November 19, 2006 – November 25, 2006
“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.” 11 Thessalonians 2:3.
Study Help: The Great Controversy, 444–450.
“That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 52.
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:4–10.
1 What is the relationship between the Sabbath and the Law of God? Exodus 20:1–17; Deuteronomy 11:13; Matthew 22:37–40.
note: “The first and second commandments spoken by Jehovah are precepts against idolatry, which if practiced would lead men to great lengths in sin and rebellion, and result in the offering of human sacrifices. God would guard against the least approach to such abominations. The first four commandments were given to show men their duty to God. The fourth is the connecting link between the great God and man. The Sabbath especially, was given for the benefit of man, and for the honor of God. These last six precepts show the duty of man to his fellow-man.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 266, 267.
“In the heart of the law is the commandment enjoining upon man the observance of the Sabbath of Jehovah, which the world and the church have trodden under their feet. For centuries men have walked in blindness concerning the true Sabbath, and the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now is the day of reformation, and he calls upon men everywhere to repent. When the light of God’s disregarded commandment shone upon the path of those who sincerely loved God, they delayed not to keep his statutes.” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888.
2 Can any part of the law be changed without affecting our relationship with God? Matthew 5:17–19; 15:9.
note: “Those who teach for doctrines the commandments of men make void the law of God thru [sic] their tradition. . . . Just as long as the heavens remain above us, and the earth is beneath our feet, there can be no semblance of excuse for any power in heaven or earth to change the law of God.” The Signs of the Times, March 20, 1901.
“If the law of God could have been changed, or altered in one of its statutes, it would have been so altered when sin originated in heaven, when the brightest son of the morning, who was good, noble, and lovely above all the beings that God had created, found fault with the precepts of that law in the counsels of angels. If ever a change was to have been made, it would have been accomplished when rebellion revealed itself in heaven, and so have prevented the great apostasy of the angels. The fact that no change was made in God’s administration, even when the most exalted of the angels drew away from allegiance to God’s law, is evidence enough to reasonable minds that the law, the foundation of God’s government, will not relax its claims to save the willful transgressor.” Ibid., April 28, 1890.
3 What Scripture predicts that man will attempt to change the Law of God? Daniel 7:23–25; 11 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.
note: “That the law which was spoken by God’s own voice is faulty, that some specification has been set aside, is the claim which Satan now puts forward. It is the last great deception that he will bring upon the world. He needs not to assail the whole law; if he can lead men to disregard one precept, his purpose is gained. For ‘whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.’ James 2:10. By consenting to break one precept, men are brought under Satan’s power. By substituting human law for God’s law, Satan will seek to control the world. This work is foretold in prophecy. Of the great apostate power which is the representative of Satan, it is declared, ‘He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand.’ Daniel 7:25.” The Desire of Ages, 763.
4 What evidences show that Satan’s specific attack on the law is in regard to worship? 11 Thessalonians 2:5–11; Isaiah 14:12–14; Matthew 4:8–10.
note: “The detector of error having been removed, Satan worked according to his will. Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to ‘think to change times and laws.’ Daniel 7:25. This work it was not slow to attempt. To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number.
“The spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for a still further disregard of Heaven’s authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as ‘the venerable day of the sun.’ ” The Great Controversy, 51, 52.
5 What has God given as a sign of allegiance to Him? Exodus 31:13–17; Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
note: “Gather from the Scriptures the proofs that God has sanctified the seventh day, and let these proofs be read before the congregation. Let those who have not heard the truth be shown that all who turn aside from a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ must suffer the result of their course. In all ages the Sabbath has been the test of loyalty to God. ‘It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever,’ the Lord declares. [Exodus 31:17.]” Gospel Workers, 148, 149.
6 To whom is Sunday, “the venerable day of the sun,” a sign of allegiance? Deuteronomy 17:2–5; 11 Kings 23:5; Ezekiel 8:16–18.
note: “The day of the sun, Sunday, was a day devoted to the most vile of the heathen worship, for it was celebrated in connection with sun-worship. This Sunday-sabbath has been accepted by many who know it to be the foundling of heathenism, which has been cherished and nourished by the Church of Rome, and by her clothed in the garments of sanctity. But while many are now aware of its origin, there are true Christians in every church who do not know the origin of the Sunday-sabbath, and believe that they are keeping the day which God sanctified and blest. This is true of worshipers even in the Catholic Church; and while this ignorance and integrity remain, God accepts of their sincerity; but when light shall fall upon their pathway, God requires them to come into harmony with his law, and to observe the Sabbath of his appointing.” The Signs of the Times, November 19, 1894.
7 When we come to a knowledge of God’s will, what should our attitude be? Acts 5:29; 1 Samuel 15:22.
note: “We are to receive this [God’s] word as supreme authority. We are to recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment, and teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, within its legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God, we must obey God rather than men.” The Acts of the Apostles, 69.
8 How do we know that God is reasonable and does not require anything that is unreasonable? Isaiah 1:18, 19; Romans 12:2.
note: “God is merciful. His requirements are reasonable, in accordance with the goodness and benevolence of his character. The object of the Sabbath was that all mankind might be benefited. Man was not made to fit the Sabbath; for the Sabbath was made after the creation of man, to meet his necessities. God rested, after he had made the world in six days. He sanctified and blessed the day upon which he rested from all his work which he had created and made. He set apart that special day for man to rest from his labor, and reflect, as he should look upon the earth beneath, and the heavens above, that God made all these in six days, and rested upon the seventh; and that his heart might be filled with love and reverence to his Maker, as he should behold the tangible proofs of his infinite wisdom.” Review and Herald, May 30, 1871.
9 What does God call each believer to do? Deuteronomy 30:19, 20; Joshua 24:14, 15.
note: “After presenting the goodness of God toward Israel, Joshua called upon the people, in the name of Jehovah, to choose whom they would serve. The worship of idols was still to some extent secretly practiced, and Joshua endeavored now to bring the people to a decision that they would banish this sin from Israel. ‘If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord,’ he said, ‘choose ye this day whom ye will serve.’ [Joshua 24:15.] Joshua desired to lead them to serve God, not by compulsion, but willingly. Love to God is the very foundation of religion. To engage in his service merely from the hope of reward or the fear of punishment, would avail nothing. Open apostasy would not be more offensive to God than hypocrisy and mere formal worship.” The Youth’s Instructor, June 20, 1901.
“The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.” Steps to Christ, 47. [Emphasis in original.]
10 How does God view man’s substitutions in place of His directions in religious matters? Leviticus 10:1, 2; Numbers 3:4.
note: “The priests who burned incense before the Lord were required to use the fire of God’s kindling, which burned day and night, and was never extinguished. God gave explicit directions how every part of his service should be conducted, that all connected with his sacred worship might be in accordance with his holy character. And any deviation from the express directions of God in connection with his holy service was punishable with death. . . .
“Aaron’s sons took the common fire which God did not accept, and they offered insult to the infinite God by presenting this strange fire before him. God consumed them by fire for their positive disregard of his express directions.” Review and Herald, March 25, 1875.
11 What will be the result if we venture today to substitute man’s idea of proper worship in place of God’s explicit directions? Isaiah 50:11; 2:11, 12.
note: “Those who ignore the Lord’s Sabbath to keep holy the first day of the week, offer strange fire to God. It is a strange sabbath, which He has commanded them not. Will He accept it at their hands? Men have sought out many inventions. They have taken a common day, upon which God has placed no sanctity, and have clothed it with sacred prerogatives. They have declared it to be a holy day, but this does not give it a vestige of sanctity. They dishonor God by accepting human institutions and presenting to the world as the Christian Sabbath a day which has no ‘Thus saith the Lord’ for its authority. As did Nadab and Abihu, they offer the common in place of the sacred.” The Signs of the Times, March 31, 1898.
“The punishment visited upon the sons of Aaron for their sin in departing from God’s commandment, should be a warning to those who transgress the fourth commandment of Jehovah, which is very plain.” Ibid., July 8, 1880.
Sparks of Their Own Kindling—“This change was not at first attempted openly. In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. They were jealous for the honor of God, and, believing that His law is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts. But with great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held upon it; yet it was regarded as a day of recreation, the Sabbath being still sacredly observed.” The Great Controversy, 52.
“In the near future it will be seen just who have been walking humbly with God, and who have been obeying His orders. Those who have been walking in the sparks of their own kindling will lie down in sorrow. It will be seen that they have made a terrible mistake. O let us awake! Light is now shining; let the windows of the mind and heart be opened to welcome the heaven-sent rays.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 259.
Papal Substitution—“ ‘To obey is better than sacrifice.’ [1 Samuel 15:22.] This lesson is of special importance at the present time, when the claims of God’s law are urged upon our attention. The light now shining from the sacred word reveals the fact that an alien power has tampered with the statutes of Jehovah. The papacy, ‘the man of sin,’ [11 Thessalonians 2:3] has attempted to change the times and laws of divine appointment. The Creator of the heavens and the earth commanded, ‘The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.’ [Exodus 20:10.] This command was enforced by the example of its Author, proclaimed with his own voice, and placed in the very bosom of the decalogue. But the papal power has removed this divine ordinance, and substituted a day which God has not sanctified, and upon which he did not rest, the festival so long adored by heathens as the ‘venerable day of the sun.’ ” The Signs of the Times, September 14, 1882.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.