Lesson 16 - The Great Controversy - 2
Lesson 16 - (downloadable pdf file)
The church in the wilderness (Revelation 12:14) is the connecting link between apostolic Christianity and the remnant church of God. This church was not made up of dissident members of other faiths, nor was it the possessor of a newly found faith. The religious faith and truths it held were a sacred legacy from the days of the apostles.
1. Having been defeated in his personal combat with Christ, where did the dragon turn his attention?
2. Bringing forth the man child, where was the woman forced to flee? Revelation 12:6
3. For how long was the woman to be nourished there? Revelation 12:6
NOTE: In vision Daniel beheld a little horn that was to bear rule for 1260 years. During this time it was said that it would wear out the saints of the most High. See Daniel 7:25. It was shown that this power would arise out of the Roman Empire. We cannot, therefore, confuse this persecution of God’s people with the persecution suffered by the early church under the emperors of Rome.
4. What treatment had Christ warned his disciples to expect from the world? John 15:19, 20
NOTE: The pure religion of Christ has always been an unwelcome intruder, disturbing the carnal security of those who desire to be left alone. We need never look to the courts of kings or to the high places of earth to find the true church of Christ. Only by a compromise of its standards can Christianity find social respectability, for the primitive Christianity of Christ and the apostles ever presents a cross to be born, an offense avoided by the majority of even the professed followers of Christ. See Matthew 7:21-23.
5. From where was this threat to appear? Acts 20:29, 30
NOTE: Through various governments Satan had sought to overthrow the truth, only to meet with defeat in the end. Changing tactics, subtlety took the place of open opposition. Paganism, suffering defeat on every front, melted away before the preaching of the gospel; but the Christian church was led to accept pagan principles, clothed in the garb of Christianity. Paul would have the leaders of the church to understand that it was not from outside the church, but from within, that the church’s most severe test would come.
6. By what term did the apostle refer to the element of apostasy that even in his day was working within the church? 2 Thessalonians 2:7
NOTE: Already in the apostles day the seeds of corruption were at work within the Christian church. Though restrained for the time, the day was to come when this power would work without restraint.
7. What did Paul warn that the church would value above the truth? 2 Timothy 4:3, 4
NOTE: During the centuries of papal supremacy, a flood of false teachings were adopted in an effort to obscure the truth.
8. What did the serpent then cast out of its mouth after the woman? Revelation 12:15
9. From where did the woman receive help? Revelation 12:6, 14
NOTE: To meet the attack of persecution against God’s faithful church, the “earth opened her mouth.” Through the centuries the earth had helped the woman, providing her a place of refuge.
10. How did the church prevail over the persecution? Revelation 12:11
NOTE: What false doctrine failed to do, persecution attempted to accomplish. The pages of history are stained with the blood of millions of martyrs who laid down their lives for the truth. This attempt to destroy the woman signally failed. The blood of the martyrs was as seed; even under the most cruel opposition, the truth marched on. Because of the success of the Reformation, the power of the papacy was broken, ending for the time being the persecution of the wilderness.
11. Against what does the serpent make his last desperate attack? Revelation 12:17
In the last great crisis, God will have a people who will be faithful. This last group in the long line of faithful believers will be characterized by their loyalty to God and to His Commandments. It is against these that Satan stages his last desperate attempt to sweep from the world the truth of God.