1. THE FAMILY UNIT
a. What is Satan trying to do to the God-ordained family unit? 1 Peter 5:8.
“As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land. He lays his snares for every soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the highest positions, in the most holy office; if he can lead them to pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand years ago. By worldly friendships, by the charms of beauty, by pleasure seeking, mirth, feasting, or the wine cup, he tempts to the violation of the seventh commandment.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 457, 458.
b. How are God’s messengers trying to avert judgments brought about by the destruction of the family unit? Malachi 4:5, 6.
“It was the prevalence of this very sin, fornication, among ancient Israel, which brought upon them the signal manifestation of God’s displeasure.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 451.
2. THE FORERUNNER OF CHRIST
a. Who was John the Baptist (in connection with the work prophesied by Malachi) and how does that represent the final remnant? Matthew 11:7, 14.
“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.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 62.
“The age in which we live calls for reformatory action.”—Ibid., vol. 4, p. 488.
b. Why was John martyred and what does this show today? Matthew 14:3–5.
“Herod was affected as he listened to the powerful, pointed testimonies of John, and with deep interest he inquired what he must do to become his disciple. John was acquainted with the fact that he 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.
“Herod was inclined to act upon the advice of John, and stated to Herodias that he could not marry her in defiance of the law of God. But this determined woman would not be thwarted in her designs. Intense hatred was awakened in her heart toward John. Herod was weak in principle, vacillating in mind, and Herodias had no great difficulty in re-establishing herself in his favor, and holding her influence over him. Herod yielded to the pleasures of sin, rather than submit to the restrictions of the law of God.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 70.
“Many of those who profess to believe the truth would say, if they expressed their real sentiments, What need is there of speaking so plainly? . . . . Why need he have provoked the anger of Herodias by telling Herod that it was unlawful for him to live with his brother’s wife? He lost his life by speaking so plainly. Why could he not have moved along without incurring the anger of Herodias?”—Gospel Workers, p. 149.
“John the Baptist met sin with open rebuke in men of humble occupation and in men of high degree. He declared the truth to kings and nobles, whether they would hear or reject it. He spoke personally and pointedly. He reproved the Pharisees of the Sanhedrim because their religion consisted in forms and not in righteousness of pure, willing obedience. . . . He spoke to Herod in regard to his marriage with Herodias, saying, It is not lawful for thee to have her. He spoke to him of a future retribution, when God would judge every man according to his works.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, pp. 149, 150.
a. What is the work of God’s people in the last days and how is this exemplified by the words of Jesus? Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28–30.
“Meekness is a precious, Christian attribute. The meekness and lowliness of Christ are only learned by wearing Christ’s yoke. . . . That yoke signifies entire submission.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 236.
b. How do we hasten the coming of Jesus? 2 Peter 3:12; Acts 3:19–21.
“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69.
“In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 678.
c. In this context, which divine institution was created at the same time as the Sabbath? Genesis 1:26–28; 2:2, 3.
“The Sabbath and the marriage institution were ordained of God in Eden to be preserved sacred and holy. Both of these institutions of divine appointment have been disregarded and set at naught by men and women, whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil.”—The Review and Herald, March 8, 1870.
“God ordained that man and woman should be united in holy wedlock, to raise up families that, crowned with honour, would be symbols of the family in heaven. And at the beginning of His public ministry Christ gave His decided sanction to the institution that had been sanctioned in Eden. Thus He declared to all that He will not refuse His presence on marriage occasions, and that marriage, when joined with purity and holiness, truth and righteousness, is one of the greatest blessings ever given to the human family. Priests and popes have made laws forbidding people to marry, and secluding them in monasteries. These laws and restrictions were devised by Satan to place men and women in unnatural positions. Thus Satan has tempted human beings to disregard the law of marriage as a thing unholy, but at the same time he has opened the door for the indulgence of human passion. Thus have come into existence some of the greatest evils which curse our world—adultery, fornication, and the murder of innocent children born out of wedlock.”—The Bible Echo, August 28, 1899.
4. THE FIRST DIVINE INSTITUTION
a. What is the difference between the way humans were created vs. the animals? Genesis 1:24, 25; 2:7, 18, 21, 22.
“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to His Son, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ As Adam came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of noble height, and of beautiful symmetry. He was more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and was well proportioned. His features were perfect and beautiful. His complexion was neither white, nor sallow, but ruddy, glowing with the rich tint of health. Eve was not quite as tall as Adam. Her head reached a little above his shoulders. She, too, was noble—perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pp. 24, 25.
b. How was the first marriage introduced? What provision was made for divorce in Eden—and did Jesus work on restoration? Genesis 2:23, 24.
“Jesus came to our world to rectify mistakes and to restore the moral image of God in man. Wrong sentiments in regard to marriage had found a place in the minds of the teachers of Israel. They were making of none effect the sacred institution of marriage. Man was becoming so hardhearted that he would for the most trivial excuse separate from his wife, or, if he chose, he would separate her from the children and send her away. This was considered a great disgrace and was often accompanied by the most acute suffering on the part of the discarded one.
“Christ came to correct these evils, and His first miracle was wrought on the occasion of the marriage. Thus He announced to the world that marriage when kept pure and undefiled is a sacred institution.”—The Adventist Home, p. 341.
“The Sabbath and marriage were instituted in Eden, when man was upright and innocent before God. They were established when the foundations of the earth were laid, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. But men broke the rules which God gave respecting these institutions, and brought upon themselves condemnation and woe.”—The Signs of the Times, October 15, 1896.
5. THE PERPETUITY OF THE LAW
a. What view did Jesus have on the subject of divorce, and remarriage after divorce? Mark 10:2–12.
b. How long was the law designed to last? Luke 16:13–17.
“The sun shining in the heavens, the solid earth upon which you dwell, are God’s witnesses that His law is changeless and eternal. Though they may pass away, the divine precepts shall endure. . . . The system of types that pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God was to be abolished at His death; but the precepts of the Decalogue are as immutable as the throne of God.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 308.
“It is ever the purpose of Satan to make void the law of God and to pervert the true meaning of the plan of salvation. Therefore he has originated the falsehood that the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary’s cross was for the purpose of freeing men from the obligation of keeping the commandments of God. He has foisted upon the world the deception that God has abolished His constitution, thrown away His moral standard, and made void His holy and perfect law. Had He done this, at what terrible expense would it have been to Heaven! Instead of proclaiming the abolition of the law, Calvary’s cross proclaims in thunder tones its immutable and eternal character. Could the law have been abolished, and the government of heaven and earth and the unnumbered worlds of God maintained, Christ need not have died.”—Faith and Works, p. 118.
c. What example did Jesus give to confirm the perpetuity of the law—and how does that affect the one not leading in the marriage breakup? Luke 16:18.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What should we be doing in light of the fact that the marriage institution is under attack in the last days?
2. What was the main reason that John the Baptist was the first Christian martyr and what lesson is that for us today?
3. Why are marriage and the Sabbath linked in the last-day reformation?
4. How important is restoration in marriage?
5. What example do we have that the law cannot be changed?