1. LOOKING FORWARD
a. How can the gospel be summarized? Romans 1:16, 17.
b. Who must hear it, and what choice do they need to make? Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15, 16.
“When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 111.
c. To what class of people is salvation available? Acts 10:34, 35; Romans 8:14; Ephesians 3:6.
“The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 403.
2. GOD’S PROMISES TO HIS ANCIENT PEOPLE
a. What promises were given to Abraham and his descendants? Genesis 12:1–3; 13:14–17.
“Through the Jewish nation it was God’s purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through Israel the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of His light to the whole world. . . .
“It was for the accomplishment of this purpose that God called Abraham out from his idolatrous kindred and bade him dwell in the land of Canaan.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 286.
b. Why did God wait till several generations after Abraham before actually causing them to possess the land of Palestine? Genesis 15:13–16.
“The nations of the world, through following corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with Him through His church.”—Ibid.
“Although the Amorites were idolaters, whose life was justly forfeited by their great wickedness, God spared them four hundred years to give them unmistakable evidence that He was the only true God, the Maker of heaven and earth. All His wonders in bringing Israel from Egypt were known to them. Sufficient evidence was given; they might have known the truth, had they been willing to turn from their idolatry and licentiousness.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 434.
c. What eventually happened to the Amorites? Judges 11:21–24.
“On reaching the border of the Amorites, Israel had asked permission only to travel directly through the country, promising to observe the same rules that had governed their intercourse with other nations. When the Amorite king refused this courteous solicitation, and defiantly gathered his hosts for battle, their cup of iniquity was full, and God would now exercise His power for their overthrow.”—Ibid., p.435.
3. A COVENANT BROKEN
a. How did Israel fail to live up to the purpose of God in placing them in the Promised Land? Judges 2:10–13.
“Until the generation that had received instruction from Joshua became extinct, idolatry made little headway; but the parents had prepared the way for the apostasy of their children. The disregard of the Lord’s restrictions on the part of those who came in possession of Canaan sowed seeds of evil that continued to bring forth bitter fruit for many generations. The simple habits of the Hebrews had secured them physical health; but association with the heathen led to the indulgence of appetite and passion, which gradually lessened physical strength and enfeebled the mental and moral powers. By their sins the Israelites were separated from God; His strength was removed from them, and they could no longer prevail against their enemies. Thus they were brought into subjection to the very nations that through God they might have subdued.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 544, 545.
b. What happened because of the influence of the first king of the northern half of the divided nation? 1 Kings 14:15, 16.
“Had Israel heeded the messages of the prophets, they would have been spared the humiliation that followed. It was because they had persisted in turning aside from His law that God was compelled to let them go into captivity. . . .
“In every age, transgression of God’s law has been followed by the same result. In the days of Noah, when every principle of rightdoing was violated and iniquity became so deep and widespread that God could no longer bear with it. . . . In Abraham’s day the people of Sodom openly defied God and His law; and there followed the same wickedness, the same corruption, the same unbridled indulgence that had marked the antediluvian world. The inhabitants of Sodom passed the limits of divine forbearance, and there was kindled against them the fire of God’s vengeance.
“The time preceding the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel was one of similar disobedience and of similar wickedness. God’s law was counted as a thing of nought, and this opened the floodgates of iniquity upon Israel.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 297.
4. THE KING OF JUDAH
a. How long would the tribe of Judah maintain its royal distinction? Genesis 49:10; Ezekiel 21:25–27.
“The lion, king of the forest, is a fitting symbol of this tribe, from which came David, and the Son of David, Shiloh, the true ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah,’ to whom all powers shall finally bow and all nations render homage.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 236.
b. Who was “Shiloh” (the One “whose right it is”), and when did He come? Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1–9.
“Century after century passed away; finally the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel. As the Jews departed from God, faith grew dim, and hope well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were uncomprehended by many; and those whose faith should have continued strong were ready to exclaim, ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth’ (Ezekiel 12:22). But in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 700.
“While few understood the nature of Christ’s mission, there was a widespread expectation of a mighty prince who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and who should come as a deliverer to the nations.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 34.
c. What is the nature of His kingdom? John 18:36, 37. What will take place when the kingdom is fully pro-claimed? Matthew 24:14.
“He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.
“Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit.”—Ibid., p.509.
5. A HOUSE DESOLATE
a. When Christ was rejected by His own nation, what did He say? Matthew 23:37, 38. When was the desolation complete (literally as well as spiritually)? Matthew 24:1, 2.
“Hitherto [Jesus] had called the temple His Father’s house; but now, as the Son of God should pass out from those walls, God’s presence would be withdrawn forever from the temple built to His glory. Henceforth its ceremonies would be meaningless, its services a mockery.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 620.
“[Jesus] saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, the besieged inhabitants driven to starvation and death. . . . He saw that the stubbornness of the Jews, as evinced in their rejection of His salvation, would also lead them to refuse submission to the invading armies. . . . He saw the wretched inhabitants suffering torture on the rack and by crucifixion, the beautiful palaces destroyed, the temple in ruins, and of its massive walls not one stone left upon another, while the city was plowed like a field.”—Ibid., p.577.
b. In rejecting Christ, what did the leaders of the Jews bring upon themselves? Matthew 27:24, 25. Whom did they choose as their ruler, and what did this ruler eventually do? John 19:14, 15; Luke 21:20, 24.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Explain God’s purpose in delaying the conquest of Canaan.
2. What can God’s people learn today from Israel’s failure to subdue the land?
3. Why was the kingdom Jesus preached so differently from what His people expected?
4. How do the services in God’s house lose their meaning today?
5. How can I do more to share with those who need to hear the gospel?