1. PRIDE AND PRESUMPTION CONDEMNED
a. Just as the Assyrians were brought to judgment, what did Isaiah prophesy would happen to haughty Babylon? Isaiah 13:1, 4–6, 17–22; 47:1–3, 7–9. When did the great city indeed meet her doom? Daniel 5:1, 18–23, 28, 30.
b. Explain the parallel that the Lord declares will soon come upon spiritual Babylon. Revelation 18:1, 2, 7–17; Ezekiel 7:9.
c. Why should everyone be watchful in this regard? Proverbs 15:3.
“The eye of the Lord is upon every scene. . . . To every word and action of our lives, the holy, sin-hating God stands as a witness. We cannot escape our accountability to Him, for God is everywhere. Why should we not live in such a manner that we may render up our account with joy, and not with grief. God has given us our appointed work, and we are to do it under his direction. If we place our powers under the control of Satan, we are rebels against God, and there will be found in our life-records, as there was found in Belshazzar’s, a fatal deficiency when the accounts are balanced.”—The Signs of the Times, September 14, 1888.
2. DEPENDING MORE ON GOD, LESS ON SOCIETY
a. In the hustle and bustle of city life in modern society, of what warnings must we be ever mindful? Isaiah 17:12–14. For example, what was the Lord’s last-day messenger bidden to write regarding one city (in this case, Melbourne, Australia) having less than half a million people when she was alive?
“It is not God’s will that His people shall settle in the cities, where there is constant turmoil and confusion. Their children should be spared this; for the whole system is demoralized by the hurry and rush and noise.
“The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land and raise their own fruit and vegetables, and where their children can be brought in direct contact with the works of God in nature. Take your families away from the cities, is my message.”—Medical Ministry, pp. 310, 311.
“The cities will become worse and worse. In them will be strife and bloodshed, and at last they will be visited by earthquakes. Buildings will be thrown down, and will be consumed by fire from heaven. . . .
“Will our brethren and sisters in Melbourne move without the counsel of God? Will they make large plants in Melbourne, when the world is growing worse and worse, when the cities are becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah? Will they put out the eyes of the people, that they shall not discern the signs of the times?
“The cities must be worked. Those who are living in them must be warned of what is before us. Let time and means be wisely spent. See if you cannot do something in the highways and byways of the cities to proclaim the message of present truth. But do not locate your families in the city, and do not establish business interests there. If you do this, you will in the future be expected to conform to the observance of various holidays. Watchers will be set to seek occasion of complaint against the commandment-keeping people of God. Satan will exercise his power and enmity, and oppression will be the result. The larger the city, the greater will be the oppression. At such a time as this, shall we invest our money and our time in business enterprises in the cities, when they are so much needed to advance the work in new fields? Let those who can teach the truth go forth into the highways and hedges, and compel men and women to come in, that God’s house may be full.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, pp. 336, 337.
b. Instead of leaning on an arm of flesh, where are we to look? Isaiah 17:7, 8.
3. CONSECRATION IN THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
a. What does God declare about the eating of “clean” flesh foods in the antitypical Day of Atonement? Isaiah 22:12–14, 20–22 (compare Revelation 3:8, 7). When the Lord’s messenger was taken off into vision, what was revealed about this “open” and “shut” door?
“The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the city of the living God. Then I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ relating to the shut door could not be separated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out with all their importance, and for God’s people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments. This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844. Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy, and passed within the second veil, where He now stands by the ark, and where the faith of Israel now reaches.
“I saw that Jesus had shut the door of the holy place, and no man can open it; and that He had opened the door into the most holy, and no man can shut it (Revelation 3:7,8); and that since Jesus has opened the door into the most holy place, which contains the ark, the commandments have been shining out to God’s people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question.”—Early Writings, p. 42.
b. What is our most urgent duty in view of the time in which we live? Isaiah 34:16. Summarize the mission of the Lord’s messenger for our time and explain why it has been so important.
“I have not come to cry peace; you can hear this voice wherever you go. There are those who will be glad to lull you to sleep in your carnal security; but I have a different work. My message is to alarm you, to bid you reform your lives, and cease your rebellion against the God of the universe. Take the Word of God, and see if you are in harmony with it. Is your character such as will bear the search of the heavenly investigation?”—The Review and Herald, June 22, 1911.
4. AN ANCHOR AMID THE WINDS OF DOCTRINE
a. How can we stand firm for Christ in an age when people tend to question God and His wisdom? Isaiah 29:13–16; 30:8–11.
“Never was there a time when the Lord would manifest His great grace unto His chosen ones more fully than in these last days when His law is made void.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 96.
“The Lord calls upon every teacher, every minister, everyone who has received the light of His truth to mark well his spiritual standing. They have had great light, and if they would secure eternal life, they must no longer make finite men their dependence but build upon the sure foundation.”—Ibid., p. 384.
b. What is to be our safeguard in times of religious delusion? Isaiah 8:19, 20.
“There is no concord between Christ and Belial. The nonresurrection of the wicked and their peculiar views of the age to come are gross errors which Satan has worked in among the last-day heresies to serve his own purpose to ruin souls. These errors can have no harmony with the message of heavenly origin.
“Some of these persons have exercises which they call gifts and say that the Lord has placed them in the church. They have an unmeaning gibberish which they call the unknown tongue, which is unknown not only by man but by the Lord and all heaven. Such gifts are manufactured by men and women, aided by the great deceiver. Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here. The fruits of all this have not been good. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’ (Matthew 7:16). Fanaticism and noise have been considered special evidences of faith. Some are not satisfied with a meeting unless they have a powerful and happy time. They work for this and get up an excitement of feeling. But the influence of such meetings is not beneficial. When the happy flight of feeling is gone, they sink lower than before the meeting because their happiness did not come from the right source. The most profitable meetings for spiritual advancement are those which are characterized with solemnity and deep searching of heart; each seeking to know himself, and earnestly, and in deep humility, seeking to learn of Christ.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 411, 412.
5. STAYING FAR AWAY FROM ERROR
a. Today, as “New Age” spiritualistic philosophy and religion seem to prosper and run rampant, what must we keep in mind? Isaiah 47:10–15.
“All should feel the necessity of keeping the moral nature braced by constant watchfulness. Like faithful sentinels, they should guard the citadel of the soul, never feeling that they may relax their vigilance for a moment. In earnest prayer and living faith is their only safety.”—Counsels on Health, p. 411.
“In earthly affairs, the servant who seeks most carefully to fulfill the requirements of his office, and to carry out the will of his master, is most highly valued. A gentlemen once wished to employ a trusty coachman. Several men came in answer to his advertisement. He asked each one how near he could drive to the edge of a certain precipice without upsetting the carriage. One and another replied that he could go within a very perilous distance; but at last one answered that he would keep as far as possible from such a dangerous undertaking. He was employed to fill the position. Shall a man be more appreciative of a good servant than is our Heavenly Father? Our anxiety should not be to see how far we can depart from the commandments of the Lord, and presume on the mercy of the Lawgiver, and still flatter our souls that we are within the bounds of God’s forbearance; but our care should be to keep as far as possible from transgression. We should be determined to be on the side of Christ and our Heavenly Father, and run no risks by heady presumption.
“Today, while the last message is being heralded to bring God’s servants in harmony with every precept of His law, there will be scoffers and unbelievers; but every soul must stand in his own integrity. As Noah was faithful in warning the antediluvian world, so we must be faithful to the great trust that God has given us. Although there are scoffers and traducers on every side, we must not shrink from presenting the truth of heaven to this generation.”—The Review and Herald, June 22, 1911.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. While spiritual Babylon seems to flourish, what should we remember?
2. What steps can I take to simplify my lifestyle and be less worldly-minded?
3. What evidence in Isaiah connects vegetarianism with God’s remnant?
4. How does Heaven refute a key tenet of the Charismatic movement?
5. Explain the safest policy when error abounds on every hand.