Sabbath, April 10, 2004
“Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he might be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 362.
• To reflect upon the food that is vital for the midnight supper.
• To not remain indifferent or unawares of our need to participate in the midnight supper.
• To acknowledge that our understanding of the truth will grow if we live according to the light we have received.
EMERGENCY AT MIDNIGHT
1. According to the parable of the midnight visit, a friend was lacking something, so he turned to another friend to supply that need, what was it? How many loaves were mentioned?
Luke 11:5, 6 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
2. Who also arrived at midnight in another parable? Prophetically speaking, what time period is marked as “midnight”?
Matthew 25:5, 6 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
“The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth’s history. All claim to be Christians. All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God’s service. All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed, outside the banquet hall.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 412.
THE NEED OF SPIRITUAL BREAD
3. Who will give us this indispensable supper, and what is it like?
Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
John 6:32-35 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
“In the parable all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 408.
“ ‘I am the bread of life,’ the Author, Nourisher, and Supporter of eternal, spiritual life. In the thirty-fifth verse of the sixth chapter of John, Christ represents Himself under the similitude of heavenly bread. To eat His flesh and to drink His blood means to receive Him as a heaven-sent teacher. Belief in Him is essential to spiritual life. Those who feast on the Word never hunger, never thirst, never desire, any higher or more exalted good.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1135.
4. How can we be sure of receiving the spiritual bread so essential in our lives at all times?
Luke 11:8-10 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
AN ANALOGY WITH THE THREE ANGELS’ MESSAGES
5. What are the “three loaves of bread” that God offers to His people and to the world during the time of the midnight cry and of the midnight supper?
Revelation 14:6-12 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, 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. 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. 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, 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: 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. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
“I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. Iwas shown three steps–the first, second, and third angel’s messages. Said my accompanying angel: ‘Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.’ I was again brought down through these messages and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform.… “And I saw the mercy and goodness of God in sending a warning to the people of the earth, and repeated messages to lead them to a diligent searching of heart and study of the Scriptures, that they might divest themselves of errors which have been handed down from the heathen and papists. Through these messages God has been bringing out His people where He can work for them in greater power and where they can keep all His commandments.… “These messages were represented to me as an anchor to the people of God. Those who understand and receive them will be kept from being swept away by the many delusions of Satan.” – Early Writings, pp. 258, 259, 250, 256.
6. How important are these messages in the experience of God’s people and for the world?
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
“The three angels of Revelation 14 are represented as flying in the midst of heaven, symbolizing the work of those who proclaim the first, second, and third angels’ messages. All are linked together. The evidences of the abiding, ever living truth of these grand messages, that mean so much to the church, that have awakened such intense opposition from the religious world, are not extinct. Satan is constantly seeking to cast a shadow about these messages, so that the people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time and place; but they live and are to exert their power upon our religious experience while time shall last.…
“The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgments for disobedience and transgression until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 17-19.
7. For all those who accept the truth and live according to it, what will happen to their light?
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
“Ever since the first promise of redemption was spoken in Eden, the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ have been the study of human minds. Yet every mind through whom the Holy Spirit has worked has presented these themes in a light that is fresh and new. The truths of redemption are capable of constant development and expansion. Though old, they are ever new, constantly revealing to the seeker for truth a greater glory and a mightier power.
“In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential, new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. When Christ desired to open to His disciples the truth of his resurrection, He began at ‘Moses and all the prophets’ and ‘expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.’ Luke 24:27. But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form.” – Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 127, 128.
“Treasure every ray of light. Cherish every desire of the soul after God. Give yourself the culture of spiritual thoughts and holy communings. You have seen but the first rays of the early dawn of His glory. As you follow on to know the Lord, you will know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. ‘The path of the righteous is as the light of dawn, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ Proverbs 4:18… Having repented of our sins, confessed them, and found pardon, we are to continue to learn of Christ until we come into the full noontide of a perfect gospel faith.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 318.
• How much longer do we have to wait until we reach “midnight” in the history of the world, or have we already reached it?
• Is this just a story about a man in need of food at midnight who has to ask others for help, or is there a spiritual lesson in it for us?
• What is the food that we need every day and every hour for the supply of our life?
• What should we do in order to receive more light for the next dark days?