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October–December 1999

Sabbath Bible L essons Senior Div ision

T HAT O THER A NGEL The Closing Work


For ewor d

Contents Foreword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . First Sabbath Offering for Congo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lessons From the Past . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Faithful Remnant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Third Angel’s Message Strengthened . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Beginning of the Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Our Great Danger. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . First Sabbath Offering for Literature. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1888 and the Message to Laodicea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Purpose of the Laodicean Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The White Raiment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Preparing for the Latter Rain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . First Sabbath Offering for Panama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . That Other Angel and the Loud Cry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . With or Without the Seal? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Decree and the Close of Probation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Time of Trouble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 4 5 10 15 20 25 30 31 36 41 46 51 52 57 62 67

Sabbath Bible Lessons, a daily study program, is based solely on the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy without additional comments. The quotations are as brief as possible to provide concise, direct thoughts. Brackets [] are supplied in some cases to ensure clarity, proper context, and smooth readability. Further study in the source materials is strongly recommended.

Sabbath Bible Lessons (USPS 005-118), Vol. 74, No. 4, October–December 1999. Published quarterly by the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference, Sabbath School Department. Copyright © 1999, printed and distributed by Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019–5048, USA. Telephone 540-366-9400 * USA and Canada 1888-712-1234 * Fax 540366-2814 * Internet http://www.sdarm.org * E-mail: sdarm@worldnet.att.net Annual subscriptions: U.S.A. $9.95. Other countries $13.00, or by AIRMAIL $17.00. Single copies $4.50. Please send subscription requests and payments (in U.S. currency only) to the address below. Prices subject to change without notice. Periodical postage paid at Roanoke, Virginia 24022–9993. POSTMASTER, please send address changes to:

Sabbath Bible Lessons PO Box 7240 Roanoke, VA 24019-0240

During this quarter we will study a series of lessons based on the subject, That Other Angel. In these studies, the following points, among others, will be highlighted: 1. Why did the other angel have to come? (or, What situation in the church required the coming of another angel after the third angel of Revelation 14?) 2. When did the light of that other angel begin to shine? 3. What message did he bring to the church? (or, What is the purpose of his message as it is presented to the people of God?) 4. How is his message connected with Isaiah 58 and Revelation 3:14–20? 5. How has his message been received? (or, Why has the church continued in the wrong direction, as mentioned in Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 217 and vol. 8, p. 119, in spite of the coming of the other angel?) 6. How and where has the other angel joined the first, second, and third angels? 7. How has the conflicting reception of the other angel (Revelation 18) and his message, since 1888, resulted in the development of two parties of Adventists? 8. How does his message prepare one of the two parties (a faithful remnant) to receive the latter rain and give the loud cry? 9. How will the righteousness of Christ, imputed and imparted, enable the small remnant to receive the seal of God and go through the time of trouble? 10. What external work must the angel of Revelation 18 accomplish, particularly under the loud cry? (or, What is his mission, especially in behalf of the honest souls in the fallen churches?) It is important to bear in mind that in The Great Controversy’s chapter “The Time of Trouble,” pp. 613–634, quoted extensively in the last two lessons, not everything refers to the time after the close of probation. May the blessings of God attend the study of these lessons, which we hope will prove to be of real benefit to all believers in the three angels’ messages. The General Conference Sabbath School Department

PRINTED IN USA

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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Sabbath, October 2, 1999

Lesson 1

Sabbath, October 2, 1999

First Sabbath Offering

Lessons Fr om the Past

for a chapel and headquarters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This country (formerly known as Zaire) is the third largest nation in Africa. Straddling the Equator in the central part of the continent, the DR of the Congo covers an area of 905,446 square miles (2,345,095 square kilometers) bordered by Angola (including the exclave of Cabina), the Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, The Sudan, and the Central African Republic. A heavily forested land with a humid tropical climate, this country is home to a wide diversity of animal life and has significant reserves of highgrade copper ore, cobalt, diamonds, zinc, cadmium, gold, and silver. Extensive offshore petroleum reserves have also been exploited. Among the population of 46,674,000, 41% are Roman Catholics, 32% Protestant, 13.4% indigenous Christian, 1.2% Muslim, and 11.6% adhere to traditional beliefs and other religions. Although as many as 282 different languages are spoken in the DR of the Congo, the official tongue is French. In 1970, a brother from the Seventh Day Union came across a piece of literature with the address of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. He wrote for more information, and received a visit from two of our ministers from South Africa. It was not long before a local church was organized in 1972. Today we have members in different parts of the country amidst the mosaic of languages. For all these years we have been operating out of the homes of our brethren. But by God’s grace and through the kind assistance of our brethren from Germany, we recently managed to nearly complete a very small chapel in Lubumbashi. To place the finishing touches on this small monument to the Lord— as well as to build a mission office for His work—we are in need of an additional US$35,000.00. For this amount we turn to you, our brethren, sisters, and Democratic Republic friends from around the world. of the CONGO Therefore, when the First Sabbath Offering is gathered on October 2, 1999, please remember your poor brethren in the DR of the Congo. We thank you in advance, and pray that God will abundantly bless each gift and giver. Indian Your brethren from the DR of the Congo Atlantic Ocean Ocean SUDAN

ETHIOPIA

CAMEROON

UGANDA KENYA

Republic GABON of the CONGO

SOMALIA

RWANDA BURUNDI

TANZANIA

COMOROS

ANGOLA

ZAMBIA

ZIMBABWE

MOZAMBIQUE

MADAGASCAR

NAMIBIA

BOTSWANA

SOUTH AFRICA

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Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

“The experience of Christians in these days is much like the travels of ancient Israel. Please read 1 Corinthians 10, especially from the 6th to the 15th verse.” —Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 284. ❑ Sunday

HISTORY REPEATED

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September 26

What does the Bible assure us about histor y? Ecclesiastes1:9; 3:15.

“History is being repeated. The world today has its Ahabs and its Jezebels. The present age is one of idolatry, as verily as was that in which Elijah lived.” —Prophets and Kings, p. 177.

2

What serious warning should we take from the condition of the Jewish church in the days of Christ? Matthew 23:1–3.

“The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ’s day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness. A jealous regard for what is termed theological truth often accompanies a hatred of genuine truth as made manifest in life. The darkest chapters of history are burdened with the record of crimes committed by bigoted religionists. The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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

“Shall the warnings from God be passed by unheeded? Shall the opportunities for service be unimproved? Shall the world’s scorn, the pride of reason, conformity to human customs and traditions, hold the professed followers of Christ from service to Him? Will they reject God’s word as the Jewish leaders rejected Christ? The result of Israel’s sin is before us. Will the church of today take warning?” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 306 (1900). ❑ Tuesday

IN THE STEPS OF ANCIENT ISRAEL ❑ Monday

GOD’S PROMISES CONDITIONAL

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September 27

The Desire of Ages, p. 106.

“A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God—a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they.” —Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 609 (1867). What divine words to ancient Israel and its leaders include likewise a warning to modern Israel? Hosea 8:12; 4:6; 2 Chronicles 15:2.

“The sin of ancient Israel was in disregarding the expressed will of God and following their own way according to the leadings of unsanctified hearts. Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps, and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 94 (1882). “If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become as corrupt as the churches of other denominations.” —Ibid., vol. 4, p. 513 (1880).

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Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

What parallel can be seen between ancient and modern Israel regarding the allurements of Egypt? Acts 7:39.

“The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders. “The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 217 (1882). ❑ Wednesday

DO WE SEE THINGS CLEARLY?

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In what respect is the disobedience of ancient Israel a warning to modern Israel? Isaiah 29:13; Romans 2:17, 18, 23, 24.

The Jews misinterpreted God’s promise of eternal favor to Israel. How could the same mistake be repeated by believers in the threefold message? Romans 15:4.

“To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. Because of their sins they were suffering under His judgments. This was the cause of their bondage to a heathen nation. Their minds were darkened by transgression, and because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. . . . “These things ‘are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come’ (1 Corinthians 10:11). How often we misinterpret God’s blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do.”—

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September 28

September 29

What was the spiritual condition of the Jewish leaders in the days of Christ? Matthew 15:14. Why were they guilty before God in spite of their blindness? John 9:41.

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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“Some of [Jesus’] hearers, feeling that Christ’s words applied to them, inquired, ‘Are we blind also?’ Jesus answered, ‘If ye were blind, ye should have no sin.’ If God had made it impossible for you to see the truth, your ignorance would involve no guilt. ‘But now ye say, We see.’ You believe yourselves able to see, and reject the means through which alone you could receive sight. To all who realized their need, Christ came with infinite help. But the Pharisees would confess no need; they refused to come to Christ, and hence they were left in blindness—a blindness for which they were themselves guilty. Jesus said, ‘Your sin remaineth.’ ”—The Desire of Ages, p. 475.

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What particular condition has developed among those who live in the period of Laodicea? Revelation 3:17. What are the consequences of the spiritual blindness which characterizes this last generation?

“Has not blindness fallen upon the watchmen standing on the walls of Zion?”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 248 (1903). “My brethren, you are disregarding the most sacred claims of God by your neglect to consecrate yourselves and your children to Him. Many of you are reposing in false security, absorbed in selfish interests, and attracted by earthly treasures. You fear no evil. Danger seems a great way off. You will be deceived, deluded, to your eternal ruin unless you arouse and with penitence and deep humiliation return unto the Lord. . . . The deadly lethargy of the world is paralyzing your senses. Sin no longer appears repulsive because you are blinded by Satan.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 233 (1882).

your holy calling as God’s peculiar people. You are having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Your concord with unbelievers has provoked the Lord’s displeasure. You know not the things that belong to your peace, and they are fast being hid from your eyes. Your neglect to follow the light will place you in a more unfavorable position than the Jews upon whom Christ pronounced a woe.” —Ibid., pp. 75, 76 (1882).

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How did God punish the disobedience of the Jews on two occasions? 2 Chronicles 36:17–19; Matthew 22:7; 24:1, 2. What does the destruction of Jerusalem tell us?

“A sin-hating God calls upon those who claim to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. A neglect to repent and to render willing obedience will bring upon men and women today as serious consequences as came upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which the judgments of Jehovah can no longer be delayed. The desolation of Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah is a solemn warning to modern Israel, that the counsels and admonitions given them through chosen instrumentalities cannot be disregarded with impunity.” —Prophets and Kings, pp. 416, 417. “Outward opposition will not cause the faith of God’s people, who are keeping His commandments, to become dim. The neglect to bring purity and truth into practice will grieve the Spirit of God and weaken them because God is not in their midst to bless. Internal corruption will bring the denunciations of God upon this people as it did upon Jerusalem.”— Selected Messages, book 2, p. 378 (1886).

❑ Friday ❑ Thursday

THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS

September 30 a.

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October 1

What woe was pronounced upon the Jews as a nation because they knew not the time of their visitation? Luke 19:42–44. What lesson should we learn from their mistake? Matthew 23:38.

What danger, existing today, parallels the mistake of the Jews?

b. What should we learn from the failure of the Jewish nation? c.

How can modern Israel follow the example of ancient Israel in their inclination toward Egypt?

d. What characteristics are used in the description of modern Israel?

“The great sin of the Jews was that of neglecting and rejecting present opportunities. As Jesus views the state of His professed followers today, He sees base ingratitude, hollow formalism, hypocritical insincerity, pharisaical pride and apostasy.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 72 (1882). “The spirit of the world is fast leavening the church. You are following the same path as did ancient Israel. There is the same falling away from

e.

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Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

If modern Israel refuses to repent, what will be the unavoidable consequences?

FOR FUR THER STUDY Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 296–306. The Great Controversy, pp. 17–38. 9


Lesson 2

Sabbath, October 9, 1999

A Faithful Remnant “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5).

“In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived.” —The Acts of the Apostles, p. 11. ❑ Sunday

A CONDITIONAL RELATIONSHIP

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October 3

Why was the spiritual “vineyard” taken from the Jewish nation? To whom was it transferred, and on what condition? Matthew 21:43; Luke 12:32. How is this a warning to us?

er high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach.” —The Upward Look, p. 131 (1903). “Brethren, if you continue to be as idle, as worldly, as selfish as you have been, God will surely pass you by, and take those who are less selfcaring, less ambitious for worldly honor, and who will not hesitate to go, as did their Master, without the camp, bearing the reproach. The work will be given to those who will take it, those who prize it, who weave its principles into their everyday experience. God will choose humble men who are seeking to glorify His name and advance His cause rather than to honor and advance themselves. He will raise up men who have not so much worldly wisdom, but who are connected with Him, and who will seek strength and counsel from above.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 461 (1885). ❑ Monday

PREREQUISITES UNMET

3 “The Jewish leaders thought themselves too wise to need instruction, too righteous to need salvation, too highly honored to need the honor that comes from Christ. The Saviour turned from them to entrust to others the privileges they had abused and the work they had slighted. God’s glory must be revealed, His word established.” —The Acts of the Apostles, p. 16. “Because they failed of fulfilling God’s purpose, the children of Israel were set aside, and God’s call was extended to other peoples. If these too prove unfaithful, will they not in like manner be rejected?”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 304.

2

How does the Bible teach that the “vineyard” is not entrusted to any church unconditionally? Romans 11:20–22. How does this principle apply to those living in the Laodicean period?

“The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the work of the Lord, whatever their position may be, howev10

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

October 4

What condition renders the work of a church unacceptable to God? Isaiah 59:1, 2.

“A company was presented before me under the name of Seventh-day Adventists, who were advising that the banner or sign which makes us a distinctive people should not be held out so strikingly; for they claimed it was not the best policy in securing success to our institutions.” —Selected Messages, book 2, p. 385 (1896).

“Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God’s law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world.” —Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 119 (1903). “Christ longs to work mightily by His Spirit for the conviction and conversion of sinners. But, according to His divine plan, the work must be performed through the instrumentality of His church; and her members have so far departed from Him that He cannot accomplish His will through them.” —Ibid., vol. 5, p. 189 (1882).

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In case the majority shows open apostasy and refuses to repent, whom does the Lord call to continue the work? Isaiah 1:9; Romans 9:27.

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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“Many who have had great light have not appreciated and improved it as it was their privilege to do. They have not practiced the truth. And because of this the Lord will bring in those who have lived up to all the light they have had. And those who have been privileged with opportunities to understand the truth and who have not obeyed its principles will be swayed by Satan’s temptations for self-advancement. They will deny the principles of truth in practice and bring reproach upon the cause of God. “Christ declares that He will spue these out of His mouth, and leave them to follow their own course of actions to distinguish themselves. This course of action does indeed make them prominent as men that are unfaithful householders. “The Lord will give His message to those who have walked in accordance with the light they have had, and will recognize them as true and faithful, according to the measurement of God. These men will take the place of those who, having light and knowledge, have walked not in the way of the Lord, but in the imagination of their own unsanctified hearts.” —Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 421, 422 (1898). ❑ Tuesday

A SMALL MINORITY

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October 5

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❑ Wednesday

WHY SIGH AND CRY?

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October 6

What object should the faithful minority have in mind? James 5:19, 20. What will be the ef fect of their sighing and cr ying?

“These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 210.

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What does Paul mean when he says that God will never cast away His people? Romans 11:1–5.

What plan does God have for the faithful souls still in the fallen churches? John 10:16.

“Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition and are longing for clearer light. They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart further and further from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation.” —The Great Controversy, p. 390. “The light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant.” —Early Writings, p. 261.

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“None but divine power can stay the arrogance of Satan united with evil men; but in the hour of the church’s greatest danger most fervent prayer will be offered in her behalf by the faithful remnant.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 524.

What should the faithful minority among Seventh-day Adventists do in the face of sin in their churches? Ezekiel 9:4.

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“Thank God, all will not be rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. There will be faithful ones who will discern the signs of the times. While a large number professing present truth will deny their faith by their works, there will be some who will endure unto the end.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 10.

❑ Thursday

NO UNCONDITIONAL AFFILIATION

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October 7

How do we know that God does not demand, but rather forbids His people to have unconditional af filiation? Amos 3:3.

“There are few really consecrated men among us, few who have fought and conquered in the battle with self. Real conversion is a decided change of feelings and motives; it is a virtual taking leave of worldly connections, a hastening from their spiritual atmosphere, a withdrawing from the controlling power of their thoughts, opinions, and influences. The separation causes pain and bitterness to both parties. It is the variance which Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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Christ declares that He came to bring. But the converted will feel a continual longing desire that their friends shall forsake all for Christ, knowing that, unless they do, there will be a final and eternal separation.” —

Lesson 3

Sabbath, October 16, 1999

Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 82, 83.

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The Thir d Angel’ s Message Str engthened

What historical pattern has always been ignored by the majority? Luke 20:16. What evidence shows that the prophesied shaking must be completed before the seal of God can be received?

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glor y of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1).

“The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous. . . . “The tares and wheat are now commingled, but then the one hand that alone can separate them will give to everyone his true position. . . . “The righteous are those who keep the commandments of God, and they will be forever separated from the disobedient and unrighteous who trampled underfoot the law of God. The pure ore and the dross will no longer commingle.” —Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 234–236. “The angel is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel will follow, to slay utterly both old and young.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 505. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

October 8

How is the experience of the Jewish leaders a warning to us?

b. What danger exists among all who are entrusted with great light? c.

What should be our attitude toward souls in Babylon and why?

d. Explain the timeless lesson to be learned from Romans 11:1–5. e.

Why is it that true conversion forbids unconditional church af filiation?

“In the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 417. ❑ Sunday

A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF PRESENT TRUTH

1

To what extent does our salvation depend on our belief and practice of present truth? 1 Corinthians 15:1, 2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (last part); 2 Peter 1:10–12.

“The truth and the glory of God are inseparable; it is impossible for us, with the Bible within our reach, to honor God by erroneous opinions. Many claim that it matters not what one believes, if his life is only right. But the life is molded by the faith. If light and truth is within our reach, and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.” —The Great Controversy, p. 597. “A belief in the theory of the truth is not enough. To present this theory to unbelievers does not constitute you a witness for Christ. The light that gladdened your heart when you first understood the message for this time, is an essential element in your experience and labors, and this has been lost out of your heart and life.” —Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 370, 371 (1890).

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FOR FUR THER STUDY

October 10

In view of what danger, and how, does Paul emphasize the importance of possessing the truth? Ephesians 6:11–18.

Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 265–271. Ibid., vol. 5, pp. 75–84.

“The doctrines must be plainly understood. The men accepted to preach the truth must be anchored; then their vessel will hold against storm and 14

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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tempest, because the anchor holds them firmly. The deceptions will increase, and we are to call rebellion by its right name. We are to stand with the whole armor on. In this conflict we do not meet men only, but principalities and powers. We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” —Selected Messages, book 2, p. 395. ❑ Monday

OBSTACLES TO BE MET

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October 11

What obstacles must be faced by the faithful remnant standing in defense of the threefold message? 2 Timothy 3:13; 4:3, 4.

“I was shown three steps–the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, ‘Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.’ ” —Early Writings, pp. 258, 259. “Satan is constantly seeking to cast a shadow about these messages, so that the people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time and place.” —Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 18.

4

What will happen to those who do not have the love of the truth? 2 Thessalonians 2:10–12. Against what danger must we stand on guard? Matthew 24:24 (last part).

“Satan hopes to involve the remnant people of God in the general ruin that is coming upon the earth. As the coming of Christ draws nigh, he will be more determined and decisive in his efforts to overthrow them. Men and women will arise professing to have some new light or some new revelation whose tendency is to unsettle faith in the old landmarks. Their doctrines will not bear the test of God’s work, yet souls will be deceived.” —

“Satan has devised a state of things whereby the proclamation of the third angel’s message shall be bound about. We must beware of his plans and methods. There must be no toning down of the truth, no muffling of the message for this time. The third angel’s message must be strengthened and confirmed. The eighteenth chapter of Revelation reveals the importance of presenting the truth in no measured terms but with boldness and power.” —Evangelism, p. 230. “We are in danger of giving the third angel’s message in so indefinite a manner that it does not impress the people. So many other interests are brought in that the very message which should be proclaimed with power becomes tame and voiceless.” —Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 60. “Another mighty angel [is] commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message.” —Early Writings, p. 277.

6

How is the third angel’s message to be strengthened by the coming of the other angel, and what is the result of his work? Isaiah 60:1, 2.

“The third angel’s message must go over the land, and awaken the people, and call their attention to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Another angel unites his voice with the third angel, and the earth is lighted with its glory. The light increases, and it shines out to all the nations of the earth. It is to go forth as a light that burneth. It will be attended with great power, until its golden beams have fallen upon every tongue, every people, and every nation upon the face of the whole earth. Let me ask you, What you are doing to prepare for this work? Are you building for eternity? You must remember that this angel represents the people that have this message to give to the world. Are you among that people?” —The Review and Herald, August 18, 1885. ❑ Wednesday

LEARNING LESSONS FROM PAST MISTAKES

October 13

Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 295 (1885).

❑ Tuesday

THE PROMISED HELP

5

October 12

7

Why did the Jews reject Christ, the expected Messiah? John 1:11; Luke 24:20, 21. In what sense should their mistake be a warning to us?

Why was it necessar y for God to send another angel to join the three angels of Revelation 14? Revelation 3:15–17; 18:1.

“The Jews were looking for the Messiah; but He did not come as they had predicted that He would, and if He were accepted as the Promised 16

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

17


One, their learned teachers would be forced to acknowledge that they had erred. These leaders had separated themselves from God, and Satan worked upon their minds to lead them to reject the Saviour. Rather than yield their pride of opinion, they closed their eyes to all the evidences of His Messiahship, and they not only rejected the message of salvation themselves, but they steeled the hearts of the people against Jesus. Their history should be a solemn warning to us. We need never expect that when the Lord has light for His people, Satan will stand calmly by and make no effort to prevent them from receiving it. He will work upon minds to excite distrust and jealousy and unbelief. Let us beware that we do not refuse the light God sends, because it does not come in a way to please us. Let not God’s blessing be turned away from us because we know not the time of our visitation.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 728 (1889). “Many look upon the great work to be accomplished for God’s people, and their prayers go up to Him for help in the great harvest. But, if help does not come in just the manner they expect, they will not receive it, but turn from it as the Jewish nation turned from Christ because disappointed in the manner of His appearing.” —Ibid., vol. 2, p. 142 (1868).

8

Show evidence that, in God’s plan, the door of opportunity is not open indefinitely. Isaiah 55:6. What great need has the Lord been urging upon the church especially since 1888? Acts 3:19.

“The rebuke of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way, that clearer light shall not come to the people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designs shall be done. The Lord has raised up messengers, and endued them with His Spirit, and has said, ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins’ (Isaiah 58:1). Let no one run the risk of interposing between the people and the message of Heaven.” —Gospel Workers, p. 304.

10

What divergence among the professed people of God is unavoidable? Why? Isaiah 55:8, 9.

“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, p. 300.

“Brethren, your own lamps will surely flicker and grow dim until they go out in darkness unless you make decided efforts to reform. ‘Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.’ The opportunity now presented may be short. If this season of grace and repentance passes unimproved, the warning is given: ‘I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place’ (Revelation 2:5). These words are uttered by the lips of the long-suffering, forbearing One. They are a solemn warning to churches and individuals that the Watcher who never slumbers is measuring their course of action.” — Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 612 (1889).

“Divisions will come in the church. Two parties will be developed. . . . All who are laborers together with God will contend most earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. They will not be turned from the present message, which is already lightening the earth with its glory.”—Selected Messages, book 2, p. 114 (1896). ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

TWO PAR TIES

9

October 14

What mistake of the Jews stands as a warning before believers in the threefold message in view of Revelation 18:1? Luke 11:52.

Why must our Bible-based doctrines be clearly understood?

b. Why is the true understanding of the threefold message of vital importance? c.

❑ Thursday

October 15

Why is the angel of Revelation 18 needed?

d. What lesson should we learn from the mistake of the Jews who rejected the Messiah? e.

What will surprise many about God’s closing work?

FOR FUR THER STUDY Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 294–297. Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 104–107; 115–118.

18

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

19


Lesson 4

Sabbath, October 23, 1999

2

What is the dif ference between the beginning and the fullness of the light of Revelation 18? Compare 1SM 363 (note above) with RH April 1, 1890 (note below). What is God’s method in sending light to His ser vants? Proverbs 4:18.

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

“As foretold in the eighteenth of Revelation, the third angel’s message is to be proclaimed with great power by those who give the final warning against the beast and his image.” —Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 118.

“[Revelation 18:1 quoted.] Brightness, glory, and power are to be connected with the third angel’s message, and conviction will follow wherever it is preached in demonstration of the Spirit. How will any of our brethren know when this light shall come to the people of God? As yet, we certainly have not seen the light that answers to this description. God has light for His people, and all who will accept it will see the sinfulness of remaining in a lukewarm condition; they will heed the counsel of the True Witness.” —The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. ❑ Monday

❑ Sunday

CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS REVEALED

1

October 18

October 17

How, through whom, and when did the light of the other angel begin to shine? Revelation 18:1.

“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones [1888]. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” —Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 91, 92. “The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” —Selected Messages, book 1, p. 363. 20

OBSTACLES TO BE OVERCOME

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

3

Since God sent the light of Revelation 18 (1888), on what condition can we see it and receive it? Hebrews 10:22.

“If we would receive the light of the glorious angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, let us see to it that our hearts are cleansed, emptied of self, and turned toward heaven, that they may be ready for the latter rain. Let us be obtaining a fitting up to join in the proclamation of the angel who shall lighten the earth with his glory.” —The Signs of the Times, August 1, 1892.

4

How hard will Satan tr y to hinder the work that is to be done for the church? On what condition can the faithful remnant stand clear in the eyes of God? Ezekiel 33:10–12.

“Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God. . . . They will proclaim the word of the Lord; they will lift up their voice like a trumpet. The truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands. They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.”— Testimonies to Ministers, p. 411. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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❑ Tuesday

A WORK OF REFORMATION

5

October 19

Besides Isaiah 58, what other prophecy inspired the messengers of 1888? Revelation 3:18.

“God has raised up men to meet the necessity of this time who will cry aloud and spare not, who will lift up their voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. Their work is not only to proclaim the law, but to preach the truth for this time— the Lord our righteousness.”—The Review and Herald, August 13, 1889. “We thank God that there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess—gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, eyesalve of spiritual discernment.”— Ibid., July 23, 1889.

“Will you not seek God most humbly, that you may give the Laodicean message with clear, distinct utterance? Where are God’s watchmen who will see the peril and give the warning? Be assured that there are messages to come from human lips under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. ‘Cry aloud, spare not, . . . show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, . . . as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God.’ ” —Testimonies

❑ Wednesday

DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG

7

8

What kind of “fast” does the Lord wish us to obser ve? Isaiah 58:6, 7; Matthew 25:34–40; James 1:27.

Describe the work that must be done in behalf of the believers in the threefold message before the world can be enlightened with the glor y of God. Isaiah 58:1.

“[Isaiah 58:1 quoted.] Though they are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him. Wonderful privileges and promises have been given to them, but they have betrayed their trust. With no words of flattery must the message be given them. ‘Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1149. [Author’s italics.] 22

Why is it that the worshipers mentioned in Isaiah 58:1–3 cannot readily see their problem? Isaiah 58:4, 5.

“These worshipers, while mourning and lamenting, retain all their objectionable traits of character. Their hearts are not humbled, nor cleansed from spiritual defilement. They have not received the softening showers of the grace of God. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit, destitute of the sweetness of the heavenly influence. They manifest no repentance, nor faith that works by love and purifies the soul. They are unjust and selfish in their dealings, mercilessly oppressing those whom they regard as their inferiors. Yet they charge God with a neglect to manifest His power to them, and exalt them above others because of their righteousness.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1150. “The inward work of grace is needed. Humiliation of soul is essential. God looks upon this. He will graciously receive those who will humble their hearts before Him. He will hear their petitions and heal their backslidings. “Ministers and people need the work of purification in their souls, that God’s judgments may be turned away from them. God is waiting, waiting for humiliation and repentance. He will receive all who will turn unto Him with their whole heart.” —Ibid., pp. 1150, 1151.

to Ministers, p. 296.

6

October 20

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“All around us are afflicted souls. Let us search out these suffering ones, and speak a word in season to comfort their hearts. Here and there—everywhere—we shall find them. Let us ever be channels through which may flow to them the refreshing waters of compassion. To those who minister to the necessities of the hungry and afflicted, the promise is, ‘ Then shall thy light rise in obscurity.’ “Many are in obscurity. They have lost their bearings. They know not what course to pursue. Let the perplexed ones search out others who are in perplexity, and speak to them words of hope and encouragement. When they begin to do this work, the light of heaven will reveal to them the path that they should follow. By their words of consolation to the afflicted they themselves will be consoled. By helping others, they themselves will be helped out of their difficulties.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1151. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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❑ Thursday

October 21

VISIBLE CHARACTERISTICS

Lesson 5

Sabbath, October 30, 1999

What are some characteristics of true reformers? Isaiah 58:9–14.

9

Our Gr eat Danger “Here [Isaiah 58:9–14] are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel’s message, those who avow themselves God’s commandment-keeping people, and who honor God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of paths to dwell in? It is God. Their names are registered in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1151.

“Not ever y one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

“Brethren, we must beware of the pretended holiness that permits transgression of the law of God. Those cannot be sanctified who trample that law under their feet, and judge themselves by a standard of their own devising.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1099. ❑ Sunday

10

What does the Lord promise to do in behalf of His remnant people when the fulfillment of the conditions mentioned in question 8 becomes a visible reality? Isaiah 58:8.

“As Christians we are to have a righteousness that shall be developed and seen—a righteousness that represents the character of Jesus Christ when He was in our world.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1151.

❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS

October 22

a. How did the angel of Revelation 18 begin his work?

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, A FAILURE

1

October 24

When Adam and Eve lost their spiritual garments, how did they tr y to cover their nakedness? Genesis 3:7. Since then, how have we all tended to cover our spiritual “nakedness”?

“Naked and ashamed, [our first parents] 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.” —Christ’s Object

b. On what conditions can we receive the light of this angel?

Lessons, p. 311.

c. How is the work of reformation described in Isaiah 58?

2

What has always been the attitude of the majority of professed believers toward sin, and why? Matthew 15:8; Proverbs 14:9.

d. How can we bring consolation to many souls in these last days? e. Name some qualities of God’s true reformers.

FOR FUR THER STUDY The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, pp. 1148–1152. Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 404–415. 24

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Professors of religion are not willing to closely examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith; and it is a fearful fact that many are leaning on a false hope. Some lean upon an old experience which they had years Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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ago; but when brought down to this heart-searching time, when all should have a daily experience, they have nothing to relate. They seem to think that a profession of the truth will save them. When they subdue those sins which God hates, Jesus will come in and sup with them and they with Him. They will then draw divine strength from Jesus, and will grow up in Him.”

❑ Tuesday ISRAEL MEETS A STUMBLING BLOCK

5

October 26

Explain why and how the Jewish nation claimed to be following after God’s righteousness while, in reality, they were turning away from it. Romans 9:31, 32; 10:3.

—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 188.

❑ Monday

GOD ABHORS SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS

3

October 25

How does Paul’s attitude, before his conversion, reflect the position of professed believers? Philippians 3:6. Describe a self-righteous Pharisee. Luke 18:11, 12.

“The Pharisee goes up to the temple to worship, not because he feels that he is a sinner in need of pardon, but because he thinks himself righteous and hopes to win commendation. His worship he regards as an act of merit that will recommend him to God. At the same time it will give the people a high opinion of his piety. He hopes to secure favor with both God and man. His worship is prompted by self-interest. “And he is full of self-praise. He looks it, he walks it, he prays it. Drawing apart from others as if to say, ‘Come not near to me; for I am holier than thou’ (Isaiah 65:5), he stands and prays ‘with himself.’ Wholly selfsatisfied, he thinks that God and men regard him with the same complacency.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 150.

4

How does Christ illustrate self-righteousness in the parable of the garnished house? Matthew 12:43–45.

“The garnished house represents the self-righteous soul. Satan is driven out by Christ. But he returns, in the hope of finding entrance. He finds the house empty, swept, and garnished. Only self-righteousness is abiding there. ‘Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first’ (Matthew 12:45). Self-righteousness is a curse, a human embellishment, which Satan uses for his glory. Those who garnish the soul with self-praise and flattery, prepare the way for the seven other spirits more wicked than the first. In their very reception of the truth these souls deceive themselves. They are building upon a foundation of self-righteousness.” —The Review and Herald, December 12, 1899. 26

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“Israel had not perceived the spiritual nature of the law, and too often their professed obedience was but an observance of forms and ceremonies, rather than a surrender of the heart to the sovereignty of love. As Jesus in His character and work represented to men the holy, benevolent, and paternal attributes of God, and presented the worthlessness of mere ceremonial obedience, the Jewish leaders did not receive or understand His words. They thought that He dwelt too lightly upon the requirements of the law; and when He set before them the very truths that were the soul of their divinely appointed service, they, looking only at the external, accused Him of seeking to overthrow it.” —Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 46.

6

Since the Jewish people failed to receive God’s righteousness, what loss did they suf fer? Matthew 21:43. Nevertheless, how have some Jews been blessed? Isaiah 10:21.

“Notwithstanding the awful doom pronounced upon the Jews as a nation at the time of their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth, there have lived from age to age many noble, God-fearing Jewish men and women who have suffered in silence. God has comforted their hearts in affliction and has beheld with pity their terrible situation. He has heard the agonizing prayers of those who have sought Him with all the heart for a right understanding of His word. Some have learned to see in the lowly Nazarene whom their forefathers rejected and crucified, the true Messiah of Israel. As their minds have grasped the significance of the familiar prophecies so long obscured by tradition and misinterpretation, their hearts have been filled with gratitude to God for the unspeakable gift He bestows upon every human being who chooses to accept Christ as a personal Saviour.” —The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 379, 380. ❑ Wednesday

WITHOUT THE WEDDING GARMENT

7

October 27

In the parable of the wedding garment (Matthew 22:11), what is meant by the sentence “the king came in to see the guests”? 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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“By the king’s examination of the guests at the feast is represented a work of judgment. The guests at the gospel feast are those who profess to serve God, those whose names are written in the book of life. But not all who profess to be Christians are true disciples. Before the final reward is given, it must be decided who are fitted to share the inheritance of the righteous.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 310. “Many who profess to be Christians are such only in name. They are not converted. They keep self prominent. They do not sit at the feet of Jesus, as Mary did, to learn of Him. They are not ready for Christ’s coming.” —Selected Messages, book 1, p. 80.

8

What sentence was pronounced on the man without the wedding garment? Matthew 22:12, 13. What is the only means by which salvation is possible?

“It is not enough for us to believe that Jesus is not an impostor, and that the religion of the Bible is no cunningly devised fable. We may believe that the name of Jesus is the only name under heaven whereby man may be saved, and yet we may not through faith make Him our personal Saviour. It is not enough to believe the theory of truth. It is not enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312. “It is impossible for man to save himself. He may deceive himself in regard to this matter, but he cannot save himself. Christ’s righteousness alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God. This is the wedding garment in which you may appear as a welcome guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let faith take hold of Christ without delay, and you will be a new creature in Jesus, a light to the world.” —Selected Messages,

true repentance for sin. They do not realize their need of Christ or exercise faith in Him. They have not overcome their hereditary or cultivated tendencies to wrongdoing. Yet they think that they are good enough in themselves, and they rest upon their own merits instead of trusting in Christ. Hearers of the word, they come to the banquet, but they have not put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 315.

10

What essential principle has not been understood by these people? Matthew 7:21; James 2:22–24. If, in searching our individual hearts, we find ourselves in this condition, what is our only hope?

“Many who call themselves Christians are mere human moralists. They have refused the gift which alone could enable them to honor Christ by representing Him to the world. The work of the Holy Spirit is to them a strange work. They are not doers of the word. The heavenly principles that distinguish those who are one with Christ from those who are one with the world have become almost indistinguishable. The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. The line of demarcation is indistinct. The people are subordinating themselves to the world, to its practices, its customs, its selfishness.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 315, 316.

“We have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. We have no ground for self-exaltation. Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us.” —Steps to Christ, p. 63. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS

October 29

book 1, p. 331.

a.

In what sense may we be guilty of “sewing together fig leaves”?

❑ Thursday

HUMAN MORALISTS

9

October 28

What class of believers does the man without the wedding garment represent? Titus 1:16; Ezekiel 33:31.

b. What lesson must we—like the apostle Paul—make sure to learn? c.

How may we be in danger of repeating the mistake of the Jews?

d. What should we learn from the parable of the wedding garment? e.

What only gift will enable us to represent Christ before the world?

“The man who came to the feast without a wedding garment represents the condition of many in our world today. They profess to be Christians, and lay claim to the blessings and privileges of the gospel; yet they feel no need of a transformation of character. They have never felt

FOR FUR THER STUDY

28

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 307–319. My Life Today, p. 311. 29


Sabbath, November 6, 1999

Lesson 6

First Sabbath Offering

1888 and the Message to Laodicea

Literature for Needy Countries

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). “God works by means of instruments, or second causes. He uses the gospel ministry, medical missionary work, and the publications containing present truth to impress hearts. All are made effectual by means of faith. As the truth is heard or read, the Holy Spirit sends it home to those who hear and read with an earnest desire to know what is right.”—Evangelism, p. 547. “Papers and books are the Lord’s means of keeping the message for this time continually before the people. In enlightening and confirming souls in the truth, the publications will do a far greater work than can be accomplished by the ministry of the word alone. The silent messengers that are placed in the homes of the people through the work of the canvasser, will strengthen the gospel ministry in every way; for the Holy Spirit will impress minds as they read the books, just as He impresses the minds of those who listen to the preaching of the word.”—Christian Service, p. 145. “We are not doing our duty in the gratuitous circulation of small publications. There are many honest souls who might be brought to embrace the truth by this means alone.”—The Publishing Ministry, p. 374. “The efforts made to get the truth before the people are not half as thorough and extensive as they should be. Not a fiftieth part is now being done to extend the truth that might be done by scattering publications and bringing within the sound of the truth all that can be induced to come.”— Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 655.

“Our publications should be printed in different languages and sent to every civilized country, at any cost. What is the value of money at this time, in comparison with the value of souls? Every dollar of our means should be considered as the Lord’s, not ours; and as a precious trust from God to us; not to be wasted for needless indulgences, but carefully used in the cause of God, in the work of saving men and women from ruin.”—Life Sketches, p. 214. Dear brethren, sisters, and friends, in light of these inspired statements, please remember the urgent need of means to spread the light of present truth to souls starving for the bread of life in poor countries around the world. When the First Sabbath Offering is gathered on November 6, 1999, let us stretch forth our hands with open hearts for this timely work. May the Lord bless each gift and giver!

Sabbath, November 6, 1999

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot” (Revelation 3:15).

“A profession of faith and the possession of truth in the soul are two different things. The mere knowledge of truth is not enough.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 97.

❑ Sunday

A LIFE-OR-DEATH ISSUE

1

October 31

What condition did Jones and Waggoner point out in their 1888 message to those living in the Laodicean period? Revelation 3:14, 15.

“The message of the True Witness reveals the fact that a terrible deception is upon our people, which makes it necessary to come to them with warnings, to break their spiritual slumber, and arouse them to decided action.” —Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 254. “The message given us by A. T. Jones, and E. J. Waggoner is the message of God to the Laodicean church, and woe be unto anyone who professes to believe the truth and yet does not reflect to others the God-given rays.” —The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1052. “Take this message in all its phases and sound it forth to the people wherever Providence opens the way. Justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ are the themes to be presented to a perishing world.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments] vol. 7, p. 964.

2

Define one of the main problems which those in the Laodicean period have had to face, in spite of the promised help that came through the message of 1888. James 4:4.

Davi Paes Silva, GC secretary 30

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

31


“The message to the church of the Laodiceans applies especially to the people of God today [1903]. It is a message to professing Christians who have become so much like the world that no difference can be seen.” —The Review and Herald, August 20, 1903.

❑ Tuesday

A LUKEWARM MAJORITY

5

November 2

Why is there more hope for those who are “cold” than for those who are “lukewarm”? Give an example. Luke 18:10–14.

❑ Monday

November 1

WHAT IS “HOT”/WHAT IS “COLD”?

3

How does Paul describe a congregation full of zeal? 2 Corinthians 7:11; 9:2. What is the great need of lukewarm believers?

“The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God’s people the light of the world.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 961.

“Brethren and sisters, I entreat you to ‘examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.’ To maintain the warmth and purity of Christian love requires a constant supply of the grace of Christ. Have you employed every means that your ‘love may abound yet more and more,’ ‘that ye may approve things that are excellent,’ and be filled with the fruits of righteousness ‘which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God’?” —Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 103, 104.

4

How may the most common form of “coldness” creep into the church? 1 Timothy 5:12.

“To those who do not practice it, the Word of God is a dead letter. Christ says of such, ‘I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth’ (Revelation 3:16). He cannot present their case to the Father. If they realized that they were sinners, He could plead in their behalf, and the Lord would arouse them by His Holy Spirit. But they are worse than dead in trespasses and sins. They hear the Word, but make no application of it to themselves; instead, they apply the Word spoken to their neighbors.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 963.

6

Why is it even more dangerous to be “lukewarm” than to be “cold”? Matthew 13:13–15; Romans 2:24.

“It would be more pleasing to the Lord if lukewarm professors of religion had never named His name. They are a continual weight to those who would be faithful followers of Jesus. They are a stumbling block to unbelievers, and evil angels exult over them, and taunt the angels of God with their crooked course. Such are a curse to the cause at home or abroad. They draw nigh to God with their lips, while their heart is far from Him.”

“The atmosphere of the church is so frigid, its spirit is of such an order, that men and women cannot sustain or endure the example of primitive and heaven-born piety. The warmth of their first love is frozen up, and unless they are watered over by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, their candlestick will be removed out of its place, except they repent and do their first works. The first works of the church were seen when the believers sought out friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and with hearts overflowing with love told the story of what Jesus was to them and what they were to Jesus. Oh, that the Lord would awaken those who are in responsible positions, lest they undertake to do work, relying upon their own smartness. The work that comes forth from their hands will lack the mold and superscription of Christ.” —Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 167, 168.

“Halfhearted Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 963. “What greater delusion can deceive the human mind than that in which individuals flatter themselves that they have the truth, that they are on the only sure foundation, and that God accepts their works because they are actively engaged in some work in the cause of God, when they are sinning against Him by walking contrary to the expressed will of God?” —

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—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 188.

Testimonies to Ministers, p. 451. 33


❑ Wednesday

SELF-DECEPTION POINTED OUT

November 3

“The church was defective and in need of stern reproof and chastisement, and John was inspired to record messages of warning and reproof.” —The Acts of the Apostles, p. 587.

7

What do professed and deceived believers in Laodicea say through their actions? Revelation 3:17 (first part).

“The people to whom God has entrusted the sacred, solemn, testing truths for this time are sleeping at their post. They say by their actions: We have the truth; we are ‘rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;’ while the True Witness declares: Thou ‘knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked’ (Revelation 3:17). “With what fidelity do these words portray the present condition of the church: ‘Knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ ” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 101 (1882). [Author’s italics.]

8

How may the attitude of believers in the Laodicean period parallel the position of the Jews in Christ’s day? Matthew 11:20–24; 13:15; Revelation 3:17 (last part).

“Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” —The Review and Herald, August 1, 1893 [E. G. White’s bracketed comments]. “It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who have been privileged with the clear light, and have had a vast amount of labor, but have not profited by it. They have neglected the great salvation which God in mercy was willing to bestow. They were so blinded by the devil that they verily thought themselves rich and in the favor of God, when the True Witness declares them to be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” —Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 488, 489.

“There have ever been two classes among those who profess to be followers of Christ. While one class study the Saviour’s life and earnestly seek to correct their defects and conform to the Pattern, the other class shun the plain, practical truths which expose their errors. Even in her best estate the church was not composed wholly of the true, pure, and sincere.” —The Great Controversy, p. 43.

“The church of Christ on earth will be imperfect, but God does not destroy His church because of its imperfection.” —Testimonies to Ministers, p. 46.

10

“The church is composed of imperfect, erring men and women, who call for the continual exercise of charity and forbearance. But there has been a long period of general lukewarmness; a worldly spirit coming into the church has been followed by alienation, faultfinding, malice, strife, and iniquity.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 104. “[Revelation 3:16 quoted.] The figure of spewing out of His mouth means that He cannot offer up your prayers or your expressions of love to God. He cannot endorse your teaching of His word or your spiritual work in anywise. He cannot present your religious exercises with the request that grace be given you.” —Ibid., vol. 6, p. 408. “We are coworkers with Christ, or coworkers with the enemy. We either gather with Christ or scatter abroad. We are decided, wholehearted Christians, or none at all. [Revelation 3:16 quoted.]” —Ibid., vol. 1, p. 126. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

TWO DIFFERENT SITUATIONS

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November 4

What was the condition of the church militant even in her best days? Revelation 2:1–4.

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

November 5

How is the message of 1888 applicable to us in 1999?

b. What is indicated by the spiritual “temperature check” that we should perform individually on ourselves, and why must we do this? c.

❑ Thursday

How does the Spirit of Prophecy teach that a lukewarm state is dif ferent from a state of imperfection? What must happen if we, as SDAs, remain in the Laodicean condition? Revelation 3:16.

Name some ways in which lukewarmness manifests itself.

d. What attitude of the Jews in Christ’s day must we carefully avoid? e.

Why does Christ “spew out” the majority, and what does this mean?

FOR FUR THER STUDY Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 252–260. Ibid., vol. 5, pp. 98–105. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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Lesson 7

Sabbath, November 13, 1999

The Purpose of the Laodicean Message

❑ Monday

THE NEGATIVE REACTION

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

“The refreshing or power of God comes only on those who have prepared themselves for it by doing the work which God bids them, namely, cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” —Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 619. ❑ Sunday

THE DISEASE AND THE REMEDY

1

November 7

Explain what is meant by the Laodicean poverty, wretchedness, and nakedness. Revelation 3:17 (compare Lamentations 1:8; Isaiah 64:6).

“What is the shame of this nakedness and poverty? It is the shame of clothing ourselves with self-righteousness, and of separating ourselves from God, when He has made ample provision for all to receive His blessing.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 965. “What is it that constitutes the wretchedness, the nakedness of those who feel rich and increased with goods?—It is the want of the righteousness of Christ. In their own righteousness they are represented as clothed with filthy rags, and yet in this condition they flatter themselves that they are clothed upon with Christ’s righteousness. Could deception be greater?” —The Review and Herald, August 7, 1894.

2

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“The gold that Jesus would have us buy of Him is gold tried in the fire; it is the gold of faith and love, that has no defiling substance mingled with it. The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment which Christ alone can give. The eyesalve is the true spiritual discernment that is so wanting among us, for spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 965.

What does Christ of fer us in order to heal our spiritual disease and restore our relationship with God? Revelation 3:18.

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3

November 8

How was the message of Christ’s righteousness received in 1888? What example of unwillingness was repeated? John 7:48; 2 Timothy 3:5, 7.

“An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren [E. J.] Waggoner and [A.T.] Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world.” —Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 235. “I wish to plead with our brethren who shall assemble at the General Conference to heed the message given to the Laodiceans. What a condition of blindness is theirs! This subject [the message of 1888] has been brought to your notice again and again, but your dissatisfaction with your spiritual condition has not been deep and painful enough to work reform. [Revelation 3:17 quoted.] The guilt of self-deception is upon our churches. The religious life of many is a lie.” —Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, p. 108 (1892).

4

Why is the counsel of the True Witness often rejected by believers in the threefold message? Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:19, 20.

“Very many feel impatient and jealous because they are frequently disturbed with warnings and reproofs which keep their sins before them. Says the True Witness: ‘I know thy works’ (Revelation 3:15). The motives, the purposes, the unbelief, the suspicions and jealousies may be hid from men, but not from Christ.” —Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 256. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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“The people slumber on in their sins. They continue to declare themselves rich and having need of nothing. Many inquire: Why are all these reproofs given? Why do the Testimonies continually charge us with backsliding and with grievous sins? We love the truth; we are prospering; we are in no need of these testimonies of warning and reproof. But let these murmurers see their hearts and compare their lives with the practical teachings of the Bible, let them humble their souls before God, let the grace of God illuminate the darkness, and the scales will fall from their eyes, and they will realize their true spiritual poverty and wretchedness.”—Ibid., p. 254. ❑ Tuesday

THE POSITIVE REACTION

5

❑ Wednesday

REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION

November 10

November 9

What is the Laodicean message designed to accomplish among those who accept it? Acts 3:19.

“[The message to the Laodiceans] is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel.” —Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 186. “Here are ‘the times of refreshing’ to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said, ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out [in the investigative Judgment], when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus.’ ” —The Great Controversy, p. 611 (1888 edition).

6

idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. . . . If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: ‘ They are joined to their idols, let them alone,’ and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 187.

How does God lead, step by step, those who accept the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans? Revelation 3:20.

7

What is our most urgent need? Hosea 12:6; Revelation 3:19; Psalm 51:10–13. What is repentance and what is conversion? What is the work of the Holy Spirit?

“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin.”— Steps to Christ, p. 39. “When a man is filled with the Spirit, the more severely he is tested and tried, the more clearly he proves that he is a representative of Christ. The peace that dwells in the soul is seen on the countenance. The words and actions express the love of the Saviour. There is no striving for the highest place. Self is renounced. The name of Jesus is written on all that is said and done.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1117.

8

How does Christ teach that, without repentance and conversion, there is no hope for us? Luke 13:5; Matthew 18:3; John 3:3. What is the dif ference between revival and reformation?

“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: ‘God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people.’ Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished

“A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.”—Selected Messages, book 1, p. 128.

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❑ Thursday

PREPARATION FOR THE LATTER RAIN

November 11

Lesson 8

What work should be seen among us before the latter rain is poured out and before the judgments of God (the seven last plagues) begin to fall upon the earth? Joel 2:12, 13, 15–17.

9

“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word.” —The Great Controversy, p. 464.

10

What will be the evidence that our repentance and conversion are accepted? Joel 2:28.

The White Raiment “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:8).

“The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment which Christ alone can give.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], p. 965.

❑ Sunday

THE GARMENT OF CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS

1 “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 214. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

November 12

Why does Revelation 3:17, 18 apply to two classes of Laodicean believers?

b. What must we realize before the 1888 message may bring a reformation? c.

Sabbath, November 20, 1999

November 14

What is Christ’s righteousness and how can we obtain it? Revelation 3:18.

“The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct . . . [through] the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” —The Desire of Ages. pp. 555. 556. “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, p. 311.

2

Where, when, and how did Christ prepare the white raiment for His followers? Hebrews 2:14–18.

What step-by-step process takes place in the converted soul?

d. Explain what is meant by revival and by reformation. e.

What is necessar y for us to receive the latter rain?

FOR FUR THER STUDY Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 260–272. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 352–381. 40

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. . . . By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 311, 312. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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❑ Monday

THE PRICE PAID FOR THE GARMENT

3

November 15

What did Christ in His human nature make available to us, and how? Romans 5:19; 1 Peter 2:24.

“Christ took upon Himself humanity for us. He clothed His divinity, and divinity and humanity were combined. He showed that that law which Satan declared could not be kept, could be kept. Christ took humanity to stand here in our world, to show that Satan had lied. He took humanity upon Himself to demonstrate that with divinity and humanity combined, man could keep the law of Jehovah.” —Faith and Works, p. 71.

4

How can we show our gratitude to Christ for the white raiment? 1 Peter 1:18–23; Revelation 7:14.

“Notwithstanding our unworthiness, we are to remember that there is One who can take away sin, and who is willing and anxious to save the sinner. With His own blood He paid the penalty for all wrongdoers. Every sin acknowledged before God with a contrite heart, He will remove.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 970.

❑ Tuesday

JUSTIFICATION: RIGHTEOUSNESS IMPUTED

November 16

“Knowing himself to be a sinner, a transgressor of the holy law of God, he looks to the perfect obedience of Christ, to His death upon Calvary for the sins of the world; and he has the assurance that he is justified by faith in the merit and sacrifice of Christ. He realizes that the law was obeyed in his behalf by the Son of God, and that the penalty of transgression cannot fall upon the believing sinner. The active obedience of Christ clothes the believing sinner with the righteousness that meets the demands of the law.” —Sons and Daughters of God, p. 240.

6

On what condition can we be justified? Romans 5:1; 6:6–8; 1 John 1:9. What is the relationship between faith and obedience? Romans 3:31; 2:13; Galatians 5:6 (compare 1 John 5:3).

“In order to obtain the righteousness of Christ, it is necessary for the sinner to know what that repentance is which works a radical change of mind and spirit and action.” —Selected Messages, book 1, p. 393. “Christ imputes His perfection and righteousness to the believing sinner when he does not continue in sin, but turns from transgression to obedience of the commandments.” —The Review and Herald, May 23, 1899. “But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” —Selected Messages, book 1, p. 366. ❑ Wednesday

5

How can the sinner obtain the white raiment through justification? Romans 5:16–18; Zechariah 3:3, 4.

SANCTIFICATION: RIGHTEOUSNESS IMPAR TED

7

November 17

How do justification and sanctification work together, and what is the result? John 17:17; Philippians 2:12–15.

“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. . . . 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.” —Testimonies to Ministers, p. 40.

“Justification means pardon. It means that the heart, purged from dead works, is prepared to receive the blessing of sanctification. God has told us what we must do to receive this blessing. [Philippians 2:12–15 quoted.]” —The Signs of the Times, December 17, 1902. “To the church it is given ‘that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,’ ‘not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing’ (Ephesians 5:27). The fine linen, says the Scripture, ‘is the righteousness of saints’ (Revelation 19:8). It is the righteousness of Christ, His own

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unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 310. “The white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience.” —Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 88.

8

Explain the work of sanctification and prove that it is a necessar y step on our way to the kingdom of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 12:14.

“Sanctification means habitual communion with God.” —The SDA Bible

“Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness. The truth is to be planted in the heart. It is to control the mind and regulate the affections. The whole character must be stamped with the divine utterances. Every jot and tittle of the word of God is to be brought into the daily practice. “He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with God’s great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men. This will be the test of character in the judgment.” —Ibid., pp. 313, 314. “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” —Ibid., p. 69.

10

What will be the fate of those who neglect to obtain the garment of Christ’s righteousness? Matthew 7:23.

Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 908.

“True sanctification will be evidenced by a conscientious regard for all the commandments of God, by a careful improvement of every talent, by a circumspect conversation, by revealing in every act the meekness of Christ.” —Ibid. “Obedience to the law of God is sanctification. There are many who have erroneous ideas in regard to this work in the soul, but Jesus prayed that His disciples might be sanctified through the truth, and added, ‘ Thy word is truth’ (John 17:17). Sanctification is not an instantaneous but a progressive work, as obedience is continuous. Just as long as Satan urges his temptations upon us, the battle for self-conquest will have to be fought over and over again; but by obedience, the truth will sanctify the soul. Those who are loyal to the truth will, through the merits of Christ, overcome all weakness of character that has led them to be molded by every varying circumstance of life.” —Faith and Works, p. 85. ❑ Thursday

TWO POSSIBILITIES BEFORE EVERY BELIEVER

9

“Only those who are clothed in the garments of His righteousness will be able to endure the glory of His presence when He shall appear with ‘power and great glory.’ ” —The Review and Herald, July 9, 1908. “O, that we would remember that it is court week with us, and that our cases are pending! Now is the time to watch and pray, to put away all selfindulgence, all pride, all selfishness. The precious moments that are now by many worse than wasted should be spent in meditation and prayer. Many of those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God are following inclination instead of duty. As they are now, they are unworthy of eternal life. . . . “On Christ’s coronation day He will not acknowledge as His any who bear spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But to His faithful ones He will give crowns of immortal glory.” —Ibid., November 24, 1904.

November 18

How is the righteousness of Christ implanted into our character? Galatians 2:20; Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:26–29. What will happen when the character of Christ is perfectly reproduced in His people?

❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312. 44

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

What is the “white raiment” that Christ of fers to His people?

b. Why is Christ’s life as important to us as His death? c.

“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.” —

November 19

How would you explain justification to someone who has never understood it?

d. Why is sanctification so essential to our salvation? e.

Describe the choice that is before each one of us.

FOR FUR THER STUDY Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 377–388. The Sanctified Life, pp. 7–17. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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Lesson 9

Sabbath, November 27, 1999

Pr eparing for the Latter Rain

❑ Monday

A LESSON FROM THE EARLY DISCIPLES

3

November 22

What work did the disciples have to do before receiving the early rain? Acts 1:13, 14. What work was their great burden? Mark 16:20.

“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

“It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now.” —Testimonies to Ministers, p. 507. ❑ Sunday

November 21

WHY SUCH A DELAY?

1

Why did Israel have to wander forty years in the wilderness on their way to Canaan? Hebrews 3:12–19. How are believers in the threefold message delaying the coming of Christ?

“The first disciples went forth preaching the word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, ‘confirming the word with signs following’ (Mark 16:20). These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ’s promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.” —The Desire of Ages, p. 827.

4 “It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” —Evangelism, p. 696. “If the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His Word, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan.” —Ibid., p. 694.

“Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.” —Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 450.

2

In what sense has there been a delay also on the part of the Lord? 2 Peter 3:9.

“God’s unwillingness to have His people perish has been the reason for so long delay.” —Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 194. “God is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish; but His forbearance has a limit, and when the boundary is past, there is no second probation. His wrath will go forth and He will destroy without remedy.” —

How will their experience be repeated in our days? Acts 1:4, 8.

“The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of worldwide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. The advent movement of 1840-44 was a glorious manifestation of the power of God; the first angel’s message was carried to every missionary station in the world, and in some countries there was the greatest religious interest which has been witnessed in any land since the Reformation of the sixteenth century; but these are to be exceeded by the mighty movement under the last warning of the third angel. “The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the ‘former rain’ was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the ‘latter rain’ will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest.” —The Great Controversy, p. 611.

The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 946.

“Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come.” —The Desire of Ages, p. 827.

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❑ Tuesday

WALKING IN THE LIGHT

5

November 23

What promise is ver y precious to those who accept the light of Revelation 18? Psalm 97:11; Ephesians 5:14. How is the third angel’s message strengthened by the coming of that other angel?

that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me’ (John 17:21). The love of Christ, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry.” —Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 401. ❑ Wednesday

CLEARING THE WAY

“The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet.” —Early Writings, p. 277. “It is now that we must keep ourselves and our children unspotted from the world. It is now that we must wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is now that we must overcome pride, passion, and spiritual slothfulness. It is now that we must awake and make determined effort for symmetry of character. ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’ ” —Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 215, 216 (1882).

6

How will the message carried by the faithful remnant swell into a loud cr y? Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:4–8.

7

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How can believers in the threefold message hasten the latter rain and also the coming of the Lord? 2 Peter 3:11, 12, 14.

“The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church is looked forward to as in the future; but it is the privilege of the church to have it now. Seek for it, pray for it, believe for it. We must have it, and Heaven is waiting to bestow it.” —Evangelism, p. 701. “It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” —Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 22.

8 “Only a few will receive the testimony of truth, for every influence that Satan can bring to bear against the reception of the truth of God will be employed. . . . “The question of most vital importance for this time is, ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will unite with the angel in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?’ Those who cherish the light that they have, will receive more. Increasing light will shine about the souls who yield to the softening, subduing grace of Christ; and those who love the light, will be saved from the delusions of Satan.” —The Review and Herald, November 5, 1889. “Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front. In view of the common peril, strife for supremacy will cease; there will be no disputing as to who shall be accounted greatest. . . . “Thus will the truth be brought into practical life, and thus will be answered the prayer of Christ, uttered just before His humiliation and death: ‘That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee,

November 24

What should be the first step to clear the way for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Hosea 6:1–3.

“When we bring our hearts into unity with Christ, and our lives into harmony with His work, the Spirit that fell on the disciples on the day of Pentecost will fall on us.” —Evangelism, pp. 697, 698. ❑ Thursday

OUR PRESENT DUTY

9

November 25

What could have happened already in 1892 if the message of Revelation 18 had been accepted? What is our present duty? Romans 13:11–14.

“The third angel’s message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. . . . Today you are to have your vessel purified, that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement.” —Evangelism, pp. 701, 702 (1892).

10

How are we to yield to and cooperate with the Holy Spirit? James 4:7–10; John 12:35.

“It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord—fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. . . . “Instead of living in expectation of some special season of excitement, we are wisely to improve present opportunities, doing that which must be done in order that souls may be saved. Instead of exhausting the powers of our mind in speculations in regard to the times and seasons which the Lord has placed in His own power, and withheld from men, we are to yield ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit, to do present duties, to give the bread of life, unadulterated with human opinions, to souls who are perishing for the truth.” —Evangelism, p. 702. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

November 26

Explain the reasons for the delaying of Christ’s second coming.

b. How should the disciples’ preparation for the early rain inspire our readiness for the latter rain? c.

What characteristics qualify the faithful remnant to receive the latter rain?

d. How can we either hasten or delay the coming of Christ? e.

Whereupon should our ef forts be centered in this time of preparation?

FOR FUR THER STUDY Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 14–23. The Review and Herald, March 22 and 29, 1892.

Sabbath, December 4, 1999

First Sabbath Offering for a chapel and headquarters in Panama

Panama is a republic situated in the isthmus linking South America with Central and North America. The country, which is bisected by the Panama Canal, is bordered by Colombia, the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean Sea. Its total land area is 29,762 square miles (77,082 square kilometers). Panama is traversed lengthwise by two mountain systems, which enclose fertile, well-drained valleys and plains. The mountain ranges are watersheds for literally hundreds of rivers. Natural resources are not extensively developed; vast forest reserves are practically untouched due to a lack of transportation. Agricultural products include bananas, plantains, sugarcane, rice, maize, and coffee. Fishing is a leading industry. Among the 2,500,000 inhabitants, 84% are Roman Catholics. Other religions are also permitted freedom of worship. The message of the SDA Reform Movement arrived in Panama in 1994 through the colporteur ministry. While we have a good number of interested friends, we do not have a place of worship. In order for the message to make a significant impact and rightly represent the stability and character of God’s work, a chapel and headquarters are needed in this area. A plot of land has been secured for this purpose outside of Panama City. We now have the land and our desire to build has increased, but the lack of finances is hindering the progress of this project. We thank all those who generously gave to this project through the offering gathered on August 1, 1998. Because the amount needed to build was not raised at that time, this appeal is being repeated again. We trust that with prayer, God’s blessing, and your additional support, the goal for a chapel and headquarters in Panama can yet be achieved. When the First Sabbath Offering is gathered on December 4, 1999, please give sacrificially so that this monument to the Lord NICARAGUA Caribbean Sea can be raised up in this corner of His vineyard. Thank you very much, and may the COSTA RICA Panamá Lord bless you all! PANAMA

Your brethren from Panama

COLOMBIA Pacific Ocean

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Lesson 10

Sabbath, December 4, 1999

That Other Angel and the Loud Cr y

hardihood. In defiance of the warnings which God has given, they will continue to trample upon one of the precepts of the Decalogue, until they are led to persecute those who hold it sacred. Christ is set at nought in the contempt placed upon His word and His people.” —The Great Controversy, p. 603. ❑ Monday “ALL WILL BE UNMASKED”

3

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

“The light that was shed upon the waiting ones penetrated everywhere, and those in the churches who had any light, who had not heard and rejected the three messages, obeyed the call and left the fallen churches.” —Early Writings, p. 278. ❑ Sunday

THE SITUATION OF THE CHURCHES

1

November 28

What condition is prevalent in the churches before the close of probation? Revelation 18:2.

“This scripture [Revelation 18:1, 2] points forward to a time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14 (verse 8), is to be repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844.” —The Great Controversy, p. 603. “[Revelation 18:1–5 quoted.] Thus the substance of the second angel’s message is again given to the world by that other angel who lightens the earth with his glory. These messages all blend in one, to come before the people in the closing days of this earth’s history.” —Selected Messages, book 2, p. 116.

2

How does prophecy depict the state of the churches in these last days? Isaiah 4:1; Revelation 17:5; 18:5.

November 29

Besides the present work for the church, what other work— especially under the latter rain—must the angel of Revelation 18 do for those who are still in darkness? Revelation 18:4.

“God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments these faithful ones must be called out, that they partake not of her sins and ‘receive not of her plagues’ (Revelation 18:4). Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: ‘Come out of her, My people.’ ” —The Great Controversy, p. 604.

4

What evils will be unmasked under the work of that other angel? What crime of Babylon will then be revealed? Revelation 18:3, 24.

“As the time comes for the loud cry to be given, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. . . . Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of a union of church and state, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked.” —The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 424. ❑ Tuesday

SIGNS AND WONDERS

5

November 30

What signs attended the work of the early disciples and will again be revealed in the last phase of the closing work? Mark 16:17, 18, 20.

“With every rejection of truth the minds of the people will become darker, their hearts more stubborn, until they are entrenched in an infidel 52

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“Many were praising God. The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought. A spirit of intercession was seen, even as was manifested before the great Day of Pentecost. Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families and opening before them the word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.” —Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 126. “Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers.” —The Great Controversy, p. 612.

6

❑ Wednesday

FAITHFUL SERVANTS

December 1

What kind of men will go from door to door in the time of the loud cr y? James 2:5; 1 Corinthians 1:26–28.

“The Lord says, I will take illiterate men, obscure men, and move upon them by My Spirit to carry out My purposes in the work of saving souls. The last message of mercy will be given by a people who love and fear Me. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit’ (Zechariah 4:6). We should give willing, devoted men every possible encouragement to go forward and in their humble way reveal their loyalty to principle and their integrity to God. Let them visit the people at their homes, and talk and pray with the unwarned regarding the soon-coming Saviour. Let them take a personal interest in those whom they meet. Christ took a personal interest in men and women while He lived on this earth. He was a true missionary everywhere He went. His followers are to go about doing good, even as He did. By personal efforts to meet the people where they are, coarse and 54

8

Under what circumstances will the faithful ser vants of God give the final warning? Matthew 24:12; Luke 6:22.

What signs will also be wrought by the power of Satan? Matthew 24:24.

“Satan also works, with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.” —The Great Controversy, p. 612.

7

rough though some of these people may be, humble house-to-house missionaries and colporteurs may win the hearts of many to Christ. In their unpretentious way they can reach a class that ministers generally cannot touch.” —The Review and Herald, September 21, 1905. “Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 80, 81.

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith and take their stand with its avowed enemies, toward whom their sympathies have long been tending. These apostates will then manifest the most bitter enmity, doing all in their power to oppress and malign their former brethren and to excite indignation against them. This day is just before us. The members of the church will individually be tested and proved. They will be placed in circumstances where they will be forced to bear witness for the truth. Many will be called to speak before councils and in courts of justice, perhaps separately and alone. The experience which would have helped them in this emergency they have neglected to obtain, and their souls are burdened with remorse for wasted opportunities and neglected privileges.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 463. ❑ Thursday

OUR GREAT CONCERN

9

December 2

What should be our great concern while the door of probation is open? John 9:4.

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“The end is near, stealing upon us stealthily, imperceptibly, like the noiseless approach of a thief in the night. May the Lord grant that we shall no longer sleep as do others, but that we shall watch and be sober. The truth is soon to triumph gloriously, and all who now choose to be laborers together with God will triumph with it. The time is short; the night soon cometh when no man can work.” —Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 135.

10

Lesson 11

Sabbath, December 11, 1999

W ith or W ithout the Seal?

What will be the most important factor in our ef fort to warn the world? Matthew 5:16. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

“The world can only be warned by seeing those who believe the truth sanctified through the truth, acting upon high and holy principles, showing in a high, elevated sense, the line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who trample them under their feet.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 980. “It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts. “Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 419. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS

December 3

a. Describe the external work of the angel of Revelation 18. b. What will be unmasked under the loud cr y? c. Why must we be cautious regarding the signs and wonders to occur? d. Point out some details about the people who will give the loud cr y.

“The great mass of the world will reject God’s mercy, and will be overwhelmed in swift and irretrievable ruin. But those who heed the warning shall dwell ‘in the secret place of the Most High,’ and ‘abide under the shadow of the Almighty’ (Psalm 91:1).” —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 167. ❑ Sunday

WHEN THE LOUD CRY SOUNDS

1

December 5

What did Jesus say about the final triumph of the gospel? Matthew 24:14. What means, in the hands of that other angel, will be instrumental in convincing many honest souls?

“In a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power and who lightens the earth with his glory.” —Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 140. “More than one thousand will soon be converted in one day, most of whom will trace their first convictions to the reading of our publications.” —Evangelism, p. 693.

2

When the distribution of publications is prohibited, what work will still be permitted? Matthew 10:8 (first part).

e. What will be the most important factor in giving the final warning?

FOR FUR THER STUDY

“I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work.” —Evangelism, p. 523.

Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 113–118. The Great Controversy, pp. 603–612. 56

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❑ Monday

December 6

HOW SATAN WILL ACT

3

What arguments did the Jewish leaders use against Jesus and His message? John 7:12, 20, 47, 48. How will their example be imitated and by whom?

“In amazement [thousands upon thousands] hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. As the people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? the ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears and quiet the awakened conscience. But since many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men and demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ the popular ministry, like the Pharisees of old, filled with anger as their authority is questioned, will denounce the message as of Satan and stir up the sinloving multitudes to revile and persecute those who proclaim it.” —The Great Controversy, pp. 606, 607.

4

How will Satan come to those who reject the truth and what will be the result? 2 Corinthians 11:14.

“In this age antichrist will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of our world.” —Evangelism, p. 365. “Satan came as an angel of light in the wilderness of temptation to deceive Christ; and he does not come to man in a hideous form, as he is sometimes represented, but as an angel of light. He will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ. What shall we do?” —The SDA Bible

“While many of our rulers are active agents of Satan, God also has His agents among the leading men of the nation. The enemy moves upon his servants to propose measures that would greatly impede the work of God; but statesmen who fear the Lord are influenced by holy angels to oppose such propositions with unanswerable arguments. Thus a few men will hold in check a powerful current of evil. The opposition of the enemies of truth will be restrained that the third angel’s message may do its work. When the final warning shall be given, it will arrest the attention of these leading men through whom the Lord is now working, and some of them will accept it, and will stand with the people of God through the time of trouble.” —The Great Controversy, pp. 610, 611.

6

What was the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in the early days? Acts 2:47. How will this also be repeated in the last days?

“The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” —The Great Controversy, p. 612. ❑ Wednesday

TWO DESTINIES

7

December 8

What will happen to those who have known the truth but have not humbled their hearts before the Lord? Luke 13:25–27. Whose example will they follow? Acts 2:13.

Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, pp. 1105, 1106.

❑ Tuesday

HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL WORK

5

58

December 7

How did the Holy Spirit use one member of the Jewish Council to defend the cause of God? Acts 5:34–39. How will this be repeated?

Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

“There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work. ‘Why,’ they say, ‘should not we know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?’—Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties of the messages of God, but persistently said, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.’ ” —The Review and Herald, December 23, 1890.

8

When the door of probation is already closed to those who have rejected the truth, to whom is the door of mercy still open? Jeremiah 29:12, 13.

“Oh, that the people might know the time of their visitation! There are many who have not yet heard the testing truth for this time. There are many with whom the Spirit of God is striving. The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have had no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter.” —Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 97. ❑ Thursday

A CLASS “WITHOUT THE SEAL OF GOD”

9

December 9

While the faithful few are still sighing and cr ying, what will the leaders who have not lived up to the truth do? Isaiah 3:12; Ezekiel 34:2, 3.

“[The] humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 210, 211. 60

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10

Why will many professed Sabbathkeepers be left without the seal of God, and what will they receive? Ezekiel 9:5–7, 10.

“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.’ “Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus ‘Peace and safety’ is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together. “The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but by far the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 211. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

December 10

Name some significant tools in the hands of that other angel.

b. In what ways will the enemy be deceiving souls? c.

Describe ways in which the Holy Spirit will promote the truth.

d. During the proclamation of the loud cr y, what distinction will exist between two classes of believers in the three angels’ messages? e.

What will be the end of those who cr y “Peace and safety” in these last days?

FOR FUR THER STUDY Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 150–160. The Review and Herald, December 23, 1890. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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Lesson 12

Sabbath, December 18, 1999

The Decr ee and the Close of Pr obation “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11).

“When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death.” —The Great Controversy, p. 490. ❑ Sunday

ALL ACCOUNTABLE

1

December 12

Through the loud cr y, to what extent will the truth be made known in the world? Habakkuk 2:14.

“The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of worldwide extent and unwonted power is here foretold.” —The Great Controversy, p. 611. “Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth.” —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 415. “When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned.” —The Acts of the Apostles, p. 111.

2

How limited will the reception of the last message of salvation be? Matthew 22:14; 7:14; Luke 17:29, 30.

are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. There are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord’s appearing. Another class are falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. Few believe with heart and soul that we have a hell to shun and a heaven to win.” —The Desire of Ages, p. 636. ❑ Monday

A UNIVERSAL DECREE

3

December 13

What ef fect will the loud cr y finally have upon those who oppose it? Matthew 10:17–19, 23.

“When the earth is lighted with the glory of the angel of Revelation eighteen, the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 983.

“At the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth.” —Early Writings, p. 33. “The last great warning had sounded everywhere, and it had stirred up and enraged the inhabitants of the earth who would not receive the message.” —Ibid., p. 279. “As the controversy extends into new fields and the minds of the people are called to God’s downtrodden law, Satan is astir. The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it. The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and, in this work, papists and Protestants unite.” —The Great Controversy, p. 607.

4

What decree will be issued against God’s faithful commandment keepers immediately before the close of probation? Revelation 13:15, 16.

“The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly

“The powers of earth, uniting to war against the commandments of God, will decree that ‘all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond’ (Revelation 13:16), shall conform to the customs of the church by the observance of the false sabbath. All who refuse compliance will be visited with civil penalties, and it will finally be declared that they are deserving of death. . . .

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“The decree is not to be urged upon the people blindly. Everyone is to have sufficient light to make his decision intelligently.” —The Great Controversy,

❑ Wednesday

THE DOOR OF MERCY CLOSES

pp. 604, 605.

“When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity.” —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 216.

7

December 15

What declaration will be made in the heavenly sanctuar y when probation closes? Revelation 22:11, 12. How are we warned about determining when probation will close?

❑ Tuesday

DECEPTION AND DISAPPOINTMENT

5

December 14

In the time of the end, what will be our greatest danger if we fail to learn the lessons of faith now, and why? Jeremiah 17:5.

“Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the test they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God. . . . We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving His promises.” —The Great Controversy, p. 622.

6

What will be the end of those who come up to the time of trouble without previous repentance, confession, and pardon? Jeremiah 8:20.

“All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted their profession and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God and the more sure the triumph of their great adversary. Those who delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain it in the time of trouble or at any subsequent time. The case of all such is hopeless. “Those professed Christians who come up to that last fearful conflict unprepared will, in their despair, confess their sins in words of burning anguish, while the wicked exult over their distress. These confessions are of the same character as was that of Esau or of Judas. Those who make them, lament the result of transgression, but not its guilt. They feel no true contrition, no abhorrence of evil. They acknowledge their sin, through fear of punishment; but, like Pharaoh of old, they would return to their defiance of Heaven should the judgments be removed.” —The Great Controversy, pp. 620, 621.

“God has not revealed to us the time when [the third angel’s] message will close, or when probation will have an end. Those things that are revealed we shall accept for ourselves and for our children; but let us not seek to know that which has been kept secret in the councils of the Almighty. . . . “The opportune time for us to work is now, just now, while the day lasts. But there is no command for anyone to search the Scriptures in order to ascertain, if possible, when probation will close. God has no such message for any mortal lips.” —Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 191, 192 (1894).

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Concerning the close of probation, what lesson should we learn from the antediluvians? Matthew 24:37–39; 2 Peter 3:5–7.

“The righteous and the wicked will still be living upon the earth in their mortal state—men will be planting and building, eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final, irrevocable decision has been pronounced in the sanctuary above. Before the Flood, after Noah entered the ark, God shut him in and shut the ungodly out; but for seven days the people, knowing not that their doom was fixed, continued their careless, pleasure-loving life and mocked the warnings of impending judgment. ‘So,’ says the Saviour, ‘shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:39). Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man’s destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy’s offer to guilty men.” —The Great Controversy, p. 491. ❑ Thursday

SUDDEN DESTRUCTION

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December 16

After the cross, what was withdrawn from the Jewish nation and what did they continue practicing? Matthew 23:38; John 16:2. By whom and how will their example be repeated?

[Author’s italics.] 64

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“When God’s presence was finally withdrawn from the Jewish nation, priests and people knew it not. Though under the control of Satan, and swayed by the most horrible and malignant passions, they still regarded themselves as the chosen of God. The ministration in the temple continued; sacrifices were offered upon its polluted altars, and daily the divine blessing was invoked upon a people guilty of the blood of God’s dear Son and seeking to slay His ministers and apostles. So when the irrevocable decision of the sanctuary has been pronounced and the destiny of the world has been forever fixed, the inhabitants of the earth will know it not. The forms of religion will be continued by a people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn; and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear the semblance of zeal for God.” —The Great Controversy, p. 615.

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What will come upon the inhabitants of the earth when the Holy Spirit is fully withdrawn? 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

Lesson 13

Sabbath, December 25, 1999

The T ime of T r ouble “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, ever y one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).

“While Jesus had been standing between God and guilty man, a restraint was upon the people; but when He stepped out from between man and the Father, the restraint was removed and Satan had entire control of the finally impenitent.” —Early Writings, p. 280. ❑ Sunday

“The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.” —The Great Controversy, p. 614.

❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

December 17

How can we show through our lives that there is a hell to shun and a heaven to win?

b. Give evidence as to why the death decree will be enacted as a result of the loud cr y. c.

What warnings should we heed before the time of trouble?

d. What ef fect should the truth have upon our lives before probation closes, and why? e.

WHEN THE TIME OF TROUBLE BEGINS

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December 19

What will come upon the people of God when the decree is issued against them? Jeremiah 30:5–7; Daniel 12:1.

“A decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of Jacob’s trouble.” —The Great Controversy, pp. 615, 616.

2

Why is the time of trouble compared to the anguish of Jacob? Genesis 32:6, 7, 24–28. What will be the main cause of affliction for God’s people during this time? What assurance should we obtain now?

What deception, which involved the Jewish nation, will be repeated?

FOR FUR THER STUDY

“Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer is not a dread of

The Great Controversy, pp. 635–652. Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 349–354. 66

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persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in themselves they will fail to realize the fulfillment of the Saviour’s promise: I ‘will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world’ (Revelation 3:10). If they could have the assurance of pardon they would not shrink from torture or death; but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be reproached.” —The Great Controversy, p. 619. “Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me’ (John 14:30). Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble. It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ.” —Ibid., p. 623. ❑ Monday

HORROR, DISMAY, AND DESPAIR

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December 20

What comfort and assurance will the unsaved multitudes seek in vain during the time of trouble? Amos 8:11, 12.

defects while there was yet opportunity for repentance and reform; but in order to secure the favor of the world, they set aside its precepts and taught others to transgress. They have endeavored to compel God’s people to profane His Sabbath. Now they are condemned by that law which they have despised. With awful distinctness they see that they are without excuse.” —The Great Controversy, pp. 639, 640. ❑ Tuesday

“WOE TO THE INHABITERS OF THE EAR TH”

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December 21

Specify some of Satan’s activities which will intensify during the time of trouble. Revelation 13:13; 16:14.

“Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle-working demons. The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them on to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government of heaven. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike deceived. Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself, and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world’s Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting the testimony of the Scriptures.” —The Great Controversy, p. 624. “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive.” —Ibid., p. 625.

“All the judgments upon men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy. In that day, multitudes will desire the shelter of God’s mercy which they have so long despised.” —The

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Great Controversy, p. 629.

“The wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of trouble.”

4

What will then be the feeling of these people? What distinction will be made clear? Malachi 3:18.

What exclamation did John the Revelator hear concerning the culmination of Satan’s work? Revelation 12:12.

—The Great Controversy, p. 623.

❑ Wednesday

THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD

What will come upon the world after the close of probation? Isaiah 28:21; Revelation 16:1.

“It is impossible to describe the horror and despair of those who have trampled upon God’s holy requirements. The Lord gave them His law; they might have compared their characters with it and learned their

7

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December 22

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“God’s judgments will be visited upon those who are seeking to oppress and destroy His people. His long forbearance with the wicked emboldens men in transgression, but their punishment is nonetheless certain and terrible because it is long delayed. . . . ‘The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked’ (Nahum 1:3). By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The severity of the retribution awaiting the transgressor may be judged by the Lord’s reluctance to execute justice. The nation with which He bears long, and which He will not smite until it has filled up the measure of its iniquity in God’s account, will finally drink the cup of wrath unmixed with mercy. “When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God’s people.” —The Great Controversy, pp. 627, 628.

8

For what will the wicked inhabitants of the world be responsible, and what plague will be poured out as a result? Revelation 16:4–6 (compare Matthew 23:35, 36).

“By condemning the people of God to death, they have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been shed by their hands. In like manner Christ declared the Jews of His time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed since the days of Abel; for they possessed the same spirit and were seeking to do the same work with these murderers of the prophets.” —The Great Controversy, p. 628. ❑ Thursday

LIVING BY GOD’S PROMISES

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December 23

While the remnant people of God are threatened with destruction, what promises will encourage them? Isaiah 33:2, 16; 26:20, 21.

pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied.”—The Great Controversy, p. 629. “What are the chambers in which they are to hide?—They are the protection of Christ and holy angels. The people of God are not at this time all in one place. They are in different companies, and in all parts of the earth; and they will be tried singly, not in groups. Every one must stand the test for himself.” —The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1143.

10

“A marvelous change has come over those who have held fast their integrity in the very face of death. They have been suddenly delivered from the dark and terrible tyranny of men transformed to demons. Their faces, so lately pale, anxious, and haggard, are now aglow with wonder, faith, and love. Their voices rise in triumphant song. [Psalm 46:1–3 quoted.]” —The Great Controversy, p. 639.

“And they sing ‘a new song’ before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb—a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience—an experience such as no other company have ever had.” —Ibid. pp. 648, 649. ❑ Friday

REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.

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December 24

What is foremost in the minds of God’s faithful few during the time of trouble, and how are we now to prepare for that time?

b. What despair will soon come upon the rejecters of God’s mercy? c.

By what authority are all miracles and miracle-makers to be measured?

d. How will God deal with those who have spilled the blood of His faithful ser vants? e.

“The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not

What song will the triumphant company of saints be able to sing after their deliverance? Psalm 46:1–3; Revelation 15:1–3.

What song is each of us now learning to sing?

FOR FUR THER STUDY Early Writings, pp. 282–289. The Great Controversy, pp. 635–652. Sabbath Bible Lessons, October–December 1999

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Your First Sabbath Offering at work!

In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a new chapel was dedicated to the Lord in December 1997, with the sacrifices that you made for this project on March 26, 1994.

The above chapel was dedicated to the service of God in Herrera of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in January 1999, with the offering gathered on March 30, 1996. We encourage you to give generously to build many new altars to the Lord.


http://www.sdarm.org/pub_data/sbl%20back%20issues/pdf/sbl1999qtr4