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Sabbath: The War Behind All Wars — 27 Comments

  1. We may be intrigued by the cosmic clash of war in heaven and stand aghast at the battle played out between the captains and kings of the nations of this world. But we need to remember that the great controversy is ultimately about the control of our own minds.

    That is where the battle is at for us.

    • Maurice Ashton I am glad you mentioned what the great controversy is ultimately about as that is not something I have ever heard in my 83 years and my background is/was S.D.A. schooling.

    • Thank you Maurice for mentioning that for us the great controversy is in the mind. The drama of the great controversy is playing itself we are the stage where the drama is playing but we don't look at the stage, we look at what is happening on the stage.

    • We should never forget that the great apostasy of Israel in the OT an the Christian Church in the NT is the same, is the separation from God and the following union of the church and state. This religious-political union is the only entity on earth that have the legal power for religious intolerance and associated persecution of the saints (that is= power of capital punishment to be used by the Apostate church for those that break their religious laws).

      To speak of religious intolerance alone is an error, since the church without the power of the state can do nothing... and a state without religious concerns although having persecutive powers yet will not care about persecuting a particular religion...

      Therefore the Devil always uses both to persecute the saints, that is the powers of the state together and the intolerance of Apostate religious entities...together..

      Separated there will not be legalize religious persecution!

      I am amazed how many people leave out the power of the much needed union of church and state when the speak of religious persecution!
      And by the way Daniel 7 tell us which is are power which has caused and is causing the shedding of the blood of God's people as oppresed since the times of Daniel forwards/the Judeo Christian Church under the oppression of the 4 empires of Daniel 7 and their allies!

  2. This war is symbolic and spiritual battle rather than a literal physical one. It's instuctive to note that in heaven, Satan managed to marshall 1/3 of angels based on ideology he pumped into the minds of the angels.

    The war equally is the cosmic conflict between good and evil, with the figure of the dragon representing Satan and his forces being defeated by Michael and his angels.

    This imagery is often interpreted as representing the ongoing struggle between God and the forces of evil in the world based on the ideology

  3. If God is love, (and He is) why would he burn anyone in hell if you don’t love him back? Forced love is rape. People who actually burn in hell go there from their own free will, but they do not burn alive forever. They go into the fire after they are already dead and the fire just burns dead wood

    • I am totally lost. When people die they don't burn as stated in your comment. Instead they rest and wait for the forth coming of Jesus Christ. And they will not burn immediately, it will be after 1000years

  4. The war within our inner self is worse than the physical war! Think of this;
    How many of us ever since we were born has battled with something ( only known to you),say cheating...the war is inside our hearts!

  5. We are setting the ground work today for the study of the plan of salvation as it plays out. just like books about the birth, life, death, and resurectin of Christ, I do believe the books about the plan of salvation and how it has transpired is very encouraging and up lifting to our walk with God.

    We learn, or at least should learn from mistakes of the past. And from the way the Lord had drawn men to Him, chosing to follow in His leading. There are tamendous examples in history that warrant our attention. The Bible is for us to examine history and learn from it.

    I plan to enjoy the study of the great controversy this quarter.

    And in response to Maurice's comments, I would like you all to read Revelation 12:10-11. There is a way to be free from the control of our minds.
    Therefore rejoice and be happy in the Lord with a clear conscious, because of what He has done for us.

  6. When God gave us the power of choice He gave us control of our own minds.So we determine the outcome of the Great Controversy in our lives.

  7. I am a firm believer in the Great controversy metanarrative and I believe it is one of our church's great contributions to Christian theology.

    That being said, it really made me uncomfortable to see The Great Controversy (the book) being the framework for this lesson quarterly. That seems to suggest that it is considered a guide to the study of the Bible, the means for us even to understand the Bible. If that is the case, it's actually greater than the Bible and that is a very troubling idea.

    I know the General Conference really wants to promote the Great Controversy and Ellen White's writings and I'm not against that, but if we need them to articulate our doctrines, something is wrong. I have heard the sarcastic comments from non-Adventists who are familiar with our sometimes over-use of Ellen White, calling her the Adventist pope and choices like this make me reluctantly agree.

    Why not just say we are going to study the book The Great Controversy for a quarter? But if we are going to study the Bible, let's do it. Let's not pretend to study the Bible while we're studying something else.

    Am I off base? I'm curious to hear what others think. As a disclaimer, I am trying to read more of Ellen White's books and I am working my way through the Conflict of the Ages series (currently in Desire of Ages), so I'm not against Ellen White. However, I am against using her as an interpreter of Scripture - that is not the purpose of her writings.

    • I’m sure that with the continued in dwelling of the Holy Spirit in your study of the Holy Bible and sister Whites writings God wil reveal the answers you are looking for.
      As a newby I personally viewed sister whites writings as a guide to understanding the Word, rather than a light greater than the Word. Commentary has been an integral part of my understanding the Word. If I truly believe she is a prophet of God, then I don’t want to fall into the errors of the forefathers treatment of the prophets of old.

    • Hi Christina,
      At first I was confused by your referring to the book, The Great Controversy, being used as a framework for the quarter because I saw "the great controversy" as the theme for the quarter's Bible study. But then I looked closer, and I see this in the introduction:

      Though the basis of this quarter’s lessons is the Bible, we will use the book The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, as our thematic outline in studying this tremendous topic. The chapters on which each lesson is based are noted to facilitate its use as a companion book for further study and sharing that we all might more fully “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).

      And this on Sabbath afternoon:

      *Study this week’s lesson, based on The Great Controversy, chapters 29–30, to prepare for Sabbath, April 6.

      I'm not sure it was a wise decision to state things that way in the quarterly, but there's nothing wrong with using a good outline that already exists, nor is there anything wrong with using The Great Controversy by Ellen White, rather than The War Between Good and Evil, by Mark Finley's book, as a companion book.

      It's what we do with it that matters. It bothers me when I attend a Sabbath School class and the facilitator focuses more on the commentary in the lesson than on the Bible references - whether the commentary is by Ellen White or the lesson author. They appear to be using the lesson as a catechism, and that is *not* its intent.

      Right now that's happening in our local church, and I feel I need to talk to individual teachers and ask them why they are focusing on reading the lesson material, rather than reading the Bible. We had so much great material in the Psalms, and most of the lesson time was spent on the commentary. It seemed a bit like talking about the recipe for a great soup, rather than eating the soup!

      We need to focus more on the Word of God!

      Early in my life, the Conflict Series helped me to appreciate the Bible more. It's like the Bible provides the outline, the bones, if you will, and the Conflict Series puts flesh on the bones. God graciously provided us this wonderful gift, and we lose much if we don't use it. I've read the series of books multiple times, and I find more to appreciate in them just as I do in the Bible which, I believe, I've read more often.

      But I do agree that our primary focus needs to be on the Bible itself. So let's do that this quarter!

      P.S. I don't notice any more Ellen White quotations in this lesson than in previous ones ... perhaps even fewer ...

      • Yes, you are definitely right that using a framework to guide the lesson is fine. In fact, when I gave it some more thought, I realized that unless a lesson quarterly is on a book of the Bible, the author has to make choices about how to organize the material. So using one of Ellen White's books to provide the framework may be very appropriate. So maybe I am making a hasty judgment. I will try to keep an open mind as I study. However, I really hope we will use the Bible to prove all things - because if we can't, something is wrong.

  8. We thank God for the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the 2nd,may The Lord keep us and guide us through this quarter too.
    How ever Christina Waller's comment is troubling and needs an urgent address, someone help.

  9. God’s word is more important than man’s words and should always be the forefront of any Sabbath school class even if it’s just reading the daily Scriptures. Leading out in a class can be challenging and sometimes not easy. The leaders need prayer and participation from the class.
    That being said, there are Sabbath school leaders, who do not prepare ahead of time, therefore the easy way is just to read what is given. I also believe personalities can play a factor. Other times, when a thought-provoking question produces silence then reading the commentary takes the space of the silence. I found in the Psalms, that some of the scriptures were very long and as a Sabbath school leader, taking one scripture or one psalm was more beneficial than taking time to read all the scriptures. The scripture would sometimes lead into other topics. Which is ok with me as long as it stayed biblical.
    As a Sabbath school member, I prefer one or two scripture & discussion of the topic instead of reading the lesson and having all scriptures read if there are many. (my personality?) Even though my memory can use the repeat.
    I do try to intercede with a scripture or question if I find myself being distracted or “bored “.
    Since joining this discussion group, it has blessed me in my devotions and with how to better present the lesson. Thank you.
    Hope this helps a little. Blessings

    • Vera, thank you for sharing. Others could learn some lessons from you on how to lead a good Sabbath School study session and also how to contribute as a member (I do try to intercede with a scripture or question if I find myself being distracted or “bored “).

      Sometimes a silence can be used by the facilitator to re-word the question. But a bit of silence is not a bad thing. 😉

      As you no doubt know, asking thought-provoking questions requires preparation. For anyone reading this, I suggest the following:
      1. Study the lesson once to learn what God has to say to me/you.
      2. Study the lesson again, asking God to reveal the main message He wants class members to hear. This should result in a clear focus on a main thought. Choose the texts that contribute to this thought and focus on those. This will likely mean that you will not go through the lesson day by day, and it will certainly mean you will not read the lesson to the class! (You may begin with Thursday's lesson, for instance. 😉)
      3. Compile a list of questions that will help class members to come to the conclusion of that main thought. (These questions will be interspersed in the study of the Bible passages.)

      I think, as you suggest, that reading the lesson to the class is often a sign of lack of preparation. It may also be a lack of the spiritual gift necessary for the task. That would mean asking God to supply the gift, because He always supplies the gifts to do the work He calls us to do.

    • I think Inge has given lots of good suggestions on how to teach well.

      I facilitate Sabbath School discussions regularly and I think the biggest mistake people make is trying to cover everything. You can't. And there is nothing more boring than sitting in a class where the teacher goes over the lesson page by page. If you studied, that is tedious.

      I try to figure out a main focus for the lesson discussion and then pick passages from the lesson that work well with that focus. Let's say there are 5 main passages for the week - maybe I would just touch on 2 in detail. Last week I was teaching and I chose to talk first about some verses that talk about waiting and then looked at Psalm 131 more closely, followed by the idea of joy coming in the morning. I spent 5 minutes at the end asking if anyone had an observation from a psalm we didn't have time to cover.

      I also try to use a number of application type questions throughout such as "How can we apply what we've learned about waiting on God in our personal life?" If you can make a list of some good application/personal questions you often have something to use if the conversation goes dead.

      My goal has always been to make the lesson something that someone who never studied could participate in (as we use the Scripture as the main focus) while giving lots of room for deeper discussion for those who have studied.

      Just some ideas from my experience. I am a teacher by profession so I have applied some tips from the classroom to my Sabbath school facilitating.

  10. Thank you, Christina, for fleshing out the suggestions for teaching a Sabbath School class in a way to interest and challenge both those who studied and those who didn't study.

    I'm a retired English teacher myself, but I learned more about how to teach in an engaging manner from a series of classes on how to teach a Sabbath School class than from all my other college courses. The class was taught by a theology professor whose classes were always challenging. He taught us to focus on asking questions rather than lecturing and giving "answers."

  11. Thank-you all for very good ideas on improving the moderation of Sabbath School class. I like to hold a SS class with a lot of participation. I have found asking questions stimulates participation in some, usually enough to get discussion going. I like The idea of asking questions of Bible references rather than just reading the lesson commentary, or just questions on the lesson commentary.
    We can also discuss what we read this week in chapters 29 and 30 without referencing them. If you don't say Sister White says, or rference the book then you don't have to remember to give the page number when you use what you read.

    Just say for instance I do believe that it is impossible to explain the origin of sin, but enough is written in the Bible to have an understanding of it, and to
    comprehend the justice of God to showing kindness and good will, or if you prefer the love that passeth understanding in dealing with evil. Also I do believe the Bible is clear that sin did not originate with God. The Holy Spirit will lead us to a correct understanding of what we read if we ask.

    Not all of the daily lessons have multiple text. In that case find a few Bible text pertinent to the lesson, to add if you need the fillers.

    By the way I really like what Neil Mason, the newby said with today's lesson. We need to put EGW,s illumination of the Bible in our hearts, so the rich current of Christ love will flow even more through our souls and out to others, again always taking the Holy Spirit on our journey.

  12. The Great controversy (battle of the mind) is very real. It is indeed spiritual war. The results of this are physical: diseases, environmental degradation, war, killings and even death itself.

  13. And there was war in Heaven.

    What does this mean?

    Was there a debate, a verbal altercation that led to expulsion, or there actually was a war?

    On earth, Putin's war has cost more than 100, 000 soldier deaths. Typically a war involves death. But this Heaven war seems to have no death yet it is a war.

    What does it mean to say that, there was war in Heaven?

    • This issue has been discussed in several comments this week. Check these out to see if the discussion has already answered your question.

      • I was on the verge of asking the same question. It seems to me that the concept of the war in Heaven isn't fully comprehensive in terms of what it entails.
        When Satan was cast out of Heaven, it suggests a physical upheaval and a potentially violent altercation.
        How then can we reconcile the idea that this was only a spiritual conflict when it resulted in the expulsion of Lucifer and a third of the angels?
        Sin, as we understand it, has visible effects here on Earth, where war is often drastic and its consequences devastating.
        So, was the conflict in Heaven merely a war of words, or did it involve more tangible and physical elements?
        I comprehend Jesus's teachings about the limits of human understanding regarding the workings of Heaven.
        I humbly ask for God's forgiveness if my thoughts and inquiries stray into sinful territory.

        • The important lesson for us is that all rebellion and selfishness begins in the mind. Whether the confrontation in heaven came to physical push and shove is hard to describe in terms of force and momentum. The key idea is that Satan, and more importantly his ideas of challenging God found no place in heaven. .


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