Lesson & References Index

Lesson 13: September 18 – 24

The Ultimate Rest

(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
Sabbath Afternoon

Memory Text: 1 Corinthians 2:9

9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Revelation 12:7
Satan Thrown Out of Heaven

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,

Sunday – A Vision of the End

Acts 1:11

11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Revelation 1:9-19
Vision of the Son of Man

9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.

Matthew 28:20

20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Revelation 21:1, 2
All Things Made New

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Monday - The Countdown

Matthew 24:3
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Daniel 12:1
Prophecy of the End Time

1 “At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.

Matthew 24:4-8

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Matthew 24:23-31

23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

The Coming of the Son of Man

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 24:37-39

37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Matthew 24:36
No One Knows the Day or Hour

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Matthew 24:9-14

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Tuesday - Marching Orders

Revelation 14:6-12
The Proclamations of Three Angels

6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

2 Peter 1:12
Peter’s Approaching Death

12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.

Wednesday - Rest in Peace

Hebrews 11:13-16
The Heavenly Hope

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

John 11:11

11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 785-787.

When the voice of the mighty angel was heard at Christ’s tomb, saying, Thy Father calls Thee, the Saviour came forth from the grave by the life that was in Himself. Now was proved the truth of His words, “I lay down My life, that I might take it again.... I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Now was fulfilled the prophecy He had spoken to the priests and rulers, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 10:17, 18; 2:19.

Over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, Christ had proclaimed in triumph, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” These words could be spoken only by the Deity. All created beings live by the will and power of God. They are dependent recipients of the life of God. From the highest seraph to the humblest animate being, all are replenished from the Source of life. Only He who is one with God could say, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death.

Christ arose from the dead as the first fruits of those that slept. He was the antitype of the wave sheaf, and His resurrection took place on the very day when the wave sheaf was to be presented before the Lord. For more than a thousand years this symbolic ceremony had been performed. From the harvest fields the first heads of ripened grain were gathered, and when the people went up to Jerusalem to the Passover, the sheaf of first fruits was waved as a thank offering before the Lord. Not until this was presented could the sickle be put to the grain, and it be gathered into sheaves. The sheaf dedicated to God represented the harvest. So Christ the first fruits represented the great spiritual harvest to be gathered for the kingdom of God. His resurrection is the type and pledge of the resurrection of all the righteous dead. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

As Christ arose, He brought from the grave a multitude of captives. The earthquake at His death had rent open their graves, and when He arose, they came forth with Him. They were those who had been co-laborers with God, and who at the cost of their lives had borne testimony to the truth. Now they were to be witnesses for Him who had raised them from the dead.

During His ministry, Jesus had raised the dead to life. He had raised the son of the widow of Nain, and the ruler’s daughter and Lazarus. But these were not clothed with immortality. After they were raised, they were still subject to death. But those who came forth from the grave at Christ’s resurrection were raised to everlasting life. They ascended with Him as trophies of His victory over death and the grave. These, said Christ, are no longer the captives of Satan; I have redeemed them. I have brought them from the grave as the first fruits of My power, to be with Me where I am, nevermore to see death or experience sorrow.

These went into the city, and appeared unto many, declaring, Christ has risen from the dead, and we be risen with Him. Thus was immortalized the sacred truth of the resurrection. The risen saints bore witness to the truth of the words, “Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise.” Their resurrection was an illustration of the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isaiah 26:19.

To the believer, Christ is the resurrection and the life. In our Saviour the life that was lost through sin is restored; for He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will. He is invested with the right to give immortality. The life that He laid down in humanity, He takes up again, and gives to humanity. “I am come,” He said, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” “Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 10:10; 4:14; John 6:54.

To the believer, death is but a small matter. Christ speaks of it as if it were of little moment. “If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death,” “he shall never taste of death.” To the Christian, death is but a sleep, a moment of silence and darkness. The life is hid with Christ in God, and “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” John 8:51, 52; Colossians 3:4.

The voice that cried from the cross, “It is finished,” was heard among the dead. It pierced the walls of sepulchers, and summoned the sleepers to arise. Thus will it be when the voice of Christ shall be heard from heaven. That voice will penetrate the graves and unbar the tombs, and the dead in Christ shall arise. At the Saviour’s resurrection a few graves were opened, but at His second coming all the precious dead shall hear His voice, and shall come forth to glorious, immortal life. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will raise His church, and glorify it with Him, above all principalities, above all powers, above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come.

John 11:14

14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.

John 5:28, 29

28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Thursday - Rejoice in the Lord Always

Philippians 4:4-6

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Read 2 Corinthians 11

Friday: Further Thought

Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, pp. 217-219.
Submission to God’s Will

In praying for the sick, it should be remembered that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” [Romans 8:26.] We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: “Lord, Thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings.”

God knows the end from the beginning. He is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether those for whom prayer is offered would or would not be able to endure the trials that would come upon them should they live. He knows whether their lives would be a blessing or a curse to themselves and to the world. This is one reason why, while presenting our petitions with earnestness, we should say, “Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.” [Luke 22:42.] Jesus added these words of submission to the wisdom and will of God when in the garden of Gethsemane He pleaded, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” [Matthew 26:39.] And if they were appropriate for Him, the Son of God, how much more are they becoming on the lips of finite, erring mortals!

The consistent course is to commit our desires to our all-wise heavenly Father, and then, in perfect confidence, trust all to Him. We know that God hears us if we ask according to His will. But to press our petitions without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of command, but of intercession.

There are cases where God works decidedly by His divine power in the restoration of health. But not all the sick are healed. Many are laid away to sleep in Jesus. John on the Isle of Patmos was bidden to write, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” [Revelation 14:13.] From this we see that if persons are not raised to health, they should not, on this account, be judged as wanting in faith.

We all desire immediate and direct answers to our prayers, and are tempted to become discouraged when the answer is delayed or comes in an unlooked-for form. But God is too wise and good to answer our prayers always at just the time and in just the manner we desire. He will do more and better for us than to accomplish all our wishes. And because we can trust His wisdom and love, we should not ask Him to concede to our will, but should seek to enter into and accomplish His purpose. Our desires and interests should be lost in His will.

These experiences that test faith are for our benefit. By them it is made manifest whether our faith is true and sincere, resting on the word of God alone, or whether, depending on circumstances, it is uncertain and changeable. Faith is strengthened by exercise. We must let patience have its perfect work, remembering that there are precious promises in the Scriptures for those who wait upon the Lord.

Not all understand these principles. Many who seek the Lord’s healing mercy think that they must have a direct and immediate answer to their prayers or their faith is defective. For this reason those who are weakened by disease need to be counseled wisely, that they may act with discretion. They should not disregard their duty to the friends who may survive them, or neglect to employ nature’s agencies for the restoration of health.

Often there is danger of error here. Believing that they will be healed in answer to prayer, some fear to do anything that might seem to indicate a lack of faith. But they should not neglect to set their affairs in order as they would desire to do if they expected to be removed by death. Nor should they fear to utter words of encouragement or counsel which at the parting hour they wish to speak to their loved ones.

Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 350, quoting Signs of the Times, April 15, 1889.
The Love of God

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

John presents before us the love of the Father toward the children of men. God’s love has been manifested to us in the gift of his beloved Son. The apostle cannot find words to describe the greatness and the tenderness of this love; but he calls upon the world to behold it. This is to be our work. We are to call the attention of our fellow-men to the love of God that has been manifested to us by the infinite cost of Calvary. Jesus was one with the Father; he shared his majesty and glory. God made an infinite sacrifice when he gave his beloved Son to die for the world; but few have any appreciation of this great love that has been expressed toward a fallen race. Those who do have an appreciation of it are not looked upon with favor by the world. The apostle says, “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” He says further: “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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Those who are sons of God will be constantly purifying themselves, and seeking to fashion their characters after the divine Pattern. Their thoughts will be upon heavenly things. Their conversation will be concerning Jesus, their Saviour. They will be waiting for him to appear in the clouds of heaven, and when he comes escorted by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels, those who have looked for him, and who have loved his appearing, will meet him with joy.

We have a great work before us, not only to form characters ourselves for eternal life, but to labor that others may be fitted for the kingdom of Heaven. We must educate our tastes and our habits of life to simplicity. We cannot afford to place our hands in the hands of the world, and follow its customs and fashions. We must be natural, not artificial. And how beautiful is the natural in contrast with the artificial!

We should have hearts overflowing with sympathy for souls for whom Christ died. We should seek to educate our children in the fear of God, teaching them that Christ died for them, and that they may have salvation without money and without price. It will only be a little while before Jesus will come to save his children and to give them the finishing touch of immortality. “This corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.” The graves will be opened, and the dead will come forth victorious, crying, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Our loved ones who sleep in Jesus will come forth clothed with immortality. And as the redeemed shall ascend to Heaven, the gates of the city of God will swing back, and those who have kept the truth will enter in. A voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, will be heard saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Then the righteous will receive their reward. Their lives will run parallel with the life of Jehovah. They will cast their crowns at the Redeemer’s feet, touch the golden harps, and fill all Heaven with rich music.

Satan has misrepresented the character of God. He has clothed him with his own attributes. He has represented him as a being of inflexible sternness. He had shut the world away from beholding the true character of God, by casting his shadow between men and the divine One. Christ came to our world to remove that shadow. He came to represent the Father. He said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He prayed that his disciples might be one with him, even as he was one with the Father. Men have declared that this oneness with Christ is an impossibility, but Christ has made it possible by bringing us into harmony with himself, through the merits of his life and sacrifice. Why should we doubt the love and power of God? Why should we not place ourselves on the faith side of the question? Do you behold the charms and attractions of Jesus? Then seek to follow in his footsteps. He came to reveal the Father to the world, and he has committed to us the work of representing his love, purity, goodness, and tender sympathy, to the children of men.

We have eternal life to win, and this is worth the loss of everything besides. We should study the Scriptures diligently. The Bible is like a garden where God has placed rich roses, and lilies, and pinks of promise, and they are for us if we will only pluck them.

When Satan casts his shadow athwart your pathway, grasp the precious promises of God, and go through the shadow by living faith, and you will find only light, mercy, goodness, and truth. When the enemy tells you that you are a sinner, tell him that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Come to the foot of the cross with your burden, and roll it off into the open sepulcher. Our Lord is precious, but we lose sight of his willingness to help and save us, when we dwell in the darkness of unbelief. Lift up the Man of Calvary. There is enough to talk about without talking of the power of the evil one. We have found the field that contains the treasure which is of inestimable value. When God gave his Son he gave us all Heaven in that one gift. Why should we cherish darkness and doubt, and those things that bring despondency and discouragement into our lives?

Why not bring the joy and light and peace of Heaven into our hearts? The religion of Christ never degrades the receiver. The truth of God is the mighty cleaver that has separated us from the world, and now we have been brought into God’s workshop to be hewed and squared and polished for the heavenly building. We are to be living stones in the temple of God. We are not to be dull and lifeless stones; but we are to reflect the rays of light that fall from Heaven, so that men may see that the truth has done something for us that the knowledge and wisdom of this world could not do.

Has the reception of the truth made you more cheerful? Have the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shone upon your heart in vain? Those who are meeting the conditions on which the promises are based, should be the happiest people in the world, for they have all Heaven at their command. We may have Heaven below. God will put a new song into our hearts, even praise to his name. The enemy may stand ready to cast his shadow upon you, but will you talk of his power, his darkness?

Christians that carry a gloomy countenance are misrepresenting their Lord. They represent the Christian life as one of toil and hardship. They go mourning and groaning as if it were uphill work. Is the gate of Heaven shut? Have they no Father in Heaven? You might think from their attitude that Jesus was in Joseph’s new tomb, and a great stone rolled against the door. But Jesus is risen. He has ascended on high, and has led captivity captive, and has given gifts unto men. He has made manifest what he will do. He will break the fetters of the tomb, and bring forth his people from the land of their captivity. We dwell too near to the lowlands of earth. Let us raise our eyes to the open doors of the heavenly sanctuary, where the light of the glory of God shines in the face of Jesus Christ, who “is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” Why not talk of the plan of salvation? Why not dig in the mines of truth for the treasures of wisdom, that you may appreciate the promises of God? Why not dwell in the love of Christ, and talk of the plan of redemption? We should study how to overcome appetite, ambition, and the love of the world. Is there not enough for us to do that we have to give so much time to matters of small importance?

When Christ left the world, he committed his work to his followers. He came to represent the character of God to the world, and we are left to represent Christ to the world. We are not to go on in the path of darkness, stumbling on the dark mountains of unbelief. There is a way cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, and this is where we may walk securely every day. Do not grasp the thistles, gather the roses, the lilies, and the pinks. If we are to understand the rich treasures of God’s word, we must separate our souls from all iniquity, that we may not come under its denunciations. As loyal soldiers we are to march under the banner of Prince Immanuel. We are to study the Bible, that we may know how to meet the assaults of the enemy. When Christ was tempted, how did he overcome?—He met the tempter with, “It is written.” He used the words of God, declaring, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” This is the way that we are to overcome. We must search the Scriptures, and appropriate the promises of God to our souls.

Revelation 14:9-11

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”