1. ETERNAL LIFE
a. What must we realize about the only ones who will have the privilege of going to that better land? Revelation 22:12–14; James 2:10.
“While [many] refuse to believe and obey some requirement of the Lord, they persevere in offering up to God their formal services of religion. There is no response of the Spirit of God to such service. No matter how zealous men may be in their observance of religious ceremonies, the Lord cannot accept them if they persist in willful violation of one of His commands.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 634.
b. What should we be doing with this law and where should it be kept? 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 8:10.
“We are to compare our characters with the infallible standard of God’s law. In order to do this, we must search the Scriptures, measuring our attainments by the word of God.”—The Review and Herald, February 14, 1893.
2. THE PROPHESIED RESTORATION
a. What prophecy shows that God’s people will have a special regard for His moral law of Ten Commandments? Jeremiah 6:16; Isaiah 58:12.
“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. Name the specific point that needs to be considered in this restoration and explain the result. Isaiah 58:13, 14.
“When the Sabbath commences, we should place a guard upon ourselves, upon our acts and our words, lest we rob God by appropriating to our own use that time which is strictly the Lord’s. We should not do ourselves, nor suffer our children to do, any manner of our own work for a livelihood, or anything which could have been done on the six working days. Friday is the day of preparation. Time can then be devoted to making the necessary preparation for the Sabbath and to thinking and conversing about it. Nothing which will in the sight of Heaven be regarded as a violation of the holy Sabbath should be left unsaid or undone, to be said or done upon the Sabbath. God requires not only that we refrain from physical labor upon the Sabbath, but that the mind be disciplined to dwell upon sacred themes. The fourth commandment is virtually transgressed by conversing upon worldly things or by engaging in light and trifling conversation.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 702, 703.
“To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 289.
3. SABBATH REFORMATION
a. How did God seek to correct the attitude of His people towards the Sabbath—and what would happen if they continued to reject it? Jeremiah 17:24–27.
“On one occasion, by command of the Lord, the prophet took his position at one of the principal entrances to the city and there urged the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath day. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were in danger of losing sight of the sanctity of the Sabbath, and they were solemnly warned against following their secular pursuits on that day. . . .
“Thus the prophet stood firmly for the sound principles of right living so clearly outlined in the book of the law. But the conditions prevailing in the land of Judah were such that only by the most decided measures could a change for the better be brought about.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 411, 412.
b. How do the same actions create similar consequences? 1 Corinthians 10:5, 6. Has God changed? Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8.
“Wherever the cause exists, the same results will follow. He who deliberately stifles his convictions of duty because it interferes with his inclinations will finally lose the power to distinguish between truth and error. The understanding becomes darkened, the conscience callous, the heart hardened, and the soul is separated from God. Where the message of divine truth is spurned or slighted, there the church will be enshrouded in darkness; faith and love grow cold, and estrangement and dissension enter. Church members center their interests and energies in worldly pursuits, and sinners become hardened in their impenitence.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 378, 379.
“Today Satan is using the same devising to introduce the same evils, and his efforts are followed by the same results that in the days of Israel laid so many in their graves.”—The Review and Herald, February 4, 1909.
“The same danger exists today among that people who profess to be the repository of God’s law. They are too apt to flatter themselves that the regard in which they hold the commandments should preserve them from the power of divine justice. They refuse to be reproved of evil, and blame God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp.”—The Signs of the Times, February 12, 1880, Art. B.
a. How do we know that the Sabbath existed prior to Mount Sinai? Exodus 20:8; 16:4, 5. How did the Hebrews show spite to that same law? Exodus 16:27–30.
“Every week during their long sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites witnessed a threefold miracle, designed to impress their minds with the sacredness of the Sabbath: a double quantity of manna fell on the sixth day, none on the seventh, and the portion needed for the Sabbath was preserved sweet and pure, when if any were kept over at any other time it became unfit for use.
“In the circumstances connected with the giving of the manna, we have conclusive evidence that the Sabbath was not instituted, as many claim, when the law was given at Sinai. Before the Israelites came to Sinai they understood the Sabbath to be obligatory upon them. In being obliged to gather every Friday a double portion of manna in preparation for the Sabbath, when none would fall, the sacred nature of the day of rest was continually impressed upon them. And when some of the people went out on the Sabbath to gather manna, the Lord asked, ‘How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?’ ”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 296, 297.
b. Was this an isolated problem in the wilderness with the Sabbath issue? Explain. Ezekiel 20:10–13.
“During the entire forty years in the wilderness, the people were every week reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath, by the miracle of the manna. Yet even this did not lead them to obedience. Though they did not venture upon so open and bold transgression as had received such signal punishment, yet there was great laxness in the observance of the fourth commandment. God declares through His prophet, ‘My Sabbaths they greatly polluted.’ Ezekiel 20:13–24. And this is enumerated among the reasons for the exclusion of the first generation from the Promised Land. Yet their children did not learn the lesson. Such was their neglect of the Sabbath during the forty years’ wandering, that though God did not prevent them from entering Canaan, He declared that they should be scattered among the heathen after the settlement in the Land of Promise.”—Ibid., pp. 409, 410.
5. AN IMPORTANT MEANING
a. How does the Sabbath commandment show that it is not a new commandment? Exodus 20:8–11.
“The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator’s work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day signify by this act that they are worshipers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 307.
b. Where can we find the original command and what significance does this Sabbath institution have upon the true people of God? Genesis 2:1–3; Ezekiel 20:20.
“Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man.”—Ibid., p. 111.
“Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,’—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 281.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the relationship between eternal life and the Ten Commandments?
2. What are we to learn from the prophesied reformation on the Sabbath issue?
3. In our time, what are the consequences of having the same lax approach as in the days of Jeremiah?
4. How prevalent was the disregard of the Sabbath in the wilderness and what were the consequences?
5. What significance does the Sabbath day have to you personally?