Since the fall of man, God has always had a people on earth to represent Him, who He entrusts with the gospel message. Has God’s moral law, as given distinctly during Moses’ time, always been included in that message of salvation?

We take a walk through church history this week, visiting the various church eras to discover if God’s Ten Commandments have always been known and passed down through the ages, as a baton in a relay race. Paul said to the Hebrews, “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 KJV

Key Text: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” Revelation 14:12 NKJV

Both Paul and John recognize one needed quality of the saints who comprise God’s church. They need patience. Picture a relay race and you will notice that each runner waiting in line for his turn to run must have patience to wait for their turn. And of course, the greatest excitement is when the last runner takes the baton and races to the finish line. The crowd of onlookers also have a hard time waiting for the race to end to see who is the declared victor.

passing the baton

In church history the baton that has been passed on to each successive church is undoubtedly the everlasting gospel mentioned in Revelation 14:6, part of the first angel’s message. What has been called the Gospel Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) might be considered Jesus’ passing of the torch to His disciples. Part of that commission included “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” v. 20 KJV

Does the world need both the message of grace and the knowledge of the law in order to be saved? Our lessons so far this quarter indicate that both are indeed needed. Both God’s love and justice must be revealed to sinners, before they can totally trust Him and become His followers.

Sunday: From Adam to Noah

The Greek term ekklesia is given for “church” and refers to those who are “called out”. God has “called out” a people in each generation to live out His will by being faithful, trusting, loving, and obedient.

God still conversed with Adam and Eve after their fall into sin. He gave them the promise of the Seed (Genesis 3:15), and clothed them with garments of coats of skin (meaning hides or leather). Although Moses’ didn’t give us the details, it’s not hard to imagine that this act necessitated the killing of an animal, an act that God may have used to illustrate to them what death looked like and to remind them of the promised One, the Lamb who was slain, who would someday die to save the world from sin.

Adam and Eve quickly saw the effects of sin with the tragedy of their son Abel’s death at the hand of his brother Cain. The event occurred during worship, when the brothers were making their offerings to God. Cain chose to worship God his own way (not with an animal sacrifice as God had instructed), leading to jealousy when his offering was not accepted and his brother’s was.

There was a quick moral decline after the tragic event. But Enoch is mentioned in Genesis as a man who walked with God. We have reason to believe that his ancestors and descendants may have also been men of God.

By the time of the Flood, the whole world was filled with evil, however, except for the family of one lone man–Noah, Enoch’s great grandson.

Discussion Questions: How many of the Ten Commandments did Cain break when he killed his brother? Do you think he was aware that his thoughts and actions were wrong? Read Genesis 4:6-7 for God’s warning to Cain before he argued with Abel and the disaster occurred.

How did God’s response to the killing show His mercy and justice? See Genesis 4:12-16.

Why did God need to test Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? If they were created perfect, then why did they sin, or even have the capability to sin?

Does God still “test” us? And for what reason(s)?

Monday: From Noah to Abraham

The life expectancy in Noah’s time reached almost a thousand years, with Methuselah being the oldest recorded at 969. It was no wonder that the world had become so wicked. Men and women had longer lives to develop their evil ways.

But God had a plan to help recover what man had lost. Unfortunately, there was only one man alive that God could trust with His plan. The “remnant” had certainly shrunk to its lowest numbers.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:8, 9 KJV

These two verses tell us a lot about Noah. He found grace; in other words, the Holy Spirit was at work in his life. He was a just man; he had experienced justification, or been declared righteous through his belief in God. But sanctification was also evident. The Lord was making him righteous, perfecting his character, and enabling him to “walk with God” or follow His ways.

With all the wickedness surrounding Noah and his family, it is inconceivable that they would be able to identify right from wrong without knowledge of God’s holy, moral law. The “Ten Commandments” were embedded in their hearts, as passed down from Adam and Eve through the generations before Noah. Although not laid down in stone yet, the requirements of God were no mystery to God’s church at the time.

Yes, God’s standards of justice through His law had to be available to Noah. And Noah kept them out of love. One had to have love to be able to preach passionately for so long. Yet alone build an ark, which turned out to be a laughingstock for all the world to ridicule. (And the world’s still ridiculing that the flood ever happened, by the way.)

Discussion Questions: Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord?

Does our obedience mean that a law of some kind is involved?

Is obedience ever enough though? Is love enough?

Why does the Bible record Noah’s mistakes (his bouts with drunkenness in Genesis 9), and yet still refer to him as a man of faith (Hebrews 11:7)?

Tuesday: From Abraham to Moses

The earth had been destroyed by a flood because its inhabitants had chosen to be immoral and disobedient to God’s law. They refused to accept Noah’s pleas to come into the ark with him and be saved. They chose to turn down God’s loving plan of salvation. But God out of mercy saved His remnant, Noah and his family of eight.

It wasn’t too many years, however, just like the unpleasant story of Cain’s murderous act toward his brother, that a group of people decided to refuse to believe God’s promise of not sending a flood again, and built the Tower of Babel that would be so high, flood waters would never reach them. And God’s chosen merciful method of dealing with this crisis was to confound their language and cause their population to spread out to other parts of the world.

In Genesis we read about Abraham. Here begins another man’s adventure of faith. God called him out of his homeland, where idolatry and immorality had once again taken root. God promised to bless Abraham, if he would listen to His voice and follow His commands. Although not perfect, he allowed himself to be molded by God into a man with a specific task. He provided the line of generations that led to the birth of the Savior. And not only that, he was to father a nation that would help prepare the world for His birth.

Discussion Questions: How does Melchizedek, called “the priest of the Most High God” (Genesis 14:18), show us that a knowledge of God’s commandments existed before the time of Moses?

Read Romans 4:9-11 and discuss the role circumcision played in Moses’ claim to righteousness and faith.

What might be the sign or seal of righteousness by faith in our time? See Ezekiel 20:12.

Wednesday: From Moses to Jesus

In choosing Abraham, God was actually choosing a people, his descendants, to be the next “church”, or stewards of His laws and ways. The Hebrew nation, although an imperfect people, were called a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6)

Moses, in particular, was needed to lead the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, where they had spent four hundred years. Their needs for spiritual renewal were met by God’s writing down the Ten Commandments for them with His own finger.  His instruction to Moses to build the sanctuary as well, with its feasts and ceremonies, was also designed to bring them closer to God and the Promise of the Messiah.

Despite the many failures and backslidings of Israel, God fulfilled His covenant Promise to Abraham by having the Messiah born through his lineage. Galatians 3:16 says,

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” KJV

Discussion Questions: Most people easily see the law in the story of Moses. But where is grace found in the time between Moses and Jesus? [Not only was it merciful to bring them out of slavery, but God’s working to save Israel, despite their idolatrous ways, illustrated the love of God.]

Read Deuteronomy 7:6-12. What is the relationship between God’s law and grace in this passage?

Thursday: From Jesus to the Remnant

The family of God, or church, since Jesus’ resurrection consists of all who belong to Christ. (Galatians 3:29) But even with the light of Jesus’ life and His victorious triumph over death, the Christian church has been as unfaithful to the covenant as ancient Israel was. Apostasy, wars, and persecutions, have marred the history of Christianity over the centuries. As with Israel, however, God has always had a remnant people who “have not bowed unto Baal” ( I Kings 19:18).

The remnant in the last days before Jesus’ Second Coming are described in the verse which was our key text this week:

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 KJV

Once again, law and grace blend perfectly to reflect “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:8). God’s people, as in all ages, have been those who not only believed God, but also obeyed Him. Not that their obedience was always perfect, but their relationship with God allowed them to be covered with the Light of Jesus’ perfect righteousness.

See Hebrews 11, a Hall of Fame for the faithful. These saints stood out for their faith, but also for their obedience to the Word of God. In the last days, God’s people will stand out for these same reasons. They will have a saving faith that compels them out of love to render God full obedience to each of His Ten Commandments.

Discussion Questions: Even though Seventh-day Adventists feel they have the remnant message, with its call to keep all of God’s law, including the fourth commandment Sabbath, how can we avoid feelings of superiority and exclusivity as we reach out to others with the gospel?

Read John 10:16 (“other sheep not of this fold”) and Revelation 18:4 (call to come out of Babylon). How do these verses remind us that we are not the remnant, but we just preach the remnant message, consisting of keeping all the commandments and having faith in Jesus?


“The symbol of continuity for God’s church is His law, which, after the Fall, must always be coupled with God’s saving grace. Together, both are the essence of the gospel.” ~the lesson quarterly

“The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God’s messages and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth. Christ declares to His followers: ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ Matthew 5:14. To every soul that accepts Jesus the cross of Calvary speaks: ‘Behold the worth of the soul: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”‘ Mark 16:15 Nothing is to be permitted to hinder this work. It is the all-important work for this time; it is to be far-reaching as eternity. The love that Jesus manifested for the souls of men in the sacrifice which He made for their redemption, will actuate His followers.” ~ Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 455, 456


Re-visit Revelation 14:6-12 this week and pay particular attention to the themes of the three angels’ messages as they pertain to the gospel, the law, and judgment. Why are these three elements so important in the final days?

  • gospel (v. 6–What is the everlasting gospel? Why to all the world?)
  • law (v. 7–How is our worship defined here? What part of the Ten Commandments remind us of the Creator? How does the little horn power of Daniel 7:25 which thinks “to change times and laws” fit in here?)
  • judgment (Why does the judgment seem to be a part of all three messages?)

“The theme of greatest importance is the third angel’s message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels.” ~ Evangelism, p. 196

How does the third angel’s message embrace the other two?

Seek diligently God’s calling for you in these end times. What message will you bring to the world?

Next Week: Christ’s Kingdom and the Law

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