Bible Study Guides – Onward Reformation!

December 20, 2015 – December 26, 2015

Key Text

“Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.” Nehemiah 13:14.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 669–678.


“The world has gone astray from God, and its lawless state should strike terror to the heart, and lead all who are loyal to the great King to work for a reformation.” The Signs of the Times, January 17, 1884.


  • After the Jews settled in their homeland and pledged themselves to obey God, what happened in the absence of Nehemiah? Nehemiah 8:18; 9:1, 2; 10:28–31; 13:6.
  • What situation did he find upon his return to Jerusalem? Nehemiah 13:7.

Note: “Idolaters not only gained a foothold in the city, but contaminated by their presence the very precincts of the temple. Through intermarriage, a friendship had been brought about between Eliashib the high priest and Tobiah the Ammonite, Israel’s bitter enemy. As a result of this unhallowed alliance, Eliashib had permitted Tobiah to occupy an apartment connected with the temple, which heretofore had been used as a storeroom for tithes and offerings of the people.” Prophets and Kings, 669.

  • In defiance of the word of God (Deuteronomy 23:3–6), what did Eliashib, the high priest, do? What first step did Nehemiah take in the work of reform? Nehemiah 13:7–9.


  • As the offerings had been misapplied, in what sense did many people become discouraged? Nehemiah 13:4, 5. What were many servants of the temple led to do out of necessity? Nehemiah 13:10.

Note: “In defiance of this word [God’s command], the high priest had cast out the offerings stored in the chamber of God’s house, to make a place for this representative of a proscribed race. Greater contempt for God could not have been shown than to confer such a favor on this enemy of God and His truth.

“On returning from Persia, Nehemiah learned of the bold profanation and took prompt measures to expel the intruder. …

“Not only had the temple been profaned, but the offerings had been misapplied. This had tended to discourage the liberalities of the people. They had lost their zeal and fervor, and were reluctant to pay their tithes. The treasuries of the Lord’s house were poorly supplied; many of the singers and others employed in the temple service, not receiving sufficient support, had left the work of God to labor elsewhere.” Prophets and Kings, 670.

  • How did the people respond to Nehemiah’s decisive leadership in making reformatory efforts? Nehemiah 13:11–13.

Note: “Nehemiah set to work to correct these abuses. He gathered together those who had left the service of the Lord’s house, ‘and set them in their place.’ This inspired the people with confidence, and all Judah brought ‘the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil.’ Men who ‘were counted faithful’ were made ‘treasurers over the treasuries,’ ‘and their office was to distribute unto their brethren’ (Nehemiah 13:11–13).” Prophets and Kings, 670.

“The success attending Nehemiah’s efforts shows what prayer, faith, and wise, energetic action will accomplish. Nehemiah was not a priest; he was not a prophet; he made no pretension to high title. He was a reformer raised up for an important time. It was his aim to set his people right with God. Inspired with a great purpose, he bent every energy of his being to its accomplishment.” Ibid., 675, 676.


  • How was the sign distinguishing the Israelites from the heathen disregarded during Nehemiah’s absence? Nehemiah 13:15, 16.

Note: “Another result of intercourse with idolaters was a disregard of the Sabbath, the sign distinguishing the Israelites from all other nations as worshipers of the true God. Nehemiah found that heathen merchants and traders from the surrounding country, coming to Jerusalem, had induced many among the Israelites to engage in traffic on the Sabbath. There were some who could not be persuaded to sacrifice principle, but others transgressed and joined with the heathen in their efforts to overcome the scruples of the more conscientious. Many dared openly to violate the Sabbath. …

“This state of things might have been prevented had the rulers exercised their authority; but a desire to advance their own interests had led them to favor the ungodly.” Prophets and Kings, 671.

  • How and why did Nehemiah rebuke the leaders for their neglect of duty? Nehemiah 13:17, 18.

Note: “Not inclined to abandon their purpose, ‘the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice,’ hoping to find opportunity for traffic (Nehemiah 13:20).” Prophets and Kings, 672.

  • How did Nehemiah act to correct this state of things? Nehemiah 13:19–22.

Note: “He [Nehemiah] also directed the Levites to guard the gates, knowing that they would command greater respect than the common people, while from their close connection with the service of God it was reasonable to expect that they would be more zealous in enforcing obedience to His law.” Prophets and Kings, 673.

“For evils that we might have checked, we are just as responsible as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves.” The Desire of Ages, 441.


  • How did God help Nehemiah to arouse the consciousness of the people to the need of a decided reformation in their marriage relationships? Nehemiah 13:23–27.

Note: “These unlawful alliances [from intermarriage and association with idolaters] were causing great confusion in Israel; for some who entered into them were men in high position, rulers to whom the people had a right to look for counsel and a safe example. Foreseeing the ruin before the nation if this evil were allowed to continue, Nehemiah reasoned earnestly with the wrongdoers. …

“As he set before them God’s commands and threatenings, and the fearful judgments visited on Israel in the past for this very sin, their consciences were aroused, and a work of reformation was begun that turned away God’s threatened anger and brought His approval and blessing.” Prophets and Kings, 673, 674.

  • What was one thing that Nehemiah did, in his human weakness, that a worker in the Lord’s vineyard should never do? Nehemiah 13:25.

Note: “Reformers must advance, not retreat. They must be decided, firm, resolute, unflinching; but firmness must not degenerate into a domineering spirit.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 151.

  • What was the main reason why Eliashib, the high priest, his son, and his grandson became disqualified for the priesthood? Nehemiah 13:28, 29. What happens to those who have opinions but have no convictions? Matthew 15:14.

Note: “There were some in sacred office who pleaded for their heathen wives, declaring that they could not bring themselves to separate from them. But no distinction was made; no respect was shown for rank or position. Whoever among the priests or rulers refused to sever his connection with idolaters was immediately separated from the service of the Lord. A grandson of the high priest, having married a daughter of the notorious Sanballat, was not only removed from office, but promptly banished from Israel.” Prophets and Kings, 674.


  • What lessons should we learn from the work of Ezra and Nehemiah? Isaiah 57:12–14; Romans 15:4.

Note: “In the work of reform to be carried forward today, there is need of men who, like Ezra and Nehemiah, will not palliate or excuse sin, nor shrink from vindicating the honor of God. Those upon whom rests the burden of this work will not hold their peace when wrong is done, neither will they cover evil with a cloak of false charity. They will remember that God is no respecter of persons, and that severity to a few may prove mercy to many. They will remember also that in the one who rebukes evil the spirit of Christ should ever be revealed.

“In their work, Ezra and Nehemiah humbled themselves before God, confessing their sins and the sins of their people, and entreating pardon as if they themselves were the offenders. Patiently they toiled and prayed and suffered.” Prophets and Kings, 675.

“The work of restoration and reform … presents a picture of a work of spiritual restoration that is to be wrought in the closing days of this earth’s history. …

“In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to co-operate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in.” Ibid., 677, 678.


1 How did Nehemiah promote his reformatory efforts?

2 How was Sabbath keeping restored?

3 God has a present truth in every generation. What is His will today regarding the sanctity and preservation of marriage?

4 Explain the relevance of the experiences of Ezra and Nehemiah in our time.

5 What question should we all ask ourselves as Christ’s witnesses?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Nehemiah, a Decided Reformer

December 13, 2015 – December 19, 2015

Key Text

“Remember me, O my God, for good.” Nehemiah 13:31.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 628–660.


“Through this man [Nehemiah] … God purposed to bring blessing to His people in the land of their fathers.” Conflict and Courage, 262.


  • Who was Nehemiah? What news did he receive from Jerusalem that led him to mourn, fast, and pray? Nehemiah 1:2–5.

Note: “Nehemiah had often poured out his soul in behalf of his people. But now as he prayed a holy purpose formed in his mind. He resolved that if he could obtain the consent of the king, and the necessary aid in procuring implements and material, he would himself undertake the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and restoring Israel’s national strength. And he asked the Lord to grant him favor in the sight of the king, that this plan might be carried out.” Prophets and Kings, 629, 630.

  • How long had Nehemiah waited for an opportunity to talk to the king about his need? Relate their conversation. Nehemiah 2:2, 3.
  • How did Nehemiah’s prayer bring the power of the Almighty to his aid? How did he pray? Nehemiah 2:4–6.


  • What lesson should we learn from Nehemiah’s prayer? Nehemiah 2:4, last part.

Note: “To pray as Nehemiah prayed in his hour of need is a resource at the command of the Christian under circumstances when other forms of prayer may be impossible. Toilers in the busy walks of life, crowded and almost overwhelmed with perplexity, can send up a petition to God for divine guidance. Travelers by sea and land, when threatened with some great danger, can thus commit themselves to Heaven’s protection. In times of sudden difficulty or peril the heart may send up its cry for help to One Who has pledged Himself to come to the aid of His faithful, believing ones whenever they call upon Him. In every circumstance, under every condition, the soul weighed down with grief and care, or fiercely assailed by temptation, may find assurance, support, and succor in the unfailing love and power of a covenant-keeping God.” Prophets and Kings, 631, 632.

  • Explain Nehemiah’s care to obtain a clear definition of his authority and of the privileges granted him? Nehemiah 2:7–9.

Note: “This example of [Nehemiah’s] wise forethought and resolute action should be a lesson to all Christians. God’s children are not only to pray in faith, but to work with diligent and provident care. They encounter many difficulties and often hinder the working of Providence in their behalf, because they regard prudence and painstaking effort as having little to do with religion. Nehemiah did not regard his duty done when he had wept and prayed before the Lord. He united his petitions with holy endeavor, putting forth earnest, prayerful efforts for the success of the enterprise in which he was engaged. Careful consideration and well-matured plans are as essential to the carrying forward of sacred enterprises today as in the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. …

“And the Lord is still willing to move upon the hearts of those in possession of His goods, in behalf of the cause of truth. Those who labor for Him are to avail themselves of the help that He prompts men to give.” Prophets and Kings, 633, 634.


  • What was Nehemiah’s first work in Jerusalem, and how did he gain the cooperation of the local people? Nehemiah 2:11–16.

Note: “In secrecy and silence Nehemiah completed his circuit of the walls. [Nehemiah 2:16 quoted.] The remainder of the night he spent in prayer; for he knew that the morning would call for earnest effort to arouse and unite his dispirited and divided countrymen.

“Nehemiah bore a royal commission requiring the inhabitants to co-operate with him in rebuilding the walls of the city, but he did not depend upon the exercise of authority. He sought rather to gain the confidence and sympathy of the people, knowing that a union of hearts as well as of hands was essential in the great work before him.” Prophets and Kings, 636, 637.

  • What appeal did Nehemiah make to the people, and what was their response? Nehemiah 2:17, 18.

Note: “When on the morrow he called the people together he presented such arguments as were calculated to arouse their dormant energies and unite their scattered numbers.

“Nehemiah’s hearers did not know, neither did he tell them, of his midnight circuit of the night before. But the fact that he had made this circuit contributed greatly to his success; for he was able to speak of the condition of the city with an accuracy and a minuteness that astonished his hearers. The impression made upon him as he had looked upon the weakness and degradation of Jerusalem, gave earnestness and power to his words. …

“Having shown that he was sustained by the combined authority of the God of Israel and the Persian king, Nehemiah asked the people directly whether they would take advantage of this opportunity and arise and build the wall.

“The appeal went straight to their hearts. The thought of how Heaven’s favor had been manifested toward them put their fears to shame. …

“Nehemiah’s whole soul was in the enterprise he had undertaken. His hope, his energy, his enthusiasm, his determination, were contagious, inspiring others with the same high courage and lofty purpose.” Prophets and Kings, 637, 638.


  • What method will some use to hide their anger or fear? When the enemies of Israel heard that the Jews had again started to build, how did they laugh at them? Nehemiah 4:1–4.
  • When the enemies of Israel saw that their fears were coming true, what plan did they adopt? Nehemiah 4:11. How did Satan try to discourage the builders through the Jews that refused to collaborate in the work? Verse 12.

Note: “Discouragement came from still another source. ‘The Jews which dwelt by’ (Nehemiah 4:12), those who were taking no part in the work, gathered up the statements and reports of their enemies and used these to weaken courage and create disaffection.” Prophets and Kings, 643.

  • What happened when the Jews were informed of their enemies’ plan? Instead of being intimidated, under what conditions did they continue the work? Nehemiah 4:15–18.

Note: “The opposition and discouragement that the builders in Nehemiah’s day met from open enemies and pretended friends is typical of the experience that those today will have who work for God. Christians are tried, not only by the anger, contempt, and cruelty of enemies, but by the indolence, inconsistency, lukewarmness, and treachery of avowed friends and helpers. Derision and reproach are hurled at them. And the same enemy that leads to contempt, at a favorable opportunity uses more cruel and violent measures.

“Satan takes advantage of every unconsecrated element for the accomplishment of his purposes. Among those who profess to be the supporters of God’s cause there are those who unite with His enemies and thus lay His cause open to the attacks of His bitterest foes. … But, like Nehemiah, God’s people are neither to fear nor to despise their enemies. Putting their trust in God, they are to go steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, and committing to His providence the cause for which they stand.” Prophets and Kings, 644, 645.


  • What happened when the enemies of Israel realized the Jews had almost completed the wall? How did the enemies change their tactics? Nehemiah 6:1–3.

Note: “Pretending to desire a compromise of the opposing parties, they [Sanballat and his confederates] sought a conference with Nehemiah, and invited him to meet them in a village on the plain of Ono. But enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to their real purpose, he refused.” Prophets and Kings, 653.

  • What new stratagem did Sanballat and his confederates use? What did Nehemiah answer them? Nehemiah 6:5–8. What mistake was Nehemiah careful to avoid?

Note: “He who by any unguarded act exposes the cause of God to reproach, or weakens the hands of his fellow workers, brings upon his own character a stain not easily removed, and places a serious obstacle in the way of his future usefulness.” Prophets and Kings, 659.

  • Describe the outpouring of emotion upon the completion of the wall and the gates. Nehemiah 8:16, 17. How did the enemies of the people of God feel? Nehemiah 6:15, 16.


1 What did Nehemiah do before answering King Artaxerxes?

2 How did Nehemiah exercise care in all the arrangements?

3 What did the reformer do first in Jerusalem—and why?

4 How can we gain advantage over the tactics of Satan today—just as the builders of the wall did in their time?

5 What was Nehemiah able to detect about the enemies?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Ezra, the Skilled Scribe

December 6, 2015 – December 12, 2015

Key Text

“Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 607–624.


“The experience of Ezra … attracted the favorable notice of King Artaxerxes, with whom Ezra freely conversed regarding the power of the God of heaven, and His purpose in restoring His people to Jerusalem.” The Review and Herald, January 30, 1908.


  • What significance does the name of Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of Medo-Persia, hold in the history of the people of God? Ezra 7:8, 10–14. What year was Artaxerxes’ decree issued?

Note: “It was during his [Artaxerxes’] reign that Ezra and Nehemiah lived and labored. He is the one who in 457 B.C. issued the third and final decree for the restoration of Jerusalem.” Prophets and Kings, 607.

  • What position did Ezra hold in the court of Artaxerxes? How was he able to help God’s people who were still in captivity? Ezra 7:1, 6, 10, 21.

Note: “During his long rule he [Artaxerxes] often showed favor to God’s people, and in his trusted and well-beloved Jewish friends, Ezra and Nehemiah, he recognized men of God’s appointment, raised up for a special work.

“The experience of Ezra while living among the Jews who remained in Babylon was so unusual that it attracted the favorable notice of King Artaxerxes, with whom he talked freely regarding the power of the God of heaven, and the divine purpose in restoring the Jews to Jerusalem.” Prophets and Kings, 607, 608.


  • What other important work did Ezra accomplish? Ezra 7:10.

Note: “The efforts of Ezra to revive an interest in the study of the Scriptures were given permanency by his painstaking, lifelong work of preserving and multiplying the Sacred Writings. He gathered all the copies of the law that he could find and had these transcribed and distributed. The pure word, thus multiplied and placed in the hands of many people, gave knowledge that was of inestimable value.” Prophets and Kings, 609.

  • What did his faith in God, his love for the people in Israel, and his friendly relationship with the king lead him to do? Ezra 7:9.

Note: “Ezra’s faith that God would do a mighty work for His people, led him to tell Artaxerxes of his desire to return to Jerusalem to revive an interest in the study of God’s word and to assist his brethren in restoring the Holy City. As Ezra declared his perfect trust in the God of Israel as One abundantly able to protect and care for His people, the king was deeply impressed. He well understood that the Israelites were returning to Jerusalem that they might serve Jehovah; yet so great was the king’s confidence in the integrity of Ezra that he showed him marked favor, granting his request and bestowing on him rich gifts for the temple service. He made him a special representative of the Medo-Persian kingdom and conferred on him extensive powers for the carrying out of the purposes that were in his heart.

“The decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus for the restoring and building of Jerusalem, the third issued since the close of the seventy years’ captivity, is remarkable for its expressions regarding the God of heaven, for its recognition of the attainments of Ezra, and for the liberality of the grants made to the remnant people of God.” Prophets and Kings, 609, 610.

  • Summarize the decree of King Artaxerxes. Ezra 7:12–21.


  • What precaution was used in the transfer of the sacred treasure (gold and silver) from Babylon to Jerusalem? Ezra 8:24–29.

Note: “The blessing of God, however, did not make unnecessary the exercise of prudence and forethought. As a special precaution in safeguarding the treasure, Ezra ‘separated twelve of the chief of the priests’—men whose faithfulness and fidelity had been proved—‘and weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counselors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered’ (Ezra 8:24, 25). These men were solemnly charged to act as vigilant stewards over the treasure entrusted to their care. …

“In the appointment of faithful officers to act as treasurers of the Lord’s goods, Ezra recognized the necessity and value of order and organization in connection with the work of God.” Prophets and Kings, 616, 617.

  • What lesson should we all—and especially church leaders and officers—learn from the care and prudence used in the transfer of the Lord’s treasury?

Note: “The care exercised by Ezra in providing for the transportation and safety of the Lord’s treasure teaches a lesson worthy of thoughtful study. Only those whose trustworthiness had been proved were chosen, and they were instructed plainly regarding the responsibility resting on them.” Prophets and Kings, 617.

“Angels of God will preserve His people while they walk in the path of duty, but there is no assurance of such protection for those who deliberately venture upon Satan’s ground.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 198.

  • When they were ready for the long and dangerous journey, what did Ezra and his company do before departure? Ezra 8:21, 23.

Note: “The spirit of true fasting and prayer is the spirit which yields mind, heart, and will to God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 324.


  • Why did Ezra decide to require no group of soldiers for protection on the way from Babylon to Jerusalem? Ezra 8:22.

Note: “Ezra and his companions saw an opportunity to magnify the name of God before the heathen. Faith in the power of the living God would be strengthened if the Israelites themselves should now reveal implicit faith in their divine Leader. They therefore determined to put their trust wholly in Him. They would ask for no guard of soldiers. They would give the heathen no occasion to ascribe to the strength of man the glory that belongs to God alone. They could not afford to arouse in the minds of their heathen friends one doubt as to the sincerity of their dependence on God as His people.” Prophets and Kings, 615, 616.

“All were preserved in safety. Their enemies were restrained from harming them.” Ibid., 617.

  • What expressions of the king, in his letter to Ezra, show that Ezra had a beneficial religious influence on the king and his counselors? Ezra 7:11, 15, 21.
  • How did God use the dispersion of the Jews to bring the knowledge of the truth to the attention of the heathen? When did the Lord use a similar method? Acts 8:1.

Note: “From all lands the Jews of the dispersion gathered to Jerusalem. … As these returned to the places of their sojourn, they could spread throughout the world the tidings of the Messiah’s coming. ” The Desire of Ages, 32.

“Often the Israelites seemed unable or unwilling to understand God’s purpose for the heathen. … Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple courts, that every soul may have free access to God.” Prophets and Kings, 367, 370.


  • Upon his arrival in Jerusalem, what spiritual situation did Ezra find among those who had returned in advance? Ezra 9:1–3.
  • What were the main points of the prayer Ezra offered at the opening of the assembly? Ezra 9:6–15.
  • What did the priests and the people decide in that assembly? Ezra 10:3–5, 7–12.

Note: “Among those [first exiles] who had returned to Jerusalem in former years, there were many who had remained true to God as long as they lived; but a considerable number of the children and the children’s children lost sight of the sacredness of God’s law. Even some of the men entrusted with responsibilities were living in open sin. Their course was largely neutralizing the efforts made by others to advance the cause of God; for so long as flagrant violations of the law were allowed to go unrebuked, the blessing of Heaven could not rest upon the people.” Prophets and Kings, 618, 619.

“[Ezra 9:1–10:5 quoted.]

“This was the beginning of a wonderful reformation. With infinite patience and tact, and with a careful consideration for the rights and welfare of every individual concerned, Ezra and his associates strove to lead the penitent of Israel into the right way.” Ibid., 622.


1 How was Ezra able to help God’s people under Artaxerxes?

2 What work did Ezra do to help preserve the Bible?

3 How did God help him through his friendship with the king?

4 What lessons of divine protection and personal accountability can we learn from the way the treasury was transported?

5 How was the dispersion of the Jews a tool in evangelism?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – A Great Crisis in Israel

November 29, 2015 – December 5, 2015

Key Text

“Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 598–606.


“In the providence of God, Esther, a Jewess who feared the Most High, had been made queen of the Medo-Persian kingdom.” Conflict and Courage, 244.


  • What were the names of the Medo-Persian kings that signed the first two decrees (in B.C. 536 and 528 respectively) allowing the Jews to return to their homeland? Ezra 1:1–3; 6:1, 2, 6–8.
  • What crisis did the children of Israel meet during the reign of Ahasuerus in B.C. 510? Esther 3:8–13. What anguish did the decree cause among the Jews? Esther 4:3.
  • What message had the Lord sent to them before the crisis? Zechariah 2:6–9.

Note: “The Lord foresaw the troublous times that were to follow during the reign of Xerxes—the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther—and He not only wrought a change of feeling in the hearts of men in authority, but also inspired Zechariah to plead with the exiles to return. …

“It was still the Lord’s purpose, as it had been from the beginning, that His people should be a praise in the earth, to the glory of His name.” Prophets and Kings, 598, 599.


  • When faced with a crisis, what should God’s people always remember? Romans 8:31. How did the providence of God work to defeat the plan of the enemy? Esther 2:15, 16.

Note: “Satan himself, the hidden instigator of the scheme, was trying to rid the earth of those who preserved the knowledge of the true God. …

“But the plots of the enemy were defeated by a Power that reigns among the children of men.” Prophets and Kings, 601.

  • Did the king know that his decree would include his own Jewish wife in the prospective massacre? Why did Mordecai find it providential that Esther was now queen? Esther 4:13, 14.

Note: “Mordecai was a near relative of hers [Esther’s]. In their extremity they decided to appeal to Xerxes in behalf of their people. Esther was to venture into his presence as an intercessor.” Prophets and Kings, 601.

  • What instruction did Queen Esther send to Mordecai? What shows that she was ready to sacrifice her life in behalf of her people? Esther 4:16.

Note: “The crisis that Esther faced demanded quick, earnest action; but both she and Mordecai realized that unless God should work mightily in their behalf, their own efforts would be unavailing. So Esther took time for communion with God, the Source of her strength.” Prophets and Kings, 601.

“The trying experiences that came to God’s people in the days of Esther were not peculiar to that age alone. … The same spirit that in ages past led men to persecute the true church, will in the future lead to the pursuance of a similar course toward those who maintain their loyalty to God. Even now preparations are being made for this last great conflict.” Ibid., 605.


  • After Esther had spent three days praying and fasting, what favorable reaction did she receive when she appeared before her husband? Esther 5:1–3.

Note: “At a time when it seemed that no power could save them, Esther and the women associated with her, by fasting and prayer and prompt action, met the issue.” Conflict and Courage, 245.

  • What invitation did Esther extend to her husband and Haman, and what was Haman’s reaction upon its fulfillment? Esther 5:4, 5, 12, 13. What did Haman’s wife suggest to him when she saw his hatred of Mordecai? Verse 14.
  • How was God’s providence at work the night before the second banquet? Esther 6:1–3. What did the king tell Haman to do just as he arrived to ask permission to kill Mordecai? Verses 4–10.
  • How did Haman feel when he hurried home to tell what had just happened? Esther 6:11, 12. What warning did Zeresh give her husband? Verse 13.

Note: “God’s love for us is proved daily; yet we are thoughtless of His favors and indifferent to His entreaties. He seeks to impress us with His Spirit of tenderness, His love and forbearance; but we scarcely recognize the marks of His kindness and have little sense of the lesson of love He desires us to learn. Some, like Haman, forget all God’s favors, because Mordecai is before them and is not disgraced; because their hearts are filled with enmity and hatred rather than love, the spirit of our dear Redeemer, Who gave His precious life for His enemies. We profess to have the same Father, to be bound for the same immortal home, to enjoy the same solemn faith, and to believe the same testing message; and yet many are at strife with one another like quarrelsome children.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 222, 223.


  • What petition did Esther make to King Ahasuerus at the second banquet? Esther 7:3, 4. Astonished by the words of Esther, what did the king ask her? Verses 5, 6.
  • What did the chamberlains suggest to the king when they saw his anger against Haman? Esther 7:7, 10. What should wicked people bear in mind when they are intent on hurting others? Proverbs 26:27.

Note: “Mordecai was given the position of honor formerly occupied by Haman. He ‘was next unto King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren’ (Esther 10:3); and he sought to promote the welfare of Israel. Thus did God bring His chosen people once more into favor at the Medo-Persian court, making possible the carrying out of His purpose to restore them to their own land. But it was not until several years later, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes I, the successor of Xerxes the Great, that any considerable number returned to Jerusalem, under Ezra.” Prophets and Kings, 602, 605.

  • What counter decree was ordered by Ahasuerus? Esther 8:5, 13. How were the Jews, who had been seeking the Lord’s help through prayer and fasting, delivered? Esther 9:1, 2, 16, 17.

Note: “God wrought marvelously for His penitent people; and a counter decree issued by the king, allowing them to fight for their lives, was rapidly communicated to every part of the realm by mounted couriers, who were ‘hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment’ (Esther 8:14).” Prophets and Kings, 602.

“For certain things, fasting and prayer are recommended and appropriate. In the hand of God they are a means of cleansing the heart and promoting a receptive frame of mind. We obtain answers to our prayers because we humble our souls before God.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 187, 188.


  • What prophetic words will the commandment-keeping people of God see fulfilled in the near future? Matthew 24:9; Revelation 12:17.

Note: “The same spirit that in ages past led men to persecute the true church, will in the future lead to the pursuance of a similar course toward those who maintain their loyalty to God. Even now preparations are being made for this last great conflict.

“The decree that will finally go forth against the remnant people of God will be very similar to that issued by Ahasuerus against the Jews. Today the enemies of the true church see in the little company keeping the Sabbath commandment, a Mordecai at the gate. …

“Satan will arouse indignation against the minority who refuse to accept popular customs and traditions. Men of position and reputation will join with the lawless and the vile to take counsel against the people of God. Wealth, genius, education, will combine to cover them with contempt. Persecuting rulers, ministers, and church members will conspire against them. With voice and pen, by boasts, threats, and ridicule, they will seek to overthrow their faith. By false representations and angry appeals, men will stir up the passions of the people. Not having a ‘Thus saith the Scriptures’ to bring against the advocates of the Bible Sabbath, they will resort to oppressive enactments to supply the lack. … On this battlefield will be fought the last great conflict in the controversy between truth and error.” Prophets and Kings, 605, 606.


1 How did God foretell the crisis during Esther’s reign faced by the Jews?

2 What was Esther’s first step in seeking to avert the catastrophe?

3 How did God change the plans of evil men and devils in Esther’s time? Will He do the same today?

4 How did God punish Haman for instigating the crisis?

5 How did God use this crisis, providentially, as a tool for evangelism—and explain the way history will victoriously repeat itself.

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Savory Honey Dip

½ cup tomato sauce

¼ cup honey

1 tsp. corn starch

2 Tbs. lemon juice

½ tsp. garlic salt

Combine all ingredients and cook them in a saucepan for a few minutes. Allow mixture to boil and thicken while stirring it to smooth the mixture. This serves as a glorious dip for spring rolls or other finger food. Simply delicious! Always a hit among the kids—they can never resist it!

Food – Honey to Your Health

“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” Exodus 16:31

That honey container in your pantry has a few sweet secrets!

The name of this familiar and time–tested household remedy comes from Hebrew and means “enchant.”

Honey is an excellent source of all–natural energy at just 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. This natural unprocessed sugar—fructose and glucose—directly enters the bloodstream and can deliver a quick punch of energy. Long used as a culinary sweetener, honey is valued for its many healing properties as well. Treatment with honey is referred to as apitherapy and includes replenishing energy, enhancing physical stamina and strengthening those weakened by illness or stress.

Honey can also help calm the mind and promote rejuvenating sleep. In addition, honey relieves indigestion and is used to treat cardiovascular disease and respiratory complaints. Finally, a thin coat of honey can be applied to the skin to disinfect and heal minor skin wounds and chapped lips.

Honey is a natural antibiotic that can act both internally and externally. It can be used as a conventional disinfectant treatment for wounds, sores and burns thanks to its antibacterial activity in fighting major species of bacteria.

Honey is also known for providing a delicate, sweet flavor to dressings, marinades and baked goods. As one of the most popular natural sweeteners, honey can be found in everything from baked beans to crunchy granola.

There are abundant honey recipes. Honey is such a versatile ingredient in cooking and has such a distinctive flavor that it brings a magical touch to almost all foods — cakes, pastries, homemade cookies, desserts, puddings, salad dressing and more.

Different countries and cultures use honey differently in their food and cooking. In western countries, people seem to use more honey as a spread on their bread and have plenty of honey recipes for baking, whereas people in eastern countries seem to do less of that and mostly prefer to go for just a refreshing chilled honey drink—honey mixed with icy water.

Children’s Story – The Blind Poet

Have you found out the name of the blind poet who wrote so many hymns?” asked Mother.

“Tell Mother who she was,” said Linda.

“Fanny Crosby,” answered Betty Lou, pronouncing the words slowly and carefully.

“How did you find out?” Mother asked.

“Linda told me.”

“How did you find out, Linda?”

“I looked through our hymnbook to find the names of the women who wrote hymns. I found more hymns by Fanny Crosby than by any other woman. There were several by Frances Ridley Havergal, too. I didn’t know which one was blind, so I asked Harold, and he got down the encyclopedia. We read what it said about Fanny Crosby.”

“Well done! Here is the poem which she wrote when she was only eight years old:

“Oh, what a happy soul am I: although I cannot see,

I am resolved that in this world contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t.

To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot and I won’t.

“Fanny was two years old when her mother told her very tenderly that she would never be able to see. In spite of her blindness, Fanny learned to dress herself and comb her hair. She could feel her way around the house and wait on herself. She could eat at the table as well as almost anyone.

“When Fanny’s grandmother heard of her blindness, she came to live with Fanny and her mother. Grandma spent much of her time with Fanny. The girl would sit for hours curled up in Grandma’s lap, listening to Bible stories or to descriptions of the clouds and the sunsets and the stars. She especially loved stories about Jesus, and the heavenly Father Who sent His own Son to save us.

“As Fanny and her grandmother walked together through gardens and woods, Grandma would pick a flower and tell the blind girl to feel it and to smell it. In this way Fanny learned to know each flower by name. She also learned to know the birds by their songs. She played with other children, climbed trees, and rode horseback. Her favorite pet was a lamb that went almost everywhere with her, like Mary’s little lamb.

“In the evenings Grandma would read to Fanny from the Bible and from her favorite poets. Fanny memorized many of the poems, as well as some of the psalms and other chapters from the Bible. But she longed to go to school to learn to read out of books. Yet how could a little blind girl ever read books?

“One night she knelt by her bed and prayed, ‘Dear Lord, please show me how I can learn as other children do.’ From that time on, Fanny was sure that God would help her receive what she had asked of Him. One day, not long after this, Fanny’s mother received some good news. A school for the blind had been opened in New York.

“ ‘Thank God!’ Fanny exclaimed; ‘He has answered my prayers, as I knew He would.’

“Fanny was fifteen years old when she entered the school. The books from which the students studied were printed in Braille, a system of raised dots, which a blind person feels with his or her fingers.

“Fanny was the school favorite because she was so cheerful and full of fun. She was also the school poet, and she wrote poems for special occasions. One day Dr. Jones, the school superintendent, called her into his office.

“Among other things, he said this: ‘Do not allow the words of praise from others to make you feel that you are better than they are. Remember, Fanny, whatever talent you possess belongs wholly to God, and you ought to give Him the credit for all that you do.’ He asked Fanny if he had been too blunt.

“ ‘No, sir,’ she replied. ‘You have talked to me as a father, and I thank you very much for it.’

“Fanny never forgot that her ability and talents had been given to her by God.”

Happy Home Stories, by Ella M. Robinson, p. 61–64, (TEACH Services, Inc., 2005).

Lord’s Prayer Series – Be Sober, Be Vigilent

Many people, when they have been overcome by temptation, have accused God of unfairness. They do not realize that God has provided special promises of deliverance and blessing to those undergoing temptation. However, for you to taste the victory, you must be willing to engage in the battle.

Many people consider the petition, “lead us not into temptation” to be the most difficult part of the Lord’s Prayer to understand. Some people have wondered why God tempts people. However, the Bible says that God does not tempt anybody. James wrote, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:12–17.

It is wrong to think that God tempts anyone. He is not tempted with evil and He does not tempt anyone. If He is not the source of our temptations, then where do temptations come from? One source is the devil. When Jesus was in the wilderness, He was tempted by the devil. In this world no one can avoid temptation. Notice what it says in Matthew 4 about Jesus’ temptation immediately after His baptism:

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1. Clearly we can see that the devil is one of the sources of our temptations. But another source of our temptation is from within. James also talks about that. He said a man is tempted by his own desires, his own lusts and his own sinful or evil cravings. John recognized another source of our temptations when he said, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lusts of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” I John 2:15–17.

Temptations do not come from God. Rather they come from the world, the flesh; that is, from within us, and from the devil. So what does it mean when the Bible says in the Lord’s Prayer, “Do not lead us into temptation?” One way that it could be paraphrased would be like this: “O, Father, You know how weak I am of myself. Permit me not to be tempted above my ability to endure, but when the temptation comes, show me the way of escape from the snares of the evil one.”

We know that this is what this phrase means because of the way the apostle Paul explains the nature of and the deliverance from temptation. God has given wonderful promises to those who endure temptation. We just read one from James 1:12. Paul wrote this promise to the Corinthian church, especially for those who are being tempted: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 10:13.

Notice that Paul first says that every temptation that comes to you is common to all mankind; none that you have are peculiar to you alone. But, God watches the tempted person and He promises that He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able; in other words, not beyond what you are able to endure, but He will ensure that with the temptation, He will make a way of escape so that you will be able to endure it.

This is a wonderful promise. Many stories could be told of Christians who have received the answer to this promise when they prayed during times of great trial and trouble. But this promise follows a warning. We are in danger of falling into temptations because of our weakness and also because of our lack of judgment. Paul says in the previous verse, I Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” We need to beware of overconfidence, and not just think, “Well, the Lord has promised that He will give me the victory,” therefore just go rashly on my way without thinking. That attitude has caused many Christians to fall. Overconfidence leads to defeat because the Bible says, “It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” Jeremiah 10:23.

The Lord provides a way of escape when people are in temptation and He leads us through it in order that we might escape. To escape we need divine guidance. We need to be led by the Lord Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Bible talks a great deal about the fact that God will give victory over temptation to His children. John said, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith.” I John 5:4.

Paul wrote about it, “But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:57, 58.

Christ is our victory. With Him there is no such thing as failure or defeat. So the cry, “Lead us not into temptation” is a cry that comes from a sense of our human weakness. Jesus understood the weaknesses that we have because He came into this world just as we do. He came to meet and endure temptation and then give us the power to do the same so that we can be what the Bible calls overcomers.

Jesus met temptation while He was on the earth. “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:17, 18.

The cry “lead us not into temptation” is a cry that comes from a person who senses his human weakness and who understands something of the power and cunning of the great deceiver. The Scriptures say a great deal about the power of Satan to deceive men. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the special working of the anti-Christ power in the very last days and how people in this world will be deceived. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2:9–11.

Jesus talked about it saying that after He left this world and before He would come back again there would arise false christs and false prophets and that they would show great signs and wonders. In other words, they would work miracles. Many times the Bible writers predicted that in the last days teachers working miracles would deceive almost the entire world. As a result of this deception they will lose their souls. This truth is so crucial to understand that Paul wrote about it. The apostle John mentions it numerous times in the book of Revelation, specifically in chapters 12, 13, 16, 18, 19 and 20.

Jesus said, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24. The prayer “lead us not into temptation” includes a request that we might be vigilant against our wily woe. The apostle Peter warned about it saying, “Be sober (do not be intoxicated), be vigilant (be watchful, be paying attention); because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8.

The people most likely to be overcome by temptation are those who either are not paying attention or are overconfident.

The night Jesus was betrayed to His crucifixion, He made the following prophecy or prediction to the apostle Peter. He said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31, 32.

When Jesus said this, Peter was so self-confident that such a thing would never happen that he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Verse 33. But Jesus knew better: “Then He said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.’ ” Verse 34.

Recording the same experience in Mark, it says, “Peter said to Him, ‘Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.’ ” Mark 14:29. Self confident Peter was so sure that even if the rest of the disciples were to deny Jesus and be unfaithful, he would remain faithful.

But, “Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ ” Verse 30. Peter was sure that Jesus was wrong and he was right; he knew he would never deny his Lord. The events of that night proved that Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself.

Jesus knows you also better than you know yourself. That night Jesus had said to His disciples, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41 literal translation) but now Peter “spoke more vehemently, ‘If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And they all said likewise.” Mark 14:31. All of the disciples said, We will be faithful, and yet just a few hours later, when Jesus was arrested, the Bible records in the gospels how all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

When we read the Bible, it is not wise to consider ourselves to be self-reliant and confident, thinking, “Well, I am OK, I can make it.” We need to distrust ourselves and appeal to the Lord. If Peter had prayed to Jesus and said, “Lord, please, I want a special miracle to be worked in my life so that what You said might not be” and had humbled himself, his fall could have been avoided, but he was self-confident. He did not comprehend his own weakness or the strength and cunning of his enemy, the devil.

The fact that we all possess certain tendencies toward evil is evidence of our need of help. Pray that God will help us to keep out of situations where we will be tempted and are apparently powerless to resist the temptation. We need to avoid what the Bible refers to as besetting sins. Notice what the apostle Paul wrote about that in the book of Hebrews: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2.

Besetting or ensnaring sins are usually agreeable and fascinating to our human nature, and therefore must be avoided and shunned. We must not flirt with temptations that carry a special appeal to our carnal appetites and passions. In fact, Paul in this same passage in Hebrews 12, says that we are to shun these things and to resist to avoid becoming entangled. He said, “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Verse 4.

Temptations are something to be resisted and overcome and not deliberately walked into presumptuously. Another dangerous situation is what might be called the devil’s surprise attack. Anyone who has studied military science knows that one of the major features of gaining victories in military wars is the use of surprise, attacking at an unexpected time.

The devil does this repeatedly in our spiritual life. There are many instances recorded in the Bible of such things. Sometimes people fell and at other times they resisted and overcame.

Joseph’s experience is recorded in the book of Genesis. Although he was a slave, he became an executive in his master Potiphar’s house. “And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house were inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.’ ” Genesis 39:7–12.

This Scripture records how Joseph was met with a sudden temptation that was unexpected at first. However, it was repeated over and over with increasing intensity, but he continually resisted this woman’s advances and never gave in. Unfortunately, that was not the case with others who faced the same temptation whose stories were recorded in the Bible. King David’s story had a completely different outcome.

In the Garden of Gethsemane before He was arrested, Jesus knew that His disciples would soon face the most awful and greatest temptation that they had ever had in their lives. In a matter of hours they would be tempted to deny their Lord and forsake Him.

He appealed to them to pray with Him for an hour. Instead, they went to sleep. They were oblivious of the fact that the event to take place in the following hours would decide the destiny of the world. “Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ ” Matthew 26:40, 41.

After He had gone away and prayed again a second time, “He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.” Verse 43. Finally, “He came to His disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.’ ” Verse 45.

How many times Christians have wandered into sin and not resisted the temptation because they have neglected to take time to pray! How is your prayer life? Do you take time to pray? Do you ask with sincerity, “Lead us not into temptation?” Are you praying for victory over the things that tempt you? If you ask God not to lead you where you will be overcome by temptation, then you are planning to be faithful and true and not willingly walk into temptation’s way.

There are special blessings pronounced on those who do not yield to temptation. God will make a way of escape and make it possible for you to endure the temptation (I Corinthians 10:13) and James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that endures temptation … he will receive the crown of life.”

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14.

O friend, are you being tempted? Do you need special help? Do you need special grace to deal with the temptations that you are facing day by day? The apostle says, Come boldly before the throne of grace so that you can obtain mercy and grace, the help that you need, to overcome the temptations with which you are dealing.

While living in this world it is impossible to avoid all temptation, but if you come to the throne of grace, Jesus can give you the victory.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health – Sunlight and Infectious Disease

It was not until the mid 1800s that, through the work of Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Robert Koch, “germs” were revealed to be a cause of contagious and infectious disease. Out of this knowledge gained from Pasteur and his peers has grown an increasing understanding of man and his relationship to germs. It is now believed that disease can only occur when one fails to maintain the delicate balance of power between one’s body and the organisms that produce disease. This is undoubtedly so, for we find people who are carrying with themselves the germs capable of causing an infection, or a “strep” infection, tuberculosis, or influenza, and yet these people are apparently free of disease. Their bodies are strong enough to keep these organisms from growing and developing. This balance, or lack of it, can be seen when members of the same family either resist or succumb to some “bug.”

Understanding of the Sun’s Effect upon Infection

Along with increasing scientific knowledge about the germ and its relation to disease, came the scientific understanding of the sun’s effect on disease.

It was in 1877 that Arthur Downes and Thomas P. Blunt accidentally found that light could kill bacteria. Observing uncolored tubes of brown sugar water, which they had placed on a window sill, they found that the tubes in the shade had become cloudy, indicating bacterial growth. Those tubes exposed to the light had remained clear, indicating no bacterial growth. …

The modern era of sun therapy began with the knowledge that pathogenic bacteria could be killed by exposure to sunlight. Niels Finsen dramatically opened the era by successfully using sunlight therapy in the treatment of tuberculosis of the skin, thereby winning the Nobel Prize in 1903. Stimulated by Finsen, Bernard and Auguste Rollier began treating other forms of tuberculosis by 1904. By the 1920’s and 1930’s, sunbathing for bone tuberculosis and other forms of tuberculosis was a very common treatment. …

While there was an increasing recognition of the efficiency of sunlight therapy for certain types of tuberculosis, the same therapy was also found to be dramatically effective in the treatment of streptococcal infections. In 1929, Ude introduced sunbathing in America for the treatment of erysipelas (a streptococcal infection of the skin). This had been a disease with a mortality rate of 10%, and the use of ultraviolet light for the treatment of this disease dramatically reduced the mortality. In 1929, the improved condition of the King of England, after a course of ultraviolet light treatment was widely publicized.

From the turn of the century into the 1930’s, there continued to be progressive development in the use of ultraviolet light and sunbathing as the most effective treatment for a number of infectious diseases. In 1938, penicillin was discovered and the era of antibiotics and other antimicrobial therapy began. To a large extent, the advent of antibiotics sounded a death knell for the growing interest in sun therapy. Fortunately, a few investigators have kept a trickle of information flowing on the beneficial effect which the sun may have on our health.

About the time that antibiotics were being introduced, a number of researchers independently published reports of the dramatic results seen when a number of patients, having such various infections and diseases as blood poisoning, childbirth infections, and peritonitis, viral pneumonia, mumps, and bronchial asthma, were treated with ultraviolet light therapy to their blood. Miley reported that in eight cases of viral pneumonia, “the toxic symptoms of pneumonia were gone in 24–76 hours following a single treatment. The cough disappeared in three to seven days. X-rays showed the complete clearing of the pneumonia 24–96 hours following a single treatment.” … Heding found that ultraviolet light could also inactivate and destroy cancer-producing viruses.

I have had excellent success in treating fungal infections of the skin. … fungal infections of the feet, including infections of the toes and the area around toenails, also seem to be cured or to go into remission after sunlight therapy. …

In 1935, Deryl Hart was disturbed about the frequency of postoperative infections. As part of an experiment to determine the possible cause of such infections, he exposed Petri dishes to the air of an operating room for one hour during the time that surgery was in progress there. After incubating the Petri dishes, he found 78 colonies of staphilococcus on one plate. He then decided to experiment with the bacteriocidal effect of ultraviolet light. Having suspended a bank of ultraviolet lights from the ceiling of the operating room, he found that all the bacteria within 8 feet of the lights could be killed in 10 minutes, even though the intensity of the lights was reduced to a point where blonde skin at a distance of 5 feet would not react with reddening until after 80 minutes of exposure. Other researchers, after a ten-year trial of Hart’s method, agreed as to the value and importance of his discovery. In one experiment, the barracks of a Naval training center were irradiated with ultraviolet light. The light was found to be capable of destroying enough air-borne organisms to cause a 25% reduction in the incidence of respiratory infections among the recruits. …

Since ultraviolet light has the ability to destroy bacteria in the air, thereby purifying it, and since pure air is necessary for good health, the availability of ultraviolet light seems vitally important. We know that natural sunlight reduces the danger of open-air transmission of disease. When sunlight is not readily available, it would seem wise to utilize some sort of low-level artificial ultraviolet light as part of indoor lighting systems.

Excerpts from Sunlight Could Save Your Life, by Zane R. Kime, 157, 158, 161-169, World Health publications, 1980.

“There are but few who realize that, in order to enjoy health and cheerfulness, they must have an abundance of sunlight, pure air, and physical exercise.” Daughters of God, 175.

Question & Answer – What does it mean that Caiaphas “rent his clothes” in Matthew 26:65

When questioned by Caiaphas if Jesus was the Christ, “Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ ” Matthew 26:64 NKJV. Then the high priest rent his clothes in pretended horror that the people might see.

“This act was deeply significant. Little did Caiaphas realize its meaning.

  • In this act, done to influence the judges and secure Christ’s condemnation, the high priest had condemned himself.
  • By the law of God he was disqualified for the priesthood.
  • He had pronounced upon himself the death sentence.” The Desire of Ages, 708.

“Everything worn by the priest was to be whole and without blemish … represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ.

  • Nothing but perfection, in dress and attitude, in word and spirit, could be acceptable to God. …
  • Nothing but perfection could properly represent the sacredness of the heavenly service. …
  • No rent must be made in the priestly robes, for this would mar the representation of heavenly things.
  • The high priest who dared to appear in holy office, and engage in the service of the sanctuary, with a rent robe, was looked upon as having severed himself from God.
  • By rending his garment he cut himself off from being a representative character. He was no longer accepted by God as an officiating priest. …

“By rending his garments, Caiaphas made of no effect the law of God, to follow the tradition of men. A man-made law provided that in case of blasphemy a priest might rend his garments in horror at the sin, and be guiltless. Thus the law of God was made void by the laws of men. …

“When Caiaphas rent his garment, his act was significant of the place that the Jewish nation as a nation would thereafter occupy toward God. … When Christ upon the cross cried out, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, the Holy Watcher declared that the Jewish people had rejected Him Who was the antitype of all their types, the substance of all their shadows. Israel was divorced from God. … Well might the high priest rend his robes in horror for himself and for the nation.” Ibid., 709.

Note: “It was the general custom for the garments to be rent at the death of friends. The only exception to this was in the case of the high priest. Even Aaron, when he lost his two sons … was forbidden to show sorrow and mourning by rending his garments. The prohibition was positive [Leviticus 10:6 quoted].” “Ellen G. White Comments” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1105.

“He [Christ] bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race.” Ibid.