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Sabbath Bible Lessons

Symbols From the Sanctuary Service - Treasures of Truth, Part 3

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Lesson 9 Sabbath, August 26, 2023

The Duty of the Congregation

MEMORY TEXT: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

“Every failure on the part of the children of God is due to their lack of faith.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 657.

Suggested Reading:   Christian Service, pp. 211-214

Sunday August 20

1. Requirements

a. On the day of atonement in the typical system, how do we know that the people were not judged as a group, but individually? Leviticus 23:29, 30.

b. How are we able to participate in this service when the ministration of Christ is in the heavenly sanctuary? Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:4.

c. What must happen to this kind of faith? Romans 3:31; James 2:17.

“God requires the homage of a sanctified soul, which has prepared itself, by the exercise of the faith that works by love, to serve Him. He holds up before us the highest ideal, even perfection. He asks us to be absolutely and completely for Him in this world as He is for us in the presence of God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 566.

“By the miracle of divine grace, many may be fitted for lives of usefulness. Despised and forsaken, they have become utterly discouraged; they may appear stoical and stolid. But under the ministration of the Holy Spirit, the stupidity that makes their uplifting appear so hopeless will pass away. The dull, clouded mind will awake. The slave of sin will be set free. Vice will disappear, and ignorance will be overcome. Through the faith that works by love, the heart will be purified and the mind enlightened.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 169.

d. Name the specific things that had to be done on the day of atonement. Leviticus 23:27–30.

Monday August 21

2. Purification

a. Because our High Priest is actively working in heaven (Hebrews 10:21; 3:1), what kind of people are now needed on earth? Hebrews 10:22; Titus 2:14.

“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.”—The Great Controversy, p. 425.

b. What is our natural tendency when we are without church fellowship? Deuteronomy 12:8; Judges 17:6; Proverbs 12:15.

“When our brethren voluntarily absent themselves from religious meetings, when God is not thought of and reverenced, when He is not chosen as their counselor and their strong tower of defense, how soon secular thoughts and wicked unbelief come in, and vain confidence and philosophy take the place of humble, trusting faith.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 426, 427.

“Never entertain the thought that you can be Christians and yet withdraw within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the nature and quality of your experience will be largely determined by the experiences of those with whom you associate.”—Ibid., vol. 7, p. 190.

c. How are we cleansed and why is there such power in that cleansing agent? John 15:3. Explain how this occurs. Revelation 1:5; 7:14.

“In heaven there is perfect order, perfect obedience, perfect peace and harmony. Those who have had no respect for order or discipline in this life would have no respect for the order which is observed in heaven. They can never be admitted into heaven, for all worthy of an entrance there will love order and respect discipline. The characters formed in this life will determine the future destiny. When Christ shall come, He will not change the character of any individual. Precious, probationary time is given to be improved in washing our robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. To remove the stains of sin requires the work of a lifetime. Every day renewed efforts in restraining and denying self are needed.”—Ibid., vol. 4, p. 429.

Tuesday August 22

3. A Holy Convocation

a. What is the purpose of religious gatherings? Hebrews 10:23, 24.

“Especially have you lost much by not taking your place in religious assemblies, placing yourself under the most healthful influences, in the channel of light. The precious opportunities for witnessing for Christ ought never to seem unessential. Do you know that when the people of God assemble to worship Him, as earnest active witnesses, they receive a rich blessing. They are Christ’s representatives and He is in their midst to bless.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1683.

“Think of the Lord Jesus, and His merits and His love, but do not seek to find the defects and dwell upon the mistakes that others have made. Call to your mind the things worthy of your recognition and your praise; and if you are sharp to discern errors in others, be more sharp to recognize the good and praise the good. You may, if you criticize yourselves, find things just as objectionable as that which you see in others. Then let us work constantly to strengthen one another in the most holy faith.”—Our High Calling, p. 232.

b. When are gatherings of like believers most urgently needed? Hebrews 10:25.

“Labor for those who are loitering away their lives, accomplishing only half of what they might for the Master. Strive to arouse them to a sense of their responsibility. Pray for and exhort one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching. Let brother say to brother and sister to sister, ‘Come, my fellow laborer, let us put all earnestness into our work; for the night is at hand, wherein no man can work.’ Let no one lose minutes by talking when he should be working.”— Evangelism, p. 653.

c. With whom should we be meeting and for what purpose? Matthew 18:19, 20; Jude 3.

“Those to whom the message of truth is spoken seldom ask, ‘Is it true?’ but, ‘By whom is it advocated?’ Multitudes estimate it by the numbers who accept it; and the question is still asked, ‘Have any of the learned men or religious leaders believed?’ Men are no more favorable to real godliness now than in the days of Christ. They are just as intently seeking earthly good, to the neglect of eternal riches; and it is not an argument against the truth, that large numbers are not ready to accept it, or that it is not received by the world’s great men, or even by the religious leaders.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 459, 460.

Wednesday August 23

4. Afflicting the Soul

a. What is the only way that we can endure affliction in this world? Hebrews 12:2; 3:1.

“ ‘Well,’ says one, ‘I will let go. I will step out, and someone else can come in my place.’ Better not do this unless you have fully decided that you will not maintain a close connection with God. If you leave space for Satan to come in between you and Jesus, Satan will be fruitful in suggestions. There will be an abundance of machinery and a trusting in the mechanical operations but leaving out the only One who can infuse you with His Holy Spirit and in times of danger lift up a standard for you against the enemy. It will not do to depend on your finite wisdom, for you have a limited experience at best, and do not know half as much in regard to the safe and wise management of the work in your hands as you think you do.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 932.

b. How do we know that the affliction of soul in Leviticus 23 is a day of fasting on the day of atonement? Leviticus 23:28, 29; Nehemiah 9:1, 2; Esther 4:3; Joel 2:12, 13.

“The whole ceremony was designed to impress the Israelites with the holiness of God and His abhorrence of sin; and, further, to show them that they could not come in contact with sin without becoming polluted. Every man was required to afflict his soul while this work of atonement was going forward. All business was to be laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel were to spend the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart.”—The Great Controversy, p. 419.

c. How important is it to keep the body under control, even with such things as fasting? James 3:2; Romans 6:12; 1 Corinthians 9:27.

“The apostle compared himself to a man running in a race, straining every nerve to win the prize. . . . That he might not run uncertainly or at random in the Christian race, Paul subjected himself to severe training. The words, ‘I keep under my body,’ literally mean to beat back by severe discipline the desires, impulses, and passions.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 314.

“We are under solemn obligations to God to keep the spirit pure and the body healthy, that we may be a benefit to humanity and render to God perfect service.”—The Adventist Home, p. 123.

Thursday August 24


a. Describe the great need of God’s church in the last days. Matthew 17:19–21; Joel 2:15.

“[The disciples’] faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and humiliation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith—faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work—can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit’s aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in high places.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 431.

“God would have all the bearings and positions of truth thoroughly and perseveringly searched, with prayer and fasting. Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God, so that when the testing time shall come, and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith, they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear.”—Gospel Workers, p. 299.

b. Of which day is Joel specifically speaking? Joel 2:28–32. Although partially fulfilled in the days of the apostles, how is it referring to the time of the end? Acts 2:17, 20.

“May 19, 1780, stands in history as ‘The Dark Day.’ Since the time of Moses no period of darkness of equal density, extent, and duration, has ever been recorded. The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: [Joel 2:31 quoted].”—The Great Controversy, p. 308.

Friday August 25


1. Why is a personal experience necessary as we approach the final end?

2. As the purification of the sanctuary is going on in heaven, what corresponding work is taking place among God’s true people on earth?

3. Why is the gathering of like believers important as we near the end?

4. Why is the control of the body associated with Christian growth?

5. Why are we to associate appropriate fasting with prayer?

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