Bible Study Guides – A Just Man And Perfect

April 15 – April 21, 2001

Memory Verse “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:24.

Study Help: Maranatha, 65; Conflict and Courage, 28–31.


“Enoch, we read, walked with God three hundred years. That was a long time to be in communion with Him.…He communed with God because it was agreeable to him,…and he loved the society of God. Enoch was a marked character. Many look upon his life as something above what the generality of mortals can ever reach. But Enoch’s life and character…represent what the lives and characters of all must be, if like Enoch, they are subjects to be translated when Christ shall come. His life was what the life of every individual may be if he closely connects with God. We should remember that Enoch was surrounded with influences so depraved that God brought a flood of waters on the world to destroy its inhabitants for their corruption.” Conflict and Courage, 29.

“Without Shedding of Blood Is No Remission”

  • In what way did the Lord cover the nakedness brought about by Adam’s sin? Genesis 3:21. (See Proverbs 28:13 and Psalm 32:1–5.)

note: “The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father. A beautiful soft light, the light of God, enshrouded the holy pair. This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence. Had they remained true to God it would ever have continued to enshroud them. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed. Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering. This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God. But this they can never do. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence. No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 310, 311.

  • What was the lesson taught by the deaths of the creatures whose skins covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve? John 1:29; 1 John 1:7.

note: “A system of sacrifices was then established, to keep before the fallen race that which the serpent made Eve disbelieve, that the penalty of disobedience is death. The transgression of God’s law made it necessary for Christ to die as a sacrifice; for only thus could He redeem man from the penalty of the broken law, and yet maintain the honor of the divine government. The sacrificial system was designed to teach man humility, in view of his fallen condition, and to lead him to repentance toward God and faith in the promised Redeemer for pardon of past transgressions. Had the law of God never been transgressed, there would have been no death, and hence no need of additional precepts to suit man’s fallen condition.” Signs of the Times, June 10, 1880.

“The Lord Had Respect Unto Abel And To His Offering”

  • How did Abel show his understanding of this truth and his faith in the coming Saviour? Genesis 4:4.

note: “Abel grasped the great principles of redemption. He saw himself a sinner, and he saw sin and its penalty, death, standing between his soul and communion with God. He brought the slain victim, the sacrificed life, thus acknowledging the claims of the law that had been transgressed. Through the shed blood he looked to the future sacrifice, Christ dying on the cross of Calvary; and trusting in the atonement that was there to be made, he had the witness that he was righteous, and his offering accepted.” Conflict and Courage, 24.

  • By contrast, what action did his brother Cain take? Genesis 4:3.

note: “His gift expressed no penitence for sin. He felt, as many now feel, that it would be an acknowledgement of weakness to follow the exact plan marked out by God, of trusting his salvation wholly to the atonement of the promised Saviour. He chose the course of selfdependence. He would come in his own merits. He would not bring the lamb, and mingle its blood with his offering, but would present his fruits, the products of his labor. He presented his offering as a favor done to God, through which he expected to secure the divine approval. Cain obeyed in building an altar, obeyed in bringing a sacrifice, but he rendered only a partial obedience. The essential part, the recognition of the need of a Redeemer, was left out.” Conflict and Courage, 25.

  • What was the essential difference between Cain and Abel? Hebrews 11:4.

note: “Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine mediation, and thus it is not able to bring man into favor with God. It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can be pardoned.…It is claimed by some that the human race is in need, not of redemption, but of development—that it can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. As Cain thought to secure the divine favor by an offering that lacked the blood of a sacrifice, so do these expect to exalt humanity to the divine standard, independent of the atonement. This history of Cain shows what must be the result. It shows what man will become apart from Christ. Humanity has no power to regenerate itself. It does not tend upward, toward the divine, but downward, toward the satanic. Christ is our only hope. ‘There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ ‘Neither is there salvation in any other’ (Acts 4:12).” Conflict and Courage, 25.

“Only Evil Continually”

  • To what state did the human race deteriorate? Genesis 6:5, 11, 12.

note: “In sparing the life of Cain the murderer, God gave the world an example of what would be the result of permitting the sinner to live to continue a course of unbridled iniquity. Through the influence of Cain’s teaching and example, multitudes of his descendants were led into sin, until ‘the wickedness of man was great in the earth’ and ‘every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ ‘The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.’ Genesis 6:5, 11. In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah’s time. In mercy He destroyed the corrupt dwellers in Sodom. Through the deceptive power of Satan the workers of iniquity obtain sympathy and admiration, and are thus constantly leading others to rebellion. It was so in Cain’s and in Noah’s day, and in the time of Abraham and Lot; it is so in our time. It is in mercy to the universe that God will finally destroy the rejecters of His grace.” Great Controversy, 543.

  • In contrast to the prevailing evil, which people continued to live righteous lives? Genesis 5:24; Genesis 6:9.

note: “With the word of God in his hands, every human being, wherever his lot in life may be cast, may have such companionship as he shall choose. In its pages he may hold converse with the noblest and best of the human race, and may listen to the voice of the Eternal as He speaks with men.…He may dwell in this world in the atmosphere of heaven, imparting to earth’s sorrowing and tempted ones thoughts of hope and longings for holiness;…like him of old who walked with God, drawing nearer and nearer the threshold of the eternal world, until the portals shall open, and he shall enter there. He will find himself no stranger. The voices that will greet him are the voices of the holy ones, who, unseen, were on earth his companions—voices that here he learned to distinguish and to love. He who through the word of God has lived in fellowship with heaven, will find himself at home in heaven’s companionship.” Conflict and Courage, 31.

  • Does God take into account the circumstances into which people are born? Psalm 87:6.

note: “Consider Christ’s pity for man. He knows just how they were born. He knows just how they were surrounded in childhood. You don’t know what temptations came with their birth. You don’t know the conditions of their parents. Put away all judgment. Judgment belongs to the Son of God. He is the One who is to judge the world.” The Upward Look, 332.

“By Faith Enoch…”

  • What was the secret of Enoch’s walk with God? Hebrews 11:5, 6.

note: “When we learn to walk by faith and not by feeling, we shall have help from God just when we need it, and His peace will come into our hearts. It was this simple life of obedience and trust that Enoch lived. If we learn this lesson of simple trust, ours may be the testimony that he received, that he pleased God. In every phase of your character building you are to please God. This you may do; for Enoch pleased Him though living in a degenerate age. And there are Enochs in this our day.” Conflict and Courage, 31.

  • What glorious privilege was granted to Enoch? Hebrews 11:5, first part; Genesis 5:24, last part.

note: “Enoch had temptations as well as we. He was surrounded with society no more friendly to righteousness than is that which surrounds us. The atmosphere he breathed was tainted with sin and corruption, the same as ours; yet he lived a life of holiness. He was unsullied with the prevailing sins of the age in which he lived. So may we remain pure and uncorrupted. He was a representative of the saints who live amid the perils and corruptions of the last days. For his faithful obedience to God he was translated. So, also, the faithful, who are alive and remain, will be translated. They will be removed from a sinful and corrupt world to the pure joys of heaven. Our present work is to come out from the world and be separate. This is the only way we can walk with God, as did Enoch.” Conflict and Courage, 29.

“A Preacher Of Righteousness”

  • What was the work of witness that Noah was called to perform? 2 Peter 2:5.

note: “Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened destruction. As the time of Christ’s second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God’s law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God’s moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the authority of His law. Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God’s word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 102.

  • What testimony is given of Noah’s life? Genesis 6:22.

note: “Those who are watching for the Lord, are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to co-operate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. These are the faithful and wise servants who give to the Lord’s household ‘their portion of meat in due season.’ Luke 12:42. They are declaring the truth that is now specially applicable. As Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses each declared the truth for his time, so will Christ’s servants now give the special warning for their generation.” Desire of Ages, 634.

“God Remembered Noah”

  • When the promised destruction engulfed the earth, what are we told concerning Noah? Genesis 8:1. (Compare Isaiah 43:2.)

note: “When the rain descended and the flood came, Noah and his family had entered the ark, and God had shut them in. Noah had faithfully warned the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, while they had mocked and derided him. And as the waters descended upon the earth, and one after another was drowning, they beheld that ark, of which they had made so much sport, riding safely upon the waters, preserving the faithful Noah and His family. So I saw that the people of God, who had faithfully warned the world of His coming wrath, would be delivered. God would not suffer the wicked to destroy those who were expecting translation and who would not bow to the decree of the beast or receive his mark. I saw that if the wicked were permitted to slay the saints, Satan and all his evil host, and all who hate God, would be gratified. And oh, what a triumph it would be for his satanic majesty to have power, in the last closing struggle, over those who had so long waited to behold Him whom they loved! Those who have mocked at the idea of the saints’ going up will witness the care of God for His people and behold their glorious deliverance.” Early Writings, 284.

  • What precious promises will those who walk with God rely on? Psalm 91:9, 10, 14; Psalm 27:5.

note: “God ever commends obedience. For their obedience Enoch was translated to heaven, and Noah was saved from the flood that deluged the earth. ‘Behold,’ writes the psalmist, ‘the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.’ ‘I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.’” Signs of the Times, February 11, 1897.

ISSUES: The Side Issues, Section II

Chapter II – The Side Issue Of Church Authority
Chapter III – The Side Issue Of Christian Unity
Chapter IV – The Side Issue Of Tithes And Offerings

by Dr. Ralph Larson

While awaiting the time for an appointment with the Union presidents of the North American Division, I heard one of the presidents address the others in this manner:

We must find some way to stop Ron Spear, but we can’t do it with theology because there is nothing wrong with his theology.

Two questions occurred to me. If there is nothing wrong with Spear’s theology, why should he be stopped? And if theological questions must be avoided, what methods will be used to stop him?

The first question remains open, but it seems that the second question is now being answered. The Issues tract and book both carefully avoid the real issue of unjustified and unauthorized changes in our church’s theology. After listing five of the alleged changes on page 5 of the tract, the writers continue:

It is not the purpose of this statement to provide a theological rebuttal to the views held by the members of Hope International.

Therein lies the tragedy. The concerns of the historic church members are theological in nature, and they need to be dealt with on the theological level. No other means can be substituted with effective results. Yet that is what is happening. Attempts are being made to advance the side issues of church authority and Christian unity while ignoring the real issue of unauthorized changes in our church’s theology. As admitted by the Union president, there is nothing wrong with our theology. And he is not alone in this opinion. The president of the Pacific Union wrote to me on May 1, 1990:

I despair with you over the fact that so many of our church members are finding it necessary to turn to independent ministries in order to hear basic Adventist teaching.

And on November 16,1988, Elder Charles Bradford, president of the North American Division, wrote to me:

. . . my views on the nature of Christ are almost identical with some that you and others have expressed. I have preached them at large camp meetings around the world.

When a few persons have criticized my writings, I have responded by asking, “Have I said or written anything that is not true? If so, point it out and I will make an immediate correction.” But nothing has been pointed out. The idea seems to be that even if it is true, I should not have written it. I have difficulty with this concept.

The real issue is unauthorized changes in our church’s theology. But since the Issues writers have chosen to place their emphasis on side issues, we will have to consider them.

Chapter II – The Side Issue Of Church Authority

Has God given authority to the church? Of course. Is this authority supported by the Scriptures? Undoubtedly. Is it supported by the Spirit of Prophecy? Beyond question, it is.

No one is questioning the principle of church authority. But can a valid doctrine of church authority be based upon a false theology? Who would answer “Yes” to that question? How could any person, any group of persons, or any church have authority from the God of truth to teach or enforce doctrines that are not true?

False doctrines have no authority, nor can they ever have. A false doctrine, apostasy, cannot apply to itself any promise of God, nor can apostasy claim for itself any right or privilege that God has given to the true church. Let us remember that the church of God is described in Scripture as “the pillar and ground of truth” I Timothy 3: 15.

To describe a church that teaches untruth as a true church is manifestly ridiculous. Our church has been greatly blessed and honored by God because it has steadfastly taught the truth of God, in spite of strong opposition from the world and from other churches. But now, in an eagerness to have acceptance from the world and the worldly churches, some among us are turning from the truth and are embracing doctrines that are not true. Thus, the church is in peril and is in danger of losing the blessing and the power of God.

Contrary to the allegations in Issues, the Historic Adventists are not saying that the church is in apostasy. They are saying that there is apostasy in the church, and that the apostasy is spreading rapidly with no apparent opposition from most church leaders. And to the degree that church leaders condone or support false doctrines, to that degree they lose their authority. When a church member asks, “Why are the doctrines of the church being changed?” it will not suffice to give him a stern lecture on church authority, nor will denials of the changes be effective when the church member is observing the changes in his own house of worship. When truth goes down, authority goes down with it.

It is not possible for church authority to be the central issue in the present discussion. Fullness of truth brings fullness of authority. Therefore, let our leaders set the church’s theology in order and questions of authority will quickly disappear. Our doctrinal book states:

No one has any independent authority apart from Christ and His word.—. SDAs Believe, page 146. And Ellen White writes:

“Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God’s word will be ratified in heaven.”— 7T 263.

“The church. . . must say about sin what God says about it. She must deal with it as God directs, and her action is ratified in heaven.”— DA 806.

This brings us immediately and specifically to the heart of the present problem. In ever widening circles within our church, its spokesmen are emphatically not saying about sin what God says about it. They are saying instead that it will be necessary for us to keep on sinning until Jesus comes, at which time He will miraculously fix us so that we will not sin any more. This is a concept which is forcefully rejected in the Scriptures (Revelation 22: 11- 12), and against which we find more than 40 strong warnings in the Spirit of Prophecy.

When the disciples of Jesus were summoned to appear before the Sanhedrin, they went gladly, anticipating an opportunity to express their convictions about Jesus. They found, however, that the Sanhedrin proposed one question only, Do you submit to our authority? Result— the church was split. When Martin Luther and his companions were summoned to appear before the emperor, they also went gladly, hoping for a discussion of the principles of truth. But they were confronted with the same question, Do you submit to our authority? Result— the church was split.

Today we find ourselves caught up in a similar situation, and we may well reflect about the past. Will our leaders respond to our expressions of concern about unauthorized changes in our church’s theology, or will they simply demand submission to their authority, putting authority above the truth? The question is fraught with great and eternal results. May God save His church.

Chapter III – The Side Issue Of Christian Unity

The same principles that apply to the side issue of authority are also applicable here. The Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy are unmistakably clear in exalting the importance of Christian unity. But Christian unity, like church authority, must be built upon the foundation of truth.

We all believe that unity in the church is precious. It is priceless. Unity was the great burden of the last recorded prayer of Jesus for His disciples (John 17). Unity was what made possible the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Unity was one of the major factors that gave power to the Seventh- day Adventist Church as it emerged from the Millerite Movement.

What is the basis of this precious unity? Paul calls it “the unity of the faith” Ephesians 4: 13. He further describes it as “speaking the truth in love,” verse 15, and indicates that those who have this unity of the faith will not be “carried about with every wind of doctrine” verse 14.

Ellen White describes the search for unity in 1844: We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one In faith and doctrine, for we knew that Christ is not divided.— TM 24. (All emphasis supplied.)

Their prayers were answered. They did become one in faith and doctrine, and they bestowed that legacy of unity upon us. Our church has enjoyed a phenomenal degree of unity throughout most of its history. We who have spent years in soul- winning work have found it an enormous advantage to be able to tell our converts they were uniting with a world- wide church that had a oneness in faith and doctrine over all the earth.

But notice how God has warned us through His messenger that unity must be based upon faith and doctrine:

Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices. The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines. … I urge our brethren to unify upon a true, scriptural basis.— l SM 175. We are to unify, but not on a platform of error.—. Series B, “Freedom in Christ” 47. Our church has not unified upon a platform of error, but upon a platform of truth. Our doctrines have been the foundation of our unity, but if wrong doctrines are introduced, causing the foundation of truth to crumble, we will struggle in vain to preserve our unity. The wise man does not build his house upon the sand.

At various times in the history of Christianity, there have arisen tensions between Christians who had differing views of what constitutes sound doctrines. Instead of meeting this problem on the theological level, church officials have sometimes tried to resolve it on the basis of church authority. This has never been and never will be successful. Ecclesiology must be derived from theology. Theology cannot be derived from ecclesiology, lest it degenerate into ecclesiolatry.

Chapter IV – The Side Issue Of Tithes And Offerings

Again we note that the returning of tithes and offerings to the Lord is the sacred duty of every Christian. God has commanded us to bring the tithe into the storehouse. But only the storehouse of truth can be the storehouse of tithe.

We doubt that anyone would seriously argue that God requires church members to pay tithes and offerings to support the teaching of soul- destroying false doctrines. Let the questions about false doctrines be properly dealt with and the tithe problem will disappear.

It is unfortunate that attempts have been made to show that Ellen White taught that the tithe should only be paid through regular church channels, regardless of the circumstances. These endeavors do not bear up well under investigation. (See booklet The Tithe Problem— Who Is Responsible? available from Steps to Life bookstore.)

In summation of the section, let us point out that neither authority nor unity nor tithe paying can stand alone or upon the foundation of a false theology. None of them can be first and the truth second. Truth must be first and church authority second. Truth must be first and Christian unity second. Truth must be first and tithe paying second. The real issue in our church is truth in conflict with untruth, unauthorized changes in our church’s theology.

The next section: The Pseudo Issues

God’s Sacred Treasure

In 1 Kings 17, an enlightening story is recorded from the life of Elijah. The story took place during the time when the land of Israel was under the curse of God and was not receiving any rain or dew because of their rebellion against the God of heaven.

At the beginning of this three and a half year period, when it did not rain, the Lord sent Elijah to hide by the Brook Cherith to escape the grasp of King Ahab who was seeking for him all over the land. However, eventually, the brook dried up, and God gave Elijah further instructions. Notice: “And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him, Saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.’ ” 1 Kings 17: 7–9.

Elijah was sent out of the land of Israel to one of the most wicked areas of the world. There in Zarephath, Elijah met the widow who was out gathering sticks to make a final meal for herself and her son. Despite her desperate situation, this widow shared what little she had with the prophet, and as a result wonderful things happened. The Bible records: “So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.” 1 Kings 17:15, 16.

And this was not the only blessing she received from the Lord because she willingly gave her all. The story is later told of how her only son died. In her great distress she went to the prophet Elijah and he cried to the Lord and said, “ ‘O, Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?’…Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, ‘See your son lives.’ Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.’ ” 1 Kings 17:20–24.

Notice, God sent His prophet to a woman who was very poor; so poor that she was at the point of starvation. When she granted Elijah’s request for a meal, she showed confidence in the man of God that had come and asked a favor of her. Before she received a favor from God, she had to demonstrate her faith.

Isn’t it interesting that God chose to send His servant to such a poor household to be sustained during this difficult time? I am sure there were plenty of rich people close by who had houses and servants and silver and gold, but God ordained that His servant should be sustained by a poor widow woman. It is an amazing thing, but over and over again I have seen the Lord’s work sustained by the widows and the orphans. Why is this? Is it because God needs the resources of the widows and orphans? No. The money is not important to the Lord. It is the motive of the giver that is important in His eyes.

Ellen White wrote about this in Testimonies, vol. 3, 382: “God could have reached His object in saving sinners without the aid of man. He knew that man could not be happy without acting a part in the great work in which he would be cultivating self-denial and benevolence. That man might not lose the blessed results of benevolence, our Redeemer formed the plan of enlisting him as His co-worker.” God could finish the work without any of our help, but it is His desire that we learn the lesson of benevolence and self-denial so He gives us the blessing of assisting with His work.

“Every good thing of earth was placed here by the bountiful hand of God as an expression of His love to man. The poor are His, and the cause of religion is His. He has placed means in the hands of men, that His divine gifts may flow through human channels in doing the work appointed us in saving our fellow men. Everyone has His appointed work in the great field; and yet none should receive the idea that God is dependent upon man. He could speak the word and every son of poverty would be made rich. In a moment of time He could heal the human race of all their diseases. He might dispense with ministers altogether and make angels the ambassadors of His truth. He might have written the truth upon the firmament, or imprinted it upon the leaves of the trees and upon the flowers of the field; or He might with an audible voice have proclaimed it from heaven. But the all wise God did not choose any of these ways. He knew that man must have something to do in order that life might be a blessing to him. The gold and silver are the Lord’s, and He could rain them from heaven if He chose; but instead of this He has made man His steward, entrusting him with means, not to be hoarded, but to be used in benefiting others. He thus makes man the medium through which to distribute His blessings on earth. God planned the system of beneficence in order that man might become, like his Creator, benevolent and unselfish in character, and finally be a partaker with Him of the eternal, glorious reward.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 472, 473.

In all of God’s dealings with His creatures, His purpose is our sanctification, the development of our characters that we might become like Him in character—unselfish and benevolent. It is His desire that our constant impulse will be to do something to bless someone else. And if we follow His instructions, with humble faith and obedience, the result will be the perfection of our characters. The problem is that so often we are haphazard or lackadaisical and do not follow God’s instructions exactly. Then we do not reap the benefits that He desires to bestow on us.

The Tithing Plan

God has given implicit instructions in regard to our stewardship of both time and money. The fourth commandment deals with time and the tithing plan, taught throughout the Old and New Testaments, giving us instruction about our money.

Tithe is first mentioned in regard to Abraham in Genesis 14. Here the Bible records that Abraham “gave him [Melchizedek] a tithe of all.” So it is clear that Abraham understood the tithing plan.

In Genesis 28 we read concerning the experience of Jacob: “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.’ ” Genesis 28:20–22. Jacob also understood the tithing plan.

The Lord gave Moses very explicit instructions about the use of the tithe. He said, “Behold I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.” Numbers 18:21.

Because the Levities were faithful to God during the golden-calf apostasy, the Lord gave them a special blessing—the responsibility of the care of the sanctuary. Instead of giving them an inheritance of property, in the Promised Land, the Lord instructed that they should be sustained by the tithe.

Paul wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 9:13–14: “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”

The apostle taught that just as the Levites, in the Old Covenant, received the tithes for the work that they did in the sanctuary, those who preach the gospel, in the New Covenant, are to live of the gospel (from the tithe). The Bible clearly tells us how and for what purposes the tithe is to be spent. Through God’s special messenger for the last days the Lord sent even more explicit instructions about where the tithe is and is not to be used. We will look at several important passages.

“The Lord has specified: the tenth of all your possessions is Mine; your gifts and offerings are to be brought into the treasury, to be used to advance My cause, to send the living preacher to open the Scriptures to those who sit in darkness.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 26, 1897.

“ And He says to us, ‘A portion of the money I have enabled you to gain is Mine. Put it into the treasury in tithes, in gifts and offerings, that there may be meat in Mine house,—that there may be something to sustain those who carry the gospel of My grace to the world.’ ” The Review and Herald, May 9, 1893.

“Instruction has been given me that there is a withholding of the tithe that should be faithfully brought into the Lord’s Treasury, for the support of the ministers and missionaries who are opening the Scriptures to the people and working from house to house.” The Review and Herald, April 20, 1905.

“The people today are to remember that the house of worship is God’s property and that it is to be scrupulously cared for. But the funds for this work are not to come from the tithe. The tithe is to be used for one purpose—to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed to do His work.” Echoes from the Field, June 21, 1905.

Ellen White made it clear that these ministers, or workers, could be men or women. When there were some who insisted that minister’s wives should not be paid even though they were working just as effectively as their husbands, she gave this strong rebuke. “There are ministers’ wives…who have been devoted, earnest, whole soul workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions shall be reversed.

“The Word says, ‘The laborer is worthy of his hire.’ When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it my duty to create a fund from my tithe money, to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. I know that the faithful women should be paid wages proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls, and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to educating those newly come to the faith, and hire their own work done, and pay those who work for them. All these things must be adjusted and set in order, and justice be done to all.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 360.

Why We Lack Ministers

Ellen White warned that a great mistake is made when the tithe is withdrawn from the object for which it is to be used and she described the results that have followed. “There is a lack of ministers because ministers have not been encouraged. Some ministers who have been sent to foreign lands, to enter fields never before worked, have been given the instruction, ‘You must sustain yourselves. We have not the means with which to support you.’ This ought not to be if the tithe, with gifts and offerings, was brought into the treasury. When a man enters the ministry, he is to be paid from the tithe enough to sustain his family. He is not to feel that he is a beggar.…The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work.

“The tithe is to be used for the support of the ministry. The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have and there must be means in the treasury.” Echoes from the Field, June 21, 1905.

We are living in strange times. Now, probably more than any previous time in Adventism, this plain instruction is being overlooked and people are spending their tithe for all sorts of projects. And the result is that people that are trained to do Bible work cannot engage in the work full time because they do not receive enough to support their families. Many times I have seen qualified gospel workers spending their days working as computer technicians, nurses or carpenters in order to feed and clothe their families and then trying to work for the Lord in the time that remains. At the same time, we receive calls from people all over the country who are seeking for historic Adventist ministers and Bible workers to serve in their churches. The truth is that there are almost no historic Adventist ministers and the reason can be summarized as follows:

The leaders in the revival and reformation movement in Adventism have often refused to organize home churches. And when the home churches were organized, they were not organized into sisterhoods of churches that could help each other. As a result, only those churches large enough to support a pastor of their own could have pastors at all.

Now, if congregational church government is all you have, and that is all that Seventh-day Adventists had at one time, that, of course, is better than total disorganization, but we have never taught congregational church government. We have always believed in full New Testament church organization where the local churches work together for the common good of the cause of God. And we must face the facts squarely. The work of revival and reformation in Adventism is years behind where it could be if all historic Adventist believers would cease the rebellion against New Testament church organization and learn how to work together to plan more organized outreach and distribution of tithe in harmony with inspired counsel. We have to recognize the sad fact that God’s work is lame because of a lack of New Testament church organization.

Of course, the Lord is able to finish His work whether the work is lame or not. We read in Micah 4:6, 7: “‘In that day,’ says the Lord, ‘I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; so the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.’”

The Lord is able to gather those that are lame, those that are outcasts and have been disfellowshiped from their local churches, into a mighty army to finish His work. The Lord is not dependent on you or me to finish His work. His work will go forward. But the problem is, if we do not follow divine instruction, we will not reap the blessings that God wants us to have. The Lord does not want us to work in a haphazard way. The Lord wants us to come into working order.

The Need for Human Workers

We can spend millions of dollars for all kinds of good projects—radio, television, literature—and I believe in all of these projects, but we will never finish the work with those means alone. The work can only be finished by human workers. That is the way God has ordained it. All of these other methods only plant the seeds, and then human reapers are necessary to gather in the harvest.

A farmer would never spend thousands of dollars to plant a crop which he had no way to harvest. Yet that is what is done in God’s work all the time. People spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to plant seeds when there is no provision to send workers to reap the harvest. And then people wonder why there is so little harvest. One of the reasons is because the tithe is not being used to train and hire reapers to go out and reap the harvest.

Ellen White wrote, “The tithe is the Lord’s, and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go.…The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have, and there must be means in the treasury.” Echoes from the Field, June 21, 1905.

“The light which the Lord has given me on this subject, is that the means in the treasury for the support of the ministers in the different fields is not to be used for any other purpose.” Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, 18. (See also Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 193.)

A Blessing or a Curse

God is able to bless His people when they obey Him, but when they disobey they are under His curse. In the Old Testament, the Lord told His people that they were under a curse because they were not returning the tithe. Notice what it says in Malachi the third chapter. “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.”

God has a specific purpose for the tithe. Hundreds and thousands of laborers are needed, and God has provided for their support if men will simply listen to the divine instructions. “The Lord regards the tithe as His own, to be used for a certain purpose.…” It “should be used only, to sustain the ministers in new fields as well as in other places.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 193.

“Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in any emergency nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 247.

We are not to use the tithe haphazardly or just decide we are going to use it on some missionary project that we see fit. We are to look and see what the divine instruction is and follow it.

We must be careful that we do not use the tithe simply for things like church expense. Ellen White gave much counsel on this. She wrote, “The writers supposed that they were authorized to use the tithe-money in meeting the expenses of the church, as these expenses were quite heavy. From that which has been shown me, the tithe is not to be withdrawn from the treasury. Every penny of this money is the Lord’s own sacred treasure to be appropriated for a special use.” Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, Number 10, 12.

“I have been shown case after case where men are working in the ministry, who are just as deserving of their wages as those who are employed in the publishing houses, are left without sufficient means to support their families.…Let not those to whom are entrusted responsibilities, allow the treasury that God has appointed to sustain the ministers in the field, to be robbed to supply the expenses incurred in keeping in order and making comfortable the house of God..” Special Testimony to the Oakland and Battle Creek Churches, 11.

A Solemn Warning

In another place this startling warning is given.

“When the Lord’s portion which He has reserved as His own in tithes and offerings is used for common purposes while the church is displaying a love of self-indulgence and selfish gratification, the Lord will not, cannot bless churches and will withdraw His spirit from all who serve themselves and dishonor God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 185.

This is one of the most frightful statements in the Spirit of Prophecy about the tithe question. If we take the tithe and we misappropriate it, God will not and He cannot bless our churches and He will withdraw His spirit from them.

Is there any use in even having a church if you do not have God’s spirit there? Of course not, “for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church.” Upward Look, 315. Do you realize, then, just how important it is that tithe be used for its divinely intended purpose?

“Those who have used the tithe money to supply the common necessities of the house of God, have taken the money that should go to sustain ministers in doing His work, in preparing the way for Christ’s second appearing. Just as surely as you do this work, you misapply the resources which God has told you to retain in His treasure house, that it may be full to be used in His service. This work is something of which all who have taken a part in should be ashamed. They have used their influence to withdraw from God’s treasury a fund that is consecrated to a sacred purpose. From those who do this, the blessing of the Lord will be removed.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 183. This is a serious matter. Tithe is sacred and we are not to take it and appropriate it to whatever project we deem best. Tithe is to be used to support the gospel ministry.

There is a desperate need among historic Adventists today for the churches to work together so that the tithe is used to enable gospel laborers to go forward. Because of a lack of New Testament organization, people do not know where to send their tithe, so they send it to this ministry or that ministry or it goes to this or that good project, but it is not distributed to the gospel workers in the field, as we are told, in the Spirit of Prophecy, that it should be. A reform must be made before the end of time. We cannot go into the kingdom the way we are right now because we are not in harmony with divine counsel in regard to tithes and offerings.

There is going to be a people who will follow God’s instruction. Maybe it will be just the poor people like the widow of Zarephath. But there is going to be a people that are going to listen to what God says and determine to follow it exactly, and they will receive a priceless blessing from the Lord. But God is not going to use people to finish His work that are taking His tithe and using it to sue the brethren or for all kinds of projects that He has not ordained. It is time for a reform. The question is, How is it going to be with you when the world closes up? Will you be under God’s blessing or under His curse? Part of that depends on how you spend your money and what you do with God’s tithe.

Financing God’s Last Army

Do you really want Jesus to come soon? Jesus will not return to earth again until the everlasting gospel is preached to the entire world, to every nation, kindred, language and people. (Matthew 24:15; Revelation 14:6,7.) Jesus would not have given the gospel commission if He did not have a plan to accomplish it. This plan is outlined in the Bible, but, because of the feebleness of our comprehension of God’s purposes, He has condescended to outline His plan for a finished work in much more detail in the writings of Ellen G. White.

God Has Devised Methods Of Support For All His Plans

For every plan that God has devised for the finishing of His work, He has devised methods and left instructions about how that plan is to work and how it is to be supported. For example, literature evangelists were to earn their living from the profits of the books that were sold. Physicians and nurses were to be paid from the fees paid to the sanitarium by the patients. Missionary farmers and tradesmen were to receive payment from their crops or the services rendered.

But there was one class of missionary worker that was not to receive their living from the profits of secular labor. That class of workers were those participating in the work of the gospel ministry. This includes more than just those called “ministers.” According to Ellen White the work of the gospel ministry includes the following kinds of workers: “Institutions that are God’s instruments to carry forward His work on the earth must be sustained. Churches must be erected, schools established, and publishing houses furnished with facilities for doing a great work in the publication of the truth to be sent to all parts of the world. These institutions are ordained of God and should be sustained by tithes and liberal offerings.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 464.

“I have had special instruction from the Lord that the tithe is for a special purpose, consecrated to God to sustain those who minister in the sacred work, as the Lord’s chosen to do His work not only in sermonizing, but in ministering. They should understand all that this comprehends.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 187.

It is true that at times the apostle Paul supported himself by a trade to illustrate “in a practical way what might be done by consecrated laymen” (Acts of the Apostles, 355), but this is not actually God’s plan for the support of the ministry for on the next page Ellen White writes: “It is God’s design that such workers shall be freed from unnecessary anxiety, that they may have full opportunity to obey the injunction of Paul to Timothy, ‘Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them.’ 1 Timothy 4:15. While they should be careful to exercise sufficiently to keep mind and body vigorous, yet it is not God’s plan that they should be compelled to spend a large part of their time at secular employment.” Acts of the Apostles, 356.

We Are Responsible For the Use Of Our Tithe

The gospel confers individual responsibility upon each of us. In no case can this personal responsibility be avoided or transferred. If God tells us to spend the tithe for the work of the gospel only, He will not condone our using it for something else. God will not condone our using tithe for the preaching of apostasy or any use other than specified: “There are fearful woes for those who preach the truth, but are not sanctified by it, and also for those who consent to receive and maintain the unsanctified to minister to them in word and doctrine.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 261, 262.

“The churches must arouse. The members must awake out of sleep and begin to inquire, How is the money which we put into the treasury being used? The Lord desires that a close search be made. Are all satisfied with the history of the work for the past fifteen years? Where is the evidence of the co-working with God? Where has been heard throughout the churches the prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit? Dissatisfied and disheartened, we turn away from the scene.” The Kress Collection, 120.

Diversion of Tithe

One of Satan’s major goals is to divert the money that should be coming into the Lord’s treasury and thereby dry up the financial resources to finish God’s work.

“A flattering prospect may be presented to invest in patent rights or some other supposed brilliant enterprise around which Satan throws a bewitching enchantment. The prospect of getting more money, fast and easily, allures them. They reason that, although they had resolved to put this money into the treasury of God, they will use it in this instance, and will greatly increase it, and will then give a larger sum to the cause. They can see no possibility of a failure. Away goes the means out of their hands, and they soon learn, to their regret, that they have made a mistake. The brilliant prospects have faded. Their expectations are not realized. They were deceived. Satan outgeneraled them. He was more shrewd than they, and he managed to get their means into his ranks and thus deprive the cause of God of that which should have been used to sustain it in extending the truth and saving souls for whom Christ died.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 665.

We have a responsibility to be sure that our tithe and gifts to God’s cause are supporting the preaching of the truth and that the devil does not outgeneral us and secure, into the wrong storehouse, those assets that God has placed into our hands.

What is the Storehouse?

In order to ascertain a responsible and appropriate Christian decision about the use of tithe we need to understand what the storehouse is.

Only two storehouses exist in the world: “There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures—in God’s storehouse or in Satan’s, and all that is not devoted to Christ’s service is counted on Satan’s side and goes to strengthen his cause.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 447.

All of our tithes and offerings are to be brought to God’s storehouse: “As did Abraham, they are to pay tithe of all they possess and all they receive. A faithful tithe is the Lord’s portion. To withhold it, is to rob God. Everyone should freely, willingly, and gladly bring tithes and offerings into the storehouse of the Lord. In so doing, he will receive a blessing. There is no safety in withholding from God His own portion.” The Kress Collection, 60.

The word “storehouse” is equivalent to the word “treasury:” (“If all tithes were brought into the storehouse, God’s treasury would not be empty.” Pacific Union Recorder, 10.)

We receive rich gifts from God’s storehouse. Eternal life is a gift which we receive from God’s storehouse and every temporal blessing which we receive is from His storehouse. In gratitude to the great giver and to develop the principle of unselfishness in our hearts, we are then to return, as the Lord has blessed us, to His storehouse: “The Lord Jesus is a never-failing storehouse from which human beings may draw strength and courage.” Faith I Live By, 341. “He to whom God has entrusted gifts, should return to the Lord’s storehouse that which he has received, by freely giving to others the benefit of his blessings.” In Heavenly Places, 221.

We lay up treasures in heaven when we give to God’s storehouse: “Very many might be laying up for themselves treasures in heaven, by keeping the Lord’s storehouse supplied with the portion He claims as His own, and with gifts and offerings.” Messages to Young People, 307.

Where is the Storehouse?

If we are going to send tithes and gifts to God’s storehouse, we need to know where it is. Some think that it is near the Tiber river in Italy. Others think that it is in Maryland and still others think that it is their local church. God’s storehouse is much bigger than any of these places. The reason for confusion is that many, if not most, do not know who and what the church is. Notice the following divine counsel:

“I have myself appropriated my tithe to the most needy cases brought to my notice. I have been instructed to do this; and as the money is not withheld from the Lord’s treasury, [the storehouse], it is not a matter that should be commented upon; for it will necessitate my making known these matters, which I do not desire to do, because it is not best. Some cases have been kept before me for years, and I have supplied their needs from the tithe, as God has instructed me to do. And if any person shall say to me, Sister White, will you appropriate my tithe where you know it is most needed, I shall say, Yes, I will; and I have done so. I commend those sisters who have placed their tithe where it is most needed to help to do a work that is being left undone; and if this matter is given publicity, it will create knowledge which would better be left as it is. I do not care to give publicity to this work which the Lord has appointed me to do, and others to do.” Spaulding Magan, 215.

When Ellen White gave tithe directly to those engaged in gospel work, she said that this money had not been withheld from the Lord’s treasury (storehouse) and then she said that the Lord had not only appointed her to do this but also others. Obviously then the storehouse must include more than one organization or group. In fact the Lord has forbidden that all monies go through one organization: “The different conferences have been led to look to the leading men at Battle Creek, feeling that no important move can be made without their approval. This tendency has been growing stronger, until it is a serious hindrance to the advancement of the work. This arrangement should never have been. The Lord would have His people under His jurisdiction. . . . The arrangement that all moneys must go through Battle Creek and under the control of the few men in that place is a wrong way of managing.” Testimonies to Ministers, 321.

“Do not worry lest some means shall go direct to those who are trying to do missionary work in a quiet and effective way. All the means is not to be handled by one agency or organization. There is much business to be done conscientiously for the cause of God. Help is to be sought from every possible source. There are men who can do the work of securing means for the cause, and when these are acting conscientiously and in harmony with the counsels of their fellow-laborers in the field which they represent, the hand of restraint is not to be laid upon them. They are surely laborers together with Him who gave His life for the salvation of souls.” Spaulding Magan, 421.

Also, in order to understand how to keep our tithe from being diverted, we need to understand what should be done with surplus tithe. Surplus tithe is not to be diverted into other areas of God’s work, other than what He has specified. It is to be sent to pay gospel workers in areas of the world where there is little or no tithe income: “There are missions to be sustained in fields where there are no churches and no tithes, and also where the believers are new and the tithe limited. If you have means that is not needed after settling with your ministers in a liberal manner, send the Lord’s money to these destitute places.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 184.

Special Counsel Concerning Bible Workers

Much discussion has arisen as to whether a person should be eligible to receive tithe if not employed by the conference. This question existed in Ellen White’s day though not to the extent as today since the apostasy had not progressed to the enormous extent it has today. Ellen White did comment on this issue, however: “There are minister’s wives, Sisters Starr, Haskell, Wilson and Robinson, who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive their wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions shall be reversed. The Word says, ‘The laborer is worthy of his hire.’ When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it in my duty to create a fund from my tithe money, to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. I know that the faithful women should be paid wages proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls, and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to educating those newly come to the faith, and hire their own work done, and pay those who work for them. All these things must be adjusted and set in order, and justice be done to all. Proof-readers in the office receive their wages, two dollars and a half and three dollars a week. this I have had to pay, and others have to pay. But ministers’ wives, who carry a tremendous responsibility, devoting their entire time, have nothing for their labor. This will give you an idea of how matters are in this conference. There are seventy-five souls organized into a church, who are paying their tithe into the conference, and as a saving plan it has been deemed essential to let these poor souls labor for nothing! But this does not trouble me, for I will not allow it to go thus.” Spaulding Magan, 117.

Obviously this same counsel would apply to full-time Bible workers today. Very few young people have trained themselves for Bible work. They have been told that there are no job openings (no tithe money) available for this! The entire time that I taught at Southwestern Adventist college, which was over seven years, I only met one person who was training to become a Bible worker! The result is that in this crisis hour when we should have thousands of young people trained and ready to go throughout Europe, Russia and China and other continents, we look about, and alas, there is a dearth of trained Bible workers all over the world. This fact alone, if you had no other information of God’s counsels for medical or publishing or ministerial work, is proof of a gigantic apostasy in Adventism today.

A truly Christian education is at the very foundation of God’s plans to finish His work. Every Christian is to have a part in finishing God’s work. God designed for us to educate not only ministers and Bible workers but physicians, literature evangelists, nurses and teachers and many other skilled persons to finish the gospel commission.

Special Need for Bible Workers

It is God’s will that we prepare thousands to do Bible work. (Testimonies, vol. 9, 126.) “In every school that God has established there will be, as never before, demand for Bible instruction.” Evangelism, 474. What is this Bible instruction to accomplish? The next sentence says, “Our students are to be educated to become Bible workers.” “In every city there should be a corps of organized, well-disciplined workers; not merely one or two, but scores should be set to work.” Christian Stewardship, 72.

This work will require money. “It almost seems as if scarcely anyone dares ask a worker to go into the cities, because of the means that would be required to carry on a strong, solid work. It is true that much means will be required in order to do our duty toward the unwarned in these places; and God desires us to lift our voices and our influence in favor of using means wisely in this special line of effort.” Evangelism, 42.

If We Fail, God’s Plan Will Succeed Through Others

If none of us feel a responsibility to fill the gap and become trained in Bible work and then help to train others, the Lord will pass us by and finish His work with others. He may use “children” as in the triumphal entry into Jerusalem or the rocks may cry out, but if that happens we will lose the blessing God wanted us to have and in the process we might lose our souls, also. If we do not feel a responsibility for all of our tithe to support the giving of the Three Angels’ Messages, God can at any time find other intelligences and other money or sources of support to finish His work, but we will be the losers. If we support apostasy with our tithe and offerings we are not hastening the Lord’s coming by getting the last message to all the world—rather we are delaying His coming and in dire danger of being accounted as an evil servant at the end. (Matthew 24:44-51).

The time will soon come when God will finish His work in a way completely different than we expect. If we oppose what God is doing because it differs from our expectations of how the work should be conducted, we will be found fighting God and will lose our souls just as surely as the unbelieving Jews. Notice the following prophecies:

“Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.” Testimonies to Ministers, 300.

Note to Home churches: Since the goal of all historic Adventists should be to see the final message given to the world, it is vitally important that home churches be organized so that they can use their finances to further the great commission by hiring Bible Workers or involving themselves in other types of evangelism.

If you would like more information about how to arrange financial matters in your church, call Steps to Life and we will be happy to send you a free information sheet to help you get started.

Bible Study Guides – “The Offering of the Body of Jesus”

October 29- November 4, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:2.

STUDY HELP: Our High Calling, 47.

INTRODUCTION: “Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. To many it has been a mystery why so many sacrificial offerings were required in the old dispensation, why so many bleeding victims were led to the altar. But the great truth that was to be kept before men, and imprinted upon mind and heart, was this, ‘Without shedding of blood is no remission.’ Hebrews 9:22. In every bleeding sacrifice was typified ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29.” Our High Calling, 47.

“The Lamb of God”

1 What quality was to distinguish the creature chosen for a burnt offering? Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 1:2, 3.

NOTE: The words “without blemish” are applied to the sacrifices 17 times in Leviticus.

“Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be ‘without blemish.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 352.

2 How did Peter link the sacrifices of the sanctuary with Christ? 1 Peter 1:18, 19.

NOTE: “Only an offering ‘without blemish’ could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as ‘a lamb without blemish and without spot.’ 1 Peter 1:19.Patriarchs and Prophets, 352.

“In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses’ (Matthew 8:17). He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He knew no sin. He was the Lamb ‘without blemish and without spot’ (1 Peter 1:19). Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour’s head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 256.

3 What further lesson may we draw from contemplating Christ as the sacrificial lamb? Romans 12:1.

NOTE: “God requires the body to be rendered a living sacrifice to Him, not a dead or a dying sacrifice. The offerings of the ancient Hebrews were to be without blemish, and will it be pleasing to God to accept a human offering that is filled with disease and corruption? He tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; and He requires us to take care of this temple, that it may be a fit habitation for His Spirit. The apostle Paul gives us this admonition: ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] All should be very careful to preserve the body in the best condition of health, that they may render to God perfect service, and do their duty in the family and in society. It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the Ten Commandments. To do either is to break God’s laws. Those who transgress the law of God in their physical organism, will be inclined to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 52, 53.

“The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World”

4 What must the sinner do with the offering he had brought for his sin? Leviticus 4:32, 33.

NOTE: “In the innocent offering slain by his own hand he beheld the fruits of sin—the death of the Son of God in his behalf. He sees the immutable character of the law he has transgressed, and confesses his sin; he relies upon the merits of the Lamb of God.” That I May Know Him, 17.

5 How did Isaiah teach this vital truth? Isaiah 53:4–7.

NOTE: “The sins of the people were transferred in figure to the officiating priest, who was a mediator for the people. The priest could not himself become an offering for sin, and make an atonement with his life, for he was also a sinner. Therefore, instead of suffering death himself, he killed a lamb without blemish; the penalty of sin was transferred to the innocent beast, which thus became his immediate substitute, and typified the perfect offering of Jesus Christ. Through the blood of this victim, man looked forward by faith to the blood of Christ which would atone for the sins of the world.” Signs of the Times, March 14, 1878.

“He Shall Confess that He Hath Sinned”

6 In addition to bringing his sacrifice, what also was essential for the sinner? Leviticus 5:5, 6.

NOTE: “The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest.… Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary.” The Faith I Live By, 198.

7 What precious assurance is conditional upon a full and frank confession of our sins? Psalm 32:5.

NOTE: “Satan had represented the chosen and loyal people of God as being full of defilement and sin. He could depict the particular sins of which they had been guilty. Had he not set the whole confederacy of evil at work to lead them, through his seductive arts, into these very sins? But they had repented, they had accepted the righteousness of Christ. They were therefore standing before God clothed with the garments of Christ’s righteousness, and ‘He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment.’ Every sin of which they had been guilty was forgiven, and they stood before God as chosen and true, as innocent, as perfect, as though they had never sinned.” Review and Herald, August 29, 1893.

“The Lord Hath Laid on Him the Iniquity of Us All”

8 To whom is the guilt of the repentant sinner transferred? 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 421.

9 What was done with the blood of the sin offering? Leviticus 4:30, 17.

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 418.

10 When was the sanctuary finally cleansed from the guilt of those sins freely confessed and repented? Leviticus 16:1–19, 29–33. (Note verses 19, 30 and 33.)

NOTE: See The Great Controversy, 418, 419.

“Worthy is the Lamb That Was Slain”

11 How did John in vision see Jesus? Revelation 5:6.

NOTE: “Christ is our Mediator and officiating High Priest in the presence of the Father. He was shown to John as a Lamb that had been slain, as in the very act of pouring out His blood in the sinner’s behalf. When the law of God is set before the sinner, showing him the depth of his sins, he should then be pointed to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He should be taught repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus will the labor of Christ’s representative be in harmony with His work in the heavenly sanctuary.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 395.

12 In what way did Christ desire that we should remember today His blood shed for us? 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 652, 653.

Bible Study Guides – A Test of Loyalty and Devotion—Holding the Ropes

March 5, 2006 – March 11, 2006

Key Text

“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 408–413.


“All who have borne with Jesus the cross of sacrifice will be sharers with Him of His glory. It was the joy of Christ in His humiliation and pain that His disciples should be glorified with Him. They are the fruit of His self-sacrifice. The outworking in them of His own character and spirit is His reward, and will be His joy throughout eternity. This joy they share with Him as the fruit of their labor and sacrifice is seen in other hearts and lives. They are workers together with Christ, and the Father will honor them as He honors His Son.” The Desire of Ages, 624.

1 What test did the Lord provide to prove the loyalty of our first parents? Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:3.

note: “At the very beginning of man’s existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan’s fall. The tree of knowledge, which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our first parents. While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they were forbidden to taste of this, on pain of death. They were also to be exposed to the temptations of Satan; but if they endured the trial, they would finally be placed beyond his power, to enjoy perpetual favor with God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 48, 49.

2 How was Joseph tested, that he might be fitted for heavy responsibilities? Genesis 37:28; 39:20; 41:41–45.

note: “Joseph regarded his being sold into Egypt as the greatest calamity that could have befallen him; but he saw the necessity of trusting in God as he had never done when protected by his father’s love.” Sons and Daughters of God, 320.

“Joseph [was] subject to the temptations that attend great changes of fortune. In his father’s home a tenderly cherished child; in the house of Potiphar a slave, then a confidant and companion; a man of affairs, educated by study, observation, contact with men; in Pharaoh’s dungeon a prisoner of state, condemned unjustly, without hope of vindication or prospect of release; called at a great crisis to the leadership of the nation.” Education, 51.

“The love and fear of God kept Joseph pure and untarnished in the king’s court. He was exalted to great wealth, to the high honor of being next to the king; and this elevation was as sudden as it was great.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 544.

3 What test came into the life of Moses? What great decision was made? Hebrews 11:23–26.

note: “At the court of Pharaoh, Moses received the highest civil and military training. The monarch had determined to make his adopted grandson his successor on the throne, and the youth was educated for his high station. . . . His ability as a military leader made him a favorite with the armies of Egypt, and he was generally regarded as a remarkable character. . . .

“By the laws of Egypt all who occupied the throne of the Pharaohs must become members of the priestly caste; and Moses, as the heir apparent, was to be initiated into the mysteries of the national religion. This duty was committed to the priests. But while he was an ardent and untiring student, he could not be induced to participate in the worship of the gods. He was threatened with the loss of the crown, and warned that he would be disowned by the princess should he persist in his adherence to the Hebrew faith. But he was unshaken in his determination to render homage to none save the one God, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 245.

4 What task has been assigned to the church of Christ in these last days? Mark 16:15. For the accomplishment of this work, what did the Saviour teach would be necessary? Luke 5:8–11; 18:22, 23.

note: “How many have come to Christ, ready to cast their interests in with his, and, like the rich young ruler, earnestly desiring to inherit eternal life! But when the cost is presented to them,—when they are told that they must forsake all, houses and lands, wife and children, and count not their lives dear unto themselves,—they go away sorrowful. They want the treasures of heaven, and the life that measures with the life of God, but they are not willing to give up their earthly treasures. They are not willing to surrender all to obtain the crown of life.” Review and Herald, April 19, 1898.

5 How did the apostolic church carry out the principle of liberality in the spreading of the gospel message? Acts 4:31–37.

note: “This liberality on the part of the believers was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The converts to the gospel were ‘of one heart and of one soul.’ [Acts 4:32.] One common interest controlled them—the success of the mission entrusted to them; and covetousness had no place in their lives. Their love for their brethren and the cause they had espoused, was greater than their love of money and possessions. Their works testified that they accounted the souls of men of higher value than earthly wealth.” The Acts of the Apostles, 70, 71.

6 What is one of the outstanding dangers to the followers of Christ? What admonition has He given? Luke 12:15, 33. What, rather, ought His people to seek? Where will their hearts be centered? Verses 31, 34. What will God do for those whose hearts are fully surrendered to Him? Verse 32.

note: “One marked feature in the teachings of Christ is the frequency and earnestness with which He rebuked the sin of covetousness and pointed out the danger of worldly acquisitions and inordinate love of gain. In the mansions of the rich, in the temple and in the streets, He warned those who inquired after salvation: ‘Take heed, and beware of covetousness.’ ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ [Luke 12:15; Matthew 6:24.]

“It is this increasing devotion to money getting, the selfishness which the desire for gain begets, that removes the favor of God from the church and deadens its spirituality.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 82.

“Christ points out the way in which those who have wealth, and yet are not rich toward God, may secure the true riches. He says: ‘Sell that ye have and give alms’ [Luke 12:33]; and lay up treasure in heaven. The remedy He proposes is a transfer of their affections to the eternal inheritance. By investing their means in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, and by relieving the needy, they become rich in good works, and are ‘laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.’ [1 Timothy 6:19.] This will prove a safe investment.” Counsels on Stewardship, 151.

7 In making our choice for Christ and His service, what should be considered? Luke 14:26, 27. What two illustrations does the Saviour use to enforce the lesson? Verses 28–32. What conclusion is drawn? Verse 33.

note: “To us as well as to the disciples, Christ has given the work of carrying the truth to the world. But before engaging in this great and aggressive warfare, upon which eternal results depend, Christ invites all to count the cost. He assures them that if they take hold of the work with undivided hearts, giving themselves as light-bearers to the world, if they will take hold of His strength, they will make peace with him, and obtain supernatural assistance that will enable them in their weakness to do the deeds of Omnipotence. If they go forward with faith in God, they will not fail nor become discouraged, but will have the assurance of infallible success.” Review and Herald, March 15, 1898.

8 What is the basic principle on which God expects us to give for the extension of His cause? Luke 12:48; Matthew 10:8, last clause.

note: “As our blessings and privileges are increased—above all, as we have before us the unparalleled sacrifice of the glorious Son of God—should not our gratitude find expression in more abundant gifts to extend to others the message of salvation? The work of the gospel, as it widens, requires greater provision to sustain it than was called for anciently; and this makes the law of tithes and offerings of even more urgent necessity now than under the Hebrew economy. If His people were liberally to sustain His cause by their voluntary gifts, instead of resorting to unchristian and unhallowed methods to fill the treasury, God would be honored, and many more souls would be won to Christ.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 528, 529.

9 What is the divine standard for individual giving? 1 Corinthians 16:2.

note: “Not only does the Lord claim the tithe as His own, but He tells us how it should be reserved for Him. He says, ‘Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.’ [Proverbs 3:9.] This does not teach that we are to spend our means on ourselves and bring to the Lord the remnant, even though it should be otherwise an honest tithe. Let God’s portion be first set apart. The directions given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul in regard to gifts present a principle that applies also to tithing.” The Adventist Home, 389.

10 Lest we should at any time forget the world’s need, what are we urged to do? John 4:35; Luke 10:2.

note: “We see the great need of missionary work to carry the truth not only to foreign countries, but to those who are near us. Close around us are cities and towns in which no efforts are made to save souls. Why should not families who know the present truth settle in these cities and villages, to set up there the standard of Christ, working in humility, not in their own way, but in God’s way, to bring the light before those who have no knowledge of it?” Christian Service, 180.

“Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters, and enter the fields in America that have never been worked. After you have given something for foreign fields, do not think your duty done. There is a work to be done in foreign fields, but there is a work to be done in America that is just as important. In the cities of America there are people of almost every language. These need the light that God has given to His church.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 36.

11 What will our vision of the harvest field and our prayers for workers lead us to do? Acts 16:9, 10.

note: “The Macedonian cry is coming from every quarter. Shall men go to the ‘regular lines’ to see whether they will be permitted to labor, or shall they go out and work as best they can, depending on their own abilities and on the help of the Lord, beginning in a humble way and creating an interest in the truth in places in which nothing has been done to give the warning message?

“The Lord has encouraged those who have started out on their own responsibility to work for Him, their hearts filled with love for souls ready to perish. A true missionary spirit will be imparted to those who seek earnestly to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. The Lord lives and reigns. Young men, go forth into the places to which you are directed by the Spirit of the Lord. Work with your hands, that you may be self-supporting, and as you have opportunity proclaim the message of warning.—Letter 60, 1901.” Medical Ministry, 321, 322.

12 What is required of all stewards, whether entrusted with worldly goods or with positions of responsibility in service? 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2.

note: “The Lord designs that the means entrusted to us shall be used in building up His kingdom. His goods are committed to His stewards that they may be carefully traded upon and bring back a revenue to Him in the saving of souls unto eternal life. And these souls in their turn will become stewards of the truth, to co-operate with the great firm in the interests of the kingdom of God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 448.

“If there was ever a time when sacrifices should be made, it is now. Those who have money should understand that now is the time to use it for God.” Ibid., 450.

Bible Study Guides – Gratitude Appreciated, Part II

June 4, 2006 – June 10, 2006

Key Text

“Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:12, 13.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 750–753.


“The house where God is worshiped should be in accordance with His character and majesty. There are small churches that ever will be small because they place their own interests above the interests of God’s cause. While they have large, convenient houses for themselves, and are constantly improving their premises, they are content to have a most unsuitable place for the worship of God, where His holy presence is to dwell. They wonder that Joseph and Mary were obliged to find shelter in a stable, and that there the Saviour was born; but they are willing to expend upon themselves a large part of their means, while the house of worship is shamefully neglected. How often they say: ‘The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’ [Haggai 1:2.] But the word of the Lord to them is: ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?’ [Verse 4.]

“The house where Jesus is to meet with His people should be neat and attractive. If there are but few believers in a place, put up a neat but humble house, and by dedicating it to God invite Jesus to come as your guest. How does He look upon His people when they have every convenience that heart could wish, but are willing to meet for His worship in a barn, some miserable, out-of-the-way building, or some cheap, forsaken apartment? You work for your friends, you expend means to make everything around them as attractive as possible; but Jesus, the One who gave everything for you, even His precious life,—He who is the Majesty of heaven, the King of kings and Lord of lords,—is favored with a place on earth but little better than the stable which was His first home. Shall we not look at these things as God looks at them? Shall we not test our motives and see what kind of faith we possess?

“ ‘God loveth a cheerful giver,’ [11 Corinthians 9:7] and those who love Him will give freely and cheerfully when by so doing they can advance His cause and promote His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 268, 269.

“The glory of the first temple, the splendor of its service, could not recommend them [the Israelites] to God; for that which is alone of value in His sight, they did not offer. They did not bring Him the sacrifice of a humble and contrite spirit.” Prophets and Kings, 565.

1 With what reception did David meet when he went to make his sacrifice, the atonement for his sin against God of following customs of the surrounding heathen nations? 11 Samuel 24:20–23.

note: “The threshing-floor of Araunah is offered him freely, where to build an altar unto the Lord; also cattle, and everything needful for the sacrifice.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

2 How did David respond to Araunah’s offer? 11 Samuel 24:24.

note: “David tells him who would make this generous offering, that the Lord will accept the sacrifice which he is willing to make, but that he would not come before the Lord with an offering which cost him nothing. He would buy it of him for full price. He offered there burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

3 How did God accept David’s offering? 11 Samuel 24:25.

note: “God accepted the offerings by answering David in sending fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. The angel of the Lord was commanded to put his sword into his sheath, and cease his work of destruction.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 386.

4 What important lesson may be drawn from David’s experience? Consider Mark 12:41–44; Acts 5:1–5.

note: “If all were devoted to God, a precious light would shine forth from them, which would have a direct influence upon all who are brought in contact with them. But all need a work done for them. Some are far from God, variable and unstable as water. Some have no idea of sacrifice. When they desire any pleasure, or any article of dress, or any special indulgence, they do not consider whether they can do without the article, or deny themselves of the pleasure, and make a freewill offering to God. How many have considered that they were required to make some sacrifice? Although it may be of less value than that of the wealthy man in possession of his thousands, yet that which really costs self-denial would be a precious sacrifice, and an offering to God. . . .

“Your stinted offerings are brought to God almost unwillingly, while in self-gratification means are spent lavishly. How much of the wages earned finds its way into the treasury of God to aid in the advancement of his work in saving souls? They [the youth] give a mite each week, and feel that they do much. But they have no sense that they are each stewards of God over their little, as are the wealthy over their larger possession. God has been robbed, and themselves indulged, their pleasures consulted, their tastes gratified, without a thought that God would make close investigation of how they have used their Lord’s goods. While they unhesitatingly gratify their supposed wants (which are not wants in reality), and withhold from God the offering they ought to make, he will no more accept the little pittance they hand in to the treasury than he accepted the offering of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who purposed to rob God in their offerings.” Review and Herald, August 10, 1886.

5 What did David do after he was forbidden to build the temple? 1 Chronicles 29:1–3.

note: “The first temple had been erected during the most prosperous period of Israel’s history. Vast stores of treasure for this purpose had been collected by King David, and the plans for its construction were made by divine inspiration. 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19. Solomon, the wisest of Israel’s monarchs, had completed the work. This temple was the most magnificent building which the world ever saw.” The Great Controversy, 23.

6 What did King David ask of the others? 1 Chronicles 29:5, last part.

note: “David’s exhortation to Solomon, and his appeal to the burden-bearers of the nation, should be kept in mind by those who are in positions of trust in the Lord’s cause today. In this our day God’s people will prosper only so long as they keep His precepts; and those who bear responsibilities are called upon to consecrate their service to the Lord. . . . Laborers in the field at home and abroad,—all are to render faithful service by using their talents wholly for God. The Lord is not pleased with half-hearted service. To Him we owe all that we have and are.” Review and Herald, September 14, 1905.

7 What effect did David’s call for consecrated service have on the leading men in Israel? How did the people show their interest? 1 Chronicles 29:6–8.

note: “With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in after years should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions into the treasury.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 752, 753.

“The liberality of the Jews in the construction of the tabernacle and the erection of the temple illustrates a spirit of benevolence which has not been equaled by Christians of any later date. They had just been freed from their long bondage in Egypt and were wanderers in the wilderness; yet scarcely were they delivered from the armies of the Egyptians who pursued them in their hasty journey, when the word of the Lord came to Moses, saying: ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering.’ [Exodus 25:2.]

“His people had small possessions and no flattering prospect of adding to them; but an object was before them—to build a tabernacle for God. The Lord had spoken, and they must obey His voice. They withheld nothing. All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord, and pleased Him by so doing. Was it not all His? Had He not given them all they possessed? If He called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the Lender His own?

“No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required, and were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated. Again, in building the temple, the call for means met with a hearty response. The people did not give reluctantly. They rejoiced in the prospect of a building being erected for the worship of God, and donated more than enough for the purpose.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 77, 78.

8 How were the people affected by their actions? 1 Chronicles 29:9.

note: “David well understood from whom came all his bounties. Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love could realize that their silver and gold are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to enrich and gratify themselves. He has an indisputable right to all that He has lent His creatures. All that they possess is His.

“There are high and holy objects that require means, and money thus invested will yield to the giver more elevated and permanent enjoyment than if it were expended in personal gratification or selfishly hoarded for greed of gain. When God calls for our treasure, whatever the amount may be, the willing response makes the gift a consecrated offering to Him and lays up for the giver a treasure in heaven that moth cannot corrupt, that fire cannot consume, nor thieves break in and steal. The investment is safe. The money is placed in bags that have no holes; it is secure.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 78, 79.

9 Whom did David acknowledge as the real owner of all the gifts that they had made? 1 Chronicles 29:14–16.

note: “David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah and devoted themselves to His service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to His people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was He who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and His Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if His love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king’s efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.

10 What was the design of God’s providence in bringing about circumstances where means were required of the people to build God’s house? 1 Chronicles 29:17.

note: “All that man receives of God’s bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them—to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.’ [1 Chronicles 29:14.]” Patriarchs and Prophets, 753.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Promises, Part II

July 16, 2006 – July 22, 2006

Key Text

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

Study Help: Counsels on Health, 16–18.


“In Satan’s temptations it is his purpose to make the world very attractive. Through love of riches and worldly honor he has a bewitching power to gain the affections of even the professed Christian world. A large class of professedly Christian men will make any sacrifice to gain riches, and the better they succeed in their object the less love they have for precious truth and the less interest for its advancement. They lose their love for God and act like insane men. The more they are prospered in securing riches the poorer they feel because they have no more, and the less will they invest in the cause of God.

“The works of those men who have an insane love for riches show that it is not possible for them to serve two masters, God and mammon. Money is their god. They yield homage to its power. They serve the world to all intents and purposes. Their honor, which is their birthright, is sacrificed for worldly gain. This ruling power controls their minds, and they will violate the law of God to serve personal interests, to increase their earthly treasure.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 478, 479.

1 To what extent was the church of Macedonia liberal in their giving to support the work of the apostles? 11 Corinthians 8:1–3.

note: “Nearly all the Macedonian believers were poor in this world’s goods, but their hearts were overflowing with love for God and His truth, and they gladly gave for the support of the gospel. When general collections were taken up in the Gentile churches for the relief of the Jewish believers, the liberality of the converts in Macedonia was held up as an example to other churches.” The Acts of the Apostles, 343.

“There is a lesson for us in the experience of the churches of Macedonia, as described by Paul. He says that they ‘first gave their own selves to the Lord.’ [11 Corinthians 8:5.] Then they were eager to give their means for Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 734.

2 How does God regard such sacrifices? Philippians 4:19.

note: “Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God, and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 395.

3 In what manner can we lend to the Lord with the assurance that he will repay? Proverbs 19:17.

note: “[Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 41:1, 2; Proverbs 19:17 quoted.] He who makes this investment lays up double treasure. Besides that which, however wisely improved, he must leave at last, he is amassing wealth for eternity,—that treasure of character which is the most valuable possession of earth or heaven.” Education, 141.

“The piety and advanced spiritual knowledge and growth of a church is proportionate to the zeal, piety, and missionary intelligence that has been brought into it, and carried out of it to be a blessing to the very ones who need our assistance the most. Again I [Ellen White] urge you to consider Isaiah 58, which opens a wide and extensive vineyard to be worked upon the lines which the Lord has pointed out. When this is done there will be an increase of moral sources and the church will no more remain almost stationary. There will be blessing and power attending their labor. The selfishness that has bound up their souls they have overcome, and now their light is being given to the world in clear, bright rays of a living faith and godly example. The Lord has His promises for all who will do His requirements. [Psalm 41:1–3; 37:3; Proverbs 3:9, 10; 11:24, 25; 19:17; Isaiah 58: 10, 11 quoted.]

“The Word of God is full of precious promises, as the above (MS 14a, 1897).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, 1148.

4 What special promise does the Lord make to those who consider the poor? Psalm 41:1–3.

note: “There is sweet peace for the compassionate spirit, a blessed satisfaction in the life of self-forgetful service for the good of others. The Holy Spirit that abides in the soul and is manifest in the life will soften hard hearts and awaken sympathy and tenderness. You will reap that which you sow. . . . [Psalm 41:1–3 quoted.]

“He who has given his life to God in ministry to His children is linked with Him who has all the resources of the universe at His command. His life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises with the life of God. The Lord will not fail him in the hour of suffering and need. ‘My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:19. And in the hour of final need the merciful shall find refuge in the mercy of the compassionate Saviour and shall be received into everlasting habitations.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 23, 24.

5 To whom should we not give? Proverbs 22:16.

note: “These are principles [numerous texts from Proverbs previously quoted] with which are bound up the well-being of society, of both secular and religious associations. It is these principles that give security to property and life. For all that makes confidence and co-operation possible, the world is indebted to the law of God, as given in His word, and as still traced, in lines often obscure and well-nigh obliterated, in the hearts of men.

“The psalmist’s words, ‘The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver’ (Psalm 119:72), state that which is true from other than a religious point of view. They state an absolute truth and one that is recognized in the business world. Even in this age of passion for money getting, when competition is so sharp and methods are so unscrupulous, it is still widely acknowledged that, for a young man starting in life, integrity, diligence, temperance, purity, and thrift constitute a better capital than any amount of mere money.

“Yet even of those who appreciate the value of these qualities and acknowledge the Bible as their source, there are but few who recognize the principle upon which they depend.

“That which lies at the foundation of business integrity and of true success is the recognition of God’s ownership. The Creator of all things, He is the original proprietor. We are His stewards. All that we have is a trust from Him, to be used according to His direction.” Education, 137.

6 What words of Christ did the apostle’s life exemplify? Acts 20:34, 35.

note: “Paul sometimes worked night and day, not only for his own support, but that he might assist his fellow laborers. He shared his earnings with Luke, and he helped Timothy. He even suffered hunger at times, that he might relieve the necessities of others. His was an unselfish life. Toward the close of his ministry, on the occasion of his farewell talk to the elders of Ephesus, at Miletus, he could lift up before them his toilworn hands . . . .” The Acts of the Apostles, 352.

7 What is the effect of the love of money? 1 Timothy 6:10.

note: “In no way could the Lord be better glorified and the truth more highly honored than for unbelievers to see that the truth has wrought a great and good work upon the lives of naturally covetous and penurious men. If it could be seen that the faith of such had an influence to mold their characters, to change them from close, selfish, overreaching, money-loving men to men who love to do good, who seek opportunities to use their means to bless those who need to be blessed, who visit the widow and fatherless in their affliction, and who keep themselves unspotted from the world, it would be an evidence that their religion was genuine. Such would let their light so shine that others seeing their good works would be led to glorify their Father which is in heaven. This fruit would be unto holiness, and they would be living representatives of Christ upon the earth. Sinners would be convicted that there is in the truth a power to which they are strangers. Those who profess to be waiting and watching for the appearing of their Lord should not disgrace their profession by bantering in deal and standing for the last penny. Such fruit does not grow upon the Christian tree.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 239.

8 With what challenge do the rich contend? Matthew 19:24.

note: “A rich man, as such, cannot enter heaven. His wealth gives him no title to the inheritance of the saints in light. It is only through the unmerited grace of Christ that any man can find entrance into the city of God.

“To the rich no less than to the poor are the words of the Holy Spirit spoken, ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. When men believe this, their possessions will be held as a trust, to be used as God shall direct, for the saving of the lost, and the comfort of the suffering and the poor. With man this is impossible, for the heart clings to its earthly treasure. The soul that is bound in service to mammon is deaf to the cry of human need. But with God all things are possible. By beholding the matchless love of Christ, the selfish heart will be melted and subdued. The rich man will be led, as was Saul the Pharisee, to say, ‘What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Philippians 3:7, 8. Then they will not count anything their own. They will joy to regard themselves as stewards of the manifold grace of God, and for His sake servants of all men.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 394, 395.

9 To what are riches compared? Proverbs 23:5.

note: “The word of God has much to say in regard to sacrificing. Riches are from the Lord and belong to Him. ‘Both riches and honor come of Thee.’ ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.’ ‘For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.’ ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.’ [1 Chronicles 29:12; Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:10; 24:1.] It is the Lord thy God that giveth thee power to get wealth.

“Riches are in themselves transient and unsatisfying. We are warned not to trust in uncertain riches. ‘Riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away.’ ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.’ [Proverbs 23:5; Matthew 6:19.]

“Riches bring no relief in man’s greatest distress. . . .

“What provision, Brother P, have you made for eternal life? Have you a good foundation against the time to come, that will secure to yourself eternal joys? Oh, may God arouse you! May you, my dear brother, now, just now, commence to work in earnest to get some of your gain and riches into the treasury of God. Not a dollar of it is yours. All is God’s, and you have claimed for your own that which God has lent you to devote to good works. Your time is very short. Work with all your might. By repentance you may now find pardon. You must loosen your grasp of earthly possessions and fasten your affections upon God. You must be a converted man. Agonize with God. Do not be content to perish forever, but make an effort for salvation before it shall be everlastingly too late.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 549.

10 In view of these things, what is true wisdom for the child of God? 1 Timothy 6:8; Proverbs 30:8, 9.

note: “Let not the poor think that the rich are the only covetous ones. While the rich hold what they have with a covetous grasp, and seek to obtain still more, the poor are in great danger of coveting the rich man’s wealth. There are very few in our land of plenty who are really so poor as to need help. If they would pursue a right course, they could in almost every case be above want. My appeal to the rich is, Deal liberally with your poor brethren, and use your means to advance the cause of God. The worthy poor, those who are made poor by misfortune and sickness, deserve your special care and help. ‘Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.’ [1 Peter 3:8.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 481.

The Pen of Inspiration – Tithes and Offerings

I have been shown that many are robbing the Lord in tithes, and as the result His work is being hindered.

God’s Forebearance

How can the beneficent Father continue to make us His stewards, if we grasp all that is placed in our care, selfishly claiming it as our own? All that we have comes from God. He gives to us, that we may be His helping hand to bless others. He requires that we return to Him the tithe. He says it is holy unto the Lord.

God will bear long. He will test and prove all; but the curse will surely follow the selfish transgressor. God knows the heart. Every thought and every purpose is open to His eye. He says, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] He knows whom to bless, and who deserves the curse. He makes no mistakes. Angels are keeping a record of all our works. When we rob God of the tithe, we also rob ourselves: for we lose the heavenly treasure. We deprive ourselves of the blessing of God, which is promised to those who deal honestly with Him. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” [Proverbs 11:24.] God’s ministers should not fail to warn the people, showing from the Bible the result of withholding the tithe.

When men realize that they are not their own, that they are bought with a price, and are therefore the Lord’s property, and all they have is simply intrusted to them as His stewards, they will, with cheerful heart, render to God the things that are His, and there will be no occasion to urge or beg for the tithe. All will realize that they are not proprietors, but stewards, and will know that they must give an account of their Lord’s money. . . .

Enduring Principle

The tithe should be consecrated to God. His requirements come first. We are not doing His will if we consecrate to Him what is left after all our wants have been supplied. Before any part of our income is consumed, we should take out and present to Him that portion which He claims as His. When this is done, the remainder will be sanctified and blessed to our own use. But when we withhold that which He says is His, the curse rests upon the whole, and we are recorded in the books of heaven as guilty of robbery. God gives man nine-tenths, but the one-tenth He claims for sacred purposes,—as He has given man six days for his own work, and has reserved the seventh day to Himself.

The tithing system was founded upon a principle which is as enduring as the law of God. It will be a blessing to those who will carry it out to the end of time. Our heavenly Father did not originate the system to enrich Himself, but to be a great blessing to man.

The simplicity of the plan shows the wisdom of God in its arrangement. Everything bearing the divine stamp unites simplicity with utility. Those who return to the Lord the tenth, will find it true that the nine-tenths are worth more to them than the ten-tenths. . . .

If all the tithes were brought into the storehouse, God’s treasury would not be empty. [Malachi 3:10 quoted.] When man does his part, God never fails to fulfil His promises.


God asks not only the tithe, but says we are to come to Him with tithes and offerings. Some will say that this was one of the rigorous laws binding upon the Hebrews: But it was not a burden to the willing heart that loved God. It is only when the selfish nature is made stronger by withholding that which God has given us that we might bless others, that we value earthly treasures above souls, above the blessings that are for the unselfish.

There are even more urgent necessities upon the Israel of God in these last days than were upon ancient Israel, for there is a great and important work to be accomplished in a very short time. God designed that the spirit of sacrifice should broaden and deepen for the closing work.

As followers of Christ we do not realize our true position. We do not have correct views of our responsibilities. We are stewards of our Lord, and the interests and prosperity of His cause should receive our first and best attention. In the balances of the sanctuary our gifts are not estimated according to the amount given, but according to the self-denial, prompted by love for Christ, that the gift has cost. . . .

Ensured Blessing

An all-wise God knew what was best when He gave to His people the plan of systematic offerings. They found that when they tried to increase their possessions, by withholding from God their tithes and offerings, the effort was sure to be a failure.

When we humbly use what God has given us for the honor of the Giver, we may feel at all times the peace and assurance that God’s hand is over us for good; for the treasure which is used to advance the cause of God, and which is given to the needy in Christ’s name, is given to Christ, and He lays it up for us in heaven. Then we grow rich. There is no danger of loss nor poverty when one has everlasting riches in heaven’s bank. Covetousness is idolatry; and it was to aid us in keeping the commandments that God originated the plan for tithes and offerings.

Free-will offerings of self-denial, made in faith and love to the Redeemer, will bring back blessings. Every act of liberality on the part of His saints is recorded in the books of heaven. We are to become like God. He gave all to save us.


In God’s system of offerings He would impress upon the minds of His people that the Lord is the great Proprietor. He must have the first place in their minds. He would have them know their dependence on Him. . . . Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love, could realize that their silver and gold, their time and strength, are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to gratify self.

God knows, and all who have had the experience know, that there is an elevated and permanent happiness in giving willingly and freely to bless others, which those who spend all on self-gratification, or hoard for greed of gain, can never experience. It is to bless us, to make us happy and rich, that God asks us to adopt His plan of giving. The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. Selfishness is the spirit of Satan. . . .

God in His wise plan has made the advancement of His cause dependent upon the personal efforts and free-will offerings of the people. By giving man the opportunity of becoming a copartner in the great plan of redemption, the Lord has placed a signal honor upon him, greater than has been conferred upon the angels. They would gladly do the work that God, in His love, has made it possible for man to do.

Gospel Mission

Some say: “We are tired of giving. It is the old cry, ‘Give, give.’ ” If we are tired of giving, we should be tired of receiving; for this is why God gives to us, that we may be channels through which His gifts may reach others, and we have the reward. As soon as we wish in our hearts that there would be no more calls to give, we virtually desire that the cause of God shall make no further progress, and that the gospel of the kingdom shall not be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, that the end may come.

As we near the end, the gospel will go with greater and yet greater rapidity. And opportunities will be given us to give more and more of the means of which the Lord had made us His stewards. In this God would have us act as His colaborers. What a blessing, to be a worker and an heir with the world’s Redeemer! If we suffer with Him, the promise is, we shall also reign with Him. As we hear the calls and demands being more and more urgently made for means to enter the many doors that are opening, we may know that the Lord’s coming is nearing. Who would delay it by withholding for selfish gratification the means God has placed in our hands for this very work?

Pacific Union Recorder, October 10, 1901; October 24, 1901.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Supreme Plan

January 7, 2007 – January 13, 2007

Key Text

“If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.” Job 33:23, 24.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 52–62.


“It is the glory of the gospel that it is founded on the principles of restoring in the fallen race the divine image.” Review and Herald, May 2, 1912.

1 How does God the Father address His Son? Hebrews 1:8–10. What distinctions characterize the Son of God? Colossians 2:9.

note: “In the work of creation, Christ was with God. He was one with God, equal with him, the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person, the representative of the Father.” The Signs of the Times, February 13, 1893.

“Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity. God over all, blessed forevermore.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1126.

2 How does the Son of God summarize His relationship with the Father? John 10:30. What should we then realize as we seek to worship God?

note: “Our ministers must be very careful not to enter into controversy in regard to the personality of God. This is a subject that they are not to touch. It is a mystery, and the enemy will surely lead astray those who enter into it.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 343.

“In Christ is gathered all the glory of the Father. In Him is all the fulness of the Godhead.” The Signs of the Times, November 24, 1898.

3 What was to be the crowning act of God’s entire creation? Genesis 1:26; Psalm 100:3. In view of the crisis that had occurred in heaven, what did the Father and Son consider?

note: “The Father consulted His Son in regard to at once carrying out their purpose to make man to inhabit the earth. He would place man upon probation to test his loyalty before he could be rendered eternally secure. If he endured the test wherewith God saw fit to prove him, he should eventually be equal with the angels.” The Story of Redemption, 19.

4 How did the Father and Son plan to redeem man in case he would fall prey to the archrebel? Zechariah 6:13, last part; Job 33:23–30.

note: “The great plan of redemption was laid before the foundation of the world. And Christ, our Substitute and Surety, did not stand alone in the wondrous undertaking of the ransom of man. In the plan to save a lost world, the counsel was between them both; the covenant of peace was between the Father and the Son. ‘For 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.] The Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, would become a servant. The only-begotten Son, in whom the Father delighted, was given for the ransom of a fallen race.” The Signs of the Times, December 23, 1897.

5 What distinguishes mankind from all of God’s other creatures? Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3–9. What should this mean to us?

note: “Created to be ‘the image and glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 11:7), Adam and Eve had received endowments not unworthy of their high destiny. Graceful and symmetrical in form, regular and beautiful in feature, their countenances glowing with the tint of health and the light of joy and hope, they bore in outward resemblance the likeness of their Maker. Nor was this likeness manifest in the physical nature only. Every faculty of mind and soul reflected the Creator’s glory. Endowed with high mental and spiritual gifts, Adam and Eve were made but ‘little lower than the angels’ (Hebrews 2:7), that they might not only discern the wonders of the visible universe, but comprehend moral responsibilities and obligations.” Education, 20.

“The same unseen Hand that guides the planets in their courses, and upholds the worlds by His power, has made provision for man formed in His image, that he may be little less than the angels of God while in the performance of his duties on earth.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 415, 416.

6 Describe the Edenic scene of Adam’s early existence. Genesis 1:31; 2:8, 15.

note: “Adam was surrounded with everything his heart could wish. Every want was supplied. There was no sin, and no signs of decay in glorious Eden. Angels of God conversed freely and lovingly with the holy pair. The happy songsters caroled forth their free, joyous songs of praise to their Creator. The peaceful beasts in happy innocence played about Adam and Eve, obedient to their word. Adam was in the perfection of manhood, the noblest of the Creator’s work.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 268.

7 How and why did God test Adam’s fidelity? Genesis 2:9, 16.

note: “God created man in his own image, after his likeness, free from sin, and with organs well developed. The earth was to be populated with intelligent beings who were only a little lower than the angels. But God would first prove the holy pair, and test their obedience; for he would not have a world filled with beings who would disregard his laws.” The Signs of the Times, January 23, 1879.

8 What warnings should we heed from observing the way Adam failed the test? Genesis 3:1–13.

note: “Adam did the worst thing he could do under the circumstances. In doing that which God had expressly forbidden he set his will against the will of God, thus waging war with his requirements. The pen of inspiration has with accuracy traced the history of our first parents’ sin and fall, that all generations may be warned not to follow Adam’s example, in the slightest disregard of God’s requirements. Had the test been in regard to larger matters, men might have excused the sin of disobedience in what they call smaller things. But God made the test with Adam upon things that are least, to show man that the slightest disobedience to his requirements is sin in every sense of the word. God, the Governor of the universe, has made all things subject to law; things apparently insignificant, and things of the greatest magnitude, are all governed by laws adapted to their natures. Nothing that God has made has been forgotten or left to blind chance. To man, as being endowed with reasoning powers and conscience, God’s moral law is given to control his actions. Man is not compelled to obey. He may defy God’s law, as did Adam, and take the fearful consequences; or by living in harmony with that law he may reap the rewards of obedience.” The Signs of the Times, January 23, 1879.

9 How did the angels exemplify unselfish love? John 15:13. What was to be their privilege? Romans 15:1.

note: “The angels prostrated themselves at the feet of their Commander and offered to become a sacrifice for man. But an angel’s life could not pay the debt; only He who created man had power to redeem him. Yet the angels were to have a part to act in the plan of redemption. Christ was to be made ‘a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.’ Hebrews 2:9. As He should take human nature upon Him, His strength would not be equal to theirs, and they were to minister to Him, to strengthen and soothe Him under His sufferings. They were also to be ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who should be heirs of salvation. Hebrews 1:14. They would guard the subjects of grace from the power of evil angels and from the darkness constantly thrown around them by Satan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 64, 65.

10 In the words addressed to the serpent, what hope did God offer to fallen man? Genesis 3:14, 15; Romans 16:20.

note: “The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption.” Review and Herald, May 2, 1912.

“Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin—sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father and His Son. Christ would reach to the depths of misery to rescue the ruined race.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 63.

“Adam marveled at the goodness of God in providing such a ransom for the sinner.” The Signs of the Times, February 20, 1893.

The Plan of Salvation

“Sorrow filled heaven, as it was realized that man was lost and that world which God had created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness, and death, and there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die. I saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon His countenance. Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, He is in close converse with His Father. The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with His Father. Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came out from the Father, His person could be seen. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and doubt, and shone with benevolence and loveliness, such as words cannot express.

“He then made known to the angelic host that a way of escape had been made for lost man. He told them that He had been pleading with His Father, and had offered to give His life a ransom, to take the sentence of death upon Himself, that through Him man might find pardon; that through the merits of His blood, and obedience to the law of God, they could have the favor of God and be brought into the beautiful garden and eat of the fruit of the tree of life.

“At first the angels could not rejoice, for their Commander concealed nothing from them, but opened before them the plan of salvation. Jesus told them that He would stand between the wrath of His Father and guilty man, that He would bear iniquity and scorn, and but few would receive Him as the Son of God. Nearly all would hate and reject Him. He would leave all His glory in heaven, appear upon earth as a man, humble himself as a man, become acquainted by His own experience with the various temptations with which man would be beset, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted; and that finally, after His mission as a teacher would be accomplished, He would be delivered into the hands of men and endure almost every cruelty and suffering that Satan and his angels could inspire wicked men to inflict; that He would die the cruelest of deaths, hung up between the heavens and the earth as a guilty sinner; that He would suffer dreadful hours of agony, which even angels could not look upon, but would veil their faces from the sight. Not merely agony of body would He suffer, but mental agony, that with which bodily suffering could in no wise be compared. The weight of the sins of the whole world would be upon Him. He told them He would die and rise again the third day, and would ascend to His Father to intercede for wayward, guilty man.

The One Possible Way of Salvation

“The angels prostrated themselves before Him. They offered their lives. Jesus said to them that He would by His death save many, that the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of His Father as a ransom for man. Jesus also told them that they would have a part to act, to be with Him and at different times strengthen Him; that He would take man’s fallen nature, and His strength would not be even equal with theirs; that they would be witnesses of His humiliation and great sufferings; and that as they would witness His sufferings and the hatred of men toward Him, they would be stirred with the deepest emotion, and through their love for Him would wish to rescue and deliver Him from His murderers; but that they must not interfere to prevent anything they should behold; and that they should act a part at His resurrection; that the plan of salvation was devised, and His Father had accepted the plan.

“With a holy sadness Jesus comforted and cheered the angels and informed them that hereafter those whom He should redeem would be with Him, and that by His death He should ransom many and destroy him who had the power of death. And His Father would give Him the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, and He would possess it forever and ever. Satan and sinners would be destroyed, nevermore to disturb heaven or the purified new earth. Jesus bade the heavenly host be reconciled to the plan that His Father had accepted and rejoice that through His death fallen man could again be exalted to obtain favor with God and enjoy heaven.

“Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. And the heavenly host sang a song of praise and adoration. They touched their harps and sang a note higher than they had done before, for the great mercy and condescension of God in yielding up His dearly Beloved to die for a race of rebels. Praise and adoration were poured forth for the self-denial and sacrifice of Jesus; that He would consent to leave the bosom of His Father and choose a life of suffering and anguish, and die an ignominious death to give life to others.

“Said the angel, ‘Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no. It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His beloved Son to die for him.’ Angels were so interested for man’s salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory and give their life for perishing man, ‘But,’ said my accompanying angel, ‘that would avail nothing. The transgression was so great that an angel’s life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercessions of His Son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery.’

“But the work of the angels was assigned them, to ascend and descend with strengthening balm from glory to soothe the Son of God in His sufferings and minister unto Him. Also, their work would be to guard and keep the subjects of grace from the evil angels and the darkness constantly thrown around them by Satan. I saw that it was impossible for God to alter or change His law to save lost, perishing man; therefore He suffered His beloved Son to die for man’s transgression.

“Satan again rejoiced with his angels that he could, by causing man’s fall, pull down the Son of God from His exalted position. He told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man’s nature, he could overpower Him and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation.

“I was shown Satan as he once was, a happy, exalted angel. Then I was shown him as he now is. He still bears a kingly form. His features are still noble, for he is an angel fallen. But the expression of his countenance is full of anxiety, care, unhappiness, malice, hate, mischief, deceit, and every evil. That brow which was once so noble, I particularly noticed. His forehead commenced from his eyes to recede. I saw that he had so long bent himself to evil that every good quality was debased, and every evil trait was developed. His eyes were cunning, sly, and showed great penetration. His frame was large, but the flesh hung loosely about his hands and face. As I beheld him, his chin was resting upon his left hand. He appeared to be in deep thought. A smile was upon his countenance, which made me tremble, it was so full of evil and satanic slyness. This smile is the one he wears just before he makes sure of his victim, and as he fastens the victim in his snare, this smile grows horrible.

“In humility and inexpressible sadness Adam and Eve left the lovely garden wherein they had been so happy until they disobeyed the command of God. The atmosphere was changed. It was no longer unvarying as before the transgression. God clothed them with coats of skins to protect them from the sense of chilliness and then of heat to which they were exposed.

God’s Unchangeable Law

“All heaven mourned on account of the disobedience and fall of Adam and Eve, which brought the wrath of God upon the whole human race. They were cut off from communing with God, and were plunged in hopeless misery. The law of God could not be changed to meet man’s necessity, for in God’s arrangement it was never to lose its force nor give up the smallest part of its claims.

“The angels of God were commissioned to visit the fallen pair and inform them that although they could no longer retain possession of their holy estate, their Eden home, because of their transgression of the law of God, yet their case was not altogether hopeless. They were then informed that the Son of God, who had conversed with them in Eden, had been moved with pity as He viewed their hopeless condition, and had volunteered to take upon Himself the punishment due to them, and die for them that man might yet live, through faith in the atonement Christ proposed to make for him. Through Christ a door of hope was opened, that man, notwithstanding his great sin, should not be under the absolute control of Satan. Faith in the merits of the Son of God would so elevate man that he could resist the devices of Satan. Probation would be granted him in which, through a life of repentance and faith in the atonement of the Son of God, he might be redeemed from his transgression of the Father’s law, and thus be elevated to a position where his efforts to keep His law could be accepted.

“The angels related to them the grief that was felt in heaven as it was announced that they had transgressed the law of God, which had made it expedient for Christ to make the great sacrifice of His own precious life.

“When Adam and Eve realized how exalted and sacred was the law of God, the transgression of which made so costly a sacrifice necessary to save them and their posterity from utter ruin, they pleaded to die themselves, or to let them and their posterity endure the penalty of their transgression, rather than that the beloved Son of God should make this great sacrifice. The anguish of Adam was increased. He saw that his sins were of so great magnitude as to involve fearful consequences. And must it be that heaven’s honored Commander, who had walked with him and talked with him while in his holy innocence, whom angels honored and worshiped, must be brought down from his exalted position to die because of his transgression?

“Adam was informed that an angel’s life could not pay the debt. The law of Jehovah, the foundation of His government in heaven and upon earth, was as sacred as God Himself; and for this reason the life of an angel could not be accepted of God as a sacrifice for its transgression. His law is of more importance in His sight than the holy angels around His throne. The Father could not abolish or change one precept of His law to meet man in his fallen condition. But the Son of God, who had in unison with the Father created man, could make an atonement for man acceptable to God, by giving His life a sacrifice and bearing the wrath of His Father. Angels informed Adam that, as his transgression had brought death and wretchedness, life and immortality would be brought to light through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

A View of the Future

“To Adam were revealed future important events, from his expulsion from Eden to the Flood, and onward to the first advent of Christ upon the earth; His love for Adam and his posterity would lead the Son of God to condescend to take human nature, and thus elevate, through His own humiliation, all who would believe on Him. Such a sacrifice was of sufficient value to save the whole world; but only a few would avail themselves of the salvation brought to them through such a wonderful sacrifice. The many would not comply with the conditions required of them that they might be partakers of His great salvation. They would prefer sin and transgression of the law of God rather than repentance and obedience, relying by faith upon the merits of the sacrifice offered. This sacrifice was of such infinite value as to make a man who should avail himself of it more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

“Adam was carried down through successive generations and saw the increase of crime, of guilt and defilement, because man would yield to his naturally strong inclinations to transgress the holy law of God. He was shown the curse of God resting more and more heavily upon the human race, upon the cattle, and upon the earth, because of man’s continued transgression. He was shown that iniquity and violence would steadily increase; yet amid all the tide of human misery and woe, there would ever be a few who would preserve the knowledge of God and would remain unsullied amid the prevailing moral degeneracy. Adam was made to comprehend what sin is—the transgression of the law. He was shown that moral, mental, and physical degeneracy would result to the race, from transgression, until the world would be filled with human misery of every type.

“The days of man were shortened by his own course of sin in transgressing the righteous law of God. The race was finally so greatly depreciated that they appeared inferior and almost valueless. They were generally incompetent to appreciate the mystery of Calvary, the grand and elevated facts of the atonement, and the plan of salvation, because of the indulgence of the carnal mind. Yet, notwithstanding the weakness, and enfeebled mental, moral, and physical powers of the human race, Christ, true to the purpose for which He left heaven, continues His interest in the feeble, depreciated, degenerate specimens of humanity, and invites them to hide their weakness and great deficiencies in Him. If they will come unto Him, He will supply all their needs.

The Sacrificial Offering

“When Adam, according to God’s special directions, made an offering for sin, it was to him a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which God alone could give, and make an offering for sin. It was the first time he had witnessed death. As he looked upon the bleeding victim, writhing in the agonies of death, he was to look forward by faith to the Son of God, whom the victim prefigured, who was to die man’s sacrifice.

“This ceremonial offering, ordained of God, was to be a perpetual reminder to Adam of his guilt, and also a penitential acknowledgment of his sin. This act of taking life gave Adam a deeper and more perfect sense of his transgression, which nothing less than the death of God’s dear Son could expiate. He marveled at the infinite goodness and matchless love which would give such a ransom to save the guilty. As Adam was slaying the innocent victim, it seemed to him that he was shedding the blood of the Son of God by his own hand. He knew that if he had remained steadfast to God, and true to His holy law, there would have been no death of beast nor of man. Yet in the sacrificial offerings, pointing to the great and perfect offering of God’s dear Son, there appeared a star of hope to illuminate the dark and terrible future, and relieve it of its utter hopelessness and ruin.

“In the beginning the head of each family was considered ruler and priest of his own household. Afterward, as the race multiplied upon the earth, men of divine appointment performed this solemn worship of sacrifice for the people. The blood of beast was to be associated in the minds of sinners with the blood of the Son of God. The death of the victim was to evidence to all that the penalty of sin was death. By the act of sacrifice the sinner acknowledged his guilt and manifested his faith, looking forward to the great and perfect sacrifice of the Son of God, which the offering of beasts prefigured. Without the atonement of the Son of God there could be no communication of blessing or salvation from God to man. God was jealous for the honor of His law. The transgression of that law caused a fearful separation between God and man. To Adam in his innocency was granted communion, direct, free, and happy, with his Maker. After his transgression God would communicate to man through Christ and angels.” The Story of Redemption, 42–51.

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