Bible Study Guides – Third Angel’s Message

December 22–28, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured our without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” Revelation 14:9, 10.

SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 440–450, 578–581.

INTRODUCTION:“As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world.” Early Writings, 254.

1 What is the essence of the third angel’s message? Revelation 14:9, 10.

NOTE: “The third angel’s message has been sent forth to the world, warning men against receiving the mark of the beast or of his image in their foreheads or in their hands. To receive this mark means to come to the same decision as the beast has done, and to advocate the same ideas, in direct opposition to the word of God. Of all who receive this mark, God says, ‘The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.’ [Revelation 14:10.]

“If the light of truth has been presented to you, revealing the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and showing that there is no foundation in the word of God for Sunday observance, and yet you still cling to the false Sabbath, refusing to keep holy the Sabbath which God calls ‘My holy day,’ you receive the mark of the beast.” Review and Herald, July 13, 1897.

2 How will the world be divided when human legislation conflicts with the law of God by demanding false worship? Revelation 13:1–4, 8.

NOTE: “In the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great classes—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark.” The Great Controversy, 450.

“In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority.” The Acts of the Apostles, 590.

3 How will a religious-political power, symbolized by the second beast, flatter and imitate the first beast? Revelation 13:11, 12, 14.

NOTE: “The lamblike horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented. The ‘speaking’ of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. The prediction that it will speak ‘as a dragon’ and exercise ‘all the power of the first beast’ plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns ‘causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast’ indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.” The Great Controversy, 442.

4 To deceive the inhabitants of the earth, what will Satan use? Revelation 13:13.

NOTE: “The time is at hand when Satan will work miracles to confirm minds in the belief that he is God. All the people of God are now to stand on the platform of truth as it has been given in the third angel’s message. All the pleasant pictures, all the miracles wrought, will be presented in order that, if possible, the very elect shall be deceived. The only hope for any one is to hold fast the evidences that have confirmed the truth in righteousness. Let these be proclaimed over and over again, until the close of this earth’s history.” Review and Herald, August 9, 1906.

5 What specific truth must we understand in order to escape many of Satan’s delusions? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.

NOTE: “The saints must get a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved friends and relatives, who will declare to them that the Sabbath has been changed, also other unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who appear to them are the spirits of devils.” Early Writings, 87.

6 What is the object of the second beast, in direct opposition to the law of God? Revelation 13:15, 16.

NOTE: “The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation. [Exodus 31:12, 13 quoted.] Here the Sabbath is clearly designated as a sign between God and His people.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 117.

“History will be repeated. False religion will be exalted. The first day of the week, a common working day, possessing no sanctity whatever, will be set up as was the image at Babylon. All nations and tongues and peoples will be commanded to worship this spurious sabbath. This is Satan’s plan to make of no account the day instituted by God, and given to the world as a memorial of creation.” Signs of the Times, May 6, 1897.

7 What is the mark of the beast? Revelation 14:11, last part. See also Daniel 7:23–25.

NOTE: “The mark of the beast is . . . the observance of the first day of the week. This mark distinguishes those who acknowledge the supremacy of the papal authority from those who acknowledge the authority of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 117.

8 The civil authorities will impose what types of sanctions on those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast? Revelation 13:17, 15.

NOTE: “Fearful is the issue to which the world is to be brought. The powers of earth, uniting to war against the commandments of God, will decree that ‘all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond’ (Revelation 13:16), shall conform to the customs of the church by the observance of the false sabbath. All who refuse compliance will be visited with civil penalties, and it will finally be declared that they are deserving of death. On the other hand, the law of God enjoining the Creator’s rest day demands obedience and threatens wrath against all who transgress its precepts.” The Great Controversy, 604.

9 What punishment will heaven send upon those who receive the mark of apostasy and accept the false worship? Revelation 14:10, 11.

NOTE: “The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel’s message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. But men are not left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against the worship of the beast and his image is to be given to the world before the visitation of God’s judgments, that all may know why the judgments are inflicted, and may have opportunity to escape.” Signs of the Times, January 25, 1910.

10 When God pours out the seven last plagues, what will happen to the adherents of the false system of worship? Revelation 16:1, 2.

NOTE: “Many of the wicked were greatly enraged as they suffered the effects of the plagues. It was a scene of fearful agony. Parents were bitterly reproaching their children, and children their parents, brothers their sisters, and sisters their brothers. Loud, wailing cries were heard in every direction, ‘It was you who kept me from receiving the truth which would have saved me from this awful hour.’ The people turned upon their ministers with bitter hate and reproached them, saying, ‘You have not warned us. You told us that all the world was to be converted, and cried, Peace, peace, to quiet every fear that was aroused. You have not told us of this hour; and those who warned us of it you declared to be fanatics and evil men, who would ruin us.’” Early Writings, 282.

11 Since the third angel’s message began to be proclaimed in 1844, what has God required of all who receive it? Revelation 14:12; 15:2.

NOTE: “Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 216.

“All who follow the Lamb in heaven must first have followed Him on earth, not fretfully or capriciously, but in trustful, loving, willing obedience, as the flock follows the shepherd.” The Acts of the Apostles, 591.

12 Under the third angel’s message, why is the seal of God necessary to be saved? Revelation 7:1–3. Compare Revelation 9:4.

NOTE: “What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God’s commands.” Maranatha, 243.

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

“Only those who receive the seal of the living God will have the passport through the gates of the Holy City. . . .

“The seal of the living God will be placed upon those only who bear a likeness to Christ in character.

“As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ.

“Many will not receive the seal of God because they do not keep His commandments or bear the fruits of righteousness.

“The great mass of professing Christians will meet with bitter disappointment in the day of God. They have not upon their foreheads the seal of the living God. Lukewarm and halfhearted, they dishonor God far more than the avowed unbeliever. They grope in darkness, when they might be walking in the noonday light of the Word, under the guidance of One who never errs. . . .” Maranatha, 241.

Bible Study Guides – Second Angel’s Message

December 15–21, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Revelation 14:8.

SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 381–390; The Story of Redemption, 364–368.

INTRODUCTION: “The message of Revelation 14, announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the judgment, it must be given in the last days.” The Great Controversy, 383.

1 What is the second angel’s message and what does it mean? Revelation 14:8.

NOTE: “The term ‘Babylon’ is derived from ‘Babel,’ and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion.” The Great Controversy, 381.

“As the churches refused to receive the first angel’s message, they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God.” Early Writings, 237.

“Since the second angel proclaimed the fall of the churches, they have been growing more and more corrupt. They bear the name of being Christ’s followers; yet it is impossible to distinguish them from the world. Ministers take their texts from the Word of God, but preach smooth things. To this the natural heart feels no objection. It is only the spirit and power of the truth and the salvation of Christ that are hateful to the carnal heart. There is nothing in the popular ministry that stirs the wrath of Satan, makes the sinner tremble, or applies to the heart and conscience the fearful realities of a judgment soon to come. Wicked men are generally pleased with a form of piety without true godliness, and they will aid and support such a religion.” Ibid., 273.

2 What symbol is used to represent the fallen denominations in these last days? Revelation 17:3–5.

NOTE: “Babylon is said to be ‘the mother of harlots.’ By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world.” The Great Controversy, 382, 383.

“Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome’s example of iniquitous connection with ‘the kings of the earth’—the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And the term ‘Babylon’—confusion—may be appropriately applied to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects, with widely conflicting creeds and theories.” Ibid., 383.

3 In her sinful connection with the world, what is the “wine” that Babylon has used? Revelation 17:2, last part; 19:2.

NOTE: “We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon. The fallen denominational churches are Babylon. Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 61.

4 What does the Bible call the sin of seeking the support of the world? Revelation 18:3; James 4:4.

NOTE: “The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow. The sin of Israel in departing from the Lord is presented under this figure . . . .” The Great Controversy, 381.

“In what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith. At the time of their rise these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with them. Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel. . . . But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel—the desire of imitating the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly.” Ibid., 383.

5 Of what sins is Babylon especially guilty? Daniel 7:25; Revelation 17:6.

NOTE: “Only by changing God’s law could the papacy exalt itself above God; whoever should understandingly keep the law as thus changed would be giving supreme honor to that power by which the change was made. Such an act of obedience to papal laws would be a mark of allegiance to the pope in the place of God.

“The papacy has attempted to change the law of God. The second commandment, forbidding image worship, has been dropped from the law, and the fourth commandment has been so changed as to authorize the observance of the first instead of the seventh day as the Sabbath.” The Great Controversy, 446.

“In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy—the Inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. ‘Babylon the great’ was ‘drunken with the blood of the saints.’ The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.” Ibid., 59, 60.

6 How long was the specific period of religious persecution under the supremacy of Rome? Revelation 12:6, 13, 14; 13:7, 5. See also Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6.

NOTE: “[Revelation 11:2-11quoted.] 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 persecution of the church did not continue throughout the entire period of the 1260 years. God in mercy to His people cut short the time of their fiery trial. In foretelling the ‘great tribulation’ to befall the church, the Saviour said: ‘Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.’ Matthew 24:22. Through the influence of the Reformation the persecution was brought to an end prior to 1798.” The Great Controversy, 266, 267.

7 Why must the second angel’s message be repeated? Revelation 18:2; 2 Timothy 3:13.

NOTE: “The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work ‘with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;’ and they that ‘received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ will be left to receive ‘strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’

2 Thessalonians 2:9–11. Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete.” The Great Controversy, 389, 390.

“We see that seducers are waxing worse and worse. We see the world working to the point of establishing by law a false sabbath, and making it a test for all. This question will soon be before us. God’s Sabbath will be trampled under foot, and a false sabbath will be exalted. In a Sunday law there is possibility for great suffering to those who observe the seventh day. The working out of Satan’s plans will bring persecution to the people of God. But the faithful servants of God need not fear the outcome of the conflict. If they will follow the pattern set for them in the life of Christ, if they will be true to the requirements of God, their reward will be eternal life, a life that measures with the life of God.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 375.

“Thus the substance of the second angel’s message is again given to the world by that other angel who lightens the earth with his glory. These messages all blend in one, to come before the people in the closing days of this earth’s history. All the world will be tested, and all that have been in the darkness of error in regard to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment will understand the last message of mercy that is to be given to men.” Ibid., 116.

8 What invitation does God extend to honest believers who are still found in the Babylon denominations? Revelation 18:4.

NOTE: “Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (11 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call: ‘Come out of her, My people’ (Revelation 18:4).” The Great Controversy, 390.

9 In the last days, what phenomenon will increasingly be observed? Matthew 24:24–26; Revelation 13:13, 14.

NOTE: “We shall encounter false claims; false prophets will arise; there will be false dreams and false visions; but preach the Word, be not drawn away from the voice of God in His Word. Let nothing divert the mind. The wonderful, the marvelous, will be represented and presented. Through satanic delusions, wonderful miracles, the claims of human agents will be urged. Beware of all this.

“Christ has given warning, so that none need accept falsehood for truth.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 49.

“The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593.

10 How should we respond when we hear “Lo, here is Christ,” or “There is Christ”? Matthew 24:23.

NOTE: “We need to be anchored in Christ, rooted and grounded in the faith. Satan works through agents. He selects those who have not been drinking of the living waters, whose souls are athirst for something new and strange, and who are ever ready to drink at any fountain that may present itself. Voices will be heard, saying, ‘Lo, here is Christ,’ or ‘Lo there;’ but we must believe them not.” Review and Herald, November 17, 1885.

“He [Satan] will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ. What shall we do?—Tell them that Christ has warned us against just such a foe, who is man’s worst enemy, yet who claims to be God; and that when Christ shall make his appearance, it will be with power and great glory, accompanied by ten thousand times ten thousand angels and thousands of thousands; and that when he shall come, we shall know his voice.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.

11 What punishment will God finally permit to fall upon Babylon, and why? Revelation 18:8.

NOTE: “Those who love God need not be surprised if those who claim to be Christians are filled with hatred because they cannot force the consciences of God’s people. Not long hence they will stand before the Judge of all the earth, to render an account for the pain they have caused to the bodies and souls of God’s heritage. They may indulge in false accusations now, they may deride those whom God has appointed to do his work, they may consign his believing ones to prison, to the chain-gang, to banishment, to death; but for every pang of anguish, every tear shed, they must answer. For every drop of blood drawn forth by torture, for all they have burned with fire, they will receive punishment. God will reward them double for their sins.” Review and Herald, December 28, 1897.

“When the voice of God turns the captivity of his people, there is a terrible awakening of those who have lost all in the great game of life. While probation continued, they were blinded by Satan’s deceptions, and they justified their course of sin. The rich prided themselves upon their superiority to those who were less favored; but they had obtained their riches by violation of the law of God. They had neglected to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to deal justly, and to love mercy. They had sought to exalt themselves, and to obtain the homage of their fellow-creatures. Now they are stripped of all that made them great, and are left destitute and defenseless. They look upon the destruction of the idols which they preferred before their Maker. They sold their souls for earthly riches and enjoyments, and did not seek to become rich toward God. The result is, their lives are a failure; their pleasures are now turned to gall, their treasures to corruption. The gain of a lifetime is swept away in a moment. The rich bemoan the destruction of their grand houses, the scattering of their gold and silver. But their lamentations are silenced by the fear that they themselves are to perish with their idols.

“The wicked are filled with regret, not because of their sinful neglect of God and their fellow-men, but because God has conquered. They lament that the result is what it is; but they do not repent of their wickedness. They would leave no means untried to conquer if they could.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 470, 471.

Bible Study Guides – Heavenly Sanctuary

December 8–14, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “I, [even] I, [am] he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25.

SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 479–491; Testimonies, vol. 4, 384–387; Patriarchs and Prophets, 355–357.

INTRODUCTION: “The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 357.

1 Of what was the earthly sanctuary a type or pattern? Hebrews 8:5.

NOTE: “That sanctuary, in which Jesus ministers in our behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses was a copy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 357.

2 Why are the children of God no longer to look to the earthly sanctuary? Hebrews 9:24; 8:1, 2.

NOTE: “When Jesus at His ascension entered by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary to shed upon His disciples the blessings of His mediation, the Jews were left in total darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings. The ministration of types and shadows had ceased. That door by which men had formerly found access to God was no longer open.” The Great Controversy, 430.

3 As the earthly sanctuary was cleansed and the sins were removed, what must be done in the heavenly sanctuary, and when? Daniel 8:14; Hebrews 9:23.

NOTE: “As the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. This necessitates an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of his atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigative Judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem his people; for when he comes, his reward is with him to give to every man according to his works. [Revelation 22:12.]” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 266.

4 Why must we continue to be watchful, even after we have asked for forgiveness and been accepted by God? Ezekiel 33:13. Compare Romans 10:3; Hebrews 10:38.

NOTE: “Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. But every such effort must fail. Jesus says, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing.’ [John 15:5.] Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,—all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with Him, daily, hourly,—by abiding in Him,—that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the Author, but the Finisher of our faith. It is Christ first and last and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way. David says, ‘I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’ Psalm 16:8.” Steps to Christ, 69.

5 As repentant sinners, how can we remain forgiven to the very end of our time in this world? Matthew 24:13; Revelation 3:5.

NOTE: “All whose names shall at last be found written in the Lamb’s book of life, will fight manfully the battles of the Lord. They will labor most earnestly to discern and put away temptations and every evil thing. They will feel that the eye of God is upon them, and that the strictest fidelity is required. As faithful sentinels they will keep the passage barred that Satan may not pass them disguised as an angel of light to work his work of death in their midst. . . .

“The white-robed ones who surround the throne of God, are not composed of that company who were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, and who choose to drift with the current rather than to breast the waves of opposition. All who remain pure and uncorrupted from the spirit and influence prevailing at this time, will have stern conflicts. They will come through great tribulation; they will wash their robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Review and Herald, October 16, 1883.

6 When Christ ascended to heaven, which apartment of the sanctuary did He enter? Hebrews 9:24. Compare Hebrews 9:1, 2; Revelation 4:5; 8:3, 4.

NOTE: “The holy places of the sanctuary in heaven are represented by the two apartments in the sanctuary on earth. . . . In vision the apostle John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven [Revelation 4:5; 8:3 quoted]. Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there the ‘seven lamps of fire’ and ‘the golden altar,’ represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary on earth.” The Great Controversy, 414.

“For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record.” Ibid., 421.

7 In 1844, which apartment was opened for the closing work of the atonement? Revelation 11:19. Compare Hebrews 9:3, 4.

NOTE: “‘The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.’ Revelation 11:19. The ark of God’s testament is in the holy of holies, the second apartment of the sanctuary. In the ministration of the earthly tabernacle, which served ‘unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,’ [Hebrews 8:5] this apartment was opened only upon the great Day of Atonement for the cleansing of the sanctuary. Therefore the announcement that the temple of God was opened in heaven and the ark of His testament was seen points to the opening of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 as Christ entered there to perform the closing work of the atonement.” The Great Controversy, 433.

8 How is the work of atonement related to the judgment? Revelation 14:6, 7.

NOTE: “The announcement, ‘The hour of His judgment is come,’ [Revelation 14:7] points to the closing work of Christ’s ministration for the salvation of men. It heralds a truth which must be proclaimed until the Saviour’s intercession shall cease and He shall return to the earth to take His people to Himself. The work of judgment which began in 1844 must continue until the cases of all are decided, both of the living and the dead; hence it will extend to the close of human probation.” The Great Controversy, 435, 436.

9 What assurance is given to those who are faithful till the end of Christ’s intercession? Isaiah 43:25.

NOTE: “All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law
of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life.” The Great Controversy, 483.

“By virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed, from the record of sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 357, 358.

10 What is required of us before our sins can be blotted out, and what follows the blotting out of sins? Acts 3:19–21.

NOTE: “A solemn responsibility rests upon those who know the truth, that all their works shall correspond with their faith, and that their lives shall be refined and sanctified, and they be prepared for the work that must rapidly be done in these closing days of the message. They have no time or strength to spend in the indulgence of appetite. The words should come to us now with impelling earnestness: [Acts 3:19 quoted]. There are many among us who are deficient in spirituality and who, unless they are wholly converted, will certainly be lost. Can you afford to run the risk?

“Pride and weakness of faith are depriving many of the rich blessings of God.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 154, 155.

“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.” Early Writings, 71.

11 In what sense are we who profess the present truth now being measured? Revelation 11:1.

NOTE: “The grand judgment is taking place, and has been going on for some time. Now the Lord says, Measure the temple and the worshipers thereof. Remember when you are walking the streets about your business, God is measuring you; when you are attending your household duties, when you engage in conversation, God is measuring you. Remember that your words and actions are being daguerreotyped [photographed] in the books of heaven, as the face is reproduced by the artist on the polished plate. . . .” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 972.

12 While the door of probation remains open, what is our privilege today? Hebrews 10:19–23; 4:16.

NOTE: “This is the great day of atonement. How much better it is for us to afflict our souls than to be engaged in strife for the highest place, causing heart-burning and discord. Never think or speak evil. When tempted to do this, go by yourself, and ask God to help you to overcome this hateful sin. Humble yourselves in the sight of God, and He will lift you up. Let us praise God that when we humble ourselves, His merciful hand lifts us up.” Review and Herald, December 31, 1901.

“The glory that rested upon Christ is a pledge of the love of God for us. It tells us of the power of prayer,—how the human voice may reach the ear of God, and our petitions find acceptance in the courts of heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 113.

Bible Study Guides – Hour of His Judgment

December 1–7, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “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.” Revelation 14:7.

SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 424–428, 467, 468.

INTRODUCTION: “God’s message for the inhabitants of earth today is, ‘Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.’ Matthew 24:44. The conditions prevailing in society, and especially in the great cities of the nations, proclaim in thunder tones that the hour of God’s judgment is come and that the end of all things earthly is at hand. We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another—fire, and flood, and earthquake, with war and bloodshed. We are not to be surprised at this time by events both great and decisive; for the angel of mercy cannot remain much longer to shelter the impenitent.

“‘Behold, 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. The storm of God’s wrath is gathering; and those only will stand who respond to the invitations of mercy, as did the inhabitants of Nineveh under the preaching of Jonah, and become sanctified through obedience to the laws of the divine Ruler.” Prophets and Kings, 278.

“The announcement, ‘The hour of His judgment is come,’ points to the closing work of Christ’s ministration for the salvation of men.” The Great Controversy, 435.

1 Why should we fear God more now than ever before? Revelation 14:7; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

NOTE: “Great and small, high and low, rich and poor, are to be judged ‘out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ [Revelation 20:12.] Day after day, passing into eternity, bears its burden of records for the books of Heaven. Words once spoken, deeds once done, can never be recalled. Angels of God have registered both the good and the evil. The mightiest conqueror upon the earth cannot call back the record of even a single day. Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. They go before us to the Judgment.

“The use made of every talent will be scrutinized. Have we improved the capital intrusted us of God? Will the Lord at his coming receive his own with usury? No value is attached to the mere profession of faith in Christ; nothing is counted as genuine but that love which is shown by works.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 311.

2 As we face the time of judgment, what should be our greatest concern? 1 Peter 4:17, 18; Ezekiel 18:24.

NOTE: “All who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” The Great Controversy, 490.

3 In the judgment, what is our only hope? 1 John 2:1, 2.

NOTE: “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.

4 What distinction is made between the true followers of Christ and those who only profess to believe in Him? 1 John 2:4–6; Matthew 7:21–23.

NOTE: “There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the judgment—those who violate God’s law and those who obey it. Christ gives the test by which to prove our loyalty or disloyalty. ‘If ye love Me,’ He says, ‘keep My commandments. . . . He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. . . . He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.’ ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’ John 14:15–24; 15:10.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 283.

“There are only two classes in the world,—those who are obedient to Jesus Christ, who seek counsel of the Master, that they may do his will; and the children of disobedience. There are many, who, under the profession of godliness, are yet in alliance with the world, and through them souls are being deluded. The fear and love of God have not a controlling power over them. The world is their master, and they are chasing a delusive mirage.” Review and Herald, July 31, 1894.

5 When and how does this distinction become unmistakably clear? Revelation 16:1, 2. Compare Daniel 7:25, 26; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.

NOTE: “As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite ‘the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; . . . because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.’—Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, page 58. 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’?” The Great Controversy, 448.

“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Ibid., 445.

“The seven last plagues were soon to be poured out upon those who have no shelter; yet the world regarded them no more than they would so many drops of water that were about to fall. . . . Then I realized, as never before, the importance of searching the Word of God carefully, to know how to escape the plagues which that Word declares shall come on all the ungodly who shall worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. It was a great wonder for me that any could transgress the law of God and tread down His holy Sabbath, when such awful threatenings and denunciations were against them.” Early Writings, 64.

6 What standard will be used to judge each person, as they have been enlightened by God’s Word? Romans 2:12; 3:19; James 2:10–12.

NOTE: “The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it. After the Fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

“By this law, which governs angels, which demands purity in the most secret thoughts, desires, and dispositions, and which shall ‘stand fast for ever’ (Psalm 111:8), all the world is to be judged in the rapidly approaching day of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 220.

7 In what way does the amount of light an individual has received relate to their accountability in the judgment? Luke 12:47, 48.

NOTE: “God’s test of the heathen, who have not the light, and of those living where the knowledge of truth and light has been abundant, is altogether different. He accepts from those in heathen lands a phase of righteousness which does not satisfy Him when offered by those of Christian lands. He does not require much where much has not been bestowed (Manuscript 130, 1899).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1121.

8 What question, asked by the rich, young ruler, should we also ask? Matthew 19:16.

NOTE: “The only question asked in the judgment will be, ‘Have they been obedient to My commandments?’” Gospel Workers, 315.

“In His teaching He ever presented the law as a divine unity, showing that it is impossible to keep one precept and break another; for the same principle runs through all. Man’s destiny will be determined by his obedience to the whole law.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 377, 378.

9 If we want to have a home in heaven, what principles must guide our lives here on earth? Luke 10:25–28; 1 John 5:2, 3.

NOTE: “Both the poor and the rich are deciding their own eternal destiny and proving whether they are fit subjects for the inheritance of the saints in light. Those who put their riches to a selfish use in this world are revealing attributes of character that show what they would do if they had greater advantages, and possessed the imperishable treasures of the kingdom of God. The selfish principles exercised on the earth are not the principles which will prevail in heaven. All men stand on an equality in heaven; for there is no caste with God. Christ said, ‘All ye are brethren.’ [Matthew 23:8.]” Review and Herald, March 31, 1896.

“In heaven none will think of self, nor seek their own pleasure; but all, from pure, genuine love, will seek the happiness of the heavenly beings around them. If we wish to enjoy heavenly society in the earth made new, we must be governed by heavenly principles here.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 132.

10 What prophecy foretells an investigative judgment? Malachi 3:1–3. Compare Proverbs 17:3.

NOTE: “Everything in our character that cannot enter the city of God will be reproved; if we submit to the Lord’s refining, all the dross and the tin will be consumed. As the Lord’s chosen ones will receive the light appropriate for this time, they will not be led to exalt themselves. They will not manufacture a standard whereby to measure their own character; for the Lord has given one standard, by which every character is to be tested. There is not one standard for the poor, and another for the rich; for all will be tested by that law which bids us to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Those who win the treasure of heaven will be those who have laid up their treasure above. God gives us light and opportunities to learn from Christ; that we may be like Him in spirit and character; but we are not to conform to any human standard. We are to receive the truth of God into the heart, that it may regulate the life and form the character.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1181.

11 How is this depicted in the parable of the wedding garment? Matthew 22:11–14.

NOTE: “Remember that every one who shall be found with the wedding garment on will have come out of great tribulation. The mighty surges of temptation will beat upon all. But the long night of watching, of toil, of hardship, is nearly past. Christ is soon to come. Get ready! The angels of God are seeking to attract you from yourself and from earthly things. Let them not labor in vain.” Review and Herald, April 17, 1894.

12 What is Daniel’s description of the investigative judgment? Daniel 7:9–13.

NOTE: “The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event . . . .” The Great Controversy, 426.

13 After the judgment, what will Christ receive, and what will be the next great event? Daniel 7:14; Luke 12:36; Revelation 22:12.

NOTE: “Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, ‘dominion, and glory, and a kingdom;’ He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, ‘prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people . . . .” The Great Controversy, 426.

Food for Life – Black Bean Casserole and Pumpkin Pie

“Eat simple, wholesome food, and eat it with thanksgiving. God will cooperate with you in preserving your health if you eat with care, refusing to put unnecessary burdens on the stomach. God has graciously made the path of nature sure and safe, wide enough for all who will walk in it. He has given for our sustenance the wholesome and health-giving productions of the earth.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 329.

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 pound firm tofu 

1 16-oz can pumpkin or 2 cups fresh-cooked pumpkin, pureed

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup Sucanat or brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ginger powder

2 Tablespoons oil

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon*

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

1 unbaked 9″ pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until very well mixed. Pour into the pie shell, and bake for 1 hour, or until cracks start to appear in the filling. Chill for at least 2–3 hours before serving.

*May substitute 1 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom.

Black Bean Casserole

1 pound black beans 

1 1/2 cups red onion, chopped 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

3 stalks celery, chopped 

2 carrots, chopped 

1 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

4 Tablespoons olive oil

Rinse beans. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Rinse beans again and add fresh water to cover. Add red onion, garlic, celery, carrots, salt, bay leaves, oregano, and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, over low heat for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. Remove bay leaves and place bean mixture into a 3-quart casserole pan. Stir in olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Cover and bake for 1 hour (until beans are tender). Great topped with tofu sour cream.

Tofu Sour Cream

Blend together:

1 8-oz package Mori-Nu Tofu

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Nature Nugget – Pelagic Tubenoses

Tubenoses are a group of marine birds that spend the majority of their lives at sea, only coming to land to nest. Members of this group include the well known albatrosses and the lesser known shearwaters and petrels.

The name tubenose is derived from the presence of tubular nostrils running along the top of their bills. Their kidneys alone cannot filter out all the salt in the diet of these birds, so a pair of glands near the nasal passages in the front of the head helps secrete excess salt that would otherwise poison the system. The duct from each of the salt glands carries the salt solution into the nasal cavity where it is then discharged through the tubular nostrils where it drips off the tip of the bird’s bill. The system works only when excess salts accumulate, such as after feeding or drinking. The ability to drink seawater is a very important adaptation for being a sea bird. So adapted are they to their environment that they require salt water and will die of thirst when only fresh water is available.

Among the few birds with an acute sense of smell, tubenoses are attracted to oily scents from as far away as 30 km (19 miles). Tubenoses prey on marine animals with the larger species feeding on fish and squids and the smaller species on plankton. Most are scavengers and will commonly follow marine mammals, schools of large predatory fish, and even ships, feeding on scraps and refuse generated by their feeding and fishing activities.

Albatrosses and shearwaters have extremely long narrow wings. Their type of flight requires continuous winds. These winds, which do not carry them very high, give them enough lift over the waves to make a long wind-pushed glide until they descend to wave level, where they then turn into the wind and are again lifted like a kite for the next glide. Albatrosses, which have the longest wingspan of any bird, are the greatest gliders and can fly for hours without flapping their wings. The Wandering Albatross is the champion, with a wingspan of up to 12 feet.

Compared to albatrosses, shearwaters appear energetic, rapidly flapping and gliding over the sea, usually close to the surface. Shearwaters get their name because their pointed wings appear to slice the sea as they skim through troughs between ocean waves.

Ornithologists estimate that petrels are probably the most numerous birds in the world. Their flight is very energetic also, with rapid flapping followed by short glides. The Storm-Petrels appear to walk on water, as they tend to have their webbed feet extended downward to the water’s surface while picking small marine organisms from the surface during flight.

Just as the Lord has provided a way for the tubenoses to rid their bodies of the excess salts which would be toxic to them if not eliminated, so has He provided a way for us to rid our lives of sin which is toxic to us. “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. Praise God for the gift of His son!

Children’s Story – The Golden Windows

“Oh, dear!” exclaimed Ruth impatiently, as she straightened the book shelves. “I do wish we could have a new carpet this spring. I never liked this at all, and now it is so faded and worn it is simply dreadful. It makes me miserable every time I look at it.”

“Then, since you say you cannot very well have a new one just now, why do you look at it?” asked Aunt Rachel, smiling. “There are a great many unpleasant things in our lives—we find them every day—some of which we are unable to prevent. If we persist in thinking of them and keep fretting about them, we make ourselves and everybody about us miserable.

“It seems to me we might all learn a lesson from the bees. I have read that when anything objectionable, that they are unable to remove, gets into a hive, they set to work immediately to cover it all over with wax. They just shut it up in an airtight cell, and then forget all about it. Is not that a wise way for us to manage our aggravations?

“Someone sent me a postcard the other day with this motto: ‘The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one has to do.’ It is not in having and doing just as we like, but in being determined to make the best of the inevitable. When you find an unpleasant thing in your life that cannot be removed, find a way to deal with it and then forget it.

“And then I think that many times it helps to get a different view of things. You remember the story of the golden windows, do you not? A little boy who had very few pretty things in his own home because his parents were poor, often stood in his own doorway at sunset time and looked longingly at the big house at the top of the opposite hill. Such a wonderful house it was! Its windows were all of gold, which shone so bright that it often made his eyes blink to look at them. ‘If only our house was as beautiful,’ he would say. ‘I would not mind wearing patched clothes and having only bread and milk for supper.’

“One afternoon his father told him he might do just as he pleased, so he climbed the hill from his house and up the other long hill. He was going to see the golden windows. But when he reached the top of the other hill he stopped in dismay; his lips began to quiver, his eyes filled with tears. There were no golden windows there—nothing but plain, common windows like his own. ‘I thought you had beautiful golden windows in your house,’ he said to the little girl in the yard.

“Oh, no!’ she said, ‘our windows are not worth looking at, but stand beside me and you will see a lovely house with truly golden windows. See?’

“The little boy looked. ‘Why, that is my house,’ he exclaimed, ‘and I never knew we had golden windows!’

“You see, much depends on your point of view. I have lived to be an old woman, Ruth, and I have come to feel that the most heroic lives are lived by those who put their own troubles out of sight, and strive by every means in their power to ease the burden of others, who leave always behind them the influence of a cheery, loving, thankful spirit.”

Reprinted from The King’s Daughter and Other Stories for Girls, A. B. Publishing, Ithaca MI, 1993, 210–213.

Restoring the Temple – The Nervous System

The brain is a marvel that only God can ever fully understand. Our brain controls our emotions, sleep cycles, digestion, heart rate, breathing, and movement. Our brains are who we are and everything we will ever be. Only in being filled with the Holy Spirit would we ever transcend this. Our first parents’ brains were undoubtedly more complex and certainly more efficiently used than our own today. Someone once said: “The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” I know that many of us can relate to that, including myself. A popular myth is that we use only ten percent of our brains. This myth may be due to a misquote of Albert Einstein, but there is no scientific evidence that backs up this myth.

Of the vast information on the brain, one thing we do understand is that it controls all of our body’s functions as well as being the seat of the mind. This was not always known, however. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, believed that the heart, not the brain, was the location of thought and intelligence. The ancient Egyptians also did not have much respect for this organ as seen when making a mummy. The brain was removed and discarded, whereas the heart and other organs were carefully preserved.

The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves. The main cell that makes up nervous tissue is the neuron. It is estimated that there are 100 billion neurons in the brain. To better understand this number, let us think of it in other terms. Neurons come in different sizes, but for the sake of this illustration we will say that they are ten microns wide. If you placed 100 billion neurons in a line, the line would be invisible but it would stretch to 100 km (62.14 miles).

The brain and spinal cord are bathed in a circulating fluid called the cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. CSF acts as a shock absorber as well as a diffusion medium for nutrients, special chemicals, and waste products. Blood vessels circulate blood through the brain, just as anywhere else in the body. Amazingly, however, chemicals dissolved in the blood do not have free access to the brain. Cells called endothelial cells line blood vessels in the brain and control the chemical exchange between the blood and the fluid surrounding brain cells. This is called a blood-brain barrier, isolating the central nervous system (CNS) from the general circulation. God knows how to protect the delicate but marvelously intricate processes of the CNS.

The function of the nervous system, in general, is to gather information, store data and control the body’s systems. The nervous system collects information about the conditions in relation to the body’s external state and analyzes this information. The information is then used to initiate appropriate responses. Simplistically, you put your hand on the burner of a stove, the brain determines “stove is hot—hot is bad!” Your hand is removed from the burner. All of this occurs much more quickly than you just read it. Information travels along nerves at speeds up to 120 meters/second or 268 mph.

The nervous system uses electrical impulses, which travel along the length of the neurons, as well as chemicals called neurotransmitters. The endocrine system has its own method of data transfer using hormones, but unlike the nervous system, it may take many hours to respond with hormones.

All intellectual functions are the major function of the cerebrum, which is the largest portion of the brain. Have you ever heard of a person who is brain dead? That means that they no longer have brain waves that translate into thought, but the physical control center, the brain stem, is still functioning enough to keep the body alive. Yet the higher functions of thought and emotion are closely interlinked with the physical functions. “The senses . . . are the avenues to the soul.” Healthful Living, 193

Like the rest of the body, the nervous system requires adherence to the laws of health to function optimally. Ellen White said, “The brain is the organ and instrument of the mind, and controls the whole body. In order for the other parts of the system to be healthy, the brain must be healthy. And in order for the brain to be healthy, the blood must be pure. If by correct habits of eating and drinking the blood is kept pure, the brain will be properly nourished.” Medical Ministry, 291. She also understood that there is a balance between physical exercise and mental exercise that must be maintained. We can all understand that we need to study to learn, but on the other side of the coin, “The exercise of the brain in study without corresponding physical exercise has a tendency to attract the blood to the brain, and the circulation of the blood through the system becomes unbalanced. The brain has too much blood and the extremities too little.” Healthful Living, 180.

Even when all of our nervous system’s hardware and software is working correctly, we do not always use it properly. In the nineteenth century, Ambrose Bierce said that the definition of a cabbage is “A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head.” This is too often true isn’t it? I would have to say that without the Lord’s guidance it is always true. David’s insight was that “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise [man] keepeth it in till afterwards.” Proverbs 29:11. A current saying puts it this way: “Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth.” Indeed!

From the Pen of Inspiration – Offer Unto God Thanksgiving

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.” [Psalm 9:1, 2.]

We should ever remember that thanksgiving is the fruit of true, willing obedience. The Lord is the object of our worship, and to praise his holy name shows respect for his efficiency. God says, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.” [Psalm 50:23.] “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1.] Faith relies upon God as being able and willing to save to the uttermost all who come to him. As we speak of God’s power, we show that we appreciate the love that is so constantly shown us, that we are grateful for the mercies and favors bestowed on us, and that the whole soul is awakened to a realization of God’s glory.

The absence of praise and thanksgiving pleases the enemy of God. The line of demarcation between those who utter the holy name of God in blasphemy, and those who praise him with heart and with voice, is clear and distinct. He who is truly converted will glorify God as he beholds the wonderful things of his creation, the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars, the changing beauty of the heavens. To him all nature will declare God’s mighty power. He will be led to give glory to his holy name. . . .

What God Does for Us

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. . . . I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. . . . When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” [Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14, 17–20.]

What greater encouragement and assurance than this could the Lord give his loyal, commandment-keeping people? Have we not every reason for changing our attitude toward God? Is it not our duty to show the world that we appreciate the love of Christ? As we produce the fruit of thanksgiving, we bear living evidence that by connection with Christ we are placed on vantage ground. God is the fountain of life and power. He can make the wilderness a fruitful field for those who keep his commandments; for it is for the glory of his name to do this. Thus he witnesses to Christianity. He has done for his chosen people that which should inspire every heart with praise and thanksgiving; and it grieves him that so little praise is offered. He desires to have a stronger expression of praise from his people, showing that they know they have reason for manifesting joy and gladness.

What We Should Do

The people of God need to be aroused to let their light shine forth. Christ said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] God’s people should be an animated people, filled with joy and gladness because they behold him who is invisible to the eyes of the world.

Our tongues should be used to express the appreciation in our hearts for God’s goodness. Thus God requires us to return to him gratitude offerings. But this is not the only way in which we are to praise God. We are to praise him by tangible service, by doing all we can to advance the glory of his name. By improving our intrusted talents, we are to offer God thanksgiving.

We are to glorify God by keeping his commandments. Christ said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” [John 14:15–19.] How plain is the distinction here drawn between the two classes. Worldlings place their whole attention upon the gaining of worldly advantages. The mind is filled with the selfish thought, How can I secure these advantages for myself? How can I obtain more money? This is the god man worships. Men do not stop to think of the riches of which no earthly power can deprive them. They see not Christ, neither know him. They do not realize their great need of a Redeemer. They do not pray. They put Christ out of their lives as much as possible.

One with Christ

“But ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” [John 14:19.] Christ is with his children, enlightening their minds and leading them to call upon him. As they do this, he hears their prayers and purifies their hearts. They see him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They do not walk in accordance with the ways of the world. They ask God for Christ’s sake to help them, and they receive the help they ask for. They are gifted by God with power to see the love and wonderful charms of Christ. They can never feel lonely or comfortless.

“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” [John 14:20–22.] Let all mark the answer. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [John 14:23.] Wonderful indeed is this promise. Do we comprehend it? When a man becomes one with Christ, he has the mind of Christ. He is no longer antagonistic to God’s law, but lives in obedience to all his commandments. He walks in the footsteps of the Saviour.

Cross of Salvation

But should he walk regretfully, because in his union with Christ he is called upon to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice? Think of what the Prince of heaven did to manifest his love for the Father and for us. He resigned his position as Commander in the heavenly courts, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might lay hold of humanity, and divinity grasp the throne of the Infinite. This he did to perfect the redemption of the human race. Those who receive him are adopted into the royal family as sons and daughters of God. They are made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to an immortal inheritance. Have they any cause for regret?

Christ has declared that the cross which makes the line of demarcation between his people and the world so distinct is not a cross of discouragement, but a cross of salvation. Love for the Saviour will lead us to acknowledge this. God has given human beings all that ministers to their happiness, and in return he asks them to lay their gifts and offerings on his altar. Shall we disregard this requirement? Shall we fail of offering God praise and thanksgiving in word and deed?

Review and Herald, November 20, 1900.

What About Health Reform?

Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 372.

“He who cherishes the light which God has given him upon health reform, has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 10.

“He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every injurious habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 113.

Adopting Health Reform

“We want to act like men and women that are to be brought into judgment. And when we adopt the health reform we should adopt it from a sense of duty, not because somebody else has adopted it. I have not changed my course a particle since I adopted the health reform. I have not taken one step back since the light from heaven upon this subject first shone upon my pathway. I broke away from everything at once,—from meat and butter, and from three meals,—and that while engaged in exhaustive brain labor, writing from early morning till sundown. I came down to two meals a day without changing my labor.” Ibid., vol. 2, 371.

“Many do not feel that this [health reform] is a matter of duty, hence they do not try to prepare food properly. This can be done in a simple, healthful, and easy manner, without the use of lard, butter, or flesh meats. Skill must be united with simplicity. To do this, women must read, and then patiently reduce what they read to practice.” Ibid., vol. 1, 681.

“Many take a wrong view of the health reform and adopt too poor a diet. They subsist upon a cheap, poor quality of food, prepared without care or reference to the nourishment of the system. It is important that the food should be prepared with care, that the appetite, when not perverted, can relish it. Because we from principle discard the use of meat, butter, mince pies, spices, lard, and that which irritates the stomach and destroys health, the idea should never be given that it is of but little consequence what we eat.” Ibid., vol. 2, 367.

Avoid These

“We bear positive testimony against tobacco, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats, butter, spices, rich cakes, mince pies, a large amount of salt, and all exciting substances used as articles of food.” Ibid., vol. 3, 21.

“Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. Their effect is produced before there has been time for digestion and assimilation, and what seems to be strength is only nervous excitement. When the influence of the stimulant is gone, the unnatural force abates, and the result is a corresponding degree of languor and debility.

“The continued use of these nerve irritants is followed by headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling, and many other evils; for they wear away the life forces. Tired nerves need rest and quiet instead of stimulation and overwork.” The Ministry of Healing, 326, 327.

“No butter or flesh meats of any kind come on my table. Cake is seldom found there. I generally have an ample supply of fruits, good bread, and vegetables.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 487.

“It is impossible for those who make free use of flesh meats to have an unclouded brain and an active intellect.” Ibid., 62

“Flesh meat is not necessary for health or strength. If used it is because a depraved appetite craves it. Its use excites the animal propensities to increased activity and strengthens the animal passions. When the animal propensities are increased, the intellectual and moral powers are decreased. The use of the flesh of animals tends to cause a grossness of body and benumbs the fine sensibilities of the mind.” Ibid., 63.

“Flesh meats will depreciate the blood. Cook meat with spices, and eat it with rich cakes and pies, and you have a bad quality of blood. The system is too heavily taxed in disposing of this kind of food. The mince pies and the pickles, which should never find a place in any human stomach, will give a miserable quality of blood. And a poor quality of food, cooked in an improper manner, and insufficient in quantity, cannot make good blood. Flesh meats and rich food, and an impoverished diet, will produce the same results.” Ibid., 368.

Teach the Children

“You should be teaching your children. You should be instructing them how to shun the vices and corruptions of this age. Instead of this, many are studying how to get something good to eat. You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat, and your children partake of them. They are fed with the very things that will excite their animal passions.” Ibid., 362.

“The moral sensibilities of your children cannot be easily aroused, unless you are careful in the selection of their food. Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family. Flesh-meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect. The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 46, 47.

“If ever there was a time when the diet should be of the most simple kind, it is now. Meat should not be placed before our children. Its influence is to excite and strengthen the lower passions, and has a tendency to deaden the moral powers.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 352.

Foods to Relish

“Olives may be so prepared as to be eaten with good results at every meal. The advantages sought by the use of butter may be obtained by the eating of properly prepared olives. The oil in the olives relieves constipation; and for consumptives, and for those who have inflamed, irritated stomachs, it is better than any drug. As a food it is better than any oil coming secondhand from animals.” Ibid., vol. 7, 134.

“Grains and fruits prepared free from grease, and in as natural a condition as possible, should be the food for the tables of all who claim to be preparing for translation to heaven. The less feverish the diet, the more easily can the passions be controlled. Gratification of taste should not be consulted irrespective of physical, intellectual, or moral health.” Ibid., vol. 2, 352.

“Advise the people to give up sweet puddings or custards made with eggs and milk and sugar, and to eat the best home-made bread, both graham and white, with dried or green fruits, and let that be the only course for one meal; then let the next meal be of nicely prepared vegetables.” Unpublished Testimonies, October 29, 1894.

“Nuts and nut foods are coming largely into use to take the place of flesh meats. With nuts may be combined grains, fruits, and some roots, to make foods that are healthful and nourishing. Care should be taken, however, not to use too large a proportion of nuts.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 363.

“Simple grains, fruits, and vegetables have all the nutrient properties necessary to make good blood. This a flesh diet cannot do.” Healthful Living, 63.

“In grains, fruits, and vegetables, and nuts, are to be found all the food elements that we need. If we will come to the Lord in simplicity of mind, He will teach us how to prepare wholesome food free from the taint of flesh-meat.” Testimony Studies on Diet and Foods, 65.

“How can anyone desire to live on the flesh of dead animals, when he has the privilege of using the fruit, grains, vegetables, and nuts that God has given us in such abundance?” Peter’s Counsel to Parents, 26.

“God has furnished man with abundant means for the gratification of natural appetite. He has spread before him, in the products of the earth, a bountiful variety of food that is palatable to the taste and nutritious to the system. Of these our benevolent heavenly Father says that we may ‘freely eat.’ We may enjoy the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, without doing violence to the laws of our being. These articles, prepared in the most simple and natural manner, will nourish the body, and preserve its natural vigor without the use of flesh meats.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 50.