’ kingdoms—Heruli, Vandals and Ostrogoths—were ‘plucked up by their roots.’ The ‘diverse . . . little horn’ then stepped into the religious and political vacuum in the West, and the ‘universal’ pope was created. . . . For the first time in history, the bishop of Rome exercised authority over all Christian churches with power to destroy all heretics.” Hardinge, Jesus is my Judge, 149.

“Those Days Shall be Shortened”

9 How did Jesus speak of this period of persecution? Matthew 24:21.

NOTE: “From the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ passed on rapidly to the greater event, the last link in the chain of this earth’s history,—the coming of the Son of God in majesty and glory. Between these two events, there lay open to Christ’s view long centuries of darkness, centuries for His church marked with blood and tears and agony. Upon these scenes His disciples could not then endure to look, and Jesus passed them by with a brief mention. ‘Then shall be great tribulation,’ He said, ‘such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.’” The Desire of Ages, 630, 631.

10 Why did God bring this persecution to a premature end? Matthew 24:22.

NOTE: “‘And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.’ For more than a thousand years such persecution as the world had never before known was to come upon Christ’s followers. Millions upon millions of His faithful witnesses were to be slain. Had not God’s hand been stretched out to preserve His people, all would have perished. ‘But for the elect’s sake,’ He said, ‘those days shall be shortened.’” The Desire of Ages, 631.

“In the Saviour’s conversation with His disciples upon Olivet, after describing the long period of trial for the church—the 1260 years of papal persecution, concerning which He had promised that the tribulation should be shortened—He thus mentioned certain events to precede His coming, and fixed the time when the first of these should be witnessed: ‘In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.’ The 1260 days, or years, terminated in 1798. A quarter of a century earlier, persecution had almost wholly ceased.” Maranatha, 150.

“The Earth Helped the Woman”

11 What factor contributed to the survival of the church? Revelation 12:15, 16.

NOTE: There is little agreement as to the precise interpretation of “the earth” in this passage. Ellen White makes no comment about it. It has been agreed that waters symbolize nations and peoples. (See Revelation 17:15.) Commenting on Revelation 13:11, we read: “The beast with lamblike horns was seen ‘coming up out of the earth.’ 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.’ It must be sought in the Western Continent.” The Great Controversy, 440.

It seems reasonable, therefore, to interpret “the earth” in Revelation 12:16 in the same way as in Revelation 13:11. It is a fact of history that only in the United States was religious liberty established as a constitutional right. It is also a fact that it was to America that many of the church in the wilderness fled for refuge. Nowhere in Europe, with its established churches, was safe from religious persecution.

12 What are the identifying features of the true church? Revelation 12:17.

NOTE: “A striking contrast is seen between those who practice the truth and those who have joined the ranks of the apostate. Meek and lowly will those be who follow the Lamb of God. Boastful, denunciatory, and lawless in word and deed will those be who war against the commandments of God. They are thus because they have the spirit and attributes of the dragon, who was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.” Review and Herald, May 3, 1898.

“We can see from this scripture that it is not the true church of God that makes war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is the people who make void the law, who place themselves on the side of the dragon, and persecute those who vindicate God’s precepts.” Signs of the Times, April 22, 1889.

Bible Study Guides – “The Truth of the Gospel”

June 2, 2001 – June 8, 2001


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.

STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 57–65.


“The influence of a Gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the Law of God. When the light of truth dawns upon his mind, and he fully understands the requirements of God, and realizes the extent of his transgressions, he will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Saviour, and lead a new and purer life. ‘Whosoever abideth in Him,’ says John, ‘sinneth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.’” Signs of the Times, February 25, 1897.

“This Gospel . . . Must be Preached”

1 What commission did Christ give His church? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “The work of preaching the gospel has not been committed to angels, but has been entrusted to men. Holy angels have been employed in directing this work, they have in charge the great movements for the salvation of men; but the actual proclamation of the gospel is performed by the servants of Christ upon the earth.” The The Great Controversy, 312.

2 How does the Bible define the Gospel? Romans 1:16.

NOTE: “The real end of the gospel is to develop in human beings supreme, sanctified love for God and unselfish love for one another. This love is not a fitful impulse; it is not merely the exercise of benevolence, or philanthropy; it is the fruit of a heart purified from all defilement. The gospel was made known by God to raise human beings from sin to righteousness. He who receives the gospel constantly reaches out for the divine, perseveringly taking hold of the strength of the Saviour. His heart is an abiding place for the Holy Spirit. Day by day He shows forth the praises of Him who has called Him out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Loma Linda Messages, 62.

“Men may profess to believe the gospel; but unless they are sanctified by the gospel their profession is of no avail. If they do not gain the victory over sin, then sin is gaining the victory over them. The thorns that have been cut off but not uprooted grow apace, until the soul is overspread with them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 50, 51.

“And Would Pervert the Gospel of Christ”

3 Against what false gospel did the church have to battle? Acts 15:1, 5. Compare Galatians 1:6–8, 2:16; II Corinthians 11:4.

NOTE: “Paul’s object was to preach the righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ. He took the position that every soul must have a genuine experience in this righteousness. The burning zeal in the heart of Paul compelled him to give the message. He gave assurance of his own faith in the message he bore, and the Holy Spirit accompanied his words with convincing power. . . . Those who engage in the work of God’s cause today will meet just such trials as Paul endured in his work. By the same boastful and deceptive work Satan will seek to draw converts from the faith. Theories will be brought in that will not be wise for us to handle. Satan is a cunning worker, and he will bring in subtle fallacies to darken and confuse the mind and root out the doctrines of salvation. Those who do not accept the Word of God just as it reads, will be snared in his trap. Today we need to speak the truth with holy boldness. The testimony borne to the early church by the Lord’s messenger, His people are to hear in this time: ‘Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1:8).” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 356, 357.

4 What contrasting “gospel” was also a problem in the early church? Revelation 2:6, 15.

NOTE: “The doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of none effect; that by ‘believing’ we are released from the necessity of being doers of the word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned.” The Bible Echo, February 8, 1897.

“Those who are teaching this doctrine today have much to say in regard to faith and the righteousness of Christ; but they pervert the truth, and make it serve the cause of error. They declare that we have only to believe on Jesus Christ, and that faith is all-sufficient; that the righteousness of Christ is to be the sinner’s credentials; that this imputed righteousness fulfils the law for us, and that we are under no obligation to obey the law of God. This class claim that Christ came to save sinners, and that He has saved them. ‘I am saved,’ they will repeat over and over again. But are they saved while transgressing the law of Jehovah?—No; for the garments of Christ’s righteousness are not a cloak for iniquity. Such teaching is a gross deception. . . .” Signs of the Times, February 25, 1897.

‘Saved by His life’

5 How did Paul explain the purpose of Christ’s death? Romans 5:10, first part.

NOTE: “Well would it be for us if we could always remember Calvary, where Jesus bore the terrible burden of the sins of the world. In His expiring agony hear Him exclaim, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ and remember that He endured the hiding of His Father’s face that it might not be forever hidden from fallen man. He endured shame, cruel scourging, insult, and mockery, that we might be reconciled to God and rescued from endless death. If our minds dwell upon these themes, our conversation will be in Heaven, from whence we look for our Saviour, and even vain thoughts will seem out of place.” Review and Herald, June 17, 1884.

6 How does salvation come to us? Romans 5:10, last part.

NOTE: “The gospel is the power and wisdom of God, if it is correctly represented by those who claim to be Christians. Christ crucified for our sins should humble every soul before God in his own estimation. Christ risen from the dead, ascended on high, our living Intercessor in the presence of God, is the science of salvation, which we need to learn and teach to children and youth. Said Christ, ‘I sanctify Myself, that they might also be sanctified.’ This is the work that ever devolves upon every teacher.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 124.

“How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us, and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not like our Saviour. Christ prays for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of His Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks upon Him, grasps Him as the one who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all– sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. Unto Christ is committed all power in heaven and in earth, and all things are possible to him that believeth. Christ’s glory is concerned in our success. He has a common interest with all humanity. He is our sympathizing Saviour.” Review and Herald, September 1, 1891.

“God Forbid”

7 How does Paul express his abhorrence of the teaching that Christians may continue in sin? Romans 6:1, 2.

NOTE: “Christ has paid all that man owes to God from the beginning of his life. Sin is the transgression of the law, and through Christ man must now render perfect obedience to that law. By His righteousness of active obedience, Christ clothes me with His righteousness, in order that I shall not continue in sin, but perfect a character after the similitude of Christ.” The Home Missionary, November 1, 1897.

8 What will be the evidence of the work of salvation in the Christian’s life? I John 3:5, 6.

NOTE: “The part man has to act in the salvation of the soul is to believe on Jesus Christ as a perfect Redeemer, not for some other man, but for his own self. Christ imputes His perfection and righteousness to the believing sinner when he does not continue in sin, but turns from transgression to obedience of the commandments. While God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties.” The Faith I Live By, 115.

“A Nation Bringing Forth the Fruits”

9 Why did God reject the Jewish people? Matthew 21:43. (Read verses 33–41.)

NOTE: “God in His Son had been seeking fruit, and had found none. Israel was a cumberer of the ground. Its very existence was a curse; for it filled the place in the vineyard that a fruitful tree might fill. It robbed the world of the blessings that God designed to give. The Israelites had misrepresented God among the nations. They were not merely useless, but a decided hindrance. To a great degree their religion was misleading, and wrought ruin instead of salvation.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 215.

10 What fruit will the Spirit bring forth in the lives of those who obey the Gospel? Galatians 5:22, 23. Compare John 15:1–8.

NOTE: “There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely. ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.’ Galatians 5:22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 68.

“Every Creature Under Heaven”

11 How successful was the early church in preaching the Gospel? Colossians 1:23. Compare Acts 8:4.

NOTE: “‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Again and again the words are repeated, that they may not lose their significance. Upon all creatures under heaven, high and low, rich and poor, was the light of heaven to shine in clear, strong rays. The disciples were to be colaborers with Him, their Redeemer, in the work of saving the world. Christ assured them, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.’ They were to go forth in His name, and He promised them the ministry of His Spirit. He did not lay before them a plain and easy path. They were to be partakers of His sufferings. But He told them of the legacy they would receive. If they united with one another and with Him, His righteousness would shine upon them, and from them to a world constantly increasing in wickedness.” Review and Herald, March 15, 1898.

12 How is this successful work pictured in prophecy? Revelation 6:2.

NOTE: “And what rich assurances are given to the steadfast,—to those who remain true to their allegiance to the God of heaven! ‘If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled,’ the promise reads, ‘and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven,’ the Redeemer will ‘present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable’ in the presence of His Father in the kingdom of glory. Wonderful, wonderful assurance! How cheering, indeed, is the hope of the Christian! Naught in this world can compare with the reward set before those who will ‘be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.’” Review and Herald, October 4, 1906.

Bible Study Guides – “Go Ye Therefore”

May 26, 2001 – June 1, 2001


“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15, 16.

STUDY HELP: Christian Service, 7–13.


“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God. Ephesians 3:10.” Acts of the Apostles, 9.

“Ye Are My Witnesses”

1 What was Christ’s purpose in setting up a church on earth? Matthew 28:19, 20.

NOTE: “The church of Christ is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. Its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. And the obligation rests upon all Christians. Everyone, to the extent of his talent and opportunity, is to fulfill the Saviour’s commission. The love of Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors to all who know Him not. God has given us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.” Steps to Christ, 81.

2 What is to be the extent of the church’s work? Matthew 24:14; Acts 1:8. Compare Acts 13:47.

NOTE: “If the followers of Christ were awake to duty, there would be thousands where there is one today proclaiming the gospel in heathen lands. And all who could not personally engage in the work, would yet sustain it with their means, their sympathy, and their prayers. And there would be far more earnest labor for souls in Christian countries. We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our duty lies, in order to work for Christ. We can do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate, and with whom we do business.” Steps to Christ, 81.

“Ye Shall Receive Power”

3 What promise of divine help is given to help the church in its task? Acts 1:8. Compare Luke 24:49.

NOTE: “Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit. It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now. Then the human agent had only to ask for the blessing, and wait for the Lord to perfect the work concerning him. It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ. But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. 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.” Testimonies to Ministers, 507.

4 How is the condition of the church described, as they waited for the promised power? Acts 2:1.

NOTE: “The secret of our success in the work of God will be found in the harmonious working of our people. There must be concentrated action. Every member of the body of Christ must act his part in the cause of God, according to the ability that God has given him. We must press together against obstructions and difficulties, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart. If Christians were to act in concert, moving forward as one, under the direction of one Power, for the accomplishment of one purpose, they would move the world.” Christian Service, 75.

“He Led Captivity Captive, and Gave Gifts Unto Men”

5 In order that the church might accomplish its work, what gifts did the Lord give to His people? I Corinthians 12:8–11.

NOTE: “At this time the special endowment of divine grace and power is not less needful to the church than in apostolic days. God will today endow men and women with power from above, as He endowed those who on the day of Pentecost heard the word of salvation. At this very hour His Spirit and His grace are for all who need them and will take Him at His word. The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God. . . . If they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them the channel for the outworking of the highest influence in the universe.” The Faith I Live By, 292.

6 What was the purpose of these spiritual gifts? Ephesians 4:12–16.

NOTE: “Different gifts are imparted to different ones, that the workers may feel their need of one another. God bestows these gifts, and they are employed in His service, not to glorify the possessor, not to uplift man, but to uplift the world’s Redeemer. They are to be used for the good of all mankind, by representing the truth, not testifying to a falsehood. . . . In every word and act, kindness and love will be revealed; and as each worker fills his appointed place faithfully, the prayer of Christ for the unity of His followers will be answered, and the world will know that these are His disciples.” Signs of the Times, March 15, 1910.

“They Went Everywhere Preaching the Word”

7 What examples are we given of Philip’s fulfilment of the Gospel commission? Acts 8:5–8, 26–40.

NOTE: “Philip left Jerusalem, and preached a risen Redeemer in Samaria. Many believed and received Christian baptism. Philip’s preaching was marked with so great success, and so many were gathered into the fold of Christ, that he finally sent to Jerusalem for help. The disciples now perceived the meaning of Christ, when He said, ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 39.

“He [God] called Philip from his successful ministry in Samaria, to cross the desert and go to Gaza to labor for a single inquiring soul. The promptness with which the eunuch accepted the gospel and acted upon its belief should be a lesson to us. God designs that we should be prompt in accepting and confessing Christ, prompt in obeying Him, and in answering the call of duty. The eunuch was a man of good repute, and occupied a high and responsible position. Through his conversion the gospel was carried to Ethiopia, and many there accepted Christ, and came out from the darkness of heathenism into the clear light of Christianity.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 305.

8 What other examples of faithful Christian service are we shown? Acts 18:24–26.

NOTE: “Aquila and Priscilla were not called to give their whole time to the ministry of the gospel, yet these humble laborers were used by God to show Apollos the way of truth more perfectly. The Lord employs various instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose, and while some with special talents are chosen to devote all their energies to the work of teaching and preaching the gospel, many others, upon whom human hands have never been laid in ordination, are called to act an important part in soul– saving.” Acts of the Apostles, 355.

“The Church That is in Thy House”

9 What pictures are we given of the way the early church developed? Romans 16:3–5, Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1, 2.

NOTE: “I would encourage those who assemble in little companies to worship God. Brethren and sisters, be not disheartened because you are so few in number. The tree that stands alone upon the plain, strikes its roots deeper into the earth, spreads out its branches farther on every side, and grows stronger and more symmetrical while wrestling singly with the tempest or rejoicing in the sunshine. So the Christian, cut off from earthly dependence, may learn to rely wholly upon God, and may gain strength and courage from every conflict. May the Lord bless the scattered and lonely ones, and make them efficient workers for Him.” Our High Calling, 166.

“Let these little companies who seldom have preaching cling more firmly to Jesus. Let them settle this point first of all, that they are willing to walk in the narrow, cross– bearing path where Jesus has traveled before them. Then let them appropriate to themselves God’s promises of divine guidance.” Review and Herald, September 27, 1887.

“Let little companies meet together to study the Scriptures. You will lose nothing by this, but will gain much. Angels of God will be in your gathering, and as you feed upon the Bread of Life, you will receive spiritual sinew and muscle. You will be feeding, as it were, upon the leaves of the tree of life.” This Day With God, 11.

10 What pictures are we given of the way the early church developed? Acts 2:42, 44–47.

NOTE: “Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of benevolence and love. One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom. ‘The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. . . .’ The Spirit of Christ animated the whole congregation; for they had found the pearl of great price. These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 120, 121.

“Conquering and to Conquer”

11 What prophetic pictures are we given of the early church? Revelation 2:1– 3, Revelation 6:2.

NOTE: “Take no glory whatever to yourself. Do not work with a divided mind, trying to serve God and self at the same time. Keep self out of sight. Let your words lead the weary and heavy laden to carry their burdens to Jesus. Work as seeing Him who is at your right hand, ready to give you His efficiency and omnipotent power in every emergency. The Lord is your counselor, your guide, the captain of your salvation. He goes before your face, conquering and to conquer.” Review and Herald, December 29, 1904.

12 What problem arose in the early church? Revelation 2:4, 5.

NOTE: “Let us not forget that as activity increases, and we become successful in doing the work that must be accomplished, there is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. We shall be in danger of losing our sense of dependence upon God, who alone can make our work succeed.” Christian Service, 98.

“As members of God’s remnant church, we must pray with firm faith for the gift of the grace of love. Love is the fulfilling of the law, and is manifested altogether too little among those upon whom has been shining great light. Genuine religion is life and light to every believer. The Christian graces are given not as ornaments to win admiration, but as talents to be used in accomplishing a work for God.” Bible Training School, June 1, 1903.

“It is our work to know our special failings and sins, which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness, and quenched our first love. Is it worldliness? Is it selfishness? Is it the love of self– esteem? Is it striving to be first? Is it the sin of sensuality that is intensely active? Is it the sin of the Nicolaitans, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness? Is it the misuse and abuse of great light and opportunities and privileges, marking boasted claims to wisdom and religious knowledge, while the life and character are inconsistent and immoral? Whatever it is that has been petted and cultivated until it has become strong and overmastering, make determined efforts to overcome, else you will be lost.” Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.

Food for Life – Apricot Jam

Among the changing months, May stands confest
The sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed.

James Thomson

I have had numerous requests to continue my article on the harm of MSG. This information is taken from Consumer Beware, by Beatrice Trum Hunter, page 62.

“More recently, additional information has been publicized. Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok, senior research investigator for the National Biomedical Research Foundation, describing a strange syndrome that he personally experiences in restaurants serving Northern Chinese Food. About 15 to 20 minutes after eating, he develops ‘numbness at the back of the neck, gradually radiating to both arms and the back, general weakness and palpitation.’ Dr. Kwok added that some of his Chinese friends, both medical and nonmedical, also complained of similar symptoms after eating Chinese food. He speculated that it might be caused by some ingredient in the soy sauce, the high sodium content of the food, and/or the generous use of monosodium glutamate seasoning used in many Chinese restaurants.

“Dr. Kwok’s description elicited other reports of what came to be dubbed the ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.’ (CRS). Many physicians confirmed similar experiences. In addition to the symptoms Dr. Kwok described, some included ‘profuse, cold sweat,’ ‘tightness on both sides of the head. . . . felt as though, at any second, the sides of my head would burst.’ ‘Pounding, throbbing sensation in the head, vise-like.’

“Interest in the subject continued. Medical researchers followed up the lead. Dr. Herbert H. Schaumburg, assistant professor of neurology, and Dr. Robert Byck, assistant professor of pharmacology, both at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, found MSG related to the CRS symptoms. They acknowledged that the syndrome has been well known to allergists and Chinese restaurateurs.

“The researchers ate Chinese food three times daily at a cooperating Chinese restaurant. . . . Upon sampling the individual ingredients, ‘the dagger of suspicion pointed at Monosodium Glutamate.’ The researchers found that as little as 1–1/2 grams, or about one-quarter of a teaspoon, of MSG can produce symptoms in some subjects. They also found that MSG ‘can produce undesirable effects in the amounts used in the preparation of widely consumed foods.’

“To determine whether MSG causes more than transitory symptoms, laboratory experiments were conducted, and large amounts were injected into animals. It caused brain damage in newborn mice. As adults, the MSG-treated animals showed stunted skeletal development, marked obesity and female sterility. The researcher, Dr. John W. Olney, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, [Missouri] said that he believed that pregnant women should not use MSG, until further data are available.

“As a result, the FDA announced its intention of reviewing MSG, which has been on the GRAS (generally regarded as safe). It should never have been put on that list, since it was already known and reported in a medical journal that MSG had caused eye damage in newborn mice.”

This should answer many of your questions, and hopefully you will eliminate MSG from your diet. God bless you throughout this month, and may you continue to strive for mastery in all these health items for the perfection of your character in Christ Jesus.

Recipe – Apricot Jam

¾ cup dried Apricots – Wash well and let soak in water for 1 hour. Then drain and rinse. Return to soak in water until soft for the blender. Cut Apricots in half and place in blender.
To Apricot pieces add:
¼ cup Raisins
¼ cup Dates
¾ cup Crushed Pineapple with juice
¼ cup water or Pineapple juice

This jam will keep 7-10 days in the refrigerator.

Children’s Story – The Boy With The Shining Face

In the Far West is an Indian village. Rising out of the desert and towering over the village is a high mountain. Only the very strong can climb it, so all the boys of the village were eager to try.

One day the chief said, “Now, boys, today you may try to climb the mountain. Each of you go as far as you can. When you are too tired to go on, come back. But I want each of you to bring me a twig from the place where you turned back.”

Very soon a boy came puffing back. In his hand he held out to the chief a cactus leaf. The chief smiled. “My boy, you did not even reach the foot of the mountain. Cactus is a desert flower.”

Later a second boy returned. He carried a twig of sagebrush. “Well,” said the chief, “at least you reached the foot of the mountain.”

The next boy to come back had in his hand a cottonwood twig. “Good,” said the chief. “You climbed as far as the springs.”

Another boy came back with some buckthorn. “You, my boy, were really climbing. You were up to the first slide rock.”

An hour afterward, one boy came back with a branch of pine. To him the chief said, “Good! You made three-quarters of the climb.”

The sun was low in the sky when the last boy returned. His hands were empty, but his face was shining. He said, “Father, there were no trees where I was. I saw no twigs, but I saw a shining sea.”

Now the old chief’s face glowed too. “I knew it! When I looked at your face, I knew it. You have been to the top. You needed no twig to tell me. It is written in your eyes. You alone, my boy, have seen the glory and the peace of the mountain.”

You know, the very same thing happens to you and to me when we have been with our Father in heaven and have talked to Him in prayer and felt His presence in our hearts. It shows on our faces. It shines in our eyes. We don’t have to tell anyone. Other people will see it and know and be glad.

Restoring the Temple – Water Foundation for Good Health

“And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” Exodus 23:25.

It is fortunate that one of the most important substances in the human body is also one of the most abundant on earth. Sixty percent of red blood cells, seventy-five percent of muscle tissue and ninety-two percent of blood plasma is water.1 It is essential for health for several reasons. Water’s power as a solvent keeps your lungs moist so oxygen can dissolve and move into your blood stream. It helps break down large nutrients so the body can use them more efficiently. It also serves as a lubricant to help the internal organs and joints slide over each other easily. Water is an amazing substance, and its uses in your body are almost limitless. You can live without food for several weeks, but without water you will die in only a few days. “In health and in sickness, pure water is one of Heaven’s choicest blessings. Its proper use promotes health. It is the beverage which God provided to quench the thirst of animals and man. Drunk freely, it helps to supply the necessities of the system, and assists nature to resist disease.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 419.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, “Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. That may be the case for one stranded in the midst of the sea, but usually not a problem for most land-dwellers. Water is one of nature’s most abundant substances, yet from childhood on we are given practically every beverage but water. Tea, coffee, cow’s milk, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages—the list is endless. Many children learn to not like the taste of water and grow up to be adults who will drink almost anything but water. Yes, all those other fluids contain water. Some of them, like natural fruit juices and herbal teas, have value, but the body needs and craves pure water. Did you know that by the time you become thirsty you are already becoming dehydrated? Caffeinated beverages such as black tea, coffee and colas act as diuretics that actually pull more water out of your body, causing you to become more dehydrated. Many beverages contain an amazing amount of refined sugars that add empty calories to your diet and cause your blood sugar to soar and then drop. Milk contains saturated fat. Who wants to drink a glass of cholesterol? Milk also contains lactose, a sugar that the human body cannot digest, which may result in bloating and flatulence. The phosphorus that helps keep soda bubbly helps to break down your bone tissue and leads to osteoporosis; plus, it is scary to think of what laboratory compounds it takes to make your drinks those bright, happy colors!

“Thousands have died for want of pure water and pure air, who might have lived. . . . These blessings they need in order to become well. If they would become enlightened, and let medicine alone, and accustom themselves to outdoor exercise, and to air in their houses, summer and winter, and use soft water for drinking and bathing purposes, they would be comparatively well and happy instead of dragging out a miserable existence.” Ibid., 419.

Now, doesn’t a glass of clean, pure water sound great? Adults should drink a minimum of 2.5 quarts per day,2 more during and after exertion, since sweating can cause you to lose more than 1.5 quarts per hour.3 Our water input must equal or exceed our water output. How much do we lose each day? See the table for the approximate amount you need to replace daily. Not surprisingly, the average American consumes nowhere near that amount. When dehydrated you may see and feel the results; including thirst, dry skin, constipation, headaches, congestion, and dark, concentrated urine. That is just the tip of the iceberg in comparison to what is going on inside your organs during a water shortage. Each cell produces waste which now has no where to go. Toxins build up and your liver and kidneys work overtime trying to deal with these poisons. Those same toxins, with an adequate amount of pure water each day, would normally be flushed harmlessly out of the body.

What are the best sources of drinking water? Water purified by distillation is inexpensive and is the most pure, followed by filtered water, if an adequate filter has been used. You can find out what is in your tap water by contacting your water supplier and asking for their annual water quality report, or you can have an independent laboratory test a sample of your water. Private wells should be tested annually. Bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses the same water quality standards on both.4

Water’s natural cleansing properties, both internal and external, are well documented. Throughout the Scriptures these same cleansing and purification properties are identified in the spiritual sense. God commanded the priests to wash with water before entering the Tabernacle “that they die not.” Exodus 30:21. The spiritual purification is also a blessing, as seen in Psalms 1:3: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Baptism is, of course, a lesson in the spiritual symbolism of water, representing both death to self and purification from sin. Jesus speaks of this symbolism by describing Living Water, which comes from Him, a substance that, after having partaken, should cause us never to thirst again. (See John 4:7-14.) Doesn’t that sound wonderful? “The channel of communication between earth and heaven must be kept free from all obstruction, that the soul may receive from Christ a supply of living water.” Manuscript 50, June 9, 1901, untitled manuscript.

Your body requires more water than dictated by your thirst. Water is necessary for life, health and vibrancy. You have seen a plant wilt and wither without water. How much more destruction occurs in the human body with a chronic water shortage? Keeping yourself well hydrated and cleansed with plenty of pure water and Living Water each day will make you both physically and spiritually blessed.

Water Output (loss per day)

Lungs (breathing) 350 ml
Skin (diffusion and sweat) 450 – 650 ml
Kidneys (urine) 900 – 1400 ml
Bowel Movements 150 ml
Total water loss 2600 ml or 2.6, quarts approximately

Inspiration – A Friend to the Friendless

“You who are tempted and tried and discouraged, look up. A divine Hand is reached toward you. The hand of the Infinite is stretched over the battlements of heaven to grasp your hand in its embrace. The mighty Helper is nigh to help the most erring, the most sinful and despairing. His great heart of love is yearning with deep and tender compassion over those who are careless and neglectful of their eternal interests.

Individual Care, Love, and Sympathy

“Let us remember that Jesus knows us individually, and He cares for each one as though there were not another soul on the face of the earth. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows the wants of each of his creatures, and reads the hidden, unspoken grief of every heart. If one of the little ones for whom He died is injured, He sees it; for He is acquainted with all that is misunderstood and misrepresented by man.

“Christ has weighed every human affliction, every human sorrow. He bears the weight of the yoke for every soul that yokes up with Him. He knows the sorrows which we feel to the depth of our being, and which we can not express. If no human heart is aroused in sympathy for us, we need not feel that we are without sympathy. Christ knows; and He says, ‘Look unto me and live.’ [See Isaiah 45:22.]

“All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but a tiny rill to the boundless ocean, when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue can not utter it; pen can not portray it. You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving his Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it.

Fellowship in Suffering

“Christ is affected as His weakest follower is affected. The sympathy of Christ is such that He can not be an indifferent spectator of His children’s sufferings. Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart.

“As a faithful Physician, the world’s Redeemer has His finger upon the pulse of the soul. He marks every beat; He takes note of every throb. Not an emotion thrills it, not a sorrow shades it; not a sin stains it, not a thought or purpose passes through it, with which He is not acquainted. Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony.

Talking with God

“God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, ‘Here am I.’ The prayer that ascends from a broken and contrite heart is never disregarded; it is as sweet music in the ears of our heavenly Father: for He waits to bestow upon us the fulness of His blessing.

“The prayer of the sincere heart offered in faith will be heard in heaven. It may not be grammatical; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, graceful and perfect through His merit; for His righteousness refines and ennobles it, and makes it acceptable before the Father.

Our Best Motives and Efforts

“When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit; for He is the source of every right impulse.

“Through the merits of the Redeemer, the Father looks upon us with tender compassion, and speaks to us hopefully the language of forgiveness and love, for Christ was treated as we deserve that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness in which we had no share.

Our Best Interests in View

“God does not require us to give up any thing that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves! For the more we know God, the more intense will be our happiness, and the lips that are willing to speak, though unclean, will be touched with the living coals and purified. They will be enabled to speak words that will burn their way to the soul.”

The Oriental Watchman, December 1, 1901.

“I appeal to all our brethren and sisters to bear in mind the words of Christ, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ [Matthew 25:40.] Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, gave His precious life to save fallen man; every son and daughter of Adam is His purchased possession. He paid the infinite price, the ransom money in His own precious life, to redeem man; therefore He identifies His interest with suffering humanity. He requires every man to be interested for his fellow-man, making the word of God his standard of duty. With meekness and lowliness of heart we are to show reverence and love to Him who hath bought us, giving His own life, that ‘whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ [John 3:16.] Then let love and tender regard toward our fellow-men be ever revealed, not merely in words, but in deeds.

“The children of the heavenly King, should represent the character of the Ruler of the heavenly kingdom. They should cultivate unity and love for one another, each member of the royal family loyally representing the principles of the government of God. Jesus Christ was sent of God; in His character and life He represented every principle of the law of God. What are the two great principles of that law?—Love to God and love to our neighbor. We are to cherish a warm, deep, abiding interest in one another, an unfeigned respect for our brethren and sisters. We are none of us to set ourselves up as critics, to discern defects in those with whom we associate, and then engage in a work of cannibalism, tearing to pieces the reputation of those who may be more precious in the sight of God than we are. Evil-thinking and evil-speaking are a great offense in the sight of God, and those who do these things are not born of the Spirit, but of the flesh.

“The sad thing in our churches to-day, is that Jesus is misrepresented in the character of those who profess to be His followers. Many claim to believe in and love Jesus, while they do neither. They advocate the law of God, but are transgressors of its precepts. The first four commandments require supreme love to God. Parents, children, wife, husband, houses, lands, or any other earthly treasure, whether of friends or property, are not to be loved selfishly, and thus become an idol to divert the mind, the time, the service, from God. He that loves and serves mammon, cannot love and serve God supremely. When friends and relations are loved with inordinate affection, they are taking the place in the heart where God should be. ‘Ye, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.’ ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ ‘Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.’ [II Peter 3:17; I John 2:15; James 4:4.] Here idolatry is plainly revealed, as existing in those who claim to worship God. The pure, refined, ennobling love is buried up by the love of carnal things. This the True Witness represents as a fearful loss in experience and character-building—the loss of the first love. ‘Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent.’ [Revelation 2:5.] The True Witness sends forth this warning. Mercy and the love of God are the attributes of His throne. While claiming to be the subjects of the kingdom of God, and yet refusing to be converted from their selfish love, their stern, iron will, their own perverse ways, many are constantly bearing a false testimony of Jesus Christ. . . .

“Let the people of God have root in themselves because they are planted in Jesus Christ. There must be no strife for supremacy. Let every one seek God for himself, and know for himself that the truth of God is the sanctifier of soul, life, and character. Let all feel that it is their duty and privilege to speak those things in the church which will edify. No one should try to sermonize, but with hearts filled with the love of God, let each one have something to say that will not savor in the least of self-exaltation, of questions that will cause dissension; but let each one present lessons from the life of Christ, and represent none of self, but all of Jesus.

“To every man is given his work. One man cannot do the work for which another man has been trained and educated. But the work of every man must begin at the heart, in the character, by surrendering the soul to God, and by co-operating with divine agencies. The root must be holy, or there will be no holy fruit. All are to be workers together with God, and self must not appear. The Lord has entrusted talent and capabilities to every individual, and those who are most highly favored with opportunities and privileges, are under the heaviest obligations to God. Those who are represented as having but one talent have their work to do. By diligent trading, not with pounds, but with pence, they are diligently to employ their ability, determined not to fail nor be discouraged. Those who faithfully trade upon their one talent will hear the gracious commendation given them with as full heartiness as those who have been gifted with many talents, and who wisely improve them, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.’ He who had but one talent, had an influence to exert, and his work was needed. In perfecting his own character, he was exerting an influence that helped to perfect the character of those who had larger responsibilities, who were in danger of building themselves up, and of neglecting some important little things, which that faithful man with his one talent was regarding with diligent care. By his diligence and unwearied, faithful efforts, he gave lessons worthy of imitation to those who, from outward appearance, seemed to be greatly his superiors. Our various trusts are proportioned to our various abilities. –

“Christ can give His peace to those only who surrender their will and their way to his method and plans. Restless cravings and heart-burnings bring no joy, no happiness, but only sadness and misery to the soul. He who cherishes them, views all things in a distorted light, and thinks that others who do not view matters as he does, do not appreciate his individual importance and worth. We may be complete in Jesus Christ only as we are emptied of self. When our life is hid with Christ in God, self is lost, submerged in the breadth, length, depth, and height of infinite love. Let the burden of every soul be to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

The Home Missionary, December 1, 1894.

The Two Covenants

There is much confusion today over what the covenants are. Especially is the New Covenant and its application to the Christian misunderstood. We will first take a close look at what a covenant is and then consider the difference between the old and the new.

Webster’s Dictionary defines covenant this way: “An agreement between persons or groups of persons; especially, a formal agreement solemnly promising mutual help or common effort; contract. In theology—the promises of God to man, usually carrying with them conditions to be fulfilled by man, as recorded in the Bible.”

Consulting an encyclopedia concerning covenants and contracts, we find there are several parts that are essential.

  1. It must be written.
  2. It will contain promises.
  3. It will contain terms or conditions.
  4. There must be mutual agreement signified by the signatures.
  5. And finally it must have a seal placed upon it.

Here is an example of a typical covenant or contract in our society. When someone is selling their house, the seller says, “Give me $120,000, and I will give you my house.” The buyer agrees. The contract is signed and then sealed by a notary public. When the buyer gives the specified amount to the seller, the seller then gives the buyer his house. However, if the buyer does not come through with the money within the time given, he does not get the house. He has broken the contract, making it void.

God’s Covenant

Now let us look at the covenant God made with Israel in the wilderness as recorded in Exodus 19:5–8: “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

The Covenant is Conditional

You see, there is an “If–Then” in the covenant, a promise upon condition—if you obey Me, then you will be My people. The people gave their promise to fulfill the conditions, thereby signing the contract.

Now, what exactly was the covenant? “And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even Ten Commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone.” Deuteronomy 4:13. It is very clear. The Ten Commandments are God’s covenant, written by His finger. (Also see Exodus 31:18 and 34:28.)

Leviticus 26 very plainly spells out all the conditions and promises of the covenant God made with Israel. Notice the “If–Thens.” The promises were all conditional upon the actions of the people. “If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Verses 3, 4.)

“But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.” (Verses 14–16.)

But what is the sad record of Israel’s compliance with the conditions of the covenant? “They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law.” Psalm 78:10.

Israel had signed the contract. They had promised, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” But they were doomed to fail. They broke the contract. You remember at the close of Joshua’s life he exhorted the people to “fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.” Joshua 24:14. And all the people answered, “God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;…therefore will we also serve the Lord; for He is our God.” (Verses16, 18.) But what was Joshua’s startling reply? “Ye cannot serve the Lord!” (Verse 19.) Why would Joshua say such a thing? I believe he was trying to get them to realize how incapable they were in their own strength to carry out their promise. But the people disagreed with Joshua. “Nay; but we will serve the Lord…The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.” (Verses 21, 24.)

Theirs was the “Promise of the Penniless Prospective Buyer.” The penniless prospective buyer does not have a penny, but he wants that house. He signs the contract, somehow possessing wild optimism that he can come up with the money. But, alas, he fails to come through with his end of the bargain. He breaks the contract. The contract is no longer valid, not because the seller did not make his promise good, but because the buyer’s promise was faulty. If the prospective buyer ever should be able to come up with the money, he would have to enter into a new contract with the seller, because the old contract is broken and can no longer be used.

God is so gracious with His people. Though we have failed, He is yet willing to enter into a new covenant with us. Jeremiah prophesied of this new covenant: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31–33.

In writing to his Jewish brethren, Paul reminds them of this promise and points to Jesus as the mediator of this new covenant. “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Hebrews 8:6. Why is this a better covenant? Because it is based on better promises. “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” (Verse 7.) So there was a fault in the first covenant! What was the fault? “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” (Verse 8.) The fault was with the people’s promise. They did not come through on their word.

“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” (Verse 9.) They did not comply with the conditions as they had promised they would. But God has a solution for their faulty promises—His powerful promise to change their heart, so they can comply with the conditions.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” (Verse10.) Once God’s law is internalized, becoming a part of our character, then we obey from the heart instead of chafing under external rules.

So it is like this: God says, “If you keep My commandments, I will give you eternal life.”

Man says, “God, there is no way I can keep Your Law. I am a sinner by nature.”

God says, “I will enable you to keep My law if you will surrender your will and cooperate with Me. I will give you a new nature. I will write My Law in your heart.”

Now these are the better promises. God’s promises are better than man’s, so we accept God’s promise by faith, thus signing the contract.

Did you know everyone saved in the Old Testament was saved under the New Covenant? Hebrews 11 says all these obeyed by faith. The Old Covenant cannot save anyone. It is not a saving covenant, because no one is capable of keeping the Law in his own strength. The promise, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” is a faulty promise. We can only be saved by accepting the terms of the New Covenant, by accepting the offer of God’s power to change our hearts and give us the power to obey.

The Seal

There is one aspect of a contract or covenant that we have not yet discussed. That is the seal. Does God’s covenant have a seal? Yes, it does. Right in the heart of the Law of God He has placed His seal, in the fourth commandment, Exodus 20:8–11. “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.” (Verse 11.)

A seal always contains three things:

  1. The ruler’s name—LORD
  2. His title—Creator (“made heaven and earth. . .”)
  3. Area of jurisdiction—heaven, earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”

So we see all the elements of a seal in the fourth commandment.

Exodus 31:12, 13 speaks of the Sabbath as a sign of the perpetual covenant. “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” And in verses16 and 17 it says, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.”

What is a Sign?

Webster’s Dictionary defines sign, “in theology, that which being external, represents or signifies something internal or spiritual; as, an outward and visible sign.”

Observing the Sabbath is the sign that you understand that you cannot of yourself fulfill the Law, that you rest in the power that God gives you to obey.

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it… For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:… There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:1–11.

No Faith

So the gospel was preached to ancient Israel, but it did not do them any good because they did not exercise faith in it. God gave them His Sabbath to be a sign that He would give them the power to obey His law, but they did not enter into that rest because of their lack of faith in His power. They felt they were to obey by their own works. So instead of grasping the true significance of the Sabbath, they strictly observed it to earn their salvation. The true Sabbath rest is still offered to the people of God. How do we enter into it? By ceasing from our own works and taking hold of God’s power by faith. This is what true Sabbath–keeping represents. Keeping the Sabbath is not a work, it is a rest!

Let us review now the elements of a covenant and analyze the New Covenant.

  1. It must be written. —The New Covenant is written out for us in the Bible.
  2. It will contain promises. —God promises to write the Law in our hearts.
  3. It will contain terms or conditions. —–Obedience through God’s power.
  4. There must be mutual agreement signified by the signatures. —Our faith.
  5. And finally it must have a seal placed upon it. —The Sabbath.

Revelation 14:12 gives promise of a people who will live by the New Covenant. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

[All emphasis supplied.]