Bible Study Guides – Godly Fear

November 24-30, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28.

SUGGESTED READING: Testimonies, vol. 5, 491–500; Ibid., vol. 8, 284–286.

INTRODUCTION: There should be an intelligent knowledge of how to come to God in reverence and Godly fear with devotional love. There is a growing lack of reverence for our Maker, a growing disregard of His greatness and His majesty.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 315.

1 How is our duty to God summarized? Ecclesiastes 12:13.

NOTE: “In the precepts of His holy law, God has given a perfect rule of life; and He has declared that until the close of time this law, unchanged in a single jot or tittle, is to maintain its claim upon human beings. Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. He showed that it is based upon the broad foundation of love to God and love to man, and that obedience to its precepts comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life He gave an example of obedience to the law of God. In the Sermon on the Mount He showed how its requirements extend beyond the outward acts and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 505.

“Our duty to obey this law is to be the burden of this last message of mercy to the world. God’s law is not a new thing. It is not holiness created, but holiness made known. It is a code of principles expressing mercy, goodness, and love. It presents to fallen humanity the character of God, and states plainly the whole duty of man (Manuscript 88, 1897).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1104, 1105.

2 In what way does our duty to God differ from the attitude of the popular churches today? 2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5.

NOTE: “Christ’s followers today should guard against the tendency to lose the spirit of reverence and godly fear. The Scriptures teach men how they should approach their Maker—with humility and awe, through faith in a divine Mediator.” Prophets and Kings, 48.

3 How do we display a healthy fear of God? Malachi 3:16; Colossians 3:16, 17.

NOTE: “Do not gratify the enemy by dwelling upon the dark side of your experience; trust Jesus more fully for help to resist temptation. If we thought and talked more of Jesus, and less of ourselves, we should have much more of his presence. If we abide in him, we shall be so filled with peace, faith, and courage, and shall have so victorious an experience to relate when we come to meeting, that others will be refreshed by our clear, strong testimony for God. These precious acknowledgments to the praise of the glory of his grace, when supported by a Christlike life, have an irresistible power, which works for the salvation of souls.” The Southern Watchman, March 7, 1905.

“To the Christian is granted the joy of gathering rays of eternal light from the throne of glory, and of reflecting these rays not only on his own path, but on the paths of those with whom he associates. By speaking words of hope and encouragement, of grateful praise and kindly cheer, he may strive to make those around him better, to elevate them, to point them to heaven and glory, and to lead them to seek, above all earthly things, the eternal substance, the immortal inheritance, the riches that are imperishable.” Ibid.

4 In what way did the Hebrew midwives of Egypt show that they feared God? Exodus 1:15–17.

NOTE: “The king [of Egypt] commanded that the male children should be killed as soon as they were born. Satan was the mover in these matters. He knew that a deliver was to be raised up among the Hebrews to rescue them from oppression. He thought that if he could move the king to destroy the male children, the purpose of God would be defeated. The women feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. The women dare not murder the Hebrew children, and because they obeyed not the command of the king, the Lord prospered them.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 179, 180.

5 What can we learn from the examples of Job and Obadiah? Job 1:1, 8; 1 Kings 18:3, 13.

NOTE: “It were well for parents to learn from the man of Uz a lesson of steadfastness and devotion. Job did not neglect his duty to those outside of his household; he was benevolent, kind, thoughtful of the interest of others; and at the same time he labored earnestly for the salvation of his own family. Amid the festivities of his sons and daughters, he trembled lest his children should displease God. As a faithful priest of the household, he offered sacrifices for them individually. He knew the offensive character of sin, and the thought that his children might forget the divine claims, led him to God as an intercessor in their behalf.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1881.

“During the apostasy of Israel, Obadiah had remained faithful. His master, the king, had been unable to turn him from his allegiance to the living God.” Prophets and Kings, 138.

6 How was Cornelius blessed because he feared God? Acts 10:1–6.

NOTE: “Here we are given positive evidence that the Lord does not leave in darkness those who follow all the light given them, but sends His angels to communicate with them. Cornelius was living in accordance with the instruction given in the Old Testament Scriptures, and the Lord sent a messenger to tell him what to do.

“God could have given Cornelius all the instruction he needed by the angel, but this was not His plan. His purpose was to place Cornelius in connection with those who had been receiving knowledge from on high, whose work it was to impart this knowledge to those seeking for light. Thus God always deals with His people. . . .

“Cornelius obeyed the instruction given. He united with the church, and became a useful and influential laborer together with God (Manuscript 67, 1900).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1060.

7 What blessings are promised to all who truly fear God? Psalms 34:7, 9; 85:9; Luke 1:50.

NOTE: “Those who are true to God need not fear the power of men nor the enmity of Satan. In Christ their eternal life is secure. Their only fear should be lest they surrender the truth, and thus betray the trust with which God has honored them.” The Desire of Ages, 356.

8 As the time of trouble comes upon this world, from what fear will we be delivered? Psalms 46:1–3; 91:1, 5, 6.

NOTE: “When we put away our sins and come to him in faith, he takes our names on his lips, and presents them to his Father, saying, ‘I have graven them upon the palms of my hands; I know them by name.’ And the command goes forth to the angels to protect them. Then in the day of fierce trial he will say, ‘Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.’ What are the chambers in which they are to hide?—They are the protection of Christ and holy angels. The people of God are not at this time all in one place. They are in different companies, and in all parts of the earth; and they will be tried singly, not in groups. Every one must stand the test for himself.” Review and Herald, November 19, 1908.

9 How should our attitude be governed by a proper fear of God as we witness to those about us? 1 Peter 3:15.

NOTE: “[1 Peter 3:15 quoted.] The fear here spoken of does not mean distrust or indecision, but with due caution, guarding every point, lest an unwise word be spoken, or excitement of feeling get the advantage, and thus leave unfavorable impressions upon minds, and balance them in the wrong direction. Godly fear, humility, and meekness are greatly needed by all in order to correctly represent the truth of God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 258, 259.

10 In what way does a proper understanding of God’s judgments strengthen our faith? Matthew 10:28.

NOTE: “When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of earthly tribunals, Christ stands by his side. When he is confined within prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him and cheers his heart with His love. When he suffers death for Christ’s sake, the Saviour says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul. ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ [John 16:33.]” The Acts of the Apostles, 85, 86.

11 How are we to show glory to God? Isaiah 58:6–8.

NOTE: “As Christians, we are to have a righteousness that represents the character of Christ. We are to feel for our fellow men the same sympathy and compassion that Christ has felt for us. His sympathy, His love, led Him to redeem us at the cost of his lifeblood. If we would carry out the great principles that He laid down for His followers, we must love our neighbor as ourselves.” Signs of the Times, July 14, 1909.

12 What is a necessary part in worshiping God? Revelation 14:7.

NOTE: “By the first angel, men are called upon to ‘fear God, and give glory to Him’ and to worship Him as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In order to do this, they must obey His law.” The Great Controversy, 436.

13 Why does our duty to worship God involve keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, and what three things are associated with keeping the Sabbath? Exodus 31:16, 17; Hebrews 4:3–5, 9, 10; Genesis 2:2, 3.

NOTE: “To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” The Desire of Ages, 289.

Bible Study Guides – Phases of Present Truth

November 17-23, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.” 2 Peter 1:12

SUGGESTED READING: The Desire of Ages, 632–636; The Great Controversy, 355–374.

INTRODUCTION: “There was a present truth—a truth at that time of special importance—in the days of Christ, of Paul, of Luther; there is a present truth for the church today.” Signs of the Times, June 21, 1883.

1 How do the teachings of Christ harmonize with teachings of Old Testament scripture? Matthew 22:36–40; 5:17–19; Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18.

NOTE: “The teaching of Christ in the gospel is in perfect harmony with the teaching of Christ through the prophets in the Old Testament. The prophets spoke through the messengers of Christ in the Old Testament as much as the apostles voiced His messages in the New Testament, and there is no contradiction between their teachings.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 345.

2 What clarification did Jesus give about his teachings? John 7:16.

NOTE: “[Jesus answered] My words are in perfect harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures, and with the law spoken from Sinai. I am not preaching a new doctrine. I am presenting old truths rescued from the framework of error, and placed in a new setting (Manuscript 33, 1911).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1136.

3 What present truth was taught after Christ’s ascension? 1 John 1:1–3; 2 Peter 1:12, 15, 16.

NOTE: “When, after His ascension, the Holy Spirit brought His teachings to the remembrance of the disciples, their slumbering senses awoke. The meaning of these truths flashed upon their minds as a new revelation, and truth, pure and unadulterated, made a place for itself. Then the wonderful experience of His life became theirs. The Word bore testimony through them, the men of His appointment, and they proclaimed the mighty truth, ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth.’ ‘And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.’ John 1:14, 16.” The Acts of the Apostles, 520.

4 In what way does that truth affect us today? John 17:17–20.

NOTE: “We are to be brought into a sacred nearness with the world’s Redeemer. We are to be one with Christ as He is one with the Father. What a wonderful change the people of God experience in coming into unity with the Son of God! We are to have our tastes, inclinations, ambitions, and passions all subdued, and brought into harmony with the mind and spirit of Christ. This is the very work that the Lord is willing to do for those who believe in Him. Our life and deportment are to have a molding power in the world. The spirit of Christ is to have a controlling influence over the life of His followers, so that they will speak and act like Jesus. Christ says, ‘The glory which thou gavest Me I have given them.’ . . .

“The grace of Christ is to work a wonderful transformation in the life and character of its receiver; and if we are truly the disciples of Christ, the world will see that divine power has done something for us; for while we are in the world, we shall not be of it.” My Life Today, 252.

5 What did Paul say about the plan of redemption which was more fully revealed in the gospel of Christ? Ephesians 3:3–6, 9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:25, 26.

NOTE: “Jesus longed to unfold the deep mysteries of the truth which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews, and ‘partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.’ Ephesians 3:6. This truth the disciples were slow to learn, and the divine Teacher gave them lesson upon lesson.” The Desire of Ages, 402.

“Give yourself to the Lord for purification and sanctification. A godly example will tell more for the truth than the greatest eloquence, unaccompanied by a well-ordered life. Trim the lamp of the soul, and replenish it with the oil of the Spirit. Seek from Christ that grace, that clearness of comprehension, which will enable you to do successful work. Learn from Him what it means to work for those for whom He gave His life.” Gospel Workers, 104, 105.

6 When the mystery of God (light given to the Gentiles) is completed, what will happen? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability. When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 111.

7 What final verdict will be declared at that time? Revelation 22:10, 11.

NOTE: “The gospel dispensation is the last period of probation that will ever be granted to men. Those who live under this dispensation of test and trial and yet are not led to repent and obey will perish with the disloyal. There is no second trial. The gospel that is to be preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples presents the truth in clear lines, showing that obedience is the condition of gaining eternal life. Christ imparts His righteousness to those who consent to let Him take away their sins. We are indebted to Christ for the grace which makes us complete in Him (Manuscript 40, 1900).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 971, 972.

8 How can we know that Christ’s second coming is close? Matthew 24:32–39.

NOTE: “Let men beware lest they neglect the lesson conveyed to them in the words of Christ. As He warned His disciples of Jerusalem’s destruction, giving them a sign of the approaching ruin, that they might make their escape; so He has warned the world of the day of final destruction and has given them tokens of its approach, that all who will may flee from the wrath to come.” The Great Controversy, 37.

9 In our day what notable religious revival marks the beginning of the present truth, and how is it described? Revelation 14:6.

NOTE: “A great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ’s soon coming is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14. . . .

“The fact that an angel is said to be the herald of this warning is significant. By the purity, the glory, and the power of the heavenly messenger, divine wisdom has been pleased to represent the exalted character of the work to be accomplished by the message and the power and glory that were to attend it. And the angel’s flight ‘in the midst of heaven,’ the ‘loud voice’ with which the warning is uttered, and its promulgation to all ‘that dwell on the earth,’—‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,’—give evidence of the rapidity and world-wide extent of the movement.” The Great Controversy, 355.

10 In what way does the first angel’s message exalt God’s law and prepare a people for Christ’s return? 1 John 3:2, 3; Psalm 19:7.

NOTE: “The message proclaimed by the angel flying in the midst of heaven is the everlasting gospel, the same gospel that was declared in Eden when God said to the serpent, ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel’ (Genesis 3:15). Here was the first promise of a Saviour who would stand on the field of battle to contest the power of Satan and prevail against him. Christ came to our world to represent the character of God as it is represented in His holy law; for His law is a transcript of His character. Christ was both the law and the gospel. The angel that proclaims the everlasting gospel proclaims the law of God; for the gospel of salvation brings men to obedience of the law, whereby their characters are formed after the divine similitude.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 106.

11 To whom is the commission given to teach the first angel’s message? Matthew 28:19, 20.

NOTE: “As His representatives among men, God does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that He might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ.’ Ephesians 3:8.

“In His wisdom the Lord brings those who are seeking for truth into touch with fellow beings who know the truth. It is the plan of Heaven that those who have received light shall impart it to those in darkness. Humanity, drawing its efficiency from the great Source of wisdom, is made the instrumentality, the working agency, through which the gospel exercises its transforming power on mind and heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 134.

12 What will be the experience of the end-day remnant? Matthew 24:9.

NOTE: “Whoever sees the repulsive character of sin, and in strength from above resists temptation, will assuredly arouse the wrath of Satan and his subjects. Hatred of the pure principles of truth, and reproach and persecution of its advocates, will exist as long as sin and sinners remain. The followers of Christ and the servants of Satan cannot harmonize.” The Great Controversy, 507.

13 How is the end-day remnant distinguished from the rest of the world? Revelation 12:17.

NOTE: “I [Ellen White] was shown in regard to the remnant people of God taking a name. Two classes were presented before me. One class embraced the great bodies of professed Christians. They were trampling upon God’s law and bowing to a papal institution. They were keeping the first day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord. The other class, who were but few in number, were bowing to the great Lawgiver. They were keeping the fourth commandment. The peculiar and prominent features of their faith were the observance of the seventh day, and waiting for the appearing of our Lord from heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 223.

“Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects, he has gained control of the apostate churches; but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy. . . .

“Their only hope is in the mercy of God; their only defense will be prayer.” Ibid., vol. 5, 472.

Bible Study Guides – Faith

November 10-16, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38.

SUGGESTED READING: The Desire of Ages, 315–320; Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 141–144.

INTRODUCTION: “As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith. Every believing soul is to conform his will entirely to God’s will and keep in a state of repentance and contrition, exercising faith in the atoning merits of the Redeemer and advancing from strength to strength, from glory to glory.” Faith and Works, 103.

1 How is faith defined in the Bible? Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 4:18.

NOTE: “Faith is not the ground of our salvation, but it is the great blessing—the eye that sees, the ear that hears, the feet that run, the hand that grasps. It is the means, not the end. If Christ gave His life to save sinners, why shall I not take that blessing? My faith grasps it, and thus my faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Thus resting and believing, I have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Letter 329a, 1905).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1073.

2 What is the source of faith? Romans 10:17; 12:3.

NOTE: “God gives light to guide those who honestly desire light and truth; but it is not His purpose to remove all cause for questioning and doubt. He gives sufficient evidence to found faith upon, and then requires men to accept that evidence and exercise faith.

“He who will study the Bible with a humble and teachable spirit will find it a sure guide, pointing out the way of life with unfailing accuracy. But what does your study of the Bible avail, brethren and sisters, unless you practice the truths it teaches? That holy book contains nothing that is nonessential; nothing is revealed that has not a bearing upon our actual lives. The deeper our love for Jesus, the more highly we shall regard that word as the voice of God directly to us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 303.

3 To develop the “measure of faith” God has given to each of us, what must we do? John 6:53, 63; 1 Peter 2:2.

NOTE: “The soul that converses with God through the Scriptures, who prays for light and opens the door of his heart to the Saviour, will not have evil imaginings, worldly scheming, or ambitious lust after honor or distinction in any line. He who seeks for the truth as for hidden treasure will find it in God’s means of communication with man, His word. . . . The word of God will ennoble the mind and sanctify the human agent, enabling him to become a co-worker with divine agencies. The elevated standard of God’s holy law will mean very much to him, as a standard of all his life practice. It will mean holiness, which is wholeness to God. As the human agent presses forward in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, as he receives Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, he will feed on the bread of life. The word is spirit and life, and if it is brought into the daily practice it will ennoble the whole nature of man. There will be opened to his soul such a view of the Saviour’s love as portrayed by the pen of Inspiration that his heart will be melted into tenderness and contrition. . . .

“Development of character, growth in knowledge and wisdom, will be the sure result of feeding on the word.” Medical Ministry, 124.

4 How does true faith assimilate the word of God? 2 Timothy 3:15–17; 1 Peter 1:22, 23.

NOTE: “The word of God must be interwoven with the living character of those who believe it. The only vital faith is that faith which receives and assimilates the truth till it is a part of the being and the motive power of the life and action.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 576.

“It is through the exercise of the faculty of faith that we are enabled to receive and practice the word of God. No excuse can be accepted, no plea of justification received for the failure to know and understand the will of the Lord. The Lord will enlighten the heart that is loyal to Him. He can read the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is useless to plead that if it had been so and so, we would have done so and so. There is no if about God’s requirements; His word is yea and amen. There can be no question in the heart of faith as to the power of God to perform His promises. Pure faith works by love, and purifies the soul.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 341.

5 In the process of sanctification, what agencies work together? 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:15; John 17:17.

NOTE: “In this text [11 Thessalonians 2:13] the two agencies in the work of salvation are revealed—the divine influence, and the strong, living faith of those who follow Christ. It is through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth that we become laborers together with God.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 22.

“The truth as it is in Jesus is obedience to every precept of Jehovah. It is heart work. Bible sanctification is not the spurious sanctification of today, which will not search the Scriptures, but trusts to good feelings and impulses rather than to the seeking for truth as for hidden treasure. Bible sanctification is to know the requirements of God and to obey them. There is a pure and holy heaven in store for those who keep God’s commandments. It is worth lifelong, persevering, untiring effort.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1147.

6 What is the difference between genuine faith and a mere profession of faith? James 1:6, 7; Titus 1:16; Hebrews 11:6.

NOTE: “There are thousands who claim to have the light of truth who take no steps in advance. They have no living experience, notwithstanding they have had every advantage. They do not know what consecration means. Their devotions are formal and hollow, and there is no depth to their piety. The Word of God offers spiritual liberty and enlightenment to those who study it earnestly. Those who accept the promises of God, and act on them with living faith, will have the light of heaven in their lives. They will drink of the fountain of life, and lead others to the waters that have refreshed their own souls. We must have that faith in God that takes him at his word.” Review and Herald, September 22, 1910.

7 What will be the result of true faith? Galatians 5:6; James 2:14–17.

NOTE: “Genuine faith always works by love; it supplies a motive power. Faith is not an opiate, but a stimulant. Looking to Calvary will not quiet your soul into nonperformance of duty, but will create faith that will work, purifying the soul from all selfishness. In laying hold of Christ by faith, we but just begin our work. . . .

“The labor of love springs from the work of faith. . . . While it is true that our busy activities will not in themselves insure salvation, it is also true that faith which unites us to Christ will stir the soul to activity; and good fruit, which is good works, will be the result of faith.” Review and Herald, January 24, 1893.

8 When the Roman centurion’s servant was sick, how did he exercise faith? Luke 7:2, 3.

NOTE: “The centurion was tenderly attached to his servant, and greatly desired his recovery. He believed that Jesus could heal him. He had not seen the Saviour, but the reports he heard had inspired him with faith.” The Desire of Ages, 315, 316.

9 What was the difference between the Roman centurion’s faith and that of the Jewish leaders who recommended him to Christ? Luke 7:4–10.

NOTE: “The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God’s mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to ‘our nation.’ But the centurion said of himself, ‘I am not worthy.’ His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind.” The Desire of Ages, 316, 317.

10 As we seek to live by faith, what assurance is given to us? 1 Peter 1:7–9; Philippians 4:6, 7.

NOTE: “In the religious life of every soul who is finally victorious there will be scenes of terrible perplexity and trial; but his knowledge of the Scriptures will enable him to bring to mind the encouraging promises of God, which will comfort his heart and strengthen his faith in the power of the Mighty One. . . . The trial of faith is more precious than gold. All should learn that this is a part of the discipline in the school of Christ, which is essential to purify and refine them from the dross of earthliness. . . .

“Summon all your powers to look up, not down at your difficulties; then you will never faint by the way. You will soon see Jesus behind the cloud, reaching out His hand to help you; and all you have to do is to give Him your hand in simple faith and let Him lead you.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 578.

11 Identify some overwhelming circumstances in the Bible that were overcome by faith. Hebrews 11:29–35.

NOTE: “Faith is simple; it means no more nor less than belief in the Word of the infinite God. Believing, all may have life through His name.” Signs of the Times, May 17, 1899.

12 What will faith accomplish for us today? 1 John 5:4.

NOTE: “The greatest victories gained for the cause of God are not the result of labored argument, ample facilities, wide influence, or abundance of means; they are gained in the audience chamber with God, when with earnest, agonizing faith men lay hold upon the mighty arm of power.

“True faith and true prayer—how strong they are! They are as two arms by which the human suppliant lays hold upon the power of Infinite Love. Faith is trusting in God,—believing that He loves us, and knows what is for our best good. Thus, instead of our own way, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership, and accepts its blessings. Truth, uprightness, purity, are pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these. Every good impulse or aspiration is the gift of God; faith receives from God the life that alone can produce true growth and efficiency.” Gospel Workers, 259.

Bible Study Guides – Power of God

November 3-9, 2002

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

SUGGESTED READING: Fundamentals of Christian Education, 196–200; The Acts of the Apostles, 557–567.

INTRODUCTION: “There is no defect in God’s plan for the salvation of men. If the gospel is not to every soul the power of God unto salvation, it is not because the gospel is at fault, but because men are not practical believers, practical receivers of the grace and righteousness of Christ. . . . The professed believers do not take Christ as their personal Saviour, but follow Jesus a great way off. One reason for this lack of personal religion is that they have not been educated in these vital principles.” This +9+Day With God, 18.

1 How is sin defined in the Bible? 1 John 3:4; James 4:17.

NOTE: “It is the Creator of men, the Giver of the law, who declares that it is not His purpose to set aside its precepts. Everything in nature, from the mote in the sunbeam to the worlds on high, is under law. And upon obedience to these laws the order and harmony of the natural world depend. So there are great principles of righteousness to control the life of all intelligent beings, and upon conformity to these principles the well-being of the universe depends. Before this earth was called into being, God’s law existed. Angels are governed by its principles, and in order for earth to be in harmony with heaven, man also must obey the divine statutes.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 48.

2 Why do we struggle with sin, and how can we be victorious over it? Romans 7:14–24; John 8:34, 36.

NOTE: “Character building is the work, not of a day, nor of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity, there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.” The Ministry of Healing, 452.

3 In seeking Christ’s strength, what should we realize? Hebrews 4:15, 16; 7:25; 12:2.

NOTE: “We have an all-powerful Redeemer. Christ came from heaven in the guise of humanity to live the principles of righteousness in this world. He was endowed with power to minister to all who would accept Him as their Redeemer, to succor the repentant ones who were convinced of the sinfulness of sin.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 397.

4 When we come to Christ, what happens? Ephesians 2:8; Romans 5:1, 2.

NOTE: “Abundant grace has been provided that the believing soul may be kept free from sin; for all heaven, with its limitless resources, has been placed at our command. We are to draw from the well of salvation. Christ is the end of law for righteousness to everyone who believeth. In ourselves we are sinners; but in Christ we are righteous. Having made us righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ, God pronounces us just, and treats us as just. He looks upon us as His dear children. Christ works against the power of sin, and where sin abounded, grace much more abounds.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 394.

5 How do we benefit from the work Christ has done for us, when we accept Him as our personal Saviour? Romans 5:18, 19; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

NOTE: “Think of what Christ’s obedience means to us. It means that in His strength we, too, may obey. He came to this world to show us what God can do for us, and what we can do in co-operation with God. In human flesh He went into the wilderness to be tempted by the enemy. He knows what it is to hunger and thirst. He knows the weakness and the infirmities of the flesh. He was tempted in all points like as we are tempted, yet without sin.” Signs of the Times, June 14, 1905.

6 With our consent and cooperation, what work does Christ perform in us through the Holy Spirit? John 3:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 7:1.

NOTE: “The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices, they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ. When men who claim to be Christians retain all their natural defects of character and disposition, in what does their position differ from that of the worldling? They do not appreciate the truth as a sanctifier, a refiner. They have not been born again.” Review and Herald, April 12, 1892.

7 In what way does the process of sanctification involve daily choices on our part? Romans 8:1, 5, 13; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:8–11.

NOTE: “The mind must be trained through daily tests to habits of fidelity, to a sense of the claims of right and duty above inclination and pleasure. Minds thus trained do not waver between right and wrong, as the reed trembles in the wind; but as soon as matters come before them, they discern at once that principle is involved, and they instinctively choose the right without long debating the matter. They are loyal because they have trained themselves to habits of faithfulness and truth.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 22.

8 How do justification and sanctification work together in our salvation? 1 John 1:9; Romans 6:1, 2, 7, 22. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; Colossians 3:8–10.

NOTE: “Justification means the saving of a soul from perdition, that he may obtain sanctification, and through sanctification, the life of heaven. Justification means that the conscience, purged from dead works, is placed where it can receive the blessings of sanctification (Manuscript 113, 1902).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 908.

9 To become holy, how must we cooperate with Christ? Colossians 1:21–23.

NOTE: “The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God. On the one side there is infinite wisdom, compassion, and power; on the other, weakness, sinfulness, absolute helplessness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 482.

10 For what purpose do we receive power through the gospel? Romans 1:16; Ephesians 3:16–20.

NOTE: “Here are revealed the heights of attainment that we may reach through faith in the promises of our heavenly Father, when we fulfill His requirements. Through the merits of Christ we have access to the throne of Infinite Power. ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ Romans 8:32. The Father gave His Spirit without measure to His Son, and we also may partake of its fullness.” The Great Controversy, 477.

11 What changes occur in our lives as we receive God’s grace? Titus 2:11–14; 3:5.

NOTE: “The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice. Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words. An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering.

“The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a habitual gentleness, a more than human love.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 102.

12 Upon what condition is receiving the power of God’s grace dependent? Luke 17:5, 6; Mark 11:24; Matthew 17:20.

NOTE: “There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust [Hebrews 3:12 quoted] (Letter 97, 1898).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928.

13 What kind of faith do we need? Jude 20.

NOTE: “The power of Satanic agencies is great, and the Lord calls upon His people to strengthen one another, ‘building up yourselves on your most holy faith.’

“Instead of co-operating with Satan, let everyone learn what it means to co-operate with God. In these depressing times He has a work to be done that demands the firm courage and faith which will enable us to sustain one another. All need to stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart as laborers together with God. What might not be accomplished in and through the grace of God if the members of the church would stand together, to sustain His workers, to help with their prayers and their influence when discouragement presses in on every side! Then is the time to work as faithful stewards.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 184, 185.

Bible Study Guides – A Purposeful Plan

October 27-November 2, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10.

SUGGESTED READING: Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 149–152; “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 926, 927.

INTRODUCTION: “Christ has undertaken the work of saving all who trust in Him for salvation. He sees the wrongs that need to be righted, the evils that need to be repressed. He came to seek and save that which was lost. ‘Him that cometh to me,’ He says, ‘I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 178.

1 The gospel call is given to us for what purpose? Mark 2:17.

NOTE: “Many of you feel no need of a Saviour. You are self-sufficient, self-exalted. Said Christ: ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ The blood of Christ will avail for none but those who feel their need of its cleansing power.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 219.

2 What does the gift of salvation through Christ mean for each one of us? Matthew 1:21; Revelation 1:5, last part.

NOTE: “God has spoken, and He means that man shall obey. He does not inquire if it is convenient for him to do so. The Lord of life and glory did not consult His convenience or pleasure when He left His station of high command to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, accepting ignominy and death in order to deliver man from the consequence of his disobedience. Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. Man is to leave the error of his ways, to follow the example of Christ, to take up his cross and follow Him, denying self, and obeying God at any cost.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 250, 251.

3 In the first step of our restoration, what does God offer us, and on what condition? Isaiah 55:7.

NOTE: “We must learn in the school of Christ. Nothing but His righteousness can entitle us to one of the blessings of the covenant of grace. We have long desired and tried to obtain these blessings, but have not received them because we have cherished the idea that we could do something to make ourselves worthy of them. We have not looked away from ourselves, believing that Jesus is a living Saviour. We must not think that our own grace and merits will save us; the grace of Christ is our only hope of salvation. . . . [Isaiah 55:7 quoted.] We must believe the naked promise, and not accept feeling for faith. When we trust God fully, when we rely upon the merits of Jesus as a sin-pardoning Saviour, we shall receive all the help that we can desire.

“We look to self, as though we had power to save ourselves; but Jesus died for us because we are helpless to do this. In Him is our hope, our justification, our righteousness.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 351.

4 What does God do for our salvation, in addition to forgiving us? 1 John 1:9.

NOTE: “We must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that will result in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace. . . . It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save. . . . We must know our real condition, or we shall not feel our need of Christ’s help. We must understand our danger, or we shall not flee to the refuge. We must feel the pain of our wounds, or we should not desire healing.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 158.

5 What goal is placed before us, and what is our responsibility in obtaining that goal? Matthew 5:48; John 5:14; 8:11.

NOTE: “The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He calls for perfection in character-building.” Signs of the Times, August 23, 1899.

“It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character obtains perfection. . . . Christ has promised us sufficient power to reach this high standard.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 20.

“Abstain from all evil. Common sins, however insignificant they may be regarded, will impair your moral sense, and extinguish the inward impression of the Spirit of God.” Review and Herald, December 8, 1891.

6 How did Paul describe the deliverance wrought within us when we accept Christ as our Saviour? Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 2:15.

NOTE: “In freeing our souls from the bondage of sin, God has wrought for us a deliverance greater than that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. Like the Hebrew host, we should praise the Lord with heart and soul and voice for His ‘wonderful works to the children of men.’ Those who dwell upon God’s great mercies, and are not unmindful of His lesser gifts, will put on the girdle of gladness and make melody in their hearts to the Lord. The daily blessings that we receive from the hand of God, and above all else the death of Jesus to bring happiness and heaven within our reach, should be a theme for constant gratitude. . . .” Conflict and Courage, 93.

7 How does Christ make us free from the penalty of the law, under which we are condemned? Romans 6:14–18.

NOTE: “It is the sophistry of Satan that the death of Christ brought in grace to take the place of the law. The death of Jesus did not change, or annul, or lessen in the slightest degree, the law of ten commandments. That precious grace offered to men through a Saviour’s blood, establishes the law of God. Since the fall of man, God’s moral government and His grace are inseparable. They go hand in hand through all dispensations. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.’ Psalm 85:10. . . .

“The influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the law of God. . . . He will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Saviour, and lead a new and purer life.” The Faith I Live By, 89.

8 In what way does faith in the gospel relate to the law of God? Romans 3:31.

NOTE: “The righteousness of Christ must be accepted as a free gift by us who are all undeserving. No thread of legality is of any value in the salvation of the soul; for we are saved by grace, through the subduing love of Christ, and the heart is made a willing sacrifice. By keeping the love of God in the heart, the love of the world is kept out, and we become built up in the most holy faith. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith; and when we yield to His hand, we shall steadily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. We shall make progress until we reach the full stature of men and women in Christ.

“Faith works by love, and purifies the soul, expelling the love of sin that leads to rebellion against, and transgression of, the law of God. This true love in the heart always leads its possessor into harmony with the commandments of God; for through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the character is transformed, and the mind and will of the human agent are brought into perfect conformity to the divine will, and this is conformity to the divine standard of righteousness.” Youth’s Instructor, February 17, 1898.

9 What warning is given to us about breaking God’s law? Romans 2:23–27; 1 Timothy 1:8–10.

NOTE: “The law of God is the mirror to show man the defects in his character. But it is not pleasant to those who take pleasure in unrighteousness to see their moral deformity. They do not prize this faithful mirror, because it reveals to them their sins. Therefore, instead of instituting a war against their carnal minds, they war against the true and faithful mirror, given them by Jehovah for the very purpose that they may not be deceived, but that they may have revealed to them the defects in their character.” Review and Herald, March 8, 1870.

10 Through sin, of what do we fall short? Romans 3:23.

NOTE: “Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 320, 321.

11 How may this loss be restored to us through the gospel? 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

NOTE: “God is clothed with power; He is able to take those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and by the operation of the Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead, transform the human character, bringing back to the soul the lost image of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are changed from being rebels against the law of God into obedient servants and subjects of His kingdom. They are born again, regenerated, sanctified through the truth.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 332.

12 What enables us to resist the temptations of our carnal nature? Colossians 1:10, 11; Ephesians 3:16, 20.

NOTE: “When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus! Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might.” Early Writings, 46.

13 As we meet the conditions and experience the victory of overcoming sin, what promise will be fulfilled in us? Romans 8:14–17.

NOTE: “One of the lessons that we are to learn in the school of Christ is that the Lord’s love for us is far greater than that of our earthly parents. We are to have unquestioning faith and perfect confidence in Him. [Romans 8:16, 17 quoted.]

“May the Lord help you, as a diligent student in the school of Christ, to learn to lay your burdens on Jesus. And if you are free in His love, you will look above and away from these annoying trials. Think of what Jesus has endured for you, and never forget that it is part of the legacy that we have received as Christians, to be partakers with Him of His sufferings, that we may be partakers with Him of His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 126.

Food for Life – Marinated Breast of Tofu


For chicken-like sandwiches, stir-fries, salads, roasts, and for use in many other dishes.

1 1/2–2 pounds extra-firm tofu

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

2 teaspoons crumbled, dried sage leaves or ground sage

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Prepare marinade by combining water, soy sauce, nutritional yeast flakes, and spices in a 2-quart bowl. Instead of all or some of the traditional “poultry seasonings” (thyme, sage, etc.), you may use cumin, coriander, basil, oregano, or whatever herbs are suitable for the dish you are making. For spicy Breast of Tofu, add as much cayenne to the marinade as you like.

Cut tofu into quarter-inch thick slices. Marinate for a few hours, or for as long as two weeks, in the refrigerator. Turn the slices and spoon the marinade over the tofu from time to time, or store in a tightly-sealed container and occasionally shake it.

To use tofu, remove from marinade, bread with Italian-style bread crumbs, and pan-fry as many slices as you need in a nonstick pan, over medium heat, until browned on both sides. Use immediately or cool on racks. For future quick use, separate cooked slices with pieces of waxed paper for easy removal of just a few slices at a time, and place in an air-tight container. Will keep in the refrigerator for several days or may be frozen for several weeks.

Nature Nugget – Myrmecophytes

Myrmecophytes, meaning “ant plant,” are plants that have a mutualistic relationship with ants that is so tightly interwoven that each species could perish without the other. These plants occur in tropical areas around the world and include various species of trees and epiphytes including some orchids and bromeliads.

In Central America there grows a species of tree called the Swollen Thorn Acacia that has a very special relationship with an exceedingly fierce species of ant. The tree was named for its large, swollen, hollow thorns within which the ants make their nests. Most tropical forest trees have poisonous chemicals in their leaves to stop insects from feeding on them, but the Swollen Thorn Acacia’s leaves are edible and would soon be destroyed by insects if it were not for the ants. One of these ant colonies can have as many as 30,000 workers. The ants frantically patrol every inch of the tree and viciously bite and sting any insect or animal they find. Also, any vine climbing onto the tree or any young sapling growing under the tree is quickly cut off. This saves the tree from having to compete for sunlight and nutrients, which are scarce in the dense tropical forest. In return for their protection, the tree completely supports the ants. Not only does it provide a home, but it feeds them as well. The tree secretes a thick, sugar-rich solution, which the ants drink from organs called extra-floral nectaries located on the stems between the leaves. On the tips of some leaves are unique orange structures called Beltian bodies that are rich in protein, fats, and vitamins. The ants, to feed their larvae, harvest these.

A similar situation occurs with the Cecropia tree, which also grows in Central America. This tree has hollow, bamboo-like stems and branches where the Azteca ants live. The Cecropia does not have nectaries, so the ants have found another way to take nectar from the tree. The ants tend herds of aphids on the tree’s stems and branches, which excrete juices in the form of honeydew, a fluid rich in sugars and other components that the ants utilize.

Another ant plant, an epiphyte, grows in nutrient-destitute forests in Southeast Asia. It has hollow leaves in which a relatively non-aggressive species of ant lives. The ant’s function is not to protect the plant but to fertilize it. As the ants forage and dine, they produce large amounts of debris, such as unpalatable insect parts, which are stored in portions of the plant’s cavities. As this refuse breaks down into compost, roots from the plant grow into it to absorb valuable nutrients.

By working together, these ants and plants are both able to survive. There is a lesson in this for us. If species so vastly different can work together toward a common goal, in their case survival, then surely true Christians can put aside their petty differences and work together in unity to finish God’s work! “Those who are truly converted will press together in Christian unity.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 147. “Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1.

Children’s Story – To Be Caught Was to Die, Part II

In Part 1 of our story, the home where Amanda, a young Waldensian girl, lived with her parents was being searched by soldiers who had been told the family had a Bible. To be caught with a Bible was to die!

One soldier kept a careful eye on Amanda and her mother, while the other began to ransack the house.

Amanda watched with amazement as he went from corner to corner, not missing a nook or cranny. He tested all the boards of the floor and the timber of the walls to see if there might be a secret hiding place. Obviously he had done this before.

He came to where Mother had been making her bread. Surely he would find it now! He opened the firebox to see if there were any remnants of a burnt book inside. Where could Mother have hidden it, and how could she maintain such calmness and composure? The soldier opened the cupboards and emptied them. He opened the oven door, but all that was there were loaves of bread baking.

“I told you that you would not find a Bible in this house,” Mother reminded them. Amanda was beginning to believe her. Finally, in frustration, they left, thinking they had received a false report.

Amanda held her breath until they could no longer hear the horses. Then, still whispering from fear, Amanda asked, “Mother, wherever did you put the Bible?”

“Let me take the bread out of the oven first; I was afraid it might get too done before they left. . . . There now, doesn’t that look fine?” Mother said, holding up the first loaf. “Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord always provides for our needs? Dear, we must thank the Lord for protecting us, for surely if He had not sent His angel we would have been caught.”

“But, Mother, where is the Bible? Did an angel really take it?”

“Not exactly, my dear,” Mother answered. “But an angel did tell me what to do. Come, let us kneel and thank God for His protection.”

“Now, dear,” said Mother upon rising from her knees, “We will have some fresh bread for supper when Father comes. He should be here shortly.” Then, as though remembering Amanda’s question, she said, “You will find out about the Bible then.”

Now Amanda watched the path for Father. Upon seeing him, she ran to give him the exciting details of the day. “Wherever Mother put the Bible I do not know,” Amanda said breathlessly.

The house was still a wreck, but the table was set, and there in the middle of it was a loaf of bread. It was not the prettiest loaf of bread, as Mother had evidently not had time to smooth it out when the soldiers came. After grace, Mother cut the bread. Usually Father cut it, but this time Mother insisted. How carefully, almost reverently, she cut through the crust, as though this loaf of bread was the most precious thing on earth.

“Mother! There is the Bible!” Amanda exclaimed. Cautiously, Mother peeled the bread away from the precious Book. It seemed undamaged, as though miraculously preserved.

“So that is what happened to the Bible!” said Amanda in wonder. “You wrapped it in the bread dough and stuck it in the oven. Surely, if you had not been studying the Bible while making your bread you could not have hidden it, and the soldiers would have found it.”

“That is right,” said Mother. “When the soldiers came, I did not have time to even think. It was as if an angel spoke to me, and my hands immediately complied. I wrapped the Bible in the bread dough, put it in the last loaf pan, and put it into the oven. I would never have been able to think of it so quickly. Surely the Lord has protected us.”

Reprinted from (cited June 7, 2002).

Restoring the Temple – Skeletal Muscles

“But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty [God] of Jacob; (from thence [is] the shepherd, the stone of Israel:).” Genesis 49:24

Last month we learned about bones. We have bones in our arms and legs, but they cannot move and cannot make us move. Muscles supply movement. There are three types of muscles: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. The body has about 700 skeletal muscles, comprising approximately 40 percent of our body weight. Thirty of these muscles are in our face, allowing us to smile, frown, and have many other expressions. Our Creator made cardiac (heart) muscle very strong so that our hearts would work for three-quarters of a century or more, resting only between beats. Smooth muscles, like cardiac muscles, are not attached to the skeleton and are found in blood vessels and in the digestive tract. The largest muscles are the gluteus maximus, located in each buttock. The smallest are the tiny arrector pili muscles that raise the hairs on your skin when you are cold.

Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles. This means that we consciously will them to move. We wish to walk, or kick a ball, or turn the pages of this magazine and the muscles contract, making all of this and much, much more possible. Cardiac and smooth muscles are involuntary muscles. This is a really good idea, isn’t it? What if we had to consciously make our lungs expand and contract, even while sleeping? What if we had to will each beat of our heart, or control the movement of food through our digestive tracts? We could not do it! God is wondrous, maintaining every microscopic function of the body.

Could we live without muscles? One might think so. Do you have to have movement to live? That is the primary function of muscles, after all. Without them you would not be able to stand or walk or chew. But muscles do more than just move bones. Food makes its way through the body through the contraction of muscles. Otherwise you would chew your food and then be unable to swallow, and that would be the end of the food’s digestive journey! Think also of your blood. How does it flow to your head when you are standing? How does it flow to your feet when you are standing on your head? Why, muscles, of course. Breathing, speaking, and having the hairs rise on your arms when you are cold are all possible because of muscles.

Muscles work by pulling, never by pushing. Muscles contracting in pairs accomplish movement in multiple directions. Skeletal muscles are all attached to bones at each end of the muscles. For instance, the biceps muscle in your upper arm originates, or is attached, to the shoulder blade, and the other end is attached, or inserted, on the radius and ulna of the forearm, near the elbow. So imagine what happens when the muscle contracts, becoming shorter and fatter in appearance. If the biceps is attached to the shoulder and the forearm, what will happen? The elbow bends (the fulcrum of the lever) and the forearm is lifted.

Just like bones, muscles may be damaged. When someone says they have a “pulled” muscle, the muscle has been torn just like a bone may be broken. Our muscles are able to heal, although it takes longer than when our skin is damaged. Rest, fluids, and proper nutrition speed the healing process. Continuing to walk on a hurt leg, for instance, slows the healing process. Won’t it be wonderful in heaven when we don’t have to worry about injury anymore?

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28–31.

From the Pen of Inspiration – Delusions of the Last Days

Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” The Great Controversy, 588.

The signs and wonders of Spiritualism will become more and more pronounced as the professed Christian world rejects the plainly revealed truth of the Word of God, and refuses to be guided by a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” accepting instead the doctrines and the commandments of men. Through rejecting light and truth many are deciding their destiny for eternal death; and as men reject truth, the Spirit of God will gradually withdraw itself from the earth, and the prince of this earth will have more and more control over his subjects. He will show great signs and wonders as credentials of his divine claims, and through Spiritualism will work against Christ and his agencies.

The Scriptures positively forbid intercourse with evil angels on the supposition of communion with the dead. Through this deception Satan can educate souls in his school of falsehood, and make of none effect the lessons that Christ would teach, which, if practiced, would result in the eternal life of those who obey. Satan is seeking to form a great confederacy of evil by uniting fallen men and fallen angels. . . .

The great power that attends Spiritualism has its origin in the great leading rebel, Satan, the prince of devils. It is through his artifice that evil angels have been able to substitute themselves for the dead, and through lying hypocrisy they have led men to have intercourse with devils. Those who commune with the supposed spirits of the dead are communing with those who will have a corrupting, demoralizing power upon the mind. Christ commanded that we should have no intercourse with sorcerers and with those who have familiar spirits. This class are represented in the Gospel as among those who shall perish in their iniquity,—”the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” [Revelation 21:8.]

For years Spiritualism has been growing in strength and gaining in popularity by advocating a certain kind of faith in Christ, and thus many Protestants are becoming infatuated with this mystery of iniquity. It is little wonder that they are deluded, when they persistently retain the error that, as soon as the breath leaves the body, the spirit goes immediately to heaven or hell. Through the hold this doctrine has upon them the way is prepared for the delusive working of the prince of the power of the air. Satan personated the serpent in Eden, regarding this creature as best adapted for his line of temptations. Satan has been increasing in skillful methods by constantly practicing upon the human mind. It is his one purpose to complete the work which he began in Eden, and work the ruin of mankind. Through his mysterious workings he can insinuate himself into the circles of the most educated and refined, for he was once an exalted being, in a high position of responsibility among the heavenly hosts. It is a mistake to represent him as a monstrous being with hoofs and horns, for he is still a fallen angel. He is capable of uniting the highest intellectual greatness with the basest cruelty and the most degrading corruption. If he had not this power, many would escape his snares who are now charmed with his attractive representations and taken captive by his delusions.

As the Spirit of God shall be withdrawn from the earth, Satan’s power will be more and more manifest. The knowledge that he had through being in connection with God, as a covering cherub, he will now use to subordinate his subjects who fell from their high estate. He will use every power of his exalted intellect to misrepresent God and to instigate rebellion against Jesus Christ, the Commander of heaven. In the synagogue of Satan he brings under his scepter, and into his counsels, those agents whom he can use to promote his worship. It is not a strange matter to find a species of refinement, and a manifestation of intellectual greatness, in the lives and characters of those who are inspired by fallen angels. Satan can impart scientific knowledge, and give men chapters upon philosophy. He is conversant with history, and versed in worldly wisdom.

Almost every phase of talent is now being brought into captivity to the prince of the power of darkness. Worldly minded men, because they wish to exalt themselves, and have separated from God, do not love to retain God in their knowledge, for they claim to possess a higher, grander intellect than that of Jesus Christ. Satan envies Christ, and makes the claim that he is entitled to a higher position than the Commander of heaven. His self-exaltation led him to despise the law of God, and resulted in his expulsion from heaven.

Through the Papacy he has manifested his character, and brought out the principles of his government. Of this power the apostle Paul says: “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. . . . Shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” [2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7–12.] . . .

Satan will use his agencies to carry out diabolical devices, to overpower the saints of God, as in times past he used the Roman power to stay the course of Protestantism; yet the people of God can look calmly at the whole array of evil, and come to the triumphant conclusion that because Christ lives we shall live also. The people of God are to advance in the same spirit in which Jesus met the assaults of the prince of darkness in the past. The evil confederacy can advance only in the course which Jesus has marked out before them; every step of their advance brings the saints of God nearer the great white throne, nearer the successful termination of their warfare. The confederacy of evil will finally be destroyed; for the prophet says, “Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” [Malachi 4:1.] Even of him whose heart was lifted up because of his beauty, who corrupted his wisdom by reason of his brightness, the Lord says: “I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.” [Ezekiel 28:18, 19.] The Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894.