Life Only in Christ

“A wide-open door for spiritualism is afforded by the teaching that man has life in himself—immortality by nature; and that death is not really death, but another form of life.

“The Scriptures close this door of false hope, teaching us that man is mortal, that death is really death, and that immortality is the gift of God through Christ by the resurrection from the dead.

“Clearly and definitely the Bible teaches that God only has immortality, styling Him the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality. 1 Timothy 6:15, 16.

“This Scripture disposes of every idea that man is immortal by nature, and opens the way for a consideration of the Scripture teaching concerning man’s nature, his state in death, and the promise of life and immortality in Christ.

Man by Nature Mortal

“The word mortal, as used in that ancient question by Eliphaz, describes man’s nature:

“Shall mortal man be more just than God? Job 4:17.

“In the creation, life was conditional upon the creature’s relation to Christ the Creator, in whom all things consist:

“All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life.” John 1:3, 4.

“He was, and is, as the psalmist says, ‘the fountain of life.’ Cut off from vital connection with Him, there could be no continuance of life. The Lord warned Adam that his life was conditional upon obedience. ‘In the day that thou eatest thereof,’ He said of the forbidden tree, ‘thou shalt surely die.’ Genesis 2:17. It was a declaration that man was not immortal, but was dependent upon God for life.

“When by unbelief and sin man rejected God, the sentence—death eternal—must have been executed had not the plan of salvation intervened. But as the stroke of divine justice was falling upon the sinner, the Son of God interposed Himself and received the blow. ‘He was bruised for our iniquities.’ In the divine plan, the great sacrifice for man was as sure then as when, later, it was actually made on Calvary. Christ was ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’

“And there Adam, the sinner, now with a fallen human nature, which would be perpetuated in his descendants in all subsequent time, was granted an extension of life, every moment of which, whether for him or for his posterity, was the purchase of Christ by His own death, in order that in this time of probation man might find forgiveness of sin and assurance of life to come. Adam was not created immortal, but was placed on probation, and had he continued faithful, the gift of immortality must have been given him at some later time, after he had passed the test. As the original plan is carried out through Christ, “the second Adam.,” the gift of immortality is bestowed finally upon all who pass the test of the judgment and are found in Christ, in whom alone is life.

“Having fallen, Adam, now possessed of a sinful nature, must die. ‘The wages of sin is death.’ Romans 6:23. It was impossible that sin or sinners should be immortalized in God’s universe. So, inasmuch as the tree of life in Eden had been made the channel of continuance of life to man, the Lord said:

‘Now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden.’ Genesis 3:22, 23.

“This negatives the idea that there could ever be an immortal sinner, who should mar God’s creation forever. Sin works out nothing but death. ‘Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.’ James 1:15. Fallen himself, Adam could bequeath to his posterity only a fallen, mortal nature. So began the sad history summed up in the text:

“’Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’” Romans 5:12.

Mortality Universal

“Mortality is written upon all creation. Ages ago the wise man wrote, ‘There is one event unto all:…they go to the dead.’ Ecclesiastes 9:3. Human hearts everywhere and in all time have cried out against the remorselessness of the great enemy. ‘Do people die with you?’ was the question met by Livingstone in the untraveled wilds of Africa. ‘Have you no charm against death?’ The Greek as well as the barbarian confessed to the helplessness of man before the great enemy. Centuries before Christ, Sophocles the Athenian wrote:

‘Wonders are many! and none is there greater than man, who
Steers his ship over the sea, driven on by the south wind,
Cleaving the threatening swell of the waters around him.
‘He captures the gay-hearted birds; he entangles adroitly
Creatures that live on the land and the brood of the ocean,
Spreading his well-woven nets. Man full of devices!
‘Speech and swift thought free as wind, the building of cities;
Shelters to ward off the arrows of rain, and to temper
Sharp-biting frost—all these hath he taught himself.
Surely stratagem hath he for all that comes! Never the future
Finds him resourceless! Deftly he combats grievous diseases,
Oft from their grip doth he free himself. Death alone vainly—
Vainly he seeks to escape; ‘gainst death he is helpless.”

—Chorus from Antigone

“What unspeakable pathos in the cry of humanity’s helplessness before death, the great enemy! But when Adam went out of Eden, it was with the assurance of life from the dead through the promised Seed, if faithful. It is the message of the one gospel for all time—everlasting life in Christ.

“’God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.

“As there is none other name under heaven by which men can be saved, so there is no other way of everlasting life or immortality, save in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When Immortality is Bestowed

“Christ said, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.’ John 11:25.

“He has turned death, that would have been eternal, into a little time of sleep, from which He will awaken the believer. In the resurrection of the last day immortality is bestowed, ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.’ 1 Corinthians 15:52–54.…

“Not until the resurrection, ‘at the last trump,’ is immortality conferred upon the redeemed. Note that it is not something immortal putting on immortality; but this ‘mortal’ puts on immortality. Mark this: there is no life after death, save by the resurrection. ‘If there be no resurrection of the dead, …then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.’ 1 Corinthians 15:13–18.

“This resurrection, as stated by the apostle Paul, is not at death, but in the last day, when Christ shall come, and all His children that are in their graves shall hear His voice. Jesus says: ‘This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.’ John 6:40.

“That is why the coming of Christ has been the ‘blessed hope’ of all the ages.

Man’s State in Death

“Between death and the resurrection, the dead sleep. Jesus declares that death is a sleep. Lazarus was dead, but Jesus said, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.’ John 11:11. It is the language of Inspiration throughout. The patriarch Job said:

“‘Man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more [the heavens will be rolled back as a scroll at Christ’s coming], they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.’ Job 14:10–12.

“This hope of the resurrection at the last day was no indistinct hope to the believer in God’s promises. The patriarch continued:

“’If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.’ Verses 14, 15.

“Job tells us of the place of his waiting for the Life-giver’s call: ‘If I wait, the grave is mine house.’ Job 17:13. It is thence that Christ will call His own when He comes. ‘The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.’ John 5:28, 29.

“Death is an unconscious sleep. It must of necessity be so; for death is the opposite of life. Therefore there is no consciousness of the passing of time to those who sleep in the grave. It is as if the eyes closed in death one instant, and the next instant, to the believer’s consciousness, he awakens to hear the animating voice of Jesus calling him to glad immortality, and to see the angels catching up his loved ones to meet Jesus in the air.

“These Scriptures, out of many, will suffice to show that man is not conscious in death:

“‘His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.’ Psalms 146:4.

“’The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything. …Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.’ Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.

“Death is a sleep, which will continue until the resurrection. Then the Lord will bring forth from the dust the same person who was laid away in death.

“Some have said that this Bible doctrine of the sleep of the dead until the resurrection is a gloomy one. Popular tradition thinks of the blessed dead as going at once to heaven, which, say some, is a beautiful thought. But they forget that the same teaching consigns their unbelieving friends to immediate torment—and that, too, while awaiting the judgment of the last day.

“No, the Bible teaching is the cheering doctrine, the ‘blessed hope.’ All the faithful of all the ages are going into the kingdom together. This blessed truth appeals to the spirit that loves to wait and share joys and good things with loved ones. Of the faithful of past ages the apostle says:

“’These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.’ Hebrews 11:39, 40.

“They are waiting, that all together the saved may enter in. And the time of waiting is but an instant to those who ‘sleep in Jesus.’

“David was a man of God, but the apostle Peter, speaking by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, declared to the people of the city of David: ‘He is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. …For David is not ascended into the heavens.’ Acts 2:29–34. They without us have not been made perfect. They are all awaiting that glad day toward which the apostle Paul turned the last look of his mortal vision:

“’I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.’ 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.

“What joy in that day to march in through the gates into the eternal city, with Adam, and Abel, and Noah, and Abraham, and Paul and all the faithful, and the loved ones of our own home circles, and dear comrades in service, every one clothed with immortality, the gift of God in Christ Jesus our Redeemer! Horatius Bonar’s hymn sings the joyful hope as the loved are laid away to ‘sleep in Jesus:’

‘Softly within that peaceful resting place
We lay their wearied limbs, and bid the clay
Press lightly on them till the night be past,
And the far east give note of coming day.
‘The shout is heard, the Archangel’s voice goes forth;
The trumpet sounds, the dead awake and sing;
The living put on glory; one glad band,
They hasten up to meet their coming King.’

“In a word, the Scripture teaches that God alone has immortality, that man is mortal, that death is a sleep, that life after death comes only by the resurrection of the last day, that the righteous are then given immortality. Further, the Scripture teaches that later there will be a resurrection of the unjust, not unto life, but unto death, the second death, from which there is no release.

“Every doctrine of Scripture and of the gospel is in accord with this Bible teaching as to man’s nature and his state in death. But the traditional view of the natural immortality of the soul and of life in death, nullifies the Bible doctrines of life only in Christ, and the resurrection, and the judgment, and the giving of rewards at Christ’s coming, and the final judgment upon the wicked and its execution.

A Few Questions Briefly Considered

“1. The “Living Soul”

“Says one; ‘Did not the Lord put into man an immortal soul?’

“No; the Scripture says: “’The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7.

“The soul was not put into the man, but when the life-giving breath was breathed into his nostrils, the man himself became a living soul, a living being. The ordinary version (King James) gives ‘a living soul’ in the margin of Genesis 1:30, showing that the same expression is used of all the animal creation in the Hebrew text. The famous Methodist commentator, Dr. Adam Clarke, says on this phrase, ‘living soul:’

‘A general term to express all creatures endued with animal life, in any of its infinitely varied gradations.’

“2. Are ‘Soul’ and ‘Spirit’ Deathless?

“’Are the soul and spirit said to be deathless?’ questions another.

“No. One writer says of the Scriptural use of the words ‘soul’ and ‘spirit:’

“’The Hebrew and Greek words from which they are translated, occur in the Bible, as we have seen, seventeen hundred times. Surely, once at least in that long list we shall be told that the soul is immortal, if this is its high prerogative. Seventeen hundred times we inquire if the soul is once said to be immortal, or the spirit deathless. And the invariable and overwhelming response we meet is, Not once!’—Here and Hereafter by U. Smith, p. 65.

“On the contrary, the Lord declares, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die.’ Ezekiel 18:20. It means that the person who sins shall die; for the words ‘soul,’ ‘mind,’ ‘heart,’ and ‘spirit’ are used to express life or the seat of the affections or of the intellect. One may commend his soul to God, or his spirit to God (really his life into the keeping of God), until the great day of the resurrection. The word ‘soul’ is used of all animal life in New Testament usage, as well as in the Old; as, ‘Every living soul died in the sea.’ Revelation 16:3.

“3. The Thief on the Cross

“’Did not Christ promise the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that day in Paradise?’

“No; for Paradise is where God’s throne is, and the tree of life, and the city of God, the capital of Christ’s kingdom; and three days later Christ had not yet ascended to the Father. ‘Touch me not,’ He said to Mary after His resurrection; ‘for I am not yet ascended to My Father.’ John 20:17. The dying thief, therefore, was not with Him in Paradise three days before.

“Nor did the thief’s question suggest such a thought. His faith grasped Christ’s resurrection, the resurrection of His children, and the coming kingdom; and that day on the cross, in the moment of the deepest humiliation of the Son of God, the repentant sinner cried, ‘Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.’ And the Saviour replied, ‘Verily I say unto thee today’—this day, when the world scoffs and the darkness presses upon Me, this day I say it—‘shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.’ Luke 23:42, 43.

“The punctuation that makes it read, ‘Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise,’ is not a part of the sacred text, and puts the Saviour’s promise in contradiction with the facts of the whole narrative and the teaching of the Scripture.

“4. The Rich Man and Lazarus

“’Then there is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus,’ one says, ‘where Lazarus and Dives are talking, though dead—Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom and the rich man in torment.’

“But that is a parable; and no one can set the figures of a parable against the facts of positive Scripture. In parables, lessons are often taught by figurative language and imaginary scenes which could never be real, though the lesson is emphasized the more forcefully.

“In the parable of Judges 9, the trees are represented as holding a council and talking with one another. No one mistakes the lesson of the parable, or supposes that the trees actually talked. So in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the lesson is taught that uprightness in this life, even though under deepest poverty, will be rewarded in the future life; while uncharitable selfishness will surely bring one to ruin and destruction.

“In the face of the Bible teaching, no one can turn this parable into actual narrative, representing that the saved in glory are now looking over the battlements of heaven and talking with the lost, writhing before their eyes in agony amid the flames of unending torment. This is not the picture that the Scriptures give us of heaven, nor of the state of the dead, nor of the time and circumstances of the final rewards or punishments.”

Our Day in the Light of Prophecy, 275–285

Bible Study Guides – Parables of the Master Teacher – The Rich Man and Lazarus

August 25, 2019 – August 31, 2019

Key Text

“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 260–271.


“Those who are poor in this world’s goods, yet who trust in God and are patient in suffering, will one day be exalted above those who now hold the highest positions the world can give but who have not surrendered their life to God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 260.



  • What parable illustrates the truth that a person’s future is fixed at death according to his or her manner of life? Explain the difference between the two men, and tell the lesson we can learn. Luke 16:19–21.

Note: “In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Christ shows that in this life men decide their eternal destiny. … If men waste their opportunities in self-pleasing, they cut themselves off from everlasting life. No after-probation will be granted them. By their own choice they have fixed an impassable gulf between them and their God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 260.

  • What eventually happened to both the beggar and the rich man? Luke 16:22.

Note: “The poor man had suffered day by day, but he had patiently and quietly endured. In the course of time he died and was buried. There was no one to mourn for him; but by his patience in suffering he had witnessed for Christ, he had endured the test of his faith, and at his death he is represented as being carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 262.



  • Though erroneous, what belief held by many of His hearers did Jesus use to teach important truths? In the destiny of the rich man, what truth was Jesus teaching? Luke 16:23, 24.

Note: “In this parable Christ was meeting the people on their own ground. The doctrine of a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection was held by many of those who were listening to Christ’s words. The Saviour knew of their ideas, and He framed His parable so as to inculcate important truths through these preconceived opinions. He held up before His hearers a mirror wherein they might see themselves in their true relation to God. He used the prevailing opinion to convey the idea He wished to make prominent to all—that no man is valued for his possessions; for all he has belongs to him only as lent by the Lord. A misuse of these gifts will place him below the poorest and most afflicted man who loves God and trusts in Him.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 263.

  • What does the Bible teach in regard to the state of the body and soul in death? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; Psalm 146:2–4; John 11:11.

Note: “My mind had often been disturbed by its efforts to reconcile the immediate reward or punishment of the dead with the undoubted fact of a future resurrection and judgment. If at death the soul entered upon eternal happiness or misery, where was the need of a resurrection of the poor moldering body?

“But this new and beautiful faith taught me the reason why inspired writers had dwelt so much upon the resurrection of the body; it was because the entire being was slumbering in the grave. I could now clearly perceive the fallacy of our former position on this question.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 49, 50.

  • What is the response of the figurative Abraham to the appeal of the rich man? Luke 16:25.

Note: “What are the sufferings of this present life, compared with the final eternal weight of glory?” The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1885.



  • What additional difficulty was stated by Abraham in this illustrative conversation? Luke 16:26.

Note: “It is a solemn thing to die, but a far more solemn thing to live. Every thought and word and deed of our lives will meet us again. What we make of ourselves in probationary time, that we must remain to all eternity. Death brings dissolution to the body, but makes no change in the character. The coming of Christ does not change our characters; it only fixes them forever beyond all change.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 466.

  • What concern hitherto unheeded is voiced by the rich man? Luke 16:27, 28. Has God left anything undone in providing for our salvation?

Note: “When the rich man solicited additional evidence for his brothers, he was plainly told that should this evidence be given, they would not be persuaded. His request cast a reflection on God. It was as if the rich man had said, If you had more thoroughly warned me, I should not now be here. Abraham in his answer to this request is represented as saying, Your brothers have been sufficiently warned. Light has been given them, but they would not see; truth has been presented to them, but they would not hear.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 264, 265.

“When God gave Christ to our world, He gave in this one gift all the treasures of heaven. He held back nothing. He can do no more than He has done to bring men to repentance. He has no means held in reserve for their salvation.” The Review and Herald, September 17, 1901.

  • As we view the condition of this world today, what sobering thoughts should we consider? James 4:14; 2 Corinthians 6:2.

Note: “He [God] bears with men until the last resource for leading them to repentance is exhausted. But there are limits to His forbearance.” The Review and Herald, September 17, 1901.

“Come now, while mercy lingers; come with confession, come with contrition of soul, and God will abundantly pardon. Do not dare to slight another opportunity.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 353.



  • What testimony did the Jewish nation first refuse, and what further evidence did Jesus say they would ignore? Luke 16:29–31; John 5:46, 47.

Note: “ ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead’ (Luke 16:31). These words were proved true in the history of the Jewish nation. Christ’s last and crowning miracle was the raising of Lazarus of Bethany, after he had been dead four days. The Jews were given this wonderful evidence of the Saviour’s divinity, but they rejected it. Lazarus rose from the dead and bore his testimony before them, but they hardened their hearts against all evidence, and even sought to take his life (John 12:9–11).” Christ’s Object Lessons, 265.

  • What spiritual blessings were given to the Jews? Romans 9:3–5. What were many of them guilty of doing with their blessings? Luke 12:21.

Note: “When Christ gave the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, there were many in the Jewish nation in the pitiable condition of the rich man, using the Lord’s goods for selfish gratification, preparing themselves to hear the sentence, ‘Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting’ (Daniel 5:27). The rich man was favored with every temporal and spiritual blessing, but he refused to cooperate with God in the use of these blessings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 267.

  • How can we be in danger of making the same mistake? Proverbs 14:31; Zechariah 7:10.

Note: “If God gives us much of this world’s goods, it is not that we may selfishly hoard them, or that we may crave for more, but that we may freely impart to those not so richly blessed. Nothing so refreshes the spirit as giving gladly and willingly of the blessings God has so freely given us. The life of the soul is revived by the sight of the good thus accomplished, and by a sense that a conscientious use has been made of the Lord’s goods.” The Review and Herald, May 27, 1902.

“The same spirit of sacrifice which purchased salvation for us will dwell in the hearts of all who become partakers of the heavenly gift.” Lift Him Up, 278.



  • What self-satisfied confidence was held by God’s favored people in the time of Christ? John 8:33. When did they understand His warning?

Note: “When calamity came upon Jerusalem, when starvation and suffering of every kind came upon the people, they remembered these words of Christ and understood the parable. They had brought their suffering upon themselves by their neglect to let their God-given light shine forth to the world.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 269.

  • What similar deception affects the Laodiceans? Revelation 3:16, 17.

Note: “Today there is a class in our world who are self-righteous. They are not gluttons, they are not drunkards, they are not infidels; but they desire to live for themselves, not for God. He is not in their thoughts; therefore they are classed with unbelievers. Were it possible for them to enter the gates of the city of God, they could have no right to the tree of life, for when God’s commandments were laid before them with all their binding claims they said, No. They have not served God here; therefore they would not serve Him hereafter. They could not live in His presence, and they would feel that any place was preferable to heaven.

“To learn of Christ means to receive His grace, which is His character. But those who do not appreciate and utilize the precious opportunities and sacred influences granted them on earth, are not fitted to take part in the pure devotion of heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 270, 271.



1     What lesson was taught in this parable about the lives of the two men?

2    How did the reply of Abraham reveal the rich man’s problem?

3    What did the request of the rich man concerning his brothers imply?

4    What does this parable teach about present opportunities?

5    Self-righteous church members are not infidels. Why then are they classed with unbelievers?


© 2018, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.


Bible Study Guides – God’s Love in the Church—Hospitality (continued)

November 30, 2008 – December 6, 2008

Key Text

“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Romans 12:13.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 524–536; Christ’s Object Lessons, 376–389.


“Our work in this world is to live for others’ good, to bless others, to be hospitable; and frequently it may be only at some inconvenience that we can entertain those who really need our care and the benefit of our society and our homes.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 645.

1 When weary of His labors, where did Jesus often find rest? Luke 10:38–42.

Note: “At the home of Lazarus, Jesus had often found rest. The Saviour had no home of His own; He was dependent on the hospitality of His friends and disciples, and often, when weary, thirsting for human fellowship, He had been glad to escape to this peaceful household, away from the suspicion and jealousy of the angry Pharisees. Here He found a sincere welcome, and pure, holy friendship. Here He could speak with simplicity and perfect freedom, knowing that His words would be understood and treasured.” The Desire of Ages, 524.

2 How was Lazarus benefited by the greatest miracle of Jesus? John 11:1–5; 38–44.

Note: “It was for Lazarus that the greatest of Christ’s miracles was performed. The Saviour blessed all who sought His help; He loves all the human family, but to some He is bound by peculiarly tender associations. His heart was knit by a strong bond of affection to the family at Bethany, and for one of them His most wonderful work was wrought.” The Desire of Ages, 524.

3 Once Lydia had received the truth, how did she put her home to the service of the Lord? Acts 16:14, 15.

Note: “God opened the ears of Lydia, so that she attended to the message spoken by Paul. To declare the whole counsel of God and all that was essential for Lydia to receive—this was the part Paul was to act in her conversion; and then the God of all grace exercised His power, leading the soul in the right way.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1062.

4 After having suffered cruel persecution, where did Paul and Silas find relief? Acts 16:40.

Note: “Acting upon the instruction given by Christ, the apostles would not urge their presence where it was not desired. ‘They went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.’ [Acts 16:40.]” The Acts of the Apostles, 218.

5 Lydia warmly welcomed the apostles. Whom else should we welcome as God’s heritage in need of refuge? I Timothy 4:12 first part; Jude 21–23.

Note: “Our homes should be a place of refuge for the tempted youth. Many there are who stand at the parting of the ways. Every influence, every impression, is determining the choice that shapes their destiny both here and hereafter. Evil invites them. Its resorts are made bright and attractive. They have a welcome for every comer. All about us are youth who have no home, and many whose homes have no helpful, uplifting power, and the youth drift into evil. They are going down to ruin within the very shadow of our own doors.

“These youth need a hand stretched out to them in sympathy. Kind words simply spoken, little attentions simply bestowed, will sweep away the clouds of temptation which gather over the soul. The true expression of heaven-born sympathy has power to open the door of hearts that need the fragrance of Christ-like words, and the simple, delicate touch of the spirit of Christ’s love. If we would show an interest in the youth, invite them to our homes, and surround them with cheering, helpful influences, there are many who would gladly turn their steps into the upward path.” The Ministry of Healing, 354, 355.

6 Being persecuted by his own countrymen, where did Paul find hospitality? Acts 28:1, 2, 7.

Note: “The shipwrecked crew were kindly received by the barbarous people of Melita. … Paul was among those who were active in ministering to the comfort of others.” The Acts of the Apostles, 445.

7 How were all the company at Melita blessed by Paul’s stay? Acts 28:8–10.

Note: “During the three months that the ship’s company remained at Melita, Paul and his fellow laborers improved many opportunities to preach the gospel. In a remarkable manner the Lord wrought through them. For Paul’s sake the entire shipwrecked company were treated with great kindness; all their wants were supplied, and upon leaving Melita they were liberally provided with everything needful for their voyage.” The Acts of the Apostles, 446.

8 How useful is hospitality for spreading the gospel? Luke 14:12–14.

Note: “Our social entertainments should not be governed by the dictates of worldly custom, but by the Spirit of Christ and the teaching of His word. … How much such a welcome might do to cheer and encourage the missionary nurse or the teacher, the care-burdened, hard-working mother, or the feeble and aged, so often without a home, and struggling with poverty and many discouragements. …

“These are guests whom it will lay on you no great burden to receive. You will not need to provide for them elaborate or expensive entertainment. You will need to make no effort at display. The warmth of a genial welcome, a place at your fireside, a seat at your home table, the privilege of sharing the blessing of the hour of prayer, would to many of these be like a glimpse of heaven.

“Our sympathies are to overflow the boundaries of self and the enclosure of family walls. There are precious opportunities for those who will make their homes a blessing to others. Social influence is a wonderful power. We can use it if we will as a means of helping those about us.” The Ministry of Healing, 352–354.

9 How did Christ answer a lawyer’s question about how to inherit eternal life? Luke 10:25–28.

Note: “The lawyer was not satisfied with the position and works of the Pharisees. He had been studying the scriptures with a desire to learn their real meaning. He had a vital interest in the matter, and he asked in sincerity, ‘What shall I do?’ [Luke 10:25.] In his answer as to the requirements of the law, he passed by all the mass of ceremonial and ritualistic precepts. For these he claimed no value, but presented the two great principles on which hang all the law and the prophets. The Saviour’s commendation of this answer placed Him on vantage ground with the rabbis. They could not condemn Him for sanctioning that which had been advanced by an expositor of the law.

“ ‘This do, and thou shalt live,’ [Luke 10:28.] Christ said. In His teaching He ever presented the law as a divine unity, showing that it is impossible to keep one precept and break another; for the same principle runs through all. Man’s destiny will be determined by his obedience to the whole law.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 377, 378.

10 What was the next question the lawyer presented to Jesus, and what answer did he receive? Luke 10:29–37.

Note: “The lawyer knew that he had kept neither the first four nor the last six commandments. He was convicted under Christ’s searching words, but instead of confessing his sin he tried to excuse it. Rather than acknowledge the truth, he endeavored to show how difficult of fulfillment the commandment is. Thus he hoped both to parry conviction and to vindicate himself in the eyes of the people. The Saviour’s words had shown that his question was needless, since he was able to answer it himself. Yet he put another question, saying, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ [Luke 10:29.]

“Again Christ refused to be drawn into controversy. He answered the question by relating an incident, the memory of which was fresh in the minds of His hearers. …

“The priest and the Levite both professed piety, but the Samaritan showed that he was truly converted. It was no more agreeable for him to do the work than for the priest and the Levite, but in spirit and works he proved himself to be in harmony with God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 378–380.

11 In what sense does the story of the good Samaritan illustrate the work of Christ on earth? Acts 10:38.

Note: “In the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus gave a picture of Himself and His mission. Man had been deceived, bruised, robbed, and ruined by Satan, and left to perish; but the Saviour had compassion on our helpless condition. He left His glory, to come to our rescue. He found us ready to die, and He undertook our case. He healed our wounds. He covered us with His robe of righteousness. He opened to us a refuge of safety, and made complete provision for us at His own charges.” The Desire of Ages, 503, 504.

12 How will the true followers of Christ act toward those who need help? Galatians 6:1, 2.

Note: “Sin is the greatest of all evils, and it is ours to pity and help the sinner. There are many who err, and who feel their shame and their folly. They are hungry for words of encouragement. They look upon their mistakes and errors, until they are driven almost to desperation. These souls we are not to neglect. If we are Christians, we shall not pass by on the other side, keeping as far as possible from the very ones who most need our help. When we see human beings in distress, whether through affliction or through sin, we shall never say, This does not concern me.

‘Ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.’ Galatians 6:1. By faith and prayer press back the power of the enemy. Speak words of faith and courage that will be as a healing balsam to the bruised and wounded one. Many, many, have fainted and become discouraged in the great struggle of life, when one word of kindly cheer would have strengthened them to overcome. Never should we pass by one suffering soul without seeking to impart to him of the comfort wherewith we are comforted of God.” The Desire of Ages, 504, 505.

Additional Reading

“The widow of Zarephath shared her morsel with Elijah, and in return her life and that of her son were preserved. And to all who, in time of trial and want, give sympathy and assistance to others more needy, God has promised great blessing. He has not changed. His power is no less now than in the days of Elijah. No less sure now than when spoken by our Saviour is the promise, ‘He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.’ Matthew 10:41.

“ ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ Hebrews 13:2. These words have lost none of their force through the lapse of time. Our heavenly Father still continues to place in the pathway of His children opportunities that are blessings in disguise; and those who improve these opportunities find great joy. ‘If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.’ Isaiah 58:10, 11.

“To His faithful servants today Christ says, ‘He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.’ No act of kindness shown in His name will fail to be recognized and rewarded. And in the same tender recognition Christ includes even the feeblest and lowliest of the family of God. ‘Whosoever shall give to drink,’ He says, ‘unto one of these little ones’—those who are as children in their faith and their knowledge of Christ—‘a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.’ Matthew 10:40, 42.” Prophets and Kings, 131, 132.

“Pure religion and undefiled before the Father is this: ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ [James 1:27.] Good deeds are the fruit that Christ requires us to bear: kind words, deeds of benevolence, of tender regard for the poor, the needy, the afflicted. When hearts sympathize with hearts burdened with discouragement and grief, when the hand dispenses to the needy, when the naked are clothed, the stranger made welcome to a seat in your parlor and a place in your heart, angels are coming very near, and an answering strain is responded to in heaven. Every act of justice, mercy, and benevolence makes melody in heaven. The Father from His throne beholds those who do these acts of mercy, and numbers them with His most precious treasures. ‘And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels.’ [Malachi 3:17.] Every merciful act to the needy, the suffering, is regarded as though done to Jesus. When you succor the poor, sympathize with the afflicted and oppressed, and befriend the orphan, you bring yourselves into a closer relationship to Jesus.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 25.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission

In Defense of the Faith

“But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” Job 14:10. This is a question people have been asking for centuries. It is the mystery of death, the realm of the unknown, as many call it. To those of us who are Christians, the mystery of death is not a mystery. Jesus said, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death.” Revelation 1:18.

Jesus has the keys to unlock the door to help us understand what lies beyond the grave. Although many people today are confused over the mystery of death, there is no need to be confused, because the Bible gives us the answer.

But, you might ask, What about 2 Corinthians 5:8 where Paul said, “We are . . . willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord”? Is that confusing? I know that sometimes when studying the Bible, we may come across a passage that is not quite clear to us. On the surface, it appears that it could be taken this way or maybe another way.

We need to remember when we study the Bible, that there are two kinds of Bible verses. There are what we call “black and white” verses. In other words, when you read that text it is very clear what it is saying. Then there are texts that we call “gray.” On the surface they appear to mean this or that. What we have to do in order to understand the “gray” passages is allow the “black and white” texts to help interpret or unravel the mystery of the “gray” ones. It is not that you cannot understand these texts or that they are vague, you just need the other passages, that are clear,to help unravel the mystery.

First we will study some “black and white” texts on the state of man in death. “These things” said He [Jesus]: and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may wake him out of sleep. Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.” John 11:11, 12. At this point, Lazarus is dead, but the disciples do not know it. They still think he is sick. Think for a moment: If you are sick, what is one of the best things you can do in order to recover quickly? Get plenty of rest. So here Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to wake Lazarus up out of his sleep. But the disciples said, “Lord, if he sleep, he will do well.” This is a sad story in relation to the disciples, because they should have been well familiar with the doctrine of the state of the dead. Throughout the Old Testament, there are scores and scores of passages dealing with that particular truth. Yet, somehow, this truth escaped the disciples.

One of the reasons why the disciples failed to recognize the language of Jesus was because, too often, tradition supercedes the Word of the Lord. How many of those who claim to be Christians are taking tradition above a “Thus saith the Lord”? The church is not above the Bible. The word of the Lord is the highest authority. A “Thus saith the Lord” is not to be set aside for a “Thus saith the church” or “Thus saith the state.” The Word of God must be obeyed. By taking the name Christian we claim to be followers of Jesus. But how do we follow Jesus? We follow Him, by obedience to His words.

“Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:13, 14. These texts are a simple commentary on the doctrine of the state of the dead. Jesus compared death to sleep.

We can see the same thing in Acts 7:57–60: “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him [Stephen] with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this he fell asleep.” There are two ways to interpret this passage. Either at the time that Stephen was being stoned, he laid down and took a nap, or he died. The sleep made reference to in this Scripture has to do with his death, as can be shown in Acts 8:1 “And Saul consenting unto his death . . . ”

Death is compared to sleep. And what do we mean by that? “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. The living know, are consciously aware, but the dead do not know anything! “Neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Verse 5, 6. The dead are not aware of what is going on in the earth. They have no knowledge of anything that takes place underneath the sun. This particular passage very clearly indicates that it is impossible for anyone to communicate with the dead. For the Bible says they have no memory. They have no love, nor hatred. How can you communicate with people that cannot communicate with you? They cannot even communicate with each other. They are dead. They are unconscious of anything that is going on.

The Scripture also clearly teaches that they will not always remain in that condition. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29.

The Bible discusses two resurrections: the resurrection of life and the resurrection of damnation. There will come a point in time when all that are in the grave will hear His voice and they will come forth; some to the resurrection of life and some to the resurrection of damnation. By the grace of God, we need to be in that first resurrection. What a sad day it will be for so many who think that they are in the first group, when they rise up in the second? I wish that for no one!


The Thief on the Cross beside Jesus


Now let us study some of those “gray” texts on this subject. The thief who was crucified beside Jesus said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42, 43.

There seems to be a difference of opinion regarding the passage, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” Does it mean that when he died, he would be on that day with Jesus in Paradise? Let us assume just for the sake of illustration, that it was on that day when Jesus was crucified that the thief was to be taken to heaven.

“And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” Verse 42. So in order for the thief to go to Paradise on that day, Jesus would have had to have gone that day also.

But did Jesus go to heaven on that day (Friday)? Notice John 21:1: “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” This is Sunday, two days after Friday, and Mary comes to the sepulchre. When she gets there the stone is rolled away and a man stands nearby. Thinking he was the gardener, Mary asked him where the Lord had been taken. The man was Jesus, and when He says her name, she immediately recognizes Him. In great excitement Mary rushes up to Jesus and says, “Rabboni [Master]. Jesus saith unto her, touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father.” Verse 17. This is two days after Friday! How could the thief go to Paradise with Jesus on Friday when Jesus said two days later that He had not yet gone to heaven?

The confusion here lies with the comma. I know there are those who take the position that the commas, the chapters, the paragraphs, and the periods are all inspired. That is an extreme position to hold. Chapters, commas and verses were put in by man to make it easier to locate texts. When you read the original Greek and Hebrew, there are no chapters or commas, it is just one flowing, continuation.

In this particular case we need to look at the comma. In verse 43, this is how the passage should be read, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.” In other words, Jesus was saying, I promise you today, that you will be with Me in Paradise.

Let us take the premise that the comma was inspired. If that is the case, I would like someone to explain to me Acts 19:11. (KJV) If that comma is inspired, then this comma in Acts 19:11, 12 must be inspired also. Speaking about the apostle Paul and the things that he was doing, it says this: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” According to the way the comma is placed, diseases and evil spirits were departing from the aprons and the handkerchiefs!

How can the comma in Luke 23:43 be inspired when we see the inconsistency according to Acts 19:11, 12? The comma should not be placed after the words “handkerchiefs and aprons.” It should be placed after the word “sick,” so it should read: “So that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them [meaning the sick] and the evil spirits went out of them [the sick].”


The Rich Man and Lazarus


There is another interesting story given in Luke 16:19–31 about a rich man and Lazarus. Some say this story proves that when you die you go straight to heaven or to hell. The position that is taken is that this is not a parable, but a true story illustrating what Jesus teaches about the subject of death. “And there was a certain rich man,” Underscore that, because it is very, very important. If this is a literal story, then you must take everything in the story literally. If it is a symbolic story to illustrate a literal truth, one must decipher the symbolism in order to understand the literal meaning. Let us look carefully and see if we can discover if this is a real story or a parable?

How did Jesus usually begin His parables? “And He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree . . .” Luke 13:6. “And he said, A certain man had two sons . . .” Luke 15:11. “And He said also unto His disciples, There was a certain rich man . . .” Luke 16:1. This is the language Jesus used over and over again.

The evidence clearly reveals that the story in Luke 16:19, beginning with “A certain rich man,” is a parable consistent with all the ones that Jesus told previously. However, even though the evidence proves that it is a parable, let us assume that this is a literal story. The story goes like this: The rich man goes to hell, and Lazarus, who is sitting next to the dogs, goes to rest in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man cries out, Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.

Remember, we are supposed to take everything in this story literally. Here is a man burning in hell and he requests that the tip of Larazus’ finger be dipped in water, and somehow this will cool him.We have all worked on a hot day outside, maybe in the garden or washing our cars. When I am doing us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 5:3–5. By giving us the Spirit, God has given us a down payment on heaven.

We do not have the fullness yet. That will come when this mortal shall put on immortality. God says, I will give you a sample of what it is like to have life and to have a little bit of heaven. “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” Verse 6. As long as I am in this tabernacle I am physically absent from Jesus, but we have the hope of glory.

“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Verses 7, 8. Paul would rather be absent from this physical, earthly house in order to be with Jesus. But that can only take place when this earthly house is exchanged for that heavenly one at the last trump. Then all those who are faithful, will be present with Jesus.

That is why Paul said: “For. . . the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.

” . . . Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20.


Question and Answer – What is the “great gulf” in Luke 16:26?

The Gulf of Disobedience

“The closing scenes of this earth’s history are portrayed in the closing of the rich man’s history. The rich man claimed to be a son of Abraham, but he was separated from Abraham by an impassable gulf—a character wrongly developed. Abraham served God, following His word in faith and obedience. But the rich man was unmindful of God and of the needs of suffering humanity. The great gulf fixed between him and Abraham was the gulf of disobedience. There are many today who are following the same course. Though church members, they are unconverted. They may take part in the church service, they may chant the psalm, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1); but they testify to a falsehood. They are no more righteous in God’s sight than is the veriest sinner. The soul that longs after the excitement of worldly pleasure, the mind that is full of love for display, cannot serve God. Like the rich man in the parable, such a one has no inclination to war against the lust of the flesh. He longs to indulge appetite. He chooses the atmosphere of sin. He is suddenly snatched away by death, and he goes down to the grave with the character formed during his lifetime in copartnership with Satanic agencies. In the grave he has no power to choose anything, be it good or evil; for in the day when a man dies, his thoughts perish (Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6).

“When the voice of God awakes the dead, he will come from the grave with the same appetites and passions, the same likes and dislikes, that he cherished when living. God works no miracle to re-create a man who would not be re-created when he was granted every opportunity and provided with every facility. During his lifetime he took no delight in God, nor found pleasure in His service. His character is not in harmony with God, and he could not be happy in the heavenly family.

“Today there is a class in our world who are self-righteous. They are not gluttons, they are not drunkards, they are not infidels; but they desire to live for themselves, not for God. He is not in their thoughts; therefore they are classed with unbelievers. Were it possible for them to enter the gates of the city of God, they could have no right to the tree of life, for when God’s commandments were laid before them with all their binding claims they said, No. They have not served God here; therefore they would not serve Him hereafter. They could not live in His presence, and they would feel that any place was preferable to heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 269, 270.

Bible Study Guides – Lazarus

July 30 – August 5, 2017

 Key Text

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death” (John 8:51).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 524–536; My Life Today, 208.


“In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. … The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.



  •  What disciples did Jesus have in Bethany? John 11:5.

Note: “At the home of Lazarus, Jesus had often found rest. The Saviour had no home of His own; He was dependent on the hospitality of His friends and disciples, and often, when weary, thirsting for human fellowship, He had been glad to escape to this peaceful household.” The Desire of Ages, 524.

  • In whose homes is Christ present with His blessings? Proverbs 3:33, last part.

 Note: “Our Saviour appreciated a quiet home and interested listeners. He longed for human tenderness, courtesy, and affection. Those who received the heavenly instruction He was always ready to impart were greatly blessed.” The Desire of Ages, 524.

  • What happened to Lazarus? John 11:1.

  • What message did Lazarus’ sisters send to Jesus and what response did they receive? John 11:3, 4.



  •  How much longer did Jesus remain away from Bethany, and what thoughts began troubling the minds of the disciples? John 11:6.

 Note: “When Christ heard the message, the disciples thought He received it coldly. He did not manifest the sorrow they expected Him to show. Looking up to them, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby’ (John 11:4). For two days He remained in the place where He was. This delay was a mystery to the disciples. What a comfort His presence would be to the afflicted household! they thought. His strong affection for the family at Bethany was well known to the disciples, and they were surprised that He did not respond to the sad message, ‘He whom Thou lovest is sick’ (verse 3).

“During the two days Christ seemed to have dismissed the message from His mind; for He did not speak of Lazarus. The disciples thought of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. They had wondered why Jesus, with the power to perform wonderful miracles, had permitted John to languish in prison, and to die a violent death. Possessing such power, why did not Christ save John’s life? This question had often been asked by the Pharisees, who presented it as an unanswerable argument against Christ’s claim to be the Son of God. The Saviour had warned His disciples of trials, losses, and persecution. Would He forsake them in trial? Some questioned if they had mistaken His mission. All were deeply troubled.” The Desire of Ages, 526.

  • Describe the reaction of the disciples when Jesus proposed His next course of action. John 11:7, 8.

Note: “After waiting for two days, Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Let us go into Judea again’ (John 11:7). The disciples questioned why, if Jesus were going to Judea, He had waited two days. But anxiety for Christ and for themselves was now uppermost in their minds. They could see nothing but danger in the course He was about to pursue. ‘Master,’ they said, ‘the Jews of late sought to stone Thee; and goest Thou thither again’ (verse 8)?” The Desire of Ages, 526, 527.



  •  What did Jesus reveal to the disciples, and what did they understand? John 11:11, 12.

  • What did the words of Christ mean? John 11:13, 14.

Note: “Christ represents death as a sleep to His believing children. Their life is hid with Christ in God, and until the last trump shall sound those who die will sleep in Him.” The Desire of Ages, 527.

  • Why did Jesus stay away from Bethany even after knowing that Lazarus had died? John 11:15.

  • What events took place in Bethany before the arrival of Jesus? John 11:17–19.

  • Of whom else was Jesus thinking when He decided to perform the miracle in Bethany?

Note: “In delaying to come to Lazarus, Christ had a purpose of mercy toward those who had not received Him. He tarried, that by raising Lazarus from the dead He might give to His stubborn, unbelieving people another evidence that He was indeed ‘the resurrection, and the life’ (John 11:25). He was loath to give up all hope of the people, the poor, wandering sheep of the house of Israel. His heart was breaking because of their impenitence. In His mercy He purposed to give them one more evidence that He was the Restorer, the One who alone could bring life and immortality to light. This was to be an evidence that the priests could not misinterpret. This was the reason of His delay in going to Bethany. This crowning miracle, the raising of Lazarus, was to set the seal of God on His work and on His claim to divinity.” The Desire of Ages, 529.



  • Upon hearing that Jesus was coming to Bethany, what did Martha do and what conviction did she manifest? John 11:20–22.

  • What did Jesus assure Martha, and what did she understand by this? John 11:23, 24.

  • With what words did Jesus confirm Martha’s conviction? John 11:25.

Note: “Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life’ (John 11:25). In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life’ (1 John 5:12). The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.

  • What promise is the basis of our hope beyond the tomb? John 5:25; 11:26, first part.

  • How did Martha’s conviction relate to Christ’s miracle? John 11:26, last part, 27.

Note: “ ‘He that believeth in Me,’ said Jesus, ‘though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this’ (John 11:25, 26)? Christ here looks forward to the time of His second coming. Then the righteous dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living righteous shall be translated to heaven without seeing death. The miracle which Christ was about to perform, in raising Lazarus from the dead, would represent the resurrection of all the righteous dead. By His word and His works He declared Himself the Author of the resurrection. He who Himself was soon to die upon the cross stood with the keys of death, a conqueror of the grave, and asserted His right and power to give eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.



  •  Describe the actions and words of the grief-stricken Mary. John 11:28–32.

  • What did Jesus do when He saw Mary and some of the Jews weeping? John 11:33–35.

Note: “It was not only because of His human sympathy with Mary and Martha that Jesus wept. In His tears there was a sorrow as high above human sorrow as the heavens are higher than the earth. Christ did not weep for Lazarus; for He was about to call him from the grave. He wept because many of those now mourning for Lazarus would soon plan the death of Him who was the resurrection and the life.” The Desire of Ages, 533.

  • What did Jesus do next, even in the midst of accusations against Him? John 11:37–39.

  • What prayer did Jesus offer beside the sepulcher? John 11:41, 42.

  • What words did Jesus utter, and what happened when those words were spoken? John 11:43, 44.



 1    Why didn’t Jesus immediately comply with the request of Lazarus’ sisters?

2    How should death be regarded by the followers of Christ?

3    For what purpose did Christ allow Lazarus to die?

4    Why did Jesus weep?

5    Describe the actions of Lazarus upon the call of Jesus.

 Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.