the Advent Hope
early days of the Advent movement, it has been our delight (not to
mention sacred duty) to explain the hope that's implicit in the name
Adventist itself: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who
asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1
Pet. 3:15, NIV). And the reason for our hope is Jesus, who,
through His sacrificial death, has guaranteed that He will come, at the
Second Advent (hence the name Adventist), and retrieve those who cost
Him so much.
It is the precious blood of Christ Himself that's the
surety of our hope, the one hope to which we are called (Eph.
4:4), the living hope (1
Pet. 1:3), a hope that's absolute, because it does not rest
in us but in Jesus Christ, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the
13:8). Our hope rests upon the One who "came unto his own" (John
1:11), who died for our sins, who was resurrected for our
4:25), and who will return in the clouds of heaven to gather
His elect (Matt.
In these studies we will look at living the Advent
hope-the hope explicit in the promise of His coming in the clouds of
glory to take us once and for all out of this world of sin. This
quarter will not so much be a doctrinal study as a realistic and
experiential look at how we put this hope into practice. We'll look at
what the Advent hope means, how it is essential to faith, how it
answers questions and provides assurance in the present. We'll look,
too, at how hope should impact our lives as we deal with others, with
the church, and with those with whom we must share this hope.
Our desire is that, through this quarter's Adult
Bible Study Guide, we will know better the wonderful God of hope who so
loved this world that He gave Jesus, the express image of His own
1:3), as the ransom for our lost souls. Because to know God
is to love Him, and to love God is to experience in our own lives His
saving grace, a grace whose end leads to a hope far beyond what sinful
fallen minds cannot even begin to imagine, even in their most extreme
flights of heavenly fantasy.
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up
for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom.
And among those things freely given, what could be
more precious than hope, particularly the Advent hope?
mythology, Sisyphus had been condemned by the gods to push a rock to
the top of a mountain, where it would of its own weight fall to the
bottom. Sisyphus would shove it back up, only to have it roll down,
again and again, the process continuing forever. The idea was that no
punishment could be worse than futile, hopeless labor.
A few millennia after the story was first told,
Frenchman Albert Camus wrote a short book entitled The Myth
of Sisyphus. Written during World War II, the book used
Sisyphus as a metaphor of human existence itself. Because life has no
meaning, Camus asked Is it worth living? If all the energy, effort, and
passion needed to exist is like Sisyphus's labor, hopeless and futile,
Camus has a point, at least, given his premise: If
there is no God, then this existence—with all its trials, pain,
perplexities, and absurdities—is all that we have and are and,
therefore, is meaningless. Our whole essence is contained in, and
limited by, our own mortality. Nothing transcends it, nothing exceeds
it. Our life is its own end, and because our end always dissolves into
dust, what can it mean? Obviously, not much.
Camus, however, wasn't the only one to realize the
futility of human life in and of itself. Centuries earlier, Paul said
the same thing: If nothing is beyond this life—if death caps
it, consummates it, and finalizes it—then it is all for nothing. If
Christ does not come back and raise us from the dead to immortality,
then all that we have believed in and hoped for is, he said, in "vain" (1
Both Paul and Camus both understood the ultimate
issue: What is the meaning of this short span of existence known as
human life? The crucial difference, then, is that while Camus had no
hope, Paul did, because Camus (at least when he wrote his essay) did
not have Christ while Paul did—and that's why Paul (and all the other
Bible writers) could express in their writings a wonderful optimism and
hope amid a world limping along in death, decay, and suffering.
This quarter, we look at that hope, a hope not in
ourselves or in anything we can do but a hope rooted and grounded in
Jesus Christ, who "gave himself for our sins" (Gal.
1:4), whose life and death at His first coming is our surety
of resurrection and eternity at His second coming. As sure as we are
that Jesus came and died for our sins at the First Coming is as sure as
we can be that He will return and collect those for whom He died. That
Many thanks to Jonathan Gallagher of the General
Conference Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department for pulling
out of Scripture the places brimming with hope and sharing them with us
For it is our humble hope that, once done with these lessons we'll all
better know that however difficult our struggles and labor in this life
often can be, because of Christ's atonement at the Cross and the hope
that it brings us, our labors and struggles unlike those of poor
Sisyphus, are not in vain.
(all lessons may not be posted)
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife,
Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School
lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations.
Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this
quarter. It is used with permission. The study helps are
provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect;
RTF for our
MAC friends; and HTML (Web
Last updated on October 8, 2002
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Principal Contributors: Jonathan Gallagher
Editor: Clifford Goldstein (email@example.com)
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti.
Editorial Production Manager: Soraya Homayouni Parish.
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© 2002 Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide,
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.
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