Author Topic: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 1--The Great Controversy--The Foundation  (Read 3752 times)

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Wally

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Introduction: Fundamental Beliefs

Everyone believes in something. Even those who claim to believe in nothing, or in nothing absolute, still believe in something (in this case, their relativism). Beliefs are important because they greatly impact how we live. For some Christians, however, more important than belief, or behavior, is belonging, a sense of community. Yet, community must be based on shared beliefs, shared goals, and common concerns.

For Seventh-day Adventists—people from almost every conceivable manifestation of humanity—what holds us together as a community are our “fundamental beliefs,” all 28, which are foundational for growing in Christ and living as a community of faith in the light of eternity.

Some argue that what matters is our love of Christ, not doctrine. This sounds nice, but the Bible never separates a love for Christ from a love for the truth. We are told that by “speaking the truth in love,” we may grow into Christ (Eph. 4:15-16). Knowing doctrine is not mere accumulation of correct data; rather, knowing doctrine results in love for God (2 John1:6–10). Furthermore, the Bible is concerned about “sound doctrine” because, among other things, it affects the ethical life (1 Tim. 1:9-10; Titus 2:1–5).

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a statement of 28 fundamental beliefs. These are not a creed, in the sense that one could not expect any further development of the truths expressed in them (or that even more teachings could be added). And though we must always be open to more light, a firm consensus on these beliefs is crucial to the unity and mission of the church. What has brought together millions of people from all over the world into a unified movement other than our shared doctrines?

This quarter, then, we are going to focus on some of those teachings. Though we believe that all 28 are foundational and fundamental to our identity as Seventh-day Adventists, we cannot study them all in one quarter. But we do hope to present a systematic and coherent guide to some of these beliefs. Special attention will be given to belief Number 11, “Growing in Christ,” accepted by the General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2005 (see lessons 5–7). This belief, in and of itself, didn’t add new or previously unknown teaching; rather, in response to needs in certain parts of the world, it helps to clarify the church’s understanding of God’s power to give believers in Christ victory over the forces of evil. In fact, all the lessons this quarter will be framed within the context of the struggle between Christ and those forces of evil. It’s what we call “the great controversy.”

Within the great controversy motif, and directly related to it, salvation in Christ is the thread that runs through all our doctrines. The great controversy, and the issues it has generated, sets the stage for the plan of redemption, which underlies and permeates all 28 of our fundamental beliefs.

Doctrines, then, are not an end in and of themselves. They are a means to an end, and that end is Jesus and knowing Jesus for ourselves and growing in Him. Or, more subjectively, all 28 of our doctrines should lead us to a deeper understanding of what Jesus has done for us through the plan of salvation, which, in turn, should lead us to a deeper love of God and a life more committed to the revealing of that love to the world and to “principalities and powers in heavenly places” (Eph 3:10).

Yes, everyone believes in something. The goal of the quarter is to help us to not just believe in Truth (John 14:6), but to love Him even more and to grow in His grace.

Kwabena Donkor, native of Ghana, is an associate director of the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference headquarters, in Silver Spring, Maryland.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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Lesson 1 *September 29 - October 5

The Great Controversy: The Foundation

SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 3:15, Rev. 12:1-17, Isa. 14:4-21, Ezek. 28:12-19, Isa. 53:6, Rom.1:20-28, John 16:2.

Memory Text: “ ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel’ ” (Genesis 3:15, NKJV).

Key Thought: The great controversy motif is the overarching concept that gives cohesion to Seventh-day Adventist fundamental beliefs.

Necessity,” it has been said, “is the mother of invention.” The word mother, in this case, means “the source,” “the driving force,” “the foundation”; it’s the need, the necessity, for something that moves people to action. For instance, the need for cleaner air is the foundation, the driving force, behind the move for energy sources other than fossil fuels.

Just as with physical inventions, a belief system also needs a foundation, a principle that explains it.

Seventh-day Adventists profess a body of 28 fundamental beliefs. These beliefs have a foundation in a concept that we call the “great controversy.” Each of the 28 fundamentals deals with a particular aspect of this cosmic controversy. The beliefs that will be studied this quarter make the best sense against the backdrop of the great controversy motif. This week we will look at some of the key points of this foundation.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 6.

SUNDAY September 30

The Controversy and Its Players

All throughout recorded history, people have sensed that humanity is in some sort of battle, a warfare, a struggle between competing forces. The poet T. S. Eliot wrote,

    In all of my years, one thing does not change.
    However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
    The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.”
    -T. S. Eliot: The Complete Poems and Plays
    (New York, San Diego, London: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1952), p. 98. 

However common that understanding, people have radically different views regarding what the conflict is about, who’s involved, what’s at stake, and how it is going to end. As Seventh-day Adventists, however, we have a decidedly supernaturalist perspective regarding this battle, a perspective that comes from our understanding of the Bible and how the Bible depicts what we call “the great controversy between Christ and Satan.”

Study Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:1-17. Who are the key players in the controversy? While symbols are sometimes used to depict the players, why do we believe that the powers described here are real, literal beings? What would happen to our whole belief system were we to spiritualize away the reality of the great controversy between Christ and Satan and our role in it?

It is not unusual for people to use terms such as the devil or angels, and even God, when they mean something very different from the meaning usually attached to those words. For example, there are some whose interest in the use of the word God focuses only on the function that the word performs in human language and society; they have no interest in whether “God,” in any form, exists.

Whatever the symbols used to describe them, the Bible teaches that these figures are real entities engaged in a real conflict. That’s how we as Seventh-day Adventists understand them. Most of the doctrines studied this quarter will not make sense if the players identified in the controversy are not taken literally, which often puts us decidedly at odds with the prevailing culture.

In fact, while secularism has taken many shapes and forms over the last two centuries, nothing characterizes secularism more than the push to eliminate all “other worldly” language from human discourse. With the success of science, people in some cultures are more and more inclined to think about issues scientifically. Angels and demons do not fare well in the scientific mode of thinking. Hence, contemporary culture is witnessing a gradual demise of belief in the supernatural.

How strongly impacted is your own culture by the scientific, secular worldview? How much have you, personally, been impacted by it? Against what aspects of this worldview must we particularly guard?

MONDAY October 1

Lucifer’s Fall

Although the Bible does not explicitly tell us the issues involved in the controversy between God and Satan, they can be inferred from some pertinent scriptural passages, such as Isaiah 14:4-21 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. In their original settings, these passages represented pagan kings of Tyre and Babylon; but, when read carefully, they provide details that go beyond these ancient near eastern rulers. Indeed, they point to the origin, position, and fall of Satan.

In 1 Timothy 3:6 Paul warns against ordaining a new convert, cautioning that such an act might cause the person to become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. How does Paul’s statement throw light on the two passages above, and in what way do these three passages together help us to understand some issues in the controversy?

At least three issues are raised in the texts cited above: pride, autonomy, and independence. The Old Testament portrays a created, dependent being aspiring to be self-sufficient and independent. But independence is always independence from something or somebody. First John 3:8 says that the devil has sinned from the beginning; 1 John 3:4 defines “sin” as lawlessness. It follows, then, that Satan’s sin-which manifested itself as a quest for independence and autonomy-represented a desire to be freed from the “restraints” of God and His laws. Thus, by refusing to allow himself to be brought under the authority of God’s law, Satan showed that he wanted to live under a different set of conditions. This rebellion would also imply that the system of laws in heaven was not ideal, that something was, indeed, wrong with it. But because God’s law is a reflection of God’s character, a defect in the law would amount to a defect in God’s character. In short, Satan’s rebellion was as much against God Himself as it was against anything else.
Pride, autonomy, independence. What do these words conjure up in your own mind? In what ways are any of us in danger of falling into the traps, sometimes very subtle, that pride, autonomy, and independence can set for us? After all, under the right conditions, what’s wrong with any of these concepts?
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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TUESDAY October 2

God’s Weapon

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). In what way is the great controversy revealed in this text?

The cryptic language of Genesis 3:15, in which the controversy is here predicted, gives us a hint of God’s rules of engagement in this conflict. We can see that the conflict, which had just begun on earth between the serpent and the woman, was going to take shape by involving the followers of the initial contestants: the “seed” of the woman and the “seed” of the serpent. In due course, as we know, the conflict would climax into a mortal clash between Satan and a male descendant of the woman, Jesus of Nazareth. God’s weapon of choice was Jesus-who would come to fight on behalf of the woman, suffer “bruises,” but ultimately deliver a deadly blow to the serpent. The weapon of choice was an act of sacrifice by Jesus, an act of selfless love.

How do the following texts help us to understand some of the issues involved in the great controversy? How is the plan of salvation central to the whole thing?
Compare Gen. 4:4 with Heb. 11:4 Compare Gen. 12:3, 22:18 with Gal. 3:16 Compare Exod. 25:8 with Heb. 4:2 Compare Isa. 53:6 with Rom. 5:8 Matt. 16:18, 18:16-20 Heb. 8:1-2

WEDNESDAY October 3

Satan’s Fight

If you looked carefully at yesterday’s study, you would have seen a progression of how God manifested Himself and His truth in the midst of the great controversy. God worked through the patriarchal and Israelite sanctuary services, through Christ’s sacrificial atoning death, through the church, and through Christ’s own ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.

Satan, however, has worked tirelessly to try to undermine the Lord’s plans. So much of the great controversy has been, and is now, fought out over these very issues.

For instance, the sacrificial system practiced by the patriarchs, and in Israel’s sanctuary service, was designed by God to remind humankind of the Creator and to keep the hope of redemption alive.

How did Satan seek to usurp and destroy the truth about the plan of salvation, especially as revealed in the sacrificial system? See Rom. 1:20-28; Deut. 32:17-18.

Of course, the incarnation of Christ, His ministry on earth, and His atoning sacrificial death on the cross were the central parts of how God chose to defeat Satan in the great controversy. The death of Christ would guarantee the undoing of Satan, who worked tirelessly against Christ.

What do these texts (Matt. 2:1-18, 4:1-11, 16:21-23, 27:39-42) tell us about the ways in which Satan worked against Jesus?

After His death and resurrection, Christ established His church on earth to proclaim to lost humanity the good news of salvation. From the inception of the church, Satan has determined to weaken and destroy it. The following passages show some of Satan’s tactics against the church (See Acts 5:17-18; 7:54-60; 2 Thess. 2:1-4; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Pet. 2:1; Rev. 12:13-17).

Meanwhile, the book of Hebrews tells of a real sanctuary in heaven where Christ entered after His ascension (Heb. 4:14-16, 9:24), performing a priestly function on behalf of sinful humanity (Heb. 7:27). In Daniel 8:11-14, we can see Satan’s activity in connection with Christ’s priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and his attempt to usurp that ministry.

It’s one thing to read 1 Peter 5:8-9 and have an intellectual understanding of that warning; it’s another to actually live out that warning in our daily lives. How do we, in fact, resist the devil? How often during a single day are you aware of Satan’s efforts against you?
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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THURSDAY October 4

Destinies

“ ‘And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ ” (Josh. 24:15, NKJV). How does this text reveal what is, in many ways, the most foundational issue in the great controversy?

Prophecy provides us with a view of the closing scenes of the conflict between God and Satan. For a period of 1260 years (Dan. 7:25, 12:7, Rev. 11:2, 12:14, 13:5), Satan sporadically, but persistently, persecuted God’s people. In a final showdown written of in Revelation 12 and 13, Satan employs two earthly powers: a leopard-like beast (Rev. 13:1-10) and a two-horned beast (Rev. 13:11-17). And they employ all the tactics of Satan that were discussed in yesterday’s lesson.

Revelation 14 is a description of the countermove to Satan’s maneuvers that God uses during the final stages in the struggle in order to bring the struggle to an end. What does Revelation 14:6-13 tell us about the ways in which some of the issues in the great controversy are going to be made manifest?

From God’s perspective, a clear proclamation of the issues involved in the conflict (here represented as being sent by three angels) is necessary before the conflict comes to a close. Humanity needs to be intelligently informed in order for people to make up their minds about the issues.

In the final conflict there will be people who stand loyal to God. In Revelation 14 they are symbolized by the number 144,000, possibly representative of an innumerable people from all the nations of the earth (Revelation 7:4). But they remain obedient to the commandments of God in a time of great distress and are wholeheartedly devoted to the worship of their Creator God. They receive the approval of God and are victorious with Him while the impenitent are destroyed in the ensuing harvest (Rev. 14:14-20). The point is that one day this great controversy will be over.

One thing about the great controversy: no one can be neutral. You’re either on one side or the other. Anyone can claim to be on the Lord’s side (see John 16:2); how do you know, for sure, that you really are? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.

FRIDAY October 5

Further Study

Read Frank B. Holbrook, “The Great Controversy,” pp. 969-1008 in Raoul Dederen (ed.), Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology.

“The Bible is its own expositor. Scripture is to be compared with scripture. The student should learn to view the word as a whole, and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme, of God’s original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy, and should learn to trace their working through the records of history and prophecy, to the great consummation. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found.”-Ellen G. White, Education, p. 190.
Discussion Questions

    In the quotation from the book Education given above, Ellen G. White writes that the great controversy enters into every phase of human experience. How true has this been in your own experience? Has your understanding of the great controversy motif been a source of strength or frustration as you cope with the issues of daily living in the world of sin and suffering?

    Some speak about a “delay” in the second coming of Christ. With the amount of injustice and senseless suffering in the world, it seems that every additional day of life on earth is one too many. Have the class members share their individual perspectives regarding the great controversy motif from the point of view of the so-called “delay.”

    How confident can we be about the final resolution of the conflict between good and evil? What gives you assurance that evil will be overcome in the end? What reasons do we have for believing that? How, for instance, does the prophecy of Daniel 2 help to give us assurance about the ultimate outcome?

    In class, go over your answers to the final question on Thursday. The answer is especially relevant because of our understanding of just who the persecutors are going to be in the last days. How, then, can we be sure we will be on the right side?

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 1--Growing in Christ
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 08:06:38 AM »
We are looking forward to this quarter's lessons. Ever hopeful, with new leadership at the General Conference, we anticipate that it will be reflected in our Sabbath School material.  Our very first memory verse is one of the most important verses in the Bible and also one that when perverted is most dangerous.   Let's begin.

SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read for This Week’s Study:

Gen. 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

Rev. 12:1-17
  12:1   And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 
  12:2   And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 
  12:3   And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 
  12:4   And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 
  12:5   And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne. 
  12:6   And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days. 
  12:7   And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 
  12:8   And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 
  12:9   And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 
  12:10   And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 
  12:11   And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 
  12:12   Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 
  12:13   And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child]. 
  12:14   And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 
  12:15   And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 
  12:16   And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 
  12:17   And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 
 
Isa. 14:4-21
 14:4   That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! 
  14:5   The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, [and] the sceptre of the rulers. 
  14:6   He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, [and] none hindereth. 
  14:7   The whole earth is at rest, [and] is quiet: they break forth into singing. 
  14:8   Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, [and] the cedars of Lebanon, [saying], Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. 
  14:9   Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet [thee] at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, [even] all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 
  14:10   All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? 
  14:11   Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, [and] the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. 
  14:12   How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 
  14:13   For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 
  14:14   I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 
  14:15   Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 
  14:16   They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, [and] consider thee, [saying, Is] this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; 
  14:17   [That] made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; [that] opened not the house of his prisoners? 
  14:18   All the kings of the nations, [even] all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. 
  14:19   But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, [and as] the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. 
  14:20   Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, [and] slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. 
  14:21   Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. 

Ezek. 28:12-19
  28:12   Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 
  28:13   Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone [was] thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 
  28:14   Thou [art] the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee [so]: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 
  28:15   Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 
  28:16   By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 
  28:17   Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 
  28:18   Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 
  28:19   All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never [shalt] thou [be] any more. 
Isa. 53:6

Rom.1:20-28
  1:20   For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 
  1:21   Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
  1:22   Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 
  1:23   And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 
  1:24   Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 
  1:25   Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 
  1:26   For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 
  1:27   And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 
  1:28   And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 
 
John 16:2.
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 


Memory Text: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

Key Thought: The great controversy motif is the overarching concept that gives cohesion to Seventh-day Adventist fundamental beliefs.

Necessity,” it has been said, “is the mother of invention.” The word mother, in this case, means “the source,” “the driving force,” “the foundation”; it’s the need, the necessity, for something that moves people to action. For instance, the need for cleaner air is the foundation, the driving force, behind the move for energy sources other than fossil fuels.

Just as with physical inventions, a belief system also needs a foundation, a principle that explains it.

Seventh-day Adventists profess a body of 28 fundamental beliefs. These beliefs have a foundation in a concept that we call the “great controversy.” Each of the 28 fundamentals deals with a particular aspect of this cosmic controversy. The beliefs that will be studied this quarter make the best sense against the backdrop of the great controversy motif. This week we will look at some of the key points of this foundation.


Just a short thought.  This overarching theme, the great controversy between good and evil, will increase in intensity to the very close of time. In all ages the wrath of Satan has been manifested against the church of Christ; and God has bestowed His grace and Spirit upon His people to strengthen them to stand against the power of the evil one. When the apostles of Christ were to bear His gospel to the world and to record it for all future ages, they were especially endowed with the enlightenment of the Spirit. But as the church approaches her final deliverance, Satan is to work with greater power. He comes down "having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Revelation 12:12. He will work "with all power and signs and lying wonders." 2 Thessalonians 2:9. For six thousand years that mastermind that once was highest among the angels of God has been wholly bent to the work of deception and ruin. And all the depths of satanic skill and subtlety acquired, all the cruelty developed, during these struggles of the ages, will be brought to bear against God's people in the final conflict. And in this time of peril the followers of Christ are to bear to the world the warning of the Lord's second advent; and a people are to be prepared to stand before Him at His coming, "without spot, and blameless." 2 Peter 3:14. At this time the special endowment of divine grace and power is not less needful to the church than in apostolic days. 

Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the scenes of the long-continued conflict between good and evil may be seen in Scripture and history. Satan's enmity against Christ has been manifested against His followers. The same hatred of the principles of God's law, the same policy of deception, by which error is made to appear as truth, by which human laws are substituted for the law of God, and men are led to worship the creature rather than the Creator, may be traced in all the history of the past. Satan's efforts to misrepresent the character of God, to cause men to cherish a false conception of the Creator, and thus to regard Him with fear and hate rather than with love; his endeavors to set aside the divine law, leading the people to think themselves free from its requirements; and his persecution of those who dare to resist his deceptions, have been steadfastly pursued in all ages. They may be traced in the history of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, of martyrs and reformers.

In the great final conflict, Satan will employ the same policy, manifest the same spirit, and work for the same end as in all preceding ages. That which has been, will be, except that the coming struggle will be marked with a terrible intensity such as the world has never witnessed. Satan's deceptions will be more subtle, his assaults more determined. If it were possible, he would lead astray the elect. (Mark 13:22.)
We deny Jesus His reward when we sin.

Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 1--Growing in Christ
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 09:14:50 AM »
SUNDAY September 30

The Controversy and Its Players


All throughout recorded history, people have sensed that humanity is in some sort of battle, a warfare, a struggle between competing forces. The poet T. S. Eliot wrote,  In all of my years, one thing does not change. However you disguise it, this thing does not change:The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.”

However common that understanding, people have radically different views regarding what the conflict is about, who’s involved, what’s at stake, and how it is going to end. As Seventh-day Adventists, however, we have a decidedly supernaturalist perspective regarding this battle, a perspective that comes from our understanding of the Bible and how the Bible depicts what we call “the great controversy between Christ and Satan.”

Study Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:1-17.

Gen. 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

Rev. 12:1-17
  12:1   And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
  12:2   And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
  12:3   And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
  12:4   And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
  12:5   And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.
  12:6   And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.
  12:7   And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
  12:8   And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
  12:9   And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
  12:10   And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
  12:11   And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
  12:12   Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
  12:13   And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child].
  12:14   And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
  12:15   And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
  12:16   And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
  12:17   And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Who are the key players in the controversy?

There is nothing better than starting at the beginning. We are going to take a moment to go over Genesis 3:15 because of its importance to our faith and this quarter's lessons. Let's take it part by part.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

Who is the "I"?  Who is He talking to? Where is He when He is speaking? In order to understand 3:15, we must read it in context. So, here it is:

  3:8   And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 
  3:9   And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou? 
  3:10   And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself. 
  3:11   And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 
  3:12   And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 
  3:13   And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 
  3:14   And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 


We see that Adam and Eve have just sinned and God is talking with them. There is are two other players there also. Who? Satan and the serpent. So we have God, Adam, Eve, Satan, and the serpent.  The serpent is cursed and now moves along on his belly. Now, in the Garden of Eden, God speaks to Satan and gives to Adam and Eve and to us the  promise of life. Until these words are spoken, there was no hope for Adam nor for us. This verse is the "everlasting covenant". It is the promise that God will write His law upon our hearts IF we will learn of Him and be reconciled to Him. It is a conditional promise. There is an "IF". Let's continue.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  God tells Satan that trouble is coming to him and that the the love that man now has for sin, will be turned to enmity IF man will accept Christ as Savior. Adam and Eve and their children (humanity) have a fallen nature that can do nothing good. This promise given in their hearing, will restore to them eternal life, will give them power IF they will comply with the conditions. God is promising to "put enmity (hatred) between Satan (thee) and the woman (Eve) and between thy (Satan) seed and her (Eve) seed (humanity). Included in her seed is the promise of One who will "bruise thy head".  It is the promise that One will come that will destroy Satan. In the process "thou (Satan) shalt bruise His heel."  Satan will hurt Jesus, but will not be successful in destroying Him.  Where the deception has come in, is with the promise to us. God has promised that He will cause us to hate sin. This does not come to all, but only to those who will be reconciled to God through a full surrender. True conversion results in fallen man becoming a partaker of God's divine nature. This is the only way one may receive the promise made in Genesis 3:15. It is also seen in the "new covenant" promise of the law being written on our hearts.


While symbols are sometimes used to depict the players, why do we believe that the powers described here are real, literal beings? What would happen to our whole belief system were we to spiritualize away the reality of the great controversy between Christ and Satan and our role in it?

It is not unusual for people to use terms such as the devil or angels, and even God, when they mean something very different from the meaning usually attached to those words. For example, there are some whose interest in the use of the word God focuses only on the function that the word performs in human language and society; they have no interest in whether “God,” in any form, exists.

Whatever the symbols used to describe them, the Bible teaches that these figures are real entities engaged in a real conflict. That’s how we as Seventh-day Adventists understand them. Most of the doctrines studied this quarter will not make sense if the players identified in the controversy are not taken literally, which often puts us decidedly at odds with the prevailing culture.

In fact, while secularism has taken many shapes and forms over the last two centuries, nothing characterizes secularism more than the push to eliminate all “other worldly” language from human discourse. With the success of science, people in some cultures are more and more inclined to think about issues scientifically. Angels and demons do not fare well in the scientific mode of thinking. Hence, contemporary culture is witnessing a gradual demise of belief in the supernatural.

How strongly impacted is your own culture by the scientific, secular worldview? How much have you, personally, been impacted by it?

As Bible believing Christians, many believe they are faithful to Scripture and remain unaffected by the "scientific, secular worldview." But, from what I have seen, this is not true. Most do not place implicit faith in the Bible. One of the best examples is the acceptance of the "scientific secular worldview" when it comes to medical issues. The Bible is a rich source of light in regards to health, but poor sinful man, unless truly converted will not place his faith in Scripture when he gets sick.  I am not saying that God does not use doctors, He does. But, instead of going to God first, man rushes to the doctor placing his faith and life in his hands and in his drugs, rather than seeking wisdom from God and placing his life in the hands of One who is the Great Physician. It is very sad and this failure has great implications for those who fail to trust wholly in God. Let me give one very good example. Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in many societies. It is not so much a disease as it is a metabolic disorder that when the lifestyle is brought into harmony with Scripture, the person is healed. But, so many refuse to study the prayerfully study and pray that God might restore them to health, both of mind and body.

Let us not err as did King Asa. "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign." 2 Chronicles 16:12,13. Let us seek proper medical care after we have put our trust in God and done all that He has instructed us to do. He will never let us down. He loves us so much that He let His only Son be born into a world where Satan claimed dominion at the risk of losing Him for eternity. What love!! He is worthy of our trust!!

Against what aspects of this worldview must we particularly guard?

Anytime the world and its science are acting contrary to Scripture, we need to reject it. Today, in both public and private schools, we find that evolution is taught as fact. Where ever we see this, we can understand that the Bible is not accepted as the Word of God. Evolution and the Bible cannot co-exist. They are contrary one to another.
We deny Jesus His reward when we sin.

Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 1--Growing in Christ
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 05:14:46 AM »
MONDAY October 1

Lucifer’s Fall


Although the Bible does not explicitly tell us the issues involved in the controversy between God and Satan, they can be inferred from some pertinent scriptural passages, such as Isaiah 14:4-21 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. In their original settings, these passages represented pagan kings of Tyre and Babylon; but, when read carefully, they provide details that go beyond these ancient near eastern rulers. Indeed, they point to the origin, position, and fall of Satan.

  14:4   That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! 
  14:5   The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, [and] the sceptre of the rulers. 
  14:6   He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, [and] none hindereth. 
  14:7   The whole earth is at rest, [and] is quiet: they break forth into singing. 
  14:8   Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, [and] the cedars of Lebanon, [saying], Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. 
  14:9   Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet [thee] at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, [even] all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 
  14:10   All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? 
  14:11   Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, [and] the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. 
  14:12   How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 
  14:13   For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 
  14:14   I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 
  14:15   Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 
  14:16   They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, [and] consider thee, [saying, Is] this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; 
  14:17   [That] made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; [that] opened not the house of his prisoners? 
  14:18   All the kings of the nations, [even] all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. 
  14:19   But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, [and as] the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. 
  14:20   Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, [and] slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. 
  14:21   Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.


  28:12   Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 
  28:13   Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone [was] thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 
  28:14   Thou [art] the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee [so]: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 
  28:15   Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 
  28:16   By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 
  28:17   Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 
  28:18   Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 
  28:19   All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never [shalt] thou [be] any more. 
 


In 1 Timothy 3:6 Paul warns against ordaining a new convert, cautioning that such an act might cause the person to become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.

3:6   Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 


How does Paul’s statement throw light on the two passages above, and in what way do these three passages together help us to understand some issues in the controversy?

The Apostle Paul's life before conversion comes to mind. He was exalted to a high position in the nation of Israel at a very young age. This led him to continue in his work of persecuting God's children. He was surely doing a "great work" for God, or so he thought until he was converted and saw that his pride had led him to be the chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15). When one is successful in life, outside of Christ it is understood that  it is because one is so very "good". When in fact the opposite is so very true, we are only walking in the footsteps of father of all lies. There is nothing good in man unless Christ is enthroned upon the heart. It is a hard lesson to learn. As we prayerfully consider these three passages of Scripture, we can see that we all need to come to grips with who we are and how we enter into the great drama taking place in the world today. We are on the stage and players in the "great controversy" between Christ and Satan. As hard as it may seem to realized, we are the star players. We are either God's true witnesses or we are working with His great adversary to sustain his charge that God's ways are unfair. That man cannot keep God's law. And, that if we sin, that God is unfair to deny us salvation. Satan and sinners are working in unity to condemn the character of our God, by attacking His system of government and laws.


At least three issues are raised in the texts cited above: pride, autonomy, and independence. The Old Testament portrays a created, dependent being aspiring to be self-sufficient and independent. But independence is always independence from something or somebody. First John 3:8 says that the devil has sinned from the beginning; 1 John 3:4 defines “sin” as lawlessness. It follows, then, that Satan’s sin-which manifested itself as a quest for independence and autonomy-represented a desire to be freed from the “restraints” of God and His laws. Thus, by refusing to allow himself to be brought under the authority of God’s law, Satan showed that he wanted to live under a different set of conditions. This rebellion would also imply that the system of laws in heaven was not ideal, that something was, indeed, wrong with it. But because God’s law is a reflection of God’s character, a defect in the law would amount to a defect in God’s character. In short, Satan’s rebellion was as much against God Himself as it was against anything else.

So it is today in the world and in professing Christian churches. There is much antagonism towards God's law. Even in the Seventh-day Adventist Church there are many who believe that the broken law does not condemn the sinner. That man may transgress and somehow remain in favor with God, retain his justification of eternal life, remain in a "saved" condition. Instead of submitting to the Word of God, there is an independent spirit that maintains one may hurt others, hurt themselves, and still be entitled to enter heaven because of a profession of faith made prior to the sin. When the call for revival and reformation goes forth in the church, many rise up against it believing that they are fine just as they are and that the ones calling for adherence to the counsels (law) are narrow and even arrogant for thinking they know what God wants. The Bible and inspiration are trumped by tradition and culture.

When Jesus began His ministry on earth, He not only taught the truth, but lived the truth. This caused the nation of Israel to rise up against Him because His life and teachings condemned their practices. In order to soothe their consciences they had to put the Son of God to death. "Satan showed that he wanted to live under a different set of conditions," So it is today, the world and many in the church want to live under a different set of conditions. God's way is too narrow. Therefore a way has been opened for man to be saved in his sin.


Pride, autonomy, independence. What do these words conjure up in your own mind? In what ways are any of us in danger of falling into the traps, sometimes very subtle, that pride, autonomy, and independence can set for us? After all, under the right conditions, what’s wrong with any of these concepts?


Our memory verse for this week establishes the truth that will keep us grounded if we rightly understand it. Pride, autonomy, and independence is man's lot because of our human nature. When we understand this and that we do not have life until we are reconciled to God, we understand why in the converted Christian's life there is no pride, autonomy, and independence. When converted our hearts are cleansed and fully given to Christ. Self is dead and we are "new creatures in Christ Jesus." We are then partakers of His divine nature, we are not in any sense independent. "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:10. We need Jesus every moment of every day if we are to retain our salvation. In order to claim the promise made in Genesis 3:15, we must be abiding in Christ and He in us through the Holy Spirit. Lucifer's fall  led to Adam's fall, which is our lot in life until we are reconciled to God. Independence and autonomy are death, reconciliation is life.
We deny Jesus His reward when we sin.

Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 1--Growing in Christ
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 06:53:58 AM »
TUESDAY October 2

God’s Weapon

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” Gen. 3:15. In what way is the great controversy revealed in this text?

We see Christ telling Satan that he is going to die and there is hope for Adam and his posterity. And, are we not also told that the price to be paid for this salvation so freely offered to guilty man will be great? "thou (Satan) shalt bruise His (Jesus') heel.”  "Bruise" is such a inferior word for what happened to our Lord.


The cryptic language of Genesis 3:15, in which the controversy is here predicted, gives us a hint of God’s rules of engagement in this conflict. We can see that the conflict, which had just begun on earth between the serpent and the woman, was going to take shape by involving the followers of the initial contestants: the “seed” of the woman and the “seed” of the serpent. In due course, as we know, the conflict would climax into a mortal clash between Satan and a male descendant of the woman, Jesus of Nazareth. God’s weapon of choice was Jesus-who would come to fight on behalf of the woman, suffer “bruises,” but ultimately deliver a deadly blow to the serpent. The weapon of choice was an act of sacrifice by Jesus, an act of selfless love.

Again, we see Genesis 3:15 as the important verse in Scripture. Why? As the author states, in this verse we find the "weapon" to be used against Satan in his battle for the souls of men. Sadly, he has been very successful in hiding this weapon from most of humanity. Many are called, but few choose to serve God and be liberated from the bondage of sin. Genesis 3:15 is the "everlasting covenant" in which God has promised to help the sinner win the battle against self and sin. It is true that we have a supernatural enemy in the person of Satan, but even if he were not weaving his web of entanglement about us, we would still have the greatest battle ever fought in the struggle with self. In our flesh is a fallen nature that is aligned with sin and Satan.  The only hope we have is found in the promise made in Genesis 3:15. It is the promise that God will put enmity into our hearts, that we will hate sin. The weapon? Jesus. It is only through learning of His great love and the price paid for our salvation that can cleanse the heart from all selfishness. This happens when the sinner sees his need of Christ and makes a full surrender. At that moment the Holy Spirit indwells the heart and man is enabled to keep the commandments of God through the power of the Spirit. Man is then made a partaker of God's divine nature.  His law is written upon the table of the heart. A converted Christian has  a dual nature. Fallen flesh remains until Jesus comes to take us home, but having the Holy Spirit indwelling the heart brings to man all of the fruits of His Spirit, not one is missing.

We need this living connection continually if we are to retain the power to resist any sin. For without Christ in our hearts, we cannot resist the smallest temptation. But with Christ we can do all things that He has asked of us.
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12.

How do the following texts help us to understand some of the issues involved in the great controversy? How is the plan of salvation central to the whole thing?

This first week of the new quarter is surely turning out to be a great blessing. It appears that our author knows Jesus and the important of Genesis 3:15. He is now pointing us to the story of salvation through Christ Jesus.  Let us study the verses he now shares. He asks the all important question "How is the plan of salvation central to the whole thing?" By "whole thing" I will assume he is talking about the great controversy.  It was Satan's work to destroy humanity, to keep us bound in sin as he had done with Adam and Eve. But, in Genesis 3:15 something of great importance happened. Jesus surprises Satan with the promise of a power that can deliver Adam and his children from the power of Satan and sin. Jesus has stepped in between Satan and the sinner and has given fallen man hope through the victory that Christ will win in the great battle known as the great controversy. We may be set free from sin.
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:2.



Compare

Gen. 4:4 with Heb. 11:4

 4:4   And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering.

 11:4   By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 


Here we see that Adam and his children were given a lesson that they might know of the cost to be paid for their salvation. Through the sacrifice of God's dear Son, if fallen man would by faith accept this Gift, he would be made "righteous". God's Word does not lie. Mark it, remember it. By faith in the atoning blood of Christ man may be cleansed from all sin and set free from the bondage of sin. The power of grace to transform our lives.


Gen. 12:3, 22:18 with Gal. 3:16

 12:3   And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 

  22:18   And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. 

 3:16   Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 


Abraham was promised that through his children would come the "Seed" spoken of in Genesis 3:15. Here we are given the key that unlocks Genesis 3:15. We are told that the Seed is Christ and that through Him, all of the nations of the earth would be blessed.


Exod. 25:8 with Heb. 4:2

25:8   And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 

 4:2   For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 

In Exodus we find more that adds to Genesis 3:15. The cost, the bruising of the heal of the Seed is going to be revealed in more detail through the Hebrew sanctuary and its services. Christ wants to live in our hearts and to do this, we need to know Him. He tells Moses to have His chosen people, Israel, build Him a sanctuary where He will live among His people. Sadly, few of the Hebrews benefited from the sufferings and death of Christ. In Hebrews, Paul writes that  the Jews did not by faith yield their hearts to Christ and therefore the lessons being given to Israel were rejected and instead of being His righteous witness, they put to death the Son of God. How about today? Do God's chosen people crucify Christ afresh?


Isa. 53:6 with Rom. 5:8 Matt. 16:18, 18:16-20 Heb. 8:1-2

 53:6   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

 5:8   But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  16:18   And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
 18:16   But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 
  18:17   And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. 
  18:18   Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 
  18:19   Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 
  18:20   For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
 
  8:1   Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 
  8:2   A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 


God has a people who love Him and keep His commandments. It is a remnant, a small group, but the number is growing daily. This week's lesson is evidence of this. Revival and reformation is coming. It is dependent upon the Word that was made flesh. As the sinner gains a glimpse of the great love that God has revealed towards guilty humanity, the heart is drawn to the Saviour. Jesus said
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32.

Jesus is the Minister of the true sanctuary in heaven. He is a living Saviour that knows the number of the hairs on your head. He loves us! We live in the anti-typical Day of Atonement. The blood that Christ shed for you and for me while we were yet sinners is cleansing a people who will be His witnesses in the great controversy between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. Let us this one day, give glory to our God by being a true witness of His character. This we may do if we will allow the Lamb of God to take possession of our hearts and then will He have fulfilled His promise revealed in Genesis 3:15 to put enmity between you and me and sin.


We deny Jesus His reward when we sin.

Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 1--Growing in Christ
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 08:14:33 AM »
WEDNESDAY October 3

Satan’s Fight


If you looked carefully at yesterday’s study, you would have seen a progression of how God manifested Himself and His truth in the midst of the great controversy. God worked through the patriarchal and Israelite sanctuary services, through Christ’s sacrificial atoning death, through the church, and through Christ’s own ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.

Satan, however, has worked tirelessly to try to undermine the Lord’s plans. So much of the great controversy has been, and is now, fought out over these very issues.

Amen!  He has attempted to counter God at every turn. But, God turns Satan's evil work to good. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.

For instance, the sacrificial system practiced by the patriarchs, and in Israel’s sanctuary service, was designed by God to remind humankind of the Creator and to keep the hope of redemption alive.

How did Satan seek to usurp and destroy the truth about the plan of salvation, especially as revealed in the sacrificial system? See Rom. 1:20-28; Deut. 32:17-18.

  1:20   For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 
  1:21   Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
  1:22   Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 
  1:23   And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 
  1:24   Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 
  1:25   Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 
  1:26   For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 
  1:27   And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 
  1:28   And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 

Nature is a testimony of God's love and power and here we see that Satan has caused evil men to worship nature rather than nature's God. We see this more and more in today's world. Men are jailed for defending their family from a bear that has attacked them. "Mother Earth" is worshiped and God is rejected.  :(  Yes, Satan has been at work.

  32:17   They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. 
  32:18   Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. 


Very sad indeed. God gave man the object lesson that would reveal His great love in allowing His Son to die for our sins and Satan turned it into a religion of merit, of works. The sacrifices were turned into evil.
"Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, [even] the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood." Psalms 106:37,38. 
Instead of pointing to Christ, the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world, the sacrifices were made to be a cruel system that sinners believed merited favor with God. If a lamb was valued by God then how much more a human sacrifice!  Satan is clever. He has had 6,000 years to plan for our day. We have not seen half of what he has in store for us. The Bible says "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:24.

Of course, the incarnation of Christ, His ministry on earth, and His atoning sacrificial death on the cross were the central parts of how God chose to defeat Satan in the great controversy. The death of Christ would guarantee the undoing of Satan, who worked tirelessly against Christ.

What do these texts (Matt. 2:1-18, 4:1-11, 16:21-23, 27:39-42) tell us about the ways in which Satan worked against Jesus?

  2:1   Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 
  2:2   Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 
  2:3   When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 
  2:4   And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 
  2:5   And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 
  2:6   And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 
  2:7   Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 
  2:8   And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 
  2:9   When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 
  2:10   When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 
  2:11   And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 
  2:12   And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 
  2:13   And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 
  2:14   When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 
  2:15   And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 
  2:16   Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 
  2:17   Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 
  2:18   In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping [for] her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 

  4:1   Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 
  4:2   And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 
  4:3   And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 
  4:4   But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 
  4:5   Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 
  4:6   And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 
  4:7   Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 
  4:8   Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 
  4:9   And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 
  4:10   Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 
  4:11   Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. 

 16:21   From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 
  16:22   Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 
  16:23   But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. 

  27:39   And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 
  27:40   And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest [it] in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 
  27:41   Likewise also the chief priests mocking [him], with the scribes and elders, said, 
  27:42   He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 
  27:43   He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 


Yes, Satan hated Jesus and from the time He came into this world until he left, he was the object of this hatred. The story of Bethlehem is an exhaustless theme. In it is hidden "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." Romans 11:33. We marvel at the Saviour's sacrifice in exchanging the throne of heaven for the manger, and the companionship of adoring angels for the beasts of the stall. Human pride and self-sufficiency stand rebuked in His presence. Yet this was but the beginning of His wonderful condescension. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life. 

Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.

The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life's peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan's power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave His only-begotten Son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones. "Herein is love." Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth! 

After His death and resurrection, Christ established His church on earth to proclaim to lost humanity the good news of salvation. From the inception of the church, Satan has determined to weaken and destroy it. The following passages show some of Satan’s tactics against the church

Acts 5:17-18; 7:54-60

  5:17   Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 
  5:18   And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 

  7:54   When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with [their] teeth. 
  7:55   But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 
  7:56   And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 
  7:57   Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 
  7:58   And cast [him] out of the city, and stoned [him]: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 
  7:59   And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [God], and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 
  7:60   And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. 

2 Thess. 2:1-4

  2:1   Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, 
  2:2   That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 
  2:3   Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 
  2:4   Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 

1 Tim. 4:1

  4:1   Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 

2 Pet. 2:1

 2:1   But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 

Rev. 12:13-17

  12:13   And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child]. 
  12:14   And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 
  12:15   And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 
  12:16   And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 
  12:17   And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 


From the very beginning of the church, it has been Satan's studied effort to overthrow her. And he has surely been successful. If the founders of these many denominations could see their churches today! But, God always has a remnant. When one church would fail, He would raise up another. Today, we see that his work continues, but Christ has made provision that his work will fail with the last church. God's last church, the remnant of God, will see revival and reformation. It has begun.


Meanwhile, the book of Hebrews tells of a real sanctuary in heaven where Christ entered after His ascension (Heb. 4:14-16, 9:24), performing a priestly function on behalf of sinful humanity (Heb. 7:27).

 4:14   Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. 
  4:15   For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 
  4:16   Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

9:24   For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 

 7:27   Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 


Such a blessing to know that our Saviour lives and is working on our behalf today! We serve a risen Savior!!!


In Daniel 8:11-14, we can see Satan’s activity in connection with Christ’s priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and his attempt to usurp that ministry.

  8:11   Yea, he magnified [himself] even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily [sacrifice] was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 
  8:12   And an host was given [him] against the daily [sacrifice] by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. 
  8:13   Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain [saint] which spake, How long [shall be] the vision [concerning] the daily [sacrifice], and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 
  8:14   And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. 


Oh...yes. He has surely perverted the teaching of what is happening today in the heavenly sanctuary. Instead of rightly understanding the anti-typical Day of Atonement, most are deceived into believing that there is no judgment going on today. That there is no need to examine the books and see if one is truly converted or not. Why, a profession of faith, or one's past experience is enough to get one into heaven. Such deceptions!! They are ubiquitous, even in God's church.


It’s one thing to read 1 Peter 5:8-9 and have an intellectual understanding of that warning; it’s another to actually live out that warning in our daily lives.

  5:8   Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 
  5:9   Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 


How do we, in fact, resist the devil?

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:7,8. 


We must believe what the Bible says. We must take the Bible as it reads. How many really believe that their heart can be "purified"? Few. Even amongst conservatives there is the belief that only the 144,000 can have purified hearts. Such a deception!  God's grace works today and always has. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin...If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:7,9.

When we make a full surrender to Christ, He gives us new hearts, pure hearts that love Him and have power to love others. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus and we can do all things that He asks of us as long as we remain partakers of His divine nature.


How often during a single day are you aware of Satan’s efforts against you?


It seems that the author of our lesson has pointed us to "present truth". Did he not warn us of the day we live in? "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." And did he not warn us that it is not good enough to know this, but if we are going to be a blessing to God and His church, we must live out the counsel given in response. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."

Again, we are blessed to have a lesson that is founded upon the Rock and His Word! We rejoice that this is evidence that God's church is in the process of revival and reformation! God is breathing His Spirit upon His people. Let us receive it with thanksgiving and give glory to our God! " Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:7.
We deny Jesus His reward when we sin.

Richard Myers

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THURSDAY October 4

Destinies


“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Josh. 24:15.
How does this text reveal what is, in many ways, the most foundational issue in the great controversy?

When Adam sinned, he was promised eternal death. But, God, in speaking to Satan revealed that He had stepped in between Adam and death. Jesus told Satan in Genesis 3:15 that there was a provision whereby Adam and his children could be reconciled to God, that through the Seed of the woman (Jesus), there could once again be enmity between the woman, representing mankind, and sin and Satan. When Adam sinned, he became aligned with Satan and sin. The great controversy between Christ and Satan is the battle between good and evil. The battle takes place in the human heart. Never was there a greater battle. Man has been granted a period of temporal life, a period of probation, that he might learn of God's love and be reconciled to Him. It is through this union with Jesus that man may have eternal life. When we are born again of His Spirit, we are partakers of His divine nature. Then the promise to place enmity into the heart of man has been fulfilled. But, it is a moment by moment, day by day experience. We must continue to abide in Christ to have this enmity towards sin. Without the abiding presence of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, there is no power to resist the smallest temptation. The power is found only in Christ. This battle for the souls of men is the object of the great controversy. It is the lesson book of the universe, that all may see the character of our God and know of His power to save guilty man and to restore the universe to the peace that existed before sin. I and my family must choose to either serve God or serve sin. We cannot serve two masters. We server one of the other. My destiny is dependent upon my choice.


Prophecy provides us with a view of the closing scenes of the conflict between God and Satan. For a period of 1260 years (Dan. 7:25, 12:7, Rev. 11:2, 12:14, 13:5), Satan sporadically, but persistently, persecuted God’s people. In a final showdown written of in Revelation 12 and 13, Satan employs two earthly powers: a leopard-like beast (Rev. 13:1-10) and a two-horned beast (Rev. 13:11-17). And they employ all the tactics of Satan that were discussed in yesterday’s lesson.

Revelation 14 is a description of the countermove to Satan’s maneuvers that God uses during the final stages in the struggle in order to bring the struggle to an end. What does Revelation 14:6-13 tell us about the ways in which some of the issues in the great controversy are going to be made manifest?

 14:6   And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 
  14:7   Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 
  14:8   And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 
  14:9   And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 
  14:10   The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 
  14:11   And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 
  14:12   Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 
  14:13   And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.   


These three messages reveal the last great struggle of Satan to keep men bound in their sins. And, it is the last warming message sent from God to a world soon to perish. The message begins with the church taking the everlasting gospel to the whole world, then the end will come. As it has been throughout the ages, Satan has attacked the church and has been successful at deceiving even the professing Protestant Churches in the same manner he deceived Israel. And as Israel put Christ to death, so it will be in the final conflict between good and evil. It will be the professing people of God that persecute the true church. The issue will be the Word of God. Who will follow God and His word and who will follow the teachings of man?


From God’s perspective, a clear proclamation of the issues involved in the conflict (here represented as being sent by three angels) is necessary before the conflict comes to a close. Humanity needs to be intelligently informed in order for people to make up their minds about the issues.

That is correct.  The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is not clearly seen by most today as God's holy day. It is not understood to be the final test before Jesus returns. Yet, it is the Word of God that it represents. In whom will we trust?


In the final conflict there will be people who stand loyal to God. In Revelation 14 they are symbolized by the number 144,000, possibly representative of an innumerable people from all the nations of the earth (Revelation 7:4). But they remain obedient to the commandments of God in a time of great distress and are wholeheartedly devoted to the worship of their Creator God. They receive the approval of God and are victorious with Him while the impenitent are destroyed in the ensuing harvest (Rev. 14:14-20). The point is that one day this great controversy will be over.

Amen!!  And it could have been over a hundred years ago. Why are we still here?


One thing about the great controversy: no one can be neutral. You’re either on one side or the other. Anyone can claim to be on the Lord’s side (see John 16:2); how do you know, for sure, that you really are? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.


How do we know? Who has the heart? And this is where Satan has stolen a march on the church. Many do not understand that the battle ground is the heart.  They think they can have a divided heart and have life. Temporal life, for a moment, but not salvation, not eternal life. It can only be had when the heart is fully given to Christ. How can we tell? Whom do we speak of? To whom are we surrendered? Are the fruits of His Spirit seen in the life? This is the test. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.  The great revelation of conversion is the ability to love those who despitefully use us. If we have not this love for those who are not nice, then we do not have Christ living in the heart. But, Jesus does not forsake us. He stands at the door wanting in. It is not because of any lack on His part, but rather our refusal to be brought to repentance that keeps guilty man from obtaining the "Pearl of Great Price". Today is the day of salvation. Today, we may have peace with God and find salvation for our souls. By beholding His great love, we shall be changed into His image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord!
We deny Jesus His reward when we sin.

Richard Myers

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Read Frank B. Holbrook, “The Great Controversy,” pp. 969-1008 in Raoul Dederen (ed.), Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology.

“The Bible is its own expositor. Scripture is to be compared with scripture. The student should learn to view the word as a whole, and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme, of God’s original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy, and should learn to trace their working through the records of history and prophecy, to the great consummation. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found.”-Ellen G. White, Education, p. 190.
Discussion Questions

    In the quotation from the book Education given above, Ellen G. White writes that the great controversy enters into every phase of human experience. How true has this been in your own experience? Has your understanding of the great controversy motif been a source of strength or frustration as you cope with the issues of daily living in the world of sin and suffering?

Having an understanding of the conflict, even before conversion is helpful. It is good to know that it is not our fault that we can do no good thing and that at great expense God has provided a remedy, His Son. It is our fault if we continue in sin, for in Christ, we can do all that He asks of us. The greatest question that most have is answered. If God is all powerful, and He is, and if He is a God of love, and He is, then why all the suffering? For many who are convicted that sin crucifies Christ afresh and that it is a revelation of separation from Him, it is indeed frustrating when the solution is not known. Many do not  understand, not having experienced it, the peace and joy that comes from a full surrender.


    Some speak about a “delay” in the second coming of Christ. With the amount of injustice and senseless suffering in the world, it seems that every additional day of life on earth is one too many. Have the class members share their individual perspectives regarding the great controversy motif from the point of view of the so-called “delay.”

    How confident can we be about the final resolution of the conflict between good and evil? What gives you assurance that evil will be overcome in the end? What reasons do we have for believing that? How, for instance, does the prophecy of Daniel 2 help to give us assurance about the ultimate outcome?

  2:40   And the fourth kingdom (Rome)shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all [things]: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 
  2:41   And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 
  2:42   And [as] the toes of the feet [were] part of iron, and part of clay, [so] the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 
  2:43   And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 
  2:44   And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 
  2:45   Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream [is] certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. 


If our faith is in God and His Word, then we can be certain that good will triumph. If we do not trust God with all that we are and all that we have, then "unbelief" may cause us to doubt what the Bible says. Many professing Christians today do not take the Bible as it reads. They place tradition and culture ahead of a "thus saith the Lord".  As we see the final prophecies being fulfilled before our eyes, as we see apostasy in the churches, as we see revival and reformation taking hold in our church, as we see the United States rejecting Christ and Bible truth, as we see the "deadly wound" having been healed, as we see earthquakes in diverse places, tornadoes, fires, floods, diseases, famine, we are convinced that Jesus is even at the doors.

    In class, go over your answers to the final question on Thursday. The answer is especially relevant because of our understanding of just who the persecutors are going to be in the last days. How, then, can we be sure we will be on the right side?


Thursday's question: "One thing about the great controversy: no one can be neutral. You’re either on one side or the other. Anyone can claim to be on the Lord’s side (see John 16:2); how do you know, for sure, that you really are?" Today, there are many answers to this question, most are wrong. The wages of sin is death, and always has been. But, now few believe it.  They believe that the sinner who sins a known sin has eternal life.  The only way we can be sure we are on the right side is if we are abiding in Christ and He in us. If we are reconciled to God and manifest the fruits of His Spirit, then we are on the right side. We cannot serve two masters. We are either filled with His Spirit or we are not.


Matthew
  7:16   Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 
  7:17   Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 
  7:18   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 
  7:19   Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 
  7:20   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 
  7:21   Not every 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. 
  7:22   Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 
  7:23   And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

We deny Jesus His reward when we sin.

Peter L

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Sunday
Quote
Study Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:1–17. Who are the key players in the controversy? While symbols are sometimes used to depict the players, why do we believe that the powers described here are real, literal beings? What would happen to our whole belief system were we to spiritualize away the reality of the great controversy between Christ and Satan and our role in it?

The key players are Christ and Satan. If we were to spiritulize away the reality of the great controversy then we would be deceived and the story would become a fictional story.
Revelation 3:20
(20)  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Mimi

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It would, indeed!
Isaiah 1:17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.