1. RESTORATION TAUGHT WITH POWER
a. What prophecy carries special significance in the preparation to meet the Lord? Malachi 4:5.
“In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, God calls for men who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1184.
b. How did Jesus explain to His disciples the first application of this prophecy, and how does this relate to our work now? Matthew 17:11–13.
“Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 62.
2. PREPARERS OF THE LORD’S WAY
a. What powerful message did John the Baptist proclaim, and why is it appropriate that we be doing likewise? Luke 1:16, 17; Matthew 3:2, 8.
“[John the Baptist] saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from the lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgement, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.
“God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 103, 104.
b. Give examples of how the Elijah message is to restore family life—including how it was prefigured in John the Baptist’s work. Malachi 2:13–17; 4:6.
“John was acquainted with the fact that [Herod] was about to marry his brother’s wife, while her husband was yet living, and faithfully told Herod that this was not lawful.”—Early Writings, p. 154.
c. What characterizes “the spirit and power of Elias,” and who is proclaiming this message today? 1 Kings 18:17, 18, 21; Revelation 12:17.
“Many dare not condemn iniquity, lest they shall thereby sacrifice position or popularity. And by some it is considered uncharitable to rebuke sin. The servant of God should never allow his own spirit to be mingled with the reproof which he is required to give; but he is under the most solemn obligation to present the Word of God, without fear or favor. He must call sin by its right name. Those who by their carelessness or indifference permit God’s name to be dishonored by His professed people, are numbered with the transgressor—registered in the record of heaven as partakers in their evil deeds.”—The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1881.
3. THE FINAL WORK
a. What summarizes the urgent call of the hour? Revelation 14:6–13; 18:1–4.
“In the closing work of God in the earth, the standard of His law will be again exalted. False religion may prevail, iniquity may abound, the love of many may wax cold, the cross of Calvary may be lost sight of, and darkness, like the pall of death, may spread over the world; the whole force of the popular current may be turned against the truth; plot after plot may be formed to overthrow the people of God; but in the hour of greatest peril the God of Elijah will raise up human instrumentalities to bear a message that will not be silenced. In the populous cities of the land, and in the places where men have gone to the greatest lengths in speaking against the Most High, the voice of stern rebuke will be heard. Boldly will men of God’s appointment denounce the union of the church with the world. Earnestly will they call upon men and women to turn from the observance of a man-made institution to the observance of the true Sabbath.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 186, 187.
b. What must always be evident in our speech and life? John 1:29; 14:12; 2 Corinthians 4:5–7.
“The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.
“The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works—in words of truth and deeds of holiness.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 415, 416.
c. How will God’s work ultimately be finished? Zechariah 4:6; Isaiah 28:21.
“The Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning.”—Evangelism, p. 118.
4. HOW TO RECEIVE THE REFRESHING
a. What must we continually realize about a key quality essential to experiencing the Holy Spirit in the fullness of latter-rain power? Isaiah 57:15.
“There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands.”—Evangelism, p. 118.
“Men with one talent may reach a class that those with two or five talents cannot approach. Great and small alike are chosen vessels to bear the water of life to thirsting souls. Let not those who preach the word lay their hands upon the humblest worker and say: ‘You must labor in this channel or not work at all.’ Hands off, brethren. Let everyone work in his own sphere, with his own armor on, doing whatever he can do in his humble way. Strengthen his hands in the work. This is no time for pharisaism to control. Let God work through whom He will. The message must go.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 462.
b. Why is the latter rain given, and why should we be inspired by the motivation of the early disciples? Acts 1:8; 4:33; Jeremiah 30:5–7.
“Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. . . .
“The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. . . .
“Let Christians put away all dissension and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the promised blessing, and it will come.”—Ibid., vol.8, pp. 20, 21.
“As the third message swells to a loud cry, and as great power and glory attend the closing work, the faithful people of God will partake of that glory. It is the latter rain which revives and strengthens them to pass through the time of trouble.”—Ibid., vol.1, p. 353.
5. TREMENDOUSLY GRATIFYING!
a. What opportunity is before us right now? Titus 2:13; 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2.
“My brethren and sisters, study your plans; grasp every opportunity of speaking to your neighbors and associates or of reading something to them from books that contain present truth. Show that you regard as of first importance the salvation of the souls for whom Christ has made so great a sacrifice.
“In working for perishing souls, you have the companionship of angels. Thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand angels are waiting to cooperate with members of our churches in communicating the light that God has generously given, that a people may be prepared for the coming of Christ.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 129.
b. Describe the amazing results to occur when the Holy Spirit is poured out without measure. Zechariah 8:23; Isaiah 44:3, 4; 61:11.
“The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides.”—The Great Controversy, p. 612.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What parallels exist between our work and that of Elijah and John the Baptist?
2. How does the restoration needed today relate to the Ten Commandments?
3. Summarize the character qualities of those who will receive the latter rain.
4. On what basis might I be in danger of missing this amazing privilege?
5. Why are the results of the latter rain so incredibly gratifying to see?