Bible Study Guides – Luther

November 20, 2010 – November 26, 2010

Key Text

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habbakuk 2:4.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 120–170; Early Writings, 222–226.


“Zealous, ardent, and devoted, knowing no fear but the fear of God, and acknowledging no foundation for religious faith but the Holy Scriptures, Luther was the man for his time; through him God accomplished a great work for the reformation of the church and the enlightenment of the world.” The Great Controversy, 120.

1 What parable illustrates the experience of Martin Luther when he found the Bible for the first time? Matthew 13:44–46.

Note: “While one day examining the books in the library of the university, Luther discovered a Latin Bible. Such a book he had never before seen. He was ignorant even of its existence. He had heard portions of the Gospels and Epistles, which were read to the people at public worship, and he supposed that these were the entire Bible. Now, for the first time, he looked upon the whole of God’s word. With mingled awe and wonder he turned the sacred pages; with quickened pulse and throbbing heart he read for himself the words of life, pausing now and then to exclaim: ‘O that God would give me such a book for myself!’ ” The Great Controversy, 122.

2 As Luther drank deeper and deeper at the fountain of truth and light, what did he do to better understand it? How did he share his joy? Psalm 119:97–104.

Note: “Luther was ordained a priest and was called from the cloister to a professorship in the University of Wittenberg. Here he applied himself to the study of the Scriptures in the original tongues. He began to lecture upon the Bible; and the book of Psalms, the Gospels, and the Epistles were opened to the understanding of crowds of delighted listeners.” The Great Controversy, 124.

3 When an official raising money to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica was selling indulgences where Luther was pastor, what Scriptures came to Luther’s mind? Acts 8:20; 4:12. What effect did the publication by Luther of ninety-five theses have against this practice?

Note: “His [Luther’s] propositions attracted universal attention. They were read and reread, and repeated in every direction. Great excitement was created in the university and in the whole city. By these theses it was shown that the power to grant the pardon of sin, and to remit its penalty, had never been committed to the pope or to any other man. The whole scheme was a farce—an artifice to extort money by playing upon the superstitions of the people—a device of Satan to destroy the souls of all who should trust to its lying pretensions. It was also clearly shown that the gospel of Christ is the most valuable treasure of the church, and that the grace of God, therein revealed, is freely bestowed upon all who seek it by repentance and faith.

“Luther’s theses challenged discussion; but no one dared accept the challenge. The questions which he proposed had in a few days spread through all Germany, and in a few weeks they had sounded throughout Christendom. Many devoted Romanists, who had seen and lamented the terrible iniquity prevailing in the church, but had not known how to arrest its progress, read the propositions with great joy, recognizing in them the voice of God. They felt that the Lord had graciously set His hand to arrest the rapidly swelling tide of corruption that was issuing from the see of Rome. Princes and magistrates secretly rejoiced that a check was to be put upon the arrogant power which denied the right of appeal from its decisions.” The Great Controversy, 130.

4 What most powerful weapon was in constant use by the Reformers and has been the foundation of reform in all ages? Nehemiah 2:4; Isaiah 38:2, 3.

Note: “From the secret place of prayer came the power that shook the world in the Great Reformation. There, with holy calmness, the servants of the Lord set their feet upon the rock of His promises. During the struggle at Augsburg, Luther ‘did not pass a day without devoting three hours at least to prayer, and they were hours selected from those the most favorable to study.’ In the privacy of his chamber he was heard to pour out his soul before God in words ‘full of adoration, fear, and hope, as when one speaks to a friend.’ ” The Great Controversy, 210.

5 What were some unfortunate reactions to Luther’s work?

Note: “The sin-loving and superstitious multitudes were terrified as the sophistries that had soothed their fears were swept away. Crafty ecclesiastics, interrupted in their work of sanctioning crime, and seeing their gains endangered, were enraged, and rallied to uphold their pretensions. The Reformer had bitter accusers to meet. Some charged him with acting hastily and from impulse. Others accused him of presumption, declaring that he was not directed of God, but was acting from pride and forwardness.” The Great Controversy, 130.

6 In bringing Luther before the Diet of Worms, to what did the papists resort in an effort to silence him? Matthew 27:1, 2. What characterized his response?

Note: “Those who stubbornly closed their eyes to the light, and determined not to be convinced of the truth, were enraged at the power of Luther’s words. As he ceased speaking, the spokesman of the Diet said angrily: ‘You have not answered the question put to you. … You are required to give a clear and precise answer. … Will you, or will you not, retract?’

“The Reformer answered: ‘Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen.’ ” The Great Controversy, 160.

7 How was it that Luther, a simple monk alone, was not intimidated by the assembly? John 16:33. Who stood alone in similar circumstances? Acts 6:9, 11, 15.

Note: “Thus stood this righteous man upon the sure foundation of the word of God. The light of heaven illuminated his [the Reformer’s] countenance. His greatness and purity of character, his peace and joy of heart, were manifest to all as he testified against the power of error and witnessed to the superiority of that faith that overcomes the world.” The Great Controversy, 160.

8 Who was favorable to the cause advocated by Luther?

Note: “The elector Frederick had looked forward anxiously to Luther’s appearance before the Diet, and with deep emotion he listened to his speech. With joy and pride he witnessed the doctor’s courage, firmness, and self-possession, and determined to stand more firmly in his defense. He contrasted the parties in contest, and saw that the wisdom of popes, kings, and prelates had been brought to nought by the power of truth. The papacy had sustained a defeat which would be felt among all nations and in all ages.” The Great Controversy, 162.

9 Who was with Luther in this trial? Matthew 28:20. Under the persuasion of the papists, what decision did Charles V make?

Note: “Two conflicting opinions were now urged by the members of the Diet. The emissaries and representatives of the pope again demanded that the Reformer’s safe-conduct should be disregarded. ‘The Rhine,’ they said, ‘should receive his ashes, as it had received those of John Huss a century ago.’ …

“Charles himself, in answer to the base proposal, said: ‘Though honor and faith should be banished from all the world, they ought to find a refuge in the hearts of princes.’ … He was still further urged by the most bitter of Luther’s papal enemies to deal with the Reformer as Sigismund had dealt with Huss—abandon him to the mercies of the church; but recalling the scene when Huss in public assembly had pointed to his chains and reminded the monarch of his plighted faith, Charles V declared: ‘I should not like to blush like Sigismund.’—Lenfant, vol. 1, p. 422.

“Yet Charles had deliberately rejected the truths presented by Luther. ‘I am firmly resolved to imitate the example of my ancestors,’ wrote the monarch.—D’Aubigne, b. 7, ch. 9. He had decided that he would not step out of the path of custom, even to walk in the ways of truth and righteousness. Because his fathers did, he would uphold the papacy, with all its cruelty and corruption. Thus he took his position, refusing to accept any light in advance of what his fathers had received, or to perform any duty that they had not performed.” The Great Controversy, 163, 164.

10 When Luther had triumphed over the papists before the Diet, how was he protected from their wrath and determination to kill him? Psalm 31:19–21. What other benefits came as a result?

Note: “God had provided a way of escape for His servant in this hour of peril. A vigilant eye had followed Luther’s movements, and a true and noble heart had resolved upon his rescue. It was plain that Rome would be satisfied with nothing short of his death; only by concealment could he be preserved from the jaws of the lion. God gave wisdom to Frederick of Saxony to devise a plan for the Reformer’s preservation. With the co-operation of true friends the elector’s purpose was carried out, and Luther was effectually hidden from friends and foes.” The Great Controversy, 168.

“While his [Luther’s] enemies flattered themselves that he was silenced, they were astonished and confused by tangible proof that he was still active. A host of tracts, issuing from his pen, circulated throughout Germany. He also performed a most important service for his countrymen by translating the New Testament into the German tongue. From his rocky Patmos he continued for nearly a whole year to proclaim the gospel and rebuke the sins and errors of the times.” Ibid., 169.

11 What Divine plan was also fulfilled in the concealing of Luther for a while? Psalm 115:1. How is this a lesson for our time?

Note: “He [God] desired that work [of the Reformation] to receive, not the impress of man, but that of God. The eyes of men had been turned to Luther as the expounder of the truth; he was removed that all eyes might be directed to the eternal Author of truth.” The Great Controversy, 170.

Personal Review Questions

1 How and where did Luther find the light of gospel truth?

2 What brought Luther to publicly proclaim the arguments of the truth?

3 How did the papal authorities try to silence Luther?

4 How was Luther’s appearance before the Diet both a triumph and a tragedy?

5 Explain how God’s goodness overruled perilous adversity in the life of Luther.

Additional Reading

“Notwithstanding all the persecution of the saints, living witnesses for God’s truth were raised up on every hand. Angels of the Lord were doing the work committed to their trust. They were searching in the darkest places and selecting out of the darkness men who were honest in heart. These were all buried up in error, yet God called them, as He did Saul, to be chosen vessels to bear His truth and raise their voices against the sins of His professed people. Angels of God moved upon the hearts of Martin Luther, Melanchthon, and others in different places, and caused them to thirst for the living testimony of the Word of God. The enemy had come in like a flood, and the standard must be raised against him. Luther was the one chosen to breast the storm, stand up against the ire of a fallen church, and strengthen the few who were faithful to their holy profession. He was ever fearful of offending God. He tried through works to obtain His favor, but was not satisfied until a gleam of light from heaven drove the darkness from his mind and led him to trust, not in works, but in the merits of the blood of Christ. He could then come to God for himself, not through popes or confessors, but through Jesus Christ alone.” Early Writings, 222, 223.

©2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Bible Study Guides – Huss and Jerome

November 13, 2010 – November 19, 2010

Key Text

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 97–119; The Acts of the Apostles, 598–600.


“ ‘I call God to witness that all that I have written and preached has been with the view of rescuing souls from sin and perdition; and, therefore, most joyfully will I confirm with my blood that truth which I have written and preached.’ ” The Great Controversy, 109.

1 In what century was the gospel established in Bohemia and in what language was their Bible and their worship?

Note: “The gospel had been planted in Bohemia as early as the ninth century. The Bible was translated, and public worship was conducted, in the language of the people.” The Great Controversy, 97.

2 Contrary to the example in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, what directive did Pope Gregory VII make and what reason did he give? Nehemiah 8:5–8.

Note: “Gregory VII, who had taken it upon himself to humble the pride of kings, was no less intent upon enslaving the people, and accordingly a bull was issued forbidding public worship to be conducted in the Bohemian tongue. The pope declared that ‘it was pleasing to the Omnipotent that His worship should be celebrated in an unknown language, and that many evils and heresies had arisen from not observing this rule.’—Wylie, b. 3, ch. 1. Thus Rome decreed that the light of God’s word should be extinguished and the people should be shut up in darkness.” The Great Controversy, 97.

3 What similarities may be observed between the childhood and youth of John Huss and Samuel, the Old Testament prophet? 1 Samuel 1:28; 2:1, 8.

Note: “John Huss was of humble birth, and was early left an orphan by the death of his father. His pious mother, regarding education and the fear of God as the most valuable of possessions, sought to secure this heritage for her son. Huss studied at the provincial school, and then repaired to the university at Prague, receiving admission as a charity scholar. He was accompanied on the journey to Prague by his mother; widowed and poor, she had no gifts of worldly wealth to bestow upon her son, but as they drew near to the great city, she kneeled down beside the fatherless youth and invoked for him the blessing of their Father in heaven. Little did that mother realize how her prayer was to be answered.

“At the university, Huss soon distinguished himself by his untiring application and rapid progress, while his blameless life and gentle, winning deportment gained him universal esteem. … After completing his college course, he entered the priesthood, and rapidly attaining to eminence, he soon became attached to the court of the king. He was also made professor and afterward rector of the university where he had received his education. In a few years the humble charity scholar had become the pride of his country, and his name was renowned throughout Europe.” The Great Controversy, 98, 99.

4 Huss was eventually appointed preacher of the “chapel of Bethlehem.” What significance did this chapel have, and what characterized the preaching of Huss? Isaiah 50:4; Ephesians 5:11; II Timothy 4:2.

Note: “Several years after taking priest’s orders he [Huss] was appointed preacher of the chapel of Bethlehem. The founder of this chapel had advocated, as a matter of great importance, the preaching of the Scriptures in the language of the people. Notwithstanding Rome’s opposition to this practice, it had not been wholly discontinued in Bohemia. But there was great ignorance of the Bible, and the worst vices prevailed among the people of all ranks. These evils Huss unsparingly denounced, appealing to the word of God to enforce the principles of truth and purity which he inculcated.” The Great Controversy, 99.

5 Who returned to Bohemia with the writings of Wycliffe? Revealing Divine providence, what royal connection also helped the cause of the Reformation?

Note: “A citizen of Prague, Jerome, who afterward became so closely associated with Huss, had, on returning from England, brought with him the writings of Wycliffe. The queen of England, who had been a convert to Wycliffe’s teachings, was a Bohemian princess, and through her influence also the Reformer’s works were widely circulated in her native country. These works Huss read with interest; he believed their author to be a sincere Christian and was inclined to regard with favor the reforms which he advocated. Already, though he knew it not, Huss had entered upon a path which was to lead him far away from Rome.” The Great Controversy, 99.

6 How was Huss, among others, influenced by the sermon without words given by two English teachers? Habbakuk 2:2.

Note: “About this time there arrived in Prague two strangers from England, men of learning, who had received the light and had come to spread it in this distant land. Beginning with an open attack on the pope’s supremacy, they were soon silenced by the authorities; but being unwilling to relinquish their purpose, they had recourse to other measures. Being artists as well as preachers, they proceeded to exercise their skill. In a place open to the public they drew two pictures. One represented the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, ‘meek, and sitting upon an ass’ (Matthew 21:5), and followed by His disciples in travel-worn garments and with naked feet. The other picture portrayed a pontifical procession—the pope arrayed in his rich robes and triple crown, mounted upon a horse magnificently adorned, preceded by trumpeters and followed by cardinals and prelates in dazzling array.

“Here was a sermon which arrested the attention of all classes. Crowds came to gaze upon the drawings. None could fail to read the moral, and many were deeply impressed by the contrast between the meekness and humility of Christ the Master and the pride and arrogance of the pope, His professed servant. There was great commotion in Prague, and the strangers after a time found it necessary, for their own safety, to depart. But the lesson they had taught was not forgotten. The pictures made a deep impression on the mind of Huss and led him to a closer study of the Bible and of Wycliffe’s writings.” The Great Controversy, 99, 100.

7 What purpose of God was being fulfilled in Bohemia by the work of Huss and Jerome in their day? Proverbs 4:18.

Note: “God permitted great light to shine upon the minds of these chosen men, revealing to them [Huss and Jerome] many of the errors of Rome; but they did not receive all the light that was to be given to the world. Through these, His servants, God was leading the people out of the darkness of Romanism; but there were many and great obstacles for them to meet, and He led them on, step by step, as they could bear it. They were not prepared to receive all the light at once. Like the full glory of the noontide sun to those who have long dwelt in darkness, it would, if presented, have caused them to turn away. Therefore He revealed it to the leaders little by little, as it could be received by the people. From century to century, other faithful workers were to follow, to lead the people on still further in the path of reform.” The Great Controversy, 103.

8 After a long battle against entrenched evils and superstitions, what prophecy of Jesus was literally fulfilled in the experience of Huss? Matthew 10:16–22.

Note: “The Reformer was in a short time arrested, by order of the pope and cardinals, and thrust into a loathsome dungeon. Later he was transferred to a strong castle across the Rhine and there kept a prisoner. …

“Enfeebled by illness and imprisonment—for the damp, foul air of his dungeon had brought on a fever which nearly ended his life—Huss was at last brought before the council. Loaded with chains he stood in the presence of the emperor, whose honor and good faith had been pledged to protect him. During his long trial he firmly maintained the truth, and in the presence of the assembled dignitaries of church and state he uttered a solemn and faithful protest against the corruptions of the hierarchy. When required to choose whether he would recant his doctrines or suffer death, he accepted the martyr’s fate.

“The grace of God sustained him. During the weeks of suffering that passed before his final sentence, heaven’s peace filled his soul. ‘I write this letter,’ he said to a friend, ‘in my prison, and with my fettered hand, expecting my sentence of death tomorrow. … When, with the assistance of Jesus Christ, we shall again meet in the delicious peace of the future life, you will learn how merciful God has shown Himself toward me, how effectually He has supported me in the midst of my temptations and trials.’—Bonnechose, vol. 2, p. 67.” The Great Controversy, 106, 107.

9 When taken to the tribunal, what pledge was betrayed and whom did Huss reproach? What prophecy was thus fulfilled? Jeremiah 17:5–7.

Note: “For the last time, Huss was brought before the council. …

“Being called upon for his final decision, Huss declared his refusal to abjure, and, fixing his penetrating glance upon the monarch whose plighted word had been so shamelessly violated, he declared: ‘I determined, of my own free will, to appear before this council, under the public protection and faith of the emperor here present.’—Bonnechose, vol. 2, p. 84. A deep flush crimsoned the face of Sigismund as the eyes of all in the assembly turned upon him.” The Great Controversy, 108.

10 When tied to the stake, what invitation was Huss given to save himself and what was his response? Matthew 16:24–26.

Note: “He [Huss] was now delivered up to the secular authorities and led away to the place of execution. An immense procession followed, hundreds of men at arms, priests and bishops in their costly robes, and the inhabitants of Constance. When he had been fastened to the stake, and all was ready for the fire to be lighted, the martyr was once more exhorted to save himself by renouncing his errors. ‘What errors,’ said Huss, ‘shall I renounce? I know myself guilty of none. I call God to witness that all that I have written and preached has been with the view of rescuing souls from sin and perdition; and, therefore, most joyfully will I confirm with my blood that truth which I have written and preached.’ ” The Great Controversy, 109.

Personal Review Questions

1 What were the circumstances of the birth and training of Huss?

2 What enlightened Huss and his country until the papal suppression?

3 What was the influence of Wycliffe on Bohemia?

4 How did the papacy try to quench the light?

5 What was the final testimony of Huss?

Additional Reading

“The enemy of righteousness left nothing undone in his effort to stop the work committed to the Lord’s builders. But God ‘left not Himself without witness.’ Acts 14:17. Workers were raised up who ably defended the faith once delivered to the saints. History bears record to the fortitude and heroism of these men. Like the apostles, many of them fell at their post, but the building of the temple went steadily forward. The workmen were slain, but the work advanced. The Waldenses, John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, Martin Luther and Zwingli, Cranmer, Latimer, and Knox, the Huguenots, John and Charles Wesley, and a host of others brought to the foundation material that will endure throughout eternity. And in later years those who have so nobly endeavored to promote the circulation of God’s word, and those who by their service in heathen lands have prepared the way for the proclamation of the last great message—these also have helped to rear the structure.

“Through the ages that have passed since the days of the apostles, the building of God’s temple has never ceased. We may look back through the centuries and see the living stones of which it is composed gleaming like jets of light through the darkness of error and superstition. Throughout eternity these precious jewels will shine with increasing luster, testifying to the power of the truth of God. The flashing light of these polished stones reveals the strong contrast between light and darkness, between the gold of truth and the dross of error.” The Acts of the Apostles, 598, 599.

©2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Bible Study Guides – The Morning Star

November 7, 2010 – November 13, 2010

Key Text

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” Psalm 111:10.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 79–96; Education, 123–127.


“The great movement that Wycliffe inaugurated, which was to liberate the conscience and the intellect, and set free the nations so long bound to the triumphal car of Rome, had its spring in the Bible.” The Great Controversy, 93.

1 During the Dark Ages, what hope did the people of God have? Romans 13:12.

Note: “In the fourteenth century arose in England the ‘morning star of the Reformation.’ John Wycliffe was the herald of reform, not for England alone, but for all Christendom. The great protest against Rome which it was permitted him to utter was never to be silenced. That protest opened the struggle which was to result in the emancipation of individuals, of churches, and of nations.” The Great Controversy, 80.

2 Although Wycliffe received a liberal education as did others, what made the difference in his case? Psalms 111:10; 119:99.

Note: “Wycliffe received a liberal education, and with him the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom. He was noted at college for his fervent piety as well as for his remarkable talents and sound scholarship. In his thirst for knowledge he sought to become acquainted with every branch of learning. … While he could wield the weapons drawn from the word of God, he had acquired the intellectual discipline of the schools, and he understood the tactics of the schoolmen.” The Great Controversy, 80.

3 In the time of Wycliffe, what were the languages in which the Scriptures were available?

Note: “While Wycliffe was still at college, he entered upon the study of the Scriptures. In those early times, when the Bible existed only in the ancient languages, scholars were enabled to find their way to the fountain of truth, which was closed to the uneducated classes. Thus already the way had been prepared for Wycliffe’s future work as a Reformer.” The Great Controversy, 80.

4 How did Wycliffe repeat the experience of Jeremiah and the psalmist when he investigated the Word of God? Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 119:130.

Note: “When Wycliffe’s attention was directed to the Scriptures, he entered upon their investigation with the same thoroughness which had enabled him to master the learning of the schools. Heretofore he had felt a great want, which neither his scholastic studies nor the teaching of the church could satisfy. In the word of God he found that which he had before sought in vain. Here he saw the plan of salvation revealed and Christ set forth as the only advocate for man. He gave himself to the service of Christ and determined to proclaim the truths he had discovered.” The Great Controversy, 81.

5 After a period overseas to defend the English crown against the encroachments of Rome, what gave Wycliffe confidence to continue his plain speaking? John 5:39; Genesis 15:1.

Note: “Wycliffe was called to defend the rights of the English crown against the encroachments of Rome; and being appointed a royal ambassador, he spent two years in the Netherlands, in conference with the commissioners of the pope. Here he was brought into communication with ecclesiastics from France, Italy, and Spain, and he had an opportunity to look behind the scenes and gain a knowledge of many things which would have remained hidden from him in England. He learned much that was to give point to his after labors. In these representatives from the papal court he read the true character and aims of the hierarchy. He returned to England to repeat his former teachings more openly and with greater zeal, declaring that covetousness, pride, and deception were the gods of Rome. …

“Soon after his return to England, Wycliffe received from the king the appointment to the rectory of Lutterworth. This was an assurance that the monarch at least had not been displeased by his plain speaking. Wycliffe’s influence was felt in shaping the action of the court, as well as in molding the belief of the nation.

“The papal thunders were soon hurled against him. Three bulls were dispatched to England—to the university, to the king, and to the prelates—all commanding immediate and decisive measures to silence the teacher of heresy.” The Great Controversy, 84, 85.

6 In what way did the Lord fulfill His promise to protect His servant and open the way for the development of the Reformation? Isaiah 54:17.

Note: “The arrival of the papal bulls laid upon all England a peremptory command for the arrest and imprisonment of the heretic. These measures pointed directly to the stake. It appeared certain that Wycliffe must soon fall a prey to the vengeance of Rome. But He who declared to one of old, ‘Fear not: … I am thy shield’ (Genesis 15:1), again stretched out His hand to protect His servant. Death came, not to the Reformer, but to the pontiff who had decreed his destruction. Gregory XI died, and the ecclesiastics who had assembled for Wycliffe’s trial, dispersed.” The Great Controversy, 86.

7 How did the death of Pope Gregory XI aid the work of the Reformation, and what was revealed to the people about the papacy in the events that followed? Isaiah 57:19–21.

Note: “God’s providence still further overruled events to give opportunity for the growth of the Reformation. The death of Gregory was followed by the election of two rival popes. Two conflicting powers, each professedly infallible, now claimed obedience. …

“The schism, with all the strife and corruption which it caused, prepared the way for the Reformation by enabling the people to see what the papacy really was. In a tract which he published, On the Schism of the Popes, Wycliffe called upon the people to consider whether these two priests were not speaking the truth in condemning each other as the anti-christ.” The Great Controversy, 86, 87.

8 What precious heritage was Wycliff able to bequeath to the English-speaking people? II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:19–21.

Note: “He [Wycliffe] lived to place in the hands of his countrymen the most powerful of all weapons against Rome—to give them the Bible, the Heaven-appointed agent to liberate, enlighten, and evangelize the people. There were many and great obstacles to surmount in the accomplishment of this work. Wycliffe was weighed down with infirmities; he knew that only a few years for labor remained for him. …

“At last the work was completed—the first English translation of the Bible ever made. The word of God was opened to England. The Reformer feared not now the prison or the stake. He had placed in the hands of the English people a light which should never be extinguished. In giving the Bible to his countrymen, he had done more to break the fetters of ignorance and vice, more to liberate and elevate his country, than was ever achieved by the most brilliant victories on fields of battle.” The Great Controversy, 88.

9 Why is Wycliffe called the “morning star?” In what way did he herald the light of the Reformation? Psalm 119:105.

Note: “Wycliffe came from the obscurity of the Dark Ages. There were none who went before him from whose work he could shape his system of reform. Raised up like John the Baptist to accomplish a special mission, he was the herald of a new era. Yet in the system of truth which he presented there was a unity and completeness which Reformers who followed him did not exceed, and which some did not reach, even a hundred years later. So broad and deep was laid the foundation, so firm and true was the framework, that it needed not to be reconstructed by those who came after him.” The Great Controversy, 93.

10 How was Divine providence working to break the shackles of papal darkness in the minds of the common people? Isaiah 55:10, 11.

Note: “The great movement that Wycliffe inaugurated, which was to liberate the conscience and the intellect, and set free the nations so long bound to the triumphal car of Rome, had its spring in the Bible. Here was the source of that stream of blessing, which, like the water of life, has flowed down the ages since the fourteenth century. Wycliffe accepted the Holy Scriptures with implicit faith as the inspired revelation of God’s will, a sufficient rule of faith and practice.” The Great Controversy, 93.

“It was through the writings of Wycliffe that John Huss, of Bohemia, was led to renounce many of the errors of Romanism and to enter upon the work of reform. … A divine hand was preparing the way for the Great Reformation.” Ibid., 96.

Personal Review Questions

1 What was the first point that turned Wycliffe in the way of God?

2 What was Wycliffe’s desire as he realized the truth in the Scriptures?

3 What particularly did he attack in the light of the Word of God?

4 What was his great bequest to the English people?

5 How far did the work of his influence extend?

Additional Reading

“A third time he was brought to trial, and now before the highest ecclesiastical tribunal in the kingdom. Here no favor would be shown to heresy. Here at last Rome would triumph, and the Reformer’s work would be stopped. So thought the papists. If they could but accomplish their purpose, Wycliffe would be forced to abjure his doctrines, or would leave the court only for the flames.

“But Wycliffe did not retract; he would not dissemble. He fearlessly maintained his teachings and repelled the accusations of his persecutors. Losing sight of himself, of his position, of the occasion, he summoned his hearers before the divine tribunal, and weighed their sophistries and deceptions in the balances of eternal truth. The power of the Holy Spirit was felt in the council room. A spell from God was upon the hearers. They seemed to have no power to leave the place. As arrows from the Lord’s quiver, the Reformer’s words pierced their hearts. The charge of heresy, which they had brought against him, he with convincing power threw back upon themselves. Why, he demanded, did they dare to spread their errors? For the sake of gain, to make merchandise of the grace of God?

“ ‘With whom, think you,’ he finally said, ‘are ye contending? with an old man on the brink of the grave? No! with Truth—Truth which is stronger than you, and will overcome you.’—Wylie, b. 2, ch. 13. So saying, he withdrew from the assembly, and not one of his adversaries attempted to prevent him.

“Wycliffe’s work was almost done; the banner of truth which he had so long borne was soon to fall from his hand; but once more he was to bear witness for the gospel. The truth was to be proclaimed from the very stronghold of the kingdom of error. Wycliffe was summoned for trial before the papal tribunal at Rome, which had so often shed the blood of the saints. He was not blind to the danger that threatened him, yet he would have obeyed the summons had not a shock of palsy made it impossible for him to perform the journey. But though his voice was not to be heard at Rome, he could speak by letter, and this he determined to do. From his rectory the Reformer wrote to the pope a letter, which, while respectful in tone and Christian in spirit, was a keen rebuke to the pomp and pride of the papal see.

“ ‘Verily I do rejoice,’ he said, ‘to open and declare unto every man the faith which I do hold, and especially unto the bishop of Rome: which, forasmuch as I do suppose to be sound and true, he will most willingly confirm my said faith, or if it be erroneous, amend the same.’ ” The Great Controversy, 90, 91.

©2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Bible Study Guides – The Waldenses

October 31, 2010 – November 6, 2010

The Dark Ages and the Reformation

Key Text

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 455, 456; The Great Controversy, 64–78.


“The Waldenses had sacrificed their worldly prosperity for the truth’s sake.” The Great Controversy, 67.

1 Why did the twelfth century Waldenses have clearer views of “the faith once delivered to the saints” than had the papacy? John 7:16, 17.

Note: “Of those who resisted the encroachments of the papal power, the Waldenses stood foremost. In the very land where popery had fixed its seat, there its falsehood and corruption were most steadfastly resisted. For centuries the churches of Piedmont maintained their independence; but the time came at last when Rome insisted upon their submission. After ineffectual struggles against her tyranny, the leaders of these churches reluctantly acknowledged the supremacy of the power to which the whole world seemed to pay homage. There were some, however, who refused to yield to the authority of pope or prelate. They were determined to maintain their allegiance to God and to preserve the purity and simplicity of their faith. A separation took place. Those who adhered to the ancient faith now withdrew; some, forsaking their native Alps, raised the banner of truth in foreign lands.” The Great Controversy, 64.

2 Upon what did these simple people base their faith, and why did it appear to be new? Jude 3.

Note: “Theirs was not a faith newly received. Their [the Waldensians*] religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers. They contended for the faith of the apostolic church.” The Great Controversy, 64. *The Waldenses are also called the Vaudois.

3 As the Waldenses were among the first people to receive the Scriptures in their own language, what did they teach concerning Rome? Revelation 17:1–6.

Note: “The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution. They declared the Church of Rome to be the apostate Babylon of the Apocalypse, and at the peril of their lives they stood up to resist her corruptions. While, under the pressure of long-continued persecution, some compromised their faith, little by little yielding its distinctive principles, others held fast the truth. Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempests of opposition they maintained their faith. Though gashed by the Savoyard spear, and scorched by the Romish fagot, they stood unflinchingly for God’s word and His honor.” The Great Controversy, 65.

4 As it was their lot to fulfill the prophecy of Hebrews 11, where did the Waldenses meet to worship, in contrast to the papal cathedrals? Hebrews 11:38–40; John 4:23, 24.

Note: “Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains—in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed—the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.” The Great Controversy, 65, 66.

5 What was the basis of the Waldenses’ life, faith and education? How was this transmitted to their children? Deuteronomy 6:6, 7.

Note: “The Waldenses had sacrificed their worldly prosperity for the truth’s sake, and with persevering patience they toiled for their bread. Every spot of tillable land among the mountains was carefully improved; the valleys and the less fertile hillsides were made to yield their increase. Economy and severe self-denial formed a part of the education which the children received as their only legacy. They were taught that God designs life to be a discipline, and that their wants could be supplied only by personal labor, by forethought, care, and faith. The process was laborious and wearisome, but it was wholesome, just what man needs in his fallen state, the school which God has provided for his training and development. While the youth were inured to toil and hardship, the culture of the intellect was not neglected. They were taught that all their powers belonged to God, and that all were to be improved and developed for His service.” The Great Controversy, 67, 68.

6 What marked contrast was seen between the Waldensian pastors and the haughty priests of Rome? Matthew 20:28.

Note: “Their [The Vaudois] pastors, unlike the lordly priests of Rome, followed the example of their Master, who ‘came not to be ministered unto, but to minister’ [Matthew 20:28]. They fed the flock of God, leading them to the green pastures and living fountains of His holy word. …

“From their pastors the youth received instruction. While attention was given to branches of general learning, the Bible was made the chief study. The Gospels of Matthew and John were committed to memory, with many of the Epistles. They were employed also in copying the Scriptures. Some manuscripts contained the whole Bible, others only brief selections, to which some simple explanations of the text were added by those who were able to expound the Scriptures. Thus were brought forth the treasures of truth so long concealed by those who sought to exalt themselves above God.” The Great Controversy, 68, 69.

7 For what did the Waldenses’ education prepare them, and what was considered an essential part of their training? II Timothy 2:3–5.

Note: “The spirit of Christ is a missionary spirit. The very first impulse of the renewed heart is to bring others also to the Saviour. Such was the spirit of the Vaudois Christians. They felt that God required more of them than merely to preserve the truth in its purity in their own churches; that a solemn responsibility rested upon them to let their light shine forth to those who were in darkness; by the mighty power of God’s word they sought to break the bondage which Rome had imposed. The Vaudois ministers were trained as missionaries, everyone who expected to enter the ministry being required first to gain an experience as an evangelist. Each was to serve three years in some mission field before taking charge of a church at home. This service, requiring at the outset self-denial and sacrifice, was a fitting introduction to the pastor’s life in those times that tried men’s souls. The youth who received ordination to the sacred office saw before them, not the prospect of earthly wealth and glory, but a life of toil and danger, and possibly a martyr’s fate.” The Great Controversy, 70, 71.

8 How did they bring the truth to the people as far as possible without causing the opposition of the priests? Matthew 10:16.

Note: “To have made known the object of their mission would have ensured its defeat; therefore they [the Vaudois missionaries] carefully concealed their real character. Every minister possessed a knowledge of some trade or profession, and the missionaries prosecuted their work under cover of a secular calling. Usually they chose that of merchant or peddler. ‘They carried silks, jewelry, and other articles, at that time not easily purchasable save at distant marts; and they were welcomed as merchants where they would have been spurned as missionaries.’—Wylie, b. 1, ch. 7. All the while their hearts were uplifted to God for wisdom to present a treasure more precious than gold or gems. They secretly carried about with them copies of the Bible, in whole or in part; and whenever an opportunity was presented, they called the attention of their customers to these manuscripts. Often an interest to read God’s word was thus awakened, and some portion was gladly left with those who desired to receive it.” The Great Controversy, 71.

9 What example did the Waldenses and their ministers follow? John 4:31–34.

Note: “The Waldenses longed to break to these starving souls the bread of life, to open to them the messages of peace in the promises of God, and to point them to Christ as their only hope of salvation. …

“Eagerly did the Vaudois missionary unfold to the inquiring mind the precious truths of the gospel. Cautiously he produced the carefully written portions of the Holy Scriptures. … With quivering lip and tearful eye did he, often on bended knees, open to his brethren the precious promises that reveal the sinner’s only hope.” The Great Controversy, 73, 74.

10 What desire enables this church to survive repeated efforts to exterminate it? Acts 11:23.

Note: “The persecutions visited for many centuries upon this God-fearing people were endured by them with a patience and constancy that honored their Redeemer. Notwithstanding the crusades against them, and the inhuman butchery to which they were subjected, they continued to send out their missionaries to scatter the precious truth. They were hunted to death; yet their blood watered the seed sown, and it failed not of yielding fruit. Thus the Waldenses witnessed for God centuries before the birth of Luther. Scattered over many lands, they planted the seeds of the Reformation that began in the time of Wycliffe, grew broad and deep in the days of Luther, and is to be carried forward to the close of time by those who also are willing to suffer all things for ‘the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Revelation 1:9.” The Great Controversy, 78.

Personal Review Questions

1 What characteristics were seen in the Waldenses?

2 What enabled them to identify the true character of Rome?

3 Why did the Vaudois understand the Scriptures clearly?

4 What special work did they do at the risk of their lives?

5 What blessings did these people bring and themselves enjoy?

Additional Reading

“The perception and appreciation of truth, He said, depends less upon the mind than upon the heart. Truth must be received into the soul; it claims the homage of the will. If truth could be submitted to the reason alone, pride would be no hindrance in the way of its reception. But it is to be received through the work of grace in the heart; and its reception depends upon the renunciation of every sin that the Spirit of God reveals. Man’s advantages for obtaining a knowledge of the truth, however great these may be, will prove of no benefit to him unless the heart is open to receive the truth, and there is a conscientious surrender of every habit and practice that is opposed to its principles. To those who thus yield themselves to God, having an honest desire to know and to do His will, the truth is revealed as the power of God for their salvation. These will be able to distinguish between him who speaks for God, and him who speaks merely from himself. The Pharisees had not put their will on the side of God’s will. They were not seeking to know the truth, but to find some excuse for evading it; Christ showed that this was why they did not understand His teaching.

“He now gave a test by which the true teacher might be distinguished from the deceiver: ‘He that speaketh from himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of Him that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.’ John 7:18, R. V. He that seeketh his own glory is speaking only from himself. The spirit of self-seeking betrays its origin. But Christ was seeking the glory of God. He spoke the words of God. This was the evidence of His authority as a teacher of the truth.” The Desire of Ages, 456.

©2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

Recipe – Alfredo Sauce and Cilantro Pesto

Alfredo Sauce

2 cups water

2 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

½ can of navy or great northern beans

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup cashews (optional)

4 Tbsp. lemon juice

1-2 tsp. salt

¼ of a medium onion

¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes

2 cloves of garlic

Put part of the water in a blender and add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and then add the rest of the water and blend again. Pour into a saucepan and cook until thick, stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour sauce over fettuccini pasta and top with a tablespoon of cilantro pesto. It may also be spread over pica crust and topped with pesto.

Cilantro Pesto

1-2 bunches cilantro; washed, ends removed

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup walnut or pine nuts, lightly toasted

¼ tsp. salt

Place liquids in the blender adding cilantro, stem down. Pulse until somewhat smooth. Add nuts and salt. Pulse until desired consistency or up to 1-2 minutes for smooth pesto. Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze. This will turn dark when frozen, but still good. For variety, you may substitute basil, sage or oregano for cilantro. Add jalapeno for spicy pesto and parmesan cheese substitute can be added if desired.

Food – Smoking and the Nervous System

The brain, which is positioned within the skull, is the master control organ of the whole body. It is small, pinkish gray in color, weighing just over 3 pounds and the size of two large fists. It looks like a wrinkled walnut and has a consistency similar to oatmeal. There are four distinct sections of the brain. The cerebrum, which is made up of four lobes, is the upper most and largest part of the brain where all higher cognitive function occurs and where incoming information is received, analyzed and stored. The diencephalon forms the central core of the brain and is surrounded by the two halves of the cerebrum. It controls many of the internal organs, maintains equilibrium throughout the body systems, and is the center for the emotions and sleep/wake cycle. The third section of the brain is the cerebellum, which is located to the back of the skull and lower than the cerebrum. It cooperates with the cerebrum and the brain stem to produce smooth, efficient muscular movement. Finally, the brain stem is the lowest part of the brain and is the center for both vital organ control and protective reflexes. The spinal cord is located from the brain stem downward through the vertebras of the back and is the pathway for all information that travels between the brain and the body, carrying both motor and sensory impulses. The peripheral nervous system is a complex set of 12 pairs of cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves. The cranial nerves carry information to and from the brain and structures in the head, neck, stomach, and heart. The spinal nerves carry information from the spinal cord to the body that deals with sensory information from within the body and the environment coordinating both voluntary and involuntary muscle movement.

Once smoke from a cigarette is inhaled, it takes approximately 7 to 10 seconds for the brain to be affected by the nicotine, tar, and over 4,000 chemicals, causing every cell in the brain to be poisoned by the chemicals and also the excess CO that is carried in the blood. The resulting changes in the blood vessels—roughness, narrowing, hardening, and stickiness of the wall lining and weakening of the vessel wall—all increase the risk of strokes for the smoker. Although the exact cause is not known, both genetics and environmental factors seem to play a role in the development of muscular sclerosis. The white matter of the brain and spinal cord become inflamed, develop lesions and the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves is lost. Smoking may initiate this inflammation. Brain tumors and problems related to improper chemical transmission in the brain and nerve cells are also problems related to smoking. With this added knowledge, it is hard to understand why anyone would choose to smoke.


Children’s Story – Kindness Repaid

It was in a small town in England and at the time before there were cars, and people traveled using horses and carriages. The old barn keeper was just loosening the harness on the tired horses when he was startled by Jack, a young sailor. “Excuse me, sir. May I sleep in your barn tonight?” he asked. Startled by the voice, the old man turned around to see who it was who was talking to him. He was just bringing in some horses to bed them down for the night out of the freezing gusts of wind that were beating upon him.

The young sailor quietly stood there, tired and cold, waiting for an answer to his request. Suddenly the old barn keeper gruffly said, “No, I do not want anybody like you staying in my barn. You had better keep right on moving or you will be in big trouble.”

The young man replied, “But sir! I am honest and I would not take anything that was not mine, even if I were without shoes.”

But the old barn keeper would not listen. He hollered back, “I don’t trust you any further than I can see you! Now get out of here or else!”

Jack, sadly turned away wondering where he would go next. All of the places he had tried before had turned him away with the same kind of harshness. He felt dejected; nobody wanted to help him. They considered him a beggar, so sadly he turned away and walked back out into the darkness. Suddenly he felt a light tap on his shoulder. It was the young boy who had been helping the old barn keeper in the stable. The boy quietly said, “Wait!” Then he whispered, “I think I know where you can get help. Just go down this road to the first little shop you come to. Mrs. Smith is a widow, but I’m sure she will let you sleep in her woodshed. She is very kind and is always willing to help those who need it.”

Oh what warmth filled Jack’s heart as he replied to the young boy, “Thank you very much!” There was at least somebody who cared enough to help someone in need. Jack had come into port only two days before and when he reached the shore, somebody had robbed him of all that he had. Now he had to beg his way to London. Every time someone refused to give him food or shelter, it hurt him deeply.

Now, Jack’s heart was filled with hope. He quickly reached the shop, but the door was locked. Oh no, he thought. But Jack remembered the stable boy told him that she never turned anybody away. So he gently knocked on the door. The door opened and the lady on the other side said, “Good evening. Were you looking for me?”

Jack quickly answered, “Are you Mrs. Smith? I was told that you might let me sleep in your woodshed.” The door opened wide and she said, “Come in! You look as though you are nearly frozen. I don’t have much to share tonight, but won’t you join me for dinner? I was just sitting down to eat.”

As Jack shared this simple meal in a warm room with the widow, he told her about everything that had happened to him. He even told her about how he had narrowly escaped becoming shipwrecked himself. Mrs. Smith replied, “Well, Mr. Willis, how thankful you must be that God, in His providence, has spared you until this very moment. But remember that He who has saved your life at sea can also save your soul. The Lord has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of His people. Have you asked the Lord to have mercy on you?”

After giving thanks to the Lord for the meal, the widow spread some clean, dry straw in a corner of her woodshed. Jack lay down with a thankful heart and slept soundly all night. The next morning when he awoke he straightened his rumpled clothes as best he could. He then went to thank the kind woman for letting him stay the night and he would go on his way. But, to his surprise, the kind woman had prepared for him a warm breakfast. When they were finished, she also gave him a small sum of money to help him travel farther. As he left her house, she prayed for the Lord’s blessing to follow him.

Ten years went by and no one remembered what had happened on that cold windy night except one person.

The widow had grown older and now used a cane to help her walk, but she still had a heart filled with love for helping others. Even though she was not rich, she shared what she had.

One morning she received a very important looking envelope. She opened it and read it: “Dear Mrs. Smith, you are invited to come to London tomorrow. I have a message for you. But I want to give you this message in person. Please meet me at 11 a.m. at the Red Lion Inn. Thank you.”

Mrs. Smith had never been away from her own little town and some of her friends were very concerned. She was a bit afraid to go on such a long journey but she was willing to believe the best in everyone. She trusted that God in His providence would protect her from all harm.

So the following morning she took a coach to London and arrived at the great Red Lion Inn. Before she could become worried, two respectable-looking men greeted her and led her to a room. There in the room she was very surprised to hear somebody say, “Well, how are you doing? Don’t you remember me?”

She looked carefully at the stranger. “No, sir, I don’t believe I know you.” The reply came, “I am Jack Willis. Remember the begging sailor you took into your home about ten years ago? I had no money and no friends in a strange town, but you gave me food and a place to sleep that cold, wintry night and I have never forgotten your kindness. I am now captain of a large ship and I wish to give you something in return.” Turning to the other man, Jack continued, “This is Mr. Bates. He is a lawyer whom I have asked to pay you a sum of money each year at this time. This is to show something of my thankfulness to you for your kindness. But, especially, I want you to know that your warning words were used by God to speak to my heart. The Lord used your words and example to convict me of my sin. He has also led me to the only Source of salvation for such a sinner as I am—to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Mrs. Smith’s heart was filled with wonder and burst into tears as she was overwhelmed by all that she had heard. Giving thanks to God for His rich blessings and care for Jack in both body and soul, she returned to her own home. How thankful she was that the Lord had provided also for her! She now had enough money to help even more needy ones. For the rest of her days, whenever she listened to someone tell of their troubles, she always thought of God’s wonderful providence and grace as witnessed in the life of Jack Willis.

How does this story parallel with the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30–35?

Health – Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of the ancient plants enjoying a tremendous revival in the modern world. Many homes have a pot of the plant sitting on the windowsill to use in cases of kitchen burns. It has become the subject of much modern research. A general practitioner in Minnesota treated a patient who had stepped into a vat of boiling water at a canning factory. The man had severe burns from his feet to his knees. An Aloe vera ointment was prepared, placed on gauze and wrapped around the man’s legs. Pain was kept to a minimum, there was no infection, and no scar tissue formed because of this treatment. After three weeks, the man was able to return to work.

A study published in The International Journal of Dermatology reported great success in treating chronic leg ulcers with Aloe vera. These long-term ulcers are often resistant to treatment, despite the many modern preparations available. This study told of a man who, for fifteen years, had a leg ulcer that would not respond to treatment with a wide range of drugs and ointments. After only ten weeks of this treatment, the ulcer began to shrink and new, healthy skin tissue began to appear. In a similar case, a man with a seven year old ulcer was treated with Aloe vera pulp. Six weeks after treatment began, the pain had subsided and the ulcer began to heal.

Other studies have shown equally impressive results in treatment of X-ray burns. Two American researchers described the results of Aloe vera treatment for a patient suffering from severe X-ray burns on the forehead. After five weeks, the forehead had not only healed, but the texture of the treated skin was even softer and smoother than that of the untreated skin. X-ray and other radiation burns do not begin to heal like other wounds and often do not respond to customary burn treatment. But according to the hospitals that used it, the ointment was fifty percent better for burn treatment than other remedies previously considered effective.

The clear gel inside the plant’s leaves has been regarded as powerful medicine for centuries. According to legend, Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it to enhance their beauty, and Alexander the Great conquered Socotra because he wanted the island’s Aloes to heal his troops’ wounds. Marco Polo reported that the Chinese used it to treat stomach ailments, rashes, and other disorders. The Egyptians used the plant medicinally; in 1500 B.C. the Papyrus Ebers listed many healing properties of the Aloes, which were known long before this document.

Dioscorides listed this plant as an important medicine. He said that it could be used for wounds, stomach pain and digestive disorders, constipation, headache, itching, baldness, mouth and gum diseases, kidney ailments, blistering, sunburn and blemishes.

You will recall that Aloes are mentioned in the Bible. Although the Aloes of the Old Testament were probably other plants, those brought by Nicodemus to embalm the body of Jesus were doubtless the true Aloes. This juice was used by the Egyptians, who were accomplished in the art of embalming. This herb was imported to Palestine at the time and was very expensive; that Nicodemus brought a hundred pounds of it, with myrrh, indicates that he was very wealthy.

Columbus’ ship log refers to medicinal uses of the plant for sailors. Indian tribes relied upon it for healing of burns and other ailments. They called it wands of heaven. Spanish missionaries brought Aloes with them to America and carried them from place to place to help the sick.

The Healing Aloe

Aloe vera is much prescribed externally nowadays, although the internal uses are many as well. For the majority of people its most common use is as a burn medicine. Although ointments are now widely available for burns which feature Aloe vera, probably the most common use of the plant is to cut off a leaf, trim it of its prickles, split it in two, laying the wet interior on the burn itself. The pain subsides within minutes and often blistering and scarring are totally eliminated. Some consider that the gel stops and reverses the burning process and regenerates the skin tissue. When there is a painful burn on the finger, a split leaf can be applied directly to the burn, binding it in place with a bandage. If the burn is somewhat severe, it may take some time for the pain to subside, but our experience shows that it surely works to relieve pain and heal the burn.

Other external uses for the herb include treatment for all kinds of wounds—scrapes, cuts, etc. The gel seems to mildly kill the germs on the surface and promote healing. The herb is high in calcium, which reduces bleeding with its coagulating action while at the same time helping to stimulate circulation of blood in the surrounding areas to bring oxygen to the surface.

Aloe vera penetrates the skin quickly and deeply. This allows water and other moisturizers to sink deeply into the skin, restoring lost fluids and replacing the fatty layer. It permits the uronic acids, which strip toxic materials of their harmful effects, to penetrate deeply and allows the cleansing astringent qualities of the gel to work better. By increasing the circulation of the blood to an area, it sloughs off dead cells and fosters the growth of new ones. This helps foster the regeneration of scarred or blemished skin tissue and provides a protective coating on the skin to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This antiseptic action also stops skin infections (acne) in oil-clogged pores. It heals blemishes with little or no scarring. This accounts for the multitude of cosmetic preparations these days that contain Aloe vera.

For those who do not like commercial deodorant preparations—the absorption of the aluminum in almost every commercial preparation is a cause of bad health for many people—the fresh Aloe vera gel, applied directly, works as an excellent deodorant. A piece of the plant, held in the mouth and allowed to release its juice, clears the throat for singers and speakers. It can stop itching, and as an anti-inflammatory agent has an action like that of steroids. One study reported that Aloe vera inhibited the growth of several kinds of bacteria, including staphylococcus and salmonella, although more research has yet to be done on the plant’s bacteriological properties. It has been used to reduce the itch of insect bites, the itching and burning of poison ivy, and to help remove warts, the juice of the fresh leaf being applied daily over a period of weeks until the wart is reduced or removed.

Some people use the gel on their hair, and many commercial shampoo and conditioner formulas contain the gel. For many years one beauty shop operator has used the gel straight as a hair set. She said that it improves hair sheen and helps scalp abrasions. Indians in Mexico apply the straight juice from the plant to their wet hair. After letting it dry all night before rinsing the following morning it is claimed to add luster, richness, and manageability to the hair. Aloe vera has almost the same pH factor as skin and hair, which can account for its cosmetic effect.

Dried to a powder—the usual way for preserving the gel for medicinal uses—the gel can be mixed with a little water and applied to the nipples when a mother wishes to wean her infant. The bitter taste will inhibit nursing! The dried powder can also be applied to running ulcers on the skin, absorbing the old, putrid matter and encouraging the growth of new skin.

Aloe vera has had one main internal use, as a very powerful laxative, more active than senna or cascara. It is rarely used alone because it causes griping, and is not recommended for people with hemorrhoids, as its prompt and urgent action irritates piles. A tea of ginger and licorice root can help alleviate the griping of the action. It can activate digestion and even expel pinworms from the system, but because it is so active, it should not be used by a pregnant woman or during the menstrual period. A nursing mother will transmit the purgative action through her milk to the infant, and so should avoid its use as well.

The herb has been used for women’s problems and is said to be an excellent cleansing douche for discharge problems. Some women have taken it to bring on suppressed menstruation.

Recently, Aloe vera has been tested to confirm the empirical application for stomach and digestive ulcers. After reading about the Soviet Union’s studies of Aloe vera and peptic ulcers, doctors in Florida tested it for themselves. Twelve patients of varying ages who had ulcers were treated with the gel. In every case, after the juice or gel was ingested, the ulcers healed and no relapse occurred within a year of treatment. Aloe vera is also thought to perhaps prevent the development of peptic ulcers because it is able to inhibit the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, too much of which irritates the stomach’s lining and leads to ulcers. A normal person’s digestion would not be affected, however, other than leading to better assimilation and therefore better health.

Taken internally it is said to help maintain good blood vessel tone and healthy circulation. The potassium in the plant is said to aid the heart’s rhythm and stimulate the kidney to dispose of body wastes. The herb is said to help the action of digestive enzymes and deter kidney stones and assists in carrying oxygen throughout the system.

Aloe vera has been used to treat chronic nose congestion. Patients treated with it were able to breathe and smell with greater ease and also with a significant decrease in nasal secretion.

It is said to replace lost hair and eliminate liver spots.

Historical Uses

Used for severe burns, chronic leg ulcers, X-ray burns, sunburn, radiation burns from the treatment of cancer, to reduce scarring, for wounds, scrapes, and cuts, as a deodorant, to clear the throat, for itching and insect bites, as a cleaning douche, for digestive ulcers in the stomach, for peptic ulcers, to remove warts, to wean infants and for nose congestion.

Cultivation, Collection, Preparation

Aloe vera is extremely easy to grow. In hot climates it can be maintained in the garden just as any other succulent and it multiplies prolifically. For indoor use, just plant in a pot, preferably clay for good drainage, with a standard potting mix, perhaps just on the sandy side to approximate desert conditions. Dry soil indicates the need for water. Repot when the plant outgrows the pot and when many little baby plants start forming. These babies can be repotted. When needed, just pinch off an adequate section of leaf, trim off the prickles and squeeze out the gel or apply directly to the wound.

Commercially, the juice is drained from a cut plant and placed in a copper vessel. There it evaporates and when the proper consistency is obtained, it is poured into metal containers and allowed to harden.

Chemical Composition

The gel from the leaf contains a miraculous number of substances, including polysaccharides which are said to be the basis for healing in burns.

Recent Findings

Aloe vera was successfully used in peptic ulcer therapy, as mentioned above (Journal of American Osteopathic Assoc., 62:731–735). The research on its use in radiation-caused ulcers spans quite a period of time, but current research confirms its superiority in treating such ulcers and burns (Journal of Reontgenogy, 33, No. 1, pages 396, 397).

Aloe vera was proven to be anti-bacteriostatic against streptococcus, staphylococcus and other bacteria (Journal of Pharm. Science, Vol. 53, page 287).

Shared by Judy Hallingstad,

Excerpts from School of Natural Healing

Nature – The Amazing Cuttlefish

cuttlefishCuttlefish are complex marine mollusks belonging to a class of animals which also includes the squids, octopuses, and nautiluses. Believed to be among the most intelligent of all the invertebrates, cuttlefish have a large brain-to-body size ratio. Cuttlefish look similar to squids but are more compact. They have a large head with a single fin running around the body behind the head. Encircling the mouth are eight short arms with suckers. Two longer prehensile tentacles, which can be withdrawn into pouches under the eyes, are used to capture their prey, which consist mainly of fish, crustaceans and other mollusks. Cuttlefish have a sharp parrot-like beak, which they use like a pair of scissors to cut open flesh. They also produce an ink for defense like octopuses. This ink was the original India Ink used in fountain pens and was used by artists as a pigment known as sepia.

Buoyancy in the water is controlled by an internal structure called a cuttlebone. This is porous and contains a gas and a liquid of which the ratio is regulated, similar to a submarine, enabling the cuttlefish to move up and down in the water column. Having eyes similar in construction to human eyes, cuttlefish eyes are among the most developed in the animal kingdom. The cuttlefish pupil is a smoothly curving W shape with two spots of concentrated sensor cells on the retina, one to look more forward, and one to look more backwards. Although they are color blind, they have an enhanced perception of contrast.

Cuttlefish are sometimes referred to as the chameleons of the sea, because they are masters of camouflage. They have amazing abilities to change color, light polarity and even the texture of their skin to camouflage themselves with their backgrounds for protection from predators and for ambushing their prey. These changes are also used to communicate to other cuttlefish. The transformation from one color or pattern to another can take less than a second and is controlled by the nervous system. The skin of the cuttlefish is covered with special cells that reflect light in many different colors. When excited, cuttlefish can change color, pattern and skin texture spectacularly, often flashing rapidly, through a whole gamut of colors, in just a few seconds. Males often engage in spectacular displays to attract a female, in which bands of color pass rapidly along the body like neon lights.

Like the cuttlefish, which changes its appearance for protection, so we need a change in our lives if we are to be saved. “Many a one who looks at himself in the divine mirror, and is convinced that his life is not what it ought to be, fails to make the needed change. He goes his way, and forgets his defects. He may profess to be a follower of Christ, but what does this avail if his character has undergone no change, if the Holy Spirit has not wrought upon his heart? The work done has been superficial. Self is retained in his life. He is not a partaker of the divine nature. He may talk of God and pray to God, but his life reveals that he is working against God.

“Let us not forget that in his conversion and sanctification, man must cooperate with God. ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,’ the Word declares; ‘for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’ Man can not transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change may be effected. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. He who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power.” The Review and Herald, July 7, 1904.

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

Questions and Answers: The Little Time of Trouble

Could you explain Revelation 20:4 and when the events in this verse occur as related to the little time of trouble?

First we will establish the time and setting of Revelation 20:4. This verse is part of an event that is described in verses 4–6. The event described in these verses is the executive (sentencing) phase of the judgment which takes place during the 1,000 years or millennium.

Immediately preceding the millennium is the second coming of Jesus as described in Revelation 19:11–21. In the battle that takes place at the coming of Jesus (verse 19) the beast (papacy) and the false prophet (Protestant United States) are captured and thrown into the lake of fire (verse 20). The rest of the people are destroyed and the birds eat their flesh (verse 21). In this battle the dragon is not destroyed, but bound and held as a prisoner on this earth for 1,000 years as described in Revelation 20:1–3.

Next follows the executive phase of the judgment during the 1,000 years in which the sentences of the wicked are determined. This is the event that is described in Revelation 20:4–6. Following the millennium is the execution phase of the judgment in which the sentences are carried out on the wicked. The execution phase of the judgment is described in Revelation 20:7–15.

Next we want to understand how the little time of trouble relates to the executive phase of the judgment. There are two specific times of trouble mentioned in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. They are the (1) short (little) time of trouble and (2) the time of Jacob’s trouble. These two times of trouble make up the whole period of the time of trouble.

The little time of trouble takes place during the final warning which begins with the falling of the latter rain and ends soon after the close of probation. At this time the death decree is issued which immediately brings on the time of Jacob’s trouble. The time of Jacob’s trouble ends on the date that has been set by the world on which to kill God’s people at which time God delivers them.

So we see that the little time of trouble and Revelation 20:4–6 are two separate events, the little time of trouble taking place before the close of probation, and the sentencing phase of the judgment (Revelation 20:4–6) occurring during the 1,000 years after the second coming of Jesus.

If you have a Bible question you wish to have answered, please write to Steps to Life or e-mail it to: