Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 13, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 13

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“The Holy Spirit in the Last Days”


The first point that strikes us as we study this last lesson of the Quarter is this: The Holy Spirit’s work will not be the same in the last days that it has been in the past 6000 years. There are several reasons:

1. The Spirit Himself of course will be the same through all ages; but it will be His manifestation that will be different. And we need to understand how.

2. It will be different even than it was at Pentecost two millennia ago. He manifested Himself then in the “early rain” outpouring; in the last days He will manifest Himself in the “latter rain” outpouring. There is great difference.

3. His manifestation in the “early rain” was a gift that prepared those who believed in Jesus to die “in Christ” and to come up in the first resurrection.

4. A preparation to die “in Christ” required that the believer overcome all known sin.

5. The “latter rain” outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a gift that prepares those who believe in Jesus to “overcome [all sin, even unknown] even as [Christ] overcame and sat down with [His] Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:20).

6. The promise to those who “overcome” in the last of the seven churches of history is a promise to sit with Christ on His throne, that is, to share with Him executive authority in concluding the “great controversy with Satan,” not merely extenuating it for centuries more.

7. Thus the “latter rain” outpouring of the Holy Spirit is not merely to enable those who believe in Jesus to overcome all known sin, but to overcome all unknown sin as well. Many of God’s dear people in all past ages have died with unknown sin still in them; for example, consider John and Charles Wesley. They were dear men living up to all the light they had at the time, but they died as devout Sunday-keepers, not keeping holy the Sabbath day. Their level of faith was sufficient for their time but would not be sufficient for the test at the close of probation. God gave them the evidence of His acceptance and we can see it in their lives and their work.

8. Now today as we face the generation in which probation is to close and the “mark of the beast” is to be enforced, the Holy Spirit’s work must go far deeper than for any generation of God’s people in past history. The Lord Jesus cannot translate anyone who has cherished sin buried deep in the heart, even if it is unknown to the believer, for if He were to do so the believer would be blotted out in the process. He loves us too much to come before we are ready!

9. In order to accomplish this once-in-history grand work, the Holy Spirit must fulfill His promise He made to the apostles long ago, to “guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13). The “latter rain” is not emotional excitement, jumping up and down, talking in unknown gibberish, rolling on the floor, or “laughing” as the enthusiasts do in Toronto; there is a counterfeit “holy spirit” and the deception will be lethal. The “latter rain” is a message of full-blown truth that will enable the believer to “overcome even as [Christ] overcame.”

10. There is a true Holy Spirit in contrast to a counterfeit holy spirit, and we must clearly discern with that “eyesalve” the Lord wants to give.

11. In God’s infinite wisdom, He sent “the beginning” of that genuine “latter rain” of “most precious truth” to the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the 1888 General Conference Session held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On authoritative word, the message meant “translation” to the generation who initially heard it and received it.

12. Sad to say, the elders of the church responded negatively and “in a great degree” and to “a great extent” rejected the message and “kept it away” from both our people and from the world (Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 235; the author of that statement said that the church members and younger pastors would have been glad to accept it, but the influence emanating from Battle Creek discouraged them and they “did not know what to do” until the precious “beginning” was withdrawn for that generation).

13. There is no way we can receive the true Holy Spirit and at the same time reject the gift He brings.

14. Repentance is the gift that only the Holy Spirit can give. It will be as deep as was our corporate sin. He is willing to give and He gives; let us not refuse His gift.

15. Thank God for these Lessons we have had about the Holy Spirit, that “Para-kletos” whom Jesus sent to stay beside us and never leave us!

Robert J. Wieland


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