Sabbath, September 8, 2012
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18.
Messengers chosen to restore the truth
1. According to prophecy, what would happen to the truth over the centuries? Who was a precious instrument used by the Lord to restore the truth in the fourteenth century?
Daniel 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 practised, and prospered.
2 Thessalonians 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 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
“The hours of darkness were wearing away, and in many lands appeared tokens of the coming dawn.
“In the fourteenth century arose in England the ‘morning star of the Reformation.’ John Wycliffe was the herald of reform, not for England alone, but for all Christendom. The great protest against Rome which it was permitted him to utter was never to be silenced. That protest opened the struggle which was to result in the emancipation of individuals, of churches, and of nations….
“He saw that Rome had forsaken the word of God for human tradition; he fearlessly accused the priesthood of having banished the Scriptures, and demanded that the Bible be restored to the people and that its authority be again established in the church. He was an able and earnest teacher and an eloquent preacher, and his daily life was a demonstration of the truths he preached. His knowledge of the Scriptures, the force of his reasoning, the purity of his life, and his unbending courage and integrity won for him general esteem and confidence. Many of the people had become dissatisfied with their former faith as they saw the iniquity that prevailed in the Roman Church, and they hailed with unconcealed joy the truths brought to view by Wycliffe.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 79-81.
2. What truth was restored through the reformatory work of Martin Luther?
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
John 3:16, 17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
“By a recent decretal an indulgence had been promised by the pope to all who should ascend upon their knees ‘Pilate’s staircase,’ said to have been descended by our Saviour on leaving the Roman judgment hall and to have been miraculously conveyed from Jerusalem to Rome. Luther was one day devoutly climbing these steps, when suddenly a voice like thunder seemed to say to him: ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Romans 1:17. He sprang to his feet and hastened from the place in shame and horror. That text never lost its power upon his soul. From that time he saw more clearly than ever before the fallacy of trusting to human works for salvation, and the necessity of constant faith in the merits of Christ….
“Precious was the message which he bore to the eager crowds that hung upon his words. Never before had such teachings fallen upon their ears. The glad tidings of a Saviour’s love, the assurance of pardon and peace through His atoning blood, rejoiced their hearts and inspired within them an immortal hope….
“But light and darkness cannot harmonize. Between truth and error there is an irrepressible conflict.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 125, 126.
3. What truth was especially emphasized by the Wesley brothers?
Leviticus 19:2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.
“The grace of God in Christ is the foundation of the Christian’s hope, and that grace will be manifested in obedience. Wesley’s life was devoted to the preaching of the great truths which he had received–justification through faith in the atoning blood of Christ, and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, bringing forth fruit in a life conformed to the example of Christ….
“Thus while preaching the gospel of the grace of God, Wesley, like his Master, sought to ‘magnify the law, and make it honorable.’ Faithfully did he accomplish the work given him of God, and glorious were the results which he was permitted to behold.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 256, 264.
“God demands of you entire conformity to His law. This law is the echo of His voice saying to you, Holier, yes, holier still.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 566.
Progress of reformation
4. What warning did God give the church after the Protestant Reformation? Whom did He send as a reformer?
Revelation 3:1, 2 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
“To William Miller and his co-laborers it was given to preach the warning in America. This country became the center of the great advent movement. It was here that the prophecy of the first angel’s message had its most direct fulfillment. The writings of Miller and his associates were carried to distant lands. Wherever missionaries had penetrated in all the world, were sent the glad tidings of Christ’s speedy return. Far and wide spread the message of the everlasting gospel: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ ” –The Great Controversy, p. 368.
“God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer who had not believed the Bible, to lead him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people.” –Early Writings, p. 229.
5. What tremendous experience was made by those who heard the message preached by William Miller?
Revelation 14:6, 7 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.
“Wherever the message was given, it moved the people. Sinners repented, wept, and prayed for forgiveness, and those whose lives had been marked with dishonesty were anxious to make restitution. Parents felt the deepest solicitude for their children. Those who received the message labored with their unconverted friends and relatives, and with their souls bowed with the weight of the solemn message, warned and entreated them to prepare for the coming of the Son of man….
“Thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by William Miller, and servants of God were raised up in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the message…. Their testimony was calculated to arouse and powerfully affect the churches and manifest their real character.” –Early Writings, pp. 232, 233.
“Sinners inquired with weeping: ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Those whose lives had been marked with dishonesty were anxious to make restitution. All who found peace in Christ longed to see others share the blessing. The hearts of parents were turned to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents. The barriers of pride and reserve were swept away. Heartfelt confessions were made, and the members of the household labored for the salvation of those who were nearest and dearest. Often was heard the sound of earnest intercession. Everywhere were souls in deep anguish pleading with God. Many wrestled all night in prayer for the assurance that their own sins were pardoned, or for the conversion of their relatives or neighbors.” –The Great Controversy, p. 369.
Reformation in our days
6. Since the great day of atonement has been going forward in the heavenly sanctuary since October 22, 1844, what great work of reformation needs to be carried out among God’s people today?
Joel 2:12, 13 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Joel 2:16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Malachi 3:2, 3 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
“In view of that great day the word of God, in the most solemn and impressive language, calls upon His people to arouse from their spiritual lethargy and to seek His face with repentance and humiliation: ‘Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.’ ‘Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children:… let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar.’
‘Turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.’ Joel 2:1, 15-17, 12, 13.
“To prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished. God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and in His mercy He was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make ready for the coming of the Lord.” –The Great Controversy, p. 311.
7. What transpired in the typical day of atonement? What should those who are living during the literal day of atonement do?
Leviticus 23:26-32 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
Numbers 29:7, 8 And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein: But ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the Lord for a sweet savour; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish.
“Important truths concerning the atonement are taught by the typical service….
“Every man was required to afflict his soul while this work of atonement was going forward. All business was to be laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel were to spend the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart.” –The Great Controversy, pp, 419, 420.
“Christ is cleansing the temple in heaven from the sins of the people, and we must work in harmony with Him upon the earth, cleansing the soul temple from its moral defilement.” –Review and Herald, February 11, 1890.
For review and meditation
• What messenger did the Lord choose to restore the truth?
• What truths did the reformers like Martin Luther and John Wesley restore?
• How should God’s people live during the actual day of atonement to prepare for eternity?
“The Lord bids you to come up higher, to reach a holier standard. You must have an experience much deeper than you have yet even thought of having…. ‘The path of the righteous is as the light of dawn, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ Proverbs 4:18, R.V., margin. 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, pp. 317, 318.