God's Everlasting Gospel (2019, Quarter 1, Lesson 10)

by admin admin March 03, 2019

God's Everlasting Gospel (2019, Quarter 1, Lesson 10)

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Study guides and teacher notes for the Adult Sabbath School Lesson.

Sabbath (March 2)

The three angels’ messages sit at the center of Revelation, and they form one of the book’s most important sections, for they represent God’s last message of warning and mercy to the world before Jesus Christ returns. This week’s lesson takes a close look at several key aspects of these messages. Today, we will notice several interesting parallels between Revelation 14, where God gives a final message to the world, and John 12, where Jesus gives His final public message (in the gospel of John) prior to His arrest and crucifixion.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read John 12:20-31. What are some of the important things that Jesus focuses on in these verses? What are some parallels with the first angel’s message in Revelation 14:6,7? (the gospel, verse 24; a call to give glory to God, verse 28; an explanation of the judgment, verse 31)
  • Read John 12:37-43. What similarities do you find in these verses with the second angel’s message in Revelation 14:8? (an warning to not participate in the world’s rejection of Christ)
  • Read John 12:44-50. How does Jesus end His message? (with a call to keep the commandments of God) How does this compare with the third angel’s message in Revelation 14:9-12?
  • What do these parallels tell you about the three angels’ messages? (These parallels reveal that even though the three angels’ messages contain a warning about the mark of the beast at the end of time, they also are based on the “everlasting gospel” that has never changed. This has always been God’s message to humanity.)

Sunday (March 3): The Three Angels’ Messages

The three angels’ messages contain the “everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6), packaged especially for the end times, yet revealing the same eternal truths that God has always communicated to humanity. They represent the fulfillment of Christ’s promise in Matthew 24:14 that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” The acceptance or rejection of these urgent messages determines the destiny of every person living on earth at the time of the end.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Matthew 24:14. What does Jesus say will happen after “this gospel” has been preached in all the world? (the end will come)
  • Read Revelation 14:14-20. What happens in Revelation immediately after the three angels’ messages are given? (the second coming of Christ)
  • In what sense might the three angels’ messages be understood as the “witness unto all nations” that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:14?
  • Read Romans 1:16,17. What is the gospel? (the “power of God unto salvation”) What does the gospel reveal? (the righteousness of God)
  • Read Matthew 1:21. What does the righteousness of God, as manifest in Jesus Christ, accomplish for humanity? (It saves His people from their sins)
  • Read the quote below, and then explain what this statement means to you in light of Romans 1:16,17.

“The prince of this world cometh,” said Jesus, “and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character. {DA 123.3}

Monday and Tuesday (March 4-5): The First Angel’s Message, Parts 1&2

The first angel’s message begins with a proclamation of the “everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6) and continues with a call to “give glory” to God, “for the hour of his judgment is come” (Revelation 14:7). This judgment is the pre-advent, or investigative, judgment that began on October 22, 1844, when Jesus began His final work in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. This final work is identified in prophecy as the “judgment” (Revelation 14:7 and Daniel 7:22,26) and the cleansing of the sanctuary (Daniel 8:14). The first angel’s message concludes with a reminder and command to “worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

History reveals that a number of significant end-time movements that have shaped our modern world actually began in or around the year 1844. Some of these significant movements include:

  • Postmodernism and its emphasis on subjective truth and personal autonomy. Postmodernism, which is essentially the rejection of absolute truth and the exaltation of personal and subjective experience, developed from many influences. One of these influences was a German philosopher named Max Stirner, who in 1844 published a book titled The Ego and Its Own. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says this about Stirner’s book:

“He provides a sweeping attack on the modern world as dominated by religious modes of thought and oppressive social institutions, together with a brief sketch of a radical ‘egoistic’ alternative in which individual autonomy might flourish…Stirner's book can plausibly be claimed to…have influenced the tradition of individualist anarchism.” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/max-stirner/)

  • The formation of labor unions and the roots of communism. Karl Marx, the ideological father of communism, wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848. But four years before that, in November 1844, he and a friend, Frederich Engels, were busy at work setting up “societies for the advancement of the workers.” In a letter dated November 19, 1844, Engels wrote to Marx:

“We are at present holding public meetings all over the place to set up societies for the advancement of the workers…These meetings are arranged on the spur of the moment and without asking the police…we succeeded at two meetings in thoroughly trouncing the pious; by a huge majority, everything Christian was banned from the rules…Christianity, which according to their own assertions forms the basis of the society, must nowhere be mentioned in the rules.” (http://marx.libcom.org/works/1844/letters/44_11_19.htm)

  • The feminist movement and the sexual revolution. One of the most significant and far-reaching movements that has transformed society in the last half-century is the sexual revolution. A 2012 article in The Atlantic commented, “In terms of both public and private impact, no moral revolution can come close to the importance of the sexual revolution, and none has occurred so quickly. The moral world taken for granted in 1960 has virtually disappeared…[it is] one of the most significant cultural transformations in human history” (http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/08/why-the-sexual-revolution-needed-a-sexual-revolutionary/261492/). Margaret Fuller, recognized as one of the founders of the feminist movement, wrote a series of magazine articles in 1843 titled Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and in 1845 the articles were published in a book by the same title. The Encyclopedia Britannica comments about the book, “The book’s unprecedented and frank discussions of marriage and relations between men and woman also scandalized many” (http://www.britannica.com/ebchecked/topic/221891/margaret-fuller#ref197247).
  • The evolutionary worldview. In October 1844, Robert Chambers printed the first edition of his book, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, recognized as “the first attempt to connect natural sciences to a history of creation” (http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/V/bo3621790.html). Fifteen years later, in 1859, the more famous Charles Darwin published his book The Origin of the Species. However, in the introduction to his book, Darwin explains, “After five years’ work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusion, which then seemed to me probable.”

Discussion Questions:

  • What connection might the “judgment” of Revelation 14:7 have with the numerous worldwide movements that started in 1844?
  • What is your reaction to the idea that the three angels’ messages have been sent by God to address specific ideologies and movements at the end of time?
  • Do you think the three angels’ messages will get easier or more difficult to share as time goes on? What does this imply about our responsibility today?

Wednesday (March 6): The Second Angel’s Message

The second angel’s message in Revelation 14:8 warns about end-time spiritual Babylon, which deceives “all nations” with its sorcery (Revelation 18:23). In contrast with a “just man [that] falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Proverbs 24:16), the second angel warns that Babylon “is fallen, is fallen,” and is about to be destroyed.

The name Babylon derives from the tower of Babel that was built by rebellious descendants of Noah not long after the flood. The goals of the Babel builders are vividly explained in the book Patriarchs and Prophets:

The men of Babel had determined to establish a government that should be independent of God. …Their confederacy was founded in rebellion; a kingdom established for self-exaltation, but in which God was to have no rule or honor. Had this confederacy been permitted, a mighty power would have borne sway to banish righteousness—and with it peace, happiness, and security—from the earth. For the divine statutes, which are “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12), men were endeavoring to substitute laws to suit the purpose of their own selfish and cruel hearts. {PP 123.1}

Discussion Questions:

  • Are the goals of end-time spiritual Babylon similar to those of the builders of the tower of Babel? In what ways?
  • In what ways is end-time Babylon different than the tower of Babel?
  • What warnings can we take from the story of the destruction of the tower of Babel?

Thursday (March 7): The Third Angel’s Message

The third angel in Revelation 14:9-11 warns in very graphic language against receiving the mark of the beast.

Discussion Questions:

  • For what reasons do you believe God uses such strong language in this warning message?
  • What aspects of God’s character does the third angel’s message reveal? How do passages such as Hebrews 1:9; 1 John 4:8; and Isaiah 28:21 help us understand this warning more clearly?

In Revelation 15:2 John sees a group of victory that have “gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.” The four things they have victory over—the beast, the image of the beast, the number of his name, and the mark of the beast—correspond directly with Satan’s attacks against the first four of God’s Ten Commandments:

  • “The beast” wants the worship of every person on Earth (Rev. 13:12) in violation of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exo. 20:3).
  • “…and over his image.” The beast has an image that all are to worship (Rev. 13:15). This violates the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” (Exo. 20:4).
  • “…and over the number of his name.” The beast’s name identifies it (Rev. 13:18), much as God’s name identifies Him. The third commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain…” (Exo. 20:7).
  • “…and over his mark.” Since the beast, his image, and his name refer to Satan’s attack on the first three commandments, it follows that the mark must be linked to the fourth commandment, the sign of God’s authority as Creator (Genesis 2:2-3) and of His power to cleanse and sanctify us from sin (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12).

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Revelation 14:9 and Hebrews 8:10. What does it mean to have God’s law written in the mind? Conversely, what might it mean to receive the mark of the beast on the forehead?
  • Read Romans 6:16. In light of this verse, what might it mean to receive the mark of the beast in the hand?

Friday (March 8): The Righteousness of Christ

The third angels’ message describes two groups of people, those that receive the mark of the beast and “have no rest day nor night” (Revelation 14:11), and those that remain loyal to God and “rest from their labors” (Revelation 14:13).

Discussion Questions:

  • What kind of rest might be referred to in these two verses (Revelation 14:11 and Revelation 14:13)?
  • What might these two verses suggest about the results of the decision that people will make when the mark of the beast is enforced?
  • Read Hebrews 4:9-11. What does it mean that we should “labour therefore to enter into that rest” (verse 11)? What is the “labour” that we are required to do in order to receive Christ’s righteousness, and why might the Bible refer to this as “labour?”
  • Read Hebrews 4:12. What do you see as pointing to God’s work in this verse? (Identifying sin in our lives, convicting or “piercing” us of that sin, and then dividing us from sin.) What do you see as our work in this verse? (Surrendering to God and allowing Him to do this work in our lives.)

In Revelation 14:12 John reveals that keeping “the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” is the key to avoiding the mark of the beast and remaining loyal to God.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read John 14:15. How does a person truly “keep” the commandments of God? (By loving God)
  • In what ways do you see “the faith of Jesus” being related to the “commandments of God”?
  • In what ways is the “everlasting gospel” summed up in Revelation 14:12?

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