The series of Sabbath School lessons prepared for this year, 2014, carry the title The Light of the World.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). This has been true since the beginning of the world. Never have the servants of the Almighty been left in darkness.
“In the manifestation of God to His people, light had ever been a symbol of His presence. At the creative word in the beginning, light had shone out of darkness. Light had been enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, leading the vast armies of Israel. Light blazed with awful grandeur about the Lord on Mount Sinai. Light rested over the mercy seat in the tabernacle. Light filled the temple of Solomon at its dedication. Light shone on the hills of Bethlehem when the angels brought the message of redemption to the watching shepherds.
“God is light; and in the words, ‘I am the light of the world,’ Christ declared His oneness with God, and His relation to the whole human family. It was He who at the beginning had caused ‘the light to shine out of darkness’ (2 Corinthians 4:6). . . .
“We can trace the line of the world’s great teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars [i.e. planets] of the solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world’s great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gem of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 464, 465.
In our studies the reader will notice emphasis put on the character, influence, and work of the followers of Christ through the centuries.
“As the sun goes forth on its errand of love, dispelling the shades of night and awakening the world to life, so the followers of Christ are to go forth on their mission, diffusing the light of heaven upon those who are in the darkness of error and sin.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 39.
We pray that our Sabbath School students will be blessed as they learn through this quarterly how God used chosen human instruments to shed light where light was urgently needed, from the time of Adam until the end of Israel’s pilgrimage through the desert.
SABBATH, JANUARY 4, 2014
First Sabbath Offering for the Bulgarian Mission Field
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We greet you with Hebrews 13:16, “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
The Republic of Bulgaria, officially part of the European Union, is a country in the Balkans on the western side of the Black Sea. It is surrounded by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. Its location has made it an historical crossroad for various civilizations from earliest times. Today, its population of 7.36 million are concentrated mainly in the urban centers of the country. More than three-
quarters of the population identify themselves with Eastern Orthodoxy as their religion.
The message of Reformation took root in the first decades of the twentieth century. Gone are the years when our church worshipped “underground.” With the advent of democracy, we have been able to register our church officially and now operate legally and in freedom. With much effort and God’s help since our registration, we were able to obtain two chapels, one in southern Bulgaria and the other in the north of the country. However, Bulgaria is a poor country, with low income. The global financial crisis has made our situation much worse. Due to an exhaustion of funds for maintenance, our houses of worship are now in great need of repairs.
We also desire to evangelize many more places in our country, which will require means for the printing of books and other literature. Until now we have printed material periodically in small quantities according to our possibilities. But this is not enough for the implementation of large-scale, organized evangelism, not only canvassing but also by conducting Bible classes in certain public institutions.
For these purposes we appeal to all Sabbath School students to open generously their hands when the First Sabbath Offering will be collected this week.
We thank you in advance. May God bless you abundantly!
Your brethren and sisters in Bulgaria
The General Conference Sabbath School Department