Bible Study Guides – The Power of Oppression Broken

December 19, 2010 – December 25, 2010

Key Text

“I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:19.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 289–298; Prophets and Kings, 675–678.


“It was the work of the Reformation to restore to men the word of God.” The Great Controversy, 388.

1 With the spread of the Word of God and the Reformation, what new era was ushered in? II Corinthians 3:17.

2 While the accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages, what marked the end of this period? Revelation 13:3, first part; 12:14.

Note: “The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages.” The Great Controversy, 55.

“This period, as stated in preceding chapters, began with the supremacy of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity’ [Revelation 13:10].” Ibid., 439.

“In the beginning of the year 1798, on the 15th of February, a French general, Berthier, entered Rome with a French army without resistance, deposed the pope, abolished the papal government, and erected the republic of Italy.” William Miller, Miller’s Works, vol. 2, 99.

3 How was the prophecy of Daniel concerning the increase of knowledge fulfilled? What was particularly instrumental in this? Daniel 12:4.

Note: “The improvements in printing have given an impetus to the work of circulating the Bible. The increased facilities for communication between different countries, the breaking down of ancient barriers of prejudice and national exclusiveness, and the loss of secular power by the pontiff of Rome have opened the way for the entrance of the word of God. For some years the Bible has been sold without restraint in the streets of Rome, and it has now been carried to every part of the habitable globe.” The Great Controversy, 288.

“In 1804, according to Mr. William Canton of the British and Foreign Bible Society, ‘all the Bibles extant in the world, in manuscript or in print, counting every version in every land, were computed at not many more than four millions. … The various languages in which those four millions were written, including such bygone speech as the Moeso-Gothic of Ulfilas and the Anglo-Saxon of Bede, are set down as numbering about fifty.’ …

“The American Bible Society reported a distribution from 1816 through 1955 of 481,149,365 Bibles, Testaments, and portions of Testaments. To this may be added over 600,000,000 Bibles or Scripture portions distributed by the British and Foreign Bible Society.” Appendix to The Great Controversy, 689.

4 What prophecy leads us to look for an expanding growth of gospel and missionary activity? Revelation 11:12.

Note: “For the fifty years preceding 1792, little attention was given to the work of foreign missions. No new societies were formed, and there were but few churches that made any effort for the spread of Christianity in heathen lands. But toward the close of the eighteenth century a great change took place. Men became dissatisfied with the results of rationalism and realized the necessity of divine revelation and experimental religion. From this time the work of foreign missions attained an unprecedented growth.” The Great Controversy, 287, 288.

5 How did Daniel amplify the prophecy given in Daniel 12:4 and what is the significance of this? Daniel 12:6, 7.

Note: “[Joseph] Wolff believed the coming of the Lord to be at hand, his interpretation of the prophetic periods placing the great consummation within a very few years of the time pointed out by Miller. To those who urged from the scripture, ‘Of that day and hour knoweth no man’ [Matthew 24:36], that men are to know nothing concerning the nearness of the advent, Wolff replied: ‘Did our Lord say that that day and hour should never be known? Did He not give us signs of the times, in order that we may know at least the approach of His coming, as one knows the approach of the summer by the fig tree putting forth its leaves? Matthew 24:32. Are we never to know that period, whilst He Himself exhorteth us not only to read Daniel the prophet, but to understand it? and in that very Daniel, where it is said that the words were shut up to the time of the end (which was the case in his time), and that ‘many shall run to and fro’ (a Hebrew expression for observing and thinking upon the time), ‘and knowledge’ (regarding that time) ‘shall be increased’ (Daniel 12:4). Besides this, our Lord does not intend to say by this, that the approach of the time shall not be known, but that the exact ‘day and hour knoweth no man.’ Enough, He does say, shall be known by the signs of the times, to induce us to prepare for His coming, as Noah prepared the ark.’—Wolff, Researches and Missionary Labors, pages 404, 405.” The Great Controversy, 359, 360.

6 When opening the future to His disciples, what did Jesus say would occur at the end of the tribulation of the Dark Ages? Mark 13:24, 25; Matthew 24:21, 22.

Note: “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.’ Mark 13:24. The 1260 days, or years, terminated in 1798. A quarter of a century earlier, persecution had almost wholly ceased.” The Great Controversy, 306.

7 What doctrine began to take on a new significance as the signs given by Jesus came to pass? Matthew 24:29–33.

8 What did Reformers say concerning this event which should bring hope and encouragement to every Christian?

Note: “They [saints and martyrs] were willing to go down to the grave, that they might ‘rise free.’—Daniel T. Taylor, The Reign of Christ on Earth: or, The Voice of the Church in All Ages, p. 54. They looked for the ‘Lord to come from heaven in the clouds with the glory of His Father,’ ‘bringing to the just the times of the kingdom.’ The Waldenses cherished the same faith.—Ibid., pages 129–132. Wycliffe looked forward to the Redeemer’s appearing as the hope of the church.—Ibid., pages 132–134.

“Luther declared: ‘I persuade myself verily, that the day of judgment will not be absent full three hundred years. God will not, cannot, suffer this wicked world much longer.’ ‘The great day is drawing near in which the kingdom of abominations shall be overthrown.’—Ibid., pages 158, 134.

“ ‘This aged world is not far from its end,’ said Melanchthon. Calvin bids Christians ‘not to hesitate, ardently desiring the day of Christ’s coming as of all events most auspicious;’ and declares that ‘the whole family of the faithful will keep in view that day.’ ‘We must hunger after Christ, we must seek, contemplate,’ he says, ‘till the dawning of that great day, when our Lord will fully manifest the glory of His kingdom.’—Ibid., pages 158, 134.

“ ‘Has not the Lord Jesus carried up our flesh into heaven?’ said Knox, the Scotch Reformer, ‘and shall He not return? We know that He shall return, and that with expedition.’ Ridley and Latimer, who laid down their lives for the truth, looked in faith for the Lord’s coming. Ridley wrote: ‘The world without doubt—this I do believe, and therefore I say it—draws to an end. Let us with John, the servant of God, cry in our hearts unto our Saviour Christ, Come, Lord Jesus, come.’—Ibid., pages 151, 145.

“ ‘The thoughts of the coming of the Lord,’ said Baxter, ‘are most sweet and joyful to me.’—Richard Baxter, Works, vol. 17, p. 555. ‘It is the work of faith and the character of His saints to love His appearing and to look for that blessed hope.’ ‘If death be the last enemy to be destroyed at the resurrection, we may learn how earnestly believers should long and pray for the second coming of Christ, when this full and final conquest shall be made.’ ” The Great Controversy, 303, 304.

9 What promise of Jesus should always be remembered and taught to all who will listen? John 14:1–3.

Note: “One of the most solemn and yet most glorious truths revealed in the Bible is that of Christ’s second coming to complete the great work of redemption. To God’s pilgrim people, so long left to sojourn in ‘the region and shadow of death’ [Matthew 4:16], precious, joy-inspiring hope is given in the promise of His appearing, who is ‘the resurrection and the life’ [John 11:25], to ‘bring home again His banished’ [II Samuel 14:13].” The Great Controversy, 299.

10 How did the Reformers lighten the world and how are they to do it now? Matthew 5:14–16; Psalm 19:7.

Note: “Rome withheld the Bible from the people and required all men to accept her teachings in its place. It was the work of the Reformation to restore to men the word of God.” The Great Controversy, 388.

“This principle we in our day are firmly to maintain. The banner of truth and religious liberty held aloft by the founders of the gospel church and by God’s witnesses during the centuries that have passed since then, has, in this last conflict, been committed to our hands. The responsibility for this great gift rests with those whom God has blessed with a knowledge of His word.” The Acts of the Apostles, 68, 69.

Personal Review Questions

1 What was a noticeable result of the Reformation?

2 What factors influenced the increase in missionary activity around the world?

3 What prophecies find their specific fulfillment at the close of the Dark Ages?

4 What should be a focal point of the gospel message in our time?

5 What can we do to continue and finish the work begun by the Reformers?

Additional Reading

“The word of God abounds in sharp and striking contrasts. Sin and holiness are placed side by side, that, beholding, we may shun the one and accept the other. The pages that describe the hatred, falsehood, and treachery of Sanballat and Tobiah, describe also the nobility, devotion, and self-sacrifice of Ezra and Nehemiah. We are left free to copy either, as we choose. The fearful results of transgressing God’s commands are placed over against the blessings resulting from obedience. We ourselves must decide whether we will suffer the one or enjoy the other. …

“The spiritual restoration of which the work carried forward in Nehemiah’s day was a symbol, is outlined in the words of Isaiah: ‘They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities.’ ‘They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.’ Isaiah 61:4; 58:12.

“The prophet here describes a people who, in a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, are seeking to restore the principles that are the foundation of the kingdom of God. They are repairers of a breach that has been made in God’s law—the wall that He has placed around His chosen ones for their protection, and obedience to whose precepts of justice, truth, and purity is to be their perpetual safeguard.” Prophets and Kings, 676–678.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Bible Study Guides – The Failure of a Ghastly Experiment

December 12, 2010 – December 18, 2010

Key Text

“And when they [the two witnesses] shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” Revelation 11:7.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 275–288.


“It had been Rome’s policy, under a profession of reverence for the Bible, to keep it locked up in an unknown tongue and hidden away from the people. Under her rule the witnesses prophesied ‘clothed in sackcloth’ [Revelation 11:3]. But another power—the beast from the bottomless pit—was to arise to make open, avowed war upon the word of God.” The Great Controversy, 269.

1 What had God declared of His two witnesses—the Old and New Testaments—during the 1260-year period of papal persecution? Revelation 11:2–6. What was to occur just as they were finishing their testimony? Revelation 11:7.

Note: “[Revelation 11:7 quoted.] The period when the two witnesses were to prophesy clothed in sackcloth, ended in 1798. As they were approaching the termination of their work in obscurity, war was to be made upon them by the power represented as ‘the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit’ [Revelation 11:7].” The Great Controversy, 268.

2 As a nation which had long been a stronghold of papal power and total suppression of God’s Word, why was France ripe for revolution? John 3:19.

Note: “The war against the Bible, carried forward for so many centuries in France, culminated in the scenes of the Revolution. That terrible outbreaking was but the legitimate result of Rome’s suppression of the Scriptures.” The Great Controversy, 265.

3 How did the prophecy of Revelation 11:7 meet its fulfillment?

Note: “The atheistical power that ruled in France during the Revolution and the Reign of Terror, did wage such a war against God and His holy word as the world had never witnessed. The worship of the Deity was abolished by the National Assembly. Bibles were collected and publicly burned with every possible manifestation of scorn. The law of God was trampled underfoot. The institutions of the Bible were abolished. The weekly rest day was set aside, and in its stead every tenth day was devoted to reveling and blasphemy. Baptism and the Communion were prohibited. And announcements posted conspicuously over the burial places declared death to be an eternal sleep.” The Great Controversy, 273, 274.

4 In a spiritual sense, what two characteristics—one of Egypt and one of Sodom—were found in France during the revolution? Revelation 11:8; Exodus 5:1, 2; Ezekiel 16:49.

Note: “ ‘The great city’ in whose streets the witnesses are slain, and where their dead bodies lie, is ‘spiritually’ Egypt. Of all nations presented in Bible history, Egypt most boldly denied the existence of the living God and resisted His commands. No monarch ever ventured upon more open and highhanded rebellion against the authority of Heaven than did the king of Egypt. When the message was brought him by Moses, in the name of the Lord, Pharaoh proudly answered: ‘Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go.’ Exodus 5:2, A.R.V. This is atheism, and the nation represented by Egypt would give voice to a similar denial of the claims of the living God and would manifest a like spirit of unbelief and defiance. ‘The great city’ is also compared, ‘spiritually,’ to Sodom. The corruption of Sodom in breaking the law of God was especially manifested in licentiousness. And this sin was also to be a pre-eminent characteristic of the nation that should fulfill the specifications of this scripture.

“According to the words of the prophet, then, a little before the year 1798 some power of satanic origin and character would rise to make war upon the Bible. And in the land where the testimony of God’s two witnesses should thus be silenced, there would be manifest the atheism of the Pharaoh and the licentiousness of Sodom.” The Great Controversy, 269.

5 How had Rome inflamed the kings against Protestantism at the beginning of the sixteenth century? What scriptural law was now being fulfilled in France? Galatians 6:7.

Note: “It was popery that had begun the work which atheism was completing. The policy of Rome had wrought out those conditions, social, political, and religious, that were hurrying France on to ruin. Writers, in referring to the horrors of the Revolution, say that these excesses are to be charged upon the throne and the church. In strict justice they are to be charged upon the church. Popery had poisoned the minds of kings against the Reformation, as an enemy to the crown, an element of discord that would be fatal to the peace and harmony of the nation. It was the genius of Rome that by this means inspired the direst cruelty and the most galling oppression which proceeded from the throne.” The Great Controversy, 276, 277.

“Unhappy France reaped in blood the harvest she had sown. Terrible were the results of her submission to the controlling power of Rome. Where France, under the influence of Romanism, had set up the first stake at the opening of the Reformation, there the Revolution set up its first guillotine. On the very spot where the first martyrs to the Protestant faith were burned in the sixteenth century, the first victims were guillotined in the eighteenth. In repelling the gospel, which would have brought her healing, France had opened the door to infidelity and ruin.” Ibid., 282.

6 How did Scripture prophesy of the massacre of St. Bartholomew? Revelation 11:9, 10. Into what category will those who lost their lives in this darkest crime of the dark period be reckoned? Hebrews 11:36–38. How many were slain?

Note: “Blackest in the black catalogue of crime, most horrible among the fiendish deeds of all the dreadful centuries, was the St. Bartholomew Massacre. The world still recalls with shuddering horror the scenes of that most cowardly and cruel onslaught. The king of France, urged on by Romish priests and prelates, lent his sanction to the dreadful work. …

“Throughout France the butchery continued for two months. Seventy thousand of the very flower of the nation perished.” The Great Controversy, 272.

7 What are we all to learn from the real cause of the shame and reproach that came upon France? Proverbs 14:34.

Note: “The fatal error which wrought such woe for the inhabitants of France was the ignoring of this one great truth: that true freedom lies within the proscriptions of the law of God. …

“Atheists, infidels, and apostates oppose and denounce God’s law; but the results of their influence prove that the well-being of man is bound up with his obedience of the divine statutes. Those who will not read the lesson from the book of God are bidden to read it in the history of nations.” The Great Controversy, 285.

8 Upon what does the welfare of the family, the church, and the nation depend? Proverbs 1:33; Isaiah 48:18, 22.

9 What does God declare in the midst of crises such as happened in France? Jeremiah 16:20, 21. How did His two witnesses vindicate His name in that nation—and touch the lives of people all over the world? Revelation 11:11, 12.

Note: “God’s faithful witnesses, slain by the blasphemous power that ‘ascendeth out of the bottomless pit,’ were not long to remain silent. ‘After three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.’ Revelation 11:11. It was in 1793 that the decrees which abolished the Christian religion and set aside the Bible passed the French Assembly. Three years and a half later a resolution rescinding these decrees, thus granting toleration to the Scriptures, was adopted by the same body. The world stood aghast at the enormity of guilt which had resulted from a rejection of the Sacred Oracles, and men recognized the necessity of faith in God and His word as the foundation of virtue and morality. Saith the Lord: ‘Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.’ Isaiah 37:23. …

“Since France made war upon God’s two witnesses, they have been honored as never before.” The Great Controversy, 287.

10 When was the period of papal domination to end? Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:4–6.

Note: “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.

11 What prophecy of Jesus indicated that the Lord in His mercy would cut short the tribulation within that period? Mark 13:19, 20.

Note: “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.

Personal Review Questions

1 What were the seeds of the French Revolution?

2 What was the blackest blot in the Dark Ages and how many were directly affected?

3 What restrained the tyranny even before the time had fully elapsed?

4 How were the persecutors finally rewarded?

5 What is given men to keep them from falling into such traps?

Additional Reading

“Then came those days when the most barbarous of all codes was administered by the most barbarous of all tribunals; when no man could greet his neighbors or say his prayers … without danger of committing a capital crime; when spies lurked in every corner; when the guillotine was long and hard at work every morning; when the jails were filled as close as the holds of a slave ship; when the gutters ran foaming with blood into the Seine. … While the daily wagonloads of victims were carried to their doom through the streets of Paris, the proconsuls, whom the sovereign committee had sent forth to the departments, reveled in an extravagance of cruelty unknown even in the capital. …

“All this was as Satan would have it. This was what for ages he had been working to secure. His policy is deception from first to last, and his steadfast purpose is to bring woe and wretchedness upon men, to deface and defile the workmanship of God, to mar the divine purposes of benevolence and love, and thus cause grief in heaven. Then by his deceptive arts he blinds the minds of men, and leads them to throw back the blame of his work upon God, as if all this misery were the result of the Creator’s plan. In like manner, when those who have been degraded and brutalized through his cruel power achieve their freedom, he urges them on to excesses and atrocities. Then this picture of unbridled license is pointed out by tyrants and oppressors as an illustration of the results of liberty. …

“The fatal error which wrought such woe for the inhabitants of France was the ignoring of this one great truth: that true freedom lies within the proscriptions of the law of God. ‘O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.’ ‘There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.’ ‘But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.’ Isaiah 48:18, 22; Proverbs 1:33.” The Great Controversy, 284, 285.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Bible Study Guides – It is Written—Unveiling the Sacred Text

December 5, 2010 – December 11, 2010

Key Text

“They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” Isaiah 41:6.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 265–275; Early Writings, 214.


“Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support.” The Great Controversy, 595.

1 During the Dark Ages, who were the only ones who could read the Scriptures? What two major factors caused this? Isaiah 34:16; 29:11, 12.

Note: “In those early times, when the Bible existed only in the ancient languages, scholars were enabled to find their way to the fountain of truth, which was closed to the uneducated classes.” The Great Controversy, 80.

2 What more precious legacy did the Lord impress on some of the Reformers that was greater and longer lasting in its influence than their teaching, example or writings? Isaiah 28:9, 10.

Note: “Upon his return from the Wartburg, Luther completed his translation of the New Testament, and the gospel was soon after given to the people of Germany in their own language. This translation was received with great joy by all who loved the truth; but it was scornfully rejected by those who chose human traditions and the commandments of men.” The Great Controversy, 193, 194.

“When there were but few copies of the Bible, it was precious and comforting to the persecuted followers of Jesus. It was read in the most secret manner, and those who had this exalted privilege felt that they had had an interview with God, with His Son Jesus, and with His disciples.” Early Writings, 214.

3 Why did the papal leaders oppose the general publication of the Scriptures among the common people? John 3:19–21.

4 On what basis only can all true doctrine and enduring reform be established? What did Jesus say of those having another foundation? John 5:39; Matthew 15:13.

Note: “God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support.” The Great Controversy, 595.

5 What is essential in order to know the will of God? For what did Christ rebuke religious leaders in His day? Mark 12:24.

Note: “The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared: ‘Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.’ Mark 12:24. The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise: ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ John 7:17. If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.” The Great Controversy, 598, 599.

6 Who followed the work of Wycliffe in translating the Scriptures into the English language? Why was his work completed in mainland Europe? Luke 4:24; Matthew 10:23.

Note: “The purpose which he [William Tyndale] had begun to cherish, of giving to the people the New Testament Scriptures in their own language, was now confirmed, and he immediately applied himself to the work. Driven from his home by persecution, he went to London, and there for a time pursued his labors undisturbed. But again the violence of the papists forced him to flee. All England seemed closed against him, and he resolved to seek shelter in Germany. Here he began the printing of the English New Testament. Twice the work was stopped; but when forbidden to print in one city, he went to another. At last he made his way to Worms, where, a few years before, Luther had defended the gospel before the Diet. In that ancient city were many friends of the Reformation, and Tyndale there prosecuted his work without further hindrance.” The Great Controversy, 246, 247.

7 What Reformer was instrumental in translating the New Testament into the French language? Which bishop helped him?

Note: “Lefevre undertook the translation of the New Testament; and at the very time when Luther’s German Bible was issuing from the press in Wittenberg, the French New Testament was published at Meaux. The bishop [of Meaux] spared no labor or expense to circulate it in his parishes, and soon the peasants of Meaux were in possession of the Holy Scriptures.” The Great Controversy, 214, 215.

8 With what actions did the leadership of Sweden warmly welcome the Scriptures in their native tongue?

Note: “The New Testament had been translated by Olaf Petri into the Swedish language, and at the desire of the king the two brothers [Olaf and Laurentius Petri] undertook the translation of the whole Bible. Thus for the first time the people of Sweden received the word of God in their native tongue. It was ordered by the Diet that throughout the kingdom, ministers should explain the Scriptures and that the children in the schools should be taught to read the Bible.” The Great Controversy, 244.

9 Biblical Perspective

  • Why was the Bible written? Romans 15:4
  • Why were the Bereans commended? Acts 17:11
  • What can the Bible do for one who believes in it? II Timothy 3:15
  • When opening the Bible, what should we pray? Psalm 119:18; Ephesians 1:17
  • What is the condition upon which we will receive understanding? Proverbs 2:3–5

10 What was the result of the Swedes having the complete Bible in their language, churches and schools? Proverbs 14:34, first part.

Note: “Freed from Romish oppression, the nation attained to a strength and greatness it had never before reached. Sweden became one of the bulwarks of Protestantism. A century later, at a time of sorest peril, this small and hitherto feeble nation—the only one in Europe that dared lend a helping hand—came to the deliverance of Germany in the terrible struggle of the Thirty Years’ War. All Northern Europe seemed about to be brought again under the tyranny of Rome. It was the armies of Sweden that enabled Germany to turn the tide of popish success, to win toleration for the Protestants—Calvinists as well as Lutherans—and to restore liberty of conscience to those countries that had accepted the Reformation.” The Great Controversy, 244.

11 What names and cities stand prominently in the pages of history as instruments in the hand of God? Psalm 112:6–8.

Note: “ ‘When we confine our attention to such brilliant centers as Wittenberg and Zurich, and to such illustrious names as those of Luther and Melanchthon, of Zwingli and Oecolampadius, we are apt to be told, these were the leaders of the movement, and we should naturally expect in them prodigious power and vast acquisitions; but the subordinates were not like these. Well, we turn to the obscure theater of Sweden, and the humble names of Olaf and Laurentius Petri—from the masters to the disciples—what do we find? … Scholars and theologians; men who have thoroughly mastered the whole system of gospel truth, and who win an easy victory over the sophists of the schools and the dignitaries of Rome.’ ” The Great Controversy, 243, 244.

Personal Review Questions

1 Why was it necessary to have the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people rather than only for the scholars?

2 Research the history of how the Bible came into your language.

3 Why could Sweden play a critical role in the Reformation?

Additional Reading

“The suppression of the Scriptures during the period of papal supremacy was foretold by the prophets; and the Revelator points also to the terrible results that were to accrue especially to France from the domination of the ‘man of sin’ [II Thessalonians 2:3].

“Said the angel of the Lord: ‘The holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two months. And I will give power unto My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. … And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. … And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.’ Revelation 11:2–11.

“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.

“Concerning the two witnesses the prophet declares further: ‘These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.’ ‘Thy word,’ said the psalmist, ‘is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ Revelation 11:4; Psalm 119:105. The two witnesses represent the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament. Both are important testimonies to the origin and perpetuity of the law of God. Both are witnesses also to the plan of salvation. The types, sacrifices, and prophecies of the Old Testament point forward to a Saviour to come. The Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament tell of a Saviour who has come in the exact manner foretold by type and prophecy.

“ ‘They shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and three-score days, clothed in sackcloth.’ During the greater part of this period, God’s witnesses remained in a state of obscurity. The papal power sought to hide from the people the word of truth, and set before them false witnesses to contradict its testimony. … When the Bible was proscribed by religious and secular authority; when its testimony was perverted, and every effort made that men and demons could invent to turn the minds of the people from it; when those who dared proclaim its sacred truths were hunted, betrayed, tortured, buried in dungeon cells, martyred for their faith, or compelled to flee to mountain fastnesses, and to dens and caves of the earth—then the faithful witnesses prophesied in sackcloth. Yet they continued their testimony throughout the entire period of 1260 years. In the darkest times there were faithful men who loved God’s word and were jealous for His honor. To these loyal servants were given wisdom, power, and authority to declare His truth during the whole of this time.” The Great Controversy, 266, 267.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Bible Study Guides – The Reformation Ends

November 28, 2010 – December 4, 2010

The Dark Ages and the Reformation

Key Text

“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” Matthew 24:22.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 197–210, 237–244.


“The experience of these noble Reformers contains a lesson for all succeeding ages.” The Great Controversy, 204.

1 How did the Lord defend His work of the Reformation by His overruling providences? Proverbs 15:9.

Note: “A dark and threatening day had come for the Reformation. Notwithstanding the Edict of Worms, declaring Luther to be an outlaw and forbidding the teaching or belief of his doctrines, religious toleration had thus far prevailed in the empire. God’s providence had held in check the forces that opposed the truth. Charles V was bent on crushing the Reformation, but often as he raised his hand to strike he had been forced to turn aside the blow. Again and again the immediate destruction of all who dared to oppose themselves to Rome appeared inevitable; but at the critical moment the armies of the Turk appeared on the eastern frontier, or the king of France, or even the pope himself, jealous of the increasing greatness of the emperor, made war upon him; and thus, amid the strife and tumult of nations, the Reformation had been left to strengthen and extend.” The Great Controversy, 197.

2 How did the papists try to quench the budding desire for religious liberty? Acts 5:27, 28.

Note: “If this edict [of Worms] were enforced, ‘the Reformation could neither be extended … where as yet it was unknown, nor be established on solid foundations … where it already existed.’ … Liberty of speech would be prohibited. No conversions would be allowed.” The Great Controversy, 199.

3 What quiet principles were nonetheless at work? Revelation 3:6; 22:17.

4 What example should all civil authorities adopt when asked to adjudicate on religious issues or matters of conscience? What is the duty of the state in matters of conscience? Acts 18:12–16.

Note: “ ‘Let us reject this decree,’ said the princes. ‘In matters of conscience the majority has no power.’ The deputies declared: ‘It is to the decree of 1526 that we are indebted for the peace that the empire enjoys: its abolition would fill Germany with troubles and divisions. The Diet is incompetent to do more than preserve religious liberty until the council meets.’ … To protect liberty of conscience is the duty of the state, and this is the limit of its authority in matters of religion. Every secular government that attempts to regulate or enforce religious observances by civil authority is sacrificing the very principle for which the evangelical Christians so nobly struggled.” The Great Controversy, 201.

5 What fundamental principles that are the very essence of Protestantism were outlined in the formal protest brought by the princes before the national council? II Corinthians 4:2–5.

Note: “ ‘The principles contained in this celebrated Protest … constitute the very essence of Protestantism. Now this Protest opposes two abuses of man in matters of faith: the first is the intrusion of the civil magistrate, and the second the arbitrary authority of the church. Instead of these abuses, Protestantism sets the power of conscience above the magistrate, and the authority of the word of God above the visible church. In the first place, it rejects the civil power in divine things, and says with the prophets and apostles, “We must obey God rather than man” [Acts 5:29]. In presence of the crown of Charles the Fifth, it uplifts the crown of Jesus Christ. But it goes farther: it lays down the principle that all human teaching should be subordinate to the oracles of God.’ … The protesters had moreover affirmed their right to utter freely their convictions of truth. They would not only believe and obey, but teach what the word of God presents, and they denied the right of priest or magistrate to interfere. The Protest of Spires was a solemn witness against religious intolerance, and an assertion of the right of all men to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.” The Great Controversy, 203, 204.

6 Why is there such a great need for us to review and return to the great fundamental principle of Protestantism and religious liberty? What should we remember of history? Ecclesiastes 1:9, 10.

Note: “In our time there is a wide departure from their [the Scriptures] doctrines and precepts, and there is need of a return to the great Protestant principle—the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty. Satan is still working through every means which he can control to destroy religious liberty. The antichristian power which the protesters of Spires rejected is now with renewed vigor seeking to reestablish its lost supremacy. The same unswerving adherence to the word of God manifested at that crisis of the Reformation is the only hope of reform today.” The Great Controversy, 204, 205.

7 In face of powerful foes, what far-reaching principle was clearly enunciated by Luther when the princes proposed a defense league? John 18:36, 37.

Note: “One of the principles most firmly maintained by Luther was that there should be no resort to secular power in support of the Reformation, and no appeal to arms for its defense. He rejoiced that the gospel was confessed by princes of the empire; but when they proposed to unite in a defensive league, he declared that ‘the doctrine of the gospel should be defended by God alone. … The less man meddled in the work, the more striking would be God’s intervention in its behalf. All the politic precautions suggested were, in his view, attributable to unworthy fear and sinful mistrust.’ ” The Great Controversy, 209.

8 During the protest of the princes, how was God working in a manner similar to the way He did in the days of Elisha? II Kings 6:15–17.

Note: “God’s faithful servants were not toiling alone. While principalities and powers and wicked spirits in high places were leagued against them, the Lord did not forsake His people. Could their eyes have been opened, they would have seen as marked evidence of divine presence and aid as was granted to a prophet of old. … [II Kings 6:17 quoted.] And, lo, the mountain was filled with chariots and horses of fire, the army of heaven stationed to protect the man of God. Thus did angels guard the workers in the cause of the Reformation.” The Great Controversy, 208.

9 When Luther saw the danger of armed conflict, what were the only weapons he used in defense of truth? Ephesians 6:11–17.

Note: “When powerful foes were uniting to overthrow the reformed faith, and thousands of swords seemed about to be unsheathed against it, Luther wrote: ‘Satan is putting forth his fury; ungodly pontiffs are conspiring; and we are threatened with war. Exhort the people to contend valiantly before the throne of the Lord, by faith and prayer, so that our enemies, vanquished by the Spirit of God, may be constrained to peace. Our chief want, our chief labor, is prayer; let the people know that they are now exposed to the edge of the sword and to the rage of Satan, and let them pray.’ …

“Luther declared that the only weapon employed in this warfare should be ‘the sword of the Spirit’ [Ephesians 6:17]. He wrote to the elector of Saxony: ‘We cannot on our conscience approve the proposed alliance. We would rather die ten times than see our gospel cause one drop of blood to be shed. Our part is to be like lambs of the slaughter. The cross of Christ must be borne. Let your highness be without fear. We shall do more by our prayers than all our enemies by their boastings. Only let not your hands be stained with the blood of your brethren. If the emperor requires us to be given up to his tribunals, we are ready to appear. You cannot defend our faith: each one should believe at his own risk and peril.’ ” The Great Controversy, 209.

10 What great example has been inherited from the Reformation of the sixteenth century concerning the peril of compromise for temporal gain? Psalm 146:3–6.

Note: “Had the Reformation, after attaining a degree of success, consented to temporize to secure favor with the world, it would have been untrue to God and to itself, and would thus have ensured its own destruction. The experience of these noble Reformers contains a lesson for all succeeding ages. Satan’s manner of working against God and His word has not changed; he is still as much opposed to the Scriptures being made the guide of life as in the sixteenth century. In our time there is a wide departure from their doctrines and precepts, and there is need of a return to the great Protestant principle—the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty. Satan is still working through every means which he can control to destroy religious liberty.” The Great Controversy, 204, 205.

11 Besides Germany and Switzerland, what other nations opened their doors to the Reformation? Who were other leaders with a wide influence? Acts 11:19–21.

Note: “The teachings of Luther found a congenial soil in the Netherlands, and earnest and faithful men arose to preach the gospel. From one of the provinces of Holland came Menno Simons.” The Great Controversy, 238.

“Tausen, ‘the Reformer of Denmark,’ was a peasant’s son. …

“Tausen went to Cologne, which was then, as now, one of the strongholds of Romanism. Here he soon became disgusted with the mysticisms of the schoolmen. About the same time he obtained Luther’s writings. He read them with wonder and delight, and greatly desired to enjoy the personal instruction of the Reformer. But to do so he must risk giving offense to his monastic superior and forfeiting his support. His decision was soon made, and erelong he was enrolled as a student at Wittenberg.

“On returning to Denmark, … Tausen began to preach. The churches were opened to him, and the people thronged to listen. Others also were preaching the Word of God. The New Testament, translated into the Danish tongue, was widely circulated. The efforts made by the papists to overthrow the work resulted in extending it, and erelong Denmark declared its acceptance of the reformed faith.

“In Sweden, also, young men who had drunk from the well of Wittenberg carried the water of life to their countrymen. Two of the leaders in the Swedish Reformation, Olaf and Laurentius Petri, the sons of a blacksmith of Orebro, studied under Luther and Melanchthon, and the truths which they thus learned they were diligent to teach.” Ibid., 241, 242.

Personal Review Questions

1 What enabled the Reformation to survive against overwhelming odds?

2 What was the keystone of the Reformation in the sixteenth century?

3 Wherein is the strength of every true reformation?

4 What alternative is given for temporal weapons?

5 Who were the leaders of the Reformation in different lands?

Additional Reading

“This contest, though conducted upon a stage comparatively obscure, serves to show us ‘the sort of men that formed the rank and file of the army of the Reformers. They were not illiterate, sectarian, noisy controversialists—far from it; they were men who had studied the word of God, and knew well how to wield the weapons with which the armory of the Bible supplied them. In respect of erudition they were ahead of their age. When we confine our attention to such brilliant centers as Wittenberg and Zurich, and to such illustrious names as those of Luther and Melanchthon, of Zwingli and Oecolampadius, we are apt to be told, these were the leaders of the movement, and we should naturally expect in them prodigious power and vast acquisitions; but the subordinates were not like these. Well, we turn to the obscure theater of Sweden, and the humble names of Olaf and Laurentius Petri—from the masters to the disciples—what do we find? … Scholars and theologians; men who have thoroughly mastered the whole system of gospel truth, and who win an easy victory over the sophists of the schools and the dignitaries of Rome.’ ” The Great Controversy, 243, 244.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Recipe – Nutty Rice Waffles


Nutty Rice Waffles
1 cup uncooked brown rice, soaked overnight ½ cup water
½ cup raw cashews ½ cup shredded coconut
1 ¾ cup water 1 tspn. Maple flavoring
1 cup cooked brown rice ½ tsp. almond extract
½ cup chopped pecans (optional) ½ tsp. salt
Blend uncooked rice, cashews and ½ cup water in blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except chopped pecans, and blend until smooth. Pour batter into a bowl and stir in chopped pecans. Pour batter into a preheated waffle iron treated with oil. Cook about 8-10 minutes until steaming stops.


Food – Smoking and Cell Damage

In previous issues we have discussed the broad effects of smoking on the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. In this article we will address some general effects that smoking has on health.

Besides lung cancer there are many other types of cancer affecting the mouth, throat, vocal cords, pancreas, stomach, intestines, cervix, kidney and bladder that are increased due to smoking. In women who smoke, the reproductive system of the female is affected by a decreased fertility. This can cause an increase in miscarriages, stillborn infants, congenital birth defects, premature, underweight and undersized infants and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

A study performed at Berkeley University and published in The American Journal of Epidemiology, April 2006, showed a fourfold increase in childhood leukemia if the child’s father smoked before the conception. Although not all studies with childhood leukemia have been consistent, this was a significant study into the effects of paternal smoking on children. The European Journal of Cancer Prevention reported that fathers who smoked over 20 cigarettes daily are faced with enhanced hazards of fathering a baby with a central nervous system tumor. According to Dr. Bouffet, when men smoke tobacco it may stimulate transformation or change in the sperm. The results of another study published in The American Journal of Public Health, May 1985, showed overall cancer risks to adults to be increased by 50 per cent among the offspring of smoking men. The incidence of ear infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, colds, and asthma increases not only in the smoker, but also in those in the family or the work place regularly breathing the secondhand smoke.

Some cosmetic changes associated with smoking include accelerated aging and wrinkling of the skin, yellowing of the skin and especially the fingers and the hair becomes more brittle and grays earlier. It is a very sobering thought that the poison from cigarettes entering into the blood stream is carried to every cell of the body. Smoking produces carbon monoxide poison, which attaches more aggressively to the red blood cells than oxygen. It then robs every cell in the body of the oxygen necessary for maintenance, growth and repair. Is it any wonder that so many conditions of ill health and disease are directly related to smoking and who knows how many more are indirectly related?

Clearly, cigarette smoking is an attack of the devil against mankind and another way in which he can enslave men through his/her carnal flesh. What a blessing it is to understand the eight laws of health and counsel that states, “True Temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.

Nature – The Mighty Oak

An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus that is found mainly in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 600 species worldwide consisting of both deciduous and evergreen species. A few are found in the tropical regions of Asia and the Americas. The oaks are subdivided into five groups: the red oaks of the Americas; the white oaks of Europe, Asia, and North America; the Hungarian oak and its relatives of Europe and Asia; the Turkey oak and its relatives of Europe and Asia; and the Canyon Live oak and its relatives of southwestern North America. Most oak trees take hundreds of years to reach maturity. One tree in Windsor is over 800 years old and was planted during the reign of King John. There are others known to be over 1,000 years old. Oak trees can get quite large also, with circumferences over 60 feet, and heights pushing 100 feet, with crown spreads of over a quarter acre in size.

Oaks produce flowering structures called catkins in the spring and a nut called an acorn in the fall. Acorns take 6 to 24 months to mature, depending on the species. Acorns are rich in nutrients containing large amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats as well as the minerals calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, and the vitamin niacin. They also contain tannins, which are bitter to the taste and poisonous to some domestic animals. Many wild animals such as squirrels, deer, bears, and pigs consume large amounts of acorns and birds such as jays, woodpeckers, and turkeys eat their share also. Native American Indians used to gather the acorns in the fall and soak them in water to leach the tannins out, then dried and ground them to make flour.

Oak wood is famous for its great strength and hardness and is especially valued for shipbuilding, flooring, furniture, railroad ties, barrels, tool handles, and veneer. Like the acorn, the wood of the oak is high in tannins, which helps protect it against insect and fungal attacks. The oak tree is considered to be one of the most significant and magnificent trees in the whole world. Transcending times and cultures, the oak has symbolized strength and endurance, and for this reason, it has been chosen as the national tree of the United States, England, and several other countries. Overall the oak tree is a very strong and sturdy wood, and represents many things, including that of the concept of longevity and of wisdom, and is a tree that was truly designed to stand the test of time.

There are spiritual lessons to be learned from the strength and size of the mighty oak. “You should learn to rely upon your own energies and upon your heavenly Father. Youth who have been thrown upon their own resources will generally put forth the effort necessary to develop and invigorate their moral and intellectual energies. There are too many youth like the swaying willows that grow beside the meadow brook. You want to make your life the sturdy oak, springing from hardy soil amid the clefts of the rock. These have battled with the storm and tempest and yet grown into giant proportions. The great men who have done service to our country were not reared in the lap of luxury. Our greatest men are self-made.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 192. “When Solomon should have been in character as a sturdy oak, he fell from his steadfastness under the power of temptation. When his strength should have been the firmest, he was found the weakest of men.

“From such examples as this we should learn that watchfulness and prayer are the only safety for either young or old.” The Retirement Years, 178.

David Arbour writes from his home in De Queen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

Health – Pain, Agony and Death for Moments of Beauty?

How many people have damaged their bodies and their health so others would consider them to have beauty in one way or another? Many women have dyed, plucked or shaved the hair of their head, squeezed their feet into uncomfortable high heels or even surgically enhanced parts of their anatomy for moments of beauty.

The temporary fashion of five-inch pumps has returned and many women are not considering the long-term health risks, as long as it makes the wearer beautiful in the eye of the beholder. Wearing high heels can strain the knees, push the hips and spine out of alignment, shorten calf muscles, lead to joint pain and hammertoes, etc. But, in the name of beauty, many choose to endanger health for a moment’s gratification because somebody is looking. Would you still wear them if you knew the harm they may cause to the body temple that God has given to you?

Until the early 20th century, millions of Chinese women bound their feet to prevent them from growing longer than three and one-half inches. Many of these women paid the ultimate price for what was considered beauty and their feet were disfigured to guarantee their own future for an upper class marriage, etc., but the price was high and they suffered terribly with many unable to walk without agonizing pain.

The ancient practice of foot binding began in the Sung dynasty (960-976 B.C.), reportedly to imitate an imperial concubine who was required to dance with her feet bound. By the 12th century, the practice was widespread and more severe—girls’ feet were bound so tightly and early in life that they were unable to dance and had difficulty walking.

Young bones are soft and break easily and by the time a girl had turned three years old, all of her toes except the first were broken, and her feet were bound tightly with cloth strips to keep her feet from growing larger than about 3.9 inches. The practice caused the soles of the feet to bend in extreme concavity.

Many women today are not only disfiguring their feet, but also their whole bodies, inside and out, and are suffering terribly as a result of their desire to be noticed and considered beautiful.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, unique and precious in God’s eyes. Oh, if only we could be contented and happy the way God has made each one of us, there would not be so much pain just to be noticed.

Dr. John H. Kellogg said, “We should not wear our clothing so tight as to press hard upon any part of the body. It will cause the muscles of that part of the body to become weak.

“If the clothing is worn tight about the waist, the lungs cannot expand properly, the stomach and liver are pressed out of shape and the internal organs are crowded out of their proper places.

“People are often made crippled from wearing tight shoes. Their muscles cannot act properly and their feet grow out of shape.

“In China, it was fashionable for rich ladies to have small feet, they tied them up in cloths so that they could not grow. The foot was squeezed out of shape. A woman who had such feet found it so difficult to walk that she had to be carried about much of the time. Do you not think it is very wrong and foolish to treat the feet so badly?” First Book in Physiology and Hygiene, 110, 111.

We have been warned about the dangers to our bodies when wearing clothing too tightly.

Women need to watch those undergarments. When you remove any of your undergarments and the skin around the area is itching, that is a good sign that they are too tight and that makes you a good candidate for breast cancer, etc. Many women are being stricken with breast cancer and other female problems because of the binding. That binding causes lack of blood circulation and affects the lymphatic system.

Some lymphatic diseases range from mild congestion to malignant lymphoma. The most common disorder is lymphatic insufficiency, or lymph edema, which is a swelling that occurs when damaged lymph vessels can’t drain fluid. The lymphatic system is important because it picks up fluid that is lost from the circulatory system and returns it. It is the first line of defense against disease and infection. Wearing tight clothing blocks this most important system of the body and can cause disease in many women.

“Woman’s dress should be arranged so loosely upon the person, about the waist, that she can breathe without the least obstruction. Her arms should be left perfectly free, that she may raise them above her head with ease. … The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. … If the lungs are cramped, they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. … The compression of the waist weakens the muscles of the respiratory organs. It hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.” Healthful Living, 122.

Some men seem to think that this does not apply to them and they can wear tight clothing with no injury. That thinking is all wrong, especially when you read the following: “Our Creator made no mistake in fashioning the human body. He gave appropriate space for the free action of every organ, and formed us in such a way that every muscle could come into play without trespassing upon the function of any other muscle.” Ibid.

Men and women have bodies that are fearfully and wonderfully made and need proper care to continue in good health. The health risks are growing for men and women who wear their clothing too tight. Many times clothing is bought too tight and people squeeze into them regardless of the pain it causes while wearing them. Men and women love to follow the fashion world rather than preserve health.

There have been some medical studies done on tight fitting clothing and its effects on women’s health. It was found that the body can develop a nerve condition called paresthesia, which is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition causes a burning sensation under the hip bone and can cause numbness and tingling in the legs.

Just as the Chinese women went through much suffering to be accepted, many people are following in their ways, only through other health damaging practices.

Apart from not looking good or healthful, too tight clothing puts the person who wears them at the risk of damaging his/her health. Some of the health problems resulting from wearing clothes that are too tight are:

Tingling Thigh Syndrome: Individuals who wear their jeans too tight can experience nerve problems called meralgia paresthetica in which the thigh tingles with no explanation.

Back Pain: When pants are too tight, and are low riding, it can cause nerve compression in the back (similar to the thigh problem above) and numbness and tingling in the legs and possible stress on the back.

Acid Reflux/Heartburn: Tight pressure against the stomach can increase abdominal pressure, causing acid to go back into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn and acid reflux. A burning sensation in the stomach, chest and throat and a bitter, acidic taste in the mouth may be experienced.

Abdominal Pain/Constipation: The digestive process can be slowed down by being bound tightly around the waist.

“The compression of the waist hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.” Healthful Living, 168.

“The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. In order for the lungs to do the work designed, they must be left free, without the slightest compression. If the lungs are cramped, they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. The abdominal muscles were designed to aid the lungs in their action. Where there is no compression of the lungs, the motion in full breathing will be observed to be mostly of the abdomen. … When tight lacing is practiced, the lower part of the chest has not sufficient room for action. The breathing, therefore, is confined to the upper portion of the lungs, where there is not sufficient room to carry on the work. But the lower part of the lungs should have the greatest freedom possible. The compression of the waist will not allow free action of the muscles of the respiratory organs.” Ibid, 171.

Headaches/Blurred Vision: Wearing button down shirts that are too tight in the collar or ties that are tied too tightly can decrease proper circulation to the brain and head.

Observe yourself as you dress. Take note if you are binding yourself so tight that it may cause itching now, but may turn into major health issues later on.

It would be advisable to prevent the pain and suffering and wear clothing that is well-fitting and comfortable, considering the internal organs that need space to work efficiently. Dressing properly provides protection and development of every part of the body.

“Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion. Displacements and deformities, cancers and other terrible diseases, are among the evils resulting from fashionable dress.” Ibid., 123.

Our wise creator God has given much instruction on how to take care of this most wonderful piece of machinery—the human body. It would be well for each of us to heed that advice and live in good health. Is it really worth causing damage to your body just for a passing glance of approbation from another human being?

Questions and Answers – What does it mean to grow in grace?

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever.” II Peter 3:17, 18.

To grow means something is increasing or developing in size by a natural process. Growing in grace is allowing the Divine influence to work upon the heart, which then reflects in the life. Changes will take place in conversation, appearance and lifestyle. These changes will not be seen all at once, but continue to develop by a natural process. As more time is spent with God in His word, the heart is changed.

The promise given in Ezekiel 36:26, 27 says, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

“In giving us the privilege of studying His word, the Lord has set before us a rich banquet. Many are the benefits derived from feasting on His word, which is represented by Him as His flesh and blood, His spirit and life. By partaking of this word our spiritual strength is increased; we grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. Habits of self-control are formed and strengthened. The infirmities of childhood—fretfulness, willfulness, selfishness, hasty words, passionate acts—disappear, and in their place are developed the graces of Christian manhood and womanhood.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 207.

While we are growing in grace we will be steadfast in the faith and moving forward. We will be living by every word of God and not returning to the old ways.

“Remember that you are daily weaving for yourself a web of habits. If these habits are according to the Bible rule, you are going every day in steps heavenward, growing in grace and the knowledge of the truth; and like Daniel, God will give you wisdom as He gave to him.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 25, 1886.

The life of those who cease to grow in grace and knowledge wither away and lose their connection with God. This falling away is reflected in returning to their old lifestyle.

“My brother, you have not been as God planned you should be—growing up into the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus. … You have ceased to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Do you not realize that you have lost your vital connection with God? Unless the matter is opened before you, you cannot now see the great good you might have accomplished had you kept in vital touch with God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 204.

We also grow by being tested. “Trials come to him; for unless thus tested, he would never know his lack of wisdom and experience. But if he seeks the Lord with humility and trust, every trial will work for his good. He may sometimes seem to fail, but his apparent failure may be God’s way of bringing him true advancement, and may mean a better knowledge of himself and a firmer trust in Heaven. He may still make mistakes, but he learns not to repeat these mistakes. He becomes stronger to resist evil, and others reap benefit from his example.” Gospel Workers, 142.

Just remember that growing in grace is a continuing process, one day at a time.

Children’s Story – The Influence of a Little Child

A young man loved the Lord so much that when he grew up he decided to become a minister of the gospel. He fell in love with a beautiful young woman whom he soon married, and together they ministered to many people. After some time they decided to have a family, and the Lord blessed them with a handsome little boy whom they named John. Oh, how they loved their little boy. They did all they could to teach him about Jesus and bring him up in just such a way that he would also love the Lord as much as they did.

As little John grew up he had other ideas for his life. He became thoughtless, not wanting to hear anymore about Jesus or his parents’ religion. Finally, against his father’s wishes, he left his home. Joining the crew of a ship with a desire to travel around the world, he set off on his adventure.

The ship on which he worked had docked at some beautiful islands where they were to stay for several days. On one of the leisure days John and several of his sailor friends went ashore, returning to the ship with one of the little native boys they had met. They were fascinated with this little boy who was proficient in playing an instrument in a way they had never seen or heard before and wanted to hear more.

The boy played quite a concert for the sailors before asking to be taken to shore again, but the sailors did not want to take him back just yet because they enjoyed his music so much and wanted him to play some more.

Finally the young boy began to cry. He told them that a Christian missionary had come to their village and he had learned about Jesus Christ and that the missionary was coming back again that day at a certain time to tell the people more about Him. The little boy pleaded with them to take him ashore so he would not miss hearing about Jesus.

The sailors were quite amazed and touched by the little boy’s appeals to be taken back so they put him in a boat and rowed him back to the shore. John was particularly touched by this little boy who wanted to hear about this same Jesus he had been taught about as a child by his godly parents and whom he had turned his back on, running away from home to be a sailor. He thought, “Here I am, a son of a minister, knowing far more about Jesus Christ than this poor little boy, and yet not caring about Him! This little fellow is now earnestly listening to the Word of Life and here I am neglecting it.”

That night as John climbed into his bed he wept over his sins of neglecting Jesus and his family and he earnestly prayed for forgiveness. His prayer was answered and that night, because of the witness of the little, native boy, he gave his heart to Jesus and became a child of God. His parents were filled with joy over the news. Their son, who had been dead, was alive again. He, who had been lost, was now found. What a joyous family to be reunited in Jesus.

Many years ago, another young man left his home and his father to set off on his own adventure, leaving a grieving father.

“And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:11–24.

There is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents and returns to the Father’s house (Luke 15:7).