Study: What did God promise He would do for His people in the “latter days?”
Apply: Look at all the promises God fulfilled in the past. How should this help us to trust Him for the promises not yet fulfilled?
Share: Years ago when I was doing door to door work as a literature evangelist, I met a woman who told me, “Jesus never did anything for me!” I was surprised. How would have responded to this woman? Hint: See Genesis 12:3, Romans 5:18-19, Hebrews 2:9.
Read Together:Hebrews 1:1-5. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: What are some of the things that this passage teaches us about Jesus?
Apply: Why is it important to know that Jesus is greater than the angels?
Share: While studying with a protestant family about the spirit of prophecy, the wife told me, “In Hebrews 1:1-2 it says God used to speak to us by prophets but now speaks to us by His Son. This means God no longer uses prophets. He just uses His Son.” How would you have responded to this comment? Hint: See 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11-13.
Just as 1 John 4:8 does not tell us that God has love but rather is love, so Jesus does not say that He was given life, but rather that He is life.
In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 530.
While Hebrews 2:1-18 explains the complete humanity of the Son of God, Hebrews 1:1-14 explains the complete divinity of the Son of God. While Jesus is God the Son, who never originated but always existed as far back as eternity goes, Ty Gibson suggests in His book, The Sonship of Christ, that while He was always God the Son, that the term “Son of God’ explains His humanity more than His divinity. For example, Adam was the first one who was called the son of God.
Abel was born before his father only because his father was never born! Adam was created to be the son of God and to be the representative for this earth. Job 1:6 talks about when the “sons of God” came to present themselves before God. Adam was to be this earth’s representative as the son of God for this earth. However we read where Satan shows up at this meeting, as Adam surrendered this right to Satan when he sinned. So here we see Adam was the son of God and there are other sons of God representing their worlds. By the way Hebrews 1:2 mentions that Christ made the worlds. The word “worlds” refers to inhabited planets, while uninhabited planets are simply called planets. In Job 1:6 the sons of God came from these other worlds.
So in John 3:16 Where it says, “only begotten Son” or “one and only son” it is not referring to God the son ever being born. Neither is it saying that there are not other sons of God, because we have just seen that there are. So what does it mean by “one and only son?” Hebrews 11 gives us a clue.
Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, Hebrews 11:17 NLT
Wait a minute? Was Isaac Abraham’s only son? No! So why is this saying that Isaac was Abraham’s only son?
The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. Galatians 4:22-23 NLT
Isaac was called Abraham’s only son because Isaac was the promised son. Now we know why John 3:16 says He gave His only begotten or one and only son. It is not insinuating that God the Son was ever created or given life by the Father. Christ had life that came from being God Himself. His life was original, unborrowed and underived. The term “Only begotten” or “one and only Son” means that Jesus Christ is the promised son to redeem mankind and take the right that Adam surrendered in being the representative of the world.
Adam was the original son of God, who because of sin surrendered the right to represent this world before God. Meanwhile Satan claimed that right and in Job 1:6-11 accused the inhabitants of the earth. But Jesus, the promised One, lived a perfect life and died our death on the cross, and has now won the right to represent us before the Father. Instead of accusing us He is representing and defending us!
He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24 NLT
Since Jesus Christ is the promised Son to replace Adam as our representative, not only is He representing us and defending us, saving and redeeming us, but we are also already seated in heaven with Him!
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6 NLT
Study: What does this tell us about Jesus’ human nature?
See Desire of Ages, Page 48. “It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”
Share: Your friend says Jesus still does not know what its like to be tempted as a human, because while taking on human flesh He was still born of the Holy Spirit. What do you say to your friend? Hint: John 3:3, Ephesians 3:19-21, 2 Peter 1:4.
Read TogetherHebrews 5:1-4. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: What did the High Priest do?
Apply: How is every believer a priest?
Share: A relative asks you if Jesus is our High Priest, why do we need earthly priests or pastors? How do you answer your relative?
As I plan for 2022, I realize God does not need me to dream and make plans as much as He just needs me to surrender my dreams and submit to His plans. I need to allow God to take my life in 2022 and do whatever He pleases with me, in order to prepare the way for His kingdom. For Elijah, that meant being taken up into heaven in a flaming chariot. For John the Baptist that meant being beheaded and dying alone in prison. I need to give God permission in 2022 to use me like Elijah or John the Baptist – whichever way will bring Him the most glory. John the Baptist was just as precious to Jesus as was Elijah. God did not favor Elijah in the flaming chariot any more than He favored John the Baptist when he was beheaded. They were both just as precious to God, and both were just as successful in bringing glory to God.
Some of us wish for a better lot in life in 2022 than we had in recent years. Some of us wish for better jobs and positions. Some of us are unhappy where we are, but that does not mean that God is using us any less. A young friend of mine at church recently got her first job. A few weeks later I asked her how her job was going, and she told me she was going to quit because her boss aggravated her. I told her no matter where she worked for the rest of her life, she will most likely always have a boss that aggravates her, so she should just get used to it. She is not alone. Many have ambitious hopes for 2022 and dream of some kind of a promotion. However, worthwhile promotions don’t come from our selfish ambitions.
True promotion comes from God.
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. Psalms 75:6-7 KJV
I believe the book, Ministry of Healing has some wise counsel for us regarding our life work.
Many are dissatisfied with their lifework. It may be that their surroundings are uncongenial; their time is occupied with commonplace work, when they think themselves capable of higher responsibilities; often their efforts seem to them to be unappreciated or fruitless; their future is uncertain. Let us remember that while the work we have to do may not be our choice, it is to be accepted as God’s choice for us. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies nearest. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:10. If the Lord desires us to bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be as pleasing to Him for us to go to Joppa or to Capernaum. He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed. At that very place there may be someone in need of the help we can give. He who sent Philip to the Ethiopian councilor, Peter to the Roman centurion, and the little Israelitish maiden to the help of Naaman, the Syrian captain, sends men and women and youth today as His representatives to those in need of divine help and guidance. -Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, pages 472-473.
A son of a friend of mine was pitching in the minor leagues, and he, along with the rest of us, had dreams of him pitching in the World Series one day. I was hoping to see him pitch in a world series game here at Tropicana Field, either for or against the Tampa Bay Rays. He made it to Triple A, but before making it to the majors, an injury set him back and he had to retire from baseball without ever fulfilling his ambition to pitch in the majors. After baseball he became a police officer. Sadly, one night he was called to the scene of a suicide. The family was very distraught. The friend’s son spoke words of hope and comfort to them. Later the family wrote a thank-you letter to the police department thanking the officer for being there for them and bringing them hope and comfort in their darkest hour. When my friend told me about the letter her son received, I told her that was worth more than a hundred world series championship rings.
It was not John the Baptist’s dream to be beheaded in prison, but he prepared the way for God’s kingdom more than anyone else could.
It was not the ambition of a young maiden to be a slave in a foreign country, but it was there that she led Naaman to God.
It was my friend’s son’s ambition to pitch in the major leagues, but it was while working as a police officer that he helped a family when they needed help the most. He could not have helped them like that while celebrating a world series victory on the baseball diamond.
Are you willing to surrender your ambitions and submit your life to God in 2022? Are you willing to let him use you in 2022 any which way that will glorify Him? Whether it’s like Elijah in a flaming chariot or John the Baptist dying alone in prison?
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:42-45
Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
What was the experience of the audience of Hebrews after their conversion?
Personal Application: What is your story of conversion? In what ways have you been confirmed in your faith in Jesus as your Savior and Lord? Share your thoughts.
Case Study: One of your relatives states, “How much suffering do we experience for the sake of Christ, and how much do we bring upon ourselves by our wrong choices?” How would you respond to your friend?
Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
What were some of the challenges the believers were facing?
Personal Application: How do you keep a positive attitude in the face of being weary and tired and oppressed? Share your thoughts
Case Study: One of your friends states, “Is it possible to be different because of our Christian commitment; and yet not be accused of separation from and disregard for others?” How would you respond to your friend?
Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
What did Paul suggest believers do?
Personal Application: What things are we doing to encourage, lift up, and support one another in the tough times we face today? Share your thoughts.
Case Study: One of your relatives states: “I see a lot of people get discouraged and leave church because of suffering and maybe a perception that nobody cares. How do we keep ourselves and other from drifting away? ” How would you respond to your relative?
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17-18 NKJV
Monday’s section of this week’s lesson describes what is meant in Deuteronomy where it says God is no respecter of persons.
The phrase “shows no partiality” is translated from a Hebrew figure of speech; it means literally that He does not “lift up faces.” This is believed to have come from a legal setting in which the judge or king sees the face of the person on trial and, based on that person’s status (important person or someone insignificant), the judge or king renders a verdict. The implication here in Deuteronomy is that the Lord doesn’t treat people in such a manner, despite His great power and might. He’s fair with everyone, regardless of their status. This truth, of course, was revealed in the life of Jesus and how He treated even the most despised in society. –Sabbath School Quarterly Week 12 Monday’s lesson.
In an interview with David Frost, Richard Nixon, a former United States President, forced to resign due to a scandal, defended himself by saying, “If the President does it, then it is not illegal.” This bold statement shocked David Frost, and every other competent thinker! I believe, in the United States, people really started to question their leaders after Nixon’s downfall. I believe we keep a healthy balance of respect for leadership, without blind submission, when we ask for accountability and checks and balances. In the United States we have a constitution the President must hold to. The Constitution also declares who ultimately has the authority. It reads, “We the people.” Not “me the president” or “me Thomas Jefferson, or James Madison, or Ronald Regan or Barak Obama.” The power and authority of the constitution comes from ‘The People!” Therefore our president is not above the law. To expect people to automatically obey you no matter what just because of your title or position is a false sense of authority.
In the church we have the Scriptures as our sole authority, and our leaders must be held accountable. Good honest pastors recognize this. Having served many years as a Bible worker and lay pastor I have worked with many pastors. They do not think they are above me because of their position or college degree. If we disagree they do not automatically assume they are right because of their position. If they feel I need corrected they do not reference their position or degree. They reference Scripture alone. If I disagree with them they listen with an open mind. If I correct them from Scripture they bow, not to me but to the Scriptures.
Just like in the United States, the President is not above the people, likewise church leaders are not above the church.
“The church is built upon Christ as its foundation; it is to obey Christ as its head. It is not to depend upon man, or be controlled by man. Many claim that a position of trust in the church gives them authority to dictate what other men shall believe and what they shall do. This claim God does not sanction. …. Upon no finite being can we depend for guidance. The Rock of faith is the living presence of Christ in the church. Upon this the weakest may depend, and those who think themselves the strongest will prove to be the weakest, unless they make Christ their efficiency. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” The Lord “is the Rock, His work is perfect.” “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” Jeremiah 17:5; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 2:12.- Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 414.
Many years ago, I heard the testimony of a church leader, defending himself for some shady deals, saying his boss, the conference president, told him to do it, therefore he had no choice but to obey his boss who had “authority.” I am sure Joab was thinking the same thing when King David told him to put Uriah on the front lines of the war. Please read what God’s messenger has to say about Joab’s rationale.
“And Joab, whose allegiance had been given to the king rather than to God, transgressed God’s law because the king commanded it. David’s power had been given him by God, but to be exercised only in harmony with the divine law. When he commanded that which was contrary to God’s law, it became sin to obey. “The powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1), but we are not to obey them contrary to God’s law. The apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, sets forth the principle by which we should be governed. He says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. –Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, Page 719.
We need to be respectful of authority, but remember where authority ultimately comes from. And while respecting those in leadership, and even being in leadership, we must remember we are accountable to the Scriptures and God’s church, of which Christ is the Head.
I have seen so called “mediation” sessions between pastors and lay members which actually had nothing to do with mediation. the mediators were not seeking justice. They were ganging up on the abused lay member. They were solely there to protect the pastor regardless if he was right or wrong. He was the pastor and that was all that mattered. I even heard an associate pastor tell me once that the pastor is right simply because he is the pastor. To question him or to hold him accountable would be an act of deepest disrespect. Sorry, but claiming a pastor is always right simply because he is the pastor is a false sense of authority. God is no respecter of persons and would never fall for such a lie, and God does not expect you to fall for it either.
Years ago, in another conference the church board overwhelmingly voted against the pastor using allof the church’s worthy student fund to pay for his own child’s church school tuition. The following Sabbath guess what the pastor’s sermon was about? “pastoral authority!” And how disrespectful it was, even sinful to the point of losing your soul’s salvation if you were to ever disobey the pastor or not give him what he demands. Sure, the pastor twisted Scripture to his own destruction to prove his point, just like Satan twisted Scripture when he told Jesus to jump off a cliff. I hope I don’t need to tell you this, but the pastor had a false sense of authority. Sadly some fell for it.
While the Bible teaches us to be respectful, nowhere does Scripture ever tell us a leader is above the law. Nowhere in Scripture does it tell us a leader has special privileges and should never be questioned or held accountable. Nowhere does the Bible teach us that a pastor is right just because he is the pastor. On the contrary the Bible teaches us in Deuteronomy 10:17-18 as well as all throughout Scripture, that God is no respecter of a person’s title or position.
As a matter of fact, instead of giving pastors and teachers a free pass in the judgment, based solely on their position, James says,
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. James 3:1 NKJV
To me, that sounds like anything but preferential treatment for pastors and teachers. James goes on to say,
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:17 NKJV
Let’s stop supporting false authority in the church.
but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:9 NKJV
As we consider the resurrection of Moses in this week’s Sabbath school lesson, lets take a look at the resurrection in general. In John 14 Jesus knows the disciples are going to miss Him when He goes away so he comforts them.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3 NKJV
Notice Jesus has to come again in order for His disciples to be with Him again. They do not die and go straight to heaven, otherwise Jesus would have comforted them by saying, “When you die you will go straight to heaven and see me.” He never even hinted at such a notion. Jesus makes it clear that they will only be reunited with Him when He comes again. He receives them unto Himself when He comes again, and not when they die. This is why the special resurrection of Moses was so important. Without it Moses would still be in his grave. If Moses died and went straight to heaven then his resurrection in Jude 9 would be meaningless. If we die and go straight to heaven then why is the resurrection be such a crucial theme of the New Testament? Let’s take a look at what the Bible really Says about death and the resurrection.
Why is it important to know the truth about death: The teaching that you don’t really die is a lie Satan started in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” By telling this lie Satan hoped to get Eve and all mankind to believe that there is really no consequence for disobeying God. He also wants us to believe that we are all immortal even if we have no relationship with God. This opens the door for spiritualism in which people may actually communicate with the devil and his angels, thinking they are speaking with their loved ones.
Our salvation does not come from knowing what happens when we die. Our salvation is found alone in God’s love. However, no lie is ever harmless, and when Satan told the lie, “Ye shall not surely die,” not only was he lying, but he was also calling God a liar.
Why understanding death in the light of the cross is important: If you don’t really die, then Jesus did not really die for us, and we still need a Savior. The lie that we don’t really die destroys the cross and everything Jesus endured and accomplished on it. If Jesus was not really tasting death like Hebrews 2:9 says He did, then we have just minimized the cross to a six-hour pain endurance marathon.
I remember sitting in a funeral for a little girl who was hit and killed by a car. Her mother sat on the front pew, sobbing uncontrollably. Meanwhile the pastor talked about how happy the little girl and Jesus were right now up in heaven. Do you know how cruel that made Jesus look to the poor mother? Would Jesus tear a mother’s heart apart just to go have fun with her daughter? I think not! The little girl is resting in her grave and will be united with Jesus in heaven when the mother is reunited with her at the second coming.
For Further study on Death: What did Adam become? And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
What returns to God? Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7
What is the spirit? All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; Job 27:3
What does God take that turns the body to dust? Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Psalm 104:29
What age-old question did Job ask? But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where [is] he? Job 14:10
What is the Bible answer? So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Job 14:12
Do the dead know what happens to the living? His sons come to honour, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them. Job 14:21
How much do the dead know? For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:5–6
What did Jesus call death? These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. John 11:11-14
How long had Lazarus been dead? Then when Jesus came, he found that he had [lain] in the grave four days already. John 11:17
Did Martha believe Lazarus was in heaven? Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. John 11:24
What did Mary say? Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. John 11:32
Was Lazarus called from heaven, hell or the grave? And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. John 11: 43-44
When are the dead raised? For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:16-23
When do we receive immortality? Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54
Our hope and comfort: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18