Wednesday: Vindication in the Judgment
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As Scripture has shown, God’s judgment is good news for those of us who believe in Him, who trust in Him, and who are loyal to Him, even though “we cannot answer the charges of Satan against us.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 472. However, the judgment is not only for us. It also serves the purpose of vindicating God before the entire universe.

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How is God’s character presented in the [...]

Cleansing of the Sanctuary Message in Christmas Carols
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God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born upon this day*
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy-Published by William B. Sandys in 1833. Author unknown.

There is some good theology in these older Christmas carols as well as some of the new.

The writer of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” knew the power of the gospel when he [...]

Tuesday: Vindication at the Cross
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From the very beginning, God left no doubt that He would invalidate Satan’s accusations and demonstrate His ultimate love and justice. His justice demands that there be payment of the penalty for mankind’s sin. His love seeks to restore humanity into fellowship with Him. How could God manifest both?

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How did God demonstrate both His love and justice? 1 John 4:10, Rom. 3:21–26.

God’s character of love and justice has been revealed in its fullest manifestation [...]

A Detour
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At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.  (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.  And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.  He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who [...]

Monday: The Accusations
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After his fall from heaven, Satan attempted to distort and slander God’s character. He did this in Eden (Gen. 3:1–5), in the midst of the first “sanctuary” on earth. Satan brought his rebellion, which originated in the heavenly sanctuary, down to the earthly sanctuary of Eden. After initiating contact with Eve through the medium of the serpent, he openly planted the idea in her mind that God was depriving them of something that would be good for them, that He [...]

Sunday: Revolt in the Heavenly Sanctuary
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Read Ezekiel 28:12–17 and Isaiah 14:12–15. What do these verses teach about Lucifer’s fall?

At first glance, Ezekiel 28:12 seems to be talking about only an earthly monarch. Several aspects, however, suggest that this is really referring to Satan.

For starters, this being is referred to as the anointed cherub “who covers” (Ezek. 28:14, NKJV), which recalls the Most Holy Place of the earthly sanctuary, where two cherubim covered the ark and the presence of the Lord (Exod. 37:7–9). This celestial being [...]

Sabbath: The Cosmic Conflict Over God’s Character
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Read for This Week’s Study: Ezek. 28:12–17, Isa. 14:12–15, Job 1:6–12, Zech. 3:1–5, 1 John 4:10, 2 Tim. 4:8, Ezek. 36:23–27.

Memory Text: “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments” (Revelation 16:7).

Seventh-day Adventists understand reality through the biblical concept of the “great controversy between Christ and Satan.” To use a phrase from philosophy, it is the “meta-narrative”—the grand, overarching story that helps to explain our world and the [...]

The Lamb Wins . . . Us
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Solomon and the Shulamite

I have a couple of young male friends who once made a science of flirting. They read books about it, fastidiously putting what they learned into practice.

Solomon and bride Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Until talking to them, I never knew of the volumes of material written on the subject. I assumed people just followed their instincts. No. Flirting has been raised to a science.

For example, a blogger named Donalgraeme created [...]

Inside Story: The Ghost Dancer, part 1
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I am Daniel-at least that is the name I have taken. I live in the country of Benin, the birthplace of voodoo.

My grandmother was a voodoo priestess; so was my mother. People would come and whisper their problem or their wish into a seashell, which the priestess throws on the ground. How it lands tells the priestess what the problem is. The priestess tells the person what they must do and bring to receive what they wish. The person pays [...]

Friday: Further Study: Our Prophetic Message
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Further Study: For the view of the three angels’ messages by Ellen G. White, see “Heralds of the Morning,” pp. 299–316,” “An American Reformer,” pp. 317–342, “Light Through Darkness,” pp. 343–354, “A Great Religious Awakening,” pp. 355–374, in The Great Controversy for the first angel’s message. For the second angel’s message, see “Prophecies Fulfilled,” pp. 391–408, “What Is the Sanctuary,” pp. 409–422, “In the Holy of Holies,” pp. 423–432, in The Great Controversy. For the third angel’s message, see “God’s [...]

11: Our Prophetic Message – Thought Starters
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[Thought questions for Our Prophetic Message December 11, 2013]

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1. “I saw another angel.” What do the messages of the three angels of Revelation have in common? Or are their messages distinct and different? How do the angels communicate their urgent messages with believers on Planet Earth? Would you rather see them flying in the sky shouting the message? Or broadcasting from a celestial Powerpoint or hand-held device placed in each hand? What are some advantages [...]

Thursday: The “Patience” of the Saints
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The second and third angels’ messages of Revelation are a warning to all who do not heed the divine call of the first angel’s message. If people continue on their wrong path, they will partake of God’s seven last plagues, which are seen as “the wine of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:10), and this wine will be poured out on those who remain in Babylon.

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In the Bible, Babylon stands for rebellion against God [...]