Lesson 19 - God's Last Message to a Dying World
Lesson 19 - (downloadable pdf file)
The closing message announced in the Old Testament is that of the coming of the Lord, prefaced by the appearance of Elijah the prophet. See Malachi 4:5-6. In announcing the birth of John the Baptist, the angel Gabriel declared that his work would be done in the spirit and power of Elijah. See Luke 1:17. In fulfilling his mission as the forerunner of Messiah, preparing the people for Christ’s ministry, John fulfilled his mission. See Matthew 11:10.
In its greatest and most complete fulfillment, however, this prophecy must have an application to the days just before Christ’s second advent. There must be a message to prepare a people for the return of the Lord. This message, brought to view in Revelation 14, is worldwide in its scope and is the last such message to be announced in the New Testament. By their acceptance or rejection of this message, every person will have decided for eternal life, or for eternal death.
1. What event does the first angel of Revelation 14 announce? Revelation 14:6, 7
NOTE: Most Bible truths are truths that have been relevant to every people and in all time. The message of Revelation 14:6, 7, however, is unique in that it announces that the judgment is in progress; hence this truth could not have been properly given before the beginning of the judgment in 1844. The apostles looked forward to a day when the judgment would take place (see Acts 24:25), but this is the announcement that that day has come.
2. In view of the ongoing judgment, what message does this angel bear for the whole world?
NOTE: The word gospel means good news.
3. What is closely tied with accepting the gospel? Mark 1:15
NOTE: Repentance implies a change in mind - a desire to do differently. It is not sufficient that we merely confess our sins; we must also forsake them. See Isaiah 55:7.
4. According to Paul, what will be judged in the judgment? Romans 2:16
NOTE: In the judgment that is going on, every act of life, no matter how secret, will be evaluated in determining the destiny of the soul. See Ecclesiastes 12:14.
5. Besides our acts, what will have a bearing on our case in the judgment? Matthew 12:36, 37
NOTE: Words are an index to our thoughts, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34.
6. What is the gospel? Romans 1:16
NOTE: Many ancient philosophers and religious leaders taught moral precepts. The thing they could not do, however, was to tell men how to do what was right. Only the religion of Jesus Christ gives the ability to perform that which is good. Thus, any effort to teach morals, without at the same time bringing into the teaching the power of Jesus to make the change a reality in our life is but the old pagan science of morals, which is immorality.
7. What is the gospel able to do for our thinking? 2 Corinthians 10:5
NOTE: The gospel has the power to bring even our thoughts and imaginations into subjection to Christ, changing the whole man; for as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7.
8. Into what does the gospel of Christ change us? 2 Corinthians 5:17
NOTE: The gospel, then, is also the creative power of God applied to men. The power that redeems is the same power that creates. David recognized this fact when in his prayer he said: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10.
9. Aside from the fact that the judgment is in progress, what reason is given for worshiping God? Revelation 14:7
NOTE: Creative power is the distinguishing mark of divinity. Only as we acknowledge and worship God as our Creator, do we acknowledge His divinity. This call to worship God is a call to worship Him as Creator.
10. What sign has God given us, which when we accept it, shows him respect as the Creator?
NOTE: The true basis of divine worship is found in the distinction between the Creator and His creatures. It was to keep this truth ever before the minds of men that God instituted the Sabbath in Eden; and so long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be the memorial of that event and a sign between God and His people. See Exodus 31:12-17.
11. What other reason is given for our remembering the Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:12
NOTE: The natural man is not in harmony with the Creator and is antagonistic to His rule. See Romans 8:7. It is through the process of sanctification that he is made “ready for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”
Just as men have the Sabbath to remind them of the Creator-creature relationship, the Sabbath is also to remind them of the work of sanctification. This work of sanctification is nothing less than the re-creation of the person, restoring him to the lost image of God, prepared to meet Him when He returns. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2.