Bible Study Guides – The Babylonian Captivity

October 22, 2006 – October 28, 2006

Key Text

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein].” Jeremiah 6:16.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 408–416; 425–429.


“The conditions prevailing in the land of Judah were such that only by the most decided measures could a change for the better be brought about.” Prophets and Kings, 412.

“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This [is] my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. The proud have had me greatly in derision: [yet] have I not declined from thy law. I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself. Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law. This I had, because I kept thy precepts.” Psalm 119:49–56.

1 In the time of Jeremiah, what was the condition of God’s chosen people? Jeremiah 8:5, 6.

note: “For forty years Jeremiah was to stand before the nation as a witness for truth and righteousness. In a time of unparalleled apostasy he was to exemplify in life and character the worship of the only true God. During the terrible sieges of Jerusalem he was to be the mouthpiece of Jehovah. He was to predict the downfall of the house of David and the destruction of the beautiful temple built by Solomon. And when imprisoned because of his fearless utterances, he was still to speak plainly against sin in high places. Despised, hated, rejected of men, he was finally to witness the literal fulfillment of his own prophecies of impending doom, and share in the sorrow and woe that should follow the destruction of the fated city.” Prophets and Kings, 408.

2 Especially on what point of transgression did God specify through His prophets? Jeremiah 17:19–23.

note: “The work of the priests in connection with the sacrificial offerings was increased upon the Sabbath, yet in their holy work in the service of God they did not violate the fourth commandment of the decalogue. As Israel separated from God, the true object of the Sabbath institution became less distinct in their minds. They grew careless of its observance, and unmindful of its ordinances. The prophets testified to them of God’s displeasure in the violation of his Sabbath. Nehemiah says: ‘In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day, and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.’ [Nehemiah 13:15.] . . .

“But they heeded not the admonitions of the inspired prophets, and departed more and more from the religion of their fathers. At length calamities, persecution, and bondage came upon them in consequence of their disregard of God’s requirements.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 194.

3 How did God reveal His longsuffering and forgiving character to His people in spite of their continued transgression? Jeremiah 17:24–26.

note: “Through Jeremiah the word of the Lord to His people was: ‘Return, thou backsliding Israel, . . . and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God. . . . Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.’ ‘Thou shalt call Me, My Father; and shalt not turn away from Me.’ ‘Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.’ Jeremiah 3:12–14, 19, 22.” Prophets and Kings, 410.

4 Where was God directing His people then, just as He is today? Isaiah 58:12–14.

note: “Thus the prophet stood firmly for the sound principles of right living so clearly outlined in the book of the law. But the conditions prevailing in the land of Judah were such that only by the most decided measures could a change for the better be brought about; therefore he labored most earnestly in behalf of the impenitent. ‘Break up your fallow ground,’ he pleaded, ‘and sow not among thorns.’ ‘O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved.’ Jeremiah 4:3, 14.” Prophets and Kings, 412.

“[Isaiah 61:4; 58:12 quoted.] The prophet here describes a people who, in a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, are seeking to restore the principles that are the foundation of the kingdom of God. They are repairers of a breach that has been made in God’s law—the wall that He has placed around His chosen ones for their protection, and obedience to whose precepts of justice, truth, and purity is to be their perpetual safeguard.” Ibid., 677, 678.

5 What condition must be met before we can realize the fulfillment of God’s promises? Deuteronomy 4:30, 31; 11:26–28; Isaiah 1:19.

note: “There are those who profess holiness, who declare that they are wholly the Lord’s, who claim a right to the promises of God, while refusing to render obedience to His commandments. These transgressors of the law claim everything that is promised to the children of God; but this is presumption on their part, for John tells us that true love for God will be revealed in obedience to all His commandments. It is not enough to believe the theory of truth, to make a profession of faith in Christ, to believe that Jesus is no impostor, and that the religion of the Bible is no cunningly devised fable. ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments,’ John wrote, ‘is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.’ ‘He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.’ 1 John 2:4, 5; 3:24.” The Acts of the Apostles, 562, 563.

“So it is with every other one of God’s requirements. All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience. God has a heaven full of blessings for those who will co-operate with Him. All who obey Him may with confidence claim the fulfillment of His promises.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 145.

6 What was the warning given to Israel if they would not turn from their ways, especially in regards to the Sabbath? Jeremiah 18:15–17; 25:8–12.

note: “[Jeremiah 17:24, 25 quoted.] This promise of prosperity as the reward of allegiance was accompanied by a prophecy of the terrible judgments that would befall the city should its inhabitants prove disloyal to God and His law. If the admonitions to obey the Lord God of their fathers and to hallow His Sabbath day were not heeded, the city and its palaces would be utterly destroyed by fire.” Prophets and Kings, 411, 412.

7 What course did God’s people take in spite of the warnings? Jeremiah 6:16, 17; 11 Chronicles 36:17–20.

note: “God had pleaded with Judah not to provoke Him to anger, but they had hearkened not. Finally sentence was pronounced against them. They were to be led away captive to Babylon. The Chaldeans were to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient people. The sufferings of the men of Judah were to be in proportion to the light they had had and to the warnings they had despised and rejected. Long had God delayed His judgments, but now He would visit His displeasure upon them as a last effort to check them in their evil course.” Prophets and Kings, 425.

“In calling the attention of Judah to the sins that finally brought upon them the Babylonian Captivity, the Lord declared: ‘Thou hast . . . profaned My Sabbaths.’ ‘Therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads.’ Ezekiel 22:8, 31.” Ibid., 182.

8 Why was God compelled to take such action? 11 Chronicles 36:14–16; Ezekiel 22:8, 31.

note: “The children of Israel were taken captive to Babylon because they separated from God, and no longer maintained the principles that had been given to keep them free from the methods and practises of the nations who dishonored God. The Lord could not give them prosperity, he could not fulfil his covenant with them, while they were untrue to the principles he had given them zealously to maintain. By their spirit and their actions they misrepresented his character, and he permitted them to be taken captive. Because of their separation from him, he humbled them. He left them to their own ways, and the innocent suffered with the guilty.” Review and Herald, May 2, 1899.

9 What are the most important characteristics of God’s love toward us? Psalm 89:14; Exodus 34:6, 7.

note: “The infinite love of God has been manifested in the gift of His only-begotten Son to redeem a lost race. Christ came to the earth to reveal to men the character of His Father, and His life was filled with deeds of divine tenderness and compassion. And yet Christ Himself declares, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.’ Matthew 5:18. The same voice that with patient, loving entreaty invites the sinner to come to Him and find pardon and peace, will in the judgment bid the rejecters of His mercy, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed.’ Matthew 25:41. In all the Bible, God is represented not only as a tender father but as a righteous judge. Though He delights in showing mercy, and ‘forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,’ yet He ‘will by no means clear the guilty.’ Exodus 34:7.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 469.

10 How can we be assured that God will always deal justly with the sinner? Hebrews 13:8.

note: “God does not change his plans and devise new expedients to save man in different ages or dispensations. With him ‘is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ [James 1:17.] He does not abolish the law to bring man into harmony with himself. If he had proposed to destroy the jurisdiction of the law over man at any time, he would have done so when Adam’s failure to keep its requirements brought him under its terrible condemnation. But God does not provide any such escape in this emergency. He expels the guilty pair from the garden. The law says the penalty of sin is death, and they have brought on themselves, by deliberate choice, the loss of eternal life. The course of God toward the rebellious has not changed. There is no way back to innocence and life except through repentance for having transgressed God’s law, and faith in the merits of the divine sacrifice, who has suffered for your transgressions of the past; and you are accepted in the Beloved on condition of obedience to the commandments of your Creator.” The Signs of the Times, December 15, 1887.

Personal Review

Spiritual Blindness—“God’s love and justice have provided one way, and one only, whereby man can be saved from eternal separation from Heaven and alienation from God, and that is by faith in Christ and obedience to his law. The Spirit of God operating upon the human heart never leads men to belittle the law of Jehovah. Enlightened by this divine influence, we will see with awe the majesty of its requirements, the heinousness of sin, and feel the terror of its inevitable penalties upon the transgressor.

“ ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,’ [1 John 2:1] and to this refuge the repentant soul turns to plead the merits of his Saviour’s blood. But while the blood of Christ avails for the repenting soul, Christ is not the minister of sin, and there is no peace, no assurance, no genuine hope, for anyone who ignores the claims of God’s law and tramples upon its just demands. To trust in man’s good purposes or works is seen by the repenting sinner to be utmost folly. To suppose that a few deeds of beneficence or the performance of duty will cancel a life-time of sin, is a blindness that Satan brings over the mind to befog the moral perceptions, and lead men to trust in themselves.” The Signs of the Times, December 15, 1887.

Glorious Deliverance—“Thus prophecies of oncoming judgment were mingled with promises of final and glorious deliverance. Those who should choose to make their peace with God and live holy lives amid the prevailing apostasy, would receive strength for every trial and be enabled to witness for Him with mighty power. And in the ages to come the deliverance wrought in their behalf would exceed in fame that wrought for the children of Israel at the time of the Exodus. The days were coming, the Lord declared through His prophet, when ‘they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.’ Jeremiah 23:7, 8.” Prophets and Kings, 427.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia, 2003.

Bible Study Guides – The Sabbath in the Wilderness

October 15, 2006 – October 21, 2006

Key Text

“Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 336–340; Testimonies, vol. 4, 248–252.


“God designed to teach the people that they must approach Him with reverence and awe, and in His own appointed manner. He cannot accept partial obedience.” Conflict and Courage, 100.

“A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name. For the Lord [is] good; his mercy [is] everlasting; and his truth [endureth] to all generations.” Psalm 100.

1 When Israel was taken captive in Egypt, what happened to Sabbath observance? Genesis 15:13, 14; Exodus 1:13, 14.

note: “The Sabbath institution, which originated in Eden, is as old as the world itself. It was observed by all the patriarchs, from creation down. During the bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were forced by their taskmasters to violate the Sabbath, and to a great extent they lost the knowledge of its sacredness. When the law was proclaimed at Sinai the very first words of the fourth commandment were, ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy’ [Exodus 20:8]—showing that the Sabbath was not then instituted; we are pointed back for its origin to creation. In order to obliterate God from the minds of men, Satan aimed to tear down this great memorial. If men could be led to forget their Creator, they would make no effort to resist the power of evil, and Satan would be sure of his prey.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 336.

2 Why did God deliver Israel from Egyptian captivity? Psalm 105:43–45.

note: “When the law was given at Sinai, the Sabbath was placed in the midst of moral precepts, in the very bosom of the decalogue. But the Sabbath institution was not then made known for the first time. The fourth commandment places its origin at creation. The Creator’s rest-day was hallowed by Adam in holy Eden, and by men of God throughout the patriarchal ages. During Israel’s long bondage in Egypt, under taskmasters that knew not God, they could not keep the Sabbath; therefore the Lord brought them out where they could remember his holy day.” The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1884.

“Those who are offering prayers to the God of heaven and earth will not refuse to be obedient to the plainest precept of the law. They will listen to the voice of Christ, and will ‘remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,’ [Exodus 20:8] as the day on which the Creator of the heavens and the earth rested from all the work which he had done. They will not turn away from the holy commandment, and accept a spurious sabbath instead of the holy, sanctified day that God instituted in Eden as a memorial of his creative power. The Sabbath was given to man as a sign that was to show to whom the allegiance of the people was given.” Ibid., March 12, 1894.

3 How did God impress upon the newly delivered Israelites the importance of the Sabbath? Exodus 16:14, 15, 22–26.

note: “A threefold miracle was wrought in honor of the Sabbath, even before the law was given on Sinai. A double quantity of manna fell on the sixth day, none upon the Sabbath, and the portion needed for the Sabbath was preserved sweet and pure, when if any were kept over at any other time, it became unfit for food. Here is conclusive evidence that the Sabbath was instituted at creation, when the foundations of the earth were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. And its sacredness remains unchanged, and will so remain even to the close of time. From the creation, every precept of the divine law has been obligatory on man, and has been observed by those who fear the Lord. The doctrine that God’s law has been abolished is one of Satan’s devices to compass the ruin of the race.” The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1884.

4 How did God view those who disregarded any of His commandments? Exodus 16:27, 28; 35:2; Hebrews 3:15–19.

note: “God will not pass over any transgression of His law more lightly now than in the day when He pronounced judgment against Adam. The Saviour of the world raises His voice in protest against those who regard the divine commandments with carelessness and indifference. Said He: ‘Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, He shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’ [Matthew 5:19.] The teaching of our lives is wholly for or against the truth. If your works seem to justify the transgressor in his sin, if your influence makes light of breaking the commandments of God, then you are not only guilty yourself, but you are to a certain extent responsible for the consequent errors of others.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 248.

5 How did God present the law to Israel? Exodus 19:11–25.

note: “On the morning of the third day, as the eyes of all the people were turned toward the mount, its summit was covered with a thick cloud, which grew more black and dense, sweeping downward until the entire mountain was wrapped in darkness and awful mystery. Then a sound as of a trumpet was heard, summoning the people to meet with God; and Moses led them forth to the base of the mountain. From the thick darkness flashed vivid lightnings, while peals of thunder echoed and re-echoed among the surrounding heights. ‘And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.’ ‘The glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount’ in the sight of the assembled multitude. And ‘the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder.’ [Exodus 19:18; 24:17; 19:19.] So terrible were the tokens of Jehovah’s presence that the hosts of Israel shook with fear, and fell upon their faces before the Lord. Even Moses exclaimed, ‘I exceedingly fear and quake.’ Hebrews 12:21.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 304.

6 Why did God present such a display? Deuteronomy 4:24.

note: “God purposed to make the occasion of speaking His law a scene of awful grandeur, in keeping with its exalted character. The people were to be impressed that everything connected with the service of God must be regarded with the greatest reverence.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 303.

“The law was not spoken at this time exclusively for the benefit of the Hebrews. God honored them by making them the guardians and keepers of His law, but it was to be held as a sacred trust for the whole world. The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow man; and all based upon the great fundamental principle of love.” Ibid., 305.

7 What word did God use to express the importance of the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments? Exodus 20:8.

note: “In the law given from Sinai, God recognized the week, and the facts upon which it is based. After giving the command, ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,’ and specifying what shall be done on the six days, and what shall not be done on the seventh, He states the reason for thus observing the week, by pointing back to His own example: ‘For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ Exodus 20:8–11. This reason appears beautiful and forcible when we understand the days of creation to be literal. The first six days of each week are given to man for labor, because God employed the same period of the first week in the work of creation. On the seventh day man is to refrain from labor, in commemoration of the Creator’s rest.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 111.

8 Why did God tell us to “remember”? Psalm 46:10; Mark 4:18, 19.

note: “ ‘Remember’ is placed at the very first of the Fourth Commandment. Parents, you need to remember the Sabbath day yourselves to keep it holy. And if you do this, you are giving the proper instruction to your children; they will reverence God’s holy day. . . . Christian education is needed in your homes. All through the week keep the Lord’s holy Sabbath in view, for that day is to be devoted to the service of God. It is a day when the hands are to rest from worldly employment, when the soul’s needs are to receive especial attention.” Child Guidance, 527.

“At the very beginning of the fourth commandment the Lord said: ‘Remember.’ He knew that amid the multitude of cares and perplexities man would be tempted to excuse himself from meeting the full requirement of the law, or would forget its sacred importance. Therefore He said: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ Exodus 20:8.

“All through the week we are to have the Sabbath in mind and be making preparation to keep it according to the commandment.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 353.

9 What admonition was connected with the declaration of the Ten Commandments? Deuteronomy 11:22, 23.

note: “Obedience to God would preserve harmony between man and man and between man and his Maker, and would cause Israel to be regarded as a wise and understanding people. And in the path of obedience alone was there safety for them either as individuals or as a nation; for nothing but obedience would secure the divine favor, and insure to them happiness and prosperity in the land to which they were going. God had plainly stated this to them. If they did not keep his commandments, he would not—he could not—fulfill the rich promises which were given them on condition of obedience.” The Signs of the Times, May 13, 1886.

10 Are we under the same obligation as Israel as it relates to the Ten Commandments? 1 John 5:2, 3.

note: “God’s blessing was never withheld from his obedient people. The wrath of God was brought upon the Jews by their disobedience of his law. Many persons contrast the freedom found in Christ with what they regard as the severe requirements of the law of God. Their words and example say to the world, Christ is so lenient and forgiving that we need not be particular to keep to the strict letter of the law. They slide away from their allegiance in a loose reckless manner, doing the works of Satan, while professing to love the Lord. Yet Jesus positively declared in his last conversation with his disciples, that those who love him will keep his commandments. In the Old Testament entire obedience is required in order to secure blessings, and entire obedience is also required in the New Testament as the conditions of receiving the approval of God. Obedience of the divine requirements is the demonstration of our faith, and the test of our love and discipleship. Professing theories, and observing forms will not answer the requirements of God. The vital principle of love is kept active through obedience. ‘Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ [Matthew 5:20.]” The Signs of the Times, January 17, 1878.

Personal Review

No Excuse—“ To leave them without excuse, the Lord Himself condescended to come down upon Sinai, enshrouded in glory and surrounded by His angels, and in a most sublime and awful manner made known His law of Ten Commandments. He did not trust them to be taught by anyone, not even His angels, but spoke His law with an audible voice in the hearing of all the people. He did not, even then, trust them to the short memory of a people who were prone to forget His requirements, but wrote them with His own holy finger upon tables of stone. He would remove from them all possibility of mingling with His holy precepts any tradition, or of confusing His requirements with the practices of men.” The Story of Redemption, 148.

A Condition for Salvation—“God has laid down the conditions of salvation. He requires that men keep his commandments as obedient children. The Holy Scriptures are full of lessons showing that God is satisfied with no partial obedience. He does not leave men to rely on their human judgment, and select that portion of his law which they choose to obey. They are required to have correct views of duty. They are not at liberty to accept what ignorant, sinful, feeble man may suggest, believe, or urge upon them; but they must take God’s word, and walk in accordance with his revealed will.” The Signs of the Times, July 24, 1884.

“God designed to teach the people that they must approach Him with reverence and awe, and in His own appointed manner. He cannot accept partial obedience. It was not enough that in this solemn season of worship nearly everything was done as He had directed. . . . Let no one deceive himself with the belief that a part of God’s commandments are nonessential, or that He will accept a substitute for that which He has required.” Conflict and Courage, 100. [Author’s italics.]

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia, 2003.

Bible Study Guides – The Sabbath After Eden

October 8, 2006 – October 14, 2006

Key Text

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 307, 308.


“Before the Fall our first parents had kept the Sabbath, which was instituted in Eden; and after their expulsion from Paradise they continued its observance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 80.

“A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day. [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; [it is] that they shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, Lord, [art most] high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O Lord, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. But my horn shalt thou exalt like [the horn of] an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.” Psalm 92:1–10.

1 What did Adam and Eve obtain after they had disobeyed God? Genesis 3:5.

note: “In the Garden of Eden was the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil. . . . And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat.’ Genesis 2:9–17. It was the will of God that Adam and Eve should not know evil. The knowledge of good had been freely given them; but the knowledge of evil,—of sin and its results, of wearing toil, of anxious care, of disappointment and grief, of pain and death,—this was in love withheld.” Education, 23.

“It was not the will of God that this sinless pair should have any knowledge of evil. He had freely given them the good, but withheld the evil. Eve . . . ate, and was delighted with the fruit. It seemed delicious to her taste, and she imagined that she realized in herself the wonderful effects of the fruit. She took the fruit and found her husband and related to him the words spoken by the serpent, and told him that by eating the fruit she had felt, instead of death, a pleasing influence. As soon as Eve had disobeyed, she became a powerful medium through which to occasion the fall of her husband.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 41, 42.

2 Did having the knowledge of sin then exclude Adam and Eve from observing the Sabbath? Exodus 31:16, 17.

note: “Before the Fall our first parents had kept the Sabbath, which was instituted in Eden; and after their expulsion from Paradise they continued its observance. They had tasted the bitter fruits of disobedience, and had learned what every one that tramples upon God’s commandments will sooner or later learn—that the divine precepts are sacred and immutable, and that the penalty of transgression will surely be inflicted. The Sabbath was honored by all the children of Adam that remained loyal to God. But Cain and his descendants did not respect the day upon which God had rested. They chose their own time for labor and for rest, regardless of Jehovah’s express command.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 80, 81.

3 How long has the ten-commandment law been in existence? Psalm 119:151, 152.

note: “The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it. After the fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. ‘Concerning thy testimonies,’ says the psalmist, ‘I have known of old that thou hast founded them forever.’ [Psalm 119:152.]” The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1886.

“The Sabbath of the fourth commandment was instituted in Eden. After God had made the world, and created man upon the earth, he made the Sabbath for man. After Adam’s sin and fall nothing was taken from the law of God. The principles of the ten commandments existed before the fall, and were of a character suited to the condition of a holy order of beings. After the fall, the principles of those precepts were not changed, but additional precepts were given to meet man in his fallen state.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 295.

4 Can God’s Law ever be changed? Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17.

note: “The Father did not yield up his dearly beloved Son without a struggle, whether to let guilty man perish or to give his Son to die for the lost race. It was impossible for God to change his law, or give up the smallest part of its claims, in order to save man; therefore he suffered his Son to die for man’s transgression.” The Signs of the Times, January 30, 1879.

“Through Jesus, God’s mercy was manifested to men; but mercy does not set aside justice. The law reveals the attributes of God’s character, and not a jot or tittle of it could be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. God did not change His law, but He sacrificed Himself, in Christ, for man’s redemption. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 11 Corinthians 5:19.” The Desire of Ages, 762.

“Could the law have been changed, Christ need not have died. But it was impossible for God to change.” Review and Herald, September 24, 1901.

5 Where in the Bible do we find the Sabbath clearly explained to us? Exodus 20:8–11; Deuteronomy 5:12–15.

note: “In the third month they came to the desert of Sinai, and there the law was spoken from the mount in awful grandeur. During their stay in Egypt, Israel had so long heard and seen idolatry practised [sic] that to a large degree they had lost their knowledge of God and of his law, and their sense of the importance and sacredness of the Sabbath; the law was given a second time to call these things to their remembrance. In God’s statutes was defined practical religion for all mankind. Before Israel was placed the true standard of righteousness.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1898.

6 What is our duty with regards to all ten of the precepts of God’s Law? Deuteronomy 27:9, 10, 26; 1 John 3:4; Romans 6:23; Ecclesiastes 12:13.

note: “In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the knowledge of God’s law, and they had departed from its precepts. The Sabbath had been generally disregarded, and the exactions of their taskmasters made its observance apparently impossible. But Moses had shown his people that obedience to God was the first condition of deliverance; and the efforts made to restore the observance of the Sabbath had come to the notice of their oppressors.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 258.

“John brings the commandments of God to view away down this side of the crucifixion of Christ, and shows their positive, binding claims upon men. Those who have taken the position that the commandments of God were done away when Christ hung upon the cross, are in harmony with the great deceiver. God has made his constitution and his laws, and he can encircle in his arms those who are obedient, and shield them from the powerful deceptions of Satan. When the foundations of the earth were laid, then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath, and the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Review and Herald, July 15, 1890.

7 By the fourth commandment all are required to “remember” the One who created the heavens and the earth. How does the fourth commandment protect us from idolatry? Jeremiah 10:10–12 (cf. Exodus 20:3–6.)

note: “Every man in God’s world is under the laws of His government. God has placed the Sabbath in the bosom of the Decalogue, and has made it the criterion of obedience. Through it we may learn of His power, as displayed in His works and His Word. But today the world is following the example of those that lived before the flood. Now, as then, men choose to follow their own inclinations, rather than to obey the commandments of God. The inhabitants of the antediluvian world glorified themselves instead of commemorating the glorious works of creation. They did not obey the law of God; they did not honor the Sabbath. Had they done this, they would have recognized their duty to their Creator. This was the original and supreme object of the command, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ [Exodus 20:8.]” Signs of the Times, March 31, 1898.

8 What is the role of the Sabbath among the Ten Commandments?

note: “Every man has been placed on trial, as were Adam and Eve in Eden. As the tree of knowledge was placed in the midst of the garden of Eden, so the Sabbath command is placed in the midst of the decalogue. In regard to the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the restriction was made, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, . . . lest ye die.’ [Genesis 3:3.] Of the Sabbath, God said, Ye shall not defile it, but keep it holy. ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ [Exodus 20:8.] As the tree of knowledge was the test of Adam’s obedience, so the fourth command is the test that God has given to prove the loyalty of all his people.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1898.

9 How important is it that we come to know God? John 17:3.

10 Is there any danger that the people of God may forget Him? Deuteronomy 8:11.

11 What blessing is promised to the obedient? Isaiah 56:1, 2; 58:12–14.

note: “Here is our test which God has made, and He will fulfill His word, if human agents will show their love to God in keeping all His commandments. If they reverence the Sabbath, which is engraved on the first table of stone, they will keep the first three commandments, and the last six will reveal the duty of man to his fellow man; for the Sabbath sign is the covenant between God and man. It is the golden clasp which unites man to God in supreme obedience and reverence, and which unites man to his fellow man.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 89.

“In these last days there is a call from Heaven inviting you to keep the statutes and ordinances of the Lord. The world has set at naught the law of Jehovah; but God will not be left without a witness to his righteousness, or without a people in the earth to proclaim his truth. The door of the heavenly sanctuary has been opened, and no man can shut it, and the light of the Holy of Holies is shining into the world. The people of God have had their attention called to the ark of the testimony, and the law within it has been revealed with its unalterable precepts. In holy vision, John saw the remnant church on the earth, in an age of lawlessness, and he points them out in unmistakable language: ‘Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ [Revelation 14:12.] They are in harmony with that law that rests in the ark in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. The whole duty of man is summed up in its sacred precepts. 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. They realized that they must come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean, that they might claim the promise, ‘I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ [11 Corinthians 6:17, last part, 18.] They became the repairers of the breach that has been made in the law of God, because they turned away their feet from the Sabbath, from doing their pleasure on God’s holy day, and called the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable, and did honor him, not speaking their own words or finding their own pleasure.” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888.

Personal Review

A Test to Our Generation—“Now the question is, Will we ally ourselves with those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus? Will we cease to trample upon the Sabbath of the Lord our God? We want to be sure that we are the children of light; that we are following in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Example. The cross lies in our pathway, but shall we not take it up and bear it for his sake who bore the cross for us?” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888.

“The sign of obedience is the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.

“The Sabbath is a test to this generation. In obeying the fourth commandment in spirit and truth, men will obey all the precepts of the Decalogue. To fulfill this commandment one must love God supremely, and exercise love toward all the creatures that He has made.

“The time is coming when God’s people will feel the hand of persecution because they keep holy the seventh day. . . . The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, and who has always oppressed the people of God, will cause laws to be made enforcing the observance of the first day of the week. But God’s people are to stand firm for Him.” The Faith I Live By, 291.

Unflinching Testimony—“Let no one yield to temptation and become less fervent in his attachment to God’s law because of the contempt placed upon it; for that is the very thing that should make us pray with all our heart, and soul, and voice, ‘It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.’ Psalm 119:126. Therefore, because of the universal contempt, I will not turn traitor when God will be most glorified and most honored by my loyalty. . . .

“Shall Seventh-day Adventists relax their devotedness when all their capabilities and powers should be placed on the Lord’s side; when an unflinching testimony, noble and uplifting, should come from their lips? ‘Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.’ Psalm 119:127. When the law of God is most derided and brought into the most contempt, then it is time for every true follower of Christ . . . to stand unflinchingly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Ibid.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia, 2003.

Bible Study Guides – The Sabbath in Eden

October 1, 2006 – October 7, 2006

Key Text

“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 47–51.


“After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 47.

“Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly [are] not so: but [are] like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Psalm 1.

1 According to the creation story as recorded in the Bible, in how many days did God create the earth and all the life in it?

2 Were the days of creation literal days as we know them now? Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; Psalm 33:6, 9.

note: “The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 112.

“Inferences erroneously drawn from facts observed in nature have, however, led to supposed conflict between science and revelation; and in the effort to restore harmony, interpretations of Scripture have been adopted that undermine and destroy the force of the word of God. Geology has been thought to contradict the literal interpretation of the Mosaic record of the creation. Millions of years, it is claimed, were required for the evolution of the earth from chaos; and in order to accommodate the Bible to this supposed revelation of science, the days of creation are assumed to have been vast, indefinite periods, covering thousands or even millions of years.

“Such a conclusion is wholly uncalled for. The Bible record is in harmony with itself and with the teaching of nature. Of the first day employed in the work of creation is given the record, ‘The evening and the morning were the first day.’ Genesis 1:5. And the same in substance is said of each of the first six days of creation week. Each of these periods Inspiration declares to have been a day consisting of evening and morning, like every other day since that time. In regard to the work of creation itself the divine testimony is, ‘He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.’ Psalm 33:9. With Him who could thus call into existence unnumbered worlds, how long a time would be required for the evolution of the earth from chaos? In order to account for His works, must we do violence to His word?” Education, 128, 129.

3 What did God do on the seventh day of creation? Genesis 2:1, 2.

note: “The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty and had filled it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had been accomplished. And God ‘rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.’ [Genesis 2:2, 3.] God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 47.

4 What does it mean when the Bible records that God sanctified the seventh day? Leviticus 20:7.

note: “Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,’—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love. The Scripture says, ‘He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered.’ ‘The things that are made,’ declare ‘the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world,’ ‘even His everlasting power and divinity.’ Genesis 2:3; Psalm 111:4; Romans 1:20, R. V.” The Desire of Ages, 281.

“After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 47.

5 Of what was the Sabbath intended to remind us? Exodus 20:11; 31:16, 17.

note: “In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was committed to Adam, the father and representative of the whole human family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledgment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the earth, that God was their Creator and their rightful Sovereign; that they were the work of His hands and the subjects of His authority. Thus the institution was wholly commemorative, and given to all mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy or of restricted application to any people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 48.

“When God created the earth and placed man upon it, he divided time into seven periods. Six he gave to man for his own use, to employ in secular business; one he reserved for himself. Having rested on the seventh day, he blessed and sanctified it. Henceforth, the seventh day was to be regarded as the Lord’s rest-day, and to be sacredly observed as the memorial of his creative work. It was not the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth day that was sanctified, or set apart to a holy use, neither was it a seventh part of time and no day in particular; but it was the seventh day, the day upon which God had rested. We are every day to think of God and live as in his sight; but when the six days’ work is done, we are to ‘remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,’ [Exodus 20:8]—to cease from labor and devote the day exclusively to meditation and worship.” The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1884.

6 In reminding us of creation, how does the Sabbath point to redemption? Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12.

note: “All things were created by the Son of God. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. . . . All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:1–3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 281.

7 What work was given to Adam and Eve in the garden? Genesis 2:15.

note: “To Adam and Eve was committed the care of the garden, ‘to dress it and to keep it.’ Genesis 2:15. Though rich in all that the Owner of the universe could supply, they were not to be idle. Useful occupation was appointed them as a blessing, to strengthen the body, to expand the mind, and to develop the character.” Education, 21.

8 After working six days, how can we keep the Sabbath as Adam and Eve did?

note: “I [Ellen White] was shown that the law of God would stand fast forever, and exist in the new earth to all eternity. At the creation, when the foundations of the earth were laid, the sons of God looked with admiration upon the work of the Creator, and all the heavenly host shouted for joy. It was then that the foundation of the Sabbath was laid. At the close of the six days of creation, God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made; and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested from all His work. The Sabbath was instituted in Eden before the fall, and was observed by Adam and Eve, and all the heavenly host. God rested on the seventh day, and blessed and hallowed it. I saw that the Sabbath never will be done away; but that the redeemed saints, and all the angelic host, will observe it in honor of the great Creator to all eternity.” Early Writings, 217.

“The demands upon God are even greater upon the Sabbath than upon other days. His people then leave their usual employment, and spend the time in meditation and worship. They ask more favors of Him on the Sabbath than upon other days. They demand His special attention. They crave His choicest blessings. God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants these requests. Heaven’s work never ceases, and men should never rest from doing good. The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity. The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds.” The Desire of Ages, 207.

9 When Adam and Eve sinned against the Lord, what sentence was pronounced upon them? Were they still to be engaged in labor? Genesis 3:23, 24.

note: “When the Lord placed our first parents in the garden of Eden, it was with the injunction that they ‘dress it’ and ‘keep it.’ [Genesis 2:15.] God had finished His work of creation, and had pronounced all things very good. Everything was adapted to the end for which it was made. While Adam and Eve obeyed God, their labors in the garden were a pleasure; the earth yielded of its abundance for their wants. But when man departed from his obedience to God, he was doomed to wrestle with the seeds of Satan’s sowing, and to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. Henceforth he must battle in toil and hardship against the power to which he had yielded his will.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 512, 513.

10 As a token of God’s love and care for Adam and Eve and all mankind, what remained for them to know Him? Ezekiel 20:20.

note: “The Sabbath was instituted in Eden and observed by our first parents before the fall. Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, and ate of the forbidden fruit, they were expelled from Eden; but they observed the Sabbath after their fall. They had experienced the bitter fruits of disobedience, and learned what every one who tramples upon God’s commands will sooner or later learn, that God means just what he says, and that he will surely punish the transgressor. Those who venture to lightly esteem the day upon which Jehovah rested, the day which he sanctified and blessed, the day which he has commanded to be kept holy, will yet know that all the precepts of his law are alike sacred, and that death is the penalty of the transgression.” The Signs of the Times, February 6, 1879.

Personal Review

A Memorial of Creation—“But when the claims of the Sabbath are presented, there are many who ask, What difference does it make what day we keep as the Sabbath, so long as we observe one day in seven? We answer, It makes all possible difference whether we obey or disregard the word of God. God has given us the Sabbath as a memorial of the great work of creation. He says: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work; . . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ [Exodus 20:8–11.] He declares through Moses, ‘It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever.’ [Exodus 31:17.] And the children of Israel include all who believe in Christ. For ‘if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed.’ [Galatians 3:29.] Again, by the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord says, ‘Hallow my Sabbaths; for they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’ [Ezekiel 20:20.] The Sabbath is a sign of God’s creative power; it shows him to be supreme, the Maker and Upholder of the universe, the One from whom we receive ‘life and breath and all things,’ [Acts 17:25] and hence the One to whom our allegiance is due.” The Signs of the Times, June 12, 1893.

Reconciled to God—“ ‘Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ [Mark 2:28.] These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For ‘all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God.” The Desire of Ages, 288.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia, 2003.

Recipe – Tomato Salad


Olive Oil

Bell Pepper



Choose nice ripe tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion, then add salt to taste and a small amount of olive oil. This should be eaten right after preparing. Other spices can be added to suit your taste such as fresh parsley, dill, or basil, or you can use your favorite salad dressing instead of the olive oil and salt. Experiment and enjoy. Basic recipe was submitted by S. Andrei who lives in Romania.

Food for Life – Lowering your Blood Pressure

This month we will review lifestyle changes or treatment remedies that will be helpful in lowering your blood pressure:

  1. Low salt diet: Be aware that salt added to prepared food is only a part of the problem. The greater problem is foods that are high in sodium, especially processed foods.
  2. Decrease your weight to that recommended for your height by eliminating all snacks, drinking only water between meals, eating a good breakfast and a moderate lunch, and eliminating the evening meal or only having whole fruit. Eliminate or greatly reduce refined sugar and free fats or fatty foods in the diet. Eliminate all animal products from your diet. Increase foods high in fiber.
  3. Abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. All three of these raise blood pressure and should be totally avoided.
  4. Beginning moderate, daily, aerobic exercise—exercise that calls into play the heart and lungs—can significantly lower blood pressure. Healthful exercise usually occurs when you are exercising such that you can talk and exercise at the same time. If you are over 35 years of age and have not been exercising, be sure to consult your physician before beginning an exercise program.
  5. Life stresses can raise blood pressure. External pressures that confront us and our internal reactions to those stresses are both important. Good stress coping mechanisms should be adopted for improved blood pressure.
  6. Diet is also important in lowering blood pressure. When our food intake is high in natural foods as grown from the earth and prepared with as few additives as possible, blood pressure can be lowered. A diet high in fiber is also very helpful in binding the absorption of cholesterol and calories.

Treatments other than lifestyle changes and drugs that have been associated with lowering blood pressure include:

  1. Consumption of foods that are high in calcium: leafy green vegetables, grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, and amaranth, lentils, dried figs, sesame seeds, and filberts.
  2. Consumption of a bowl of oatmeal each day.
  3. Consumption of garlic. A clove of garlic or two may be taken one to four times daily. To help reduce “garlic breath,” the garlic can be marinated in olive oil for a week and then taken out of the oil and consumed. Onions, because of the chemical similarities, may also help with these conditions.
  4. Consumption of grapes.
  5. Consumption of plant foods high in Omega-3 fats: flax seed, walnuts, wheat germ, green soybeans, spinach, and almonds.
  6. Consumption of lecithin: one tablespoon of lecithin granules one to three times daily.
  7. Gradual daily exposure to bright daylight sun, making sure not to get a sunburn. This “sunbath” can last up to 30 minutes on each side of your body with as much skin exposed as possible.
  8. Daily consumption of foods high in L-arginine, such as black walnuts, lima beans, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, soybeans, and roasted pumpkin kernels.

It is our prayer that through lifestyle modification and natural treatments you will be able to lower your blood pressure and not only extend your life but improve your health and ability to work for the Lord.

Nature Nugget – Lichen Intimacy

Lichens are composed of two organisms living beneficially together and forming a new life form. The dominant partner in the relationship is a fungus. Fungi, of themselves, are incapable of making their own food and survive by being parasites and decomposers. The lichen fungi cultivate partners that manufacture food by photosynthesis, such as algae (Kingdom Protista) and cyanobacteria (Kingdom Monera), formerly called blue-green algae. The relationship is symbiotic, with both organisms benefiting from the arrangement.

The fungi part breaks down rock, wood, and other organic matter to provide minerals and nutrients to the relationship. The algae part has chlorophyll and is able to supply the relationship with energy through photosynthesis. Thus, by living together, they can utilize a wide variety of habitats in which, alone, they could not survive, such as deserts and the Arctic. In many cases, a lichen’s fungi and algae can be found living in nature separately, but many lichens consist of fungi that have become dependant on their algae partner and cannot survive on their own.

Growing in spots that are too harsh or limited for most other organisms—such as bare rock, desert sand, cleared soil, dead wood, animal bones, and living bark—lichens can survive extremes of heat, cold, and drought and are able to shut down metabolically during these periods of unfavorable conditions. One species, the vagrant lichen, is even mobile, moving from place to place by the wind. Lichens can colonize almost any undisturbed surface if given appropriate amounts of light and moisture, clean air, and lack of competition. It is estimated that lichens are the dominant vegetation on eight percent of the earth’s terrestrial surface.

Lichens are highly diverse in looks, varying from gray and green rosettes on trees, green to orange crusts on rocks, tangled brown to green hair hanging from branches, to tiny green goblets on the ground. They are very slow growers, often growing less than a millimeter per year, and are believed to be among the oldest living things on earth.

Lichens produce an arsenal of more than 500 unique biochemical compounds that serve to control light exposure, repel herbivores, kill attacking microbes, and discourage competition from plants. Among these are many pigments and antibiotics that are very useful to man. Half of all lichen species have antibiotic properties. Worldwide, lichens have been used for making dyes, medicines, poisons, clothes, soups, jellies, breads, and fine perfumes. Lichens with cyanobacteria contribute to soil fertility in a major way by taking nitrogen gas from the air and turning it into biologically usable compounds. Lichens are also valuable as food and nesting material for a multitude of wildlife, from the tiny hummingbird that camouflages its nest with it to the large caribous of the far north, which depend on it for food during the long winters.

Just as lichens are composed of two organisms living together and forming a new life form, so the person who cultivates a relationship with Christ and unites his or her life with Him becomes a new creature. “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 11 Corinthians 5:17. “Our life is to be bound up with the life of Christ; we are to draw constantly from Him, partaking of Him, the living Bread that came down from heaven, drawing from a fountain ever fresh, ever giving forth its abundant treasures.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 129. “The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether.” The Desire of Ages, 172.

The Pen of Inspiration – The Advent Faith

Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” [Hebrews 10:38; James 2:20, 24.]

Needed Preparation

We profess to be pilgrims and strangers on earth, journeying to a better country, even an heavenly. If we are indeed but sojourners here, traveling to a land where none but the holy can dwell, we shall make it our first business to become acquainted with that country; we shall make diligent inquiry as to the preparation needed, the manners and character which we must have, in order to become citizens there. Jesus, the King of that land, is pure and holy. He has commanded his followers, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:16.] If we are hereafter to associate with Christ and sinless angels, we must here obtain a fitness for such society.

This is our work,—our all-important work. Every other consideration is of minor consequence. Our conversation, our deportment, our every act, should be such as to convince our family, our neighbors, and the world, that we expect soon to remove to a better country. More than this, our godly example should keep ever before their minds the preparation needed by all who would enter that blessed home. Our acts must correspond with our faith, and faith will then be made perfect. We should not engage in the work of preparation merely as a duty, a necessity, but as a privilege which we are happy in accepting. Those whose faith is daily confirmed and strengthened by their works, will become acquainted with self-denial in restricting appetite, controlling ambitious desires, bringing every thought and feeling into harmony with the divine will. They will beware lest they be brought into the bondage of sin by conforming to a worldly standard, and thus, before many witnesses, denying their faith.

Land of Canaan

The land to which we are traveling is in every sense far more attractive than was the land of Canaan to the children of Israel. They were led by the hand of God. Christ himself gave them a description of the country in which they were to find a home; for he wished to place before them every incentive to press on with hope and courage. They were brought where they could look over into the land of Canaan, and behold its pleasant landscapes, its wooded hills and fertile fields, and were permitted to eat of its rich fruit. But at the same time the difficulties to be encountered were not concealed from them. There was earnest effort before them if they possessed the land. They had need of courage and constant faith. If they would trust in God, his presence and power would be with them, and would at last bring them off victorious over all their enemies. But they become discouraged as the spies tell them of giants, warlike nations, and high-walled cities, which they must encounter. They doubt, hesitate, and propose to go back to Egypt. By their unbelief they doom themselves to suffering, humiliation, and defeat, and at last die in the wilderness.

What stayed their progress just in sight of the goodly land? The difficulties before them were not so great as they had previously encountered. The great obstacle was in themselves. It was their own willful unbelief that turned them back. They were unwilling to risk anything upon the promises of God. The land was good; but the giants were mighty, and the walls of the cities high. They lost sight of the great advantages to be gained in possessing Canaan. They ceased conversing about the good land and its blessings, and permitted their minds to dwell upon the trials and difficulties lying between them and the desired haven.

The more they conversed upon these things, the greater the difficulties appeared, and the more determined their opinion that the conditions imposed upon them were such as they could not meet; that the Lord was unreasonable and severe with them. Satan presented matters before them in the worst light, and they felt that they were an abused people. They appealed to their own sympathies, and forgot the wondrous works of God in their behalf. They lost faith in God at the very time when it should have been strongest. When the Lord was about to manifest to them his great power and goodness, to make his name glorious in the earth, and exalt his people as a nation favored and honored of Heaven, they became discouraged. They knew that whenever they had trusted in God he had mightily wrought for them. Yet their unbelief strengthened into rebellion; their own perverse wills obstructed the way, making walls before them higher than had been built by their enemies.

The history of the children of Israel is written as a warning to us, “upon whom the ends of the world are come.” [1 Corinthians 10:11.] We are standing, as it were, upon the very borders of the heavenly Canaan. We may, if we will, look over on the other side, and behold the attractions of the goodly land. If we have faith in the promises of God, we shall show in conversation and in deportment that we are not living for this world, but are making it our first business to prepare for that holy land.

Dangers and Difficulties

The dangers and difficulties before us are increasing as we near the heavenly rest. Satan is filled with deadly hatred against all who are seeking to gain the land which was once his home. His envy has lost none of its bitterness since he was excluded from the brightness and glory of Heaven. Before his fall an enemy to Christ, seeking to rob him of his honor and glory, he is no less his enemy now. He has determined to take the world captive. He sees that his time is short, that a mightier than he will soon take away his power, and he will make one last mighty effort against Christ and his church.

Now is the time for the friends of Jesus to be decided, faithful, and valiant for the Captain of their salvation. Now is the time to show who are the true Calebs, who will not deny that the walls are high, the giants mighty, but who believe that this very fact will make the victory more glorious. There are great difficulties and trials before us. It will require strong courage and persevering effort to go forward. But all now depends on our faith in the Captain who has led us safely thus far. Shall we let unbelief come in now? Shall we weakly yield to distrust and fear? Shall we compromise with the world, and turn away from the heavenly Canaan? Shall we make extensive plans for this life, as did the inhabitants of the old world, planting, building, marrying, and giving in marriage?

Prophecies Fulfilled

The solemn message for this time has a certain sound which we all should heed. The signs of the times tell us that the end of all things is at hand. Prophecies fulfilled have become facts of history, clearly defining our position. We are standing upon the verge of the eternal world. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many is waxing cold. Instead of this, love for God, love for purity, truth, and holiness, should be increasing in our hearts. The increase of wickedness around us should awaken in us more earnest zeal and stronger determination. The faith of God’s true people, manifested, as was Noah’s, by their works, should stand as a beacon of warning to the world. If our works do not correspond with our profession, we present to the world a false light, and thus lure them on to destruction.

Our Lord forewarned his people that iniquity would abound in the last days, and would have a paralyzing influence upon true godliness. Wickedness is seen and heard and felt all around us. It seems to permeate the very atmosphere, and affects the faith and love of God’s professed people. It is difficult to hold fast Christian integrity. The fact is, much which is current in our day as Christianity is indebted for its very existence to the absence of persecution. When the test of fiery trial comes, a great proportion of these who profess the faith will show that their religion was hollow formalism. Instead of being strengthened and confirmed by opposition, their faith grows feeble and becomes extinct.

Days of Peril

The days in which we live are days of peril. Carelessness, levity, love of pleasure and selfish gratification, are seen in the lives of very many professed Christians. Is this the time for Seventh-day Adventists to lose their faith and grow cold and formal? God forbid! Shall we turn traitor at the very moment when God would be most glorified by our steadfast adherence to principle? Shall we turn from the heavenly attractions now, when we can almost see the glories on the other shore? We are living in the most important period of earth’s history. By maintaining our allegiance to God, we may bear the noblest testimony for Christ and the truth.

The true Christian will cling to the promises of God more firmly now than ever before. His heart is where he has laid up his treasure—in Heaven. When right principles are despised and forsaken, then the true and loyal will show their warmest zeal and deepest love; then they will stand most firmly for truth, unpopular though it be. The true soldier will be ready to fight the battles of the Lord when his enemies appear strongest; and it is then that the victory will be most complete and triumphant.

Take Heed

Brethren and sisters of like precious faith, shall we give heed to the last warning message? Is this a time to use the Lord’s money in ministering to our pride and ambition?—a time to add land to land, or to build grand houses for ourselves and our children?—a time to lay up our treasures and fix our affections here? The Lord is coming. In his great mercy he has delivered us from the darkness of error, and has permitted the bright beams of truth to shine into our souls. We should manifest our gratitude by so reflecting the light from Heaven, in our words and works, that others may be led to believe the truths we advocate. Let us beware that we be not swept away by the current of worldliness, thus saying to unbelievers, “The time is not. Be not alarmed. My Lord delayeth his coming.” Let us be consistent; let our works correspond with our profession of faith.

Review and Herald, November 29, 1881.

Restoring the Temple – Proper Education, Part I

Health is a great treasure. It is the richest possession we can have. Wealth, honor, or learning, is dearly purchased, if it be at the loss of the vigor of health. None of these attainments can secure happiness if health is wanting. It is a terrible sin to abuse the health God has given us. Every abuse of health enfeebles for life, and makes us losers, even if we gain any amount of education.

Parents who are wealthy, in many cases do not feel the importance of giving their children an education in the practical duties of life, as well as in the sciences. They do not see the necessity, for the good of their children’s minds and morals, and for their future usefulness, of giving them a thorough understanding in useful labor. This is due their children, that, if misfortune should come, they could maintain noble independence, having a knowledge how to use their hands. If they have a capital of strength, they can not be poor, even if they have not a dollar. Many, who in youth are in affluent circumstances, may be robbed of all their riches, with parents and brothers and sisters dependent upon them for sustenance. Then how important that the youth be educated to labor, that they may be prepared for any emergency. Riches are indeed a curse when the possessors let them stand in the way of their sons’ and daughters’ obtaining a knowledge of useful labor, that they may be qualified for practical life.

Useless Lives

Those who are not compelled to labor, frequently do not have active exercise sufficient for physical health. Young men, for want of having their minds and hands employed in active labor, will acquire habits of indolence, and will frequently be obtaining, what is to be most dreaded, a street education, lounging about stores, smoking, drinking, and playing cards.

The young ladies will read and excuse themselves from active labor, because they are in delicate health. Their feebleness is generally the result of their lack of exercising the muscles. They may think they are too feeble to do housework, but will work at crochet and tatting, and preserve the delicate paleness of their hands and faces, while their care-burdened mothers toil hard in washing and ironing their garments. These ladies transgress the fifth commandment. They do not honor their parents. But the mother is most to blame. She has indulged and excused her daughters from bearing their share of household duties, until work becomes distasteful to them, and they love, and enjoy, delicate idleness. They will eat, and sleep, and read novels, and talk of the fashions. Their lives are useless.

Teach Children to Work

Poverty, in many cases, is a blessing; for it prevents youth and children from being ruined by inaction. The physical should be cultivated and properly developed, as well as the mental. The first and constant care of parents should be that their children may have firm constitutions, that they may be sound men and women. It is impossible to attain this object without physical exercise. Children, for their own physical health and moral good, should be taught to work, even if there is no necessity as far as want is concerned. If they would have virtuous and pure characters, they must have the discipline of well-regulated labor, which will bring into exercise all the muscles. The satisfaction children will have in being useful, of denying themselves to help others, will be the most healthful pleasure they ever enjoyed. Why should the wealthy rob themselves and their dear children of this great blessing?

Parents, inaction is the greatest curse that ever came upon you. Your daughters should not be allowed to lie late in bed in the morning, sleeping away the precious hours lent them of God to be used for the best purpose, and for which they will have to give an account to God. The mother is doing her daughters great injury in bearing the burdens the daughters should share with her for their own present good and future benefit. The course many parents have pursued in allowing their children to be indolent, and to gratify a desire for reading romance, is unfitting them for real life. Novel and story-book reading are the greatest evils that youth can indulge in. Novel and love-story readers always fail to make good, practical mothers. They live in an unreal world. They are air-castle builders, living in an imaginary world. They become sentimental, and have sick fancies. Their artificial life spoils them for anything useful. They are dwarfed in intellect, although they may flatter themselves that they are superior in mind and manners. Exercise in household labor will be of the greatest advantage to young girls.

Advantages of Physical Labor

Physical labor will not prevent the cultivation of the intellect. Far from this. The advantages gained by physical labor will balance them, that the mind shall not be overworked. The toil will then come upon the muscles, and relieve the wearied brain. There are many listless, useless girls who consider it unlady-like to engage in active labor. But their characters are too transparent to deceive sensible persons in regard to their real worthlessness. They will simper and giggle, and are all affectation. They appear as though they could not speak their words fairly and squarely, but torture all they say with lisping and simpering. Are these ladies? They were not born fools, but were educated such. It does not require a frail, helpless, overdressed, simpering thing to make a lady. A sound body is required for a sound intellect. Physical soundness and a practical knowledge in all the necessary household duties, are never a hindrance to a well-developed intellect, but highly important for a lady.

Well-Balanced Minds

All the powers of the mind should be called into use, and developed, in order for men and women to have well-balanced minds. The world is full of one-sided men and women, because one set of the faculties are cultivated, while others are dwarfed from inaction. The education of most youth is a failure. They over-study, while they neglect that which pertains to practical business life. Men and women become parents without considering their responsibilities, and their offspring sink lower in the scale of human deficiency than they themselves. Thus we are fast degenerating. The constant application to study, as the schools are now conducted, is unfitting youth for practical life. The human mind will have action. If it is not active in the right direction, it will be active in the wrong. And in order to preserve the balance of the mind, labor and study should be united in the schools.


There should have been in past generations provisions made for education upon a larger scale. In connection with the schools should have been agricultural and manufacturing establishments. There should have been teachers also of household labor. There should have been a portion of the time each day devoted to labor, that the physical and mental might be equally exercised. If schools had been established upon the plan we have mentioned, there would not now be so many unbalanced minds.

The Health Reformer, April 1, 1873.

—To be continued . . .

Question – Is there such a thing as an instant conversion?


Is there such a thing as an instant conversion?


What is an instant conversion? The word conversion means, “an experience associated with a definite and decisive adoption of religion.” It means that you change, you do a U-turn and go a different direction. It takes some people longer to change their minds than others. After the mind is changed, then the way of life has to be reeducated to the change; the old habits have to be forsaken and replaced with new habits, which often takes a period of time. But, when you talk about an instant conversion, you are usually talking about the time when the decision is made to follow the Lord.

An example of an instant conversion given in the Bible is of the thief on the cross. Such a conversion is sometimes called a deathbed conversion or an instant conversion. Let us look at what the Spirit of Prophecy has to say about this. Speaking of the thief on the cross, Ellen White wrote: “He had seen and heard Jesus, and had been convicted by His teaching, but he had been turned away from Him by the priests and rulers.” The Desire of Ages, 749.

So, actually, we might ask, Did the thief on the cross have an instant conversion? or was it the result of previous wooing by the Holy Spirit? Whatever the case, when it was brought about, it happened instantly.

We do not deny that there are people who are converted instantly, when they suddenly see and hear Christianity for the first time and see that it is something better than they have ever before known. But this is very rare. Usually the individual has heard the truth, read a book, had some Christian contact or other Christian influences, such as a grandparent, parents, or other relatives who were Christians. But these influences did not take hold previously. Then, when the truth is brought to the person’s mind in a meeting, a conversation, or through some irregularity happening in the life, it causes the person to give his or her heart to the Lord. He or she makes a sudden turn around, which may be called an instant conversion, because it happens so quickly, but it is actually the result of previous experiences and truths that the person had before heard.

Conversion is not just something that happens when you first give your heart to the Lord. Conversion needs to take place every day. Paul said, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. Jesus said, “If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23.

The Lord is longsuffering and merciful, not willing that any should perish. (11 Peter 3:9.) He bears long with the sinner, and the Holy Spirit pleads with the person until he either submits his heart to the Lord or turns to his own way, and his heart is too hard to impress anymore. At that time, the Lord leaves the individual to the result of his own choices. If he chooses to follow the Lord, the Holy Spirit abides with him, and he is given spiritual guidance and protection. If he chooses to follow his own inclinations, he is left to follow his own decisions and to reap the results of his own mistakes.

The Spirit of Prophecy informs us that, “Some among the redeemed will have laid hold of Christ in the last hours of life, and in heaven instruction will be given to those who, when they died, did not understand perfectly the plan of salvation. Christ will lead the redeemed ones beside the river of life, and will open to them that which while on this earth they could not understand.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 262.

If you have a Bible question you would like answered, e-mail it to:, or mail it to: LandMarks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.