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Sabbath Bible Lessons

Insights From the Book of Isaiah (II)

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Lesson 14 Sabbath, December 31, 2016

A Glimpse of Eternity

“Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

“It is eternal loss if we gain the whole world, with all its pleasure and glory, and yet lose the soul. Heaven is cheap enough at any cost.”—The Review and Herald, March 18, 1875.

Suggested Reading:   The Great Controversy, pp. 644-652, 658-678

Sunday December 25

1. HEAVENBOUND

a. What will be the glorious reward of God’s faithful few? Isaiah 26:1, 2.

“Jesus’ silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven, and cried: ‘Awake! Awake! Awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise.’ Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality . . . and in the same moment we were changed, and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.

“We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass, when Jesus brought the crowns, and with His own right hand placed them on our heads. He gave us harps of gold and palms of victory. Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square. Some had very bright crowns, others not so bright. Some crowns appeared heavy with stars, while others had but few. All were perfectly satisfied with their crowns. And they were all clothed with a glorious white mantle from their shoulders to their feet. Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass to the gate of the city. Jesus raised His mighty, glorious arm, laid hold of the pearly gate, swung it back on its glittering hinges, and said to us: ‘You have washed your robes in My blood, stood stiffly for My truth, enter in.’ We all marched in and felt we had a perfect right there.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 60, 61.


Monday December 26

2. IN THE IMMINENT FUTURE . . .

a. Contrast the future of the wicked with the blessings of the righteous. Isaiah 33:24; 34:1, 2. What one thing will remind us of this world of sin? Zechariah 13:6.

“Every trace of the curse is swept away. . . . One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. . . . That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God—there is the Saviour’s glory, there ‘the hiding of His power.’ . . . And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power.”—The Great Controversy, p. 674.

b. With what beautiful description does Isaiah depict the glorious hope of the ages—and how can we have a foretaste of it even now? Isaiah 35:1–10.

“To everyone who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results. For these God will do great things. He will work upon the minds of men so that, even in this world, there shall be seen in their lives a fulfillment of the promise of the future state. [Isaiah 35:1–10 quoted.]”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 160.

“In our life here, earthly, sin-restricted though it is, the greatest joy and the highest education are in service. And in the future state, untrammeled by the limitations of sinful humanity, it is in service that our greatest joy and our highest education will be found—witnessing, and ever as we witness learning anew ‘the riches of the glory of this mystery;’ ‘which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27).”—Education, p. 309.

c. Where should our main focus be when planning our future? Isaiah 65:17–19; Revelation 21:1; Hebrews 11:8, 10, 13–16.


Tuesday December 27

3. PEACE AND QUIETness AT LAST!

a. How did Isaiah describe the new heaven and the new earth? Isaiah 32:18; 60:18–22.

“A fear of making the future inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon it as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them in the Father’s house. Those who accept the teachings of God’s word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. . . . [1 Corinthians 2:9 quoted.] Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 674, 675.

b. How does Isaiah depict the peaceful atmosphere there? Isaiah 11:6, 7, 9; 65:25. Why should we seek to place ourselves and our families in as similar an environment as possible, even here and now? Isaiah 32:17.

“Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of enemies.”—The Adventist Home, p. 141.

“Take your families away from the cities is my message.

“The time has come when, as God opens the way, families should move out of the cities. The children should be taken into the country. The parents should get as suitable a place as their means will allow. . . .

“Before the overflowing scourge shall come upon the dwellers of the earth, the Lord calls upon all who are Israelites indeed to prepare for that event. To parents He sends the warning cry: Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practicing evil. Get out of the large cities as fast as possible.

“Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation, where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits. . . . God will help His people to find such homes outside of the cities.”—Ibid., pp.139, 140.


Wednesday December 28

4. A REAL PLACE WITH REWARDING ACTIVITIES

a. Describe some of the various occupations to be found in the new earth. Isaiah 65:21, 22. Explain how we are to enjoy a foretaste of them today.

“It would be well for you to lay by your perplexing cares and find a retreat in the country, where there is not so strong an influence to corrupt the morals of the young.

“True, you would not be entirely free from annoyances and perplexing cares in the country; but you would there avoid many evils, and close the door against a flood of temptations which threaten to overpower the minds of your children. . . .

“To live in the country would be very beneficial to them; an active, out-of-door life would develop health of both mind and body. They should have a garden to cultivate, where they might find both amusement and useful employment. The training of plants and flowers tends to the improvement of taste and judgment, while an acquaintance with God’s useful and beautiful creations has a refining and ennobling influence upon the mind, referring it to the Maker and Master of all.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 136.

“The mountains and hills are changing; the earth is waxing old like a garment; but the blessing of God, which spreads for His people a table in the wilderness, will never cease.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 200.

“Many are unwilling to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, and they refuse to till the soil. But the earth has blessings hidden in her depths for those who have courage and will and perseverance to gather her treasures. Fathers and mothers who possess a piece of land and a comfortable home are kings and queens.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 326, 327.

b. What else can be said about the new earth? Isaiah 64:4.

“There, when the veil that darkens our vision shall be removed, and our eyes shall behold that world of beauty of which we now catch glimpses through the microscope; when we look on the glories of the heavens, now scanned afar through the telescope; when, the blight of sin removed, the whole earth shall appear in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God,’ what a field will be open to our study!—Education, p. 303.

“There will be music there, and song, such music and song as, save in the visions of God, no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived.”—Ibid., p.307.


Thursday December 29

5. THE ULTIMATE FOCUS

a. How are the power and love of God reflected in the new earth? Ephesians 3:17, 20.

“[In the new earth] the loves and sympathies which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. . . .

“Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body.”—The Great Controversy, p. 677.

b. What great blessing will be experienced by the redeemed? Isaiah 66:22, 23. How can we be preparing for that right now?

“The years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character.”—Ibid., p.678.

“It is high time we devoted the few remaining precious hours of our probation to washing our robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb, that we may be of that white-robed company who shall stand about the great white throne.”—That I May Know Him, p. 65.


Friday December 30

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. How do we know that all the redeemed will be content with their reward?

2. How can we experience the joys of heaven today?

3. If we can depend only on God in the great crisis, why move to the country?

4. How and why will the new earth be better than the old one?

5. As our knowledge of God increases, what will be the result?

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