The Seven Last Plagues (2019, Quarter 1, Lesson 11)

by admin admin March 10, 2019

The Seven Last Plagues (2019, Quarter 1, Lesson 11)

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Sabbath (March 9)

The seven last plagues occur after the close of probation, for they fall on those who have received the mark of the beast (Revelation 16:1,2). At this point in time each person living on earth has made his or her final choice to serve God, or not to serve Him (see Revelation 22:11). Evidence of this is seen on the part of those receiving the plagues in their refusal to repent of sin even when it becomes clear that they are fighting God (Revelation 16:9,11). The book The Great Controversy explains in more detail what happens at this critical time in earth’s history:

When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old. {GC 614.1}

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Revelation 15:8. What is the significance of the temple being “closed” immediately before the seven last plagues are poured out? (Christ has completed His work of intercession for humanity.)

  • Read Psalm 91:1-4. Where does David indicate the place of safety is for God’s people? (Under the shadow of the Almighty and under His “wings”.) What else in Psalm 91:4 serves as protection for God’s people? (The “truth.”) What area of the temple or sanctuary appears to be referenced here? (The Most Holy Place)

  • Read Psalm 27:4,5. Where does David say he wants to be hid in the time of trouble? (In the “secret of his tabernacle.”) Where might this be? (Again, the Most Holy Place.)

  • Read Psalm 95:1 and Exodus 25:21,22. What might the two rocks be that David wants to be set upon? (Jesus Christ and God’s law)

  • Read Revelation 14:12. On what two things do God’s people stand on at the end of time? (The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.)

  • What do these verses mean to you about God’s ability to protect and preserve His people when probation closes? (Answers will vary. While no man can enter into the heavenly temple when probation closes, it is our privilege to be living there already by faith.)

Sunday (March 10): The Meaning of the Seven Last Plagues

The seven last plagues contain “the wrath of God upon the earth” (Revelation 16:1). This has caused some to question the justice and love of God, especially considering that His “wrath” is poured out on people that have already passed the close of probation. In Sunday and Monday’s lesson we will explore the wrath of God.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Romans 2:4. What leads us to repentance? (The goodness of God.) Where might we see the goodness of God that leads to repentance in the book of Revelation? (One prime example is the three angels’ messages, which, if accepted, will save people from suffering the seven last plagues.)

  • Read Romans 2:5. How is God’s judgment described in the Bible? (His judgment is righteous.) What does this mean? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read Romans 2:6-8. What brings “indignation and wrath” in the judgment? (Contentiousness, failing to obey truth, and obeying unrighteousness.)

In Romans 1:16-32, Paul describes a continual moral collapse on the part of those that refuse to worship God and give glory to Him. This passage has much to teach us in regards to mankind’s rejection of the three angels’ messages, particularly the first one. Read Romans 1:16-32 and then discuss the following questions:

Discussion Questions:

  • In Romans 1:16-17, Paul explains the gospel as the “righteousness of God.” In verse 18, he reveals that the wrath of God is revealed against the “unrighteousness of men.” What have these men, therefore, rejected? (The gospel.) How do the three angels’ messages begin in Revelation 14:6? (With the proclamation of the gospel.)

  • What do the unrighteous fail to do in Romans 1:21? (They fail to give God glory.) What is the first thing we are called to do in Revelation 14:7? (Give glory to God.)

  • What do the unrighteous then proceed to do in Romans 1:22-25? (Worship created things rather than the Creator.) Is this mistake inevitable for those that reject the gospel and then fail to give God glory in their lives? Why or why not?

  • In Romans 1:32, what do the unrighteous know about, yet ignore? (The judgment of God.) What, then, makes them worthy of the wrath of God? (Apparently, Paul’s argument is that God’s wrath is justified against those who understand their rejection of Him and choose to do so anyway. Also, both Romans 1 and Revelation 14:6-7 reveal the natural progression of those who reject God, and those who choose to worship Him.

Monday (March 11): The Outpouring of the Last Plagues

Some people question the fairness of God in sending plagues upon those that have already passed the close of probation and will not repent or change their rebellion against God? Why not just mercifully end their lives? We will see today that the major purpose of the seven last plagues is not so much to punish the lost as it is to demonstrate the righteousness of God in how He has dealt with sin.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Revelation 16:9, 11. What do the wicked realize by the end of the fourth plague? (That they are fighting against God.) Does this make any difference in their attitude toward Him? (No.) “The wicked are filled with regret, not because of their sinful neglect of God and their fellow men, but because God has conquered. They lament that the result is what it is; but they do not repent of their wickedness. They would leave no means untried to conquer if they could” (GC 654).

  • Read Job 13:15. How did Job respond even when He believed that God was fighting against him? (Job chose to continue trusting in God even when he believed that God was fighting against him.)

  • Read Genesis 32:24-30. How did Jacob respond when God had fought against him all night, injured him, and then tried to leave him? (Jacob clung onto God and asked for a blessing.)

  • Read Matthew 27:46. What did Jesus say when He felt that God had forsaken Him for eternity? (He remained faithful to God’s plan for His life and continued to submit to Him.)

  • What do the experiences of Job, Jacob, and Jesus teach us about the issues at stake after the close of probation? (It appears that both the righteous and the wicked will have reason to feel that God is fighting against them. The response of the righteous, however, will reveal that it is possible to trust God and remain faithful even in such extreme circumstances. The differing response of the righteous and the wicked will also demonstrate God’s righteousness in saving the righteous and eventually destroying the wicked. His judgment will be seen to be just and fair.)

Tuesday (March 12): Drying Up the Euphrates River

Ancient Babylon and its capture in Daniel 5 contains many parallels with the fall of spiritual Babylon in Revelation. Read Daniel 5 and then discuss the following questions:

Discussion Questions:

  • Since water, and therefore the Euphrates River, represents people in Bible prophecy (see Revelation 17:15), what may be indicated about spiritual Babylon when the Euphrates River that sustains it is dried up? (Among other things, this symbol points to the fact that Babylon is in fact a political entity with a religious veneer. When it loses the support of the people, its power is gone. Contrast the experience of Elijah on Mount Carmel, whom God enabled to stand alone in faithfulness to God. True religion receives its power from heaven, not from earthly politics.)

  • Read Daniel 5:1. What does Belshazzar lead the people to do? (Drink wine.) How does this compare with spiritual Babylon?

  • Read Daniel 5:2,3). What does Belshazzar make a mocker of? (God’s temple and its furniture.) How does this compare with spiritual Babylon?

  • Read Daniel 5:4. What is happening here? (Idolatry.) How does this compare with spiritual Babylon?

  • Read Daniel 5:22,23. What happens next? (Writing on the wall and judgment.) How does this compare with spiritual Babylon’s fate?

Wednesday (March 13): Satan’s Last Great Deception

In the sixth plague, Satan launches a final effort to unite humanity to fight against God (Revelation 16:13-14). In contrast to God’s three angels in Revelation 14, three frogs that come out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet carry Satan’s final message. These “spirits of devils” work miracles to unite humanity against God, and to prepare the world for Satan’s very last deception.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Read 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. How does Satan come upon the world at the end of time? (With “all power and signs and lying wonders.”)

  • What do you think “all deceivableness of unrighteousness” refers to?

  • What is the single biggest factor in remaining faithful to God in this passage? (Loving the truth.) What does it mean to love the truth? Is this different than simply knowing the truth?

Read the passages below from the book The Great Controversy:

As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: “Christ has come! Christ has come!” The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying: This is “the great power of God.” Acts 8:10. {GC 624.2}

Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief. {GC 625.3}

Discussion Questions:

  • Why do you think the miracles and wonders that Satan performs are so effective at deceiving people?

  • What kind of faith is necessary in order to “not yield to the evidence of [your] senses?” How can this kind of faith be developed?

Thursday (March 14): Gathering for the Battle of Armageddon

Revelation 16:13 identifies three powers that unite against God’s people at the end of time—the dragon (or Satan), the beast (or the papacy), and the false prophet (or apostate Protestantism, especially in its influence on the United States). The book The Great Controversy describes what will happen when these three powers unite:

“By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}”

Discussion Questions:

  • What three powers were united against Jesus at His arrest and crucifixion? (Satan, Rome, and apostate religious leaders in Israel.) Is it comforting to know that we are not called to endure anything that Jesus has not already endured?

  • Read Revelation 16:15. Why do you think this warning from Jesus is inserted here at this point the description of the seven last plagues?

  • Read Mark 14:51,52. Why did this disciple flee from Christ at the crisis hour? What would have enabled him to stand faithfully by Jesus’ side? What is the lesson for us?

Friday (March 15): Jesus and the Seven Last Plagues

Romans 5:8-9 states, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” and because of this, we are “saved from wrath through him.” In today’s study we will see that in the final hours of His life, beginning in Gethsemane, Jesus endured the equivalent of the seven last plagues, specifically so that we won’t ever have to, unless we reject His sacrifice for us. The table below compares the final events of Christ’s life with the seven last plagues:

Jesus and the Seven Last Plagues

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to you that Jesus has already suffered the wrath of God against sin?

  • What aspect of Christ’s sufferings communicates God’s love to you most clearly? Why?

To study more about the parallels between Christ’s life and end-time events, see our Living in the Final Week study guide series, available in English and Spanish.

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