May 19, 2013 – May 25, 2013
“I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” II Peter 1:12.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 632–636; The Great Controversy, 355–374.
“There was a present truth—a truth at that time of special importance—in the days of Christ, of Paul, of Luther; there is a present truth for the church today.” The Signs of the Times, June 21, 1883.
1 THE GOSPEL: AN EVERLASTING TRUTH
- How do Christ’s teachings perfectly harmonize with the Old Testament scripture (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18)? Matthew 22:36–40. What explanation did Christ give concerning His doctrine? John 7:16, 17.
Note: “ ‘Jesus answered them [the Jews], and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me’ (John 7:16). My words are in perfect harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures, and with the law spoken from Sinai. I am not preaching a new doctrine. I am presenting old truths rescued from the framework of error, and placed in a new setting.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1136.
- What was the “ present truth ” taught after Christ’s ascension? I John 1:1–3; I Peter 1:12, 15, 16. How does that truth also affect us today? John 17:17–20.
Note: “When, after His [Christ’s] ascension, the Holy Spirit brought His teachings to the remembrance of the disciples, their slumbering senses awoke. The meaning of these truths flashed upon their minds as a new revelation, and truth, pure and unadulterated, made a place for itself. Then the wonderful experience of His life became theirs.” The Acts of the Apostles, 520.
2 A MYSTERY REVEALED
- What did Paul say about the plan of redemption that was more fully revealed in the gospel of Christ? Ephesians 3:3–6, 9; I Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:25, 26.
Note: “Mysteries which had been hidden for ages were revealed to him [Paul], and as much as he could bear of the workings of God, and of His dealings with human minds, was made known. The Lord told Paul that he must preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Light was to be given to the Gentiles. This is a mystery which had been hidden for ages.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1107.
- What will happen when this mystery of God (the light given to the Gentiles) is completed? Matthew 24:14.
Note: “Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability. When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory. ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come’ (Matthew 24:14).” The Acts of the Apostles, 111.
- What final verdict will then be declared? Revelation 22:10, 11.
Note: “The gospel dispensation is the last period of probation that will ever be granted to men. Those who live under this dispensation of test and trial and yet are not led to repent and obey will perish with the disloyal. There is no second trial. The gospel that is to be preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples presents the truth in clear lines, showing that obedience is the condition of gaining eternal life. Christ imparts His righteousness to those who consent to let Him take away their sins.” “Ellen G White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 971, 972.
3 SIGNS OF THE END
- How do we know that the Lord’s return is very near? Matthew 24:32–39.
Note: “Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near, even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, ‘This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled’ (Matthew 24:34). These signs have appeared. Now we know of a surety that the Lord’s coming is at hand.” The Desire of Ages, 632.
“Christ continues, pointing out the condition of the world at His coming: ‘As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:37–39). Christ does not here bring to view a temporal millennium, a thousand years in which all are to prepare for eternity. He tells us that as it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of man comes again.” Ibid., 633.
- What should we realize about Noah’s day? Genesis 6:5.
Note: “How was it in Noah’s day? ‘God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’ (Genesis 6:5). The inhabitants of the antediluvian world turned from Jehovah, refusing to do His holy will. They followed their own unholy imagination and perverted ideas. It was because of their wickedness that they were destroyed; and today the world is following the same way. It presents no flattering signs of millennial glory. The transgressors of God’s law are filling the earth with wickedness. Their betting, their horse racing, their gambling, their dissipation, their lustful practices, their untamable passions, are fast filling the world with violence.” The Desire of Ages, 633.
“God has given us laws whereby to live, but now, as in the Noachic age, the imagination of men’s hearts is evil and only evil continually; men walk after the desire and devices of their own hearts, and so accomplish their own ruin. God would have men stand in their God-given manhood, free from the slavery of appetite.” Temperance, 281.
4 THE FIRST ANGEL INTRODUCED
- What great religious revival marks the beginning of the “ present truth ” especially applicable in our day, and how is it described? Revelation 14:6.
Note: “A Great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ’s soon coming is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14. An angel is seen flying ‘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.’ ‘With a loud voice’ he proclaims the message: ‘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’ (verses 6, 7).
“The fact that an angel is said to be the herald of this warning is significant. By the purity, the glory, and the power of the heavenly messenger, divine wisdom has been pleased to represent the exalted character of the work to be accomplished by the message and the power and glory that were to attend it. And the angel’s flight ‘in the midst of heaven,’ the ‘loud voice’ with which the warning is uttered, and its promulgation to all ‘that dwell on the earth’—‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people’—give evidence of the rapidity and world-wide extent of the movement.” The Great Controversy, 355.
- To prepare a people to see Christ, how does the message of the first angel exalt the law of God? I John 3:2–4; Psalm 19:7.
Note: “The message proclaimed by the angel flying in the midst of heaven is the everlasting gospel, the same gospel that was declared in Eden when God said to the serpent, ‘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). Here was the first promise of a Saviour who would stand on the field of battle to contest the power of Satan and prevail against him. Christ came to our world to represent the character of God as it is represented in His holy law; for His law is a transcript of His character. Christ was both the law and the gospel. The angel that proclaims the everlasting gospel proclaims the law of God; for the gospel of salvation brings men to obedience of the law, whereby their characters are formed after the divine similitude.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 106.
5 HERALDS OF OBEDIENCE
- Who is to teach the first angel’s message? Matthew 28:19, 20.
Note: “As His representatives among men, God does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that He might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Ephesians 3:8).
“In His wisdom the Lord brings those who are seeking for truth into touch with fellow beings who know the truth. It is the plan of Heaven that those who have received light shall impart it to those in darkness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 134.
- What does the last remnant experience, and how is it distinguished from the rest of the world? Matthew 24:9; Revelation 12:17.
Note: “Whoever sees the repulsive character of sin, and in strength from above resists temptation, will assuredly arouse the wrath of Satan and his subjects. Hatred of the pure principles of truth, and reproach and persecution of its advocates, will exist as long as sin and sinners remain. The followers of Christ and the servants of Satan cannot harmonize. The offense of the cross has not ceased.” The Great Controversy, 507.
“The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects, he has gained control of the apostate churches; but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 472, 473.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What should we learn from the “present truth” of apostolic days?
2 Why was Paul so enthusiastic about that “present truth”?
3 How are our days similar to Noah’s?
4 What does the first angel of Revelation 14 represent?
5 Why must those who preach the first angel’s message cling to the Source of their strength?
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.