June 24, 2007 – June 30, 2007
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2.
Study Help: Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, 34-37.
“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome. . . . Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols. . . . Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” Maranatha, 43.
1 What yearning of heart did the Saviour express in prayer the night of His betrayal? John 17:24.
note: “Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, ‘It is finished,’ He addressed the Father. [John 19:30.] The compact had been fully carried out.” The Desire of Ages, 834.
2 Before His ascension, what cheering promise did the Saviour give His people? John 14:1–3.
note: “Long have we waited for our Saviour’s return. But nonetheless sure is the promise. Soon we shall be in our promised home. There Jesus will lead us beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God and will explain to us the dark providences through which on this earth He brought us in order to perfect our characters. There we shall behold with undimmed vision the beauties of Eden restored. Casting at the feet of the Redeemer the crowns that He has placed on our heads, and touching our golden harps, we shall fill all heaven with praise to Him that sitteth on the throne.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 254.
3 What assurance did the apostle Paul give of the translation of the righteous when Jesus appears? 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18.
note: “The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ [1 Corinthians 15:52.] At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels ‘gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ [Matthew 24:31.] Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers’ arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.” The Great Controversy, 645.
4 What physical change will those who are translated experience? 1 Corinthians 15:51–54. What will be their spiritual condition? 1 John 3:2; Matthew 5:8.
note: “Soon I [Ellen White] heard the voice of God which shook the heavens and the earth. [See Joel 3:16; Hebrews 12:26; Revelation 16:17.] There was a mighty earthquake. Buildings were shaken down, and fell on every side. I then heard a triumphant shout of victory, loud, musical, and clear. I looked upon this company, who, a short time before, were in such distress and bondage. Their captivity was turned. A glorious light shone upon them. How beautiful they then looked! All weariness and marks of care were gone; health and beauty were seen in every countenance.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 184.
5 While the righteous will be “caught up” at the coming of the Lord, what will be the experience of the wicked? 11 Thessalonians 1:7–10; Jeremiah 25:30–33.
note: “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. [Jeremiah 25:33 quoted.]
“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. Christ takes His people to the City of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants. [Isaiah 24:1, 3, 5, 6 quoted.]” The Great Controversy, 657.
6 As a preparation for translation, what solemn call to a deeper consecration comes to us from the Lord? Amos 4:12; Joel 2:11–17. How is the same solemn call voiced by another prophet? Zephaniah 2:1–3.
note: “I [Ellen White] 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. . . . I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” Early Writings, 71.
7 What was Enoch’s experience before his translation? Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 5:22–24.
note: “Pray in your closet, and as you go about your daily labor let your heart be often uplifted to God. It was thus that Enoch walked with God.” Steps to Christ, 98, 99.
8 What is said concerning the translation of Elijah? 11 Kings 2:9–11.
note: “Elijah was a type of the saints who will be living on the earth at the time of the second advent of Christ and who will be ‘changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump,’ without tasting of death. 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. It was as a representative of those who shall be thus translated that Elijah, near the close of Christ’s earthly ministry, was permitted to stand with Moses by the side of the Saviour on the mount of transfiguration. In these glorified ones, the disciples saw in miniature a representation of the kingdom of the redeemed. They beheld Jesus clothed with the light of heaven; they heard the ‘voice out of the cloud’ (Luke 9:35), acknowledging Him as the Son of God; they saw Moses, representing those who will be raised from the dead at the time of the second advent; and there also stood Elijah, representing those who at the close of earth’s history will be changed from mortal to immortal and be translated to heaven without seeing death.” Prophets and Kings, 227.
9 Who only will ascend into the hill of the Lord? Psalm 24:3, 4. (Compare Psalm 15.) What description is given of those who will be redeemed from the earth when the Lord comes? Revelation 14:1–5.
note: “I [Ellen White] was shown that quite a number who were thinking it their duty to teach the word of God publicly had mistaken their work. They had no call to devote themselves to this solemn, responsible work. They were not qualified for the work of the ministry, for they could not instruct others properly.
“The experience of some had been obtained among a class of religious fanatics who had no true sense of the exalted character of the work. The religious experience of this class of professed Seventh-day Adventists was not reliable. They had not firm principles underlying all their actions. They were self-confident, and boastful. Their religion did not consist in righteous acts, true humility of soul, and sincere devotion to God, but in impulse, in noise and confusion, spiced with eccentricities and oddities. They had not felt, neither could they feel, the necessity of being clothed with Christ’s righteousness. They had a righteousness of their own, which was as filthy rags, and which God can in no case accept. These persons had no love for union and harmony of action. They delighted in disorder. Confusion, distraction, and diversity of opinion were their choice. They were ungovernable, unsubdued, unregenerated, and unconsecrated, and this element of confusion suited their undisciplined minds. They were a curse to the cause of God and brought the name of Seventh-day Adventists into disrepute.
“These persons had not experienced the work of reformation, or sanctification through the truth. They were coarse and uncultivated. They had never tasted of the sweet, pure refinement of the world to come. They had never experienced, neither had their hearts been awed by, the mystery of godliness. They placed divine and eternal things upon a level with common things, and would talk of heaven and the coming of Jesus as they would of a horse. They had a superficial knowledge or theory of the truth, but further than this they were ignorant. Its principles had not taken hold of their lives and led them to an abhorrence of self. . . . They had never been slain by the law of God, and had not separated themselves from their impurities and defilement. It is the favorite occupation of some of this class to engage in trifling conversation and levity. This habit they contracted, and indulged upon occasions which should have been characterized by solemn meditation and devotion. In doing this, they manifested a lack of true dignity and refinement, and forfeited the esteem of sensible persons who had no knowledge of the truth. This class threw themselves into a current of temptation and kept where the enemy led them successfully, and he has so easily controlled their minds and corrupted their entire experience that in all probability they will be unable to recover themselves out of his snare and obtain a healthful experience.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 553, 554.
10 What song of victory was sung by those who were raised from the dead and ascended with our divine Lord? Revelation 5:9, 10. (Compare Matthew 27:50–53; Ephesians 4:8.)
note: “All heaven was waiting to welcome the Saviour to the celestial courts. As He ascended, He led the way, and the multitude of captives set free at His resurrection followed. The heavenly host, with shouts and acclamations of praise and celestial song, attended the joyous train. . . .
“Then the portals of the city of God are opened wide, and the angelic throng sweep through the gates amid a burst of rapturous music.
“There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are cherubim and seraphim. The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion, all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King.” The Desire of Ages, 833, 834.
11 What spiritual change will have been experienced by those who are saved when the Lord comes? Colossians 1:13, 14.
note: “Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ’s word of power.” The Desire of Ages, 320.
12 What reward awaits the overcomer? 1 Corinthians 2:9; Psalm 17:15; Revelation 21:3–7.
note: “Those who accept the teachings of God’s Word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. . . . 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.” The Story of Redemption, 430, 431.
“Eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which man, restored to God’s image, may attain.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 61.
Adapted from “The Victorious Life,” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1924.