Sabbath School Lesson for September 12-18, 2020
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This week we examine the message specifically designated to be shared in the last days. We will find answers to these questions:
- What was present truth, following the resurrection? (Sunday)
- What is present truth now, just before the Second Coming? (Monday)
- What does the three angels’ message in Revelation 14 mean for us? (Tuesday)
- How do we “fear God” and “give Him glory”? (Wednesday)
- What do the warnings about Babylon mean for our world today? (Thursday)
Last week we saw what it meant to share Jesus. But there’s something else we must include in our testimony. Not only is our own salvation story important, but there’s another message God would have us share with others, especially as we approach His Second Coming.
Sharing the gospel must be done by prayerfully including not only how we have been saved, but how the whole world will be affected when Jesus comes again as the King of kings. In Christ, we have been justified, sanctified, and will one day be glorified. All three steps to salvation are important. Let’s make sure our story of salvation extends to that glorious day when the mortal bodies of the saved put on immortality, and are glorified.
Our current time in history makes the preparation for this grand Resurrection Day of utmost importance, as we share the gospel message to a dying world.
Memory Text: “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–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.’ ” Revelation 14:6, 7 NKJV
This last day message, delivered symbolically by an angel from heaven, is designed to prepare the world for one of the most exciting time in the universe–when Jesus returns to take His children to their heavenly home (John 14:2, 3).
Sunday: Peter’s Present-Truth Message
Peter and all the apostles and evangelists of the first century had some very important news to share. The Messiah had come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! This was indeed good news for believers who accepted their message. Hope was revived in the hearts of all who believed that the Son of God, namely Jesus, had been born, died, and resurrected.
If we had lived back then, we would agree that the story of Jesus was of utmost importance to our salvation. This good news was called “present truth” by Peter (2 Peter 1:12).
Patriarchs and prophets down through the ages have shared similar truths that were important to the people living at the time (Amos 3:7). Noah preached about the coming flood, Joseph prepared Egypt for the famine, and many Jewish prophets warned about the approaching Babylonian captivity.
It would be heartless of God not to forewarn His people about something as momentous as the final step in our salvation, the Second Coming. Special preparation must be made to endure the trials that will come upon the world right before that important event.
We are living in those last days now, according to prophecies laid out for us in God’s holy word. It’s time for us to make sure we include those prophetic warnings in the testimony we share with others. They deserve to know what’s going to happen to the world and the universe.
Although we’ll never know precisely how or when things will occur, we must have a general glimpse of what’s about to happen. It will affect every living being on our planet.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Isaiah 46:9, 10
- What gives you confidence that God will declare all we need to know about our future?
2 Peter 1:16-21 and Matthew 17:1-3
- What gave Peter confidence in God’s revelations to him and the disciples?
Romans 3:23, 6:23, and Ephesians 2:8
- Why must everyone believe and understand the things Paul was preaching, in order to gain the most from prophecies in the Bible?
Monday: Revelation’s End-Time Focus
We look to the Gospels to inform us about the life and death of Jesus, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). It’s the best place to learn about the First Coming of our Savior and about the first steps needed in our salvation.
The book of Revelation is recognized as the main place to find out about His Second Coming. The prophecies in Revelation help us prepare for the times we are living in now. When Jesus comes again to complete our salvation, and we must know how to prepare for that event as well.
Jesus came first as a humble Babe in Bethlehem, but His Second Coming will be as the mighty King of kings and Lord of lords. These descriptions sound totally different, at least in our finite way of understanding. Therefore, we must do all we can to know the Lord now, so we will be able to recognize Him when He comes again to our world.
Revelation reveals Christ in this new role for us, and that’s why it’s important to study what and why things will unfold as they have been predicted there.
Bible Verses to Consider:
- How will Jesus appear differently when He comes again to our world?
Revelation 1:7 and 11:15
- Why is it important that the Second Coming be seen and heard by all?
Tuesday: Revelation’s End-Time Message
In Revelation 14, the center of the book of Revelation, is found the heart of the message the book is trying to bring us. The familiar three angels’ messages sum up the final call to the world to get ready for Christ’s Coming.
The second half of the chapter tells about two harvests. These symbolic events must not be overlooked in our study of the chapter. Jesus makes it clear that the harvest represents what happens to the world when Christ, the Sower, returns to the field, which is, of course, the world. See Matthew 13:36-43.
The first harvest talked about in Revelation 14 is for ripe grain. Those who are ready to be reaped, in other words, God’s righteous ones. The second harvest of fully-ripened grapes experience a different ending–they are “trampled outside the city”, representing the fate of the unrighteous on the earth. See Malachi 4:3.
The rest of the book of Revelation gives more details of these two events. These symbolic harvests clearly describe both the first and the second resurrections. How important it is that we are ready when Jesus comes for that first resurrection of the righteous.
God does not leave us guessing about the final outcomes in store for this planet.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Revelation 14:14-16 and Matthew 13:37, 38
- Why is a harvest a good symbol for the Second Coming?
Revelation 14 17-20, 20:7-10 and Malachi 4:3
- Why does this event that happens “outside the city” indicate that it’s talking about the second resurrection of the wicked?
Wednesday: Understanding God’s Message More Fully
The messages of the second and third angels (in Revelation 14) involve not worshiping the beast power. But, let’s make sure we fully understand the message of the first angel, who delivers the everlasting gospel, before attempting to understand those later warnings.
The everlasting gospel is described beautifully by the first angel’s message. Clearly, we are told to “fear God” and “give glory to Him, for the hour of his judgment has come”. We are to honor God as our Creator (by loving Him) and our Judge (by obeying Him).
- “fear God”–means to approach Him in an attitude of respect and reverence, fully surrendered to His will…it means to have an attitude that is God-centered, not self-centered…it means to love God
- “give glory to Him”–means to show our respect for God by doing all we can to glorify and uphold His holy name…it means to have a lifestyle that honors and serves God…it means to obey God
This is why the Sabbath is so central to the gospel. It encourages us to love and obey God in a very specific way that demonstrates an understanding of who God is. He created us from the start, and He will judge us in the end. It rightly deserves its place in the heart of God’s holy law.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Revelation 14:6, 7 and Matthew 28:19, 20
- Since God’s people have been preaching the gospel to the world all along, why is it necessary to be reminded to do so again in the last days?
Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14
- In what ways do these verses sound like the first angel’s message?
- How can we deliver the everlasting gospel differently as we near the end of time?
1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
- Why is it important to worship God in spirit (to love Him) and in our bodies (by obeying Him)?
- Why is doing both these things considered worship?
Thursday: God’s Final Appeal
In order to win a war, you must know your enemy. In the second and third angels’ messages, we are made aware of our enemy and the consequences of following him.
Babylon is presented as the false system of worship that man has created, based on his own works and traditions. Who and how we worship is clearly seen as the predominant issue that determines whose army we have chosen to join.
The Sabbath seems to be critical in identifying who we worship. Will we worship God on the day He has set aside or the day human tradition has declared as holy and blessed?
More details about Babylon are given in Revelation 18:1-8. The appeal in this passage stands out, inviting all to “Come out of her, My people” (Revelation 18:4). Worship the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Revelation 14:12 and 12:17 remind us who are on God’s side. God’s people keep His commandments and have faith in the Messiah, the sacrificial Lamb of God, who saves us.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Revelation 14:8-11, Malachi 3:18 and 4:1, 2 Peter 3:10
- What is the nature of the fire and brimstone that happens at the end of the world?
- How is it seen as something that lasts forever and ever?
Revelation 18:1-8, 14:12
- What additional information are we given about Babylon in these verses?
- How and why should God’s people “come out of her”?
Let’s not forget who the three angels are in Revelation 14. God has appointed His church to spread the gospel to the world (Mark 16:15). He told us in the Sermon on the Mount that we are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Therefore, the important messages in Revelation are to be given by His last-day church.
It is the responsibility of the church and its individual members to present all three truths in Revelation 14 in the most humble, inoffensive, and non-fearful manner possible. The concept of the mark of the beast is not an easy message to deliver. But people must be warned, and therefore we must be deliberate in our effort to present the whole truth honestly and prayerfully, when appropriate to do so.
The goal is not to promote fear in our listeners, but to encourage people to get to know and love God, the ultimate victor in the great controversy going on in the universe.
We only tell half the story, when we end with Christ’s resurrection. There’s another glorious resurrection awaiting God’s saints, those who keep His commandments and have faith in Him, no matter what obstacles Satan puts in their path.
Be sure you are ready for the “harvests” about to happen on the earth. Then, and only then, will you be prepared to share the messages of Jesus found in the book of Revelation.
Next Week’s Lesson: A Step in Faith
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