Bible Study – Our Last Opportunity!

December 19 – 25, 2021

Key Text

“I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 4, 476–485; Ibid., vol. 6, 445–453.


“We are nearing the end of this earth’s history, and the different departments of God’s work are to be carried forward with much more self-sacrifice than has yet been practiced.” Evangelism, 631.



1.a. To what realities are we all subject? Hebrews 9:27. What should this make each of us consider, whether old, young, sick, or healthy? Romans 12:11.

 Note: “It often happens that an active businessman is cut down without a moment’s warning and on examination his business is found to be in a most perplexing condition. In the effort to settle his estate the lawyers’ fees eat up a large share, if not all, of the property, while his wife and children and the cause of Christ are robbed. Those who are faithful stewards of the Lord’s means will know just how their business stands, and, like wise men, they will be prepared for any emergency. Should their probation close suddenly, they would not leave such great perplexity upon those who are called to settle their estate.

“Many are not exercised upon the subject of making their wills while they are in apparent health. But this precaution should be taken by our brethren. They should know their financial standing and should not allow their business to become entangled. They should arrange their property in such a manner that they may leave it at any time.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 482.

1.b. In planning our wills, what should we consider? Isaiah 38:1.



2.a. Since thousands of dollars are lost because people die without making a legal will, what need should be brought to the attention of the believers? 1 Corinthians 4:2.

 Note: “Some wills are made in so loose a manner that they will not stand the test of the law, and thus thousands of dollars have been lost to the cause. Our brethren should feel that a responsibility rests upon them, as faithful servants in the cause of God, to exercise their intellect in regard to this matter, and secure to the Lord His own.

“Many manifest a needless delicacy on this point. They feel that they are stepping upon forbidden ground when they introduce the subject of property to the aged or to invalids in order to learn what disposition they design to make of it. But this duty is just as sacred as the duty to preach the word to save souls. Here is a man with God’s money or property in his hands. He is about to change his stewardship. Will he place the means which God has lent him to be used in His cause, in the hands of wicked men, just because they are his relatives? Should not Christian men feel interested and anxious for that man’s future good as well as for the interest of God’s cause, that he shall make a right disposition of his Lord’s money, the talents lent him for wise improvement? Will his brethren stand by and see him losing his hold on this life and at the same time robbing the treasury of God? This would be a fearful loss to himself and to the cause; for, by placing his talent of means in the hands of those who have no regard for the truth of God, he would, to all intents and purposes, be wrapping it in a napkin and hiding it in the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 479.

“Death will not come one day sooner, brethren, because you have made your will. In disposing of your property by will to your relatives, be sure that you do not forget God’s cause. You are His agents, holding His property; and His claims should have your first consideration. Your wife and children, of course, should not be left destitute; provision should be made for them if they are needy. But do not, simply because it is customary, bring into your will a long line of relatives who are not needy.” Ibid., 482.

2.b. Whether we live or die, what does God expect each of us to remember? Romans 14:8, 12.



3.a. What is our duty in these last days? 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6; Zechariah 10:1. How can we receive the latter rain or “refreshing”? Acts 3:19–21.

 Note: “The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God. God cannot pour out His Spirit when selfishness and self-indulgence are so manifest; when a spirit prevails that, if put into words, would express that answer of Cain—‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Genesis 4:9).” Counsels on Stewardship, 52.

“God calls for men to give the warning to the world that is asleep, dead in trespasses and sins. He calls for freewill offerings from those whose hearts are in the work, who have a burden for souls, that they shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 446.

3.b. What should be foremost in our mind today, as individuals and as a church organization? John 9:4.

Note: “We ought now to be heeding the injunction of our Saviour: ‘Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not’ (Luke 12:33). It is now that our brethren should be cutting down their possessions instead of increasing them. We are about to move to a better country, even a heavenly. Then let us not be dwellers upon the earth, but be getting things into as compact a compass as possible.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 152.

“For what shall we hoard up treasures? To be swept away by the flames of the last day? Shall we lay up gold and silver to be a witness against us in the Judgment—to eat our flesh as it were fire? Shall we cling to our possessions till they fall into the hands of our enemies? The time is coming when commandment keepers can neither buy nor sell. Of what use will houses and lands, bank stock and merchandise, be to us then? Now is the time to place our treasures where they will be eternally secure.” The Review and Herald, December 6, 1887.



4.a. Why hasn’t Christ returned yet? 2 Peter 3:9. How can we avoid losing all our means in the prophecy that is soon to be fulfilled? Isaiah 2:20; Ezekiel 7:19; Psalm 96:2–8.

 Note: “If our brethren would learn the value of souls in the light of what their salvation has cost Jesus, they would know that souls are of greater value than houses and lands, gold and precious stones, or high positions of honor.” The Review and Herald, February 5, 1884.

“The work of God is to become more extensive, and if His people follow His counsel, there will not be much means in their possession to be consumed in the final conflagration. All will have laid up their treasure where moth and rust cannot corrupt; and the heart will not have a cord to bind it to earth.” Counsels on Stewardship, 60.

4.b. What does Christ promise to all who through faithful sacrifice are seriously preparing for His return? Isaiah 33:14–17.

Note: “It is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. If necessary He would send ravens to feed us, as He did to feed Elijah, or rain manna from heaven, as He did for the Israelites.

“Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.” Early Writings, 56, 57.



5.a. Where is the best investment available today, and why? Luke 12:32–34.

 Note: “Let us be honest with the Lord. All the blessings that we enjoy come from Him; and if He has entrusted us with the talent of means, that we may help to do His work, shall we hold back? Shall we say, No, Lord; my children would not be pleased, and therefore I shall venture to disobey God, burying His talent in the earth?

“There should be no delay. The cause of God demands your assistance. We ask you, as the Lord’s stewards, to put His means into circulation, to provide facilities by which many will have the opportunity of learning what is truth.” Counsels on Stewardship, 44, 45.

5.b. What declaration will the Lord make at the end of time? Psalm 50:3–5. How will all who make a covenant by sacrifice be richly rewarded? 1 Corinthians 15:57, 58.

 Note: “There is reward for the wholehearted, unselfish workers who enter this field, and also for those who contribute willingly for their support. Those engaged in active service in the field, and those who give of their means to sustain these workers, will share the reward of the faithful. …

“The self-denial they have practiced in order to support the work is remembered no more. As they look upon the souls they sought to win to Jesus, and see them saved, eternally saved—monuments of God’s mercy and of a Redeemer’s love—there ring through the arches of heaven shouts of praise and thanksgiving.” Counsels on Stewardship, 348, 349.



1    What superstition about making wills is detrimental to God’s cause?

2    Why should we not neglect to speak about making wills?

3    What is one reason why many will fail to receive the latter rain?

4    What should we realize before the approaching time of trouble?

5    How and when is the interest paid on treasure laid up in heaven?

Copyright 2012, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Latter Rain Expectations

As probation’s hour closes, Satan will level his sharpest thrusts against those who follow the guidelines laid down by the pen of inspiration. He will carry the contest to every soul. As in the Armageddon of Revelation 16, devils will go forth to deceive the very elect. With demonic cunning, they will inspire the susceptible to make void God’s law and nullify the testimonies of His Spirit—the means ordained of God to expose his deceptions, countermand his policies, and blunt his power.

At this time, as never before, the Church will need its unifying influence, its divine guidance, and its staying power. It dares not yield its faith. Some, alas, through willful ignorance and sinful neglect, have made their doubts regarding the inspiration of Mrs. White an excuse for leaving the Church. By making personal interests more important than the testimonies of God’s Spirit, some dishonor Jesus and quench His Spirit. But the faithful know Satan’s devices. They accept and act on this alert: “He [Satan] seeks by all the means in his power to shake the confidence of God’s people in the voice of warning and reproof through which God designs to purify the church and prosper His cause.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 211.

As God’s prophetic clock ticks off the last seconds of probationary time, thousands, feeling the impact of His now-or-never appeals, will fearlessly step out and, heedless of consequences, align themselves with God’s commandment-keeping people. Hearing their witness, sensing their courage, and feeling their love and true concern for their salvation, they cast caution aside and obey the promptings of the Spirit within the conscience.

“As the end approaches, the testimonies of God’s servants will become more decided and more powerful, flashing the light of truth upon the systems of error and oppression that have so long held the supremacy.” An Appeal to Our Ministers and Conference Committees, 18. We cannot now tone down the distinctive truths. The third angel proclaims no tame, insipid, or spiritless message. The world today and tomorrow needs messengers with flaming torches and flaming tongues who will set ablaze the whole creation.

The gifts of the Spirit, as well as the fruit of the Spirit, will confirm the truth. “A compelling power moved the honest. … Mighty miracles were wrought, the sick were healed, and signs and wonders followed the believers.” Early Writings, 278. The gift of tongues which enables those of different languages to understand the message will reappear: “Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue.” The Review and Herald, July 20, 1886. In a special sense, Jesus offers His followers today more than discipleship. He would make them apostles! “All that the apostles did, every church member today is to do.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 33.

Ours is a reaping message. The apostles, as seed sowers, went everywhere with the gospel’s glad tidings. So God’s harvest-hour witnesses, empowered by the Spirit, will gather fruit for Jesus out of all lands. Staggering as it may seem, every heart susceptible to the Spirit’s appeal around the world will respond. “Every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth.” The Great Controversy, 522.

According to God’s messenger to the remnant, some who had stood as leaders and guardians of the people will betray sacred trust. They will take the position that we need not look for miracles and the manifestation of divine power seen in former times. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.) Under the latter rain “Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers.” The Great Controversy, 612.

But alas, some who were once in the church who felt no special burden for their own spirituality and little for others, together with the many who have heard the message and did not respond, will not share the latter-rain refreshing. Their probation actually closes before the latter rain falls. “The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have had no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 97. Solemn thought!

Have you, dear reader, noticed a spiritual progression leading to the Christian maturity that all must experience in order to receive the latter rain? Are you becoming more and more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? God would have you “realize every moment that you must have the presence of the Holy Spirit” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 310), that “unless you receive the Holy Spirit, you cannot have the love of God in the soul” (The Review and Herald, September 27, 1892), and that “no one is prepared to educate and strengthen the church unless he has received the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ibid., March 29, 1892). Is your preparation adequate?

God wants us to understand that every church and individual will receive the Spirit when prepared: “The Holy Spirit is waiting for channels through whom to work. … Satan will not always triumph. The Spirit of God will be poured out upon the church just as soon as the vessels are prepared to receive it.” That I May Know Him, 330.

Why haven’t we received the fullness promised? Ellen White observes, “Happy will be the one of whom it can then be said, ‘The Spirit never stirred this man’s soul in vain. … Each step upward on the ladder of progress prepared him to climb still higher.’ …

“This experience every one who is saved must have. … He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God.” The Review and Herald, March 10, 1904.

Too many have had an outer-court relation to God, but God wants us to come into the holy of holies and know Him intimately. He offers us an inner-circle relationship so special and inconceivably glorious that even the born-again can only stand in awe and marvel. “It is essential that he [the believer] hold as vital a relation with God as does the Son to the Father.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 943.

Baptized anew in Christ’s love and surrounded with the divine influence of His grace, God’s last-day messengers will herald the distinctive truths that gather out the honest-hearted. “During the loud cry … light will be communicated to every city and town. … The light of present truth will be flashing everywhere.” Evangelism, 694. In addition, present truth will penetrate strongholds of apostasy and heathenism: “In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in all the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness.” Prophets and Kings, 188, 189.

During the latter rain, organizational machinery will at times give place to let Spirit-filled men speak with telling power. (See The General Conference Bulletin, February 15, 1895.) The Holy Spirit will then give us arguments to meet all opposition. (See The Review and Herald, January 28, 1902.) As at Pentecost converts will flock to the church from all directions, and the Holy Spirit will reconvert backsliders. (See The Acts of the Apostles, 48.)

Ellen White looked forward to the time when fallen man, “renewed, restored, raised to a holy rivalry with the angels” (The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1901), would speak the word with power. She said, “Nothing was too great to be expected from the coming of the divine Spirit.” Ibid. The cause would not suffer from lack of funds, for when the poor have done what they could, the Lord would bring in men of means. (See Gospel Workers (1892), 298.) Not just a few but “many a rich man” (Testimonies, vol. 6, 258) and “some who are numbered among merchants and princes will take their position to obey the truth.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1060.

God will not restrict His Spirit. He will infuse every dedicated soul with power. He will pour out His Spirit upon every person who yields to His promptings. He will use our boys and girls as He did in the 1844 movement: “The Spirit of God will come upon the children, and they will do a work … which the older workers cannot do.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 203. Indeed “God can use every person just in proportion as He can put His Spirit into the soul-temple.” Ibid., vol. 7, 144.

Concerning the fruitage of the latter rain, we read, “By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. …

“The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. … The publications … have exerted their influence. … Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. … A large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” The Great Controversy, 612.

And God will especially remember the Jew. “In the closing proclamation of the gospel, when special work is to be done for classes of people hitherto neglected, God expects His messengers to take particular interest in the Jewish people.” “Many will accept Christ as the Messiah.” “An explanation of Jehovah’s eternal purpose … will be to many … as the dawn of a new creation.”

“Among the Jews are some who, like Saul of Tarsus, are mighty in the Scriptures, and these will proclaim with wonderful power the immutability of the law of God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 380, 381. Furthermore, “converted Jews are to have an important part to act in the great preparations to be made in the future to receive Christ, our Prince. A nation shall be born in a day. How? By men whom God has appointed being converted to the truth. There will be seen ‘first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear’ (Mark 4:28). The predictions of prophecy will be fulfilled.” Evangelism, 579.

Prominent men, men of intellect and influence, will step out to join the movement. “The greatest men of the earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God. If those who are workers together with Him will be men of opportunity, doing their duty bravely and faithfully, God will convert men who occupy responsible places, men of intellect and influence.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 82. God’s Spirit working mightily among all classes, will draw from “among the leading men of the nation” some who “will stand with the people of God through the time of trouble.” The Great Controversy, 610, 611. And some authors and lawmakers will come out boldly for God’s law. (See The Review and Herald, December 24, 1889.)

Luke, the New Testament historian, tells us that as a result of Stephen’s witness “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). And in The Great Controversy, 464, we read that many, ministers and people, will gladly accept the message of the hour. The message will not lose its momentum. Rather, as God’s people share their faith, the Holy Spirit will constantly replenish their power until God’s glory covers the earth. (See My Life Today, 63.) Moreover, memorials for the third angel’s message will spring up in every city and village. (See Testimonies, vol. 9, 28, 29.) Thus Christ will be glorified in the time of the latter rain. (See The Review and Herald, November 29, 1892.)

In writing about the love of God, Ellen White goes beyond eloquence. She tells us that the true preparation for the Pentecostal anointing of the Spirit came with the knowledge of their Saviour’s matchless love. (See The Review and Herald, July 21, 1903.) Can we know the glory that shines in Christ’s face? She views it as the glory of self-sacrificing love. (See The Desire of Ages, 20.) She tells us moreover that “Christ’s love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1140. “It is the greatest and most fatal deception to suppose that a man can have faith unto life eternal, without possessing Christlike love for his brethren. … There is no such thing as a loveless Christian.” Ibid., 1141. In speaking of God’s great love, she explains, “So strong is His love that it controls all His powers, and employs the vast resources of heaven in doing His people good.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 519.

As a people we have exercised too little concern for the lost. We place too low an estimate upon the souls around us and those in other lands, but God’s Spirit can rectify this. “God’s message to each of us is, ‘My son, give Me thine heart’ (Proverbs 23:26). … Then open the heart to the Divine Spirit and you will appreciate the value of the human soul.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 41. Love not felt by us will avail nothing. “Unless we can feel brotherly love for those around us, the Holy Spirit cannot work upon our hearts and minds.” Ibid., 27, 28.

God’s Spirit becomes our spirit, and by the Spirit, divine love, transplanted into our hearts, flourishes. “You are to be imbued with such love for Christ that you will yield to Him your whole affections. … Imbued with the love of Christ, you are to be constrained to perform acts of unselfish service. … In such a life there is continual fruit bearing.” Counsels on Health, 633. Imbued by the Spirit with the kind of love Jesus revealed throughout His entire life and in His death constitutes the grand purpose of the plan of salvation. “The Lord is glorified when the great end of His law is attained. It is the work of the Holy Spirit from age to age to impart love to human hearts, for love is the living principle of brotherhood.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 139.

What grand climax does God have in store to give the world in His final message? “Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God.’ The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 415, 416. “The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love.” Ibid., 419.

For those who turn away from God’s last love appeal, hope becomes nonexistent. Earth’s two harvests call for reapers: (1) Christ with the sickle gathers the grain for the heavenly garner, and (2) the fifth angel of Revelation 14, who also has a sickle, gathers the vine of the earth for the great winepress of God’s wrath. Earth’s inhabitants divide themselves into the two classes: those filled with the Holy Spirit and those filled with an unholy spirit. No problem of identity exists, for the loyal bear the seal of the living God, while the rebellious bear the mark of the beast.

The investigative judgment has considered the case of each individual who has ever professed Christ—the names are listed in the heavenly docket called the Lamb’s book of life. While the universe has watched, God has reviewed each case one by one. He has retained the faithful; the unfaithful He has blotted out. Rewards now will go to the righteous, and punishments to the wicked. A hushed universe awaits the verdict. The awful fiat goes forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). Court now adjourns for good. Destinies are fixed forever. No higher court exists. Every part of God’s last message to the world has reflected the infinite love of Jesus. “The contemplation of the love of God manifested in His Son will stir the heart and arouse the powers of the soul as nothing else can.” The Desire of Ages, 478. When the soul ceases to listen to the whispers of Christ’s love, the Spirit can do nothing more.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God,” but “every one that loveth … knoweth God.” The heart, in contemplation of Christ’s love as revealed on the cross and nourished by the “spirit … of love” (1 John 4:8, 7; 2 Timothy 1:7), will rejoice in righteousness throughout eternity. Let us tell the world about it now!

Scripture from the King James Version.

[All Emphasis supplied.]

Preparing for the Latter Rain, ©1973, 192–199.

(As shared by daughter, Charlotte Osgood Rollenhagen: her father, De Witt S. Osgood, was a pastor, evangelist, church builder, administrator, writer. “He committed his whole life completely to the Lord.”)

Bible Study Guides – The Promise of the Spirit

September 20 – 26, 2020

Key Text

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” (Revelation 18:1).

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 47–56.


“Learning, talents, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner be won to Christ. On the other hand, if they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 328.



  • How was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early church foretold? Luke 24:49; Joel 2:23.

Note: “Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 54.

  • What prophecy will reach a dual fulfillment in the end of time? What should we be doing in anticipation of this time? Zechariah 10:1.

Note: “The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close.” The Great Controversy, 611, 612.



  • What work does the Holy Spirit perform today? John 16:13.

Note: “The Comforter is called ‘the Spirit of truth’ (John 16:3). His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.” The Desire of Ages, 671.

  • What change does the Spirit make within the believer? 2Thessalonians 2:13.

 Note: “If men are willing to be molded, there will be brought about a sanctification of the whole being. The Spirit will take the things of God and stamp them on the soul. By His power the way of life will be made so plain that none need err therein.” The Acts of the Apostles, 53.

“Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power. Instead of looking forward to some future time when, through a special endowment of spiritual power, they will receive a miraculous fitting up for soul winning, they are yielding themselves daily to God, that He may make them vessels meet for His use. Daily they are improving the opportunities for service that lie within their reach. Daily they are witnessing for the Master wherever they may be, whether in some humble sphere of labor in the home, or in a public field of usefulness. …

“Morning by morning, as the heralds of the gospel kneel before the Lord and renew their vows of consecration to Him, He will grant them the presence of His Spirit, with its reviving, sanctifying power. As they go forth to the day’s duties, they have the assurance that the unseen agency of the Holy Spirit enables them to be ‘laborers together with God’ (1 Corinthians 3:9)” Ibid., 55, 56.



  • What fruit does the Spirit of God produce? Galatians 5:22, 23. How?

Note: “In describing to His disciples the office work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus sought to inspire them with the joy and hope that inspired His own heart. He rejoiced because of the abundant help He had provided for His church. The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.” The Desire of Ages, 671.

“What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? … Every Christian saw in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.” The Acts of the Apostles, 48.

  • What can God do for those who will fully surrender? Ephesians 5:18, last part.

Note: “To Jesus, who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling. Our Lord Himself has given the command, ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18), and this command is also a promise of its fulfillment. It was the good pleasure of the Father that in Christ should ‘all the fullness dwell,’ and ‘in Him ye are made full’ (Colossians 1:19, R.V.; 2:10, R.V).” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 21.



  • What should we do in anticipation of the latter rain? Luke 11:13.

Note: “The lapse of time has wrought no change in Christ’s parting promise to send the Holy Spirit as His representative. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If the fulfillment of the promise is not seen as it might be, it is because the promise is not appreciated as it should be. If all were willing, all would be filled with the Spirit. Wherever the need of the Holy Spirit is a matter little thought of, there is seen spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Whenever minor matters occupy the attention, the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in infinite plenitude.” The Acts of the Apostles, 50.

“We need not worry about the latter rain. All we have to do is to keep the vessel clean and right side up and prepared for the reception of the heavenly rain, and keep praying, ‘Let the latter rain come into my vessel.’ ” The Upward Look, 283.

“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. … I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.” Early Writings, 71.

  • What can we learn from Elijah’s prayer for rain? 1Kings 18:41–44.

 Note: “He [Elijah] kept reviewing his life, to see where he had failed to honor God, he confessed his sins, and thus continued to afflict his soul before God, while watching for a token that his prayer was answered. As he searched his heart, he seemed to be less and less, both in his own estimation and in the sight of God. It seemed to him that he was nothing, and that God was everything; and when he reached the point of renouncing self, while he clung to the Saviour as his only strength and righteousness, the answer came.” The Review and Herald, May 26, 1891.



  • What final work of education is still ahead of us? Habakkuk 2:14.

Note: “As the time comes for it [the third angel’s message] to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these.” The Great Controversy, 606.

“The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” Ibid., 612.



  1. How will the experiences of the early Christian church (as described in Lesson 1) be of special importance to the final generation?
  2. Why is reception of the former and latter rain part of the work of true education?
  3. What fruit is to be developed as the result of the Spirit’s work?
  4. How can I be ready for the latter rain?
  5. How will the church’s work of education on this earth be completed?

© 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – To make ready a people prepared for the Lord

December 12 – 18, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: ‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.’ Revelation 19: 7 – 8.

STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 405 – 421.


‘In both the Old and the New Testament, the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people. To the mind of Jesus the gladness of the wedding festivities pointed forward to the rejoicing of that day when He shall bring home His bride to the Father’s house, and the redeemed with the Redeemer shall sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb. He says, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; . . . but thou shalt be called My Delight; . . . for the Lord delighteth in thee.” “He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” Isaiah 62: 5, 4, margin; Zephaniah 3: 17. When the vision of heavenly things was granted to John the apostle, he wrote: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19: 6, 7, 9.’ Desire of Ages, page 151.

 ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord’

  •  What work was necessary in preparation for the first advent of Christ? Luke 1: 17.

NOTE: ‘John was to reform the children of Israel, and turn them to the Lord. He had the promise that God would work with him. He was “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” John was a representative of the people of God in the last days, to whom God has committed important and solemn truths. The world at large are given to gluttony and the indulgence of base passions. The light of health reform is opened before the people of God at this day, that they may see the necessity of holding their appetites and passions under control of the higher powers of the mind. This is also necessary, that they may have mental strength and clearness to discern the sacred chain of truth, and turn from the bewitching errors and pleasing fables that are flooding the world. Their work is to present before the people the pure doctrine of the Bible. Hence health reform finds its place in the preparatory work for the second appearing of Christ.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, January 7th, 1873.

  • What work must the church accomplish before Christ can return? Matthew 24: 14.

NOTE: ‘The truth will be proclaimed in clear, unmistakable language. As a people we must prepare the way of the Lord under the overruling guidance of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is to be given in its purity. The stream of living water is to deepen and widen in its course. In all fields, nigh and afar off, men will be called from the plough and from the more common commercial business vocations that largely occupy the mind, and will be educated in connection with men of experience. As they learn to labour effectively they will proclaim the truth with power. Through most wonderful workings of divine providence, mountains of difficulty will be removed and cast into the sea. The message that means so much to the dwellers upon the earth will be heard and understood. Men will know what is truth. Onward and still onward the work will advance until the whole earth shall have been warned, and then shall the end come.’ Testimonies Volume 9, page 96.

‘Having the everlasting gospel to preach’

  • What message is needed to prepare the way of the Lord? Revelation 14: 6 – 12.

NOTE: ‘The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgements for disobedience and transgression until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.’ Testimonies Volume 6, page 19.                             –

  • What sort of person is needed to prepare the way of the Lord? Luke 1: 15 – 17.

NOTE: ‘John separated himself from friends and from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair, was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests, and of the people generally. His diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. The prophet Malachi declares: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things. The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God especially leads and blesses, is to be presented to the people in contrast to the extravagant, health-destroying habits of those who live in this degenerate age. God has shown that health reform is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body. There is nowhere to be found so great a cause of physical and moral degeneracy as a neglect of this important subject. Those who indulge appetite and passion, and close their eyes to the light for fear they will see sinful indulgences which they are unwilling to forsake, are guilty before God. Whoever turns from the light in one instance hardens his heart to disregard the light upon other matters.’ Testimonies Volume 3, page 62.

‘The harvest of the earth is ripe’

  • What two harvests will take place when Jesus returns? Revelation 14: 14 – 20.

NOTE: ‘The tares are permitted to grow among the wheat, to have all the advantage of sun and shower; but in the time of harvest ye shall “return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” Malachi 3: 18. Christ Himself will decide who are worthy to dwell with the family of heaven. He will judge every man according to his words and his works. Profession is as nothing in the scale. It is character that decides destiny. The Saviour does not point forward to a time when all the tares become wheat. The wheat and tares grow together until the harvest, the end of the world. Then the tares are bound in bundles to be burned, and the wheat is gathered into the garner of God. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Then “the Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.”’ Christ’s Object Lessons, page 74 – 75.

  • How is the ripeness of God’s people described? Ephesians 4: 13 – 15.

NOTE: ‘“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5: 22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life. “When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3: 12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, page 68 – 69.

  • How is the ripeness of the follower of Satan described? Genesis 6: 5 – 6.

NOTE: ‘I was shown the state of the world, that it is fast filling up its cup of iniquity. Violence and crime of every description are filling our world, and Satan is using every means to make crime and debasing vice popular. The youth who walk the streets are surrounded with handbills and notices of crime and sin, presented in some novel or to be acted at some theatre. Their minds are educated into familiarity with sin. The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before them in the periodicals of the day, and everything which can excite curiosity and arouse the animal passions is brought before them in thrilling and exciting stories. The literature that proceeds from corrupted intellects poisons the minds of thousands in our world. Sin does not appear exceeding sinful. They hear and read so much of debasing crime and vileness that the once tender conscience which would have recoiled with horror becomes so blunted that it can dwell upon the low and vile sayings and actions of men with greedy interest. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”’ Testimonies Volume 3, pages 471 – 472.

‘Ye shall receive power’

  •  How was the early church empowered to accomplish its task of taking the Gospel to the world? Acts 1: 8.

NOTE: ‘On the day of Pentecost the Spirit was given. Christ’s witnesses proclaimed the power of the risen Saviour. The light of heaven penetrated the darkened minds of those who had been deceived by the enemies of Christ. They now saw Him exalted to be “a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5: 31. They saw Him encircled with the glory of heaven, with infinite treasures in His hands to bestow upon all who would turn from their rebellion. As the apostles set forth the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father, three thousand souls were convicted. They were made to see themselves as they were, sinful and polluted, and Christ as their friend and Redeemer. Christ was lifted up, Christ was glorified, through the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon men. By faith these believers saw Him as the One who had borne humiliation, suffering, and death that they might not perish but have everlasting life. The revelation of Christ by the Spirit brought to them a realising sense of His power and majesty, and they stretched forth their hands to Him by faith, saying, “I believe.” Then the glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost bounds of the inhabited world. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. The prophecy was fulfilled, The weak shall be “as David,” and the house of David “as the angel of the Lord.” Zechariah 12: 8. Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of benevolence and love. One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labour for the enlargement of His kingdom. “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. . . . With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4: 32, 33. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2: 47. The Spirit of Christ animated the whole congregation; for they had found the pearl of great price. These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the Former Rain, but the Latter Rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power.’ Christ’s Object Lessons, pages 120 – 121.

  • What great change had taken place in the hearts of the disciples? Acts 2: 1. (Compare Mark 9: 34, Luke 22: 24.)

NOTE: ‘By the grace of Christ the apostles were made what they were. It was sincere devotion and humble, earnest prayer that brought them into close communion with Him. They sat together with Him in heavenly places. They realised the greatness of their debt to Him. By ear nest, persevering prayer they obtained the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and then they went forth, weighted with the burden of saving souls, filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. And under their labours many souls were brought from darkness to light, and many churches were raised up.’ Testimonies Volume 7, page 32.

‘It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, March 2nd, 1897.

‘The Latter Rain’

  •  What promise is given of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power in the last days? Acts 2: 17.

NOTE: ‘The first disciples went forth preaching the Word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, “confirming the word with signs following.” These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ’s promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day. So it may be now. Instead of man’s speculations, let the Word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days was the “former rain,” and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 19th, 1908.

  • What reaction among some of the Jews at Pentecost is a warning for God’s people today? Acts 2: 13.

NOTE: ‘Only those who are living up to the light they have, will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognise the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.’ Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, March 2nd, 1897.

‘Them that had gotten the victory’

  •  What work must be done by and for those who will experience the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord? Acts 3: 19 – 20.

NOTE: ‘I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of “refreshing” and the “latter rain” to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father. Before this time the awfully solemn declaration has gone forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” I saw that none could share the “refreshing” unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.’ Early Writings, page 72.

  • What promise and hope does the church have that this work will be accomplished by the time that Christ returns? 1 John 3: 2 – 6.

NOTE: ‘The exhortation of the apostle is, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” It is by engaging in this work, and by exercising living faith in God, that we are to perfect Christian character. The work of cleansing the soul-temple and preparing for Christ’s appearing must be done while we are in this world of temptation. Just as Christ finds us in character when He comes, so we shall remain.’ Historical Sketches, page 134.

‘We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes, He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honour, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.’ Testimonies Volume 2, page 355.

Bible Study Guides – The Propulsion

November 13, 2005 – November 19, 2005

Key Text

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40.

Study Help: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 79–83.


“As you regard your eternal interest, arouse yourselves, and begin to sow good seed. That which you sow, you shall also reap. The harvest is coming—the great reaping time, when we shall reap what we have sown. There will be no failure in the crop; the harvest is sure. Now is the sowing time. Now make efforts to be rich in good works, ‘ready to distribute, willing to communicate,’ laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye ‘may lay hold on eternal life.’ I implore you, my brethren in every place, rid yourselves of your icy coldness. Encourage in yourselves a love of hospitality, a love to help those who need help.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 31.

1 What is the theme of the true Christian’s life? Mark 12:30, 31; Matthew 7:12.

note: “By their good works, Christ’s followers are to bring glory, not to themselves, but to Him through whose grace and power they have wrought. It is through the Holy Spirit that every good work is accomplished, and the Spirit is given to glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver. When the light of Christ is shining in the soul, the lips will be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. Your prayers, your performance of duty, your benevolence, your self-denial, will not be the theme of your thought or conversation. Jesus will be magnified, self will be hidden, and Christ will appear as all in all.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 80, 81.

2 What will determine the fate of those who come to the final judgment? Matthew 25:40.

note: “At the Day of Judgment, those who have been faithful in their every-day life, who have been quick to see their work and do it, not thinking of praise or profit, will hear the words, ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ [Matthew 25:34.] Christ does not commend them for the eloquent orations they have made, the intellectual power they have displayed, or the liberal donations they have given. It is for doing little things which are generally overlooked that they are rewarded. ‘I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat,’ he says. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ [Verses 35, 40.] ” The Youth’s Instructor, January 17, 1901.

3 What principle will undergird every act of those who eventually receive the latter rain? 1 Corinthians 10:31.

note: “ ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ Here is a principle which lies at the foundation of every act, thought, and motive; the consecration of the entire being, both physical and mental, to the control of the Spirit of God. The unsanctified will and passions must be crucified. This may be regarded as a close and severe work. Yet it must be done, or you will hear the terrible sentence from the mouth of Jesus: ‘Depart.’ You can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth you.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 84.

4 What was Jesus’ reason for commending the poor widow’s offering? Mark 12:42–44; 1 Samuel 16:7, last part.

note: “It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour’s commendation.” The Desire of Ages, 615.

5 How much should those preparing for the latter rain be concerned about a reward? Matthew 6:3, 4. Compare 1 Corinthians 9:16–19.

note: “The Lord desires us to rest in Him without a question as to our measure of reward. When Christ abides in the soul, the thought of reward is not uppermost. This is not the motive that actuates our service. It is true that in a subordinate sense we should have respect to the recompense of reward. God desires us to appreciate His promised blessings. But He would not have us eager for rewards nor feel that for every duty we must receive compensation. We should not be so anxious to gain the reward as to do what is right, irrespective of all gain. Love to God and to our fellow men should be our motive.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 398, 399.

6 What criterion, concealed from human view, will determine one’s reward? Revelation 22:12.

note: “By a disregard of justice, mercy, and benevolence to their neighbor, some have so hardened the heart that they can go still further, and even rob God without compunctions of conscience. Do such close their eyes and their understanding to the fact that God knows, that He reads their every action and the motive which impelled them to it? His reward is with Him, and His work before Him, to give to every man according as his work shall be. Every good and every wrong act, and its influence upon others, is traced out by the Searcher of hearts, to whom every secret is revealed. And the reward will be according to the motives which prompted the action.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 520.

7 What will be the true motive of service of all who are preparing for the latter rain? Matthew 22:37–40.

note: “The desire to honor God should be to us the most powerful of all motives. It should lead us to make every exertion to improve the privileges and opportunities provided for us, that we may understand how to use wisely the Lord’s goods. It should lead us to keep brain, bone, muscle, and nerve in the most healthful condition, that our physical strength and mental clearness may make us faithful stewards. Selfish interest, if given room to act, dwarfs the mind and hardens the heart; if allowed to control, it destroys moral power.” Messages to Young People, 149, 150.

8 What is the source of a true Christian’s motive of action? 11 Corinthians 5:14, first part.

note: “The most careful attention to the outward proprieties of life is not sufficient to shut out all fretfulness, harsh judgment, and unbecoming speech. True refinement will never be revealed so long as self is considered as the supreme object. Love must dwell in the heart. A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ springs an unselfish interest in his brethren. Love imparts to its possessor grace, propriety, and comeliness of deportment. It illuminates the countenance and subdues the voice; it refines and elevates the entire being.” Gospel Workers, 123.

9 How will those act who are preparing for the latter rain? Psalm 139:7–10. Compare Jeremiah 17:10; 23:24.

note: “When the individual members of the church shall act as true followers of the meek and lowly Saviour, there will be less covering up and excusing of sin. All will strive to act as if in God’s presence. They will realize that His all-seeing eye is ever upon them and that the most secret thought is known to Him. The character, the motives, the desires and purposes, are as clear as the light of the sun to the eye of the Omnipotent. But few bear this in mind. The larger class by far do not realize what a fearful account must be rendered at the bar of God by all the transgressors of His law.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 147.

10 By what standard does God evaluate men’s motives? Jeremiah 26:4–6. Compare Proverbs 16:2.

note: “God is represented as weighing all men, their words, their deeds, their motives, that which determines character. ‘The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.’ ‘Men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.’ ‘Thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.’ ‘All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.’ [1 Samuel 2:3; Psalm 62:9; Isaiah 26:7; Proverbs 16:2.] Important lessons are suggested to us in these scriptures. There is not a thought or motive in the heart that God is not acquainted with. He sees all as clearly as if it stood out registered in living characters, and He weighs individual motives and actions.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 438.

11 How can those who lack the proper motive in life obtain it? John 15:4, 5.

note: “There are today many as ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work upon the heart as were those believers in Ephesus; yet no truth is more clearly taught in the word of God. Prophets and apostles have dwelt upon this theme. Christ Himself calls our attention to the growth of the vegetable world as an illustration of the agency of His Spirit in sustaining spiritual life. The sap of the vine, ascending from the root, is diffused to the branches, sustaining growth and producing blossoms and fruit. So the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Saviour, pervades the soul, renews the motives and affections, and brings even the thoughts into obedience to the will of God, enabling the receiver to bear the precious fruit of holy deeds.” The Acts of the Apostles, 284.

“What we learn of the Great Teacher of truth will be enduring; it will not savor of self-sufficiency, but will lead to humility and meekness; and the work that we do will be wholesome, pure, and ennobling, because wrought in God. Those who thus work will show in their home life, and in their association with men, that they have the mind of Christ. Grace and truth will reign in their hearts, inspiring and purifying their motives, and controlling their outward actions.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 647, 648.

12 How high will the motives be of those who receive the latter rain? 11 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:19. Compare Romans 6:11.

note: “The Lord expects his servants to excel others in life and character. He has placed every facility at the command of those who serve him. The Christian is looked upon by the whole universe as one who strives for the mastery, running the race set before him, that he may obtain the prize, even an immortal crown; but if he who professes to follow Christ does not make it manifest that his motives are above those of the world in this great contest where there is everything to win and everything to lose, he will never be a victor. He is to make use of every entrusted power, that he may overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil through the power of the Holy Spirit, by grace abundantly provided that he shall not fail nor be discouraged, but be complete in Christ, accepted in the Beloved. Those who would be victors should contemplate and count the cost of salvation.” Review and Herald, June 16, 1896.

13 What action on the part of the disciples prepared the way for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them in the early rain? Acts 1:14; 2:1.

note: “As the disciples waited for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief. As they called to remembrance the words that Christ had spoken to them before His death they understood more fully their meaning. Truths which had passed from their memory were again brought to their minds, and these they repeated to one another. They reproached themselves for their misapprehension of the Saviour. Like a procession, scene after scene of His wonderful life passed before them. As they meditated upon His pure, holy life they felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness in their lives to the loveliness of Christ’s character. Oh, if they could but have the past three years to live over, they thought, how differently they would act! If they could only see the Master again, how earnestly they would strive to show Him how deeply they loved Him, and how sincerely they sorrowed for having ever grieved Him by a word or an act of unbelief! But they were comforted by the thought that they were forgiven. And they determined that, so far as possible, they would atone for their unbelief by bravely confessing Him before the world. . . .

“Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship.” The Acts of the Apostles, 36, 37.

Editorial – Keep Praying

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field” (Zechariah 10:1). “And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).


“God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, ‘Here am I.’ The prayer that ascends from a broken and contrite heart is never disregarded; it is as sweet music in the ears of our heavenly Father: for He waits to bestow upon us the fulness of His blessing.” The Oriental Watchman, December 1, 1909.


“We need not worry about the latter rain. All we have to do is to keep the vessel clean and right side up and prepared for the reception of the heavenly rain, and keep praying, ‘Let the latter rain come into my vessel. Let the light of the glorious angel which unites with the third angel shine upon me; give me a part in the work; let me sound the proclamation; let me be a colaborer with Jesus Christ.’ Thus seeking God, let me tell you, He is fitting you up all the time, giving you His grace.” The Upward Look, 283.


“When my [Ellen White’s] children were small we had a large family of adopted children. We would have our work away before the setting of the sun. The children would hail the Sabbath as a joy. They would say, ‘Now Father and Mother will give us some of their time.’ We would take them out for a walk. We would take the Bible and some religious instruction to read to them, and explain to them the Scriptures. We would keep praying that they should know the truth of God’s word. We would not lie abed Sabbath mornings because it was Sabbath. We would have our preparations all ready the day before so that we could go to service without the hurry and worry. We would not stroll off and have a nice time to ourselves. We wanted our children to have all the privileges and blessings of God’s sanctified rest day.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 104.


“Be always kind and courteous, cheerful and hopeful. Keep praying and working for souls.” Ibid.,vol. 6, 379.

Editorial – The Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit

Could we receive the latter rain of the Holy Spirit if we pray long enough and hard enough?

Many people think so. The problem is that the latter rain does not do any good for a plant that has not received the former rain.

“As the dew and the rain are given first to cause the seed to germinate, and then to ripen the harvest, so the Holy Spirit is given to carry forward, from one stage to another, the process of spiritual growth. The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God’s grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ.

“The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of Man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection.” Review and Herald, March 2, 1897.

So no matter how much we pray, even if we fast and pray, we will not receive the latter rain of the Holy Spirit unless we have received the former rain. What is involved in receiving the former rain? The following nine points summarize the requirements. (Unless otherwise cited, for all statements see Review and Herald, March 2, 1897.)

  1. The heart must be emptied of every defilement.
  2. The heart must be cleansed for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
  3. All sin must be confessed to God and to any others whom we have injured.
  4. All sin must not only be confessed but forsaken.
  5. Not only must we confess, repent, and forsake our sins but, as far as possible, make restitution. (See Ezekiel 33:15; Selected Messages, Book 3, 181.)
  6. There must be earnest prayer and consecration of ourselves to the Lord. We must daily be seeking God by faith.
  7. We must live up to all the light that we have, daily walking with God in His light and not in the sparks of our own kindling.
  8. We must daily be advancing in the practice of Christian virtues, keeping ourselves separate from the iniquity in the world.
  9. There must be perseverance, a firm continuance in acts of faith; untiring effort is required in fighting the fight of faith. (See 1 Corinthians 9:24–27; Luke 18:1.)

If these things do not happen in our lives, then we will not be among those receiving the latter rain. If these things do not happen in our church, then our church will not be one of the churches receiving the latter rain.

A group of people will receive the latter rain. We must fulfill the conditions to be part of this group. Are our thoughts and feelings right? Is there bitterness, animosity, jealousy, contention, anger, or backbiting in our hearts? Are they finding expression, or are we gaining victories? Are our thoughts pure, honest, loving, gentle and in every respect a manifestation of love to God and love to man?

“You should keep off from Satan’s enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. Through Christ you may and should be happy and should acquire habits of self-control. Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. . . .If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 310.

Editorial – The Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit, Part II

In our editorial last month we looked at some of the requirements for receiving the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. “I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.

“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God.” Early Writings, 71.

We can see clearly from this statement that there are things in our characters that can prevent or hinder us from receiving the latter rain, and these hindrances must be removed before we can receive what God is waiting to give us.

“God does not give us up because of our sins. We may make mistakes, and grieve His Spirit; but when we repent, and come to Him with contrite hearts, He will not turn us away. There are hindrances to be removed. Wrong feelings have been cherished, and there have been pride, self-sufficiency, impatience, and murmurings. All these separate us from God. Sins must be confessed . . . .” Selected Messages, Book 1, 350.

These hindrances include wrong feelings as well as impatience and wrong words. “The law of God, as presented in the Scriptures, is broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just, and good. The law lays men under obligation to God; it reaches to the thoughts and feelings; and it will produce conviction of sin in every one who is sensible of having transgressed its requirements. If the law extended to the outward conduct only, men would not be guilty in their wrong thoughts, desires, and designs. But the law requires that the soul itself be pure and the mind holy, that the thoughts and feelings may be in accordance with the standard of love and righteousness.” Ibid., 211.

If we begin to work and to ask God to help us to have only right feelings and thoughts, when the thoughts and feelings are right, the rest of the problem of overcoming will be worked out, and we will be in a condition to receive the latter rain. How many of us will never get to participate in the latter rain, because we have not brought our thoughts and feelings into harmony with God’s law?

“Let us here resolve that we will not sin against God with our lips, that we will never speak in a light and trifling manner, that we will never murmur or complain at the providence of God, and that we will not become accusers of our brethren. We cannot always hinder the thoughts that come as temptations; but we can resist the enemy so that we shall not utter them. The adversary of souls is not permitted to read the thoughts of men; but he is a keen observer, and he marks the words and actions, and skillfully adapts his temptations accordingly. If all would labor to repress sinful thoughts and feelings, giving them no expression in words or acts, Satan would be defeated; for he would not know how to prepare his specious temptations to meet their cases.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 146.

[All emphasis supplied.]

Preparing for the Latter Rain, Part I

It is the latter rain that provides the power to give the final warning to the world during the time of the Sunday laws and Satan’s impersonation of Christ. These will be the crowning trial and final test, which are soon to break upon us.

Just before the disciples were to face their crowning trial and final test, Jesus offered this prayer in their behalf: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.” “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:11, 17, NIV.

Even with the crisis of His trial and crucifixion just a few hours away, the thought uppermost in the mind of Jesus was the unity of His disciples. It was the central theme of His prayer. Then He prayed for all believers. “My prayer is . . . for those who will believe in me . . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you . . . that they may be one as we are one. . . . May they be brought to complete unity . . . .” John 17:20–23, NIV.

My friends, Jesus was praying for us. Today, as our crowning trial and final test are just before us, Jesus is praying for us. And what is the burden of His prayer? It is for His family on earth to be in complete unity. A unity that parallels His relationship with the Father.

Jesus spent three years of ministry on this earth to help the fallen human race reach this high standard of purity and unity that we might be restored into the presence of the Father.

Five Parallels

In this series of articles, we will study five major events in the ministry of Jesus that reveal the trials and attitudes of the children of Israel and their relationship to Jesus and the truths He taught. How did they respond to the work of Jesus to bring them into unity with the Father? We will find that there is a parallel to each of these five events in the second advent movement today. These five parallels provide us with an overview of how God sees the whole second advent movement. Our study of these events and the reactions of the people will help us better understand our present condition as God sees it. These studies will reveal what we need to do to receive the latter rain and be prepared for our crowning trial and final test.

The Temple Cleansing

The first event we will examine is found in John 2:11–25. The time is the first Passover of Jesus’ ministry. The place is the temple in Jerusalem. John explains a most surprising and unprecedented event that took place during this Passover. “In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!’ ” John 2:14–16, NIV.

To help us keep these five parallels in their order, I am going to use an Advent Time Line. The first event is the first cleansing of the temple. We will identify it as “1F” under the Passover of 28 a.d.

Purpose of the Cleansing

Why did Jesus interrupt the largest, most sacred and important religious meeting of the Jewish church? What was His purpose? “In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. . . . In cleansing the temple from the world’s buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,—from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul.” The Desire of Ages, 161.

And then we find this interesting application of Malachi 3:1–3 to the first cleansing of the temple. “ ‘The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, . . . and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver.’ Malachi 3:1–3.” Ibid.

In cleansing the temple, Jesus did three things.

  1. Christ announced His mission as the Messiah.
  2. He entered upon His work for the next three years.
  3. He announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin.

Resulting Attitudes

What was the reaction of the people to this most unusual action of Jesus? We find that three general attitudes were revealed. Ellen White says of the priests and rulers—the leaders of the church: “For a time they [the priests and rulers] were convinced that Christ was a prophet; and many believed Him to be the Messiah. The Holy Spirit flashed into their minds the utterances of the prophets concerning Christ. Would they yield to this conviction?

“Repent they would not. . . . Because Christ discerned their thoughts they hated Him. His public rebuke was humiliating to their pride, and they were jealous of His growing influence with the people. They determined to challenge Him . . . .” The Desire of Ages, 162.

So we see that the attitude of the priests and rulers was to challenge Jesus. Then she writes of a large second group. “They looked with amazement on the works of Jesus, and were convicted that in Him the prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled. . . . The people were comparatively innocent. They were impressed by the divine authority of Jesus; but with them the influence of the priests and rulers was paramount. They regarded Christ’s mission as an innovation, and questioned His right to interfere with what was permitted by the authorities of the temple. They were offended because the traffic had been interrupted, and they stifled the convictions of the Holy Spirit.” Ibid., 163, 164.

So we see that the great majority of the people yielded to the will of the priests and rulers. In contrast to these leaders and the large group of people, she tells of a small group of faithful believers who remained behind to talk with Jesus.

“When they [the priests and rulers] fled, the poor remained behind; and these were now looking to Jesus, whose countenance expressed his love and sympathy. With tears in His eyes, He said to the trembling ones around Him: Fear not; I will deliver thee . . . .

“The people pressed into Christ’s presence with urgent, pitiful appeals: Master, bless me. . . . Everyone was healed from whatever disease he had. . . .

“At the crucifixion of Christ, those who had thus been healed did not join with the rabble throng in crying, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him.’ Their sympathies were with Jesus . . . . They knew Him to be their Saviour . . . . They became agents of God’s mercy, and instruments of His salvation.” Ibid., 163.

To summarize this event, we find that three basic attitudes developed in response to the work of Jesus in the first cleansing of the temple that represented cleansing the heart from sin.

  1. The priests and rulers rejected Christ’s work and decided to challenge Him.
  2. The majority of people were convicted that Jesus was the Messiah, but with them the influence of the priests and rulers was paramount.
  3. A small group of faithful believers knew Jesus to be their Savior and received the cleansing He offered.

Temple Cleansing Parallel

Now we may ask ourselves, what event in the second advent movement is a parallel to the first cleansing of the temple? There are two similar statements that give us the answer. We will consider just one of them at this point.

“When Jesus began His public ministry, He cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation. Almost the last act of His ministry was to cleanse the temple again. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches; the second angel’s message, and the voice heard in heaven, ‘Come out of her, my people.’ [Revelation 18:4.]” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 725, 726.

The first distinct call that Sister White mentions is the second angel’s message, which is parallel to the first cleansing of the temple. We will consider the second distinct call in a later parallel. When was this first distinct call—the second angel’s message—first given? “The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844.” The Great Controversy, 389.

This places “the first distinct call” at the beginning of the second advent movement. Now that the second angel’s message has been identified as the first cleansing of the second advent movement, and the time of its proclamation has been identified, we will add this event to the Second Advent Time Line as “1S.”

First Angel’s Purpose

Why was there a cleansing of the second advent movement (church) at the very beginning? To understand this we first need to know the purpose of the first angel’s message. “The first angel’s message, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come’ [Revelation 14:7], pointed to Christ’s ministration in the most holy place, to the investigative judgment . . . .” The Great Controversy, 424. “While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” Ibid., 425.

That the first angel’s message was a call to cleanse the heart from sin is further emphasized by the application of Malachi 3 to this judgment hour message. “ ‘The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Malachi 3:1. The coming of the Lord to His temple was sudden, unexpected, to His people. . . . ‘Who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver.’ Malachi 3:2, 3.” Ibid., 424, 425.

There are two points revealed here that show a parallel purpose between the first cleansing of the temple and the opening of the second advent movement. In the first advent, Jesus announced His mission to purify the heart from sin. In the second advent, under the first angel’s message, there is a special work of purification and putting away of sin. Ellen White applies Malachi 3:1–3 to both advent movements. In The Desire of Ages, 161, she uses this text in reference to Jesus coming to cleanse the temple. In The Great Controversy, 425, she uses it in reference to Jesus coming to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary.

Attitudes Parallel

Now let’s look at the attitudes of the people toward the first angel’s message that resulted in the need for the second angel’s message. We will again look at three groups of people.

The first group to be considered will be the ministers and religious leaders. “But as ministers and religious leaders decided against the advent doctrine and desired to suppress all agitation of the subject, they not only opposed it from the pulpit, but denied their members the privilege of attending preaching upon the second advent, or even of speaking of their hope in the social meetings of the church.” The Great Controversy, 376.

So we see that in the first cleansing of the churches in the second advent movement, the ministers and leaders opposed and rejected the message. In the next reference we see the attitudes of a second and by far the larger group of people. “Multitudes, trusting implicitly to their pastors, refused to listen to the warning; and others, though convinced of the truth, dared not confess it, lest they should be ‘put out of the synagogue.’ [John 12:42.] The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all too surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ.” Ibid., 380.

So we see that in this cleansing the great majority of the people followed the leading of the ministers as they did in the first advent movement. The third group of people are the faithful believers. Their attitude is seen in the following statement: “They loved their churches and were loath to separate from them; but as they saw the testimony of God’s word suppressed and their right to investigate the prophecies denied they felt that loyalty to God forbade them to submit. Those who sought to shut out the testimony of God’s word they could not regard as constituting the church of Christ, ‘the pillar and ground of the truth.’ [1 Timothy 3:15.]” Ibid., 376.

To summarize these attitudes, we find that ministers and leaders decided against the advent doctrine and opposed it and that multitudes trusted the ministers and refused to listen to the warning. The faithful believers felt that loyalty to God forbade them to submit to the ministers and could not regard those who tried to shut out God’s word as constituting the church of Christ.

So we see that these cleansings of the church in the first and second advent movements are parallel, even to the attitudes of the people involved. Very few were willing to be purified from sin and come into unity as Jesus is with the Father.

A Cleansing Message

“The first angel’s message . . . was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world. . . . In this message, God has sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him.” Ibid., 379.

The purpose of the first angel’s message was to remove sin from among the people of God. Just as Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning of His ministry to announce His mission to cleanse the heart from sin, so the first angel’s message was to cleanse the second advent church from sin at the beginning of the second advent movement.

“Had they received the message . . . the Spirit and power of God would have been manifested among them. The church would again have reached that blessed state of unity, faith, and love which existed in apostolic days, when the believers ‘were of one heart and of one soul’ [Acts 4:32] . . . .” Ibid.

The objective of the first angel’s message was to purify a people to receive the latter rain as the disciples purified themselves so they could receive the Holy Spirit in the early rain on the day of Pentecost. The second advent church is still in need of completing this work of putting away sin and coming into unity with Christ 159 years after 1844. We have been wandering in the wilderness four times longer than Israel did on their way to the promised land.

“If God’s professed people would receive the light as it shines upon them from His word, they would reach that unity for which Christ prayed, that which the apostle describes, ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ [Ephesians 4:3.]” Ibid.

Here is presented the condition on which our eternal destiny rests. Will we receive the light of God shining from His word that calls for a unity like that of the disciples on the day of Pentecost?

“In refusing the warning of the first angel [Revelation 14:6, 7], they rejected the means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness they turned to seek the friendship of the world.” Ibid., 380.

It was the rejection of the first angel’s message to put away sin and purify the heart that called forth the second angel’s message—the first cleansing of the second advent movement—in the summer and fall of 1844.

In our next article we will study the second parallel in our series of five.

To be continued . . .

Maurice Hoppe is Director of Revelation Ministry which is dedicated to helping people prepare for the soon coming of Jesus. His special emphasis is the closing scenes of this earth’s history, the parallels between the first and second advents, and the need for unity among the people of God. He may be contacted by e-mail at: or at: P. O. Box 184, Days Creek, Oregon 97429.

Why Has the Latter Rain Not Fallen?

The church of Ephesus (Revelation 2:1, 2), when it first began, really labored for the Lord. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and thousands were being converted to the truth. But the devil entered that church and started meddling with things, and slowly their focus began to shift. At first they were zealous for advocating the truth; they hated false doctrine, but a change took place in this church. Jesus said they had lost their first love. (Verse 4.) He told them, If you do not repent, I am going to uproot your candlestick, and it is going to go out in darkness. (Verse 5.) They lost their love for one another, and they lost their burden for souls.

Focus Lost

Have we lost our burden for souls? When our eyes are not fixed upon those outside of the fold, our focus shifts. We start turning on one another, and we begin bickering and fighting among ourselves. We have lost our focus, our goal; we have lost our aim; and we become a self-centered people. We become more zealous as selfishness arises in our hearts. We become more zealous for the truth every single day, but the Jews were very zealous for their truth, too. (See John 8.) They could explain the truth inside and out, but Jesus really did not care about their theology. Jesus wanted to know one thing only, and that was, Do you love Me? He said, If you had loved the Father, you would love Me too, because I proceeded from the Father, but you are seeking to kill Me. (Verses 42, 40.) Jesus was saying, Yes, you are very zealous for your work; you encompass land and sea to make one convert (See Matthew 23:15), but do you love Me? Do you love Me enough to accept what I say?

What made the church of Ephesus so successful at the first? What made Jesus’ witness so successful? The Bible says, “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Jesus. Did He go about saying, I will just be an example; that is how I will do My witnessing? No! When the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, He did not just sit and let people go by Him who were perishing in darkness—He did something about it. He witnessed to them; He preached to them; He healed the brokenhearted; He released those who were in bondage to sin.

Bottled Up Truth

What are we doing? We have a lot of truth bottled up in our minds; truth that, if shared, will save lives. But it will not do any good if it is just bottled up in our minds. We might be zealous about getting some truth out and sharing it with others within our own church; we want to make sure that they know exactly what we know; but what about the people who are perishing in darkness?

Jesus did not witness through His own power but through the power of the Holy Spirit. He utilized no other power than we may possess. Jesus wants to give us the Holy Spirit; He wants to fill our hearts with the Holy Spirit, but our focus must be right.

In John 4, the story is given about Jesus as He sat beside Jacob’s well, waiting for someone to give Him a cup of cool water. There He met a woman, and after dialoging with her, she came to realize that this was not just an ordinary person with whom she was talking—it was the Messiah. Because the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jesus, it had an influence upon her. It brought conviction upon her mind; there was power in what Jesus was saying. As a result, she went back into the city and brought the whole city out to see the Messiah. “She proved herself a more effective missionary than His own disciples.” The Ministry of Healing, 102. Did she have any training? No, but she yielded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and she became a powerful medium to bring souls to Christ.

“The disciples saw nothing in Samaria to indicate that it was an encouraging field. Their thoughts were fixed upon a great work to be done in the future.” Ibid. Is that what we are doing? Are we waiting on some big work to be done sometime in the future when the latter rain is poured out?—Oh, we are going to become soul winners then! Let us not make the mistake that the disciples made, because they did not see that right around them was a harvest to be gathered. That same thing is happening all around us right now. There are many people to be won to Christ, but what are we doing about it? “Through the woman whom they despised a whole cityful were brought to hear Jesus. She carried the light at once to her countrymen.” Ibid.

Can We Be Filled?

Can we have this experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit? Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. (See Luke 4:1.) We have examples of others, such as Stephen, who were also filled with the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 7:55.) The Bible says, “A great number [in Antioch] believed, and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.” Acts 11:21–24. Each one of us can be filled with the Holy Spirit, but we will not be filled with the Holy Spirit, if our focus is wrong.

What will the Holy Spirit do for our witnessing? “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. The believers assembled in Jerusalem needed the Holy Spirit to help them witness. They needed the Holy Spirit, because they were to take the gospel to the entire world. This group of people who received the early rain power went out and started churches. That church became full of the Holy Spirit, and like fire, it went around the world. Every single person heard the gospel in his lifetime. There are five billion more people on this planet now than there was then. Do you think it is important that we receive the Holy Spirit?

We are not going to go to heaven unless we receive the Holy Spirit. Here is our greatest need! Why have we not received the Holy Spirit? The Bible tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].” John 14:12–14.

Jesus said that if we believe on Him and His works, we will do them also. What were the works of Jesus? He was preaching to the poor in heart; He was delivering those who were captive in sin. The same works that He did, we will do also, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Prophecy comments on this promise: “Christ did not mean that the disciples would make more exalted exertions than He had made, but that their work would have greater magnitude. He did not refer merely to miracle working, but to all that would take place under the agency of the Holy Spirit. . . .

“Wonderfully were these words fulfilled. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were so filled with love for Him and for those for whom He died, that hearts were melted by the words they spoke and the prayers they offered. They spoke in the power of the Spirit; and under the influence of that power, thousands were converted.” The Acts of the Apostles, 22.

How important it is that we receive heaven’s greatest gift for us! When the early church was filled with the Holy Spirit, they were filled with love for Him and for those for whom He died. We may think we love the Lord, but that love is only superficial, if we do not have a love for those who are perishing in darkness. The same works that Jesus did, we can do also, with the power of the Holy Spirit.

A Willing Giver

How willing is God to give us the Holy Spirit? “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13. If He is so willing to give, why have we not received this gift? Ellen White tells us, “The lapse of time has wrought no change in Christ’s parting promise to send the Holy Spirit as His representative. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If the fulfillment of the promise is not seen as it might be, it is because the promise is not appreciated as it should be. If all were willing, all would be filled with the Spirit. Wherever the need of the Holy Spirit is a matter little thought of, there is seen spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Whenever minor matters occupy the attention, the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in infinite plenitude.” The Acts of the Apostles, 50.

Friends, we are talking about life and death issues here. We are talking about either going to heaven or hell—one way or the other. We have to get serious about eternal life and about what God wants to give us. He is willing, but we are not ready to receive it.

Be Willing

Christ’s favorite theme was the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Christ, the Great Teacher, had an infinite variety of subjects from which to choose, but the one upon which He dwelt most largely was the endowment of the Holy Spirit.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 156. What is our focus? Upon what are we dwelling? Do we have one favorite subject on which we just keep hammering? If Christ is our example, we can receive the Holy Spirit, and we can finish the work that God has given us to do. Christ’s favorite theme was the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and that is where our focus should be, so we can receive the Holy Spirit. We are not going to heaven without it.

We must be willing to be led by the Spirit. Mark 1:12 says that the Holy Spirit came upon Christ and drove Him into the wilderness. He was out there with the beasts of the field in a wilderness area. How desirable would that be? But that was where the Spirit led Him, and that is where He was going to remain until He was told otherwise. Jesus could have died out there in the wilderness, on His fast. Do you realize that? He was right where the Holy Spirit led Him, and He would have stayed right there until the Holy Spirit led Him some where else. Are we willing to be led by the Spirit of God in any place, in any direction? “If all were willing, all would be filled with the Spirit.” Are we willing to be led by the Spirit of God? When we pray for the Holy Spirit, we better expect that things are going to happen in our lives. We better be ready to be convicted of sin; we better be ready to be led wherever the Holy Spirit leads us and to do what He impresses us through His Word to do.

Occupied with Minors

So what is the problem? The heart is not completely surrendered; the will has not been merged in God’s will; therefore, we are not filled. “Wherever the need of the Holy Spirit is a matter little thought of, there is seen spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Whenever minor matters occupy the attention, the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in infinite plentitude.”

Are we in spiritual drought, darkness, declension and death? Do minor matters occupy our minds, or do we have the eternal reality of what is ahead of us? If minor matters are occupying our minds, the Holy Spirit cannot enter.

Persistently Pray

We must be praying. Ellen White wrote, “Why do we not hunger and thirst for the gift of the Spirit?” The Acts of the Apostles, 50. “For the baptism of the Spirit every worker should be pleading with God. Companies should be gathered together to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 22. Is not the Spirit of God to come today in answer to earnest, persevering prayer and fill men with power for service? Why then is the church so weak? Because we are not asking, pleading, persevering for the Holy Spirit. If we want to be led by the Spirit, we must persistently ask. (See Luke 11:1–13.) We have to stay upon our knees until we receive the promised blessing. We are not going to receive the Holy Spirit if we are spending two minutes on our knees then getting up and going about our duties. We have to spend quality time with the Lord.

“By your fervent prayers of faith you can move the arm that moves the world.” The Adventist Home, 264. That is a wonderful promise. “We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the day of Pentecost. If they needed it at that time, we need it more today.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 158. We must be persistent in our asking.

We Must Gain Victory

Self must be laid aside. In Steps to Christ, 43, we are told that the fight against self will be our greatest battle, but it must be overcome. “There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.” The Ministry of Healing, 159. Have we set self aside? Self must be dead.

“I am crucified with Christ.” Galatians 2:20. We must be crucified, cleansed from sin and selfishness. “I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” Early Writings, 71. Are we gaining the victory over self, over our besetting sins? We will never know that we have a besetting sin if we do not take time to examine ourselves.

We do not really know ourselves, and the Bible says that we need to examine ourselves (11 Corinthians 5), and if we do not find anything, then we are to go to the Lord, like David said in Psalm 139:23, 24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We need to ask the Lord to show us the defects in our characters to which we may be blind. We have to gain the victory over every besetment of sin through God’s grace and power.

Is our pride dead? We fight with our pride all of the time. We get offended; we do not like what someone says to us; they look a little odd at us—and our pride wells up. When pride gets control of our lives, there can only be strife, dissension, and every evil work. We need to start claiming the promise that says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165. Our pride and selfishness, our love of the world must be dead.

David prayed, Lord, guard the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3.) We must ask the Lord to guard the door of our lips and give us pure motives. When evil-speaking happens, it occurs in the mind first, and we have to ask the Lord to help us with that.

If money-making is our main goal in this life, if the things of this world are eclipsing our view of Christ, we better come back to the cross, pick it up, and deny ourselves and follow Him. (See Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23.) If we are not spending time in prayer and Bible study and self-examination, if we are getting up in the morning and all we have on our minds is what the day holds as far as worldly attainments for us, we have lost our focus. We better ask the Lord to help us get our focus on His Word every morning, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then everything else will be added unto us. (See Matthew 6:33.) That is the promise. We must take the time; we must have victory over every wrong word, motive, and action.

Active Witnesses

We must be active witnesses if we are going to receive the Holy Spirit. Do not think that when the latter rain power comes that you will then automatically know how to win souls for Christ. That will not happen, because you have already proved yourself unfaithful and have not qualified yourself for the duty that God has given.

When we have an entire, whole-hearted consecration for the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an out-pouring of His Spirit without measure. But this will not occur while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God. (See Review and Herald, July 21, 1896.) Yes, we can hold our banner high, stating that we are the commandment-keeping people of God. We can go to church every single Sabbath and think that we are in harmony with God, but nothing will ever happen. We will die within the church.

Qualify for Service

We must qualify ourselves. “How few have qualified themselves in the science of saving souls! How few understand the work that should be done in building up the church, in communicating light to those who sit in darkness.” Review and Herald, February 14, 1893.

How do we qualify ourselves? We get trained, and then we use the training we have learned. If we are not using it, it is slowly dying. All vain thoughts must be put away. In 11 Corinthians 10:5, 6, we are told, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” “The soul of the prophet [John the Baptist], emptied of self, was filled with the light of the divine. . . . Christ could say, ‘I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me.’ John 5:30. To Him it is declared, ‘Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.’ Hebrews 1:9. The Father ‘giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.’ [John 3:34.] So with the followers of Christ. We can receive of heaven’s light only as we are willing to be emptied of self. We cannot discern the character of God, or accept Christ by faith, unless we consent to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ. To all who do this the Holy Spirit is given without measure.” The Desire of Ages, 180. We may have all of our theology right, but unless we consent to be under the direction of the Holy Spirit and bring every thought into captivity to Him, we cannot even discern the character of God.

“The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church is looked forward to as in the future; but it is the privilege of the church to have it now. Seek for it, pray for it, believe for it. We must have it, and Heaven is waiting to bestow it.” Review and Herald, March 19, 1895.

Mike Bauler pastors the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be contacted by e-mail at: