Sabbath, March 2, 2019

Lesson 9 – Prophecies Concerning God’s Kingdom

“A careful study of the working out of God’s purpose in the history of nations and in the revelation of things to come, will help us to estimate at their true value things seen and things unseen, and to learn what is the true aim of life. Thus, viewing the things of time in the light of eternity, we may, like Daniel and his fellows, live for that which is true and noble and enduring. And learning in this life the principles of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, that blessed kingdom which is to endure for ever and ever, we may be prepared at His coming to enter with Him into its possession.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 548. 

The scepter will remain with the tribe of Judah

1. What was stated by the patriarch Jacob when he blessed his children? How was this supported by another prophecy given during the wilderness journey two hundred years later?
Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Numbers 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. 

“The hope of Israel was embodied in the promise made at the time of the call of Abraham, and afterward repeated again and again to his posterity…. And when, at last, the Saviour Himself walked and talked among the sons of men, He bore witness to the Jews of the patriarch’s bright hope of deliverance through the coming of a Redeemer. ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day,’ Christ declared; ‘and he saw it, and was glad.’ John 8:56.

“This same blessed hope was foreshadowed in the benediction pronounced by the dying patriarch Jacob upon his son Judah….” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 683, 684.

“The prophecy of Balaam had declared, ‘There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.’ Numbers 24:17. Could this strange star [that guided the wise men to Bethlehem] have been sent as a harbinger of the Promised One? The magi had welcomed the light of heaven-sent truth; now it was shed upon them in brighter rays. Through dreams they were instructed to go in search of the newborn Prince.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 60.

2. What wonderful prophecy did the Lord proclaim concerning David’s kingdom?
2 Samuel 7:14, 16 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:… 16And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. 
1 Chronicles 17:14 But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.

“… Educate the youth to understand the purity and excellence of the laws of that kingdom which is to stand for ever and ever,…” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 397, 398.

“In the answer to His mother, Jesus showed for the first time that He understood His relation to God. Before His birth the angel had said to Mary, ‘He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever.’ Luke 1:32, 33.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 81, 82.

“He [Paul] proceeded to give a history of the manner in which the Lord had dealt with the Jews from the time of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and how a Saviour had been promised, of the seed of David…. Thus with power he preached Jesus as the Saviour of men, the Messiah of prophecy.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 170.

An eternal throne

3. In presenting the message about raising up David’s branch and tabernacle, to what kingdom did the prophets Jeremiah and Amos refer?
Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.

“Jeremiah also bore witness of the coming Redeemer as a Prince of the house of David: ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.’ And again: ‘Thus saith the Lord: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before Me to
offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.’ Jeremiah 23:5, 6; 33:17, 18.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 223.

4. What characterizes the kingdom that the Psalms refer to in announcing the throne of God’s Son?
Psalms 2:6, 7; 45:6, 7 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee…. 45:6Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 

“The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore–humbled Himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father’s face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary’s cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song: ‘Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!’” –The Great Controversy, pp. 651, 652.

The eternal Prince of Peace

5. According to Isaiah’s prophecies, what are some special characteristics of the Son’s kingdom?
Isaiah 9:6, 7; 11:1, 2, 5 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this…. 11:1And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;… 5And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

“Christ is ‘the Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), and it is His mission to restore to earth and heaven the peace that sin has broken. ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Romans 5:1. Whoever consents to renounce sin and open his heart to the love of Christ, becomes a partaker of this heavenly peace.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 27.

“The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate—a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.’ John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father–one in nature, in character, in purpose–the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. ‘His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.

6. What other wonderful traits identify God’s kingdom?
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Zechariah 9:9, 10 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 

“At the time of Christ’s first advent the priests and scribes of the Holy City … might have discerned the signs of the times and proclaimed the coming of the Promised One. The prophecy of Micah designated His birthplace; Daniel specified the time of His advent. Micah 5:2; Daniel 9:25.” –The Great Controversy, p. 313.

“… With glad voices the children sounded His praise.… The temple echoed and re-echoed with their acclamations, ‘Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, and having salvation!’ Psalm 118:26; Zechariah 9:9. ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’” –The Desire of Ages, p. 592.

“Earthly kingdoms rule by the ascendency of physical power. But in Christ’s kingdom every carnal weapon, every instrument of coercion, is to be abolished. This kingdom is to be established to uplift and ennoble fallen humanity.” –Review and Herald, December 4, 1900.

7. In harmony with the light given to Daniel the prophet, when will the establishment of God’s kingdom take place? What does this great promise mean for all who live at the time of the end?
Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever…. 7:13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

“The dying words of Jacob filled them with hope: ‘The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.’ Genesis 49:10. The waning power of Israel testified that the Messiah’s coming was at hand. The prophecy of Daniel pictured the glory of His reign over an empire which should succeed all earthly kingdoms; and, said the prophet, ‘It shall stand forever.’ Daniel 2:44. While few understood the nature of Christ’s mission, there was a widespread expectation of a mighty prince who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and who
should come as a deliverer to the nations.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 34.

For additional study

Early Writings, p. 244
“This life is a training school, where we are to be transformed, refined, and made meet for the society of saints in the kingdom of God, with whom we expect to associate throughout the ages of eternity. Let Christ’s righteousness, the righteousness of the law of God, be the standard, and let the Christian’s prayer be, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ The world will soil the soul every day unless the cleansing blood is our reliance. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Christ; every angry word is to be left unspoken. There must be no deception; selfishness or carelessness is a deviation from right. God’s law should be the rule in all business transactions. This will lead to the payment of debts, that the character of God may be rightly represented. Truly ‘the commandment is exceeding broad,’ reaching to every thought and act of the life.” –Bible Echo, July 29, 1895.

“This hope of redemption, through the advent of the Son of God as Saviour and King, has never become extinct in the hearts of men. From the beginning there have been some whose faith has reached out beyond the shadows of the present to the realities of the future. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–through these and other worthies the Lord has preserved the precious revealings of His will. And it was thus that to the children of Israel, the chosen people through whom was to be given to the world the promised Messiah, God imparted a knowledge of the requirements of His law, and of the salvation to be accomplished through the atoning sacrifice of His beloved Son.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 682, 683.




Missionary Report
Emerging Countries of North Africa

To be read on Sabbath, February 23, 2019
The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered on Sabbath, March 2, 2019

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Revelation 7:9.

“Among earth’s inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like the stars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in all the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to an apostate world the transforming power of obedience to His law.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 363.

The missionary work is progressing well in Africa. Since the message of Reformation first entered this continent, we have seen God opening doors for His messengers to penetrate with the light into the dark corners of Africa. The work began in southern Africa in the late 1920s. The first countries to receive the message of Reformation were Zimbabwe and South Africa. Some brethren began to work in South Africa, and it advanced to central Africa. By God’s grace, the message entered east Africa in the 1970s; the first country to receive the message in was Tanzania. Since then the work has spread to almost every country in east Africa. From there it advanced into west Africa. When you look at the map, you will see that the work and message have enlightened many people in south, central, east, and west Africa. However, missionaries cannot rest and say, “We have done our work,” for some places have not yet been reached.

When you look at the other side of the continent–north Africa–you will see that a heavy cloud of darkness still hovers over Libya, Egypt, Chad, Algeria, Niger, Tunisia, and Morocco. The dominating religions in these countries are Islam, Catholicism, and one percent other religions. Also, the dominant languages are French and Arabic.

It is a desire and in the plans of the African Division and the General Conference to enter this area of Africa. It may not be easy to enter these countries, but by the help of the Lord it is possible. There are many people who are searching for the true faith. Some of them have friends and relatives in countries that we have just entered, including Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal.
So, we plan to train some people from these places to enter and spread the message of Reformation. The other effective way is to open naturopathic clinics wherever possible. This will make it possible to reach many people within a short period of time.

Therefore, the African Division and the General Conference are appealing to the brethren all over the world to support the work in this part of Africa by making offerings so the work may be established quickly. May the Lord touch your hearts to give abundantly for this project. As we join hands to extend the gospel message, we will realize that together we are fulfilling the great commission that the Lord gave in His last parting words to the disciples.

In ancient Israel, through Moses God made an appeal for the people’s support to build the sanctuary. What were the results? “The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.” “And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.” Exodus 35:29; 36:6, 7.

Your generous offerings will help to finish enlightening all of Africa by supporting missionaries to enter the dark areas that are waiting for the message. God bless you and your gifts. Hallelujah!
–Alfred Ngwenya
African Division President