Sabbath, September 10, 2016
“God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to co-operate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 269.
A remnant in the Old Testament and in Jesus’ time
1. What can we determine as to the number of people who were faithful to God in the time of the Old Testament?
2 Kings 19:31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.
Isaiah 10:22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
“The story of Israel’s call, of their successes and failures, of their restoration to divine favor, of their rejection of the Master of the vineyard, and of the carrying out of the plan of the ages by a goodly remnant to whom are to be fulfilled all the covenant promises–this has been the theme of God’s messengers to His church throughout the centuries that have passed….
“His burden of soul in behalf of erring Judah was not to be borne in vain. His mission was not to be wholly fruitless…. The divine purpose finally accomplished, the full fruitage of his efforts, and of the labors of all God’s faithful messengers, would appear. A remnant should be saved. That this might be brought about, the messages of warning and entreaty were to be delivered to the rebellious nation,…” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 22, 308.
2. What was this remnant situation like in the days of Jesus?
John 3:32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
“The disciples of John had declared that all men were coming to Christ; but with clearer insight, John said, ‘No man receiveth His witness;’ so few were ready to accept Him as the Saviour from sin….
“The Saviour knew that His days of personal ministry on earth were nearly ended, and that few would receive Him as their Redeemer.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 181, 379.
“Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, He who was equal with God, was in the world thirty-three years, and yet there were but few who acknowledged His divine character.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 69.
In our day
3. Today, with billions of people living on the earth, how are God’s people considered?
Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.
“In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority. When the sound of the last trump shall penetrate the prison house of the dead, and the righteous shall come forth with triumph, exclaiming, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55)–standing then with God, with Christ, with the angels, and with the loyal and true of all ages, the children of God will be far in the majority.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 590.
4. What characterizes God’s remnant?
Revelation 12:17; 14:12 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ…. 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
“ ‘In that day’ ‘the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob … shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.’ Isaiah 10:20. From ‘every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people’ there will be some who will gladly respond to the message, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ They will turn from every idol that binds them to earth, and will ‘worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ They will free themselves from every entanglement and will stand before the world as monuments of God’s mercy. Obedient to the divine requirements, they will be recognized by angels and by men as those that have kept ‘the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Revelation 14:6, 7, 12.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 299.
A small, faithful remnant until the end
5. At the end of time, how will a small minority in the eyes of the world become an instrument to proclaim the three angels’ messages?
Zephaniah 3:12, 13 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
“A high position does not give us value in the sight of God. Man is measured by his consecration and faithfulness in working out the will of God. If the remnant people of God will walk before Him in humility and faith, He will carry out through them His eternal purpose, enabling them to work harmoniously in giving to the world the truth as it is in Jesus. He will use all–men, women, and children–in making the light shine forth to the world and calling out a people that will be true to His commandments. Through the faith that His people exercise in Him, God will make known to the world that He is the true God, the God of Israel.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 274.
6. How do the Scriptures explain the fact that there will always be a remnant, even though a large number of people are informed about the truth and are called out of Babylon?
Acts 28:26, 27 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
“The subject of man’s personal responsibility is understood by but few; and yet it is a matter of the greatest importance. We may each obey and live, or we may transgress God’s law, defy His authority, and receive the punishment that is meet. Then to every soul the question comes home with force, Shall I obey the voice from heaven, the ten words spoken from Sinai, or shall I go with the multitude who trample on that fiery law? To those who love God it will be the highest delight to keep His commandments, and to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. But the natural heart hates the law of God, and wars against its holy claims. Men shut their souls from the divine light, refusing to walk in it as it shines upon them. They sacrifice purity of heart, the favor of God, and their hope of heaven, for selfish gratification or worldly gain.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 216.
“Christ saw how deep is the hold of sin upon the human heart, how few would be willing to break from its power. He knew that without help from God, humanity must perish, and He saw multitudes perishing within reach of abundant help.”
–The Desire of Ages, p. 752.
7. What will be the reward of God’s remnant–those who love God and keep His commandments, and who are faithful to the end?
Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Revelation 3:10-12 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
“Christ’s true disciples follow Him through sore conflicts, enduring self-denial and experiencing bitter disappointment; but this teaches them the guilt and woe of sin, and they are led to look upon it with abhorrence. Partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they are destined to be partakers of His glory. In holy vision the prophet saw the ultimate triumph of God’s remnant church….
“In this world their minds were consecrated to God; they served Him with the intellect and with the heart; and now He can place His name ‘in their foreheads.’ ” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 590.
For personal study
Isaiah 11:11; 49:6.
“A congregation may be the poorest in the land. It may be without the attraction of any outward show; but if the members possess the principles of the character of Christ, they will have His joy in their souls. Angels will unite with them in their worship. The praise and thanksgiving from grateful hearts will ascend to God as a sweet oblation.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 298.
“I am encouraged and blessed as I realize that the God of Israel is still guiding His people and that He will continue to be with them, even to the end.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 406 (1913).
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 255, 256.
Early Writings, p. 66.