Bible Study Guides – The Nations are in God’s Hands

June 30 – July 6 ,2002

By Ruth Grosboll

MEMORY VERSE: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.

STUDY HELPS: The Great Controversy, 603–612.

INTRODUCTION: “All heaven is interested in the work that is going on in this world. A people is to be prepared for the great day of God, which is right upon us; and we cannot afford to let Satan cast his shadow across our pathway, and intercept our view of Jesus and his infinite love. We should draw from Christ the very help we need. And when do we need his help?—It is in times of trial, in times when temptation comes in like flood, when Satan would cast his dark shadow before our souls, that we may not be able to distinguish the sacred from the common. It is then that we need to flee to the Source of our strength.” Review and Herald, January 28, 1890.

1 What comparison is the power of God to the power of the mighty nations of the earth? Isaiah 40:15–17.

NOTE: “In the days of Isaiah, Assyria was the greatest nation of the earth, feared by all others. But the Lord would have His people know that this greatest nation was as nothing before Him. When men fear God they need have no fear of the so-called great powers of the earth. Regardless of the plans and purposes of men, God brings His own will to pass.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 247. (On Isaiah 40:15.)

“With unerring accuracy the Infinite One still keeps account with the nations. While His mercy is tendered, with calls to repentance, this account remains open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath begins. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. Mercy no longer pleads in their behalf.” Prophets and Kings, 364.

2 What does God declare about Himself? Isaiah 46:9, 10.

NOTE: “I Am means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike to God. He sees the most remote events of past history, and the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things that are transpiring daily. We know not what is before us, and if we did, it would not contribute to our eternal welfare. God gives us an opportunity to exercise faith and trust in the great I Am (MS 5a, 1895).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1099.

3 How extensive is God’s knowledge? Daniel 2:22.

NOTE: “But when the heart yields to the influence of the Spirit of God, the conscience will be quickened, and the sinner will discern something of the depth and sacredness of God’s holy law, the foundation of His government in heaven and on earth. The ‘Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,’ illumines the secret chambers of the soul, and the hidden things of darkness are made manifest. John 1:9. Conviction takes hold upon the mind and heart. The sinner has a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and feels the terror of appearing, in his own guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. He sees the love of God, the beauty of holiness, the joy of purity; he longs to be cleansed and to be restored to communion with Heaven.” Steps to Christ, 24.

4 How much control does God have over the kingdoms of this world? Daniel 4:17.

NOTE: “In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.” Education, 173.

5 What did Divine wisdom do as a result of sin? Genesis 6:5–7.

NOTE: “The world was in its infancy; yet iniquity had become so deep and widespread that God could no longer bear with it; and He said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth.’ He declared that His Spirit should not always strive with the guilty race. If they did not cease to pollute with their sins the world and its rich treasures, He would blot them from His creation and would destroy the things with which He had delighted to bless them; He would sweep away the beasts of the field, and the vegetation which furnished such an abundant supply of food, and would transform the fair earth into one vast scene of desolation and ruin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 92.

6 What is God’s assurance to mankind? Amos 3:7.

NOTE: “While ‘the secret things belong unto the Lord our God,’ ‘those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.’ . . . Deuteronomy 29:29. God has given these things to us, and His blessing will attend the reverent, prayerful study of the prophetic scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 234.

7 What warnings did God give to the antediluvians? Genesis 6:3, 13.

NOTE: “Amid the prevailing corruption, Methuselah, Noah, and many others, labored to keep alive the knowledge of the true God, and to stay the tide of moral evil. A hundred and twenty years before the Flood, the Lord by a holy angel declared to Noah His purpose, and directed him to build an ark. While building the ark he was to preach that God would bring a flood of water upon the earth to destroy the wicked. Those who would believe the message, and would prepare for that event by repentance and reformation, should find pardon and be saved. Enoch had repeated to his children what God had shown him in regard to the Flood, and Methuselah and his sons, who lived to hear the preaching of Noah, assisted in building the ark. . . .

“Many at first appeared to receive the warning; yet they did not turn to God with true repentance. They were unwilling to renounce their sins. During the time that elapsed before the coming of the Flood, their faith was tested, and they failed to endure the trial. Overcome by the prevailing unbelief, they finally joined their former associates in rejecting the solemn message. Some were deeply convicted, and would have heeded the words of warning; but there were so many to jest and ridicule, that they partook of the same spirit, resisted the invitations of mercy, and were soon among the boldest and most defiant scoffers; for none are so reckless and go to such lengths in sin as do those who have once had light, but have resisted the convicting Spirit of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 92, 95.

8 What two ancient cities received Divine retribution for their wickedness? Genesis 19:24, 25.

NOTE: “Sin has prevailed since the fall. While a few have remained faithful to God, the great majority have corrupted their ways before Him. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was on account of their great wickedness. They gave loose rein to their intemperate appetites, then to their corrupt passions, until they were so debased, and their sins were so abominable, that their cup of iniquity was full, and they were consumed with fire from heaven.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 60.

9 How did God warn Sodom and Gomorrah before He destroyed them? Genesis 19:1, 12–17.

NOTE: “The Lord’s anger was finally kindled against the wicked inhabitants of the city. The angels of God visited Sodom to bring forth Lot, that he should not perish in the overthrow of the city. They bade him bring his family, his wife, and the sons and daughters who had married in wicked Sodom, and they told him to flee from the place; ‘for,’ said the angels, ‘we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.’” Review and Herald, November 14, 1882.

10 How suddenly was the kingdom of Babylon destroyed? Daniel 5:30, 31.

NOTE: “As men multiplied upon the earth after the flood, they again forgot God, and corrupted their ways before him. Intemperance in every form increased, until almost the whole world was given up to its sway. Entire cities have been swept from the face of the earth because of the debasing crimes and revolting iniquity that made them a blot upon the fair field of God’s created works. The gratification of unnatural appetite led to the sins that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God ascribes the fall of Babylon to her gluttony and drunkenness. Indulgence of appetite and passion was the foundation of all their sins.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 43.

11 What prediction had the Lord given to Daniel about Babylon’s future? Daniel 2:38, 39.

NOTE: “Exalted to the pinnacle of worldly honor, and acknowledged even by Inspiration as ‘a king of kings’ (Ezekiel 26:7), Nebuchadnezzar nevertheless at times had ascribed to the favor of Jehovah the glory of his kingdom and the splendor of his reign. Such had been the case after his dream of the great image. His mind had been profoundly influenced by this vision and by the thought that the Babylonian Empire, universal though it was, was finally to fall, and other kingdoms were to bear sway, until at last all earthly powers were to be superseded by a kingdom set up by the God of heaven, which kingdom was never to be destroyed.” Prophets and Kings, 514.

12 What was the warning God sent to the people of Nineveh? Jonah 3:1–4.

NOTE: “When Jonah proclaimed in the streets of Nineveh that within forty days the city would be overthrown, the Lord accepted the humiliation of the Ninevites and extended their period of probation; yet the message of Jonah was sent of God, and Nineveh was tested according to His will. Adventists believed that in like manner God had led them to give the warning of the judgment. ‘It has,’ they declared, ‘tested the hearts of all who heard it, and awakened a love for the Lord’s appearing; or it has called forth a hatred, more or less perceivable, but known to God, of His coming. It has drawn a line, . . . so that those who will examine their own hearts, may know on which side of it they would have been found, had the Lord then come—whether they would have exclaimed, “Lo! this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us;” or whether they would have called to the rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. God thus, as we believe, has tested His people, has tried their faith, has proved them, and seen whether they would shrink, in the hour of trial, from the position in which He might see fit to place them; and whether they would relinquish this world and rely with implicit confidence in the word of God.’—The Advent Herald and Signs of the Times Reporter, vol. 8, No. 14 (November 13, 1844).” The Great Controversy, 406.

13 What did the Lord prophesy against Tyre and why? Ezekiel 26:1–5.

NOTE: “Tyre was a powerful commercial city composed of Old Tyre, situated on the mainland, and New Tyre, built on a rocky island some 140 acres in area about a half mile from shore. . . .

“When Alexander besieged New Tyre, he built a causeway from the mainland to the island and used the stones and rubble from Old Tyre as material for it. . . .

“The site of ancient Tyre is still used by fishermen for drying their nets.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 667, 668. (On Ezekiel 26:2, 4, 5.)

“There was a shut door in Noah’s time. There was a shut door to the unbelievers in the destruction of Sodom, but an open door to Lot. There was a shut door to the inhabitants of Tyrus, a shut door to the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . who disbelieved, but an open door to the humble, the believing, those who obeyed God. Thus it will be at the end of time.—Manuscript 17, August 14, 1885, ‘Shipboard Meditations.’” This Day With God, 235.

14 What is prophesied for our world today? 2 Peter 3:10.

NOTE: “Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst forth from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. Malachi 4:1; 11 Peter 3:10. The earth’s surface seems one molten mass— a vast, seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men—‘the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.’ Isaiah 34:8.” The Great Controversy, 672, 673.

15 What warnings are we given? Revelation 14:6, 7.

NOTE: “John in the Revelation foretells the proclamation of the gospel message just before Christ’s second coming. . . . [Revelation 14:6, 7 quoted.]

“In the prophecy this warning of the judgment, with its connected messages, is followed by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. The proclamation of the judgment is an announcement of Christ’s second coming as at hand. And this proclamation is called the everlasting gospel. Thus the preaching of Christ’s second coming, the announcement of its nearness, is shown to be an essential part of the gospel message.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 227, 228.

“It is God’s purpose that the truth for this time shall be made known to every kindred and nation and tongue and people. In the world today men and women are absorbed in the search for worldly gain and worldly pleasure. There are thousands upon thousands who give no time or thought to the salvation of the soul. The time has come when the message of Christ’s soon coming is to sound throughout the world.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 24.