1. THE SEALING WORK
a. Now, under the sixth seal, what preparations are being made in the political world? Revelation 11:18. Why are the winds of contention being held in check? Revelation 7:1, 3. What will happen when the winds of strife are released? 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
b. What work must be done on earth between the events foretold in Revelation 6:13 and 6:14? Ezekiel 9:4; Revelation 7:1–4.
“The Israelites placed over their doors a signature of blood, to show that they were God’s property. So the children of God in this age will bear the signature God has appointed. They will place themselves in harmony with God’s holy law. A mark is placed upon every one of God’s people just as verily as a mark was placed over the doors of the Hebrew dwellings, to preserve the people from the general ruin.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, pp. 968, 969.
c. Describe the final gospel messages under which this work (the sealing of the 144,000) will be completed. Revelation 14:6–12; 18:1–4.
2. “SEAL THE LAW AMONG MY DISCIPLES”
a. What is the evidence that the two prophetic references about the restoration of the Lord’s Sabbath belong to the Christian Era? Isaiah 8:14–16; 61:4; 58:12–14.
“In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to cooperate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 678.
b. With regard to His law, why does God demand much more of this last generation than of former generations? John 9:41; Luke 12:47, 48.
“Let none plead as an excuse for not keeping the Sabbath, that their fathers died accepted of God when keeping the first day of the week. No doubt they were accepted; for they did not sin against the light that is shining upon you in your day. God would have us walk in the light which shines upon us. We are to appreciate the truth that is presented to our understanding; for if we do not walk in the light, it becomes darkness, and our darkness will be proportionate to the light that is given.
“We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused. A man could not apprehend the truth which had never been presented to him, and therefore could not be condemned for light he had never had. But if he had opportunity to hear the message, and to become acquainted with the truth, and yet refused to improve his opportunity, he will be among the number of whom Christ said, ‘Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life’ (John 5:40). Those who deliberately place themselves where they will not have an opportunity of hearing the truth, will be reckoned among those who have heard the truth, and persistently resisted its evidences.”—The Review and Herald, April 25, 1893.
3. A CLEAR DISTINCTION
a. What will the 144,000 be able to say when they see Christ coming in glory? Isaiah 25:8, 9.
“The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye’ (1 Corinthians 15:52). At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels ‘gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other’ (Matthew 24:31). Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 645.
b. What will the unsaved multitudes say? Revelation 6:15–17.
“[When God’s holy law is revealed as the rule of judgment to all the inhabitants of the earth] the enemies of God's law, from the ministers down to the least among them, have a new conception of truth and duty. Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious sabbath and the sandy foundation upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God. Religious teachers have led souls to perdition while professing to guide them to the gates of Paradise. Not until the day of final accounts will it be known how great is the responsibility of men in holy office and how terrible are the results of their unfaithfulness. Only in eternity can we rightly estimate the loss of a single soul. Fearful will be the doom of him to whom God shall say: Depart, thou wicked servant. . . .
“No human pen can portray the scene [of Jesus’ return as a mighty conqueror with a vast, unnumbered throng of holy angels]; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. ‘His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light’ (Habakkuk 3:3, 4). As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head; but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun. ‘And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords’ (Revelation 19:16).
“Before His presence ‘all faces are turned into paleness’ (Jeremiah 30:6); upon the rejecters of God’s mercy falls the terror of eternal despair.”—Ibid., pp.640, 641.
4. SILENCE IN HEAVEN
a. Why is there silence in heaven? John 14:1–3; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 8:1. What condition will prevail in heaven for “half an hour” (prophetic time)? Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6. Meanwhile, where are Christ, the Father, and the holy angels, and what are they doing? John 14:1–3. When the places in the mansions are ready, what will take place? Matthew 16:27; John 5:25.
“Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints.”—The Great Controversy, p. 644.
b. In describing the 144,000 seen on Mount Zion, what characteristics does John emphasize? Revelation 14:1–5. What understanding can aid us in our desire to be among that number?
“John saw a Lamb on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. They bore the signet of heaven. They reflected the image of God. They were full of the light and the glory of the Holy One. If we would have the image and superscription of God upon us, we must separate ourselves from all iniquity. We must forsake every evil way, and then we must trust our cases in the hands of Christ. While we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God will work in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. While you must do your part, yet it is God that must give you aid, and sanctify you. Christ makes us penitent that He may forgive us. We have an idea that we must do some part of the work alone. We have thought that there are two or three steps that we must take without any help or support. But this is not so. The Spirit of God is continually wooing and drawing the soul to right purposes and into harmony with the law of God.”—The Review and Herald, March 19, 1889.
“[Revelation 14:1 quoted.] In this world their minds were consecrated to God; they served Him with the intellect and with the heart; and now He can place His name ‘in their foreheads.’”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 590, 591.
“Are we striving with all our God-given powers to reach the measure of the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for His fullness, ever reaching higher and higher, trying to attain to the perfection of His character? When God’s servants reach this point, they will be sealed in their foreheads.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 370.
5. PARADISE RESTORED
a. What promise have the faithful people of God embraced by faith from the beginning of the world? Hebrews 11:13–16; 2 Peter 3:13; Matthew 5:5, 10.
“Through humility and self-surrender we may become heirs with [Christ] when ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ (Psalm 37:11).
“The earth promised to the meek will not be like this, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. . . .
“Jesus is there, peace is there.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, p. 17.
b. Since the coming of Christ is at the door, what is the most important question that every individual should put to himself or herself? Acts 2:37 (last part); 16:30, 31.
“Notwithstanding our unworthiness, we are to remember that there is One who can take away sin, and who is willing and anxious to save the sinner.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 970.
“We are to copy no human being. There is no human being wise enough to be our criterion. We are to look to the man Christ Jesus, who is complete in the perfection of righteousness and holiness. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the pattern man. His experience is the measure of the experience that we are to gain. His character is our model. Let us, then, take our minds off the perplexities and the difficulties of this life, and fix them on Him, that by beholding we may be changed into His likeness.”—Ibid.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
a. Although another world war has been threatening to break out, why are the winds of contention being held back by the providence of God?
b. What are the three final-gospel-messages to be given to the world?
c. What is prophesied in Isaiah 8:14–16 and 58:12–14, and how do we know that this prophecy belongs to the Christian dispensation?
d. Describe the 144,000, victorious saints.
e. Describe the conditions of the new earth.