Bible Study Guides – The Mystery of Iniquity

October 23, 2016 – October 29, 2016

Key Text

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 49–60.


“The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. … Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy.” The Great Controversy, 49.


  • What danger did Jesus warn that the church would face? Matthew 24:4, 5, 11. What would eventually develop? Acts 20:28–30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12.

Note: “Within a few brief years many of those who had stood as teachers and leaders in the church were to lay down their lives for the gospel. Soon grievous wolves were to enter in, not sparing the flock. But none of these things were to bring discouragement to those whose hopes were centered in Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 528.

  • What could the church do about this danger? 2 Timothy 3:13–15; Romans 16:17, 18.

Note: “Paul trembled for the church as, looking into the future, he saw the attacks which she must suffer from both external and internal foes. With solemn earnestness he bade his brethren guard vigilantly their sacred trust.” The Acts of the Apostles, 395.


  • What did the unbelieving Jews do to their Christian countrymen? I Thessalonians 2:14–16; Acts 14:2. What happened as a result of persecution? Acts 8:1, 4.

Note: “The work of proclaiming the gospel message among the Gentiles was now to be prosecuted with vigor; and as a result the church was to be strengthened by a great ingathering of souls. The apostles who had been appointed to lead out in this work would be exposed to suspicion, prejudice, and jealousy. Their teachings concerning the breaking down of ‘the middle wall of partition’ (Ephesians 2:14) that had so long separated the Jewish and the Gentile world, would naturally subject them to the charge of heresy.” The Acts of the Apostles, 161.

“If those who know the truth would practice it, methods would be devised for meeting the people where they are. It was the providence of God which in the beginning of the Christian church scattered the saints abroad, sending them out of Jerusalem into many parts of the world. The disciples of Christ did not stay in Jerusalem or in the cities near by, but they went beyond the limits of their own country into the great thoroughfares of travel, seeking for the lost that they might bring them to God. Today the Lord desires to see His work carried forward in many places. We must not confine our labors to a few localities.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 330.

  • Was this persecution something they should expect? John 15:20; 2 Timothy 3:12. What happens to cause a person to lose his or her faith in the face of persecution? Mark 4:16, 17.
  • How should we respond to persecution? Matthew 5:10–12; Romans 8:37–39.

Note: “[Matthew 5:10–12 quoted]. Jesus here shows them [His disciples] that at the very time when they are experiencing great suffering in His cause, they have reason to be glad and recognize that their afflictions are profitable to them, having an influence to wean their affections from the world and concentrate them upon Heaven.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 211, 212.


  • How did the fear of persecution continue to affect some church members? Acts 15:1, 2.

Note: “While the apostles united with the ministers and lay members at Antioch in an earnest effort to win many souls to Christ, certain Jewish believers from Judea ‘of the sect of the Pharisees’ succeeded in introducing a question that soon led to widespread controversy in the church and brought consternation to the believing Gentiles. With great assurance these Judaizing teachers asserted that in order to be saved, one must be circumcised and must keep the entire ceremonial law. …

“The Jewish converts generally were not inclined to move as rapidly as the providence of God opened the way. From the result of the apostles’ labors among the Gentiles it was evident that the converts among the latter people would far exceed the Jewish converts in number. The Jews feared that if the restrictions and ceremonies of their law were not made obligatory upon the Gentiles as a condition of church fellowship, the national peculiarities of the Jews, which had hitherto kept them distinct from all other people, would finally disappear from among those who received the gospel message.” The Acts of the Apostles, 188, 189.

  • What was the spirit behind these movements? Galatians 6:12–16. What qualities will a true Christian reveal in situations like this? 2 Timothy 1:7.
  • How did the apostle Paul meet the heresy in his letters? Romans 2:25–29; I Corinthians 7:18, 19; Galatians 5:6.

Note: “Paul had dedicated himself and all his powers to the service of God. He had received the truths of the gospel direct from heaven, and throughout his ministry he maintained a vital connection with heavenly agencies. He had been taught by God regarding the binding of unnecessary burdens upon the Gentile Christians; thus when the Judaizing believers introduced into the Antioch church the question of circumcision, Paul knew the mind of the Spirit of God concerning such teaching and took a firm and unyielding position which brought to the churches freedom from Jewish rites and ceremonies.” The Acts of the Apostles, 200.


  • Like the apostle Paul, what spirit should we have? Galatians 6:14; Romans 1:14–17.
  • What compromise was the great apostle persuaded by his brethren to make, and how did it lead to his arrest? Acts 21:17–24, 26–30.

Note: “The brethren hoped that Paul, by following the course suggested, might give a decisive contradiction to the false reports concerning him. They assured him that the decision of the former council concerning the Gentile converts and the ceremonial law, still held good. But the advice now given was not consistent with that decision. The Spirit of God did not prompt this instruction; it was the fruit of cowardice. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem knew that by non-conformity to the ceremonial law, Christians would bring upon themselves the hatred of the Jews and expose themselves to persecution. … Should the believers in Christ be condemned before the Sanhedrin as breakers of the law, they would suffer swift and severe punishment as apostates from the Jewish faith.

“Many of the Jews who had accepted the gospel still cherished a regard for the ceremonial law and were only too willing to make unwise concessions, hoping thus to gain the confidence of their countrymen, to remove their prejudice, and to win them to faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer. Paul realized that so long as many of the leading members of the church at Jerusalem should continue to cherish prejudice against him, they would work constantly to counteract his influence. … But he was not authorized of God to concede as much as they asked.

“When we think of Paul’s great desire to be in harmony with his brethren, his tenderness toward the weak in the faith, his reverence for the apostles who had been with Christ, and for James, the brother of the Lord, and his purpose to become all things to all men so far as he could without sacrificing principle—when we think of all this, it is less surprising that he was constrained to deviate from the firm, decided course that he had hitherto followed. But instead of accomplishing the desired object, his efforts for conciliation only precipitated the crisis, hastened his predicted sufferings, and resulted in separating him from his brethren, depriving the church of one of its strongest pillars, and bringing sorrow to Christian hearts in every land.” The Acts of the Apostles, 404–406.


  • After the revolt of the Jews from the rule of Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, how did the focus change among compromising Christians? Revelation 2:2–4.

Note: “Early in the history of the church the mystery of iniquity foretold by the apostle Paul began its baleful work; and as the false teachers concerning whom Peter had warned the believers, urged their heresies, many were ensnared by false doctrines.” The Acts of the Apostles, 587.

“What was the origin of the great apostasy? How did the church first depart from the simplicity of the gospel? By conforming to the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity by the heathen.” The Great Controversy, 384.

  • Discuss how the popular contempt of the Jews throughout the Roman empire contributed to the decline in the observance of the Sabbath.

Note: “In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. … But with great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. …

“Now, taking advantage of the false light in which he had thus caused it [the Sabbath] to be regarded, he [Satan] cast contempt upon it as a Jewish institution. While Christians generally continued to observe the Sunday as a joyous festival, he led them, in order to show their hatred of Judaism, to make the Sabbath a fast, a day of sadness and gloom.” The Great Controversy, 52, 53.


1 What spirit was the root of the development of the mystery of iniquity?

2 How will a truly converted person respond to the threat of persecution?

3 Explain the issues surrounding the first doctrinal controversy in the early Christian church.

4 What prompted the advice given to Paul when he was in Jerusalem? Why?

5 How does the mystery of iniquity still insinuate itself into the church today?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Promises Fulfilled

October 16, 2016 – October 22, 2016

Key Text

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 703–721.


“Never has the Lord been without true representatives on this earth who have made His interests their own. These witnesses for God are numbered among the spiritual Israel, and to them will be fulfilled all the covenant promises made by Jehovah to His ancient people.” Prophets and Kings, 714.


  • Rather than making unconditional promises, what does God expect? Jeremiah 18:7–10.

Note: “There is no safety except in strict obedience to the word of God. All His promises are made upon condition of faith and obedience, and a failure to comply with His commands cuts off the fulfillment to us of the rich provisions of the Scriptures.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 621, 622.

  • What qualities does the Lord look for in people, regardless of their status or privileges? Acts 10:34, 35.

Note: “In the kingdom of God, position is not gained through favoritism. It is not earned, nor is it received through an arbitrary bestowal. It is the result of character. The crown and the throne are the tokens of a condition attained; they are the tokens of self-conquest through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 549.


  • What is promised concerning the future of Israel? Jeremiah 33:16; Romans 11:25–27.

Note: “God is abundantly able to transform the hearts of Jew and Gentile alike, and to grant to every believer in Christ the blessings promised to Israel.” The Acts of the Apostles, 379.

  • What is the only path to salvation, whether one is Jew or Gentile by birth? Acts 4:10–12.

Note: “It is claimed by some that the human race is in need, not of redemption, but of development—that it can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. … The history of Cain shows what must be the results. It shows what man will become apart from Christ. Humanity has no power to regenerate itself. It does not tend upward, toward the divine, but downward, toward the satanic. Christ is our only hope.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 73.

  • What characterizes the true Israel? Romans 2:28, 29. In light of this, to whom do the promises really apply? Romans 9:6–8.

Note: “The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory.

“The same danger still exists. Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world.” The Desire of Ages, 309, 310.


  • What promise was made to Abraham regarding his relationship with the rest of the world? Genesis 22:18.

Note: “It was a high honor to which Abraham was called, that of being the father of the people who for centuries were the guardians and preservers of the truth of God for the world—of that people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 140, 141.

  • What was meant by the term “seed” in this promise? Galatians 3:16. What does it take to be a recipient of the blessings? Verses 8, 9.

Note: “The Bible plainly teaches that the promises made to Abraham are to be fulfilled through Christ. All that are Christ’s are ‘Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’—heirs to ‘an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away’—the earth freed from the curse of sin (Galatians 3:29; 1 Peter 1:4).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 170.

  • Study the conversation recorded in John 8:31–45, then describe the type of character needed in order to participate in the spiritual relationship mentioned there.

Note: “The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One Who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.” The Desire of Ages, 466, 467.


  • How were the patriarchs themselves included in the promise of inheriting the land? Exodus 6:8. What must happen in order for this promise to be fulfilled? Luke 20:34–38.

Note: “The heritage that God has promised to His people is not in this world. Abraham had no possession in the earth, ‘no, not so much as to set his foot on’ (Acts 7:5). He possessed great substance, and he used it to the glory of God and the good of his fellow men; but he did not look upon this world as his home. The Lord had called him to leave his idolatrous countrymen, with the promise of the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession; yet neither he nor his son nor his son’s son received it. When Abraham desired a burial place for his dead, he had to buy it of the Canaanites. His sole possession in the Land of Promise was that rock-hewn tomb in the cave of Machpelah.

“But the word of God had not failed; neither did it meet its final accomplishment in the occupation of Canaan by the Jewish people. ‘To Abraham and his seed were the promises made’ (Galatians 3:16). Abraham himself was to share the inheritance. The fulfillment of God’s promise may seem to be long delayed—for ‘one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ (2 Peter 3:8); it may appear to tarry; but at the appointed time ‘it will surely come, it will not tarry’ (Habakkuk 2:3). The gift to Abraham and his seed included not merely the land of Canaan, but the whole earth.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 169, 170.

  • What shows that the patriarchs understood this? Hebrews 11:13–16.
  • Who are considered to be true descendants of Abraham, and thus the heirs of the promise? Galatians 3:27–29; Matthew 8:11, 12.

Note: “Christ recognized no virtue in lineage. He taught that spiritual connection supersedes all natural connection. … Only those who prove themselves to be spiritually in harmony with Abraham by obeying the voice of God, are reckoned as of true descent.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 268.


  • What state will the earth be in when the promise is fulfilled? Isaiah 65:17–19.

Note: “In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called ‘a country’ (Hebrews 11:14–16). There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.” The Great Controversy, 675.

  • How does Scripture describe the spiritual unity of the inherited kingdom? Jeremiah 23:3–6; Ezekiel 37:24–27.

Note: “One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. … From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” The Great Controversy, 678.

  • When the earth is made new, what will God do with His place of dwelling? Revelation 21:1–3.


1 When God makes a promise, how can its fulfillment depend on conditions?

2 What is needed besides a profession of faith in Christ?

3 What makes someone a real child of Abraham?

4 When will the promise of inheriting the land be fulfilled?

5 What will be the attitude of the saved in the New Earth?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Heirs of the Kingdom

October 9, 2016 – October 15, 2016

Key Text

“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him” (James 2:5)?

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 681–702.


“All that are Christ’s are ‘Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’ (Galatians 3:29)—heirs to ‘an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away’ (1 Peter 1:4)—the earth freed from the curse of sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 170.


  • How can the gospel be summarized? Romans 1:16, 17.
  • Who must hear it, and what choice do they need to make? Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15, 16.

Note: “When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 111.

  • To what class of people is salvation available? Acts 10:34, 35; Romans 8:14; Ephesians 3:6.

Note: “The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel.” The Desire of Ages, 403.


  • What promises were given to Abraham and his descendants? Genesis 12:1–3; 13:14–17.

Note: “Through the Jewish nation it was God’s purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through Israel the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of His light to the whole world. …

“It was for the accomplishment of this purpose that God called Abraham out from his idolatrous kindred and bade him dwell in the land of Canaan.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 286.

  • Why did God wait till several generations after Abraham before actually causing them to possess the land of Palestine? Genesis 15:13–16.

Note: “The nations of the world, through following corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with Him through His church.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 286.

“Although the Amorites were idolaters, whose life was justly forfeited by their great wickedness, God spared them four hundred years to give them unmistakable evidence that He was the only true God, the Maker of heaven and earth. All His wonders in bringing Israel from Egypt were known to them. Sufficient evidence was given; they might have known the truth, had they been willing to turn from their idolatry and licentiousness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 434.

  • What eventually happened to the Amorites? Judges 11:21–24.

Note: “On reaching the border of the Amorites, Israel had asked permission only to travel directly through the country, promising to observe the same rules that had governed their intercourse with other nations. When the Amorite king refused this courteous solicitation, and defiantly gathered his hosts for battle, their cup of iniquity was full, and God would now exercise His power for their overthrow.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 435.


  • How did Israel fail to live up to the purpose of God in placing them in the Promised Land? Judges 2:10–13.

Note: “Until the generation that had received instruction from Joshua became extinct, idolatry made little headway; but the parents had prepared the way for the apostasy of their children. The disregard of the Lord’s restrictions on the part of those who came in possession of Canaan sowed seed of evil that continued to bring forth bitter fruit for many generations. The simple habits of the Hebrews had secured them physical health; but association with the heathen led to the indulgence of appetite and passion, which gradually lessened physical strength and enfeebled the mental and moral powers. By their sins the Israelites were separated from God; His strength was removed from them, and they could no longer prevail against their enemies. Thus they were brought into subjection to the very nations that through God they might have subdued.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 544, 545.

  • What happened because of the influence of the first king of the northern half of the divided nation? I Kings 14:15, 16.

Note: “Had Israel heeded the messages of the prophets, they would have been spared the humiliation that followed. It was because they had persisted in turning aside from His law that God was compelled to let them go into captivity. …

“In every age, transgression of God’s law has been followed by the same result. In the days of Noah, when every principle of rightdoing was violated and iniquity became so deep and widespread that God could no longer bear with it. … In Abraham’s day the people of Sodom openly defied God and His law; and there followed the same wickedness, the same corruption, the same unbridled indulgence that had marked the antediluvian world. The inhabitants of Sodom passed the limits of divine forbearance, and there was kindled against them the fire of God’s vengeance.

“The time preceding the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel was one of similar disobedience and of similar wickedness. God’s law was counted as a thing of nought, and this opened the floodgates of iniquity upon Israel.” Prophets and Kings, 297.


  • How long would the tribe of Judah maintain its royal distinction? Genesis 49:10; Ezekiel 21:25–27.

Note: “The lion, king of the forest, is a fitting symbol of this tribe, from which came David, and the Son of David, Shiloh, the true ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah,’ to Whom all powers shall finally bow and all nations render homage.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 236.

  • Who was “Shiloh” (the One “Whose right it is”), and when did He come? Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1–9.

Note: “Century after century passed away; finally the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel. As the Jews departed from God, faith grew dim, and hope well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were uncomprehended by many; and those whose faith should have continued strong were ready to exclaim, ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth’ (Ezekiel 12:22). But in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined.” Prophets and Kings, 700.

“While few understood the nature of Christ’s mission, there was a widespread expectation of a mighty prince Who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and Who should come as a deliverer to the nations.” The Desire of Ages, 34.

  • What is the nature of His kingdom? John 18:36, 37. What will take place when the kingdom is fully proclaimed? Matthew 24:14.

Note: “He Who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.

“Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit.” The Desire of Ages, 509.


  • When Christ was rejected by His own nation, what did He say? Matthew 23:37, 38. When was the desolation complete (literally as well as spiritually)? Matthew 24:1, 2.

Note: “Hitherto He [Jesus] had called the temple His Father’s house; but now, as the Son of God should pass out from those walls, God’s presence would be withdrawn forever from the temple built to His glory. Henceforth its ceremonies would be meaningless, its services a mockery.” The Desire of Ages, 620.

“He [Jesus] saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, the besieged inhabitants driven to starvation and death. … He saw that the stubbornness of the Jews, as evinced in their rejection of His salvation, would also lead them to refuse submission to the invading armies. … He saw the wretched inhabitants suffering torture on the rack and by crucifixion, the beautiful palaces destroyed, the temple in ruins, and of its massive walls not one stone left upon another, while the city was plowed like a field.” Ibid., 577.

  • In rejecting Christ, what did the leaders of the Jews bring upon themselves? Matthew 27:24, 25. Whom did they choose as their ruler, and what did this ruler eventually do? John 19:14, 15; Luke 21:20, 24.


1 Explain God’s purpose in delaying the conquest of Canaan.

2 What can God’s people learn today from Israel’s failure to subdue the land?

3 Why was the kingdom Jesus preached so differently from what His people expected?

4 How do the services in God’s house lose their meaning today?

5 How can I do more to share with those who need to hear the gospel?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Kingdom Challenged

October 2, 2016 – October 8, 2016

Key Text

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 33–43.


“By the facts unfolded in the progress of the great controversy, God will demonstrate the principles of His rules of government, which have been falsified by Satan and by all whom he has deceived.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 79.


  • From the descriptions of the position and power of the Son of God, what can we learn about God’s government? Psalm 45:6; Hebrews 1:1–3.

Note: “Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens.” Education, 99.

  • What do we know about the law which forms the basis of this kingdom? Psalm 19:7; Matthew 22:37–40.

Note: “The law of God is an expression of His very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth.” Steps to Christ, 60.

“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all created beings depended upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—homage that springs from an intelligent appreciation of His character.” The Great Controversy, 493.


  • Through the figure of the king of Tyre, how does the Bible describe the fall of Lucifer? Ezekiel 28:11–15.

Note: “Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and who stood highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Before his fall, Lucifer was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled.” The Great Controversy, 493, 494.

  • How did Lucifer, now called Satan, challenge God’s government? Isaiah 14:12–14.

Note: “Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels. He worked with mysterious secrecy, and for a time concealed his real purpose under an appearance of reverence for God. He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; all their thoughts were holy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 37.

  • What did this challenge result in? Revelation 12:7–9; Luke 10:18.
  • Having been cast into the earth, what position did Satan assume? Job 1:7; John 14:30.

Note: “Satan’s dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God’s, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan’s hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. … Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits.” The Desire of Ages, 129, 130.


  • What was the original position in which human beings were placed? Psalm 8:4–6.
  • Through the serpent, how did Satan seek to draw Adam and Eve into the controversy? Genesis 3:1, 4, 5.

Note: “By partaking of this tree [in the midst of the garden], he [the serpent] declared, they would attain to a more exalted sphere of existence and enter a broader field of knowledge. He himself had eaten of the forbidden fruit, and as a result had acquired the power of speech. And he insinuated that the Lord jealously desired to withhold it from them, lest they should be exalted to equality with Himself. It was because of its wonderful properties, imparting wisdom and power, that He had prohibited them from tasting or even touching it. The tempter intimated that the divine warning was not to be actually fulfilled; it was designed merely to intimidate them. How could it be possible for them to die? Had they not eaten of the tree of life? God had been seeking to prevent them from reaching a nobler development and finding greater happiness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 54.

  • Through Satan’s temptations, what happened to the human race? Romans 6:16; 5:12.
  • How was humanity’s dominion lost on the earth? Genesis 3:24; 9:2.

Note: “Under the curse of sin all nature was to witness to man of the character and results of rebellion against God. When God made man He made him ruler over the earth and all living creatures. So long as Adam remained loyal to Heaven, all nature was in subjection to him. But when he rebelled against the divine law, the inferior creatures were in rebellion against his rule. Thus the Lord, in His great mercy, would show men the sacredness of His law, and lead them, by their own experience, to see the danger of setting it aside, even in the slightest degree.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 59, 60.


  • Describe the promise embedded in the curse upon the serpent. Genesis 3:15.

Note: “This sentence, uttered in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold war between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great adversary would finally be broken. Adam and Eve stood as criminals before the righteous Judge, awaiting the sentence which transgression had incurred; but before they heard of the life of toil and sorrow which must be their portion, or of the decree that they must return to dust, they listened to words that could not fail to give them hope. Though they must suffer from the power of their mighty foe, they could look forward to final victory.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 65, 66.

  • How was this promise to be fulfilled? John 12:31, 32; I Timothy 3:16.

Note: “The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal’ (Romans 16:25, RV). It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).” The Desire of Ages, 22.

  • In what royal language did the prophets describe the character of the coming Messiah? Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 9:6, 7.

Note: “This hope of redemption [of humans and their forfeited dominion] through the advent of the Son of God as Saviour and King, has never become extinct in the hearts of men. From the beginning there have been some whose faith has reached out beyond the shadows of the present to the realities of the future.” Prophets and Kings, 682.


  • Comparing the following verses, describe the two classes of people that developed within the human race. Romans 8:14; I John 3:1; Romans 1:21, 22; Ephesians 2:1–3.

Note: “As men increased, the distinction between the two classes [of worshipers] became more marked. There was an open profession of loyalty to God on the part of one, as there was of contempt and disobedience on the part of the other.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 80.

  • How does the experience of Cain and Abel illustrate the state of humanity? Hebrews 11:4; I John 3:12.

Note: “Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine mediation, and thus it is not able to bring man into favor with God. It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can be pardoned. … There is no other provision made whereby they can be released from the thralldom of sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 72, 73.

  • What choice is presented to each child of Adam today? Romans 6:16.


1 How do we know that the law of God has existed from eternity?

2 How did Lucifer challenge the very foundation of God’s government?

3 How is humanity today still being deceived by the serpent’s lies?

4 What was the hope which animated the faith of the believers in ancient times?

5 Identify the modern equivalents of Cain and Abel.

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Love for You

September 25, 2016 – October 1, 2016

Key Text

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (I John 4:9).

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 9–15.


“Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. … This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1113.


  • What is the most enduring characteristic of our Creator? I John 4:16.

Note: “ ‘God is love,’ is written upon every opening bud, upon the petals of every flower, and upon every spire of grass. … All things in nature testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy. His prohibitions and injunctions are not intended merely to display His authority, but in all that He does He has the well-being of His children in view.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 600.

  • How did God most fully demonstrate His love? John 3:16; Romans 5:6–8.

Note: “The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite and a tender pity surpassing a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child.” Steps to Christ, 15.


  • What great mission did Jesus accomplish by His sacrifice? Matthew 1:21.

Note: “Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.” The Desire of Ages, 22, 23.

“Christ’s mission could be fulfilled only through suffering. Before Him was a life of sorrow, hardship, and conflict, and an ignominious death. He must bear the sins of the whole world. He must endure separation from His Father’s love.” Ibid., 129.

  • What is His will for every person? 2 Peter 3:9; I Timothy 2:4.

Note: “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His.” The Desire of Ages, 25.

  • How do we receive the benefit of Christ’s death for our sins? Acts 16:31; I John 1:9.

Note: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.” Steps to Christ, 37.

“Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against sin. Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own sinfulness, is an evidence that His Spirit is moving upon our hearts.” Ibid., 26.


  • Being saved includes not only forgiveness, but what else? Titus 2:11–14; Galatians 2:20.

Note: “It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. … Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” Steps to Christ, 18.

  • What does the power of God do within the converted Christian? Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20, 21.

Note: “The law is an expression of the thought of God; when received in Christ, it becomes our thought. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin.” The Desire of Ages, 308.

“As we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for good. Ever learning of the divine Teacher, daily partaking of His nature, we cooperate with God in overcoming Satan’s temptations.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 943.

  • What should be our constant prayer? Psalm 139:23, 24.

Note: “No man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159.


  • What inward battle must be fought every day? Proverbs 16:32; Ephesians 6:11.

Note: “The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought.” Steps to Christ, 43.

“The cross stands as a pledge that not one need be lost, that abundant help is provided for every soul.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 96.

  • What will be the final step in the salvation of the righteous? Hebrews 9:28; I Corinthians 15:51–54.

Note: “Though they [those who sleep in Jesus] may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured in this mortal life, yet in their resurrected and glorified body their individual identity will be perfectly preserved, and we shall recognize, in the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, the lineaments of those we love.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 219.

“The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye’ (1 Corinthians 15:52). At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air.” The Great Controversy, 645.

  • When will the warfare be finally over? 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.

Note: “Nearest the throne [of Christ in the New Jerusalem] are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, … before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands’ (Revelation 7:9). Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.” The Great Controversy, 665.


  • What invitation does Jesus extend to every soul today? John 7:37, 38; Revelation 22:17.

Note: “The same divine mind that is working upon the things of nature is speaking to the hearts of men and creating an inexpressible craving for something they have not. The things of the world cannot satisfy their longing. The Spirit of God is pleading with them to seek for those things that alone can give peace and rest—the grace of Christ, the joy of holiness. Through influences seen and unseen, our Saviour is constantly at work to attract the minds of men from the unsatisfying pleasures of sin to the infinite blessings that may be theirs in Him. To all these souls, who are vainly seeking to drink from the broken cisterns of this world, the divine message is addressed, [Revelation 22:17 quoted].

“You who in heart long for something better than this world can give, recognize this longing as the voice of God to your soul.” Steps to Christ, 28.

  • What should we remember about the hand that knocks on our heart’s door? Revelation 3:20; Zechariah 13:6.

Note: “We must gather about the cross. Christ and Him crucified should be the theme of contemplation, of conversation, and of our most joyful emotion. We should keep in our thoughts every blessing we receive from God, and when we realize His great love we should be willing to trust everything to the hand that was nailed to the cross for us.” Steps to Christ, 103, 104.


1 How has God demonstrated His love to you?

2 What is the significance of Christ’s death for every human being?

3 How does salvation go beyond the mere forgiveness of past sins?

4 What will be the final step in completing the work of salvation?

5 What makes today the best day to respond to Jesus’ knock on your heart’s door?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Three Melon Salad


½ watermelon, cubed 3 Tbsp. mint leaves, torn
½ cantaloupe, cubed ¼ tsp. grated lime peel
½ honeydew, cubed Juice of 1 lime
Halve melons; scrape out seeds of cantaloupe and honeydew. Cut melon halves into slices and cube, cutting away rinds. Place fruit in serving bowl. Add mint leaves and lime; stir to combine. Serve chilled.


Food – Watermelon

What is the perfect treat to beat the summer’s heat? Cold, crisp, juicy, refeshing, hydrating, thirst-quenching watermelon is the right choice for hot summer days. It is rightly named as watermelon is rich in water, about 92%, and low in sugar, about 6%, making it excellent for maintaining good hydration and restoring important electrolytes. Also containing essential rehydration salts, it helps hydrate the body and skin, reducing to a great extent the chance of dehydration. Bring it along on picnics, beach visits and other outdoor activities. Use this gift of nature to help supplement your daily water requirement to stay well hydrated, taming summer thirst.

Despite the fact that watermelon is made up of mostly water, it is considered a nutrient-dense food, providing high amounts of vitamins, amino acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants, licopene, with modest amounts of potassium and fiber and low amounts of sodium and fat.

“Watermelon is an excellent fruit that effectively hydrates, detoxifies, and cleanses the entire body. It is rich in vitamins A and C as well as lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are excellent for providing protection from lung, mouth, pancreatic, breast, prostate, endometrial, and colon cancer.

“It is known to significantly reduce inflammation, help flush out edema, aid in weight loss, and alleviate depression. Watermelon can also boost the immune system as well as strengthen vision. …

“Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants that have the ability to neutralize free radical molecules and aid in the prevention of chronic illnesses.”

Watermelon is believed to have originated in Africa and been brought to America across the Atlantic Ocean by African slaves where it spread to the rest of the tropical and subtropical regions. The slave trade was a major means in transporting watermelon to the U.S. Slaves would plant watermelon seeds in the cotton fields so they could enjoy them during the hot months of July and August. European colonists who settled in the Americas also brought with them watermelon seeds and by 1862, watermelons were widely grown throughout Massachusetts.

Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide in 96 countries. Over 300 types of watermelons are grown in the U.S. Watermelon producers in America anually grow more than 4 billion pounds of the delicious fruit. They come in various sizes and colors of red, pink, yellow, orange, white or even green flesh. Japanese producers grow square watermelon. Square glass boxes are placed around a growing fruit so as it grows it becomes square. They are conveniently small and do not roll around like their “normal” counterparts, but can cost from $80 to $125.

While most people enjoy the sweet flesh, watermelons can also be made into juice, added to smoothies or made into pops and sorbets. Instead of throwing away the rind, which contains one of the best sources of blood-building chlorophyll and high organic sodium as well as other health promoting nutrients, blend with a little lime for a healthy refreshing drink. The seeds can also be eaten, providing small but helpful amounts of protein, iron, and zinc.


Three Melon Salad
½ watermelon, cubed 3 Tbsp. mint leaves, torn
½ cantaloupe, cubed ¼ tsp. grated lime peel
½ honeydew, cubed Juice of 1 lime
Halve melons; scrape out seeds of cantaloupe and honeydew. Cut melon halves into slices and cube, cutting away rinds. Place fruit in serving bowl. Add mint leaves and lime; stir to combine. Serve chilled.


Children’s Story – The Talking Buffalo

“And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh … and turned not aside to the right or to the left.”

I Samuel 6:12

Who ever heard of two cows going away from their calves and taking the right road to Bethshemesh? Elder R. S. Watts tells of another miracle the living God performed with a dumb animal, this time with a water buffalo! A certain farmer had been planting rice all day in his paddy field on the island of Lubang in the Philippines. Just as he was ready to go home three water buffaloes came wandering into his paddy field. He tried to drive them away. Two of them left, but one refused to go. It turned right toward the farmer, opened its mouth, and spoke! “Prepare to meet God. He is coming soon. You must keep the Sabbath to be ready.” After this the buffalo went away, and the farmer, astonished beyond description, ran back to his village and excitedly told his family and his neighbors about this strange experience with a talking buffalo!

Soon after this experience a relative of the farmer, Brother Faustino Tardeo, who was a Seventh-day Adventist, came to this village to spend his vacation, for this was his former home. He was soon giving Bible studies, and when they studied about the Sabbath, the farmer told again about this experience with the talking buffalo who told him he must keep the Sabbath to get ready for Christ’s soon coming. It was such a striking coincidence that they believed God’s hand was in it all, and the farmer and a number of his neighbors began to keep the Sabbath. … Now there is quite a company of people who are studying the truth. No wonder Isaiah says that God’s name is “Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6).

Paul declares that this wonderful God “hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen … to bring to nought things that are” (I Corinthians 1:27, 28).

This God—your God—may do something wonderful for you or some of your friends someday to bring them to the truth. [Emphasis author’s.]

Make God First, Elder R. S. Watts/Eric B. Hare, 94.

Sermon on the Mount Series – Right Seems Strange

Some people are persecuted because of their wrong-doing and others, because they have stirred up resentment and opposition by their extreme or rigid ideas. However, others are persecuted because they have done what is right, which sounds strange.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10 KJV). Before saying this, Jesus described the development of Christian character and then what would develop in the world and the attitude toward those who acquired this Christian character. Indeed, it is a strange reception that is accorded them.

When you first read the gospel story you might think that it would seem that such a character as Jesus had described—a person who is gentle, loves righteousness, is merciful, is pure in heart and who is a peacemaker—would be welcomed everywhere and that they would be congratulated on who they are. But Jesus said that it would be just the opposite. He declared that if you progressed up this beatitude ladder of spiritual growth, it would lead to opposition and persecution, that a genuine Christian character would stir up enmity and hatred on the part of other people in the world that did not have these virtues.

The Bible gives plentiful record that such is the case. Notice what the apostle Peter said about it in I Peter 5:8, 9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

Jesus predicted that the development of a genuine Christian character would lead up to enmity, hatred and persecution. The character development produced by the experience of a person who has followed these first seven beatitudes arouses the enemy of all righteousness and He begins to persecute. He is especially incensed when those who climb this ladder that Jesus has described reach the blessed realm of purity of heart, with a vision of God so that they are qualified to become peacemakers to other alienated and troubled souls. This makes the prince of strife and confusion furiously angry with these ambassadors of peace and he makes war upon them. His fiercest anger and his most relentless persecutions will be manifested against the remnant; that is, the last of the church that exists just before Christ returns.

In Revelation 12:12 it says, “… rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest (or the remnant) of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17).

The apostle Peter says in I Peter 1:1 that the reason genuine Christians are persecuted is because they are strangers and pilgrims in the earth. Notice what the apostle Paul said in Hebrews 11:13 describing the faithful people of God in past ages: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” They are living in a land which Satan, the great adversary, claims as his and over which he claims to be the prince and ruler. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 the devil is called the god of this world. His enemies are those who have renounced allegiance to him and his kingdom. His subjects are those who sin. “He who sins is of the devil” (I John 3:8, first part) for the devil has sinned from the beginning.

On this account, “… the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (verse 8, last part). Sin is breaking God’s law (I John 3:4). As long as you live in sin, the devil will give you comparative rest because you are part of his kingdom. But when you choose to renounce the kingdom of Satan, follow Jesus Christ, and become obedient to the laws of heaven, forsaking your life of sin, you become his enemy. He is angry because he has lost you as one of his subjects.

When you transfer your citizenship to heaven by choosing to follow Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as your Lord and Saviour, it will result in being subjected to his satanic wrath and persecution from which no real Christian can escape. Jesus said to His disciples, “… in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He also said, “… the servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20 KJV).

The persecution that Jesus foretold was not limited to only the disciples to whom He was speaking. Neither was it limited to the Christians of the 1st century or to any certain time period. Rather, notice what the apostle Paul says about it in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Just as Christ loves righteousness and hates lawlessness (Hebrews 1:9), Satan loves lawlessness and hates righteousness. In this rebellious world in which we live, vital holiness will provoke hatred and opposition, because holiness is a disturbing element. The light of truth always exposes the darkness of error. It sweeps away the black mantel that covers the sins of the ungodly and it makes manifest the necessity of a change, the need for a reform. This revelation may be welcomed by some, but it is resented by those who cling to their sins and do not want to change.

The apostle John wrote, “He who believes in Him (Christ) is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:18–20). That is the very same problem the Christian has faced in all ages, the same problem that Jesus Himself faced. Those that are not willing to forsake their lawless deeds begin to war against the truth and its advocates. So, hatred against truth and godliness is manifested by persecuting those that possess these things and are sanctified by the truth.

Now a question could be asked, If what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12 is true—that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution—why is there comparatively little persecution in Christendom in the western world at the present time? This lack of persecution is especially true in the western world.

In the time of the apostles, the church of God suffered persecution, as recorded in the book of Acts and also in the epistles of Paul. Some of the epistles of Paul were actually written from a Roman prison. After the time of the apostles in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, there was persecution of the Christians by the pagan Roman Empire that lasted for 200 years or more.

Again, during that long period of history often called the Dark Ages, persecution raised its ugly head and millions of Christians were martyred in many parts of the world. Again, in the period of the Reformation of the 16th century, and again during the revivals in the time of John Wesley, there was persecution of the church. Persecution has appeared whenever there has been a revival of primitive godliness. The reason that there is so little persecution in the modern church today is because vital godliness is lacking.

Speaking to the church that would live in the last epochal period of Christian history Jesus says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:15–20).

Notice what has happened. The church has compromised with the world and become lukewarm, conforming to worldly standards. Because there is so little vital godliness in the church, Christianity has become popular with the world and it awakens no opposition. A church that has lost its first love, so that it is lukewarm in its affection for both God and man, could hardly be expected to arouse the hatred of the enemy. He is so very well satisfied with the present spiritual condition of the church because he knows that few of its members have climbed the beatitude ladder.

Whenever there is a stir in the church and there is a development of primitive godliness, there will be a stir in the camp of the enemy. Let there be a revival of the faith and power of the apostolic church and there will be a revival of persecution. The enemy will become aroused as soon as the church begins to awake from its slumbering condition. But, of course, we must always remember, Jesus said, “Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” We are not talking about people that are persecuted because of their wrong-doing, because of the natural consequence of their own course of conduct. There are many today who think of themselves as martyrs. They are anxious for persecution, and they follow a course that brings persecution upon themselves. They are not happy unless they are creating resentment and stirring up opposition. This is especially true of certain extremists and fanatics. But that is not the persecution Jesus is talking about. He is talking about the persecution that results from a person being personally righteous.

Jesus declared when He was here that He was rejected and persecuted because He was not of the world and therefore different from the world. His godly life was a rebuke to sinners and it made them angry. They hated and persecuted Him because He was righteous and it exposed their unrighteousness. He was insulted, maligned, reproached, and finally murdered, not because they could find any evil in Him, but because they could not. In fact, at His trial, you recall, Pontius Pilate said three times that he found no fault in Him at all (John 18:38; 19:4, 6).

Jesus was crucified, not because they could find something wrong with Him, but because they could not. And Jesus said that His followers would receive the same treatment for the same reasons. Being like Christ they would be different from the world, and somehow, difference always awakens opposition. The genuine Christian, his very presence, his very life, is a reproof, a rebuke, to those who are selfish, to those who are proud, and they feel uncomfortable. An unselfish life offends them and arouses in them enmity and resentment. This last beatitude is the only one that Jesus enlarges upon. He emphasizes its importance with this statement in Matthew 5:11, 12 KJV: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

In these verses, Jesus explains what He means by persecution for righteousness’ sake. He enumerates some of the forms in which the persecution would come—reviling, saying evil against you—and He emphasizes the greatness of the reward. Sometimes when somebody is persecuted, we might be inclined to pity them or to sympathize with them, going through persecution. We might be inclined to pity ourselves if we are being persecuted and ill-treated by others, but Jesus offers His congratulations to those that are persecuted. He declares that “those that are persecuted for righteousness sake” should rejoice. This is true, first of all, because it is an evidence that we actually are the children of God, and we have become, thereby, a menace to Satan and his kingdom. The enemy never persecutes the lukewarm and the ungodly, but he tries rather to afflict those that live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12).

So, persecution is an evidence that the person being persecuted is climbing up the ladder of spiritual growth, that he is traveling the highway of holiness that leads to the Holy City, the celestial city of God. And Jesus assures us, if we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, that we have the kingdom of heaven, and that we can rejoice. Not only that, but He also tells us that there is another reason we can rejoice and that is because of the good company we are in. Jesus said, those that went before you, the prophets, they were persecuted as well (Matthew 5:12). The brunt of Satan’s attack has always been against God’s spokesmen, against His prophets.

Many of the prophets suffered martyrdom and all of them were opposed and persecuted because they were holy men of God acting as His spokesmen (2 Peter 1:19–21). It was the fate of prophets and sages to be rejected. The reason, of course, is because the world will not bear rebukes. When we study the life of the apostles, we find that all except one of the eleven apostles died for their faith, and that one suffered banishment to the isle of Patmos.

Many millions of Christians were persecuted and martyred during the pagan Roman persecutions. And many millions more, during what we call the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages. So, Jesus said, if you are persecuted, remember that you are in the company of the best people that have ever lived. To join the company of the persecuted, therefore, is cause not for sorrow, but for rejoicing. Another cause for rejoicing is that persecution is one of the best of all purifiers and developer of character.

When we study Christian history, we find over and over again that the church has always been in its purest and most godly state while passing through persecution, and therefore at such times the church had its greatest power. Why? Because godliness awakens opposition and Christian character develops faster and becomes more vigorous under the strain, under the opposition of being persecuted. Because godliness always precedes the persecution and the persecution then performs an important part of burning out the dross and perfecting Christian character, the two blend together. Persecution increases with the increase of godliness and vice versa. If you want to be ready to meet Jesus Christ when He returns to this world, you must be willing to follow Him through evil report as well as good report.

The book of Revelation describes those who live in the final generation and are ready to meet Jesus before He comes. In Revelation 7:13, as John provided details of a vision, he wrote, “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ ” John answers, “Sir, you know” (verse 14, first part). The elder tells him: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (verse 14, last part).

If you want to be ready to meet Jesus when He returns, you must be ready, by His grace, to go through the great tribulation. The Bible is very clear that before Jesus comes again, there will be a time of trouble in this world such as has never been since there was a nation (Daniel 12:1). We are rapidly approaching that time. Now is the time for you and for me to prepare to go through it and to be ready to meet the Lord when He returns.

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

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

Health – Then and Now Processed Foods

We take many things for granted in this day and age, including our breakfast cereal and other processed foods. The following is a little history that you might find interesting:

“Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals were invented because of religious beliefs. The first step in this direction was taken by the American clergyman Sylvester Graham, who advocated a vegetarian diet. He used unsifted, coarsely ground flour to invent the Graham cracker in 1829. Influenced by Graham, Seventh-day Adventists, who also believed in vegetarianism, founded the Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the 1860s. At this institute, later known as the Battle Creek Sanitarium, physician John Harvey Kellogg invented several grain-based meat substitutes.

“In 1876 or 1877, Kellogg invented a food he called granola from wheat, oats, and corn that had been mixed, baked, and coarsely ground. In 1894, Kellogg and his brother W. K. Kellogg invented the first precooked flaked cereal. They cooked ground wheat into a dough, then flattened it between metal rollers and scraped it off with a knife. The resulting flakes were then cooked again and allowed to stand for several hours. This product was sold by mail order as Granose for 15 cents per 10-ounce (284 g) package.

“Both W. K. Kellogg and C. W. Post, a patient at the sanitarium, founded businesses to sell such products as health foods. Their success led dozens of imitators to open factories in Battle Creek between 1900 and 1905. These businesses quickly failed, while Kellogg and Post still survive as thriving manufacturers of breakfast cereals.

“Their success can be partially attributed to advertising campaigns, which transformed the image of their products from health foods to quick, convenient, and tasty breakfast foods. Another factor was the fact that Kellogg and Post both manufactured corn flakes, which turned out to be much more popular than wheat flakes. Breakfast cereals have continued to increase in popularity in the twentieth century. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are served in nine out of 10 American households. …”

What about Now?

Many of the grains used in cereals are now finely ground, refined and stripped of fiber and other nutrients. They are then cooked at extremely high temperatures which basically destroys any nutrition that may be left. The essential nutrients have been lost.

Beyond just breakfast cereals, the standard diet followed by most people will damage the body and mind. Please read the following excerpt from the book, Health is a Choice—Learn How to Choose it, by Raymond Francis, M.Sc., 2002; published by Health Communications, Inc.

“Carl Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D., related in Mental and Elemental Nutrients an experiment at the University of California, Irvine. Healthy rats were fed foods that an average American would purchase in a supermarket: white bread, sugar, eggs, milk, ground beef, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, apples, bananas and coffee. The rats developed a variety of diseases. Dr. Pfeiffer concluded that if the average human diet could not support the health of rats, then it probably would not do much better for humans.

“In Diet for a Poisoned Plant, David Steinman describes an experiment in which four sets of rats were fed different diets. The first set ate natural foods and drank clean water. Throughout the three-month experiment, these rats remained alert, calm and social. The second set was fed the same food as the first, with the addition of hot dogs. These rats became violent and fought each other aggressively. The third set ate sugar-coated breakfast cereal and drank fruit punch. These rats became nervous, hyperactive and aimless. The fourth set was fed only sugar donuts and cola. These rats had trouble sleeping, became extremely fearful and were unable to function as a social unit. The poor nutrition of these foods (not to mention the toxic food additives) had a profound effect on the behavior of these animals. Many children today struggle with hyperactive, antisocial and even violent behaviors. The time has come to consider how their diet may be causing this behavior.” Pages 106, 107.

Certainly we are not rats, but it is good to notice how foods affected their actions. If we were observant, we could see many of those same characteristics in people around us.

“A study by Professor Suzanne Murphy at the University of California, Berkeley, published in the November 1992 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, measured the diets of 5,884 people for fifteen essential nutrients. The average person consistently measured below two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for three to six essential nutrients. A separate study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, examined ten essential nutrients in the diets of 21,500 people. In that study, not a single person was obtaining 100 percent of the RDA for all ten nutrients on a daily basis—not one person out of 21,500! …

“The most common deficiencies are calcium; zinc; magnesium; chromium; vitamins A, E, C and B6; and folic acid. What you must recognize is that you cannot miss even one member of the nutrition package and hope to be healthy. The way to assure you are getting what you need is to eat a wide range of real foods that are rich in nutrition …” Pages 110, 111.

We know there are many people whose diets consist mainly of processed foods. Because of this there is an increase in medical needs. The immune system is not being fed with nourishing foods. It would be a good idea to increase the amount of real, unprocessed foods into our diets and remove much of the over-processed foods which are not nourishing to our bodies.

Remember, our bodies are made up of what we put into them. Choose the good!